Tuesday, December 30, 2008


This is coolbert:

Here are some interesting photographs of the heavy artillery as employed by the British prior to the Somme Offensive, 1 July, 1916.

The only artillery capable of destroying those German deep "mined" dug-outs, some thirty or so feet below ground level [10 meters], according to John Keegan, would have been the 12 inch and 15 inch pieces. Firing a delayed action round, burrowing into the ground first, and then exploding. The British had only six of the 15 inch howitzers present for duty at the Somme. And of those six, the ammunition supply was severely rationed!

8-inch Howitzer Mk1 Somme July 1 1916


A 12-inch howitzer

BL 15-Inch Howitzer And Shell

Some comments:

* ONLY the eight inch howitzer was transportable without having to be broken down. The remaining howitzers had to be disassembled for transport, reassembled upon arriving at position.

"It [9.2 inch] was transported in 3 separate loads - body and cradle, bed, barrel - towed either by heavy horses or Holt tractor."

"The 12 inch was dismantled and transported in 6 loads mounted on traction engine wheels. It was then reassembled on its static siege mounting on top of a steel "holdfast", with 22 tons of earth in a box sitting on the front of the hold fast in front of the gun, to counteract the kick of firing."

* Assembly too of each of the big-bore howitzers had to be a laborious task. An apparatus was required just to manhandle the various sections for assembly. Pulleys, hoist, etc. That same apparatus also needed for the handling of shells.

* In addition, a pair of what were called hold-fasts was needed for each howitzer. Boxes filled with tons of earth that the howitzer frame could be attached to. One box below ground under the piece, one above ground, forward of the howitzer. For stability and to prevent tipping from the recoil!

"A 'holdfast' had to be buried to provide a secure platform, the weapon assembled on top, and a box containing 9 tons of earth further anchored the holdfast in front, to counteract the tendency of the carriage front to lift on firing."

* Please look carefully at that photo of the 12 inch howitzer. Everyone at the ready, prepared to load another round prior to firing. Shell, powder charge, ram-rod! Those big-bore howitzers COULD NOT BE LOADED WITHOUT DEPRESSING THE BARREL TO THE HORIZONTAL EACH AND EVERY TIME YOU FIRED A ROUND?! That is how it appears to me. Precision firing and adjustments were made impossible by such a situation?! I am no expert, but that is how it appears to me.

Large, ponderous artillery pieces, suitable for siege situations, but not for mobile warfare.

But, then for the most part, the combat of World War One was not of the mobile variety, was it?!


Sunday, December 28, 2008


This is coolbert.

Here from a web site dedicated to World War One [WW1] history, an extract with my comments regarding the British seven day artillery bombardment prior to the grand offensive on the Somme, 1916:

"A Slow Fuse - Hitler's World War One Experience"

"One of the battle's [Somme] greatest myths claims that the Kaiser's soldiers were hunkered down in bunkers impervious to the Allied bombardment - and that is how the British saw it. Believing the enemy had been annihilated, they were shocked to find that the Germans had not only survived but were able to resist the attacks. 'Shellproof' bunkers became the only possible explanation for this."

"While it is true that the Germans were in well built defences, it is just as true that the heaviest of British shells could obliterate pretty much anything in their path - including most bunkers. The Germans were subjected to one of the world's heaviest bombardments. It is impossible to know just how many dug-outs became tombs. The noise alone put fear of God into the soldiers and this was combined with the knowledge that an incoming shell could bring instant death; no wonder many men were driven out of their minds."

"It became a question of mental toughness. If enough men remained alive and sane, then the trenches could be held and re-enforcements brought up to face the onslaught. The tactic, as the British found out, worked."

With regard to shell-proof bunkers and [one of the] the "greatest myths" of the battle, the ability of the German infantry to survive the intense, hitherto unsurpassed, and seemingly all-powerful and devastating artillery bombardment, the comments of John Keegan from his book, "The Face of Battle" are most germane:

"During the afternoon [of 26 June] aerial torpedoes, fired from heavy mortars [super-heavy howitzers] in the British front-line, made their first appearance. Coming down almost perpendicularly from a great height, these monsters bored deep into the ground and then burst . . . The Germans, who up till now had endured the inferno almost with indifference, began to feel alarmed. Every nerve was strained as they sat listening to the devilish noise and waited for the dull thud of the next torpedo as it buried itself in the ground and then the devastating explosion . . . in spite of the devastation and chaos on the surface the defenders in those of the deep dug-outs still intact (the majority) had . . . survived the ordeal. For seven days and night they had sat on the long wooden benches and or on the wire beds in the evil-smelling dug-outs some twenty feet and more below ground. The incessant noise and the need for constant watchfulness had allowed them little sleep, and ever-present, too, had been the fear that their dug-outs might at any time become living tomb."

"But they were alive"!!

The Germans WERE VERY SECURE in their "mined" dugouts. Thirty or so feet deep [10 meters], perhaps even designed by mining engineers and dug by professional miners that also happened to be front line troops!

[the Japanese fortifications and tunnel complexes at Iwo Jima, World War Two [WW2] were very similar in nature!!]

What was required for British success in annihilating those deep-underground dugouts of the Germans was heavy artillery firing with pinpoint accuracy BURROWING rounds with delayed fusing.

Artillery pieces of 8 inch or greater bore, preferably howitzers lobbing a round on a high trajectory, the shell descending downward almost vertically, impacting close to the German dugout, "burrowing" and then exploding.

[the British had on the battlefield 6-, 8-, 9.2-, 12-, and 15 inch howitzers [155 mm, 203 mm, 234 mm, 304 mm, 381 mm respectively]. Only the latter two had the capability to destroy a mined dug-out. Of the 15 inch howitzer there existed six of those, and with a carefully rationed number of shells to be fired!]

Some of the statistics as cited by Keegan give an indication of WHY the British bombardment was so ineffective:

* Of the 1.5 million artillery rounds fired during the seven day bombardment at the Somme, two-thirds [1 million] were fired from 18 pounder artillery pieces. NOT burrowing grounds but air-burst or ground-impact fuse, detonating a SHRAPNEL round! These were for wire cutting. totally 100 % ineffective in destroying the deep dugouts.

* Of the remaining 0.5 million artillery rounds fired, only a small fraction of those were of the big-bore, deep-burrowing variety that were needed.


The ability of the German to survive the bombardment was in part due to mental toughness, the British using "the wrong sort of projectile for the job", and that the British gunners "lacked the skill to put a shell where they wanted it to fall" [often not knowing exactly where to put the shell in the first place!!]!


This - - of course - - to the chagrin of the attacking British - - is exactly what occurred at the Somme!


Saturday, December 27, 2008


This is coolbert:

Here, thanks to JihadWatch and Robert Spencer, a very good graphic that shows the number of Qassam rockets and mortar rounds [??] fired from Gaza into Israel during the past year. The renewed bombardment by Hamas that Israel is now responding to.

A four month lull, a truce, from July until October. Then the bombardment began anew, with a vengeance!

It will be interesting to see the graphic after the current Israeli offensive ends, and for some months subsequent to that.



This is coolbert:

Here is your daily hot button topic. Thanks to the BBC.

"Israel set for prolonged Gaza op"

"Israel says it will widen its attacks on Hamas if necessary to stop the Palestinian militant group firing rockets from the Gaza Strip."

"Israeli F-16 bombers hit targets across the Gaza Strip on Saturday, killing at least 225 people, local medics say."

"'If what we're doing in the air will not suffice we'll continue on the ground,' Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak told BBC News."

"Israel's air raids were the heaviest on the Gaza Strip for decades."

The truce, between Israel and Hamas has ended. A six-month hiatus [actually more like four months], now over. Hamas has resumed firing Qassam rockets at Sderot and Ashkelon with abandon. And the Israeli now has retaliated with massive force.

Attacking, with presumably laser guided bombs, Hamas infrastructure, fighting positions, munitions factories, etc.

From the news [radio] reports this evening, the IAF [Israel Air Force], by self-admission, has dropped 100 tons of bombs on Gaza.

100 TONS of bombs dropped in just one day is extraordinary.

My comment:

* That 100 tons is just not the weight of the bombs. That is primarily the weight of the high explosive contained within the bomb. An aerial delivered bomb has a thin skin, the vast percentage of the bomb's total weight being the explosive.

That 100 tons, too, needs to be put into context.

During the British preparatory bombardment for the Somme Offensive [1916], British artillerymen, firing almost continuously, also were able to deliver about 900 tons of high explosive on the German targets. BUT REQUIRED SEVEN DAYS OF INTENSIVE EFFORT TO DO SO, 1.5 MILLION ARTILLERY ROUNDS BEING FIRED DURING THAT TIME!!

12,000 tons of artillery shells were fired during that time period [seven days], but those shells contained ONLY 900 tons of high-explosive bang stuff!

100 tons in one day alone in a small concentrated area like Gaza is an enormous expenditure of ordnance. And in such a heavily populated area as Gaza, you are going to have a lot of collateral damage and civilian unintended deaths, laser guidance or no laser guidance.


Friday, December 26, 2008


This is coolbert:

Here from the online edition of the British tabloid "DailyMail"!

Almost one hundred years after the fact, the secret, the real story behind the sinking of the Lusitania has been revealed?

The Lusitania was carrying war munitions and was a legitimate target of war. Sank with justification by a German U-boat. NOT an atrocity as alleged, but a legal and lawful act of war.

Allegations that the Lusitania was carrying munitions have been made ever since the sinking of the ship in 1916. This find, however, seems to answer the question once and for all?

"Secret of the Lusitania: Arms find challenges Allied claims it was solely a passenger ship"

"But now divers have revealed a dark secret about the cargo carried by the Lusitania on its final journey in May 1915."

"Munitions they found in the hold suggest that the Germans had been right all along in claiming the ship was carrying war materials and was a legitimate military target."

"The diving team estimates that around four million rounds of U.S.-manufactured Remington .303 bullets lie in the Lusitania's hold at a depth of 300ft."

Ammunition specifically for the British SMLE rifle.

"bullets that were expressly manufactured to kill Germans in World War I - bullets that British officials in Whitehall, and American officials in Washington, have long denied were aboard the Lusitania."

"The discovery may help explain why the 787ft Lusitania sank within 18 minutes of a single German torpedo slamming into its hull."

"Some of the 764 survivors reported a second explosion which might have been munitions going off."

Some specific comments here:

* Supposedly, in the White House, is a safe, the instructions to the combination saying: "to be opened ONLY by the President of the United States"! This sounds so very dramatic, doesn't it! That safe purportedly contains documents that reveal the TRUE AND REAL past. Events as they actually unfolded and NOT the varnished history book type of stuff. Among those items to be found within the White house safe is THE ORIGINAL AND TRUE SHIPPING MANIFEST OF THE LUSITANIA!! ONLY the President knows for sure.


* I am skeptical that the .303 SMLE ammunition would have caused secondary explosions that hastened the demise of the Lusitania. Perhaps I am wrong about this, but normally rifle cartridges, even in a mass, would NOT explode with the same force as a conventional high power explosive [TNT, gun cotton, black power, RDX, etc.]!

* If some of that ammo is recovered, it might be possible to trace the munitions to the origin, a factory somewhere in the U.S., I presume? Meticulous records are kept of such "stuff"! This might be worth a go for researchers.



This is coolbert:

"Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house NO VX was stirring, neither was a mouse!!" - - Bert.

Here, thanks to the web site NewsMax, some very good news.

Deadly chemical agents, destroyed. Stored for decades. Posing a threat to everyone even when merely stored, are now gone.

Here the article from NewsMax reprinted in entirety:

"Army Says Last Nerve Agent Destroyed at Ala. Depot"

Wednesday, December 24, 2008 3:30 PM

"ANNISTON, Ala. -- The Army says it has destroyed the last of its weapons containing deadly nerve agents at the Anniston Army Depot in east Alabama.

An Army statement said the last weapon containing VX nerve agent was destroyed at the depot's chemical weapons incinerator on Wednesday. The incinerator finished destroying another kind of nerve agent, sarin, in 2006."

"The milestone means the incinerator has finished destroying the most dangerous chemical weapons stored at the Alabama installation. All that remains now are weapons loaded with mustard agent, which is far less dangerous than the nerve agents.

Destruction of the chemical weapons began in 2003. The Cold War-era weapons had been stored in dirt-covered bunkers at the depot for nearly five decades."

The most deadly nerve gas shells [since these were stored on an Army installation, I am assuming these were artillery rounds!] have been done away with. A monumental task that now nears fruition. Lots of concern about these chemical rounds for decades. So deadly are these agents that just attempting to move to another location for disposal was deemed too hazardous. Destruction in situ was decided upon as the way to go. Expensive but in the long run worth the cost.

Some comments about chemical m,munitions rounds in general:

* Man is not able to make a container that WILL NOT LEAK TO SOME DEGREE!! These were first generation nerve gas rounds with the lethal chemicals already active inside the artillery shell. Very hazardous just laying inert and stored.

* When these nerve gas rounds were first designed, NO PROVISIONS HAD EVER BEEN MADE FOR DESTRUCTION. The assumption was that these weapons would be used.

* The process of design, engineering, prototyping, working the bugs out of the facility and machinery involved in destruction of the chemical rounds was an ordeal in itself. But the military persevered and success is now at hand!

Please do not think however, that this means the U.S. is totally out of the chemical warfare business. NO! The U.S. has stockpiled [??], or has at the ready, the capacity to manufacture chemical weapons of the binary variety!

"Binary chemical weapons or munitions are chemical weapons wherein the toxic agent is not contained within the weapon in its active state, but in the form of two chemical precursors, physically separated within the weapon"

"The chemical reaction takes place while the weapon is in flight. Firing the munition ruptures the capsules. The munition spins rapidly in flight, which thoroughly mixes the two precursors, so they can react with one another. Finally, a bursting charge aerosolizes and distributes the chemical agent."

This wiki entry is not totally correct? A binary chemical munition, artillery or otherwise, DOES contain the two precursor chemicals, separated by a membrane. A membrane only broken when the round [artillery] is fired. BUT, IT WAS MY UNDERSTANDING THAT JUST PRIOR TO FIRING, YET A THIRD CHEMICAL HAD TO BE ADDED TO THE ROUND. An additional built-in engineered safety factor. The mere mixing of the two precursor chemicals alone will not produce nerve agent unless the third chemical is also present. My understanding.

Perhaps someone out there knows better?


Thursday, December 25, 2008


This is coolbert:

Here is the Pakistani general officer named just recently by Newsweek as "one of the 50 most powerful people in the world":

General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani (Urdu: اشفاق پرویز کیانی ) (born April 1952, Gujar Khan Tehsil, Punjab) is a Pakistani general and the current Chief of Army Staff of the Pakistan Army."

"One of the 50 most powerful people in the world"!!

[of the fifty most powerful people in the world, only two military men were named. One was Kayani and the other was General Petraeus.]

Fortunately for the Pakistani, and for the rest of the world for that matter, a man who does not seem to be a man absorbed with politics and desiring political power of the dictatorial way!

* "He grew up in a working-class family"

* "son of a junior officer"

* "described as a soft-spoken intellectual"

* "apolitical"

* "disciplined"

Also served as an aide to Prime Minister Bhutto and is familiar with the civilian power structure and intrigues of Pakistani politics:

"Kayani rose to eventually serve Benazir Bhutto as her deputy military secretary during her first stint as prime minister in 1988-1990."

Has taken measures to make sure the Pakistani military remains apolitical, respecting the democratic process:

"In January 2008 General Kayani passed a directive which ordered military officers not to maintain contacts with politicians."

"General Kayani ordered the withdrawal of military officers from all of Pakistan's government civil departments." [military men had been embedded into all civil departments to "keep an eye" on things!!]

Kayani wishes that:

"The army fully stands behind the democratic process and is committed to playing its constitutional role."

NOT to engage in intrigue, coup de etat, etc. [four times the Pakistani military has staged a coup and overthrown the democratically elected government!!]

This too is the man that met with Admiral Mike Mullen aboard the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln earlier this year. The purported meeting was to discuss American cross-border raids from Afghan into Pakistan. Violation of Pakistani sovereignty and ordinarily an act of war!! Acts of War ordinarily not countenanced by a sovereign power! Kayani and Mullen had a fruitful discussion with a modus vivendi being reached?

"modus vivendi –noun - - 2. a temporary arrangement between persons or parties pending a settlement of matters in debate."

Kayani is NOT in an enviable position. In my opinion Pakistan is one of the two most worrisome places on earth. The second being Saudi Arabia. If either one of those two nations goes under, from chaotic conditions, being followed by an Islamic fundamentalist take-over, the entire world will be in grave danger.


Pakistan too has so much bad occurring all at once. Hard to know which problem requires tackling and with what priority. Internal revolt emanating from the Tribal Areas, Northwest Territory, Swat Valley! Indigenous revolting Pakistani, Taliban, foreign fighters of all persuasions. AND the endemic problems with India and the ever-lasting threat of war or low-intensity conflict over Kashmir. ALL THIS - - AND A NUCLEAR POWER TOO!!

Kayani is apolitical but has to walk a tight rope. I can see where Newsweek has a point in naming this man "one of the 50 most powerful people in the world"!


This man is totally qualified and able to do so? I think so.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Baron.

This is coolbert:

Baron Munchhausen, the man who has become synonymous with the teller of tall-tales, DID have a fairly successful military career.

Did participate in military campaigns, a cavalryman, an officer NOT of high rank, but still respectable and competent.

"Karl Friedrich Hieronymus, Freiherr von Münchhausen (11 May 1720 – 22 February 1797) (sometimes spelled Munchausen in English) was a German baron born in Bodenwerder . . . and later joined the Russian military. He served until 1750, in particular taking part in two campaigns against the Ottoman Turks."

During his productive but NOT outstanding military career he was named [and held the ranks of]:

* "a cornet in the Russian cavalry"
* "promoted to lieutenant."
* "named a Rittmeister, a cavalry captain."

"A cornet is a new and junior officer." "Traditional duties - - The cornet carried the troop standard, also known as a 'cornet'." "The rank of Cornet was the equivalent of the infantry rank of ensign"

A cadet officer, a cornet, equivalent to the ensign. Even as a man of noble birth, the good Baron still had to pay his dues, start from the bottom and show they was a man of merit and worth who could perform military duties in a suitable fashion.


Here for instance, in Chapter Ten of the tall-tales, the good Baron relates how he:

* "Pays a visit during the siege of Gibraltar"
* "Sinks a Spanish man-of-war [warship]"
* "Destroys all the enemy's cannon"
* "frightens the Count d'Artois [the enemy commander], and sends him to Paris"
* "Saves the lives of two English spies"
* "raises the siege"

And did so more or less single-handedly and without having even broken a sweat. But he was a noble man and possessed natural bearing and demeanor - - wasn't he! And all of these incredible deeds were understood by readers of the time to be told in good-natured-fun and not to be taken seriously? I think that was the case. NOT presented as fact and an esteem building exercise purely for the benefit of the Baron.

The Baron was NOT a fake military hero/prevaricator/imposter/poseur'!!


Phonies & Wannabees

This is coolbert:

“I made a mistake” - - “I did something wrong and apologized for it.”

Here from the Chicago Tribune yesterday:

NEWS FOCUS - - Stolen valor: A Tribune investigation

Hunt is on for phony POW’s

Private watchdogs scour questionable claims to ex-prisoner, elite warrior status

Back once more, how many times is it now, to the subject of the fake military war hero. The imposter/prevaricator/poseur’!

NOW, the fake prisoner-of-war [POW]! “I was a prisoner of the enemy - - horrible things were done to me - - they did degrading, inhumane things to us!”

“The story that Richard Barr Cayton has told of his Vietnam War service features a torturous march through the jungle . . . [with] his arms tied to a branch . . . He was a prisoner of war, he said”

“For all its drama, Cayton’s story of captivity and a flight to freedom is not supported by military records or interviews . . . Records show that Cayton was a soldier but never a prisoner of war”

“Such claims are so common that a cottage industry of sorts has emerged to expose phony POW’s, Navy SEAL’s, Green Berets and others falsely claiming that they served in Elite military units.”

[right, none of these guys ever claim that they worked as a communications center specialist or some such military occupation. Always I-was-a-trained-killer-and-have-been-sworn-to-an-oath-of-secrecy-and-know-fifty-ways-to-kill-with-my-bare-hands!!]

Among those involved in such a “cottage industry” of ferreting out the wannabee war hero/prevaricator/imposter/poseur’ are Mary and Chuck Schantag:

This couple, working on their own, has “exposed close to 1,900 people who falsely claimed to be prisoners of war and another 2,000 men who falsely claimed they served in elite units.”

This Richard Barr Cayton, too, did have a distinguished military career, even after Vietnam. Retired after a long period of active duty status, with the rank of Command Sergeant Major. He is NOT a man who needs to falsify anything. And yet, he did!

For the most part, these phonies are your everyday sad-sack, sorry individuals, living a “Walter Mitty", “Baron Munchhausen”, “Flashman” type of life - - BUT ONLY IN THEIR OWN MIND!!??

It takes a battalion of psychologists to figure these guys [military imposter/prevaricator/false war hero/poseur’] out, if it can be done at all!

In case any of you were wondering, just so the record is straight from the get-go, the MOS [military occupation specialty] of your reporter when on active duty was 72B, communications center specialist. And no Medals of Honor won either.




This is coolbert:

"If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle." - - Sun Tzu.

Even the most casual student of military history is familiar with this famous quotation, attributed to the Chinese military theoretician [?] Sun Tzu?

That word - - "knowing" - - in the sense as would have been understood by Sun, is a much more complex proposition than generally realized? We are not just talking about bean counting here. NOT just talking about knowing, from intelligence sources, the number of tanks, submarines, manned long-range bombers, etc., that your potential adversary possesses.

KNOW must be understood in a much more nuanced sense as well?

We are also, perhaps, even more interested in the THOUGHT PROCESSES of the potential adversary. Intentions, motivations, the logical, rational, reasoned manner with with the foe arrives at decisions.

Here, from the Penskovskiy Papers, the Soviet GRU Colonel and spy for CIA/M16 Oleg Penskovskiy elaborates on the difficulties faced by those that "hope" to "know" the enemy:

"One thing must be clearly understood. If someone were to hand to an American general, an English general, and a Soviet general the same set of objective facts and scientific data, with instructions that these facts and data must be accepted as unimpeachable, and an analysis made and conclusions drawn on the basis of them, it is possible that the American and the Englishman would reach similar conclusions - - I don't know."

"But the Soviet general would arrive at conclusions which would be radically different from the other two."

And, according to Penskovskiy this is because of:

1. "he begins from a completely different set of basic premises and preconceived ideas."

2. "the logical process in his mind is totally unlike that of his Western counterparts."

3. "a different set of moral laws governs and restricts the behavior of the Soviet."

4. "the Soviet general's aims will be radically different from those of the American and the Englishman."

Premises and preconceived ideas - - logical processes - - moral laws - - radically different aims!!

And for each adversary, whoever they may be, the premises, the processes, the laws, the aims, WILL ALL BE DIFFERENT!! The Russians one way, the Chinese another, Bin Laden yet one more, etc.!!

There IS a lot of controversy regarding the "Penskovskiy Papers". Reputed in some circles to be a fraud. A fake, a forgery, concocted by the CIA.

According to the author Frank Gibney, these "papers" are not a fraud, a fake, a lie, a forgery.

Gibney relates how he was handed [by the CIA] a "mass" of typed anecdotal ruminations, random musings, incomplete essays and narratives. All purportedly written by Penskovskiy during his espionage career.

Gibney, along with the translation done by the Soviet defector Deriabin, put this incoherent "mass" into book form for publication. As simple as that?

Works for me! For others, such as Victor Marchetti and the Church Commission, the whole thing was a fraud. Gibney protests that NO ONE EVER ASKED HIM ABOUT ANY OF WHAT WAS PURPORTED TO BE TRUE OF FALSE!!

"The book was commissioned by the Central Intelligence Agency. A 1976 Senate commission stated that 'the book was prepared and written by witting agency assets who drew on actual case materials.' Author Frank Gibney denied that the CIA forged the provided source material, which was also the opinion of Robert Conquest. Other dismissed the book as propaganda and having no historic value"

What is one to think? I guess each reader must make their own judgement.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

One Eye.

This is coolbert:

"Wotan [Odin]—that is, the Furious—carries on war and imparts to man strength against his enemies."

Here is the shoulder patch for Task Force ODIN.

Please look closely at it. Whoever designed that patch has a keen and thorough knowledge of Norse mythology.

According to Norse mythology, Odin, the top god, the boss god, analogous to Zeus of Greek mythology, is closely associated with war, battle, the horse, the spear!


* Rides into battle astride an eight-legged horse, named Sleipnir.
* Is accompanied by two wolves, who do his biding! These are named Geri and Freki.
* Has at his beck and call, "two ravens Huginn and Muninn (Thought and Memory), who fly around Earth daily and report the happenings of the world to Odin"
* Uses [a] "spear Gungnir, which never misses its target"

"Odin is closely connected with a horse and spear . . . [and rides into battle astride] a nightmareish horse god (Echwaz), later signified by the eight legged Sleipnir."

"He also commands a pair of wolves named Geri and Freki"

You can see only the forequarters of the horse as shown on the shoulder patch. But the four front legs are clearly visible. This is Sleipnir.

Also, Odin is sometimes called and referred to as, "One Eye". To gain wisdom, according to the tale, Odin plucked out HIS OWN EYE and offered it as a sacrifice, again, to gain wisdom. The patch shows - - Odin as possessing one eye?! Geri and Freki for that matter too!?

And the Predator UAV and the two-engine manned aircraft as shown on the ODIN patch symbolize Huginn and Muninn! Please note the two-engined aircraft has wings feathered on the end as would a bird!

Task Force ODIN does obtain and possess wisdom?! True!! ODIN also, "imparts to man strength against his enemies." This too, true!

ODIN - - good hunting!! [Odin too is the god of the hunt!]



This is coolbert:

"We have been working on this problem for some time now and we have had some success."

"Observe, Detect, Identify, and Neutralize" [ODIN]

From the web site StrategyPage.

"Afghanistan Attacked By The Math Machine"

"The U.S. Army is deploying the same kind of "math and missiles" unit that defeated roadside bombs in Iraq, to Afghanistan. For the last two years, "Task Force Odin" has used of manned and UAV aerial reconnaissance aircraft, along with pattern analysis and data mining, to find IEDs (roadside bombs), and the people who plant them in Iraq."

[ODIN is more correctly capitalized!!]

Intelligence, gleaned from esoteric analysis algorithms, and successfully used against the bad guys in Iraq. Used to defeat IED and EFP! NOT touted in the media, but still counted as having done a lot of good.


Roadside bombs defeated using operational Research analysis tools such as:

1. Pattern analysis.

"Pattern analysis is one of the fundamental tools Operations Research (OR) practitioners have been using since World War II (when the newly developed field of OR got its first big workout)."

Task Force Odin, mission responsible for the analysis - - counts not only having prevented the use of roadside munitions, but ALSO WITH HAVING FOILED NUMEROUS AMBUSHES, TERRORIST INCIDENTS, AND INSTRUMENTAL IN THE KILLING A LOT OF VILLAINS IN THE PROCESS!!
"the early detection of thousands of roadside bombs and terrorist ambushes."

"Task Force Odin led to the death of over 3,000 terrorists caught in the act of setting up roadside bombs, or lying in wait to set them off and attack their victims with gunfire. Hundreds more terrorists were captured, and many thousands of roadside bombs were avoided or destroyed before they could go off."

2. Predictive Analysis.

"A related math tool is predictive analysis."

"Predictive analytics encompasses a variety of techniques from statistics and data mining that analyze current and historical data to make predictions about future events."

Analysts are able to used this particular algorithm to determine, with a pretty good degree of certainty:

"who the bombers are, where they are, and where they are most likely to place their bombs next."

Everyone agrees that Afghan, because of climate, terrain, etc., will be more difficult a proposition than Iraq? And those very isolated Forward Operating Bases [FOB's] will need all the help they can get.

The U.S. Army is ratcheting up the effort in Afghan - - as we speak. It will be in the nick of time. Hail ODIN!


Friday, December 19, 2008


This is coolbert:

“Every NCO [non-commissioned-officer] needs to be able to do three things”:

* “Organize a defensive perimeter.”
* “Employ indirect [supporting] fires.”
* “Operate a radio in two different nets.”

- - as said by a survivor of the Battle of the Ia Drang valley - - Vietnam - - 1965.

From the Chicago Tribune today:


Military’s plan differs from Obama vision

“WASHINGTON - - U.S. military commanders in Iraq have outlined troop reduction plans that remain at odds with President-elect Barack Obama’s preferences but believe they may be able to reconcile the two goals.”

“Commanders suggest a more gradual reduction than Obama’s proposal for a withdrawal of combat troops within 16 months.”

“Obama has proposed removing all combat troops in 16 months, he has proposed a residual force after May 2010.”

A “residual force” where combat troops are reclassified as “training units” But still a reduction overall to about 50,000 by May 2010.

A withdrawal of COMBAT TROOPS within 16 months. Those units classified as combat arms - - infantry - - armor - - artillery - - air defense - - army aviation!! This is what the President-elect has stated is his goal.

Remove FIRST the combat troops and leave behind a “residual” force of combat support and combat service support units.



This policy is based upon the ASSUMPTION that the current situation in Iraq will remain stable and that the need for involvement of U.S. combat troops will continue to be diminished?

What if - - however - - the situation in Iraq deteriorates in a marked manner? Where the continued presence of American military units becomes untenable?

A deteriorating situation requiring a sudden, precipitous and unforeseen immediate withdrawal of those remaining U.S. forces!


A fighting withdrawal by American military units, those units NOT BEING ORGANIZED, EQUIPPED, TRAINED OR READY TO DO SO!!

If and when the withdrawal from Iraq is made, withdraw the same way you went in! Combat arms went in first - - combat arms goes out last.


Has anyone thought this through!!?? This General Jones is on the ball and will see that the withdrawal from Iraq is done right??

“Organize a defensive perimeter” - - “Employ indirect [supporting] fires” - - “Operate a radio in two different nets”!!



This is coolbert:

Here is a weapon that is a favorite of Bert. NOT sure if this is still in the U.S. arsenal, but it should be.

The flechette round. An "artillery" round, fired from a big-bore piece, ordinarily a 105 mm howitzer or a 106 mm recoilless rifle, that can cause a big world-of-hurt for the enemy.

An "artillery" round, that when fired, sends a spew, a "cloud" of small arrow-like flechettes at the enemy. Flechettes, about one inch long [25.4 mm], each having a lethal capacity. Fired in the direct-fire mode at a massed attack of enemy ground troops charging at you in a dense formation.

"A flechette is a common military missile which is shaped generally similar to a dart or arrow, i.e. it has a relatively long slender body, at one end of which are disposed guiding fins."

"Flechettes are launched individually toward a target from a launcher having a bore."

Ordinarily fired from what are termed "big-bore" weapons. Shotguns, recoilless rifles, artillery pieces, rockets.

"Flechettes are fin stabilized steel projectiles similar in appearance to arrows"

"Flechettes for small arms and antipersonnel use are very small and light weight, 8 to 13 grains, 1 inch to 1 1/2 inch long with fins approximately 25% of length, a diameter of less then 0.1 inches."

Scale is not present here. That "arrow" is slightly longer than a centimeter [about one inch in actuality, 25.4 mm!]

Used by the U.S. military in a variety of weapons. To include:

* Ontos.
* M102 howitzer.
* Hydra 70 Folding Fin Aerial Rocket.

Used by the American military in Vietnam to counter massed enemy human-wave attacks. Fired from Ontos or the 105 mm howitzer in the direct-fire role, during times of close-quarters combat with enemy forces, the situation at the time for American infantry often being quite dire!!

"Beehive is an anti-personnel round fired from an artillery gun, packed full of metal darts, flechettes, which are ejected from the shell in front of the target by the action of a mechanical time fuse. It is so-called because of the 'buzzing' sound the darts make when flying through the air and in the manner of numerous bees around an actual beehive."

"Beehive rounds were extensively used in the Vietnam War, for defence of fire base perimeters against massed enemy attacks . . . The primary beehive round for this purpose . . . projected 8000 flechettes and was direct fired from a near horizontally levelled barrel of a 105mm howitzer"

Such an instance where the "beehive" round was used in combat, very effectively so, was at LZ Bird!

"'Screeching Bees'"

"Artillerymen were busy doing their jobs, too. Piper and Staff Sgt. Robert Underwood loaded a beehive round into one of the 105mm howitzers. Yelling a warning to get down, Piper yanked the lanyard. Instantly, 8,500 flechettes (tiny metal-shaped arrows) tore into the attacking NVA ranks."

"It screeched like a million bees. I saw a big hole in their [NVA] ranks, and then I heard screaming. Those bodies were ripped to shreds. Then they fired again with the same results. The assault was stopped dead in its tracks."


Please do not think, however, that the use of the flechette as a projectile is only a modern development. FAR FROM IT!

1. "The first projectiles used in early gun systems from the 1300's were flechettes"

"The earliest gun system's use of flechette projectiles is from the 1326" [!!!]

Right! The original gun systems [1300's], as existed at the time, were very primitive. The concept of rifling was non-existent, and the industrial processes of the time did not allow for ammunition to be mass produced and manufactured to industrial tolerances, adequate in dimensional sizes to be used properly with firearms of the period. You went with what you were familiar with, an arrow shaped object, albeit made of METAL!

2. World War One [WW1]. Flechettes were also employed in as anti-personal weaponry during World War One [WW1], flung out of an aircraft upon enemy troops below! [death from above has a special meaning in this case, does it not?]

"The typical use of flechettes were as antipersonnel projectiles dropped from aircraft over enemy lines of defence and troop concentration. The flechettes were 4 inches long weighing 1 1/2 to 2 ounces and capable of penetrating a combatant from head to foot and creating an instantly incapacitating wound."

"Flechettes were also used as the projectile of choice in the first electromagnetic rail guns that were used as artillery by the French against the Germans."

"The first electromagnetic rail gun, invented by French inventor Louis Octave Fauchon-Villeplee was used as early as 1917"

3. Korea. "used by the U.S. in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. These 1 3/4" length (4.5 cm) bomblets were air-dropped at height in canisters by aircraft or scattered from buckets by helicopter crews, reaching high sub-sonic speeds as they fell. Targeted at enemy personnel and unarmored vehicles, the flechette hit the targets with the force of a bullet."

Well, maybe that is all there is to it? Fly over the enemy, heave a couple of buckets of flechettes overboard, and that is that! NO need for high precision here!

Maybe a flechette dispenser can be fitted on the bottom of an AC-130 gunship? An additional "weapons system" for those contingencies when ordinary ordnance will not do the job? Send a spew, a "beehive cloud" of flechettes raining downward on the enemy?

Yee-ouch!! Shoot-em' up, bang-bang, your dead!


Thursday, December 18, 2008


This is coolbert:

Here thanks to Robert Spencer of JihadWatch for the tip!

More info - - and troubling so too - - on the main supply route [MSR] for the American/NATO troops currently fighting in Afghan.

The MSR, running from Karachi to Kabul, through the Khyber Pass. The MSR that recently, perhaps for some time now, has come under concerted assault by Taliban and other bad guys.

A MSR, the severing of which, would place the American/NATO mission in Afghan in grave peril.

These trucking concerns, independent Pakistani companies, outside contractors, that transport the much-needed supplies, are now and have been for some time paying bribes/extortion money/baksheesh to the Taliban as a price for safe passage.

"baksheesh. (in the Near and Middle East) –noun 1. a tip, present, or gratuity."

"Taleban tax: allied supply convoys pay their enemies for safe passage"

"The West is indirectly funding the insurgency in Afghanistan thanks to a system of payoffs to Taleban commanders who charge protection money to allow convoys of military supplies to reach Nato bases in the south of the country"

The very folks the American/NATO forces are fighting are also being PAID by those same American/NATO contingents!! Indirectly paid, but still being PAID!!

The Taliban and other local tribesmen in the vicinity of the Khyber are NOW NOT satisfied with the amount of the bribes/extortion money/baksheesh they have been getting. Must NOW also steal a certain quantity of supplies and destroy a certain percentage too!!??

This is just too much!

Please recall a previous “deal with the Devil” made by U.S. authorities that is reminiscent of this current situation. The “deal” to “spring” the Mafiosi gangster Lucky Luciano from prison during World War Two [WW2]. In return for releasing Lucky, the mafia was given the responsibility of “guarding” the docks of New York City [NYC] against sabotage of the Black Tom variety!!

A “deal” made with the full understanding that the mafia would steal about 10 % of all cargo passing through the port of NYC! AN ACCEPTED COST OF DOING BUSINESS DURING WARTIME!!

If during the WW2 years of rationing and ration cards, it was always possible to buy beyond your quota hard-to-find cuts of meat, spare tires for the car, gasoline, etc. Thanks to Lucky and the mafia, if you knew of a “source”, such rare and desirable items could be had - - for a price!!

King of the Khyber Pass - - where are you when we need you!!??

[in most locales, wearing a mask in public is against the law, unless part of a gala event!!]


Chinese Navy.

This is coolbert:

From the Chicago Tribune today:

China navy eyes fighting pirates

Gulf of Aden mission would be part PR, part protection

“HONG KONG - - In what would be the first active deployment of its warships beyond the Pacific, China appears ready to send naval vessels to help in the fight against hijackers in the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden.”

“Beijing is close mounting a naval mission in the Gulf”

“cooperating with a multinational force operating against East African pirates would be a ‘very good opportunity’ for the Chinese navy”

Indeed. A good opportunity for actual combat action, patrolling in a real-world potential combat environment, etc.


Emphasis here upon, “so far from home”!

The Chinese have used military force over the millennia far from their traditional boundaries.

Chinese military expansion occurred during both the Chin and Tang dynasties. Chinese troops made it as far west as Lake Balkash and modern Afghanistan. Far-flung foreign military expeditions are a rarity in the Chinese experience, however?

I am thinking and talking here about a historical experience of 2,000 years!!

Chinese military forces in the 20th Century did fight in Korea, Burma, Tibet, Aksai Chin! Areas either contiguous to or very near to traditional boundaries and borders of Imperial China as it existed in the past!

The last time Chinese troops were used in a capacity FAR FROM HOME WAS DURING ONE OF THE VOYAGES OF ADMIRAL ZHENG HE!! Chinese marines going ashore and doing battle with Tamil warriors on the island of Sri Lanka [Ceylon]!

Joining the International Maritime Force [IMF] and helping to combat piracy in the Indian Ocean will also be seen as one more baby step toward implementing the “String of Pearls” policy of the Chinese?

China is looking forward about twenty years or so when it believes it will be the dominant world power, surpassing the U.S.?

Especially with significant interests in the Indian Ocean area, East Africa, etc. The Chinese - - RIGHT NOW, have established a presence in the East African region and further inland!!


Wednesday, December 17, 2008


This is coolbert:

"We have been working on this problem for some time now and we have had some success."

From the Chicago Tribune this last Sunday:

Successful test gives boost to missile defense system

Defense officials hope to stave off cuts in funding

“Washington - - defense Department officials hope the successful test this month of the Pentagon’s missile defense system will build support for the initiative within the incoming Obama administration”

“The test [5 Dec. 08], in which a dummy target was taken out by an interceptor strike over the Pacific Ocean, showed for the first time that various radars and defense systems could be used together.”

“While in flight, the target was tracked by radar systems in Alaska, at sea and at Beale Air Force Base in California. Information from five sensors was integrated, and then sent to the interceptor.”


This sort of stuff has become routine now!!

A success “tempered” - - however!!

“the failure of the dummy target to deploy planned . . . ‘countermeasure’ - - devices designed to try to throw off the interceptor.”

But still a successful intercept. What was once considered to be technologically unfeasible is now a routine event! YES!

In this particular case, this was a ground based interceptor missile launch. Integrating the data from three radars, a total of five sensors, simultaneously, providing early warning [EW], target-acquisition [TA], and fire-control [FC] for the interceptor.

Both a land based and sea based missile interceptor system exist side-by-side? Complement one another? Offer a more flexible, redundant, and responsive capability?

Some devoted readers will remember the last [??] successful test of this nature. Sea-based interceptors destroying errant American satellite prior to reentry! Missile firing cruiser Lake Erie with radar guidance provided by a second missile cruiser!

Critics of course will say - - “you know when the missile is being launched” - - “you know where the missile is being launched from and what the trajectory is going to be in advance” - - “you are prepared and ready” - - etc.

From Suvorov:

"A circus clown the precise trajectory characteristics of a rocket and its launch- time could hit it with an air gun"

I am being too harsh here? What was once thought impossible is now feasible, at least to some extent, with a pretty good chance of working [missile defense]?

Projects such as this are facing the axe? NOT the type of thing the Obama administration will look favorably upon. Just when the once impossible is becoming routine, the decision will be made to scrap the entire program? This will be a contentious issue?

It should be noted that there has been for some time now a LIMITED MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM IN OPERATION! These tests are NOT just for experimentation any more. Provide real-world experience for the missile defenders that already are on stand-by alert!


Monday, December 15, 2008

Sticky Bomb.

This is coolbert:

From the Chicago Tribune this last Sunday:

Here is a blast from the past. ALMOST LITERALLY SO TOO!!


A ‘sticky’ - - and deadly - - trend

A bomb - - attached to adhere magnetically to a motorized vehicle - - are now being used by the villains in Iraq. Reminiscent, to some degree of the World War Two [WW2] anti-tank “sticky bomb”? NOT exactly so, but similar in nature.

Attached to targets - - Small, portable, easy to place and difficult to detect, sticky bombs employ magnets or a gummy adhesive to stick to their targets, usually vehicles”

Choice weapon - - While not a powerful a as typical roadside bomb . . . a sticky bomb can easily destroy a car.”

Echoes of WW2 mines - - The use of such bombs dates to World War 2, when limpet mines were attached the sides of ships.”

More correctly, the sticky bomb from the WW2 era was a special type of anti-tank hand grenade. A grenade of considerable explosive force, allowing a man-a-foot to destroy/disable an armored vehicle of the era.

"an early attempt at an anti-tank grenade. To get the explosive to detonate against the vehicle armour it relied upon an adhesive coating to hold the bomb in place, hence 'Sticky'."

"The sphere [of the sticky bomb] was wrapped by a knitted woollen cover that was coated with a very sticky resin-based adhesive - enough to hold the grenade onto a tank hull."

Some times - - the old ways - - are the best ways!!


Green Berets

This is coolbert:

Here from the Chicago Tribune yesterday:

Silver Stars for 10 Green Berets

“WASHINGTON - - After jumping out of helicopters at daybreak onto jagged, ice-covered rocks and into water at an altitude of 10,000 feet, the 12-man Special Forces team scrambled up the steep mountainside toward its target”

[a twelve-man SF team augmented by Afghan commandos!!]

“‘Our plan’, ‘was to fight downhill’” - - Walton, the unit commander.

A plan that did not go according to plan!!

"A harrowing nearly seven-hour battle unfolded on that mountainside in Afghanistan’s Nuristan province [as the SF team] and a few dozen Afghan commandos they had trained took fire from all directions. "

This combined American/Afghan unit, penetrating into a mountain stronghold so remote “that Walton [the unit commander] said he believed that no U.S. troops, or Soviet ones before them, had ever been there.”

Half of the combined American/Afghan unit were casualties, “an estimated 150 to 200 insurgents were dead, according to an official Army account.”

Some comments:

“Jumping out of helicopters”. At such a high altitude, special parachute techniques had to be followed? This was a mountain fastness where the NOISE MADE BY THE PROPS OF AN APPROACHING HELICOPTER COULD BE HEARD FROM A DISTANCE? The villains in their abode could hear the SF team approaching from afar? Forewarned is forearmed!

Nuristan is an Afghan province originally known as Kafiristan [land of the unbelievers]. A remote location, even for Afghan, POPULATED BY PERSONS DESCENDED FROM SOLDIERS THAT BELONGED TO THE ARMY OF ALEXANDER THE GREAT!!! Only became Islamic one hundred years ago when subjected to a jihad waged by a Muslim fanatic!! [Nuristan means Land of the Enlightened! The locals becoming enlightened at sword point!!]

From the Rudyard Kipling book, and as mentioned in the movie, “The Man Who Would Be King", the setting for the adventures of Peachey and Danny were in Kafiristan. It is as if the story-line, to some extent has been fulfilled. NOT exactly, but who before 9/11 ever thought that American soldiers would distinguish themselves in battle, fighting the tribesmen of a place called Nuristan/Kafiristan??!!



This is coolbert:

From the Chicago Tribune this last Sunday:

Border rift uncovers uncommon ground

Latin American neighbors fight but still unite.”

Border disputes - - “From Honduras to Chile, countries are disputing islands, swaths of jungle and deserted patches of land in conflicts that have their roots in the colonial era.”

Border disputes - - Central and South America both, between nations, disputes in some cases going back 150 years or more.

Disputes such as between:

* San Andres Islands. Islands under the control of Colombia but claimed by Nicaragua.

* Bolivia/Chile. Landlocked Bolivia desires access to the Pacific. Land once under the dominion of Bolivia but “lost when Chile took territory in the War of the Pacific in 1883.” [Guano islands]

* Venezuela/Guyana. Venezuela still claims parts of its South American neighbor to the east. Lands rich in mineral wealth? Your reporter not sure about this one.

* Guatemala/Belize. Belize was once known as British Honduras. Only becoming a sovereign nation in 1981. Guatemala asserts “territorial claims on about half of Belize’s current territory.”

It was only recently that the British stationed a battalion of the Gordon’s Highlanders in Belize. Patrol the border with Guatemala, ward off encroachment, and act as a warning for Guatemala to “behave yourself!”

British Honduras was a legacy from the days when British dominion over the oceans was complete and unchallenged. Panama being considered by Jackie Fisher to be a choke point absolutely vital to British interests. An oceanic sea route that must be protected with a known armed presence based in a nearby English colony or protectorate.

Those choke points, as identified by Admiral Fisher, included:

* Panama Canal and the Panama Pipeline (British Honduras)
* Hormuz Strait (Oman)
* Strait of Malacca (Singapore)
* Bab-el-Mandeb (Yemen and Socotra)
* Suez Canal and the Sumed Pipeline (Egypt)
* The Turkish Straits/Bosporus (Cyprus)
* The Strait of Gibraltar (Gibraltar)
* Cape Horn (Falklands)
* The Cape of Good Hope (South Africa)

Today, the fighting and disputes are left to the locals! The imperial powers have left a long time ago.

These “disputes” over borders are quite often more emotional responses than anything else. NO ONE is able to give an inch! Afraid of looking weak or timid?

And to the Latin mentality, punador [point of honor] is more important than life itself?

"punador - - 'notorious Spanish pride in the face of what is perceived as disrespect or dishonor'"

“Emotion clouds reason” - - Michael Corleone.



This is coolbert:

From the Chicago Tribune this last Sunday:


"Pirates thwarted twice, officials say"

"The Indian navy captured 23 pirates who threatened a merchant vessel in the lawless waters of the Gulf of Aden and a German naval helicopter thwarted another attack Saturday."

"The INS Mysore . . . received a distress call from seamen won board the MV Gibe, who said they were being fired on by two boats."

"Indian marine commandos [MARCOS] boarded the pirate boats and seized ‘a substantial cache of arms and equipment’"

MARCOS at work! Hooray!

A few pirates stuck through with cross bow bolts and that should give the villains something to think about!!


Sunday, December 14, 2008

States Rights.

This is coolbert:

Here is another one of those Confederate general officers killed during the Battle of Franklin, 1864.

States Rights Gist.

STATES RIGHTS! This is correct. His first name is States Rights. Sure stands out in the crowd, does it not!!

"States Rights Gist was named 'to honor his father’s strong political beliefs in states’ rights.'”

"States Rights Gist (September 3, 1831 — November 30, 1864) was a lawyer, a militia general in South Carolina, and a Confederate Army general who served during the American Civil War. A relative of several prominent South Carolinians, Gist rose to fame later during the war but was killed during the Franklin-Nashville Campaign in November 1864."

A man of the most impeccable credentials, family, education, bearing, honor, devotion to his cause. EVEN UNTO DEATH IN WHAT WAS OBVIOUSLY A LOSING SITUATION!!


"His elite South Carolina family counted among its members a governor, William Henry Gist, state and U.S. senators, and members of South Carolina’s legislature. A well-educated man, States Rights attended a prestigious South Carolina College in Columbia, studied law with a lawyer in South Carolina for a time, then went to Harvard Law School"

States Rights is the archetype of the patrician, wealthy, land-owning planter, of aristocratic mien that Robert E. Lee felt were the proper sort to govern. Landed elites of wealth that would do service for the political domain, heedless of pedestrian concerns.

Look closely at that photograph of States Rights. A man who has the appearance of a modern man. Regardless of what you think of the "Lost Cause", this man can be admired.

I think so!


Mumbai - - Hi Tech.

This is coolbert:

Here is the media after-action report regarding the Mumbai terrorist attack, the use of high-technology by the villains, and the LACK OF TECHNOLOGY as available to the security forces.

"Mumbai attackers more tech savvy than the police"

Here - - in no specific order:

1. The bad guys used Google.

"militants examined the layout and landscape of the city [Mumbai] using images from Google Earth"

"The 10 gunmen also studied detailed photographs of their targets on laptop computers"

Photographs presumably taken in advance by confederates of the terrorists, OR EVEN THE ACTUAL PERPETRATORS OF THE ATTACK, WHILE IN THE PROCESS OF DOING A DRY-RUN!!??

2. The bad guys used GPS.

"four GPS systems to navigate, Maria said. The sets could also be used as walkie-talkies."

The terrorists were able to successfully from Karachi to Mumbai via trawler using GPS. GPS sets that could be used as walkie-talkies in needed!

3. The bad guys used satellite phones, cell phonies, Voice-over-Internet [VOIP] protocol, possibly using ENCRYPTION!!

"spoke from two Internet phone numbers to six different Indian mobile numbers, India's Hindu newspaper reported. The Internet numbers were paid by wire transfer by someone using fake ID"

"The attackers were equipped with a satellite phone and nine cell phones. Throughout the attack, they called their handlers in Pakistan, who had eschewed conventional phones for voice-over-Internet telephone services"

"Skype, one of the more popular voice-over-Internet providers, condemns misuse of its service and 'cooperates with law enforcement agencies as much as is legally technically possible,'"

Skype is a free Internet service using VOIP that has EMBEDDED ENCRYPTION!!


4. The good guys, Black Cat Commando, did not have high-technology equipment available. This greatly hindered the rescue mission.

"The commando unit flown in from New Delhi to take on the attackers had neither night-vision goggles or thermal sensors"

5. Cheap, and easily accessible equipment. Terrorism is cheap, done for a song, and is effective, and the BAD GUYS HAVE GEAR SUPERIOR TO WHAT THE GOOD GUYS HAVE!!

"The Mumbai attacks also raised concerns about how easily accessible and cheap civilian technology can aid criminals."

The Internet has made available to the common citizen forms of high-speed communication, encryption, satellite photos, etc., that was ONCE ONLY AVAILABLE ON A LIMITED BASIS TO PERSONS IN THE HIGHEST ECHELONS OF A FEW SELECT NATIONS AROUND THE WORLD. CAN BE USED FOR GOOD OR BAD.

Now, as for atomic weaponry!!


Money III.

This is coolbert:


"Hawala remains a significant method for large numbers of businesses of all sizes and individuals to repatriate funds and purchase gold.... there is minimal paperwork required."

Read here about Hawala. A "banking" system of the Middle East cultural domain! Allows for the transfer of money without the CONVENTIONAL PAPER TRAIL!! A means available to the villains to defeat the "western" intelligence agencies! Intelligence agencies involved in the hunt for terrorists. Agencies hoping to thwart terrorist attacks by stifling and cutting off financial support to the bad guys.

"Hawala, or the Bank that Never Was"

"In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the USA, attention was drawn to the age-old, secretive, and globe-spanning banking system developed in Asia and known as 'Hawala' (to change, in Arabic). It is based on a short term, discountable, negotiable, promissory note (or bill of exchange) . . . [has become] identified with 'Islamic Banking'."

"'Hawala' consists of transferring money (usually across borders and in order to avoid taxes or the need to bribe officials) without physical or electronic transfer of funds. Money changers ("Hawaladar") receive cash in one country, no questions asked. Correspondent hawaladars in another country dispense an identical amount (minus minimal fees and commissions) to a recipient or, less often, to a bank account."

Exchanged expedited by the use of:

* "E-mail"
* "letter"
* "a digital encrypted message"
* "agreed signals (like handshakes"

"The Hawala system requires unbounded trust. Hawaladars are often members of the same family, village, clan, or ethnic group. It is a system older than the West."


A system [Hawala] which can be combated, but with great difficulty:

"Luckily, the common perception that Hawala financing is paperless is wrong. The transfer of information regarding the funds often leaves digital (though heavily encrypted) trails. Couriers and 'contract memorizers', gold dealers, commodity merchants, transporters, and moneylenders can be apprehended and interrogated."

You can bet that bin Laden is more than aware of Hawala and the uses thereof for terrorist financing. Transfers of money, even large sums, that while being not impossible to trace, are much more difficult to trace. A system, too, that is totally devoid, to a great extent, from connection to the "western" banking system! This too would represent a great appeal for a man with such strong Islamic "ideals" as bin Laden and his cohorts, with all the immense hate they have for all things "western".


Money II.

This is coolbert:

Here is an article that suggests that terror IS NOT CHEAP!! All those CIA and UN estimates are low-ball and not accurate. The costs to perpetrate the grand scale terrorist attacks is greater than what has been assumed?

Accounting for Terror: Debunking the Paradigm of Inexpensive Terrorism

"These UN [CIA and 9/11 commission also] estimates [mentioned in the previous blog entry] might be too low. Consider the East African embassy bombings, about which much evidence emerged in the trials of the perpetrators and in subsequent reports by the U.S. and British governments. That evidence suggests the bombings incurred a wide array of costs well in excess of $ 50,000"

Consider just the costs, believed by some to be so, incurred by Al Qaeda to bomb the U.S. embassies in east Africa:

* "setting up and maintaining al-Qaeda run businesses, such as Asma Limited and Tanzanite King, in Nairobi in 1993"
* "travel for senior al-Qaeda members (including Muhammad Atef and Ubaidah al-Banshiri) to Nairobi"
* "training East African al-Qaeda operatives in various skills"
* "renting an upscale residential estate in Nairobi and turning it into a virtual bomb factory"
* "renting another estate in the Illah district of Dar es Salaam"
* "maintaining a communications network between Osama Bin Laden and East African terror cells, including using satellite phones costing $80,000 each"
* "bribing local border officials"
* "purchasing electronic equipment including state-of-the-art video cameras from China and Germany for surveillance"
* "purchasing the Nissan and Toyota trucks used to bomb both embassies"
* "purchasing the TNT bombs used at both bombings"

"Whether an attack costs $10,000 or $500,000, terrorists still need money, and will therefore leave a financial trail behind them. And unlike human sources, which can intentionally deceive . . . 'The simple fact remains that the money trail generally does not lie.' Stemming the flow of funds can delay or prevent attacks -- even when the costs of bullets and explosives remain relatively low."

The author of this article makes some assumptions that may or may not be true. A financial trail can be found after-the-fact that is a financial trail as that term is understood in the western sense. Bank accounts, money wire transfers, etc. A "paper" trail. These terrorists do not operate in that manner? A variety of devices are available to the villains to circumvent the conventional financial transfers of money, again, as understood in the western sense.

Within the Middle Eastern cultural domain, the use of wire bank transfers IS NOT THE ONLY MANNER WITH WHICH LARGE SUMS OF MONEY ARE MOVED AROUND!! Carrying large amounts of cash on your person, dealing in precious gemstones, women wearing gold jewelry, etc., all is a means by which money is safeguarded and MOVED from one locale to another with hindrance of the banking system.

And do not forget too that many of these terrorist "cells" are expected to be self-sustaining, autonomous entities! Provide for their own means by engaging in criminal behavior. Credit card fraud, smuggling, drug dealing, etc.!!

Even if the CIA/UN estimates are way too low, the costs still are a lot less than whatever assets and means are available to persons such as bin Laden. Again, bin Laden alone has a considerable fortune at his disposal. I am guessing, but would not be surprised if the interest the man gets yearly on his investments is greater than whatever the expenditures spent on terrorist attacks.