Khalil Gibran Muhammad, a professor of history at the Harvard Kennedy School who studies truth and reconciliation efforts from Belfast to Rwanda, believes that memorializing victims of structural racism is an important part of a larger movement of racial reckoning in the U.S. but that memorials alone are “insufficient to the harder work of transforming a society.” These efforts don’t go far enough, he told me, because they are too “passive” and easy to skip. He cited the importance of Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial being placed in the heart of downtown, and said that memorials need to “confront the spatial segregation that exists” and “penetrate areas that people cannot avoid.” A museum in Africatown, he worried, would allow people to “opt out” of learning about the history of the Clotilda.
Stevenson, the civil-rights lawyer and founder of the national lynching memorial, addressed this problem by adding a second set of steel rectangles to the memorial, each one representing a U.S. county where lynchings took place. He invited the respective counties to claim their monuments and to establish a memorial on their home ground to lynching victims. He also required each county to demonstrate that its community was taking steps toward economic and racial justice before acquiring its column. The unclaimed monuments that remain on display at the national lynching memorial serve as a reminder of the lack of redress across the country.
In 1915 a man named Winston Churchill funded development of a novel giant “landship” concept meant to break through trenches, barbed wire and machine gun nests.
Prime Minister Herbert Asquith received a suggestion from a colleague: “It would be quite easy in a short time to fit up a number of steam tractors with small armoured shelters, in which men and machine guns could be placed, which would be bullet-proof. Used at night, they would not be affected by artillery fire to any extent. The caterpillar system would enable trenches to be crossed quite easily, and the weight of the machine would destroy all barbed-wire entanglements.” The writer was Winston Churchill. His letter marked the first step toward the practical evolution of the tank in World War I.
Initial engineering, of what essentially was an armored Ford tractor, impressed the British War Office so much by February 1916 they ordered hundreds built under the strictest secrecy.
In other words the “landship” concept was prohibited from being called that in order to deny German spies any insight. A “Landships Committee” had been flagged by late 1915 as a risk — requiring rename. A senior officer (likely Major General Ernest Swinton) then proposed documents and designs use instead the phrase Water Carriers (WC).
Churchill (and others) supposedly reacted to this with such laughs, given the idea of government committees and departments using the comical initials WC (toilet), that a synonym was immediately injected — the result was “water tanks”. A Tank Supply (TS) Committee was deemed acceptable as cover for quickly increasing “landship” production.
An alternative story (always possible given such secretive history) is that shop orders managed by Sir William Tritton (landship designer and builder) used the phrase “water carrier for Mesopotamia” while managing hull production (developed in secrecy and only later to be mounted).
Either way the super secret project went from WC to WT. And that’s how the codename was born and continued onward… water obviously had to be dropped once people realized what was being built, and to this day we still say tanks.
Fast forward to WWII and Prime Minister Churchill told the Americans shipping tanks to Britain that they needed to use a simple name convention.
The British took the American M3, for example, and named it a General Grant. An American configuration of the M3 was named the General Lee. There’s a lack of documentation for how and why Lee’s name was brought in *cough* to honor segregation/racism *cough*.
Several of [America’s] most prestigious army posts honor the enemy. The War Department named them during WWI and WWII when the army was a segregationist institution, and the South was a racial police state. Black people did protest these names, but they had been violently excluded from voting and could not change it. But to me it’s outrageous that the US Army, the most diverse workforce in the country, honors the enemy. An enemy who fought for slavery and killed US Army soldiers. […] Lee served in US Army for over 30 years before choosing treason to preserve slavery.
Because the M3 configuration assigned to Americans (a turret change obvious to any onlooker) was called the Lee, it meant British associated Grant’s name to their own deployments, which seems exactly backwards except for the part about winning battles. Grant was one of the best generals in history. Lee was one of the worst.
You have to wonder why any American even at this time would agree to serve in a tank named for their historic enemy, the awful and traitorous General Lee. Even if very overtly racist British military officers had named it as such, who enabled them? Lee was undeniably racist and pro-slavery, a ruthless butcher who tortured and killed American soldiers, even murdering POW, earning a record that should have made him unsuitable for any recognition.
Historian protip: Churchill was an opportunist racist. His opinions of Lee not only were wrong, but also reinforced Churchill’s own worst facets. For example when Churchill proclaimed he “did not really think that black people were as capable or as efficient as white people” his views of Lee gained important context.
…we need not, and should not, object to the Americans [segregating] their coloured troops.
Did anyone feel a need to object to Americans being put in a tank named after their enemy? Perhaps the U.S. Army should have instructed the War Office to name their M3 the Napoleon.
Churchill also is said to have removed “General” from names of tanks as he believed it a source of confusion in discussing military events.
After the M3 Grant, came the M4. Churchill apparently had declared by early August 1942 as it arrived into Egypt (codename “Swallow”) that this new tank would be named for General Sherman. He did not want to use what he called the “gibberish” of American tank designations (e.g. the American Medium Tank M4 to M4A4 variants were renamed the Sherman I to V).
General Sherman was one of the best in American history, and he had served under the best (Grant), so such naming makes sense from that perspective. In addition Sherman had a rather important ethical advantage over the enemy.
His logic was indefatigable — bring peace quickly that would quell the heart of pro-slavery militias, end their domestic terrorism that had plagued America for decades.
Now, my friends, I know there are parties who denounce me as inhuman. I appeal to you if I have not always been kind and considerate to you. [Cheers.] I care not what they say. [Bully for you and cheers.] I say that it ceased to be our duty to guard their cities any longer, and had I gone on stringing out my column, little by little, some of your Illinois regiments would not have come home, but would have been crushed. Therefore I determined to go through their country, and so I took one army myself and gave my friend George Thomas the other, and we whaled away with both. [Loud cheers.] Therefore we destroyed Atlanta, and if we had destroyed all the cities of the South in order to bring about the result in view it would have been right. [Loud cheers…] Now I can go, and anybody can go with a single horse a way out to the limits of Kansas, or even to Colorado, without an escort, and that too at the close of a long and terrible war.
The considered thought about stability, prosperity and preservation of life comes through from Sherman as fundamentally opposite to the disloyalty and barbarity of Lee.
Sherman’s ethical foundations in war were to engage in the destruction of enemy infrastructure (constraining enemy ability to produce war) as far better than any loss of human life.
He endeavored to quickly end what he cited as inherent cruelty of war through decisive force as quickly as possible, focusing on what really mattered.
Union military strategy thus emerged not only victorious but also morally superior to the infamously selfish and corrupt Confederate Generals: in Sherman’s view the southerners should have been far less “outraged” when their “property” was seized or destroyed and far more concerned about the human beings they enslaved, murdered and sacrificed needlessly.
It’s not just history though. An important dichotomy highlighted by Sherman still is found in America even to this day. When “Black Lives Matter” groups protest loss of human life they run into denouncement from groups concerned primarily that streets are being blocked or damage was done to a car or building.
On the eve of the battle of El Alamein, Egypt in October 1942 over 250 American M4 Sherman tanks made their combat debut in the forward elements of the British Eighth Army. It was a decisive battle and turning point in WWII. From that point on Shermans helped drive Nazis completely out of Africa, before rolling across the world as one of the best tank designs.
General Sherman in 1864 had helped end the world’s first concentration camp. Then 80 years later in 1944 the M4 tanks named after him helped liberate concentration camps… thanks to Churchill.
Ukraine Just Captured Russia’s Most Advanced Operational Tank: The T-90M is the latest main battle tank to enter front line Russian service, and one has now been captured by Ukrainian forces.
Perhaps it is easy to see why Russia’s “most advanced” weaponry would be just a sitting duck, empty and silent, for its alleged targets as they approached.
This tank’s crew had been abandoned by Russia long before they climbed out and walked away from their poorly maintained armor in a feckless “action”. I’m sure they were thinking “if this isn’t a war, then why am I being asked to die in this dumb box”.
The Ukrainian army’s counteroffensive around the city of Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine starting on Sept. 6 destroyed half of the best tank division in the best tank army in the Russian armed forces. A hundred wrecked or captured tanks in a hundred furious hours. That’s how much destruction the Ukrainians inflicted on the Russian 4th Guards Tank Division, part of the elite 1st Guards Tank Army, the Russian army’s best armor formation.
A large amount of the “most advanced” technology by Russia in their “best armor formation” was toast within a few hours.
Russia’s Best Tank Destroyed Just Days After Rolling into Ukraine […] Kyiv first reported the presence of the T-90M in eastern Ukraine on April 25.
There’s no need to get into the weeds on why this tank is terrible, I mean beyond understanding that Russia delivers sub-par engineering, with unreliable service/support, and non-existent ground leadership (a norm in dictatorships).
From an engineering quality and safety perspective you might say Putin is on par with Musk, driving a Russian tank in Ukraine is about as safe as being in Tesla on public roads.
Difficulties fielding the latest and greatest tank led Russia to pivot from the T-14 and reinvest in older T-80s and T-90As. […] “China and Russia are still operating under a three-man crew mindset and maintaining an auto-loader system,” Sgt. Emmett Fulgham, a tank gunner with 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, told Coffee or Die Magazine last summer. “We have a four-man crew with an actual human loader. Most loaders can do their job in five seconds on a bad day but usually in under four. Russian tanks still take 10 seconds to load, if not longer, so for every round they get off, we can fire two or three times.”
Read that again just to be clear on this point. And especially keep in mind Tesla CEO’s false promises of a future with no need for human interaction with machine.
Over-confidence in full-automation has led both to difficulties in the latest generation of technology achieving readiness. And even if it goes to full production in real-world conditions (battle deployment for T90, public roads for Model 3) it’s not even on par with more-reliable higher-performance human-centered augmentation machinery.
Bodies recovered from mass burial site in liberated Ukrainian city ‘show signs of torture’. More than 400 bodies said to be buried at site, including women and children, with Ukrainian president likening discovery to massacre of Bucha.
When any real resistance shows up — military force of trained soldiers and modern weapons — the Russian bully melts into a puddle or runs away.
Russia’s latest response to all this, in light of a very public melt-down, brings us to yet another empty-sounding move.
Any Russian citizen who is in the reserve can receive a call-up notice. Basically, this can be any man up to the age of 60. “There haven’t been cases like this in peace time, yet by law it is possible. Generally, soldiers and junior officers in reserve are called up. […] “There is no criminal responsibility for refusing the call-up. Just an administrative warning or a fine of up to $10,” Murakhovsky concluded.
I guess it’s still worth noting from 2018 that Putin is legally allowed to try and get military reserves to fight during peace-time (keeping up the ruse of not being at war with a foreign country while sending soldiers to predictable death in one) and that there’s no penalty for refusing such a suicidal call.
On that point, here’s the actual September 2022 news story about Putin flaunting a call to action.
One-way flight tickets out of Russia began to rapidly begin selling out following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement of a partial military mobilisation to call-up 3,00,000 reservists to shore up Russia’s manpower-depleted forces fighting a floundering war in Ukraine…. searches for Aviasales — Russia’s most popular platform for purchasing flight tickets, with a monthly audience exceeding 15 million users — spiked considerably immediately following Putin’s announcement.
The migration data is important. It’s a superb counter-argument to hawkish analysts who try to float things like “at some stage, all the ‘dumb Russians’ will be dead and a few good generals will ultimately become replacements”.
Uhhh, nope. Smart Russians are either leaving, if not already gone, or desperately trying to appear dumb to avoid being seen as a threat to Putin.
Perhaps we can say it’s like the American Civil War where Generals on a rather stupid side of fighting to expand slavery became dumber and dumber (brutal, petty and useless) as time wore on.
Soon headlines should read something like this (puns obviously intended):
Put-in something they don’t want, Rushin’ to get away
It all shows how Putin’s attempts to play his best hand instead has repeatedly revealed major weakness of the dictator.
“The whole system is in shock and what makes this situation worse is the absolutely inadequate reaction of Putin personally,” [ex-speechwriter to Putin] Gallyamov told CNN, adding that when Putin “is in shock himself” and “doesn’t know how to act,” the Russian leader “is trying to show that nothing bad is happening.”
New studies are confirming that ultra-processed foods are harmful, which was expected, but in ways that may have no better solution than better transparency leading to bans.
…researchers have theorized that ultra-processed foods increase inflammation because they are recognized by the body as foreign – much like an invading bacteria. So the body mounts an inflammatory response, which has been dubbed ‘fast food fever’. This increases inflammation throughout the body as a result.
How do they classify a food as ultra-processed?
These foods are also not labelled as such on food packaging. The best way to identify them is by looking at their ingredients. Typically, things such as emulsifiers, thickeners, protein isolates and other industrial-sounding products are a sign it’s an ultra-processed food. But making meals from scratch using natural foods is the best way to avoid the harms of ultra-processed foods.
Processed means not raw or made from raw ingredients — many stages of complicated processing such as the industrial polysaccharide polymer “guar gum” often found in inexpensive dairy products to transform their viscosity (prevent proper crystallization and melt).
While it’s true labels on food packaging don’t say processed, when you see ingredients on food more than six things long… you’re typically getting into processing.
Ice-cream for example should be a short list such as this Strauss label:
That company is yelling at you for a reason. Their label is in fact revealing a huge difference from a list of ultra-processed ingredients like this:
Basically if you see guar gum in ice cream it’s a symptom for you to run, don’t walk, away from its ultra-processed “viscosity” not to mention all its other questionable additives.
That might sound like a new idea but it reminds me of a 1516 “purity law” from the Bavarian city of Ingolstadt, which said beer can only contain barley, hops and water (yeast was later added).
Initially this allow list was only within the Duchy of Bavaria and it gradually expanded across German states becoming a modern German law in 1906. Talk about precedent…
The first battle of El Alamein in July 1942 was a clear victory by British forces against over-stretched, exhausted and poorly organized impatient Nazi invaders. Battalions of M3 “Grant” Lend-Lease tanks ripped apart Rommel’s best armored divisions as he predictably advanced from the south below Alam Halfa Ridge. The second battle would be an even bigger victory thanks in part to disinformation tactics.
At the start of the summer the Nazis had been confident they would be rolling into Egypt. General Rommel was so unrealistic about the situation that by the end of June Mussolini himself flew into Libya (under Italian rule) expecting to join a victory parade through Cairo.
Yet General Rommel’s hot-headed and poorly constructed strategy of attacks stalled in a disarray and his propaganda became seen as a laugh. Mussolini in July high-tailed it home as Nazi leaders began to waffle and flail. From this point on the Axis rapidly would be pushed back until entirely out of North Africa.
The man appointed to do it was Britain’s General Montgomery who was set on August 13 to command the Eighth Army. His entrance was something of a shake-up, a move reminiscent of 1917 in WWI when General Lord Edmund Allenby landed as Commander of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force.
Such tactics were back on the table for British planning, as Montgomery decided disinformation would be essential to victory in a second battle of El Alamein. In fact, he would repeat much of the tactical strategy used in WWI — deceive and offset, weaken with artillery, surprise and smash through.
The connection to Allenby’s WWI campaigns was no coincidence for the British in El Alamein. The head of British deception in WWII arguably was Field Marshall Lord Achibald Wavell (British Commander in Chief in the Middle East 1939-1941). He served as a senior officer under Allenby in WWI and thus was well aware of what had worked before and where.
An early WWII test, for example, was the decisive 1940 victory for the British at Sidi Barrani. Successful plans (Operation Compass) were credited to Wavell’s deception expertise. His intelligence operations definitely made a big impression.
Wavell had enabled just 2 divisions (less than 50,000 ready under General O’Connor) to confidently head into battle against over 300,000 Italian soldiers in Egypt. Using an old Allenby WWI tactic, he faked British troop movements and generated bogus radio traffic to suggest they had started relocating out of Egypt and into Greece.
Total surprise was the result. After three months in 1940 just 500 British were killed yet 10 Italian divisions had been destroyed and over 100,000 men taken prisoner.
Fast forward two years, the 6th of October 1942 was the day Montgomery ordered disinformation to be fed to the Germans.
There were no survivors; one fatality in particular that worried Allied commanders was a courier who carried sensitive documents about [November 1942] invasion plans for North Africa, called Operation Torch. Allegedly those documents didn’t leak yet it was this incident that inspired Allied intelligence to attempt an intentional leak.
Some readers also may recall that February 1942 was when the British were ignominiously defeated in Singapore due to significant intelligence failures, not least of all reallocation of its own tanks coupled with allegations that the sound of enemy bicycles had been mistaken for approaching tanks.
And on top of all that, “visual deception” had been formalized to confuse and disorient Nazi attacks.
In 1941 the filmmaker Geoffrey Barkas was made Director of Camouflage at General Headquarters (GHQ) Cairo. Among the specially trained Royal Engineers, camouflage officers under his command were artists, zoologists, and theatre and film set designers. Creative improvisation remained key to their success.
Thus in 1942 the British were thinking a lot about shifting from defense to offense and using deception methods to improve chances of success; how to give Rommel the impression of a large slow offensive to come from the south sometime in November, while actually it would come very quickly in the north weeks earlier.
Four elements of disinformation were set in motion for Bertram.
First, the mass of actual British preparations had to be hidden, such as extensive materials in movement around the north.
Second, all the preparations had to appear much slower than reality by a factor of several weeks.
Third, a fiction of British preparations for an attack from the south had to be convincing.
Fourth, during the actual attack along the northern shore there would be sea-borne tactics to distract and disorient the Germans.
The most complicated of these was procedures to conceal actual equipment and men in the north. Mechanized tracks for thousands of tons had to be erased, stacks of supplies had to be minimized. Painted canvas (another Allenby tactic, although dummy horses in WWI) created “dummy trucks”.
Guns and tanks were covered over before sunrise to become invisible by aircraft. Many real trucks also were staged ahead of time so they could be swapped with the canvas ones concealing arrival of more tanks, for example.
Water was of course essential to any bluff in the desert, as Allenby’s WWI disinformation tactics also had demonstrated so well. A fictional assault launch point in the south was set as a target for a fake water pipeline to work towards. It was very openly built using a timeline meant to attract German observation. It was hoped the Nazis would think pipeline status was how they should estimate a attack from the south sometime in November.
The clever efficiency of the fake pipeline was how it reused a small section of props (disused cans) over and over again. A trench was excavated during the day next to materials only to be filled in again at night. This gave the appearance of forward movement to airborne observers. The operation slowly shifted like this indicating progress without any pipe being laid at all.
Another overt procedure by the British was moving tanks during daylight to attract attention. At night these tanks moved forward elsewhere to be concealed, and their last positions filled by dummy tanks coupled with noisy wireless signals to convince Germans of slower progress.
All the emphasis on a southern front and late attack then led to yet another deception tactic when British forces began their actual attack in the north along the coastline. Fast boats fitted with loudspeakers played recordings of battle sounds to give the impression of flanking by an amphibious landing. This also helped serve as disinformation related to November plans in Operation Torch amphibious landings.
Montgomery’s operation worked as intended. The Nazis were unprepared and disorganized, shortly in retreat.
The third phase of the battle, ‘Break-out’, was fought between 1 and 4 November 1942, when Montgomery, judging Rommel’s forces at breaking point, ordered the final blows against them. By 3 November it was obvious that Rommel was preparing to withdraw, and the next morning the 5th Indian Brigade attacked, driving a wedge through Rommel’s front, thus enabling the 1st and 7th Armoured Divisions and the 2nd New Zealand Division to go in pursuit of enemy forces, now in full retreat. In Britain, the church bells were rung for the first time since May 1940 to celebrate the Eighth Army’s success which was, as Winston Churchill described it, ‘a glorious and decisive victory’.
British deception had worked so well it completely convinced Nazi observers they faced no threat at all in the north, right before they were attacked from the north. Montgomery faced difficulty, of course, yet his surprise tactics rolled quickly towards victory with troops in high morale laughing at Rommel.
Despite replaying a (modified) WWI strategy that had been widely discussed by the British themselves over the 20 prior years, Montgomery managed to achieve high shock value. Rommel by comparison was entirely predictable and defeated as such (although more research is needed to determine whether Axis communications, especially Italian, were decrypted at Bletchley Park and their North Africa campaigns had been totally compromised).
Perhaps then, even more to the point of security, the true triumph in deception under Operation Bertram may have been achieving such a level of secrecy that Allied plans were neither compromised nor even guessed.