‘OVER here, killing people is like squashing an ant. I mean, you kill somebody and it’s like ‘All right, let’s go get some pizza’.”
That’s an American soldier, Private Steven Green, interviewed in Iraq in 2006.
Green’s words sound shocking but they represent the reality of combat in places such as Iraq: good soldiers kill quickly and dispassionately. Even with modern, high-tech weapons, someone must still pull the trigger.
And that’s not necessarily easy.
A famous World War II study by S. L. A. Marshall shocked military theorists when it suggested that only a minority of American soldiers could bring themselves to fire directly at another human being in combat, even with their own life at risk.
“The average and healthy individual . . . has such an inner . . . resistance towards killing a fellow man,” wrote Marshall, “that he will not of his own volition take life if it is possible to turn away from that responsibility.”
The Soviet journalist Vasily Grossman noted a similar phenomenon on the Eastern Front. “Sixty per cent of our soldiers haven’t fired a single shot during the war at all,” a commander told him. “We are fighting thanks to heavy machine-guns, battalion mortars and the courage of some individuals.”
Since then, military trainers have developed various techniques to overcome the inherent human resistance to killing.
Most importantly, soldiers such as Private Green now train in realistic simulations of combat so that aiming, firing and seeing the target fall dead becomes a single, almost unconscious, conditioned response. The Rolling Stone journalist Evan Wright quotes Sergeant Brad Colbert on his first experience of combat. “It was just like training. I just loaded and fired my weapon from muscle memory. I wasn’t even aware what my hands were doing.”
The muscle memory that allows the soldier to kill without inhibition can be developed during live-fire exercises but increasingly the American military relies on computerised simulations, providing the trainee with a level of realism never before possible.
Such computerisation works so well in breaking down the resistance to killing that some officers suggest that even off-the-shelf combat games can help develop it.
Retired marine Colonel Gary Anderson, former chief of staff of the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab, explained to The Washington Post that their exposure to first-person shooter games make today’s soldiers the “new Spartans”.
“Remember the days of the old Sparta, when everything they did was towards war?” he said. “In many ways, the soldiers of this video-game generation have replicated that.”
The same article quotes one Sergeant Sinque Swales on his experience killing an Iraqi with a .50 calibre machine-gun.
“It felt like I was in a big video game,” he recalled. “It didn’t even faze me, shooting back. It was just natural instinct. Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!”
As Lieutenant-Colonel Scott Sutton from the technology division at Quantico Marine Base puts it, modern soldiers “feel less inhibited, down in their primal level, pointing their weapons at somebody”.
Such is the context for the American military’s own investments in the video-games industry. Full Spectrum Warrior, for instance, might have been released commercially for PCs and Xboxes but it was designed and developed with the army’s backing as a training tool for urban combat, and a simple cheat code, easily available from the internet, converts the retail version into the simulation used to coach officers.
Playing Full Spectrum Warrior will not, in itself, turn you into a trained killer. Nonetheless, the digitalisation of war still has far-reaching effects.
Consider America’s Army, a video game developed as a recruiting tool by the US military. Freely downloadable online, it claims about 8 million registered players, all enthusiastically gunning down electronic bad guys. The game also features cameos from genuine soldiers who direct players towards the real-world enlistment office and enthuse about actual adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan and the honour and courage and heroism that await there.
In this way, the digital battlefield fosters remarkably old-fashioned notions of combat as a source of meaning and purpose, even as it transforms killing into an unthinking conditioned response.
It’s no wonder that Steven Green felt so confused.
“I thought killing somebody would be this life-changing experience,” he said. “And then I did it, and I was like, ‘All right, whatever.’ ”
Yet reality is not a video game, and killing a human being is not the same as squashing an ant.
Conditioned reflexes might allow soldiers to open fire without hesitation but they do not provide them with a framework for coming to terms with what they’ve done. The soldiers in Iraq who kill more efficiently than any previous generation are also returning home with extraordinary levels of psychiatric trauma. Already, about 50,000 Iraq veterans have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
As for Private Green, shortly after he talked about how little killing affected him, he was arrested for raping an Iraqi girl and murdering her and her family.
When you’ve finished playing America’s Army, you can turn the program off and walk away. Real violence is different. The tragedy of Iraq encompasses more than those who have been killed. It extends to those who have done the killing: most often young men and women from ordinary backgrounds, who will often be haunted by war for the rest of their lives.
Radicalized UK citizens returning from Syria are the biggest threat to national security, official reports claim. With increasing access to equipment and training, there are growing fears Brits are encouraged to carry out attacks on home soil.
The 500 Britons who have gone to fight in Syria over the past three years put the Middle-Eastern country in Whitehall’s sights as a much more dangerous place for radicalization than Iraq. An assessment by the MI5 spells out how alluring Syria has become to UK jihadists.
“The nature of the conflict in Syria and the emergence of Al-Nusra Front, which has declared its allegiance to Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, is leading to the country becoming an increasingly significant potential source of future threats to the UK and UK interests overseas,” the text also reads.
Concerns over the grave threat have been confirmed to the Telegraph by an unnamed Whitehall contact.
“The threat to the UK comes from a range of countries and groups but Syria is perhaps the biggest challenge right now,” they explain. The Home Office annual review likewise states that the country has been identified as “the most significant development in global terrorism.”
This is believed to be because a whole range of potentially threatening aspects to the UK’s national security is being seen emanating from one single country.
And although the recommendations keep coming in, a lot of them aren’t new. Last year as well, the director-general of the MI5, Andrew Parker, told Parliament that the Syrian conflict has become a magnet for British nationals looking to engage in jihad, many of whom come into contact with Al-Qaeda-linked groups.
The security services are said to be closely monitoring some 250 returnees, who include several veteran hardliners who have fought in Afghanistan or Pakistan, other reports have claimed. Many others have participated in combat or received training in munitions or other skills applicable to terror operations, with some exhibiting a willingness to carry out attacks in the UK, security officials cited in another, February government report said.
But unlike the terrorism hotbeds that are Afghanistan and Pakistan, Syria is much closer to Europe, making it the ideal destination to go, get radicalized and come back with deadly ideas. And because the MI5 can’t keep a watch on all of them, just around half of the British citizens who return are essentially roaming the country without any supervision.
Even before the current report and recommendations, senior security officials in February said the number of returnees is now five times the previously reported figure.
“There are a few hundred people going out there. They may be injured or killed, but our biggest worry is when they return they are radicalized, they may be militarized, they may have a network of people that train them to use weapons,” London Police Chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe explained to the Times then.
In sum, the combination of proximity to Europe, a rise in the number of extremist groups, easy availability of training and weapons and the ability to travel back and forth through badly-controlled Middle-Eastern borders, is seen as deadly.
Further to the problem, many returning jihadists don’t fit the psychological profile. Recent months have seen details released about the first suicide attack carried out by a British national in Syria. Abdul Waheed Majeed is believed to have driven an explosives-laden truck into a jail in Aleppo earlier this month, joining some 20 British citizens to have died fighting in the Syrian civil war.
Speaking to RT in February, political commentator Mohammed Ansar explained how Majeed’s attack presented a difficulty for the security services because “he does not fit the profile of a young British jihadi who has gone to Syria to fight,” adding also that “fighters from Britain have been calling others to come and join them.”
Similar troubles with profiling occur when women fighters are involved, and such cases are increasing.
And the threat is regionally contagious. Speaking to the Independent about the recommendations he would offer, Gilles de Kerchove, the EU’s counter-terrorism coordinator expressed fears that if counter-terrorism budgets across the continent don’t go up, we will be seeing an even steeper rise in foreign radicalization than presently.
“We should be investing a lot more in counter-terrorism work, including externally, if we are to prevent or mitigate future terrorist attacks,” he said, adding that “National budgets devoted to counter-terrorism are declining across the EU. Yet the threat that we face is becoming more diverse, more diffuse, and more unpredictable.”
But while Britain’s MI5 is among the agencies promising to take an ever tougher stance on nationals planning to engage in terrorism on home soil, the public is asking questions. Robert Spencer, the director of Jihad Watch, and the author of 13 books, notably on Islam and the West, asks on his website why more returnees aren’t being monitored and why they are being allowed back into the country so easily (and if they are even British citizens).
At the same time, Spencer sees that the British government knows full well who the counter-jihadists are (Spencer included) and doesn’t hesitate to turn them away at the border. He also accuses the British government of being particularly lax on the issue for fear of hurting the Muslim community’s feelings and sparking accusations of Islamophobia.
And still not all believe the jihadists to be a lost cause. In fact some, like Ansar, believe would opt for a different strategy – that of de-radicalization and reintegration into British society. It will not be easy, Ansar claims, but studying the British jihadists’ motives will enable us to better understand how to deal with this rising problem.
[The transfer of American technology and industrial capabilities overseas has been extensively documented by countless American scholars, most notable among them is Prof. Antony C. Sutton from the Hoover institute at Stanford University. Sutton's informative "THE BEST ENEMY MONEY CAN BUY," is the most readable example of his research documenting the transfer of full-scale industrial facilities to Third World dictatorships, including pre- and post-WWII Germany. The greatest reciprient of this American largesse was the Soviet Union which received thirty-five Bryant Chucking Grinder Company
Centalign-B ball-bearing grinding machines, the single missing capability which enabled Russian missiles to carry multiple warheads. In addition, a subsidiary of Kellogg Corp. built the world's largest truck and diesel engine plant at Kama River, one glaring example out of the hundreds listed by Prof. Sutton. Communist Russia. Under Reagan's leadership, the process of American de-industrialization was accelerated under the masquerade of "privatization," and changes to US business law, which encouraged the transfer overseas of trillions of dollars in American profits and assets, putting them beyond the long reach of the IRS.
The de-industrialization and absolute bankruptcy of the US economy were long-planned events, made possible by a succession of treasonous American Presidents, from at least Woodrow Wilson onward to Barack Hussain Obama (SEE:The Planned Collapse of America–Part 1 and Part 2).
We are a nation governed by the worst kind of treasonists, criminals and foreign spies.
The only solution is to overthrow the entire US Govt. and start anew from scratch, to build the Nation described in our sacred national Charter.]
According to a new report, more than $2 trillion worth of profit generated by some of the biggest United States-based corporations is being held overseas where it’s not subject to US income tax law.
The report — published earlier this month by the Audit Analytics online intelligence service — has even this week managed to capture the attention of the head of the US Senate’s Finance Committee.
In a post published to the Audit Analytics website on April 1, the firm said that their research has led them to determine that American companies are currently holding more profits overseas than ever before, up more than 12 percent in 2013 from the year prior. Since 2008, the researchers added, that statistic has grew up 93 percent.
The companies in question — the top 100 on the Russell 3000 Index of US stocks — held $2.12 trillion in Foreign Indefinitely Reinvested Earnings (IRE) during the last calendar year, Audit Analytics reported, up from only $1.89 trillion a year earlier. All of this income claimed by a total of 547 US companies, the researchers added, is free from the US corporate income tax rules that apply to profits held domestically.
“The new numbers … certainly highlight what is one of the key challenges for tax reform,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) said on Tuesday on Capitol Hill, according to Reuters. “I do think there need to be some reforms in this area.”
Sen. Wyden’s latest remarks came just days after his panel assessed more than 50 tax breaks set to expire at the end of 2013 but had failed to be reviewed by the Senate in time. Last month, according to Reuters, Wyden said that offshore deferral and other tax code loopholes resembled “a rotten carcass that the special interests feast on.” At this time, however, Reuters reported that policy analyst expect it’s unlikely that Congress with act on any major fiscal issues until after the November mid-term elections later this year.
In the meantime, US corporations are holding record profit numbers far out of the reach of Uncle Sam. Last year, Audit Analytics reported, General Election held more than $110 billion outside of the US, with software company Microsoft and drugmaker Pfizer rounding out the top three with $76.4 billion and $69 billion in Foreign IREs, according to researchers.
“GE operates in more than 170 countries, and most of these overseas earnings have been reinvested in active business operations like manufacturing facilities and loans to non-US customers,” that company responded to Reuters.
And according to Audit Analytics, more companies are now moving their money abroad. Whiile the amount of Foreign IREs has increased dramatically during the last six years, the firm said that the number of companies disclosing these reinvested foreign earnings has increased by 12 percent since 2008.
Profits held in the US are subject to a corporate tax rate of 35 percent, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) told CNN last year that “One out of four corporations doesn’t pay a nickel in taxes” due to the numerous loopholes available.
Website politikus.ru reported, on the night of 2-3, the flight landed at the airport Borispol and Zhuliany , Ukraine carrying many men in civilian clothes but carrying large bags (similar to type bag that the U.S. military used to store equipment).
All these people were identified as employees of private security companies Greystone Limited. It is a subsidiary of Vehicle Services Company LLC (which is a private security company Blackwater USA’s notorious was renamed in 2009). Currently, the number of employees of this company in Ukraine is said to be up to 300 people.
The presence of the security personnel are specially trained in Ukraine this will enhance protection for the new administration in the area east and southeast, where the anti-government protests erupted powerful new .
The only question now is how many private security personnel of foreign countries in Ukraine real and who is paying them (the cost to hire a private company like that is very expensive and government Ukraine’s new budget clearly not sufficient to cover these costs).
While the number 300 is not a large army and these employees do not carry heavy weapons, but with the highly trained and mastered many fighting skills, then this may be staff conduct minor damage as a sniper or cause explosions, … similar to what they used to do in Africa and elsewhere.
Some suggested that there was a collusion between the new government of Kiev and the U.S. Embassy in the use of private security companies in Ukraine. In the near future, they may become subject to destabilize the situation in the country.
Image Credit: GreyStone Limited
В Донецке появились неизвестные наемники
Ukraine’s parliament on Tuesday approved a series of joint military exercises with NATO countries that would put U.S. troops in direct proximity to Russian forces in the annexed Crimea peninsula.
“This is a good opportunity to develop our armed forces,” acting defense minister Mykhailo Koval told Verkhovna Rada lawmakers ahead of the 235-0 vote.
The decision came as NATO foreign ministers gathered in Brussels for a two-day meeting dominated by concern over the recent buildup of Russian forces near Crimea that U.S. officials estimate had at one point reached about 40,000 troops.
NATO has sought to reinforce its eastern frontier after Russia’s takeover of Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula and amid concerns about Kremlin’s emboldened foreign policy.
Russia on Monday reported pulling back a battalion of about 500 to 700 soldiers from the border region in a move that German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called “a small sign that the situation is becoming less tense”.
Ukraine is not a NATO member and its new Western-backed leaders have vowed not to push for closer relations with the Brussels-based military alliance — a bloc that has been viewed with deep mistrust by Moscow since the Cold War.
But the ex-Soviet nation did form a “distinctive partnership” with the Alliance in 1997 and has been staging joint exercises with its state members ever since.
The exercises approved on Tuesday would see Ukraine conduct two sets of military exercises with the United States this summer — Rapid Trident and Sea Breeze — that have prompted disquiet in Russia in previous years.
Ukraine is planning two additional maneuvers with NATO member Poland as well as joint ground operations with Moldova and Romania.
The Sea Breeze exercises have particularly irritated Moscow because they had on occasion been staged in Crimea — the home of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.
Those maneuvers have in more recent years been moved to the Black Sea port of Odessa where Ukraine also has a naval base.
An explanatory note accompanying the Tuesday bill says that the naval section of Sea Breeze would this time be conducted over a 25-day span between July and October out of two Odessa ports and “along the waters of the Black Sea”.
The MPs met a key demand posed by both the West and Russia by voting unanimously to disarm all self-defense groups that sprang up across the country during its political crisis.
“The Ukrainian people are demanding order,” acting president Oleksandr Turchynov said ahead of the 256-0 vote. “Those who carry arms — besides the police, the security services and the national guard — are saboteurs who are working against the country.”