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unhappycamper

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Member since: Wed Mar 16, 2005, 10:12 AM
Number of posts: 60,364

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Terrorism – An American Failure?

http://www.watchingamerica.com/News/242327/terrorism-an-american-failure/



The 'war on terror' is nothing but a strategy to reconfigure global geopolitics.

Terrorism – An American Failure?
L'Expression, Algeria
By Karim Mohsen
Translated By Stuart Taylor
29 June 2014
Edited by Bora Mici

In 2000, terrorism — at least as we know it today — did not exist in Iraq or Syria, or in the Middle East as a whole. However, the American invasion of ancient Mesopotamia totally changed things, thus causing it to become radicalized and turning it into a cross-border plague. Is it really so hard to believe that this was only possible with the contribution of the United States to what would become al-Qaida, through logistical and strategic support to the Islamist movements operating between 1980 and 1990 in Afghanistan, movements formed by the CIA and financed by Saudi Arabia? If we do not return to the origins of what is now a global plague, and if we do not define this phenomenon in a straightforward way, we will not be able to understand its international expansion, much less eradicate it.

The advent of international terrorism is actually closely linked to America's world domination strategy on one hand, and on the other, to Washington's desire to share the Middle East on an ethical, tribal and religious basis — George W. Bush's Greater Middle East project. Today, Syria, Iraq and Libya provide a damning overview of what will become of the Machrek and Maghreb regions, which have surrendered to jihadism. And it is Qatar and Saudi Arabia that finance jihadism, whose responsibility is great in the project to destroy the Arab nation.

~snip~

Wherever the United States has wanted to forcibly change a regime — Iraq, Libya, Syria — far from establishing democracy and the respect of the people, this has resulted in the deconstruction of these states, the resulting effect being power grabs by armed jihadi groups that reign with terror over the populations, which are subjected to their tyranny. Will the Americans send soldiers to Iraq? Not likely. They will use the tactic that they are already employing in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen: a drone war. For the United States, this means fewer human lives lost, and it costs less financially, whereas the collateral damage is and will be disastrous for the target countries. There are more Afghan, Pakistani and Yemenite civilians who die from American drone strikes than from terrorists. The Americans will say that sacrifices, if not errors, are inevitable, even if it is still the Iraqis and Syrians who will have to pay the price.

However, since 2003, it has been clear that the arguments used by the U.S. to legitimize the war on terrorism were an illusion. It was a fake war that gave the Americans the jihadi "plague" to spread to the world, thus they could say that they were the only ones with the cure. Terrorism, unheard of 13 years ago, has not only progressed but has also been consolidated thanks to Western logistics and the financing of the Gulf monarchies. As such, the U.S. anti-terrorism fight has succeeded in propelling jihadism, somewhat encouraged or even oriented toward objectives that only Washington must know. Seen from this perspective, "terrorism" seems rather like an American "success!"
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Jul 17, 2014, 05:33 AM (1 replies)

Hawks Hint at Expanding Use of Never-Ending War 'Slush Fund'

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/07/16-11



Vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff sees counterterrorism funding expanding

Hawks Hint at Expanding Use of Never-Ending War 'Slush Fund'
- Andrea Germanos, staff writer
Published on Wednesday, July 16, 2014 by Common Dreams

A proposal for supplemental war funding was under scrutiny Wednesday at a Congressional hearing, where Defense Department officials hinted that there is no end in sight to the need for this counterterrorism "war chest."

At issue is nearly $60 billion proposed last month by the White House for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funds for the 2015 budget. The pot for OCO, which until 2009 was called Global War on Terrorism, is on top of the base budget for the Defense Department, which for the 2015 proposal is nearly $500 billion.

Mattea Kramer of the National Priorities Project has pointed out that the OCO budget "isn’t subject to caps or cuts or any restrictions at all." This has led some, like Stephen Miles, coalition coordinator for Win Without War, to refer to it as "a massive slush fund to avoid fiscal discipline."


The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) held a hearing on the OCO funding proposal on Wednesday.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Jul 17, 2014, 04:50 AM (0 replies)

Nurse Refuses Navy's Force-Feeding of Gitmo Prisoners

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/07/16-1



Guantanamo force feeding paraphernalia.

Nurse Refuses Navy's Force-Feeding of Gitmo Prisoners
- Sarah Lazare, staff writer
Published on Wednesday, July 16, 2014 by Common Dreams

A nurse in the U.S. Navy has refused to participate in the force-feeding of hunger striking detainees in what is the first widely-reported act of defiance on ethical grounds by a U.S. military service member at this offshore prison.

“This is a historic stand by this nurse, who recognized the basic humanity of the detainees and the inhumanity of what he was being asked to do," said Cori Crider, a lawyer for UK-based charity Reprieve—which refers to the refusal as 'conscientious objection.' Crider learned of the act of refusal in a July 10 phone call with Abu Wa’el Dhiab—a Syrian man currently detained in Guantánamo Bay—and the news broke to the media on Tuesday.

The unidentified nurse told Dhiab, “I have come to the decision that I refuse to participate in this criminal act," according to a press statement from Reprieve. “Before we came here, we were told a different story," the nurse added. "The story we were told was completely the opposite of what I saw."

Journalist Carol Rosenberg received confirmation from Navy Capt. Tom Gresback that “there was a recent instance of a medical provider not willing to carry out the enteral feeding of a detainee.”
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Jul 17, 2014, 04:48 AM (0 replies)

Does Uncle Sam Have a God Complex?

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/07/15



'NSA surveillance proliferates in a context that goes well beyond spying.'

Does Uncle Sam Have a God Complex?
by Norman Solomon
Published on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 by Common Dreams

As a matter of faith, some people believe that God can see and hear everything. But as a matter of fact, the U.S. government now has the kind of surveillance powers formerly attributed only to a supreme being.

~snip~

Since last summer, revelations about NSA programs have been so profuse and complex that it’s difficult to gain an overview, to see the surveillance state’s toxic forest for the digital trees. But the macro picture has to do with a mind-blowing agenda for monitoring the people of the world.

“For me, the most significant revelation is the ambition of the United States government and its four English-speaking allies to literally eliminate privacy worldwide, which is not hyperbole,” journalist Glenn Greenwald said at a news conference three months ago. “The goal of the United States government is to collect and store every single form of electronic communication that human beings have with one another and give themselves the capacity to monitor and analyze those communications.”

Such a goal, formerly reserved for the more fundamentalist versions of God, is now firmly entrenched at the top of the U.S. government — and at the top of corporate America. As Greenwald pointed out, “There almost is no division between the private sector and the NSA, or the private sector and the Pentagon, when it comes to the American ‘national security’ state. They really are essentially one.”
Posted by unhappycamper | Wed Jul 16, 2014, 05:16 AM (2 replies)

Hagel Hits The Road To Pressure Congress On Sequester

http://breakingdefense.com/2014/07/hagel-hits-the-road-to-pressure-congress-on-sequester/

http://breakingdefense.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2014/07/Hagel-@-Eglin-with-reporters.jpg

Hagel Hits The Road To Pressure Congress On Sequester
By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on July 11, 2014 at 4:00 PM

Defense Secretaries always “try to get out of Washington and visit as many of our bases and talk to as many of our people” as they can, as Sec. Chuck Hagel said this week at Kings Bay submarine base in Georgia. But when you’re SecDef, you always take Washington with you. Physically, that means the entourage of one general, one admiral, and myriad lesser aides, bodyguards, and even ragtag reporters (e.g. me) that accompanies the Secretary almost everywhere he goes except the bathroom. Politically, it means every word the Secretary says is said with Washington much in mind.

So on this week’s trip to Georgia, Florida, and Alabama, Hagel hammered on the theme of budget cuts at every stop — and, at every stop, the Secretary carefully put the responsibility on Congress to roll back the automatic cuts known as sequestration.

“What the Congress has been doing, in not accepting any of our recommendations in our budget this year, is making it more difficult for us,” Hagel told soldiers at Fort Rucker, Ala. on Thursday afternoon. The “recommendations” in question are controversial cost-saving measures affecting every service — such as semi-mothballing 11 Navy cruisers, stripping the Army National Guard of its Apache attack helicopters, retiring the Air Force A-10 Warthog ground attack plane, and reducing some military personnel benefits — which have met resistance or outright rejection on Capitol Hill. The benefits proposals, though modest, are particularly touchy: When one servicemember at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., asked about housing allowances, Hagel launched into a long, vague discussion about personnel benefits in general and how retirement in particular had not changed, before finally acknowledging Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) would come down a few percent under the administration’s plan.

“Our budget problems …. are forcing us into making some hard choices,” Hagel said at Rucker. “If we don’t get some relief” — i.e. if Congress doesn’t accept what the administration and Pentagon consider a reasonable package of manageable reductions — “we’re going to have to make some very abrupt cuts, and they won’t be as thoughtful.”

--

We The People already coughed up $50 billion dollars in reduced social spending, food stamps, unemployment insurance, etc. etc.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Jul 15, 2014, 05:36 AM (0 replies)

‘My Last Ship Was Older Than I Was’: Sailor Quizzes SecDef On New SSBNs

http://breakingdefense.com/2014/07/my-last-ship-was-older-than-i-was-sailor-quizzes-secdef-on-new-ssbns/



‘My Last Ship Was Older Than I Was’: Sailor Quizzes SecDef On New SSBNs
By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on July 10, 2014 at 4:00 AM

KINGS BAY NAVAL SUBMARINE BASE, GEORGIA: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel came here Wednesday to celebrate the Navy’s nuclear deterrence force. But just 20 minutes in, a petty officer second class stood up in front of almost 200 of his comrades and pointed out the $95 billion elephant in the room: Can the Navy afford to buy the next generation of ballistic missile submarines?

Today’s Ohio-class SSBNs are most important leg of the nuclear triad: Under the New START arms control treaty, the subs are slated to carry 70 percent of the nation’s deployed nuclear warheads. But “they’re starting to kind of show their age,” the sailor told Hagel. “My last ship was older than I was.”

“This is World War II technology with modern electronics,” said Capt. William Houston, commander of the SSBN squadron here, as he slapped the periscope on the 27-year-old USS Tennessee. (Ohio-class periscopes use physical mirrors; the newer Virginia-class attack subs have video cameras). Even with their service life extended to an unprecedented 42 years – so long that accumulated metal fatigue on the hull will become a crucial limit – the Ohio SSBNs will have to start retiring in 2027.

Design of a new Ohio Replacement Program submarine (formerly SSBN-X) is already underway. “Yes, it’s forcing us to make some hard choices in our budget, but I’ve been clear on this, the president’s been clear on this,” Hagel told the auditorium full of sailors. “We continue to be committed to a new generation of (ballistic missile) submarines.”

--

Virginia-class submarines currently cost somewhere between $5 ~ $7 billion dollars each.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Jul 15, 2014, 05:31 AM (0 replies)

Farnborough Fancies: The F-35, Expectations And Illusions

http://breakingdefense.com/2014/07/farnborough-fancies-the-f-35-expectations-and-illusions/



Farnborough Fancies: The F-35, Expectations And Illusions
By Colin Clark on July 11, 2014 at 7:18 AM

LONDON: Sitting in my room here across the street from the building where D-Day was planned and Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower huddled for months worrying over those shallow beaches and terrible cliffs, it’s easy to lose sight of the current agonistes faced by Lockheed Martin, the Pentagon leadership and our allies about the F-35A fire.



The sleepless faces and anxious demeanors I’ve chatted amiably and earnestly with over the last day make clear as nothing else can that the fire that struck the Air Force aircraft as it took off June 23 at Eglin Air Fore Base really does worry those who make the plane and those who will buy it. Much of the worry is immediate: how will we look if the F-35 does not fly at Farnborough? Some of it is focused on the ripple effects this may have on the long-troubled program. Testing will be delayed. Confidence in its single engine may be shaken. Costs (groan) may rise again. But let’s take the long view for a moment, now that we’ve left the Washington hothouse behind.

So far (touch wood), no one has been killed or injured flying an F-35. And the Pentagon intends to keep it that way: “Safety is the first priority,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told F-35 pilots and support personnel at Eglin yesterday . ‘We’re not going to put aircraft in the air, we’re not going to ask anyone to risk their lives on any platform for any reason, unless we feel absolutely secure that it is safe.”

So far, the problems are those most advanced weapons face in their development: unexpected design issues (cracking bulkheads, jittery helmet displays, tires that tire out awfully fast, the Eglin fire etc.), rising costs and lengthening schedules. Of course, the F-35 is unique because there are three variants flown by the Navy, Air Force and Marines; allies were in from the beginning; and it is the only fighter the world’s biggest military will build for a long, long time, so the stakes are high.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Jul 15, 2014, 05:15 AM (0 replies)

Passing Gas to the Consumer

http://smirkingchimp.com/thread/walter-brasch/56899/passing-gas-to-the-consumer

Passing Gas to the Consumer
Big Oil
by Walter Brasch | July 13, 2014 - 6:58am

Gas prices at the pump during the July 4th extended weekend were the highest they have been in six years. This, of course, has little to do with supply-and-demand economics. It has everything to do with supply-and-gouge profits.

Over the past decade, the five largest oil companies have earned more than $1 trillion in profits. Last year, the Big Five—BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, and Shell—earned about $93 billion in profits. Their CEOs last year earned an average of about $20 million. Included within the profits is $2.4 billion in taxpayer subsidies because it’s hard to make a living when your hourly wage, assuming you work every hour of every day, is only $2,283.

“We have been subsidizing oil companies for a century. That’s long enough,” President Obama said more than a year ago. The Senate disagreed. Forty-three Republicans and four Democrats blocked the elimination of subsidies. Although the final vote was 51–47 to end the subsidies, a simple majority was not enough because the Republicans threatened a filibuster that would have required 60 votes to pass the bill. A Think Progress financial analysis revealed that the 47 senators who voted to continue subsidies received almost $23.6 million in career contributions from the oil and gas industry. In contrast, the 51 senators who had voted to repeal the subsidies received only about $5.9 million.

For a couple of decades, the oil industry blamed the Arabs for not pumping enough oil to export to the United States. But when the Arab oil cartel (of which the major U.S. oil companies have limited partnerships) decided to pump more oil, the Americans had to look elsewhere for their excuses. In rapid succession, they blamed Mexico, England, the Bermuda Triangle, polar bears who were lying about climate change so they could get more ice for their diet drinks, and infertile dinosaurs.
Posted by unhappycamper | Mon Jul 14, 2014, 05:34 AM (2 replies)

Those Kids Crossing the Border From Mexico Wouldn't Be There If Obama Hadn't Supported a Coup the Me

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/07/12-4



Supporters of ousted Honduras' President Manuel Zelaya clash with soldiers near the presidential residency Tegucigalpa, Monday, June 29. 2009. Police fired tear gas to hold back thousands of Hondurans outside the occupied presidential residency as world leaders appealed to Honduras to reverse a coup that ousted the president.

Those Kids Crossing the Border From Mexico Wouldn't Be There If Obama Hadn't Supported a Coup the Media Doesn't Talk About
by Ted Rall
Published on Saturday, July 12, 2014 by Common Dreams

If you're reading this, you probably follow the news. So you've probably heard of the latest iteration of the "crisis at the border": tens of thousands of children, many of them unaccompanied by an adult, crossing the desert from Mexico into the United States, where they surrender to the Border Patrol in hope of being allowed to remain here permanently. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's detention and hearing system has been overwhelmed by the surge of children and, in some cases, their parents. The Obama Administration has asked Congress to approve new funding to speed up processing and deportations of these illegal immigrants.

Even if you've followed this story closely, you probably haven't heard the depressing backstory — the reason so many Central Americans are sending their children on a dangerous thousand-mile journey up the spine of Mexico, where they ride atop freight trains, endure shakedowns by corrupt police and face rapists, bandits and other predators. (For a sense of what it's like, check out the excellent 2004 film "Maria Full of Grace."

~snip~

The fact that Honduras is the biggest source of the exodus jumped out at me. That's because, in 2009, the United States government — under President Obama — tacitly supported a military coup that overthrew the democratically elected president of Honduras. "Washington has a very close relationship with the Honduran military, which goes back decades," The Guardian noted at the time. "During the 1980s, the US used bases in Honduras to train and arm the Contras, Nicaraguan paramilitaries who became known for their atrocities in their war against the Sandinista government in neighbouring Nicaragua."

Honduras wasn't paradise under President Manuel Zelaya. Since the coup, however, the country has entered a downward death spiral of drug-related bloodshed and political revenge killings that crashed the economy, brought an end to law, order and civil society, and now has some analysts calling it a "failed state" along the lines of Somalia and Afghanistan during the 1990s.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sun Jul 13, 2014, 05:57 AM (14 replies)

(S Korea/China) Torn between two giants

http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/opinon/2014/07/202_160830.html

There is no hurry about joining China-led bank

Torn between two giants
Posted : 2014-07-11 16:08
Updated : 2014-07-12 12:06

Korea is being driven into a situation where it may have to choose between the United States and China, and on the agenda is whether Seoul has to join a China-led regional development bank.

During his summit with President Park Geun-hye in Seoul last week, China's President Xi Jinping expressed the hope that Seoul will take part in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) he hopes to launch next year as a founding member. President Park took the proposal as "well-timed'' but didn't respond to it immediately.

The U.S. is adamant in opposing the bank out of fear that China intends to grow its clout in the global financial market and take the lead in reshaping Asia's economic order. Washington, in particular, appears sensitive because Beijing reportedly intends to exclude the world's largest economy from the new bank. Jen Psaki, spokeswoman of the State Department, expressed skepticism about the bank at a press briefing Tuesday, saying, "There is already the ADB, which plays a critical role in regional infrastructure development … that's the bar we believe it (AIIB) should pass.''

American officials are bluntly calling for Korea not to join the AIIB. On Monday, Sydney Seiler, director for Korea at the National Security Council, cautioned Seoul to be prudent in joining the AIIB in an interview with Yonhap News. U.S. President Barrack Obama reportedly conveyed his concern about Seoul's participation in the proposed bank during his visit to Korea in April.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Jul 12, 2014, 07:27 AM (0 replies)
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