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13 January 2011

Drones, Leaks, Suicidal Farmers

Tariq Alli on Drones

Serious Pakistani newspapers, Dawn and the News, claim that 98 per cent of those killed in the strikes over the last five years – the number of deaths is estimated to be between two and three thousand – were civilians, a percentage endorsed by David Kilcullen, a former senior adviser to General Petraeus. The Brookings Institution gives a grim ratio of one militant killed for every ten civilians. The drones are operated by the CIA, which isn’t subject to military rules of engagement, with the result that drones are often used for revenge attacks, notably after the sensational Khost bombing of a CIA post in December 2009.lrb
How is Taliban/Militant vs Civilian determined?

We can assume that USG personnel are not on the ground in the village
ie they deduce from Aerial Videos that certain people on the ground are T/M
How? because they receive visitors? because they travel? ??
or they get information from paid informants.
I suggest that its likely that paid informants are likely to be at the end of a chain
ie A is paid, he pays B who pays C who is in the village, and reports that House X contains T/M
Apparently a "cigarette packet sized" device can be left near(?) the house to guide Bombs in.
How sure can we be of the accuracy of paid infromation A-B-C ec
i would guess not very sure at all (consider Gitmo detainees, and multiply by multiple uncertainties)

It seems that USG decides to blow up a house or vehicle because an occupant, or probable occupant has been accused by A_B_C
or looks like someone who was.

All those near Target are considered Associates - including household , family, guests, visitors

A senior village man may receive visits from many in the village area?

It seems to be common practice to re-bomb those who attempt to rescue/recover victims of initial bombing.
This is a particularly disgusting practice

The morality of all these practices seems low to me.

Even before we consider has USG the right to bomb individuals in a 'friendly' country
even if it is sure thay are T/M??

Zizek on WikiLeaks
WikiLeaks revelations is that they contain no surprises. Didn’t we learn exactly what we expected to learn? The real disturbance was at the level of appearances: we can no longer pretend we don’t know what everyone knows we know. This is the paradox of public space: even if everyone knows an unpleasant fact, saying it in public changes everything.
‘The actual pressure must be made more pressing by adding to it consciousness of pressure, the shame must be made more shameful by publicising it.’

Suicides c/o Monsanto

17,368 Indian farmers killed themselves in 2009, the worst figure for farm suicides in six years..
2008 count of 16,196.. total farm suicides since 1997 to 216,500.
.."Farmers who used to be able to send their children to college now can't send them to school."
cotton 1-12th of .. 30 years ago..half of the suicides are occurring in the four states of the country's Cotton Belt.
Vandana Shiva, a scientist-turned-activist, notes that the problem of farmer suicides started in 1997 when the Indian government removed cotton subsidies and genetically modified varieties of cotton were also introduced.
"Every suicide can be linked to Monsanto,"
..monsoons, which used to arrive once a year, have failed three times in the last 10 years across much of the country.

Shot lengths in yr fav movie

Can a CP economy feed itself??
As a die-hard Socialist, I'd likke to think so. BUT Capital with its loans ends up producing more?
Even if its a chemical-Monsanto-Cargils kind of hydroponics (ie ignoring/destroying the soil biota?)
... Then theres Cuba, which just manages to feed its population?
Or ...  Compare: Algeria and Libya, one 'Capitalist' and the other 'KhaddaffiGreen', both with heaps of Oil/Gas... As of today only one has rioting.

Nth Korea
Peak Oil , not just yet...
..not peak monthly oil just yet. As long as there isn't a massive financial crisis in the next few months (which is what happened to the last global high in oil production) I imagine we'll clearly exceed the July 2008 peak production....largely come from non-OPEC production rather than OPEC, and the latter undoubtedly still have some spare capacity...
I briefly thought that Israel was absent from WikiLeaks, so its oddly re-assuring to have J Cole point out some gems.
Is anyone else amused that the US diplomats refer to the Israeli government as “The GOI”?

US cables quote Ashkenazi telling the US congressmen, “I’m preparing the Israeli army for a major war, since it is easier to scale down to a smaller operation than to do the opposite.”
...Israeli unmanned drones had had great success in identifying rocket emplacements in southern Lebanon, and that it had been aided in this endeavor by the US National Security Agency
..In the next war Israel cannot accept any restrictions on warfare in urban areas.
..Hamas is not in control of even more radical groups, which had infiltrated cells into Hamas itself, and which had rocket-making capabilities. ..
..last year this time Hizbullah had about 20,000 rockets, some of which can now reach Tel Aviv, and that the Shiite militia will attempt to stretch out its supplies for a two-month-long war, and would try to lob about 100 rockets at Tel Aviv per day.

Gaza: Hamas cant have more than a few Kornets, which will make the IDF wary for a while. (They use Merks as troop carriers, and it must be freaky to know that kornets can drill right in] Cant see Hamas doing much damage. But I cant see how IDF could usefully smash more houses than in Cast Lead. ie Gaza is already smashed, so IDF cant effect much change there. Maybe massacre 10,000 100,000? whats Gaza population? 1.5M??

Lebanon Hezb pop up from tunnels with AntiTankMissiles. IDF must map every tunnel exit and pop a 200kg bomb on every one.
Hezb can make a lot of dummy exits... Does IDF have enough JDAMS? (gps chips from Auckland NZ?)
ATM launch teams are hard to spot. IDF will need Attack Helicopters up and looking. Rather scary, since Kornets can do Choppers too.
Prediction: Hezbollah may lose. OTOH they may have enough rocket launch sites with enough range to seriously inconvenience Isreal population.

One idea to thwart Infrared cameras: cloaks with layers of BubbleWrap insulation sewn in.

Bubblewrap is under-rated. In 1981 protests in New Zealand, the Police had no water canons, no pepperspray. They did train up riot squads who used batons. The protesters responded with Motorbike Helmets, Cricket groin protectors ("Boxes") and padding made from rolled corrugated cardboard. And plywood shields.
Helmets were scarce, and expensive if confiscated. Maybe a few layers of bubble wrap sewn into a beany might work?

Kettling: in England, police trap protesters for 5+ hours in 'kettles'.
One tactic that the 81ers used was a kind of dragon dance .. the protesters marched upto and along and then away from the front line of baton wielding cops. This educated the protestors in what they were up against. Kettling may be too compressed to allow for such movement.
Not sure if plywood shields would make it to the protest .. cops might preemptively seize them these days. Magistrates might consider them weapons (which they sometimes were) Im not sure if Helmets would make it to a demo, or if subsequent magistrates would dismiss them as permissible defence.

Face Recognition Cameras: rely on a bunch of points: eye centres, eye corners, mouth corners, ear lobe - chin etc.
Some can be changed with face paint/charcoal (used to be burnt cork when corks were popular) around eyes and mouth the edges can be blurred. A few mm should throw the recognition algorithms back to the general population... Earlobes covered with Vulcan fakes?
Not much to be done about eye-centres and chin?

Problem for the police with kettling: clubbing and spraying of random citizens caught up in Kettle can lead to deaths, which doesnt look good on the evening news. The odd eye destroyed by water cannon barely makes the news. Maybe Aljazeera.

.. Agrimonde1,..INRA ..CIRAD.. Paris...
Agricultural productivity in Africa doubled between 1961 and 2003 .... most surprising results ...Patrick Caron.. (not everyone is saying this]
African ..10,000 kcal/ha
global 20,000
asia 25,000..Productivity elsewhere 2x-3x
Asia....wheat yield may be lower, but if you take account of rice and other crops grown in the same year, the total yield is higher..

..major reserves of potential farmland ..especially in Africa and Latin America.. 1.5 b ha..cultivated could be increased to 4 billion, ... at the expense of pastures and forests..

.. past 15 years, yields of wheat have stagnated in Europe and ..northern India.. farmers stopped alternating wheat with pulses,..
.. conclusion that the world will be able to feed ..nine billion in 2050.. two scenarios.
1) economic growth but gives low priority to the environment
2)emphasizes feeding the world while preserving ecosystems. ....3,000 kcal p/day.. 500 kc/d of animal origin, ..require an increase of 30% in farm output .. cf 80% for 1)
..3,000 kc/d= current world average..
4,000 kc/d..OECD
<2,500 kc/d.. sub-Saharan Africa. ______________________________________________________________________ cyberlockers > bittorrent??