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Military Industrial Complex
The U.S. Army paid $83.4 million in bonuses to KBR Inc. (KBR.N), its biggest contractor in Iraq, despite accusations its wiring work has been linked to the electrocution of at least four soldiers and one contractor, a congressional investigative panel said on Wednesday.
The Senate Democratic Policy Committee said it also determined that more than half of the bonuses -- $48.9 million -- were awarded after the Defense Department sounded an alarm in early 2007 about what the panel described as pervasive problems with KBR.
Chairman Byron Dorgan opened the hearing by ripping into the Houston-based company and accusing the Army of "stunning incompetence" in rewarding it for its work. Read more.
Another former official familiar with top officials’ discussions about the legal basis for “War on Terror” detainee interrogations believes that any approval that may have been given by Gonzales could not have provided a sufficient legal basis for Mitchell’s actions.
“I can’t believe the CIA would have settled for a piece of paper from the counsel to the president,” the former government official told NPR. “If that were true,” says the former official, “then the whole legal and policy review process from April through August would have been a complete charade.” (bolding mine).
From Stephanie Westbrook
Here's the text for our flyer for an event in Rome tomorrow.
F-35 LIGHTNING II
JOINT STRIKE FIGHTER
Did you know…?
Italy has plans to buy 131 Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets to the tune of 13 billion euro, in addition to nearly 1 billion already committed to participate in the development program – Italy is a Level II partner – and another 600,000 to build final assembly facilities near Novara (Milan). ( Amisnet, April 29, 2009 )
With the same money, Italy could build 45,000 pre-school centers, creating 50,000 jobs and providing a service to one million families and their children. (Sbilanciamoci, April 30, 2009)
Of the eight countries outside the U.S. who have committed to purchasing the F-35, Italy (131) is second only to the U.K. (138) in number of planes ordered. (Defense Daily, November 20, 2006)
The Cheney Dare (Lanny Davis) | The Hill's Pundit Blogs | Submitted by Bob Fertik | Democrats.com
I have written many times in this space that I oppose any criminal prosecution of prior-administration officials on torture or other issues relating to the Iraq War and the war on terrorism, especially those CIA interrogators who relied in good faith on the instructions of policymakers and the legal opinions issued by Justice Department senior officials.
I have agreed with President Obama on the need to look forward, not backward.
But … I have changed my mind about the need to indict former Vice President Dick Cheney for complicity in illegal torture.
Murder, torture, abuse… and photos of the same. We've seen some of them, of course. Now, evidently under pressure from his top generals, President Obama has decided to fight the release of other grim photos from the dark side of the Bush years of offshore injustice -- on the grounds that their publication might inflame opinion in the Middle East and our various war zones (as if fighting to suppress their publication won't). In this way, just as the president is in the process of making Bush's wars his own, so he seems to be making much of the nightmare legacy of those years of crime, torture, and cover-up his, too.
The photos his Justice Department will fight to suppress (for how long or how successfully we don't yet know) are now officially "his"; next, assumedly, come those military commissions, suspended as Obama took office, which are evidently about to be reborn as Obama era tools of injustice. (This brings to mind, in grimmer form, the old saw about how military justice is to justice as military music is to music.) And with those commissions comes that wonderfully un-Constitutional idea of detaining chosen prisoners indefinitely either entirely without trial or with trials that will be mockeries. And with that, evidently, goes the idea of possibly setting up some sort of new "national security court" to try some detainees. (Keep in mind that the Obama administration is already hanging on tightly to Dick Cheney's "state secrets" privilege to block various lawsuits by those wronged in all sorts of ways in the Bush years.)
The nation's top military officer warned Monday that the deaths of Afghan civilians caught up in U.S. combat operations could cripple President Barack Obama's revamped strategy for the seven-year-old war. "I believe that each time we do that, we put our strategy in jeopardy," Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said. "We cannot succeed ... in Afghanistan by killing Afghan civilians."
Mullen said additional forces and new tactics can help the United States turn a discouraging tide in Afghanistan. He said he was hopeful that "in the next 12- to 24 months, that we can stem the trends which have been going very badly in Afghanistan the last three years."
But speaking at the Brookings Institution, Mullen sounded frustrated that as the first of 21,000 U.S. reinforcements arrive, Taliban insurgents are having a seemingly easy time using America's military prowess against it.
Under the pretext of responding to the September 11, 2001, attacks in America, the United States and Great Britain invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001. They dubbed this invasion Operation Enduring Freedom. President Bush 41 told the American people that the US strikes were,
"... designed to disrupt the use of Afghanistan as a terrorist base of operations, and to attack the military capability of the Taliban regime ... we will make it more difficult for the terror network to train new recruits and coordinate their evil plans. Initially, the terrorists may burrow deeper into caves and other entrenched hiding places ... At the same time, the oppressed people of Afghanistan will know the generosity of America and our allies. As we strike military targets, we will also drop food, medicine and supplies to the starving and suffering men and women and children of Afghanistan ..."
The US military's latest massacre of civilians in Afghanistan is reportedly the most recent of the repercussions of decisions made by former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
On Saturday, Rumsfeld was exposed as the determined founder of the crack brigade which mowed down around 147 Afghan villagers last week reportedly straying far from the battlefield long after the insurgents they had engaged retreated.
The attacks in the Farah province, which killed more than 90 women and children, were launched by the US Marines' Special Operations Command (MarSOC) infamous for its trigger-happy military ways.
Engineering "Trust of the Indigenous Population": How Some Anthropologists Have Learned to Stop Worrying & Start Loving the Army
Engineering "Trust of the Indigenous Population": How Some Anthropologists Have Learned to Stop Worrying and Start Loving the Army
By Dahr Jamail | Truthout | Submitted by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com
Anthropologist Audrey Roberts works for Human Terrain System (HTS), a Pentagon program. Referring to the information produced by HTS scholars, she says, "If it's going to inform how targeting is done - whether that targeting is bad guys, development or governance - how our information is used is how it's going to be used. All I'm concerned about is pushing our information to as many soldiers as possible. The reality is there are people out there who are looking for bad guys to kill. I'd rather they did not operate in a vacuum."
In a recent article on this site I have described HTS as comprising American scholars, primarily in the field of anthropology, along with sociologists and social psychologists, embedding themselves with the US military in the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. Their brief is to enable the military to make better decisions by helping it to understand the social mores and customs of the cultures it is occupying.
President Obama to restart Guantanamo Bay military tribunals
By Philippe Naughton | Times OnLine
Barack Obama is set to reverse the first formal decision of his presidency today with the expected announcement that his Administration will restart Bush-era military tribunals for Guantánamo Bay detainees.
When NFL player-turned-Army Ranger Pat Tillman died at the hands of US troops in a case of "friendly fire," the spin machine at the Pentagon went into overdrive. Rumsfeld and company couldn't have their most high-profile soldier dying in such an inelegant fashion, especially with the release of those pesky photos from Abu Ghraib hitting the airwaves. So an obscene lie was told to Tillman's family, his friends and the American public. The chickenhawks in charge, whose only exposure to war was watching John Wayne movies, claimed that he died charging a hill and was cut down by the radical Islamic enemies of freedom. In the weeks preceding his death, Tillman was beginning to question what exactly he was fighting for, telling friends that he believed the war in Iraq was " [expletive] illegal." He may not have known what he was fighting for, but it's now clear what he died for: public relations. Today, after five years, six investigations and two Congressional hearings, questions still linger about how Tillman died and why it was covered up.
Dubai: Pulitzer prize-winning American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh recently said that former US vice-president Dick Cheney headed a secret assassination wing that targeted America's enemies abroad.
Gulf News catches up with him on his trip to Dubai for the Arab Media Forum to ask about those revelations as well as issues concerning Barack Obama, Lebanon, Israel, Syria and Egypt.
Take Houston’s heat on a miserable summer day and add 40 degrees, making temperatures 130 or more.
Next, add an extra 100 pounds of life-protecting gear to your body: bulletproof vests, guns and ammunition.
And then imagine not having enough water around to drink.
Twitter Activism: A Special Prosecutor Is Who Needs To See The New Torture Pics, And We Need To Keep Demanding One
A Special Prosecutor Is Who Needs To See The New Torture Pics, And We Need To Keep Demanding One
Note: At the bottom of this, you'll find information on how to do Twitter activism on not only this action, but also on a variety of other actions, as well.
The big fuss this week was President Obama's total turnaround on releasing the new torture pictures. Despite stating that they were "not particularly sensational", in the next breath he argued that releasing them would put our troops at greater risk, two statements which when combined make no logical sense.
What's really going on here is that Obama has so far resisted in every possible way his duty under the law to appoint a special prosecutor, despite his affirmation that waterboarding is torture, and the arrogant public confessions of those who ordered that torture. Having underestimated the furor for prosecution that the
According to a report on prisoner abuse prepared for the Department of Defense by James Schlesinger, orders signed by Bush and Rumsfeld in 2002 and 2003 authorizing brutal interrogations “became policy” at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.
Obama Is Becoming an Accessory after the fact to War Crimes
By Matthew Rothschild | The Progressive
Barack Obama is fast becoming an accessory after the fact to the war crimes that the Bush Administration has committed.
By not prosecuting the torturers and those who ordered the torture, and now by not even going public with the photo tortures he’d already agreed to release, Obama is doing Dick Cheney’s business for him.
Cheney’s been telling every news outlet that will have him on that a) we didn’t torture or do anything wrong and that b) everything we did was necessary to keep us safe.
The photos of our brutality that are in Obama’s possession could disprove these points in a hurry.
But now Obama, like Cheney, wants to hide the evidence.
Cheney said Gitmo detainees revealed Iraq-al Qaida link
By Jonathan S. Landay | McClatchy Newspapers
The Rocky Mountain News asked Cheney in a Jan. 9, 2004, interview if he stood by his claims that Saddam's regime had maintained a "relationship" with al Qaida, raising the danger that Iraq might give the group chemical, biological or nuclear weapons to attack the U.S.
"Absolutely. Absolutely," Cheney replied.
Then-Vice President Dick Cheney, defending the invasion of Iraq, asserted in 2004 that detainees interrogated at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp had revealed that Iraq had trained al Qaida operatives in chemical and biological warfare, an assertion that wasn't true.
MI5 and MI6 face 29 new allegations of torture in foreign prisons
By Duncan Gardham | Telegraph UK
A campaign group representing prisoners detained for terrorism has compiled reports from a large number of detainees and former detainees who claim that the security and intelligence services were aware of their torture and mistreatment and did nothing to stop it.
US House backs $96.7 bln bill for Iraq, Afghan wars | Reuters.com | Submitted by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com
The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a $96.7 billion measure to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through Sept. 30 as well as rush critical economic and security aid to Pakistan.
The biggest chunk is $47.7 billion to support military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan through Sept. 30. Obama had originally requested in total $84.3 billion.
It also includes $1 billion for Pakistan as it tries to fight militant Taliban insurgents spilling over the border from Pakistan. It also has $3.1 billion for eight Boeing Co (BA.N) C-17s and 11 Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) C-130 transport planes.
The Senate is working on its own version of the bill and differences, which will have to be resolved, including money for the International Monetary Fund and how to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, that houses terrorism suspects.
It was 368-60 -5 to pay almost $100B for the wars. Look up where your Rep stood (or sat) here.
We get reaction to the Senate hearing on torture from private investigator and attorney John Sifton, executive director of One World Research, which carries out research for law firms and human rights groups. Sifton has conducted extensive investigations into the CIA interrogation and detention program. He says any investigation of Bush administration torture and rendition should include an estimated 100 homicides of prisoners in US custody.
D.C. Area Residents Opposed to Af-Pak War Hold Sunday Rally | Press Release
On the heels of a Congressional vote for more war funds, passed at the behest of the White House, local peace and justice activists will hold a Sunday afternoon rally calling for an end to continual war and occupation of Afghanistan, and drone bombings of Pakistan.
Following a House of Representatives vote Thursday approving $96.7 billion in additional war funding, local activists organized an anti-war rally to be held Sunday, 1:30 PM in Lafayette Park. Among the speakers are Ray McGovern, a former senior CIA analyst; Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink Women for Peace and Global Exchange; and Erik Leaver a senior policy analyst with the Institute for Policy studies.
StratCom and the Domination of (Cyber) Space
By Tim Rinne | State Coordinator, Nebraskans for Peace | Submitted by Bruce Gagnon | http://space4peace.blogspot.com/
It seems an unlikely place from which to try to dominate the world.
A remote Air Force base in rural Nebraska, twelve miles south of Omaha.
There's even a cornfield across the road.
But it's where George Bush was rushed for safekeeping on 9/11. And today, it's where the White House continues to wage its international 'War on Terror' and to pursue its goal of dominating space.
And, as it now turns out, cyber space.