Category Archives: Unconventional Warfare

202 BC: Scipio Uses Hannibal’s Spies Against Him

The battle of Zama in 202 BC was the end of the line for Carthage’s brilliant general Hannibal Barca and the Second Punic War. After the Roman victory, Carthage faced terms more punitive than those of the notorious Treaty of Versailles: they were disarmed of their naval and military power, and subject to fifty years of tribute. When the Carthaginians made their final tribute payment, the Romans would soon demand the Carthaginians further disarm — and then  destroy the Carthaginian city, civilization, and people utterly in the Third Punic War.

In the  Battle of Zama which decided the Second Punic War, and greased the skids for the complete elimination of Carthage in the Third, there were many reasons for Roman victory. The Romans had logistical advantages, a better field position, far superior infantry (n quality, at least), and at least equal cavalry, thanks to some Numidian horsemen changing sides. But the Roman general Publius Cornelius Scipio enlarged those advantages by playing a trick on Hannibal Barca, his Carthaginian counterpart.

Now, what we know the battle is limited to the tales told by two Roman historians, Livy and Polybius, writing from a position far away and after the fact. The site of the battle has never been confirmed or even found. And the two of them  disagree about some details of this tale. But in most things, their two stories are consonant.

Plus, it’s a good story!

in ancient times spies were as much a part of warfare as they have been ever since, and then, as now, or perhaps, even more than now, a spy faced great risk with little prospect of reward. So three Carthaginian spies, who fell into the hands of Roman patrols shortly before the battle, must have commended their souls to their heathen gods and braced themselves for a miserable death.

The key question Hannibal needed the answer to, his EEI or CCIR to use more modern acronyms, was this: had Scipio’s infantry and Masinissa’s Numidian cavalry joined forces? In that case it would be better to refuse battle. Or was the enemy camp one of the forces, alone? In the latter case the African had the advantage over his Italian enemy.

In Hannibal’s Last Battle, Carey writes:

These three spies were taken prisoner by the Romans about the same time that Masinissa arrived at the camp with Numidian reinforcements. This force consisted of 4,000 light cavalry and 6,000 infantry.

Here the Roman historians’ stories diverge, and the authors consider what that signifies:

Polybius and Livy differ on the timing of these events. Livy maintains that the spies arrived after Masinissa, and reported back their numbers, while Polybius states that the Numidian king arrived the next day unobserved by the spies.320 Both authors agree that Scipio ordered the spies to be treated well and given guided tours of the camp and to report back to Hannibal what they observed. Polybius’ account would make sense if it were Scipio’s intention to mislead Hannibal into believing the Roman’s were weak in cavalry. This may be why Hannibal continued to march west towards Scipio. Livy’s account would ring true if the spies returned to Hannibal’s camp with intelligence on Roman troop strengths that worried the Punic general.

Of course, there’s another possibility: Scipio was simply playing a dominance game with Hannibal, the equivalent of a ballplayer trash-talking his opposite number, or a gorilla beating his chest. In any event, Hannibal met Scipio five or six days’ march west of Carthage, at the still unlocated field of Zama, and the two leaders met between their armies, with only each one’s dragoman in attendance.

Hannibal regretted that Rome and Carthage had ever pursued conquest on the other’s side of the great sea; was there any way to resolve the nations’ open issues without bloodshed?

Scipio’s response was long, flowery, and recounted a litany of Carthaginian misdeeds relative to Rome, ending with an offer of the only terms that would prevent the battle: unconditional surrender.

The fact is that you must either put yourself and your country unconditionally into our hands, or else fight and conquer us.

(This would have been known to Roosevelt and Churchill, both better educated than their modern counterparts, when they made their “unconditional surrender” decision in World War II).

With no way to avoid the defeat except by fighting, the fight was on, and the next day they fought. Hannibal survived and was not captured, but the Carthaginians wound up unconditionally surrendering.

At first, the Romans planned to destroy the city and enslave the citizens, but they were talked around to simply imposing harsh terms. Cary reports:

The terms Scipio set to end the Second Punic War were very harsh, no doubt set as a reminder to the Carthaginians of the truce which they broke when the convoy was attacked off the coast of Carthage in early spring 202. According to the treaty Carthage would:

  • Lose all territory outside of Africa and recognize Masinissa as the king of a greatly expanded Numidia.
  • Reduce her fleet to only ten triremes.
  • Have all her war elephants confiscated.
  • Pay an annual indemnity of 10,000 silver talents for fifty years.
  • Refrain from making war outside of Africa unless Roman permission was obtained.
  • Return all Roman prisoners and deserters without ransom.
  • Supply Rome with three month’s worth of food and supplies and pay the occupying Roman army’s wages until the treaty was ratified by the Roman Senate.
  • Pay reparations for the loss of the convoy and its supplies.
  • Finally, Scipio demanded hostages from the leading Carthaginian families to ensure their cooperation

The Roman prisoners were freed, but the fate of the deserters was different — crucifixion for Romans, or beheading for Rome’s foreign levies, as the wages of treason.

The Carthaginians met the terms, but war came soon after the tribute’s half-century ran out. The Romans had rejected an offer to repay it early, in 191 BC, because they wanted to keep their Mediterranean rival on a short leash. The Romans threatened to invade again, and demand the Carthaginians disarm. When the Carthaginians did so, handing over 200,000 sets of individual arms and equipment and 2,000 siege machines, the Romans invaded anyway, and took the city after a three-year siege, destroying it utterly in 146 BC.

To exit, here is a wargame-produced simulation of the battle of Zama in its context of the Punic Wars.

 

Source:

Carey, Brian Todd. (Allfree & Cairns, maps). Hannibals Last Battle: Zama and the Fall of Carthage. Barnsley, South Yorks., England: Pen & Sword, 2007.

NSA, CIA Complacency Allowed Snowden Compromise

First, before we burn NSA and CIA bureaucrats at the stake for the risk to future warfighters they might have prevented, we need to remember that it was Snowden, himself, that decided to steal a three-mile-high pile of documents that weren’t his business (and that in most cases, he didn’t even understand), and Snowden, himself, who decided to provide them to anti-American media persons and then, further, to the Russian government.

But he’s under the guardianship of his FSB owners, now. So let’s get those bureaucrats sorted out, and bring us some ever-lovin’ kindling.

The first finding is that investigators blew opportunity after opportunity to, well, investigate.

Snowden was described as a “serial exaggerator and fabricator” who intentionally lied about his past in order to promote himself….

CIA and NSA failed to recognize that Snowden was likely to betray the government’s trust and disclose significant U.S. intelligence capabilities that have been lost or restricted as a result.

NSA security officials failed to conduct a routine check of Snowden’s educational background.

Snowden is a high school dropout and listed a nonexistent school on his security clearance paperwork. They didn’t catch the lie, because they never checked.

Snowden also was granted a “top secret” security clearance … despite an associate warning security investigators he should not be given access to secrets.

He made a false complaint of harrassment. He was relieved of a position overseas for modifying software and insubordination. (The “modifying software” is the reddest of red flags, and anyone with a tech background knows what it means in personnel reliability terms. God alone knows why they didn’t open a CI case on him right then and there). Still, he left CIA, not under investigation, if on poor terms. Yet he…

…then applied for work at NSA and was hired by an NSA contractor in 2009.

What, when the CIA had already flagged him as a dirtbag? Er, no. They dumped him as a dirtbag, but never got around to setting the flag. Yes, that’s ate up.

CIA failed to update a security database with derogatory information about Snowden. As a result, NSA failed to learn of his problems at CIA before hiring him.

Incidentally, he had to take a test. What he did. since he had access to the network at admin level already, was download the answers. Hey, best test results ever. And one more flag to Snowden’s integrity — or complete lack thereof — went unnoticed.

The polyincompetent Office of Personnel Management — you know, the guys who lost everybody’s SF86 data since 1984, which now rests in the hands of more foreign powers than even Snowden’s disclosures, those guys? — then had to investigate him for the NSA gig. That’s when they caught him, right? Wrong. You already know the spoiler, they didn’t catch him. As the story says, with “an investigation later found to have been incomplete.”

How many other Snowdens are out there, having received similar half-assed, pencil-whipped investigations? Quoth the report that inspired the article we’re quoting here:

Among other flaws, the investigation never attempted to verify Snowden’s CIA employment or speak to his CIA supervisors, nor did it attempt to independently verify Snowden’s self-report of a past security violation—areas where further information could have alerted NSA to CIA’s concerns.

And as the article notes:

  • Investigators “failed to check job references”;
  • They only checked his mother and girlfriend. (Yep, they exist! Box checked);
  • His co-workers knew he was not right, “squirrelly”;
  • He “voiced sympathies for China based on meetings with Chinese hackers”
  • He defended Bradley Manning (not surprising, traitors hang together).
  • NSA had no IDS or real-time usage monitoring on NSANet or JWICS.

McDonalds protects the secret ingredients of its “special sauce” better.

His methods were not sophisticated. He used file download tools available to any beginner admin, wget and DownThemAll. There are some details in the article, and the whole who-shot-John is in the report. Redacted report (original is TS/codewords, NOFORN):

hpsci_snowden_review_declassified.pdf

 

 

State-Sponsored Terror in Argentina

In 1994, a terrorist outrage struck Buenos Aires: a massive SVBIED in a Renault Trafic van destroyed the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) building, a Jewish community center, killing 85 people and wounding over 200. The high death toll was made possible because the bomb destroyed load-bearing walls and brought the entire building down.

The bomber was a Hezbollah foot soldier, an expendable splodydope, but the attack was planned and ordered by the highest levels of the Iranian government, including Quds Force head Ahmed Vahidi, later Defense Minister; plus Ahmad Reza Asghari, Ali Fallahijan, Imad Mughniyah, Mohsen Rabbani, Mohsen Rezai and Ali Akbar Velayati.

None of the Iranians have ever been brought to account, and one reason is that they spent large sums to buy immunity from Argentine politicians Carlos Menem, Néstor Kirchner and most recently Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Despite pressure from above to desist, an Argentine Special Prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, brought criminal complaints against both Iranian and Argentine officials. The latest of these complaints was in January, 2015. With a deft use of judicially-approved wiretaps, Nisman exposed a 2013 Memorandum of Understanding between the Argentine and Iranian governments in which Argentina received Iranian oil, in return for withdrawing international warrants for the Iranian secret service personnel responsible for the mass murder, some of whom have risen to high state in Iran.

Immediately after President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was added to his list of accused, Nisman was shot to death in his home (18 January 15), his death scene staged to make the murder look like a suicide. A successor, Gerardo Pollicita, has taken up the case.

If this sounds complicated, wait until you get into the details. For instance, as it became clear that Pollicita was going to continue to pursue the case against the President, a fire of unknown origin occurred in the basement of the Presidential residence, the Casa Rosada.

The only thing destroyed was the archive of records… very specific records.

The records burnt correspond to the Casa Rosada entry on Balcarce street, an access point used mostly by low-ranking employees and occasional visitors who must present an ID to enter. The fire did not reach the principal door, where the president, ministers, secretaries, and special guests go through.

However, a source inside the pink-hued seat of the presidency told Clarín: “Almost the whole database was deleted. Most of those who entered [the building] after the fire are ‘new’ people for the system. There are no records.”

The information, if it still exists in back-up form, could verify evidence in the intercepted audio files used by Nisman in his case against the president before being found dead in his apartment on January 19.

As Dubove notes, the wiretaps included discussions about visits to the Casa Rosada by the “parallel diplomacy” leader, Luis D’Elia, who would have had to enter and exit through that main entry given that he was not a government official at the time.

Americans think Watergate was a big scandal and Nixon was a bent politician. Yeah, it was, and he was, but not by world, or even hemispheric, standards. Sure, Harry Reid is worth tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars that miraculously appeared in his net worth while he was working for $170k a year, but the Castro and Chavez families have acquired unexplained billions. And in Argentina, this scandal’s cover-up hasn’t shrunk from murder. And the scandal itself began with the best part of a hundred murders. You won’t find a scandal like that in American politics, yet.

The Nisman investigation, his murder, and the continuing cover-up shines a lantern or two on something all of us active in Central and South America over the last 20-25 years have seen, and that’s increasing Iranian presence. And everywhere the Persians go, terrorism, either the crude AMIA bombing type carried out by a stupid, expendable splodydope imported from the Levant, or the sophisticated murder of Nisman type carried out by a local secret service in thrall to the mullahs, follows.

To learn more:

  • AlbertoNisman.org. This site continues the work of the martyred Nisman. It may load slowly because it is under an intermittent DDOS attack, presumably by Argentine secret service hackers, but it contains transcripts and the full indictment of January 2015, in Spanish and English translation.
  • After Nisman, a special report by Joseph M. Humire of the Center for a Secure Free Society (direct link to the .pdf) examines the baleful Iranian influence on South America, Central America, and the Caribbean, using Nisman’s murder as a peg on which to hang a continental-wide report. Highly recommended, as is SFS in general.

The Exsanguinated Frogman Affair

Strange doings in Thailand.

A diver found with his throat slashed and tied to a post in the middle of the sea near a seedy Thai beach resort may be Russian, police said Monday.

The body, in a full wetsuit and flippers, was found on Friday tethered to a mooring post dozens of metres out to sea off Koh Larn — an island near the sleazy, crime-ridden beach town of Pattaya.

Shades of “Buster” Crabbe, who was found in a similar state after trying to reconnoiter the hull and propulsion of the Soviet warship Ordzhonikidze during the Cold War.

The macabre case has baffled detectives who say they are unable to ascertain how he died.

Wait, didn’t they just say his throat was cut?

“The initial autopsy found his throat was slashed… but the forensic doctor said it could have happened by suicide or by someone cutting him,” Pattaya police colonel Apichai Krobpetch told AFP.

Suicide? And he was lashed to a buoy?

“We believe he could be Russian… there are witnesses who said they heard him earlier speaking Russian,” he said, adding they were seeking consular help to identify the man.

Well, if he was a Russian organized crime figure, the Russian cops should have prints and a file. None of those guys has no criminal history.

Koh Larn is a short boat ride from Pattaya — a town located a few hours south of Bangkok and notorious for its go-go bars and links with organised crime.

The town is popular with Russian holidaymakers, who are met with Russian-speaking staff in some hotels and menus and street signs written in their language.

Hey, Putin may miss the USSR, but in the USSR they’d never trust ordinary Russians to go to the fleshpots of Pattaya. For fear they won’t come back.

Which, come to think of it, is what happened to this mystery frog, Russian or not — wherever he came from, he won’t be coming back.

His Name is Anus: Murderer Missing in Mutti Merkel’s Massacre

Mutti Merkel’s Massacre?” Well, what else can we call the terrorist outrage in Berlin, where one of the terrorists admitted as “asylum seekers,” probably not working alone, killed 12 and injured 48 or 49, 18 of them critically or severely? To make matters worse, the first alien criminal they grabbed — we mentioned him yesterday, a Pakistani “refugee” named Naved Baluch, caught after wanton traffic violations that made witnesses suspect he was the Berlin killer — was the wrong guy. They figured it out when his DNA didn’t match the blood the injured murderer left behind, with the body of the dead authorized truck driver, in the juggernaut he used to commit the massacre.

Uh, he also left his ID card. And his name is Anus. (Okay, it’s Anis, Anis Amri, but Arabic transcription is pretty flexible, no? We’re going with Anus). And yes, he’s from the desert planet of Tattooine, uh, the desert burg of Tataouine in Algeria, an Islamic extremist stronghold. Well, either way he’s an alien presence in Germany.

The Germans, whose Secret State Police (and its successor, the East German Stasi, which had a lot of continuity in leadership and methods) once terrorized all Europe, seem to have lost the capability, or perhaps the will, to do good police work. Illustrating (literally) this: these pictures of Anus’s whole face showed up in an English newspaper.

The pictures the German police released had the eyes blanked out to protect Anus’s privacy. That’s right, they’re less interested in catching this sphincter muscle than they are in protecting his privacy. 

Well, to blazes with his privacy. We’d take it as a personal favor if you spread these pictures far and wide, and if you see him on the street and happen to be driving a 44-tonne class European M2-standard big rig, you know what to do. Lex Talionis, a concept from European civilization, which predates moslem civilization.

But hey, 2016 predates moslem civilization, too. Moslem barbarism, well, that’s different.

Here’s a graphic with a timeline of the crime and investigation, so far.

We’re still trying to get our heads around the German unwillingness to name and ID their suspect. It’s not just because they had the wrong guy first time, but a matter of long-standing national policy.

According to that English paper (The daily Mail; it’s a dirty job, but they wanna be paperback writers):

The 21-year-old’s ID was found under the seat in the lorry used to murder 12 people and maim dozens of others.

Yet strict privacy rules in Germany mean newspapers in the country are referring to him only by his first name and the first initial of his last surname – despite a public appeal aimed at tracking him down.

Pictures of Anis A, who if he is the driver police believe is probably armed, ‘highly dangerous’ and a member of a ‘large’ Islamic organisation, are also partially obscured, blocking out his eyes.

Media used the same naming method for Naved Baluch yesterday when the Pakistani was held in the aftermath of the atrocity.

The 23-year-old, who arrived in Germany a year ago, was blamed for Monday night’s carnage but released 18 hours later.

In line with the country’s privacy laws, German authorities will not fully name anyone they arrest over the atrocity.

It is not the first example of full names being withheld during criminal cases in the country.

Last month, only first names were released as two Syrian men, Kamel T.H.J. and Azad R., were charged with membership in a terrorist organisation on allegations they fought with a militant Islamist groups in their homeland.

A month earlier, a similar tactic was employed on the arrest of suspected ISIS airport bomb plotter Jaber al-Bakr.

The 22-year-old, had built ‘a virtual bomb-making lab’ in a flat in Chemnitz and was thought to have planned an attack against either one of Berlin’s two airports or a transport hub in his home state of Saxony, security sources said.

He later hanged himself in his prison cell – despite being on suicide watch.

No great loss. It spares the rest of us from what he’d do when the Germans let him go.

Some newspapers even keep to the rule when referring to Austrian monster Josef Fritzl, who repeatedly raped his daughter, Elisabeth, and fathered seven children by her while keeping her imprisoned in his cellar for 24 years.

Not saying Fritzl should be anybody’s role model, but who’s the real monster? He or the mohammedan?

Amri had an online presence that suggested he supports the Ansar al-Sharia extremist group back home.

His injuries that caused his blood to be left in the truck came, in a matter of sweet payback, from Christmas wreaths and scaffolding that penetrated his truck. Jesus Saves, but if you’re a murtherin’ heathen, sometimes He just turns you in to the cops.

Mrs Merkel’s tone-deaf response to the crime shows that she is at least consistent. While her citizens were being murdered by her beloved “refugees,” she was attending a pro-migrant event; when she spoke about the tragedy, her sympathies were for the perps, not the victims:

“It would be particularly hard to bear for all of us if it was confirmed that a person committed this crime who asked for protection and asylum in Germany”

When she belatedly showed up to lay roses on the scene the next day, the question might be whether she was laying them for the victims or for her own political career, which her open-doors-for-terrorists policy has put on life support.

There are two graphic ways of looking at the refugee carnage in Germany. The Mail produced a map:

The second way is to plug those same numbers in by time. Neither of these is particularly good because there’s a lot of luck (good and ill) in outcomes. Along with these “successful” plots, there have been others interrupted by German authorities or international police work.

The Mail article says that truck attacks were called for in a recent issue of ISIL’s Rumiyah (Rome) magazine, which replaced their previous magazine Dabiq when they lost the city of Dabiq. We searched two issues of Rumiyah, which are all that we are aware of, without finding this reference. But if ISIL is pushing this technique, we can expect to see more of them. (They are definitely pushing knife attacks, and we’ve seen an increase in those in Israel, the USA and Europe).

Update

This post has been edited. Number of injured and critically injured was updated to 48 or 49 (media disagree) and 18 critically or severely.

Clint Lorance: The Wrong Color to go Free

In the “Mad Duck” phase of the lame-duck Obama Administration, we expect even more pardons and commutations than the 1,300+ already issued in 2016, and we expect to see them go to the same kind of characters who have received them in the last eight years: gun-toting gangbangers and poison-peddling dope dealers. We can also expect more murderers airlifted out of Guantanamo and whisked back to resume the jihad. But we can tell you who won’t be getting out of jail for Christmas: First Lieutenant Clint Lorance.

Lorance is a former platoon leader in the 82nd who was hung out to dry for ordering his platoon to fire on three men, two of whom were shot dead (sounds like his guys needed to tighten up their marksmanship). The Afghans were unarmed when gunned down, all parties agree on that. The prosecution represented them as innocent farmers who were victims of cold-blooded murder. (To see the prosecution side of the story, which does indeed make Lorance look like a monster, read this article by the usually anti-military reporter. Michelle Tan; the prosecutors placed the story with her and gave her access to their witnesses).

But whatever the victims were, they weren’t just innocent farmers. Both of the men whose deaths sent Lorance to jail were already in the biometric database used to keep track of insurgents and terrorists. And prosecuting attorney CPT Kirk Otto knew that, and kept the information not only from Lorance’s defense, but from the command, the members of the Court, the Court Martial Convening Authority, and the public as well.

Now, there’s a reason lawyers have a reputation that’s somewhere around Dante’s Ninth Circle with Judas, Brutus, pedophiles (okay, they were probably in the Eighth) and Congressmen. In a way it’s inherent in an adversarial system that rewards, to steal book titles from Peter Grant, war to the knife, knife to the hilt tactics. The adversarial system is a bit like a representative republic: it’s a crummy way of doing things that happens to be better than all the other ways we’ve tried, so far. So barring some unlikely breakthrough in judicial philosophy, we’re stuck with it.

That said, the legal system with all its pettifogging has an extremely poor applicability to the events of combat. Lorance is in jail, why not the F-16 pilots that bombed the Canadians? If you’re going to make a decision based on appearances and international politics, that would have been a better case in which to do it. Our Canadian friends and allies are still justifiably bent out of shape over that, and unlike the Afghans, they’re really our friends and allies.

Then there are basic questions of equity to consider. The monsters of Guantanamo, many of whom had rivers of blood on their hands are out and about. Our team contributed one Malim Ahmad Abdul, then 48, along with documentation of approximately 350 homicides (often of whole families) and numerous other crimes; he confessed to most of the murders; and he’s long since been let go with a pat on the head. One wonders how he’s been running up the score since. And Lorance sits in Leavenworth.

You may make the statement that the release of Malim Ahmad served a political end and served US policy if not justice, with US policy at the time being to pretend Islamic terrorism didn’t exist, and see if closing our eyes made it disappear.

But there is another equitable comparison to be made: consider the worst atrocity case of the Vietnam War, the massacre at the hamlet of My Lai 4. The battalion commander was not prosecuted as he wore the protective ring of a West Pointer. The company commander was not prosecuted. The brigade commander, who was unpopular with his commander, was prosecuted but acquitted. One platoon leader was prosecuted. And this was an unquestioned atrocity, with civilians including women and children machine-gunned as they cowered in roadside ditches and village shelters. The prosecuted platoon leader had his sentence commuted, and later, reduced to house arrest and finally, he was granted a limited pardon by then-President Nixon.

Lorance is far from the only soldier to be targeted by the judge advocate general’s corps, the hand of the enemy in our own uniforms. Indeed, he’s one where the prosecution at least had an argument, unlike some of the other cases. But he’s an interesting example. And this Christmas, he’ll be setting that example in the US Disciplinary Barracks at Leavenworth, Kansas, while at least a thousand dope-dealing gangbangers will be back on the streets, as they like to say, “Keepin’ it real, you feel me?”

Breaking: Green on Blue Murder, Russian Ambassador to Turkey

A lot of news is developing here and it may quickly be overcome by events. But here’s what we have so far (this post replaces our scheduled 1800 post).

Facts

  1. The Ambassador did not have significant (i.e. armed) security.
  2. He and two others are reported shot. One is believed to have been the individual translating for him, probably a Russian Embassy officer.
  3. He was taken by surprise while giving a routine speech at the opening of a Russian-Turkish art exhibit at the Contemporary Art Center in Ankara. Engagements for diplomats don’t get any more routine or low-threat than that.
  4. The gunman began yelling before he fired, and may have fired a warning shot (reports disagree), but then immediately shot the Ambassador in the back. The Ambassador was hit by multiple rounds and appears to have died immediately. (He was not pronounced dead until 19:53 Turkish time, after attempts to resuscitate him in hospital). Numerous photos from the scene (there was a significant media presence) show him remaiing in the exact same position once he falls.
  5. The shooter was a Turk, a police officer who was standing behind the Ambassador as if providing security. He apparently was wearing an appropriate recognition signal for police/bodyguards.
  6. So far, Turkish sources have not revealed the man’s name or exact assignment, beyond that his duties were in Istanbul. Update: The attacker was 22-year-old Mevlüt Mert Alintas, born 24 June 94, in Söke, an Aegean coastal town once populated by Greeks who were subsequently ethnically cleansed. (The town was resettled with Turks “cleansed” in turn from Greek and Cypriot territory). He appears to be an ethnic Turk, not a Kurd or other minority member. 
  7. The shooter harangued the crowd, with slogans in Arabic but declarations in Turkish, while threatening them with his service pistol.
  8. The shooter is reported to have been put down by a national CT team.

How it went down, in pictures.

Ambassador Andrei Gennadyevich Karlov begins his speech at an art gallery. What only one person at the gallery knows, the young man out of focus behind him to the left, is that the young man, a Turkish policeman, is here to murder Karlov.

Karlov is a career diplomat, who has been Ambassador to both Koreas before. He has seconds to live.

After the first shots, Karlov is down. So is another man (l.) who may have been the interpreter translating for Karlov, who had been positioned to Karlov’s right (out of the frame in the picture above to the left… you can see, from the relative positions of the microphones in the photos below, where he stood; the silver mic was the Ambassador’s, and the black one the translator’s). The photographer in this Hürriyet photo is clearly proned out himself; while the gunman harangues the survivors, who are clustered in a knot behind a wall (you can see them in the left rear of the picture below).

This next picture shows the reactions of the people attending the exhibit opening. (Where we had them we preserved the original news agency captions). Absence of a counterattack on the attacking cop suggests that there were no armed personnel on hand.

This is in keeping with what is known about Karlov, who disdained armed security, and would not ride in armored vehicles. When Turkish journalists asked him about it (he’s been Ambassador to Turkey since 2013), he told them that “Nobody will do anything to me.”

Pepole react after the the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, was shot at a photo gallery in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. A gunman opened fire on Russia’s ambassador to Turkey at a photo exhibition on Monday. The Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said he was hospitalized with a gunshot wound. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

After murdering Karlov, the gunman remained on guard, menacing the members of the public even as he harangued them with his message. His pistol handling shows signs of traning.

An unnamed gunman gestures after shooting the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, at a photo gallery in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. The Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said he was hospitalized with a gunshot wound. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

The cop/shooter periodically raised and lowered his handgun, which appears to be a Turkish-made CZ derivative. When he was or just had been threatening someone, he got on the trigger; otherwise he maintained well-trained trigger discipline.

Note poor Karlov’s glasses, slid across the floor as he fell lifeless.

An unnamed gunman shouts after shooting the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, at a photo gallery in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. A Russian official says that the country’s ambassador to Turkey has died after being shot by a gunman in Ankara. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

He periodically made the “one finger” gesture commonly associated with ISIL and other Islamist extremists (it symbolizes “monotheism,” in response to the Islamist belief that Christianity and many other religions practice shirk, or polytheism).

An unnamed gunman gestures after shooting the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, at a photo gallery in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. A gunman opened fire on Russia’s ambassador to Turkey at a photo exhibition on Monday. The Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said he was hospitalized with a gunshot wound. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

The relative lack of bleeding also suggests that Karlov was killed instantly. At one point the gunman seemed to check him, as if considering a coup de grâce. 

An unnamed gunman gestures after shooting the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, at a photo gallery in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. The Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said he was hospitalized with a gunshot wound. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

There are a lot more pictures of the one-finger gesture.

An unnamed gunman gestures after shooting the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, at a photo gallery in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. A gunman opened fire on Russia’s ambassador to Turkey at a photo exhibition on Monday. The Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said he was hospitalized with a gunshot wound. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

An unnamed gunman gestures after shooting the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, at a photo gallery in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. A gunman opened fire on Russia’s ambassador to Turkey at a photo exhibition on Monday. The Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said he was hospitalized with a gunshot wound. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

A man gestures near to the body of a man at a photo gallery in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. An Associated Press photographer says a gunman has fired shots at the Russian ambassador to Turkey. The ambassador’s condition wasn’t immediately known. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

A man gestures near to Andrei Karlov on ground, the Russian Ambassador to Turkey at a photo gallery in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. An Associated Press photographer says a gunman has fired shots at the Russian ambassador to Turkey. The ambassador’s condition wasn’t immediately known. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici).

Analysis (incl. Opinion)

Rather predictably, a government that embraces Islamism gets it good and hard in the end, and this, of course, is what happened to Pakistan starting with Zia Al-Haq. Now it appears to be happening to Turkey. Erdogan has ridden the Islamist tiger, and now it’s his turn on the teeth end.

While Turkey is fertile ground for conspiracy theories, and many will doubtless emerge blaming everyone from the US to the Kurds to the Russians themselves, the most probably reason for this murder is exactly what the murderer said: self-radicalized Islamic fundamentalism.

For more information

The Turkish de facto state-controlled paper Hürriyet has limited coverage in English; Google Translate’s Turkish is pretty weak but you can decode some of these things. Hürriyet’s reporters and photographers were present at the scene of the crime.

Hürriyet Google translated: Who is Andrey Karlov?

About the Assassin

 

A final warning

On major, breaking stories, the press’s bias is entirely towards speed, not accuracy. Do not be surprised or think conspiracy is afoot, just because any of the early reports we’ve posted here are soon contradicted. That’s almost inevitable, because it’s almost a certainty that every early report (including this one!) contains major errors.

Morale in the National Security Agencies Still Stinks

Who’s who in DHS. Click to embiggen.

Turns out that, apart from Treasury, all the least happy Fed agencies are the ones with national security responsibilities, with DHS (home of perennial morale cellar-dwellers ICE and CBP) the lowest of the low.

You would think that Feds would be the happiest people in the country: few of them work as hard or as long as their private-sector counterparts, almost all of them are paid more and have vastly greater benefits, and they’ve turned out to have more job security than the hereditary peers in the House of Lords. Nobody is ever held to account for anything, in Fed World. But the kind of people who seek security or law enforcement jobs include not just Payroll Patriots, but True Believers, and the True Believers have been crushed for years by organizations focused on the social justice war, and bedamned to the actual mission.

The Washington Examiner has the results of the survey, and some quotes about how things are looking up from clueless boob (and lame-duck DHS supremo) Jeh Johnson.  From the bottom up, the departments are DHS, Veterans’ Affairs (no surprise there), Army, Treasury, Air Force, Joint Services, Navy, and then the rest of the bureaucracy, with NASA at the top and happiest. (Why not? With the retirement of the shuttle, they’re a pretty pure bureaucracy who have outsourced launching astronauts so they can revel in the paper shuffling).

Take it away, Jeh:

“While we are disappointed with the Department of Homeland Security’s overall 2016 ranking … I am pleased that our employee engagement score increased 2.7 points,” Johnson said. “This is in contrast to an overall 1.3-point increase government-wide, and it is the second largest single-year increase of any large agency.

“This is also the first increase in the department’s survey score since 2010,” he added.

The VA was the second-worst place to work, and its 2016 score was 56.7, more than 10 points higher than DHS’s score.

 

Back in September, Jeh responded to a government survey that also put his guys dead last:

“I have said many times that, this year, morale will improve,” Johnson said then.

Well, it’s certainly possible. Sending Jeh Johnson to the showers is probably a good place to start.

This isn’t the by-agency morale survey, but a by-Department survey by a non-profit of unknown provenance and purpose. (For non-USians, Agencies and Bureaus are smaller entities, which report to Departments; a Department is led by a cabinet Secretary who is appointed by the President and confirmed by vote of the Senate).

When the government-sponsored by-agency morale survey is out, DHS’s ICE is a 10-1 favorite for the three-hundred-and-last-th position again.

The POW Experience as Seen in the 1950s

Achilles whacks Trojan captives at the funeral of Patroclus. In ancient times, the life of a POW was short.

In Vietnam, the POWs came to be seen as heroic. That’s one of many things that this pre-Vietnam report by a special DOD Commission didn’t foresee. The commissioners wrote:

Fighting men declare it is neither dishonorable nor heroic to be taken prisoner.

But if being taken prisoner is just hard luck, it doesn’t mean your time as a soldier is at an end.

But the prisoner is always a soldier, adversity despite. Fortune can change. In the US Submarine Service there is a maxim: “Luck is where you find it.” The POW must keep on searching.

There is much more in the report, including things that would never get by the State Atheism of the current DOD:

Primitive man and his barbarian descendants annihilated or enslaved all foemen who were captured. In time it occurred to the conqueror to hold a captured headman or leader as hostage. Such a victim was Lot. According to Scripture he was freed by the forces of Abraham — perhaps the earliest prisoner rescue on record. But the vanquished of the ancient world usually faced extermination. One finds in Samuel: “Thus saith the Lord of Hosts … go and smite Amalek and utterly destroy all they have, and spare them not.” Saul was considered disobedient because he took a few Amalekite prisoners. Six centuries later Hemocritus of Syracuse was exiled for refusing to slaughter all Athenian captives. But it seemed mankind had a conscience. In respect to humane treatment of captives, it found voice in India in the ancient Code of Manu (about 200 B. C.). The Hindu warrior was enjoined to do no injury to the defenseless or to the subdued enemy.

No, seriously, this would never get by today’s lawyers:

Chivalry developed in the Western World with the rise of Christian civilization, the concept of “Do Unto Others.” In the Dark Ages, soldiering remained savage, but the codes of knighthood served to temper the warrior’s steel. The true knight refused to slay for slaughter’s sake. Conquering, he could be merciful to a gallant opponent. His prisoner was not a plaything for sadistic entertainment.

If the chivalric code was sometimes more honored in breach than in observance, the ideal-the Golden Rule-was there. It was threatened by intolerant ideologies and the fanaticism which fosters atrocities. Cruel pogroms and religious wars bloodied Medieval Europe. The Islamic conquests were savagery untrammeled. Woe to the Unbeliever captured by the stepsons of Abu Bakr! But even as it clashed with the sword, the scimitar acquired tempering. Possessed of his own code, the Moslem warrior could appreciate gallantry.

The knight was called upon to assume the obligations of noblesse oblige. Warrior or liegeman, facing battle, was pledged to remain true to his king or cause, even if captured. Under any circumstance treason would merit retributive punishment. Treachery, the disclosure of a trust or the deliverance of a friend to the enemy, was perfidious-the mark of Judas the Betrayer.

Thus rules for the fighting man in combat or in captivity were linked to knightly concepts of duty, honor, loyalty to friend, and gallantry to foe.

Some time during the Crusades a rule evolved in regard to prisoner interrogation. The captive knight was permitted to divulge his name and rank-admissions necessitated by the game of ransom. A necessity for prisoner identification, the rule holds today, as imposed by the modern Geneva Conventions.

By stripping the Code of Conduct from its historical and Christian context, nowadays, they’ve made it much more difficult to explain the why of the Law of Land Warfare, which was originally a European, Christian concept. Instead, the .mil now teaches a sort of utilitarian justification for the morality of warfare: “If we do it to them, they will do it to us.” This twisted version of the Golden Rule, unlike the explicitly Christian sentiment that underlies the idea of morality and restraint in war, inevitability fails when even a brain-stem-functional Private Joe Tentpeg notes that, “Nothing at all restrains them from doing it to us already,” and his lieutenant, as ignorant as Joe himself of the morality on which the whole edifice’s structure rests, has nothing but the same invalid utilitarian platitude to fall back on.

In fact, we have not had an enemy that honored the law of land warfare in the last century, except when we have fought nominal Christians (the Kaiser, most of the Nazis, and Noriega’s Panamanians in 1989). Not Shinto nor Marxism-Leninism nor Islam has produced a warrior caste that values the “knightly concepts of duty, honor, loyalty to friend, and gallantry to foe.”

At the same time, our creeping away from the Christian basis of our war morality means we no longer recognize that “treachery, the disclosure of a trust or the deliverance of a friend to the enemy, was perfidious,” and as far as identifying it, as no less a thorn in the Church’s side than Dante Alighieri did, as associated with “Judas the Betrayer,” well, in our modern, morally relativistic times, how long is it before he is portrayed as an innocent victim of Da Man in Judas: The Broadway Musical? 

Now, we’re not saying that one must be Christian to be a moral combatant. The Israeli Army is overwhelmingly Jewish (not entirely; Druze and Bedouin also serve in the IDF), but has internalized the humane war concept much more than any other army in the region, and as well as any army in the world. How they get around the Christian nature of source of moral war philosophy is their problem (if you recall those wars described in the Pentateuch, there’s a whole lot of smiting and not a lot of magnanimity in conquest, whether “by” or “to” the Ancient Hebrews), but they seem to have worked it out well.

Now, this 1950s document is far from perfect. There’s the occasional howler, like this:

During the Civil War there was some regression in the treatment afforded prisoners.

Gee… ya think? Andersonville ring any bells?

But overall, it’s a great read, and contains a lot of historical material that is now missing from code of conduct and military morality. It would be a good guide for a young, questioning troop. Thanks to James F., commenting on the Jack Webb Code of Conduct post, who tipped us to it.

Another Day, Another Mohammedan Sacrament

A Mohammedan act of worship took place in a Christian house of worship over the weekend, with a devotee or devotees of the current manifestation of the moon god Baal conducting the faith’s highest sacrament, to wit, human sacrifice. ABC News:

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said Monday that a suicide bomber caused the blast that killed 24 Christians during Sunday Mass at a Cairo chapel adjacent to St. Mark’s Cathedral, the seat of Egypt’s ancient Coptic Orthodox Church.

Of course, ABC finds a way to blame it on the victims.

It was among the deadliest attacks to ever target Egypt’s Coptic minority, which makes up around 10 percent of the country’s population and strongly supported the military overthrow of an elected Islamist president in 2013, which was led by el-Sissi.

See: “Copts had it coming for overthrowing an elected guy.” Why did the Copts support the military coup so strongly? Because the Moslem Brotherhood government of former president Morsi — a nightmare government of evil men that was a product of the grossly malreported “Arab Spring” — was committed to the religious purification, as extremist Moslems see it, of the Coptic minority.

As late as the mid-20th Century, Christian and Jewish minorities thrived in the Arab world. The dictators of the time (think of Nasser for a prototypical example) had ambitions that were pan-Arab, secular, and leftist in orientation. It was only with the rise of political Islam that these authoritarian dictators were replaced by totalitarians either riding, or forming part of, a wave of Islamic intolerance.

(The Jews are a special case. They were scapegoated and ethnically cleansed from Egypt, Syria and Lebanon after the Mossad couldn’t resist the temptation to turn individual local Jews into intelligence assets. But one can’t blame Israel for Mohammedan intolerance: except for Egypt and Jordan, the Christians have fared no better than the Jews).

Since then, Islamic militants have carried out scores of attacks mainly targeting the security forces, while the government has waged a wide-scale crackdown on dissent.

“Dissent.” ABC news describes the murder of 24 people, 22 of them apparently woman, by a kamikazislami as, drumroll please, “dissent.” What would it take to get them to say the T-word? A nuke? Beheadings? (Oh wait, for those we get “the motive was unclear.” Well, it’s unclear if you won’t look).

Speaking after a state funeral for the victims, el-Sissi identified the bomber as 22-year-old Mahmoud Shafiq Mohammed Mustafa, and said three men and a woman were arrested in connection with the attack, which wounded 49 people. Two other suspects were on the run, he added.

Ordinary Egyptians, including many Moslems, are horrified by this kind of crime and want no part of it. But in the Brotherhood mosques on Friday, they won’t pray for the souls of the infidel victims, just for Mustafa.

Good luck with that: you’re praying to Baal, not God.

Al-Sissi might be a military man, and that makes him a target of reporter smears, but he hit all the right notes in his statements on this horrible crime:

This strike really hurt us and caused us much pain, but it will not break us. God willing, we will win this war.

As long as we are together as one, we will definitely win, because we are people of goodness, not evil, and people of building, not destruction.

In Egypt the past is ever-present, but what about the future? If Egypt has a future, it’s men like President al-Sissi, not cretins like the murderer(s), who will build it.

Update

For another take, see Patrick Poole at PJM. “It will be hard to distinguish between the talking points of the Muslim Brotherhood and the foreign policy ‘smart set’ following the attack on the cathedral today.” So far he has nailed it. Even the rumblings out of the lame-duck State Department have a whiff of “bitch had it coming” about them.