Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Battlefield Illusions: Military to deploy hallucinogens on enemies

As the military's technology arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is charged with ushering in the future of field combat, developing everything from hypersonic planes to robotic allies. But a new project hinted at in the Pentagon's defense budget is piquing outsider interest thanks to some seemingly bewitching connotations. 

The agency is being granted $4 million for a project known simply as "Battlefield Illusion." Magic Plan". The goal is to develop a way to induce the enemy with "auditory and visual" hallucinations to lend our troops a "tactical advantage," says Noah Shachtman . The project aims to use new technologies similar to the misdirection techniques utilized by magicians. 
Harry Houdini

Jasper Maskelyne
John Mulholland
Magicians and generals have had a long-standing relationship," says Shachtman. "Harry Houdini snooped on the German and Russian militaries for Scotland Yard. English illusionist Jasper Maskelyne is reported to have created dummy submarines and fake tanks to distract Rommel's army during World War II." And during the Cold War, the CIA paid magician John Mulholland $3,000 to write a manual on "misdirection, concealment, and stagecraft.

Other military contractors have been developing "invisibility cloaks" to hide the infrared signatures of military vehicles. In the past, both the U.K. and U.S. governments have looked into weaponizing hallucinogens like LSD for combat use. And early in the war on terror, defense technology experts "floated the idea of a 'Voice of God' weapon," says Shachtman, which would have used "directed sound waves to convince would-be jihadist that Allah was speaking in their ears — and ordering them to put down their suicide belts." Sounds like magic, doesn't it?

So much conspiracy and disinformation surrounds the military’s past work on LSD and other chemical agents that it’s been difficult to separate fact from fiction. That’s starting to change, however. 

Advocates of using chemical agents in nonlethal warfare are increasing, making now a good time to start reviewing the historical record. A recently published book on the Army’s infamous "Edgewood Experiments" involving hallucinogenic agents like LSD may help shed more light on the debate.  The infamous CIA work, MK ULTRA, is often considered synonymous with all government LSD experimentation. But the historical record is far more complex.

 James Ketchum 

This may be the first and last time in my life that I call a self-published book a "must read," but psychiatrist James Ketchum’s Chemical Warfare: Secrets Almost Forgotten is a usual case.  As Steve After good of Secrecy News has already pointed out, this book "is a candid, not entirely flattering, sometimes morbidly amusing account of a little-documented aspect of Army research."

Ketchum’s book is also discussed in an article published in USA Today, which provides a brief description of the work Ketchum was involved in.

Army doctors gave soldier volunteers synthetic marijuana, LSD and two dozen other psychoactive drugs during experiments aimed at developing chemical weapons that could incapacitate enemy soldiers, a psychiatrist who performed the research says in a new memoir.

The program, which ran at the Army’s Edgewood, Md., arsenal from 1955 until about 1972, concluded that counterculture staples such as acid and pot were either too unpredictable or too mellow to be useful as weapons, Ketchum said in an interview.

The program did yield one hallucinogenic weapon: softball-size artillery rounds that were filled with powdered quinuclidinyl benzilate or BZ, a deliriant of the belladonnoid family that had placed some research subjects in a sleeplike state and left them impaired for days.

Ketchum says the BZ bombs were stockpiled at an Army arsenal in Arkansas but never deployed. They were later destroyed.

The Army acknowledged the program’s existence in 1975. Follow-up studies by the Army in 1978 and the National Academy of Sciences in 1981 found that volunteers suffered no long-term effects.

When Ketchum first sent me his book two months ago, I didn’t know quite what to make of the self-published tome. I had recently published an article on "mind control," another subject that too easily conflates fact and fantasy. But after reading some of the literature, I’ve come to understand this book’s importance a bit better and am all the more grateful Ketchum sent it.
David Hambling

BZ remains a controversial subject. DANGER ROOM contributor David Hambling has written about allegations that Iraqi insurgents used BZ to make themselves more aggressive. The predominant interest in BZ at Edgewood was as a calmative agent, however, and one of the purposes of Ketchum’s book is to make the case for renewed work into such chemical agents.
Ketchum has a point of view that won’t be popular among a lot of people, but that’s why his book is all the more difficult to put down — I found myself constantly amazed, disgusted and fascinated. It’s a little like the guilty pleasure of reading someone’s diary.
Some of the "oh my God" moments are perhaps unintended, like when Ketchum opens a chapter at his kitchen table, "eating Puffed Wheat" and reading notes about a test subject’s descent into paranoia during LSD tests. Or, in another case, when he describes watching volunteers "carry on conversations with various invisible people for as long as 2-3 days." There are test subjects who "salute latrines" and attempt to "revive a gas mask" that they mistake for a woman.
Yikes, you can’t make this stuff up.
Then there are the moments that military craziness surprises even Ketchum, like when a general envisions a scheme to incapacitate an entire trawler with aerosolized BZ. Ketchum thinks the notion strange, but "welcomed yet another bizarre challenge…" The work is, appropriately enough, dubbed Project DORK. Ketchum revels in this work, particularly when given the chance to make a feature film about the experiment.
What a first person narrative may lack in self-awareness it gains in details.
One of Ketchum’s contentions is that the soldiers involved in the Edgewood work were not "guinea pigs," but rather patriots that were enticed by a few benefits. Some, no doubt, will disagree with this point of view, and at times, Ketchum seems to undermine the premise of informed consent, like when he marvels at the uneducated volunteers:
I was fascinated by the ability of unsophisticated subjects, none having more than high school diplomas, to describe their thoughts and emotions, as well what some might refer to as "ineffable" perceptual alteration. They communicated ungrammatically but with unvarnished simplicity.
In another era, a writer might have used the phrase noble savages.
This is not a book that deeply explores the ethical dimensions of chemical warfare and experimentation. For that, you may want to read Jonathan Moreno’s excellent Mind Wars. But those who just want the gritty details of past research, it’s worth checking out Ketchum’s memoir, which also contains a wealth of references and data specific to the military’s work.
Regardless of personal views, I’m thrilled that Ketchum took the time to put it all down on paper, providing a valuable reference to inform the chemical warfare debate and a resource for future writers on the subject. I know of no book quite like his.
Too much work on human experimentation has been shrouded in secrecy — or lost and destroyed — rendering a meaningful debate all but impossible.
Ketchum has helped build the historical record.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Is Israel's Mossad Ploting To Kill President Obama?

Israeli death squads have been authorized to enter "friendly" countries and assassinate opponents in a move that raises the prospect of political killings in America.

Agents of the Israeli secret service Mossad have been given free rein to kill those deemed to be a threat to the Jewish state - wherever they are hiding.

The murder of Obama would divide America between black and white, Democrat and Republican, and would inevitably cause riots, looting, violence, bloodshed, and chaos across America.

The assassination of Obama will likely be complimented by a barrage of false-flag terror attacks that will rock America shortly before, during, or after the assassination attempt

An attempt on Obama's life took place on November 11, 2011.
The next Obama assassination attempt will undoubtedly come prior to the 2012 U.S. Presidential election. 

One potential date is September 9, 2012, at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. Aside from the log of the convention being a bulls-eye with Obama's head in the center of it, the Carolinas have been home to a number of plots involving white men who allegedly wanted to assassinate Obama. 

This information was revealed by former Mossad agents in a series of interviews with US news agency United Press International. It was later confirmed by US intelligence officials.

They said the policy raised the potential for killings in countries with close ties to Israel, including the US, Britain and Australia.

One Mossad official told UPI the policy shift was prompted by "a huge budget" increase for the agency as part of "a tougher stance in fighting global jihad (or holy war)".
Director Meir Dagan

Targeted killings" have, in the main, been restricted to the West Bank and Gaza because "no one wanted such operations on their territory but that is changing with the appointment late last year of new Mossad director Meir Dagan. 

Another former Mossad agent told UPI: "Diplomatic constraints have prevented Mossad from carrying out assassinations on the soil of friendly countries until now.
Anwar al-Awlaki

A third source said Mr. Netanyahu wanted "greater operational maneuverability" for Mossad, aked if that meant assassinations within allied countries, he said: "It does." The move comes in the wake of the assassination by the CIA of an American al-Qaeda suspects in Yemen.

That the Predator attack was done on the soil of a friendly ally," an official at the US Congress said. "I don't know on what basis we would be able to protest Israel's actions."

Israel has in the past sent hit squads to kill opponents in hostile countries such as Lebanon, and snatch squads have been used extensively throughout the world.

Based on the history of the plots and patsies, it can be assumed that the alleged Obama assassin will be a white male from the South who works or has worked as a police officer or for the U.S. military. The suspect will likely impersonate law enforcement in order to get close enough to target Obama from one of the many upper deck suites. 

In 2008, Jerry Blanchard, a Charlotte accountant, threatened to use a military sniper rifle to kill, kidnap and inflict bodily harm upon then U.S. Sen. Barack Obama. In 2009, two former Marines named Nicholas Daniel Hanke and Kody Brittingham were arrested for making death threats against their commander-in-chief. In 2010, Joseph McVey, was being held on a charge of going armed to the terror of the public after impersonating a police officer at the city's airport after President Obama flew out of town. Police said the suspect was driving a car that was made to look like a law enforcement vehicle with working lights, sirens and police scanner. McVey allegedly stated that he heard the president was in town and wanted to see him. 

It is still unclear whether the U.S. government will attempt to resurrect Obama politically in the aftermath of an assassination attempt or assassinate Obama for real, declare martial law, and suspend the U.S. Constitution. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Putin's Problem With Islamist

Missed Me!

A security official in Moscow said "members of a criminal gang" were arrested after plotting to assassinate Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

A spokesman for the Federal Protective Service confirmed that a "potential threat" to Putin's life was uncovered in January.

Two men confessed to conspiring to kill the Russian strongman in a bombing attack that was revealed to the public less than a week before Mr Putin's likely victory in Sunday's local time election.
The plot's existence was confirmed by Mr Putin's spokesman as well as the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) and its Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) counterpart.

But some analysts raised suspicion over the timing of the news.
Doku Umarov

Doku Umarov, described as Chechnya's Osama bin Laden, allegedly hired militants to assassinate Putin after March 4 presidential elections.

Russia has been fighting an insurgency in the Muslim North Caucasus republics of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia for many years following two bloody conflicts in Chechnya in the 1990s.

The purported confessions showed the two men saying they acted on the orders of Chechen Islamist militant Doku Umarov, the warlord who has claimed deadly airport and metro bombings in Moscow over the past two years.

Officials said the pair along with a third man, who died while trying to prepare a bomb, were all ethnic Chechens who were detained in Ukraine's Black Sea port of Odessa in January and early February.

It seems weird as to why the authorities had waited until just days were left before the March 4 poll to make their announcement.
 Alexander Golts

"It just seems like an incredible coincidence that these assassins were discovered today," independent military analyst Alexander Golts said.

The state television channel, Channel One, says the three plotters went to Ukraine from the United Arab Emirates via Turkey with "clear instructions from representatives of Doku Umarov".

"They told us that first you come to Odessa and learn how to make bombs," Channel One showed a man identified as Ilya Pyanzin as saying.

"And then later, in Moscow, you will stage attacks against commercial objects, with the subsequent assassination attempt against Putin," the man said.
Channel One footage showed a video of Mr. Putin getting into his car being played on the laptop computer belonging to second suspect Adam Osmayev - a man the report said had lived for a long time in London.

The hidden-camera footage of the Russian prime minister's movements was shot "so that we had an understanding of how he was protected", Osmayev said.
"The end goal was to come to Moscow and to try to stage an assassination attempt against premier Putin.

"The deadline was after the election of the Russian president."
The report said one of the two detained men had told Russian and Ukrainian investigators that some explosives had already been hidden near the Kutuzovsky Prospekt avenue that Mr. Putin passes daily to reach the government White House.
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov

It quoted an unidentified Russian FSB official as saying that the explosives would have created a "serious blast...powerful enough to tear apart a truck".
"I confirm this information but am not commenting now," ITAR-TASS quoted Dmitry Peskov as saying.

An FSB official told the RIA Novosti news agency that the suspected plotters were all Chechens who belonged to one of Umarov's armed groups.

Mr. Putin's career is linked closely to the brutal but ultimately popular second campaign in Chechnya that he launched while still serving as Boris Yeltsin's prime minister in 1999.

The region remains wracked by violence to this day and Umarov is still at large despite repeated attempts by Russian forces to kill him. The news came just days after Putin told a campaign rally that the "battle for Russia continues", and some analysts said the plot could do no harm to his election chances.
Russian Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov

"This is a new cause for mobilization around Putin and it has been put forwards as another argument in his favor," Institute for Strategic Assessments spokesman Alexander Konovalov said.

The alleged assassination attempt against Mr. Putin is at least the sixth reported by the Russian media since he first became president 12 years ago. The last was reportedly planned for his June 2007 visit to Istanbul for a regional summit.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Front line Females: Do you approve?


It's been a rough few weeks for women. First, a group of men who have only ever had relationships of whatever kind with other men (hopefully) pronounce us as condemned to hell if we use birth control. Then another group of 16th century thinkers claims that if women go into combat situations, they will either be raped by the brutes who surround them or protected by the chivalrous knights who surround them. Either way, this group states, women should not be in combat.

Do you realize that in this scenario, it's the military that's progressive? Truly we have fallen through the looking glass.
Those objecting to women in combat have two main concerns. One is that men are so darn chivalrous they will automatically protect the woman firing the rocket launcher next to them and be too distracted to fight. The other is that these same chivalrous men will rape the women they are protecting.

Sarah Palin

Have you ever seen an Alaska woman club a halibut, shoot a moose or gut a caribou? If Alaska women weren't pretty equal living partners in the Alaska Bush, survival would be much harder. When a bear attacks, most Alaska men are very happy their woman has a gun she knows how to use. I've yet to hear of an Alaska man flinging himself over the woman raising her gun to take a bear down in order to protect her. Alaska men are simply too smart to get in the way of a woman and her raised, loaded gun.
As for the issue of rape, I find it astounding this needs to be said, but rapists are not good representatives of our country or its military. Rape may be primarily a hatred of all women issue but it's not the woman's problem. It is the problem of any man who feels he has a right to invade a woman's body in the most horrifying way possible simply because he can overpower her. That's not someone I want representing my military and neither, I'd guess, does our military.

Fully Capable And Aggressive Female Fighter Pilots
If the implication is that no man can control himself around a woman, that assumption is wrong. Most men are more than capable of controlling their carnal desires and only expressing them in appropriate situations. They do not believe they have a right to rape a woman because they're working in close quarters with her. Those men who do hold that opinion should not be part of our proud and honorable military forces. The wrong person in this scenario is the rapist, not the woman standing next to him trying to serve her nation.
This is a great big country that should have room for us all, both women who want to be treated as delicate hot-house flowers and women who want to strap on an M-16 and enter combat with their unit. The one does not negate the other. They can co-exist, as can all women who fall somewhere on the points in between.

To deny women the right to a job for which they qualify based simply on their sex is wrong. If they can do the job, they should be given the opportunity to do it. And if they fail, their failure should have no more nor less meaning than it would have if it were a man who failed.
I grew up in the '60s and '70s when a woman's horizons were limited. I can still hear mothers telling their daughters that they shouldn't let the boys know they were smarter than their male counterpart. You should make him feel smart instead. That's what a real woman did for her man.
Well, it's a new dawn and a new millennium. Women no longer need to hide their light under a bushel. We no longer have to rely on men for a home, income and sustenance. And isn't that wonderful? Because now when a man and woman are together, it's because they have both equally chosen to build their lives as one, not because the woman has no other choice.
If a woman is qualified to do the job she wants to do, then she should have a chance to do it. I know a lot of women who are way scarier than my male friends. I'd be happy if they had my back in combat, and one such person is; My daughter, a currently serving AC-130 Gunship pilot.

Ready, Willing and Able

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Are We Ready To Loose Pakistan To?

Hina Rabbani Khar
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar struck a defiant note during her official trip to the United Kingdom, in which she bluntly told the United States to be transparent and predictable for a sustainable relationship with Pakistan, and to be open in the same way that the UK has been with Pakistan about its shared goals and objectives.

Hina Rabbani Khar was addressing a joint press conference with British Foreign Secretary William Hague at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) here after conducting a series of meetings with the British leadership as part of the Enchanted Strategic Dialogue. 

Both foreign ministers poured praise on each other and the “close and growing ties” between the two countries, but the Pakistani foreign secretary bluntly said that the United States will have to understand and accept the “preconditions” that Pakistan will set as a bedrock of its relations with the Washington, which will mean “pursuing what’s in the mutual interest, pursuing a track which is predictable, transparent and sustainable”. She also said the relations between the US and Pakistan had been obscure in the past, but that policy was no longer workable and needed new definition. 

Secretary William Hague
Foreign Secretary William Hague said that a year old Enhanced Strategic Dialogue between the two countries was about strengthening the practical cooperation between and unlocking the abundant potential in the mutual relationship. 

“The fact that we have such a dialogue is testament to the fact that this is a mature relationship which is growing stronger all the time. In Britain we are committed to a relationship with Pakistan that is deep, long term and strategic. We value its many distinctive characteristics; such as the close personal ties between hundreds of thousands of our citizens, our crucial partnership against terrorism, our important trade ties and our unswerving commitment to Pakistan’s development and to its democratic future. For all these reasons Pakistan’s future matters greatly to us and so we will be an enduring friend to the government and people of Pakistan.” 
Problem Handlers

He said Britain understood the terrible losses terrorism has inflicted upon Pakistan and “we feel them deeply too,” adding that the people of Pakistan will always have “our sympathy, our understanding, and our robust support in addressing these problems”. 

He said the two sides discussed how to increase bilateral trade to £2.5 billion by 2015, and particularly welcomed the World Trade Organization’s decision to grant a waiver for an EU trade package for Pakistan. 
Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend

As Britain prepared to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and host the Olympics, Hague hoped that the people of Pakistan would be able to “share in this with us, and both events promise to be a rewarding time for our cultural and sporting ties.” He thanked Pakistan for its “principled position on the Syrian issue”. He also said Britain will support Pakistan on all international platforms to achieve its development targets. 

The News asked both foreign secretaries if the two officials were on the same page with regard to negotiations with the Taliban, and, being the strongest foreign ally of the United States, what the UK’s take on the strained Pak-US relations was. 

William Hague acknowledged that the Pak-US relations were also discussed in the meeting but said that while Britain wished good relations between the countries, it was for the two countries to determine how they conduct their dealings. He added that Britain supported political reconciliation in Afghanistan which has a wider scope and which is in the interest of the people of Pakistan and Afghanistan. 

Tellingly, Ms Khar said that Pakistan supported a reconciliation with the Taliban that was “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-driven from the front” but also added that Pakistan and the United Kingdom were on the same page in terms of the Afghan situation. 

She remarked that the UK has done exceedingly well in proving itself as a reliable and trustworthy partner. She thanked the UK for its continued support to Pakistan for gaining market access in the west, and expressed her hope that this support continue unabatedly. 

The Pakistani foreign secretary also affirmed that the friendship was reflected whenever Pakistan was hit by quakes and floods, and that the people of the UK had proven that they would stand behind Pakistan in its hour of need. 

She informed William Hague that Pakistan understood the pain of the Afghan people and mentioned that in its quest to achieve peace and stability in the region Pakistan has lost thousands of its people in the war on terror, especially in the context of suicide bombings, which now stand at an “uncountable” rate. She told British media that Pakistan wished to be understood and its objectives and concerns recognized. She also said that Pakistan and Afghanistan were back on track to developing good relations. 

William Hague enquired about the Nato-Isaf supply routes blockade but Khar apprised him that the decision to block the routes, following the killings of Pakistani soldiers, was taken by parliament, and that land routes will remain closed till the policy review is complete. “We have agreed to meet every six months to review progress on various strands,” she stipulated. 

The Pakistani foreign minister also addressed a gathering organized by the Oxford University president and the, where she stressed the role of democracy in establishing the rights of the people.

Khar said that democracy, demography and dissonance self criticism and analysis were “key factors of our national life” which would bring about progress and prosperity to Pakistan. The demographic features, she said, would determine the future course for economic development and dissonance would show the path for analyzing endeavors to help correct the attitudes and behaviors.

The issue of Balochistan, the minister clearly stated, was “an internal matter of Pakistan and will be resolved by the provincial assembly and not by the US Congress”. Meanwhile, Khar assured the UK that tension with the United States following the NATO air strike last November would not derail Pakistan’s cooperation with British security services in the run-up to the Olympic Games.

She said the US must accept the new rules of engagement to be set by the Pakistani parliament, and advised the West to learn lessons from the Iraq war and refrain from attacking Iran. She said that Pakistan was not seeking to use the killing of 24 soldiers by NATO as leverage in its ties with Britain, and stressed that both the countries enjoyed intensive cooperation with each other which was getting stronger. “We are getting the right results. In the minds of the average Pakistani, our relationship with the UK is seen in a positive light,” the minister added.

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