Saturday, July 30, 2016

Most Honest Movie Trailer Ever

So I gather that in this latest sequel Bourne will meet the asset, who was warned to come alone, equipped only with a tactical monocular and a GoPro strapped to his turtleneck, have a cool car chase, crunch bones, bribe the crooked government guy who is a just a puppet for someone else, and walk through train stations looking worried, all the while being surveilled by a control room full of grumpy old men on computers with old-ass monitors. Plus, there will be lots of guns and weaponized office products.

And some people say Hollywood has exhausted the spy-triller genre.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Most Eyebrow-Raising Headline of the Week

A cop for 11 years and she didn't recognize a doughnut???

"Cops mistook Krispy Kreme doughnut glaze for meth" - Orlando Sentintel

That's when she spotted "a rock like substance on the floor board where his feet were," she wrote.

"I recognized through my eleven years of training and experience as a law enforcement officer the substance to be some sort of narcotic," she wrote.

"I kept telling them, 'That's … glaze from a doughnut. … They tried to say it was crack cocaine at first, then they said, 'No, it's meth, crystal meth.'"

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The "M" Stands For Machiavelli

Foreign Policy magazine has a profile of Undersecretary for Management Patrick Kennedy: The Bureaucrat at the Center of Hillary’s Scandals.

A few snippets:

"The guy has nine lives" a former diplomat said of Kennedy, who has spent more than 40 years at the State Department. "Everything just bounces off him."

-- Snip --

He's also able to block initiatives he doesn't like through his mastery of the arcane rules and regulations that govern everyday life at the department - some of which he drafted himself.

“Like Stalin, his power comes from his understanding and control over the bureaucracy,” said a former State Department official.

“In dealing with him or his office, they are always presenting you with rules but you don’t know where they come from: some previous secretary, the president, the Congress and so you don’t know how to figure out what would need to be done to get exceptions,” added the official.

I've never been a fan, but this kind of profile is making me warm up to the U/S for M.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Dalai Lama Tactical Tip Tuesday

“I believe all suffering is caused by ignorance. People inflict pain on others in the selfish pursuit of their happiness or satisfaction. Yet true happiness comes from a sense of inner peace and contentment, which in turn must be achieved through the cultivation of altruism, of love and compassion and elimination of ignorance, selfishness and greed.” ― Dalai Lama XIV 

"Attachment to what appears real is what keeps us from clear-mindedness." - Dalai Lama XIV

By all means, let us eliminate ignorance and keep to clear-mindedness on the subject of stopping power, the fabled unicorn that leads so many handgun users into self delusion.

Science, experience, and human reason all tell us that there is no particular stopping power in any cartridge that can be fired from a handgun. Unless struck in the head or spine, an assailant can continue to act and threaten others after being hit with multiple rounds.

We know this. And yet, how much marketing, questionable statistics, ballistic gelatin, internet arguments, and cash have been expended to make us believe that which only seems real? All that is ignorance, selfishness, and greed.

His Holiness would have us reject that which is not real, and instead modestly cultivate the fundamental skills of defensive gun use. Mastering those basics is a surer route to inner peace and contentment. 

FBI = Folks Barging In

I posted something about stopping truck attacks just yesterday and, what do you know, today someone ran a dump truck through the front gate of the FBI field office in Pittsburgh. See this local TV news report for what sketchy details are available now.

From the photo above we can see that the FBI facility had a proper perimeter fence, swinging gates, and operable vehicle barriers consisting of rising metal plates. I assume the FBI complied with all the applicable Interagency Security Standards for a federal facility of its type. So, what went wrong? Because, as you can see from the photo below, the dump truck crashed right through that vehicle barrier and ended up inside the FBI's protected perimeter.

What happened, simply, was physics. The FBI's vehicle barrier appears to be of an intermediate-grade type, too low (only around 20 inches high) to engage the truck at its center of gravity, and merely bolted to the surface of the roadway rather than installed in a deep pit. That barrier was overmatched by a medium-size dump truck moving at - I would guess - 30 to 40 miles per hour. The truck brought more kinetic energy than the barrier was capable of withstanding, and ripped it right out of the road surface.     

Eyewitnesses told the local news media that the truck launched into the air momentarily when it ran over the barrier, so I'm sure the driver must have been banged about and possibly he was stunned. However, the truck looks intact. If the driver had been better prepared, he might have been able to keep driving all the way up to the FBI's front door.

Apparently there was no terrorist motive, and the driver seems to be a random nut. Nevertheless, this is a bad day for the FBI, and for any other USG agency that is using similar vehicle barriers. It's always a bad day when security vulnerabilities are exposed. Oh, the Congressional oversight ... the OIG reports ... the security surveys.

My heart goes out to them, so here are a couple free tips. First, reassess the sizes of truck your perimeter anti-ram designs are based on. Today's driver just invalidated any design basis threat less than a medium dump truck. Second, before you overreact and replace all of your intermediate-level barriers, consider using chicane approaches to slow traffic down to speeds that can be handled by the barriers you have now.

Monday, July 25, 2016

After the Nice Attack, Will Cities Place Vehicle Barriers in Public Spaces?

The Bastille Day truck attack in Nice was the latest in a rather long list of vehicle assaults as a tactic for terrorism. One consequence of the attack, we may be sure, will be a new wave of streetscaping to introduce anti-ram barriers into the built environments of cities.

Some news media have been asking the question "can a lorry attack ever be stopped?" Of course it can be stopped. There is nothing new about anti-ram vehicle barriers, even ones that are effective against large trucks. The only question is whether governments will resort to large and obvious barriers of the sort that we have at our Fortress Embassies, or whether they take the trouble to go discreet and subtle with some more architectural options.

Here's an example of large and obvious:

Subtle is better, especially in cities. One commentator is using the term "crisis architecture," which is a new one on me, but I like the idea.

As a matter of fact, my good friends in the Office of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) a few years ago published a whole handbook full of EPIC ideas for architectural designs that protect against vehicle ramming attacks but hide in plain sight. Please browse it to get a glimpse of what I think we'll be seeing a lot of in our public spaces pretty soon.

There's more where that came from. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has its own handbook of barrier designs, some of them quite innovative. Check out, for instance, the TigerTrap:
A collapsible sidewalk and planting system designed to reduce the impact of force protection on public space while maintaining a high level of security. The TigerTrap employs a sub-grade collapsible material, installed below at-grade paving or planting. The installation is designed to withstand pedestrian traffic but fail under the weight of a loaded vehicle.

Like something out of a Road Runner cartoon, only it's real.

You've probably already seen examples of anti-terrorism architecture that blended into the landscape so well that you didn't realize what they were. Like this excellent one, for example.

And, there are also rapidly deployed and temporary barriers, like this one. The French Army could have placed that system around the Nice promenade in an hour or two, and picked it up again after the Bastille Day crowd had gone home.

Coming to a city near you.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Le Gîte Maux?

Will there be a Guantanamo-a-la-Franaise? Could be, if MP George Fenech gets his way. It would not be the first time France had a prison island, after all.
But as France struggles to adapt to the increased threat from jihadists, the French MP who led a parliamentary inquiry into the November terror attacks in Paris believes Ile de Ré should also welcome the country’s most dangerous jihadists.

George Fenech, MP for centre-right Les Republicains party, believes a Guantanamo à la Francaise could be set up on the island to house all those jihadists who are expected to return from fighting in Iraq and Syria.

"A French Guantanamo would be the simplest solution," said Fenech. "An institution dedicated to radicalised individuals would be a solution," he told right-wing magazine Valeurs Actuelles.

And Fenech believes the ideal place for an offshore prison would be Ile-de-Ré, where there is already a jail that needs renovating in the town of Saint-Martin de Ré.

Fenech says the prison could be adapted to house the “tidal wave” of radicalized fighters returning from the Middle East although the local tourist board and residents might have something to say about his plan.

The MP says he is concerned by the government’s lack of preparation for the impending return of hundreds of French jihadists if and when Isis are toppled.

-- Snip --

Fenech’s idea is not the only radical suggestion put forward by MPs since the deadly rampage in Nice.

Right wing MP Alain Marsaud wants a law passed to allow the French to carry arms in certain conditions and also suggests the creation of armed civilian defence patrols.

Other MPs have talked of arming police with rocket launchers in certain sensitive spots so rampaging lorries can be stopped, while some have talked about bringing back the death penalty.

I like the Gîte Maux idea far better than the one about rocket launchers.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A Bumpy Arrival For SecState Kerry at #10 Downing Street

Video courtesy of the UK Daily Mail.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was on the front steps of 10 Downing Street in London, about to meet with new U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, when he stopped to wave at the crowd.

The man holding the door presumably thought Kerry was going to stay outside and shut the door, just as Kerry turned to step inside.

Dalai Lama Tactical Tip Tuesday

"Human potential is the same for all. Your feeling, “I am of no value”, is wrong. Absolutely wrong. You are deceiving yourself. We all have the power of thought – so what are you lacking? If you have willpower, then you can change anything. It is usually said that you are your own master."

"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions."

Readiness is all (as Shakespeare knew), and making yourself ready for whatever comes is an all-important attribute for anyone who prepares to use a gun for self-defense.

As His Holiness models in this meme, the shooter must make himself or herself ready. And not just for a timed drill on the range with your hands up and facing away from the targets, but ready for whatever life presents us with as we go about our daily business.

That was never more true than in this day of lone wolf terrorist attacks on public venues and the targeted killing of police in our cities. You are responsible for creating happiness for yourself and others through your own actions. Therefore, and although I realize this may seem counterintuitive, HH would have you practice with and carry the most effective handgun you can conceal.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Dalai Lama Tactical Tip Tuesday

“The foundation of the Buddha’s teachings lies in compassion, and the reason for practicing the teachings is to wipe out the persistence of ego, the number-one enemy of compassion.” - Dalai Lama XIV

Why is His Holiness laughing? Without intending offense to owners of Kimber 1911s or any other pistol with a four-figure price tag and twice that in customization, please consider what HH says about ego.

So far as I understand it, the term "ego" actually originates outside of Buddhism, in Western psychology, and it refers to the psychological construct that is our identity. In both Western psychology and Buddhism, the term refers to the self, to "I."

When you invest your ego in a firearm you fall into spiritual error. Plus, you fool yourself, because, as every shooter knows deep down inside, the more you 'improve' a pistol the less reliable it becomes. The plain GI Pistol, Caliber .45, Automatic, M1911A1  that I was issued in the 1980s U.S. Army was near-perfect in reliability, yet it rattled when I shook it, barely had any sights, used worn plastic grips, and had practically no finish left on the slide. Carrying that pistol taught me to give up ego when it comes to defensive gun use.

His Holiness knows why he is laughing. A custom Kimber with all the most expensive improvements is a gun you show your friends. A plain Glock or a humble J-frame .38 is a gun you show your enemies.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Dalia Lama Tactical Tip Tuesday

His Holiness considers life in its entirety, in the physical as well as the mental, emotional, and spiritual. In this tip, he brings all those aspects together. 

During a defensive gun use, or drill, there comes a point at which the shooter begins to fear he is running out of ammo and knows he must reload quickly. Above all, he knows he must avoid fumbling with or even dropping the fresh magazine. This is a moment that could induce panic.

At that point, HH gives some plain common sense advice: rely on the tactile feel of the reload in your hand to guide your actions, and your physical senses will complement your mental and spiritual efforts and give you reassurance and a sense of calm.  

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Finally, A Backlash Against Iraq's Fake Bomb Detectors

The most recent terrorist attack in Baghdad killed more than 120 persons and employed a suicide car bomb in a shopping district. Also, it seems to have provoked a long overdue and richly deserved public backlash against the Iraqi government and its outrageous practice of using fake bomb detectors at checkpoints through the country.

From the WaPo story linked above, there is this:
On social media, Iraqis turned their anger toward a wand-style device that has been proved to be fake but is still widely used at checkpoints as a bomb detector. On Sunday night, Abadi announced that the devices should be withdrawn from checkpoints. Little more than an aerial attached to a plastic handle, they have been sold as capable of detecting explosives.

Earlier Sunday, after the bombing, the Interior Ministry’s website was hacked and a picture was posted of a bloodied baby and one of the supposed bomb detectors. “I don’t know how you sleep at night,” the hacked website read.

Hacked Iraq MOI website image

The scandal of these fraudulent devices, which were sold to Iraq under the name ADE 651, is well known and documented. See this Vanity Fair article for background. The Iraqi government purchased the scam detectors in 2008 at a cost of $85 million.

According to the WaPo's Baghdad Bureau Chief, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has finally, just tonight, ordered all the ADE 651s removed from Iraqi checkpoints. That decision comes about two years after he first acknowledged they were fake and promised to remove them.

Now, how about the governments of Pakistan, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Mexico, and Thailand? So far as I know, they all still use the ADE 651 or a copy, under various names, to pretend to detect bombs at airports and other potential targets. Is a hacked website all it will take to cause them enough embarrassment that they'll stop that nonsense?

Most Eyebrow-Raising Headline of the Week

"Pregnant Russian Woman Gives Birth in Forest While Officers Fight off Bears" - Outdoorhub