Sunday, February 27, 2005

Missile Defence in the Great White North

Prime Minister Martin has just announced that Canada will not be participating in the American "missile defence" programme - and he only took 2 years to decide!

This is good news for Canada, to the extent that we are not supporting the creation of a powerful first strike weapon that will finally give America the edge it could never achieve with clumsy nuclear weapons. (That's right first strike - more later)

"But wait!", as Rex Murphy (Canada's "beloved national curmudgeon") said many times tonight on Cross Country Checkup, a national CBC radio call-in show; "What's wrong with defending against rogue missiles?" Ha ha, nothing Rex, the question is, and you'd know that if you had done any research prior to the show - instead of relying on your quick tongue, and ready quip - the question is, "What's wrong with American global hegemony?"; because that's what we'll have 15 seconds after Star Wars goes on-line. As soon as the night sky is filled with glittering lasers, energy weapons, and kinetic kill vehicles, Bush 43 will call the Chinese to tell them their missiles are not much good anymore, but that his American missiles work just fine, oh and by the way, Hu or Wen or whatever they call you over there, you work for me now. The world will lay prostrate under such an "umbrella" of death.

That's why Star Wars II is secretly planned as a space based first strike weapon - because whoever owns the new high ground - wins. Which is why it is so destabilizing. Just as Israel cannot "allow" the Iranians to acquire nuclear weapons, the Chinese, and even the Russians cannot allow the Americans to acquire first strike capability either.

Everything I just said about Star Wars is wrong because it can never work...

The only response to a putative missile defence is a good counter-measure. The problem for the neo-cons is that counter-measures are fairly easy - given the fact that missile defence is almost impossible anyway due to the extreme physics of the targeting solutions. The neo-cons are in total denial about this of course; either that or they don't care as it rakes in so much money and power for them and what used to be called the "military industrial complex", but is today called the Bush White House.

To read more about the physics, and the extraordinary difficulty involved in shooting hypersonic thermonuclear warheads with anti-missiles, energy weapons and the like, read Dr. Theodore Postol - who until he pointed out that the emperor had no clothes, was a top researcher in the field of missile defence and had done a lot of work for the Pentagon.

They could smuggle the bomb inside a bale of marijuana...

Postol essentially makes an airtight case why missile defence can never work. Not even in theory. Even if it did work - all a "enemy" or a "terrorist" would have to do - as the late Carl Sagan said, is to smuggle a bomb inside a bale of marijuana! I would add that any number of good Mexican "coyotes" - the people smugglers of Mexican border, could probably lend a hand too.

Which brings us back to American global dominance according to PNAC and the neo cons, who figure it's only right that America should run the show. They all know you can't defend against missiles, the Pentagon knows, Shrub knows, Cheney knows, that counter measures will always defeat any system. And lets forget the single rogue missile argument as being ridiculous - no one would commit national suicide that way. So if it won't work and shrub can't make that smirking call to Premier Hu, then what?

Space based weapons will give America the capacity to destroy, from space, any nation, any target - using all of the above weapons - only against ground and sea-based targets. A meter long depleted uranium rod shot from space at a ground based target, would arrive seconds from launch and have the kinetic energy to vaporise a battleship (or an abortion clinic).

No, Star Wars II won't give the Yanks auto-hegemony - but it will go a long way down that road. Of course the added benefit of a new arms race is that it will help slow the asian tiger and wound the ascending Russian bear - plus it's good for Haliburton, Boeing, and General Electric. After all, contrary to what most people believe about the senile Reagan "defeating" communism (a child's story) , the cold war was won simply by outspending the Russians. The Americans throughout the whole cold war, never spent more than 6% of their GDP on defence! Just to be a poor second to the American death machine, the Sovs were forced to spend up to 29% (by some estimates) of a much smaller GDP.

So Mr. Dithers (Paul Martin) made the correct decision - but probably only for the basest of political reasoning - his own survival. At least for now we won't be treated the spectacle of good Canadian soldiers serving on the Bush family Death Star anytime soon.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

killer robots

There was a war...

A few years from now. Nuclear war. The whole thing. All this … everything ... is gone. Just gone. There were survivors. Here. There. Nobody knew who started it. It was the machines… Defense network computer. New. Powerful. Hooked into everything. Trusted to run it all. They say it got smart...a new order of intelligence. Then it saw all people as a threat, not just the ones on the other side. Decided our fate in a microsecond...extermination."

–Kyle Reese to Sarah Connor
The Terminator

By now many of you will have heard of the new S.W.O.R.D.S robots - 18 of which are about to be deployed to Iraq.

A lot has been written on their capabilities and development history. The specs are indeed awesome. The SWORDS units are small remote controlled, tracked robots. Mounted on the robot are a number of fully automatic light machine guns servoed to a remote operator who uses a mil spec "laptop" to control the machine and operate the weapons. The machine can be equipped with any number of night vision cameras and other sensors - the data is acquired and transmitted in real time to it's human operator. All the operator has to do is pick his target, lock the weapons system in, and shoot. Actually "vaporise" is probably a better word than "shoot".

Of course many red blooded American boy have grown up killing pixelated enemies on Doom, so they will be good at it!

So far, the SWORDS are to be equipped with light machine guns for use against personnel, but as time and technology progress the weapons will improve as will the sensors. Even with the existing tech, target acquisition and destructive power has much improved over human capabilities. The problem with H.U.M.A.N.S, is that they must breath, have hearts that beat, they get tired and may even flinch in the face of the enemy. The S.W.O.R.D.S will never miss. And for the remote operators, "mercy" is not something you show to a collection of pixels on a screen. Now thanks to robot technology it will be even easier now to shoot, sorry "terminate" a comatose enemy wounded in a Mosque.

The real, the monumental, significance of these machines, has not been mentioned by most commentators, for this is truly something new in human history and the implications need to be discussed.

Imagine armor plated, titanium alloy Texas Rangers dropping death from the sky. Dream of robot "Marines" on the march killing "enemies" - coming soon to a terrorist state near you.

For the first time, we can kill "enemies" and "terrorists" on the ground, in their homes - even hunt them down in the rubble of their heathen towns - with no risk to ourselves. Even manned planes can be shot down, although given the total air superiority America enjoys over the world, it's not very likely anymore. But at least the risk, as tiny as it is, is there.

Imagine, in just a few years, American soldiers will be able to control, via satellite, 3rd generation S.W.O.R.D units from their bases in California, the Pentagon, anywhere! These new machines will be much more capable than the S.W.O.R.DS units; it's not hard to imagine a division of Main Battle Tanks - only with no one in them - the technology exists to do that now.

Soon, imperial planners at the Pentagon and in the White House will be able to plan military adventures without any regard for loss of life whatsoever. Americans have been brutalized by years of living in the worlds most violent dog eat dog society in the world and by their many many wars of aggression. As a result of this, and the atmospheric fear that they are saturated in daily, many Americans have little regard for human life - or at least "enemy" life - once convinced by Fox and the President that the dead, wounded and maimed, are inhuman monsters unworthy of life.

Come with me if you want to live.

The Pentagon has announced that it hopes to have autonomous war machines deployed by 2020. Like it or not, machines that kill humans, autonomously, or by remote control are on the way.

Take away the risk to ourselves and soon any kind of mad crusade becomes not just easy, but given our predilection for violence and our unquenchable thirst for oil - inevitable.


Welcome to my blog. This is my first attempt at blogging, and although I like to think of myself as somewhat out on the edge, I suppose I must be blogger number 6,589,888 by now... I suspect this is a low number.

Here in Ottawa it's another long cold winter, minus 20 tonight with little sign of global warming. Of course I believe in global warming just not tonight. As a result of an early winter storm, followed by rain, followed by sub zero temperatures, the side streets here have 18 inch thick banks of dirty solid ice on either side of the street. Traffic is reduced to one lane on many streets which resemble narrow country roads only made of dirty ice. At the moment Ottawa closely resembles the surface of Titan - only a little warmer.

So what's Contumacious about you ask? Well, I'm worried; I'm worried about the war, American killer robots, western culture and the decline thereof, our muzzled liberal media, and worse the unmuzzled yet controlled - right wing media And I am worried about the freaking environment (we just had terrible smog for 3 days - in January!), and lots more. I could go on of course, but I will leave that for later posts.

I won't always focus on the wars; but I will always focus on the contrary - which is often the truth.