Sunday, November 27, 2005

Dastards at AP

I'm telling you, I'm getting sick and tired of the malicious anti-RKBA propaganda coming out of the Associated Press. The dastards!

das·tard (dăs'tərd)
A sneaking, malicious coward.

[Middle English, probably alteration of Old Norse dæstr, exhausted, from past participle of dæsa, to languish, decay.]
A few days ago I ran across, and bookmarked, the following article:

ATTACK on AMERICA - Military

U.S. government gave armor-piercing sniper rifles to Afghanistan, bin Laden

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – More than a decade ago, the U.S. government sent 25 high-powered sniper rifles to a group of Muslim fighters in Afghanistan that included Osama bin Laden, according to court testimony and the guns' maker.

The rifles, made by Barrett Firearms Manufacturing Inc. of Tennessee and paid for by the government, were shipped during the collaboration between the United States and Muslims then fighting to drive the Soviet Union from Afghanistan.

It is uncertain whether the weapons could still be used, experts say, but the transaction further accentuates how Americans are fighting an enemy that U.S. officials once supported and liberally armed.

In a trial early this year of suspects in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa, Essam Al-Ridi, identified as a former pilot for bin Laden, said he shipped the weapons in 1989 to Sheik Abdallah Azzam, bin Laden's ideological mentor. The weapons had range-finding equipment and night-vision scopes.

During the late 1980s, the United States supplied arms worth $500 million a year to anti-Soviet fighters including Afghanistan's current Taliban rulers, bin Laden and others. The supplies included a range of weapons from small arms to shoulder-fired Stinger anti-aircraft missiles.

Al-Ridi, an American citizen born in Egypt, testified that Azzam liked the rifles because they could be "carried by individuals so it's made in such a way where you could have a heavy cannon but mobile by an individual."

While in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Al-Ridi said he saw bin Laden several times with Azzam.

Ronnie Barrett, president of Murfreesboro, Tenn.-Barrett Firearms, likened sale of the .50-caliber armor-piercing rifles to the supply of the Stinger surface-to-air missiles given to anti-Soviet guerrillas in Afghanistan.

"Barrett rifles were picked up by U.S. government trucks, shipped to U.S. government bases and shipped to those Afghan freedom fighters," Barrett said.

The sale was publicized by the Violence Policy Center, gun-control advocates who want for more restrictions on the sale of high-powered weapons such as the specialized Barrett exports.

"These .50-caliber sniper rifles are ideal tools for terror and assassination," VPC analyst Tom Diaz said.
Wups! What's this, they're quoting VPC?

Read on:

Firearms expert Charles Cutshaw of Jane's Information Group said he was more worried about the Stingers than long-range sniper rifles.

"It seems to me that there are easier ways for a terrorist to get at a high-value target than this," Cutshaw said. "If they wanted to bring down an aircraft, the best way would be to bring it down with a Stinger." Guerrillas using Stingers were credited with shooting down more than 270 Soviet aircraft.

The sniper rifles are "sort of overkill" for shooting people, Cutshaw said, although the Irish Republican Army has used one to assassinate British officials. More appropriate targets, he said, would be vehicles or fuel tanks.

The rifles could be used only with U.S.-made ammunition, but such ammunition can be obtained in neighboring Pakistan, Cutshaw said.

The Barrett rifles sold for $5,000 to $6,000 each, and both Barrett and Cutshaw had doubts they would still work due to dust and a lack of spare parts.

This is an old, old issue that the AP/VPC Complex has no intentions of letting die. And on the surface, it seems to be an attack on the US Government (in the persons of Reagan and Bush, sitting presidents in "the late 1980's".)

Judging from an article released November 25, 2005, these dastards aren't just targetting Republican Administrations, they're also targetting the manufacturer, Ronnie Barrett:

From the Cleveland, Ohio, "Kingston Daily Freeman", the Cedar Rapids, Iowa "Gazette Online" (and also from the Salem, Oregon "Statesman Journal", which caught my attention), there's another article on the same subject which is quite a bit newer:

Nov 25, 11:21 AM EST

Gunmaker Arms the Military and the Stars

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) -- When U.S. soldiers need to penetrate a tank's armor from a mile away, they count on a weapon that evolved from the garage tinkering of a former wedding photographer.

The .50-caliber rifle created by Ronnie Barrett and sold by his company, Barrett Firearms Manufacturing Inc., is the most powerful firearm civilians can buy. It weighs about 30 pounds and can hit targets up to 2,000 yards away with armor-piercing bullets.

That kind of power has drawn a customer base of gun enthusiasts, Hollywood actors and Barrett's most loyal buyer, the U.S. military, which has been buying Barrett's rifles since the 1980s and using them in combat from the 1991 Gulf War to the present.

But the powerful gun has drawn plenty of critics, who say the rifle could be used by terrorists to bring down commercial airliners or penetrate rail cars and storage plants holding hazardous materials.

For years some state and federal lawmakers have sought to limit or ban the gun's sale, as California did this year.

Tom Diaz, a senior policy analyst with the Washington-based Violence Policy Center, says the guns should be more regulated and harder to purchase. The gun can now be bought by anyone 18 or older who passes a background check.

"They're (.50 caliber) easier to buy than a handgun," Diaz said. "These are ideal weapons of terrorist attack. Very dangerous elements gravitate toward these weapons."

Let me see, we have two different AP writers, and articles which were published a month apart (10/16/2005 and 11/25/2005), but they both prominently feature quotes from Tom Diaz of the VPC.

What else does Rose French have to say, that D. Ian Hopper left out?

The majority of Barrett's sales come from military orders, for armed forces and police departments in some 50 allied countries. Every branch of the U.S. military uses the rifles, and the Department of Defense last year spent about $8 million on his firearms, Barrett said.

Barrett estimates about 1,000 of his rifles - which each cost between $3,500 and $10,000 - have been used in both the 1991 Gulf War and the current war in Iraq.

The guns are used by most civilians for hunting big game and in marksmanship competitions. Civilian sales are crucial to business because military and police orders can fluctuate year to year, Barrett said.

Really? BARRETT says the rifles "... are used by most civilians for hunting big game ..."?

I've looked in Barrett's webpage, and so far haven't found the statement. I don't know, maybe there IS some civilian who uses the .50 BMG for hunting big game. If so, he's an idiot.

A 30-pound rifle isn't easily accomodated while hunting big game, even if you're an Army Sniper enjoying a leave. And it sure doesn't do if your goal is to preserve meat or a trophy. Actually, a .458 isn't appropriate unless you're looking to bag a Buff or an Elephant, but it's your choice. This is America, it's a free country. If you want to overgun, if you want to pack all that extra weight (rifle AND ammunition), go ahead. Remember, each round costs about five bucks and weighs about a quarter pound, but that's your problem.

No, I doubt that Barret endorses the .50 BMG for hunting big game, but he probably sell you one if you were a law-abiding civilian.

To continue with the article:

"It's like, what does a 55-year-old man do with a Corvette? You drive it around and enjoy it," said Barrett, 51, whose customers include doctors, lawyers, movie makers and actors. "I know all the current actors who are Barrett rifle shooters, some Academy Award-winning people. But they don't publicize it. They love to play with them and have fun. Shooting is very fun."

A 1999 investigation by the U.S. General Accounting Office found the rifles were available on civilian markets with fewer restrictions than those placed on handguns. Ammunition dealers were willing to sell armor-piercing bullets even when an agent pretending to be a buyer said he wanted the ammunition for use against armored limousines or "to take a helicopter down."

Other reports have observed the rifles have made their way to terrorists, drug cartels and survivalists.

Joseph King, a terrorism expert at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, said terrorists could use the weapon to take out a plane.

"I don't understand what good a .50-caliber is going to do you," King said. "I don't understand any civilian use of it. The only thing it's good for is for military or police application. You can't really hunt with it because it would destroy most of the meat."

Barrett and gun advocates say the gun's power has been exaggerated and doesn't pose a threat to citizens because the weapons are too expensive and heavy to be used by criminals.

Barrett and other gun advocacy groups heavily lobbied the state of California, the first state to pass a law making it illegal to make and sell the gun. Several other states and some federal lawmakers have introduced similar legislation.

Despite these efforts, Barrett says sales are up nearly $6 million from last year thanks to recent military and police orders.

The New York City Police Department recently announced it's training officers in its aviation unit to use the rifles, which will be on board some of the department's helicopters to intercept potential attacks from boats or airplanes. In 2002, the Army placed an order for 4,200 of the guns, Barrett said.

Other manufacturers now make the gun, but Barrett dominates the market.

In the next few years, he said he plans to more than double the current number of employees, 80, and the size of his 20,000-square-foot gun-making facility located in Murfreesboro, about 30 miles southeast of Nashville.

A lifelong gun enthusiast, Barrett never went to college and worked as a commercial photographer and reserve deputy for years before he started tinkering with the .50-caliber Browning Machine Gun in the early 1980s.

The heavy recoil of the Browning made it nearly impossible to shoot without it being mounted on a turret, but Barrett's rifle reduces recoil to the point where it can be shoulder-fired, while the weapon rests on a bipod.

Barrett says he was nearly $1.5 million in debt at one point trying to get the business on its feet. He sold his first guns to the military in the late 1980s and the long-range weapons gained popularity after they were used to attack Iraqi tanks in the 1991 war.

Barrett's son, Chris, who works with his sister at their father's business, said he watched his dad build the gun in the family garage and is not surprised by the growth and success of his father's business.

"He's worked hard all his life. I think he would do as well at anything he pursued," Chris Barrett said. "He's not one of these big suits, a CEO at the top of one these big money machines. He's not one to back down. He can make anything work, no matter what he's doing."

(I've included the entire text of the article so you don't have to encourage the publisher and AP by patronizing their websites.)

Last April I spent some time talking about Ronnie Barrett and his magnificant rifle, and the problems he was experiencing with attempts to illegally ban his product.

There's not much new here, except the astounding notice that the Dastards are still trying to use his company as a toehold to ban more firearms for completely specious reasons.

But I will give you a link to Barrett's website, and also another one which will take you directly to his April 27, 2005, open letter describing the situation and his response to these attacks.

I encourage you to go thence, and read carefully, if only to savor such comments as this:

A handful of people that makes up the VPC are solely responsible for the big lie on .50’s, claiming fantastic destruction capabilities. They manipulate fear by claiming terrorists will use these rifles on targets of our infrastructure. “They will shut down our airports in flames” they claim. VPC’s Tom Diaz refers to them as “super guns” lying to his dupable group of politicians, concealing the facts that there are many rifle cartridges that are comparable in performance (those will be added to the list in phase two). He is boldly telling these officials and all who will listen that the risk of terrorist attacks on these targets will be solved with the banning of powerful rifles, in this case, the .50 caliber rifle. In reality, terrorism is complex and will be defeated with improved intelligence. In this instance, the officials voting to ban an inanimate object like a rifle proves them ignorant of the problem of terrorism and is wasting time and resources.

Read the whole thing.

I am so angry with those Dastards!

Aren't you? And if not . . . why not?

UPDATE: November 29, 2005

Here's another article from Australia titled "The .50 caliber rifle and it's threat to airliners". This is a write-up from the January 6, 2005 "60 Minutes" shot on the .50 BMG. Ed Bradley is the interviewer.

The interviewee is . . . guess who?

That's right, Tom Diaz of VPC.

Here's the Money Quote:

Diaz is hoping Congress will pass a law requiring that the names of owners of .50-caliber rifles be kept on file.

"No one in the U.S. government knows who has these guns," he says.

That's right, folks. We're talking Registration here.
Next step: confiscation.

I kind of like the AP photo.

It's better than the photo that 60 Minutes provided.

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