Histoire d’ADN

Strategika 51_OffShore

Des start-ups ayant investi dans le créneau très lucratif de collecte d’ADN humain sous le couvert d’une fausse quête généalogique mais en réalité pour des recherches dont le but n’a jamais été divulgué, commencent à se plaindre du piratage de leurs données.

C’est le cas de la société israélienne MyHeritage, sise dans la grande banlieue de Tel-Aviv: selon un billet paru dans le blog de cette start-up, un piratage potentiel aurait mis en péril les adresses émails et les mots de passe de 92 millions d’utilisateurs.

la quête de ses origine à travers l’analyse de son ADN, transmis volontairement à une société de ce type est devenu un créneau très lucratif et suscite l’enthousiasme d’un nombre croissant d’individus à travers le monde. Pourtant, ce domaine demeure très mal connu et le processus de traitement en interne du matériel ADN transmis se caractérise par une opacité favorisée par la méconnaissance…

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Blockchain update: Blockchain worth ’10 times more than the internet’ says Chinese pundit

Strategika 51_OffShore

Comment made during TV debate featuring well-known faces in the blockchain world

There’s a lot going on in the world of decentralised networking and not just the daily rollercoaster ride of the cryptocurrency markets. A decade after the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto first unleashed Bitcoin on an unsuspecting world, the blockchain has grown and branched out and now a thousand flowers blossom, some of them rather peculiar blooms indeed.

Look around and you’ll see that blockchains are apparently the answer to every problem. From replacing the global banking system to guaranteeing the provenance of diamonds to paying your dentist – there’s a blockchain for that.

Overhyped they may be, but blockchains actually are a big deal and they will get bigger. Their potential for secure ‘trustless’ interchange is too great to ignore and once the silliness has died down inevitably some serious use cases will emerge.

Indeed that’s already starting to…

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Derrière la façade des “guerres sans fin contre la terreur”© 21 trillions USD détournés…

Strategika 51_OffShore

La guerre est un fond de commerce très fructueux. Du moins pour l’immense faune corrompue navigant autour du complexe militaro-industriel américain et occidental.

Le produit Marketing “guerre sans fin contre la terreur” aurait servi de prétexte pour détourner la somme astronomique de 21 trillions de dollars US.

Pas étonnant que les va t-en guerre soient déçus quand on découvre les mensonges justifiant de vrais faux conflits. L’enjeu est énorme et la corruption, elle, semble sans fin.

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Absorption des richesses par le CAC40 : La France championne du monde des dividendes !

Strategika 51_OffShore

Un rapport d’Oxfam étale l’indécente absorption des richesses par le CAC40
Par Hadrien Mathoux
Publié le 14/05/2018 à 07:30
L’ONG de lutte contre les inégalités publie ce lundi 14 mai un rapport offensif, pointant directement la responsabilité des plus grandes entreprises françaises dans les inégalités : dividendes records, salariés et investissements laissés de côté… L’absurdité des logiques du capitalisme financier y est décortiquée dans le détail.
Un système favorisant l’extrême minorité des plus riches, au mépris même des règles que se fixe habituellement l’économie de marché : c’est un tableau très sombre du capitalisme français que dresse l’ONG de lutte contre les inégalités Oxfam dans son dernier rapport. Publié ce lundi 14 mai, celui-ci traite de la question du partage des bénéfices au sein du CAC40, groupe qui réunit les plus grandes entreprises françaises. Les résultats présentés, qui se basent sur les données publiées par les compagnies entre 2009 et…

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MiG Alley: How the air war over Korea became a bloodbath for the West

Declassified Soviet archives show a new picture about the air war over Korea in the 1950s.
In what was arguably the greatest jet air battle of all time, on October 23, 1951 a group of 200 American and allied aircraft clashed with a Russian MiG force estimated at less than half that number. In the first of this two-part series on the air war over Korea, RBTH looks into the consequences of this epic clash.

The fog of war leads to all sorts of claims and counterclaims. Over time as military historians are able to get their hands on declassified war records from all sides involved, we get a more realistic picture of what really happened. The 1950-53 Korean War was unique because most of the aerial combat was between Russian and American pilots rather than among the Koreans. The conflict is also remarkable for the wild and preposterous claims the U.S. military made during and after the conflict.

In western publications of the 1960s the Americans claimed the ratio between the shot-down American and Russian MiGs was 1:14. That is, for every U.S., British and Australian jet lost in combat, the Russians were said to have lost 14 planes. During the next two decades as the war hysteria ebbed, the ratio was revised down to 1:10 but never below 1:8.

When the Russians declassified their archives after the end of the Cold War, and ex-Soviet pilots were freely able to present their side of the story, the West’s story could no longer hold up. Former fighter pilot Sergei Kramarenko writes in his gripping book, ‘Air Combat Over the Eastern Front and Korea’ that according to the most realistic (western) researchers, “the ratio of jet fighters shot down in engagements between the Soviet and American Air Forces was close to 1:1”.

But even this new parity accepted by western writers and military historians is nowhere near the truth. In reality, the air war over Korea was a bloodbath for the western air forces. It is a story that is well-hidden for obvious reasons – pride, prestige and the traditional western resistance to admit that the Russians won. By a wide margin.

Russians rush to Korea

Soviet leader Joseph Stalin had no intention of entering the war in Korea. World War II was too recent a memory and Moscow did not want a conflict with the West that could lead to another global war. So initially it was just China that militarily supported the North Koreans. But as the western armies – nominally under UN command – threatened to overrun the entire peninsula and seeing the quality and shortage of Chinese pilots, Stalin took the decision to involve his air force in the war.

However, in order to keep Moscow’s involvement a secret, Stalin imposed certain limitations on the Soviet pilots. One, they would fly under the markings of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force or North Korean Peoples’ Army Air Force.

Secondly, while in the air, the pilots would communicate only in Mandarin or Korean; the use of Russian was banned. And finally, Russian pilots would under no circumstances approach the 38th Parallel (the border between the two Koreas) or the coastline. This was to prevent their capture by the Americans.

The last restriction was crippling – it meant Russian pilots were prevented from giving chase to enemy aircraft. Since aircraft are at their most vulnerable while fleeing (because they have either run out ammunition, are low on fuel, or experiencing technical trouble), it meant Russian pilots were denied easy kills. Hundreds of western fighters were able to escape into South Korea because the Russians turned back as they neared the coastline or the border.

Despite such limitations, Russia came out on top. According to Karamarenko, during the 32 months that Russian forces were in Korea, they downed 1250 enemy planes. “Of that number the (Russian) corps’ anti-aircraft artillery shot down 153 planes and the pilots killed 1097,” he writes. In comparison, the Soviets lost 319 MiGs and Lavochkin La-11s.

Karamarenko adds: “We were sure that the corps’ pilots had shot down a lot more enemy planes than the 1097 credited but many of those had fallen into the sea of crashed during landing in South Korea. Many of them had returned him so badly damaged they simply had to be written off, for it would have been impossible to fix them up.”

Prelude to Black Tuesday

The Korean War produced some of the most enthralling dogfights seen in the history of modern air combat. A lot of the action took place in “MiG Alley” – the name given by western pilots to the northwestern portion of North Korea, where the Yalu River empties into the Yellow Sea. It became the site of numerous dogfights. It was the site of the first large-scale jet-vs-jet air battles between Russian MiG-15s and U.S. F-86 Sabres.

The turning point of the war came in October 1951. American aerial reconnaissance had detected construction work on 18 airfields in North Korea. The largest of these was in Naamsi, which would have concrete runways and be capable of staging jet aircraft.

Yuri Sutiagin and Igor Seidov explain in the exhaustive book ‘MiG Menace Over Korea’ the implications of the runway expansion program. “The new airfields, located deep in North Korean territory, would permit the transfer of fresh MiG-15 unites to them, which would expand the area of operation of these dangerous fighters and jeopardize the operation of the UN forces. In the event, the so-called MiG Alley would extend all the way down to the 38th Parallel, and potentially expose the UN ground forces to continuous air attacks.”

On October 23, 1951 – now known as Black Tuesday – the western air forces cobbled together a vast armada of 200 jet fighters (F-86 Sabres, F-84s, F-80s and British-built Gloster Meteor IVs) and nearly two dozen B-29 Superfortress bombers (the same type that dropped the atomic bombs on Japan). The mission profile of this concentrated attack was to disrupt the flow of supplies to Korean and Chinese forces and to put the airbases at Naamsi and Taechon in North Korea out of action.

To counter this threat the Russians organised two fighter air divisions. The 303rd comprising fifty-eight MiG-15s formed the first echelon and was assigned to attack the primary group of enemy bombers and fighter-bombers. The 324th division had twenty-six MiG-15s and comprised the second echelon. It was responsible for reinforcing the battle and covering the 303rd’s exit from battle.

Go for the Big Ones

Focus and discipline were critical to successfully tackling the bomber threat. The Russian strategy was to ignore the fighter escorts and go straight for the slower Superfortresses. As the MiGs were heading to clash with the Superfortresses they caught sight of a group of slow British Meteors. Some of the Russian pilots were tempted by these enticing targets, but commander Nikolai Volkov said: “We’re going after the big ones.”

Like orca whales circling around and then swallowing their prey, the MiGs tore into the B-29 formations. Some of the Russian pilots attacked the American bombers vertically from below, seeing the B-29s explode in front of their eyes. It was almost a turkey shoot, as the crew – 12 to 13 airmen – of the stricken bombers bailed out one by one.

The Russians claimed the destruction of ten B-29s – the highest percentage of US bombers ever lost on a major mission – while losing one MiG. However, Kramarenko says some pilots claimed that twenty B-29s were downed in the week of October 22-27. Plus the USAF lost four F-84 escort fighters.

The Americans admit to three bombers downed in the air, while another five B-29s and one F-84 were seriously damaged and later written off. “Even so, these were quite painful losses for the American command,” write Sutiagin and Seidov.

Commander Lev Shchukin recalls Black Tuesday: “They were trying to intimidate us. They were perhaps thinking that we would be frightened by their numbers and would flee, but instead we met them head-on.”

Clearly, Russian pilots had internalised what Sergei Dolgushin, a Russian Air Force ace with 24 victories in WW II, said is a prerequisite to be a successful fighter pilot: “a love of hunting, a great desire to be the top dog”.

The Russians nicknamed the B-29s “Flying Shacks” as these lumbering birds burned so easily and well.

Former USAF pilot Lt-Col Earl McGill sums up the battle in ‘Black Tuesday Over Namsi: B-29s vs MiGs’: “In percentages, Black Tuesday marked the greatest loss on any major bombing mission in any war the United States has ever engaged in, and the ensuing battle, in a chunk of sky called MiG Alley, still ranks as perhaps the greatest jet air battle of all time.”

Impact on American morale

The air battle of Black Tuesday would forever change the USAF’s conduct of strategic aerial bombardment. The B-29s would no longer fly daytime sorties into MiG Alley. North Korean towns and villages would no longer be carpet bombed and napalmed by the Americans. Thousands of civilians were out of the firing line.

But most importantly, the bravery and skills of the Russian detachment to Korea may have prevented another world war. Kramarenko explains: “The B-29 was a strategic bomber, in other words, a carrier of atomic bombs. In a Third World War – on the brink of which we were – these bombers were meant to strike at the cities of the Soviet Union with nuclear bombs. Now it turned out these huge planes were defenceless against jet fighters, being far inferior to them in speed and armament.”

Clearly, none of the B-29s had a chance of flying more than 100 km into the vastness of the Soviet Union and remaining unscathed. “It can be said with confidence that the Soviet airmen who fought in Korea, causing so much damage to the enemy’s bomber aviation, had put off the threat of a Third World War, a nuclear war, for a long time,” says Kramarenko.

A few days after Black Tuesday, McGill was seated in the co-pilot’s seat of a B-29 on the tarmac at Okinawa air base, waiting for the takeoff order that would send his bomber deep into MiG Alley. Instead of the usual pre-flight banter, the air crew sat silent and glum, as they felt they were going back “to our certain destruction, when news arrived that the mission was cancelled.

McGill explains the feeling inside the aircraft: “Those minutes before the reprieve taught me the meaning of fear, which I have never experienced since, not even now as life grows short.”

Rakesh Krishnan Simha is a New Zealand-based journalist and foreign affairs analyst, with a special interest in defence and military history. He is on the advisory board of Modern Diplomacy, a Europe-based foreign affairs portal. He tweets at @byrakeshsimha. The views expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of RBTH.

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Korean War: How the MiG-15 put an end to American mastery over the skies

The superiority of the excellent MiG-15 was one of the key factors that led to Russian pilots emerging on top in the air war over Korea.

In September 1950 the U.S. Air Force (USAF) conducted a massive daytime raid on the North Korean town of Sinuiju. The raid conducted by eighty B-29 bombers resulted in the greatest loss of life since the American atomic bombing of Nagasaki. The entire town, which was built from bamboo and wood, burned to the ground. More than 30,000 innocent civilians were burned alive.

Unable to stop these raids by the air forces of the U.S., Britain and Australia, the North Koreans appealed to Moscow. The Russians sent in their latest MiG-15 flown by battle-hardened veterans of World War II.

The result was dramatic. In the very first aerial battle between Russian and American planes over Korea on November 1, 1950, the Russians shot down two Mustangs, while losing none of their MiGs.

“American mastery of the Korean skies had come to an end,” writes former fighter pilot Sergei Kramarenko in his book, ‘Air Combat Over the Eastern Front and Korea.’

Over the skies of Korea, Russia’s air aces came up against their western opponents in the first fighter-against-fighter clashes of the jet age. In deadly air battles over the peninsula the Russian pilots repeatedly defeated much larger enemy fighter formations and sent dozens of bombers to their doom.

In the first of this two-part series we examined some of the key air battles that changed the shape of air combat and forced the West into defensive mode. In this concluding section we will look at the reasons for Russian dominance against overwhelmingly larger western air forces.

MiG-15: Jet that shocked the West

The MiG-15 was a key factor in establishing Russian dominance. The aircraft had a higher ceiling than western aircraft such as the F-86 Sabre so Russian pilots could easily escape by climbing to well over 50,000 feet, knowing that the enemy could not follow.

Secondly, the MiG had much better acceleration and speed – 1,005 km/h versus 972 km/h. The MiG’s 9,200 feet per minute climbing rate was also greater than the 7,200 feet per minute of most F-86 versions.

A critical factor in the air war was the difference in armament. The MiGs were armed with cannons capable of hitting a target from a distance of 1,000 meters, while the American B-29 bombers’ machine guns were set for a range of 400 meters.

A critical factor in the air war was the difference in armament / USAF

Kramarenko explains: “It turned out that in the range between 1,000 and 400 meters our planes would fire and destroy the bombers while still outside the range of their machinegun fire. It was the largest miscalculation of the American command – an error of their designers and aircraft producers. Essentially, the huge and expensive bombers were defenseless against the cannons of our MiGs.”

The MiG-15’s high explosive bullets would rip a hole approximately one square meter in size on enemy aircraft. Few of these aircraft flew again even if their pilots miraculously managed to take their stricken plane back. On the other hand, the MiG-15s with their thicker skin could take a lot of punishment and return home safe.

Retired Air Force Lieutenant General Charles “Chick” Cleveland told Air & Space Magazine: “You have to remember that the little MiG-15 in Korea was successful doing what all the Focke-Wulfs and Messerschmitts of World War II were never able to do – drive the United States bomber force right out the sky.”

WWII hardened pilots

Most of the Russian fighter pilots who took part in the Korean War were air aces of the WWII which had ended barely six years ago. So were the American and British pilots. Pilots of all three countries had fought against the highly trained German Luftwaffe, but there was a difference.

The air battles that accompanied the Russian advance westward toward Berlin were pitiless. There the Red Air Force confronted increasingly desperate, outnumbered but still deadly Luftwaffe pilots who were defending their homeland.

The Russian pilots, therefore, had much better combat experience and possessed better dogfighting skills than their western opponents.

For instance, the first large Russian aviation unit sent to Korea, the 324th IAD, was an air defense interceptor division commanded by Colonel Ivan Kozhedub, who, with 62 victories, was the top Allied ace of World War II.

Better tactics

The Russian also ran better tactics that outclassed the western air forces. For instance, large formations of MiGs would lie in wait on the Chinese side of the border.

When western aircraft entered MiG Alley – the name given by western pilots to the northwestern portion of North Korea, and the site of numerous dogfights – these MiGs would swoop down from high altitude to attack. If the MiGs ran into trouble, they would try to escape back over the border into China.

Russian MiG-15 squadrons operated in big groups, but the basic formation was a six-plane group, divided into three pairs, each composed of a leader and a wingman.

The first pair of MiG-15s attacked the enemy Sabres. The second pair protected the first pair. The third pair remained above, supporting the two other pairs when needed. This pair had more freedom and could also attack targets of opportunity, such as lone Sabres that had lost their wingmen.

Russian involvement in the war had a spinoff effect on North Korean and Chinese morale. When the Russians first started training Chinese fighter pilots to fly the MiG-15 they discovered that the trainees were in poor physical shape and could barely get off the plane after a sortie.

This was mainly owing to their diet – three cups of rice and a cup of cabbage soup a day. After several weeks on a diet based on Russian standards the Chinese airmen were able to endure the rigors of air combat.

Similarly, the North Koreans started performing miracles in the air, shooting down several American aircraft, which earlier used to fly rings around them.

Claims and counter-claims

Despite classified Soviet and Chinese records becoming available, the U.S. Air Force continues to stick with its 1:7/8/9 theory, albeit a comedown from the original 1:14 claim that passed for history up to the 1990s.

Take the air battles of April 12, 1951 in which the Americans lost 25 strategic bombers and around 100 airmen. That was called a “Black Day” and a week of mourning was declared in the USAF. And yet the Americans claimed they shot down 11 MiGs that day.

“In reality,” says Kramrenko, “all our fighters made it home safely and only three or four MiGs had holes from the bombers’ machine gun fire. This was based on the fact that the Americans counted shot-down enemy planes based on camera gunshots. I guess the American pilots had counted me as shot down – and no less than two or three times.” The Americans, therefore, ‘downed’ more MiGs than the number that fought in Korea.

The Russian side had a more foolproof system of recording kills. Pilots had to provide a clear and distinct camera shot and conformation from a search group, which was supposed to bring the debris of a downed enemy plane.

This presented problems. Many shot-up American planes that had retreated towards the sea and fallen into the water didn’t count as Russian victories. Sometimes enemy aircraft that fell in inaccessible places such as forests and gorges were not retrieved because the search could not find them. These downed aircraft were never recorded as kills.

In reality the Russians were thumping the western air forces. Let’s take the engagements in the month of September 1951.

According to staff documents provided by the 64th Fighter Aviation Corps of the Soviet Air Forces, the pilots of the two Soviet divisions had downed 92 enemy planes, while losing only five of their own planes and two pilots. However, according to the American records, in the same period their losses amounted to six planes.

But according to post-Cold War research by Russian and foreign scholars, the number of western losses during September 1951 currently stands at 21 aircraft in combat against MiGs. Plus a minimum of an additional eight fighters were so severely damaged they may have never flown again.

Thus, even taking these extremely conservative figures, the ratio of losses between the two sides in the September battles is 4:1 in favor of the Russian pilots. However, western authors, historians and analysts stubbornly refuse to revise the exaggerated kill numbers of the USAF.

A similar controversy involved the Australians, who dispatched their 77th Squadron of Gloster Meteors to South Korea. On a cold December day while flying combat patrol, the Russians led by Kramarenko encountered as many as 20 of these British built aircraft.

It turned out to be black day for the Australians as the MiGs tore into the Gloster formations. Within seconds there were a dozen fires on the ground below – the wreckage of these hapless planes. There was a sole survivor who broke out of this hell to head home.

The Russians saw the fleeing Australian pilot, who seemed resigned to his fate and refused to offer combat. “It awoke pity in me,” Kramarenko writes.

“The Gloster ceased to be the enemy and I decided to let him go in peace. Let him go home to his aerodrome and tell of the fate of the rest of his comrades who had wanted to wipe out a Korean town, and whose planes were burning on the slopes near this town and its railway station!”

Kramarenko adds: “I’m still perplexed why the Americans had allowed these greenhorns to fight in obsolete planes without covering them with Sabres.”

Despite receiving such a mauling, the Australians believed they had shot down a MiG in this dogfight while losing only three of their aircraft. The Russians never encountered any more Glosters over the skies of Korea. In reality, the Australians were kept out of harm’s way by the Americans.

Moscow’s mistakes

The kill ratio of the Korean War would have been even greater in favor of the MiGs but for Soviet leader Joseph Stalin’s hare-brained decision to rotate entire fighter crews. Stalin, who did not understand air power, initially did not allow MiG-15s to take part in air combat over Korea.

As a result of Stalin’s order, the World War II Russian aces, who were notching up big kills in 1951, were replaced by young rookie pilots with little or no combat experience. This allowed the demoralized USAF back into the game and the Americans shot down dozens of Russian aircraft.

Another factor was the G-suit, which allowed American pilots to fly without exposing their body to the extreme forces that combat pilots are exposed to.

The Red Air Force lacked this vital accessory and consequently many Russians pilots had to stop flying for weeks or months in order to recover from combat stress.

Parity was restored once again when the original Russian batch of WW II heroes returned to Korea, but with Stalin’s death in 1953 the war was coming to a close.

Since this was not a battle for the homeland, none of the Russian pilots wanted to be the last one to die, and therefore there were no more epic air battles over the skies of Korea.

Rakesh Krishnan Simha is a New Zealand-based journalist and foreign affairs analyst, with a special interest in defence and military history. He is on the advisory board of Modern Diplomacy, a Europe-based foreign affairs portal. He tweets at @byrakeshsimha. The views expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of RBTH.