Wednesday, December 29, 2010

China's New Missile: A Game Changer?

China's Challenge: As tensions elevate on the Korean peninsula, Pyongyang's patron deploys a weapon designed to sink the very ships we are sending to protect an ally. This does not bode well.

The prospects that the Korean War, which ended in only an interminable armistice, may resume has become an increasingly real possibility in recent months.

That its patron, China, without which North Korea would collapse of its own rot, now has deployed a missile designed to target and sink U.S. carrier battle groups adds a new and disturbing element to any confrontation in the region.

Admiral Robert Willard, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, told the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun last Sunday that China's touted "carrier-killer," an anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) designated the Dong Feng-21D, had reached "initial operational capability."

This version of China's land-based mobile medium-range missile is off the drawing boards and in the field.

"Beijing has successfully developed, tested, and deployed the world's first weapons system capable of targeting a moving carrier strike group from long-range, land-based, mobile launchers," confirms Andrew Erickson, a professor at the U.S. Naval War College.

Erickson says that at least one unit of China's Second Artillery Corps is equipped with the DF-21D.

Defense analysts have called the weapon a "game-changer," as have we — one that could force U.S. carrier battle groups to keep their distance and stay away from areas of Chinese interest or territorial claims, such as Taiwan or Japan's Shenkaku islands, both of which Beijing claims are Chinese territory.

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U.S. commander says China aims to be a 'global military' power

Adm. Robert Willard, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, said he believes that China aspires to become a "global military (power)" by extending its influence beyond its regional waters.

"In the capabilities that we're seeing develop, that is fairly obvious," Willard told The Asahi Shimbun in a recent exclusive interview in Hawaii.

"They are focused presently on what they term their 'near seas'--the Bohai, Yellow Sea, South China Sea, East China Sea," he said. "(But) I think they have an interest in being able to influence beyond that point."

Willard also said he believes that China's anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) system, known as "aircraft carrier killer," has achieved initial operational capability (IOC), even though "it will continue to undergo testing ・for several more years."

The full text of the interview follows...


All of which is troubling news in light of:


The Dear Leader Calls for Holy War

Christmas or no Christmas, the Korean Peninsula is boiling once again, with threats flying thicker than the winter snow along North Korea's icy Yalu River.

Last week, North Korea threatened a nuclear "holy war" against South Korea. The North Korean "Dear Leader," Kim Jong-il, has repeatedly vowed to "liberate" South Korea, which he calls an American colony.

Korean tempers are as hot as their beloved national pickled cabbage dish, kimchi.

In South Korea, there is open talk of "liberating" the North.

While a majority of South Koreans favor negotiations and patience in dealing with their difficult northern brothers, many conservatives in South Korea, and particularly so Evangelical Christians, advocate military action against the North.

Military forces in both Koreas, China's northeast, Japan, and Russia's Far East are on high alert. So are US forces in the region.

Chances still are against full-scale conflict because both sides have so much to lose. War would be a disaster for all 73 million Koreans. The last Korean War, in the 1950's, killed over two million Korean civilians and left the nation's cities in ruins. ...


North Korea 'ready for holy war' against South

North Korea warned on Thursday of a "holy war" using its nuclear deterrent, following the largest-ever military drills by the South earlier today.

"To counter the enemy's intentional drive to push the situation to the brink of war, our revolutionary forces are making preparations to begin a holy war at any moment necessary based on nuclear deterrent," the North's KCNA news agency quoted Minister of Armed Forces Kim Yong-chun as saying during a rally in Pyongyang.

The South's largest show of force yet, the drills involved hundreds of military personnel and more than 100 types of weapons, including tanks, anti-tank missiles, helicopters and fighter jets.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has vowed a "merciless counterattack" to any further Northern attack.
The South also continued its three-day naval live-fire exercises some 100 km south of the disputed maritime border with North Korea.

The North earlier described South Korean exercises as "warmongering."

Tensions remain high, a month after Pyongyang shelled the South's Yeonpyeong Island on November 23, killing four people.

MOSCOW, December 23 (RIA Novosti)

Georgia Prisoners’ Strike: What Would Dr. King Say or Do?

By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon with assistance from Ingemar Smith

"The prisoners have done all they can do now. It's up to us to build a movement out here that can make the changes which have to be made." – Rev. Kenny Glasgow of The Ordinary Peoples Society (TOPS)

Eight days after the start of Georgia's historic prisoners' strike, in which thousands of inmates in at least six prisons refused to leave their cells, demanding wages for work, education and self-improvement programs, medical care, better access to their families and more, representatives of the communities the inmates came from met in downtown Atlanta with state corrections officials. The community delegation, calling itself the Concerned Coalition to Protect Prisoners Rights, was headed by Ed Dubose of the NAACP of Georgia's state conference, and included representatives from the US Human Rights Organization, the Nation of Islam, the Green Party of Georgia, The Ordinary Peoples Society and attorneys from the ACLU of Georgia, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition and elsewhere, along with state Rep. Roberta Abdul-Salaam.

State officials claimed they knew about the strike action well in advance and said they locked the institutions down as a preemptive measure. They declared they'd confiscated more than a hundred cell phones, mostly in public places, and identified dozens of inmates whom they believed were leaders of the strike. They admitted confining these inmates to isolation and in some cases transferring them to other institutions.

The coalition asserted that brutal reprisals were being taken against nonviolent strikers by prison authorities and that constant threats were being made against inmates. These incidents, the coalition insisted, along with the vast gulf between the reasonable demands of the inmates and some of the well-known conditions in the state's penal institutions, made the immediate entry into the affected prisons by a fact finding team of advocates, community representatives and attorneys at the earliest moment an absolute necessity.

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The Largest Prison Strike In US History Rages On

By Ole Ole Olson, NEWS JUNKIE POST

On December 9th, the largest prison strike in US history began in multiple facilities in Georgia. Thousands of those inside have united in a self-imposed lockdown to demand various human rights demands ranging from an end to slave labor, access to health care and education, communication from their families, and an end to cruel and unusual punishment. Despite a harsh crackdown, the strike has been raging on for the last week, and shows no signs of ending.
The strike has been taking place from between six to eleven facilities across Georgia, and is currently still strong in Hays State Prison in Trion, Telfair State Prison in Helena, Macon State Prison in Oglethorpe, and Smith State Prison in Glennville. Georgia correction officials refused to comment on the strike until earlier this week, when they confirmed these four facilities were on lockdown status.

Although information is tightly controlled by the prison industry, inside sources claim that inmates have suffered a series of reprisal and punitive measures that include widespread destruction of their personal property, denial of food, and beatings. While outside temperatures dropped to freezing, heat and hot water have also been cut in an attempt by prison officials to break up the strike. Despite allegations that the crackdown by guards are tactics designed to instigate a violent response, there are no reports of violent action taken by the prisoners themselves, this appears to be a peaceful protest.



Advocate for prisoner human rights Elaine Brown has been in contact with the inmates, and reports inmates at Augusta State Prison were "brutally ripped from their cells … and beaten, resulting in broken ribs, one man beaten beyond recognition." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution continues:
She said officers assigned to the riot squad at Telfair State Prison had "roughed up prisoners and destroyed all their property. At Macon and Hays State Prisons, tactical squads have menaced the men for days, removing some to the 'hole,' the wardens ordering heat and hot water turned off. Tear gas has been used to force men out of their cells at various prisons, while guards patrol grounds with assault rifles."

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Trauma: How We've Created a Nation Addicted to Shopping, Work, Drugs and Sex

By Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!

...DR. GABOR MATÉ: The hardcore drug addicts that I treat, are, without exception, people who have had extraordinarily difficult lives. And the commonality is childhood abuse. In other words, these people all enter life under extremely adverse circumstances. Not only did they not get what they need for healthy development, they actually got negative circumstances of neglect. I don't have a single female patient in the Downtown Eastside who wasn't sexually abused, for example, as were many of the men, or abused, neglected and abandoned serially, over and over again.

And that's what sets up the brain biology of addiction. In other words, the addiction is related both psychologically, in terms of emotional pain relief, and neurobiological development to early adversity.

AMY GOODMAN: What does the title of your book mean, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts?

DR. GABOR MATÉ: Well, it's a Buddhist phrase. In the Buddhists' psychology, there are a number of realms that human beings cycle through, all of us. One is the human realm, which is our ordinary selves. The hell realm is that of unbearable rage, fear, you know, these emotions that are difficult to handle. The animal realm is our instincts and our id and our passions.

Now, the hungry ghost realm, the creatures in it are depicted as people with large empty bellies, small mouths and scrawny thin necks. They can never get enough satisfaction. They can never fill their bellies. They're always hungry, always empty, always seeking it from the outside. That speaks to a part of us that I have and everybody in our society has, where we want satisfaction from the outside, where we're empty, where we want to be soothed by something in the short term, but we can never feel that or fulfill that insatiety from the outside. The addicts are in that realm all the time. Most of us are in that realm some of the time. And my point really is, is that there's no clear distinction between the identified addict and the rest of us. There's just a continuum in which we all may be found. They're on it, because they've suffered a lot more than most of us.


[ ... ]

AMY GOODMAN: You were born in Nazi-occupied Hungary?

DR. GABOR MATÉ: Well, ADD has a lot to do with that. I have attention deficit disorder myself. And again, most people see it as a genetic problem. I don’t. It actually has to do with those factors of brain development, which in my case occurred as a Jewish infant under Nazi occupation in the ghetto of Budapest. And the day after the pediatrician—sorry, the day after the Nazis marched into Budapest in March of 1944, my mother called the pediatrician and says, “Would you please come and see my son, because he’s crying all the time?” And the pediatrician says, “Of course I’ll come. But I should tell you, all my Jewish babies are crying.”

Now infants don’t know anything about Nazis and genocide or war or Hitler. They’re picking up on the stresses of their parents. And, of course, my mother was an intensely stressed person, her husband being away in forced labor, her parents shortly thereafter being departed and killed in Auschwitz. Under those conditions, I don’t have the kind of conditions that I need for the proper development of my brain circuits. And particularly, how does an infant deal with that much stress? By tuning it out. That’s the only way the brain can deal with it. And when you do that, that becomes programmed into the brain.

And so, if you look at the preponderance of ADD in North America now and the three millions of kids in the States that are on stimulant medication and the half-a-million who are on anti-psychotics, what they’re really exhibiting is the effects of extreme stress, increasing stress in our society, on the parenting environment. Not bad parenting. Extremely stressed parenting, because of social and economic conditions. And that’s why we’re seeing such a preponderance.

So, in my case, that also set up this sense of never being soothed, of never having enough, because I was a starving infant. And that means, all my life, I have this propensity to soothe myself. How do I do that? Well, one way is to work a lot and to gets lots of admiration and lots of respect and people wanting me. If you get the impression early in life that the world doesn’t want you, then you’re going to make yourself wanted and indispensable. And people do that through work. I did it through being a medical doctor. I also have this propensity to soothe myself through shopping, especially when I’m stressed, and I happen to shop for classical compact music. But it goes back to this insatiable need of the infant who is not soothed, and they have to develop, or their brain develop, these self-soothing strategies...

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Astronomers Find First Evidence Of Other Universes

From The Physics arXiv Blog:

There's something exciting afoot in the world of cosmology. Last month, Roger Penrose at the University of Oxford and Vahe Gurzadyan at Yerevan State University in Armenia announced that they had found patterns of concentric circles in the cosmic microwave background, the echo of the Big Bang.

This, they say, is exactly what you'd expect if the universe were eternally cyclical. By that, they mean that each cycle ends with a big bang that starts the next cycle. In this model, the universe is a kind of cosmic Russian Doll, with all previous universes contained within the current one.

That's an extraordinary discovery: evidence of something that occurred before the (conventional) Big Bang.

Today, another group says they've found something else in the echo of the Big Bang. These guys start with a different model of the universe called eternal inflation. In this way of thinking, the universe we see is merely a bubble in a much larger cosmos. This cosmos is filled with other bubbles, all of which are other universes where the laws of physics may be dramatically different to ours.

These bubbles probably had a violent past, jostling together and leaving "cosmic bruises" where they touched. If so, these bruises ought to be visible today in the cosmic microwave background.

Now Stephen Feeney at University College London and a few pals say they've found tentative evidence of this bruising in the form of circular patterns in cosmic microwave background. In fact, they've found four bruises, implying that our universe must have smashed into other bubbles at least four times in the past.

Again, this is an extraordinary result: the first evidence of universes beyond our own.

~ more... ~

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