A peek inside Iraq's most notorious weapons market

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The fun-loving Chinese journalists in this segment manage to out-VICE VICE. 侣行 On the Road is billed as “a homemade outdoor reality show” featuring an "extreme couple" who love adventure. The pair and their team got some great footage of an open-air weapons market in Sadr City.

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Army dudes in yoga poses: now an article of commerce

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Yoga Joes started life as a wonderful, weird Kickstarter to produce a set of nine "Green Army Men" in yoga poses; having raised over $100K in direct sales at $20/set ($10 for military personnel) Brogamats is now selling them in retail channels at a $28 premium, for all nine: "headstand, meditation pose, cobra pose, warrior one, warrior two, child's pose, tree pose, crow pose, and downward-facing dog." (via Canopy) Read the rest

GPS, Plan B: US Navy teaches celestial navigation as fallback for cyberattack

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The Naval Academy is digging sextants out of their storage spaces and asking the Merchant Marine Academy (which never stopped teaching celestial navigation) and training its students in celestial navigation so that the ships will still be able to find their way after their adversaries infect the GPS system with malware. Read the rest

Wacky dudes in Russia open 1940s war ration can and eat it because Russia

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According to the uploader's description, these jolly Russian gentlemen here are opening what is identified as a 70-year-old package of Soviet fighter pilot war chow.

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Video of Flimmer, the US Navy's new drone that flies and swims

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"Common across the services, autonomous vehicles are being seen as an effective projection of force, both above and below the water’s surface," according to the US Naval Research Laboratory. Read the rest

Stephen Harper will use 12-18 year old junior rangers to fight the Russians

The largely aboriginal youth club -- historically called upon to fight forest fires and volunteer in parks -- is now part of the Canadian Prime Minister's "arctic soveriegnty" plan. Read the rest

Scalzi's latest Old Man's War novel hits shelves today!

It's called The End of All Things, and it's book six in the series (here's my review of book one); he's touring it all over the USA. Read the rest

WWII slang from the front

As seen in War Slang: American Fighting Words & Phrases Since the Civil War: "Royal Order of Whale Bangers. An 'exclusive' club open only to airmen who have mistakenly dropped depth charges on whales, supposing them to be enemy submarines." Read the rest

Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking call for ban on “autonomous weapons”

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Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, and hundreds of artificial intelligence researchers and experts have signed a letter calling for a worldwide ban on “autonomous weapons.” Read the rest

Word Wars: Daily war headlines transformed into an automated Star Wars intro crawl

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News from the Empire.

How you can contribute to whistleblower Chelsea Manning's legal defense fund

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Chelsea Manning's extraordinary act of whistleblowing continues to enrich journalism, the public, and the historic record to this day. Chelsea is currently appealing her unjust conviction and 35-year jail sentence under the Espionage Act, but her legal team is deeply in debt. Freedom of the Press Foundation is helping to raise money for her appeal by offering a way for people to donate to her legal defense here.

America's transgender military ban to be phased out

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U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter released a statement today confirming that America's "current regulations regarding transgender service members are outdated and are causing uncertainty that distracts commanders from our core missions." Read the rest

Texans brace for Jade Helm 15, massive federal military exercise

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About half of Texans are concerned about Jade Helm 15, this week's federal military exercise across the American southwest. Many conspiracy theories advanced by right-wing groups have driven these concerns. Read the rest

End of the United States' "weaponized anthropology" program

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After eight years, the US army's $725 million Human Terrain System, a controversial social science program ostensibly established to help the military understand the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, but criticized as a tool for propaganda and psyops, has ended. At CounterPunch, San José State University anthropology professor Roberto J. González published a fascinating history and critique of the program. From CounterPunch:

HTS supporters frequently claimed that the program would increase cultural understanding between US forces and Iraqis and Afghans–and therefore reduce American and civilian casualties. The program’s leaders insisted that embedded social scientists were delivering sociocultural knowledge to commanders, but the reality was more complex. HTS personnel conducted a range of activities including data collection, intelligence gathering, and psychological operations. In at least one case, an HTS employee supported interrogations in Afghanistan (Weinberger 2011).

The program also served a more insidious function: It became a propaganda tool for convincing the American public–especially those with liberal tendencies–that the US-led occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan were benevolent missions in which smart, fresh-faced young college graduates were playing a role. It appeared to demonstrate how US forces were engaged in a kinder, gentler form of occupation. Department of Defense photos portrayed HTS personnel sitting on rugs while drinking tea with Afghan elders, or distributing sweets to euphoric Iraqi children. Here was a war that Americans could feel good about fighting.

"The Rise and Fall of the Human Terrain System"

Human Terrain System (Army.mil)

(photo: Spc. Jason A. Young / Army) Read the rest

America's broken promise to veterans who survived race-based chemical weapons testing in WWII

Three test subjects enter a gas chamber, which will fill with mustard gas, as part of the military's secret chemical warfare testing in March 1945.
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"It took all the skin off your hands," says former Army soldier Rollins Edwards. "Your hands just rotted."

Navy openly solicits for 0-day bugs to weaponize

A solicitation on FedBizOpps from the Navy asks security researchers to sell them their "vulnerability intelligence, exploit reports and operational exploit binaries affecting widely used and relied upon commercial software." Read the rest

Watch this cute missing dog reunite with her U.S. veteran owner after 5 years apart

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Praise pet microchipping!

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