Saturday, October 22, 2011

Tod in Sirte

ای کشته کرا کشتی
کینسان بکشندت زار

"Ey koshthe Kera koshti
Kinsan bekoshandat zar."

Oh, my body. Whom must you have killed
that they put you to death so terribly.

Rumi (1207 - 1273), Persian poet and Sufi mystic, when seeing a corpse lying in the street.

Death in Sirte: Muammar Gaddafi

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Drone King's New Aztec War of Flowers

On August 27, 1965, the Beatles visited Elvis Presley in his house in Bel Air Los Angeles. According to Paul McCartney, the Beatles were amazed how Elvis telecommanded his televisions with a remote control. The Beatles had never seen one before.

"A Taste of Armageddon" is a first-season episode of Star Trek: The Original Series. First broadcast on February 23, 1967 and repeated July 20, 1967, episode #23, production #23, and was written by Robert Hamner and Gene L. Coon, and directed by Joseph Pevney. In the episode, the USS Enterprise visits Eminiar VIII with the purpose of establishing diplomatic relations with this planet.

computer simulated annihilation: a Taste of Armageddon

When I visited a casino in Las Vegas, many years later than the Beatles had visited Elvis, only people 18 years and over were admitted to the gambling halls. Younger people had to remain outside. To entertain themselves, until their parents had spent all the money for the night, the kids were given video games to play with. The video arcades were more crowded than the black jack tables and onscreen, people were killed at a frightening pace.

In 2011, the „top gun“ culture in the US Air Force has been replaced by units of video gamers. From Air Force bases outside Las Vegas – Creech, Nellis – US soldiers telecommand drones, heavily armed with laser guided Hellfire missiles, in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan from comfortable office seats and by remote control.

In the 1400s, a treaty was made between the Aztecs and some of the unconquered city-states close by (such as Tlaxcala and Huejotzingo) who also practiced human sacrifice, that a War of Flowers would take place at stated times, for the express purpose of both sides taking prisoners of war. The battle was not intended to end in conquest, and at times when it would be inconvenient (for economic reasons, or because of natural disasters) it would not take place.

In 1984, Skynet, the supercomputer that rules a future Earth, sent a cyborg assassin, a "terminator," back to our time. His job was to liquidate the woman who would give birth to John Connor, the leader of the underground human resistance of Skynet's time. That, of course, was the plot of the first Terminator movie and for the multi-millions who saw it, the images of future machine war - of hunter-killer drones flying above a wasted landscape - are unforgettable.

Human Sacrifice: the Aztec War of Flowers

The US government now operates two drone programs, to varying degrees of transparency, accountability and success. One is directed by the US military, the other is directed by the CIA.

George Bell, the bishop of Chichester in the Church of England during World War II, used to carry in his pocket photographs of charred human remains from Royal Air Force bombing missions in Germany. He argued that if the British pilots could just look at those photographs, they would refuse to fly any more missions.

The Bush Doctrine held that the United States should depose foreign regimes that represented a potential or perceived threat to the security of the United States, even if that threat was not immediate.

World War II was a bonanza for invention as well as destruction. It ended, of course, with the Manhattan Project, that non plus ultra of industrial-sized invention for destruction, which produced the first atomic bomb.

Today's disinegration booths are found in Creech, Nellis, Guantanamo and in Bagram.

Less than two percent of those killed by US drone strikes in Pakistan have been described in reliable press accounts as leaders of Al Qaeda or allied groups.

In the so-called flower wars fought by the Aztecs with neighbouring Mexican city-states, the two sides designated soldiers for capture in advance. These prisoners were then executed, in ritual sacrifices.

Like everything else about this war – the war on terror – the US attitude has often been to exempt itself from traditional rules of war rather than to find ways to apply those rules to new challenges.

William Saletan of Slate has described the drones operated by the Pentagon and the CIA as engaged in "a bloodless, all-seeing airborne hunting party." Of course, what was once an elite activity performed in person has been transformed into a 24/7 industrial activity fit for human drones.

Minority Report (2002): In the future, criminals are caught before the crimes they commit, but one of the officers in the special unit is accused of one such crime and sets out to prove his innocence.

Fist – Knife – Spear – Arch – Gun – Tank – Fighter Jets – Bombs – Rockets – Missiles – Drones: the evolution of warfare is the „dehumanizing of war“.

True, we can't send our drones into the past to wipe out the young Ayman al-Zawahiri in Cairo or the teenage Osama bin Laden speeding down some Saudi road in his gray Mercedes sedan. Or can we?

The strike over northern Yemen on September 30, 2011, which followed days of silent surveillance, killed Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, the editor of an Al Qaeda online magazine called „Inspire“. Both were US citizens.

The UK ministry of defense, in its study on the ethics of drone warfare: „it is essential that, before unmanned systems become ubiquitous that we consider this issue and ensure that we do not risk losing our controlling humanity and make war more likely.“

The Fifth Amendment of the American constitution guarantees that the government may not deprive a person of life without due process of law.

Post-2020, according to American military dreamers, drones will be able to fly and fight, discern enemies and incinerate them without human decision-making. They're even wondering about just how to program human ethics, maybe even American ethics, into them.

President Barack Obama acted upon a secret legal memorandum and moved ahead with the killing of an American citizen without a trial, Anwar al-Awlaki.

With drones, operators sitting in front of computer monitors in Nevada can target enemies halfway around the world. When their shift is done, drone operators retire to their suburban homes.

in a play station near you: Predator cockpit

The relationships between the rulers of the states involved in the War of Flowers seem strange to us. For example after the battles with Tlaxcala and Huejotzingo their leaders were invited to Tenochtitlan where they attended the ceremonies at which their own followers were sacrificed, and returned home with rich gifts from the Aztecs.

UN Report: American Citizen – Furkan Dogan - Executed By Israelis During Mavi Marmara Raid.

US president Obama will meet his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari at the White House in Washington, DC on Friday Jan 15, 2011 and hold talks on issues of bilateral importance including combating terrorism.

Iron Man (2008): When wealthy industrialist Tony Stark is forced to build an armored suit after a life-threatening incident, he ultimately decides to use its technology to fight against evil.

During his presidency, President Bush ordered about 42 drone strikes; since President Obama assumed office, a fleet of approximately 30 CIA-directed drones have hit targets in Pakistan more than 230 times; all told, these drones have killed more than 2,000 suspected militants and civilians, according to the Washington Post. More than 150 additional Predator and Reaper drones, under U.S. Air Force control, watch over the fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. American military drones struck 92 times in Libya between mid-April and late August. And late last month, an American drone killed top terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki — part of an escalating unmanned air assault in the Horn of Africa and southern Arabian peninsula.

The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to U.S. President Barack Obama "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."

Anwar al-Awlaki was born 1971 in New Mexico USA. Had the US run a „Minority Report program“ and had they killed all American born Arabs at birth, the further activites of Mr. Awlaki could have been prevented.

After being forced to "wipe out" his brain to prevent supervillain Norman Osborn from gaining his information, Tony Stark is forced to have a new arc reactor installed in his chest. The process greatly improves his strength, stamina and intellect. However, the procedure left him with virtually no autonomic functions: as his brain was stripped of every biological function, Tony is forced to rely on a digital backup of his memories (leaving him with severe gaps and lapses in his long-term memory) and on software routine in the arc reactor for basic stimuli reaction, such as blinking and breathing.

The former community organizer Barack Obama – bringing people living in proximity together to pursue common projects - will go down in history as the „drone king“, figthing „the far away war“ from a nearby console.

On February 24, 1955, Steve Jobs was born in San Francisco to graduate students Abdulfattah "John" Jandali, a Syrian Muslim, and Joanne Carole Schieble (later Simpson), an American of Swiss and German ancestry.

Syrian dad: Abdulfattah Jandali

In the fiscal year of 2011, the US has procured 36 new drones of the „Reaper“ type; for the fiscal year of 2012, another order of 48 drones has been signed.

While the supposed purposes of these stylized combats were to provide an opportunity for combat training and to provide prisoners for ritual sacrifice to the ever-hungry gods, there's no doubt that a major (if less openly acknowledged) purpose was to remind everyone of Aztec military might and discourage any threatening noises from their neighbors.

The landing party beamed down from the Enterprise soon discovers that the entire war between the two planets is completely simulated by computers which launch wargame attacks and counterattacks, then calculate damage and select the dead. When a citizen is reported as "killed", they must submit themselves for termination by stepping inside a disintegration booth. Anan 7 informs Kirk that the simulated attacks and following executions is the agreed system of war decided by both sides in a treaty with Vendikar. A conventional war was deemed too destructive to the environments and societies of both planets.

In 2008, Obama promised to close down Guantanamo, once in office. In 2011, Guantanamo is still operating but the influx of inmates has died. Instead of being deported globally, America's enemies are now killed locally.

After being forced to "wipe out" his brain to prevent supervillain Norman Osborn from gaining his information, Tony Stark is forced to have a new arc reactor installed in his chest. The process greatly improves his strength, stamina and intellect. However, the procedure left him with virtually no autonomic functions: as his brain was stripped of every biological function, Tony is forced to rely on a digital backup of his memories (leaving him with severe gaps and lapses in his long-term memory) and on software routine in the arc reactor for basic stimuli reaction, such as blinking and breathing.

The Aztec flower war was a kind of ritual warfare, by which Aztec enemies were forced into treaties to allow Aztecs to raid their countries for sacrificial victims. Sometimes the victims went willingly, sometimes not. Though the Aztec enemies allowed this to happen and gave consent (instead of being conquered), in the long-term it created resentment against the Aztec empire, which led to its eventual downfall.

After all, we live in a culture that too often acts as if technology can replace character.