"Little Fallujah" opens in Arkansas

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"Little Fallujah" opens in Arkansas

Postby professorpan » Mon Feb 20, 2006 4:26 pm

<!--EZCODE AUTOLINK START--><a href="http://www.nwanews.com/adg/Business/146323/">www.nwanews.com/adg/Business/146323/</a><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK END--><br><br>Additional note: in light of the current UAE deal to own several major U.S. ports, I find it interesting that Olive Group is based in UAE also -- see: <!--EZCODE AUTOLINK START--><a href="http://mae.pennnet.com/News/Display_News_Story.cfm?Section=WireNews&SubSection=HOME&NewsID=130043">mae.pennnet.com/News/Disp...sID=130043</a><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK END--><br><br>MARION — Surrounded by cotton, rice and soybean fields, an exotic oasis is rising in east Arkansas: nine square blocks of downtown Fallujah.<br><br>Builders have begun moving dirt for a streetscape modeled after the war-ravaged city in Iraq, complete with a bazaar, a traffic circle, office buildings and a school, all in Middle Eastern architectural styles.<br><br>This Little Fallujah will even include the bomb blasts and flying bullets.<br><br>“We’ve got to give them what they’re going to experience overseas — there’s no pretending,” said Alan Brosnan, the former New Zealand Army assaultgroup commander who is overseeing the transformation of a 700-acre patch of Delta farmland into a training ground for modern urban warfare.<br><br>Olive Group, a British firm that supplies personnel and combat training for armies and corporations in the world’s scariest hot spots, plans to open the first three blocks of its mock city this summer.<br><br>It won’t be the only foreign war zone open for business in Arkansas.<br><br>At “Little Mogadishu” in North Little Rock, students rappel from a helicopter perched on a 40-foot stanchion and work through a maze of concrete huts and alleyways, shooting at targets and blowing open doors.<br><br>Direct Action Resource Center, which opened the 740-acre urban-combat training facility in 1996, gets nearly all its business from the military and other federal agencies, said founder Richard Mason. He declined to name customers or discuss contracts, but said the business is profitable.<br><br>“It’s been a major growth industry since 9 / 11,” Mason said.<br><br>Iraq especially has been a bonanza, as the government agencies and corporations rebuilding the country have spent hundreds of millions on protection.<br><br>With the windfall have come questions about the conduct of private companies undertaking missions traditionally the province of the military. Critics have also questioned sums paid to some contractors, such as Halliburton, hired to support military operations.<br><br>The Government Accountability Office reviewed U. S. contracts last year in an attempt to evaluate the size of the privatesecurity business in Iraq. The GAO found that the 22 contracts it reviewed were worth more than $ 766 million, but said none of the principal agencies responsible for Iraq reconstruction had complete data on their security costs.<br><br>Doug Brooks, president of the International Peace Operations Association, a Washington-based trade group, estimated that the roughly 100 companies providing support to the military in Iraq are making a total of about $ 20 billion a year. He said some $ 2 billion of that goes to companies, such as Olive, that strictly provide security. Olive Group pulled in more than $ 100 million of it last year — not bad for a company in business only since 2001, Brosnan said.<br><br>QUIET NEIGHBOR The stocky New Zealander, who sports a mustache as thick as his Kiwi accent, founded the Marion training center 15 years ago, as the Tactical Explosive Entry School. The center occupied only 16 acres and was training SWAT teams and military special-operations personnel when Olive bought it last fall for an undisclosed price. Olive also opened a Washington, D. C., office to help establish a U. S. beachhead for operations that span six continents. The company, which maintains its headquarters in Dubai, United Arab Emirates may not be as well-known as its main U. S. competitor, North Carolinabased Blackwater USA. But, internationally, Olive is one of the largest in the business, touting a client list that includes major multinational corporations in mining, banking, communication and other industries.<br><br>In Marion, the company quickly acquired 700 acres around the original 16, and is negotiating for 300 more. Its facility, which has been renamed Olive Security Training Center, is about four miles from the location identified for a potential Hino Motors commercial-truck plant.<br><br>“I think people are vaguely aware it’s there,” said Kay Brockwell, economic-development director for Marion, who worked to recruit Hino but said she knew little about the training center. “It’s in an area that’s off the beaten path. Unless you’re going there, you wouldn’t see it.”<br><br>But the frames of bulletproof shoot houses, firing ranges and other structures are rising on the site. And Olive has already christened the 2-mile track where drivers will learn to shoot guns out car windows, ram enemy vehicles and dodge obstacles such as simulated rocket-propelled grenades and improvised explosive devices.<br><br>DRIVING AND SHOOTING Alan Minnick, training manager for the driving courses, floored the accelerator, rocketing backward in his police-package Ford as if to escape an unexpected roadblock. Suddenly, he slammed on the brakes and wrenched the wheel. The squealing Crown Victoria pivoted sharply and kept going in the same direction — only now pointed forward. A staple of action-adventure movies, Minnick’s “J” turn would appear to be the gut course in the driving curriculum. “Another important, extremely marketable feature is being able to drive and shoot,” the instructor said matter-of-factly. Trainees will fire at targets while speeding over a course with a straight-away long enough to hit 115 mph in a standard police sedan. But drivers will have to negotiate surprises, such as “off-camber” curves — banked in the wrong direction — and “decreasing-radius” curves that begin gently only to bend sharply at the apex. “This is reality when you get to Third World countries where they don’t really have highway departments,” Minnick said. On a skid pad, drivers will create and correct skids. They will learn to ram enemy cars in such a way that they can break the opposing driver’s axle without disabling their own vehicles. “We tear up some cars in the name of training,” Minnick said. Hidden behind berms in the infield, Minnick can deploy attack vehicles and burning vehicles as part of driving scenarios. The training center plans to combine the work on the track with exercises in the bulletproof “shoot houses” and “breach houses” under construction nearby. There is a school bus for hostage scenarios. Plans call for a model ship for maritime exercises. An existing airstrip — once used by a crop duster — will accommodate landings. But the hub of all operations will be the mock city.<br><br>MEETING A NEED Conducting a military-style briefing in one of the classrooms on site, Brosnan crisply described details of the fullscale streetscape as electric guitars wailed a Sammy Hagar soundtrack and a computer model flashed highlights: a peddler’s cart, a tower, stairwells leading to the rooftops of buildings as tall as four stories.<br><br>The details are authentic down to the curbs, Brosnan said. The mock city is an extract of Fallujah flavored with architectural impressions that military personnel now working for Olive brought back from other Middle Eastern trouble spots.<br><br>Burning cars and role players wearing Middle Eastern garb will animate the set.<br><br>The bullets whizzing in the mock city will be real, as will the explosions. But Brosnan said not to worry: “We don’t set up mininukes here. This is small, surgical stuff.”<br><br>Gary Laing, vice president of operations, said private versions of such urban-training villages — called “MOUT” sites for Military Operations on Urban Terrain — are in demand partly because the military’s own training facilities are stretched to capacity. “We see the opportunity to provide a service,” he said. The military has its own mock villages on Army and Marine bases, but private companies can win contracts with specialized training that complements what the military does, Laing said. For instance, he said, the military farms out a lot of its specialized driver training. In a recent press release, Olive touted its planned Arkansas center, saying it will be larger than similar training sites on U. S. military bases, and the first to replicate building types and logistical layouts found in the Middle East.<br><br>AFTER IRAQ ? But people in the business acknowledge demand will fall off when the U. S. pulls out of Iraq. “One of the reasons we came to the States is to diversify, and not be reliant on Iraq as a source of funding, because — let’s face it — eventually that has to go away,” said Mike Smith, senior vice president in Olive’s new Washington office.<br><br>Olive recently won its first U. S. government contract — as a subcontractor to Bechtel Corp. providing security along the Gulf Coast. But the company’s big play in the U. S. is training, said Smith, who like many Olive employees signed on after a stint in the U. S. Special Forces. “They’re outsourcing more of their training — the facilities and instructors,” he said. The military’s own expansion plans eventually may shrink the need for private contractors, however.<br><br>In Twentynine Palms, Calif., the Marines are building a huge urban-combat center that the February edition of National Defense magazine said may be the biggest in the world. The Marine center, in the Mojave Desert, ultimately will consist of several complexes of buildings all modeled after Iraqi towns and villages.<br><br>Susan Horsfall, whose California-based Allied Container Systems got the contract to build a 22-square-block facility on the site last summer, said government purchases of Allied’s steel containers for such training grounds have grown to represent most of her company’s business over the past year.<br><br>“It’s because of all the new wars we’re having, unfortunately, including the war on terrorism,” Horsfall said. “They’re not being fought on historic-type battlefields. They’re being fought in cities.”<br><br>Laing said most urban warfare training sites around the country are outdated, however, and the number of soldiers needing the training is still high. He said Olive also hopes its expansion of the Marion training center will build more business with police agencies and attract a corporate clientele that it hasn’t had before. <p></p><i></i>
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Re: "Little Fallujah" opens in Arkansas

Postby marykmusic » Mon Feb 20, 2006 9:24 pm

Arkansas. Of course. Ever since Dogpatch had to close down (we lived a few miles away at the time) because the fancy theme parks at Branson MO were taking all the tourist money, Arkansas had to come up with another type of theme park... --MaryK <p></p><i></i>
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Re: "Little Fallujah" opens in Arkansas

Postby StarmanSkye » Mon Feb 20, 2006 10:44 pm

Two things come immediately to mind:<br><br>How fucking, incredibly obscene.<br><br>and: Father, Forgive them for they know not what they do.<br><br>I couldn't even force myself to read the whole article.<br><br>This 'project' will be used to train, or rather condition, trainees to commit war-crimes without question, using a model village where war crimes by US troops became routine, facilitating familiarity and muscle-memory reflex of the kind that shoots first, since such a low, low value is placed on ordinary Iraqis whose injury is discounted as collateral damage -- there's just no accountability.<br><br>Yah -- Lucrative 'industry' alright.<br>Starman <p></p><i></i>
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Let's Just Keep Telling Ourselves....

Postby Floyd Smoots » Mon Feb 20, 2006 11:09 pm

....We're the sane ones here. We're the sane ones here. We're the sane ones here. We're the sane ones here. We're the sane ones here........This Is NOT A Re-run of "The Twilight Zone"........this is merely a "Screaming Me-me Paradigm Shift" and if we just remain calm, we will all get through the storm just like every movie & TV hero & heroine that we have ever seen on our "non-controlled" screens for most of our "non-controlled" lives. Relax, people! Have some more popcorn. Have a little more beer or wine. Have another joint. Try a little of this blow. Snort a little of this crystal meth. Just a little bit of this crack or smack won't hurt a bit.<br><br>The waiter said, "Try it, you'll LIKE it! So I tried it........Thought I was gonna DIE!!!"........but that was only an old Alka Seltzer commercial. What did they know???<br> <p></p><i></i>
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Military humor?

Postby nomo » Tue Feb 21, 2006 2:24 am

<!--EZCODE QUOTE START--><blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>The bullets whizzing in the mock city will be real, as will the explosions. But Brosnan said <!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>not to worry:</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--> “We don’t set up <!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>mininukes</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--> here. This is small, surgical stuff.”<hr></blockquote><!--EZCODE QUOTE END--><br><!--EZCODE EMOTICON START :| --><img src=http://www.ezboard.com/images/emoticons/indifferent.gif ALT=":|"><!--EZCODE EMOTICON END--> <br><br><br> <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://p216.ezboard.com/brigorousintuition.showUserPublicProfile?gid=nomo@rigorousintuition>nomo</A> at: 2/20/06 11:29 pm<br></i>
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Re: Military humor?

Postby StarmanSkye » Tue Feb 21, 2006 5:16 am

"We don't set up mininukes here. This is small surgical stuff."<br><br>Implying perhaps that mininukes WERE used 'there'?<br><br>Bad enough (ie., excrutiatingly, devastatingly, horribly) the US military used several types of horrendous weapons of indiscriminate effect in Fallujah that entailed official denial, cover-up, and post-conflict cleanup or environmental mitigation -- which it's certain won't be represented in the 'model' training-version mock-up, Fallujah, Arkansas.<br><br>For instance -- The US military used white phospherous purposely as anti-personnel weapons, which by any kind of moderately rigorous review of relevant international statute seems to clearly be a prohibited Chemical Weapons application. At first military spokesmen denied reports and as reported by George Monbiot in the Guardian, that WP was even used at Fallujah, but later 'corrected' itself saying it was used as per its 'intended' use, ie. illumination and smoke-cover to hide tactical troop movement. But this was inconsistent with first-person claims by US troops on military blogs enthusiastically attesting to its devestating battlefield effect in smoking-out stubborn 'insurgent' positions and having a huge psychological impact. While not anything close to a mininuke, the military's determined use of WP despite it's potential for political criticism and its controversial status as a prohibited weapon with war crime implications shows the Pentagon would be unlikely to refrain from using ANY weapon in their arsenal -- especially given the whole attitude of the Bush Inc. crew, with complicity of a servile Judiciary, an intimidated Congress and warcrime-enabling Attorney Generals preaching a novel theory that grants the US and its defense industry exemption from international laws, agreements and treaties.<br><br><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK START--><a href="http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/2/20/45756/6926">www.dailykos.com/story/20...45756/6926</a><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK END--><br>--quote--<br>If you watch the RAI video of the nightime WP "dusting" by helicopter launched (not mortar or gun fired) "improved" WP (probably in 5 inch (130 mm) dia rockets, MK 34 mod 0 or MK34 mod 2) of the Fallujah neighborhood, you will notice they first launch an illumination flare that hangs high and lights the area at which they are aiming the WP rockets.<br><br>After Fallujah operation was over, US decontamination units came in and scraped up the the surface soil and pressure washed off the habitable buildings remaining in the areas these weapons were used. <br><br>That speaks volumes about the nature of the WP use in Fallujah, the specific US intent in using WP in populated areas, and the real reasons they excluded independent medical teams and international observers from reentering the city for a long time afterward.<br><br>by shumard on Tue Nov 15, 2005 at 08:02:38 AM PDT<br>--unquote--<br><br><br>Along with daisy-cutter bombs and White Phospherous rounds and a large variety of Depleted Uranium weapons, thermobaric (air-fuel) munitions are some of the most horrendous engines of death and destruction the US has used in Iraq (and Afghanistan; theres some evidence the UK may have used DU and thermobaric munitions also, despite MoD denials). Apparently, the US DoD has been developing a new, improved generation of thermobaric weapons tailored for specific applications -- and which was used in Fallujah. Numerous <br>reports from Fallujah during and after the US's murderous seige last year have noted patterns of destruction not readily accounted by explosive-bombs and incendiaries. It would seem that the Pentagon effectively enforced a stringent information lock-down to shield its use of newly-developed thermobaric weapons. I don't recall seeing any reports of the following information which I just found in researching more reports of military decontamination of Fallujah -- which I HAD read in the alternative press almost a year ago.<br><br><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK START--><a href="http://www.defensetech.org/archives/001944.html">www.defensetech.org/archives/001944.html</a><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK END--><br>--quote--<br>Marines Quiet About Brutal New Weapon<br>War is hell. But it’s worse when the Marines bring out their new urban combat weapon, the SMAW-NE. Which may be why they’re not talking about it, much.<br><br>This is a version of the standard USMC Shoulder Mounted Assault Weapon but with a new warhead. Described as NE - "Novel Explosive"- it is a thermobaric mixture which ignites the air, producing a shockwave of unparalleled destructive power, especially against buildings.<br><br>A post-action report from Iraq describes the effect of the new weapon: "One unit disintegrated a large one-storey masonry type building with one round from 100 meters. They were extremely impressed." Elsewhere it is described by one Marine as "an awesome piece of ordnance."<br><br>It proved highly effective in the battle for Fallujah. This from the Marine Corps Gazette, July edition: "SMAW gunners became expert at determining which wall to shoot to cause the roof to collapse and crush the insurgents fortified inside interior rooms."<br><br>The NE round is supposed to be capable of going through a brick wall, but in practice gunners had to fire through a window or make a hole with an anti-tank rocket. Again, from the Marine Corps Gazette:<br><br>"Due to the lack of penetrating power of the NE round, we found that our assaultmen had to first fire a dual-purpose rocket in order to create a hole in the wall or building. This blast was immediately followed by an NE round that would incinerate the target or literally level the structure."<br><br>The rational for this approach was straightforward:<br><br>"Marines could employ blast weapons prior to entering houses that had become pillboxes, not homes. The economic cost of house replacement is not comparable to American lives...all battalions adopted blast techniques appropriate to entering a bunker, assuming you did not know if the bunker was manned."<br><br>The manufacturers, Talley, make bold use of its track record, with a brochure headlined Thermobaric Urban Destruction."<br><br>The SMAW-NE has only been procured by the USMC, though there are reports that some were 'borrowed' by other units. However, there are also proposals on the table that thousands of obsolete M-72 LAWs could be retrofitted with thermobaric warheads, making then into effective urban combat tools.<br><br>But in an era of precision bombs, where collateral damage is expected to be kept to a minimum, such massively brutal weapons have become highly controversial. These days, every civilian casualty means a few more “hearts and minds” are lost. Thermobaric weapons almost invariable lead to civilian deaths. The Soviet Union was heavily criticized for using thermobaric weapons in Afghanistan because they were held to constitute "disproportionate force," and similar criticisms were made when thermobarics were used in the Chechen conflict. According to Human Rights Watch, thermobaric weapons "kill and injure in a particularly brutal manner over a wide area. In urban settings it is very difficult to limit the effect of this weapon to combatants, and the nature of FAE explosions makes it virtually impossible for civilians to take shelter from their destructive effect."<br><br>So it’s understandable that the Marines have made so little noise about the use of the SMAW-NE in Fallujah. But keeping quiet about controversial weapons is a lousy strategy, no matter how effective those arms are. In the short term, it may save some bad press. In the long term, it’s a recipe for a scandal. Military leaders should debate human right advocates and the like first, and then publicly decide "we do/do not to use X". Otherwise when the media do find out – as they always do -- not only do you get a level of hysteria but there is also the charge of “covering up.”<br><br>I'm undecided about thermobarics myself, but I think they should let the legal people sort out all these issues and clear things up. Otherwise you get claims of “chemical weapons” and “violating the Geneva Protocol.” Which doesn't really help anyone. The warfighter is left in doubt, and it hands propaganda to the bad guys. Just look at what happened it last week’s screaming over white phosphorous rounds.<br><br>-- David Hambling<br>--unquote--<br>*****<br>Talk about rightwing self-righteous disconnect feeding the 'They are Bad-- We are Good' meme (in which the warhawks and their sycophant apologists show a gross inability to even IMAGINE what it would be like to have a superior-force foreign army occupying their neighborhood and nation, acting like even more arrogant, reckless lawless thugs than anything previous --<br><br>--quote--<br>GOP strategist Rich Galen, commenting on the Abu Ghraib scandal: “I’m still waiting for anyone in the Arab world to apologize for the four Americans who were attacked, burned, hacked to pieces and dragged through the streets [of Fallujah]” (New York Post, 7 May 2004)<br>--unquote--<br><br>Let's see -- at roughly 130,000 Iraqis killed vs 2300 US/Allied troops, the ratio is about 56 to one. . .<br><br>I'd say the warhawks are seriously behind in the 'apology' racket -- and gettin' further alla time.<br><br>And so it goes ...<br>Starman <p></p><i></i>
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