Cloudbusters for Afghanistan?

2010 February 28
by Ando Arike

Yet again, I’ve been mistaken for a representative of the Military-Industrial Complex. This time it was an email invitation to the upcoming 2nd Afghanistan Aviation and Defense Summit, March 25-26 in Washington, DC, where I’ve been promised two days of opportunities to “exhibit products and services,” to network over breakfast, lunch, and dinner with “high-ranking Afghan government officials and military commanders,” and “develop a business plan for the Afghan military market.” Last time, several months ago, the invite was to the 4th Iraq Aviation and Defense Summit, where I could hear speakers on such topics as “Building the Iraqi Security Forces” and “Developing the Iraqi Air Force,” and through special arrangement, conduct “one-on-one meetings” with senior ranking Iraqi decision-makers. Sounds jolly, yes? Conference promoters assured me that all the big boys were on board: Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Bell Helicopter and, of course, Blackwater International, America’s favorite mercenary army.

The Obama administration’s new 2010/2011 budget allocates $6 billion in weaponry for the Afghan Security Forces, and so spirits are bound to be high this coming March 25-26. It’s a win-win situation for all concerned—the Afghan military men will get their new weapons for free, courtesy of the Pentagon, and U.S. weapons makers will make a hefty profit, courtesy of American taxpayers. But why me—how did I get onto an invitation list for arms dealers?  A moment of paranoid clarity brought the answer—it must’ve been the photos below on a website associated with my name. Some web-trolling minion of the Military-Industrial Complex must have came across these and, without reading of the text, added me to the mailing list. They look like anti-aircraft guns, but in fact, they are “cloudbusters” with a quite different effect and purpose.

To explain: in the weeks before the 2004 Republican National Convention in mid-town Manhattan, I and some friends published an Internet threat to “suck the fascism out of Madison Square Garden” using cloudbusters modeled after sex-pol scientist Wilhelm Reich’s design. As the Village Voice reported at the time:

On the night of September 2, as the Republican National Convention comes to its well-choreographed finale, another climax will be building on the East River waterfront. The Brooklyn Orgastic Politics Collective (BOP-C) will be aiming something called a Cloudbuster at the sky, acting in accordance with the theories of psychologist and longtime FBI foe Wilhelm Reich. Cobbled together from copper tubing, crystals, and plywood, a Cloudbuster looks a bit like a homemade anti-aircraft gun, but the only explosive force it is meant to unleash is peaceful. Reich, who believed that democracy was impossible without a sexually liberated electorate, designed it at the height of the McCarthy era to release what he called orgone energy—thus inducing a kind of atmospheric orgasm. Think of it as a sex toy for the sky.

Ando Arike and other members of BOP-C hope that activating a Cloudbuster at an as-yet-undisclosed Brooklyn location will relieve what they refer to as the “frustrated orgasm arcs” of key members of the Bush administration and dissipate some of the “crippling, evil” energy generated by the convention.

Our announced goal, actually, was to “reduce the convention floor to a quivering Saturnalia,” and to “Let the moans of Love—not War—ring out across the land!”

It was political theater, of course, a modest effort to add our voices to the chorus of righteous abuse hurled at the Bush Mob and its Republican toadies; we thought that our orgone attack, however symbolic, would embolden the protesting masses, and unleash nagging anxieties in the clenched anuses and clammy buttocks of the neocons (see Reich’s sex-pol theories had a long track record of threatening something deep in the fascist brain-stem—his work had once provoked our government into one of the largest book-burnings in U.S. history (under court order, the FBI burned six tons of his writings in the late ‘50s).

But, alas, whatever BOP-C and thousands of others did that August to oppose the Bush Mob wasn’t enough. Despite the vast outpouring of rage during the RNC, despite the creativity and commitment of those who filled the streets in protest, the Imperial juggernaut only grew more bloodthirsty—hungrier for fresh corpses in the Middle East, and more eager to use police state tactics to quell dissent in the “homeland.” Six years later, the civilian death toll in Iraq has surpassed one million, qualifying this illegal war of aggression as one of history’s more ugly episodes of genocide—conducted with the full support of the media and managerial classes, the silent acquiescence of the academic class, and the confused and jingoistic cheering of working class. In hindsight, all our “street theater” and “resistance” seem feeble and naïve against the Empire’s determined brutality.

Now, new killing fields beckon—Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, perhaps Iran. (Venezuela is sometimes mentioned, also). What George Bush started, Barack Obama grimly continues and expands. Today, this is “economic development”—the creation of ever larger markets for American weapons, one of our few industrial exports anymore. But it’s a big one: the United States controls 70% of the global arms trade, a veritable monopoly on technological slaughter. Weapons and war are our future.

Perhaps the significance of my invitation to the 2nd Afghanistan Aviation and Defense Summit is this: So successful have the merchants of death been in directing the nation’s priorities towards a State of Permanent War that today, the sky’s the limit. EVERYBODY’S INVITED! Got a gizmo that’ll kill people? C’MON DOWN! WE’VE GOT SOMEONE WE’D LIKE YOU TO MEET! As The Nation reported last November, the Pentagon is now even funneling money to the Taliban to keep the war effort booming. Aram Roston writes:

It is an accepted fact of the military logistics operation in Afghanistan that the US government funds the very forces American troops are fighting. And it is a deadly irony, because these funds add up to a huge amount of money for the Taliban. “It’s a big part of their income,” one of the top Afghan government security officials told The Nation in an interview. In fact, US military officials in Kabul estimate that a minimum of 10 percent of the Pentagon’s logistics contracts–hundreds of millions of dollars–consists of payments to insurgents. (


Price for admission to the 2nd Afghanistan Aviation and Defense Summit: $2895 per delegate. (For more information see

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