December 15, 2014

This Does Not Appear to Have Been Completely Out of the Blue

Our prayers go out to the people of Sydney.

Sadly the siege in Sydney has ended in deaths, though people can take some comfort in the fact that it could have been far worse.

The jihadi that terrorized the Sydney Cafe was involved in a sexual assault case in 2002*. He'd also sent hate mail to the families of Australian soldiers killed in action. At the time of his most recent act he was out on bail, having been charged with the murder of his wife. 

I am curious about one thing...

Given that he was in Australia under refugee status, and given the letters and association with assaults, why wasn't his refugee status revoked once he started giving off jihadi vibes years ago? 

This is not a criticism of the Aussies per se, Lord knows we in the USA drop the ball as badly or worse on these things, but it would seem, moving forward, to be a good practice to give this sort of thing a bit better scrutiny, wherever it may come up.

*PJM says there were actually 50 sexual assault charges, though I've found reports of only one.

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October 04, 2014

Suddenly Last Month's Craziness Makes All Too Much Sense

On September 19, Information Dissemination reported on a bizarre attack by Al Qaeda affiliate AQIS that seemed to be an attempt to seize a Pakistani Warship. The stated intent was to use PNS Zulfiquar to launch an attack on the US Navy.

PNS Aslat, which was also an Al Qaeda target.

  Robert Farley has a run-down of how unlikely ( but not impossible) a scenario this would have been. Note though that the attack was carried out with the assistance of several Pakistani Navy officers, so if they had, in fact gotten control of the vessel, the corsairs could,  have conceivably done some mischief in the very, very brief window before the ship would have been sunk. "Mischief" might not even involve leaving harbor (or even the pier) if the general vicinity of a target was already known. The C-102 missiles the ship is armed with have a range of up to 500 kilometers depending on version.  The Long War Journal  has an account of the incident including info from a press release by AQIS and it is claimed that the operation was much more elaborate and involved a large number of Jihadis in uniform. One aspect of the attack was to have crewmen loyal to Al Qaeda take over the ship's main gun and fire rounds at USNS Supply which was scheduled to be doing refueling drills with Zulfiquar

While the 3 inch gun would be unlikely to sink the big ship, fires and explosions on a combination Tanker/ Ammunition ship have great potential to get out of hand. The fact that USNS Supply is one of only 4 of the big AOEs left would have made any damage to the ship a severe blow to the Navy's ability to supply ships on far flung stations. 

This is quite disturbing of course, but the large number of double agents involved is even more troubling. 

Pakistani nukes have always been a source of worry, but this level of infiltration is terrifying. This is even more true in light of recent developments in Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. Pakistan is developing tactical nukes and claims to have developed warheads small enough for that task. Significantly it is suggesting that it is or will be, putting them on its warships' surface to surface missiles

Tactical weapons are, by necessity, deployed with the military forces, so the chances of them falling into jihadist hands is much greater. To get some idea of what these can do we'll look again to the well photographed shot of 'Atomic Annie' popping off a 15 kiloton W-9 shell. 

Note the size of the weapon, 55 inches long 11 inches wide and 850 pounds. The later W-19 round for the same gun was only 600 pounds and had a slightly higher yield. This is not a particularly powerful nuke, but I'm being conservative in estimating what the Pakistani's are capable of. More disturbing; the size of the weapon is such that it could easily be smuggled into a city, and while the blast damage of such a weapon would be limited compared to a strategic nuke detonated at altitude, the fallout from a ground burst would be horrific. 

The prospect of a terrorist nuclear attack, is as great as ever, so it's probably a good idea to look into how to prepare for modest sized ground bursts. RAND has a paper on that, available in PDF format here

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September 10, 2014

OK. The Speech

It was not actually an egregiously bad speech

However, I was somewhat perplexed that he wants to use Yemen and Somalia as templates for action against ISIS. Both countries are nightmarish Hobbesian jihadi generators and Somalia is not so much a country as a no-mans land. I suppose that recent successes in killing terrorist leaders there was the point, but neither country has any hope right now of being free of the jihadists in the foreseeable future. I'm a little concerned with the notion of arming "vetted" insurgents in Syria. Our vetting of insurgents has been singularly unimpressive historically, and over the last 5 years in particular. 

It is good that he recognizes the threat, but the proposed actions seems to risk making the same error as Rumsfield's "light footprint" model did. However, close air support and giving those who are fighting against ISIS weapons might have a better than even chance of working in this case. I suspect that ISIS is not adept at winning hearts and minds. If their religious appeal is such that they are, then this is a far greater problem than even the most concerned analysts have supposed.   

I do note that Bush, who already had what some describe as a troublingly broad Authorization of Military Force giving him legal justification, still felt the need to go before the Congress to get approval for going into Iraq. This president does not and I await with bated breath to hear the intense indignation at this factoid from those who considered  Bush's actions to be beyond the pale. 

One last criticism. 
We currently have over 1300 troops in Iraq. Can we PLEASE issue them some boots? Fighting in Birkenstocks cannot be good for morale. 

Finally it should be noted that this is one of the most grave decisions a President can be faced with. While there are legitimate criticisms galore regards the decisions that led us here and the manner in which they were relayed, it is not necessarily a dreadful thing that after previous debacles the president has been very deliberative in coming to this conclusion.  War is sometimes necessary, but it is always a wretched enterprise. That the President has sought to avoid this may not have been wise, but it should not elicit contempt.

I am no fan of the policies of this President,  but I ask that people of faith keep him in their prayers this evening. 

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November 10, 2013

This Will End Well...I'm Sure of It.

It seems that Saudi Arabia, the nation that gave the world Osama Bin Laden and the majority of the September 11 hijackers, has, or is about to, acquire nukes.

Toadstool of slaying is actually the "Upshot-Grable" test firing of the 11 inch nuclear howitzer nicknamed "Atomic Annie".

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September 23, 2013


A dozen well armed fanatics in a gun free zone.
The Daily Mail has pictures of the carnage in Nairobi...lots of very disturbing pictures. This reminds me a lot of the Mumbai raid from a few years ago.

Two suicide bombers slaughtered the congregation at a Pakistani church Sunday.

Al-Quaeda has begun a new phase of attacks, less spectacular but much harder to stop.

As Cdr Salamander notes, it's just a matter of time before we're hit again. Read the whole thing, including the comments.

Remember that a few weeks ago the leader of AlQaeda called for small, scale,  and lone wolf attacks (he specifically praised the Boston Bombings).  Remember the Beltway snipers and what panic that caused. Remember Boston being shut completely down earlier this year.

I expect we're going to see rather a lot of this sort of thing in the future.
Snipers, Pipe bombs, and false threats to wear down the system.

Keep your concealed carry permits up to date and remember that places you are not allowed to carry are the places most likely to be attacked.

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September 11, 2013

12 Years Ago

Via Cdr Salamander: This is the best overview I have ever seen of what it was like that day as the realization gradually set in that something was very wrong...then the awful certainty.

UPDATE: Subur Banbanshee has further thoughts on the various events that occurred on this date in history. Remember that 2001 and 2012 were exceptions to what has generally been an auspicious date for civilization.

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August 29, 2013

False Flag?

Steven Den Beste has thoughts on the Syria problem. I urge you to read the whole thing.  He makes some very good points about how acting fecklessly has made things worse in the past.

Some of his commentors ask a perfectly logical question. 'Who gassed the civilians?' It is widely assumed that Assad did it and indeed he may have. His motivation for doing it on the anniversary of the 'Red Line Speech' would be to show himself to be powerful enough to stand up to the US and gaining the 'badass cred' so important in that part of the world.

However, Al-Quaeda has a more straightforward motivation. They want Assad bombed and his airforce neutralized. We know from painful experience in Iraq that Al-Quaeda is quite capable of using Sarin gas shells to kill (Iraqi nerve gas shells were used as ICWDs). We know that the rebels have overrun some Syrian arms caches. The attack, while horrific was rather small considering the risk. It was not a tide turning attack but an attack on a small group of noncombatants..mostly women and children. This is unlikely to hurt the rebels materially and can only serve to strengthen their resolve and gain them international support. It also could bring about an attack on the Assad regime by the US....which seems to be happening.

The circumstances of the attack are unclear, but it appears to have been confined to a small area in a refugee camp. This is the sort of gas attack the rebels might be able to pull off.

I dunno who did it, but such ambiguity might be used by the President to not end up being Al-Quaeda's air-force in Syria.


Have at it in the comments.

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August 28, 2013

Hopefully the Final Nidal Hassan Post

Ace links to and comments upon a report that describes how Hassan's violent tendencies were well known and ignored. This is well known...the news here is that it's being covered by Mother Jones. I urge you to read both Ace's post which adds a good bit of context and the full Mother Jones article, which indicates that the dereliction of duty was even worse than was previously known.

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August 24, 2013

Unhappy Saturday

The weekend is opening with CBS reporting that the US is preparing for a cruise missile attack on Syria.

Given that Syria decided to nerve gas a town on the one year anniversary of the President's 'RED LINE' speech this may be the least bad option.

I don't believe that proportional responses are generally advisable or ethical. If one must use violence one should, as a rule, use overwhelming force. Such a policy is more likely to have a deterrent effect and save more lives in the long run (either through quick victory or deterring violence in the first place) than a predictable escalation of response which can be planned for and factored into cost benefit analysis by bad actors.

However, an overwhelming response in the case of Syria might topple the government. This would ordinarily be a good thing, but give that the opposition forces are AlQuaeda and similar groups, such an outcome would result in wast quantities of weapons including nerve gas plus Syria's stock of radioactives to fall into the hands of a bunch of feral crazies who dearly want to kill us and our Israeli allies.

So a painful but not crippling attack may be the least terrible option.

Of course, this supposes that the President, in his zeal to thwart the execrable Assad regime has not allowed himself to become blinded to the threat posed by its collapse, and doesn't actually intend to bring it down...which as we have discussed before would probably make things even worse.


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August 11, 2013

Nerve Gas at JFK?

I just blundered into this story, There's nothing on Drudge as I type this so It may be may be breaking.

A Postal Service mail sorting facility at New York's JFK International Airport has been quarantined today after a suspicious package tested positive for VX nerve gas.

Two Customs agents were sicked Sunday morning after inhaling the strange odor coming from the package, which unconfirmed reports indicate was shipped to the United States from China.

That from this Daily Mail article. I'm quite doubtful the Chicoms are sending us nerve gas. If it IS a terror attack it could just as easily been sent from LA or Savannah.

Interesting times.

UPDATE: Now they're saying it was beauty supplies.

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July 03, 2013

Fingers are Crossed

As the Egyptian military promised,  there has been a coup.

Wait...Those aren't cluster-bombs!

The Egyptian people seem to be taking the military takeover rather well. The Military does not seem to be rolling over the civilians with tanks and the Muslim Brotherhood seems to have lost resoundingly. 

I expected far worse.

The military has suspended the constitution...which is usually an even bigger warning sign than a coup, but in this case the constitution had been recently imposed by Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The military leadership has not established a Junta (yet) but has put the Chief Justice of their Supreme court in charge of a civilian panel  that has been tasked with running the country and organizing new elections.

This is interesting:

A senior opposition figure says pro-reform leader Mohamed ElBaradei, the top Muslim cleric of Al-Azhar Mosque and the Coptic pope are meeting the army chief to discuss a political road map for Egypt

So the Copts and the Muslims are working together with the secularists and the military to hold democratic elections after deposing a democratically elected government that turned out to be oppressive and fundamentalist Islamic .

There's a concise overview of how this came to be here.

This is not exactly Kemalist as there are religious leaders at the table, but it at least looks like the military is trying to avoid having to run things themselves, and is handing it over to civilian civic leaders which is very promising. 

Zero Hedge has some interesting pictures
of the protests that are not making it into most of the news here. They show extreme anger at Obama and the US Ambassador to Egypt for backing the Islamofascistic whackadoodle who just got deposed. This via Instapundit who points out that it's telling that the posters are anti-Obama and not anti-US.

This could still go to worms in a terrible and bloody way, but at this point this is about the least bad outcome one could reasonably expect.

UPDATE: Via Ace, comes video of the celebrations.

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June 30, 2013


This pic from AFP is of the demonstrations in Cairo.

More here and here. Reuters is putting the number of protestors above a million people....almost all Muslims, protesting against Islamism.

This is really a big thing,
There's even a slight chance it might overcome the odds and end up a good thing.

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April 20, 2013

The UK Papers Again

This time The Mirror (via Instapundit).

The Brit paper reports that the FBI are looking for as many as a dozen additional accomplices in association with the Boston Marathon Atrocity. The paper uses the term "sleeper cell".

A source close to the investigation said: "We have no doubt the brothers were not acting alone. The devices used to detonate the two bombs were highly sophisticated and not the kind of thing people learn from Google.

Keep in mind that the news reports around this story have been unreliable to say the least, in part due to the fact that the BPD was deliberately feeding misinformation to the press to mislead the suspects.

Still, this report, of an Islamist cell is exactly the kind of thing that a lot of us have been expecting for 12 years. I'm frankly surprised we haven't seen more of it before now.  I think that something along the lines of the Mumbai attacks is very likely.

If you have a CCP...utilize it, stay alert and be aware of your surroundings.

Also, take everything with a grain of salt, and above all do not despair.

(I'm moving all Boston posts to the Long War Category, where they now belong)

UPDATE: Note that Robert Stacy McCain is highly skeptical of the Mirror's alleged scoop.

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I Find it Interesting

...that we need to go to the UK press to find this out.

The two men arrested last night in connection with the Boston Marathon bombings drive a car with the licence plate that reads: ‘Terrorista #1’


They are thought to be from Kazakhstan and had not been seen since the bombings until last night when their ground floor apartment in New Bedford, MA, was raided by a dozen FBI agents at gunpoint.


Later on in the article there is a mention of the very odd confrontation the Daily Mail reporters had with two gentlemen who entered the apartment and with thick Russian accents claimed to be Boston Globe reporters.....and later that they were friends of the people in custody.

In the comments of an earlier post Steven predicted that it ".... ain't over yet." I think he may be right, or at least that this may be a somewhat larger group than we are being led to believe.

On a lighter note I think we may have to entertain the horrifying possibility that David Sirota could very well be a magical girl now. 

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April 15, 2013


By far the best post on today's atrocity has been by by Moe Lane.

After all the reporting and speculation today, we don't know much except that much of what was initially reported was inaccurate, this was carefully planned, and the person or people behind it are wicked, clever and apparently at large.

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