I Seen This Movie Before

Indeed, I have seen this movie before. Only it was helicopters lifting off the roof of the American Embassy in Saigon, after a war which didn’t drag on for nearly as long as the hamfisted, ill-advised and ultimately disastrous attempt by an assortment of venial careerists in the DOD and State Department to make a functional country out of an Islamist-ridden tribal hellhole like Afghanistan. Now, it’s grossly overloaded airplanes and mobs in Kabul, Afghanistan. The suspicion now is that those high-ranking idiots, exemplified by General Milley and his boss at the head of the DOD, former General Austin didn’t really believe in that stated mission, they just wanted to ensure that the gravy-train went humming along; pots and pots of boodle for their pet projects, a nice pension, and a profitable post-retirement gig as a member of the board of whatever, or a nice gig as a media commenter. Oh, and instead of dealing realistically and honestly with Afghanistan – a 7th century quarrel with borders, a fact which has been freely acknowledged for decades, if not centuries – these shoulder-starred geniuses were off on a mad quest to hunt down and eliminate the Great White Supremacist Whale from the military services.

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The Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima, Plus 76 years

Seventy five years ago today the B-29 Enola Gay dropped the Little Boy gun-type atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Between 80,000 and 100,000 people died, sources vary.

It has been a now 11 year and counting tradition of the Chicagoboyz blog to commemorate this bombing and the events immediately after.  Today’s post will speak of the anniversary and share forgotten history from before & after the event.  Per the wikipedia article:

The bomb was dropped by the Boeing B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay piloted by Colonel Paul W. Tibbets, Jr., commander of the 509th Composite Group of the United States Army Air Forces and Captain Robert A. Lewis. It exploded with an energy of approximately 15 kilotons of TNT (63 TJ) and caused widespread death and destruction throughout the city.

This act set in motion historical events that lead to the surrender of Imperial Japan, the start of the nuclear age and the Cold War with the Soviet Union that ended in 1989.  Yet for all of the event’s importance we, seventy six years, on know less about it’s real history than the myths that arose in Cold War propaganda afterwards.

Enola Gay: The Story of the Most Historic Boeing B-29

The fully restored in 2003 B-29 Enola Gay at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

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Tiananmen OSINT

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” — Benjamin Franklin

[Readers are directed to the end of this post for an explanation of my timing and motivation.

UPDATE 6/5, 11 AM CDT: videos embedded!]

I. Anniversary Reconnoiter

At around nine in the morning local time on the thirtieth anniversary of the “June Fourth Incident,” I began a reconnoiter of Tiananmen Square in central Beijing to observe security measures and, if possible, witness any attempt at commemorating the massacre. I accompanied Dr. Andrew R. Cline, professor of media, journalism, and film at Missouri State University in Springfield. We were part of group of eleven people—four students, two faculty, and five others including me—comprising a “Study Away” program from MSU which had spent the previous twelve days in China, flying into Beijing and taking high-speed trains to Xi’an and Xining, then on via the Qinghai–Tibet railway to Lhasa before flying back to Beijing. Of all days, Tuesday 4 June 2019 was designated a free day for the group: no itinerary—and no guide. The remaining nine group members, as it turned out, had other ideas about what to do that day.

Andy’s motivation was broadly journalistic, garnished with a specific interest in whether any actual Marxists would show up. I went along out of a feeling that I had something of a reputation to uphold, and quickly decided during our approach that I would evaluate the security measures and write up a more quantitative report, although I will also pass along some thoughts about the organizational behaviors involved.

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“Green” Energy: Materials-Intensive–And It Matters

There is now considerable momentum behind wind and solar power generation.  In addition to the governments pushing these technologies, there are many companies intending to profit by manufacturing and implementing these systems–also companies intending to get “sustainability” points for using them–and a nontrivial part of the financing industry licking their chops at the prospect of raising the necessary capital.

While wind and solar systems do not directly consume fuels, they do consume capital, that capital representing the labor and materials (and also the energy, in various forms) necessary to manufacture and install them.  Some of these materials are relatively scarce at present, and are sourced from problematic locations under questionable conditions.

Here is an interesting and quite detailed study on “green” materials and sourcing options, from the International Energy Agency.  Worth careful reading for anyone interested in energy issues, technologies, and politics.  Note that in addition to China’s development of its internal resources of the relevant materials, that country is developing strong trade and financing relationships…which may evolve to neo-colonial or even full-colonial relationships…with other countries possessing such resources.

And here are a pair of articles arguing that the only way for the US to acquire the requisite materials for a “green” energy transition will require close collaboration with China…that if the two greatest greenhouse-gas emitters on this planet can’t work together, we’re all going to be living in a more or less literal hell. The authors of these pieces don’t seem to be very concerned about the risks of US dependence on China for our energy supply; they seem more concerned about the risks of a cold war (anti-China) mentality.  (It is also interesting that the word ‘nuclear’ doesn’t appear in either article.)

Comes now a Reuters article, which asserts that: The Biden administration is considering a plan to import the bulk of the materials needed to build electric vehicles and the batteries that power them instead of mining them domestically — a nod to environmental groups that make up a key part of the Democratic constituency, according to a report.  The article goes on to quote an administration source as saying, referring to mining, that “it’s not that hard to dig a hole”…a comment which interestingly echoes Michael Bloomberg’s assertions about farming–“I could teach anybody, even people in this room, no offense intended, to be a farmer…You dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, add water, up comes the corn.”  (Bloomberg also made similarly dismissive remarks about manufacturing jobs)

On the other hand, a post at the Seeking Alpha investment blog asserts that Contrary to Rumors, the Biden Administration is Not Abandoning Lithium–that on the contrary, they want to expand both domestic and international supply of this material.  (The author of this piece also notes critically that the Reuters article did not reference a single named source.)

But even if the Biden administration does throw some money at domestic mining and processing, environmental objections and litigation are likely to slow things down considerably…a Trump-style president might be willing and able to blow past such constraints, but Biden/Harris, given their dependence on their party’s extreme Left, will likely find it easier to placate environmentalists by combining a US emphasis on vehicle electrification and “green” energy with a de facto sourcing policy of acquiring most of the relevant materials from outside the United States–including China–which allowing most US mining and bulk processing initiatives to bog down in red tape.

Here’s a follow-up article from Reuters.

As the IEA article notes, “green” energy represents a shift from a fuel-intensive to a materials-intensive energy system.  Few of the prominent/influential advocates of such a shift seem to have given much thought to where those required materials might actually come from.

Wind and solar are more capital-intensive than are fossil-fuel power sources, and mining requires considerable capital as well.  It seems likely to me that the worldwide push for “green” energy and electric vehicles will drive enough capital demands–whether via government or private financing–to have a material upward impact on interest rates.

Welcome to Section 22 Week’s Sixth & Concluding Post

Welcome to the sixth and final Chicagoboyz post (Feb 24, 2021) in the “Section 22 Week” count down to the 24 Feb 2021 premiere of the Bilge Pumps podcast with the Section 22 Special Interest Group e-mail list. Today’s post will include slides 72 through 82 of 82 of the Section 22 Powerpoint information packet.
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These “back up slides” slides cover Section 22’s interactions with the US Navy over IFF and the utter disaster of the capture of the submarine USS Darter’s technical library by the Imperial Japanese Navy in October 1944.
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You won’t find that disaster in any US Navy institutional history, classified or unclassified, on what the US Navy lost that day.  That is not how institutional histories work.  Institutional histories are all about glorifying the institution and its leaders while naming scapegoats and throwing shade at other institutions, with the classified histories detailing the “shade.”  That is why you have to go to the declassified US Army ULTRA history “SRH-254 THE JAPANESE INTELLIGENCE SYSTEM MIS/WDGS 4 September 1945”, to find any details on the  Japanese haul of intelligence from the grounded US Navy submarine USS Darter.
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    Page 53 (62)

   “One of the most important discoveries of captured documents was made
by the Japanese Navy from the U.S. submarine Darter, which ran aground
west of Palawan on 23 October. The Japanese recovered many documents
    dealing with radar, radio, and communications procedure, as well as
    instruction books, engine blueprints, and various ordnance items.

 

It is difficult to evaluate the intelligence which the Japanese have
obtained from documents, but in those cases here it has been possible
    the information has been found to be relatively accurate.

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USS Darter (SS-227) grounded on Bombay Shoal off Palawan on 4th patrol, 24 October 1944

Figure 1: USS Darter (SS-227) grounded on Bombay Shoal off Palawan, the Philippines on 4th patrol, 24 October 1944. The shell holes from a Japanese destroyer, several US Navy submarines, and a Japanese air attack. This included 55 point-blank hits from the 6-inch deck gun of the Nautilus (SS-168) on 31st October 1944.  Unfortunately, Darter was boarded prior to that shelling by an away team from a Japanese destroyer and the entire unburned contents off her classified  technical library were seized for analysis by Imperial Japanese Naval Intelligence. Visible on the top of the conning tower are the undamaged radar, radio and identification friend or foe antenna’s. Photo credit — Navsource.org

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See my Chicagoboyz post here for a more complete telling of the Darter’s lost classified documents story:

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The Grounding of USS Darter — A Case Study of an Operational Security Disaster
October 29th, 2017
https://chicagoboyz.net/archives/56192.html

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The Bilgepumps podcast is now posted, see–

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Bilgepumps Episode 38: Section 22 – The Forgotten Electronic Warfare Superstars of WWII and the Historians who are changing that
FEBRUARY 24TH, 2021