Oct 112011
 

Italian soldier

I get that the world is a changing place. I’m not some sort of chauvinistic luddite with his head buried in the sand. In fact I am a huge supporter of equality and freedom. However, something bothers me about putting women in combat units. Australia recently announced that it was going to follow the lead of Canada and Israel and allow women in all functions of the military. The US Army is now being pressured to follow suit. Yeah, it would be a big win for women’s rights but how do operators feel about it this?

First things first, the front line I’m talking about is not just going outside the wire. It’s not flying a helicopter or driving a truck in a convoy or even a tank. I’m talking about door kicking CQB style shoot terrorists in the face front line. The sort of close combat that Marines, infantrymen, SEALs, Commandos, Rangers, and the like take part in on a daily basis in a number of conflicts around the globe. In my humble opinion, in this type of warfare there is no place for a women, no matter how fit or capable she is.

Many argue that if women can meet the grade then why can’t they join the units that engage in close combat? Physical attributes aside this comes down to basic human nature. In the world that I value and fight for women and children are classed as innocents. Unlike many other societies we treat our women with dignity and respect. Yes, we treat them as equals but we also protect them from harm. It’s in our nature – I mean without them our way of life ceases to exist. Now tell me that hundreds, no, thousands of years of thinking this way can be changed with the drop of a hat. It can’t, men will always try to protect women. As long as they carry our offspring it will be second nature to us. In close combat a team cannot focus on anything other than killing the enemy. If they are concerned with protecting one of their own they go from being an efficient killing capability to a Close Personnel Protection team. CPP teams don’t survive in combat; they die to get the principal out.

Do you really want to see her hurt?

I’m not saying that women are not as capable as men. Nor am I saying that they don’t make fine soldiers or officers. What I am saying is that when it comes to closing with the enemy and fighting the close battle I want a man alongside me and not a woman.

Women definitely have a part to play in the Special Operations world. They can gain access to aspects of a community that males otherwise couldn’t. They add an element of cover to a team that two burly bearded dudes clad in cargo pants could never achieve. Hell there is an awesome female operative in my book PRIMAL Unleashed. But are they an asset at the front of a stack banging in on a DA against an enemy held compound? No they’re not.

No doubt this post is going to elicit some hostile feelings from some of my readers. I mean how dare I degrade woman by suggesting they can’t do something. To these people I say this. Blow me, it’s my opinion and I’m entitled to it. Hey there’s a comments box below if you want to engage in some good old-fashioned intellectual discussion around this matter.

So are you scoping me out?

Female sniper with 'Dorothy' .50cal rifle as featured in PRIMAL Unleashed!

Oct 082011
 

Anwar al-Awlaki

The drone strike against Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) Operations Chief al-Awlaki on 30 September stirred up some serious controversy in both the media and social networks! For the tree-huggers out there, targeted killings by the CIA are contentious at the best of times, although not that many people had a problem when they slotted Bin Laden.  However, on this occasion they wacked someone born in the good old  US of A! Now, I’m not sure if Awlaki technically still held US citizenship but for me that’s neither here nor there.

This guy had publicly declared war on the US. At a time of war he has committed treason – read my post here on why the GWOT has to be a war.  More to the point he has played a key role in orchestrating a number of terrorist attacks. Most recently he played a part in the mailing of bombs to synagogues in New York and the underwear bomb on the NorthWest airlines flight to Detroit. He’s also been linked to the famed anus bombing of 2009. In addition to planning attacks Awlaki also published Inspire magazine, a publication designed to encourage terrorism worldwide. Publishing a magazine sounds innocent enough, that is until you read it. Within its pages it provides instructions on how to build bombs and aims to inspire extremists to plan attacks. This bastard was linked to attempted attacks that include the foiled attack against Fort Hood by US Army Private Abdo. Even if al-Awlaki was in fact a US citizen, if you ask me he gave up his rights as a citizen as soon as he declared war against the America people. As I’ve said before, “If you wear the hat, you wear the Hellfire!”

 

Predator firing Hellfire

STRATFOR does a good summary of the situation here. You can read al-Awlaki’s ‘Inspire’ magazine here.

A justified killing? I’ve given my opinion, what’s yours?

Jack

Oct 062011
 

Turkish media recently released the names of 174 Israeli operatives, gathered from the internet, claiming they were involved in the infamous Mavi Marmara Flotilla Raid. Politics aside this is pretty messed up from an operator viewpoint.

If you don’t recall the actual incident here’s a bit of a summary.

A gang of hardcore extremists board a vessel bound for Gaza armed with a variety of weapons including knives, slingshots and iron pipes. These guys knew they would be boarded by Israeli Special Forces as they neared the exclusion zone. The Israelis check all ships heading into the region in an attempt to stop weapon smuggling.

Israeli Shayetet 13 operatives board the vessel and it all turned cactus! Note that these guys had already boarded a number of other vessels in the flotilla and experienced minimal resistance. They were under strict orders not to use lethal force and some of them were actually armed with paintball guns. Imagine their surprise when they Fast Roped on to the deck and got the crap beaten out of them by a pack of armed thugs. Can any one fault them for drawing Glocks and pumping some 9mm down range? Yep, not only was this a total intel failure it was also a tactical shit fight. Fast Roping only delivers operators onto a target one or two at a time, not great for confronting an armed mob. You can see the cluster on the video here.

This poor bastard got thrown off the top deck and badly injured.

Mavi Marmara activists prepare to attack IDF soldiers

Anyway, back to the real point I’m trying to make.  The Turkish media decided to reveal the identities of some of the Israeli soldiers they claimed were involved in the incident. Whilst I’m not intimately familiar with the names it’s pretty clear that the guys they names are not Shayetet 13. Nope they just pulled a whole bunch of Israeli soldiers names and photos from internet sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

So is this is a bad thing? Hell yeah it is. Retaliation attacks against soldiers based on information derived from the internet happens all the time. In fact this problem pre dates the internet and goes back to the 70’s when the IRA started targeting off duty soldiers based on pictures from the media. That was the origin of the blacked out eyes, a process that continues today. Even though the Turkish media is clearly way off the mark with the names it doesn’t really matter. Your average extremist isn’t going to give a shit. Nope, they now have a target list and anyone on it that they kill is a great success for them.

The Israelis are usually switched on when it comes to personal security (PERSEC), which is one reason why you always see them wearing balaclavas – but they have had their fair share of security breaches over the internet. Not only that but they can’t stop their soldiers posting pictures all over the web. So I guess I’m just saying that this Turkish media debacle is a timely reminder f0r all soldiers to be careful of their personal details on the internet – you never know who’s going to try to exploit it.

Til I next blog,

Jack

Shayetet 13 Operatives

 

Sep 152011
 

 

Vampires are starting to shit me. Every time I turn on the TV or surf the net I’m inundated by teenage, soul destroying, depressed vampires.

WTF? I mean what is the appeal of this crap? Is it being driven by tweens or sad lonely women sitting at home fantasizing about having their blood sucked by sparkly vampires?

Seriously the book market is inundated with trashy tween vampire stories. They’re the new Mills and Boon for generation X, Y and whatever the hell comes after that. As a writer it kills me to see crap story lines, shallow characters and genuinely shit house novels rolling of the shelves in the thousands. Surely we have to be at the end of this mass-produced twilight bandwagon.

I remember back when vampires were cool. Remember Blade? I know technically he wasn’t full vampire; sunlight didn’t hurt him and all that. The point is, Blade didn’t sparkle. Nope in fact he was the antichrist of sparkly romantic vampires, a muscle bound ninja fuckmaster wielding full-auto firearms, razor sharp katana and a US muscle car that snorted pure testosterone. Nothing even remotely romantic about the destruction he wielded against the blood sucking community.

Sometimes I like to fantasize about being able to take two DVDs, jam them in my Playstation and watch the resulting train smash of entertainment. Putting Blade in with Twilight would be fun, but I’d go one step further. Imagine merging a classic 80’s action movie like Commando with some of this urban fantasy crap. Arnie armed with god dman M60 and endless ammunition laying waste to namby pamby sparkly vampires. Fuck yeah, I’d watch that. But why stop there, how about The Terminator and Lord of the Rings… Hunter killers mowing down waves of Orcs with a chain gun. Hmmm maybe there’s a computer game in all this?

I guess the whole point of this blog entry is… well, do I need one? It’s just another rant about something that pisses me off and shitty tween vampires shit me. So if you’re looking for something thats just a little more hard hitting than Twilight, that doesn’t sparkle like some sort of crap my little pony, then get into the PRIMAL books. Heaps of violence, technology, spies, military hardware, hot girls and fast cars. Books for guys and gals who love a fast-paced thriller over a blood sucking romance novel any day of the week.

Till next time,

Jack (bringing action back) Silkstone

 

Sep 032011
 

I’m no political strategist or for that matter an international relations guru, but then neither is the US Government and it hasn’t held them back. The bumbled adventures in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya are evidence enough that government decision makers are floundering in a sea of bureaucratic fucktardism – love that word.

Let me be clear, this is a rant aimed at decision makers. Not soldiers, sailors, airmen, agents, operatives or anyone else that serves. I hold these people in the highest regard, they keep the ship afloat despite the best attempts of those at the helm to run it aground. Nope, this is a good old-fashioned slagging aimed squarely at the administration.

US Government policy making is about as efficient as a one armed man in a shit flinging contest. I mean, how the hell can this nation’s leaders make sound decisions when constantly balancing financial powerbrokers, political infighters, and the giant popularity contest known as democracy? Well, recent history suggests they can’t.

Take the political strategy in Iraq. I won’t even go into the use of military forces – the finest soldiers and most advanced equipment in the world aren’t going to help flawed policy. By trying to implement a sugar-coated, politically-correct, equal-opportunist, democratic government, we’ve  thrown the Iraqi people to the wolves. The whole concept of democracy is totally unsuitable for a country divided on sectarian lines. An oppressed majority was always going to seek retribution against the elite, empowered minority. What’s more, by dismantling much of the internal security apparatus, US policy removed the one element capable of keeping the peace.

Yes the media would have you believe that things are all well and good in Iraq, but even they get bored of the same old torture and mass murder stories…  And strategically, who has gained from all this? Who has the most influence in Iraq? I’ll give you a clue – the country is spelt the same except for the last letter…

I’m going to brush over Afghanistan, it’s the same shit though. Two lots of arseholes who hate each other with our soldiers in the middle trying to make it all work. A strategic shit fight caused by morons in government who make decisions based on… actually I am beginning to think that the decisions are actually made by an orangutan with one of those magic eight balls that answer your questions… Hey should we invade Afghanistan… shake, shake… the answer is… Maybe…. Fuck it, close enough let’s go.

Now in Libya it looks as if it’s just going to be a little bit of history repeating. In the name of democracy and freedom, the Libyan security infrastructure is being dismantled and handed over to an incompetent rabble of factionally-divided power hungry Islamic ‘rebels’. Wind the clock forward six months and suddenly we’ve got increased reporting of Al-Qaeda members and religious extremists dominating the rebels… Who would have thought. I mean we already knew that many of the rebel fighters come from the same towns that not five years ago were sending fighters to Iraq. No, not as part of the Coalition, but against it! Now suddenly we find out they might be bad guys…. no way!

So who’s going to take over from Gaddafi and wield a big enough stick to keep these extremists in line? Odds are the government and internal security will be a shambles for years/decades to come. Yes there are a lot of good people within the ‘Rebel’ movement but controlling the more radical elements will be nearly impossible. Let’s just hope the more hardcore anti-western elements don’t get their hands on any of Gaddafi’s sophisticated shoulder launched anti-air missiles. The IGLA and IGLA-S that he had in his armories are a pretty significant threat. With a little training a motivated terrorist could easily down a modern passenger airliner.

If the government was playing chess it would have been checkmated by a smart ten year old within the first five moves. So what can we do about it? Shit I don’t know, and there are plenty of experts out there both smarter and uglier than me with opinions on how to improve government policy. I’m just an action writer venting a little steam.

Or am I? Maybe one day I’ll sell enough books to actually start PRIMAL and get out there and make a difference. Imagine… a team of morally sound decision makers with enough smarts to form a strategically viable plan. Free from the influence of big business, political infighting and the grand circus of Democracy. Heavy hitting pipe swingers ready to deal out a bit of justice to the arseholes of the world. Sign me up!

Til next time,

Jack

 

Aug 302011
 

The News Observer recently interviewed former-CIA Director Michael Hayden about the hunt for Bin Laden. If you are interested in CIA covert action, HUMINT, NSA and Al Qaeda, it would be well worth reading. Although retired, he continues to teach, lecture, and give interviews.

I was fortunate to chat with him a couple of years ago just after he retired as Director of the CIA. He was very frank with his experiences and opinions – a total professional who spoke his mind, a man I respect.

Some judge Hayden harshly for his views, one idea in particular.  He argues that ongoing global counter-terrorism operations still need to be classified as ‘war’. Why? Simple, so we can justify the nature of operations required to combat terrorists. Operations that include the targeted killing of terrorist leaders and high risk capture missions.

I for one think the man’s on the money. The threat from extremist elements is not decreasing, and some of the methods required to counter this threat are not easily justified outside of war.

Sounds ruthless? That’s because it is. I know this might sound harsh to some, but it is the cold reality of the world we live in. The threat groups out there are fighting a war without rules. They’re willing to murder women and children, and torture innocents. To bring justice to these men we need to wage war!

You can find the transcript of the interview here.

Til next time,

Jack

Aug 262011
 

The first rule of intelligence is always to ask “So what?”. This great piece of information has landed on my desk… but so what? What does this information mean? What does it tell me? Why is it relevant to the current problem?

When I recently stumbled across a piece of investigative journalism by The Washington Post titled ‘Top Secret America‘ I was left thinking exactly this… So What?

To tell you the truth, at first I was intrigued, a two year long investigation by a dozen journalists into the massive expansion of US Top Secret security infrastructure since 9/11, who wouldn’t be? I mean spies n shit, always very cool. The website looks great, interactive databases and snazzy videos. But what is it really? I mean So What?

The Washington Post has compiled a mass of unclassified information about Top Secret organizations and made some pretty base-level deductions. The key theme; the number of Top Secret organizations has dramatically increased since 9/11.

No shit hey. A team of terrorists drive a couple of jets into a structure that represents everything American and kills nearly 3000 people and the US government pours a massive load of money into intelligence capabilities. Seems a fair enough response to me. But I digress.

Top Secret America argues that all this new capability lacks a single controlling master, resulting in significant overlap and wasted capability. Then it tries to draw a link from this wastage to intelligence failings, citing the failure to identify the bomb on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 bound for Detroit as evidence.

On one hand it criticizes, and then it apologizes for the inability to provide in-depth analysis due to the Top Secret nature of the organizations, adding that some officials argue that the overlap in jurisdiction and capability is a result of differing intelligence needs. If this sounds a bit confusing and lacking in substance, it is. Top Secret America isn’t much more than pretty databases full of readily available information.

I have to admit I didn’t get much out of this investigation, it lacked any sort of ‘So What’. It is plainly obvious to me that the US security infrastructure is huge. And of course there is some inevitable wastage and overlap. These are the challenges inherent to any large-scale organization. Apart from the lack of investigation and analysis, what pissed me off is that Top Secret America doesn’t acknowledge the many successes the US counter-terrorism machine has achieved.

Success in the intelligence world is not a public affair. Yes wins like the Bin Laden raid are made public, but many, many others are not. The Washington post does not have Top Secret clearance, and there are numerous incidents of which the public remain blissfully unaware.

While the intelligence effort is widespread across thousands of agencies, it can also be highly focused. The Bin Laden raid is a good example of what can be achieved when the US allows a small highly specialized team access to the resources of its 4000 odd CT intelligence entities.

This is exactly how PRIMAL operates; a small team of highly trained specialists covertly accessing intelligence feeds from the world’s top agencies. Want to know more? Then check out PRIMAL Origin for an intro to the team. For more detailed insight you’re going to have to wait for the full length novel PRIMAL Unleashed – due out in Nov 2011.

Till next I blog,

Jack

Aug 182011
 

New Zealand is without a doubt the Adventure Sports capital of the world. Pristine rivers with pumping rapids, imposing mountains, black diamond ski runs and ancient glaciers. It attracts adrenalin junkies from all over the world, oh and a few Lord of the Rings fanatics as well. Including, it would seem, the adventure sport loving one-ring chasing covert elements of the Mossad.

Sounds sinister? Not at first, I mean it sounds pretty cool, Mossad agents heading down to the land of the long white cloud to carve up some slopes and get a bit of experience in alpine ops.  The truth is just a little more sinister.

It would seem that Mossad agents have a bit of a history getting busted in NZ doing a little more than hitting Queenstown bars and chasing snow bunnies. A quick search on Google reveals that in 2004 two Israeli ‘Agents’ were deported for spying. What exactly they were spying on is harder to identify, let’s face it NZ hardly contains any threats to Israel. Millions of sheep and a bunch of adventure sport junkies are probably not as high on their list as Iran’s nuclear program.

Where it really gets interesting is in the latest round of reports tying Israeli tourists, killed in the February quakes in Christchurch, to the Mossad. Reporters claim that one of the men was found with five passports in his possession and that other teams were trying to gain access to the quake site to steal information from national databases.

So what would this all be in aid of? What would Mossad operatives want with a New Zealand identity?

Access! When was the last time a New Zealander was denied a visa to a Middle Eastern country? Never. Kiwis, as they are fondly called the world over, are welcome in every country. Vivacious travelers, you can find New Zealand tourists in any bar, hotel or venue the world over. Often held in contempt for being drunk and a little insane, but never under suspicion of espionage. These are the attributes that a Mossad operative could only dream of concocting. Attributes that come ready packaged in that little black Kiwi passport.

For more espionage and general skullduggery check out my latest novella PRIMAL Origin.

Till I next blog,

Jack

 

Jul 072011
 

So in all seriousness WTF is going on in Libya? Is the Western world serious about removing Gaddafi from power or are they going to continue to sit on the fence until one side kills the other? If that’s the case then I think we’re in for some sore butts.

The French recently admitted to supplying weapons to the rebels. A bold move but also one that might come back to haunt them. I mean who are these guys? And what’s to say they won’t sell these arms to some other fanatical group later on? More to the point, if the whole aim of your operation is to protect civilians then why the hell would you give them guns? I’ve seen video of these guys trying to attack Gaddafi’s troops and the professional soldier in me cringed. They’re more dangerous to themselves than anyone else.

In my humble opinion, as an author and a keen follower of world events, this whole thing looks like a total shit fight caused by a complete lack of will power, on behalf of world leaders, to make a decision and follow it through. I mean seriously, if you want to stop civilians getting killed then pick a side and back them to the hilt. This fence sitting crap is just delaying the conflict, spreading turmoil and getting more and more people killed.

It’s not just soldier’s bullets that kill civilians in conflict. The destruction of vital infrastructure denies them the services they need to live. Services such as clean water, electricity, medical support and waste disposal. Prolonging a conflict is prolonging pain, suffering and unnecessary loss of life.

So what’s the solution? Arm the rebels, assassinate Gaddafi, send in troops, bomb Tripoli into submission, blockade Gaddafi loyalists, or a combination of the above? One thing is for sure; harsh words are not going to achieve much. No, if the West is serious about saving lives the time for action is now! Send in a well equipped, flexible force that understands unconventional warfare. Hang on, haven’t most nations learnt lessons from Afghan and Iraq?

Maybe it’s time for NATO to step up and step out on its own. I’m sure a NATO heavy Brigade could easily sweep into Tripoli and remove Gaddafi.

I mean we can’t count on a fictitious team like PRIMAL to roll into Tripoli and blackmail Gaddafi into abdicating, can we?

Just some of my thoughts,

J Silkstone