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Cyber war program ‘MonsterMind’ could ignite accidental conflicts, warns Edward Snowden


Cyber war program ‘MonsterMind’ could ignite accidental conflicts, warns Edward Snowden
By Reuters
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 13:06 EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A developing U.S. cyber security program would not only hunt down and halt potential computer attacks but also strike back without staff oversight, according to former U.S. National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden.

In an interview with WIRED magazine made public Wednesday, Snowden said the program – MonsterMind – could hurt countries caught in the middle as hackers could disguise the origin of their attacks by routing them through computers in other nations.

“These attacks can be spoofed,” Snowden told the magazine. “You could have someone sitting in China, for example, making it appear that one of these attacks is originating in Russia. And then we end up shooting back at a Russian hospital. What happens next?”

It could also potentially start an accidental war, he said.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Aug 14, 2014, 05:17 AM (1 replies)

Caliphate puts men to the meat-grinder


Caliphate puts men to the meat-grinder
By Spengler
Aug 12, '14

General William Tecumseh Sherman burned the city of Atlanta in 1864. He warned: "I fear the world will jump to the wrong conclusion that because I am in Atlanta the work is done. Far from it. We must kill three hundred thousand I have told you of so often, and the further they run the harder for us to get them." Add a zero to calibrate the problem in the Levant today. War in the Middle East is less a strategic than a demographic phenomenon, whose resolution will come with the exhaustion of the pool of potential fighters.

The Middle East has plunged into a new Thirty Years War, allows Richard Haass, the president of the Council of Foreign Relations. "It is a region wracked by religious struggle between competing traditions of the faith. But the conflict is also between militants and moderates, fueled by neighboring rulers seeking to defend their interests and increase their influence. Conflicts take place within and between states; civil wars and proxy wars become impossible to distinguish. Governments often forfeit control to smaller groups - militias and the like - operating within and across borders. The loss of life is devastating, and millions are rendered homeless," he wrote on July 21.

Well and good: I predicted in 2006 that the George W Bush administration's blunder would provoke another Thirty Years War in the region, and repeated the diagnosis many times since. But I doubt that Mr Haass (or Walter Russell Mead, who cited the Haass article) has given sufficient thought to the implications.

How does one handle wars of this sort? In 2008 I argued for a "Richelovian" foreign policy, that is, emulation of the evil genius who guided France to victory at the conclusion of the Thirty Years War in 1648. Wars of this sort end when two generations of fighters are killed. They last for decades (as did the Peloponnesian War, the Napoleonic Wars and the two World Wars of the 20th century) because one kills off the fathers die in the first half of the war, and the sons in the second.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Aug 12, 2014, 05:50 AM (9 replies)

A Peace Prize for the IDF?


A Peace Prize for the IDF?
by Missy Comley Beattie | August 9, 2014 - 9:42am

Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, remarked that Israel’s armed forces deserve a Nobel Prize for their “unimaginable restraint” during Operation Protective Edge.

Benjamin Netanyahu said the blame lies with Hamas for the 1900 dead in Gaza.

Barack Obama condemned the killing of civilians in Gaza but just inked a bill providing an additional $225 million to Tel Aviv to improve the Iron Dome anti-missile system, bringing the total funding to $576 million for fiscal year 2015.


Back to that Nobel Prize for Israel’s military: Consider former recipients, like Obama, the president with a kill list. There’s consistency, here.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sun Aug 10, 2014, 06:49 AM (1 replies)

Three Updated Charts to Email to Your Right-Wing Brother-In-Law


Three Updated Charts to Email to Your Right-Wing Brother-In-Law
by Dave Johnson | August 9, 2014 - 10:04am

Problem: Your right-wing brother-in-law is plugged into the FOX-Limbaugh lie machine, and keeps sending you emails about “Obama spending” and “Obama deficits” and how the “stimulus” just made things worse.


Government spending increased dramatically under President Bush. It has not increased much under President Obama. This is just a fact.

Note that this chart starts with Clinton’s last budget year for comparison.


In this chart, the RED lines on the left side – the ones that keep doing DOWN – show what happened to jobs under the policies of Bush and the Republicans. We were losing lots and lots of jobs every month, and it was getting worse and worse. The BLUE lines – the ones that just go UP – show what happened to jobs when the stimulus was in effect. We stopped losing jobs and started gaining jobs, and it was getting better and better.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sun Aug 10, 2014, 06:43 AM (4 replies)

NATO is desperate for war


NATO is desperate for war
By Pepe Escobar
Aug 8, '14

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is desperate; it is itching for a war in battlefield Ukraine at any cost.

Let's start with Pentagon supremo, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who has waxed lyrical over the Russian Bear's "threat": "When you see the build-up of Russian troops and the sophistication of those troops, the training of those troops, the heavy military equipment that's being put along that border, of course it's a reality, it's a threat, it's a possibility - absolutely."

NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu could not elaborate if it was "threat" or "reality", absolutely or not, but she saw it all: "We're not going to guess what's on Russia's mind, but we can see what Russia is doing on the ground - and that is of great concern. Russia has amassed around 20,000 combat-ready troops on Ukraine's eastern border."


According to the UN itself, at least 285,000 people have become refugees in eastern Ukraine. Kiev insists the number of internal refugees is "only" 117,000; the UN doubts it. Moscow maintains that a staggering 730,000 Ukrainians have fled into Russia; the UN High Commission for Refugees agrees. Some of these refugees, fleeing Semenivka, in Sloviansk, have detailed Kiev's use of N-17, an even deadlier version of white phosphorus.
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Aug 8, 2014, 06:32 AM (1 replies)

Obama Pushes Africa Investment as US Corporations 'Drool' over Resources


"Strip away all the modern PR and prettified palaver and it’s an ugly scramble for oil, minerals, and markets for U.S. goods. Everyone wants a piece of Africa: drooling outsiders, corrupt insiders, cynical middle men."
—John Feffer, Foreign Policy in Focus

Obama Pushes Africa Investment as US Corporations 'Drool' over Resources
Sarah Lazare, staff writer
Wednesday, August 06, 2014
Common Dreams

At a Washington, DC gathering of African state leaders and U.S. corporations, President Obama on Tuesday unveiled a multi-billion dollar drive to promote U.S. business investments in Africa. While the President said the plan will unleash "the next era of African growth," experts warn it amounts to more of the same extractive policies that have already impoverished and dispossessed people across the continent.

"All you have to do is look who has a seat at the table to understand what is happening," said Emira Woods, expert on U.S. foreign policy in Africa and social impact director at ThoughtWorks, a technology firm committed to social and economic justice, in an interview with Common Dreams. "We're talking African leaders, some with bad human rights records, and American CEOs."

Obama's much-touted "Africa Summit"—which started Monday and ends Wednesday—is co-sponsored by the U.S. Commerce Department and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's foundation, and was attended by chief executives of General Electric, Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart, IBM, and other multinational corporations.

Obama took the opportunity to announce $7 billion in what the White House describes as "new financing to promote U.S. exports to and investments in Africa." Obama also championed $14 billion in new investments by U.S. corporations in Africa, which includes $5 billion from Coca-Cola for manufacturing equipment. This is in addition to another $12 billion in new commitments for Obama's Power Africa initiative, which will give multinational corporations—including GE—billions of dollars in energy deals to "double the number of people with access to power in Sub-Saharan Africa." The total bill comes to $33 billion for "supporting economic growth across Africa and tens of thousands of U.S. jobs," according to the White House.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Aug 7, 2014, 07:20 AM (4 replies)

Senator Vitter Report Claims Cancer Prevention, Wildlife Nonprofits Are Part of Nefarious Cabal



Senator Vitter Report Claims Cancer Prevention, Wildlife Nonprofits Are Part of Nefarious Cabal
by Lee Fang

Louisiana Senator David Vitter made headlines with conservative websites in the last few days by releasing a report called Chain of Environmental Command: How a Club of Billionaires and Their Foundations Control the Environmental Movement and Obama’s EPA.

Below the lengthy title is a report that claims breathlessly that environmental and public health foundations are part of a cabal of “a close knit network of likeminded funders, environmental activists, and government bureaucrats” responsible for spreading “bogus propaganda disguised as science and news to spread an anti-fossil energy message to the unknowing public.”

The report goes on to list groups such as the American Lung Association and the Union of Concerned Scientists as “agenda-driven far-left elites” obsessed with using “secretive backroom deals and transfers” to hide their agenda from the public. To shine a light on these organizations, the Vitter report details annual budget numbers and board membership lists scrubbed from annual tax forms that these nonprofits, like any nonprofit, are required to publish.

Though the report scolds the nonprofits as untrustworthy and elite, there’s virtually no information in the report that details anything they have done wrong. Rather, Vitter and his staff appears to disagree with the shared policy goals of these nonprofits, which include combatting global warming as well reducing cancer-causing pollutants from the air and water.

Continue Reading »
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Aug 7, 2014, 07:04 AM (0 replies)

US Navy looks to Norway for answer to under-armed Littoral Combat Ship


If you look very carefully you can see the 57mm popgun near the pointy end.

US Navy looks to Norway for answer to under-armed Littoral Combat Ship
by Sean Gallagher - Jul 25, 2014 2:51 pm UTC

This fall, the US Navy will test a new weapon system—at least, one that’s new to the US—aboard the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) USS Coronado somewhere off the California coast. In search of some way to beef up the firepower of the oft-maligned LCS class, the Navy will test-launch a missile that can fly up to 100 miles and strike targets at sea or on land. And that missile comes not from one of the big names in the US defense industry but from Norway.

The LCS was supposed to be a modular, flexible ship that could get in close to shore and support troops with missile fire. But when the US Army cancelled the Non-Line of Site (NLOS) missile program, it took the teeth out of that idea—the modular missile system was also supposed to be the LCS’s go-to weapon for longer-range land and sea attack.

Since then, the only missile that has even been fired from an LCS-class ship is the RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile, an anti-air point defense missile system tested aboard the USS Freedom in 2009 and 2010. And concerns about the ship’s underpowered armament and inherent lack of flexibility without a missile capability made it an expensive sitting duck in “contested” waters—in other words, against any adversary that could put even a patrol boat armed with anti-ship missiles to sea. As a result, the Navy cut the number of LCS ships to be built in half and froze the purchase of ships not already under construction while it looks at alternatives.

The Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile—that missile from Norway—might be part of the answer to the LCS’s woes. The turbojet-powered cruise missile is already in service aboard Royal Norwegian Navy patrol boats and in a truck-mounted version with the Polish Navy’s coastal defense forces and has been chosen as the basis for the air-launched Joint Strike Missile—a standoff attack missile for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Posted by unhappycamper | Wed Aug 6, 2014, 06:16 AM (0 replies)

A Second Chance on Nuclear Modernization


The DC debate on the Navy’s new nuclear missile submarines has been about how we can possibly pay for them. In this op-ed, however, frequent Breaking Defense contributor Bob Butterworth takes a step back to look at a much bigger picture. The Navy’s recent admission that it can’t afford the Ohio Replacement Program (ORP) is an opportunity, he argues, a moment of clarity that should force the administration to rethink its plan for the future of the entire nuclear enterprise. In an increasingly dangerous world, he says, he still need nukes, but the world is dangerous in a different way than the Cold War and requires a different kind of thinking about nuclear weapons. — Sydney Freedberg, deputy editor.

A Second Chance on Nuclear Modernization
By Bob Butterworth on August 04, 2014 at 1:41 PM

Thanks to the Navy, we now have a chance to build a force posture better suited to meeting our future nuclear challenges.

To recap: In 2009 the then-new Obama Administration prepared a Nuclear Posture Review that set out to conclude the country would be safe with fewer deployed nuclear forces. The following year the Administration presented the New START agreement for Senate advice and consent, soon coupling it with a plan to modernize the classic triad by building new ICBMs, new submarines to launch SLBMs, and new nuclear-capable bombers, all to be fielded during the early 2030s and 2040s. New SLBMs for the new “boomers” would then follow. The next year brought a reduced version of this plan, delaying the start of the submarine program by two years and indefinitely deferring the work to make the new bombers capable of delivering nuclear bombs. This year brought a three-year delay in beginning work on a new air-launched cruise missile.

All this was expected to be very costly, as the delays and deferrals suggest. The Navy’s effort alone was likely to run almost to $100 billion and to take up nearly half the shipbuilding program for several years. And, sure enough, the Navy told Congress in July that the plan to build new subs is “not supportable” without giving the service a lot more money.

And so there may now be a chance to reconsider the whole modernization scheme. With or without delays, the Administration’s plan would simply recapitalize the force posture that had emerged from inter-service competition half a century ago. Is that the best achievable posture for meeting the threats and challenges of the next fifty years? Maybe, but there was not much strategic analysis offered to justify it, and the arguments offered to support it have a distinct superpower-vs.-superpower Cold War flavor. It is hard to see the plan as more than a replay of bureaucratic politics, in which the Air Force and the Navy each surrendered some deployed missiles and outside “blue ribbon” panels reported they could not agree on a better alternative.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Aug 5, 2014, 09:58 AM (0 replies)

Wars and Conflicts in the World’s Reconfiguration


Wars and Conflicts in the World’s Reconfiguration
La Jornada, Mexico
By José Blanco
Translated By Jessica Fernandez Rhodes
29 July 2014
Edited by Gillian Palmer

The world is heading toward a political and economic reconfiguration, with no arrival station or set deadline. It is a process full of serious threats, which, apparently, will keep growing more and more. We only know that some forces are marching toward a multipolar world, and the United States will try with all of its resources to remain the one and only tyrant and irrefutable center of the planet. Perhaps the biggest train wreck in human history is taking shape, and its consequences could erase an unimaginable portion of the human race from the planet. For now, the U.S. has its political and economic forces concentrated mainly against Russia, with a reluctant European Union tagging along.

The U.S. made a timid effort to restore its supremacy during Jimmy Carter’s administration, convinced as he was that the world would march toward multipolarity; however, the cowboy Ronald Reagan arrived, claiming that Carter was a lunatic. The vast majority of the right wing, which populates the empire, was on Reagan’s side, whom they elected in 1980, and he immediately launched a brutal display of what the empire is supposed to do with the economy and weapons.

He implemented Reaganomics (or “supply-side economics”), according to which growth is achieved through methods that increase aggregate supply by reducing barriers for people who produce goods and services (supply), such as tax reduction and a high “flexibility” through deregulation. He defined the USSR as the “evil empire,” and thus boosted the arms race. As the vandal that he was, he gave the first vicious slap against a terrible force: Grenada, a small island off the coast of Venezuela. Then came the supply of weapons to Iran when it was at war against Iraq, the supply of weapons to the Contras in Nicaragua and the brutal bombing of Libya. From that moment, the U.S. established an international domination with guns blazing.

Obama arrived and started talking timidly about a kind of international New Deal, but the right wing crushed him immediately. The powerful U.S. right wing of today has a realistic view of the threat to its interests. It has seen how, amid the shrapnel fired by the U.S. here and there, new countries have advanced and become medium international powers; it sees that, should the trend continue like this – amidst the financial crisis that gestated with Reagan and in which the U.S. and the EU are trapped – it will inevitably lose positions of power to make way for this international reconfiguration, which remains hazy for now.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Aug 5, 2014, 08:06 AM (4 replies)
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