Archive for the ‘ Military ’ Category

To worry about North Korea’s latest threats… or not


Worry? Essentially, no.

While outsiders are perplexed as the sudden increase in outrageous threats from North Korea, people inside the country are not. In the last few years life has gotten a lot worse. Starvation deaths, suicides, crime and divorces (official and otherwise) are way up. The North Korean leadership has less and less to work with. Their armed forces has been falling apart for two decades and little else works up there.

Hence, I and most of South Korea would be very surprised if the North actually went ahead with an all-out attack. They know they’d be finished if they did.

Makes for an interesting 30 seconds of news back home, though.

(Via JM)

Mohammed in the nud reprint: game on?


Who ever said we couldn’t depend on the French?

Game on.

Western powers and several of their Middle East allies have deployed an enormous naval fleet to the Persian Gulf just days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu again suggested that his country may soon launch a preemptive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The fleet includes ships from 25 nations, include three full US carrier groups, each one with a complement of more aircraft than the entire Iranian air force. Military officials cited by London’s Daily Telegraph said the buildup is part of a new annual exercise, but their was no secrecy about the fact that the “enemy” in the exercise is Iran.

Always remember the pizza!

Sensitive thugs


Sensitive lot, aren’t they, over in northern Africa and the Middle East?

Turn on, say, CNN, and we’re witnessed to violent, inflamed protests in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Iran, Iraq, the Kashmir region, Yemen, Morocco, and Israel and the Palestinian territories.

And why? Well the catalyst for the protests which – no coincidence, surely – began on September 11, are over a crappy, low budget film depicting Mohammed as a thug and pedophile. Most of us would have happily lived out our lives having not the slightest inkling this film ever existed, except that an Egyptian sheik got wind of it, translated the YouTube trailer in to Arabic and, let’s face it, used it to light a fire under the ever-simmering hatred of the West, and the US in particular as the bastion of the West.

The film was ordinary to say the least, but that’s the price you pay for freedom, and in particular, freedom of speech – a cornerstone of free democratic nations (which incidentally, the Left in Australia has managed to dig up). I’d much rather have freedom and be offended once in a while than to live in a country where even freedom of thought is blasphemy, indeed punishable by death.

What we also know – or think we know – is that the bloke who made the film is one Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, FKA Sam Becile; technically a Coptic Christian (they make up around 10% of Egypt’s population), but as information comes to light, it turns out he’s a pretty shady guy with multiple names and social security numbers, has been convicted for narcotics offenses as well as bank fraud.

So basically, he’s a troll – not someone to be liked.

However, what I also don’t like is all the finger-pointing that has gone on “back home”. TBH, I’m not really that proud of my “Bye, Libya” post below (although a number of US lawmakers, both Democrat and Republicans, have called for a washing of hands also). But what really disgusts me is that whilst corpses have been paraded around the streets, and the senseless violence is ongoing, the Left have used this as an opportunity to attack US presidential candidate, Mitt Romney.

Now, for sure, the Right have also used this to attack sitting Democrat President Barrack Obama.

Yet, there is one key difference, it must be pointed out, that does not make what’s good for the goose good for the gander.

Romney has no actual political power, and in no way has been involved in any type of US government decision making when it comes to things such as an effective, appropriate response, coordination with the State Department, and security conditions on the ground which may have at least saved a few important lives.

The opposite is true for Obama. Geneva convention or not (the host country provides most security at embassies and consulates), the situation being what it was leading up to those abhorrent attacks, the Obama administration should have had proper security forces in place.

It did not.

And talk about gaffes in rhetoric – and the Left has been quick to jump on a perceived yet actually non-existent gaffe in Romney’s rhetoric – Obama comes out and says Egypt is neither enemy nor ally; a gaffe which the State Department had to correct and reiterate that Egypt, er, technically is an ally, in the legal definition of the word.

Not that Obama is being punished in the media for that massive faux pas

Double standards? Remember when Obama recently and most irresponsibly inflamed home grown violence by declaring that if he had a son, his name would be Trayvon Martin?

Still, that’s hardly the first example of collective, selective, faux leftist outrage.

But I digress, and fall into the same trap I’m blaming leftists for also doing.

The real bad guy here isn’t Obama. Nor is it Romney. Nor is it that film maker, not in a country that upholds freedom of speech, however offensive.

No, the real bad guys are those thugs who murdered the US Libyan ambassador, J. Christopher Stevens and three others including two former Navy Seals.

The real bad guys are those thugs staging their violent protests all over the middle east and northern Africa.

The real bad guys are people like that sheik who found that obscure video and used it to incite an entire nation, indeed regions, to hatred and violence.

The real bad guys are the ruling Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt who have called for a banning of Freedom of Speech in the West, and who have also called for *cough* peaceful protests this Friday, Islamic prayer day.

While emotions are still running high, can we in the West, on the Left and the Right, please remember who the real bad guys are (hint: it’s not each other).

China, Japan, Korea, and a few chunks of rocks


Korea and Japan are fighting over Dokdo/Takeshima. Japan and China are fighting over a few other chunks.

Both disputed territories just so happen to have huge reserves of hydrocarbons.

One to keep a bit of an eye on.

9/11: remembering the fallen


It was eleven years ago, and also on a Tuesday. Sympathies to the fallen and their families.

Always remember.

Watched a decent documentary today on History (channel), 9/11: the days after. Very touching, very moving.

From the ashes: Freedom Tower

Crack in a taxi


I know Julia doesn’t like spending money on important things such as our military.

AUSTRALIA’S navy patrol boats are literally cracking up under the strain of intercepting the surge in asylum-seeker vessels, with one boat now banned from operations and structural cracks discovered in at least two others. Defence has ordered an urgent investigation into its overworked 14-boat fleet amid concerns that the problem could threaten the navy’s long-term ability to patrol Australia’s northern approaches.

So what’s the problem? Indonesian fishing vessels crack up all the time on their way out here. No wonder they just make a call now and have us sail into Indonesian waters to pick them up using our big strong boats.

Oops.

Cracks in the hulls of our elite Navy vessels now being used (too much) to ferry “undocumented” arrivals?

Heaven forbid an actual war broke out…

We could always put floaties on our tanks.

Glad Julia, after slashing the military budget, is using the rest of the (now-borrowed) money wisely…

Two days later and North Korea wheels out another rocket


Rolling Eyes OK, so it’s a missile not a rocket but you get the point.

North Korea rolled out what appeared to be a new ballistic missile, Sunday, as the impoverished state marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of its founder Kim Il-sung with a massive military parade.

The unveiling came after the North’s young and untested leader Kim Jong-un vowed to proceed with his late father Kim Jong-il’s “military-first” policy in his first public speech.

What’s that, another few hundred million dollars – just two days after the NK rocket of FAIL – that could have been spent on paved roads, electricity and food for the people?

That bizarre regime won’t stop unless it is stopped.

North Korea’s rocket of FAIL


Three attempts. Three fails. That’s North Korea’s record when it comes to rocket launches.

North Korea’s much hyped long-range rocket crashed into the sea about a minute after launch today, South Korean and other officials said, dealing a blow to the prestige of the reclusive and impoverished state.

Diddums. And the press bus took a wrong turn, too.

A cloud of brown dust swirled down deeply potholed streets, past concrete apartment buildings crumbling at the edges. Old people trudged along the sidewalk, some with handmade backpacks crafted from canvas bags. Two men in wheelchairs waited at a bus stop. There were stores with no lights, and side roads so battered they were more dirt than pavement.

“Perhaps this is an incorrect road?” mumbled one of the North Korean minders, well-dressed government officials who restrict reporters to meticulously staged presentations that inevitably centre on praise for the three generations of Kim family who have ruled this country since 1948.

The thing is, this time the minders didn’t even care when photographers started taking “forbidden” snaps.

Source (more pics here)

More pics

More pics

What a desolate sh*thole.

UPDATE

I’m told the photo of the blue building with the toddler in front of it; that’s a movie theatre. A bit different from a typical South Korean cinema.

When oh when are they going to give up this great comrade Kim crap? The place is pretty much in ruins, no one’s buying this wow-look-how-wonderful-communism-is BS, the people are starving and poor, yet there they are trying to launch a bloody rocket.

FFS

UPDATE II

Michael Ruffles of the SMH was there back in February.

In one furtive encounter in the hotel I was told ‘‘not everything is as it seems’’, and was left, after a mysterious conversation, with the impression that work was being done to bring about change within North Korea.

UPDATE III

They spent $815 million on that dud rocket. That’s a lot of rice and kimchi.

Another North Korean nuke test?


It could well be on the way as a follow-up to their satellite launch – itself regarded as really a test for any future ICBMs.

With new leader Kim Jong-un, son of the late Kim Jong-il, we were told the apple hadn’t landed far from the tree and this is proving true.

More here, including claims by the Opposition in Korea – a group akin to the Democrats in the US – crying foul the intelligence leak occurred just prior to the parliamentary elections to be held tomorrow.

Beautiful. Just beautiful.


And the troops love it, as should any sane person drowning in a sea of freedom-sapping political correctness.

Joseph Kony: to stop or not to stop


So the KONY 2012 video has gone viral on YouTube, and at first glance seems pretty good.

It’s a social media campaign to have African warlord Joseph Kony, head of the LRA (Lord’s Resistence Army) captured and brought to justice before the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity including the abduction of children to use as soldiers and sex slaves.

But any cursory web search turns up articles like this that brings the KONY 2012 campaign into question. Those questions largely stem from a poli sci student, Grant Oyston, who argued against KONY 2012 as an effective way to stop Joseph Kony. There are also concerns surrounding how the mob who made KONY 2012, Invisible Children, divvies up its finances.

And yes, reading many of the starry-eyed, moronic YouTube comments makes me want to kill a kitten.

However, IC has reponded to the various criticisms and frankly, they’ve done a pretty good job.

And they’re doing a decent job over in Africa, too, which anyone can see in almost-real time on this handy LRA crisis tracker.

Now, we can argue about why this guy and not the hundreds of other contenders, but the fact is Kony is “it” right now. And it does always help that he’s on the top of the ICC’s most wanted list.

As IC states in part of their latest reponse to criticisms that actually were pretty valid:

We are advocating for the arrest of Joseph Kony so that he can be tried by the International Criminal Court (ICC) as a precedent for future war criminals. The goal of Kony 2012 is for the world to unite to see him arrested and prosecuted for his crimes against humanity.

So, overall? It’s a pretty good cause and people could do worse if they didn’t get behind it.

Apart from plugging it, will this blogger actually fork over some cash?

Maybe, I don’t know – and if I did, it’d be a private matter.

That said, stop Kony?

Yes.

But by all means, click on the links above, hunt around Google, and decide for yourself.

Thursday 8/3/12 open/twitter thread


Disclaimer:

The twitter feed on the right merely contains links to stories I found interesting. Those links are to regular websites, just like a blog link. Sometimes I chuck a comment in there, too, at the end.

So what you see after most bullet points is a headline, an “http” link to the article, and then sometimes a short comment by yours truly.

No need to be on twitter per se. So there’s every reason to check it out and chip in… either on twitter and/or right here.

————————————–

Now before anyone gets all antsy that I never served, and before they get all antsy about military culture, this smacks of… no, I won’t say liberal princesses being just that, nor wannabe tough guy paper/internet warriors trying to sound like they’re cool…

Anyone who served? That’s the comment…

THE Australian Defence Force faces years of investigations into hundreds of allegations of violence and psychological abuse in its ranks, with some claims involving serious criminal offences.

The allegations cover events ranging from 1951 to last year and it is likely that some of the perpetrators are still serving in the ADF.

A national law firm’s initial review of more than 1000 complaints of abuse in the ADF has found that at least 775 were “plausible allegations of abuse”. Its recommendations for action include a possible royal commission, a national apology to victims and the likelihood of millions of dollars in compensation being paid.

I don’t know, but can’t help think the military is going a bit soft, is being forced a bit soft.

No wonder since the public – at least in media portrayals – has turned to mush.

China to increase military expenditure (thanks Uncle Sam)


Not surprising…

China said Sunday it would boost its defense spending by 11.2% in 2012, slightly less than last year’s increase but still enough to aggravate the concerns that have prompted the U.S. to refocus its defense policy on the Asian-Pacific region.

So how much will that military budget add up to? That’d be $106.4 billion US dollars.

To put that in a little more perspective, China currently holds more than $1.2 trillion of US debt. Interest payments on America’s $15.2 trillion of debt amounted to $454 billion in 2011.

Thus, interest payments to China would have been around $30 billion (454/15) that year. For the same 12 month period, the Chinese military budget was $91.5 billion.

That’s the US effectively financing one third of China’s military in 2011. And remember that’s just with interest payments. The principal on the debt isn’t going down.

With no end in sight to increasing US debt, and the likelyhood China will continue to buy at least some of it – with ever increasing interest rates – no wonder China is so well positioned to continue double-digit increases in its military expenditure… courtesy to a sizeable extent of the US taxpayer.

I’m not sure there has ever been a case in world history whereby one superpower has funded so much of a rival superpower’s military.

PS The idea of US debt interest payments funding the Chinese military has been bandied about before. I decided to have a look at the numbers myself.

Monday 5/3/12 open/twitter thread


Almost back to the regular schedule… tomorrow I’m told.

Anyway, a couple of stories that caught my eye last night on twitter:

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is acting pretty ballsy in front of his countrymen. Despite the tubby leader of the starving nation agreeing to stop its nuclear program – yeah, right :roll: – in return for US food aid (this time they’ve designed it in the form of not-so-tasty nutritional bars etc. kind of like the ones distributed to starving Africans in an effort to not have the aid – e.g. rice – merely go to the party elite), he recently strutted his stuff for the first time in the DMZ, specifically Panmunjon which is the Korean name for the JSA, you know, that bit where the North and South guards face off against each other every day. He was literally in range of “enemy” troops. All this, of course, isn’t really sticking it to the South. It’s just so that he doesn’t look like a total ass in front of his fellow Commies and potential usurpers for being a fatty who needs more food.

Also, readers may remember a post from a few months back entitled, “The seige of Wukan”. Basically, a bunch of Chinese villagers got sick and tired of their local officials stealing their farmland and pocketing the proceeds after selling it. So they kicked them out. Predictably, police and what not surrounded the village and a stand-off ensued. Well, good news. The villagers were granted fresh elections, and one of the new officials includes a leader of the protest. Nearby villages are starting to get the same idea, but hey, this is China, so don’t be expecting any precedents – despite what this guy says – or the folk in Beijing to be reading it on the front page. Still, it’s a start. Here’s some piccies.

Oh, and Putin is back in (as if he were ever out). Just don’t be a Russian billionaire and criticise the bloke; it might make him cry (you’ll get that after clicking the link).

Via JM, the Samsung Galaxy S III, a teacher’s new best friend, internet karma, Kumbahyah cancelled, wiki highjinks (language warning, but funny as).

Anything catch your eye today? Bob Carr’s predictable, cringe-worthy backflip on Libya? China’s latest hit TV show?

Let us know.

 

Iran to EU: No oil for you!


Iran goes all pre-emptive. Sanctions against their oil exports to the EU were set to take effect in July, but Iran has becided to cut it off now, namely to Britain and France.

Meanwhile, little bombs here, little bombs there?

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