Thursday, September 26, 2013
ABC Nightline reports on "microwave" delusions of Navy Yard shooter, and then on Al-Shabab
The man (Aaron Alexis) who perpetrated the Washington Navy Yard Building 197 shootings, resulting in twelve deaths, is reported on ABC Nightline to have believed the government had inundated him with “low frequency radio waves” or microwaves. The shotgun had inscriptions about “ELF” waves and the like. There were diary postings (not online) on his own computer about ELF.
The idea is noteworthy because the military does have radio frequency wave generating weapons that it uses to disable enemy electronics in the battlefield in Afghanistan and had used in Iraq. The Marine Corps (as part of the Navy) probably uses similar weapons. I had discussed this on my International Issues blog March 4, 2010 after a visit to Aberbeen Proving Grounds, and the Ordnance Museum.
Some writers on the political right have warned that terrorists could acquire these weapons or even manufacture them (as in a book my Michael Maloof, reviewed April 13, 2013 on the Books blog. This predictions have been known since 2001, when a report about the possibility appeared in Popular Science shortly before 9/11, and were reported by the Washington Times in 2009. Nightline's link (4 minutes) is here.
ABC Nightline also discussed Al-Shabab (or Al-Shabaab) as a particular militant offshoot of Al-Qaeda from Somalia.
What is so disturbing about the Kenya attack is that individuals in the Mall, as a soft target, were targeted, interrogated and executed for not being Muslim. This may sound like Christian claims of persecution (as in Egypt). But it seems the group likes to target individuals as if they should be held personally responsible for western self-indulgence or for supposed religious flaws, making these individuals pay personally as well as their loved ones for "benefiting" from what radicals see as ill-gotten material lifestyle gains. . This sounds a bit like the tactic of the Boston Marathon attack. The Nightline 7-minute film is here. It was a mentality common on the Far Left that I noticed with radical groups (like the Peoples Party of New Jersey) early in my working adult life in the early 1970's.
Al-Shabab has been able to attract westerners, including some young men from the Midwest, especially the Minneapolis-St. Paul area which has a large Somali presence. I believe that the Arabic word means "The Youth".
Democracy Now has a short documentary (17 min) on Al-Shabaab.
If one connects the dots, last night’s Nightline was particularly disturbing.