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Member since: Wed Mar 16, 2005, 11:12 AM
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The Costly Failure of Missile Defense


The Costly Failure of Missile Defense
Bob Dreyfuss on July 26, 2013 - 12:29 PM ET

Never mind that no one is firing ICBMs at us. It’s been three decades since Ronald Reagan cooked up his cockamamie plan to shoot down missiles in the sky, and while technology has improved incalculably since then, after countless billions of dollars—according to The New York Times, it’s $250 billion—the damn things still don’t work.

Last week, following yet another failure, and as if it just occurred to him, the director of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency—yes, it has a whole “agency”—said that he’d look into it:

Following recent testing failures, the director of the Missile Defense Agency told Congress today that he is committed to a full evaluation of the way forward for the nation’s ballistic missile defense system.


In a devastating commentary by a Reuters analyst, we learn that the test itself was “rigged” and scripted, that there were no countermeasures (as in real-life war), and that the test itself cost $214 million:

unhappycamper comment: Another major part of this useless St. Ronnie (wet) dream is the 69 $1.8 billion dollar Arleigh Burke destroyers we currently have floating around.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Jul 30, 2013, 07:00 AM (0 replies)

WTF??? Pentagon: Who We're At War With Is Classified


Pentagon: Who We're At War With Is Classified
ProPublica | By Cora Currier Posted: 07/26/2013 12:35 pm EDT | Updated: 07/26/2013 10:09 pm EDT

In a major national security speech this spring, President Obama said again and again that the U.S. is at war with “Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and their associated forces.”


At a hearing in May, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., asked the Defense Department to provide him with a current list of Al Qaeda affiliates.

The Pentagon responded – but Levin’s office told ProPublica they aren’t allowed to share it. Kathleen Long, a spokeswoman for Levin, would say only that the department’s “answer included the information requested.”

A Pentagon spokesman told ProPublica that revealing such a list could cause “serious damage to national security.”

unhappycamper comment: So we are in (another) secret war. Oh, goody.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sun Jul 28, 2013, 08:04 AM (24 replies)

'Outrageous': BP Ad Claims 'American Businesses' Real Victims of Gulf Disaster


Advocates for Gulf coast communities respond to claims by industry that compensation process has been too harsh for oil giant

'Outrageous': BP Ad Claims 'American Businesses' Real Victims of Gulf Disaster
- Jon Queally, staff writer
Published on Friday, July 26, 2013 by Common Dreams

A full-page ad placed prominently in both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal on Thursday—paid for by BP and painting "American businesses" as the victim in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster—is just a bit too much for some.

Among those most angered by the BP-sponsored ad? The actual victims of the region's worst ever environmental disaster.

The ad, featuring comments from both the US Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, criticizes the process by which local residents, small-business owners, and impacted communities have been compensated. Saying that BP "had bent over backwards to make amends for the catastrophe" the letter from the Chamber's CEO Thomas Donahue says that in the future, businesses will be smart to "litigate" rather than "settle" with communities following industrial disasters.


According to Viles, making big business out to be the victim is absurd. "BP and their team of lawyers signed off on this deal, and now they are crying foul? The truth of the matter is that BP's historic release of oil and application of toxic dispersant made the Gulf and our communities the victims," he said. "BP needs to follow through on their commitment to our coast."
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Jul 27, 2013, 10:23 AM (6 replies)

Italy Begins F-35 Assembly; Dutch Store Their First Two Jets


An F-35 center fuselage supplied by Northrop Grumman was loaded on a C-5 transport this month for delivery to Italy’s new final assembly and check-out facility at Cameri Air Base

Italy Begins F-35 Assembly; Dutch Store Their First Two Jets
by Bill Carey
AIN Defense Perspective » July 26, 2013

Assembly of the first F-35 Joint Strike fighter to be produced outside the U.S. has begun in Italy. Manufacturers delivered major structural components to the new final assembly and check-out (FACO) facility at Cameri Air Base, west of Milan, where the first F-35A conventional takeoff and landing variant, designated AL-1, will be assembled for the Italian air force. The facility is operated by a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Alenia Aermacchi.

Assembly operations at the FACO started without fanfare out of sensitivity to strong political opposition in Italy over the cost of the F-35 procurement. A second-tier F-35 program partner, Italy plans to spend $15 billion on the jets beginning in 2015, Reuters reported. Last year, it reduced its original order for 131 jets to 90, including 60 F-35As for the air force and 30 short takeoff/vertical landing F-35Bs for the air force and navy.

The FACO is operated principally by Alenia. It has 22 buildings and more than one million square feet of covered space, with 11 final-assembly work stations. The companies plan to assemble all the F-35s for the Italian military and eventually those going to the Netherlands, should that country confirm its acquisition. The facility will also build the wings that Alenia will supply for all F-35 partner nations and other potential customers. Under current F-35 industrial participation agreements, Alenia will make no fewer than 835 wing sets, according to Lockheed Martin.

AL-1 assembly started upon the arrival of an F-35 rear fuselage built by BAE Systems in Samlesbury, UK; a forward fuselage and wing built by Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, Texas; and a center fuselage built by Northrop Grumman in Palmdale, Calif. The wing and center fuselage were shipped on a chartered C-5 transport to Milan Malpensa airport, then transported by truck to Cameri Air Base, arriving on July 12.

unhappycamper comment: The outsourcing continues.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Jul 27, 2013, 08:37 AM (2 replies)

U.S. assures Russia Snowden won't be executed or tortured


U.S. assures Russia Snowden won't be executed or tortured
By Darya Korsunskaya and David Ingram
MOSCOW/WASHINGTON | Fri Jul 26, 2013 1:59pm EDT

(Reuters) - The United States has made a formal promise to Russia not to execute or torture Edward Snowden if he is sent home to face charges of illegally disclosing government secrets, and the Kremlin said Russian and U.S. security agencies are in talks over his fate.


Russia has refused to extradite Snowden, who leaked details of a secret U.S. surveillance program including phone and Internet data, and is now considering his request for a temporary asylum.

In a letter dated Tuesday July 23 and released on Friday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder wrote that he sought to dispel claims about what would happen to Snowden if he is sent home.

"Mr. Snowden has filed papers seeking temporary asylum in Russia on the grounds that if he were returned to the United States, he would be tortured and would face the death penalty. These claims are entirely without merit," Holder wrote.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Jul 27, 2013, 08:32 AM (3 replies)

Design As We Go Fails (Again)


The $584 million dollar USS Freedom

LCS Kerfuffle: Navy, GAO May Be In ‘Violent Agreement’ After All
By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.
on July 25, 2013 at 4:50 PM

CAPITOL HILL: Bark, it turns out, does not necessarily correlate with bite. The Government Accountability Office is infamous for its often scathing reviews of Pentagon programs, and its latest report on the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship — one of GAO’s favorite targets — says Congress should “pause” LCS procurement until key systems are more adequately tested. But, as a GAO witness admitted in a hearing this morning, there may actually be nothing the Navy could or should do differently than its current shipbuilding plans.

That said, the ships themselves — the so-called seaframes — are just one of the three pieces of the LCS program and, by GAO’s reckoning, they are the least problematic. GAO worries more about the LCS mission modules, the plug-and-play equipment that goes on the seaframe to kit the ship out for specific missions. And GAO worries most about the evolving concept of operations (CONOPS) for how the Navy is going to maintain the LCS vessels and fix them when they break down, as the first LCS, USS Freedom, did just days ago off Singapore. In many ways, the GAO’s proposal to “pause” procurement looks like an attempt to hold hostage the best-performing part of the program, the seaframes, until the Navy shapes up on the parts that GAO is really worried about, modules and CONOPS.

It’s not easy to change course on a program this far along. 24 ships are already under contract despite LCS still being formally under “low-rate initial production” (LRIP). “We’re married into a lot of this that we can’t change,” the subcommittee chairman, Rep. Randy Forbes, told me after the hearing. “A lot of this has been poured into concrete, as you know, but I think there are some avenues that we have” to make “modifications,” he said, if not wholesale changes.

Congress needs to conduct serious oversight and get real answers to tough questions, Forbes said: “I hope we don’t just whine.”
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Jul 26, 2013, 09:25 AM (4 replies)

Tallying up the U.S. waste in Afghanistan reconstruction


Tallying up the U.S. waste in Afghanistan reconstruction
Published: Tuesday, 23 Jul 2013 | 11:27 AM ET
By: Jane Wells | CNBC Reporter

Americans sacrificed sons and daughters and spent billions of dollars to destroy the Taliban and rebuild Afghanistan.

As the U.S. winds down its mission there, it's becoming clear a lot of nation-building went off the rails.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has been ticking off the projects that it claims are expensive failures, warning that some troubled projects continue to move forward.

In the past three months, nearly $2 billion in questionable spending has been uncovered by SIGAR audits.

Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Jul 25, 2013, 09:10 AM (0 replies)

Afghanistan Reconstruction: U.S. Soldiers At Risk Because Of Private Contractors' Fraud, SIGAR Warns


Afghanistan Reconstruction: U.S. Soldiers At Risk Because Of Private Contractors' Fraud, SIGAR Warns
The Huffington Post | By Eline Gordts
Posted: 07/23/2013 11:58 am EDT | Updated: 07/23/2013 3:56 pm EDT

Thousands of simple systems that were commissioned to ward off IED attacks on troops and civilians in Afghanistan have not been installed or were put together incorrectly, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) announced in a report on Tuesday. The agency is investigating whether the failure may have lead to the deaths of several U.S. soldiers in the country.

The systems, called culvert denial systems, are gratings that are placed over culverts under roads and embankments that have frequently been used by militants to conceal explosive devices. According to SIGAR, the U.S. Department of Defense has awarded millions in contracts to private contractors to install the grids across the country, yet several of them have failed to properly execute the contracts.

"The loss of life because individuals were not doing their job is horrific and unacceptable," said Special Inspector General John Sopko in a statement to the Huffington Post. "This case shows so clearly that fraud can kill in Afghanistan. We will find out if contracting officers did not do their job and if that proves to be true and Americans have died, we will hold those individuals accountable," he added.

The report says two Afghan contractors have been arrested on accusations of defrauding the government by failing to install 250 of the systems. The contractors had received more than $1 million to execute the contract.
Posted by unhappycamper | Wed Jul 24, 2013, 08:27 AM (1 replies)

Report questions costs of mansions for the military's top brass


Report questions costs of mansions for the military's top brass
By David S. Cloud
Tribune Washington Bureau
Published: 12:00 AM, Mon Jul 22, 2013

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - Marine Gen. John F. Kelly works in a fortress-like headquarters near the Miami airport. Starting this fall, he will live in Casa Sur, an elegant home with a pool and gardens on one of the area's swankiest streets.

The five-bedroom residence, across the street from the famed Biltmore Golf Course, is provided rent free to Kelly as head of U.S. Southern Command, which oversees military operations in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The cost to the government? $160,000 a year, plus $402,000 for renovations and security improvements now underway.

Casa Sur is one of hundreds of high-end homes, villas and mansions where senior generals and admirals are billeted, according to a Pentagon report prepared for Congress last month but not publicly released.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Jul 23, 2013, 09:15 AM (1 replies)

Gen. Hayden’s Glass House


Agent Mike

Gen. Hayden’s Glass House
By Ray McGovern
July 21, 2013

Former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden should not throw any more stones, lest his own glass house be shattered. His barrage Friday against truth-teller Edward Snowden and London Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald invited a return rain of boulders for Hayden committing the same violations of constitutional protections that he is now excusing.

Writing as “CNN Terrorism Analyst,” Hayden read from the unctuous script previously used by “Meet the Press” host David Gregory on June 23 when he questioned Greenwald’s status as a journalist. Hayden claimed Greenwald deserves “the Justice Department’s characterization of a co-conspirator.”

But the principal target of Hayden’s ire was Snowden. After lumping him together with despicable characters like CIA’s Aldrich Ames, Robert Hanssen of the FBI, and others who spied for the U.S.S.R. – and then disparaging “leakers” like Bradley Manning – Hayden wrote, “Snowden is in a class by himself.”

But it is Michael Hayden who is in a class by himself. He was the first NSA director to betray the country’s trust by ordering wholesale violation of what was once the First Commandment at NSA: “Thou Shalt Not Eavesdrop on Americans Without a Court Warrant.” Not to mention playing fast and loose with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 and the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Jul 23, 2013, 08:21 AM (0 replies)
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