Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare – cena najniższa – PC, PS4 i Xbox ONE.   
Zastanawiasz jaka jest cena Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare? Chciałbyś kupić CoD:IW najtaniej? Poniżej przedstawiamy najniższe oferty cenowe dla najnowszej wersji Call of Duty. Uwzględniamy także wersje z dostępnym Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered, które wchodzi w skład między innymi Legacy Edition. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare – najniższa cena PC: Call of Duty: […]
          Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered – mapy na których zagramy   
Studio odpowiedzialne za Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered zdradziło na jakich mapach zagramy w najnowszej produkcji. Będzie to wszystkie 16 map znane z pierwszej części Modern Warfare. 10 z nich zostanie opublikowane w dniu premiery. Kolejne 6 zostanie udostępnionych w grudniu całkowicie za darmo. CoD:MWR mapy dostępne w dniu premiery: Ambush Backlot Bog Crash […]
          Go offensive! Australia military gets cyberwarfare unit to battle overseas hackers    
Preview The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is getting a cyberwarfare unit for defending the country from cyber threat, as well as conducting offensive military cyber operations to shut down foreign criminal networks overseas.
Read Full Article at RT.com
          Σχόλιο στο Στη θάλασσα το αεροπλανοφόρο HMS Queen Elizabeth, το μεγαλύτερο πολεμικό πλοίο του Βρετανικού Ναυτικού από Gunslinger32   
Προφανώς πρόκειται για ένα σύγχρονο πλοίο, απο μόνο του όμως και χωρίς τα μέσα που θα μεταφέρει στο μέλλον είναι απλά ένα πλωτό αεροδρόμιο, που εκτός απο τα συστήματα αυτοάμυνας δεν έχει να προσφέρει κάτι παραπάνω απο μια φρεγάτα, ένα υποβρύχιο η ένα αντιτορπιλικό του RN, ωστόσο η δήλωση των Άγγλων πολιτικών ότι πρόκειται για το πιο ισχυρό πλοιο του βασιλικού ναυτικού είναι λίγο υπερβολική. Σε κάθε περίπτωση θα είναι η χαρά των υποβρυχίων κυνηγών, και ειδικά για τους συμμετέχοντες στο perisher course(και απο τα μέλη του ΝΑΤΟ που διαθέτουν υποβρύχια),<br /> οι οποίοι σύμφωνα με διάφορες αναφορές λατρεύουν τέτοιους «ισχυρούς» στόχους. 😉 <a href="http://www.public.navy.mil/subfor/underseawarfaremagazine/Issues/Archives/issue_28/dutch.html" rel="nofollow">http://www.public.navy.mil/subfor/underseawarfaremagazine/Issues/Archives/issue_28/dutch.html</a> <a href="https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/2c/aa/70/2caa7080c20aee12897ca01754bd901c.jpg" rel="nofollow"><img src="https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/2c/aa/70/2caa7080c20aee12897ca01754bd901c.jpg" alt="" width="700" height="" /></a> <a href="https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/d4/c4/56/d4c45600bf5c8223ccdd17b5e255c77c.jpg" rel="nofollow"><img src="https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/d4/c4/56/d4c45600bf5c8223ccdd17b5e255c77c.jpg" alt="" width="700" height="" /></a>
          A bug in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare turned a sniper rifle into a smart bomb for one day   
A new gun introduced into Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare this week was, for the day it was left live, able to clear a screen of enemies every time it was fired. This news comes courtesy of PCGamesN. The gun is identified as the Proteus, which is capable of switching between sniper and shotgun modes. […]
          Price Drop: RPG Alphadia Genesis   
RPG Alphadia Genesis
Kategorie: Spiele
Preis: 5,99 € -> 1,99 €
Version: 1.0.2
in iTunes öffnen

Beschreibung:
Anime-style RPG Sale! Save up to 89%OFF on 4 KEMCO titles! (USD 9.99 -> USD 0.99) A brand new entry in the Alphadia series! Full-fledged fantasy RPG experience with stunning 3D battles! ■Important Notice■ Due to high memory usage, it is not recommended that multiple applications are used simultaneously while playing Alphadia Genesis. Doing so could cause the game to fail to load or force quit. Therefore, we ask you free up any available memory before playing. Alphadia Genesis boasts a rich multifaceted story that revolves around Fray, an Archleign's guild member and Corone, a knight in the Ghalzabine Army. As their journey progresses and conflicting national interests come to the forefront, it becomes apparent that it will take more than a little work on both their parts if their relationship is to weather the boding storm on the horizon. Having been at peace for only 15 years since the end of the Energi War, the kingdoms of Archleign and Ghalzabine are once again thrust onto center stage after a murder perpetrated by a clone, whose rights and freedoms they both lobbied for, comes to light. Hoping the treaty signed to end the use of clones for conventional warfare has not been violated, a joint-investigative team is put together to find out the cause and bring those responsible to justice. However, things then appear to be far more volatile than anyone could have first imagined... ▼Dramatic Event Scenes With a voice cast of many notable Japanese actors and actresses lend...
          Iraq declares end of caliphate after capture of Mosul mosque   

After eight months of grinding urban warfare, Iraqi troops capture the ruined mosque at the heart of Islamic State's de facto capital Mosul, and the Prime Minister declares the group's self-styled caliphate at an end.


          The week Activision sells Modern Warfare Remastered standalone, it puts COD: Ghosts on Xbox One back compat   

Call of Duty Ghosts on Xbox 360 is now playable via Xbox One, thanks to the console's backwards compatibility programme.

The timing of its addition is interesting - Activision has just this week started selling Modern Warfare Remastered standalone for £34.99, after previously only including it in the pricy Legacy edition of Infinite Warfare.

Ghosts was far less popular than Modern Warfare, however - it's unlikely it will see its own Remastered-style re-release.

Read more…


          The Vicious Cyber-War Against Venezuela   
Havana. The psychological warfare being waged by the oligarchic opposition in Venezuela –following the strategic and tactical objectives of US imperialism– has strong support in a well-organized Twitter operation that promotes protests from the Miami-based DolarToday platform. This is described in a research article published by the well-known specialist Erin Gallagher. DolarToday is a US website based in More
          Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare - Absolution   
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          Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Absolution Coming First to PlayStation 4 on July 7   
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Absolution Coming First to PlayStation 4 on July 7 New DLC Pack Features Four Diverse, New Multiplayer Maps Actress Cassandra Peterson Reprises Her Iconic Role of Elvira in New Zombies Experience “Attack of the Radioactive Thing!” set in a 1950s Creature Feature June 30, 2017 – Activision and Infinity Ward have unveiled the first official details of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Absolution, the third DLC Map Pack for 2016’s No. 1 top-selling console video game in the United States (excluding hardware bundle sales), Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. The map pack features four new, diverse multiplayer maps, and a new zombies co-op experience called Attack of the Radioactive Thing!, set in a ‘50s era beach town where a government science experiment has gone horribly wrong. Absolution is scheduled to release July 7, first on the PlayStation Network for the PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system, with other platforms to follow. “Our team couldn’t be more thrilled to introduce another wild, twisted zombies experience in Attack of the Radioactive Thing!, which continues the story and adds some awesome new gameplay,” said Dave Stohl, Studio Head of Infinity Ward. “For our multiplayer fans, we’re delivering four diverse maps that reward the different gameplay styles our community has embraced since the game launched last year. We can’t wait.” Attack of the Radioactive Thing!, the next action-packed chapter of the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare zombies experience, once again features the return of Willard Wyler, the enigmatic movie director villain portrayed with voice and likeness by Paul Reubens (Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, Gotham). Wyler has trapped the four protagonists inside an all-new horror film, set in the 1950s and in the style of the Creature Feature films of the era. Players will fight a new array of zombie enemies across a ravaged beach town where a government science experiment has transformed the residents into flesh-devouring zombies and introduced a new biological menace into the city. Additionally, horror movie icon Elvira, played with voice and likeness by Cassandra Peterson (Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, Elvira’s Movie Macabre), will help players survive and give them gameplay tips and side quests with her unique Elvira style. New weapons, traps and more will augment the hallmark Call of Duty action, with Seth Green (Robot Chicken, Austin Powers) as “the Scientist;” Ike Barinholtz (Neighbors, Suicide Squad) as “the Rebel;” Jay Pharoah (White Famous, Saturday Night Live) as “the Soldier;” and Sasheer Zamata (Saturday Night Live, Inside Amy Schumer) as “the School Girl,” all making a return from the ongoing story in this all-new experience. In addition to Attack of the Radioactive Thing!, Absolution will also include four new multiplayer maps: Bermuda – A shantytown created around the remnants of a crashed ship, Bermuda allows players to duck, dive, and wall ride from the fish market to the lighthouse in this small to medium sized map that’s been water-wasted and sandblasted. Permafrost – Set within the chill of a frozen city skyline, Permafrost lets players stick to the ground and pick their plan of attack in one of three main lanes. They will traverse the map, moving from street side to train station, and hobo village to wrecked theatre house in this small, tight-quarters map. Fore – In Fore, the only thing miniature about this large map is the golf courses players will be fighting in. Fore features great visual variety as players swing around the sights and sounds of areas that brandish magical forests, giant creamsicles, and elevated castle walls. Ember – Located near an old town castle, Ember is a remake of the Modern Warfare 3 classic map Resistance, featuring old world aesthetics retrofitted with modern technology. The surroundings include lava, gallows and a torture room, where players will want to stick close to their teammates. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Absolution releases on July 7, 2017 first for the PlayStation 4, with other platforms to follow. The game is rated MA15+ for Mature (Blood, Intense Violence, Strong Language). For more information, please visit www.callofduty.com. Fans can also follow @CallofDuty on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
          Global Cyberattack Seems Intent On Havoc, Not Extortion   

A cyberattack that caused indiscriminate economic damage around the world was apparently designed to create maximum havoc in Russia’s neighbor and adversary Ukraine, security researchers said. While the rogue software used in the attack was configured as extortionate “ransomware,” that may have just been a ruse. “It is clear that this was targeted indiscriminately at Ukrainian businesses, and the Ukrainian government,” Jake Williams, president of the security firm Rendition Infosec and a former member of the U.S. National Security Agency’s elite cyberwarfare group, told The Associated Press in an online chat. “The ‘ransomware’ component is just a smokescreen (and a bad one).” UKRAINE IN PAIN Although the attack was global in its reach, Ukraine bore the brunt. Computers were disabled at banks, government agencies, energy companies, supermarkets, railways and telecommunications providers. Many of these organizations said they had recovered by Thursday, although some experts suspected that work was incomplete. “There is still a lot of damage, especially in banks,” said Victor Zhora, CEO of the Kiev cybersecurity firm InfoSafe. “ATMs are working (again) but some bank operations are still limited.” He estimated damage in “the millions of dollars, perhaps tens of millions.” And that’s just in Ukraine. Microsoft said the malware hit at least 64 nations, including Russia, Germany and the United States. “I expect that we will see additional fallout from this is the coming days,” said Williams. In Ukraine, suspicion immediately fell on hackers affiliated with Vladimir Putin’s regime, although there is no direct, public evidence tying Russia to the attack. Relations between the two nations have been tense since Moscow annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014. Pro-Russian fighters are still battling the government in eastern Ukraine. Experts have also blamed pro-Russian hackers for major cyberattacks on the Ukrainian power grid in 2015 and 2016, assaults that have turned the eastern European nation into the world’s leading cyberwarfare testing ground. A disruptive attack on the nation’s voting system ahead of 2014 national elections is also attributed to Russia. THE MOSCOW CONNECTION The malicious program, which researchers are calling NotPetya, initially appeared to be ransomware. Such malware locks up victims’ files by encrypting them, then holds them hostage while demanding payment — usually in bitcoin, the hard-to-trace digital currency. But researchers said the culprits would have been hard-pressed to make money off the scheme. They appear to have relied on a single email address that was blocked almost immediately and a single bitcoin account that collected the relatively puny sum of $10,000. Firms including Russia’s anti-virus Kaspersky Lab, said clues in the code indicate that the program’s authors would have been incapable of decrypting the data, further evidence that the ransom demands were a smoke screen. The timing was intriguing, too. The attack came the same day as the assassination of a senior Ukrainian military intelligence officer and a day before a national holiday celebrating the new Ukrainian constitution signed after the breakup of the Soviet Union. “Everything being said so far does point to Russia being a leading candidate for a suspect in this attack,” said Robert M. Lee, CEO of Dragos Inc. an expert who has studied the attacks on Ukraine’s power grid. What’s most worrisome and reprehensible, said Lee, is that whoever was behind the attack was unconcerned about the indiscriminate, collateral damage it […]

The post Global Cyberattack Seems Intent On Havoc, Not Extortion appeared first on Yeshiva World News.


          Senior IPS Officer RK Pachnanda Takes Over As ITBP DG – NDTV   
NDTV Senior IPS Officer RK Pachnanda Takes Over As ITBP DGNDTVMr Pachnanda, a 1983-batch police officer of the West Bengal cadre, was handed over the baton of the about 90,000-personnel strong, mountain warfare-trained force by outgoing Director General Krishna Chaudhary. … Continue reading
          Recommended Reading   
I compiled a list of books I've recently read and feel would appeal to middle and high school students. Each of the books includes themes conducive to classroom discussions.

Except when marked with an asterisk, all titles are available in audio format from the Las Vegas Clark County Public Library District (see LVCCLD link when applicable). To access these materials, you must have a current public library card and know your PIN. For more information about procuring a library card, click here. To use eAudio books from the public library, you will need to download OverDrive Media Console (a free software package) to your computer. Instructions and more information about accessing eMedia are available here.

Except for Candy Shop War and Leepike Ridge, all remaining books with asterisks are available at Audible. Note that there is a charge to purchase audiobooks from Audible. Different from the public library, however, the purchaser becomes the book's owner.


Recommended Book Options


Young Adult Science Fiction
  • Adoration of Jenna Fox (Pearson, Mary E.): Jenna Fox awakens after a coma having forgotten her life before her accident. She explores her past life through video, but is often met with reluctance to talk about her operation with others. This science fiction mystery explores issues related to bioethics. [LVCCLD CD]
  • Elsewhere (Zevin, Gabrielle): Elsewhere is the story of a girl who died. Upon doing so, she arrived at a place called “Elsewhere” where all the people had lived lives on Earth and were now dead. Most of the people were a lot older than her (she died in her teens). A unique feature of Elsewhere is that you grow older instead of younger while there. [LVCCLD CD]
  • Hunger Games (Collins, Suzanne): The Hunger Games is the first of a trilogy by Suzanne Collins. The premise underlying the plot is that a corrupt “Capitol” controls 12 districts. To keep the districts under control, the Capitol sponsors The Hunger Games each year. Two children from each district are selected to participate, and only one participant from the 24 survives the Games. [LVCCLD eAudio/CD]
  • Little Brother (Doctorow, Cory): Cory Doctorow truly practices what he preaches! In a book about high-tech, high-action stunts in the midst of terrorist activity in the U.S., Doctorow discusses the importance of freedom of information. Likewise, he made his book available for free online using a Creative Commons license. [Warning: This book includes mature themes likely to be inappropriate for use in school environments.] [LVCCLD eAudio]
  • Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment (Patterson, James): This is the first book of a series by the acclaimed James Patterson. The main character is Maximum Ride, a headstrong teenage girl who grew up in a science lab. She and her “flock of bird kids” were all genetically manipulated pre-birth, resulting in the presence of wings. As such, all the children are able to fly. The book follows Maximum Ride and her flock as they escape from the lab and learn to live on their own. [LVCCLD eAudio/CD]
  • Maze Runner (Dashner, James): This is an action-packed thriller! Every month for several years, one boy has been delivered into the “Glade.” All the boys remember their names, but none remember anything else about their past. In a strange turn of events, the day after Thomas (the main character) arrives, a girl arrives. Thomas tries to learn about the society the boys created before his arrival and learns of the maze, their possible escape route, that encompasses their community. [LVCCLD CD]
  • Neptune's Children (Dobkin, Bonnie): Dobkin’s book, Neptune’s Children, begins with a bioterrorist attack on all adults around the world. All individuals over age 13 die instantly, leaving all children behind to fend for themselves. Those children left behind in a theme park (similar to Disneyland), create a working society while facing potential and real threats. [LVCCLD CD]
  • Twilight (Meyer, Stephenie): This epic series takes place in Washington state. The main character, Bella, meets a young man, Edward, who intrigues her and ultimately becomes the object of her affection. Bella learns that Edward is a vampire and struggles with love and longevity. [LVCCLD eAudio/CD]
  • *Uglies (Westerfield, Scott): This series (including Pretties, Specials, and Extras) by Scott Westerfield begins with Uglies, a book about a utopian society that spawned from modern America. All children are called “uglies” until their 16th birthdays on which they receive an operation that makes them pretty. Once pretty, they move to a location where they can play and party all the time. Some uglies, though, question if being pretty is all there is to life. [Audible]
  • *Unwind (Shusterman, Neal): Imagine if parents could choose to have their teenagers “unwound,” have their body parts separated and given to save the lives of others. It’s the perfect solution for harvesting human organs… isn’t it? [Audible]
Young Adult Fantasy
  • *The Candy Shop War (Mull, Brandon):Imagine a world where eating candy could give you special powers. Mull masterfully juxtaposes good and evil amidst a fantasy of vivid characters. The book may sound like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Harry Potter, but it truly is a story of its own.
  • Eragon (Paolini, Christopher):16-year-old Christopher Paolini wrote this epic tale (Eragon is the first book in a series) just after graduating from high school. [LVCCLD eAudio/CD]
  • Fablehaven (Mull, Brandon): When a boy and girl go to spend time with their grandfather, they learn there is more to his mysterious life than originally imagined. The area surrounding his home is a haven for fabulous creatures of all kinds—some good, and some bad. [LVCCLD CD]
  • Inkheart (Funke, Cornelia): In this three-book tale, Funke creates a world where books are reality become intertwined. Some of her characters have the unique ability to “read” characters and items “out” of books. In one unfortunate time, the father in the story accidentally read his wife into a book; he’s also read some antagonistic characters out of the book. [LVCCLD eAudio/CD]
Young Adult Non-Fiction
  • Fallen Angels (Meyers, Walter Dean): Fallen Angels is realistic historical fiction about serving in the Vietnam War. The main character is African-American, adding to the issues of race conflict occurring during the war. [Warning: Telling the story of men and women serving on the front lines, the book does not “candy-coat” the violence, language, and other everyday happenings of the U.S. soldiers.] [LVCCLD CD]
  • A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier (Beah, Ishmael): A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier is the true autobiographical of Ishmael Beah, a boy who served as a soldier in Sierra Leone. After his hometown was attacked by rebels, he spent months searching for his family before being recruited into guerrilla warfare. He is later reformed when living in a UNICEF refugee camp. [Warning: This book contains graphic violence.] [LVCCLD eAudio/CD]
  • *Three Cups of Tea: Young Reader’s Edition (Mortensen, Greg): Mortensen is described as a man who is single-handedly creating peaceful relationships between those in the Middle East and in the United States. This book tells his story—from mountain climbing failure to sacrificial living. After returning from a failed attempt to ascend K2, he commits to build a school for the girls in one of Pakistan’s outermost regions. He kept his promise, and continues to change the world with his relentless efforts. [Audible]
Young Adult Historical Fiction
  • Elijah of Buxton (Curtis, Christopher Paul): This book tells the story of a small town in Canada. Buxton is where escaped slaves from the United States find refuge. They welcome those former slaves who have made the long, painful journey from the South. The story takes a turn when Elijah, just a boy, heads back to the United States to complete a chore. [LVCCLD eAudio/CD]
Young Adult Realistic Fiction
  • Hatchet (Paulsen, Gary): This Newberry-award winner tells of a boy who becomes an inhabitant of the wilderness when the plane in which he is flying goes down and the pilot dies in the crash. The main character must learn to survive in the Canadian wild. [LVCCLD eAudio/CD]
  • *Leepike Ridge (Wilson, N.D.): This action-filled story of realistic fiction is a fun read. When the main character finds himself in a hidden cave under Leepike Ridge, he learns about life outside the mainstream.
  • Smiles to Go (Spinelli, Jerry): This is a coming-of-age story for boys who question who they are, where they fit in the universe, and their relationships with girls. [LVCCLD eAudio/CD]
  • Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer (Grisham, John): This is John Grisham’s first children’s book. Theodore Boone lives with his parents, both of whom are lawyers. He loves the law and spends all his free time in the courthouse. As such, he is the resident expert on the law at his school, and he regularly advises his classmates on legal matters. He eve becomes entwined in a case of his own! This is a great book to learn about the U.S. legal system. [LVCCLD CD]
Adult Historical Fiction
  • Sarah's Key (de Rosnay, Tatiana): de Rosnay juxtaposes the past and present when her protagonist, a journalist, accepts the opportunity to write a story about French involvement in the Nazi round-up of Jewish families in Paris in 1942. While the journalist’s story unfolds, Sarah’s story unfolds. Sarah’s story is about cruelty and loss at the hand of the French police as they did the bidding of the Nazi’s. It is also about human compassion and remembrance. [LVCCLD eAudio]
Adult Realistic Fiction
  • The Life of Pi (Martel, Yann): Martel tells the tale of a boy from India. His family owns a zoo, but is selling their animals to a U.S. zoo due to financial hardships. During their sea voyage, there is an accident and the boy, Pi, ends up aboard a small rescue boat along with a tiger and several other animals. He tells of their mutual survival tactics and leaves the reader questioning reality. [LVCCLD eAudio/CD]
Adult Non-Fiction
  • *The Horse Boy (Isaacson, Rupert): Isaacson wrote this biography about his son, a boy afflicted with autism. In an attempt to help their son, Isaacson and his wife trekked through Mongolia with the intent to meet shamans who could assist their child. Their journey took them to the outer-most parts of Mongolia, even to the “Reindeer People.” This is a heartwarming tale the of the efforts parents will make to assist their children and ways that seeing the world differently can help us all see better. [Audible]
  • Strength in What Remains (Kidder, Tracy): A medical student in Africa finds himself constantly trying to escape war and war-torn environments as he traverses through his home country of Burundi and into and out of Rwanda. He eventually makes his way to the United States where he faces trials of a homeless immigrant in a foreign land. [LVCCLD eAudio]
  • Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman (Krakauer, Jon): Pat Tillman, former NFL player, lost his life during the U.S. Gulf War. Krakauer describes the events leading to his NFL and military careers and the circumstances surrounding his death in combat. [LVCCLD eAudio/CD]
  • *The Last American Man (Gilbert, Elizabeth): Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, writes the biography of Eustice Conway, a true man of the American Wilderness. Born in the 1960s, Eustice took his homemade teepee and left home as a teenager to live off the land. Gilbert tells of his trek along the Appalachian Trail, his record-setting horse-journey across America, and his lifelong passion to bring Americans to a greater appreciation and respect of nature. [Audible]

          Call of Duty - Days of Summer Event Trailer   
In Infinite Warfare, Black Ops III und Modern Warfare Remastered findet das Event "Days of Summer" statt. weiter
          Global cyberattack seems intent on havoc, not extortion   
PARIS – A cyberattack that caused indiscriminate economic damage around the world was apparently designed to create maximum havoc in Russia's neighbor and adversary Ukraine, security researchers said.

While the rogue software used in the attack was configured as extortionate "ransomware," that may have just been a ruse.

"It is clear that this was targeted indiscriminately at Ukrainian businesses, and the Ukrainian government," Jake Williams, president of the security firm Rendition Infosec and a former member of the U.S. National Security Agency's elite cyberwarfare group, said in an online chat. "The 'ransomware' component is just a smokescreen (and a bad one)."

UKRAINE IN PAIN

Although the attack was global in its reach, Ukraine bore the brunt. Computers were disabled at banks, government agencies, energy companies, supermarkets, railways and telecommunications providers. Many of these organizations said they had recovered by Thursday, although some experts suspected that work was incomplete.

"There is still a lot of damage, especially in banks," said Victor Zhora, CEO of the Kiev cybersecurity firm InfoSafe. "ATMS are working (again) but some bank operations are still limited." He estimated damage in "the millions of dollars, perhaps tens of millions."

And that's just in Ukraine. Microsoft said the malware hit at least 64 nations, including Russia, Germany and the United States. "I expect that we will see additional fallout from this is the coming days," said Williams.

In Ukraine, suspicion immediately fell on hackers affiliated with Vladimir Putin's regime, although there is no direct, public evidence tying Russia to the attack. Relations between the two nations have been tense since Moscow annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014. Pro-Russian fighters are still battling the government in eastern Ukraine.

Experts have also blamed pro-Russian hackers for major cyberattacks on the Ukrainian power grid in 2015 and 2016, assaults that have turned the eastern European nation into the world's leading cyberwarfare testing ground. A disruptive attack on the nation's voting system ahead of 2014 national elections is also attributed to Russia.

THE MOSCOW CONNECTION

The malicious program, which is known by a variety of names, including NotPetya, initially appeared to be ransomware. Such malware locks up victims' files by encrypting them, then holds them hostage while demanding payment – usually in bitcoin, the hard-to-trace digital currency.

But researchers said the culprits would have been hard-pressed to make money off the scheme. They appear to have relied on a single email address that was blocked almost immediately and a single bitcoin account that collected the relatively puny sum of $10,000.

Firms including Russia's anti-virus Kaspersky Lab, said clues in the code indicate that the program's authors would have been incapable of decrypting the data, further evidence that the ransom demands were a smoke screen.

The timing was intriguing, too. The attack came the same day as the assassination of a senior Ukrainian military intelligence officer and a day before a national holiday celebrating the new Ukrainian constitution signed after the breakup of the Soviet Union.

"Everything being said so far does point to Russia being a leading candidate for a suspect in this attack," said Robert M. Lee, CEO of Dragos Inc. an expert who has studied the attacks on Ukraine's power grid.

What's most worrisome and reprehensible, said Lee, is that whoever was behind the attack was unconcerned about the indiscriminate, collateral damage it caused – much of it within Russia itself. That's highly atypical behavior for nation-states.

ACCOUNTING FOR MALWARE

Williams and other researchers said all evidence indicates that NotPetya was introduced via Ukrainian financial software provider MeDoc. It is one of just two companies in the eastern European nation that supplies required tax software, Zhora said.

Security experts believe MeDoc was the unwitting victim of something akin to a "watering-hole attack," where a malicious program surreptitiously planted at a popular destination infects parties that visit. MeDoc's user base is heavily financial – and includes multinational corporations with offices in Ukraine.

NotPetya was cleverly engineered to spread laterally within Windows networks and across the globe via private network connections. Globally, dozens of major corporations and government agencies have been disrupted, including FedEx subsidiary TNT.

Danish shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk, one of the global companies hit hardest, said Thursday that most of its terminals were running again, though some are operating in a limited way or more slowly than usual.

Problems have been reported across the shippers' global business, from Mobile, Alabama, to Mumbai in India. At Mumbai's Jawaharlal Nehru Port, several hundred containers could be seen piled up at just two of more than a dozen yards.

"The vessels are coming, the ships are coming, but they are not able to take the container because all the systems are down," trading and clearing agent Rajeshree Verma said. "We are actually in a fix because of all this."


          News: Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare - Absolution-DLC für PS4 datiert   
Der aktuelle Ableger der Shooter-Reihe Call of Duty bekommt wieder einen frischen Zusatzinhalt spendiert. "Absolution" wird bereits in Kürze zu haben sein....
          A good Civil War read   
My sister now lives in Atlanta, which means I visit fairly frequently. Not as much as I would like, but I have certainly spent some time there. On one of the visits, we traveled out to the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, and learned about the precursors to the Battle(s) of Atlanta, but I had not seen anything in town about the fighting in and around Atlanta. As Russell Bonds notes in the beginning of his War Like a Thunderbolt, most people's (including my own) idea of the war in Atlanta comes from Gone with the Wind. Unlike Antietam or Gettysburg, there is no park or memorial to the battle of Atlanta despite its importance in history.

Bonds argues that without Sherman's victory in the four battles of Atlanta in mid 1864, Lincoln would have lost the election to McClellan and the Confederacy would have likely survived. The soldier vote was crucial to Lincoln's success and flush from the victory in Atlanta, the Army came out fully for Lincoln, which must have stung former General McClellan.

The book is part military history and part social history. Bonds makes good use of maps, which is always appreciated and keeps the narrative from becoming too bogged down in detail. I also appreciated that he let the soldiers speak, and didn't focus exclusively on the generals, as some historians are wont to do. On the generals side, we see the test of wills of General Sherman on the Union side, and General Johnston and then Hood on the Confederate side. Aside from one close run battle east of the city, Sherman's leadership was critical to the victory.

The question of Sherman in Georgia is of course a controversial one. He is still disliked by many in the South for the March to the Sea. Bonds take a even handed approach to the controversy. He points to his great success as a military leader, but criticizes many of his brutal actions, like shelling the civilian areas of the city for over a month, expelling the populace and then ensuring that the city was destroyed.

In Sherman, you can see beginnings of the idea of crushing an enemy by breaking the will of the civilian populace. The Germans developed this further by submarine warfare and the Allies in World War 2 took it even further by the bombing campaigns. It is easy to criticize these approaches, but they have a point. By ending the war sooner, do they save more lives than they take? The longer wars last, the more vicious they become, so there is some merit to Sherman's idea.

This is a long book so realistically, it will only appeal to people interested in the Civil War, Atlanta, or, at a stretch, the 1864 Presidential campaign. If that describes you, by all means pick this one up.
          Paul Fussell's Wartime   
Paul Fussell is a critic and essayist rather than a historian, which makes Wartime, one of his World War 2 books, quite different from the others you have read. There are no glowing portraits of military genius or campaigns well fought. Fussell is more interested in how much war sucks. To give you a sense of the book, one of the chapters is titled "Chickenshit, An Anatomy," which we now would probably call bullshit. It generally was used to describe arbitrary abuses of power by very small men. It could be at the level of annoying, if cruel, such as denying leave thanks to a poorly made bed, or it could be evil, such as needlessly sending a patrol to their dooms, because a commanding officer didn't care for their leader.

The book details all the little ways that war destroys civility, society and the individual. He describes the propagandizing that developed into the Greatest Generation concept. The public was rarely given the real story. He also argues that World War 2 was even more dehumanizing than the trench warfare of the First World War. In the second, governments went even further into dehumazing and de-indivualizing soldiers so that they became just another replacement part or machine.

This sounds like grim reading and it is, but Fussell's outstanding prose and lighter moments, like what books people read make it more bearable. He attributes the explosion in paperbacks after the war to wartime paperbacks distributed to servicemen. I will now need to read his Great War and Modern Memory, which looks at the literature of that war.
          Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’s Absolution DLC Dated    
The third batch of content will be arriving first for PlayStation 4 in early July, bringing four new multiplayer maps.
          Russia’s Hybrid Warfare Battlefield in Ukraine Heats Up   

KYIV, Ukraine—Combat modestly abated along the front lines in eastern Ukraine this week as part of a “harvest truce” so farmers near the front lines... Read More

The post Russia’s Hybrid Warfare Battlefield in Ukraine Heats Up appeared first on The Daily Signal.


          Το πολεμικό ντοκουμέντο της NASA “Το Μέλλον είναι Τώρα”   
Το 2013, Αμερικάνοι ακτιβιστές έπεσαν τυχαία σ’ ένα δοκίμιο της NASA για τον τρόπο που θα διεξάγεται ο πόλεμος στο μέλλον. Δεν είναι η πρώτη φορά που ανάλογα ντοκουμέντα ή μελέτες βγαίνουν στη δημοσιότητα, με προσχέδια πιθανών εφαρμογών, αλλά είναι ίσως το πρώτο που μιλάει για πόλεμο ενάντια στους πολίτες και όχι ενάντια σε άλλη χώρα!
Το δοκίμιο σε μορφή powerpoint χρονολογείται από το 2001, τον Ιούλιο, δυο μήνες πριν την υποτιθέμενη τρομοκρατική επίθεση της 11ης Σεπτέμβρη.
Όσο ενδιαφέρον κι αν είχε τότε, το 2013, ειδικά για τους Αμερικανούς πολίτες λόγω της αναφοράς του πολέμου εναντίον τους (σελ. 93), ίσως μεγαλύτερο να έχει τώρα για τους πολίτες όλου του κόσμου, που θα αναγνωρίσουν πολλά από αυτά που αναφέρει το powerpoint του 2001 στο σήμερα.
Από την “έξυπνη σκόνη” που χειραγωγεί καιρό και ανθρώπους μέχρι την παρενόχληση και “αχρήστευση” του μυαλού, των ικανοτήτων και της υγείας των πολιτών μέσω μικροκυμάτων.
Στη σελίδα 90 θα δείτε οδηγίες για την πληροφόρηση, πως αυτή να γίνει “πάρα-“πληροφόρηση και πως να κρατηθεί η κυριαρχία της. Ιοί στα κομπιούτερ, ακόμα και “ψήσιμο”, “χάος” και “ψυχολογικός” πόλεμος.
Στη σελίδα 50 αναφέρονται τα “μη θανατηφόρα όπλα” για τη χειραγώγηση του νου και την καταστολή μέσω μικροκυμάτων (μην ξαναρωτήσει κανείς γιατί στην Ελλάδα δεν ξεσηκώνεται ο κόσμος…)
Νανοτεχνολογία, ρομπότ, ΑΙ, σιωπηλά όπλα, σένσορες παντού – όλη η κόλαση του “Αύριο” που είναι ήδη σήμερα εδώ! Κατά τα άλλα είναι μια παρουσίαση πως “θα μπορούσε” να διεξάγεται στο μέλλον ένας πόλεμος.

What is needed is a “Then Year” (~2030)
Serious/Holistic Vision of Warfare Changes
Resulting from the On-going
IT/Bio/Nano/Virtual Technological Revolutions
In the second half of the 1900’s
Nuclear/Bio Warfare was
“Unthinkable”
In the first half of the 2000’s
“conventional” warfare may
become so deadly/effective as to
become “Unthinkable”(“Killer
Aps” available to mitigate the
“Causes of War”)
(Usual) Reactions to
this Presentation
• Is in the “Too Hard Box”
• Not being done yet by anyone, therefore, will not be done*
• They would not do that
• We have to Hope they would not do that
• Why go there, cannot defend against it
• Some Disbelief, but agreement there is too
much there to disregard

Ναι… *δεν γίνεται ακόμα και γι’ αυτό δεν θα γίνει. Κι εδώ επιβεβαιώνεται ο Μπρεζίνσκι όταν το 1970 έγραφε στο σύγγραμα του “between two ages” πως η τεχνολογία θα μπορέσει να ελέγξει τους πληθυσμούς, “παρά τις αντιρρήσεις κάποιων για την επέμβαση στο περιβάλλον”
ΠΗΓΗ

          MOD MW 2 para Cs 1.6 By: CsDe   

Este video fiz em Homenagem ao "NOVO MOD" criado pela equipe"PRO MAX" q é igual e tipo Clone do Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2.Muito Bem Feito e com o Design bem legal,as armas com o Design "PARECIDÃO"com o MW 2.Achei bem legal e gostei e Resolvi me Grava testando ele no PC do meu Primo.Espero q vcs gostem do video.-PARA BAIXAR O MOD ACESSEM: http://csprocindra.blogspot.com/2010/08/mod-call-of-duty-v4-modern-warfare-2.html

MEU MSN: CsDePaNiCo.O@hotmail.com

OBS:Jogabilidade do Mod é "6" pq o Mod é um pouko pesado e dificulta a jogabilidade ^^

=======INSCREVA-SE EM MEU CANAL========


          The Residue Of Internets C4I DNA Visible In Ubers Behavior   

The military's fingerprints are visible throughout the Internet's history, with much of the history of compute born out of war, so it's no surprise that the next wave of warfare is all about the cyber (its HUGE). With so much of Internet technology being inseparable from military ideology and much of its funding coming from the military-industrial complex, it is going to be pretty hard for Internet tech to shake its core DNA programmed as part of a command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) seeds. 

This DNA is present in the unconscious behavior we see from startups, most recently with the news of Uber deceiving authorities using a tool they developed call Greyball, allowing them to target regulators and law enforcement, and prevent or obscure their access and usage to the ridesharing platform. User profiling and targeting is a staple of Silicon Valley startups. Startups profile and target their definition of ideal behavior(s), and then focus on getting users to operate within this buckets, or you segment them into less desirable buckets, and deal (or don't) with them however you deem appropriate.

If you are a marketer or sales person you think targeting is a good thing. You want as much information on a single user and a group of users as you possibly can so that you can command and control (C2) your desired outcome. If you are a software engineer, this is all a game to you. You gather all the data points you possibly can build your profiles--command, control, communications, and intelligence (C3i). The Internet's DNA whispers to you in your ear--you are the smart one here, everyone is just a pawn in your game. Executives and investors just sit back and pull the puppet strings on all the actors within their control.

It's no surprise that Uber is targeting regulators and law enforcement. They are just another user demographic bucket. I guarantee there are buckets for competitors, and their employees who have signed up for accounts. When any user signs up for your service, you process what you know about them, and put them in a bucket, and see where they exist (or don't) within your sales funnel (repeat, rinse). Competitors, regulators, and law enforcement all have a role to play, the bucket they get put into, and the service they receive will be (slightly) different than everyone else.

Us engineers love to believe that we are the puppet masters, when it reality we are the puppets, with our string pulled by those who invest us, and our one true master--Internet technology. We numb ourselves and conveniently forget the history of the Internet, and lie to ourselves that venture capital has our best interests in mind and that they need us. They do not. We are a commodity. We are the frontline of this new type of warfare that has evolved as the Internet over the last 50 years--we are beginning to see the casualties of this war, democracy, privacy, and security.

This is cyber warfare. It's lower level warfare in the sense that the physical destruction and blood isn't front and center, but the devastation and suffering still exists. Corporations are forming their own militias, drawing lines, defining their buckets, and targeting groups for delivering propaganda to, while they are positioning for a variety of attacks against competitors, regulators, law enforcement, and other competing militias. You attack anyone the algorithm defines as the enemy. You aggressively sell to those who fit your ideal profile. You try to indoctrinate anyone you can trust to be part of your militia, and keep fighting--it is what the Internet wants us to do.


          What Drone Warfare Does To A Soldier's Brain   
A conversation with Army veteran and author Brett Velicovich on the complexities of intelligence gathering, the morality of drone warfare, and the future of unmanned aircraft.
          News: Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare - Einen Tag lang war ein Sniper-Gewehr die mächtigste Waffe überhaupt   
Dank eines Bugs jagte ein ganz bestimmtes Sniper-Gewehr seinen potenziellen Opfern gehörige Angst ein - egal, ob die sich hinter Deckung versteckten oder nicht. Schuld daran war ein Bug, der nun behoben ist.
          News: Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare - Termin & erste Details zum Absolution-DLC   
Activision und Infinity Ward haben den Absolution-DLC für Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare angekündigt. Neben dem Release-Termin gibt es bereits erste Details.
          Movie Review: ‘The Beguiled’ is a tale of feminine warfare   
A young girl walks down a deserted wooded road, swinging a basket of mushrooms and singing a battle song. Her feet crunch in the gravel, a steady march, and cannons rumble like thunder in the distance. We are told it is 1864 Virginia, three years into the Civil War. This little soldier is Amy (Oona Laurence), chatty, empathetic, excited. Soon she has scooped up a wounded Union soldier, Corporal John McBurney (Colin Farrell), like a broken bird, to bring home to her boarding school for girls. [...]
          Israel, American Jewry and Trump's GOP   

Earlier this month Norway, Denmark and Switzerland did something surprising.

Norway announced that it was demanding the return of its money from the Palestinian Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Secretariat, for the latter's funding of a Palestinian women's group that built a youth center near Nablus named for PLO mass murderer Dalal Mughrabi.

Denmark followed, announcing it was cutting off all funding to the group.

And last week, the Swiss parliament passed a resolution directing the government to amend Swiss law to block funding of NGOs "involved in racist, antisemitic or hate incitement actions."

For years, the Israeli government has been urging these and other European governments to stop funding such groups, to no avail. What explains their abrupt change of heart?

In two words: Donald Trump.

For years, the Obama administration quietly encouraged the Europeans to fund these groups and to ratchet up their anti-Israel positions. Doing so, the former administration believed, would coerce Israel to make concessions to the PLO.

But now, Trump and his advisers are delivering the opposite message. And, as the actions by Denmark, Norway and Switzerland show, the new message is beginning to be received.

If the US administration keeps moving forward on this trajectory, it can do far more than suspend funding for one terrorism-supporting Palestinian NGO. It can shut down the entire BDS industry before Trump finishes his current term in office.

To understand what can and ought to be done, it is first important to understand the nature of the BDS movement. Under the catchphrase BDS, two separate campaigns against Israel and against Jews are being carried out.

The first BDS campaign is a campaign of economic warfare. The focal point of that campaign is Europe. The purpose of the campaign is to harm Israel's economy by enacting discriminatory, anti-Israel trade policies and encouraging unofficial consumer and business boycotts of Israeli firms and products.

The US Congress can end this economic war against Israel by passing laws penalizing European states for engaging in trade practices that breach the World Trade Organization treaties. The US Treasury Department can also push strongly and effectively for such an end in its trade negotiations with the EU. The Treasury Department can also investigate whether and how EU trade practices toward Israel constitute unlawful barriers to trade.

Unlike the situation in Europe, where the BDS economic war against Israel is fairly advanced, efforts in the US to mount economic boycotts of Israel hit an iceberg early on due to the swift preemptive actions taken by state legislatures.

In 2015, then-South Carolina governor Nikki Haley became the first governor to sign a law barring her state government from doing business or investing in companies that boycott Israel. Last week Kansas became the 21st US state to pass an anti-BDS law along the same lines. Last month, all 50 state governors declared opposition to BDS.

The second BDS campaign being carried out against Israel is a form of political and social warfare.

Its epicenter is US academia. Its purpose is to erode US support for Israel, by making it politically unacceptable and socially devastating to publicly voice support for Israel on college campuses and more generally in leftist circles.

As is the case with the economic BDS campaign, the best way to defeat political BDS is through state and federal government action. If state and federal governments withheld funding to universities and colleges that permit BDS groups to operate on their campuses, campus administrators, who to date have refused to lift a finger against these hate groups, would be forced into action.

If the US Education and Justice departments opened civil rights investigations against major BDS groups for antisemitic bigotry, campus administrators would finally begin banning them from their campuses.

For many Israelis, the notion that defeating BDS is a job for the US government rather than for grassroots, American Jewish activists, will come as a surprise.

When Israelis think about the BDS movement, they tend to think that the American Jewish community is the place to turn for assistance.

This is not merely incorrect.

As two studies published in the last few weeks show, the notion that Israel can look to the American Jewish community for help with anything is becoming increasingly dubious.

To be sure, there are several American Jewish groups that devote massive resources to combating BDS on campuses. But their actions are tactical.

They fight specific BDS resolutions coming to votes before student councils. They train pro-Israel students to defend Israel to their peers.

While helpful, none of these actions constitutes a serious challenge to the movement.

On a strategic level, the effective moves made to date against BDS have been initiated by Republicans.

Alan Clemmons, the South Carolina lawmaker who initiated the anti-BDS bill in his statehouse and has since gone on to spearhead the state government anti-BDS drive nationally, is a Christian Zionist.

Clemmons didn't act out of concern for South Carolinian Jews. The Jewish community of South Carolina numbers a mere 20,000 members. The state-by-state anti-economic BDS campaign is neither the brainchild of any major Jewish group nor the product of their efforts.

So, too, to the extent that the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress take action to defeat BDS on campuses and in Europe, they won't be answering the call of their Jewish constituents. American Jews vote overwhelmingly for the increasingly anti-Israel Democratic Party. And while making up a mere 2% of the US population, American Jews contributed 50% of the donations to the Democratic Party in the 2016 elections.

This then brings us to the two studies of the American Jewish community and its future trajectory.

The first study was published by the Jewish Agency's Jewish People Policy Institute. It analyzes the data from the 2013 Pew survey of American Jewish attitudes. The Pew survey demonstrated that the Jewish identity of American Jews is growing increasingly attenuated and superficial.

Famously, the study noted that while 19% of American Jews said that they view observance of Jewish law as an essential part of their Jewish identity, 42% said they viewed having a good sense of humor as an essential part of their Jewish identity.

The JPPI study analyzed the Pew data regarding rates of marriage and childbearing among American Jews aged 24-54. The study started with the data on intermarriage. Sixty percent of non-haredi American Jews are married to non-Jews. A mere 32% of married American Jews are raising their children as Jewish to some degree.

From there, the JPPI study considered marriage and childbirth rates in general. It works out that a mere 50% of American Jews between 24 and 54 are married. And a mere 40% of American Jews between those ages have children living with them. In other words, the majority of adult American Jews are childless.

The JPPI study tells us two important things.

First, in the coming years there will be far fewer American Jews. Second, among those who are Jewish, their Jewish identity will continue to weaken.

Clearly, it would be unwise for Israel to believe that it can depend on such a community to secure its interests in the US for the long haul.

The second study shows that not only can Israel not expect the American Jewish community to help it maintain its alliance with the US. The number of American Jews willing to spearhead anti-Israel campaigns is likely to grow in the coming years.

The second study was produced by Brand Israel, a group of public relations experts that for the past decade has been trying to change the way young Americans think about Israel. The idea was to discuss aspects of Israel that have nothing to do with the Palestinians, with an emphasis on Israel as a hi-tech power. The hope was that by branding Israel as the Start-Up Nation, leftists, who support the Palestinians, would still support Israel.

Fern Oppenheim, one of the leaders of Brand Israel, presented the conclusions of an analysis of the group's work at the Herzliya Conference this week and discussed them with the media. It works out that the PR campaign backfired.

Far from inspiring increased support for Israel, Oppenheim argued that the hi-tech-centric branding campaign made leftist American Jews even more anti-Israel. She related that over the past decade, there has been an 18-point drop in support for Israel among US Jewish students.

To remedy the situation, which she referred to as "devastating," Oppenheim recommended changing the conversation from hi-tech to "shared values."

The problem with Oppenheim's recommendation is that it ignores the problem.

Young American Jews aren't turning against Israel because their values are different from Israeli values. By and large, they have the same values as Israeli society. And if they know anything about Israel, they know that their values aren't in conflict with Israeli values.

Young American Jews are turning on Israel for two reasons. First, they don't care that they are Jewish and as a consequence, see no reason to stick their necks out on Israel's behalf.

And second, due in large part to the political BDS campaign on college campuses, supporting Israel requires them to endanger or relinquish their ideological home on the Left. Since their leftist identities are far stronger than their Jewish identities, young American Jews are joining the BDS mob in increasing numbers.

This then brings us back to BDS.

The only way to diminish the groundswell of American Jews who are becoming hostile toward Israel is to defeat the forces of political BDS on campuses. To do this, Israel should turn not to the Jewish community but to evangelical Christians, the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress.

As for the American Jews, Israel needs to stop viewing the community as a resource and begin to view it as a community in crisis. To this end, the most significant contribution Israel can make to the American Jewish community - particularly to non-Orthodox American Jews - is to encourage them to make aliya. Assuming that current trends will continue, the only way non-Orthodox American Jews can have faith their grandchildren will be Jewish is for a significant number of them to make aliya.

No, this won't appeal to all American Jews. But nothing Israel does will. Israel's job isn't to reach the unreachable. It is to protect its alliance with the US and to help the Jews that remain in the room. 

donate button pub dom ok

A version of this piece also appeared on The Jerusalem Post.

 

 


          John Horgan & Richard Wrangham   
Does the biology of violence make war inevitable? ... How chimpanzee-like is modern warfare? ... Richard's new book, "Catching Fire" ... Were we scavengers before we were hunters? ... The allegedly "natural" raw food diet ... Ancient connections between food and sex ...
          Xbox One (500Gb) + controller and call of duty: infinite warfare   
Selling my xbox one (500gb) with controller, all cables/wires, and call of duty: infinite warfare game. Located on 18th & Harris St near the university. Asking $220. Text preferred 808-745-7465 $220
          Predstavljen novi DLC za Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare   
Treći DLC za Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, imena Absolution, detaljno je najavljen ovoga vikenda. Navedeni DLC paket izlazi 6. srpnja za PlayStation 4, dok će Xbox One i PC igrači/ice ostati kratkih rukava. Barem na neko vrijeme. Najvažniji dio DLC-a ovakve vrste su nove multiplayer mape, naravno, i to... Više →
          2017年6月30日Macアプリセール FPSアクションゲーム「Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® 3」が値下げ!   
2017年6月30日のMacアプリセール情報になります。   セールは期間限定で行われるため、掲載している価格と閲覧時の価格が違う場合があります。ご了承願います。   デベロッパーの方、セール情報のタ […]
          Aviation Week & Space Technology, July 3, 2017   

July 3, 2017 Volume 179, Issue 26

Its Predator unmanned aircraft revolutionized air warfare. Now, General Atomics is looking to the future with new designs. James Drew and Guy Norris report from Poway, California. General Atomics photo. Also: Personal vertical air transport | China’s space plans | Embraer KC-390 airlifter export prospects

Publication Info
Cover Date:  Mon, 2017-07-03
Volume:  179
Number:  26

          Iraqi army captures Mosul Mosque, has taken over the Caliphate   
After almost eight grueling months of warfare Iraqi government troops on Thursday captured the ruined mosque at the heart of Islamic State’s de facto capital Mosul, and the prime minister declared the group’s self-styled caliphate at an end. Iraqi authorities expect the long battle for Mosul to end in coming days as remaining Islamic State […]
          Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare odhaľuje tretie DLC s názvom Absolution, na PS4 príde budúci týždeň   
Balík rozšírenia vyjde 6. júla pre PS4 s tým, že verzie pre PC a Xbox One dorazia neskôr.
          Buratai: Decoding the True African General   
By: Karen Goulding

Africa suffers artificial drought of hardcore and outstanding professionals in every field. This plaque has become more visible with Africans joyful acceptance of the neo-colonial erroneous, biased and destructive verdict of Africa as a continent of failures.
 
And each time, these alien forces descend their imperial knives on the precious skins of Africans and Africa, it deposits far-reaching consequences. Africans exceptionally gifted are held back in giving out their best. They suffer a psychological inhibition based on these polluted verdicts imposed on people of the continent.

But Africans are equally and competitively, very intelligent like the white-skinned people. How Africans prefer to celebrate their foolery, instead of positive assertion of themselves is really a riddle. Nonetheless, as time ebbs, more courageous Africans have overcome these mental barriers and are steeping out to prove to the whole world the real substance or worth of an African.

No one can deny brilliance and intelligence of African people in every chosen field of human specialization. Nigerians in particular have carved a niche for themselves in their preferred careers. They are celebrities in academics’, science and indeed, in all professions.

As the largest black nation on earth, the conspiracy of foreign nations against Nigeria is really subject of a whole thesis. The blackmail of compelling the people to think more in failure and destruction, than progress has impinged on the psyche of Nigerians retardation. It has gone to sublime levels that optimal exhibition of skills is most times impeded in some people because of this belittlement.

As determined as ever, Nigerians are gradually breaking these barriers to demonstrate their excellence to the world. That’s why Nigerians are usually elated, anytime a Nigerian displays uncommon exploits or accomplishments in his career, especially in exceptional professions.
 
It explains why Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai’s embodiment of professionalism, perfection, discipline and courage in the war against terrorism excites the people. Upon leading the counter-insurgency war that humbled Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs), Nigerians feted him with celebrations and Africa picked it up and expanded it. Today, Gen. Buratai is celebrated around the world, as an exceptional professional soldier of high esteem

To many, the Nigerian Army Chief is indescribable. Also, a peep into his persona does not provide easy insights either. What is however certain is that his personage undulates with unrivalled zeal for exceptional exploits and successes. He has an extremely infectious aura.

But what has worked more for this African Army General is his flair for professionalism, discipline, uprightness in leadership, selflessness, courage, transparency, principle of inclusiveness and hard work. And all these have been seared in the passion for positive results in all endeavors; which have made him a worthy assert to Nigeria, Africa and the world. Beyond flattery, Gen. Buratai is admittedly a special specie of humanity. By the dictates of his profession, he ought to be tough  and rugged; but to the contrary, he is amiable and humane in dealing with fellow men. It’s scarce to find such qualities and virtues buried in a single soul in the military, particularly in Nigeria.

Africans have seen Gen. Buratai as both a leader and soldier in the trenches, much as in the administrative boardroom of his vocation, bearing all risks, good or bad.  He does not chase shadows and nothing distracts his focus and concentration.

True to his type, Gen. Buratai personifies the Christ-like motif of troops under his command. He positions himself to feel their pains, sufferings, agonies; the heat in the trenches, the dejections and the defeats. He is not bossy, so shares the victories and joys of his troops in the same measure the least among troops would feel. It’s not unusual to see him spend Sallah or Christmas celebrations with troops in the battlefield, where he personally lights the candle of bonfire carnivals. This is a mark of leadership, very scarce nowadays.

Understanding the strength behind the modus operendi of Gen. Buratai has proven to be no easy path to walk. But suffice it to say, in achieving efficiency and effectiveness on targets, the COAS utilizes his unique talents  to create the needed impact. He is feted in Africa and beyond because Gen. Buratai extensively tapped and improvised on the wisdom, vision and intellectual prowess of men or globally acclaimed war veterans, upon his appointment as the ombudsman of the counter-insurgency war in Nigeria.

It gave birth to the reforms and innovations Buratai brought to bear on the Nigerian Army. Suddenly, Nigerian soldiers’ adjudged as weaklings, who could shamelessly bid an effeminate retreat in the battlefield became courageously, gallant soldiers to confront terrorists and defeat them.
Therefore, having prepared his house, this Soldier-General courageously broke new grounds and unimaginable records in terrorism warfare. It has continued to draw the inspiration of the world to his convictions, tactics and strategies.
As earlier hinted, there is no iota of doubt that Gen. Buratai must have drawn inspiration from great men, such as the famous English novelist, Ernest Hemmingway, author of the popular, “Old Man And The Sea.” Author Hemmingway timelessly asserted that “Once we have a war, there is only one thing to do. It must be won. For defeat, brings worse things, than any that can ever happen in war.”

For this Nigerian Army Chief, the wise counsel of this author was his conviction and guiding principle. It compelled him to face the lethal Boko Haram terrorism war in Nigeria without flinching. He feared more the consequences of defeat, than the difficulties of surmounting the hurdles, some deliberate, on the battlefield to ensure victory.

And the wisdom, tactics and strategies of Chinese war veteran and father of the Chinese revolution, Mao Tse Tung was also of immense assistance to him, as leader of the counter-insurgency campaigns in Nigeria.  Mao Tse believed thus;
“Imaginative, intelligent, and bold leadership is absolutely essential.

 Commanders and leaders at every echelon must be selected with these specific qualities in mind. Officers and NCOs who are more than competent under normal conditions will frequently be hopelessly ineffective when confronted with dynamic and totally different situations.”

The unfaltering Nigerian Army Chief and Commander of the anti-terrorism war in Nigeria imbibed enough of these virtues and effectively applied them.  So, he risked advance on enemy troops, where his predecessors dreaded; he trailed insurgents and their agents, dynamically in tactics, from battlefield encounters to cyberspace terrorism manifestations and matched action for action.

He suffocated enemy forces' sources of food and ammunition supply.   He endured and ignored all manner of distractions back home to focus on his assignment to earn the victory today savoured by the whole world.

And in all instances, he moved centuries in thinking, ahead of the localized thoughts and strategies of enemy forces- the Boko Haramists. This Army General slept once in two weeks, always awake to strategize and personally supervise field operations. He left nothing to chance; while terrorists slept every day in their hideouts with the delusion of courage and invincibility.

So, he conquered them and their agents in the trenches, caves, cyberspace propaganda and everywhere. They scattered in confused directions, as his troops chased them to the point of conquer or surrender.
 
After the defeat of Boko Haram terrorists, the Nigerian Army Chief also deployed the wisdom of Mao Tse in cleansing communities in  Northeast, Nigeria of remnants’ of Boko Haram terrorists. He commanded his troops to embark on “Operation Crackdown.” Mao Tse’s thoughts in this direction were that;
“After the enemies with guns have been wiped out, there will still be enemies without guns; they are bound to struggle desperately against us, and we must never regard these enemies lightly. If we do, nor now raise and understand the problem in this way, we shall commit the gravest mistakes.”

Today, Nigeria has regained her freedom. The world stands up in stupefying relish of Buratai’s exploits and victories over terrorism warfare in Nigeria within the shortest possible time.

This Nigerian Army General perceived defeat in the eyes of troops, but meticulously inspired them into self-confidence, greatness and victory;  he triumphed over their disunity and inclination  for  mutiny and made them converts  of the new order of professionalism,  discipline, comradeship  and pursuit of the common agenda of defeat of enemy forces against Nigeria.

No doubt, Gen. Buratai strikes as an angel to civilians in his operational jurisdictions; but a very venomous snake to enemies of state. For Nigerians and millions of Africans, this Army Chief is simply one of the best Africans in recent times. This is attested or gleaned from the flurry of unsolicited awards and recognitions showered on him across the globe in the last few months. The Republic of Brazil recently feted and decorated him with the country’s highest military honour in global recognition of his battle against terrorism in Nigeria and the world.

Thus, Gen. Buratai can be described as a gentlemen soldier, a great soldier of repute, a hero of international dimensions, the conqueror of terrorists in Nigeria and environs.   He has replicated history in Nigeria and the world, by religiously deploying and improvising on the military wisdom of those before him to attain the unimaginable victories in war against terrorism.

Consequently, the world is prodded to utilize his wealth of wisdom to surmount the global monster of terrorism. This would be a step palpably illustrative of the global agenda on collective action against terrorism, a reality now, than yesterday and likely tomorrow. But if treasured masters of the game, like Buratai are factored into this global collaborative action against terrorism, the world may likely experience respite.

Goulding, a security expert writes from 199 Watford Way, Hendon, London, United Kingdom.
          By: Xennady   
MikeK, I take your points, and I know I'm an outlier here when it comes to my low opinion about Bush. But I am extremely tired of so-called leaders who deliver us various forms of defeat, then congratulate themselves because they haven't brought us complete disaster. I put Bush and Nixon in this category, both. It seems an interesting parallel that Nixon and Bush had foreign policies requiring significant and important military commitments- Vietnam and Iraq- yet they both failed because they were unable to manage the domestic political scene. Nixon was undone by Watergate, after relentless harassment by his enemies, then forced to resign. If I recall Ford later went down to the leftist-run Congress begging them to meet our treaty commitment to South Vietnam, but they refused. I've long regarded the abandonment of South Vietnam as a terrible stain on the honor of the US, but now I read that Nixon did it deliberately, convinced it didn't matter if we let our Vietnamese allies get murdered by our enemies. Huh? And all after we had spent vast amounts of blood and treasure on the struggle, too. I'm sorry, I just can't accept that. But I suspect that if Nixon hadn't been so distracted and weakened by Watergate South Vietnam may have been able to survive anyway, especially if the left hadn't been able to cut off US support. Bush wasn't any better. It seems by now Republicans should have figured out that leftists aren't their friends, and developed some sort of countermeasures. Instead, Bush simply wouldn't respond, tamely accepting blame for disasters not his fault, accepting idiotic policies in the name false comity, and refusing to make obvious political attacks on his political enemies, which were a key part of his job. I know it's pointless to offer advice now, and of course everyone's hindsight is famously excellent, but for Pete's sake you don't need to be an architect to notice that a building is burning down, either. Again, the buck stopped with Bush. Period. When the democrat senate refused to act upon his nominees, he should done a little more about it than nothing at all. He should have been pointing out that they were refusing to act, perhaps he should have even gotten mad about it, using the power of his office to make his objections known. And it actually mattered, because if Bush had been able to get his people in place perhaps Moussoui's infamous laptop would have been opened, preventing 9/11. Failing that happy eventuality, he could have made a political case against the democrats, appropriately blaming them for their actions, resulting in weaker opposition that maybe wouldn't have been so bold as to derail the nation's entire political discourse over something so idiotic as the Plame affair. That never happened, obviously. Worse, much worse, Bush seemingly delighted in pushing policy loathed by the rank-and-file supporters of the GOP. The Bush Amnesty bill and the intense opposition it engendered is well known, but I also recall a proposal to rewrite labor law that would have had the effect of eliminating overtime pay. Being that the GOP is essentially a middle-class party, and many middle-class voters get overtime pay, this was essentially a direct attack by the Bush administration upon a huge segment of its support. Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt, successful presidents who also had intransigent opposition, a hostile press, general bad times and grim brutal warfare to contend with during the times in office would never have made such a stupid mistake, enraging their supporters for trivial gain. For sake of brevity I'll refrain from discussing the 2008 economic collapse. Anyway, because Bush was regarded by the public as a failure, radical narcissist Barry Obama became president, throwing away all we had gained in Iraq either because of sheer moronic idiocy or vile treason. Ugh. Again, I know I'm an outlier. But I humbly suggest we stop accepting the excuses we're given and just face facts: Both Nixon and Bush were failed Presidents. They failed at home, and they failed abroad. We just don't have enough lipstick to make them stop being pigs. Alas.
          En la jungla vas a esperar hasta un 5 o un 8 sacar. Cazando Gangas 109   

300617 Gangas

Toca despedirse de junio a lo grande, con un Cazando Gangas que engloba las mejores ofertas de los principales servicios. ¡Menuda semanita se ha juntado!

Ofertas de videojuegos para PC

Empezamos seleccionando (otra vez) las mejores ofertas de Steam.

  • 'Half-Life 2' por 0,99 euros.
  • 'Hyper Light Drifter' por 9,99 euros
  • 'Firewatch' por 8,99 euros
  • Edición GOTY de 'La Tierra-Media: Sombras de Mordor' por 3,99 euros.
  • 'Metro Redux' por 7,49 euros.
  • 'Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition' por 9,99 euros.
  • 'SUPERHOT' por 13,79 euros.
  • 'Tyranny' por 22,49 euros.
  • 'Dishonored 2' por 19,99 euros.
  • 'DOOM' por 14,49 euros.
  • 'Left 4 Dead 2' por 1,99 euros.
  • 'Burnout Paradise: The Ultimate Box' por 2,49 euros.
  • 'Age of Empires II HD' por 4,99 euros.
  • 'Cities: Skylines' por 7,49 euros.
  • 'XCOM 2' por 16,49 euros.
  • 'Fallout 4' por 14,99 euros.
  • Edición GOTY de 'The Witcher 3' por 24,99 euros.
  • Cambiamos de tercio hasta GOG, donde también tienen la edición GOTY de la última aventura de Geralt de Rivia al mismo precio, 24,99 euros, pero con 2,80 euros de regalo para futuras compras. Además, si compramos éste u otro de la promoción de esta semana, nos regalan una copia de 'Double Dragon Trilogy'.
  • Da igual el que sea, con tal de que paguemos por un juego dentro de esa promo. Como por ejemplo, el 'Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition' por 5,89 euros, o su secuela, por otros 5,89 euros. Aunque si vamos a lo barato, nada supera al 'Commmandos 2+3', por 0,89 euros, y con el 'Double Dragon Trilogy' de regalo.

Ofertas de videojuegos para consolas

Xbox 360 y Xbox One

Iniciada la Ultimate Game Sale de verano, seleccionamos las mejores ofertas:

PS3, PS4 y PS Vita

En PlayStation Store aún siguen activos los Descuentos Dobles. Aquí los mejores:

  • 'Destiny: The Collection' por 23,99 euros.
  • 'Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy' por 13,99 euros.
  • 'Metro Redux' por 8,99 euros.
  • Edición Deluxe de 'Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2' por 14,99 euros.
  • La edición GOTY de 'The Witcher 3' por 24,99 euros.
  • Y ya entre la promo "Descuentos Digitales", algunos tan destacables como 'Shadow Complex Remastered' por 5,99 euros, 'Firewatch' por 6,99 euros, 'Hard Reset Redux' por 8,99 euros, o 'Jotun: Valhalla Edition' por 5,99 euros.

Novedades y reservas

  • Con todo el revuelo que ha levantado la SNES Mini, explicando cómo se podía reservar, no extraña que a estas alturas esté agotada en todas las tiendas. Os recomendamos, en cualquier caso, revisar de manera periódica cada día.
  • De lo que acaba de debutar en tiendas, tenemos 'Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy' por 34,90 euros, y ya 'Micro Machines World Series' por 24,95 euros.
  • Hoy también sale 'Valkyria Revolution' (en edición limitada) por 34,90 euros.
  • 'Cars 3: Hacia la Victoria', a la venta la próxima semana, llega hasta los 54,90 euros en sistemas actuales, siendo 'Splatoon 2', exclusivo de Switch, otro recomendable para los niños (y adultos, ojo) por 49,90 euros. Sin olvidar ese 'Hey! Pikmin' para Nintendo 3DS, por 34,90 euros, de finales de mes.
  • 'Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age', por su parte, saldrá por 44,90 euros.

Como siempre, tenéis los comentarios para reflejar cualquier otro tipo de oferta o ganga. También tenéis otras alternativas sobre tecnología y sobre Apple.

Nota: algunos de los enlaces aquí publicados son de afiliados. A pesar de ello, ninguno de los productos mencionados han sido propuestos ni por las marcas ni por las tiendas, siendo su introducción una decisión única del equipo de editores.

          The Reahu and Wayu Itou: He Borara Chapter 10   
Warrior Lineup
     Lac sneezes as he sits down at the table with paper and pen. I’ve got a beaut of a cold, he writes. He’s quarantined himself in his hut, so he figured he may as well catch up on his correspondence, beginning with the letter to Ken he’s been meaning to write. I went monkey hunting with the gang this week, he continues, in preparation for a big feast in honor of a visiting village’s slain headman.

The Monou-teri were only here a few days before the hanky-panky started. The buildup to the club fight that ensued was nothing like the tectonic force accumulating over the course of the Mahekodo-teri’s visit. For one, the Monou-teri don’t have a leg to stand on; they need the Bisaasi-teri far more than the Bisaasi-teri need them—which is probably why the local guy felt entitled to a romp with one of the visiting men’s wives. Plus this time around it was only two men facing off (though there were threats galore from each man’s male kin). These squabbles over women, while not a daily occurrence, are an ever-present source of testiness and suspicion, and the risk of violence seems to intensify whenever you have a mingling of groups like this.

I keep barely missing the club fights in the village, he goes on writing; this was the first one I witnessed directly, and I got some great photos. (I missed the last one by a couple of hours; another happened while I was here but I didn’t actually see any of it.) The good thing about the fights is they get people talking. I can just hover about the crowd and listen. Sometimes they’ll even let a name slip out of their tobacco-stretched mouths. I’d love nothing more right now than to be in the shabono collecting data—i.e. recording gossip—but I keep thinking I could end up killing some poor kid if my cold spreads.

It started after I nearly overheated trying to keep up with the hunting band. I can’t describe the sensation; I mean, I’ve hunted plenty before, but not like this. Hurtling yourself headlong through the underbrush and threading your way through the trees, always with your eyes darting about the canopy in search of your quarry. I had my shotgun at the ready, braced in front of me, getting frustrated because I didn’t think it should be slowing me down as much as it was. I manage to shoot a monkey or a tapir with it here and there, but this time it was an arrow that brought down our target. When we got back to the village and I kept walking back to my hut, I had sweat gushing from every pore on every part of my body and I felt lightheaded, so I sort of floated right past my door, wrestled off my clinging wet clothes, and jumped in the river to cool off.

That night I awoke around 2 in morning with a cough and a sore throat.

Lac doesn’t write that he heard—not imagined but heard—his mother’s voice ringing out in the darkened hut, chiding him for his ill-conceived efforts at returning his body to homeostasis. He writes instead of the Monou-teri headman’s death and of how the women are going to eat his ashes during the feast, and perhaps have a little reciprocal raid afterward. He’s not sure exactly why his impulse is to downplay the counterattack—counter-counterattack—other than that, after all, it’s murder they’re talking about, sort of.

He tells Ken to expect more arrows in a shipment to the museum, the first and far less impressive batch having arrived safely according to Ken’s last letter. He’ll also be sending some ebene tubes and pack baskets. Finally, he writes about the archeological site he discovered at what may have once been a village. He found scads of potsherds, most of which look like they would be from pots quite similar to the ones they use in Bisaasi-teri today, when they’re not using the aluminum pots traded in from the Ye’kwana or the missionaries (or now from him). But some of the fragments are much more delicate, as though they came from a more advanced ceramic tradition, making him wonder if the Yąnomamö might have regressed from some former higher level of technological and artistic sophistication. Such backward lurches must have happened to societies throughout history. Pick your catastrophe: plague, war, famine, environmental degradation. Guys like Percy Fawcett spent their whole lives searching Amazonia for these lost civilizations.   

Lac writes about a stone ax he found, a relic of a time before madohe. The thought that neither he nor any other Westerner will ever see how the Yąnomamö made axes almost brings tears to his eyes. The Waica claim they find these ax heads all the time, he writes to Ken, but seeing is believing.
*****

Lac, feeling better for the past two days, is in his hut collecting names from an older man—in his mid-forties maybe—one he’s been finding delightfully easy to work with, so much so that he’s moved this informant to the top of his pay scale and begun going over the charts for the entire village with him. Theoretically, Lac thinks, I could get the names of everyone in Bisaasi-teri from this one man, whose own name is Kukumbrawa—according to his neighbor in the adjoining yahi, who’s also a parallel cousin, his father’s brother’s son. Lac moves his finger over the diagram, tracking the connection along the lines running between the names.

            He could fill in all the empty spaces with this one informant and then ask for the same information from some other similarly cooperative man, and then another, until it’s clear the names and relationships as diagrammed are consistent. The process shouldn’t take that long. He could collect all the preliminary data he needs—all the information Dr. Nelson has requested—and then move on to lineage histories. After that, he can start focusing on other villages. By mid-summer he could be ready to make an expedition inland from the Orinoco, maybe as far as the gigantic shabono near the headwaters of the Mavaca, the one Rowahirawa keeps telling him about.

            He’s leaning down to let Kukumbrawa whisper in his ear when he hears the drone of an outboard on the river. His informant stands up from the chair and walks to the door with him. Lac’s heart thuds with reverberations of his panic on the night last month when he was sure his hut was about to be besieged by raiders from another village. But he’s able to calm himself. That night, the boatman turned out to be Padre Morello; that’s probably who it is now—or else it’s more men from the Malarialogìa. They’ve been visiting the hut across the Orinoco a lot lately, the one he and Clemens stayed in his first night in the field. It could also be some of the padre’s other Salesian friends, the ones building the missionary compound across the river; Lac never hears from these men, but, though he’s loath to admit it, he’s been comforted by their propinquity.  

            The boat appears to be on a course for the bank near his hut, and Lac sees just one man sitting with his hand on the lever steering the engine. “Dr. Shackley,” the padre’s voice shudders out over the water before brittlely echoing back from the trees on the far bank. “How are you this fine day? You’re looking hale and formidable.” After his brief sickness, Lac finds these words relieving, the dubiousness of the flattery notwithstanding.

            Lac returns the greeting before telling Kukumbrawa they’ll have to continue the ohodemou later and giving him a portion of the standard payment he’s come to expect. Kukumbrawa is less disappointed with the payment than he is excited about the arrival of a visitor. Lac laughs silently. You wouldn’t be so excited, he thinks, if you knew even half of what this guy wants to persuade you of.

            As he steps down to the water’s edge, Lac sees the padre isn’t his old ruddy and buoyant self. Instead, he looks like he’s been missing too much sleep of late, and maybe done a little too much drinking. “Padre, I still haven’t adequately expressed my gratitude for all you did to help me make it to Caracas and back to visit my family.” Lac chuckles furtively at his own words, not because he’s fumbling with his Spanish, but because even in his current ragged state, the good padre has a way of inspiring excessive formality.

            “Now that you mention it,” Morello says as Lac reaches out for the canoe’s gunnel to pull it ashore, “there is something you can do for me.” He stands and wobbles his way along the length of the craft, where he grips Lac’s arm and steps onto dry land.

            “Sure,” Lac says. “Anything.”

            “Let’s discuss it inside,” the padre says, gesturing toward the hut. This gives Lac pause, not so much for the suggestion that they talk indoors—maybe he just wants to get out of the sun, away from the bugs—as for the reticence in his tone. He’s about to make an unpleasant request, Lac is sure.

            Lac guides him along the path through the high grass, on the lookout for snakes, exercising his now ingrained vigilance, as the padre enquires into the progress of his work. Now it’s Lac’s turn to be cagey; he looks around to see who’s in earshot before saying, “It’s going fantastic.” He feels his own face light up and sees a feeble reflection of his excited smile on his friend’s face. “I’ve finally started to get the names I need for my genealogies. I’ve already got the names of most people currently living here.”

            “That is fantastic! How did you get them to tell you their names?”

            Before proceeding to explain his name-gathering protocol in detail, Lac reminds himself that the only Spanish words any of the Bisaasi-teri know are sí and no. But he relishes finally being able to tell someone about his success. His excitement is too weightily palpable to keep to himself. Many of the villagers have emerged from the shabono to get a look at the visitor, and Lac takes a moment to explain to them in Yąnomamö who this new nabä is. Before continuing his description of his interview methods though, he guides the padre into the hut and closes the door to any curious Indians straggling along behind them.

            “Remarkable,” the padre says after hearing how Lac has accomplished the feat. “Ingenious.”

            Lac is suddenly his twelve-year-old self again on the day he held up a medium-sized trout to show his dad; Morello may as well be patting him on the head, saying, “Way to go, slugger.” Embarrassed by his swelling pride, Lac hastens to divert his guest from offering further praise and congratulations: “Now tell me, Padre, what’s bothering you? Something’s obviously been keeping you awake at night. Tell me how I can help.”

            Lac pulls a chair out for his guest, the same chair Kukumbrawa recently vacated. The padre puts both palms on the table and collapses onto the seat with a dignified grunt. “Hermano Marteens,” he says, “is having a great deal of difficulty with the Indians across the river.”

            Lac pulls out the other chair for himself. As he lowers himself into it, he looks over to see beads of sweat trundling from the padre’s forehead all the way down his cheeks into his thick wiry mass of beard. It would be hard to imagine a man more out of place—unless, that is, the good padre were to strip down, don a loincloth, scatter some buzzard feathers over his bald head, and dance in the courtyard with the villagers. Lac chokes back a laugh and says, “I gather Hermano Marteens is concentrating his efforts on the people across the Mavaca at Lower Bisaasi-teri; I’ve never encountered him here. Now that I think about it, it’s strange that no one from the other shabono ever mentions him either.”

            He’s speaking too fast, he realizes, because he’s uneasily anticipating that the padre is about to try to recruit him on behalf of the Salesians, to assist them in their efforts to accustom themselves to Yąnomamö ways. There’s no way I’m going to help them convert anyone, Lac thinks. I’ll agree to help with logistical stuff, sure, just as Morello has done for me. I don’t have anything against the padre personally of course, but the stark reality is that I’m completely opposed to the Salesians’ agenda for the Yąnomamö.

            Completely opposed? Even if it means medicine and protection for the women and kids?

            The padre says, “I’m afraid the good brother hasn’t been getting around to doing much mission work—which is the essence of the problem I’m currently working to remedy. When it was me first starting to build a mission compound, all those structures at Ocamo, I relied on many of the Ye’kwana from the area as a labor force. They have a long history with the Church and were accustomed to trading their work for things like tools, food, medicine.”

            “The Yąnomamö aren’t exactly slow to catch on to the value of our manufactured goods, Padre. Though trading with them comes with some pretty thorny complications.”

            “Yes, so I’ve been informed. The biggest challenge for Hermano Marteens—.” He breaks off midsentence, pauses for the span of a weighty thought, and begins again. “I’ve recently received word that your friend Mr. Clemens will soon be returning to the territory. He’s bringing his wife, and another couple will be accompanying them as well. It seems they plan to divide their time between the school at Tama Tama and the villages here at Bisaasi-teri, with each family taking up on its own side of the Mavaca.”

            Lac’s first thought is, that’s a lot of goddamned nabä. But his next thought is of Laura and how the presence of the other couples will make getting her here far easier. It will also make it a great deal safer for her and the kids to stay here when he travels to other villages. “Chuck’s coming back?” he says. “That’s great. I hadn’t heard.” He stops himself from saying, “But how the hell did you find out about all this?”

            “Dr. Shackley, do you know anything about a dictionary Mr. Clemens is working on?”

            “A dictionary? Like a Yąnomamö dictionary, one for translating the words to English or Spanish?”

            “Hermano Marteens, you see, he speaks both Spanish and English quite well.”
*****

            Bahikoawa looks fine one moment and then as if he’s in severe pain the next. With all the parties under the same roof—or sharing the same plaza and palisade anyway—the raid can be launched any day the headman chooses.

            “The pata has sent word to the Shamatari,” Rowahirawa says. “The Bisaasi-teri are waiting for men from Mömariböwei-teri and Reyaboböwei-teri to accompany them on the raid. The people here have done much to cultivate the alliances; now it’s time to see if their efforts will pay dividends.”

            Lac sits up in the hammock next to Rowarhirawa in his father-in-law’s yahi, where he’s been lazing away the day’s hottest hours and asks, “Will the men from those villages make that big of a difference to the raid’s chances of success?”

            “Shaki, stop being such an imbecile. Ma, it won’t make any difference; it’s to solidify the alliance.” He repeats the last phrase, as Yąnomamö often do, all but dancing to the rhythm of his own words, so enthusiastic is he in his gesticulating. Lac decides his friend looks like a jaguar, because Yąnomamö faces remain shamefully indistinct in his mind and he’s determined to train his mind to zero in on subtle differentiating features. Unfortunately a lot of their faces could be said to resemble a jaguar's.  

            “But then why is Bahikoawa still waiting? They’re already two days late, and I hear the other men saying there’s a risk of big rainfall with the start of the wet season. You guys don’t want to get stuck having to march all the way back to Bisaasi-teri on muddy or flooded trails. Isn’t that what you’re counting on to slow the Patanowä-teri pursuit after you attack?”

            “We can’t leave for a raid after announcing when we’ll be gone.”

            “But you only announced it to the people you’re waiting on to go on the raid with you.”

            “That’s why we’re waiting. If they’re not here yet, it’s probably because they’re planning something.”

            “Aren’t they your allies?”

            “Shaki, don’t be so naïve. Awei, they’re allies to the Bisaasi-teri. That doesn’t mean they won’t try to steal our women from us.”

            “Ma! So that’s why you’re waiting.” The Yąnomamö aren’t very principled, he thinks; it’s always the thing that’s right in front of their nose. Or maybe, he tells himself, there’s some wisdom to it you simply don’t understand. Still, he can’t help being disgusted. “Shori, how often do villages go on raids that don’t result in anyone getting killed?”

            “It happens.”

            “How often do the raiders themselves get killed?”

            “It happens, but that means the raid wasn’t successful, even if the raiders kill someone else. You’ll have to go on another raid after that.”

            “If I were to travel with you and the other men from Bisaasi-teri, would I get killed?”

            “Shaki, are you hungry for the flesh of the Patanowä-teri?”

            “Ma, Shori, I’m fascinated by the ways of the Yąnomamö, like I’ve told you, and I want to go with you so I can record what I see in my white leaves.”

            “Will you bring your shotgun?”

            Lac began this line of questioning on a whim; he hasn’t considered going along on the raid until now, at least not consciously. Would he bring the shotgun? “Ma.” Absolutely not. “I’ve made a promise not to kill any Yąnomamö—.”

Rowahirawa rolls out of his hammock and slams his fist into Lac’s shoulder. “Don’t say what you just said!”

            “But it’s true.”

            “If men know you’re a coward, they’ll treat you as they would a woman.”

            Lac shakes his head pointlessly. “I understand.” So it’s true, he thinks; the only reason my hut ever goes a day unviolated is that the Yąnomamö are afraid of my shotgun.

            Rowahirawa laughs and gives him a hard shove. “You’re hopeless without me, Shaki. You know that?”

            Lac spends the latter half of the afternoon conducting an interview with a man whose behavior seems entirely choreographed, his answers entirely rehearsed. The earlier interviewees must have relayed to him in detail what he should expect—and maybe he caught on there’s an audition mentality to the proceedings. His every answer is a story, and Lac can’t decide whether to admire the man’s flare for drama or disdain him as a purveyor of compelling lies. The facts of his stories, the main characters, all check out with the picture that’s emerging of the village’s history and current composition through all his efforts at questioning and crosschecking. Something about the guy though—he seems fundamentally untrustworthy.

            Not exactly an objective observation, Shackley, he says to himself.

            “Towahowä, he was waiteri,” the man says. “He seduced his own brother’s wife in Monou-teri.”

            True, Lac thinks. I’ve heard this before. “Ma!” he says, encouraging the man to continue.

            “Awei, Towahowä had sex with her, and then the brother returned and became so angry he fired an arrow at her. He meant to shoot her in the thigh, because he wanted her to survive the wound. But he is sina, like Uhudima in the time of Moonblood, and the arrow implanted itself in her gut. She bled to death, leaving her husband inconsolable.”

            Many of the women Lac sees in the village are missing parts of their ears, souvenirs of similar episodes of violent jealousy. He’s seen one woman hit another with a smoldering log from the hearth, seen the men do that too. It’s not the type of culture you’d want to raise your daughter in.

            And, you, Lachlan Shackley, are not the type of scientist who lets himself get so loose with such value-laden sentiments.

            As the man continues telling his stories about the separation of villages and their post-fissioning political histories, Lac’s mind wanders to Nakaweshimi. She must be close to term about now. But she’s nowhere to be seen lately. Lac assumes it’s Yąnomamö custom for a woman to seclude herself in the days leading up to childbirth. Those are details he could be investigating for his ethnography, but he doesn’t know where to begin enquiring after information that sensitive.

            What he will be able to see is how the birth of the second baby impacts how Nakaweshimi cares for her other child, who’s still a tiny infant. The other thing that’s been preoccupying him is this silly idea of his about going along on the raid to Patanowä-teri. He and Rowahirawa agreed it would be possible for him to tag along on the journey but not participate in any killing. Still, the Patanowä-teri will probably pursue the raiders, and it’s not like he’ll have the time to explain to them that he’s only there in the capacity of neutral observer. If he’s not killed, he’ll likely still be forfeiting the reputation for impartiality he’s counting on to make travelling among villages relatively safe and easy.

            You’ll be compromised, he thinks, too deeply enmeshed in the culture to observe its dynamic operations and ongoing development from a detached vantagepoint. But, then again, you’ll also be going along to witness a custom few ethnographers have ever witnessed. And this is the part, the coalitional killing, warfare at its most primitive, that your professors and colleagues will say you’ve misrepresented, or fabricated outright. “Did you actually see any Yąnomamö killing each other?” he imagines Dr. White asking him. “It’s quite possible the attacks you heard rumors of were purely ritualistic, and that the men your friends claimed to have killed are alive and well and boasting of their own ritual kills.”

            Yes, my boastful friends.

            Lac has seen enough to know that Yąnomamö violence, while steeped in ritual and embedded in an intricate web of superstition, is all too real in its impact. Whatever mysteries he uncovers through his genealogical efforts, it’ll be Yąnomamö warfare that gets people talking back home—just like it does here. As for being compromised, it doesn’t have to go down that way. I won’t follow the warriors when they make their final charge, he thinks. I’ll hold back, with any luck remaining in eyeshot of the incident without being seen by anyone inside the shabono.

            So you’re just going along to watch some poor bastard get shot out of a tree?

            You may have to, if only to bolster your conviction, give you the confidence to stick to your guns in the face of all the scrutiny your work is bound to attract.

            He’s debating with himself as he’s half-heartedly attending to his informant’s performance with a healthy dollop of dismissive skepticism when the hut goes silent. Lac turns to see the man stand up and move to the door. He pricks his ears and picks out the sound of whistling in the distance—friendly visitors announcing their presence. The villagers raise their voices from within the shabono. Lac and his informant begin walking back to the opening in the palisade so they can see who the visitors are. It must be the men they’re expecting from Mömariböwei-teri and Reyaboböwei-teri at last; they weren’t waiting to steal women after all—or if they were, they realized the Bisaasi-teri and Monou-teri were wise to their treachery, and so their best bet for capturing women is to raid Patanowä-teri alongside their new allies.

            Now the raid will take place. And Lac knows regardless of which decision he’s able to marshal the best arguments for, he’ll be traveling alongside the raiders as well—or following behind them anyway. “There may be no turning back after this,” he mumbles to himself. I’ll need to talk to Rowahirawa, he thinks, do a lot a planning.
*****

            The next day the overfull village is preparing for the feast, and Lac is looking right at Nakaweshimi, no longer pregnant, but not carrying a second infant. This could mean any number of things. He tries to think back to the two other births that have occurred since his arrival in Bisaasi-teri, but gets no useful insight from recalling them. Has she miscarried? Was the baby sick or deformed? He wants desperately to ask her, but she doesn’t look like she’s in any mood for questions. No one looks to be in the mood for questions today. Lac resigns himself to a full day of silent of observation, out of respect—and out of prudence.

He feels more unwelcome today than at any other time since his first entrance into the shabono. The Yąnomamö never hesitate to let him know how annoying they find him, but they usually also seem to find him amusing, or find it amusing to mess with him anyway. Today, though, people are preoccupied with their grieving, preoccupied with their efforts to keep the substrate of rage simmering beneath their sadness from boiling over. On any normal day, they’re not only short-tempered; they’re itching to show off how short their tempers are. His thumb still aches from the incident when Rowahirawa stubbed his toe and threw down the heavy log they were carrying together. That was probably getting off easy. But today he senses those tempers are even more raw.

The hours drag on as he either lies in a hammock next to Rowahirawa or minces from spot to spot around the plaza. Into the afternoon, the funereal mood hangs thicker and thicker in the air. There’s no laughter to be heard, no beaming expressions to behold. If I had just shown up from Caracas, Lac thinks, I might think there was tension mounting among the assembled villages—as when the Mahekodo-teri and Boreta-teri were here throwing their weight around—so nauseatingly palpable is this undercurrent of wrath to their mournfulness.

Moment by moment resisting his urge to ask questions, he instead wisps around with his cameras and tape recorder, doing his best impersonation of a cloud. He has to be subtle with his camera work, snapping photos only of incidents of highest import, because even on normal days the Yąnomamö sometimes get irritated with him for stealing their images, chasing him away with upraised clubs—or once, with flung rocks—but today the deterrents are bound to be more severe, the punishments more vicious.

The irritability isn’t the most ostensible of their emotional states though. He listens to the villagers’ tearful laments, as they call to the fallen headman with the most intimate of kinship terms, making pronouncements of never-ending sadness and forlorn longing to be reunited in hedu. This strikes Lac as strange because these same relatives of the Monou-teri headman have seemed emotionally even-keeled every time he’s seen them over the past few weeks. Towahowä was killed over a month ago, and yet it’s only now that the bereavement takes hold—or maybe it’s taking hold for the second time, the first having occurred when they learned of his death and cremated his body, producing the ashes the women are now consuming with their plantain soup.

It’s like they’ve all agreed now is the time to collectively wallow in grief, to sulk and cry out, so they’re deliberately concentrating on their loss, meanwhile reflecting each other’s sadness and anger, thus amplifying them both, the space of their passion spilling into an infinite regress of hitherto dormant devastation. Surprisingly, the spreading contagion of their emotions is affecting even him, a nabä who only encountered the deceased on a couple of occasions, never getting overly close.

What seems most bizarre to Lac however is that these people are so aggrieved about the death of a guy who treated many of them terribly. Towahowä was a total asshole. He seduced—or possibly raped—an untold number of these men’s wives, including his little brother’s. It was his stealing of another man’s wife that led to the fissioning of Monou-teri from Bisaasi-teri, which you could argue resulted in their present predicament. Then he further endangered the village by leaving them leaderless, because he was so reckless in his pursuit of women and greater renown. And who knows how many other women he’s abused, how many other men he’s intimated or assaulted or cuckolded—though none of these practices are exactly frowned upon by the Yąnomamö?

Lac tries to force himself to accept that they hold different virtues as praiseworthy, different vices as beneath contempt. That’s easy enough to understand in principle; it’s the liking part that confounds him. How could anyone have liked Towahowä? Or did they? Or is all this emotion on display separate from the discrete person of the former headman, more about his role than his individual identity? It’s a question he’ll have to return to when he’s attended more funeral feasts, more reahu, as the Yąnomamö call them.

            Throughout the day, villagers take turns shouting out formal speeches, somewhat like they do in their kąwa amou chants before bed but more lachrymose, about how their kinsman’s death has pierced to the depths of their being. “Ya buhii ahi,” he keeps hearing. My innermost soul is cold. One man sounds off in one part of the shabono, then another man somewhere else riffs on the theme. Hushuwo is another term he keeps hearing: angry and sad and volatile—much more volatile than usual.

            Lac wanders about the edge of the plaza, trying his hardest to be invisible, on the lookout for good spaces to tuck himself, vantages where he can witness the goings-on unseen. Late in the afternoon, the men, still in their yahis, all start doing something strange. Lac risks stepping closer to see a couple times. They’re biting into burnt logs, chewing the charcoal. Lac guesses it’s supposed to have some medicinal property at first, but then he sees them spitting it out and rubbing it between their hands. They’re mixing the masticated charcoal with their saliva to create a black sludge. He watches as they begin smearing it all over their arms and shoulders, going on to cover their entire bodies, painting them black.

Night camouflage.

Lac’s heart floats weightlessly, darting about like a hummingbird colliding with the bars of its cage. These sons of bitches are going to sneak up on another village, he thinks, and murder some poor bastard who doesn’t even know they’re coming. It hits him with all the absurd reality of a platypus waddling up to him with a stick of dynamite clamped in its bill. 

Lac’s been told that the mechanics of the pre-raid feast, if not the mood, are similar to those of feasts prefiguring morning trading sessions. Aside from the large troughs of plantain soup, though, the activities seem far different. Some time has passed since the women finished drinking their soup from calabashes, and now the men are busy dressing up a stripped-down tree trunk, evidently to make it look like a Yąnomamö, complete with wavy red lines down his torso, monkey tail headband, and sprinkling of white feathers atop the crown; the wooden man has donned his finest regalia for the occasion. The men lift this pithy white effigy onto a hammock—at maybe five feet tall, it fits nicely—before dispersing and preparing to stage a mock ambush. One of the raiders is a roughly eleven-year-old boy, Towahowä’s youngest son, and many of the charcoal-painted men pull him aside to give him instructions and advice.

             Now that the stage is set with the trunk swaying lazily in its hammock, a dozen warriors crouch down and make their way toward it from different parts of the plaza. Gesturing with weighty emphasis to each other, they waddle mostly in unison, deeply bent at the knees, coming from various angles—a band of hellfire-scorched demons capturing souls to build the ranks of their satanic subterranean army—until they’re close enough to make aiming all but moot.  All at once, they leap up to their full height to draw and fire their arrows. The tips bury themselves in the pulpy wood with a sickeningly rapid series of thuds. The victim is a pincushion before he could have ever known an attack was underway. All the men scream as they retreat, running out of the shabono in a series of sprints and halts, the warriors in front stopping to turn and cover the escape of the ones bringing up the rear in a repeating pattern.

            The mock raiders return one by one to their hammocks over time, but some of them remain in the plaza to practice and give the young boy plenty of coaching. Individually, no longer slithering toward their victim in a coiled mass of inhuman flesh, they’re less like demons than grown men playing dress-up. To Lac, all of these preparations and success rituals seem to be taking place at a distance, on the periphery of his sphere of concern. Yesterday, before deciding to travel along with the raiders, this same scene would have permeated his senses and thoughts with its dramatic implications: a young boy being taught to escape after being pressed to take lethal vengeance on his father’s killers.

As it is, he’s thinking more about the recent rains, how the rising waters will chase the poisonous snakes to higher ground, the same higher ground on which the Yąnomamö like to blaze their trails. The idea, if he understands Rowahirawa correctly, is to load up on plantains, walk slowly to the enemy’s village, deliberately pinpointing the ideal time to make the kill—likely when a suitable victim leaves the Patanowä-teri shabono to piss or fetch water—and, freshly unencumbered by the newly exhausted supply of food, run most of the way back, hastened by the knowledge that the people you just raided are fresh on your heels, eager to retaliate, desperate to avenge whoever just got killed. If the snakes don’t get you, he tells himself, the Patanowä-teri will.

            But I need to be there, he thinks. I need to see it happen at least once with my own two eyes. Or else it’ll live on as mere rumor, even to me, apt to rise and twist and disappear like a wisp of smoke. This is the part they won’t believe back home, those professors whose field experience consisted of living among highly acculturated Indians or Bushmen, conquered peoples, domesticated peoples. I need to be sure if I’m going to be able to stick to my guns. I need to see it happen.

As his thoughts and fears jostle about in his mind like bees in an agitated hive, he finds his eyes have come to rest on the effigy, the no owä, as he’s heard the Yąnomamö call it, still swaying in its hammock as if by its own exsanguinated volition—any man would surely have bled to death by now. He imagines the pool of blood on the floor, spreading toward the hearth. What percentage of the men here, he wonders, will be killed in their hammocks like this, or while they’re up in a tree harvesting fruit, or out in the forest searching for honey? How many will be killed taking a piss? What percentage of the women will be kidnapped and dragged off to some rival village to be sex slaves who graduate to become wives and mothers as though the original crime had never been committed?

            Those are empirical questions, he points out to himself, and it’s all information you can glean from exactly the kind of interviews you’re already conducting—if you could just find a more effective way to discuss people’s dead relatives. That’ll be my main focus when I get back. For now, I need to plan: what kind of food should I bring when I set out with the raiders tomorrow? How will I carry it? How am I going to keep up with them as they sprint home afterward? How am I going to avoid the snakes? How am I going to avoid impalement by half a dozen arrows, poison-tipped, all at once?

            Jesus, Lachlan, you’re either on the cusp of becoming a great anthropologist or you’re out of your god damned mind.

            It’s Bahikoawa, as racked with pain from his undiagnosed infection as he is, and Towahowä’s brother, as much as he’s struggling with a steady trickle of accusations of cowardice, who are directing the show today, and they’ll be the ones leading the raid tomorrow. It’ll be a miracle if they even manage to complete the two-day journey to Patanowä-teri, Lac thinks. He’s getting nervous. Rowahirawa has told him the Patanowä-teri are cultivating a new garden in some unknown spot, perhaps even returning to harvest the rasha from one of the Bisaasi-teri’s old sites. So once the raiding party has made it to the shabono they’ve set as a destination, they may have to do some tracking and searching before finding anyone to kill. That sounds to Lac like a greater chance they’ll be spotted and set upon by the rival village’s own waiteri, of whom there is a famously large number.

            Rowahirawa tells him the retreat is the tricky part, and he describes the two-by-two progression away from the enemy village, where two men stand hidden while another two or four flee along a path running right between them. It’s a preset trap for the pursuers, who unwittingly step into a crossfire and have their pursuit brought to a sudden, unsatisfying halt. That’s what he saw them practicing after shooting the no owä full of arrows as it reclined peacefully in its hammock.

Somehow, his mind has connected the upcoming post-raid sprint back to the mouth of the Mavaca with his running through the forest in pursuit of monkeys last week, and to his subsequent illness. He was stuck in his hut for days, hoarsely yelling at Rowahirawa through the door to come back another day. “Shaki, why don’t you do your ohodemou?” Hearing the phlegm in Lac’s voice, Rowahirawa suggested through the door that he let the shaboris free his soul from the hekura devouring it. Lac would have loved to participate in the ritual, but he couldn’t risk spreading the cold; for all he knew, it was something he picked up in Caracas, a crowd disease only people long accustomed to civilization have developed any immunity to. There are stories of careless outsiders decimating whole villages by merely showing up with the wrong sniffle. Still, he’s sure it was the heat and exertion of the hunt, followed by his impetuous plunge into the cold waters of the Mavaca, that laid him low, not any potentially village-destroying bug.

His biggest apprehension now is that he won’t be able to keep up with the men—and he harbors no illusion that they’ll wait for him. It’s a bad idea to go with them, plain and simple. Falling behind is far from the only thing that can go wrong. But he has to go at least once. And it’s not just for the sake of his confidence in any controversial ethnographic verdicts he arrives at; he’s also hoping it’ll help him break through another layer of the ice still separating him from the Yąnomamö, like when he danced at one of the feasts for the first time. Maybe after tagging along for a raid he’ll finally be able to get past all this edgy weirdness that still surrounds his genealogical work.

On the other hand, maybe the effects he hopes to bring about will be nullified by his being unarmed and making no effort to kill anyone. He has a feeling, though, they’ll be less impressed by his pacifism than by his willingness to accompany them on a mission so fraught with peril, such missions being their own preferred passport to heightened prestige.
*****

As the precipitous falling of night gets underway in earnest, all the men are back to laying around in their yahis, swinging in their hammocks with pained, unfocused eyes. Lac steps through the passage outside and farther past the palisade to piss. The air outside the shabono is lighter, the atmosphere refreshingly cool, in marked contrast to the overheated oven of the village. When he comes back, there’s a thick silence hanging over the plaza, making him pause before continuing the rest of the way in. He takes a breath before finally stepping in, then makes his way around the edge of the courtyard again, determined to move with the lightest of steps. The stillness unsettles him. He’s wondering if he may be offending them by not keeping still like everyone else, when the pall hanging over the courtyard is shredded by a freakish animal sound that sends him scampering to the nearest shelter.

            The cry rattles through the gray evening light, a half human howl of outrage and pain. Lac at first can’t be sure whether it’s a human being making the sound, bowel-shaking and otherworldly. Then he understands: he’s imitating an animal’s growl, and now a
          10 Innovative Medieval Weapons: You Would Not Want To Be At The Sharp End Of These!   
Long before modern warfare, there was a time of knights in shining armor atop equally armored horses fighting for the hand of a maiden or in pitched battle. However, the weapons that these knights wielded expanded far past that of an ordinary sword...
Submitted by Marty Powell to Science & Tech  |   Note-it!  |   Add a Comment

          Absolution do Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare   
Koncern Activision zdradził dzisiaj szczegóły o trzecim rozszerzeniu do Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare - „Absolution”. Pakiet pojawi się na konsoli Xbox One na początku sierpnia i dorzuci oczywiście cztery mapy do zwykłej rozgrywki wieloosobowej: Bermuda, Permafrost, Fore oraz Ember (przeróbka Resistance z Modern Warfare 3). Nie zabraknie też nowego...
          Comment on No Sugar Added Moose Tracks by Samuelidoth   
Приветствую всех! Класный у вас сайт Нашел прикольный мониторинг серверов на этом сайте: http://cs-servers-monitoring.ru/ : <b> сервера кс 1 6 jail </b> http://cs-servers-monitoring.ru/game/cs <b> сервера кс го каждый сам за себя </b> http://cs-servers-monitoring.ru/game/csgo <b> скачать готовый сервер css v88 no steam </b> http://cs-servers-monitoring.ru/game/source И тут нашёл много интересных новостей про игры и сервера: http://cs-servers-monitoring.ru/news/3722-djennis-thresh-fong-stal-vtorym-chlenom-zala-slavy-kibersporta.html http://cs-servers-monitoring.ru/news/4135-dzheyson-amaz-chan-my-postepenno-priostanavlivaem-rabotu-team-archon.html <a href="http://cs-servers-monitoring.ru/news/4701-avtory-call-of-duty-infinite-warfare-razdelili-pc-igrokov.html" rel="nofollow"> Авторы Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare разделили PC-игроков </a> <b> Трейсер из Overwatch лишилась излишне сексуальной победной позы после жалобы игрока </b> http://cs-servers-monitoring.ru/news/2331-treyser-iz-overwatch-lishilas-izlishne-seksualnoy-pobednoy-pozy-posle-zhaloby-igroka.html
          Awara — The Russian Economy 2014 – 2016, the Years of Sanctions Warfare   

Report.
Yes, we must admit that the sanctions imposed on Russia by the Western powers in effect represent economic warfare. They aimed at nothing less than destroying the Russian economy with a hope of engineering mass unemployment and social chaos which would eventually lead to regime change and a new government that would succumb to Western hegemony. IMF, the Queen of Western financial institutions, boldly promised that Russia would be clobbered with a 9 % cut off its GDP[3]. There is no doubt that this IMF prediction reflected a modest assessment of what the perpetrators had been hoping to achieve.
The events in the Ukraine were merely a sought after pretext for launching the economic assault. Everything had been built up for this with increasing ferocity for at least a decade. In fact, the aforementioned fake news business media’s reporting on Russia has served this same purpose by denigrating Russia’s role in the world and the achievements of its president and people. All this as a part of a massive decade long propaganda campaign (“Russia does not produce anything” and bla bla bla).
We want to stress that there are sanctions of two types, officially enacted sanctions and unofficial sanctions. The latter have not been officially announced by any Western government but are deliberately pursued under the agenda of economic containment, itself part of the grand geopolitical strategy of Russia containment. By these measures Russian investors and exporters are actively by way of unannounced (i.e. illegal) rules hindered from entering Western markets and other global markets were those powers hold sway, and conversely Western (and other) investors are being discouraged (coerced) from certain investments into Russia. The economic containment takes many other form, too, for example, it affects Russia’s participation in global financial operations and the rubles role among global currencies. We assess that the unofficial sanctions are even more cumbersome and harmful than the official ones....
Awara
An Awara Accounting Economic Analysis: What Does Not Kill You Will Make You Stronger – The Russian Economy 2014 – 2016, the Years of Sanctions Warfare
Jon Hellevig

          Russia’s Hybrid Warfare Battlefield in Ukraine Heats Up   
On 06.29.17 01:26 PM posted by Nolan Peterson KYIV, Ukraine—Combat modestly abated along the front lines in eastern Ukraine this week as part of a “harvest truce” so farmers near the front lines could safely tend to their crops. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s hybrid warfare battlefield was in flames. On Tuesday, a car bomb killed a top Ukrainian military intelligence officer in Kyiv in what Ukrainian authorities immediately called an act of terrorism. While the car of Col. Maksym Shapoval, a special operations commander, was still smoldering, unknown handlers unleashed a computer virus that had been incubating for months in the network of a Kyiv-based tax software company.
          Combat-Asylum Forum Topics   
Airwarfare Simulation Network website that's main focus is the WW1 flying sim "Rise of Flight." - 1322 Hits
          Thread: Fanhunter: Urban Warfare:: Rules:: Universal abilities not seen in the rulebook   

by Mark3275

Hey guys does anyone know if there is a difference between dedicated leader and devoted leader universal ability. I could not find devoted leader on the universal abilities page 18 but dedicated leader was listed. Also does anyone know what's close range universal ability does? That was also not listed on the universal abilities page.

Thanks


          Comment on Hinduism Is Different by John Cochran   
The author accuses others of universal statements, but she makes several herself. Hindus have "never" engaged in organized warfare? Ask the Buddhist and Muslims if that statement is true. And there have been major conflicts between diverse groups of Hindus. But a more serious aspect of Hinduism is the cultural disrespect for women. The heinous crimes against females in Hindu land have been well documented. I do respect the Hindus for their lack of proselytizing and their general easy demeanor. But it is difficult to align Hinduism with other religions because it is more a philosophy of life than a religion per se.
          US-Backed Syrian Fighters Warn of Open Warfare with Turkish Forces   

An official with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the coalition of US-backed militants with the stated goal of creating a secular, democratic, federalized Syria, said that the SDF sees a "big possibility of open, fierce confrontation" with Turkish forces in northwestern Syria. This comes after the two sides exchanged fire on Wednesday.

The senior official, Naser Haj Mansour, told Reuters that the SDF would confront the Turks "if they try to go beyond the known lines." Turkish forces are there to support anti-government, primarily Islamist Syrian rebels.

Mansour went on to say that a Turkish attack against SDF-controlled areas would do "great harm" to the SDF's efforts against Daesh. The two factions are currently embroiled in a struggle over the city of Raqqa, Daesh's primary stronghold in Syria.

the city, trapping Daesh within. "There is a plan to impose a complete siege, but if this will take a day or two days, I can't say," he said.


          By 2100, Refugees Would Be the Most Populous Country on Earth   
Poverty and deadly wars are the major drivers of displacement.

The UN Refugee Agency has announced the new figures for the world’s displaced: 65.9 million. That means that 65.9 million human beings live as refugees, asylum seekers or as internally displaced people. If the refugees formed a country, it would be the 21st largest state in the world, just after Thailand (68.2 million) and just ahead of the United Kingdom (65.5 million). But unlike these other states, refugees have few political rights and no real representation in the institutions of the world.

The head of the UN Refugee Agency, Filippo Grandi, recently said that most of the displacement comes as a result of war. "The world seems to have become unable to make peace," Grandi said. "So you see old conflicts that continue to linger, and new conflicts erupting, and both produce displacement. Forced displacement is a symbol of wars that never end."

Few continents are immune from the harsh reality of war. But the epicenter of war and displacement is along the axis of the Western-driven global war on terror and resource wars. The line of displacement runs from Afghanistan to South Sudan with Syria in between. Eyes are on Syria, where the war remains hot and the tensions over escalation intensify daily. But there is as deadly a civil war in South Sudan, driven in large part by a ferocious desire to control the country’s oil. Last year, 340,000 people fled South Sudan for refugee camps in neighboring Uganda. This is a larger displacement than from Syria.

Poverty is a major driver of displacement. It is what moves hundreds of thousands of people to try and cross the Sahara Desert and then the Mediterranean Sea for European pastures. But most who try this journey meet a deadly fate. Both the Sahara and the Mediterranean are dangerous. This week, the UN’s International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Niger rescued 600 migrants from the Sahara, although 52 did not survive.

A 22-year-old woman from Nigeria was among those rescued. She was on a pick-up truck with 50 people. They left Agadez for Libya. ‘We were in the desert for ten days,’ she says. "After five days, the driver abandoned us. He left us with all of our belongings, saying he was going to pick us up in a couple of hours. But he never did." Forty-four of the migrants died. The six who remained struggled to safety. ‘We had to drink our own pee to survive,’ she said.

Getting to Libya is hard enough. But being in Libya is perilous. Violence against vulnerable migrants inside Libya continues to occur. The IOM reports the presence in Libya of ‘slave markets.’ Migrants who make it across the Sahara into Libya have told investigators that they find themselves in these slave markets where they are bought to be taken to private prisons and put to work or else sold back to their families if they can raise the high ransom payments. UNICEF reports incidents of rape and violence against women and children in these private prisons. One 15-year-old boy said of his time in a private prison, "Here they treat us like chickens. They beat us, they do not give us good water and good food. They harass us. So many people are dying here, dying from disease, freezing to death."

Danger lurks on the sea as well. This year already IOM reports least 2,108 deaths in the sea between Libya and Italy. This is the fourth year in a row that IOM has counted over 2,000 deaths by mid-year. Over the past five years, this averages out to about 10 deaths a day. Libya, broken by NATO’s war in 2011, remains a gateway for the vulnerable from various parts of Africa, countries damaged by IMF policies and by warfare. There is no expectation that the numbers of those on the march will decrease.

In a recent paper in The Lancet (June 2017), Paul Spiegel, formerly of the UN Refugee Agency suggests that the "humanitarian system was not designed to address the types of conflicts that are happening at present." With over 65 million people displaced, the various institutions of the UN and of the NGO world are simply not capable of managing the crisis.

"It is not simply overstretched," Spiegel wrote of the humanitarian system, "it is no longer fit for purpose."

These are shattering words. One problem Spiegel identifies is the assumption that refugee flows are temporary, since wars will end at some point. What happens when wars and occupations are permanent? People either have to live for generations in refugee camps or they will seek, through dangerous passages, flight to the West. He gives the example of Iran, which absorbed over a million Afghan refugees without using the camp strategy. They simply allowed the Afghans into Iranian society and absorbed them by putting money into their various social schemes (such as education and health). Spiegel also points out that refugees must be part of the designing the process for humanitarian aid. These are good suggestions, but they are not going to be possible with the limited funds available for refugees and with the crisis level of activity that detains the humanitarian agencies.

Spiegel does not deal with one of the great problems for humanitarianism: the persistence of war and the theory that more war—or the current euphemism, security—is the answer to humanitarian crises. This January, over 1,000 people tried to scale the large barrier that divides Morocco from the Spanish enclave of Ceuta. Looking at that barrier, one is reminded of the idea that walls will somehow prevent migration, a view driven by President Donald Trump. Violence met the migrants, a mirror of the violence that was visited among migrants along the spinal cord of Eastern Europe last year. Walls, police forces and military interventions are all seductive to an imagination that forgets why people migrate and that they are human beings on the run with few other options. There is a view that security barriers and security forces will raise the price of migrant and deter future migrants. This is a silly illusion. Migration is dangerous already. That has not stopped anyone. More humane thinking is necessary.

It is important therefore that the UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed told a meeting on the Sahel on June 28 that the world leaders need to "avoid a disproportionate emphasis on security" when dealing with the multiple crises in the Sahara region and north of it. "No purely military solution" can work against transnational organized crime, violent extremism and terrorism, nor against poverty and hopelessness. Underlying causes are not being addressed, and indeed the surface reactions—to bomb more—only create more problems, not less.

In the July issue of Land Use Policy, professors Charles Geisler and Ben Currens estimate that by 2100 there will be 2 billion refugees as a result of climate change. These numbers are staggering. They are an inevitable future. By then, refugees will be the largest country on earth—nomads, seeking shelter from destruction of climate and capitalism, from rising seas and wars of greed.

 

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          Annotations to Morga's 1609   
To the Filipinos: In Noli Me Tangere ("The Social Cancer") I started to sketch the present state of our native land. But the effect which my effort produced made me realize that, before attempting to unroll before your eyes the other pictures which were to follow, it was necessary first to post you on the past. So only can you fairly judge the present and estimate how much progress has been made during the three centuries (of Spanish rule).

Like almost all of you, I was born and brought up in ignorance of our country's past and so, without knowledge or authority to speak of what I neither saw nor have studied, I deem it necessary to quote the testimony of an illustrious Spaniard who in the beginning of the new era controlled the destinies of the Philippines and had personal knowledge of our ancient nationality in its last days.

It is then the shade of our ancestor's civilization which the author will call before you. . . If the work serves to awaken in you a consciousness of our past, and to blot from your memory or to rectify what has been falsified or is calumny, then I shall not have labored in vain. With this preparation, slight though it may be, we can all pass to the study of the future.

José Rizal

Europe, 1889

Governor Morga was not only the first to write but also the first to publish a Philippine history. This statement has regard to the concise and concrete form in which our author has treated the matter. Father Chirino's work, printed in Rome in 1604, is rather a chronicle of the Missions than a history of the Philippines; still it contains a great deal of valuable material on usages and customs. The worthy Jesuit in fact admits that he abandoned writing a political history because Morga had already done so, so one must infer that he had seen the work in manuscript before leaving the Islands.

By the Christian religion, Dr. Morga appears to mean the Roman Catholic which by fire and sword he would preserve in its purity in the Philippines. Nevertheless in other lands, notably in Flanders, these means were ineffective to keep the church unchanged, or to maintain its supremacy, or even to hold its subjects.

Great kingdoms were indeed discovered and conquered in the remote and unknown parts of the world by Spanish ships but to the Spaniards who sailed in them we may add Portuguese, Italians, French, Greeks, and even Africans and Polynesians. The expeditions captained by Columbus and Magellan, one a Genoese Italian and the other a Portuguese, as well as those that came after them, although Spanish fleets, still were manned by many nationalities and in them were negroes, Moluccans, and even men from the Philippines and the Marianes Islands.

These centuries ago it was the custom to write as intolerantly as Morga does, but nowadays it would be called a bit presumptuous. No one has a monopoly of the true God nor is there any nation or religion that can claim, or at any rate prove, that to it has ben given the exclusive right to the Creator of all things or sole knowledge of His real being.

The conversions by the Spaniards were not as general as their historians claim. The missionaries only succeeded in converting a part of the people of the Philippines. Still there are Mohammedans, the Moros, in the southern islands, and Negritos, Igorots and other heathens yet occupy the greater part territorially of the archipelago. Then the islands which the Spaniards early held but soon lost are non-Christian -- Formosa, Borneo, and the Moluccas. And if thre are Christians in the Carolines, that is due to Protestants, whom neither the Roman Catholics of Morga's day nor many Catholics in our own day consider Christians.

It is not the fact that the Filipinos were unprotected before the coming of the Spaniards. Morga himself says, further on in telling of the pirate raids from the islands had arms and defended themselves. But after the natives were disarmed the pirates pillaged them with impunity, coming at times when they were unprotected by the government, which was the reason for many of the insurrections.

The civilization of the Pre-Spanish Filipinos in regard to the duties of life for that age was well advanced, as the Morga history shows in its eighth chapter.

The islands came under Spanish sovereignty and control through compacts, treaties of friendship and alliances for reciprocity. By virtue of the last arrangement, according to some historians, Magellan lost his life on Mactan and the soldiers of Legaspi fought under the banner of King Tupas of Cebu.

The term "conquest" is admissible but for a part of the islands and then only in its broadest sense. Cebu, Panay, Luzon, Mindoro, and some others cannot be said to have been conquered.

The discovery, conquest and conversion cost Spanish blood but still m ore Filipino blood. It will be seen later on in Morga that with the Spaniards and on behalf of Spain there were always more Filipinos fighting than Spaniards.

Morga shows that the ancient Filipinos had army and navy with artillery and other implements of warfare. Their prized krises and kampilans for their magnificent temper are worthy of admiration and some of them are richly damascened. Their coats of mail and helmets, of which there are specimens in various European museums, attest their great advancement in this industry.

Morga's expression that the Spaniards "brought war to the gates of the Filipinos" is in marked contrast with the word used by subsequent historians whenever recording Spain's possessing herself of a province, that she pacified it. Perhaps "to make peace" then meant the same as "to stir up war." (This is a veiled allusion to the old Latin saying of Romans, often quoted by Spaniard's that they make a desert, calling it making peace. -- Austin Craig)

Megellan's transferring from the service of his own king (i.e. the Portuguese) to employment under the King of Spain, according to historic documents, was because the Portuguese King had refused to grant him the raise in salary which he asked.

Now it is known that Magellan was mistaken when he represented to the King of Spain that the Molucca Islands were within the limits assigned by the Pope to the Spaniards. But through this error and the inaccuracy of the nautical instruments of that time, the Philippines did not fall into the hands of the Portuguese.

Cebu, which Morga calls "The City of the Most Holy Name of Jesus," was at first called "The village of San Miguel."

The image of the Holy Child of Cebu, which many religious writers believed was brought to Cebu by the angels, was in fact given by the worthy Italian chronicler of Magellan's expedition, the Chevalier Pigafetta, to the Cebuan queen.

The expedition of Villalobos, intermediate between Magallan's and Legaspi's gave the name "Philipina" to one of the southern islands, Tendaya, now perhaps Leyte, and this name later was extended to the whole archipelago.

Of the native Manila rulers at the coming of the Spaniards, Raja Soliman was called "Rahang mura", or young king, in distinction from the old king, "Rahang matanda". Historians have confused these personages.

The native fort at the mouth of the Pasig river, which Morga speaks of as equipped with brass lantkas and artillery of larger caliber, had its ramparts reinforced with thick hardwood posts such as the Tagalogs used for their houses and called "harigues", or "haligui".

Morga has evidently confused the pacific coming of Legaspi with the attack of Goiti and Salcedo, as to date. According to other historians it was in 1570 that Manila was burned, and with it a great plant for manufacturing artillery. Goiti did not take possession of the city but withdrew to Cavite and afterwards to to Panay, which makes one suspicious of his alleged victory. As to the day of the date, the Spaniards then, having come following the course of the sun, were some sixteen hours later than Europe. This condition continued until the end of the year 1844, when the 31st of December was by special arrangement among the authorities dropped from the calendar for that year. Accordingly Legaspi did not arrive in Manila on the 19th but on the 20th of May and consequently it was not on the festival of Santa Potenciana but on San Baudelio's day. The same mistake was made with reference to the other earlyl events still wrongly commemorated, like San Andres's day for the repulse of the Chinese corsair Li Ma-hong.

Though not mentioned by Morga, the Cebuans aided the Spaniards in their expedition against Manila, for which reason they were long exempted from tribute.

The southern islands, the Bisayas, were also called "The land of the Painted People (or Pintados, in Spanish)" because the natives had their bodies decorated with tracings made with fire, somewhat like tattooing.

The Spaniards retained the native name for the new capital of the archipelago, a little changed, however, for the Tagalogs had called their city "Maynila."

When Morga says that the lands were "entrusted (given as encomiendas) to those who had "pacified" them, he means "divided up among." The word "entrust," like "pacify," later came to have a sort of ironical signification. To entrust a province was then as if it wre said that it was turned over to sack, abandoned to the cruelty and covetousness of the encomendero, to judge from the way these gentry misbehaved.

Legaspi's grandson, Salcedo, called the Hernando Cortez of the Philippines, was the "conqueror's" intelligent right arm and the hero of the "conquest." His honesty and fine qualities, talent and personal bravery, all won the admiration of the Filipinos. Because of him they yielded to their enemies, making peace and friendship with the Spaniards. He it was who saved Manila from Li Ma-hong. He died at the early age of twenty-seven and is the only encomendero recorded to have left the great part of his possessions to the Indians of his encomienda. Vigan was his encomienda and the Illokanos there were his heirs.

The expedition which followed the Chinese corsair Li Ma-hong, after his unsuccessful attack upon Manila, to Pangasinan province, with the Spaniards of whom Morga tells, had in it 1,500 friendly Indians from Cebu, Bohol, Leyte and Panay, besides the many others serving as laborers and crews of the ships. Former Raja Lakandola, of Tondo, with his sons and his kinsmen went too, with 200 more Bisayans and they wre joined by other Filipinos in Pangasinan.

If discovery and occupation justify annexation, then Borneo ought to belong to Spain. In the Spanish expedition to replace on its throne a Sirela or Malacla, as he is variously called, who had been driven out by his brother, more than fifteen hundred Filipino bowmen from the provinces of Pangasinan, Kagayan and the Bisayas participated.

It is notable how strictly the early Spanish governors were held to account. Some stayed in Manila as prisoners, one, Governor Corcuera, passed five years with Fort Santiago as his prison.

In the fruitless expedition against the Portuguese in the island of Ternate, in the Molucca group, which was abandoned because of the prevalence of beriberi among the troops, there went 1,500 Filipino soldiers from the more warlike provinces, principally Kagayans and Pampangans.

The "pacification" of Kagayan was accomplished by taking advantage of the jealousies among its people, particularly the rivalry between two brothers who were chiefs. An early historian asserts that without this fortunate circumstance, for the Spaniards, it would have been impossible to subjugate them.

Captain Gabriel de Rivera, a Spanish commander who had gained fame in a raid on Borneo and the Malacca coast, was the first envoy from the Philippines to take up with the King of Spain the needs of the archipelago.

The early conspiracy of the Manila and Pampangan former chiefs was revealed to the Spaniards by a Filipina, the wife of a soldier, and many concerned lost their lives.

The artillery cast for the new stone fort in Manila, says Morga, was by the hand of an ancient Filipino. That is, he knew how to cast cannon even before the coming of the Spaniards, hence he was distinguished as "ancient." In this difficult art of ironworking, as in so many others, the modern or present-day Filipinos are not so far advanced as were their ancestors.

When the English freebooter Cavandish captured the Mexican galleon Santa Ana, with 122,000 gold pesos, a great quantity of rich textiles -- silks, satins and damask, musk perfume, and stores of provisions, he took 150 prisoners. All these because of their brave defense were put ashore with ample supplies, except two Japanese lads, three Filipinos, a Portuguese and a skilled Spanish pilot whom he kept as guides in his further voyaging.

From the earliest Spanish days ships were built in the islands, which might be considered evidence of native culture. Nowadays this industry is reduced to small craft, scows and coasters.

The Jesuit, Father Alonso Sanchez, who visited the papal court at Rome and the Spanish King at Madrid, had a mission much like that of deputies now, but of even greater importance since he came to be a sort of counselor or representative to the absolute monarch of that epoch. One wonders why the Philippines could have a representative then but may not have one now.

In the time of Governor Gomez Perez Dasmariñas, Manila was guarded against further damage sch as was suffered from Li Ma-hong by the construction of a massive stone wall around it. This was accomplished "without expense to the royal treasury." The same governor, in like manner, also fortified the point at the entrance to the river where had been the ancient native fort of wood, and he gave it the name Fort Santiago.

The early cathedral of wood which was burned which was burned through carelessness at the time of the funeral of Governor Dasmariñas' predecessor, Governor Ronquillo, was made, according to the Jesuit historian Chirino, with hardwood pillars around which two men could not reach, and in harmony with this massiveness was all the woodwork above and below. It may be surmised from this how hard workers were the Filipinos of that time.

A stone house for the bishop was built before starting on the governor-general's residence. This precedence is interesting for those who uphold the civil power.

Morga's mention of the scant output the scant output of large artillery from the Manila cannon works because of lack of master foundry workers shows that after the death of the Filipino Panday Pira there were not Spaniards skilled enough to take his place, nor were his sons as expert as he.

It is worthy of note that China, Japan and Cambodia at this time maintained relations with the Philippines. But in our day it has been more than a century since the natives of the latter two countries have come here. The causes which ended the relationship may be found in the interference by the religious orders with the institutions of those lands.

For Governor Dasmariñas' expedition to conquer Ternate, in the Moluccan group, two Jesuits there gave secret information. In his 200 ships, besides 900 Spaniards, there must have been Filipinos for one chronicler speaks of Indians, as the Spaniards called the natives of the Philippines, who lost their lives and others who were made captives when the Chinese rowers mutinied. It was the custom then always to have a thousand or more native bowmen and besides the crew were almost all Filipinos, for the most part Bisayans.

The historian Argensola, in telling of four special galleys for Dasmariñas' expedition, says that they were manned by an expedient which was generally considered rather harsh. It was ordered that there be bought enough of the Indians who were slaves of the former Indian chiefs, or principals, to form these crews, and the price, that which had been customary in pre-Spanish times, was to be advanced by the ecomenderos who later would be reimbursed from the royal treasury. In spite of this promised compensation, the measures still seem severe since those Filipinos were not correct in calling their dependents slaves. The masters treated these, and loved them, like sons rather, for they seated them at their own tables and gve them their own daughters in marriage.

Morga says that the 250 Chinese oarsmen who manned Governor Dasmariñas' swift galley were under pay and had the special favor of not being chained to their benches. According to him it was covetousness of the wealth aboard that led them to revolt and kill the governor. But the historian Gaspar de San Agustin states that the reason for the revolt was the governor's abusive language and his threatening the rowers. Both these authors' allegations may have contributed, but more important was the fact that there was no law to compel these Chinamen to row in the galleys. They had come to Manila to engage in commerce or to work in trades or to follow professions. Still the incident contradicts the reputation for enduring everything which they have had. The Filipinos have been much more long-suffering than the Chinese since, in spite of having been obliged to row on more than one occasion, they never mutinied.

It is difficult to excuse the missionaries' disregard of the laws of nations and the usages of honorable politics in their interference in Cambodia on the ground that it was to spread the Faith. Religion had a broad field awaiting them in the Philippines where more than nine-tenths of the natives were infidels. That even now there are to be found here so many tribes and settlements of non-Christians takes away much of the prestige of that religious zeal which in the easy life in towns of wealth, liberal and fond of display, grows lethargic. Truth is that the ancient activity was scarcely for the Faith alone, because the missionaries had to go to islands rich in spices and gold though there were at hand Mohammedans and Jews in Spain and Africa, Indians by the million in the Americas, and more millions of protestants, schismatics and heretics peopled, and still people, over six-sevenths of Europe. All of these doubtless would have accepted the Light and the true religion if the friars, under pretext of preaching to them, had not abused their hospitality and if behind the name Religion had not lurked the unnamed Domination.

In the attempt made by Rodriguez de Figueroa to conquer Mindanao according to his contract with the King of Spain, there was fighting along the Rio Grande with the people called the Buhahayenes. Their general, according to Argensola, was the celebrated Silonga, later distinguished for many deeds in raids on the Bisayas and adjacent islands. Chirino relates an anecdote of his coolness under fire once during a truce for a marriage among Mindanao "principalia." Young Spaniards out of bravado fired at his feet but he passed on as if unconscious of the bullets.

Argensola has preserved the name of the Filipino who killed Rodriguez de Figueroa. It was Ubal. Two days previously he had given a banquet, slaying for it a beef animal of his own, and then made the promise which he kept, to do away with the leader of the Spanish invaders. A Jesuit writer calls him a traitor though the justification for that term of reproach is not apparent. The Buhahayen people were in their own country, and had neither offended nor declared war upon the Spaniards. They had to defend their homes against a powerful invader, with superior forces, many of whom were, by reason of their armor, invulnerable so far as rude Indians were concerned. Yet these same Indians were defenseless against the balls from their muskets. By the Jesuit's line of reasoning, the heroic Spanish peasantry in their war for independence would have been a people even more treacherous. It was not Ubal's fault that he was not seen and, as it was wartime, it would have been the height of folly, in view of the immense disparity of arms, to have first called out to this preoccupied opponent, and then been killed himself.

The muskets used by the Buhayens were probably some that had belonged to Figueroa's soldiers who had died in battle. Though the Philippines had latakas and other artillery, muskets were unknown until the Spaniards came.

That the Spaniards used the word "discover" very carelessly may be seen from an admiral's turning in a report of his "discovery" of the Solomon islands though he noted that the islands had been discovered before.

Death has always been the first sign of European civilization on its introduction in the Pacific Ocean. God grant that it may not be the last, though to judge by statistics the civilized islands are losing their populations at a terrible rate. Magellan himself inaugurated his arrival in the Marianes islands by burning more than forty houses, many small craft and seven people because one of his ships had been stolen. Yet to the simple savages the act had nothing wrong in it but was done with the same naturalness that civilized people hunt, fish, and subjugate people that are weak or ill-armed.

The Spanish historians of the Philippines never overlook any opportunity, be it suspicion or accident, that may be twisted into something unfavorable to the Filipinos. They seem to forget that in almost every case the reason for the rupture has been some act of those who were pretending to civilize helpless peoples by force of arms and at the cost of their native land. What would these same writers have said if the crimes committed by the Spaniards, the Portuguese and the Dutch in their colonies had been committed by the islanders?

The Japanese were not in error when they suspected the Spanish and Portuguese religious propaganda to have political motives back of the missionary activities. Witness the Moluccas where Spanish missionaries served as spies; Cambodia, which it was sought to conquer under cloak of converting; and many other nations, among them the Filipinos, where the sacrament of baptism made of the inhabitants not only subjects of the King of Spain but also slaves of the encomenderos, and as well slaves of the churches and converts. What would Japan have been now had not its emperors uprooted Catholicism? A missionary record of 1625 sets forth that the King of Spain had arranged with certain members of Philippine religious orders that, under guise of preaching the faith and making Christians, they should win over the Japanese and oblige them to make themselves of the Spanish party, and finally it told of a plan whereby the King of Spain should become also King of Japan. In corroboration of this may be cited the claims that Japan fell within the Pope's demarcation lines for Spanish expansion and so there was complaint of missionaries other than Spanish there. Therefore it was not for religion that they were converting the infidels!

The raid by Datus Sali and Silonga of Mindanao, in 1599 with 50 sailing vessels and 3,000 warriors, against the capital of Panay, is the first act of piracy by the inhabitants of the South which is recorded in Philippine history. I say "by the inhabitants of the South" because earlier there had been other acts of piracy, the earliest being that of Magellan's expedition when it seized the shipping of friendly islands and even of those whom they did not know, extorting for them heavy ransoms. It will be remembered that these Moro piracies continued for more than two centuries, during which the indomitable sons of the South made captives and carried fire and sword not only in neighboring islands but into Manila Bay to Malate, to the very gates of the capital, and not once a year merely but at times repeating their raids five and six times in a single season. Yet the government was unable to repel them or to defend the people whom it had disarmed and left without protection. Estimating that the cost to the islands was but 800 victims a year, still the total would be more than 200,000 persons sold into slavery or killed, all sacrificed together with so many other things to the prestige of that empty title, Spanish sovereignty.

Still the Spaniards say that the Filipinos have contributed nothing to Mother Spain, and that it is the islands which owe everything. It may be so, but what about the enormous sum of gold which was taken from the islands in the early years of Spanish rule, of the tributes collected by the encomenderos, of the nine million dollars yearly collected to pay the military, expenses of the employees, diplomatic agents, corporations and the like, charged to the Philippines, with salaries paid out of the Philippine treasury not only for those who come to the Philippines but also for those who leave, to some who never have been and never will be in the islands, as well as to others who have nothing to do with them. Yet allof this is as nothing in comparison with so many captives gone, such a great number of soldiers killed in expeditions, islands depopulated, their inhabitants sold as slaves by the Spaniards themselves, the death of industry, the demoralization of the Filipinos, and so forth, and so forth. Enormous indeed would the benefits which that sacred civilization brought to the archipelago have to be in order to counterbalance so heavy a cost.

While Japan was preparing to invade the Philippines, these islands were sending expeditions to Tonquin and Cambodia, leaving the homeland helpless, even against the undisciplined hordes from the South, so obsessed were the Spaniards with the idea of making conquests.

In the alleged victory of Morga over the Dutch ships, the latter found upon the bodies of five Spaniards, who lost their lives in that combat, little silver boxes filled with prayers and invocations to the saints. Here would seem to be the origin of the anting-anting of the modern tulisanes, which are also of a religious character.

In Morga's time, the Philippines exported silk to Japan whence now comes the best quality of that merchandise.

Morga's views upon the failure of Governor Pedro de Acuña's ambitious expedition against the Moros unhappily still apply for the same conditions yet exist. For fear of uprisings and loss of Spain's sovereignty over the islands, the inhabitants were disarmed, leaving them exposed to the harassing of a powerful and dreaded enemy. Even now, though the use of steam vessels has put an end to piracy from outside, the same fatal system still is followed. The peaceful country folk are deprived of arms and thus made unable to defend themselves against the bandits, or tulisanes, which the government cannot restrain. It is an encouragement to banditry thus to make easy its getting booty.

Hernando de los Rios blames these Moluccan wars for the fact that at first the Philippines were a source of expense to Spain instead of profitable in spite of the tremendous sacrifices of the Filipinos, their practically gratuitous labor in building and equipping the galleons, and despite, too, the tribute, tariffs and other imposts and monopolies. These wars to gain the Moluccas, which soon were lost forever with the little that had been so laboriously obtained, were a heavy drain upon the Philippines. They depopulated the country and bankrupted the treasury, with not the slightest compensating benefit. True also is it that it was to gain the Moluccas that Spain kept the Philippines, the desire for the rich spice islands being one of the most powerful arguments when, because of their expense to him, the King thought of withdrawing and abandoning them.

Among the Filipinos who aided the government when the Manila Chinese revolted, Argensola says there were 4,000 Pampangans "armed after the way of their land, with bows and arrows, short lances, shields, and broad and long daggers." Some Spanish writers say that the Japanese volunteers and the Filipinos showed themselves cruel in slaughtering the Chinese refugees. This may very well have been so, considering the hatred and rancor then existing, but those in command set the example.

The loss of two Mexican galleons in 1603 called forth no comment from the religious chroniclers who were accustomed to see the avenging hand of God in the misfortunes and accidents of their enemies. Yet there were repeated shipwrecks of the vessels that carried from the Philippines wealth which encomenderos had extorted from the Filipinos, using force, or making their own laws, and when not using these open means, cheating by the weights and measures.

The Filipino chiefs who at their own expense went with the Spanish expedition against Ternate, in the Moluccas, in 1605, were Don Guillermo Palaot, Maestro de Campo, and Captains Francisco Palaot, Juan Lit, Luis Lont, and Agustin Lont. They had with them 400 Tagalogs and Pampangans. The leaders bore themselves bravely for Argensola writes that in the assault on Ternate, "No officer, Spaniard or Indian, went unscathed!"

The Cebuans drew a pattern on the skin before starting in to tatoo. The Bisayan usage then was the same procedure that the Japanese today follow.

Ancient traditions ascribe the origin of the Malay Filipinos to the island of Samatra. These traditions were almost completely lost as well as the mythology and the genealogies of which the early historians tell, thanks to the zeal of the missionaries in eradicating all national remembrances as heathen or idolatrous. The study of ethnology is restring this somewhat.

The chiefs used to wear upper garments, usually of Indian fine gauze according to Colin, of red color, a shade for which they had the same fondness that the Romans had. The barbarous tribes in Mindanao still have the same taste.

The "easy virtue" of the native women that historians note is not solely to the simplicity with which they obeyed their natural instincts but much more due to a religious belief of which Father Chirino tells. It was that in the journey after death to "Kalualhatiran," the abode of the spirit, there was a dangerous river to cross that had no bridge other than a very narrow strip of wood over which a woman could not pass unless she had a husband or lover to extend a hand to assist her. Furthermore, the religious annals of the early missions are filled with countless instances where native maidens chose death rather than sacrifice their chastity to the threats and violence of encomenderos and Spanish soldiers. As to the mercenary social evil, that is worldwide and there is no nation that can "throw the first stone" at the other. For the rest, today the Philippines has no reason to blush in comparing its womankind with the women of the most chaste nation in the world.

Morga's remark that the Filipinos like fish better when it is commencing to turn bad is another of those prejudices which Spaniards like all other nations, have. In matters of food, each is nauseated with what he is unaccustomed to or doesn't know is eatable. The English, for example, find their gorge rising when they see a Spaniard eating snails, while in turn the Spanish find roast beef English-style repugnant and can't understand the relish of other Europeans for beef steak a la Tartar which to them is simply raw meat. The Chinamen, who likes shark's meat, cannot bear Roquefort cheese, and these examples might be indefinitely extended. The Filipinos favorite fish dish is the bagong and whoever has tried to eat it knows that it is not considered improved when tainted. It neither is, nor ought to be, decayed.

Colin says the ancient Filipinos had had minstrels who had memorized songs telling their genealogies and of the deeds ascribed to their deities. These were chanted on voyages in cadence with the rowing, or at festivals, or funerals, or wherever there happened to be any considerable gatherings. It is regrettable that these chants have not been preserved as from them it would have been possible to learn much of the Filipinos' past and possibly of the history of neighboring islands.

The cannon foundry mentioned by Morga as in the walled city was probably on the site of the Tagalog one which was destroyed by fire on the first coming of the Spaniards. That established in 1584 was in Lamayan, that is, Santa Ana now, and was transferred to the old site in 1590. It continued to work until 1805. According to Gaspar San Augustin, the cannon which the pre-Spanish Filipinos cast were "as great as those of Malaga," Spain's foundry. The Filipino plant was burned with all that was in it save a dozen large cannons and some smaller pieces which the Spanish invaders took back with them to Panay. The rest of their artillery equipment had been thrown by the Manilans, then Moros, into the sea when they recognized their defeat.

Malate, better Maalat, was where the Tagalog aristocracy lived after they were dispossessed by the Spaniards of their old homes in what is now the walled city of Manila. Among the Malate residents were the families of Raja Matanda and Raja Soliman. The men had various positions in Manila and some were employed in government work nearby. "They were very courteous and well-mannered," says San Agustin. "The women were very expert in lace-making, so much so that they were not at all behind the women of Flanders."

Morga's statement that there was not a province or town of the Filipinos that resisted conversion or did not want it may have been true of the civilized natives. But the contrary was the fact among the mountain tribes. We have the testimony of several Dominican and Augustinian missionaries that it was impossible to go anywhere to make conversions without other Filipinos along and a guard of soldiers. "Otherwise, says Gaspan de San Agustin, there would have been no fruit of the Evangelic Doctrine gathered, for the infidels wanted to kill the Friars who came to preach to them." An example of this method of conversion given by the same writer was a trip to the mountains by two Friars who had a numerous escort of Pampangans. The escort's leader was Don Agustin Sonson who had a reputation for daring and carried fire and sword into the country, killing many, including the chief, Kabadi.

"The Spaniards," says Morga, "were accustomed to hold as slaves such natives as they bought and others that they took in the forays in the conquest or pacification of the islands." Consequently in this respect the "pacifiers" introduced no moral improvement. We even do not know if in their wars the Filipinos used to make slaves of each other, though that would not have been strange, for the chroniclers tell of captives returned to their own people. The practice of the Southern pirates, almost proves this, although in these piratical wars the Spaniards were the first aggressors and gave them their character.
          CoD4: Modern Warfare 2 mód   
Modern Warfare 2 mód pro hru Call of Duty 4.
          CoD4: Modern Warfare 2 mód - Mappack   
Mappack obsahuje 8 nových map, které potřebujete ke hraní MW2 módu na Gameparku.
          Why Does it Matter That America Is Now a Villain?   
by Neil H. Buchanan

The annual Independence Day holiday festivities provide an opportunity to reflect on the unique place that the United States holds in world affairs, for better and for worse.  How much worse has it become because of Donald Trump?  And does it matter?

Back in 2008, as the Bush era was ending and we were attempting to assess the disturbing legacy of the Bush/Cheney Administration -- the falsified case for the Iraq invasion, the horrors at Abu Ghraib prison that had been perpetrated by U.S. Army and CIA personnel, the ongoing human rights disaster that was (and still is) the Guantanamo Bay prison, and on and on -- it had become obvious that the reputation of the United States as a beacon of hope had taken a huge hit in the eyes of the world.

In December of that year, I wrote a short essay, "Our Reputation Matters," expanding on an editorial in The New York Times that had argued for closing Guantanamo as a matter of both moral imperative and national self-interest.  The key argument in that editorial was that the world would not continue to follow the leadership of the U.S. if we were to continue -- especially, I would emphasize, under our new and idealistic president-elect -- to violate all standards of justice and decency by keeping the prison open.

We now know that Republicans and many Democrats prevented President Obama from delivering on that campaign promise.  Even so, U.S. standing and leadership in the world generally improved during the Obama years.  And now we have Trump.

In my 2008 essay, I used a 1945 movie (Roberto Rossellini's "Rome: Open City") about the Nazi occupation of Rome during the latter part of World War II as a vehicle to consider how the rest of the world thinks about a country.  In that great film, a Nazi officer is depicted as the essence of pure evil, cruel and amused by the pain and death that he could impose on vulnerable people.

This was, indeed, the general theme of the world's collective memory of that war.  The Allies were the Good Guys and the Axis Powers were the Bad Guys.  And although it is true that history would not be told in that way if the other side had won, the essential point is that Americans were able to say with considerable justification that we had ridden to the rescue of the world when it was faced with unimaginable evil.

In other words, it was not just that we won.  We had a more than defensible argument that it was good that we won.

I do not want to overstate the case, of course, because there are certainly plausible arguments that we took too long to act, that the use of the atomic bomb (twice) stains our legacy, and so on.  Without taking a position on any of those issues, however, the point is that the U.S. has since WWII been able to say that we have at least tried to be on the side of human advancement.

Americans are sure that, unlike that Nazi officer in Rossellini's film, we are not cruel people who inflict pain on other, weaker people for our own gratification.  That is what bad guys do.

And even those of us who refuse to forget the state-sponsored evils of the Jim Crow era, or the history of the Vietnam War, have always been able to say, "Well, we have never lived up to our highest ideals, but the world still looks to us with hope."  The only question has been how to do a better job of living up to that reputation as we move forward.

Finding out that "we" tortured people during the Bush era was bad enough.  What was much worse was that the people who ordered the torture never admitted that what they did was a blatant violation of international law, that they were never prosecuted, and that they found champions throughout the American political system -- most obviously among Republicans who thought that the TV show "24" was a how-to manual.

And then, through an eye-of-the-needle win made possible by one of the many racist and elitist features of our Constitution (the Electoral College), we improbably elected a president who thinks that the world's apparent esteem for the United States is nothing but a cover for laughing at us behind our backs.

Trump was in fact merely mainstreaming an idea that has been rumbling around in U.S. culture for decades.  In movies and television shows, sometimes seriously and sometimes as a joke, it is hardly uncommon to hear an American say to a Brit, a Frenchman, or anyone else: "You'd be speaking German right now if it wasn't for us, you ingrate!"

That a reunited (and politically reformed) Germany is the country that is stepping forward to lead where the U.S. has retreated is of some irony.  But the larger point is that even people who have long criticized the U.S. (and again, there are plenty of valid criticisms of U.S. actions over the decades, even as our overall track record has been defensible) have nonetheless had reason to think that we would take the lead to make good things happen.

For example, sometime in the mid-2000's, I recall watching a TV show that examined how the child abuse scandal that had rocked the Roman Catholic Church was playing out in Ireland.  During a tearful interview with a U.S. news outlet, an Irish activist said words to the effect that "I know the U.S. will do something to make the Irish government do the right thing, if only we can let them know what's happening."

That an idealistic non-American would be saying this about the U.S., even in the middle of the Bush era, was in some ways astounding, but in other ways it was completely unsurprising and even normal.  We were the superpower that at least had some reputation for doing good for the sake of doing good.  Of course we would do the right thing!

And now?  Last week, the Pew Research Center published the results of global polls showing that the Trump presidency has delivered a severe blow to the reputation of the U.S. around the world.  The Washington Post quoted Frank Wisner, a former U.S. diplomat:
"America’s image has taken hits in recent years, from the decision to invade Iraq to the events of 2007 and 2008, when the American financial model took a huge hit.  But the most consequential is the ascent of Mr. Trump to the Oval Office."
How bad is it?  At the end of the Obama Administration, 64% of the respondents in 37 countries had "confidence" in the U.S. president, as opposed to 22% now.  Showing that the world is still holding on to a historic sense that the U.S. is more than its current president, almost half of respondents still have a "favorable view of the U.S.," but that is down by 15% in 2017 polls compared to 2014-16.

Those numbers, moreover, are propped up by responses from Russia, where positive views of Trump (53%) show marked improvement from Russians' views of Obama (11% positive), and Israel (where the rise has been much smaller, 49% to 56%).  So other than in two very unique situations (at least one of which does not reflect especially well on Trump), Trump has dealt a huge blow to the reputation of the U.S. around the world.

The Post's Aaron Blake followed up on the release of the Pew polls with an analysis highlighting four devastating points:

(1) The world distrusts Trump more than even Vladimir Putin,

(2) In each of allied countries, 9 out of 10 view Trump as "arrogant," 7 in 10 as "dangerous,"

(3) Even nationalists don't love Trump, and

(4) Trump's reputation is already worse than George W. Bush's -- at the depths of his presidency.

But maybe none of this matters.  It is not as if the U.S. has any right to believe that it will be the most respected nation in the world.  Conservatives argue that America is exceptional for specific reasons, but they usually use those reasons to argue that we should be more politically conservative rather than as a call to take our global leadership seriously.

Maybe the U.S.'s leadership position in the world was merely a historical accident, and the next stages of history will see our country becoming ever less influential and isolated.  Other commentators have noted that Trump's version of America First is more accurately described as America Alone, so Trump and his followers might even welcome the idea that the world no longer thinks of us as the good guys.

There is, however, something about the founding documents of the United States that pushes irresistibly against this pessimistic view of the future.

As noted above, it is not as if those documents (even after amendments that erased the Three-Fifths Compromise and allowed women to vote, among other corrections) are not situated in a history of exploitation and white supremacy.  Consider, for example, that the Declaration of Independence includes this complaint about King George III:
"He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions."
Wide-eyed innocence is unwise, of course, but the fact is that even given the complicated historical context, the Declaration and the Constitution are uniquely optimistic statements of human capacity for doing good.  For example, the Declaration of Independence, far from being the anti-tax screed that many Republicans think it is, is actually a call for the rule of law and truly representative government (and taxation with representation).

The Trump presidency and everything it represents twist and mock the highest ideals of our founding documents.  Worse, Trump represents a catastrophic departure even from this country's highly imperfect and inconsistent efforts to live up to some of those ideals.

Trump has shown again and again that he sees no reason for the U.S. to do the right thing simply because it is the right thing, because then the world is supposedly "laughing at us."  (As opposed to what is happening now?)  Indeed, it seems unlikely that he knows the difference between right and wrong.

Everything is supposedly about getting a good "deal," but even there, Trump still does not understand that bargains are supposed to be win-win.  If the other side gets something good out of a deal, then Trump hates it (unless, of course, the other party is an authoritarian government).  Winning means nothing less than total domination.

This is the mindset of old-style corrupt political bosses and organized criminals.  Government and power more generally are useful for the purposes of enriching oneself and one's (currently useful, but completely expendable) associates.  It appears that Trump thinks we can only be great if we act like wise guys.

The rest of the world disagrees, of course, as well they should.  Unfortunately, it does not end there.  In the view of Trump and many of his Republican enablers, only some Americans are real Americans.  Trump and the vast majority of his party would happily take away health care from tens of millions of people, because those people evidently do not truly count as the Americans who should benefit from our supposed return to greatness.

The U.S. government, as it is constituted under Donald Trump, is now making us villains abroad and gratuitously cruel at home.  No matter what one thinks about whether we Americans should be able to think of our country as a unique force for good in the sweep of human history, we are doing real damage to real people everywhere.

Is it too much to ask, as we celebrate our nation's birth, that we at least stop moving in the wrong direction?
          Trump strikes at China with arms sales to Taiwan   
Crazy hot this weekend on the coast, but good riding.

The Trump Administration State Department released a large arms deal for Taiwan, something which has been long predicted but had been held up. According to Defense News, the deal was worth $1.3 on the surface, but will need Congressional approval and may end up below that figure. Lawmakers have 30 days to object, according to AP....
The State Department has approved arms sales to Taiwan worth a total of $1.4 billion, the first such deal with the self-governing island since President Donald Trump took office, officials said Thursday.

The sale will anger China, which regards Taiwan as part of its territory. It comes at a delicate time for relations between Washington and Beijing over efforts to rein in nuclear-armed North Korea.
Note that the routine formula is followed: we learn that China will be angry, but we do not learn that the people of Taiwan -- our ally! -- will gain protection. Thus, the framing is entirely negative. Sad. Further down, we are told the relationship has deteriorated but not that Beijing was the cause. Why are there alt-facts? Because the media refuses to accurately describe the world.

I've placed the Nelson Report comments on the arms sale at the bottom of this post, but one quote from an anonymous and well placed Nelson Report reader said it all:
"Chris, word on the street is that WH has called this "F- China Month".
A longtime and knowledgeable observer said that Washington was rapidly accepting that it would need to stop delaying arms sales so that they can be rolled out in packages. Rather, they would have to be sent to Congress as soon as the Pentagon approves them. This would increase the deterrent effect. US-Taiwan Business Council head Rupert Hammond-Chambers added
“The Council supports the return to a normal and regular process for assessing all Taiwan arms sales requests and sales. Packaging several years’ worth of items drives up the overall dollar value of each tranche of notifications. Each Taiwan arms sale also becomes a rare and compelling event, drawing significantly more attention than it might otherwise garner. This creates a more substantial opportunity for Chinese protests and posturing in response to each sale, protests that have had a deterrent effect on U.S. willingness to release needed but advanced systems to Taiwan - such as new-build fighters and submarines. It would be in the U.S. interest to provide less of an impetus for Chinese protests in response to Taiwan arms sales, and moving away from packaging would be a substantial step in the right direction.”
Recall that this package was delayed by the Obama Administration -- an actual sellout of Taiwan's interests to please China.

The US-Taiwan Business Council says the deal is for...
The published FMS Congressional Notifications (transmittal numbers 16-67, 16-68, 16-69, 16-70, 16-73, 16-74, and 16-75) were for SM-2 Block IIIA All-Up Rounds, associated equipment and technical support (US$125 million); MK 54 Lightweight Torpedo Conversion Kits, spare parts and other support and assistance (US$175 million); MK 48 Mod 6AT Heavyweight Torpedoes, other support, spare parts, training, and assistance (US$250 million); Hardware, software, and other upgrades to the AN/SLQ-32(V)3 Electronic Warfare Systems supporting Taiwan’s KEELUNG Class destroyers (US$80 million); AGM-154C JSOW Air-to-Ground Missiles, spare/repair parts and other support and assistance (US$185.5 million); AGM-88B HARMs and Training HARMs, spare/repair parts, testing, and other support and assistance (US$147.5 million); SRP Operations and Maintenance follow-on sustainment (US$400 million).[i]
Note that these are largely upgrades and additions to current systems. Nothing really major here. Details are here. ADDED: Note comment below about the package actually having some new/interesting things...

Meanwhile this week a Senate Committee backs a bill calling for port calls in Taiwan by US naval ships (FocusTw):
The Armed Services Committee of the U.S. Senate on Wednesday approved a provision that will allow U.S. naval vessels to make regular stops at Taiwanese ports.

The provision was adopted by a vote 21-6 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2018, which will now move on to the full Senate for consideration.

It stipulates re-establishing "regular ports of call by the U.S. Navy at Kaohsiung or any other suitable ports in Taiwan" and permitting "U.S. Pacific Command to receive ports of call by Taiwan," according to a summary of the bill.
It also calls for the US to provide technical support for weapons development in Taiwan, for indigenous undersea warfare vehicles (subs!!) and mines. China had a fainting spell and called for smelling salts over this. UPDATE: Apparently ROCN visits to PACOM ports such as Guam, Hawaii, and Yokusaka are also included in this, a Navy friend tells me.

This is good news all around. It illustrates the old observation that whenever the US moves farther from China it moves closer to Taiwan. By the same token, it shows that Taiwan will always be at the mercy of the US relationship with China. But I don't expect that relationship to improve much... especially since the US sanctioned Chinese banks for dealing with N Korea. A clear signal, that....
____________
Daily Links:
Below READ MORE is the Nelson Report:


SUMMARY: the Administration delivered a "one-two punch" today for anyone who thinks that Xi Jinping somehow snowed Trump into going easy on Beijing because of alleged help on N. Korea, and being "transactional" on the vital question of helping Taiwan keep some semblance of an effective defense capability to deter PLA adventurism in a crisis:
First, while Xi is still in Hong Kong (!) State announced a $1.4 billion arms sale package; then Treasury's OFAC announced it was finally implementing some "secondary sanctions" against Chinese banks and businesses still underwriting the Kim Regime in N. Korea despite Beijing's claims to oppose Kim's nukes, missiles and threats to one and all.
Both come just before a Xi-Trump bilateral at the Hamburg G-20, and that coincides with the end of what a frankly sarcastic player calls "the Magic 100 Day Trade Review", virtually guaranteeing more will come as various "enforcement" decisions come due. Steel, anyone?
A senior US-China hand preferring ANON status:
"You have to read the OFAC decision as a 'vote of no confidence' by Trump in terms of Xi's willingness or ability to somehow 'fix' the N. Korea problem.  Trump now apparently realizes that the Chinese will always disappoint him. In fact, that they are built to do that!"
National Security Advisor McMaster was politer yesterday at the Center for a New American Security, saying China represents a vital lever to pressure North Korea to step back from nuclear weapons.     
"I think one the key elements of the strategy is that decision, how much China is able, really willing, able to help," McMaster said. "China does have a great deal of control over that situation, largely through coercive power related to its economic relations...The North Korean problem is not a problem between the United States and North Korea. It's a problem between North Korea, China and the world. And China recognizes that this is a big problem for them..."
God help us, Treasury is Tweeting, also:
Treasury targets Chinese bank serving as gateway for illicit N Korean financial activity, and issues sanctions: treasury.gov/press-center/p...
Looking at the big picture, Loyal Reader Frank Jannuzi, Mansfield Foundation:
"These are modest steps, probably long overdue from a technical standpoint.  That said, these moves will not significantly curtail China-DPRK trade and investment or encourage Beijing to be more cooperative at the UN.  To the contrary, Trump's mercurial nature will likely undercut Chinese support for U.S. pressure tactics and exacerbate growing tensions in U.S.-China relations.  Gonna be a long hot summer..."
Oh yeah!! Here's an ANON quote on which the protection need is self-evident, both on content and point of origin:
"Chris, word on the street is that WH has called this "F- China Month".
Sigh, so much for good taste. Scroll down for the gory details of Trump's latest "mercurial". Here's the arms sale story from the official "background brief", attributable to a "U.S. Government official":
This afternoon, the Department of State approved and delivered Congressional notifications for several sales to Taiwan cumulatively valued at approximately $1.4 billion. The notifications from DSCA are attached.
Systems include:
·        Early Warning Radar Surveillance Technical Support ($400 million)
·        AGM-154C Joint Stand-off Weapon (JSOW) ($185.5 million)
·        AGM-88 High-Speed Anti-Radiation (HARM) Missiles ($147.5 million)
·        MK 48 6AT Heavy Weight Torpedoes ($250 million)
·        MK 46 to MK-54 Torpedo Upgrade ($175 million)
·        SM-2 Missile Components ($125 million)
·        AN/SLQ-32A Electronic Warfare (EW) Shipboard Suite Upgrade ($80 million) 
The Administration has formally notified Congress of seven proposed defense sales for Taiwan cumulatively valued at $1.3 billion.
Under long-standing U.S. policy, U.S. arms sales to Taiwan are guided by the Taiwan Relations Act and based on an assessment of Taiwan's defense needs. There is no change to our longstanding "one China" policy based on the Three Joint Communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act. Today's notifications are consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act, and our support for Taiwan's ability to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability.
These sales represent upgrades including converting current defensive legacy systems from analog to digital.
Across decades and Presidential Administrations, the United States has remained deeply committed to meeting Taiwan's defense needs. This Administration is resolved to fully implement the provisions of the Taiwan Relations Act under which the United States makes available to Taiwan defense articles and services in such quantity necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability.
Taiwan's defensive capability gives it the confidence to engage with the mainland in dialogue to improve cross-Strait relations.  In this context, our arms sales to Taiwan support peace and stability -- not only in the Taiwan Strait, but also in the entire Asia Pacific region. We support further development of cross-Strait relations at a pace and scope acceptable to people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.
Here's the AP story, which needs a couple of clarification/corrections:

US approves 1st arms sale to Taiwan under Trump

[story removed]

Your Editor: two points...first, the TRA does not "require" arms sales, but it doesrequire that the Administration consult with Congress on what is needed to help Taiwan preserve the peaceful status quo vis a vis the Mainland. 

Perhaps this misunderstanding accounts for our second concern, the claim that today's announcement does not "violate" the TRA. Huh!?  How did anyone at State get that idea? Matt is a valued colleague and experienced reporter, so we have nodoubt he quoted Nauret accurately...

_______________________
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!

          BLOODSHOT SALVATION #1 offers sneak peek in July 2017 PREVIEWS catalog   

Media Release -- Before BLOODSHOT SALVATION arrives in stores on September 20th, experience the brutal and bloody new beginning that awaits Valiant’s most relentless hero in the July 2017 PREVIEWS catalog (#346) – featuring a stunning, six-page, 24″ x 11.5” gatefold insert, bound directly into Valiant Entertainment’s catalog listings! On the heels of Valiant’s first gatefold insert spotlighting X-O MANOWAR (2017) #1 last winter, find out everything you need to know about the FIRST ISSUE of THE BLOCKBUSTER NEW ONGOING SERIES from New York Times best-selling writer Jeff Lemire (THE VALIANT, Moon Knight) and explosive artists Lewis LaRosa (BLOODSHOT REBORN) and Mico Suayan (BLOODSHOT REBORN) right here with an all-in-one look ahead at Valiant’s most important series of the fall – including a pre-order coupon to reserve your copy with your local comic book retailer!

Now: In the arms of his beloved girlfriend Magic, Bloodshot has finally found hope for the future…in the form of the couple’s unborn child. But when Magic’s estranged family – a cruel and sadistic clan of homegrown criminals – re-emerge to lay claim to their lost daughter, Bloodshot will be pushed back to the brink of madness, mayhem, and warfare…

His sacrifice will be her salvation.

Soon: Eight years from today, Bloodshot’s daughter has inherited her father’s incredible abilities. Hunted by a high-tech kill squad called Omen, Jessie must hone her powers…and learn how to survive before the world is swallowed whole by the darkness that now pervades America…

Packed with blistering artwork and a complete guide to can’t-miss offerings like the BLOODSHOT SALVATION #1-12 PRE-ORDER EDITION BUNDLE and the BLOODSHOT SALVATION #1 BRUSHED METAL VARIANT COVER – printed via a special process on real-life brushed aluminum – get the jump on the seminal series of 2017 as Bloodshot’s revenge-fueled mission starts here with this one-of-a-kind countdown to Valiant’s latest ongoing series – printed on a massive, six-panel gatefold and only available in PREVIEWS catalog #346!

Plus: Valiant is rewarding fans who pre-order the most bloody and brutal new series of the fall with specially expanded, limited editions spanning BLOODSHOT SALVATION’s furious first year! Reserve the BLOODSHOT SALVATION #1–12 PRE-ORDER EDITION BUNDLE – available only as a pre-order set to fans who reserve the first year of BLOODSHOT SALVATION with their local comics retailer – and get eight additional pages of specially expanded bonus content and extra features including creator commentary, behind-the-scenes looks at the creation of the comics, process character designs and artwork, and more at no additional cost with each issue. And that’s not all… As an extra-added bonus, fans who pre-order by July 27, 2017 will also receive the BLOODSHOT SALVATION #1 RAMPAGE REDUX – a FREE, LIMITED EDITION, and FULL-LENGTH COMIC BOOK – polybagged alongside the series’ first pre-order edition!

Fans and retailers, take note: The only way to obtain the BLOODSHOT SALVATION #1-12 PRE-ORDER EDITION BUNDLE is to reserve this limited item with your local comic shop by the initial order date (IOD) of July 27th, 2017! No more copies will be made available beyond that date and subsequent issues – including the BLOODSHOT SALVATION #1 RAMPAGE REDUX bonus issue – will not be offered in later solicitations!

For more information, visit Valiant on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and ValiantEntertainment.com.

For Valiant merchandise and more, visit ValiantStore.com

BLOODSHOT SALVATION #1
Written by JEFF LEMIRE
Art by LEWIS LAROSA and MICO SUAYAN
Cover A (Standard) by KENNETH ROCAFORT (JUL172245)
Cover B (Villains) by MONIKA PALOSZ (JUL172246)
Cover C (Battle Damaged) by TOMÁS GIORELLO (JUL172247)
Interlocking Variant by GREG SMALLWOOD (JUL172249)
Bloodshot Icon Variant by DAVE JOHNSON (JUL172250)
Brushed Metal Variant Cover by MICO SUAYAN (JUL172251)
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On sale SEPTEMBER 20 (FOC – 8/28/17)

BLOODSHOT SALVATION #1-12 PRE-ORDER EDITION BUNDLE
Written by JEFF LEMIRE
Art by LEWIS LAROSA and MICO SUAYAN
Covers by RYAN BODENHEIM (JUL172248)
$3.99 each [12 issues] | 40 pgs. each | T+ | Issue #1 on sale SEPTEMBER 20 (IOD – 7/27/17)











          Call of Duty Infinite Warfare: In arrivo il DLC “Absolution”   
Call of Duty Infinite Warfare

Activision e Infinity Ward hanno rivelato i primi dettagli del nuovo Map Pack “Absolution” di Call of Duty Infinite Warfare. Questo nuovo DLC porterà con sé 4 nuove mappe e una nuova esperienza zombie co-op chiamata “Attack of the Radioactive Thing!“, ambientata in una piccola località marina durante gli anni 50 in cui un esperimento […]

L'articolo Call of Duty Infinite Warfare: In arrivo il DLC “Absolution” Originale puoi leggerlo direttamente Yessgame Autore Canessio


          In Syria, Trump's Red Line May Be Holding   

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis claimed Wednesday that the Syrian regime has drawn back from plans to conduct another chemical attack, following a warning by the Trump administration of serious consequences if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces followed through with their plans. 

U.S. intelligence detected “active preparations for chemical weapons use” at the same air base from which the regime allegedly had launched its prior chemical attack last April that caused mass casualties. President Trump had responded to the April chemical attack with a barrage of cruise missiles targeting that air base. The White House issued its public warning to the Assad regime on Monday in unambiguous terms, declaring that Assad and his military would pay a "heavy price" if his regime conducted another chemical attack.

"It appears that they took the warning seriously. They didn’t do it,” Mattis told reporters.

Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, went even further in crediting the Trump administration for stopping Assad at least for now. “I can tell you that due to the President's actions, we did not see an incident," Ambassador Haley claimed at a House of Representatives foreign affairs committee hearing. "I would like to think that the President saved many innocent men, women and children."

It is difficult to prove what may have actually motivated Assad. In any case, whether Assad holds back for good remains to be seen. But we do know the Trump administration is watching constantly for any moves by the Assad regime that could signal an imminent chemical attack and has military assets in place to swiftly respond to such an attack, if not prevent one in the first place.

President Trump not only demonstrated last April that he would follow through on his threats if certain red lines of his were crossed, unlike our previous president. In addition to its warning, the Trump administration may have sent some concrete signals to the Assad regime that it means business this time as well. According to Debkafile, “Signs were gathering in Washington and the Middle East Tuesday, June 26 that the Trump administration was preparing a substantial military operation against the Syrian army and Bashar Assad’s allies, such as the foreign pro-Iranian Shiite militias and Hizballah. Some US military sources suggested that an American preemptive strike was in store in the coming hours to prevent Assad’s army from again resorting to chemical warfare against his people.”

Assad may still decide to launch another chemical attack, figuring that his key allies, particularly Russia, will continue to back him. No doubt, he took note of Russia’s stern response to the U.S.’s downing of a Syrian warplane earlier this month, including a warning from the Russian Defense Ministry that “All kinds of airborne vehicles, including aircraft and UAVs of the international coalition detected to the west of the Euphrates River will be tracked by the Russian SAM systems as air targets." The Syrian regime had also already taken some precautions by moving most of its operational aircraft to a Russian airbase in Syria after the April missile strike. The Russian airbase is protected by fairly advanced air defense systems. An American missile strike on Syrian aircraft located at a Russian air base would in all likelihood be seen as a major escalation of the war by the Russian government, risking a direct military confrontation between U.S. and Russia that the Trump administration may be loath to risk. As if to thumb his nose at the Trump administration’s latest threats by demonstrating the strength of his military alliance with Russia, Assad was seen strutting around a Russian air baseinspecting its aircraft and defense systems. He was even photographed sitting in the cockpit of a Russian fighter jet.

Indeed, Russia appears ready to raise the stakes to bolster the Syrian dictator’s regime. Debkafile reports that Russia is “building a new base in southeastern Syria,” which would “provide Russia with a lever of control over the volatile Syrian southeast and its borders, where US-backed and Iranian-backed forces are fighting for dominance.”

As Russia raises the stakes, the U.S. must be clearer than ever as to its strategic objectives in Syria, which it is willing to back up with military force even in the face of Russian threats.  We must do all we can to prevent getting sucked into Syria’s civil war, including by undertaking any military efforts at regime change. That said, we must repel any military action by the Syrian regime or its allies that would prevent us from prosecuting the war against ISIS, which remains our number one objective until the ISIS sanctuaries, infrastructure and leadership are for all intents and purposes destroyed.  

However, we also cannot ignore the threat that Assad’s chemical weapons program continues to pose. The Obama administration had thought that it had largely eliminated the threat “diplomatically,” when it reached a phony deal with Russia to oversee the removal and destruction of the Syrian regime’s declared chemical weapons. The opportunity for cheating was all too plain to see, except by Obama and his clueless Secretary of State John Kerry. We are now seeing the consequences. According to Secretary of Defense Mattis, Syria’s chemical program remains intact.

It is not only what Assad has been doing in unleashing his ghastly chemical weapons on his own people, causing horrible suffering in their wake, which demands our attention. After all, Assad has been causing such suffering with conventional weapons as well, including his use of barrel bombs, which we have repeatedly condemned but have not taken specific military action to stop. To do so would almost inevitably draw us into a wider war. What makes chemical and other weapons of mass destruction different is their potential proliferation to the very Islamic terrorists we are trying to defeat. The transfer of chemical or biological weapons to terrorist hands would represent the most dangerous outcome of the Syrian conflict to the rest of the world, including to the United States. That is why we must monitor where we believe Assad’s remaining chemical weapons and production facilities are located, prevent them from being used or even moved from known locations, do all that we can to keep them out of the hands of the terrorists and destroy the chemical weapons and production facilities when the opportunity presents itself.


          The Left’s Un-Democratic Seduction of the Democrats   

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.

Democrats have lost the White House and Congress. Their statewide losses are catastrophic. But the institutional strength of the left has only grown stronger. Each Democrat defeat hollows out the party but increases the power and influence of the left to move the party in an undemocratic direction.

The defeats have elevated the roles of the left’s unelected power bases from the judiciary to the media to academia to the bureaucracy and the non-profit sector. These are the core of the “Resistance”. The mission of the “Resistance” is not to plan for a future democratic victory, but an undemocratic coup.

The Democrats had been radicalized into alienating their traditional working class constituencies. They had been seduced into believing that they could lose the heartland and still win elections. After pushing the party into a politically untenable extremism, the Democrats were convinced to abandon democracy.

Democratic elections had been the left’s greatest obstacle in its plot to take over the Democrat Party.

Elections meant moderation, triangulation and big tents. Those are all anathema to the left. As long as the Democrats had to compete in conservative districts, they wouldn’t be able to support terrorism, crime, total wealth redistribution, radical social policies and the rest of the left’s totalitarian program.

Losing the South was the best thing that ever happened to the left’s plans for the Democrat Party. And it has no intention of trying recapture it, or any other area, on any terms other than its own. It isn’t interested in winning elections. The left’s ideal political purity can only be achieved undemocratically. Politics is the art of compromise. Democracy requires listening to people. That’s not what the left does.

The less the Democrats listen to voters, the more influence the left has over their agenda, ideas and tactics. Instead of paying attention to democratic ‘market signals’ from the populace, they become an ideological echo chamber for the media, academia and the radical non-profits of the institutional left.

Fake polls and media spin is used to promise big wins. And when those wins don’t materialize, the left invents conspiracy theories that discredit the election and uses them as leverage to radicalize the Democrats even further by convincing them that they are entitled to overturn the election.

The left destroyed the Democrat Party. It tricked it into becoming unpopular, lied to it that it would win and then convinced it that it didn’t win because of foul play and should stage a presidential coup.

Each disastrous step seemed logical at the time. There was going to be a new majority. The Democrats had to get out front to create a new national reality. Reactionary voices in the party had to be ignored. The “youth” was where it was at. Immigrants were transforming America. All the polls were on their side. The only reason they could have possibly lost was the hackers and all the fake news.

And all the while the left was consciously making the Democrats untenable as a political party by cutting them off from their working class base and their geographic constituencies.   

The Democrat Party is no longer a national party. It’s the political movement associated with small groups of elites out of a few dozen cities and associated suburbs. Its national presence outside these cities continues withering every year. Subtract the media, unions and billionaire backers and it’s just the Green Party with more of a history. If a radical leftist party were to gain more traction in the Bay Area, Chicago and New York, the Democrats could very easily vanish as thoroughly as the Federalists.

But the left’s endgame isn’t winning elections. It’s eliminating them.

Radicalization is the process by which everyone left of center comes around to realizing that the “system” with its multiple parties, compromises and votes allotted to everyone just doesn’t work.

The more elections the Democrats lose, the more they come around to that point of view.

After Hillary’s defeat, the media has abandoned the old liberal pretenses of objectivity and open dialogue. Instead it militantly advocates agendas. Its outlets openly abuse and insult opponents. The media shifted from bias to advocacy out of a conviction, occasionally stated in its own columns and editorials, that the public was too stupid to be influenced by mere bias. It had to have it spelled out for it that Trump is a liar. The media can no longer subtly influence. It must browbeat into compliance.

That is what a radicalized media looks like.

A radicalized media disregards truth, facts and objectivity. It only wants to win at any cost. It has no faith in the public. Instead it views the public with an anti-democratic contempt.

But the Democrats have adopted an anti-democratic tone that is suspicious of and hostile to the public. The various explanations for their defeat, big money, racism, fake news, coalesce around the general unfitness of the public. Even Obama’s old “messaging failure” explanation for his failures speaks to it.

Americans are too stupid, gullible, bigoted and ignorant to be able to vote.

As class warfare has given way to identity politics, popular representation had to make way for identity representation. The Democrats may no longer represent the South or the West, but they instead represent a plurality of racial and sexual identities. Their coalition of illegal alien gay Muslims has more democratic legitimacy than all the white voters who backed Trump.

That’s the underlying theme of the “Resistance”. Political legitimacy doesn’t come from elections, but from diversity. Diversity has failed to win elections, the way that it was supposed to. But it can always end them. Why bother representing people based around random geographical borders or whether they happen to have citizenship, when you can represent a plurality of identities?

And once you represent a plurality of oppressed peoples, why bother with elections? Elections only get in the way of achieving true representation through equality.

This is where the left always ends up sooner or later.

The Democrats have become just another totalitarian leftist cult. The trouble is that they’re not a handful of angry radicals in a Chicago basement. Delusional behavior like this might be amusing from a revolutionary cell of a handful of extremists who all teach sociology for a living. It’s a national crackup when a major political party descends into the same sort of dangerous lunacy on a national scale. 

Overturning the results of a presidential election is only a start on the way to much worse things. The left is once again approaching Lenin’s old revolutionary formula of government as “a democracy for the exploited and a means of suppressing the exploiters” along with the “exclusion from democracy” of the exploiters. And, like every disastrous preceding step, it is beginning to seem logical to the Dems.                                                                                                                                        

The Democrats have replaced real constituencies with ideological ones. The party heavily depends on bloc voting in areas where democracy is meaningless and political choice is non-existent. Every form of meritocracy has been replaced with quotas and affirmative action. If candidates qualify by quota, why not voters? That is the dangerous next step. It begins with “rebalancing” representation to favor the emerging new constituencies and ends by eliminating representation as anything more than a formality.

The left has led the donkey party to this poisonous swamp. The question is will the donkey drink?


          Absolution DLC voor CoD: Infinite Warfare verschijnt volgende week op PS4   
De Absolution DLC voor Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare verschijnt volgende week. Dit pakket voegt vier nieuwe maps toe, waaronder het geliefde Resistance uit Modern Warfare 3. Ook introduceert de DLC 'Attack of the Radioactive Thing', een zombiemissie die volledig ge�nspireerd is door de jaren 50. ...
          Confessions From a Former Scientologist: The Dark Side of Scientology   

Karen de la Carriere was married to the President of the Church of Scientology—Heber Jentzsch (Mentor to such celebrities as John Travolta). Today Karen discusses her life inside of Scientology and the Aftermath of leaving Scientology.

 Topics touched on include:

► How did Karen become known as the “Queen of Scientology”

 

► What was Karen’s life like while she was married to the President of the Church of Scientology

 ► How are the average members of Scientology treated compared to the members who are either Powerful, or are Celebrities

 ► Karen’s ex-husband and President of Scientology, Heber Jentzsch had an influential relationship with celebrities like John Travolta; Did this powerful influence, cause Heber’s eventual downfall

 

► Does Scientology use Social Warfare against both members in good standing and suppressive ex-members; using family to fight family

 

► Does Scientology force abortions

 

► Does Scientology manipulate married couples to get divorced

 

► Secret imprisonment compound for members of Scientology; It is said that Heber Jentzsch and Shelly Miscavige (David Miscavige’s wife) are both prisoners in one of these secret compounds and face horrendous conditions

 ► Do Scientologists refuse proper medical treatment (such as much needed medications and other treatments) because their cult denies them that right

 ► Violence and severe depression inside the Sea Org Campuses

 Plus much more on Part two of our Confessions from a Former Scientologist Podcast Series. If you’re a fan of Leah Remini’s Scientology and the Aftermath then you will want to listen to this episode to hear in-depth confessions from former Scientologists.   

If you are a former Scientologist and would like to share your own experience then please get in touch with Bob @ MysteriousMatters.com.  


          Biografi Presiden Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono   
Foto Presiden Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono


Nama : Jenderal TNI (Purn) Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
Lahir : Pacitan, Jawa Timur, 9 September 1949
Agama : Islam
Jabatan : Presiden Republik Indonesia ke-6
Istri : Kristiani Herawati, putri ketiga (Alm) Jenderal (Purn) Sarwo Edhi Wibowo
Anak : Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono dan Edhie Baskoro Yudhoyono
Ayah : Letnan Satu (Peltu) R. Soekotji
Ibu : Sitti Habibah

Pendidikan :
* Akademi Angkatan Bersenjata RI (Akabri) tahun 1973
* American Language Course, Lackland, Texas AS, 1976
* Airbone and Ranger Course, Fort Benning , AS, 1976
* Infantry Officer Advanced Course, Fort Benning, AS, 1982-1983
* On the job training di 82-nd Airbone Division, Fort Bragg, AS, 1983
* Jungle Warfare School, Panama, 1983
* Antitank Weapon Course di Belgia dan Jerman, 1984
* Kursus Komando Batalyon, 1985
* Sekolah Komando Angkatan Darat, 1988-1989
* Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenwort, Kansas, AS
* Master of Art (MA) dari Management Webster University, Missouri, AS

Karier :

* Dan Tonpan Yonif Linud 330 Kostrad (1974-1976)
* Dan Tonpan Yonif 305 Kostrad (1976-1977)
* Dan Tn Mo 81 Yonif Linud 330 Kostrad (1977)
* Pasi-2/Ops Mabrigif Linud 17 Kujang I Kostrad (1977-1978)
* Dan Kipan Yonif Linud 330 Kostrad (1979-1981)
* Paban Muda Sops SUAD (1981-1982)
* Komandan Sekolah Pelatih Infanteri (1983-1985)
* Dan Yonif 744 Dam IX/Udayana (1986-1988)
* Paban Madyalat Sops Dam IX/Udayana (1988)
* Dosen Seskoad (1989-1992)
* Korspri Pangab (1993)
* Dan Brigif Linud 17 Kujang 1 Kostrad (1993-1994)
* Asops Kodam Jaya (1994-1995)
* Danrem 072/Pamungkas Kodam IV/Diponegoro (1995)
* Chief Military Observer United Nation Peace Forces (UNPF) di Bosnia-Herzegovina (sejak awal November 1995)
* Kasdam Jaya (1996-hanya lima bulan)
* Pangdam II/Sriwijaya (1996-) sekaligus Ketua Bakorstanasda
* Ketua Fraksi ABRI MPR (Sidang Istimewa MPR 1998)
* Kepala Staf Teritorial (Kaster ABRI (1998-1999)
* Mentamben (sejak 26 Oktober 1999)
* Menko Polsoskam (Pemerintahan Presiden Abdurrahman Wahid)
* Menko Polkam (Pemerintahan Presiden Megawati Sukarnopotri) mengundurkan diri 11 Maret 2004

Penugasan : Operasi Timor Timur 1979-1980 dan 1986-1988

Penghargaan :

* Adi Makayasa (lulusan terbaik Akabri 1973)
* Tri Sakti Wiratama (Prestasi Tertinggi Gabungan Mental Fisik, dan Intelek), 1973
* Satya Lencana Seroja, 1976
* Honorour Graduated IOAC, USA, 1983
* Satya Lencana Dwija Sista, 1985
* Lulusan terbaik Seskoad Susreg XXVI, 1989
* Dosen Terbaik Seskoad, 1989
* Satya Lencana Santi Dharma, 1996
* Satya Lencana United Nations Peacekeeping Force (UNPF), 1996
* Satya Lencana United Nations Transitional Authority in Eastern Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Sirmium (UNTAES), 1996
* Bintang Kartika Eka Paksi Nararya, 1998
* Bintang Yudha Dharma Nararya, 1998
* Wing Penerbang TNI-AU, 1998
* Wing Kapal Selam TNI-AL, 1998
* Bintang Kartika Eka Paksi Pratama, 1999
* Bintang Yudha Dharma Pratama, 1999
* Bintang Dharma, 1999
* Bintang Maha Putera Utama, 1999
* Tokoh Berbahasa Lisan Terbaik, 2003
* Bintang Asia (Star of Asia) dari BusinessWeek, 2005
* Bintang Kehormatan Darjah Kerabat Laila Utama dari Sultan Brunei
* Doktor Honoris Causa dari Universitas Keio, 2006

Referensi : http://kolom-biografi.blogspot.com/2009/06/biografi-presiden-susilo-bambang_10.html
          Comment on Mountain Mixers: four après cocktails inspired by skiing’s heroes by 15 pieces of American-made gear in celebration of Independence Day - Freeskier   
[…] Colorado-based 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Company pays homage to the 10th Mountain Division. In the early 1940s the famed mountain warfare faction trained at Camp Hale, Colorado before being deployed to Europe where its brave troops—camouflaged in white and traveling by skis—helped bring about the end of World War II. Read Our Full Story. […]
          Infighting re-erupts in Australian government   
The factional warfare is a symptom of a deeper political crisis, which has seen governments, both Liberal-National and Labor, fall in rapid succession since 2007.
          How the US Came to Take an Active Role in War and Torture in Latin America   

Proxy War and Surrogate Terror: How the US Came to Take an Active Role in War and Torture in Latin America

Thursday, June 29, 2017 By John W. Dower, Haymarket Books | Book Excerpt 
Soldiers conduct a static line jump in the Colombian National Training Center on Fort Tolemaida, August 31, 2011. (Photo: The US Army)Soldiers conduct a static line jump in the Colombian National Training Center on Fort Tolemaida, August 31, 2011. (Photo: The US Army)
Although US involvement in torture focused on the Iraq War in the last decade, the United States has had a long involvement by proxy with torture and the killing of peasants and Indigenous peoples in Latin America. In this excerpt from his book, Dower describes the US role in facilitating death and destruction in Latin and South America over the past few decades.
The long and generally shameful history of US overt and covert interventions in South and Central America traces back to the turn of the twentieth century. Before World War II, these incursions, commonly in defense of US business interests, even involved protracted military occupations of Nicaragua (1912-33) and Haiti (1915-34). During the Cold War, intervention was more covert, but just as unrelenting. John Coatsworth, a distinguished scholar of Latin American economic and international history, calculates that between 1948 and 1990 the US government "secured the overthrow of at least twenty-four governments in Latin America, four by direct use of US military forces, three by means of CIA-managed revolts or assassinations, and seventeen by encouraging local military and political forces to intervene without direct US participation, usually through military coups d'état."
Notorious among these postwar intrusions was the overthrow of democratically elected governments in Guatemala (1954), Brazil (1964), and Chile (1973). Nothing, however, obsessed North Americans looking south more than the political event Washington was unable to manipulate: the Cuban revolution that deposed the dictator Fulgencio Batista in the opening days of 1959. This Marxist revolution in the Caribbean was compounded by the alarming nuclear missile crisis of 1962, when the United States discovered Soviet missiles being installed in Cuba. From then on, planners in Washington and their right-wing allies throughout Latin America used the rationale of "preventing another Cuba" to justify clamping down on dissident domestic movements across the board, from militant Marxist agitators to socialists and liberals to anyone critical of the status quo or engaged in working to alleviate misery among the rural and urban poor.
A mid-1960s US congressional investigation reported having "found concrete evidence of at least eight plots involving the CIA to assassinate [Cuban leader] Fidel Castro from 1960 to 1965." This was grist for cloak-and-dagger media reports. More difficult to grasp, or even see, was the sustained manner in which police states south of the border secretly coordinated their crackdowns on critics of all stripes, invariably in the name of anticommunism and invariably with the support of the United States.
A decisive step in this support took place in 1963, when the administration of President John F. Kennedy tasked the army's School of the Americas (SOA), established in 1946 and initially located in Panama under a different name, with training South and Central American military officers and police in counterintelligence and counterinsurgency. The SOA's classes were conducted mostly in Spanish. By the end of the century, the school had trained around fifty-five thousand officers plus roughly four thousand police and civilians from some twenty-two or twenty-three countries. A striking number of its graduates were to become prominent leaders in the "dirty wars" that would ravage Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Peru, El Salvador, Ecuador, Honduras, Panama, and Nicaragua. Along the way, the SOA acquired such derisive sobriquets as School of Assassins, School of Dictators, School of Coups.
Taking sides in dirty wars was typical of the proxy conflicts that engaged the United States and Soviet Union worldwide and shredded the so-called Long Peace of the Cold War. In Latin America, this mostly involved the United States extending funding, training, organizational and operational advice, weapons, logistical intelligence, and the like to authoritarian regimes engaged in "counter-subversive" activities, as well as to right-wing movements dedicated to subverting reformist and left-wing governments. Washington thus found itself supporting state terror on the one hand and violence and terror against the state on the other.
The top-secret South American transnational campaign of state-sponsored terror known as Operation Condor was a beneficiary of covert US support of the former sort. Dating from the late 1960s and formally consolidated in 1975, Condor involved collaborative cross-border intelligence, apprehension, abduction, rendition, interrogation, torture, assassination, and extrajudiciary execution operations among dictatorial regimes in the "Southern Cone" nations of Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia, later joined by Ecuador and Peru. Upwards of fifty thousand to sixty thousand individuals appear to have been killed or "disappeared" in Condor-directed actions in the 1970s and 1980s, with countless thousands imprisoned and, in many cases, tortured. More than a few victims were exiles who had fled their native countries and were engaging in human rights campaigns as refugees.
The targets of this collaborative state terror extended beyond armed militants and avowed Marxists to include anyone associated with criticizing the existing right-wing regimes or advocating social justice. This was spelled out not just in the back rooms of ruling juntas, but also in training provided by the CIA and SOA. We have a clearer picture of this tutelage from instructional materials disclosed over the course of the 1980s and 1990s that became collectively identified in the media as "torture manuals." In these dense manuals, many of them translated into Spanish, "insurgent" and "guerrilla" were the words commonly used to stigmatize critics or dissidents. Terrorism and the Urban Guerrilla, a teaching guide introduced to SOA classes in Spanish in 1987, expresses this succinctly: "Examples of hostile organizations or groups are paramilitary groups, labor unions, and dissident groups." Another SOA manual, Handling of Sources, is even more expansive: "The CI [counterintelligence] agent should consider all organizations as possible guerrilla sympathizers. ... By infiltrating informants in the diverse youth, workers, political, business, social and charitable organizations, we can identify the organizations that include guerrillas among their members." Elsewhere in the instructional guides the identification of explicit targets is extended to refugees, political parties, peasant organizations, intellectuals, teachers and students, universities, priests and nuns, and so on. One appalling quotation translated from a torture manual identifies target groups as "religious workers, labor organizers, student groups, and others in sympathy with the cause of the poor."
Upon assuming power in 1981, the Reagan administration stepped into this violent world with unrestrained ardor and callous indifference to actual conditions on the ground. Despite much evidence to the contrary, the enemy was reaffirmed to be monolithic communism, directed from Moscow and spearheaded by its Cuban apprentice. As 1980s policymakers saw it, the threat was especially dire in Central America. Guatemala, where brutal repression had taken place ever since the CIA coup in 1954, was subjected to continued special attention. El Salvador and Nicaragua also became targets of fervent counterinsurgency -- and insurgency -- campaigns. In El Salvador, the "anticommunist" agenda involved supporting a dictatorial regime against any and all opponents. In Nicaragua, the situation was reversed. There, the Reagan administration devoted almost evangelical energy to nurturing and supporting the Contras, a terrorist "guerrilla" campaign against the left-wing Sandinista government that in 1979, with considerable popular support, had overthrown the brutal, US-supported Somoza family dictatorship that dated back to 1936.
Disclosure of classified texts and other disturbing information pertinent to covert US activity in Central America took place sporadically but frequently between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s. Much of this focused on the sensational (and farcical) Reagan-era "Iran-Contra" scandal that broke open in 1986 and involved a convoluted plot to obtain funds for the right-wing insurgents in Nicaragua by using Israel as an intermediary to sell weapons to fundamentalist and anti-American Iran for use in its war with Iraq (to which the United States was also providing support). The less remembered CIA and SOA written materials that surfaced during these years existed at a low level in the hierarchy of covert activity and were not policy documents, but for good reason they also caused a stir. They provide a glimpse into the mindset behind anticommunist covert activities, and a graphic case study of what "exporting Americanism" in this last decade of the Cold War involved at ground level.
The first significant instructional manual to come to public attention was a guide in Spanish prepared by the CIA for the Contras. Titled Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare in the original English draft, this eighty-nine-page text was greeted with shock in the United States when exposed by journalists in 1984. After introducing it as "a primer on insurgency, a how-to book in the struggle for hearts and minds," for example, Time magazine went on to observe: "Some of the 'techniques of persuasion' are benign: helping the peasants harvest crops, learn to read, improve hygiene. Others are decidedly brutal: assassination, kidnaping, blackmail, mob violence. It could be a manual for the Viet Cong or the Cuban-backed rebels in El Salvador. If it were, the Administration would likely be waving it as proof of the thesis about the sources of insidious world terrorism."
Complementing Psychological Operations and also exposed in 1984 was another CIA Spanish-language project: a cartoon booklet airdropped into Nicaragua. Titled (in the English translation) The Freedom Fighter's Manual, this was as crude and pedestrian as Psychological Operations was vicious, but still disturbing in its own way as an exercise in low-level terrorist activity. It instructed citizens in scores of acts of vandalism (cutting cables, sabotaging machinery, putting dirt or water in gasoline tanks, setting fires, freeing farm animals, and so on) that might help bring the left-wing Sandinista government to its knees.
The torture manuals, which came to belated public attention in the 1990s, consisted of seven Spanish-language SOA texts, totaling 1,169 pages. These were distributed to military officers in eleven South and Central American countries between 1987 and 1991 and also used by instructors in School of the Americas classes. The manuals reflected teaching materials used since 1982, when the Reagan administration dismissed the human rights concerns tentatively initiated during the Carter presidency. These SOA resources were complemented by two CIA "counterintelligence" manuals -- one recycled from 1963, and one dated 1983 that essentially replicated this.

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The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II
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While the torture manuals open a small window onto Washington's pervasive disregard for democracy, human rights, and the rule of law when it came to covert activities, they also cast light in other directions. One is the care taken to ensure a measure of plausible deniability about what was really being promoted. Rhetorically, this was done with euphemisms and genuflections to propriety: death squads were referred to as "Freedom Commandos" and "Freedom Fighters," for example, and slogans like fighting for "God, Homeland, and Democracy" were promoted. Procedurally, a measure of plausible deniability was obtained by directing CIA and SOA activity largely to pedagogy rather than actual hands-on violence -- without calling attention to the fact that this involved teaching right-wing military, paramilitary, and police forces how to most efficiently engage in infiltration, interrogation, torture, terror, and "neutralization" of perceived enemies.
Once these various manuals became public, Washington's predictable machinery of "public diplomacy" went into motion. The SOA teaching guides were declared "inconsistent with U.S. policy." The school's course offerings also were said to include respect for human rights. "Objectionable and questionable" passages amounted to no more than two dozen -- and in any case were nothing more than a "mistake" made by some misguided junior officer working from "outdated intelligence materials." Problematic statements had "escaped oversight." "A few bad apples" were involved in promoting, or practicing, torture. And in any case, excesses had been "corrected."
This was, as all spin is, disingenuous. The manuals were indeed wordy -- they are numbing to read -- but what SOA teachers emphasized and their students found most engaging was precisely what caused these materials to be called torture manuals. This was confirmed by Major Joseph Blair, a covert operative who (like remorseful members of the nuclear priesthood and repentant tell-all CIA agents) ultimately came in from the cold. Blair had held a responsible position administering the CIA-led Phoenix assassination program during the Vietnam War, and in the early 1980s had moved on to the SOA, where he assisted the creator of the controversial manuals in the classroom. Interviewed in 1997, after having retired in 1989, he described "primarily using manuals which we used during the Vietnam War in our intelligence-gathering techniques. The techniques included murder, assassination, torture, extortion, false imprisonment."
Turning to the argument that objectionable passages were but a minuscule part of the 1,100-plus pages of SOA instructional materials, Blair pointed out that "the officers who ran the intelligence courses used lesson plans that included the worst materials contained in the seven manuals. Now they say that there were only eighteen to twenty passages in those manuals in clear violations of US law. In fact, those same passages were at the heart of the intelligence instruction." As for the claim that SOA instructors took care to teach human rights, he noted that this amounted to a few hours and was roundly regarded by instructors and students alike as a joke.
Copyright (2017) of John W. Dower. Not to be reprinted without permission of the publisher, Haymarket Books.

JOHN W. DOWER

John W. Dower is professor emeritus of history at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His many books include War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War and Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War Two, which have won numerous prizes including the Pulitzer, the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle award.  His latest book, The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War Two(Dispatch Books), has just been published.


              The Folly of the Next Afghan "Surge"   

    Tread Carefully: The Folly of the Next Afghan "Surge"

    Thursday, June 29, 2017 By Danny SjursenTomDispatch | News Analysis 
    A US Army soldier fires at Taliban fighters near the village of Allah Say, Afghanistan, on August 21, 2007. (Photo: The US Army)A US Army soldier fires at Taliban fighters near the village of Allah Say, Afghanistan, on August 21, 2007. (Photo: The US Army)
    We walked in a single file. Not because it was tactically sound. It wasn't -- at least according to standard infantry doctrine. Patrolling southern Afghanistan in column formation limited maneuverability, made it difficult to mass fire, and exposed us to enfilading machine-gun bursts. Still, in 2011, in the Pashmul District of Kandahar Province, single file was our best bet.
    The reason was simple enough: improvised bombs not just along roads but seemingly everywhere.  Hundreds of them, maybe thousands. Who knew?
    That's right, the local "Taliban" -- a term so nebulous it's basically lost all meaning -- had managed to drastically alter U.S. Army tactics with crude, homemade explosives stored in plastic jugs. And believe me, this was a huge problem. Cheap, ubiquitous, and easy to bury, those anti-personnel Improvised Explosive Devices, or IEDs, soon littered the "roads," footpaths, and farmland surrounding our isolated outpost. To a greater extent than a number of commanders willingly admitted, the enemy had managed to nullify our many technological advantages for a few pennies on the dollar (or maybe, since we're talking about the Pentagon, it was pennies on the millions of dollars).
    Truth be told, it was never really about our high-tech gear.  Instead, American units came to rely on superior training and discipline, as well as initiative and maneuverability, to best their opponents.  And yet those deadly IEDs often seemed to even the score, being both difficult to detect and brutally effective. So there we were, after too many bloody lessons, meandering along in carnival-like, Pied Piper-style columns. Bomb-sniffing dogs often led the way, followed by a couple of soldiers carrying mine detectors, followed by a few explosives experts. Only then came the first foot soldiers, rifles at the ready. Anything else was, if not suicide, then at least grotesquely ill-advised.
    And mind you, our improvised approach didn't always work either. To those of us out there, each patrol felt like an ad hoc round of Russian roulette.  In that way, those IEDs completely changed how we operated, slowing movement, discouraging extra patrols, and distancing us from what was then considered the ultimate "prize": the local villagers, or what was left of them anyway.  In a counterinsurgency (COIN) campaign, which is what the U.S. military was running in Afghanistan in those years, that was the definition of defeat.
    Strategic Problems in Microcosm
    My own unit faced a dilemma common to dozens -- maybe hundreds -- of other American units in Afghanistan. Every patrol was slow, cumbersome, and risky. The natural inclination, if you cared about your boys, was to do less. But effective COIN operations require securing territory and gaining the trust of the civilians living there. You simply can't do that from inside a well-protected American base. One obvious option was to live in the villages -- which we eventually did -- but that required dividing up the company into smaller groups and securing a second, third, maybe fourth location, which quickly became problematic, at least for my 82-man cavalry troop (when at full strength). And, of course, there were no less than fivevillages in my area of responsibility.
    I realize, writing this now, that there's no way I can make the situation sound quite as dicey as it actually was.  How, for instance, were we to "secure and empower" a village population that was, by then, all but nonexistent?  Years, even decades, of hard fighting, air strikes, and damaged crops had left many of those villages in that part of Kandahar Province little more than ghost towns, while cities elsewhere in the country teemed with uprooted and dissatisfied peasant refugees from the countryside.
    Sometimes, it felt as if we were fighting over nothing more than a few dozen deserted mud huts.  And like it or not, such absurdity exemplified America's war in Afghanistan.  It still does.  That was the view from the bottom.  Matters weren't -- and aren't -- measurably better at the top.  As easily as one reconnaissance troop could be derailed, so the entire enterprise, which rested on similarly shaky foundations, could be unsettled.
    At a moment when the generals to whom President Trump recently delegateddecision-making powers on U.S. troop strength in that country consider a new Afghan "surge," it might be worth looking backward and zooming out just a bit. Remember, the very idea of "winning" the Afghan War, which left my unit in that collection of mud huts, rested (and still rests) on a few rather grandiose assumptions. 
    The first of these surely is that the Afghans actually want (or ever wanted) us there; the second, that the country was and still is vital to our national security; and the third, that 10,000, 50,000, or even 100,000 foreign troops ever were or now could be capable of "pacifying" an insurgency, or rather a growing set of insurgencies, or securing 33 million souls, or facilitating a stable, representative government in a heterogeneous, mountainous, landlocked country with little history of democracy.
    The first of these points is at least debatable. As you might imagine, any kind of accurate polling is quite difficult, if not impossible, outside the few major population centers in that isolated country.  Though many Afghans, particularly urban ones, may favor a continued U.S. military presence, others clearly wonder what good a new influx of foreigners will do in their endlessly war-torn nation.  As one high-ranking Afghan official recently lamented, thinking undoubtedly of the first use in his land of the largest non-nuclear bomb on the planet, "Is the plan just to use our country as a testing ground for bombs?" And keep in mind that the striking rise in territory the Taliban now controls, the most since they were driven from power in 2001, suggests that the U.S. presence is hardly welcomed everywhere.
    The second assumption is far more difficult to argue or justify.  To say the least, classifying a war in far-away Afghanistan as "vital" relies on a rather pliable definition of the term.  If that passes muster -- if bolstering the Afghan military to the tune of (at least) tens of billions of dollars annually and thousands of new boots-on-the-ground in order to deny safe haven to "terrorists" is truly "vital" -- then logically the current U.S. presences in Iraq, Syria, Somalia, and Yemen are critical as well and should be similarly fortified.  And what about the growing terror groups in Egypt, Libya, Nigeria, Tunisia, and so on?  We're talking about a truly expensive proposition here -- in blood and treasure.  But is it true?  Rational analysis suggests it is not.  After all, on average about seven Americans were killed by Islamist terrorists on U.S. soil annually from 2005 to 2015.  That puts terrorism deaths right up there with shark attacks and lightning strikes.  The fear is real, the actual danger... less so.
    As for the third point, it's simply preposterous. One look at U.S. military attempts at "nation-building" or post-conflict stabilization and pacification in Iraq, Libya, or -- dare I say -- Syria should settle the issue. It's often said that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Yet here we are, 14 years after the folly of invading Iraq and many of the same voices -- inside and outside the administration -- are clamoring for one more "surge" in Afghanistan (and, of course, will be clamoring for the predictable surges to follow across the Greater Middle East).
    The very idea that the U.S. military had the ability to usher in a secure Afghanistan is grounded in a number of preconditions that proved to be little more than fantasies.  First, there would have to be a capable, reasonably corruption-free local governing partner and military.  That's a nonstarter.  Afghanistan's corrupt, unpopular national unity government is little better than the regime of Ngo Dinh Diem in South Vietnam in the 1960s and that American war didn't turn out so well, did it?  Then there's the question of longevity.  When it comes to the U.S. military presence there, soon to head into its 16th year, how long is long enough?  Several mainstream voices, including former Afghan commander General David Petraeus, are now talking about at least a "generation" more to successfully pacify Afghanistan.  Is that really feasible given America's growing resource constraints and the ever expanding set of dangerous "ungoverned spaces" worldwide?
    And what could a new surge actually do?  The U.S. presence in Afghanistan is essentially a fragmented series of self-contained bases, each of which needs to be supplied and secured.  In a country of its size, with a limited transportation infrastructure, even the 4,000-5,000 extra troops the Pentagon is reportedly considering sending right now won't go very far. 
    Now, zoom out again.  Apply the same calculus to the U.S. position across the Greater Middle East and you face what we might start calling the Afghan paradox, or my own quandary safeguarding five villages with only 82 men writ large.  Do the math.  The U.S. military is already struggling to keep up with its commitments.  At what point is Washington simply spinning its proverbial wheels?  I'll tell you when -- yesterday.
    Now, think about those three questionable Afghan assumptions and one uncomfortable actuality leaps forth. The only guiding force left in the American strategic arsenal is inertia.
    What Surge 4.0 Won't Do -- I Promise ...
    Remember something: this won't be America's first Afghan "surge."  Or its second, or even its third.  No, this will be the U.S. military's fourth crack at it.  Who feels lucky?  First came President George W. Bush's "quiet" surge back in 2008.  Next, just one month into his first term, newly minted President Barack Obama sent 17,000 more troops to fight his so-called good war (unlike the bad one in Iraq) in southern Afghanistan.  After a testy strategic review, he then committed 30,000 additional soldiers to the "real" surge a year later.  That's what brought me (and the rest of B Troop, 4-4 Cavalry) to Pashmul district in 2011.  We left -- most of us -- more than five years ago, but of course about 8,800 American military personnel remain today and they are the basis for the surge to come.
    To be fair, Surge 4.0 might initially deliver certain modest gains (just as each of the other three did in their day).  Realistically, more trainers, air support, and logistics personnel could indeed stabilize some Afghan military units for some limited amount of time.  Sixteen years into the conflict, with 10% as many American troops on the ground as at the war's peak, and after a decade-plus of training, Afghan security forces are still being battered by the insurgents.  In the last years, they've been experiencing record casualties, along with the usual massive stream of desertions and the legions of "ghost soldiers" who can neither die nor desert because they don't exist, although their salaries do (in the pockets of their commanders or other lucky Afghans).  And that's earned them a "stalemate," which has left the Taliban and other insurgent groups in control of a significant part of the country.  And if all goes well (which isn't exactly a surefire thing), that's likely to be the best that Surge 4.0 can produce: a long, painful tie.
    Peel back the onion's layers just a bit more and the ostensible reasons for America's Afghan War vanish along with all the explanatory smoke and mirrors. After all, there are two things the upcoming "mini-surge" will emphatically not do:
    *It won't change a failing strategic formula.
    Imagine that formula this way: American trainers + Afghan soldiers + loads of cash + (unspecified) time = a stable Afghan government and lessening Taliban influence.
    It hasn't worked yet, of course, but -- so the surge-believers assure us -- that's because we need more: more troops, more money, more time.  Like so many loyal Reaganites, their answers are always supply-side ones and none of them ever seems to wonder whether, almost 16 years later, the formula itself might not be fatally flawed.
    According to news reports, no solution being considered by the current administration will even deal with the following interlocking set of problems: Afghanistan is a large, mountainous, landlocked, ethno-religiously heterogeneous, poor country led by a deeply corrupt government with a deeply corrupt military.  In a place long known as a "graveyard of empires," the United States military and the Afghan Security Forces continue to wage what one eminent historian has termed "fortified compound warfare."  Essentially, Washington and its local allies continue to grapple with relatively conventional threats from exceedingly mobile Taliban fighters across a porous border with Pakistan, a country that has offered not-so-furtive support and a safe haven for those adversaries.  And the Washington response to this has largely been to lock its soldiers inside those fortified compounds (and focus on protecting them against "insider attacks" by those Afghans it works with and trains).  It hasn't worked.  It can't.  It won't. 
    Consider an analogous example.  In Vietnam, the United States never solved the double conundrum of enemy safe havens and a futile search for legitimacy.  The Vietcong guerillas and North Vietnamese Army used nearby Cambodia, Laos, and North Vietnam to rest, refit, and replenish.  U.S. troops meanwhile lacked legitimacy because their corrupt South Vietnamese partners lacked it.
    Sound familiar?  We face the same two problems in Afghanistan: a Pakistani safe haven and a corrupt, unpopular central government in Kabul.  Nothing, and I mean nothing, in any future troop surge will effectively change that.
    *It won't pass the logical fallacy test.
    The minute you really think about it, the whole argument for a surge or mini-surge instantly slides down a philosophical slippery slope.
    If the war is really about denying terrorists safe havens in ungoverned or poorly governed territory, then why not surge more troops into Yemen, Somalia, Nigeria, Libya, Pakistan (where al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden's son Hamza bin-Laden are believed to be safely ensconced), Iraq, Syria, Chechnya, Dagestan (where one of the Boston Marathon bombers was radicalized), or for that matter Paris or London.  Every one of those places has harbored and/or is harboring terrorists.  Maybe instead of surging yet again in Afghanistan or elsewhere, the real answer is to begin to realize that all the U.S. military in its present mode of operation can do to change that reality is make it worse.  After all, the last 15 years offer a vision of how it continually surges and in the process only creates yet more ungovernable lands and territories. 
    So much of the effort, now as in previous years, rests on an evident desire among military and political types in Washington to wage the war they know, the one their army is built for: battles for terrain, fights that can be tracked and measured on maps, the sort of stuff that staff officers (like me) can display on ever more-complicated PowerPoint slides.  Military men and traditional policymakers are far less comfortable with ideological warfare, the sort of contest where their instinctual proclivity to "do something" is often counterproductive.
    As U.S. Army Field Manual 3-24 -- General David Petraeus' highly touted counterinsurgency "bible" -- wisely opined: "Sometimes doing nothing is the best reaction."  It's high time to follow such advice (even if it's not the advice that Petraeus himself is offering anymore).
    A little foreign policy humility goes a long way toward not heading down that slippery slope.  Why, then, do Americans continue to deceive themselves?  Why do they continue to believe that even 100,000 boys from Indiana and Alabama could alter Afghan society in a way Washington would like?  Or any other foreign land for that matter?
    I suppose some generals and policymakers are just plain gamblers.  But before putting your money on the next Afghan surge, it might be worth flashing back to the limitations, struggles, and sacrifices of just one small unit in one tiny, contested district of southern Afghanistan in 2011...
    Lonely Pashmul
    So, on we walked -- single file, step by treacherous step -- for nearly a year.  Most days things worked out.  Until they didn't.  Unfortunately, some soldiers found bombs the hard way: three dead, dozens wounded, one triple amputee.  So it went and so we kept on going.  Always onward. Ever forward. For America? Afghanistan? Each other? No matter.  And so it seems other Americans will keep on going in 2017, 2018, 2019...
    Lift foot. Hold breath. Step. Exhale.
    Keep walking... to defeat... but together.
    [Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.]
    To stay on top of important articles like these, sign up to receive the latest updates from TomDispatch.com here.

    DANNY SJURSEN

    Major Danny Sjursen is a US Army strategist and former history instructor at West Point. He served tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has written a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge. He lives with his wife and four sons near Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. 

              'Caught Again In Their Trap'   

    The US-Russian Hearings: Caught Again In Their Trap

    3421321312“…one shouldn’t put one’s trust in speeches like that from the gentlemen, for on such occasions the gentlemen liked to say agreeable things, but they had little or no significance and, once uttered, they were forgotten for all time, but admittedly, on the very next occasion one got caught again in their trap.” 

    With these words Kafka described the modern condition, each one of us trapped in the sticky web of technology and deceit designed to manipulate us to act and think against our selves, to accept the role of monkeys offered bananas in a cage, surrendering the struggling to escape it.
    The most dangerous element of that technology is the constant and increasing flood of images of war, of “terror,” of cities destroyed, cultures erased, entire progressive socio-economic systems torn apart, or threatened with destruction, not by the “terrorists” but by the states that declared their “war on terror,” by the states that in reality created the terror in all its forms; the worst being the constant threat of instant and universal annihilation in a nuclear war.
    That threat, the threat of nuclear war is more dangerous with every passing day as we see the NATO build-up along Russia’s western borders echoing the Nazi build-up before their invasion in 1941, the rolling invasion of Syria by American and allied forces, the hysterical rhetoric and military movements against North Korea, and the increasing contempt for Chinese sovereignty. Any of these threats from the United States could lead to nuclear war but the threat that concerns all of us is the one against Russia because a nuclear war with Russia is, as President Putin pointed out recently, not survivable. Yet, it is the threat against Russia that is building, building, building; increased military pressure on all fronts, increased economic warfare, called “sanctions,” increased hybrid warfare ranging from hacking of Russian computer systems, to direct attacks on Russian forces in Syria, from expulsion of diplomats to verbal abuse against and assassination of ambassadors. But the extent of the danger is to be seen not outside the United States but in the internal political turmoil that is taking place inside the United States.
    There propaganda against Russia as the “enemy” trying to destroy America through various forms of subversion is daily fare in all the mass media. The alleged subversion is stated as fact. The fact that the allegations are patently absurd means nothing when those who mould opinion refuse to say so and openly lie to the people with every word they utter. But the level of the threat against Russia is signalled by the willingness among the war faction to sacrifice anyone, no matter who they are or what position, in order to advance this propaganda. We now watch as the US Congress holds hearings in which senior government officials are called to defend themselves against charges of having had Russian connections. The President of the country is himself subject to a barrage of accusations of treason.
    This scandal is not just about the bickering between the losing party in the US elections and the winning party with the losers willing to risk the security of the people of the country in a bid to take power denied them at the ballot box. There is an element of that. The war faction does want to have its finger directly on the button. Elections and democracy mean nothing to them so long as they take the power. But they could have used any scandal to try to do that. They have concocted the “Russian threat to democracy” because they want war with Russia and to convince the people of the United States and the world that this war is necessary and just, are willing to destroy even their own leaders, and their country’s democratic system, as weak and non-representative of the needs of the people as it is, in order to achieve their purpose.
    The longer this spectacle in the United States goes on the worse it is going to get. But those under attack do not seem to understand what is happening to them, that they are being used to advance this propaganda, that they are being set up as scapegoats and in fact they even play along with the game, with Jeff Sessions, the US Attorney-General, today, the 13 of June, telling the US Senate Intelligence investigative committee that the accusation he “colluded” with Russia was “an appalling and detestable lie” but playing his role in this propaganda show by adding, “that he was concerned the President did not realise the severity of the threat from Russia interference that can never be tolerated.”
    The former FBI Director James Comey, a man with deep state connections, testified to the same committee that he was fired because of his investigation into the Russian allegations even though he provided no proof there was anything to investigate. Again, the facts don’t matter. The only thing that matters is the impression left, that Russia has and is attempting to subvert the United States and has succeeded in infiltrating its agents into the presidency and senior government and military levels.
    To further advance this propaganda theme purges are necessary to add to the drama and we have seen Comey leave, General Flynn resign and others forced out of office or threatened with it. But the main objective of these hearings and the mass media coverage of them is to generate peoples hostility towards Russia, and this seems to be succeeding, as polls indicate. The next level of the propaganda war will be to create such an intense situation in the United States that the calls for war by the people will be the natural reaction of their outrage and, in any case, this is what the war faction and media will tell us, that the people demand action.
    President Putin can meet with celebrities like Oliver Stone to correct the facts and state the truth. He can successfully dance circles around bubble headed American journalists in interviews, but he cannot control the mass media in the west that rarely allows Russian points of view to be heard. Still the attempt must be made.
    The United States is in a crisis. The games being played there are dangerous for its people. The logic of the demands made by those making the allegations means that President Trump must resign or be charged with treason. If he refuses to go there will be attempts to force him. If he is forced out, the people that voted for him and support him will feel rightly cheated and they will react. And who is to replace him? It can only be one of the war faction or a puppet and if that cannot issue be resolved peacefully then the military could step in to “manage” things in a time of “threat” and “urgency.” There have been coup d’états before in the United States. We are witnessing another now.
    The United States is in a crisis generated by people who have no idea how to control all the possible consequences of the events they have begun and because of this they are very dangerous to themselves and to the world. While the Russians prepare for the worst and hope for the best we in the west must do what we can to challenge the war propaganda, the propaganda of hostility and hatred that is inflicted on us by the criminals in control of the western governments and western media. Each of us is just one voice, but our voices united become a shout and with our shout we can level the walls of hostility that keep us from the peaceful coexistence that the peoples of world need to continue the struggle for economic and social justice, for real democracy, for progress, against the forces of reaction and fascism that always threaten us. Let’s not get “caught again in their trap.”

    Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto. He is known for a number of high-profile war crimes cases and recently published his novel “Beneath the Clouds. He writes essays on international law, politics and world events, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”
    http://journal-neo.org/2017/06/25/the-us-russian-hearings-caught-again-in-their-trap/


              Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare: Vier neue Karten plus Zombie-Areal im Kartenpaket "Absolution"   
    Activision beliefert Fans futuristischer Shooter und Zombiekrieger mit DLC-Nachschub für Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare: Wie im offiziellen Blog bekanntgegeben wird, enthält das Kartenpaket "Absolution" vier frische Karten sowie ein Zombie-Areal, welches den Spieler während der Fünfziger Jahre in einen Küstenort versetzt. Für PlayStation 4 erscheint der DLC am 6. Juli, für PC und Xbox One wurde noch kein Termin genannt. Die vier Karten werden folgendermaßen beschrieben:

    • "Bermuda – In Bermuda, einem Elendsviertel, das um die Überreste eines Schiffswracks errichtet wurde, können die Spieler sich mit Hechtsprüngen und Wandläufen vom Fischmarkt bis zum Leuchtturm auf dieser kleinen bis mittleren Map bewegen, die überschwemmt und mit Sand verweht ist.
    • Permafrost – In der eisigen City-Skyline von Permafrost bleibt ihr am Boden und wählt eure Angriffsstrategie über eine der drei Hauptstraßen. Ihr durchquert diese kleine, enge Map, um von der Straße zum Bahnhof oder vom Pennerviertel zu einem zertrümmerten Theater zu gelangen.
    • Fore – In Fore sind die einzigen Miniaturen auf dieser großen Karte die Golfkurse, auf denen ihr kämpft. Fore bietet enorme visuelle Vielfalt, während ihr euch durch die Ausblicke und Klänge der einzelnen Bereiche voller magischer Wälder, gigantischer Eiscremes und turmhoher Burgmauern schwingt.
    • Ember – Ember liegt in der Nähe eines alten Stadtschlosses und ist die Neuauflage des Map-Klassikers Resistance aus Modern Warfare 3, mit Ästhetik aus der alten Welt, die mit moderner Technologie nachgerüstet wurde. In der Umgebung finden sich unter anderem Lava, Galgen und eine Folterkammer – hier sollten die Teamkameraden eng zusammenbleiben."

    Weiter zur Bilderserie

    Weiter zum Video

              ISIS Caliphate Defeated, Iraqi PM Says   

    After eight months of grinding urban warfare, Iraqi government troops on Thursday captured the ruined mosque at the heart of Islamic State's de facto capital Mosul, and the prime minister declared the group's self-styled caliphate at an end.

    Iraqi authorities expect the long battle for Mosul to end in coming days as remaining Islamic State fighters are bottled up in just a handful of neighborhoods of the Old City.

    The seizure of the nearly 850-year-old Grand al-Nuri Mosque—from where Islamic State proclaimed the caliphate nearly three years ago to the day—is a huge symbolic victory.

    "The return of al-Nuri Mosque and al-Hadba minaret to the fold of the nation marks the end of the Daesh state of falsehood," Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a statement, referring to the hardline Sunni Muslm group by an Arabic acronym.

    The fall of Mosul would in effect mark the end of the Iraqi half of the IS caliphate, although the group still controls territory west and south of the city, ruling over hundreds of thousands of people.

    Its stronghold in Syria, Raqqa, is also close to falling.

    A U.S.-backed Kurdish-led coalition besieging Raqqa on Thursday fully encircled it after closing the militants' last way out from the south, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.

    These setbacks have reduced Islamic State's territory by 60 percent from its peak two years ago and its revenue by 80 percent, to just $16 million a month, said IHS Markit.

    "Their fictitious state has fallen," an Iraqi military spokesman, Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, told state TV.

    However, it still occupies an area as big as Belgium, across Iraq and Syria, according to IHS Markit, an analytics firm.

    Islamic State fighters blew up the medieval mosque and its famed leaning minaret a week ago as U.S.-backed Iraqi forces started a push in its direction. Their black flag had been flying from al-Hadba (The Hunchback) minaret since June 2014.

    Much of the mosque and brickwork minaret was reduced to rubble, said a Reuters TV reporter who went to the site with the elite units that captured it.

    Only the stump of the Hunchback remained, and a green dome of the mosque supported by a few pillars which resisted the blast, he said.

    The mosque grounds were off limits as the insurgents are suspected to have planted booby traps.

    Abadi "issued instructions to bring the battle to its conclusion," by capturing the remaining parts of the Old City, his office said.

    The cost of the fighting has been enormous. In addition to military casualties, thousands of civilians are estimated to have been killed.

    About 900,000 people, nearly half the pre-war population of the northern city, have fled, mostly taking refuge in camps or with relatives and friends, according to aid groups.

    Those trapped in the city suffered hunger, deprivation and IS oppression as well as death or injury, and many buildings have been ruined.

    Arduous Task

    Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) troops captured the al-Nuri Mosque's ground in a "lightning operation" on Thursday, a commander of the U.S.-trained elite units told state TV.

    CTS units are now in control of the mosque area and the al-Hadba and Sirjkhana neighborhoods and they are still advancing, a military statement said.

    Other government units, from the army and police, were closing in from other directions.

    An elite Interior Ministry unit said it freed about 20 children believed to belong to Yazidi and other minorities persecuted by the jihadists in a quarter north of the Old City which houses Mosul's main hospitals.

    A U.S.-led international coalition is providing air and ground support to the Iraqi forces fighting through the Old City's maze of narrow alleyways.

    But the advance remains arduous as IS fighters are dug in the middle of civilians, using mortar fire, snipers, booby traps and suicide bombers to defend their last redoubt.

    The military estimated up to 350 militants were still in the Old City last week but many have been killed since.

    They are besieged in one sq. km (0.4 square mile) making up less than 40 percent of the Old City and less than one percent of the total area of Mosul, the largest urban center over which they held sway in both Iraq and Syria.

    Those residents who have escaped the Old City say many of the civilians trapped behind IS lines -- put last week at 50,000 by the Iraqi military -- are in a desperate situation with little food, water or medicines.

    "Boys and girls who have managed to escape show signs of moderate malnutrition and carry psychosocial scars," the United Nations Children's Fund UNICEF said in a statement.

    Thousands of children remain at risk in Mosul, it said.

    IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed himself ruler of all Muslims from the Grand al-Nuri Mosque's pulpit on July 4, 2014, after the insurgents overran swathes of Iraq and Syria.

    His speech from the mosque was the first time he revealed himself to the world and the footage broadcast then is to this day the only video recording of him as "caliph."

    He has left the fighting in Mosul to local commanders and is believed to be hiding in the border area between Iraq and Syria, according to U.S. and Iraqi military sources.

    The mosque was named after Nuruddin al-Zanki, a noble who fought the early Crusaders from a fiefdom that covered territory in modern-day Turkey, Syria and Iraq. It was built in 1172-73, shortly before his death, and housed an Islamic school.

    The Old City's stone buildings date mostly from the medieval period. They include market stalls, a few mosques and churches, and small houses built and rebuilt on top of each other over the ages. {eoa}

    © 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.


              'Horrendous, Demonic' Attack Preparing to Strike the US   

    The enemy has activated a new attack on America, Pastor Carl Gallups tells Jim Bakker.

    As liberal activists fight for abortion rights and LGBT equality, Gallups says this is proof of the enemy's agenda.

    "The attack on fatherhood, motherhood, family, womanhood, manhood, childhood, the attack on personhood is horrendous. It is demonic, it is ubiquitous," Gallups says in a recent episode of The Jim Bakker Show. "It is global, but particularly in our culture because America represents the largest Christian nation the world has ever seen."

    Gallups says he believes the attacks stem from centuries-old spiritual warfare because the United States was founded upon God's truth.

    "So Satan hates what we stand for, and the bedrock of our culture is the family," Gallups says.

    But we are not without hope.

    Watch the video to see why.

     

    {eoa}


              Steve Vai conta por que não gosta de cantores em suas músicas   

    O guitarrista Steve Vai revelou, em entrevista ao site Ultimate Guitar, o motivo pelo qual não gosta de cantores nas músicas criadas por ele. Apesar de ter tocado em bandas com vocalistas, sua carreira solo é composta de faixas instrumentais.

    "Eu gosto de executar minha visão, em minha cabeça, sem que seja diluído por outra pessoa. Senti isso em 'Passion & Warfare' (1990), 'Flex-Able' (1984) e meus outros discos solo. Gosto de vocais e não deixo fora de radar, porque algo pode rolar. Coloco arte na música, enquanto outros perseguem rádios", disse.

    Apesar disso, Vai disse que há bandas fazendo trabalhos com vocais e soando naturalmente. "Um exemplo é o Cheap Trick, que continua nessa área, mas há muita pressão tentando reter esse tipo de sucesso mundano", afirmou.
              New ‘Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’ DLC Will Be a Zombie Adventure Featuring Elvira!   
    Video games just keep getting cooler, don’t they? Activision and Infinity Ward have announced the third DLC Pack for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, titled Absolution. Coming to Playstation 4 on July 6th, the pack will feature four new multiplayer maps and an all new, 1950’s-set zombies adventure. In Attack of the Radioactive Thing, inspired by […]
              Three Different Histories of Archery Posted By : Jenny Styles   
    Archery is a sport or practice of using a bow to shoot arrows. Throughout history archery was used for many purposes including hunting and combat. It now has mainly become a sport of precision. Some history on archery is that it was said to have begun around 15,000 years ago, but the earliest that proven evidence was reported on archery was between 8,000 and 9,000 years ago. The bow is said to have originally come from the use of hunting animals, and then it became a very useful tool in combat and warfare. It became the dominant means of shooting projectiles after replacing the "atlatl".
              What is a Cross Bow? Posted By : Rob Daniels   
    A crossbow is an ancient weapon, composed of a bow mounted on a stock that launches projectiles, known as bolts. A mechanism in the stock allows the bow to be in its fully-drawn position at all times. The crossbow is fully-drawn until it is shot by releasing a trigger. These dangerous weapons are known for their role in Asian and European warfare. Today however, crossbows are mainly used for target shooting and sport hunting.
              Different Types of Archery Competitions Posted By : Rob Daniels   
    The sport, of archery is considered one of the oldest traditions. The earliest people known to have used the bow and arrow were the ancient Egyptians, who adopted the weapon at least 5000 years ago. The Egyptians used bows and arrows for hunting and warfare. Ancient Egyptian arrows, have been recovered in large numbers.
              What is Archery? Posted By : Barney Garcia   
    Archery has been around for many years. Some researchers say that people began practicing it as long as 15, 000 years ago. Archery is the use of a bow to shoot arrows. In the past, archery was used for hunting and warfare, but today it has become a popular sport.
              RF Countermeasure Systems Engineer - DHPC Technologies - Township of Woodbridge, NJ   
    Electronic Warfare (EW) systems or design engineering, ECM, RFCM, aircraft survivability equipment (ASE), Radar Warning Receivers RWR), Radar threat analysis,...
    From DHPC Technologies - Fri, 17 Mar 2017 02:09:27 GMT - View all Township of Woodbridge, NJ jobs
              Who goes there?   

    Identifying friends and enemies is a problem as old as warfare itself. The risk of inadvertently attacking one's own side is an ever-present danger for military operations, particularly those involving aircraft, where the speed of warplanes and missiles makes the timely determination of identity absolutely vital.


              Thunderclap Warfare   
    Thunderclap război este un joc de fotografiere. Jocul este foarte provocator ca robotul poate lovi cu uşurinţă dacă tu nu a evita coajă şi duşman. Sale foarte simplu şi amuzant. Există doar un singur nivelul în joc, dar veţi găsi unele diferenţe atunci când te joci din nou. În acelaşi timp, puteţi exercitarea scor mai bun.
              PS4 | Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare - Drittes Erweiterungspack erscheint zuerst für die Playstation 4   
    Das neue DLC-Pack bietet vier abwechslungsreiche neue Multiplayer-Maps plus ein brandneues Zombie-Erlebnis.
              HD-Trailer: Call of Duty - Modern Warfare 3   
    This is the official launch trailer for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 by Activision.
              Echipa de război   
    Un nou război de strategie joc Warfare echipa implementa armata ta, distruge inamicul şi cuceri baza lor. Debloca toate realizările şi upgrade-uri. Termini toate misiune pe întreaga hartă
              The Atomic Weight of Love - Elizabeth J Church (2016)   







    The Atomic Weight of Love is a fascinating novel, not so much because of its story or characters, although they are both rendered in a more than adequate fashion, but because it is a great example of how a novel does not necessarily need to be a work of literary genius to be affecting or even significant. Church’s own life story greatly influenced the content of this novel, having been born in Los Alamos to a father directly involved in the Manhattan Project and subsequent nuclear research after the end of WWII. However the novel is not Church’s life story; the main protagonist, Meridian Wallace, is an amalgam of many women she knew who lived in the Los Alamos community who put their careers and lives on hold to support their husbands work. Thematically the novel concerns itself with feminism with its portrayal of female subjugation in the face of patriarchal expectation and societal tradition. 

    The Atomic Weight of Love, after a brief exposition of Meridian’s childhood, begins in earnest in 1941 at the University of Chicago where Meridian is studying ornithology. Meridian is a brilliant young student with a promising career ahead of her, however she meets and falls in love with Alden Whetstone, a physics professor twenty years her senior, whom she subsequently marries. Alden soon becomes involved with the development of the atomic bomb in Los Alamos. When the war ends Meridian is faced with the choice of being with her husband in Los Alamos or finishing her studies in Chicago. She agrees to postpone her studies for a year, effectively sealing her fate as just another unfulfilled housewife in Los Alamos. Such a premise could easily result in a novel rife with cliche, one dimensional characterizations and sentimentality, however Church has succeeded in producing a subtle representation of the emergence of the post war wave of feminism. Alden is predominantly portrayed not as an unrelenting misogynist (although he does have his moments), but as very much a product of his times, with all the gender role playing baggage that comes with it. Meridian, despite being an intelligent and capable women, becomes trapped and stupefied by her unstimulating house-wife existence.

    Over a number of decades Meridian makes friends and tries to keep herself busy, but most significantly she ventures into the semi-arid wilderness around Los Alamos to study a group of crows. Her observations of crow behavior and her thoughts and realizations about her own life often intermingle, sometimes resulting in some perhaps too obvious analogies. It is during one of her forays into the wilderness that she meets a man called Clay, a man who is twenty years younger than her. Clay is also a Vietnam veteran and budding geologist. Clay is an obvious narrative device to offer Meridian a way out of her unfulfilled life and in some ways he is a cliched character, however as the novel progresses and their relationship becomes more complex Clay becomes the perfect means to reveal the dysfunctional cracks in the social mores that trapped Meridian in the first place.

    The Atomic Weight of Love is set during great periods of upheaval and change, yet Church, on the whole, chooses not to allow the events and issues of the time period to dominate. World War Two, the moral questions surrounding atomic warfare, the Vietnam war, civil rights, the counterculture (although Clay is a hippy, as explored in some memorable scenes) and feminism itself, are mainly kept in the background or used as a means to give personal events or points of view context. Church has been criticized for only superficially exploring these issues, marking this apparent flaw as a wasted opportunity. There is certainly some validity to this criticism, however if these issues were in the narrative foreground then The Atomic Weight of Love would be a completely different novel and lose its prime thematic focus: as a very personal portrayal of the issues that led to the rise of post war feminism. Church should be lauded for being so subtle in her approach and not just writing another historical novel about America and the world in the mid twentieth century. Personally I very much appreciate that Church has written a narrative that resulted in me being interested in the life and welfare of its principle protagonist despite it being a novel I would not normally want to read if it were not for my book club duties.

    During the meetings for the novel I asked the predominately (older) female attendees if they felt empathy for Meridian, and also if they considered the novel to be important in terms of reminding younger readers of why there was a need for feminism in the first place. Curiously many had little sympathy for Meridian, pointing out that she should have been stronger willed. No one considered the novel to be important, although some believed the novel to be worth reading and Meridian to be a fair representation of a woman living during that era and circumstance. I must say that I was surprised by some of the reactions to the novel, particularly from female members whom I thought would be much more sympathetic to Meridian’s plight. All three meetings were characterized by polarized opinions regarding the novel’s quality and subject matter, but particularly regarding Meridian’s life choices and attitudes. To my mind such polarization of opinion, healthy debate and the obvious qualities of the novel suggest that The Atomic Weight of Love can be considered a successful novel; but is it important in the context of the ongoing story of feminism? Perhaps it is at least an indicator that a feminist text does not need to written by Camille Paglia, Germaine Greer or Clementine Ford to be worthwhile; that popular literary fiction can be just as successful in conveying important themes and sparking debate as its more ‘serious’ literary counterparts.


              Comment on Ramparts? What are Ramparts? by Linda Muralidharan   
    Mugwump, I'm not entirely sure of your point. Do you mean we can never have a war again if we expect the public to support the Congress declaring war which the Constitutional way to fight? If so, you must have missed how much warfare we have been conducting in the last three decades. Yemen and Syria and Iraq and Afghanistan and, yes, we have troops in the Phillippines at the present time. There has been a fig leaf of authorization that is very hard to justify and also does not really apply to much of what we are doing at present. So....if these are actual necessary wars for the immediate defense of the United States of America, it is still necessary to ask the American public to approve....or not. Meanwhile real people get killed and maimed....Americans and millions of others while we pretend it isn't so. I think 1984 arrived long before President Donald Trump. Please note that the Department of War was changed to the euphemism "Department of Defense" (or is that actually accurate in that it is there to defend oil companies and Israel?). I believe we need to be more honest and also to set up a Department of Peace. (A bit hard on the war profiteers, I know, such as the arms manufacturers, career military, and shop keepers near military bases.)
              Asimetric Warfare   
    Reconstrui Statelor Unite după o plagă devastator în acest rândul său pe bază de carte de joc de strategie.
              Narendra Modi heads to Israel, lifting the curtain on close ties   

    By Sanjeev Miglani and Tova Cohen

    NEW DELHI/TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Narendra Modi is making a first visit to Israel by an Indian prime minister next week, in a public embrace of a country that he has long admired for its military and technical expertise but which his predecessors kept at arm's length.

    India has traditionally trodden a careful diplomatic line in the region, analysts say, wary of upsetting Arab states and Iran - upon whom it relies for its vast imports of oil - and its large Muslim minority. It has been a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause, even as it quietly pursued ties with Israel.

    But now Modi is lifting the curtain on a thriving military relationship. He will hold three days of talks with his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, to advance sales and production of missiles, drones and radar systems under his signature "Make in India" drive, officials in Delhi and Tel Aviv said.

    The Indian leader will not travel to Ramallah, the seat of the Palestine Authority and a customary stop for visiting leaders trying to maintain a balance in political ties.

    At home, the apparent shift in what has long been a bedrock of India's foreign policy risks sharpening criticism that the country's 180 million Muslims are increasingly being marginalized under Modi's Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, which swept to power in 2014.

    "Narendra Modi's visit to Israel will only strengthen its occupation of Palestine," said Asaduddin Owaisi, a member of the Indian parliament from a regional group that promotes Muslim rights.

    BURGEONING RELATIONSHIP

    In previous decades, under the left-leaning Congress Party, former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was a regular visitor to New Delhi, pictured hugging then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi when the two were championing the Non-Alignment Movement.

    In May, Modi hosted Arafat's successor, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and offered help in health and information technology, but the trip was low-key.

    The scale of the ongoing collaboration with Israel dwarfs anything India is attempting with the Palestinians, officials say.

    "We have a wide ranging partnership with Israel that ranges from agriculture cooperation to homeland security," said Bala Bhaskar, head of the foreign ministry's West Asia division.

    He said India's ties with Israel and Palestine were important in their own right and neither should viewed through the prism of the other. But an Israeli diplomat said Modi's standalone trip to Tel Aviv was an important signal.

    The two sides are expected to announce strategic partnerships in areas including water, agriculture and space technology during Modi's visit.

    But it is the defence relationship that is most advanced - India is now Israel's biggest arms market, buying weapons at an average of $1 billion each year.

    Eli Alfassi, executive vice president of marketing at state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the country's biggest defence firm, said it was supplying India with drones, radar, communication systems and cybersecurity.

    MISSILES, FOOD SECURITY

    The centrepiece of the collaboration is the Barack 8 air defence system, built jointly by the two countries in a boost for Modi's campaign to develop a domestic defence industry.

    "We are adjusting to the 'Make in India' policy which says only local companies will win tenders, so we are setting up three joint projects in India with local companies," Alfassi said.

    IAI has signed a memorandum of understanding to build missiles with India's state-run Bharat Electronics Limited, launched a joint project with Dynamatic Technologies to make drones and is scouting for a partner for a joint venture for its subsidiary Elta, which specialises in electronic warfare and communication systems, he said.

    India is in the midst of a military modernisation programme worth more than $100 billion to help counter rivals Pakistan and China.

    Israel, the United States and Russia are India's top military suppliers, and Modi's government has said it will favour countries that are ready to share technology.

    Avi Mizrachi, executive vice president of business development for Israel and Southeast Asia at Elbit Systems, which supplies electro-optic systems and upgrades of helicopters and combat vehicles, said it would be bidding for a tender to supply drones in partnership with the Adani group.

    The two countries stress, though, that there is more to the relationship than arms deals.

    Modi will be discussing a plan for Israeli help in boosting India's food security, officials said.

    The plan is to expand 26 agriculture expertise centres that Israel has set up in 15 Indian states to help increase output of everything from vegetables to mangoes and pomegranates.

    Modi wants Indian companies involved in turning these small centres into commercial entities that would help tens of thousands of farmers to boost productivity.

    (Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in BEIJING; Editing by Alex Richardson)


              India's Modi heads to Israel, lifting the curtain on close ties   

    By Sanjeev Miglani and Tova Cohen

    NEW DELHI/TEL AVIV, June 30 (Reuters) - Narendra Modi ismaking a first visit to Israel by an Indian prime minister nextweek, in a public embrace of a country that he has long admiredfor its military and technical expertise but which hispredecessors kept at arm's length.

    India has traditionally trodden a careful diplomatic line inthe region, analysts say, wary of upsetting Arab states and Iran- upon whom it relies for its vast imports of oil - and itslarge Muslim minority. It has been a vocal supporter of thePalestinian cause, even as it quietly pursued ties with Israel.

    But now Modi is lifting the curtain on a thriving militaryrelationship. He will hold three days of talks with his Israelicounterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, to advance sales and productionof missiles, drones and radar systems under his signature "Makein India" drive, officials in Delhi and Tel Aviv said.

    The Indian leader will not travel to Ramallah, the seat ofthe Palestine Authority and a customary stop for visitingleaders trying to maintain a balance in political ties.

    At home, the apparent shift in what has long been a bedrockof India's foreign policy risks sharpening criticism that thecountry's 180 million Muslims are increasingly beingmarginalized under Modi's Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya JanataParty (BJP) government, which swept to power in 2014.

    "Narendra Modi's visit to Israel will only strengthen itsoccupation of Palestine," said Asaduddin Owaisi, a member ofIndia's federal parliament from a regional group that promotesMuslim rights.

    BURGEONING RELATIONSHIP

    In previous decades, under the left-leaning Congress Party,former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was a regular visitor toNew Delhi, pictured hugging then Indian Prime Minister IndiraGandhi when the two were championing the Non-Alignment Movement.

    In May, Modi hosted Arafat's successor, PalestinianPresident Mahmoud Abbas, and offered help in health andinformation technology, but the trip was low-key.

    The scale of the ongoing collaboration with Israel dwarfsanything India is attempting with the Palestinians, officialssay.

    "We have a wide ranging partnership with Israel that rangesfrom agriculture cooperation to homeland security," said BalaBhaskar, head of the foreign ministry's West Asia division.

    He said India's ties with Israel and Palestine wereimportant in their own right and neither should viewed throughthe prism of the other. But an Israeli diplomat said Modi'sstandalone trip to Tel Aviv was an important signal.

    The two sides are expected to announce strategicpartnerships in areas including water, agriculture and spacetechnology during Modi's visit.

    But it is the defence relationship that is most advanced -India is now Israel's biggest arms market, buying weapons at anaverage of $1 billion each year.

    Eli Alfassi, executive vice president of marketing atstate-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the country'sbiggest defence firm, said it was supplying India with drones,radar, communication systems and cybersecurity.

    MISSILES, FOOD SECURITY

    The centrepiece of the collaboration is the Barack 8 airdefence system, built jointly by the two countries in a boostfor Modi's campaign to develop a domestic defence industry.

    "We are adjusting to the 'Make in India' policy which saysonly local companies will win tenders, so we are setting upthree joint projects in India with local companies," Alfassisaid.

    IAI has signed a memorandum of understanding to buildmissiles with India's state-run Bharat Electronics Limited,launched a joint project with Dynamatic Technologies to makedrones and is scouting for a partner for a joint venture for itssubsidiary Elta, which specialises in electronic warfare andcommunication systems, he said.

    India is in the midst of a military modernisation programmeworth more than $100 billion to help counter rivals Pakistan andChina.

    Israel, the United States and Russia are India's topmilitary suppliers, and Modi's government has said it willfavour countries that are ready to share technology.

    Avi Mizrachi, executive vice president of businessdevelopment for Israel and Southeast Asia at Elbit Systems, which supplies electro-optic systems andupgrades of helicopters and combat vehicles, said it would bebidding for a tender to supply drones in partnership withIndia's Adani group.

    The two countries stress, though, that there is more to therelationship than arms deals.

    Modi will be discussing a plan for Israeli help in boostingIndia's food security, officials said.

    The plan is to expand 26 agriculture expertise centres thatIsrael has set up in 15 Indian states to help increase output ofeverything from vegetables to mangoes and pomegranates.

    Modi wants Indian companies involved in turning these smallcentres into commercial entities that would help tens ofthousands of farmers to boost productivity.(Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in BEIJING; Editing byAlex Richardson)


              Amazon- Buy Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (PC) for Rs 899   

    Love to play games.? Here is a deal for you, Amazon is selling Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (PC) for Rs 899 only. Call of Duty is one of favorite game of most of the gamers. So, grab this awesome deal now, before it goes out of stock. Final Savings: MRP – Rs 3799 Deal Price – Rs 899 Discount –...


              News: Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare - Absolution-DLC für PS4 datiert   
    Der aktuelle Ableger der Shooter-Reihe Call of Duty bekommt wieder einen frischen Zusatzinhalt spendiert. "Absolution" wird bereits in Kürze zu haben sein....
              Warfare 1917   
    Transportate armatei sale prin intermediul tranşee a Europei în acest joc primul război mondial, și controlul ia noi domenii.
              Стартовала летняя крупная распродажа игр для Xbox One: полный список игр со скидкой   
    Пару дней назад компания Microsoft объявила о скором старте крупной распродажи игр для приставки Xbox One в магазине Xbox Marketplace. Летняя распродажа игровых проектов стартует уже сегодня.

    Продлится летняя распродажа игр для Xbox One в период с 30 июня по 10 июля. В рамках распродажи можно купить более 350 игр, среди которых проекты для Xbox 360 и Xbox One.

    Полный список игр для Xbox One на летней распродаже выглядит следующим образом:
    НазваниеСкидкаЦена с Gold
    Injustice 2 15% / 25%2399 руб.
    Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands – Standard Edition 25% / 35%2599 руб.
    Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands – Deluxe Edition 25% / 35%2989 руб.
    Tom Clancy’s Ghost ReconWildlands – Gold Edition 20% / 30%4199 руб.
    Mass Effect: Andromeda 40% / 50%1999 руб.
    Mass Effect: Andromeda Deluxe Edition 40% / 50%2249 руб.
    Prey 10% / 17%3319 руб.
    The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind 25% / 33%2679 руб.
    The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind Upgrade 17% / 25%1049 руб.
    The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind Collector’s Edition 25% / 33%3349 руб.
    The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind Collector’s Edition Upgrade 17% / 25%2999 руб.
    FOR HONOR Standard Edition 30% / 40%2199 руб.
    FOR HONOR Deluxe Edition 30% / 40%2759 руб.
    FOR HONOR Gold Edition 25% / 35%3899 руб.
    Battlefield 1 50% / 60%1599 руб.
    Battlefield 1 Deluxe Edition 50% / 60%1999 руб.
    Battlefield 1 Ultimate Edition 40% / 50%3999 руб.
    Battlefield 1 Premium Pass 10% / 20%2399 руб.
    Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege 40% / 50%1319 руб.
    Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege Complete Edition 30% / 40%3179 руб.
    Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege Year 2 Gold Edition 30% / 40%2399 руб.
    Rocket League 30% / 40%419 руб.
    Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare – Launch Edition 25% / 35%1999 руб.
    Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare – Digital Legacy Edition 20% / 30%2749 руб.
    Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare – Digital Deluxe Edition 17% / 25%4094 руб.
    Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare – Season Pass 10% / 20%2559 руб.
    EA SPORTS FIFA 17 50% / 60%1199 руб.
    EA SPORTS FIFA 17 Deluxe Edition 40% / 50%1649 руб.
    EA SPORTS FIFA 17 Super Deluxe Edition 25% / 35%3299 руб.
    Killer Instinct: Definitive Edition 30% / 40%1019 руб.
    Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition 40% / 50%209 руб.
    Quantum Break 60% / 67%1319 руб.
    ReCore 50% / 50%1499 руб.
    Ryse: Legendary Edition 67% / 75%699 руб.
    ScreamRide 67% / 75%649 руб.
    State of Decay: Year-One Survival Edition 60% / 67%659 руб.
    Sunset Overdrive 60% / 67%1088 руб.
    Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition 50% / 60%999 руб.
    Super Ultra Dead Rising 3 Arcade Remix 70% / 80%99 руб.
    Dead Rising 4 40% / 50%1999 руб.
    Dead Rising 4 Deluxe Edition 40% / 50%2999 руб.
    Dead Rising 4 Season Pass 50% / 60%279 руб.
    Halo Wars 2: Standard Edition 50% / 50%999
    Halo Wars 2: Ultimate Edition 50% / 50%1299 руб.
    Halo Wars 2: 3 Blitz Packs 15% / 15%288 руб.
    Halo Wars 2: 9 Blitz Packs + 1 Free 15% / 15%849 руб.
    Halo Wars 2: 20 Blitz Packs + 3 Free 20% / 20%1599 руб.
    Halo Wars 2: 40 Blitz Packs + 7 Free 30% / 30%2799 руб.
    Halo Wars 2: 100 Blitz Packs + 35 Free 45% / 45%4399 руб.
    Gears of War 4 Ultimate Edition 40% / 40%4199 руб.
    Gears of War 4 50% / 50%1999 руб.
    Gears of War: Ultimate Edition – Day One Version 40% / 50%1559 руб.
    Gears of War Ultimate Edition Deluxe Version 50% / 60%1899 руб.
    Gears of War 4 – Run The Jewels Airdrop 40% / 50%662 руб.
    Halo 5: Guardians 40% / 50%1799 руб.
    Halo 5: Guardians – Digital Deluxe Edition 50% / 60%2339 руб.
    Halo 5: Guardians – 10 Gold REQ Packs + 3 Free 17% / 25%899 руб.
    Halo 5: Guardians – 15 Gold REQ Packs + 5 Free 25% / 33%1272 руб.
    Halo 5: Guardians – 34 Gold REQ Packs + 13 Free 35% / 45%2254 руб.
    Forza Motorsport 6 Platinum Edition Bundle 67% / 75%1584 руб.
    Forza Horizon 3 Porsche Car Pack 60% / 60%187 руб.
    Forza Horizon 2: Storm Island 67% / 75%174 руб.
    Forza Horizon 2 and Forza Motorsport 5 Bundle 50% / 60%1999 руб.
    The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season 70% / 80%199 руб.
    The Walking Dead: Season Two 70% / 80%199 руб.
    The Walking Dead: A New Frontier – The Complete Season (Episodes 1-5) 30% / 40%719 руб.
    The Walking Dead: Michonne – A Telltale Miniseries 60% / 70%167 руб.
    The Wolf Among Us 60% / 70%299 руб.
    Game of Thrones – The Complete First Season (Episodes 1-6) 60% / 70%209 руб.
    Tales from the Borderlands Complete Season (Episodes 1-5) 60% / 70%179 руб.
    Minecraft: Story Mode – Season Pass (Episodes 2-5) 50% / 60%375 руб.
    Minecraft: Story Mode – Adventure Pass (Additional Episodes 6-8) 50% / 60%199 руб.
    Minecraft: Story Mode – The Complete Season (Episodes 1-5) 50% / 60%375 руб.
    Minecraft: Story Mode – The Complete Adventure (Episodes 1-8) 50% / 60%479 руб.
    Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series – The Complete Season (Episodes 1-5) 25% / 35%610 руб.
    Back to the Future: The Game – 30th Anniversary Edition 60% / 70%209 руб.
    7 Days to Die 50% / 60%559 руб.
    The Telltale Undead Survival Bundle 60% / 70%629 руб.
    The Telltale Games Collection 60% / 70%1349 руб.
    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Expansion Pass 30% / 40%581 руб.
    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Complete Edition 40% / 50%1249 руб.
    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Expansion Pass 40% / 50%744 руб.
    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Hearts of Stone 40% / 50%394 руб.
    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Blood and Wine 40% / 50%499 руб.
    The Disney Afternoon Collection 20% / 30%839 руб.
    ULTIMATE MARVEL VS. CAPCOM 3 30% / 40%1067 руб.
    RESIDENT EVIL 7 biohazard 30% / 40%2399 руб.
    RESIDENT EVIL 7 biohazard Deluxe Edition 25% / 35%3574 руб.
    Resident Evil 4 40% / 50%599 руб.
    Resident Evil 5 40% / 50%649 руб.
    Resident Evil 6 40% / 50%649 руб.
    Resident Evil 0 50% / 60%519 руб.
    Resident Evil 50% / 60%519 руб.
    Resident Evil Triple Pack 40% / 50%1449 руб.
    Resident Evil: Deluxe Origins Bundle 50% / 60%1039 руб.
    Dead Rising Triple Bundle Pack 50% / 60%1159 руб.
    Assassin’s Creed Syndicate 50% / 60%1055 руб.
    Assassin’s Creed Syndicate Gold Edition 50% / 60%1679 руб.
    Assassin’s Creed Unity 50% / 60%1199 руб.
    Far Cry 4 50% / 60%1199 руб.
    Far Cry 4 + Far Cry Primal Bundle 50% / 60%1523 руб.
    Far Cry 4 Gold Edition 50% / 60%1599 руб.
    Far Cry Primal 50% / 60%879 руб.
    Far Cry Primal – Apex Edition 50% / 60%959 руб.
    Watch Dogs 2 40% / 50%1999 руб.
    Watch Dogs 2 – Deluxe Edition 40% / 50%2309 руб.
    Watch Dogs 2 – Gold Edition 40% / 50%2999 руб.
    STEEP 40% / 50%1999 руб.
    STEEP Gold Edition 40% / 50%2649 руб.
    Tom Clancy’s The Division 50% / 60%1039 руб.
    Tom Clancy’s The Division Gold Edition 50% / 60%2079 руб.
    Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege + The Division Bundle 40% / 50%2529 руб.
    Trials of the Blood Dragon 40% / 50%454 руб.
    The Crew 50% / 60%619 руб.
    The Crew Ultimate Edition 50% / 60%1039 руб.
    Assassin’s Creed The Ezio Collection 40% / 50%1499 руб.
    Assassin’s Creed Triple Pack: Black Flag, Unity, Syndicate 60% / 67%1880 руб.
    Trackmania Turbo 50% / 60%999 руб.
    Dishonored 2 17% / 25%869 руб.
    DOOM 25% / 33%588 руб.
    Fallout 4: Digital Deluxe Bundle 35% / 45%4179 руб.
    Fallout 4 Season Pass 30% / 40%2159 руб.
    Fallout 4 25% / 33%588 руб.
    The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition 40% / 50%1999 руб.
    Wolfenstein: The New Order 40% / 50%499 руб.
    Wolfenstein: The Old Blood 40% / 50%744 руб.
    Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare + Destiny – The Collection 40% / 50%3499 руб.
    Call of Duty: IW Legacy + Destiny – The Collection Bundle 40% / 50%3699 руб.
    Call of Duty: Black Ops III – Gold Edition 40% / 50%1719 руб.
    Call of Duty: Black Ops III Digital Deluxe Edition 30% / 40%2749 руб.
    Call of Duty: Black Ops III – Season Pass 30% / 40%1799 руб.
    Marvel: Ultimate Alliance Bundle 40% / 50%1879 руб.
    Deadpool 60% / 67%1055 руб.
    Destiny – The Collection 40% / 50%1749 руб.
    Prototype Biohazard Bundle 60% / 67%Недоступно
    Chivalry: Medieval Warfare Ultimate Edition 60% / 67%1055 руб.
    Cabela’s African Adventures 67% / 75%Недоступно
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    What it feels like when your marriage is ending
    My wife and I met in continental Europe in the early nineties. I thought she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. She was living in another country, and spoke several languages. She was artistic and adventurous, where I was scholarly and conventional. We were both students at the time, and we were both seeing someone else. But there was definite chemistry. In the days before the Internet, we wrote long letters to one another. By a series of very unlikely steps, we saw each other again. I graduated, took a job, and in my first holiday, I went to visit her. By this time, she was living in the US, and we were both single.

    I persuaded her to come to the UK, which she did, and we immediately moved in together. We married in the late nineties. My family adored her. My uncle (an academic) praised how clever she was. My grandfather said she was the most beautiful bride to walk down the aisle of our local church. Many people have, over many years, complimented me on how lucky I was to be married to someone like her.

    I knew all along, of course, that my gender was not completely congruent with my apparent identity. I have known this ever since I can remember. I can remember wanting a pink blanket in kindergarten and being told I had to have a blue one. But I did not tell my wife any of these things.
    Grotesque: Corporal Klinger

    Partly I did not tell her because of shame: I was in my mid-twenties, and I knew next to nothing about my gender. Wherever I looked, crossdressers were figures of scorn, of ridicule. They seemed grotesque, repulsive. A great example would be Corporal Klinger, the MASH character who is trying to convince everyone he is crazy by dressing as a woman, so they will throw him out of the Army (har-har, what a wheeze). My internal identity was completely different to that. She already had a name in my mind. I pictured Vivienne as being like a wild animal, trapped and roaring in an unbreakable cage. Although I didn't quite know who Vivienne was, I knew that she and Klinger had nothing in common.

    The other reason I didn't tell my wife was that I believed that being married to her would cure me. My trans feelings largely disappeared when I was with her, and I believed that I could choose to put crossdressing aside permanently. ("When I became a man, I put away childish things"). This was (I now realise) a very naïve belief, but nonetheless a fervent one. I was trying very hard not to be trans.

    Of course it didn't last. About three years into the marriage, I broke down in tears, and told her my secret: that sometimes I like to dress in women's clothing. She was utterly shocked and horrified. That was the inflection point, the point which marked the start of the downward slope which has led to the end of the marriage.

    At first things didn't really change. I purged. That didn't last. In all fairness, my wife tried to have a look at crossdressing, and see what it's about. One time we even went to a transvestite ball (I was in male mode) and she spoke to the other people to hear their stories. She was fascinated, sympathetic, charming. She made a very powerful impression on the people there. But as we came out, it was as if the door slammed. We got in the car to drive home. She didn't want to talk about it; didn't want to acknowledge it. Sitting in the darkness, I realised that she was probably shocked, digesting the implications of all of this. But she would come around. In a few days, we would be able to talk about it. But we never have; not one word from that day to this.
    Never mentioned: crossdressing

    And then there was the Dolly incident. My wife went to Manchester with her friend for a girly weekend. Unknown to them, their hotel was hosting an extravagant transvestite event in the ballroom. It was big, brash, loud and undeniable. My wife and her friend, both very attractive women, were cajoled to join the fun, and they did: laughing and dancing the night away with glamorous trannies. The following day, they got talking at breakfast to a few of them, and my wife said she was amazed by how normal they seemed: ordinary, pleasant guys. One of them, "Dolly", gave my wife his website details. She checked his website a day or so after coming home (without telling me) and was horrified to see pictures of him pouting in lingerie with his penis on display.

    This one individual didn't intend to harm me, but did so very severely. What was he thinking? That she would be aroused? That she would think it was cool? Instead, she formed the very solid (and hard to dislodge) impression, that crossdressers, even the nice ones, even the "normal" ones, are not just after glamorous frocks, drinking and dancing, but are perverts behind closed doors. Thanks, Dolly.

    It took me a while to realise how my wife has the ability to compartmentalise things in her life. It is as if she can take the idea of Vivienne, and all the trappings, all the accoutrements, and put them in a box, which is never acknowledged, never opened.

    My wife came from a non-Western culture, where the behaviour of both men and women is rigidly proscribed. Even though she has lived in the West for decades, there are certain things which, to her, were not negotiable, and one of those things was that her husband mustn't wear a frock. It was even OK for other people to do that, as long as it wasn't her husband. She expected an alpha-male: indestructible, unshakeable, always in control. Never uncertain. Never vulnerable. Never tearful. Such a man would make her feel safe. That seems not wholly unreasonable, but there are two problems with it. The first is that I am not that man. I am not him today, and I have never been him. The second problem is that such a man doesn't actually exist.
    Trapped: Vivienne

    So she put Vivienne into that box, sealed the lid tightly, and pretended that Vivienne didn't exist. But it seemed that the harder my wife tried to suppress Vivienne, the harder Vivienne demanded to be expressed, to be heard, to be acknowledged. I searched for ways to explore Vivienne's identity without threatening my marriage. I joined the Beaumont Society, in the hope of opening a dialogue with like-minded people, but (as I say in my article) that didn't help much. I explored dressing, and had one or two makeovers. Eventually I started this blog.

    What I wanted, most of all (and still do, I suppose) was simply acceptance. I wanted to be able to express this tender, vulnerable side of myself to the person who mattered most to me in the world. Vivienne wasn't just about the clothing; she was about the roles and expectations placed upon me because I happened to be born a boy. I wanted to have conversations with my wife about it, not strangers on the Internet. I wanted to dress at home, not in makeover shops in other cities. I wanted to be accepted for who I am, not for who she (and in fairness, everyone else during my upbringing) told me I ought to be. I wanted to enjoy being myself, being whole.

    Instead, she insisted that this side of me was disgusting, unbearable. It must never be spoken of, never acknowledged, never accepted, never tolerated. But gradually that disgust, that poison, began to leak out of the box. It began to be aimed at aspects of me which were not associated with Vivienne. My wife began to gradually shut me out, to express John Gottman's Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: the evocative name he gave to the behaviours which start to appear when the death-knell of a relationship is ringing loud and clear. We were four for four. And it was utter agony for me.

    It didn't matter that I put rigid boundaries around my dressing. Four episodes a year, or less, and always, always in complete secrecy. We could not go shopping to a department store without her fearing that I was looking at the female mannequins and picturing myself in their clothing. She came to view Vivienne as the other woman, the one who came first in my affections.

    It didn't matter that the other aspects of our lives were good: I had a good job and provided a good standard of living; we lived in a lovely house and had lovely kids and lovely friends. I didn't have any other obnoxious habits: gambling, drinking, drugs. That was all outweighed by the fact that I was not the alpha male that she thought she married.
    Corrosive to relationships: fear

    I see now that she was motivated by fear. Fear that I was going to start having sex with men. For the record, this was never my plan, and still isn't. Fear that I was going to start taking hormones and having surgery. Again, this was never the plan, and it still isn't. Fear that I was going to completely come out, and start showing up at the school parents' evening in a skirt and heels, where I would be a figure of contempt and ridicule (no matter how polite they might be to my face), and a cause for the kids to be mocked or bullied. Fear that other people would look down upon her: what on Earth possessed you to marry that freak?

    The antidote to fear is communication, and this was another sticking point: she just would not communicate. The prospect, the existence of Vivienne, was so terrifying, so repugnant to her, that she could not have an ordinary conversation about it. I would talk, and she would not listen. I would listen, and she would not talk. It wasn't just that she didn't talk to me. She didn't talk to anyone: didn't confide in a close friend. Her fears were grinding around inside her, destroying her on the inside. On the outside, she began to shun me openly. The intimacy dried up years ago. To describe what happened, I can't do better than the words of Yoda:
    "Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering".
    But we still pretended, to the outside world, that everything was fine. For myself, I did everything I possibly could to keep the show on the road. I moved us here to New Zealand. But coming here permanently, we brought Vivienne, and all the other problems, right along with us.

    Fabulous but unworn: shoes
    In among all the agony were glimpses of hope. Just occasionally, she would buy me girly gifts, such as this pair of fabulous wedge heels. As soon as I opened the box, I was excited and I wanted to try them on. But the look of disgust on her face, as I did so, made me instantly take them off, and I have never worn them since. I think she was really trying to make it work. But in one sense, these glimpses of hope (she bought me the shoes; she must hope I liked them) were actually worse than nothing at all, because the false hope, and the let-down afterward, were especially difficult to bear.

    I started to take antidepressants. They were not a solution, but they helped me cope with the daily grinding agony of my life. I am still on them. And I took us to counselling. Good counselling, with a highly-recommended professional psychologist, who saw us for two years, together and separately. But even with his help, we were unable to negotiate, to compromise. My intake of alcohol and comfort food jumped sharply upwards.

    In order to illustrate my despair and agony at my situation, I often used the phrase burning to death to describe how I was feeling. I was trying to show how desperately miserable I was in my life: I was desperate to change, to move, to get out of where I was. But, in a very real way, I was also being consumed. Each time we had an argument; each time she stonewalled my feelings, I lost a bit more energy, a bit more commitment. I knew I could not hold on much longer. I knew that one day, the last bit of energy would be gone, and the marriage would be dead.

    It didn't matter. My wife was unable to change. And I don't mean this harshly. I realise now that, whether she chose to or not, she could not change her feelings. As for me, I had played my last card. I had nothing left to offer.

    I remember the exact moment I realised that the marriage was over. For years, there had been two paths in front of me: the path to stay and try to fix things (which was painful, and exhausting) and the path to leave and start again (which was painful, and exhausting). But always, when I looked at those two paths, the path to leave always seemed the more painful. But one day, the see-saw just tipped the other way, and it has never tipped back. I realised, with sudden clarity: I was never going to be happy if I stayed in this marriage. The realisation was terrible but inescapable.
    I can't heeeeeear you!

    When I told my wife it was over, she was astonished. Where did this come from? she wanted to know. Didn't you hear me when I said I was burning to death? I replied. But it turns out she didn't get it: she couldn't grasp it. She had denied it, pushed it away, in the same way she did with Vivienne: it's too painful to contemplate, so I will pretend it doesn't exist.

    Since then, her anger has gone from being red hot to being blue hot, like a blowtorch. The thing she feared most, that her husband would leave, has come to pass. She cannot--yet--accept that she helped to bring this about. She cannot accept one iota of responsibility for what happened. It's all my fault; that's her truth. And it's OK.

    I have called this post The End of Days, because it really feels like that from my point of view. I am losing my lovely home, and I now live in a small rental house. I will get shared custody of my children. That cosy image I once had, of having a nice job, a nice wife, a nice house, and nice kids, and being happy, has turned out to be an empty dream. And unfortunately that dream ends here.

    This blog has been profoundly healing for me in so many ways. It has helped me to crystallise my feelings about myself, and my gender, and my identity. Although it's long, this article is only a drop in the bucket compared to thirty-odd volumes of hand-written journals. That banner at the top of the screen? That's one of my journals, and one of my collection of fountain pens. I write every day, when I get the chance, and I have used those journals to explore every possible avenue, every possible way, to keep the marriage on the road, to keep myself sane until the kids got a bit older, to conceptualise my wife's behaviour in different, more manageable ways. I know I am leaving this marriage having tried my absolute best to save it, using every resource I possess.

    I also offer these experiences to you, my readers, in case some of you are in a similar position, and these insights help to crystallise your position.

    I know that all is not lost; that there will be a new chapter in my life soon. But I don't know what it will look like, and that uncertainty is a fresh kind of agony for me. Where will I live? What will I look like? What will I wear? What will happen to the kids? What will happen to my wife? What role will Vivienne play in my life? I have no answers to any of this, and discussion will need to wait for another day, and another blog post. Meanwhile, let's close the book.

    ===
    Addendum

    Katie Robbins wrote a powerful and thought-provoking article, with a similar theme, which you can read here. And hers is a lot shorter!
              Steve Beckow -- An Introduction to... What's Happening in Our World   


    Steve Beckow, Golden Age of Gaia, June 30, 2017

    http://goldenageofgaia.com/?p=288562

    A colleague has asked me to write an introduction to what's happening in our world.

    That's a challenging assignment.

    I'd need to mention Ascension, Disclosure, Abundance, and building Nova Earth. Maybe grab a coffee and settle into an armchair.

    We begin....

    At the end of every planetary cycle (26,000 years), there comes a time when those who are ready are accepted into what we now know as a higher dimension of consciousness. Jesus is a good example.

    In present day, they won't go anywhere necessarily, although they may. Instead they simply exist in a greater state of love, a higher level of knowledge, and a greatly-increased sense of peace and security. Choose a name to call their state of consciousness. I call it "ascended."

    Our "ascension," our climb to that higher state of consciousness, is gradual, punctuated with a few mass events. It has to be gradual or we'd find the process disorienting. The mass events could be as unnoticeable as an energy surge or as noticeable as a mass spiritual experience (OK, enlightenment).

    While this process is going on and at a time when enough people on the planet are in a high enough state of ascension that everyone doesn't freak out, the various galactic civilizations who've assisted us in the process so far will reveal themselves. We call this process "Disclosure."

    What have they been doing? There's a wonderful video online which shows a spaceship passing through and destroying a meteor headed for Russia in 2013.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C83gcE02R4I

    I'd imagine that no one video better suggests what they've been doing. They've been saving humanity from a number of perils the world has faced lately.

    Banning the use of nuclear weapons is one. Removing depleted uranium from the skies is another; DU is a planet-killer, an omnicidal threat. (Have the mainstream media even reported on the threat of DU? No, they haven't. It's too important a military weapon.)

    They patiently foiled the plans of those who wanted to dominate the planet. They mitigated the damage from disasters like the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and manmade catastrophes from weather-warfare weapons like HAARP. They neutralized weapons used against all humanity to reduce the population, like chemtrails. (1) They're restoring health to the financial system, as we'll be seeing in our near future.

    They'll be introducing devices to us, like the replicator or free-energy tools, that will lift us out of poverty and want. This computer I'm typing on ultimately comes from the Roswell spacecraft and the Internet is modelled on a galactic system. I could go on and on discussing the impact the galactics have had and will have on this planet, which they've cared for for millions of years.

    They're our star family, since we're descended, not from apes, but from their civilizations (Pleiadians, Sirians, Arcturians, Andromedans, etc.). At some point a group of influential Gaians, as we earthlings are styled, will appear on TV and announce to the world that we're not alone.

    Hundreds of thousands of people already know that, but the announcement will put an end to government secrecy and the terrorizing of UFO witnesses and contactees.

    Suggestions on what to disclose next? How about who killed John Kennedy? And who was behind 9/11? Answering those two closely-guarded secrets should be enough to pull the whole structure of government secrecy down.

    Disclosure doesn't simply imply the disclosure of the existence of our star family. It also means a flood of disclosures, a flood of truth, about our past, present, and future.

    A whole other area will be disclosed, but to speak about that I have to give a little background. Our view of our world can be compared to an accordion, which has been closed and is suddenly pulled open.



    We go from "this everyday world" to a Third/Fourth-Dimensional world, one of twelve dimensions. We awaken to a mutidimensional world.

    And we're not only introduced to new folks like our star family; we're also introduced to such beings as ascended masters and angels. The cast of who are helping us with Ascension and Disclosure expands by millions.

    If your feelings of love and security rising gradually coupled with the sudden explosion of so much truth in your life is not enough to totally set your head spinning, here's another. You'll begin to see the spread of planetary abundance.

    It may be that some people are starting to pop up having an abundance of money which they're distributing to organizations and projects doing service to others.

    It may be the arrival of planetary prosperity coupled with new governments.

    We're midway in the execution of plans that are designed to bring unprecedented levels of abundance to the world. It's a complex process and is taking time, but its appearance is close.

    In the beginning, as plans are now, the ball is going to be hit to a group of people in center field we call "lightworkers." They serve the world and the Divine Mother (Christians call her the Holy Spirit, Hindus, Shakti).

    Their task is to build a new society, a new world, Nova Earth. They'll be given abundance to do that, aided by the galactics. They'll distribute that abundance to groups and projects that are contributing to the rise of Nov Earth.

    That world will go farther than human rights; it'll be based on universal laws of love and forgiveness.

    It'll go farther than a vast improvement on things; it'll see the rise of a world that works for everyone. (2)

    It'll go farther than expanding the meaning of humanness; it'll see the welcoming back of the divine - Father/Mother God - into our hearts and lives.

    It'll see a complete transformation in our society. Nothing will remain untouched.

    I hear you saying, how can a world be made to work for everyone? That's easy.

    I lived for extended periods of time during 2015 in a state of higher-dimensional love and bliss. In that state, to borrow from Sir Thomas More, I would think none harm, speak none harm, and do none harm.

    When, due to the rising energies, all the world is in that state of higher-dimensional love and bliss, which is what Ascension will produce, the world will work for everyone.

    That alone, never mind all the added benefits I've gone over here, makes Ascension, and with it Disclosure and Abundance, enough to occupy the Six O'Clock News from here to eternity.

    But when will you hear about it there? The answer is: Soon. On a revitalized, liberated media. Watch for it.

    Footnotes

    (1) On HAARP, see "HAARP: Is It Weather or Government Terror?" at http://goldenageofgaia.com/accountability/weather-warfare/haarp-is-it-tweather-or-government-terror/ and "HAARP: Weapon of Total Destruction" at http://goldenageofgaia.com/accountability/weather-warfare/haarp-weapon-total-destruction/

    On chemtrails, see "Chemtrails: The Consequences of Toxic Metals and Chemical Aerosols on Human Health" at http://tinyurl.com/y8j9a99v

    (2) The phrase is not mine. It was first spoken by Werner Erhard, founder of the est Training.
              SEEKING GLYCON - BLOND-HAIRED, HUMAN-HEADED, SERPENT-BODIED, AND VERY TALKATIVE!   

    The statue of Glycon unearthed at Tomis, Romania, in 1962; right-hand view (public domain)

    A snake with a blond head of hair and the ears of a man would certainly be a marvel – but how much more so would one be that could also speak, and even foretell the futures of those who sought an audience with this wondrous ophidian oracle? All of this and much more – or, quite probably, a great deal less – was Glycon, the Roman Empire's incredible serpentine soothsayer.

    In c.105 AD, a very controversial, enigmatic figure was born who would in time come to be known far and wide as Alexander of Abonoteichus, after the small fishing village on the Black Sea's southern coast that was his birthplace. Back in Alexander's time, Abonoteichus was located within the Roman province of Bithynia-Pontus (specifically within Paphlagonia, which was sandwiched between Bithynia and Pontus), but today it is contained within the Asian Turkish province of Kastamonu, and is now named Inebolu.

    19th-Century illustration of an African rock python (public domain)

    Apparently very handsome and tall with an extremely charismatic personality, Alexander was originally apprenticed to a physician/magician, but after his mentor died Alexander met up with a Byzantine chorus-writer nicknamed Cocconas, and the two spent some time thereafter travelling around together, earning their living as fake magicians, quack doctors, and via other chicanery. Eventually, they reached Pella in Macedonia, and it was here that Glycon was born, so to speak, because this is where they purchased for just a paltry sum of money an extremely large and impressive-looking yet very tame snake (such serpents being commonly for sale in this locality at that time).

    It was probably an African rock python Python sebae, as specimens of this very sizeable species (averaging 15.75 ft long but sometimes exceeding 20 ft) were apparently brought back to Rome, because it is depicted in Roman mosaics. Also, fertility-related snake cults had long existed in Macedonia, stretching back at least as far as the 4th Century BC.

    Apollo after slaying the serpent dragon Python, engraving by W Wellcome, late 1700s (public domain)

    Alexander and Cocconas then journeyed to Chalcedon, a maritime town in Bithyna, where they lost no time in concealing inside its temple to the god Apollo a series of bronze tablets proclaiming that both Apollo and his serpent-associated son Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine and healing, would soon be appearing in Alexander's home village of Abonoteichus. They then contrived for these 'hidden' tablets to be found, and news of the tablets' sensational proclamations swiftly travelled widely, eventually reaching Abonoteichus itself, whose inhabitants promptly began building a temple dedicated to Apollo and Asclepius. It was then, in or around 150 AD, that the partnership of Alexander and Cocconas broke up, with Cocconas electing to stay in Chalcedon and continue producing phoney oracles, whereas Alexander was keen to put the next stage of their original plan into action, and so he duly set off back to Abonoteichus.

    Using more fake oracles to proclaim himself as a prophet and healer, Alexander also claimed that his father was none other than Podaleirius, son of Asclepius himself and a legendary healer in his own right. Moreover, as signal proof of this, he arranged for a goose egg that he had 'discovered' inside Abonoteichus's newly-built temple to be publicly opened by him at noon on the following day in the village's marketplace before a crowd of curious but credulous onlookers, promising that a wonder would be revealed that would confirm all that he had alleged. And sure enough, when he opened the egg, a tiny snake emerged (one that supposedly he had subtly inserted inside before overtly 'discovering' the egg in the temple). As snakes were sacred to Asclepius (one common European species, the Aesculapian snake Zamenis longissimus, is actually named after Asclepius's Roman counterpart, Aesculapius), Alexander's grandiose claims were readily accepted by Abonoteichus's simple, unworldly villagers.

    Statue of Asclepius and snake, 2nd Century AD, found on the island of Rhodes, Greece (public domain)

    As an interesting aside here: Chickens are often infected with parasitic gut-inhabiting worms, including the ascarid roundworm Ascaris lineata, a nematode species that can grow to a few inches in length (a related giant species in humans can grow to over 1 ft in length!). They are often passed out of the bird's gut when it defaecates. Unlike in mammals, however, the bird's gut and its reproductive system share a common external passageway and opening – the cloaca. Sometimes, therefore, an ascarid worm ejected from the gut finds its way into the bird's reproductive system rather than being excreted into the outside world, and moves into the oviduct. Once here, however, it becomes incorporated into the albumen of an egg, inside which it remains alive yet trapped when the egg is laid. But as soon as the egg is broken open to eat by some unsuspecting diner, the worm wriggles its way out of it and inevitably scares the diner, who frequently but mistakenly assumes that this unexpected creature is actually a tiny snake.

    I wonder if such a scenario explained the above 'snake-inside-egg' incident involving Alexander? Or could the egg have actually been a genuine snake egg, but passed off to the ingenuous crowd by Alexander as an unshelled, undersized goose egg, perhaps?

    Ascaris, a large parasitic nematode (public domain)

    But that was not all. Alexander also stated that the baby snake was itself a deity, and that he would therefore be caring for it. After a few days had elapsed with the villagers not setting eyes upon this infant reptilian god, Alexander reappeared, once again thronged by awed spectators, but now only briefly and ensconced within a small dimly-lit shrine inside the temple where viewing conditions were far from ideal. Moreover, this time his huge, fully-grown pet snake from Pella was wrapped around his body, and he glibly announced that the baby serpent deity had miraculously matured directly into adulthood.

    Yet even that incredible high-speed transformation was not the most surprising facet of Alexander's outrageous revelation. Instead of possessing a typical snake's head, the head of this remarkable creature apparently resembled that of a man, and sported an abundance of long blond hair sprouting liberally from it, as well as a pair of human ears! Moreover, it could even speak, and in the future would directly voice certain oracles or autophones to temples worshippers seeking guidance. Alexander announced that this astonishing entity was called Glycon, and constituted a new, living, physical manifestation or incarnation of Asclepius.

    Two Romanian postage stamps, issued in 1974 and 1994 respectively, depicting the famous statue of Glycon unearthed in 1962 (public domain)

    Henceforth, Alexander's reputation, wealth, prestige, influence, and power, derived from his status as a celebrated prophecy-spouting soothsayer and in turn a highly-esteemed personage attracting acclaim and attention from all strata of Roman society, knew no bounds. In particular, the temple that he had established at Abonoteichus (by now a prosperous town) became a focus for fertility-themed worship and offerings by barren women wishing to become pregnant; and also for the very lucrative provision of oracles (always requiring prior receipt of payment). Moreover, Alexander was frequently consulted by public figures of high political standing anxious to solicit his ostensibly Heaven-sent advice regarding significant matters of state. The fact that sometimes his advice was by no means reliable seemed to be conveniently overlooked.

    Thus it was, for example, that in 161 AD, Alexander provided a very favourable oracle to Marcus Sedatius Severianus, the Gaul-originating Roman governor of Cappadocia, on the basis of which Severianus put into action his plan to invade Armenia – only for his invasion force, including himself, to be slaughtered by the Parthians. Allegedly, Alexander soon afterwards replaced the official temple record of his oracle with a revised one that was much less favourable.

    A sheet of Romania's Glycon-depicting postage stamp issued in 1974, from my own philatelic collection (public domain)

    In 166 AD, Alexander provided an oracle verse that was utilised as an amulet and inscribed above the doors of numerous houses throughout the Roman Empire in the hope of warding off the devastating Antonine Plague that had been introduced into the Empire by troops returning home from campaigns in the Near East, and which killed thousands of people every day. Not surprisingly, the amulets had no effect (indeed, it was actually claimed by critics of this futile course of action that households bearing an amulet suffered more plague-induced deaths than those not bearing it!), but Alexander was too powerful by then for his standing to be affected by any such dissension.

    Not long after that debacle, the Roman emperor himself, Marcus Aurelius, requested Alexander to send an oracle to his troops on the Danube River during ongoing warfare (168-174 AD) with a Germanic tribe called the Marcomanni. The oracle that Alexander duly sent declared that victory would be achieved if two lions were thrown alive into the Danube. Once again, however, the stark fact that after obeying this unusual command the emperor's army was annihilated there (20,000 Roman soldiers killed, and even the hapless lions clubbed to death) failed to elicit any censure for the unperturbed Alexander, who coolly pointed out that the oracle had not specified which side in the war would achieve success!

    Bust of Marcus Aurelius (public domain)

    Of course, Alexander was far from being entirely unsuccessful as a prophet, but reputedly his triumphs often involved the use of spies, thugs, and blackmailers to obtain the necessary information upon which to base his oracles. In addition, there were claims that sealed scrolls containing requests for oracles that acolytes presented to him were secretly opened by him using hot needles in order to discover what information they contained and thus devise an oracle in accordance with it. He also benefited from making friends in (very) high places, of which one of the most significant was Publius Mummius Sisenna Rutilianus, a former Roman consul and provincial Roman governor in Asia and Upper Moesia, who declared himself protector of the Glycon oracle. He also provided Alexander with some very high-ranking contacts in Roman society, and he even married Alexander's own daughter.

    Not content with merely being an exceptionally famous mystic, meanwhile, Alexander utilised Rutilianus's own eminence to help launch a very spectacular annual three-day festival replete with processions, ceremonies, and re-enactments of various mystical rituals, all held at the temple in Abonoteichus. These were devoted to the celebration of Apollo's birth and that of his son Asclepius, the appearance of Glycon, Alexander's own mother's supposed marriage to Asclepius's son Podaleirius, and even an alleged romance between Alexander himself and the Greek moon goddess Selene that purportedly led to the birth of Alexander's daughter, now the wife of Rutilianus.

    Selene the Greek moon goddess, with Phosphoros the Morning Star and Hesperos the Evening Star, depicted on Roman marble altar, 2nd Century AD (public domain)

    Alexander even persuaded the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius to change Abonoteichus's name to the much grander-sounding Ionopolis ('Greek city'). In addition, this same emperor and also his successors Lucius Verus and Marcus Aurelius all issued coinage depicting Glycon. Yet despite achieving such successes as these, with savage irony a prediction that he made about himself proved to be singularly inaccurate – just like many that he had predicted for others had been. He prophesied that he would live to the age of 150, but died at only 70 in or around 170 AD, caused by a gangrenous limb. Yet although the cult's leader was no more, the cult itself, and its veneration of Glycon, persisted for at least a further century – having occupied a vast area at its peak of popularity, stretching from the Danube in the west to the Euphrates in the east - before eventually petering out. Having said that, it is nothing if not interesting to note that as recently as the 1970s, belief in a "magical snake" still existed among Turkish locals living in the vicinity of Inebolu (formerly Ionopolis/Abonoteichus).

    But how do we know about Alexander and Glycon, almost a millennium after their demise? In fact, only a single primary source for the extraordinary history of the reputedly phoney prophet and his talkative hairy-headed human-eared snake god is known, and it just so happens to be an exceedingly acerbic, hostile account written by an infamously vituperative satirist with a very specific reason for hating Alexander and all that he represented. Needless to say, therefore, one might well be forgiven for wondering whether the entire saga was totally fictitious.

    The statue of Glycon unearthed at Tomis, Romania, in 1962; left-hand view (© CristianChirita/Wikipedia – CC BY-SA 3.0 licence)

    Happily, however, independent corroboration for the reality of the Glycon cult also exists. This includes not only the survival of some of the afore-mentioned Roman coinage bearing the image (and even the name) of this very singular deified serpent, but also a magnificent marble statue of Glycon, dating from the Severan dynasty (193-235 AD), standing almost 3 ft tall, and in excellent condition. It had been excavated in April 1962 along with various other statuary under the site of a former railway station in Constanta, Romania, formerly the ancient city of Tomis.

    So spectacular and unexpected was this ornate Glycon sculpture, now housed at Constanta's Museum of National History and Archaeology, that it featured on a Romanian postage stamp in 1974 (which is what first brought Glycon to my attention, as an enthusiastic stamp collector during my childhood), as well as on a second one issued in 1994, and also on a Romanian 10,000 lei bank note in 1994.

    The Romanian 10,000 lei bank note depicting the Glycon statue, issued in 1994 – sample only (Wikipedia/public domain – reproduced here on a strictly non-commercial Fair Use basis only)

    Moreover, smaller Glycon statuettes in bronze have been found in Athens too, confirming the cult's spread into and across southwestern Europe. And according to the 2nd-Century-AD Christian philosopher Athenagoras of Athens, writing in his Apology (c.176/177 AD), a statue of Alexander once stood in the forum of Parium, which was a Greek city in Mysia on the Hellespont (now called the Dardanelles). 

    Consequently, as there can be no doubt that Glycon, regardless of its true nature, really did exist, should we look more favourably upon its sole primary literary source, even though said source originated from the pen of an inimical satirist? This is where it all becomes much more complex, as will now be seen.

    Lucian of Samosata, engraving by William Faithorne, 1600s (public domain)

    The source in question is a concise but coruscating essay tersely entitled Alexander the False Prophet, written in Ancient Greek by Lucian of Samosata (Samosata being an ancient Syrian city on the west bank of the Euphrates river). A popular Greek satirist and rhetorician, Lucian was a contemporary of Alexander, and was particularly noted for the scoffing, sarcastic nature of many of his writings. His essay contained the history of Alexander and Glycon that I have summarised here in this present article of mine, but also included many additional claims and suppositions of fraud, lewd behaviour, and other undesirable activities relative to its human and serpentine subjects.

    For instance, Lucian confidently asserted that the talking head of Glycon was not this snake's real head (which, he claimed, was kept well hidden under Alexander's armpit), but was instead an artificial construction made from linen and skilfully manipulated by Alexander using a lengthy internal tube composed of conjoined bird windpipes that led out from the false head into a hidden chamber where an assistant spoke words into the tube, thus making it seem as if Glycon were speaking. Lucian further alleged that a series of very fine, attached horse-hairs acted as internal pulleys to make the false head open and close its mouth, and extend and retract its tongue.

    Sculpture of Lucian of Samosata, atop an ornamental pillar in the grounds of Nordkirchen Castle, near Münster, Germany (© Mbdortmund/Wikipedia – GFDL 1.2 licence)

    Lucian also 'explained' how various of Alexander's correct predictions had been achieved via fraudulent activity. He even alleged that shortly after a somewhat acrimonious meeting with Alexander (in c.162 AD) during which he had tried to trick Alexander and had even attempted (albeit unsuccessfully) to dissuade Rutilianus from marrying the latter's daughter, he had narrowly avoided death during a boat trip when Alexander had supposedly paid the vessel's crew to murder him, only being saved when the captain prevented them from carrying out the heinous deed.

    Traditionally, this vicious character assassination of Alexander by Lucian in literary form has tended to be viewed uncritically by those modern-day scholars actually aware of it (with Glycon in particular being among the Roman Empire's least-known figures of interest nowadays). However, all of that changed dramatically in June 2011.

    Steve Moore with fellow FT colleagues in 2002 - from left to right, back row to front row: Mark Pilkington,  Paul Sieveking, Bob Rickard, Ian Simmons, Steve Moore, and Owen Whiteoak (© Paul Sieveking)

    This very notable volte-face was due to the publication of a fascinating, eye-opening article presenting a very erudite reappraisal of Alexander, Glycon, and their portrayal by their longstanding nemesis Lucian. Appearing in the British monthly periodical Fortean Times (which is devoted to the serious investigation and chronicling of unexplained and controversial phenomena of every conceivable - and inconceivable! – kind), the article was authored by Steve Moore.

    Steve was a highly-respected veteran researcher of ancient Asian and European mysteries, as well as one of the original Gang of Fort associated with the founding of Fortean Times itself (originally entitled The News), and his article directly challenged many of Lucian's long-accepted claims.

    Opening page of text from Steve Moore's excellent Fortean Times article (© Steve Moore/Fortean Times)

    For example, Steve questioned how Lucian could have known any specific details about Alexander's early years, especially those shared with Cocconas, bearing in mind that he, Lucian, had not spent any time alongside the pair to witness anything at first hand, and that Cocconas and Alexander were hardly likely to have informed him (or anyone else, for that matter) what they had been doing if they had truly been engaged in fraudulent activity during that time period, as vehemently asserted by Lucian in his account. Indeed, Steve went even further, by questioning whether Cocconas even existed – after all, there is no mention of him outside Lucian's poisonous diatribe. Might he therefore have been a wholly fictitious character, invented specifically by Lucian in order to cast Alexander's early years in as bad a light as possible?

    No less circumspect are Lucian's wholly-unsubstantiated claims of spying, thuggery, blackmail, furtively opening sealed scrolls, and a varied assortment of other equally unpleasant activities attributed by him to Alexander. As for Lucian's once again unconfirmed allegation of almost being murdered by henchmen of Alexander while taking a boat ride, this just so happens to have been a very popular storyline in romantic works of fiction from that time period (and of which Lucian would certainly have been well aware). So it should clearly be viewed with great caution as a supposed statement of fact.

    Was Glycon's voice achieved by ventriloquism and its head a glove or sock puppet, i.e. comparable, for instance, with how the famous American entertainer Shari Lewis 'brought to life' Lamb Chop and Charlie Horse? (public domain)

    Equally, Steve pointed out that Lucian's bold statements regarding the nature of Glycon's head and speech were mere supposition too. True, the notions that Lucian had put forward regarding the mechanisms by which a fake head could have been secretly operated by Alexander were nothing if not ingenious, but that is all that they were – notions, not facts. No physical evidence or direct eyewitness observations confirming them were presented by Lucian in support of his accusations, it was all speculation (and spiteful speculation at that) on his part, nothing more. Other, much less controversial options also existed but which Lucian never mentioned, such as ventriloquism to make Glycon speak, and a simple glove or sock puppet-like creation to make its fake head move and open its mouth (always assuming of course that a fake head really was present).

    Moreover, we only have Lucian's very questionable testimony that Glycon actually talked at all! In fact, it is even possible that Lucian never actually saw Glycon or spoke to anyone who had done so, because, amazingly, his essay makes no mention whatsoever of Glycon's two most remarkable physical features – its human ears and blond hair. Conversely, whereas Lucian claimed that it possessed a human-like head, most of the physical depictions of Glycon currently known (i.e. the various coins and statues noted earlier by me in this article) actually portray it with a long-snouted head that is certainly more pythonesque than humanoid in appearance. If for no other reason than this, therefore, the authentic nature of the content of Lucian's essay clearly should not - can not - be taken in any way for granted.

    Glycon portrayed upon a 2nd-Century AD Ionopolis coin (copyright holder unknown, despite considerable searches by me; reproduced here on a strictly non-commercial Fair Use educational basis only)

    Returning to the matter of the mobility and loquacity of Glycon's head, it would be very prudent here to quote Steve's take on Lucian's assertions regarding this:

    In boasting that he knows how the trick was done, Lucian is plainly covering up the fact that this can only be a matter of conjecture. These conjectures may be very close to the truth; but they remain conjectures, not proof.

    Steve also applied this same line of sound reasoning very successfully and convincingly to many other of Lucian's scathing claims masquerading as facts against Alexander. In addition, certain of Alexander's activities that Lucian deemed to be evidence of his fakery – most notably his retreating overnight into an inner, subterranean sanctuary called the adyton, in order to receive his oracles in peaceful solitude via dreams, and then reveal them publicly the following morning - were shown by Steve to be no different from those performed by various soothsayers and oracle-givers who had not been accused of or linked to fraud, such as the very famous, much-revered Oracle of Apollo at Claros, on the coast of Ionia in present-day Anatolia, Turkey.

    'Chariot of Apollo', by Gustave Moreau, late 1800s (public domain)

    Indeed, there is even a very relevant, present-day parallel, as Steve tellingly revealed in his own article:

    The adyton is an underground chamber, and it's now known that withdrawal to a cave or subterranean chamber to obtain visions and mystic revelations was a common practice among Greek seers, being used similarly to a modern sensory deprivation tank.
              LaHood Introduces Legislation to Rename Chillicothe Post Office in Honor of Fallen Navy SEAL Ryan Owens   

    Washington, D.C.—Today, Congressman Darin LaHood introduced H.R. 3109 in the U.S. House of Representatives to rename the Chillicothe, Illinois U.S. post office in honor of U.S. Navy Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens. 

    “We are forever indebted to Chief Owens and we will never fully repay him, or his family, for his dedication to our nation,” stated LaHood. “The naming of the Chillicothe post office is a small way to honor and pay tribute to the service of Ryan Owens, and will be a humble reminder of his sacrifice to protect the freedoms we enjoy each and every day. It is an honor and a privilege to introduce this legislation with the support of Ryan’s family, as they hold a special place in our hearts here in Central Illinois. He will forever be in our thoughts.”

    Owens died on January 29, 2017, at the age of 36, from wounds received during a raid conducted in Yemen. He is survived by his wife and three young children. His grandmother remains a resident of Chillicothe to this day. In February, his wife was invited by President Trump to attend his speech before a joint session of Congress. During the speech, the President recognized Ryan’s sacrifice to sustained applause of support for his widow, Carryn, and family.

    If signed into law, the bill would formally rename the post office the “Sr. Chief Ryan Owens Post Office Building” in recognition of his heroism and service to our nation. This bipartisan legislation, cosponsored by the entire Illinois delegation, has been referred to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and will continue through the legislative process. Congressman LaHood was pleased to consult with the U.S. Postal Service, the U.S. Navy Congressional Liaisons Office, Central Illinois Gold Star Families, and Owens’s widow on this effort.

    “Even as a high school boy here in Chillicothe, Ryan knew he want to serve in the military,” said Chillicothe Mayor Don White. “Ryan was a very respectful kid.  He respected his teachers and coaches, he respected his elders and all veterans, he respected the armed forces and the flag.  Ryan was destined to be a hero.”

    “Ryan Owens reflected the embodiment of patriotism that is alive and well in the city of Chillicothe. His life and deeds are a testament to his upbringing and family. It is fitting that his name will be permanently etched in the city,” stated David Hirtz, Retired FBI Special Agent.

    “We are so proud of our hometown hero Senior Chief Petty Officer Ryan Owens and grateful to all those who have supported renaming the Chillicothe post office in his honor. It is a fitting tribute to Ryan's legacy of service to our country and will serve as a reminder to us all that freedom isn't free. May his memory be kept alive and inspire generations to come by this new designation Sr. Chief Ryan Owens Post Office Building,” said Patti Smith, President of America’s Gold Star Families.

    “The United States Postal Service employs many veterans. We at the National Association of Letter Carriers believe it is just and proper to honor a fallen hero who sacrificed all of his tomorrows, for our today,” said Vic Murrie, National Association of Letter Carriers.

    More on Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens:
    Owens grew up in Edelstein, Illinois, aspiring to be a Navy SEAL from an early age. Upon graduating from Illinois Valley Central High School in Chillicothe in 1998, Owens enlisted in the Navy. After initially training as a cryptologic technician, he served his first tour of duty at the Office of Naval Intelligence in Suitland, Maryland. He then attended basic and advanced SEAL training in Coronado, California, completing training in December 2002. He was selected for chief petty officer in 2009. His first tour as a SEAL was at a West Coast unit, followed by three consecutive East Coast unit tours. He was on his fifth team tour for just over two years when he was killed on an intelligence-gathering operation on al-Qaeda in Yemen.


    Along with his SEAL Trident and Basic Parachutist wings, he is qualified to wear the following awards:
    Navy/Marine Corps Medal
    Bronze Star with Combat “V” (2 awards)
    Bronze Star
    Joint Service Commendation Medal with Combat “V” (2 awards)
    Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal (2 awards)
    Joint Service Achievement Medal
    Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal (3 awards)
    Combat Action Ribbon
    Joint Meritorious Unit Award (2 awards)
    Good Conduct Medal (6 awards)
    Presidential Unit Citation (3 awards)
    National Defense Service Medal
    Afghanistan Campaign Medal
    Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
    Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
    Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (8 awards)


              Rick and Morty Returns July 30th!!!   

    Season 3 is comin' soon! Don't tell Jerry!

    Read the full article on AICN

    Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon have announced the official premiere date for Season 3 of Rick & Morty. It's about damn time!
    July 30th sees the debut of the new season on Adult Swim and that sounds both super close (about a month away) and super far off (it's a whole month away!). Rick and Morty is one of my favorite things on TV and that's saying something in the current golden age of amazing TV. It can't get here soon enough.
    To hold you fellow Ricksters over, check out the trailer for the new season that promises to be the darkest one yet. I don't know how they can get much darker than burying your own body behind your house or the safety protocols on Rick's ride waging psychological warfare on one of the cops by recreating his dead son, but I'm down to watch them try to top that shit.
     

     
    I need this in my eyeholes ASAP. Someone get me a time machine!
    -Eric Vespe”Quint” quint@aintitcool.com Follow Me On Twitter

    Finish the article on AICN


                 
    I Am a Fucking Plagiarist by Javier Grillo-Marxuach
    February 26th, 2015 RESET - +
    Art is theft.

    — Pablo Picasso


    BEFORE I HAD anything to say, I had the desire to say something.

    No, let me revise that. I had the desire to be heard.

    A family legend is that at the age of three I leaped on stage during my brother’s Christmas pageant at his elementary school and launched into an extemporaneous monologue in which I apparently demanded that the audience answer for being in “my mother’s house.” It was my very own toddlerized version of that Dean Martin bit where he steps up to the mic, starts at the sight of the audience, and asks, “How’d you all get in here?”

    My God. Even at three I was a plagiarist.



    Plagiarism is basic to all culture.— Pete Seeger


    Plagiarist. The word is a snake. Writers loathe its greasy venom. All our worst nightmares begin with the accusation of plagiarism. Why? Because it impugns the myth that we are “original” and therefore “special” and “different.” But, even worse, “plagiarist” lives next -door to the accusation we most suspect to be truth: “fraud.”

    To further torture the metaphor, “fraud” is a crack house — an urban blight easily cast out because it exists at an extreme so far from most people’s experience. You can always say: “That’s not me, I’m not an addict and a criminal,” and, as long as your shoes, clothes, and teeth are passable, have some benefit of the doubt.

    “Plagiarist,” however, is the lawyer’s mansion with the obsessive-compulsively manicured lawn, mirrored hardwood floors, and massive library. “Plagiarist” is a rich and burnished space of unlimited resources, where a methodical investigator — a latter-day George Smiley — has made his fortune exposing everyone else. It’s only a matter of time before he turns his unblinking sight on you.

    And the insidiously magnificent thing about the word “plagiarist” — as opposed to, say, “plagiarizer” — is the sinister double implication of mastery and serial offense. There’s something about that -ist at the end. It tops the injury of the accusation off with the insult of “and these are just the ones we’ve caught … but we’re on to you now.”

    To this day I suspect, in the darkest corners of my guilty soul, that the cottage industry of quotes from famous writers and intellectuals endorsing some form of theft as the only way to evolve the culture is little else than a great, collective, preemptive strike. I’m reminded of the greatest, and most frequently ignored, truth in the PR business: “Go ugly early.”

    “Go ugly early” basically means “Own it before they catch you.”

    For example: had Bill Clinton admitted to his infidelities before the media caught on — the strategy goes — the scandal would have been short-circuited by blunt and factual admission. Tawdry speculation dies when perpetrators shine a harsh, specular light on their unpleasant truths and take responsibility.

    There’s “plagiarists” and there’s “fucking plagiarists.” The former plagiarize by accident — or at least claim to with plausible deniability — they forgot they heard or read something somewhere and mistook the idea for their own, or skipped a footnote, or maybe they just had the same idea as someone else and are the unwitting victims of fate, and that’s their story, and they are sticking to it. The latter did it on purpose, they know damned well they did it, and they’ll deploy all the same arguments as the former to make sure you never know it.

    Of course, not everyone gets away with it.

    For the fucking plagiarist, the “early” in “Go ugly early” means “any time before someone else busts you.” Hence, I believe, all the quotes. The more flowery your defense of your own plagiarism before the truth comes out, the better. The more flowery your defense after, the more you come off looking like a fucking douche.

    It’s all in the timing, you see.



    Our souls as well as our bodies are composed of individual elements which were all already present in the ranks of our ancestors. The “newness” in the individual psyche is an endlessly varied recombination of age-old components.

    — Carl Jung



    Twelve years after the “Dean Martin incident,” I was a sophomore in high school. Bringing Great Honor to my people (a line I just stole from Mark Leyner’s bio page in his novel My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist), I was also co-founder and president of “Lunchbox Theater.” Tired of not being cast in our high school drama team productions by a faculty coach who hated the smug sight of me, I worked with another student on the idea of a side project for the school’s drama team.

    (Her name was Stacie Ressler, and to this day she’d probably tell you I never gave her enough credit for our joint venture.)

    The idea? We would write and perform short plays during the lunch recess, thus giving students the ability to, well … be heard.

    Taking the sum of our ideas home, I quickly typed a proposal on my mother’s Royal typewriter, waved it in front of the drama coach’s face, and — based on her most cursory and dismissive wave-off of tentative approval — scheduled a meeting with the school principal to get permission to launch the project.

    The meeting with the principal went like gangbusters. By the time our drama coach — a gloriously overworked sexagenarian with a vindictive streak mitigated by her rapidly eroding memory — realized what was going on, our first play, written by yours truly, was in production and the posters announcing the premiere were up in the school hallways.

    Score one for the rebels.

    This first play was called “Flicks” — and fitting for someone too young to have anything to say — it was about a movie mogul whose work was constantly interrupted by assorted caricatures of “industry types” inasmuch as I understood them. It was essentially a 10-minute vignette of even shorter vignettes taken from my impression of how Hollywood “worked” based on my obsessive viewing of the then-nascent Entertainment Tonight.

    To everyone’s surprise but mine (my attempts at publicity included physically pulling people from the school hallway into the auditorium), “Flicks” attracted something of an audience. The smattering of applause we received was ultimate confirmation that my end run around our tyrannical drama coach had been a righteous move. It was also my first taste of that most addicting of sensations — the dragon everyone who puts pen to paper is chasing even if they want you to believe otherwise.

    I had been heard.

    I was also immediately overtaken by a sense of abject dread. Later in life, as a working television writer, I would come to understand that tensing of the chest as pretty much the normal state of my screenwriting brethren. This was our first show. We had committed to doing one of these plays every other week.

    What were we going to do for an encore?



    Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent.

    — Jim Jarmusch



    At the end of my junior year, I stepped down from the Lunchbox troupe’s leadership and settled into an emeritus role: producing and directing as many short plays as I could write. I could no longer pretend to be an outcast malcontent. I had become a generally popular member of the student body, the co-creator of a popular theater program, and pulling double duty as features editor of the school paper.

    Even better, our new drama coach turned out to be an extraordinarily supportive mentor with a remarkable way of simultaneously encouraging me, giving me enough rope to hang myself, and calling me out on my general stupidity and arrogance.

    I even went on a few dates and acquired written proof that at least one girl at the school found me “very handsome.”

    By the time Huron High School released me, Lunchbox Theater had become an institution that would go on for almost a decade and a half after my graduation, and the yearly “Lunchbox Theater Festival” — which I had inaugurated after our second year — had become something of a highlight of the school year.

    Moreover, other teachers started to pay attention to our little island of misfit toys … one of them was impressed enough by my leadership and the sheer volume of my output to nominate me for a scholarship from the National Council of Teachers of English. Another one of my teachers wrote a college letter of recommendation I aspire to live up to pretty much every day.

    The xeroxed 8.5-by-11” posters of my accomplishments hung proudly on my childhood bedroom wall alongside posters for Lucas and Spielberg films. The titles of my plays were as silly as adolescence: “Flicks,” “Suburban Life,” “Table Talk,” “The Incredible Frampster,” “King Rex,” “Son of Rex,” “The Date,” “The Incredible Adventures of the Intrepid Teddy Potsdorf,” “Son of the Incredible Adventures of the Intrepid Teddy Potsdorf.”

    Out of that collection, point your attention to title number two: “Table Talk.”

    That’s my original sin. The act of plagiarism that defines my self-concept to this day. It is the smoking gun whose discovery I have spent three decades fearing.



    I don’t think that you saw me do those jokes and said, “I’m going to tell those jokes, too.” I don’t think there’s a world where you’re that stupid. Or that bad a guy. […] I do think, though, that you’re like […] a rocket […] and your engines are sucking stuff up. Stuff is getting sucked up in your engines, like birds and bugs and some of my jokes. I think you saw me do them. I know you saw me do them, and I think they just went in your brain, and I don’t think you meant to do it, but I don’t think you stopped yourself either.

    — “Louie” to “Dane Cook” fictionally addressing real-world accusations of plagiarism of Louis CK’s material by Cook. From the episode “Oh Louie/Tickets” of Louie



    These are the facts:

    On May 15 of 1982, the third-to-last sketch of Saturday Night Live was a two-hander entitled “Table Talk.”

    The premise: cast member Tony Rosato played a rough-around-the-edges vulgarian food critic using a first-person, break-the-fourth-wall monologue to teach the audience how to defraud good restaurants of their wine. A less-than-competent waiter served as his foil. The sketch ended with Rosato telling the audience to tune in next week when he would teach them how to “stuff an entire salad bar into a doggie bag.”

    Sometime in 1986, I wrote a short play about a stuck-up, manners-obsessed restaurant critic using a first-person, break-the-fourth-wall monologue to teach the audience the make-up of a perfect meal and the way a proper restaurant ought to go about serving it. The critic’s monologue was continually interrupted by such digressions as a noisy family with children, a tacky lounge singer on a date with a cheesy divorcée, and a Cuban hijacker with multiple personality disorder bent on redirecting the restaurant to Havana. An incompetent waiter and grotesquely stereotypical French maître d’ — who was more than a little derivative of John Cleese in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life — served as his foils.

    “Table Talk” was performed three times by Lunchbox Theater: it premiered during a lunchtime recess in the fall semester and was subsequently revived as a curtain-raiser for the drama team’s spring production, and for the year-end festival. During my freshman year at Carnegie Mellon University, I convinced the extracurricular drama club to perform the play in one of the school’s restaurants.

    “Table Talk” had its swan song in 1992 when the Flaming Gorilla Company — a troupe I formed with my friends to perform new work during the summers between college semesters — decided to go out with a bang by making our last-ever production a charity event/nostalgia fest for our high school theater company: “The Original Lunchbox Theater Festival.”

    By the time this final production came around, “Table Talk” had metastasized to include the scene-stealing addition of an explosively flatulent restaurant patron.



    Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different from that from which it was torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion.

    — T. S. Eliot



    I have a great memory — maybe not photographic, but definitely classical realist. I can’t tell you with a straight face that I didn’t remember I hadn’t seen the SNL sketch when I sat down to write my “Table Talk” on that Royal typewriter at two in the morning on a dateless Friday night. That would be a lie.

    Yes. I knew it. It’s why I went out of my way to write something radically different. I even considered changing the title to “Dinner Mints” because I realized in the forefront of my mind that, while I found the alliterative title positively beguiling, it would — quite rightfully — raise the dreaded specter of plagiarism.

    To this day, I wish I had. I also wonder if I would be a different person for it.

    The one thing I can’t figure out no matter how hard I rack my brain is whether I was a dumb kid who just sort of figured “who the hell has ever heard of this Saturday Night Live show anyway,” or whether I believed that I had changed so much of the structure and content of what I had seen that I convinced myself the title wasn’t going to matter …

    Or whether I perversely reasoned that I had earned the right to keep the title because I had made so many “improvements” on the concept.

    There are dark places in the mind that stubbornly resist the effort to excavate the irritating artifact whose removal will provide relief. Or maybe it’s just that there is no artifact and no relief is possible.

    Maybe I just wanted to be heard.

    I do know this: after the play went up for the first time, a girl on whom I harbored a massive crush asked me if I had ever seen a similarly themed sketch on Saturday Night Live a few years before. I denied all knowledge.

    Before that, when my friends would call me out on quoting Monty Python or SCTV too liberally — which, by the way, was invariably — or whether I had invented my superhero “Galactic Cow” in the sixth grade not just out of a bovine obsession born of multiple childhood trips to my great uncle Vicente’s dairy farm, but also a misguided admiration of the Ted Knight sitcom Too Close for Comfort, I would generally sheepishly cop to it and go on my way without much moral injury. But this was somehow different. Nixonian levels of denial were the only way to go.

    Frankly, I wish I had admitted to it and either retitled or withdrawn the play altogether, because I now believe it was at that moment — and not when I conceived of the possibility of making a thing taking themes from a sketch I had seen on a show one time — that I truly shamed myself.

    I was a plagiarist already — but that’s the moment I became a fucking plagiarist.



    All writing is in fact cut-ups. A collage of words read heard overheard. What else?

    — William S. Burroughs



    In the mid-aughts, then–Harvard sophomore Kaavya Viswanathan received what was widely reported as a half-million-dollar-plus contract for a novel she wrote in high school — How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life — and a projected sequel. The real-life story was sensational headline-bait: a high-achieving young woman of color writing an exceptional book about her coming-of-age experiences and getting richly rewarded for her hard work.

    High-profile agents at William Morris and a movie deal followed.

    Until the entire shitbox came crashing down when it was revealed that many passages of Viswanathan’s book bore a striking resemblance to the work of well-established and respected YA novelist Megan McCafferty.

    Several excruciating months of accusations, denials, and outright class warfare followed. The color of her skin aside, Viswanathan’s “superhero origin story” was chock-full of signifiers of wealth and privilege: her parents, both physicians, had spent thousands to hire an “admissions coach” to help her get into Harvard, and it was this person who first recognized her literary genius. Cowed resignation followed, Viswanathan was duly, and — my waggish tone notwithstanding — rightfully, shamed.

    Her book was pulled from the shelves and pulped.

    By the time the dust settled and all the online and mainstream media outlets had their way with the carcass, Viswanathan had been proven beyond the shadow of a doubt to have not only lifted passages from McCafferty’s novels Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings, but also from Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries, Tanuja Desai Hidier’s Born Confused, Sophie Kinsella’s Can You Keep a Secret?, and even Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories. The Collective Detective — that legion of crime-busting journalists professional and amateur, armed with Google, PDFs, searchable ebook editions of the Western canon — had judged her not just a plagiarist, but a fucking plagiarist.

    In her own defense, Viswanathan claimed that, yes, she had read those books, but that as she wrote her novel, she truly believed that she was writing her own voice and experience. Further along the line, she also explained that — because she does in fact have a photographic memory — it was quite possible that, in the rush of creation, her prodigious mental capacity did too good a job of transposing her experience of reading into those places where the words corresponded to her experience of life.

    While calling “bullshit” may seem to be the only reasonable response to Viswanathan’s protestation — followed by a snide comment about how, even in contrition, Viswanathan just couldn’t stop herself from bragging about her prodigious gifts — I must admit I don’t find it entirely implausible.

    When I was in the ninth grade, a substitute music teacher suggested to our choir that the way to “get good” at anything creative was to mimic the work of the masters. He even gave the example of how, when he was our age and learning his craft, he played his clarinet along to Benny Goodman records — matching Goodman note for note — until he achieved proficiency.

    Now, I’d love to sell you on the notion that my “misunderstanding” of this kind man’s generous advice is what led to my own crimes — or that it in some way exonerates Viswanathan — but that would be unfair to him, and would let everyone off the hook way too easily. No, I need his words to make another point entirely that does not exonerate me in any way, but rather to ask a question …

    How does a zygotic writer “play along to Benny Goodman?”

    Around the same time as the Viswanathan scandal, another writer — Cassandra Clare — emerged from a shit storm of often scathing online criticism to publish her first novel, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. Clare’s previous incarnation had been as a popular writer of Harry Potter fan fiction. Like much other fanfic, her work was chock-full of “meta” in the form of lines of dialogue and plot points referencing other fantasy properties.

    In Clare’s case, the Collective Detective appeared to be convinced that her fan fiction lifted the form and structure of an entire chapter from another fantasy novel for her own uses as well. Unlike Viswanathan, Clare answered her critics early and often — claiming that the echoes of the work of others in hers were an act of homage on her part. To the many who vociferously continue to make the detracting case online, Clare’s fanfic committed acts of straight-up plagiarism. To her, and her defenders, it simply did what is an essential component of fanfic: to conflate, aggregate, and flatter its influences through quotation.

    Clare had the last laugh on her online critics. Her book series — which is unrelated to her Harry Potter fan fiction other than in being a fantasy portrayal of young people grappling with their entrance into a “hero’s journey” paradigm of magic and questing — has become a publishing phenomenon. Multiple sequels, prequels and equals — as well as a movie — followed. A TV series is currently in the works.

    Viswanathan went on to law school, where she excelled academically, landed an enviable summer associate position, and presumably continues to flourish. A tragic footnote to her journey is that when her parents perished in an airplane crash in 2011, the story gained some news-cycle traction because of her notoriety.

    Do a Google search and imagine yourself in the shoes of someone whose mother’s and father’s sudden and horrible passing at a young age (both were early fifties) was widely reported as the death of the parents of Harvard plagiarist Kaavya Viswanathan.



    People are always talking about originality, but what do they mean? As soon as we are born, the world begins to work upon us, and this goes on to the end. What can we call our own except energy, strength, and will? If I could give an account of all that I owe to great predecessors and contemporaries, there would be but a small balance in my favor.

    — Goethe



    I followed the Viswanathan plagiarism scandal with great interest, and great dread.

    As the Collective Detective pulled apart Viswanathan’s novel, finding all of her legitimate lifts from other authors, I couldn’t help but ask myself a question. What young person’s creative work — even one without such flagrant steals — could possibly hide its influences against that level of fine-toothed scrutiny?

    Between high school and college, I wrote or co-wrote some 26 pieces for the stage including one-acts, a full-length play, and the book for a musical. I wrote a weekly column for my college paper, and occasionally contributed movie reviews and an additional editorial column. I even sent back dispatches from a semester in London. I also performed two one-man monologue shows. How is that level of output not going to, in some way, reflect every idea that came over the transom?

    Hell, my entire adolescent psyche was an act of intellectual plagiarism made in rehearsal for something that would eventually become an adult life — and I dare you, dear reader, to claim that anything you did in your formative years was anything different.

    If you read my journals, you will find a boy who was certain that he would spend a lifetime upholding the undeniable and enduring value of post-structuralism by way of Eco and Baudrillard … followed by the undeniable and enduring value of Sartrean Existentialism … and then Camusian Existentialism, and then Brechtian Marxism vis-à-vis the theater audience as a metaphor for humanity at large, and then Liberation Theology, and then Ayn Randian Objectivism, and — by the end of my senior year of college — morose and resigned Orwellian truth-telling socialism.

    I was playing along with Benny Goodman, and the varied institutions responsible for my growth and development threw Benny Goodmans at me as fast as I could listen to their LPs.

    Unlike Viswanathan, I had the good fortune of not having anything I wrote mistaken for mature professional work and bought for a fortune. I had the lucky break of not being covered as a phenom by the world press. I had the privilege of not being the voice of my race, class, or generation in any way whatsoever. What I was given was space to experiment, and — most importantly — fail.

    Which I did. Often.

    I was also lucky for the tutelage of a legion of patient teachers and peers who sometimes by honest criticism and guidance, and others by open derision, forced me to find my own voice as opposed to borrowing those of others. Or at least borrowing without citing.

    That’s right. Somewhere in that unconscionably protracted period of gestation, even this slow learner caught on to that truth to which the entire world expects all true writers to be born — because it’s clearly a one-strike-and-you’re-out offense.

    “Thou shalt not be a fucking plagiarist.”

    It was for the best that it took so long for me to learn this lesson, and even longer to gain some proficiency and become a professional in my field. As any legitimate prodigy will tell you — accused beneficiary of “nepotism” Lena Dunham comes to mind — being anointed “child genius” and given a showy and much-publicized financial boon for preternaturally brilliant work is the world’s biggest “kick me” sign. Few are hated more than the young, gifted, and perceived as unfairly munificent.

    And woe betide the ones lacking the cunning to cover their sins adequately, because these days, the judges, juries, and executioners all have Google.

    As for Cassandra Clare, if she did, in fact commit acts beyond mere homage, they all took place in the gray-market world of fanfic, which is not for profit, not covered by mainstream media, and has only recently led a very selected few to mass-market glory (as evidenced by E. L. James, who pioneered her blockbusting Fifty Shades of Grey series as Twilight fanfic, and Clare herself).

    The difference between plagiarism and fucking plagiarism, it seems, has as much to do with context, intent, venue, and — some would say most importantly — the material gains, as it does the act itself.

    Though Clare suffered a great deal of madness, rage, and abuse from a large segment of the Harry Potter online fan community, she wasn’t exposed to the world at large by journalists, nor was she publicly stripped of her contracts, and labeled a plagiarist by The New York Times and others to the point where the indictment would go so far as become the lede in the story of her parents’ death. Clare did, apparently, change the spelling of her last name from “Claire” and deleted her fanfic from the web, presumably in order to avoid lingering associations between her “profic” career and the controversies of her previous incarnation.

    Clare was smart, or lucky — or both, or neither — to do all her throat-clearing, rehearsals for prolificity, and playing along with Benny Goodman in a world where the watchers are limited to fandom, the financial stakes don’t get you labeled the Mozart of the YA world and put a target on your back, and — at the end of the day — you are still playing in someone else’s sandbox and are not liable unless you turn a profit without permission. It wasn’t until she had earned her thick hide — and, presumably, the ability to mask her influences appropriately — that Clare moved into the mainstream world of Urban Fantasy. Whatever she did or didn’t do took place during a productive but still gestational moment in her writing career.

    Of course these are all excuses. Nothing exonerates me for “Table Talk.”

    I am still a fucking plagiarist.



    If you steal from one author, it’s plagiarism; if you steal from many, it’s research.

    — Wilson Mizner



    Plagiarism may be the only crime in which the cover-up ultimately generates far more profit for the perpetrator than the stolen object.

    One of the more interesting aspects of getting my start as a television writer in the pre–Second Golden Era TV of the 1990s was getting to work with a number of people who had cut their teeth back when television was REALLY disreputable: the 1970s and ’80s.

    Aside from getting the general impression that TV in the ’80s was essentially Mad Men with cocaine, I found many of my superiors to have a very interesting attitude toward … well, if not plagiarism, at least appropriation.

    Among the older generation of executive and co-executive producers, the guys who had worked for Stephen J. Cannell, Glen Larson, and their ilk, the running joke was “television is the original derivative medium.”

    Among the younger writer/producers occupying mid-level positions ­­— the people with whom a rookie writer like myself had the most contact — there was a general disdain for the old guard. Many of these upstarts, who later did, in fact, help bring about the current Golden Age, saw themselves as renegades eager to wrest TV from thieving forebears.

    A great deal of their contempt found voice in accusations of plagiarism and fraud. The most salient accusation was always thrown at “this guy who worked at Cannell.”

    To this day, no one has conclusively told me who “this guy” was, even though I have heard the story told several times. I sometimes wonder if “this guy who worked at Cannell” was the TV equivalent of “this girl I met at summer camp.”

    Anyway, “this guy” was legendary for setting up his 22-episode seasons of television by writing on a white board a list of all the classic films he wanted to rip off that year and handing out the titles as assignments to his staff.

    Of course, the guys who told the story about “this guy who worked at Cannell” always portrayed themselves as shocked and horrified by the blatant plagiarism. At the same time, they gladly took the paycheck to write “the Die Hard episode” or “the Rashomon episode,” and, of course, the hardy perennial, “The Most Dangerous Game episode.” God knows I have.

    One thing was always clear — even if on occasion we in the rank and file are forced to do the bidding of a hack showrunner who has no scruples about being a fucking plagiarist — those of us who tell the story of “this guy” are never the hacks or the thieves. That’s the point of the tale. It’s a totemic object of immunity, like on Survivor. The dishy tale of “this guy” is a shibboleth that alights to others that we too are in the fraternity of Those Who Know Better.

    That’s why it’s always someone else. That’s why it’s “this guy who worked at Cannell.” We’re not the thieves. We are the ones who are self-aware and self-referential. We’re the ones who excoriate the thieves and occasionally bear with gritted teeth the stark and unpleasant necessities of our trade. We are the ones who say clever things in the writers room like “yes, you’ve seen it before, but not with these actors” and “that idea is so brilliant I have NO choice but to steal it and claim it for my own” while we bide our time until we can call the shots and chisel True Original Stories from the living rock of our beloved medium.

    Inside every writer lives the fantasy that our worst and most derivative work is the result of someone else’s influence. Happenstance may occasionally make plagiarists out of us … but we sure as shit ain’t fucking plagiarists.



    It’s not where you take things from — it’s where you take them to.

    — Jean-Luc Godard



    I will always remember my first year in TV as the one in which not one but three major network television shows flagrantly ripped off John Carpenter’s The Thing.

    The venerable The X-Files — currently, though erroneously, thought to be above such shenanigans — even went as far as to stage their episodic riff on Carpenter’s paranoid tale of serial possession by an alien parasite found in the ice near a desolate arctic ice station in … well … an arctic ice station.

    They even titled the episode “Ice.”

    Coming in second was seaQuest DSV and … well … that program actually ripped off The Thing twice in the same season. Apparently, the series’s warring showrunners each had the same brainstorm individually, and then refused to budge on who would withdraw the script written without the other’s knowledge. In one, the cause of the possession of successive crew members was a helmet from the lost continent of Atlantis, in the other, an ancient chest found in an undersea mining colony.

    Coming in third was Earth 2, which substituted an alien parasite found in the ice for … well, an alien parasite found in the ice.

    The ugly truth of the matter is this: as respectable as television may have become in the last 20 years, showrunners still have to produce a fuckton of hours of entertainment. When the beast must be fed at regular intervals on pain of death, the real test of originality is how far you can stretch the trope until it’s no longer recognizable as the trope — preferably while finding some sort of resonant human context to which a broadcast audience of millions of all races, creeds, and colors can relate.

    When a show becomes popular and produces 22 hours a year — for many years — those who love the show ultimately remember the characters, the great moments they shared, and the few truly standout stories in the overall narrative miasma. Few of the fans — even at their most obsessive-compulsive — actually remember that the individual story of the episode in which their beloved weekly visitors first kissed, or had some other such watershed moment, was probably something as hackneyed as the “Most Dangerous Game episode.”

    The amusing truth of the matter is this: often — especially in a mature career in a medium with six decades of mass visibility — you will hear a pitch that is derivative of something that was, itself, derivative of something else that the pitcher is not aware of. More than once I have heard a younger writer say, “Do you remember that old episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where Riker passes out in the teaser and wakes up 16 years later as captain of the Enterprise, but he can’t remember anything … and he cleverly realizes that his amnesia is really a Romulan ruse to get him to give up sensitive information?” only to be shocked when told, “Yeah, it was a takeoff from an even older James Garner movie — based on a Roald Dahl short story — where he’s an Allied spy who passes out before the D-Day invasion, wakes up in a U.S. Army Hospital six years later, and can’t remember anything, then cleverly realizes that his amnesia is a German ruse to extract from him the location of the invasion.”

    Derivation is the air we breathe.

    And yet there’s “Table Talk.”



    We live among ideas much more than we live in nature.

    — Saul Bellow



    As I walked off the Emmy stage into the dark backstage of the Shrine Auditorium with the cast of Lost and my fellow writer/producers after earning the award for Best Drama, I entertained the thought of how quickly and easily all of this could be taken away from me if anyone found out — and decided to make a Viswanathanian stink about — “Table Talk.”

    It wasn’t anomalous for me to entertain that thought at the time. I have dined with that unwelcome guest on the average of three to six times a day, every day, for the past thirty years (alongside other, better known, hits from the depressives’ jukebox, including the classics “I hate myself and I want to die” and “oh God, oh God, why was I born such a revolting troll?”).

    Tick-tock-tick-tock-Table-Talk. Tick-tock-tick-tock-Table-Talk.

    “Table Talk” was produced at my university. Even if it was extracurricular — for no school grade or profit — the production was funded by a student activities fee levied on every one of the school’s attendees. How do I know the administration won’t take back my degree after reading this?

    How do I know that the National Council of Teachers of English couldn’t retroactively rescind the scholarship that sent me there?

    How do I know that when the sixth episode of the second season of Helix — the show on which I have toiled as a co-executive producer for the past two years — hits the air, someone isn’t going to think that my use of the line “this is a cleansing moment of clarity,” my little homage to Paddy Chayefsky’s Network, is now beyond the pale in the context of these confessions?

    How do I know that the very act of putting these thoughts to keyboard won’t result in some sort of archaeological examination of my life’s work leading to the final determination that — as a fucking plagiarist — I am essentially unfit to continue doing the only thing I have ever wanted to do?

    How do I know that someone isn’t going to figure that the time has come to gut this son of a bitch once and for all?



    There’s no negotiating with plagiarists, Dubbie — you take credit for a man’s ideas, you rob his spirit!

    — “The Middleman,” from the episode “The Boy-Band Superfan Interrogation” of the television series The Middleman, written by Jordan Rosenberg, created by Javier Grillo-Marxuach



    In 2006, Marvel Comics asked me to create a new hero. All they wanted was to name the character “Wraith,” as they owned the name. I came up with the idea of a space zombie — a dead man whose body was reanimated by an alien entity that remains symbiotically bonded to his skin and consumes the souls of others: a power that the grimly revenge-obsessed Wraith occasionally used to vanquish his foes.

    Wraith was the Man with No Name in space. At first I loved him in all of his goth glory — I was certain I had created Wolverine by way of The Dark Knight for the Hot Topic set. When I talked to my editor about the character during the heady early days of the project, we were so excited that we even schemed to see Wraith become one of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” (a comic series that was about to be relaunched in the publishing event of which Wraith was part) in much the same way that Spider-Man had once joined the Fantastic Four.

    That was until I told a high school friend about Wraith’s oil-slick black body-suit and poncho-like cloak, his pale skin, white hair, and the polymorphous weapon (sometimes it was a sword, sometimes it was a raygun) he wielded with all his might … and he quickly convinced me that I had ripped off Michael Moorcock’s Elric.

    Okay: to be fair, he didn’t “convince” me. He only dropped the suggestion in my mind — and my immediate response was to exasperatedly shriek, “I’ve never read Elric!”

    And it was legit. I never had. Seriously — I have, as I’ve said, a classical-realist memory and I’d definitely remember reading a whole series of novels about the ultraviolent adventures of a soul-sucking albino goth. And, frankly, if I were to rip off Elric, I would have done more to cover my goddamn tracks than putting the motherfucker in space and changing the color of his eyes from red to black.

    But all I could think about was “Table Talk.” All I could think about was wanting to make my mark once and for all without being a fucking plagiarist.

    On the verge of a full-blown nervous breakdown, I spent a sleepless night doing all the internet research I could on Moorcock’s Melnibonéan fantasy stories, trying to figure out how I might have known them — and combing my own library for clues as to how I might have come up with an idea so derivative of someone else’s work. I became convinced that this was not “Table Talk” all over again, but something far more insidious: a criminal impulse that had, having been tamped down over time, now taken up residence in my unconscious mind.

    By the time I called my editor the following morning — pure confession in my now ragged and sleep-deprived voice, convinced that this was the moment of my final unveiling — and told him the entire project had to be scrapped, I had also convinced myself that I had ripped off everyone from Bram Stoker to Anne Rice to Dan Simmons.

    Of course, the first thing my editor asked was, “Have you even read Elric?” I replied, “Absolutely not!” and that was kind of that. Actually, that wasn’t kind of that — I spent the next 15 minutes trying to convince this poor man that I am a fucking plagiarist. But he just wasn’t having it.

    Duly talked off the ledge, I hung up the phone and quickly decided that my world-class meltdown had probably just destroyed both the character’s and my own long-term future in comics. Well, the freak-out, but also the truth that I had managed to create an utterly derivative character all by myself.

    To this day, when the phone rings from Marvel Comics — usually in the form of a young and newly installed editor who likes my work from a few years back and thinks it’d be nifty to collaborate — I open the conversation by asking, “Are you sure you want to work with me? You do know I’m crazy, right?”

    It’s self-fulfillingly self-destructive, I know. But everyone deserves fair warning.



    I’m not gonna sit here and plead not guilty. […] If you watch comedy eight hours a day, something will register, and it’ll come out. And if it happened, I said, “I apologize. I’ll pay you for this.” But I wasn’t going out of my way to go fucking grave robbing. ’Cause if you’re on top, they’re gonna look for your ass. […] And there’s lots of people who took entire mannerisms from me. It’s not something I can get mad about. It’s flattery. It’s great. When it happens the other way around, you’re just supposed to smile.

    — Robin Williams, Rolling Stone magazine, February 21, 1991



    It makes perfect sense that my childhood idol was dogged by allegations of plagiarism for much of his professional life.

    But you know what I truly loved about Robin Williams? The thing he did that freed my mind and inspired me to be something other than who I was? It was how his turbo-charged brain combined and recombined disparate elements into a cohesive absurdist whole.

    The Byzantinely circular, free-associative part of Robin Williams’s early, cocaine-fueled work (even though at the time I wouldn’t have known cocaine from lemon/lime Tang) was to me what punk rock, a skateboard, and hand-painted Doc Martens were to my way-cooler contemporaries.

    Williams’s pioneering collage-and-remix bits — like “Elmer Fudd sings Bruce Springsteen,” the “Soviet Suppressions” that kicked off his album Reality, What a Concept, his Shakespeare pastiche (“the moon, like a testicle, hangs low in the sky!”), the digressive riff where he goes to the prom on acid (“No, Mr. Smith, I’ll have Becky back in this dimension real soon! Wings! We’ve got to get those snakes coming out of your eyes fixed!”), or even how he once greeted a swell of applause from the audience by shouting “GIVE US BARABBAS!” — hit me with the force of shattering cosmic revelation. All his flights of illogical, yet comedically sensical, and emotionally real, insanity made me feel like I was watching a kindred soul broadcasting Truth from a far more advanced place on the spectrum of consciousness.

    Robin Williams’s comedy explained the world with the same labyrinthine framework with which I understood popular culture: speed, juxtaposition, and incongruity.

    He spoke the way I processed the then-nascent 100-channel universe — where the still-standing UHF channels routinely programmed Hazel in close proximity to Ultraman, in close proximity to scrambled, pre-internet softcore, and a new thing called MTV featured five-minute programs of constantly changing genre 24 hours a day.

    In every creator’s life there is one icon in the culture who seems to reach out from the television screen, or the stage or page, or the hi-fi speaker, and says, “I make a living using the skills you hope to someday develop — it’s okay for you to move ahead, it can be done.” Even though it was George Lucas and Star Wars that made me want to tell stories for a living, it was Robin Williams — even though he was a comic and I desired to be something very different — who showed me how I wanted to tell those stories.

    Before you think all the hand-wringing confession that has gone before this was merely a Trojan Horse into yet another think piece about our postmodern condition of sampling, ripping, appropriating, and recontextualizing, let me make one thing absolutely clear. Robin Williams stole jokes: it wasn’t cool, he eventually copped to it, and I consider that example with the same weight as I do what I learned from his rapid-fire comedic stylings.

    The reason I bring up Robin Williams is not just to expiate the piece of my psyche on the table, but to suggest that there is another, gentler part of my consciousness that, on occasion, whispers — in a pacifying Jeff Bridges–like drawl — something along the lines of “Duuude … go a little easy on yourself, lest you forget, your childhood idol committed suicide … and that Marvel thing’s kinda nuts!”

    Why shouldn’t I be a little more forgiving of the venal sins of my teenaged self?

    Seriously, I live in a media universe in which a man who is arguably the most influential filmmaker of the past thirty years emerged from widespread accusations that his first film Reservoir Dogs was lifted lock-stock-and-barrel from Ringo Lam’s Hong Kong New Wave film City on Fire …

    A director whose last two films, Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained, literally include in their very names the titles of the pulp war film and spaghetti western that served as partial inspirations (The Inglorious Bastards and Django … and interestingly, the latter was subject to countless rip-offs due to its own success, all bearing the “Django” name in the title) …

    Indeed, for the vast majority of my adult life, Quentin Tarantino — whose mastery of collage is, to be fair, matched only by his peerless ability with dialogue and scene structure — has been one of if not THE standard-bearer for art and innovation in screenwriting. That alone says more than a million online think pieces about our culture of appropriation.

    So why can’t I stop hating myself and forgive myself for being a fucking plagiarist?

    There are dark places in the mind that stubbornly resist the effort to excavate the irritating artifact whose removal will provide relief. Or maybe it’s just that there is no artifact and no relief is possible.

    Or maybe I just want to be heard.

    Or maybe it’s something even worse. Something that is equal parts mercenary and pathetic.



    Don’t quote other movies. Don’t tell a story someone else could tell better.

    — Wim Wenders



    A few weeks ago, I was at a friend’s birthday party.

    A mutual acquaintance — a fledgling writer who has yet to land her first gig on a television series — tells me about the various jobs she has taken to make ends meet until her ship comes in. One of the more recent ones was at least fun because it required her to watch TV for a paycheck.

    That sounds cool. I ask her to tell me more. She explains that she spent several months watching and transcribing broadcast materials, and writing summaries, for an app commemorating Saturday Night Live’s 40th anniversary.

    The app’s main selling point? On-demand access to every sketch ever performed by the Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time-Players and their assorted descendants.

    “Every sketch?”

    I emit the closest I will ever come to that horrible cliché, the audible gulp.

    She smiles, trying to read me. To her, this conversation is about little else than the scope of her work in what was a transiently pleasurable temporary occupation. My mood turns a deeper shade with each passing word as I try to maintain my outward composure. I choke back the black bile rapidly gathering in my throat.

    I return home from the party, head for my computer, and type the words “I am a fucking plagiarist.”

    Time to go ugly early.



    As we manipulate everyday words, we forget that they are fragments of ancient and eternal stories, that we are building our houses with broken pieces of sculptures and ruined statues of gods.

    — Bruno Schulz



    I’d like to share something with you. Something I learned exactly 48 hours ago when I began researching this piece.

    On January 24, 1976 — four years before I immigrated to the United States from Puerto Rico … years before the widespread availability of cable television would have allowed me to watch American network TV in my homeland … long before I’d hear the words “Saturday Night Live,” or “Robin Williams” … a full 18 months before the world premiere of Star Wars, much less its run in Spanish-language theaters … and six years before the broadcast of the sketch that moved me to become a fucking plagiarist — the sixth sketch of the 11th episode of the first season of Saturday Night Live featured guest hosts Dudley Moore and Peter Cook performing one of their celebrated comedy routines from the ’60s.

    The premise? A food critic attempts to interview the incompetent proprietor of a truly horrible restaurant with hilarious consequences.

    The sketch was titled “Table Talk.”


    Don’t shoot a western if you don’t like horses.
    — Wim Wenders


              Comment on Salafism Vs. Wahhabism: Qatar and Saudi Arabia’s Proxy War Rages In Syria Thanks To US Militarism by tapatio   
    <b>It doesn't really matter whether they are Wahhabi or Salafist - these animals are NOT Muslims. Mainstream Islam rejects them and they need to be eliminated, their states abolished. These mercenaries exist to further the ends of the Rothschild-Bilderberg predatory capitalist empire. Destroy that empire and the terrorists cease to have a function.</b><b> </b><b>SOLID EVIDENCE THAT THE TERRORIST ATTACKS ON SYRIA AND OTHER COUNTRIES IS THE WORK OF WASHINGTON AND ITS JEWISH MASTERS...........................</b><b> </b><b>Global Warfare: “We’re going to take out 7 countries in 5 years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan & Iran” http://www.globalresearch.ca/we-re-going-to-take-out-7-countries-in-5-years-iraq-syria-lebanon-libya-somalia-sudan-iran/5166 A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm (1996) http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article1438.htm "Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right" AND Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century (September-2000) http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/pdf/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf (REMEMBER THAT 9/11 - THE "NEW PEARL HARBOR" - OCCURRED LESS THAN A YEAR AFTER THIS REPORT WAS COMPLETED) "Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a NEW PEARL HARBOR (9/11 was perfect for that purpose). Domestic politics and industrial policy will shape the pace and content of transformation as much as the requirements of current missions." (p 63) AMERICA'S "RASPUTINS" RESPONSIBLE FOR PLANNING THE LAST 15 YEARS OF DEATH - JEWISH ZIONISTS ALL............... CLEAN BREAK Richard perle REBUILDING AMERICA'S DEFENSES Paul Wolfowitz William Kristol Alvin Bernstein Eliot Cohen David Epstein Donald Kagan Fred Kagan Robert Kagan Robert Killebrew Steve Rosen Gary Schmitt Abram Shulsky Dov Zakheim </b><b>EVERY ONE OF THE TRAITORS LISTED ABOVE (except Robert Killebrew) IS A JEWISH DUAL ISRAELI/US CITIZEN – YET NEITHER THEY OR ANY OF THEIR ANCESTORS CAME FROM PALESTINE..</b><b></b>
              Hawaii Legislature mulls allowing 12-month birth control prescriptions   

    In many states these days, especially in the south, organizations like Planned Parenthood fight to maintain women’s access to contraceptives. But here in Hawaii, their biggest political battles are a bit easier–rather than engage in desperate trench warfare to keep government from making it harder for women to get birth control, they advocate for bills […]

    The post Hawaii Legislature mulls allowing 12-month birth control prescriptions appeared first on Maui Time.


              Call of Duty Infinite Warfare: Dritte Erweiterung "Absolution" erscheint in der nächsten Woche   

    Activision und die zuständigen Entwickler von Infinity Ward haben nun bekanntgegeben, dass man in der nächsten Woche eine neue Erweiterun…

    Der Beitrag Call of Duty Infinite Warfare: Dritte Erweiterung "Absolution" erscheint in der nächsten Woche erschien zuerst auf playm.de.


              Mapping No-Man’s-Land: The Official War Atlas of the 1st Division, A. E. F.   

    This article originally appeared in slightly altered form in the Summer 2001 issue of “Virginia Cavalcade.”

     

    The Official War Atlas of the 1st Division, American Expeditionary Force. Between 1928 and 1930, the federal government published the official records of the 1st Division, American Expeditionary Force (AEF). The Library of Virginia recently conserved an atlas that complements those twenty-four massive volumes. Maps are, of course, crucial in warfare, and these twenty-six base maps and forty-two overlays provide topographic documentation of portions of the American—and Virginian—involvement in World War I.

    The federal government distributed the canvas-bound atlas with the 1st Division’s published records in the early 1930s. Army cartographers and engineers at Fort Humphreys, Virginia (now Fort Belvoir) and Fort DuPont, Delaware (now a state park), created the atlas using French Cartographic Service maps purchased in 1928. The army made the overlays with lithography and reproduced original maps with mimeographs. Numbers on the overlay maps correspond to coordinates on the base maps, allowing the researcher to see precise positions of enemy lines, mustard-gas concentrations, machine gun nests, and the like. The army cartographers characterized these maps and overlays as “exact reproductions of all available maps, sketches, charts, etc., showing all of the troop dispositions, operations, plans, situation reports, diagrams, [and] barrage charts…which have been found in the World War Records of the First Division.”

    The maps nearly languished in obscurity in the Library’s archives storage. They came … read more »


              This Will Never Work Here   
    A neighborhood social network called Nextdoor where local residents (some call the neighbors) actually communicate with each other? Like, in a friendly way? In Germany? You’re wasting your time, folks. Germans hate their neighbors and are in a constant state of warfare with them. I know you think I’m joking here but I’m sad to […]
              All The Fake News That's Fit To Print: Media Missteps In The Trump Era - The Daily Caller   

    Washington Times

    All The Fake News That's Fit To Print: Media Missteps In The Trump Era
    The Daily Caller
    A hostile and hysterical media, determined to keep the Russian narrative alive, has done so at the high cost of further damaging their already tarnished credibility. During the presidential campaign, The New York Times' Jim Rutenberg, wrote that ...
    Conway Slams Producer Who Said She Looks Like She Was Hit By a ShovelNewsBusters (press release) (blog)
    CNN Producer Caught on Camera Bashing Voters, 'Crazy' TrumpNewsmax
    Today in Conservative Media: Why Isn't Anyone Talking About Kate's Law?Slate Magazine (blog)
    Kankakee Daily Journal -Raw Story -The Independent -Variety
    all 289 news articles »

              Dion Elmore - “A Prayer Warrior’s Guide to Spiritual Battle”   

    "A Prayer Warrior's Guide to Spiritual Battle" is a field manuel for exploring the depth and power of a praying life. Author, Dion Elmore, draws on a variety of perspectives in writing this book. He explores prayer from every angle - from it's basic elements to the obstacles taht hold people back. With inspirational stories, tools, and resources, this guide enables new recruits and seasoned prayer warriors alike to gain a greater understanding of the number one weapon in spiritual warfare: prayer. 

    For more information on Dion Elmore or "A Prayer Warrior's Guide for Spiritual Battle", please visit: http://www.nationaldayofprayer.org


              UH-60 "Black Hawk" Modern Warfare 3   
    UH-60 "Black Hawk" Modern Warfare 3


    UH-60 "Black Hawk" Modern Warfare 3.
              CHEMTRAILS ARMAGEDDON ALUMINUM WHITE OUT! BYE BLUE SKY! DEATH FROM ABOVE AGAIN!   

    CHEMTRAILS ARMAGEDDON ALUMINUM WHITE OUT! BYE BYE BLUE SKY! CENTRAL MINNESOTA 6-27-17 DEATH FROM ABOVE AGAIN!! THIS IS A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY!
    Chemtrails
    The secret government or Deep State has been spraying the skies throughout North America since late 1997 on an almost daily basis with substances that were first identified as "mystery contrails", but later were dubbed "chemtrails" by investigative reporter and author William Thomas. When questioned, military and government officials either deny any knowledge of these spraying's outright or they offer unbelievable and ludicrous explanations that only a moron could believe. These spraying's are making many people sick and are the first phase of a bio-warfare operation designed to effect wide scale population reduction .. What can YOU do and Find out what's going on: http://www.geoengineeringwatch.org

    By cooperating in secret with jet fuel manufacturers, government agents have carefully kept the massive chemtrail efforts completely under wraps. Snowden added, “I am only revealing this program because there is no oversight in the scientific community, no public discussion, and little concern for the side-effects which are well known only to a few privileged people interested in continuing the decades-long chemtrail program in secret.”

    Because climate change is a threat to U.S. agriculture, it has been labeled a national security issue. With the influence and cooperation of Monsanto, a secret Geoengineering lab dubbed Muad’Dib has been operating since the late 1960s, and the chemtrail program is often referred to by insiders as its “crown jewel.” Muad’Dib has aimed to protect North America’s climate at all costs – The chemtrail program has been incredibly easy to hide, especially with the cooperation of jet fuel companies, a crucial part of the military-industrial complex. Snowden said, “The chemicals which are released by passenger airplanes have been covertly introduced as ‘additives,’ supposedly to improve efficiency. Only as the plane reaches cruising velocity does the heat and atmospheric pressure cause a chemical reaction that synthesizes the top secret carbon-trapping molecule. This process is imperfect, and many of the by-products are incredibly dangerous even in trace quantities. The most dangerous thing is that although chemtrails are keeping the climate of the U.S. reasonably stable, citizens are bombarded every day with an invisible rain of carbon-laden molecules, and the effect on health is totally unknown.”


    "indigo skyfold" "project paperclip" "project overcast" "evergreen air base" "chemtrails" "climate engineering" "geo-engineering" "project cloverleaf" "geoengineering chemical-trails" "aluminum barium spraying" "agenda 21" "nwo" "great culling" "population control" "population culling" "new world order" "Illuminati eugenics" "crown jewel" "Muad'Dib" "project future earth" "climate modification" "operation future earth" "operation cloverleaf" "operation overcast" "operation Muad'Dib" "indigo skyfold phase 2" "indigo skyfold phase II" "air pollution" "project cloverleaf" "haarp" "High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program" "SOFTKILL" "operation softkill" "project softkill" "soft-kill" "project paperclip" "project overcast" "evergreen air base" "chemtrails" "climate engineering" "geo-engineering" "project cloverleaf" "geoengineering chemical-trails" "aluminum barium spraying" "agenda 21" "nwo" "great culling" "population control" "population culling" "new world order" "Illuminati eugenics" "crown jewel" "Muad'Dib" "project future earth" "climate modification" "operation future earth" "operation cloverleaf" "operation overcast" "operation Muad'Dib " "indigo skyfold" "SOFTKILL" "operation softkill" "project softkill" "soft-kill" "jade helm" "blue helmet" "age of aquarius" "Muad’Dib" “crown jewel” "deep state" "SAG" (stratospheric aerosol geoengineering) "SRM" (solar radiation management) " "Operation Solar Shield" #respiratoryillness #freakpneumonia #respiratorydeath

              Standoff / Aklavietė (2016)   
    Carter (Thomas Jane), a troubled veteran, gets a chance at redemption by protecting a 12 year-old girl from an assassin (Laurence Fishburne) after she witnesses a murder. Holding a shotgun with a single shell, he engages in physical and psychological warfare in a desperate fight for the girls life.
              Thousands of Mosul civilians trapped in Isis territory as Iraqi forces close in   

    For civilians held as human shields by the extremists, supplies have run low and drinking water is scarce

    Hundreds of civilians fled Mosul’s Old City on Friday as Iraqi forces slowly squeezed the last pockets of Islamic State resistance, and the UN warned that the “intense and concentrated” fighting put innocent lives in even greater danger.

    People climbed over mounds of rubble and through narrow alleys as gunshots and explosions rang out nearby. The neighborhoods where government forces are fighting have been under siege for months as grueling urban warfare drew out the operation to retake Iraq’s second-largest city.

    Continue reading...
              Ep 022 – The Appeal of Class Warfare   

    Recorded Wednesday, April 15th Beer of the Week – Wells Banana Bread Beer The liberal class warfare rhetoric is appealing to losers who want to blame everyone but themselves for their crappy lives… At least that’s the Preuss theory. Tim also reads some Murray Rothbard and discusses the differences between conservatives and libertarians. The guys […]

    The post Ep 022 – The Appeal of Class Warfare appeared first on The Tim Preuss Podcast.


              Trump‘s Red Line   
    President Donald Trump ignored important intelligence reports when he decided to attack Syria after he saw pictures of dying children. Seymour M. Hersh investigated the case of the alleged Sarin gas attack.
    On April 6, United States President Donald Trump authorized an early morning Tomahawk missile strike on Shayrat Air Base in central Syria in retaliation for what he said was a deadly nerve agent attack carried out by the Syrian government two days earlier in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun. Trump issued the order despite having been warned by the U.S. intelligence community that it had found no evidence that the Syrians had used a chemical weapon.
    The available intelligence made clear that the Syrians had targeted a jihadist meeting site on April 4 using a Russian-supplied guided bomb equipped with conventional explosives. Details of the attack,  including information on its so-called high-value targets, had been provided by the Russians days in advance to American and allied military officials in Doha, whose mission is to coordinate all U.S., allied, Syrian and Russian Air Force operations in the region.
    Some American military and intelligence officials were especially distressed by the president’s determination to ignore the evidence. “None of this makes any sense,” one officer told colleagues upon learning of the decision to bomb. “We KNOW that there was no chemical attack … the Russians are furious. Claiming we have the real intel and know the truth … I guess it didn’t matter whether we elected Clinton or Trump.“
    Within hours of the April 4 bombing, the world’s media was saturated with photographs and videos from Khan Sheikhoun. Pictures of dead and dying victims, allegedly suffering from the symptoms of nerve gas poisoning, were uploaded to social media by local activists, including the White Helmets, a first responder group known for its close association with the Syrian opposition.
    The provenance of the photos was not clear and no international observers have yet inspected the site, but the immediate popular assumption worldwide was that this was a deliberate use of the nerve agent sarin, authorized by President Bashar Assad of Syria. Trump endorsed that assumption by issuing a statement within hours of the attack, describing Assad’s “heinous actions” as being a consequence of the Obama administration’s “weakness and irresolution” in addressing what he said was Syria’s past use of chemical weapons.
    To the dismay of many senior members of his national security team, Trump could not be swayed over the next 48 hours of intense briefings and decision-making. In a series of interviews, I learned of the total disconnect between the president and many of his military advisers and intelligence officials, as well as officers on the ground in the region who had an entirely different understanding of the nature of Syria’s attack on Khan Sheikhoun. I was provided with evidence of that disconnect, in the form of transcripts of real-time communications, immediately following the Syrian attack on April 4. In an important pre-strike process known as deconfliction, U.S. and Russian officers routinely supply one another with advance details of planned flight paths and target coordinates, to ensure that there is no risk of collision or accidental encounter (the Russians speak on behalf of the Syrian military). This information is supplied daily to the American AWACS surveillance planes that monitor the flights once airborne. Deconfliction’s success and importance can be measured by the fact that there has yet to be one collision, or even a near miss, among the high-powered supersonic American, Allied, Russian and Syrian fighter bombers.
    Russian and Syrian Air Force officers gave details of the carefully planned flight path to and from Khan Shiekhoun on April 4 directly, in English, to the deconfliction monitors aboard the AWACS plane, which was on patrol near the Turkish border, 60 miles or more to the north.
    The Syrian target at Khan Sheikhoun, as shared with the Americans at Doha, was depicted as a two-story cinder-block building in the northern part of town. Russian intelligence, which is shared when necessary with Syria and the U.S. as part of their joint fight against jihadist groups, had established that a high-level meeting of jihadist leaders was to take place in the building, including representatives of Ahrar al-Sham and the al-Qaida-affiliated group formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra. The two groups had recently joined forces, and controlled the town and surrounding area. Russian intelligence depicted the cinder-block building as a command and control center that housed a grocery and other commercial premises on its ground floor with other essential shops nearby, including a fabric shop and an electronics store.
    “The rebels control the population by controlling the distribution of goods that people need to live – food, water, cooking oil, propane gas, fertilizers for growing their crops, and insecticides to protect the crops,” a senior adviser to the American intelligence community, who has served in senior positions in the Defense Department and Central Intelligence Agency, told me. The basement was used as storage for rockets, weapons and ammunition, as well as products that could be distributed for free to the community, among them medicines and chlorine-based decontaminants for cleansing the bodies of the dead before burial. The meeting place – a regional headquarters – was on the floor above. “It was an established meeting place,” the senior adviser said. “A long-time facility that would have had security, weapons, communications, files and a map center.” The Russians were intent on confirming their intelligence and deployed a drone for days above the site to monitor communications and develop what is known in the intelligence community as a POL – a pattern of life. The goal was to take note of those going in and out of the building, and to track weapons being moved back and forth, including rockets and ammunition.
    One reason for the Russian message to Washington about the intended target was to ensure that any CIA asset or informant who had managed to work his way into the jihadist leadership was forewarned not to attend the meeting. I was told that the Russians passed the warning directly to the CIA. “They were playing the game right,” the senior adviser said. The Russian guidance noted that the jihadist meeting was coming at a time of acute pressure for the insurgents: Presumably Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham were desperately seeking a path forward in the new political climate. In the last few days of March, Trump and two of his key national security aides – Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley – had made statements acknowledging that, as the New York Times put it, the White House “has abandoned the goal” of pressuring Assad “to leave power, marking a sharp departure from the Middle East policy that guided the Obama administration for more than five years.” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told a press briefing on March 31 that “there is a political reality that we have to accept,” implying that Assad was there to stay.
    Russian and Syrian intelligence officials, who coordinate operations closely with the American command posts, made it clear that the planned strike on Khan Sheikhoun was special because of the high-value target. “It was a red-hot change. The mission was out of the ordinary – scrub the sked,” the senior adviser told me. “Every operations officer in the region” – in the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, CIA and NSA – “had to know there was something going on. The Russians gave the Syrian Air Force a guided bomb and that was a rarity. They’re skimpy with their guided bombs and rarely share them with the Syrian Air Force. And the Syrians assigned their best pilot to the mission, with the best wingman.” The advance intelligence on the target, as supplied by the Russians, was given the highest possible score inside the American community.
    The Execute Order governing U.S. military operations in theater, which was issued by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,  provide instructions that demarcate the relationship between the American and Russian forces operating in Syria. “It’s like an ops order – ‘Here’s what you are authorized to do,’” the adviser said. “We do not share operational control with the Russians. We don’t do combined operations with them, or activities directly in support of one of their operations.  But coordination is permitted. We keep each other apprised of what’s happening and within this package is the mutual exchange of intelligence.  If we get a hot tip that could help the Russians do their mission, that’s coordination; and the Russians do the same for us. When we get a hot tip about a command and control facility,” the adviser added, referring to the target in Khan Sheikhoun, “we do what we can to help them act on it.” “This was not a chemical weapons strike,” the adviser said. “That’s a fairy tale. If so, everyone involved in transferring, loading and arming the weapon – you’ve got to make it appear like a regular 500-pound conventional bomb – would be wearing Hazmat protective clothing in case of a leak. There would be very little chance of survival without such gear. Military grade sarin includes additives designed to increase toxicity and lethality. Every batch that comes out is maximized for death. That is why it is made. It is odorless and invisible and death can come within a minute. No cloud. Why produce a weapon that people can run away from?”
    The target was struck at 6:55 a.m. on April 4, just before midnight in Washington. A Bomb Damage Assessment (BDA) by the U.S. military later determined that the heat and force of the 500-pound Syrian bomb triggered  a series of secondary explosions that could have generated a huge toxic cloud that began to spread over the town, formed by the release of the fertilizers, disinfectants and other goods stored in the basement, its effect magnified by the dense morning air, which trapped the fumes close to the ground. According to intelligence estimates, the senior adviser said, the strike itself killed up to four jihadist leaders, and an unknown number of drivers and security aides. There is no confirmed count of the number of civilians killed by the poisonous gases that were released by the secondary explosions, although opposition activists reported that there were more than 80 dead, and outlets such as CNN have put the figure as high as 92. A team from Médecins Sans Frontières, treating victims from Khan Sheikhoun at a clinic 60 miles to the north, reported that “eight patients showed symptoms – including constricted pupils, muscle spasms and involuntary defecation – which are consistent with exposure to a neurotoxic agent such as sarin gas or similar compounds.” MSF also visited other hospitals that had received victims and found that patients there “smelled of bleach, suggesting that they had been exposed to chlorine.” In other words, evidence suggested that there was more than one chemical responsible for the symptoms observed, which would not have been the case if the Syrian Air Force – as opposition activists insisted – had dropped a sarin bomb, which has no percussive or ignition power to trigger secondary explosions. The range of symptoms is, however, consistent with the release of a mixture of chemicals, including chlorine and the organophosphates used in many fertilizers, which can cause neurotoxic effects similar to those of sarin.
    The internet swung into action within hours, and gruesome photographs of the victims flooded television networks and YouTube. U.S. intelligence was tasked with establishing what had happened. Among the pieces of information received was an intercept of Syrian communications collected before the attack by an allied nation. The intercept, which had a particularly strong effect on some of Trump’s aides, did not mention nerve gas or sarin, but it did quote a Syrian general discussing a “special” weapon and the need for a highly skilled pilot to man the attack plane. The reference, as those in the American intelligence community understood, and many of the inexperienced aides and family members close to Trump may not have, was to a Russian-supplied bomb with its built-in guidance system. “If you’ve already decided it was a gas attack, you will then inevitably read the talk about a special weapon as involving a sarin bomb,” the adviser said. “Did the Syrians plan the attack on Khan Sheikhoun? Absolutely. Do we have intercepts to prove it? Absolutely. Did they plan to use sarin? No. But the president did not say: ‘We have a problem and let’s look into it.’ He wanted to bomb the shit out of Syria.”
    At the UN the next day, Ambassador Haley created a media sensation when she displayed photographs of the dead and accused Russia of being complicit. “How many more children have to die before Russia cares?” she asked. NBC News, in a typical report that day, quoted American officials as confirming that nerve gas had been used and Haley tied the attack directly to Syrian President Assad. “We know that yesterday’s attack was a new low even for the barbaric Assad regime,” she said. There was irony in America’s rush to blame Syria and criticize Russia for its support of Syria’s denial of any use of gas in Khan Sheikhoun, as Ambassador Haley and others in Washington did. “What doesn’t occur to most Americans” the adviser said, “is if there had been a Syrian nerve gas attack authorized by Bashar, the Russians would be 10 times as upset as anyone in the West. Russia’s strategy against ISIS, which involves getting American cooperation, would have been destroyed and Bashar would be responsible for pissing off Russia, with unknown consequences for him. Bashar would do that? When he’s on the verge of winning the war? Are you kidding me?”
    Trump, a constant watcher of television news, said, while King Abdullah of Jordan was sitting next to him in the Oval Office, that what had happened was “horrible, horrible” and a “terrible affront to humanity.” Asked if his administration would change its policy toward the Assad government, he said: “You will see.” He gave a hint of the response to come at the subsequent news conference with King Abdullah: “When you kill innocent children, innocent babies – babies, little babies – with a chemical gas that is so lethal  … that crosses many, many lines, beyond a red line . … That attack on children yesterday had a big impact on me. Big impact … It’s very, very possible … that my attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much.”
    Within hours of viewing the photos, the adviser said, Trump instructed the national defense apparatus to plan for retaliation against Syria. “He did this before he talked to anybody about it. The planners then asked the CIA and DIA if there was any evidence that Syria had sarin stored at a nearby airport or somewhere in the area. Their military had to have it somewhere in the area in order to bomb with it.” “The answer was, ‘We have no evidence that Syria had sarin or used it,’” the adviser said. “The CIA also told them that there was no residual delivery for sarin at Sheyrat [the airfield from which the Syrian SU-24 bombers had taken off on April 4] and Assad had no motive to commit political suicide.” Everyone involved, except perhaps the president, also understood that a highly skilled United Nations team had spent more than a year in the aftermath of an alleged sarin attack in 2013 by Syria, removing what was said to be all chemical weapons from a dozen Syrian chemical weapons depots.
    At this point, the adviser said, the president’s national security planners were more than a little rattled: “No one knew the provenance of the photographs. We didn’t know who the children were or how they got hurt. Sarin actually is very easy to detect because it penetrates paint, and all one would have to do is get a paint sample. We knew there was a cloud and we knew it hurt people. But you cannot jump from there to certainty that Assad had hidden sarin from the UN because he wanted to use it in Khan Sheikhoun.” The intelligence made clear that a Syrian Air Force SU-24 fighter bomber had used a conventional weapon to hit its target: There had been no chemical warhead. And yet it was impossible for the experts to persuade the president of this once he had made up his mind. “The president saw the photographs of poisoned little girls and said it was an Assad atrocity,” the senior adviser said. “It’s typical of human nature. You jump to the conclusion you want. Intelligence analysts do not argue with a president. They’re not going to tell the president, ‘if you interpret the data this way, I quit.’”
    The national security advisers understood their dilemma: Trump wanted to respond to the affront to humanity committed by Syria and he did not want to be dissuaded. They were dealing with a man they considered to be not unkind and not stupid, but his limitations when it came to national security decisions were severe. “Everyone close to him knows his proclivity for acting precipitously when he does not know the facts,” the adviser said. “He doesn’t read anything and has no real historical knowledge. He wants verbal briefings and photographs. He’s a risk-taker. He can accept the consequences of a bad decision in the business world; he will just lose money. But in our world, lives will be lost and there will be long-term damage to our national security if he guesses wrong. He was told we did not have evidence of Syrian involvement and yet Trump says: ‘Do it.”’
    On April 6, Trump convened a meeting of national security officials at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. The meeting was not to decide what to do, but how best to do it – or, as some wanted, how to do the least and keep Trump happy. “The boss knew before the meeting that they didn’t have the intelligence, but that was not the issue,” the adviser said. “The meeting was about, ‘Here’s what I’m going to do,’ and then he gets the options.”
    The available intelligence was not relevant. The most experienced man at the table was Secretary of Defense James Mattis, a retired Marine Corps general who had the president’s respect and understood, perhaps, how quickly that could evaporate. Mike Pompeo, the CIA director whose agency had consistently reported that it had no evidence of a Syrian chemical bomb, was not present. Secretary of State Tillerson was admired on the inside for his willingness to work long hours and his avid reading of diplomatic cables and reports, but he knew little about waging war and the management of a bombing raid. Those present were in a bind, the adviser said. “The president was emotionally energized by the disaster and he wanted options.” He got four of them, in order of extremity. Option one was to do nothing. All involved, the adviser said, understood that was a non-starter. Option two was a slap on the wrist: to bomb an airfield in Syria, but only after alerting the Russians and, through them, the Syrians, to avoid too many casualties. A few of the planners called this the “gorilla option”: America would glower and beat its chest to provoke fear and demonstrate resolve, but cause little significant damage. The third option was to adopt the strike package that had been presented to Obama in 2013, and which he ultimately chose not to pursue. The plan called for the massive bombing of the main Syrian airfields and command and control centers using B1 and B52 aircraft launched from their bases in the U.S. Option four was “decapitation”: to remove Assad by bombing his palace in Damascus, as well as his command and control network and all of the underground bunkers he could possibly retreat to in a crisis.
    “Trump ruled out option one off the bat,” the senior adviser said, and the assassination of Assad was never considered. “But he said, in essence: ‘You’re the military and I want military action.’” The president was also initially opposed to the idea of giving the Russians advance warning before the strike, but reluctantly accepted it. “We gave him the Goldilocks option – not too hot, not too cold, but just right.” The discussion had its bizarre moments. Tillerson wondered at the Mar-a-Lago meeting why the president could not simply call in the B52 bombers and pulverize the air base. He was told that B52s were very vulnerable to surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) in the area and using such planes would require suppression fire that could kill some Russian defenders.  “What is that?” Tillerson asked. Well, sir, he was told, that means we would have to destroy the upgraded SAM sites along the B52 flight path, and those are manned by Russians, and we possibly would be confronted with a much more difficult situation. “The lesson here was: Thank God for the military men at the meeting,” the adviser said. “They did the best they could when confronted with a decision that had already been made.”
    Fifty-nine Tomahawk missiles were fired from two U.S. Navy destroyers on duty in the Mediterranean, the Ross and the Porter, at Shayrat Air Base near the government-controlled city of Homs. The strike was as successful as hoped, in terms of doing minimal damage. The missiles have a light payload – roughly 220 pounds of HBX, the military’s modern version of TNT. The airfield’s gasoline storage tanks, a primary target, were pulverized, the senior adviser said, triggering a huge fire and clouds of smoke that interfered with the guidance system of following missiles. As many as 24 missiles missed their targets and only a few of the Tomahawks actually penetrated into hangars, destroying nine Syrian aircraft, many fewer than claimed by the Trump administration. I was told that none of the nine was operational: such damaged aircraft are what the Air Force calls hangar queens. “They were sacrificial lambs,” the senior adviser said. Most of the important personnel and operational fighter planes had been flown to nearby bases hours before the raid began. The two runways and parking places for aircraft, which had also been targeted, were repaired and back in operation within eight hours or so. All in all, it was little more than an expensive fireworks display.
    “It was a totally Trump show from beginning to end,” the senior adviser said. “A few of the president’s senior national security advisers viewed the mission as a minimized bad presidential decision, and one that they had an obligation to carry out. But I don’t think our national security people are going to allow themselves to be hustled into a bad decision again. If Trump had gone for option three, there might have been some immediate resignations.”
    After the meeting, with the Tomahawks on their way, Trump spoke to the nation from Mar-a-Lago, and accused Assad of using nerve gas to choke out “the lives of helpless men, women and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many … No child of God should ever suffer such horror.” The next few days were his most successful as president. America rallied around its commander in chief, as it always does in times of war. Trump, who had campaigned as someone who advocated making peace with Assad, was bombing Syria 11 weeks after taking office, and was hailed for doing so by Republicans, Democrats and the media alike. One prominent TV anchorman, Brian Williams of MSNBC, used the word “beautiful” to describe the images of the Tomahawks being launched at sea. Speaking on CNN, Fareed Zakaria said: “I think Donald Trump became president of the United States.” A review of the top 100 American newspapers showed that 39 of them published editorials supporting the bombing in its aftermath, including the New York TimesWashington Post and Wall Street Journal.
    Five days later, the Trump administration gathered the national media for a background briefing on the Syrian operation that was conducted by a senior White House official who was not to be identified. The gist of the briefing was that Russia’s heated and persistent denial of any sarin use in the Khan Sheikhoun bombing was a lie because President Trump had said sarin had been used. That assertion, which was not challenged or disputed by any of the reporters present, became the basis for a series of further criticisms:
    – The continued lying by the Trump administration about Syria’s use of sarin led to widespread belief in the American media and public  that Russia had  chosen to be involved in a corrupt disinformation and cover-up campaign on the part of Syria.
    – Russia’s military forces had been co-located with Syria’s at the Shayrat airfield (as they are throughout Syria), raising the possibility that Russia had advance notice of Syria’s determination to use sarin at Khan Sheikhoun and did nothing to stop it.
    – Syria’s use of sarin and Russia’s defense of that use strongly suggested that Syria withheld stocks of the nerve agent from the UN disarmament team that spent much of 2014 inspecting and removing all declared chemical warfare agents from 12 Syrian chemical weapons depots, pursuant to the agreement worked out by the Obama administration and Russia after Syria’s alleged, but still unproven, use of sarin the year before against a rebel redoubt in a suburb of Damascus.
    The briefer, to his credit, was careful to use the words “think,” “suggest” and “believe” at least 10 times during the 30-minute event. But he also said that his briefing was based on data that had been declassified by “our colleagues in the intelligence community.” What the briefer did not say, and may not have known, was that much of the classified information in the community made the point that Syria had not used sarin in the April 4 bombing attack.
    The mainstream press responded the way the White House had hoped it would: Stories attacking Russia’s alleged cover-up of Syria’s sarin use dominated the news and many media outlets ignored the briefer’s myriad caveats. There was a sense of renewed Cold War. The New York Times, for example – America’s leading newspaper – put the following headline on its account: “White House Accuses Russia of Cover-Up in Syria Chemical Attack.” The Times’ account did note a Russian denial, but what was described by the briefer as “declassified information” suddenly became a “declassified intelligence report.” Yet there was no formal intelligence report stating that Syria had used sarin, merely a “summary based on declassified information about the attacks,” as the briefer referred to it.
    The crisis slid into the background by the end of April, as Russia, Syria and the United States remained focused on annihilating ISIS and the militias of al-Qaida. Some of those who had worked through the crisis, however, were left with lingering concerns. “The Salafists and jihadists got everything they wanted out of their hyped-up Syrian nerve gas ploy,” the senior adviser to the U.S. intelligence community told me, referring to the flare up of tensions between Syria, Russia and America. “The issue is, what if there’s another false flag sarin attack credited to hated Syria? Trump has upped the ante and painted himself into a corner with his decision to bomb. And do not think these guys are not planning the next faked attack. Trump will have no choice but to bomb again, and harder. He’s incapable of saying he made a mistake.”
    The White House did not answer specific questions about the bombing of Khan Sheikhoun and the airport of Shayrat. These questions were send via e-mail to the White House on June 15 and never answered.   
    Seymour M. Hersh

    Dr. Mohammad Abdo Al-Ibrahim

    River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
    The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

              Seymour Hersh leaks the true story about the pseudo-chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun (MUST READ)   
    June 26, 2017
    Trump with his aides at Mar-a-Lago
    Trump with his aides at Mar-a-Lago
    Quelle: picture alliance/ASSOCIATED PRESS/AP Content
    Intelligence officials doubted the alleged Sarin gas attack at Khan Sheikhoun. WELT AM SONNTAG presents a chat protocol of a security advisor and an active American soldier on duty at a key base in the region.
    Intelligence officials doubted the alleged Sarin gas attack at Khan Sheikhoun. WELT AM SONNTAG presents a chat protocol of a security advisor and an active American soldier on duty at a key base in the region.  This conversation was provided to Seymour Hersh. It is betweeen a security adviser and an active US American soldier on duty on a key operational base about the events in Khan Sheikhoun. We have made abbreviations: American soldier (AS) and Security Advisor (SA). WELT AM SONNTAG is aware of the location of the deployment. For security reasons, certain details of military operations have been omitted.
    (Note: emphasis in the text added by me, the Saker)
    April 6, 2017
    American Soldier: We got a fuckin‘ problem
    Security-Adviser: What happened? Is it the Trump ignoring the Intel and going to try to hit the Syrians? And that we’re pissing on the Russians?
    AS: This is bad…Things are spooling up.
    SA: You may not have seen trumps press conference yesterday. He’s bought into the media story without asking to see the Intel. We are likely to get our asses kicked by the Russians. Fucking dangerous. Where are the godamn adults? The failure of the chain of command to tell the President the truth, whether he wants to hear it or not, will go down in history as one of our worst moments.
    AS: I don’t know. None of this makes any sense. We KNOW that there was no chemical attack. The Syrians struck a weapons cache (a legitimate military target) and there was collateral damage. That’s it. They did not conduct any sort of a chemical attack.
    Anzeige
    AS: And now we’re shoving a shit load of TLAMs (tomahawks) up their ass.
    SA: There has been a hidden agenda all along. This is about trying to ultimately go after Iran. What the people around Trump do not understand is that the Russians are not a paper tiger and that they have more robust military capability than we do.
    AS: I don’t know what the Russians are going to do. They might hang back and let the Syrians defend their own borders, or they might provide some sort of tepid support, or they might blow us the fuck out of the airspace and back into Iraq. I honestly don’t know what to expect right now. I feel like anything is possible. The russian air defense system is capable of taking out our TLAMs. this is a big fucking deal…we are still all systems go…
    SA: You are so right. Russia is not going to take this lying down
    SA: Who is pushing this? Is it coming from Votel (General Joseph L. Votel, Commander of United States Central Command, editor‘s note) ?
    AS: I don’t know. It’s from someone big though. . . . This is a big fucking deal.
    AS: It has to be POTUS.
    AS: They [the russians] are weighing their options. Indications are they are going to be passive supporters of syria and not engage their systems unless their own assets are threatened..in other words, the sky is fucking blue.’
    April 7, 2017
    SA: What are the Russians doing or saying Am I correct that we did little real damage to Russia or Syria?
    AS: We didn’t hit a damn thing, thankfully. They retrograded all their aircraft and personnel. We basically gave them a very expensive fireworks display.
    AS: They knew where ships were and watched the entire strike from launch to end game.
    AS: The Russians are furious. Claiming we have the real Intel and know the truth about the weapons depot strike.
    AS: They are correct.
    AS: I guess it really didn’t matter whether we elected Clinton or Trump. Fuck.
    AS: No one is talking about the entire reason we’re in Iraq and Syria in the first place. That mission is fucked now.
    SA: Are any of your colleagues pissed or is everyone going along with it and saying this is OK
    AS: It’s a mad house. . . .Hell we even told the Russians an hour before impact
    SA: But they clearly knew it was coming
    AS: Oh of course
    AS: Now Fox is saying we chose to hit the Syrian airfield because it is where the chemical attacks were launched from. Wow. Can’t make this shit up.
    SA: They are. I mean, making it up
    AS: It’s so fuckin evil
    SA: Amen!!!
    April 8, 2017
    AS: Russians are being extremely reasonable. Despite what the news is reporting they are still trying to deconflict and coordinate the air campaign.
    SA: I don’t think the russia yet understands how crazy Trump is over this. And i don’t think we appreciate how much damage the Russians can do to us.
    AS: They’re showing amazing restraint and been unbelievably calm. They seem mostly interested in de-escalating everything. They don’t want to lose our support in the help with destroying Isis.
    SA: But I get the get the feeling are simply trying this approach for as long as they feel it might work. If we keep pushing this current aggressive stance they’re going to hit back.’

    Seymour Hersh’s analysis of what really happened.
    Trump‘s Red Line
    On April 6, United States President Donald Trump authorized an early morning Tomahawk missile strike on Shayrat Air Base in central Syria in retaliation for what he said was a deadly nerve agent attack carried out by the Syrian government two days earlier in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun. Trump issued the order despite having been warned by the U.S. intelligence community that it had found no evidence that the Syrians had used a chemical weapon.
    The available intelligence made clear that the Syrians had targeted a jihadist meeting site on April 4 using a Russian-supplied guided bomb equipped with conventional explosives. Details of the attack, including information on its so-called high-value targets, had been provided by the Russians days in advance to American and allied military officials in Doha, whose mission is to coordinate all U.S., allied, Syrian and Russian Air Force operations in the region.
    Some American military and intelligence officials were especially distressed by the president’s determination to ignore the evidence. “None of this makes any sense,” one officer told colleagues upon learning of the decision to bomb. “We KNOW that there was no chemical attack … the Russians are furious. Claiming we have the real intel and know the truth … I guess it didn’t matter whether we elected Clinton or Trump.“
    Within hours of the April 4 bombing, the world’s media was saturated with photographs and videos from Khan Sheikhoun. Pictures of dead and dying victims, allegedly suffering from the symptoms of nerve gas poisoning, were uploaded to social media by local activists, including the White Helmets, a first responder group known for its close association with the Syrian opposition.
    The provenance of the photos was not clear and no international observers have yet inspected the site, but the immediate popular assumption worldwide was that this was a deliberate use of the nerve agent sarin, authorized by President Bashar Assad of Syria. Trump endorsed that assumption by issuing a statement within hours of the attack, describing Assad’s “heinous actions” as being a consequence of the Obama administration’s “weakness and irresolution” in addressing what he said was Syria’s past use of chemical weapons.
    To the dismay of many senior members of his national security team, Trump could not be swayed over the next 48 hours of intense briefings and decision-making. In a series of interviews, I learned of the total disconnect between the president and many of his military advisers and intelligence officials, as well as officers on the ground in the region who had an entirely different understanding of the nature of Syria’s attack on Khan Sheikhoun. I was provided with evidence of that disconnect, in the form of transcripts of real-time communications, immediately following the Syrian attack on April 4. In an important pre-strike process known as deconfliction, U.S. and Russian officers routinely supply one another with advance details of planned flight paths and target coordinates, to ensure that there is no risk of collision or accidental encounter (the Russians speak on behalf of the Syrian military). This information is supplied daily to the American AWACS surveillance planes that monitor the flights once airborne. Deconfliction’s success and importance can be measured by the fact that there has yet to be one collision, or even a near miss, among the high-powered supersonic American, Allied, Russian and Syrian fighter bombers.
    Russian and Syrian Air Force officers gave details of the carefully planned flight path to and from Khan Shiekhoun on April 4 directly, in English, to the deconfliction monitors aboard the AWACS plane, which was on patrol near the Turkish border, 60 miles or more to the north.
    The Syrian target at Khan Sheikhoun, as shared with the Americans at Doha, was depicted as a two-story cinder-block building in the northern part of town. Russian intelligence, which is shared when necessary with Syria and the U.S. as part of their joint fight against jihadist groups, had established that a high-level meeting of jihadist leaders was to take place in the building, including representatives of Ahrar al-Sham and the al-Qaida-affiliated group formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra. The two groups had recently joined forces, and controlled the town and surrounding area. Russian intelligence depicted the cinder-block building as a command and control center that housed a grocery and other commercial premises on its ground floor with other essential shops nearby, including a fabric shop and an electronics store.
    “The rebels control the population by controlling the distribution of goods that people need to live – food, water, cooking oil, propane gas, fertilizers for growing their crops, and insecticides to protect the crops,” a senior adviser to the American intelligence community, who has served in senior positions in the Defense Department and Central Intelligence Agency, told me. The basement was used as storage for rockets, weapons and ammunition, as well as products that could be distributed for free to the community, among them medicines and chlorine-based decontaminants for cleansing the bodies of the dead before burial. The meeting place – a regional headquarters – was on the floor above. “It was an established meeting place,” the senior adviser said. “A long-time facility that would have had security, weapons, communications, files and a map center.” The Russians were intent on confirming their intelligence and deployed a drone for days above the site to monitor communications and develop what is known in the intelligence community as a POL – a pattern of life. The goal was to take note of those going in and out of the building, and to track weapons being moved back and forth, including rockets and ammunition.
    One reason for the Russian message to Washington about the intended target was to ensure that any CIA asset or informant who had managed to work his way into the jihadist leadership was forewarned not to attend the meeting. I was told that the Russians passed the warning directly to the CIA. “They were playing the game right,” the senior adviser said. The Russian guidance noted that the jihadist meeting was coming at a time of acute pressure for the insurgents: Presumably Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham were desperately seeking a path forward in the new political climate. In the last few days of March, Trump and two of his key national security aides – Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley – had made statements acknowledging that, as the New York Times put it, the White House “has abandoned the goal” of pressuring Assad “to leave power, marking a sharp departure from the Middle East policy that guided the Obama administration for more than five years.” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told a press briefing on March 31 that “there is a political reality that we have to accept,” implying that Assad was there to stay.
    Russian and Syrian intelligence officials, who coordinate operations closely with the American command posts, made it clear that the planned strike on Khan Sheikhoun was special because of the high-value target. “It was a red-hot change. The mission was out of the ordinary – scrub the sked,” the senior adviser told me. “Every operations officer in the region” – in the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, CIA and NSA – “had to know there was something going on. The Russians gave the Syrian Air Force a guided bomb and that was a rarity. They’re skimpy with their guided bombs and rarely share them with the Syrian Air Force. And the Syrians assigned their best pilot to the mission, with the best wingman.” The advance intelligence on the target, as supplied by the Russians, was given the highest possible score inside the American community.
    The Execute Order governing U.S. military operations in theater, which was issued by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, provide instructions that demarcate the relationship between the American and Russian forces operating in Syria. “It’s like an ops order – ‘Here’s what you are authorized to do,’” the adviser said. “We do not share operational control with the Russians. We don’t do combined operations with them, or activities directly in support of one of their operations. But coordination is permitted. We keep each other apprised of what’s happening and within this package is the mutual exchange of intelligence. If we get a hot tip that could help the Russians do their mission, that’s coordination; and the Russians do the same for us. When we get a hot tip about a command and control facility,” the adviser added, referring to the target in Khan Sheikhoun, “we do what we can to help them act on it.” “This was not a chemical weapons strike,” the adviser said. “That’s a fairy tale. If so, everyone involved in transferring, loading and arming the weapon – you’ve got to make it appear like a regular 500-pound conventional bomb – would be wearing Hazmat protective clothing in case of a leak. There would be very little chance of survival without such gear. Military grade sarin includes additives designed to increase toxicity and lethality. Every batch that comes out is maximized for death. That is why it is made. It is odorless and invisible and death can come within a minute. No cloud. Why produce a weapon that people can run away from?”
    The target was struck at 6:55 a.m. on April 4, just before midnight in Washington. A Bomb Damage Assessment (BDA) by the U.S. military later determined that the heat and force of the 500-pound Syrian bomb triggered a series of secondary explosions that could have generated a huge toxic cloud that began to spread over the town, formed by the release of the fertilizers, disinfectants and other goods stored in the basement, its effect magnified by the dense morning air, which trapped the fumes close to the ground. According to intelligence estimates, the senior adviser said, the strike itself killed up to four jihadist leaders, and an unknown number of drivers and security aides. There is no confirmed count of the number of civilians killed by the poisonous gases that were released by the secondary explosions, although opposition activists reported that there were more than 80 dead, and outlets such as CNN have put the figure as high as 92. A team from Médecins Sans Frontières, treating victims from Khan Sheikhoun at a clinic 60 miles to the north, reported that “eight patients showed symptoms – including constricted pupils, muscle spasms and involuntary defecation – which are consistent with exposure to a neurotoxic agent such as sarin gas or similar compounds.” MSF also visited other hospitals that had received victims and found that patients there “smelled of bleach, suggesting that they had been exposed to chlorine.” In other words, evidence suggested that there was more than one chemical responsible for the symptoms observed, which would not have been the case if the Syrian Air Force – as opposition activists insisted – had dropped a sarin bomb, which has no percussive or ignition power to trigger secondary explosions. The range of symptoms is, however, consistent with the release of a mixture of chemicals, including chlorine and the organophosphates used in many fertilizers, which can cause neurotoxic effects similar to those of sarin.
    The internet swung into action within hours, and gruesome photographs of the victims flooded television networks and YouTube. U.S. intelligence was tasked with establishing what had happened. Among the pieces of information received was an intercept of Syrian communications collected before the attack by an allied nation. The intercept, which had a particularly strong effect on some of Trump’s aides, did not mention nerve gas or sarin, but it did quote a Syrian general discussing a “special” weapon and the need for a highly skilled pilot to man the attack plane. The reference, as those in the American intelligence community understood, and many of the inexperienced aides and family members close to Trump may not have, was to a Russian-supplied bomb with its built-in guidance system. “If you’ve already decided it was a gas attack, you will then inevitably read the talk about a special weapon as involving a sarin bomb,” the adviser said. “Did the Syrians plan the attack on Khan Sheikhoun? Absolutely. Do we have intercepts to prove it? Absolutely. Did they plan to use sarin? No. But the president did not say: ‘We have a problem and let’s look into it.’ He wanted to bomb the shit out of Syria.”
    At the UN the next day, Ambassador Haley created a media sensation when she displayed photographs of the dead and accused Russia of being complicit. “How many more children have to die before Russia cares?” she asked. NBC News, in a typical report that day, quoted American officials as confirming that nerve gas had been used and Haley tied the attack directly to Syrian President Assad. “We know that yesterday’s attack was a new low even for the barbaric Assad regime,” she said. There was irony in America’s rush to blame Syria and criticize Russia for its support of Syria’s denial of any use of gas in Khan Sheikhoun, as Ambassador Haley and others in Washington did. “What doesn’t occur to most Americans” the adviser said, “is if there had been a Syrian nerve gas attack authorized by Bashar, the Russians would be 10 times as upset as anyone in the West. Russia’s strategy against ISIS, which involves getting American cooperation, would have been destroyed and Bashar would be responsible for pissing off Russia, with unknown consequences for him. Bashar would do that? When he’s on the verge of winning the war? Are you kidding me?”
    Trump, a constant watcher of television news, said, while King Abdullah of Jordan was sitting next to him in the Oval Office, that what had happened was “horrible, horrible” and a “terrible affront to humanity.” Asked if his administration would change its policy toward the Assad government, he said: “You will see.” He gave a hint of the response to come at the subsequent news conference with King Abdullah: “When you kill innocent children, innocent babies – babies, little babies – with a chemical gas that is so lethal … that crosses many, many lines, beyond a red line . … That attack on children yesterday had a big impact on me. Big impact … It’s very, very possible … that my attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much.”
    Within hours of viewing the photos, the adviser said, Trump instructed the national defense apparatus to plan for retaliation against Syria. “He did this before he talked to anybody about it. The planners then asked the CIA and DIA if there was any evidence that Syria had sarin stored at a nearby airport or somewhere in the area. Their military had to have it somewhere in the area in order to bomb with it.” “The answer was, ‘We have no evidence that Syria had sarin or used it,’” the adviser said. “The CIA also told them that there was no residual delivery for sarin at Sheyrat [the airfield from which the Syrian SU-24 bombers had taken off on April 4] and Assad had no motive to commit political suicide.” Everyone involved, except perhaps the president, also understood that a highly skilled United Nations team had spent more than a year in the aftermath of an alleged sarin attack in 2013 by Syria, removing what was said to be all chemical weapons from a dozen Syrian chemical weapons depots.
    At this point, the adviser said, the president’s national security planners were more than a little rattled: “No one knew the provenance of the photographs. We didn’t know who the children were or how they got hurt. Sarin actually is very easy to detect because it penetrates paint, and all one would have to do is get a paint sample. We knew there was a cloud and we knew it hurt people. But you cannot jump from there to certainty that Assad had hidden sarin from the UN because he wanted to use it in Khan Sheikhoun.” The intelligence made clear that a Syrian Air Force SU-24 fighter bomber had used a conventional weapon to hit its target: There had been no chemical warhead. And yet it was impossible for the experts to persuade the president of this once he had made up his mind. “The president saw the photographs of poisoned little girls and said it was an Assad atrocity,” the senior adviser said. “It’s typical of human nature. You jump to the conclusion you want. Intelligence analysts do not argue with a president. They’re not going to tell the president, ‘if you interpret the data this way, I quit.’”
    The national security advisers understood their dilemma: Trump wanted to respond to the affront to humanity committed by Syria and he did not want to be dissuaded. They were dealing with a man they considered to be not unkind and not stupid, but his limitations when it came to national security decisions were severe. “Everyone close to him knows his proclivity for acting precipitously when he does not know the facts,” the adviser said. “He doesn’t read anything and has no real historical knowledge. He wants verbal briefings and photographs. He’s a risk-taker. He can accept the consequences of a bad decision in the business world; he will just lose money. But in our world, lives will be lost and there will be long-term damage to our national security if he guesses wrong. He was told we did not have evidence of Syrian involvement and yet Trump says: ‘Do it.”’
    On April 6, Trump convened a meeting of national security officials at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. The meeting was not to decide what to do, but how best to do it – or, as some wanted, how to do the least and keep Trump happy. “The boss knew before the meeting that they didn’t have the intelligence, but that was not the issue,” the adviser said. “The meeting was about, ‘Here’s what I’m going to do,’ and then he gets the options.”
    The available intelligence was not relevant. The most experienced man at the table was Secretary of Defense James Mattis, a retired Marine Corps general who had the president’s respect and understood, perhaps, how quickly that could evaporate. Mike Pompeo, the CIA director whose agency had consistently reported that it had no evidence of a Syrian chemical bomb, was not present. Secretary of State Tillerson was admired on the inside for his willingness to work long hours and his avid reading of diplomatic cables and reports, but he knew little about waging war and the management of a bombing raid. Those present were in a bind, the adviser said. “The president was emotionally energized by the disaster and he wanted options.” He got four of them, in order of extremity. Option one was to do nothing. All involved, the adviser said, understood that was a non-starter. Option two was a slap on the wrist: to bomb an airfield in Syria, but only after alerting the Russians and, through them, the Syrians, to avoid too many casualties. A few of the planners called this the “gorilla option”: America would glower and beat its chest to provoke fear and demonstrate resolve, but cause little significant damage. The third option was to adopt the strike package that had been presented to Obama in 2013, and which he ultimately chose not to pursue. The plan called for the massive bombing of the main Syrian airfields and command and control centers using B1 and B52 aircraft launched from their bases in the U.S. Option four was “decapitation”: to remove Assad by bombing his palace in Damascus, as well as his command and control network and all of the underground bunkers he could possibly retreat to in a crisis.
    “Trump ruled out option one off the bat,” the senior adviser said, and the assassination of Assad was never considered. “But he said, in essence: ‘You’re the military and I want military action.’” The president was also initially opposed to the idea of giving the Russians advance warning before the strike, but reluctantly accepted it. “We gave him the Goldilocks option – not too hot, not too cold, but just right.” The discussion had its bizarre moments. Tillerson wondered at the Mar-a-Lago meeting why the president could not simply call in the B52 bombers and pulverize the air base. He was told that B52s were very vulnerable to surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) in the area and using such planes would require suppression fire that could kill some Russian defenders. “What is that?” Tillerson asked. Well, sir, he was told, that means we would have to destroy the upgraded SAM sites along the B52 flight path, and those are manned by Russians, and we possibly would be confronted with a much more difficult situation. “The lesson here was: Thank God for the military men at the meeting,” the adviser said. “They did the best they could when confronted with a decision that had already been made.”
    Fifty-nine Tomahawk missiles were fired from two U.S. Navy destroyers on duty in the Mediterranean, the Ross and the Porter, at Shayrat Air Base near the government-controlled city of Homs. The strike was as successful as hoped, in terms of doing minimal damage. The missiles have a light payload – roughly 220 pounds of HBX, the military’s modern version of TNT. The airfield’s gasoline storage tanks, a primary target, were pulverized, the senior adviser said, triggering a huge fire and clouds of smoke that interfered with the guidance system of following missiles. As many as 24 missiles missed their targets and only a few of the Tomahawks actually penetrated into hangars, destroying nine Syrian aircraft, many fewer than claimed by the Trump administration. I was told that none of the nine was operational: such damaged aircraft are what the Air Force calls hangar queens. “They were sacrificial lambs,” the senior adviser said. Most of the important personnel and operational fighter planes had been flown to nearby bases hours before the raid began. The two runways and parking places for aircraft, which had also been targeted, were repaired and back in operation within eight hours or so. All in all, it was little more than an expensive fireworks display.
    “It was a totally Trump show from beginning to end,” the senior adviser said. “A few of the president’s senior national security advisers viewed the mission as a minimized bad presidential decision, and one that they had an obligation to carry out. But I don’t think our national security people are going to allow themselves to be hustled into a bad decision again. If Trump had gone for option three, there might have been some immediate resignations.”
    After the meeting, with the Tomahawks on their way, Trump spoke to the nation from Mar-a-Lago, and accused Assad of using nerve gas to choke out “the lives of helpless men, women and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many … No child of God should ever suffer such horror.” The next few days were his most successful as president. America rallied around its commander in chief, as it always does in times of war. Trump, who had campaigned as someone who advocated making peace with Assad, was bombing Syria 11 weeks after taking office, and was hailed for doing so by Republicans, Democrats and the media alike. One prominent TV anchorman, Brian Williams of MSNBC, used the word “beautiful” to describe the images of the Tomahawks being launched at sea. Speaking on CNN, Fareed Zakaria said: “I think Donald Trump became president of the United States.” A review of the top 100 American newspapers showed that 39 of them published editorials supporting the bombing in its aftermath, including the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.
    Five days later, the Trump administration gathered the national media for a background briefing on the Syrian operation that was conducted by a senior White House official who was not to be identified. The gist of the briefing was that Russia’s heated and persistent denial of any sarin use in the Khan Sheikhoun bombing was a lie because President Trump had said sarin had been used. That assertion, which was not challenged or disputed by any of the reporters present, became the basis for a series of further criticisms:
    – The continued lying by the Trump administration about Syria’s use of sarin led to widespread belief in the American media and public that Russia had chosen to be involved in a corrupt disinformation and cover-up campaign on the part of Syria.
    – Russia’s military forces had been co-located with Syria’s at the Shayrat airfield (as they are throughout Syria), raising the possibility that Russia had advance notice of Syria’s determination to use sarin at Khan Sheikhoun and did nothing to stop it.
    – Syria’s use of sarin and Russia’s defense of that use strongly suggested that Syria withheld stocks of the nerve agent from the UN disarmament team that spent much of 2014 inspecting and removing all declared chemical warfare agents from 12 Syrian chemical weapons depots, pursuant to the agreement worked out by the Obama administration and Russia after Syria’s alleged, but still unproven, use of sarin the year before against a rebel redoubt in a suburb of Damascus.
    The briefer, to his credit, was careful to use the words “think,” “suggest” and “believe” at least 10 times during the 30-minute event. But he also said that his briefing was based on data that had been declassified by “our colleagues in the intelligence community.” What the briefer did not say, and may not have known, was that much of the classified information in the community made the point that Syria had not used sarin in the April 4 bombing attack.
    The mainstream press responded the way the White House had hoped it would: Stories attacking Russia’s alleged cover-up of Syria’s sarin use dominated the news and many media outlets ignored the briefer’s myriad caveats. There was a sense of renewed Cold War. The New York Times, for example – America’s leading newspaper – put the following headline on its account: “White House Accuses Russia of Cover-Up in Syria Chemical Attack.” The Times’ account did note a Russian denial, but what was described by the briefer as “declassified information” suddenly became a “declassified intelligence report.” Yet there was no formal intelligence report stating that Syria had used sarin, merely a “summary based on declassified information about the attacks,” as the briefer referred to it.
    The crisis slid into the background by the end of April, as Russia, Syria and the United States remained focused on annihilating ISIS and the militias of al-Qaida. Some of those who had worked through the crisis, however, were left with lingering concerns. “The Salafists and jihadists got everything they wanted out of their hyped-up Syrian nerve gas ploy,” the senior adviser to the U.S. intelligence community told me, referring to the flare up of tensions between Syria, Russia and America. “The issue is, what if there’s another false flag sarin attack credited to hated Syria? Trump has upped the ante and painted himself into a corner with his decision to bomb. And do not think these guys are not planning the next faked attack. Trump will have no choice but to bomb again, and harder. He’s incapable of saying he made a mistake.”
    The White House did not answer specific questions about the bombing of Khan Sheikhoun and the airport of Shayrat. These questions were send via e-mail to the White House on June 15 and never answered.

    River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
    The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

              Call of Duty - Infinite Warfare: Absolution-DLC angekündigt   
    Activision und Infinity Ward haben jetzt den Absolution-DLC für den Shooter Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare angekündigt. Der Release erfolgt bereits im Juli 2017 – zunächst nur für die PlayStation 4.

    weiterlesen

    Themen: Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, E3 2016
              LAW AND CYBERCRIME   
    Cyber Defamation is a crime conducted in cyberspace, usually through the Internet, with the intention of defaming others. The cyber defamation law that the Korean government tries to make is intended to capture such criminal activities by allowing police to crack down on hateful comments without any reports from the victims. The only country where such cyber defamation law is being implemented is China, and South Korea is the first democratic country in the process of introducing the law.

    There have been talks about introducing the stricter laws in cyberplace. A famous celebrity's suicide in South Korea, triggered the controversies once again as to whether such law is necessary. The law supported by the governing Grand National Party (GNP), if implemented, will allow police to investigate the cyber defamation cases without any complaints of the victims. The opposition Democratic Party (DP) has been against the introduction of such law.

    The Convention on Cybercrime is the first international treaty seeking to address Computer crime and Internet crimes by harmonizing national laws, improving investigative techniques and increasing cooperation among nations. It was drawn up by the Council of Europe in Strasbourg with the active participation of the Council of Europe's observer states Canada, Japan and USA.

    The Convention and its Explanatory Report was adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe at its 109th Session on 8 November 2001. It was opened for signature in Budapest, on 23 November 2001 and it entered into force on 1 July 2004. As of 2 September 2006, 15 states had signed, ratified and acceded to the convention, while a further 28 states had signed the convention but not ratified it.

    On 1 March 2006 the Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime came into force. Those States that have ratified the additional protocol are requited to criminalize the dissemination of racist and xenophobic material through computer systems, as well as of racist and xenophobic-motivated threats and insults.

    The Convention is the first international treaty on crimes committed via the Internet and other computer networks, dealing particularly with infringements of copyright, computer-related fraud, child pornography and violations of network security. It also contains a series of powers and procedures such as the search of computer networks and Lawful interception.
    Its main objective, set out in the preamble, is to pursue a common criminal policy aimed at the protection of society against cybercrime, especially by adopting appropriate legislation and fostering international co-operation.

    The Convention aims principally at:

    harmonising the domestic criminal substantive law elements of offences and connected provisions in the area of cyber-crime

    providing for domestic criminal procedural law powers necessary for the investigation and prosecution of such offences as well as other offences committed by means of a computer system or evidence in relation to which is in electronic form

    setting up a fast and effective regime of international co-operation.

    The following offences are defined by the Convention: illegal access, illegal interception, data interference, system interference, misuse of devices, computer-related forgery, computer-related fraud, offences related to child pornography and offences related to copyright and neighbouring rights.

    It also sets out such procedural law issues as expedited preservation of stored data, expedited preservation and partial disclosure of traffic data, production order, search and seizure of computer data, real-time collection of traffic data, and interception of content data. In addition, the Convention contains a provision on a specific type of transborder access to stored computer data which does not require mutual assistance (with consent or where publicly available) and provides for the setting up of a 24/7 network for ensuring speedy assistance among the Signatory Parties.

    The Convention is the product of four years of work by European and international experts. It has been supplemented by an Additional Protocol making any publication of racist and xenophobic propaganda via computer networks a criminal offence. Currently, cyber terrorism is also studied in the framework of the Convention.

    Its ratification by the United States Senate in August 2006 was both praised and condemned. The U.S. became the 16th nation to ratify the convention. Forty-three nations have signed the treaty. The Convention entered into force in the USA on January 1, 2007.

    "While balancing civil liberty and privacy concerns, this treaty encourages the sharing of critical electronic evidence among foreign countries so that law enforcement can more effectively investigate and combat these crimes," said Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.

    "The Convention includes a list of crimes that each signatory state must transpose into their own law. It requires the criminalization of such activities as hacking (including the production, sale, or distribution of hacking tools) and offenses relating to child pornography, and expands criminal liability for intellectual property violations. It also requires each signatory state to implement certain procedural mechanisms within their laws. For example, law enforcement authorities must be granted the power to compel an Internet Service Provider to monitor a person's activities online in real time. Finally, the Convention requires signatory states to provide international cooperation to the widest extent possible for investigations and proceedings concerning criminal offenses related to computer systems and data, or for the collection of evidence in electronic form of a criminal offense. Law enforcement agencies will have to assist police from other participating countries to cooperate with their mutual assistance requests.

    Although a common legal framework would eliminate jurisdictional hurdles to facilitate the law enforcement of borderless cyber crimes, a complete realization of a common legal framework may not be possible. Transposing Convention provisions into domestic law is difficult especially if it requires the incorporation of substantive expansions that run counter to constitutional principles. For instance, the U.S. may not be able to criminalize all the offenses relating to child pornography that are stated in the Convention, specifically the ban on virtual child pornography, because of its First Amendment free speech principles. Under Article 9(2)(c) of the Convention, a ban on child pornography includes any “realistic images representing a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.” According to the Convention, the U.S. would have to adopt this ban on virtual child pornography as well, however, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, struck down as unconstitutional a provision of the CPPA that prohibited "any visual depiction” that "is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct." In response to the rejection, the U.S. Congress enacted the PROTECT Act to amend the provision, limiting the ban to any visual depiction “that is, or is indistinguishable from, that of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct.” 18 U.S.C

    The United States will not become a Party to the Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime.

    Computer crime, or cybercrime, refers to any crime that involves a computer and a network, where the computers may or may not have played an instrumental part in the commission of a crime. Netcrime refers, more precisely, to criminal exploitation of the Internet. Issues surrounding this type of crime have become high-profile, particularly those surrounding hacking, copyright infringement, child pornography, and child grooming. There are also problems of privacy when confidential information is lost or intercepted, lawfully or otherwise.

    On the global level, both governments and non-state actors continue to grow in importance, with the ability to engage in such activities as espionage, financial theft, and other cross-border crimes sometimes referred to as cyber warfare. The international legal system is attempting to hold actors accountable for their actions, with the International Criminal Court among the few addressing this threat

    Computer crime encompasses a broad range of potentially illegal activities. Generally, however, it may be divided into one of two types of categories: (1) crimes that target computer networks or devices directly; (2) crimes facilitated by computer networks or devices, the primary target of which is independent of the computer network or device.

    Examples of crimes that primarily target computer networks or devices would include:

    • Computer viruses
    • Denial-of-service attacks
    • Malware (malicious code)

    Examples of crimes that merely use computer networks or devices would include:

    • Cyber stalking
    • Fraud and identity theft
    • Information warfare
    • Phishing scams

    A computer can be a source of evidence. Even though the computer is not directly used for criminal purposes, it is an excellent device for record keeping, particularly given the power to encrypt the data. If this evidence can be obtained and decrypted, it can be of great value to criminal investigators.

    Spam, or the unsolicited sending of bulk email for commercial purposes, is unlawful to varying degrees. As applied to email, specific anti-spam laws are relatively new, however limits on unsolicited electronic communications have existed in some forms for some time

    Computer fraud is any dishonest misrepresentation of fact intended to let another to do or refrain from doing something which causes loss. In this context, the fraud will result in obtaining a benefit by:

    Altering computer input in an unauthorized way. This requires little technical expertise and is not an uncommon form of theft by employees altering the data before entry or entering false data, or by entering unauthorized instructions or using unauthorized processes.

    Altering, destroying, suppressing, or stealing output, usually to conceal unauthorized transactions: this is difficult to detect.

    Altering or deleting stored data.

    Altering or misusing existing system tools or software packages, or altering or writing code for fraudulent purposes.

    Other forms of fraud may be facilitated using computer systems, including bank fraud, identity theft, extortion, and theft of classified information.
    A variety of Internet scams target consumers direct.

    The content of websites and other electronic communications may be distasteful, obscene or offensive for a variety of reasons. In some instances these communications may be illegal.
    Many jurisdictions place limits on certain speech and ban racist, blasphemous, politically subversive, libelous or slanderous, seditious, or inflammatory material that tends to incite hate crimes.
    The extent to which these communications are unlawful varies greatly between countries, and even within nations. It is a sensitive area in which the courts can become involved in arbitrating between groups with entrenched beliefs.
    One area of Internet pornography that has been the target of the strongest efforts at curtailment is child pornography.

    Whereas content may be offensive in a non-specific way, harassment directs obscenities and derogatory comments at specific individuals focusing for example on gender, race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation. This often occurs in chat rooms, through newsgroups, and by sending hate e-mail to interested parties (see cyber bullying, cyber stalking, harassment by computer, hate crime, Online predator, and stalking). Any comment that may be found derogatory or offensive is considered harassment.

    Drug traffickers are increasingly taking advantage of the Internet to sell their illegal substances through encrypted e-mail and other Internet Technology. Some drug traffickers arrange deals at internet cafes, use courier Web sites to track illegal packages of pills, and swap recipes for amphetamines in restricted-access chat rooms.

    The rise in Internet drug trades could also be attributed to the lack of face-to-face communication. These virtual exchanges allow more intimidated individuals to more comfortably purchase illegal drugs. The sketchy effects that are often associated with drug trades are severely minimized and the filtering process that comes with physical interaction fades away. Furthermore, traditional drug recipes were carefully kept secrets. But with modern computer technology, this information is now being made available to anyone with computer access.

    Government officials and Information Technology security specialists have documented a significant increase in Internet problems and server scans since early 2001. But there is a growing concern among federal officials that such intrusions are part of an organized effort by cyberterrorists, foreign intelligence services, or other groups to map potential security holes in critical systems. A cyberterrorist is someone who intimidates or coerces a government or organization to advance his or her political or social objectives by launching computer-based attack against computers, network, and the information stored on them.

    Cyberterrorism in general, can be defined as an act of terrorism committed through the use of cyberspace or computer resources (Parker 1983). As such, a simple propaganda in the Internet, that there will be bomb attacks during the holidays can be considered cyberterrorism. As well there are also hacking activities directed towards individuals, families, organised by groups within networks, tending to cause fear among people, demonstrate power, collecting information relevant for ruining peoples' lives, robberies, blackmailing etc.

    The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) notes that cyberspace has emerged as a national-level concern through several recent events of geo-strategic significance. Among those are included the attack on Estonia's infrastructure in 2007, allegedly by Russian hackers. "In August 2008, Russia again allegedly conducted cyber attacks, this time in a coordinated and synchronized kinetic and non-kinetic campaign against the country of Georgia. Fearing that such attacks may become the norm in future warfare among nation-states, the concept of cyberspace operations impacts and will be adapted by warfighting military commanders in the future.
              Save Big During the Ultimate Game Sale    
    Starting June 30, gamers can take advantage of great deals on Xbox games and accessories during the Ultimate Game Sale. This year, Ultimate Game Sale is four days longer than previous years, running from June 30 to July 10. With saving up to 65% on Xbox games, and Xbox Live Gold members saving up to an additional 10% on the deals, now’s the best time to pick up the games you’ve always wanted to play. With more than 300 popular Xbox games and add-ons including Injustice 2, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands, Prey, Rocket League, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare...
              Burning Dawn Campaign & Infiltration Cadre [Tau] - Updated Dec '15   
    [Our New Character Ethereal Aun'Do]
    Hi,

    I'm a bit late to the party with this campaign.  I always thought the Ethereal looked really neat, and was hoping to pick it up cheaply from ebay a few weeks after the release.  However I don't think this is likely to happen, as unlike the previous campaign boxsets there isn't the huge savings on the price, meaning it's unlikely people will be buying multiples of the boxset to either bulk out their army or start an army from scratch.  Therefore the Ethereal is currently, and is likely to stay, being sold for a very inflated price compared to an Ethereal (around £25+).

    However while listening to a YouTube battle report it was mentioned that the new campaign Ethereal had fearless, and knowing the new character Ethereal was only 25pts more than a standard Ethereal, I was intrigued with the rules for the Burning Dawn models.

    So firstly what do you get if you take Aun'Do, well he got a hover drone (not that impressed, as only means he ignores dangerous terrain checks when he's with a unit), an honour blade (ok, but I've never taken one because an Ethereal shouldn't be getting in combat voluntarily), recon armour (nice but nothing special), once a game can use 2 invocations (nice) and has another rule to do with ignoring cover (which I will try to get more info on).

    A normal Ethereal with recon armour, honour blade & hover drone would be 70 pts, so the extra abilities, particularly fearless is only 5 points.  In my eyes that's a bargain, and I would have paid 75 points for him even if he didn't have the hover drone, armour or honour blade.


    So what is in the boxset, and would I get it

    In the box you get:
    1 Pathfinder Squad (10 Pathfinders, including special weapons & 3 Drones)
    1 Piranha
    1 Stealth Suit Team (3 Stealth Suits & 1 Drone)
    Ethereal Aun’Do
    Burning Dawn Campaign Book (32 pages, including background story & rules)

    If you assume the Ethereal cost a bit more than the current Ethereal and is in line with the other plastic characters, then you're only saving a couple of pounds.  So unless you really wanted to pick up the Ethereal or the rules for the formation (which you could probably pick up elsewhere, eg. ebay) you'd really need to what to use all the models.

    Both Pathfinders and Stealth Suits have not been in my army for a while, Stealth suits for a few editions and pathfinders since I started using forgeworld Tetras.  Now while both units are not dead weights like Vespids, they are not the most common units seen (although pathfinders are almost a auto include if you don't have Tetras).

    Outside of their formation I wouldn't want to use all of these models, so lets take a quick look at the formation.

    The formation gives scout (or infiltrate if you already have scout), and Shrouded.  Scouded is very interesting because it makes the pathfinder much more survivable; 3+ cover save in forests, and 2+ in ruins, plus as Aun'Do is an indepentant character he sould give Shrouded to any unit he joins.  In my army my Ethereal normally joins my Sniper Team, which with their own Stealth would have a 2+ cover save when behind the Fire Warriors and Kroot in front of them.

    Aun'Do abilities and the Shrouded seem very good.  Now we need to look at the bloat.  Do the units have extra wargear or costs that make the formation as whole so inefficient to outweigh the formation benefits.

    [Update: The formation give Stealth NOT Shrouded, no is not quite as good, plus it ruins my idea of joining the Ethereal to my Sniper Drones, as Stealth does not stack with itself]

    The Stealth squad comes as 3 with a marker drone and costs 125 pts.  So it has the shas'ui upgrade, fusion gun upgrade and a drone.  A bit of bloat but not too bad to stop me taking the formation.

    The Piranha character has BS4 and a fusion gun, so is fine for 55 pts, effectively you get +1 BS and the formation bonuses for 5 points :)

    [What a way to kill something promising]
    Now the pathfinders, the death dealers.  They are a full squad (not the worse thing in the world), however they are fully bloated with upgrades, they have multiple special weapons and ALL of the drones, and come stock at 240 points.  They don't contribute many markerlight tokens (for their cost) which is what you should take a large squad for. They have a pulse accelerator drone, but then exchange some pulse carbines for special weapons, plus lots of situational wargear (eg. grav inhibitor drone).  Overall they become a very expensive jack of all trade unit that is not overly good at any task for their cost, while still being as tough as guardsmen if anything with ignore fire shots them.

    I know this isn't a full proper review of the Burning Dawn units, but at 240 points for one unit of pathfinders it's a deal breaker for me.  I'll take Aun'Do as part of a Combined Arms detachment, but the pathfinders ruin the formation for me (even with the good benefits of Scout and Shrouded).

    What's you take on the Burning Dawn Infiltration Cadre ?  I'm going to get the campaign booklet off ebay (for the fluff and Aun'Do rules), and try to pick up Aun'Do, but after that I'll leave it at that, and save my money towards a Stormsurge or Ghostkeel.

    Rathstar


    [Update: While attending a convention, Warfare, I saw the boxset £10 less than GW price, so I picked it up, as I was shocked at the prices of the Ethereal and the Campaign booklet prices on ebay, which were regularly going for £25+ each, I'll be magetizing the Ethereal so he can be Aun'Do or a regular Ethereal on foot, pics to follow]
              Así ha sido volver al multijugador del COD: Modern Warfare diez años después gracias al remaster   

    Modern Warfare

    La campaña de ‘Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’ no estuvo mal, nada mal. Después de los palos que se llevó el juego al ser anunciado, con toda esa vuelta de tuerca futurista que se le había dado, lo cierto es que el modo historia resultó ser uno de los más interesantes al compararlo con los de las entregas más recientes.

    El multijugador ya es otro tema. Ahí a mí me es imposible jugar. Por mucho que me empeñe, ese estilo de juego ultrarrápido, lleno de saltos imposibles, ventajas por killstreaks de lo más locas y armas extrañas, no está hecho para mí. Yo creía que sí, porque en los dos ‘Titanfall’ me lo había pasado de miedo y no se me daba mal, pero resulta que no es lo mismo. La saga de Respawn tiene algo que lo hace muy disfrutable a pesar de su alta velocidad. Algo muy superior en todos los sentidos a lo visto en el multi de los dos últimos ‘Call of Duty’.

    ¿Y qué tiene que ver todo esto con el ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered’? Pues que uno de los principales atractivos de ‘Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’ era la edición Legacy en la que venía incluído este remaster, haciéndolo algo más sabroso para los que más recelaban de la nueva entrega, pero sobre todo que he acabado cayendo en sus redes ahora que se ha puesto a la venta por separado y me lo estoy pasando en grande.

    Mientras lo descargaba me preguntaba cómo sería volver a su multijugador casi diez años después. Quizás en mi memoria lo tenía idealizado, me decía a mí mismo, y, tras todos estos años, le acabaría viendo las costuras. No hablo a nivel gráfico, siendo un remaster ya imaginaba que luciría bien (y lo hace, vaya si lo hace), sino en comparación con todos los fps con multijugador que han aparecido durante la última década.

    La realidad es que sigue siendo una maravilla.

    Ahí están todos esos espléndidos mapas, cuyo diseño sigue siendo magnífico en pleno 2017, en los que tantas veces me lié a balazos; ahí están esas tres únicas ventajas por rachas de bajas que son más que suficientes; y ahí están sus armas, sus ventajas por clase, sus accesorios, su personalización… todo está como hace diez años. Hasta los camperos. Pero es que además hay novedades.

    Sé que voy a echarle horas y horas, a subir de nivel a tope, a saltar de prestigio, a sacarme todos los desafíos

    A todo lo que ya conocíamos del original se suman unos menús renovados, más acordes con lo visto en las entregas más recientes, y la posibilidad de abrir cajas con todo tipo de nuevos camuflajes, emblemas, tarjetas de visita e incluso armas y personajes. Y por si esto fuera poco, se pueden desbloquear también unos nuevos kits de armas que van más allá de las simples pinturas y que cambian los colores de todas las piezas.

    En definitiva: volver al multijugador del 'Modern Warfare' en pleno 2017 ha sido todo un acierto, en mi opinión. Sé que voy a echarle horas y horas, a subir de nivel a tope, a saltar de prestigio, a sacarme todos los desafíos. Y cuando llegue el nuevo 'Call of Duty WWII', que tiene muy buena pinta, ya veremos qué sucede.

    Modern Warfare

    Esto es lo que dice Rubén Márquez

    Es fácil perder la perspectiva de lo que consiguió ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’ en su día, principalmente por cómo Activision ha gestionado ese éxito en años venideros, pero igual que no se le pueden negar los innumerables tropiezos y decisiones cuestionables, tampoco la gran base que ofrecía el juego en su día y lo que tenemos oportunidad de revivir ahora con ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered’.

    Más allá de lo acertados que estuvieron en Infinity Ward con el cambio de época o la maquinaria promocional que supieron arrastrar después, hay dos conceptos básicos que me maravillaron entonces y me siguen maravillando ahora. ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’ marcó el camino para toda una generación de FPS y, aunque no se puede decir que inventó nada, sí fue crucial para el futuro de los juegos multijugador.

    El primero de ellos es diseño de niveles, auténticas ratoneras a dos o tres alturas que limitaban sabiamente la visibilidad para crear dos estilos de juego muy definidos, el del fuego cruzado a corto alcance y los tiroteos entre francotiradores. Volver a pasear por sus niveles y comprobar lo bien medidas que están todas las posiciones para que cada una de ellas pueda ser contrarrestada por otra unos metros más allá es una auténtica lección de diseño.

    Lo que no se le puede negar a ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’ es todo lo que hizo tremendamente bien para convertirse en referente

    Cierto es que las esquinas daban paso a toda una legión de camperos que aprovechaban ciertas localizaciones para aburrirse durante toda la partida a la espera de que alguien pasase por allí, pero jugar bien y hacerlo con gente que tiene el mismo objetivo, ofrece encuentros épicos con mapas que siempre te redireccionan hacia zonas calientes en las que se montan auténticas batallas campales entre dos grupos que intentan empujar hacia adelante.

    El otro punto, heredado de la saga ‘Rainbow Six’ pero masificado aquí por el éxito entre público y crítica, es el de la progresión permanente. La idea de tener un soldado que va evolucionando constantemente para acceder a más armas, más accesorios y más potenciadores, ofrece una sensación de progreso constante que, incluso tras haberse desbloqueado todo, mantiene el tipo a base de retos y desafíos destinados a conseguir emblemas y tarjetas con las que explotar el afán coleccionista o avisar al resto de usuarios del hito conseguido.

    Las críticas siempre estarán ahí y en muchas ocasiones son tan ácidas como acertadas, pero lo que no se le puede negar a ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’ es todo lo que hizo tremendamente bien para convertirse en referente, y lo que no se le puede negar a ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered’ es que, más que un filón nostálgico, es un documental interactivo sobre una parte crucial del diseño de videojuegos de la última década.

    [[actualizacion: {"text":"Os dejamos con casi dos horas de gameplay en las que Rubén y yo morimos mucho... y matamos de vez en cuando algo también:"}]]


              Alternatives to the Iran Deal   
    Somewhat Realistic:

    New Deal - one with less restrictions on Iran. This deal gets negotiated by countries other than the US. The US continues sanctions, so Iran is only willing to agree to a deal that provides fewer economic benefits because the new deal imposes fewer restrictions.

    No New Deal Version 1 - sanctions fall apart, with the US and maybe some other countries continuing sanctions, while China, Russia, and many others end sanctions. Iran takes detected and undetected steps towards a nuclear weapon but doesn't explode a device over the next 10-15 years. The US wisely decides against a military attack to "stop" progress towards a bomb, and Israel wisely decides it can't effectively stop Iranian nuclear bomb progress on its own.

    No New Deal Version 2 - same as Version 1 except that US and possibly Israel bomb Iran. In Iran public support coalesces around hardline opposition to the Great Satan, reinvigorating the aggressive theocrats for another 20-30 years. Theocrats vow to rebuild the nuclear program and more support for terrorist groups, insurgencies, and Assad in Syria. In 3-5 years Iran explodes a nuclear device (or possibly, just build their nuclear weapon capability without finalizing it via a test).

    No New Deal Version 3 - same as Version 2 except that a year after the first bombing, the US bombs again to destroy the rebuilt nuclear program and thereafter continues periodic bombing along with continuous attacks to degrade Iran's air defense capability. Other consequences of Version 3's long-term low-grade warfare are unpredictable but likely to be unpleasant.


    Very Unlikely:

    Renegotiated Deal Version 1 - the facesaver. After getting voted down in Congress, the US gets some very minor tweaks that provide political cover for enough Congressmembers to finally support it.

    Renegotiated Deal Version 2 - The Unicorn! During a last-minute attempt at renegotiation after Congress votes the original deal down, somebody thinks of an approach that no one had thought of before that makes the deal somewhat better in restricting nuclear development while still being acceptable to Iran.

    Same Deal Minus the US - Iran is so desperate to lift sanctions from other countries that it renegotiates a similar deal as before with a few facesaving changes, despite continuation of sanctions from the US.

    One-off Military Attack - this is not the Military Unicorn believed in by the John Boltons of the world. Instead this is similar to the Somewhat Realistic, No New Deal Version 2 except that after a single military attack on its nuclear program, Iran decides to discontinue it, AND to get revenge by other means such as vastly expanded support for terrorists and insurgencies. Very hard to see why Iran would do this, given that the attacks just build public support for hardliners. Maybe they decide to put Iran's economic interest ahead of their own political interests. This is Very Unlikely.


    Conclusion:  

    None of the realistic alternatives are better than the current deal. Only one of the very unrealistic options, The Unicorn Renegotiated Deal, is better, and it's both hard to imagine it being that much better while being much more likely to end up as one of the worse alternatives.
              Information, communication and electronic warfare command formed   
    Taipei, June 29 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) attended a ceremony on Thursday to mark the formal establishment of a new command in the Ministry of National Defense pertaining to information, communication and electronic warfare, according to a Presidential Office statement.
              7/1/2017: Nation: Information warfare division deployed   

    AUSTRALIA is bulking up its arsenal of electronic weaponry in the face of growing cyber threats from foreign militaries and overseas criminals. The Federal Government yesterday announced two new strategies, marking a new direction on national...
              New Call of Duty Infinite Warfare DLC Comes to PlayStation 4   

    The Call of Duty game series is one of the most popular and intensely played first person shooter franchises in the world. The current version that is on consoles and PCs worldwide is Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. The current game keeps true to the franchise’s most renowned features and visual markers while still managing […]

    The post New Call of Duty Infinite Warfare DLC Comes to PlayStation 4 appeared first on Blorge.


              Grow Your Pinterest Traffic with Super Optimized Sharing! (New Features)   

    Advanced Pinterest SharingSince we started our journey to create the best social sharing plugin for WordPress we had a heavy emphasis on Pinterest functionality. Being that Pinterest is a traffic-driving powerhouse, we wanted to give our users the best possible Pinterest arsenal. We were the first sharing plugin to deliver the ability to add a custom Pinterest […]

    The post Grow Your Pinterest Traffic with Super Optimized Sharing! (New Features) appeared first on Warfare Plugins by Dustin W. Stout. If you are reading this on a website that is NOT WarfarePlugins.com, it is STOLEN.


              At Last Here Is Some Amazing News for Fans Of Zee Tv's Kumkum Bhagya   


    In Zee tv's Kumkum Bhagya Abhi (Shabbir Ahluwalia) and Pragya's (Sriti Jha) warfare, new villian makes entry

    The upcoming episode of Zee TV's famous Daily Soap Kumkum Bhagya is up for new drama.

    Abhi &  Pragya had lethal twist of fate, everyone assumes them useless however they aren't.

    Pragya's love rescues Abhi out of death mattress and struggles to restore him.

    Pragya isn't equipped to cease on Abhi and thus makes him revive back thru her sturdy and pure love.

    While Aliya is livid and shattered with Abhi's coincidence information, Tanu is satisfied as she takes Abhi's betrayal revenge.

    Abhi and Pragya's life in risk

    Aliya who's  buddy of Tanu throws Tanu out of her and Abhi's lifestyles for seeking to kill Abhi.

    While with Tanu's exit from Abhi's life new villian will make entry although Tanu will also keep on playing her game from outside to ruin Abhi.


              BLOODSHOT SALVATION #1 offers sneak peek in July 2017 PREVIEWS catalog   

    Media Release -- Before BLOODSHOT SALVATION arrives in stores on September 20th, experience the brutal and bloody new beginning that awaits Valiant’s most relentless hero in the July 2017 PREVIEWS catalog (#346) – featuring a stunning, six-page, 24″ x 11.5” gatefold insert, bound directly into Valiant Entertainment’s catalog listings! On the heels of Valiant’s first gatefold insert spotlighting X-O MANOWAR (2017) #1 last winter, find out everything you need to know about the FIRST ISSUE of THE BLOCKBUSTER NEW ONGOING SERIES from New York Times best-selling writer Jeff Lemire (THE VALIANT, Moon Knight) and explosive artists Lewis LaRosa (BLOODSHOT REBORN) and Mico Suayan (BLOODSHOT REBORN) right here with an all-in-one look ahead at Valiant’s most important series of the fall – including a pre-order coupon to reserve your copy with your local comic book retailer!

    Now: In the arms of his beloved girlfriend Magic, Bloodshot has finally found hope for the future…in the form of the couple’s unborn child. But when Magic’s estranged family – a cruel and sadistic clan of homegrown criminals – re-emerge to lay claim to their lost daughter, Bloodshot will be pushed back to the brink of madness, mayhem, and warfare…

    His sacrifice will be her salvation.

    Soon: Eight years from today, Bloodshot’s daughter has inherited her father’s incredible abilities. Hunted by a high-tech kill squad called Omen, Jessie must hone her powers…and learn how to survive before the world is swallowed whole by the darkness that now pervades America…

    Packed with blistering artwork and a complete guide to can’t-miss offerings like the BLOODSHOT SALVATION #1-12 PRE-ORDER EDITION BUNDLE and the BLOODSHOT SALVATION #1 BRUSHED METAL VARIANT COVER – printed via a special process on real-life brushed aluminum – get the jump on the seminal series of 2017 as Bloodshot’s revenge-fueled mission starts here with this one-of-a-kind countdown to Valiant’s latest ongoing series – printed on a massive, six-panel gatefold and only available in PREVIEWS catalog #346!

    Plus: Valiant is rewarding fans who pre-order the most bloody and brutal new series of the fall with specially expanded, limited editions spanning BLOODSHOT SALVATION’s furious first year! Reserve the BLOODSHOT SALVATION #1–12 PRE-ORDER EDITION BUNDLE – available only as a pre-order set to fans who reserve the first year of BLOODSHOT SALVATION with their local comics retailer – and get eight additional pages of specially expanded bonus content and extra features including creator commentary, behind-the-scenes looks at the creation of the comics, process character designs and artwork, and more at no additional cost with each issue. And that’s not all… As an extra-added bonus, fans who pre-order by July 27, 2017 will also receive the BLOODSHOT SALVATION #1 RAMPAGE REDUX – a FREE, LIMITED EDITION, and FULL-LENGTH COMIC BOOK – polybagged alongside the series’ first pre-order edition!

    Fans and retailers, take note: The only way to obtain the BLOODSHOT SALVATION #1-12 PRE-ORDER EDITION BUNDLE is to reserve this limited item with your local comic shop by the initial order date (IOD) of July 27th, 2017! No more copies will be made available beyond that date and subsequent issues – including the BLOODSHOT SALVATION #1 RAMPAGE REDUX bonus issue – will not be offered in later solicitations!

    For more information, visit Valiant on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and ValiantEntertainment.com.

    For Valiant merchandise and more, visit ValiantStore.com

    BLOODSHOT SALVATION #1
    Written by JEFF LEMIRE
    Art by LEWIS LAROSA and MICO SUAYAN
    Cover A (Standard) by KENNETH ROCAFORT (JUL172245)
    Cover B (Villains) by MONIKA PALOSZ (JUL172246)
    Cover C (Battle Damaged) by TOMÁS GIORELLO (JUL172247)
    Interlocking Variant by GREG SMALLWOOD (JUL172249)
    Bloodshot Icon Variant by DAVE JOHNSON (JUL172250)
    Brushed Metal Variant Cover by MICO SUAYAN (JUL172251)
    $3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On sale SEPTEMBER 20 (FOC – 8/28/17)

    BLOODSHOT SALVATION #1-12 PRE-ORDER EDITION BUNDLE
    Written by JEFF LEMIRE
    Art by LEWIS LAROSA and MICO SUAYAN
    Covers by RYAN BODENHEIM (JUL172248)
    $3.99 each [12 issues] | 40 pgs. each | T+ | Issue #1 on sale SEPTEMBER 20 (IOD – 7/27/17)











              Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare: Inhalte der Absolution Erweiterung vorgestellt   
    Activision hat die nächste Erweiterung „Absolution“ für Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare vorgestellt.
              San Francisco's ban on menthol cigarettes is liberalism at its worst   

    In San Francisco, megalomaniacal tech millionaires gorge themselves on exorbitantly priced plates of nettle fazzoletti while thousands of people live in unimaginable squalor. If you are interested in dropping some coin to attend a live performance of something called Public Disgrace, featuring "sex between male dominant and female submissive; domination by female and male dom; secure bondage, gags, hoods, fondling, flogging, and forced orgasms with vibrators," the City by the Bay has you covered.

    If, on the other hand, you are one of the city's lucky homeless, yuppie public health fanatics might graciously allow you the privilege of soiling yourself in public without the risk of a jail sentence.

    But as of next April, it will be illegal to purchase menthol cigarettes in San Francisco.

    For the knowledge workers indulging in "burgundy-braised lamb cupcakes with beet-whipped mashed potato frosting and chive sprinkles," this arbitrary and capricious prohibition of a substance that offers less rarefied pleasure to thousands of their fellow citizens will not seem like much of a setback. Nor will they find fault with the reasoning of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors that menthols are "starter products" that are "typically marketed to vulnerable populations including children and young adults, African Americans, and LGBTQ people." I mean, like, seriously.

    How many of these cauliflower popcorn-eaters and consensual BDSM aficionados have ever taken a big drag from a Newport Menthol 100? The assumption that African-Americans enjoy menthol cigarettes because they are the hapless dupes of Big Tobacco is the sort of risible condescension characteristic of liberalism at its worst.

    It never occurs to me the 30 or so times a day when I put another tube of brown leaves in my mouth and flick my lighter to say, "Man, this is so good for my health." But the fact that cigarettes are bad is not exactly occult knowledge. Millions of us smoke anyway and will never quit, San Francisco do-gooders be damned.

    Has it ever occurred to self-satisfied liberals that some people smoke menthols, or any other kind of cigarette, because they find it enjoyable, the same way that some of their fellows get a kick out of watching women being contractually beaten and spat upon, albeit without the consequences to their immortal souls?

    I also find it impossible to make sense of the city's argument that the "financial cost to San Francisco in direct health-care expenses and lost productivity from tobacco use is estimated at around $380 million a year." Never mind the rune-casting arithmancy involved in assuming that every person who has ever taken so much as a puff of a cigarette and then in the course of his three-score years and ten gone in for a routine physical is costing the city money directly attributable to the existence of the demon leaf. Far more mystifying — indeed mystical — is the notion that it is possible to calculate "lost productivity." How do they know that people aren't working harder because they have smoke breaks to keep them going?

    But this isn't only a question of public accounting jujitsu. It is far more sinister and pernicious. To say that smokers can ever ipso facto "cost" their fellow citizens money in "lost productivity" is to claim that they are not human beings made in the image of God but rather specimens of Homo economicus — animate clusters of matter whose telos is contributing to the increase in our per capita gross domestic product. It is the same argument that used to be made by General Motors against line workers who, before the Great Flint Sit-Down Strike, were haughty enough to imagine they might be allowed to have conversations at lunch time. People are not economic variables — they are, well, people.

    The consequences of the menthol ban are as predictable as they are unfortunate. People will not simply give up their cherished habit, especially when the product in question is available in nearby jurisdictions. Instead, this over-taxed consumable will become an illicit substance, and a black market for menthols will flourish. Is this really a prudent public policy decision at a time when selling loosie cigarettes can get you killed by the police on the opposite coast? This is exactly the point that Al Sharpton argued earlier this year at a series of public forums that banning menthols would only give law enforcement another excuse to lock up minorities.

    I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with the good reverend here. Banning menthols is class warfare at its ugliest.


              Could video games be the future of warfare?   

    Is violence a part of the human psyche? Is our species doomed to a future of war and bloodshed?

    Some people think mankind can no sooner abandon war than it can free itself from the constraints of the physical body. Indeed, conflict exists in everything we do. As children, we wrestle with our siblings. We bully. We fight over the best seat near the window. As adults, we argue in our jobs and relationships. We fight outside bars. Nations battle over resources and politics. Conflict is so deeply rooted in our beings that there may not yet be a sane way to eliminate it entirely. And yet, change is the very nature of evolution, and even with stories of everyday violence and heartbreaking crime raging in the media, it's possible that someday, violent acts of war will be a thing of the past. Our battles will take place not on a field, but in virtual worlds.

    Virtual reality has seen massive leaps in innovation recently. The worlds that exist in these realities could act as holographic versions of the lives we lead offline, allowing us to play out warfare scenarios with real-life geopolitical outcomes but without the deadly consequences. Take, for example, one of the greatest virtual reality platforms created in the past few decades: Second Life. In this "game" — for lack of a better word — every chunk of virtualized land, every island, every city, and every nation, is owned by a Second Life user. Such a world could serve as a platform on which we could address real-world problems that are too complicated, or too violent, to address in real life. War could be waged in a virtual reality setting and the results deemed internationally binding — saving hundreds of thousands of lives in the process.

    Putting this idea into action would be difficult, no doubt. The first barrier would likely be the lack of an international consensus. After all, what could possibly force a sovereign nation to respect the outcome of a CS:Go match in real life? In the absence of actual force, surely they would dismiss the results of such a competition, should they lose. But this could change in the aftermath of a massive, devastating act of violence. After World War II, for example, we saw nations from different parts of the world, big and small, come together in an effort to establish global peace and stability. Perhaps a similar consensus — a mutual craving for international peace — could be established in an effort to rule out violence and push for virtualized conflict.

    Implementing video games as a proper replacement for armed warfare would also alter the global balance of power completely. A nation's status would no longer be determined by its resources and manpower, but by the gaming prowess of its citizens. Today's professional electronic sports gamers could be tomorrow's warriors.

    In a way, video games are already being utilized by modern militaries. The United States Marines use war-centric video games as a means to gather new recruits, train existing soldiers, and treat veterans suffering from post-war mental disabilities. Realistic war simulators such as Call of Duty and Battlefield are used today to entice new recruits into the world of adrenaline-filled action. So why not use these very games to replace warfare altogether?

    It's perhaps a bit idealistic — and maybe even childish — to consider virtual reality video games a suitable replacement for warfare. But morally, there is nothing wrong with the idea. With the world of science and technology advancing at a rapid pace, what seemed incomprehensible yesterday will be mundane tomorrow. As Mahatma Gandhi once said: "If liberty and democracy are to be truly saved, they will only be by non-violent resistance no less brave, no less glorious, than violent resistance. And it will be infinitely braver and more glorious because it will give life without taking any."


              'Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare' (ALL) Absolution DLC Announced, Dated - Screens   
    'Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare' (ALL) Absolution DLC Announced, Dated - Screens

              Баг в Infinite Warfare превращает новую снайперскую винтовку в аимбот   
    За последние 24 часа у игроков в Infinite Warfare случилось несколько больших событий, который одним кажется чем-то веселым, а для других стал настоящим кошмаром.Хорошая, а она же и плохая, новость заключается в новой снайперской винтовке Протей. У нее несколько особенностей, одна из которых это возможность “на лету” превращать винтовку в дробовик, просто переключая ее режим. А вот вторая и вызвала бучу среди игроков.Дело в том, что при стрельбе от бедра винтовка стреляет точно в голову противника и при этом нет необходимости целиться. Достаточно просто смотреть в сторону противника. К счастью, этот баг уже исправлен....
              6/30/2017: Cyber-defence targets on criminal networks   
    An unprecedented legal directive has been issued to Australia’s cyber intelligence agency giving the green light for the use of offensive military cyber-warfare operations to shut down and destroy foreign criminal networks, including those responsible...
              Heck, Go For Broke: Sue The Department of Education!   
    Law students should feel betrayed by a system that seemed to promise them so much and then pulled the rug out from under when jobs never materialized. The fact is, this is the American education system now catching up with law students.

    Go back a couple of decades and you’ll find all sorts of dismayed young people fresh out of graduate school working at Xerox shops, tearing tickets at multiplexes, or driving delivery trucks. These were the kids that didn’t go into a “reliable” course of study such as law, business, engineering, or medicine. These were the history majors, philosophy majors, art majors, and anything else left over in what suddenly became the big bad pedagogical wasteland called the humanities.

    Our American education system did not start out to be a trap for the young and idealistic, stripping them of their dreams and dignity. Ever since the 1980s, the effect has been a gradual metamorphosis, tempered by a new era of hardball business practices and the tail end of the Cold War--it wasn’t a victory for America, after all, it was a victory for Capitalism!

    Along the way there were signs that this runaway Capitalism wasn’t quite the ticket to utopia the new age economists were predicting: the Savings and Loan debacle at the end of the 1980s, the dot.com bubble bursting in the 1990s, and now the meltdown of practically the entire financial system, thanks to a few bold speculators trying out Ponzi schemes and writing bogus mortgages.

    Take it from one of these grumbling grads of yester-decade: you haven’t even seen the best of it yet. When I started law school in 2008 at the age of 50, the first order of business was to pay off a defaulted student loan before I could start borrowing the bigger student loans law school required. The student loan I had to pay off was from my masters degree in 1982, for which I had borrowed up to $12,000. The balance I had defaulted on was about $5,000. I defaulted on this $5,000 back in 1996 when I finished my PhD and couldn’t get any more deferments.

    For 15 years of my life, I kept the Department of Education’s collection agencies on the run. If you ever default on your student loans, you’ll find quickly that the worst thing you can do is talk to them, try to reason with them. By the way, these agencies believe they are staying within the laws of debt collection but they are not: they will use abusive language, profanity, and deception to try to get you to hand over anything you might have lying around the house to make a payment. They will tell you that the Department of Education should not be “messed with” (sounds like a threat to me, however weird). When I somehow let slip that I did have a position as an adjunct professor, they found out where and tried to garnish wages. Because the school that had hired me was laundering my status improperly, with the unions by the way doing absolutely nothing on my behalf to correct the impropriety, I lost that “position.” It seemed the debt collection agency would rather I have no money coming in than enough money to pay them.

    There is plenty of blame to go around for the state of affairs we live in today. The more you complain about it, the more you’ll get average Americans stepping forward to tell you that you should blame yourself. And guess what? You will start blaming yourself. The last thing you ever thought you’d be when you picked up that masters degree diploma was some sort of Horatio Alger story. Don’t the rags-to-riches stories always start out with the rags being worn by children (i.e., who were born into poverty)? Now we have well-fed, even bratty educated young adults who got straight As in graduate school slipping into poverty. But guess what, there are no riches at the end of the rainbow. They slip into poverty and stay there.

    And do I really have to illustrate this for all those new-age economists who believe I’m unfairly engaging in some sort of class warfare? In 2001, I got a “job” at Barnes & Noble as a clerk. It was a minimum wage job, which meant that an 8-hour day earned you $40. Even if you could put in a 40-hour week, which they won’t let you do because then you’ll be full-time and eligible for benefits, you’d make $160 per week, $640 per month, $7,680 per year. The average rent in the area of this Barnes & Noble on Manhattan was $1800 per month. I also found out the hard way that this Barnes & Noble was engaging in a Wal Mart technique of changing your work schedule every week so you were supposed to keep your private, personal schedule free--they were trying to keep you from getting a second job. Most of the fellow workers at Barnes & Noble, a few of them with graduate degrees, couldn’t even get bank accounts: they would line up at the cash register to cash their paychecks every week. Better get used to this situation, young JDs, because this is what the powers that be in America have in store for you.

    I take that back. Don’t get used to it. Above all, don’t blame yourself.

    Let’s sue the Department of Education in a big class action suit. Above all, there is no reason why these student loan debts should be different than any other debts: if you can’t pay them back in seven years, they should be taken off the books. Here’s another interesting piece of information: in Germany and other European nations, there is no tuition. Money is actually seen as a corruption to the system. I'll drink to that!

    The American education system is set up so that a young adult with no debt to his or her name, signs a piece of paper, and a seven-figure amount immediately goes from the Government into the coffers of a law school--a shiny building filled with air-conditioned offices. Remember the pages of material your financial aid office had you read before you signed the promissory note? They made you also sign a statement that if you are not satisfied with the education you get, you can’t claim your money back. What kind of legal issue does that raise?

    The truth is, the Department of Education knows that the student loan system is improper and unethical. Why else would they have you sign all those documents and create a special class of loan that can never be written off the books? This is a special class of consumerism where in order to go to school, you have to sign away your rights. I can also speak from the experiences of a close member of my family that even though the Department of Education promises that the loans will be forgiven if you become disabled and unable to work, forget about them keeping this promise. It doesn’t matter how carefully you gather your doctors’ notes and put all your ducks in a row, the matter goes before an entirely anonymous “panel” of sorts that rejects your claim and sends it back to you on an unsigned form letter.

    Used car dealers and snake oil salesmen have nothing on the Department of Education. Young idealistic students fresh out of undergraduate programs are not just keeping the buildings at law school shiny and the air-conditioning running. Their life blood is being tapped to pay for the families and comfortable life styles of their law professors. If this isn’t class warfare, what is?
              Killer Instinct   
    SHOW ME THE ANIMAL






    Many do claim that 1994 was an actual date in history with people living their curious lives, having casual fun under morose cable rainbows. Bah! Little if any do these scientific observers know about the favorite interests and pastimes of the violent arcade geek with the well developed affection for all things post- apocalyptic. Killer Instinct scouts out fictional areas conceived in a future that worships violence and finds rampant pleasure observing the twisted beauty it delivers. The game made its debut of aggressive retinaseduction with a visual/modal style vivid and radical enough to solidify the output as one of the most memorable VS installments.

    Enjoy and read on!





    Killer Instinct arrives by a time that already have seen illustrious franchises and The Lady Kier! emerge. Mortal Kombat, the Street Fighter series, even Sega's Virtua Fighter is available to the public and the style is quite popular by the period. Killer Instinct comes to the arcades as a rather unorthodox machine, sporting a muscular CPU which is steadily supported by a highly secretive hard drive. This storage capacity throws the green light on a massive amount of data, giving - totally and completely blissful - possibility to invoke pre-rendered 3D backgrounds. Increased efficiency to store data enabled the developers to go Nuclear with the detail work, giving you delicious, rather large 2D characters, ready and able to splatter some quality guts around in high definition. Did you believe that? From a technical point of view, an evident, elegant Killer we are talking about, living up to its name right by its debut minute.

    Thank God that Killer Instinct sports the most trite - and subsequently most beautiful - post-apocalypse setting the human mind - ok, the sedated sloth mind - could conceive. You know the drill, it is something like:

    "... then the remaining survivors are forced to retreat from the surface of this here scorched, sorrowful Earth! Radical entertainment is the only form of mass pleasure, preventing a dangerously hectic society from losing its fragile balance!"

    This setting never gets old, because it is beyond being old since times immemorial. The Ultratech Corporation organizes the Killer Instinct Tournaments, toe to toe battles taking place between illustrious participants, all of them having rather inventive characters, background stories and -perplexedly! - consorting agendas.

    I find Killer Instinct to be especially strong and brave in its atmosphere, in its modal buildup. The character roster is exceptionally flamboyant, even inventive - creating a spectrum in which you won't find the same flavor or tint of color twice. Got any doubts? Consult the Optional Randompraise of the Killer Instinct Character Roster section then.

    Optional Randompraise of the Killer Instinct Character Roster

    Spinal is an ancient warrior. At default, he is dead since millenniums, yet now he reigns in sheer skeletal form, revived by Ultratech. Pretty traditional delivery from a storytelling point of view, yet this nice, kind of a classic fictionmodel does a very elegant job of introducing a skillfully outlined past to a skillfully crafted future.

    Riptor is a genetic experiment. Hm. A geneRic experiment, you thought? AND a possible tribute to Primal Rage, huh? A modest WOW nevertheless, as commanding rampant T-Rexes was great fun for the whole family in 1994 - we are only one year after Stevie Spielberg's Jurassic Prick!! - and I have a PayPal Donation to make that it remains great fun for the same type of community to this day, as well.

    Cinder is a convict, trapped in some relatively crazy existence characterized by a constant self-burning that WOULD consume the flesh - but this man has a SIN so DREADFUL that his spirit forces him to re-experience torment without END, without RELIEF. I confess I made half of this up. Which part is the actual background story of Cinder, you wonder? Yet Another Amazing Reason to be a regular.

    Glacius is an ice-alien. Exhibits evident T1000 influences from Terminator 2. Question arises: why would we have any problem with this? Sabrewulf delivers a nice, massive goth impact on the atmosphere, no woman nor man could play as a werewolf in a 2D fighting game prior to this. Let's face the Strange: werewolves are kind of cool, and, according to popular mainstream mythology, - worship redundance, then kill it with ignorance - they shred Vamp butts!



    Killer Instinct delivers even when it comes to those popular "BAH! Every. Body. Picks. Them." characters. Some people will tell you that the most popular characters of the game are Orchid and TJ Combo. That is a lie, I think. The most popular character of Killer Instinct is Orchid. Period. Yes, TJ Combo would be the next in line in popularity, but you will never select this muscular brada', as the Orchid with the different outfit color - press up and down on character selection - looks waaay better, yes?



    Even when she has the mild Michael Jackson going on.

    and now -

    The Gameplay

    Killer Instinct comes with two health bars, though you won't necessarily believe this until you see the first one being destroyed, just to be replaced by the second, final one. The game comes with six action buttons. If it came with any less, consider yourself an unlucky dudette and demand a flawless model from the factory. If it came with more than six action buttons, then contact the favorite identity of your optional multiple personality disorder, which, I guess, could be even me, huh? Anyway. Three kinds of punches and kicks are available: Quick, Medium and Fierce. Block happens by the traditional way, meaning all you have to do is to pull your sista'/duda' towards the opposite direction the attack is coming from. The first elegant catch of Killer Instinct slowly and surely emerges though.

    WATCH!



    - How was that again?
    - The Shadow of Your Smiiiile - When You ... Were Gooooone ...

    In this here game, you can perform a block in the lower region or you can perform a block in the upper region. Doing the two simultaneously would be a nice trick to show off, but, luckily/sadly, no one will be able to do that without cheating. Here is how the system works: an attack aimed for the upper body region will smash a low guard, but will be blocked on an upper defense. An attack aimed for the lower body region naturally will bypass a high block, but will be blocked and will cause no damage if it meets with a successful lower block.

    The system of Quick, Medium and Fierce punches and kicks offers a solid basis for the steady pace the game flows at, giving the players an experience of swift tactical warfare characterized by two or three exchanges AND consecutive attempts to introduce Specials and/or Combos. Killer Instinct likes to seduce its participants to be engaged in fervent bloodshed with relative intensity. I have a scientific observation to defend this here latest notion with.

    Behold how the characters are moving way faster when they are approaching their rivals. Backpedaling is an option in the game, but a fragile one for escaping. Remains useful for Combos and Specials that require you to utilize a so called "Charge", though. We will observe these Charges later on thoroughly.

    Playing Killer Instinct with a keyboard on a PC on MAME while your neighbor has no idea of this at all, will give you amazing Specials. First of all, be sure to tap around on the direction keys like an accomplished idiot would do in Masterful Manic mode. The effect will be tremendous! Also notice one of the tiny Wonders that Killer Instinct delivers: Fulgore's metal body will collide with the ground via a highly acceptable metallic sound, even upon finishing a jump. This is all very tender AND a nice base to sew sentiments of later on, true? Now let me ask you this:

    What do you think will happen if Fulgore's metal body collides with snow, wood or ice on the backgrounds that have snow, wood or ice on them? What do you think will happen then, huh?
    Now unto the gameplay mechanics.

    Gameplay Mechanics

    A Quick kick deals less damage than its other variants, yet it connects before a concurrent stronger kick would do. An orthodox method to punish the newbie in Killer Instinct is to "steal" a row of quick strikes or punches on her/him while she/he is busy introducing Specials. Notice how dramatic the damage dealt by a Fierce kick is when compared to that dealt by a Quick kick.

    Specials come in two forms: those that do require Charging movements and those that do not. Charging is quite similar to what you have seen in Street Fighter II, for example. All it takes to perform is to constrain your movement towards the required direction - usually back - then release with the given command to state your Special and/or Combo. In fact, I am tempted to believe that there are no Charge movements in Killer Instinct apart from the "Away" direction - BUT!, since I defy belief with ruthless efficiency, I believe I'll defy to believe that from now on.

    MAME Review Killer Instinct Minigame!

    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us


    Can you spot the ass?

    The game partly is about Specials, yet it is massively about Combos. Combos are the bread and butter of what Killer Instinct really is. Each character have a number of Specials that are utilizable to Open a Combo. Combos, as you may have suspected already, are offensive moves you land on your puny rival with rapid succession, giving her/him no time to regain composure. Not giving the time is not identical of not GETTING any, though. We will see into this matter later.



    MAME Review gives you:
    The not too GTA IV screenshot.

    As far as the Killer Instinct Combo system goes, you need to master Openers, Linkers and Enders. And, everything else that do not fall into these aforementioned categories. These cited elements are executed automatically once you give in the appropriate commands, yet the name of the game here is your own readiness and trusty knowledge of implementing possible, additional hits before moving on to the consecutive Linker or Ender maneuver. Thus: the art of playing according to the rules of this system consists of two main ingredients:

    1. finding the elements (hits) you could - effectively - smuggle in between the aforementioned categories of Openers, Linkers and Enders.
    2. proving that the elements are implementable, merely by demonstrating your crazy Combo on any opposing butt foolish enough to stay in the presence of your amazing skill set of profane deconstruction!

    The game monitors all successful Combo efforts and will categorize executed Combos on the fly. The basis of this is a simple, yet elegant naming convention, one which categorizes a Combo based on the number of successful hits it consists of. There are Triple, Super, Hyper ... etc. Combos up to Ultimate Combos, but those are invokable only if certain prerequisites are met. Once you master the Killer Combos of your favorite characters, you could call yourself a competent personificator of those particular participants and you could jump right on to master the Ultra Combos. Do not be afraid: Ultras are but two-three buttons away from you once certain prerequisites are met.

    Combos can be broken by the proper Combo Breaker move. Each character have a Special which is suitable to be utilized as a Combo Breaker as well, but, in order to use a particular Breaker Special effectively, you should know what kind of attack - Quick, Medium or Fierce - you want to break the opposing Combo on. If you are new to Killer Instinct and all this sounds like Chinese Mandarin to you, then you are getting close to understand, trust me. The Combo Breaker system is quite similar to the Stone, Paper, Scissors game, yet thorough knowledge of the characters and their Combos will be a must to find/reveal/recognize and PLAY True Fun out of this underlying system, one which invites you to explore depths rarely offered by the genre.

    In the Guides this review points you to at the end, you will find extensive information on Combos and Combo Breakers.

    The Killer Instinct Dilemma for the Miserable and the Proud

    Or: Are You a Presser or Not?

    As you will see while you perfecting your Killer Instinct, Ultra Combos are quite easy to trigger: all they require is a flashing hostile health bar and - as mentioned - a combination of two-three buttons once a Combo is being performed. Now, here is the catch and also here is the Killer Instinct Dilemma for the Miserable and the Proud.

    Once invoked, Ultra and Ultimate Combos will come to their glorious manifestations as acceptably long sequences of successful attacks. You are pretty much free to sit back, grab a beer and/or a (couple of) well shaped (fe)male knee(s) and enjoy the Ultra or Ultimate Combo you have just stated.

    But! If!

    You are one of the Miserable and the Proud, then you will not do this. The Miserable and the Proud player of Killer Instinct will push the buttons around in a highly manic manner once the Ultra or the Ultimate Combo is triggered - making absolutely everyone believe that he is a One in a Million kind of player, a Legit Archtalent, a VS Type Fighter Demigod! Absolutely everyone, granted that we are talking about the happy people who have zero idea about the workings of the game, that is. Ultras are nice additions, as they are glorious Finishes you could flatter your best Killer Combos with, yet they also are the Bittersweet Solace of the Lazy and the Incompetent, and THIS - is acceptable.

    Just not laugh when you spot a Killer Instinct Ultra Combo Presser showing off the Godlike Skillzzzzz. First of all, it might hurt the feelings, not to mention that the point of the game is to remain Ultra Serious when an Ultra Combo is being guitar-soloed in front of your very eyes.

    Question arises though: is it satisfying to push the buttons around like a mad person when your automated Ultra/Ultimate is triggered and plays along safely, regardless of your actions?
    The only honest answer for this question is this: you must seek YOUR answer for this question. And yes, I asked Yoda and he confirmed, too. (Yoda is a Presser by the way.)

    Leftover

    Killer Instinct had no aspiration for being accused of coming short of the cute novelties and good old fatalities the era and the style demanded by the day. The game delivers acceptably yet not too memorably in this regard. Each participants have multiple finishing moves - fatalities, if you will - and all of them could engage the opponent in a brief, nevertheless somewhat satisfying dance session, too. Once you have mastered the ropes and you are in the possession of the "basic" - HAH! - combo set of your favorite characters, the game invites you to explore even deeper waters by mastering the highly secretive Shadow Combos and related delicacies that deliver additional content to the game.

    As you may have suspected by now, Killer Instinct brings you a rather sophisticated system with plenty of moves and secrets to discover. The knowledge about the game is vast already, therefore I give you a link which points to the most serious and truthful Killer Instinct Guides the human race has grateful knowledge of.

    Killer Instinct Guides for the Arcade version, emulated by MAME

    If you enjoyed this here article, check out my comic: Planetseed
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              DoDonPachi   
    MIND THE GAP(s)!






    DoDonPachi, or, what this Japanese title roughly and playfully translates to: Angry Boss Bee - you know from this point on that you have to play this effort - is a manic sci-fi shooter developed by the Atlus and Cave corporations, also is the direct descendant of Don Pachi, a game that hit arcades and grew quite popular two years prior our delicate subject matter would have had claim rigorous shoot' em up dominance in 1996. This game knows no jokes at all, and has 0 intention pretending it does, hence the consensus decision to regard similar outputs as manic shooters. Bid farewell for relief and pleasant moments of inhalation upon mission completion, and set all your cybernetic reflex-enhancing neurocircuits to the "Temporal Overdrive" position instead, as DoDonPachi is quite the grouchy and elegant game, deeply dedicated to the delicate art of dodging enemy projectiles while still trying to deconstruct hostile alien formations. An immensely demanding title, DoDonPachi guarantees that it will keep your senses and reflexes steadily occupied via a pace optimized for living beings with two pairs of eyes. At least, that is.

    Enjoy and Read on!




    The game is composed of six levels, delivering an increased difficulty with each section you freshly fly on. Respecting rigorous, yet nice and clean traditions, every level will put you against a Boss fight as a conclusion, though you will need to perform superbly in order to emerge worthy enough to gain the interest of the True Final Boss.

    Gameplay is both very fluent and intact, and - this is the bizarre case, folks - wonderfully masochistic, as well. While DoDonPachi is kind enough to let you render relatively peaceful sessions of destruction - great source is the world of videogames if you plan to find exquisite oxymorons - on the first and second levels, those portions are but to get you and your trigger fingers in the mood. Target practice with immense stakes, that is all. From the third level on though, the game gets quite serious: constant survival becomes extremely demanding, yet constant survival is the thing you are looking for and try to master.

    You have three selectable ships at your disposal, each with slightly different speed and firing capabilities. Considering the number of enemies you will face on the maps, it is always good to know that the player ships are capable to destruct matter filling out space not just in front of them, but around them, as well. Greet the two little mechagizmos beside the hull: those are called "Option"s, and you can set them either to represent double punishment power, or you can select them to be indestructible against smaller enemy classes.



    In this here game, firing occurs in a relatively frequent manner: tapping the attack button will start a burst that can be maintained fluently if you keep on tapping, there is not even need to go Metal Slug Psyhotic this time around, either. Pressing and holding the attack button will unleash the lasers: this is Pure Mayhem Potential baby, never subject your staggering haircut to THIS stream of ruthless devastation. Though relying on the lasers is great fun for the whole family, there are drawbacks you got to deal with. First and foremost, delivering this constant attackfoam slows your ship down, and you won't have too much of a chance - because 0 is exactly THAT much, too - to take out your surroundings at the sides. Surely, the lasers represent impressive punishment power, but you need to introduce the enemy to them in the frontal manner so your cannons can recite a truly warm welcoming.

    Bombs are offered and usable, too: use your alternate fire to unleash one of those. Bombs are little helpers you can rely on in case the DoDonPachi experience would prove to be way too much to handle. Whether this will happen or not - you must find out on your own. Suffice it to say that Bombs do clear the screen pretty much 100%, including enemy projectiles that will get converted to collectible Bonuses upon Bomb contact. You can store a maximum of six Bombs at a time. Or you cheat, or you hallucinate. Or both. The Bombs- and five levels of Power-Ups can be obtained by collecting the letters you see flying around: once you reach the maximum Power-Up and/or Bomb level/number, consecutive letters will get you Bonuses.

    We have a little no! no! here, as the individual Power-Up states are not represented visually, or at least I did not notice. I am not sure which of the latter two possibilities is the more catastrophic. Either way, once you are on a higher Power rank, your ship deals more damage. A nice minigame is kindly, subtly offered as far as collection of Extras go: they have a tendency to fly around in an easygoing, bohemian way, one that is quite funny to watch, but making it a definite pain in the definite butt to collect them. Simply put: DoDonPachi invites you to take risks if to go for the Extras - and you WANT to go for the Extras, trust me. And now, for something completely different: the game has a truly brilliant soundtrack. Nuclear guitar warfare with pretty solid, complex, catchy compositions - an evident classic.



    DoDonPachi will keep your senses relatively occupied, indeed.

    A nice Hit system is implemented in the game, quite similar to a combo method: once you deliver a kill, a little meter fills up hastily, starting to count down in an abrupt manner. In case you manage to deliver yet another kill before the meter empties: a Hit combo occurs. You want to keep this meter immensely entertained, as doing that will give you both massive Bonuses and optional means to reach the True Final Monster. Hit Bonuses do not conclude the Extras you can go for. Throughout the game, you will see Bees lying around. It is a nice Bonus subsystem: the more Bees you collect without a death, the more they will worth in points to the maximum of 13 Bees. This subsystem also is an optional method to gain the attention of the Final Boss, for example. For all the other means, please consult the great Guide I link you to at the bottom.



    Now is the time to account on the very core- and very grouchy kinna' fun DoDonPachi delivers. This is the Gap Seeker kind of fun. From the third level on, the title will subject you to pretty much obscene enemy onslaughts, there are times when laying down yet another hostile projectile would be near impossible without intersecting an existing one. These immensely vicious waves are results of multiple projectile patterns. Your only way out is through nevertheless, so you are either to find the gap(s), - thus, MIND THE GAP(s)! - or you could always use a Bomb in case you have some yet. But, to be honest with you, I have the impression that the game could be beat without using a single Bomb, though I realize that you either need Superhumanic abilities or a blatant Fortune Boost - or, granted: both of the latter - to accomplish this. I would urge you anyway to try and go for survival without Bombs. You can always use one when you are absolutely sure that otherwise your butt would be dead meat. Dead meat butts are not very efficient here - avoid ending up as one at all costs.

    The necessity and inherent-, though vicious fun of finding gaps in enemy patterns is an aspect of the game that - sorry 'bout that, Ladies - simply loves to break a man's balls. Waves have a pretty decent length to them, so surviving those is not just a matter of dancing skillfully around with your ship, now that you can do that so elegantly, the game will kindly invite you to demonstrate your readiness for 8-10 hellish seconds in the company of Mr. Death - Imminent. It is also worth mentioning that firing your weapons naturally will intersect with incoming hostile projectiles, making it pretty much impossible to see what is going on - so you will need to balance out efficient aggression and efficient evasion with rock solid skills. I don't know about you, but there were times when I died by the VERY LAST projectile of a wave. Oh, you got to LUV those vibes, baby. And there is little if any doubts that you got to love this game, being one which is not afraid to push your abilities to the limit - and beyond.



    If you enjoyed this here article, check out my comic: Planetseed
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    related recommendation:
    DoDonPachi Guide

              DLC Absolution do Call of Duty Infinite Warfare zadebiutuje już 6 lipca, najpierw na PlayStation 4   

    Nowy zestaw zawiera cztery zróżnicowane, nowe mapy do gry wieloosobowej Aktorka Cassandra Peterson powraca w swojej kultowej roli Elviry w nowej przygodzie Zombie „Attack of the Radioactive Thing!”, osadzonej w potwornych latach 50. Activision i Infinity Ward ujawniły pierwsze detale dotyczące Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Absolution, trzeciego zestawu map do Call of Duty: Infinite […]

    Artykuł DLC Absolution do Call of Duty Infinite Warfare zadebiutuje już 6 lipca, najpierw na PlayStation 4 pochodzi z serwisu PolscyGracze.pl.


              Cash, confusion or cyber-warfare: what really motivated NotPetya attack?   
    Monetising a global ransomware attack on the scale of NotPetya is all but impossible without getting caught. So if not cold cash, what was the motivation behind it?
              Iraq declares end of caliphate after capture of Mosul mosque   

    Iraq declares end of caliphate after capture of Mosul mosqueBy Khaled al-Ramahi and Maher Chmaytelli MOSUL/ERBIL, Iraq (Reuters) - After eight months of grinding urban warfare, Iraqi government troops on Thursday captured the ruined mosque at the heart of Islamic State's de facto capital Mosul, and the prime minister declared the group's self-styled caliphate at an end. Iraqi authorities expect the long battle for Mosul to end in coming days as remaining Islamic State fighters are bottled up in just a handful of neighborhoods of the Old City. The seizure of the nearly 850-year-old Grand al-Nuri Mosque -- from where Islamic State proclaimed the caliphate nearly three years ago to the day -- is a huge symbolic victory.



              (USA-MO-West Plains) Engineer II/III Manufacturing   
    *Leonardo DRS* Leonardo DRS is a leading supplier of integrated products, services and support to military forces, intelligence agencies and prime contractors worldwide. Focused on defense technology, we develop, manufacture and support a broad range of systems for mission critical and military sustainment requirements, as well as homeland security. The Company has been recognized as one of the fastest growing defense technology companies in the world and holds leading market positions in thermal imaging devices, combat display workstations, electronic sensor systems, power systems, rugged computer systems, air combat training systems, mission recorders, deployable flight incident recorders, environmental control systems, telecommunication systems, aircraft loaders, military trailers and shelters, and integrated logistics and support services. Headquartered in Crystal City, VA, the Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Leonardo S.p.A. which employs more than 70,000 people worldwide. Leonardo DRS is committed to recruiting and retaining the best talent in the defense and aerospace industry and niche commercial technology areas. We offer an exciting and challenging work environment, a competitive compensation package and a business culture that rewards performance. For additional information on DRS, please visit our website atwww.drs.com. *Company Overview* DRS Sustainment Systems, Inc. (DRS-SSI) is a Leonardo DRS Line of Business (LOB) headquartered in St. Louis, MO. It is a full service supplier of diversified defense systems, products and support for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and other international defense customers. From conceptual design through manufacturing to integrated logistics support, DRS-SSI has a more than 50-year tradition of providing quality systems and products while meeting customer’s demands for innovation, efficiency and quality. The business unit also includes a 100-acre heavy equipment manufacturing facility in West Plains, MO. The performance of DRS-SSI’s St. Louis operation has been recognized by the Government and industrial customers with numerous awards including: Preferred Supplier Certification, Medallion of Service Award, Intelligence and Electronic Warfare Certification of Recognition, and Blue Ribbon Awards. *Job Location: West Plains, MO* *Position Summary:* DRS Sustainment Systems is seeking a Full Time Manufacturing Engineer III to performs moderately complex functions in the design, fabrication, modification and/or evaluation of manufacturing operations May prepare complicated plans, conduct support studies, and provide analysis or tests in the development of manufacturing operations May assign work to drafters and/or technicians and provide guidance to lower level engineers. *Duties and Responsibilities* * Performs moderately complex functions in the design, fabrication, modification and/or evaluation of manufacturing operations May prepare complicated plans, conduct support studies, provide analysis or tests in the development of manufacturing operations May assign work to drafters and/or technicians and provide guidance to lower level engineers * Responsibilities are diverse in scope where analysis of situations or data requires sound judgment * General guidance given on new assignments as needed * Support, communicate, reinforce and defend the mission, values and culture of the organization *Basic Qualifications* * US Citizenship Required * Bachelors Degree in an applicable engineering field with 5+ years applicable engineering experience (or equivalent combination of education/training and experience * Specialties may include production, industrial, welding, tooling, testing, processing, and robotics Leonardo DRS is an Equal Opportunity Employer – M/F/Disabled/Vet. We consider applicants without regard to race, color, religion, creed, gender, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, marital or veteran status, or any other category protected by federal, state or local law. #MCSS
              Не спешите перепродавать Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare — Legacy Edition   
    Пару дней назад Activision выпустила на PlayStation 4 самостоятельную версию Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered, а вскоре релиз доберётся и до PC с Xbox One. Однако для тех, кто ради переиздания культового шутера в своё время потратился на специальное издание Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, это, увы, не означает, что теперь они наконец-то могут перепродать свою копию космического приключения с Джоном Сноу Китом Харингтоном (Kit Harington) в роли главного злодея.

    Как подтвердила Activision, обладателям Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare — Legacy Edition и Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare — Legacy Pro Edition, в состав которых некогда эксклюзивно входила Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered, всё равно необходимо иметь установленной Infinite Warfare и использовать диск с игрой, чтобы отправиться в старый добрый мир Modern Warfare Remastered.

    И да, та же история с версиями Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare — Digital Legacy Edition и Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare — Digital Deluxe Edition. Без установленного шутера 2016-го года владельцам этих изданий просто не видать Modern Warfare Remastered.

    [читать новость и комментировать]
              Defence policy continues amid new cyber warfare unit announcement   
    The Government's announced a new cyber warfare unit and beefed-up 'offensive capabilities', but bickering within the Coalition over defence policy continues. Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott's suggestion that a nuclear-powered submarine program should be considered is leading to a plea from colleagues to show more unity.
              Iraq declares end of IS caliphate in Mosul   

    Khaled al-Ramahi & Maher Chmaytelli MOSUL [RAW] After eight months of grinding urban warfare, Iraqi government troops have captured the ruined mosque at the heart of Islamic State’s de facto capital Mosul, and the prime minister declared the group’s self-styled... Read More →

    The post Iraq declares end of IS caliphate in Mosul appeared first on Echonetdaily.


              The Revolution in Transatlantic Affairs   

    The year 2001 could have been an eye-opener but the West, too traumatized by the Islamist attack on America, failed to notice an equally important, if less spectacular, development: the creation by China of a coalition, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, including Russia and Central Asia as members, Iran as a silent partner, and India and Pakistan as observers. It took another five years for Western foreign policy experts to realize that this emerging SCO was, for all practical purposes, an OPEC with nukes, which had the potential to develop, over time, into a full-fledged "NATO of the East."

    At the NATO summit in Riga in November 2006, a little-noticed transatlantic revolution of sorts finally occurred when the Atlantic Alliance acknowledged that it would have to "go global" in order to remain relevant. Divided, America and Europe will fall; united, they can retain the lead. But all manners of "going global" are not equal, and the coming globalization of NATO is as much full of promises as it is fraught with perils.

    Some will argue that, with 50,000 troops present in three continents today, NATO is in essence already global. Others will counter that the story of this halfhearted, haphazard globalization reads at times like a tale told by an idiot, full of rhetorical fog and bureaucratic friction, and signifying nothing more than "flight forward" or "muddling through." In fact, in the post-Cold War period, NATO's desire to have its cake (collective defense) and eat it too (collective security) has created a certain conceptual confusion.2

    As a political organization, the Alliance rushed to invoke Article 5 within twenty-four hours of 9/11; as a military organization, NATO turned out to be as ill-prepared to do counterinsurgency in Afghanistan as the U.S. military in Iraq. It would be a mistake, however, to claim that NATO's credibility is at stake in Afghanistan. Afghanistan may have been the graveyard of empires in the past, but it won't be the graveyard of the Alliance -- for a simple reason already pointed out by one European observer:

    When the territorial integrity of one of its members is threatened by an attack, NATO cannot afford to lose. It would sacrifice its credibility as an alliance. . . . But in stabilization operations the existence of NATO is not threatened. Here NATO can afford to fail without losing its credibility as an alliance. . . . There are, thus, fundamental differences between collective defense credibility and stabilization credibility. To lump them together or to blur the distinction between the two, shows a lack of understanding for the very nature of such interventions. The consequences of getting stuck in hopeless operations as well as holding NATO's authority and standing hostage to fortune is doubly dangerous. The UN, the institution with the widest experience in post-conflict stabilization to date, has never made these operations a test for its credibility. NATO needs to do likewise.3

    If the Alliance survived a debacle of the magnitude of Suez in 1956, it can withstand anything. The main danger for NATO therefore is not military failure or even a Suez-like temporary political meltdown, but something more insidious. Over time, what an ill-conceived globalization of NATO could lead to is the transformation of the tactical coalition that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization currently is into a strategic "NATO of the East" while at the same time perverting the Atlantic Alliance into, so to speak, a "SEATO of the West" -- namely, a make-believe alliance with no viable strategy (because a conventional military configuration is irrelevant when the threats are of the asymmetric variety) and no coherent policy (because the interests of the global members are simply too heterogeneous to ever converge.)

    The Long War promises to be a thinking man's war. As a full-fledged Alliance, NATO possesses the kind of staying power that mere ad hoc coalitions cannot deliver; but NATO still has to come to terms with the fact that thinking power will matter more than fighting power. If NATO is to avoid the twofold danger of the SCO becoming a NATO of the East while NATO becomes a mere SEATO of the West, the Alliance will have first of all to downgrade its "toolbox" dimension and beef up its "think-tank" dimension.

    The revolution in strategic affairs

    Ever since the 1999 intervention in Kosovo, NATO has been eager to prove that it stands for more than "No Action, Talk Only." But the adoption by the Alliance of the Marge Simpson doctrine ("Are we gonna just stand there like the French, or are we gonna do something?") has proved to be no substitute for a new strategic concept. Kosovo itself, waged in no small part to maintain the credibility of the Alliance, ended up paradoxically weakening NATO's credibility and the mutual bad blood afterwards constituted the single most important underlying reason of the 2003 near-death experience over Iraq.

    By the time of the 2006 NATO Riga summit, two eminent Americans argued in no uncertain terms in favor of a re-invention of the Alliance: "It is time to stop pretending that everything is fine in Brussels and Mons. NATO will never generate the political impetus and leadership to reinvent itself unless we face that truth and openly debate what this Alliance can and should become. . . . NATO leaders have thus far demonstrated neither the vision nor the political will to reinvent the Alliance."4

    Strong words, to be sure, but perhaps the wrong diagnostic: to the extent that there is indeed a danger of NATO drifting into irrelevance, it is due not so much to an absence of philosophical vision and/or political will as to a deficit of strategic literacy on the part of NATO leaders and cheerleaders.

    On the American side, there is certainly no shortage of will and vision. Our two authors themselves were instrumental in forcing Europeans to look beyond Brussels sandbox politics and leading the drive for a successful enlargement of NATO. In the process of preaching a gospel of "broader and farther is always better," though, they elevated enlargement to the rank of a Kantian categorical imperative and by the same token lost sight of the Hobbesian iron law known in the jargon of political science as the security dilemma. Simply put: however defensive in intent, any actor's move to increase its security always runs the risk of being perceived as an offensive move by another actor.5

    As Vladimir Putin reminded the West in a very Russian way in his Munich speech earlier this year, one state's idea of "projecting stability" is another's idea of "exporting subversion." Enlargement has been a bold move that played a critical (and often underappreciated) role in the successful transition to democracy of the former captive Europe, but for every action there is a reaction, and the gradual enlargement of NATO to the East has been the main cause of Russia's gradual rapprochement with China. A bold move today would be to acknowledge that, for a host of reasons, this process has reached diminishing returns, and that projecting stability should from now on be achieved at less cost through other means, be it security cooperation or global partnerships.

    If Americans these days tend to have forgotten something as basic as the security dilemma, Europeans for their part have serious difficulties remembering something equally basic that they used to perform with undeniable virtuosity: coercive diplomacy. Be it with Iraq yesterday or Iran today, an astounding percentage of the allegedly sophisticated EU elites have the hardest time grasping what any American redneck knows intuitively: namely, that the collective threat to use force is still the best way to avoid having recourse to actual force. Fifty years of increasing focus on intra-EU politics has led EU elites to mistake "multi-level governance" (read: horse-trading by capitals in Brussels) for the whole of statecraft. But genuine diplomacy always rests on the implicit threat to use force, and the EU mantra about force as last resort should logically lead Europeans to view coercive diplomacy as their preferred weapon.6

    Iraq, to be sure, was in many ways sui generis. Iran, by contrast, should be a no-brainer, since a nuclear Iran would lead to nuclear proliferation throughout the Middle East all the way to Algeria. Were coercive diplomacy to fail, then, as Senator McCain put it, there would still be one thing worse than military intervention in Iran -- a nuclear Iran.

    This question of "strategic literacy" of NATO leaders cannot be overemphasized at a time when NATO allies are elaborating a new (i.e., post 9/11) strategic concept. The task promises to be a daunting one if only because, since the end of the Cold War, the very concept of "strategy" has become increasingly problematic in the West -- in no small part because the concept of the "West" itself is no longer self-evident.7

    Forget the "Americans are from Mars, Europeans from Venus" mantra that gave the Brussels Eurocracy the vapors in the summer of 2002.8 Though the slogan captured well a moment of transatlantic relations, over time this mantra has obscured the issue. The truth is, for the past 15 years, and on both sides of the Atlantic, there have been two major attempts underway to get rid of the strategy problematique altogether.

    In the civilian world, politicians and bureaucrats have robbed the concept of "strategy" of any meaning by systematically using it interchangeably with "policy." Academics and think-tankers, for their part, have chosen to blow out of proportion a Revolution in Security Affairs in which "the dividing lines between hard and soft, civil and military security are rapidly dissolving, requiring far more flexibility and causing much confusion as allies and partners have disagreed significantly about how to manage such complexity." This supposed Revolution has been used as a pretext to dissolve the concept of "strategy" in the catch-all notion of "security," the concept of "national security" itself in a nebulous "human security," and last but not least, the concept of grand strategy into that of global governance -- whatever that may mean.9

    Within the military, the concept of "strategy" has not fared much better. The post-Cold War era has witnessed a surreal debate between the disciples of Clausewitz, who invariably confuse strategy with the operational level of war, and the supporters of the supposed Revolution in Military Affairs reducing war to "targeting and shooting," and whose network-centric paradigm leads to a tacticization of strategy.10

    Between the shock-and-awe slogans of the military Mars, and the human security fairy tales of the civilian Venus, Strategy in the West has been MIA for too long. Since the real Revolution in Strategic Affairs happens to be a non-Western affair, NATO leaders will have to start by learning the new grammar and logic of the kind of unrestricted warfare elaborated by the Chinese and the fourth-generation warfare practiced by Islamists.11

    As U.S. NATO Ambassador Victoria Nuland argued, "if the divisive debate over Iraq taught us one thing, it is that NATO must be the place where we talk about all the issues affecting our future -- the Middle East, Iraq, North Korea, China, Iran, just to name a few." The North Atlantic Council has recently broadened its range of consultations to include global issues ranging from energy security to transnational terrorism. But increased consultation, in and of itself, will not mechanically lead to better conceptualization. Enhancing the strategic literacy of NATO's stakeholders should be the logical prerequisite to a debate about the future NATO strategic concept.

    The SCO as NATO peer competitor?

    In the past hundred years, the instrumentalization of Islam has been a recurrent temptation on the part of every rising power, be it Wilhemine Germany or Imperial Japan, Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia, not to mention America itself. As the latest rising power, China itself would not be immune to that temptation even if it were energy self-sufficient. The fact that China's energy needs are huge guarantees that the constitution of a Sino-Islamic axis is for Beijing not just a tactical option, but a strategic necessity.12

    While the pivotal states of this strategy appear to be Pakistan, Iran, and (more recently) Saudi Arabia, the geopolitical situation of Iran puts it in a class by itself, as the most precious proxy in China's "indirect approach" against American primacy. It is therefore no surprise to learn that China is using Iran as a conduit for the delivery of arms to both Iraqi and Afghan insurgents, and providing Iran itself the kind of small boats needed to conduct attacks against commercial shipping or the U.S. Navy in the Persian Gulf.13

    If the instrumentalization of Islam constitutes the geographical axis of China's grand strategy, the functional axis is -- or ought to be -- of equal interest to NATO, since it consists in the artful combination of space power, sea power, and soft power.

    Space power. While lending support to Russia's ludicrous posturing on NATO missile defense, China is experimenting with antisatellite weapons -- a disturbing trend given the reliance of modern military (especially navies) on space power.

    Sea power. A hundred years after Theodore Roosevelt sent his Great While Fleet around the world to signal the emergence of a new great power, China is rediscovering the writings of Admiral Mahan on the importance of sea power in history and dreaming of a Great White Fleet of its own. Against the backdrop of an ever-shrinking U.S. Navy (more on that later), China is transforming itself as a maritime superpower at such high speed that Western analysts estimate it could become the world's leading naval power by 2020.

    Last but not least, soft power. On the military side, China is focusing on developing security cooperation within the ASEAN Regional Forum framework with the intent of marginalizing America. On the civilian side, China is peddling "Asian values" from Africa to Eurasia and from Latin America to Southeast Asia. For the past six years, China has been promoting autocracy through soft power while America has been promoting democracy through hard power, and the verdict is in: China today has a more positive image worldwide than America.14

    Russia's relation to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and its expectations, are of an altogether different nature. On the surface, to be sure, China and Russia appear to be the two main pillars of the SCO. Economically and militarily, the two countries' relation is, for the time being at least, one of genuine complementarity. But while the SCO constitutes the core of China's Islamic strategy, it is for Russia a tactical option to both manage the rise of China in Eurasia and to gain leverage over the West.15

    Unlike China, Russia is energy self-sufficient; and unlike China's Confucianism, Russia's Eurasianism actually comes in two opposite versions: one pro-West and anti-Islam; the other pro-Islam and anti-West. American Putin-bashers would do well to realize that the Putin regime clearly favors the former version --- which may not be the case for his successor. Putin's Russia is a mystery wrapped in an enigma only for those caught in a 15-year time warp. In a nutshell: While Yelstin's choice of an alleged Polish model of transition in 1992 resulted, by 1999, in 38 percent of the population living below the poverty line, Putin's reorientation toward a Chinese model has since created an annual growth rate of 6 percent for Russia -- and a 70 percent approval rating for Putin. Having taken considerable domestic risks by siding with America after 9/11, Putin, for the past 5 years, has received nothing in return -- other than a seemingly endless enlargement of NATO in his own backyard.

    Now that Russia is rich with oil money and has paid its debts to the West, what Russia wants from the West is respect.16 Russia's nuisance capacity should not be underestimated, even though threats to withdraw from the CFE Treaty, or to turn the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) into a "natural gas OPEC," are intended primarily for domestic consumption and to signal that NATO has enlarged far enough.

    Unlike China, Russia is not a rising power. Russian hearts and mind are still up for grabs, though, and there are three reasons why it would be grossly irresponsible to alienate Russia gratuitously. In the short term, Russia's support is critical to solve (militarily or not) the Iranian question; in the middle-term, Russia has considerable leverage over Europe, with much bigger sticks and carrots than America's, and the risk of a creeping Finlandization of Europe is real were America to indulge in brinkmanship; in the long term, the West would have nothing to gain were Russia, against its best interest, to upgrade its relations to the SCO from the tactical to the strategic level.

    The current demonization of Russia in some American quarters is thus incomprehensible, unless one keeps in mind the particular conceit of democracies at war that Kennan, following Tocqueville, pointed out long ago: "There is nothing in nature more egocentrical than the embattled democracy. It soon becomes the victim of its own propaganda. It then tends to attach to its own cause an absolute value which distorts its own vision of everything else. . . . People who have got themselves into this frame of mind have little understanding for the issues of any contest other than the one in which they are involved."17

    This tunnel vision, and the incapacity to distinguish between the essential and the peripheral, is all the more surprising when it comes from the neoconservative side. Among the new generation of neocons, many seem to have forgotten the lessons of the older generation, as captured in Jeanne Kirkpatrick's celebrated 1979 essay on "Dictatorships and Double Standards." Simply put: when all is said and done, there is a difference in kind between totalitarianism and authoritarianism. If Islamist totalitarianism is the main enemy, as the neocons rightly claim, then it follows logically that Russian authoritarianism, however unpalatable to democratic sensibilities, is something we can live with. In that respect, the arch-realist Kissinger is paradoxically closer to Kirkpatrick than some of today's neocons in arguing:

    Russia may be tempted to pursue tactical rapprochement with China. But any meaningful strategic rapprochement with China would move Russia further away from the United States and into a position of dependence on Chinese support. This would run counter to the strategic realities Russia faces on its far-eastern border, given the decline in its population and negative demographic trends. We cannot be fixated by things that are in the power of Russia and China to do. The wise American policy is to establish close relations with both Russia and China. And we should conduct it on the basis that whenever possible there should always be at least equal if not greater incentives or prospect of risks to cooperate with the United States than with each other.18

    Similarly, a wise NATO policy should always make sure that NATO-Russia security cooperation is always stronger than Russia-China security cooperation. By the same token, and given the always-possible energy Finlandization of Europe, a wise NATO policy should make sure that the NATO-Russia Council always remains one step ahead of the EU-Russia Permanent Council.19

    The Great Game and the Long War

    One thing is certain: the Great Game and the Long War will be the two global and generational challenges confronting the West in the next 30 years. While the two challenges at times overlap, they remain analytically distinct. Attempts to conflate the two challenges with a new geopolitical concept like "Greater Middle East" risk confusing the issues. The Great Game? While the West remains fixated on the continental dimension, the East shows more lucidity in giving as much importance to the maritime dimension (more on that later). The Long War? Due to mass migration, the sociopolitical umma no longer coincides with the geopolitical Dar al-Islam.20

    So much for the Greater Middle East, then. When all is said and done, globalization has not so much led to the "spiritualization of borders" (as the flute-players would have it) as to the partial "virtualization of geopolitics." The Great Game and the Long War are global and generational, but the geopolitics of oil, of Islamic banking, of Islamic media, etc. only partly overlap, and the geopolitical mapping required is a multi-level mapping including both the real and the virtual worlds.

    One of the unfortunate consequences of the globalization theology of the 1990s has been the withering away of geopolitical thinking in the West. This eclipse of geopolitics is not totally negative, to be sure, for as one pundit put it, "few modern ideologies are as whimsically all-encompassing, as romantically obscure, as intellectually sloppy, and as likely to start a third world war as the theory of 'geopolitics.'"21

    Yet, globalization theology itself has proven even more intellectual sloppy than the theories of geopolitics. And while the West thought it could do away with geopolitics altogether, the foreign policies of Turkey, Russia, China, and other players were becoming increasingly shaped by distinctive geopolitical visions based less on theories than on memories (with often a tenuous link to historical reality). Thus in Turkey, memories of the Silk Road were the main driving forces in Ankara's turn away from pro-Western Kemalism and toward neo-Ottomanism. In China, a country that had traditionally viewed itself as a quintessential continental power, it is the rediscovery of the short-lived maritime adventures of Admiral Zheng He (the Chinese Columbus) and the awareness of missed opportunities, coupled with the revival of Admiral Mahan's navalist theories, that were being invoked to mobilize public opinion around the idea of turning China into a maritime superpower. Intellectually sloppy or not, these representations have real effects in the foreign policies of non-Western nations. The West can ignore them only at its own peril.

    In the West itself, the current fixation of America on Central Asia and of Europe on the Middle East -- the closest thing to a "Western" geopolitical vision -- is based on two flawed premises. To put it crudely: Americans believe that Caspian Sea oil is the key to success in the Great Game; Europeans are convinced that the resolution of the Palestinian question holds the key to victory in the Long War.

    Talk about intellectual sloppiness: Warnings about a Caspian mirage were already common among energy experts a decade ago, and time has only made them more relevant: "The current fixation with the Caspian Basin's alleged resource bonanza is exaggerating the region's commercial and strategic significance, distorting US foreign policy calculations and raising the risk of unnecessary contention with other actors, particularly Russia and Iran. . . . Russian analysts could be forgiven for construing US/NATO policies as encirclement from the West through open-ended NATO expansion. . . . The myth [of Central Asia and the Caucasus as a region of independent democracies buoyed by new-found oil wealth and part of an expanding "Euro-Atlantic community"] is diverting policy-makers from a far more profound geopolitical challenge to energy security in the twenty-first century: the rising dependence of Asian nations on Persian Gulf oil. . . . It might be wise to ponder how comfortable China will be in relying on the US Navy to defend the sea-lanes through which its Persian Gulf oil must pass."22

    Ten years later, it is clear that just as NATO enlargement to the East has sent Russia into the arms of China, Western energetico-military forays in Central Asia have led China, in turn, to increase its activities in the backyards of Europe (Africa) and America (from Cuba to Panama and Venezuela). America's fixation on Central Asia has been based on probable reserves, which were then contrasted to proven reserves in Persian Gulf, though never with probable reserves offshore worldwide. Since Caspian Sea oil now seems to combine all the problems associated with landlocked transportation and offshore extraction, not to mention geopolitical entanglements, it may be time for a reappraisal.

    If American fixation on Central Asia is questionable, European fixation on the Palestinian question as the panacea of the Greater Middle East is downright irrational. As Edward Luttwak pointed out recently: "Yes, it would be nice if Israelis and Palestinians could settle their differences, but it would do little or nothing to calm the other conflicts in the Middle East from Algeria to Iraq, or to stop Muslim-Hindu violence in Kashmir, Muslim-Christian violence in Indonesia and the Philippines, Muslim-Buddhist violence in Thailand, Muslim-animist violence in Sudan, Muslim-Igbo violence in Nigeria, Muslim-Moscovite violence in Chechnya, or the different varieties of inter-Muslim violence."

    This European fixation is all the more irrational in that as far as the proverbial Arab Street is concerned, the resolution of the Palestinian question ranks only seventh in importance, way behind the usual bread-and-butter issues (employment, health, corruption, education, and even combating extremism and protecting civil rights). And who can blame Ali Six-Pack for his lack of interest? Unlike the Kurds, who have proven capable of self-government, Palestinian leaders have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity, as the saying holds. The pathetic clash between Fatahland and Hamastan is today leading many Palestinians themselves to reconsider the long-abandoned possibility of forming a confederation with Jordan. It is time for Europeans to realize that, as Joseph Joffe demonstrated in a seminal article, "far from creating tensions, Israel actually contains more antagonisms than it causes" -- though of course you would never know it, since Israeli public diplomacy is nonexistent.23

    Flawed premises aside, there is another, more pedestrian reason why the closing of the transatlantic mind is particularly pronounced within NATO. As the Alliance underwent a gradual transformation from collective defense to collective security, this functional broadening focused on the continental dimension led to a neglect of the maritime dimension and thus to transatlantic tunnel vision.

    During the Cold War, the Atlantic Alliance had two geographic pillars: the Brussels-based Allied Command-Europe (ACE) for continental affairs, the Norfolk-based Allied Command-Atlantic (ACLANT) for maritime affairs. From 1991 to 2001, the maritime dimension, once identified with the Atlantic, became confined to the Mediterranean (Operation Sharp Guard). Yet, despite the shrinking of the maritime dimension at the operational level, ACLANT continued, at the intellectual level, to deliver outside-the-box, yet topical thinking on issues like "Multinational Naval Cooperation and Foreign Policy into the 21st Century."24

    The real change occurred with the 2002 Prague Summit's decision to transform these two geographical pillars into functional pillars: Allied Command Operations (ACO) and Allied Command Transformation (ACT). The transformation of the geographical ACLANT into a functional ACT did more than marginalize the maritime dimension; it also brought the wrong transformation to the fore. NATO-ACT being twinned with the U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM), the Alliance, in the name of interoperability, soon adopted all the shibboleths of the RMA: network-centric warfare, information dominance, the change from threat-based planning to capabilities-based planning which can only aggravate the idea of the Alliance as a "toolbox," and last but not least, the religion of jointness itself, whose unintended effect was to downplay the specificity and autonomy of navies when it comes to constabulary and diplomatic missions.

    The whole RMA folklore was introduced to NATO right at the time when, in Iraq and Afghanistan, its limits were becoming too obvious to ignore. The Pentagon is today trying to find a better balance between Network-Centric Warfare (NCW) and Culture-Centric Warfare (CCW), and one would hope that ACT will quickly NATO-ize the lessons learned in theater.

    In and of itself, though, this rebalancing will not bring the kind of maritime domain awareness that is so crucial for an understanding of both the Great Game and the Long War. Outside the Anglo-Saxon world, to be sure, Western policymakers and opinion leaders have rarely been literate when it comes to naval strategy. Though this is not the place for a comprehensive tour d'horizon of the military, political, diplomatic, and constabulary uses of seapower25, basic "maritime domain awareness" is necessary when discussing the future globalization of NATO.

    On the military side, the importance of the maritime dimension begins with the fact that, for all the talk about airlift capabilities, 90 percent of military lift remains sealift. But what is more noteworthy about the post-Cold War period is the fact that the decline of "maritime domain awareness" within the Atlantic Alliance took place precisely at the time when globalization was significantly increasing the importance of the maritime dimension on the commercial side (85 percent of world trade volume and 60 percent of oil and gas travels by sea) and of maritime security, all too often confused with -- and reduced to -- maritime safety.

    It is hard to imagine a "Global NATO" -- in whatever shape or form -- that would continue to ignore the global commons the way today's NATO does. It is time for NATO's maritime commitment to match its continental commitment. To put it only half in jest: Either NATO will go out to sea, or it will go out of business.

    The new Rimland

    NATO was created as the political-military expression of the containment doctrine. While the father of the doctrine was diplomat George Kennan, the godfather of containment was geopolitician Nicholas Spykman. During World War II Spykman had challenged the centrality of the concept of the "Heartland" developed a generation earlier by Halford Mackinder (against Mahan's sea power thesis), and focused instead on what he called the "Rimland," by which he meant essentially continental countries with a maritime facade.

    As Spykman defined it, the Rimland "functions as a vast buffer zone of conflict between sea power and land power. Looking in both directions, it must function amphibiously and defend itself on land and sea." On this geopolitical foundation laid by Spykman, Kennan simply built a chronopolitical strategy of containment, which would pay off 50 years later (much later than initially anticipated by Kennan).

    In 1904, Mackinder had made the grandiose pronouncement: "Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; who rules the Heartland commands the World Island; who rules the World Island commands the World." The Cold War was to prove Mackinder wrong and Spykman right: For 50 years, the Soviet Heartland did rule Eastern Europe; if it fails to command the world, it's because it failed to rule what really matters, i.e., the Rimland.

    Throughout the Cold War, then, it is the concept of Rimland which provided the geopolitical underpinnings for a grand strategy of containment and its security architecture, of which NATO constituted only one pillar (arguably the most important) along with SEATO and CENTO. Today, the Soviet Union is gone and, against all odds, NATO is still around. True, today's NATO is not your father's NATO, but equally true, today's Rimland is not your father's Rimland -- and it is not clear that today's NATO has fully grasped all the implications of the sea-change.

    Today's Rimland is a 400-mile wide amphibious area. In contrast to 1904, the Heartland today is an empty shell, and not just because of Russia's demographic decline. In China, the population is deserting the Heartland and moving to the coast. Worldwide, today's Rimland is both leaner and meaner than a century ago; no longer the "buffer zone of conflict" described by Mackinder or Spykman, this overpopulated Rimland, with 4 billion people living within 200-mile wide coastlands, is the "epicenter of all conflicts."

    Should NATO care? As a military alliance, NATO cannot afford to ignore the increasing covergence of littoral warfare, amphibious warfare and urban warfare -- an issue to which the U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps are devoting increasing attention. As a security organization, NATO's reasons for caring should be based on a recent report produced by the Center for Naval Analyses entitled "National Security and the Threat of Climate Change," describing a number of not exactly rosy scenarios regarding the political-military consequences of rising sea levels in the next 30 years. The hard security consequences of soft-power issues: This is the kind of outside-the-box thinking that NATO should itself promote.26

    Equally interesting is the other phenomenon happening on the new Rimland: the so-called territorialization of the seas. The belated implementation, in the 1990s, of the 1982 Law of the Sea (UNLOS) and in particular of the 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ), has had over time unintended effects. Due to the existence of more than one hundred EEZs, 32 percent of the ocean is today under some sort of national jurisdiction. We are talking an area of 28 million square miles, i.e. four times the size of Russia (America's EEZ itself is two-thirds the size of the continental United States and accounts for 30 percent of the U.S. oil production).

    The process of territorialization of the seas has been twofold: the "enlarging" of territorial waters from 12 miles to 200 miles, but also the "deepening" of territorialization. Twenty years ago, offshore wells were being drilled in just a few hundred feet of water; with ever-improving technology, prospecting then moved to deep water (i.e. beyond 1,300 feet) and more recently still to "ultra-deep" drilling under as much as 10,000 feet, with dramatic consequences for some countries like Brazil, who went from quasi-total dependence on foreign oil to quasi-total independence.

    For all the post-Cold War talk about the decline of the state, there is at least one domain where the state is in expansion, and it is the sea. And for all the talk about a Great Game in Central Asia, it is worth keeping in mind that more than 30 percent of the world's oil and 50 percent of the world's natural gas is produced offshore. The percentage is greater still when moving from proven reserves (i.e., 90 percent certainty) to probable reserves (50 percent certainty). Add to that the fact that 60 percent of the world's oil and gas is transported by sea, and in the end, it is hard to deny that command of the high seas will matter just as much as control of the Heartland.

    A little-noticed global chasm is occurring today in terms of geopolitics: As the center of gravity of world history is shifting from the Atlantic to the Pacific, the Western mind, traditionally maritime, is rapidly closing itself to anything other than continental matters, while the Asian mind, traditionally continental, is becoming increasingly maritime in outlook.

    In the East, a region lacking a security regime analogous to NATO, the lack of clarity of the law of the sea regarding such issues as military and intelligence-gathering activities in the EEZs of other countries, and the competing claims for territorial waters and seabeds, has become a game increasingly fraught with dangers. The best known example is the Spratly Islands, one hundred or so islands scattered over an area the size of France, said to hold more oil than Kuwait, and situated right in the middle of one of the busiest sea lanes, used by 300 ships a day. The Islands are claimed in part or totality by no fewer than 17 countries, and five of them (including China) actually have small military forces on these otherwise uninhabited islands.

    Unlike the legendary Great Game between England and Russia throughout the nineteenth century, the current Great Game at sea involved more than two players: America and China, the two greatest oil consumers, but also Japan and India, Malaysia and Indonesia, and other countries. This multiplicity of actors gives the seaborne Great Game a greater unpredictability. And unlike the slow moving Great Game in Central Asia in the nineteenth century, which resembles a leisurely game of chess, today's Great Game in the Asian Sea at times is more like Russian roulette, in that "incidents at sea" -- like the October 2006 close encounter of a Chinese sub with the USS Kitty Hawk -- have the potential to trigger unintended and unpleasant developments quickly.

    The Great Game at sea is too complex to be examined in detail here. Suffice it to say that if in terms of transportation, the true identity of the players takes forever to sort out (the nationalities of the owner, the crew, the flag, the cargo), there is a clear trend in the nationalization of oil companies when it comes to production: "The percentage of the world's oil reserves held by publicly traded international oil companies (IOCs) has declined, while the percentage held by state-owned national oil companies (NOCs) has increased. Currently, 72 percent of the world's proven oil reserves are held by NOC's [the majority of which are Russian and Chinese]."27

    Should NATO care? When you put together the territorialization of the seas and the nationalization of oil companies, the Great Game at sea becomes worth examining (e.g., the 2006 decision of the Cuban regime to hire Chinese NOCs for offshore drilling -- 45 miles off the coast of Florida). China's interest in Cuba, Panama, and Venezuela shows that the "string of pearls" strategy of China goes beyond the Persian Gulf to the South China Sea and the Gulf of Guinea, extending into the Western Hemisphere all the way to America's Caribbean backyard. Since Chinese NOCs are present in 50 countries and play with different rules than regular international oil companies, one would think that the geopolitics of the NOCs could be a suitable topic of discussion in the NAC.

    For now, the Great Game at sea affects the Pacific more than the Atlantic, and as such has not directly affected NATO. But it certainly affects NATO's new global partners (Australia and Japan, Korea and New Zealand), who all happen to be maritime powers in the Pacific, and this is something that NATO will have to factor in when deciding the nature of its relationship with non-Atlantic powers. Global partnerships will have to be a two-way street, or there will be no global partnership.

    In that respect, it is worth remembering that, in its day, SEATO included non-Asian countries like the UK and France, whose threat perceptions over time evolved differently from those of Australia and New Zealand (not to mention Thailand or the Philippines), and eventually SEATO went the way of the dodo.28 Therefore, when talking about NATO's global partners, one cannot avoid raising SEATO-related issues: Do allies and would-be partner nations have the same threat perceptions? What kind of "added value" will the concept of global partnership offer not only to the former, but also to the latter? In what ways can global partners become a force multiplier for the Atlantic Alliance, and in what way can it lead instead to an "entangling alliance"?

    New perils, then, but also new promises. The maritime dimension is an opportunity for European allies to go beyond the "EU sandbox" and play a global role at relatively little cost, if only because public opinion will always find a maritime commitment more palatable than a continental one. For many allies like Norway and Greece, a greater maritime commitment on the part of NATO would also be a way to display niche capabilities (it's not as if the U.S. Navy had a surplus of mine-sweepers) that they don't necessarily possess in land operations. Last but not least, for a country like France, a middle-sized power as a land power but a maritime superpower of sorts (the third largest EEZ in the world thanks to its South Pacific possessions), a greater maritime commitment would be a way to maintain a leadership position. When it comes to NATO, to be sure, France, since 1958, has never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. With Chirac and Villepin gone, however, it may well be that France will no longer confuse History with histrionics, and volonte de puissance with capacite de nuisance.

    The Great Game at sea is only beginning. However fanciful they may be given the current international legal regime, Putin's claim in June 2007 to a chunk of the North Pole holding twice the oil reserves of Saudi Arabia gives an idea of the challenges ahead as global warming increases the areas available for offshore drilling.

    The Long War at sea

    The maritime dimension is as important for the Long War as it is for the Great Game. Before the attack on the Twin Towers, the attack on the USS Cole gave the West an idea of what asymmetric warfare can accomplish (17 sailors killed and $250 million worth of repairs for a terrorist operation that cost $40,000 to launch). That asymmetric warfare at sea shows great promise has not been lost on the jihadists who, when all is said and done, are less interested in restoring a caliphate (a goal they know is beyond their reach) than in making the West bleed to death economically.

    Nine million containers enter U.S. ports each year, and 80 percent of U.S. port facilities these days are owned by foreign companies. It is estimated that the detonation of a 10-to-20 kiloton nuclear weapon in a container would cause a disruption of trade valued at $100 billion to $300 billion, property damage of $50 billion to $500 billion, and the loss of 50,000 to 1 million lives. A mere dirty bomb smuggled in a container would kill very few people, but the disruption would cost $58 billion and it would take 19 days for ports to resume normal operations and 92 days to stabilize the container backlog -- by which time the disruption could well spawn a recession.

    The trauma caused by two planes crashing into the Twin Towers has made us forget that al Qaeda and its associates have a maritime strategy more sophisticated than blowing up the USS Cole. Before his arrest, the man responsible for the Cole attack himself had undertaken preparation to attack shipping in the Mediterranean with a four pronged-strategy: "ramming, blowing up medium-size ships near other vessels or at ports, attacking large vessels such as supertankers from the air by using explosive laden small aircraft, and attacking vessels with underwater demolition teams using limpet mines or with suicide bombers. During his interrogation, Nashiri revealed that if warships became too difficult to approach, tourist ships could be targeted. The cruise ship industry, which in the U.S. alone carries nearly seven million passengers every year, is facing this new threat."29

    Eighty percent of world trade travels by sea, and 60 percent of the world's oil is shipped by about 4,000 tankers: "Were terrorist pirates to hijack a large bulk carrier or oil tanker, sail it into one of the chokepoints, and scuttle it to block the sea-lane, the consequences for the world economy would be severe: a spike in oil prices, an increase in the cost of shipping due to the need to use alternate routes, congestion in sea-lanes and ports, more expensive maritime insurance, and probable environmental disaster. Worse yet would be several such attacks happening simultaneously in multiple locations worldwide."30

    A rogue nuclear missile on Paris or Berlin is decidedly more unlikely in the next five years than the hijacking and sinking of a couple of supertankers in the Strait of Gibraltar or the Bosphorus. The latter, in particular, is less than a mile wide in some areas, and 10 percent of the 50,000 ships that pass through it each year are tankers carrying Russian and Caspian oil.

    In the Turkish strait in 1996, the nine pro-Chechen gunmen who hijacked a Turkish ferry and held 255 passengers hostage for three days had first considered the possibility of sabotaging one of the two suspension bridges with explosives to bring down the bridge and close shipping traffic. The worst case scenario, now that the Russian Duma has passed a bill to transport 20,000 tons of nuclear waste through the straits in the next ten years, is the possibility of one of these tankers being hijacked in the vicinity of Istanbul, a city of 12 million inhabitants. It is expected that traffic on the Bosphorus will be 50 percent higher in 2010 than it was in 2005, and so will the opportunities to create catastrophic mischief.

    NATO military planners and civilian policymakers continue to think in terms of nation-states and regional "areas of operation," whereas, as the navy community knows full well, maritime threats are more often than not nonstate and transregional in nature. But terrorist networks are genuinely transnational: the Sri Lankan LTTE not only owned and operated a fleet of ten ocean-going freighters flying Panamian, Honduran, and Liberian flags, it also hijacked commercial vessels carrying weapons to reroute them to the Tamil Tigers. In 1994, the LTTE shipped 50 metric tons of TNT on board one of its own freighters operated by a front company from a Ukrainian Black Sea port via the Turkish Straits to Sri Lanka.

    NATO is today paying less attention to potential maritime threats affecting its own civilian populations than to making the non-Western world safe for democracy (or sharia, since the jury is still out). If NATO wants to survive another 30 years, it will have to focus a little more on the concerns of its own population.

    Global NATO, thousand ship navy

    In the 1990s, some foreign policy analysts called on the United States to adopt a policy known as "offshore balancing." Succinctly put, "offshore balancing is predicated on the assumption that attempting to maintain U.S. hegemony is self-defeating because it will provoke other states to combine in opposition to the United States, and result in a futile depletion of the United States' relative power, thereby leaving it worse off than if it accommodated multipolarity."31 Whether such an offshore balancing is still possible or desirable for the U.S. in a post-9/11 environment is highly debatable. But a maritime globalization of NATO could become, for the Alliance itself, the continuation of "offshore balancing" by other means. Its main merit would be to constitute a hedging strategy of sorts against the SCO.

    China is emerging as a maritime superpower as quickly as America itself (not to mention the UK) is declining as a naval power, to the point where China could become the leading naval power by 2020. The Russian Navy, which until now was a pale shadow of Gorshkov's navy (since 1991, the number of submarines has declined from 317 to 61 and of surface ships from 967 to 186) has announced plans to build a class of four new aircraft carriers in 2013-14, with initial service to begin in 201732. One would do well to remember that it took hardly more than a decade during the Cold War for Russia, the quintessential land power, to develop a formidable navy. In 20 years, we could realistically see a China/Russia-led SCO that is hegemonic not only on land but at sea. As counterintuitive as it may be at first, NATO would be wise to consider the possibility of making maritime cooperation the centerpiece of NATO-Russia security cooperation.

    Maritime operations are of course not foreign to NATO. In the 1990s, Operation Sharp Guard constituted a dress rehearsal of sorts for Operation Active Endeavor after 9/11. In 2003, OAE was expanded functionally and geographically to cover the whole Mediterranean and ended up including some Mediterranean Dialogue countries as well as Russia and Ukraine. Many NATO allies participate in the Container Security Initiative (CSI) and the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), and it is no coincidence that the former head of Joint Forces-Naples, Admiral Mullen (the current chief of naval operations and JCS chairman-designate), is the one who developed the concept of the "Thousand Ship Navy" (TSN), which is today the talk of the U.S. Navy.

    Though globalization has increased the importance of maritime affairs, there has been both a relative and an absolute decline of U.S. seapower, with a U.S. Navy today at its lowest level in the post-World War II era. For the first time in 20 years, the U.S. is in the process of drafting a new maritime strategy, but with a considerably reduced force that went from 600 to fewer than 300 ships, and with new responsibilities in terms of nonmilitary maritime security. Hence the concept of the Thousand Ship Navy, which is meant to create a global maritime partnership with foreign navies.33

    TSN is much more than an attempt to make a virtue of necessity. The Thousand Ship Navy -- the "Great White Fleet" of the twenty-first century -- represents a revolution in military affairs in that the concept raises the "network-centric" paradigm established by Admiral Cebrowsky from the domain of strategy (Network-Centric Warfare) to that of security (Global Maritime Partnership). In the process, it brings back a much-needed balance between techno-centric and culture-centric skills as components of success. Just as important, the TSN concept also represents a revolution in diplomatic affairs, in that a global maritime partnership would go beyond the traditional military-to-military contacts and, as Admiral Mullen points out, would unite "maritime forces, port operators, commercial shippers, and international, governmental and nongovernmental agencies to address mutual concerns."

    As the Proliferation Security Initiative in Asia shows, though, this twenty-first- century naval diplomacy presents formidable challenges in terms of redefinitions of "sovereignty." Though the TSN concept is still a work in progress, it is worth noting that naval representatives from 72 countries have already taken part in the first symposium on the subject. NATO would do well to examine if the indirect approach of "going global" through a Thousand Ship Navy path is not also the best way to avoid making self-defeating waves in Asia.

    Strategic considerations aside, there is an additional reason for Global NATO to get associated with the Thousand Ship Navy. Hard as it is to remember today, there was a time when NATO captured the imagination of Western audiences: Until the mid-sixties, in fact, the prospect of an Atlantic Union was seen in Europe as the wave of the future, while the idea of a European Union was associated mainly with coal, steel, and the standardization of electric plugs.34 Today, hard as they try, the 700 million people of the West can't really bring themselves to get exited when the "deliverables" of NATO Summits amount to -- the purchase of three C-17s? If that is NATO's level of ambition these days, no wonder that even the EU is beginning to look good. NATO will require nothing less than a Thousand Ship Navy if it is to recapture the imagination of public opinion.

    NATO and the rise of UN-istan

    Two organizations emerged in short succession from the 1941 Atlantic Charter: the United Nations in 1945 and, when the UN proved ineffective in a Cold War context, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1949. For the next 50 years, NATO's role in waging and winning the Cold War was as central as that of the UN was marginal.

    In the early days of the post Cold War, there were, on both sides of the Atlantic, great hopes that the UN could finally play the role it was initially designed for. A former ambassador to the UN, the elder Bush in particular hoped to make the UN the cornerstone of a New World Order. In Europe as well, as the EU was toying with the idea of transforming itself from an Europe-espace to an Europe-puissance, many thought that an EU military force could constitute the military arm of the UN, and that the EU, in turn, could use the UN as a force multiplier to provide a "counterweight" to the US.

    The fixation of EU elites on this idea led them to overlook the various scandals that marred the UN throughout the 1990s (from the Rwanda genocide to the Iraq oil-for-food program). More important, there is great reluctance on the part of EU public opinion at large to acknowledge the fact that, in the process of enlarging 54 members in 1945 to 184 in 1993, the UN's initial goals have been perverted.

    Once the embodiment of Western ideals, the UN has turned into a lean, mean anti-West machine. Though European publics no longer have any illusion today about a Europe-puissance, they still retain a surprisingly boy-scoutish view of the UN, one that no longer corresponds to reality. European public opinion saw nothing wrong, for instance, in the recent establishment of an International Criminal Court that would give its prosecutor the power of a grand inquisitor, in part because they are not aware of the politicization of the UN (and of the potential use of the ICC as an anti-Western weapon), but also in part because, over the years, they have resigned themselves to the creeping judicial and technocratic imperialism pursued at home by the EU Court of Justice and the EU Commission.

    If, against all odds, the European public has a more positive image of the UN than of NATO, it is for a simple reason: When it comes to strategic communication, today's NATO is your grandfather's NATO. Meanwhile, over the years, the UN has turned itself into a slick, global propaganda machine.

    In that respect, the UN's main achievement since 1949 has been the transformation of a once-peripheral issue into a global Passion Play. Though the number of refugees throughout the world were millions after 1945 (and 15 million more with the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947), the UN decided to focus quasi-exclusively on the 700,000 refugees of the 1948 Israeli-Arab war. For these Palestinian Arabs, the UN created not only a specific agency (UNRWA) but a unique, and Orwellian, definition of "refugees" carefully designed to maintain the issue forever alive.35

    Twenty years later came a new development. The demagogic UNESCO projects about a New World Information and Communication Order did not disappear when the US and the UK left the organization in protest and UNESCO, as a result, lost one fourth of its budget. The NWICO project was simply quietly transferred from Paris to New York, from UNESCO headquarters to UN headquarters. Over the years, the UN-New York developed its radio and TV station and its global network of 60 centers. It has provided "training" to Third World journalists (with a particular predilection for Palestinians) and built both a formal and informal media empire on which the sun never sets. By 1998, the UN spent a greater share of its budget on self-promotion and propaganda through its Department of Public Information (5.37 percent) than on Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs (4.96 percent) or International Justice and Law (2.10 percent).

    At the same time that it was becoming a major player in the propaganda game, the UN inside was gradually turning into a "lawfare" machine against the West. As Joshua Muravchik explains: "In the General Assembly, the Arabs have a unique leverage with which they can make the UN say whatever they want (except in the Security Council where the US veto has prevented that). The 22-nation Arab League constitutes a decisive bloc within the 56-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference [OIC], which is decisive in turn in the 115-nation Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), which constitute nearly two-thirds of the UN and is the organization's main bloc."

    The OIC, it will be remembered, was created by Saudi Arabia in 1969 as a weapon against the Egypt-led Arab League in the ongoing Arab Cold Wars. In recent years, under the leadership of the OIC, the UN has turned into UN-istan:

    The OIC is silent on putting the blame for the slaughter of innocent Muslim pilgrims precisely where it belongs -- on other Muslims. Instead, the OIC squanders most of its energy condemning the West for defaming Islam whenever terrorism is in any way linked with adherents of their religion. . . . While as a group they pay less than 3 percent of the regular annual budget of the United Nations, they have managed to exercise an outsized amount of influence in the General Assembly and its subsidiary bodies over how the UN deals with such issues as Palestine, terrorism and human rights and terrorism. Next on their agenda is a permanent Islam seat on the Security Council. Iran has already been designated as the OIC's preferred candidate for election to the Security Council in 2008. . . . In short, the Organization of the Islamic Conference bloc has been able to manipulate the UN's machinery to turn the liberal vocabulary of racism, oppression, genocide, tolerance and multiculturalism against the critics of reactionary Islam.

    How delusional is the OIC today? So delusional that, at its May 2007 summit, the 56 foreign ministers agreed that the "greatest form of terrorism" in the world today is -- Islamophobia! The same OIC is the main force behind the election of Iran as vice-chairman of the Disarmament Commission, the presence of representatives of the worst dictatorship on the planet in the UN Human Rights Committee, not to mention the attempt, following the Danish cartoon affair, to make the UN recognize "blasphemy" as a crime.

    In this ongoing weaponization of the UN against the West, China has not remained passive: beyond the OIC and NAM proper, the largest group in the UN happens to be the "G-77 + China," i.e., 132 countries representing 69 percent of UN members. China's UN dues may be 2 percent of the UN budget, but Chinese activism in the past decade has spectacularly increased in recent years.36 It is reportedly under Chinese pressure that the US was evicted from the Human Rights Commission in 2001 to make room for Arab dictatorships.

    While the UN was sinking in global parochialism, NATO has gone global geographically (50,000 troops deployed now on three continents) and functionally (broadening of political consultations in the NAC). It is also beginning to go global in its cooperation with non-Atlantic partners like Japan to Australia.

    In some American and European quarters, this globalization of NATO has led some observers to assert rather boldly that "NATO's next move must be to open its membership to any democratic state in the world that is willing and able to contribute to the fulfillment of NATO's new responsibilities."37 But to add four or five global partners is one thing, to add the 88 countries recognized as democracies by Freedom House is quite another. The necessary, if not sufficient, condition for turning NATO into a UN of democracies would be to change the flawed images of the UN and NATO that European publics currently have. That said, this long-term scenario of NATO as a UN of democracies cannot be ruled out given the ongoing deconstruction of the Tower of Babble by China and the OIC.

    With the possible emergence of a NATO Security Providers Forum consisting of the leading contributors, three key questions are likely to keep the Allies busy in the coming years. What would happen with the four NATO Partners who are also SCO members in the event the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council was to be disbanded in favor of a Security Providers Forum. What will be the nature of the articulation between the North Atlantic Council, the Security Providers Forum, and the NATO-Russia Council? Has the time come for NATO to adopt an EU-style, "variable geometry" decision-making process? At the same time, the debate on the future Global NATO should not be limited to these organizational matters.

    The Western-inspired international legal order is today under assault at the UN; at the same time, an obsolete Law of Armed Conflict is preventing the West from defending itself on the ground. As a military organization, NATO should today articulate a "Counter-Lawfare" doctrine for the sake of intellectual interoperability. As a security organization, NATO should not wait until it has become a full-fledged UN of Democracies to start elaborating a New Law of Armed Conflict adapted to the realities of post-modern warfare.38 Last but not least, the Alliance should take strategic communication more seriously and make better use of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (information) and the NATO Defense College (education).

    If the Atlantic alliance is to genuinely "go global," it will have to achieve a better balance between "toolbox" and "think tank" and to focus more than has been the case so far on increased strategic literacy, broader situational awareness, and state-of-the art strategic communication.

    History on the move again

    Two hundred years ago, Napoleon Bonaparte, who knew a thing or two about epochal change, remarked: "When China awakens, the world will tremble." China is awakening, all right, and promoting worldwide authoritarianism all the more successfully that the spectacle of Western democracies lately has not been exactly edifying. If the Chinese promotion of "Asian values" has a global, rather than regional, historical significance, it is because Confucius today speaks with a very strong German accent: that of Carl Schmitt. While Western pundits were enrolling Kojève for their musing on the "end of history," the Chinese were translating nine books by Schmitt to philosophically buttress their return in history. The future of liberal authoritarianism has never looked brighter.39

    The return of China alone would be enough to make the West "live in interesting times." To make things even more interesting, Islam too is back, this time in the form of a totalitarianism which manages to combine an ideological comprehensiveness (Salafism) unseen since Communism and an existential nihilism (jihadism) worthy of Nazism. A generation ago, the post-Vatican II Catholic world finally espoused the 20th century, and the Church went on to play a critical role in the collapse of communism; meanwhile, under the increasing influence of Wahhabism, the Muslim world was going in the opposite direction, and this great leap backward brought them back to the 14th century.40 If the Saudi caliphate does not soon undertake its own Vatican II, chances are the Muslim world will never make it back to the 21st century.

    It is time for the Transatlantic chattering class to realize that there is a time for problematizing, and a time for strategizing -- and that its first order of business should be to stop mistaking a simple transatlantic time lag for a metaphysical problem. In the wake of 9/11, there was an extreme disconnect between an America that had just experienced its first continental aggression since the "second war of independence" (the war of 1812) and a Europe convinced that the then-imminent opening of the Brussels constitutional convention was, if not the beginning of universal peace, at least the world's most important event since the Philadelphia Convention of 1787.

    Hence the temptation in certain quarters to reify this temporary disconnect into a Mars/Venus gap. But the most cursory examination of twentieth-century history shows that transatlantic time lags have always been the rule rather than the exception. The First World War began in 1914, the U.S. only joined in 1917. The Second World War began in 1939, the U.S. only joined in 1942. The Cold War began in 1947, and it took Europe a full two years to give up the temptation of neutrality and side with the U.S. Since the Long War is of an asymmetric kind, it is no surprise if it took longer than usual for America and Europe to synchronize their chronopolitica

              Clausewitz in Wonderland   

    Last but not least, the third major flaw is "strategism." At its "best," strategism is synonymous with "strategy for strategy's sake," i.e., a self-referential discourse more interested in theory-building (or is it hair-splitting?) than policy-making. Strategism would be innocuous enough were it not for the fact that, in the media and academia, "realism" today is fast becoming synonymous with "absence of memory, will, and imagination": in that context, the self-referentiality of the strategic discourse does not exactly improve the quality of the public debate. At its worst, strategism confuses education with indoctrination, and scholarship with scholasticism; in its most extreme form, it comes close to being an "intellectual terrorism" in the name of Clausewitz.

    Clausewitz in Londonistan

    That infatuation with Clausewitz can lead to hair-raising absurdities about the GWOT is never better illustrated than by the recent remark of Anglo-American Clausewitzian veteran Colin Gray on the global jihad: "It is but axiomatic to maintain that an irregular belligerent wins by not losing. Somewhat in defiance of that axiom, I will argue that time is not on the side of the catastrophic, post-modern terrorist. The war-hardened multinational cadre of veterans of the Afghan struggle is diminishing rapidly. It has suffered the natural attrition of age and infirmity, as well as the combat attrition inflicted by an aroused bevy of state enemies.... Those warriors for Islam cannot be replaced by new cohorts with comparable training and group bonding.... Al-Qaeda has now aroused a formidable array of enemies, within and beyond the Islamic realm."3

    Besides the fallacy of equating jihadists with Al Qaeda alone, this static conception of the global jihad in terms of finite "stock" ignores the dynamic created by media, i.e., the cyber-mobilization as the new Levee en Masse. On what planet does the good professor live? From the Balkans to Londonistan, Europe has been, for at least a decade now, the closest thing to a "frontline" in the global jihad. In Colin Gray's Britain today, 6 percent of the Muslim population (i.e., 100,000 individuals) think that the 7/7 London bombings were "fully justified;" 32 percent of British Muslims (half a million people) believe that "Western society is decadent and immoral and that Muslims should seek to bring it to an end;" and 40 percent want to see sharia law adopted in the UK.4

    In Colin Gray's Britain, Muslims are barely 2 million, but politicians are already pandering to the Muslim vote and willing to make all sorts of concessions, including on immigration. Caught in a time warp, Gray looks jihad (al Qaeda) and dawa (Hizb-ut-Tahrir) in the eye, and see nothing more than -- a bearded version of the IRA. Rather than bury their heads in the Clausewitzian sand, strategists would be better inspired to meditate the truly "remarkable trinity" engineered by Arab governments for more than thirty years: natalist policies, anti-Western mass indoctrination, and mass emigration to the West. Isn't time at least to add a chapter to On War on "demographic warfare?"5

    If a Colin Gray -- arguably the smartest living Clausewitzian today -- can be so blind as to the nature of the challenges facing the West, one can easily guess the damage done by Clausewitzology on less talented minds.

    Clausewitz in America: Prussian fantasies, French realities?

    Since the end of the Cold War, the Chinese People's Liberation Army (which can apparently walk and chew gum at the same time) has been rethinking both conventional and irregular warfare. For the former, the pla turned to the American Mahan, not the Prussian Clausewitz; for the latter, the pla went back not only to Sun-Tzu, but also to Lawrence, Beaufre, Arquilla, Lind, etc. -- anything that can be of use in the conceptual toolbox of "unrestricted warfare" (URW). In America, meanwhile, -- and despite a guerilla war engineered by "Netwar" and "Fourth Generation Warfare" insurgents -- the military educational establishment has continued to peddle Clausewitz or, to be more precise, an increasingly Jominized version of Clausewitz.

    Like the aging Marxists with a Karl of their own, the Clausewitzians today are more interested in exonerating their idol from the evil perpetrated in his name than in demonstrating what good he could bring to the current challenges facing the military. It may well be that Marx and Clausewitz were indeed mostly "misread" by most people most of the time, but if the risks of "misreading" are statistically greater than the chances of getting it right, what's the point of making it required reading in the first place? With its unresolved tensions between its theologia speculativa and theologia positiva parts, On War, to be sure, is ideally suited for endless, medieval-like scholastic disputatio. But while Clausewitz-Centered Chatter (CCC) can be entertaining (how many ayatollahs can dance on a Schwerpunkt?), there are undeniable opportunity costs for an officer corps already "too busy to learn."6

    A decade ago already, U.S. Army War College professor Steven Metz remarked: "Like adoration for some family elder, the veneration heaped on Clausewitz seems to grow even as his power to explain the world declines. He remains an icon at all U.S. war colleges (figuratively and literally) while his writings are bent, twisted, and stretched to explain everything from guerilla insurgency (Summers) through nuclear strategy (Cimbala) to counternarcotrafficking (Sharpe). On War is treated like holy script from which quotations are plucked to legitimize all sorts of policies and programs. But enough! It is time to hold a wake so that strategists can pay their respects to Clausewitz and move on, leaving him to rest among the historians."7

    In the past two years, to be sure, the steepest learning curve within the U.S. government has been in DOD, not the State Department or the CIA. But this "transformation" in military education has taken place largely outside formal channels. Today still, such is the institutional weight of the Clausewitzian petits maitres that the former commander of the U.S. Army War College -- one of the smartest proponents of Culture-Centric Warfare -- feels compelled to perform the ritual bow to the master in order to get the institution to accept the principle of a radical revamping of professional military education (PME).8

    Does the obsession with Clausewitz really matter that much? You bet it does. As the military-educational complex (150 institutions, of which the Naval War College is the crown jewel) takes in interagency education, the danger is that "strategism" and "Clausewitzology" will spread to other agencies and may aggravate already dysfunctional civil-military relations at the working level. The Iraqi precedent, in that respect, does not bode well.

    For those who naively thought that the current Iraqi predicament could safely be blamed on three dozen "neocon chickenhawks," Thomas Ricks's recent book will be a revelation: Failure was not the least preordained, and the military, as much as the civilians, has its share of responsibility. Talking about a military fiasco would be excessive, because it is not the U.S. military that made the two most fateful decisions (disbanding the Iraqi army in 2003; taking four months to form a government in 2006). But the fact remains, "well into 2005, the American military ... didn't imagine or prepare for the possibility that former regime members had their own 'day-after' plans to fight on even if they lost the conventional battle. It didn't imagine that Iraq would become a magnet for international jihadists, so it failed to seal the borders. It didn't imagine the Sunni tribal militias would react with such violence to the American presence, so it failed to take the pre-emptive economic and political steps to address their grievances. And it failed to understand that there were elements within the Shiite community that would use force to try to establish a theocratic system."9

    Like McMaster's Dereliction of Duty on Vietnam (a book hugely popular with mid-level officers), Ricks's Fiasco on Iraq is at times too harsh on the military brass, and tends to misdiagnose a problem which, more than ever, is not so much moral as intellectual.10

    The generation of Maxwell Taylor graduated from West Point at a time, the early 1920s, when the "lessons learned" could not but focus on a conventional war (World War 1), and their first-hand experience of war was shaped by another conventional war (World War 11). Thus, the Taylor generation never had existential nor intellectual exposure to irregular warfare (there was little theoretical work on the subject), and by the 1960s, neither did they have much incentive to learn from the experience of foreign powers (UK and France) which, unlike America, were after all colonial powers. But the successor generations should have logically benefited from the "lessons learned" in Vietnam as well as the growing literature on counterinsurgency. Yet instead of being exposed to the policy-relevant Clausewitzian realism of Osgood's Limited War Revisited (1979), the new generation of officers was force-fed with the Clausewitzian "surrealism" of Summers's On Strategy (1981) -- the true beginning of strategy for strategy's sake in America.

    By 1999, the reasons for not using Clausewitz as a textbook had become apparent even to the Clausewitzian die-hards -- who nevertheless concluded, in surrealistic fashion: "Because much of the existing literature on Clausewitz explains his significance within an obsolete context, few educators are able to forcefully demonstrate his relevance in the post-Cold War world.... It is difficult to pin any blame on educators, however, when the existing version of On War is so difficult to reach and to teach from."11

    Difficult to pin any blame? Not so fast. Chronologically and logically, the first blame would appear to fall on the educators' shoulders: isn't it a failure to learn on the part of military educators which later led to a failure to anticipate on the part of military planners and to a failure to adapt (quickly enough) on the part of military commanders on the ground?12 Isn't it the educators who drew the wrong lessons from Vietnam and came up with the surrealistic Weinberger Doctrine; who dubbed "Operations Other than War" (OOTW) anything that did not resemble a Clausewitzian "decisive battle;" who, having reduced "war" to "battle," "battle" to "combat," and "combat" to "targeting and shooting," dismissed post-combat planning as postwar planning best left to civilians.

    Since the proverbial military-industrial complex can always be counted on to push for a technocentric approach to war, isn't it the duty of the military-educational complex to make sure soldiers never lose sight of the anthropocentric approach? And once it becomes clear, as in the early 1990s, that U.S. is peerless in conventional warfare, isn't the duty of educators to anticipate that the enemy will have no choice but to choose an asymmetrical approach -- as in "irregular warfare?" Yet, while the Osamas of this world were issuing fatwas against "Jews and Crusaders" and defining their own struggle in terms of "Fourth-Generation Warfare," our Clausewitzian Ayatollahs were too busy turning Vom Kriege in a military Quran and issuing fatwas against the theoreticians of 4GW, Netwar, and other postmodern "heresies." If that attitude does not qualify as "dereliction of duty," what does?

    For the neutral observer, then, the problem with the "neocon chickenhawks" is not so much that they lacked an understanding of irregular warfare13 as that they seriously underestimated the sterilizing effect, on the American military mind and over a generation, of three dozen Clausewitzian cicadas for whom counterinsurgency was synonymous with "derisive battle." A contrario, the intellectual agility since the end of the Cold War of a Marine Corps largely exempt from the Clausewitz regimen (from General Krulak to General Mattis) would tend to prove that the problem is not with the officer corps itself, but with the (largely civilian) Clausewitzian educators. If the Clausewitzian text is indeed so filled with fog and friction, if On War is so hard to teach from that even most educators can't teach it properly, then surely thought should be given to retiring Clausewitz, or the educators -- or both.

    The "cognitive dissonance" among Clausewitizians consists in maintaining the most dogmatic approach concerning Clausewitz as the True North, while deploring -- like Gray -- that "American military power has been as awesome tactically as it has rarely been impressive operationally or strategically.... the German armed forces in both world wars suffered from the same malady" (as if the two were somehow unrelated). If, as Gray rightly points out, "strategy is -- or should be, the bridge that connects military power with policy," what kind of a bridge is On War, which devotes 600 pages to military power and next to nothing to policy? Between the "strategy for strategy's sake" of the Clausewitzians, and the "tacticisation of strategy" of Network-Centric Warriors, genuine strategic thinking seems to be forever elusive -- missing in action as much as in reflection.

    Why such an irrational "resistance" (in the Freudian sense) on the part of military educators? After all, it does not take an Einstein to realize that, from Alexander the Great to Napoleon, the greatest generals for 20 centuries had one thing in common: They have never read Clausewitz. And conversely, in the bloodiest century known to man, the greatest admirers of Clausewitz also have had one thing in common: They may have won a battle here and there, but they have all invariably lost all their wars. One suspects that the Prussian Party is in fact not so much interested in meditating Clausewitz (their endless exegeses of Clausewitz in the past 30 years has yielded no new insight beyond the interpretations of a Raymond Aron and a Carl Schmitt) as such, as in maintaining a "Prussian folklore" in the U.S. military. One can understand their hostilite de principe to the idea of teaching irregular warfare: from Marshall Bugeaud to General Beaufre, from Marshall Gallieni to Marshall Lyautey, from Colonel Trinquier to Lieutenant Galula, the majority of the leading theoreticians on the subject happen to be, not Prussian but -- horresco referens -- French. And as is well-known by anyone who gets his military history from Hollywood rather than Harvard, the French, since 1918 at least, have proven utterly incapable of fighting.14

    Ironically, and Prussian fantasies notwithstanding, what the post-Gulf War American Army has come to resemble is the post-World War i French Army: In both cases, victory breeds complacency, and this in turn can lead to a solid but unimaginative army capable of holding its own against an equally solid but unimaginative opponent -- but is not necessarily a match for an innovative military, be it in the form of the German "blitzkrieg" yesterday or Chinese "unrestricted warfare" tomorrow. No wonder that a particularly bold USMC colonel felt compelled recently to argue that the "Shock and Awe" doctrine could prove to be America's twenty-first-century Maginot Line.15

    As of this writing (August 2006), it is too early to tell whether Baghdad will be America's Battle of Algiers -- or Battle of Jena. But it is not too early to call for a Renaissance in Strategic Education -- for military and civilians alike. In diplomacy as in academe and in the media, there is unquestionably a need for greater strategic literacy, and the military can play a constructive role; but by the same token, the military will have to free itself from the Clausewitzian straitjacket if it ever wants to make a significant contribution to grand strategy.

    The Revolution in Guerrilla Affairs

    Unlike his disciples today, Clausewitz was an attentive observer of the revolution in military affairs of his day. It so happens that this RMA was in conventional warfare (the Carnot-Bonaparte revolution), whereas that of today is in irregular warfare (Netwar, 4GW). Clausewitz, to be sure, was no stranger to irregular warfare; in fact, On War was initially meant as the first part of a triptych on conventional warfare, irregular warfare and tactics. But the fact remains that in the 10 volumes of his complete works, the least developed (quantitatively and qualitatively) topic remains irregular warfare. Every thinker, to be sure, is a product of his time and, as Raymond Aron observed long ago, it should not come as a surprise that Clausewitz could only conceive of guerrilla warfare in the form of the traditional (defensive) "guerre populaire" and not the twenty-century (offensive) "guerre revolutionnaire." Be that as it may, it is not until the turn of the twentieth century that the conceptualization of irregular warfare will take a new turn, through the combined effects of the anthropologization of military theory (Calwell, Lawrence) and the militarization of revolutionary ideology (Lenin, Trotsky).16 Meanwhile, in the field of the conventional warfare, the traditional Clausewitzian emphasis on "annihilation" and "decisive battle" will find itself challenged by Delbruck and Corbett, while Liddell Hart will bring the debate on an altogether different plane: that of Grand Strategy.

    If Mao Zedong marks a major turning point in the history of irregular warfare, it is because he blends the Western and Eastern traditions and offers the most comprehensive theory and practice of Guerrilla -- leading General Beaufre to refer to Mao's Long March in terms of "Grande Guerrilla." Yet, in one fundamental aspect, Mao continues to view irregular warfare the same way as Clausewitz: Irregular warfare is merely a "support activity" for conventional warfare; there is no substitute for a conventional, "decisive battle" in the third phase of Mao's people's war.

    If there is a real "Revolution in Guerrilla Affairs," then, it is not to be found in Mao's Long March, but in the French-Algerian War (1954-1962). By 1962, the Algerian FLN forces are reduced to 10,000 men, while the French regular forces include more than 100,000 Algerian volunteers. But through the clever use of media (in particular Nasser's "Voice of the Arabs," the al-Jazeera of the time) and high-visibility fora provided by nascent international organizations (the UN, the Arab League, etc.), the Algerian FLN, while thoroughly defeated militarily, will be able to level the playing field and -- the asymmetry of political wills being what it is [17] -- to prevail politically, in a way totally unanticipated by Mao.

    Fast forward to 1989. The year of the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, William Lind and his iconoclastic "band of brothers" come up with a new theory: Fourth-Generation Warfare. Initially eclipsed by other postmodern discourses (Toffler, Keegan, and especially Van Creveld), "Fourth-Generation Warfare" will enter the lexicon of the mainstream media only after the 9/11 events.

    And the first criticism that 4GW will have to confront is that it is based on shaky history. While the point is well-taken, it is worth noting that this is not the first time in military circles that good theory rests on lousy history. In his time, 1957, Samuel Huntington's historical account of the relation between the Soldier and the State was at best fuzzy history; yet Huntington admirably succeeded in devising a much-needed normative theory of civil-military relations in democratic countries valid for the whole Cold War (whether the U.S. military should continue today to treat it as gospel is another question). Similarly, the historical foundations of 4GW theory are awkward at best: The "generational" periodization cannot fail to make any serious historian cringe, and a more rigorous genealogy should probably have followed the rough "revolution in guerrilla affairs" model outlined above. At the very least, the proponents of 4GW would have been better inspired to argue that, in the second half of the twentieth century, a new form of warfare became dominant due to a host of endogenous and exogenous factors: the increasing militarization of ideologies (Marxism yesterday and Islamism today), the constraints brought by weapons of mass destruction, the opportunities offered by the new weapons of mass communication, etc.

    Be it as it may: As Lawrence Freedman, the dean of British strategic studies, pointed out recently, "the fact that 4GW is based on poor history, and does scant justice to the forms both regular and irregular warfare can take, is not in itself a reason for neglecting its prescriptive aspects."18 4GW theory, which presents itself as a work in progress rather than a closed system, remains one of the most useful approaches to understand the grammar and logic of the current global jihad. And the Clausewitzian drill sergeants are all the less justified in dismissing 4GW in that, unlike other postmodern theoreticians, the 4GW warriors do not exhibit an a priori hostility toward Clausewitz.

    "Virtual States" and "Nonlinear Wars"

    There is, to be sure, room for improvement. Thus, due to the Clausewitzian, state-on-state, force-on-force, dogmatism prevailing in military circles in the 1980s, the theoreticians of 4GW were initially inclined to put the emphasis on the opposite: the importance of transnational, nonstate actors at the strategic level, of dispersion rather than concentration of forces at the operational level, etc. Today, by contrast, it would be more useful to focus on the concept of "Deep Coalition" between state and nonstate actors put forward by other postmodern defense intellectuals (Alvin Toffler).

    One clear shortcoming of 4GW theory is the axiom of a "crisis of legitimacy" of the state. For one thing, the "post-Westphalian" rhetoric so common since the end of the Cold War rests on an idealized vision of the Westphalian order, during which sovereignty was in fact never as total as some would assume; conversely, of the 150 states that have emerged since 1945, the majority have never been real states but "quasi-states." Too much emphasis on "terrorism" as a product of the "crisis of legitimacy" of the state is wrong not just factually but heuristically as well, in that it leads analysts to overlook the importance of terrorism as a "force multiplier" for the (actual or potential rogue) state. Simply put, the axiom of a "legitimacy crisis" is an impediment to an analysis of the various modalities of "war by proxy".19 Similarly, too much emphasis on "dispersion" can lead one to overlook the fact that "swarming" campaigns -- like the recent "cartoon jihad" -- are driven by "deep coalitions" of states, IOs, and NGOs.

    Last but not least, one could certainly take the 4GW warriors to task regarding their editorial strategies: Having denounced the Western lumpen-intelligentsia for what it is (a Fifth Column), some 4GW theoreticians, blinded by anti-Bush passions, end up publishing their diatribes in the columns of the same lumpen-intelligentsia. True, William Lind on Antiwar.com is not nearly as bad as Jane Fonda on Hanoi TV, but given the IQ differential, this "objective complicity" (as Marxists used to say) still is "worse than a crime -- a mistake." Just like it is time for Clausewitzians to realize that ours is the age of the "Three-Block War" (Krulak), and that Santa Clausewitz won't be coming to town, it is time for 4GW warriors to grow up and accept the fact that -- to update Donald Rumsfeld -- "you go to war with the SecDef you have."

    It is time to "bring the state back in," lest the 4GW and Netwar discourses end up being afflicted with the same disease as Network-Centric Warfare: namely, the "tacticisation of strategy." But the return of the state will not be synonymous with a return to Clausewitz. For one thing, the "state" is not the transparent, self-evident, ahistorical concept that some strategists all too often assume. In the days of Clausewitz, at any rate, the State was close to Fichte's "Geschlossene Handelstaat;" today, it is closer to Rosecrance's "Virtual State." For another, as the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review puts it, the Long War will have to be waged across the proverbial DIME spectrum, now renamed DIMEFIL (diplomacy, information, military, economic, financial, intelligence, law enforcement). Old Carl may have had a few interesting things to say about counterinsurgency (COIN), but he never ventured beyond the military dimension (in short, and to put it in modern parlance: it's COIN and DIME, stupid).

    The bottom line: because wars are now waged along the DIMEFIL spectrum, the nonlinearity of war has increased exponentially. In his time, to be sure, Clausewitz had the intuition that -- to put it simplistically - "fog and friction" combined to produce nonlinearity, but this idea was never fully developed (the "chameleon" imagery in On War does not quite make a chaos theory). Today, the main driver of nonlinearity is not military friction, but media contagion. The overarching metaphor is not so much mechanics as epidemiology. The new buzzword is not kinetics, but "memetics." The main problem in the field out there is "mass disruption and mass contagion," while the relevance of the Clausewitzian "fog and friction" is confined primarily to, well -- the Beltway's interagency "turf wars."20

    Clausewitz will never deliver the grammar and logic of Global Jihad. Can the Prussian's masterpiece at least increase the "situational awareness" regarding the current challenges? Let's do a quick tour d'horizon to see a contrario why, in and of itself, "Knowing Thy Clausewitz" will never provide the Big Picture necessary to devise a Grand Strategy.

    "Deep Coalitions" and "Soft Balancing": The Shiite crescent and the SCO

    In 12 month's time since the June 2005 presidential elections, Iran has managed to eclipse Iraq and Afghanistan as problem No. 1, thanks to the combination of nuclear ambition and genocidal proclamations. In what way can Clausewitz bring any light to the question "Iran: to bomb or not to bomb?" The Prussian, to be sure, can help us remember that Iran is not a unitary actor but -- so to speak -- a trinitarian one (government, military, people). Beyond that, nothing; yet, it may well be that, in order to avoid the alternative between appeasement and atomization, the U.S. will have to devise a policy whose success will rest, not just on a good grasp of Iranian civil-military relations, but of the correlation of forces within the Iranian military itself, between the regular army and the Revolutionary Guards, i.e., between those for whom "war is but the continuation of politics by other means" (in the conventional sense) and those for whom "war is the continuation of martyrdom by other means." But what do we know about the "tribal politics" of the Iranian military, and the possible incentives for defection, rebellion, subversion? Over the years, an unbalanced curriculum in terms of education (fixation on "decisive battle" and "swift victory") has had long-term implications in terms of organization (marginalization of the Foreign Area Officer program in terms of funding and promotion).

    Because it deals essentially with tactical and operational, not strategic matters, neither does On War have anything to tell us on the increasingly salient subject of interstate rivalries in the Muslim world. To the extent that both Saudi Arabia and Iran can be described as "virtual caliphates" (in the sense of "virtual state" mentioned above), the post-1979 cold war of sorts between these two caliphates (reminiscent of the Soviet-Chinese rivalry) has a logic, and an autonomy, of its own (which, incidentally, would exist in the absence of an Israeli-Palestinian conflict) -- as did, a generation ago, the older cold war between pan-Arabist Egypt and pan-Islamist Saudi Arabia (which would have existed as well in the absence of a Cold War between the U.S. and the USSR).21

    Just as On War has little policy relevance for Muslim civil-military relations and interstate competition, so it sheds no light on another increasingly salient question: the "deep coalition" between Muslim state and nonstate actors. Though the Shiites represent only 15 percent of the Muslim world, the emerging Shiite Crescent has a formidable potential for nuisance in the region (due to both the sheer number of countries with Shiite minorities, from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan, and the fact that Shiite territories tend to be where the oilfields are). What is the nature of the relation between the Shiite center (Iran) and the periphery (from Iraq to Pakistan)? What is the relative weight of religious (Shiite) vs. ethnic (Persian) factors in the "deep coalition" between the Iranian State and nonstate actors (Hamas, Hezbollah)? Under what conditions could Shiites and Sunnis overcome their differences and come up with a joint grand strategy against the West? These are difficult questions, but one thing is sure: not only On War won't give you the right answers, it won't even lead you to ask the right questions.

    A small consolation: when it comes to identifying the "operational code" of deep coalitions, neither "game theory" nor "structural realism" is likely to shed any light either. Forget about "rational choice" theories: In the non-Western world in general, and in the Middle East in particular, state actors have a long record of self-delusion, miscalculation and defection.22 Rather than "structural realism," it is a "cultural realism" approach which will make intelligible the constantly shifting evolution between cooperation and confrontation, whether among nonstate actors (Hezbollah and al Qaeda, e.g.) or state actors (Saudi Arabia and Iran).

    "Soft Balancing" is another missing chapter in Clausewitz's On War. International relations scholars have spent the better part of the 1990s wondering why the lone remaining superpower was not being "balanced" -- as required by realist theory -- by would-be regional hegemons. Look no further now: Since the summer of 2005, "balancing" is happening big time, led by China and Russia. What could still be loosely described in the 1990s as an amorphous "Sino-Islamic Axis" (Huntington) has taken, a decade later, a more institutionalized form to the point where some Western observers describe the China/Russia-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) over Central Asia as an emerging "NATO of the East."

    From a traditional realist point of view, there was in fact nothing preordained in Russia's "bandwagoning" behavior vis-à-vis the Sino-Islamic Axis (the laws of geopolitical physics being what they are, a seemingly never-ending enlargement of NATO to the East simply led Russia to toy with the idea of turning the SCO into an Eastern NATO). Yet, Russia is not yet "lost": It belongs to the West, and traditional realists can plausibly argue that a little self-restraint on the part of the U.S. should be enough to get Russia back into the Western fold. While Russia's dangerous liaison with the SCO can be interpreted as tactical "soft balancing,"23 the same can no longer be said of China. China's growing global activism, from Latin America to Sub-Saharan Africa, from the Middle East to Central Asia, is bringing anything but stability in its wake, and China's recent development of second-strike capabilities, along with the construction of giant bunkers accommodating 200,000 people, cast doubt on the "softness" of its balancing act.

    As a result of the emergence of the SCO, the focus of nato activities is likely to be less on a further enlargement to the East than, on one hand, "engaging" counter-balancing global partners (Australia, Japan, etc.) and on the other, "deepening" the political dialogue within the North Atlantic Council (to include now energy security issues). In the long term, and given the gradual subversion of the UN by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (see below), it is not impossible to imagine NATO transforming itself into a UN of Democracies. NATO, SCO, OIC: This triangle is likely to define the new geopolitical environment at the highest level for the near future. But where is the chapter in Clausewitz on "Alliance Politics?"24

    The "Permanent Campaign" and the "Long War"

    Since the Algerian War, the role of media in conflicts has increased exponentially. The 1960s was the Age of the Image, of "pseudo-events," of celebrities known for their "well-knownness," and both Castro and Arafat (two media inventions) quickly discovered how to exploit these new opportunities. In the 1970s, Khomeini used small media as force multipliers for a big revolution, while in the 1980s (intifada) and the 1990s (Balkans), the mediasphere became for the first time the main "battlespace." With the advent of 100 Muslim satellite televisions channels since the mid-1990s, some analysts have wondered about the relevance of Clausewitz in the Age of al-Jazeera, while others have discerned the emergence of a new, non-Clausewitzian strategic trinity.25

    Within the various USG foreign affairs agencies, though, there is still great reluctance to view strategic communication as something that should be "present at the takeoff, not just the crash-landing," of foreign policy. In the counter-terrorism community, similarly, there is a tendency to treat terrorism as a suspension of communication (when it is in fact the continuation of communication by other means), and thus to fail to realize that counter-communication should be at the core, not the periphery, of counter-terrorism. The 2006 QDR asserts that the Long War will ultimately be won through "strategic communication." The problem? When it comes to strategic communications, amateurs talk about "messages," professionals talk about "narratives" -- and there are way too many amateurs in strategic communication today.

    In domestic politics, since the advent of the so-called "Permanent Campaign" in the late 1970s, political communication has become a job where there is "no place for amateurs." The "ballot-box warriors" are by now fully aware of the importance of narratives. But there is today, in terms of sheer sophistication, a 30-year time lag between political communication at home and strategic communication abroad.

    It is time to realize that, while foreign policy is not a popularity contest, "world leadership" is not a divine right either. Since the withering away of the Soviet threat, the U.S. has been de facto engaged on the world stage in a "permanent campaign" of sorts where there is -- or should be -- no place for amateurs either (in the Clinton era, the White House understood the importance of stagecraft, though more often than not as a substitute for, rather than a complement to, statecraft). This "permanent campaign" imperative was true during the peaceful 1990s; it is all the more true now in the context of a Long War in which, over time, memories of 9/11 abroad will inevitably begin to fade and the U.S. will inevitably begin to appear ("politics is perception" abroad too) as the "greatest threat to world peace." It is not too late to develop the same sophisticated understanding of strategic communication as that of General Marshall (as secretary of state) and General Eisenhower (as president) in the early days of the Cold War.26

    In the ongoing battle for hearts and minds, public diplomacy and information operations will continue to go nowhere fast so long as they stay on "message" instead of moving on to "narrative." From John Arquilla to Lawrence Freedman, the best strategists have -- unsuccessfully so far -- tried to draw attention to this fundamental rule of strategic communication: "Opinions are shaped not so much by the information received but the constructs through which that information is interpreted and understood" (Freedman). Yet, the State Department and DOD remain stuck in the tactical level of messages ("early alert and rapid response") and have yet to tackle the strategic question of narratives. In the context of the GWOT, it is hard to overstate the importance of narratives, be they personal or collectives, prospective or retrospective, at the micro-, meso-, or macro-levels.

    At the micro-level. As two defense intellectuals recently pointed out, "a grand counterterrorism strategy would benefit from a comprehensive consideration of the stories terrorists tell: understanding the narratives which influence the genesis, growth, maturation and transformation of terrorist organizations will enable us to better fashion a strategy for undermining the efficacy of those narratives so as to deter, disrupt and defeat terrorist groups."27

    At the meso-level. It is time to bring genuine scholarship back in the meta-narrative of twentieth-century Middle East history. Since the Arab Revolt of 1916, the history of the region has been first and foremost the history of three successive rivalries. A first rivalry between the reactionary Saudis and the progressive Hashemites (1916-1925) for the control of the Holy Sites (and of the Oily Land, as it turned out later). A second rivalry between pan-Arabist Egypt and pan-Islamist Saudi Arabia (1945-1979) for leadership in the Arab world. A third rivalry between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran (1979-today) for the leadership of the re-Islamization of the global umma.

    In short, from the point of view of Muslim history, the twentieth century has been as much a "Saudi Century" as Western history has been an "American Century." Will the twenty-first century be an "Iranian Century"? If it gave up its nuclear fantasies, it certainly could. At any rate, analysts would do well to focus on the impact of the renewed Saudi-Iranian rivalry on the region, and once and for all see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for what it once was (a sideshow but a useful alibi to maintain a "state of emergency") and what it is fast becoming today (a probing ground to test the determination of the West).

    At the macro level. The most effective retrospective meta-narratives rise to the national (or even global) level and acquire the status of "collective memories" -- which, more often than not, have little to do with scholarly history. If there is one grand narrative that needs to be thoroughly deconstructed, it is that of "Western imperialism vs. Muslim victimization." For nearly a thousand years, 711 until 1683, it was Islam which was on the offensive, and the West on the defensive, with a few sporadic counteroffensives (aka the Crusades). And it is thanks to the continuous pressure of Russia on the Ottoman empire from 1699 on that Western Europe became free to safely turn its back on the Muslim question and develop an Atlantic Civilization (Russia is the unacknowledged enabler in the Plato-to-NATO narrative).28 So much for Western Imperialism, then.

    Beside the message vs. narrative issue at the level of information operations, the main challenge of strategic communication in the context of the Long War is to bring a proper balance between short-term information operations and long-term education operations. Despite its pitiful budget, the State Department has traditionally been good at "Edu Ops," and the Pentagon could learn a thing or two from State (just like State could learn from DOD about Info Ops). Every year, 2,000 foreign officers graduate from the various U.S. military institutions. At very little cost, there could be ten times more, while the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program could achieve a better balance between sheer training and genuine education.29 Then again: where is the chapter in Clausewitz on the strategic importance of "Defense Diplomacy?"

    "Petrodollar Warfare": EU-SCO-OPEC

    Need, Greed, and Creed: this "remarkable trinity" owes nothing to Clausewitz, yet has always governed the political economy of warfare in most of the world most of the time. War seems to have been the continuation of economics (as much as of politics) by other means for the better part of the past 2,000 years. At the other end of the spectrum, a traditional neglect of the economic dimension also leads Clausewitzians to forget that U.S. hegemony today rests as much on its monetary "command of the common currency" as on its military "command of the commons."30

    When discussed at all, the economic dimension of the GWOT is usually confined to: a) the role of hawala, the complex informal financial networks, in terrorism financing; b) the costs of the Iraq campaign and/or the rising costs of oil for U.S. taxpayers/consumers.31 In short, the discussion of the economic dimension remains at best at the operational level and rarely reaches the strategic level. Yet, if the GWOT promises to be a Long War, it's not just simply because it will take 30 years to educate (as in: de-Salafization) a new generation of Muslims; it's also because, with a quadrupling of oil prices in four years, oil-producing countries have little incentive to see an end to the GWOT -- provided that they can redirect the jihad from the "near" to the "far" enemy. In the Saudi-Iranian rivalry, theo-political competition is balanced by geo-economic cooperation. Here again, the grammar and logic of the Long War, and the strategies and tactics of the Oily Alliance, won't be found in Clausewitz.

    Last but not least, beyond -- and analytically distinct from -- the oil weapon proper, is the euro weapon. America's greatest vulnerability would be exposed were the SCO and/or OPEC countries, gradually and in a coordinated fashion, shift their reserve currencies from dollar to euros. A mere theoretical possibility? Not exactly. At a very slow pace, the train has in fact already left the station. Since the introduction of the euro in 1999, various countries have quietly begun to shift their reserve currencies and, at regular intervals, Russia, China, and various OPEC countries (the latter, for instance, in retaliation for the cancelled Dubai Ports deal) have threatened to continue to do so.

    But while this monetary soft balancing does constitute a "threat" for the U.S., it sounds more like a "promise" for the EU. Back in the 1990s, EU elites "sold" to EU public opinion the idea of a European Monetary Union with the argument that the euro would quickly become the rival of the dollar as reserve currency, and that, in turn, would level the transatlantic playing field in such a way as to make unpopular structural reforms in Europe unnecessary. Today, in the wake of the failed EU constitutional deal in 2005, the domestic legitimacy of EU elites is at an all time low, and these same elites are anxious to see foreign countries -- any country -- transfer their reserve currencies in euro. The 64-million dollar question becomes: what political price would EU elites be willing to pay to have, say, Russia -- the world's second largest oil exporter -- shift a significant part of its reserve currency: a greater institutionalization of the EU-Russia security dialogue, as the Russians have hinted in the past; a quiet acquiescence to an energetic Finlandization which, all things considered, would still be a lesser evil compared to the current energetic dhimmitude of Europe vis-à-vis the Middle East? It's too early to tell, but one thing should already be clear: There is no chapter on the grammar and logic of petrodollar warfare in Clausewitz, either.

    "Lawfare": Clausewitz or Carl Schmitt?

    Is war really the continuation of Politik (policy and/or politics) by other means? Maybe -- maybe not. Whether the statement is meant to be descriptive, prescriptive or predictive, its validity, ultimately, rests on the definition of both War and Politik. After 600 pages of On War, you do get a sense of Clausewitz's definition of War -- but you still know next to nothing about the "concept of the political" from which he operates. The Prussian spends the whole first chapter trying to capture the philosophical "essence" of war, but takes Politik as if it was a self-evident notion. Whose Politik are we taking about? Aristotle? Machiavelli? Hobbes? Montesquieu? Fichte? Hegel? And if the latter, what are the relations between the Hegelian political struggle for recognition and the Clausewitzian military struggle for annihilation? These questions are not as academic as they first seem.

    For the past two years, the Pentagon has been grappling with the concept of Lawfare -- the strategic use of law to overcome the enemy -- at the national and international level. Conceptualizing "Lawfare" is possibly the most difficult challenge confronting not just the military today (LOAC), but the whole foreign policy establishment (why, even the very diplomatic Council on Foreign Relations saw fit to brainstorm on this "latest of asymmetries"). Ironically, even though DOD is at the forefront of the conceptual struggle, the 2006 National Military Strategic Plan-War on Terror (NMSP-WOT)'s very definition of Islamist "extremists" and "moderates" (and its call to empower the latter), may in fact aggravate lawfare. The bottom line: If we ever want to develop a workable conception of Lawfare, we will have to trade one Carl (Clausewitz) for another (Schmitt).32

    Like Clausewitz, Carl Schmitt is a dangerous mind -- only more so. Paradoxical as it may sound, the one-time jurist of the Third Reich is today an icon among the Western leftover left and its jihadist allies, who know that they will find in Schmitt, rather than Marx, the precision-guided weapons they need against liberalism. At his best, Schmitt remains to this day the most cogent critique of liberalism as a "political theology." And while the leftover left may hold it against him that he provided the best philosophical basis for a distinction between authoritarianism and totalitarianism, they are forever grateful to Schmitt for having put forward a proto-theory of Lawfare.

    To put it simply (simplistically even): First, against Kelsen's legalistic fairly tales, Schmitt argues that law is nothing but the continuation of politics by other means. Second, with his "Dictatorship," "Concept of the Political," and "Theory of the Partisan," Schmitt turns Clausewitz on his head to remind us that there are times when politics reaches such a degree of intensity that the only realistic definition is that "politics is the continuation of war by other means."33

    At his worst, Schmitt is not just an anti-Semitic Nazi fellow-traveler (obviously a plus from the jihadist standpoint); he is also the founding father of a Geojuriprudens based on race/faith, which served Nazism well yesterday and would need only minor adjustments to serve jihadism equally well tomorrow. Be it as it may, in times of "epochal war" -- and the Long War certainly fits the description - Carl Schmitt may well be what the Greeks called a pharmakon: i.e., both a poison and its remedy. Nothing is more urgent today than a confrontation between Schmitt and Clausewitz, if only because Schmitt's two "remarkable trinities" (Law/Politics/War and State/Movement/People) are more policy relevant than Clausewitz's. It is Schmitt, rather than Clausewitz, who will help you understand the current subversion, through international lawfare, of the un system by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (oic) under the guise of "dialogue of civilization," "tolerance," "global governance," and other niceties. For military lawyers who want to become genuine "warrior-lawyers"34, Schmitt remains the best point of departure for the elaboration of counter-Lawfare.

    Last but not least: in an age when there is much psychobabble in the West about "identity politics," Schmitt also offers the most coherent articulation between identity and enmity. In that respect, it is to be hoped that, in the spi