, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The horrific bombings which took place recently at the Boston Marathon are the most significant terrorist attack to have occurred on U.S. soil since 9-11. My condolences go out to the innocent victims. Ideologies of any sort can be twisted to justify abhorrent acts. This terrorist act opens up old wounds for an Empire which in the last decade has gone on the offensive, spending vast resources on foreign wars and a security and surveillance state. Even with such Herculean expenditures, the asymmetric nature of terrorism demonstrates there is no foolproof solution for preventing such acts. The perpetrators spent perhaps a few hundred bucks on their homemade bombs, and we spend incalculable multiples of treasure and blood in return. This was really the goal of Osama bin Laden – to draw the Empire into costly wars and expenditures of life and limb. As has been stated by others, the best that can be hoped for from a military standpoint is to keep terrorist groups in a constant degraded and disorganized state. As much as left-leaning individuals as myself like to point out the foreign policy “transgressions”(to put it mildly) of the American Empire, decades of capitalist imperialism will never be put back into the bottle. Such bombings are pretty much daily occurrences in war-ravaged Iraq and Afghanistan as well as other areas of the Middle East. Our incursions into those countries only seem to have fueled the fire.

A law enforcement official had some interesting info on the bombings:

…A preliminary analysis of the bombs, which went off near the race’s finish line on Boylston Street, suggests they are similar to the improvised explosive devices found in war-torn regions like Iraq and Afghanistan, the law enforcement official said.

“The shrapnel, the simplicity of it — it’s something right out of the Iraq War. A basic roadside bomb,” the official said.

That “basic bomb” can be seen in the design of the Boston bombs, the law enforcement official said: pressure cookers stuffed with nails, ball bearings and other projectiles, and hidden in black duffel bags left near the 26.2 mile mark in the race.

What appear to be fragments from a pressure cooker were recovered at the scene, along with BBs, nails and black-nylon fragments possibly from a bag used to house the device, the FBI said.

Black explosive powder and a circuit board believed to have been used to detonate the bombs were also found, the federal official said.

Similar explosives have been used in third-world hot spots from South Asia to the Persian Gulf, and one of the devices used in the botched bombing of Times Square in May 2010 employed a pressure cooker.

The Pakistani Taliban, which claimed blame for the 2010 Times Square attempt, said it had no role in the Boston attack, according to The Associated Press.

A 2010 bulletin issued by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI warned pressure-cooker bombs are as easy to transport as they are to conceal.

“Terrorists can exploit the innocuous appearance of easily transportable items such as pressure cookers to conceal IED components,” the alert said. “Placed carefully, such devices provide little or no indication of an impending attack.”

That some victims lost limbs in the blast puts the device “into a powerful class,” said John Goodpaster, head of the forensic science program at Indiana UniversityPurdue University, and former chemist with the federal bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Goodpaster said the blasts appeared to be from a “high explosive of some kind, military explosive, commercial explosive or improvised explosive.”

The sooner the world can get off MENA oil, thereby pulling the plug on the financial network of terrorist groups, the better off we’ll all be, not to mention our indispensable biosphere.

According to Wikipedia resources:

…Saudi Arabia is said to be the world’s largest source of funds for Salafi jihadist terrorist militant groups, such as al-Qaeda, the Afghan Taliban, and Lashkar-e-Taiba in South Asia, and donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide, according to Hillary Clinton.[1] According to a secret December 2009 paper signed by the US secretary of state, “Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaida, the TalibanLeT and other terrorist groups.”[2]

The violence in Afghanistan and Pakistan is partly bankrolled by wealthy, conservative donors across the Arabian Sea whose governments do little to stop them.[1] Three other Arab countries which are listed as sources of militant money are QatarKuwait, and the United Arab Emirates, all neighbors of Saudi Arabia…

In an encouraging sign, The small country of Portugal is now running its economy on 70% renewables, serving as a role model for the rest of the world.

…Actually 70 percent isn’t unheard of for Portugal. For a few hours in 2011, Portugal was entirely run on renewable power. Yet this was the first time so much was sustained for a quarter.

Portugal’s investment in modernizing its electricity grid in 2000 has come in handy. Like in many countries, power companies owned their own transmission lines. What the government did in 2000 was to buy all the lines, creating a publicly owned and traded company to operate them. This was used to create a smart grid that renewable energy producers could connect to (encouraged by government-organized auctions to build new wind and hydro plants)…

Of course planet Earth has an avalanche of environmental problems coming to a head in the near future (all caused by humans, mind you), but it’s good to see some accomplishments in at least one area of human impact – reduction of fossil fuels – even if it may be too little, too late.