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Mens Rea — Why Now?
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Mens Rea

That’s a Latin legal term that is normally translated as “culpable mental state” and is indicated in criminal law by words like “intentionally”, “knowingly”, “negligently”, etc. It is part of the definition of any particular crime.

There was a nasty murder case in LA when I was in Southern California that created a firestorm of protests when the California Supreme Court overturned the conviction for the very basic reason that the district attorney hadn’t bothered to enter into evidence any of the mountain of facts that he had concerning the defendant’s “culpable mental state”. To prove murder you have to show that the defendant “intended” to kill the victim.

You can certainly prove that Joseph Stack intended to kill himself, but it would be a bit dicey to prove that he either “intended” to kill anyone else, although it was an obvious possibility, or to terrorize anyone outside of the IRS. It is a very technical point, but it matters in the law.

Mr. Stack was being targeted by the IRS, as are all independent contractors. That was the purpose of the 1986 law. It was sold as a “revenue measure”, because “everyone knows” that independent contractors are noteworthy tax evaders. The New York Times actually committed flagrant journalism and researched the law and the reasons for passing it.

At the end of the article you will note that the Obama administration subscribes to the “tax evader” view of independent contractors and expects to squeeze $7 billion out of them in 10 years. You aren’t being paranoid when the IRS really is out to get you because of what you do for a living.

Mr. Stack had another problem – grey hair. After you hit 50 in IT you are almost unemployable in the field. Independent contracting is almost the only option you have. They didn’t tell you that when you were in school. There was no mention that you would spend the last fifteen or so years of your working life flipping burgers or driving a taxi.

Most of the coverage has been like Calvin Johnson, a University of Texas law professor, who thinks the only reason anyone would object to the law is because they want to evade taxes. Mr. Johnson knows nothing about the field, and has no idea how this law affects your ability to win a contract with a large corporation. If they have to set up an separate account with the IRS to accept your bid, they think you have tax problems, and don’t want to deal with you, no matter how good your bid is.

Stack snapped when it turned out that his new wife had unreported income, and the IRS was coming after him again. The tax code is just as “fair and balanced” as Fox News. If you are in certain professions or businesses, and especially if you are a small business person, they can make your life a living hell, even when you don’t owe anything. If you ever screw up, they are like a bad hot dog and keep returning.


1 Steve Bates { 02.21.10 at 11:10 pm }

Or even if you don’t screw up. About three years ago I received a letter from the IRS telling me that I should either pay them over $10k more, or justify why I should not… guilty until proven innocent, of course. I checked a few figures on my return (it was at the time year-before-last’s return, btw) and noted that the amount they accused me of underreporting happened to be an exact match for the total amount I earned in one of my two businesses, for which I had of course dutifully submitted separate Schedule C’s as my accountant instructed. Right… they had taken all the 1099s they had received from clients in both businesses (the other was music), thumbed through my return, stopped at the first Schedule C they came to, and flew off the handle accusing me of nonpayment.

I confirmed all this with my accountant and hired him to send the required in-your-face letter, so the episode cost me $100 paid to my accountant. About 3 months later, I received a correction from the IRS, stating that I owed $0 beyond what I’d already paid. No apology; no admission of a mistake on their part. Lovely people, those.

2 Bryan { 02.21.10 at 11:33 pm }

I have a family member who gets audited all the time because of his free-lancing. He always gets more money back after the audits, but that is eaten up by his time, and the cost of accounting. He got a break when they audited him too often, and his accountant filed a protest.

I had a client who bought a business, and apparently at some point the previous owner got into trouble with the IRS. Periodically the IRS would freeze her accounts until she took in the paperwork showing that the matter had been resolved. Fortunately the previous owner left her copies of the necessary documents, because it had already had them do it to him, even though the matter had been settled.

The real pain was getting penalized for forgetting to send in a zero sales tax report, i.e. I hadn’t actually used the tax license, and hadn’t actually sold anything taxable, but I was dinged for not filing the report. That was California. In Florida, a business is actually compensated minimally for collecting taxes, but not California.

The system is designed to screw over small business people, and you have to go to a Congresscritter to get a definitive answer on questions. And then you have to save the correspondence, because they may challenge their answer when you file.

I have overpaid for years because I don’t want to deal with them. I don’t take legitimate deductions because they are too much aggravation to document.

On the other hand, if you are a banker and forget to pay your FICA/SE taxes for a few years, you can still become a Secretary of the Treasury. Funny how that works. 😈

3 Kryten42 { 02.22.10 at 7:44 am }

It’s just as bad here with the ATO (Australian Tax Office). Here’s a true story.

A dear friend of mine of many years is a very talented lady. She started her own range of designer bows for gift wrapping and couldn’t make enough to satisfy demand. Even so, she was barely making a profit after overheads. Someone mentioned that her designer bows could be considered *crafts* because they were hand made from basic materiel and if so, she was eligible for a tax break. She contacted the ATO and described her situation and the person she spoke to said that she wouldn’t have to pay tax on the first 10k of each type of bow she made. She had about 20 bows in her range. Good news she thought. 🙂 She hired staff and trained them and the business grew quite well. She was advised to create a limited liability company and did so. Some years later, the ATO demanded several hundred k $ in unpaid taxes. Turned out, the ruling she got was inaccurate, and she originally didn’t have to pay tax on the first 10k bows *in total*, not per design, and when she stopped being an *artist *(sole trader) and became a Ltd. company, she lost that benefit also. Nobody told her at any time. The ATO didn’t care of course, and demanded the money. They forced here to declare bankruptcy, but they did allow her to trade out over the next decade and pay the taxes. She was late middle age by this time and she worked hard but made barely enough to live after paying back the tax. She finally got an accountant that knew how it all worked and they discovered that the ATO had overcharged her by $29k. The ATO refused to acknowledge it, and things happened over the next few years. Eventually, after legal threats, the ATO agreed to pay back the amount. A week later, she had mysteriously received $290k into her bank account! She recieved advice that she should transfer the money to a long term account and accumulate interest and she could use the interest, but not to touch the *capital*. Almost a year later, the ATO contacted her and asked if she had received a payment. Then they asked how much… She said “Don’t you know?” And a game of cat-and-mouse ensued. 🙂 The ATO sent her a very threatening letter demanding the money, and any and all interest AND a fine! She worked next to a law firm, and they laughed so hard they had tears (she said) and the said they would take the case pro-bono to sue teh ATO for gross incompetence and negligence. 🙂 It got to court (and my friend was told her best chance was to represent herself for various reasons, so she did). The called her case and then called for the ATO representative to appear… crickets! They called again… and then the Judge had the clerk phone the ATO. Nobody knew anything. The judge looked down at my friend sitting there alone and looking apprehensive and nervous (of course. BTW, I should mention she’d been a trained stage actress and Opera singer since a young age) 😉 He shook his head and announced that the case was dismissed in her favor. She asked a Clerk what happened… and he said “You won. You proved the ATO are incompetent. They didn’t even show up for their own court case.” It took some 15 years to get to that point. Do you know… even then the ATO tried to get the interest from her?? *sigh* Of course, they didn’t. Anyway, I tell everyone never to believe anything the ATO says! If it’s not in writing, on the correct stationary and signed by someone authorized to do so… it’s worthless! (BTW. Apparently the reason the ATO didn’t attend the court hearing was because… they got the date wrong). 😆

The way the stop small contractors here isn’t necessarily via the tax system (though the GST is a killer). Here it’s insurance also. In IT, to get any Gov or large IT contract, you must have a minimum of $10mill in professional indemnity insurance, or above the value of the project. To get $10mill costs almost $5k up front, and realistically, you need $20mill to have a shot. If you own a limited liability company, then the company and the contractor’s (all of the ones involved in the project in any way) must have PI insurance. Even if the contract is worth $100k, you have to have $10mill cover. So, small contracts are not worth it, and you have almost no chance of pulling a big one against the ‘Big 7’ (well, 6 now that Andersen have bitten the dust! Now… if KPMG would just die… Contractors everywhere would rejoice!) 🙂

4 Bryan { 02.22.10 at 12:54 pm }

The last time it was audited, 2 out of three responses on tax questions via the IRS hotline were wrong.

If you’re an independent contractor in the US you need to post a performance bond, as well as having PI [we call it malpractice insurance]. Corporations are assumed to have those in place and aren’t required to show proof with their bids. In addition to the cost of the bond and insurance, there is a charge to provide the stupid documents required to meet the bid specifications.

Given that major corporations rarely pay in less than 90 days [add 90 days for a government contract] you need a lot of cash up front to even consider the bid, and the pay outs vary from contract to contract.

Then you have the joys associated with the difference in accounting methods between you and the client. The client may record the payment in a different month, quarter, or year than you do and prepare their tax documents accordingly, so the timing and amounts they claim to have paid don’t match your accounting of when the payments are received, i.e. they claim they “spent” the money in December of one year, but you didn’t receive it until February of the following year. Neither transaction is incorrect as they comply with the approved accounting methods used by the parties involved, but you need a tax accountant to explain it in IRS-speak at the audit.

You get to argue it out in a real court. In the US you get “tax court” in which the defendant is guilty unless there is overwhelming evidence of innocence. In the US, the IRS would have just frozen all of her assets by issuing a letter to the banks, and she would have had to fight to get her money back [again, guilty until proven innocent].

5 Badtux { 02.23.10 at 6:02 pm }

Oh come on, Bryan. You’re abiding by quaint old notions like, “innocent until proven guilty”, that simply don’t apply in today’s Amurka where you’re guilty until proven innocent. Has a court declared Mr. Stack innocent of murder or innocent of terrorism? No? Then he’s guilty!

Oh, I know all about that whole notion of “rule of law” and stuff, but that’s so… 20th century. This is the 21st century. Get with the times, bay-bee!

– Badtux the Snarky Penguin
.-= last blog ..A question =-.

6 Bryan { 02.23.10 at 9:10 pm }

Actually, on many occasions I have had people argue that being found “not guilty” is not the same as being “innocent”, as the “police had a reason for arresting him” and he just got off on a “technicality”.

As one of my old sergeants used to say “if they made attempted suicide a capital offense, everyone would be happy.”

It really is a revelation when people find out that all of that stuff they have been seeing since Raymond Burr played Perry Mason on TV doesn’t apply in tax court.

I guess I’ll find out up close and personal when they send the IRS after me for refusing to deal with health insurance companies. That will really help the IRS’s image 😈

7 Kryten42 { 02.23.10 at 10:37 pm }

Attempted suicide is a *capitol offense* if you are a Christian… 😉 amongst all the other things 90+% of Christians are not *suposed* to do, but do anyway. 😛

One of the axiom’s I was introduced to in the 80’s was “Everyone’s guilty of something. Your job is to find out who, what, when, where.” (that was after discussing a *hypothetical* scenario, during one of the many lectures I was forced to endure, relating to putting pressure on *persons of interest*).

Pretty much everyone can be arrested for something if the authorities so desire. The system (any system) is not designed for *Justice*. That’s a quaint illusion for mass consumption.

8 Kryten42 { 02.23.10 at 11:07 pm }

Here ya go…. Cop’s will find any excuse to get doughnuts! 😛 😆

Any reason is a good reason to get free doughnuts!Anything for free doughnuts!


(It doesn’t *really* have anything to do with this thread… I just found it looking for something else and figured it was kinda worth posting). 😉

9 Bryan { 02.24.10 at 12:21 am }

The reality is that doughnut shops are the only places open all night in most jurisdictions and there are enough of them that you don’t have to leave your patrol area to find a place to write reports, which has become the real goal of modern policing – filling out paperwork.

OTOH, there are so many laws, that if the system isn’t periodically purged, as New York State does occasionally, it is impossible to live in the US without breaking some kind of law every day.

The truly weird thing is that many of those who claim to want the government out of their lives move into gated communities that have rules that would bother the Gestapo. Things like no bumper stickers on your car, and no commercial advertising of any kind.

People are very weird.

BTW, Dunkin Donuts makes an OK cup of coffee, uses real half&half, and the original doughnut that was designed for dunking is good.

10 Kryten42 { 02.24.10 at 1:50 am }

LOL People are *very* weird… and amazingly stupid! And to prove the point, I give you…

Darwin Award Nominees. And the Winners are…

Actually, I have had a coffee at DD… and it wasn’t too bad! And, as much as I really hate to admit it… McD’s make a really good coffee (the McCafe’s I mean, not the regular McD’s).

I thought you might get a chuckle out of the DD pic. I thought it was good timing finding it just after I posted a comment. 🙂 I was looking for some funny pics to test out my new image gallery/slide show code for the LM site. I needed to be able to automatically size & watermark posted images, and I tried several available, but they either don’t do what I want, or are too big or hard to use or can’t easily be made to work with Joomla. So… I’m doing my own (plus, most of the ones now require browsers to support the latest AJAX, and even FF has trouble! I’m using good ol’ JS and JSSP (JavaScript Server Pages)! Everything even back to IE5 supports that). 🙂 Score one for ‘old skool’ hackers! 😆

11 Bryan { 02.24.10 at 12:44 pm }

The gene pool needs more chlorine.

Yes, the old hand coding is the only way of ensuring compatibility, as every new and wonderful advance is web design usually only works with the browser the coder was using at the time. I’ve had to discard a number of neat widgets I’ve picked up while wasting time between compiles because the next browser fix makes things go away. It’s amazing the number of people who waste their time building things that are dependent on other people’s coding errors. Calling them “unsupported features” doesn’t make them less of a bug.

12 Kryten42 { 02.24.10 at 8:03 pm }

LOL Definitely needs more chlorine!

Of course, hand coding these days isn’t the same as it was 20 or so years ago. 🙂 Lot more like using lego now. 🙂 Lot’s of open source libraries and modules available, and thanks to the Internet, easily available. For example, I’m using a module called jsCropperUI, which in turn uses two other pieces of code (Prototype JavaScript framework and script.aculo.us). So, what would probably have taken me at least a Month + testing debugging etc, has taken me a few days. And all three have a large support community and have been refined over the years and are well documented. I’d rather give them a donation than reinvent the wheel, and they probably have done a better job than I would have anyway. 🙂

One of the problems of course is, sometimes we have *too much* choice these days! 😀 But, that’s not a bad problem to, all things considered. 😉

BTW, I *really* don’t like Joomla! But I am sadly committed for this project now. One of my major beefs is that it it tied from the core to MySQL and uses proprietary MySQL statements and *features* instead of using standard SQL and interfacing to MySQL via some API layer. It also has some stupid and easily fixable bugs that have been there since it was split from the original Mambo project years ago! It’s suposed to be a CMS (Content Management System) firstly, and it is if you want to do things *their way* because for the most part, it’s very inflexible. It’s really a framework, because you need several components, modules etc to make it really workable, and that increases complexity. Even then, com’s & mod’s don’t get around the *core* inflexible and rigid ways of doing tings, the best you can do is work around them. I’d really prefer to use PostgreSQL, especially now that Oracle has taken over Sun and teh MySQL project (and you KNOW that can’t be good!) Not to mention that Oracle now essentially *own’s* JAVA and the other Open Source products created or owned by Sun. *sigh* That was very sad day for developers and open standards generally. I don’t trust Larry Ellison an inch more than I trust The Dweeb! Ellison comes from a broken childhood raised in Chicago. Ellison once commented years ago that The Dweeb didn’t have the *right* to be a billionaire! (I have to admin, I do agree with that! But not for Ellison’s reasons! It’s a bit of the pot calling the kettle black.):lol: 🙂

Anyway… back to coding! (I just had my lunch break while typing this). 😉

13 Badtux { 02.24.10 at 8:26 pm }

It is non-trivial to switch between MySQL and PostGreSQL. They have inherently incompatible ways in which they look at the world. I use Python which has a DB-API specification for database interface modules which is supposed to hide the differences between databases (for example, DB-API implements “pseudo-cursors” for MySQL to hide the fact that MySQL doesn’t have real cursors), and it doesn’t — it was a major effort switching from MySQL to SQLITE when it turned out my project didn’t need a full-fledged SQL server, and both are DB-API-compliant SQL modules.

As for web development frameworks, I wrote one in Java back in around 2002 or so, along with a co-worker, for a project we were writing then. The product got Product of the Year award at some trade show or another when we were done :). I have since looked at a variety of “canned” frameworks and have not liked any of them. Right now I’m more interested in Python frameworks, but the Python frameworks I’ve looked at try to make things “easy” by themselves deciding what your SQL schema and queries are going to look like based on the form data you enter. I don’t like that because schema design is half the battle, once you know what data you’re going to be operating upon, the question of program flow virtually falls out of that because then you know what data you have to input and what processing you need to do to the stored data to get desired reports out of the system. Designing the screens, then having the screens design the schema, seems ass-backwards to me. But I’m just a Neanderthal, I guess. Or a penguin. Whatevah ;).

– Badtux the Geeky Penguin
.-= last blog ..The incredibly stupid (or dishonest) Robert J. Barro =-.

14 Kryten42 { 02.24.10 at 9:53 pm }

Yup! 🙂 Actually, I do a lot of work with SQLite. 🙂 It’s getting better every day, and it’s still faster and smaller than just about anything else out there. If I *really* have to use an RDBMS, I generally prefer PostgreSQL, if for no other reason than it’s much more standards complaint, and has a developer community that actually *listens* to developers.

I started using Python about 6 years ago, but haven’t had a chance to get back into it over the past couple years. I even own a few Python books. I did some work with mysql-Python (MySQL for Python) way back when (it was a Sourceforge project, dunno if it’s still active)… Ahhh well, there ya go! Has it’s own blog now! 😆 (thanks Google!) 😉 Wonder if Andy would remember me? I used to nag him constantly when I was into heavy hacking back then. 😀


I managed to d/l Python 3.0.1 a while ago, but it’s never been installed. And a friend introduced me to a multi-platform Python IDE called WingIDE (I think). I also got curious about and interested in exploring Jython and Django (because I have to use Java a lot, but find some of the syntax and dev tools difficult), but haven’t had the time (I came across it when looking for some visual scripting API’s). Prototyping is easier in Python than Java for eg. 🙂

…because schema design is half the battle.

Yup! Def agree with that! And it seems to me that these days, a lot of the environments and frameworks etc I see have it all ass-backwards! Heck… I never even see anyone doing basic E-R diagrams when they start DB design! I always do the CASE designs first, and refer to them often. Amazing how much simpler it makes the coding. 🙂 I even still use flowcharts! Talk about neanderthal! 😆

My fave RDBMS in the late 80’s – early 90’s was Sybase. I was soooo annoyed when they went on a spending spree and went merger-crazy and lost sight of their core development of Sybase and it fell by the wayside (and allowed Oracle to gain dominance!) But I hear they are trying to regain their market now… took them long enough!!

One of the things that really bugged me about Ellison, and shows the real power of *MONEY* above all else was when he got done for insider trading, and was allowed off with barely a slap! In Re Oracle Corp. Derivative Litigation (824 A.2d 917 (2003))

In order to settle an insider trading lawsuit arising from Ellison’s selling nearly $1 billion of Oracle stock, he was allowed to donate $100 million to his own charitable foundation without admitting wrongdoing. A California judge refused to allow Oracle to pay Ellison’s legal fees of $24 million. Ellison’s lawyer had argued that were Ellison to pay those fees, it could be construed as an admission of guilt. Ellison’s charitable donations to Stanford University were an issue in that case on the independence of two Stanford professors who evaluated the merits of the case for Oracle.

Talk about stacking the deck! If it were one of us… we’d still be in prison.

15 hipparchia { 02.24.10 at 11:41 pm }

The reality is that doughnut shops are the only places open all night in most jurisdictions and there are enough of them that you don’t have to leave your patrol area to find a place to write reports, which has become the real goal of modern policing – filling out paperwork.

one of the joys of having a big black dog, or even a medium-sized one, is that you can walk just about anywhere at any time. if i stay up half the night blogging, i think nothing of taking a nice walk through the neighborhood before turning in for the night, but it freaked me out the first few times i saw police cruisers in the local park, but apparently this is another popular spot for filling out paperwork. at least, i hope the officers haven’t been lying to me when i ask them if there’s a problem.

16 Bryan { 02.24.10 at 11:52 pm }

We don’t have anything but convenience stores open at night over here, so they park under the lights from the store down the block to do their paperwork and drink their coffee from a thermos. Most cops won’t stoop so low as to drink Tom Thumb coffee.

17 hipparchia { 02.25.10 at 12:11 am }

that explains it. my neighborhood has few convenience stores and not all of them stay open all night, but a few of the lights at the park do stay on.

18 Bryan { 02.25.10 at 12:50 am }

The inside lights in patrol vehicles really suck. The light is dim and the wrong color, so you end up with a blinding headache after a couple of hours.

19 Kryten42 { 02.25.10 at 6:27 am }

We have the 7-11 mart’s all over the place here, and while they were originally open from 7AM to 11PM years ago, they are now 24/7. They are usually targets for anyone wanting some quick cash, so they generally give cop’s free coffee and food and let them sit there as long as they like. It’s cheap security, though limited. 🙂

I was laughing at the news that the Mossad got caught out yet again. I think they have now pissed off pretty much all their *friends* (except the USA, who should actually be the most pissed!) 😆

ID thefts link innocent Australians to alleged murder plot by Mossad agents

Thankfully, Rudd isn’t Howard and has threatened to kick the Israeli ambassador and staff out if honest answers are not quickly forthcoming! 🙂

But seriously… WTF were the moronic Mossad even thinking??? Since when do they need 26 assassins to sanction ONE militant?! A…mazing!! No wonder they were caught! Geez… they wrote the bible on this crap we used to train by! They are worse than redneck cowboys now! I am sooooo totally disgusted!

20 Kryten42 { 02.25.10 at 6:38 am }

The elaborate mission to assassinate al-Mabhouh is believed to have stretched back to the middle of last year and involve credit card fraud from the US to Europe to cover financing tracks.

It has been described by Dubai investigators as precision spy work but it was also punctuated by clumsy mistakes and crude spycraft, with operatives caught on CCTV cameras in a lift with their target, at other times changing into fake beards in toilets or donning wigs, and even carrying tennis rackets as part of their disguises.

*SIGH* How the mighty have fallen! Unbelievable. “…precision spy work…” my ass!! I would have sent anyone this clumsy and stupid working for me in the 80’s to the worst hell hole in Afghanistan. I’ve also *heard* that MI6 at least was aware of this before it happened, and that Rudd is asking the UK for some answers also.

21 Bryan { 02.25.10 at 10:16 pm }

Yeah, I was going to post the BBC version last night but was whipped by “real life”, and in grocery shopping and dealing with my Mother’s furnace.

Glad I waited, because the ABC story has some nice snark in it.

What in hell could they do with all of those people? Were they planning a fire-fight in the middle of the city? Did everyone’s brother-in-law want a vacation in Dubai? Were they posing as a glee club or a football side?

Not even the Bulgarians would have involved that many people, and they did some really stupid things in Europe.

The new generation of Israelis is really a bunch of clowns living on their fathers’ reputations. The debacle in Lebanon and now this.

22 Kryten42 { 02.26.10 at 12:38 am }

The new generation of Israelis is really a bunch of clowns living on their fathers’ reputations. The debacle in Lebanon and now this.

Yeah… really!!

I’m sure you know how it worked in the 70’s & 80’s… Back then, all the allied agencies had a fairly close working relationship. Back then, they would have come to us and presented their *rationale* and asked for some *legit* ID’s we would have created and made available if we approved, and usually then we (and other allies) did. Now… I seriously would recommend that we don’t even give them a hearing, and seriously *clean house* (I know for a fact we have at least a few Mossad sleepers here). The USA probably has dozens. 🙂

The Bulgarians were a funny bunch! 😀 We alternately admired and laughed at them! 🙂 When they were good… they were really, REALLY good. And when they were bad… they were downright terrible! 😆

But this surpasses anything the Bulgarians did, if for no other reason than the Mossad are the agency all others are compared against! They *WERE* the benchmark. They are now on a par with ASIO (who I wouldn’t personally trust to guard school kids at a school crossing) !

23 Bryan { 02.26.10 at 1:07 am }

This is becoming an “old guys” thread, but the Cold War kept us on our toes, at the top of our game. You didn’t last long if you weren’t a real professional. There were “the rules” and you followed them or ended up with a black bordered file.

Most of the garbage that the Hedgemony introduced was recommended by Mossad, and we are constantly having to throw Israeli agents into prison. They are a real PITA and need to be slapped down hard.

If the guess about the Dubai station is right, this was a very major blow. This may also make anyone with a Israeli visa in their passport suspect in a lot of countries in the world.

Maybe they can blame it on global warming?

24 Kryten42 { 02.26.10 at 2:29 am }

“There are old fools, and bold fools… but there are no old bold fools”! 😉 😆

Whose old? You mean us wizened and experienced *survivors* of many encounters with ‘bold fools’? 😉 Maybe the young fools out there might learn a thing or two if they ever read this thread (assuming they learn to read, and comprehend). This is, after all, the decade of *hope*, is it not? 😉 😛

I have been spending several hours pondering and researching this event. Time I should have been spending far more productively… but, something really bothers me.

There are three high possibilities…

1. It was the Mossad, and they screwed it up totally.
2. It was someone trying to make it look like it was the Mossad, and that the Mossad are now clueless imbeciles,
3. It was the Mossad, and they planned to make it look like someone else and wanted to leave a trail, and screwed it up totally.

The Mossad I knew would often try to *kill two birds with one stone* and do a dirty deed and have someone else blamed for it. It appears that most of these operatives were fairly young. My suspicion is that this was a fairly recent and inexperienced Mossad cell. I suspect that what the Ex-Mossad covert op Michael Ross said in the BBC article is close to the truth based on my experiences and knowledge.

In my view, there was a gross underestimation of the reaction of the Dubai authorities given the UAE’s close relationship with the West and the rather odious past activities of Mr Mabhouh .

Basically, I think they screwed up due to arrogance and over confidence, and possibly watching too much American TV! 😆 There were so many breaks in trade-craft… It boggles the mind. I would expect this from rank amateurs or arrogant fools on speed!

There are several other aspects of this that annoy or bother me. 🙂

The way they are heading, Israel are going to feel like trapped rats with no friends anywhere. That will be very dangerous.

25 Bryan { 02.26.10 at 9:05 pm }

Based on the level of questionable activity that occurs in Dubai it might be logical to assume that the police are incompetent. That has not been my experience in interesting places. Generally speaking the police act in accordance with the wishes of the rulers, ignoring what the rulers want ignored. The emirs generally are getting a cut from much of what occurs in the Emirates, and part of that cut is for protection. The level of protection they provide requires a lot of expertise and surveillance. The UAE has always been known as a good place to do interesting things involving people who may not be your best friends. There is a lot of encouragement for peaceful transactions, and a lot of readily available desert if someone decides not to behave in a civilized manner.

Dubai couldn’t exist as destination for so many wealthy people if it didn’t have the level of security that such people expect, even if they aren’t conducting business.

Shutting down cctv nets would not have worked the way it would in Europe or the US. I suspect it would be the same sort of response you would see in a casino, i.e. quick and suspicious.

These Israelis are reading and believing their own press releases. They believe they are the best, but haven’t been keeping up with what has been happening since 9/11. There have been a lot of security upgrades, especially in the Arab world, because al Qaeda also threatens the comfortable existence of many Muslim leaders, and they have spent the money to protect themselves.

It is very possible that the only real mistake the actual action team made was being connected to the local team. I’m willing to bet that a member of the action team was seen, possibly innocently, communicating with a local person of interest, and the whole thing unraveled. It’s the little things that screw you up.

26 Kryten42 { 02.26.10 at 10:34 pm }

Yup! We were always warned to take care of the little details, or they would take care of us.

As someone who has spent some time working on ME Security, mostly in the UAE and SA, I know how good it can be. 🙂 The UAE is a place that can appear on the surface to be very modern, but the reality is that they hold dear their ancient traditions, and if you cross a line, you will find yourself in very deep trouble very fast. The unwritten *law* there is that even in this modern World, their ancient tribal laws take precedence. The UAE is the last place I’d mess about in. People forget that the UAE has only been in existence since ’72, and it’s really a very loose affiliation of States. Al Fujayrah in particular holds to the old ways, and an unwary traveler there is likely to end up loosing everything, even their life very easily. 🙂 Dubai may be a *modern* Sate, but only 40 years ago, Dubayy was very much a tribal warring State. 🙂

Seems ignorance is bliss in Israel these days too. Morons.

They were seen more than once with the *local’s*, a serious breach, they were caught on speed camera’s, another breach, they were photographed in several places, breach, they life a trail Daffy Duck could follow, breach… etc, etc..! Incompetence doesn’t even begin to describe this. Mossad must seriously be scraping the bottom of the pond scum.

27 Bryan { 02.26.10 at 11:35 pm }

One of the basic problems is that Israelis no longer learn and study Arabic. They reflexively hate Arabs, and hate is not a good thing when you are trying to understand an enemy as it clouds your judgment and leads to an underestimation of enemy capabilities.

The current Israeli cabinet is so filled with whackos that it is possible that this was a rogue operation, but they made contact with and were helped by the local station, which didn’t seem to be very well informed, so someone in power approved this. How many groups with a grudge against Hamas can afford to have a couple of dozen people live in Dubai? Governments and multinationals are the only groups I can think of. The same for the passports, they are very expensive items if they are any good. They aren’t something you can whip up on your HP printer, even without the chips, which are trivial to produce.

What a mess.

28 Kryten42 { 02.27.10 at 12:06 am }

OH yeah! I forgot for a moment about the passports… The morons were ID’ed because in the ME, when you use the finger-print ID reader, it keeps a copy of your fingerprint ina database! LOL Massive breach!! That’s how they were positively ID’d by the Dubai CoInt people.

I take back what I said… Daffy Duck is way smarter than these idiots.

And yeah… It stinks like some high-powered moron’s Bond fantasy! I can’t believe in all seriousness that was a standard Mossad op, even if they have sunk as low as CIA & ASIO!

29 Bryan { 02.27.10 at 12:58 am }

Maybe we should start watching the Israeli government photo ops and see who comes up missing, or resigns to spend more time with their family. If this wasn’t a Mossad op, they are going to be seeking revenge against whoever did this, because they lost their entire station at a very sensitive location.

With reports that at least two of the people went to Iran, when the Iranians get the IDs more people are in major trouble, and it is probable that another net will be rolled up. This isn’t over.