Archive for July, 2006

If you liked this post, you’ll love the Google Earth KMZ overlay. See where those places are on the satellite photos. Understand my nonsensical ravings. Details are accurate as of 1330 hours today.

If you liked this post, you’ll love the Google Earth KMZ overlay. See where those places are on the satellite photos. Understand my nonsensical ravings. Details are accurate as of 1330 hours today.

Remember this post? Not only did it have rockets, plausible deniability and much more comments-rocking stuff, it also had a gigantic sea-going radar station. Chris Williams remarked in comments that

“We only need a submarine and a glamorous lady spy and we’ve got an Alastair Maclean thriller.”

I disagree. The giant floating radar turned up off Hawaii, the Hawaii Star-Bulletin reports, in need of dockyard assistance after spending the last few months on its sea trials around the islands (so it certainly wasn’t anywhere near its station off Alaska when the missile crisis-ette was going on). And it’s not Alistair MacLean it calls to mind. Take a look.

Mr. Bond - I've been expecting you..

If that isn’t the spitting image of deranged shipping tycoon Karl Stromberg’s secret submarine base in The Spy who Loved Me, I dunno what is. It’s 28 storeys high, 282 feet long and displaces 50,000 tons.

Remember this post? Not only did it have rockets, plausible deniability and much more comments-rocking stuff, it also had a gigantic sea-going radar station. Chris Williams remarked in comments that

“We only need a submarine and a glamorous lady spy and we’ve got an Alastair Maclean thriller.”

I disagree. The giant floating radar turned up off Hawaii, the Hawaii Star-Bulletin reports, in need of dockyard assistance after spending the last few months on its sea trials around the islands (so it certainly wasn’t anywhere near its station off Alaska when the missile crisis-ette was going on). And it’s not Alistair MacLean it calls to mind. Take a look.

Mr. Bond - I've been expecting you..

If that isn’t the spitting image of deranged shipping tycoon Karl Stromberg’s secret submarine base in The Spy who Loved Me, I dunno what is. It’s 28 storeys high, 282 feet long and displaces 50,000 tons.

Alex “WorldChanging” Steffen is a fan of Samuel Smith’s organic beers, brewed in Yorkshire’s oldest brewery in Tadcaster. Who knew? I’d comment, but I’m barred from his comments thread for opining that Bruce Sterling is not always right.

Slightly more seriously, the row related to RFID technology – both teh Bruce and the Worldchanging crowd are strongly in favour for reasons connected with recycling. I’m strongly against for reasons connected with liberty. My point was that in the way of things, the security-bureaucratic complex is likely to sink kajillions in liberticidal applications for it long before we get any benefit from Sterlingian notions of “spimes”, “blogjects” and such.

Associated Press reports on the arrival of only the second aircraft at Mogadishu since the civil war broke out, allegedly with a cargo of armaments for the new rulers, the Islamic Courts Union, to fight the Ethiopians. There’s a photo, too…

mystery jet

The aircraft is a no-title Ilyushin 76 which according to AP was registered in Kazakhstan. However, the registration is not visible and is not mentioned in the story. Checking all the Il-76s listed as active with Kazakh operators, I have eliminated most of them from my inquiries as they don’t match the one in the photo. However, the closest seem to be either GST Aero, UN-76497 with Air Bas, or one owned by the Kazakh government.

Can you help? Specifically, has anyone seen a UN- prefix Il-76 with that curious flag or panel on the starboard side of the fin?

Jamie K thinks the UNTSO post was bombed to prevent them observing a possible Israeli flank movement from the northern tip of the country, around Kiryat Shmona, down the Litani valley to the sea, with hopes of cutting off the retreat, which means going further into Lebanon. He quotes me, in comments, suggesting that this area was going to be significant.

Why did I say that? Well, have a read of this Jerusalem Post report. Especially this:

The Nahal Brigade, IDF sources confirmed, was gearing up along the eastern border with Lebanon in preparation for a ground incursion to take over additional Hizbullah-run villages.

In fighting that was described as heroic by Brig.-Gen. Gal Hirsh, commander of Division 91, soldiers from the Golani and Paratrooper Brigades took up positions around the town of Bint Jbail clashing with Hizbullah and killed close to 50 gunmen…

The eastern border – i.e. the extreme right (in both senses of the word) flank. The Israelis are using three brigades at the moment, the Golani infantry brigade, the airborne brigade and the 7th armoured brigade, under the command of two division headquarters, the 91st and one other as yet unidentified. That both the HQs are required although so far only one division equivalent is engaged suggests that more forces are standing by – specifically, the Nahal infantry brigade mentioned above. If it makes an incursion into Lebanon from its current location, it must needs go westwards into the Litani valley.

W. Patrick Lang has details on the location of the UNTSO post. And as everyone no doubt now knows, the Israeli cabinet has announced the call-out of three divisions of reservists. They say they will not expand the war into Syria, and I don’t think they will, but they only say they will not expand the operation further into Lebanon yet. In the same report, there’s also something very significant about rockets. Especially for fans of the Iranian Dr. Evil view of terrorism.

“It’s not simple fighting the war while at the same time taking care of all the logistics,” said Maj. Avi, deputy commander of Battalion 51, which operates the new Merkava 4 tanks, “but we’re dealing with it.”

The biggest problem the tank crews have come up against in this conflict is the large number of anti-tank missiles in Hizbullah’s hands, which have hit a significant number of IDF tanks, though Avi insisted they were not surprised by this. The missiles come in a wide variety, not only the Russian-made RPGs and Saggers that the IDF has dealt with before, but also French-made Milan missiles. “You can buy anything with money” smiles Avi

French-made, well, they are also British-made. The point is that state sponsorship is irrelevant because black markets are global. Also, this from the Washington Post:Most of the resistance to Israeli incursions into Lebanon over the past two weeks has involved the use of assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and antitank missiles, including what Israeli officials say are versions or copies of powerful and accurate Russian- and U.S.-made weapons. Versions? Copies? For bonus points, which large sandy country with a civil war on not a million miles away owned a stockpile of Chinese CSS-2 Seersucker (vulgarly known as Silkworms) anti-ship cruise missiles?

Forgot to include this: Ha’aretz has details of the cabinet discussions. Note this: Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, a former defense minister, also
expressed reservations about expanding the ground operation. “Let us assume that you get to the Litani [River], and they continue to fire against Haifa [from] north of the Litani. What have you achieved?” he asked.

News of the Screws “investigations editor” Mahzer Mahmood has done it again, as the case against his supposed “red mercury plotters” goes belly-up. This should come as no surprise at all because red mercury does not exist. Well, there’s no reason why he can’t go on with his pathetic “no-rate sleb snorts cocaine” tales, but it would be nice if the Metropolitan Police didn’t treat him with such touching faith.

Really detailed reporting from the Jerusalem Post on the first phase of the invasion. Note especially this:

On Thursday five Egoz soldiers were killed by an anti-tank missile in the village…”many of our tanks took hits, mainly from Sagger rockets; none of the tanks were destroyed but quite a few of our friends were wounded.”

I think an earlier version of that article also referred to Kornet ATGMs turning up, but it seems to have gone. These weapons (AT-14) are the latest Russian anti-tank missile in service; the crazy right has been noising a little about them in the past, but it would be interesting to see if anyone can find a reference. Details are here, with this interesting point:

It emerged as the Iraqis’ most effective direct-fire weapon against U.S. armor in the desert of southern Iraq. Iraqi commandos traveling in three-man teams dressed in black civilian robes and riding in Nissan pickup trucks moved against the flanks of columns of armor from the US Army’s 3rd Infantry Division and launched broadside attacks from several kilometers away using the system. Those attacks had disabled at least two Abrams tanks and one Bradley armored troop carrier in the opening week of the war. US military intelligence officials were extremely interested in capturing one of the missiles intact. They also instructed American soldiers who destroy one of the Kornet launchers to save the remains of the system for close inspection.

Also right on cue, the respectable obscenities of today’s salon barbarians. The New York Times Magazine prints this:

From Israel’s standpoint, this is no longer a fight with nonstate terrorists who are holding their fellow citizens hostage to their tactics. It is, rather, war between Israel and countries that are pursuing (or tolerating) violent policies endorsed (or at least accepted) by their electorates.

A thing called “Atlas Shrugs” puts it without as much lawyerly antiseptic as follows:

I am not buying into the innocent civilians meme. If by ignorance, complicity, neglect or helplessness the Lebanese wouldn’t throw Hezbollah out and establish a strong government, then they must pay the price for the sins of Hizbollah.

Did you take part in the Cedar Revolution? If so, looks like you’ve got more to worry about than just the Syrians. I mean, these people were the first to cheerlead for the revolution. Have they forgotten? Meanwhile, the shadow of the man Shimon Peres used to be says Israel will never attack Lebanon.





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