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Military Industrial Complex
By David Hambling, Wired
The National Institute of Justice, the police's R&D arm, is continuing the development of hand-held equivalents of the military's Active Denial System.
As I report over in New Scientist, one of them uses the same microwaves as the Pentagon's non-lethal pain-ray; the other is based in an infra-red laser which they say achieves the same effect at target, but which can be made smaller and lighter.
The infra-red device is none other than the PHaSR, which we last saw in 2005 being touted as a laser dazzler . The reason for the PHaSR's bulk is now apparent; a dazzler can be the size of a pen, but this has to pack in a lot more power to heat the target, even if it's only the outer 1/64 inch of the skin. According to the Joint Nonlethal Weapons Program's fact sheet on PHaSR:
By CHUCK SPINNEY, Counterpunch
The 21 Dec 2008 editorial in the New York Times, "How To Pay For A 21st-Century Military" purports to advocate tough-minded pragmatism to reform a Pentagon that is clearly out of control. Yet its logic is really another example of the kind of hackneyed thinking that serves to protect the status quo. It also suggests indirectly why the mainstream media are in such trouble.
By Mark Engler, In These Times
At the end of a long electoral season marked by bipartisan vows to bring "change," America’s massive military budget remains a hulking and seemingly immutable fact of national life. Given the financial crisis and the promise of President Bush’s departure from office, many have hoped that overheated defense spending might give way to the need to addressing domestic problems.
Yet, countering these hopes, the Pentagon has already maneuvered to lock the Obama administration into greater military spending. On Oct. 9, Congressional Quarterly reported that a forthcoming spending estimate from defense officials would call for $450 billion in additional funds over the next five years. The publication Defense News subsequently confirmed with Bradley Berkson, the Pentagon’s director of program analysis and evaluation, that the military would indeed be seeking additional funds -- although Berkson cited the figure of $360 billion over six years.
By Anita Dancs with Mary Orisich and Suzanne Smith, www.nationalpriorities.org
Let our position be absolutely clear: An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled
by any means necessary, including military force.
–President Jimmy Carter, Third State of the Union Address, 1978
The United States requires freedom of action in the global commons and strategic access to important regions of the world to meet our national security needs. The well being of the global economy is contingent on ready access to energy resources...current trends indicate an increasing reliance on
petroleum products from areas of instability in the coming years, not reduced reliance. The United States will continue to foster access to and flow of energy resources vital to the world economy.
By Conn Hallinan, Foreign Policy in Focus
Over the next several months there will be a battle for hearts and minds, but not in Iraq or Afghanistan. The war will be here at home, waged mostly in the halls of Congress, where grim lobbyists for one of the top 15 economies in the world are digging in to preserve their stake in the massive U.S. military budget. With the country in deep recession and resources dwindling for the new administration's programs on health care, education, and the environment, the outcome of this battle may well end up defining the next four years.
But coming to grips with the issue, as one military analyst noted, is likely to resemble the worst of World War I trench warfare. "It will be like the British Army at the Somme," Winslow Wheeler of the Center for Defense Information (CDI) told the Boston Globe, "you will just get mowed down by the defense industry."
Up Against the Industry
Culture War vs. Class War vs. Holy War vs. Earth War
By Gary Corseri
“… pure and puerile insanities, the silly creations of an imagination that is not conscious of its freaks. …” --Mark Twain (The Mysterious Stranger)
Those who take the long view of history often wind up with the short end of the stick.
That’s because, as John Maynard Keynes himself said, in the long run, we’ll all be dead.
December 18th was the Shministim Day of Action in Israel. Even as Tamar Katz remained in solitary confinement, the Shministim were thrilled. They told us they had not seen this much media coverage in Israel of young refusers in years. The global response, which continues to grow, has been ovewhelming. I want to share with you this first-hand account that Rebecca Vilkomerson wrote about the day. And, thank you so much from all of us at Jewish Voice for Peace.
Our work continues.
Jewish Voice for Peace
General George S. Patton was assassinated to silence his criticism of allied war leaders claims new book
By Tim Shipman, Telegraph
'We've got a terrible situation with this great patriot, he's out of control and we must save him from himself'. The OSS head General did not trust Patton
The newly unearthed diaries of a colourful assassin for the wartime Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner of the CIA, reveal that American spy chiefs wanted Patton dead because he was threatening to expose allied collusion with the Russians that cost American lives.
The death of General Patton in December 1945, is one of the enduring mysteries of the war era. Although he had suffered serious injuries in a car crash in Manheim, he was thought to be recovering and was on the verge of flying home.
Does Old Glory Have a Dark Side?
Research suggests that seeing the flag doesn't make Americans feel more patriotic. But it does make them feel more nationalistic and more superior to non-Americans. READ MORE.
Many see violence against military wives as a 'big-time problem,' but official statistics tell different story
By Rob Perez, Honolulu Advertiser
Sitting at a Windward O'ahu spouse abuse shelter, thousands of miles from her alleged batterer, Kaliegh Cuervo lifted her blouse to reveal a small scar from a bullet wound on her left side.
It serves as a permanent reminder of the brutal attacks she said she suffered on the Mainland after her then-Marine husband returned from a second deployment to Iraq.
The attacks left other lasting effects. Her right eye is permanently damaged. She has false teeth. Doctors told her she no longer can bear children.
By Penny Coleman, AlterNet
The Army Experience Center, located in the Franklin Mills Mall just north of Philadelphia, bills itself as a "state-of-the-art educational facility that uses interactive simulations and online learning programs to educate visitors about the many careers, training and educational opportunities available in the Army."
Nonsense. The only thing they're teaching here is how to blow shit up. If it's state-of-the-art anything, it's state-of-the-art adolescent boys’ wet dreams.
"Too slow! Do it again!" yells the voice in my earphones as a new sequence of armed figures in camouflage pop up in front of me. I -- the player -- am attached to the foreshortened barrel of an M-16 -- and a little embarrassed by that. It's not my thing, really. And I wasn't expecting the game to involve having to tolerate some dickhead's personal opinion about my marksmanship.
By Rob Perez, Honolulu Advertiser
In the Hawai'i Army National Guard, a felony conviction usually is enough to get a citizen soldier kicked out of the military.
But when Guard member Ernie Gomez was convicted of a felony in 2005 for terrorizing his wife with a semiautomatic weapon, his military career was far from derailed.
Free on bail, the convicted domestic-violence felon was able to transfer from the Guard to the Army Reserve, get mobilized to active duty status in New Jersey and start an Army job that required a "secret" security clearance to train war-bound troops.
Gomez even was able to enroll in and complete a military police training course while a felon.
Official US Military Casualty Count Reaches 70,231 | Compiled by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com
US military occupation forces in Iraq suffered eight combat casualties in the week ending Dec.16 as the official casualty total rose to at least 70,231. The total includes 34,276 dead and wounded from what the Pentagon classifies as "hostile" causes and more than 35,955 dead and medically evacuated (as of Dec. 6, 2008) 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..**
Did you know that the IBM Center for the Business of Government hosts a "Presidential Transition" blog; that the Council on Foreign Relations has its own "Transition Blog: The New Administration"; and that the American University School of Communication has a "Transition Tracker" website? The National Journal offers its online readers a comprehensive "Lost in Transition" site to help them "navigate the presidential handover," including a "short list," offering not only the president-elect's key recent appointments, but also a series of not-so-short lists of those still believed to be in contention for as-yet-unfilled jobs. Think of all this as Entertainment Weekly married to People Magazine for post-election political junkies.
American University, Washington, D.C.
Feb. 27–Mar. 2, 2009
Join Us at the Security Without Empire Conference
There is a sense of relief that many here in the U.S. feel after the presidential election, but we understand this is a time to step up our organizing for peace and economic justice — including the growing movement to close and withdraw the nearly 1,000 U.S. military bases located in foreign nations.
From Okinawa and Guam to Honduras, Germany, Iraq, and beyond people who have suffered from the abuses inherent to foreign military bases have been calling for their withdrawal. People in the U.S. have joined this call, outraged by the damage done by U.S. bases abroad and by their expense, which diverts $138 billion a year from addressing human needs and revitalizing our economy. Representatives of 13 organizations have come together to organize a national conference or the closing and withdrawal of military bases. The goals of the conference are:
By Tim Rinne, The Grand Island Independent
Just as it's done every year since 2005, the Bush/Cheney Administration has once again opposed a UN resolution to prevent an arms race in outer space. Every other country on earth except the U.S. (and Israel which abstained) supported the resolution in the December 2 vote. Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Great Britain, France, Japan, Canada, Venezuela-177 nations total-all voted in favor of the annual "Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space" (PAROS) resolution, as they have for the past twenty years. Only the U.S. dissented.
Obama's National Security Adviser pick, Gen. James Jones, will "impose discipline on the members of the [national security] team," says Zbigniew Brzezinski. "We will see more global political planning under Gen. Jones," Brzezinski predicts.
Brzezinski, who served as Jimmy Carter's National Security Adviser and was one of Obama's early supporters, was interviewed yesterday by his daughter Mika on MSNBC's Morning Joe news talk program.
One MSNBC reporter said Obama's foreign policy will be similar to that of George H.W. Bush. Correspondent Chuck Todd reported that Gen. Jones is a close buddy of John McCain and was likely picked for his new role because Secretary of Defense (DoD) Robert Gates insisted on having Jones be part of the team if Obama wanted Gates to remain at DoD.
US domination is giving way to greater balance.
By Helena Cobban, Christian Science Monitor
Washington - Most Americans have been watching the presidential transition here in Washington very closely. But another, much broader political transition has also been accelerating in recent weeks: the shift from the US-dominated world we have lived in since 1989 to one in which global power has become significantly more diffuse, more networked, and more Asian.
This broad global shift will shape the agenda and achievements of the Obama presidency from Day 1.
From Herald Sun
WEAPONS maker Lockheed Martin has tested a hovering robot intended to shoot down enemy ballistic missiles.
Video of the December 2 flight test of the "Multiple Kill Vehicle," at Edwards Air Force Base in California, has made it onto YouTube, and it looks like something out of the Terminator movies. [Click on link above to watch the video.]
Inside a large steel cage, Lockheed's MKV lifts off the ground, moves left and moves right, rapidly firing as flames shoot out of its bottom and sides, FOXNews reports.
The MKVs would be mounted on carrier missiles which would take them into space to engage enemy nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles at the peak of their trajectory arcs, The Pentagon said.
The MKVs would then break off from the carrier vehicles and shoot at enemy warheads with big bullets, "kinetic interceptors" in military-speak, before dropping back down to Earth.
By Cindy Sheehan
Since my son, Casey was a victim of the US Military Empire in 2004, I have traveled the world and met with people in almost 20 countries that have also been victimized by the US.
Whether it was the First Nation people in Honolulu who could no longer fish or swim in their ancestral waters of Pearl Harbor because of the toxic contamination by the Navy, or my brothers and sisters in Daichuri, South Korea whose village was being destroyed so the nearby Army base, Camp Humprhey could build a golf course, I always walk away from these encounters with an extra steely resolve to try and confront the US Military Industrial Complex wherever I can, and to try and ease the suffering of so many people.
Major New Report Details the Global Impact of Arms Sales and Military Assistance
As the world marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights this week, a new report from The New America Foundation finds that U.S. arms transfers are undermining human rights, weakening democracy and fueling conflict around the world.
"While it is critical to commemorate this historic occasion, we must use this moment to stress that the United States cannot demand respect for human rights and arm human rights abusers at the same time," notes William D. Hartung, the lead author of the ground-breaking new report, U.S. Weapons at War 2008: Beyond the Bush Legacy, which will be released at an event in Washington, DC on Wednesday, December 10, 2008.
One hundred political, military, business and civic leaders from across the globe launched a new initiative in Paris on Tuesday aiming eliminate all nuclear weapons.
The "Global Zero" declaration, endorsed by a "Who's Who" of the world's foreign policy aristocracy from the past 30 years, calls for a binding and verifiable agreement to dismantle all nuclear weapons by a specified date.
"The threat of proliferation and nuclear terrorism has led to a growing chorus of government leaders ... calling for the elimination of all nuclear weapons, including Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and US President-elect Barack Obama," said a statement issued after many of the signatories met here.
"This new and unprecedented political support for getting to zero nuclear weapons from key governments around the world has made this goal -- while still difficult -- possible," it said.
A consultant to the head of Russia's Strategic Rocket Forces has said that a simulated anti-missile test by the U.S. [Dec 5] was not aimed at stopping a North Korean threat as Washington had claimed.
Colonel-general Viktor Yesin said last Friday’s test had China and Russia in mind.
He said: “To avoid agitating public opinion, U.S. Missile Defense Agency officials say the test was aimed at intercepting North Korean and Iranian rockets. But we missile specialists understand that it was in fact aimed at stopping Russian and Chinese intercontinental missiles.”
During the test last Friday an interceptor rocket was launched from California to knock down a missile launched from Alaska.
By Dave Lindorff
One impact of this deepening recession which is largely hidden because it is spread out and distributed across the land is a wave of budget crises swamping nearly every state government and every municipal government in the country.
State governments, according to the Center for Budget Priorities, are facing a $77-billion revenue shortfall for the 2009 fiscal year. Municipal governments are probably facing a total revenue shortfall of even more than that—perhaps closer to $100 billion. New York City, for example, is reportedly facing a budget shortfall of $1.5 billion over the next two years and Philadelphia, the nation’s fifth largest city, a shortfall of $1 billion over the next five years.
would make good reading for the new transformed Robert Gates.
Dear President-Elect Obama:
We the undersigned, members and supporters of the Global Network, write to congratulate you on your recent election as President of the U.S. We want to help you in every way possible to promote peace around the world so that our national resources could be used for the tremendous needs we have here at home like health care, education, job creation, dealing with climate change and more.
We specifically write to urge you to reject the Bush administration plan to deploy "missile defense" interceptors in Poland and a Star Wars radar system in the Czech Republic. We know you are aware of Russia's deep concern that these deployments are really aimed at them in spite of Pentagon assurances they are only directed at Iran.