President Trump’s Actions Make Winning Hearts & Minds Even Harder

President Trump’s Actions Make Winning Hearts & Minds Even HarderWhen I was in marketing in High Tech, there was always a fantastic dread of tarnishing the brand. Actions that made our company look terrible and causing our potential customers not to buy our products and services.President Trump has taken three actions that are tarnishing the American brand and making our job even harder. “Travel Ban”The first is the ‘Travel Ban’. While the administration maintains it is necessary for national security, the depression is that it is anti-Muslim, a clear go away from America’s tolerance doctrine and a step towards fascism. One article on that topic is from Brookings. (See: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/markaz/2017/02/01/first-they-came-for-the-iranians/?utm_campaign=Brookings+Concise&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=send by e-mail&utm_content=41813767, which is also the photo source)“The Wall”Building a wall on the Mexican border is not an effective way to stem the tide of illegal drugs and immigration from that fantastic nation. Even the President’s own Homeland Security Secretary believes it won’t work (see: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/25/us/politics/homeland-security-john-kelly-border-wall.html?_r=0); also a photo source)The Russians tried a wall in Berlin and we know how that worked out(See: http://history.howstuffworks.com/past-events/berlin-wall.htm; and their picture at right).Selling the “American Brand” or influential people around the world that democracy and constitutional freedoms are the best sort of government is hard sufficient. When you tell some ‘you are not welcome’, you are not only denigrating the ideals, but also adage “I despise you!”. While the administration maintains the travel ban is not a ban hostile to Muslims, the world thinks differently, resulting in fantastic danger for people who have helped us in Iraq and Afghanistan. I’m talking in this area interpreters in particular. These native citizens literally place their lives on the line to help US and Coalition troops. By invoking such a draconian go, we are turning our backs on the very people responsible for our success.TortureThe third way President Trump is making our job harder is by espousing the believe that torture is really a productive intelligence technique. (See: http://www.factcheck.org/2017/01/trump-on-torture-again/)It appears that I am in excellent company. Even James “Mad Dog” Mattis, Secretary of Defense opposes the ban. (see: http://thehill.com/policy/defense/316356-mattis-ruins-different-to-torture-pentagon-says; which is another photo source)I’ve been an analyst of one kind or another – intelligence, market research or legal analyst for most of my adult life, which has been a sweet long time so far. I’ve also taken more than a couple of sales training courses. I am firmly persuaded that torture is not an effective interrogation technique. Even if that repulsive method was helpful, the amount of information gained would in no way come close to the harm in terms of how many new terrorists have been recruited.I know that the President believes in what he is doing, and strangely sufficient for a politician, really subsequent through with campaign promises. I just wish he would have looked at the larger picture before acting.

We were also found by phrases: Read more

Abandoning Terps – History Sadly Repeating Itself

Abandoning Terps – History Sadly Repeating Itself The NY Times amongst others published articles “Afghan Interpreters for the US are Left Stranded and at Risk”. (See http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/15/world/asia/american-visa-delays-place-safety-out-of-afghan-interpreters-get to.html?ref=todayspaperwhich is also the photo source). The essence of the article is that the pull out of US forces from Afghanistan will leave many who have helped the US hard work in deadly peril.As MISO professionals we are keenly aware of the need to work through people who be with you the AO, its people and their culture. Often the best and most credible hires are local nationals who have make the perilous choice to work for the US or coalition forces. They are paid well by local standards as long as they serve. They also earn the enmity of single-minded foes like the Taliban, who, unlike the US forces, will remain in Afghanistan for years to come.Afghanistan is by no means the first house where this has happened. Interpreters are often overlooked as the eagerness of withdrawal embraces those who are on their way home. Many of these valued employees seek to enter the US as a way to not only bolster their security, but perhaps find a new and surpass life for them and their families.Regrettably this is a small percentage of the valued workforce. Advances in machine translation and ‘reachback’ help may help in some instances, but the need for a trusted interpreter who can not only be the eyes and ears of the MISO force, but who can add credibility to our messages is a vital element for success. We owe it to our valued allies to reckon in this area their prospect before they sacrifice their present.

We were also found by phrases: Read more

Court Orders FBI to Release Withheld Information

As often happens, the Centralized Bureau of Investigation invoked national security a few years ago to justify withholding certain information from a Freedom of Information Act requester named Deirdre McKiernan Hetzler.
But as rarely happens, a court last month critically assessed the FBI national security claim and ordered the Bureau to release some of the withheld information.
Ms. Hetzler, acting pro se (i.e. lacking an attorney), had requested records concerning her deceased father, who had once been the subject of an FBI investigation.  The FBI provided her with some records but withheld others, stating that they remained classified in order to protect an intelligence activity.
But after reviewing the withheld records in camera, Judge Michael A. Telesca of the Western District of New York single-minded that some of the information contained in them was not exempt from disclosure under FOIA.  The FBI had been withholding it under the FOIA’s national security exemption even though it was really unclassified or declassified.
“The Court is not persuaded that Defendants [the FBI and the Justice Department] have carried their burden of showing that disclosure of this information could cause serious hurt to national security,” Judge Telesca wrote in a September 6, 2012 opinion.  He therefore ordered the FBI to reprocess the request and to release the information to Ms. Hetzler as specified in his ruling.
The Court here acted as a check on the normally unconstrained official tendency to classify and withhold information.  That is what judicial assess is supposed to do, though it doesn’t take house very often.
Earlier this year, Judge Richard W. Roberts of the DC District ordered the U.S. Trade Representative to release a classified document to the Center for Global Environmental Law (CIEL) because he found that the document was not properly classified.
The USTR “disastrous to provide a plausible or logical explanation of why disclosure of [the document] reasonably could be probable to hurt United States foreign relations,” he wrote in his opinion ordering release.
The government has appealed that ruling.  Judge Roberts “inappropriately second-guessed the Executive’s expertise in the uniquely insightful area of foreign relations,” the government said in its September 17 appeals concise.
No, on the contrary, CIEL responded in its own concise to the appeals court this week, Judge Roberts did exactly what the FOIA requires.
“A district court reviewing [an agency claim that a document is classified and exempt from disclosure] must give substantial weight to the agency’s explanations, but must not simply acquiesce in the agency’s determination,” CIEL attorneys wrote.
“Congress explicitly ‘stressed the need for an objective, independent judicial determination, and insisted that judges could be trusted to approach the national security determinations with common sense, and lacking jeopardy to national security’,” they wrote, citing prior FOIA case law.
The document that is being contested in this case is a one-page memorandum that presents the US government’s legal interpretation of the phrase “in like circumstances.”
The government says that because the document was mutual confidentially with other governments as part of a (now-concluded) free trade negotiation, its involuntary disclosure would undermine the confidentiality of diplomatic negotiations.
Judge Roberts said this argument was not compelling “since the United States would be revealing its own position only” and would not be disclosing foreign government information that had been provided in confidence.
To be sure, “There is no expectation that a government is required to keep its own negotiating positions confidential from its own citizens,” said former US trade speaker Daniel Magraw in a statement cited by CIEL.
CIEL said that “Under USTR’s interpretation, USTR could withhold any document — even a document whose release would if not cause absolutely no harm — simply by entering into a confidentiality arrangement and arguing that the breach of that arrangement would undermine trust and cause hurt to US foreign relations; the withholding would be insulated from judicial assess.”
“Fortunately, FOIA limits what an agency can make confidential,” CIEL wrote in its appeals concise.
A date for oral argument before the DC Circuit Court of Appeals has not yet been set.

We were also found by phrases: Read more