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Washington's ISIS War Drums: Do Stupid Stuff, Do It Now!
Who You Callin' An Organizing Principle?!?!
By William Boardman
General News 9/14/2014 at 15:10:49
As Hillary Clinton was widely quoted as saying recently, "Great nations need organizing principles, and 'don't do stupid stuff' is not an organizing principle."
Maybe others have pointed out that this is a pretty stupid statement, but that's far from the conventional wisdom. Think about the levels of stupidity here. Only "Great nations"? What, small nations don't need to get their acts together? And who says the United States is a "great" nation and in what sense is it great and isn't spouting a version of the American exceptionalism cliche just another way of doing stupid stuff? As organizing principles go, "Don't do stupid stuff" is a great place to start. Then all you need to do is figure out what's stupid and don't do it: like not voting for war in Iraq in 2002.
What does the aspiring President Clinton offer for her own organizing principle? In her book Hard Choices, she writes: "Making policy is a balancing act. Hopefully we get it more right than wrong." That means even less than "Don't do stupid stuff." That pretty much means: "we're bound to do stupid stuff but we hope we won't do too much stupid stuff."
Of course that makes good political sense coming from the woman who, as Senator Clinton, voted to go to war in Iraq. As if that wasn't totally knowable, in advance, as doing stupid stuff, really stupid stuff. That vote was a clever trap for intimidated Democrats, afraid to stand up to stupid stuff. Senator Clinton was not alone in that rush to war. She, along with Senators Kerry, McCain, Biden, Hagel, McConnell, Reid, and 70 other Senators, voted to support the administration lying us into that war on transparently dishonest evidence. It's kind of cute, in a darkly disastrous way, that these same wrong-headed people are again among those braying most loudly for more war now. It makes a sort of amoral sense, since today's mess is a continuation of the war they voted for because they presumably didn't think it was stupid stuff that would last more than a decade.
Like lemmings, our politicians are drawn to war and those fuckers take us with them.
Posted by unhappycamper | Mon Sep 15, 2014, 05:43 AM (0 replies)
Analysis Of Volunteer's Metadata Stream Reveals His Life In Detail, Allows Passwords To Be Guessed
from the not-"just"-metadata dept
by Glyn Moody
Fri, Sep 12th 2014 7:39pm
Three years ago, Techdirt wrote about how German politician Malte Spitz obtained six months' worth of basic geolocation data for his mobile phone. He then gave this to the German newspaper Die Zeit, which produced a great visualization of his travels during this time. That showed clearly how much was revealed from such basic data. Since then, of course, metadata has assumed an even greater importance, as it has emerged that the NSA routinely gathers huge quantities of it about innocent citizens. More chillingly, we also know that people are killed purely because of their metadata. But what exactly does metadata show about us? We now have a better idea thanks to the generosity of Ton Siedsma from Holland. He has allowed researchers to access not just the geolocation data of his mobile phone, but all of its metadata:
From one week of logs, we were able to attach a timestamp to 15,000 records. Each time Ton's phone made a connection with a communications tower and each time he sent an e-mail or visited a website, we could see when this occurred and where he was at that moment, down to a few metres. We were able to infer a social network based on his phone and e-mail traffic. Using his browser data, we were able to see the sites he visited and the searches he made. And we could see the subject, sender and recipient of every one of his e-mails.
That's very similar to the sort of thing governments around the world are now routinely demanding. Here's what the researchers were able to find out about various aspects of his life as a result. The basics:
Ton is a recent graduate in his early twenties. He receives e-mails about student housing and part-time jobs, which can be concluded from the subject lines and the senders. He works long hours, in part because of his lengthy train commute. He often doesn’t get home until eight o'clock in the evening. Once home, he continues to work until late.
Based on the data, it is quite clear that Ton works as a lawyer for the digital rights organisation Bits of Freedom. He deals mainly with international trade agreements, and maintains contact with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a few Members of Parliament about this issue. He follows the decision-making of the European Union closely. He is also interested in the methods of investigation employed by police and intelligence agencies. This also explains his interest in news reports about hacking and rounded-up child pornography rings.
His social networks:
From a social network analysis based on Ton's e-mail traffic, it is possible for us to discern different groups to which he belongs. These clusters are formed by his three e-mail accounts. It may be the case that the groups would look a bit different if we were also to use the metadata from his phone. However, we agreed to not perform any additional investigation, such as actively attempting to discover the identity of the user of a particular number, so as to protect the privacy of those in Ton’s network.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sun Sep 14, 2014, 06:54 AM (1 replies)
Former CIA Lawyer Defends Torture in Der Spiegel Interview
By Eric London
OpEdNews Op Eds 8/27/2014 at 14:42:34
In the interview, Rizzo, who worked at the CIA from 1976 to 2009, declares that although the torture programs he approved "seemed harsh, even brutal," he does not regret his support for their implementation.
"I was certainly an architect of the interrogation program, even if I didn't originally come up with it," he says, adding, "I was the legal architect of the proposed list of techniques and played the lead role in obtaining legal approval for their use."
He goes on to tell Der Spiegel, "I can't honestly sit here and say I would have made any different decisions than the ones I made back in early 2002," even as he asserts, "I am confident that, If I had chosen to, I could have stopped (the torture programs) before they started."
At one point in the interview, Rizzo refers to an interrogation technique on the initial list provided by the Counter Terrorism Center that was "even more chilling than waterboarding." He claims it was never used.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Aug 28, 2014, 06:02 AM (0 replies)
Obama’s budding Cambodia Policy in Syria
By Juan Cole | Aug. 23, 2014
Former British ambassador to the United States Sir Christoher Meyer is advocating that the US and Western Europe stop advocating the overthrow of the Baath regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and instead coordinate with it to move against the so-called “Islamic State,” which controls some predominantly Sunni Muslim desert towns on both the Syrian and Iraqi sides of the border.
The Obama administration is also talking about hitting IS in Syria. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says that the IS cannot be defeated without taking it on in Syria. For US fighter jets to fly over Syrian air space and avoid being shot down by Russian-supplied anti-aircraft batteries of the Baath government, the US would have to in some way coordinate with Damascus in this aerial bombing campaign. Typically this arrangement is made by sharing “Identify Friend or Foe” signal codes that the jets send out so that they can be seen as friendlies. Since the stated US position is that al-Assad should resign or be overthrown ASAP, such an arrangement would be, as Meyer says, “the mother of all U-turns.”
Meyer, however, is advocating not just a tacit recognition of strategic and tactical common interests with the Syrian Baath but an actual military alliance, which is unlikely.
British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond pushed back against Meyer’s amoral Realism. Hammond challenged the notion that you needed to coordinate with Damascus to do bombing runs on eastern Syria on IS positions. The foreign minister, however, is wrong about that. There would be a danger of setting off Baath Army anti-aircraft batteries unless there was at least minimal behind the scenes coordination.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sun Aug 24, 2014, 06:24 AM (0 replies)
How Harper’s botched procurement crippled the F-35
By Jonathan Manthorpe | Aug 20, 2014 8:58 pm
Canada will not be alone in being raked over the coals for its low military spending when 150 heads of state and government ministers meet at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit in Cardiff early next month.
Canada’s military expenditure last year, according to the World Bank, was only one per cent of gross domestic product, half the two per cent NATO target. But among the 28 NATO members, only the United States, the United Kingdom, Greece and Estonia have hit the target consistently.
But Canada’s military spending will loom large because the fate of Washington’s problem-plagued F-35 Joint Strike Fighter programme — at $1.5 trillion the most expensive U.S. military procurement programme ever — has become a token of the unwillingness of the NATO allies to march in step.
And among the NATO and allied governments having second thoughts about buying this all-purpose, “fifth generation” warplane, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s decision to shelve the purchase of 65 F-35s — after a damning auditor-general’s report on the government’s misleading representation of the costs — is being seen as a fulcrum moment.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Aug 21, 2014, 08:20 AM (0 replies)
The U.S. Navy’s Most Expensive Warships for 2014
The United States has an impressive array of weapons systems, but it could be argued that none are as imposing as the U.S. Navy's warships. In fact, the U.S. often uses the deployment of these weapons as a "show of force" to intimidate would-be-aggressors into backing down -- and who wouldn't be intimidated by a veritable floating fortress in your backyard?
3. LHA 6 America -Class Amphibious Assault Ship
More importantly, this ship is an essential when it comes to transporting Marine Expeditionary Units and their equipment. In fact, it can carry up to 1,871 troops, in addition to its 1,204-person crew. The Government Accountability Office's, or GAO, estimated program unit cost for this titan? $3.4 billion -- and while that might seem like a staggering number, it's still not as expensive as the next two vessels on this list.
2. DDG 1000 Zumwalt -Class Destroyer
Speaking of dominating, the Zumwalt has a truly impressive array of weapons, including Advanced Gun Systems, Peripheral Vertical launch Systems, a number of missile systems, and a power plant that can produce 78 megawatts of electricity. This means the Zumwalt could be used for futuristic weapons like the Electromagnetic Railgun -- an extended range launcher that uses electricity to fire projectiles at 4,500-5,600 mph. More importantly, thanks to automation technologies, the Zumwalt can be crewed with 142 sailors. That's less than half of what's needed on traditional destroyers. The GAO's estimated program unit cost for this stealth destroyer? $7.3 billion. Expensive, but not nearly as expensive as the last ship on this list.
1. Gerald R. Ford -Class Nuclear Aircraft Carrier (CVN 78)
It's 1,092 feet long, its beam is 134 feet high, its Flight Deck is 256 feet wide, and it has a crew of 4,539. More importantly, the Gerald R. Ford is the first new design for an aircraft carrier since the Nimitz , and it comes power-packed with new technology. This includes: an electromagnetic aircraft launch system, new reactor plants that increase electrical power generation, and there's more space for Flight Deck operations thanks to a decreased island. Further, the Gerald R. Ford 's weaponry includes the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile, Rolling Airframe Missile, Phalanx Close-In Weapon System, and it can carry 75+ aircraft. Clearly, this is one ship you don't want to mess with, and it comes with an equally daunting price: an estimated $12 billion per program unit cost, according to the GAO.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sun Aug 17, 2014, 08:53 AM (9 replies)
The F-35, the Scam of the Century
Voltaire Network | 16 August 2014
The F-35 is the largest weapons program in history. This multi-role aircraft is built by Lockheed Martin with Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems as major partners.
Since the launch of the project, its cost has varied ceaselessly, leading to the cancellation of various orders. Earlier this month, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a reassuring study, however based on figures already two years old. Simultaneously, the Department of Defense assured it would be cheaper to buy but more expensive to maintain.
According to an independent Canadian study by Professor Michael Byers for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Rideau Institute, the truth is much darker: in truth, no one can know the exact cost of an aircraft that has not been precisely designed. However, the 65 aircraft ordered by Canada would likely cost a staggering $ 1.5 billion USD per aircraft over 40 years (in 2007, the United States assured that the aircraft would not cost more than the F-18 and estimated its cost at about 377 million dollars each).
The following bar graph illustrates the increase in the cost estimates for Canada’s fleet of 65 over the past years.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sun Aug 17, 2014, 08:06 AM (1 replies)
Ignoring Ukraine's Neo-Nazi Storm Troopers
by Robert Parry | August 14, 2014 - 7:26am
The U.S.-backed Ukrainian government is knowingly sending neo-Nazi paramilitaries into eastern Ukrainian neighborhoods to attack ethnic Russians who are regarded by some of these storm troopers as “Untermenschen” or subhuman, according to Western press reports.
Recently, one eastern Ukrainian town, Marinka, fell to Ukraine’s Azov battalion as it waved the Wolfsangel flag, a symbol used by Adolf Hitler’s SS divisions in World War II. The Azov paramilitaries also attacked Donetsk, one of the remaining strongholds of ethnic Russians opposed to the Kiev regime that overthrew elected President Viktor Yanukovych last February.
Yet, despite this extraordinary reality – modern-day Nazi storm troopers slaughtering Slavic people in eastern Ukraine – the Obama administration continues to concentrate its criticism on Russia for sending a convoy of humanitarian supplies to the embattled region. Suddenly, the administration’s rhetoric about a “responsibility to protect” civilians has gone silent.
This same hypocrisy has permeated nearly everything said by the U.S. State Department and reported by the mainstream U.S. news media since the Ukraine crisis began last year. There was fawning coverage of the Maidan protesters who sought to overthrow Yanukovych and then an immediate embrace of the “legitimacy” of the regime that followed the Feb. 22 coup. As part of this one-sided U.S. narrative, reports about the key roles played by neo-Nazi activists and militias were dismissed as “Russian propaganda.”
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Aug 15, 2014, 07:05 AM (1 replies)
Ukraine-News Flash: Bloodiest Days of Ukraine's Ethnic Cleansing Expected to Come Now
by Eric Zuesse | August 13, 2014 - 7:18am
A reliably well-informed resident in the area that Obama's Ukrainian regime is ethnically cleansing (i.e., exterminating and/or expelling) has informed this reporter (and all of this source’s previous reports to me have subsequently turned out to be true):
"Kiev is attempting to blow up a chemical plant that will destroy a 600 KM diameter/ 300KM radius of area -- every living thing.
Oleh Lashko, the person my source is referring to, is a convicted embezzler who then became a leading parliamentary member of the "Bloc Yulia Tymoshenko," led by the woman whom Obama had initially expected would become elected on 25 May 2014 as Ukraine's new President. She was also known as "the Gas Princess,” due to her having skimmed billions from Russia’s gas-sales to the State. But another oligarch, Petro Poroshenko (‘the Chocolate King,” and also a shipbuilder), became elected President instead, because Tymoshenko was too far to the right even for most of the voters in Ukraine's northwest. (There were only few people voting in the southeast after Obama's coup, because the post-coup regime had already begun its campaign to exterminate them by the time of the May 25th election.)
The pro-Hitler portion of Ukraine during World War II was the country's northwest. Ukraine's southeast tended to prefer Stalin's rule instead. After the end of communism, the southeast sought closer ties to Russia, whereas the northwest sought closer ties to "the West," but came to be led actually by CIA-backed admirers of the pro-Hitler Ukrainian Stepan Bandera, whom Hitler's forces imprisoned when it became clear that Bandera sought to establish a pro-Nazi independent Ukraine, and Hitler's forces insisted instead on Ukraine’s total subjugation.
When Obama took over Ukraine in the February 2014 coup, his agent Victoria Nuland placed at the top of the new Ukrainian Government the leaders of Ukraine's two nazi (or "pro-Nazi") Parties, Right Sector, and "Freedom" or Svoboda (formerly called the Social Nationalists, but the CIA instructed them to change that name), both being led by Yulia Tymoshenko's ally Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Aug 14, 2014, 06:40 AM (0 replies)
Cyber war program ‘MonsterMind’ could ignite accidental conflicts, warns Edward Snowden
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 13:06 EDT
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A developing U.S. cyber security program would not only hunt down and halt potential computer attacks but also strike back without staff oversight, according to former U.S. National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden.
In an interview with WIRED magazine made public Wednesday, Snowden said the program – MonsterMind – could hurt countries caught in the middle as hackers could disguise the origin of their attacks by routing them through computers in other nations.
“These attacks can be spoofed,” Snowden told the magazine. “You could have someone sitting in China, for example, making it appear that one of these attacks is originating in Russia. And then we end up shooting back at a Russian hospital. What happens next?”
It could also potentially start an accidental war, he said.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Aug 14, 2014, 05:17 AM (1 replies)