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The F-35 Isn't Going Anywhere And The Pentagon Wants You To Know It


The F-35 Isn't Going Anywhere And The Pentagon Wants You To Know It
Robert Johnson | Dec. 19, 2012, 12:24 PM

Canada's announcement earlier this month that it was considering aircraft other than the F-35 for renewing its fleet seems to have prompted a string of reassuring moves by the U.S.

Within days the Pentagon said it would sign a contract with Lockheed Martin for a fifth batch of 32 jets worth $3.8 billion.

That move could also have been spurred along when Australia followed the Canadian news with plans to buy 24 Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets if it saw any more delays in the F-35 program.


And that news came just before Leon Panetta himself announced Tuesday night that the freshly trained pilots can plan on duty stations at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, which will be the first F-35 overseas base in the world.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Dec 20, 2012, 08:44 AM (0 replies)

F-35 debate: The Florida town that sued the Air Force


F-35 debate: The Florida town that sued the Air Force
7:58 PM, Dec 19, 2012
By John Briggs

Valparaiso, Fla., sued the Air Force over the basing of the F-35 at neighboring Eglin Air Force base in 2009, and Mayor John Arnold says the expensive suits, now settled, were successful in mitigating the impact of the fighter jet’s noise on residents.

The experiences of the Florida Panhandle community may hold lessons for leaders in South Burlington here in Vermont. The city has not sued the Air Force over plans to base the F-35 at Burlington’s airport, but the City Council has formally opposed the basing, and its objections have galvanized opposition in Winooski, Colchester and Burlington. South Burlington’s opposition has also animated proponents for siting the F-35 in Vermont; they’ve circulated petitions regionally signed by more than 10,000 individuals voicing support for the proposal.

Gov. Peter Shumlin, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger and the congressional delegation strongly support the F-35 basing. Shumlin, Weinberger, Winooski Mayor Michael O’Brien and business leaders who support the F-35 basing made a trip last week to Eglin Air Force Base to listen to the plane. The experience did not change their views.

In Florida, the Air Force had been preparing several years ago to base as many as 107 F-35s at Eglin despite noise modeling predictions that Valparaiso’s lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Pensacola termed “prohibitively severe” and said would have “a devastating impact” on the small town of Valparaiso.

Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Dec 20, 2012, 08:40 AM (0 replies)

Duluth City Council backs effort to reduce military spending


Minnesota Arms Spending Alternatives Project leader Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer speaks to supporters outside Duluth City Hall on Monday evening before city councilors took up a resolution calling upon the federal government to cut spending on defense rather than social programs.

Duluth City Council backs effort to reduce military spending
By: Peter Passi, Duluth News Tribune
Published December 19, 2012, 12:00 AM

Duluth has joined a group of city governments calling on Congress to reduce military spending and increase its focus on domestic programs as the nation moves closer to the so-called fiscal cliff.

Unless Congress can agree on a plan to substantially reduce the federal deficit, a set of across-the-board budget cuts and tax increases will automatically kick in at the end of this year.

On Monday night, the Duluth City Council asked the federal government to take a more targeted approach to taming the deficit, with an emphasis on reduced military spending. The council voted 5-3 in support of a resolution similar to one already passed by St. Paul and Minneapolis. Des Moines, Iowa, also is on tap to take up a similar measure, and like-minded resolutions have been signed by city councils in Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Hartford, Conn.

Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, a University of St. Thomas professor and former Senate candidate, said the idea also has taken hold in Oregon and Massachusetts, where other local government units have asked the federal government to rein in military spending, too.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Dec 20, 2012, 07:47 AM (2 replies)

Officials: 31 suspended in Army day care scandal


Officials: 31 suspended in Army day care scandal
By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press
Updated 10:13 pm, Wednesday, December 19, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — At least 31 people were suspended from two Army day care centers at Fort Myer, Va., last week after officials scrutinized their backgrounds and found criminal convictions including fourth-degree sexual assault and drug use, a defense official said Wednesday.

An earlier statement that the 31 people had been fired was erroneous, the official said. Suspension allows for the possibility of reinstatement or dismissal.

The escalating scandal surrounding the Fort Myer Child Development Center has triggered a review of hiring procedures, angered defense leaders, and prompted a late-night telephone call Tuesday from President Barack Obama to the Army secretary. In the call, Obama expressed concern and urged a speedy and thorough investigation.

Details of the scandal emerged this week, nearly three months after two workers were arrested on charges of assaulting children at the Fort Myer center. The slow pace of public revelations enraged Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who on Tuesday ordered a worldwide review of hiring practices at all military child care centers, schools, youth centers and other facilities that involve children.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Dec 20, 2012, 07:33 AM (1 replies)

Newly Released Drone Records Reveal Extensive Military Flights in US


Newly Released Drone Records Reveal Extensive Military Flights in US
December 5, 2012 | By Jennifer Lynch

Today EFF posted several thousand pages of new drone license records and a new map that tracks the location of drone flights across the United States.

These records, received as a result of EFF’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), come from state and local law enforcement agencies, universities and—for the first time—three branches of the U.S. military: the Air Force, Marine Corps, and DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency).

While the U.S. military doesn’t need an FAA license to fly drones over its own military bases (these are considered “restricted airspace”), it does need a license to fly in the national airspace (which is almost everywhere else in the US). And, as we’ve learned from these records, the Air Force and Marine Corps regularly fly both large and small drones in the national airspace all around the country. This is problematic, given a recent New York Times report that the Air Force’s drone operators sometimes practice surveillance missions by tracking civilian cars along the highway adjacent to the base.

The records show that the Air Force has been testing out a bunch of different drone types, from the smaller, hand-launched Raven, Puma and Wasp drones designed by Aerovironment in Southern California, to the much larger Predator and Reaper drones responsible for civilian and foreign military deaths abroad. The Marine Corps is also testing drones, though it chose to redact so much of the text from its records that we still don't know much about its programs.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Dec 20, 2012, 07:24 AM (6 replies)

UK Troop Withdrawal: Afghanistan To See 3,800 British Troops Leave By End Of 2013


British soldiers serving in the NATO- led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) attend Britain's Veterans Day ceremony at a NATO base in Lashkar Gah, south of Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012.

UK Troop Withdrawal: Afghanistan To See 3,800 British Troops Leave By End Of 2013

LONDON -- Prime Minister David Cameron announced Wednesday that about 3,800 British troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of 2013.

Around 5,000 will remain into 2014, Cameron told lawmakers. The announcement comes after a lengthy video call Tuesday between Cameron and President Barack Obama.

There are about 60,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Cameron said the decision reflects an increasing confidence in the Afghan National Security Forces. After 2014, some troops will stay on to return equipment and deal with logistics but no details on numbers have been finalized, he said.

"We've said very clearly; no one in a combat role, nothing like the number of troops there are now," Cameron said. "We've promised the Afghans that we will provide this officer training academy that they've specifically asked for. We are prepared to look at other issues above and beyond that, but that is the starting baseline."
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Dec 20, 2012, 06:46 AM (1 replies)

Reported Sex Assaults At Military Academies Jump By 23 Percent


Reported Sex Assaults At Military Academies Jump By 23 Percent
By LOLITA C. BALDOR 12/19/12 10:36 PM ET EST AP

WASHINGTON -- Reported sexual assaults at the nation's three military academies jumped by 23 percent overall this year, but the data signaled a continued reluctance by victims to seek criminal investigations.

According to a report obtained by The Associated Press, the number of assaults rose from 65 in the 2011 academic year to 80 in 2012. However, nearly half the assaults involved victims who sought confidential medical or other care and did not trigger an investigation. There were 41 assaults reported in 2010.

Reported sexual assaults have climbed steadily since the 2009 academic year. The Defense Department has urged the academies to take steps to encourage cadets and midshipmen at the Army, Navy and Air Force academies to report sexual harassment and assaults in order to get care to everyone and hold aggressors accountable. The number of assaults reported by the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., increased, while reports at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., declined.

In addition to the sexual assault report, the military also is releasing the results of its biannual anonymous survey of academy students, which showed that 12 percent of the women said they experienced "unwanted sexual contact" and 51 percent said they were sexually harassed. Of the men, 2 percent experienced unwanted contact and 10 percent said they were sexually harassed.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Dec 20, 2012, 06:20 AM (2 replies)

Army to seek death penalty for U.S. soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan villagers


Army to seek death penalty for U.S. soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan villagers
By Agence France-Presse
Wednesday, December 19, 2012 14:39 EST

Military prosecutors will seek the death penalty for a US soldier accused of killing 16 villagers in southern Afghanistan in March, an army spokesman said Wednesday.

Staff Sergeant Robert Bales is to face a full court martial authorized to sentence him to a maximum penalty of death, the military decided after preliminary hearings last month.

“This decision was made after reviewing the Article 32 report of investigation,” said a statement from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, referring to the report compiled from last year’s so-called Article 32 hearings.

“The government will seek the death penalty,” base spokesman Gary Dangerfield told AFP. No trial date has been set.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Dec 20, 2012, 05:55 AM (1 replies)

U.S. planning to deploy F-35 at Japan base


U.S. planning to deploy F-35 at Japan base
Published By United Press International

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- The United States is laying the groundwork for the first overseas deployment of the F-35 stealth fighter at its Japan base, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said.

The deployment of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at the U.S. Air Force base in Iwakuni in Japan by 2017 will be part of the new policy of enhancing U.S. presence and capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region, Panetta said in a speech at the National Press Club in Washington.

Explaining the new U.S. defense strategy as its wars wind down in Afghanistan and Iraq, Panetta said the effort will be to maintain force projection in the Middle East and the Asia Pacific region.

The enhancement of presence and capabilities in Asia-Pacific includes "reallocating the naval fleet to achieve in these next few years a 60/40 split between the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans -- hopefully, we will do that by 2020 -- increasing Army and Marine presence in the region after Iraq and Afghanistan, locating our most advanced aircraft in the Pacific, including new deployments of F-22s and the MV-22 Ospreys to Japan, and laying the groundwork for the first overseas deployment of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to Iwakuni in 2017," Panetta said.
Posted by unhappycamper | Wed Dec 19, 2012, 10:06 AM (3 replies)

Court rules peace activists can sue the U.S. military for infiltration


Court rules peace activists can sue the U.S. military for infiltration

December 18, 2012
Nathan Tempey
Communications Coordinator
[email protected]
(212) 679-5100, ext. 15
New York

In a potentially precedent-setting decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that a Guild lawyer’s challenge to military spying on peace activists can proceed. The ruling marks the first time a court has affirmed people’s ability to sue the military for violating their First and Fourth Amendment rights.

“This has never been done before,” said NLG member attorney Larry Hildes, who is handling the case. “The U.S. government has spied on political dissidents throughout history and this particular plot lasted through two presidencies, but never before has a court said that we can challenge it the way we have.”

The ruling is the latest development in the lawsuit, Panagacos v. Towery, first brought by Hildes in 2009 on behalf of a group of Washington state antiwar activists who found themselves infiltrated by John Towery, an employee at a fusion center inside a local Army base. Fusion centers are multi-jurisdictional intelligence facilities which house federal and local law enforcement agencies alongside military units and private security companies. Their operations are largely secret and unregulated. There are currently 77 fusion centers in the United States.

The lawsuit names Towery as well as the Army, Navy, Air Force, FBI, CIA, Department of Homeland Security, and other law enforcement agencies. For at least two years, Towery posed as an activist with the antiwar group Port Militarization Resistance (PMR), a group that sought to oppose the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through civil disobedience. The infiltration came to light when public records requests filed with the City of Olympia unearthed documents detailing an expansive surveillance operation. In addition to PMR, Towery targeted Students for a Democratic Society, the Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace, the Industrial Workers of the World, Iraq Veterans Against the War, an anarchist bookstore in Tacoma, and other activist groups.
Posted by unhappycamper | Wed Dec 19, 2012, 08:32 AM (0 replies)
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