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Military Industrial Complex
By Dave Lindorff
The US Congress is such a craven bunch that you really have to turn to Olde English to aptly describe them.
Consider that yesterday, by a vote of 93-7, the Senate approved a National Defense Authorization Bill that effectively defines the US “homeland” as a war zone, and that allows for the indefinite incarceration without trial of anyone, including US citizens and Green Card holders, without trial, in blatant violation of the Sixth Amendment of the US Constitution and of fundamental international judicial standards.
At the Unmanned Systems Fair on September 21, the latest drone technology was on display. The drone fair, which took place in the lobby of the Rayburn House Office Building, also displayed the easy mix of government and business. Also on exhibit was the kind of bipartisan unity often seen when Democrats and Republicans rally around security and federal pork.
Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., and Henry Cuellar, D-Tex., co-chairs of the Unmanned Systems Caucus, welcomed the drone industry and its supporters to Capitol Hill.
The drone caucus, which has more than 50 members, cosponsored the drone fete with the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, an industry group that brings together the leading drone manufacturers. Drone orders from the federal government are rolling in to AUVSI corporate members, including such top military contractors as General Atomics, Lockheed Martin and Northrup Grumman.
Above is the headquarters of Combined Systems. Not so far from Cleveland.
Here's what this company is up to:
A group of customs employees at the Suez seaport have revealed that the Egyptian Ministry of Interior is in the process of receiving 21 tons of tear gas from the US.
The claim was supported by Medhat Eissa, an activist in the coastal city of Suez, who provided documents he says he obtained from a group of employees at the Suez Canal customs. The employees have been subjected to questioning for their refusal to allow an initial seven ton shipment of the US-made tear gas canisters enter the port.
A group of employees at the Adabiya Seaport in Suez have confirmed, with the documents to prove it, that a three-stage shipment of in total 21 tons of tear gas canisters is on course for the port from the American port of Wilmington.
Employees say the container ship Danica, carrying seven tons of tear-gas canisters made by the American company Combined Systems, has already arrived at the port, with two similar shipments from the same company expected to arrive within the week.
By John Grant
Why would Founders create a class of criminal, "domestic enemies" of the "United States Constitution," if there were no such thing?
If you think soldiers won't do it, think again. Some of the stupidest people on Earth join the Army, and they, in contrast to the many intelligent young patriots who join for the right reasons, will always be there. Reading blogs arguing about Posse Comitatus and martial law I've seen comments like "I expect I might be picking a few civvies (civilians) off the wire someday...but I like my home on base and my kids need the nice playground. Life is good."
I also have close relatives in. I couldn't make this up.
Idea of civilians using drone aircraft may soon fly with FAA
The Federal Aviation Administration plans to propose new rules for the use of small drones in January, a first step toward clearing the way for police departments, farmers and others to employ the technology.
Drone aircraft, best known for their role in hunting and destroying terrorist hide-outs in Afghanistan, may soon be coming to the skies near you.
Police agencies want drones for air support to spot runaway criminals.
Today, the U.S. Department of State established a new Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO) to focus on conflict prevention, crisis response, and stabilization activities. The bureau will subsume the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS).
The QDDR provides a blueprint for elevating American "civilian power" to better advance our national interests and to be a better partner to the U.S. military.
• Integrate State’s capabilities through a new Under Secretary for Civilian
Security, Democracy and Human Rights. We will also create a new Bureau for
Crisis and Stabilization Operations to serve as the locus for policy and operational
solutions for crisis, conflict, and instability.
• Strengthen USAID’s conflict and transition work by adding more expertise
in response, recovery and stabilization for the Office of Transition Initiatives, by
training staff in these issues, and by expanding systems and management.
• Help coordinate U.S. crisis response through a new international operational
response framework, which will draw on the capabilities and expertise found
across federal agencies and improve civil-military collaboration.
Someday soon, you'll be checking your new Clear Skies app as a routine part of your preparations to go out for the evening. First, you'll look at your smart gizmo to read your latest email to make sure there hasn't been any change in plans. A quick glance at Facebook lets you see who’ll be joining your group of friends at the bar. Weather and traffic apps inform you of what to wear and what route to take. Twitter will tell you about any major news developments you should be retweeting to your tweeps to prime the conversational pump over drinks.
And your new Clear Skies app will let you know if any unmanned drones are hovering 12 miles up in the stratosphere with your head in their sights.
Sound like science fiction? Isn't drone surveillance and remote kills a problem just for people in the undeveloped regions of the world where life is cheap, collateral damage a daily hazard, and violations of national sovereignty the norm rather than the exception?
No doubt, people in the United States felt the same way about nuclear weapons during that brief period after 1945 when only one country in the world possessed the explosive new technology. Then, on August 29, 1949, the Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb, and Americans no longer felt quite so confident. Indeed, the United States began to experience a pervasive nuclear dread, with children practicing "duck and cover" in the classroom, parents digging out bomb shelters in the backyard, and the thought of fiery apocalypse never far from the thoughts of a bewildered and terrified populace.
Today, the United States maintains a near monopoly on military drone technology, with only Israel and Britain also deploying these systems. But the landscape is rapidly changing. As David Cortright at the University of Notre Dame points out, more than 50 countries are developing or buying drone systems, including China and Iran, and even non-state actors want in on the business. The United States is now using drones to patrol borders and collect information about Mexican narcotraffickers. U.S. law enforcement agencies are also eager to use the technology against criminals on U.S. soil, with Texas sheriffs leading the way. Unmanned drones are already used in Japan, Australia, and other countries for such civilian activities as crop dusting and lifeguarding.
Wed. NOV 30th
“The 17th annual Aerospace & Defense Finance Conference will present forecasts, business development plans and investment and growth strategies from 30 of the industry’s top CEOs!”
We Are Concerned New Yorkers Who Don't Want This To Happen. Let's Shut Them Down!
24th and Madison - Madison Sq. Park
6:30am Stop The Opening
4:30pm Rally Against War Profits
STOP THE MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX STOP THE MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX
See attached flyer.
By Dave Lindorff
The growing number of video clips and photos showing police in Darth Vader-like riot gear assaulting peaceful demonstrators with everything from tear gas and mace to truncheons, point-blank shots with beanbags and rubber bullets, and of course the ubiquitous fist and club, have made a bad joke out of claims that America is either the land of the free or the home of the brave.
(AFP) – The Pentagon on Thursday held a successful test flight of a flying bomb that travels faster than the speed of sound and will give military planners the ability to strike targets anywhere in the world in less than a hour.
Launched by rocket from Hawaii at 1130 GMT, the "Advanced Hypersonic Weapon," or AHW, glided through the upper atmosphere over the Pacific "at hypersonic speed" before hitting its target on the Kwajalein atoll in the Marshall Islands, a Pentagon statement said.
Kwajalein is about 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers) southwest of Hawaii. The Pentagon did not say what top speeds were reached by the vehicle, which unlike a ballistic missile is maneuverable.
Scientists classify hypersonic speeds as those that exceed Mach 5 -- or five times the speed of sound -- 3,728 miles (6,000 kilometers) an hour.
By Dave Lindorff
With Congress no longer performing its sworn role of defending the US Constitution, the National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Committee and the Partnership for Civil Justice today filed requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) asking the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the CIA and the National Parks Service to release "all their information on the planning of the coordinated law enforcement crackdown on Occupy protest encampments in multiple cities over the course of recent days and weeks."
By Sherwood Ross
The U.S. Navy defeated the powerful Axis navies of World War Two with just 18 admirals but today it has 216 admirals even though it faces no comparable enemy on the high seas.
By Charles M. Young
After watching the Packers beat the Vikings on Monday Night Football, I had insomnia, so it was kind of an accident that I checked my email at 2 a.m. and discovered the police were clearing Zuccotti Park. Everyone had been expecting an eviction since it all started on September 17, but not expecting it at that particular moment. On my cell phone, there were several frantic texts from Occupy Wall Street begging for community support. So I hopped on a slow subway and arrived at Chambers Street about 3 a.m.
Police State Tactics: Signs Point to a Coordinated National Program to Try and Unoccupy Wall Street and Other Cities
By Dave Lindorff
The ugly hand of the federal government is becoming increasingly suspected behind what appears to be a nationwide attempt to repress and evict the Occupation Movement.
Across the country in recent days, ultimatums have been issues to groups occupying Portland, OR, Chicago, IL, San Francisco, Dallas, TX, Atlanta, GA, and most recently New York, NY, where the Occupation Movement began on September 17. The two most recent eviction efforts, in Oakland and New York, have been the worst.
By Dave Lindorff
When it comes to mainstream press reports about a possible Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, it’s time to check the bullshit detector.
Doesn't this just warm your heart?
Britain is backing a US-led plan to torpedo the global ban on cluster bombs, in what MPs and arms campaigners fear is an attempt to legitimise the use of weapons that are widely deemed to be inherently indiscriminate.
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.