Tag Archives | Geopolitics

Hypocrisy on the Moral High Ground

obomberPlease enjoy Aaron’s full article rather than the small excerpt we previously ran yesterday – thanks Aaron!

Aaron Dames writes about the absurdity of war with Syria.

From Divided Core:

Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

-George Orwell

When it comes to making the case for bombing Syria, the US military, government, and mainstream media have taken the moral high ground, where they probably have a house or condo.  In justifying launching a possible attack against Syria, Secretary of State John Kerry accused the Assad regime of crossing a red line and committing a “moral obscenity” by using chemical weapons which have resulted in “the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders.”  Though the killing of civilians by any means is a sin regardless of how they are killed, if chemical weapons delineate a red line, then it has been crossed before.  On top of the conventional weaponry that was used to kill hundred of thousands of innocent civilians during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States used depleted uranium, which has lead to a massive surge in birth defects among a generation of Iraqis and Afghanis.  NATO air forces also used depleted uranium munitions during the bombing of Serbia in 1999.  As part of its chemical warfare program in the Vietnam War, the United States sprayed millions of gallons of Agent Orange – an herbicide manufactured by Dow Chemicals and Monsanto – across Vietnam which resulted in deaths of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese, as well as in birth defects in half a million children.  Days before John Kerry made the moral obscenity remark, the CIA declassified documents which revealed that in 1988 the United States provided Saddam Hussein with satellite images of Iranian military positions, knowing full well that Iraq would attack the Iranians by using chemical weapons such as sarin gas – a nerve agent similar to that which the U.S now accuses Syria of having used.  (On the topic of recently disclosed CIA files, earlier this month the CIA formally acknowledged its involvement in ousting the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran, Mohammad Mossadegh, sixty years ago.)

The U.S is no stranger to chemical warfare.

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The Geopolitics of Alien Intervention

MicahThe Geopolitics of Alien Intervention

…Or a question of whether you feel like you’re being watched?

By Micah Hanks

If aliens were to invade planet earth, what might be their reason for doing so? Also, how might they do it, and would we be able to defend ourselves?

Admittedly, we see this scenario quite often in films, and it’s almost always the result of the same, predictable sorts of patterns we’ve watched ourselves fulfill throughout history as humans, super-imposed onto the silver screen. These involve mean-assed aliens that consider planet Earth a disease-ridden mudball crawling with parasites; we, of course, are those parasites, and the aliens arrive as intergalactic exterminators to save our otherwise lovely terrestrial landscape from its bothersome residents. Another popular one: they’ve destroyed their home planet, and now the alien squatters have arrived to establish themselves like cosmic family members going through hard times, begging to crash on the couch for just a few weeks.… Read the rest

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Inside the Skull and Bones Secret Island

DIGITAL CAMERAOne of the American Thousand Islands, located on the St. Lawrence River, Deer Island is owned by the secretive Skull and Bones Society, who have gathered there for untold decades. Widely rumored to operate as a secret cabal, linked variously to the CIA and the Illuminati, the Society’s membership reads like a roster of American power elites: former presidents, CEOs, public intellectuals, a supreme court justice, and other high-level government officials. In his autobiography, bonesman George W. Bush described it as “a secret society; so secret, I can’t say anything more.” It is no wonder, therefore, that the Society maintains a private island to hide its proceedings from the public.

Clues to the Society’s real activities on Deer Island are slowly emerging, however. In 2009, Hunter Walker of Gawker obtained series of leaked photos showing an actual gathering of bonesmen (and boneswomen) on their Deer Island compound. The truth will shock you.… Read the rest

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The Dangers Of The Growing Malware-Industrial Complex

Via the MIT Technology Review, Tom Simonite writes:

A freshly discovered weakness in a popular piece of software, known in the trade as a “zero-day” vulnerability, can be cashed in for prices in the hundreds of thousands of dollars from defense contractors, security agencies and governments. This trade in zero-day exploits is poorly documented, but it is perhaps the most visible part of a new industry that in the years to come is likely to swallow growing portions of the U.S. national defense budget.

It became clear that this type of assault would define a new era in warfare in 2010, when security researchers discovered a piece of malicious software known as Stuxnet. Now [known] to have been a project of U.S. and Israeli intelligence, Stuxnet was carefully designed to infect multiple systems needed to access and control industrial equipment used in Iran’s nuclear program.

No U.S. government agency has gone on the record as saying that it buys zero-days.

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The U.S. Government’s 1959 Memo On Yeti Encounters

Could the improper discovery or killing of a Yeti in Nepal have provoked an international incident? Slate writes:

Titled “Regulations Governing Mountain Climbing Expeditions in Nepal—Relating to Yeti,” this Foreign Service memo was issued from the American Embassy in Kathmandu on November 30, 1959. Did the U.S. government believe in the Yeti, as some cryptozoologists took the memo to mean?

The memo came at the end of a decade of strenuous Yeti-hunting. In 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay climbed Everest, and reported seeing large tracks. In 1954, the Daily Mail funded a sixteen-week “Snowman Expedition” to Everest to look for clues. And in the late 1950s, American oil millionaire Tom Slick bankrolled a number of Himalayan expeditions in search of the creature.

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U.S. Congress Mulls Creation Of Drone Court To Authorize Killings

Who lives and who dies? The drone court will decide. Via Reuters:

During a fresh round of debate this week over President Barack Obama’s claim that he can unilaterally order lethal strikes by unmanned aircraft against U.S. citizens, some lawmakers proposed a middle ground: a special federal “drone court” that would approve suspected militants for targeting. The idea is being actively considered, however, according to a White House official.

At Thursday’s confirmation hearing for CIA director nominee John Brennan, senators discussed establishing a secret court or tribunal to rule on the validity of cases that U.S. intelligence agencies draw up for killing suspected militants using drones.

Senator Angus King, a Maine independent, said during the hearing that he envisioned a scenario in which executive branch officials would go before a drone court “in a confidential and top-secret way, make the case that this American citizen is an enemy combatant.”

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Al-Qaeda’s Top 22 Tips For Avoiding Drones Revealed

The find reveals that the terrorist network has been anticipating drone-based quasi-war by the United States for a long time. Via the Telegraph:

Found by the Associated Press in a building in Timbuktu, the ancient city in Mali occupied by Islamists last year, the document is believed to have been abandoned as extremists fled a French military intervention last month. Hidden inside a manila envelope, it is a Xeroxed copy of a tipsheet authored by Abdallah bin Muhammad, a senior commander of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

“These are not dumb techniques. It shows that they are acting pretty astutely,” said Col Cedric Leighton, a 26-year-veteran of the United States Air Force, who helped set up the Predator drone program.

The tips include:

Hide under thick trees.

Formation of fake gatherings such as using dolls and statutes to be placed outside false ditches to mislead the enemy.

Spreading reflective pieces of glass on a car or on the roof of the building.

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Unraveling The Stuxnet Virus

From Patrick Clair a year ago, a quick and excellent look at the troubling Stuxnet virus. It has since been confirmed that the United States and Israel were behind its use against Iran's nuclear facilities. The question is now, what have we unleashed?
An infographic dissecting the nature and ramifications of Stuxnet, the first weapon made entirely out of code. This was produced for Australian TV program HungryBeat.  
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U.S. War On Terror Shifts Towards Africa With Plans For Drone Base

Uh oh. The New York Times reports:

The U.S. military is preparing to establish a drone base in northwest Africa so that it can increase surveillance missions on Islamist extremist groups that American and other Western officials say pose a growing menace to the region.

The move is an indication of the priority Africa has become in American antiterrorism efforts. The United States military has a limited presence in Africa, with only one permanent base, in the country of Djibouti. If the base is approved, the most likely location for it would be in Niger.

A handful of unarmed Predator drones would carry out surveillance missions in the region and fill a desperate need for more detailed information on a range of regional threats, including militants in Mali and the unabated flow of fighters and weapons from Libya. The plan could face resistance from some [officials] who are wary of committing any additional American forces to a fight against a poorly understood web of extremist groups in North Africa.

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Are We Headed For A Future Without War?

Our vision of the future typically consists of a vast blighted landscape decimated by nuclear bombs or killer robot drones or battles to control the dwindling supply of water or oil, but a group of Norwegian researchers claim that warfare will become less and less common in coming decades. Could their simulations of a peaceful tomorrow be accurate, or is humanity doomed by aggressive urges? Via TIME:

Global conflicts have in fact been on a downward trend for the last half-century. And a group of researchers in Norway says their data indicates that the future could be even more peaceful.

In a paper soon to be published in International Studies Quarterly, Håvard Hegre, a professor of political science at the University of Oslo, claims that the number of ongoing conflicts will be halved by 2050 — with the greatest decrease coming in the Middle East.

Hegre, along with his colleagues at the Peace Research Institute Oslo, put together a statistical model that took into account factors such as infant mortality, education, youth population, ethnic make-up and conflict history.

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