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Military Industrial Complex
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By Kevin Zeese
Last week, Voters for Peace started a campaign to stop the nomination of former Raytheon executive and weapons lobbyist, William Lynn, for Deputy Secretary of Defense.
Opposition to the nomination is gaining traction in the senate. Senator Grassley may hold up the nomination indefinitely.
More than 100,000 letters have been sent through the Voters for Peace site thus far. Please join this effort and spread the word.
On www.VotersForPeace.US you can forward a message about this alert (it will pop up when you go to the page) and if you have not yet taken action you can do so here:
Letter to Armed Services Committee.
Help strike a blow against the military industrial complex and the revolving door between the weapons industry and the Pentagon.
By Alice Slater
The cut to 1,000 is terrific because it matches an offer from Putin going back to 2000 and reiterated over the years for each of us to cut to 1,000 warheads. (Of the 26,000 nuclear weapons on the planet, 25,000 are in the US and Russia. See my briefing paper, Roadmap to Presidential Leadership for Nuclear Disarmament.) Then we can call all the countries to the table to negotiate a treaty to eliminate nuclear weapons. China, France, UK Israel, Pakistan, India, N. Korea, won’t discuss nuclear abolition until the US and Russia get their numbers down. Also, Obama’s going to have to put NATO expansion and missile “offense” on hold in order to get Russia to deal with us on nuclear reductions—and that’s a great thing too! We’re on a roll!!
By Tim Reid, Times of London
President Obama will convene the most ambitious arms reduction talks with Russia for a generation, aiming to slash each country's stockpile of nuclear weapons by 80 per cent.
The radical treaty would cut the number of nuclear warheads to 1,000 each, The Times has learnt. Key to the initiative is a review of the Bush Administration's plan for a US missile defence shield in Eastern Europe, a project fiercely opposed by Moscow.
Mr Obama is to establish a non-proliferation office at the White House to oversee the talks, expected to be headed by Gary Samore, a non-proliferation negotiator in the Clinton Administration. The talks will be driven by Hillary Clinton's State Department.
By David Swanson
In the ordinary course of things in Washington, D.C., and on television, there are two separate conversations. In one conversation, everything that the government spends money on (schools, transportation, police, etc.) must be trimmed back to save money. In the other conversation, the expenses of wars and the military must be unquestioned. After what he said this week on ABC, it will be interesting to see whether Congressman Barney Frank is permitted on television anymore. He combined the two conversations.
Like much of the rest of the world, Americans know that the U.S. automotive industry is in the grips of what may be a fatal decline. Unless it receives emergency financing and undergoes significant reform, it is undoubtedly headed for the graveyard in which many American industries are already buried, including those that made televisions and other consumer electronics, many types of scientific and medical equipment, machine tools, textiles, and much earth-moving equipment -- and that's to name only the most obvious candidates. They all lost their competitiveness to newly emerging economies that were able to outpace them in innovative design, price, quality, service, and fuel economy, among other things.
By Mike Moore
William Lynn, President Barack Obama’s nominee for Deputy Secretary of Defense, vowed to make the Pentagon’s missile defense system “cost-effective” during his confirmation hearing earlier this month before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Indeed, missile defense strikes a lot of national security analysts as a frightful waste of money.
By Dave Lindorff
If an article by Gareth Porter in run by InterPress is correct that CentCom Commander Gen. David Petraeus and Iraq Commander Gen. Ray Odierno, backed by a group of lower-ranking generals, are planning to mount a public campaign to try and undermine President Obama’s plan for a withdrawal from Iraq in 16 months, Obama needs to act fast and nip this dangerous act of insubordination in the bud.
By Richard Lardner, Associated Press
A new commission examining waste and corruption in wartime contracts got a grim report from government watchdogs who say poor planning, weak oversight and greed combined to soak U.S. taxpayers and undermine American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, says the U.S. has committed nearly $51 billion for a wide array of projects in Iraq - from training the Iraqi army and police to rebuilding the country's oil, electric, justice, health and transportation sectors.
Some of these projects succeeded, Bowen told the Wartime Contracting Commission at its first public hearing Monday, but many did not. Violence in Iraq along with constant friction between U.S. officials in Washington and Baghdad were also major factors that undercut progress.
By George C. Wilson
The military-industrial complex that President Dwight NNEisenhower warned about in his farewell speech to the nation 48 years ago this month is now taking us to the poor house in Cadillacs that have little, if anything, to do with fighting the here-and-now threat of terrorism.
Your Defense secretary, Robert Gates, said as much several times while working for former President George W. Bush but didn’t cancel anything big. It’s time, Mr. President, to use your awesome powers of persuasion to convince the American people and their hired hands in Congress that we’ll never get out of this recession, or depression, unless the Pentagon is forced to join your crusade to cut costs.
Oh, it was General Betray Us. Yes, you can like football and peace, but you can't pretend the NFL isn't selling war.
Bill Moyers Journal, January 30, 2009
Bill Moyers sits down with historian Marilyn Young, author of the forthcoming "Bombing Civilians: A Twentieth-century History" and former Pentagon official Pierre Sprey, who developed military planes and helped found the military reform movement.
Watch the Discussion
Does it kill the person it's intended to kill? Not often. And when it does, it usually kills a bunch of other people around. And that, of course, raises the problem that the Predator and the missiles become a recruiting tool for the opposition and — beyond a shadow of a doubt — recruit more opposition than we get rid of by killing the one person at the table that we wanted to kill.
Read the Transcript, some cuts from:
From Stephanie Wesbrook
Editor's note: Opposition to what would be a major new hub for the U.S. military in Europe is not new. Protest marches have filled Vicenza's streets. The Italian Prime Minister has lost his job. But now construction has neared, and protesters have occupied the site to prevent it. See background here.
This morning around 10 a.m. the movement opposing the new U.S. base in Vicenza, Italy, entered and occupied the site. The police were caught completely off guard and the activists were able to cut the fence and gates and occupy the area. Once the police arrived, they were planning to forcibly remove the protesters. However, the protesters are occupying an area that was the airport Dal Molin, which is technically under control of the Italian civilian
aviation authority, ENAC, who has said the protest is legitimate. So far the police have backed off. Tonight there will be a public assembly followed by a dinner and concert. Monday, Feb 2, had been announced by the movement as the start of a week of initiatives to protest the demolition work that is being carried out in preparation for the construction of the base, but it looks like the activists got off to an early start!
State Department To Blackwater: You're Fired, Leave Iraq by May
$1.2 Billion Contract Won't Be Renewed Following Iraqi Refusal to License U.S. Firm
By Brian Ross and Kirit Radia | ABCNews.com
Blackwater has been fired by the State Department from its job protecting U.S. diplomats in Iraq.
Executives of the controversial U.S. security company were notified today by the State Department that its five-year, $1.2 billion contract for services in Iraq will not be renewed in May, U.S. officials tell ABC News. The contract provides yearly options for cancellations.
In a statement, company spokesperson Anne Tyrrell said, "The company has always said that the security services we provide in Iraq would be temporary."
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hope of its children."
These must be the words of some liberal Democratic Senator running for President in 2008. But no, these are the words of Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander during World War II, five decades ago.
The United States, the only superpower remaining on earth, currently spends more on military than the next 45 highest spending countries in the world combined. The U.S. accounts for 48% of the world’s total military spending. Where did the peace dividend from winning the Cold War go?
By Cindy Sheehan
Webster's Dictionary defines empire as: a major political unit having a territory of great extent or a number of territories or peoples under a single sovereign authority; especially: one having an emperor as chief of state.
Even though most of us do not call our "chief of state" Emperor, the USA is most certainly an empire. We have all the trappings of empire (military parades, glorious coronation balls, an elite few ruling the empire) but the Oligarchs (rule by the few) call it a "democracy" so the plebes must buy into the myth that our nation is in any way democratic. Our military is used for spreading colonial capitalism all over the world. Even in the heyday of the Roman Empire, most conquered local governments retained some autonomy, unless, of course, the will of the people conflicted with the will of the Emperor.
Unemployed? Gay? Lesbian? Willing to Kill People? Group Wants Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell to Give Way for Afghanistan Escalation
Admiral Mullen: U.S. Troops in Afghanistan to Increase by 20,000 in '09
Lifting "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Ban Would Provide Thousands of New Service Members
From This Group Which Believes Gay People Can Be Just As Good War Criminals
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In his appearance this Sunday on CBS' 60 Minutes, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the President-elect, indicated the U.S. would be doubling the number of troops in Afghanistan during the first 12 to 18 months of the Obama Administration.
"We're going to add forces to Afghanistan... The exact number isn't known. I [have] talked [before] about a range between 20,000 and 30,000," Admiral Mullen told CBS News correspondent David Martin.
In the first reporting period on Obama's watch, US military occupation forces in Iraq suffered 20 combat casualties in the five days ending Jan. 27, 2009 as the official total rose to at least 70,710. The total includes 34,410 dead and wounded from what the Pentagon classifies as "hostile" causes and more than 36,300 dead and medically evacuated (as of Jan 3, 2009) from "non-hostile" causes.*
The actual total is over 100,000 because the Pentagon chooses not to count as "Iraq casualties" the more than 30,000 veterans whose injuries-mainly traumatic brain injury (TBI) from explosions diagnosed only after they had left Iraq.**
By Dave Lindorff
President Barack Obama and his economic team are being careful to couch all their talk about economic stimulus programs and bank bailout programs in warnings that the economic downturn is serious and that it will take considerable time to bounce back.
I’m reminded of an experience I had with Chinese medicine when I was living in Shanghai back in 1992. I had come down with a nasty case of the flu while teaching journalism at Fudan University on a Fulbright Scholar program.
By Dave Zirin, Edge of Sports
Among the many quirky, independent movie stars and suave entertainment icons appearing at the pre-inaugural Lincoln Memorial concert for Barack Obama, Tiger Woods stood out like George Will in the West Village. Talk about change. Normally, Woods sees the political world the way Dick Cheney sees the Bill of Rights: frightening and to be avoided at all costs. He's probably never even been to the nation's capital without a golf club in hand or a Nike swoosh on his clothing. His presence at the inauguration--while bracing--was, in a bizarre way, all too fitting.
In July 1949, Robinson, with other prominent African-Americans, was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee to rebuke the actor-singer Paul Robeson, who had said that African-Americans would not fight against the Soviet Union in a war.
According to an Associated Press account from the days before his testimony, Robinson said he would tell the committee, “Paul speaks only for himself.” Referring to his Brooklyn Dodgers teammate Roy Campanella, Robinson said: “Campy and I would fight any aggressor — the Russians or any other nation. Anybody who wants to take away the things I’ve gained will have to fight for it.”
Just before his death in 1972 Robinson, writing in his autobiography, “I Never Had It Made,” looked back on his decision to testify in 1949 and said he had been naïve.
“In those days, I had much more faith in the ultimate justice of the American white man than I have today,” he wrote. “I would reject such an invitation if offered now. I have grown wiser and closer to the painful truth about America’s destructiveness and I do have increased respect for Paul Robeson who, over a span of 20 years, sacrificed his career and the wealth and comfort he once enjoyed because, I believe, he was sincerely trying to help his people.”
Challenges loom as Obama seeks space weapons ban
By Andrea Shalal-Esa, Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's pledge to seek a worldwide ban on weapons in space marks a dramatic shift in U.S. policy while posing the tricky issue of defining whether a satellite can be a weapon.
Moments after Obama's inauguration last week, the White House website was updated to include policy statements on a range of issues, including a pledge to restore U.S. leadership on space issues and seek a worldwide ban on weapons that interfere with military and commercial satellites.
It also promised to look at threats to U.S. satellites, contingency plans to keep information flowing from them, and what steps are needed to protect spacecraft against attack.
The issue is being closely watched by Lockheed Martin Corp, Boeing Co, Northrop Grumman Corp, the biggest U.S. defense contractors, and other companies involved in military and civilian space contracts.
By JOHN T. BENNETT, Defense News
Lawmakers may insert earmarks to buy new military equipment into a massive economic stimulus plan being pushed by the Obama White House, said Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the Senate minority leader.
"There has been talk of a military equipment portion of the economic stimulus bill," McConnell said during a Jan. 23 appearance at the National Press Club in Washington.
The Obama administration and leaders in both chambers of Congress are working to find agreement on an $850 billion economic stimulus.
Some economists, like Martin Feldstein, who was
chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under
former President Ronald Reagan and is now a Harvard
University professor, argue that using the stimulus
plan to buy more military items from now until about
2011 would give the economy a needed - but temporary -
shot in the arm. By the end of that span, the economy
"The psychopath, in this case the pro-Israel apologist, feels no compunction about lying to justify the torture and mass murder of a defenceless civilian population because in his dissociative mental state he sees no connection between himself and his victim."
(THE SCENE: A graduate seminar in political psychology at a Canadian University. The professor enters and takes his place at the end of a medium-sized oblong table)
Professor: “Good morning, and welcome to Aberrant Political Psychology. I’m Professor Langston. Before we begin, a show of hands—how many of you are taking this course because you want to know what makes people become evil? (A few hands go up.) Hmm. You’ll save yourself and this class a lot of aggravation if you leave right now and sign up for a Bible study course. ‘Evil’ is a moral absolute found only in the simplistic, zero-sum world of religion and American movies. It has no place in a rational investigation of the human mind.”
US military occupation forces in Iraq suffered 25 combat casualties in the eight days ending Jan. 23, 2009 (some the first on Obama's watch) as the official total rose to at least 70,685. The total includes 34,390 dead and wounded from what the Pentagon classifies as "hostile" causes and more than 36,295 dead and medically evacuated (as of Jan 3, 2009) from "non-hostile" causes.*
The actual total is over 90,000 because the Pentagon chooses not to count as "Iraq casualties" the more than 20,000 veterans whose injuries-mainly brain trauma from explosions--were diagnosed only after they had left Iraq..**
The federal government has settled a wrongful death lawsuit with the family of an Iraq war veteran who hung himself in his parents’ basement in June 2005 after being turned away by doctors at a Veterans Administration hospital in Massachusetts where he sought help for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Kevin and Joyce Lucey sued the U.S. government in federal court in Springfield, Mass in July 2007. It was the first wrongful death lawsuit filed against the U.S. government for failing to properly treat and diagnose veterans’ who suffered from mental health problems associated with the Iraq war.
An Army criminal investigator told the family of a Green Beret who was electrocuted while taking a shower at his base in Baghdad that the soldier's death was a case of "negligent homicide" by military contractor KBR and two of its supervisors.
The report last month to the family of Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth said Houston-based KBR failed to make certain that qualified electricians and plumbers were working on the barracks where Maseth was killed a year ago, according to a U.S. government official who has seen the correspondence.
Russia and neighboring Central Asian nations have agreed to let supplies pass through their territory to American soldiers in Afghanistan, lessening Washington's dependence on dangerous routes through Pakistan, a top U.S. commander said Tuesday.
Securing alternative routes to landlocked Afghanistan has taken on added urgency this year as the United States prepares to double troop numbers there to 60,000 to battle a resurgent Taliban eight years after the U.S.-led invasion.