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unhappycamper

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Member since: Wed Mar 16, 2005, 10:12 AM
Number of posts: 60,364

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Iraq War Anniversary: Birth Defects And Cancer Rates At Devastating High In Basra And Fallujah (VIDE

***NOTE: DISTURBING VIDEO AT LINK***

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/20/iraq-war-anniversary-birth-defects-cancer_n_2917701.html

Iraq War Anniversary: Birth Defects And Cancer Rates At Devastating High In Basra And Fallujah (VIDEO)
The Huffington Post
By Eline Gordts Posted: 03/20/2013 5:50 pm EDT

Ten years after the start of the U.S. invasion in Iraq, doctors in some of the Middle Eastern nation's cities are witnessing an abnormally high number of cases of cancer and birth defects. Scientists suspect the rise is tied to the use of depleted uranium and white phosphorus in military assaults.

On the war's ten-year anniversary, Democracy Now! spoke with Dahr Jamail, an Al Jazeera reporter who recently returned from Iraq. Jamail recounts meeting Dr. Samira Alani, a doctor in the city of Fallujah focusing on the issue of birth defects.

She said it's common now in Fallujah for newborns to come out with massive multiple systemic defects, immune problems, massive central nervous system problems, massive heart problems, skeletal disorders, babies being born with two heads, babies being born with half of their internal organs outside of their bodies, cyclops babies literally with one eye -- really, really, really horrific nightmarish types of birth defects.

Jamail says that the current rate of birth defects for the city of Fallujah has surpassed those of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the nuclear attacks at the end of World War II.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Mar 21, 2013, 06:19 AM (0 replies)

Obama Backs Unproven Missile Defense for Uncertain Threat

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-19/obama-backs-unproven-missile-defense-for-uncertain-threat.html



U.S. soldiers work on a Patriot missile system at a Turkish military base in Gaziantep on February 5, 2013.

Obama Backs Unproven Missile Defense for Uncertain Threat
By Gopal Ratnam & Tony Capaccio - 2013-03-19T18:25:42Z

The Obama administration’s decision to shift $1 billion to a missile-defense system in the U.S. is raising questions about the still-unproven missile shield’s effectiveness and the threats posed by North Korea and Iran.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said March 15 that the Pentagon would add 14 land-based interceptors in Alaska in response to threats from North Korea. To pay for that move and develop an advanced warhead, about $1 billion would be shifted from efforts to develop a missile shield in Poland and Romania.

The money would go toward expanding the current arsenal of 30 interceptors the Pentagon has fielded as part of its Ground- Based Midcourse Defense system, which is designed to shoot down long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles. The system’s poor test record and history of technical malfunctions have clouded whether it can reliably stop long-range missiles such as the ones that North Korea and Iran are suspected of developing.

At best, the announcement may be a symbolic one to reassure U.S. allies South Korea and Japan that President Barack Obama takes saber-rattling by North Korea seriously, as well as to win some Republican support at home, said Joseph Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, a San Francisco-based security research policy group.



unhappycamper comment: That one billion dollars is for fourteen, count 'em, 14 Standard missiles. Too bad about your 'entitlements'.
Posted by unhappycamper | Wed Mar 20, 2013, 06:57 AM (3 replies)

Depleted Uranium Contamination is Still Spreading in Iraq

http://truth-out.org/news/item/15168-depleted-uranium-contamination-is-still-spreading-in-iraq



Depleted Uranium Contamination is Still Spreading in Iraq
Tuesday, 19 March 2013 13:45
By Mike Ludwig, Truthout | Report

In 2012, European researchers visited a scrap metal site in Al Zubayr, an area near Basrah in southern Iraq. A local police officer told them that the site had at one time held military scrap metal from the bloody battles waged during the American invasion. A local guard told the researchers that children had been seen playing on the scrap during that time, and both adults and children had worked disassembling the military leftovers. At one point, the guard said, members of an international organization with equipment and white suits showed up, told guards that the site was very dangerous and "quickly ran off."

The researchers, working with the Dutch peace group IKV Pax Christi, with funding from the Norwegian government, visited areas in Iraq where depleted uranium contamination had been reported by Iraqis and international observers. Depleted uranium is a chemically toxic and radioactive heavy metal produced as a waste product of the nuclear power industry. Depleted uranium was used in armor-piercing munitions fired by US and Coalition forces during both the 2003 invasion and the 1991 Gulf war in Iraq.

There are between 300 and 365 sites where depleted uranium contamination was identified by Iraqi authorities the years following the 2003 US invasion, with an estimated cleanup cost of $30 million to $45 million, according to a report recently released by IKV Pax Christi. Iraqi authorities are currently cleaning up the sites, mostly located in the Basrah region, and 30 to 35 sites still need to be decontaminated.

The health impacts of depleted uranium have been subject to international debate since the 1991 Gulf war in Iraq, and the US and British governments have disputed allegations that their weapons have poisoned soldiers and civilians and caused increased rates of cancer and birth defects. Depleted uranium is 40 percent less radioactive than uranium in its natural form, but the heavy metal is toxic and can potentially cause kidney damage, according to the US Department of Defense.



unhappycamper comment: Pictures of children born in Basra with birth defects --> http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1280&bih=590&q=basra+birth+defects&oq=basra+birth+defects&gs_l=img.3..0i24.1849.7464.0.8142.19.9.0.10.10.0.209.1119.2j6j1.9.0...0.0...1ac.1.7.img.T8up5Z9yobk

Posted by unhappycamper | Wed Mar 20, 2013, 06:39 AM (2 replies)

JLENS: Blimp Battle Continues With Letter From Rep. Robert Andrews

http://defense.aol.com/2013/03/18/jlens-blimp-battle-continues-with-letter-from-rep-robert-andre/

JLENS: Blimp Battle Continues With Letter From Rep. Robert Andrews

WASHINGTON: New Jersey Congressman Robert Andrews fired off a letter to the Army on March 12th urging the service to keep funding the JLENS radar blimp in 2014. (Click "download this document" at left to see the letter). Such missives are a standard munition in exchanges between the Pentagon and Capitol Hill, but it's remarkable to see anyone able to think as far ahead as next fiscal year -- which begins in October -- when the spending bill for this year -- already halfway over -- is still struggling towards a Senate vote.

JLENS -- short for the jawbreaking moniker Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor -- is an Army-managed missile defense program to put sophisticated radars on aerostats (the fancy name for blimps) that can then provide targeting data via electronic networks to anti-missile systems on ships or on the ground. It's the last survivor of a series of cancelled aerostat programs, and the one that seems to have performed the best. In recent tests, the existing pair of JLENS blimps, which work together as a single "orbit," have helped Navy Aegis ships shoot down mock cruise missiles and the Army track ballistic missile launches. But the military has stopped JLENS procurement at those two aerostats, with further procurement on hold pending an operational test at the Army's Aberdeen Proving Ground, currently expected in fall 2014.

The spending bill now moving through Congress includes $159.9 million for JLENS. That's some $30 million less than the administration requested, but only because the prep work for the test has been delayed until next fiscal year. That Presidential budget request, for FY 2014, would normally have been made public weeks ago, but with the ongoing uncertainty over sequestration and continuing resolutions, the administration is holding off.




unhappycamper comment: Rep. Andrews' letter --> http://hss-prod.hss.aol.com/hss/storage/industry/e3cc2015a42cbfc72a553c909087ffd7/Rep.%20Andrews%20letter%20to%20Sec%20McHugh%20re%20JLENS%203-12-13.pdf
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Mar 19, 2013, 09:57 AM (0 replies)

CJCS Gen. Dempsey Signals Strategy Change; Cites Sequestration, Decline Of State Power, Technology S

http://defense.aol.com/2013/03/18/cjcs-gen-dempsey-signals-strategy-change-touts-decline-of-stat/



CJCS Gen. Dempsey Signals Strategy Change; Cites Sequestration, Decline Of State Power, Technology Spread
By Colin Clark
Published: March 18, 2013

WASHINGTON: A meeting last Wednesday between the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and his five colleagues from the services and the National Guard, followed by a Thursday meeting between CJCS Gen. Martin Dempsey and the new defense secretary, Chuck Hagel. They discussed our national military strategy.

The signs are all there to indicate an important -- if not major -- shift in our strategy in light of sequestration. And now we have these comments from Dempsey today at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

As I stand here, I don't yet know how much our defense strategy will change, but I predict it will. We'll need to relook our assumptions. We'll need to adjust our ambitions to match our abilities. That means doing less, but not doing it less well.

"Last week, Secretary Hagel directed senior leaders to conduct a review to examine the choices that underlie the Department of Defense's strategy, force posture, investments, and institutional management - including all past assumptions, systems, and practices. This Strategic Choices and Management Review will define the major decisions that must be made in the decade ahead to preserve and adapt our defense strategy, our force, and our institutions under a range of future budgetary scenarios," Little said.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Mar 19, 2013, 09:53 AM (1 replies)

Love Letters To Robots: Why Marines Extended K-MAX In Afghanistan (EXCLUSIVE)

http://defense.aol.com/2013/03/18/love-letters-to-robots-why-marines-extended-k-max-in-afghanista/



Love Letters To Robots: Why Marines Extended K-MAX In Afghanistan (EXCLUSIVE)
By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.
Published: March 18, 2013

Half the US forces in Afghanistan may be coming home, but K-MAX, the little unmanned helicopter, will stay until the end. A pair of the remote-controlled cargo choppers arrived in Afghanistan in late 2011 for what was billed as a short-term experiment, but the Marines liked it so much that the trial deployment was repeatedly extended, and now the military has confirmed it will keep them on "indefinitely." (The extension was first reported yesterday by Reuters). Three love letters to the remote-controlled cargo chopper from military officers, obtained exclusively by AOL Defense, show why.

Technologically, K-MAX is just plain neat. It's a small one-man chopper built by Kaman Aerospace Corp. – originally for logging operations, where it airlifted tree trunks out of tight areas . It was converted to a remotely piloted vehicle by Lockheed Martin. Tactically, K-MAX allows delivery of supplies to forward outposts by air, without risking human pilots or, worse yet, sending ground convoys through the gauntlet of Taliban ambushes and roadside bombs.


Half the US forces in Afghanistan may be coming home, but K-MAX, the little unmanned helicopter, will stay until the end. A pair of the remote-controlled cargo choppers arrived in Afghanistan in late 2011 for what was billed as a short-term experiment, but the Marines liked it so much that the trial deployment was repeatedly extended, and now the military has confirmed it will keep them on "indefinitely." (The extension was first reported yesterday by Reuters). Three love letters to the remote-controlled cargo chopper from military officers, obtained exclusively by AOL Defense, show why.

Technologically, K-MAX is just plain neat. It's a small one-man chopper built by Kaman Aerospace Corp. – originally for logging operations, where it airlifted tree trunks out of tight areas . It was converted to a remotely piloted vehicle by Lockheed Martin. Tactically, K-MAX allows delivery of supplies to forward outposts by air, without risking human pilots or, worse yet, sending ground convoys through the gauntlet of Taliban ambushes and roadside bombs.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Mar 19, 2013, 09:50 AM (0 replies)

DoD report: Value of F-35 student training is limited (DOCUMENT)

http://www.crestviewbulletin.com/military/dod-report-value-of-f-35-student-training-is-limited-document-1.113176

DoD report: Value of F-35 student training is limited (DOCUMENT)
By LAUREN SAGE REINLIE / Northwest Florida Daily News
Published: Monday, March 18, 2013 at 12:35 PM.

A recent Defense Department analysis has reported that there is limited use to training students on the F-35 fighter jet because it is still in development and substantially limited in capability.

Student pilots officially began training at Eglin Air Force base this year.

The report provides a snapshot of what the military’s newest and most-expensive fighter jet is capable of — but mostly what it’s not — 12 years after work on the program began. It also points to several potential safety and procedural issues with the aircraft, including lack of radar capability and deficiencies in the oft-lauded and highly expensive helmet-mounted visual displays.

~snip~

The Defense Department’s Department of Testing and Evaluation had recommended the Air Force delay its evaluation of the training program until the F-35 possesses combat capability, the DoD report states. The Air Force went ahead with it and the Testing and Evaluation Department was tasked with reviewing its findings for its recent analysis, which was released in February.

It shows a snapshot of a program still in its infancy, only one-third of the way through development, the report states.



unhappycamper comment: And the report --> http://prod-admin1.halifax.atex.cniweb.net:8080/polopoly_fs/1.112293.1363386014!/menu/standard/file/17%20F-35.pdf
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Mar 19, 2013, 09:38 AM (0 replies)

Costs of U.S. wars linger for over 100 years

http://www.independentmail.com/news/2013/mar/19/costs-us-wars-linger-over-100-years/



Costs of U.S. wars linger for over 100 years
Mike Baker, Associated Press
Posted March 19, 2013 at 5:41 a.m., updated March 19, 2013 at 6:42 a.m.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — If history is any judge, the U.S. government will be paying for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars for the next century as service members and their families grapple with the sacrifices of combat.

An Associated Press analysis of federal payment records found that the government is still making monthly payments to relatives of Civil War veterans — 148 years after the conflict ended.

At the 10 year anniversary of the start of the Iraq war, more than $40 billion a year are going to compensate veterans and survivors from the Spanish-American War from 1898, World War I and II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the two Iraq campaigns and the Afghanistan conflict. And those costs are rising rapidly.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray said such expenses should remind the nation about war's long-lasting financial toll.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Mar 19, 2013, 09:27 AM (2 replies)

Budget Cuts May Affect Plans To Repair Submarine “Miami”

http://connecticut.cbslocal.com/2013/03/18/budget-cuts-may-affect-plans-to-repair-submarine-miami/



Budget Cuts May Affect Plans To Repair Submarine “Miami”
By DAVID SHARP, Associated Press
March 18, 2013 6:11 PM

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) _ The Navy’s commitment to repairing a nuclear submarine severely damaged by an arsonist last spring is wavering under the realities of mandatory budget cuts, officials say.

The Navy announced last summer that it intended to repair the USS Miami at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard with a goal of returning it to service in 2015. The cost of repairing the vessel would be about $450 million, which the Navy said would be cost-effective because the 22-year-old submarine could serve another 10 years.

But the repair has been postponed and the Navy is now rethinking its repair budget because of the mandatory cuts triggered by federal law this month.

“The Navy needs every submarine in our inventory. Restoring Miami remains a high priority. But it necessarily must compete with other high naval priorities during this period of restricted budgets,” said Navy Rear Adm. Rick Breckenridge, commander of Submarine Group 2 in Groton, Conn.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Mar 19, 2013, 07:34 AM (1 replies)

US says hunger strike grows to 21 at Guantanamo

http://www.myfoxla.com/story/21670180/us-says-hunger-strike-grows-to-21-at-guantanamo

US says hunger strike grows to 21 at Guantanamo
Posted: Monday, March 18, 2013 10:58 AM EST Updated: Monday, March 18, 2013 6:08 PM EST
By BEN FOX
Associated Press

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - A hunger strike at the Guantanamo Bay prison has grown and now involves at least 21 men, a U.S. military official said Monday while denying reports trickling out from prisoners through lawyers that there is a more widespread protest and lives are in danger.

No prisoner faces any immediate health threat from the strike, though two have been admitted to the prison medical clinic because of dehydration, said Navy Capt. Robert Durand, a spokesman for the detention center at the U.S. base in Cuba.

In recent weeks, as lawyers returned from Guantanamo with accounts of clients weak from hunger and an angry standoff with guards, the military had said no more than a handful of prisoners met the definition of being on hunger strike, which includes missing nine consecutive meals.

That figure rose to 14 on Friday, and then grew by seven over the weekend. It has become the largest and most sustained protest at Guantanamo in several years, but Durand insisted there is no evidence to support reports of a strike involving most of the 166 men held there.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Mar 19, 2013, 07:29 AM (0 replies)
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