They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Egypt's Military - Make Money, not War

What is Egypt's military for? It's a fair question and the best person to answer it might by Abdul Fattah al-Sisi. Egypt's Pharaoh-in-waiting. One can only speculate what his answer might be. Perhaps he would allude to the dangers of Islamic fundamentalism, terrorism, or indeed the Muslim Brotherhood. Not sure a force of 500,000 with its significant air and amored capability is the correct approach. Maybe Turkey's Erdogan gives him sleepless nights, or could it be the Israelis? Doubtful.

Professor Robert Springborg - visiting professor on war studies at Kings College London and foremost expert on the Egyptian military - gave a recent talk at the Ronald Tutor Campus Center at the USC recently where he had a stab at answering the above question. Sadly there doesn't appear to be a video of the event available. But there is a few titbits in this article (see some below).
“You have a large army for show so that you can justify having a large officer corps that you enrich and are loyal to you, and that helps protect the presidency,” he said. “It’s highly stratified [and] inward-looking — it’s not focused on fighting, but on enriching itself"

The talk then shifted to the internal politics of the military, and the restructuring that took place during the revolution. The professor referenced incidents of corruption and cronyism within the military. He spoke in particular about Field Marshal Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, a presidential candidate in Egypt who previously controlled the Ministry of Defense. Springborg said al-Sisi has consolidated power by placing supporters in key government positions.

 “It is the first time in the history of the republic of Egypt that a single figure is going to control the presidency, the ministry of defense, and the ministry of the interior,” he said.- See more at:

Monday, April 21, 2014

Ukraine: Guardian Chickenhawk ready for war

Might Peter Hitchens be including former BBC correspondent and apparent chickenhawk Angus Roxburgh in this?  The strongman who recently stated, in The Guardian "It needs to made absolutely clear to Putin – even as the time for manoeuvre slips tragically away – that further military intervention (or disguised invasion) will be met not with more warnings, jeering and pointless sanctions, but with resolute western military support for Ukraine." Link
Hitchens: I am amazed by the partisan enthusiasm for conflict and confrontation that has infected so many politicians and journalists.
Why wait for future historians to tell you that you were rushed into a stupid, ruinous war by crude, one-sided propaganda?
Tell these people now that you want no such thing. Link

Friday, April 18, 2014

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

#Notabugsplat targets drone operators

In military slang, Predator drone operators often refer to kills as ‘bug splats’since viewing the body through a grainy video image gives the sense of an insect being crushed.
To challenge this insensitivity as well as raise awareness of civilian casualties, an artist collective installed a massive portrait facing up in the heavily bombed Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa region of Pakistan, where drone attacks regularly occur. Now, when viewed by a drone camera, what an operator sees on his screen is not an anonymous dot on the landscape, but an innocent child victim’s face. Link

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

UK Atheists investigated by Saudi Ambassador?

Can we expect a UK investigation into the status of  Atheists by the professional groveler and ambassador to Saudi Arabia John Jenkins?

Saudi Arabia declares all atheists are terrorists in new law to crack down on political dissidents


UK Muslim Brotherhood April 1st joke

Almost fell for this! David Cameron orders review of the Muslim Brotherhood's UK status. To be completed by non other than John Jenkins - the UK's ambassador to Saudi Arabia - the region's leading sponsors of terror - and bank rollers of the Egyptian coup leader al-Sisi. Oh Yeah, we believe you.

Good one.

Prime Minister David Cameron has commissioned a review of the Muslim Brotherhood's UK activity, No 10 says.
The Muslim Brotherhood is an Egyptian political organisation, which Cairo has declared a terrorist group. Link