The Destruction of Gilgamesh at the Mosul Museum and Why It’s about so Much More than Artifacts

The sad part of this story is that neither ISIS nor anyone in the West really understands the importance of Gilgamesh. I ruminate about this extensively in my upcoming book, Unmanned: Drones, Data, and the Illusion of Perfect Warfare. As I say in conclusion:

“The Epic of Gilgamesh is about what it means to be human. In the original Sumerian version, laid down before Babylonian times, the king finds Utanapishti and receives not just the story of the flood but also long-lost information on practices and rituals that had fallen out of use after the deluge. Gilgamesh returns to Uruk to restore the old ways and be more civilized, which means, amongst other things, ruling wisely and caring for a human community. A hero who at the beginning of the Epic is clearly closer to the gods than to ordinary mortals, a bumbling superpower labeled a “wild bull on the rampage,” grows and learns that he is not all-powerful or all-knowing, that he will not live forever. He is a man, after all, even if he is divine. Beginning and ending with stanzas that emphasize the magnificence of the walls of Uruk, the whole narrative exudes the message that what man leaves behind is his only hope for immortality.”

Gilgamesh is also a crucial black box on American drones. One of those magic devices that has convinced us that what we are doing in the war on terrorism is logical and precise. We are all-seeing; they are all-seeing. No wonder we are in an era of perpetual warfare.

Click here to pre-order your copy.

Announcing Unmanned: Drones, Data and the Illusion of Perfect Warfare

My next book, Unmanned, will be available through Little Brown (a subsidiary of Hatchette Book Group), on July 28, 2015. It is an in-depth examination of why seemingly successful wars never seem to end, as well as the impact of drones and the inevitable disconnect that occurs when wars are fought based on the need to accumulate data through any means. To read a more thorough review of the book, click here. To pre-order your copy through Amazon, click here.

Unmanned

Top Secret America and Snowden: An Analysis

The limits of investigative journalism

How two media accounts of the intrusive security state led to different political outcomes

By Jay Rosen in American Review

Making knowledge public does not a knowledgeable public make. This is the thought I wish to impress upon you. It was probably always true, but certain things have happened lately that make contemplating this truth an urgent priority for those of us trying to understand how national publics can be better informed. (continued)

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Threats to SuperBowl 48, from Gov. Christie’s CIA

Super_Bowl_XLVIII_Event_Assessment-_NJ_ROIC

Pivot to Asia? Must be the IEDs and need for Nano UAVs

Here’s a list of Army research and development projects from a document I obtained — dated November 2013 — covering the next five years.  I was surprised, well not really, that so many are just continuations of what is already being done in Afghanistan, but not surprised how much is to tame the information monster.  Don’t see much though that reflects any kind of commitment to some future big war.

The list (I didn’t correct for spelling or amplify; some items are inscrutable):

3rd Generation Forward Looking Infrared-Engine (3GF-E)
Acoustic Hailing Device
ACRO PET (London Larado) addition for Nitrate, Chlorate, and Urea explosives
Active Protection Systems
Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System
Air Vigilance
Airborne Counter-Explosive Reconnaissance and Targeting System
Airborne Electronic Attack
Airborne Recon Low-Multifunction Medium Altitude Recon & Surv
AirRobot AR150 with Dual IR cameras
American Innovations-Home Made Explosive Bulk Precursor Detection Kit
AMT, Sentinel XD CDS (Advanced Mesh Network)
AN/PSS-14 Cache Detection
Argonaut 200
Assured PNT
ATACMS Unitary Increment 0 Product Improvement
ATIRCM
Automated Surveillance Security Platform
Automated Wide Area Surveillance
Autonomous Mine Detection System
Avatar II Tactical Robot
Axton SMART AT-32S 8-watt IR floodlight.
Bam Stick
Beagle – Handheld NQR
BETSS-C – Force Protection (FP) Suite
BFT2 Manpack
Biometric Automated Toolset (BAT) 4.0 SP6
BiStatic
Bistatic Surveillance System
Black Granite Integrated Sensor Suite
Black Kite
Blue Devil
BlueSky Mast Portable Modular Mast
Bobcat T110 with QinetiQ Robotic Kit with TARDEC roller
Bobcat with Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) and Mobile Deployment System (MDS)
Boston Dynamics 30 lb robot with six paddles for rough terrain or swim
BuckEye – Geospatial Data Collection
C5ISR Aerial Layer
Catamount
Cerberus Lite
Checkpoint Explosive Detection System Gen 2
CI and HUMIT Requirements-Reporting Operations Management Environment
CISCO Identity Service Engine
Colorimetric Reconnaissance Explosives Squad Screening
Combat Service Support Very Small Aperture Terminal
Combat Survivor Evader Locator (SEP)
Command Post of the Future
Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station
Common Remotely Operated Weapons Station (CROWS) UMR – JERRV
Common Sensor Payload
Company Intelligence Support Team
Constant Hawk – Afghanistan
Constant Hawk – Iraq
Container Weapon System (CWS) with CROWS II, Javelin, and SEK remote SA Computer
COP camera system with CROWS I camera parts and new cables, GPS, and tripod
Copperhead
CORAL-SD II passive, non-intrusive, thermal detection system
Counter – Unmmanned Aircraft Sytems
Counter Radio Control Electronic Warfare – Crew Vehicle Reactive Jammer
Counter Radio Control Electronic Warfare – DUKE
Counter Shooter System with Highly Accurate Immediate Responses / Iron Curtain
Counter-Concealment Sensors
Counterintelligence/Human Intelligence Automated Reporting a Collection System
Covert Thermal Camera System
CREW 3.1
CREW Stryker FoV
Crew Vehicle Reactive Jammer (CVRJ) Fixed Site
Crosshairs Enhanced
Cryptographic Equipment and Services
CVRJ Platform Integration Buffalo
DCGS-A Edge Node (DEN)
Deep Sea Set
Department of Defense ABIS
Desert Owl
Dismount Blue Force Tracker
Dismounted Soldier Autonomy Tools
Dismounted Standoff Explosive Hazard Detection-Handheld Small Sized Detector
Dismounted Standoff Explosive Hazard Neutralization – Remote Initiator
Distributed Commom Ground Station-Army (DSGS-A) Cloud
Distributed Common Ground System – Army Increment 1 DSB 1.0
Distributed Common Ground System-Army (DCGS-A) Increment 1 Release 2
Duke V2 EA
Duke V3 Fixed Site
DUKE V3 Platform Integration Husky
Electromagnetic Pulse
Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations
Electronic Protection System on MRAP
Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System (EMARSS)
Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Digital
Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Optical
Evaluation of each additional candidate Nano Unmanned Air System (NUAS)
Expendable Unattended Ground Sensor
Eyeball Remote Camera System
Eyedrive throwable UAV
Fido Handheld Sniffer
Forensic Operator Advanced Kit
FORGE (Zero Base) Li-Ion
FOTOD-Screening Obscuration Device-Visual (restricted terrain)
GaRD Mobile System
GDC4S Intelligence Low Overhead Driver
GEMSIS
General Fund Enterprise Business System-Sensitive Activities
Georgia Tech (GTRI) Integration of Boston Dynamics Sand Flea Hopping Robot
Glasswave
Global Broadcast Service
Global Visualization Information System
Gray Eagle
Green Laser Interdiction System (GLIS)
Griffin
Groundhog
Guardrail/Common Sensor
Gunfire Detection System
GunSHOT Detection (GSD)
Gunshot Detection Simulation Training System
GyroCam RG-31
Hand Held Precision Targeting Device
Handheld Laser Marker
Handheld Minefield Detection System
Handheld Optical Augmentation
Harris Fusion Network Communication Server
Harris-Aerial C4ISR Payload Suite
Heterogeneous Airborne Reconnaissance Team
Homemade Explosive Characterization
Hostile Fire Detection System Warfighter in the Loop Design Study and Demo
Hostile Fire Indicator
HTV HEMTT CVRJ
Hunter Upgrade
Husky MK III with OEF SPARK
Husky Mounted Detection System
Improvements to Remote Monitoring System (RMS) Direction Finder.
individual Counter RCIED Electronic Warfare
Individual Gunshot Detection (IGD)
Integrated Blast Effects Sensor Suite (I-BESS).
Integrated Broadcast Service
Integrated Sensor Improvement
Integrated Sensor Tower Long Range
Integration of CROSSHAIRS 2.0 and CROWS II gun in static mount
Intelligence – Central Security Service – Project G
Intelligence Warfighter Function
Intelligence/Electronic Warfare Tactical Proficiency Trainer
Intelligence-Special Access Programs
IRobot Warrior robot with XADS StunStrike Xap Disrupter
Israeli Namer Feasibility Assessment
Joint and Allied Threat Awareness System
Joint Crew 3.3 Counter Radio Controlled Improvised Explosive Device
Joint Direct Support Airborne ISR
Joint Effects Targeting System (JETS) Target Location Designation System (TLDS)
Joint Personnel Identification System, Version 2
Joint USFK Portal and Integrated Threat Recognition (JUPITR)
Joint Warning and Reporting Network
Kaplan
Keyhole
Kratos NeuralStar
L-3 CyTerra lightweight mine detector
L3GDS Hawkeye III Lite CoCP
Launched Electrode Stun Device
Lethal Miniature Aerial Munition System (LMAMS) managed by PM CCWS
Light Guard
LightGuard Mercury
Linguist Geometry-Realtime Adversarial Intelligence and Decision Making
Live Aerial ISR Link (LAIL)
Long Range Acoustic Device 360X
Long Range Advanced Scout Surveillance System
Longbranch
LONGWALK
Low, Slow Airborne Threat Response
Machine- Foreign Language Translation System
Magneto Inductive-Remote Activation Munition System
Man Portable Detection System
Marathon Robotic Human Type Target (RHTT) System.
Maritime Domain Awareness Joint Integrating Concept
Medium Altitude Reconnaissance Surveillance System
Micro Tactical Ground Robot (MTGR)
Micro Unmanned Aircraft System
Mine & IED Detection – Minehound, Vallon VMR2
Mini-EOD Robot
Mobile Unmanned Tactical Transport
Monocle
Motion activated camera with video storage and RF to portable Interrogation Set
Motion activated camera with video storage and RF to Route Clearance Vehicle
Multi-Function Electronic Warfare
Multiple Intelligence Sensor V4
Narcissus Counter Surveillance Systems
Networked EW, Remotely Operated (NERO)
One System Remote Video Terminal
One Tactical Engagement Simulation Systems
PackBot 510 Engineer
PackBot 510 Upgrades
PackBot 510 with FASTAC
Parrot AR.Drone Quadricopter and Wi-Fi only Apple iPod Touch for control
Pearls of Wisdom
Persistent Surveillance Systems – Tethered
Phanton IR
Picatinny Optical Detection System
Polaris Diesel Ranger with QinetiQ Tactical Robotic Controller (TRC) and roller
Prioria Maveric lightweight, portable unmanned aircraft system (S-UAS)..
Prophet Enhanced
Prox Dynamics Nano Unmanned Air System (UAS).
Puma AE RQ-20A with MicroLink thin film solar cells on wing
PUMA DDL upgrades to PUMA DDL launcher, battery and 9 DB GCS antenna.
PUMA modules Micro Laser Marker (uLM) and Tactical Compact Comm Relay (TCCR)
RAID Mobile Tower
Rapid Attack Identification, Detection and Reporting System
Rapid Deployment Integrated Surveillance Systems
Rapid Reaction Tunnel Detection (R2TD)
Rapidly Elevated Aerostat Platform (REAP) Model XL R3500B
Rapiscan Eagle T1000
Raptor X
Raven GPU
RC-50/60 Modular Robotic Control System
RCV Buffalo Duke V3
Relevant ISR to the Edge 3G
RG-31 Medium Mine Protective Vehicle (MMPV)
Ringtail Common Tactical Vision
RoadHawk
Roadmaster
ROAMER Net
Robot upgrades
Robotic Bobcat with a Laser Vibrometry Imaging and Detection System (LVIDS)
Robotic Deployment System 2 on RG31A2
Robotic Pointman – Mini Flail
Route Clearance Interrogation System (RCIS) Type I
Route Clearance Interrogation System (RCIS) Type II
Route Clearance Mounted Detection & Marking
Route Clearance Mounted Explosive Hazards Survivability and Force Protection
Route Clearance Optic System
Route Clearance Vehicles Panther
Route Clearance Vehicles-Mine Protection Clearance Vehicle
Route Clearance Vehicles-Vehicle Mounted Mine Detection
Rucksack Portable UAS Pop
Rucksack Portable Unmanned Aircraft System
Sand Dog
Sapphire Detection System
Sarnoff fused color and thermal image camera
Saturn Arch
SCI Technologies TOCNET-G3
Semi-Autonomous Tactical Squad Robot
Sense Through The Wall (STTW)
SENTINEL Enhanced Target Range Acq & Class
Sentinel Hawk
Serval
Shop Equipment, Contact Maintenance System
Sickle Stick 2.0
Silicis 26-foot ISR balloon for robotic flight or tethered aerostat
SKYLARK I – Long Endurance (LE) UAS
Slingshot
Small Robot Standardization Effort
Small Tactical Multi- Payload Aerostatic System
Small Unit Support-IED Defeat (SUSI)
Small Unit Unmanned Aircraft System
Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV) XM1216E1
Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle IBCT Increment 1
SOCOM Ground Mobility Vehicle (GMV) Version 1.1
SOFCOAST MAKO ISR Manpack Balloon
Sparrow Sentry System for Vehicles – Portable
Speckles Unmanned Aircraft System
Speech to Speech Smart Phone
Spring
Standoff Suicide Bomber Detection System
Stingray
Strider
Subterranean Operations
Suite of Integrated Infrared Countermeasures
Supersonic Pulse-jet IED eXcavator
Sweat GUTR
Symphony CREW
Sync-Think Eye-Tracking Rapid-Attention Computation (Eye-TRAC) with 850 IR LED
Synthetic Aperture Radar/Ground Moving Target Indicator Payloads (SAR/GMTI)
Tactical – SIGINT Payload
Tactical Assured GPS Reference System
Tactical Reconnaissance And Counter-concealment Enabled Radar
Tactical UAS
Tactical Unmanned Ground System
Tactical Unmanned Ground System (TUGS IBCT Inc 2)
Talon 3B Engineer
TALON IV Engineer
TARIAN
Team Stove
Terrapin
TH-HYTEC
Threat Detection Fire Control System (Crosshairs 2)
Thru The Wall Radar
Towed Artillery Digitization Fire Control System
Trojan NexGEN
TROJAN SPIRIT LITE
Trojan SWARM
TUAS Shadow Simple Key Loader
Unattended Transient Acoustic MASINT System
Unmanned Aircraft System Class I
Unmanned Aircraft System Class I (UAS CL1 IBCT Inc 2)
Unmanned Aircraft System Live Training System
Unmanned Cargo/Logistic Resupply
Urban Unattended Ground Sensors IBCT Increment 1
URSUS
VADER (Vehicle and Dismount Exploitation Radar)
Vanguard
Vector Sensor
Vehicle 360 deg fused thermal and visual camera to auto track up to 10 objects
Vehicle Observation Sensor System (VOSS) on the Medium Mine Protection Vehicle
Vehicle Optics Sensor System on the MRAP BAE RG-33L
Vigilant Pursuit
Viper Strike
Warlock-DUKE V2
Warlock-Duke V3
Weaponized Reconnaissance Against Insurgents by Targeting HELLFIRE
Whistler
Wideband Remote Monitoring Sensor: AN/FSQ-234(v)1
Wolfhound
Wolverine System
Zebra Imaging Tactical Digital Holograms (TDH)
Zion Bobcat

Missing the point about F-35s

Rutland Herald, Sunday, November 17, 2013

The good people of Burlington – the Stop the F-35 Coalition – declared war this week, decrying what they call a “corrupt basing selection process” to put the new fighter jet at Burlington International Airport, and making all sorts of claims as to the dire circumstances that will befall the community if the Air Force carries out its plan.

This is not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) at its finest, and I applaud the citizens for being motivated at all to involve themselves in the touchy world of national security.

But I can’t support them.  I can’t support them because the arguments they use are faulty and intentionally manipulative, and in that, they merely mirror the Pentagon’s own ritualistic nonsense, a campaign thus destined for failure, a learning opportunity lost, and change thwarted.

The F-35A will go to Burlington to replace the F-16s that are already there, and by all accounts, Vermont’s elected officials all support and have lobbied for this no-brainer modernization.

No brainer because no one is willing to question whether we really need to protect the skies, whether we need a new plane for this task at all, whether any airplane should be based at a civil airport, even an ostensibly National Guard airplane, whether lobbying should be the basis for our national security, whether overall continued down the same-old, same-old path of homeland security after 9/11 makes the slightest sense.

The Stop the F-35 Coalition doesn’t really address any of these gigantic questions, instead saying that the Environment Impact Statement prepared for basing lacks crucial health-related information, claiming as well that the jets in Burlington will devalue property, disproportionally impact minorities and low-income people, impact cardiovascular health of those nearby, and impair the learning ability of children in nearby schools.

After a few more back-and-forth, even in court, the government is sure to prevail, maybe even addressing some of the Coalition’s concerns – want more health-related information?, the government might say.  Ok, we’ll spend even more of your tax dollars to produce whatever you want.  But absent the support of the Governor or our Congressional representatives, the Coalition doesn’t really have a prayer.

Meanwhile, what’s destroying our nation, what’s robbing from civil society, what’s short-changing health care and even directly messing up the heads of our young people, is the constant state of war we endure, the overblown threat of terrorism, our crazy worship at the national and homeland security alter.

NIMBY is fine, but in this new world of interconnectedness and social media, Not-in-my-Country is the more appropriate campaign.   The roar of F-16s or F-35s might rupture the peaceful image of Vermonters, nice people who think that they can create some sanctuary and drop out of the national tragedy.  They should spend their energy instead going to war against a national security system that can no longer police itself, and one that no one in Washington has any intent of changing.

William M. Arkin, who lives in South Pomfret, is author of “American Coup: How a Terrified Government is Destroying the Constitution” and co-author of the national bestseller “Top Secret America.”

Germany: : Das unterwanderte Land (The Infiltrated Country)

I’ve been working for a couple of months on an investigation of the totality of U.S. intelligence in Germany, out today in Stern magazine.  English translation coming soon.

Stern 31 October 2013