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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Is this where the MOAB hit? Plus: Kayfabe

The MOAB. For the first time, the Mother Of All Bombs -- the most destructive non-nuclear bomb in our arsenal -- has been used in combat, if "combat" is indeed the right word. The announced goal was to wipe out a group of ISIS supporters hiding in caves in northern Afghanistan.

Sean Spicer and Donald Trump have carefully refused to say whether Trump ordered the strike. Obviously, Trump seeks to have it both ways: He'll take the credit if the end result plays well with the American public, and he'll blame someone else if Americans are shocked by the amount of civilian casualties.

And yes, civilians must have died:
"The hard truth is…when explosive weapons are used in populated areas, over 90 percent of those killed or injured will be civilians," Iain Overton, the executive director of Action on Armed Violence, said in an e-mail. "And when explosive violence is used in lesser populated areas, at last 25 percent of those killed or injured will be civilians. In short, the bigger the blast you create, the more civilians will be killed."
Of the MOAB, Overton adds, "That bomb cannot be targeted, it cannot be proportional and it cannot but kill civilians."
It seems very possible that the MOAB was a bigger child-killer than was the alleged "sarin" attack allegedly committed by Bashar Assad. According to Abby Martin, the bomb cost more than $300 million(!!!). It hit the Achin district of the Nangarhar province," which has a population of 95,000; they grow a lot of opium poppies. A lot.

Visiting the area via Google Earth, one notes that, although there is little in the way of city life in this district, there are indeed many, many small farms.

It's actually pretty easy to find what appear to be tunnel entrances in the mountains. The photo seen here depicts the area which -- I suspect -- was hit by the MOAB. (Click on it to enlarge.) If you turn to the wider view embedded at the head of this post, you can see how close these tunnels are to a number of small farms. The yellow line represents one mile. According to many news reports, the MOAB incinerates everything within a mile's radius in every direction.

Let's be very clear: This is the suspected impact area. At this time, certainty is not possible. The co-ordinates are  34° 5'6.82"N latitude and 70°43'9.09"E longitude. Readers with Google Earth should check out the area for themselves.

Here is a list of terror acts attributed to ISIS fighters from Afghanistan, which you can weigh against the possible civilian casualties of the MOAB. Come to your own conclusions about the morality of it all.

One bomb, however large, cannot eradicate ISIS in Afghanistan. So why did Trump do it? Perhaps his real purpose was to impress North Korea.

And now let's turn our attention, once again, to the ever-burning question of Putin and Trump... 

Finally, someone sees it my way. That someone is Gene Lyons, co-author of The Hunting of the President. Lyons correctly identifies the current Putin/Trump "feud" as an event analogous to the feud between Trump and WWE chieftain Vince McMahon, which ended with McMahon's head being shaved.
Which brings us back to Syria. Because if it would be irresponsible to call the events of last week as stage-managed as “WrestleMania 23,” it would also be naïve to ignore their theatrical aspects.

First, because neither the Assad nerve gas atrocity nor the US response had any real military purpose. The Syrian dictator and his Russian backers have been winning the civil war, bombing hospitals and slaughtering thousands of civilians without resorting to banned weapons. Assad’s only imaginable motive would have been to convince rebel factions of his absolute ruthlessness—something they already believe.

Supposedly, however, the Russians had persuaded Assad to surrender his biochemical arsenal back in 2013, after President Obama’s ill-considered “red line” blunder. How, then, with Russian soldiers all over the remote air strip where the gas attack was allegedly launched, could Vladimir Putin NOT have known what was going down?

And why would Assad have defied the Russians? Last week’s barbaric strike killed a reported 84 civilians in a rebel-held Syrian village. In contrast, the 2013 chemical assault that prompted Barack Obama’s anger took 1400 lives—an outrage that troubled Donald Trump hardly at all.
Meanwhile, Trump’s son Eric may have inadvertently given the game away. “If there was anything that [the strike on] Syria did,” he told a British reporter “it was to validate the fact that there is no Russia tie.”
I always love it when Trump or those close to him blurt out more than they should.

I always hate it when, despite said blurting, Trump apologists tell guys like me that our "fanciful" theories remain unproven. The blurt itself is proof.

Elsewhere: We now learn that GCHQ was involved, as I have long suspected.
British and other European intelligence agencies intercepted communications between associates of Donald Trump and Russian officials and other Russian individuals during the campaign and passed on those communications to their US counterparts, US congressional and law enforcement and US and European intelligence sources tell CNN.

The communications were captured during routine surveillance of Russian officials and other Russians known to western intelligence. British and European intelligence agencies, including GCHQ, the British intelligence agency responsible for communications surveillance, were not proactively targeting members of the Trump team but rather picked up these communications during what's known as "incidental collection," these sources tell CNN.
Trump's ploy is to pretend that this "incidental" collection was actually targeted collection. This trick allows him to blame the previous administration -- and so far, the trick was worked.

Back to Syria: I found the following on Adam Khan's twitter feed. I don't know who wrote it, or if these words were yanked from a larger piece. But it's as good a summary as you're likely to find anywhere. (It's a jpg, not digitized text. Sorry.)

Mention the Israeli factor and some people will call you an anti-Semite. Mention the Russia factor and some people will accuse you of being a New Cold Warrior. But if you zoom out wide enough to take in the full picture, you'll see that neither of those accusations hold water.
According to the NYT Dr. Monzer Khalil, Idlib Province's health director, was responsible for the removal to Turkey of bodies, soil and tissue samples used in the investigation of the Khan Sheikhoun CW incident. Idlib is an al Nusra stronghold and Dr. Khalil could not have obtained his position there without al Nusra approval.

So who is Dr. Monzer Khalil? One possible candidate is Monzer Khalil Chehab, removed from the US in 2000 on the basis of FBI reports that he was linked to terrorism and a threat to US national security.

What are the chances they're the same guy? And Turkey, of course, can conduct an independent CW investigation because it's not like their tied to al Nusra or anything.
Keep in mind that Trump wanted the US military to conduct a military hardware parade during his inauguration. They rejected the idea, noting the cost and the need to rebuild the roads that would be trashed by heavy tanks. Still, it displays his thinking. Many media commentators speak favorably of Trump's upbringing in a military academy, falsely believing that as a consequence he possesses self-discipline and an informed judgement on the consequences of military action. Nothing could be further from the truth. Trump took the blows and discipline he encountered at the academy in order to hone his predatory sociopathic skills. He feels nothing for those he kills. All he feels is himself. His willingness to use the military is not a mark of great character but of a singularly dangerous nut job, a superficial, flighty and ephemeral decision maker whose mind is made up by the last person he spoke to. Very dangerous.
According to many news reports, the MOAB incinerates everything within a mile's radius in every direction.

Those reports are complete nonsense. The MOAB is not primarily a thermal weapon.

The most commonly cited blast radius for an explosive corresponds to an overpressure of 5psi (which is enough to completely destroy most urban structures). By this criterion, the blast radius of a MOAB is about 150 meters. Note that most *people* exposed to a 5psi overpressure will survive, provided they're not injured by debris. My bet is that every single one of the structures in that photo is still standing, assuming that was even the target area.
For more information on these types of weapons:
I'm not sure where you are getting 150 meters from, the blast apparently left up to a mile long crater destruction. Perhaps this bomb was created in 2003 as another method for getting to Bin Laden when he was hiding out in tunnels, such as during the battle of Tora Bora in late 2001.
Battle of Tora Bora .
I agree completely, @Travis, but those in Trump's team and who back him are using his mentally ill personality as part of their tactics and their strategy - just as they did so effectively to get the nutcase into office. That includes himself. Many loonies know how to "act out".

Imminent major war in Korea - and probably simultaneously elsewhere too - seems likely.

Share price of General Dynamics, manufacturer of the Abrams tank, since Trump won the election.
"Rogue states like Iran face tougher action as US says nuclear attack by North Korea 'closer than ever'" - headline in the Daily Telegraph, long-time supporter of the shitty little country.
It looks like we built the tunnels that we (Trump) just bombed:
I think the MOAB was dropping here N 34.066347° E 70.631691°
Based on the footage released by the military, I think Phil The Gratte is right...
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