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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 29,876

Journal Archives

The Pentagon Sends US Troops to Israel. Iran is the Unspoken Target

January 2, 2012. Jerusalem. In one of the most blacked-out stories in America right now, the US military is preparing to send thousands of US troops, along with US Naval anti-missile ships and accompanying support personnel, to Israel.

It took forever to find a second source for confirmation of this story and both relatively mainstream media outlets are in Israel. With one source saying the military deployment and corresponding exercises are to occur in January, the source providing most of the details suggests it will occur later this spring. Calling it not just an “exercise”, but a “deployment”, the Jerusalem Post quotes US Lt.-Gen Frank Gorenc, Commander of the US Third Air Force based in Germany. The US Commander visited Israel two weeks ago to confirm details for “the deployment of several thousand American soldiers to Israel.” In an effort to respond to recent Iranian threats and counter-threats, Israel announced the largest ever missile defense exercise in its history. Now, it’s reported that the US military, including the US Navy, will be stationed throughout Israel, also taking part.

While American troops will be stationed in Israel for an unspecified amount of time, Israeli military personnel will be added to EUCOM in Germany. EUCOM stands for United States European Command.

In preparation for anticipated Iranian missile attacks upon Israel, the US is reportedly bringing its THAAD, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, and ship-based Aegis ballistic missile systems to Israel. The US forces will join Israeli missile defense systems like the Patriot and Arrow. The deployment comes with “the ultimate goal of establishing joint task forces in the event of a large-scale conflict in the Middle East”.


JPOST SOURCE ARTICLE: http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Article.aspx?id=250249

OP SOURCE: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=28494

GM, Ford, Chrysler December U.S. Vehicle Sales Surpass Analysts’ Estimates

General Motors Co. (GM), Ford Motor Co. (F), Chrysler Group LLC reported December vehicle sales that beat analysts’ estimates, capping the U.S. auto industry’s best year since 2008.

Auto sales increased as consumer confidence reached an eight-month high in December, and carmakers aired holiday ads and continued promotions begun in late Novemember. The U.S. automakers rallied in 2011, two years after GM and Chrysler emerged from U.S.-backed bankruptcies. Also during the year, GM reclaimed the top spot in world vehicle sales from Toyota Motor Corp., and automakers announced plans to hire or rehire at least 25,000 workers in the U.S. by 2015.

“There is just a tremendous amount of pent-up demand,” Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with IHS Automotive, said today.

GM’s December vehicle sales rose 4.5 percent to 234,351, topping the average 4.4 percent gain of eight estimates. Ford’s December light-vehicle deliveries rose 10 percent to 209,447, exceeding the average estimate for a 7.7 percent gain. Chrysler’s December sales jumped 37 percent to 138,019 cars and light trucks, more than the average 33 percent analyst gain. Nissan (7201) Motor Co. also exceeded estimates.



Orders to U.S. Factories Rise the Most in Four Months as Recovery Quickens

By Bob Willis

Orders to American factories rose in November by the most in four months, showing gains in manufacturing will help the economy grow.

Bookings for factory goods (TMNOCHNG) rose 1.8 percent after a revised 0.2 percent drop the prior month, data from the Commerce Department showed today in Washington. Demand for aircraft, autos and metals compensated for a drop in computers and electronics.

Improving consumer spending combined with lean inventories indicate production (IPMGCHNG) will continue to increase, bolstering economic growth in early 2012. Slowing demand for capital goods like computers is a sign business investment will cool this year, reflecting concern over a slowdown in global growth and a less advantageous government tax credit.

“Manufacturing is holding up fairly well,” said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “Business investment has been very strong during this recovery, so some softening isn’t surprising.”



Religious Soldiers Must Attend Ceremonies With Women Singing, IDF Rules

January 2, 2012

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Religious Israel Defense Forces soldiers will not be excused from official military ceremonies at which women sing, according to an official ruling.

Monday's decision by Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz comes following the recommendation of a special committee, which also determined that soldiers could request permission to be absent from performances by females during cultural and private unit events.

Religious cadets walked out of an official ceremony last year that featured the singing of female soldiers. The cadets were removed from the officer training program.



Constitutional Attorney: Guantanamo ‘Nearly Impossible To Close’ Thanks To NDAA

The U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba will not be closing any time soon thanks to President Barack Obama’s approval of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a constitutional attorney who’s represented terrorism suspects told Raw Story this week in an exclusive interview.

Even though President Barack Obama made closing Guantanamo one of his core campaign promises in the lead-up to the presidential election in 2008, that promise now appears to be “nearly impossible” to fulfill thanks to provisions in the new laws, Baher Azmy, legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, explained.

As an attorney, Azmy represented Murat Kurnaz, a German who was detained by Pakistani authorities and sold to the U.S. for a bounty. Kurnaz, who even the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) thought was innocent, ended up in Guantanamo at age 19 as a suspected terrorist, and he stayed there for five years without ever facing a criminal charge. Azmy also wrote briefings for the Supreme Court in Boumediene v. Bush, a case which challenged the right of the U.S. military to exclusively detain terrorism suspects.



'Bugsplat': The Civilian Toll Of War

By Robert C. Koehler, January 1, 2012

"The Lakotah had no language for insulting other orders of existence: pest, waste, weed ..."

But what about "bugsplat"?

That's the word for the cop at UC Davis, walking up and down the line of students sitting with their arms locked, zapping them in the eyes with pepper spray. It's the word for the Tunisian police and bureaucrats who humiliated Mohamed Bouazizi and destroyed his livelihood as a street vendor. It's the word for anyone whose power exceeds his humanity.

And, according to a 2003 Washington Post story, it's the name of a Defense Department computer program for calculating collateral damage, as well as, apparently, casual terminology among Pentagon operation planners and the like to refer to the collateral damage itself ... you know, the dead civilians. CIA drone operators talk about bugsplat. The British organization Reprieve calls its effort to track the number of people killed by U.S. drone strikes — in Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen — Project Bugsplat.

It's a term I've only recently come across, but I can't get it out of my head. The only way I know how to begin thinking about it is to quote that passage from Rupert Ross' extraordinary book about Native American wisdom, "Returning to the Teachings," and contemplate the idea of a people who have "no language for insulting other orders of existence." Such a thought, it seems to me, is worth sitting with for a while, especially as we read or listen to the news and behold the daily unfolding of our casual disrespect for every order of existence, including our own.



Palestinians Weigh ‘Harsh Measures’ for Israel: Abbas

By Jonathan Ferziger - Jan 3, 2012 12:23 PM ET

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he may take “harsh measures” if talks with Israel that started today in Jordan do not lead to a halt in West Bank settlement construction by Jan. 26.

The comment to reporters in Ramallah came hours before chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat and his Israeli counterpart, Yitzhak Molcho, went to the Jordanian Foreign Ministry in Amman for their first meeting in more than a year. The international group known as the Quartet has asked both Israel and the Palestinians to present proposals on setting final borders between them by that date.

“We will discuss and study and decide what to do after the 26th,” Abbas told reporters at a ceremony to open a legal studies center in Ramallah. “So far I cannot reveal what the measures are because they are not ready yet, but we will take measures that might be harsh,” he said.

Abbas has said he won’t return to peace talks, which broke down in September 2010, unless Israel freezes all settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, a condition Netanyahu rejects. The Amman meeting has been presented by both sides as a preliminary step to resuming formal talks, not a new round in itself.



Israel Announces Contentious Jerusalem Construction Ahead Of Peace Talks Meet

The Housing Ministry and Israel Lands Administration published on Tuesday three new tenders for construction of 300 housing units beyond the Green Line in Jerusalem, just hours before Israeli and Palestinian envoys are due to meet for the first time in over a year to discuss the renewal of peace talks.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's envoy for peace process, Yitzhak Molcho, is expected to discuss security arrangements and border issues with chief Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat, with the participation of Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, who will mediate between the parties.

Palestinian sources stressed that they have no expectation of a diplomatic breakthrough in the short term, both because of the composition of the Israeli government and because of the U.S. presidential election campaign that is starting to get under way.

The sources indicated they believed that there will be no progress in peace negotiations until after the American election in November.



U.S. Factories Grow At Fastest Pace In Six Months As Manufacturing Improves

U.S. factories expanded in December at the fastest pace in six months, adding to evidence manufacturing is improving from India to the U.K. entering 2012.

The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index climbed to 53.9 last month from 52.7 in November, the Tempe, Arizona- based group’s data showed today. Fifty is the dividing line between growth and contraction, and economists surveyed by Bloomberg News forecast the gauge would rise to 53.5.

Stocks surged and commodities rose as the data showed factory orders and production grew at the strongest rates in eight months while inventories were cut. Combined with another report showing construction spending (CNSTTMOM) climbed in November, the figures indicate the world’s largest economy accelerated in the final months of 2011.

“Global economic activity is showing signs of life,” said Tom Porcelli, chief U.S. economist at RBC Capital Markets Corp. in New York, who correctly projected the factory gauge. “Manufacturing in the early part of the year will keep expanding. It’s good to know that purchasing managers are feeling a bit better about the economic backdrop.”



Iraq War Lives on as U.S. Conflict Fuels Debt

By Mike Dorning - Tue Dec 27 05:00:29 GMT 2011

The war in Iraq is officially over. The costs will go on.

Eight years of dodging improvised explosive devices, repelling insurgent ambushes and quelling sectarian strife already has drained the U.S. of more treasure than any conflict in the nation’s history except World War II.

Even though the last U.S. combat troops have left Iraq, American taxpayers will face decades of additional expenses, from veterans’ health care and disability benefits to interest on the debt (PUBLDEBT) accumulated to finance the war.

“Those costs are going to build for years,” said Todd Harrison, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a Washington-based research group.


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