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Member since: Wed Mar 16, 2005, 11:12 AM
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THE TERROR DIASPORA: US spreads blowback nightmare


THE TERROR DIASPORA: US spreads blowback nightmare
By Nick Turse
Jun 20, '13

The Gulf of Guinea. He said it without a hint of irony or embarrassment. This was one of US Africa Command's big success stories. The Gulf ... of Guinea.

Never mind that most Americans couldn't find it on a map and haven't heard of the nations on its shores like Gabon, Benin, and Togo. Never mind that just five days before I talked with AFRICOM's chief spokesman, the Economist had asked if the Gulf of Guinea was on the verge of becoming "another Somalia", because piracy there had jumped 41% from 2011 to 2012 and was on track to be even worse in 2013.

The Gulf of Guinea was one of the primary areas in Africa where "stability," the command spokesman assured me, had "improved significantly," and the US military had played a major role in bringing it about. But what did that say about so many other areas of the continent that, since AFRICOM was set up, had been wracked by coups, insurgencies, violence, and volatility?

A careful examination of the security situation in Africa suggests that it is in the process of becoming Ground Zero for a veritable terror diaspora set in motion in the wake of 9/11 that has only accelerated in the Obama years. Recent history indicates that as US "stability" operations in Africa have increased, militancy has spread, insurgent groups have proliferated, allies have faltered or committed abuses, terrorism has increased, the number of failed states has risen, and the continent has become more unsettled.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Jun 20, 2013, 07:49 AM (1 replies)

US Drone Operator says, ‘I became a sociopath’, regrets 1626 Killings (Lest we forget)


US Drone Operator says, ‘I became a sociopath’, regrets 1626 Killings (Lest we forget)
Posted on 06/19/2013 by Juan Cole

Lest we forget (from last summer): Brandon Bryant is haunted by his career as a drone contract killer for the US government.

Drone operator: ‘I became a sociopath’, regrets 1626 assassinations.

Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Jun 20, 2013, 07:38 AM (12 replies)

The Young Turks: Prone to Drone

Published on Jun 19, 2013

"The United States uses drones for surveillance in some limited law enforcement situations, FBI Director Robert Mueller said on Wednesday, sparking additional debate about President Barack Obama's use of domestic surveillance."*

FBI Director Robert Mueller has admitted the use of drones on Americans in U.S. soil. The drones are unarmed and for surveillance, but will that change if people are complacent with them? Are we at the top of a slippery slope? Cenk Uygur breaks it down.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Jun 20, 2013, 07:23 AM (0 replies)

Democrats want to restore records of servicemembers discharged for being LGBT


Democrats want to restore records of servicemembers discharged for being LGBT
By David Ferguson
Wednesday, June 19, 2013 14:34 EDT

Under new legislation proposed by Democrats Rep. Charlie Rangel (NY) and Rep. Mark Pocan (WI), U.S. military service members who were discharged because of their sexual orientation can now have their records restored to reflect their honorable service. A joint press release from the congressmen’s offices said that the “Restore Honor to Service Members Act” is designed to help the Department of Defense rectify its record of discrimination against LGBT service personnel and clear the records of an estimated 114,000 men and women who were forced out of the service since World War II and the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in 2011.

“There are a lot of things that can be changed by a changed discharge status,” Pocan explained in an interview with Raw Story. “It puts you back in place for anything you’d be able to have as someone who’d been honorably discharged, which goes from the GI Bill to receiving veterans’ benefits to ceremonial burial rites,” including a flag for the veteran’s casket, an honor guard and 21-gun salute.

“In some states,” Pocan continued, “you’re blocked from voting or unemployment benefits because a dishonorable discharge can be considered a felony.”

In the press release, Pocan, who is co-chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, said, “As we celebrate the considerable progress we’ve made toward full equality in our military, we cannot forget about those who continue to suffer because of the discriminatory policies of our past. Our legislation ensures that gay veterans who selflessly served our country no longer live with tarnished records that prohibit them from receiving the recognition, benefits and honors they deserve. By enshrining the implementation of the ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ repeal into law, our country can finally close this dark chapter of our history and move forward.”
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Jun 20, 2013, 06:42 AM (1 replies)

Three U.S. Naval Academy football players charged with raping unconscious woman


Three U.S. Naval Academy football players charged with raping unconscious woman
By Ian Simpson
Wednesday, June 19, 2013 18:24 EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Three U.S. Naval Academy football players have been charged with raping a female midshipman and making false statements, the school said on Wednesday, the latest in a string of sexual assault allegations in the U.S. military.

The midshipmen will face an Article 32 proceeding, similar to a preliminary hearing in civilian law. The hearing will kick off a process similar to a grand jury to determine if a general court-martial is warranted.

“This case is still in the pre-trial phase, so any further comment on this ongoing investigation would be inappropriate,” said John Schofield, a spokesman for the academy.

Academy Superintendent Vice Admiral Michael Miller reviewed the probe carried out by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and approved seeking the charges, the academy said.

Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Jun 20, 2013, 06:27 AM (3 replies)

US and Rest of G8 Won’t Follow UK on Corporate Transparency


The G8 in Belfast

US and Rest of G8 Won’t Follow UK on Corporate Transparency
By Carey L. Biron
Published on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 by Inter Press Service

The United States is being singled out for criticism after the Group of Eight (G8) rich countries failed to adopt a plan pushed by British Prime Minister David Cameron to require the creation of public country-level registries with detailed information on corporate ownership and activity.


While the United States has now said it will be creating these registries on its own, these will apparently be available only to law enforcement and tax authorities. Critics urge these databases to be made open to the public from the beginning.

“It is important that the United States has committed to creating registries of beneficial information, because this does go beyond the G8 declaration,” Stefanie Ostfeld, a senior policy advisor with Global Witness, an advocacy group and member of the Financial Transparency Coalition, told IPS.

“But it’s not putting that information in the public domain, as the United Kingdom is saying it will do. Without such a commitment, these moves will not live up to their potential impact.”
Posted by unhappycamper | Wed Jun 19, 2013, 09:19 AM (2 replies)

US-Taliban talks set to begin


US-Taliban talks set to begin
By Jim Lobe
Jun 19, '13

WASHINGTON - Nearly 12 years after the United States ousted the Taliban from power, the White House announced on Tuesday that the US will begin formal talks with the militant Islamist group in Qatar later this week as part of Afghanistan's national reconciliation process. The announcement, which coincided with ceremonies marking the formal transfer of primary security responsibility from US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces to their Afghan counterparts, preceded a statement issued shortly afterwards by the Taliban itself in which it implicitly disassociated itself from Al-Qaeda.

The Taliban "would not allow anyone to threaten the security of other countries from the soil of Afghanistan", Muhammad Naim, a Taliban spokesman, said in a televised broadcast from Doha. In addition, he pledged that the group seeks "a political and peaceful solution" to the conflict.

"These are two statements which we've long called for and together, they fulfill the requirements for the Taliban to open ... a political office in Doha for the purposes of negotiation with the Afghan government," said a senior official in a background teleconference for reporters.


"The problem for the last 11 years is that it's the (US) military that's been running the show, and to the military, negotiations equals defeat. We're now shifting away from a policy of wanting to defeat the Taliban militarily to one of finding a political solution," he said.

Posted by unhappycamper | Wed Jun 19, 2013, 08:08 AM (0 replies)

Get Out: Australia's Army Chief Is Evidently Not Cool With Sexual Assault


Get Out: Australia's Army Chief Is Evidently Not Cool With Sexual Assault
by Abby Zimet
06.17.13 - 11:55 AM

With Australia's military facing its own sexual scandal, some older and some newer involving "explicit emails and photos," Chief of Army Lieutenant General David Morrison made a video to make it clear where he (at least says he) stands on the issue. It's clear.

"Those who think that it is OK to behave in a way that demeans or expIoits their colleagues have no place in this army....I will be ruthless in rooting the army of people who cannot live up to its values, and I need everyone of you to support me in achieving this. The standard you walk past is the standard you accept."

unhappycamper comment: I'm pleased to see that the Australians are taking military rape seriously, unlike their American cuzins..
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Jun 18, 2013, 08:17 AM (1 replies)

Pipeline spills oil waste over more than 100 acres of Alberta



Pipeline spills oil waste over more than 100 acres of Alberta
By John Upton
14 Jun 2013 1:03 PM

A major spill of toxic oil waste has wiped out trees and vegetation across a 104-acre swath of Alberta, Canada. The apparent cause of the spill: The rupture of a five-year-old pipeline that was designed to last at least 30 years.

The pipeline spilled 2.5 million gallons of a waste mixture of oil and water, which the company responsible, Houston-based Apache Corp., downplayed as “salty water” with “trace amounts of oil.”

Whatever you call it, it’s nasty stuff. “Every plant and tree died” in the area touched by the spill, says the chief of the nearby Dene Tha First Nation, while The Globe and Mail reports that “aerial photos show a broad strip of trees that have turned brown.”

It’s unclear when the pipeline started spilling. Judging by the damaged trees in the area, the Dene Tha say the leak might have been sprung in the winter. But the spill was only revealed publicly this week by the province’s energy regulators following media reports.
Posted by unhappycamper | Mon Jun 17, 2013, 09:03 AM (3 replies)

The Pentagon’s Preparations for War Against Us


The Pentagon’s Preparations for War Against Us
Posted on Jun 15, 2013

A score of recent defense department and other official documents warn that climate change, energy shocks and economic crisis could trigger waves of civil unrest. The understanding seems to explain the proliferation of security and surveillance programs over the last decade.

The preparation makes sense from the perspective of governments (four of which—the U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand—appear to have been granted access to data collected by the NSA spying program disclosed in recent weeks, as members of an international intelligence alliance known as “Five Eyes”). The world can unravel in at least three different ways. If and when it does, those in power will want the means to keep their grip. Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges has been warning us about this for a while now.

One legal military document grants extraordinary powers to intervene in a domestic “emergency” or “civil disturbance” outside of White House approval. A 2006 National Security Strategy brief warned that “Environmental destruction, whether caused by human behavior or cataclysmic mega-disasters … may overwhelm the capacity of local authorities to respond, and may even overtax national militaries, requiring a larger international response.”

Two years later, the defense department’s Army Modernization Strategy described a soon-to-arrive “era of persistent conflict” due to competition for “depleting natural resources and overseas markets” fueling “future resource wars over water, food and energy,” and predicting a resurgence of “anti-government and radical ideologies that potentially threaten government stability.”
Posted by unhappycamper | Mon Jun 17, 2013, 08:56 AM (4 replies)
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