May 19, 2011

The Hiroshima Files

This Sunday's NYT Magazine will publish for the first time AFAIK some of the pictures of Hiroshima taken by the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey.

Picture #1 I have seen before. But none of the rest.

Two months after an atomic bomb destroyed Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, the United States Strategic Bombing Survey commissioned by President Harry S. Truman began to study the extensive structural damage done to the city, from the reinforced-concrete buildings at its center to the traditional wooden ones on its outskirts. Truman’s goal was to collect information that would help U.S. architects and civil engineers design structures able to withstand a nuclear attack. The secretive report included 700 images of Hiroshima. Robert L. Corsbie, executive officer of the Physical Damage Division, which conducted the survey, kept the prints until his death, in 1967; their odyssey afterward included being rescued by a neighbor from the curb after being put out with the trash, eventually ending up at the International Center of Photography in New York in 2006. On May 20, the center is opening a three-month exhibition of the work. The government’s caption to slide No. 4 (above) refers to ‘‘air zero,’’ the site of the blast, and says, ‘‘Shows partly burned coat of boy who was in open near City Hall (Building 28) 3,800 feet from AZ.’’  [NYT]

"At the instant it happened, the pale Virgin was rising in the east, head, shoulders, breasts, 17° 36' down to her maidenhead at the horizon. A few doomed Japanese knew of her as some Western deity. She loomed in the eastern sky gazing down at the city about to be sacrificed. The sun was in Leo. The fireburst came roaring and sovereign...."  [Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow. pp.707-708]

May 18, 2011

4GW, Hamas, And Saatchi & Saatchi

Why Hamas has no need for Saatchi and Saatchi

There is little evidence that suggests that sanitizing or transforming the Palestinian brand produces much of a return, at least not for Palestinians.

Media-savvy westerners arrive in Gaza with usually just one stunning piece of advice for Gaza’s evolving de-facto government: you need a good PR firm. Hamas’s biggest problem, apparently, is not the 63-year illegal occupation: it’s branding.

(Article for some reason reminds me of all those online douche-bags who we had to educate in 4G war basics during the 2006 Izzzy/Hizzy dustup.)

May 16, 2011

Believe It Or Not -- Head Of State In Twitter-Catfight W/ Journalist

The other day I stumbled upon a live battle royal on Twitter between a head of state (President of the Republic of Rwanda, Paul Kagame) and a journalist (Ian Birrell).Since then, Ian Birrell has penned a piece about the spat.

There's simply too much to say about this gem of an event so I'll just let it rest by saying that this is some heavy shit. Kagame probably should have just sucked it up and kept quiet. If he had better advisors (like everyone else has) he would have been okay.

H/T to @chrisalbon for tipping off his peeps about the fracas while it was still raging.

Below is our on-the-fly cut 'n paste job of the exchange. Update: Just discovered that the folks over at A View From A Cave transcribed the event. Trust their version for fidelity - ours most certainly jumbled & stumbled on not a few of the salvos bursting in this remarkable curtain of fire.

Update: Just decided to delete our own sloppy & static transcript and instead link you to a dynamic post over at A View From The Cave. They've done a stand-up job of tracking the conversation and promise to update w/ any future developments. Can't beat that!

CATCH-ALL Revisited

From an important new Jane Mayer piece:

When Binney heard the rumors, he was convinced that the new domestic-surveillance program employed components of ThinThread: a bastardized version, stripped of privacy controls. “It was my brainchild,” he said. “But they removed the protections, the anonymization process. When you remove that, you can target anyone.” He said that although he was not “read in” to the new secret surveillance program, “my people were brought in, and they told me, ‘Can you believe they’re doing this? They’re getting billing records on U.S. citizens! They’re putting pen registers’ ”—logs of dialled phone numbers—“ ‘on everyone in the country!’

(Our insights went even further - scarfing everything - is still too hot for anyone else but SMC to have discussed.)

Aid, the author of the N.S.A. history, suggests that ThinThread’s privacy protections interfered with top officials’ secret objective—to pick American targets by name. “They wanted selection, not just collection,” he says.


Binney, for his part, believes that the agency now stores copies of all e-mails transmitted in America, in case the government wants to retrieve the details later. In the past few years, the N.S.A. has built enormous electronic-storage facilities in Texas and Utah. Binney says that an N.S.A. e-mail database can be searched with “dictionary selection,” in the manner of Google. After 9/11, he says, “General Hayden reassured everyone that the N.S.A. didn’t put out dragnets, and that was true. It had no need—it was getting every fish in the sea.”

May 10, 2011

DOMEX, And The Hard & Fast Of BS-Detection

Absurd -- Now they expect us to believe that the SEALs could have "fought their way out of Pakistan."

WaPo is running with the same story. We are covering for our helper(s) high up in Pak mil.  Anyone with access to Jane's ain't gonna buy it.

Also, the more they trumpet the DOMEX narrative the more it looks like we didn't get shit from the compound.

The formula that deals with the (inverse) ratio of bullshit to actionable intel is another hard and fast rule.

We warned them a week ago. They used to listen. Thinking of (at least) one Iraq war IO narrative that met its deserved early end after we shot it down. Seems the DOMEX BS is being handled at the political level (the pros know better).

May 7, 2011

Burns is the name, Bullshit is his game

A few goodies, much BS.  (Page 1 NYT Sunday Week in Review)

Gotta love the part about his warning piece sitting unused on 9/11. Just a nibble - Burns says Abu Zubaydah was #4 in AQ.  He was never a AQ member. This is known by IC.

Lest we forget to offer note, Albert Bachmann, a Colorful Swiss Spymaster, Dies at 81.LMAO

Dude's a pro compared with much of current crop of Ameritards

May 4, 2011

Double-Crossed Into Lending That Promised Hand

Paks were involved, but were double-crossed as to target. (BTW, the media is saying how brave it was for Obama to have ordered the SOF assault instead of dropping bombs. They do not know that there have been other similar raids.)

Pak-based terrorist groups know Pakistan was involved in op, and shit's about to get real over there. You can understand them for asking just what the Pak mil was up to during the "40 minute firefight" and exfil when they had their "West Point" right next door?

The emphasis on DOCEX narrative is clearly to spook AQ associates - good move, but they are laying it on way too think. When dingbat local radio announcers are proclaiming expertise in the matter, time to tone it down. Transparent as hell.

Noteworthy is the hilarious walking back of more and more details. Particularly Brennan's shameless bullshittery about UBL hiding behind a woman. Amateur hour at the PSYOP shop? Also, the "living in luxury" theme. I've seen auto repair shops in Alhambra that were more luxurious than the Abbottabad blockhouse. Real deal is that UBL probably was bedridden and hooked up to a dialysis machine.

Pressing issue now (h/t ZH) is whether the currents will take the body close enough to the East coast of Japan for the radiation to revive him - thus making him unkillable, and twice as pissed off. Oh, and the courier business is just the cover story. UBL was tracked down from his PSN account information. ;-)

Seriously though, we are gonna have to see an asset issue -- an official edict that burials at sea are OK for Muslims. Apparently it is only kosher when the believer dies at sea too far from land to hygienically keep the body for later land burial. Under no circumstances is someone to be taken from land out to sea to be dumped.

I personally couldn't care less if the body was ritually washed by the piss of US servicemen, but there is trouble brewing if OGA strat PSYOP boyz don't get on the job ASAP. 

So, if it is true that Pakistani intelligence was abetting (even if double-crossed to such aid) in offing bin Laden, and kept that matter secret, then we can begin to sort out our fraught relationship with that troubled country on a more equitable, trusting basis. If that turns out not to be the case, then there will be a dreadful reckoning to come.

May 2, 2011

Uncropped (You Might Have Noticed)

We could/should have released it way ahead of WaPo. Instead, we wasted head starts on celebratory stiff drinks.We should be excused. (Don't neglect to click-the-pic)