The Eclectic One

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Archive for the ‘International’ Category

Merchant Ship Guards Kill First Pirate. Predictably the Pacifists Have a Hissy

Posted by Bill Nance on March 31, 2010

Private security guards shot and killed a Somali pirate during an attack on a merchant ship off the coast of East Africa in what is believed to be the first such killing by armed contractors, the EU Naval Force spokesman said Wednesday.

The death comes amid fears that increasingly aggressive pirates and the growing use of armed private security contractors onboard vessels could fuel increased violence on the high seas. The handling of the case may have legal implications beyond the individuals involved in Tuesday’s shooting.

The guards were onboard the MV Almezaan when a pirate group approached it twice, said EU Naval Force spokesman Cmdr. John Harbour. During the second approach on the Panamanian-flagged cargo ship which is United Arab Emirates owned, there was an exchange of fire between the guards and the pirates.

An EU Naval Force frigate was dispatched to the scene and launched a helicopter that located the pirates. Seven pirates were found, including one who had died from small caliber gunshot wounds, indicating he had been shot by the contractors, said Harbour. The six remaining pirates were taken into custody.

Crews are becoming increasingly adept at repelling attacks by pirates in the dangerous waters of the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden. But pirates are becoming more aggressive in response, shooting bullets and rocket-propelled grenades at ships to try to intimidate captains into stopping.

Several organizations, including the International Maritime Bureau, have expressed fears that the use of armed security contractors could encourage pirates to be more violent when taking a ship. Sailors have been hurt or killed before but this generally happens by accident or through poor health. There has only been one known execution of a hostage despite dozens of pirate hijackings.

You have GOT to be joking.

The last sentence of that article is a simple falsehood. In fact, entire ships have disappeared, crews and all, never to be heard from again. In another case I’m aware of, the entire crew was executed. Granted these cases occurred in Indonesia, but the idea that if you offer no resistance to a boarding of your vessel by pirates you are SAFER is simply astonishing in it’s naivete.

This is gun control writ large. And out on the high seas, apparently International Maritime Bureau is just like Martha Coakley: they discourage self help.  According to these geniuses, just give up, pay the ransom and you will be allowed to live with only minimal risk. So if one of these qat-chewing goatherders

blows you in half with an AK because he’s you know, a criminal who’s a cat-chewing goatherder with an AK, I guess you were just the unlucky one.

It might occur to some of you that when ships offer no resistance and warships can’t protect them, and where the ship owners will pay large ransoms every time, you have an environment which only encourages more attacks.  But that doesn’t matter as long as no one picks up a weapon to defend themselves.

This is the ugly face of modern neo-pacifism. It’s the same kind of face that goes white as a sheet at the thought of a person having a gun on them for defensive purposes.  They’re not real pacifists of course. They’re perfectly happy to let the police or military kill people. But god forbid an individual or group of individuals should protect themselves. No, they should just have the decency to die quietly.

Pacifism is unethical.  “Turn the other cheek ” is not saintly, it merely assists in tyranny.  When I refuse to defend myself or anyone else, I merely empower others to exert their will over me and others. If more than a tiny fraction of people acted like this we wouldn’t even have a country, much less a free world.

The far-left and yes, even the less than far-left, loves the idea of pacifism. The more you get toward the center, the more they’re willing to let hired killers do their dirty work (as though soldiers and police doing the killing somehow evades moral culpability on the part of those who support them). But the notion of honest people taking up arms to defend their lives from criminals horrifies them. And it’s that latter sentiment which should disgust everyone.

As pernicious as the idea of pacifism may be, the hypocrisy rampant in these neo-pacifists is particularly disturbing. There are not nor will there ever be enough soldiers/police to keep you safe from bad guys at all times. That is a fact that no rational person can even argue against. And the neo-pacifists aren’t even morally opposed to killing bad guys. So their stated goal of keeping merchant ships disarmed, or on a more personal note, keeping law abiding citizens from owning or carrying guns for self-defense, is outright evil.  They may as well come out and say it.

“Our demonstrably failed ideology is more important than your life.”


Posted in Crime, firearms, gun control, International, Law & Order, Rants | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Dodging statues?

Posted by Bill Nance on December 13, 2009

ROME – An attacker hurled a statuette at Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, striking the leader in the face at the end of a rally on Sunday and leaving the stunned 73-year-old media mogul with a bloodied mouth, police said.

I saw the story today and had to laugh at the contrast with Iraq, where they throw shoes at national leaders.

So let’s see…In Iraq they throw shoes, in Italy they throw statues… I predict Germany’s Angela Merkel will need to dodge a Tiger tank or Piano in the not too distant future.

-That is all.

Posted in Crime, humor, International, Politics | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Reporting While Armed: The Horror!

Posted by Bill Nance on August 14, 2009

Patrick Appel links to a story about Afghan reporters who are routinely armed for self-defense.

Patrick’s selected quote:

[If] a local journo writes a story that burns a big-shot in government or the drug trade, the reporter will be looking over his or her shoulder (to say nothing of their family’s) for years to come. I don’t know any reporters who carry a gun in the US. Here, I know more than a few reporters who won’t leave the newsroom unless fully strapped.

The original story is about Afghanistan’s dangerous environment, which is hardly a surprise. But the notion that reporters might need to be armed is something that only happens in third-world pestholes is stupid beyond words.

Let me share from my personal experience since I  was a crime reporter for several years.

For a couple of decades now, any crime reporter who actually does their job, as opposed to simply taking dictation from the local police department and talking with the occasional victim, is in serious danger more than occasionally. I’m not complaining about the danger, the streets in crime infested neighborhoods are more violent places than they used to be. But that’s far truer for the residents than for reporters who don’t live there.

If you’re following the scanner, going to crime scenes, talking with neighbors and witnesses etc. in Crack Central at 3am, you’re not unlikely to be accosted by people who really really don’t want the press there asking questions and taking pictures. This is one reason why you almost never see pictures and read interviews with witnesses that were taken at the time unless they happen to be at the scene with a dozen cops around. There are plenty of places where reporters are missing good stories because they aren’t safe for an unarmed person to walk around snooping, even in broad daylight.

The reason all this is bad for newspaper readers is you miss the actual facts, which are often quite different from what the police are saying. As a reporter, you fail to get a genuine understanding not only of the event, but of trends, gang affiliations and lots of other things that give you a depth of knowledge which allows you to inform your readers about what’s going on on a larger scale. In other words, you have no perspective.

Crime sells, so reporters are always going to write about it. It’s also interesting because it’s conflict, which fascinates almost everyone on some level. But how often do you read or hear that crime levels nationally are going down, but in one district, or small subsection of a city the crime rate is 30% above the state’s?  That’s a not infrequently the case and the overall number of murders in a city can be a meaningless statistic. Many police departments don’t keep statistics by neighborhoods and the ones that do don’t share “intelligence information” (not subject to freedom of information act requests) with reporters. If you live in Chicago, the murders in one or two sections may make up 50% of the city’s total. That indicates one area has a crime problem, not the city as a whole.  But reporters who just report blood and take dictation from the cops will never grasp that very important fact.

So if you’re going out there and hustling and taking a few risks (it’s still 10 times safer than being a steelworker) it’s prudent to be armed. I was able to avoid a serious confrontation or assault simply by warning several gang members that I was armed. Who knows how many problems this saved me with other people they talked to.  Criminals don’t like to mess with people who are armed and ready to defend themselves.  Absent a very good reason (like being a rival gang member) they leave you alone.

So I know it’s taking a different tangent from the story Appel linked, but I think the point remains a valid one. That the writer in question doesn’t know any reporters in the ‘States who carry speaks to American reporter’s timidity and hoplophobia, not just that Afghanistan is a dangerous place. I mean seriously, we already knew Afghanistan was dangerous didn’t we?

Posted in afghanistan, Crime, firearms, hoplophobia, International, Journalism | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Hiroshima, Holocaust Denial and Hypocrisy

Posted by Bill Nance on August 7, 2009

Today is August 7. As usual, this is the day my anger over the previous day’s marking of the bombing of Hiroshima subsides.

On August 6, 1945, Colonel Paul Tibbets and his crew dropped a single Atomic bomb, code-named “Little Boy,” on Hiroshima, instantly incinerating some 50,000-70,000 Japanese and injuring another 100,000, resulting in an estimated 60,000 additional deaths over the next five years or so. This bombing, and the one of Nagasaki three days later, resulted in the Japanese’ unconditional surrender to the allies and the end of world War Two.

No one would argue that the loss of some 580,000 Japanese civilians during the war was anything but tragic. Most of these died as a result of the US strategic bombing of Japan, though at least 100,000 were killed in the bloody house to house and cave to cave fighting on Saipan and Okinawa, including at least 5,000 Japanese civilian suicides on Saipan alone.

The civilian death toll during the Second World War was apocalyptic in scale, probably reaching forty million souls.  some of these were inevitable “collateral damage.” That is, civilians inadvertently killed during combat operations.  Some were killed as a result of strategic terror bombings on all sides, designed to sap the enemy’s will to fight.

But the vast majority, estimated to be at least 30,000,000 people, were killed deliberately or from a purposeful policy of neglect, brutality or  murder, to say nothing of the murder of helpless military captives, notably by the Japanese, Germans and Soviets.

Much ado has been made over the German perpetration of the Holocaust against the Jews, Gypsies and others during that war. Museums on the subject dot the world. And rightfully so. But the world has acquiesced to a conspiracy of almost total silence on the Holocaust perpetrated by the Japanese in every land they occupied, as well as in Japan itself, where until the very end of the war, the Japanese government was actively pursuing germ warfare weapons to be used against US civilians and where prisoners of war were vivisected whilst still alive.

If you live in Germany for a while, you will be struck by what even now, some 60 years after the fact, remains a collective consciousness of guilt and shame over the Nazi years and the atrocities of that period. There is of course, no reason for young people, who’s parents weren’t even born until after the war to feel any sense of shame, and many have rejected this with I think a justifiable sense of having paid whatever debt is owed. And collectively, Germany remains a deeply pacifist nation as a result of the memory of those horrible years.

The same sense of Pacifism remains in Japan, but for an entirely different reason.

While I have not lived in Japan, I do have many friends and several relatives who have lived there for years.

In Japan there is little in the way of shame. In fact, Japanese children aren’t even taught about the extent of the atrocities committed by their forbears. The entire nation, from the end of the war until this day have and continue to be in utter denial about both their own guilt in launching an imperialist war of aggression and the horrors committed by their armies, the worst of which was the genocide committed against the Chinese, in which an estimated 20,000,000 Chinese civilians were slaughtered.

In the last few years, Americans, notably the Neoconservatives, have noted with horror that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a holocaust denier. In fact, to be a holocaust denier is counted by most people to be a grave sin.  Yet Japan is an entire nation in utter denial of the systematic butchery and unprovoked aggression perpetrated by their country and no one says a word.

Which leads us back to yesterday, August 6, where the usual somber remembrance of the Hiroshima bombing took place all over the world in a sign of collective guilt over the killing of Japanese civilians in that city.

Enough. I’m sick of hearing about it. It was without doubt, a brutal act in a brutal war. but it pales in comparison with the deliberate mass murder perpetrated against helpless civilians in an unprovoked war of aggression. Hiroshima was bombed because the alternative was a bloody invasion of Japan in which many many times the numbers killed in Nagasaki and Hiroshima combined would have been killed. Alternatively, a blockade of the islands would have resulted in the death by starvation of millions of Japanese. In comparison, the bombing of Hiroshima was a trivial price to pay for ending the war.  The fact that the Japanese and their willing co-deniers of history across the globe continue to forget the atrocities of the Japanese, the utter unwillingness to surrender under the terms offered by the Allies and the comparative death tolls of the alternatives to the bomb disgusts me, and it should disgust you as well.

On the day the Japanese government starts printing the unadulterated truth about those years in their school textbooks and officially acknowledges, without equivication or excuse, the crimes they committed, I will begin to have more sympathy for the civilian casualties of the Second World War. But even with compassion for civilians caught up in an awful war, August 6 should rightfully be remembered as the day that led to the end of a nightmare, not as a day of mourning.

The Japanese were victims of their own evil. They were not and are not martyrs.

*For two excellent scholarly works on the subject of the bomb, I reccommend Weapons for Victory, and Hiroshima in History: the Myths of Revisionism by Prof. Robert J. Maddox.

Posted in history, International, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »


Posted by Bill Nance on June 20, 2009

In support of the brave people of Iran fighting for Democracy, we are going GREEN in a small token of support.

I’ve been following Andrew Sullivan on this as well as The Lede from the NY Times and Tehran Bureau.  they are doing a better job than I could ever hope to do in following this crisis.

But let it never be said again that the people of Iran are worthy only of bombing.

Let everyone who is of the praying bent say their prayers for the success of these brave people.

For the rest of us:

People of Iran: Your time has come. Rise up. Take your country back. We stand in awe of your courage.

Posted in International, Iran | Leave a Comment »

Hey Dick…

Posted by Bill Nance on May 27, 2009

Posted in International, Law & Order, National Security | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

North Korea’s Nuke

Posted by Bill Nance on May 25, 2009

When I awoke this morning to the news that North Korea had confirmed an underground nuclear test of a bomb about the same size that detonated over Hiroshima. I knew it was going to be a bad day for U.S. diplomats and policy makers.

Aside from the fact that any time a new nation joins the “Nuclear Club” it’s bad news, North Korea is particularly troubling because of the nature of the regime.  North Korea is a major exporter of missile technology to places like Iran among others, and is listed as a major supporter of terrorism. Additionally it’s been launching very provocative missile tests near to Japan, which quite legitimately fears the prospect of a nuclear-armed North Korea with missile capability just off it’s coast. When you add in the essentially psychopathic behavior of it’s dictator, Kim Jong Il, it’s a scary situation indeed.

So what are the options for the United States?

Nothing military, according to Stratfor, for one simple reason.

North Korea has some 10,000 fortified artillery pieces trained on Seoul. It is essential to understand that South Korea’s capital city, a major population center and the industrial heartland of South Korea, is within range of conventional artillery. The United States has been moving its forces out of range of these guns, but the South Koreans cannot move their capital.

…It comes down to this: If the United States strikes at North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, it does so placing a bet. And that bet is that North Korea will not respond. That might be true, but if it is not true, it poses a battlefield problem to which neither South Korea nor the United States will be able to respond. In one scenario, the North Koreans bombard Seoul and the United States makes a doomed attempt at shutting down the massive artillery barrage. By the time the guns are silenced — even in the best-case scenarios — Seoul will be a mess. In another scenario, the North Korean army executes an offensive of even minimal competence, which costs South Korea its capital and industrial heartland. The third is a guerrilla onslaught from the elite of the North Korean army, deployed by minisubs and tunnels under the DMZ. The guerrillas pour into the south and wreak havoc on U.S. military installations.

Today I had the pleasure of the company of my brother-in-law who has spent the last three years in Japan, speaks the language fluently and is familiar with the culture and politics there. According to him, this could be the impetus to change Japan’s constitution to allow it to have an army and air force beyond the tiny self protection force it currently has. It could also be the impetus for Japan to “go Israel,” meaning that Japan builds it’s own nuclear missiles. -Something that Japan could probably accomplish in a matter of months, if not weeks.

So for Barack Obama, it’s a bad situation all the way around. Negotiations have proved useless, the South Koreans have no interest in a conflict with their brothers to the north and the Chinese have been unwilling to restrain their vassal.

Here’s a fun scenario I thought of: (It will never happen, but it’s fun to think about).

Tonight the president makes a call to the Prime Minister of Japan and convinces him of the existential threat to his nation and proposes a deal:

The United States will provide Bunker-Buster bombs and the best satellite photos and intelligence about North Korea’s nuclear program and have Japan make the strike.

Yes, the world will howl, but the bet, as discussed in the Stratfor article above will be changed to some degree in that the jets are Japanese.  The U.S. can condemn the strikes and make horrified noises while simultaneously blocking any meaningful UN resolutions in the Security Council.

As I said, it will never happen. But wouldn’t it be nice?

Posted in International, National Security | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Say “Arrrg” NOW -Bitch

Posted by Bill Nance on April 12, 2009

(CNN) — The American captain of a cargo ship held hostage by pirates jumped overboard from the lifeboat where he was being held, and U.S. Navy SEALs shot and killed three of his four captors, according to a senior U.S. official with knowledge of the situation.

Capt. Richard Phillips was helped out of the water off the Somali coast and is uninjured and in good condition, the official said. He was taken aboard the USS Bainbridge, a nearby naval warship.

At the time of the shootings, the fourth pirate was aboard the USS Bainbridge negotiating with officials, the source said. That pirate was taken into custody.

Three words folks:  Balls That Clank

-That is all

Posted in Crime, International, Law & Order, National Security | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Stupid Idea Watch

Posted by Bill Nance on April 8, 2009

As my regular readers will know, I have no objections to meeting with and talking to our enemies. I figure it can’t hurt, and might very well help.

It’s another thing altogether to meet and compromise with criminal gangs.  these aren’t nation states with whom we have policy differences or conflicts. these are armed thugs deserving of no compromise whatsoever.

Enter the latest fiasco in the piracy game. As those of you who’ve been watching the news already know, an American-flagged merchant vessel, the Maersk Alabama was attacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia. I won’t go into the details, which appear to still be developing.  But  I will again restate that arming the fucking ships would prevent this. I don’t know how many times it need be said, but gun control, which is what in effect what ships traversing international waters and multiple ports of call face, simply emboldens criminals who have no compunctions about ignoring said laws.

The latest entry into the completely stupid ideas category is this gem from Nikolas K. Gvosdev published at The National Interest today.

Money quote:

Piracy flourishes because it is successful in bringing in income. Pirates perform a Somali version of trickle-down economics because ransoms that are paid for hijacked ships provide an income stream not only in terms of donations to clans and religious leaders, but also supporting the entire infrastructure for piracy, down to paying the families of those who guard, feed and house captured sailors. If clans, however, could be paid (in cash and services) for serving as “coast guard auxiliaries”—with a clear understanding that payments would continue only if there was a corresponding drop in the number of pirate attacks—this might help to undermine the economic rationale for piracy.

I fail to see how how someone who is a professor of national-security studies at the U.S. Naval War College could have forgotten the line in the Marine Corps Hymn:  “ the shores of Tripoli” That line was inspired by the attack on Derne by U.S. sailors (later officially called Marines) and was a result of, you guessed it, piracy against American merchant vessels.

To quote a great American of that time:

“Millions for defense, not one penny for tribute!”

Posted in International, National Security, Stupid Idea Watch | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Mexico Is Disentigrating…It Must Be American Gun Owners’ Fault

Posted by Bill Nance on April 4, 2009

Over the last month or so, we’ve all have watched with horror the events in Mexico’s struggle with narcotics traffickers. Mass shootings, commonplace kidnapping an murders and the whole country basically devolving into a Colombianesque nightmare.

There are many factors behind this; first and foremost of course, America’s continued insane policies of drug prohibition, without which, virtually all the money the cartels make (and use to arm themselves and create chaos) would go away in an instant.

Second is Mexico’s sad, long history of official corruption, which, when combined with the sheer size of the bribes the drug traffickers can offer, thanks to prohibition in the U.S., can reach into virtually every area of Mexican officialdom. This makes enforcing laws nearly impossible, because the traffickers frankly have more money to offer in hefty payola than the government has to offer in salaries. Add to this the ever present threat of Plata O Plomo (silver or lead in Spanish, meaning take the bribe or die) and you’ve got an enormous mess on your hands in a very poor country right on our southern borders.

But, none of that has really been forthcoming form the U.S. media, and certainly not from the U.S. Government. No, this time, in an effort to find a bogeyman to distract us from our insane drug prohibition policies the government, with willing assistance form a news media too lazy to even bother checking its facts, is blaming U.S. exported guns.

But the math doesn’t work out, as this excellent article details.

Money quote:

A big part of the argument being made by the U.S. and Mexican governments with respect to the source of guns in the possession of Mexican narco-trafficking groups is based on statistics related to so-called gun traces conducted by the ATF.

But if you follow the media narrative on this, as well as the U.S. government’s own proclamations, you soon discover that the math being practiced is right out of Alice in Wonderland, via the Mock Turtle: Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with, and then the different branches of arithmetic — Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision.

By all means read the article. It’s well researched and has plenty of solid factual links, as opposed to the piss-poor reportage the MSM has done on these frankly ludicrous claims of a steady stream of American firearms to Mexico.

But let’s take the issue on here just for an exercise in common sense.

  1. It is a major felony to export arms from the U.S. without an arms export license
  2. The ATF already audits gun shops routinely and checks their records of sales, that background checks were run on all gun-buyers and that serial numbers on guns were kept. Violation of these regulations can wind up getting a gun dealer thrown in jail on federal charges.
  3. Straw sales, that is sales to one person who intends to give the gun to another person not legally allowed to own a gun (like illegal aliens and other non citizens in most cases) is another serious federal crime.
  4. It is illegal under Mexican law to import arms into the country except under express circumstances.
  5. Mexico has some of the most stringent gun control laws in the Western Hemisphere.

Given the fact that the cartels are doing business literally in the billions of dollars, does it make the slightest bit of sense that even if the border wall were up and 100% foolproof as far as guns go, they would somehow be disarmed?  A fully automatic AK-47 (illegal in the U.S. since the 1930s under the National Firearms Act) is available on the black market in any third world country for well under $200.  That’s a great deal cheaper than $900-$1,700 a semi-auto American manufactured long gun costs here in the U.S., even a used one.

Bottom line is that the weapons found in Mexico which are from the U.S. are without a doubt stolen in the vast majority of cases. I suspect the rest, not linked to U.S. legal purchases came from the Mexican government in return for some hefty bribes and from other international sources.  The continued hoopla raised by the Obama administration clearly has two goals:

  1. Ratchet up the anti-gun rhetoric
  2. Whatever they do, DO NOT actually deal with the fact that the only reason Mexico is having this problem is because of the insane policies of drug prohibition in the United States.

After all, we wouldn’t want to spoil the narrative with facts now, would we.

Posted in Barack Obama, Creeping Fascism watch, firearms, Guns Dammit!, Hillary Clinton, International, Law & Order, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »