Between 1980 and 2000, a complicated war raged in Peru, pitting the country’s government against at least two political guerilla organizations, and forcing average people to band together into armed self-defense committees.Read the rest
The 16mm short film "Mickey Mouse In Vietnam" is an anti-war movie by Lee Savage and Milton Glaser, produced for The Angry Arts Festival in 1968. Long vanished, the movie has returned to YouTube. Buzzfeed has an interview with Glaser about the video's history:
Speaking of symbolism, is that why you picked Mickey Mouse in particular?
MG: Well, obviously Mickey Mouse is a symbol of innocence, and of America, and of success, and of idealism — and to have him killed, as a solider is such a contradiction of your expectations. And when you’re dealing with communication, when you contradict expectations, you get a result.
Disney is very protective of their intellectual property. Did you ever hear from them after you screened the film?
MG: No… There was some talk about Disney suing us, but I think the consequence of that — everybody realized — would have been negative for Disney and would have no benefit. And obviously no profit was made out of the utilization of the character or the film, so nothing ever happened.
Update: Adam Savage writes, "Lee Savage did not die a couple of years after Vietnam, as Milton seems to suggest. Lee Savage was, in fact my father and he directed inked and animated the Mickey Mouse film which he co-wrote with Milton. My dad died in 1999 after a long bout with Alzheimer's and was always very proud of the Mickey film."
Bruce Schneier points out that the leaked top-secret list of electronic attack targets picked by the Obama administration is tantamount to a declaration of Internet War on foreign powers, and shows the US government planning attacks that make the much-vaunted Chinese attacks on the USA look tame by comparison.
That's the key question: How much of what the United States is currently doing is an act of war by international definitions? Already we're accusing China of penetrating our systems in order to map "military capabilities that could be exploited during a crisis." What PPD-20 and Snowden describe is much worse, and certainly China, and other countries, are doing the same.
All of this mapping of vulnerabilities and keeping them secret for offensive use makes the Internet less secure, and these pre-targeted, ready-to-unleash cyberweapons are destabalizing forces on international relationships. Rooting around other countries' networks, analyzing vulnerabilities, creating back doors, and leaving logic bombs could easily be construed as an act of war. And all it takes is one over-achieving national leader for this all to tumble into actual war.
It's time to stop the madness. Yes, our military needs to invest in cyberwar capabilities, but we also need international rules of cyberwar, more transparency from our own government on what we are and are not doing, international cooperation between governments and viable cyberweapons treaties. Yes, these are difficult. Yes, it's a long slow process. Yes, there won't be international consensus, certainly not in the beginning. But even with all of those problems, it's a better path to go down than the one we're on now.
We can start by taking most of the money we're investing in offensive cyberwar capabilities and spend them on national cyberspace resilience.
Here's a WWI-era advert for whale steaks. As Bruce Sterling notes, "There’s heaps of whale meat here in the First World War. So much we can’t swallow it all. Cheaper than tuna."
During World War II, the US Army deployed a "tactical deception unit" to Europe. The 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, aka the "Ghost Army," consisted of artists, ad directors, actors, and other creative folks who used inflatable tanks, sound effects trucks, and good ol' fashioned bullshit to trick the German forces. It included the likes of fashion designer Bill Blass, fine artist Elsworth Kelly, and photographer Art Kane. A documentary about the Ghost Army, directed by Rick Beyer, aired last month on PBS. You can watch it for free right here! The Ghost Army story would make for a great black comedy too! The Ghost Army (Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!)
These know-your-chemical-weapon posters were produced by the Medical Training Replacement Center at Camp Barkeley near Abilene, Texas as training materials for soldiers being sent to fight in WWII. They're a weird mix of cheerfulness and atrocity:
Four WWII Posters That Taught Soldiers to Identify Chemical Weapons by Smell (via Kadrey)
Of the four chemicals mentioned here—phosgene, lewisite, mustard gas, and chlorpicrin—three were used in World War I. (Lewisite was produced beginning in 1918, but the war ended before it could be used.) Phosgene, which irritates the lungs and mucus membranes and causes a person to choke to death, caused the largest number of deaths among people killed by chemical weapons in the First World War. (Elsewhere on Slate: A firsthand account of what it felt like to be hit by mustard gas.)
The smells that these posters warn soldiers-in-training to be wary of are the everyday scents of home: flypaper, musty hay, green corn, geraniums, garlic. The choice of analogies seems particularly appropriate for soldiers raised on farms—a population that would become increasingly small in every war to follow.
(Images: National Museum of Health and Medicine)
Canadian artist Howie Tsui redesigned a pinball machine to turn it into a crude simulation of a musket-ball rattling around a soldier's guts for a War of 1812-themed exhibition currently running at the Agnes Etherington Arts Centre at Queens University in Kingston. It's meant to demonstrate the way that repetition and concentration can inure you to the horrors of war:
The first part of his exhibition is a re-themed pinball machine, which now, having been Tsui-ed, is called Musketball! Tsui repainted the front glass panel and it now shows a British soldier reeling back as his guts explode from a musket shot (no rolling around inside for this one). The playing surface is painted with organs, tissue and bone, with the words “mangled viscera” at midfield. It would all be tame in a modern shooter video game, but it’s shockingly graphic on a vintage board.
I step up to the game and fire my first ball, which gets back in the gutter faster than I thought possible. I fire the second ball — which I note are gold, not silver, to which Tsui says, “I kind of blinged it up a little bit.” This ball stays in play just long enough to hit a few bumpers and set off sound effects of rifle shots and artillery blasts. I fire my remaining three balls, and my final score is slightly less than one-tenth of Tsui’s high score. “It’s your first time playing. I had to do a lot of testing,” Tsui says, showing he’s also talented in the art of diplomacy.
“After a while,” he says, “you sort of get hooked on the game, and the whole idea for me is that it distances the player from the idea of violence.”
Pinball, bones and animal skins: Howie Tsui’s wonderful horrors of the War of 1812 [Peter Simpson/Ottawa Citizen]
3D printing is being condemned in the media because of the potential for printing guns. Engineers at Michigan Tech believe there is far more potential for 3D printers to make our lives better rather than killing one another. To encourage thinking about constructive uses of 3D printing technology Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology (MOST) Lab and Type A Machines is proud to sponsor the first 3-D Printers for Peace Contest.
A fully assembled Type A Machines Series 1 3D Printer goes to first place and a MOST RepRap 3D printer kit will go to the second prize winner who create designs that enable 3D printers to encourage peace. Winning open-source designs will discourage conflict (e.g. designs for appropriate technology in the developing world to reduce scarcity or designs that improve economic development -- see examples and pictures). Designers are encouraged to consider: If Mother Theresa of Ghandi had access to 3D printing what would they print? What kind of designs could help reduce military spending and conflict while making us all safer and more secure?
Michigan Tech has already saved tens of thousands of dollars using 3D printable scientific and engineering equipment and our labs have developed 3D printable tools to test water quality, recycle waste plastic and found that 3D printing consumer goods is better for the environment than shipping conventional goods from China. Jo
Anyone in the United States may enter and there is no cost to enter. Here's the guidelines. Deadline for submitting entries: September 1, 2013
I've seen this video described as a musical depiction of all the nuclear bombs ever detonated. But that sort of makes it sound like you're about to get a particularly bombastic version of the 1812 Overture. Instead, "1945-1998" by Isao Hashimoto is more like an infographic with sound effects — or, possibly, a mash-up of the games Simon and Global Thermonuclear War.
What you get is an interesting depiction of nuclear tests through time — 2053 of them (including the non-test explosions at Hiroshima and Nagasaki). I found it particularly interesting to watch the slow ramp up over the course of the late 1940s and early 1950s, when months or years would tick by between tests. After that, beginning in the late 1950s, you see these patterns of sudden flurries of explosions, usually happening in the US and the USSR almost simultaneously. The cultural sense of panic is almost palpable.
The Onion got hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army, who proceeded to send out a bunch of tweets that could have been mistaken for actual Onion tweets making fun of the sort of thing that Syrian propagandists would tweet if they hacked the Onion's Twitter (see after the jump for the full list). But no, they actually did get hacked.
The Onion responded by putting up a post called Syrian Electronic Army Has A Little Fun Before Inevitable Upcoming Deaths At Hands Of Rebels, which matches the Assadists' bluster and is much funnier:
DAMASCUS, SYRIA—After hacking into The Onion’s Twitter account earlier today, members of the Syrian Electronic Army confirmed that the organization simply wanted to have a little fun before soon dying at the hands of rebel forces. “We figured that before they bust in here and execute every single one of us, we might as well have a good time and post some silly tweets about Israel from a major media outlet’s feed,” said a spokesperson from the pro-Assad group, adding that he and his cohorts “had a few good laughs” and are now fully prepared for their painful and undoubtedly horrific deaths in the coming days. “I mean, we definitely don’t have much time left, so we thought, hey, let’s just enjoy ourselves before getting blown away by rockets, decapitated, beaten to death, or hung during public executions. Why not, right?” At press time, violent screams and pleas for mercy were reportedly overheard as rebel troops broke into the Syrian Electronic Army’s hideout.
With Necessary Evil, published today, Ian Tregillis triumphantly concludes his astonishing, brilliant, pulse-pounding debut trilogy, The Milkweed Triptych. Milkweed began in 2010 with Bitter Seeds, an alternate history WWII novel about a Nazi doctor who creates a race of twisted X-Men through a program of brutal experimentation; and of the British counter-strategy: calling up the British warlocks and paying the blood-price to the lurking elder gods who would change the very laws of physics in exchange for the blood of innocents. These elder gods, the Eidolons, hate humanity and wish to annihilate us, but we are so puny that they can only perceive us when we bleed for them. With each conjuration of the Eidolons on Britain's behalf, the warlocks bring closer the day when the Eidolons will break through and wipe humanity's stain off the universe.
Book two, The Coldest War, came out last summer -- a too-long hiatus! -- and jumped forward to the 1960s, where the struggle continued in a Europe divided among the Soviets -- who seized the Nazi technology at the end of the war and used it to breed their own supermen -- and the British, whose warlock reserves have become an everyday instrument of foreign policy. Coldest War was half James Bond, half Cthulhu, and was every bit as painstakingly researched, beautifully described, blisterlingly plotted and utterly engrossing as the first.
Now, with book three, Necessary Evil, Tregillis draws the series to a close with a time travel story that goes back to the beginning of the tale, a desperate mission to stop the use of magick and the use of the Nazi "Will to Power" from ever gaining hold, to keep the elder gods at bay. And in Evil, Tregillis is even more on form. This is a book that veers precipitously from unexpected and chilling ruminations on the inherent evil of precognition; to the questions of loyalty and betrayal so thorny that they need a time-travel loop to really be explored; to spy-thriller action sequences that will keep you up under the covers with a flashlight, turning pages and unable to sleep.
This is a remarkable set of books, and with all three in hand, would make a fabulous spring read.
I am blogging from inside the Guatemalan Supreme Court in Guatemala City this morning, on day 20 of the trial of former Guatemalan General and genocide and de factor dictator Rios Montt, and his then-head of intelligence Jose Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez. Ríos Montt's 1982-1983 regime was supported by the United States; during this era many thousands of non-combatant civilians were killed.
UPDATE, 9:48am Guatemala time: Attorneys for Rios Montt just walked out of the courtroom in protest; they'd demanded the trial to be canceled. Ríos Montt's supporters stand and cheer. Judge Jazmin Barrios yells "Stop! Stop!" after them; demands that security follow defense lawyers and bring them back to the courtroom; her order met with massive screams and cheers and applause throughout courtroom. Ríos Montt speaks for the first time: I'm trying to call my attorneys, but they aren't answering. I have another lawyer, but he's busy with another case. Co-defendant Sanchez tells judge he lacks funds to hire a new lawyer. Barrios offers to provide them with public defenders. Follow this Twitter list for live tweets from the courtroom.
Today, the defense renewed their demands that the trial be shut down and annulled. Supreme Court Judge Jazmin Barrios has denied their request. Judge Carol Patricia Flores will convene the Constitutional Court of Guatemala at 2pm to consider suspending the trial, as the defense have demanded.
It's not clear what will happen today, but it seems the trial will likely come to some form of closure today or tomorrow.
Rios Montt's fate now essentially rests in the hands of 2 female judges. As one reporter said, “One gets the sense the shit is about to hit the fan.”
Wednesday, April 17, was a chaotic and tense day in the courtroom. Judge Yassmin Barrios began by observing that once again only two defense witnesses were present to testify before the tribunal, while some ten witnesses remained to be heard. The judge ordered Ríos Montt’s counsel, Marco Antonio Cornejo, to leave the room and personally call each of them on the phone to advise them that they were legally required to attend. Before permitting Cornejo to exit, she called the first witness present, Gustavo Porras, into the chamber and asked him to take his place in the witness chair facing the tribunal. Porras and the entire courtroom of several hundred spectators then waited in silence until the lawyer returned some 15 minutes later.Things became more dramatic as the day went on.
I am blogging from inside the Guatemalan Supreme Court in Guatemala City this morning, on day 19 of the trial of former Guatemalan General and genocide and de factor dictator Rios Montt, and his then-head of intelligence Jose Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez. Montt's 1982-1983 regime was supported by the United States; during this era many thousands of non-combatant civilians were killed.
An excellent report from Kate Doyle is here at riosmontt-trial.org, a project of the Open Society Justice Initiative.
The court adjourned at mid-day yesterday, as Judge Jazmin Barrios scolded Ríos Montt's defense team for effectively delaying the judicial process by failing to have defense witnesses present.
This early closure of the trial followed a dramatic moment: the court played series of interviews with Ríos Montt and two senior Army figures, filmed in 1982 by American documentary filmmaker Pamela Yates (Granito, When the Mountains Tremble). The silent, 86 year old Ríos Montt leaned back in his chair and looked up at the younger version of himself at the height of his physical and political vigor; it was a surreal scene, here in the courtroom.
Guatemala: Rios Montt genocide trial, day 18. "If I can't control the Army, then what am I doing here?"
I am blogging from inside the Supreme Court in Guatemala City, where the trial of former Guatemalan Army General and US-backed dictator Guatemalan José Efrain Rios Montt and his then chief of intelligence Jose Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez has reconvened for the 18th day. Here's a good recap of Monday's proceedings, and here's another.
For the past two weeks, I have been here in Guatemala with Miles O'Brien, observing the trial in court and interviewing people involved in the story for a forthcoming report on PBS NewsHour. We have interviewed Rios Montt's daughter, Zury Rios, who is her father's most diligent defender. We have interviewed scientists whose work is entered as evidence in the trial. We traveled to the Ixil area where the conflict at the center of this trial took place, and we interviewed Ixil Maya survivors about their experiences in the US-backed counterinsurgency attacks. We interviewed government officials who worked closely with Ríos Montt, who believe that what happened was not genocide, but the unfortunate collateral damage of a just war against "International Communism."
As covered in previous Boing Boing posts, the past few weeks of the trial have included personal testimonies from dozens of Ixil Maya survivors of mass killings, rapes, torture, forced adoption, and displacement. More than two dozen forensic anthropologists from the Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala (FAFG) have testified about human remains exhumed and analyzed from mass graves. Many other expert witnesses, or "peritos," have testified: among them, Patrick Ball of hrdag.org, who analyzed data of deaths during the armed conflict, to help judges make their decision about whether the mass killings constituted a focused attack by the Guatemalan Army, led by Ríos Montt, against the Ixil Maya ethnic group.
In other words: Was this genocide?
Not according to "The Foundation Against Terrorism," which published a 20-page paid newspaper supplement over the weekend here in Guatemala. "The Farce of Genocide in Guatemala: a conspiracy perpetrated by the Marxists with the Catholic Church." It's an interesting read.
The 18th day of the tribunal began this morning with defense witnesses for Ríos Montt and Sanchez. Read the rest
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In the photo above: "Manixia Thor (left) and a member of her all women’s bomb clearance team head into the field to clear unexploded ordnance in the Lao countryside." In April, Manixia is on a speakers' tour in the US, focused on the urgent need for funding of bomb clearance and survivor assistance efforts in Laos.
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Adrian Chen tries to figure it out. Esquire stands by the story. [Gawker]
[S]he also helped run the CIA’s detention and interrogation program after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and signed off on the 2005 decision to destroy videotapes of prisoners being subjected to treatment critics have called torture. The woman, who remains undercover and cannot be named, was put in the top position on an acting basis when the previous chief retired last month. The question of whether to give her the job permanently poses an early quandary for [CIA Director John] Brennan, who is already struggling to distance the agency from the decade-old controversies.More: "CIA director faces a quandary over clandestine service appointment". [The Washington Post, via @dabeard]
There's some speculation it's this person. [Gawker]
Ten years ago this week, the US invaded Iraq and experimental filmmaker Bob Jaroc started a month-long recording of CNN that he later time-lapsed. The resulting stream of past current events, seen above, appeared on the 2006 collaborative album/DVD Jaroc released with electronic music duo Plain, titled "Greedy Baby," and in Plaid's live shows.
Steven Boyett sez, "Wreck diver and videographer Adrian Smith has launched a Kickstarter project to fund an expedition to document the forgotten wrecks sunken by the Bikini Atoll atomic explosion in 1946. No video record exists of these historic wrecks (many of them captured German and Japanese warships), and they are quickly eroding."
The naval vessels exposed to close-range atomic blast at Bikini Atoll represent the three major Pacific combatants of World War II. They are the only vessels ever sunk through the detonation of atomic weapons. These unique ships and submarines lie almost two hundred feet underwater, and are rapidly deteriorating. No comprehensive visual record exists to document their current state or unique reactions to their exposure to close-range atomic detonation. Soon it will be too late.
The ships themselves lie in waters from 40 ft (12 m) to 185 ft (56 m), deep but diveable with the correct equipment and training.
The “Baker” blast at Bikini Atoll was global front-page news when it occurred — so well-known that a French designer scandalized the world by introducing a line of two-piece swimsuits a mere four days after the Baker blast. The name of this new fashion? The bikini.
More "tiny people" installation photos by Slinkachu, whose work is compiled in several books including the recent Global Model Village. The pieces featured above and below were commissions for "20 Years of War Child," an exhibition at the British Music Experience museum running until March 28.
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Manning entered a not guilty plea to the government's more serious charge of "aiding the enemy," which carries a possible maximum sentence of life in prison. In a statement before the military court today, Manning said he leaked the classified information to "spark a domestic debate."
Ed Pilkington at the Guardian reports Manning first contacted the Washington Post about providing them with some of the classified material while he was on leave in January 2010; the the woman who answered the phone said the "paper would only be interested [in the documents] subjected to vetting by senior editors."
The Atlantic has a fascinating photo gallery about the DIY Weapons of the Syrian Rebels. Homebrew explosives are the norm, as are catapults (Reuters photo above) and tele-operated machine guns controlled with scavenged video game controllers.
The Army private is charged with being the source of classified documents published by WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy organization headed by Julian Assange.
The documents released today include court orders, and various rulings read aloud in court. The DoD says more documents will be released, pending review and redaction.