Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘war on terror’ Category

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I will have such revenges on you both  

That all the world shall—I will do such things—      

What they are yet I know not, but they shall be      

The terrors of the earth. You think I’ll weep?       

No, I’ll not weep.

The 19th anniversary of 9/11, when four American airliners were hijacked and flown into civilian targets in the USA, the most infamous being the Twin Towers in New York City. I was in rural Oregon at the time. Had strange dreams that morning, I think events like 9/11 ripple outwards in ways we don’t understand yet. If we can build a device that can detect the collision of black holes billions of light years and ago away, something like 9/11 that must pop all over the planet. 

That being said, what else to say? My biggest memory? The horrifying sick feeling in my stomach as in the days to follow two things were already becoming clear. America wasn’t going to learn anything from this terrible crime, and no one would be held responsible for this utter failure of our nation’s defences. And that a paroxysm of American violence and hatred was going to follow. Sadly I’ve been proved true in spades on both counts. The last time an American leader screwed up and paid the price was Benedict Arnold. And our endless crusades in the Middle East were normalized by 9/11 and continue today.

I say crusades very deliberately. I see America as just a continuation of the Roman Empire, it broke up in the Dark Ages, various factions arose, Christian monotheism became the state religion. The factions fought among one another and were finally unified in 1945 when Japan and Germany surrendered. So by crusading, I mean the medieval Roman Empire sent armies into the Middle East, mostly looting under the guise of religion. They even established a Christian state in Palestine, it lasted like 100 years. No real difference from Israel and America’s Middle East wars starting with Gulf War One.

On to the obvious, Covid-19 is dealing America a 9/11’s worth of death a week, with no end in sight, and the Trump regime has yet to mobilize the nation’s resources to defend against it. In a weird ironic way, I think our reactions to 9/11 and Covid-19 should have been reversed. 9/11 was terrible, but it was a crime committed by a tiny band of extremists, Terrorism before and after 9/11 was a minor threat to Americans, and one we had plenty of defenses against. Covid-19 we should be mobilizing the awesome power of the Federal Government, thank you Lincoln, to defend against. We’d save thousands of lifes a week. 

So yes, it’s really weird that we’re paying huge tribute to 9/11 while we more or less ignore a much more dire ongoing death march. And not even thinking about the pointless carnage the “Global War on Terror” has wreaked. What can I say? I honor the dead on that terrible day, I’m sorry for all the loss. A nightmare for those involved. And the best way to honor their deaths, let’s stop promoting violence as a solution to complex social problems. 

The hippies and pacifists and such were all right, as such it is my inspiration for the meme above. The lesson of 9/11, killing people doesn’t help. Sit down at a table and work things out like adults. We are an intelligent species, right? There are better alternatives? 

Weird day, weird times, where will we be on the 20th anniversary of 9/11? I hope all reading will be safe and sound. Stay safe everyone. Likes, shares, etc. appreciated. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #InsanusTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Quote: King Leer. Image: A meme I made, Public Domain.)

Written by unitedcats

September 11, 2020 at 6:56 pm

EPIDEMIC OF APATHY CONTINUES IN AMERICA AS COVID-19 KILLS AT WILL

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OK, so, the first surgery failed. Second surgery, well, another new experience, I could see the smoke and smell my burning flesh when they cauterized the incision. Smelled like chicken. Yes, I have a very odd sense of humor. Some would even say I don’t possess such. Philistines. So still kicking, but more surgery after the latest biopsy. Modern medicine, as in all modern science based endeavors, is pretty amazing stuff. Fox News viewers and Evangelicals, you’re missing out on some good shit.

And since they’re in control of the country now, their failure to grasp that Covid-19 required a science based approach has killed tens of thousands of people. I know, boring, we’re over Covid-19, on to some other story. Not here in Doug’s Darkworld. Greatest mass death of my time, so I’m  gonna keep blogging on it. And whatever comes to mind. That’s my plan for the fall, write about whatever I want to. 

Three quick Covid-19 links. First, once again, Covid-19 is very serious even for young healthy adults: A sobering breakdown of severe COVID-19 cases shows young adults can’t dismiss it. I know I repeat this a lot, because it’s important. Covid-19 is not a cold or a flu, it’s much worse, and we need to snap out of the complacency a hundred years of vaccines and modern public health brought us. Here’s a good article just basically going over some of the hows and why America failed so miserably fighting Covid-19: COVID-19 Has Killed Nearly 200,000 Americans. How Many More Lives Will Be Lost Before the U.S. Gets It Right? A good, if depressing, read. Lastly, just some interesting thoughts on where Covid-10 is going: How do pandemics usually end? And how will this one finish? 

So the Abraham Accord. Yeah, this one seems remarkably easy to deconstruct. The United Arab Emirates, one of the medieval Gulf State theocracies, has normalized relations with Israel, one of the few Arab nations to do so. Trump and company are touting it as a big move towards peace in the Middle East, he has even been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize! By a far right Muslim-bashing Norewegian politician who has nominated Trump for the prize before. The astute reader can no doubt guess that it’s going to go downhill from here.

So what is the Abraham Accord? It’s really simple, the UAE recognizes Israel, then they get to buy a giant pile of advanced US weapons. And Israel gets a huge pile of American taxpayer dollars which they have to spend on US weapons. Woohoo, American war profiteers make a pile of money, Israel and the UAE get even more weapons! And what do the Palestinas get? Nothing. How does pouring more weapons into the Middle East promote peace? God only knows. Basically it’s Trump giving away a pile of America taxpayers money so he can claim a diplomatic success. Color me unimpressed.

And more weapons in the region. Yeah, that’s worked out well: At least 37 million displaced by America’s two-decade ‘war on terror’: Report. Weapons are the world’s number two industry, and a profitable industry it is. And politically powerful. It’s distorted civilization since the end of World War Two, with no end in sight. They should have hung German industrialists alongside the other war criminals the Allies hung at Nuremberg. Nope, we’re stuck in this reality where giving more weapons to two warlike regimes in a region devastated by war is touted as a peace treaty.

Shit like this is why the aliens fly right past. Assuming any such aliens exist, the latest search came up with nada: Astronomers find no signs of alien tech after scanning over 10 million stars. If there’s aliens out there, they certainly aren’t doing anything noticeable. My backup theory is that intelligent life such as ours is an evolutionary dead end. Soon enough the technology will be such that an individual will be able to build a doomsday device. We can’t even stop school shooters in the US, so this would be inevitable. We’d all die with our freedoms intact though, woohoo! And if the stock markets were high at the time, then what else matters?

OK, no emails from aliens yet. I just checked. Unless they are cleverly disguised as spam, which would seem to miss the point. Still, how the hell would I know how aliens think, even understanding Trump supporters gives me pause. Stay safe everyone. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #InsanusTempora

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved. 

(Image: Anonymous quote pasted onto a Public Domain Snappygoat Image. Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

September 10, 2020 at 7:39 pm

IT’S MONDAY! NEWS, TRUMP, MEXICO, TERRORISM, CARTELS, AND UKRAINE

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As far as I can tell the mainstream news gets worse daily, it’s just the Democrat version of Fox News now. Granted I watch very little of it. Good thing too, the neighbours would complain about the screaming. Case in point, last night I overheard a snippet on one of the plethora of ‘news’ shows my housemate watches. There was a former Obama official talking about Ukraine. He said Ukraine is at war with Russia, and Russia is occupying Ukrainian territory. And at that point, I started screaming and my housemate asked me to leave his room.

I was screaming because the former is an outright lie, and the later completely ignores the context. Basically the Democrat propaganda line is that Russia is the aggressor against poor Ukraine. I even met a fellow who swore Russia is setting itself up to “retake” Ukraine. An incredibly complicated situated reduced to the status of a Risk game. When people’s knowledge of the world is based on utter falsehoods, it pretty much short circuits any possible debate. Note terrorism comments below.

Add to that the ever increasing number of things Russia is purported to have done to undermine our democracy. It was ridiculous long ago, but that doesn’t stop huge numbers of people from believing it. It’s all basically crazy. Ukraine is about as unimportant to the US as it’s possible to get, the US meddling there serves no purpose. (Is Ukraine slavic for Vietnam?) And selling Ukraine advanced weapons is just adding fuel to the fire, if Ukraine gets into a real war with Russia, they will lose. And the idea of the US fighting a nuclear war to defend Ukraine is bat shit crazy.

Speaking of bat shit crazy, Trump recently floated the idea of using the US military to destroy the drug cartels in Mexico. And a move is afoot to designate these criminal gangs as ‘terrorist organizations.’ Both are really bad ideas. The USA has not been able to halt the flow of drugs into the USA, nor the flow of money and guns into Mexico. All of which occur right here in the USA. And somehow marching into Mexico is going to make a difference? It’s not like the cartel members wear uniforms and have military bases, how the hell is the military going to be any better at finding them than the Mexican military?

And of course sending the US military into Mexico would cause anti-American resentment throughout Latin America, and make American civilians marked targets for cartel retaliation everywhere, including in the United States. Like sending advanced weapons to Ukraine, it would be the equivalent of using a flamethrower to put out a fire. People, like Trump apparently, who think the military is the solution to every problem have watched too many Hollywood movies and not paid any attention to the litany of failed interventions that has been the “War on Terror” the past few decades. Fortunately the government of Mexico has said “No!” to the idea. Hopefully Trump isn’t unstable enough to send troops into Mexico without their blessing, knock on wood.

And declaring criminal gangs to be “terrorist organizations’ just highlights the stupidity of declaring any organization a terrorist organization. It’s simply a propaganda label used to avoid any actual debate about America’s interventionist foreign policy. And if Trump gets the cartels so designated, refugees from that part of the world would then be able to claim they were fleeing terrorism. As people have pointed out, it would open a whole can of legal worms, likely driving more refugees to try and cross the border. Something Trump is against, so I suspect Trump didn’t really think this through. Granted thinking things through does not appear to be one of Trump’s strong points.

We’ll see what happens. The picture above is from Ukraine’s varied history, no implications meant. It’s a parade in Ukraine after Hitler’s legions rolled in in 1941. At first the Nazis were welcomed as liberators, Stalin’s rule of Ukraine being brutal. The Germans quickly showed they could out brutal Stalin any day, and Ukrainian collaboration with Hiter’s Nazis quickly waned. 4.5 million Ukrainians ultimately fought for Stalin, the devil you know I guess.

Have a great week everyone.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Parade in Stanislav (Ivano-Frankivsk) in honor of the visit of the Governor-General of Poland Reichsleiter Hans Frank Credit: Unknown, Public Domain under Russian Copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

December 2, 2019 at 4:19 am

23 OCTOBER, REAGAN, THE WAR OF JENKIN’S EAR, ETC

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Some interesting stuff happened on 23 Oct. Well, I suppose there’s always interesting stuff on every date in history, just not of interest to me. On October 23rd, jackpot. So, we’ll start with The War of Jenkin’s Ear. In 1731 a Spanish privateer captured a British ship, accused them of smuggling, and cut off Captain Jenkin’s ear. The ear was exhibited in British Parliament, people were outraged, and the British declared war on Spain. That’s the story, and a great story it is. It is however, just a story. Yes, the unfortunate Captain Jenkins did have his ear cut off. And he may have testified in Parliament. There is no evidence he waved his ear around. And while there was outrage over the incident, the war didn’t start until 1739. And Jenkin’s ear had little or nothing to do about it, it was mainly about trade conflicts with Spain in the New World. In fact it wasn’t even called ‘The War of Jenkin’s Ear’ until over a century later. One wonders what future historians will rename current events.

In 1812 one French General Claude François de Malet launched an attempted coup, claiming Napoleon had died in Russia. This was a new one to me. The general recruited others into his plot, and made some progress, but Napoleon loyalists quickly determined that despite the good general’s claim, letters had been received from Napoleon that post dated his supposed death. The general and a number of his co-conspirators were tried and executed by firing squad. They had planned on returning the monarchy to power, though honestly it seems like it was a pretty harebrained scheme to begin with. Napoleon was very popular, and I can’t imagine support for the coup doing anything but collapsing once it was discovered that Napoleon was still very much alive.

Harebrained is the correct spelling by the way, but hare-brained is also acceptable. Not hairbrained though, even though lots of people apparently labor under the impression that this is the correct spelling. Nope, hares, not hair. IE rabbit brained, hares not being known as particularly smart animals. Oddly enough hare (the rabbit) was once acceptably spelled hair, in Scotland particularly. So at one point hair-brained was acceptable, but no longer. English, fun language.

In 1906 Alberto Santos-Dumont flew the world’s first heavier-than-air aircraft in front of hundreds of witnesses in France. The first person to invent and fly an airplane! The fact that the Wright brothers preceded him by some months took awhile to sink in. Who cares. Both parties independently built a flying machine, a remarkable achievement for the era. Mr Santos-Dumont was a pioneer in both lighter and heavier-than-air craft and worthy of the fame he has. Sadly he killed himself at 59, partly because of the use of aircraft as weapons in World War One. Yikes.

In 1942 the 2nd Battle of El Alamein began. This was a British offensive against Rommel and his Afrika Korps in North Africa. The British had such an overwhelming advantage in men and equipment that the outcome was not in doubt. Sometimes great generals have won battles when outnumbered two or three to one. Seven plus to one, not aware of any large battle won at those odds. At least with reasonably well matched opponents technology wise. The battles of Guadalcanal and Stalingrad were raging as well at this time. Basically in late 1942 it became clear that the Axis were not going to win World War Two.

And in 1944, after it was clear the Axis were going to lose World War Two (The greatest martial arts contest ever held) on this date the Japanese launched their Leyte Gulf offensive. This was an attack on the US forces invading the Philippines, occupied by Japan since the start of World War Two in the Pacific. The attack caught the US by surprise, since their intelligence branch had concluded that Japan was no longer capable of large scale offensive operations. The War in the Pacific version of the Battle of the Bulge. While possibly more realistic than Hitler’s lunacy in The Bulge, Japan’s Leyte Gulf attack was also a fail.

Lastly, and nicely timed, Reagan. On October 23 the Marine barracks in Beirut Lebanon was attacked by a truck bomb, killing 241, 307 including a simultaneous attack on French troops. God rest their souls. So much to say, huge event at the time. Pre-Internet days, my wife and I were living in our truck. We saw the headlines in a newspaper in a newspaper box. The US was there as part of a peacekeeping mission. Forgotten by most now.

By most. Came across an article titled “21 Reasons Why Ronald Reagan Was a Terrible President.” I was so horrified by it I refuse to link to it. Principles and all. I didn’t read it all, but what I did read basically said Reagan was a terrible president because he didn’t launch the “War on Terror” after the Marine bombing in Lebanon. Right. Not launching the most pointless, destructive, expensive, and counterproductive “war” in American history makes him a terrible president? I’m no fan of Reagan, but pulling out of Lebanon after the bombing was the wise thing to do. The Lebanese Civil War was a horrible mess, especially then after the Israeli invasion. When your soldiers aren’t achieving anything positive, and they are coming under attack, time to bring them home. Good going Reagan, wish today’s leaders had as much sense.

Basically the whole article was neocon propaganda, the “all war all the time” philosophy that has taken over Washington. Moving right along, in today’s news, Trump has been credibly accused of treason. I guess I will blog about that Friday. Vaguely interesting in the pulling off a bandage way, right? Washington just keeps getting weirder.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: “The explosion of the Marine Corps building in Beirut, Lebanon on October 23, 1983 created a large cloud of smoke that was visible from miles away.” Credit: USMC. Pictures taken by Federal employees in the course of their job are Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

October 23, 2019 at 5:35 am

TURKEY TELLS TRUMP TO ‘TALK TO THE HAND’

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This week started off with Trump thinking he was a Mafia don I guess. He threatened “As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!)” Yeah, that’s presidential. Where did he get the idea that threatening a major US ally in this way was going to lead to anything good for the US? This is all about the Kurds in Syria, which the US was perfectly willing to pay to fight ISIS. Trump is pulling the US out of Syria, Turkey apparently plans to invade Syria to both keep the Kurds from getting any ideas about independence, and to create a zone in Syria where they can resettle Syrian refugees that fled the Civil War in Syria.

Why is Trump up in arms about this? I don’t know, it’s not like he gives a crap about the Kurds or the Syrians. I think it’s just because he doesn’t like being crossed, Trump has always used his wealth and power to get his own way, regardless of the cost to others. The silly thing about this threat, is any economic action taken against Turkey is going to cost the US too. In fact it’s not clear to me that Trump has many options for hurting Turkey’s economy, it’s not like the world is going to agree to sanction Turkey. We’ll see what Turkey does, but my guess is they will proceed as planned and tell Trump to “Talk to the hand.”

Oh well, at least Trump is entertaining. Sadly the joke is on the American people. The impeachment circus grinds on, I don’t think it’s going anywhere soon, so I’m guessing it’s about rallying the base. Or more accurately, keep the base rallying around the prefered “centrist’ candidates, and away from Bernie sanders and his ilk. And if impeachment does succeed, probably by causing Trump to melt down completely and resign, we get Pence. Yeah, another Evangelical neocon. More “Bombing in the name of Jesus” basically. Here’s an interesting article about a potential Pence presidency.

Well, poot, reality is overtaking this post as I type. Turkey has called Trump’s bluff. With the Washington establishment’s blessing. What a complicated mess. Trump is being pilloried for “abandoning” our Kurdish “allies” to attack by Turkey. Well, we are abandoning the Kurds, as we have done before when they were no further use to us. And they aren’t our allies, just locals we armed and paid to defeat a mutual enemy, ISIS. Turkey is a member of NATO and thus most definitely our allie. A member that has no intention of allowing an autonomous Kurdish defacto state to be established in Syria. It would give the millions of Kurds living in Turkey ideas.

Yes, this post is almost incoherent. Like America’s strategy in the Middle East. Let’s try to sum it all up. Revolution/Civil War breaks out in Syria some years back. Numerous other countries get involved, but eventually with help from Iran and Russia, the Syrian regime wins the war. A large part of Northeastern Syria remains under de facto Kurdish control. Trump announces he is going to actually fulfill a campaign promise (gasp!) and pull at least some US troops out of Syria, who are there completely illegally by the way. The neocon Washington ‘all war all the time’ establishment goes nuts over Trump’s decision, then the Turks announce they will be going into Syria. Trump does his Mafia don schtick and threatens turkey, while also praising them, in a series of classically Trumpian (IE near incoherent) tweets. Turkey announces Trump can “talk to the hand,” Turkey is going into Syria. And now we wait for other shoes to drop.

What a complicated mess in other words. Wars within wars. I miss the seventies. For a time after the Vietnam War there was peace in the world. No wars anywhere. What a concept. For about 8% of the last 3,400 years the world has been at peace. So it’s not an impossible dream. Since the peaceful days of the seventies, we’re now involved in half a dozen wars, with other wars ongoing as well. And most of the wars the US is fighting are stalemates, and are at least as senseless as the Vietnam War. Great for profits in the war industry and promotions in the Pentagon I guess. My point here is that if the world was at peace in the seventies, but is riven with war now, who’s to blame? I would posit that the people who rule the world, the US and its allies, are to blame. In fact the current pile of pointless and hopeless wars we are involved in proves Washington’s strategy, if “kill all the bad guys” can even be called a strategy, has failed.

Alas, America is the country that can do no wrong. So no matter how often our wars fail, we just pay the toll in blood and gold (usually not American blood) and carry on. This is why the world is a mess, this is why by all objective metrics the US is worse off than any other developed nation, this is why Trump got elected! And this is why it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

I know, I know, ranting again. I’ll go take a Valium.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: From Wikipedia: “Part of the set of five hanging scrolls Extermination of Evil depicting benevolent deities who expel demons of plague. This scroll was originally part of a handscroll known as the “second edition of the Masuda family Hell Scroll” before being cut into sections after World War II. The text on the scroll explains the acts of the god in exterminating evil. The Divine Insect is an euphemism for the silkworm which takes the form of a moth here. The set of five scrolls has been designated as National Treasure of Japan in the category paintings.” Credit: Unknown, Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

October 9, 2019 at 5:13 am

9/11 DREAMS AND NIGHTMARES

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nps

September 11 2019. The 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Possibly the most written about event in history. At least in America, I wonder how much attention it gets in the rest of the world. Years of cultivating foreign friends has taught me a bit about the world. Two things I have learned so far. Most of the world has little interest in America and Americans, aside from superficial stuff like our movies and such. And that I know basically jack about most other countries. The older I get, the more I am impressed with how breathtakingly ignorant I am about most things. So I spend a lot of time in the library.

18 years ago. Time flies. People under 25 or so don’t even remember pre-9/11 America. There was still a facade of participatory democracy. There was still a reasonably robust antiwar movement. The USA hadn’t yet turned the Middle East into a morass of failed states and terrorist breeding grounds. Mandatory flag waving and anthem singing wasn’t required at every single public gathering and professional sporting event. The Internet was only 90% crap.

And facts mattered. At least a lot more than they do now. Conservatives and liberals still talked to each other, they hadn’t yet retreated into their respective parties’ fantasy worlds. Conspiracy theories were still fringe beliefs, not planks in major party platforms. Americans didn’t live in fear of immigrants, terrorists, Muslims, or school shooters. A college education didn’t require lifetime debt. And in many very measurable ways, the typical American was better off than they are now.

Finally 9/11 is fading into history, but the damage done by the Bush administrations cowardly and self-serving insane overreaction to 9/11 is with us still. Permanent endless wars, a national debt that’s almost incomprehensible. The erosion of our freedoms and the giant security state now monitoring us. Bush did claim Osama Bin Laden was attacking us because he was jealous of our freedoms. So I guess taking them away made sense. That’s what the image above alludes to.

In other words, 9/11 and America’s response to it are pretty depressing topics. I wish I had something positive to say. Wracking my brains here. A terrible crime, used to justify countless subsequent crimes. How does one find the silver lining in that? The 9/11 Truthers have been amusing I suppose. The conspiracy theory to end all conspiracy theories. Of course the amusement fades when one realizes just how divorced from logical thinking one has to be to imagine that thousands of Americans conspired to murder thousands of Americans for no reason whatsoever. And left exactly zero evidence of their crime.

God rest the souls of all who died that terrible day. I dreamt about it as it was happening, so was more than a little shocked when I turned on the TV. And God rest the souls of all who died as America lashed out in a quixotic crusade to rid the world of terror. And our 9/11 inspired wars are killing people to this day. The idea that war will end terror is about as dumb as people thinking World War One would end all war. As someone said back when America still had an antiwar movement, “Fighting for peace is like fucking for chastity.” Nowadays Americans are so shell shocked that our “leaders” in Washington don’t even bother to promise peace anymore.

So in summation, 9/11 was a terrible crime by a tiny extremist organization. It wasn’t an act of war, clash of civilizations, or an attack on the United States. The perpetrators should have been hunted down and brought to trial. The dead buried with respect, and we should have stayed calm and carried on. Kinda the opposite of how we reacted. And here we are 18 years later, and Al Qaeda is as strong as ever. Again, God rest the souls of all the 9/11 victims.

And now here in Iowa a tornado watch. Well, now I’m both depressed and nervous. At least I live close to downtown, so I will hear the tornado alarm if it goes off. On the plus side, we’re finally getting some rain. The lake is down a foot or so, the lawn rolled over and died of thirst last week. And dry soil makes treasure hunting impossible. I know, I know, white peoples’ problems. A future blog post.

Hope everyone is having a good week.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The Twin Towers in NYC shortly after the planes struck. Credit: A federal National Park Service employee took this photo as part of their official duties, and thus it is Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

September 11, 2019 at 4:05 am