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Member since: Wed Mar 16, 2005, 11:12 AM
Number of posts: 60,364

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San Diego's drone industry doubles in size


The MQ-9 Reaper was developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems and can be used as a hunter-killer as well as a tool for intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance.

San Diego's drone industry doubles in size
Written by Gary Robbins
6:32 a.m., Oct. 31, 2012 Updated 12:45 p.m.

The size of San Diego County’s unmanned aerial vehicle industry doubled over the past five years and could double again as UAVs are increasingly used for everything from spying on suspected terrorists abroad to monitoring the U.S.-Mexico border, says a National University System report released Wednesday.

The industry, which is centered in North County, generated at least $1.3 billion locally in 2011 and directly and indirectly supported 7,135 jobs. The report says the true impact could be far higher due to classified programs that are not included in public records.

Most of the business can be tied to two defense giants — Northrop Grumman of Rancho Bernardo, which specializes in Global Hawk UAVs, and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems of Poway, which is best-known for Predators.

Both companies develop a variety of the so-called drones, primarily for use outside the U.S. by the military and government. The UAVs were extensively used in the Iraq war, and are being used in the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan. But the UAVs may soon also be used domestically by law enforcement and other agencies, a move that is opposed by many privacy advocates.
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Nov 9, 2012, 08:36 AM (0 replies)

CNN Claims Iran Shot at a US Drone, Revealing the News Network's Mindset


The $200+ million dollar RQ-170 Sentinel drone

CNN Claims Iran Shot at a US Drone, Revealing the News Network's Mindset
by Glenn Greenwald
Published on Thursday, November 8, 2012 by the Guardian/UK

Barbara Starr, CNN's Pentagon reporter (more accurately known as: the Pentagon's reporter at CNN), has an exciting exclusive today. Exclusively relying upon "three senior officials" in the Obama administration (all anonymous, needless to say), she claims that "two Iranian Su-25 fighter jets fired on an unarmed US Air Force Predator drone in the Persian Gulf last week," while "the drone was in international airspace east of Kuwait . . . engaged in routine maritime surveillance." The drone was not hit, but, says CNN, "the incident raises fresh concerns within the Obama administration about Iranian military aggression in crucial Gulf oil shipping lanes."

First things first: let us pause for a moment to extend our thoughts and prayers to this US drone. Although it was not physically injured, being shot at by the Iranians - while it was doing nothing other than peacefully minding its own business - must have been a very traumatic experience. I think I speak on behalf of everyone, regardless of political views, when I say that we all wish this brave hero a speedy recovery and hope it is back in full health soon, protecting our freedom.

The CNN report on this incident is revealing indeed. Every paragraph - literally - contains nothing but mindless summaries of the claims of US government officials. There is not an iota of skepticism about any of the assertions, including how this incident happened, what the drone was doing at the time, or where it took place. It is pure US government press release - literally; I defy anyone to identify any differences if the US government had issued its own press release directly rather than issuing it masquerading as a leaked CNN report.

Most notably, CNN does not even bother with the pretense of trying to include the claims of the Iranian government about what happened. There is no indication that the self-described news outlet even made an effort to contact Tehran to obtain their rendition of these events or even confirmation that it occurred. It simply regurgitates the accusations of anonymous US officials that Iran, with no provocation, out of the blue decided to shoot at a US drone in international airspace. (Although CNN does not mention it, last December Iran shot down a US drone which, it claims (and the US does not deny) was in Iranian air space).
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Nov 9, 2012, 08:04 AM (6 replies)

Can Afghan Troops Hold the Line as US Withdraws, and Will US Seek to Stay in Central Asia?


Can Afghan Troops Hold the Line as US Withdraws, and Will US Seek to Stay in Central Asia?
Posted on 11/09/2012 by Juan

Aljazeera English does what so few US networks are bothering to do: It sends a correspondent to cover the take-over of forward operating bases in Afghanistan by the Afghanistan National Army from US forces, who plan to leave in late 2014. The report and the Afghan commander in Helmand are frank about the challenges of taking on the Taliban there.

The imminent US and NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan is creating opportunities for neighboring Central Asian countries to off themselves as transit routes for the thousands of departing soldiers, and perhaps to counter continued Russian influence by offering secure bases to the US.

The USG Open Source Center translates an item from a Tajikistan newspaper:

“On 18 October Imruz News reports that the United States plans to offer $500 million to Central Asian states that allow NATO troops from Afghanistan to transit their territory. The article says that Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan will offer use of their roads and railroads to transfer non-military cargo. Some experts say Uzbekistan is trying to “detach” itself completely from Russia to ensure that it remains the primary transfer route for troops from Afghanistan, an idea the article says concurs with 2009 predictions by US diplomats that came to light through Wikileaks that Uzbekistan’s president would want to use the transfer of NATO troops as an opportunity to reassert its independence from Russia. The article says the documents also show that Uzbekistani officials offered to build a US air base in Tirmiz. According to the article, corruption is one of the key concerns about the planned US funding, pointing out that Transparency International ranked Kazakhstan 120th on its 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index, Tajikistan 152nd, and Uzbekistan 177th, so there is doubt that the money will go to the population. The article questions how much money Tajikistan will receive because US officials have made it clear that more than 50% of the money will go to Uzbekistan.
(Dushanbe Imruz News in Tajik — Tajikistan’s only daily newspaper; owned by Orien-Media group; current chief editor is Isfandiyori Nazar who replaced Rajabi Mirzo in 2012) Turkmenistan.

unhappycamper comment: If the United States is under severe budget restraints, why the fuck do we continue to pour $2 billion dollars a week down this shithole? Heckova job, dubya.
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Nov 9, 2012, 07:16 AM (1 replies)

For Afghan troops, donkeys are the new helicopters


For Afghan troops, donkeys are the new helicopters
By Kevin Sieff, Published: November 8

PECH VALLEY, Afghanistan — Before U.S. forces arrived here in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan, the instruments of war were rudimentary things: mud-brick outposts and aging Kalashnikovs. The American invasion brought with it a shiny arsenal of 21st-century technology, including advanced helicopters to navigate the treacherous landscape.

But as the U.S. military drawdown continues, the sky is emptying of the foreign aircraft that have kept remote outposts stocked with food, water and weaponry. Afghan troops are being handed the outposts, but not the sleek helicopters that have soared overhead, delivering supplies.

Afghans searching for a substitute have found an ancient solution: the plodding, dutiful animals that have navigated these high and frigid mountain passes for centuries.

“Donkeys are the Afghan helicopter,” said Col. Abdul Nasseeri, an Afghan battalion commander here in Konar province.
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Nov 9, 2012, 06:49 AM (1 replies)

Napalm in the Morning (Drones in the Afternoon): The Smell of Victory Stirs Progressives to Action


Napalm in the Morning (Drones in the Afternoon): The Smell of Victory Stirs Progressives to Action
By Chris Floyd
OpEdNews Op Eds 11/7/2012 at 16:12:51

Well, you got your lesser evil. Now all we can do is hope that he will do less evil than he did in his first term. Bitter experience, and a nodding acquaintance with history -- and human nature -- mitigate mightily against such a hope, but we are where we are, and that's all we've got.

In any case, I am eagerly looking forward to seeing how all our super-savvy lesser-evilist progressives "hold Obama's feet to the fire" in the months to come, as they promised so solemnly to do. You remember, don't you? How they savagely condemned anyone who so much as thought about not supporting Obama, while pledging to unleash their righteous rage at his crimes and follies -- just as soon as he was safely returned to the White House. I'm sure they'll come down hard on him. Why, I can see it all now.....

"OK, now the inauguration's over, let's get to work. First of all, these drone attacks are criminal atrocities killing scores of innocent people. We can organize a protest march to--"

Super-savvy prog: "Hush your mouth! We can't undermine the president right now. We've got to help the Democrats get control of the House in 2014! Or do you want the evil Rethuglicans to keep blocking everything? Wait until after the mid-term elections, then we'll put the pressure on."
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Nov 8, 2012, 12:16 PM (0 replies)

Hurricane Sandy: beware of America's disaster capitalists


Destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy in Breezy Point, New York.

Hurricane Sandy: beware of America's disaster capitalists
By Naomi Klein (about the author) Permalink
OpEdNews Op Eds 11/7/2012 at 21:23:53

Less than three days after Sandy made landfall on the east coast of the United States, Iain Murray of the Competitive Enterprise Institute blamed New Yorkers' resistance to Big Box stores for the misery they were about to endure. Writing on Forbes.com, he explained that the city's refusal to embrace Walmart will likely make the recovery much harder: "Mom-and-pop stores simply can't do what big stores can in these circumstances," he wrote. He also warned that if the pace of reconstruction turned out to be sluggish (as it so often is) then "pro-union rules such as the Davis-Bacon Act" would be to blame, a reference to the statute that requires workers on public works projects to be paid not the minimum wage, but the prevailing wage in the region.

The same day, Frank Rapoport, a lawyer representing several billion-dollar construction and real estate contractors, jumped in to suggest that many of those public works projects shouldn't be public at all. Instead, cash-strapped governments should turn to public private partnerships, known as "P3s" in the US. That means roads, bridges and tunnels being rebuilt by private companies, which, for instance, could install tolls and keep the profits. These deals aren't legal in New York or New Jersey, but Rapoport believes that can change. "There were some bridges that were washed out in New Jersey that need structural replacement, and it's going to be very expensive," he told the Nation. "And so the government may well not have the money to build it the right way. And that's when you turn to a P3."

The prize for shameless disaster capitalism, however, surely goes to rightwing economist Russell S. Sobel, writing in a New York Times online forum. Sobel suggested that, in hard-hit areas, Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) should create "free-trade zones -- in which all normal regulations, licensing and taxes [are] suspended." This corporate free-for-all would, apparently, "better provide the goods and services victims need."

Yes, that's right: this catastrophe, very likely created by climate change -- a crisis born of the colossal regulatory failure to prevent corporations from treating the atmosphere as their open sewer -- is just one more opportunity for further deregulation. And the fact that this storm has demonstrated that poor and working-class people are far more vulnerable to the climate crisis shows that this is clearly the right moment to strip those people of what few labor protections they have left, as well as to privatize the meagre public services available to them. Most of all, when faced with an extraordinarily costly crisis born of corporate greed, hand out tax holidays to corporations.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Nov 8, 2012, 12:12 PM (0 replies)

Romney’s F-22 dreams died Tuesday


Romney’s F-22 dreams died Tuesday
by Mike Hoffman on November 7, 2012


The cost to reopen the production line would come in addition to the per aircraft price tag to manufacture each jet. That per aircraft cost is harder to decipher. When factoring in development and manufacturing, the price tag per jet totaled the U.S. more than $370 million. However, the flyaway cost — the cost of manufacturing one jet — equaled $137 million per jet.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Nov 8, 2012, 11:28 AM (0 replies)

Boeing to cut 30% of defense executives


Boeing to cut 30% of defense executives
November 07, 2012|By Greg Karp | Tribune staff reporter

Chicago-based Boeing Co. on Wednesday announced a major restructuring of its defense division that will cut 30 percent of executives from 2010 levels and calls for future cuts to middle-manager ranks.

The job cuts are "extremely unlikely" to affect executives at Boeing's headquarters in downtown Chicago because they are coming from firm's defense division, not corporate operations, Boeing spokesman Todd Blecher said.

Despite the timing, Wednesday's announcement had nothing to do with the U.S. presidential election, Blecher said.

"I know what it looks like, but I can tell you from having been involved in this that I never heard anybody deliberately plan around the election," he said.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Nov 8, 2012, 11:11 AM (0 replies)

Canada: Thanks For The Memories – Dan “Mr. F-35" Ross To Retire


Thanks For The Memories – Dan “Mr. F-35″ Ross To Retire
November 6, 2012. 12:36 am
By David Pugliese

Defence Watch has received a number of comments from defence industry reps about Mr. Ross’s coming retirement….but none of them are printable in a family newspaper.

Strangely, the Defence Department didn’t rush out to produce any heartfelt goodbyes either to “Mr. F-35.”

Asked to comment, the DND couldn’t even produce a real human being to wax poetic about Mr. Ross. Instead, it sent Defence Watch a brief email statement courtesy of the ADM Public Affairs robo-emailer:

“The Department greatly appreciates Mr. Ross for all of his hard work and dedication to the Canadian Forces and the Department of National Defence, and wishes him success in any future endeavours.”
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Nov 8, 2012, 10:54 AM (0 replies)

F-35: Gets better over time?


F-35: Gets better over time?
Updated 4 hour(s) ago

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, supposed to come into service in 2008, cost less than current fighters and do everything under the sun, hasn't lived up to expectations, to say the least. It's gone way overbudget and there are problems with the technology.

However, Wired's Danger Room had a post Tuesday that was amazing. Over time, wear and tear on the plane will make it better, not worse. Really? Check out this quote from a Lockheed Veep:

In the latest issue of Air Force magazine, O’Bryan insisted the single-engine JSF, which is projected to cost $1 trillion to develop, buy and maintain, is fundamentally different than its predecessors. “The surface material smooths out over time, slightly reducing the F-35’s original radar signature, according to the Lockheed Martin official,” John Tirpak wrote.

Find that hard to believe given the wear and tear on everything else causes maintenance issues. I am not a plane guy but his is hard to believe. Anyone out there with more knowledge care to weight in on it?
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Nov 8, 2012, 10:49 AM (1 replies)
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