uhami.com

Beheading as symbolic warfare

Beheading as symbolic warfare

Home | Index of articles

You have to understand the mentality of Hong Kong businessmen. They exploit their workers harshly, trick their suppliers when they lower their guard, cheat their customers on every occasion, and then spend their earnings on prostitutes

----

This Is What It’s Like to Spend an Hour With “Neomasculinity” Blogger Roosh

Washingtonian

Hearing that Daryush Valizadeh, a blogger who set off global outrage last week when he planned to organize men-only “tribal gatherings” around the world, would be holding a press conference Saturday night in a Dupont Circle hotel was like receiving an invitation to a real-life meeting with one of the odder corners of internet culture. Valizadeh had already had an interesting week: His planned meetings resurfaced an article he wrote last year in which he suggested rapes committed on private property should be legal, prompting internet-wide condemnation, rebukes from government officials around the globe, and the online-activist group Anonymous publishing his parents’ address.

A day after the Daily Mail followed Anonymous’s tip to a Silver Spring cul-de-sac and found him at the door, Valizadeh—who goes by the nom-de-blog “Roosh V”—hastily called the press conference, supposedly to dispel charges that he is a “pro-rape” advocate. The set-up suggested the strangeness that was to come. Valizadeh did not supply the exact location until less than two hours before it started. He arrived escorted by a clutch of burly men who he said were bodyguards, and set up his own cameras to ensure his online followers would have their own view of the proceedings with the dozen or journalists who took the bait.

What followed was nearly an hour of ranting, evasions, and accusations ranging from broadside attacks on all media to responding to one of my questions by asking, “Do you lift?” And rather than spend the remainder of the night adding to his purported sexual conquests—Valizadeh has self-published more than a dozen “guides” to seducing women in many different countries, all with the word “Bang” in the title—he followed the press conference by setting his Twitter followers loose on the reporters who showed up.

“This article, to a ten-year-old, was obvious I didn’t intend to legalize rape or cause harm against women,” Valizadeh said about his February 2015 post that his critics seized upon. While he said it was meant to be satire from the start, though, it is not difficult to see why readers would take it as his genuine belief.

As “Roosh V,” Valizadeh has built up a small but dedicated following of a philosophy he calls “neomasculinity.” He believes that women should be socially and physically submissive to men, claims to have 1 million monthly readers, and has written about multiple sexual encounters in which the woman was too inebriated to give consent.

But rather than give off a veneer of strength and virility, Valizadeh on Saturday came off as rambling, paranoid, and defensive, answering nearly every question by pivoting back to his belief that he is the victim of a media conspiracy, guzzling through several bottles of water in the process. He told a reporter from Vice Media that the company peddles “garbage,” and called the Daily Beast a CIA front.

“As you see I’ve been under a lot of stress from this mob that’s coming after me because of these things you wrote that don’t conform to the real world, and I don’t get it,” he said. “You’re ready to write that this guy is pro-rape without knowing where that false idea comes from.”

Even if Valizadeh’s professed exploits have been on the right side of the law, they do not, as Vox pointed out last week, comport to most people’s definition of rape. (The FBI defines it as “penetration, no matter how slight” without consent.)

“I’ve never been accused of rape,” he said. “Nobody’s ever read something by me and went onto rape, because I know if they did hurt a woman it would be all over the news.

----

Your agenda is clear. Optimal health and great sex at age 100. Be careful with what you put into yourself. Men should follow the Serge Kreutz diet. Women are more disposable and will sooner or later be replaced bylove robots.

----

How To Make Sure Your Vagina Stays SUPER Tight

Keep it right, keep it tight.

We as women feel a lot of pressure to keep our vaginas tight.

It's pretty ridiculous, given all of the other things women feel a pressure to do. You know, like succeed professionally, raise their kids well, stay skinny, stay sexy, stay happy, be crafty, and a whole laundry list of others, including washing the actual laundry.

It's crazy that keeping our vaginas tight is a requirement in the West. A woman with a "loose" vagina is considered a loose woman. That is the figurative definition of ridiculous.

Well, I can't help turn your Pinterest fails into Martha Stewart-like splendor, but if you feel like your vagina isn't as a tight as it once was, I can provide you with some great ways to whip your pelvic floor muscles into shape.

But let's try to keep a sense of humor about our loose vaginas, shall we? Let's be a little bit more kind to each other and to ourselves.

Our vaginas take one heck of a beating, what with the rigors of sex and, you know, popping out of fully formed human beings. Let's be kind to our long-suffering vaginas!

I've come up with several solid ways to tighten your vagina, and then just a couple of not-so-solid ways of doing it, just to keep you smiling and to remind you not to be so hard on yourself.

Also, I hear that laughing tightens your vagina, so there's that, too!

1. Kegels

You don't need anything except a vagina to do this exercise to make your vagina tighter.

Flexing and releasing the pelvic floor muscles will strengthen your vaginal walls, keeping them tight and right just like a few visits to the gym a week keep dat ass looking fly.

These also help you not pee when you sneeze. So that's a bonus.

2. Vaginal rejuvenation

In vaginal rejuvenation (or vaginal plastic surgery), you are put under general anesthesia while a doctor reshapes your vulva and your labia.

Ideally, it will give you the refreshed, tightened look and feel you crave.

But make sure your doctor is a pro. You don't want to wake up and look down to find your clitoris in the shape of Grumpy Cat or something. Or maybe you do. I don't know your life.

3. Weight training

Ben Wa balls, kegel eggs, pelvic pyramids, and other vaginal weight training tools all require you to keep your pelvic floor muscles tight in order to keep the weight from falling out of your vagina.

If you can't keep track of your kegels, vaginal weight lifting might be for you.

I feel like it's only a matter of time until there's a cross-fit just for ladies that is all about flipping truck tires with your inner labia.

4. Change your diet

Eating foods rich in phytoestrogens (like all things soy, fenugreek, yams, and pomegranates) can help feed the vaginal flora that helps keep your vagina and pelvic floor tight.

That said, phytoestrogens are endocrine disrupters, so if you've had breast cancer best to give them a miss.

5. Try squats

If there is anything loose below your waist doing squats will make that thing tighter, unless, you know, it is a child clinging to you. In which case, make that child do squats next to you while you work out your vagina.

Squats are also a great way to develop a butt that is so powerful the world will bow before it.

6. Yell at it

If you want your vagina to be tighter, try hurling obscenities at it. Try things like "you slack, bitch!" or "WHORE" or "what have you even done for me lately?!"

That last one works best if you have not had children through vaginal delivery.

7. Sorcery

When the moon is next full, under cover of midnight, go the forest and spin around three times. This will summon a sorcerer named Mabrook who, in exchange for a favor to be given at a later date, will tighten your vagina with a spell he has written just for this purpose.

8. Genie

Book a trip to the middle east. Hire a guide to take you to an abandoned temple of the ancients. Inside, sacrifice your guide in order to reveal the magical brass lamp containing a genie whose sole purpose in this life is to tighten vaginas.

Flee (with your newly tightened vagina) before you can be arrested for murder. Do NOT wish for more wishes.

----

If you are still invested in the real estate of European cities, get out! A terrorist attack with chemical weapons will happen. Even if it doesn't kill many people, it will drive prices down. Accross the continent.

----

----

The Vamp in the Veil: Is she a Saudi princess - or a prostitute?

As the High Court is gripped by wild tales of cocaine, sex and the occult, what is the truth about Sara Al Amoudi?

She arrives at the High Court in London each morning in a black Rolls-Royce Phantom with a personalised number plate bearing the initials ‘HRH’.

As cameras flash, a team of Middle Eastern security guards descend from a Range Rover to help her cross five yards of pavement to the building’s revolving front door.

Some are entrusted with her handbag. Others look after her £50,000 diamond-encrusted luxury Vertu mobile phone.

A snappily dressed flunky named Mohammed pushes a wheelchair, in which she occasionally chooses to park her derriere.

This regal creature, who invariably has her face veiled, always wears a black burka, sometimes with gold silk stitching or a jewelled trim.

Underneath, you can catch a glimpse of designer shoes with five-inch killer heels. Occasionally, she stretches out an arm to reveal a gem-studded Rolex and a wristful of gold jewellery.

The apparently wealthy woman calls herself Sara Al Amoudi. She claims to be 31 years old, though others say she’s 43.

She has dark brown hair, greenish eyes and appears to wear a lot of make-up.

Oh, and for most of the past month, she has been at the centre of one of the most sordid and downright surreal court cases in living memory.

This regal creature, who invariably has her face veiled, always wears a black burka, sometimes with gold silk stitching or a jewelled trim.

Underneath, you can catch a glimpse of designer shoes with five-inch killer heels. Occasionally, she stretches out an arm to reveal a gem-studded Rolex and a wristful of gold jewellery.

The apparently wealthy woman calls herself Sara Al Amoudi. She claims to be 31 years old, though others say she’s 43.

She has dark brown hair, greenish eyes and appears to wear a lot of make-up.

Oh, and for most of the past month, she has been at the centre of one of the most sordid and downright surreal court cases in living memory.

Yet as the high-stakes civil proceedings have progressed, the ‘Vamp in the Veil’ case has grown increasingly strange and sleazy.

On Wednesday, for example, Ms Al Amoudi attempted to prove that she is incredibly wealthy — and presumably therefore does not need to defraud anyone — by insisting, under oath, that she spent almost £1 million on perfume in just a few weeks.

‘I have a problem with shopping,’ she declared. ‘In the past two months, my perfume, only the perfume … $1.4 million (£912,000). I can show you the pictures.’

Earlier, key players in the case were accused of conducting illicit sexual affairs, concealing addictions to drink and drugs, and prostituting themselves, more of which later.

Then there is a dark back-story involving a dead former business associate — and alleged ex-lover — of Al Amoudi, who is accused of dabbling in the occult with her at the Cliveden estate in Berkshire, scene of the Profumo scandal, again more of which later.

At the centre of these dizzying claims and counter claims there sits a huge unanswered question: Who exactly is this woman?

For, as proceedings have progressed, it has become apparent that no one — least of all Judge Sarah Asplin, who must decide the eventual outcome of the extraordinary trial — is entirely sure.

For example, several acquaintances have told the court that for years Al Amoudi has described herself as a Saudi royal.

One, an elderly hereditary peer called Lord Mereworth, who met her several years ago, said she had talked to him of being the estranged wife of King Abdullah, the country’s monarch.

‘I understood she was married to the king of Saudi,’ he said.

Yet in her own evidence to court this week, Al Amoudi — who has produced no credible birth, marriage or other document confirming her identity — denied having made such a claim.

A former boyfriend once told reporters that she spoke of being Osama Bin Laden’s daughter, claimed to be a friend of Kate Moss, and talked of dating two Hollywood film stars — Irish former hellraiser Colin Farrell and Gladiator star Joaquin Phoenix — as well as former Arsenal footballer Freddie Ljunberg.

However, there is no evidence of her having any link to the Bin Laden family, and none of the supposed celebrity acquaintances will admit to having anything to do with her.

A few years ago, in a successful application for a £4 million mortgage from a bank, that was shared with the court, Ms Al Amoudi allowed the bank to assume wrongly that she was the daughter of Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi, one of the world’s wealthiest men.

Yet the Ethopian-Saudi billionaire’s legal representatives, who were in court all week, have issued a formal denial of paternity.

At various other points, she has told acquaintances that her father is Mohammed bin Aboud Al-Amoudi, the super-wealthy owner of the Intercontinental Hotel in Jeddah.

But the businessman’s representatives have vigorously disputed that claim, too.

Then there is the question of the source of Ms Al Amoudi’s apparent wealth. In legal papers, she has claimed to be a Saudi-born heiress, married at 13 and exiled from the country in the Nineties because of an adulterous relationship.

After arriving in London almost two decades ago, she says she has existed thanks to a £100,000 weekly allowance, sent by her family in the form of suitcases filled with banknotes.

Yet one of the two plaintiffs in the fraud case, 56-year-old property developer Amanda Clutterbuck, a well-preserved blonde, alleged this week that Al Amoudi earns her crust as a high-class prostitute, who for years worked from a £750,000 flat, with two sisters, yards from Harrods.

‘Far from being Saudi Arabian princesses, they were all prostitutes,’ she said, claiming that the women would trawl Harrods in search of clients.

Asked about that allegation in court, Al Amoudi claimed ‘in the name of Allah’ to be ‘a good Muslim woman’.

Certainly, there are questions about how rich Ms Al Amoudi actually is. In court on Tuesday, she claimed that her wealth was genuine, citing her expenditure on perfume as evidence.

‘I’m afraid I’m addicted to spending money and get through enormous amounts of cash,’ she said. ‘I can easily spend £50,000 to £100,000 in one spree.’

Yet the very next day, despite her luxury cars and huge entourage of employees, she suddenly declared herself ‘broke’, telling the judge: ‘I don’t have anything!’

It was a typically odd moment in a surreal three days during which Al Amoudi gave evidence to the court.

She had agreed to remove her veil in court, but sat behind a wall of document files, so that her face was invisible to most of the onlookers.

During hours of rambling testimony, at times she talked so softly that she could barely be heard; at other times she raised her voice and broke into hysterics or tears.

Often (but not always) she adopted a heavy Middle Eastern accent.

On several occasions, Al Amoudi insisted she could barely understand proceedings and needed to speak through an interpreter — only to break into eloquent English moments later.

At one such point, the court dissolved into laughter when the opposition counsel thanked her for suddenly being ‘fluent in English again’.

Things were similarly odd during Ms Al Amoudi’s last brush with the law, a 2010 trial at Southwark Crown Court when a former boyfriend, Swedish male model Patrick Ribbsaeter, stood accused of assaulting her driver.

Back then, she appeared in a bejewelled burka to give evidence for the prosecution, who claimed Ribbsaeter was a ‘gold digger’ after her money. Following his acquittal, he claimed Al Amoudi’s devout appearance during the trial was a facade.

During their short, volatile relationship, he claimed, ‘she didn’t wear the burka as a rule — she wore designer clothes,’ many of them revealing.

Al Amoudi also frequented upscale London bars, restaurants and nightclubs. ‘She was drinking champagne every night,’ he said.

‘She had a lot of issues … who knows what the truth is about this strange woman?’

One person who claims to know the truth is South London furniture dealer Negat Ali, who came forward after seeing Al Amoudi’s unveiled picture in the Daily Mail and told the court she knew her of old.

The ‘Vamp in the Veil’ is not a royal or even a Saudi, Ali claimed: she is an Ethiopian who later lived in Yemen and Dubai, she insisted.

Ms Ali, who is originally Ethiopian but now works in Battersea, claims to have met Al Amoudi in 1985.

She then ran into her again by chance in 1996 at the London strip club Stringfellow’s, where they were attending a ‘ladies’ night’.

The two women went on to share a flat in Bayswater, she said.

In 2000, Al Amoudi fell pregnant and gave birth to a daughter at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s son, Prince George, was born this week.

That daughter, who is now aged 13, is at boarding school.

Ms Ali claims that she lived with Al Amoudi for several years — during which time the infant was used to seek maintenance payments from a variety of men — before they fell out over an alleged unpaid debt of £500.

Ms Ali suspects the ‘Vamp in the Veil’ is not actually a Muslim and uses her burka as a disguise during public appearances to prevent old acquaintances, and clients, from recognising her.

Al Amoudi’s barrister, for his part, accused Negat Ali of being a disgruntled former servant trying to settle an old score with claims that are entirely untrue.

The nuts and bolts of the court case revolve around a disputed property deal.

The plaintiffs, Ms Clutterbuck and her partner Ian Paton, allege that Ms Al Amoudi cultivated their friendship over several years.

She then carried out a ‘very accomplished’ face-to-face fraud, convincing them to sign over six properties to her as security for a major future cash advance.

They say she claimed to be hugely wealthy and willing to act as a partner helping to secure finance on a deal to buy properties worth £170 million on Hans Place in Knightsbridge.

Al Amoudi allegedly told them she could secure a loan of £46 million from contacts in the Middle East. In exchange, they signed over to her the titles to six London properties.

But the massive loan never materialised, and now the couple want the properties, which are worth £14 million, to be returned.

‘I thought I was living through an Alfred Hitchcock film, in which reality seemed to be totally distorted,’ said Ms Clutterbuck — who counts the Duke of Gloucester among her social circle — recalling the moment she came to believe she had been conned.

Al Amoudi, for her part, claims that Paton signed over the flats to her in order to repay debts he owed her from years as a crack cocaine addict.

She claimed Mr Paton had been her ‘lover’ for around a decade, taking millions of pounds from her over this time.

Mr Paton has denied ever sleeping with Ms Al Amoudi and says he has never taken crack cocaine.

As is common in civil proceedings, the case, which continues, will be decided by Judge Asplin, not a jury.

Crucial to the eventual verdict will be Sara Al Amoudi’s love life. In court, Ms Clutterbuck and Mr Paton’s barrister identified a string of men to whom she is believed to have been attached during the years she claims to have been conducting an affair with Mr Paton.

They include a man known only as ‘Sammy’, who is the father of her child, and one Gerald Jerko Zovko, who is believed to have been married to Al Amoudi until he was killed in Iraq in early 2004 while working as a private security contractor.

His vehicle was hit by rocket- propelled grenades in the town of Fallujah, and his mutilated body was then dragged through the streets by a mob.

Then there is Cliff Besley, an Australian triathlon champion who, the court was told, was introduced as her fiancé at business meetings in 2008, and an alleged boyfriend called Ryan Bish.

Another man, still in her life, is Lord Mereworth, an 83-year-old divorced, heirless and apparently very wealthy hereditary peer, who lives in Pimlico, South-West London.

He appears to have become entranced with Al Amoudi after meeting her a few years ago. They have dined together at the House of Lords, and he agreed to give evidence in her support.

During cross-examination, in which Lord Mereworth denied that she had ever proposed marriage to him, he claimed to be convinced of her legitimacy.

‘I may have been misled, who knows? But I still trust her,’ he said.

The final player in this extraordinary soap opera is an acquaintance of Amanda Clutterbuck, a man named Elliot Nichol, with whom Ms Al Amoudi appears to have had a lengthy affair.

Mr Nichol, who died of alcohol poisoning in December 2009, is said to have been obsessed with the occult. He would speak with Ms Al Amoudi on a mobile phone that had a number ending in 666 — which is popularly associated with the devil.

In the run-up to his death, Nichol was living with Al Amoudi at properties in central London and on the Cliveden estate in Berkshire, Ms Clutterbuck told the court.

‘At Christmas 2006, Mr Nichol phoned in an almost totally incoherent state, singing at the top of his voice: “I am drowning in Vuitton handbags and Cavalli, we’re thinking of floating them down the Thames.” ’

The ‘Vamp in the Veil’ denies being with Nichol at the time of that call.

As with almost everything about this mysterious woman, the truth is hard to ascertain. Now a judge will have the unenviable task of sorting fact from fiction in this most modern tale of greed and guile.

----

If you are still invested in the real estate of European cities, get out! A terrorist attack with chemical weapons will happen. And it won't be just one. Chemical weapons are just so easy to produce.

----

Duck Sex and the Patriarchy

Four years ago, as the country was wrestling with a federal-budget crisis, conservative news outlets turned their attention, once again, to the topic of wasteful government spending. That March, a reporter with CNS News, a Web site devoted to countering “liberal bias” in the media, came across what seemed to be the quintessential example of such waste—a National Science Foundation grant to Yale University for a study of duck penises. Within days, the story had made its way to Fox News. “It’s part of President Obama’s stimulus plan, and it’s just one example of the kind of spending decisions that have added up to massive debt and deficits,” Shannon Bream told viewers. The following week, Sean Hannity piled on. “Don’t we really need to know about duck genitalia, Tucker Carlson?” he asked. To which Carlson responded, with a smirk, “I know more than I want to know already!” The controversy, dubbed Duckpenisgate by Mother Jones, roared back to life some months later, when Senator Tom Coburn, of Oklahoma, included the N.S.F. grant in his “Wastebook 2013.” At $384,949, it accounted for only a thousandth of one per cent of all the spending that Coburn had tallied up, but it made headlines again. Clearly, the combination of money, sex, and power—your money, ducks’ sex, and Ivy League power—was irresistible to the graying male demographic for conservative news.

I followed Duckpenisgate with particular trepidation, since I was one of the co-investigators on the maligned study. For the past decade, in collaboration with Patricia Brennan, of Mount Holyoke College, and other colleagues, I have explored the sexual behavior and genital evolution of waterfowl. Contrary to what Carlson thinks, it is a fascinating business. It can also be shockingly brutal. In the wintry months before breeding begins, male ducks flaunt their plumage, putting on dramatic courtship displays in an effort to entrance a mate. The females can be choosy, often picking a male only after extensive deliberation. (Their preferences tend to coalesce, like a genetic fashion trend, around a shared ideal of male beauty, with each species evolving off in its own distinct aesthetic direction.) When spring arrives, the pairs migrate together to the breeding grounds. But, as the nest-building and egg-laying season approaches, unpaired males start causing trouble. Many attempt to force copulation with paired females, sometimes even ganging up on them in groups. The female ducks resist strenuously; often they are injured, or even killed, in the process.

The males’ sexual attacks are made possible by the fact that, unlike most birds, ducks still have a penis. It is not, however, an organ that most humans would recognize, being shaped like a counterclockwise corkscrew and possessing a ribbed or spiky surface. Ducks’ erections are driven by lymphatic, not vascular, pressure, which means that their penises never become stiff. Rather, they erect flexibly, but explosively, into the female’s body in less than half a second. Ejaculation takes place immediately. And duck penises can be long—really long. A breeding male mallard in your typical city park has a five-inch penis. In the case of the diminutive Argentine lake duck, the penis is longer than the duck itself—more than sixteen inches.

What, exactly, is the function of these bizarre organs? To find out, Brennan dissected the genitalia of fourteen species of waterfowl. By comparing the results, we discovered that, as males have evolved longer penises with more heavily armed surfaces, females have coevolved increasingly complex vaginal structures—dead ends, cul-de-sac side pockets, clockwise spirals. We hypothesized that these twists and turns create a mechanical barrier to the penis, frustrating forced intercourse and lowering the likelihood of a female duck being fertilized against her will. Our subsequent experiments—high-speed videos of duck penises erecting into glass tubes of various shapes—suggested we were right. (Our observations also revealed that when a female duck solicits sex with a chosen mate, her cloacal muscles dilate to allow uninhibited entry.) The result is that, even for species in which nearly forty per cent of all copulations are violently coerced, only between two and five per cent of ducklings come from extra-pair matings. As a method of contraception, ducks’ vaginal barriers can be ninety-eight-per-cent effective—a level of reliability that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would readily approve.

A female duck’s vaginal barriers cannot shield her from physical harm. On an evolutionary level, though, they protect her in another way—by allowing her to choose the father of her offspring. If she has ducklings with her chosen mate, then they will inherit the fancy plumage that she and other females prefer. But, if she is fertilized by force, then her offspring will inherit either random display traits or traits that she has specifically rejected as less attractive. These extra-pair offspring will, on average, be less attractive to their peers, which could mean fewer grand-ducklings for the mother duck—and fewer of her genes passed on to posterity. By using her vaginal barriers, she is able to maintain her sexual autonomy in the face of sexual violence. Freedom of choice, in other words, matters to animals; even if they lack the capacity to conceptualize it, there is an evolutionary difference between having what they want and not having it. Unfortunately for female ducks, though, evolving complex vaginal structures doesn’t solve the scourge of sexual violence; it exacerbates it. Each advance results in males with longer, spikier penises, and the coevolutionary arms race continues.

Although many duck species are trapped in costly and unproductive sexual battles, other birds have pursued different evolutionary paths toward male disarmament. In bowerbirds, for instance, females have used mate choice to transform male behavior in ways that have advanced their own sexual autonomy. Male bowerbirds build elaborate seduction theatres, called bowers, out of sticks, which they decorate with gathered artifacts such as feathers, fruits, and flowers. When the time comes to breed, females visit a number of prospective mates, choosing one based on the attractiveness of the male, his bower, and his ornaments. As a result, the architecture of the bowers is shaped by females’ aesthetic preferences. Males work from a blueprint that actually prevents them from successfully coercing copulations. A so-called avenue bower, for example, features two parallel walls of sticks. The female sits cozily between them while the male does his dance at a safe remove. To copulate with her, he must go around the walls and mount her from behind, which gives her a chance to pop out the front, if she prefers, with her freedom of choice intact.

cientists admonish one another, often with good reason, to avoid anthropomorphizing animals. But they themselves regularly redraw the line between good science and anthropomorphism as a way of policing scientific discourse and favoring particular ideas. Most of us, for example, learned a strictly adaptationist version of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution; we were told that almost every feature of the biotic world, no matter how tiny, could be explained by how it contributed to an organism’s ability to survive and reproduce. In fact, though, Darwin also proposed a theory of sexual selection, in which animals may choose their mates according to aesthetic standards—their own subjective desires. This view has frequently been rejected as too anthropomorphic precisely because it implies that sexual selection can act independently of natural selection—an unsettling thought for the typical adaptationist. When it comes to the sexual politics of birds and people, there are, of course, enormous differences. Birds don’t have elaborate social cultures, money, or any notion of their own histories. Humans do. But, in seeking to understand the complexities of human evolution and sexuality, we can learn a lot by examining the diversity of life on Earth and acknowledging the parallels where they exist.

Consider, for a moment, that the sexual arms race between male and female ducks is not really a fair fight. While male ducks evolve to gain physical and sexual control over females, female ducks evolve to assert, and reassert, their freedom of choice. Sound familiar? The human “war of the sexes” is similarly one-sided. Contemporary anti-feminists often portray men as victims of the coercive social control of women, even as they actively organize to diminish women’s sexual autonomy by impeding their access to health care, contraception, and abortion. But this view is a grotesque distortion. Like convoluted duck vaginas, feminism is about autonomy, not power over men. Although one is genetic and the other is cultural, the asymmetry in ducks between the male push for power and the female push for choice is mirrored in the ideologies of patriarchy and feminism.

If ducks reflect our cultural present, bowerbirds may illuminate both our evolutionary origins and our social future. It is well established that our ape ancestors were more violent than we are. But the traditional evolutionary mechanisms—natural selection and male-male sexual competition—have not yet produced a satisfying explanation for why this violence declined and coöperative social cognition flourished in its place. In my forthcoming book, “The Evolution of Beauty,” I propose that, as in some birds, female mate choice among our forebears transformed male behavior. Since the time of our last common ancestry with chimpanzees, millions of years ago, it may have contributed to the de-weaponization of maleness, including the elimination of self-sharpening male canine teeth, the reduction in male body size relative to females, the elimination of infanticide by ascendant alpha males, and the origin of paternal investment in their offspring. By evolving to regard violent, antisocial maleness as unsexy, females may have instigated the evolution of many elements critical to our biology, including big brains, language, and even our capacity for self-awareness and reflection.

At first, the idea that humans evolved through the expansion of female sexual autonomy would seem to conflict with the fact that, practically everywhere on the planet, men are socially dominant. But this phenomenon is, I maintain, more cultural than biological. Men and women are closer to each other in size than are the famously peaceful, and non-hierarchical, male and female bonobos. How could male dominance be a result of biological destiny in people but somehow not in bonobos? Here again, the coevolutionary dynamics of duck sex may clarify how men came to regain social control over female sexuality. Like a cultural version of the toothy spikes on a ruddy duck’s penis, patriarchy may have arisen as a cultural countermeasure, reversing the advances in female autonomy gained in the millions of years since hominins diverged from chimpanzees. When sexism becomes unacceptably antisocial and hopelessly unsexy, then patriarchy may finally give up its remaining weapons.

----

When women don't have sex to trade, they are inferior to men in almost every capacity. That is why in a future world in which sex robots are the partners of men, women won't have influence. They seldom had, anyway, throughout history.

----

16 Celebrities Whose Children Committed Suicide Notable Famous Deaths

Many of these children were known for their famous parent's celebrity status, though their deaths are tragedies no matter the circumstances. Famous children can have a hard time establishing names for themselves to the media. Many try to escape their parents' shadows but fall short of achieving the high statuses to which they've grown accustomed. Due to this, the children born to famous parent often collapse under domicile insecurity. Many of these kids became drug addicts and had long contemplated killing themselves. As a result of their addictions, death by drug overdose became a common behavior for these celebrity offspring.

Hollywood actor Ray Milland lost his son, Daniel Milland, to suicide in 1981. Cheyenne Brando, daughter of Marlon Brando, died by committing suicide at her mother's house. Other suicides by children of celebs include Willie Nelson's son Billy and Paul Newman's kid Scott.

A loss of a child is irreparable and, sadly, these famous people who had these poor children probably never saw it coming.

Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 16 Celebrities Whose Children Committed Suicide

Marlon Brando's daughter, Cheyenne Brando, hanged herself in 1995 at age 25. After becoming pregnant, the Tahitian-born model moved with the baby's father, Dag Drollet, to Marlon's house in Los Angeles. Shortly after moving, in 1990, Cheyenne's half-brother, Christian, shot and killed Drollet. After that, Cheyenne's mental state deteriorated until she was diagnosed with schizophrenia, losing custody of her son, Tuki Brando. She hanged herself at the home of her mother, Tarita Teriipaia.

Gregory Peck

Gregory Peck is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 16 Celebrities Whose Children Committed Suicide

Gregory Peck was unable to work for two years after the suicide of his son, news reporter Jonathan Peck, in 1975. Jonathan suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound. At the time, he was going through a broken relationship and dealing with arteriosclerosis and severe fatigue.

Marie Osmond

Marie Osmond is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 16 Celebrities Whose Children Committed Suicide

Marie Osmond's 18-year-old son, Michael Blosil, jumped from the 8th floor of an LA apartment building in 2010. Michael had previously suffered a lifelong battle with depression, and at the age of 16, had gone to rehab for undisclosed reasons. At the time of his suicide, Michael was said to be clean and sober.

Paul Newman

Paul Newman is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 16 Celebrities Whose Children Committed Suicide

In 1978, Paul Newman's son, Scott Newman, who was an aspiring actor in his own right, was found dead in a hotel after overdosing on pills and alcohol. He was 28. Scott Newman had issues with drinking and had been arrested for some alcohol-related incidents. He suffered a motorcycle accident in 1978 for which he then also began taking pain pills. On the night of his death, Scott mixed a lethal dose of Valium, alcohol, and other drugs.

L. Ron Hubbard

L. Ron Hubbard is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list 16 Celebrities Whose Children Committed Suicide

On October 28, 1976, Quentin Hubbard, son of Scientology mastermind L. Ron Hubbard and his third wife, Mary Sue, was found outside of Las Vegas, unconscious in his car with a tube leading from the exhaust to the window. After his older half-brother, Ron Jr., quit the Church in 1959, Quentin had been groomed by their father to succeed him as the leader of the organization. However, according to former fellow Scientologists, Quentin was gay (or, at least, semen was found in his rectum when he died), which was at odds with Church doctrine and a great source of personal torment. Two weeks after his apparent suicide attempt, he died at 22 years old, having never regained consciousness.

Gloria Vanderbilt

Gloria Vanderbilt is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list 16 Celebrities Whose Children Committed Suicide

Gloria Vanderbilt's oldest son, Carter Vanderbilt Cooper, committed suicide on July 22, 1988, when he was 23. He jumped from the 14th floor terrace of his mother's Manhattan apartment. In her memoir, Vanderbilt wrote that she believes the suicide was caused by a psychotic episode induced by an allergic relationship to Carter's anti-asthma medication, salbutamol.

Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list 16 Celebrities Whose Children Committed Suicide

In 1991, Willie Nelson's son Billy, 33, hanged himself in his family's Tennessee cabin following a period of financial difficulty.

Burt Bacharach

Burt Bacharach is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list 16 Celebrities Whose Children Committed Suicide

Burt Bacharach and Angie Dickinson's daughter, Nikki Bacharach, suffocated in 2007, at age 40, using a plastic bag and helium. Nikki grew up with emotional issues and, many believe, a then-undiagnosed case of Asperger's syndrome. She struggled through school and her adult life.

Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list 16 Celebrities Whose Children Committed Suicide

In 2009, 46 years after his mother's own suicide, Sylvia Plath's son, Nicholas Hughes hanged himself. He was 47. Hughes was a successful biologist and a faculty member at UAF, but suffered from depression.

Carroll O'Connor

Carroll O'Connor is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list 16 Celebrities Whose Children Committed Suicide

In 1995, Carroll O'Connor's son, Hugh, committed suicide after a long battle with drug addiction at the age of 32. Hugh had become addicted to painkillers after a battle with cancer, and then eventually moved to harder drugs. He called his father to tell him he was going to end his life. Police arrived at Hugh's home, but it was too late, as he had already shot himself.

James Arness

Jim Arness is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list 16 Celebrities Whose Children Committed Suicide

Jim Arness's daughter, Jenny Lee Aurness, committed suicide in 1975, a few weeks shy of her 25th birthday. Arness was said to have been despondent over a previous break-up with Greg Allman, and took a lethal dose of pills.

Charles Boyer

Charles Boyer is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list 16 Celebrities Whose Children Committed Suicide

In 1965, actor Charles Boyer's only child, Michael Charles Boyer, committed suicide at age 21 while playing Russian Roulette after a bad breakup. Thirteen years later, Charles Boyer too would take his own life with a lethal dose of seconal.

Louis Jourdan

Louis Jourdan is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list 16 Celebrities Whose Children Committed Suicide

The proxy burden of fame took actor Louis Jourdan's only child, Louis Henry Jourdan, who committed suicide in 1981. Louis Henry, 29, had suffered for years from a drug problem that created a manic-depressive type of disorder that left him unable to work. His father and mother discovered his body at their home in Bel Air.

Ray Milland

Ray Milland is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list 16 Celebrities Whose Children Committed Suicide

IN 1981, actor Ray Milland's son, Daniel, shot himself in the head in the bedroom of his Beverly Hills home. No suicide note was found. Milland was said to have a history of drug abuse, and when his roommates had last seen him, they noted he was heavily intoxicated.

Robert Taylor

Robert Taylor is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list 16 Celebrities Whose Children Committed Suicide

Robert Taylor's stepson, Michael Theiss, died of a drug overdoes in 1968, a year before the actor lost his battle with cancer. The 23 year-old's body was found by his mother in a Los Angeles motel room.

----

Of all emotions, those negative are the most real. If you hate, you know that you are healthy. Your hormones are in balance if you can still imagine how you would inflict a slow, painful death on your enemies. Love isn't an emotion really but rather a mixed bag of feelings, with selfish desire a prominent component. Of any positive expression of the human mind, sympathy is probably the most genuine, though it may come with rage towards those whose victim is the target of our sympathy.

----

----

‘Scrotox’ Is The New Botox For Guys Who Want To Fix Their Sweaty, Wrinkly Balls

Most of us (unfortunately) have some type of body insecurity. It’s why cosmetic procedures that melt fat away or rejuvenate your vagina not only exist, but continue to grow in popularity.

And now, there’s a new fix to add to that ~beautifying~ list: Scrotox. Yep, it’s exactly what it sounds like… botox for a guy’s balls (or scrotum, if you like anatomical terms).

Now, personally, I don’t really care what a guy’s balls look like. But after scouring the web, I learned that saggy, small, and wrinkly balls seem to be a valid concern for a lot of dudes.

“I know they look like the excess skin from a 60-year-old man who lost 200 pounds way too fast, but I can’t do much about it. There’s no botox for balls,” Cosmopolitan’s male columnist, Cosmo Frank, once admitted about his own pair.

Another dude confessed to Women’s Health, “My penis, balls, and taint are usually marinating in my own sweat throughout the day, which doesn’t exactly yield a lovely floral scent, so I’m always insecure about what a girl will think if/when she goes down on me. All I can do to overcome that is to powder my balls or spray some cologne or Febreeze down there before a big date and then hope for the best.”

Ah, but now there IS something you can do about these problems, guys! Now there is!

As Metro UK explains, Scrotox promises to reinflate deflated and slightly wrinkly balls, reduce the amount of sack sweating, and enlarge the twins’ appearance by relaxing the scrotum muscles.

But the injection is no joke, as it can cost over $3,000 to give your balls a makeover.

Mark Norfolk, Clinical Director of Transform, a cosmetic surgery center in the UK, told Metro that requests for Scrotox at his office have doubled in the past year — even though he doesn’t currently offer it. This matches the trend of more men getting plastic surgery in general over the past 10 years.

But be warned, fellas: Despite its sweat-eliminating and swelling abilities, ball Botox won’t necessarily have a huge effect on the wrinkles or sagging, Norfolk says. So if “lots of loose skin” is what you’re mostly concerned about, you may be better off opting for surgery to get rid of excess skin.

Otherwise, if you’re really insecure about your ball sweat, size, or wrinkles — and you have a ton of cash to spend, as well as a high tolerance for needles in your balls — Scrotox may be worth a try.

I may not kick you out of bed if your balls aren’t perfectly large and baby smooth. But that’s just me.

----

Female sexuality is a merchandise. This probably is at the root of human civilization. In modern culture, the item that is the merchandise is also the seller. Women sell themselves. Conflicts are preprogrammed.

----

The Islamic state and WMD: Assessing the future threat

Abstract: The Islamic State is actively seeking weapons of mass destruction and, to a limited extent, it has used such weapons in Syria and Iraq. It is also actively seeking personnel with technical experience capable of expanding its program. The Islamic State’s program faces many challenges and logistical issues, however, that have tempered their ambitions. This means the group is not yet capable of striking Western nations with WMD, though it cannot be ruled out that the Islamic State could deploy rudimentary chemical devices against the West in the next several years.

“If Muslims cannot defeat the kafir (unbelievers) in a different way, it is permissible to use weapons of mass destruction, even if it kills all of them and wipes them and their descendants off the face of the Earth.”

—Saudi jihadi cleric Nasir al-Fahd.[1]

On November 19, 2015, a day after French police thwarted a second-wave attack by Islamic State terrorists in Paris, France’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls raised the specter of the Islamic State deploying weapons of mass destruction (WMD) against the West. “I say it with all the precautions needed. But we know and bear in mind that there is also a risk of chemical or bacteriological weapons,” he told the French parliament.[2] Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had earlier sounded the alarm on chemical weapons in June 2015:

“The counter-terrorism landscape is changing so rapidly that long accepted paradigms can quickly become obsolete. Apart from some crude and small-scale endeavors, the conventional wisdom has been that the terrorist intention to acquire and weaponize chemical agents has been largely aspirational. The use of chlorine by Daesh and its recruitment of highly technically trained professionals, including from the West, have revealed far more serious efforts in chemical weapons development. Daesh is likely to have amongst its tens of thousands of recruits the technical expertise necessary to further refine precursor materials and build chemical weapons.”[3]

In light of these warnings and the Islamic State’s documented use of crude WMD devices in Syria and Iraq, this article explores what is known about the group’s WMD capabilities and the current logistical challenges that are containing its ambitions in this area. The article outlines how despite current intentions and active recruitment of technically trained personnel, the Islamic State is not yet capable of striking Western nations with WMD, though it cannot be ruled out that the Islamic State could deploy rudimentary chemical devices against the West in the next several years.

Nuclear

Among WMD, nuclear weapons cause the largest amount of destruction, yet they are the most difficult to develop or obtain. To develop a nuclear weapon, the Islamic State would first require enough fissile material[a] to support a sustained chain reaction. The specific quantity required is determined by the weapon design, but generally involves several kilograms of highly enriched uranium. The other significant limiting factor is the scores of physicists, engineers, and metallurgists required to construct the device. Fighting over the past five years throughout Iraq and Syria has created an intellectual drain in the region. In the distant chance that the Islamic State could assemble nuclear scientists to develop the weapon, it would have to conduct tests on weapon designs and construction methods in order to confirm that a nuclear detonation would actually occur in the final device.[b] These tests would easily be detected by intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets (ISR), which would presumably trigger a kinetic response from other parties.

Since the Islamic State lacks the personnel and material to build a nuclear weapon, purchase on the black market becomes the most likely path to acquisition. The Islamic State raised this possibility with its May 2015 claim that “it could buy a nuclear weapon through Pakistan within the coming year.”[5] Although the assertion sounds far-fetched, the group has significant liquid assets from oil sales and other sources of revenue.[6] These assets imply that funding is likely not the greatest barrier to purchase of a weapon. The key barrier is availability of material and identification of a willing seller.

The extent of the global nuclear smuggling network was recently highlighted in media coverage of the five-year, joint Moldovan government and FBI probe into the “thriving nuclear black market that has emerged in an impoverished corner of Eastern Europe.”[7] In one instance a sample of uranium that could be used in an atomic bomb was seized.[8] Regrettably, as the coverage noted, most arrests occurred after only a small sample of nuclear material was exchanged; the larger stockpiles from which the samples were taken may remain for sale. The confluence of existing nuclear smuggling networks, the willingness of actors to sell material, even to extremists, and the Islamic State’s financial capabilities increase the likelihood that the group could acquire a nuclear device. However, notwithstanding its desire to possess nuclear weapons, the probability of the Islamic State obtaining and deploying a device remains low.

Radiological Radiological dispersion devices (RDDs) are likely the only radioactive weapons that the Islamic State could employ. Far more simplistic in design than nuclear weapons, these devices feature radioactive material intermixed with conventional explosives. Though they do not produce the mass-destruction characteristics of nuclear weapons such as shock waves, fires, and electro-magnetic pulses, RDDs create psychological impact on affected populations. They are most effective when detonated in densely populated areas; otherwise, the dispersion of radioactive material would do little more than prevent access to the area for a period of time. To attack the West the Islamic State would be required to export an RDD, drastically increasing the risk of detection through ISR and human intelligence.

The black market is one avenue for the Islamic State to obtain materials that could be used in a radiological device. In the cases investigated in Moldova, nuclear smugglers were purportedly ready to sell Cesium 137 to what they believed was a representative of the Islamic State.[9]

Within the area controlled by the Islamic State, there are two potential sources of radiological material: research facilities at universities and medical devices. Most of the material used in scientific research and medical diagnostics contain limited quantities of radioactive material. A material of concern is cobalt-60, which is used in medical devices and emits gamma radiation. In December 2013, a cargo truck carrying hospital equipment containing cobalt-60 was stolen from a gas station in Mexico.[10] The theft prompted concern among U.S. intelligence agencies that the material could be converted into a dirty bomb. Prolonged exposure to cobalt-60 can be deadly; the timeframe of lethality ranges from minutes to hours depending on the level of shielding.

Since RDDs are no more complicated than an improvised explosive device, the Islamic State certainly has the capability to develop them. There are two significant obstacles preventing the employment of such a device in the West. One, there is no evidence the Islamic State has gathered the necessary radiological material, and two, it lacks access to the target. To transport and move an RDD to a target increases the risk of detection similar to the limits of transporting a nuclear weapon. The detonation of an RDD would have a greater psychological impact on the affected population compared to the physical damage caused by the device. Subsequently, the risk of the Islamic State building an RDD is greater than that of a nuclear weapon, however the risk of actual deployment remains low.

Biological There is little doubt that the Islamic State would like to possess and use biological weapons. A laptop recovered by moderate Syrian rebels during a 2014 raid on the Islamic State stronghold of Idlib allegedly contained files instructing Islamic State on the preparation and use of biological weapons. The laptop also contained safety instructions for the development of microbes in order to protect Islamic State technicians from exposure.[11]

Despite the consistent reiteration of its desire to possess biological weapons, the Islamic State faces significant practical challenges. Like nuclear weapons, the development of biological weapons requires sophisticated personnel and technology that are not readily available in Iraq and Syria. The group could conceivably purchase and smuggle the materials needed to set up a biological weapons lab, however scale would become a significant obstacle given that effective production levels require a facility about the size of a large research lab with the corresponding infrastructure. The Islamic State would also have to contend with quality control issues as well. The power grid and generators in Iraq and Syria are not sufficiently reliable for the refrigerators and incubators needed to weaponize biological agents.[c]

In regard to the difficulties of biological weaponization, the 2014 Ebola crisis in Western Africa proves instructive. The spread of Ebola gave rise to concerns that the Islamic State would attempt to use Ebola-infected individuals as delivery systems for the virus. This non-traditional transfer mechanism could, in theory, infect people around the world. The reality is far different, however. When first infected with a virus, individuals have a low titer count (the concentration of virus in the blood). Once inside the host individual, the virus invades cells and replicates. This progressively leads to higher levels of virus in the body and a corresponding escalation of symptoms. At low levels, the individual is relatively non-contagious and appears normal. It is at the later stages of the infection that the individual is most contagious, but also the most sick and debilitated. Such highly infected host individuals are easily identifiable and often barely able to function, let alone able to execute a clandestine infection strategy. Diseases are not limited by national or regional borders. The introduction of a pathogen in a developed nation would be rapidly detected through bio-surveillance networks.

Biological weapons are very unlikely to be developed by the Islamic State as a mass casualty tool. Western medical countermeasures and response capabilities were able to handle the 2001 anthrax attack and quickly contain Ebola in the United States in 2014. All this suggests the impact of a deliberate biological attack by the Islamic State in the West would be extremely limited.

Chemical In 2013, the Syrian government deployed chemical munitions against rebels multiple times. International pressure following these attacks forced the Assad regime to join the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and turn over all chemical weapon stockpiles. According to the OPCW, the Syrian government declared 1,308,021 kilograms[11] of both category 1 and 2 chemicals,[d] and the OPCW oversaw the destruction of 98.8% of those declared category 1 and 2 chemical weapons.

Various media reports indicate that the Islamic State is currently employing chemical weapons, specifically mustard agent.[12] These reports also reveal, however, that the agent is crude and has not produced the mass effects typical of a state-run program. There are also signs that the Islamic State “has developed at least a small-scale chemical weapons program, and may have manufactured low-quality blister agent or obtained chemical arms from undeclared or abandoned government [Syrian] stocks.”[13] The possibility that the chemical weapons used may have come from material at undeclared Syrian stockpiles has been documented in various media sources.[14] Examining samples of both the Syrian stockpile and the Islamic State’s chemical weapons would reveal not only whether this was true, but also information about potency and persistence, which is the ability of the agent to linger in the environment before environmental factors cause its breakdown.[e]

One concern is that the Islamic State may take advantage of recruits with knowledge of previous state-run chemical weapons programs in Iraq and Syria. In January 2015, a coalition air strike killed Abu Malik, an Islamic State chemical weapons engineer who had worked at Saddam Hussein’s Muthana chemical weapon program before joining the predecessor group to the Islamic State in 2005. According to U.S. Central Command, “his past training and experience provided the terrorist group with expertise to pursue a chemical weapons capability,” and his death was “expected to temporarily degrade and disrupt the terrorist network and diminish ISIL’s ability to potentially produce and use chemical weapons.”[15]

With the Islamic State’s willingness to use chemical weapons, western nations should be concerned that the group or individuals acting on behalf of the group would attempt to deploy a poison gas device. If it did, the Islamic State would not be the first to attack on a western nation with chemical weapons. The Aum Shinrikyo released sarin in the Tokyo subway on March 20, 1995.

Before 9/11, al-Qa`ida began developing a device called mubtakkar, meaning “invention” in Arabic, to disseminate hydrogen cyanide and other toxic gases. According to journalist Ron Suskind, in 2003 al-Qa`ida operatives in Saudi Arabia plotted to use a poison gas device in the New York City subway system but aborted the plot after the group’s then-deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, decided not to “green light” it. The cell had planned to disperse quantities of hydrogen cyanide gas or another poisonous gas.[16] [f] The simplicity of the design and the relative ease of obtaining some of the chemicals makes it a plot the Islamic State could mimic.

There are several constraints associated with developing chemical weapons. Chemicals such as hydrogen cyanide, sarin, and their precursors are highly corrosive and require storage in highly controlled environments. For example, high temperatures and humidity will affect both the chemical reactions used to make the warfare agents and their effectiveness. The corrosive nature of these agents also makes long-term storage and transportation over long distances very difficult without the appropriate containers and proper environment. When placed in a container, the agents will immediately begin to eat away at rubber seals and the container itself, making leaks inevitable. Such constraints make it likely that any agents developed by the Islamic State would most likely be deployed immediately after manufacture and within close proximity to the territory it holds.

While it cannot be ruled out that the Islamic State could deploy a rudimentary poison gas device against the West in the next several years, the group would likely need to build the device near the location of the planned attack, requiring it to recruit or plant its own chemists in the West, not an easy feat.

Moving forward, the Islamic State will most likely continue to employ its limited chemical weapon munitions in both Syria and Iraq while seeking the capacity to expand its program to strike at major targets in the West.

Conclusion

The Islamic State’s potential use of WMD poses a greater psychological threat than physical threat to its enemies. While the Islamic State continues to seek and develop WMD, its progress will be constrained by reality. Despite seeking technical expertise and having large sums of liquid assets at its disposal, the Islamic State’s logistical capabilities and support structure in Western nations is limited. Containing the Islamic State needs to remain a priority, however, as further territorial expansion provides an opportunity to acquire new materials.

The Islamic State will continue to employ the simplest and most readily available WMD at their disposal—chemical weapons. The proliferation of this program remains a concern especially with the availability of toxic industrial chemicals that could be modified and dispersed in a chemical attack. While the effects of such devices would be limited to a small geographic area, the psychological impact to a Western nation, for example, would be significant. Current conditions in Syria and Iraq in conjunction with international ISR assets constantly monitoring the area reduce the possibility that the Islamic State will be able to develop any other WMD beyond chemical weapons.

Captain Stephen Hummel is a FA52 officer and currently serving as an instructor in the Chemistry and Life Science Department at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point. Captain Hummel previously served in both Iraq and Afghanistan and as the USAREUR CBRN plans officer. He is also the author of the 2015 book STRIKE: A Firsthand Account of the Largest Operation of the Afghan War.

Substantive Notes

[a] Fissile material refers to “a nuclide that is capable of undergoing fission after capturing low-energy thermal (slow) neutrons.”3 Capturing a neutron displaces other neutrons from the capturing material, which leads to interaction with adjacent atoms, which in turn displaces other neutrons. This creates a sustained chain reaction that releases large amounts of energy. The three primary fissile materials are uranium-233, uranium-235, and plutonium-239. “Fissile Material.” United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, updated November 30, 2015.

[b] Tests are required to ensure fidelity of the design and build. Such tests do not entail detonation of a full-scale nuclear weapon but rather components of the weapon such as the trigger.

[c] Considering the Islamic State’s tremendous liquid assets, it could be possible for them to purchase the required generators and refrigerators. The process to grow and culture biological agents is neither short nor easy. The equipment required to culture large amounts of biological agents to be used in an attack would need to run for months and the culture areas must be completely sterile and within strict temperature ranges. Logistically, this is extremely difficult. Major research institutions in the West regularly struggle with maintaining sterile environments and contend with failing equipment that runs constantly. Without a reliable power grid, the Islamic State must then provide fuel to the generators, and although the group possesses vast amounts of oil, this does not mean it has the refinery capability to convert crude oil into gas. Furthermore, the equipment would need regular maintenance in a dry, dusty environment. Consequently, it would be an extreme logistical challenge for the Islamic State to maintain the proper environment to culture biological materials.

[d] The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons defines category 1 chemicals as munitions filled with schedule 1 chemical agents while category 2 chemicals are munitions filled with other toxic chemicals.

[e] If the mustard agent used in the recent attacks came from Syrian stockpiles, it could be confirmed by comparing the composition of components and impurities. A difference between the agents would indicate the inception and implementation of the Islamic State’s chemical weapon program. These impurities provide additional information about the potency, persistence, and absorption capabilities of the agents.

[f] Exposure to hydrogen cyanide gas at sufficiently high quantities is lethal within minutes. The LD50, or lethal dose to 50% of a population, is 2,000 parts per million, which corresponds to approximately 0.2% of the air as hydrogen cyanide. “Environmental & Health Effects: Cyanide Facts,” International Cyanide Management Code for the Fold Mining Industry.

----

The destruction of the Western World will not be achieved by suicide bombers but by arsonists. Suicide bombers are a waste of human resources because the dedication of just one suicide bomber could set hundreds of square kilometers of forests on fire. And the personal risk? A comfortable prison sentence of just a few years.

----

Home | Index of articles