Saturday, July 30, 2005

Engraved 500

Got a spare two grand lying around? Want a fancy-pants handgun capable of taking game up to and including elephant? Then why not head over to Collectors and pick up this factory engraved Smith and Wesson 500. I'm usually not one for engraving but on some guns it works- and given that this is a big game gun it kinda makes sense.

Saturday Afternoon Lazy Blog

Another quick round up.

Possibly an explanation for the Brazilian running from police in London and getting himself killed- seems he might have been in the country illegally.

The assassin who attempted to kill George Bush in Georgia has been captured- after a shoot-out with police. One policeman was killed. The grenade he threw was live and it seems he had more back at his apartment. I'm backing Powerline on this one- why isn't this getting more coverage? The incident itself was barely given any attention by the MSM. Perhaps if this attack had been directed at a Democrat president, we'd be hearing a lot more about it?

Kelsey Grammar has spoken out in defence of George Bush and the war in Iraq-

"Is it a sin to kill? Yes it is. Is it a sin to defend oneself? No. It's a great, difficult decision to stand up and say, 'I will dedicate lives to this cause. I will take on an unpopular position in order to secure the wellbeing of my country.'"

The Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate is a new effort to "address energy, climate change and air pollution issues within a paradigm of economic development" being undertaken by the United States, Japan, Australia, China, India and South Korea. With any luck a good few other countries will sign up to this effort to and dump Kyoto- what better way to solve the "problem" than by introducing new technologies without harming the economy?

Finally, for now, have a laugh at some of these great opening lines- with thanks to Right Thinking Girl.

Movie Trailers

I haven't seen it yet but Egotastic has a link to a V for Vendetta trailer. They've also got one for Serenity (damn, but Firefly was a great show) and the upcoming Aeon Flux flick. I haven't heard any rumours about the latter yet but I'm hoping that it turns out to be as odd as the cartoon original.

Friday, July 29, 2005

London Conspirator Not Arrested

Just a quickie post- according to CNN one of the men linked with the London bomb attacks, Haroon Rashid Aswat, was wanted by US authorities for attempting to set up a jihad training camp in Oregon. The US had the opportunity to have him extradited from South Africa a month before 7/7 but due to diplomatic wranglings he was never apprehended. It's entirely possible that his capture before the attacks would not have had any impact on the plan going ahead but it seems utterly ridiculous in this day and age that matters like this cannot be sorted out promptly.

Not the first time that South Africa has been mentioned in connection with jihadis either

The Vesuvius Club Review

I picked up this book as part of Waterstone's 3 for 2 offer this summer- been stocking up on thrillers and the like to see me through the cold, dark winter months!

Written by League of Gentlemen's Mark Gatiss, The Vesuvius Club is touted as "Oscar Wilde meets H.P. Lovecraft" with "LOG's penchant for horror". That's the blurb on the back of the book from the Daily Telegraph and it convinced me to buy it. The plot is essentially this- Lucifer Box is an Edwardian portrait painter, dandy and popular society man, a cover for his work as an assassin/agent of His Majesty's Government. When scientists mysteriously die he is sent to investigate. Sounds good so far.

The problems come however in the fact that there are no horror elements (save for a disfigured face and opium controlled "zombies"- neither of which spark any horror) and there is completely and utterly no connection whatsoever with anything even remotely Lovecraft-esque. At all. None. Whoever wrote that at the Telegraph seems never to have come within ten feet of a Lovecraft story.

Anyway, barring my disappointment that the book was not at all what it's being sold as, I came away feeling somewhat let down by the whole escapade. The story is divided into two sections, the first taking part in London and it was this bit of the book that I enjoyed most. It felt here as if there was a puzzle to be solved, as Box sleuths his way around the mystery, and I felt that it was particularly engaging. The second half falters badly and I lost interest. The actions scenes were poorly done and the sense of a puzzle to be solved was lost as Box's character was moved from spot to spot- it felt as if time was running out for the writer and he was rushing to get the story over and done with. The feeling of intrigue evaporated completely and the sense that Box was dealing with a serious threat never really materialises until the last few pages when he learns the secrets of the plot. It seemed to me that in the latter section the author Gatiss was more concerned with Box's relationship with his rent boy valet than with the actual details of the plot. In the end, all that's delivered is a mildly amusing half a good book. It's billed as "A Lucifer Box novel" as if this is the beginning of a series- on the basis of this reading I'm not at all sure if I'll bother to buy volume 2.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

London Shooting

As I've been taking a break from all things internet I haven't really been following the news but the one incident which really got me thinking was the shooting of the Brazilian civilian by an armed London police unit. Perhaps more on this story has emerged in the meantime but it seems that he was confronted by the cops and he ran, racing into a Tube station, down stairs, jumped over a turnstile and then into a train- where he was shot.

Why didn't he simply stop? Well, that's what has puzzled me but perhaps there could be a (major) clue over at Tim Worstall's-

I’ve been able to talk to a few Brazilians here about this shooting. All of them say that one’s immediate reaction upon being stopped by armed police (whether in uniform or plain clothes) should be to run. Yes, they might be legitimately asking you to stop but that isn’t the way to bet with the Brazilian police.

If only he'd realised that we do things differently here he might still be alive. And yeah, given the circumstances (and the information I have) it looks like the police reacted in the correct way.

The Terrorist Movie

According to this report on IMDB producers of the new V for Vendetta film are refusing to edit out scenes of terrorist attacks on the London underground, despite the real thing only having just happened.

Executive producer Joel Silver says, "It's a great time for this movie. It's a controversial film and it's a controversial time. It's going to make people think." Fellow producer David Lloyd adds, "In terms of what happened in London it's important to try and understand what leads people to terrorism. There should be lots of movies made about terrorists." Director James McTiegue explains, "Terrorism is one of those themes that never really goes away."

Personally I don't believe the scenes are in need of being censored. However, I do question the intelligence of the movie makers- it's a "
great time for the movie"? Isn't that more than a tad tasteless? As for David Lloyd's comment on the importance to "try and understand what leads people to terrorism"- I think there's a massive gulf between Islamic terrorism and V for Vendetta's lead character, a man twisted by his experiences in a concentration camp (if memory serves me he's also subjected to medical experimentation). Not that there's any excuse to engage in terrorist acts like he does in the story. Also, "there should be lots of movies made about terrorists"? WTF? So we can "understand" them? Sympathise with them too maybe?

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Koran Study

You might have heard- in the wake of 7/7- the following quotation used by various Muslim leaders as they strove to prove that Islam is indeed a Religion of Peace-

5:32 For that cause We decreed for the Children of Israel that whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind. Our messengers came unto them of old with clear proofs (of Allah's Sovereignty), but afterwards lo! many of them became prodigals in the earth.

Now, I've heard this uttered several times by Muslim leaders here in the UK on the nightly news and seen it in the papers, but not quoted directly like this. They tend to paraphrase it into something like this- whoever kills someone, it's as if they've killed all mankind.

But it doesn't actually say that. It's "whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind". Which is ever so slightly different. How exactly can we define "corruption"- would that include the filthy infidels from the Great Satan and associated states spreading their notions of tolerance and democracy and freedom of religion?

Also, as we are always chided for taking excerpts from the Koran out of context, let's also have a look at the next passage-

5:33 The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land
will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter theirs will be an awful doom.

So, on the one hand we have the message that killing is wrong, equal to killing all of humanity in its wrongness, but on the other, that's only if you're not spreading "corruption"- in which case, presumably, it's fine- and we're then told that if you dare to make war on Allah and his messenger (or "strive after corruption in the land"), you can be killed, crucified, and have your hands and feet cut off. On alternate sides, which I find to be gruesomely particular.

So, Islam doesn't actually teach that killing is wrong, only killing under certain circumstances and conditions. Some will argue that the Koran "was of its time". That's a good argument in an attempt to try to modernise the religion but it's also fair to point out that the earlier Bible was also created in a time of violence and brutality. It's message is much more simply put- Thou shalt not kill.

Some food for thought.

Today's Round Up

This will be my last post until next Monday/Tuesday (barring my coming across something very interesting this evening). In the meantime if anyone wants to leave any interesting links or make some comments, please feel free and I'll get back to you ASAP when I return.

First up, an astonishing piece from Julie Burchill- astonishing because I'm utterly amazed she'd be so politically incorrect.

Still, there was something a little creepy about the way in which certain people went on about the diversity of the dead. For one thing, it showed a willingness to believe the best of the bombers: that if only they had known that they had murdered delegates of all creeds and colours, they wouldn’t have done it.

Bullshit. This sort of Islamofascist hates multiculturalism. Just you try building a church in Saudi Arabia! They won’t even let our troops out there celebrate St Valentine’s Day. And as for any idea of the races being equal . . . it is the Muslim world that keeps slavery alive, and Muslim governments, as in Sudan, that see nothing whatsoever wrong with ethnic cleansing. Recently a Muslim columnist wrote sorrowfully of how in her culture a Muslim girl marrying a black man was the greatest shame that could fall upon a family. So much for equality under Islam.

Next up- and suggested by Stef- is an interview with Robert Pape about his book on the timely topic of suicide bombers. I must confess to only have had a quick glance through it so far. The main thrust of his argument seems to be that the strategic aim of the suicide bomber is to repel invaders (be they American or Israeli) and thus he paints the "Islamic" in Islamic Terrorism as being of minimal importance. For him, the strategic goal of the attack outweighs the motives behind the individuals who choose to strap explosives to themselves. Read on for more on this very topic later in this post. Pape does not appear to see the gap between "we must kick out the invaders" and "I will become a martyr by killing myself in the process". Why not a campaign of remote/timer detonated bombs instead?

Speaking of suicide bombers, Murdoc points out the "kill some civilians and use their dead bodies to try to kill other civilians" trick. The same tactic I'd feared might have been used in the London attacks.

From the Sunday Times- The lipstick lesbian daring to confront radical imams. The title says it all really.

The web of intigue around 7/7 terrorist Mohammed Sidique Khan becomes more tangled. It's beginning to look more and more that MI5 made a vast mistake in their assessment of him. Not only did he go on to take part in 7/7 but he appears to have numerous terrorist ties.

Again from The Times, an article about the availability online of "The Explosive Belt for Martyrdom Operations".

An interview with a Palestinian suicide bomber who survived his "martyrdom operation" after his bomb failed to go off. The pertinent point of the article is that despite the strategic purpose of the suicide bomber (see the Robert Pape interview), the actual motivation for the bomber themselves can be found here-

“It’s as if a very high, impenetrable wall separated you from Paradise or Hell,” he said. “Allah has promised one or the other to his creatures. So, by pressing the detonator, you can immediately open the door to Paradise — it is the shortest path to Heaven.”

“We were floating, swimming, in the feeling that we were about to enter eternity. We had no doubts. We made an oath on the Koran, in the presence of Allah — a pledge not to waver. This jihad pledge is called bayt al-ridwan, after the garden in Paradise that is reserved for the prophets and the martyrs. I know that there are other ways to do jihad. But this one is sweet — the sweetest. All martyrdom operations, if done for Allah’s sake, hurt less than a gnat’s bite!

Monday, July 18, 2005

New Terror Laws

There will be new terror laws launched in Britain in the wake of the 7/7 attacks.

Legislation covering offences of preparing, training for and inciting terror acts, will come before the Commons and Lords from October.

What's interesting about the proposals is that they will include-

Outlawing "acts preparatory to terrorism", such as downloading bomb-making instructions from the internet

New offence of indirect incitement to commit terrorist acts, such as preachers "glorifying" bombings

New law for those providing or receiving terrorist training, in the UK or abroad

These measures do not appear to be up for discussion in Parliament until October (due to construction work in Parliament) and they are expected to be made law in December.

The "indirect incitement" law will be a curious one to watch. I'm wondering how long before the EU gets involved claiming that someone's "human rights" are being quashed?

Pro or Anti? Depends

The anti-terrorism stance of British Muslims seems to be a bit shaky.

First of all the meeting of Muslim scholars and leaders which took place in London on Friday condemned suicide bombings but, according to the New York Times, the assembled experts on Islam, refused to condemn such attacks in Israel. So in Islam there is justification for carrying out suicide attacks. Strangely enough the BBC and ITV didn't cover this aspect of the press conference.

''There should be a clear distinction between the suicide bombing of those who are trying to defend themselves from occupiers, which is something different from those who kill civilians, which is a big crime,'' said Sayed Mohammed Musawi, the head of the World Islamic League in London.

All the leaders at the news conference appeared to agree with Musawi.

Aren't the victims of the suicide attacks in Israel predominantly on civilians? This also raises the question- if this is what the imams and scholars are saying- that they will not condemn attacks in Iraq and Israel, presumably because there is justification for them- then what exactly is the majority view of Muslims in Britain? Is terrorism okay so long as it's in another country?

Then we have this report from the uncle of one of the bombers saying-

"This lad has made a name for himself in the world. Muslims call it a sacrifice, the Europeans call him a terrorist."

Tanweer's uncle laid the blame for the rush-hour attacks on London's transport network at the feet of British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George W. Bush, warning, "There will be more".

Citing US policy in Iraq and the Middle East, as well as its treatment of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay base in Cuba, Ahmed told the paper that Western disregard for the rights of Muslims was driving young men to violence.

So, nothing to do with Islamic jihad then, it was all down to Bush and Blair?

Anti-Suicide Bombing Campaign

Got this from a comment over at Hell is Other People-

If the MCB et al are so concerned about - unwarranted, bigoted, unhelpful - attacks on muslims, they have a ludicrously simple way out: start a major campaign a la "make poverty history meets stop the war": have every mosque display a great big banner saying: "suicide bombing - not in my name." Perhaps someone could make nice white bracelets with that slogan. This would make their position very clear. Perhaps mosques could even fly a Union Jack?

How's that for a start?

I wonder how much support it would get? Or would the caveat "except those in Iraq & Israel" be added?

BTW, the commenter's blog is here.

Fatwa Against Anarchangel

This is a busy week for me so posting may be light.

First up, news of a fatwa issued against blogger The Anarchangel for his Team Infidel project- in a nutshell he and some friends shot, blew up, burned and urinated on copies of the Koran he had bought. Now, his actions might be considered juvenile or inflammatory but having said that I can see no reason for threatening to kill a man because of what he did to a book. He says,

I have no regrets about destroying the Koran. Their religion tells them to kill or enslave me, and I have no qualms about destroying their "holy" book. In fact I wont refer to it as desecrating, because that concedes that the printed word of a madman from 1400 years ago is somehow sacred.

I feel much the same about the Bible by the way. Interesting reading, some great teaching, more than a little insanity, but a bible isnt sacred; even if you believe the thoughts within it are. The bible is a book like any other.

Remember the Newsweek allegations that were proven to be false? Well, the point of that story was that the desecration had been carried out by the Muslim inmates of Gitmo themselves. I haven't yet heard of any fatwa being issued against them.

Anarchangel goes on to say-

I think the idea that thousands of people would riot, and that dozens would die because of a fraudulent news story is offensive, and absurd.

I want everyone to be able to burn the bible if they want to, or the flag, or the constitution, or the declaration of independence, or anything else for that matter.

I CERTAINLY don't want our soldiers being punished because they mishandled Korans.

Islam wants me to die because of this. Our entire society is based on the freedom to do much of what we please, and they want to kill us all because of it.

I bought those Korans, and they were mine to do with as I please. They were nothing but ink stains on a page, and the very fact that people would react to it by either saying I shouldnt have done it, or I was stupid for doing it; or saying that I must be killed because of it...

I jsut dont have the words. I keep trying to explain, but they jsut arent forming in my head. How do I make the point to you that what we did wasnt anti-muslim, or rednecky, or triumpahlsit bullshit, or ignorant or anything else that so many of you believe it to be.

It was an expression of freedom.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Shark Navy

This is a strange idea- by mimicing the structure of shark skin, US Navy ships and submarines could be made to run more efficiently, faster and quieter.

The unique structure of the shark's skin- made up of tiny scales like teeth- prevents marine organisms such as barnacles and algae from sticking to the surface. By applying a synthetic shark skin to ships and submarines, the Navy could save $50 million each year in the fuel costs associated with such "bio-fouling".

Studies have found that the scales act as armor for a shark and also create tiny vortices that reduce drag to make them faster. The scales also allow sharks to swim silently compared to other fish that generate considerable noise when they ply the water.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Rahid's Post

Commenter Rahid has been kind enough to respond to a request of mine for a post about "being a Muslim in London". Here it is-

Heh, man you have no idea :)
What you'd be getting from me IF i venture to label myself Muslim is a dada-esque slacker style Muslim point of view and that's really too wooly and abstract to have any grounds for scripture based proposals. I go to mosque maybe once or twice a year if that and then only to please my dad. The following ain't anything in particular, I'm just rambling...

First off, my impression is that one of your (and the general tabloid media's) main problems is that you think a 'Muslim Scholar' is someone that says "hey look at me, I'm a Muslim scholar" and then just because we are inately lazy and it's easier than wondering if this guy is for real the media (loving a good sound bite) go on to nod at the things this dick says and goes "fuck! see that guy with the wiggy name, yeah him, look at that i told you they were extreme"

My understanding is that unlike the familiar Christian religion there is no hard and fast central authority like the Pope (not that i agree that's a wholly a good thing either, as how many shadowy vatican story have we heard over the years). Anyway given these lack of strictures there is at the most a "committee", a very loose confederation of Imams if you will (think Amateur Star Trek) or whatever, that issue guidelines rather than rules, as there's no need after all the rules are in the book, and there's no higher 3-dimensional-tangible-made out-of-atoms thing than The Book for Pete's sake you can't go changing that, Hence the You-aint-read-the-Koran-unless-you've-read-it-in-the-original-Arabic (you see the S.T. allusion again?). The problem comes when some politico rises up thru the ranks and no one questions him as he has the defacto top interpretation of the book than anyone else purely because everyone in the local community if all full of acceptance that what ever happens is what is deemed (ie Allah's will etc).

I'm only deemed Muslim because my dad is; as in, he handed out the After-Eight-Mint-of-Religiosity to my Bro and myself over a period of years way back in our youth and it never really took; we were too busy watching Starsky & Hutch and transcribing lyrics from Dean Friedman and various prog rock albums. My dad is a gentle old soul and i get the impression that everyone out there in the wider Indo/Pak community across London knows him. He does not kick up a fuss. He does the Indian equiv' of sucking his teeth whenever he happens upon something that bruises his Victorian sensibilities.

The point is that if most of the good Muslims are like my dad, and i tend to think they are (and i tend to think i'm right) they are just not sociatily (sp?) equipped to get up on a soapbox and protest that they are being mis-rep'd. As that's far too a material endeavour - they are religious to the point of thinking God (i'll use the big G this time) will straighten everything out and there's no need to get overly stressed about it. I'm inclined to think this may be why you only hear from the care-in-the-community-Muslims. When all said and done it looks like after all this time the champs of stiff upper lipness have been the trad c-of-e Muslims all along.


Okay, I'm done looking (and it wasn't pleasant) so here's a request to any readers who catch this- can you recommend a left wing blog worth reading? By worth reading, I mean a considered, rational peace devoid of "Bush is evil, 100,000 killed in Iraq, Palestinians are driven to suicide bombing" moonbat nonsense. It all seems to go together.

Does such a thing exist?

7/7 Motivation

More about the terrorists involved in 7/7-

"a government-funded storefront youth centre in Leeds...was a hub of radical Islamist activity."

"On its walls were posters from the Respect Party, an extremist pro-Islamic party founded by MP George Galloway."

"He [Mr Tanweer] wasn't political at all -- he never mentioned Iraq or anything."

"None of the bombers were strongly connected with a particular mosque, although they all began praying five times a day as they became more devout during the past two years."

"they had become more devoutly religious and travelled to Pakistan for study trips"

"I never saw any sign of any politics in him -- I mean, when he read the paper he would only look at the sports pages," Mr. Tanweer's uncle, Bashir Ahmed, said in an interview yesterday. "He had been religious for some time, and I thought on Wednesday that he was going to one of his religious meetings. He was going to them all the time."

Politics then does not seem to be a motivating factor- religion was.

Good News/Bad News

A mix of good and bad news today.

First up, we have news of an Iraqi anti-terrorism march from Black Five and from Uncorrelated
the report of a poll that indicates a reduction in support for terrorism in Muslim communities.

Next, the bad news.

Captain's Quarters points out that the London attack might have been twarted in the past. Thw worrying thing about this reluctance to abandon plans is that the authorities have said that they have prevented attacks being carried out in the past. Are they all now being re-organised?
Also, the previously stopped attack also included a joint assasult on American financial institutions- could it be that this is now being prepared again?

Delayed Round Up

Busy, busy, busy- and Blogger just would not let me post last night. Here's another round up.

First off, Michelle Malkin and Captain's Quarters highlight the priorities of the National Education Council. For a meeting of their Assembly they had a 30-point agenda. The first item on the agenda to actually deal with education came in at number 15. Only two items directly involved education. Makes me think even more that the United States should adopt wholesale the suggestions of California Republican Tom McClintock's education policies.

I don't have a Gamecube but I'm tempted to buy one just to get Resident Evil 4- and this nifty chainsaw controller too of course.

Another tech advance- a robot Humvee has managed to drive itself for seven hours without crashing on a desert race-course in the States. The test was preparation for a DARPA race to be held in October. Last year, not a single vehicle finished. It'll be interesting to see how the other vehicles fare this year.

Directed Energy weapons have been developed for use by the US military but it seems that there's still going to be a few years wait until they are fully deployed to active units. Again, this is a development which will be worth looking out for. Non-lethal weapons like this could have a profound impact on futre warfare.

MPACUK- a Muslim Public Affairs Committee- has posted an article called "Jihad Against Terrorism". It doesn't seem too promising to begin with-

the suicide bomber story will keep the press happy for years.

In the next few weeks you'll hear how they met Bin Laden etc... In the US, they will probably have met Saddam as well. On Fox “news” they would have been friends with the september 11th hijackers and any other tenuous link they can use to defame Islam.

You will also read about 72 virgins and the usual “hate us, hate our way of life” rubbish.

However, they do go on to say-

Tony Blair and Charles Clarke can worry about intelligence failures, It is now time for the British Muslim communities, institutions and organisations to declare our own Jihad against Terrorism. It is not worth denial, disbelief, condemnation without some action. There are a million questions. How can 4 lads with no previous convictions do this. Where did they meet? Who taught them that this was something they should do? We must all work vigilantly to make sure this does not happen again.

Remember kill one person, kill the whole of humanity, save one person, save the whole of humanity.

Let's all work for this Jihad against terrorism.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Another Step Towards Madness

From Secular Blasphemy and Clayton Cramer comes this tale of utter petty madness. And I'm not making this up!

a group of French cleaning ladies who organised a car-sharing scheme to get to work are being taken to court by a coach company which accuses them of "an act of unfair and parasitical competition".

Really- they are suing these women for not taking the bus to work. Now, as completely ridiculous as that sounds it gets even worse.

The women, who live in Moselle and work five days a week at EU offices in Luxembourg, are being taken to court by Transports Schiocchet Excursions, which runs a service along the route. It wants the women to be fined and their cars confiscated.

No, it's not enough that the company wants to force these women to take the bus they also want to confiscate their car and fine them? What planet are these people on? And how the hell did this case even get close to a court house?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Here Come the Thought Police

The thought crime bill has been passed in the House of Commons- citizens of the UK can now only hope that the bill is rejected by the House of Lords. Oddly enough, the British media seems to have completely ignored the story.

Islamic organizations have lobbied hardest for the legislation, saying their community needed protection, given an increase in anti-Muslim sentiment after 9/11.

This is a common meme in the UK now- every news broadcast since 7/7 has carried a story about Muslims condemning the attacks and, in the same, breath, calling out that they must be defended against reprisals. Somehow, Islamic terrorists have made Britain less safe for Muslims. This is a major talking point of all the main politicians- Blair, Howard and Kennedy.

The prime minister condemned any attacks on British Muslims, saying the vast majority were decent and law abiding.

Conservative leader Michael Howard said anyone who nurtured resentment against Muslims would be behaving in the way terrorists wanted.

Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy said everybody should keep stressing that the vast majority of Muslims totally condemned the bombings.

In fact, I think I've heard more comments the past few days about keeping Muslims safe and what a wonderful religion it is, than I've heard about measure to protect us from Islamic terrorism. You'd almost think that Britain was filled with people biting at the bit to attack Muslims, so much emphasis is being put into this.

Of course, Islam expert Tony Blair said of the terrorists - "It is an extreme and evil ideology whose roots lie in a perverted and poisonous misinterpretation of the religion of Islam."

It's interesting he should say that because the head of London's Al-Maqreze Centre For Historical Studies said that there are no civilians under Islamic law and, of the London terrorist attack- "If Al-Qaeda indeed carried out this act, it is a great victory for it. It rubbed the noses of the world’s eight most powerful countries in the mud."

Strange how Western dhimmi politicians always seem to be contradicted by actual Muslims?

The thought-crime legislation actually goes like this-

If passed, the legislation will create a new offense, applying to written material and public verbal comments "that are threatening, abusive or insulting [and] likely to stir up racial or religious hatred." Anyone convicted under the law could be jailed for up to seven years.

In other words, if someone makes a statement which Muslims find insulting, they could find themselves in court. Given that any criticism of Islam will no doubt be found insulting it seems as if Muslims have been given carte blanche in the UK. First, the G8 gives the PA billions of dollars and now this. Who said that we were resolute in the face of terrorism?

Hat tip to Raging Capitalist.

Don't Use the T Word

As was widely reported on the blogosphere, the BBC had edited the word terrorist out of its reports on 7/7. Well, CNN seems to be playing silly buggers too because-

Israeli troops have arrested five members of Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad in the West Bank city of Tulkarem after Tuesday's suicide attack in Netanya that killed four Israelis

Militants? It seems that for the MSM 9/11 and 3/11 and 7/7 have not been lesson enough. It's my belief that this sort of equivocation only serves to encourage our enemies. Can you imagine how different the world would be now if the media were giving the War on Terrorism the same sort of support that WW2 received? Where are the news reports highlighting the successes of the troops? Where is the support for the policies of the West to liberate those under the heel of tyranny? Where are the movies that enocurage patriotism and determination in the face of our foes? Where is the understanding that our values of freedom and tolerance are under threat?

At least some people seem to get it right-

Ra'anan Gissin, a spokesman for Sharon, said the blast underscored "one simple lesson" about how to deal with terrorism.

"With terrorists, you don't talk; you don't sign deals," Gissin said. "With terrorists, you fight."

The Blame Game

It took, probably, minutes for the Left to being screaming that 7/7 was the fault of Bush. It's a sentiment that I wasn't exactly expecting to find over at Democracy Arsenal, which has been recommended in one of the conservative blogs that I read- sorry but I can't recall which one right now.

Here it is-

I hate as much as anyone the cheapness, partisanship, and thoughtlessness of the Iraq war and much of the GWOT in general, and do think the President and his staff are to blame.

Of course the statement is made in the context of "we have bigger fish to fry"- which is entirely correct- we're at war and now is certainly not the time for this sort of thing. However, the statement was made anyway and it annoys the hell out of me that this sort of dumb-assed dogma is so ingrained in the Left that it's become purely reflexive. So I wrote this response, which I'm going to post rather than re-jigging into a new post here.

"You believe that George Bush is responsible for British Muslim terrorists planting bombs in London to kill their countrymen? The only people responsible for this are the terrorists involved. It was their decision to plan and carry out this attack and they bear full responsibility.

The war on terror or Iraq did not "make" anyone do anything- if British citizens are upset about the removal of a secular tyrant and the liberation of the majority Muslim Iraqi people (and at the end of the day, that's what it was, regardless of the arguments about WMD or anything else) they live in a free and democratic society and they can make their case at the ballot box. Instead of protesting against the actions of the government peacefully they choose to carry out the indiscriminate murder of innocent people. That's not George Bush's fault. It's not the fault of Iraq or the fault of Afghanistan or Israel or any other of the long list of grievances that the jihadis seem to have- it's the fault of the individuals themselves. They chose this path. No one forced them onto it."

The only thing I want to add is this- and it seems an obvious point- the war on Iraq might piss you off but in a civilised society if you're that annoyed about it you campaign to have something done about it- whether that's emailing/telephoning your MP continually or voting for a different party come next election or organising protests against the war. You do not bomb and murder innocent people in the heart of the capital. Becoming a terrorist is not a small step and the only people to blame for it are the terrorists themselves. George Bush is most assuredly not to blame and to think otherwise displays such a complete lack of rational thought that I'm staggered by it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

7/7 Terrorists

Looks like the police are working hard-

at least one of four suspected London bombers died in last week's Tube and bus blasts.

it was likely three men whose belongings were found at the scenes are dead - there is a question mark about the fourth bomber.

Explosives were found in Leeds and Luton after a series of raids.

They [police] also said they had arrested a relative of one of the four suspects in Yorkshire.

The breakthrough in the anti-terror investigation came after a day of raids in West Yorkshire and the seizure of a car at Luton rail station. They were carried out after the discovery on Monday night of CCTV images showing the four men at King's Cross station just before 0830BST on the day of the attacks.

Head of the Metropolitan Police anti-terrorist branch Peter Clark said documents identifying three of the men were found near three blast sites.

All four suspects are British nationals. Three of the four are from West Yorkshire.

Just Desserts

This guy deserves to serve his 99 year sentence. Up in court for stealing a cell phone, super-genius criminal Glenn Reed "who testified during his trial against the wishes of his court-appointed attorneys, frequently went into profanity-laced tirades and told jurors he didn't care if they gave him life in prison."

Be careful what you wish for.

Science News Round Up

A little bit of science news now, just to lighten the tone. I didn't mention the zombie dogs MadOgre posted on last week- but I couldn't resist this- "Human-brained monkeys". In a series of experiments scientists have injected human brain cells into monkey fetuses. Quite apart from questioning the usefulness of such research, there are major questions raised about the monkey subjects developing self-awareness or super-animal intelligence. Planet of the Apes here we come.

Bored and want time to pass more quickly? Move your eyes around a lot. Having a good time and want to make it last longer? Keep your eyes still. So indicates new research conducted by scientists "
that subjective time is compressed around the onset of a saccadic eye movement. Saccades are the rapid, jerky eye movements that we perform thousands of times every day to align targets of interest with the high-acuity fovea at the centre of our eyes." It's worth a try anyway.

Research shows that walking on cobblestones can significantly lower blood pressure and improve balance. The latter seems like a report from the
Institute of the Bleeding Obvious but the blood pressure effect doesn't seem to be clearly understood. Expect to see your pavements cobbled some time in the last century.

Super Size Me is a movie which I have absolutely no desire to see- particularly since more than one person has since lost weight by eating nothing but McDonalds. Morgan Spurlock can rant all he wants about "evil corporation" McDonalds but the simple fact of the matter is that they don't make people fat- people eating too many calories and not exercising enough makes people fat. Anyway, here's another pro-McDonalds story: A 35-year old woman has created her own low-cost McDonalds diet, limiting herself to 1400 calories a day.

Since April 22, when Morgan launched her diet with a Sausage Burrito and a medium Diet Coke, she's lost 33 pounds, putting her at about 195 pounds. At 5 feet, 9 inches tall, she's dropped from a size 22 or 24 to a size 15. The size 2X and 3X T-shirts she used to wear look like dresses on her. And despite her friends' fears about skyrocketing cholesterol, she feels great.

Good for her I say.

Finally, here's some startling news that I meant to post on days ago-

Human footprints discovered beside an ancient Mexican lake have been dated to 40,000 years ago. If the finding survives the controversy it is bound to stir up, it means that humans must have moved into the New World at least 30,000 years earlier than previously thought.

The conventional view is that humans arrived in the Americas via Beringia around 11,000 years ago, when a land bridge became available between Siberia and Alaska. There have been claims about earlier waves of settlers, who must have made the crossing over water, based mainly on sites with signs of habitation dated up to 40,000 years ago, but these claims have drawn intense criticism.

Some scientists need to pin stories like this to their notice boards to counter the notion that they know everything- I wonder how those who criticised the signs of habitation from 40,000 years ago feel now? Hopefully this will open some eyes- you just never know what the next discovery might be.

BBC Bias Goes Up

First, and most assuredly one of the most enraging stories of the day- the BBC has edited some of it's 7/7 coverage to edit out the word "terrorist" because it "can be a barrier rather than an aid to understanding". Understanding the murderers of at least 52 Londoners? Please.

The BBC gets worse though, with this article by John Simpson, the BBC's world affairs editor. First off, he calls the terrorists responsible for 7/7 "misguided criminals". Not murderers or terrorists or even "bombers", just poor, misguided criminals.

That's bad enough but he goes on to write about the IRA attacks on Britain and the "worst" response which was-

"the IRA was identified as an enemy which had to be destroyed."

That's the worst response to terror attacks- identifying the culprits as enemies? He goes on to state - as if this was how the British government responded to the IRA-

"In 1972, the British Army fired into the crowd at a big demonstration in the city of Derry, killing 14 innocent people."

Actually it wasn't a demonstration at the time the British Army began shooting- it was a riot. The soldiers involved said that they had been fired upon first. There are photos of men armed that day, despite the claims of the IRA to the contrary (the same IRA which blamed the death of a teenage girl they had killed on the British Army). The Saville Inquiry (the second inquiry as the first did not satisfy Nationalists by placing full and complete blame on the Army), has not yet
delivered its final report into events of the day. Simpson's statement is a lie- the British Army did not shoot into a "crowd", they fired upon rioters.

He goes on to add-

"There were undercover killings of IRA volunteers later, and a team of three IRA people were summarily executed when they were caught on an operation in Gibraltar."

Let's just pause a second here- "IRA volunteers" not "IRA terrorists"? I think that says a lot about Simpson's loyalties. The "undercover killings" Simpson is referring to are presumably the shooting of two armed IRA terrorists by an undercover SAS patrol. The three people "summarily executed" in Gibraltar were part of an IRA terror cell planning a bomb attack and killed by the SAS. Simpson's conclusion that by fighting back at terrorists the Britsh government was on the same moral level. He makes no mention of the "reprisal" IRA bomb attack on the Parachute Regiment's HQ (the unit involved in the Londonderry shootings- that's the name of the city by the way- Nationalists call it "Derry" because they do not like the British reference) which murdered a Catholic padre and six civilians. Or any of the other dozens of murders and indiscriminate bomb attacks the IRA carried out, like this one.

Simpson's assertion is that fighting back against terrorism was wrong while progress was made when a new tactic was taken-

"to treat political violence like any other crime."

He says that by this measure-

"Slowly, people throughout Ireland realised that the IRA, and the Protestant militia groups which had grown up in imitation of them, had nothing to offer but violence and chaos. It was the effective end of the IRA."

That's funny because the IRA is still fully armed today and, through British government appeasement, has held political office here. Martin McGuiness, a self-confessed member of the organisation, was until recently our Minister of Education. Sinn Fein/IRA (for they are one and the same) continues to use the threat of a return to violence to keep their place at the talks table. Though the "ceasefire" was announced over 10 years ago that terrorist group, responsible for hundreds of deaths, many of them unpunished, is still at large. Part of the "peace deal" was the release of members of the IRA- terrorists- from prison and back onto the streets. The IRA has not ended- they simply realised that the British government would capitulate to them in order to keep the peace- and they're keeping their guns and bombs to make sure it stays that way.

Monday, July 11, 2005

EX Labour Advisor Speaks

David Clark, a former Labour Party advisor, has written a piece for the Guardian in which he claims that the war on terrorism is failing. He argues that

"their ability to bring violence and destruction to our streets is as strong as ever and shows no sign of diminishing."

That's funny, I don't recall the terrorists being able to conduct operations on the same scale as 9/11- however horrific the London attack was, it is simply not on the scale of 3,000 innocent people murdered. He then goes on to state that

"al-Qaida has never depended on state sponsorship, except in the wholly unintended sense that the US-funded campaign against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan brought its members together and gave them their first taste of jihad."

That's even more strange- does he not remember the terrorist training camps in Afghanistan? And does he really believe that Afghanistan was the first taste of jihad? Really? Or is he simply denying hundreds of years of history? Wouldn't it also make more sense to lay "blame" for these groups coming together not with America but with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan which is what originally focused the attention of the Mujahideen, along with funding from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, along with the USA? Or perhaps, with the jihadis themselves? Can't he blame the murderers for their own actions rather than trying to blame America? Let's just think about what he's saying for a moment- America is to blame for a group of Islamofascists bombing London. The so-called "occupation" of Iraq by America has liberated some 25 million people from tyranny, given them control of their own oil and allowed them free and democratic elections for the first time in 30 years. So perhaps these people should be thanking America for freeing Muslims from a secular disctatorship rather than attacking her and her allies. He also wants us to turn-

"our attention away from the terrorists and on to the conditions that allow them to recruit and operate" because "it must be said that everything that has followed the fall of Kabul has been ruinous to the task of winning over moderate Muslim opinion and isolating the terrorists within their own communities. In Iraq we allowed America to rip up the rule book of counter-insurgency with a military adventure that was dishonestly conceived and incompetently executed. Tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis have been killed by US troops uninterested in distinguishing between combatant and noncombatant, or even counting the dead."

I'm not going to even bother responding to that grotesque lie, other than to point out that the US went to great lengths to have Fallujah evacuated of civilians before entering to engage in house to house fighting. If they didn't care about distinguishing between combatant and non-combatants they would simply have bombed the city. I'm disgusted by this man.

And how, pray tell, does Clark envision us combating the conditions behind this terrorism? Why, obviously it's to-

"take legitimate Arab grievances seriously. We must start by acknowledging that their long history of engagement with the west is one that has left many Arabs feeling humiliated and used. There is more to this than finding a way of bringing the occupation of Iraq to an end. We cannot seriously claim to care for the rights of Arabs living in Iraq when it is obvious that we care so little for Arabs living in Palestine. The Palestinians need a viable state, but all the indications suggest that the Bush administration is preparing to bounce the Palestinians into accepting a truncated entity that will lack the basic characteristics of either viability or statehood. That must not be allowed to succeed."

So, Arabs feel "humiliated and used" by the West. That's really odd considering that the United States alone gives them billions of dollars- Egypt has received $26 billion, Jordan has been given $4.1 billion, the West Bank and Gaza have been given $1.5 billion, and work is ongoing in Iraq to name but a few. If that's being used and humiliated then I'll have a double helping.

Finally, we can see that in Clark's mind this all boils down to one simple issue- Israel (despite his own mention of the desires to see the creation of a "medieval pan-Islamic caliphate"). Again, £1.5 billion dollars doesn't seem to much like not caring. Nor does the extra $3 billion in aid for the infrastructure of Gaza. Of course, Clark doesn't like the idea of a "truncated state" for Palestinians calling for it to "not be allowed to succeed". In other words, then, he seems to want the destruction of Israel as a whole. Of course, in Clark's mind this is a "legitimate grievance"- that Israel even exists at all.

Pro or Anti Terror?

Over at Biased BBC is an interesting piece about the vigil organised by anti-war protestors and Muslims. As the BBC article notes, a Dr Assami Tamimi of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB, the UK's CAIR) received the "biggest response from the crowd". He declared the attacks to be not on "a certain creed or race" but on "everybody in Lonodn." He then went on the outline a 3-point program to combat terror attacks- vigilance and co-operation with security services, pressure to change British government policy (becuase, he argued, this attack was caused by the war in Iraq) and, finally, "Muslims also need to kill the ideology behind this".

However, as Rottweiler Puppy explains, the MAB website has Tamimi's name listed as "Dr Azzam
Tamimi". This would be the same Tamimi who has professed that he would like to become a suicide bomber in Israel (on the BBC no less) and who proclaimed that the Arab world cheered on 9/11.

A great choice to denounce a terrorist attack on London.
It's interesting too, that he drew the biggest response from the crowd. It's things like this which really make me question the conviction of Muslims in Britain who comdemn the attacks- is it the truth or are they only saying that because it's what we kuffar want to hear?

Fatwa To Outlaw Bombers

Thanks to commenter Rahid I discovered plans by the leaders of some British Muslim groups to issue a fatwa to-

effectively outlaw the bombers among Muslims by stating the attacks were a breach of the most basic tenets of Islam.

That Muslim groups in Britain are making a public effort to condemn the terrorists is, of course, a good thing. However, I do have reservations. The first is that although Muslim leaders are saying that attacks of this nature are "
a breach of the most basic tenets of Islam", there seems to be no evidence to back this up.

Qur’an 9:5 “When the sacred forbidden months for fighting are past, fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, torture them, and lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war.”

This, it would seem, is ample support for the terrorist attack just carried out. How, exactly, does a terrorist attack breach this? To combat what the media regards as "radical Islam", moderates need to be able to use the actual teachings of the Koran. Islamic terrorists do not seem to have a problem is couching the terms of their battle in religious terms and to combat this apparent "misunderstanding" of the Religion of Peace Islamic leaders in Britain will have to use similar arguments.

My second reservation is highlighted by Jihad Watch and the comments made, by Muslims, on IslamOnline.

"Those behind this atrocity aren't just enemies of humanity but enemies of Islam and Muslims," said Sacranie. Look at how the Queen's favorite pet "Muslim" rushes to the defense of his masters. Just like a little yelper dog..."We're not talking about Muslims here. We're talking about a bunch of nutters," said Qureshi. Another tawagheet-butt kissing "Muslim" who is little more then another barking dog. The[y] figure if they bark enough their masters will feed them."

If, as LGF joked the other day, hundreds of thousands of Muslims marched against terrorism- in exactly the way that the Free Muslims Against Terror tried (and, sadly, failed) to do- then that might make me begin to think that British Muslims were, on the whole, totally against these attacks. Until then, I'm not entirely convinced.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Iraq and Terrorism

The Left continues to argue that there were no terrorists in Iraq prior to the war and that there were no links between Iraq and Al Qaeda, a sentiment repeated by Ron Reagan and rebutted by Christopher Hitchens very effectively recently. Want to know more? Check these out-

The Mother of All Connections - In August 1998, the detainee traveled to Pakistan with a member of Iraqi Intelligence for the purpose of blowing up the Pakistan, United States and British embassies with chemical mortars.

Body of Evidence - Thomas Kean, chairman of the 9/11 Commission. "There was no question in our minds that there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda." Hard to believe reporters just missed it--he made the comments at the press conference held to release the commission's final report. And that report detailed several "friendly contacts" between Iraq and al Qaeda, and concluded only that there was no proof of Iraqi involvement in al Qaeda terrorist attacks against American interests.

The Big Lie - "Contacts between Iraqi intelligence agents and Osama bin Laden when he was in Sudan in the mid-1990's were part of a broad effort by Baghdad to work with organizations opposing the Saudi ruling family."

If you know of any more like these, please do let me know.

New Reeder Guns

What a day! A chance to do another gun post.

Checked in at Gary Reeder's website and was pleased to see a few new items since my last visit.

The first of these is the Vampyre Slayer- got a vampire problem? Then try and grab yourself one of these limited edition (only 5 made) 10mm 1911s, complete with tiny stakes on the guide rod and butt. For that "gothic" look, it even comes with a coffin shaped gun case. Bizarre? Absolutely. A replacement for Buffy? You decide.

Next up is the Big Horn Hunter, a lever action based on a Marlin 1894 and chambered in 41 GNR or 410 GNR. The modifications include- a beefier barrel in the length of your choosing, Ashley Express Ghost Ring sights, larger loop for easier handling with gloves on, a decelerator pad, full action job. Very nice indeed.

Finally, Kase Reeder has this- the Ultimate 10, a long slide 1911 in 10mm complete with an accessory rail. Good to see a few more 10mm handguns around.

Islamic Republic of Britain

The Mirror newspaper publishes an article describing what life in the Islamic Republic of Britain would be like. Its seems bizarre to me that the people who would most be affected by Sharia law- artists and musicians- seem to be those who are most opposed to a war on the Islamofascists.

All contact between the sexes would be banned. Discos, bars, public swimming pools, youth clubs - anywhere women and men could meet - would be closed down. Sunbathing, beach holidays and all forms of female sport would be outlawed. Fashion magazines such as Vogue could only be published if all images of female flesh were blacked out.

The only weak point in the article is the assertion that solving the Arab-Israeli problem would "weaken support for the fanatics' cause and help stabilise an inflamed region"- the only solution that the Islamists want is for Israel to be wiped off the map. And what exactly has Israel to do with Islamic terrorism in the Far East or even the Taliban in Afghanistan? Despite this, it's a good read. Perhaps one that will give some pause for thought.

Tim Blair also posts on "why they hate us", answering with Christopher Hitchens'

We know very well what the “grievances” of the jihadists are.

The grievance of seeing unveiled women. The grievance of the existence, not of the State of Israel, but of the Jewish people. The grievance of the heresy of democracy, which impedes the imposition of sharia law. The grievance of a work of fiction written by an Indian living in London. The grievance of the existence of black African Muslim farmers, who won’t abandon lands in Darfur. The grievance of the existence of homosexuals. The grievance of music, and of most representational art. The grievance of the existence of Hinduism. The grievance of East Timor’s liberation from Indonesian rule. All of these have been proclaimed as a licence to kill infidels or apostates, or anyone who just gets in the way.

British Muslims Speak

In the immediate aftermath of the London bombs some Muslim groups cried out about reprisal attacks and issued some condemnations of the attacks. I wonder how far that sentiment is shared by the Muslim community?

In April 2004 This Is London posted this article. Here are the higlights of what some British Muslims had to say-

"As far as I'm concerned, when they bomb London, the bigger the better."

"I would like to see the Mujahideen coming into London and killing thousands, whether with nuclear weapons or germ warfare. And if they need a safehouse, they can stay in mine - and if they need some fertiliser [for a bomb], I'll tell them where to get it."

"I went to listen to all the local imams, but I found their portrayal of Islam was too secularised. When I heard Sheikh Omar [the leader] of al-Muhajiroun speak, it was pure Islam, with no compromise. I found that appealing.

"When I watched those planes go into the Twin Towers, I felt elated. That magnificent action split the world into two camps: you were either with Islam and al Qaeda, or with the enemy. I decided to quit my job and commit myself full-time to al-Muhajiroun." Now he does not consider himself British. "I am a Muslim living in Britain, and I give my allegiance only to Allah."

"When a bomb attack happens here, I won't be against it, even if it kills my own children. Islam is clear: Muslims living in lands that are occupied have the right to attack their invaders.

"When Allah said in the Koran 'kill and be killed', that's what I want. I want a martyr operation, where I kill my enemy."

"The mosques say one thing to the public, and something else to us. Let's just say that the face you see and the face we see are two different faces," says Abdul Haq. "Believe me," adds Musa, "behind closed doors, there are no moderate Muslims."

African Aid

I'm not a fan of Bob Geldof's campaign to write off African debt and to double aid to that troubled continent. Frankly, I can't see why the African people shouldn't be able to help themselves. They live, after all, on a resource rich continent that should be able to rival America. It seems bizarre that democracy and capitalism have not sprung up all over the place. Here is a very good argument on why aid is bad for Africa- from an African.

I watched one or two episodes of Geldof's BBC series on Africa but his litany of problems on the continent didn't convince me that aid was the answer. For example, in his episode on Uganda he pointed out that though the country possesses a good deal of arable farmland, much of it wasn't farmed because the people were too afraid of the absolutely barbaric and despicable Lord's Resistance Army. This group raids villages to supply itself. According to Geldof, aid would be delivered in the form of food and the LRA would promptly raid the village to seize what they need. His only possible solution was for someone (the US probably) to swoop in and assassinate the LRA leader Joseph Kony. I can just imagine now, the utter outrage from Left wingers around the world about that. Aid and debt relief will not alleviate any of the problems that the people of Uganda suffer from. Having said that, I can completely understand Geldof's frustration- he told an absolutely horrific story of a group of seven or eight young girls kidnapped by the LRA and tied together. The group allowed one of them to try and escape. When they caught her again they put her back with her friends and then told the girls to bite her to death- if they did not they would suffer the same fate. The girls were told that unless they came away with flesh in their mouths they too would be killed. Remember, these were children, friends who had been playing with one another when abducted. You can see why Geldof wanted to see Kony dead.

It's probably incredibly un-PC to say it, but a lot of these countries would have been much better off if the colonial rule of the British (Uganda became independent in the early '60s) had continued. At the very least, British troops would be hunting the LRA right now rather than letting them prey on innocent children. They would also probably have more representative governments than they do now, along with stable economies and a better standard of living.

HK M416/M418

At last! A bit of gun news to blog about.

According to Defense Review the battle for a US Army Special Forces weapon continues- though the FN Scar has apparently been selected the rumour is that the HK M416 (previously known as the HK M4) is already in the hands of US Army Special Forces operators and they like it. As you may know the M416 is a product-improved M4 and it fixes the major bug-bear of the M4 system of weapons by utilising a gas piston. HK have also developed a high reliability magazine for the M4/M16 series of weapons- which can also be used by the British SA80 family.

The major advantage the HK weapon has is that it could be bought by the Army as an upper only- saving on some costs. They are also rumours that HK are developing a sister M418 is 7.62x51mm. Personally I'd also like to see a 7.62 Russian variant able to take AK magazines.

It's interesting to note that there seems to be some diversity in weapons procurement right now. The US Army continues to toy with the idea of going to the XM8, the Marines have just bought a bunch of M16A4s and the different Special Forces units now seem to have either the FN SCAR or the HK M416 to choose from. The one thing missing from all this of course is any mention of the "intermediate cartridge"- either the 6.8mm SPC or the 6.5mm Grendel. There's seems to be ample testimony from those on the sharp end that 5.56mm just doesn't cut it- time to move on. Given that a 6.8mm/6.5mm weapon could also be chambered in 5.56mm it seems like all that surplus 5.56mm lying around could be used in training or in non-war zones until it's all used up.

Update- As a commenter noted, the 7.62mm version of the HK M4 is now known as the HK417.

More Bad Movie News

No doubt you've heard that Spielberg is to make a film about the 1972 Munich Olympic massacre. I did not have much hope that this would be a film with a strong anti-terrorism message but it appears to be much worse than I suspected. According to this piece at Captain's Quarters the Spielberg film will not focus on the actual murder of Israeli athletes by terrorist thugs, but will instead concentrate on the Mossad team sent to eliminate them. According to actor Daniel Craig the film will send a message that "vengeance doesn't work- blood breeds blood."

Spielberg is apparently concerned that he "get's it right". Odd then that,

"the office of the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, which manages Mossad and its archives, has reportedly received no request for assistance. In addition, five retired Mossad agents, all of whom served in key intelligence posts at the time, have not been contacted."

Makes you wonder if he's going to get it right from the point of view of the terrorists or the agents sent to track them down and punish them? Captain's Quarters comes to the conclusion that this film is not only about Israel but about America today and its response to 9/11-

If these reports are accurate, he intends on passing judgment on America for going after the terrorists that targeted our civilians on 9/11. Spielberg has long opposed the Iraq War and the Bush administration for its efforts to eliminate the threat of Islamofascist terror and tyranny.

Well, according to Spielberg himself, that analysis seems to be correct-

"By experiencing how the implacable resolve of these men to succeed in their mission slowly gave way to troubling doubts about what they were doing, I think we can learn something important about the tragic stand-off we find ourselves in today."

According to this post at Ain't It Cool-

"In Mr. Kushner's script, people who have read it say, the Israeli assassins find themselves struggling to understand how their targets were chosen, whether they belonged on the hit list and, eventually, what, if anything, their killing would accomplish."

The article posted there goes on to point out-

"I don't know how many of them actually had 'troubling doubts' about what they were doing," said Michael B. Oren, the historian and author of "Six Days of War." "It's become a stereotype, the guilt-ridden Mossad hit man. You never see guilt-ridden hit men in any other ethnicity. Somehow it's only the Jews. I don't see Dirty Harry feeling guilt-ridden. It's the flip side of the rationally motivated Palestinian terrorist: you can't have a Jew going to exact vengeance and not feel guilt-ridden about it, and you can't have a Palestinian who's operating out of pure evil - it's got to be the result of some trauma."

Spielberg is trying to keep information on the film under wraps but it seems pretty odd that he's chosen to consult one of Bill Clinton's Middle East diplomats and Clinton himself, rather than the Israelis involved. I don't hold out much hope for this one, given the director's agenda.

Stone to make 9/11 movie

Recently the movie industry has been complaining about falling ticket sales. As an example of a movie that did really badly, I give you Alexander, directed by Oliver "I love Castro" Stone and starring the talentless bum Colin Farrell. Big movie with big stars made by a director who seems to be out of touch with what the world cinema-going public want. Surely the sort of guy you want to keep as far away as possible from a big budget movie about 9/11? Can you even begin to imagine the scrutiny this film is going to be subject to?

Starring Nicolas Cage the film tells the story of two men trapped in the rubble of the collapsed towers who were rescued by "a crazy-brave patriotic super-Christian ex-Marine who drove down from Connecticut in his Porsche and walked out onto the burning rubble when the official rescue workers had been ordered off the pile for safety reasons." Somehow I can't see Stone doing Dave Karnes justice-

When the second plane hit, Karnes told his colleagues, "We're at war." He had spent 23 years in the Marine Corps infantry and felt it was his duty to help. Karnes told his boss he might not see him for a while.

Then he went to get a haircut.

The small barbershop in Stamford, Conn., near his home, was deserted. "Give me a good Marine Corps squared-off haircut," he told the barber. When it was done, he drove home to put on his uniform. Karnes always kept two sets of Marine fatigues hanging in his closet, pressed and starched. "It's kind of weird to do, but it comes in handy," he says. Next Karnes stopped by the storage facility where he kept his equipment—he'd need rappelling gear, ropes, canteens of water, his Marine Corps K-Bar knife, and a flashlight, at least. Then he drove to church. He asked the pastor and parishioners to say a prayer that God would lead him to survivors. A devout Christian, Karnes often turned to God when faced with decisions.

Finally, Karnes lowered the convertible top on his Porsche. This would make it easier for the authorities to look in and see a Marine, he reasoned. If they could see who he was, he'd be able to zip past checkpoints and more easily gain access to the site. For Karnes, it was a "God thing" that he was in the Porsche—a Porsche 911—that day. He'd only purchased it a month earlier—... But he decided to buy it after his pastor suggested that he "pray on it." ... Driving the Porsche at speeds of up to 120 miles per hour, he reached Manhattan—after stopping at McDonald's for a hamburger—in the late afternoon. (Go read it all)

Somehow I can't see Stone telling the story that way. In fact, given that he seems obsessed with conspiracy theories and doesn't exactly strike me as the type of man who would make a film that celebrates American patriotism and bravery, I find it hard to conceive how he was picked for this project. What qualities does he bring to the first big budget effort to tell the story of 9/11? Is he going to make a film that will make Americans feel good? Because that's the only why that American audiences are going to go see this film- they do not want a film about such an outrage that will portray the heroes of that day in anything other than an exemplary light. Stone does not seem to be the man who will do that.

If it were up to me, I'd make this a Jerry Bruckheimer production. No, he's not subtle but he's a genius when it comes to big budget summer smashes. He's also the sort of man that doesn't seem to have a problem with creating heroes on screen. This material seems tailor made for him and I for one would love to see what he could do with it. Stone's movie? Somehow I just cannot imagine how it will- in any way, shape or form- be true to the facts of the day.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

X3 News

I need a bit of a break from all the bad news- so here's some trivial news in its place.

The X-Men 3 implosion continues with this news- the made-up mutant from Brett Ratner is apparently being fought over by the Williams sisters. That's right, the tennis players. Apparently, Serena has the advantage in this match as she once dated the director. The sexed up character is described as a "bisexual hooker". Just the right sort of thing you want in a movie rated "PG-13" (if it's like the previous two).

G8 Gives More To PA

In the shadow of the London bomb attacks the G8 summit has been all but forgotten. However, an agreement was reached on a $50 billion deal. Geldof has praised it- others continue to criticise. Few seem to plant the blame for Africa's poverty on Africa, although Blair did say, "only people who can change Africa ultimately are the Africans". It's a good point and one many of the G8 protestors don't seem to have considered.

Amongst the details of the deal was this little snippet of information- $3bn agreed for Palestinian Authority for investment in infrastructure.

More money for the PA? Shouldn't the money going there be contingent on a ceasefire from the terrorists who continue to target Israeli civilians? No ceasefire, no money- at all. I wonder how long it would take for the shooting and bombing to stop if Western governments stopped propping up the PA? As Blair condemns the terror attacks on London, it seems incredible that he can give more money to the PA.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Islam and Terrorism

I'm wondering if the attacks on London will open people's eyes to the threat that we're facing. In the light of London police officer Paddick's statement that "Islam and terrorism don't go together" I'm not entirely sure if it will. There seems to be no will to openly discuss that what we're dealing with here is a religious war. The jihadis are not extremists or a tiny minority of a Religion of Peace- you don't hear of Christian terrorist groups scattered around the globe, issuing communiques citing passages from the New Testament. To simply bundle these murderers- a term I have not yet heard anyone apply to 7/7 in any way, shape or form- into a little box marked "extremist" does nothing to face the issue. And the issue is that Muslim terrorists are inspired to do what they do by the Koran. I doubt that you'll ever hear such a statement made on UK TV because the speaker would instantly be branded a racist and an Islamophobe, a bigot. Those knee-jerk claims might make Leftists feel a little better but they do nothing to advance the discussion.

The plain and simple fact of the matter is that the Koran is filled with exortations to commit violence against infidels. It even tells the believers not to make friends with Jews or Christians, it tells them to lie when making deals because it's okay to lie to infidels. There is no passage in the Bible which tells Christians to lie in wait for their enemies and then to cut off their heads. On the contrary the Bible teaches that "thou shalt not kill". Is there a comparable passage in the Koran?

The root cause of terrorism is not poverty or social inequality- it's religion. Everyone knows this but some seem to want to remain blinkered about the implications. Unlike that utter fool Paddick we cannot simply deny a fact- the terrorists we fight are Muslims and they are devout Muslims. Why else would a man or a girl strap an explosive vest to themselves and then press the button? These appalling acts are committed in the name of Allah. When Nick Berg's head was sawn off it wasn't "America Out" that his captors were shouting, it was "Allah akbar". Zarqawi has issued directives explaining why it is just for him to kill Muslims while carrying out terrorist attacks- it's in the name of religion.

It's a plain and simple fact and yet many people seem to have problems recognising it. Why not listen to what they tell us-

"A spokesman for the Islamic Army of Aden said, "We would have preferred to hit a US frigate, but no problem because they are all infidels."

Remember that- particularly when someone says, as a commenter did here yesterday, that all religions are bad. As I posted a couple of days ago, the Koran teaches that non-Muslims must be converted, or forced to submission and forced to pay a "non-Muslim tax", or killed- their limbs and heads hacked off. I don't see that message in the New Testament, in the teachings of Buddha or in any other religion. Not all religions are equal. A Christian might tell you that you're going to end up in Hell for whatever sin he thinks you're committing but he won't take out a knife and cut your head from your shoulders- as directed by his holy book. That's the point to remember.

Follow Up on 7/7

An awful lot of news today as the world reacts to the bomb attacks on London yesterday. Most important item is that the death toll seems to have climbed overnight- The Times is reporting 52 dead, The Sun 55. BBC still posting the 37 figure from yesterday.

The general concensus is that Londoners, Britons, will not be swayed by these attacks. The terrorists have not dented the resolve of the British people. The question now is, what are we going to do about it? As Michelle Malkin notes, Britain is a haven to foreign extremists and terrorists. London police are asking for information on a Morrocan man named Guerbouzi-

"he's been living comfortably in a flat just blocks from Downing Street with his wife and six kids despite being accused of playing a key role in the Madrid atrocity, as well as a dozen suicide bombings in Casablanca last May which left 33 dead."

Blair has talked a tough talk on terrorism but as the people of Northern Ireland know all too well he caved to terrorism here- Sinn Fein/IRA have been permitted a seat at the talks table, comfortable offices at Stormont (our local parliament building) and even offices at Westminster (the latter despite refusing to take the require oath of loyalty). The IRA are still fully armed and despite carrying out continuing intelligence operations and being the local organised crime outfit, Blair is happy to invite their political leaders to Number 10 for tea and biscuits. They are a prime example to terrorists around the world that Britain is not resolute in the face of their threat- they can carry out their assassinations and bomb attacks for thirty years- even mortar bomb
Number 10 during the 1st Gulf War- and still be invited to sit down for a chat. The same talks might also be happening with Hamas right now too.

If we're to win this fight against terrorism what we need is to do is actually be tough on terrorists, their supporters, their financial backers and their recruiters. There's no point in Blair sending the troops to Iraq and Afghanistan if he's going to allow terrorists to walk freely around Britain or to allow "radical" clerics to preach jihad against the West. Immigration was a big issue in the election and Britain seems to attract an awful lot of asylum seekers- people apparently fleeing countries where they are at risk who just happen to cross a free and safe Europe without once thinking of stopping there. Seems to me like it's time to get tough on our unsecured borders and begin to actually boot out anyone who shouldn't be here.