Tyranny and the Cloud

Only one thing worries me about the cloud: It facilitates state control because Cloud Computing reverses the decentralization (distribution) of computer power that heralded the internet. I think I got this fear from Cory Doctorow and his “The coming war on general computing.”

Anyway, maybe it is just a phase. Distributed Computing may very well be making a comeback as we see the end of Cloud Computing.

“World War III will be a global information war with no division between civilian and military participation.” -Marshal McLuhan

Heizer Doubletap Piston


“The Heizer DoubleTap Pistol ($450) is the world’s smallest and lightest .45 ACP concealed carry pistol. It features an aluminum frame in an ultra-compact, no-snag hammerless design. It can hold up to two rounds in the chamber and has an integral grip that can house an additional two rounds. While an ambidextrous thumb latch ejects your spent rounds. The DoubleTap is 100% American made and would make  a great concealed carry weapon.”

Source: HEIZER DOUBLETAP PISTOL | Muted

ISIS Are Target Practice for Robots

Drone
Photo Credit: JimNtexas via Compfight cc

“In the long run, the so-called ISIS Caliphate is destined to become a walled-in training facility where the major military powers test their new weapons on live combatants. Wars sometimes have expiration dates, but training is forever. Expect the Caliphate to be a permanent war zone, by design.

Along those lines, see Putin’s comment about Russia’s escalation in Syria. He said, “It’s hard to imagine a better exercise (for Russian forces). So we can train there for a long time without any serious harm to our budget.”

…I can easily imagine a teen signing up for ISIS and the chance to change the world. But does anyone sign up to be the replacement targets at the all-robot firing range? We will find out. If you want to kill an idea, you have to go after it directly. That’s what Putin is doing with his comments about using Syria for military training.

Source: Target Practice for Robots | Scott Adams Blog

Manning and Wikileaks

[Another in the series of old, forgotten posts languishing in the drafts folder. This one from June 2010]

U.S. Intelligence Analyst Arrested in Wikileaks Video Probe – 6th June (Wired)

Wired News (and Adrian Lamo) report alleged Wikileaks “Collateral Murder” video leaker – 7th June (wired)

Wikileaks/Manning: “Are America’s foreign policy secrets about to go online?” – 8th June (Wired)

State Department Anxious About Possible Leak of Cables to Wikileaks – 8th June (Wired)

The State Department’s Worst Nightmare by Philip Shenon– 8th June (Daily Beast)

Suspected Wikileaks Source Described Crisis of Conscience Leading to Leaks – 10th June (Wired)

Wikileaks Source Outed To Stroke Hacker’s Own Ego – 18th June (Slashdot)

The strange and consequential case of Bradley Manning, Adrian Lamo and WikiLeaks – 18th June (Salon)

 

Ireland’s Wars

There is a very articulate and entertaining young man blogging at Never Felt Better.

I am really enjoying his series on Ireland’s Wars.

He offers a very solid overview of some of the less well know aspects of Ireland’s military history. It is written in a contemporary “voice” that makes the stories and the analysis very accessible, using language and ideas from contemporary conflicts to illustrate points.

Very good blog and highly recommended.

Serbia marks 14th anniversary of NATO bombing

Whilst the world is wringing its hands about the 10th anniversary of the Iraq war, today is the grim anniversary of the start of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999.

The illegal bombing was a crucial precedent that enabled the Iraq war 4 years later. 

From B92, Serbia marks 14th anniversary of NATO bombing :

Today marks the 14th anniversary since the start of the NATO bombing campaign against Serbia, i.e. the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SRJ).

The bombing lasted 79 days and resulted in at least 2,500 deaths and more than 12,500 injuries. The attacks on Serbia started on March 24, 1999, and the last one took place near Kosovska Kamenica on June 10 at 13:15 CET.

The death toll among the military and police forces reached 1,008, including 659 soldiers and 349 policemen.

Around 6,000 civilians were injured, including 2,700 children.

The total damage was estimated at dozens of billions of dollars. NATO has never disclosed its losses.

‘The NATO forces killed 631 members of the Serbian Armed Forces, while 28 went missing, which means that the total number is 659, including 72 officers, 41 noncommissioned officers, 18 contract soldiers, 191 conscripts, 245 reservists, 60 military volunteers and three civilians in the army,’ Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vučić stated in the Serbian parliament on February 11, 2013.

According to earlier data, 5,173 soldiers and policemen were injured.

The decision to attack Yugoslavia was the first in history to be made without the approval of the UN Security Council, and the order was given to U.S. General Wesley Clark, the allied commander at the time, by NATO Secretary General Javier Solana.

Later on, in his book ‘Waging Modern War’, Clark revealed that the plans for the air strikes against Yugoslavia were well under way in mid-June 1998 and completed in late August that year. Yugoslavia was attacked under the pretext of failure of the talks on the future status of the southern Serbian province of Kosovo, held in Rambouillet and Paris.

After the decision on non-acceptance of foreign troops was ratified by the Serbian parliament, which proposed the UN forces to monitor a peaceful resolution of conflicts in Kosovo, NATO launched air raids on March 24, 1999 at 19:45 CET.

The 19-member Alliance launched projectiles from ships in the Adriatic Sea and four military bases in Italy, all with the support of strategic operators who took off from the basis in Western Europe and latter in the U.S.

The first targets were barracks and air defense forces in Batajnica, Mladenovac, Priština and other locations.

There is practically no city in Yugoslavia which was not targeted on a number of occasions during the 11-week campaign.

The bombing caused damage to 25,000 houses and apartment buildings and destroyed 470 kilometers of roads and 595 kilometers of railway tracks.

A total of 14 airports were damaged, as well as 19 hospitals, 20 healthcare centers, 18 kindergartens, 69 schools, 176 cultural monuments and 44 bridges, while 38 more were completely destroyed.”

Shame on you NATO. 

Volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity

VUCA is an acronym used to describe or reflect on the volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity of general conditions and situations. The common usage of the term VUCA began in the late 1990s and derives from military vocabulary[1] and has been subsequently used in emerging ideas in strategic leadership that apply in a wide range of organizations, including everything from for-profit corporations[2] to education.[3]

via Volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Egyptian versus Greek Protesters

Watching this footage of Egyptian protesters fighting their police show the how different protesting-rioting is when confronting armed police who use live ammunition.

The police are too far away for their petrol bombs being thrown at then to get anywhere near them. Same story with the stones. The protesters however are easily within range of the tear-gas launchers and rubber bullets.

If they get too close, or look like actually hitting the police with firebombs, they would be shot dead.

Contrast this with Greece, where the rioters get very close to the police, routinely hitting officers directly with firebombs.

Greek anarchists think they are tough guys because the work they can expect is tear-gassing and truncheon blows. Egyptian (and Syrian, and Bahraini) protesters risk life and limb to protest.

They are truly brave, unlike their anarchist fellows in Greece.