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February 21st, 2014
Editor’s Note: The following article has been shared with our community by Selco ofSHTF School. His personal experiences during the Balkan war have been documented in One Year in Hell and are an invaluable knowledge base for any serious preparedness minded individual. When riots break out in your city or the infrastructure systems upon which we depend begin to destabilize there will be confusion, panic and violence. Selco explains what to expect from those around you, and what it might look like in what was once your friendly and peaceful neighborhood. Pay attention, because this is how things really go down when the ‘S’ hits the fan.
If you are not eating right now take a moment and watch this video of a monkey eating a gazelle.
It feels very wrong for most people to look at this. This shows how much we are out of touch with nature. Most people want to eat meat but not kill it themselves for example. What happens to gazelle is not good and not bad, its nature. It simply is.
When you find yourself in survival situation you get quickly in touch with nature again, and nature is cruel and concept of fairness does not exist.
It is hard to be prepared for that before you experience it. But understanding how nature really is and that we only live in soft bubble protected from true face of nature, is a first step.
I talk a lot in interview in my course about events that lead to total collapse. Here is one more experience I want to share.
When SHTF started, in the time when great majority of us thought that what was going on around us is something like temporary rioting that got a bit out of control, city services still worked in some parts of the city, everybody was waiting for madness to stop.
In that short period before the S. hits the fan with full force, people usually lost their lives because they did not recognize situation.
People were out rioting, stealing, fighting. But all that was still like “moderate”.
At that moment people were still ”inside” the system, so we all were trying to hide more or less when looting was going on in the neighborhood. Police were still arresting people and trying to control things. People were shooting each other yes, but it was not yet like full scale shooting and violence, mostly people were scaring each other with shootings.
One of my friends was involved in shootings in those days, after looting some stores, he got wounded. Wound was not too dangerous, he was shot in foot.
As I said, most of the city services were still working and trying to bring order to that chaos. City ambulances came and picked him up and they rushed to hospital with him.
About one kilometer from place where he got picked up, the group of people that actually shot him stopped the ambulance on some improvised barricade, first shot the driver and then killed my friend in the back of the ambulance. They killed him little bit slower than driver, and more painfully, they used knives. We got there a bit later, too late.
Now this story may sound confusing to you, you may say “it happens in war” but for 95% of folks at that time it was not war, it was something like violent rioting, and those 95% of folks still trusted the system, had trust in police and government that they are going to restore law and order. People still trusted that ambulances are like “protected” and nobody will stop them, not to mention shoot at one.
In this story here that wounded guy and ambulance driver simply did not recognize situation. He was a nice guy, why would this happen to him? Back then I probably would go with ambulance as well if I was shot. It felt very wrong that this happened but was one of first wakeup calls that fair and unfair are concepts of the past.
My friend in the first place should not have been there in that time of chaos. Ambulance driver should have said ”screw it” take valuable medicines and go home at first signs of real violence and total collapse. He did not. It is easy to call him hero and maybe day before or hours before he helped save life of someone else but it was still too high risk to be out at this point in time.
It is easy to say that now, in those time we all still called things by old names, police, trust, government, law, system, penalty…
If that happened maybe day or two later my friend would have crawled and treated his wounds alone, or driver would have refused to drive, or…
Few days after that event s. hit the fan with real force, and nobody had illusions anymore that something temporary is going on or that things get back to normal.
But point is that lots of people died in that short period before realizing that things aren’t the same. You can not still believe in good of people around you, but most people did. This ambulance event was one of many that ended with similar deaths.
So next time, when some rioting erupts in your city, some violence after football game, or some protests because high unemployment or similar and you hear gunshots and screams, and words about people being killed on the streets, stores being looted, you need to hope that it is temporary disturbance but you can not trust in that.
Be suspicious, trust in your bug out bag, trust in your storage, trust in your weapon. Do not go out just “because everyone goes out”. Avoid being greedy and go looting to have a bit more, even if it sounds easy, you prepare to not have to go out.
When you realize how random and brutal nature and violence is, then you realize you do not prepare to be hero, you prepare to survive. That ambulance guy could have helped many more people in later months when we were fighting for survival if he would not have died. But back then, we did not understand situation.
If you experienced situation that reminded you that fairness and unfairness are just concepts in our “civilized” world, please share in comments.
You can follow Selco’s story at SHTF School and learn how he survived one year in hell.
1. War is immoral.
Murder is the one crime that we’re taught to excuse if it’s done on a large enough scale. Morality demands that we not so excuse it. War is nothing other than murder on a large scale.
Over the centuries and decades, death counts in wars have grown dramatically, shifted heavily onto civilians rather than combatants, and been overtaken by injury counts as even greater numbers have been injured but medicine has allowed them to survive.
Deaths are now due primarily to violence rather than to disease, formerly the biggest killer in wars.
Death and injury counts have also shifted very heavily toward one side in each war, rather than being evenly divided between two parties. Those traumatized, rendered homeless, and otherwise damaged far outnumber the injured and the dead.
The idea of a “good war” or a “just war” sounds obscene when one looks honestly at independent reporting on wars.
When we say that war goes back 10,000 years it’s not clear that we’re talking about a single thing, as opposed to two or more different things going by the same name. Picture a family in Yemen or Pakistan living under a constant buzz produced by a drone overhead. One day their home and everyone in it is shattered by a missile. Were they at war? Where was the battlefield? Where were their weapons? Who declared the war? What was contested in the war? How would it end?
Is it not perhaps the case that we have already ended war and now must end something else as well (a name for it might be: the hunting of humans)?
If we can change our manner of killing foreigners to render it almost unrecognizable, who’s to say we can’t eliminate the practice altogether?
2. War endangers us.
There are more effective tools than war for protection.
War planning leads to wars.
In arming, many factors must be considered: weapon-related accidents, malicious testing on human beings, theft, sales to allies who become enemies, and the distraction from efforts to reduce the causes of terrorism and war must all be taken into account. So, of course, must the tendency to use weapons once you have them. And a nation’s stockpiling of weapons for war puts pressure on other nations to do the same. Even a nation that intends to fight only in defense, may understand “defense” to be the ability to retaliate against other nations. This makes it necessary to create the weaponry and strategies for aggressive war. When you put a lot of people to work planning something, when that project is in fact your largest public investment and proudest cause, it can be difficult to keep those people from finding opportunities to execute their plans. Read more.
War making provokes danger.
While the best defense in many sports may be a good offense, an offense in war is not defensive, not when it generates hatred, resentment, and blowback, not when the alternative is no war at all. Through the course of the so-called global war on terrorism, terrorism has been on the rise. This was predictable and predicted. The wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, and the abuses of prisoners during them, became major recruiting tools for anti-U.S. terrorism. In 2006, U.S. intelligence agencies produced a National Intelligence Estimate that reached just that conclusion. Read More.
War’s weapons risk intentional or accidental apocalypse.
We can either eliminate all nuclear weapons or we can watch them proliferate. There’s no middle way. We can either have no nuclear weapons states, or we can have many. As long as some states have nuclear weapons others will desire them, and the more that have them the more easily they will spread to others still. If nuclear weapons continue to exist, there will very likely be a nuclear catastrophe, and the more the weapons have proliferated, the sooner it will come. Hundreds of incidents have nearly destroyed our world through accident, confusion, misunderstanding, and extremely irrational machismo. And possessing nuclear weapons does absolutely nothing to keep us safe, so that there is really no trade-off involved in eliminating them. They do not deter terrorist attacks by non-state actors in any way. Nor do they add an iota to a military’s ability to deter nations from attacking, given the United States’ ability to destroy anything anywhere at any time with non-nuclear weapons. The United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, France, and China have all lost wars against non-nuclear powers while possessing nukes.
3. War threatens our environment.
A major motivation behind some wars is the desire to control resources that poison the earth, especially oil and gas.
Oil can be leaked or burned off, as in the Gulf War, but primarily it is put to use in all kinds of machines polluting the earth’s atmosphere, placing us all at risk. Some associate the consumption of oil with the supposed glory and heroism of war, so that renewable energies that do not risk global catastrophe are viewed as cowardly and unpatriotic ways to fuel our machines.
The interplay of war with oil goes beyond that, however. The wars themselves, whether or not fought for oil, consume huge quantities of it. The world’s top consumer of oil, in fact, is the U.S. military. Not only do we fight wars in areas of the globe that happen to be rich in oil; we also burn more oil fighting those wars than we do in any other activity. Author Ted Rall writes:
“The U.S. Department of [War] is the world’s worst polluter, belching, dumping, and spilling more pesticides, defoliants, solvents, petroleum, lead, mercury, and depleted uranium than the five biggest American chemical corporations combined. According to Steve Kretzmann, director of Oil Change International, 60 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions between 2003 and 2007 originated in U.S.-occupied Iraq, due to the enormous amount of oil and gas required to maintain hundreds of thousands of American military forces and private contractors, not to mention the toxins released by fighter jets, drone planes, and the missiles and other ordnance they fire at Iraqis.”
The U.S. military burns through about 340,000 barrels of oil each day. If the Pentagon were a country, it would rank 38th out of 196 in oil consumption.
The environment as we know it will not survive nuclear war. It also may not survive “conventional” war, understood to mean the sorts of wars now waged. Intense damage has already been done by wars and by the research, testing, and production done in preparation for wars.
Wars in recent years have rendered large areas uninhabitable and generated tens of millions of refugees. War “rivals infectious disease as a global cause of morbidity and mortality,” according to Jennifer Leaning of Harvard Medical School.
Perhaps the most deadly weapons left behind by wars are land mines and cluster bombs. Tens of millions of them are estimated to be lying around on the earth, oblivious to any announcements that peace has been declared. Most of their victims are civilians, a large percentage of them children.
The Soviet and U.S. occupations of Afghanistan have destroyed or damaged thousands of villages and sources of water. The Taliban has illegally traded timber to Pakistan, resulting in significant deforestation. U.S. bombs and refugees in need of firewood have added to the damage. Afghanistan’s forests are almost gone. Most of the migratory birds that used to pass through Afghanistan no longer do so. Its air and water have been poisoned with explosives and rocket propellants.
If militaries were made green in terms of their operations, they would lose one of their main reasons for war. (Nobody can own the sun or the wind.) And we would still have a long list of … More reasons to end war.
4. War erodes our liberties.
We’re often told that wars are fought for “freedom.” But when a wealthy nation fights a war against a poor (if often resource-rich) nation halfway around the globe, among the goals is not actually to prevent that poor nation from taking over the wealthy one, after which it might restrict people’s rights and liberties. The fears used to build support for the wars don’t involve such an incredible scenario at all; rather the threat is depicted as one to safety, not liberty.
In close proportion to levels of military spending, liberties are restricted in the name of war — even while wars may simultaneously be waged in the name of liberty. We try to resist the erosion of liberties, the warrantless surveillance, the drones in the skies, the lawless imprisonment, the torture, the assassinations, the denial of a lawyer, the denial of access to information on the government, etc. But these are symptoms. The disease is war and the preparation for war.
It is the idea of the enemy that allows government secrecy.
The nature of war, as fought between valued and devalued people, facilitates the erosion of liberties in another way, in addition to the fear for safety. That is, it allows liberties to first be taken away from devalued people. But the programs developed to accomplish that are later predictably expanded to include valued people as well.
Militarism erodes not just particular rights but the very basis of self-governance. It privatizes public goods, it corrupts public servants, it creates momentum for war by making people’s careers dependent on it.
One way in which war erodes public trust and morals is by its predictable generation of public lies.
Also eroded, of course, is the very idea of the rule of law — replaced with the practice of might-makes-right.
5. War impoverishes us.
War has a huge direct financial cost, the vast majority of which is in funds spent on the preparation for war — or what’s thought of as ordinary, non-war military spending. Very roughly, the world spends $2 trillion every year on militarism, of which the United States spends about half, or $1 trillion. This U.S. spending also accounts for roughly half of the U.S. government’s discretionarybudget each year and is distributed through several departments and agencies. Much of the rest of world spending is by members of NATO and other allies of the United States, although China ranks second in the world.
Wars can cost even an aggressor nation that fights wars far from its shores twise as much in indirect expenses as in direct expenditures.
The costs to the aggressor, enormous as they are, can be small in comparison to those of the nation attacked.
War Spending Drains an Economy:
It is common to think that, because many people have jobs in the war industry, spending on war and preparations for war benefits an economy. In reality, spending those same dollars on peaceful industries, on education, on infrastructure, or even on tax cuts for working people would produce more jobs and in most cases better paying jobs — with enough savings to help everyone make the transition from war work to peace work.
War Spending Increases Inequality:
Military spending diverts public funds into increasingly privatized industries through the least accountable public enterprise and one that is hugely profitable for the owners and directors of the corporations involved.
War Spending Is Unsustainable, As Is Exploitation it Facilitates:
While war impoverishes the war making nation, can it nonetheless enrich that nation more substantially by facilitating the exploitation of other nations? Not in a manner that can be sustained.
Green energy and infrastructure would surpass their advocates’ wildest fantasies if the funds now invested in war were transferred there.
6. We need $2 trillion/year for other things.
It would cost about $30 billion per year to end starvation and hunger around the world. That sounds like a lot of money to you or me. But if we had $2 trillion it wouldn’t. And we do.
It would cost about $11 billion per year to provide the world with clean water. Again, that sounds like a lot. Let’s round up to $50 billion per year to provide the world with both food and water. Who has that kind of money? We do.
Of course, we in the wealthier parts of the world don’t share the money, even among ourselves. Those in need of aid are right here as well as far away.
But imagine if one of the wealthy nations, the United States for example, were to put $500 billion into its own education (meaning “college debt” can begin the process of coming to sound as backward as “human sacrifice”), housing (meaning no more people without homes), infrastructure, and sustainable green energy and agricultural practices. What if, instead of leading the destruction of the natural environment, this country were catching up and helping to lead in the other direction?
The potential of green energy would suddenly skyrocket with that sort of unimaginable investment, and the same investment again, year after year. But where would the money come from? $500 billion? Well, if $1 trillion fell from the sky on an annual basis, half of it would still be left. After $50 billion to provide the world with food and water, what if another $450 billion went into providing the world with green energy and infrastructure, topsoil preservation, environmental protection, schools, medicine, programs of cultural exchange, and the study of peace and of nonviolent action?
U.S. foreign aid right now is about $23 billion a year. Taking it up to $100 billion — never mind $523 billion! — would have a number of interesting impacts, including the saving of a great many lives and the prevention of a tremendous amount of suffering. It would also, if one other factor were added, make the nation that did it the most beloved nation on earth. A recent poll of 65 nations found that the United States is far and away the most feared country, the country considered the largest threat to peace in the world. Were the United States responsible for providing schools and medicine and solar panels, the idea of anti-American terrorist groups would be as laughable as anti-Switzerland or anti-Canada terrorist groups, but only if one other factor were added — only if the $1 trillion came from where it really ought to come from.
Some U.S. states are setting up commissions to work on the transition from war to peace insustries.
From the Associated Press:
“An American citizen who is a member of al-Qaida is actively planning attacks against Americans overseas, U.S. officials say, and the Obama administration is wrestling with whether to kill him with a drone strike and how to do so legally under its new stricter targeting policy issued last year.”
Notice those words: “legally” and “policy.” No longer does U.S. media make a distinction between the two. Under George W. Bush, detention without trial, torture, murder, warrantless spying, and secret missile strikes were illegal. Under Obama they are policy. And policy makes them “legal” under the modified Nixonian understanding that if the President does it as a policy then it is legal.
Under the U.S. Constitution, the laws of the nations in which drone murders take place, treaties to which the U.S. is party, international law, and U.S. statutory law, murdering people remains illegal, despite being policy, just as it was illegal under the less strict policy of some months back. The policy was made stricter in order to bring it into closer compliance with the law, of course — though it comes nowhere close — and yet the previous policy remains somehow “legal,” too, despite having not been strict enough.
Under that previous policy, thousands of people, including at least four U.S. citizens, have been blown to bits with missiles. President Obama gave a speech last year in which he attempted to justify one of those four U.S. deaths on the basis of evidence he claimed to have but would not reveal. He made no attempt to justify the other three.
The new policy remains that the president can murder anyone, anywhere, along with whoever is near them, but must express angst if the person targeted is a U.S. citizen.
The idea that such lunacy can have anything to do with law is facilitated by human rights groups’ and the United Nations’ and international lawyers’ deference to the White House, which has been carried to the extreme of establishing a consensus that we cannot know whether a drone murder was legal or not unless the president reveals his reasoning, intention, motivation, and the details of the particular murder.
No other possible criminal receives this treatment. When the police read you your rights, you are not entitled to object: “Put those handcuffs away, sir! I have a written policy justifying everything I did, and I refuse to show it to you. Therefore you have no grounds to know for certain that my justification is as insane and twisted as you might imagine it to be based merely on what I’ve done! Away with you, sir!”
The loss of a coherent conception of law is a grievous one, but that’s not all that’s at stake here.
Numerous top U.S. officials routinely admit that our drone wars in the Middle East and Africa are creating more enemies than they kill. General Stanley McChrystal, then commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan said in June 2010 that “for every innocent person you kill, you create 10 new enemies.” Veterans of U.S. kill teams in Iraq and Afghanistan interviewed in Jeremy Scahill’s book and film Dirty Wars said that whenever they worked their way through a list of people to kill, they were handed a larger list; the list grew as a result of working their way through it. The wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, and the abuses of prisoners during them, became major recruiting tools for anti-U.S. terrorism. In 2006, U.S. intelligence agencies produced a National Intelligence Estimate that reached just that conclusion.
We are shredding the very concept of the rule of law in order to pursue a policy that endangers us, even as it helps to justify the erosion of our civil liberties, to damage the natural environment, and toimpoverish us, as it kills many innocent people. Maybe they’ve secretly got drones doing the thinking as well as the killing.
|The UN chief’s special adviser on genocide prevention has warned of a “high risk of crimes against humanity and of genocide” in the Central African Republic.
Adama Dieng and other UN officials briefed the Security Council on Wednesday on the continuing and unprecedented violence between Christians and Muslims in the country.
More than half the country’s 4.6 million people need assistance, according to the UN, and nearly one million have fled their homes after mostly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power in a March coup d’etat that ousted former President Francois Bozize.
Christian self-defence groups known as “anti-balaka” (anti-machete) have taken up arms against them, and the UN estimates that retaliatory violence has claimed thousands of lives.
The officials spoke of children being beheaded, entire villages burned and a complete breakdown of law and order, and they urged the deployment of more peacekeepers as soon as possible.
“The level of hatred between these communities shocked me,” Dieng said, listing widespread reports of summary executions, mutilation and sexual violence among the “widespread and massive” human rights violations.
Restoring peace will be difficult “without addressing the current culture of impunity,” he added.
Dieng and the other officials spoke after a visit last month as violence spiralled.
Despite the dark outlook for the country, they expressed hope at this week’s election of Catherine Samba-Panza as interim president, and at the $496m in humanitarian assistance newly pledged by international donors.
They also welcomed the approval by European Union foreign ministers this week of a potential joint military force of about 500 troops to assist the roughly 1,600 French troops and about 4,600 African troops trying to restore order.
Samba-Panza pledged after her election to hold talks with armed groups.
“I want to meet with the armed groups and listen to them,” she told reporters. “If they took up arms, then there is a reason for that.”
The statements came as the Red Cross said it had found 11 corpses, most burnt beyond recognition, dumped in the capital Bangui.
Antoine Mbao Bogo, president of the Central African Red Cross Society, said nine of 11 bodies collected from Bangui’s mostly Muslim northern neighbourhood of PK11 earlier this week had been set alight.
He added that the Red Cross had collected 87 bodies in the past five days across the country.