Saturday, August 21, 2004


COUNTERING TERRORISM: THE ISRAELI RESPONSE TO THE 1972 MUNICH OLYMPIC MASSACRE AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF INDEPENDENT COVERT ACTION TEAMS. Thesis examining the methodology of the covert action teams authorized by Prime Minister Golda Meir to find and assassinate those individuals responsible for the attack on the Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympic games in September 1972. Specifically, the study addresses whether the operational and tactical methods utilized in this counterterrorist effort were successful relative to the original operational objectives.

From the site:

Thesis: The purpose of this study is to examine the methodology of the covert action teams authorized by Prime Minister Golda Meir to find and assassinate those individuals responsible for the attack on the Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympic games in September 1972. Specifically, the study addresses whether the operational and tactical methods utilized in this counterterrorist effort were successful relative to the original operational objectives.

Background: In 1972, the Israeli Mossad initiated one of the most ambitious covert counterterrorist campaigns in history. Golda Meir and the Israeli cabinet's top secret 'Committee-X' devised a campaign in retaliation for the massacre of eleven Israeli's during the Munich Olympic games. Meir tasked the committee with devising an appropriate response to the Munich massacre. The panel concluded that the most effective response was to authorize the assassination of any Black September terrorists involved in the Munich incident. The Mossad assumed the responsibility for implementing the panel's directive. To accomplish the directive, the Mossad developed several assassination teams, each with specific mission parameters and methods of operation. The Mossad headquarters element developed one team utilizing staff operations officers supported by recruited assets of regional stations and managed through standard Mossad headquarters' procedures. A second unit recruited staff officers and highly trained specialists and set them outside the arm and control of the government. The theory was to support this team financially through covert mechanisms and let them operate with complete anonymity outside the government structure. The assassination team deployed through normal channels failed to complete their mission and publicly exposed the entire operation. The second team which operated with full decentralized authority and freedom of movement achieved significant success in fulfilling their operational objectives and never compromised the operation.

Recommendations: Although there are inherent differences between Israeli and U.S. policies, specifically those addressing the use of assassination as a political tool, important lessons may be gleaned from this study for policy makers. Planners of sensitive covert operations must have a firm understanding of bureaucratic processes. Government bureaucracies inherently limit the degree of operational success by the nature of their systems. Bureaucracies cannot move effectively beyond a predetermined operational tempo, and impose fatal restraints regarding operational tradecraft and tactics. Successful covert operations demand a flexible capability with full decentralized authority enabling officers to initiate actions as circumstances dictate, enhancing the operational success-failure ratio. When operational teams incorporate decentralized authority in concert with good tradecraft and tactical techniques, success is virtually assured. Government agencies are capable of conducting decentralized, sensitive operations with reasonable operational control and an expectation of success.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Süleyman the Magnificent

Süleyman the Magnificent.

From the site:

Suleyman the Magnificent is a figure that left his mark on Ottoman history. His enigmatic personality, the splendid monuments set up during his reign, and the records of his contemporary historians and observers have always arousen the curiosity of people.

During the reign of Suleyman the Magnificent, the Ottoman Empire experienced its golden age and ranked foremost among world powers in cultural and social fields as well as militarily and politically. A look into that period helps us appreciate the historical heritage and the multi-dimensional cultural riches of the Ottomans that to a great extent determined also the outlook of modern Turkey.

A rich collection of precious manuscripts, pictures, jewellery, kilims, ceramics, maps, documents and poems from Suleyman's reign exhibited in the US ten years ago was met with great interest and showed that the world can gain a lot from sharing the historical heritage and multidimensional riches of the Ottomans. This was only one of the initiatives undertaken by the Turkish government to promote the valuable Ottoman heritage abroad. Suleyman the Magnificient, Sultan of Sultans, conqueror of three continents, who shook the world of the 16th century as he raised the Ottoman Empire to the height of its glory is a personality attracting worldwide interest.

Many articles and books on Suleyman the Magnificent have been published worldwide. In fact, Suleyman's popularity and international interest in his success is not something new.

"I know no State which is happier than this one," reported the Venetian ambassador in 1525; "it is furnished with all God's gifts. It controls war and peace; it is rich in gold, in people, in ships, and in obedience; no State can be compared with it. May God long preserve the most just of all Emperors."

Suleyman ruled for a remarkably long reign of 46 years. His life was filled with triumphs, but also darkened with tragedy. Known to Europeans as the Magnificent and to his subjects as the "Lawgiver", he was a brilliant military strategist and an acclaimed legislator. It is said that the laws made by him form the basis for many western ones. Aptly named after the biblical Solomon, Suleyman showed wisdom as a lawgiver - not in the sense of an innovator, but as a regulator and restorer of balance.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

History of Aruba

History of Aruba. This is a short history of Aruba.

From the site:

Aruba's first inhabitants were the Caquetios Indians from the Arawak tribe. Fragments of the earliest known Indian settlements date back to about 1000 A.D. Spanish explorer Alonso de Ojeda is regarded as the first European to arrive in about 1499. In 1636 Aruba was acquired by the Dutch and remained under their control for nearly two centuries. In 1805, during the Napoleonic wars, the English briefly took control over the island, but it was returned to Dutch control in 1816. A 19th-century gold rush was followed by prosperity brought on by the opening in 1924 of an oil refinery. The last decades of the 20th century saw a boom in the tourism industry. In 1986 Aruba seceded from the Netherlands Antilles and became a separate, autonomous member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Movement toward full independence was halted at Aruba's prerogative in 1990.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Teaching about China

Teaching about China. This is an essay on teaching about China. It includes some information on Chinese history. The essay is a bit dated but still good.

From the site:

Contributing to the misunderstanding of China is a condition of political ambiguity, with the existence of the two Chinese republics (the mainland Peoples' Republic of China or PRC, and the Republic of China or ROC, on Taiwan) and Hong Kong, a British colony that will revert to the PRC on July 1, 1997. The PRC was founded in 1949 by the victorious Chinese Communist Party. The defeated Nationalist (Kuomintang) forces withdrew to the island of Taiwan, operating the ROC government there.

The United Nations voted to admit the PRC as the sole representative of China in 1971, and in 1979 the United States recognized the PRC. Despite the severing of diplomatic relations in 1979, the United States and Taiwan maintain extensive economic ties. Both Chinese republics consider Taiwan to be a part of one temporarily divided China. A burgeoning indirect trade exists between the two via Hong Kong; however, reunification is not expected in the near future.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Chester A. Arthur

Chester A. Arthur This is a biography of American President Chester Arthur.

From the site:

Chester Alan Arthur ( October 5 , 1830 – November 18 , 1886) was the twentieth Vice President ( 1881 ), and the twenty-first ( 1881 - 1885 ) President of the United States .

Arthur became President when James Garfield was assassinated. Before being chosen as Vice President, he had been collector of customs for the port of New York . As such, he was assumed to be benefiting from bribes and corruption. Hence many were surprised when he became an advocate of civil service reform and presided over the passage of the Pendleton Act .

Arthur was born in Fairfield, Franklin County, Vermont ¹ on October 5 , 1829 . He attended the public schools and was graduated from Union College , Schenectady, New York , in 1848 . He became principal of an academy in North Pownal, Vt. in 1851 . He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1854 , and commenced practice in New York City . He took an active part in the reorganization of the State militia.

During the Civil War , Arthur served as acting quartermaster general of the State in 1861 . He was later commissioned as inspector general, and appointed quartermaster general with the rank of brigadier general, and served until 1862 . He resumed the practice of law in New York City, and was appointed by President Ulysses Grant as collector of the port of New York 1871 - 1878 .

Honorable in his personal life and his public career, Arthur nevertheless was a firm believer in the spoils system when it was coming under vehement attack from reformers. He insisted upon honest administration of the Customs House, but staffed it with more employees than it needed, retaining them for their merit as party workers rather than as Government officials.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Wikinfo | Archaeology

Wikinfo | Archaeology This si the Wikinfo article on archaeology. It is a good starting spot when looking for information on archaeology related topics.

From the site:

Archaeology (or archeology) is the study of human cultures through the analysis of material remains (such as Architecture, Artifacts, biofacts, the human body, Landscapes). Archaeology is the primary means for reconstructing the human past when there is no written record (generally, more than 5,000 years ago), when the written record is incomplete, or when the written record is biased.

The material remains of human activity often have aesthetic, political, and monetary value. Consequently, many people identify archaeology with the collection of political or economic treasures. This is promulgated, for example, in popular movies dealing with the exploits of fictional archaeologists, e.g. Indiana Jones or the archaeologists in the recent film The Mummy and those in the book King Solomon's Mines. (For more, see this list of movies that include archaeologists or archaeology in the plot.) It is also promulgated by some high profile amateur archaeologists, including Graham Hancock searching for the Ark of the Covenant (as Indiana did) or Erich Von Daniken (author of "Chariot of the Gods"), but other archaeologists refer to these endeavors as pseudoarchaeology.

Archaeology is a much broader field than suggested by these common conceptions. For example, ethnoarcheologists contribute to the study of contemporary societies. One branch of archaeology that is not usually associated with academic archaeologists is Cultural Resources Management (CRM). Among the goals of CRM are the identification, preservation, and maintenance of cultural sites on public and private lands, and the removal of culturally valuable materials from areas where they would otherwise be destroyed (such as construction sites or dam-flooded areas). CRM is a thriving entity, especially in the United States and Europe where archaeologists from private companies and all levels of government engage in the practice of their discipline. In the United States, CRM archaeology has been a growing concern since the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and most of the archaeology done in that country today proceeds from either direct or related requirements of that measure. In the United States, the vast majority of taxpayers, scholars, and politicians believe that CRM has helped to preserve much of that nation's history and prehistory that would have otherwise been lost in the expansion of cities, dams, and highways.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

History of Andorra

History of Andorra This is an essay which recounts the history of Andorra.

From the site:

Andorra is the last independent survivor of the March states, a number of buffer states created by Charlemagne to keep the Muslim Moors from advancing into Christian France. Tradition holds that Charlemagne granted a charter to the Andorran people in return for their fighting the Moors. In the 800s, Charlemagne's grandson, Charles the Bald, named the Count of Urgell Overlord of Andorra. A descendant of the Count later gave the lands to the diocese headed by Bishop of Seu d'Urgell.

In the 11th century, fearing military action by neighboring lords, the bishop placed himself under the protection of the Lord of Caboet, a Spanish nobleman. Later, the Count of Foix, a French noble, became heir to Lord Caboet through marriage, and a dispute arose between the French Count and the Spanish bishop over Andorra.

In 1278, the conflict was resolved by the signing of a pareage, a feudal institution recognizing the principle of equality of rights shared by two rulers. This pareage provided that Andorra's sovereignty would be shared between the Count of Foix and the Bishop of Seu d'Urgell of Spain. The pareage gave the small state its territory and political form.