Thursday, June 22, 2006

Some Interesting Data About Poison Gas Weapons

1. Mustard is classified as a "persistent" agent. How persistent? Not a year goes by when a Frenchman or two (and some of his farm animals) doesn't die from plowing up a mustard-gas shell from WORLD WAR ONE.

There is an entire unit of the French Army devoted to disposing of World War One HE and mustard gas shells that surface on the old battlefields. The freeze-thaw cycle pushes them to the surface, and farmers die when their tractors run over them. The HE and mustard are still sufficiently virulent to kill or maim, and that stuff is going on a hundred years old, not just fifteen.

2. In the March 2003 UN report about Iraq Weapons of Mass Destruction there is the following on page 77 (Page 79 of the pdf file), paragraph 1 of the report

" :

“ The Sulfur Mustard contained in artillery shells that had been stored for over 12 years, was found by UNMOVIC to be still of high purity. It is possible that viable filled artillery shells and aerial bombs still remain in Iraq. “

3. The question of long-term degradation becomes academic if the binary precursors are not mixed. (Iraqi shells using binary components were designed to mix en route to target. This was seen in shells found by a Polish unit,and in a single shell set up as an IED, but recovered unexploded by US troops.)

Following is a brief quotation from an authoritative source.

Efforts to Lengthen Shelf Life

# According to the CIA, nations such as Iraq have tried to overcome the problem of sarin's short shelf life in two ways: The shelf life of unitary (i.e., pure) sarin may be lengthened by increasing the purity of the precursor and intermediate chemicals and refining the production process.

# Developing binary chemical weapons, where the two precursor chemicals are stored separately in the same Shell (projectile)|shell, and mixed to form the agent immediately before or when the shell is in flight. This approach has the dual benefit of making the issue of shelf life irrelevant and greatly increasing the safety of sarin munitions

Bottom line ? Some of these “short life” munitions found in Iraq might remain lethal a century from now !

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Article Review

“What to do about Climate Change” by Ruth Greenspan Bell

(FOREIGN AFFAIRS – May/June 2006 Issue- p 105-113)

I became a subscriber to “Foreign Affairs” – official publication of the Council on Foreign Relations – mainly so I could cast an eye on this “sometimes-controversial” group. ( Some claim CFR –and the nefarious Tri-Lateral Commission are secretly ruling the world.)

The “top-secret documents” of CFR members are available in
magazine form at most reasonably well-stocked public libraries;but,if you want to access them (in pdf format) online, you will pretty much have to subscribe – which , I suppose, proves “the truly malevolent depth of their global conspiracy” …or not.

Moving right along, Ms Bell, who held management-level positions in the EPA from 1979 to 1996, starts out her discussion of climate change in the approved “ We’re all going to die-horribly !” manner , then tells us why.

The Kyoto Agreements – as interpreted and enforced by most of the signatories – are little more than a sham. Let’s illustrate.

Imagine Manufacturer A – located just about anywhere in Europe – finds his factory is producing too many emissions. He gets an estimate, and learns it will cost –let’s say 150,000,000 Euros to fix the problem.
Bad news ….but wait !

For a mere 1 million Euros, he can buy pollution control equipment for a factory on Africa’s Gold Coast. The happy recipients don’t have to USE it; heck, they don’t even have to know HOW to use it ! The donation has been made , and has generated “Emission Credits” for Manufacturer A:
so many, in fact, that he is now in compliance !

Manufacturer A is not only spilling out the same emissions, but can point an accusatory finger at the nasty ,uncivilized Americans who refuse to comply with Kyoto !!

Ms Bell points out just how ridiculous this situation is , and suggests only very strong enforcement-on a global level- will cure the problem.
Environmental ministries need to stop being handed out as political consolation prizes : they need to be staffed with competent scientists and technocrats,who will have a REAL say in the decisions and operations of government.

Unless I’m mistaken, the real goal is the establishment of Technocracy as a world-wide mode of government . Such a goal makes the number of scientists lining up to jump on the Global Warming bandwagon quite understandable … and quite unattractive !

Am I reading too much “between the lines” of this interesting article ?
I hope you’ll get your own copy, read it, and think about it.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Al Qaeda and Other Terror Groups in Iraq – Pre-War / Post-War

(I’ve long been fascinated by claims Saddam’s regime had no connections to terrorism and/or terrorists.His Intelligence Service kept very detailed records of these connections !)

Post-War declaration by former Premier Allawi:

Baghdad, 23 May (AKI) - The number two of the al-Qaeda network, Ayman al-Zawahiri, visited Iraq under a false name in September 1999 to take part in the ninth Popular Islamic Congress, former Iraqi premier Iyad Allawi has revealed to pan-Arab daily al-Hayat.

In an interview, Allawi made public information discovered by the Iraqi secret service in the archives of the Saddam Hussein regime, which sheds light on the relationship between Saddam Hussein and the Islamic terrorist network.

He also said that both al-Zawahiri and Jordanian militant al-Zarqawi probably entered Iraq in the same period. (Al-Zarqawi was killed yesterday,06/07/06 by a US airstrike on an Iraqi safehouse.)

"Al-Zawahiri was summoned by Izza Ibrahim Al-Douri – then deputy head of the council of the leadership of the revolution - to take part in the congress, along with some 150 other Islamic figures from 50 Muslim countries," Allawi said.

According to Allawi, important information has been gathered regarding the presence of another key terrorist figure operating in Iraq - the Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

"The Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi entered Iraq secretly in the same period," Allawi affirmed, "and began to form a terrorist cell, even though the Iraqi services do not have precise information on his entry into the country," he said.

Allawi's remarks come after statements to al-Hayat by King Abdallah II of Jordan over Saddam's refusal to hand over al-Zarqawi to the authorities in Amman.

On this question Allawi said: ''The words of the Jordanian King are correct and important. We have proof of al-Zawahiri's visit to Iraq, but we do not have the precise date or information on al-Zarqawi's entry, though it is likely that he arrived around the same time."

In Allawi's view, Saddam's government "sponsored" the birth of al-Qaeda in Iraq, coordinating with other terrorist groups, both Arab and Muslim. "The Iraqi secret services had links to these groups through a person called Faruq Hajizi, later named Iraq's ambassador to Turkey and arrested after the fall of Saddam's regime as he tried to re-enter Iraq.

Iraqi secret agents helped terrorists enter the country and directed them to the Ansar al-Islam camps in the Halbija area," he said.

The former prime minister claims that Saddam's regime sought to involve even Palestinian Abu Nidal - head of a group once considered the world's most dangerous terrorist organisation - in its terrorist circuit. Abu Nidal's organisation was responsible for terrorist attacks in some 20 countries, killing more than 300 people and wounding hundreds more.

He added that Abu Nidal's refusal to cooperate with Islamist groups was the reason for his death in Iraq, in the summer of 2002.
23-May-05 12:08

Iraqi Training of Terrorists – Year 2000- Source IIS Documents

Beginning of the translation of page 2 of document CMPC-2003-005935
In the Name of God the Most Merciful the Most Compassionate
The Presidency of the Republic
The Intelligence Apparatus
Mr: The Respected Director
Subject: Projects of a Plan

Below are projects of the plan for the year 2000 and according to the budget suggested for it in the spending budget of the year 2000 and as follow:
1. Prepare an armored brief case to protect the VIPs 180 days.
2. Study on the Epoxy used currently in preparing the IEDs and the possibility of finding another type that will not affect the explosive.
3. Studies and researches of the materials that increase the intensity of the explosive.
4. Prepare theoretical and applied lessons on the popular explosives 120 days.
5. Training of the Arab Feedayeens- within the plan of the year 2000.
Establish tournaments specialized in the explosives 30 days
Please review and your command with regards
Khaled Ibrahim Ismail
Senior Chemist
End of page translation.

More on Training of Terrorists by Iraq –Source IIS Documents

In the Name of God the most Merciful and the most Compassionate
Top Secret
Recommendation on how to use the Arab Feedaeyeen (Suicide Martyrs)
1. Supervision for training and usage

Formation of a devoted commission headed by Lieutenant General Hamza Alwan Zaher from the Directory of Military Engineering and the membership of Staff General Azawi Saleh Hassan from the Directory of Planning and the and Colonel Dr. Abdel Rahim Abdel Saheb Ali from the Directory of Political Orientation and that the commission will be related to Mr. assistant of Chairman of Army Training Staff.

2. Training Course

The commission will prepare a very intensive training course for a period of week where it will be focused to raise the physical fitness and train on how use the automatic rifle Kalashnikoff and hand grenades and the largest section of the course will be specialized to focus of using the explosive material in the body, in motorcycle, in cars, and in camels.
3. Instructors

They must be dedicated from the Special Forces Command, from the Directory of Military Engineering and from the First Military School those that appear in them competence and capability.

4. Duty Requirements

A. Explosives
All the explosives and attachments will be provided by the Directory of Military Engineering.
B . Cars
All the cars and motorcycles that will be used in fulfilling the duties will be provided by the Department of Armament and Equipping.
C. Camels
Will be provided by the Directory of General Military Intelligence.
D. Light Weapons
The Kalashnikoff rifles and the hand grenades will be provided by the Department of Armament and Equipping.

5. Usage

The Directory of General Military Intelligence will take the responsibility to provide the dictations and supervise the execution of duties and that this will occur after that the end of extensive training period.

6. General issues

A. The representative of the Directory of Political Orientation and the Religious Scholars from among the volunteers to give religious sermons that emphasize Jihad for the Arab volunteers outside the hours dedicated for training.
B. Bedouin clothing and other equipment (tents) to be provided by the directorate of general military intelligence.

Those who believe the Iraqi regime was “totally secular” may be a bit surprised to see the “ In the Name of God” heading on Iraqi Intelligence Service documents – and instructions that call for selection of “Religious Scholars” to give sermons that emphasize Jihad to the Arab volunteers .

Monday, June 05, 2006

Flight 93 - The Movie : Review by a Commercial Pilot Who Flew That Day

This e-mail is riveting as it relates the perspectives of a seasoned, commercial pilot. / jpm

Susie and I just got back from seeing "UAL Flight 93", it was absolutely gripping, and as a former airline pilot who was flying a trip that morning on a Boeing 767 from Cincinnati to Orlando it was almost too horrific to was very disturbing!

For you pilot types, the attention to detail, the cockpit, the preflight, the crew, pilots and flight attendants boarding the aircraft and making small talk was OH, so real and routine...just another day in the office! Likewise the views from central flow control, NY and Boston ARTCC and the NORAD command center were very realistic.

Should anyone have any doubts about our response, or lack of that morning you need to view this movie. Watching all the various controllers and their supervisors trying to get their arms around the problem and to come to grips and connect the dots is so very real. The movie appears to almost happen in real time and you can really sense the problem that the commanders had in thinking outside the box and realizing that we were really at war.

Fighters are scrambled, late, and in the wrong direction, as threats are suppose to come from over the water to the east not from over land to the west; the planes are not armed, can they ram, and who has the authority to give that command...the command is given but not relayed to the pilots. ; The lack of communications, or rather the disbelief and lack of coordination is stunning but easy to understand. Even the pilots of UAL Flt 93 are given a data link message that the Towers have been hit and to beware of cockpit intruders...they brush it off in I'm sure any pilot would have prior to that date.

The time line given at the end of the movie and the confusion over what planes were involved, and which flights were being hijacked is very revealing...we just couldn't get it together quickly enough.

As pilots and crew members we had never been trained to deal with suicidal hijackers who were prepared to die, it was simply inconceivable at the time. A key point, though not belabored, was when the supervisor of the FAA Central Flow Control ordered that all aircraft in US airspace land immediately, (there were over 4200 in the air), that no planes from overseas would be allowed into the country and would be turned back, and that there were to be no over flights...he realized that we were at war but didn't know with was a very bold and brave move and he was thinking way outside the box...I believe that it was also his first day on the job as the boss!

All Americans should see this movie as it may help them get a grip on the terrorist threat that we are up against vs. the radical Muslim world. I don't know if we belong in Iraq or how we should deal with Iran or North Korea or the Sudan, but I know that there is a real threat to our way of life from the radical Islamic fundamentalists.

I continually hear that this is not a true reflection of the Koran or true Islamic beliefs. Well that may be true, and it might not be, but there would appear to be plenty of Muslims in the world that have an entirely different and radical interpretation of the Koran which we cannot ignore.

What was probably as disturbing as watching an airline crew, that could have been me or any of my friends, seeing their world and their life taken away, was the hijackers preparing to die, washing themselves and praying to their god as if they were doing his will. They looked like ordinary young men, and to think that they could sit next to all these people on that plane that they were going to kill, who had nothing against them or done nothing to them, was beyond words.

I guess if nothing else it gives you insight into the minds of suicide bombers, which to our Western way of thought is beyond comprehension.

This movie will make you angry, very angry. My experience on 9/11. We were just ready to close the door for our Delta767 flight from CVG to MCO when the gate agent came on board and asked if we had heard anything about a small plane hitting the World Trade Center, we had not, so she said goodbye and closed the door. Shortly thereafter we were airborne climbing out on a beautifully clear crisp fall morning heading to Florida with not a cloud in the sky or a care in the world. I heard a bizjet ask for a reroute since he could not get to New York and I thought that was strange. Then another bizjet said "well I guess we won't be going there either" and asked for a clearance to an alternate. At that point I asked center what was going on. There was a pause and then the controller came back in a very excited voice and said "they have hit both of the Trade Center Towers, they have hit the Pentagon, they have hit the Capitol and the White House"...well you can imagine it got reall y lively on the frequency.

I turned to my Co-Pilot and said "I don't know what has happened, but I do know that things will never be the same", and I think I got that right! Within seconds the controller had composed himself and said all flights on this frequency standby, and it was dead quiet. He then said all flights are to land immediately and went down the list of the planes under his control..."American 235 turn right heading 230 you're landing at Pittsburgh, Continental 456 turn left heading 180 for Cincinnati, Delta 235 (that's me) turn right to 250 and descend to 8000, you're landing at Knoxville, airport your 2 o'clock 40 miles....etc" It was the best, fastest and most efficient handling I have ever had from ATC...they had everyone on the ground all over the country in minimum time.

After all the initial confusion, their professionalism, and that of all the flight crews was exemplary! We spent two days in Knoxville and then ferried an empty 757 back to Atlanta and I believe were one of the first flights to land back at our main hub.

Our arrival at ATL was one of the most moving experiences of my flying career. The airspace was totally empty, there was no talk on the radio, and we were the only plane in the sky over ATL, the busiest airport in the U.S., but we did have, unknown to us until informed by the controller, an F-16 right on our tail, but we never saw him.

When we taxied in the normally frantic ramp area was dead quiet, all the ground equipment, tugs, baggage carts, tugs, fuelers etc. were lined up in military precision and the ground crews were standing at attention and, I'll never forget that. They needed a sign that things were getting back to normal...that we were moving and flying again.

Reflections. As you may know I was on a United Flight several weeks ago from Chicago to Sacramento that had a passenger who tried to open the front cabin door, allegedly claimed to have a bomb, and took a swing at the flight attendant. We'll yours truly was sound asleep in the last row of coach and missed all the action, but suffice it to say that before he got very far he was rapidly subdued by the first class section and we diverted to Denver.

Unlike Flight 93 he couldn't have gotten into the cockpit as the cockpit door is now armored and no passenger is going to sit still and let anyone interfere with the flight. I always felt that with the improved cockpit door that I would be totally safe, and that all my passengers in the cabin would act as Sky Marshals...I was and they did...they remembered 9/11, lets hope that we never forget!

I would also like to mention that all the crew members on my United flight as well as all the ground rescue folks in Denver and the United station personnel did an absolutely marvelous job in handling this incident. It made me proud to have once been a part of this profession.

Friday, June 02, 2006

"Guest Post" : This is a copy of an online letter written by an Amry Warrant Officer,who flies helicopters in Iraq,and who faces combat nearly every day.
It contains some "rough" language-which I've left untouched.

I just finished reading most of the thread titled "Civilians Likely Killed Without Provocation." It really pissed me off to see that some people have already tried, convicted and condemned these Marines... even though the investigation hasn't been completed, let alone any trials held. Some people even seemed to be elated about the news... as though they've finally been vindicated in their claims that the war is corrupt and the troops are doing nothing but terrorizing Iraq.

I wasn't there with the Marines. I don't know what happened. And while the initial reports are disturbing, it's wrong to draw all of these grand conclusions without even waiting for the investigatory findings!

Like I said - I wasn't in Haditha with those Marines. But I am in Iraq, and I see similar shit all the time. Every freakin' engagement the Americans get into... we some how manage to "murder innocent women and children." I swear to god, I am starting to wonder if we've unknowingly been using secret bullets that ignore the bad guys and only hit little babies, old women and cute little puppy dogs!!! Because, if you listen to the Iraqis, we never kill any bad guys... we only kill Joe-Haji, who was innocently out on his morning walk!

Some of the same idiots who are so quick to condemn these marines are just like same desk weenies that are writing our ROEs (rules of engagement.) We're talking about people who haven't stepped one foot outside the wire, who haven't had a single bullet fired at them, and who haven't the slightest god damn clue what the REAL war is like.

Haji isn't stupid. Haji dresses like civilians. Haji takes pop shots at us while standing among civilians. When you're driving down the road in a HMMWV, and an Iraqi cuts out in front of you and blocks traffic... and seconds later mortars and RPGs rain in on you... that car didn't stop because he saw a good sale at the local bazaar!! He's a fucking BAD GUY, who's job was to bring the convoy to a halt!! But he didn't fire at me... so I can't touch him? WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!

When someone has sworn to make it his life's goal to kill me... I can't keep him locked up, powerless, in prison? Because if I did, it would be an insult to the muslim community? And oh by the way... when in two weeks after he is released, he shoots my buddy in the head, I've got to simply live with it? "That's war."

Isn't it funny. If I die - people say, "That's war. It's hell." But if Haji dies - people say it was cold blooded murder and we're nothing but evil Americans.

You know, I can't even talk about my exact ROEs because it would be a clear OPSEC violation... but it's obvious the people writing them have no idea what it is like out here. Back home in the states... you've got all the time you want to second guess every decision you make in your life. Over here... you don't have the luxury. And sometimes, just because they are not shooting a bullet at your head, doesn't mean they are innocent.

And it pisses me off when people just refer to these Marines as a bunch of blood thirsty killers. We're talking kids here. We are talking 17-25 yr old guys who lived childhood very much like you. Knowing that you partook in the taking of human life is something that weighs on your conscious very heavily and tears at you. It's nothing like you thought it would be and it's nothing you ever learn to "enjoy" to "crave." But you keep yourself sane with the knowledge that they were evil people with evil motives. They were trying to kill your buddies and you, and they chose their own fate. You take comfort in knowing that, in the long run, you saved more lives than you took. We rationalize it and hope to god we were right.

I wonder about the people who so quickly pass judgement on these Marines. I wonder how you would react in Iraq. Would you cower in a corner and become combat ineffective? Or would you snap and wildly fire at anything that moved? Or would you, in the span of mere seconds, attempt to maintain control, delineate the difference between the good and the bad guys, and take the appropriate actions to neutralize the bad guys?

Like I said... how many professions back home in the states subject you to, day-in day-out, the stress of knowing everyone around you could be a threat? How many professions subject you to the constant ebb and flow of combat stress and battle? How many professions subject their employees with the demand of "kill or be killed?"

Not only do we not yet know the facts of the story... many of us can't even relate to very experience those Marines endured. If they are guilty, then they deserve a stiff punishment. If they are innocent, they deserve quite a few apologies. But how can you so easily pass judgment?

Gotta a lot of IEDs, RPGs, snipers and suicide bombers on your drive to work every morning, do ya?

No? Huh... well, maybe you should stop and think about that.