Archive | September 26th, 2012

Suicide-bombs without the suicides: why drones are so cool


by deLiberation

This article by Paul Rogers was originally published under a Creative Commons licence.

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There are striking connections across decades and enmities in the evolving methods of armed warfare. In particular, non-state actors will soon be deploying versions of the armed-drones now wielded by western powers.

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Drone and Killer


The final years of the cold war in the 1970s-1980s were dominated by nuclear issues, including the nuclear arms-race, Trident, the Soviet SS-20 missile and the cruise-missilesdeployed at Greenham Common and elsewhere. Within that controversial period there were some remarkable technical developments that have a huge relevance decades later, one of them being the long-range cruise-missile itself.

Many of these were nuclear-armed, but even more were conventionally-armed. A great number was used in the attacks of January-February 1991 against the Iraqi forces that had occupied Kuwait. The crucial element was the production of small, super-efficient turbo-fan engines that could propel the craft over 1,500 kilometres or more. These also had advanced-guidance systems, including Tercom (terrain-contour-matching) that enabled remarkable accuracy of less than twenty metres over that range. They were, however, self-contained – their pre-programmed onboard computers did all the work, so the target coordinates could not be changed after launch.

That has all been transformed with the development since the early 1990s of the armed-drone. But something else has changed: the much greater frequency of suicide- (or martyr-) bombing – people prepared to give their own lives in often obliterating attacks in pursuit of a cause. What is rarely recognised, though, is that in one important sense there is no difference between a suicide-bomber and a drone.

The evolution of combat

Suicide-bombing allows explosives to be placed at or very close to a target, with the deliverer having considerable real-time initiative and scope for concealment. He or she can adapt to circumstances in matters of timing as well as any movement of and even the precise location of the target. Countermeasures such as blast-walls and surveillance systems can be circumvented or fooled.

At the core of the attack is almost always a volunteer who is dedicated, intelligent and knowledgeable of the objective and the vicinity. The commitment may stem from political, religious or ethnic identity – and the determination to complete themission may be extremely high once the operation started. The huge impact of suicide-bombs has been well-known at least since 9/11, but major incidents occurred long before then.

A specific assault on Rajiv Gandhi by a member of the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) guerrilla group killed India’s former prime minister and fourteen other people on 21 May 1991. The assassin, Thenmozhi Rajaratnam, had got close enough to garland Gandhi with flowers before activating his device.

In October 1995, the Sri Lankan army dislodged the LTTE from its core city of Jaffna in a costly and brutal campaign. A devastating response followed on 31 January 1996, when a suicide-bomber detonated a truck-bomb at the entrance to the central bank right in the heart of Colombo’s business district. Many important buildings were destroyed or damaged, and almost 100 people were killed; flying debris took a huge toll of injuries, with around 1,400 affected (see “The asymmetry of economic war“, 14 February 2008)

In the past ten years, most such attacks have been across the middle east and south Asia, but they almost all have those characteristics listed above. They are repeatedly effective and difficult to counter without very considerable resources.

The similarity with armed-drones is striking. Drones such as the Reaper have multiple air-to-surface missiles, can loiter for hours and are “flown” in real time by operators thousands of miles away. There is no risk to these people, no suicide factor. Drones may not have quite the precision potential of a suicide-bomber, and in the very final seconds before impact the missiles that are fired cannot be diverted or halted. They are also dependent on previous intelligence which may be faulty and, as with suicide-attacks, a target person may be accompanied by many others, including family members. Yet they are increasingly the weapons of choice (see “Drone warfare: cost and challenge“, 23 June 2011).

The majority of armed-drone developments in the past decades has been American or Israeli but the degree of proliferation is quite remarkable, not least across Nato. Apart from extensive Israeli use, the main proponents in current conflicts have been the United States, with drones “flown” from Creech air-force base near Las Vegas, and the United Kingdom, with the operating base in the process of moving from Creech to RAF Waddington, south of Lincoln in eastern England, one of the main bases for the RAF’s air-warfare centre (AWC).

The blowback effect

At present the “balance” between suicide-targeting and drone-targeting is more or less equal. In 2007-08, suicide-bombing was more prominent but armed-drones have caught up (see Michael Hastings, “The Rise of the Killer Drones: How America Goes to War in Secret“, Rolling Stone, 12 April 2012). The conflict is moving from expeditionary warfare, with tens of thousands of “boots on the ground”, towards the “remote control” of threats using armed-drones, special forces, privatised military contractors and possibly even “Prompt Global Strike” with conventionally-armed ballistic-missiles. Armed-drones are likely to be central to this, with much more research, development, production, deployment and use still to come (see “America’s global shift: drone wars, base politics“, 3 May 2012).

Then comes the blowback.

As paramilitary movements learn to respond, their range of options starts with the utilisation of many readily available technologies. They may be aided by support from a sympathetic regime – witness the unarmed TV-guided drones from Hizbollah, deploying Iranian technology, that have caused the Israelis such concern (see “Hizbollah’s warning flight“, 5 May 2005). Even short of that, the fusion of so many available dual-use technologies and the abilities of skilled engineers and technicians working within radical movements means that armed-drones from non-state actors will be a feature of asymmetrical, transnational war very soon (see “An asymmetrical drone war“, 19 August 2010)

In addition, and even without using drones, paramilitary movements should be expected to target the drone-war centres such as the Creech and Waddington bases – if not the bases themselves, then soft targets in their vicinity.

What military planners and policy-formers in the west realise least of all is that while the results of drone-warfare rarely make the western media in any depth, they are extensively reported on regional and satellite TV stations across the middle east and into Asia. Even more pertinent is the pervasive coverage of drone-attacks on the worldwide jihadist social media. Moreover, the graphic images of death and suffering on both these kinds of outlets are far grimmer than anything seen in the west (see “Every casualty: the human face of war“, 15 September 2011).

For now, the drones hold sway – but it is no more than atemporary phenomenon, a transient phase. Within a very few years, and maybe even only months, the next phase will commence as paramilitary groups respond. As with other elements of the “war on terror”, the seduction of short-term advantage disguises damaging longer-term consequences.

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Attenuated News — The New Propaganda


by Ariadna Theokopoulos

Attenuated News—The New Propaganda

Maybe pretty posters will come back ….

In a dialog about Facebooks’ censorship, Barb Weir posted an interesting video from the Onion which facetiously claimed that Facebook is a tool of the CIA. The satire implies that such a claim is absurd.

The Onion, for those unfamiliar with it, is an online satirical publication which fulfills the same role that shows like Daily News with Jon Stewart do on American television. They target “leftists,” “progressives,” and what I would call “irreverent Democrats.” Those are diehard Democrats enthralled with their own capacity for “critical thinking,” which they prove to themselves by taking playful bites at Obama and the Democrat party.

Their self-induced ecstasy provoked by their independent thinking never gets out of hand, however. In their fast and fancy footwork they never lose balance and tread over the demarcation line by touching on such taboos as the highjacking of American foreign policy by Israel or Jewish power. No, they are not bigots!

I consider this video from the Onion, satirizing the idea that Facebook is a tool of the CIA, emblematic for what can well be a breakthrough in propaganda methods.

Goebbels, even hasbara, are so last century!

Why be secretive about your covert machinations and when rumors start circulating attempt to combat them by denial and fabrication, when you can do prophylactic propaganda? The revolutionary approach that can truly change the face of the propaganda is based on two simple rules:

  1. Get in front of the news by stating facts, true and unaltered, BUT
  2. Present them in a satirical way so that the public discounts them.

“Hey, have you heard about the one about attack on the US embassy in Lybia being a false flag operation?”

“Yeah, it cracked me up. I saw a video on Onion. Those guys are funny!”

“Did you see last night’s episode on Daily News in which Jon Stewart makes fun of Romney and Obama competing for the Jewish vote?”

“No, but I heard it’s a hoot. You know, exaggeration is the essential ingredient of comedy. Stewart is so crazy. He had me in stitches.”

Like all great ideas, this new approach to lying by telling the truth in between guffaws and one liners only makes you wonder: What took them so long?

Pre-emptive wars require pre-emptive propaganda. “The best lie is the truth” (but articulated between howls of laughter).

Inoculate disbelief and chuckles in the news and they will no longer pose the threat of a reaction or contagion.

Turn the news into an attenuated virus to which those exposed are already  immunized if they stumble on facts.

Re facebook being CIA


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Back in Gaza – Ken O’Keefe


It has been a long hard road back to Gaza with a mad amount of slander, UK police corruption, you name it, the powers that be do not want the Samouni Project to happen. Fuck’em, its gonna happen.

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AIPAC-Drafted US Aid to IsraHell Illegal


Israel’s nuclear weapons render it ineligible for US aid

Grant Smith

The Israel lobby’s biggest and longest-running Washington boondoggles are the massive annual weapons and economic packages to Israel. Tightly coordinated campaign contributors (both individuals and political action committees) and the Israeli government’s own quiet demands manifest themselves within AIPAC-drafted foreign aid legislation. The U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012 forces Americans to fork hard-earned tax dollars over to Israel’s coffers on the pretext that it is in eminent danger.

Yet declassified documents reveal that even the current prime minister once worked inside the state’s clandestine nuclear arms smuggling rings. Transferring foreign aid to the Middle East’s sole nuclear weapons state — which can obviously take care of itself — is not just unseemly and unnecessary. It is illegal.

AIPAC’s publicly available tax return [.pdf] reveals it has now become as seamlessly linked to its foreign principal as its parent organization — the American Zionist Council — was when it was finally ordered by the Kennedy administration to openly register as an Israeli foreign agent in 1962. AIPAC spent $1,541,572 maintaining its Jerusalem office.

The office, led by Wendy Senor Singer, is described as the official location for daily meetings with senior Israeli government officials. It is also used to coordinate the visits of supplicant U.S. politicians with funding from a mysterious captive charity of no employees claiming to be an educational organization [.pdf]. The Israeli government’s desires are seamlessly transcribed into legislation at AIPAC’s headquarters in Washington — raising the perennial question why AIPAC is not registering as Israel’s foreign agent.

In relation to the sheer volume of American taxpayer dollars it transfers to Israel, on paper AIPAC is a rather thinly-funded and top-heavy organization. In its latest schedule of contributors, filed in late April and just obtained by special request from the IRS, AIPAC reported that only 1,949 individual contributors provided 61% of its $64 million in total contributions and grants.* The top-tier donors each gave on average $20,206, with the top donor chipping in an impressive $6,610,181. Although contributions to 501(c)(4) organizations like AIPAC are not tax-deductible, corporations and partnerships can write off contributions as a business expense. One AIPAC donor, an attorney in New York City whose confidential data the IRS didn’t successfully scrub, presumably paid AIPAC with funds from his law partnership, which AIPAC listed as the contributor’s address.

AIPAC claims in mandatory disclosures filed with the clerk of the House of Representatives over the same time period that it spent approximately 4% of its total budget on actual lobbying. AIPAC’s core lobbying mission hasn’t changed much since AIPAC’s founder left his Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs post in New York in 1951. Isaiah Kenen’s mission was to obtain U.S.-taxpayer-funded weapons and aid by lobbying from a Jewish Agency funded front group of “concerned Americans” rather than working openly as Israel’s officially registered foreign agent.

In Kenen’s day, Israel first obtained massive amounts of surplus WWII conventional weapons simply by stealing or purchasing [.pdf] them to be scrapped and instead smuggling them from the United States in violation of the Arms Export Control and Neutrality Acts. The smuggling networks were established and funded by small numbers of wealthy Zionists who were curiously immune from criminal prosecution. When less enfranchised citizens later demanded warranted prosecutions, the Justice Department simply ignored them, establishing a policy that has held fast to the present day.

The AIPAC-sponsored U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012, signed into law by President Obama on July 27, 2012, makes unprecedented demands on U.S. taxpayers and diplomats. It mandates American economic largess to Israel via high technology, agriculture, medicine, health, pharmaceutical, and energy transfers.

It demands funding for Israel Aerospace Industries (a corporation only recently linked to Israeli espionage activities against the U.S.) missile-defense programs and air-refueling tankers and munitions Israel could use to unilaterally set off a wider war with Iran. Israel even won a detour of used weapons from U.S. forces departing Iraq. The aid law extends already generous loan guarantees to Israel.

However, the package also requires the U.S. president to issue to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and House Committee on Foreign Affairs a report on the status of Israel’s “qualitative military edge” by Jan. 23, 2013. It is finally time for some hard truths. An honest presidential response to this AIPAC-mandated reporting rider would wipe clean all current and future U.S.-taxpayer-funded obligations to Israel. A truthful presidential assessment would finally tell the American people the following: “Israel has deployed a clandestine nuclear arsenal with some components and materials stolen from the United States. Our foreign aid laws therefore make Israel ineligible for further taxpayer dollars.”

Such a truthful declaration would turn the tables on AIPAC and its small group of donors now pushing Americans to steal from themselves by systematically violating the Symington and Glenn amendments to U.S. foreign aid laws. Ending aid would disentangle unwitting Americans from Israel’s unending conflicts, illegal settlements, systematized abuse of Palestinians, and clandestine nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.

*As reported in 2011, in previous years AIPAC filed contributor schedules with the IRS that improperly listed only two donor entries. After numerous complaints were made to the IRS, AIPAC has apparently been forced to again file proper schedules listing every contributor donating more than $5,000.

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Zio-Nazi Media: Egyptian official threatens IsraHell over Sinai


Member of Egypt’s Higher Military Council says Cairo ‘will cut off the arm of any foreign or domestic aggressor’ if Israel initiates military operation in Sinai


Egypt is threatening to “cut the arm off any foreign or domestic aggressor” following Israeli calls for a military operation in Sinai in the wake of a terrorist attack that claimed the life of Corporal Netanel Yahalomi on Friday.

A member of Egypt’s Higher Military Council told the al-Masry al-Youm newspaper that Cairo will not let one piece of Egyptian land be compromised.

The unnamed official warned Israel against trying to provoke Egypt adding that the country’s military command is handling the issue “with wisdom and calmness.” He noted that Egyptian military is following the recent developments on the border including “Israeli threats” to initiate a military operation in Sinai.

The official added that Egypt’s rulers are taking reports from Israel regarding “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wish to carry out a military operation in Sinai to eliminate terrorists who threaten Israel’s security” very seriously.

Meanwhile, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Sunday that Israel would not agree to reevaluate its peace deal with Egypt.

“There is no chance that Israel will agree to any kind of change” to the peace deal, Lieberman told Israel Radio. “The Egyptians shouldn’t try to delude themselves or delude others and they should not rely on this demand,” he said.

On Friday, a terrorist cell attacked IDF soldiers providing infiltrators with food and water in the Mount Sagi area on the Israel-Egypt border. One soldier was killed and another was injured.

A female IDF combatant from the Caracal Battalion shot dead one of the three terrorists. Another combatant who hid behind a bush was feared kidnapped prompting the dispatch of reinforcements. She was eventually found and was reprimanded.

In the wake of Hosni Mubarak’s ouster, the Sinai Peninsula has turned into a terrorist hotbed.
Meanwhile, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi left Cairo early Monday en route to New York to attend the UN’s General Assembly scheduled to open on Tuesday. Morsi is expected to meet with five world leaders and give an interview to CNN.

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Ahmadinejad: Israel has ‘no roots’ in Middle East, upsets region


Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - Reuters - 24.9.2012


Israel has “no roots” in the history of the Middle East and represents a disturbance for Iran, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday.

Ahmadinejad said Iran has been around for thousands of years, but Israel has existed for only 60 or 70 years. He said that for a certain “historical phase” Israel represents a disturbance for Iran and “they are then eliminated.”

“They (Israel) have no roots there in history,” Ahmadinejad told reporters in New York, where he is due to attend the UN General Assembly. “They do not even enter the equation for Iran.”

Earlier in the day, Ahmadinejad told the Washington Post that Iran did not take seriously Israeli threats of an attack on its nuclear facilities, adding that he believed that the Americans are “peace-loving people.”

“We, generally speaking, do not take very seriously the issue of the Zionists and the possible dangers emanating from them,” he told columnist David Ignatius early in the interview. “Of course, they would love to find a way for their own salvation by making a lot of noise and to raise stakes in order to save themselves. But I do not believe they will succeed. Iran is also a very well-recognized country and her defensive powers are very clear.”

Also on Monday, while speaking to CNN, the Iranian president referred to the possibility of an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, saying “Any nation has the right and will indeed defend herself.”

“But my question is this: Why should the world be managed in such a way that an individual can allow himself to threaten a rich and deeply rooted historical, ancient country such as Iran? A great country, such as Iran, based on an excuse of his own fabrication,” he said, adding: “Another country can say, I am guessing that country B is doing activity X, therefore I will attack that country … can this be … a successful formula for the management of the world?”

Regarding other issues, Ahmadinejad was asked during the CNN interview how he would feel if one of his children married a Jewish person, saying: “I would have to see who that Jewish man or woman would be.”

“I see love amongst people as completely acceptable. There are many Jews living in Iran with whom we are very close. There are … some Muslims that marry into Jewish families or marry Christians,” he said, adding: “I – we have no such problems.”

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