Battalion of Black Women in WW2


Major Charity Adams reviews the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion

“The unit was set up to determine the value Black women brought to the military. They ultimately ran the fastest mail service in the European Theater during World War II. More than 6,500 Black women ultimately served in the auxiliary corps during the war, as both officers and enlisted women. They came from all over the country, many in search of opportunities unavailable to them in the civilian sector.”

Taking care of business in wartime.

Might be you don’t want to take a human to a gunfight in the sky?

Last week, a technique popularized by DeepMind was adapted to control an autonomous F-16 fighter plane in a Pentagon-funded contest to show off the capabilities of AI systems. In the final stage of the event, a similar algorithm went head-to-head with a real F-16 pilot using a VR headset and simulator controls. The AI pilot won, 5-0.

The episode reveals DeepMind caught between two conflicting desires. The company doesn’t want its technology used to kill people. On the other hand, publishing research and source code helps advance the field of AI and lets others build upon its results. But that also allows others to use and adapt the code for their own purposes.

Others in AI are grappling with similar issues, as more ethically questionable uses of AI, from facial recognition to deepfakes to autonomous weapons, emerge.

The US and other countries are rushing to embrace the technology before adversaries can, and some experts say it will be difficult to prevent nations from crossing the line to full autonomy. It may also prove challenging for AI researchers to balance the principles of open scientific research with potential military uses of their ideas and code.

Trust your enemies? Trust your friends? Or worry about them behaving exactly how someone truly corrupt might recommend – like, for example, Congress!

Not publicly, of course.

V-J Day remembered


Soldiers and sailors celebrate in Newark, NJ

After the surrender of Japan on 14 August 1945, two days of national holiday were announced for celebrations in the UK, the US and Australia.

Millions of people from the Allied countries took part in parades and street parties.

Germany had surrendered on 7 May 1945, followed by Victory in Europe (VE) Day on 8 May, but World War Two still continued in the Asia-Pacific region…

An estimated 71,000 soldiers from Britain and the Commonwealth were killed in the war against Japan, including more than 12,000 prisoners of war who died in Japanese captivity.

It wasn’t until the US had dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki, on 6 and 9 August, that Japan surrendered and ended the war.

The recorded death tolls of the atomic bombings are estimates, but it is thought that about 140,000 of Hiroshima’s 350,000 population were killed in the blast, and at least 74,000 people died in Nagasaki.

It was sunny and warm in our Bridgeport neighborhood. VJ-day felt just like VE-day to kids – except that now the war was completely ended. We stopped playing war games that day – though our politicians never have.

Remembering the War in the Pacific recorded by combat photographers


Joe Rosenthal

When most Americans think of the World War II battle for Iwo Jima – if they think of it at all, 75 years later – they think of one image: Marines raising the U.S. flag atop Mount Suribachi, the island’s highest point.

That moment, captured in black and white by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal and as a color film by Marine Sergeant William Genaust, is powerful, embodying the spirit of the Marine Corps.

But these pictures are far from the only images of the bloodiest fight in the Marines’ history. A larger library of film, and the men captured on them, is similarly emotionally affecting. It can even bring Americans alive today closer to a war that ended in the middle of the last century…

Please RTFA. I was 7 years old at the time of the Iwo Jima landing. My father was invited to a private showing of the first rough cut of all the footage several weeks later – and brought me. That night is still vivid, stuck in my brain. I cannot forget it.

Over time, I came to better understand what I saw.

Do you realize we’ve never stopped bombing Afghanistan?

Since 2016, we’ve increased airstrikes as much as 780% though combat operations in Afghanistan officially ended in December 2014…


US Air Force

US and coalition combat operations in Afghanistan officially ended in December 2014, and the numbers of CFACC-controlled airstrikes dropped from 2,365 for that year to just 947 in 2015 (the lowest figure recorded since 2009). The strike rate began to rapidly rise again in 2016 with 1,337 recorded, and rose again in 2017 with 4,361. It rose markedly again in 2018 with 7,362, before peaking at 7,423 in 2019.

Gee, what might have happened in 2016 to spark increased bombing of one of those little nations on our kill-list? Hmm?

BTW, there aren’t any more “coalition” forces operating over Afghanistan. It’s all our military, folks.

Pentagon lies about our new nice guy “survivable” atomic warheads


Click to enlargephoto on the right shows what survived in Hiroshima. NOTHING!

The U.S. Defense Department said on Tuesday the Navy had fielded a low-yield, submarine-launched ballistic missile warhead, something the Pentagon believes is needed to deter adversaries like Russia but which critics say lowers the threshold for using nuclear weapons.

Low-yield nuclear weapons, while still devastating, have a strength of less than 20 kilotons. The atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, in August 1945, had about the same explosive power.

“This supplemental capability strengthens deterrence and provides the United States a prompt, more survivable low-yield strategic weapon,” John Rood, the under secretary of defense for policy, said…

“President Trump now has a more usable nuclear weapon that is a dangerous solution in search of a problem,” said Kingston Reif, director for disarmament and threat reduction policy at the Arms Control Association…

This will kill and main about as many folks as did the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. 135,000 minimum. Take the time to read HIROSHIMA by John Hersey. A book I grew up with…fortunately. Rent the video of HIROSHIMA, MON AMOUR. Learn what the Pentagon thinks is “survival” – and what it really looks and feels like.

Robot tanks on patrol but not allowed to shoot…yet!

In 1985 the US pulled the plug on a computer-controlled anti-aircraft tank after a series of debacles in which its electronic brain locked guns onto a stand packed with top generals reviewing the device. Mercifully it didn’t fire, but did subsequently attack a portable toilet instead of a target drone.

The M247 Sergeant York…may have been an embarrassing failure, but digital technology and artificial intelligence (AI) have changed the game since then.

Today defence contractors around the world are competing to introduce small unmanned tracked vehicles into military service.

Interesting article even if the BBC reporters had to repeat the mantra of “a human must always be in the loop to decide on the use of lethal force”. That will last until the day someone in the field decides they can’t wait for an assigned officer – and turns an armed robot loose to do what it’s intended to do. Provide deadly force on its own.

Same as it ever was…


Click to enlarge

“On my wall a wooden mask
Face of an evil Japanese fiend, lacquered in gold.
I see with sympathy
The swollen veins on his brow, showing
How exhausting it is to be evil.”
(Bertolt Brecht, 1942)

Different wars, different time. Not much else has changed.

NO WAR WITH IRAN

There’s a demo, tomorrow at noon, against Trump’s criminal politics. The focus is on the Middle East, Iran and Iraq. If you have the opportunity, come to the intersection of St, Francis and Cerrillos to make your voice heard.

That’s Thursday, 9th, at noon.

Click on the sponsoring groups for parking suggestions a block away from traffic