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Thomas Paine

To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

18 April - Droning AfPak

Iraqi Army helmetIraqi Army helmet (Photo credit: Jayel Aheram)Map of PakistanMap of Pakistan (Photo credit: Omer Wazir)Tent Camp, Gaza StripTent Camp, Gaza Strip (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Demolished vehicles line Highway 80, also know...Demolished vehicles line Highway 80, also known as the "Highway of Death", the route fleeing Iraqi forces took as they retreated fom Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm. The tank visible in the center of the picture is either a Type 59 or a Type 69 as evidenced by the dome-shaped ventilator on the top of the turret and the headlamps on the right fender. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Gaza Strip-CIA WFB MapGaza Strip-CIA WFB Map (Photo credit: Wikipedia)HMAS Sydney in the Persian Gulf in 1991. Note ...HMAS Sydney in the Persian Gulf in 1991. Note radar absorbent matting fitted to the side of the ship. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


World Bank & IMF: Plunder With A Human Face


The Rise of the Killer Drones: How America Goes to War in Secret

Today, the Pentagon deploys a fleet of 19,000 drones, relying on them for classified missions that once belonged exclusively to Special Forces units or covert operatives on the ground. American drones have been sent to spy on or kill targets in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, Somalia and Libya. Drones routinely patrol the Mexican border

.....the remote-control nature of unmanned missions enables politicians to wage war while claiming we're not at war - as the United States is currently doing in Pakistan. What's more, the Pentagon and the CIA can now launch military strikes or order assassinations without putting a single boot on the ground - and without worrying about a public backlash over U.S. soldiers coming home in body bags. The immediacy and secrecy of drones make it easier than ever for leaders to unleash America's military might - and harder than ever to evaluate the consequences of such clandestine attacks.

In the years after Vietnam, many of the technological advances on drones were made by Israel, which has used them to monitor the Gaza Strip and carry out targeted assassinations. During the 1980s, the Israeli air force sold several of its models to the Pentagon, including a drone called the Pioneer. The Pioneer, which could be launched from naval vessels or from military bases, had a flight range of 115 miles. The Americans quickly put it to use during the First Gulf War: In one of the more absurd moments of the conflict, a group of Iraqi soldiers surrendered to a Pioneer, waving white bedsheets and T-shirts at the drone as it circled overhead. The Pioneer would eventually be used in more than 300 missions in the Persian Gulf, and would later be deployed in efforts to stabilize Haiti and the Balkans during the 1990s.

For a new generation of young guns, the experience of piloting a drone is not unlike the video games they grew up on. Unlike traditional pilots, who physically fly their payloads to a target, drone operators kill at the touch of a button, without ever leaving their base - a remove that only serves to further desensitize the taking of human life. (The military slang for a man killed by a drone strike is "bug splat," since viewing the body through a grainy-green video image gives the sense of an insect being crushed.) As drone pilot Lt. Col. Matt Martin recounts in his book Predator, operating a drone is "almost like playing the computer game Civilization" - something straight out of "a sci-fi novel." After one mission, in which he navigated a drone to target a technical college* being occupied by insurgents in Iraq, Martin felt "electrified" and "adrenalized," exulting that "we had shot the technical college full of holes, destroying large portions of it and killing only God knew how many people."
Only later did the reality of what he had done sink in. "I had yet to realize the horror," Martin recalls.
* Part of the Iraq Reconstruction Initiative ( snark )

Iraqi voices: Patchwork electrical grid a symbol of country's disconnects


According to John Rizzo, who served as chief counsel at the CIA for six years, the process of approving drone strikes effectively required him and 10 other lawyers at the agency to "murder" people from the CIA's counterterrorism center in Langley, Virginia. Most of the lawyers are either down the hall from the CIA director's office on the seventh floor - the "power floor," as it's known within the agency - or embedded in different services, including those designated as "clandestine" and "forward deployed." When the agency wants to launch a drone strike, Rizzo explained in an interview with Newsweek, it asks a lawyer to provide legal cover for the assassination by signing off on a five-page dossier laying out the justification for the attack. The cable usually contains a list of 30 people targeted for death. Occasionally, the memos are rejected for not containing enough information. More often, Rizzo would approve the kill, writing the word "concurred" following the phrase, "Therefore we request approval for targeting for lethal operation." In his six years as chief counsel, Rizzo says, he signed off on about one kill list per month.
Drone assaults on high-value targets - known as "personality strikes" - usually require approval from a lawyer like Rizzo, the CIA chief and sometimes the president himself. But the CIA's more common use of drones - known as "signature strikes" - involves attacks on groups of alleged militants who are behaving in ways that seem suspicious. Such strikes are reportedly the brainchild of the CIA veteran who has run the agency's drone program for the past six years, a chain-smoking convert to Islam who goes by the code name "Roger." In a recent profile, The Washington Post called Roger "the principal architect of the CIA's drone campaign." When it comes to signature strikes, say insiders, the decision to launch a drone assault is essentially an odds game: If the agency thinks it's likely that the group of individuals are insurgents, it will take the shot. "The CIA is doing a lot more targeting on a percentage basis," says the former official with knowledge of the agency's drone program.
But to countries like Pakistan, what America considers a legitimate strike against terrorists appears to be little more than a militarized version of homicide. "From the perspective of Pakistani law, we probably committed a murder," says the former CIA official. "We commit espionage every day, breaking the laws of other countries." To absolve itself in the most sensitive strikes, the CIA has become skilled at using lawyers to cover its tracks. "They use paper when it is going to help them," says the former official. "Or they get on the secure phone. Or they get in an elevator casually with a lawyer and ask for his advice, like, 'There's nothing preventing me from destroying those tapes, is there?'"
 "Giving a civilian diplomat veto power on an assassination campaign is incredible," says Clive Stafford Smith, the executive director of Reprieve, a human rights group that is suing over the use of drones. "Can you imagine what the reaction would be if the Pakistani ambassador in Washington was overseeing a campaign of targeted killing in America?"
.......lived with his grandparents in Sana'a, the capital of Yemen. Like others in the southern part of the country, he lived in terror of the constant buzz of drones overhead. "Every night, they don't sleep," says his grandfather. "They make unbelievable noise, and people are suffering."

V-1 flying bomb

The V-1 flying bomb (German: Vergeltungswaffe 1,[3] Fieseler Fi 103), also known as the Buzz Bomb or Doodlebug, was an early pulse-jet-powered predecessor of the cruise missile.
The V-1 was developed at Peenemünde Airfield by the German Luftwaffe during the Second World War. During initial development it was known by the codename "Cherry Stone". The first of the so-called Vergeltungswaffen series designed for terror bombing of London, the V-1 was fired from "ski" launch sites along the French (Pas-de-Calais) and Dutch coasts.
The attacks stopped when the last site was overrun on 29 March 1945. In total, the V-1 attacks caused 22,892 casualties (almost entirely civilians).

The "F-35 Killer" Is Already Airborne

Those who are pushing the F-35 down Canada's throat will take any chance to extol its unproven, awesome technical advantages, particularly its stealth technology.   The idea is the enemy cannot hit what it cannot see.   The invisible bomber gets into enemy airspace, bombs its target and gets out completely undetected.

It reminds me of a long departed uncle who was fond of saying, "Don't eat that, Charlie.  That's horseshit."

You see you can't consider the F-35's merits in isolation because it can't operate independently, certainly not in stealth mode, in a real war scenario.

....So if the SU-35S is so formidable and the F-35 light bomber is so vulnerable why do our political and military leaders seem so intent on us having it?  There's a simple answer to that.   The F-35 is our admission ticket to America's aerial Foreign Legion.  It's how we stay in the Pentagon's club.

You see, remember the explanation about how the F-35 depends on protection from the F-22 Raptor and guidance from AWACS command aircraft and lots and lots of tanker aircraft?   Well, we don't have those airplanes.  Sure we've got a few tankers but not what's needed for combat missions and we have zero, nada, zip of those F-22s and AWACS.   So if Canadian F-35s ever do get to work their stealth magic in combat it will be under the command of the Americans.

21st century America is hyper-militarized, a true warfare state.   In the United States today, military force has displaced diplomacy as the principle instrument of foreign policy.  When you buy the F-35, you're signing on to that same militarism.   That may sound peachy to the big boys at DND or within the Harper cabinet but it's a hell of a thing to do to Canada.

If the past ten years have taught us anything about the American military and political leadership (and our own) it's their breathtaking levels of incompetence, their astonishing willingness to get into wars they're not prepared to fight and their fierce dependence on weapons that cannot deliver victories.  If there's a weapon that ties us into that, and that weapon is the F-35, we should be running for the hills.  

Get a load of comments about COIN as Rand evaluates for Afghanistan. Even true believers promoting the nonsense about incompetence and stupidity as èxplaining` the recurring use of tactics seeding failing puppet regimes don`t project viable government. But the PNAC bragging about taking control of the government - by people who did it - and rewriting the map of the Middle East is a 'conspiracy theory.' What deceased uncle said.


from Jan 1996, acousic version of Universal Soldier


beforeitsnews.comIt’s hard to imagine an America where the fundamental laws of the land have been stripped away. Those founding principles that, for the better part of two centuries, made America the last bastion of true freedom in the world, so much so that millions of tired, poor, and huddled masses yearned to bre...

The foundation of the international food industry, monopolized by large corporations that hold zero regard for your health, is cracking.

Andrew Michler

Updated Cornell Study Shows Fracking Causes More Global Warming Than Coal

( LOL I pointed out notes on fracking in my Energy and Water files
Guess he didn't want comments from a 'Denier'...or should that be all caps to indicate outrage ! )

Read more: Cornell Study Shows Fracking Causes More Global Warming Than Coal | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building

The Link Between Wireless Technology and the Rise in Autism

in November of 2007 a study came out describing a possible link between autism and microwave electro-magnetic radiation (EMR) the high frequency microwaves emitted by cell phones and other forms of wireless technology [1] The study suggested that EMR inhibits the nerve cell’s ability to clear toxins – most notably heavy metals – from the body, which thereby augments the onset of autistic symptoms. Biomedical researchers have found that people with autistic spectrum disorders have a difficult time efficiently excreting toxins from the body, a process known as methylation. The researchers in this EMR-Autism study set out to find out the cause of this impairment.

Essentially, excretion of toxins – specifically heavy metals – was tested by taking skin, urine, hair, and stool samples from children with autism. Initially, most of the subjects excreted very low levels of heavy metals. However, according to the test results, with a controlled reduction of exposure to EMR in the treatment areas and the subjects’ homes there was a demonstrable increase over time in the levels of heavy metals excreted. Thus, it was found that by diminishing the patients’ EMR exposure, their ability to detoxify metals from the body increased. The study concluded that exposure to EMR could impair a person's ability to detoxify heavy metals from the body.

Their report advises that the bulbs should not be left on for extended periods, particularly near someone’s head, as they emit poisonous materials when switched on.

Paper on Parade: Technological innovations and industry clustering in the bicycle industry in Taiwan

. In Italy, as in modern Taiwan, industries -- many of them the same industries as in Taiwan -- occur in clusters, such as the machinery cluster around Bologna or the furniture industry cluster that occupies an arc around the city of Venice.

Such clusters typically occur in industries marked by rapid product and technological change, often seasonal, such as textiles or computer parts. The firms in them are small and highly specialized, performing only the manufacture of one part, or one step in the product manufacturing process. Typically the industry is export-oriented. Clustering has been demonstrated repeatedly to have all sorts of positive effects, speeding technology development and dissemination, lowering search and information costs, and so on.

Taiwan abounds in such clusters. In the north there is the massive computer industry cluster. In Taichung there is a sporting goods cluster. In San Chung outside Taipei there is a cluster of mold and die and machine tool firms. Central Taiwan is also home to Giant, the largest bike maker on earth, and the subject of this paper: 


List of Top 100 Taiwan Blogs 

Stokes and Hsaio on the US Strategy and Taiwan 

On Thursday, a Philippine Coast Guard vessel and a third Chinese ship from the Ministry of Agriculture arrived. Shortly after, BRP Gregorio del Pilar and one of the Chinese maritime surveillance ships pulled out of the area.
Does the Ministry of Agriculture in the PRC operate armed fishing vessels? It would indeed seem that way.


Nursing a Grievance

This is a video of 500 nurses holding a meeting to complain about conditions at Taipei's Rungzung Hospital, a situation replicated all over Taiwan. 

At the bottom of the institutional pecking order, often from working class families, nurses are the target of the System's attempt to reduce costs by exploiting labor. The job is so awful that even nursing positions that pay as much as college professor positions go unfilled..... 

How Nixon buried the US position on Taiwan 

Water Policy in Taiwan: A Primer
What can Taiwan Really Learn from Korea


Sites I Like 

 Electric Trike

Rising cost of gas and lowered income = adaptive choices

Alberta electrics are restricted to 500 watts if they are to retain bicycle status 

One World Trade Center rises, providing breathtaking view of Manhattan

Let`s make one for the UN...the Tower of Babble 


Most progressives agree that traditional institutions, cultural or political, deserve a good shaking up. So we approve of discourse that challenges the boundaries set by staid literary journals or moribund political organizations. In letters as in politics, we speak on the one hand of the traditio...


Chinese Researchers Unlock Secret of Butterfly Wings to Make Efficient Solar Power

 The Secret of the Fibonacci sequence in trees

Will Eric Holder hold these people accountable? Because at the very least, none of the people who took part in this coverup should still have jobs. Maybe they're infected with the same disease I've seen in cops through the years: 'Hey, if this guy …
After their exodus of corporate sweethearts, ALEC has decided maybe it wasn't a very good idea to reach beyond their mission. On Tuesday morning they announced they were disbanding their VoterID and Stand Your Ground task forces. David Frizzell, …

Bold : Earthquakes with a magnitude ≥ 4.5 in Euro-med, or ≥ 5.5 in the world Red : Earthquakes with a magnitude ≥ 5 in Euro-med, or ≥ 6 in the world
If it isn't the GOP in the US or the EU then our homegrown fascists will institute domestic spying and use of quislings. Aren't you glad we 'won' the war against the Nazis at the cost of so many lives?

The government is trying to ram through an anti-Internet set of electronic surveillance laws that will invade your privacy and cost you money. The plan is to force every phone and Internet provider to surrender our personal information to "authorities" without a warrant.
John posted a comment in the Care2 News Network.
"The study rather ignores some 'elephants in the room' It should be no surprise that a person starved for intimacy seeks it recklessly. The war of drugs is an effective method for filling prisons with ..."
John posted a comment in the Care2 News Network.
"It`s called asking the wrong question. One of the delightful practices of colonialism is to destroy peoples and governments in places they want to dominate, installing puppet rulers. Doing so stimulat..."
John posted a comment in the Care2 News Network.
"Interesting Brian. Why 30 years? If you go back to the history just after the American Civil War you will find General Armstrong Custer embroiled in politics over a scandal about the President's brot..."
John posted a comment in Care2 Causes
"Good presentation. The story of environmental destruction does not stop with the more obvious effects. Sourcewatch has an information nexus on the effects of collecting coal ash from exhaust. Deposits ..."
John posted a comment in the Care2 News Network.
"And the conflation of controversy about a new science pretense with an old protection of dogma does nothing for impartial evaluation. I laughed when I found scientists had put up a blog openly mocking..."
Student's Experiment Shows How Microwaved Water Kills Plants After Just Days

At 12:01am on Wednesday, March 14, Ottawa-based activist and progressive blogger, Obert Madondo, started an indefinite hunger strike to protest PM Stephen Ha...
Corexit 9500 contains Propylene glycol - Propylene glycol MSDS:
Special Remarks on Chronic Effects on Humans: May affect genetic material. May cause adverse reproductive effects and birth defects based on animal test data. It can be absorbed through the skin and cause systemic effects similar to those of ingestion, It may affect behavior/central nervous system depression, general anesthetic, con...See More


WARNING: Corexit may affect genetic material. May cause adverse reproductive effects and birth defects based on animal test data. The government states the d...

A cry for the animals on the second anniversary of the BP OIl Spill, all photos were taken in Mississippi, thank you Evanescence for the use of the song My I...

What DOES Foreign Inducement Look Like Anyway?

 It apparently doesn’t look like an American on a phone reading a script that’s supposed to convince Canadians to vote for a Conservative MP. Because there is a photo of that happening last election, and yet there are no charges laid, 10 months later, to enforce Section 331 of the Elections Act.

If It’s Not One Thing

…It’s your Mother. Is that how the expression goes?
The Conservatives haven’t been in hot water over just one scandal lately. There are more than the average human can keep track of. If you take their screw ups, deceptions, and crimes individually, many Canadians feel they are just run of the mill problems. However, you can’t take them individually, because they collectively point to the real problems — the Conservative Party of Canada does not care too much for democracy. They pay lip service to it, because most Conservative voters still want Canada to be a democracy (where they’d accept the legitimate electoral defeat of the CPC). The Conservative Party cabinet has active contempt for Canadians, and this comes out in allowing Ministers to call Canadians “child pornographers”, “adversaries”, “radical foreigners”, “enemies of the state”, and even “Internet Taliban”. Peter MacKay feels justified in hiding a planned $10,000,000,000.00 expense from us until there’s a contract, and it’s too late to cancel without inducing Columbia Record Club like penalties.
Twenty Imaginary Worlds


From the land of Oz to Middle Earth, here's a look at the reality of imaginary realms.
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