My Common Sense Politics
By Ali Abunimah
20 August, 2014 Electronicintifada.net
Palestinians look at an unexploded Israeli missile, which witnesses said was fired by an Israeli aircraft on a street in Khuzaa, east of Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, 3 August. (Ramadan El-Agha / APA images)
A few days before he was killed trying to disarm an unexploded Israeli missile, Hazem Abu Murad, the head of Gaza’s bomb squad, estimated that Israel had dropped between eighteen to twenty thousand tons of explosives on Gaza since 7 July.
As I write, Israel has resumed its heavy bombardment after a nine-day truce ended without a long-term ceasefire agreement.
If Abu Murad’s estimate is right, then the explosive power Israel has fired on Gaza by land, sea and air so far is roughly equivalent to one of the atomic bombs the United States dropped on Japan in August 1945.
The bomb dropped on Hiroshima was rated at 13 kilotons – the equivalent of thirteen thousand tons of high-explosive TNT – while the bomb dropped on Nagasaki was rated at 21 kilotons.
Abu Murad, who died along with five other people on 13 August, estimated that about one thousand tons of unexploded munitions remained. There are more than 1,900 people killed in the ongoing Israeli assault – that is more than one out of every thousand of Gaza’s nearly 1.8 million residents.
Israel constantly publishes claims about how many mortar shells or rockets have been fired from Gaza – it claims for instance that 3,360 rockets were fired from Gaza between 8 July and 6 August.
It is well known that the rockets have caused minimal damage and casualties, and most fall in so-called “open areas.”
But even the number, which is supposed to sound impressive and justify the attack on Gaza, is actually minuscule compared with the volume of ordnance Israel fires into Gaza.
Estimates based on partial information from Israeli sources indicate that Israel has fired tens of thousands of artillery shells into Gaza and dropped a bare minimum of six thousand tons of bombs from the air. Abu Murad’s on-the-ground estimate is certainly plausible.
And the evidence suggests that contrary to Israeli official propaganda about the care taken to protect civilians, the vast majority of Israeli munitions are inaccurate and indiscriminate in the context of densely-populated areas where they have been widely used in Gaza.
This probably explains why Israel is so coy about publicizing the number of missiles, bombs and shells it fires at Gaza.
What is not in doubt – given the vast scale of killing and destruction inflicted in Gaza, as documented in UN satellite images – is that it is indeed an enormous number.
In one of the most severely hit areas, Khuzaa and al-Qarara in the southeastern Gaza Strip, the UN counted 2,493 destroyed structures, 1,243 severely damaged structures and 2,014 impact craters.
The Israeli military itself states that between 8 July and 5 August, “aerial, naval and ground forces struck 4,762 terror sites across the Gaza Strip.”
Of course we know that Israel defines everything it bombs as a “terror site,” so this number includes thousands of civilian homes, mosques, businesses and other civilian objects and infrastructure.
We also know that Israeli munitions factories were “working in shifts, 24 hours a day” to provide enough ammunition and shells to forces attacking Gaza.
During the attack, the Obama administration also replenished Israeli stocks from a one billion dollar weapons stockpile the US keeps in Israel. This included 120 mm mortar rounds and 40 mm grenades.
Israeli sources provide some information that allows us to generate a more accurate picture of the quantity of explosives Israel fired, and why their impact was so lethal and indiscriminate.
Indiscriminate artillery fire
The easiest type of munition to estimate is artillery shells. On 14 August, Haaretz published the following information, sourced to a “senior official of the general staff” of the Israeli army (emphasis added):
The estimated cost of the total ammunition used in Gaza fighting is estimated at about 1.3 billion shekels [$370 million]. According to the army’s figures, 39,000 tank shells, 34,000 artillery shells, and 4.8 million bullets were supplied during the fighting. Senior military figures estimate that land forces alone used at least 60 percent of the 5,000 tons of ammunition given to them, but the IDF [Israeli army] cannot yet evaluate it accurately.
According to the same senior staff officer, most of the ammunition came from Israeli production lines. Some of the ammunition was purchased from the US during hostilities, within the “advance placement” program. Additional ammunition and fighting equipment, along with medical equipment, were also ordered during hostilities, using an expedited procedure via the Defense Ministry.
Israel expert Dena Shunra notes that the concern here is cost – this is a move in budget negotiations in which the army seeks more money – and that is the context in which the numbers are revealed.
If, as reported, 60 percent of the stores were used, that would mean 23,400 tank shells, 20,400 artillery shells and 2.9 million bullets. That is almost two bullets for every man, woman and child in Gaza.
But, by at least one account, this is a woeful underestimate. According to the website Israel Defense, citing military sources, the Israeli army fired “not fewer than 40,000 155 mm artillery shells” into Gaza.
The most common artillery munition Israel employs is the 155 mm M107 high-explosive shell, according to a 2007 Human Rights Watch report titled “Indiscriminate Fire”:
M107 shells are extremely deadly weapons. The expected lethal radius for a 155 mm high explosive projectile is reportedly between 50 and 150 meters and the expected casualty radius is between 100 and 300 meters. IDF [Israeli army] officials have said that the error radius for a 155 mm shell is usually 25 meters. Therefore, if shells are lobbed as close as 100 meters to populated areas, as allowed under an IDF policy … or even closer, as sometimes happened, it greatly increases the likelihood of civilian casualties.
When the shells explode they can spread about 2,000 fragments in all directions. Sometimes they fail to explode and “become potentially explosive duds,” according to Human Rights Watch.
“Israel Military Industries, a state-owned arms producer and exporter, produces the M107 shell, although Israel has also imported 155 mm shells from the United States,” Human Rights Watch says.
What this means in practice is that Israeli shelling is indiscriminate because an “error radius” of 25 meters in a densely populated Gaza neighborhood like Shujaiya is as good as firing randomly into people’s houses.
Four times as many shells as during “Cast Lead”
When you do something again and again, placing great faith in it, investing enormous amounts of money in it, only to see indifferent or even negative results, you wouldn’t be entirely surprised if a neutral observer questioned your sanity or asked you if you were part of some cult. Yet few Americans question the sanity or cult-like behavior of American presidents as they continue to seek solutions to complex issues by bombing Iraq (as well as numerous other countries across the globe).
Poor Iraq. From Operation Desert Shield/Storm under George H.W. Bush to enforcing no-fly zones under Bill Clinton to Operation Iraqi Freedom under George W. Bush to the latest “humanitarian” bombing under Barack Obama, the one constant is American bombs bursting in Iraqi desert air. Yet despite this bombing -- or rather in part because of it -- Iraq is a devastated and destabilized country, slowly falling apart at seams that have been unraveling under almost a quarter-century of steady, at times relentless, pounding. “Shock and awe,” anyone?
Well, I confess to being shocked: that U.S. airpower assets, including strategic bombers like B-52s and B-1s, built during the Cold War to deter and, if necessary, attack that second planetary superpower, the Soviet Union, have routinely been used to attack countries that are essentially helpless to defend themselves from bombing.
In 1985, when I entered active duty as an Air Force lieutenant, if you had asked me which country the U.S. would “have” to bomb in four sustained aerial campaigns spanning three decades, among the last countries I would have suggested was Iraq. Heck, back then we were still helping Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran, sharing intelligence that aided his military in pinpointing (and using his chemical weapons against) Iranian troop concentrations. The Reagan administration had sent future Bush secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld there to shake Saddam’s hand for a photo op. We even overlooked Iraq’s “accidental” bombing in 1987 of a American naval vessel, the USS Stark, that resulted in the death of 37 American sailors, all in the name of containing Iran (and Shia revolutionary fervor).
It’s said that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, but Saddam didn’t remain a friend for long. Emboldened by U.S. support in his war with Iran, he took Kuwait, only to initiate the first round of devastating U.S. air raids against his military during Desert Shield/Storm in 1990-1991. As these and subsequent bombing campaigns damaged and debilitated Iraq, contributing to Saddam’s overthrow in 2003, the Shia majority in that country found common cause with Iran, strengthening one branch of militant Islam. At the same time, the general destabilization of Iraq from a generation of air war and invasion has led to a Sunni revolt, the strengthening of an al-Qaeda-style movement, and the establishment of a “caliphate” across significant parts of Iraq (and Syria).
Now, given that less-than-stellar record, does anyone want to hazard a guess about the next American response to peoples and leaders our government doesn’t like in Iraq or the rest of the Middle East? My money is on more bombing, which surely requires explanation.
Cranking Out Bombers
If one weapon captured the image of the former Soviet Union, it was the main battle tank. From T-34s during World War II to T-72s near the end of the Cold War, the Russians cranked them out like sausages. And if one weapon captured the image of the U.S., then and now, it has surely been the bomber, whether of the strategic or heavy variety (think B-52) or the tactical or fighter-bomber variety (think the F-105 in the Vietnam years, the F-15 “Strike Eagle” in Iraq, and for the future, the most expensive weapons system of all time, the F-35). As the richer superpower, the U.S. cranked out high-tech bombers like so many high-priced sausages.
“The bomber will always get through.” That article of faith, first expressed in 1932 by Stanley Baldwin, thrice Prime Minister of Britain, was seized upon by U.S. airpower enthusiasts in the run-up to World War II. Despite decidedly mixed and disappointing results ever since, bombing remains the go-to choice for American commanders-in-chief.
What we need in 2014 is a new expression that catches the essence of the cult of U.S. air power, something like: “The bomber will always get funded -- and used.”
Let’s tackle the first half of that equation: the bomber will always get funded. Skeptical? What else captures the reality (as well as the folly) of dedicating more than $400 billion to the F-35 fighter-bomber program, a wildly over-budget and underperforming weapons system that may, in the end, cost the American taxpayer $1.5 trillion. Yes, you read that right. Or the persistence of U.S. plans to build yet another long-range “strike” bomber to augment and replace the B-1 and B-2 fleet? It’s a “must-have,” according to the Air Force, if the U.S. is to maintain its “full-spectrum dominance” on Planet Earth. Already pegged at an estimated price of $550 million per plane while still on the drawing boards, it’s just about guaranteed to replace the F-35 in the record books, when it comes to delays, cost overruns, and price. And if you don’t think it’ll get funded, you don’t know recent history.
By Paul Craig Roberts
August 17, 2014 "ICH"
The Western media have proved for all to see that the Western media comprises either a collection of ignorant and incompetent fools or a whorehouse that sells war for money.
The Western media fell in step with Washington and blamed the downed Malaysian airliner on Russia. No evidence was provided. It its place the media used constant repetition. Washington withheld the evidence that proved that Kiev was responsible. The media’s purpose was not to tell the truth, but to demonize Russia.
Now we have the media story of the armored Russian column that allegedly crossed into Ukraine and was destroyed by Ukraine’s rag-tag forces that ISIS would eliminate in a few minutes. British reporters fabricated this story or were handed it by a CIA operative working to build a war narrative. The disreputable BBC hyped the story without investigating. The German media, including Die Welt, blared the story throughout Germany without concern at the absence of any evidence. Reuters news agency, also with no investigation, spread the story. Readers tell me that CNN has been broadcasting the fake story 24/7. Although I cannot stand to watch it, I suspect Fox “news” has also been riding this lame horse hard. Readers tell me that my former newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, which has fallen so low as to be unreadable, also spread the false story. I hope they are wrong. One hates to see the complete despoliation of one’s former habitat.
The media story is preposterous for a number of reasons that should be obvious to a normal person.
The first reason is that the Russian government has made it completely clear that its purpose is to de-escalate the situation. When other former Russian territories that are part of present day Ukraine followed Crimea, voted their independence and requested reunification with Russia, President Putin refused. To underline his de-escalation, President Putin asked the Russian Duma to rescind his authority to intervene militarily in Ukraine in behalf of the former Russian provinces. As the Russian government, unlike Washington or EU governments, stresses legality and the rule of law, Russian military forces would not be sent into Ukraine prior to the Duma renewing Putin’s authority so to do.
The second reason the story is obviously false is that if the Russian government decides to invade Ukraine, Russia would not send in one small armored group unprotected by air cover or other forces. If Russia invades Ukraine, it will be with a force capable of rolling up the rag-tag Ukrainian forces, most of which are semi-private militias organized by nazis. The “war” would last a few hours, after which Ukraine would be in Russia’s hands where it resided for hundreds of years prior to the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Washington’s successful efforts in 1991 to take advantage of Russian weakness to break apart the constituent provinces of Russia herself.
August 9, 2014
Israel, you are an enemy of the Palestinian people in both Gaza and the West Bank. But there are many enemies in the world. And what you do that is wrong is exceeded by many other nations-behaving-badly. Of all the nations in the Middle East, yours is the most democratic; and arguably the best. And my nation, the United States of America, is easily the most dangerous and destructive on the planet; no nation will have done more to end life on earth than the US through its greed and quest for an impossible life style.
But I write here for more than anything, Israel, you are an enemy of my people, of the American Jews. I resent you for what you have done to us and how your represent the most unjewish of perspectives and how you have managed to twist and thwart us into your image. You have poisoned us.
And you did so from the start. You played on our guilt, rightful guilt, that we the Jews of America were not able to rescue our fellow Jews from the catastrophe in Europe. And you built on that guilt with the greatest of public relations and pure fantasy that was the story of the 20th century Exodus...a story where Jews were in the right, Arabs in the wrong, that the new holy land was “a land without people for a people without land”. You wove you story to tell us that Palestinians, a people you say did not exist, fled their land when a two state establishment was to be in 1948 because their leaders told them to do so, for they would they would get to return as soon as the Jews “were driven into the sea”. You made Leon Uris’s Exodus the real Exodus and changed a work of fiction into the historic truth.
You called us the Diaspora and one made aliyah an “ascent”, a step up, in return to zion. As if we were lesser. As if we weren’t the largest and most virbrant and most culturally contributing Jewish community on earth, the real heart and soul of post-Holocaust Jewry.
You campaigned endlessly for our money and our support and while the US doesn’t allow the dual citizenship that you do, you wished for us to be, in heart and in function, dual citizens of the US and Israel. And you expected that we vote in our American elections as if we were the Jews of Israel that you saw us to be. You made your nation that litmus test of our candidates for our country.
We came to you in stages. Certainly from your birth in which we shared your joy. But your true hold on us began circa 1967 with your preemptive attack on your neighbors who you assured us were going to attack you. When you won in lightening and breathtaking speed, your power, your strength, your very western character, your very western colonial character, put you center stage among American allies.
For the first time, support of Israel meant support of America, our nations conflated. And you drew on that to enforce that bound, knowing that we, as American Jews, could safely and confidently embrace you as Americans for doing so was an American thing to do.
So we signed up with you to the hilt. And you became ours. We flew your flag, next to the flag of our nation, in our temples, and thus brought the secular and the mundane and the tribal and the unholy into our houses of worship. And in the process, you managed to kill off the real lessons of Judaism, the words in the torah and, very much, the lessons of the talmud, as well as that incredible sense of social justice, fair play, and support for the underdog that was our tradition. Here in America, no group has ever been so progressive, so liberal in thought, so at the front lines of righting the wrongs tha we American Jews. And through our presence here in large numbers, from the post Civil War era of urbanizaiton and industrialization until arguably the 1970s when our values began to morph and become polluted and we chased you, the golden calf, as well as chasing the new wealth (and power) we were acquriing in our own nation.
Sunday, 17 August 2014
Law enforcement officers, including a sniper perched atop an armored vehicle, watch as demonstrators protest the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Mo., Aug. 13, 2014. (Photo: Whitney Curtis / The New York Times)
For blacks, the “war on terror” hasn’t come home. It’s always been here.
According to the Economist, “America’s police have become too militarized.” Not to be outdone, Business Insider published an article by Paul Szoldra, a former US marine who professed to be aghast at the scenes of camouflage-wearing, military-weapon-toting police officers patrolling the streets of an American city in armored vehicles. Szoldra quotes one of his Twitter followers, another former soldier, who wrote: “We rolled lighter than that in an actual warzone.”
Some may be surprised to see such stories run in magazines like the Economist and Business Insider, but suddenly discussions about America’s militarized police forces are semi-mainstream. In the wake of the police killing of African-American teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and the subsequent riots and protests, social media is littered with images of tear gas, tanks, and police in military gear with automatic weapons — all aimed at black people in the city.
Several publications and writers have rushed to alert us about their stories on the militarization of the police. Commentators have encouraged us to connect the dots between what is happening overseas and what is happening here. Hashtags referring to Ferguson and Gaza share the same caption. We are told by some that the war on terror has come home.
Presumably, connecting these dots and making these comparisons will offer more clarity about the current situation faced by Ferguson’s beleaguered black residents.
But what will we better see and know? And who and what will be (once again) invisible and unheard in the process?
In her book Scenes of Subjection, Saidiya Hartman writes:
rather than try to convey the routinized violence of slavery and its aftermath through invocations of the shocking and the terrible, I have chosen to look elsewhere and consider those scenes in which terror can hardly be discerned … By defamiliarizing the familiar, I hope to illuminate the terror of the mundane and quotidian rather than exploit the shocking spectacle.
Hartman’s emphasis on “the terror of the mundane and quotidian” is her attempt to address the dilemma of black people having their suffering (un)seen and (un)heard by non-blacks — including those who purport to care:
At issue here is the precariousness of empathy … how does one give expression to these outrages without exacerbating the indifference to suffering that is the consequence to the benumbing spectacle or contend with the narcissistic identification that obliterates the other or the prurience that too often is the response to such displays? This was the challenge faced by [Frederick] Douglass and other foes of slavery…
A century and a half after Douglass fought against slavery, the police have become more militarized in terms of weapons, tanks, training, and gear. SWAT teams have been deployed at an accelerated rate and for an increased number of activities. Reports, like the one recently published by the ACLU, provide some details about these technologies of war amassed by local police departments.
Sunday, 17 August 2014 00:00
By William I Robinson, Truthout | News Analysis
A building in Rafah destroyed by the Israelis during Israel's assault on Gaza in January, 2009. Shortly after Israel concluded its month-long Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, Professor William Robinson was targeted for repression for including material critical of Israel in his course materials. (Photo: International Solidarity Movement)
Professor William Robinson of UCSB was the target of a campaign of intimidation, silencing, and political repression that included techniques described in the "Hasbara handbook" by the Israel lobby in contravention of academic freedom and university rules. He describes the experience here.
The latest Israeli carnage in Gaza has provoked worldwide condemnation of Israel for its continued war crimes and its illegal occupation of Palestinian territories. In response, the Israeli state and its allies and agents are stepping up campaigns of intimidation, silencing, and political repression against opponents of its policies. Israel may continue to win military battles - after all, it has the fifth most powerful military on the planet - but it is losing the war for legitimacy. In the wake of its bloody attacks on schools, hospitals and United Nations refugee centers in Gaza, support has intensified around the world for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. The BDS campaign in the United States has taken off, above all, on university campuses, which is why the Israel lobby is so intent on targeting academia.
Five years ago, I was attacked by the Israel lobby in the United States, led by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and nearly run from the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB), where I work as a professor of sociology, global and Latin American studies. The campaign against me lasted some six months and garnered worldwide attention, but I am hardly alone. Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of professors and student groups have been harassed and persecuted for speaking out against Israeli occupation and apartheid and in support of the Palestinian struggle. Some of these cases have been high profile in the media and others have gone relatively unknown. The latest victim, Steven Salaita, a respected scholar and professor of English literature and American Indian Studies, was fired in August from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, for denouncing on social media the most recent Israeli atrocities in Gaza.
The persecution to which I was subjected involved a litany of harassment, slander, defamation of character and all kinds of threats against the university by outside forces if I was not dismissed, as well as hate mail and death threats from unknown sources. More insidiously, it involved a shameful collaboration between a number of university officials and outside forces from the Israel lobby as the university administration stood by silently, making a mockery of academic freedom.
The disciplinary procedure initiated against me by UCSB officials involved a host of irregularities, violations of the university's own procedures, breaches of confidentiality, denial of due process, conflicts of interest, failure of disclosure, improper political surveillance, abuses of power and position, unwarranted interference in curriculum and teaching and so on. As I would discover during the course of the ordeal, individuals inside the university and in positions of authority had linked up with agents of the lobby outside the university in setting out to prosecute me.
Friday, August 15th, 2014
Ferguson, Mo is not about the militarization’s of America’s police force. It is and should be about the “Israelization” of America’s police force in equipment, training, ideology, perception and doctrine. The days of “to serve and protect” are long gone, given way to the new doctrine imported from Israel where “citizens” are the enemies, especially if they are Blacks, Hispanic, Muslims, Arabs or White Leftist and liberals. We have seen this transformation in the way the local police dealt with the “Occupy Wall Street” and how it dealt with the citizen’s protest in Ferguson, MO.
We should not be surprised with this massive earth-shattering shift in attitude, philosophy and doctrine. Michael Chertoff of Homeland Security, the ADL and Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) made sure that law enforcement agencies in the United States view citizens, all citizens as “potential terrorists” and should be dealt with as “terrorists”.
Americans are no more citizens with constitutional rights of free speech, free assembly, with the rights to petition governments, with rights against illegal search and seizure, Miranda and Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. These rights do not exist and never existed In Israel especially to none “ Jewish” residents or citizens of the State of Israel, let alone the 4 million Palestinians Arabs under Occupation, who have NO rights whatsoever other than being potential and or terrorists.
JINSA through its Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP) and with its high level connections in the White House, Congress, Defense and Homeland Security, arranged for the training of tens of thousands American law enforcement officer at the federal, state and local level. Both Douglas Feith and Richard Perle, former top Pentagon officials and key advisors to Bibi Netanyahu played a key role in the entire transformations of American’s police force from “to serve and protect” to “ hit and kill” just like the Israeli security forces.
“ The Israelis changed the way we do business regarding homeland security in New Jersey said Richard Fuentes, the Superintendent of the NJ State Police after a training session and a trip to sponsored by JINSA” and it sure did.
Friday, August 15th, 2014
Posted by Franklin Lamb … Palestinian camp, Baalbec, Lebanon
[ Editor's note: My spirits are up, as we have an uprising in progress against the Zio-Monsters. People are fed up with it. They know it will be a long fight to erase the stain of Zionism from the earth, as it will state-sponsored terrorism.
But these same folks are smart enough to know we need a big support project for Gaza that can be done now for the media attention and to keep the opposition movement becoming more active.
This hospital ship request is going to put anyone who can provide help on the hot spot if they say no. It is going to take a long time to bring Gaza back to being able to take care of over 10,000 wounded, many seriously. These hospital ships would go a long way toward bridging the gap.
Sisi in Egypt - I suspect as part of his agreement with Israel to keep the border shut - will wear the shame of not letting the Gazan wounded out or the Iranians in with all their medical help. The Egyptians literally blocked them from going in. It was an outrage, and the United Nations should address the closing of borders in these emergency cases.
I have a good feeling that when the Israelis stop shooting, we will not this time. So let's take the fight to them, bombarding them with boycott-rockets to disassociate ourselves from the criminal regime AND all those who support them, including the Christian Zionists here in the US. They also must pay for what they have done, like maybe 25-years worth of tithes... Jim W. Dean ]
The statistics are just beginning to be analyzed—by UN agencies and a myriad of NGO’s whose mandates include salvaging young lives from the nearly incalculable ravages of the five-week (and counting) Zionist aggression upon Gaza.
It is of course the third aggression in six years against the 1.8 million Palestinians, sardine-canned into what is increasingly referred to as history’s largest open air prison, but the outcome this time is looking particularly cruel and grim.
As the Netanyahu regime announced (on 8/10/14) that its attacks on Gaza would continue, increasing numbers of obscene calls—for Israel to “finish the job” and “go all the way” etc.—are floating in the Zionist state’s malodorous public echo-chamber, emanating from such figures as the Knesset’s deputy speaker, who advocates driving Palestinians into the Sinai desert and resettling Gaza with Jews.
In Khuza’a “the Israeli military had trapped at least 32 people in a home and then prevented the Red Cross from evacuating them before shelling the area,” reported Lebanese-American journalist Roqayah Chamseddine. Hoping for safe haven, the people in the house sought refuge in the basement of a neighbor’s home, where they found additional families already inside.
“By that point we were 120 people, 10 men and the rest women and children,” Kamel al-Najjar recalled for Human Rights Watch.
After dawn and without warning (no polite leaflets or knocks on the roof apparently), Israel struck the house, killing three people and wounding 15 others.
The toll of the war on Gaza’s children has been “catastrophic,” according to UN agencies. At least 450 have been killed, and those not having their physical bodies buried have found their innocence entombed. It is another casualty in the war—a war against all things daring to live and resist in Gaza. According to Chamseddine:
“Israel has forced the children of Gaza to lay flowers atop headstones, and watch helplessly as coffins that are filled with not only their most beloved family members, teachers, neighbors, and friends but also their most treasured memories, lullabies, lessons learned and those that will never come, descend into the belly of the earth. Their lips will memorize and form prayers for the dead and the stars that defied the siege that flickered freely high above them will be snatched from their skies.”
Increasingly it is being heard from Gazans that “Israel has stolen everything beautiful in our lives,” and Israel’s barbarity confirms this sentiment.
Middle East analysts point out that it is difficult to recall a time in modern history when there has been so much sustained slaughter of this region’s civilian population, with more than two-thirds of the victims being women and children.
For the past year, UN agencies and other humanitarian organizations have lamented a simple reality—that there is not a sufficient level of international aid to save lives and treat those in need of emergency and longer term medical care.
But now something is changing.
The horrors we have just witnessed, especially with respect to traumas inflicted on children, is producing, as should be the case, a major and rapidly growing international focus on salvaging young lives. Descriptions and evaluations of the consequences of Gaza wars are being published and urgently discussed. Some analysts and government officials, including Pentagon planners, are calling for a ‘Medical Marshall Plan,’ to save Gaza’s children. One proposed first step is the dispatching of a humanitarian support group of hospital ships that would sail to Gaza without further delay.
What can and must be done, by the United States and other countries with the naval and medical capacity to do so, is to organize a Hospital Ship flotilla to break the siege of Gaza, to anchor offshore, and to begin caring for the medical needs of all, with a special focus on children and their psychological well-being.
Call it a Mercy Mission. Initially it could include the following countries—all well known for their hospital ships with up-and-running medical staffs: the USA, UK, France, China, Russia, Spain, Argentina, and Australia. Within this group of nations are ships with hundreds of patient beds and fully stocked pharmacies.
Moreover, it is a group not likely to be interfered with by those who have imposed the inhumane blockade of Gaza (and of course it even includes some of their collaborators in the region), but perhaps most importantly, every country on the list possesses one or more hospital ships that are fully staffed and available to act.
By Daniel Taylor
“Dreams of the far future destiny of man were dragging up from its shallow and unquiet grave the old dream of man as god…” – C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength, 1945
In 1945, George Orwell, famous for his stunningly accurate portrayal of a future police state in 1984, commented on prominent author C. S. Lewis’ book That Hideous Strength. Hideous Strength revolves around the National Institute for Coordinated Experiments (NICE) and the organization’s plot to seize control of all life. Orwell’s commentary was published in the Manchester Evening News in 1945 with the headline “THE SCIENTISTS TAKE OVER.” Orwell wrote,
“All superfluous life is to be wiped out, all natural forces tamed, the common people are to be used as slaves and vivisection subjects by the ruling caste of scientists, who even see their way to conferring immortal life upon themselves. Man, in short, is to storm the heavens and overthrow the gods, or even to become a god himself.
There is nothing outrageously improbable in such a conspiracy. Indeed, at a moment when a single atomic bomb – of a type already pronounced “obsolete” – has just blown probably three hundred thousand people to fragments, it sounds all too topical. Plenty of people in our age do entertain the monstrous dreams of power that Mr. Lewis attributes to his characters, and we are within sight of the time when such dreams will be realisable.”
Do we live in an age when these dreams of power could become a reality? Lewis and Orwell have been proven very accurate in their portrayals of the future 70 years ago. Much of the momentum for the scientific developments that would create these formerly fantastical technologies began in the lifetimes of both Lewis and Orwell. They witnessed the rise of the science of molecular biology, initiated by the Rockefeller Foundation and other tax-exempt foundations who were interested in finding out how the human body operates, with an eye toward better controlling society. The eugenics and social control paradigms that sprung from this foundation sparked scientific revolution in the early 20th century are still in play today among the intelligentsia of western society.
Vannevar Bush became the first Science Advisor to the United States government during World War II under President Franklin Roosevelt. Bush played a vital role in the creation of what we know today as the Military Industrial Complex. Specifically, the method of scientific research of this gargantuan organization – beginning with the Office of Scientific Research and Development – was devised by Vannevar.
The roots of the internet can be traced to Bush’s ideas in 1945. The forerunner to the computer itself can also be attributed to his early designs. From 1935 to 1946 the Rockefeller Foundation funded Vannevar Bush’s development of the mechanical differential analyzer at MIT for a total of $230,500. This device, along with the Hollerith machine, is considered to be one of the forerunners of the desktop computer that we all know and use today.
Scientific developments and new technologies are often spun as beneficial things for humanity, and in fact many of them are. We need to remember that while each development brings power to mankind, it also gives power to some men over other men. As Orwell said, “There is nothing improbable” about such desires for power.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned in his 1961 farewell speech “…in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific technological elite.”
In 1968 LIFE magazine profiled a man named Herman Kahn. Labeled an “action intellectual”, Kahn is a founding father of future studies. LIFE reports, “Herman Kahn has been a major figure in one of the most fascinating shifts of power in U.S. History: from identifiable public leaders to the ‘action intellectuals.’” The article continues, “As counselors to the decision-makers, men such as Kahn often have access to future technology (what is known, but not yet disclosed) and official intelligence (what is known, but not yet revealed, about the capacities and plans of other nations)… Thus, decisions – based on private knowledge, analyzed by private consultants and debated in private – can become public policy. This is a process of invisible power.”
Scientists from all over the world are warning that robots and artificial intelligence could eliminate humanity. Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, a private space exploration company, told CNBC recently that he is worried about a “Terminator-like scenario” as a result of advancing AI technology.
Top A.I. researcher Hugo de Garis provides another example. De Garis explains that the development of super-intelligent A.I. may lead to a devastating “Artilect” war that could kill billions of people. This war could break out when two distinct groups of humanity emerge; One group embraces the god-like artificial intelligence and technological advancement with religious fervor, the other group fights to prevent it from ever being built. He adds that he is more than willing to take the risk, saying, “As a brain builder myself, am I prepared to risk the extinction of the human species for the sake of building an artilect? … yep.”
This mindset, common among scientific elites, was articulated by Arthur Kroker, Professor of Political Science at the University of Victoria and Director of the Pacific Centre for Technology and Culture. Kroker identified these individuals as “Suicidal nihilists” who “…can very happily ally themselves with a notion of nuclear holocaust or perfect exterminism… They’re creating again and again the exterminism of human memory, the exterminism of human sensibility, the exterminism of individuated human intelligence…”
Partly due to popular culture, transhumanism has begun to catch on with the younger generations. As Amanda Stoel, co-founder of the Facebook group “Singularity Network” told the Huffington Post, “Three years ago, we had only around 400 members, but today we have over 10,000 members.”
Another article from the Huffington Post says that the transhumanist movement is “on the verge of going mainstream” due to increasing popular culture references to transhumanist ideas. Art has been used for millennia to initiate and give support to ideas and movements. Transhumanist artwork in the form of sculptures, paintings, and music is now steadily flowing into our society. Movies like Transcendence, and Avatar are two recent examples.
A haunting sculpture of a humanoid robotic figure crawling through water is featured at the luxury Grove Hotel in Watford, UK.
The hotel was the site of the secretive 2013 Bilderberg meeting. The Grove hotel hosted Google’s annual Zeitgeist conference just a few short days prior to Bilderberg’s gathering. Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt, who currently employs top transhumanist Ray Kurzweil as director of engineering, must have felt a kindred spirit at the Grove and its metallic humanoid sculptures.
Transhumanists embrace the idea of radical human evolution aided by technology. Some see an entirely new species emerging when revolutionary technologies begin to be applied to the human race. Technologies for the improvement of human performance are at the center of transhumanist thought. Most of these technologies begin with military applications, and only after a period of use by the military or black operations are they unveiled to the general public. In 2008 the JASON group, the Pentagon’s top scientific advisers, warned that the U.S. military could face enemies with technologically enhanced abilities. These capabilities include brain-machine interfaces and pharmaceutical drugs that enhance cognitive abilities.
Thursday, August 14th, 2014
Posted by Gordon Duff
… by Gordon Duff, VT Sr. Editor … with New Eastern Outlook, Moscow
[ Editor's note: This has been on the shelf for a bit as world events have pushed it into the background. Here is what we are doing; we are flexing our "nuclear muscles." The material discussed here, and this is the unredated portion of a VT staff discussion, is still some of the highest classified material ever leaked to the public.
Thus, when we get into absurd dialogs with various half-baked "sniffer" types, by our estimation "tasked" with burning up our time as "they" exist for no other purpose than to prevent broad efforts at delegitimization, we simply demonstrate the level they have to attain.
Thus far, they fail miserably. You see, "Nuclear 9/11" is a proven fact, long an official finding of the US government and, over the past months, re-proven with dialogs such as this. Enjoy this for what it is, a rare opportunity to sit at the big kid's table. ]
The discussion below is a rare glimpse into the world of modern warfare and weapons design. The participants are the author and one or more members of America’s advanced weapon research facilities. We begin our discussion examining potential elements used to replace plutonium in both reactors and weapons as well.
Below is the unclassified part of a discussion covering subjects that may well define not only warfare but human survival as well as seen from inside the advanced weapons research community.
Q: Shouldn’t we be replacing Plutonium in our weapons and fuel programs now that America’s production capability is declining?
Yes Thorium will work in a reactor but why. Its efficiency is too low. You still need uranium to get it started, just less. Neptunium will work but why?
It takes at least twice as much and production rates would be one tenth as much. Why build a new breeder reactor just to make more radioactive fuel and waste when we have over 100 tons of PU already made and in storage.
The other issue is testing. NO new weapons can be made or tested. End of story, PU works and it is cheaper. This is just another physics test.
Q: America is losing its capability of maintaining the “big bomb” inventory that is the basis of the START agreements from back in 1991.
A: Nuclear criticality designs up until now have all been based on these big bomb concepts. Today it’s the micro nuke. How small can you make it? 911 was the demo for what small nukes can do. The clock cannot be reset. This was called a fizzle back in the 1950′s and 60′s but a fizzle still goes bang. It is just a much smaller bang. So they ignored it. Today the war fighting doctrine has changed.
Q: How does this fit into our smaller military concept?
A: We are out of troops and a jet fighter costs 65 million dollars each. So the emphasis is on drones, cruise missiles and robots to do the fighting for you. A 3 kiloton nuke weighing 100 lbs. replaces 20 B-52 bombers. Do the math, which one is cheaper? And the PU is paid for, it’s free. We don’t have to make it we already have it in stock.
Micro nukes can be mass produced fast and cheap when needed. Just assemble and test. Cruise missiles weighing less than 1,000 lbs., not 4,000 lbs. Any plane can drop one. Even a Cessna 150 can be turned into a drone. Mortars and tanks can shoot the rounds. Man-pad / RPG micro nukes are just around the corner. Nuclear tipped hand grenades and 36 mm rounds are next.
Q: What kind of small nuclear weapons are in the pipeline?
A: Even a blob of PU-239 the size of a quarter (250 grams) will go bang if compress properly and adequate neutron reflection is used in the design. That’s enough PU to make a minimum 25 plus ton bang. Remember even if the fizzle rate is equal to 1 kilogram of PU, it makes a 1 kiloton bang. So 1gram of PU is equal to 1 ton of TNT.
Q: What can you tell us about working in these micro nuke programs?
A: Even at Sandia the biggest fear is PU Flakes going off by accident during machining of PU-239. If it is improperly compressed; it will make a very small explosion. If you fill a glass vile with PU-239 oxide flakes add some acid and compress it properly you will get a small nuclear chain reaction in the single ton range.
It is called a nuclear Co-hearer, Detonator, Trigger or “Red Mercury.” Put that into a 40mm grenade launcher and it will drop a small building or take out any bunker ETC. PU in a liquid state is more dangerous than in a solid state. It only takes 480 grams of PU in a liquid state to form a critical mass.