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Military Industrial Complex
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?
MIC at 50 – Charlottesville, VA, September 16-18, 2011
Coleman Smith and Clare Hanrahan of New South Network of War Resisters
Militarism is killing us. It is waging a war on the Earth and the devastation wrought is far beyond what can be presented here. We are not academics; we’re activists and organizers who care deeply about our homeland in the Southern US, the region where we live and work, and the most militarized region in the country. We have limited most of our report to the Southeast US and a special place we refer to as Atomic Appalachia. Like Middle Earth in a Tolkien story, Atomic Appalachia is a little known part of our region squeezed in between the Central and Southern Appalachians. It is a region where the impact of militarism is especially evident.
While Obama publicly pressured Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians over settlements, he secretly sold Jerusalem deep-penetrating bombs it had long sought. Eli Lake previews an exclusive story appearing in Monday's Newsweek.
The MIC50.org conference was so packed with speakers that a lot of wonderful things just couldn't fit. We turned away dozens of great speakers and other opportunities. Our cup runneth over.
We also had an artist donate two beautiful original paintings for us to auction off as a set together, and we never managed to hold the auction. So, the auction will be happening online between now and October 3rd. Submit your bids, and the highest bid will be regularly posted on this page.
Click for larger image:
These are two original paintings created for the MIC50.org conference by Ted Millich. The two characters are Chinese, separately 'harmony' and 'balance,' together they mean 'peace.' Harmony, with the enclosed loop on the right, usually goes to the left or above the character that looks more like a big cross. The notations inside the characters also signify peace in a variety of ways.
The paintings are about 15" high.
Your donation will fund further work for peace, including the publication of the forthcoming MIC50.org book.
Leading with Integrity: Ethics in Action and the Importance of the Whistleblowers Whose Loyalty Is To the Truth
By Bunnatine Hayes Greenhouse
By Bruce E. Levine
Remarks delivered at http://MIC50.org conference.
I want to begin by explaining how a clinical psychologist ends up giving the final talk at a conference on the military-industrial complex.
Actually, for many years now, I’ve been writing and speaking about—and fighting against—another industrial complex, the pharmaceutical-industrial complex, specifically the psycho-pharmaceutical-industrial complex.
All these industrial complexes are painful similar in their revolving doors of employment. So, for example, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is the leading government agency on mental health and funds research. People at the NIMH who have has been friendly to drug companies have been rewarded by drug companies with a high-paying job after they leave NIMH. And just about every influential mental health institution takes money from drug companies. The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, a consumer group, takes millions of dollars from drug companies, and so does the American Psychiatric Association, which is the professional organization of America’s psychiatrists.
The American Psychiatric Association publishes the official diagnostic manual for the mental health profession. It’s called the DSM. They’re up to the DSM-4 revision, and they’re working on the DSM-5. Each revision gets larger and larger. When I was watching Eugene Jarecki’s documentary about the military-industrial complex, Why We Fight, I remember Chalmers Johnson saying, “I guarantee you when war becomes that profitable, you are going to see more of it.” Same is true in my profession. The more profitable mental illness has become, the more you are seeing of it.
So, lots of my activism really starts with embarrassment with my own profession. One of the things that I became initially embarrassed by was its patholologizing and medicating normal human behavior in order to make a buck. They turned shyness into “avoidant personality disorder,” and turned temper tantrums of three-year olds into “pediatric bipolar disorder” and now give them heavy-duty antipsychotic drugs. What especially troubled me has been the increasing pathologizing of stubbornness, resistance, rebellion, and anti-authoritarianism, especially in children and teenagers.
BEIJING (AP) -- China's fast growing demand for aircraft has become a strong influence on how Boeing Co. designs and markets its newest planes, one of the company's executives said Wednesday.
Ihssane Mounir also said Boeing welcomes future competition from China's state-owned COMAC, which is developing a pair of passenger jets, but warned the commercial aircraft business could be punishing.
"It needs a lot of money, it needs a lot of patience, and the learning curve is tough," Mounir, senior vice president of sales and marketing for greater China and Korea, told The Associated Press.