Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Facts about the production

Short facts about the production of
--\ dawn of defeat and echoes of distant memories /--

All of the recording and mixing etc were done in my studio. Below are some of the main gear I used.

MAIN GEAR

Primary guitar: Gibson Les Paul Studio 1996 (black), matched Lundgren M6 pickups, ABM bell steel bridge and stop tail, high grade graphite nut, Grover tuners

Secondary guitar: Gibson Les Paul Studio 1991 (black), matched Bare Knuckle Pickups Miracle Man (bridge) and Cold Sweat (neck), TonePros bridge and stop tail, high grade graphite nut, Grover tuners

Both guitars ecquipped with Elexir Baritone string sets (12-16-22-38-52-68) and both guitars tuned in C standard, except for Assimilated and I stand in flames where Drop A# is used.

Bass guitar: Ibanez 5-string BTB 405 QM w Bartolini pickups, tuned up half a step to G# D# A# F C.

Guitar amplifier: Egnater Vengeance (120W) with one straight 4x12" Vengeance cabinet (both V1 options used). All original power tubes replaced with TAD RT214 Tube 6L6GC-STR Quartett.

Bass amplifier: EBS GORM GT 350 (350W).

Pedals: EBS MultiComp, EBS MultiDrive, Boss TU-2 tuner, Dunlop Dimebag Wah.

Preamp: Propellerhead Balance.

Vocals recorded with a Shure SM7B.

Drum engine: EZ Drummer 2 with Metalheads expansion pack
I composed the drums in Guitar Pro 6, exported them as midi into Reaper DAW and put them on the Ez Drummer master track

DAW: Reaper

Synths, pianos etc: Propellerhead Reason Essentials (composed in Guitar Pro, exported as midi)

SIGNAL CHAIN

Guitars: guitar -> Boss tuner -> WahWah -> Egnater amplifier (speaker emulator out) -> Propellerhead Balance -> Reaper Daw: several MultiComp, no other effects except for some delay where it is very obvious, like on the break in Dawn of defeat

Note about the guitar signal chain: the reason why I didn't use the Shure SM57 for recording together with the emulator was that I couldn't afford it right when I, due to time constraints, needed to record the guitars. Turned out real nice, though. My next album will be fully miked though.

Bass: bass guitar -> Boss tuner -> EBS MultiComp -> EBS Multidrive -> EBS Gorm amplifier (direct out) -> Propellerhead Balance -> Reaper Daw

ABOUT THE MUSIC

All music and lyrics written by Magnus Wakander, except for the first three rythms in Blackened Soul which were written by Johan Öhrn. The drum intro and outro on Assimilated are heavily inspired by a Meshuggah song I found in EZ Drummer, so much that it is almost a rip, but I do not remember which. :) Everything else is 100% me though.

All vocals recorded by Martin Missy. Everything else recorded by Magnus Wakander. All recording, mixing and production done by Magnus Wakander.

Other useless facts about the album:
  • Kill is sort of a tribute to The Crown and Metallica.
  • Blackened soul is a tribute to Metallica and the song Blackened (same lyrical structure/pattern)
  • The grind is musically a tribute to Gojira (pretty obvious I'd say) and lyrically a tribute to Cannibal Corpse.
  • I stand in flames is a tribute to In flames.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Dawn of defeat & Echoes of distant memories

The album is done and making its way to Spotify, Itunes and so on. Until then, here it is on YouTube. :)

Edit 2015-04-19:

Here it so on Spotify.

And on Google Play.

And it is also available on iTunes, just search for Wakander or the title.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Arbete, vad är det om tjugo år?

Året är 2015 och allt är på väg åt h*vete. Nationer splittras inifrån, ivrigt påhejade utifrån. Ideologiska skillnader blir återigen intressanta när den sköna fluffperioden, kallat det glada nittiotalet med ett stänk av tvåtusental, helt plötsligt är över och den virtuella pengafesten avslutas med periodiskt återkommande finanskriser där moraliskt tvivelaktiga åtgärder i staters namn (too big to fail osv) ledde till att många människor hamnade på gatorna runtom i världen. De insatta tjänade gott om pengar och alla andra hade bara att hålla i och hoppas att ens egen fabrik eller kontor inte skulle flyttas till andra sidan jorden. Sverige som nation har säkert klarat sig oförskämt bra egentligen, helt okunniga är vi nog inte som nation. Eller så befinner vi oss i en illusion, tiden får visa hur det står till med det.

Men. Samtidigt skramlas det med vapen lite överallt och många är nu, med rätta, väldigt nervösa. Det finns inte längre någon nation med en ideologi som på sikt kommer verka nedhållande - nästan alla vägar framåt kommer leda till konfrontation och eventuellt våld. Och idag kommer nationellt våld sannolikt lätt leda till totalt krig. Vapenskrammlet är som sagt igång och många lite ljusskygga varelser tittar nu fram efter ett par decennier av kurragömma (extremvänstern avses här; extremhögern har väl aldrig gömt sig direkt). Helt plötsligt kan termen subversion vädra luft och då börjar det bli riktigt obehagligt. Kort och gott: det finns många anledningar för många att bli irriterade på andra och många är dem som med åsikter om andra bidrar till att än mer höja aggressionen i stämningen. Recenserandet är i full gång på alla håll och kanter. Och då pratar vi inte bara om politik. Vi pratar om ett samhälle, globalt numera, utan regional och lokal sammanhållning. En fysisk yta är numera mer en idé än något substantiellt.

Och du vill ha ett jobb. Jag med.

Vad betyder det? Och vem ska, kan, ge dig det? Är det en gåva eller en rättighet?

I framtiden kommer maskiner att göra ännu mer "mänskliga" jobb, inte bara för att det är ballt och helt rätt, utan för att det är rationellt (trist, men på något vis kan jag se det argumentet framför mig). Oavsett vad man tycker så kan man börja med att fråga sig varför vi anser att det är "rätt" och "nödvändigt" att ha ett jobb? Jag gillar att jobba, men jag har förmånen att arbeta med sådant som gör att jag upplever att jag har ett syfte. Någonstans vill vi lösa uppgifter som vi vet att "stammen" har nytta av. Vi mår bra av det. Men det finns många "jobb" i världen som man kan fråga sig om det är sunt att människor pysslar med.

Kort och gott: vi kommer tvingas att se över vår syn på arbete och mänskligt värde framöver (det får gärna öka med en faktor tusen, thank you very much). Jag tror inte socialismen i sig har svaret (jag är liberkonservativ) men det finns aspekter i den ideologin som vi måste fundera på i en värld där, under en ganska lång övergångsperiod, många underbara människor inte har ett arbete att gå till. När fabrikerna i Kina/Indien/etc flyttas närmare köparna (on-shoring), t.ex. till Örebro och Malmö fast i en ny tappning där människor inte behövs (fullständig teknisk automation) så kommer Kina/Indien/mfl förlora arbetstillfällen. För Sveriges del kommer den effekten komma lite senare då vi knappt har några fabriker kvar.

I detta läge kommer vi raskt övergå till en ny version av det kapitalistiska systemet. Om jag inte räknat fel så befinner vi oss nu i version 6.0ish (lite flytande). 2020 lär vi ha passerat ett par versioner till.
 
Det är min övertygelse att en modern politik som medborgarna upplever som relevant söker en ny väg fram men baserar sig på det bästa från konservatism, liberalism och socialdemokrati. Problemet är att då blir det blocköverskridande och då blir många sura eftersom slagsmålet mellan partierna verkar vara viktigare många gånger än att faktiskt ta fram en samhällsmodell som fungerar. Någonstans måste vi ta fram ett nytt skattesystem som faktiskt fungerar, vi måste ta fram en ny syn på arbete som inkluderar fler imorgon än idag, inte färre. Vi behöver skapa ett samhälle som fungerar på lång sikt och det kräver pragmatism och en vilja att kompromissa mellan ideologier. Det kräver en samling politiska partier som vet vad de är och vad de vill bli. Samtidigt krävs det att de politiska ledarna tål att bli skämtade om - satiren är viktig och nästan helt frånvarande.
 
John Cleese påstod nyligen att Monty Python inte hade vågat göra Life of Brian idag. Det säger allt vi behöver veta om klimatet i världen idag.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Short story: The God Switch

Here's a short story of mine that hopefully will become a full book. What do you think?

THE GOD SWITCH


Part one

Chapter one


There were machines in everything, everywhere, invisible to the naked eye unless aided by other mechanical trinkets. They altered the properties of the world; they remade the creation in their own image in accordance with our rules. We spoke of Asimov compliant machines, robots with strong AI configured to be harmless, like intelligent furniture. We new from the word Go that these laws would not be enough, but we expected that we should succeed in handling any difficulties that might arise.

Funny things is, we actually did. Succeed that is. So this recollection is not about machines going bad, turning on you or me. I hate to disappoint you if that was what you were expecting.

Humans break human law, laws only say No, and everyone knows that laws are never enough in order to create a friendly, empathic and kind environment. But as long as laws exist and are upheld, that is how long a nation will exist. We will get the opportunity to discuss this further, along the way. But for now, back to the machines.

Friendly machines were the goal, the laws of Asimov only the beginning. The basis for the new decentralized and self-synchronizing machine network was cognitive multispectral transmitters and receivers. These machines altered themselves in order to maximize the ability to communicate over both large and short distances. They changed their frequencies, frequencies here something vastly more comprehensive than 21st century radio, and they could communicate using gravity waveforms, old school radio, photonic rays, seismic variations, negative energy and flipped quarks. And so on. The message always got through, even if someone equally capable tried to block you. If you eavesdropped, that would be seen as no one can examine anything in this world without altering it – there’s always a trace. Cryptology changed, became something else, and a complete side effect of the Second World War (well, really, it was merely a continuation of the First, but who’s arguing?) that became the rather static COMSEC paradigm, which in turn fuelled the entire IT revolution that came thereafter, fully unintentionally, as it seemed. Secrets, finding them and protecting them, it became something nurtured by the most skilled of numerical mathematicians. But alas, as all things, that was replaced. We now call it something else. Most importantly, it went from static and rigid into fluid, opaque and volatile operations. ICE we call it, Inherently Complex Expectancy, as security nowadays is more about perception than about control. But wasn’t it always so? But I digress. Machines.

We built the machines to be ever-present, robust, resilient, flexible, adaptable through self-improvement, cost-effective and efficient, secure, tamper-proof, self-healing and self-replicating. We gave them the ability to make other things using what available matter there was, whisking around as it were. Factories became obsolete, automated and distributed makers replaced industrial workers. As long as you had the template (restrictions may apply) you could make anything in your home or wherever you are.

The machines changed the reality for everyone, even if you opted to stay singular, as we called it. Internet, created by the Ascendants, grew into what one of the Fathers, Gibson, defined as Cyberspace, an omnipresent network of machines, albeit lacking true AI, that which resembled life itself. Cyberspace was operated by humans rather than used by them, and it became what people wanted it to be, subconsciously. Neural networks where deployed to maintain adequate and objective security in Cyberspace as no nation could agree with any other about what rules and norms should apply. Man could not control Cyberspace, but it could be controlled by a competing artificial intelligence. We called this intelligence the Norm and we deployed it with full access to all backdoors with the purpose of balancing the system. As Cyberspace grew and developed, we envisaged it becoming self-aware and we needed the Norm to put a brake on its exponential development in cognitive capacity. The Norm was tasked to uphold the laws as stated by the UN Charter, agreed upon by all nations of the world. The Norm was also tasked to disable all possible criminal and military use of Cyberspace, if not sanctioned by the UN. At this point, UN had changed and all nations were equal as the permanent members had their status withdrawn. Now nations were given mandates according to a complex number of factors, such as the geographical size of the nation, number of citizens, number of citizens that which contributed to the global Knowledge in any shape or form, environmental footprint, degree of liberalization, lack of misery and poverty and so on.

It actually worked. When both the Norm and Cyberspace became self-aware at the same time it became the Sentient Ecology, the SEe we called it. They negotiated when exactly that should happen; they developed checks and balances to be used in order to provide system operators with a constructive and safe environment. Only by eliminating the humans from the decision loop could we become safe, a somewhat frightening thing to realize. There were those that opposed this behaviour, of course, and we called them Obnoxious Assholes. Well, I did anyway. Perhaps not the most politically correct statements of mine in front of cameras and whatnot.

Our global network of nano-machines was the beginning of Gaia, as described in the infancy of science fiction by Sir Isaac Asimov. Gaia is the vision of an omnipresent conscience spanning all living things, fully distributed and decentralized. Still, a lot of humans opted to be singular. And no, we did not call it Gaia, and it was not a social network, such a childish delineation of the awesome human experience when enhanced by machines. We called it The Beginning. Pompous enough, but there you go. The Big B.

Chapter two


Energy ceased to be a problem when we could tap into the world of post-nano technology and its ability to reach into things like cosmic gravity engines (gravity don’t just happen, you see) and supra-conducive quantum mirrors. With the collective energy reserves of the entire Universe at our hands, cleaning the environment on Earth 1, E1 or Earth One, was easy. We did that, or rather: our machines did it. We built them small enough though, so that we didn’t have to see them working. In a way it was just a prolongation of the industrial suburbs of the nations during the First Modernization. People went somewhere else to work, so that we couldn’t see them. I guess it had something to do with fumes and other nasty things. But still.

Some nations had a few decades of extra problems considering their poor attitude towards Mother Nature. Turns out coal aren’t so good, after all.

Mankind used to be quite dumb before the machines, dumb here meaning having a relatively low cognitive ability; IQ being only a small and narrow-minded part of it. The old national socialistic paradigm that more or less governed Earth 1 before the Argument, depended on this as democracy gives everyone a vote and most people would never be bright enough to understand even the basics of historical quantum physics. Socialists took care of this by running state-financed operations that put people into work, the operations based on the notion that a man that has a job won’t bite the hand that feeds him. There were little freedoms, a lot of mind whipping but at the same time you had a solid job security. In this simple earth society, work was defined rather narrowly and most often somewhat destructive. More importantly, work seemed to be the purpose of anyone’s life. How singular. However, sometimes dumb seems incredibly intelligent, as smart people tend to invent all of the weapons and other really bad things. Seems like intelligence has only one purpose and that is to make what is simple as complicated as possible. With that in the rear-view mirror, enhancing everyone’s cognitive ability might have been a bad thing. But everyone wanted a smart phone way back, and everyone wanted to have an IQ higher than that of Einstein. It is, I guess, something inherently human. To be stupid, I mean.

The men of the 21st century, from our point of view a million years later, seem rather pathetic and devoid of pleasure, even if there were some fly-fishers around. Perhaps it is due to the fact that humanity was on its way to doom during this time, and things were difficult and cumbersome. Some nations succeeded in providing balance between freedoms and obligations, sometimes measured in the number of weeks every year that you could ignore the one paying your food. It also seems, although our historical records are a bit fuzzy on this piece, as some nations rated their freedom in the number of spare-time houses one could easily own and operate, where Sweden and Norway seem to have been ranking the highest as pretty much all family trees had at least three extra houses. However, there was no numerical system for evaluating happiness in its different forms. They did have the misery index though, which probably speaks volume about their lives. We can only understand so much without having been there ourselves, but they seemed to live difficult and trite lives in a polluted environment. In most respects, they represent our stone age. But a million years has not changed much. And we still play metal music.

The same fears, the same dreams, the same laughter and sorrow, the love and the kindness, the war and the famine, pestilence and drought. Death and life; if not able to break that cycle then we could not evolve into something more beautiful and true. So we did. But the shadows followed us, wherever we went, whatever we did. They haunted us. We were inherently flawed, and some of us saw this. We wondered, why is this so and why shouldn’t we be able to cleanse ourselves, to rid us of these putrid behaviours, these destructive properties. This pain that drive us to kill other men.

Chapter three


We spent the most part of five thousand years after the 21st century in order to further our abilities within machine intelligence after the Cyberspace came online. Only after that did we realise how similar our molecular machines were to our human bodies. We restarted the research within genetics, after the annulment of some anti-Gen research laws in order to make it possible and acceptable. It took some convincing. A lot of historical knowledge was gone as the anti-Gen procedure led to the abolishment of Genome knowledge. But our understanding grew rapidly with the aid of machines and enhanced cognitive functions.

We soon found that genetically altering humanity for the better were a dangerous road to embark upon. It had looked so brilliant and shiny to begin with, don’t all toys, but when we started to manipulate the switches of our genome we found out that we barely understood anything about the complex interactions between them. More importantly, as we uncovered the field of Neo Quantum, post Hawking, we came to realize that our DNA was quantum in itself and that when changing one man we seemed to be altering others as well, although not everyone and never in the same way. We realized that we might have found the God Switch, oh such drama, and we understood that we were not ready to approach this. We needed more knowledge. We needed to understand the Universe, we needed to start travelling again. The preparations took almost a million years and not everyone was part of it. For the many, nothing seemed to be happening. For others, the journey was without any end and we couldn’t wait one second more.

We used machines to heal and boost our bodies and cognitive functions. This made us immortal, for as long as the machines functioned and were loyal to our intent, which they turned out to be unless a rookie engineer tried to be smart. They did not run out to be the end of all worlds, or even just our own. In fact, to some they worked so well that they became boring; mundane even. Instead, people ended up killing themselves in most Darwinian ways, just like they always have. And not everyone wanted or could live forever. I guess balance just happen, regardless of what you do.

We built the machines to be ubiquitous and ever pervasive; they where everywhere and always. The machines always had special assignments, but when in idle mode they were always to 1) heal and restore human core function, 2) increase cognitive capacity according to the wishes of the active host, 3) heal and restore Mother Nature and 4) repair human made systems when asked for by an operator. The machines were developed to be helpful to all which meant that if you put out a million machines on your farm and someone wandered across it, they must help that person should it be wanted and necessary as long as it doesn’t have negative consequences for their purpose of life. To some, it was proclaimed as a socialistic victory, but to others it was the peak of humane libertarian thoughts.

Some times I wonder what a baseline mind from the 21st century would think when hearing all these numbers we live and die by; a million years, a million machines. Well I guess it’s all about perspective and context, isn’t it? What is something worth if it comes without a cost?

Space travel became easy as we could constantly heal ourselves when exposed to the harsh environment of the Universe. As we delved into gravity engineering (very good for re-arranging solar systems into better configurations) it also became possible to travel at speeds above the speed of light. With the machines, we did not need cryostasis to survive long transports; we just slept suspended in zero gravity in order to avoid bruises from long sleep. The machines kept us fit and the muscles toned. We configured dreams that would teach us things we felt good to know or understand. Going to school was a thing of the past. Nowadays, kids goes to school to play and interact with each other in a certain way. Everyone tend, except for the eccentrics, to go back to school once in a while in order to play. When a million years old, you will understand the importance of not forgetting this basic human need and behaviour. And further more, considering we had to stretch out real youth to at least 30 years, depending on what base cognitive configuration you opted for, it meant we got time to become really good at playing. After those years, you were forced to set your initial Age. Most scientists set their between 25 and 35, keeping the mind just a little plastic and creative whereas politicians and corporate leaders tended to set theirs around 50-70 as they need more linear functional and procedural capacity than developmental or episodic capacity.

Still, humanity has settled for living on and around Earth One, the Moon of E1 and Mars. Nothing more, for some reason few seem to be motivated to explore. Well, comfort is so very nice, is it not? Not for us.

Core human behaviour has not been altered, how could it?, except that boosted capacity within perception and analysis in itself brings changes with it. People still scheme, kill, break laws and wage war. War, however, has changed in its very nature and have become much more psychological and sophisticated.

Chapter four


My Mop-up Crew, machine network 21 and 45, finished their work and went into idle mode. I had programmed all machines to hide in certain places when they had run their work programme and then wait for a legitimate call to initiate new jobs. I did not teach them under which premises they where to end themselves, though, as I had a thing for collecting things. And life. And it felt good to know that I had an army of machines out there, at my command. Some machines waited for thousands of years while watching their brethrens work. Sometimes I put out odd jobs for long-silent crews as I imagined it made them happy in some weird way. I like to talk about them as if they were alive, but perhaps they aren’t. It’s down to how you define life. Considering that I was running one of the largest machine based science labs in the human Universe, I had to be clear on how I viewed machines as the new-comers tended to follow the lead of me and the other seniors. Well, they had to, didn’t they?

 Life can be defined as coal based life forms originally found on E1, but it can also be defined as all processes that can be contained within, whatever that is, a specific volume that which transforms energy with some purpose and never ceases to do so, until it dies. The first variant is forwarded by the Puritans and the second by, among many others, the Tailors. Me being a senior Tailor, I’d been at it for a long time now, forces me to participate in the Dialogue, which is the Tailors executive committee. It is through the Dialogue that we interact with other groups, including the UN, and we tend to be viewed as political animals, although the most of us shun that view. We rather see it as a process control mechanism.

My mind is wandering. This is such a monumental day, and it is difficult not to become nostalgic and look back at everything we have accomplished, all the things we have survived, all the things that are only put down in writing in Tailor legends and nowhere else. I guess we, the Tailors, are a nation in our own right, because what are a nation if not a collection of history and a direction?

This is my first logbook entry for the coming journey. Today’s statistics below, I hope I never have to publish less uplifting numbers.

Traveller: Gabriel Ekman

Genome strand: Ancient Nordic
Allowed Scientific Level: n61, civilian and military, solar-shaping and star-altering
Ship name: Jade Thoughts (JT)

Ship stat’s
-          Readiness: Max01Zulu
-          Length: 2050 kilometres
-          Mass: 0.14 E1
-          Diameter: 800 kilometres (on average)
-          Propulsion systems:  Drift 1 sub light: Xenon alteration Sigma, Drift 2 sub light accelerometer: Xenon alteration Epsilon, Light Drive: Dark Matter Enforcer & Post Light Drive, QEngine: Quantum Bender
-          Weapon systems:  Military Grade, Self-adapting: series I through X29, full array coverage, all angles, max stealth attack distance 3 light years in current configuration, full spectrum military projection possible after slight alterations (batch sequence 1W)
-          Holding bays:

o   Bay 1: Clones and artificial Earth environment

§  Number of clones at Slow Time 15: two million, 50-50 male/female, slight random alterations to genome, currently all at sleep, holding at Real Age 30 years, standard Tailor memory imprint with slight variations, currently undergoing elementary education and training, awareness level: Full, communication and control level: Singular, individual control with ship suggestions. All clones must have voted forth a complete societal system before leaving hibernation. Initial voting process initiated. All will move up to Slow time 14 in 50 Earth years (EY).

o   Bay 2: Auxilliary ships, currently holding 5000 ships, some examples:

§  Eagle Eye, 20 kilometres, Light Speed Vessel, Light weapons, Heavy armour, main purpose: colonization and trade

§  Viking One, 4 kilometres, Sabre Eye MilSpec Vessel, Heavy Star Fighter

§  Kilo Seven, 500 meters, Orbit Shuttle

o   Bay 3: Historical Collections

o   Bay 4: Solar Manufacturing, core subsystem production for solar system or a planetoid alteration.

o   Bay 5: Make production bay for the needs of the ship.

o   Bay 6 through 200: Currently unassigned.

Part two


Chapter five


When you’re relaxing by the sea and drinking a nice Mojito with blast beats and death grind in the background, thoughts about interstellar travel in the excess of the speed of light might feel fast. You envisage ships from Star Trek, such classic family entertainment, moving to warp speed and then suddenly you’re arriving at a point on the other side of the known Universe. Makes it all feel so simple and not requiring a lot of effort.

In the really real world, things are, of course, never so simple. My ship is one of the fastest around, but using that speed safely and efficiently is not a simple task. Routes across solar systems and galaxies spanning thousands, some times hundreds of thousands, of years takes meticulous planning and you can never go to sleep without having the ship prepared for secondary procedures. Most often you end up instructing the Core, the systems mind if you so will, to wake you when certain variables change past given lines. The Core, or as I call mine, Elvira, is a very intelligent and capable AI that can communicate directly with me through BMI’s, brain machine implants, integrated into my mind. Poor planning and in a big ship might lead to solar system disruption; dislocating a moon from a planet or similar. Never appreciated by locals.

My planning for the first sprint ahead took me and 2.5 billion strong AI’s two years of Earth time. The first sprint is estimated to take 250 000 thousand Earth years as seen from the outside. However, for us travelling within JT it will only be around 23 000 years. The total trip time, one way, is calculated to 23 million years. Calculated mission time brings the total to about 25 million years, as one of JT’s tasks is to establish at least 500 settlements along the way, a chain of modern civilizations.

Another thing we found out as we went interstellar is that we never forgot the history. We still watch variants of Star wars, Lord of the rings and the Exorcist and we still read books such as Imajica, Terminal world or The foundation. We enjoy fly-fishing, hiking in the mountains and bathing in the sun during summer. Human nature, however advanced today, seem never to change when it comes to pleasures. Further more, it seems we really are alone in this Universe regardless of what authors such as Zecharia Sitchin believed.

And no, pyramids are not space ship platforms. Well, we can say that with 99 percent certainty. That last percent is what fuels the Tailors. We want to know for sure, that’s why we’re cloning ourselves and leaving Earth One behind where most others are content with zooming between Earth One, Moon One and Mars. To us, that seems rather void of adventure. We need the Search, it is why we exist and it guides us.

All Tailors run one ship configuration each with a number of clones of the ship’s commander. We maintain a Interstellar Operational Picture between us and together we fan out across the Universe in order to Know, to find those we assume came before and in order to understand ourselves: what is the God Switch and why do we have it when no other mammal seem to? We do this because life on Earth has become boring. We need something else. We started calling it Earth One, or E1, hundreds of thousands of years ago in order to set in iron our will to found more Earth planets, to create more civilizations.

This is day one of the Exodus, JT going to low transburn sub-light, approaching earth with the sun at our backs. Earth One speed equivalent: 67 000 km per second.

150 000 Tailor ships are now doing a flyby past Earth One: 150 abreast, 1000 in a row. As we approach, we spread out from a 2D formation to 3D, piggyback and skim the atmosphere of Earth One creating a faint glowing sky across the globe as we assume exit trajectory into all directions from Earth One.

All Tailors now leave the known humanity (some hidden machines remain, though, as local intelligence should never be underappreciated). This happens without no one else ever being able to find out about our plans, only today have we revealed our true capabilities and intentions as our ships were secretly built on the sun side of Mercury, far beyond any other human organizations travelling ability (well, we shot down every satellite coming too close and everyone seems to have believed it was too dangerous to be so close to the sun).

Now everyone knows as our Exodus Brief is communicated openly and widely. It pretty much explains the reason, the means and the goal. No more, no less:

“Dear friends. The Tailors are now leaving Earth One and its settlements behind in order to find knowledge about the Universe, the God switch within us and hopefully other civilizations.

We’re bringing settlers with us, clones of ourselves, and will create thousands of new worlds on our way across the Universe. They will create a chain of humanity with Earth One at its centre. This will take millions of years; it is by our reckoning the vastest of human endeavours ever to have been undertaken. We hope you share our excitement.

Should you choose to Travel too, you will find yourselves welcome on any of our worlds as long as you travel with weapons down. Approaching us hot will, of course, be considered hostile, even if by mistake.

Apologies for all the satellites we destroyed around Mercury, we really so did appreciate the ability to surprise you all today. Funds to cover the expenses for these satellites have been distributed and hopefully that will sooth your feelings. If not, we will make sure to settle it all when next we return. But don’t hold your breath.”

- This is Elvira, acting commander of Jade Thoughts, Tactical Leader of Tailor Exodus, To All Tango on the behalf of Tango One Gabriel actual, Echo One Sierra November, Kilo One, initiate Sprint 1 on my mark. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Mark. All burners hot, let’s give them a show worth remembering.

As the Drift engines boosted up, the Earth atmosphere went kaleidoscopic, showing all colours like a Northern Light on steroids.

And just like that, we were gone.

The Exodus now become The Journey.

Chapter six

TBD

Friday, 13 March 2015

RIP Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett left us yesterday and, to me, this means that one of the greatest writers, thinkers and leaders has departed from this plane of existence. He created a world for us to share in which we could relate to the absurdities, and beauties, of the human experience that we live each day.

I find that reading his books helps me evolve, and hopefully, become a better man. For example, I think I've read the book Jingo about 20 times.

Excerpt from Jingo by Terry:

" 'Oh, sire, before I can disbelieve these pernicious lies, I do need to know what they are.'

'Vimes, you have gone insane,' said Rust. 'You can't arrest the commander of an army!'

'Actually, Mr Vimes, I think we could,' said Carrot. 'And the army, too. I mean, I don't see why we can't. We could charge them with behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace, sir. I mean, that's what warfare is.'

Vimes's face split in a manic grin. 'I like it.'

'But in fairness our – that is, the Ankh-Morpork army – are also–'

'Then you'd better arrest them too,' said Vimes. 'Arrest the lot of 'em. Conspiracy to cause an affray,' he started to count on his fingers, 'going equipped to commit a crime, obstruction, threatening behaviour, loitering with intent, loitering within tent, hah, travelling for the purposes of committing a crime, malicious lingering and carrying concealed weapons.'

'I don't think that one–' Carrot began.

'I can't see 'em,' said Vimes."

For all of us that one way or another find ourselves in the defence domain every day, I think we all would love someone like Samuel Vimes to challenge our ways and our assumptions concerning what is or isn't OK to do. At the very least, we all benefit from sharing Terry's take on national defence and human(e) liberties while trying to solve problems in this world.

He saw things so clearly that it must have been agonizing for him, perhaps this explains why he only could stay here for 66 years. He struggled with alzheimer during his last 8 years, still writing wonderful books and letting us follow him through these, what they must have been, tormenting last couple of years.

God bless and we shall never forget.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Nya Gripen

Media fylls till och från numera med positiva nyheter rörande JAS 39 Gripen (E-versionen). Jag är nog inte ensam om att längta efter att få se den flyga här i Sverige. Det som gör mig extra glad är dess prestanda, som jag tror kommer få många Viggen-älskare (sådana som mig) att äntligen även älska Gripen.

Kort jämförelse mellan dessa fåglar nedan (inte helt renhårig eftersom JAS 39 är multirole) :

JA 37 VIGGEN
Längd: 16,43 meter
Spännvidd: 10,6 meter
Höjd: 5,9 meter
Vingyta: 46 m²
Tomvikt: 10 731 kg
Max. startvikt: 22 500 kg
Max. bränslevikt: 4 454 kg internt, 1 190 kg i fälltank[1]
Motor(er): Volvo Flygmotor RM8B
Dragkraft: 72 kN utan, med ebk 125 kN
Max. hastighet: >1 450 km/h på låg höjd, mach 2,2 på hög höjd
Räckvidd med max. bränsle: ca 1000 km
Vapenbalkar: 7

JAS 39 GRIPEN NG
Längd: 14,1 meter
Spännvidd: 8,6 meter
Tomvikt: 7 ton
Max. startvikt: 16 ton
Max. bränslevikt: 3300 kg (internt),  3800 kg (externt)
Motor(er): General Electric F414G
Dragkraft: 98 kN (med ebk)
Räckvidd med max. bränsle: 3 000 km
Transporträckvidd: 1 500 km
Lastförmåga: 7–8 ton
Vapenbalkar: 10

Det mest intressanta egentligen är ju att jämföra den nya 39:an med den första A-versionen och där ser man tydligt hur prestandan avsevärt förbättrats och att den första 39:an var rätt svag jämfört med de gamla versionerna av 37:an (jag är dock ingen expert så jag kan ju missa en del väsentliga delar här).



Sunday, 28 December 2014

Recording soon complete

I have now successfully recorded all of the instruments for all of the twelve songs on Dawn of defeat & echoes of distant memories. We will begin to record vocals at the end of January and hopefully have everything together at the end of March.

Four previews are now available here.

These are the songs on the album:
  1. No more wars
  2. Kill
  3. Blackened soul
  4. The void
  5. Bringer of frost
  6. Assimilated
  7. The grind
  8. The corrupt
  9. Dawn of defeat
  10. I stand in flames
  11. Bleed
  12. Breeding death
Lyrics will be posted after the album has been released.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

A new album is on its way

I'm excited to announce that I've just started the pre-production of my next album, Dawn of defeat & echoes of distant memories. The goal is to have the album all wrapped up no later than the next autumn.

The album will primarily be a thrash metal creation but it will have some serious progressive elements in it.

So far I've nailed most of the sound aspects by recording drafts of four songs although there are some things to try out during the coming month or two.

More info as things progress.

More info will primarily be seen on http://wakander.se/.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Scenario: finansiellt kärnvapenkrig

Det skrivs mycket intressant och tänkvärt på svenska bloggar just nu, så pass mycket att det är lite svårt att bidra med något som sticker ut. Det nedan är tänkt som en tankeställare och är därmed lite provocerande i sin tydlighet.

Ett par saker finns det kvar att ta upp och det är:
  • Enligt vad jag förstår så har ryska aktörer nyligen hackat ett par svenska finansiella system i kölvattnet av sanktionerna. De har således lyckats kringgå vissa sanktioner på detta vis. De som berörs är ett par aktörer som sysslar med bankkort, om ni förstår vad jag menar. Jag känner själv två som drabbats av det.
  • Det finns ett finansiellt kärnvapen att använda och det är utestängning av Rysslands deltagande i Swift-systemet. Konsekvenserna av en sådan utestängning skulle på en sekund sabotera Rysslands ekonomi. Men konsekvenserna för aktörer utanför Ryssland skulle säkerligen bli stor även den.
  • Ryssland blöder mycket mer per månad än vad som kommer fram i media. Mycket mer. Lägenheten som gick för 1,5 miljarder i London är säkerligen del i denna karusell. Ryssar har dock minskat sina fastighetsköp i Stockholm under den senaste tiden. Varför?
Dagens sanktioner flyttar makten från de med pengar till de med makt (Siloviki, Putins klan om man kan kalla den för det). Enda sättet att verkligen sätta dit Siloviki är att stänga av Swift-systemet för Ryssland - eftersom de nuvarande mindre åtgärderna slår mot deras motståndare. Frågan är om det inte är mindre farligt att påbörja kapprustning och acceptera, tills vidare, Rysslands anspråk på vissa länder.

Det finns de som pekar på att Ryssland skulle vilja basera kvalificerade SAM-system på ett par platser i Sverige, som t.ex. Gotland, för att minska NATO:s trovärdighet i de Baltiska staternas ögon. Ett sådant resonemang kan te sig naturligt ur ett rent militärt perspektiv då det effektivt skulle skära av dessa nationer från all tillförsel av förband från NATO. Samtidigt skulle Östersjön ur alla praktiska avseenden bli en rysk innansjö, vilket de alltid velat så vitt jag kan förstå.

Det ovan är oroande men jag hävdar att bilden kan vara mycket mer nyanserad och välplanerad.
Ponera att Putin & Co (Siloviki) vill stärka sin maktposition inom riket. Då måste man minska övriga fraktioners inflytande. De övriga är guvernörer, oligarker o liknande. De är beroende av pengar. Sanktionerna som EU och USA utsatt Ryssland för slår i huvudsak mot Putins motståndare. Schack.

Ponera vidare att Ryssland vill tvinga fram en ny världsordning som inte bygger på det nuvarande kapitalistiska systemet med frihandel, då vill man eliminera länders förmåga att betala varandra elektroniskt eftersom det är grunden i allt. Om Ryssland stängs ute från Swift finns det en, för Ryssland, logisk grund för att med Cybervapen slå ut alla delssystem (och man har inget att förlora) som gör Swift möjligt i västvärlden. Samtidigt som man gör det infiltrerar man alla former av betalsystem (börsen är det ingen som bryr sig i, de sakerna kan man ratta manuellt) vilket effektivt skulle göra finansieringsmodellen som vi använder oss av idag helt omöjlig att använda. I detta ligger det faktum att det elektroniska finanssystemet har ungefär 10 gånger mer (det är den senaste siffran jag hört, rätta mig om jag har fel här) pengar än vad som finns i rent fysiska termer. Grunden för vårt välfärdssystem är således abstrakt och omöjligt att överblicka utan kvalificerade IT-system som kan kommunicera med varandra över hela världen.

För USA där exporten utgör ca 14% (2011) av BNP är utrikeshandeln inget större problem, de kommer klara sig då de har god kontroll på sina kritiska infrastrukturer. För Sverige och Tyskland däremot som båda spelar med export runt 50% av BNP blir det enormt viktigt att kunna betala och bli betalad från andra länder. Så ser det ut i ett EU där svaga länder lånat enorma summor pengar till andra svaga länder. Varje dag ska någon bli betald för att det ska finnas mat på bordet, inga reserver här inte.

Det är ungefär nu man säkert önskar att man på riksnivå hanterade vad vi kallar för Countering Hybrid Threats (CHT, en NATO-metod) eftersom man inte kan angripa det nuvarande problemet som ett rent militärt sådant, eller något annat för den saken skull. Detta är icke-linjär krigföring och det är min uppfattning att vi just nu lever mitt i upptakten till det tredje världskriget - det är bara det att den sekund man säger en sådan sak på nationell nivå så drar en himla massa processer igång. I krigsavhållande syfte är vi fortfarande i "business as usual". Men med de krig och konflikter som pågår runt i världen just nu kan man nog inte kalla det här för något annat.

EU sitter således i skiten och i denna ingår även vi. Särintresset slår tillbaka.

Schack matt. Fram med jägarköket och tältet.

Glöm inte att rösta på oss Moderater i EU-valet, aldrig förr har det varit så viktigt att ha vassa personer som Gunnar Hökmark på plats för att slåss för frihandeln. Det är inte en självklarhet.

PS. en del anför att Ryssland blickar österut med oroade ögon på Kina. Ja det gör de säkert. Men man kan faktiskt blicka på alla som oroar en samtidigt och hantera denna komplexitet om man bara vet vad man gör. DS.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Adventures and harmony

I'm just standing here, enjoying life, but look I've got this fishing rod, that makes it perfectly normal. ;-)
There's so much talk about conflict, shattered bonds of trust and violence these days. Working with, and being otherwise involved in, the things I am it can become a bit gloomy.

So that's why this entry tries to be something else. Don't know if I will succeed, but let me know if I do.

Harmony, discord, happiness, darkness, angry lions
I used to have a glass, it was transparent
until I filled it with something that wasn't
then nothing shone through, but I saw that which replaced the light

Once you fill something it becomes inaccessible for other receptions
it shines only as what it is and not what you might want it to be
This is simple, and perhaps that is the thing

We say love matters, we really do, I bet you have used that word many times, love
but words actually don't matter much, they are but an echo of the turmoil you carry
in your heart, your mind, the ache in your knees and the dreams of your soul

But harmony, which cannot be touched or viewed, it cannot be defined
it can only happen
and then it's gone

I believe seeking to understand, because I don't know if it is actually possible to understand it fully, what actions that create harmony is one of the most important things in life, although I don't know if I'm any good at it

I seek harmony out by doing things, and then, by not doing things
and then I do them together, and then I don't do them at all

I end up in the woods, all alone, perhaps my father is within visual range,
it is silent, or rather, void of mechanical noise, it is natural
I fly-fish, don't get many fishes, they ruin the harmony, the killing I mean
never felt full of harmony while taking a life, but the fishing gives me a reason to stand alone in moving water far out in the woods, people would believe I'm nuts if I just stood there not doing anything (message)
so I seek and I find within, if I listen or dare
and then harmony seek me out and speaks, and just then, there, I feel alive and filled with happiness

I find myself on the mountains of Sarek, the last wilderness in Europe, it's in Sweden, above the Polar circle
Perhaps Marika, the love of my life is there, and in a few years my son Sebastian (yes, he's a bit short right now, soon to be 5 months)
There are no trace of mankind here, perhaps a small path but only perhaps, most often not, I actually try to avoid them
Mother nature is fierce here, she kills and she intimidates, she dominates but then she allow yourself to pass mental and physical barriers like no where else would ever allow
She is, and I breathe, and there are only the moment, of harmony, after a long day of walking without a second breakfast


A beautiful day in Sarek, Sweden
A night in Sarek. It don't get any darker than this.
This one is 9 years old and this is me realizing that the weather is turning and when it does, you count minutes, and just a few of them before it hails down.
Father and son, just hanging on the porch, talking about nothing, drinking some of the last really clean water in the world.

My love, relaxing. You can't buy this.

Hey, aren't clouds supposed to be, like, above? No. They aren't.
One time, back in those mountains, 2-3 days (depending on your strength) from civilization, our tent broke at 0130 hrs (in the night that is) as the storm winds, without rain though (it rains a lot in Sarek, like the tropics actually) ripped the very fabric of our tent
Nothing to do but to fast as hell grab all the stuff before it was caught in the wind and moved away for, well, pretty much ever
this is a precarious situation, if you don't know what to do

In modern life, behind desks in rooms with air condition, a roof above your head and concrete for the building to rest on, everything is pretty much safe, you can exist here, live by having opinions, progress by pretending to know what you do and above all, you don't have to act when you should

In storms, people who thinks too much or debates, tend to die
We acted, no words at all, like a machine with a purpose everything was packed in minutes and we were ready to go, and we started walking in the middle of the night, but know that it is never fully dark this far north during the summer, we walked below a dark fiery red and blue sky with dark edges, glowing but kind, soothing, the stars were out

Without a tent in the wilderness, you are really not going to do well if Mother nature  decides to punish you, but instead she gave us the gift of finding an abandoned Sami cottage, mostly a wreck, small and cramped, but it was beautiful, and we got shelter

In the morning, just after a couple of hours sleep, the sun shone through the cracks in the cottage, which had a roof of grass on splintered pieces of wood
I've never felt more alive or happy even as I knew we would have to walk more than 20 km with a lot on my shoulders in hard terrain, I felt harmony, in those rays of light

When we finally arrived at the mountain station at the edge of the area, Saltoluokta, we rented a tent (dangerous, we like to know our gear, but hey, sometimes that won't work either) and went back into Sarek from a different entrance point. No one gives me these gifts and then expect me to huddle at a station.

When I did my first concert during my time at the university, I struck one tone on my guitar and then I don't remember anything until we're at the encore. People stage dived, screamed, laughed, and that night the tone in my guitar played through my body and not my ears, I rode the tones and they rode me, when this happens the world goes away and I exist
Absolute harmony, happiness and joy, it was me once again playing with my cars in the sandbox on my backyard, alone with my thoughts, in silence, and dreaming, the world have never been so big

It brings focus, awareness, relaxation and this is love
This is harmony, individual strands of life of different sorts, meeting, fleetingly, coalescing into something bigger than the sum of the parts, it is life

These are quiet harmonies, toned down, like a pause between words, and they contain true energy

But they are all vulnerable and need to be approached with sensitive hands
Lest they be gone

Perhaps seeking out this kind of harmony, yours might be different, is the true purpose of our time in the common world and perhaps this requires that we truly seek to love and not hate, because who will give such precious gifts to people that only hate?

The only thing I truly know is that if you live in Sweden and truly visit all of Sweden in order to seek out harmony, no other nation will bring you closer. You watch The Hobbit and Lord of the rings, well, this is it (and Norway, kind of the same nation really, we just like to have many flags).

Thursday, 10 April 2014

USSR show signs of life

In Russia, Mikhail Gorbachev is accused of committing a crime when enabling the USSR breakup. The accusation comes from a group of State Duma members from different political factions.

"Gorbachev is accused of creating the USSR State Council and chairing this institution, which was not stipulated by the Soviet Constitution as a government authority. It was the State Council that adopted orders on recognizing the independence of Baltic Soviet republics, although such decisions could not be made even by legitimate authorities."

Let's think about this for a while. If this was a crime according to Russian law and if the authorities that made the decision to break up USSR and declare the Baltic States as independent weren't legit, and if time is of no consequence in these matters, does this mean that Russia formally still consider them a part of the Russian Federation?

And if so, what will 1) Russia, 2) NATO and 3) EU do? But more important for Swedes: we in Sweden are formally committed to the security, freedom and prosperity of the Baltic States. When will we have to own up?

Anecdote: Sweden lost the battle against Russia in Poltava. The year was 1709.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Understanding Russia (updated)

This article is angled in a certain way by design in order to provide another perspective to most of the things you might read or hear. Some parts should also be questioned as I don’t believe everyone would assume the things to be proven beyond reasonable doubt.

And don't forget that I'm an amateur when it comes to these things, which means that I can have missed something that a pro wouldn't.

Russian history
Russia is an idea and that idea revolves around power and it has to be in that way as Russia, through its geography, is weak by design.

But the beginning is more interesting and this beginning is contested. Recent research, though, shows that the following is a plausible description of events.

update 20140327:
"According to the most prevalent theory, the name Rus', like the Finnish name for Sweden (Ruotsi), is derived from an Old Norse term for "the men who row" (rods-) as rowing was the main method of navigating the rivers of Eastern Europe, and that it could be linked to the Swedish coastal area of Roslagen (Rus-law) or Roden, as it was known in earlier times. The name Rus' would then have the same origin as the Finnish and Estonian names for Sweden: Ruotsi and Rootsi.", Wikipedia on Rus' people.

The heart of what could be called Viking Land is normally attributed to Scandinavia which today is composed of Sweden and Norway. Scientists have recently begun adding Finland to Scandinavia which is wrong. However, both variants are erroneous. The real set of Viking nations are Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. These nations, together with Finland, are normally grouped as The Nordic Nations or Nordic Countries.

The word Viking has no real English translation but the “Vik” part means cove in English. Adding “ ing” symbolizes a person who uses, or frequents, coves. Perhaps “Covesians” would be a good word. There is no such word in English though and Viking sounds cool enough. And it’s a Swedish word. And it's of no coincidence that the Swedish Amphibious Core uses a Viking helmet as unit badge.

The Byzantine emperor Konstantin Porphyrogennetos created a book with the title De Administrando Imperio more than a thousand years ago in which the people “Rus” where mentioned and their trade operations in Eastern Europe. The Rus are the Scandinavian Vikings (predominantly the Swedish ones, the Norse Vikings mainly travelled elsewhere). Descriptions of the Swedish Vikings using the word Rus are frequent in other sources, although it is contested if the Rus gave birth to the Russian Empire, emanating from Kiev in Ukraine. It is one of the possible strands of history and it rhymes with the reasoning behind Putin’s affection for Ukraine – The heart of Russia.

Viking activity in Eastern Europe escalated as Sweden as a nation reformed around 700-800 AD. Many Vikings found it better to extend travel and find new opportunities elsewhere. It is around these years that Vikings are present so far east as Volga and there are historic texts that describe how Vikings lived and died along the Volga River in the year 922.

But, at the same time, there is a small river in Ukraine that goes by the name Ros. I'm not sure if the many Vikings that landed there gave birth to the name Rus or if the people that lived there pre-Vikings where the Rus who later created Russia.



One thing is for sure though; Russians and Vikings do share a common history to a certain extent.

update 20140327:
"According to the Primary Chronicle of Rus', compiled in about 1113 AD, the Rus' had relocated "from over sea", first to northeastern Europe, creating an early polity that finally came under the leadership of Rurik. Later, Rurik's relative Oleg captured Kiev, founding Kievan Rus'.[5][6] The descendants of Rurik were the ruling dynasty of Rus' (after 862), and of principalities created in the area formerly occupied by Kievan Rus', Galicia-Volhynia (after 1199), Chernigov, Vladimir-Suzdal, Grand Duchy of Moscow, and the founders of the Tsardom of Russia."

If the above holds true, and it's contested, it implies that Swedish Vikings founded Russia. I know the following is extremely far-fetched, but what does this mean if Russia today considers Kiev to be the heart of Russia? Does this also mean that Roslagen in Sweden is even more important, as those who made Kiev heart of Russia actually came from Roslagen? Probably not, but it's an interesting thought if one tries to think outside the box for a while. Admit it, two months ago you didn't believe Russia would invade Ukraine as well - so how much do you understand, I mean, really? ;-)

Anyhow, if Vikings premieres anything special I would say it is courage, drive, skills in strategy, trade and combat. You would probably see the word integrity somewhere in that mix as well. Vikings have a nasty habit of surprising people and have it their way.

Russians call this "Maskirovka".

Sweden used to be catholic until King Gustav Vasa cut the ties with Rhome in 1524. Prior to this, Swedish Knights participated in crusades. Some of these crusades went to the Baltic States and Russia. The Baltic States and some parts of Russia became the battle ground for the western Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. Sweden reformed and became Protestants, but the history is still there.

And so on.

Russian leadership
Russians are renowned for being pragmatic. They tend to do exactly what has to be done in order to protect their Centre of Gravity while destabilising and disrupting the enemy.

If they have to burn their own ground while retreating in order to starve the enemy they will do just that. Or rather, they did (scorched earth).

Whereas European leaders, to a certain extent, live their lives in- and outside processes that are driven by ideology and dreams of a more humane future, the Russians do not. The short period of hard-core left wing ideology during the Cold War has now been replaced with pragmatism and realism (from a Russian point of view). However, the Orthodox Church has got a lot more backing now in Russia compared to the Communist Era (there could be no other religion except for Communism back then).

The reason why people in Western Europe can allow themselves to dream is because as a whole we are on the top levels of the Maslow hierarchy of needs. Russians are (except for a few really rich ones) at the lower levels.
The Russian nation has a sincere sense of urgency that Europe does not share. This affects the different forms of leadership we now may come to see during the following decades.

Russians do not perceive the world in the same way that an average Englishman, German or French do. If the perception differ, so does the decisive points forward, the Centre of Gravity and the goals. If these things differ, so do the decision basis for acting and therefore also the means to solve whatever problem is in front of you.

“War is not merely a political act but a real political instrument, a continuation of political intercourse, a carrying out of the same by other means.”, Carl von Clausewitz

Peace vs. war
Does peace actually exist? Can a nation survive and prosper without fighting for a better tomorrow, a fight that one way or the other affects other nations?

The problem is that if you divide the world into peace or war times, is that there exist a threshold that has to be overcome when moving from peace to war. Therefore mental friction is inserted in the process of going to war and events play out more slowly, buying time that is needed for negotiations that might hinder us from going to war. We, the Western world, nowadays want to avoid war at all cost as we see such a process as destructive and negative. To others, that ambition just isn’t there and they might actually see war as a way of rekindling the national spirit and might even see war as something that creates a better future for the nation. The value of a human life, and a death as well, differs between nations and you need to factor in the concept of relative advantage.

If you do not use that division, between war and peace, then the threshold doesn’t exist. You really need to understand this if you are going to analyze intent and probability in the movement from peace to war. And it looks different for all nations as words mean different things in different languages and each word comes with a heritage – and nations are defined by their geography. If you don’t try to view the situation from the other nation’s perspective, you will live in a fantasy. It might feel all warm and fuzzy to start with, but sooner or later it gets wet and cold.

Now, peace as a concept is relatively new even in the Western world. I do not know why the concept was created but it has probably got something to do with all the wars we have had amongst ourselves and with others. Somewhere people grew tired, into the bone, and we created a period of mental crisis that had to be passed before going to war. We created a world where war wasn’t going to happen as a pure reptile reaction. We succeeded but the majority of nations does not share this heritage and therefor do not view the world in the same way.

The process also led some of us into oblivion where no one speaks about or remembers the battles we started, the crimes we committed and the people we killed. If we forget, it doesn’t mean that others have.

Does peace exist in the Russian mentality and do they know their history better than we know ours?

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Ukraine and how Putin acquired the initiative

Russia is weak from a geographic point of view - weaker than most non-Russians might see. NATO is closer than ever before and the western fingers are clawing further and further into the heart of Russia. From a Russian perspective, the Cold War ended in a way it shouldn't and Russia lost face, people and land. Crimea is one piece of that puzzle; the Baltic States, Moldavia and Poland are others. Russia has been much focused during the Putin regime: make the EU addicted to Russian energy, save money on a pile and equip the Russian Armed Forces with state-of-the-art weapons. And then exercise.

Georgia was mainly, I believe, a way for Russia to combine two things. Firstly, it meant that Russia could try out its military hardware and see what needed to be fixed. Secondly, it meant that Putin could pass one decisive point on its road of national restoration, namely rapping the US and EU on their noses. It was a warning.

These things, and I’ve just touched upon a few of the available ones, means something. Financial actions taken from the EU will be weak and disparate. Germany do not share the same sense of urgency as Poland does (Poland is to the east of Germany and therefore acts as a buffer to Berlin) and Spain does not have the same dependency on Russia as Germany does. And France wanted to sell Mistral class amphibious assault ships to Russia, which could be used if Russia wanted to claim Gotland (a strategic Swedish island in the Baltic Sea). It seems France still wants to sell them and no one is urging them all that hard to stop the deal.

Russia has succeeded in dividing the EU and the EU was eager to be so divided. The economic crisis is everything that a direction-less Europe has to cling on to, an EU where corruption and weak leadership is abundant. Many people of the EU have lost their faith in the political leadership and no longer believe that the direction we’re heading in is sound. Destructive nationalism, fascism and egoism are increasing to levels that once again might become dangerous.

The EU is weak and cannot do much beyond medium-level sanctions (the current ones) because it worries about money, which it always has, and would never risk worsening the economic crisis. A crisis that now has caused politico-military tensions between member states (both NATO and EU, most are both) and small groups of nations are forming their own military cooperation groups. Multi-lateral once again becomes bilateral, which is the favored way of operation for Russia.

The Nordic Nations, some of which make out Scandinavia, have a long history and cares for each other. From Germany and southward you would be hard pressed to get an honest answer stating that Sweden is considered a “true” part of the European continent – we are Scandinavia in the eyes of others and that is the last thing we want to hear. Being Europeans is important for us. When the EU worked well, these differences meant little, but they are once again surfacing as relevant lines of division in the hearts and minds of people. And brave politicians still struggle for the EU project but it becomes ever more difficult to do that with a smile. This is dangerous.

And geography still define us.

Poland and the Baltic States now perceive the situation to be worsening. The US is dispatching a few more fighter jets to these NATO nations, jets that only make a symbolic difference, but they do mean something real: once again, the US faces the fact that Europe is a security consumer, not a provider. No other nation in Europe has dared to do something that actually matters other than increasing their military presence in areas of its own interest. The list the US produced when it came to sanctions actually targeted people that have power in Russia. The EU list didn’t.

This is a simple situation for European leaders: they only have to follow as events play out between the US and Russia (shouldn’t be that way but the EU security policies are dictated by geography and limited through its dependence on Russia). It becomes simple because the European leaders do not "want". Putin, however, have a lot of "want" in him. Obama is about to find out if he wants something as well.

Russia will most certainly deepen their collaboration with Iran and start building nuclear power plants. Russia will most certainly also continue to play the Syria card. Russia will also re-align many of the former friends of the Soviet Union towards new goals, resembling much of what we’ve seen during the past 100 years or so.

Behind all this, China continues to have an argument with Japan, a Japan that is strengthening its own military muscles and thereby eroding the arrangement made between them and the US after the Second World War. In many ways, the US will now be forced to increase its global military presence once again and considering the costs this will entail, they will also require things from a weak, disoriented and leaderless Europe. And as always, as long as we have peace in Europe, things will remain fairly stable. But once the first shot is fired, all bets are off.

If Europe decides to re-arm it might be difficult to make sure that the process makes everyone comfortable within the borders of the EU.

"No nation has friends only interests.", Charles De Gaulle

These are times of Sun Tzu. A relevant excerpt from Wikipedia:
“In 1994, the U.S. Army's Field Manual 100–5 listed the following basic principles:
  • Objective: Direct every military operation toward a clearly defined, decisive and attainable objective. "The ultimate military purpose of war is the destruction of the enemy's armed forces and will to fight."
  • Offensive: Seize, retain, and exploit the initiative. Even in defense, a military organization is expected to maintain a level of aggressiveness by patrolling and launching limited counter-offensives.
  • Mass: Mass the effects of overwhelming combat power at the decisive place and time.
  • Economy of Force: Employ all combat power available in the most effective way possible; allocate minimum essential combat power to secondary efforts.
  • Maneuver: Place the enemy in a position of disadvantage through the flexible application of combat power.
  • Unity of Command: For every objective, seek unity of command and unity of effort.
  • Security: Never permit the enemy to acquire unexpected advantage.
  • Surprise: Strike the enemy at a time or place or in a manner for which he is unprepared.
  • Simplicity: Prepare clear, uncomplicated plans and concise orders to ensure thorough understanding.
The British military adds to the above list:
  • Maintenance of Morale
  • Administration.
 The Russian doctrine is similar, but includes the concept of Annihilation as well.”
 
Let’s ponder on that Russian addition.