Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘collateral damage

How many women and men are needed to convince you of a rape act?

Rape is not sex.

Men don’t rape women because they need to get laid.

Rape is violence. It’s power and dehumanizing of women.

Many wonder why they (this group of men) raped girls while they could have consensual sex, but that’s not the point. They don’t want vanilla: they want violence. They want to humiliate, inflict pain and violate.

They want to take what they want without permission. Because they can.

We tip the nurse at the birth of the boy double the girl.

We say “go make your brother a cup of tea” and allow him to boss his sister around.

We raise our boys to do as they please. To pee in the street because “they can’t hold it”.

To sleep in and get breakfast to his bed instead of helping at home.

We praise his “masculinity” with the amounts of hearts he has broken because “boys will be boys”.

We forgive his fling with the neighbor’s girl because he is a boy while we beat the girl in submission, all her life.

We laugh at the stolen kisses in the staircase priding our “boy has grown” while we curse the girl who gave in.

But she is not ours so we don’t care. She is collateral damage.

We teach him that the girl he touched must be a slut, a sinner and if she has done it with you she must have done it with others.

We tell “our boy” not to cry or show kindness because a real man is tough and angry. We poison him with toxic thoughts and connect his masculinity to the level of hate and control he develops towards women.

We don’t tell him about consent.

When he has an urge it must be stilled. He can’t otherwise because “all men are like that, they are hunters by nature”.

We teach him that sex is something he does to women for his own pleasure only. We call them boys whereas they should be men.

We raise girls to comply. To become the perfect victim.

We teach her that her body is sin and must be hidden.

We teach her that anything is always her fault. She is sin. Her voice is 3awra. We teach her that she is a burden and not worthy of love, not worthy of autonomy over her body and life.

We tell her “all men are like that” when she comes home disrespected and defeated. We tell her “the boy likes you” when he is mean to her.

We tell her “your honor” is a membrane and that her life is worthless without it.

We cut her her genitals so she can be “controlled”, we make her bleed to prove virtue.

We tell her to be silent and do as she is told. We tell her to shrink so she is likable. We tell her to be silent so she can please. We tell her not to laugh too loud, to keep her legs closed, to dress to undress. To be a ghost.

It takes 100 girls to convince you he is a rapist and just 1 guy to convince you she is a slut.

Patriarchy is the reason for violence against women. Patriarchy is actually safeguarded by women. Break the cycle. Step out of it.

Start at the root. Raise your children differently.

Change the laws that enable rape culture and the dehumanizing of women.

Give women equality to men by law and enforce it. We have to stop being a society that hates and fears women so much.

How’s your experience with dieting? Does it usually work?

You can take control of your health by taking control of your lifestyle, even If you can’t lose weight and keep it off.

Three and a half years ago, I made one of the best decisions of my life. As my New Year’s resolution, I gave up dieting, stopped worrying about my weight, and learned to eat mindfully. Now I eat whenever I’m hungry, and I’ve lost 10 pounds.

Why dieting doesn’t usually work . Posted Jan 2014

0:32 This was me at age 13, when I started my first diet. I look at that picture now, and I think, you did not need a diet, you needed a fashion consultant. (Laughter)

But I thought I needed to lose weight, and when I gained it back, of course I blamed myself. And for the next three decades, I was on and off various diets.

No matter what I tried, the weight I’d lost always came back. I’m sure many of you know the feeling.

As a neuroscientist, I wondered, why is this so hard?

Obviously, how much you weigh depends on how much you eat and how much energy you burn. What most people don’t realize is that hunger and energy use are controlled by the brain, mostly without your awareness.

Your brain does a lot of its work behind the scenes, and that is a good thing, because your conscious mind — how do we put this politely? — it’s easily distracted. It’s good that you don’t have to remember to breathe when you get caught up in a movie. You don’t forget how to walk because you’re thinking about what to have for dinner.

Your brain also has its own sense of what you should weigh, no matter what you consciously believe.

This is called your set point, but that’s a misleading term, because it’s actually a range of about 10 or 15 pounds. (would be lovely if set point is just 10 pounds?)

You can use lifestyle choices to move your weight up and down within that range, but it’s much, much harder to stay outside of it.

The hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates body weight, there are more than a dozen chemical signals in the brain that tell your body to gain weight, more than another dozen that tell your body to lose it, (Not fair?) and the system works like a thermostat (a thermostat that need to be redesigned?) , responding to signals from the body by adjusting hunger, activity and metabolism, to keep your weight stable as conditions change.

That’s what a thermostat does, right? It keeps the temperature in your house the same as the weather changes outside. Now you can try to change the temperature in your house by opening a window in the winter, but that’s not going to change the setting on the thermostat, which will respond by kicking on the furnace to warm the place back up.

Your brain works exactly the same way, responding to weight loss by using powerful tools to push your body back to what it considers normal. If you lose a lot of weight, your brain reacts as if you were starving, and whether you started out fat or thin, your brain’s response is exactly the same. (overweight people have a brain damage?)

We would love to think that your brain could tell whether you need to lose weight or not, but it can’t. If you do lose a lot of weight, you become hungry, and your muscles burn less energy. Dr. Rudy Leibel of Columbia University has found that people who have lost 10% of their body weight burn 250 to 400 calories less because their metabolism is suppressed. That’s a lot of food.

This means that a successful dieter must eat this much less forever than someone of the same weight who has always been thin.

From an evolutionary perspective, your body’s resistance to weight loss makes sense. (weird evolution)

When food was scarce, our ancestors’ survival depended on conserving energy, and regaining the weight when food was available would have protected them against the next shortage. Over the course of human history, starvation has been a much bigger problem than overeating.

This may explain a very sad fact: Set points can go up, but they rarely go down. (soon, we’ ll all be Fat) 

Now, if your mother ever mentioned that life is not fair, this is the kind of thing she was talking about. (Laughter) Successful dieting doesn’t lower your set point.

Even after you’ve kept the weight off for as long as 7 years, your brain keeps trying to make you gain it back. If that weight loss had been due to a long famine, that would be a sensible response. In our modern world of drive-thru burgers, it’s not working out so well for many of us.

That difference between our ancestral past and our abundant present is the reason that Dr. Yoni Freedhoff of the University of Ottawa would like to take some of his patients back to a time when food was less available, and it’s also the reason that changing the food environment is really going to be the most effective solution to obesity. (move to famine stricken environment)

Sadly, a temporary weight gain can become permanent. If you stay at a high weight for too long, probably a matter of years for most of us, your brain may decide that that’s the new normal.

5:52 Psychologists classify eaters into two groups, those who rely on their hunger and those who try to control their eating through willpower, like most dieters.

Let’s call them intuitive eaters and controlled eaters. The interesting thing is that intuitive eaters are less likely to be overweight, and they spend less time thinking about food.

Controlled eaters are more vulnerable to overeating in response to advertising, super-sizing, and the all-you-can-eat buffet. And a small indulgence, like eating one scoop of ice cream, is more likely to lead to a food binge in controlled eaters.

Children are especially vulnerable to this cycle of dieting and then binging. Several long-term studies have shown that girls who diet in their early teenage years are three times more likely to become overweight 5 years later, even if they started at a normal weight, and all of these studies found that the same factors that predicted weight gain also predicted the development of eating disorders.

The other factor is being teased by family members about their weight. So don’t do that. (Laughter)

I left almost all my graphs at home, but I couldn’t resist throwing in just this one, because I’m a geek, and that’s how I roll. (Laughter) This is a study that looked at the risk of death over a 14-year period based on 4 healthy habits: eating enough fruits and vegetables, exercise three times a week, not smoking, and drinking in moderation.

Let’s start by looking at the normal weight people in the study.

The height of the bars is the risk of death, and those zero, one, two, three, four numbers on the horizontal axis are the number of those healthy habits that a given person had. And as you’d expect, the healthier the lifestyle, the less likely people were to die during the study.

Now let’s look at what happens in overweight people. The ones that had no healthy habits had a higher risk of death.

Adding just one healthy habit pulls overweight people back into the normal range.

For obese people with no healthy habits, the risk is very high, 7 times higher than the healthiest groups in the study. But a healthy lifestyle helps obese people too. In fact, if you look only at the group with all four healthy habits, you can see that weight makes very little difference.

You can take control of your health by taking control of your lifestyle, even If you can’t lose weight and keep it off.

Diets don’t have very much reliability. Five years after a diet, most people have regained the weight. Forty percent of them have gained even more. If you think about this, the typical outcome of dieting is that you’re more likely to gain weight in the long run than to lose it.

If I’ve convinced you that dieting might be a problem, the next question is, what do you do about it? And my answer, in a word, is mindfulness.

I’m not saying you need to learn to meditate or take up yoga. I’m talking about mindful eating: learning to understand your body’s signals so that you eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full, because a lot of weight gain boils down to eating when you’re not hungry.

How do you do it? Give yourself permission to eat as much as you want, and then work on figuring out what makes your body feel good.

Sit down to regular meals without distractions. Think about how your body feels when you start to eat and when you stop, and let your hunger decide when you should be done.

It took about a year for me to learn this, but it’s really been worth it. I am so much more relaxed around food than I have ever been in my life. I often don’t think about it. I forget we have chocolate in the house.

It’s like aliens have taken over my brain. It’s just completely different. I should say that this approach to eating probably won’t make you lose weight unless you often eat when you’re not hungry, but doctors don’t know of any approach that makes significant weight loss in a lot of people, and that is why a lot of people are now focusing on preventing weight gain instead of promoting weight loss. Let’s face it: If diets worked, we’d all be thin already. (Laughter)

Why do we keep doing the same thing and expecting different results? Diets may seem harmless, but they actually do a lot of collateral damage. At worst, they ruin lives: Weight obsession leads to eating disorders, especially in young kids.

In the U.S., we have 80% of 10-year-old girls say they’ve been on a diet. Our daughters have learned to measure their worth by the wrong scale.

Even at its best, dieting is a waste of time and energy.

It takes willpower which you could be using to help your kids with their homework or to finish that important work project, and because willpower is limited, any strategy that relies on its consistent application is pretty much guaranteed to eventually fail you when your attention moves on to something else.

11:54 Let me leave you with one last thought. What if we told all those dieting girls that it’s okay to eat when they’re hungry? What if we taught them to work with their appetite instead of fearing it?

I think most of them would be happier and healthier, and as adults, many of them would probably be thinner. I wish someone had told me that back when I was 13.

 

 

CIA and Israeli Mossad assassinated Hezbollah’s operations chief: Imad Mughniyah

On Feb. 12, 2008, Imad Mughniyah, Hezbollah’s international operations chief, walked on a quiet nighttime street in Damascus after dinner at a nearby restaurant. Not far away, a team of CIA spotters in the Syrian capital was tracking his movements.

As Mughniyah approached a parked SUV, a bomb planted in a spare tire on the back of the vehicle exploded, sending a burst of shrapnel across a tight radius. He was killed instantly.

The device was triggered remotely from Tel Aviv by agents with Mossad, the Israeli foreign intelligence service, who were in communication with the operatives on the ground in Damascus. “The way it was set up, the U.S. could object and call it off, but it could not execute,” said a former U.S. intelligence official.

The United States helped build the bomb, the former official said, and tested it repeatedly (over 50 times) at a CIA facility in North Carolina to ensure the potential blast area was contained and would not result in collateral damage.

[Read: Who was Imad Mughniyah?]

“We probably blew up 25 bombs to make sure we got it right,” the former official said.

The extraordinarily close cooperation between the U.S. and Israeli intelligence services suggested the importance of the target — a man who over the years had been implicated in some of Hezbollah’s most spectacular terrorist attacks, including those against the U.S. Embassy in Beirut and the Israeli Embassy in Argentina.

The United States has never acknowledged participation in the killing of Mughniyah, which Hezbollah blamed on Israel. Until now, there has been little detail about the joint operation by the CIA and Mossad to kill him, how the car bombing was planned or the exact U.S. role.

With the exception of the 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden, the mission marked one of the most high-risk covert actions by the United States in recent years. (Regardless of the countless drone attacks that killed more civilians than the targeted persons in Yemen, Pakistan and Iraq)

U.S. involvement in the killing, which was confirmed by 5 former U.S. intelligence officials, also pushed American legal boundaries. (Better not to mention them by names, especially those closely involved in the assassination))

Mughniyah was targeted in a country where the United States was not at war with (explicitly, by heavily involved in the raging civil war in Syria).

Imad was killed in a car bombing, a technique that some legal scholars see as a violation of international laws that proscribe “killing by perfidy” — using treacherous means to kill or wound an enemy.

“It is a killing method used by terrorists and gangsters,” said Mary Ellen O’Connell, a professor of international law at the University of Notre Dame. “It violates one of the oldest battlefield rules.”

Former U.S. officials, all of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the operation, asserted that Mughniyah, although based in Syria, was directly connected to the arming and training of Shiite militias in Iraq that were targeting U.S. forces. There was little debate inside the Bush administration over the use of a car bomb instead of other means.

“Remember, they were carrying out suicide bombings and IED attacks,” said one official, referring to Hezbollah operations in Iraq. (A lot of bullshit, I guess)

The authority to kill Mughniyah required a presidential finding by President George W. Bush. The attorney general, the director of national intelligence, the national security adviser and the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department all signed off on the operation, one former intelligence official said. (Legitimate targets)

The former official said getting the authority to kill Mughniyah was a “rigorous and tedious” process. “What we had to show was he was a continuing threat to Americans,” the official said, noting that Mughniyah had a long history of targeting Americans dating back to his role in planning the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut.

“The decision was we had to have absolute confirmation that it was self-defense,” the official said.

There has long been suspicion about U.S. involvement in the killing of Mughniyah. In “The Good Spy,” a book about longtime CIA officer Robert Ames, author Kai Bird cites one former intelligence official as saying the operation was “primarily controlled by Langley” and it was “a CIA ‘black-ops’ team that carried out the assassination.”

In a new book, “The Perfect Kill: 21 Laws for Assassins,” former CIA officer Robert B. Baer writes how he had considered assassinating Mughniyah but apparently never got the opportunity. He notes, however, that CIA “censors” — the agency’s Publications Review Board — screened his book and “I’ve unfortunately been unable to write about the true set-piece plot against” Mughniyah.

The CIA declined to comment.

“We have nothing to add at this time,” said Mark Regev, chief spokesman for the prime minister of Israel.

Seven years after the death of Hezbollah’s Imad Mughniyah, The Post’s Adam Goldman and the Washington Institute’s Matthew Levitt look at the international cooperation that brought down the former military commander. (Davin Coburn, Randolph Smith and Kyle Barss/The Washington Post)
A theory of self-defense

The operation in Damascus highlighted a philosophical evolution within the American intelligence services that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Before then, the U.S. government often took a dim view of Israeli assassination operations, highlighted by the American condemnation of Israel’s botched attempt in 1997 to poison the leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshal, in Amman, Jordan. The episode ended with Mossad agents captured and the Clinton administration forcing Israel to provide the antidote that saved Meshal’s life.

The Mughniyah killing, carried out more than a decade later, suggested such American hesi­ta­tion had faded as the CIA stretched its lethal reach well beyond defined war zones and the ungoverned spaces of Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, where the agency or the military have deployed drones against al-Qaeda and its allies.

A former U.S. official said the Bush administration relied on a theory of national self-defense to kill Mughniyah, claiming he was a lawful target because he was actively plotting against the United States or its forces in Iraq, making him a continued and imminent threat who could not be captured.

Such a legal rationale would have allowed the CIA to avoid violating the 1981 blanket ban on assassinations in Executive Order 12333. The order does not define assassination.

In sanctioning a 2011 operation to kill Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen and an influential propaganda leader for al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, the Justice Department made a similar argument. Noting that al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula had targeted U.S. commercial aircraft and asserting that Awlaki had an operational role in the group, government lawyers said he was a continued and imminent threat and could not feasibly be captured.

“It’s fairly clear that the government has at least some authority to use lethal force in self-defense even outside the context of ongoing armed conflict,” said Stephen I. Vladeck, a professor of law at American University’s Washington College of Law. “The million-dollar question is whether the facts actually support a determination that such force was necessary and appropriate in each case.”

The CIA and Mossad worked together to monitor Mughniyah in Damascus for months prior to the killing and to determine where the bomb should be planted, according to the former officials.

In the leadup to the operation, U.S. intelligence officials had assured lawmakers in a classified briefing that there would be no collateral damage, former officials said.

Implicated in multiple cases

At the time of his death, Mughniyah had been implicated in the killing of hundreds of Americans, stretching back to the embassy bombing in Beirut that killed 63 people, including eight CIA officers. Hezbollah, supported by Iran, was involved in a long-running shadow war with Israel and its principal backer, the United States.

The embassy bombing placed Hezbollah squarely in the sights of the CIA, a focus that, in some respects, foreshadowed the targeting of Mughniyah.

In his 1987 book “Veil,” Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward reported that CIA Director William Casey encouraged the Saudis to sponsor an attempt to kill a Hezbollah leader. The 1985 attempt on the life of Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah with a car bomb failed, but killed 80 people, and he fled to Iran. Mughniyah’s brother was among those killed.

Former agency officials said Mughniyah was involved in the 1984 kidnapping and torture of the CIA’s station chief in Lebanon, William F. Buckley. The officials said Mughniyah arranged for videotapes of the brutal interrogation sessions of Buckley to be sent to the agency. Buckley was later killed.

Mughniyah was indicted in U.S. federal court in the 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847 shortly after it took off from Athens and the slaying of U.S. Navy diver Robert Stethem, a passenger on the plane. Mughniyah was placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list with a $5 million reward offered for information leading to his arrest and conviction.

He was also suspected of involvement by U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials in the planning of the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 U.S. servicemen.

For the Israelis, among numerous attacks, he was involved in the 1992 suicide bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires that killed four Israeli civilians and 25 Argentinians, and the 1994 attack on a Jewish community center in the city that killed 85 people.

“Mughniyah and his group were responsible for the deaths of many Americans,” said James Bernazzani, who was chief of the FBI’s Hezbollah unit in the late 1990s and later the deputy director for law enforcement at the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center.

The Bush administration regarded Hezbollah — Mughniyah, in particular — as a threat to the United States. In 2008, several months after he was killed, Michael Chertoff, then secretary of homeland security, said Hezbollah was a threat to national security. “To be honest, they make al-Qaeda look like a minor league team,” he said.

Beginning in 2003, Hezbollah, with the assistance of Iran, began to train and arm Shiite militant groups in Iraq, which later began attacking coalition forces, according to Matthew Levitt, who recently wrote a book about Hezbollah and is director of the Washington Institute’s Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence.

The Hezbollah-trained militias proved to be a deadly enemy, wounding or killing hundreds of American troops. As the situation in Iraq deteriorated and coalition casualties spiked in 2006, the United States decided it had to stanch the losses.

The Bush administration issued orders to kill or capture Iranian operatives targeting American troops and attempting to destabilize Iraq. It also approved a list of operations directed at Hezbollah, officials said. The mandate applied directly to the group’s notorious international operations chief.

“There was an open license to find, fix and finish Mughniyah and anybody affiliated with him,” said a former U.S. official who served in Baghdad.

In January 2007, Bush, in an address to the nation, singled out Iran and Syria, two countries with the closest ties to Hezbollah.

“These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq,” Bush said. “Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.”

Shortly after Bush’s speech, Hezbollah’s involvement in Iraq became clearer. On Jan. 20, 2007, five American soldiers were killed in Karbala. That March, Ali Mussa Daqduq, a senior Hezbollah operative with ties to Mughniyah, was captured by the British along with two others and turned over to U.S. forces.

While in U.S. custody, Daqduq confessed to playing a key role in the killing of the soldiers and provided the United States with a deeper understanding of Hezbollah’s networks, said Peter Mansoor, a retired Army colonel who served as executive officer to Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top American commander in Iraq.

“In interrogations with these folks, we finally discovered the full nature of Iranian and Hezbollah involvement in Iraq,” Mansoor said, noting that by then Iran had “outsourced the advisory effort to Hezbollah.” Mansoor said he had no knowledge of the operation that killed Mughniyah.

U.S. officials said Mughniyah played a pivotal role in linking Hezbollah to the Shiite militias that were working with Iran. It remains unclear if he ever entered Iraq. One former U.S. senior military official said there was information he traveled to Basra in southern Iraq in 2006, but it was not confirmed.

Ryan C. Crocker, the U.S. ambassador in Iraq when Mughniyah was killed, said: “All I can say is that as long as he drew breath, he was a threat, whether in Lebanon, Iraq or anywhere else. He was a very intelligent, dedicated, effective operator on the black side.”

Crocker said that he didn’t know anything about the operation to kill the Hezbollah operative and had doubts about Mughniyah traveling to Iraq. That said, he added: “When I heard about it, I was one damn happy man.”

Terrorism discussion widens

U.S. officials had explored ways to capture or kill Mughniyah for years. Those scenarios gained new urgency in the years after the Sept. 11 attacks when the Bush administration turned to the CIA and the U.S. military’s elite Joint Special Operations Command for stepped-up plans to stop major terrorist operatives — including those without ties to al-Qaeda or the 9/11 plot.

A former U.S. official described a secret meeting in Israel in 2002 involving senior JSOC officers and the chief of the Israeli military intelligence service. Amid a broader discussion of counterterrorism issues, the JSOC visitors raised the prospect of killing Mughniyah in such an offhanded fashion that their Israeli hosts were stunned.

“When we said we would be willing to explore opportunities to target him, they practically fell out of their chairs,” the former U.S. official said. The former official said that JSOC had not developed any specific plan but was exploring scenarios against potential terrorism targets and wanted to gauge Israel’s willingness to serve as an evacuation point for U.S. commando teams.

The former official said that the JSOC approach envisioned a commando-style raid with U.S. Special Operations teams directly involved, not the sort of cloak-and-dagger operation that occurred years later.

“It never went anywhere,” said the former official, who was unaware of the CIA-Israeli operation to kill Mughniyah.

Still, the 2002 encounter suggests that Mughniyah continued to be a focus for U.S. counterterrorism officials even after their overwhelming attention had shifted to al-Qaeda.

“We never took our eye off Hezbollah, but our plate was full with al-Qaeda,” said Bernazzani, who retired from the FBI in 2008 and said he had no knowledge of the operation to kill Mughniyah.

A window of opportunity

It is not clear when the CIA first realized Mughniyah was living in Damascus, but his whereabouts were known for at least a year before he was killed. One of the former U.S. intelligence officials said that the Israelis were first to approach the CIA about a joint operation to kill him in Damascus.

The agency had a well-established clandestine infrastructure in Damascus that the Israelis could utilize.

Officials said the Israelis wanted to pull the trigger as payback. “It was revenge,” another former official said. The Americans didn’t care as long as Mughniyah was dead, the official said, and there was little fear of blowback because Hezbollah would most probably blame the Israelis.

Amos Yadlin, the former head of Israeli military intelligence until 2010, said Mughniyah was positioned right under the group’s leader Hassan Nasrallah.

“He was the commander and chief of all military and terror operations,” Yadlin said, who declined to discuss Mughniyah’s demise. “He was the agent of the Iranians.”

The operation to target Mughniyah came at a time when the CIA and Mossad were working closely to thwart the nuclear ambitions of Syria and Iran. The CIA had helped the Mossad verify that the Syrians were building a nuclear reactor, leading to an Israeli airstrike on the facility in 2007. Israel and the United States were actively trying to sabotage the Iranian nuclear program.

Once Mughniyah was located in Damascus, the intelligence agencies began building a “pattern of life” profile, looking at his routine for vulnerabilities.

Mossad officials suggested occasional walks in the evening — when Mughniyah was unescorted — presented an opportunity. CIA officers with extensive undercover experience secured a safe house in a building near his apartment.

Planning for the operation was exhaustive. An Israeli proposal to place a bomb in the saddlebags of a bicycle or motorcycle was rejected because of concerns that the explosive charge might not project outward properly. The bomb had to be repeatedly tested and reconfigured to minimize the blast area. The location where Mughniyah was killed was close to a girls’ school.

One official said the bomb was tested many times at Harvey Point, a facility in North Carolina where the CIA would later construct a replica of Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Officials eventually concluded they had a bomb that could be used with no risk of others being killed or injured.

Mughniyah wasn’t alone in his confidence to operate freely in Damascus. During the operation, the CIA and Mossad had a chance to kill Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Quds Force, as he and Mughniyah walked together. Soleimani was an archenemy of Israel and had also orchestrated the training of Shiite militias in Iraq.

“At one point, the two men were standing there, same place, same street. All they had to do was push the button,” said one former official.

But the operatives didn’t have the legal authority to kill Soleimani, the officials said. There had been no presidential finding to do so.

When the bomb used to target Mughniyah was detonated, officials estimated the “kill zone” extended approximately 20 feet. The bomb was “very shaped and very charged,” an intelligence official recalled.

There was no collateral damage. “None. Not any,” the official said.

Facial recognition technology, another former official said, was used to confirm Mughniyah’s identity after he walked out of a restaurant in his neighborhood and moments before the bomb was detonated.

After the attack, Hezbollah leader Nasrallah blamed Israel for the killing and swore revenge: “Zionists, if you want an open war, let it be an open war anywhere.”

In fact, the damage to Hezbollah may have been compounded by the fact that the man charged with exacting revenge on Israel was a suspected Israeli asset. He was recently reported to be on trial in a Hezbollah court in Lebanon, but the group’s leader has downplayed the spy’s importance.

In a statement in 2008 after Mughniyah’s death, the office of then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s office said: “Israel rejects the attempt by terror groups to attribute to it any involvement in this incident. We have nothing further to add.”

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said at the time: “The world is a better place without this man in it. He was a coldblooded killer, a mass murderer and a terrorist responsible for countless innocent lives lost.”

Inside the intelligence community, a former official recalled, “It wasn’t jubilation.”

“We did what we had to,” the official said, “and let’s move on.”

William Booth in Jerusalem and Greg Miller, Karen DeYoung, Anne Gearan and Julie Tate in Washington contributed to this report.

 

Israel Drops Cancer-inducing Bombs on Gazans

Chris Carlson of International Middle East Media Center Editorial Group  posted thisJuly 19, 2014

A Norwegian doctor working in Gaza has strongly criticized Israel for using cancer-inducing bombs against Palestinian civilians.

erikfosse.jpg

According to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency, Dr. Erik Fosse recently stated to Press TV that the majority of patients hospitalized in Gaza are civilians injured in attacks on their homes, and that about 30% of these victims are children.

Dense Inert Metal Explosive, known as DIME, is an explosive device developed to minimize damage to things that are incidental to the intended target, known as “collateral damage“.

The bombs reportedly effect a relatively small but rather significantly damaging blast radius, and are believed by medical experts to have severe biological effects on those hit with the bomb’s micro-shrapnel.

DIME munitions were developed by the US Air Force, in 2006, and have since been tested repeatedly on the people of Gaza, who, according to the Electronic Intifada, have long served as involuntary lab rats for Israel’s weapons industry.

DIME bombs contain tungsten, a cancer-causing metal which helps to produce blasts which slice through flesh and bone, often completely destroying the lower limbs of people within the blast radius.

See related link: Israel DIME Weapon effect on Gaza-Article and Gallery
(Warning — graphic images.)

The doctor also says that some Palestinians in the besieged enclave have been wounded by a new type of weapon which even doctors with previous experience in war zones do not recognize.

Israel has used banned weapons in the past, including depleted-uranium and white phosphorus, which is nearly impossible to extinguish and leaves its victim hideously burned and scarred, should he or she even survive such an attack.

The ground assault continues in Gaza, today, with nearly 300 reported deaths and over 2,000 wounded in Gaza, to include elderly, disabled and children not even a year old — all victims of targets which include mostly civilian homes,hospitals and municipal facilities.

Related:Doctors Evacuate Patients After Israel Bombs Hospital

Chemotherapy: No longer toxic?

There is a revolution occurring in cancer treatment, and it could mean the end of chemotherapy, as we know it now. Chemotherapy as brutal crushing treatment has no place in the future of medicine.
Orthodox oncology is looking at new pharmaceuticals that not only are less toxic but also more targeted.
Dr. Martin Tallman, chief of the leukemia service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center said: “I think we are definitely moving farther and farther away from chemotherapy, and more toward molecular targeted therapy.”

The End of Toxic Chemo and Radiation

STAFF Matheus posted this February 5, 2014

Chemotherapy and radiation, as presently practiced, attacks both cancer cells and healthy cells, which is why chemotherapy and radiation are terrible to endure.

The essence of chemotherapy is to use chemicals strong enough to kill cancer cells. This is a good idea as long as the chemo agents do not harm the host, meaning they do not harm us. That is not the case!

Biochemists discovered a long time ago that cancer cells grow at a much faster rate than regular cells, so if a chemical can be injected that only kills fast-growing cells (cytotoxic), cancer cells and tumors will be killed.

The problem is that cancer cells are not the only fast growing cells in the body. When there is cellular rejuvenation occurring, it will get hit with chemo including hair, mouth, digestive tract, and our all-important white blood cells. Like radiation therapy, the loss of white blood cells is the part of chemo that doctors are most concerned about when administering it.

The immune system is toasted, yet this is considered acceptable collateral damage. For this oncologists put themselves in an extraordinarily weak position that history will not remember them fondly for.

Oncologists have it wrong in their choice of rays for radiation therapy and chemicals chosen for chemotherapy. They chose the heavy killing nuclear type of radiation that causes cancer as opposed to the intense life-generating kind of radiation (near and far infrared and Bioresonance frequencies) that offers healing.

Their choice of chemicals that destroy life and health instead of those that bring immune strength and healing will brand the present generations of oncologists in a way that they will not enjoy.

The Biomat, which I love to use, increases the generation of heat shock proteins. Pharmaceutical companies are trying to increase with nasty vaccines!

Basic medical science agrees on the value of heat shock proteins. The interplay between the immune system and cancer, and specifically, the role of heat shock proteins in viral infections and tumorogenesis has been studied proving the case for the use of infrared in the treatment of cancer.

How we generate them can be either safe or dangerous, depending on which types of treatments and doctors one follows. Why did they not choose medicinals and the type of radiation that targets the enemy cancer cells while leaving our healthy cells alone?

Why not since it is very possible to strengthen the immune system with the right natural chemo and radiation if one chooses the right medicinals and the right kind of radiation?

In my new book Anti-Inflammatory Oxygen Therapy, I introduce oxygen itself as the ultimate chemotherapy. Pharmaceutical scientists would not ever have thought of this freebie though it does cost money to concentrate it to the levels necessary to annihilate cancer cells.

With oxygen, doctors can blast cancer cells to smithereens and patients can do it in the comfort of their own homes. There are plenty of substances like cannabinoids and selenium that scientists have studied which shrink tumors reducing a person’s chances of dying from cancer.

These nutritional medicines are not toxic like the mustard gas derived chemotherapy, which still sets the standard for barbarism in the field of oncology.

The medicines in my Natural Allopathic Protocol present a more intelligent form of chemotherapy and radiation. The protocol surrounds and flanks oxygen delivered (made safe with CO2 medicine) at concentrations 5 times higher than a hyperbaric chamber.

You will be reading a lot about oxygen in the next two weeks as I finish the new book. This oxygen will roll over the bodies of cancer cells like an army of panzer divisions loaded with Tiger tanks. The throw weight of the Anti-Inflammatory Oxygen Therapy system is enormous.

Oxygen supplied in large quantities for short duration is completely safe because more than enough carbon dioxide is created in the process when the patient exercises for the 15-minutes a day, which is the time necessary to do Anti-Inflammatory Oxygen Therapy each day. Life is very sweet indeed, when we get enough oxygen.

In the book I introduce a new way of injecting massive amounts of oxygen into the cells, which will profoundly affect them. In fifteen minutes, one can blow the cells doors down, allowing them to detoxify as they gulp down high levels of oxygen. I have discovered a technique that offers much higher therapeutic results than these expensive, inconvenient hyperbaric chambers and can be done in your bedroom.

A person needs an oxygen concentrator, exercise bicycle or rebounder and a new mask kit with a reservoir that stores up enough O2, before you even begin to use it, to supply the correct amount of oxygen needed for one fifteen minute session. It offers a trip to cellular heaven. This therapy is like putting out a candle flame with your fingers.

In the first 15 minute session (or let’s say first four sessions) the inflammation in the capillaries will begin to be snubbed out and their toxins will be cleared. Oxygen will rush into the cells bringing the energy and the physiological processes necessary to heal. Oxygen is all around us but hardly anyone gets enough.

It is a paradox that few understand. But it is the reason that sodium bicarbonate is such a wonderful medicine. It gives one instant access to more oxygen because the bicarbonates/CO2 dilate the blood vessels ensuring more blood and oxygen get delivered. (Tomorrow I will publish ‘Carpet Bombing Cancer with Invincible Oxygen’, which is a chapter of the book.)

Chemotherapy: High Rate of Failure Chemotherapy_doctor.JPG

It is well known that chemotherapy drugs have a high rate of failure. This was brought out a long time ago in the January 10, 2002 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, where it was noted that 20 years of clinical trials using chemotherapy on advanced lung cancer have yielded survival improvement of only 2 months.

This editorial pointed out that while new chemotherapy regimens appear to be improving survival, when these same regimens are tested on a wider range of cancer patients, the results have been disappointing.

In other words, oncologists at a single institution may obtain a 40% to 50% response rate in a tightly controlled study, but when these same chemotherapy drugs are administered in the real world setting, response rates decline to only 17% to 27%. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy as they are practiced now are highly toxic treatments aimed at killing cancer cells.

The problem is these therapies create cancer stem cells and that means instead of treating cancer they are causing cancer. Fox News and many others have published the news about the undesirable effect of helping to create cancer stem cells—cells that researchers say are particularly adept at generating new tumors and are especially resistant to treatment.

The medical media is saying that this might help explain why late-stage cancers are often resistant to both radiation therapy and chemotherapy. We know that cancer stem cells give rise to new tumors.

These stem cells are ultimately responsible for the recurrence of cancer or the dangerous spreading of it throughout the body. Scientists also have found that cancer stem cells are more likely than other cancer cells to survive chemotherapies and radiation therapies, probably because their “stemness” allows them to self-replenish by repairing their damaged DNA and removing toxins.

“Radiotherapy has been a standard treatment for cancer for so long, so we were quite surprised that it could induce stemness,” said study researcher Dr. Chiang Li of Harvard Medical School in Boston.

An amazing statement considering these doctors have all along been playing around with super-toxic chemotherapy poisons and radioactive death-inducing rays—and now they are surprised that this is the mechanism of death?

The New York Times writes, “When it comes to taming tumors, the strategy has always been fairly straightforward. Remove the offending and abnormal growth by any means, in the most effective way possible. And the standard treatments used today reflect this single-minded approach — surgery physically cuts out malignant lesions, chemotherapy agents dissolve them from within, and radiation seeks and destroys abnormally dividing cells.”

You Don’t Want Brutal Treatments That Don’t Work The New York Times believes that, “these interventions can be just as brutal on the patient as they are on a tumor.” The entire field of oncology is vulnerable to attack not only because of the brutality of its treatments but also because new and better options are coming to the surface.

The main point, besides the cruel wrongness of present approaches, is that mainstream approaches to cancer DO NOT WORK FOR LATE STAGE CANCER.

Dr. Ulrich Abel, who poured over thousands of cancer studies, published a shocking report in 1990 stating that chemotherapy has done nothing for 80% of all cancers; that 80% of chemotherapy administered was worthless. Ulrich Abel was a German epidemiologist and biostatistician.

In the 80s, he contacted over 350 medical centers around the world requesting them to furnish him with anything they had published on the subject of cancer. Dr. Abel’s report and subsequent book (Chemotherapy of Advanced Epithelial Cancer, Stuttgart: Hippokrates Verlag GmbH, 1990) described chemotherapy as a “scientific wasteland” and that neither physician nor patient were willing to give it up even though there was no scientific evidence that it worked.

Everyone knows someone who has died of cancer, chemotherapy and radiation but oncologists like to hide the fact that patients die from the chemo and radiation before they would die from the cancer. Abel’s research led him to a sober and unprejudiced analysis of the literature where he concluded that treatments for advanced epithelial cancer rarely were successful.

By “epithelial” Dr. Abel is talking about the most common forms of adenocarcinoma – lung, breast, prostate, colon, etc. These account for at least 80% of cancer deaths in advanced industrial countries.

“This is an astounding charge coming from a member of the cancer establishment. In Germany they earned Abel a big, largely favorable, article in Der Spiegel, the German equivalent of Time.

Here, the powerful chemotherapy establishment has maintained discreet silence. More and more, toxic chemotherapy is being used against advanced cases of such diseases.

More than a million people die worldwide of these forms of cancer every year and the majority of them now “receive some form of systemic cytotoxic therapy before death,” wrote Dr. Ralph Moss who continued on to say: “The personal views of many oncologists seem to be in striking contrast to communications intended for the public.

Indeed, studies cited by Abel have shown that many oncologists would not take chemotherapy themselves if they had cancer.” Dr. Abel stated, “there is no evidence for the vast majority of cancers that treatment with these drugs exerts any positive influence on survival or quality of life in patients with advanced disease.

The almost dogmatic belief in the efficacy of chemotherapy is usually based on false conclusions from inappropriate data.” Small-cell lung cancer “is the only carcinoma for which good direct evidence of a survival improvement by chemotherapy exists,” wrote Dr. Abel but this improvement amounted to a matter of only three months!

The Judges, the Righteous, and the Honorable

Cedric Choukeir, regional director of the World Youth Alliance in the Middle East, posted this Oct.5, 2013:

Lately, I find myself repeatedly wondering whether our ability to choose is a gift at the heart of human freedom or a curse that keeps my mind preoccupied as it is now in choosing the words of this blog post.

Charles Malik defines humans as struggling and caring beings, struggling because they constantly have to make irreversible choices, while caring for the impact of these choices on themselves and on others.

How do we make our choices today, at a personal and global level, in a world of continuous injustice?

So the question is narrowed down to a simple “how can we know what the right choice is… if there ever was one…

Let me clarify that this is not a simple mathematical calculation of choosing the option that provides me with the highest return. I would probably define that as the “the best choice that benefits only me on the short term”.

This version of the best choice is not always the right choice. The best choice for me might not be the best choice for you and so we enter into an internal debate of placing ourselves somewhere between two extremes; one of selfishness and another of sacrifice.

What follows is my modest contribution in my quest in search of the right rather than the best.

I would like to think that acting upon our decisions usually involves three parties, the subject, the object, and the collateral damage or collateral benefits. The choices I make can affect me, the person I am directing my choices at, and people who are not directly involved in my decision.

Every day, we are faced with situations of conflict with other people caused by contradictory interests, beliefs, practices, or simply bad communication skills. Let’s face it, in almost every situation of conflict, both parties involved think they are right.

By thinking that I am right, I feel that an injustice has been done to me and therefore I make my decisions in order to “restore that justice”.

For example, my boss scolds me in front of other employees for not being professional. I feel a certain injustice when I see my boss being unprofessional himself and doing what I myself was being scolded for (Disclaimer:  I am not hinting to the lack of professionalism of WYA’s president… my boss).

I get the a feeling that I need to restore justice or else I will lose part of what my Arab brothers would call “dignity”, when in fact it is just pride.

In fact, I think the loss of pride leads to more humility, which might not be such a bad thing after all, but that is a separate topic for another post. So restoring justice always caries its price.  In this case, I might lose my job, a promotion, or simply the good favor of my boss.

So I need to make a choice, do I fight to restore my pride or do I suck it up and become a boot-licker?

I personally would chose the second option and substitute the term of “sucking it up” with “making the smart choice”. I am willing to sacrifice my pride as it is born of my ego, which needs to be kept in check.

However, honor is a different matter. It is built on right decisions aimed at doing good, (I am not referring to the hereditary family honor of the European dark ages and modern Arab societies).

To complicate things further, let me consider the situation where I feel an obligation to restore justice to those who do not have the ability to do it themselves.

Let me take the example regarding the likely use of chemical weapons in Syria by the Assad regime. President Obama felt the need to restore justice by punishing Bashar through a military strike.

The truth is that a military strike might have restored the heavenly sense of the word justice, but it would have led to the death of the same civilians whose justice Obama vowed to uphold. The strike would have had a short term and long term collateral damage on the Syrian population sitting idly between the two men.

The short term damage refers to the civilian causalities caused by western military interventions that media likes to ignore (such as the 125,000 dead civilians between 2003 and 2013 caused by the war on Iraq).

The long term damage refers to clearing the ground for Al Qaeda linked Jihadists to strengthen their grip on Syria. Luckily, Obama decided to suck it up and make the smart decision.

Restoring justice puts the person in the seat of the judge, a position for someone who supposedly knows what is right or wrong. In making that judgment, remember not to step on others’ toes as you pass your judgment and do not ignore the collateral damage you may cause.

The right choice is not about your personal pride or the pride of the person you are judging, it is about doing what is best for the other negatively affected people. Making the right choice requires a bit of humility, and in that humility you are able to find yourself and achieve a true sense of honor.

Storytellers need to humanize life: Has Barak Obama stopped reading good fables?

On Obama and literature.  And on why so many with a tad of conscience are bothered by Obama’s presidency:

What makes certain Somali, Pakistani, Yemeni, and American people of so little account? Why that even after killing them, the United States disavows all knowledge of their deaths? How much furious despair is generated from so much collateral damage?”

Teju Cole posted this Feb. 11, 2013 in The New Yorker “On Reader’s War”

“Thanks to literature, to the consciousness it shapes, the desires and longings it inspires…civilization is now less cruel than when storytellers began to humanize life with their fables.” Mario Vargas Llosa

This defense by Vargas Llosa as he received the Nobel Prize in Literature two years ago, could have come from any other writer.

Fact is, cliché originates in some truth.

Vargas Llosa reiterated the point: “Without fictions, we would be less aware of the importance of freedom for life to be livable, the hell it turns into when it is trampled underfoot by a tyrant, an ideology, or a religion.”

Toni Morrison, in her Nobel lecture in 1993, said, “We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.” This sense of literature’s fortifying and essential quality has been evoked by cou

When Marilynne Robinson described fiction as “an exercise in the capacity for imaginative love, or sympathy, or identification” she was stating something almost everyone would agree with.

We praise literature in self-evident terms: it is better to read than not to read, for reading civilizes us, makes us less cruel, and brings the imaginations of others into ours and vice versa.

We persist in this belief regardless of what we know to the contrary: that the Nazis’ affection for high culture did not prevent their crimes.

There was a feeling during the years of George W. Bush’s Presidency that his gracelessness as well as his appetite for war were linked to his impatience with complexity. He acted “from the gut,” and was economical with the truth until it disappeared.

Under Bush Jr. command, the United States launched a needless and unjust war in Iraq that resulted in terrible loss of life; at the same time, an unknown number of people were confined in secret prisons and tortured.

That Bush was anti-intellectual, and often guilty of malapropisms and mispronunciations (“nucular”), formed part of the liberal aversion to him: he didn’t know much much about the wider world, and did not much care to learn.

His successor couldn’t have been more different.

Barack Obama is an elegant and literate man with a cosmopolitan sense of the world. He is widely read in philosophy, literature, and history—as befits a former law professor—and he has shown time and again a surprising interest in contemporary fiction.

The books a President buys might be as influenced by political calculation as his “enjoyment” of lunch at a small town diner or a round of skeet shooting. Nevertheless, a man who names among his favorite books Morrison’s “Song of Solomon,” Robinson’s “Gilead,” and Melville’s “Moby Dick” is playing the game pretty seriously.

Obama own feel for language in his two books, his praise for authors as various as Philip Roth and Ward Just, as well as the circumstantial evidence of the books he’s been seen holding (the “Collected Poems” of Derek W Walcott, most strikingly), add up to a picture of a man for whom an imaginative engagement with literature is inseparable from life.

It thrilled me, when Obama was elected, to think of the President’s nightstand looking rather similar to mine. We had, once again, a reader in chief, a man in the line of Jefferson and Lincoln.

Any President’s gravest responsibilities are defending the Constitution and keeping the country safe.

President Obama recognized that the image of the United States had been marred by the policies of the Bush years. By drawing down the troops in Iraq, banning torture, and directly and respectfully addressing the countries of Europe and the Middle East, Obama signaled that those of us on the left had not hoped in vain for change.

When, in 2009, Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, we noted the absurdity of such premature plaudits, but also saw the occasion as encouragement for the difficult work to come. From the optimistic perspective of those early days, Obama’s foreign policy has lurched from disappointing to disastrous.

Iraq endures a shaky peace and Afghanistan remains a mire, but these situations might have been the same regardless of who was President. More troubling has been his conduct in the other arenas of the Global War on Terror.

The United States is now at war in all but name in Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. In pursuit of Al Qaeda, their allies, and a number of barely related militias, the President and his national-security team now make extraordinarily frequent use of assassinations.

The White House, the C.I.A., and the Joint Special Operations Command have so far killed large numbers of people. Because of the secret nature of the strikes, the precise number is unknown, but estimates range from a several hundred to over three thousand. These killings have happened without any attempt to arrest or detain their targets, and beyond the reach of any legal oversight.

Many of the dead are women and children.

Among the men, it is impossible to say how many are terrorists, how many are militants, and how many are simply, to use the administration’s obscene designation, “young men of military age.” The dependence on unmanned aerial vehicles—also called drones—for these killings, which began in 2002 and have increased under the Obama Administration, is finally coming to wider attention.

We now have firsthand testimony from the pilots who remotely operate the drones, many of whom have suffered post-traumatic stress reactions to the work. There is also the testimony of the survivors of drone attacks: heartbreaking stories of mistaken identity, grisly tales of sudden death from a machine in the sky.

In one such story reported by The New YorkTimes, the relatives of a pair of dead cousins said, “We found eyes, but there were no faces left.” The recently leaked Department of Justice white paper indicating guidelines for the President’s assassination of his fellow Americans has shone a spotlight on these “dirty wars” (as the journalist Jeremy Scahill rightly calls them in his documentary film and book of the same title). The plain fact is that our leaders have been killing at will.

How on earth did this happen to the reader in chief?

What became of literature’s vaunted power to inspire empathy?

Why was the candidate Obama, in word and in deed, so radically different from the President he became?

In Andrei Tarkovsky’s eerie 1979 masterpiece, “Stalker,” the landscape called the Zona has the power to grant people’s deepest wishes, but it can also derange those who traverse it. I wonder if the Presidency is like that: a psychoactive landscape that can madden whomever walks into it, be he inarticulate and incurious, or literary and cosmopolitan.

According to a report in the New York Times, the targets of drone strikes are selected for death at weekly meetings in the White House; no name is added to the list without the President’s approval.

Where land mines are indiscrimate, cheap, and brutal, drones are discriminate, expensi expensive, and brutal. And yet they are insufficiently discriminate: the assassination of the Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud in Pakistan in 2009 succeeded only on the seventeenth attempt.

The sixteen near misses of the preceding year killed between 280 and 410  other people. Literature fails us here.

What makes certain Somali, Pakistani, Yemeni, and American people of so little account that even after killing them, the United States disavows all knowledge of their deaths? How much furious despair is generated from so much collateral damage?

Of late, riding the subway in Brooklyn, I have been having a waking dream, or rather a daytime nightmare, in which the subway car ahead of mine explodes. My fellow riders and I look at one another, then look again at the burning car ahead, certain of our deaths. The fire comes closer, and what I feel is bitterness and sorrow that it’s all ending so soon: no more books, no more love, no more jokes, no more Schubert, no more Black Star.

All this spins through my mind on tranquil mornings as the D train trundles between 36th Street and Atlantic Avenue and bored commuters check their phones. They just want to get to work. I sit rigid in my seat, thinking, I don’t want to die, not here, not yet.

I imagine those in northwest Pakistan or just outside Sana’a who go about their day thinking the same. The difference for some of them is that the plane is already hovering in the air, ready to strike.

I know language is unreliable, that it is not a vending machine of the desires, but the law seems to be getting us nowhere.

And so I take helpless refuge in literature again, rewriting the opening lines of 7 well-known books:

Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself. Pity. A signature strike leveled the florist’s.

Call me Ishmael. I was a young man of military age. I was immolated at my wedding. My parents are inconsolable.

Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead bearing a bowl of lather. A bomb whistled in. Blood on the walls. Fire from heaven.

I am an invisible man. My name is unknown. My loves are a mystery. But an unmanned aerial vehicle from a secret location has come for me.

Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was killed by a Predator drone.

Okonkwo was well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond. His torso was found, not his head.

Mother died today. The program saves American lives.

I was in New York City on 9/11. Grief remains from that awful day, but not only grief. There is fear, too, a fear informed by the knowledge that whatever my worst nightmare is, there is someone out there embittered enough to carry it out. I know that something has to be done to secure the airports, waterways, infrastructure, and embassies of our country.

I don’t like war; no one does. But I also know that the world is exceedingly complex, and that our enemies are not all imaginary. I am not naïve about the incessant and unseen (by most of us) military activity that undergirds our ability to read, go to concerts, earn a living, and criticize the government in relative safety. I am grateful to those whose bravery keeps us safe.

This ominous, discomfiting, illegal, and immoral use of weaponized drones against defenseless strangers is done for our sakes. But more and more we are seeing a gap between the intention behind the President’s clandestine brand of justice and the real-world effect of those killings.

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words against the Vietnam War in 1967 remain resonant today: “What do they think as we test our latest weapons on them?” We do know what they think: many of them have the normal human reaction to grief and injustice, and some of them take that reaction to a vengeful and murderous extreme.

In the Arabian peninsula, East Africa, and Pakistan, thanks to the policies of Obama and Biden, we are acquiring more of the angriest young enemies money can buy. As a New York Times report put it last year, “Drones have replaced Guantánamo as the recruiting tool of choice for militants.”

Assassinations should never have happened in our name. But now we see that they endanger us physically, endanger our democracy, and endanger our Constitution. I believe that when President Obama personally selects the next name to add to his “kill list,” he does it in the belief that he is protecting the country.

I trust that Obama makes the selections with great seriousness, bringing his rich sense of history, literature, and the lives of others to bear on his decisions. And yet we have been drawn into a war without end, and into cruelties that persist in the psychic atmosphere like ritual pollution.

Teju Cole is a photographer and writer. His novel “Open City” was published last year.

U.S. Blurs Fact With Fiction Stories In Yemen

The US is heavily involved militarily in Yemen, particularly in south Yemen on the basis that al Qaeda is making serious inroad in that impoverished region. Drone attacks are daily occurrences, and civilians are dying like flies as “collateral damage“.

 posted on April 2 (with slight editing):

Instead of holding Ali Abdullah Saleh (deposed Yemeni President)  internationally accountable as the strongman openly defies the UN/GCC-led “transition” process, the Obama administration has organized another information campaign to muffle Saleh’s commotion and defend U.S. policy in Yemen.

The latest strike was just transmitted through The Los Angeles Times, but it seems to have missed its mark again. The report’s misleading main body ends with a refutation of U.S. counter-terrorism and illustrates how far the administration is willing to exaggerate in order to conceal a foreign policy meltdown. CENTCOM’s new chief, General James Mattis, told Congress that the virtual standstill of operations in Yemen is a lull… What is Washington’s Definition of “Lull”?

CENTCOM’s new chief, General James Mattis visiting with deposed Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh
General James Mattis isn’t the first individual to make such a claim, but he may be the most powerful. Mattis inherited David Petraeus’s transactional relationship with Saleh when he took command in August 2010, and he now oversees Special Forces and CIA coordination on the Arabian Peninsula.
The Times’ journalists fall into the administration’s trap when they write: “The U.S. effort in Yemen was brought to a virtual standstill, a “lull”, by Saleh’s yearlong effort to cling to power.” The Wall Street Journal provided an accurate assessment when reporting on Mattis’s early March testimony, clarifying that “he said there had been a ‘lull’ in some U.S. programs, but they hadn’t stopped all U.S. operations.”
Army Lt. Col. Jim Gregory, Pentagon spokesman, said: “The U.S. military suspended training activities in Yemen last year due to political instability. However, given Yemen’s critical needs, we are exploring the possibility of resuming our suspended military assistance to help Yemen confront the common threat of al Qaeda.”
As the WSJ points out, the CIA has expanded its operations since Yemen’s revolution caught fire in January 2011. The number of drone strikes spiked in May and June, when Saleh first left the country for medical aid, and have continued throughout the “transitional” process that began in November.
This strategy is designed to wow American voters, who generally demand a cheap, far-off war against al-Qaeda, and create distance between Saleh’s corrupt and murderous regime.
Whether U.S. training operations were truly suspended at any point is difficult to conclude:  State and Pentagon officials have given contradictory statements on the issue. However the manufactured divide between programs is superficial.  Saleh’s U.S.-trained Republican Guard and Central Security Organization (and funded by the absolute monarchy of Saudi Arabia)  spearheaded his assaults against Yemen’s revolutionaries, at times using U.S. weapons to kill protesters.
Pentagon officials insist that no equipment bled over into the streets, but WikiLeaks revealed Saleh’s misappropriations against the north Houthis (hawthi tribes that checked Saudi Arabia occupation attempts in 2009) and Southern Movement before the revolution.
Training and arming his personal guard, then suspending operations during a year of carnage, is an absurd alibi.
Despite a bloody crackdown that killed hundreds of peaceful protesters, Saleh has kept himself useful by intermittently cooperating on the intelligence front, in turn producing the death of public enemy US citizen from New Mexico Anwar al-Awlaki.
As a direct consequence of Saleh’s notoriously duplicitous behavior (exposed by WikiLeaks, among other sources), Washington also assists with the logistics and supplying of Yemen’s army as it battles al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in the south.
Residents of Abyan governorate and one of Saleh’s own generals accused his counterterrorism units of withdrawing for months, a reality later confirmed by John Brennan himself. The White House’s counterterrorism chief has assumed diplomatic duties in a politically volatile environment, to many Yemenis’ displeasure, and Brennan subsequently claimed that Saleh’s cooperation had since improved by the time of al-Alwaki’s death.
After AQAP overran Rada’a, located southeast of Sana’a, with suspicious ease in January 2012, Yemeni officials reported that U.S. Special Forces were participating in the recovery operation.
These developments have created a vicious cycle of instability that is currently drowning out Yemen’s revolutionaries. Disturbingly, the Obama administration wants to get every program back online and, more importantly, boosted to higher levels before the revolution achieves its objectives. Washington continues to entertain the payoff of a smaller war, but Yemen’s battleground will only expand under the current U.S. policy.
“Not supporting Saleh?”
According to named and unnamed officials, training operations with Saleh’s regime were suspended once the administration became fearful of the safety of U.S. personnel. This notion jars with Washington’s eagerness to “restart” counterterrorism training by deploying personnel already sleeping inside the country.  False.
More flagrantly false is the White House’s claim that America “isn’t backing a repressive ruler.” The administration had grown unsustainably close to Saleh’s personal “counterterrorism” units, more often deployed against the Houthis and Southern Movement than AQAP.
The administration did support the opposition Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) prior to the revolution, when Saleh attempted to stretch his five-year term to seven, but Washington simply hoped to run a counterterrorism campaign under Saleh through 2014.
A billion dollar aid package was earmarked to sustain Saleh until then. From here Saleh’s son Ahmed, or another pro-American official (possibly Hadi) would assume nominal control of the presidency as Saleh worked from the background.
Yemen’s revolution essentially accelerated this plan: Western and Gulf powers still intend to guide Yemen down a controlled path of political, military and economic hegemony. Saleh himself received a medical vacation in New York City before returning to Sanaa, where he receives preferential treatment under the guise that he must be removed slowly.
Hollow threats to freeze his assets or evoke his UN-approved immunity are nowhere close to materializing (because some of his assets and potential war crimes trace back to Washington). Yet this narrative has been successfully built up stateside as the U.S. and GCC attempt to restructure Yemen’s military, an urgent process that subverts a genuine political transition.
A majority of Yemenis already perceive the U.S. as of Saleh’s only allies, and efforts to manipulate the revolution continue to expand the country’s pre-existing antagonism towards America.
“Not interfering with internal conflicts?”
The Obama administration would like Americans and Yemenis to be believed, in one official’s words, “We don’t want to become involved in the country’s internal battles.” Unfortunately the administration has accelerated far past this point of return.
Turning “every anti-government fighter against the United States” could be an exaggeration, but Washington has made enemies with every anti-regime bloc outside of the JMP. From the Houthis in the north to Yemen’s urbanized revolution to the south’s secessionist campaign, each area is negatively affected by U.S. and Saudi policy.
Pentagon officials counter these fatal flaws by raising the profile of Abd Mansur Hadi, Saleh’s replacement and former vice president. The less egoistic Hadi represents an upgrade from Saleh’s autocratic personality and, if left to his own decisions, could serve as a passable transitional figure. A senior Defense official told the LA Times that Hadi “has shown the will and ability to make the changes…It’s a matter of getting the right focus and the right plan and someone to lead it.”
However Washington and the GCC didn’t author “the right plan” to resolve Yemen’s multidimensional conflict – they wrote with their own interests in mind. Saleh kept Hadi around for a reason and the new president has found himself predictably obstructed by loyalists – all a byproduct of the GCC’s terms.
Although cautiously accepted by the revolutionaries as the lesser of two evils, Hadi is viewed as a puppet by Saleh and Washington alike.
The country’s geopolitical significance partially explains the relentless nature of counterrevolutionary forces. What accounts for the mystery is the fact that America’s pre-revolutionary policy would create a more dangerous AQAP by 2014.
The revolution should have triggered a strategic realignment that emphasizes relations with Yemenis, not sacrifices them to maintain counterterrorism operations with the remnants of Saleh’s regime.
Until the full spectrum of Yemen’s popular grievances are addressed by an objective party, U.S. policy will remain a source of instability with limited sustainability in Yemen’s future.
Plutonium depleted bombs effects? Ask the Iraqis, Palestinians, and Afghanistanis

Last week a US “rogue soldier” massacred in Afghanistan 16 civilian victims, nine of whom were childrenThis soldier is to face trial and defense minsiter Paneta think that the soldier will ultimately be sent to death row

Ross Caputi wondered in March 13: “Why aren’t Westerners equally outraged when drone attacks kill entire families?”

 
 
Caputi wrote (with slight editing and sentences in parenthesis mine):
 
“This incident has elicited rage among Afghans and westerners alike. But why are westerners not equally outraged when drone attacks kill entire families?

Drone attacks that kill civilians usually fall into our category of “collateral damage”, because the dead civilians weren’t specifically targeted, and we treat this category as an unfortunate consequence of war, not murder.

Afghans see little difference : their loved ones are dead because of the conscious actions of NATO forces. Is the distinction between collateral damage and murder come down to the question of intent?

 Thomas Aquinas was one of the first to hone in on this distinction with his doctrine of double effect, which is still used today to justify collateral damage. It is believed in the west that some innocent death is excusable in war, as long as the deaths are not intended, and even if those deaths are foreseeable.

But if civilian deaths are foreseeable in a course of action, and we take that action anyway, did we not intend them? (They were surely intended to die!)  I doubt Afghans would feel much consolation knowing that their family members were not directly targeted, an unfortunate side-effect of war?

Yet, western audiences feel reassured knowing that most of the civilian deaths in Afghanistan were not intended; and they only become outraged when marines and soldiers clearly target civilians and kill women and childrenurinate on their bodies, and plunder their body parts as trophies.

From Abu Ghraib, to Fallujah, to Haditha, and now to Panjwai, US forces have committed massacres against civilians. These incidents stand out in the western mind, but to Afghans and Iraqis, they are no different from the daily slaughter of civilians by drones, air strikes, depleted uranium and stray bullets.

Tell a mother from Fallujah whose children have been horribly deformed by uranium weapons that her childrens’ suffering was unintended, even though the health effects of uranium-based weapons are well-known. (Are you aware of the effects of phosphorous bomb?  Kids re-igniting after fire is supposedly put down?)

Tell the survivors of drone attacks that their dead family members were not targeted, and that their deaths were an unfortunate consequence of war. Is their pain any different from the father whose entire family was murdered in this most recent atrocity?

If collateral damage is foreseeable, if it is really a fact of war (do you believe it?), is it not a crime to engage in war when it will inevitably kill innocents?

Is there really a morally significant difference between murder and collateral damage?

The “consequentialist” will argue that the good results outweigh the bad, that democracy, freedom and the liberation of Afghan women will improve the lives of Afghans so much that the deaths of a few are justified.

This is an easy judgment for westerners to make from the comforts of their own homes; but it stinks of the same patriarchy and arrogance of the white man’s burden that justified colonialism for so many years.

Has anyone consulted Afghans and asked them if they think the good that the west has promised will come of this occupation is worth the lives of their family members?

The occupation of Afghanistan is an “atrocity-producing situation”, as was the occupation of Iraq, and we have signed Afghans and Iraqis up for this against their will.

The nature of these occupations fosters atrocity. The invented enemy, the lack of a battlefield void of civilians, the supposed moral superiority of the occupiers, the obscure goals of the mission, the methods of training that prepare soldiers for occupation, and the methods of warfare all make the murder of civilians unavoidable.

In modern warfare, 90% of the casualties are civilian, but this is a reality that the West civilization likes to ignore.

(Drone attacks reminds me of the saying of an officers: “Kill them all. God will knows who was the innocent…”) 

Revisiting hilarious “acts of violence” in history: Divide all “facts” by a hundred

You read “facts” in history books about armies, one million strong, facing in battlefields. You read of warlords massacring 100,000 civilian inhabitants in cities. You read all kinds of fictitious “facts” that makes you feel disgusted of mankind specie…

You would rather watch armies of ants, each carrying a twig in his powerful mandible, and hitting another ant silly until death…

Fact One: In the middle of 1800, mankind was less than one billion. If you factor out China and India, maybe mankind was less than 300 million, barely surviving, committing genocides in colonies and at home, chopping hands in the Congo, about 5 million hands, for failing to produce the requisite quota of rubber, or harvesting thousands in India to “set examples”, or displacing entire race of “Red Indians” thousand of miles away to “settlements”  so that the land can be developed…

How come thousand of years ago, any empire, however vast it was, however the power was absolute, could any empire regiment one million soldiers? It is not possible.

Fact Two: No battlefield could hold one million warriors. It is not a matter of logistics for feeding these hordes. It is not lack of enough parcels to sleep upon.  It is how all that crowd find enough spots to shit! It is not feasible. Period.

It is recounted that the Arabic General Tarek bin Ziad burned all the ships after landing his troops in Spain and said: “Ahead of you is the enemy. Behind you is the vast sea. You deal with these facts…” There are not many imaginative army generals.

If I were a general, I would space-out my army half a yard away, order the soldiers to dig a small hole and pond their shit in. I would then harangue them: “Ahead of you is the enemy. Behind you is a mined-shit field. You deal with these facts, if you care to retreat…”

Fact Three:  Why you see in movies Greek and Roman soldiers wearing skirts? It is not that they had no concept of pants or underwear.  How can any dignified warrior engage in war, feeling less than half a man, having “dirtied” his pants before the battle even started?  The soldier in skirts, legs and buttocks heavily ventilated from below, would simple spread their legs and do the little or the big ones where he stood.

It stand to reason that a couple thousand Greek or Roman soldiers would easily defeat a million-strong army of Parthians or Persians wearing pants, however loose the pants are. Ancient empires exaggerated their feats, and the sane person should divide by a hundred any number offered as “facts”

Fact Four: How long do you think any healthy and experienced soldier, fighting with swords, daggers, or something of somewhat sharp implement, body to body, at very close range, can hold his ground before taking a resting break from the “fight”?

These kind of close range fights with short hand weapons didn’t permit any experienced soldier to neutralize more than four enemies in an hour…Suppose the battle lasted 8 long hours with frequent breaks, before sundown…

I bet you most of the dead soldiers on the battlefield were slit while stooping, catching their breath, or sprawled, faking death…

I bet you most casualties slipt on their shit or the adversary shit, and the enemy also slipt and his weapon happened to be extended forward, or inward and committed suicide accidentally, collateral damage kinds…

I bet you most victims died of asphyxia, stampede style, one slipping and toppling on the other…This is not war. This is soccer game event.  This is not even mass gladiators show-off ceremonies: The fighters were not that fit.  Most soldiers lacked one sandal, the other sandal was lost, stuck somewhere, irremediably unretrievable…The remaing sandal was just glued, under a heap of something…

I bet you the smart General kept a sizeable reserve of soldiers to engage during “break time”…to slice the rotten, fallen tomatoes…

I bet there were countless gentleman agreement among the warriors.  For example: “Hey man, I feel like going. How about you?”  “Fine with me. The pressure is killing me. Let’s fake the fight. Our congested and red faces would suggest that we are archenemies…”

Fact Five:  There is this story of warlord Tamelan butchering 60,000 men in the Iranian city of Isfahan.  That was in 1400.  How could any city at the time hold more than 100,000 men, women, and kids? Every soldier was assigned a quota to slaughter Asfahani men, every day, for an entire month… I have questions:

First: When a soldier sliced a victim and the blood drenched his military tunic…would he wipe his slippery hands on the ground and rub his sword with dirt, before moving to the next waiting victim?

Second: Did Tamerlane issued red butcher overhaul to his quota-engaged soldiers so that they save time on washing and shining their military outfit? Did they wear boots? That would be a much time-consuming endeavor to keep shining…

Three: Did the soldier have breakfast before or after the first round of slaughterhood? In any case, most breakfasts were vomited. What a waste.

It pains me to watch action movies of ancient wars, exhibiting tall, vigorous, ferocious warriors.  Fact is, people were short, skinny, malnourished humanoids…They barely lived to be 30 of age. I am not talking of rotten death and eating on gums and suffering from hemorrhoids…

Those who survived the infantile phase, had already taken a severe beating before the age of twenty: They barely lived through small pox, malaria, dysentery, yellow fever…Wretched fighting wretched.  

The noblemen warriors mounted horses, decked in metal outfits, holding a sword too heavy to manipulate, peacocks leading wretched men for the show in the killing fields…

Most dead were the result of infections from rusty and dented weapons: Dying the slow and painful death, abandoned on the field, devoured by vultures and wild dogs…Humanoids fighting humanoids.

This illusionist of modern man wants to invent glorious ancestors.

Who is the more violent? The archaic warrior or the modern soldier, sitting tight, thousand of miles away from the battle field, bored, playing with his balls, pressing a stupid button, launching a missile, from a drone?

Those were the good old times…


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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