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March 30, 2024 184 mins

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:02):
Zone Media.

Speaker 2 (00:03):
Hey everybody, Robert Evans here, and I wanted to let
you know this is a compilation episode. So every episode
of the week that just happened is here in one
convenient and with somewhat less ads package for you to
listen to in a long stretch if you want. If
you've been listening to the episodes every day this week,
there's going to be nothing new here for you, but
you can make your own decisions. Welcome everybody to it

(00:28):
could happen here, a podcast about it happening here. The
slow crumbling of the institutions that make up our society,
and that includes not just the good stuff that's become
the bad stuff, like, for example, Google Search, but it
includes the stuff that's always been bad and has gotten worse,
like life inside the prison industrial complex, which is partly

(00:51):
what we will be talking today because our guest is
the great Corey, doctor, activist, writer, author of a book
called The Bezel, which is a fiction novel but deals
with some very non fictional stuff in relation to how
finance schools have changed life for people behind bars. Corey.
Welcome to the show.

Speaker 3 (01:11):
Thank you for having me on. It's a delight to
be on again.

Speaker 4 (01:15):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (01:15):
Yeah, it's always wonderful to have you. I just finished
the Bezel. It took me. It was one of those
about a day, you know, in part because I just
like didn't want to stop reading it, Like I just
kind of blasted through. I picked it up in the
morning on a walk and then was done with it
at about like nine pm. So I found it pretty
compulsively readable. Amazing.

Speaker 3 (01:35):
That's great to hear. With the first one, I knew
that I had something going on when I woke up
at two in the morning and my wife was sitting
up in bed next to me, and I said, what
are you doing? And she said, I just had to
find out how it ended.

Speaker 2 (01:47):
So yeah, and you said the first one. This is
the second book in a series based on a character
Martin Hinch, who's a self employed forensic accountant. I do
want to let people know right at the jump, I
actually have not read your first hinchbook yet, and they
don't have to be read an orgy. Yes, yes, that's
what I was going to point out before we get
into the stuff about the plot of this book and

(02:08):
how it relates to some very real things that are ongoing.
I wanted to talk about a not so stealth advertisement
within the series for a guy that we're both a
big fan of, Stephen Bruce. There's an extended digression where
Martin is sending books to a friend of his in prison.
And you talk a lot about Steven's Taltosh series, which
was a huge influence on me as a young person.

(02:29):
I could definitely see, I think, an influence on this
series as well.

Speaker 4 (02:34):
Yeah.

Speaker 3 (02:34):
I mean, Steve is a wonderful writer, and everything he
writes is amazing. That particular series, you know, he started
when I was thirteen years old. I'm now fifty two.
I just had dinner with him in Minneapolis. Or he
tells me he's two books away from finishing it. Yeah, Yeah,
he had planned the whole thing all those years ago.

(02:56):
He's a Zelosny protege. Yeah, and also a giant Fritz
liber fan. And the it's got that wise cracking Robert
McGee kind of or Travis McGee rather kind of affect
those books, and also the stuff that I love about

(03:17):
the best of what you know, disparagingly we could call
men's adventure fiction, yeah, which is that it at its best.
And Maria Ferrell just wrote something really good about this
on crooked timber, and it's best that stuff really geeks
out about a lot of stuff. That The bad version
of it is the kind of James Bond version where
it's like, yeah, you know, this is what the status watches,

(03:37):
and this is what the status martini is, and this
is what the status whatever it is, and that you
call that the gourmet version right, where it's like, you
know what all the best of everything is and you
know how to how to signal you know, your ver
blend goods to other people had to signal that you
are posh and upper class. But the good version of

(03:58):
it is the is the gourmand version, which is like,
if you're going to eat cardboard pizza, this is the
best cardboard pizza.

Speaker 2 (04:05):
Yeah.

Speaker 3 (04:05):
And if you're going to you know, like the very
best gas station toilets are and the you know, the
one thing that you should always do if you're staying
in a flophouse is right, And it's just that kind
of it could be like street smarts, but it's also
very uh, I want to say self indulgent, but that's
not the right word. It's no, it's very uh. It's

(04:28):
it's it's there's a lot of self care in it.
There's a lot of like deliberate like, oh, this is
how I'm going to live my life so that it's
as good as possible, and I enjoy all of the
finer things as much as I can. This is the
thing that I do when I'm making a burger so
that it's a ten percent more delicious every time, you know,
yeah kind of thing.

Speaker 2 (04:46):
It's it's it's interesting. I came across the first book
in that series that I read was Dragon, which I
came across a strip cover from my uncle who worked
at a bookstore, and that's his like military fiction book
in the series, which is very much in line with
the like boys adventure stuff. But as the series goes on,
it increasingly trends towards like Russian revolutionary literature too. There's

(05:10):
a little bit more that which I think get an
influence on me. Well, Steve's a Trotskyist, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 3 (05:16):
But the thing about communist fantasy writers, there's a few
of them, There's you know, China Mayville and step and
a few others well, Shadderley and so on, is that
the one thing that they can always be relied upon
to do is get the ratio of vassals to lords, right, Yeah,
you know that the number of peasants in the field
is always vastly larger than the number of lords in
the castle, and they all have a life and an

(05:38):
interiority and a reason for being there. That's not just
being scenery or cannon fodder.

Speaker 2 (05:44):
Yeah, yeah, that's it's something he does. Well. I think
that's enough of a digression. I just always love having
a chance to talk about Stephen Bruce's work. Let's talk
about the Bezel because the basic I mean, I try
I will try not to give away more than is
in like the good Reads summary, But the basics of
this story is that you've got this guy, Martin Hinch,

(06:04):
who's this forensic accountant, and as a result, he's friends
with some people who have really succeeded in sort of
the pre dot com bubble tech industry. I guess you'd say,
and you take us with, you know. He goes with
one of them to a place called Catalina Island, which
is a real place that was founded by one of
like our nation's early plutocrats, who had a bizarre obsession

(06:26):
with their not being like fast food available on the island. Yeah,
he had a lot.

Speaker 3 (06:31):
Of bizarre obsessions. This is William Wrigley, the gum chewing
gum fortune, and his first obsession was chickle trees and
which you need to make gum. And his particular obsession
was owning every chickle forest in the world, which he did,
which meant that if you wanted to make gum, even
if you were one of his competitors, you had to

(06:51):
pay him for the chickle. So there was no gum
that wasn't Wriggly's gum. In some important sense, this made him,
as you might imagine.

Speaker 2 (06:58):
Very rich.

Speaker 3 (06:59):
Yeah, he bought the Chicago Cubs, is the reason the
Chicago Cubs play at Wrigley Field, and they would have
their spring training on Catalina Island, an island that he bought.
He loved Westerns, and one of the people who lived
on Catalina Island was or summered there. Rather was Zane Gray,

(07:20):
the great Western writer, and there were a bunch of
Zane Gray movies that were made on the island, including
one where they brought over thirteen bull bison because they
were needed for the movie, and because they didn't know
a lot about animal handling, particularly they did not know
that male bison do not ever come into contact with
one another except to have a violent dominance clash, which

(07:43):
is how the thirteen mail bison all ended up escaping.
And then Wrigley, in one of his other obsessions, thought
it was Unchristian for these bachelor bison to be on
his island, so he brought over thirteen cows and created
the bison invasive species. Think. He also didn't know that
bison operate in harems, which was another thing that he

(08:04):
was just badly wrong. Like it is true that like
being a billionaire lowers your IQ by thirty points and
being the son of a billionaire lowers your IQ by
forty points. Yeah, and and you know, Wriggly had all
kinds of esthetic ideas in the same way that like,
you know, when when Ford built Fordlandia in Brazil, a

(08:25):
planned community that was an identical copy of Dearborn Michigan,
including the south facing windows, because he wouldn't let his
architects explain that south of the equator you want north
facing windows. Yeah, you know, he said, oh, well we're
you know, like he came up with all kinds of
weird rules for rubber planters rubber harvesters in the Brazilian jungle,

(08:45):
and Wrigley came up with his own rules for people
living on his island.

Speaker 2 (08:48):
And one of them is no fast food.

Speaker 3 (08:50):
And this turns out to be consequential in the story
because the protagon of the story, who's Martin Hench, Who's
this you know, two fisted, hard fighting forensic accountant who
bust finance scams and his pal are on the island
in the party scene while his friend waits to vest
from Yahoo, where he's been imprisoned by Dent of having
sold them a company for millions of dollars, which he

(09:12):
can only realize if he can sit tight and not
murder any of his colleagues. While they buy and destroy
every promising startup in Silicon Valley using the money from
the Royal family of Saudi Arabia that was funneled to
them by Masiyoshi Son and Soft Bank, they encounter a
Ponzi scheme, and the Ponzi scheme is grounded in what
is an actual practice of people bringing fast food to

(09:33):
Catalina Island. Like if you go to the K twelve
school and you have an away game, everyone brings back
a sack of burgers for their friends because it's forbidden fruit.
It's exotic, and this turns into a Ponzi scheme to
sell flash frozen burgers brought to the island by various means.
And as with every Ponzi scheme, the thing that they're
actually selling is the right to sell, the right to sell,
the right to sell burgers. Yeah, no one, No one

(09:53):
wants the burgers right. They want the down line. And
this is why Ponzi schemes always implode. And what Marty
realizes is that this Ponzi scheme is going on, and
that it has been cooked up by this guy whose
parties they've been going to, this real estate baron, and
that he's done it the same way you might carefully

(10:13):
tend an ant colony for the sole purpose of burning
them with magnifying glasses. You build this enormous sort of
Rube Goldberg machine, a self licking ice cream cone, and
then you destroy it, you smash it. He's waiting for
this economy to collapse once he's extracted every penny from
the island, which will add one percent to his net worth,
and so they do a controlled demolition of it. They

(10:35):
foil this guy's plan, and this kicks in motion the
real action in the novel, which is about the private
prison system.

Speaker 2 (10:43):
Yeah, yeah, and I love that. In preparing to read
this chunk of the book where I learned quite a
bit about the private prison system, I also learned a
bunch about Catalina Island and this wealthy madman's insane dream.
I appreciate that about your books.

Speaker 3 (10:58):
Yeah, I mean Catalina Island, and we could go on.
Marilyn Monroe is a fifteen year old child bride on
Catalina Island. The CIA was founded on Catalina Island. The
channel between Catalina Island and the mainland is the deepest
channel known to humanity and now dumped fifty thousand barrels
of DDT into it in iron that is rusting and

(11:22):
that we have no way to remediate, and that will
someday rupture and kill every bird downstream of that channel,
and also lots of fish. Catalina Island is this very
fraught place, this very beautiful place, very weird place. It's
one of my favorite places to go. We just booked
another trip there, and everything about it is is amazing

(11:45):
and also terrible, but also beautiful.

Speaker 2 (11:58):
Yeah, and appreciate the way that you write that. And
I appreciate the way that you kind of wrap us
into by first establishing this character, this friend of Martin's,
who then winds up in a California Department of Corrections
facility and taking us over a period of time as
it goes to the way I think most people think

(12:19):
prisons still are, right, the kind of the vision of
like prisons that was formed from movies we watched in
the early two thousands, in the late nineties, where you know,
they can be pretty ugly places, but like you have
family and they can come and visit you. Right, there's
a big room where everybody gets together with their you know,
we arrested developments maybe the most before this all changed,

(12:39):
most recent kind of touchstone on this. And also it's
a place that has like a library, and not just
a library, but like there are what comes with the
library is opportunities for people to like better themselves, to
learn things, to build skills, to potentially take some more
agency of their situation. Right, That idea of like the
jailhouse lawyer who comes informed in all that, and that

(13:03):
that world has really gone away to a significant extent.
It's not completely gone everywhere, but certainly a lot of
those a lot of that has been pruned away. The
ability of prisoners to have face to face contact with
their loved ones and the ability of prisoners to like
use a library is something that is a lot less
common now than it used to be. And it's because

(13:23):
a lot of these a lot of these kind of
attitudes that have characterized finance for so long or increasingly
become in common within the companies that run these facilities.

Speaker 3 (13:36):
Yeah, and you know, maybe this is a good place
to explain what a bezel is and how this moment
relates to what a bezel is. So I really think
the title bezel is a banger. But I didn't realize
until I started touring this book that if you say
it aloud, it sounds like be eazel, which is the
rectanglar on your phone screen. It's actually be easy z

(13:57):
l e or a zed zed if you're a Canadian
like me. And that is a wonderful term coined by
John Kenneth Galbrath to describe the magic interval after the
con artist has your money but before you know it's
a con and in that moment, everybody feels better off.

(14:17):
And one of the great bezel moments was the moment
between the crash of the dot com crash of like
two thousand and two thousand and one and the crash
of the Great Financial Crisis, the housing crash, and in
that period, all the money that people put into so
called investments and into the market and that made them

(14:39):
feel better off, made them feel like they had a pension,
made them feel like they had savings, and so on,
all that money was already gone. So this is one
of the things about a scam is it feels like
the moment that you lose the money is the moment
you realize it's a scam, But you actually lose the
money the minute you give it to the con artist.
The con artists might let you keep some of it
for a little while, but they can take it away

(15:00):
from you whenever they want. That was a moment of
kind of giddiness where none of us really wanted the
dream to end. We knew that once the dream ended,
we would all be poorer, although in reality we're all poorer.
Right then, One of the things about that moment is
it was the moment when another long con came doe,

(15:21):
and that was the long con of the California three
strikes rule. So there had been a couple of quite
ghastly murders of young people, a teenager and a child
in California that were weaponized by some fairly cruel racists
to pass a law in California that says that if

(15:43):
you were convicted of three felonies, you would go to
prison for the rest of your life with no chance
of parole. And you know, this is California, which is
a place that's quite allergic to hire taxes, famously the
home Proposition thirteen, where you know, we can't raise our
property taxes unless something like seventy percent of us go
to the polls and specifically vote for it, which is

(16:05):
why our cities are so cash strapped. And so in
this place where you have these anti tax extremist types
and you have this increasing tax burden associated with locking
up an ever larger fraction of the population for the
rest of their lives, you have this unstoppable force and

(16:26):
this immovable object on a collision course with one another,
because at a certain point, you're just going to have
prisons that are so full that you're going to have
to do something to relieve them. You're going to have
to build more prisons. You're going to have to reduce
the cost of operating those prisons. Something's going to give.
In the end, what ended up giving was a Supreme

(16:47):
Court case that rule that just being in prison in
California violated your Eighth Amendment rights against cruel and unusual punishment.
That every California prison basically constituted a violation of the
Eighth Amendment. And California went through the you know, the
five stages of grieving, which I know they don't replicate

(17:09):
that it's not real, we don't. That's not really a
neat description of exactly what happens when we grieve. But
they certainly went through a period of denial and bargaining,
including mooting at one point sending prisoners to like Arizona,
so sending California State prisoners to Arizona and paying Arizona
to take them off their hands. And as all of

(17:30):
this stuff was going on, some grifters saw great opportunity,
and that opportunity was to cut costs in the prisons
and facilitate moving prisoners further and further away from their
families by replacing all of the services in the prison
with a tablet that you would get for free. Yeah,
So remember you know, the iPad comes out in two

(17:51):
thousand and eight. Steve Jobs is touting it as the future.

Speaker 5 (17:55):
Of the world.

Speaker 3 (17:56):
Media companies are going crazy. They finally found their daddy
figure who's going to save them from tech by you know,
siloing everything in an app that isn't part of the web.
And all we can hear about is tablets of the future.
And this sounds quite futuristic, right, We'll put tablet. We'll
give every prisoner a free tablet. It's like one laptop

(18:16):
per child, but for prisoners. And those tablets will replace
the library and in person visits and phone calls and
music and TV and continuing education and all of it's
going to cost. And it's going to cost a lot
more than you would pay outside of the outside of

(18:39):
the prison for the same services. So, you know, four
bucks a minute for poster stamp sized video instead of
free zoom calls, Yeah, music for three bucks instead of one.
And then, of course these companies are very grifty, and
so they're constantly restructuring, going bankrupt, being bought, buying one another.
And every time that happens, the company changes its name

(19:02):
and says, oh, we're no longer the same company. We
no longer supply all of those services. We are wiping
out all of your data, and you're gonna have to
buy it again. And so, you know, if that's music,
it means that the song that you pay three dollars for,
that you bought by working in the prison workshop for
twenty five cents an hour is gone and you're in

(19:22):
prison for remember this is California, the rest of your life.
And so you're going to have to go back and
earn more money to get.

Speaker 2 (19:30):
That song again.

Speaker 3 (19:31):
But also the five dollars your kid paid to have
the birthday card that they wrote for you scant because
you can no longer get parcels or mail. Your family
have to pay to have their letters scanned, or they
have to pay to send you email. And so your kid,
who's growing up with the principal breadwinner, has paid five

(19:52):
dollars to have their handmade birthday card scanned. That goes
away too when the prison changes vendors. And it's a
kind of perfect parable for the indifferent sadism of capital,
like the degree to which the pursuit of profit drives
people to be far more cruel than mere ideology.

Speaker 2 (20:15):
You know, yes, yeah, that's so important because like, prisons
were not nice before, they were not humane before. But
someone who is simply trying to run a government prison
facility would not think of the idea of doing like
a doing like a shell game yank away of people's
music after letting them buy it and then make them

(20:37):
buy it again. That's like, that's not something that like
a bad prison guard comes up with. That's only something
that somebody from somebody from finance comes up with.

Speaker 3 (20:47):
Well, and and you know, you it helps if the
way that you're running these prisons is by employing guards
through a staffing agency, and so you don't even have
to contend with the rising costs associated with staff turnover
when prisoners go bug fuck crazy because you took all
their shit away. Right, those guards are not your employees,

(21:09):
and it's not your problem. The whole thing is is
kind of running at several layers of indirection and remove.
It's what Douglas Rushkoff calls going meta. You know, the
don't drive a cab found Uber, don't found uber invest
in Uber, don't invest in Uber, invest in uber derivatives.

(21:29):
Don't investor in uber derivatives, invest in uber derivative futures. Right,
like go meta, like get further and further away from
the useful activities. Yeah, you are insulated from the consequences
of whatever it.

Speaker 4 (21:41):
Is you do.

Speaker 2 (21:43):
And that's such a it's part of it's like a
recipe for breaking things right, because the people who are closest,
not that they're always good at it in the case
of prison guards, but the people who are closest to
the useful activity tend to know how to make things
work right. Whereas the further away you get from that,
the more likely your ideas are to break things that

(22:03):
you wouldn't have even thought of. And again, but for
that kind of person, everything you break is usually an
opportunity for financializing something else.

Speaker 4 (22:12):
Yeah, you know.

Speaker 3 (22:13):
The extent to which finance is the true banality of
evil is hard to overstate. Yeah, you know, we think, well,
we've heard a lot when you read about the Holocaust
and World War Two, you hear a lot about the
cruelty of Nazis, and no one's going to say, well,
the Nazis weren't cruel and the ideological cruelty of Nazis. So,

(22:33):
for example, there were moments where, rather than transporting troops
to decisive battles, they were shipping Jews to concentration camps
on those same trains and losing battles so they could.

Speaker 2 (22:43):
Murder more Jews.

Speaker 3 (22:44):
Right, Yeah, But up the road from Auschwitz was another
private concentration camp run by ig Farben called Monowitz. YEP
and ig Farbin were war profiteers. They were they were
gouging the Wehrmacht on war material that they were manufacturing
with slave labor, and they bought thousands of slaves from Auschwitz,

(23:09):
preferring women and children because they were cheaper, and they
worked them to death. And the lifespan of a slave
in Monowitz was only three months before they were worked
to death. It was half of what it was in Auschwitz.
The conditions were so bad at Monowitz that the SS
guards who were seconded to it from Auschwitz wrote to

(23:30):
Berlin to complain about the cruelty of Monowitz. At the
end of the war, in Nuremberg, twenty four Ig Farben
executives were tried for this. Their defense was that they
had a fiduciary duty to their shareholders to maximize returns,
and nineteen of them were acquitted on that basis.

Speaker 2 (23:52):
Yeah, God, and this is you know, before the Chicago
School guys had really like fully taken over. So this
this idea that like that was really the only responsibility
that a business had, even above a moral responsibility, was
much less established. Like the more you get into how many,

(24:13):
particularly of the money people got off at Nuremberg, like
it's maddening stuff. Yeah, indeed, and it is, like I
think one an accurate way to look at the Holocaust
from the perspective of those guys is the mining of populations,
like mining them to death. That's really how a lot

(24:34):
of this like because a huge chunk of especially the
early stages of Nazi oppression of like starting with German Jews,
but going beyond that as they conquered more land, was
the appropriation of businesses and property, right, like that was
it was, it was mining human beings. And that attitude

(24:56):
is persistent. Right, It's not just a thing that happens
in Nazi Germany. It happens whenever you let people who
don't have any sort of human concern take control of
every aspect of life.

Speaker 3 (25:08):
And this is some of the structural stuff that's going
on in the book. So my editor on this book
is this great guy, Patrick Nielsen Hayden who's been my
editor since my first novel. He and I met on
a BBS in the nineteen eighties, so I've really known
him most of my life.

Speaker 2 (25:25):
Oh wow.

Speaker 3 (25:25):
And Patrick, when he gave me the editorial note on
my first novel, he said something like the way that
science fiction works is you have a world that is
like a thought experiment world, and you have a character
who's a microcosm for that world, and they are like

(25:47):
a big gear that's the world, and a little gear
that's the character. And if the microcosm meshes correctly with
the macrocosm, then as the person spins around and around
doing their plot stuff, they spin around enough times that
the world, the big gear that they're meshed with, makes
a full revolution. So you have this microcosm macrocosm thing.

(26:10):
And often when a book doesn't work, it's because the
microcosmic macrocosmic correspondences aren't sharp enough. There's some way in
which those teeth aren't meshing. One of the things that
this book tries to do, and that the Martin Hinch
books generally try to do, because they're all about these
these finance scams, these high tech finance scams set in
different eras from the nineteen eighties through the twenty twenties,

(26:33):
is that they try to create a series of these
similar correspondences between small scams and big scams. You know,
they use the small scam as a kind of setup
or a frame or like a cognitive tool for understanding
the much bigger scam. And so that small scam, that
Ponzi scheme, where you have a person who is setting

(26:56):
out just for shits and giggles to make some money
by destroying a bunch of other people's lives and viewing
those people as not as people but as as things,
as a means to an end, not as an end
unto themselves, ends up creating this sadistic, brutal, pointless, and

(27:18):
deliberately unsustainable situation that he knows is going to hurt
all these other people. And the way that he's able
to do it is by simply not considering the people
who are enmeshed in the scheme as fully people entitled
to their own sort of moral consideration. And in the

(27:39):
same way that is that's like a microcosm for the
kinds of decisions that are made when people go on
to found these prison tech companies and these other companies
that do these these ghastly things.

Speaker 2 (28:02):
And it's it's also very accurate to how an unfortunate
number of just like regular people in society and in
government think about the victims of these schemes. Like when
you when you try to talk about how unfair and
how much worse this situation has gotten, it's like, well,
they're prisoners, they're being punished, you know, as if, as

(28:23):
if that makes it all okay.

Speaker 3 (28:25):
Yeah, it's kind of a it's kind of a like
a much more extreme and therefore much more easily spotted
version of caveat emptor or you know, not your not
your keys, not your coins. You know, these ideas that
if if something bad is happening to you, it must

(28:45):
be because you did something bad.

Speaker 4 (28:47):
Right.

Speaker 3 (28:47):
That the kind of providential ethics. And I think that
the work that that does for people is it helps
them put their own anxiety about their own future to rest,
because you know, the if you are worried that something
bad might happen to you, and you can convince yourself

(29:08):
that the reason that something bad happened to someone else
is that they had a deficiency right, they committed a sin,
they were foolish, then you don't have to worry about
it happening to you. You know, I a couple of
times in the last decade I have been the victim
of various kinds of con and I am also someone

(29:29):
who's written a lot about cons So I've been successfully
fished once and I had a phone scammer talked me
out of my credit card number once. And I always
write about it when it happens, and I write about
it in part because I want to make sure that
people understand that, you know, you're not too smart to
be conned, anyone can be conned and so on, and
I think that's an inoculant against getting conned. But I

(29:52):
also do it because the reactions are a kind of
sociological study.

Speaker 4 (29:56):
Right.

Speaker 3 (29:56):
If you want to see into the minds of tech
bros who justify the terrible things that they are doing
or planning to do, or fantasizing about doing or working
on to other people, look at their fraud apologetics where
they say, you know, oh, that was just a business
and you know you had a caveat emptor or you

(30:18):
were lazy, or you were foolish, or you know, like
you did something deficient and that's why it happened, and
so you deserved it. And that means, on the one hand,
it's never going to happen to me because I don't
deserve it. And on the other hand, if I ever
do it to someone else, that's fine because if they
fall victim to it, then they must deserve it. The
old con artist saying that you can't cheat an honest man.

Speaker 2 (30:40):
As a version of this, Yeah, and it's I mean,
that's like it's such a limited view of it, right,
because it's true that, like there are some cons that
you can't trick someone into unless they have a little
desire for some larceny, right, But like an increasing number
of cons are just like a company using your bank
phone number calling you and telling you you've been defrauded,

(31:02):
and you give them information because you're not used to
the or or somebody calls using the voice of your
child and says that they need a ransom payment. Right,
you're not there's not like dishonesty in your heart because
you don't want your kid to be kidnapped. You're just
not ready for what tech has been able to do,
you know.

Speaker 3 (31:21):
And while there are some of those cons where they
you know they're they're playing on your cupidity or your dishonesty. Yeah,
to make money off of you. Even in those instances,
it is downstream of a system where it feels like
you can't survive unless you're cheating, right, like the one
of the things. And so multi level marketing is actually

(31:43):
a theme that runs through all of these books. That
The next is set in the nineteen eighties and it's
it's about a faith scam. It's an early PC company
I made up called the Three Wise Men, run by
a Mormon bishop, a Catholic priest, and an Orthodox rabbi
who use, you know, affiliate marketing through congregations to prey

(32:04):
on their own faith groups. And one of the things
about these Ponzi schemes, these pyramid schemes, is that they
take the only capital that working people have, which is
social capital, right the relationships they have among one another,
and they convince them that it is entrepreneurial and therefore

(32:25):
virtuous to instrumentalize your relationship to the other women in
your life who help you look after your kids, or
to your coreligionists who you can turn to if things
go really bad at work or with your family or whatever.
And that turning that into a transaction that you can milk,

(32:46):
you know. Turning those people into a down line who
have to recruit other people to make you whole so
that you can feed your own upline is just hustling.
It's just your shot at the American dream. You know,
Spike Lee telling you that investing in shit coins as
building black wealth.

Speaker 2 (33:06):
Yeah, yeah, I it is like the the fact, and
I think low key, this is one of the top
couple of problems that we have in this society because
it feeds into everything else. It's like it's a I
think that's probably why it runs through so much of
your work, because this the scam economy, is behind every

(33:29):
and it's increasingly becoming everything right, and there's this kind
of pernicious effect where by people don't the more people
are victimized by this, both the less they trust other
people and the more the more they begin to accept that, like, well,
this is just how you get by in our society, right,
Why shouldn't we take away prison libraries and replace them

(33:51):
with more expensive kindle that we can yank away at
any moment. Everyone's always nickel and diming me. I'm always
getting more money taken away from me. By these same people.
And I'm not even in prison, you know.

Speaker 3 (34:01):
Right, why shouldn't there be junk fees in prison if
there's junk fees everywhere else, If you're if you're you know,
local water company that's owned by your city is sold
off to uh, you know, plug a hole in the
budget because you can't raise taxes. And then they start
charging you a convenience fee to pay your your water

(34:22):
bill with a check, and then a different convenience fee
to pay your water bill with a credit card, and
a third convenience fee to pay your water bill in
person with cash. And then you realize that, like there
that none of these are convenience fees. They're just they're
just fees.

Speaker 2 (34:36):
Yeah, it's just more money. Yeah yeah, I mean we're
in we're in a pretty infuriating situation here, and you
get to that in the bezel, you really get that
across well as this guy is trying to deal with
the and and it kind of brought home to me
the horror of like having someone you care for in
this situation and seeing like their avenues for any kind

(35:00):
of relief edged out chipped away at for the profit
of some guy who will never notice the money in
his bank account.

Speaker 3 (35:08):
Yeah yeah, I mean, and you know that, unlike Steve Brucet,
I well, like Steve brust in some of those volumes,
I told this story from the perspective of a fairly
powerful person who's got a lot of agency, only because
it gives you the opportunity to tell a story that
at least holds out the possibility of some relief. I'll

(35:32):
leave it to the reader to find out what actually
happens at the end. And you know, there have been
successful prisoner uprisings that have been led by working people
who are serving long terms, but for the most part
those uprisings, we never even hear about them. You know,
there was a prison labor strike before lockdown. I believe
it was twenty eighteen or twenty nineteen. There's a national

(35:52):
prison labor strike, and it barely made a dent in
anyone's consciousness. It was, you know, ultimately one of the
largest strikes in modern American history. You know, there're thousands
and thousands of workers were on strike, and we didn't
even hear about it. Because there's such control over the
narrative about prisons and prisoners that's run by the carcerl system.

(36:16):
And so you know, by telling this story about someone
who goes into prison already a millionaire and who has
a friend on the outside who's kind of a hustler
and you know, a pal and who is someone who
knows how to finagle the system, I can spin out
a yarn that takes you, like back to Patrick Nielsen

(36:37):
Hayden and the Big Gear driving the Little Gear takes
you on a three hundred and sixty degree tour of
how fucked up the system is rather than just the
ant's i view or the worm's eye view that most
people get because they aren't even able to explore all
the avenues and run into their dead ends because they're
just stuck where they are.

Speaker 2 (36:58):
Yeah, this has been wonderful. I want to again let
people know your book, The Bezel is in stores now.
You can purchase it wherever fine books are sold. Do
you have a preferred URL for buying it?

Speaker 3 (37:12):
The Dashbezel dot org is fine, but wherever people want
to get it. Yeah, it's a national best seller for
the third week running.

Speaker 4 (37:21):
It's very good.

Speaker 2 (37:22):
That's great.

Speaker 3 (37:23):
Whoever feeds into the USA Today bestseller.

Speaker 2 (37:26):
List you apparently that's wonderful. Yeah, well, Corey, doctor, do
you have anything else you wanted to get to before
we roll out today?

Speaker 3 (37:35):
Well, I guess you know, if you want to follow
the work that I do. Pluralistic dot net is a
newsletter that I write every day or almost every day,
and it's open access it so that means it's Creative
Commons licensed. You can reproduce it. You can reproduce it
and sell it if you want. And there's no DRM,
there's no tracking, there's no you know ads, there's no anything.

(38:00):
It's you know, black type on a white background. You'll
never get to pop up asking you whether you want
to subscribe to my mailing list or whatever. Yeah, and
the email version of it, you can get it as
an email list. The email version also no tracking. I
can't tell when you've opened the email or anything. I
keep no statistics, and I just it's a letter in

(38:21):
a bottle I write and throw into the ocean every morning.
And it's great. That's so much fun to write.

Speaker 2 (38:27):
It's a great letter in a bottle. You've been talking
writing a lot, talking a lot about AI lately and
kind of the how that all feeds into a lot
of this stuff you've been covering about or the stuff
you write about often about you know, bezels and scam economies.
And I've really enjoyed getting your take on that because
I think you're one of the one of the people

(38:48):
who hasn't lost their minds over all this stuff.

Speaker 3 (38:50):
Oh yeah, I mean, I think we're really like so
that we hear so much about AI disinformation and the
people who have like most fallen prey to AID information
are bosses who've been convinced that AI is good enough
to fire you and replace you with and you know,
it's it's not true. It doesn't mean they won't do it, right,
but it's not true. Yeah, that's that's actually kind of

(39:12):
the worst of all worlds, right, technological unemployment without without
actual replacement. It's just it's just another basil. It's a yeah,
it's a It's that long moment where you think you've
zeroed out your labor force costs, but you haven't realized
that you're no longer productive because the chatbot keeps, you know,
as in the case of Air Canada, just like telling

(39:33):
people they can get refunds they're not entitled to. And
then you know, regulators come along and smack you around
and charge you, you know, find you for your chatbot
having lied to people about their bereavement, flight discounts and stuff.

Speaker 2 (39:48):
Yeah. Yeah, yeah, I'm looking forward to to that moment hitting.
I guess because where we I mean, I do kind
of think we are sort of nearer to the bursting
than we are to the peak of the bubble right now,
But I guess we'll see.

Speaker 3 (40:04):
Well, remember, the market can remain solvent irrational rather longer
than you can remain solvent.

Speaker 2 (40:10):
Yeah.

Speaker 3 (40:11):
So I've been predicting the collapse of the London housing bubble,
for example, for a very long time. We're nowhere near it. Yeah,
so that is my humbling lesson. It is definitely a bubble.
It is going to burst when it's going to burst,
and is very very very hard to predict.

Speaker 2 (40:30):
Yeah, what will burst with it? Yeah? Well, Corey, thank
you so much for being on the show. Again. Everybody,
check out the Bezel Wonderful book, and check out Corey's
other wonderful books like walk Away. That's the episode. I
have a good one, Thanks Robert.

Speaker 6 (41:00):
Hello, everyone, welcome to the podcast today. We have a
very interesting issue. You're very lucky to be joined by Onomo,
who we've heard from before who is a minister who
is hindering in the National Unity Government of Burma or Myanmar.
Both of those words are okay, And we're talking about
the situation of Rhinga people and the development sort of

(41:21):
happened in Rakaine State since I guess since the beginning
of Operation ten twenty seven. So welcome to the show.

Speaker 4 (41:28):
Thank you so much, thanks for having me, and it's
good to be back with you to this show.

Speaker 6 (41:36):
Thank you. Yeah, no, it's wonderful to have you back
and we're very fortunate. So I wonder if we could
start by summarizing for listeners the things that have happened
in the last few months in Rakaine State, because there
have been some massive changes since maybe listeners will last
aware of what was happening there.

Speaker 4 (41:55):
Yeah, sure, thank you. Since the coup, the over on
and off bikes in the Arkan Army and there, and
the Malasia hunters process in Rakinda State, however, in the
interests of the of the of the humanitary and neat
both parties came to enter to a ceasefire peven In between, however,

(42:18):
the fight against the military junta in and Mark started
in different part of me and Mark continued to be
accelerating and most recently the ten twenty seven and followed
by others operations in in crime estate has has been
has been quite rapidly spreading across the country and that's

(42:42):
definitely went through a kinda state where resumed to target
the the the junta in its polotopical objective to be
to be reaching uh uh. That's the situations we are
today that the Arcan Army has been in very goods
to be dismantling the Hunter's forces in our kind of state,

(43:05):
and so far since Operation twenty seven ten twenty seven
staled more than half of the township districts in our
kind of state has been ceased by the Arkhan Army,
including some of those were majority of Ringa lifts. And
it's continued to be under in the very literarating situations.

Speaker 6 (43:29):
Yeah, at the end, they've they've even sunk Hunter ships
or captured them in some cases. I think it's been
a bit of a that there was a video that
was quite like maybe not viruls around word. Certainly I
saw a lot but of border guard forces right, which
are like a militia's allied to the Hunter and fleeing
into Bangladesh.

Speaker 4 (43:51):
This this another the border guard process are from mostly
from militaries. They are tree militaries. Their uniforms are changed
into reguard force due to different agreement with that exists
between two states in allocating. It's true along the border
side and the border guard forces are one of the

(44:14):
most primary forces that's deported through Highen and run the
Rohingia's sources in twenty seven and make them flee. So
six years later they saying the GPS who committed to
the crimes against the Rhinga atrocities that include crimes against
humanity and war crimes had to flee to Bangladesh in

(44:36):
a quite similar way to refuge. And so it's sort
of karma or whatever you put it in a way
and the perceptions and reality of course when it's it's
kind of confrontations between the two groups Arcan Army and
the military compless sources. The reality that has been defined

(44:59):
by most of ours ninianmar and the course that we
used to believe that the Burmis malitary is a strong
vote by human resource and equipment and then in reality
they are very weak and our army has proved by
dismantling a various battalion in country battalion and even capturing
alive like second ice commanding officer in the whole of

(45:22):
the kind of state. And also many senior level officer
has been has has been killed over this. That so
the reality perception has been deeper on the NMR malanitary
when we look it from from external perspective.

Speaker 6 (45:39):
Yeah, and I think just in case listeners aren't familiar,
it can be very confusing if you don't read about
this stuff all the time. It's sort of an alphabet
soup of organizations, and especially with reference to Rahinga and
Rekind State, because we have Rahinga armed groups, so armed
groups which drove mostly for Ngar people that don't necessarily

(46:01):
represent them all, and then we have the AA. Son,
can you explain the AA's relationship to Kind State and
then how they relate to Rehinga people.

Speaker 4 (46:14):
He has been established in two thousand and nine with
aims to be having confederations and not less than war,
which is another special regions now with a special autonomy,
and it has been led by some young people and
it has been quite a leadership as well within their

(46:37):
kind political structrum. And he has been growing very apidally
and the acceptance of the of the people, particularly or
kind people has been very high. Therefore, the resource allocations
that he got from human resource to other resources to

(46:57):
be rapidly coping with that group growth has high end
that put them in a position to be standing in
front of Hunta in a very stronger positions and defeat
them and very rapidly. And of course the Arkhan Army
which we refer here as AE, is not as inclusive

(47:18):
as ra kind. Ra kind of state is very diverse
and it has got a multiple ethnic group. The largest
ethnic group is Rakin religiously with these people and to
which the majority of army's leadership derived from there, and
the second largest majority, which are the Rowinga and Toroinga,
are still the second largest majority in the rack kind

(47:39):
of state. Despite a milion being pushed off to Bangladesh
in twenty seventeen and several hundred thousand spread it across
the region, and the inclusivity in an Arcan Army is
still still not there. When we talk about Ringa, that's
know that there might be some small a small number

(48:00):
of Rhingias in different battalions of Arkan Army and the
administrative units that they're building at a very crossroot level. However,
the the the Rhinga need to be included both by
functions and in order to have to describe that relationship
and inclusively between the Rhenia people and the Arkan army.

Speaker 6 (48:19):
Yeah, and it's that Arakan Is that Rakhan is the
name of the area before it was called Rakayan state?
Is that right?

Speaker 4 (48:27):
Correct? It's even it's before Burma became Burma. Arkhan was
a king kingdom and it used to have its own
palace and its diversity, it's high page and it's natural resources.
And then of course the Burmese colonizations happened to Burma
and h and later on Kan has been named as

(48:50):
rakinda state.

Speaker 1 (48:51):
Yeah.

Speaker 6 (48:51):
So it describes a geographical rather than ethnic identity, right,
which is distinct from some of the other revolutionary organizations
like rank or any or what have you.

Speaker 4 (49:04):
I think there are similarities and as well as there
are differences when when when you put them together, and
and from a diversity perspective of a kind of statey,
it's very diverse compared to other ethnic groups. And and
also it's politically very complex. Uh So, the the the
the but over their overall similarities as well, like like

(49:24):
you know, all are fighting to defeat the hunter, to
to end the dictatorship in Meanmar. But the the the
the primary thing here is the self interminations and self autonomy,
like people want to decide to determine what is their
present and official look like, how they want to treat
with their past. That's the the the the the aspect.
But of course the the like to my to the

(49:48):
best of my knowledge, these ethnic resistance organizations, both political
and and and and the armed groups have never claimed
that they want to separate from me and Mar. Yes,
it's coming together in a different way. The holding together
would be in a different way.

Speaker 6 (50:06):
Yeah, And even when they speak to Bama people who
are like the majority ethnicity and the ethnicity from which
the junta's leadership had rule, and like they tell me,
they're committed to a federal and like a federal Mianma
with autonomy for these different regions and groups. And that's
something that has held that coalition together.

Speaker 1 (50:24):
Right.

Speaker 4 (50:25):
Yeah, approximately more than fifty million populations majority are Aburmese Buddhists,
and they have been having this Buddhist supremacy and like
Bama's supremacy over ethnic and religious minorities across the country,
and of course Katchin current and others and went to

(50:48):
Desromine when their future by by themselves and have the
equality both their functions and number. And that's where we're
having these seventy years long civil war. You know, that's
came to collective revolutions in twenty twenty one, and history

(51:11):
really speaking, people have been fighting in Enmark for equality,
justice and to end the cycle of impunity for the
last seventeen plus years.

Speaker 6 (51:21):
Great, I think that's a great place to take our
first advertising break. All right, and we're back. I think
he did an excellent job of explaining the history the
Goddess here, and people will be very familiar with the

(51:43):
trustees committed by the Burmese military and its proxies against
the Rhinga people, I hope. But one thing that's been
happening recently which are particularly appalling is the forced recruitment
of Bahinga Peoplehinga people by that same military, right, can
you explain what's been going on?

Speaker 4 (52:03):
So the the conscriptions law has been reactivated. It has
been there large by the previous military cats, but it
has not been active and so since the Hunter has
been falling apart and collapsing. Not only were the kind

(52:23):
of state across the country there wherever they fight, they lose,
and they are battalions by battalion. That's uh, that's running
away the to Thailand, running away to India, running away
to Bangladesh and and putting white black. And there are
several casualties. And apparently the Hunter became the largest military

(52:45):
equipment supplier to the to the revolutionary force where we
did not get we did not get international support when
when young people actress, models and writers points decided to
to go to the forest to do to fight against
this cunter and there was little to no international support.

(53:07):
And we have been struggling to to to equip ourselve
to to fight this center. And and of course the
the resilience and the courage that young people had and
the tactical and strategy capacity that the ethnic Resistance organization
had in combined became a factor. UH to have an

(53:30):
strategic sourcing of the military equipment and Hunter like battalion
by battalion. You don't need to buy the weapons and
military tang and things like that. You you go and
fight one battalion and they run away or they die
and then you take over the That's how the the
the whole old thing started in in In then when

(53:53):
they are losing uh, they reactivated the conscriptions law and
started to in the of making mandustry everyone to be
serving by force in the military by terms. And of
course when it's come to a kind of state or
a kind of state. The six hundred thousand RINGA and
T one hundred and fifty to sixty thousand of them

(54:15):
has been in concentration camp, consolidated in one place with
movement restrictions, no access to education, healthcare and things like that,
where they have been living more than a decade in
some of those camp and villages where those people who
are not in the camp as well has been imposed

(54:37):
by additional movement restrictions, so you don't need to really
go and mobilize and people to be forcefully recruiting. And
at the beginning the junta went to them and to
give them sort of show them incentive of like you
will become the citizens and will give that and we'll
give that, and you need to fight against the Arcan
army and of course the grassroot the leader community leader

(55:01):
responded in a way that they need to respond to
reject the the the requests from from the from the military,
hometown and mality started to of course, I posted by
using the force and as I mentioned earlier, they will
need to like when you have consultilated people that amount
of young people doing nothing and you just go and
catch them and put them on a truck, and some

(55:23):
of them don't know where they are going because their
whole life has been in this camp. Like when you're
six years old and you are now eighteen and you're
it's an industry for you to be serving in the
military and you don't know what is happening in our
side of your camp. Because yeah, so that's how really
the the and then we got these news and of
course we have been talking different community leaders and the

(55:45):
community has been approaching to us as a government and
we make uh. There are several media coverage as well.
Then the military started to say that these Bengalis are
not referring to the Hinga, are not the cities. Therefore
there is no way that we make them served in
the in the military. So those are fakings that. So

(56:07):
they use these States propaganda TV channel and the state
newspaper which is now under control of SUCK to deny that.
And on seventh October, seventh sorry, seven March, the the
those who they have conscripted, uh more than five hundred

(56:28):
has been brought into into the commanding office of the
Hunter to be training in full uniform. Some of them
those inside there has got managed to get internet internet
access and then said to me the video footage, what
is happening on the inside there, So I posted that
on my Twitter and and then it's it's spread it

(56:51):
from there and then we called them like their denial
initially the lives that they have been putting by denying
that Roo we're not conscripted, all was wrong. And then
a few days later they have been sent to the
front line to fight against a And then there are
hundreds of those rough hingers who were who died in
this front line while and the Hunter. The Cake came

(57:17):
back a few days later talking to their family saying
that Okaye, hundred plus people has died and we don't
know who is who and when we bring your dead body,
you will be able to be identified. And the first
dead body that they brought and handed over to the
clumby and the community leader with one million jets, which

(57:38):
is three hundred and fifty dollars plus one hundred kg
of rice as an incentive for the life that they
have given in the fighting. So that's the situations and
we can of course continue.

Speaker 6 (57:51):
Yeah, that's very bleak, isn't it? So this and we've
seen like just today actually people have been online today
there was a protest in Rapine State somewhere for a
hindred people rejecting the raconomy. Can can you explain like
that that might not be what it seems on the
face of it, right? Can can you explain what might

(58:11):
be happening there?

Speaker 4 (58:14):
The situations in ra kind of state has been very
much complex because there are there are hidden factors being
created ar officially created by the Hunter. For so long
from the two thousand and twenty twelve twenty seventeen, between
these different communities, there has been always interdependency and social
equation to somewhat level. But HUNDA always used the divide

(58:38):
and rule methodology to bring the conflict between these community
and hate each other and then they can carry out
what they need to do as a powerholder. And of
course when the Arcan army is getting greater control over
a kind of state and the hunter is losing the

(59:00):
the Melochiy hunt and it used all tactics that they have,
including the the the UH, the intercommunal tensions, and and
so they there are Ruhinga, few Ringia maybe who has
businesssess with this hunter, are being used as a proxy

(59:21):
to push pressure or pressure on the Ruhinga and to organize.
And so that's why the protest started a few years
ago in one of the townships in the China state.
We're eighty to ninety percent are Rringa and claiming that
we don't want war and we don't want ee. And

(59:42):
of course this can be happening artificially organically, and it's
so artificial, and anyone who looks into this video footage,
I can see that the Ruhingia never had in their life,
like those who are protesting never know what is means.
So a freedom of expression means And suddenly in one
random morning, one hundred hundred of Rwinga, including minors, children

(01:00:05):
coming on the street and protesting is not something normal.
It can happen without the U And of course majority
of the of the Rhingia are peace loving people and
they want Burma to be an inclusive federal democracy and
they want to be part of it and weird. That's
why I myself as a Ruhinga taking a leading rule

(01:00:29):
in the government as the first Rhina holding back ministrial
positions in the cabinet since nineteen sixty two. And of
course the Ruhingo equally want the to end the dictatorship
once and for all because that very junta has been
committing trustity scrims, including crimes against humanity and to genocides

(01:00:53):
to Uringa. This is the very same military who devoted
a million ringa killed more than twenty four thousands of
people in burning children's life in twenty seventeen. So in
which way that's the collectively will come and ascend with
this hunt were the whole country. So this is not
this is really not something organic, and this is artificial.

(01:01:16):
This is too big and this is so like Hunter
made to fit into be fitting into their political propaganda.

Speaker 6 (01:01:25):
Yeah, and I think one has to when I was
looking at things in memr be aware that the Hunter
just doesn't care about lying. It's something they've done for
a long time. I apparently can't download iHeart podcasts in
Memo now, like someone tried to download our podcast there
and so they had to use a VPN. But yeah,
they manipulate the media environment heavily, like you can read

(01:01:45):
Hunter newspapers and some of its comically false. But one
thing I did want to talk about is like when
I talk to young PDF fighters, and I've spoken to
dozens of them now, people who are Koreny, people who
are Korenne, people who are a people who are kitchin
they a lot of them say to me that, like

(01:02:06):
what happened in twenty seventeen was atrocious and at the
time they didn't realize because of this manipulated media environment,
they didn't realize that the way the Rahinda were being
treated was so appalling, and that now they're very upset
about what happened. And like for them, I guess the
litmus test for like a future for Burma is one

(01:02:28):
that can include Rahinja people and so like with that
in mind, I guess we've seen this kind of changing
of language, right where previously they were referred to as
Bangladeshi and then now they're referred to as Muslim or
Hinga people. I guess can you just explain, like what
is the n UGPDF kind of like how how do

(01:02:53):
we ensure independence and safety for a Hingo people in
Myanmar in a federal, democratic future without a dictatorship.

Speaker 4 (01:03:02):
We're in a context of identity politics where the identity
is so much associated with very rights, whether it's political, social,
and economical right that you deserve and what you need
to give back as an active of the citizens and
obligations to the country that you belong. Therefore, the identity

(01:03:24):
the Rhinga is a primary thing for Ruhinga to be
enjoying equal freedom and to be able to contribute equally
as others in the nation building process. And of course
before twenty seventeen, even before that, there has been a
lot of misinformation. Disinformation is propagram that are widespread state

(01:03:46):
sponsored against the Rhinga to that could be misleading and
incitement of violence. And the Troum Bengali is a rum
that's reefer that you're coming from Bangladesh illegally and you're
illegally as you settling. That's how the terms came from. False.

Speaker 2 (01:04:11):
It's a false accusation.

Speaker 4 (01:04:13):
It's false accusations. And the the the Ruhingia people has
existed in the kind of states side by side with
your kind people, even Burma became Burma and they are
historical facts that there are so many undeniable things that
you could you could look into and into into various

(01:04:33):
historical facts. And so the in between. Of course, the
Rhingia the trum become illegal and the military denied it,
rejected it, and then they started to use the tram
Bengali and the most of the Burmese people fall into
that trap. And even somewhere either silent in this horrific
genocideal attack in twenty seventeen or somewhere taking side of

(01:04:57):
a military at that time that that is okay to
kill and it's okay to And of course these are
being being propelled by all misinformations and disinformation that our
earlier mentioned and twenty twenty one attempted could happened. And
that's where a new perspective is being offered to the
people of Me and Mar, because the same militory that

(01:05:18):
has been carrying out atrocities clans against the Rhingia and
other minorities came to Largerma people doing the same thing.
So what has been told to us by the Ruhinga
and the religious and ethnic minority in the end Mar
for the decade came to be true, and that's how
the acceptance of the Ruhinga has started to grow. Of course,

(01:05:42):
it's not to the level that we would be satisfied
with yet, it's a process and there is so much
to unlearn because one provoking factor like attempted to should
like wouldn't fix a problem, a problem that has been
there for for decades. And a National Unity government declared

(01:06:06):
that we accept the chum Ruhinga, and there has been
a policy stating very clearly in twenty twenty one June,
and that policy to be implemented of course when the
situation is conducive, and there are significant challenges with the
territorial control and things like that when it's come. But again,

(01:06:27):
the momentum that I mentioned we got as a result
of extreme evolutions need to be maintained in the higher scale.
That's not only the ruhinga and anything that's wrong, that's
primarily that's principle and value are strong. I need to
be able to see it wrong, regardless of whoever it
is and regardless of race and religion. If we are

(01:06:49):
talking about federal, inclusive democracy, we cannot preach to our
people or international community saying that support us or asking
for support or be a part of this movement where
we see a sepri floud fishers and inclusive federal democracy.
We're actual values that we are not practicing by ourselves.
So before we preach, we need to we need to

(01:07:11):
act upon those principles by ourselves. And overall, I would say,
the all the loss that we had, including life and livelihood,
that hundred and hundred of people, thousands of people has
been killed, jailed, and hundreds of villagers, township has been destroyed,
the good thing that we got is the the these

(01:07:33):
consciousness on the morality.

Speaker 5 (01:07:35):
Uh.

Speaker 4 (01:07:36):
And if we're able to accelerate that consciousness at the
greatest scale, that's where we will be able to maintain
the values and principle of the inclusive federal democracy. That
would be the pillar to maintain this as a process.

Speaker 6 (01:07:52):
Yeah, I think. So it's really fascinating to talk to
young people talking to some manly PDF people not so
long ago, and they were like, oh, yeah, well, when
we left, we were told that like the Tang would
hate us because we're Burmese and they would fight us.
And then they're like, oh, they're really nice. Like this
is a guy right next to me and they're like
because they're joined up together. Now the PDFs and and

(01:08:14):
the eros are largely fighting like side by side against
is there like the PDF forces present in rakind state
as well.

Speaker 4 (01:08:23):
No, there is Arkan Army particularly which is an allies
with the with the we have been there have been
multiple intract like you know, there are we have Alliance
Relations Committee that we deal with all the alliance as
National Unity Government and of course they have been playing

(01:08:44):
in an important role in defeating the content. And there
is no PDF in in the Kinda state.

Speaker 6 (01:08:49):
Okay, Yeah, so it's a little different there. Other often
the PDF and the eras are very similar in fight
side by side.

Speaker 4 (01:08:57):
Also, our army is not tracked alone in a state.
They're almost also in in Sharna State and they're yes,
fighting with not only in the kind Of state. So
like when we talk about like even though the physically
PDFs are not there, it doesn't mean that there is
no military connect to military connections between the ethnic organizations

(01:09:20):
that exists across the country.

Speaker 6 (01:09:22):
Yeah, and like we've seen that a lot since October
and like since the Three brother Alliance started their campaign
that moves hunter forces to one place and that allows
other people like the KARENI to take advantage of the
way those forces have moved and they've liberated huge parts
of their territory. So it's all joined, I guess.

Speaker 4 (01:09:44):
Yeah. The tricky part that they have used in the
past is like hidden cut, is that they will do
sea fight in one part of the country and they
will allocate all of their resources in another part of
the country, and where they will defeat or they will
at least like come to bargaining positions, let's not fight anymore,
and and you stay where you are and don't don't

(01:10:07):
try to like you know, and and and it's hunta
who violate again all all these agreements that usually so
and and this time it's so coordinated across the country
that the junta like cannot be able to position themselves
or estrategize themselves or put then themselves in the tactical

(01:10:27):
positions they're all tactic did not work in the modern
coordinations of the PDF and Ethnic Resistance Organization.

Speaker 6 (01:10:34):
Yeah, No, They've tried multiple times to have that little
individuals fires and it hasn't worked. So I wanted to
ask just just to finish up people I think who
listen to this will be very familiar with the situation

(01:10:55):
in Meama, and they want to help, and they see
that the international community is doing nothing, and I think
a lot of people are rightly very upset about that.
So what what can people do to help and especially
to advocate for a hanger people.

Speaker 4 (01:11:10):
Particularly when it's come to the Rhinia people Ringer people
crisis is so much interconnected with Burmese democratization process. Ruhindia
will not be able to have a life that dignified, say,
and in their place of origin unless the Burma is
solely in the hand of a civilian government. So the

(01:11:32):
democratization process that whole verm is attempting to make need
to be supported by international community. As I mentioned earlier,
so far we got little to no international support. And
on the on the Ruhinga crisis as well, there's one
million people in Bangladesh where their Russians are cuts to
eight dollars per month per person and which is a

(01:11:54):
cup of coffee in the United States, and there is
a greater danger of hunger restorations and malnitary nutrition and
UH and so many other social economic problems that would
have an impact on the regional security stability and things
like that if the shortfall remains UH funding short call

(01:12:18):
remains for for for for for for for the India.
That's on the Humanustrian and and of course Rhingia need
to be politically organized in order to be to be
fitting into the changing political dynamic of Meanmar. Duringia has
been oppressed, they were not able to study organizations, they
were not able to be elevating themselves. So all these

(01:12:41):
societal leadership aspects need to be supported, including having a
company like having an organized political platform for for Ringa
which will be able to represent Shuringa in the larger
political table UH, ensuring their voices are heart and there
able to equally take the rights that they deserve and

(01:13:04):
more importantly equal equally able to contribute to a decision
that will have an impact on their life. And the
United States has determined the crimes against Ruhinga as genocide
two years before. And of course the genocide discrimination does
not simply is an announcement. It's come with the moral

(01:13:28):
and legal responsibility. So we do want to require the
United States and it's people to formally extent on the
moral and legal obligations that it has in ensuring that
the Rhinga are able to live equally peacefully and more importantly,
the justice that they deserve on the physical and mental
damage that happened as part of the genocide. And it

(01:13:52):
was picked in twenty seventeen, it's continued to be happening
today and even today one hundred and fifty people were
arriving in Archie, Indonesia, where the Indonesian people who were
showing greater humanity in opening their arms and parts to
be accepting Ruhinga, are denying the rhinga. So for the Ruhinga,
there is little to no space to be accommodated, both

(01:14:13):
in regional and international and local setting, and it is
very important that we are able to tackle and navigate
these issues together with the international community in an innovative, effective,
efficient and sustainable way for the sake of humanity. And
there are competing priorities across the world, but the international

(01:14:36):
community is we are so aware of that international community
is capable of doing more than one thing at a time.
It doesn't have to be either or.

Speaker 6 (01:14:45):
No, it can be both and it should be right
like obviously people are very concerned with the plight of
Palestinian people, rightly so at the moment, but yes, we
should remember that as a Muslim people have been subject
to genocide for the last needed for seven years, as
I suppose, and it's ongoing, and they deserve our support
and solidarity as well. Yeah, I hope, yeah, yeah, I

(01:15:07):
mean it does seem like I guess a little more
hopeful than it was even a couple of years ago
that there will be a democratic mean and.

Speaker 4 (01:15:17):
Yeah, the journey is is almost think and what we
need is greater international support. Like support doesn't mean just
you know, releasing the statement, meaningful comprehensive support that we
are able to defeat this Manta once and for all

(01:15:38):
for the sake of people of Me and Mark fifty
plus million people giving the price at the highest possible
price in their life that include again the lives and livelihood.
An international community was not doing more than condemnations for
releasing a statement of concern over the last three years.

(01:16:00):
It's time to act and international community again has to
answer this question to next generations when there's a questions
on the morality we're the internetional community. When the genocide
comes against community and work careme has been happening to
meally anything send people in the eyes of international community.

Speaker 6 (01:16:20):
Yeah, no, I hope they do. And it's incredible the
progress that has been made without that support.

Speaker 1 (01:16:27):
And I think.

Speaker 6 (01:16:29):
It's just incredible to me that even I remember in
twenty twenty one talking to people who were just beginning
their fight, and to see how far they've come is outstanding. Yeah,
and yeah, people should be very proud of that. But
it doesn't mean that they don't need more support.

Speaker 4 (01:16:45):
They do.

Speaker 6 (01:16:46):
Doesn't mean that they don't need surface to our missiles.

Speaker 2 (01:16:48):
They do.

Speaker 6 (01:16:49):
Like, yeah, that it's the thing that we should be doing.
Thank you so much for joining us. We really appreciate
your time and your insight into this. Is there anywhere
where people can find you online if they were to
follow on.

Speaker 4 (01:17:02):
Yeah, they can follow me on my tutor and Facebook
and I it's my tutor is a K two okay,
and my my Facebook is like my name. If you
type my moo it will appear. So yeah. Yeah, looking

(01:17:23):
forward to seeing you in near future. Yeah, thanks, thank you,
thank you for having me.

Speaker 1 (01:17:27):
You're welcome, welcome.

Speaker 4 (01:17:43):
Let's take it out here.

Speaker 5 (01:17:44):
The podcast being recorded to a page of pain killers.
I'm your host, via Wong, I'm fucking dying.

Speaker 6 (01:17:52):
Yeah it would be yeah, yeah, Phantalem episode even waiting
for it here it is.

Speaker 4 (01:17:59):
Yeah. Yeah.

Speaker 5 (01:18:00):
And the other thing that's dying was dying has died
sort of was a bunch of French colonists in Algeria.

Speaker 2 (01:18:10):
Yeah.

Speaker 5 (01:18:11):
Yeah, the French Empire as a whole. One could say, yeah,
thank God, Jesus Christ, why did you let these people
have an empire? Terrible idea?

Speaker 6 (01:18:19):
Yeah, not an empire the abroad France, right, like like
the little parts of France which just happened to be
in Africa, totally a normal thing, which particular part of
the French Empire? Are we talking about it? Many many
such cases of French French Empire taking l's. Not that
that's unique, to be fair, also a British empire to

(01:18:39):
the load of l's.

Speaker 1 (01:18:40):
Yeah.

Speaker 5 (01:18:40):
So today we're talking about Algeria, and I think one
of the things that I sort of realized about how
the Algerian Revolution is remembered in the.

Speaker 2 (01:18:52):
West is okay.

Speaker 5 (01:18:54):
So there's there's the kind of the Frank Herbert react
where they saw people who were Muslim in the streets
and were like, holy shit, it went insane for seventy years. Yeah, yeah,
to be fair, to be fair, that was also poorly
partly being driven mad by the Portland Dunes, which, like
you know, like I get sometimes sometimes you're driven, you're

(01:19:16):
driven completely insane by dunes. But you know, so there's
that's that's there's a sort of reactionary memory of it.
There's a sort of memory that functions in inside of
like the American military where you know, Algeria's remember it
is one of those sort of like examples of failed.

Speaker 2 (01:19:34):
Kind of insurgency.

Speaker 5 (01:19:36):
Yeah, and then there's there's the memory inside of the
American left, which is largely confined to Fenn and the
movie The Battle of Algiers.

Speaker 6 (01:19:46):
Yep, classic movie to be.

Speaker 5 (01:19:48):
Fair, Yeah, great movie, like nothing nothing, a good good movie. However, Kama,
this is a real issue because the Battle of Algiers again,
great movie ends in nineteen fifty seven. Finan great theorist
dies in nineteen sixty one. Now notably, Algeria gains independence

(01:20:09):
nineteen sixty two.

Speaker 2 (01:20:11):
So okay.

Speaker 5 (01:20:12):
The issue with this is that people kind of broadly
know the outlines of the First Algerian Revolution, but the
Second Algerian Revolution, the one where the Algerian working class
season is the control of the means of production, attempts
to run them Autonomous League is just has completely faded
into the mists of history. I talk about it, no
one has any idea what the fuck I'm talking about.

(01:20:34):
And this is kind of startling, because you know, up
until there's probably like there's like a four year span
where the Algerian Revolution is the sort of like capital S,
capital R social revolution, like it's the big one, is
the one people all over the world taking inspiration from,
and then it kind of, you know, it flounders out

(01:20:55):
for reasons that we're going to talk about, and also
the culture revolution starts and everyone lashes onto that. But
it's sort of fascinating to me that this the second
part of the revolution and the part that everyone was
really excited about, which is the core of the revolution
being worker self management, and that being the sort of

(01:21:17):
great theoretical innovation of Algeria and socialism that has just
completely faded for memory. It's just gone, and so today
we're talking about that revolution. Unfortunately, one of the most
detailed studies on this I'm can be citing from a
lot is in Clegg's Worker Self Management in Algeria. Now,

(01:21:38):
this is a good book. However, Comma Clegg is uh,
He's a very specific kind of crimogeny Marxist guy.

Speaker 6 (01:21:49):
Yeah, I'm familiar with that kind of guy.

Speaker 5 (01:21:52):
Yeah, And so like the back third of this book
is him engaged in a protracted ideological war with phenomen
over the nature of revolutionary consciousness, which is largely pointless
and goes nowhere. So many sues, you know, but it
is a very very detailed and very useful account of
what actually happened after the First Revolution, like after the

(01:22:15):
French are forced to pull out of Algeria, and what
happens effectively is well, we need to go back a
little tiny bit, so there are you know, there is
a staggering slaughter of people who attempt to resist French colonialism.
Like a lot of the sort of techniques that are

(01:22:37):
going to be used in Vietnam, they are going to
be used all over the world. And kind of insurgencies
are developed in Algeria in this period. I'm going to
read a quote from Clagg about what they were doing.
The use of air power in napalm to clear cover
made movement inside the country almost impossible. The construction of
mind and electrified barriers along the border with Tunisian and
Morocco kept the better trained and armed elements of the

(01:23:00):
Liberation Nationale from coming to support the gorillas and moving
in supplies. One of the most successful moves encountering goerrilla
activity was the policy of regroupment, initiated by General Chalet.
This strategy, learned from the British and Malaysia, involved moving
the rural population out of areas favorable to the gorillas
and resettling them in camps on their military guard, and

(01:23:20):
estimated two million peasants were treated this way, creating vast
social and economic problems for the future. So, like they
put two million people in concentration camps.

Speaker 6 (01:23:28):
Yeah, yeah, according it like Grey group more is a
a fucking exercise in like and marketing. Like rarely have
I seen something so nefari named, like we're regrouping them
parentheses in a fucking concentration camp.

Speaker 5 (01:23:45):
Yeah, And this is this is a strategy that you know,
so the British sort of start doing this in Malaysia.
A lot of it's derived from attempts to counter you know.
And this isn't really an episode about that ter and revolution,
but I want to talk about this a little bit.
It's it's it's design as a way to counter sort
of MAOIs insurgency campaigns, which is the sort of you know,
the becomes the new template for like the season that. Yeah,

(01:24:09):
and it's because it works really well, and you know,
like the key thing of Maoist like well, I mean
there's a couple of things obviously, but like one of
the key elements of it is this is this line
for Mao is it like the gorilla moves to the
people like a fish moves through the sea. Right, So
it's about like it's about building social basis such that
you know, gorillas can move in and out of communities
and not get turned in and stuff and use them
as terrain.

Speaker 6 (01:24:29):
I've had that particular mao phrase paraphrase to me. I
think sometimes by people who are where it comes from
MoU sometimes people who probably have just sort of come
to it through their own understanding or or heard it
but not realize the source of it. By people who
are not certainly not Maoists. All over the world, like
I've heard it in the Middle East, I've heard it

(01:24:51):
in Africa, I've heard it in Asia. It's it's it
is a very important thing and like it, Yeah, it
does make Garrida war. If you can remember the population.

Speaker 5 (01:25:01):
This is something that's propagated through because because of the
success of Mao's like gorilla insurgency, this is something that's
propagated through I mean through through obviously, like through through
communist parties, but I mean like a lot of Islamist
groups also pick it, like pick up a lot of
the elements of it, because a lot of those groups
are trained in uh the Plos camps in the Becker

(01:25:22):
Valley in Jordan, and so like a lot of groups
like all over the world of completely unrelated ideologies all
sort of picked this stuff up. And the British response
to this is the British are fighting a communist insurgency
in Malaysia and they're like, Okay, we're gonna do concentration
camps for our purposes. So obviously this is a a
you know, this is an unfathomable atrocity, but it has

(01:25:44):
enormous effects even after the war ends, because suddenly, you know, okay,
like the war ends, the French are gone, but you know,
two million people have been taken from their homes and
locked in and locked in camps, and this has enormous
you know, I mean, this is this is enormous economic
effects and the second thing that has really sort of

(01:26:04):
stunning economic effects are the Sore. There's been a class
of people in Algeria called the Colognes who are basically
the colonists. They're not actually all French, a lot of
them are from other European countries, but they come to
be this sort of hardcore French ultranationalist, sort of fascist

(01:26:25):
turbo racists. I guess they're they're they're not quite the Rhodesians,
but they're they're only not quite the Rhodesians because they
didn't stay to fight it out. And when when the
French lose the war, and when the French pull out,
these people just flee, like all of them were talking,
hundreds of thousands of people just are gone. I'm going

(01:26:48):
to read another quote from Cleig, because you know, if
these people had merely left, I think a lot of
what's going to happen in this revolution goes a lot better.
But they didn't just leave.

Speaker 2 (01:27:01):
Quote.

Speaker 5 (01:27:01):
In June, a policy of scorched earth was declared, inaugurating
an orgy of destruction. With his dream crumbling, the colonist's
response was to destroy this world, which I think is
a really sort of elegant.

Speaker 6 (01:27:13):
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I think that's you very well written,
and it's funny. It's this thing that again, like you
see replicated so often. There was this slogan that they
used at the start the serience of a war like
asado we bend in the country.

Speaker 2 (01:27:28):
Yeah, yeah, and it's it's this real you know.

Speaker 5 (01:27:31):
So, so what what the what the colons end up
doing is they end up just destroying, Yes, everything they
can get their hands on. They're destroying houses, They're especially
destroying any kind of sort of factory of technical equipment,
anything they can find. They're burning their lighting on fire
and someone and the other thing about Okay, so Luxuria
is a colonial economy, right, and the structure of the
colonial economy is such that you know, if you.

Speaker 2 (01:27:55):
Are a.

Speaker 5 (01:27:58):
Anyone who has any kind of technical or manager gerial
experience are all colonists, right. Everyone else in the country
is either doing subsistence farming or has been fed as
like these this sort of like seasonal workers or really
really badly paid sort of contract workers on the on
these sort of like cash crap agricultural farms, a lot

(01:28:20):
of orange production and.

Speaker 4 (01:28:21):
Stuff like that.

Speaker 5 (01:28:23):
And so when the colonists flee the country. Suddenly, like
the entire technical managerial class, everyone with technical experience, and
also all of the bosses and the entire bourgeoisie are
just gone. And this takes everyone by surprise. The Ethelen
had assumed the Ethelens the the kind of like umbrella

(01:28:43):
organization that carried out the revolution. They it kind of
falls apart very quickly because it's it's not really a
coherent ideological group. It's just the sort of banner that
everyone who is fighting kind of attaches themselves to.

Speaker 6 (01:28:59):
Yeah, it is quite common, right, like national friends or
like popular friends very often do this post fore.

Speaker 5 (01:29:05):
Yeah, and they are disintegrate. But but they had all
expected that the colonists were going to stick around, and
they don't because they're turbo racists.

Speaker 2 (01:29:11):
Right.

Speaker 5 (01:29:12):
And then the thought of having to live in an
Algeria world by Algeria, this was like, Nope, I will
fucking literally light the world on fire and flee to France.
You know what else is going to light the world
on fire and cause people to flee to France.

Speaker 6 (01:29:27):
The products, products and services it's supporting to show.

Speaker 5 (01:29:30):
Yeah, so how how fucking good they are. It's gonna
it's going to cause the world to burn and make
people flee to France.

Speaker 6 (01:29:35):
Yeah, I have to think about that when they think
about like how big my pile of gold is, I
think that that match it's too small. I better just
bend all down and move to France.

Speaker 5 (01:29:54):
And we are back now enter enter here. The heroes
of this episode ode the workers Council, or very specifically,
so this is this is a French this is a
French colony. So in France and in Spain and in
sort of I guess, the Romance languages. There, there was
a concept called auto gision. I'm pronouncing it really badly

(01:30:17):
because I'm reading the French version of it and trying
to pronounce it half in Spanish, the only one of
these languages I can even sort of speak. But it
so it means self management, and it basically it has
this context of of sort of like workers democratic self management.
Right if you're if you're doing osteone, you're like the
workers of a factory have taken over the factory and

(01:30:37):
are running it themselves. The most prominent example and at
this point of self management is Yugoslavia. Now this it's
very Theoslavian version is very, very weird, but as a
way basically to tell the Soviets to fuck off. Yugoslavia
adopts a very different kind of model of socialism than

(01:30:57):
everyone else's. So there are models based on the quote
unquote the withering away of the state. So they're you know,
you have basically these like reasonably democratic, like workers co
ops that are the sort of that are sort of
their productive basis of society. And these these co ops

(01:31:17):
sort of compete against each other on the market. But
other hand, there is a like a very large level
of workers control that's different from you know, like the US,
which is just a pure dictatorship of your boss in
the workplace, tells you what to do, and if you
don't do what you get fired. Yeah, and so Algeria
gets there has their own version of self management. But

(01:31:42):
unlike Algeria which was sort of effectively imposed by the
top down for the Comnist party. In Algeria, what happens
is you have this this enormous mass of workers who
used to work on these plantations, used to work in factories.
There's these huge colony lagger cultural estates. And what happens

(01:32:03):
is with with the entire ruling class gone and when
I say the entire ruling class, we're talking from all
the way up from you know, the highest level government officials,
through all all of your sort of capitalist bosses, right
down to sort of the middle management guys are gone.
All those people just have disappeared. So what happens is

(01:32:23):
workers start taking over all of their all of their workplaces,
and they start forming workers councils. Right now, this is
this is driven largely by I mean there's there's there's
there's a few different drivers. There's we'll get to the
ideological aspect. A lot of it is that these people
have no money and no one else is going to

(01:32:45):
run it. So they're they're the workers who have now
sees all the stuff are like, Okay, well we're gonna
we're gonna get the money we need to survive by
running by running all the stuff ourselves.

Speaker 1 (01:32:56):
Yea.

Speaker 5 (01:32:57):
And so this sort of starts ineteen sixty two, and
it it sweeps across the country very quickly. I mean
there's a lot of real regions where it never really
takes hold. But largely what's happening is that permanent workers
who had been who had been workers at these firms
seize control of them. This has benefits and downsize. The

(01:33:18):
benefit of it is so there's an attempt by the
sort of the new Algerian sort of bushwise either the
sort of like small faction of Algerian capitalists to buy
up all this land. And there's a much of really
funny stories of these guys buying these estates and showing
up and the workers conn they just kicking them out. Yeah, yes,
this is extremely funny. Yeah, there's also issues. So part

(01:33:42):
of what's going on is this is this is the
sort of this is the permanent workers taking over the
stuff with their people, right, and so a lot of
times like they'll they'll kick out seasonal workers because yeah,
so it's not it's not perfect, and there's a lot
of issues with it, right because this is this is
all being formed effectively, spontaneously about a bunch of extremely
desperate people.

Speaker 6 (01:34:03):
That's what I'm just so obviously like because it's me.
The point of comparison I'm thinking of is the Spanish
Civil War, right, Yeah, and worker is self management. But
there you have a workforce which is which has been
working towards collectivization for more than a decade in some cases.
And also like this is the point actually gets missed
a lot in online discourse about the Spanish Civil War,

(01:34:24):
perhaps because people don't know as much as they think
they do. That like, there were anarchists in all kinds
of roles, Like when people talk about their rooty column
or whatever like, there were absolutely anarchists, noncommissioned officers from
the military who they relied on heavily for advice. And
the same is true with the collectivized workplaces, right that
there were anarchists in many roles, you know, in shop

(01:34:47):
stewards and things like that, obviously not in like the
higher management roles. I think, yeah, doing that is kind
of incompatible with anarchism, but obviously what we're dealing here
with is anarchosyndicalism. For the most part, the fire was
more of a purest anarchist group, but there you had
people who've been working towards this for a long time,

(01:35:07):
who have been planning for it, and who did have
people with a variety of experiences in I think oversight
might be a better word than the management preps or
like sort of organization. But they were very successful. But
that didn't just happen overnight. It often gets presented as
if it did as if on like the eighteenth of July,

(01:35:28):
these people were just sort of going to work and
by the twentieth they were fully formed the anarchists running
their own workplaces. But that's absolutely not the case.

Speaker 5 (01:35:36):
Yeah, and jud jury is the exact opposite of this,
which is, yeah, there's there's a very low level of
political consciousness. There's organization is almost non existent, because so
I mean the kinds of organizations that it existed are
you know, you have these sort of vanguard cells, but
those are largely rural. And then you have there are

(01:35:57):
some unions, but they're not very they're not very large
because they've been outlawed. Yeah, break ground, Yeah, like unbelievablexpression.
Colonial context is extremely important.

Speaker 2 (01:36:08):
Yeah.

Speaker 6 (01:36:10):
Yeah, obviously Nia may Or I is blaming Algerian workers
for not being Catalana.

Speaker 5 (01:36:14):
No, yeah, like this is this is this is the
Frenchest fault and and you know, but but any such cases. Yeah,
but this seizure really takes everyone by surprise because all
all of the sort of leaders of fl and all
leaders of the various factions had assumed that either they
were going to sort of do I don't know, there's
ideological conflict. But they they they all assume that they're

(01:36:39):
going to do some kind of like giant state led
industrialization project, right, whether it's a socialist one, whether it's
the more Islamist one, and then suddenly they're they're now all,
you know, it's like, okay, well your economy is now
on the Yugoslavian uh self management model because.

Speaker 2 (01:36:56):
All of these workers have just seized all their workplaces.

Speaker 5 (01:36:59):
Now that there are there there are a few organizations
that are are politically very supportive of this. The UGTA,
which is Algeria's big sort of trade union, are very
politically socialist and they they are really the only people
in this entire country who are who are an organized
political body who actually want to see this thing work,

(01:37:20):
and so they do a lot of work helping me,
helping workers set up their their committees and spreading the revolution.
Their plan is to use this against any attempt to
set up basically a dictatorship by uh, you know, it's okay.
And this is where it gets sort of interesting because
very explicitly they are trying to stave off sort of

(01:37:40):
Soviet style socialisticatorship, right they are, And their plan is
We're going to use we're going to use the workers
councils as the as the basis of of an actual
sort of workers democracy against again against the sort of
orthodox like Marcus Leninist stuff. And this is another thing
that's going on too, is the army is a lot
more orthodox Marcist Leninists than and then either the workers

(01:38:01):
committees with the unions and so a lot in a
lot of parts of the countries in the West, the
army just sort of rolls through, knocks off the workers
committees and seizes the land for itself. And that's a fiasco.
But now now pretty very quickly Ben Bella, who emerges
as as the sort of as the leader of Algeria
after a set of political maneuvering that we're not going

(01:38:22):
to get into here, is basically forced to and in
nineteen sixty three set a bunch of decrees saying that, yeah,
these guys are people who run the economy, et cetera,
et cetera. But there's there I want to talk. I
want to actually get into something that is really not
talked about in ninety nine percent of the accounts of

(01:38:44):
this stuff, which is how do these councils actually work?
Because spoiler alert. This whole thing is going to fail
and all these people are going to be crushed. And
a lot of that has to do with how this
thing's set up, which is very badly because it is
a system designed by Marxists, and they're very sympathetic Marksist
to a broad extent.

Speaker 2 (01:39:03):
But unfortunately the way that these that this is set.

Speaker 5 (01:39:07):
Up is that, Okay, so there's an assembly, right, that's like,
all the workers in the firm are in this assembly.
The assembly elects this worker's council, which has like ten people,
and then that council elects the management Committee, which is
the people who actually do the management. So it has
a president and there's also a director supposed to represent

(01:39:27):
the interest of the state or whatever. And and the
issue with this is that it's designed specifically to keep
power out of the hands of workers directly. Right that
that that giant assembly, it can't actually make policy. The
only thing they can do is approve plans or disapproved
plans set down by the management committee.

Speaker 6 (01:39:46):
Got it, okay? And these people at the management committee
will presumably like representatives as opposed to delegates.

Speaker 5 (01:39:51):
Right, yeah, yeah, they're the representatives. They also have three
year terms, and it won. I think they can, but
it's really hard, okay. And the other thing that that
that sort of destroys this is that they those they
there's a lot of sort of like election rigging by
the state who doesn't want these things to be actual
sort of democratic and the and this leads into the

(01:40:13):
bigger issue, which is state control. And this is this
is where I think, really this is something that Clegg
doesn't get into much because Clegg is a Marxist.

Speaker 2 (01:40:20):
But this is where the.

Speaker 5 (01:40:22):
Marxism of it all really comes into play. But first,
do you know who's not a Marxist?

Speaker 6 (01:40:28):
Oh, yes, almost certainly.

Speaker 5 (01:40:31):
Yeah, not Marxists. I think we I think we can
say not Marxists.

Speaker 1 (01:40:46):
All right, we are back.

Speaker 5 (01:40:47):
So the biggest issue here, and this is something that
was kind of true in both Algeria and in the
others kind of big Marxist self management experiments in Chile,
which is that these self managing firms don't have control
over a lot of the things that they need. Right
So in Algeria, when when when the state essentially tries

(01:41:10):
to absorb all of this stuff, when it when it
gets sort of legitimized under under these decrees, there are
a lot of issues. One is that these self managing
organizations don't have control over their own money. So y're, yeah,
you're paid. You're getting paid by the state, right and
you so you give the state your money and then

(01:41:30):
they they pay you. And this becomes a real issue
because the state goes, oh well, the people in these
self managing things are actually like privileged workers, so they
have permanent pay freezes. And also you can't reinvest your
profits back into the firm, which is a real issue.

Speaker 6 (01:41:47):
It's like a horrible combination of like and cap and
and like stylin its like it without. Yeah, I don't
I don't want to like derail us too much. But
this again, like it's it's a stake.

Speaker 5 (01:42:00):
It's so much worse than the Spanish system. It's so
much worse, Like every part of it is set up
to fail.

Speaker 6 (01:42:05):
Yeah, and I think this should always get This is
the sort of discourse I am now going to derailiz.
I'm sorry. This is the kind of like the online
like hammer and sickle in bio discourse that we see
so often, right, and you don't have to pay attention
to these people, and like you probably shouldn't, but just
just to like put it out there. I think like

(01:42:26):
and archo syndicalism is right there, and it allows for
the like unions and syndicate which over overlook a whole
industry to coordinate between workers' committees and ensure that, you know,
things get done and people get read with dignity, and
they also make enough money or have access to the
resources that they need to survive. And when we try

(01:42:49):
and like cut the corners off this or kind of
make a little collage between this and barkist leninism or
state socialism, like neither thing works, and we to stand
up with this kind of terrible hodge podge in which
it doesn't it doesn't function, right, But that that doesn't
necessarily mean that work is self management itself is invaded
as a concept it.

Speaker 5 (01:43:11):
Yeah, and and and there's there's a lot of things
here that you know.

Speaker 4 (01:43:15):
So the.

Speaker 5 (01:43:17):
One of the big criticisms of this at the time
by by social intellectuals is people are going, well, there's
not coordination, uh, you know, the firms competing against each other,
there's not broad economic coordination. It's like, well, yeah, that's
because that's because the state controls other finances. They don't
they don't have the ability to do coordination.

Speaker 4 (01:43:33):
With each other.

Speaker 5 (01:43:34):
And yeah, the big thing, and this is the thing
that really actually kills this is that so Cleik calls
it marketing is controlled by the state. But that's not
quite what's going on. The other thing that's controlled by
the state is the state has the responsibility or and
and is the people who are in charge of selling
the products. And they just fucked us up completely. They

(01:43:55):
can't they can't figure out how to get like the
fruit that's being produced sold right. The problem here isn't
is an output. Is that the city, the state is
doing things like I mean sometimes sometimes they they'll have
all these oranges. So a lot of the the Algeria
and agricultural economy is set up as a cash crop economy.
And you're supposed to fight you so okay, and it's
it's never really worked very well. But the Algerian state

(01:44:16):
just completely shits the bed. And there's I mean, this
is like i mean we're talking like tons of fruit
is just sitting there rotting a lot of the time.
What they do is they just dump in onto the
French market at for like basically zero cost, and so
and you know, and so you you you get these
things and you look at the sort of profit lost thing,
and you know, the sort of like right wing parts

(01:44:37):
of the state, and this is oh, I guess you like,
I guess they are right wing, but the sort of
anti self management parts of the statia going oh, well,
look at these these firms. They're hemorrhaging all this money.
It's like, well, yeah, they're hemorrhaging money because instead of
actually selling the goods, you guys are throwing all of
their goods into a dumpster. Like yeah, of course it's
not working, right.

Speaker 6 (01:44:54):
Yeah, And it's just a struggle of like perst colonial economies.
If you in the French colonial system, like they've decided
that Algeria is going to be the place that makes
oranges for the entirety of the French, I'm just sort
of manufacturing example empire here. Then evidently what once you
once you secede from that empire, you now have a

(01:45:14):
fuck ton more oranges than you need for Algerias. You're
now going to have to navigate and you might not
have enough.

Speaker 5 (01:45:20):
Well, and they can't even figure how to sell to
other Algerians too. That that that's that's the that's the
problem with the sort of state control of the market.

Speaker 2 (01:45:25):
Is they can't.

Speaker 5 (01:45:26):
They can't do either because they're completely because the bureaucrats
that are running this are completely incompetent, right.

Speaker 6 (01:45:32):
Yeah, man, I mean one can argue the states incapable
of adimating resources equally or fairly. But yes, even so,
they've they've done a bad job even by state standards.

Speaker 5 (01:45:41):
Yeah, and and and the and the and the subsequent
issue too is it's because all the finances are controlled
by the state. Even the firms that are profitable, and
there are firms that are very profitable, they can't reinvest
their profit back into you know, improving efficiency or do
or doing the basic things that workers need, which is
having money to eat, because that money is that all
of that sort of capital is just being eaten by

(01:46:03):
the state. And so you know, there's not even to
quote Claig again, as the president of a self managed
farm said to me in nineteen sixty five, in this situation,
how can we persuade the worker that he is no
longer working for a capitalist exploiter? And like, well, yeah,
he objectively is right, he is, like the state is
stealing all of his money and then doing some stupid

(01:46:23):
bullshit with it.

Speaker 2 (01:46:25):
Yeah.

Speaker 6 (01:46:25):
I love that they're like they're not quite joining the
dots there, Like these guys don't seem to be getting it,
Like maybe maybe they do get it.

Speaker 5 (01:46:35):
And this is this is one of these things where
you know, like I I go, Cleig Cleik doesn't really
draw this line because he just I mean, Cleig just
refuses to talk about either Hungary or the Spanish Revolution
at all.

Speaker 6 (01:46:50):
Right, Yeah, and you really don't like to.

Speaker 5 (01:46:54):
Well he's not a mouth like that's the thing. He
is a he is a pro worker self management guy, right,
but he's a Marxist pro worker self management guy.

Speaker 1 (01:47:03):
Yeah.

Speaker 5 (01:47:03):
So she's distributing the failure this largely to like, well,
there wasn't sufficient consciousness. So it's like, well, no, like
this system, even if everyone wanted it to work, this
system couldn't have worked because it was set up in
such a way that it was. And this is something
you know, this is part of why I want to
talk to you about. This was that if you look
at the way that that the Spanish system is set up, right,

(01:47:25):
it's it's built off of coordination, like basically like sectoral
coordination between everyone who's doing a thing, right, It's built
on resource sharing. If I'm remembering my stuff, right, I
mean they have basically they have a banking union, and
people put their profits into the into the banking union,
and then people can get money from the banking union
to reinvest in other places.

Speaker 6 (01:47:47):
Yeah, I think that's correct. It's also like, yeah, this this,
I guess would that be called vertical integration if it's
the whole sector, even if it's they they.

Speaker 5 (01:47:57):
Do this thing which takes advantage of both of the
advantages of self management gives you, which is one like
and like sort of you know, and it's like socialist
self management, right, you have the advantage of scale, which
is that you're now instead of competing ast each other,
you're now coordinating an entire sector, right, and you're you're
producing stuff that you're producing stuff for need. And then

(01:48:18):
on the other hand, you have the other thing that's
supposed to be the advantage of self management, which is
that the workers themselves, who are the people who are
supposed to understand that production process the best, can make
decisions over how they're going to do things. But then
if you look at the Algerian system, because it's because
it's set up by Marxists, it's specifically designed such that

(01:48:39):
basically like you're you're instead of you actually managing yourself,
you're you're just electing your boss, and then your boss manages, right,
And that's not actually good. This is and it's weird
because looking at this, right, this is actually a worst
system in terms of self management, I think in a
lot of senses than the Chinese, because the Chinese system

(01:49:01):
is not designed for self management. But you can't fire people.
So because you can't fire people, you have to listen
to what people think and what people sort of do.
Is this system, I don't know. It pisces me off
because this is a revolution that very very easily could
have worked, but it was you know, there's intentional sabotage

(01:49:24):
by the state because most of the sectors of the
state don't want this to work.

Speaker 2 (01:49:27):
And then.

Speaker 5 (01:49:29):
Just structurally from the way it's set up, it's doomed
to fail from the beginning. And the consequence of this
is that in nineteen sixty five, Ben Bella gets overthrown
in a coup by another sort of but basically the army,
a sort of state socialist faction of the army, and
they hold on to power by basically turning Algeria into

(01:49:51):
an oil economy. Yeah, and dismantling this entire thing. And
I don't know, it makes me really angry because the
the the like the actual Algerian ruling class had the
right idea and then they just got completely fucked by
everyone who was supposed to be leading them, or you know,

(01:50:14):
the people who were supposed to be selling the stuff
that they made, people who are supposed to be reinvesting,
all the people who ended up with the financial control
just completely screwed them. And yeah, I don't know, it's
it's it's really it's it's it's really depressing in a
lot of ways. But on the other hand, right, like,

(01:50:35):
it doesn't it doesn't. It doesn't have to go like this, Right,
you don't have to hand control of your workplace over
to some fucking guy in the Department of Agricultural Waste
Management or whatever so he can use your origines for
fertilizer like you can. You can simply not do this.

Speaker 6 (01:50:57):
Yeah, I mean, I didn't know the exact situation that
these were work has found themselves in, and maybe there
was you know, like a degree of sort of need
to get reproducing in order to solve hunger issues.

Speaker 2 (01:51:07):
But yeah, you simply do not have to do that.

Speaker 6 (01:51:10):
As many examples. I'm thinking of the collectivized farms in
Spain as well, because perhaps they would have been a
better example, right, I guess there it was slightly different
because it was somewhat of a collectivized community that in
turn collectivized the land as opposed to collectivizing the agricultural labor.

(01:51:30):
And then you have this sort of source of labor
which is not inherently tied to the land that like,
you know, when when there was a need, like for instance,
I'm writing a book right now and writing about the
Druti column, and like they would because they had less
rifles than they had fighters, they would rotate their fighters
off the front line during the harvest time and have

(01:51:51):
people help with the harvest, and then they didn't like
need those people the rest of the year. Right, So
they were able to incorporate like temporary surgeries in labor
without it being like destructive to their model, because it
was the idea was like a collective community as opposed
to a collective as opposed to like just the workplace

(01:52:12):
being this island of pseudo collectivisation, like you're saying in Algeria.
Also shout out to the Iron column who I've been
writing about recently, who solved their supply side issues by
leaving the front line and raiding the cops because they
didn't have enough guns either, so they simply took them
from the cops. Telling Yeah, incredibly based, Yeah, very bag.

Speaker 4 (01:52:35):
Yeah.

Speaker 5 (01:52:35):
I think I think that's kind of the point that
I want to end this on, which is that you know,
there's something that that contributes to the collapse of Slavia too,
is that if you know, the dichotomy they got forced
on people in the twentieth century was you can either choose.

Speaker 6 (01:52:58):
Two.

Speaker 5 (01:52:59):
Okay, so your choices are you get a you get
a sort of you get a styalinus planned economy completely
run by the state, or you get a bunch of
workers cooperatives competing against each other. And those are, like, you're,
those are your two models of socialism, and those both suck,
and both are set up to fail from the beginning
because they're not actually you know, you're you're you're you're

(01:53:19):
you're not actually doing the thing, you're not actually having
the entire the entire class as a class, you know,
abolishing itself. And then also managing managing production in such
a way that people are cooperating to produce what people
need instead of everyone fighting over like either well instead

(01:53:41):
of either the state setting a steel quota and having
that be the entire goal of the economy, or like
seventeen co ops and the like both producing all producing
the exact same kind of coffee trying to figure out
who can produce it more cheaply.

Speaker 6 (01:53:56):
Yeah, we we can do better, Yes we can, and
we have, and so we should describe for I guess
I know. If people want to read about the Spanish Revolution,
there's a ship ton of books on libcom. I would
say Pat's book is pretty good. Send a Spanish Revolution.
Mary Bookchin has a book that the heroic years of

(01:54:17):
Spanish anarchism. Able Paz has many books. Yes you can.
You can spend time on libcom and read a lot
about collective production in the Spanish Revolution, and for free,
which is nice.

Speaker 2 (01:54:27):
Yeah, let's just been taken.

Speaker 5 (01:54:28):
Happy here, go take over your workplace and then also
help everyone else take over theirs and coordinate with each other.

Speaker 6 (01:54:36):
Yeah, that would be very nice. And then then we'll
do an interview with you on the podcast.

Speaker 2 (01:54:40):
Yeah, welcome back to it could have hear a podcast

(01:55:02):
about things falling apart, and also about militant resistance, which
is an aspect of things falling apart. As things fall
apart any country, you get people who crawl out of
the woodwork to either accelerate that process or try to
reverse it in their own lives, and some of those
people use weapons to do that. Now, we've talked a

(01:55:25):
bunch on this show about the various forms that militant
resistance can take. We've chatted extensively on this network about Rojava.
We've talked a fair amount James Stout and I. James
is on the show today, by the way, Hello James,
Hi Robert. We've talked a lot about me and mar
and the gin Z Revolution, there three D printing of

(01:55:46):
firearms and kind of this war that these people have
been waging in the Jungles successfully in order to overthrow
the military dictatorship of their country. But we haven't talked
a whole lot about naval warfare. And this is because
for most of history, for most of at least our
recent history, naval warfare was not really a thing insurgents

(01:56:09):
could engage in, right, you know, you could every now
and then if a ship was docked or something, you
might be able to get off a bombing, right, like
what happened to us as coal. And I'm not expressing
general sympathy for everybody who does a militant insurgent act,
but I am talking about like the overall kind of
like tactics and strategy that underline how that stuff works.
And one of the things that's really changed in the

(01:56:30):
last couple of years, since twenty twenty two, you could
really mark it out, is that irregular non state groups
can now to an extent never before possible challenge the
sea power of nations like the United States, which has
an unquestioned, previously at least unquestioned level of dominance in
sort of conventional naval power. And we talked about conventional

(01:56:52):
naval power in the twenty first century. That means aircraft
carrier groups. Right, the US has eleven of them, which,
if I'm not mistaken, is more than the of the world.
We have a lot of fucking aircraft carriers. And previously
that was believed to be you know, a guarantee of
book dominance on sea, and if a carrier group or
two is in the area, you generally we generally, the

(01:57:12):
United States generally could count on having air supremacy. You
certainly wouldn't expect it to be countered. You know, you
could expect, like, for example, if we were to have
a conflict over Taiwan, the Chinese navy could or the
Chinese army could potentially interdict a carrier group using ground
based you know, ground to see anti ship missiles or

(01:57:32):
something like that. But we're increasingly in an era in
which these kind of irregular non state groups have access
to similar technology and have access to kind of even
more bespoke technology like drone swarms that poses a unique
threat to the naval dominance of the United States. And
I wanted to start you know, we've got a two
part of here. We're going to be talking about the

(01:57:52):
Huthis and Yemen. We're going to be talking about the
Ukrainian navy, which does not really have much in the
way of boats, but it is still challenging the Russian Navy.
And we're going to be talking about rebels in Myanmar.
We're going to start today, we'll be talking about the
Huthi and to understand Houthi resistance to the United States
and why a militant group has had such success challenging

(01:58:13):
US naval power. You first have to understand how they
got to the point that they're at right now, where
they are kind of in a lot of ways a
near state actor, you know, not a world power actor,
but near state actor. You know, they're probably more capable
in some ways than the State of Yemen, which they
are at war with. Yeah, yeah, And to get how
they got to that point, you have to understand what

(01:58:34):
happened with their fight against the Saudis. So the Houthi
Movement or ansar Allah, which means Supporters of God, is
a Zaidi Shia Islamist movement run primarily by members of
the Huthi tribe. Zaidi Islam is a bit of an
odd duck. You'll hear it described as, yeah, like a
Shia segment. It's really probably more accurate to look at

(01:58:54):
it as like it's kind of in between Shia and
Sunni of like the Shia kind of denominations. It's kind
of closest to being Sunni. I'm not an expert on
any of this, but it comes out of a guy
named Zaid iban Ali's rebellion against the Umiyad Caliphate, which
did not succeed, but we still have the Zaidi. What
matters for our purposes today is that the Huthi as

(01:59:16):
a movement came out of opposition to the Yemen's president
Abi Abdullah Salah, who was corrupt as hell. He was
seen as corrupt, and he was in fact corrupt as hell,
and he was. It was specifically they were they were
accusing him of basically being bribed by the Saudis. That's
where like the Houthi started the rebellion in around two
thousand and three. So they began as a resistance movement

(01:59:37):
to this corrupt president Salah. They adopted the slogan God
is the Greatest, Death to America, death to Israel, and
a curse upon the Jews, which is still their slogan.
So they are not what you would call unproblematic. Again,
but now that they applied out there, they're they're not
hiding it, you know, dig for this stuff.

Speaker 6 (01:59:58):
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, And I'm using the triple parentheses
they say the thing.

Speaker 2 (02:00:03):
Yeah, and it's you know, part of why we're talking
about a regular naval warfare is that who knows what
the next few years are going to include. It's always
a long shot, but there's not a zero percent chance
that people listening to this will wind up engaged in
some sort of irregular conflict. And that's it's important to
understand how modern technology has changed the dimensions of how

(02:00:24):
that works from like a naval perspective, So that's why
we're talking about this now. Hoothy armed activities against the
Saudis really kicked off and hit a major level after
the Yemeni Civil War, which officially started in twenty fourteen.
The new president of Yemen, who was not Salah at
this point, asked for military support from the international community,
which in this case meant the Saudis right. So the Saudis.

(02:00:47):
It's called a coalition. There's technically some other people involved,
but it's the Saudis right, and the president of Yemen
calls in the Saudis when his forces are kicked out
of the capital of Yemen, Sana, by Hoothy fighters. The
way when the Hoothy take Sana is when they get
their first cruise missiles, largely just like a bunch of
scuds and stuff, so like old Soviet shit, right. Operation

(02:01:09):
Decisive Storm is the name that Saudi Arabia gives to
their intervention in Yemen, and a lot of people will
say this is basically Saudi Arabia's Vietnam, not an inappropriate
comparison to make. So the Saudis start bombing the shit
out of the Houthi and then they send in ground forces,
because bombing the shit out of people who are motivated
never really works as well as you want it to, right.

Speaker 6 (02:01:30):
Yeah, a lot of people have been bombing a lot
of people. I mean, you can destroy that of shit,
you can kill a load of civilians.

Speaker 2 (02:01:37):
And kill a shitload of civilians.

Speaker 6 (02:01:39):
Yeah, but many, many such cases if you're looking around
the world right now. But yeah, one thing that doesn't
tend to do is really get rid of motivated fighters.

Speaker 2 (02:01:49):
Yeah, when you've got an air force, everything looks like Dresden.
So the Saudis try that for a while. They send
in ground forces, they carry out naval blockades. None of
this does much but make Thethi's more determined, and they
exit this conflict. I mean it's not like you wouldn't
say completely done, but they exit this conflict with the
Saudis a lot stronger, right, a lot more organized, with

(02:02:10):
a lot better weapons, right, and a lot of this
you know, so by the way, I should also state that,
like now, the Houthis are on the side of former
President Sala It's a complicated conflict, right, but at the
end of this all they have a shitload of Iranian
weapons because Iran is a geopolitical enemy of Saudi Arabia
and they see the Houthis as allies, and so they
spend a lot of time this during this conflict shipping

(02:02:31):
in agtms, which are wire guided missiles that are just
aces and blasting holes in Saudi Arabia's tanks, which are
US supplied. If I'm not mistaken as a general, Yeah,
a lot of Saudi Arabia stuff is US and like, yeah,
basic most of it, right, much of it? Yeah, Yeah,
there are a lot of contractors over there.

Speaker 6 (02:02:47):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (02:02:48):
And you know, the Houthis they make a lot in
like waves and kind of people who are following a
regular conflicts during this period in the late aughts because
they're so successful in taking out these tanks that had
previously been pretty hard to fuck up. And it's kind
of you know, now, agtms in Ukraine are like one
of the dominant weapons systems that has shaped the battlefield environment.

(02:03:08):
But this is kind of when people start to realize, oh, fuck,
you know Syria as well, these are This is really
going to change a lot about how armor gets used.
And this is also where we start to see the
first Hothi deployments of ballistic missiles, which were used sort
of they initially used them, not dissimilarly to how the
Germans used V twos right in World War Two. There

(02:03:29):
are terror weapons and they're used in retaliation for Saudi
Arabia's use of a terror weapon, which is US jets
and missiles. Right, So Saudi Arabia is terror bombing Yemen,
and Yemen starts firing missiles back at Saudi Arabia because
you know that's what you do, right, yeah, yeah, yeah.
And I'm going to quote here from an article in
the National News, quote Huthi militias and Yemen launched and

(02:03:51):
this is from twenty twenty two. Huthi militias and Yemen
launched ballistic missiles at Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia on
Monday and the latest attack on neighboring states. Two missiles
were destroyed in mid flight during the attempted terrorist attack
on Abu Dhabi while in Saudi Arabia, one was shot
down and another missile wounded two civilians in an industrial area.
So this is that gives you an idea of like
where they are a couple of years ago. And these

(02:04:11):
are not super advanced cruise missiles, as you can see
by that kind of like casualty rate. Right, they're not
doing massive amounts of damage, but they caused terror. Right.
It's scary to know that a missile could come out
of the sky and kill some of you, and it's
you know, from their perspective, how else are they going
to strike back? They don't have an air force in
the conventional sense, but what we do see here is
by being able to carry out these attacks back on

(02:04:34):
Saudi Arabia who's bombing them, despite not having an air
force of their own. You already see how new technology
and cruise missiles aren't new technology, but them being available
to a non state actor is fairly new. You see
how that has already changed the game in terms of
like you can't really say the Saudis don't have this
air supremacy. You can still say they have air supremacy

(02:04:57):
because again, the Huthis don't have much in the way
of air power at this point, but they can't stop
missiles from hitting their cities entirely, which is a different
game than when you know that's not really a possibility.
The Houthy arsenal today includes a dizzying array of different Iranian, Soviet, Syrian,
and indigenously produced rockets, including the Burkhan three missiles. These

(02:05:19):
are for long range strikes up to twelve hundred kilometers,
and the botter P one rockets, which have one hundred
and twenty two one hundred and sixty kilometer range. They
also have old Soviet Frog sevens, which are useful to
about sixty five kilometers. None of these are accurate in
cruise missile terms, you know, but they work well enough
for the Houthy's purposes. The botter P is indigenously produced.

(02:05:41):
It's made by the Houthies. It's thought to be based
on the Syrian Kaibar rocket. It is unguided, and experts
will say it's closer to being functioning as just like
dumb artillery than an actual cruise missile. Un inspectors claim
quote it is produced locally from steel tubing, very likely
sourced from the oil industry. You hear this a lot
in a regular conflict in the Middle East. When I

(02:06:03):
was in Mosel covering the fighting with Isis, their mortars
were made off out of tubing that was like part
of construction projects. I think that traced back to the
oil industry, at least some of it.

Speaker 4 (02:06:13):
Now.

Speaker 2 (02:06:13):
There are several variants of this rocket, like the botter.

Speaker 4 (02:06:16):
F and the P one.

Speaker 2 (02:06:17):
It's not really useful going through all of them. You
can find some interesting studies on this, but it's not
necessary to understand their capabilities. Their most accurate missile, as
far as I can tell, is the OTR twenty one Totshka,
which has a range of about seventy two one hundred
and twenty kilometers and a four hundred and eighty kilogram payload.
They only are believed to have a few dozen of these,

(02:06:38):
although that's an estimate from an earlier report, and these
were the ones they would use most regularly on ground
targets during the Saudi intervention when they needed a precise strike.
And I'm going to quote from an article and an
analysis of their missile capability. The Huthis first fired a
Tatchka missile in September twenty fifteen, targeting the coalitions that's
the Saudi's software military base in Mareb, Yemen. The strike

(02:06:59):
hit a weapons orige depot and killed sixty coalition soldiers.
The Houthis fired another tachka on December fourteenth, twenty fifteen,
targeting a coalition base south of Taia's City in Taia's Yemen.
The strike reportedly killed over one hundred and twenty coalition soldiers.
The most recently recorded tachka fire took place on November nineteenth,
twenty sixteen, landing in a desert in eastern Marab Province.

(02:07:19):
The target was unclear, but was likely the Arab Coalition's
all weak military camp. So those are significant casualties. These
are very effective weapons that do a lot of damage.

Speaker 4 (02:07:28):
Right.

Speaker 6 (02:07:29):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (02:07:40):
Now, international experts, and especially if you read just kind
of like think tank analysis of what the Hoothies are doing,
we generally say all of this is only possible because
of aid from Hisbolah and Iran. Right, That's the only
reason the Houthis have these weapons. Right now, there is
an arms embargo on Yemen. This has not stopped anyone
from getting weapons to Yemen.

Speaker 4 (02:08:01):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (02:08:01):
It also, to be very fair here, didn't stop anyone
from didn't stop US from selling arms to the Saudis
even though they're bringing those arms to Yemen, right.

Speaker 6 (02:08:09):
Yeah, yeah, fossible, ridiculous notion.

Speaker 2 (02:08:13):
Yeah, I don't know who you want to get angry
or at here. I'm not really convinced either side is,
you know, better than the other. Certainly the Saudis are
not better, right right? Yeah that matters.

Speaker 1 (02:08:25):
I don't know.

Speaker 6 (02:08:25):
Yeah, yeah, it's just a shit situation for people who
are trying to get home with me to not get
blown up.

Speaker 2 (02:08:31):
Yes, yeah, really bad situation. I think that is over
selling it a bit. Obviously, Iranian AID is critical to
the Hoothies and that that has gotten them a lot
of their advanced weapons systems, So I don't want to
undersell it. But at this point they are making a
significant chunk of these of these cruise missiles, specifically some
of the less advanced ones indigenously, So because of the

(02:08:54):
state things you could, I think it is accurate to
say that Iran was crucial to them getting to that state.
But even without Iranian aid's there's a signe probably a
significant degree of time to which they could continue to
produce some of these weapons because they are making them themselves.

Speaker 6 (02:09:08):
Yeah, they make three fifty eight missiles, right, like looid terrain, yeah,
anti aircraft. Yeah, yes, even if Iran it's not supplying,
it's probably worth noting that like this isn't like an
Iranian design or concept at least, and it allows for
a lot of testing, a lot of like a real
world kind of verses the NATO US.

Speaker 2 (02:09:30):
Let's see Iranians, Yeah, to test their weaponry. And again
I'm not trying to undersell how important they are, just
you get a lot of like, well, if we can
just cut off Iranian trade, the hoothies will collapse. I
think that's accurate anymore. Yeah, you know, I can't say
that to a point a certainty, but yeah, I think
that that's kind of wishful thinking on behalf of some people.

(02:09:50):
So these are great weapons for a non state militant group. Again,
this is this stuff. If you think back ten fifteen years,
the idea of a non state insurgent group having access
to a cruise missile library like this, you know, not
to say about like the other weapons they have, the
drones and stuff they have, it would have been kind
of unprecedented. That said, these are not good weapons in
the modern military sense of the word. But I mean

(02:10:13):
they are not very accurate for the most part, and
compared to more advanced missiles like the kind of the
United States, Russia and China have, they are easy to
shoot down with the kind of weapons systems aboard say,
US aircraft carriers. We will discuss that more later. This
is largely inconsequential to what's been happening in the Red
Sea because the vast majority of naval traffic that passes

(02:10:33):
by Houthi territory does not have access to say FAYLANX,
FELANX systems. Yeah, you don't have much in the way
of anti missile systems on a normal containers.

Speaker 6 (02:10:44):
Yeah, no, you have fanti bridge antiah rhyming devices. But like, yeah,
it doesn't matter if your missile is not super accurate,
if it can't defeat these expensive systems, if you're just
eating them into a narrow channel anything that goes past
right right right.

Speaker 2 (02:10:58):
Yeah, And the Houthis are aware of that, and this
is again an intelligent strategy on their part. You know,
sometimes people get angry when you say that because they
point out horrible things the Hoothis have done, which I
don't want to deny, but we're not talking about the
overall morality of this conflict. We're talking about how these
tactics work, right.

Speaker 6 (02:11:13):
Right, Like the Nazis had intelligent and strategies as well.
They were terrible fucking people, and I'm glad they asked
them are mostly dead, but like, yeah, yeah, we would
be unwise to just dismiss everything that they've been know.

Speaker 2 (02:11:24):
No, And likewise, the fact that the Houthi's right now
that this interdiction of the Red Sea is based on
an attempt to stop the genocide in Gaza, which I
don't think it's going to work, but I would like
it if somehow it did. That also does not have
an impact on how this is working strategically, right, You
are kind of setting all of that aside to just
talk about how this is functioning, you know. Yeah. So

(02:11:47):
in recent years, the Houthis have expanded their stock of
anti ship missiles. In an article for the International Institute
for Strategic Studies, a guy named Fabian hens Rights quote
the parades these are Houthy military parades also featured of
right of anti ship ballistic missiles ASBMs and guided rockets
employing Iranian infrared or imaging infrared seeker technology. The four

(02:12:07):
hundred and fifty kilometer range CEF appears to be a
rebranded ASBM version of Iran's FATA three one three missile,
while the Tongue Kill represents a previously unseen anti ship
version of the IRGC Iranian Revolutionary GUARDCOREPS developed five hundred
kilometer range so higher. The two designs constitute the heaviest,
hoothy anti ship missiles, both with warheads of more than

(02:12:28):
three hundred kilograms and are of Iranian origin. Three smaller ASBMs.
The one hundred and forty kilometer range FLEK, the Mayun
and the bar al Amar strongly resemble Iranian design philosophy
and seeker technology, but do not precisely match known Iranian systems.
They could either be Iranian systems not observed before in
smuggle to Yemen, or Huthi produced rockets combined using Iranian

(02:12:48):
guidance skits, not unlike developments made by another Iran proxy,
the Lebanese has Belah in its precition guided surface to
surface missile program. Finally, the Huthis have presented an S
seventy five SA two surface to air missile, likely from
pre war ye many army stocks modified for an anti
ship role using an Iranian guidance kit. So that's that's
that's a potent and it's probably more some ways more

(02:13:11):
advanced than their general cruise missile stockpile arsenal for taking
out ships. Now, the Houthis are still a non state force.
When people say online that like the us IS is
fighting Yemen, not quite accurate, because the Huthis are fighting
Yemen too, right, like the government if you're if you're
saying government, you're talking about the people. Well, people in
Yemen are fighting each other, right, yeah, it's it's that

(02:13:32):
is the situation. They are at war with the government
of Yemen, right, that is still right case.

Speaker 6 (02:13:36):
We're fighting, we're shooting missiles at Yemen, but yet like
as a geographical area, right than in the state.

Speaker 2 (02:13:42):
Yeah, yeah, exactly. So the Huthis did not survive years
of intense bombing by Saudi Arabia and a nation with
an on paper extremely modern military by making a lot
of stupid mistakes. So when they decided to attack shipping
in the Red Sea after Israel launched their genocidal campaign
against Gaza, they did so with a competent plan, which
was to make civilian freight travel in the area too

(02:14:02):
dangerous to continue. Their stated goal here is to force
damage on Israel and the Western nations who support it
by hitting the only thing they care about, commerce, and
their actions here have done real damage to international trade,
not exclusively Western international trade. I should note the latest
several months have seen them capture or sink a couple

(02:14:23):
of merchant vessels. They've sunk one. They've hit at least
sixteen vessels with drones and missiles. I found a Bloomberg
report with the telling title houthy missiles do far more
damage to trade than to actual ships, which is an
interesting way to frame it. Yeah, and they're kind of
trying to minimize what's going on here. While sixteen strikes
is a large number for the industry to withstand, there

(02:14:45):
have been even more failed attempts. Since the Hoothies began
their attacks, there have been more than sixty incidents of
some kind in and around the waterway, including everything from
near misses to hijackings and harassment by armed militants and
small boats. If you look at the damage that's occurred
in most of these incidents, it has not been significant,
said Marcus Baker, head of the Marine and cargo at Marsh,
one of the world's top insurance brokers. So far, we

(02:15:05):
haven't seen a total loss caused by a missile strike.
That changed in March when the Houthi successfully sank the
Ruby Mar despite more than a month of US strikes
to degrade their capability. The vessel was initially wounded and
drifted unmanned for almost two weeks before sinking. While it listed,
A Hoothy representative promised the ship could be salvaged if
aid trucks were allowed to enter Gaza. Ruby Mar wound

(02:15:27):
up sinking.

Speaker 3 (02:15:28):
Now.

Speaker 2 (02:15:28):
Hoothi strikes have also hit at least one ship bound
for Iran and another that was going to be delivering
aid supplies to Yemen. At least three civilian sailors have
been killed thus far, and a strike on a bulk
carrier named the True Confidence. Now, how you kind of
interpret this as a success by the Houthy stated goals,
which is right, to inflict enough pain on the West

(02:15:49):
and on Israel economically that it forces an earlier end
to what Israel is doing in Gaza, Right, if that's
their goal, Well, it hasn't happened yet, right, That's one
thing we can say right, it has not yet. There's
no evidence that I have seen that it has affected
the tempo of Israeli operations substantially.

Speaker 6 (02:16:08):
You know, yeah, it would seem it does not so different,
and obviously as an incentive for the United States and
other international actors to like not let this tactics succeed,
because you do not want a world in which I
think it's not unreasonably. There's a thing called the right
to protect an international law, which is probably what the
heaths are claiming they have of the acting under it,

(02:16:31):
and that's not, like, on the face of it, unreasonable,
But yet I think the US has this very like
strong incentive to not let it become a thing that
keeps happening.

Speaker 2 (02:16:40):
Yeah, yeah, I'm not surprised we sent a carrier group
into the area. I'm also not surprised that that does
not seem to be working either. Right, If you are
judging how the US is acting and how the Houthis
are acting based on their stated goals, the Houthis have
not yet accomplished their stated goal with these strikes, and
the US air strikes do not seem to have stopped
the Houthis from being a to interdict naval traffic in

(02:17:01):
the Red Sea. Right, there's I've heard some argument that
the tempo is reduced since the US got there, But
it's also one clear to me is like, well, they
only have a limited amount of these missiles, right. Has
the TiO changed because they need to marshal their ammunition effectively,
or has it changed because there's been damage done to
their infrastructure. I don't know that we'll ever really get

(02:17:21):
a perfect answer on that, right, I know the US
claims that it has. You know, we claim that our
strikes have weakened them, but we always claim that, right,
you know.

Speaker 6 (02:17:29):
Yeah, I mean yeah, we're gonna say, right, yeah, we
all lived through Afghanistan.

Speaker 2 (02:17:35):
Right, you're aware of what the US says about shit
like this.

Speaker 6 (02:17:40):
Yeah, I mean it would look pretty bad if we
were like, now, dude, we just heated billions of ammunitions.

Speaker 2 (02:17:47):
Maxavel for US. It's unclear how much damaged the Hoothies
have actually done to the global economy. As a consequence
of all this, traffic has dropped to the Red Sea
by about thirty five percent, and since the sea carries
about twenty percent of global trade, that's a major hit.
But it hasn't stopped trade through the Red Sea either. Again,
most trade is still you knows, most of the pre

(02:18:09):
war level is still occurring. Thirty five percent is a
substantial drop. That is a hit, and it's hurt a
lot of people.

Speaker 4 (02:18:15):
Right.

Speaker 2 (02:18:16):
It also has not wholly blocked like there's a longer
route you can take around Africa to get into the
Red Sea, but that makes everything more expensive too. The
country hurt most is actually Egypt, because Egypt depends on
the Suez Canal for about a quarter of its currency earnings,
and you go through the Red Sea to get to
the Suez Canal. For reasons that are obvious if you
look at a map. Right, people who rightly see what's

(02:18:47):
happening in Gaza as a crime against humanity are unlikely
to care too much about the Egyptian economy, nor should
they necessarily. But the bigger questions here are can the
hoo He's actually force an into what Israel's doing? And
how long can they keep this up? The answer to
the first question, can the Houthi's force it into his
reely aggression is not yet. And the answer to the
second question is how long can they keep this up?

(02:19:09):
I don't know, they might be able to eventually bring
about international pressure through economic damage, but given the state
of the US presidential election, I don't see that as
particularly likely a method for changing net and Yahu's behavior.
The answer to the second question is, you know, you know,
how long can they keep this up? Probably forever? Right,
US strikes have been lauded by the US as damaging infrastructure,

(02:19:31):
but we don't know that that's true. Our air strikes
in the region have been launched by the USS. D
White D. Eisenhower, the head of the carrier strike Group
in the Red Sea at present. And again, when you
look at kind of like leftists analyzing this, because they
don't often know much about the military, you'll get a
mix of like people being like, ah, the houthis are
going to kill a carrier because they put out a
video of like a carrier in their sites and shit,
and like, I don't think so, guys, doesn't seem likely.

(02:19:55):
These are very well defended ships, and they are very
competently led. Look I have looked into the capital of
the ship, I've looked into how they have handled the
considerable tempo of tax against them. I think that these
guys are operationally competent as the US tends to be. Now,
that doesn't mean they're going to win. The US US
soldiers tend to be operationally competent most of the time,

(02:20:18):
and we also lose a lot, right because operational competence
doesn't matter if the operations you're being asked to undertake
have no chance of victory. And that is more or
less the situation. I think that these sailors are in
right where they're pretty good at sailing around in an
aircraft carrier and not getting killed. But that doesn't mean
they're going to defeat the Houthies in a meaningful way

(02:20:40):
right right, And the Hoothies are aware of this. They're
in a holding pattern. They understand that the primary thing
that is that all of strategy really hinges around stopping
and denying terrain to the enemy. And all the Hoothies
have to do to deny a significant amount of terrain
to the entire west is keep lobbing missiles, often blindly,

(02:21:01):
in this sea and it will make everything more expensive
for everybody, keep them in the news, and that's a win.
And it's unlikely, if not basically impossible, that using current methods,
the US Navy and US you know, airpower in this area,
based in this carrier group is going to be able
to do anything but spend a shitload of money.

Speaker 4 (02:21:21):
Now.

Speaker 2 (02:21:22):
US Navy officers in recent weeks have reported attacks by
both anti ship missiles, regular cruise missiles swarms of unmanned
aerial drones, which has led to a general conclusion among
people who analyze this stuff that drone swarms are going
to be a significant part of naval warfare in the
immediate future. Right, you can overwhelm you know, the houthis

(02:21:43):
you know. As impressive as their drone swarms are, for
a nonstate actor cannot put together the kind of a
swarm that a state actor like China, for example, could.
But people are looking at how close some hits have
gotten to the carriers and being like, well, shit, if
you add a lot more of these things, you could
really cost some fucking problems for these boats.

Speaker 1 (02:22:01):
Right.

Speaker 2 (02:22:02):
Yeah. They have also used unmanned boats and unmanned underwater vessels.
These are basically unmanned drone boats with explosives in them, right,
and again, significantly more of these could potentially do some damage.
This is, by any account, the most direct combat US
naval forces have seen since World War Two. And one
thing I fun thing I've learned reading articles about the
operation is that our jets now get kill markers for

(02:22:23):
the bombs they drop.

Speaker 5 (02:22:24):
Yeah.

Speaker 6 (02:22:24):
Yeah, you can be a drone ace or not a drone,
a missile downing ace.

Speaker 1 (02:22:30):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (02:22:30):
Yeah, it's like, I don't know, may I guess it
makes sense whatever, it just it doesn't look as impressive.

Speaker 6 (02:22:36):
I did some googling. I guess you could become an
ace shooting down barrage balloons in World War One.

Speaker 2 (02:22:42):
But yeah, the gag shooting back.

Speaker 6 (02:22:44):
Yeah yeah, they were very defense strongly defended. Yeah, it's
a little different of V two rockets, I guess in
World War Two. I did also find out that the
navel some of the unmanned underwater vehicles are replacing. More's
the pity the seals and dolphins that were previously in
USNAV service.

Speaker 2 (02:23:00):
I don't mean seals like no, no, no, literal yeah,
like literal seals heartbreaking, yeah, very In San Diego, I
often go past them.

Speaker 6 (02:23:11):
You know what the seals don't want to do or
they well again added the marine mammals. The other seals
very much.

Speaker 2 (02:23:17):
The dolphins might I remember from the documentary SeaQuest that
they that they enjoy naval service.

Speaker 6 (02:23:24):
I think all SeaQuest, James, I've not I've not watched
Sea Quest. I'm afraid. I'm afraid.

Speaker 2 (02:23:28):
It's It's Star Trek, the next generation Underwater, but the
role of Picard is played by the sheriff from Jaws.

Speaker 6 (02:23:34):
It's actually fantastic. Great. Yeah, I'm looking looking forward to
being exposed to more of this universe. I'm hoping that
the the Dolphins join force with the Orcas and take
on the super rich with that using the skills given
to them by the US military.

Speaker 2 (02:23:49):
In Challah, James. So, when it comes to the economics
of this conflict, and a lot of this does come
down economics, right, what the Houthy are doing is an
incredibly efficient, good ass deal for them. These drones, specifically,
a lot of what they've done. They fired missiles, but
like those are expensive, they don't have a lot of them.
I think that at this point they would prefer to

(02:24:11):
use those on ships that cannot defend against them. They
have since some manned boats, which the US has fucking
mrked immediately, and they don't seem to be doing that
anymore because it's dumb and the Hoothies didn't get where
they did by repeatedly doing dumb shit. What they seem
to have settled on is sending out drone swarms. Both
of these boats, these underwater drones and of aerial drones,
and these things can cost just a few thousand dollars each.

(02:24:33):
Some of the biggest ones are probably more like tens
of thousands of dollars. But the navy missiles that we
use to interdict this shit and some of these, they
also have some dumber cruise missiles that are pretty cheap.
The missiles we use to interdict this shit are two
point one million dollars is shot.

Speaker 4 (02:24:46):
Right.

Speaker 2 (02:24:47):
This is all in an adition to the insane cost
of keeping a carrier battlegroup in the field and fighting.
It's not at all cheap. I found one political article
that quotes a DoD official admitting the cost offset is
not on our side. Now we have some cheaper systems
that can work really well on particularly drones. They can
work on missiles too. We've used them and that these

(02:25:08):
are air burst shells fired from the conventional guns on destroyers.
These have worked really well, especially against drones and tests,
but they're only effective from about ten miles or less away.
In ballistic missile terms, that's extremely close. You don't want
to rely on these for as and it's not even
all that far away in drone terms right As a result,

(02:25:28):
the US has expanded research into more efficient anti drone
and anti missile weapons, including what amounts to laser, laser
and microwave weapons that could be fired indefinitely for the
cost of electricity. Given the nature of these weapons, that's
not insignificant either, but it's a lot less than two
point one million is shot. As is always the case,
the kind of fight the Huthies are waging right now
has an expiration eight right now. Any group that can

(02:25:50):
put together a few million dollars to make hundreds and
hundreds of explosive drones right which a number of groups
are capable of, could at least exact a substantial toll
on a US carrier battlegroup, make it, spend a shitload
of money, potentially even do some damage. And again, even
if this stuff hits an aircraft carrier, you're like very
unlikely to see that thing sink. There's a story that's

(02:26:13):
worth knowing that, Like when we decommissioned one of our
aircraft carriers fifteen or twenty years ago. They started. They
shot at a bunch like they just to see like
how well it would hold up, and like they such
a great sink and they couldn't sink the fucker. Like,
you can do that, you could kill sailors. It would
be a big deal if they hit a fucking aircraft
carrier and killed some sailors, even if the carrier doesn't

(02:26:34):
go down, that's a huge fucking deal. I don't know
that they're capable of doing that, but it's unlikely they're
going to kill one, right.

Speaker 6 (02:26:40):
Right, Yeah, they got to send one to the bonomiation.

Speaker 2 (02:26:42):
Yeah, hard, It's hard to do, right. They're made not
to sink, and they're pretty fucking big. But one can
imagine kind of a future in which the war the
Hoothies are waging right now is rendered kind of impossible
because weapons like that are positioned permanently around say the
Red Sea, blanketing into defense grid that basically kill any
thing fired into the sea. That's something that might happen

(02:27:03):
in the future if this continues. But that's also just
the way war works, right. You know, the Hoothies ten
to fifteen years ago wouldn't have been able to wage
a war like this against the US Navy. They fought
the Navy to a stand still. That's the only way
to analyze this, right, and again, that doesn't mean either
side is achieving their operational goals. Right, The Houthis have
not ended the genocide in Gaza, and the US doesn't

(02:27:23):
seem to be capable of ending the Houthis. So they
fought each other to a stand still in this matter.
And that wouldn't have been possible twenty years ago. So right,
twenty years from now, what's going on will be different.
You know, the fact that the US seems to be
pretty close to developing more efficient anti drone and anti
missile weapons that are a lot cheaper to use doesn't
mean that non state actors will not find a way

(02:27:44):
around those. But that is the situation we're in right
now with the Houthis, and that is the end of
this episode. We're going to get back to you tomorrow
for part two, where're going to talk about irregular naval
warfare in Ukraine and Myanmar. James, you got anything else
to say, No, I didn't think. So you need to
be a bad day to be a boat. I guess
bad day to be a boat, bad day to be

(02:28:05):
a drone. They're really suffering in this.

Speaker 6 (02:28:08):
Yeah, it's a great day to be a military contractor,
which is oh my god, such a good time to
be a military contractor.

Speaker 2 (02:28:15):
Whether you're doing it for a run or the United States.
You are, you are, you are in Clover right.

Speaker 6 (02:28:21):
Now, which is a massive change from the entirety of
this century so far.

Speaker 4 (02:28:25):
So that's nice.

Speaker 2 (02:28:27):
Yeah, it's nice to see the military contractors finally pick
up a win.

Speaker 6 (02:28:30):
Yeah, yeah, one for them.

Speaker 2 (02:28:32):
That's been It could Happen Here. We'll be back tomorrow.
Welcome back to It Could Happen Here and our special
two part series Irregular Naval Warfare and You, where James

(02:28:57):
and I teach you how you too can challenge the
US Navy's dominance of the seas or at least the
coasts for fun and profit. Actually today, last episode we
talked about people challenging the US Navy's coastal dominance. Today
we're talking about doing the same thing for the Russian Navy.
So that's going to be fun. And of course the

(02:29:18):
Navy of mianmar which is a bit of a different
class from the US and Russian Navy, but no less interesting.

Speaker 6 (02:29:25):
Yeah, still fun. I'd love to see a boat lose.

Speaker 4 (02:29:27):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (02:29:27):
Well, I just like boats going down, you know, I
just hate a boat. Yeah yeah, us the jocas many
many such cases. Yeah, I'm going to start with Ukraine,
and then we're going to throw to James to talk
about our friends in Myanmar and how they have repurposed
civilian technology and stolen weapons to counter a navy without
really having one of their own. But first Ukraine. In

(02:29:50):
twenty fourteen, when the Russian Army invaded eastern Ukraine and
took Crimea, Ukraine lost a significant portion of it's already
not that impressive navy. Most of their boats were just
taken by Russia, along with a number of sailors who defected.
A lot of other sailors fled the region, leaving behind
their homes and cities like Sebastopol to continue serving their
country in a war that a decade later is still ongoing.

(02:30:13):
One of these sailors, who is a Sebastopol native and
had to flee his home, possibly forever, in order to
continue serving his country, is the current commander of Ukraine's navy,
Admiral Nazpapa. He leads a navy that is almost without
manned ships, and on paper, it is utterly incapable of
challenging Russia's legendary Black Sea Fleet. Since the age of

(02:30:34):
the Czars, the Black Sea Fleet has been infamous as
a pillar of Russian military power. However, also since the
age of the Tsars, it's had a nasty tendency to
get utterly housed by enemies that should have been able
to beat it.

Speaker 6 (02:30:46):
Right, Yeah, yeah, yeah, not the first time it's taken
an unexpected loot.

Speaker 2 (02:30:51):
Yeah, it has a legendary history. That doesn't mean good.
There's bad legends out there, you know.

Speaker 6 (02:30:58):
Yeah, it's well known.

Speaker 2 (02:31:00):
Yeah, today that enemy is Ukraine. Since the expanded Russian
invasion in twenty twenty two, just two years, Ukraine has
destroyed or badly damaged more than a third of the
Black Sea Fleet. Despite having no battleships or destroyers in
the sea to counter Russian naval power. They have done
enough damage to reopen Odessa and at least one other

(02:31:20):
port on the Black Sea to international commerce, which has
provided Ukraine with a crucial economic and strategic lifeline. And
that's a remarkable achievement. Sinking a third of the Black
Sea Fleet and basically when you reopen a port. That
means that you have taken away naval dominance from a
country that has a navy and you don't. That's pretty good,
pretty good stuff. Over the last two years, Ukraine had damaged,

(02:31:44):
irreparably or sunk seven active landing ships and one to
seven active landing ships and one landing vessel. I don't
know the difference. They've They've fucked up a lot of boats.
They have destroyed a submarine with seed to ground capability
that was docked for repairs. They have sunk a cruiser,
the capital ship of the entire Black Sea fleet, the Moskva.
They've also sunk a supply vessel and a handful of

(02:32:06):
patrol boats and missile boats, and a number of other
boats have been damaged. That's a significant rate of casualties,
especially when you consider that every actually destroyed vessel we're
looking at a year's multiple years lead time to replace.
You cannot make naval vessels very quickly anymore. Back during
the big Dub Dub dose, the US did, but nobody

(02:32:28):
really does that anymore, not with the big ones.

Speaker 6 (02:32:32):
At least just roll through that.

Speaker 7 (02:32:34):
We were just we were just yeating aircraft carriers into
the sea, just just flotting them out, Yeah, don't take
them out a week. Yeah, because it's because Rosy Rivet
was was really riveting at a high speed.

Speaker 2 (02:32:47):
She was, she was, she was quite a riveter. So
at the start of hostilities, Turkey, which controls access to
the Black Sea forbade any additional military vessels or at
least military vessels of significant size, from entering the area.
What this means this has a significant impact on how
well Ukraine strikes work, because even if Russia can replace
the losses physically, they can't actually get replacements into the

(02:33:09):
Black Sea easily. They can't sail new shit past the Turks.
The Turks are not allowing that right now. So again,
this is a situation that has kind of favored the
way in which Ukraine has adapted to countering Russian naval dominance.
It is possible that at the present rate of attrition,
the Black Sea fleet could be rendered inoperable in less
than two years. Like if they keep going at this

(02:33:30):
rates like eighteen months or something before, there's not really
much of a fleet anymore. Now. If Ukraine had accomplished
this task with a traditional navy using standard naval tactics,
This would have been an impressive victory given the disparity
in resources between the two nations. But they have done
all this with a mix of cruise missiles, many of
which are produced in country, aerial drones, and new bespoke

(02:33:50):
locally produced suicide drone boats. This irregular naval warfare has
been successful enough that one Rand Corporation engineer and analyst,
Scott Savatz, described the BLA blaxiafleet as a fleet in
being quote, it represents a potential threat that needs to
be vigilantly guarded against, but one that remains in check
for now. And I'm going to quote from a New
York Times article on the topic. It brought a little

(02:34:12):
more context. Ukraine has effectively turned around ten thousand square
miles in the western Black Sea off its southern coast
into what the military calls a gray zone, where neither
side can sail without the threat of attack. James Heapey,
Britain's Armed Forces Minister, told a recent security conference in
Warsaw that Russia's Black Sea fleet had suffered a functional defeat,
and contended that the liberation of Ukraine's coastal waters in

(02:34:34):
the Black Sea was every bit as important as the
successful counter offensives on land and Cersona and Kharkiv last year.
The classical approach that we studied at military maritime academies
does not work now, Admiral Nese Papas said. Therefore, we
have to be as flexible as possible and change approaches
to planning and implementing work as much as possible. That
articles about a year old or so.

Speaker 4 (02:34:54):
So.

Speaker 2 (02:34:54):
The Neptune anti ship missile is one of the prides
of Ukraine's nason arms industry. Missiles are credited with destroying
the Moskva in April of twenty twenty two. Ukraine also
has access to several Western anti ship missiles, including these
storm Shadow and Scalp missiles. I believe the storm Shadow
comes from your your folks, right James, yeah, convention.

Speaker 6 (02:35:13):
Yeah yeah.

Speaker 2 (02:35:15):
And these seem to be pretty effective missiles. These obviously
much more advanced. And these are modern naval weapons, right.
These are much more advanced than, for example, the weapons
to who these have. These are the kind of things
that can counter to some extent modern anti missile technology.
For an example of kind of how that tends to work,
they used a barrage of I believe it was mostly
storm shadows to rain death on the crime import of Sebastopol. Recently,

(02:35:38):
seven out of eighteen of the missiles fired made it
through Russian air defenses, and these damaged or destroyed four
landing ships in a single strike. And these are sizeable
naval vessels. This is the most recent attack, although as
after I wrote this, there was another attack on the
Kirch Bridge. I'm not really sure how that took place
yet that seems to have shut it down again. But
that gives you an idea of like what you actually

(02:35:59):
have to do. How much of these missiles you have
to put in the air to get some through. And
that's not too bad, right, eighteen missiles, seven get through,
four ships down. That's a really good rate of return.

Speaker 6 (02:36:09):
Especially when you consider that, like you know, we were
talking in our first episode about how the US is
spending significant resources are maintaining its defending its carriers, right,
Russia does not have the same ability to keep good
Lord saying munitions no, and so like that's a finite resource, right,
they're their means of defining that, defending their ships and

(02:36:30):
defending really anything against missiles are a finite resource. So
any time you can even if the ship doesn't get sunk,
if the ship has to deploy one of these missiles,
which it doesn't, which the whole country doesn't have very
many of, that they're still a win.

Speaker 2 (02:36:44):
Now, this is we're talking about irregular naval warfare. And
then this is not This is not what most people
would have considered a traditional naval conflict prior to the
expansion of hostilities in Ukraine. However, we are talking This
is very different than the case of the Hoothies. Ukraine
is a state. It doesn't have a massive arms industry,
but it has one, and it has the support of
nations with sizable arms industries. Right, so we are not

(02:37:06):
talking about this part. We are going to talk about
the aspects of Ukrainian a regular naval warfare. That are
some guys that are hobbyists building shit. Yeah, this is
not that part yet. But I think this information is
kind of significant and that it shows the tactical use
of anti ship cruise missiles and their ability to significantly
shape an operational environment even when the country using them

(02:37:27):
has minimal conventional naval assets of their own. It is
largely through the use of these missiles that Ukraine has
been able to reopen their black Sea ports. That matters
to people seeking to understand both this conflict and the
future of unconventional naval warfare. I mean, I guess you
could say this is the future of conventional naval warfare,
but I think we're still leaning on the unconventional side
at the moment, at least in terms of how doctrine

(02:37:48):
is changing as a result of this. So maybe I
should update how we're defining this. But for our purposes
as people unlikely to have access to cruise missiles but
significantly likely to find ourselves waging an unconventional than having
cruise missiles, it's more relevant to look at the new
weapons systems Ukraine has developed that have helped them lock
down the Black Sea fleet using civilian hobbyists. And this

(02:38:09):
is where we get to drones. Ukraine's conventional aerial drones
are a mix of actual military hardware. I'm talking about
stuff like the Bairaktar, the Turkish drone, which is like
kind of like the Predator A right, it's like an
actual military product. But the majority in terms of numbers
of drones that Ukraine is fielding are civilian drones, or
at least drones that started out a civilian technology. A

(02:38:32):
lot of these are now built to be military, but
they're still based on these designs that started with people
hacking and cobbling together civilian drones and outside of naval stuff.
Prior to the war, there had been a lot of
veterans and hobbyists who were veterans trying to convince the
Ukrainian military that it needed to adopt drone warfare on
a large scale, the kind of drone warfare that you
can do with these these less expensive drones, and they

(02:38:56):
received a lot of pushback until the war started and
these guys just took to the fields, started fucking murking
Russian armed units and infantry and killing generals and shit.
And now Ukraine has integrated in a way that everyone
is going to follow. Like Ukrainian like battalions have like
companies now that are drone assault companies, and like line battalions, and.

Speaker 6 (02:39:15):
Within infantry you have people used artillery eating transit forwards.

Speaker 2 (02:39:20):
Yes, all over. They have set a goal for this
year producing at least a million and ideally more like
two million drones, and at least from what I read,
that looks like very plausible and most of these are
quite small, right, but that doesn't mean obviously ineffective.

Speaker 6 (02:39:32):
I know they buy a lot of their drones in
the UK because the UK has consistently kicked itself in
the nuts when it comes to like Brexit, and so
the pound is significantly weaker, and so they're able to
get the drones at a cheaper price and then drive
them all the way across.

Speaker 2 (02:39:46):
Yeah.

Speaker 6 (02:39:46):
I know people who have done that. I was going
to go join them, but never worked it out.

Speaker 2 (02:39:50):
Yeah, And you know there are a number of different
like these. These these drones earlier in the war had
an easier time being effected, i even causing casualties in
the Russians.

Speaker 1 (02:40:01):
Then later.

Speaker 2 (02:40:02):
This is something that you know, kind of the hooplaw
and support which I think is necessary that Ukraine gets.
Lead some people to discount the degree to which Russian
forces have adapted and gotten smarter. And one of the
ways in which they've adapted and gotten smarter is in
blocking drones and using drones of their own. You know,
one of the stories the last couple of weeks is
that Russia has succeeded in carrying out strikes on advanced

(02:40:24):
weapons systems like samsites deep in Ukrainian territory. They've extended
their kill chain beyond what they used to be capable of,
and that's because they've adapted. They're also adapted with less
efficacy at blocking drones and attacks on naval vessels. Some
of this has been kind of funny. I want to
read a quote from a Business Insider article here. Russia
is painting silhouettes on naval vessels on land to try

(02:40:46):
and trick Ukraine, which keeps destroying its warships. In an
intelligence update on Wednesday, the UK Ministry of Defense said
that silhouettes of vessels have also been painted on the
side of ks probably to confuse the uncrude aerial vehicle operators.
They showed there's some images of this. They don't seem
convincing to me. I don't know if I think this
is working.

Speaker 1 (02:41:06):
This is great.

Speaker 2 (02:41:08):
I love this, like they have a cardboard navy next. Yeah,
it's very bugs bunny. Yes, they're not working as well
as bugs would like a.

Speaker 6 (02:41:16):
Hole in the side of the cliff face and crushing
into it.

Speaker 2 (02:41:20):
Keeps throwing. It's very funny. I mean obviously they just
Ukraine just sank like or damn it badly damaged. Four boats.
So I don't think this is I haven't seen evidence
that this is working well. Their actual like jamming efforts
have been much more successful, right, Yeah, they always will
be on civilian One of the thing that's really interesting
compared to Meanma is that Ukraine tends to rely on

(02:41:42):
modified off the shelf civilian drones, right your dji is
that kind of thing in Mianma because of where a
lott of the PDFs are. Because but they increasingly do
control the borders, but they haven't always. They have been
making their own drones. The group called Federal Wings you
can find them on telegram who who make their own drones,
and I think those seem to be less the Jammas

(02:42:05):
that the sac that the Tamado has are Chinese made
Jamma rifles. You see them all the time in captured
weapon cashes, but they don't seem to be having as
much impact on these homemade drones, which is really interesting. Yeah. Yeah,
and it's you know, I've mentioned a couple of times
we're doing this in part because the odds that people

(02:42:27):
listening might be involved in an irregular conflict are not zero.
You know what I think about when I say that
is not that there's high odds for any individual person
fighting themselves in that situation, but there is, given the
number of people who listened to this podcast, probably someone
who is not currently involved in a conflict that will
find themselves that way in the future. And I base
that in part on the fact that all of our

(02:42:48):
friends in Myanmar who are currently fighting a war were
a couple of years ago delivery drivers and you know,
playing pubg online and not really thinking they would wind
up as insurgents.

Speaker 6 (02:42:58):
Yeah. I've spoken to a number of people who are
currently fighting done in Mianma who have listened to our
Mianma podcast and realized the capacity of three D printing
to be very useful and so like, even in that sense,
it's already happening. But yeah, don't know one in Memma.
Like many of them said that their entire combat experience
is playing pubg. Yeah, now they're murking ships.

Speaker 2 (02:43:20):
Yeah. So anyway, it bears thinking about this stuff. And
this brings me back to Ukraine's irregular drone warfare units,
which again a lot of these guys started out as
civilian enthusiasts who expanded responded to the outbreak or at
least expansion of hostilities by expanding their hobby into a
real world military effort that had a real world effect.
Civilian drones were crucial in the Battle of Kiev, allowing

(02:43:41):
Ukraine to do severe damage to that massive Russian armored
column heading towards the city and providing intel that led
to the assassination of multiple general level officers. So it
is perhaps not surprising that Ukraine looked to the same
group of volunteer hobbyists when it came time to expand
their naval arsenal. And there's a really good article I
found in CNN by some Bashtian Shukla, Alex Marcott and

(02:44:02):
Daria Tarasova. And I actually want to give you the
title of this article. Yeah, I'll try to thriller in
the show notes is exclusive rare access to Ukraine's sea
drones part of Ukraine's fight back in the Black Sea.
Haven't really seen the word fight backies that way, but
there you go. So I'm going to read a quote
from that article. A government linked Ukrainian fundraising organization called
United twenty four has sourced money from companies and individuals

(02:44:23):
all around the world, pooling funds to disperse it to
a variety of developers and initiatives, from defense to soccer matches.
The entire outfit is very security conscious, insisting on strict
guidelines on filming and revealing identities. Those who seen and
met with declined to give their full names or even
their ranks within Ukraine's armed forces. On a creaky wooden jetty,
a camouflaged sea drone pilot says he wants to go
by shark in front of him is a long, black,

(02:44:45):
hard show briefcase. He unveils a bespoke multi screened mission control,
essentially an elaborate gaming center combined, complete with levers, joysticks,
a monitor, and buttons that have covers over switches that
shouldn't accidentally be knocked. With labels like Blast. The developer
of the drone, who act to remain anonymous sid their
work on sea drones only began once the war started.
It was very important because we did not have many

(02:45:05):
forces to resist the maritime state Russia, and we needed
to develop something of our own because we didn't have
the existing capabilities. So again, these are hobbyist design I mean,
this guy's not really a hobbyist anymore, but that's how
he started. He's only not a hobbyist because the military
recognized the value of what he was doing. And the
current iterations of this sea drone weigh a little over

(02:45:26):
two thousand pounds with an explosive six hundred and sixty
one pound payload, a five hundred mile range and a
max speed of fifty miles per hour. That is a
significant weapons system. Multiple sea drones have been used to
strike Russian assets in the Black Sea, and drones were
involved in a successful attack that severely damaged the Kirch
Bridge last July, rendering it impassable since until September. So

(02:45:49):
these have had a real battlefield effect and they probably
will continue to do so. The developer of these drones
told CNN these drones are a completely Ukrainian production. They
are designed, drawn and tested here. It's our own production
of holes, electronics and software. More than fifty percent of
the production of equipment is here in Ukraine. And that's
really significant because you know, I think we're all aware
of the difficulty Ukraine has had getting weaponry lately from

(02:46:12):
the West as a result of fucking around in Congress,
and so it is a necessity for them to be
able to develop weapon systems like this that can interdict
and counteract more advanced and expensive weapon systems and can
be produced indigenously. You know, I don't think we have
seen a mass suicide boat attack. I'm interested in what
happens when we do, like with more significant numbers than

(02:46:35):
we've seen deployed. I kind of wonder the degree to
which the Russians have gotten good at spotting this stuff.
I've come across at least a couple of stories of
these boats likely destroyed on approach. So they certainly don't
always work even a majority of the time. But given
the cost of these things they don't have to get
through the majority of the time, very much worth it.
Right now, In you Know that interview with the New

(02:46:56):
York Times, Admiral Najpapa caution that a Ukraine is still
outgunned in the Black Sea. Even though the Russians no
longer have supremacy, they still have air superiority. They are
still able to launch from the sea long range missiles
at Ukrainian targets, including civilian targets, So this is not
again a situation that should be portrayed as them having

(02:47:17):
their own way. Their ability to kind of interdict the
sea has been the primary effects of it have been
number one, the reopening of trade in the Black Sea
and earlier in the war, by locking down the ability
of these landing ships to put more troops on ground,
and by doing damage to the Kurch Bridge, they were
able to slow Russian reinforcements in Russian materiel from entering

(02:47:37):
the war zone in order to this aided in some
of the advances, particularly in areas like Carson. At this moment,
the situation has changed because again, the Russians aren't just
kind of like sitting around doing the same thing over again,
or at least not always, and we don't tend to
talk as much about successes on the Russian side of things,
but that is an important part of the story. And

(02:47:57):
one of the things the Russians have done is kind
of igledge that the Black Sea Fleet may not be
a fleet in being forever and certainly cannot be relied
upon to handle everything they initially thought it would handle.
And so Russian engineers spent a significant period of time
building a sizable new railroad that connects Rostov and southern
Russia to Mariopol and occupied southern Ukraine. This has allowed

(02:48:20):
them to get high volume shipments into the area and
supply troops to the area along Ukraine's southern front without
relying on that bridge or relying on naval landings.

Speaker 5 (02:48:31):
Right.

Speaker 2 (02:48:32):
So the fact that Ukraine has been able to take
out for landing ships recently is good. That's a win
for Ukraine. It reduces Russian capability, but it is not
half the same effect that it would have had, for example,
two years earlier. Right, Yeah, because Russia has also evolved,
and among other things, railroads are a lot easier or
a lot harder to destroy to take out. Right, It's
easy to damage a railroad, but they're easy to fix.

(02:48:54):
It doesn't take a lot to get some guys over
to fix a damage sunk of railroad. Fixing a bridge
that's been blown up or a sunk boat is a
lot harder.

Speaker 6 (02:49:03):
Yeah, absolutely, I mean, and there are people within Russia
even who are sabotaging railroads, but as you say, it's
like it's very high stakes for them, and it's relatively
low cost for the Russian state to fix that stuff,
so like it's not as effective.

Speaker 2 (02:49:17):
Yeah, But I think this gives you an idea of
kind of like what we're looking at when we look
at this kind of ongoing irregular conflict is the side
that does not have access to a functional navy, not
able to interdict or destroy fleets, but able to stop
them from dominating the coast. And when you can stop
them from dominating the coast, you have effectively denied them

(02:49:38):
terrain that they can act in without being countered, and
you have also denied them from stopping you from acting
in that same terrain, even if you don't have total
safety in that area. That opens up the operational possibilities substantially.
And this is something that I kind of don't think
is going to get put back in the bag. Even
if some of these Star Wars ass weapons systems do

(02:50:00):
come out in the near future. You know, maybe that'll
have an impact in the immediate term on people like
the houthies, but I don't think that it really will
on you know, for example, what Ukraine's doing right Yes, yeah.

Speaker 6 (02:50:13):
Russia can't keep up with getting decent small arms, body armor, grenades,
and ships. There's no way it's going to implement some
kind of massive Star Wars system over its navy, not
right now, not in the middle of a conflict that's
it's struggling to supply yep.

Speaker 2 (02:50:28):
You know what, here's an ad break.

Speaker 6 (02:50:41):
All right, we're back and we are traveling around the world.
Spend your little globe in your head and look for Meanma,
which is of course in Asia. Now I'm talking about
two different I guess anti ship sabotage or attack or
two different ways ships have been sunk in the Amba.
I'll start with the first one, which is undoubtedly the flashiest,

(02:51:02):
just because it's fun. So a ship in the port
of Yangon about about a month ago, so we're recording
on a twenty. It's about the first of March. It
was in the river, in the river in Yangon, right,
and it was carrying allegedly carrying jet fuel. Now, if
you follow Burmese activists, people in the Burmese Freedom movement,

(02:51:23):
they will one of their demands for a long time
has been to stop supplying the Hunter with jet fuel,
which would in turn stop it being able to bomb villages, schools, civilians,
PDF formations, just about anyone in the country. It's bombed
at some point in the last couple of years. And
they haven't been exactly right. They haven't been able to

(02:51:44):
stop the supply of jet fuel coming to the Hunter.
So they've taken it into their own hands. And what
they did on the first of March was that they
snuck onto a boat. So two, this is the story
from the Burmese National Unity Governments Ministry Defense. Anyway, combat
divers snuck onto this boat planted a kilogram of TNT

(02:52:07):
or a charge equivalent to a kilogram of TNT. Robert
and I've both spoken to people who make explosives in mema,
so we do. We definitely know the PDF has access
to a range of explosives. They set it on a
five hour fuse and it blew up in the middle
of the night, and there's definitely footage of the ship
on fire having blown up. Now, this is pretty remarkable
for never real Like this is like why the United

(02:52:29):
States has units like the Navy Seals, right, like the
higher speed guys, because it is not easy to scuba
dive across a harbor, climb onto a ship, send an
explosive charge without being detected, and then leave that ship
and have the charge go off and sink the ship
without you being compromised, without the charge itself being like compromised,

(02:52:52):
and the ship being saved. Right, this is some like
this is some classic like this is why they are
special unit within the US Minute Now, the PDF very
obviously did not have combat divers. Two years ago, I
was looking into hobby scuba diving in Yangon. The rivers
in that area are extremely muddy and visibility is very low,

(02:53:14):
So the people who you find diving in that area
are not so much like hobby scuba divers or free divers,
but there's salvage divers and there's a whole little industry
of people. And these people are diving in equipment that
I would not consider safe or reliable. It's clamping an
air hose in between your teeth and diving down and

(02:53:36):
trying to find there's a large deposit of coal in
one of the rivers in Yangon because of a ship
that's sunk. There was a course copper, which everyone all
around the world, including the Vigcong in Santia, are stealing copper.
There's iron, right, So these people are diving down and
trying to collect scrap and sell that for whatever minimal
amount they can. Right, It's an extremely dangerous an extremely

(02:54:00):
low income. It's one of the sort of really high risk,
low reward jobs that you get in economies where people
are really struggling to make ends meet, right, So those
are the only divers I can find evidence of in Yangon.
I don't think it was them who did this, because
you have to have a boat above you with a
pump if you're diving with a rubber hose in your teeth, right,

(02:54:21):
So it seems like somebody in within the They said
it was a Yangon PDF, that's what they attribute it to,
So that would be one of these. It would likely
be an underground group within the PDF, right, some people
living in the city who were able to sneak onto
this boat, set a charge and blow it up, And
they would also had to have intelligence at the boat

(02:54:43):
where it was, what it was carrying, et cetera. It's
a pretty pretty daring mission that this is the first
one like this we've seen, and we haven't seen anything since.
But it's of course possible that this is a story
that we're being told. In fact, they had like someone
undercover on the ship, right, or like they had some
other means of getting this charge onto the ship. But

(02:55:05):
one way or another they managed to blow up this
ship carrying fuel, which is a significant debt trim. Yeah, right,
and that's how they get most of their shit, it's
not over land, especially with more the.

Speaker 2 (02:55:16):
Terrain there is just absolutely like even with modern technology
difficult to get significant amounts of shit through.

Speaker 6 (02:55:22):
They're resupplying some of their outposts that are ten miles
from a town with helicopters right now, like A the
terrain is burly, and B they don't have The PDF
has denied them access that. Any time they send out
a convoy, it gets attacked, so setting out. Plus, you
know that their land border crossings are increasingly falling into

(02:55:45):
the hands of the PDFs and the ROS, So getting
stuff through the ocean is one of the ways that
they can still get stuff. And if this keeps happening,
then they will make that more expensive for them. And
they're not exactly a wealthy like hunter, even though I
guess Lung just made himself an air force one recently.
I was just looking at it today.

Speaker 2 (02:56:03):
He's good.

Speaker 6 (02:56:04):
He's got himself too luxury. Yeah, they called it dictator class,
like he's upgraded from president class.

Speaker 2 (02:56:10):
Nice.

Speaker 6 (02:56:11):
Yeah, yeah, yes, he has in many ways. So, yeah,
that's one way that the PDF has been blowing up
ships in the Yangon Robert, do you know who else
has been blowing up ships in the yang In Yangon.

Speaker 2 (02:56:25):
Well, we are sponsored entirely by the British Navy circa
the mid eighteen hundreds, so I would guess them that's right.

Speaker 6 (02:56:33):
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah yeah. Lots of repressed, repressed
feelings and growing up a.

Speaker 2 (02:56:39):
Lot of cabin boys with deep trauma. Anyway, here's the ass.

Speaker 6 (02:56:44):
Yeah, all right, we're Becka. We hope you enjoyed that.
That pivot one of our best ones yet. And we're
talking about the Arakan Army now. So the Arakan Army

(02:57:04):
are not to be confused with the Arakan Rahine of
Salvation Army. Different group. Arakan is a name of what
is now a kind state before it was colonized by
the Burmese. That was I think Arakan was a king
before it was colonized by the Burmese, so that that's
where that refers to. It's a geographical appellation rather than
like necessarily an ethnic one. The Rakin would be the
ethnic group. So what the AA have done is sunk

(02:57:28):
I think at least four Hunter ships now, and most
of these ships are kind of they're like the they
look like big Higgins boats. They're like landing craft or
like car ferries, like flat bottom with a bow that
goes down.

Speaker 4 (02:57:43):
Right.

Speaker 6 (02:57:43):
I rode around a lot in the Marshall Islands in
little landing craft like that because they can get them in.
They don't have like docks, so they can just ride
that right up to the beach and then drop the
front and off you go. And they use them a lot.
The Hunter doesn't have like per se marines that they
don't have maritime infantry, but they they use them to
transport their regular army around, right, and they use them

(02:58:04):
to transport them up river. They also use them a
lot in Rakhine State to shell AA positions and any
townships that they've decided they want to wipe off the
map and kill all the people in.

Speaker 4 (02:58:15):
Right.

Speaker 6 (02:58:15):
So these these boats have been a real like thorn
in the side of the Aracan Army. After Operation ten
twenty seven, when they joined with two other groups to
form the Three Brotherhood Alliance, A launch attacks on the
Hunter all over Vima. And so what they've been doing,
it appears, is using underwater mines to sink these ships,

(02:58:37):
which is interesting, right, Like, I guess the mines are
like a very old technology, right, it's probably one hundred
years plus underwater mines have existed. It seems the way
that like, the reason they're able to get away with
using what is their relatively dated technology is because the
hunter doesn't expect to encounter anything, right, and so has

(02:58:59):
not equiped its ships as such, Like they do have
stuff like submarines, but that's not what's getting sunk. What's
getting sun of these big kind of landing craft riverboats,
And it seems that they're using mines and then once
they disabled the ship, they're then attacking it with small boats,
small arms like indirect fire mortars and stuff. I saw
one post that suggested they'd use which is pretty cool

(02:59:20):
if they did. The Burmese military has these like tank destroyers.
It's a tank, it's what it is, and they've captured
the AA has captured a number of these, and I've
seen suggestions that they're using some of these on like
they just set up an ambush along the banks of
the river, right and as a ship comes in they
can they can maybe disable it with a mine and
then attack it with those. But there are videos online

(02:59:42):
you can find them of the AA sinking these ships
and then they've done some amazing drone photography of like
they obviously they then like staged their units on the ships,
like all saluting the drone and they had the Arakan
Army flags and they're actually really cool photos of them
taking these. But again, like I think this might be
the first sinking of a Bermese naval ship since since

(03:00:09):
independence from Britain, Like I can't think that they were.
They really haven't played much of a role at all
in its comics with the Eros aside as from like
basically kind of just shelling places when they want to
do that. But there's never really been any significant opposition
to them, and that's changed now they have to obviously,
just like everywhere else, watch out for drones. R drones

(03:00:30):
have been used to a massive extent in Myanmar, and
like the AA doesn't have as many like associated PDFs,
I haven't seen them doing as much of the drone
stuff as the PDFs. The pdf tend to be like
the more urban folks, right, the younger folks and the
gen Z folks that we've spoken about before, and a

(03:00:50):
lot of them have been very savvy with their use
of drones. Like I said, you can look up Federal
wings and you can see them dropping bombs with drones
and all kinds of stuff with their heavy metal soundtracks.
So they like, but that what it wasn't even drone
to you, it's pretty simple. It was just mine. So
things they do love mines and meat of mines all
over that country. But in this case, these I guess

(03:01:13):
massive what mines in the rivers. Given that the Hunter
is the only only entity sending big boats up and down,
you could set them at a certain depth where these
small boats wouldn't hit them, and eventually one of the
Hunter boats is going to hit them, I guess. And
so it's pretty basic technology, but it's still a massive
step forward in terms of like a place where the
state had complete impunity, it now doesn't.

Speaker 1 (03:01:35):
Right.

Speaker 6 (03:01:35):
They can't just cruise up and down these rivers shelling people.
They were actually using some of the ships to evacuate
soldiers and their families from a position. The soldiers they
were trying to like, rather than surrendering, they were trying
to evacuate them and move them to somewhere else. The
AA asked them to surrender, and they didn't. They tried
to evacuate them. So then they mined the ships and
took those out. I think the hunters. Like tried to

(03:01:58):
spin this as like the AA is attacking civilians, but
I think a Burmese Navy ship with a Burmese Navy flag,
when those ships have just been shelling you, seems like
a legitimate target to me. And I think it's very hard.
It's you know, it's a hunter, but children on one
of their naval ships rather than the AA who attacked
the ship because it had children. You can hear in

(03:02:19):
one of the things. You can hear the AA are
like attacking the ship in small boats and they're shouting
like there are children on board, and you can hear
them acknowledging it. And there are videos of the AA
rescuing people who jumped overboard, rescuing them from the river,
and then like, I guess they've just held us. POW's cool. Yeah,
it's cool. It's interesting. Obviously, not many of us have

(03:02:40):
access to underwater mines, but you know, maybe in a
fictional future we might.

Speaker 2 (03:02:47):
Yeah. Well, there you go, folks. This has been irregular
naval warfare. And you a podcast about a regular naval
warfare and you.

Speaker 6 (03:02:59):
Yeah, send us to your videos of yourself. Yeah, ir
regular naval.

Speaker 2 (03:03:03):
Yeah, absolutely, go out there. Look how about this, Every
listener go out and sink one naval vessel, you know,
no matter who's just any boat. Any go sink a boat,
any boat, take super yot, knock it out. You see
a dinghy, take that fucker out. People kayaking, fuck them up,
you know. Ban on a boat, absolutely, a banana boat

(03:03:25):
for sure. One of those weird duck boat car things
that they have in some city. Oh yeah, actually, you
know what, you don't need to do anything with that.
That'll kill everybody on board on Those things are traps.
Just pray for those.

Speaker 6 (03:03:39):
Yeah, any any other boat. Yeah, you see a doughnut,
you know behind a speedboat?

Speaker 2 (03:03:44):
Oh yeah, murk it anyway, everybody go away. Hey, we'll
be back Monday with more episodes every week from now
until the heat death of the Universe.

Speaker 5 (03:03:57):
It Could Happen here as a production of Pool Zone.

Speaker 4 (03:03:59):
Need for more podcasts from cool Zone Media, visit our
website coolzonemedia dot com, or check us out on the
iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Speaker 5 (03:04:09):
You can find sources for It Could Happen Here, updated
monthly at coolzonemedia dot com slash sources.

Speaker 4 (03:04:14):
Thanks for listening,

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