Another big scoop-o-news on all things common to 'military urbanism', the prosthesis of surveillance, border passwords and the absence of policy, and mapping the forcible evictions of a billion people.
All your base.
BLDGBLOG has an excellent follow-up on the newly renovated urban assault training complex at Camp San Luis Obispo, "a miniature city waiting for attack", and the Mobile MOUT program, the result of "a strange cross between Archigram and Dick Cheney." Similarly, on the other side of the pond is Imber, another "ghost village" designed to train soldiers for the state of urban warfare abroad. Then there is The Haditha, a town of 90,000 people only a three hour drive north-west of Baghdad, which has developed into a full blown temporary autonomous zone (TAZ) like Fallujah, totally independent of the central government's control and constitutional process.
Even though the Pentagon again defends a proposal for base closures, a national commission starts final review Wednesday on a plan that could erase 12 percent of jobs at bases across the Northeastern region, relagating the production of "base" to the southern parts of the country.
Access to base unclear While 39 undocumented workers were caught aboard Camp Lejeune and during gate security checks this week, the question remains: How, in this post-9/11 era, did those who aren't authorized to be in this country get inside a military installation?
Though there's one base President Bush has certainly stayed very clear of: that's right, San Francisco.
More on "involuntary parks" like the Green Ribbon: Borderzone between East and West Germany during the Cold War, stretching from the Baltic to the Franconian Forest, over 1,400 kilometers of unmolested plants and wildlife.
China, Russia Begin More Joint Military Drills: "The war games are the result of warming ties between former Cold War enemies Moscow and Beijing, motivated by growing concern about U.S. dominance of world affairs. China looks to Russia as a source of oil and gas for its booming economy and is spending heavily on high-tech Russian arms to back up its threats to invade rival Taiwan." - Guardian
Urban area in and around L.A. is most crowded place in nation: The urbanized area in and around Los Angeles has become the most densely populated place in the continental United States, according to the Census Bureau. Its density is 25 percent higher than that of New York, twice that of Washington and four times that of Atlanta, as measured by residents per square mile of urban land.
Rikerâ€™s Island; New York Neighborhood: "Like many a New York city neighborhood, Rikerâ€™s Island is a mix of transients and long-term, firmly entrenched residents. But this neighborhood is only
accessible by land via a single bridge in Queens.
Itâ€™s a self-contained community of some 16,000, boasting its own ball fields, chapels, grocery stores and barbershops, its own power plant, bakery, car wash, and greenhouse.
What makes this New York neighborhood unique is that Rykerâ€™s Island, Americaâ€™s largest penal colony, isnâ€™t a â€˜hood that most of its overwhelmingly black and latino residents choose to live in."
Concern Grows Over Islam Converts in U.S. Prisons
Flight of the Refugee
Water Is a Human Right: Activists around the world chant the slogan that "water is a human right." Yet more than a billion poor people in the world today lack access to safe drinking water. Twelve million of them die each year from drinking disease-contaminated water.
4,000 Central African refugees cross into Chad: Some 4,000 refugees from the Central African Republic have poured into southern Chad in the past week after fleeing attacks by armed groups, the United Nations said on Friday.
Eight mobile phones for every 100 people in Africa In many parts of the world, mobile phones aren't a convenient alternative to landlines but the only means of communication: they provide connectivity where there was none before.
PAKISTAN: Refugee camp closures to go ahead : An announcement was made in the first week of August that over 30 refugee camps with some 105,000 Afghans, located in the Kurram and Bajaur agencies of the western tribal belt would close by the end of the month.
Sudan refugees could return home in two years-UN : Around 4.5 million Sudanese refugees could return home in two years if foreign governments provide enough political and material assistance, the head of the U.N. refugee agency said on Tuesday.
Getting grounded in the post-hometown world: does this erosion of a sense of place matter? For throughout history, people have derived their identity in part from where they lived. Now, every year an estimated 45 million Americans move.
Robert Neuwirth wrote this article for the Washington Post 'The Plight of Squatters', and asks some good questions: "There is no mud hut utopia. But if society won't build for the mass of people, don't they have a right to build for themselves? If they are creating their own homes and improving them over time, then isn't there something good -- at least potentially -- about a community without water and sanitation and sewers? And shouldn't those of us in the comfortable classes stop complaining about conditions in the shantytowns and instead recognize squatters as impromptu activists who are building the cities of tomorrow?"
The BBC covers Zimbab's poor villages. And check out this article about Hopely Farm. A good piece here too: â€˜Operation Garakaiâ€™ just another government embarrassment!
Poverty on the Rise in the Netherlands : The most recent preliminary figures from the government's Bureau for Social and Cultural Planning indicate that at least 11 percent of the Dutch population, or between 700,000 and 800,000 households, lived in poverty in 2004, after the figure had declined steadily in the late 1990s to a low of 10.1 percent in 2000.
THE EARTH SYSTEMS KIT HOUSE: Financing, contract labor, and raw materials costs have taken their toll of the American own-your-own-home dream in recent years. At the same time, in an effort to seek a new, energy-saving route indoors, many people are now considering housing alternatives that once were shunned by society's mainstream.
New home on the prairie, a monument for the Homestead Act
mapping failed infrastructure projects in developing countries through IMF / WTO misinvolvement: He's heard it time and again from Western investors who have financed infrastructure improvement projects in developing countries. It goes something like this: Angry crowds protesting on the street. Political unrest. Governments caving in. Privatization failing. Money being lost. And, Henisz says, one last common denominator that made him more than a little curious: The involvement of the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank.
Project lets Army dig deep into underground data: Right now, the military uses only satellite imagery of the Earth to search for "potential underground mischief." Using the proposed program, the military would first scatter seismic sensors around the area to search, dropping them from the air or while on the ground. Then a soldier would shoot a rifle at a metal plate on the ground, causing reverberations anywhere from 20 to 200 feet into the ground.
Tunisia Muslims Must Carry Magnetic ID Cards To Enter Mosques For Prayers: The government of Tunisia has become a pioneer in innovative approaches to security. They have recently unveiled their latest invention to enhance security (of the apostate government, of course). Such an invention did not seem to have crossed the minds of the most powerful and resourceful security apparatuses in America, U.K., Russia, or even the Mossad. According to Al-Hadi Mehanna, Tunisiaâ€™s new interior minister, any one wish to pray in a Mosque will have to apply and obtain a personal magnetic card.
Government approves use of cameras in camps to control security situation: New inspection method expected to ease traffic situation at refugee camps
Video Surveillance Cuts Graffiti by 60%
Camcorder Guerillas is a Glasgow-based collective of independent, radical filmakers.
The â€˜Pinoy Big Brotherâ€™ nest makes a colorful dream home: The interior itself is a giant fishbowl, what with almost 30 cameras strategically installed to capture every activity of its 12 inhabitants. After all, this is the house that ABS-CBN built for its newest reality series, "Pinoy Big Brother." As you probably know, the show is the local version of the American hit "Big Brother," which has six women and six men living in a house together for 100 days.
Lockheed Martin Is Hired to Bolster Transit Security in N.Y.
Tighter Borders, or evolved Immigration Policy?
India-Bangladesh border firing stops, talks offered: Indian and Bangladeshi border guards negotiated a ceasefire on Saturday, halting a gunbattle that flared over disputed construction work along the frontier, an Indian official said.
International Border: Focus on policy, not fences, military, and state-of-emergency...
Proposed plan may allow civilian border guards to carry deadly weapons: Aug. 19: Should armed civilians be allowed to guard the U.S./Mexico border? Texas Congressman John Culberson and activist Frank Sharry go to battle over immigration on Hardball.
U.S.-MEXICO BORDER DISPUTES: The governors of New Mexico and Arizona have declared states of emergency in response to continued gang violence and drug smuggling associated with the flow of Mexicans illegally entering the United States. Two key players in the debate discuss the conflict and possible solutions.
Hacker underground erupts in virtual turf wars: Besides infiltrating computer systems, the viruses are now also designed to kill any other competing viruses in those systems. These skirmishes have gone on - quietly - for several years. Last week, for the second time in a little over a year, they exploded into public view. A worm dubbed Zotob infected computers at major media outlets, industrial companies, and San Francisco International Airport.
The Mine Wolf 'clearing landmines dead': "the first mine clearing machine that deserves this name"? The one that can clear land nearly ten times as fast as the best machines around, and 200 times as fast as people with dogs (the old-fashioned way)? Was it the US military, or any military, for that matter? No. The UN? No. A retired German engineer named Heinz Rath
swarm -robots, -intelligence, -systems, -militairy: Engineers at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration ... are testing a robot that they hope to shrink to nanobot size and eventually form what NASA calls "autonomous nanotechnology swarms" (ANTS). The researchers aim to give ANTS enough artificial intelligence to make smart decisions as well as know intuitively when and how to walk and swarm. (via javier)
shifting settlments to the west bank Isr/Pal
Disengagement officially complete : Israeli soldiers cleared two militant strongholds Tuesday without major violence, completing the country's historic evacuation of 25 settlements in the Gaza Strip and West Bank â€” the first time Israel has abandoned Jewish communities in lands the Palestinians claim for their future state.
Palestine: Historic Achievement, New Dangers: It is a political calculation to aggressively expand settlements in the West Bank, especially those surrounding Jeru salem, while abandoning isolated settlements that are difficult to sustain. While the media focus on Gaza, the construction of the three-story high Apartheid Wall, which makes ghettos of Palestinian towns and villages, will continue.(and many many maps)
Israel to continue building West Bank settlements
After Gaza pullout, a changed landscape: Much remains to be coordinated in the handover, from how to remove the rubble of the settlersâ€™ houses to the status of the border with Egypt and when Gaza will be able to open its airport.