“The white Volkswagen Worker truck was transporting a “teletherapy source” containing cobalt-60 when it was stolen Monday in the central Hidalgo state town of Tepojaco, north of Mexico City, the International Atomic Energy Agency said.”
While its was most likely a simple case of vehicle theft (its TJ afterall), the contents could wind up being moved by the cartels to the highest bidder. I mean who wouldnt want a few drums of instant dirty bomb for those special occasions. Just add some C4 and its moonsuits and geiger counters for everyone!
(Update 12/5) : They found the material. However, the clown that took it opened the case it was in and removed it from the shielding, unknowingly adding himself to the next season of 1000 Ways To Die, but on the bright side, he could get a Darwin Award.
You’ve seen them around in increasing numbers in the past few years. Those spooky Jason-meets-Michael Myers masks being
worn by ‘operators’ from video games to the sandbox. They are the ballistic face shields, and we are taking a closer look.
Read the rest in my column at Firearms Talk.com
Recently the former president of Iraqi’s personal Model 77 International came up for auction. Its story is rather interesting. Back in 1988, Strum Ruger Model 77RSI, serial number 77022927 was born. It was a beautiful deep-blued bolt-action rifle in .243 Winchester caliber. The RSI series, introduced in the 80s and discontinued in 1993 was the so-called “International Rifle.”
This is because it had a carbine-length 18-inch barrel set into a full-length Mannlicher-style walnut stock that came to the end of the muzzle. These guns were patterned after the old European mountain rifles of the early 1900s and chambered in .243, .270, .308, and 30-06 as well as the more hard-to-find 7x57mm, 7mm-08, and .250-3000 Savage. The short action and abbreviated barrel gave the rifle a weight of 6.95-pounds and an overall length of but 38.5-inches– about the same as a WWII US M1 Carbine.
They were handy little rifles and, while not well liked in the States, had a good following with collectors. One collector overseas even found himself the proud owner of this very gun.
While it is not known exactly when the Ruger was brought into Iraq, it was seen on New Year’s Eve 2000. There, at the largest military parade since the 1991 Gulf War, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, wearing a very dapper suit and hat rather than his trademark olive drag uniform and black beret, fired this rifle several times into the air to celebrate….
Read the rest in my column at RugerTalk.com
The Navy has gone through a lot of growth spurts for its Fire Scout Program. The program was born ten years ago to provide a remote control (unmanned) vertical takeoff & landing (VTOL) aircraft, with a payload capacity of 200 pounds, a range of 125 miles , an endurance on station of three hours at an altitude of 20,000 ft, and the ability to land on a ship in a 20-knot wind. The UAV was to fly 190 hours before planned maintenance.
They started off in 2002 with the RQ-8A, based on the Schweizer/Sikorsky 330, a 31-foot long, 1200-pound three person light helicopter. Then came the MQ-8B, based on the Sikorsky 333, and upgraded 330.
Now they have moved past that to the four-bladed, 41-foot long Bell Jet Ranger 407 (HH-57/OH-58) type helicopter. The much larger MQ-8C weighs 3 tons at max payload, has a 1,000 lb useful payload (Max hook capacity 2645 lbs), and has an endurance of up to 24 hours. It can be armed with AGM-175 Griffin missiles and APKWS II guided 70 mm rockets that the MQ-8B can carry, as well as heavier AGM-114 Hellfire missile. The Navy will buy a total of 96 Fire Scouts to deploy on both ships at sea and with expeditionary forces ashore.
And they have tested it in the air this week:
Point MUGU, Calif. (Oct. 31, 2013) An MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle takes off from Naval Base Ventura County at Point Mugu. The Navy’s newest variant of the Fire Scout unmanned helicopter completed its first day of flying Oct. 31 with two flights reaching 500 feet altitude. The MQ-8C air vehicle upgrade will provide longer endurance, range and greater payload capability than the MQ-8B. Initial operating capability for the MQ-8C is planned for 2016, with the potential for an early deployment in 2014. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman/Released
These days, with all of the increased airport security since 9-11, you would think an airport in the US is the safest place in the world. Well a nutcase at LAX this week proved otherwise. Lets take a look at how it used to be.
Lod Airport Massacre
Over forty years ago in 1972, a team of three Japanese terrorists, members of the Japanese Red Army Faction went on a shooting spree at Lod Airport in Israel. These Asian born radicals were loaned out to the PFLP, a Palestinian group who believed (correctly) that Asians would be less likely stopped by Israeli security. They carried Czech Vz58 assault rifles provided to the PFLP by the North Koreans. These guns, along with spare magazines were secreted in violin cases. When the shooting stopped, 26 lay dead and another 79 injured. Two of the three terrorists were killed that day and the third, injured, served 13 years in an Israeli prison. In 1978, the Mossad rubbed out the Palestinian ideas man who planned the attack for his troubles.
In 2012, a group of lawyers won a $378 million lawsuit against the North Korean government for their part in this crime.
Airliner hijackings peaked around the same time as the Lod Massacre. Between 1968 and 1977, the annual average number of
aircraft hijacked in the world was 41 per year . Since then the number of hijacking incidents have fallen to ‘just‘ 18 per year on average around the globe.
In 1970 Palestinian gunmen forced four planes with a total of 400 people on board to fly to the Jordanian desert, where the hijackers blew up the aircraft after releasing most of the hostages in exchange for seven Palestinian prisoners. This, remembered as the Dawson’s Field hijackings, led to the creation of the Federal Air Marshal program by President Nixon.
However, airliners will always be under the threat of hijackings as witnessed by the events on September 11, 2001 when four jetliners were diverted by 19 international terrorists in the United States and flown into high value targets. This led to the TSA and an increase in the Federal Air Marshal Program. The first screens passengers for weapons and the second rides shotgun so to speak with armed agents on selected aircraft. Last year alone, unarmed TSA screeners found more than 1500 firearms on would-be passengers on US flights.
Rome and Vienna
Moving to attack Israeli targets in Europe, a team of seven members of the Abu Nidal Organization attacked two separate airports at the same time. Four gunmen went to the Israeli El Al Airlines ticket window at Leonardo da Vinci Airport in Rome while another three went to the El Al counter at Vienna. Coordinating their attacks, both went loud at 0915 27 December 1985.
Firing Syrian supplied Soviet-made AKM assault rifles and lobbing hand grenades, the terrorists killed 19 civilians and injured another 138. The high injury rate is due to the fragmentation grenades filling the air with shrapnel. Four of the gunmen were killed, the other three captured. These captured ANO mercenaries (Abu Nidal was more hitman that idealist) got 30 year sentences.
A few years ago, a group of western lawyers won a $25-billion judgment against the Syrian Arab Republic, Syrian Air Force Intelligence, and General Muhammed Al-Khuli for their state sponsorship and involvement in these airport massacres. Like the North Korean judgment, it will likely never be paid.
After these three incidents, there was a massive increase in security in both US and European airports. In Europe, this came in the form of local police and in some cases military police armed and equipped to get in a close quarter battle with a small group of armed terrorists. If you have ever flown into a quiet, immaculately clean European airport and seen cops armed to the teeth with HK burp guns and 5.56mm rifles, it’s because of Lod, Rome, and Vienna.
In the US, these three attacks led most airports, especially large ones with regular international flights, to create dedicated Airport Police forces. These forces range from small 10-person departments at single terminal airports to the immense 1100-member (not a misprint) Los Angeles Airport Police Department. The LAAPD is, in fact, the largest police agency in the United States dedicated exclusively to 24-hour airport activities. This department responded to the latest airport active shooter.
The LAX Active Shooter
This past weekend a deranged gunman, seeking apparently to teach TSA a lesson of the gravest sort, attacked a large international airport in the US. This attack at Los Angeles International, although violent and aggressive, could have been worse.
Mad man with a gun
As noted above, while most of the 503 commercial airports in the US that have regular passenger service have TSA baggage and flight inspectors as well as Federal Air Marshals that fly through them, these airports are not ‘owned’ by the federal government. With that in mind, local law enforcement, or contract security are usually responsible for the actual protection of the airport. This is due to jurisdictional issues with the FBI stepping in to investigate terrorism incidents.
LAX is therefore protected by 1100-member Los Angeles Airport Police Department, the largest of its type in the United States if not the world. It was this department that took on one 23-year old active shooter, identified as Paul Anthony Ciancia in November 2013. While reports are sketchy, what is known is that a roommate dropped Ciancia at Terminal 3 of LAX at 930 on Friday morning on All Saints Day. Unknown to the roommate, Ciancia was not catching a flight but rather a date with destiny.
Armed with a legally owned Smith and Wesson M15 5.56mm semi-automatic sporting rifle concealed in a bag along with five spare magazines, the man went directly to the TSA baggage checkpoint. There he encountered TSA screener Gerardo I. Hernandez, a 39-year old father of two and immigrant from El Salvador. Ciancia allegedly shot the unarmed Hernandez, striking him multiple times. He then walked away to find more victims but returned to deliver a coup de grace style execution shot to the prostrate Hernandez.
Wandering away from the checkpoint to deliver more damage, Ciancia wounded two other TSA employees and a teacher who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The LAAPD engaged the active shooter and ended the threat with a shot to the gunman’s face with a .45ACP service weapon. While the ‘bullet knocked his teeth out, split his tongue and blew away part of the madman’s face‘ he was not killed and is currently in custody at a medical facility, facing charges of murder of a federal officer and commission of violence in an international airport which could send him to death row. Found inside the gunman’s bag was a note that said he wanted to “kill TSA.”
Criticism of unsecure checkpoints
Although the LAAPD responded rapidly to the active shooter, there is already open discussion of why an armed officer was not at the TSA checkpoint to help secure it. According to a CBS News article, “Recent changes made at LAX have armed officers roving around the terminal and required to be within a five-minute response time instead being stationed within 300 feet of every screening area.”
This is not the first time that TSA officers were assaulted at unsecure checkpoints. At Honolulu airport in April, a vacationing California police officer had to intervene in an attack on an unarmed TSA screener. The off duty and unarmed cop took down the assault suspect only after he observed no other security or law enforcement officers in the area.
Active Shooter concept validated
This goes to show that a dedicated law enforcement force prepositioned can be very effective in eliminating active shooters. In police thinking in the old days, if there were a shooter who was actively killing people, responding officers would secure the area and wait for a tactical team to arrive. This type of thinking kept the responders outside Columbine High School in 1999 for more than 45 minutes while two shooters roamed the halls, firing at students and setting off homemade explosives. Now, most departments realize that time waiting translates into lives lost and receive instruction on how to handle active shooter incidents. The LAAPD had just within the past few weeks conducted an active shooter exercise.
A clear parallel is drawn in the 1985 Rome airport attack. There a single Israeli Secret Service agent stationed in Rome and at the airport at the time of the attack noticed the shooting and immediately reacted. It took him 20 seconds to end the threat caused byl three of the terrorists and seriously injure the remaining one. Other members from his team came running from other parts of the terminal to help out, but it was all over by the time they arrived. After an autopsy was conducted, it became clear that this one single agent had neutralized all the four terrorists: only bullets fired by this agent were found in the bodies of the terrorists.
At LAX, there were enough good people with guns to handle the bad one this time.
In Old Mexico, there has been a very long and bloody war on drugs. This campaign has spilled over the US border in recent years and the US has replied by sending arms and assistance to the Mexican government. Well the fact is that most of this effort is spent in Mexico City and along the US border, with little left for other parts of the country. The citizens of several of these forgotten states have taken matters into their own hands.
Certain parts of the Republic have always had a tenuous relationship with the central government in Mexico City. To say that Michoacan is one of them is an understatement. With the exception of the Yucatan and Chihuahua, Michoacan has always been the most anti-Federal part of the country. The state and several of its residents played a major role in the Mexican War of Independence. Then twice in the 20th Century, during the Mexican Revolution (1911-1918) and the anti-Catholic Cristero War (1926-29), the state was a battleground.
The thing is, Michoacan, on Mexico’s Pacific Coast and far from the US border, has a beautiful port at Lzaro Crdenas. While trade of all sorts should make the state rich, its trade in illegal drugs from South America, just to the south, that has the narco-trafficers fighting for control. This had led to a turf battle between numerous large drug gangs for control of the region. Currently, the Caballeros Templarios (Knights Templars), formed in 2011 from remnants of the defunct La Familia Michoacana drug cartel, is the big hitter in the state. But they are being pushed out by the local…
Read the rest in my column at Firearms Talk.com
Back in 2011 the Scout Sniper Platoon of 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C. was lead not by an officer but by a career Senior NCO, SSG (E6) Joseph Chamblin.
Scout/sniper 3/2 did a lot of revolutionary stuff on their Afghan deployment that year. They had more than 223 confirmed kills including high value targets. They did a lot of doctrinally different things, like being a main force engager rather than a supporting arm. They were the evolution of ten years of marine sniper in the war on terror lessons learned.
By January 2012, Chamblin was up for promotion to gunnery sergeant and set to re-deploy to Afghanistan. Within weeks, however, his career was in ruins after a video surfaced, showing him and three other scout snipers urinating on Taliban corpses they were ordered to recover during a patrol in Helmand’s Musa Qala district on July 27, 2011.
Then the fit hit the shan.
Q. Do you think this video hurt the Marine Corps’ reputation?
A. Well, it depends on what your idea is of what a Marine should be. If your idea of a Marine is a real fancy-looking guy in
uniform that does snap and pop with a rifle and looks real pretty, then yeah, it probably hurt. But if your idea of what a Marine should be is the enemy’s worst f—ing nightmare, then I don’t think it did. But you can’t have both.
A team of four Italian Gruppo Operativo Incurson (Operational Raider Group) combat swimmers emerging from a Salvatore Todaro (S526)-class diesel attack submarine. The Salvatore Todaro (S526) is a German Type 212 class 1800-ton advanced SSK. These boats are able to transit up to two weeks without surfacing or snorkeling, which is huge for a non-nuclear boat. Manned by just a 27 man crew, one of these boats can float in 20-feet of water and carry up to 13 DM2A4, A184 Mod.3, Black Shark Torpedo, or IDAS missiles and 24 external naval mines. Oh yeah, and naval swimmers. Note the ease of leaving the sub by the front door. Their weapons of choice are M4-type rifles with the swimmer on the far right carrying one possibly in 7.62x51mm NATO (judging from the straight box mag and longer barrel) which could make it a Mk110 type.
The Operational Raider Group is a unit of just 150-200 hardcore operators inside the more well-known COMSUBIN that are comparable to the US Navy Seals, Royal Marine SBS, or Danish Frogmen corps. They trace their lineage back to the MAS units and X MAS units of World War One and Two, meaning they have more sunken battleships to their record than any other combat swimmers on the market.