Showing your bad hand

There was an article that nagged me, on the surface it felt like a waste of space, one of those….the government did something that does not affect most people. Now that is not an attack on the press, because that is what they do, they report things. Now, there is nothing about this report that is wrong, there is however a clear indication that a few people did not think this through, even more so, the actions give rise to a tactical blunder that should keep the members of the Special Forces Club in Knightsbridge snigger for some time to come. You see, the article called ‘Man charged in NSW town of Young over alleged missile advice to Isis‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/feb/28/man-arrested-nsw-town-young-alleged-missile-advice-isis) is more than just a tactical blunder. Solar technician Haisem Zahab at present in Junee Correctional Centre after being arrested in Young charged with terrorism offences. So how is this person a terrorist (he is in legal definition)? Haisem Zahab, 42 was according to the info on Facebook a Solar technician. When you see the quote “acted with intent to provide Isil with the capability, with the technical capability, and high-tech capability, to detect and develop missiles“, howls of deriving laughter wash over me. I was trained with NATO gear and I reckon I would be a better fit here (even though I know how uselessly limited my knowledge is). Now consider for a moment the next article (at http://www.iran-bn.com/2016/11/29/us-iranian-citizen-convicted-for-trying-to-buy-missiles-for-iran/), which was last year, when an Iran-United States dual citizen named Reza Olangian was trying to acquire these items, not develop them. So instead of someone alerting someone at ASIS to see if a sting can be devised that allowed for Haisem Zahab to start his ‘mission’, ASIS professionals could monitor him and start setting up the operation to drain the IS bank accounts by introducing IS and Haisem Zahab to a technology salesperson with actual blueprints (perhaps ever so slightly altered) and sell this to Islamic State, the quote “the man arrested has sought to advise Isil on how to develop high-tech weapons capability” is still making me snigger, because the credible part is that he was an ‘electrician’. Oh, the tears of laughter are rolling down my cheeks! I am not sure if AFP commissioner, Andrew Colvin got Nick Warner involved, but when you consider the following quotes it might sound serious: “He said the man was allegedly involved in “researching and designing laser warning devices to help warn against incoming guiding munitions used by coalition forces in Syria and Iraq” and helping Isis develop its own long-range guided missile capabilities“, we will need to take it apart into the components.

  1. Laser warning devices to help warn against incoming guiding munition. So how advanced is that? To give you a viewpoint. Israel has the Arrow 2 which took almost 13 years to complete (it had been completed earlier, but the tests were done over a longer period of time). The Arrow 2 is what people call an ABM (Anti-ballistic missile systems), now this was designed by group of around a dozen experts in rocket science, electronics and aerodynamics. It was a multi-billion dollar event. Even if this electrician got to a missile completed to a certain degree, which is actually not that far-fetched, because missiles have become more precise, but like mortars, the foundation goes back a long way and that part is not that complex, yet here a Dragster mechanic will get a lot further than an electrician. Now, to introduce a hidden electronic switch that turns the detector into an attractor is not that large a call, so we give IS 2-3 ‘wins’ and when we see that they implement the detection solution, ASIS throws the switch and the detector will instantly attract missiles, so with one volley their detection system is gone and likely a lot more hardware on the side as well.
  2. as for “helping Isis develop its own long-range guided missile capabilities“, I will now take 5 minutes to roll on the floor, my stomach is giving me waves of cramps from laughter. To help you understand that part, the missile technology is not that hard. You can make a missile in your garage, but consider that HAMAS has been firing (with Iranian help) thousands of actual missiles, which included the FAJR-5, based on the Chinese exported model WS-1 MLRS. A rocket that took close to 13 years to get right and that one has had not one tactical success on Israel, how long do you think it will take to get anything up to scrap? Especially when you consider the Arrow 2 part? It would be a lot easier to develop a high tech mortar. The foundations of the mortar have never changed, to some extent, the 1450 version of the mortar is still the foundation that was used in Vietnam, what changed is that electronics allow mortars to be a lot more accurate and efficient. Now we have computers that help the aim, but it is to some extent still an art to get it right in one shot. To get the missiles correctly aimed takes a lot more and in that regard, the tactical option to have IS waste loads of cash might have been a much better approach, so when I see the photo with Malcolm Turnbull, pictured with AFP commissioners Andrew Colvin and Ian McCartney, I see a mere political quick fix! Now, we need to acknowledge that this is in all legal settings, so in that regard he had been correctly arrested. This we see in the Criminal Code Act 1995, where in 101.2 we see:

101.2 Providing or receiving training connected with terrorist acts
(1) A person commits an offence if:
(a) the person provides or receives training; and
(b) the training is connected with preparation for, the engagement of a person in, or assistance in a terrorist act; and
(c) the person mentioned in paragraph (a) knows of the connection described in paragraph (b).

This gives him a maximum 25 year governmental hotel voucher and as I personally see it, the line between consultant and trainer is thin enough to make it stick.

So we know he is going down, yet the quote “charged with two foreign incursion offences which carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment” is different. You see that gives us “prepare to enter, or for another person to enter, a foreign country with an intention to engage in a hostile activity. Recruit persons to join an organisation engaged in hostile activities, or to serve in or with an armed force in a foreign country“, which should be fun, because the expert knowledge he offered (basically consultancy), here the Mens Rea might be satisfied, but the Actus Rea is not. Missiles are set to not need ‘another person to enter, a foreign country‘, which might happen, but is not a given, so the intent to never enter a foreign country could be achieved by the defence of Haisem Zahab, the ‘with an intention to engage in a hostile activity‘ would be proven, yet the text is ‘for another person to enter, a foreign country with an intention to engage in a hostile activity‘, the moment that the foreign border was not surpassed, the issue becomes vague and a legal victory becomes a little blurred, basically Islamic State is already a transgressor in any nation they are in, but if those governments will not speak out against that, the issue might not legally be won.

So we get a lot of press, all cameras with cowboy stories and in the meantime Director General Nick Warner was denied the option to deal Islamic State a severe body blow. Yup, there will be laughter in Knightsbridge tonight. And should you consider that I am awfully wrong (always a valid consideration to have) than take a look at the case of Omar Succarieh, which was set to 4.5 years, the appeal to get him in there longer is being heard (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-31/omar-succarieh-sentence-inadequate-court-hears/8227068), with the quote “Justice Philip Morrison said the case appeared to be in the middle range for the offence which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment“, which now gives the option of another change. You see, in the case of Omar Succarieh it was mere funds made available. If any defence of Haisem Zahab comes with words like ‘delusional‘ (an electrician making missile systems), or gets any missile expert from Raytheon or Northrop Grumman to show how complex missile systems actually are, the quote “the research he was alleged to have been doing was “credible”” could be thrown out of the window. By the way, this 18 month investigation, what INTEL did ASIS (if any) supply? I still think this was an option to do something long term against Islamic State.

Now, here we get to the title of today ‘showing your bad hand‘. You see, from where I sit, the entire situation gives rise to another matter. If we see actions as given, we are seeing a setting where political players have to admit that there is no short solution. The papers on a global scale, actual newspapers like the Wall Street Journal, The Australian and others have published papers on this and they gave us this in 2015: “But no strategy intended to defeat Islamism can succeed if Islamism itself and its violent expression in jihadism are not first named, isolated and understood“, which is at present not achieved, so this entire IS, is a long term game and there is no end in sight at present. This is extremely important, because as I personally see it, these little arrests with loads of camera’s will not bring resolution, the ability to set up shop and make IS spend their funds in all the wrong places is the first step to prevent IS to set up a successful long term strategy to develop larger weapon systems. And if you think that it stops here in Young, New South Wales, you would be wrong, because at some point, an Islamic State person will meet with dodgy types in Eastern Europe and broker a deal there. There are too many players willing to not care what happens in the Middle East and there is plenty of Russian goods all over Eastern Europe. This now implies that as some people go shopping elsewhere, and in that place they might not get a basket full of junk, they might actually end up with something useful, an idea we need to actively dread.

Because the bad hand shown and the fact that others will also realise that some players have a bad hand, only opens the doors to some places outside of our sphere of influence. I see this as a tactic badly played, but that might be just me. I will leave it up to you to decide how wrong I am and when you get a moment, ask your electrician how good his missile designs are, it could make for an interesting day and that is always a win for any person.

 

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