What Russia gained by its Crimea takeover

Phil Ebersole's Blog

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0518-web-blacksea-artboard_1-0Russia’s annexation of Crimea gives it a dominant position in claiming the oil and gas reserves of the Black Sea.  Crimea’s oil and gas assets, shown in the map above. now belong largely to Russia.

The maps at the right show Ukraine’s and Russia’s claims in the Black Sea before and after annexation.  The red area in the lower map at right shows what Russia gained by taking over Crimea.  Click on the link below for details.

In Taking Crimea, Putin Gains a Sea of Fuel Reserves by William J. Broad for the New York Times.

Speaking of Ukraine and Russia, here are links to three articles on the background of the Ukraine crisis that I found to be highly illuminating, and perhaps you will, too.

The Errand-Boys of Europe by Padraig Murphy for The Dublin Review of Books.   A look at the historical roots of Putin’s “Eurasianism,” a political…

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US Navy Sued for Violating Marine Mammal Protection Act in Connection with Sonar Training Exercises

2012 The Awakening

 Finally, someone is taking action to suspend the psychopathic assault on cetaceans and other ocean marine life by the U.S. Navy. It’s time for the military’s killing spree to end, we’ve had ENOUGH. The nature kingdom is at a breaking point and can take no more environmental destruction. You can help bring attention to this matter so this story doesn’t disappear, dolphins and whales don’t have a voice,please share freely… mahalo!. ~A~}
Jan 28, 2014 03:10 PM EST
Dolphins
A lawsuit filed Monday accuses the US Navy and the National Marine Fisheries Services of violating the Marine Mammal Protection act by their role in allowing a series of planned underwater activities including open-sea bombing drills and sonar activities that, by the Navy’s own account, will affect millions of marine mammals.
(Photo : Creative Commons Via Flickr/ lowjumpingfrog)

A lawsuit filed Monday accuses the US Navy and the…

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NSA: a bureaucracy in search of a function

Phil Ebersole's Blog

Edward Luttwak, a historian and long-time consultant to the Pentagon on military strategy, wrote an article in the Times Literacy Supplement of London recently arguing that the National Security Agency’s all-encompassing surveillance is simply the result of a bureaucracy looking for a way to justify its existence.

Compared to the days of the Cold War, he wrote, there is little scope for the NSA is trying to keep track of scattered Islamic militants who don’t even use phones for communication.  The NSA’s response was, in its own way, a stroke of genius.  Don’t just track people who are threats to the United States.  Track everybody who is a potential threat, which means tracking everybody.

Luttwak’s article is behind a pay wall, but Peter J. Leithart wrote a good summary in First Things magazine.

In a TLS review of Luke Harding’s The Snowden Files, Edward Luttwak traces things back to dynamics…

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FBI to add 52 million photos to NGI database

After suing the FBI ( and winning!) the folks over at Electronic Frontier Foundation have learned that the government agency plans to have around 52 million photos in its NGI database by 2015. One of the more significant details is the inclusion of non-criminal photos in this datasweep; FBI also says it plans to have at least 4.3 million non-criminal photos by 2015.

Click the link for more:

FBI Plans to Have 52 Million Photos in its NGI Face Recognition Database by Next Year

BATMAN pararescue team tests Google Glass

DefenseSystems report : Air Force’s BATMAN team testing Google Glass

The US Air Force’s BATMAN ( Battlefield Air Targeting Man Aided kNowledge ) pararescue team plans to implement the new technology into their operations.  The team is part of the 711th Human Performance Wing/Effectiveness Directorate.

From the 711th’s Fact Sheet:

“The men and women of the Human Effectiveness Directorate are responsible for developing the human-related technology for systems crucial to continued aerospace superiority. The staff also works to transfer the same or similar technology to civilian applications whenever appropriate. The directorate is organized into five divisions located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio,and Ft. Sam Houston,Texas.”

A giant art installation targets predator drone operators

#NotABugSplat

JR_KPK_full

In military slang, Predator drone operators often refer to kills as ‘bug splats’since viewing the body through a grainy video image gives the sense of an insect being crushed.

To challenge this insensitivity as well as raise awareness of civilian casualties, an artist collective installed a massive portrait facing up in the heavily bombed Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa region of Pakistan, where drone attacks regularly occur. Now, when viewed by a drone camera, what an operator sees on his screen is not an anonymous dot on the landscape, but an innocent child victim’s face.

Bugsplats

The installation is also designed to be captured by satellites in order to make it a permanent part of the landscape on online mapping sites.

The project is a collaboration of artists who made use of the French artist JR’s ‘Inside Out’ movement. Reprieve/Foundation for Fundamental Rights helped launch the effort which has been released with the hashtag

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Global military spending on the rise

3 Bombs

Recent trends in military expenditure

A recent report by SIPRI has found that while military spending is on the decline in the US, an international military buildup is well underway.

Defense One report on world’s fastest growing militaries