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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Drone Company “Coaches” Colombian War on Drugs, Terror

Secret Cable Raises Questions About U.S. High-tech Mercenaries

(IRIS) -- Under the cover of a remote jungle canopy in Colombia, terrorists quietly get into a truck. Then, a bomber suddenly swoops in and obliterates all 30 men in a cloud of fire and smoke. Elsewhere in the Colombian jungle, workers load up two trucks with coca when a helicopter gun ship appears out of nowhere and fills the scene and people with bullet holes. The survivors flee in all directions, but their escape routs are noted. And a coca-loaded boat speeds down a twisting brown river right into the hands of a police checkpoint.

These are the anti-terror and drug missions of the unmanned aerial vehicle or drone “ScanEagle” in Columbia according to a secret diplomatic cable by U.S. Ambassador William Wood.

He describes it as a four-foot-wide drone that flies like a spec in the sky, loitering for 15 hours at a time on just a few gallons of fuel. A guy is on the ground holding a joystick and using the drone to survey people on the ground in real time. More details about the drone are available at http://www.insitu.com/ according to Wood.

But the Colombians couldn’t do this on their own. They were using a United States corporation to play a key roll in calling the shots on its domestic war operations.

“Colombian operators still depend on support from Boeing coaches,” Wood wrote about Boeing, the U.S. aerospace company. “U.S. training  will be extended until the Colombians become capable of  operating on their own.”

video from www.insitu.com shows how precise an operation it is, with black trucks speeding to the scene and men in black outfits launching these little surveillance vehicles for “customers.” The drones can even be launched and retrieved by contractors at sea using a hook and catapult system.

At the time of the secret cable and the Colombian operation there was one problem: The range of these UAV’s was extremely limited with only a 70-mile transmission distance according to Wood’s cable. That would mean the U.S. corporate coaches needed to be close by, spending many hours helping to fight terrorists and drug cartels.

Despite the limitations, Wood made the case that the U.S. coaches are having big success, allowing Colombian high maintenance military assets like helicopters and boats to sit idle until they are needed. 

HighTechMercenary 

In the Colombian combat operations, the ‘coaches’ from Boeing may qualify as new-age, high-tech mercenaries under the Geneva Convention. It depends on who paid them, the U.S. or Colombia and how much.

Under the convention, they would have to be people who take part in an armed conflict, who are not a national or a party to the Colombian conflict and are "motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and are paid more than combatants of similar function in the armed forces of that Party" (Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Convention of August 1949.) The cable doesn't specify how much they were paid and by whom.

Regardless, Boeing is a corporation with private financial motivations in all the conflicts where it is involved. And there are many. This kind of use of UAV’s by military in combat was in aggressive growth in 2006. That year, for the first time "ScanEagle" logged 10,000 combat flight hours.

The Colombian program was in its infancy in 2006 according to the Wood cable, and despite the powerful impacts of the missions, Boeing’s UAV’s weren’t part of the Colombian military operational commanders’ planning yet. Wood urged “aggressive” use of the UAV program by the Colombian Military to be effective. He said the Colombian military was in the process of developing a “joint doctrine” for using the UAV’s. Meanwhile, Boeing would continue its coaching.

Sun, March 27, 2011 | link          Comments

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Clinton Ordered Secret Islamic Society Investigation
(IRIS) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was keenly interested in how to gain entry to a secret Islamic society known as the Tarikat. Enough so to launch a secret U.S. State Department investigation into what some Turks consider an extremist group.

In the cable released today by Wikileaks, Clinton asks a source in Ankara for inside information about the “secretive Islamic Tarikat associations.”

Tarikat is also known as Tarīqas, and on the surface it looks like an organization to spread Islam but it exists in all corners of the Muslim world, and to say the least it often exercises a degree of political influence inordinate to their size.

In fact, its influence runs so deep, it was outlawed and forced underground in Turkey (www.geopolitics.gr/PDF/art-imaz-tur02en.pdf)

tarikat.jpg

The State Department didn’t want the pending investigation to be widely-known. Clinton’s request was classified as “Secret,” and she wanted answers as time and “present workload permit.”

There were four sensitive questions. The first two are mundane and the final two imply interest in infiltrating the organization.

First, the department wanted to know what are the strongest brotherhoods in Turkey in terms of numbers and political strength. Then, how is the Tarikat connected with political action including voting preferences.

Those are very mundane questions. Less mundane is question number three in which the State Department wants to know how someone can become a member of the group. Not only did the department want to know how to become a member, but how outsiders can approach it to join, if they must be invited by a member and how Tarikats deal with each other and why. That question implies interest on the part of the State Department to have representatives enter this secret society.

Finally, the State Department wanted to know if the most prominent members charged with carrying out an agenda.

The fact that the State Department wanted to know how to enter this powerful underground society in Turkey is interesting enough. However, what is even more interesting, is that the Department may have been shut out by its informant. The Department made the request in July, 2009. Since then, there are no responses to the questions released so far by Wikileaks. Finding answers to those questions may prove harder than anticipated.

Wed, March 23, 2011 | link          Comments

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Vegas Guide

(IRIS) -- A couple of friends of mine recently asked how to visit Las Vegas. One is thinking of living there, the other, Kasey wants tips on kids, to what to see, how to walk to Thomas and Mack for a concert and how to approach the city over just 3 days. Here is what I wrote back to Kasey, covering the highlights that I have learned over the past 7 years of living there.

Hi Kasey! Good to hear from you. I would watch your kids for you but we don't live there anymore. We are in Reno now. So, I really wouldn't recommending bringing your kids at all to Vegas at all. Day care is really hard to find. I would suggest asking a friend where you live to take care of your kid.

The closest hotel to Thomas and Mack is the Hard Rock, but that is not on the strip. The closest strip hotel is Tropicana and MGM Grand. Tropicana might be pretty cheap as well. The Imperial Palace has really really cheap rooms right now too.

Walking from the strip to the Thomas and mac I think it is two miles at least. I have walked before but it is really boring. Cabs aren't too expensive. I would take one to get there, and then walk back because the cab line from the Thomas and Mac might be really really really long (like a 45 min wait). Its safe to walk. Just walk along Tropicana (street).

Thomas and Mac is a good concert venue. I have been there a bunch. I think the floor is the best because there is no room to move in the stands. The drawback is that you will probably be far away from the concessions.

If you are looking for things to do, you can call up Pink Jeep Tours. They take you around to neat places. You can go to Valley of Fire, Hoover Dam and Red Rock.

Go downtown too and hang around on Fremont street. It's pretty cool. And if you get tired of the strip, go up to Mountain Springs. There is a neat biker bar there. 

But, back to the strip, ride up the Eiffel Tower. Its a really neat view at night.  During the day, you will want to go up the Stratosphere. There is some history and great views of what vegas is really like, just a place in the middle of absolutely nowhere.

You can see the tigers in MGM Grand too. You will be walking a lot, and it is really easy to get stuck in just one hotel because you sit and gamble and drink. So try to keep moving. Sign up for player's club cards in the hotels and you will get free stuff like buffets. Only play the free play that they give you and no more. Look for machines that have really high visibility and ones with signs that say 98 or 99 percent pay-back. If you sign up for player's club cards in every hotel you go to, you might just eat for free the entire time. Plus, you will get offers for free rooms in the mail when you leave. I get offers every month.

As you walk around, remember that almost all of the architecture and statues in Vegas are made out of foam with stucco on the outside.

Here are some of the real entertainment: I would also see the show "O" inside the Bellagio. It's great for kids and it will blow your mind. Buy the tickets while you are there. If you want to make an evening out of "O," eat outside at Monami Gabi across the street where you can watch the fountains. The food is fantastic and it is one of the only places you can people watch and experience the fountains while sitting and eating. Eiffel tower restaurant is good for that too.  Don't buy your tickets on the Internet. There is a kiosk on the strip near the Peppermill that sells tickets for half price. If you want a sexier show, check out Zumanity. Its pretty crazy and neat. Both shows are worth it and you will never forget them.


And one last thing about safety. The strip is very safe. Your biggest danger there is yourself. Stay out of North Las Vegas (unless it is the far north part) and if you go downtown, don't walk around outside of Fremont street. You can go down Fremont East a little way, but not too far. There is also the neon boneyard which is a neat place to see old vegas signs during the day. You can walk down Las Vegas boulevard between downtown and the strip, but its a little sketchy (very few people and very dark at night).

Try not to use credit cards in small businesses. There is a high rate of identity theft.

I hope that helps! Let me know how it goes.
Ky

Sun, March 13, 2011 | link          Comments


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Nation's First Cold War Memorial Groundbreaking & Book Signing

The Forest Service members of the CIA and workers from Area 51 were at Mt. Charleston outside Las Vegas for the groundbreaking of the nation's first Cold War Memorial on Saturday, November 17. This will enhance the regions international recognition for its role in America's victory in the Cold War. The Atomic Testing museum with its hands-on exhibits, the atomic test site with its bomb-ravaged structures and now the cold war memorial honoring America's heroes who lost their lives in America's longest war. Vistors can get a signed first-edition copy of Silent Heroes of the Cold War (Stephen's Press 2008) and learn more at this first public event on a multi-million dollar Forest Service project in the area.

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Ky Plaskon's web archive

Children's Health Care (Live)

UNLV's 1st News Director

Artifact Theft (NPR)

Construction Defects (NPR)

Mortgage Fraud on the Rise (APM)

Muslim Radicalism (Voice of America)

Vegas Thirst for Groundwater (Living on Earth)

Computerized Voting Arrives (Voice of America)

Engineering Behind Entertainment (NPR)

Wind-powered Car (KNPR)

Industry of Prisoner Employees (KLAS)

Losing it all in Vegas (KNPR)

High-brow Brothel (KNPR)

Desert Con Had Last Word (KNPR)

Money, Blood & Children (KRNV)

Drug Cartel Kidnaps Kid (CNN)

Racist Vegas I (NPR)

Racist Vegas II (NPR)

Revolutionary Janitor (NPR)

Tax Fraud Publisher Jailed (NPR)

Yucca Mountain Gold Diggers (NPR)

U.S. Artifact Plundering (NPR)

Vegas Limits Water Use (NPR)

Torrential Vegas Floods (NPR)

Vegas Police, Wrongful Death Suit (KLAS)

UNLV President Resigns

Sales of Kyril Plaskon's Silent Heroes of the Cold War supports

National Cold War Memorial

The Impact of Governme Secrecy.
Silent Heroes of the Cold War book cover
Only American Account of Transgenerational War Trauma. Click on the Pic for the title at Amazon

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