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Member since: Wed Mar 16, 2005, 11:12 AM
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Nurse Refuses Navy's Force-Feeding of Gitmo Prisoners


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, 05:48 AM (0 replies)

Does Uncle Sam Have a God Complex?


'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.


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, 06:16 AM (2 replies)

Hagel Hits The Road To Pressure Congress On Sequester



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, 06:36 AM (0 replies)

‘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, 06:31 AM (0 replies)

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, 06:15 AM (0 replies)

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, 06:34 AM (2 replies)

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


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."


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, 06:57 AM (14 replies)

(S Korea/China) Torn between two giants


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, 08:27 AM (0 replies)

55 Years Since Miyamori Elementary School Crash



55 Years Since Miyamori Elementary School Crash
Ryukyu Shimpo, Japan
By Editorial
Translated By Courtney Coppernoll
1 July 2014
Edited by Gillian Palmer

What place should be safer for children than an elementary school? In 1959, when children at Miyamori Elementary School were waiting for the milk to drink with their school lunches, the school was suddenly engulfed in flames, and the children struck by a “ball of fire.” There is no way that such an outrage can ever be forgiven. Still less can such an event ever be repeated.

Fifty-five years have passed since that incident, in which a U.S. military aircraft crashed into the Ishikawa (modern day Uruma) school, killing 18 and injuring more than 200. At a recent memorial service, those affected were given an avenue to express themselves. That the children of those who survived the Battle of Okinawa should fall victim to such an accident is surely a “double victimization.” I want to deeply impress such outrageous post-war Okinawan history on others' hearts and minds.

According to those enrolled at the school at the time of the accident, their first alumni meeting was held the day before the memorial service. The fact that they were finally able to hold a meeting themselves only after 55 years have passed illustrates the depth of their emotional scars. Their eyes swim with tears as a military aircraft flies in the sky overhead. When talk turns to the accident, tears naturally well up. When you hear these sorts of stories from those who personally experienced it, you understand that even now the emotional trauma caused by the event has not been healed.

The people that day couldn't help their sons and daughters, the children under their care or their classmates. Even now, the bereaved families and teaching staff reflect regretfully upon the children who died. Yet, it's someone else who's forcing these painful thoughts upon people who have no fault or responsibility in the matter. It's both the Japanese and American governments who brought about this sort of postwar history in Okinawa, and it's they who should have the guilty conscience.
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Jul 11, 2014, 08:05 AM (0 replies)

Parts Fall from Osprey: Withdrawal Desired before Major Accident Occurs


The $100+ million dollar MV-22 Osprey

Parts Fall from Osprey: Withdrawal Desired before Major Accident Occurs
Ryukyu Shimpo, Japan
By Editorial
Translated By Maisha Kuniyuki
22 June 2014
Edited by Eva Langman

During general training, a metal part fell from a U.S. Marine Corps V-22 Osprey vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft stationed at the Marine Corps Air Base at Futenma.


Last October, the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of the Inspector General announced that it had found a few errors in the Marine Corps V-22 Osprey’s maintenance operations and records between October 2008 and September 2011. It also indicated that "senior DoD and Marine Corps officials could have deployed MV-22 squadrons that were not prepared for missions."

Surprisingly, aircraft status information was recorded improperly 167 out of 200 times, while 112 out of 907 aircraft work orders were inadequately prepared.

In addition to the Osprey, there have been 21 confirmed incidents of objects falling from U.S. aircrafts around Okinawa since 2003. The lives and livelihoods of locals are undeniably being exposed to danger. We cannot afford to let this issue go unchecked..

Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Jul 11, 2014, 07:57 AM (1 replies)
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