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I have a parallel blog in French at http://anniebannie.net

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July 26, 2010

Kazakhstan: silent bombs

Between 1949 and 1989, the Soviet Union exploded 460 nuclear bombs in eastern Kazakhstan. The damage residents suffered as a result of being exposed to high levels of radiation has been passed on and seems to have intensified in the following generations.

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The atomic mirror house: Iran, Brazil, Turkey and other emerging powers vs. the nuclear powers

by Tomas Rosa Bueno (source: CASMII)
Saturday, July 24, 2010

In international politics, if an action seems reckless or callous and the ones taking it are not certified loonies, usually it’s because it was made to look that way, on purpose. To send a message.

Take Israel’s attack in international waters on a civilian flotilla that resulted in the death of nine Turkish passengers. There were many ways that flotilla could have been prevented from reaching a Gaza port that did not imply resorting to violence; and then again, if they didn’t care about killing a couple of passengers to send a first-level warning to all would-be humanitarian Gaza friends, they could have waited until the flotilla had actually breached the blockade and reached the territorial waters where they arguably have a right to patrol and control, making whatever harm that befell the blockade-breachers their own “fault” and giving Israel’s actions at least the appearance of legality. But no, they had to do it in international waters in a way that made it sure that violence would erupt. And killed nine unarmed civilians in the process.

You can say whatever you want about Israel’s military, except that they are incompetent – and they’re certainly not loonies. All the subsequent half-baked excuses about “unexpected reaction” by the victims and the obviously biased unilateral “investigation” of the incident are part of the show: Israel did not make an “error” in deciding to attack the flotilla as it did, nor was the job “botched”. The message was loud and clear: we will do whatever it takes to prevent the breaching of the Gaza blockade, and we do not care what the rest of the world thinks. So loud and so clear that despite the show of international indignation about the killing of nine civilians in international waters and despite all the saber-rattling about sending “hundreds” of flotillas, so far not one thing has been done to hold Israel accountable for its actions, and the Gazans are still abandoned to their fate, being collectively punished for having cast the wrong ballot four years ago.

Furthremore, there was a second message being sent: they’re mad dogs, look at what they have done and think of what they may do if we don’t appease them. That this “appeasement”, in the form of sanctions against Iran, serves another purpose is just part of the game: we give you an excuse, you watch our back, and we both talk about something else while we do it. More than ever, what you do does not matter, the important thing is what you are seen to be doing – and “seeing” is open to manipulation of all sorts.

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Did Bradley Manning act alone ?

by Philip Shenon

The massive dump of U.S. military secrets about the Afghan war is believed to have come from the detained Army intel analyst. Philip Shenon reports he may not have been the lone leaker. Plus, the seven most shocking secrets from the WikiLeaks files.

A 22-year-old Army intelligence analyst from Potomac, Maryland, is almost certainly the source of what could well be one of the most damaging leaks of classified military information in the nation’s history, according to the former computer hacker in California who turned in the analyst.

The former hacker, Adrian Lamo, told The Daily Beast he had no doubt that the young Army analyst, Bradley Manning, who had been posted in Iraq until this spring, was responsible for the massive leak of American military reports from Afghanistan that were posted online Sunday by the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, and promoted with joint reports in The New York Times, The Guardian of Britain, and the German magazine Der Spiegel.

“I believe that somebody would have had to have been of assistance to him,” said Adrian Lamo of Bradley Manning.

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