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Number of posts: 56,352
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How Harper’s botched procurement crippled the F-35
By Jonathan Manthorpe | Aug 20, 2014 8:58 pm
Canada will not be alone in being raked over the coals for its low military spending when 150 heads of state and government ministers meet at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit in Cardiff early next month.
Canada’s military expenditure last year, according to the World Bank, was only one per cent of gross domestic product, half the two per cent NATO target. But among the 28 NATO members, only the United States, the United Kingdom, Greece and Estonia have hit the target consistently.
But Canada’s military spending will loom large because the fate of Washington’s problem-plagued F-35 Joint Strike Fighter programme — at $1.5 trillion the most expensive U.S. military procurement programme ever — has become a token of the unwillingness of the NATO allies to march in step.
And among the NATO and allied governments having second thoughts about buying this all-purpose, “fifth generation” warplane, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s decision to shelve the purchase of 65 F-35s — after a damning auditor-general’s report on the government’s misleading representation of the costs — is being seen as a fulcrum moment.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Aug 21, 2014, 08:20 AM (0 replies)
The U.S. Navy’s Most Expensive Warships for 2014
The United States has an impressive array of weapons systems, but it could be argued that none are as imposing as the U.S. Navy's warships. In fact, the U.S. often uses the deployment of these weapons as a "show of force" to intimidate would-be-aggressors into backing down -- and who wouldn't be intimidated by a veritable floating fortress in your backyard?
3. LHA 6 America -Class Amphibious Assault Ship
More importantly, this ship is an essential when it comes to transporting Marine Expeditionary Units and their equipment. In fact, it can carry up to 1,871 troops, in addition to its 1,204-person crew. The Government Accountability Office's, or GAO, estimated program unit cost for this titan? $3.4 billion -- and while that might seem like a staggering number, it's still not as expensive as the next two vessels on this list.
2. DDG 1000 Zumwalt -Class Destroyer
Speaking of dominating, the Zumwalt has a truly impressive array of weapons, including Advanced Gun Systems, Peripheral Vertical launch Systems, a number of missile systems, and a power plant that can produce 78 megawatts of electricity. This means the Zumwalt could be used for futuristic weapons like the Electromagnetic Railgun -- an extended range launcher that uses electricity to fire projectiles at 4,500-5,600 mph. More importantly, thanks to automation technologies, the Zumwalt can be crewed with 142 sailors. That's less than half of what's needed on traditional destroyers. The GAO's estimated program unit cost for this stealth destroyer? $7.3 billion. Expensive, but not nearly as expensive as the last ship on this list.
1. Gerald R. Ford -Class Nuclear Aircraft Carrier (CVN 78)
It's 1,092 feet long, its beam is 134 feet high, its Flight Deck is 256 feet wide, and it has a crew of 4,539. More importantly, the Gerald R. Ford is the first new design for an aircraft carrier since the Nimitz , and it comes power-packed with new technology. This includes: an electromagnetic aircraft launch system, new reactor plants that increase electrical power generation, and there's more space for Flight Deck operations thanks to a decreased island. Further, the Gerald R. Ford 's weaponry includes the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile, Rolling Airframe Missile, Phalanx Close-In Weapon System, and it can carry 75+ aircraft. Clearly, this is one ship you don't want to mess with, and it comes with an equally daunting price: an estimated $12 billion per program unit cost, according to the GAO.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sun Aug 17, 2014, 08:53 AM (9 replies)
The F-35, the Scam of the Century
Voltaire Network | 16 August 2014
The F-35 is the largest weapons program in history. This multi-role aircraft is built by Lockheed Martin with Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems as major partners.
Since the launch of the project, its cost has varied ceaselessly, leading to the cancellation of various orders. Earlier this month, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a reassuring study, however based on figures already two years old. Simultaneously, the Department of Defense assured it would be cheaper to buy but more expensive to maintain.
According to an independent Canadian study by Professor Michael Byers for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Rideau Institute, the truth is much darker: in truth, no one can know the exact cost of an aircraft that has not been precisely designed. However, the 65 aircraft ordered by Canada would likely cost a staggering $ 1.5 billion USD per aircraft over 40 years (in 2007, the United States assured that the aircraft would not cost more than the F-18 and estimated its cost at about 377 million dollars each).
The following bar graph illustrates the increase in the cost estimates for Canada’s fleet of 65 over the past years.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sun Aug 17, 2014, 08:06 AM (1 replies)
Ignoring Ukraine's Neo-Nazi Storm Troopers
by Robert Parry | August 14, 2014 - 7:26am
The U.S.-backed Ukrainian government is knowingly sending neo-Nazi paramilitaries into eastern Ukrainian neighborhoods to attack ethnic Russians who are regarded by some of these storm troopers as “Untermenschen” or subhuman, according to Western press reports.
Recently, one eastern Ukrainian town, Marinka, fell to Ukraine’s Azov battalion as it waved the Wolfsangel flag, a symbol used by Adolf Hitler’s SS divisions in World War II. The Azov paramilitaries also attacked Donetsk, one of the remaining strongholds of ethnic Russians opposed to the Kiev regime that overthrew elected President Viktor Yanukovych last February.
Yet, despite this extraordinary reality – modern-day Nazi storm troopers slaughtering Slavic people in eastern Ukraine – the Obama administration continues to concentrate its criticism on Russia for sending a convoy of humanitarian supplies to the embattled region. Suddenly, the administration’s rhetoric about a “responsibility to protect” civilians has gone silent.
This same hypocrisy has permeated nearly everything said by the U.S. State Department and reported by the mainstream U.S. news media since the Ukraine crisis began last year. There was fawning coverage of the Maidan protesters who sought to overthrow Yanukovych and then an immediate embrace of the “legitimacy” of the regime that followed the Feb. 22 coup. As part of this one-sided U.S. narrative, reports about the key roles played by neo-Nazi activists and militias were dismissed as “Russian propaganda.”
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Aug 15, 2014, 07:05 AM (1 replies)
Ukraine-News Flash: Bloodiest Days of Ukraine's Ethnic Cleansing Expected to Come Now
by Eric Zuesse | August 13, 2014 - 7:18am
A reliably well-informed resident in the area that Obama's Ukrainian regime is ethnically cleansing (i.e., exterminating and/or expelling) has informed this reporter (and all of this source’s previous reports to me have subsequently turned out to be true):
"Kiev is attempting to blow up a chemical plant that will destroy a 600 KM diameter/ 300KM radius of area -- every living thing.
Oleh Lashko, the person my source is referring to, is a convicted embezzler who then became a leading parliamentary member of the "Bloc Yulia Tymoshenko," led by the woman whom Obama had initially expected would become elected on 25 May 2014 as Ukraine's new President. She was also known as "the Gas Princess,” due to her having skimmed billions from Russia’s gas-sales to the State. But another oligarch, Petro Poroshenko (‘the Chocolate King,” and also a shipbuilder), became elected President instead, because Tymoshenko was too far to the right even for most of the voters in Ukraine's northwest. (There were only few people voting in the southeast after Obama's coup, because the post-coup regime had already begun its campaign to exterminate them by the time of the May 25th election.)
The pro-Hitler portion of Ukraine during World War II was the country's northwest. Ukraine's southeast tended to prefer Stalin's rule instead. After the end of communism, the southeast sought closer ties to Russia, whereas the northwest sought closer ties to "the West," but came to be led actually by CIA-backed admirers of the pro-Hitler Ukrainian Stepan Bandera, whom Hitler's forces imprisoned when it became clear that Bandera sought to establish a pro-Nazi independent Ukraine, and Hitler's forces insisted instead on Ukraine’s total subjugation.
When Obama took over Ukraine in the February 2014 coup, his agent Victoria Nuland placed at the top of the new Ukrainian Government the leaders of Ukraine's two nazi (or "pro-Nazi") Parties, Right Sector, and "Freedom" or Svoboda (formerly called the Social Nationalists, but the CIA instructed them to change that name), both being led by Yulia Tymoshenko's ally Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Aug 14, 2014, 06:40 AM (0 replies)
Cyber war program ‘MonsterMind’ could ignite accidental conflicts, warns Edward Snowden
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 13:06 EDT
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A developing U.S. cyber security program would not only hunt down and halt potential computer attacks but also strike back without staff oversight, according to former U.S. National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden.
In an interview with WIRED magazine made public Wednesday, Snowden said the program – MonsterMind – could hurt countries caught in the middle as hackers could disguise the origin of their attacks by routing them through computers in other nations.
“These attacks can be spoofed,” Snowden told the magazine. “You could have someone sitting in China, for example, making it appear that one of these attacks is originating in Russia. And then we end up shooting back at a Russian hospital. What happens next?”
It could also potentially start an accidental war, he said.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Aug 14, 2014, 05:17 AM (1 replies)
Caliphate puts men to the meat-grinder
Aug 12, '14
General William Tecumseh Sherman burned the city of Atlanta in 1864. He warned: "I fear the world will jump to the wrong conclusion that because I am in Atlanta the work is done. Far from it. We must kill three hundred thousand I have told you of so often, and the further they run the harder for us to get them." Add a zero to calibrate the problem in the Levant today. War in the Middle East is less a strategic than a demographic phenomenon, whose resolution will come with the exhaustion of the pool of potential fighters.
The Middle East has plunged into a new Thirty Years War, allows Richard Haass, the president of the Council of Foreign Relations. "It is a region wracked by religious struggle between competing traditions of the faith. But the conflict is also between militants and moderates, fueled by neighboring rulers seeking to defend their interests and increase their influence. Conflicts take place within and between states; civil wars and proxy wars become impossible to distinguish. Governments often forfeit control to smaller groups - militias and the like - operating within and across borders. The loss of life is devastating, and millions are rendered homeless," he wrote on July 21.
Well and good: I predicted in 2006 that the George W Bush administration's blunder would provoke another Thirty Years War in the region, and repeated the diagnosis many times since. But I doubt that Mr Haass (or Walter Russell Mead, who cited the Haass article) has given sufficient thought to the implications.
How does one handle wars of this sort? In 2008 I argued for a "Richelovian" foreign policy, that is, emulation of the evil genius who guided France to victory at the conclusion of the Thirty Years War in 1648. Wars of this sort end when two generations of fighters are killed. They last for decades (as did the Peloponnesian War, the Napoleonic Wars and the two World Wars of the 20th century) because one kills off the fathers die in the first half of the war, and the sons in the second.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Aug 12, 2014, 05:50 AM (9 replies)
A Peace Prize for the IDF?
by Missy Comley Beattie | August 9, 2014 - 9:42am
Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, remarked that Israel’s armed forces deserve a Nobel Prize for their “unimaginable restraint” during Operation Protective Edge.
Benjamin Netanyahu said the blame lies with Hamas for the 1900 dead in Gaza.
Barack Obama condemned the killing of civilians in Gaza but just inked a bill providing an additional $225 million to Tel Aviv to improve the Iron Dome anti-missile system, bringing the total funding to $576 million for fiscal year 2015.
Back to that Nobel Prize for Israel’s military: Consider former recipients, like Obama, the president with a kill list. There’s consistency, here.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sun Aug 10, 2014, 06:49 AM (1 replies)
Three Updated Charts to Email to Your Right-Wing Brother-In-Law
by Dave Johnson | August 9, 2014 - 10:04am
Problem: Your right-wing brother-in-law is plugged into the FOX-Limbaugh lie machine, and keeps sending you emails about “Obama spending” and “Obama deficits” and how the “stimulus” just made things worse.
Government spending increased dramatically under President Bush. It has not increased much under President Obama. This is just a fact.
Note that this chart starts with Clinton’s last budget year for comparison.
In this chart, the RED lines on the left side – the ones that keep doing DOWN – show what happened to jobs under the policies of Bush and the Republicans. We were losing lots and lots of jobs every month, and it was getting worse and worse. The BLUE lines – the ones that just go UP – show what happened to jobs when the stimulus was in effect. We stopped losing jobs and started gaining jobs, and it was getting better and better.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sun Aug 10, 2014, 06:43 AM (4 replies)
NATO is desperate for war
By Pepe Escobar
Aug 8, '14
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is desperate; it is itching for a war in battlefield Ukraine at any cost.
Let's start with Pentagon supremo, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who has waxed lyrical over the Russian Bear's "threat": "When you see the build-up of Russian troops and the sophistication of those troops, the training of those troops, the heavy military equipment that's being put along that border, of course it's a reality, it's a threat, it's a possibility - absolutely."
NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu could not elaborate if it was "threat" or "reality", absolutely or not, but she saw it all: "We're not going to guess what's on Russia's mind, but we can see what Russia is doing on the ground - and that is of great concern. Russia has amassed around 20,000 combat-ready troops on Ukraine's eastern border."
According to the UN itself, at least 285,000 people have become refugees in eastern Ukraine. Kiev insists the number of internal refugees is "only" 117,000; the UN doubts it. Moscow maintains that a staggering 730,000 Ukrainians have fled into Russia; the UN High Commission for Refugees agrees. Some of these refugees, fleeing Semenivka, in Sloviansk, have detailed Kiev's use of N-17, an even deadlier version of white phosphorus.
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Aug 8, 2014, 06:32 AM (1 replies)