The Wars Come Home

As Russia continues to grind down Ukraine and Israel does the same to Gazans, with heavy US involvement in both arenas, it’s worth remembering how tools used and lessons learned in theaters of combat typically find their way back to the US to be used on American citizens.

Much of the technology and methodology the US’ three-letter agencies use against Americans was developed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Police are constantly becoming more militarized and outfitted with tools from the battlefields. There are surveillance blimps, the FBI flies drones over the US, state and local police departments use Stingray – invasive cell phone surveillance devices that mimic cell phone towers and send out signals to trick cell phones in the area into transmitting their locations and identifying information.

The collection of Americans’ data was also pioneered in the “War on Terror.” From a 2013 story at HuffPost:

…essentially amassing everything, however minor or unimportant, and then using increasingly powerful computers to pull out of that large pile actionable information, i.e., specific information to feed back to combat commanders and special forces to allow them to kill specific people. Knowing, for example, the name of a guy’s girlfriend leads to knowing what car she drives which leads to knowing when she left home which leads to listening to her make a date via cell phone which leads a credit card charge for a room which leads to a strike on a particular location at a specific time, high-tech flagrante delicto.

The FBI has followed the NSA’s wartime lead in creating its Investigative Data Warehouse, a collection of more than a billion documents on Americans including intelligence reports, social security files, drivers’ licenses, and private financial information including credit card data.

It is unsurprising that these weapons and surveillance tools are turned on Americans. If we accept that the US is dominated by the transnational capital class, it stands to reason that its enemies have less to do with traditional nation-state boundaries and everything to do with resources and rent-seeking opportunities.

Attempting to secure capitalists’ interests at home and abroad is the mission. Since the conclusion of WWII the US has been all about spreading “freedom,” which means a state devoted to high profits – free from the political whims of local populations that could degrade an investment’s expected return.

But that plunder does not just exist in far flung regions; it’s also alive and well in the US as well and requires the same tools of population control and punishment.

At home, the war has always been raging too – which was again about freedom for the capitalist class. Workers, labor organizers, the Black Panthers were largely beaten into submission in a lopsided class war with capital and the state pitted against workers. After all, as J. Edgar Hoover argued, conflict abroad must mean subversion at home, but what does that mean when the US ruling class sides with neo-Nazis in Ukraine and authoritarian capitalists in Israel?

What Will the West Reap From Conflicts Involving Neo-Nazis in Ukraine and AI-Assisted “Plausible” Genocide in Gaza? 

The US helped initiate and continues to perpetuate the conflict in Ukraine. And despite public urgings of caution, has fully backed Israel in its destruction of Gaza. At the same time, the crackdown on criticism of Israeli policy is intensifying in the US. Let’s look first at “tools” and then ideological creep.

There are reports that Israel is using an AI targeting system in Gaza with little human oversight and a permissive policy for casualties. On April 3, +972 Magazine revealed that the Israeli army was using a program known as “Lavender” to mark all suspected operatives in the military wings of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, including low-ranking ones, as potential bombing targets. During the early stages of the conflict, the army almost completely relied on the system, which flagged as many as 37,000 Palestinians as suspected militants — and their homes — for possible air strikes.

Silicon Valley is hard at work on similar tools for the US, and Ukraine has been used as a testing ground where the AI has but an utter failure. Project Maven is a Department of Defense program to use artificial intelligence to help the military detect potential targets on the battlefield using drone footage and other data.

As the New York Times reported on April 23, it is being used in Ukraine to “collect Russian movements and communications into one big, user-friendly picture, employing algorithms to predict where troops are moving and where attacks might happen.”

While the AI might be a nice shiny toy, it doesn’t work that well when your drones are quickly blown out of the sky and you can’t produce enough shells to match the Russian side. The Times goes on to admit numerous failures of this technology in Ukraine, but what goes unmentioned is how it will likely find its way into use back in the US.

Police drones are already widely used to monitor public gatherings in the US where there’s no risk that the Russians will shoot them out of the sky. The US adopting Israel technology that has been tested on the captive population of Gaza is nothing new. Here’s just a brief overview of some of the weaponized tech used in the occupied territories that has also been adopted in the US.

One example is how Israeli surveillance company Cellebrite sells its phone-hacking tools to countless police departments across the US. Antony Loewenstein in The Palestine Laboratory points out how Israelis complain that any Washington criticism of Israeli policies ignores how much the US has benefitted from its “combat laboratory” for US weapon development. And another example:

Some Americans are keen to learn on the ground in the Jewish state itself before taking it back to their home countries. In 2004, the US-based pro-Israel Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a self-described civil rights organization, began sending US police delegations to Israel…The US police who went “come back and they are Zionists. They understand Israel and its security needs in ways a lot of audiences don’t.”

How commonplace are such systems in the US? Database that aims to collect information on every Palestinian. They then use it to restrict movement or potentially other freedoms. The monitoring of Palestinians 24/7 across the occupied territory can turn up personal details that an individual wishes to remain secret, e.g., a married man who might be gay, someone who might be having an affair, etc. That information, as well as any other embarrassing activities, can then be used to try to turn that person into a spy or pressure them in other ways.

These same technologies are used in the US and elsewhere. Take Oosto, formerly AnyVision. It’s an Israeli company that merges AI with facial recognition and biometrics and targets all Palestiniians across the West Bank. According to Loewenstein, Oosto operates in the US, and in locations such as casinos, manufacturing, and even fitness centers.”

And there’s Cellebrite, the Israeli digital intelligence behemoth whose products include the Universal Forensic Extraction Device hacking tool. According to Loewenstein:

Over 2,800 US government customers, including law enforcement agencies, including the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and the Department of Agriculture, have purchased the company’s equipment, and the firm has hired prosecutors, police officers, and Secret Service agents to train people to use it. The company has announced that it has secured business with six of the world’s biggest oil refiners and six of the planet’s largest pharmaceutical firms. It has also moved into the increasingly profitable field of corporate surveillance.

Protecting Plunder 

I think it sometimes gets lost in all the madness of Project Ukraine just how important it was that Stanford hosted neo-Nazis last year:

The university is, after all, the intellectual center of the US capitalist citadel of Silicon Valley that increasingly dominates the military-industrial complex. The Nazism fostered in Ukraine by the West was unlikely to ever remain confined to Ukraine, and there are already signs it is beginning to spread throughout Europe. Here’s Kit Klarenberg writing at Al Mayadeen:

In mid-February, Berlin’s Junge Welt revealed how Centuria, an ultra-violent Ukrainian Neo-Nazi faction, has since the war in Ukraine cemented itself in six cities across Germany, and is seeking to expand its activities across Europe, influencing populations and governments to adopt their horrendous worldview. Disturbingly, they’re not the only fascist militants from Kiev with major political and societal ambitions, going under the name of Centuria. As we shall see, there are strong indications the latter is the monstrous offspring of British intelligence.

Centuria’s activities are outlined in a detailed report from George Washington University’s Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES). It notes that the group’s parent organisation is a “self-described order of ‘European traditionalist’ military officers that has the stated goals of reshaping the country’s military along right-wing ideological lines, and defending the ‘cultural and ethnic identity’ of European peoples against ‘Brussels’ politicos and bureaucrats’”:

“[Centuria] envisions a future where ‘European right forces are consolidated and national traditionalism is established as the disciplining ideological basis for the European peoples.’”

IERES reported that Centuria’s military wing began training in 2018 in Ukraine’s Hetman Petro Sahaidachny National Army Academy (NAA), Kiev’s “premier military education institution and a major hub for Western military assistance to the country.” From there, many of the group’s members were drilled by top Western military institutions alongside British, Canadian and American special forces officers. In turn, its operatives traveled to Western military training centres, spreading Neo-Nazism every step of the way.

If you’re going to back Nazis in Ukraine in order to weaken Russia, why would such a strategy stop with Ukraine? Why not Armenia, Poland, or the Baltics? Or how about Germany? Maybe even in the US?

The fact that Stanford welcomed Nazis with open arms should not have come as a surprise, as described here by WSWS:

Such a development can only be explained based on an analysis of the class forces on campus and the foul intellectual climate that has been created by decades of anti-Marxism and the promotion of postmodernist thought.

The last thirty years of uninterrupted imperialist wars abroad and social counter-revolution at home that followed the end of the USSR also saw the ever closer integration of academic institutions, especially the so called “elite” universities, into the state and military apparatus and Wall Street.

Stanford University is a primary example. The university’s Board of Trustees is largely composed of hedge fund managers and Wall Street executives, including Gene T. Sykes, the managing director of Goldman Sachs. The university has also long been notorious for the right-wing Hoover Institution, which is currently led by war criminal Condoleezza Rice, a key figure in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The Hoover Institution has historically been a central hub for the promotion of right-wing historical revisionism and falsifications. Most notably, it has hosted workshops with far-right academics like Jörg Baberowski from Berlin’s Humboldt University, who has since emerged as a central figure in the international effort by academics to minimize the crimes of Nazism.

The Hoover Institution, following in the footsteps of the former president it is named for, has also always played a guiding role in the class warfare waged by capitalists – both at home and abroad. A 1978 Palo Alto meeting yielded much of the Reagan administration leadership and the Hoover Institution played a major role in the plan for the 1980s. Bush the Younger had a similar meeting in 1998.

Where the US-backed conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza and celebration of neo-Nazis at Stanford merge is at the intersection of plunder and authoritarianism. The driving force behind the war in Ukraine is a desire by the Western elite to restart the pillaging of Russia that began during the 1990s shock therapy and was largely ended by Putin.

On the other hand, Israel is really a perfect model state for the US ruling elite, summed up here in Antony Lowenstein’s The Palestine Laboratory: 

According to Netanyahu, Jewish writer Peter Beinhart explained, “the future belonged…to authoritarian capitalism: governments that combined aggressive and often racist nationalism with economic and technological might.”

The question then becomes, would the transnational capitalist have any hesitation going from “Mussolini style corporatism” to full blown Fascism before relinquishing any of their ill-gotten gains or accepting limits on their power or reach?

Just how far along the US is in the process of becoming more like Israel is debatable, but the vision is clear. Neve Gordon, who teaches international law and human rights at Queen Mary University in London, tells Loewenstein that the Israeli model is based on describing itself as a democracy, effectively surveilling and killing “terrorists,” and simultaneously advancing neoliberal economic objectives. The following passage describes Israel, but if it was referring to the US, would you be able to tell the difference?

This attraction stems from the sense (real or perceived) that fighting terrorism through methods of homeland security, that include suspending due process in many areas of the criminal justice system, including torture, the right to a speedy trial, the freedom from arbitrary police searches, and the prohibition against indefinite incarceration and incognito detentions (to mention a few methods) does not conflict with democratic values. Thus, the ultimate attractiveness towards the Israeli experience in fighting terrorism is to its ability to link a militaristic worldview with a neoliberal economic agenda.

Anything that gets in the way of that worldview is now being dismantled. Maureen Clare Murphy at Electronic Intifada goes into meticulous detail in this April 11 piece on all the ways the US is gutting international law in Palestine. That’s not new for the “rules-based international order” where the rules are whatever they say they are, but the point is being driven home clearly in Gaza and elsewhere. Here’s just one recent example from the “Newspaper of Record”:

It is not. The West’s backing of Israel is reminiscent of more overt forms of colonialism and resource theft. As the the Western oligarchs are increasingly thwarted in turf wars in Russia, China, the Middle East, Africa, and elsewhere,

This will likely lead to even more violent rapaciousness at home, but how much more juice remains in the squeeze?

Elsewhere, any weak state sitting on valuable real estate should be even more nervous than usual. Because what we’re seeing with Israel and the West’s support is the culmination of decades of increasing disregard for and rewriting of international law. They are now completely tearing it up and essentially saying, “Anything goes.”

What could this mean? Let’s just quickly take the case of Niger as an example because it has been in the news a lot in recent months. The impoverished country has some of the highest grade uranium ore deposits in the world. It has been mined for decades by the French, who got a massive discount in its former colony on fuel for their nuclear plants. The US also has a major drone base in the country.

Well, Niger has decided that not only would the cushy deal for the French end, but the Americans would be kicked out as well. The Americans, however, are not leaving,. If we apply the Israel-Gaza doctrine, could France or the US respond to an attack on their troops or civilians by leveling the country and simply stealing the uranium? No doubt the US has already been engaged in similar efforts in recent decades, but could we see a more brutal doubling down in coming years?

Frederic Lordon, writing from the French perspective, believes that Gaza represents a clear historical marker:

What we are witnessing is moral suicide. Never before has there been such a colossal squandering of symbolic capital that was thought to be unassailable, which had been built up in the wake of the Holocaust. It turns out that the time for symbolic reckoning is coming for everyone, especially for this colonial project which calls itself the West and claims a monopoly on civilisation, yet wages violence in the name of its principles. If indeed they ever floated, its moral credentials are now sunk. It takes the arrogance of the soon-to-be-fallen rulers, who don’t yet know it, to believe that they can pursue this course without cost. Those who remain passive, who participate as accomplices, even acting as deniers of such an enormous crime being committed before their eyes and before the eyes of everyone else – people of this kind can no longer lay claim to anything. The whole world is watching Gaza die, and the whole world is watching the West watching Gaza. And nothing escapes them.

At this point, we inevitably think of Germany, whose unconditional support has reached astonishing levels of delirium, and of which one darkly humorous Internet user was able to say: ‘When it comes to genocide, they are always on the wrong side of History’. It’s not certain that ‘we’ – France – are much better off, but it is certain that History is waiting for everyone around the corner. History: this is what the West meets in Gaza. If, as there is reason to believe, this is a rendezvous with decline and fall, then the time will come when we will be able to say that the world was upturned in Gaza.

While the decline has been widely acknowledged for some time, much of the concern has centered around which form it would take. What Ukraine and Gaza announce is that the process will be a protracted, bloody mess.

If Western governments, representing their oligarchic benefactors, are no longer interested in international law and no longer capable of agreements, the path has been laid. The precedent is being set, and the long term consequences are here:

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  1. Patrick Donnelly

    Efficiency is good until it be taken too far.

    Owners neglect the oversight of managers and allow them to gain at the expense of the governed.

    When the owners are captured by the PMC, what restraints exist to balance the short term against the long term?

    Wealth can only be diverted when those who create it have the education and resources to enable them to provide suitable labour.

    South America has not prospered because of this. Eventually, when those who have nothing to lose revolt, violence begets worse: Haiti.

    The surveillance is to prevent this happening in the USA. Too little, too late?

    1. John Merryman

      Efficiency is to do more with less, so the ideal of efficiency will be when we can do everything with nothing.
      Almost there.

  2. JohnA

    Surely it is time to stop called Israel ‘the Jewish state’. It is the Zionist state and opposing its actions in Gaza and malicious influence over the US, UK and EU, is anti-zionism, not anti-semetism.

    1. Polar Socialist

      I’d prefer an ethno-theocratic (apartheid) state. Makes it way more difficult to claim Israel is a democracy or even “western”.

    2. ambrit

      Alas, that point will be lost on the multitudes. “The (XYZ) State” has begun the revivification of basic anti-semitism all on it’s own.
      Just as anti-semitism was cynically used to promote ‘fascist’ politics and policies in Central Europe over the centuries, it is ready made to produce the same today. An authoritarian government can stealthily promote “Anti-semitism” and also its own agendas by “fighting anti-semitism” at the same time.
      Don’t let the Left leaning know what the Right sector is doing.
      As I have been known to joke, but it is now no longer a joke; “Expect the worst and you will not be disappointed.”

  3. Mikel

    North, South, East, or West…any government or leadership having a crisis of legitimacy looks at what Israel is doing to the Palestinians as a blueprint.

  4. DJG, Reality Czar

    Thanks for this diagnosis and for unifying certain important ideas: Ukraine and Palestine are of a piece, all one phenomenon.

    Some of the sources seem to think that Gaza is something new, but cleverness at genocide is nothing new. For this reason, we have to keep Ukraine in mind, given that the so-called West wants to put an entire nation into the meat grinder so as to break up Russia into manageable units for exploitation. It’s the Opium Wars–which produced a century of horrors in China, which was then the target of the colonialists.

    Frédéric Lordon’s article and comments are interesting: Yet he doesn’t mention Ukraine. Recent behavior by the French elites with regard to Ukraine and Palestine indicates to me more than a loss of innocence. Heck, the U S of A has lost its “innocence” how many times now?

    So there’s the question of keeping these wars united in one’s mind. That’s a moral stance.

    Then there’s the question of how to disassemble the techno-system of surveillance and repression, which is unlike anything in earlier history. I’m not yet sure what tactics will work here–although I will propose that not voting for Biden or Trump in the U.S. elections come fall may be a start at sending a shock through the system that is now little more than the politics of death.

    1. ambrit

      Now that genocide has been normalized in the ruling elites, I’m afraid that simply “not cooperating” in the elections game is insufficient. Repressive regimes such as we are seeing ‘energized’ today do not “need” the public’s acceptance, usually expressed at the ballot box. Inconvenient outcomes in elections are now ‘finessed’ through election vote rigging or outright suppression of unconforming political movements. The German moves against such as the AfD and fellow travelers and American ‘crack downs’ on inconvenient speech are opening gambits in the campaign to “manage” the masses.
      We are now moving into the situation where direct action against the Neo-liberal State is necessary. Accepting Frederick Douglass’ statement that “Power concedes nothing without a demand.” as a truism, we are now at the point where “demands” will have to be made, often and robustly.
      To misquote Max Planck; “Civilization advances one firing squad at a time.”

      1. Feral Finster

        Basically. Especially as the voters are presented with a carefully curated slate of corporate imperialist muppets to choose from.

        What idpol do you prefer is basically the only choice on offer.

        1. redleg

          I expect that there will be chaos in the US come November as the chances of either party accepting the result are asymptotic to zero.

      2. Chris Cosmos

        I sympathize but don’t agree. Direct action no longer can work–the repressive forces are too strong at the moment and, more importantly, public support will not be there even if the public sympathizes with dissidents there has never been a time where ordinary people were more enamored of authority (of any kind) telling them what to do and what to think. For example, while large majorities don’t trust the mainstream media they still firmly believe in the narratives that media promote, i.e., Russia-China-Iran bad and USA/Israel good. People need a coherent narrative whether it is Stalinist Russia, Nazi Germany or the current reality promoted by the MSM.

        All political power is based on communities. Community and I mean here places where people have known each other for decades, are neighbors, speak often. and so on are almost gone except in some rural areas. There is no theoretical way for any solid movement to develop for anything–except where there is some kind of real community and that is college campuses where people know each other and thus can share ideas and information frequently. After they graduate they all go their own way and search for the social norm which is following our societies religion which is money. This is what happened to the anti-war movement in the 70s despite the high emotional energy that was generated on campus. The left of the time simply collapsed into silliness (shown in The Life of Brian‘s famous scene and anti-leftist identity politics on the one hand and neo-conservatism/liberalism on the other. Immature ideas promoted by immature students go nowhere and can only, at best, raise awareness of the issue but will not resolve into anything but going out to make money since money trumps any spirirtually oriented religion or practice.

        Until we rediscover the virtue of community and learn to trust our neighbors thee can be nothing we could consider a “free” liberal democracy–those who love power will always flourish because they will always be rewarded whereas those who promote truth will be penalized. As we used to say in government “no good deed goes unpunished” so applying game-theory we are clearly headed towards a totalitarian state at worst and a modified version of feudalism at best.

        1. Don

          Over the decades, the role of the working class in the anti-Vietnam war movement has become ever more underestimated and the role of the student antiwar movement ever more exaggerated.

        2. ambrit

          Although I concede your point about “community,” I also consider the Marxist/Leninist concept of the “Vanguard” as a leading elite in any revolutionary movement. Here, I take as my example how the financial elites “manage” the far greater masses of people in the society. By first defining the “rules of the game” and next enforcing those rules, by hook or crook, these extant elites have enmeshed the people in a system designed to benefit the elites. As greater minds than mine figured out, to “change” such a system, one first has to ‘break’ it. There is where the “Vanguard” comes in.
          Often, simple chaos is sufficient to pave the way for radical change.
          As those more cynical even than myself have put it; “Lead the way and the masses will have to follow.”
          The main drawback to the small community model of “alternative social models” is the basic insularity and conservatism of said ‘small communities.’ It is a very fine balancing trick to combine large urban Cosmopolitanism with small rural Community. (Universities are a special case of that combination due to the large urban originated resources needed to support the Universities.)
          Stay safe.

  5. The Rev Kev

    The techniques used or encouraged overseas always make their way home. Back in the early days of the quaintly named Global War on Terror, the US would pretend that laws did not apply to any people that they took prisoner. Guantanamo Bay was the most notorious but US Navy ships at sea were also used as unofficial prisons as were the “black” prisons as well in Europe. But then not than many years later it turned out that Chicago police had set up a “black” prison of their own where people arrested would be shunted to out of sight of lawyers, judges or anyone before eventually making their way to real prisons. And while they were in this “Black” prison, neither families or lawyers knew where they were. As I said, stuff like this always makes their way back home.

  6. thoughtfulperson

    I recall Johan Galtung speaking of a memory of his father. It was WW2. Norway was occupied. It looked bad, the Nazis were advancing everywhere. Galtung’s father though, was not worried too much, at least that is what he told the young Johan. He said that dictatorships always overreach. They can’t stop expanding and grasping for more. Until they inevitably collapse. He said in a few years the occupation would be over.

    That collapse seems likely in the wealthy West, the captured states of Europe and N America (Mexico TBD). Still, the eventual collapse won’t be pretty. It won’t end like Europe post-ww2.

    Perhaps Gaza (and Ukraine?) are a turning point. We’ll be living in a post collapse world like Europe In 1948, and then, the Jackpot will be coming. [The jackpot is the collapse of human societies, and die off of billions of humans, animals etc, due to environmental destruction and the likely effects thereof]

    1. Skip Intro

      Europe has lost WW3 without even realizing who the enemy was. They’ll be paying tribute to their US rulers for generations. This was not the 4th Reich they were promised.

    2. Chris Cosmos

      I think many of us on all sides are beginning to face the truth that we are headed for some disaster. I see this among the most conservative of my friends and most liberal of my friends who totally oppose each other (we increasingly avoid talking about politics).

      I believe that the apparatus of repression in the Empire (US/EU and so on) is too strong and will force us into whatever structure that they want my question for you and others is what will stop them?

      1. ambrit

        “….what will stop them?”
        Chaos and collapse will stop them. Whoever is organized and ready to “pick up the pieces” will end up on top later.

  7. SocalJimObjects

    This was always coming, but Hamas basically brought the timeline forward by perhaps years, and I think it has created a real Black Swan for the ruling elite.

    Speaking about life imitating art or art imitating life, the movie Civil War just premiered in the United States 2 weeks ago. Given the heavy handedness of the authorities, will the death of a couple of students be the spark that will ignite the real Civil War?

    1. Chris Cosmos

      No–the public has become what the neo-cons of the 90’s predicted would happen if the US had no common purpose (for them that was war and empire). They predicted that we would descend into pure hedonism, localism and identitarianism without that common purpose–they were right–their project came too late and we simply have no common set of moral values other than money-money-money whether Buddhist or Christian or Muslim. Without common moral values there is no avoiding all the varieties of authoritarianism.

      1. hk

        One thing they hadn’t realized was that regular Americans aren’t all enthused about going around the world looking for monsters to destroy. You can’t just scream “you should all want to do what we want to do” and get people to follow.

        In some sense, America has always been about localism, and that worked. It wasn’t for nothing that Tip O’Neill said “all politics is local (he also probably wanted to add “it should stay that way.”). Cold War domestic politics worked in US because politicians delivered locally and kept the international affairs in largely the background. That took a lot of political skill, both sensing what the “people (peoples?)” wanted and negotiating/compromising with other politicians. That’s a lost skill these days and, with the local attachment eroding, probably harder to pull off. Identarian politics might be a non-geographic attempt at pulling this off, but, while a bridge in Juneau doesn’t really offend anyone else, transgenderism does step on a lot of toes, liberal and conservative alike, for example. Not exactly conducive to coalition building.

  8. Thasiet

    Last night I walked past a halal market in my corner of Very Blue America (new studios from $1,695…) and in the parking lot was a giant red and black Ram truck. 8 inch lift, oversize tires. Pair of large Iraqi flags hanging from each side of the bed.

    The branding on the tailgate was rearranged to spell the word ‘WAR’.

    There was a time I would have thought such a statement was only a dark mirror held up for the chuds just beyond the urban growth boundary. Same stupid big pickups, same unnecessary lifts, same terroristic jingo-monkey gestalt; just different flags. But the last eight years have been rather illuminating in showing me that the “good” people in those hideously overpriced luxury apartments have just as much of a kink for this war stuff, it seems.

  9. Wukchumni

    Americans have a love affair with guns, but imagine the excitement when you can mate a drone with a gat?

    You sense it’s all gonna come home to roost, our wars.

    1. noonespecial

      adding to Wukchumni’s comment: “imagine the excitement when you can mate a drone with a gat?”

      NC has shone light on the dreary prospect of militarized robo-dogs doing police work; NC editors rightly add that these things ought to be killed with fire.

      Well, seems like someone has upped the ante of available firepower for robo-poochies. Published at Task and Purpose, a ready-for-delivery robot dog equipped with the ARC Flamethrower for the low-low price of usd$9.4k. The website for this new item even lists “Entertainment and SFX” as one of the features. The website did not reveal limitations on whom can purchase, but hey ’tis ‘merica, so let it roll.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Much of this drone tech is what the military terms ‘dual use’. It will find use by the police and contractors enforcing terror and submission domestically. It will probably also find use by civilians of various persuasions — regard the widespread adoption of assault weapons. Might the mob adapt flame-throwing robotic dogs for arson to pursue insurance fraud or enforce ‘protection’?

      Are the Imperial databases and algorithms totally invulnerable to hackers?

  10. Kouros

    “As Russia continues to grind down Ukraine and Israel does the same to Gazans”. That is not a good start, because there is no paralel between who is Russia grinding down in Ukraine (Ukraine Army being ground down) and who is Israel pulverizing: ALL Gazan infrastructure, killing as many people as they can, and creating famin and pestilence conditions for the rest.

    1. Skip Intro

      So true, it would have been more accurate to say something like ‘As bloated, overconfident western military forces digest an ongoing series of unexpected defeats in Ukraine and the Middle East, and must rapidly adapt new technologies under the crushing pressure of DoD billions’…

  11. Camelotkidd

    Great article Conor!
    All the crimes on the periphery ofd an empire always return to sender.
    Check your mailbox

  12. Feral Finster

    Before February, 2022, plenty of goodthink totebag MSM outlets had no problem referring to Azov and other neonazis serving the Kiev regime as “Neonazis” or at least the code word “far right”.

    Then suddenly, we were assured that they had “reformed” and were patriotic freedom fighters, even though they sponsored a Nazi music festival in Kiev in September of 2021. If their Nazism was mentioned at all.

    Quick “reform” there. They should rehabilitate criminals.

    And of course neonazis from all.over creation have flocked to Kiev to fight. So what does the MSM know that they do not?

  13. John Merryman

    As the Russians used to say, prior to the collapse of the USSR, “They pretend to pay us and we pretend to work.”
    The wheels are falling off the planes, not just the trains.

      1. digi_owl

        And British concentration camps during the Boer Wars.

        And speaking of Jim Crow. Aren’t they, and the reservations, a good indication that USA has always been, or flirted with, apartheid?

  14. Susan the other

    Well, that was very depressing, Conor. It makes me wonder why we neglect to create laws for finance. We have balance sheets but balance sheets are not instructions for rebalancing the world. They are more like justifications for violence – without words, just numbers. Numbers are the equivalent of sticks and stones. Always favoring those with the most money. It’s a magic trick – a mind set that has lost the plot if not its alleged mind. It is an attitude so inbred it can no longer mutate. What will survive is riding on a tsunami of environmental awareness. And mitigation. It seems a bit counterintuitive that it is the environment that will save us from ourselves.

  15. Daniel Raphael

    The central and ultimate slogan of The Weatherman faction of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) was “Bring the war home!” They meant it literally, and were widely criticized–and largely shunned–by the rest of us in SDS at the time. Now it seems they were “premature anti-imperialists” or something of the like; here we are, and the collapsing phase of capitalism is bringing us–to a community near you!–the war(s) that were not quite long enough in the oven. Ready for the true and final breakdown of society? The ultra-rich like Zuckerberg are moving to their eco-bunkers in choice locations; they, at least, plan to wait out the final convulsions in relative comfort with a few of their chosen courtiers. Or–maybe, just maybe–we might finally rise up and get rid of the insane system that fosters all this? Just sayin’.

  16. Michael King

    Excellent and important piece, thank you Conor! Currently reading Daniel Guerin’s classic Fascism and Big Business. The dots are being connected and the strands are coming together. All I can see on the horizon is darkness.

  17. Tom Pfotzer

    Some years back, I attended a Maker’s trade show, and down the hall of the convention center (huge) was another trade show, catering to the Defense and Homeland Security industry. That show was all about drones.

    The lady at the registration desk was _so_ nice and pleasant – as people in the Defense business often are in person. So enthusiastic – “drones are going to change everything!” she gushed. “I’m so excited”.

    I looked at her, with a pensive smile, and wondered if I should say anything. I did.

    “You realize, of course, that we use use on them will ultimately be used on us. You do understand that, right?”

    Pleasant and well-meaning as she was, she didn’t answer with anger. She looked crestfallen, and I could see she felt bad – for me – because I was worried about this wonderful new technology.

  18. John k

    It does seem likely row is watching the two wars with great interest. It also seems Ukraine might be ending, while Gaza might linger for years, with a less uncertain outcome. Either way, row might be ready to decide on a path; east or west?
    Meanwhile west wants to ‘weaken’ China with sanctions and reduced trade. Imo a new iron curtain is forming. Argentina May also be focusing minds, no doubt foremost in s America. Mexico must be circumspect, but others have more freedom to choose.
    Really hard to see Biden winning the election, can’t see any potentially good news coming for him. But so what? Ukraine will be over when trump takes over, and imo hes ok with genocide even tho he sees it’s not a vote getter. But we might be using missiles/bombs faster than israel is dropping them… what if we run out? And what if the resistance slowly boosts resisting, increasing our consumption? Neolib economies don’t do much mfg, especially of stuff you might not want for decades. Not much profit in that.
    Looks to me the west will see declining trade/higher prices, with reduced living standards affecting a higher fraction of the pop.

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