You've no doubt heard of Paris Hilton, and of Rosie O'Donnell as well. We're pretty sure you know what Barry Bonds is up to. But have you ever heard of Arrowhead Ripper? The likely answer is no.
But if that's the case, it's not your fault. Arrowhead Ripper isn't an athlete, a TV star or a person famous for being famous. It's the code name for a massive U.S.-led assault under way in Iraq's Diyala province — an undertaking that has garnered token media coverage since it began Tuesday.
After getting some initial front-page treatment in major U.S. newspapers, the story was pushed back to page 18 in the Washington Post Thursday and Page 10 in The New York Times on Friday. The Los Angeles Times ran a front pager Thursday, then nothing.
Meanwhile, NPR radio this week highlighted U.S. soldiers' deaths during the assaults, with nary a mention of the bigger context for the soldiers' sacrifices.
The Associated Press' dispatches focused on U.S. casualties: "U.S. military says 15 American troops killed in last 48 hours." CNN ran with: "12 U.S. troops killed in Iraq in 48 hours." The New York Times headline read: "14 U.S. Troops Killed in Iraq in 2 Days."
Surprisingly, only Reuters seemed to get what was going on. Its headline said: "U.S. troops set trap for militants near Baghdad."
Never mind that the aforementioned headlines don't seem to agree on the number of deaths. What needs to be said is this is one of the war's largest operations to date, and perhaps the most significant. If successful, it could push al-Qaida out of Iraq. It also might lay the groundwork for an eventual war-ending peace.
...if the media don't start covering it seriously, we may never know.
We can be sure, however, that if Arrowhead Ripper is less successful than hoped, we'll be treated to an endless number of "Diyala: What Went Wrong?" retrospectives.
The TNT did a bit better; the home team was on page 3; the big story on the front page was about glaciers on Mt. St. Helens. We'll see about tomorrow. Right now I feel a letter to the editor coming on.
A Bellevue gun collector once arrested as a material witness in the 2001 slaying of Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Wales was convicted Thursday of illegally possessing a short-barreled rifle, a felony that will require him to give up his arsenal.
However, a federal jury acquitted Albert K. Kwan, 53, of another charge of unlawful possession of a machine gun.
The jury deliberated for three hours after a three-day trial.
Kwan, who is not suspected of killing Wales, has been a person of interest because sales records indicate he purchased two Makarov gun barrels in the mid-1990s that were like the one used in the slaying of the longtime federal prosecutor. Kwan has turned over one such barrel but insists he does not remember buying a second one. Prosecutors said he failed a polygraph test about the second barrel.
Investigators who searched his home for the missing Makarov barrel in January 2005 seized several weapons, including a Winchester M-14 and a Heckler and Koch pistol that could be attached to a shoulder stock, making it a short-barreled rifle.
Kwan's attorneys argued that the M-14 did not qualify as a machine gun because it had been modified in a way that prevented it from firing automatically.
The report omits that Kwan was actually detained as a material witness in the Wales case because of the Wales case, but that's not the issue here.
Now, about that M-14. Here's what the ATF agent had to do to it to make it fire more than one round per trigger pull. Testimony comes from the Oct 10, 2006 dead tree edition of Gun Week (article not available online.)
"I examined (the firearm) and determined that it was originally manufactured as a machinegun by the Winchester Company in New Haven, Connecticut. (The rifle) can accept machinegun components and has machinegun components installed, but the engagement surface of the sear release has been removed, and the sear release has been welded to the selector shaft. In this condition, (the rifle) is functional as a semi-automatic firearm, but the machinegun parts have been locked in place by the welded sear release/selector shaft.
"To determine if (the rifle) could be readily restored to shoot in an automatic manner, I used a multipurpose rotary tool with a cutting wheel to cut through the sear release. I then removed the sear release, selector shaft, and selector-shaft lock from (the rifle) and installed a sear release, selector shaft, selector spring, and selector from an M-14 machinegun."
The technician did not modify the receiver during all of reassembly, and then fired the gun to see if it would fire full auto. At that point, he wrote, "I discovered that the sear ... did not have an engagement surface for the sear release." So, he replaced the trigger group of the rifle with another trigger group which contained the sear with an engagement surface and eventually got the rifle to fire three rounds with a single press of the trigger.
The jury had more common sense than the ATF and decided that this did not meet the standard of "readily convertible."
Now, the 'short barrelled rifle' in question was apparently a H&K VP-70 with a shoulder stock. There is one bit on interesting info, which I can't verify, from THR poster Bubbles-
Kwan had a VP70 machine pistol w/ spare stock legally as an 07/02 SOT. He also legally had a VP70z 9mm handgun. ATF confiscated the VP70, leaving the spare stock and VP70z. They then later busted him for having the VP70z with the spare VP70 stock as a SBR.
Which, if true, sounds like the ATF is just being capricious again, as per SOP. If true, Kwan was only in violation of the law as a direct consequence of the actions of the ATF. Which IMO would be pretty strong grounds for an appeal, if he were in any circuit except the 9th.
1,001 - Arrowhead 6 Interview
COL Townsend, commander of 3rd Bde 2nd ID (Stryker), lead unit of Arrowhead Ripper, in an interview with KIRO TV in Seattle. The interview, at least as posted when I watched it, is somewhat annoying to watch because the questions are piped into AH6 through an earphone, and you can't hear them.
Note that so far I've identified 6 maneuver battalions (4 Infantry, 2 Cavalry), plus an artillery battalion and a support battalion involved in Arrowhead Ripper.
Ike Had an Effective Plan for Dealing Wtih Illegal Immigrants
Then on June 17, 1954, what was called "Operation Wetback" began. Because political resistance was lower in California and Arizona, the roundup of aliens began there. Some 750 agents swept northward through agricultural areas with a goal of 1,000 apprehensions a day. By the end of July, over 50,000 aliens were caught in the two states. Another 488,000, fearing arrest, had fled the country.
By mid-July, the crackdown extended northward into Utah, Nevada, and Idaho, and eastward to Texas.
By September, 80,000 had been taken into custody in Texas, and an estimated 500,000 to 700,000 illegals had left the Lone Star State voluntarily.
Remove the magnet (jobs) and increase the risk, and the majority of them will deport themselves. Secure the border to make it arduous and risky to get back in.
Then we can talk about visas for no skill/low skill, non-English speaking folks.
UPDATE: I just realized that this is post #1,000. Go me!
Mike Gilbert of the Tacoma News-Tribune has a bunch of good links about the Diyala/Baqubah portion of GEN Petreaus' offennsive at his blog, FOB Tacoma. Watch that space. Mike's got good connections with the 3/2ID Stryker brigade who are C2-ing the assault.