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Member since: Wed Mar 16, 2005, 11:12 AM
Number of posts: 60,364

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Sec Army McHugh Says No Choice But Accept Apache Transmission Swaps; Line Would Have Shut Down


Army Secretary John McHugh gets a briefing at Fort Rucker, Ala., the Army's helicopter center, in March.

Sec Army McHugh Says No Choice But Accept Apache Transmission Swaps; Line Would Have Shut Down
By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.
Published: April 30, 2013

WASHINGTON: The Secretary of the Army defended today what he admitted was "an unconventional approach" to fielding the service's cutting-edge AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopter, saying the only alternative to the current complex workaround would have been to "shut the line down" for a time.


"What the hell IS going on?" McHugh interjected when I began to ask him what was up with the new helicopters, sending a ripple of laughter around the table at this morning's Defense Writers' Group breakfast. We've described this process as a shell game. "I might use a different phrasing," McHugh said with a chuckle.

"We were facing a very challenging problem, as you know," he said. "Boeing's subcontractor Northstar (Northstar Aerospace) went bankrupt... It wasn't able to produce the transmissions for the Apache in the kind of timely way that would've been necessary under the contract."

"Frankly, the one option other than the path we're on would've been pretty much to shut the line down," McHugh went on. "That would have killed the delivery of the systems to the Army" -- we presume he means temporarily, until transmission production could catch up -- "and it certainly wouldn't have inured to the economic beneift of either Boeing or the subcontractors' efforts to try to get its fiscal house in order" -- since stopping all work and all payments would make it even harder for Northstar to get back on its feet and making transmissions. "It would've laid off the workers totally," McHugh added. And as Congress has told the Army repeatedly when the service suggested shutting down armored vehicle production for a few years and then restarting it, it's often cheaper in the long term to keep a production line "hot," even at the price of short-term inefficiency, than to try to turn it on and off again.

unhappycamper comment: And this explains why Congress keeps ordering crap the military does not want.
Posted by unhappycamper | Wed May 1, 2013, 10:17 AM (1 replies)

Another sales pitch for F-35 jets from Lockheed Martin


Stephen O'Bryan, VP of Lockeed F-35 Program showcases the Lockheed Martin F-35 Fighter jet at the design exchange in Toronto April 8, 2013.

Another sales pitch for F-35 jets from Lockheed Martin
3:58 pm, April 30th, 2013

OTTAWA - As the feds check out alternatives to replace the old CF-18 fighter jets, the maker of the F-35 stealth fighter has launched another media blitz.

"You're going to buy a jet that Canada is going to keep in service for 40 years," said Lockheed Martin's Billie Flynn, a former Canadian air force pilot. "You either buy it at the beginning of its life and it grows with the military and with Canada's needs and the roles that are not yet thought of, or it atrophies 10 years into its lifetime."

His sales pitch came Tuesday during a web-based seminar by Lockheed Martin - its second Canadian public relations effort since February to promote the F-35.


Lockheed Martin's vice-president of the F-35 program, Steve O'Bryan, says if Canada ordered the F-35 this year, it would cost about $85 million per plane by the time the jets were delivered in 2020.

unhappycamper comment: "... if Canada ordered the F-35 this year, it would cost about $85 million per plane by the time the jets were delivered in 2020." - Yea, riiiight. And pigs might fly out my butt.
Posted by unhappycamper | Wed May 1, 2013, 09:42 AM (0 replies)

CODE BLUE for the Pentagon’s $1.5 Trillion F-35


CODE BLUE for the Pentagon’s $1.5 Trillion F-35
By JACQUELINE LEO, The Fiscal Times
April 29, 2013

When you think of writing software code, you think of companies like Apple, Google and Facebook. But every new car we drive, every GPS system we use—almost everything with a plug or battery, with the possible exception of your desk lamp—is engineered with software.


The Pentagon commissioned the F-35 during the Clinton presidency. Lockheed Martin was chosen as the manufacturer.

Right now, each branch of the military has their own planes, meaning that numerous contracts existed with different contractors. Lockheed was expected to lower the cost of air defense by creating redundancies between the branches. It was ordered to produce three different versions of the F-35: the Marine version could take off and land vertically; the Navy version would be designed to take off from air craft carriers; and the Air Force version would take off from traditional runways. The Pentagon ordered nearly 2,500 planes for $382 billion, or fifty percent more than the original cost.

As the price soared, the Pentagon in 2010 deemed the program “too big to fail.” Yet it continues to fall short. Recent engine troubles are just the latest in a series of mechanical failures. A pilot was killed when oxygen to the cabin was cut off. The aircraft are running too hot, limiting their ability to operate in warm environments.
Posted by unhappycamper | Wed May 1, 2013, 09:38 AM (1 replies)

'Torture Reinforcements' Not 'Medical Personnel' Arrive to Combat Gitmo Hunger Strike


US Military Calls in 'Force-Feeding Teams' as Guantanamo Hunger Strike Continues

'Torture Reinforcements' Not 'Medical Personnel' Arrive to Combat Gitmo Hunger Strike
- Jon Queally, staff writer
Published on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 by Common Dreams

The US military has confirmed that at least 40 "medical personnel" have arrived at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in order to expand a force-feeding operation designed to counter an ongoing hunger strike by more than 100 prisoners protesting their indefinite detention and ill treatment.

But because the procedure of "force-feeding" is widely held as a form of torture, critics of the practice may well view the medical teams as nothing more than 'torture reinforcements' as the number of those approved for the painful process continues to grow and their conditions deteriorate.

Military authorities repeatedly claim that force-feedings are somehow necessary, but experts are unequivocal when they declare that the procedure is torture.

The United Nations Human Rights Commission considers the practice of force-feeding—in which detainees are strapped to a restraining chair, have tubes pushed up their nostrils and liquids pumped down their throats—a clear form of torture. In addition, the World Medical Association prohibits its physicians from participating in force-feeding and the American Medical Association has just sent a letter to the Pentagon calling the practice an affront to accepted medical ethics.
Posted by unhappycamper | Wed May 1, 2013, 08:30 AM (2 replies)

Afghanistan blames opium surge on global demand


Afghanistan blames opium surge on global demand
By Agence France-Presse
Tuesday, April 30, 2013 17:07 EDT

Afghanistan, the world’s largest grower of opium poppies, should not shoulder all the blame for its drug surge, its foreign minister said Tuesday while on a visit to Estonia.

“It’s not only Afghanistan but the global demand for drugs that should be blamed for illegal narcotics from Afghanistan,” Zalmai Rassoul told reporters in Tallinn.

Bringing that demand down “requires an international effort”, he added, as Afghanistan struggles to eradicate its rapidly growing poppy industry.


Afghanistan already cultivates about 90 percent of the global opium supply and now production is expected to rise for a third straight year, expanding even to poppy-free areas.
Posted by unhappycamper | Wed May 1, 2013, 07:08 AM (0 replies)

Distorted Priorities: Military Spending vs. People's Health


Distorted Priorities: Military Spending vs. People's Health
by César Chelala
Published on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 by Common Dreams

The latest report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) shows that, considering some data uncertainties, the world military spending in 2012 dropped slightly (0.5 percent) when compared to 2011. It is the first decline in military spending since 1998. This could be a cause for celebration, except that it is still a perverse use of funds, which could be better diverted to improve people’s health and to promote peace.

According to SIPRI’s estimates, world military spending in 2012 was $1,75 billion, of which $682 billion were spent by the US, $166 billion by China and $90.7 billion by Russia. There was a slight decline in spending by the United States, Australia, Canada,Japan, and Western and Central Europe. Reductions in those countries, however, were upset by increased spending in Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Latin America.

In perspective, military expenditures were several hundred times the World Health Organization (WHO)’s annual budget of $3,95 billion for the 2012-2013 period. Programs funded by the organization include: addressing the global AIDS pandemic; controlling resurgent tuberculosis; dealing with the global disease burden among women and children; addressing accident and trauma victims’ needs; responding to emergency and humanitarian crises, and developing effective health systems, among many other tasks.


In the US, military spending fell 6 percent, mainly because of the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq and the diminished number of troops in Afghanistan. In these cases, reduced spending on the additional war budget, also known as Overseas Contingency Operations, will probably continue falling if plans to end combat operations in Afghanistan in 2014 are fulfilled, and if the USdoesn’t get involved in another major war. The US still spent more than the next 10 biggest military spenders in 2012.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Apr 30, 2013, 08:26 AM (1 replies)

Study Reveals 30 Toxic Chemicals at High Levels at Exxon Arkansas Tar Sands Pipeline Spill Site


Study Reveals 30 Toxic Chemicals at High Levels at Exxon Arkansas Tar Sands Pipeline Spill Site
by Steve Horn
Published on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 by DeSmog Blog

An independent study co-published by the Faulkner County Citizens Advisory Group and Global Community Monitor reveals that, in the aftermath of ExxonMobil's Pegasus tar sands pipeline spill of over 500,000 gallons of diluted bitumen (dilbit) into Mayflower, AR, air quality in the area surrounding the spill has been affected by high levels of cancer-causing chemicals.

Roughly four weeks after the spill took place, many basic details are still unknown to the public, according to recent reporting by InsideClimate News. Questions include what exactly caused the spill, how big was the spill exactly, and how long did it take for emergency responders to react to the spill, to name a few.

But one thing is certain according to the new study: For the residents of Mayflower, quality of life has been changed forever.

The chemicals found in the samples include benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, n-hexane, and xylenes. Breathing in both ethylbenzene and benzene can cause cancer and reproductive effects, while breathing in n-hexane can damage the nervous system and usher in numbness in the extremities, muscular weakness, blurred vision, headaches, and fatigue.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Apr 30, 2013, 08:18 AM (1 replies)

Washington's nuclear hypocrisy


Washington's nuclear hypocrisy
By Michael Walker
Apr 30, '13

April 2009, President Barack Obama gave hope to nuclear disarmament activists around the globe. Speaking in the Czech Republic, he affirmed "America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons". It was, and remains, the most laudable of objectives. Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly difficult to believe that the president is truly committed to eliminating these terrifying weapons of mass destruction.

This might come as a surprise to those whose knowledge of the issue is limited to Washington's dealings with North Korea and Iran, for the US government has made it plain that these nations' purported nuclear activities will not be tolerated. As Secretary of State John Kerry declared during a visit to Seoul this month, "North Korea will not be accepted as a nuclear power." Regarding Iran, President Obama emphasized in an interview aired on Israeli television in March that "I have been crystal clear about my position on Iran possessing a nuclear weapon. That is a red line for us."

These words have been matched by deeds. The Obama administration has been dogged in its efforts to punish these states for their alleged nuclear ambitions. A case in point occurred in March, when US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice led the way in pushing for the imposition of new sanctions on the reclusive North Korean regime following its third nuclear test. Tehran has likewise been targeted with crippling US and international economic sanctions.

However, if we look beyond these two cases, the non-proliferation edifice begins to crumble. It was reported over the weekend, for example, that the United States intends to spend around US$10 billion enhancing its Europe-based nuclear weapons. This plan, which would involve turning the bombs into guided weapons that could be fired by F-35 warplanes, would represent "a significant upgrade of the US nuclear capability in Europe", according to one expert.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Apr 30, 2013, 08:08 AM (0 replies)

CIA's Bags of Cash to Afghanistan's Karzai

Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Apr 30, 2013, 07:57 AM (1 replies)

Guantanamo gets extra medical staff as hunger strike continues


Guantanamo gets extra medical staff as hunger strike continues
By Agence France-Presse
Monday, April 29, 2013 19:08 EDT

Extra medical staff have been sent to the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay to help address a hunger strike that has spread to nearly two-thirds of the detainees, authorities said Monday.

With the strike now entering its 12th week, President Barack Obama has faced fresh calls to honor his promise to close the prison at the US base in Cuba, which holds 166 individuals captured as part of the “War on Terror.”

Some 40 US Navy medical personnel, including nurses and specialists, arrived over the weekend, said Lieutenant Colonel Samuel House, a military spokesman at Guantanamo.

“The influx of personnel was planned several weeks ago as increasing numbers of detainees chose to protest their detention,” he said.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Apr 30, 2013, 06:12 AM (0 replies)
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