Target Centermass

7/31/2005

Quote of the Week, 31 JUL 05

Filed under: — Gunner @ 9:06 pm

German prisoners, asked to assess their various enemies, have said that the British attacked singing, and the French attacked shouting, but that the Americans attacked in silence. They liked better the men who attacked singing or shouting than the grimly silent men who kept coming on stubbornly without a sound.

—James Jones

7/30/2005

Islamic ‘Martyrs’ Who Begged for Mercy

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:59 pm

In swift fashion, British and Italian security personnel have nabbed five suspects believed to be responsible for the 7/21 attempted London bombings. The Scotsman, quickly becoming one of my favorite news sources, details the police work, fortunate breaks and tips that led to the quick round-up that now has at least one terrorist broken and babbling like a scared little child.

Dirty, hungry, tired and humiliated, Osman Hussain was already a broken man when Italian security officers took him in for questioning. The suspected bomber had been seized in Rome the previous day as part of an astonishing intelligence operation that snared all of the fugitives being hunted for bringing Islamic terrorism to the UK.

In London four other suspects, Muktar Said-Ibrahim, Yasin Hassan Omar, Ramzi Mohammed and Wahbi Mohammed, were being grilled by specialist interrogators at the high-security anti-terrorist unit at Paddington Green.

Unable to sleep on the uncomfortable concrete slabs and under the round-the-clock glare of the strip lighting in their cells, the prospect of hours of endless questioning will have been daunting.

It seems Osman was the first to break.

Yesterday morning, Italian officials alleged that the 27-year-old Briton, who has Ethiopian citizenship, had begun to give up information, giving the first insight into how the July 21 gang, which tried and failed to blow up London’s public transport, operated.

In what was said to be a signed confession he admitted carrying the rucksack containing explosives but insisted he never intended to kill anyone. Instead he wanted to sow the “seeds of terror”.

It just breaks my heart to see such well-intentioned Islamists reduced to this. Hey, they never wanted to kill anyone, just maybe arouse some social interest. Pay no attention to the bombs wrapped in nails. Make no mistake, these terrorists certainly wanted blood. They certainly wanted lives. I’m just not certain this handful of scum really wanted to be martyrs.

Saddam Attacked in Court … or Not

Filed under: — Gunner @ 4:34 pm

Saddam’s defense team is making a claim of assault on the former tyrant and underwear model.

Members of Saddam Hussein’s Jordan-based defence team claimed that the former Iraqi president was attacked during a court appearance last week, a claim immediately disputed by the chief investigating judge of the tribunal.

A man burst out from those gathered in the court room and tried to hit Saddam as the ousted leader was leaving the courtroom at the end of a 45-minute hearing on Thursday, Saddam’s legal team said in a statement.

“There was an exchange of blows between the man and the president,” the statement said, also claiming that the judge overseeing the hearing did nothing to stop the assault.

The U.S. immediately denied that any such event occurred.

However, a spokeswoman for the US military unit charged with overseeing the custody of prisoners including Saddam, says no such incident took place.

“Nothing like that happened with Saddam whatsoever,” Lieutenant Kristy Miller said.

The US military is in charge of Saddam’s physical custody, although he is in Iraqi legal custody.

Lieutenant Miller says that as far as she knows Saddam almost never leaves US military sight.

Officials at the Iraqi Special Tribunal, the court set up to try the former president and other senior members of his now defunct Baath Party, were not able to be reached for comment.

My guess: a ploy by the defense, a delaying tactic that may be the first sign of desperation.

7/29/2005

Calif. Guard Story and Major K.

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:43 pm

It looks like the investigations into some of the deployed California National Guard units, blogged about here last night, has had an impact on TCm blogroll member Major K.

There are many things that I have to post about, but this is the elephant in the room that I must get out of the way. We have apparently found evil in our midst. I cannot comment on the on going investigation save to say that I am disgusted by the actions of a few that have tarnished the good work of so many others. I am not involved in this situation, and for that I am thankful. Morale has taken quite a hit, but the NightStalkers will bounce back, and be stronger and better for it. The Battalion is currently under a microscope, and many people have been relieved or moved. I, although not involved, got moved as well.

Best wishes to Major K. as he soldiers on in a new role. He’s on target about the bad apples, and I fully expect the Army and the California National Guard to address the issues in question post-haste.

Happy First Blogiversary, Damian

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:13 pm

What, did everybody on my blogroll start blogging on the same day?

First Chad, now Damian Brooks at Babbling Brooks is enjoying his first blogiversary. I recommend Babbling Brooks for a good look at Canadian politics from a conservative stance, as well as the state of the military of our neighbors to the north.

Congrats, Damian, and thanks for the fine reading.

Happy First Blogiversary, Chad

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:17 pm

Feel free to pay a visit to In the Bullpen, where Chad Evans is reflecting on one year of blogging.

In fact, visit often, as In the Bullpen is consistently a fine source for news and opinion on Islamic terrorism. Chad has recently strengthened the site with a re-design and the addition of a second writer to help him carry the load.

Congrats, Chad, and keep up the good work.

Calling All Israeli Video Gamers

Filed under: — Gunner @ 12:29 am

The IDF has a new job for you, as mentioned in this interesting look at the planned Gaza Strip border securities needed for the withdrawal already in motion.

Israel is increasing security at its border with the Gaza Strip in anticipation of next month’s withdrawal, the army said Thursday, disclosing details of a high-tech complex to ring the coastal strip with what it hopes will be the world’s most impenetrable barrier.

The barrier system will surround Gaza with fences, electronic sensors, watchtowers mounted with remote-control machine guns, and hundreds of video and night vision cameras, the military said.

[…]

If they pass this barrier, they would have to traverse a 130-yard swath of land — codenamed Hoover — filled with motion sensors and scanned by an array of day and night optical devices, before reaching the third and newest electronic fence.

Watchtowers armed with remote-controlled machine guns are to be built every 1.2 miles and within a year, remote-controlled, unmanned vehicles will begin patrolling the area.

It’s an interesting look at the planned border defenses of a nation that continuously only gets one shot at getting it right — lose and they’re gone, much to the joy of all of their neighbors. Add to that little pressure the threat of Palestinian terrorism and these border defenses must stay as many steps ahead of potential dangers as possible.

7/28/2005

Man Gets 22-year Term in Bomb Plot

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:00 pm

Sentencing for the would-be millennium bomber has been handed down, and it isn’t enough for a man whose hopes and intentions were to kill thousands.

Ahmed Ressam, the Algerian man who sought to explode a bomb at Los Angeles International Airport on New Year’s Eve 1999, was sentenced Wednesday to 22 years in prison.

Some considered that date the eve of the millennium.

Ressam, 38, became a key U.S. government informant on the Al Qaeda network in the months before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, but he later ended his cooperation.

He was arrested by U.S. authorities in December 1999 as he tried to pass through U.S. Customs at Port Angeles, Wash., in a car with bomb-making materials.

In April 2001, he was convicted of trying to plant a bomb at Los Angeles International Airport, but his sentencing was delayed as Ressam agreed to aid the Justice Department.

Ressam recounted a saga that took him from Algeria, to Montreal, through Europe to an Al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan, then back to Montreal to prepare the Los Angeles bombing attempt.

He offered full or partial identities of more than 120 people he met as he embraced a jihad against the West.

[…]

But Ressam has refused to help the Justice Department move forward with prosecutions of two men suspected of being Al Qaeda operatives.

Ressam will be eligible for parole in fourteen years. I hope he doesn’t live to see it.

Left out of this version of the sentencing story was a little political play by the judge.

The sentence itself was fairly straightforward: An Algerian man received 22 years for plotting to bomb the Los Angeles airport on the eve of the millennium. It was what the judge said in imposing the term that raised eyebrows.

U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour said the successful prosecution of Ahmed Ressam should serve not only as a warning to terrorists, but as a statement to the Bush administration about its terrorism-fighting tactics.

“We did not need to use a secret military tribunal, detain the defendant indefinitely as an enemy combatant or deny the defendant the right to counsel,” he said. “The message to the world from today’s sentencing is that our courts have not abandoned our commitment to the ideals that set our nation apart.”

He added that the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks have made Americans realize they are vulnerable to terrorism and that some believe “this threat renders our Constitution obsolete … If that view is allowed to prevail, the terrorists will have won.”

First, there was absolutely no reason for this little bit of ankle-biting by Coughenour other than a personal need to inject his own political view. Second, while the judge is right that our court system could be used to handle the likes of the scum we currently are holding at Gitmo, that does not mean that they must be used or that military tribunals should not be used. Third and quite key in this matter, there is a major difference between Ressam and the Gitmo detainees — Ressam was snagged within our borders in the process of committing criminal, though admittedly terrorist, acts and the Gitmo folks were captured in a foreign combat theater acting not as part of a uniformed enemy force. These detainees are not even eligible to be guaranteed the protections of the Geneva conventions, much less the American legal system. That they have been subjected to military tribunals is not a threat to the Constitution of the United States of America. The same cannot be necessarily said of judges who wander from only tangentially related rulings to offer criticisms of executive-branch policies.

Who Will Guard the Guards?

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:12 pm

Specifically, I’m talking about soldiers of the California National Guard. Once again, their back in the news and, once again, not in a good way.

At least 23 members of a California National Guard battalion serving in Iraq are under investigation for the alleged abuse of Iraqi detainees and for a $30,000 extortion scheme involving promises to protect shopkeepers from insurgents, the Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday.

Citing military officials and unnamed members of the unit, the newspaper said the abuse allegations focused on an incident in which a stun gun was apparently used to torture Iraqi detainees after an insurgent attack in June on a Baghdad area power plant. At least 17 soldiers are under investigation.

[…]

The extortion scheme under investigation is said to have involved at least six soldiers on night patrols in the Baghdad areas who demanded more than $30,000 from shopkeepers in exchange for protection from insurgents.

Add these investigations from abroad to the California Guard’s recent difficulties at home and you’re well on your way to a very ugly black eye for the reserve components.

7/27/2005

“Over There”

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:07 pm

I’ll admit, I went into tonight’s premier of FX’s Over There with much trepidation. Simply put, I generally don’t trust Hollywood.

More thoughts later, but I’d like to throw out a few initial observations.

  • It just wouldn’t be Hollywood if we didn’t quickly show drug use and racial tension in the ranks
  • “Keep quiet” and “keep down” apparently means little to soldiers
  • One very realistic line from the sergeant during a lull in the action: “Do something useful … eat!”
  • Soldier stereotypes? Check, we got’em
  • Surprisingly questionable portrayal of women in combat. I doubt this will last many episodes
  • Six soldiers loudly sound off down the line and relay back, even though they appear to be less than twenty meters apart (nice spacing tactics, Hollywood, repeatedly)
  • Nice mention of my alma mater Texas A&M
  • Overall, visually good but is air support for a lengthy mosque siege beyond the series budget?
  • Flags on an IED (or mine) on the side of the road?!
  • What’s up with the guy without a kevlar in the IED aftermath?!!

My overall impression: negative. Well, at least Battlestar Galactica‘s position as the best show currently on the tube is safe.

Charmaine Yoest at Reasoned Audacity live-blogged it, as did elgato at the Swanky Conservative.

UPDATE: Well, I’m having a little connectivity issue so, while I’m waiting to actually publish this post, I wanted to point out something. I thought I saw an issue with a tank shown silhouetted on the horizon. During the immediate rebroadcast, the problem was obvious and more clear in another shot where an “M1” was in the background — obvious mock-up. While pretty good on the turret and body outline (that is, without the ability to pause and really nitpick), apparently there was nothing they could do about the position of the bore evacuator on the gun tube. Gunner no likey! If anybody can nab some screen captures of these few scenes, I’d love to take a further peek.

UPDATE 2: Well, I linked two who live-blogged the show. How about two MilBloggers who intentionally avoided it? For your reading entertainment, Eric explains his avoidance at Eric’s Grumbles Before the Grave and Blackfive‘s commenters weigh in heavily.

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