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Sat, 25 Mar 2023
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Meet Yoda, the 92-year-old man who works in the Pentagon basement dreaming about future wars


Mysterious, he is: Andrew W. Marshall, 92, is known as Yoda to Pentagon top brass because of his bald head and uncanny ability to predict what the state of warfare will be 20 to 30 years in the future

Somewhere inside the Pentagon sits a notoriously tight-lipped man whose words Defense Department top brass take as gospel and whose mysterious office exists to predict the future. Andrew W. Marshall, 92, is nicknamed Yoda both for his bald head and uncanny ability to foresee advancements in military technology and warfare strategy decades in advance and has done so for the Office of Net Assessment since Richard Nixon gave his the agency's top job back in 1973.

And though Marshall has accurately predicted the fall of the Soviet Union, the rise of China, and the advent of drone warfare, and is credited with helping end the Cold War, the 'Pentagon's futurist-in-chief' could see his entire office axed if some bureaucrats get their way.

For the last twenty years, Yoda has been using the force to contemplate scenarios of an American war with China, a nation whose military spending could outpace our own within 20 years. As for predictions, he's said that performance enhancing drugs will one day very soon be just as important as technological developments.

'People who are connected with neural pharmacology tell me that new classes of drugs will be available relatively shortly, certainly within the decade,' Marshall told Wired in an extremely rare interview from 2003. Marshall has given very few interviews over the years and very rarely allows himself to be quoted in the press.

'One of the people I talk to jokes that a future intelligence problem is going to be knowing what drugs the other guys are on,' he said.


21 nations line up behind U.N. effort to restrain NSA

An effort in the United Nations by Brazil and Germany to hold back government surveillance is quickly picking up steam, as the uproar over American eavesdropping grows.

The German and Brazilian delegations to the U.N. have opened talks with diplomats from 19 more countries to draft a General Resolution promoting the right of privacy on the Internet. Close American allies like France and Mexico -- as well as rivals like Cuba and Venezuela -- are all part of the effort.

The push marks the first major international effort to curb the National Security Agency's vast surveillance network. Its momentum is building. And it comes as concerns are growing within the U.S. intelligence community that the NSA may be, in effect, freelancing foreign policy by eavesdropping on leaders like Germany's Angela Merkel.

The draft, a copy of which was obtained by The Cable, calls on states "to respect and ensure the respect for the rights" to privacy, as enshrined in the 1976 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It also calls on states "to take measures to put an end to violations of these rights" and to "review their procedures, practices and legislation regarding the extraterritorial surveillance of private communications and interception of personal data of citizens in foreign jurisdictions with a view towards upholding the right to privacy."


Jon Stewart smacks down CNBC and Fox anchors for defending JP Morgan

The Daily Show's Jon Stewart opened up this Wednesday's show by letting the so-called financial analysts over at CNBC and the Fox Business Channel have it for their concern trolling for poor old JP Morgan Chase.

After playing footage of CNBC's money honey, Maria Bartiromo, arguing with Salon's Alex Pareene about how terrible it was that someone was finally going to hold Dimon and his ilk accountable -- and Bartiromo and some of her colleagues claiming that he should have been cut some slack because the government supposedly forced them to buy Bear Stearns -- Stewart treated his audience to some footage of CNBC's Jim Cramer, who apparently had a very different view of that deal at the time.

Stewart wrapped things up after the Cramer footage with a sentiment that's probably shared by a lot of us: "F*ck all y'all."

Bad Guys

Company behind Obamacare website in charge of nearly $2 billion in Sandy relief

© REUTERS/Mike Segar
CGI Federal Inc., the mastermind behind healthcare.gov, is assisting the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the distribution of $1.7 billion in relief for Hurricane Sandy.

In a memo obtained by FreedomWorks titled, "Minutes of the 295th meeting of the members of the Housing Trust Fund Corporation held on May 9, 2013, at 8:30 a.m.," CGI Federal is tasked with implementing the Disaster Housing Assistance Program. Additionally, they are asked to aid in the implementation of the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program, an assistance program that had recently obtained $1.7 billion.


Monsanto buys a 'Food Prize'

As Lily Tomlin has noted, "No matter how cynical you get, it's almost impossible to keep up."

For example, imagine if a prestigious group announced that this year's "World Environmental Prize" is being awarded to BP, for its unique contribution to the ecology of the Gulf of Mexico. No way, you say? Too absurd?

Right, but try this one: Imagine that an Iowa group announces that its "World Food Prize" will go to Monsanto for pushing its patented, pricey, genetically-tampered Frankenseeds on impoverished lands as an "answer" to global hunger. This would be so morally perverse that the "cyn" in cynical would be spelled s.i.n. Yet, it has actually happened.


KAL Flight 007: The mystery continues

KAL 007
© Getty Images/Fotobank
In the early hours of the morning, some 30 years ago and at the height of the cold war, Soviet fighters were ordered to scramble and intercept a Boeing 747 passenger jet in the skies above Sakhalin.

A few hours later, on September 1, 1983, Korean Airlines flight 007 was shot down west of Sakhalin Island, in the Sea of Japan, known to Koreans as the East Sea, killing 269 passengers and crew.

Following a lengthy investigation, the International Civil Aviation Organisation found that the 747 had accidentally strayed into Soviet airspace. But it condemned the Soviet Union for shooting down the aircraft.

However, the controversy continues. The official explanation, which the governments of at least four countries - South Korea, Japan, Russia and the United States - adhere to, said the Korean Airlines Boeing 747 was on a routine flight from New York to Seoul, with a refuelling stop in Anchorage, Alaska.

Its route lay above the Pacific Ocean, skirting Soviet territory. However, right from the take-off in Anchorage the aircraft began to deviate from its course. By the time it was shot down to the southwest of Sakhalin, the Boeing 747 was some 500km off its intended route.

At 4:51am local time the aircraft entered Soviet airspace above a restricted area in Kamchatka, where a Soviet nuclear missile base was situated.

According to the official explanation, the Soviet air defence mistook the Boeing for a US RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft, which was reportedly monitoring the launch of a Soviet ballistic missile on the same night. On radar screens, an RC-135 looks exactly the same as a passenger Boeing.


Blaming the victim: GOP lawmaker says Europe should be grateful for US spying on them

Mike Rogers
© Unknown
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers blames the victims
A key Republican lawmaker says European citizens must be grateful that US National Security Agency spied on them because the American surveillance activities are keeping them safe.

"If the French citizens knew exactly what that was about, they would be applauding and popping champagne corks. It's a good thing. It keeps the French safe. It keeps the US safe. It keeps our European allies safe," said House Intelligence Committee chairman, Representative Mike Rogers, (R-Mich.)

The GOP congressman made the incendiary remarks in an interview with CNN as outrage grows around the globe over reports of US spying on both the ordinary people and world leaders.

Rogers described the anger of foreign governments over the controversial surveillance activities as "disingenuous."

"This whole notion that we're going to go after each other on what is really legitimate protection of nation-state interest, I think is disingenuous."

Comment: A sickbag is needed:

Comment: This is similar to the rapist blaming the victim of the rape. But what else to expect from a US lawmaker these days.

War Whore

Psycho wishful thinking: Dick Cheney thinks military action on Iran is unavoidable


Former US Vice President Dick Cheney
Former US Vice President Dick Cheney said on Sunday that military action in Iran is likely unavoidable in order to stop Iran's nuclear energy program.

Cheney, who served from 2001 to 2009 under President George W. Bush, made the remarks after George Stephanopoulos, host of ABC's 'This Week' program, asked him, "is military action against Iran inevitable?"

"I have trouble seeing how we're going to achieve our objective short of that (military action)," Cheney said.

"I doubt very much that the diplomacy will be effective if there's not the prospect that, if diplomacy fails, that we will, in fact, resort to military force," he added. "I don't have a lot of confidence in the administration to be able to negotiate an agreement."


56 killed in day of carnage as 11 car bombs rip through Iraq

Iraq car bomb
© AFP Photo / Sabah Arar
Iraqis look at the remains of a vehicle following an explosion at a small bus station on October 27, 2013, in the the Mashtal district of the capital Baghdad.
Ten car bombs ripped through the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, killing at least 42 and wounding dozens more, officials said. A separate blast targeting soldiers in the northern city of Mosul reportedly killed 14 more, bringing Sunday's death toll to 56.

Nine of the blasts targeted predominantly Shiite Muslim districts over the course of half an hour, police said.

The most violent of those blasts occurred in the town of Nahrawan, south of the capital, where two back-to-back car bombs exploded near a busy market, killing seven people and injured 15 others.

Attacks in the northern Shaab and southern Abu Dshir neighborhoods killed six people each. Other explosions hit the neighborhoods of Mashtal, Baladiyat and Ur in eastern Baghdad and the northern Sab al-Bor and Hurriyah districts.

Six medical officials confirmed the casualty figures to AP. All spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the press.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, although such coordinated attacks have in the past been a hallmark of The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - al-Qaeda's local branch.
This is an assumption like not other. For all we know, the wave of violence in Iraq may be a strategy to divide an already battered country into Shiite and Sunni regions to make them more manageable and less likely to be a real competitor to other countries in the region.

Shiite and Sunnis shared this country in peace for years before the US invasion. Now we are lead to believe that the war pushed them to hate each other instead of hating the invaders. As always, who benefits?


Fear mongering: War of words in Asia as Japan hints at defence changes with China firing a warning action

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
© Euronews
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
The role of Japan's Self-Defence Force could be set to change. That was the message to troops on parade in Asaka at its annual review.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he will not tolerate the use of force to change the region's status quo.

It is a coded expression widely understood by analysts to refer to what Tokyo sees as China's aggressive maritime expansion. It could lead to a change in Japan's defence policy.

Comment: More fear mongering to keep people distracted and under control. For more on how to control the public see this article.