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Military Industrial Complex
By H.C. Nash
In the 1930s Maj. Gen. Smedley D. Butler (1881-1940), a West Chester native and at his death the most highly decorated Marine ever, published a book called War Is a Racket. In his retirement he told a congressional committee that a group of powerful men had proposed that he lead a military coupto depose President Franklin Roosevelt. Major media ridiculed his claim, and Congress did nothing to investigate “the Business Plot.”
President Eisenhower, often remembered for his rather desperate “Crusade for Peace” in the twilight of his second term, was eager even during the final weeks of his tenure to find a pretext for an invasion of Cuba and the violent removal of Fidel Castro. It was on Ike’s watch that Operation 40 (supervised by Vice President Nixon) was organized in 1959, designed to sabotage the Cuban economy and to “get rid of” Castro by all means necessary—including the hiring of mobsters to kill him. Consider the hypocrisy.
Scholar versus General. Who's telling the truth?
Cyber War Might Never Happen
ScienceDaily — Cyber war, long considered by many experts within the defence establishment to be a significant threat, if not an ongoing one, may never take place according to Dr Thomas Rid of King's College London. READ MORE
Ex-U.S. general urges frank talk on cyber weapons
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States should be more open about its development of offensive cyber weapons and spell out when it will use them as it grapples with an increasing barrage of attacks by foreign hackers, the former No. 2 uniformed officer in the U.S. military said. READ MORE
From Sam Husseini
Two House budget committee members — Rep. Heath Shuler, (D-N.C.), and Rep. Mike Simpson, (R- Idaho) — have been making the media rounds as the new faces of establishment bipartisanship in favor of a letter 100 congress people signed on to stating “all options for mandatory” — presumably including Social Security, which adds nothing to the deficit — “and discretionary spending and revenue must be on the table.”
Sam Husseini questioned them as they left the Fox studios on Sunday morning.
Shuler: “I think the thing that you look at: here’s an opportunity that we can do so much because once the Supercommittee releases its finding and that becomes a bill, and it’s put on the House floor, there’s no amendments to it, it can’t be altered or changed when it goes from the House to the Senate. So that gives us an opportunity to have a clean slate to be able to put everything on the bill, to increase the revenue. The problem is, you don’t find this very often when you have members of the different political parties working together and acting. It’s much easier to split the screen and let us debate and argue something. But we’re united. We’re together. Now we have 100 members in the House and counting, with the 45 members in the Senate. That is the best, most newsworthy thing we can provide for you under the most difficult situations that we have. And to be able to come up with the cuts that’s necessary and the revenue that’s necessary to put us on a more sustainable path.
Shuler and Simpson’s handlers begin shouting to try to stop the questioning.
Husseini: “Why aren’t you united to tax the rich and the corporations and end the wars? Why aren’t you united for something that is actually popular rather than pursues monied interests?”
Simpson: “We’ve ought to be looking at everything.”
Husseini [holding up box of Band-Aids just off camera]: “Let me ask you this: yesterday I went to a pharmacy and there’s a tax on Band-Aids. Why isn’t there a tax on financial transactions? I had to pay a 6 percent tax on Band-Aids that people need.”
Simpson: “Probably a state sales tax, right?” [Actually, it's D.C. and D.C. is not a state, with many of its laws set by a Congress that D.C. residents have no real voice in and which Simpson and Shuler are members of.]
Husseini: “What’s your position on financial transaction tax?”
Simpson: “You’d have to look it up.”
Husseini: “Why can’t JP Morgan pay its transaction tax on their dealings [like ordinary people have to pay on necessities like Band-Aids]?”
Shuler and Simpson walk away.
Special thanks to Chris Belcher (video), Sam McCanne (transcription), Jonathan Schwarz, Matthew Bradley, David Swanson, Wendy Mink, Thomas Ferguson and Elisa Salasin for helping.
By Robert Naiman for MIC50.org
Here's how I want to inspire you. I claim that reality turned an important corner in the United States, brightening prospects for people who want to cut the military budget when Congress passed the Budget Control Act. And many people in America who sympathize with us and want to cut the military budget don't know yet that reality just turned this corner, or at least they aren't yet acting like they know it. So this means that we have an opportunity to seize, if we can just tell people about this opportunity, explain it to them, and mobilize them around it.
Pentagon is hiding full scope and impacts of plan, opponents say
TRINIDAD, COLORADO---November 4, 2011---Today, organizations Not 1 More Acre! and Grassland Trust submitted a 77-page comment letter opposing an Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) plan to implement robotic warfare training in airspace over the entirety of public and private land in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico.
Nov. 2, 2011 - A new study suggests that defense hawks are crying crocodile tears over planned cuts to Pentagon spending.
Capitol Hill conservatives and Pentagon brass fighting cuts to defense spending have argued that the military is limping off the battlefield with decrepit hardware. It's quite the sob story: At a hearing last week, Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), the chair of the House armed services committee, cut his remarks short to literally sob for "these young men that are going outside the wire over in Afghanistan, every day on patrol."
By David Shreve, for MIC50.org
“You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out.”
--William Tecumseh Sherman, September 1864
When departing President Dwight Eisenhower warned of the “grave implications” of the “military industrial complex” in his January 17, 1961 valedictory, two ideas appeared paramount. The first stemmed from Ike’s ongoing concern for fiscal soundness and reflected his belief that an influential and emasculating cadre of newly permanent war contractors (and a university-based “technological elite” who worked increasingly on their behalf) threatened federal budget balance and what Ike implied to be a critical economic balance, “between the private and the public economy.” To many of his Republican cohorts, unable to summon the leavening of Bryce Harlow’s or Ralph Williams’s speechwriting, this secondary peril of imbalance was “creeping socialism,” the surpassing domestic threat to which they devoted great political and rhetorical energy. The second of the key ideas in the outgoing president’s address mirrored his belief that the increasingly outsized budgetary demands of this “complex” threatened also “the material assets of our grandchildren” and, implicitly, in his eyes, the nation’s ability to foster “human betterment.” Here, Ike offered little novelty, for he was merely repackaging the “debt as a burden on our grandchildren” mythology, fought and subdued by Alexander Hamilton in the earliest days of the American republic, but which is also nearly as old as civilization itself and as resistant to a contradictory reality as any longstanding fable.
Oct. 28: Rachel Maddow expresses exasperation that Paul Wolfowitz is still treated by the media as if he has credibility on foreign policy matters despite his infamous history of disastrously poor judgment.
Weaponized UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), also known as drones, have their own caucus in Congress, and the Pentagon's plan is to give them their own state as well.
Under this plan, 7 million acres (or 11,000 square miles) of land in the southeast corner of Colorado, and 60 million acres of air space (or 94,000 square miles) over Colorado and New Mexico would be given over to special forces testing and training in the use of remote-controlled flying murder machines. The full state of Colorado is itself 104,000 square miles. Rhode Island is 1,000 square miles. Virginia, where I live, is 43,000 square miles.
Leah Bolger of Oregon is the Vice President of Veterans for Peace, is occupying Freedom Plaza, and risked jail on Wednesday, with another case pending against her, to speak up in the Super Congress (Deficit Committee) hearing, in which she was arrested. She has been released.
Bolger comments: "I had to speak up. The witness, Douglas Elmendorf, was hiding the fact that military spending has increased dramatically in real terms and as a percentage of discretionary spending. He was focused on percentage of GDP, as if war spending should increase whenever it can, not whenever it has to. The simple deficit solution of taxing the rich and curtailing the militarism is favored by the majority of the public. The 99% had no other voice in that room to compete with those of the corporate lobbyists."
One of the most valuable benefits of putting political action into the form of nonviolent encampments is that we learn each other's stories as we occupy our public parks and squares. Here's a story from the October2011 occupation in Freedom Plaza, Washington, D.C. There are many more, and we'd like to hear yours when you join us.
Aristine Maharry is 29 years old and now lives in Freedom Plaza. She grew up in a very military family, with members of her family having participated in every major U.S. war going back to the war for independence, and with members of every generation having joined the military.
Maharry's family did not encourage her to aspire to a military career, but -- as in many such stories I've heard -- actions spoke more loudly than words. Maharry was proud of her father's military experience. She hoped from a very young age to join the U.S. Army. She grew up playing at army with her half-brothers. They would flip the couch on its side and toss pretend grenades. She loved the board game Risk. The biggest holiday in Aristine's family was the Fourth of July. She doesn't say she bled red white and blue. She says she bled green, Army green. She wanted to serve her country and other people. She was willing to die for her country. She was proud of her country.
Aristine was a good student and a good athlete. At age 7 she tested with an IQ of 185. She was placed in gifted and talented classes in all of the many public schools she attended. She got good grades, ran track, and was president of the Future Business Leaders of America at West Potomac High School in Northern Virginia, where at 16 she dual enrolled at George Mason University. She graduated from high school at 18 in the year 2000, was married the next January and pregnant in February.
Aristine knew that the military would be reluctant to enlist a mother of a child under 1 year of age. She hoped to take part in the Green to Gold program, enlisting and eventually becoming an officer. Her own father had dropped out of college to enlist and fight in Vietnam. She admired that history. However, when her first son was nine months old, Aristine became pregnant again. She headed to the recruiter's office when her second son turned one in May 2004. She had a family and a good job in management training new personnel in the pharmacy department of Liberty Medical Supply in Florida. But recruiters' job is to recruit, and Maharry didn't require any persuading.
She arranged to train at the same camp her father had trained at, Fort Leonardwood in Missouri. She headed there in December 2004, leaving behind a husband and two little boys for the holidays. Aristine says it was a very sad time for her, very difficult, and also very cold in Missouri. But, she thought to herself: "All the other soldiers have families too. They do it. I'm not different. I can serve too. I want to do my part as an American." She signed up to become a combat medic, hoping to care for injured soldiers.
The first few weeks of training in January were extremely hard, she says: lots of pushups, not a lot of sleep, but a great deal of hostility from drill sergeants conditioning recruits to face hostility in battle, struggling with their own post-traumatic stress, or simply acting out their sadism. Aristine characterized it as "ten times worse than in the movies." She was in Charlie Company, Third Battalion, 10th Unit, 4th Platoon. Her platoon had four drill sergeants, three of them male named Davis, Harris, and something like Fontana (she doesn't remember this name clearly), and one female drill sergeant named Gilliard.
The woman sergeant was not what you would call gentle and loving. Aristine witnessed Gilliard yank a male soldier across a desk and injure him. His offense had been to request a pen. Fontana (or whatever his exact name was) made Gilliard look sweet and delicate by comparison. He was shorter and meaner than the others, according to Maharry. She saw him slam a female private named Barr up against a wall.
Aristine is amazingly understanding of this abuse. The sergeants, she says, had just done tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. The training was their rest period between tours of combat. They were all, she believes, dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Aristine's understanding this is even more amazing considering what happened next.
The Military Industrial Complex at 50: Activism
By Ray McGovern, for MIC50.org
The past 50 years have shown that President Eisenhower was spot on, as we would say today, about the Military Industrial Complex and what to expect if Americans were not vigilant, which, of course, we have not been — until maybe now.
An endless train of outrages and indignities can be traced to the inordinate influence of the MIC. And a truly formidable challenge awaits those of us determined not to let our democracy be taken away from us by the greed of a small minority.
So here we are, cooped up, by choice, indoors, talking about these dismal matters on a glorious late-summer afternoon. Don’t know about you, but I found myself sorely tempted to channel today’s activism into a brisk swim in that beautiful little lake just outside.
By Mary Beth Sullivan, for mic50.org
It is my intention to stimulate some conversation about economic conversion – that is, planning, designing and implementing a transformation from a war economy to a peace economy. Historically, this is an effort that would include a changeover from military to civilian work in industrial facilities, in laboratories, and at US military bases.
To that end, I intend to bring to you all what I’ve learned from reading Seymour Melman, the most prolific writer on the topic.
Seymour Melman was a professor emeritus of Industrial Engineering at Columbia University. He joined the Columbia faculty in 1949, and by all reports, was a popular instructor until he retired from teaching in 2003.
By John Grant
As far as anyone knew I was part of this cause -- a cause that I had infiltrated the day before in order to mock and undermine in the pages of The American Spectator -- and I wasn’t giving up before I had my story.
Editorial Assistant, The American Spectator
Here’s a story from the annals of fools posing as journalists.
By Ken Hannaford-Ricardi
Computer Vision Experts Develop 'Questionable Observer Detector'
ScienceDaily (Oct. 12, 2011) — It's become a standard plot device of television detective shows: criminals always return to the scene of the crime. And law enforcement officials believe that perpetrators of certain crimes, mostly notably arson, do indeed have an inclination to witness their handiwork. Also, U.S. military in the Middle East feel that IED bomb makers return to see the results of their work in order to evolve their designs.
Drones have a congressional caucus now.
Here are its bipartisan (yay!) members.
Here are some constituencies that do not have their own congressional caucuses:
The Violently Occupied
Here's what you can do about it.
By Dave Lindorff
While this statement by Occupy Wall Street is a powerful list of grievances against capitalism, it fails to even once mention the word "war." This is a significant failing, and cannot have been an oversight. The activists in Liberty Park and in cities across the country, if they want to make this a mass movement to confront the corporate domination of American politics and society, must be willing to confront head on the reality that the corporate elite have made the U.S. into the world's greatest war-monger. It is not just "colonialism," an outmoded term, that is the problem. It is a vast web of imperialism, imposed by a war machine that is bigger and costlier than all the rest of the world's armies combined, and it is the single biggest reason that this country is descending into a state of social and economic decay and decline.
Oct 04, 2011 - Iraqi law should not govern a lawsuit brought by the mother of a Pittsburgh-area soldier electrocuted in a barracks shower at an Army base in Iraq, a federal judge has ruled.
Lawyers for Houston-based military contractor KBR Inc. had asked U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer to apply Iraqi law to the ongoing lawsuit in the January 2008 death of Pittsburgh-area Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth. But Fischer agreed with lawyers for the soldier's parents who argued that United States law should hold sway because the base was under American control - and could provide for punitive damages and other advantages to the plaintiffs not recognized by Iraqi law.
caskets of dead
soldiers coming home;
cameras out of
They did not count
all they killed;
they did not count
They said the
mission was accomplished.
They said the
mission was through.
Missions made of only lies.
Murder and maim,
Murder and maim
and use our name.
Death for sale by enterprise.
Devil’s bargains stealing souls.
We know. We know. We know.
CODE ORANGE: Amendments missing!
If you see them,
Their mother is worried.
Reward for their safe return.
Supreme Court fire sale:
Half off for
Politicians while they last.
“How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives” is the subtitle of a book by Nick Turse called “The Complex”—recommended reading for anyone concerned about the state of America’s democracy. An obvious example of how the military invades our everyday lives is the whole proposed Low Altitude Training Navigation (LATN) over 60,700 beautiful, peaceful and silent square miles in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. The invasion played out at the meeting held in Taos at the Kachina Lodge on Tuesday night, September 20, which according to Kachina Lodge staff was attended by “an easy 300.”
At the meeting Colonel Kirk Smith, Vice Commander for the 27th Special Operations Wing at Cannon Air Force Base highlighted the Draft Environmental Assessment that he felt demonstrated that LATN pilots of the CV-22 Osprey and the C-130 Hercules aircrafts would make little impact practicing at night. Colonel Smith turned over the Public Comment portion of the meeting to a civilian to run, although the civilian might have liked having the military invaded his everyday life. He is an employee of Science Applications International Corporation, a company awarded a $35 million contract by U.S. Special Operations Command.
Michael Levy, one of the commenters, is a private pilot. He lives at the top of El Salto next to the wilderness area where the airspace 300 feet above his house would be fair game for frighteningly loud Osprey and Hercules practice, certainly invading his everyday life. Levy stepped up to the microphone, unfolding his aviation chart of New Mexico to show that the Air Force already commands the airspace of half of southern New Mexico. According to the FAA, military airspace there totals approximately 27,000 square miles before adding in the contiguous approximately 13,000 square miles in southeastern Arizona. How much more airspace does the military need?
Levy told me by telephone that Holloman Air Force Base uses some of the above military airspace that includes mountainous terrain. Why can’t Holloman and Cannon share it?
What Colonel Smith did not tell those who attended the meeting at the Kachina Lodge was that Cannon AF Base pilots not only learn to fly the Osprey and Hercules; pilots there also train to operate unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones such as the MQ-1 Predator with a range of 454 miles and the MQ-9 Reaper with a range of 3,682 miles. (Holloman also trains pilots to fly the same model drones.) If LATN gets its foot in the door flying Ospreys and Herculeses over northern New Mexico and southern Colorado at night, will Cannon feel free to fly drones over the same area by day?