Adonis Diaries


Household battery energy becomes tradeable

German household-scale battery maker Sonnenbatterie will soon enable buyers of its systems to trade energy with each other over the grid.

It’ll save clients money, and it’s another step toward a clean energy future.

(Another form for advertising your services?)

On Wednesday in Berlin, Sonnenbatterie co-founder and CEO Christoph Ostermann presented “SonnenCommunity,” a way for buyers of the company’s household-scale electricity storage batteries – most of whom also have solar photovoltaic panels mounted on their rooftops – to automatically buy and sell energy from each other directly through a shared online platform.

Launching in January, the platform will allow members who have more stored power than they need on a given day to sell electricity to others who are short of electricity.

Sonnenbatterie’s wall-mounted batteries, which the company calls “Sonnen” units – Sonnen is the German word for “suns” – are similar to the “PowerWall” batteries presented this summer by California-based Tesla, which the car- and battery-maker plans to start selling in Germany in early 2016.

However, Sonnenbatterie claims its Sonnen system is better than Tesla’s Powerwall system.

Friendly rivalry

“Tesla’s technology is nothing special,” said Mathias Bloch, Sonnenbatterie’s public relations officer.

“Its Powerwall unit is just a battery module, so it’s only one component of an energy storage system.”

Sonnenbatterie’s Sonnen unit, in contrast, includes the battery module, a power regulator, and the software allowing the system to buy and sell power from other SonnenCommunity members over the electricity grid, all integrated into a single package, making it very easy for installers and clients to work with, Bloch said.

Both Sonnen and Powerwall battery modules are based on the same kinds of batteries used in mobile phones, with Tesla using a grid composed of hundreds of small Panasonic batteries in each Powerwall unit, linked into a tightly packed grid, and Sonnenbatterie using Sony batteries.

“Sonnenbatteries’s Sonnen units still retain 70% of their charging capacity after 10,000 charge-discharge cycles,” Ostermann said, suggesting this was superior to the performance expected of Tesla’s Powerwall units.

Money talks

Sonnen buyers who join SonnenCommunity will directly benefit in financial terms, the company said.

For one thing, new Sonnen unit buyers will get a discount of 1,875 euros off the retail price of the battery, in exchange for having to pay a 20 euro per month members’ fee. (For how many years?)

Members will also get 1,000 kWh of free electricity per year – power SonnenCommunity will acquire from grid operators at times when excess solar or wind power, due to bright sunshine or strong winds, is flooding Germany’s wholesale electricity market to such an extent that the spot price of electricity goes to zero.

That’s an increasingly frequent event in a country where 30% of total electricity produced in 2015 was renewable electricity – much of that from wind and solar power.

Buying and selling

Under German law, the electricity grid operator must buy any solar power offered to it by anyone in the country, and pay a regulated “feed-in tariff” that sets a firm price for solar power sold over a 20-year contract period starting when the solar panels are first installed and connected to the grid.

At the moment, the grid operator must pay about 11 cents per kWh for new solar power installations.

SonnenCommunity members who instead sell power to other members will get 0.25 euro cents more per kWh than they would get from the grid operator for solar-generated electricity.

A much more significant benefit will accrue to members of SonnenCommunity who are short power on a given day. They’ll pay a flat rate of 23 euro cents per kWh to buy electrictiy from other members of the Community, a much lower rate than the roughly 32 euro cents flat rate they pay to grid operators for electricity.

Ostermann mentioned some other benefits for SonnenBatterie battery owners associated with becoming members of SonnenCommunity, but the price advantage for electricity buyers seemed to be the strongest benefit.

More developments to come

Electricity markets are heavily regulated – they have to be, since the electricity system is fundamental to the functioning of modern civilization and the government has to ensure systems are reliable, resilient and affordable, even under extreme loads or weather conditions.

For that reason, the details of regulations affect business models heavily, and there’s a reciprocal relationship between new technologies driving evolution in regulations, and new regulations driving technological evolution.

For example, Germany’s legally mandated generous 20-year flat-rate contracts for electricity produced using solar or wind power generation, or “feed-in tariffs” (FiTs), first introduced in the year 2000, caused a huge boom in solar and wind power.

That in turn drove rapid technical evolution. Wind and solar power generation units today are dramatically cheaper, more reliable and more efficient than they were 15 years ago as a direct result of Germany’s FiT law of 2000.

Household energy storage is the next frontier

As energy storage units like those of Sonnenbatterie have come onto the market, they’ve begun to change the financial incentives consumers face. At some point, when all costs are taken into account and “levelized” on a price per kWh basis, it will probably become cheaper for most owners of single-family households to buy something like a Sonnen unit or a Powerwall unit, plus some solar rooftop panels, rather than buy power from the grid. SonnenCommunity helps move things in that direction.

The marketplace for household-scale energy storage systems is still in its early stage. Sonnenbatterie has sold 8,500 Sonnen units so far – out of a total of 25,000 household-scale battery packs that have been sold in Germany to date. It’s the market leader in a small market.

But with solar and wind power generation unit prices continuing to drop year-on-year, and regulations continuing to evolve, the market for household-scale energy storage units is sure to grow.

Sonnenbatterie sales and marketing chief Philipp Schröder, who left his position as head of Tesla Germany to join Sonnenbatterie, told DW he expects new business cases to emerge – for microgrids, for example. “The renewable energy business promises to stay exciting for years to come,” he said.

Narchi Paul shared

Incrível esse modelo de negócios para baterias & PV solar!!
Obs.: As condições atuais que permitem a implementação dessa plataforma na Alemanha são bem específicas e facilitam muito!

Moral bias behind your search results

Unless you do your due diligence

Remember that behind every algorithm is always a person, a person with a set of personal beliefs that no code can ever completely eradicate

What are you searching for?

Am I looking for an isolated fact? The Capital of this nation…

Or are you searching for a complex issue such as “Why is there an Israeli-Palestine conflict?”

So whenever I visit a school and talk to students, I always ask them the same thing:

Why do you Google? Why is Google the search engine of choice for you? Strangely enough, I always get the same three answers.

One, “Because it works,” which is a great answer; that’s why I Google, too.

Two, somebody will say, “I really don’t know of any alternatives. It’s not an equally great answer and my reply to that is usually, “Try to Google the word ‘search engine,’ you may find a couple of interesting alternatives.” And

Third, inevitably, one student will raise her or his hand and say, With Google, I’m certain to always get the best, unbiased search result.” Certain to always get the best, unbiased search result.

Now, as a man of the humanities, albeit a digital humanities man, that just makes my skin curl, even if I, too, realize that that trust, that idea of the unbiased search result is a cornerstone in our collective love for and appreciation of Google. I will show you why that, philosophically, is almost an impossibility.

01:23 But let me first elaborate, just a little bit, on a basic principle behind each search query that we sometimes seem to forget.

So whenever you set out to Google something, start by asking yourself this: “Am I looking for an isolated fact?” What is the capital of France? What are the building blocks of a water molecule? Great — Google away. There’s not a group of scientists who are this close to proving that it’s actually London and H30. You don’t see a big conspiracy among those things. We agree, on a global scale, what the answers are to these isolated facts.

01:57 But if you complicate your question just a little bit and ask something like, Why is there an Israeli-Palestine conflict?”

You’re not exactly looking for a singular fact anymore, you’re looking for knowledge, which is something way more complicated and delicate. And to get to knowledge, you have to bring 10 or 20 or 100 facts to the table and acknowledge them and say, “Yes, these are all true.” But because of who I am, young or old, black or white, gay or straight, I will value them differently.

And I will say, “Yes, this is true, but this is more important to me than that.” And this is where it becomes interesting, because this is where we become human. This is when we start to argue, to form society. And to really get somewhere, we need to filter all our facts here, through friends and neighbors and parents and children and coworkers and newspapers and magazines, to finally be grounded in real knowledge, which is something that a search engine is a poor help to achieve.

02:54 So, I promised you an example just to show you why it’s so hard to get to the point of true, clean, objective knowledge — as food for thought. I will conduct a couple of simple queries, search queries.

We’ll start with “Michelle Obama,” the First Lady of the United States. And we’ll click for pictures. It works really well, as you can see. It’s a perfect search result, more or less. It’s just her in the picture, not even the President.

03:26 How does this work? Quite simple. Google uses a lot of smartness to achieve this, but quite simply, they look at two things more than anything. First, what does it say in the caption under the picture on each website? Does it say “Michelle Obama” under the picture? Pretty good indication it’s actually her on there. Second, Google looks at the picture file, the name of the file as such uploaded to the website. Again, is it called “MichelleObama.jpeg”? Pretty good indication it’s not Clint Eastwood in the picture. So, you’ve got those two and you get a search result like this — almost.

Now, in 2009, Michelle Obama was the victim of a racist campaign, where people set out to insult her through her search results. There was a picture distributed widely over the Internet where her face was distorted to look like a monkey. And that picture was published all over. And people published it very, very purposefully, to get it up there in the search results.

They made sure to write “Michelle Obama” in the caption and they made sure to upload the picture as “MichelleObama.jpeg,” or the like. You get why — to manipulate the search result. And it worked, too. So when you picture-Googled for “Michelle Obama” in 2009, that distorted monkey picture showed up among the first results.

Now, the results are self-cleansing, and that’s sort of the beauty of it, because Google measures relevance every hour, every day.

However, Google didn’t settle for that this time, they just thought, “That’s racist and it’s a bad search result and we’re going to go back and clean that up manually. We are going to write some code and fix it,” which they did. And I don’t think anyone in this room thinks that was a bad idea. Me neither.

But then, a couple of years go by, and the world’s most-Googled Anders, Anders Behring Breivik, did what he did. This is July 22 in 2011, and a terrible day in Norwegian history. This man, a terrorist, blew up a couple of government buildings walking distance from where we are right now in Oslo, Norway and then he traveled to the island of Utøya and shot and killed a group of kids. Almost 80 people died that day.

And a lot of people would describe this act of terror as two steps, that he did two things: he blew up the buildings and he shot those kids. It’s not true. It was three steps. He blew up those buildings, he shot those kids, and he sat down and waited for the world to Google him. And he prepared all three steps equally well.

If there was somebody who immediately understood this, it was a Swedish web developer, a search engine optimization expert in Stockholm, named Nikke Lindqvist. He’s also a very political guy and he was right out there in social media, on his blog and Facebook. And he told everybody, “If there’s something that this guy wants right now, it’s to control the image of himself. Let’s see if we can distort that. Let’s see if we, in the civilized world, can protest against what he did through insulting him in his search results.”

And how? He told all of his readers the following, “Go out there on the Internet, find pictures of dog poop on sidewalks — find pictures of dog poop on sidewalks — publish them in your feeds, on your websites, on your blogs. Make sure to write the terrorist’s name in the caption, make sure to name the picture file “Breivik.jpeg.”

Let’s teach Google that that’s the face of the terrorist.” And it worked. Two years after that campaign against Michelle Obama, this manipulation campaign against Anders Behring Breivik worked. If you picture-Googled for him weeks after the July 22 events from Sweden, you’d see that picture of dog poop high up in the search results, as a little protest.

 Strangely enough, Google didn’t intervene this time. They did not step in and manually clean those search results up. So the million-dollar question, is there anything different between these two happenings here? Is there anything different between what happened to Michelle Obama and what happened to Anders Behring Breivik? Of course not. It’s the exact same thing, yet Google intervened in one case and not in the other.

Why? Because Michelle Obama is an honorable person, that’s why, and Anders Behring Breivik is a despicable person. See what happens there? An evaluation of a person takes place and there’s only one power-player in the world with the authority to say who’s who. “We like you, we dislike you. We believe in you, we don’t believe in you. You’re right, you’re wrong. You’re true, you’re false. You’re Obama, and you’re Breivik.” That’s power if I ever saw it.

 I’m asking you to remember that behind every algorithm is always a person, a person with a set of personal beliefs that no code can ever completely eradicate.

And my message goes out not only to Google, but to all believers in the faith of code around the world.

You need to identify your own personal bias. You need to understand that you are human and take responsibility accordingly.

And I say this because I believe we’ve reached a point in time when it’s absolutely imperative that we tie those bonds together again, tighter: the humanities and the technology. Tighter than ever.

And, if nothing else, to remind us that that wonderfully seductive idea of the unbiased, clean search result is, and is likely to remain, a myth.

Patsy Z and TEDxSKE shared a link.
Search engines have become our most trusted sources of information and arbiters of truth. But can we ever get an unbiased search result?|By Andreas Ekström
Note: Writing a short story can be done by accumulating and linking dozens of simple isolated facts. That what the lazy-ass reporters do: They refuse to do their due diligence of discovering the other side story and opinions.
Writing an essay requires a vast general knowledge that only experience and consistent learning on a subject matter can provide. It is kind of weaving together dozens of comprehensive short stories

Einstein and Me: Turned out to be I’m his great niece?

Does this legitimate my contribution to Relativity?

EINSTEIN et…moi .L’autre jour, en voyant une image où l’on citait une phrase d’Albert Einstein parmi d’autres (Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Malcom X) à propos du conflit israélo-palestinien, j’ai eu le sentiment de devoir faire ici un aveu.
Je me suis lancé et, tout à coup, l’indécence entre cette histoire à dire et celle que vivaient des milliers d’enfants, de femmes et d’hommes à Gaza (où de par le monde) m’a sauté aux yeux.
Ce statut, je l’ai appelé “RELATIVITÉ”. Le double sens était caché…
Si je me décide à en parler finalement sans attendre la fin des malheurs des Palestiniens et du monde, c’est qu’au passage, il se peut que ma parole gagne, auprès de certains, en légitimité.
Je sais, vous vous demandez déjà où je pourrais vouloir en venir et pourquoi tant de détours.J’y viens. Mais d’abord, la genèse.
GENÈSE. C’était en janvier dernier. Je reçois un email de Londres de la part d’un inconnu. Il me demande si je suis bien le fils de mes parents Robert et Denise. De toute évidence, oui.
Alors il dit qu’il souhaite me parler au téléphone le lendemain. Là, il m’annonce qu’il est ami avec une cousine de ma mère surnommée Ninette, 86 ans.
Il a dû sentir que j’étais interdit. J’avais toujours compris que personne, dans la famille de ma mère (décédée en 1995), n’avait survécu aux camps de concentration…Date est donc prise pour une rencontre lors d’un prochain voyage à Londres. L’occasion se présente début avril.
Dans le restaurant où John (l’Anglais) avait réservé une pièce à part pour pouvoir s’étaler (nous et nos documents), je découvre Ninette. Pendant la guerre, elle avait pu s’échapper à pied par les Pyrénées.
Ma mère, elle, s’était échappée de l’appartement parisien – où les soldats allemands venaient, après son père André trois mois auparavant, arrêter sa grand mère Alice, sa mère Maryse et elle-même – par l’escalier de la cuisine, avait pris le métro jusqu’à Porte de Vanves et avait trouvé refuge pour longtemps dans un couvent dont elle savait l’existence.
Elle avait prétexté d’un pull à aller chercher dans sa chambre.De la bouche de Ninette, j’apprends des choses toutes simples sur ma mère enfant (“une rebelle”) ou sur mes grands-parents (dont ma mère n’avait jamais vraiment voulu parler sauf, je me souviens, sur son lit d’hôpital, pour dire qu’elle ne supportait pas quand ils lui répondaient “ cela ne se fait pas“.
Et ce serait même pour cela qu’assez jeune, elle avait goûté un peu au bouddhisme et au catholicisme.De mon côté, en guise de récit, je n’avais qu’un vieux grimoire où figuraient tout de même plus d’une centaine de photos de famille.
Mais à part celle de mon grand père et de ma grand mère, j’étais incapable de reconnaître ceux que je ne connaissais pas.LE GRAND ROULEAU
C’est alors que John et Ninette posèrent sur la table voisine un très Grand Rouleau de papier: notre arbre généalogique. A côté des Schoenfeld, la famille de ma mère, il y avait les Lévy Sée, les Lang, les Bloch, les Dreyfus
Puis ils attirèrent mon attention sur un petit carré gris où l’on pouvait lire le nom de…Là, il me faut vous laisser chercher par vous-même sur l’image jointe. Vous trouverez facilement ce petit carré gris en pivotant à gauche de mon père, Robert Barrat, et de ma mere, Denise Schoenfeld (avec leur quatre enfants au dessous d’eux).
Pour ceux qui ne se sont pas parvenus à lire ce nom, je vous le donne : Albert Einstein.Comme je ne sais pas très bien lire les branches des arbres généalogiques, je me bornerai à dire que je suis l’arrière petit- neveu d’Albert Einstein. Ou alors vous me direz quoi au juste…
Bien sûr, mes proches, depuis, me charrient. Expliquant notamment ainsi le fait que j’ai pu faire “Maths Sup” (trois semaines).
LÉGITIMITÉSi vous me le permettez, j’aimerais vous dire maintenant la phrase d’Einstein en question :
Ce serait ma plus grande tristesse de voir les Sionistes (juifs) faire aux Arabes Palestiniens beaucoup de ce que les Nazis ont fait aux Juifs“.
Une chose ici m’intrigue, comme s’il s’agissait non pas d’une opinion possiblement héréditaire mais d’un axiome. Ma mère – cofondatrice par exemple de l’Association pour la Sauvegarde du Patrimoine Culturel Palestinien – aimait quant à elle à dire qu’elle ne supportait pas qu ‘”un Peuple qui a tant souffert puisse imposer d’autres souffrances à un autre Peuple“.
Quant à votre serviteur – ayant notamment vécu les raids sur les camps palestiniens du Sud Liban et sur Beyrouth, en 1981, le siège de Beyrouth en 1982, ayant ramassé au sol ces petits tracts roses dont les gamins s’emparaient d’abord en riant dans les airs, avant de comprendre que c’était là le moyen pour l’aviation israélienne de donner un délai de grâce de 40 minutes si l’on aimait ses proches -il n’a pas de phrase clef.
Je sais seulement maintenant qu’au bout du compte, je suis un peu plus Juif que je ne le pensais. Et surtout que je ne permettrai à personne de dire que j’ai honte de moi.P .B.!See Translation
Note: Einstein integrated the classical formula for energy by including Time as another variable. 

‘This is the worst time for society to go on psychopathic autopilot’

Britain addicted to bombing junkies

What will happen in a 1,000 years? Why, do you know what  happened in the last 1,000 years?

Frankie Boyle on the fallout from Paris. Nov. 23, 2015.

There were a lot of tributes after the horror in Paris. It has to be said that Trafalgar Square is an odd choice of venue to show solidarity with France; presumably Waterloo was too busy.
One of the most appropriate tributes was Adele dedicating Hometown Glory to Paris, just as the raids on St-Denis started.
A song about south London where, 10 years ago, armed police decided to hysterically blow the face off a man just because he was a bit beige.

In times of crisis, we are made to feel we should scrutinise our government’s actions less closely, when surely that’s when we should pay closest attention.

There’s a feeling that after an atrocity history and context become less relevant, when surely these are actually the worst times for a society to go on psychopathic autopilot.

Our attitudes are fostered by a society built on ideas of dominance, where the solution to crises are force and action, rather than reflection and compromise.

If that sounds unbearably drippy, just humour me for a second and imagine a country where the response to Paris involved an urgent debate about how to make public spaces safer and marginalised groups less vulnerable to radicalisation.

Do you honestly feel safer with a debate centred around when we can turn some desert town 3,000 miles away into a sheet of glass?

Of course, it’s not as if the West hasn’t learned any lessons from Iraq and Afghanistan. This time round, no one’s said out loud that we’re going to win. (Holland did say it)

People seem concerned to make sure that Islam gets its full share of the blame, so we get the unedifying circus of neocons invoking God as much as the killers.

“Well, Isis say they’re motivated by God.” Yes, and people who have sex with their pets say they’re motivated by love, but most of us don’t really believe them.

Not that I’m any friend of religion – let’s blame religion for whatever we can. Let’s blame anyone who invokes the name of any deity just because they want to ruin our weekend, starting with TGI Friday’s.

The ringleader, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, evaded detection by security services by having a name too long to fit into one tweet. How could the most stringent surveillance in the world not have picked up Abdelhamid Abaaoud before? I mean, they’d have got him even if they just went through lists of terrorists alphabetically.

We’re always dealing with terror in retrospect – like stocking up on Imodium rather than reading the cooking instructions on your mini kievs.

The truth is that modern governments sit at the head of a well-funded security apparatus. They are told that foreign military adventures put domestic populations at risk and they give them the thumbs up anyway.

Charitably, the safety of their populations just aren’t of great concern to them. Realistically, domestic terrorist attacks play into their agenda: they allow them to grab ever more authoritarian powers with which to police their increasingly unequal and volatile societies.

Of course, no one wants to believe that our government isn’t interested in our safety, just like everyone really wanted to believe that Jimmy Savile cared about whether kids got to meet Duran Duran.

It’s not an insult to the dead to wonder why France, a $2tn economy, couldn’t make a better offer to its disenfranchised youth than a bunch of sick bullies grooming them on the internet.

It’s not apologism to try to understand why something happened.

When Syria’s drought kicked in, 25% of the population became unemployed. The vast majority of the country’s livestock has died over the past decade. A lot of Isis are farmers with nowhere to go, their entire industry destroyed – you’d think they’d have more sympathy for journalists. Those who think radicalising a youngster has nothing to do with climate – have you seen Tatooine?

No one is saying climate change causes terrorism. (Though this situation will become a major factor for increased terrorist attitudes)

Stop thinking that a global death cult is caused by one thing – it’s a complex situation involving several different countries and ideologies, not a rattling sound in your washing machine. Personally, I think that for all our blaming religion, there will be peace in the Middle East when the oil runs out. (Forced peace with no Lands to grow anything on? A recurrence of tribal razzias on the more fertile land tribes) 

But knowing their luck, then somebody will invent a way of making fuel by mixing sand and falafel.

Maybe the west’s approach is right. After all, if you’ve got a massive fight in, say, a pub car park, the best way of solving it is clearly standing well back and randomly lobbing in fireworks.

You can’t get rid of an ideology by destroying its leaders; you’d think if there’s anything “Christian” countries should know, it’s that. Europe has rejected the death penalty on moral grounds, and yet we relax this view when it comes to a group who want to be martyred.

You can’t bomb ideas. If your kid shits on the carpet, you can’t stop them by bombing the person who invented shit – though it would tidy up ITV’s Saturday night schedule.

Andrew Neil went viral with an impassioned eulogy that, like most eulogies, was just inaccurate nonsense in the form of nice memorable words strung together with angry sad words. A speech that would have made those named within it proud, but only because a good few of them were nihilistic absurdists. Listing the great French thinkers in a tribute to nuclear power showcased the worst aspect of historical fame: these were figures Neil could name but appeared to know nothing about.

For a list supporting the French government’s foray into bombing its former colony he chose Satie, a composer so questioning of state he put a question mark into La Marseillaise; Zola, a man so adamant about the function of a fair and full trial he may have been murdered for his beliefs; Rousseau – “Those who think themselves masters of others are greater slaves than they”; Ravel, who rejected all state honours; Gauguin, a passionate defender of indigenous peoples; and Camus, the great Algerian-born philosopher, who died in 1960, a year before he would’ve been thrown into the Seine at the orders of the Nazi head of the Parisian police.

Out of his list of peacenik, thoughtful, anti-government icons, one of the few who might have been in favour of bombing Syria was Sartre, and that’s only because he thought we were all dead anyway. Of course, we mustn’t forget Coco Chanel, who Neil threw on to the list in such a blatant “if we don’t include a woman we’ll get into trouble” rush, he didn’t notice a quick wiki would reveal her to be a Nazi spy.

These are the people who made France great, because what they asked of France was to question, to look death in the eye, to commit to full trials and never resort to military force, to step away from government, away from indigenous lands, to never see themselves as superior, and most, most of all, for people to stop regurgitating rhetorical cliches and think for themselves

Neil asked us to consider who will be remembered in 1,000 years, and the answer of course is Thkkkkkkkzzzzxrrkksd, the insane Cockroach Emperor, who revolutionised the mining of our bones for fuel.

But let’s go with his conceit. A thousand years is a long time; the first book published in French wasn’t until 1476. Goodness knows what an Islamic caliphate would have been doing 1,000 years ago? They built the House of Wisdom in Baghdad, one of the first universities in the world; they asked scholars of all faiths to translate every text ever written into Arabic; they demanded the first qualifications for doctors, founded the first psychiatric hospitals and invented ophthalmology. They developed algebra (algorithms are named after their Arab father) and a programmable machine … a computer. They introduced Aristotle to Europe, Al-Jahiz began theories of natural selection, they discovered the Andromeda galaxy, classified the spinal nerves and created hydropower using pumps and gears.

And Neil is right – we don’t remember any of that. Not to say that this is what Isis want – Isis are like the group that closed the House of Wisdom, the next caliphate who decided science was irreligious. Isis want to destroy the knowledge that Islam is a beautiful, scientific and intelligent culture, and we are way ahead of them.

We want Paris to be remembered in 1,000 years and we don’t remember the names of the victims 10 minutes after reading them

– we don’t remember Amine Ibnolmobarak, a Moroccan émigré who was designing an architectural solution to the 2,000 deaths at Mecca;

we don’t remember Elsa Delplace and her mother Patricia San Martin, who died shielding Delplace’s young son from bullets.

We remember that the female terrorist was blond and one had no pants on.

We remember that the terrorists came in with refugees even though they don’t seem to have done, especially since they were all French or Belgian.

We expect our descendants to remember Daft Punk and we don’t even remember that invading Iraq caused the birth and rise of Isis. And we won’t remember any of this once the new series of Britain’s Got Talent starts.


ISIS survives largely because Turkey allows it to: the evidence


Kurdish (YPJ) frontline troops

The real frontline confronting ISIS is not US or French bombers (the latter currently targeting Raqqa, a city with 140,000 civilians, who are virtual prisoners of ISIS) but the Kurds of Iraq and northern Syria.

Just over a week ago the combined Kurd forces, under the command of the Yezidis, liberated Sinjar from ISIS.

For the Kurds, their war is not just about defeating ISIS, but about creating their own autonomous region – a region that would link all the Kurd cantons.

This will not be easy, especially as the Iraq-based Kurds (Peshmerga) are allied with Iran and benefit from US support (nor are the Iraqi Kurds in any hurry to secede from Iraq).

But the largest hurdle to an autonomous Kurdistan is Turkey, which not only has rekindled its war with the PKK (Kurdish Workers Party), but has done everything it can over the last 12 months or so to ensure Kurd victories against ISIS were minimised.

So where is the evidence for this? It comes from a a range of sources, including the Institute for the Study of Human Rights (Columbia University) and leading commentators/analysts Nafeez Ahmed and David Graeber. See below…

A. Introduction

The Kurds of northern Syria, together with the Kurds of Turkey and Iraq, have been at war with ISIS since the latter rose up and declared their so-called caliphate. It was the Syrian Kurds and their Kurdish comrades in Turkey who helped rescue the Yezidis, after they had fled the ISIS onslaught to take refuge in the Sinjar mountains. It was the Syrian Kurds and their comrades in Turkey who liberated the city of Kobani from ISIS.

But the Kurds of northern Syria have not just been waging war. They have also been waging peace: creating new, democratic structures, declaring autonmous cantons; setting up schools, universities, hospitals. They have taken their inspiration from the Zapatistas of Mexico, who in their thousands retreated into the jungles of Chiapas and together with the Mayans created a new society, free from the oppression of the Mexican authorities.

In short, the northern Syrian Kurds have created and are living a social revolution. It is no wonder, therefore, that the authoritarian and neo-Islamist Erdogan Government of Turkey is doing everything it can to break the Kurds, including providing covert support to the Kurds’ main enemy, to ISIS.

In a recent article in the Guardian, Professor David Graeber of the London School of Economics stated how “Back in August, the YPG, fresh from their victories in Kobani and Gire Spi, were poised to seize Jarablus, the last Isis-held town on the Turkish border that the terror organisation had been using to resupply its capital in Raqqa with weapons, materials, and recruits – Isis supply lines pass directly through Turkey.”

Graeber added: “Commentators predicted that with Jarablus gone, Raqqa would soon follow. Erdoğan reacted by declaring Jarablus a “red line”: if the Kurds attacked, his forces would intervene militarily – against the YPG. So Jarablus remains in terrorist hands to this day, under de facto Turkish military protection.”

B. Turkey’s support for ISIS

For well over a year the Turkish Government has been secretly supporting ISIS, but the US and NATO turn a blind eye to this because of Turkey’s geopolitical position. ISIS as an armed force – though not ISIS terrorists outside the Mid East region – would most likely have been defeated long ago had it not been for Turkey’s support.

According to journalist, Nafeez Ahmed: “Earlier this year, the Turkish daily Today’s Zaman reported that “more than 100,000 fake Turkish passports” had been given to ISIS. Erdogan’s government, the newspaper added, “has been accused of supporting the terrorist organization by turning a blind eye to its militants crossing the border and even buying its oil…

Based on a 2014 report, Sezgin Tanrıkulu, deputy chairman of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) said that ISIS terrorists fighting in Syria claimed to have been treated in hospitals in Turkey.”

Dr Ahmed adds: “In January, authenticated official documents of the Turkish military were leaked online, showing that Turkey’s intelligence services (MIT) had been caught in Adana by military officers transporting missiles, mortars and anti-aircraft ammunition via truck “to the al-Qaeda terror organisation” in Syria. According to other ISIS suspects facing trial in Turkey, the Turkish national military intelligence organization (MIT) had begun smuggling arms, including NATO weapons to jihadist groups in Syria as early as 2011.”

Also: “Turkey has also played a key role in facilitating the life-blood of ISIS’ expansion: black market oil sales. Senior political and intelligence sources in Turkey and Iraq confirm that Turkish authorities have actively facilitated ISIS oil sales through the country. Last summer, an opposition politician estimated the quantity of ISIS oil sales in Turkey at about $800 million — that was over a year ago.”

Finally, Dr. Ahmed shows how consistent transfers of CIA-Gulf-Turkish arms supplies to ISIS have been fully documented through analysis of weapons serial numbers by the UK-based Conflict Armament Research (CAR), whose database on the illicit weapons trade is funded by the EU and Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.

Latest – see link in tweet below – is an article that reports on a group “involved in making arms deals on behalf of the Islamic State leaders in Syria, including buying FN-6 portable air defence systems and other weaponry, which were shipped to ISIL in Syria through Turkey… transferring money to Turkish bank accounts…

Other allegations re Turkey’s support for ISIS:

[Note: the following is compiled from a Report by Columbia University’s Program on Peace-building and Rights, which assigned a team of researchers in the United States, Europe, and Turkey to examine Turkish and international media, assessing the credibility of allegations made against Turkey. This report draws on Turkish sources (CNN Turk, Hurriyet Daily News, Taraf, Cumhuriyet, and Radikal among others) as well as a variety of mainstream media – The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, BBC, Sky News, etc.]

1. Turkey Provides Military Equipment to ISIS

• An ISIS commander told The Washington Post on August 12, 2014: “Most of the fighters who joined us in the beginning of the war came via Turkey, and so did our equipment and supplies.”

• Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, head of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), produced a statement from the Adana Office of the Prosecutor on October 14, 2014 maintaining that Turkey supplied weapons to terror groups. He also produced interview transcripts from truck drivers who delivered weapons to the groups. According to Kiliçdaroglu, the Turkish government claims the trucks were for humanitarian aid to the Turkmen, but the Turkmen said no humanitarian aid was delivered.

• According to CHP Vice President Bulent Tezcan, three trucks were stopped in Adana for inspection on January 19, 2014. The trucks were loaded with weapons in Esenboga Airport in Ankara. The drivers drove the trucks to the border, where a MIT agent was supposed to take over and drive the trucks to Syria to deliver materials to ISIS and groups in Syria. This happened many times. When the trucks were stopped, MIT agents tried to keep the inspectors from looking inside the crates. The inspectors found rockets, arms, and ammunitions.

• Cumhuriyet reports that Fuat Avni, a preeminent Twitter user who reported on the December 17th corruption probe, that audio tapes confirm that Turkey provided financial and military aid to terrorist groups associated with Al Qaeda on October 12, 2014. On the tapes, Erdogan pressured the Turkish Armed Forces to go to war with Syria. Erdogan demanded that Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MIT), come up with a justification for attacking Syria.

• Hakan Fidan told Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Yasar Guler, a senior defense official, and Feridun Sinirlioglu, a senior foreign affairs official: “If need be, I’ll send 4 men into Syria. I’ll formulate a reason to go to war by shooting 8 rockets into Turkey; I’ll have them attack the Tomb of Suleiman Shah.”

• Documents surfaced on September 19th, 2014 showing that the Saudi Emir Bender Bin Sultan financed the transportation of arms to ISIS through Turkey. A flight leaving Germany dropped off arms in the Etimesgut airport in Turkey, which was then split into three containers, two of which were given to ISIS and one to Gaza.

2. Turkey Provided Transport and Logistical Assistance to ISIS Fighters

• According to Radikal on June 13, 2014, Interior Minister Muammar Guler signed a directive: “According to our regional gains, we will help al-Nusra militants against the branch of PKK terrorist organization, the PYD, within our borders…Hatay is a strategic location for the mujahideen crossing from within our borders to Syria. Logistical support for Islamist groups will be increased, and their training, hospital care, and safe passage will mostly take place in Hatay…MIT and the Religious Affairs Directorate will coordinate the placement of fighters in public accommodations.”

• The Daily Mail reported on August 25, 2014 that many foreign militants joined ISIS in Syria and Iraq after traveling through Turkey, but Turkey did not try to stop them. This article describes how foreign militants, especially from the UK, go to Syria and Iraq through the Turkish border. They call the border the “Gateway to Jihad.” Turkish army soldiers either turn a blind eye and let them pass, or the jihadists pay the border guards as little as $10 to facilitate their crossing.

• Britain’s Sky News obtained documents showing that the Turkish government has stamped passports of foreign militants seeking to cross the Turkey border into Syria to join ISIS.

• The BBC interviewed villagers, who claim that buses travel at night, carrying jihadists to fight Kurdish forces in Syria and Iraq, not the Syrian Armed Forces.

• A senior Egyptian official indicated on October 9, 2014 that Turkish intelligence is passing satellite imagery and other data to ISIS.

3. Turkey Provided Training to ISIS Fighters

• CNN Turk reported on July 29, 2014 that in the heart of Istanbul, places like Duzce and Adapazari, have become gathering spots for terrorists. There are religious orders where ISIS militants are trained. Some of these training videos are posted on the Turkish ISIS propaganda website According to CNN Turk, Turkish security forces could have stopped these developments if they had wanted to.

• Turks who joined an affiliate of ISIS were recorded at a public gathering in Istanbul, which took place on July 28, 2014.

• A video shows an ISIS affiliate holding a prayer/gathering in Omerli, a district of Istanbul. In response to the video, CHP Vice President, MP Tanrikulu submitted parliamentary questions to the Minister of the Interior, Efkan Ala, asking questions such as, “Is it true that a camp or camps have been allocated to an affiliate of ISIS in Istanbul? What is this affiliate? Who is it made up of? Is the rumor true that the same area allocated for the camp is also used for military exercises?”

• Kemal Kiliçdaroglu warned the AKP government not to provide money and training to terror groups on October 14, 2014. He said, “It isn’t right for armed groups to be trained on Turkish soil. You bring foreign fighters to Turkey, put money in their pockets, guns in their hands, and you ask them to kill Muslims in Syria. We told them to stop helping ISIS. Ahmet Davutoglu asked us to show proof. Everyone knows that they’re helping ISIS.” (See HERE and HERE.)

• According to Jordanian intelligence, Turkey trained ISIS militants for special operations.

4. Turkey Offers Medical Care to ISIS Fighters

• An ISIS commander told the Washington Post on August 12, 2014, “We used to have some fighters — even high-level members of the Islamic State — getting treated in Turkish hospitals.”

• Taraf reported on October 12, 2014 that Dengir Mir Mehmet Fırat, a founder of the AKP, said that Turkey supported terrorist groups and still supports them and treats them in hospitals. “In order to weaken the developments in Rojova (Syrian Kurdistan), the government gave concessions and arms to extreme religious groups…the government was helping the wounded. The Minister of Health said something such as, it’s a human obligation to care for the ISIS wounded.”

• According to Taraf, Ahmet El H, one of the top commanders at ISIS and Al Baghdadi’s right hand man, was treated at a hospital in Sanliurfa, Turkey, along with other ISIS militants. The Turkish state paid for their treatment. According to Taraf’s sources, ISIS militants are being treated in hospitals all across southeastern Turkey. More and more militants have been coming in to be treated since the start of airstrikes in August. To be more specific, eight ISIS militants were transported through the Sanliurfa border crossing; these are their names: “Mustafa A., Yusuf El R., Mustafa H., Halil El M., Muhammet El H., Ahmet El S., Hasan H., [and] Salim El D.”

5. Turkey Supports ISIS Financially Through Purchase of Oil

• On September 13, 2014, The New York Times reported on the Obama administration’s efforts to pressure Turkey to crack down on ISIS extensive sales network for oil. James Phillips, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, argues that Turkey has not fully cracked down on ISIS’s sales network because it benefits from a lower price for oil, and that there might even be Turks and government officials who benefit from the trade.

• Fehim Taştekin wrote in Radikal on September 13, 2014 about illegal pipelines transporting oil from Syria to nearby border towns in Turkey. The oil is sold for as little as 1.25 liras per liter. Taştekin indicated that many of these illegal pipelines were dismantled after operating for 3 years, once his article was published.

• According to Diken and OdaTV, David Cohen, a Justice Department official, says that there are Turkish individuals acting as middlemen to help sell ISIS’s oil through Turkey.

• On October 14, 2014, a German Parliamentarian from the Green Party accused Turkey of allowing the transportation of arms to ISIS over its territory, as well as the sale of oil.

6. Turkey Assists ISIS Recruitment

• Kerim Kiliçdaroğlu claimed on October 14, 2014 that ISIS offices in Istanbul and Gaziantep are used to recruit fighters. On October 10, 2014, the mufti of Konya said that 100 people from Konya joined ISIS 4 days ago. (See HERE and HERE.)

• OdaTV reports that Takva Haber serves as a propaganda outlet for ISIS to recruit Turkish-speaking individuals in Turkey and Germany. The address where this propaganda website is registered corresponds to the address of a school called Irfan Koleji, which was established by Ilim Yayma Vakfi, a foundation that was created by Erdogan and Davutoglu, among others. It is thus claimed that the propaganda site is operated from the school of the foundation started by AKP members.

• Minister of Sports, Suat Kilic, an AKP member, visited Salafi jihadists who are ISIS supporters in Germany. The group is known for reaching out to supporters via free Quran distributions and raising funds to sponsor suicide attacks in Syria and Iraq by raising money.

• OdaTV released a video allegedly showing ISIS militants riding a bus in Istanbul.

7. Turkish Forces Are Fighting Alongside ISIS

• On October 7, 2014, IBDA-C, a militant Islamic organization in Turkey, pledged support to ISIS. A Turkish friend who is a commander in ISIS suggests that Turkey is “involved in all of this” and that “10,000 ISIS members will come to Turkey.” A Huda-Par member at the meeting claims that officials criticize ISIS but in fact sympathize with the group (Huda-Par, the “Free Cause Party”, is a Kurdish Sunni fundamentalist political party).

BBP member claims that National Action Party (MHP) officials are close to embracing ISIS. In the meeting, it is asserted that ISIS militants come to Turkey frequently to rest, as though they are taking a break from military service. They claim that Turkey will experience an Islamic revolution, and Turks should be ready for jihad. (See HERE and HERE.)

Seymour Hersh maintains in the London Review of Books that ISIS conducted sarin attacks in Syria, and that Turkey was informed. “For months there had been acute concern among senior military leaders and the intelligence community about the role in the war of Syria’s neighbors, especially Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Erdogan was known to be supporting the al-Nusra Front, a jihadist faction among the rebel opposition, as well as other Islamist rebel groups.

‘We knew there were some in the Turkish government,’ a former senior US intelligence official, who has access to current intelligence, told me, ‘who believed they could get Assad’s nuts in a vice by dabbling with a sarin attack inside Syria – and forcing Obama to make good on his red line threat.”

• On September 20, 2014, Demir Celik, a Member of Parliament with the people’s democratic party (HDP) claimed that Turkish Special Forces fight with ISIS.

8. Turkey Helped ISIS in Battle for Kobani

• Anwar Moslem, Mayor of Kobani, said on September 19, 2014: “Based on the intelligence we got two days before the breakout of the current war, trains full of forces and ammunition, which were passing by north of Kobane, had an-hour-and-ten-to-twenty-minute-long stops in these villages: Salib Qaran, Gire Sor, Moshrefat Ezzo. There are evidences, witnesses, and videos about this. Why is ISIS strong only in Kobane’s east?

Why is it not strong either in its south or west? Since these trains stopped in villages located in the east of Kobane, we guess they had brought ammunition and additional force for the ISIS.” In the second article on September 30, 2014, a CHP delegation visited Kobani, where locals claimed that everything from the clothes ISIS militants wear to their guns comes from Turkey. (See HERE and HERE.)

• Released by Nuhaber, a video shows Turkish military convoys carrying tanks and ammunition moving freely under ISIS flags in the Cerablus region and Karkamis border crossing (September 25, 2014). There are writings in Turkish on the trucks.

• Salih Muslim, PYD head, claims that 120 militants crossed into Syria from Turkey between October 20th and 24th, 2014.

• According to an op-ed written by a YPG commander in The New York Times on October 29, 2014, Turkey allows ISIS militants and their equipment to pass freely over the border.

• Diken reported, “ISIS fighters crossed the border from Turkey into Syria, over the Turkish train tracks that delineate the border, in full view of Turkish soldiers. They were met there by PYD fighters and stopped.”

• A Kurdish commander in Kobani claims that ISIS militants have Turkish entry stamps on their passports.

• Kurds trying to join the battle in Kobani are turned away by Turkish police at the Turkey-Syrian border.

• OdaTV released a photograph of a Turkish soldier befriending ISIS militants.

9. Turkey and ISIS Share a Worldview

• RT reports on Vice President Joe Biden’s remarks detailing Turkish support to ISIS.

According to the Hurriyet Daily News on September 26, 2014, “The feelings of the AKP’s heavyweights are not limited to Ankara. I was shocked to hear words of admiration for ISIL from some high-level civil servants even in Şanliurfa. ‘They are like us, fighting against seven great powers in the War of Independence,’ one said.” “Rather than the [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK on the other side, I would rather have ISIL as a neighbor,” said another.”

• Cengiz Candar, a well-respected Turkish journalist, maintained that MIT helped “midwife” the Islamic state in Iraq and Syria, as well as other Jihadi groups.

• An AKP council member posted on his Facebook page: “Thankfully ISIS exists… May you never run out of ammunition…”

• A Turkish Social Security Institution supervisor uses the ISIS logo in internal correspondences.

• Bilal Erdogan and Turkish officials meet alleged ISIS fighters.

 A woman Syrian refugee in Canada: Trying to figure out how to welcome new comers

Cynthia Choucair and Sabine Choucair shared
 Keenana Issa post

I am a Syrian refugee in Canada.

In December 1st last year I was walking on the peace bridge that separates Canada from the United States.

I speak good English, sort of connected as I’m a writer, activist, film producer and communication person.

I’m considered advanced technologically and I have a family here.

Even though, I feel like a complete alien, I’m not here out of choice, I just found myself here, and I don’t know what to do as I’m getting really lost and lonely here.

And now, next week a group of Syrian refugees will be here in Canada, the first group.

I live 20 minutes away from Pearson airport, and I desperately need to welcome my folks and can’t seem to find a way.

Welcoming those Syrian refugees who had it the harder way, that may or may not speak English, who are coming to a camp that will decide their future that they know nothing of, they’ve seen horrors and observed the world from an underground’s point of view.

They have witnessed how horrific power and ideologies can be.

I just wanna be there to welcome them at the airport, tell them that you made it to safety, you’re survivors, and you need to be proud of yourselves, see how far you’ve come, feel happy about it, you’re in a good place, a place that would take you time to know and like.

I understand that each one of you has their traumas to deal with, and you’ll hate any place that’s not home, and probably you’d think Canadians are cold and reserved, but it’s not the truth.

Canadians are, just like any other people in the world, like Syrians and Palestinians and Indians and French…you name it, there are the good and the bad ones, the only difference here is that you have to try, despite all of your pain and tragedies to know and love and appreciate and tell the difference between people and streets here in this new place.

Remember that this is a country, such as ours before everything exploded in our faces, is opening its arms for you with all its strengths and weaknesses, there are people here who are trying to live and let live as much as there are others who only seek power.

 Let’s learn to appreciate that, let’s try to introduce them to our ethics and culture without prejudice.

 It’s a place where you can speak up for yourself, they think differently, they expect you to explain your needs, they don’t figure it out by themselves,.

But in comparison to other places in the world, they’ve gone a long way in guessing it out, so let’s give them credit for that, and let’s hope they are willing to go all the way with us until we find our way of healing, and show us what’s most beautiful about this land.

P.S: I wish I was able to meet original people, I guess I owe them a thanks for all the loving spirit that has inhibited this land.

Emirates Secretly Sends Colombian Mercenaries to Yemen Fight

It is inevitable: Easy wealth leads underdeveloped countries with non-sustainable institutions into practicing their favourite pastime: war.

WASHINGTON — The United Arab Emirates has secretly dispatched hundreds of Colombian mercenaries to Yemen to fight in that country’s raging conflict, adding a volatile new element in a complex proxy war that was decided, supplied and supported by the United States.

It is the first combat deployment for a foreign army that the Emirates has quietly built in the desert over the past five years, according to several people currently or formerly involved with the project. The program was once managed by a private company connected to Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater Worldwide, but the people involved in the effort said that his role ended several years ago and that it has since been run by the Emirati military.

(A thorough embargo on foodstuff and health provision are denied the civilians in Yemen, by sea, land and air.

Every single infrastructure has been destroyed by daily air bombing, including hospitals and schools)

(You can see the hands of the US in every phase of this genocide pre-emptive war where only thousands of Yemeni babies are dying from famine, malnutrition and lack of medical care)


At least 32 people were killed when a suicide bomber attacked a mosque in Sana, Yemen, in September.
Dozens have been killed in similar bombings over the last six months, carried out by Sunni Islamic extremists targeting mosques where Shiite Yemenis worship. Credit Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

The arrival in Yemen of 450 Latin American troops — among them are also Panamanian, Salvadoran and Chilean soldiers — adds to the chaotic stew of government armies, armed tribes, terrorist networks and Yemeni militias currently at war in the country. Earlier this year, a coalition of countries led by Saudi Arabia, including the United States, began a military campaign in Yemen against Houthi rebels who have pushed the Yemeni government out of the capital, Sana.

It is also a glimpse into the future of war.

Wealthy Arab nations, particularly Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Emirates, have in recent years embraced a more aggressive military strategy throughout the Middle East, trying to rein in the chaos unleashed by the Arab revolutions that began in late 2010.

But these countries wade into the new conflicts — whether in Yemen, Syria or Libya — with militaries that are unused to sustained warfare and populations with generally little interest in military service.

“Mercenaries are an attractive option for rich countries who wish to wage war yet whose citizens may not want to fight,” said Sean McFate, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and author of “The Modern Mercenary.”

“The private military industry is global now,” said Mr. McFate, adding that the United States essentially “legitimized” the industry with its heavy reliance on contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan over more than a decade of war. “Latin American mercenaries are a sign of what’s to come,” he said.

Emirati officials have made a point of recruiting Colombian troops over other Latin American soldiers because they consider the Colombians more battle tested in guerrilla warfare, having spent decades battling gunmen of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, in the jungles of Colombia.

In addition, a recent United Nations report cited claims that some 400 Eritrean troops might be embedded with the Emirati soldiers in Yemen — something that, if true, could violate a United Nations resolution restricting Eritrean military activities. (Eritrean are fleeing their country and are being picked up for mercenary jobs)

The United States has also been participating in the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen, providing logistical support, including airborne refueling, to the nations conducting the airstrikes.

The Pentagon has sent a team to Saudi Arabia to provide targeting intelligence to the coalition militaries that is regularly used for the airstrikes. (The US and France have sold weapons to these “wealthy states” in the tens of billions)

The Obama administration has also in recent years approved the sale of billions of dollars’ worth of military hardware from American contractors to the Saudi and Emirati militaries, equipment that is being used in the Yemen conflict.

This month, the administration authorized a $1.29 billion Saudi request for thousands of bombs to replenish stocks that had been depleted by the campaign in Yemen, although American officials say that the bombs would take months to arrive and were not directly tied to the war in Yemen.

The Saudi air campaign has received widespread criticism from human rights groups as being poorly planned and as having launched strikes that indiscriminately kill Yemeni civilians and aid workers in the country.

Last month, Saudi jets struck a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders in Saada Province in northern Yemen, and in late September the United Nations reported that 2,355 civilians had been killed since the campaign began in March.

On the other side in Yemen is Iran, which over the years has provided financial and military support to the Houthis, the Shiite rebel group fighting the coalition of Saudi-led Sunni nations. (Just rumors spread by the US and its allies who have the monopoly of the media)

The divisions have created the veneer of a sectarian conflict, although Emirati troops in southern Yemen have also been battling members of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the Sunni terrorist group’s affiliate in Yemen.

Dozens of Emirati special operations troops have died since they arrived in southern Yemen in August. A single rocket attack in early September killed 45, along with several Saudi and Bahrani soldiers.

The presence of the Latin American troops is an official secret in the Emirates, and the government has made no public mention of their deployment to Yemen. Yousef Otaiba, the Emirati ambassador to Washington, declined to comment. A spokesman for United States Central Command, the military headquarters overseeing America’s involvement in the Yemen conflict, also declined to comment.

The Latin American force in the Emirates was originally conceived to carry out mostly domestic missions — guarding pipelines and other sensitive infrastructure and possibly putting down riots in the sprawling camps housing foreign workers in the Emirates — according to corporate documents, American officials and several people involved in the project.

A 2011 intelligence briefing for senior leaders involved in the project listed Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Somali pirates and domestic riots as some of the biggest threats to Emirati stability.

The troops were told that they might one day be called for foreign combat missions, but until the deployment to Yemen the only external missions they were given were to provide security on commercial cargo vessels.

Those missions were rare, and soldiers involved in the project describe years of monotony at the desert camp, housed within a sprawling Emirati military base called Zayed Military City. They rise every day at 5 a.m. for exercise and military training — including shooting practice, navigation and riot control. A number of Westerners, including several Americans, live at the camp and serve as trainers for the Latin American troops.

But by late morning the sun burns so hot at the windswept complex that the troops move into air-conditioned classrooms for military instruction.

The troops live in typically austere military barracks, hanging their laundry out the windows to dry in the hot air. There is a common computer room where they can check their email and Facebook pages, but they are not allowed to post photographs on social media sites.

Meals are basic. “It’s the same food all the time, every day,” one member of the project said several weeks ago. “Chicken every single day.”

The Emiratis have spent the equivalent of millions of dollars equipping the unit, from firearms and armored vehicles to communications systems and night vision technology. But Emirati leaders rarely visit the camp. When they do, the troops put on tactical demonstrations, including rappelling from helicopters and driving armored dune buggies.

And yet they stay largely because of the money, receiving salaries ranging from $2,000 to $3,000 a month, compared with approximately $400 a month they would make in Colombia. Those troops who deploy to Yemen will receive an additional $1,000 per week, according to a person involved in the project and a former senior Colombian military officer.

Hundreds of Colombian troops have been trained in the Emirates since the project began in 2010 — so many that the Colombian government once tried to broker an agreement with Emirati officials to stanch the flow headed to the Persian Gulf. Representatives from the two governments met, but an agreement was never signed.

Most of the recruiting of former troops in Colombia is done by Global Enterprises, a Colombian company run by a former special operations commander named Oscar Garcia Batte. Mr. Batte is also co-commander of the brigade of Colombian troops in the Emirates, and is part of the force now deployed in Yemen.

Mr. McFate said that the steady migration of Latin American troops to the Persian Gulf had created a “gun drain” at a time when Latin American countries need soldiers in the battle against drug cartels.

But experts in Colombia said that the promise of making more money fighting for the Emirates — money that the troops send much of home to their families in Colombia — makes it hard to keep soldiers at home.

“These great offers, with good salaries and insurance, got the attention of our best soldiers,” said Jaime Ruiz, the president of Colombia’s Association of Retired Armed Forces Officials.

“Many of them retired from the army and left.”




December 2015
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