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unhappycamper's Journal
unhappycamper's Journal
June 29, 2013

Lawyer for Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair argues for fair trial


Lawyer for Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair argues for fair trial
By Paul Woolverton
Published: 08:03 AM, Thu Jun 27, 2013

The president, members of Congress and high-ranking defense officials have ensured that Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair can't get a fair court-martial in his sexual assault case, one of his lawyers argued to a military judge Wednesday.

The ongoing "white-hot" political climate surrounding sexual misconduct in the military will put intense pressure on Sinclair's jury to find him guilty, defense lawyer Richard Scheff said during a pre-trial hearing at Fort Bragg. The jury will consist entirely of generals whose jobs and career advancement are in the hands of the president and others who have been vocal on the subject, Scheff said.

Sinclair's court-martial is scheduled for July 16. He is accused of forcing an Army captain, with whom he admits an adulterous affair, to twice perform oral sex on him. He also faces additional accusations of misconduct involving other women, and several other charges.

A conviction could end Sinclair's career with a prison sentence.
June 29, 2013

Military faults guards in Guantánamo captive's suicide by overdose


Military faults guards in Guantánamo captive's suicide by overdose
Posted on Friday, 06.28.13

A U.S. military investigation found Guantánamo troops didn’t follow their own rules, allowing a captive to take a fatal overdose of an anti-psychotic drug a day after he was moved into a disciplinary cell from the detention center’s psychiatric ward.

A 79-page report, released Friday under the Freedom of Information Act, showed the “standard operating procedures,” or SOP, governing the U.S. Army Military Police required soldiers to regularly check on captives kept in solitary cells at Camp 5, Guantánamo’s maximum-security lockup.

Troops didn’t do it for at least two shift changes before Yemeni captive Adnan Latif was discovered dead on the floor of his Camp 5 cell at the U.S. Navy base in southeast Cuba on Sept. 8, 2012.

Rather than check on him, Guantánamo troops thought they were letting him sleep for about 15 hours — through a 4 a.m. medication call, the 4:55 a.m. pre-dawn prayer, breakfast, lunch, offers of two hours in a prison recreation yard and the noon call to prayer.
June 28, 2013

Pentagon propaganda efforts continue


Pentagon propaganda efforts continue
Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY 12:13 p.m. EDT
June 27, 2013

The Defense Department wants to continue working with contractors to pump propaganda into Afghanistan despite a recent Government Accountability Office report that shows the programs are inadequately tracked, their impact is unclear, and the military doesn't know if it is targeting the right foreign audiences.

The military deems the capability so integral to its effort in Afghanistan that it has extended the contract of the Leonie Group, its top private producer of propaganda, according to Air Force Lt. Col. Damien Pickart, a Pentagon spokesman.

The company's co-owner, Camille Chidiac, was suspended for a time last year for admitting that he launched an online smear campaign against USA TODAY. The campaign, which Chidiac said in a letter to the Army, was started by public relations firm he had hired and wasn't his fault. The campaign began after the paper learned that Chidiac and his sister, Rema Dupont, the company's co-owner, owed the federal government $4 million in back taxes.


In any event, the Pentagon is taking bids until July 19 for its propaganda enterprise in Afghanistan, known in miltiary-ese as, Military Information Support Operations (MISO).
June 28, 2013

Navy Should Delay Next Carrier Amid Troubles, GAO Says


Artist's pic of this $40 billion dollar wonda.

Navy Should Delay Next Carrier Amid Troubles, GAO Says
By Tony Capaccio - 2013-06-27T21:29:57Z

The U.S. Navy should delay the award of a multibillion-dollar contract to Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. (HII) to build the second aircraft carrier in a new class as the first one faces failings from its radar to the gear that launches planes, congressional investigators said.

“Technical, design and construction challenges” with the first carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford, have caused “significant cost increases and reduce the likelihood that a fully functional ship will be delivered on time,” the Government Accountability Office said in a draft report obtained by Bloomberg News.

The Ford, already the most expensive warship ever built, is projected to cost $12.8 billion, 22 percent more than estimated five years ago. The report raises questions about the future of U.S. seapower in a time of reduced defense budgets and about whether new carriers are affordable as they assume greater importance in the Pentagon’s strategy to project U.S. power in the Asia-Pacific region.

Delays and “reliability deficiencies” with the flattop’s new dual-mission radar, electromagnetic launch system and arresting gear for aircraft mean that the Ford “will likely face operational limitations that extend past commissioning” in March 2016 and “into initial deployments,” the agency said.
June 28, 2013

Watchdog warns of waste in Afghan aircraft buy


Watchdog warns of waste in Afghan aircraft buy
Posted: Friday, June 28, 2013 12:37 AM EST Updated: Friday, June 28, 2013 12:37 AM EST
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Pentagon is spending more than three-quarters of a billion dollars to buy Russian-made helicopters and other aircraft for an Afghan aviation unit that lacks the troops and expertise to operate and maintain the equipment, a government watchdog warned.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said in a report Friday these shortcomings mean the helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft destined for the Afghan Special Mission Wing "could be left sitting on runways in Afghanistan, rather than supporting critical missions, resulting in waste of U.S. funds." The report recommended putting the purchases on hold until the Afghans develop the capacity to support the aircraft.

The findings are sure to reverberate on Capitol Hill, where there is stiff opposition to the purchase of the Mi-17 helicopters from Rosoboronexport, the state-run Russian arms exporter that is a top weapons supplier to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Pentagon announced June 17 that Rosoboronexport had been awarded a $554 million contract for 30 Mi-17s to be used by the Special Mission Wing, a move that came just days after the House approved a 2014 defense policy bill that included a prohibition on contracts with the Russian agency. The Senate Armed Services Committee included a similar ban in its version of the bill.
June 28, 2013

Top Ten Ways the Beltway Press will treat Gen. Cartwright differently from Snowden


Top Ten Ways the Beltway Press will treat Gen. Cartwright differently from Snowden
Posted on 06/28/2013 by Juan Cole

NBC reports that Gen. James “Hoss” Cartwright is under investigation as the source for David Sanger’s 2012 New York Times article revealing that the United States is behind the Stuxnet computer virus, which was used to infect computers at Iran’s Natanz nuclear enrichment facilities and at the Bushehr nuclear energy plants and delay their going hot.

High government officials in Washington routinely leak classified information, as part of turf battles inside the government. Cartwright may have been using Sanger to ensure that Stuxnet was not wholly abandoned (it was his baby). That such leaks are so routine, and are part of Washington’s way of doing business, is what makes the harsh espionage charges against people like Edward Snowden so hypocritical. He who is without leaks should cast the first stone.

The Cartwright story (and remember that he is only a suspect) intersects with Edward Snowden’s revelations about National Security Administration spying in many ways. It seems likely that suspicion is now falling on Cartwright because the NSA knows David Sanger’s phone number and has been looking at everyone he talked to on the phone in the months leading up to his article. We know that the NSA has been repeatedly requesting massive amounts of US phone information and storing it for easy search. Since Sanger’s article is proof that an illegal act was committed, as Obama said at the time, getting a FISA warrant to go through Sanger’s already-stored records would have been child’s play. When the PATRIOT Act was proposed, the FBI promised it would be used only for counter-terrorism. But that promise has for many years rung hollow.

While Osama Ben Laden knew not to use the phone during the last seven years of his life, American reporters and generals thought they were safe. PRISM did not catch Ben Laden because he went off the communications grid, and now anyone who wants to do anything the Federal government considers illicit had better do the same. This simple observation demonstrates that the Obama/ NSA cover story, that they are collecting all these phone records to fight terrorism, makes no sense. The data is most likely to be used against American non-terrorists
June 27, 2013

Marines Will Sacrifice Everything But ACV & Readiness To Sequester; Marine Personnel Carrier Dropped


Marines Will Sacrifice Everything But ACV & Readiness To Sequester; Marine Personnel Carrier Dropped: Gen. Amos
By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on June 26, 2013 at 5:38 PM

WASHINGTON: Fewer F-35B Joint Strike Fighters, MV-22 Ospreys, AH-1 Cobras, and UH-1 Hueys. No Marine Personnel Carrier. Maybe no Joint Light Tactical Vehicle to replace the Humvee. 8,000 fewer Marines on active duty. The Marine Commandant has put all that on the table as part of his proposal to the Defense Secretary’s Strategic Choices and Management Review. If sequester goes into effect in its full 10-year, $500 billion glory – and all signs so far are it will – then Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos stands ready to sacrifice almost everything except the Amphibious Combat Vehicle and combat readiness.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel hasn’t made his final decisions, Gen. Amos emphasized at a Defense Writers’ Group breakfast this morning. But Amos made clear his preferences. A select and secretive team on Amos’s staff has come up with its own plan to cut the Marine Corps budget by 10 percent – reflecting full sequester – and submitted it to Hagel to be considered as part of the SCMR.

“I don’t want this to happen,” Amos said, but if it has to, “tell me what my budget’s going to be; I’ll build the best Marine Corps that America can afford.”

“I don’t want to get out ahead of my secretary because there’ve been no final decisions made,” Amos said when asked for details, but the butcher’s bill for full sequestration will definitely cost the Marines Corps “infantry battalions… logistics battalions…. fixed-wing squadrons … (some) F-35s… some (AH-1) Cobras and (UH-1) Hueys… some MV-22s.”
June 27, 2013

Foreign Arms Sales, Sequestration And The Future of Aerospace Companies


Foreign Arms Sales, Sequestration And The Future of Aerospace Companies
By Colin Clark on June 24, 2013 at 5:27 PM

PARIS: Every American defense company here wants to sell more weapons to foreign buyers in the Middle East and in Asia as they seek to compensate for flat or declining sales in the United States. Every European defense company wants to sell more weapons to foreign buyers in the Middle East and in Asia as they seek to compensate for flat or declining sales to the United States and to their own governments.

Someone is going to lose in those competitions between EADS, Thales, MBDA, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and others. Add to this mix the fact that American companies also confront the painful uncertainty caused by the mandatory budget cuts known as sequestration. The major American companies have conducted detailed reviews of the systems they sell to the US government to assess the likely impact over the next two to three years. Dan Crowley, president of Raytheon’s IDS unit, told me his company — intent on boosting its foreign sales to 30 percent of the company’s total from its current 25 percent — has combed through all its programs to estimate the impact of both sequestration and the coming drawdown of US forces from Afghanistan.

Crowley said they estimate the impact at up to 8 percent of domestic sales. The good news is that international sales “partially offset the effects of sequestration.” The bad news is they partially offset those cuts. And the competition will only increase as the French, German, British and Italian defense budgets shrink over the next few years. The only significant defense budget in Europe that is increasing is that of Poland, as it warily watches Vlad Putin and the thuggish Russia he presides over.

Crowley and a host of other defense industry leaders I spoke with here all say the Pentagon’s senior acquisition officials — Ash Carter, deputy defense secretary, John Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, and Brett Lambert, deputy assistant secretary for manufacturing and industrial base policy — understand the risks faced by the American companies and are scrambling to help.
June 27, 2013

AEI & Heritage Target Rebuilding GOP Views On ‘Common Defense’


AEI & Heritage Target Rebuilding GOP Views On ‘Common Defense’
By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on June 25, 2013 at 1:04 PM

Tomorrow morning, one of the Republican Party’s rising stars, Sen. Kelly Ayotte, will kick off a new project co-sponsored by two of its long-established institutions, the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute. The official agenda of the “Project for the Common Defense” is to build a new bipartisan consensus on national security. But the first challenge, the organizers acknowledge, is to rebuild some kind of national security consensus among Republicans.

“It would be wonderful if we could spark a revival of interest in national security issues among liberals and Democrats,” said Tom Donnelly, who’s helming the project at AEI. (James Carafano is his counterpart at Heritage). “But we’re also realistic about the political landscape as it is… As much as we don’t want to form a circular firing squad among conservatives – and as much as that story line is catnip to the mainstream media – we do want to have a conversation about the need for American military strength.”

As the ongoing stalemate over sequestration shows, in addition to all the bitter divisions between the two parties, GOP defense hawks and budget hawks have split over defense spending. At issue is whether the military is too important to be subjected to the same steep cuts as other discretionary spending, as is happening under the Budget Control Act as currently written.

“Here we have this sequester which everybody has condemned, so how does a system (still) do something that everybody condemns and everybody believe is against the national interest?” asked former Senator Jim Talent, a senior fellow at Heritage and one of the project’s architects, in a Monday evening phone call. “(It’s) a lack of clarity about why defense is important, so it just becomes another mouth that has to be fed.”
June 27, 2013

Army Cuts 10 Combat Brigades — Or 11, Or 13 — And That’s Just The Beginning


Army Cuts 10 Combat Brigades — Or 11, Or 13 — And That’s Just The Beginning
By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on June 25, 2013 at 6:04 PM

PENTAGON: The Army’s widely publicized decision to cut 10 brigade combat teams from bases in eight states is just part of the story of the incredible shrinking armed services. To start with, it’s not actually 10 brigades: It’s 11, the 10 announced this afternoon and a player to be named later. Or, if you count two brigades being eliminated at bases in Europe, an announcement made months ago, it’s 13.

In fact, the Army isn’t actually eliminating 13 entire brigades but rather disbanding 13 brigade headquarters while keeping many of their subunits. As a result, the brigade cuts account for less than half of the 80,000 regular active-duty soldiers the Army is shedding by 2017.

Most of the cuts are coming from other parts of the Army. 8,300 are simply coming from units that aren’t part of combat brigades, such as supply and transport units. Some are soldiers who don’t count as part of any unit’s official and permanent manpower. That category includes, most notably, the 22,000 of “temporary end strength increase” (TESI, pronounced “Tessy”) and 10,300 “Wartime Allowance” (WTA) personnel that Congress authorized at the height of the Iraq war, when the Army had to man many units at well above 100 percent of their official authorized strength to make up for casualties and for veterans so injured by prior tours that they were ruled medically unfit to deploy.

By cutting 32,500 soldiers not permanently assigned to any unit, the Army was able to minimize the number of units it had to cut. But that cushion is gone — and sequestration is just beginning.

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