Monday, December 7, 2020

A Quick Run Around The Web (12/7/2020)

"Does a .44 Magnum ALWAYS Over-Penetrate? Wood Penetration Test - 9mm VS .44 Magnum!"--Gun Sam _Revolver Aficionado (15 min.). Multiple rounds of different types of 9 mm and .44 Magnum were fired into 2x4s that were clamped together. Short story is that the 9 mm actually did a better job of penetrating through the wood than the .44 Magnum. 

Firearms/Self-Defense/Prepping:

    In 1918 the Bolsheviks initiated a large scale confiscation of civilian firearms, outlawing their possession and threatening up to 10 years in prison for concealing a gun.

    The only exception was made for hunters who were allowed to possess smoothbore weapons. Gun licenses, however, were strictly regulated and only issued by the NKVD, the police organization known for its role in Joseph Stalin’s political purges.

    It was only a matter of time before Russia became an almost totally gun-free nation. Some people believed Russians would regain their right to own guns after the collapse of the Soviet Union but despite firearms becoming available on the black market during the 90s, the new government did not risk liberalizing the gun market.

    Another prominent myth is that 90 percent of firearms recovered in Mexico originated from the United States. This is unequivocally false. This myth originated from Congressional testimony by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) when the ATF misstated and quickly attempted to clarify that 90 percent of the firearms traced by the ATF in Mexico circa 2008 came from the United States.

    Mexico only submits to the ATF for tracing those firearms that they identify as coming from the United States. The ATF is not asked to – and has no way to trace firearms that are from outside of the United States. While the Mexican government rarely releases data on the number of firearms seized, it did in 2008. When the number of firearms submitted to the ATF for tracing is compared to the actual number seized in Mexico, the truth is about 12 percent of firearms seized Mexico came from the United States.

    Mexican officials should look internally before casting blame and making policy demands of other countries. Not all firearms that originate from the United States were trafficked or otherwise illegally brought into Mexico. Often, governments sell firearms to each other, which is certainly the case with the United States and Mexico.

    The United States and other countries sell firearms under official contracts to Mexico’s government. With the incentives provided by cartels, many soldiers and police officers have taken their training and service firearms and put it to work for the lucrative, but illicit, narcotics trade. Defections have soared to more than 150,000, which contributes to the ongoing problem of too many criminals and not enough police to push back.

    Mexico’s Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda was accused of taking bribes to allow a narcotics cartel to operate in Mexico. Zepeda, who served as Mexico’s Secretary of National Defense from 2012-2018, was arrested by U.S. authorities in October for suspicions of money laundering and narcotics conspiracy. Charges were later dropped, rumored by threats from Mexicano authorities to push out Drug Enforcement Agency authorities from Mexico, among other threats.
... A tactical reload of the revolver is one we do after firing one or two shots to fill the gun back up to full capacity. A speed reload is done after firing all six shots when there is an urgent need to quickly restore the revolver to full capacity. We usually do the speed reload with a speedloader, while the tactical reload can be accomplished from a speed strip, cartridge loops or pouches. As such, I usually recommend carrying methods to accomplish both types of reload so you have the ability to load either way.
  • "Ruger GP-100: A Popular Double-Action Revolver" by Guy J. Sagi, American Rifleman. The author isn't kidding when he says that revolver can be taken down without any special tools or even a special set of screw drivers. You need a screw driver to remove the stocks, in which there is an included pin for capturing the hammer spring so it doesn't go flying off into space (although you can use a punch or even a paper clip if need be), and you will need to use a small screwdriver for actuating the detent that keeps the trigger assembly in place. Very easy to disassemble and reassemble. 
  • "Gun Review: KelTec KS7 Shotgun"--The Truth About Guns. Overall, the author really liked it. He gives some background on the weapon:
    The KelTec KS7 is a bullpup shot that owes its existence to the KSG. The KSG was famous for its dual magazine tube design that gave you 14 rounds of 2.75-inch shells. The KS7 uses a single tube that simplifies the design and still gives you a respectable seven rounds of 2.75-inch shells.

    The single-tube KS7 is noticeably thinner than the KSG in both literal size and price. Before the COVID craziness, the KS7 was selling at my local gun store for $400-ish out the door. That price has since risen.

    The KS7 is a mere 26.1 inches in length. Any shorter than 26 inches and we’d be looking at a short-barreled shotgun…and NFA complications. Heck, the KS7 is a stocked shotgun that’s shorter than the Remington TAC 14/Mossberg Shockwave series of non-shotgun guns and it’s much handier overall.

The one downside is the reloading. Writes the author, "It’s a bit slow, and that’s to be expected when the magazine tube is placed nearly against your shoulder. I’ve found that if I keep my elbow pinned to my body and load a shell at a time, I can be decently quick. There’s no way to do a port reload should you run completely dry."
    The first thing to remember before field dressing any game animal is the goal of doing so. The goal is to remove the animal’s guts so that they cannot taint the meat. Removal of the animal’s guts and abdominal organs also speeds up the cooling process of the remaining carcass, further decreasing the chances of the meat spoiling due to bacteria infestation that thrives in heat.

    However, often first-time field dressers become overly focused on a technique they’ve read about or become confused by the entire process and fail to remember the simple goal of the exercise. Fact is, it really doesn’t matter how the guts are removed from the animal, so long as they are removed. To remove them, one must simply cut the animal open before pulling and cutting the guts free of the connective tissue that binds them to the abdominal walls. Regardless of the method chosen, if you do this, you will have successfully field dressed your animal.

    Like many endeavors, however, there are some tips and tricks that can make the entire process more efficient, so follow this 10-step procedure until you develop your own.
    Since ringnecks are runners, they will wear out a pair of running shoes way before taking flight if habitat allows. Don’t give them the chance for unlimited laps. Scout for narrow parcels of cover that abut open ground. Grassy waterways in harvested fields, cattail islands, linear rights of way and other dense vegetation that guides pheasants to plowed fields, water edges or grazed pasturelands are ideal. Pheasants feel confident in their slinking escape, but hold tight when cover runs out.

    Hunting with a partner or two gives you an advantage at the far end of the tract. Before anyone strolls through a swath, plant one or more blockers at the end of the strip. These blockers should sneak into place quietly and under the radar for a surprise ambush on escapees.

    With blockers in place, the remaining troupe should amble through the cover. Regardless if you are hunting solo or with a mob, slow stop-and-go tramping through cover prods pheasants to the roadblock or pushes them to the edge of paranoia. The orchestrated stopping while moving through a parcel provokes some into flight early while runners may burst into flight at the end of the walk. Pushers and blockers alike have opportunities on flushing birds. Pushing too fast through cover, especially dense vegetation, is a recipe to miss tight-sitting birds. Even if you do work a patch meticulously, make a reverse walk back to the starting point. With stop-and-go, it has potential to spur leftover cool hands into flight.

    A 28-year-old man has died in Texas after being attacked by a wild animal, thought to be a mountain lion, local authorities said. 

    Christopher Allen Whiteley was last seen in the early hours of Wednesday morning near Lipan, a city of less than 500 people located 50 miles (80km) south-west of Fort Worth. 

    Deputies from the Hood County Sheriff's Office launched a search on Thursday, with investigators revealing on Saturday that they had discovered Whiteley's body in a wooded area near Lipan.

    ABC news reported that preliminary autopsy results from the Tarrant county medical examiner's office indicated that Whiteley, who lived in Lipan, had died by animal attack, possibly from a mountain lion. 

    A trapper from the U.S. Department of Agriculture specializing in 'tracking and removing' mountain lions has been enlisted to aid the sheriff's office in the search for the animal. Texas game wardens are also involved in the efforts. 

    Hood County Sheriff Roger Deed advised residents not to interfere with the search, urging them to be mindful of their surroundings at all times and to keep young children and animals inside at night. 

  • "Preparing for civil unrest" by Claire Wolfe, Backwoods Home Magazine. This 2009 article assumed that there would be unrest due to the economic crises following the 2008 collapse of the real estate market, but there are timeless lessons. From the article:

    ... When the federal government established a North American Army command in 2002, its purpose wasn’t to repel foreign invaders. It was domestic operations something long and rightly forbidden by the Posse Comitatus Act. In February of 2009, when military commanders in Canada and the U.S. signed a pact allowing their armies to operate inside each other’s country they didn’t even bother to get authorization from Congress an illegal and unprecedented move. And once again, the purpose was handling “domestic civil emergencies.”

    For several years, the Centers for Disease Control tried to get states to adopt something called the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act (MEHPA). This act would allow state governments to become police-state dictatorships in event of any ill-defined health emergency vaccinating people by force, destroying or seizing property without compensation, and rationing medical supplies, food, and fuel. To their credit, most state governments rejected the act. A few adopted portions of it before a fervent opposition campaign caused the CDC to back off. However, the concept of a health dictatorship hasn’t gone away. Not hardly. Within days of the news that a new strain of swine flu had arisen in Mexico in April 2009, states were again considering legislation to give themselves martial-law powers in event of an epidemic.

    And what of the dozens and dozens of federal agencies that now have SWAT teams? Seriously, what justifies the Bureau of Land Management or the Department of Housing and Urban Development having paramilitary units?

    Now maybe you like the idea of an Army that watches over its own citizens. Maybe it makes sense to have a government seize total dictatorial power in event of a health emergency. Maybe you believe SWAT teams will never be used except against bad guys. But do you really trust these people?

    After all, these are the same folks, and this is the same mentality, that not only spent $325,000 to produce a souvenir photo of a presidential 747 zooming low over the Statue of Liberty, but ordered the New York Police Department, the FBI, the Secret Service, and the New York mayor’s office not to tell the public. Never mind that they realized full well that passenger jets and military planes plunging low over Manhattan would evoke panic.

After discussing different levels of civil unrest and the probably response, the author proceeds to discuss 11 tips for what rural preppers should do. The basic tips are: 1. Keep standard emergency preps up to date; 2. Don’t fall into foolish complacency; 3. Watch your health; 4. Make common cause with your neighbors; 5. If you grow crops or raise food animals and the unrest is due to a food shortage (or something has driven city people out into the countryside), prepare to protect your resources day and night; 6. Get advance word on local conditions when traveling; 7. Watch for signs of trouble when in an unfamiliar area; 8. If you stumble into a “hot zone” of unrest, be prepared to think on your feet; 9. If you’re swept up in mass arrests during a riot or demonstration, the officers probably aren’t going to be listening to your protestations of being an innocent bystander; 10. Have a good lawyer and carry his or her card with you; and, 11. Be careful of roadblocks. 

  • "How To Train An Army" by Marcus Wynne. The article introduces a case study performed of the IDF. Marcus introduces the case study thusly:

    “S” recently did a prototype training for the Israeli Defense Force under the guidance of “D” the Head Krav Maga Chief Instructor for the IDF. “D” is also a former student of mine, a brilliant instructor and fearsome fighter, pro-boxer and extreme athlete, and IDF SOF veteran.  Like many of his peers, he is deceptive in appearance, with a slim build that hides a wiry frame capable of amazing violence. His gentle, easy going demeanor completely masks his capability and experience.

    These two collaborated on reconfiguring the IDF Krav Maga Instructor Program. The resulting case study is an excellent example of how properly trained designer-instructors can immediately implement within the guidelines of an existing training program neural-based training principles that result in IMMEDIATE and DRAMATIC improvement in time management, instruction, and student performance.

A link to the PDF of the case study, which included a training schedule, is included at the end of the article.

    ... Choosing between urban and rural (or the wilderness) should be based on careful planning and preparing. All that usually takes years.

    Without planning, it actually makes more sense when the SHTF to bug-in and take your chances in the city.

  • "So, How Far Can a Slingshot Shoot?"--The Survivalist Blog. Per the article, "[t]he generally effective maximum range of an average slingshot used for hunting game is accepted to be between 30 and 50 feet depending on the type of slingshot, the type of band, the draw length and the ammunition. Other factors like angle of attack and wind conditions also play a part." When I was a kid, I shot a neighbor kid at a longer distance than that with a rock, which stunned him pretty good. It was a lucky hit--I did not expect to get anywhere close to him.
  • "Omniblade Alternatives"--Blue Collar Prepping. I hadn't heard of it before, but the Omniblade is apparently a $60 machete-hammer-hatchet-saw "multitool". Quick review:  "It sucks." Not to worry because the author gives some recommendations for alternate, separate tools that do the job and whose total cost is only slightly more than the Omniblade.
  • "Ham radio needs to embrace the Hacker community"--Southgate Amateur Radio News (h/t KA9OFF).  

There is a lot of interesting work that’s currently being done within the hacker community with RF. Most of this work is currently centered around WiFi, LoRa, IoT networks. It's not difficult to imagine someone who has an interest in these communication technologies wouldn’t be open to software defined radio. They just need to be presented with easy to understand examples and a little encouragement to become licensed.

  • "Why these Times are Perfect for Amateur Radio Geeks"--EconoTimes (h/t KA9OFF). The author gives 4 reasons for getting into amateur radio: (i) it is the original "social networking"; (ii) it is a great way to serve the community; (iii) it is a great way to learn new technical skills; and (iv) it is great for prepping.
  • "Kalashnikov Concern Shows The Prototype of Upcoming 500-Series AKs – The AKV-521 Rifle"--The Firearm Blog. The most recent AKs (the AK-12) use a hinged dust cover to provide the solid platform needed for optics on the Picatinny rail of the weapon. This newest model goes a bit farther and uses a separate upper receiver pinned to a lower, reminiscent of the AR, but very different looking because it still locks in place at the rear like a traditional AK. 
"Amazing Discovery of Ice Age Beasts in the Amazon Rainforest!"--Study of Antiquity and the Middle Ages (10 min.). A short video about recently discovered rock art in Columbia showing, among other things, extinct megafauna.

Miscellany:

  • "Civil War 2.0 Weather Report: At The Bank Of The Rubicon"--Wilder, Wealthy & Wise. John still has us at 2 minutes to Midnight but warns that Trump may be forced to follow Julius Caesar's lead and seize power in order to preserve himself and his family from imprisonment or worse threatened by his political opponents.  And he would probably have a warm welcome from the 50% of the country that believes the election was stolen.
  • "There Can Be No Reconciliation"--Captain's Journal. Money quote:

    ... The problem is that core beliefs, cans that cannot be kicked down the road, and non-negotiable points, are all that we have left.  And for conservatives and libertarians in America, the left has made it clear that our core beliefs are all they care about.

    Another way of saying it is that the left has made it clear that they intend to go after our core beliefs, and that no amount of compromise on less than core beliefs will make up for our failure to relinquish our core beliefs.

    In 1927, the French writer Julian Benda published La Trahison des Clercs, or “Treason of the Clerks,” blasting the likes of politician, poet and critic Charles Maurras for their turn to a reactionary, racist nationalism.

    Today’s counterpart is the treason of the spooks, namely the 50 former top intelligence officials who published a manifesto on October 19 denouncing inquiries into presidential aspirant Joe Biden’s family finances as a “Russian information operation.”

Also:

    What binds the Intelligence Community to the never-Trumpers and the Biden campaign, though, goes far beyond simple corruption, although that may have played a role.

    The neo-conservative “nation builders” of the Republican party and the liberal internationalists of the Democratic Party agree that America has the right and obligation to re-shape the world in its own image. The self-appointed, self-perpetuating elite that clusters in the Intelligence Community and reaches into Wall Street, Big Tech and academia believes that it has the prerogative to treat the world as a vast laboratory experiment, and its inhabitants as Guinea pigs. 

The bulk of the article is behind a paywall, but you can read the full text here.

    A Big Tech-backed “fact” “checking” outfit claimed to debunk explosive evidence in support of Republicans’ claims of significant election problems at a Thursday Georgia Senate hearing. It didn’t. Not even close.

    Newly discovered security footage from Georgia’s State Farm Arena showed dozens of ballot counters, media, and Republican observers leaving en masse at the same time from the ballot-counting area for Fulton County. After they left, a small remnant of about four workers began pulling trunks containing thousands of ballots from underneath a table with a long tablecloth and running them through machines.

    The footage supported claims from Republicans that they were told counting had stopped for the night, only to find out hours later that it had kept going on. ...

    On election night we were told that voting stopped in Georgia’s State Farm Arena due to a water main break.  President Trump was way ahead in the election at that time.  But a couple days later we uncovered that the water main break never happened.  ...

    After posting this, we found out that the water department in Atlanta never even received a call regarding the water main break.

    It was a scam.

    Next it was uncovered that a mother and daughter team, Ruby Freeman and her daughter “Shaye” Moss as well as a couple others, stuck around after sending everyone home and started running ballots through tabulators.  Ballots were pulled out from under a table that were previously covered up and processed with no Republican observers.

* * *

    On Sunday night we uncovered another observation of events that night.

    One of the other individuals who stuck around moved from his regular station and moved to another cube where he held numerous calls with someone as the ballot counting went on.  ...

* * *

    We now believe the man taking the calls and organizing the massive “suitcase” scandal that night is Ralph Jones.

    Ralph Jones is the registrations chief at Fulton County Government.

  • "MI tries to bury the election data"--Vox Day. "It [sic] what can only be seen as an effort to keep the facts from coming to light in the face of problematic issues with Michigan’s 2020 General Election process, a memo has been issued from Michigan’s Secretary of State to destroy data."
  • "Giuliani Sees Win in Michigan Court Ruling"--NewsMax. "A review of a flipped marijuana resolution in Michigan's Antrim County has led to a judge ordering records preserved and a forensic review, including photos being taken on the county's 22 precinct election counting machines, the Detroit Free Press reported." Also: "The county argued its licensing agreements with Dominion Voting System does not permit access to the machines, but the judge ruled the complaint outweighs that concern – the forensic imagining is taking place Sunday, according to the Free Press."
  • "Dominion Advisor Met With John Podesta Offering ‘Anything’ That Would Help Defeat Trump, According to Email Released by WikiLeaks"--Gateway Pundit. "An email previously released by WikiLeaks reveals that a Dominion Voting advisor met with John Podesta during Hillary Clinton’s campaign to discuss ways that they could help to defeat Donald Trump."
  • "Biden delta = +26 percent"--Vox Day. Quoting from a news report:

    Ware County, Ga has broken the Dominion algorithm: Using sequestered Dominion Equipment, Ware County ran a equal number of Trump votes and Biden votes through the Tabulator and the Tabulator reported a 26% lead for Biden.

    37 Trump votes used in the equal sample run had been "Switched" from Trump to Biden.  In actual algorithmic terms this means that a vote for Trump was counted as 87% of a vote and a vote for Biden was counted as 113% of a vote.

Protests erupted in Eugene, Oregon, Friday night following the shooting of a black man armed with a knife. The man allegedly charged police with a knife after violating a domestic violence protective order. The man remains hospitalized in critical condition.
The vaccine contains a  spike protein (see image) called  syncytin-1, vital for the formation of human placenta in women. If the vaccine works so that we form an immune response AGAINST the spike protein, we are also training the female body to attack syncytin-1, which could lead to infertility in women of an unspecified duration.

    Prominent Israeli Professor and Retired General Haim Eshed has claimed that Israel and the US are dealing with aliens who do not want to be identified because "humanity is not ready yet," Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Saturday.

    Eshed served from 1981 to 2010 as the head of Israel's security space programme, explained the Jewish Press. It noted that he received the Israel Security Award three times, twice for confidential technological inventions.

The article is silent on whether Eshed's statements are based on information he learned in the Israeli military, or just his opinion after reviewing public source documents about UFOs.

    The “Foreign Religious Activities in the People’s Republic of China” draft rules released earlier this month provide 40 Articles covering virtually every aspect of missionary work in the world’s most populous country.

    “Foreigners are also not allowed to set up religious groups, engage in activities, or open schools, proselytise among Chinese citizens, recruit followers, or accept donations from Chinese citizens (Article 21),” according to LifeSiteNews, quoting AsiaNews.It.

    Foreign-based groups, including missionaries representing Protestant groups like the Southern Baptist Convention’s Foreign Missions Board and the Catholic Church in Rome, must register with SARA, then wait 20 days before being told what they can and cannot do.

    The registration requires names of each individual associated with the group seeking to operate in China, as well as detailed information about proposed activities.

    The authorization also includes review of materials proposed for distribution to Chinese citizens. Thus, missionaries may carry with them into China no more than 10 copies of the Bible.

    U.S. intelligence shows that China has conducted "human testing" on members of the People's Liberation Army in hope of developing soldiers with "biologically enhanced capabilities," the top U.S. intelligence official said Friday.

    John Ratcliffe, the director of national intelligence, included the explosive claim in a long Wall Street Journal op-ed in which he made the case that China poses the pre-eminent national security threat to the U.S.

    "There are no ethical boundaries to Beijing's pursuit of power," wrote Ratcliffe, a Republican former member of Congress from Texas.

* * *

    Last year, two American scholars wrote a paper examining China's ambitions to apply biotechnology to the battlefield, including what they said were signs that China was interested in using gene-editing technology to enhance human — and perhaps soldier — performance.

    Specifically, the scholars explored Chinese research using the gene-editing tool CRISPR, short for "clusters of regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats." CRISPR has been used to treat genetic diseases and modify plants, but Western scientists consider it unethical to seek to manipulate genes to boost the performance of healthy people.

    "While the potential leveraging of CRISPR to increase human capabilities on the future battlefield remains only a hypothetical possibility at the present, there are indications that Chinese military researchers are starting to explore its potential," wrote the scholars, Elsa Kania, an expert on Chinese defense technology at the Center for a New American Security, and Wilson VornDick, a consultant on China matters and former Navy officer.

    "Chinese military scientists and strategists have consistently emphasized that biotechnology could become a 'new strategic commanding heights of the future Revolution in Military Affairs,'" the scholars wrote, quoting a 2015 article in a military newspaper.

    Scientists have figured out a way to create and cancel magnetic fields from afar. 

    The method involves running electric current through a special arrangement of wires to create a magnetic field that looks as if it came from another source. This illusion has real applications: Imagine a cancer drug that could be delivered directly to a tumor deep in the body by capsules made of magnetic nanoparticles. It's not possible to stick a magnet in the tumor to guide the nanoparticles on their journey, but if you could create a magnetic field from outside the body that centered right on that tumor, you could deliver the drug without an invasive procedure. 

The research seemingly violates Earnshaw's Theorem, which says that it's not possible to create a spot of maximum magnetic field strength in empty space.

    A body is found in a glitzy Gulf hotel — there are signs of a struggle but the door is locked from the inside.

    An Iranian nuclear scientist is machine-gunned by a passing motorcyclist as he waits at a traffic light with his wife beside him. A Palestinian terrorist leader dies in agony, his terrifying illness a mystery to doctors, although his minders later discover there’s something odd about the toothpaste he’s been using.

    In each case, as in scores of others, there was only one real suspect — the Mossad, Israel’s fearsome foreign intelligence service.

    Shrouded in the mystique of an organisation unsurpassed in ruthlessness, Israel’s equivalent of MI6 — albeit an MI6 that in James Bond fashion jets around the world and kills its enemies — is the lynchpin of a national security operation that some have accorded almost supernatural powers.

    Tailor-made for the screen, Mossad and the rest of Israel’s security services are currently the focus of an impressive string of films and TV series of varying degrees of accuracy — ranging from the 2018 BBC adaptation of John Le Carre’s The Little Drummer Girl, starring Florence Pugh as a young Mossad recruit, to Netflix’s Israeli anti-terrorist commando hit Fauda, and Tehran, about a female undercover Mossad agent trying to disable a nuclear reactor in Iran.

    It is a world of government-ordered extra-judicial killings, high-tech sabotage, lethal gadgets and savage street gun battles that seems firmly rooted in the fantasy of 007. Until, that is, it seeps into the real world — as it did in Iran a few days ago — to remind us that Mossad really does exist.

    Nobody in intelligence circles harbours any doubt that Mossad was responsible for the assassination just over a week ago of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the mastermind of Iran’s secret nuclear weapons programme. Ingenious, daring and frighteningly efficient — it bore all the hallmarks of the organisation whose name translates as ‘The Institute’.

    As Fakhrizadeh’s vehicle, followed by a carload of bodyguards, approached a roundabout some 40 miles outside Tehran, an automatic machine gun hidden in an empty pickup truck parked nearby started firing. The truck, filled with explosives, was then blown up remotely, bringing down an overhead power line.

    Gunmen jumped out of another parked car, others rode up on motorcycles and the rest of the dozen-strong team opened fire with sniper rifles. Hit at least three times, the scientist staggered out of the car and collapsed.

    Roadside cameras had already been disabled and the nearest medical clinic had lost electricity, possibly from the downed power line, so Fakhrizadeh had to be helicoptered to Tehran.

    He was dead on arrival.

After recounting some other assassinations, the article continues:

    Since its inception some 70 years ago, Mossad has been similarly merciless towards Palestinian extremists, the Shia militant group Hezbollah and fugitive Nazis.

    According to Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman, whose book Rise And Kill First is the definitive history of Mossad, the agency and other Israeli security services have conducted at least 2,700 assassinations since the country was founded in 1948 — a number that Israel hasn’t challenged.

    While the thrust of the foregoing article is more about the sensationalism of the Mossad's exploits, it is worrying that a supposed civilized nation has become so enamored of assassination as a tool of state craft at the same time that most other countries have generally eschewed it. Ron Unz discusses this in more detail in his piece, "American Pravda: Mossad Assassinations." It is a very long read, but here is an excerpt to give you a flavor of the topic:

    The book being reviewed was Rise and Kill First by New York Times reporter Ronen Bergman, a weighty study of the Mossad, Israel’s foreign intelligence service, together with its sister agencies. The author devoted six years of research to the project, which was based upon a thousand personal interviews and access to an enormous number of official documents previously unavailable. As suggested by the title, his primary focus was Israel’s long history of assassinations, and across his 750 pages and thousand-odd source references he recounts the details of an enormous number of such incidents.

    That sort of topic is obviously fraught with controversy, but Bergman’s volume carries glowing cover-blurbs from Pulitzer Prize-winning authors on espionage matters, and the official cooperation he received is indicated by similar endorsements from both a former Mossad chief and Ehud Barak, a past Prime Minister of Israel who himself had once led assassination squads. Over the last couple of decades, former CIA officer Robert Baer has become one of our most prominent authors in this same field, and he praises the book as “hands down” the best he has ever read on intelligence, Israel, or the Middle East. The reviews across our elite media were equally laudatory.

    Although I had seen some discussions of the book when it appeared, I only got around to reading it a few months ago. And while I was deeply impressed by the thorough and meticulous journalism, I found the pages rather grim and depressing reading, with their endless accounts of Israeli agents killing their real or perceived enemies in operations that sometimes involved kidnappings and brutal torture, or resulted in considerable loss of life to innocent bystanders. Although the overwhelming majority of the attacks described took place in the various countries of the Middle East or the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza, others ranged across the world, including Europe. The narrative history began in the 1920s, decades before the actual creation of the Jewish Israel or its Mossad organization, and extended down to the present day.

    The sheer quantity of such foreign assassinations was really quite remarkable, with the knowledgeable reviewer in the New York Times suggesting that the Israeli total over the last half-century or so seemed far greater than that of any other nation. I might even go farther: if we excluded domestic killings, I wouldn’t be surprised if the body-count exceeded the combined total for that of all other major countries in the world. I think all the lurid revelations of lethal CIA or KGB Cold War assassination plots that I have seen discussed in newspaper articles might fit comfortably into just a chapter or two of Bergman’s extremely long book.

    National militaries have always been nervous about deploying biological weapons, knowing full well that once released, the deadly microbes might easily spread back across the border and inflict great suffering upon the civilians of the country that deployed them. Similarly, intelligence operatives who have spent their long careers so heavily focused upon planning, organizing, and implementing what amount to officially-sanctioned murders may develop ways of thinking that become a danger both to each other and to the larger society they serve, and some examples of this possibility leak out here and there in Bergman’s comprehensive narrative.

    In the so-called “Askelon Incident” of 1984, a couple of captured Palestinians were beaten to death in public by the notoriously ruthless head of the Shin Bet domestic security agency and his subordinates. Under normal circumstances, this deed would have carried no consequences, but the incident happened to be captured by the camera by a nearby Israeli photo-journalist, who managed to avoid confiscation of his film. His resulting scoop sparked an international media scandal, even reaching the pages of the New York Times, and this forced a governmental investigation aimed at criminal prosecution. To protect themselves, the Shin Bet leadership infiltrated the inquiry and organized an effort to fabricate evidence pinning the murders upon ordinary Israeli soldiers and a leading general, all of whom were completely innocent. A senior Shin Bet officer who expressed misgivings about this plot apparently came close to being murdered by his colleagues until he agreed to falsify his official testimony. Organizations that increasingly operate like mafia crime families may eventually adopt similar cultural norms.

    Israeli operatives sometimes even contemplated the elimination of their own top-ranking leaders whose policies they viewed as sufficiently counter-productive. For decades, Gen. Ariel Sharon had been one of Israel’s greatest military heroes and someone of extreme right-wing sentiments. As Defense Minister in 1982, he orchestrated the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, which soon turned into a major political debacle, seriously damaging Israel’s international standing by inflicting great destruction upon that neighboring country and its capital city of Beirut. As Sharon stubbornly continued his military strategy and the problems grew more severe, a group of disgruntled officers decided that the best means of cutting Israel’s losses was to assassinate Sharon, though the proposal was never carried out.

    An even more striking example occurred a decade later. For many years, Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat had been the leading object of Israeli antipathy, so much so that at one point Israel made plans to shoot down an international civilian jetliner in order to assassinate him. But after the end of the Cold War, pressure from America and Europe led Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to sign the 1993 Oslo Peace Accords with his Palestinian foe. Although the Israeli leader received worldwide praise and shared a Nobel Peace Prize for his peacemaking efforts, powerful segments of the Israeli public and its political class regarded the act as a betrayal, with some extreme nationalists and religious zealots demanding that he be killed for his treason. A couple of years later, he was indeed shot dead by a lone gunman from those ideological circles, becoming the first Middle Eastern leader in decades to suffer that fate. Although his killer was mentally unbalanced and stubbornly insisted that he acted alone, he had had a long history of intelligence associations, and Bergman delicately notes that the gunman slipped past Rabin’s numerous bodyguards “with astonishing ease” in order to fire his three fatal shots at close range.

    Many observers drew parallels between Rabin’s assassination and that of our own president in Dallas three decades earlier, and the latter’s heir and namesake, John F. Kennedy, Jr., developed a strong personal interest in the tragic event. In March 1997, his glossy political magazine George published an article by the Israeli assassin’s mother, implicating her own country’s security services in the crime, a theory also promoted by the late Israeli-Canadian writer Barry Chamish. These accusations sparked a furious international debate, but after Kennedy himself died in an unusual plane crash a couple of years later and his magazine quickly folded, the controversy soon subsided. The George archives are not online nor easily available, so I cannot easily judge the credibility of the charges.

    Having himself narrowly avoided assassination by Israeli operatives, Sharon gradually regained his political influence, and did so without compromising his hard-line views, even boastfully describing himself as a “Judeo-Nazi” to an appalled journalist. A few years after Rabin’s death, he provoked major Palestinian protests, then used the resulting violence to win election as Prime Minister, while once in office, his very harsh methods led to a widespread uprising in Occupied Palestine. But Sharon merely redoubled his repression, and after world attention was diverted by 9/11 attacks and the American invasion of Iraq, he began assassinating numerous top Palestinian political and religious leaders in attacks that sometimes inflicted heavy civilian casualties.

    The central object of Sharon’s anger was Palestine President Yasir Arafat, who suddenly took ill and died, thereby joining his erstwhile negotiating partner Rabin in permanent repose. Arafat’s wife claimed that he had been poisoned and produced some medical evidence to support this charge, while longtime Israeli political figure Uri Avnery published numerous articles substantiating those accusations. Bergman simply reports the categorical Israeli denials while noting that “the timing of Arafat’s death was quite peculiar,” then emphasizes that even if he knew the truth, he couldn’t publish it since his entire book was written under strict Israeli censorship.

    This last point seems an extremely important one, and although it only appears just that one time in the body of the text, the disclaimer obviously applies to the entirety of the long volume and should always be kept in the back of our minds. Bergman’s book runs some 350,000 words and even if every single sentence were written with the most scrupulous honesty, we must recognize the huge difference between “the Truth” and “the Whole Truth.”

Read the whole thing.

2 comments:

  1. I had read the Israeli/UFO story earlier. It certainly seems that something is up, especially when you factor in the US Navy footage.

    What, of course, is the question.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Over the past 10 years we have seen so many fringe conspiracy theories turn out to be true that almost anything is possible, including some version or variation of the movie "They Live."

      Delete

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