Monday, February 12, 2007

Size counts

One consequence of playing far too much Top Trumps in my youth is that I acquired, and still retain, a truly sad level of knowledge about weapons calibres. As fellow reformed Trumpers know even a single millimeter can make all the difference between victory and defeat.

As did the Russians

Which is why, as the story goes, they waited for the US and NATO to standardise the diameter of their mortar rounds at 60mm and 81mm before standardising their own rounds at 61mm and 82mm

The idea being that the Russians could use ammunition captured in battle from the US and NATO but the US and NATO could not return the favour

Quite clever if you ask me but knowing stories like that qualifies me as being terminally sad so I would never usually admit to knowing about it.

However, it all came flooding back when I read the story in yesterday's Telegraph about the US accusing Iran of supplying weapons to insurgents in Iraq. This picture, in particular, caught my eye...

Hmm, where did that round come from again?


Quite a few Blair-haters out there are creaming themselves at the thought that the 'Cash for Peerages' affair might finally end Tony Blair's political career. Well, whoopee fucking doo.

The c^nt is leaving by the middle of the year anyway. And doing him for Cash for Peerages rather than prosecuting him or any of the other politicians, civil servants and journalists who willfully lied us into war means that whoever replaces him can play exactly the same stunt again with another country - Iran, Syria, wherever.

In fact, it is happening right now. The same dodgy briefings and intelligence dossiers. The same campaign of bullshit and disinfo being ramped up in the media. The same 'So and So is the New Hitler' rhetoric from politicians and dodgy think tanks on both sides of the Atlantic...

And the majority of people are going to fall for it again. They really should play more
Top Trumps...


I was going to link to a video of Colin Powell presenting his infamous intelligence briefing to the UN in 2003 but it's too depressing - so I'll link to this clip of Powell singing YMCA instead. He may have helped lie us into a war that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives buy, hey, he's still up for a laugh or two...

Colin Powell 'loosening up after a hard day spent discussing security issues'



Anonymous said...

"a truly sad level of knowledge" can be quite depressing because things just don't add up.

For example, take this story "Man who supplied Saddam's chemicals guilty of war crime." from the Times in 2005.

"A DUTCH businessman was found guilty of war crimes and sentenced to 15 years in prison yesterday for helping Saddam Hussein to acquire the chemical weapons that he used to kill thousands of Kurdish civilians in the Iran-Iraq war." Quite right too, except ...

"Prosecutors accused Van Anraat of delivering more than 1,000 tonnes of thiodiglycol. It can be used to make mustard gas, which causes horrific burns to the lungs and eyes and is often fatal."

My highlighting: so, what's thiodiglycol? Well, if you take its smiles string "OCCSCCO", and not including the quotation marks highlight, copy and paste into the Depict page and click Submit you should see its chemical structure. This is one step removed from Mustard gas where the hydroxyl groups are replaced by respective chlorines ( ClCCSCCCl ).

So what? Well, in order to prepare Mustard gas from thiodiglycol one needs kit, ie vessels, a plant, extraction, nitrogen lines, chillers, steam lines etc etc etc ... But if you have got all of that, why not, instead, buy the chemicals to make thiodiglycol (sodium sulphide, chloroethanol)? Particularly, since the required chemicals are not on the chemicals watch list.

ps from experience chemical traders tend to be as thick as pigsh*t.

pps reference:- M Gomberg, J Am Chem Soc, 1919, 41, 1427.

Tony said...

Sometimes, a mortar is just a mortar. The Iranians have some F-14 Tomcats and some SH-3D and RH-53D helicopters (I guess some UH-1s as well) back from the time the US and the Shah were best friends. So I wouldn't be surprised that the 61 mm mortar format comes back from that time. After all, military equipment is usually build to last. Well, except for the ammo.

But even if the Iranians did supply these, what would it change? This is called capitalism, you can walk into a mart in the USA and buy weapons, why shouldn't the Iraqis buy them accross the border? I wouldn't even be surprised if US soldiers sold these to the Iraqis. And even if they came free of charge directly from the office of Ahmadinejad, what's the difference from the US pumping weapons into all kinds of conflicts? It's a free world.

Don't get me wrong, I hate war, any war for any reason (Usually, the reasons are manufactured anyway). I'm just sick and tired of this US bigotry.

Stef said...

Sometimes, a mortar is just a mortar. The Iranians have some F-14 Tomcats and some SH-3D and RH-53D helicopters (I guess some UH-1s as well) back from the time the US and the Shah were best friends. So I wouldn't be surprised that the 61 mm mortar format comes back from that time. After all, military equipment is usually build to last. Well, except for the ammo.

Manufactured in March 2006? Dated with Western style dating rather than an Islamic one? Using the English abbreviation for high explosive (HE)?

That's not to disagree with your comment about Western hypocrisy but the point is that even most basic research would suggest that the round in this picture was manufactured in the West - the kind of research we once expected our news organisations to undertake on our behalf when 'reporting' stories

Stef said...

... as if to confirm my point, a reporter (Mark Urban) on BBC's Newsnight program has just described the rounds in question as 'carrying marks that confirm they were recently manufactured in Iran'

Tony said...

Funny, your blog ranks pretty high for a search for Mark Urban, right before the BBC.

Other than that, I guess I don't know enough about these weapons affairs... And it wouldn't be anything new if you were right. It would really fit into the "blame on the Iranians" game. Wish I knew somebody who speaks Farsi (and is neutral and trustworthy) to find out what is true about this whole map&wipe business, as I have been asured that it is a bollocks translation by the US Minitruth.

But I can't resist to play advocati diaboli once more: it is possible that the Iranians are selling their weapons for hard cash, same as the Russians and the Chinese. And it would be natural to mark these weapons in the universal world language we have. Even the Russians are making with their AK-101 a version of their trusty Kalashnikov that shoots standard NATO ammo.

Right now playing:
The lunatic is on the grass.
The lunatic is on the grass.
Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs.
Got to keep the loonies on the path.

The lunatic is in the hall.
The lunatics are in my hall.
The paper holds their folded faces to the floor
And every day the paper boy brings more.

Stef said...

Devil's advocate is my favourite game...

Yes, hypothetically the Iranians could be manufacturing ammunition that looks just like it was made in the West

but the question still remains where is the proof that a weapon made to a Western standard and marked in English was made in Iran

'might have been' is not the same as 'was'

Stef said...

It is also worth remembering that America was happily and covertly selling arms to Iran via Israel even after the Islamic Revolution

We hear a lot on the Internet about how the 03 invasion of Iraq suited Israel's interests. What is not mentioned so often is the fact that the invasion of Iraq also served Iran's interests as well.

There is a possibility, just the slightest possibility, that the current war of words between the US, UK, Israel and Iran might just be a piece of pre-arranged theatre

Stef said...

re. Iranian map wiping

Presumably you've read this article and its links?

Tony said...

Yes, that's the article I read, I would really like to verify it. It is quite the opposite from the usual "... and he allways claims that Israel should be destroyed ..." I hear too often in the media.