Thursday, August 13, 2015

Did Russia Nuke Tianjin?

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Tianjin [天津市], a modern city of 15 million [New York has only 8 million] and major port in northern China on Bohai Bay about 90 miles southeast of Beijing, exploded near midnight, on 12 August 2015.  The city hosts nearly 300 of the Fortune 500 companies.

The body count continues, with 121 known dead and nearly 1,000 injured; at least 36 firefighters are listed as missing.

Renault cars to be sold at deep discount in US?
Property damage was massive, to include incinerated buildings, hundreds of shipping containers bent and twisted and tossed hundreds of feet, thousands of parked new Renault cars in a lot ready for shipment and turned to burnt out hulks, and fireballs consuming real estate in all directions.

The force of the blasts, according to the China Earthquake Administration, was the equivalent of two earthquakes, with multiple aftershocks.  The first blast registered 2.3 on the Richter Scale; the second was seven times the force of the first at 2.9 on the Richter Scale.  The blasts were so massive they were recorded by a Japanese weather space-satellite.


We have now received reports -- unconfirmed -- that the blast included a nuclear detonation, indicated by REM readings approaching 500.  [Maximum human tolerance for radiation is 5 REMs per year.]  The force of the blast seemed unreasonable had it been tied solely to a chemical explosion, even given the chemicals involved and the volume stored at the site.  The heat of the blast also seemed extraordinary, given that it either evaporated or melted steel, leaving molten steel puddles around the hulks of cars on the delivery docks.   

Molten steel from Tianjin vehicles

The melting point of steel is 2,750 degrees Fahrenheit -- which exceeds the constant heat of a chemical explosion.  

On the other hand, even a small nuclear explosion [e.g., suitcase nuke] would create an enduring fireball of 6,000 degrees Kelvin, or 10,340 degrees Fahrenheit, more than enough to melt steel and create the puddles of molten steel we see in post-blast photos.

 Notably, the blast site was cordoned off by the PLA and no news coverage was permitted after the uncontrolled access immediately after the blast.

Another massive explosion at a Chinese chemical plant in Runxing was reported on 22 August 2015, calculated at 3 tons of TNT recorded in Shandung Province, followed by a second explosion recorded at the equivalent of 21 tons of TNT.  Poisonous chemicals reported in the explosive mix included adiponitrile.

[We'll update as new reports arrive]

A devastating side effect of the massive blast at Tianjin and shockwave was the forced shutdown of China's Tianhe-1, the worlds fastest supercomputer, which consumes 9,000 square feet, and manages China's space programs.

Also shut down was the Tianjin assembly plant for China's super-sized space rockets, which were to be launched at Wenchang, the new space center.  The rockets would deliver all the components for the construction of China's first space station, due to be built in 2022.

The Peoples Republic of China [PRC], never recognized as a Bastion of Free Speech, has silenced social media users who have criticized coverage of this disaster.  "Posts condemning 'disgraceful' local TV coverage have been removed from Sina Weibo, China's Twitter-like micro-blogging platform as have posts suggesting that local authorities restricted international media reporting on the incident."

The owner of the 400,000+ square foot container storage warehouse and storage complex  which exploded is Ruihai Logistics, established in 2011, handles one million tons of hazardous chemical cargoes annually, including inflammable, corrosive substances, oxidizing agents, and toxic chemicals.  It has been cited for failing "packaging checks".  Most are stored in shipping containers -- many of which have exploded or are continuing to burn.  Some of the chemicals generate flammable gas when wet, an unanticipated consequence of firemen hosing down the fires - which instead of putting them out, exacerbated the explosions.  At least one Ruihai executive [its Manager] has been detained by police.

Among the many chemicals stored, processed, and shipped by Ruihai Logistics, were sodium cyanide, toluene diisocyanate, sodium nitrate, potassium nitrate, and calcium carbide.  Also on site were storage tanks of compressed and liquified natural gas.

We doubt the PRC will allow the full extent of this disaster to be disclosed - any more than the US government would allow details of a similar US disaster in the press.

For your reference
Ruihai Storage Complex before the blast
on the scope of this disaster, we're including a photo of the Ruihai Logistics site before the explosions.

This photo, of course, does not include the huge warehouses and stacked shipping containers holding the toxic and explosive chemicals; but, you get the idea, right?

What we've dared not touch on is the possibility that our friends in Russia may have become uneasy with China's expansion in the Pacific, what with their building islands to serve as military staging areas.

Those instant islands have become a sore spot for Asian countries such as Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, and of course, Australia, all of which still remember the discomfort of World War II.

But, it seems that China has not been content with just a bunch of instant islands, but is now building miles long floating platforms which could accommodate airstrips, docks, helipads, barracks, or even "comprehensive security bases", movable to make targeting more difficult.

Our Chinese friends, however, assure us that these platforms' principal purpose will be commercial; shopping malls, ski slopes, or, just tourist destinations.  Pay no attention to those radar domes; they'll just be tracking the tourist ships bringing hordes of tourist shoppers coming in for buying sprees on ..... the empty decks of these platforms.

Nothing to see here; move along, keep moving.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Martial Law?

The Pentagon has announced it is imposing a new level of censorship on the Press via its Manual of War, which categorizes journalists as potential adversaries, spies, and/or belligerents -- thus removing them from access to coverage of abuses within and by the Military, as well as accurate depictions of combat situations.  Is this a precursor to the imposition of Martial Law as we note unconstitutional Military [civilian law enforcement] exercises such as Jade Helm.

To be sure, we've had our share of irresponsible idiots, like Gerald Rivera, masquerading as journalists [we had to evacuate one embedded in our guerrilla unit in Southeast Asia when he panicked during a firefight, shrieking that his personal safety was in danger].

On the other hand, we've had a tradition of professional journalists, civilian and military, attached or embedded with our combat units throughout our history; their purpose, to keep America informed on how its Military family members were doing in the combat environment, and what the current war was/is all about.  Their reports ranged from frivolous pap, humor, pure documentation, or, hard-core blood and guts reporting showing folks back home that our combat troops are wounded, torn apart, mutilated, and sometimes die horrible deaths in combat.

World War II was covered by a variety of famous journalists, a number of whom were killed in combat.

Bill Mauldin and Ernie Pyle were two of the most respected journalists, with Mauldin most notable for his cartoon characters Willie and Joe whose stories were compiled in Mauldin's book Up Front, with Willie and Joe, featuring anecdotes and combat situations with which soldiers of any war can empathize.

Pyle was killed in 1945 when the unit [77th Infantry Division] in which he was embedded assaulted a Japanese stronghold [Lejima] near Okinawa.

Much of the horrors of war went unreported since the American public would be unable to stomach it.  Saving Private Ryan changed much of that with the Normandy Landing scene in which American troops were ripped apart on the beach.  Journalists were embedded with the invasion landing, and they took reels and reels of film both for historical reference and for eventual release to the public.

Following official review of these films, War Department Public Affairs officers decided the carnage was too gruesome, and announced that all the films had been contained in one bag which was accidentally lost at sea as it was hoisted aboard.  We're not sure where the films are housed today; perhaps in the national archives.  It would not be a stretch to suspect that Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks reviewed some of this footage to prepare the Normandy Invasion scene in "Private Ryan".

As on-the-scene reporting by journalists declined due to restrictions by local commanders, books and movie scripts were created by Veterans, giving us fairly accurate depictions of battles and combat conditions; movies like Full Metal Jacket, Platoon, We Were Soldiers, and Hamburger Hill, among others, provided first hand accounts not only of the combat, but also of the deadly errors and friendly fire strikes that are not uncommon on the battlefield.  Such accounts are rarely reported by journalists.

Do we need journalists embedded with our Military?

Of course!  It keeps our Military honest and in check.

For the most part, we can be proud of our Military's image as the friendly soldier helping out the down-trodden in oppressed areas.  Our favorite image is that of the average GI giving a candy bar to some little kid in a war-torn environment.  Our least favorite stories are about topics such as My Lai, or torture cells, or Abu Ghraib.

We recall conducting an interrogation [non-hostile] in Laos on a North Vietnamese Army [NVA] officer and asking him why the NVA insisted on torturing US PWs.  He was stunned, and retorted -- "Because you [the US Army] does it!"  We asked what he was talking about and recounted the story of an American commander who ordered his troops to cut off the ears of NVA dead and wounded to prove his "body count".  He noted it was even covered in the US Military paper "Stars & Stripes".

So, we called over to a friend in Saigon on a secure phone to learn more, and he sent over a copy of the Stars & Stripes with a headline story of Lt Col Henry Emerson [aka: The Gunslinger], a Battalion Commander in Vietnam who issued his troops hatchets to mutilate the bodies of Viet Cong and NVA troops to strike fear into them.

Oddly, Emerson was treated as a hero rather than a war criminal.  [We later served as a detachment commander under Emerson when he was the 18th Corps commander at Fort Bragg.]

So, even with Press coverage of combat, it would appear that some journalists self-censor to "get the good story."

In Laos, where we conducted "The Secret War" [which the VA still refuses to recognize], we provided an official brief to a credible young journalist on NVA Order of Battle, showing him specific areas of operation, identifiers of the cadre of each of the four NVA regiments, and aerial photography of the NVA regiments in battle formation.  At the US Ambassador's direction, we answered the journalist's questions in detail, and provided him all the information he requested.

We then transmitted his story to Time Magazine and waited anxiously for the published article.  Several weeks later, the magazine arrived, complete with story, which  bore no resemblance to the story the journalist had submitted.  He was shocked, and nearly in tears when he saw what his New York editors had done and swore to us he had no knowledge of their actions -- or motivations.  In essence, it turned out to be editing by an anti-war element in the newsroom.

The journalist swore off print Media and moved into the world of television reporting, and ended up as ABC's World News Tonight -- Peter Jennings.

We trust that this Military censorship concept is not a precursor to the imposition of Martial Law, and hope that at least some of our news Media has some degree of integrity and can publish fact to keep us informed.  Then again, we have the Internet as a fallback position.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Hillary vs Carly

We think Carly Fiorina would make a nice counter to the "WOMAN" candidate vote, which seems to be the allure to the Liberal Community.
But, in this case, 

1) Hillary, who has NO accomplishment as either a senator or the Secretary of State [ask her what she accomplished and she'll talk around it].  Her record, however is one of primarily scandal but also, incompetence
    (a) Benghazi 
         [It does make difference]
    (b) WhiteWater Scandal
    (c)  TravelGate
    (d)  FileGate
    (e)  Alleged money laundering through her Haiti 
         AIDS   foundation
     (f)  Foreign contributions to the AIDS foundation 
             in exchange for US business deals while she was SecState
(g)  Unexplained suicides and murders [50+] of opponents and critics of Bill
(h)  Security Violations as SecState

2) Fiorina, who has both success and failure under her belt as a powerful corporate leader

      (a) Fiorina joined AT&T as a management trainee 
           and rose to become a senior vice president 
           overseeing the company's hardware and systems
      (b) She led corporate operations for the spinoff from 
             AT&T of Lucent
      (c) President of Lucent's Consumer Products division
      (d) President of Lucent's consumer products business
      (e) Chair of Lucent's consumer communications joint
            venture with Philips consumer communications
      (f) Group president for the global service provider
           business at Lucent
      (g) CEO: Hewlett-Packard
      (h) Forced the merger with Compaq to create the largest
             computer company in the world -- with substantial
             employee growth.
       (i) Fiorina was the first woman to lead a Fortune 20 company

At HP, Fiorina
      (a) Shifted the emphasis from massive employee benefits to pressing 
            for financial performance
            [i.e., no more free rides]
      (b) Replaced profit sharing with performance bonuses - 
            only if HP met financial expectations
            [i.e., no more free rides]
      (c) Reduction in operating units from 83 to 4!
           [i.e., reducing massive bureaucracy to a manageable delegation
           of responsibility and authority]

The HP Board of Directors fired her following 9/11 and the economy's decline, causing a stock decline and reduced computer purchases by consumers.  As the economy declined, so did the fortunes of the company -- and she was a convenient scapegoat.  Oddly, all the changes that she wrought on the company have paid off in the long run, and HP is one of the most profitable companies in the US -- but recent CEOs have taken the credit.

She has been lauded for her dynamic leadership, but criticized for her lack of diplomacy in maneuvering corporate politics.

Would she be good as POTUS?
Likely not yet; but, as VP, she could be precisely the right person to reorganize the government!

Perhaps a Trump/Fiorina ticket?
First words after they are sworn in to the 0bama government leadership?