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Tag Archive: Pentagon


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President Barack Obama addressed the nation from the White House on Wednesday, saying the U.S. is leading a broad effort with allies to defeat the terrorist group ISIS that could include airstrikes in Syria, and an expanded air campaign and troop deployment in Iraq.

President Barack Obama addressed the nation from the White House on Wednesday, saying the U.S. is leading a broad effort with allies to defeat the terrorist group ISIS that could include airstrikes in Syria, and an expanded air campaign and troop deployment in Iraq. (Saul Loeb/Associated Press)

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Consortium News

Exclusive: “Strategic communications” or Stratcom, a propaganda/psy-op technique that treats information as a “soft power” weapon to wield against adversaries, is a new catch phrase in an Official Washington obsessed with the clout that comes from spinning false narratives, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

In this age of pervasive media, the primary method of social control is through the creation of narratives delivered to the public through newspapers, TV, radio, computers, cell phones and any other gadget that can convey information. This reality has given rise to an obsession among the power elite to control as much of this messaging as possible.

So, regarding U.S. relations toward the world, we see the State Department, the White House, Pentagon, NATO and other agencies pushing various narratives to sell the American people and other populations on how they should view U.S. policies, rivals and allies. The current hot phrase for this practice is “strategic communications” or Stratcom, which blends psychological operations, propaganda and P.R. into one mind-bending smoothie.

I have been following this process since the early 1980s when the Reagan administration sought to override “the Vietnam Syndrome,” a public aversion to foreign military interventions that followed the Vietnam War. To get Americans to “kick” this syndrome, Reagan’s team developed “themes” about overseas events that would push American “hot buttons.”

Tapping into the Central Intelligence Agency’s experience in psy-ops targeted at foreign audiences, President Ronald Reagan and CIA Director William J. Casey assembled a skilled team inside the White House led by CIA propaganda specialist Walter Raymond Jr.

 

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Read More and Watch Video Here  : Obama prepared to order airstrikes in Syria against ISIL   David Jackson, USA TODAY

 

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Oratory as a Weapon of Mass Deception

Obama at UNI used to say President Obama is a great orator.

In retrospect, particularly in view of his speeches over the past two years, I would have to modify my appraisal: Mr. Obama is a mind-numbingly effective orator — with major emphasis on ‘mind-numbing’ — whose powers of persuasion are both awe-inspiring and reality-altering.

But great? I think not.

You see, great orators don’t insult their audiences by lying and using their enormous gifts to wreak havoc on the world, demean other world leaders, and generally inflict listeners with self-serving propaganda.

Great orators ennoble, enlighten, inspire!

There is so much deception, obfuscation, manipulative innuendo, faulty logic, sheer raw hypocrisy in his recent U.N. speech, I could write volumes. But it’s not worth your time or mine, since so many of the lies upon which he built this petty and self-aggrandizing show have been repeated with such relentless regularity, they are part of the accepted collective wisdom of both the American public and the government propaganda apparatus, aka the main stream media.

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1987 photo of Mark 149 Mod 2 20mm depleted uranium ammunition for the Phalanx CIWS aboard USS Missouri (BB-63).

1987 photo of Mark 149 Mod 2 20mm depleted uranium ammunition for the Phalanx CIWS aboard USS Missouri (BB-63).

Gunner’s mates inspect linked belts of Mark 149 Mod 2 20mm ammunition before loading it into the magazine of a Mark 16 Phalanx close-in weapons system aboard the battleship USS MISSOURI (BB-63). (Uploader’s note, those are probably Firecontrolman, the maintainers of Phalanx, not Gunners mates.)

ID:DNST9400420

Service Depicted: Navy
Camera Operator: PHAN BRAD DILLON

Wkimedia.org

Depleted Environment, Depleted Lives

Uranium Weapons Still Making Money, Wreaking Havoc

by JOHN LAFORGE

The US Army has awarded General Dynamics a $12 million contract to deconstruct and dispose of 78,000 depleted uranium anti-tank shells. The Pentagon’s May 6 announcement calls for “demilitarization” of the aging shells, as newer depleted uranium rounds are added to the US arsenal.

In the perpetually profitable business of war production, General Dynamics originally produced and sold some of the 120-millimeter anti-tank rounds to the Army. One of the richest weapons builders on earth, General Dynamics has 95,000 employees and sells its wares in 40 countries on six continents.

The International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons in Manchester, England, reports the armor-piercing shells to be disassembled are thought to be the large 105-millimeter and 120-millimeter anti-tank rounds.

Depleted uranium, or DU, weapons are made of extremely dense uranium-238. More than 700,000 tons of DU has been left as waste in the US alone from the production of nuclear weapons and nuclear reactor fuel rods. The urankum-238 is left when fissionable uranium-235 is separated for H-bombs and reactor fuel. DU is only ‘depleted’ of this U-235. It is still a radioactive and toxic heavy metal. A tax and ecological liability, DU is given away free to weapons builders.

 

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NYU EDU

Sources

Depleted uranium is a byproduct of the enriching of natural uranium for use in nuclear reactors. When most of the fissile radioactive isotopes of uranium are removed from natural uranium, the residue is called depleted uranium. A less common source of the material is reprocessed spent reactor fuel. The origin can be distinguished by the content of uranium-236,[1] produced by neutron capture from uranium-235 in nuclear reactors.

As a toxic and radioactive waste product that requires long term storage as low level nuclear waste, depleted uranium is costly to keep but relatively inexpensive to obtain. Generally the only real costs are those associated with conversion of UF6 to metal. It is extremely dense, 67% denser than lead, only slightly less than tungsten and gold, and just 16% less dense than osmium or iridium, the densest naturally occurring substances known. Its low cost makes it attractive for a variety of uses. However, the material is prone to corrosion and small particles are pyrophoric. [2]

History

Depleted uranium was first stored in stockpiles in the 1940s when the U.S. and USSR began their nuclear weapons and nuclear power programs. While it is possible to design civilian power reactors with unenriched fuel, only about 10% of reactors ever built utilize that technology, and both nuclear weapons production and naval reactors require the concentrated isotope. Originally, DU was conserved in the hope that more efficient enrichment techniques would allow further extraction of the fissile isotope; however, those hopes have not materialized.

In the 1970s, The Pentagon reported that the Soviet military had developed armor plating for Warsaw Pact tanks that NATO ammunition couldn’t penetrate. The Pentagon began searching for material to make denser bullets. After testing various metals, ordnance researchers settled on depleted uranium. DU was useful in ammunition not only because of its unique physical properties and effectiveness, but also because it was cheap and readily available. Tungsten, the only other candidate, had to be sourced from China. With DU stockpiles estimated to be more than 500,000 tons, the financial burden of housing this amount of low-level radioactive waste was very apparent. It was therefore more economical to use depleted uranium rather than storing it. Thus, from the late 1970s, the U.S., the Soviet Union, Britain and France, began converting their stockpiles of depleted uranium into kinetic energy penetrators.

Photographic evidence of destroyed equipment suggests that DU was first used during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. Various written reports cite information that was obtained as a consequence of that use.[1]

However, while clearing the decades-old Hawaii Stryker firing range, workers have found chemical weapons from World War I era and depleted uranium ammunition from the 1960s [3].

The U.S. military used DU shells in the 1991 Gulf War and the 2003 Iraq War (Associated Press, August 12, 2006, free archived copy at: http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0812-06.htm most recently visited November 1, 2006).

Production and availability

Natural uranium metal contains about 0.71% U-235, 99.28% U-238, and about 0.0054% U-234. In order to produce enriched uranium, the process of isotope separation removes a substantial portion of the U-235 for use in nuclear power, weapons, or other uses. The remainder, depleted uranium, contains only 0.2% to 0.4% U-235. Because natural uranium begins with such a low percentage of U-235, the enrichment process produces large quantities of depleted uranium. For example, producing 1 kg of 5% enriched uranium requires 11.8 kg of natural uranium, and leaves about 10.8 kg of depleted uranium with only 0.3% U-235 remaining.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) defines depleted uranium as uranium with a percentage of the 235U isotope that is less than 0.711% by weight (See 10 CFR 40.4.) The military specifications designate that the DU used by DoD contain less than 0.3% 235U (AEPI, 1995). In actuality, DoD uses only DU that contains approximately 0.2% 235U (AEPI, 1995).

 


Depleted Uranium Stocks as of end of 1999
Holder Country Approximate DU Stocks [t U]
as UF6 as U3O8 as metal TOTAL
DOE external link, USEC external link USA a) 470,000 10,000 480,000
Russia b) 450,000 10,000 460,000
COGEMA external link, EURODIF France 50,000 140,000 190,000
BNFL external link United Kingdom 30,000 30,000
Urenco external link Germany, Netherlands, UK 16,000 16,000
JNC external link, JNFL external link Japan c) 10,000 10,000
CNNC external link China d) 2,000 2,000
KAERI external link Rep. of Korea 200 200
South Africa 4 69 73
TOTAL 1,028,204 160,069 1,188,273

t = metric tonne
a) As of mid-2000. See also: Compostion of the U.S. DOE Depleted Uranium Inventory (70k PDF).
For more recent and detailed data, download Inventory of depleted uranium tails, Oct. 2, 2007 external link (PDF – U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce)
b) Estimate based on: Depleted Uranium from Enrichment, Uranium Institute, London 1996
c) As of February 2001
d) As of end of 2000
Source: OECD NEA 2001

Source: WISE Uranium Project

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 P R O G R E S S I V E  R E V I E W

Depleted uranium
Recycling death
 

URANIUM MEDICAL RESEARCH CENTER

 

NEW YORK TOWN PROVIDES EVIDENCE OF TRUE DANGER OF DEPLETED URANIUM 

Parrish’s team has found that DU contamination, which remains radioactive for millions of years, is in effect impossible to eradicate, not only from the environment but also from the bodies of humans. Twenty-three years after production ceased they tested the urine of five former workers. All are still contaminated with DU. So were 20 per cent of people tested who had spent at least 10 years living near the factory when it was still working. . .

MORE DAMAGE FROM DEPLETED URANIUM FOUND

GUARDIAN, UK – Depleted uranium, which is used in armor-piercing ammunition, causes widespread damage to DNA which could lead to lung cancer, according to a study of the metal’s effects on human lung cells. The study adds to growing evidence that DU causes health problems on battlefields long after hostilities have ceased.0508 05 1DU is a byproduct of uranium refinement for nuclear power. It is much less radioactive than other uranium isotopes, and its high density – twice that of lead – makes it useful for armor and armor piercing shells. It has been used in conflicts including Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq and there have been increasing concerns about the health effects of DU dust left on the battlefield. In November, the Ministry of Defense was forced to counteract claims that apparent increases in cancers and birth defects among Iraqis in southern Iraq were due to DU in weapons.

Now researchers at the University of Southern Maine have shown that DU damages DNA in human lung cells. The team, led by John Pierce Wise, exposed cultures of the cells to uranium compounds at different concentrations. The compounds caused breaks in the chromosomes within cells and stopped them from growing and dividing healthily. “These data suggest that exposure to particulate DU may pose a significant [DNA damage] risk and could possibly result in lung cancer,” the team wrote in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology. . . Prof Wise said it is too early to say whether DU causes lung cancer in people exposed on the battlefield because the disease takes several decades to develop.
“Our data suggest that it should be monitored as the potential risk is there,” he said.

http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/05/08/1059/

DEPLETED URANIUM BACK IN THE NEWS

AUDREY PARENTE, DAYTONA BEACH HERALD, FL – Lori Brim cradled her son in her arms for three months before he died at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. Dustin Brim, a 22-year-old Army specialist had collapsed three years ago in Iraq from a very aggressive cancer that attacked his kidney, caused a mass to grow over his esophagus and collapsed a lung. The problems she saw during her time at Walter Reed, including her son screaming in pain while doctors argued over medications, had nothing to do with mold and shabby conditions documented in recent news reports. What this mother saw was an unexplainable illness consuming her son.

And what she has learned since her son’s death is that his was not an isolated case. Lori Brim has joined other parents, hundreds of other sick soldiers, legislators, research scientists and environmental activists who say the cause of their problems results from exposure to depleted uranium, a radioactive metal used in the manufacture of U.S. tank armor and weapon casings.

Health and environmental effects of depleted uranium are at the heart of scientific studies, a lawsuit in the New York courts and legislative bills in more than a dozen states (although not in Florida). . .

Despite a 1996 U.N. resolution opposing its use because of discovery of health problems after the first Gulf War, the military studies have concluded there was no evidence that exposure to the metal caused illnesses. . .

To the military, the effectiveness of weapons and armor made with depleted uranium outweighs any residual effects. Their bottom line: Depleted uranium saves soldiers’ lives in combat. . .

But Brim and others think there will not be enough known until soldiers are tested for exposure. They compare the debate over depleted uranium to the controversy surrounding Agent Orange, the toxic herbicide used to defoliate the jungles of Vietnam. Speculation over its effects continued for more than two decades before the Defense Department agreed to compensate veterans who suffered from ailments linked to its use. . .

http://www.news-journalonline.com/special/uranium/DUFOLO041507.htm

CANADIAN REPORT: U.S. USE OF DEPLETED URANIUM RAISED RADIOACTIVITY 300 TIMES

MNA – Canadian research centers have reported that during the war against Iraq the U.S. military used depleted uranium weapons which caused the radiation level to rise at least 300 times above normal, and the weapons caused similar effects in Afghanistan.

U.S. troops have recently begun removing contaminated topsoil in Iraq, taking it to an unknown location. Scientists believe the next generation of children of citizens of both countries exposed to DU will suffer from higher rates of birth defects and cancer.

The Uranium Medical Research Center issued a report based on a 13-day survey throughout the primary conflict zones in urban and rural areas of central and southern Iraq on October 2003, according to Risq News. . .

The most disturbing circumstance was observed in the U.S. occupied base in southwestern Baghdad in the Auweirj district. It is close to the international airport and hosts one of the largest coalition bases around Baghdad, occupying the operational headquarters of the Iraqi Special Republican Guard. . . Departing the coalition-occupied base was a long, a steady stream of tandem-axle dump trucks carrying full loads of sand, heading south away from the city. Returning from the south was a second stream of fully loaded dump trucks waiting to enter the base. As the team passed the base’s main entrance, the gates were opened to reveal bulldozers spreading soil while front-end loaders were filling the trucks that had just emptied their loads of soil (silt and sand). The arriving trucks were delivering loads of sand into the base while the departing trucks were hauling away the base’s topsoil.

DEPLETED URANIUM FOUND IN TROOPS

JUAN GONZALEZ, NY DAILY NEWS – Four soldiers from a New York Army National Guard company serving in Iraq are contaminated with radiation likely caused by dust from depleted uranium shells fired by U.S. troops, a Daily News investigation has found. They are among several members of the same company, the 442nd Military Police, who say they have been battling persistent physical ailments that began last summer in the Iraqi town of Samawah. . . A nuclear medicine expert who examined and tested nine soldiers from the company says that four “almost certainly” inhaled radioactive dust from exploded American shells manufactured with depleted uranium. Laboratory tests conducted at the request of The News revealed traces of two manmade forms of uranium in urine samples from four of the soldiers.

 

CARD GIVEN BRITISH TROOPS IN IRAQ 

 


NOTE: THE MINISTRY OF DEFENSE WEB PAGE HAS BEEN TAKEN DOWN 

 

BRITISH ISSUE DEPLETED URANIUM WARNING CARDS TO ITS TROOPS IN IRAQ 

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION SUPPRESSED STUDY ON DEPLETED URANIUM

ROB EDWARDS, SUNDAY HERALD, UK – An expert report warning that the long-term health of Iraq’s civilian population would be endangered by British and US depleted uranium weapons has been kept secret. The study by three leading radiation scientists cautioned that children and adults could contract cancer after breathing in dust containing DU, which is radioactive and chemically toxic. But it was blocked from publication by the World Health Organisation, which employed the main author, Dr Keith Baverstock, as a senior radiation advisor. He alleges that it was deliberately suppressed, though this is denied by WHO.

Baverstock also believes that if the study had been published when it was completed in 2001, there would have been more pressure on the US and UK to limit their use of DU weapons in last year’s war, and to clean up afterwards. Hundreds of thousands of DU shells were fired by coalition tanks and planes during the conflict, and there has been no comprehensive decontamination. Experts from the United Nations Environment Program have so far not been allowed into Iraq to assess the pollution.

U.S. LEFT 75 TONS OF DEPLETED URANIUM TO POLLUTE IRAQ

U.S. FORCES UNLEASHED at least 75 tons of toxic depleted uranium on Iraq during the war, reports the Christian Science Monitor. An unnamed U.S. Central Command spokesman disclosed to the Monitor last week that coalition forces fired 300,000 bullets coated with armored-piercing depleted uranium during the war. “The normal combat mix for these 30-mm rounds is five DU bullets to 1 — a mix that would have left about 75 tons of DU in Iraq,” wrote correspondent Scott Peterson. Peterson measured four sites around Baghdad struck with depleted uranium munitions and found high levels of radioactive contamination, but few warnings to this effect issued among the populace at large. While the Pentagon maintains that spent weapons coated with the low-level, radioactive nuclear-waste are relatively harmless, Peterson notes that U.S. soldiers have taken it among themselves to print leaflets or post signs warning of DU contamination. “After we shoot something with DU, we’re not supposed to go around it, due to the fact that it could cause cancer,” said one sergeant requesting anonymity.

DEPLETED URANIUM

PAUL KRASSNER, NY METRO – The officer came around a row of missiles, and Ethan asked him the question he had for him about his TAD request, and then asked him, “What the hell kind of missiles are these?”

“Those aren’t missiles; they’re cobalt jackets.”

“What are they for?”

“Well, this is ‘need to know,’ so keep your mouth shut, but they are designed to slide on over most of our conventional ordinance. They’re made out of radioactive cobalt, and when the bomb they’re wrapped around detonates, they contaminate everything in the blast zone and quite a bit beyond.”

“So they turn regular ordinance into nukes?”

“No, not exactly. The cobalt doesn’t detonate itself. It just scatters everywhere.”

“Well, what? Does the radiation kill people?”

“Not immediately. Cobalt jackets will not likely ever be used. They’re for a situation where the U.S. government is crumbling during a time of war, and foreign takeover is imminent. We won’t capitulate. We basically have a scorched earth policy. If we are going to lose, we arm everything with cobalt ­ and I mean everything; we have jackets at nearly every missile magazine in the world, on land or at sea ­ and contaminate the world. If we can’t have it, nobody can. . .

I emailed the anecdote to no-nukes activist Harvey Wasserman, author of The Last Energy War and co-author of The Superpower of Peace. I asked him to comment in a couple of hundred words:

“This nightmare has now essentially come true with the use of depleted uranium on anti-tank and other shells in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq. The military rationale is that the super-hard depleted uranium helps shells penetrate tanks and other hard structures. But the long-term effect is that the uranium vaporizes upon explosion and contaminates everything for hundreds of yards, if not miles.”

STUDY FINDS DEPLETED URANIUM USED IN AFGHANISTAN

IRAQI CITIES HOT WITH DEPLETED URANIUM

SARA FLOUNDERS, COASTAL POST, CA – In hot spots in downtown Baghdad, reporters have measured radiation levels that are 1,000 to 1,900 times higher than normal background radiation levels. It has also opened a debate in the Netherlands parliament and media as 1,100 Dutch troops in Kuwait prepare to enter Iraq as part of the U.S./British-led occupation forces. The Dutch are concerned about the danger of radioactive poisoning and radiation sickness in Iraq. Washington has assured the Dutch government that it used no DU weapons near Al-Samawah, the town where Dutch troops will be stationed. But Dutch journalists and anti-war forces have already found holes in the U.S. stories, according to an article on the Radio Free Europe website. . .

In this year’s war on Iraq, the Pentagon used its radioactive arsenal mainly in the urban centers, rather than in desert battlefields as in 1991. Many hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people and U.S. soldiers, along with British, Polish, Japanese and Dutch soldiers sent to join the occupation, will suffer the consequences. The real extent of injuries, chronic illness, long-term disabilities and genetic birth defects won’t be apparent for five to 10 years.

By now, half of all the 697,000 U.S. soldiers involved in the 1991 war have reported serious illnesses. According to the American Gulf War Veterans Association, more than 30 percent of these soldiers are chronically ill and are receiving disability benefits from the Veterans Administration. Such a high occurrence of various symptoms has led to the illnesses being named Gulf War Syndrome.

DEPLETED URANIUM: DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL

JAY SHAFT, COALITION FOR FREE THOUGHT IN MEDIA – In three separate interviews a U.S. Special Operations Command Colonel admitted that the U.S. and Great Britain fired 500 tons of DU munitions into Iraq. He has also informed me that the GBU-28 BLU 113 Penetrator Bunker Buster 5000 pound bomb contains DU in the warhead. Until now, as far as I know, the materials used to make the warhead of the GBU-28 have remained shrouded in mystery. He admitted that privately the Pentagon has acknowledged the health hazards of DU for years. . .

J.S.: What about the cities? Did you deliberately use DU on them?

U.S.C.: Let’s just say that we didn’t do anything to avoid using DU in cities or heavily populated areas. I know that I selected some DU bunker busters because of the fact that they have a high penetration factor. I used DU weapons exclusively on some targets so as to ensure maximum damage on those targets. You don’t want to just halfway destroy some targets, you want maximum damage. . .

J.S.: What about the health risks that are associated with DU? Or do you deny there are any?

U.S.C.: You are determined to get me to make a statement about the health risks aren’t you?

J.S.: If you will, I want to see what the behind the scenes view of DU is in the Pentagon.

U.S.C.: Well. . . (long pause, followed by heavy profanity). . . Okay, I’ll give you some dirt if that’s what you’re looking for. The Pentagon knows there are huge health risks associated with DU They know from years of monitoring our own test ranges and manufacturing facilities.

There were parts of Iraq designated as high contamination areas before we ever placed any troops on the ground. The areas around Basra, Jalibah, Talil, most of the southern desert, and various other hot spots were all identified as contaminated before the war. Some of the areas in the southern desert region along the Kuwaiti border are especially radioactive on scans and tests.
One of our test ranges in Saudi Arabia shows over 1000 times the normal background level for radiation. We have test ranges in the U.S. that are extremely contaminated; hell, they have been since the 80’s and nothing is ever said publicly. Don’t ask don’t tell is not only applied to gays, it is applied to this matter very heavily.

I know at one time the theory was developed that any soldier exposed to DU shells should have to wear full MOP gear (the chemical protective suit). But they realized that just wouldn’t be practical and it was never openly discussed again.

J.S.: So the stories that they know DU is harmful are true?

U.S.C.: Yes, there is no doubt that most high level commanders who were around during the 80’s know about it.

J.S.: So how do you feel about the fact that you exposed your own men to DU?

U.S.C.: F…k you!! What do you know about my job? I did what I had to do to take out the targets I was given. If it was necessary to use DU, than I put it in my target analysis reports. I didn’t actually fire the rounds myself; I work in a remote office.

J.S.: So you’ll never have to worry about being exposed to DU huh? Very brave.

U.S.C.: (lot’s of profanity) this interview is over with (more profanity, followed by the phone slamming down)

U.S. TO USE DEPLETED URANIUM AGAIN

BBC – A United States defense official has said moves to ban depleted uranium ammunition are just an attempt by America’s enemies to blunt its military might. Colonel James Naughton of US Army Materiel Command said Iraqi complaints about depleted uranium shells had no medical basis. “They want it to go away because we kicked the crap out of them,” he told a Pentagon briefing.

If war starts, tons of depleted uranium weapons are likely to be used by British and American tanks and by ground attack aircraft. Some believe people are still suffering ill health from ammunition used in the Gulf War 12 years ago, and other conflicts. In the House of Commons in London on Monday, Labor MP Joan Ruddock said a test of the UK Government’s pledge to keep civilian casualties to a minimum in an attack on Iraq would include not using depleted uranium weapons.

Apparently anticipating complaints, the US defense department briefed journalists about DU – making it plain it would continue to be used. . .

Cancer surgeons in the southern Iraqi port of Basra report a marked increase in cancers which they suspect were caused by DU contamination from tank battles on the farmland to the west of the city. . . Depleted uranium is mildly radioactive but the main health concern is that it is a heavy metal, potentially poisonous. The likelihood of absorbing it is increased significantly if a weapon has struck a target and exploded because the DU vaporizes into a fine dust and can be inhaled. . .

A 1995 report from the US Army Environmental Policy Institute, for example, said: “If DU enters the body, it has the potential to generate significant medical consequences.”

 

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Pentagon orders 600 troops to Eastern Europe, criticizes Russia

Donald Cook

The U.S. guided-missile destroyer Donald Cook sails past Istanbul, Turkey, en route to the Black Sea. (Bulent Kilic / AFP/Getty Images / April 10, 2014)

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon said Tuesday that it was sending 600 soldiers to Eastern Europe for military exercises in response to “aggression” by Russia in Ukraine, the first U.S. ground forces dispatched to the region in the 2-month-old crisis.

The 173rd Infantry Brigade, a U.S. Army airborne unit based in Vicenza, Italy, will deploy 150-soldier companies to Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia over the next month and will rotate more U.S. forces to those and possibly other countries at least through the end of the year, Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, told reporters.

The four countries, all of which were under Moscow’s control during the Cold War and later joined NATO, have been among the most vocal in asking the U.S. and other alliance members to send forces to their territory in response to Russia’s military buildup along the Ukrainian border.

“What we’re after here is persistent presence, a persistent rotational presence,” Kirby said. “If there’s a message to Moscow … it’s that we take our obligations” to defend NATO members “very, very seriously.”

 

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Vice President Joe Biden meets with Ukraine's acting prime minister, Arseny Yatsenyuk, in Kiev on Tuesday.

( Sergei L. Loiko / Los Angeles Times / April 22, 2014 )

Vice President Joe Biden meets with Ukraine’s acting prime minister, Arseny Yatsenyuk, in Kiev on Tuesday.

 

U.S. will stand by Ukraine in face of Russian aggression, Biden says

 

KIEV, Ukraine — The United States will stand by Ukrainians against Russian aggression that threatens their nation’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, Vice President Joe Biden pledged Tuesday during a visit to Kiev.

“No nation has the right to simply grab land from another nation, and we will never recognize Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea, and neither will the world,” Biden said after meeting with Ukraine’s acting prime minister, Arseny Yatsenyuk. “No nation should threaten its neighbors by amassing troops along the border. We call on Russia to pull back these forces. No nation should stir instability in its neighbor’s country.”

Biden threatened greater costs and greater isolation for Russia, already facing fresh sanctions after annexing Crimea last month, and demanded that it “stop supporting men hiding behind masks in unmarked uniforms sowing unrest in eastern Ukraine.”

“I came here to Kiev to let you know, Mr. Prime Minister, and every Ukrainian know that the United States stands with you and is working to support all Ukrainians seeking a better future,” Biden said. “You should know that you will not walk this road alone. We will walk it with you.”

He accused Russia of failing to abide by commitments to help de-escalate the situation in eastern Ukraine made last week during meetings with officials from the U.S., Ukraine and the European Union.

“Now it is time for Russia to stop talking and to start acting on the commitments that they made to get pro-Russia separatists to vacate buildings and checkpoints, accept the amnesty,” Biden said. “That is not a hard thing to do …. We need to see this kind of concrete steps, we need to see them without delay.”

Biden pledged that the U.S. would provide nonlethal military aid to Ukraine. He also noted that the U.S. had committed to providing a $1-billion loan guarantee to help shore up the interim government in Kiev, which took power in February with the fall of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovich.

 

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The New American

Did Team Obama Blunder or Conspire in Ukraine?

Written by 

While no one ever lost money overestimating the capacity of the U.S. government to blunder, we cannot rule out that American officials knew exactly what they were doing when they helped provoke the crisis in Ukraine.

It is hard to believe that all these officials are so ignorant of Russian history that they could not anticipate how President Vladimir Putin would respond to U.S.-backed machinations in Kiev. These machinations led to the ouster of elected (if corrupt and power-hungry) president Viktor Yanukovych after street demonstrations, which included neo-Nazi elements now represented in the new government.

About these machinations there is little doubt. We have a phone call between Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, in which they talk about who should rule Ukraine next. Nuland says, “I don’t think Klitsch [an opposition leader, Vitaly Klitschko] should go into the government. I don’t think it’s necessary, I don’t think it’s a good idea…. I think Yats [Arseniy Yatsenyuk, another opposition leader] is the guy who’s got the economic experience, the governing experience.” Yatsenyuk became the prime minister after Yanukovych’s ouster.

Pyatt responds, “I think you reaching out directly to him [Yatsenyuk] helps with the personality management among the three [opposition leaders].”

The U.S. government worked to replace Yanukovych with its “guy” — which is not what the Obama administration tells the American people.

Pyatt adds, “But anyway we could land jelly side up on this one if we move fast…. [W]e want to try to get somebody with an international personality to come out here and help to midwife this thing.”

This phone call made headlines because Nuland used an obscenity regarding the European Union. But the news is that, contrary to public statements, the Obama administration sought to “midwife” regime change.

One need not be a Putin apologist to ask how the Americans failed to see that this activity would provoke the Russian president.

 

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Russia warns it will respond if interests attacked in Ukraine

US vice president Joe Biden and Ukraine PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk

Joe Biden (left) and the Ukrainian prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, at a joint news conference in Kiev. Photograph: UPI /Landov/Barcroft Media

Russia issued a blunt warning on Wednesday that it would respond if its interests were attacked in Ukraine, as pro-Kremlin rebels in the east of the country braced for a new military offensive by Kiev.

The threat by the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, in which he recalled the 2008 war with Georgia over breakaway South Ossetia, came as Russia accused Kiev and the US of distorting an agreement reached in Geneva last week to defuse the crisis and of ignoring what it said were provocative actions by Ukrainian nationalists.

Lavrov used an interview with the Russian state-controlled broadcaster RT to accuse the US of “running the show” in Ukraine, claiming that it was “quite telling” that Kiev had announced a new offensive in the east of the country after US Vice-President Joe Biden had visited.

“If we are attacked, we would certainly respond,” Lavrov told RT.

“If our interests, our legitimate interests, the interests of Russians have been attacked directly, like they were in South Ossetia for example, I do not see any other way but to respond in accordance with international law.”

The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement that it believed the west was serious about seeking peace in Ukraine but “the facts speak of the opposite”.

Moscow also announced a seven-day naval exercise in the Caspian Sea and began military exercises in its Rostov region, bordering Ukraine. The US on Tuesday announced military exercises in Poland.The crisis deepened on Tuesday after Biden’s departure from Kiev following a two-day visit. In a late-night phone call, the US secretary of state, John Kerry, told Lavrov, of his “deep concern over the lack of positive Russian steps to de-escalate” the crisis in eastern Ukraine, a state department official said.

 

 

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Vets, Docs Worry Fort Hood Shootings Will Deepen PTSD Stigma

The word “PTSD” had barely left the mouth of Fort Hood’s commander late Wednesday when, across the nation, many veterans with those symptoms and doctors who treat the malady understood they faced a renewed battle: a resurgence of the stigma that comes with that diagnosis.

The Fort Hood tragedy –- 16 wounded and four killed, including identified shooter Ivan Lopez, a soldier being evaluated for PTSD –- is precisely the type of event that makes combat veterans cringe. Many worry they’ll be further mislabeled as dangerous time bombs, as the next to snap, and that post-traumatic stress will again be misrepresented and misunderstood as a condition that sparks public, violent outbursts.

“That is not what post-traumatic stress is or what it does,” said Ingrid Herrera-Yee, a clinical psychologist in the Washington, D.C. area who treats veterans diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other mental health issues as well as their family members and civilians. Her husband, Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Ian Yee, spent three combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Yes, there is anger and irritability (associated with PTSD), but it’s usually internalized. You’re more likely to see it as someone who is withdrawn, anxious and numb, who’s lost interest in life. Some veterans explain it to me this way: ‘The last thing you want is to go out and lash out,” said Herrera-Yee, adding: “Just like any victims of a trauma –- rape or domestic violence -– they can become fearful of their surroundings, but they’re not going to react angrily toward their surroundings. For them, it’s all about avoidance.”

“You’re more likely to see it as someone who is withdrawn, anxious and numb, who’s lost interest in life. Some veterans explain it to me this way: ‘The last thing you want is to go out and lash out.'”

For years, Pentagon brass and branch commanders have urged troops and veterans to seek mental-health help if they feel the need, while repeating the message that, if they do see a doctor, they will not be viewed as weak but as strong. That campaign seems to have finally dented the macho-military mantra that every soldier can handle his or her own business. Many veterans are turning to doctors to begin addressing post-service anxiety issues, often fueled by repeated or long deployments.

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Proof US Staging False Flag For WW3

Susan Duclos

Published on Mar 12, 2014

Article associated with this video at http://b4in.info/hVIT

Hacked emails show the US planning a false flag to justify an attack against Russia.

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Live Journal

Андрей Споров (Andrey Sporaw) (sporaw) wrote,

Correspondence of US Army Attache Assistant in Kiev

We have hacked e-mail correspondence of US Army Attache Assistant in Kiev Jason Gresh and a high ranking official from Ukrainian General Staff Igor Protsyk.

It appears that they are planning to conduct a series of attacks on Ukrainian military bases in order to destabilize the situation in Ukraine.

Particularly, Jason Gresh writes to Igor Protsyk that it’s time to implement a plan that implies “causing problems to the transport hubs in the south-east of Ukraine in order to frame-up the neighbor. It will create favorable conditions for Pentagon to act”, says Jason Gresh.

In his turn, Protsyk writes to some Vasil and tells him to arrange an attack on an airbase of 25 aviation brigade of Ukrainian air force stationed in Melitopol.

This Vasil is responsible for arranging the details of the attack, gathering of the gunmen and providing them with a map of sites that are chosen to be attacked.

We strongly recommend everyone to look through these documents. There you will find all the details. (Anon)

(Архив) / (Перевыложено дополнительно)

Read More Here

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Emails translated via Google

1st Email:

Oleg , an urgent need poshumity on behalf of Russians at the airport in Melitopol. This should be done by March 15 . Sam understands why.
First of all you must contact Pasha Tarasenko. You must know him , he is a local Liberty and has a theme.
Before you arrive 10-12 boys from the Centre. Top fighters Trident . Chief Mike there , you should know it too . Details will know him. We need people to meet and provide everything you need.
Proceed with caution. Speak only Russian. 25 team is executing combat missions , so do not do them much damage to aircraft . There is a lot of scrap metal, with it you can do anything . Damaged aircraft you specify. It is essential that all was as real attack neighbor’s Special Forces. But without corpses.
Give me again your account. The money will come in time, do not worry.
See the appendix . This is an example of action. Decisions are made in person.

2nd Email:

Basil , you must quickly carry out proactive in Melitopol. There’s 25 aviation brigade . Must zamaraty our sworn friends and good neighbors. I think you understand me.
Just proceed carefully and cautiously. 25 brigade combat mission out , so do not do them much damage to aircraft . There is already damaged aircraft , that He can do everything. Yihny board numbers you give. Remember , you need everything to be as real attack of the Russian Special Forces.
Brigade commander there is a reasonable man . Details of know he will not, but in extreme cases it can turn to. We did come.

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US abandoned international law, abides by ‘law of the jungle’ in Ukraine

Published time: March 11, 2014 01:21

Participants hold different-colored pieces of paper to display the Russian flag at the rally in support of the Crimean Parliament and Sevastopol City Council's decision to reunite with Russia, staged on Nakhimov Square in Sevastopol. (RIA Novosti/Valeriy Melnikov)

Participants hold different-colored pieces of paper to display the Russian flag at the rally in support of the Crimean Parliament and Sevastopol City Council’s decision to reunite with Russia, staged on Nakhimov Square in Sevastopol. (RIA Novosti/Valeriy Melnikov)

Western powers are following an agenda to partition the map of the European region under which a portion of the Black Sea territory will be under US domination, former vice president of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Willy Wimmer, told RT.

The veteran German politician, who served as a Defense Ministry state secretary, reminded that no Western government is talking about the extreme right element of the government in Kiev.

RT: More than a decade ago, you told your country’s leadership of a disturbing connection between NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia and plans for the alliance’s expansion. We have some extracts from the letter you wrote to then-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder after a conference organized by the US State Department. You raised concerns over some of the conclusions reached, such as: “It would be good, during NATO’s current enlargement, to restore the territorial situation in the area between the Baltic Sea and Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) such as existed during the Roman Empire…” Do you think these plans still exist? And, if so, could the Ukrainian crisis be playing a role?

Willy Wimmer: I think what I thought of Gerhard Schröder is similar to Angela Merkel in May 2000 – is exactly what is going on in these days. During the conference in Bratislava which was high ranking with state presidents, prime ministers, defense, and foreign ministers, and organized by the top leadership of the US State Department, they made a proposal to draw a line between Riga on the Baltic Sea, Odessa on the Black Sea, and Diyarbakir. All the territories west of this line should be under US domination, and the territories east of this line – they might be the Russian Federation or somebody else. That was the proposal – and when we see developments since then, I think it’s like a schedule which had been presented to the conference participants; everything happens exactly as it was on the timetable in Bratislava.

RIA Novosti/Valeriy Melnikov

RIA Novosti/Valeriy Melnikov

RT: Let’s take a look at another passage from your letter: “In all processes, peoples’ rights to self-determination should be favored over all other provisions or rules of international law.” That seemed to be agreed upon by high-profile Western diplomats taking part in that conference – why such staunch opposition to Crimea holding a similar referendum on its status now?

WW: Because they didn’t make it. What we saw since the middle of the ‘90s – I think caused all these problems we have here today. Until the mid-90s, all major powers agreed in international law, and in cooperation. But in the middle of the 90s, the US changed habits, changed attitudes. They no longer pursed international law, they proposed the law of the jungle. At the beginning was the war against Yugoslavia, and since then, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, everything is going because of these developments, and they no longer stick to international law and to cooperation. They make use of military might and this creates the trouble and the fear we have in Europe.

Read More Here

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‘Blackwater’ footage: Who are the mercenaries in Ukraine?

Published time: March 09, 2014 19:51

Screenshot from YouTube user WorldEarthNews

Screenshot from YouTube user WorldEarthNews

Videos have sprung on YouTube alleging that the US private security service formerly known as Blackwater is operating in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk. Western press is hitting back, accusing Russia of fabricating reports to justify “aggression.”

The authenticity of videos allegedly made in downtown Donetsk on March 5 is hard to verify. In the footage, unidentified armed men in military outfits equipped with Russian AK assault rifles and American М4А1 carbines are securing the protection of some pro-Kiev activists amidst anti-government popular protests.

The regional administration building in Donetsk has changed hands many times, with either pro-Russian protesters or pro-Kiev forces declaring capture of the authority headquarters. In the logic of the tape, at some point the new officials appointed by revolutionary Kiev managed to occupy the administration, but then – as the building was surrounded by angry protesters – demanded to secure a safe evacuation.

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The Truthseeker: NGO documents plan Ukraine war (E35)

RT RT

Published on Mar 8, 2014

NGOs caught forging documents for war, insider warns all NGOs infiltrated; ‘Independent military observers’ for EU-based group OSCE again turned away in Crimea, OSCE branded one more ‘vulgar instrument’ for foreign interests; and CNN buys the latest State Department hoax.

Seek truth from facts with Illinois University Professor of International Law and former Amnesty board member Francis Boyle; Infowars Editor Paul Joseph Watson; Eric Draitser of Boiling Frogs Post; Ron Paul Institute Executive Director Daniel McAdams; Ukraine protest organizers; Sliman Bouchuiguir, whose NGO fabricated the claims against Libya; and Asst. Secretary of State Vic Nuland.

READ FULL SCRIPT: http://on.rt.com/s4z7cf

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President speaks with Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai and says US is ‘moving forward with additional contingency planning’

Barack Obama, Afghanistan troop pullout
Obama would prefer to maintain a small military presence post-2014 but Hamid Karzai is unwilling to sign a BSA. Photograph: UPI/Landov/Barcroft Media

Barack Obama formally ordered the Pentagon on Tuesday to make plans for a full pullout of American troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year, pointing to a way out of the conflict that is reminiscent of his end to the Iraq campaign.

While the Obama administration reiterated that it would prefer to maintain a residual military presence in Afghanistan, the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, has refused to sign an accord that would pave the way for some US forces to remain. That has forced the administration to begin a contingency plan for a full departure after Nato formally ends hostilities in November.

A similar rebuke from the Iraqi government prompted all almost all US troops to leave there in 2011.

Obama told Karzai during a Tuesday morning phone call that while he would prefer Karzai or his successor to sign the so-called bilateral security agreement reached with the Afghans in November, “the United States is moving forward with additional contingency planning,” according to a White House description of the call.

But defense secretary Chuck Hagel said Tuesday that it was prudent “to ensure adequate plans are in place to accomplish an orderly withdrawal by the end of the year should the United States not keep any troops in Afghanistan after 2014”.

Hagel said that over the next several months, the US military will prepare “various options” for US and Nato leaders, including a full withdrawal of the approximately 37,000 US troops in Afghanistan, as well as the post-2014 missions of counter-terrorism and training for the Afghan security forces it has long desired.

The White House confirmed that Obama’s phone call to Karzai had been triggered in part by an urgent need to give clarity to Nato allies about any future US presence in Afghanistan.

“One of the reasons for the call is because Secretary Hagel will be participating in the Nato defence ministerial later this week and planning for post 2014 forces will be on the agenda,” said spokesman Jay Carney.

However, White House officials played down calls from Congress to cut off aid to Afghanistan if US troops are not allowed to stay, a major fear of politicians in Kabul.

“We have made clear that our commitment to Afghanistan – separate from the troop presence – is in our national security interests,” said Carney when asked about aid.

The White House rejected criticism that Obama had allowed a dangerous lack of communication with Karzai to develop. Prior to today’s call, the two leaders had barely spoken in months.

“It is preposterous to suggest [that Karzai’s refusal to sign the BSA] is because we have not made clear that it is to be signed,” said Carney.

The White House also warned that even if the security agreement was signed imminently, the size of the US commitment may now be in doubt

 

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Obama threatens Karzai with total Afghanistan troop withdrawal over security deal delay

 

US president Barack Obama says he will withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year, if the Afghan president continues to delay signing a post-war security deal.

The United States has about 33,600 troops in Afghanistan. It is withdrawing the force in line with Mr Obama’s vow to largely end a 12-year mission that began after the attacks in the US on September 11, 2001.

The original plan would see up to 8,000 US troops remain in Afghanistan beyond 2014 for counter-terrorism operations.

Afghan leader Hamid Karzai has agreed to a deal but he refuses to sign a joint security agreement.

Now, Mr Obama has run out of patience, telling Mr Karzai that plans are being drawn up to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan.

If that occurs, US troops will not be there to train Afghan forces or lead operations against Al Qaeda.

However, the US also has the option to keep a small contingent in Afghanistan next year without Mr Karzai’s agreement.

Mr Karzai has already ignored the White House’s earlier demand that the deal be signed within weeks, not months.

Obama gives ultimatum to Karzai

Mr Obama told Mr Karzai in a phone call on Tuesday (US time) that he had ordered the Pentagon to plan an orderly exit of all US troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year, the White House said.

The phone call was the first substantial discussion involving the two leaders since June.

“Specifically, President Obama has asked the Pentagon to ensure that it has adequate plans in place to accomplish an orderly withdrawal by the end of the year should the United States not keep any troops in Afghanistan after 2014,” the White House said in a statement.

US defence secretary Chuck Hagel will be taking the modified US position to a meeting of NATO defence ministers this week in Brussels.

 

Read More Here

 

Related Story: Pentagon to slash US army to pre-WWII levels
Related Story: US slams release of Taliban suspects as ‘deeply regrettable’
Related Story: Aides of Afghan presidential candidate killed

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KING5

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by GLENN FARLEY / KING5 News Aviation Specialist

Bio | Email | Follow: @GlennFarley

Posted on February 20, 2014 at 7:28 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 21 at 7:09 AM

On Sunday, members of the Machinists Union District 837 in St. Louis will vote on a new seven-and-a-half-year contract extension, similar to what Machinists in Washington state barely approved on January 3 to win production of the 777X airliner.

One thing in common is that the St. Louis Machinists are also being asked to move away from a traditional pension plan to a 401k style “defined contribution plan.”  In those plans employee contributions into a retirement fund are matched by the company, with the money invested in things like stocks and bonds. That move has been met with anger and resistance in the Puget Sound.

The St. Louis labor agreement was announced Wednesday night and is being recommended by the leadership for passage. Unlike the Puget Sound region of Washington, which is seeing a booming business in airliner production, St. Louis factories are focused on fighter jets and military hardware and are struggling with tighter defense budgets.

Right now production of the F-18 Super Hornet is slated to end in just two years in 2016 unless more orders can be found.  Boeing is expected to make the case to the Pentagon that by lowering the relative price of the jets with a new labor deal it can bring in more business and secure jobs. The plant also makes big parts for the C-17 cargo jet for the U.S. Air Force that is slated to shut down in late 2015.  Boeing assembles the C-17 in Long Beach, California.

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Inside the Ring: China readies for ‘short, sharp’ war with Japan

By Bill Gertz

The Washington Times

Enlarge Photo

Navy Capt. James Fanell, director of intelligence for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, said during a conference in San Diego that the war games last fall by People’s Liberation Army forces show that China is preparing for a short war with Japan over disputed islands in the East China Sea. (U.S. Navy)

 

China’s recent military exercises revealed that it is preparing for a short war with Japan over disputed islands in the East China Sea, a Navy intelligence official recently warned.

Navy Capt. James Fanell, director of intelligence and information operations for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, said during a conference in San Diego that the People’s Liberation Army’s large-scale war games last fall showed that the island of Taiwan is no longer Beijing’s lone major target.

“In addition to a longstanding task to restore Taiwan to the mainland, we witnessed the massive amphibious and cross-military region exercise, Mission Action 2013, and concluded that the PLA has been given new task: To be able to conduct a short, sharp war to destroy Japanese forces in the East China Sea, followed by what can only be expected [as] a seizure of the Senkakus, or even the southern Ryukus,” he said.

The uninhabited Senkakus islands are located north of Taiwan and south of Japan’s Ryuku islands. China claims the chain as its “Diaoyu” islands.

Capt. Fanell, who last year warned that China was escalating its bullying of regional neighbors, said security in the Asia Pacific over the past year has worsened, reaching a nadir in November with China’s imposition of an air defense zone over much of the East China Sea.

Earlier, Chinese coast guard and naval forces had conducted a coordinated series of provocations aimed at intimidating nearby nations, he said.

The provocations included China’s harassment of a U.S. warship. The encounter led to the near-collision between the guided-missile cruiser USS Cowpens and a Chinese amphibious ship in the South China Sea. Officials said the incident could have triggered a larger conflict between the U.S. and China.

China asserted the Cowpens had violated a defense zone around its aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, near Hainan Island. But Capt. Fanell said the U.S. ship was 50 miles away when the Chinese amphibious ship sailed within 100 yards of the Cowpens and stopped in front of it, forcing the U.S. ship to make an emergency turn to avoid collision.

The Chinese also continued “expansionism” throughout the region last year, he said.

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Pentagon plays down intelligence officer’s provocative China assessment

 

WASHINGTON Thu Feb 20, 2014 8:31pm EST

 

 

 

Feb 20 (Reuters) – The Pentagon on Thursday played down remarks by a senior Navy intelligence officer who told a public forum that he believed China was training its forces to be capable of carrying out a “short, sharp” war with Japan in the East China Sea.

The comments by Captain James Fanell, director of intelligence and information operations at the U.S. Pacific Fleet, were little noticed when he made them last week at a conference on maritime strategy called “West 2014” in San Diego. They can be seen here: link.reuters.com/qyq96v

Fanell also predicted China, which declared an air defense zone last year in the East China Sea where it is locked in a territorial dispute with Japan over a string of small islands, would declare another air defense zone by the end of 2015, this time in the South China Sea.

The Pentagon’s top spokesman, Rear Admiral John Kirby, declined to comment on whether it was appropriate for Fanell to publicly offer such a blunt assessment, but said the Pentagon wanted closer ties with China’s military.

“Those were his views to express,” Kirby told a Pentagon news conference.

“What I can tell you about what Secretary Hagel believes is that we all continue to believe that the peaceful, prosperous rise of China is a good thing for the region, for the world,” he said, referring to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

Asked whether the Pentagon shared Fanell’s assessments, Kirby said it would be inappropriate for him to speak to the intentions or motivations of another country’s military.

“It’s for China to speak to China’s intentions and motivations and their relations with their neighbors. And nothing’s changed about our view here,” Kirby said.

 

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Complaint dropped against John Leso, involved in brutal interrogation of suspected 9/11 hijacker Mohammed al-Qahtani

• APA: ‘We cannot proceed with formal charges’ – full letter

Mohammed al-Qahtani
Mohammed al-Qahtani was twice charged by the Pentagon in 2008 with war crimes related to 9/11. Photograph: motesjj

America’s professional association of psychologists has quietly declined to rebuke one of its members, a retired US army reserve officer, for his role in one of the most brutal interrogations known to have to taken place at Guantánamo Bay, the Guardian has learned.

The decision not to pursue any disciplinary measure against John Leso, a former army reserve major, is the latest case in which someone involved in the post-9/11 torture of detainees has faced no legal or even professional consequences.

In a 31 December letter obtained by the Guardian, the American Psychological Association said it had “determined that we cannot proceed with formal charges in this matter. Consequently the complaint against Dr Leso has been closed.”

But the APA did not deny Leso took part in the brutal interrogation of the suspected 20th 9/11 hijacker, Mohammed al-Qahtani, whose treatment the Pentagon official overseeing his military commission ultimately called “torture”.

Leso was identified as “MAJ L” in a leaked log, published by Time magazine in 2005, of Qahtani’s marathon interrogation in November 2002. With Leso recorded as present for at least some of the session, Qahtani was forcibly hydrated through intravenous drips and prevented from using the bathroom until he urinated on himself, subjected to loud music, and repeatedly kept awake while being “told he can go to sleep when he tells the truth”.

At one point, Qahtani was instructed to bark like a dog.

“Dog tricks continued and detainee stated he should be treated like a man,” the log records. “Detainee was told he would have to learn who to defend and who to attack.”

During an interrogation on 27 November 2002, the log records a direct intervention by Leso: “Control puts detainee in swivel chair at MAJ L’s suggestion to keep him awake and stop him from fixing his eyes on one spot in booth.”

The APA’s move concludes a years-long effort within the organization to get the association to condemn members who took part in torture. Those who argued for censuring Leso said that the organization has opened the door to future wartime violations of its central do-no-harm ethos.

“With Leso, the evidence of his participation is so explicit and so incontrovertible, the APA had to go to great lengths to dismiss it,” said Steven Reisner, a New York clinical psychologist who unsuccessfully ran for the APA presidency last year. “The precedent is that APA is not going to hold any psychologist accountable in any circumstance.”

Trudy Bond, an Ohio psychologist who filed the complaint against Leso, cited APA’s policy on interrogations and torture as she said the organization had sent the message that “psychologists are free to violate our ethical code, perhaps, in certain situations”.

The APA’s communications chief, Rhea Farberman, told the Guardian that a seven-year ethics investigation could not meet the burden of finding “direct unethical conduct” by Leso, and said it was “utterly unfounded” to fear the organization has condoned professional impunity.

“A thorough review of these public materials and our standing policies will clearly demonstrate that APA will not tolerate psychologist participation in torture,” Farberman said.

Documents that emerged from a Senate armed services committee torture inquiry detailed Leso’s involvement in an early “Behavioral Science Consultation Team” at Guantánamo, which was instrumental in crafting torture techniques out of measures taught to US troops to withstand brutal treatment.

Leso, whose name is redacted in a lengthy report produced by the committee in 2008, helped write a memorandum in October 2002, “Counter-Resistance Strategies”, for Guantánamo staff who were under pressure from the chain of command to produce intelligence from the detainee population.

The memorandum detailed the use of abusive conditions and techniques on the detainees, including isolation, “stress positions”, sensory and sleep deprivation, dietary manipulation and exposure to extreme cold. Those techniques migrated through the Pentagon bureaucracy and were ultimately used at Abu Ghraib prison in 2003.

“Counter-Resistance Strategies” also recommended manipulating the living conditions of detainees outside the interrogation chambers, such as limiting “resistant” detainees to four hours of sleep daily, depriving them of “comfort items” like sheets and mattresses and controlling access to their Qur’ans.

 

Read More Here

 

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APA member John Leso dodges professional consequences for brutal interrogation of detainee Mohammed al-Qahtani

– Common Dreams staff

Guantánamo Bay’s Camp Delta. (Photo: Bob Strong/Reuters)The American Psychological Association is protecting one of its members from formal rebuke for his role in torturing a Guantanamo Bay inmate.

The esteemed professional association stated in a December 31 confidential letter, obtained by Guardian reporters and released publicly on Wednesday, that it is declining to rebuke member John Leso.

“[W]e have determined that we cannot proceed in this matter,” write APA officials in response to a complaint. “Consequently, the complaint against Dr. Leso has been closed.”

Leso, a former Army reserve major, participated in the brutal interrogation of detainee Mohammed al-Qahtani that even a Pentagon official acknowledged amounts to torture, reports Spencer Ackerman for The Guardian.

Ackerman continues:

Leso was identified as “MAJ L” in a leaked log, published by Time magazine in 2005, of Qahtani’s marathon interrogation in November 2002. With Leso recorded as present for at least some of the session, Qahtani was forcibly hydrated through intravenous drips and prevented from using the bathroom until he urinated on himself, subjected to loud music, and repeatedly kept awake while being “told he can go to sleep when he tells the truth”.

In the letter, the APA officials do not deny Leso’s participation in the torture.

_____________________

 

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Hmmm, gee I  wonder why no one is calling for budget cuts in  Political or Presidential pay  ?

All the money being  squandered on  keeping former Presidents comfortable and politicians receiving Gold plan  medical  care.

But  it’s the money  used for Veterans  and  Military  pay  that are  breaking the bank , RIGHT?

Sure it is ……..

 

~Desert Rose~

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Obama Urges Congress to Support Tricare Fees

Nov 19, 2013

Retiree Health Fair 600x400

On Monday the White House pressed the Pentagon to rein in Tricare costs and begin a new round of base closings as the Senate took up the National Defense Authorization Act on the military’s 2014 budget.

There are a number of areas of agreement with the initial markup of the Senate Armed Services Committee on the NDAA, but the administration “has serious concerns with certain provisions,” Office of Management and Budget officials said in a lengthy response to the markup.

OMB called on SASC to control Tricare costs at the Department of Defense “while keeping retired beneficiaries’ share of these costs well below the levels experienced when the Tricare program was implemented in the mid-1990s.”

Slowing the growth of Tricare costs would result in savings of $902 million in fiscal year 2014 and $9.3 billion through fiscal year 2018. Those savings were needed to offset projected increases in personnel costs, OMB said.

President Obama has proposed slowing this growth by introducing a new set of enrollment fees and higher co-pays to retirees under the age of 65.

The Pentagon proposed an annual enrollment fee based on a percentage of retired pay for Medicare-eligible retirees in the Tricare For Life Program. Working age retirees in the Tricare Standard and Tricare Extra programs also would face new annual enrollment fees phased in over five years.

Read More Here

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New budget cut options include military pay, veterans

Military members, retirees and veterans have a few more reasons to be wary of politicians who say their top priority is to cut federal spending.

The Congressional Budget Office on Wednesday released a report of more than 100 options for reducing budget deficits.  It’s a timely product as House and Senate conferees strive to negotiate by mid-December a new debt-cutting deal to replace automatic budget cuts of sequestration.

More than a few of the CBO options are fresh ideas to roll back compensation for categories of veterans or to raise TRICARE fees for military retirees, on suggestions that the government is being too generous.

To be fair, CBO is not singling out veterans here.  There are options in the report to make nervous many segments of society dependent on federal payments, from social security recipients to drug manufacturers.

But for select veterans’ programs, CBO makes some hard-edged points that lawmakers bent on cutting spending might find compelling, if not persuasive, to help address the nation’s debt crisis.

Here are some of those ideas:

Cap Military Pay Raises – From 2000 through 2010, Congress approved basic pay raises that averaged a half percentage point above private sector wage growth.  The military could save $25 billion from 2015 to 2023 by reversing course, capping raises yearly at .5 percent below civilian wage growth.  CBO predicts only a “minor” effect on force retention.

Evidence in favor of this move are data showing cash compensation for enlisted members now exceeds wages of 90 percent of civilian counterparts, well above the Defense Department’s goal of keeping service pay ahead of 70 percent of civilians of similar age and educational background.  CBO says officer compensation exceeds 86 percent of private sector peers.

The case against capping raises is that recruiting and retention goals could be compromised, CBO says, and smaller raises also dampen other elements of military compensation including retirement annuities.

Raise TRICARE Fees – CBO floats two options to have military retirees pay more for health care.  One is to have TRICARE-for-Life users — retirees, spouses and survivors age 65 and older — pay the first $550 of costs not covered by Medicare and then 50 percent of the next $4950.  CBO says this would slow TRICARE costs by $31 billion from 2015 to 2023 but also save Medicare dollars as older beneficiaries seek fewer health services.

The drawback is some TLF users might not seek needed preventive care or manage their chronic conditions as closely as they do now.

The second option targets “working age” retirees and families enrolled in TRICARE Prime by raising fees, deductibles and co-pays in a complex combination too detailed to describe here.  The Prime changes for retirees could save from $2 billion to $11 billion by 2023, depending on final details.

 

Read More Here

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