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Iraq and Afghanistan: Wasting Tens of Billions of Dollars

Report: Billions lost on contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan

 

Sen. James Webb, D-Virginia, helped establish the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Among other things, a new report proposes that the government restrict reliance on contractors.

February 25, 2011 - A new report blasts the U.S. government for wasting tens of billions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan by relying too much on contractors and doing too little to monitor their performance.

The interim report from the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan points out that contractors in the war zones sometimes have exceeded the number of military personnel. Numbering 200,000, contractors now roughly match the military force.

War News Radio: Stateside

This week on War News Radio, we hear about the Boeing company and its defense contracts.

Then, we look at coverage of the recent Veterans rape scandal.

Finally, we talk with author and professor Richard Sobel about changing public opinion regarding the U.S.’ involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But first, a round up of this week's news.

 

Pakistani and Indian Newspapers Say US CIA Contrtactor Raymond Davis is a Terrorist

By Dave Lindorff

Pakistani and Indian newspapers are reporting that Raymond Davis, the CIA contractor in jail in Lahore facing murder charges for the execution-slayings of two young men believed to by Pakistani intelligence operatives, was actually involved in organizing terrorist activities in Pakistan.

As the Express Tribune, an English-language daily that is linked to the International Herald Tribune,reported on Feb. 22:

“The Lahore killings were a blessing in disguise for our security agencies who suspected that Davis was masterminding terrorist activities in Lahore and other parts of Punjab,” a senior official in the Punjab Police claimed.

CACNP: Analysis of FY 2012 DoD Budget Request

Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation: Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Overview

 

22 February 2011 - For Fiscal Year (FY) 2012, which begins on October 1, 2011, the Obama Administration has requested a base budget of $553 billion for the Department of Defense (DOD). This is $13 billion below the Pentagon’s Future Years Defense Program (FYDP) estimate, released last year, but represents about 3 percent in real growth over the funding the department would receive for FY 2011 under the current continuing resolution, which expires on March 4. {continued}

 

The Security Budget vs. the Necessities of Americans

By Kevin Zeese

President Obama and the Congress have taken 66% of discretionary spending in the federal budget off the table – the Security Budget – while proposing a freeze to the rest of the budget and deep cuts to some programs that provide necessities for the American people. His budget crystalizes a choice that U.S. presidents have been making since President Eisenhower warned of the military-industrial complex – investment in the military vs. investment in the civilian economy.

The bloated and sacrosanct security budget – the military, domestic security and intelligence budgets –all saw rapid growth under President Bush when the DoD doubled its budget. Under President Obama the trend has continued with record military, intelligence and domestic security budgets.

Voices Growing for Iraq War inquiry in Japan

JAPAN AND THE IRAQ WAR/ Koizumi went ahead without consulting his Cabinet team

2011/02/21 - In August 2010, President Barack Obama declared an end to the U.S. military's seven-year combat operations in Iraq.

Nevertheless, the country's security situation remains as unstable as ever.

The Iraq War was supposedly fought for two main reasons: weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and connections with international terrorist organizations.

Even though neither of these situations actually existed, more than 100,000 Iraqis have reportedly lost their lives in the conflict.

Breaking: UK Guardian Reports Raymond Davis is working for the CIA

By Dave Lindorff

A report today in the British Guardian newspaper is confirming that Raymond Davis, the man jailed in Lahore, Pakistan charged with murdering two young Pakistanis who were almost certainly themselves working for Pakistan's intelligence agency, the Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), is an employee of the CIA. The paper says that based upon its reporters' interviews with both Pakistani and US sources, it is "confirming" that Davis is a CIA spy.

The paper adds that Davis's wife provided information numbers for him to a local TV station and those numbers turned out to be the CIA. Meanwhile, Agence France Press reports that Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), a loose-tongued member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, also apparently inadvertently slipped up and disclosed on the Senate floor that Davis is an "agent", saying, "We can't throw this agent over."

Why Pakistan Cannot Release the Man Who Calls Himself Raymond Davis

Shaukat Qadir

Islamabad--By now journalists everywhere (except in the US) have come to the conclusion that there is far, far more to Raymond Davis than is being revealed by the US or by Pakistani officials. That he was engaged in anti-state activities in Pakistan and that the two young men he killed were intelligence agents tailing him is virtually an accepted fact.

The US, never famous for its diplomacy (The Ugly American, which made that point more than half a century ago, became a best seller and a very successful movie, starring Marlon Brando), seems to have discovered fresh depths to its strong-arm, coercive diplomacy. The mere fact that no less a personage than the US President has asked that this low-ranked person be granted absolute immunity, is indicative of the US desperation to get him him out of Pakistan and its court system.

Veterans: WRONG Direction for Funding {once again}

<------- Remember these? They were a big joke and joy for a group still calling themselves republicans and happened as the Country were sending Military Troops into war once again, wars that still continue, and never a real apology for their joke. I'll bet some of them still have some handy to be used and laughed about when their need arises to do so as they wave the flag and condemn others who don't agree with them. Oh and while they seem to get joy about Soldiers being wounded in our wars and awarded the "Purple Heart" these were pointed directly at a brother In-Country Vietnam Navy Veteran, my tour there, as a Navy GunnersMate 3rd, was my last year of my four '70-'71.

Diplomatic and Consular Immunity: One Rule for Foreign Consulates in US, Another for US Consulates Abroad

By Dave Lindorff

President Obama, before he was a President or a Senator, was a constitutional law professor. He should know the law.

And yet in the increasingly dangerous show-down over Pakistan’s arrest and detention of Lahore consular contract “security official” Raymond Davis, who is charged with two counts of murder for the shooting deaths of two young Pakistanis on January 27, the president has grossly misstated what international law is with respect to the immunity from prosecution of diplomatic and consular officials.

Obama's Neocons

Resurrecting the Neocons: Marc Grossman in … Richard Perle & Douglas Feith in Queue

Grossman215Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has chosen a new special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan: a long-time controversial neocon, a man who has been famous for parading as a foreign agent in the lobby circuit, the scandalous former diplomat Marc Grossman. The not-so-gradual resurrection of the old neocon cabal under the Obama administration, led by Hillary Clinton, should not come as a surprise. According to Washington insiders, Daniel Perle and Douglas Feith have been consulted more than a few times in their ‘unofficial’ capacity, but are not far down in the queue to receive ‘official’ acknowledgement. This shouldn’t come as a surprise; at least to those who’ve been following the steady momentum building at the Obama White House towards a soon-to-come Neocon Easter.

READ THE REST AT BOILING FROGS POST

US Misinformation: International Law is Clear that Diplomatic Immunity is Not Absolute

By Yasmeen Ali

Lahore, Pakistan--You cannot open the TV, or read a paper here without more and more news about Raymond Davis and his murderous act. His killing on Jan. 27 of two young Pakistanis has created international waves, too, plunging the Pakistan-America relationship into stormy waters.

A great deal has been written about the case: Raymond Davis’s employment status, whether he is a diplomat or not, who his victims were and what led to their demise at his hands, and finally whether or not Davis can be detained and ultimately tried under the Pakistani Law.

Interestingly though, nobody in the media has made a study of the Vienna Diplomatic Coventions that discuss diplomatic immunity. The convention of 1961 gets cited routinely by the American government, which claims it grants all diplomatic workers immunity from prosecution.

But that claim overstates the case. The actual document -- never actually quoted -- is more nuanced.

Holding Former Officials Accountable for Torture

ACLU in Court Monday in South Carolina to Hold Former Officials Accountable for Torture of Jose Padilla

Group Takes on Case Against Rumsfeld and Others Seeking Accountability for Unlawful Detention and Abuse of U.S. Citizen

February 10 - The American Civil Liberties Union will be in federal court in Charleston Monday at 10:00 a.m. EST to argue that a lawsuit against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other government officials for their role in the unlawful detention and torture of a U.S. citizen should not be thrown out. The ACLU was recently retained to represent Jose Padilla and his mother in the lawsuit.

War News Radio: "Embedded"

This week on War News Radio, "Embedded," we learn about a new media program following Marines in Afghanistan, then we hear about the Australian military's involvement in Afghanistan. This, and the week's news.

 

U.S. World and Regional Credibility

This aired yesterday, 11 February 2011, morning prior to the results later in the day, night there, of the total collapse of the Mubarak reign of rule, but is pretty much spot on about us and especially that whole region of the planet and it's free people under autocratic rule supported by us.

 

U.S. Could Use Egypt To Boost Credibility, Some Say

 

"The great danger to the administration right now is that they might end up losing influence on both sides. They might lose influence with the autocrats we've been supporting for so long, but they might also lose influence with the protesters and the forces for democracy in freedom."

- Amjad Atallah, New America Foundation

 

Limiting Caregiver Benefits - VA's Fault?

While I respect Senator Murray and was happy she was picked to take over from Senator Akaka on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee her attack is another disconnect in what Agencies can do with what Congress, the peoples representatives, gives them as I wrote a short note to her yesterday. The Veterans Admin. has been underfunded, and in many times politically run, since Korea as they moved funds from the Korean Vets to our brother 'Nam Vets and ignored what we were even telling the Country, i.e. PTSD, Agent Orange, Gulf War Syndrome and more. The Country hasn't wanted to fund the results of their wars and Congress follows that bid especially the tax cutters of which just recently they extended the 'Non Sacrifice', especially for the wealthy many making wealth off these wars and readily pony up big campaign contributions, cuts now over the whole decade of these two conflicts.

US Terror Campaign in Pakistan? What was Raymond Davis Shooting for in Lahore?

By Dave Lindorff

The mystery surrounding Raymond A. Davis, the American former Special Forces operative jailed in Lahore, Pakistan for the murder of two young motorcyclists, and his funky “security” company, Hyperion-Protective Consultants LLC, in the US continues to grow.

When Davis was arrested in the immediate aftermath of the double slaying in a busy business section of Lahore, after he had fatally shot two men in the back, claiming that he feared they might be threatening to rob him, police found business cards on him for a security company called Hyperion-Protective Consultants LLC, which listed as its address 5100 North Lane, Orlando, Florida.

A website for the company gave the same address, and listed the manager as a Gerald Richardson.

Exclusive: The Deepening Mystery of Raymond Davis and Two Slain Pakistani Motorcyclists

By Dave Lindorff

The mystery of American Raymond A. Davis, currently imprisoned in the custody of local police in Lahore, Pakistan and charged with the Jan. 27 murder of two young men, whom he allegedly shot eight times with uncanny accuracy through his car windshield, is growing increasingly murky. Also growing is the anger among Pakistanis that the US is trying to spring him from a Punjab jail by claiming diplomatic immunity.

Davis (whose identity was first denied and later confirmed by the US Embassy in Islamabad), and the embassy have claimed that he was hired as an employee of a US security company called Hyperion Protective Consultants, LLC, which was said to be located at 5100 North Lane in Orlando, Florida. Business cards for Hyperion were found on Davis by arresting officers.

However Counterpunch Magazine has investigated and discovered the following information:

CCR: Bush Torture Indictment

Done In Our Names!!

 

Support Bush Torture Indictment & Help Ensure Accountability

 

Synopsis

On February 7, 2011, the ninth anniversary of the day former president George W. Bush decided the Geneva Conventions did not apply to so-called “unlawful combatants,” CCR released a Bush Torture Indictment. The Indictment provides a strong factual and legal basis to hold Bush accountable--in any of the 147 countries which have ratified the Convention Against Torture (CAT)--for having authorized torture . Learn about it, tell others, and help us build pressure to secure accountability for torture by top U.S. officials.

Description {continued}

 

Japan Calling For Iraq War Inquiry

Japan parliament calls for Iraq war inquiry

Feb 4, 2011 - The war on Iraq is still raging in this building, but in a far different manner than it did in Iraqi towns and cities. Some one hundred members of parliament are demanding that the government investigate Japan's support of the war.

They are not happy about the lukewarm reaction to their request and they feel the Japanese people deserve more.
Japan, in 2004 under Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, supported the war on Iraq and pledged 5 billion dollars for what it called the reconstruction of the country.

Iraq Invasion Ordered Weeks After 9/11

This is born out in the testimony of the Brit Iraq War Inquiry especially in the early testimony!

I used the following, and there were other references, in a post during the early phase of the Inquiry, day nine to be exact:

Wake Up Call for U.S. Empire: Egypt an Opportunity for a Transformational New Beginning

By Kevin Zeese

Egypt is an alarm that highlights the urgent need for change in U.S. foreign policy. It provides President Obama an opportunity to transform a foreign policy that has often had the opposite effect that was sought and is undermining U.S. economic and national security.

The list of recent policy failures in the Middle East is quite astounding:

Iraq War Inquiry: Timeline

In the right sidebar I have a number of links to many of the articles and reports, many also with backlinks, as well as in the archives of posts. My main interest was direct testimony of what was happening here, civilian and military counterparts, in the U.S. and that administration, plenty came out, as well as reading between the lines. The U.S. admin. and pentagon were the lead and the Brits followed in what they did. Have and will do same with any other Inquiries and hopefully those to come!

It all brings up the need, which should already have happened, of much more then an Inquiry here in the U.S.. The World waits while we don't do Accountability for what was done in 'Our Names' and continues!

Timeline - Britain's inquiry into the Iraq War

A Marine Remembers: Learning to Kill, Learning Not to Kill

By David Lindorff

One of my grandsons recently asked me, “What is wisdom?”   After some discussion, we together concluded that wisdom comes only with experience. 

When it comes to war, though, living in a country that has not experienced a war on its own soil since 1865, Americans, other than those veterans who have actually fought abroad, have no such experience to draw on.

Perhaps this is why so many Americans easily accept, and even cheer the nation’s militarism, and why most of us accept our government’s reflexive resort to military action to settle international disputes.
  
Einstein, who had his share of wisdom, advised forgetting everything one has learned.  This was his way of getting his thinking out of a box. 

Rather than add more to this somewhat evasive notion, let me reflect here on my own experience of war, and on how the concept of war has permeated my life, in hopes of finding  a bit of wisdom to counter the temptation to turn to cynicism. 
   

President Obama's State of the Union Speech: WTF?

By Dave Lindorff

I never expected to find myself agreeing with Sarah Palin, but I’ve got to admit that the woman nailed it regarding President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address. Asked to comment on it, she said it had a lot of “WTF moments.”

That’s exactly what I found myself thinking as I read through it!

We’ve “broken the back” of the recession? WTF? The official unemployment rate is still 9.4%, and even that is down slightly from a 9.8% high only because so many people have given up trying to find a job and have left the workforce, taking early retirement or just staying home. And the real unemployment rate--the one that counts those who have given up but would work if there were actually jobs to be had, and those who have grasped at part time work just to survive--is still at between 19% and 22%, depending on how you’re counting. Who’s Obama kidding: us or himself?

Blair's sister-in-law: Tony and War Crimes

Blair sister-in-law urges war crimes trial

January 26, 2011 - TONY Blair's sister-in-law Lauren Booth, a rights campaigner and Muslim convert, said the former British leader should be tried for war crimes over the invasion of Iraq.

Booth, the half-sister of Blair's barrister wife Cherie, is in Malaysia for lectures organised by Viva Palestina, a British-based organisation associated with controversial politician George Galloway.

Asked whether Blair should be arrested and sent to the International Court of Justice in The Hague for war crimes, Booth replied: "Absolutely. He misled the British people and took Britain to war on a lie."

The State of the Union: Not a Time for Saccharin and Gimmicks

By Kevin Zeese

Members of the corporate political duopoly switched seats and sat next to each other making it even harder to tell the corporate welfare party from the crony capitalist party. Sadly, the spokespersons for both failed to learn the lessons of history and as a result the American economy will continue to falter with U.S. militarism continuing to expand.

Listening to the saccharin rhetoric of President Obama one would think the nation’s economy was flourishing and the military was winning wars. The truth, that the economy is still in collapse and the military is stuck in war quagmires all piling up record debt, was hard to see through his veil of words.

Mixed-Media: Assange and Posada in the Propaganda System

By Edward S. Herman and David Peterson

By an historical coincidence, both Julian Assange and Luis Posada Carriles were brought before Western courts around the same time in late 2010 and early 2011—Assange in Britain and Posada in the United States. The contrast in their treatment by the U.S.-Anglo system of justice and in their handling by the Western establishment media is enlightening.

Posada, now 82, is a self-confessed terrorist, Bay of Pigs veteran, School of the Americas graduate, and CIA operative who has been credibly placed at two meetings where the plan was hatched for the October 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed all 73 civilians aboard. He also has been implicated in numerous other terrorist acts in which people were killed or injured and property destroyed, and he played a role in the United States' arms-smuggling network in Central America that eventually came to light in the Iran-Contra investigations.

"Support the Troops Tax"

Retired Capt USAF, Myles Spicer, USAF 1954-57 retired from reserves, lays out the long over due 'Support' for those we send into occupations theaters and then forget about. The so called (T)'s {oh the fun with the 'purple heart bandages' as the wars raged}, once long ago (R)'s and even conservative, won't like this, they want but don't want to pay for, and not just war, as most of them were the ones that remained silent for over a decade, still ongoing silence, as to Real Support but very loud as to support of the failed policies and related lies and costs.

The impelling case to impose a "war tax"

Iraq: Questions Still Unanswered

As well as those about the necessity of leaving Afghanistan, instead of helping them as once again promised, to smolder into a much more dangerous occupation theater and still no bin Laden!

Chilcots got the only show in town, we here don't do accountability for that done in our names, where we can read between the lines to get some of the answers while some are laid out directly by the testimony and released documents.

So why did we invade Iraq?

23/01/2011 - On Tuesday last week in Saddam ­Hussein’s home town in Iraq, a suicide bomber joined a queue of police volunteers and blew ­himself up. Sixty people were killed.

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