March 30, 2005
In fact, the gender and number of Italian words are most often specified by the last letter of the word, thus in this case we have:
Schiavo -> Masculine singular
Schiava -> Feminine singular
Schiavi -> Masculine plural
Schiave -> Feminine plural
That's all I have to say on the Schiavo issue. Saying anything more is like opening a can of Dune-sized worms and attracting flames from every corner, and I cannot be bothered with it.
March 28, 2005
March 22, 2005
In the meantime, enjoy responsibly my Operation Spring Force and have a nice Easter.
Finally, here it comes the third instalment of the Operation Spring Force series. More moonbats, more idiocy and outright evil!
* DU munitions are used almost exclusively against armored targets - APCs and tanks, occasionally fortifications - so I think only a small amount of DU was used in Iraq, and only in the initial phases of the operation. But never let the facts come in the way of an anti-Western rant.
This seems quite straight out of a low-cost '60s British horror flick... it just lacks deaths, gore and a damsel in distress. I wonder what animal is that: a fugitive/abandoned panther? Or an overgrown wild cat? The latter case would be quite interesting, I say.
Police have launched a huge search after sightings of a "cat-like" animal
the size of a labrador in a London suburb.
Scotland Yard appealed for vigilance after a member of the public
and a police officer saw the black creature, which has been likened to a
An armed police response vehicle with officers equipped with
rifles and Taser stun guns has been called in to patrol the area.
The "Beast of Sydenham" was spotted at about 2am today by a man in Sydenham Park putting his cat out. The man was attacked and scratched. He called an ambulance and police.
March 21, 2005
With my rather swift pace of a mountain trekker, I reached Park Lane, and was treated with the following sights.
It seems that Hello/Blogger are back in proper operation. Stay tuned for the second part of Operation Spring force.
March 20, 2005
On a sunny and incredibly warm March afternoon, I headed to Marble Arch to document the gathering of moonbats and other similar species that was planned for Saturday 19. I arrived a bit late, when the show alredy left the gathering point, but I caught some traces of moonbat's presence - droppings, one may say.
Note that Ripway.com poses a bandwidth limit, so this weblog may not work properly.
For the time being, Wind Rider (of Silent Running) has a post on the most recent meme of the "anti-war" gang:
Here is the lie, the false claim -I wanted to write about the same story, but never found the time/inspiration. Wind Rider came in my rescue, finally!
100,000 Iraqis have died since the war in Iraq, mostly at the hands of Americans
Keep in mind, every time you see or hear this assertion put forth with
certainty, that you are seeing the perpetration of a lie. A boldface,
unsupported and unsupportable falsehood, generated from an ideologically driven and deeply flawed exercise pathetically labelled as a scientific survey,
conducted by strongly anti-war academics. Possibly, or more likely probably,
based on the evidence of the timing and conditions of the release, motivated by
a desire to influence the US elections process.
March 18, 2005
So, for those who can never have enough of fuck&shit, go here and enjoy.
The other guys hungry for explosive knowledge... better you don't mess around lightly with that stuff; however, stay tuned and more posts will eventually come.
March 16, 2005
Actually my mind is completely blank now. See you later folks.
March 13, 2005
Read it carefully: in this case the soldiers hesitated before firing, and such hesitation caused (indirectly) the death of four fine and brave men. The truth about situations like these is that you cannot have it both ways: if the standing procedures are designed to optimize the safety of the soldiers, the civilians will be at more risk. If the focus is on civilian safety, soldiers will be in a more dangerous position. The decision window is extremely short, a few seconds at best, and in this time the soldiers manning checkpoints and vehicle guns have to take decisions that will mean life and death, for themselves, their comrades and the civilians who are nearby. It's not an easy job, and I cannot cast condemnations if mistakes are made.
This is what had happened: A short distance from our FOB, A US convoy
was driving down the road. As they headed to their destination a civilian
vehicle pulled on from a side alley and attempted to get into the convoy.
Apparently, the convoy gunners were too green or some how did not perceive the car to be a threat. They did not wave the car off, throw anything at him,
cut him off, or shoot to try and stop him. A nearby IP (Iraqi Police) SUV
witnessed the intruding vehicle and immediately intervened. It pulled up
to the rear of the convoy and tried to force the intruding vehicle off the
road. The IP’s had successfully put themselves between the vehicle and the
US convoy. Unable to deter the vehicle from approaching the US convoy or
make it pull over, the IP’s fired at the engine of the encroaching
vehicle. At this point, the driver detonated the IED inside his
vehicle. Yes, this was a classic VBIED.
This suicide bomber killed himself and the four IP’s in the vehicle holding him at bay. The device was so powerful that the bomber’s vehicle was literally obliterated. The engine block was thrown over 25 meters. The IP’s vehicle was nothing but a burned out shell. All four IP’s inside perished in the blast, but not a scratch was inflicted on the vehicles or personnel of the US convoy. Had it not been for the exceptional bravery, valor and situational awareness of these four Iraqi Patriots, that day would have been bloodier, and we probably would have had another communications blackout at the FOB
When a bullet impacts a target, there are basically three possible outcomes: penetration, deformation/disintegration and ricochet. Penetration means that the bullet enters the target (and remains embedded into it, or exits from the other side); in the second case the bullet will deform upon impact withouth penetrating the target but losing a great amount of its energy - in the extreme case, it will disintegrate in minute fragments; ricochet is when the bullet bounces away retaining a considerable fraction of its energy (and having suffered some damage, usually).
As a rule of thumb, bullets will penetrate soft targets, and smash against or ricochet off hard targets. Which targets are hard and which soft is relative to the properties of the projectile: a 5 mm sheet of ductile steel is a hard target for a lead or soft-nose handgun bullet, but a soft one for an armour-piercing rifle bullet. Other factors also exert influence: angle of impact (at low impact angles, ricochet is more likely even from soft targets); shape, weight and speed of the bullet - fast and slender bullets (and with a high weight/cross-section area ratio) penetrate more than fat and slow ones. But all these subtleties would go out of the scope of this article.
Relative to a military Full Metal Jacket, or even AP bullet, a car's seats padding, human bodies and even the thin sheet metal cars are made of are all quite soft targets. (D0 you understand where I'm going, yet?). So, if your fire a burst at a car with your M240 machinegun, you will find that most of the bullets will just pass through the car - some may remain embedded in the strongest parts, like the engine block. Slugs may be standing on the seats only in rather exceptional circumstance: if the car receives fire from considerable distance, and thus the bullets have just enough kinetic energy left to penetrate the doors (or windows) and then simply fall down. I think it would take a lengthy experimental campaign to find the exact conditions that make this happen.
So, it is extremely improbable (borderline impossible) that Giuliana Sgrena could pick up "handfuls of bullets" from the seat besides her (not to mention that such bullets would be scorching hot). I suggested as a what-if scenario that she meant spent casings - for ignorant people, there is little difference between bullets, casings and complete
The soldiers who were manning the checkpoint come from the New York Army National Guard, 69th Infantry Regiment of the 42nd Infantry Division. This article adds to the whole Sgrena Incident story, and gives a good perspective of the kind of problems soldiers have to face at checkpoints. Tips to Charles and Darth Misha for pointing to these articles.
March 12, 2005
Sun 13/03: Ok, I went to my usual heavy metal pub (early Metallica is soft, in there) and when I got home at around midnight all was quiet. But then my sleep was severely disrupted by scary dreams of the Coming of the Antichrist, or something awful like that. Geez, what a night.
March 11, 2005
Yes, man. Political correctness is a scourge. And a horrible one: no humor, no common sense, no masculinity or femininity - you always have to watch your mouth in fear of "offending" some idiot. Belch.
Who in the hell invented the word heteronormative? I haven't seen such a preposterous linguistic construction since "postmodern". I used to make jokes about apologizing for being heterosexual, but I never figured I'd see the day
when someone who was heterosexual was publicly
criticized because they refused to be ashamed of it.[...]
Myself, I'm appalled at Harvard's BGLTSA. Why are they discriminating against monosexuals? Isn't that also a legitimate lifestyle choice? And what have they got against the celibate? They should be the BGLTMCSA, by damn.
For that matter, why are they excluding heterosexuals? Don't heterosexuals deserve to have their lifestyle choice defended against assault by close-minded anti-heterosexual bigots? Err, umm...[...]
Nothing deflates the pompous like a good horselaugh. What America's universities really need is to send a lot of these students to desensitivity training. Everyone in Harvard's BGLTSA needs to grow a thicker skin. (They'll need it once they leave the womb.)
And they need to watch more anime, so they can learn about what life is like outside the ivory tower. Sure, anime ain't realistic, but mechas and magical girls are more like real life than what they're living.
March 09, 2005
But new details about the story are emerging almost daily, and in the wait for new info, rumor mills tend to rotate at full speed.
Thus, I won't wrote about this subject for a little while, until at least some hard facts will finally be known. In the meantime, watch for yourself the pics of the car that was involved in the incident (this time, it really seems to be the right one).
Now I think that the American patrol fired a few dozen rounds, most of those warning shots. Then, a burst - a dozen bullets or so (either aimed or not) hit the car, smashing the windows and killing Calipari.
My theory of the spent casings was, as I actually expected, short-lived: now it appears that what Sgrena could pick up in handfuls were glass fragments from the shattered windows.
(and this begs the question, what kind of drug will make you mistake glass fragments for bullets? We could ask Hunter Thompson, if he were still alive... Or is Leftism so mind-altering?).
March 07, 2005
Come on guys, I expect much more class than this from our Ruling Elites... how can you claim moral superiority and higher sophistication, then?
Or was it a study about Italian swearing on the Internet? Inquiring minds want to know.
March 06, 2005
But this time, something went very wrong: while on their way to the Baghdad Airport, the car on which Sgrena and at least two Italian Secret Service agents were travelling come under the fire of an American patrol: one of the agents, Nicola Calipari died; another is seriously wounded and the thirs lightly wounded; Sgrena received a light wound on her shoulder too. The accounts of the incident differ wildly: Sgrena says that her car came suddenly under fire while travelling at a speed that in her opinion was low, and received 300 - 400 shots. In her words, the americans wanted to kill her because she was about to report the "atrocities" committed during the assault on Fallujah and other occasions - and because the americans do not approve of the negotiations policy in dealing with kidnappings. American sources instead report that the patrol spotted a car approaching at high speed, and following the usual Rules Of Engagement, they first flashed a white light towards the car, then fired warning shots and finally fired to stop the vehicle.
There are many aspects of this story that do not square well: first of all, if the Americans really wanted to kill Sgrena, she would not have survived. This is the first and foremost point: US soldiers are well competent, and there is no way they would fail to kill a soft target with no cover and no viable escape routes.
An AP photo and video show a car that is believed to be the car involved in the accident, and there is no way in hell that it took 300 - 400 rounds (of high-penetration military ammo). That car shows no more than a handful of small-caliber shots, and what is moderate-speed impact damage. The American patrol which opened fire is said to have been an "armored vehicle" that can be a Bradley, or a Stryker (even a LAV, but the Marines were not involved in this incident): all these vehicles mount at least the M60 or M240 7.62 mm machinegun (possibly a 5.56 mm SAW - there's quite a lot of variability), not to mention the venerable .50 M2, or the Bradley's rapid-fire 25 mm cannon. Even 300 rounds from the relatively puny SAW would reduce a non-armored car to a mess killing all of its occupants. 300 rounds of 25 mm are enough to tear down a concrete building.
I think there is no wrongdoing from the American patrol - I'm very confident that they just followed their ROE and opened carefully controlled fire against what looked like a threat.
What I have a hard time to explain is why Secret Service agents did not stop when warnings were issued. The only hypotheses I can form are: they did not realize that it was an American patrol, but they feared it was nasty guys instead, so they tried to force their way past it. Or, these Secret Service agents were under orders (or took the decision) not to stop for any reason while on their way to the airport. It is understandable that a secret service wants to keep its dealings secret, but in the Iraqi environment such a decision sounds rather stupid.
To straddle into the conspiracy field, some say that Sgrena may have set up the whole incident to appear as a victim of the Evil Americans. I am by no means a conspirational type, but there are many dark conrners and inconsistencies in the whole story: the versions differ regarding the number of people in the car, and their exact role; regarding the number (if any) of American checkpoints that the travellers passed without hindrance before the incident; regarding wheter the Coalition had been informed of the extraction operation or not. Not to mention that I do not trust so much Sgrena's words, given that she is declaredly anti-war and anti-american. Moreover, the autopsy of Calipari showed that he died of a single gunshot wound to the head: this does not correspond to a "hail of bullets" scenario. I could not find any mention of the caliber of the bullet (which was not retrieved), but surely it was a small caliber one - an probably slow: a .50 to the head will leave no head to speak of, and even a 7.62 mm is likely to cause pretty horrific damage.
The bullet entered from the back-right of his head to exit above the left ear - and probably it aslo glanced Sgrena's shoulder, or sent shrapnel into it.
To sum it up, it's like looking through a deep pool of murky water: I cannot see the bottom. It was either a screw-up of the Secret Service agents, or something even more weird happened - like a gun accident (apparently, when the vehicle stopped, the American soldiers confiscated the occupants' guns). This story deserves to be followed.
Regarding the negotiations/ransom policy, I can say I'm not very happy with it, but neither absolutely against. It means that the Italian government cares for the Italian citizens - as it must do. It can also mean that the Italians are trying to have it both ways, in a typical (but not really honored) Italian fashion. However, I do not agree with the point of view that a paid ransom is tantamount to a treason (of the USA and Iraq) or aiding the enemy. First, what the jihadis desperatelyt want is a political victory like they scored with Spain: in this case, the victory would be the Italian government caving in to the joint Islamist and Lefty pressure and withdrawing the troops from Iraq. Money is a small tactical victory of little importance. Moreover, is not that every cent of the millions of dollars eventually paid as a ransom will go into IEDs and such: a lot will be wasted in things like food, intelligence, bribery - and probably a hefty chunk will also reach the bank accounts of the "resistance" fat cats, who are more interested in money than in ideological purity.
LGF has quite a few threads about this story; as Cold Fury does.
Update 7/03: Another job of lousy, misleading information from AP: the car in the picture IS NOT Sgrena's car (although the video suggests so). The car involved in the incident was a Toyota Corolla, of which there are no images available. The Carabinieri major who drove the car declared that the American patrol flashed a white light towards them, and suddenly opened fire for a duration of up to ten seconds. This may amount to 300 rounds, but I still find hard to believe that of so many bullets only one hit a target. Well, maybe if most of the shots were accurately aimed at the engine block, with a lot of good luck. I am more inclined to trust the words of a serviceman, so my take on this episode is that the patrol opened fire on the target without ordering the car to stop and firing warning shots. Mind you, I think that such a behaviour is understandable, considering the threat of vehicle-born IEDs (car bombs); it remains to be seen whether those soldiers followed strictly their ROE or not. Another still obscure point is what information on the mission was passed to the Coalition forces by the Italian Secret Service.
March 04, 2005
EGLL 040920Z 21010KT 190V250 5000 -SN SCT006 BKN008 OVC014 00/M01 Q1012 RESN
This means, at 09:20 GMT the observation was:
Wind from South/Southwest (variable from South to West/Southwest) at 10kt (ca. 18 km/h); visibility 5000 m; light snow; scattered clouds at 180 m, broken at 240 m and overcast at 430 m; temperature 0 C and dew point -1 C (corresponding to 93% humidity); pressure 1012 hPa; recent precipitation Snow. (See also here for a more comprehensive explanation)
From my building, I can see light snow and a weil of settled snow covering the ground, except from the roads and areas where grit had been spread. I'm a bit concerned right now, because even a couple of centimeters of settled snow on the roads will cause massive traffic disruption in London. Well, it's a Friday so I won't need to go home before 21 or 22, but still... Developing.
Update 06/03: Booh! The snow stopped a few minutes after I wrote the piece above, when barely 1 cm settled down - and it melted by noon. Booh.
March 02, 2005
The moonbat with the "Against the United States of Israel" sign left the scene escorted by police and a cameraman a few minutes after I took the pic, and did not return. But I do not know any more details. There were a few troupes from different networks, even a Chinese one.
March 01, 2005
However, I took quite a few pictures of the manifestation - which did not attract a sizable number of people, at least until 10:30. I would say they were barely 200, and 95% visibly Arabs and Muslims.
Enough for Part One, folks. Part Two will follow soon.