| Len Bracken: 9-11 was carried out by US/Saudi/Israeli intelligence!

9-11 was carried out by US/Saudi/Israeli intelligence – Len Bracken ~ John Robles, The Voice of Russia.

The events of 9-11-2001 continue to be the subject of intense debate and speculation due to the US Governments failure to provide the people of the world with a plausible or believable explanation namely: why two steel framed skyscrapers collapsed and were pulverized into dust as they imploded into their own footprints at free-fall speed from a lateral impact that they were designed to withstand, why building 7 also collapsed due to “office fires” and how a 767 disappeared into a two meter in diameter hole in the Pentagon without damaging the lawn or even second floor windows. Attacks of this nature have been classified as “an indirect defensive attack” by author Len Bracken and in this case saw the United States attacking itself. For those who think these are all “conspiracy theories” Len Bracken cites Machiavelli as one figure who actually documented such tactics man many years ago. He spoke to the Voice of Russia about these matters and more blaming 9-11 on a group originally calling itself the Safari Club.

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Hello, this is John Robles, I’m speaking with Mr. Len Bracken, he is the author of six books including the “Shadow Government: 9-11 and State Terror”, he is also a specialist in international affairs and international relations, and an accredited journalist. This is part 3 of an interview in progress.

Part 1

Part 2

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Robles: Do you think is really possible that a government could kill 3,000 of its own citizens as a pre-text to bring about a hyper-security state and a condition of endless war?

Bracken: Right. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security, which probably will make the Gestapo look like some kind of Utopian Paradise when it’s all over.

Robles: You think it’s possible, you think that’s realistic?

Bracken: Yeah, I do think it’s possible, I think that, you know, you had people like Samuel Huntington with his book ‘The Clash of Civilizations‘, there seems to be have been this idea that they would start this “War on Terror” to pick up where the Cold War left off.

And of course a lot of this all goes back to the thing that you brought up before, which is this Project for a New American Century. And of course, Bamford came back in another book called “The Pretext for War” where goes into a great detail about how misleading it was for the Bush Administration to try to link 9-11 to Iraq, and of course, a lot of this goes back to the thing that you brought up before which is this Project for a New American Century, so many of the people that were a part of that, are tied to (How can I put it?) neoconservatives around Leo Strauss at the University of Chicago, who believe in the “noble lie” that can justify any kind of action.

Robles: Len, I was wondering if you could tell me anything about an article which appeared, I believe it was in Newsweek, somewhere around the 15th of September (2001), and they said that the Pentagon had been forewarned, somewhere in this article, which went into… tied into other warnings that were apparently received by other officials and, for example, Condoleezza Rice and the Mayor of San Francisco and some other officials who apparently did not fly that day. Do you know anything about that?

Bracken: Right, the article in the September, 15th issue of Newsweek talked about many of the hijackers receiving training at secure US military installations but it also mentioned that senior Pentagon officials were told not to fly, and to cancel all airplane travel reservations on the day before the 9-11 attacks.

This was in the article and when fellow researchers of mine spoke with one of the authors of the article, a very senior journalist, he denied that this information was actually in the article. And then my friend in turn said: “Hey, it’s right here, you can see with your own eyes that this is what it says” and then he said “Well, then that’s not true”. So he denied the veracity of his own article.

Now with regard to some of the training, probably the most notorious example involves a 24th year air force veteran, by the name of Lieutenant Colonel Steve Butler who was essentially the Dean of Students at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California and he said that one of the hijackers and its, this Saeed Alghamdi (difficult name to pronounce) was actually trained at his institute and main others as well and that this Saeed Alghamdi was actually one of the three hijackers who took flight trainings at the Pensacola Naval Air Station.

Then, of course, Colonel Butler was actually chastised and given some kind of disciplinary action on the basis of having made accusations, disciplinary measures were taken against him because he accused President Bush of knowing about the impending attacks and doing nothing.

Here is a quote from the letter that he wrote on May, 26th 2002 in theMonterey County Herald: “Of course President Bush knew about the impending attacks on America. He did nothing to warn the American people because he needed this war on terrorism.”

Robles: Len, can you tell us a little bit of the background about the.. I believe, what was the official name of this school in Monterey? This was the school where they used to train spies. Can you give us some details on that?

Bracken: It was founded in 1946 with the first name being the Military Intelligence Service Language School, now it is called the Defense Language Institute, Foreign Language Center in Monterey, most people refer to it as the Defense Language Institute.

Robles: How many of these terrorists were there and what were they studying? English?

Bracken: My understanding is that there was at least one, this Saeed Alghamdi, could have been more and they were studying English as a second language.

Robles: Why would they need it?

Bracken: You know, that’s a good question. I guess that they probably spoke some English but not well enough to further their fight training or whatever else they were doing.

Robles: Do you think it is still possible that these people are still around today? Do you think any of the hijackers are still alive?

Bracken: It is entirely possible but certainly the idea that people they said who committed these attacks probably were not the ones who did it. Because many of these people have been found still alive, yet the government said that they died in the attacks.

Robles: So who did it then?

Bracken: I go back to what I said before; I think it was a massive operation, massive intelligence operation involving several governments.

Robles: Do you think it is possible they were drones?

Bracken: I take all of the above approach to the technical questions; I think we should consider everything. I don’t think we are not going to get definitive answers on any of them. That’s not very satisfying but I think that that’s the reality.

I just go back to sort of my theory, I think it was an indirect defensive attack with United States attacking itself.

It’s a very interesting thing about conspiracies, in his discourses Machiavelli talks about six types of conspiracies and he says that an attack against one’s own country is actually very easy to do and so you have it from a figure no less than Machiavelli, saying that, you know, someone in a position of power decides to attack his own country, that he certainly would be able to do that with relative ease.

It might be interesting to include, you know, when people talk about conspiracy theories and try to dismiss this type of thinking. These things have been around for a long time and you have political analysts of the stature of Machiavelli presenting his classifications of types of conspiracies actually.

Robles: Back to the language school, I believe the person you mentioned wrote a letter to some newspaper.

Bracken:Right. It was in May 26, 2002 inMonterey County Herald, I have portion of it here at hands and he said: “Of course President Bush knew about the impending attacks on America. He did nothing to warn the American people because he needed this war on terrorism.”

So that was written by a 24-year veteran of the air force, Lieutenant Colonel Steve Butler who was the Dean of Students at the Defense Language Institute who said that Saeed Alghamdi, and perhaps other hijackers were students at the Institute.

Robles: He “neededthis war on terrorism”, why do think that is?

Bracken: I think its feeling the vacuum created by the end of the Cold War, you had to have something to sustain the Defense Industrial Complex, which is sort of, to say it more accurately, it’s probably a Military Intelligence Complex at this point, you might even call it a Military Intelligence Pharmaceutical Complex because a lot of drugs are being given to people that are involved in those operation, I believe.

Robles: Whether they are branch outing the pharmaceuticals or intelligence or military, I don’t think it’s important, it is the same shadow government, if you want to call them that.

Bracken: That was the title of book but unfortunately, I don’t have the definitive list of those responsible, we can always keep looking but it’s hard to really know exactly who is pulling the strings, who are the puppet masters?

Robles: Now, Len, your theory. What is your gut feeling, what is your theory who is behind this? What do you think really happened? In your gut, in your heart? Who do you think really did this?

Bracken: I think it’s agroup, a sort of amorphous group, called the Safari Club. And this Safari Club started back in the 70s when they had the Church Committee looking into activities of the CIA.

It comprises Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States primarily, could bring in other intelligence agencies, conceivably Pakistan in this event.

So the Safari Club came into being in order to prosecute just these kinds of things that would never be allowed by the parliaments and the Congress of the United States, the legislative bodies.

So that’s my gut, that it was some kind of group, we’ll call it the Safari Club, go back to the historical precedent, maybe it’s no longer called that, probably it has another name, it is very easy to change names. But I think it was an alliance of intelligence forces in Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States.

Robles: This is even beyond Black operations, isn’t it? I don’t even think that Black Operations Command would allow something like that to happen?

Bracken: I think it’s in part a Black Opbut then it has a broader strategic… tactically a Black Op but strategically starting a massive war against terror.

Of course, you mentioned Al-Qaeda, and it was not long after the 2005, 7/7 bombings in London, that Robin Cook who was the former Foreign Secretary of Great Britain said that Al-Qaeda doesn’t really exist, and that it is just a database for the CIA and then he passed away shortly after saying that.

Robles: I have heard thatrecently Al-Qaeda stands for “CIA Terrorist Database”, isn’t that correct?

Bracken: Well, that’s what Robin Cook said. The former Foreign secretary of Great Britain said that.

Robles: Well, Al-Qaeda was begun, we know, in Afghanistan to fight the Soviet Union, Osama bin Laden got his start in that war, Osama bin Laden had a CIA code name of Tom Osman when he toured US military installations and was privy to weapons demonstrations and things like that. Many people probably don’t know that.

The man who came up with that information Orlin Grabbe, he is no longer with us, he was forced to live in South America or some place after publishing that information, he died a few years ago.

So Saudi controlling Al-Qaeda, the US funding controlling Al-Qaeda and now let’s look at Syria, 426 children killed as a pre-text for another aggressive military attack. What do you think about Syria?

Bracken: It’s just a crime; it’s like a slow motion crime. My heart goes out to everyone who is faced with this “foreign intervention”, I wrote a general theory of Civil War, I would say that this is not a Civil war; this is most clearly a foreign intervention using the irregular troops to do it.

Robles: Non-state actors, right?

Bracken: Right.

Robles: President Assad, he said himself there are tens of thousands, he said, there are “tens of thousands” of imported foreign mercenary quote/unquote “jihadists”, I don’t know if you want to call them jihadists because, I mean, obviously they have economic interests and they are in their being paid, he said tens of thousands, it’s almost beyond belief. And most people don’t believe it, most people say, “Ah, it’s some conspiracy theory, it can’t happen”, especially with what they are fed in the US media. The US media, even if they know this, many US reporters, they know this information but they can’t talk about it because they will lose their jobs.

Bracken:There is an interesting connection… and we do depend on Russian media to a large extent to bring us some news, but there is an interesting tie-in between 9-11 and Syria and that is in the person of Thierry Meyssan who wrote the “Big Lie”, which was probably the first book about 9-11 saying that it was an inside job and he has been doing some great reporting as well with his Voltaire Network about the events in Syria.

Robles: Len, let me ask you a question, a personal question, do you ever get afraid for your safety? Have you been threatened, have you been watched?

Bracken:Yeah, yeah. I get some warnings. And I try my best to walk a fine line, and we say what we can say, of course, here in the United States we have libel laws for the most part, I just addressed my accusations towards the collective statesmen, you know, you have to be very careful, well this is verbatim, my warning was that: “I had to be very careful with what I write”, and I try to be very careful.

Robles: Who gave you that warning? Can you tell us?

Bracken: I can tell you that the same verbatim words were spoken to me twice by two different people in the course of one week when I was writing the book in the summer of 2002 and my apartment was opened, I would come home two days in a row and the front door would be open.

So I was given these very direct, but not too ominous messages, I would have to say that (How can I put it?), I was scared but, you know, I survived. I don’t think I’m particularly brave, I’m not particularly brave, I would not be the first one to say that there is a lot of other people out there who have gone further with all of this and I think about somebody like a family member named Beverly Eckert who died in a plane crash herself, and she was one of those people who did not accept the money, and was trying to get to the bottom of what really happened.

That was part 3 of an interview in progress Len Bracken. You can find the rest of this interview on our website at Voiceofrussia.com. Thanks for listening and as always I wish you the best wherever you may be.

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| Pentagon unveils laser capable of shooting down drones, mortars!

Pentagon unveils laser capable of shooting down drones, mortars ~ RT.

The US Army has successfully used a vehicle-mounted laser to shoot down numerous mortar rounds and drone aircraft for the first time.

Taking place over the course of several weeks, the test involved destroying more than 90 incoming mortar rounds and multiple drones. Eventually, the Army hopes to test an even more advanced laser system that could shoot down more dangerous weapons, such as incoming cruise missiles.

Named the High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD), the current version of the weapon features three to five lasers that can be attached to the top of a military vehicle in a dome-like turret structure. According to Terry Bauer, the Army’s program manager for the weapon at Boeing, when the HEL MD hits a target like a mortar, it heats up the insides to the point that the mortar explodes in mid-air.

“It falls as a single piece of metal with a little bit of shrapnel. It basically falls where it was going to fall, but it doesn’t explode when it hits the ground,” Bauer said to the Christian Science Monitor“We turn it into a rock, basically.”

When it comes to shooting down drones, the laser can be used to blind an unmanned vehicle’s cameras and take apart its tail, causing the whole thing to come crashing down to earth.

The Army hopes to use the laser to protect bases that come under fire from mortar and rocket attacks. This happened frequently during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Monitor reported that the cheap cost of using lasers would make the weapons a sensible choice for the Pentagon.

Still, officials said it is unlikely that the HEL MD will be ready for combat use before 2022, as the Army is moving to test more advanced versions over the coming years. The current system is equipped with a laser with the strength of 10 kilowatts, but future versions will be outfitted with 50- and 100-kilowatt lasers.

“If you’re engaging a target at the same range, a 100 kW laser will destroy the target in one-tenth of the time than the 10kW would,” Bauer told AFP.

The HEL MD is just one of the laser-equipped weapons being developed by the United States military. As RT reported in November, the Department of Defense is looking into attaching high-powered lasers to its next-generation fighter jets, which would be capable of tracking and disarming enemy sensors, destroying incoming missile attacks, and going on the offensive.

Meanwhile, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced in October its plans to develop drone-mounted laser systems that would be able to shoot missiles down from the sky.

High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD) (Image from army.mil)

High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD) (Image from army.mil)

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| Mission Creep: As opposition to war mounts, Pentagon plans massive attack on Syria!

As opposition to war mounts, Pentagon plans massive attack on Syria ~ Bill Van AukenWorld Socialist Web Site.

Facing overwhelming opposition to its war plans among the American people, the prospect of losing a vote in Congress on a resolution authorizing military force, and unprecedented isolation on the world stage, the Obama administration has reportedly ordered the Pentagon to plan a far wider attack on Syria than had originally been indicated.

Obama is “now determined to put more emphasis on the ‘degrade’ part of what the administration has said is the goal of a military strike against Syria—to ‘deter and degrade’ Mr. Assad’s ability to use chemical weapons,” the New York Times reported Friday, citing unnamed Pentagon officials.

According to the Times, as well as similar reports by the Wall Street Journal and CNN, the Syria war plan is evolving to include not just a salvo of cruise missiles from a US naval flotilla deployed in the eastern Mediterranean, but a sustained bombing campaign involving US warplanes flying from bases in the region as well from the US itself.

The Journal reported that the use of Air Force bombers, which are capable of delivering a greater payload than the ship-borne missiles, is being considered for strikes on “hardened targets” and “follow-on strikes if the first wave doesn’t destroy the targets.”

“Among options available are B-52 bombers, which can carry cruise missiles; low-flying B1s that are based in Qatar and carry long-range, air-to-surface missiles; and B-2 stealth bombers, which are based in Missouri and carry heavy guided bombs,” according to the Journal .

In the face of such preparations, only the willfully ignorant can still believe that the attack being prepared against Syria has anything to do with upholding “international norms” and punishing the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad for allegedly using chemical weapons.

The Obama administration has yet to present a shred of verifiable evidence to substantiate its claim that the Assad regime was responsible for the alleged August 21 chemical attack outside Damascus.

The American president suffered an unmitigated fiasco at the G20 summit in Russia, where he was unable to convince a single government to support US military action. If evidence of such an attack could be shared anywhere, it would presumably be with the heads of state gathered in St. Petersburg. But Obama has no such proof, and every government in the world knows it.

The August 21 event was a provocation staged by Washington and its proxies, the armed Islamist militias led by Al Qaeda, to provide the justification for not only an attack on Syria, but a far wider war.

In the first instance, what is being prepared is a full-scale assault on the Syrian government and its military. Among the objectives will be the assassination of Assad and the wiping out of much of the Syrian army. In the process, thousands of Syrian civilians—men, women and children—will be killed as well.

These aims are being spelled out clearly within the US ruling establishment. A report published September 5 by Anthony Cordesman, a leading analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and former Pentagon intelligence official, is entitled “Shaping a Meaningful Outcome to US Strikes and Intervention in the Syrian Civil War.”

“If the US is to accomplish any lasting strategic result, it must carry out a truly major cruise missile strike and focus on changing the outcome of the Syrian civil war, rather than focus on Syria’s chemical weapons,” Cordesman writes. “In the short term, this means a focus on high value military targets that will have an impact on the civil war rather than a focus on chemical weapons.”

He continues by insisting that “making a limited, short-term tilt in the balance will not be enough.” The US attack, he argues, must be accompanied by a major escalation of the arming of the so-called “rebels,” the fascistic Islamist gunmen carrying out a sectarian civil war on Washington’s behalf.

This is already taking place. The Times of London reported Friday, “The CIA is supervising fresh weapons consignments from Saudi Arabia and other Arab states to Syria’s rebels to help them to capitalise on a US bombing offensive that could start next week.”

The massive new infusion of weaponry includes antitank weapons and surface-to-air missiles as well as other arms. It likely also involves chemical weapons from the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan al-Saud, to be used should another provocation be required.

These weapons will go to Al Qaeda-led militias, with which the US government is now working in the closest operational unity, to carry out sectarian massacres across the country and in Damascus itself.

The aim of this campaign is not limited to Syria, but is directed at preparing a wider regional war, targeting Iran, with the aim of removing all impediments to US imperialist hegemony over the oil-rich and strategically vital regions of the Persian Gulf and Central Asia. Obama is pursuing the same predatory aims that lay behind the wars fought in Iraq and Afghanistan over the entire past decade.

The US Senate convened briefly Friday to allow Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to formally introduce the Authorization for the Use of Military Force resolution adopted by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The full Senate returns from its recess on Monday and is expected to vote on the measure backing war on Syria as soon as next Wednesday.

The resolution provides for up to 60 days of air strikes on the already devastated Middle Eastern nation, with another 30-day extension should the Obama administration determine that more attacks are required.

Whatever the text of the legislation, and whether or not it is passed by both houses of Congress, which appears increasingly doubtful, the administration has already made clear the far-reaching scope of its military aims with the draft it first submitted. This resolution allowed it to use virtually unlimited military force “in connection with” Syrian chemical weapons and the proliferation “within, to or from Syria,” of such weapons or any components or materials associated with them. Such language would allow attacks on Iran or Russia or virtually any other country that the US determined was “connected” with Syria or providing it with aid.

That this remains the aim of the US intervention was indicated by last week’s presence in Washington of a large delegation of top Israeli military and intelligence officials and the steady drumbeat of propaganda to the effect that the Syrian intervention is necessary to deter Iran from securing a nuclear weapon.

As the New York Times noted Friday, the Obama administration is counting heavily on Zionist lobbying organizations such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to pressure members of Congress to back the authorization of military force.

Whatever the results of the congressional deliberations, this will be the last time any legislative debate is carried out in the US over the impending war. Such is the depth of the crisis of US capitalism, it is driven to a war of aggression, regardless the attitude of the American people, as a means of offsetting its economic decline and intense internal contradictions.

This is a government of conspiracy, dominated by its vast military and intelligence apparatus and totally subservient to the interests of the corporations, the banks and the super-rich. It is dragging the American people into war on the basis of wholesale lying and under conditions where the overwhelming majority of the population opposes military action—something Obama and his supporters acknowledge. Ultimately, this can be carried out only by means of massive repression.

The only thing that can stop the coming war is the mobilization of mass popular opposition. This requires the independent action of working people, students and youth in opposition to the Obama administration, the Congress and both big-business political parties. The struggle against war must be joined with the fight to defend living standards and basic democratic rights, which are under relentless assault by the same capitalist system and ruling financial oligarchy that are the source of militarism and imperialist aggression.

The Socialist Equality Party is fighting to organize this opposition, holding meetings and calling demonstrations across the US and internationally. We call upon all of our readers and supporters to join this fight today.

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| If We Cut Aid to Egypt’s Military, Would We Die?

If We Cut Aid to Egypt’s Military, Would We Die? ~ Robert NaimanTruthout.

If you’re not following the debate about whether U.S. aid to Egypt’s military should be cut – as required by multiple, clear-cut U.S. laws – in the wake of the military coup that overthrew Egypt’s democratically elected president and the subsequent predictable massacres by the Egyptian military of people protesting the coup, you’re missing a great opportunity to learn about how U.S. foreign policy is typically made in the real world in the absence of significant public pressure, as opposed to the fairy-tale world in which “we have values, while other countries have interests.”

Guards stand outside the Rabaah al-Adawiya mosque, which was destroyed during clashes between supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and security forces in the Nasr City neighborhood of Cairo, Aug. 15, 2013. A number of historians said Friday that the ferocity of the attacks by security forces on Islamist protesters in Cairo this week appears to have been a deliberate calculation of the military-appointed government. (Bryan Denton/The New York Times)Guards stand outside the Rabaah al-Adawiya mosque, which was destroyed during clashes between supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and security forces in the Nasr City neighborhood of Cairo, August 15, 2013. A number of historians said Friday that the ferocity of the attacks by security forces on Islamist protesters in Cairo this week appears to have been a deliberate calculation of the military-appointed government. (Bryan Denton/The New York Times)

Some may say, “Well, I already knew that.” But every new U.S. war typically is accompanied by a media hysteria about how it’s an absolute emergency to bomb, invade or occupy Country X to prevent massacres or protect Country X’s women, children and minorities. And until the U.S. becomes a normal country that isn’t constantly running around bombing, invading and occupying other people’s countries, the lesson that Washington’s professed concern for human rights is, in the absence of public pressure, a smokescreen for other, less publicly marketable interests is one that can’t be repeated enough. 
On August 16, 2013, The New York Times ran a news analysis about U.S. aid to Egypt’s military. Titled “Ties With Egypt Army Constrain Washington,” the article offers reasons why the Pentagon is reluctant for the U.S. to cut aid to Egypt’s military.

The first was this:

“Most nations, including many close allies of the United States, require up to a week’s notice before American warplanes are allowed to cross their territory. Not Egypt, which offers near-automatic approval for military overflights, to resupply the war effort in Afghanistan or to carry out counterterrorism operations in the Middle East, Southwest Asia or the Horn of Africa.

Losing that route could significantly increase flight times to the region.”

The second was this:

“American warships are also allowed to cut to the front of the line through the Suez Canal in times of crisis, even when oil tankers are stacked up like cars on an interstate highway at rush hour. Without Egypt’s cooperation, military missions could take days longer.”

The significance of the ease of military overflights is explained with an example:

“For decades the Egyptians have helped the American military in ways that are largely unknown to the American public, said Robert Springborg, a professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., and an expert on the Egyptian military. Mr. Springborg noted that in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 – after the Turkish Parliament refused to allow the American military to use Turkish territory for crossing into Iraq from the north – Egypt gave the Pentagon immediate access for two aircraft battle groups and accompanying aircraft through the Suez Canal and across its territory.”

Surely no one would dispute that if you are the Pentagon, “near-automatic approval for military overflights” is probably something you really appreciate. Similarly, who wouldn’t want to cut to the front of the line at the Suez Canal? Raise your hand if you like standing in line. I’d “pay any price, bear any burden” to avoid standing in the security line at a busy airport or the line at passport control when you come home from a trip abroad. So I don’t begrudge the Pentagon its appreciation of its sweetheart deal for U.S. warships at Suez.

But suppose the U.S. cut off aid to Egypt’s military, as required by U.S. law. And suppose that in retaliation, the Egyptian military said to the Pentagon, “OK, big boy, from now on you have to give us the same notice for overflights as you give everybody else, and your warships have to wait in line at Suez just like all the other ships.” And suppose this continued until democracy was restored.

I can certainly see how that would be sad for the Pentagon. But from the point of view of everyone else in America who isn’t the Pentagon – everyone who has to stand in line all the time – would it be so terrible? Would we die? Could we somehow muddle through?

I haven’t noticed the Pentagon doing anything to keep me from having to stand in line. Why should I be willing to sacrifice anything that I care about – like preventing the Egyptian military from slaughtering protesters or ensuring that U.S. foreign policy complies with U.S. law – so that the Pentagon doesn’t have to stand in line?

Indeed, if the Pentagon had to stand in line along with everyone else, as someone who would strongly prefer it if my government were not constantly running around the world bombing, invading and occupying other people’s countries, might I be actually better off?

I opposed the Iraq war. Didn’t you? I remember when the Turkish parliament voted to block the U.S. military from using Turkish airspace to invade Iraq. I thought that was fantastic! Long live Turkish democracy! If the Egyptian Parliament had voted to block the use of Egyptian territory for the U.S. invasion of Iraq, I would have been delighted. But of course there was little possibility that the Egyptian Parliament would have voted like that in 2003, because in 2003 the Egyptian parliament was not produced by a free and fair election. It was produced by an election rigged by the U.S.-backed Egyptian military’s handpicked “civilian” sock puppet, Hosni Mubarak.

That is, the Pentagon’s sweetheart deal in Egypt depended crucially on an absence of democracy in Egypt.

And thus, when it comes to democracy in Egypt, the Pentagon and the majority of Americans have fundamentally different interests.

And that is why U.S. policy in Egypt can be run according to the Pentagon’s narrow interests or according to the interests of the majority of Americans – but not both. It is being said that the U.S. has little influence in Egypt to stop the repression and restore democracy. But the more-precise statement is that the U.S. has little influence in Egypt to stop the repression and restore democracy so long as the Pentagon’s narrow interests remain paramount in the formation of U.S. policy. And as long as the Pentagon’s narrow interests remain paramount in the formation of U.S. policy, the Egyptian military can safely ignore U.S. statements about democracy and human rights, because U.S. priorities lie elsewhere.

When all of the U.S. government is pulling strongly together in one direction – when it’s trying to impose sanctions on Iran or hunt Edward Snowden or punish journalists critical of U.S. policy or prevent countries from breaking U.S. pharmaceutical patents to lower the price of lifesaving medicines – the power of the U.S. government is awesome. The key obstacles to the use of U.S. influence to stop the repression in Egypt lie in the internal contradictions of U.S. policy – the fact that when it comes to U.S. priorities, human rights and democracy have to move to the back of the bus, behind avoiding inconvenience to the Pentagon.

This is why the shah of Iran ignored U.S. warnings about democracy and human rights until it was too late: he correctly believed that U.S. priorities lay elsewhere, until it was too late.

And this is why it is urgent for U.S. policy in Egypt to change course. Because if the democratic path to contest for political power in Egypt is closed to the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Muslim Brotherhood decides to try to seize power by force, everything that has happened so far will seem like a walk in the park.

Now, suppose that we agree that it would be in the interests of the majority of Americans for the U.S. government to comply with U.S. laws and cut aid to the Egyptian military until the repression stops and democracy is restored. What should the public do, given that the Pentagon and its apologists seem determined otherwise?

Shouldn’t we call for cutting off U.S. aid to Egypt’s military, regardless of whether we think Washington will listen? Wouldn’t it be better to push for cutting off U.S. aid to Egypt’s military and lose – than to allow the idea to rule unchallenged that U.S. aid to those who commit massacres should continue because there’s a danger that the Pentagon might have to stand in line, like everybody else?

Shouldn’t we try to force the issue so that those who support doing nothing in the face of the repression – in clear violation of U.S. laws – have to defend their position in detail, on the record?

“But what about Israel?”

Some people will ask how you can go on and on about the Pentagon and not mention Israel.

Here The New York Times analysis helps again. The article does mention Israel. The first glancing mention is in the seventh paragraph. The first substantive mention is in the 15th paragraph.

Have you ever spent any time in New York City? I have. Lots. Did you notice how you never met anyone who would sacrifice a tsatske for the safety and security of people who live in Israel?

Yeah, I didn’t notice that either.

So, if the safety and security of people who live in Israel were a crucial part of the story here, do you think that The New York Times, when it clears its throat and adopts its “news analysis” voice, would leave that topic to paragraph 15?

Indeed, isn’t it more likely that the causation story here runs the other way? Rather than the Pentagon’s interests being determined by “protecting Israel,” isn’t the Israeli “Pentagon” interest in this case determined by its interests in protecting the U.S. Pentagon? Isn’t that a service the Israeli Pentagon provides to the U.S. Pentagon, allowing people to say, “I’m concerned about protecting Israel,” when they really mean, “I’m concerned about protecting the Pentagon’s narrow interests in this situation, at the expense of the public interest?” Like when they say, “Cutting the Pentagon budget would be bad for Israel,” don’t they mean, “Cutting the Pentagon budget might reduce my campaign donations from U.S. weapons manufacturers”? When the Pentagon budget was smaller, wasn’t Israel doing OK?

When the Muslim Brotherhood won the Egyptian elections, did it touch the Camp David treaty? Did it stop security cooperation with Israel?

Now, you can say, no, the Muslim Brotherhood didn’t stop security cooperation with Israel. But the Egyptian military’s security cooperation with Israel is better, you could argue, when it doesn’t have to mess around with democracy.

But if that difference was small, where do the long-term interests of the majority of Israelis lie?

If you’re willing to allow that the majority of Americans have different interests in this situation than the Pentagon, might you be willing to consider the possibility that the Israeli Pentagon might have different interests in this situation than the majority of Israelis?

Don’t the long-term interests of the majority of Israelis lie with having normal relations with public opinion in the region? Would it be in the long-term interest of the majority of Israelis for their government to take the side of repression in Egypt, when it had “good enough” security cooperation with the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood government? Shouldn’t we at least ask that question before assuming that the coup in Egypt and subsequent crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood were in the interests of the majority of Israelis?

Shouldn’t we try to force the issue? Shouldn’t supporters of inaction in the face of the coup and repression – in violation of U.S. law – be forced to explain themselves, in detail, on the record?

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EgyptMassacre1

 

| Remember President Morsi’s last words before the COUP!

For Morsi not transforming Egypt into Turkey within a year, Sisi transforms Egypt into Syria within a few hours.

Sisi for Zionist of the Year!! http://youtu.be/OFPXGSMs3hM

 

 

| If We Cut Aid to Egypt’s Military, Would We Die? http://fb.me/WsZDANOg

 

Coup3

| Obama’s Humanitarianism as Window-Dressing for the US “Deep State” Agenda: Syria!

Obama’s Humanitarianism as Window-Dressing for the US “Deep State” Agenda: The Case of Syria ~ Elizabeth WoodworthGlobalResearch.ca.

This essay examines the connections between the foreign intervention crisis in Syria, the vast NSA surveillance program that has recently been exposed, and the sequence of events that begin with NSA program changes in February, 2001 — six months before 9/11.  The connections are illuminating.

In mid June 2013 the Obama administration announced that it will start arming insurgents against the Syrian government because the regime crossed a “red line” by using chemical weapons — which it estimates have killed, over time, an estimated 100-150 rebels.[1]

What we are not being told is the history of President Bashar Assad, nor is he seen speaking in the American media.

Assad is a medical doctor of mild personality who graduated in Damascus in 1988 and later begana four-year program of ophthalmology in London, England.  When Hafez Assad, President of Syria, his father died in 2000, Bashar was elected President of Syria by a large popular majority, and again in 2007.

We are not given insight by the media into President Bashar Assad, the man.

He is married to British-educated Asma al-Assad, born in London, and a former investment banker. “She received the Gold Medal of the Presidency of The Italian Republic for humanitarian work in 2008 and won an honorary archaeology doctorate from La Sapienza university in Rome.”[2]

Although seen in interviews by independent journalists to be mild-mannered, respectful, rationally articulate, and fluent in English, Assad is seldom seen speaking in the US mainstream media.

Thus it is poignant to watch his 18-minute interview with German reporter Jürgen Todenhöfe  in July 2012, and to hear his under-stated account of the foreign-backed insurgents whose violence has led to the deaths of thousands of Syrian state supporters.[3]

It is illuminating to watch the 5-minute interview Assad gave the Sunday Times, March 3, 2013, saying that as long as Britain arms the insurgents to save Syria from its repressive dictator, “the arsonist cannot be seen as the firefighter.”

In another recent German TV interview, Assad (whom we know is a medical doctor) discusses the alleged and contradictory use of chemical weapons — defined as “weapons of mass destruction” — in local ground combat.  He goes on to describe external financial support to the insurgents as “stoking the fire.”[4]

Indeed, Aron Lund, a Swedish observer of the Syrian opposition, has listed about a dozen rebel groups, the largest of which are funded by either the West, the Gulf states, or Turkey. The 80,000-strong Free Syrian Army (also known as the Supreme Military Council), “was created in December 2012 after pressure from Western and Gulf Arab nations, which seek to make it the military wing of Syria’s civilian exile group, the National Coalition.”[5]

To understand why the Western media, under heavy influence from the Pentagon, has demonized Mr. Assad as a vicious and indiscriminate murderer[6] of his own subjects, we can turn to a 2006 interview of  General Wesley Clark, a Rhodes scholar and the Supreme Allied Commander (Europe) of NATO, 1997-2000.

Speaking on March 2, 2007 to Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, Clark said that about ten days after 9/11 he visited his former staff in the Pentagon. They told him, in astonished tones, that the US was going to go to war with Iraq — which they said had no demonstrated connection to 9/11, and they were at a complete loss to explain why.[7]

A few weeks later Clark went back to the Pentagon and was told that the US was going to “take out” seven Middle East countries in the next five years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.  He added, “Had there been no oil there it would be like Africa. Nobody is threatening to intervene in Africa.[8]

This early agenda for “take out,” said by Clark to have been in place immediately after 9/11, raises questions about the anthrax attacks, which started September 18, 2001.

The letters containing the lethal spores targeted, among others, Democratic Senators Tom Daschle (Senate Majority Leader) and Patrick Leahy. During this period of intense panic in Washington the 342-page Patriot Act was rushed through Congress October 24 and passed the Senate the next day.[9]

It has since been amply demonstrated that the highly weaponized spores contained in the anthrax letters originated from within a US military laboratory, and were too sophisticated to have been produced by a non-state laboratory or by an individual.[10]

Now if we look at the origins of the NSA super-surveillance program, which is generally believed to have begun right after 9/11 as a provision of the Patriot Act, we will see that in fact it began in February, 2001, within weeks after the swearing in of the Bush administration.

Mr. William Binney, a 40-year veteran of the NSA, explains that all communications companies were required at that time to collect data on their customers.  One company, Qwest Communications, refused to do this, and its CEO, Joe Nacchio, is still in prison on false charges of insider trading.[11]

Mr. Binney emphasized that virtually no one in the country was exempt.  Even judges were recorded, so that almost everyone in the United States could potentially be coerced, using selected personal data as leverage.[12] The implications are staggering.  How many elected and bureaucratic officials could be — or have already been — brought to heel in this manner?

Thus by 9/11 the “deep state” was already armed against its population in a manner that Binney referred to as “J. Edgar Hoover on super steroids.”[13]

Meanwhile, the mainstream media have increasingly accepted the US position that Middle East countries plagued by civil wars caused by repressive dictators must be saved by humanitarian intervention from enlightened Western democracies.

Indeed Reuters correspondent Mark Hosenball reported last August that “President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing U.S. support for rebels seeking to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government.”[14]

The Reuters article continued:

“Recent news reports from the region have suggested that the influence and numbers of Islamist militants, some of them connected to al Qaeda or its affiliates, have been growing among Assad’s opponents.”[15]

On June 17, 2013, CNN supported the al Qaeda connection:

“Al Qaeda’s affiliate inside Syria is now the best-equipped arm of the terror group in existence today, according to informal assessments by U.S. and Middle East intelligence agencies, a private sector analyst directly familiar with the information told CNN.”[16]

In May, 2013, former FBI translator and whistle-blower[17] Sibel Edmonds had reported that “Bin Laden – and his number 2 Al Qaeda lieutenant – Ayman al-Zawahiri – worked with the U.S. government for 3 months after 9/11 to coordinate destablization in the Caucus region.”[18]

In light of the evidence above connecting al Qaeda to the U.S. government, it is imperative to go back to 9/11 — the trigger event for the global war on terror — and take a second look.

In fact this is being done.

A new source of evidence-based research is being developed by the academic 24-member 9/11 Consensus Panel,[19] which has developed 32 Consensus Points examining the official claims about how events unfolded that day. The Panel uses a standard medical model to evaluate its evidence, which is intended to provide confidence to the media and the public in reconsidering the events of 9/11.

The enormous cost in lives and dollars of the Middle East wars, coupled with the pervasive spying of domestic citizens now in progress, should prompt all those interested in democracy to look carefully at this evidence.

And regarding Syria at this moment, why is it the responsibility of the United States to intervene in the civil war of a sovereign country?

If humanitarian intervention is indeed desired, why is it not a peace-keeping initiative arranged by the United Nations?

Notes

[1]“Text: US Statement on Syria — Chemical Weapons,” ABC News, June 14, 2013 (http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/text-us-statement-syria-chemical-weapons-19396269#.Ub9-PJzm-HQ ). To put the priority of this “red line” in perspective, note that 443,000 preventable deaths are caused each year in the USA by smoking, “Tobacco Use: Targeting the Nation’s Leading Killer at a Glance, 2011,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (http://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/aag/osh.htm).

[2]“Asma al-Assad: Syria’s first lady,” ABC News Australia, March 21, 2012 (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-20/asma-al-assad-profile/3900816).

[3]“Syria’s President Baschar al Assad gives Interview to German Television” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEh1VClsnFM).

[4] “German television interviews the Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad,” February 20, 2013, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nau-VSu25VQ

[5]“Freedom Fighters? Cannibals? The Truth about Syria’s Rebels, The Independent, June 17, 2013 ( http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/freedom-fighters-cannibals-the-truth-about-syrias-rebels-8662618.html.)  “Mr. Lund is a regular contributor to the Swedish Institute for International Affairs. He is considered one of the best informed observers of the Syrian opposition.”

[6]Google Images shows that so far the West has not managed to capture an angry or unpleasant photograph of Mr. Assad. He is consistently mild and patient.

[7]“General Wesley Clark: Wars Were Planned — Seven Countries In Five Years” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RC1Mepk_Sw).

[8] Ibid.

[9] The Patriot Act is downloadable at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-107publ56/pdf/PLAW-107publ56.pdf.

[10] Edward Jay Epstein, “The Anthrax Attacks Remain Unsolved,” The Wall Street Journal, January 24, 2010 (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704541004575011421223515284.html).

[11] William Binney interview:  “Inside the NSA’s Domestic Surveillance Apparatus:  Whistleblower William Binney Speaks Out,” Democracy Now, June 10, 2013 (http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2013/6/10/inside_the_nsas_domestic_surveillance_apparatus_whistleblower_william_binney_speaks_out), and Dave Hodges, “Before Edward Snowden, There Was Joseph Nacchio,” The Common Sense Show, June 13, 2013 (http://www.thecommonsenseshow.com/2013/06/13/before-edward-snowden-there-was-joseph-nacchio/).

[12] Binnie, Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] “Exclusive: Obama authorizes secret U.S. support for Syrian rebels,” Reuters, August 1, 2012 (http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/01/us-usa-syria-obama-order-idUSBRE8701OK20120801).

[15] Ibid.

[16] Barbara Starr, “Analyst: Al Qaeda Affiliate in Syria now Best-Equipped of the Group,” CNN, June 17, 2013 (http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2013/06/17/analyst-al-qaeda-affiliate-in-syria-now-best-equipped-of-the-group/ ).

[17] Edmonds’ credibility was confirmed in a 2002 coalition letter to the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (http://web.archive.org/web/20071031085021/http://www.libertycoalition.net/state-secrets-privelage/coalition-letter-to-the-house-committee-on-oversight-and-government-reform-on-criminal-activities-by-the ).

[18] “Report: U.S. Government and NATO Worked with Bin Laden and His Top Lieutenant 3 Months AFTER 9/11,” Washington’s Blog, May 2, 2013 (http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/05/report-u-s-government-worked-with-bin-laden-and-his-top-lieutenant-2-months-after-911.html).

[19] See:  http://www.consensus911.org.  Note the Panel’s methodology, voting members, and honorary members.

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| US military now trashing it’s own equipment in Afghanistan!

Scrapping equipment key to Afghan drawdown ~  Ernesto Londoño, WP.

Ernesto Londono/WASHINGTON POST – June 17, Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan — U.S. military contract workers tear apart an armored vehicle that is among the hundreds of such personnel carriers the Pentagon no longer has use for.

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — Facing a tight withdrawal deadline and tough terrain, the U.S. military has destroyed more than 170 million pounds worth of vehicles and other military equipment as it rushes to wind down its role in the Afghanistan war by the end of 2014.

The massive disposal effort, which U.S. military officials call unprecedented, has unfolded largely out of sight amid an ongoing debate inside the Pentagon about what to do with the heaps of equipment that won’t be returning home. Military planners have determined that they will not ship back more than $7 billion worth of equipment — about 20 percent of what the U.S. military has in Afghanistan — because it is no longer needed or would be too costly to ship back home.

That has left the Pentagon in a quandary about what to do with the items. Bequeathing a large share to the Afghan government would be challenging because of complicated rules governing equipment donations to other countries, and there is concern that Afghanistan’s fledgling forces would be unable to maintain it. Some gear may be sold or donated to allied nations, but few are likely to be able to retrieve it from the war zone.

Therefore, much of it will continue to be shredded, cut and crushed to be sold for pennies per pound on the Afghan scrap market — a process that reflects a presumptive end to an era of protracted ground wars. The destruction of tons of equipment is all but certain to raise sharp questions in Afghanistan and the United States about whether the Pentagon’s approach is fiscally responsible and whether it should find ways to leave a greater share to the Afghans.

“We’re making history doing what we’re doing here,” said Maj. Gen. Kurt J. Stein, head of the 1st Sustainment Command, who is overseeing the drawdown in Afghanistan. “This is the largest retrograde mission in history.”

The most contentious and closely watched part of the effort involves the disposal of Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, the hulking beige personnel carriers that the Pentagon raced to build starting in 2007 to counter the threat of roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan. The massive trucks, known as MRAPs, came to symbolize the bloody evolution of wars that were meant to be short conflicts but turned into quagmires.

The Pentagon has determined that it will no longer have use for about 12,300 of its 25,500 MRAPs scattered at bases worldwide, officials said. In Afghanistan, the military has labeled about 2,000 of its roughly 11,000 MRAPs “excess.” About 9,000 will be shipped to the United States and U.S. military bases in Kuwait and elsewhere, but the majority of the unwanted vehicles — which cost about $1 million each — will probably be shredded, officials said, because they are unlikely to find clients willing to come pick them up.

“MRAPs have served us well in the current war, but we will not need all that we bought for Iraq and Afghanistan in the future,” Alan Estevez, the assistant secretary of defense for logistics and materiel readiness, said in a statement. “It is cost prohibitive to retrograde and reset MRAPs that we do not need for the future.”

‘Gold dust’

 

Those MRAPs that the Pentagon has deemed unnecessary have been arriving by the dozen at scrap yards at four U.S. military bases in Afghanistan in recent months. Toiling under the searing sun last week at this vast base in southern Kandahar province, contract workers from Nepal and other countries in the region wore fireproof suits and masks as they used special blowtorches to dismantle vehicles built to withstand deadly blasts. It takes about 12 hours to tear apart each MRAP.

In another section of the scrap yard, a massive grinder gobbled slabs of steel, turning them into small scraps. The debris is packed into U.S.-owned shipping containers that also have been deemed unfit to return home.

Last month, the Kandahar yard produced 11 million pounds of scrap that was sold to Afghan contractors for a few cents per pound, said Morgan Gunn, a Defense Logistics Agency employee who runs the site. Afghans use the scrap mainly for construction and as makeshift spare parts.

“Gold dust is what they call it,” Gunn said.

Military officials have drawn little attention to the scrapping operations, mindful that the endeavor might appear wasteful in an era of contracting defense budgets and misguided at a time when Afghan troops arebeing killed at a record rate. But officials argue that the effort is part of a withdrawal operation that is being carried out in a fiscally responsible, carefully planned manner.

“One might ask: Why not give it to the Afghans?” Stein said as he toured the Kandahar yard. “It’s such a fast-paced operation, and most of it is trash. We don’t want to leave this in the battlefield.”

As they have debated how much excess equipment to shred or sell, officials have considered whether the defense industry would suffer if the Pentagon unloaded tons of used equipment on the market at vastly reduced prices. Additionally, Pentagon policy requires that allied nations seeking to take ownership of excess U.S. equipment travel to Afghanistan to pick it up — an onerous task that few nations are likely to take on.

When the U.S. military withdrew from Iraq, it donated much of its equipment to the Iraqis, who had access to cheap fuel, a robust defense budget and more sophisticated mechanics. The Pentagon also shipped a significant share to Afghanistan, where a troop surge was underway. But donating MRAPs to the Afghans would be more complicated and potentially counterproductive, military officials said.

“Frankly, in a lot of ways, the Afghan economy and military can’t absorb some of the things the Iraqis did,” said Lt. Gen. Raymond V. Mason, the Army deputy chief of staff for logistics. “We don’t want to give [the Afghans] a lot of equipment that they can’t handle and could compound their challenges.”

Military officials said they have spent billions of dollars equipping and building up Afghanistan’s security forces over the past decade, outfitting them with lighter tactical vehicles that are a better fit for the country’s rudimentary road networks.

A situation unlike in Iraq

The U.S. Army owns the lion’s share of the military equipment currently in Afghanistan. As of May, Mason said, $25 billion worth of equipment was deployed with Army personnel. After an analysis of needs and costs, it has decided to ship back no more than 76 percent. Transporting that much will cost $2 billion to $3 billion, the Army estimates. And repairing the gear that comes back will cost $8 billion to $9 billion.

Stein, the general overseeing the Afghanistan drawdown, headed the same process in Iraq, which turned out to be a far easier mission. For starters, the U.S. military had a relatively well-
organized system in place to hand over bases and equipment to the Iraqi government 21 / 2years before American troops pulled out entirely. Security was more permissive. And, crucially, the U.S. military could use its large bases in next-door Kuwait as a staging ground for items driven out of Iraq.

“Kuwait was a lifesaver,” Stein said, noting that there are no neighboring U.S. bases where equipment leaving Afghanistan could be easily stored. “It’s very hard to get our stuff out of Afghanistan. In Iraq, we could drive it out to Kuwait, and it sat there for a year or two until the Army decided its disposition.”

As the U.S. military reduces its footprint in Afghanistan from 150 bases to 50 by February, Stein’s teams are ramping up their efforts, finding more efficient ways of sorting through equipment to be shipped and drawing from lessons learned in Iraq.

Until a few months ago, the military flew out the vast majority of the equipment it was sending back to the United States.

In recent months, after Pakistan, a neighbor of landlocked Afghanistan, agreed to let the U.S. military use its roads to ship materiel out through its ports, most containers that don’t include sensitive materials or weapons are being trucked out by land. Shipping through Pakistan is by no means trouble-free — and officials recognize that the route could get shut down in the event of a new spat between Islamabad and Washington.

“We continue to get delays. There’s still corruption, taxes, tariffs,” Stein said. “But our equipment is getting through.”

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MLK war chisel

| The most expensive fighter jet ever built, by the numbers!

The Most Expensive Fighter Jet Ever Built, by the Numbers

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Thanks to the sequester, the Defense Department is now required to cut more than $40 billion this fiscal year out of its $549 billion budget. But one program that’s unlikely to take a significant hit is the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, despite the fact that it’s almost four times more expensive than any other Pentagon weapons program that’s in the works.

We’ve compiled some of the most headache-inducing figures, from the program’s hefty cost overruns to the billions it’s generating in revenue for Lockheed Martin.

Year in which work on the fighter began.
Year in which full-rate production was set to begin.
Year in which full-rate production is now scheduled.
Estimated total cost in 2001.
Current estimated total cost, according to the Washington Post.
Amount already spent on the F-35.
The number of planes originally ordered by the Pentagon in 2001.
The number of planes currently on order. In 2010, the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction commissionrecommended cutting the number of planes ordered for the Navy and the Air Force by half and scrapping the Marines’ version, which has been plagued by the most problems.
The number of planes that have already been built, even though testing of the fighter is far from complete. And when all the tests are finished, “there will be no yes-or-no, up-or-down decision point,” Pierre Sprey, one of the chief architects of the Air Force’s older F-16 Fighting Falcon, told the Post. “That’s totally deliberate. It was all in the name of ensuring it couldn’t be canceled.”
The number of planes set to be complete by the time testing is finished in 2018.
$81.7 million
Estimated total cost per plane in 2001.
$162.5 million
Current estimated total cost per plane.
The number of jobs the F-35 currently supports, according to Lockheed Martin.
The number of jobs Lockheed says the fighter will support when full production starts.
The states over which Lockheed and its subcontractors and suppliers have spread the F-35 work.
Amount Lockheed spent on lobbying in 2012, according to OpenSecrets.
Lockheed’s approximate revenue from the F-35 in 2012, according to a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. While that figure represented 14 percent of the company’s total revenue last year, Lockheed said in the filing that it expects the F-35 “to represent a higher percentage of our sales in future years.”
Amount it could cost to develop, build, fly and maintain all the F-35s on order for 55 years — the lives of the planes — according to Pentagon estimates cited by Bloomberg.

While the F-35 is billions over budget and years behind schedule, the program seems to be doing better recently. A Government Accountability Office report released this week found that Lockheed has made progress in improving supply and manufacturing processes and addressing technical problems.

“We’ve made enormous progress over the last few years,” Steve O’Bryan, Lockheed’s vice president of F-35 business development, told the Washington Post.

The military’s current head of the program, Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, agreed that things have improved but said Lockheed and another major contractor, Pratt & Whitney, still have a ways to go.

“I want them to take on some of the risk of this program,” Bogdan said last month in Australia, which plans to buy 100 of the planes. “I want them to invest in cost reductions. I want them to do the things that will build a better relationship. I’m not getting all that love yet.”

Correction: An earlier version of this post included the estimated total cost of the F-35 program when it began in 2001 ($233 billion) as well as an inflation-adjusted figure calculated in 2013 dollars in parentheses. The $233 billion figure, however, already included projected inflation, so we have removed the inflation-adjusted figure.

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F35 Blues 1 Related articles

 

| Pentagon admits $238 million each F-35 fighter jets won’t stand a chance in real combat!

Pentagon: F-35 won’t have a chance in real combat ~ RT.

Fatal flaws within the cockpit of the US military’s most expensive fighter jet ever are causing further problems with the Pentagon’s dubious F-35 program.

Just weeks after a fleet of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters was grounded for reasons unrelated, a new report from the Pentagon warns that any pilot that boards the pricey aircraft places himself in danger without even going into combat.

In a leaked memo from the Defense Department’s director of the Operational Test and Evaluation Directorate to the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Pentagon official prefaces a report on the F-35 by cautioning that even training missions cannot be safely performed on board the aircraft at this time.

“The training management system lags in development compared to the rest of the Integrated Training Center and does not yet have all planned functionality,” the report reads in part.

In other sections of the lengthy DoD analysis, Operational Test and Evaluation Directorate Director J. Michael Gilmore outlines a number of flaws that jeopardize the safety of any pilot that enters the aircraft.

“The out-of-cockpit visibility in the F-35A is less than other Air Force fighter aircraft,” one excerpt reads.

Elsewhere, Gilmore includes quotes from pilots commenting after test missions onboard the aircraft: “The head rest is too large and will impede aft [rear] visibility and survivability during surface and air engagements,” said one. “Aft visibility will get the pilot gunned [down] every time” in dogfights, remarked another.

“Aft visibility could turn out to be a significant problem for all F-35 pilots in the future,” the Pentagon admits.

In one chart included in the report, the Pentagon says there are eight crucial flaws with the aircraft that have raises serious red flags within the Department of Defense. The plane’s lack of maturity, reduced pilot situational awareness during an emergency and the risk of the aircraft’s fuel barriers catching fire are also cited, as is the likelihood of a pilot in distress becoming unable to escape his aircraft during an emergency — or perhaps drowning in event of an evacuation over water.

The Pilot Vehicle Interface, or PVI, is also listed as not up to snuff. Documented deficiencies regarding the F-35 pilot’s helmet-mounted display and other aspects of the PVI are named, and the result could mean grave consequences.

“There is no confidence that the pilot can perform critical tasks safely,” the report reads.

The latest news regarding the F-35s comes less than one month after a separate incident forced the Department of Defense to ground their entire arsenal of the fighter jets. In February, jet makers Lockheed Martin issued a statement acknowledging that a routine inspection on a test plane at Edwards Air Force Base in California turned up cracked turbine blade.

“Safety is always our first consideration, and the joint inspection team is focused on ensuring the integrity of the engines across the entire fleet so the F-35s can safely return to flight as soon as possible,” the manufacture told the media. In response, Joint Program Office spokeswoman Kyra Hawn confirmed that all F-35 flight operations were suspended as a precautionary measure “until the investigation is complete and the cause of the blade crack is fully understood.” Just weeks later, though, a new report is already causing fresh problems for the F-35 program.

Each F-35 fighter jet is valued at $238 million and, according to recent estimates, the entire operation will cost the country $1 trillion in order to keep the jets up and running through 2050.

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| Russians Conduct Huge Nuke Drill!

Russians Conduct Huge Nuke Drill ~ , Washington Free Beacon.

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Russian nuclear forces hold large exercise involving movement of strategic and tactical warheads.
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Russian nuclear forces conducted a major exercise last month that tested the transport of both strategic and tactical nuclear weapons near Europe, according to United States officials.

The exercise raised concerns inside the Pentagon and with the U.S. European Command because it was the largest exercise of its kind in 20 years and involved heightened alert status of Russian nuclear forces.

The nuclear drills were part of other military maneuvers in Russia carried out between Feb. 17 and Feb. 21.

The exercises followed a recent surge in Russian strategic bomber flights that include a recent circling of the U.S. Pacific island of Guam by two Tu-95 Bear bomber and simulated bombing runs by Tu-95s against Alaska and California in June and July.

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Wesley P. Miller sought to play down the nuclear exercise but declined to comment on the movement of nuclear weapons and whether nuclear forces went on a heightened state of alert. “We don’t comment on intelligence matters,” he said.

Miller said the nuclear forces maneuvers were “nothing to be concerned about because the Russians, like us, have routine exercises and inspections.”

However, a U.S. official said the exercise was a concern within the U.S. national security community because of the scale of the exercise and the number of weapons being moved. “Certainly it’s a concern when you have this kind of exercise going on,” this official said.

The official said another worry is that Russia appears to be increasing the readiness of its nuclear forces at a time when the U.S. nuclear complex is in urgent need of upgrading and the military is facing sharp automatic defense cuts that could affect U.S. nuclear forces readiness in the future.

Contractors and employees of the National Nuclear Security Administration, which runs the nuclear weapons complex, were notified of possible furloughs under automatic spending cuts that went into effect March 1, the Hill reportedThursday.

Miller said the administration remains committed to a safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrent. “The administration will ensure continued focus on maintaining a strong nuclear deterrent as part of the president’s comprehensive approach to nuclear security,” under sequester, as the automatic spending cuts are called.

He quoted past Defense Secretary Leon Panetta as saying that no decisions on how cuts will be made but that “nothing will be off the table in our review of how best to proceed.”

According to the officials, the exercise involved Russia’s secretive 12th Main Directorate of the Defense Ministry, known by its acronym as 12th GUMO, the main military unit in charge of all nuclear weapons.

Details of the nuclear exercise are classified, but officials said the 12th GUMO transported a large number of nuclear arms from some of its nuclear munitions depots to storage sites during the exercises.

It could not be learned if the Russians provided advance notification of the strategic exercises.

Declassified U.S. intelligence reports have identified three large nuclear storage facilities near Europe, including one that is located miles from the intersection of the Rusisan, Latvian, and Belarusian borders. Two other nuclear storage complexes close to Europe are located at Zhukovka, near Belarus, and at Golovchino, near the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.

The nuclear training coincided with the visit to Moscow by Rose Gottemoeller, acting undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, to discuss a new round of U.S.-Russian strategic arms talks.

The exercise did not come up during the meeting between Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Berlin Feb. 26.

Arms control experts say the Russians are required to notify the United States under the New START treaty of major strategic nuclear exercises that involve bomber flights.

It is not known whether the nuclear weapons were transported by air, rail, or truck during the 12th GUMO exercise.

Chief of the Russian General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov mentioned the nuclear exercise Feb. 22 when he said a surprise inspection of both conventional and nuclear forces was held.

Gerasimov said the exercises involved the 12th GUMO and the Central and Southern military districts and that they were the largest maneuvers of its kind in 20 years.

The drills began with orders for forces to go to “higher states of combat readiness and carry out combat training missions,” the website Russian Defense Policy reported. The exercises were also reported by the Voice of Russia and the Russian Defense Ministry website.

Several hundred pieces of equipment, 7,000 troops, and 48 aircraft took part, the general said.

The drills also involved moving forces to exercise areas far from normal deployment locations.

Gerasimov said the 98th Air-Assault Division at Ivanovo and the 4th Air Forces and Air Defense Command near Rostov performed well.

The troops were transported in IL-76 jets to an area near Chelyabinsk, which has large nuclear facilities, in difficult weather conditions.

Forces of a long-range aviation group and air defense also conducted bombing exercises and performed well, Gerasimov said.

The general did not say how the 12th GUMO fared in the exercises but said that overall “a number of systematic deficiencies in the state of combat readiness and lever of personnel training” were uncovered.

A 2008 State Department cable described the 12th GUMO as one of several key military units with direct control over nuclear weapons. “An attack or exploitation of any one of these could leave elements of the arsenal vulnerable,” the cable said. “While the impact on the U.S. might not be immediate, the danger of such elements falling into terrorists’ or extremists’ hands could pose a serious threat to the national security of the United States.”

Another cable said nine 12th GUMO sites were being modernized in 2008.

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War Prop 1

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| CNN claims Iran shot at a US drone, revealing the news network’s mindset!

CNN claims Iran shot at a US drone, revealing the news network’s mindset ~ guardian.co.uk.

Its Pentagon reporter parrots significant, inflammatory government claims without an iota of skepticism or balance!

Iranian guards with US spy drone

Iranian guards with the US RQ-170 Sentinel drone they claim to have brought down electronically. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

(updated below)

Barbara Starr, CNN’s Pentagon reporter (more accurately known as: the Pentagon’s reporter at CNN), has an exciting exclusive today. Exclusively relying upon “three senior officials” in the Obama administration (all anonymous, needless to say), she claims that “two Iranian Su-25 fighter jets fired on an unarmed US Air Force Predator drone in the Persian Gulf last week,” while “the drone was in international airspace east of Kuwait . . . engaged in routine maritime surveillance.” The drone was not hit, but, says CNN, “the incident raises fresh concerns within the Obama administration about Iranian military aggression in crucial Gulf oil shipping lanes.”

First things first: let us pause for a moment to extend our thoughts and prayers to this US drone. Although it was not physically injured, being shot at by the Iranians – while it was doing nothing other than peacefully minding its own business – must have been a very traumatic experience. I think I speak on behalf of everyone, regardless of political views, when I say that we all wish this brave hero a speedy recovery and hope it is back in full health soon, protecting our freedom.

The CNN report on this incident is revealing indeed. Every paragraph – literally – contains nothing but mindless summaries of the claims of US government officials. There is not an iota of skepticism about any of the assertions, including how this incident happened, what the drone was doing at the time, or where it took place. It is pure US government press release – literally; I defy anyone to identify any differences if the US government had issued its own press release directly rather than issuing it masquerading as a leaked CNN report.

Most notably, CNN does not even bother with the pretense of trying to include the claims of the Iranian government about what happened. There is no indication that the self-described news outlet even made an effort to contact Tehran to obtain their rendition of these events or even confirmation that it occurred. It simply regurgitates the accusations of anonymous US officials that Iran, with no provocation, out of the blue decided to shoot at a US drone in international airspace. (Although CNN does not mention it, last December Iranshot down a US drone which, it claims (and the US does not deny) was in Iranian air space).

That CNN’s prime mission is to serve the US government is hardly news. But given the magnitude of these kinds of accusations – their obvious ability, if not intent, to bolster animosity on the part of the US public toward Iran and heighten tensions between the two nations – shouldn’t CNN at least pretend to be a bit more skeptical and even-handed about how it is reporting these claims? Anonymous Bush officials claim Saddam is reconstituting his nuclear program; anonymous Obama officials claim Iran illegally shot at a US drone for no reason.

But nothing can top this sentence from CNN, intended to explain the significance of this alleged event: “Iran has, at times, been confrontational in the region.” Yes, indeed they have – in stark contrast to the peaceful United States, which never is. Or, as Jeremy Scahill today, anticipating how Starr might present her report on-air on CNN later today: “Iran, which has launched airstrikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and [holding earpiece] — wait, what’s that, Wolf? Oh, right. The US, which has…” Scahill was being a bit generous to Wolf Blitzer there, who would be far more likely to add; “yes, that’s right, Barbara: and we should also remind our viewers how Iran, just a few short years ago, attacked its neighbor Iraq, destroyed the country, and then occupied it for almost a decade, showing how aggressive the mullahs are willing to be in this region.”

In case any of you thought the US media would change its future behavior in light of the debacle during the run-up to the Iraq War – and, really, were any of you thinking they would? – this is your answer. The pre-Iraq-War behavior wasn’t an abandonment of their purpose but the supreme affirmation of it: to drape the claims of the US government with independent credibility, dutifully serve its interests, and contrive an appearance of a free press. This is our adversarial, watchdog media in action.

Iranian evil

This all reminds me of a debate I did a couple years ago on MSNBC with Arianna Huffington and the Washington Post’s Jonathan Caephart over Iran and whether it should be viewed as an aggressor and enemy of the US. For most of the debate, MSNBC kept showing scary video footage of a test of a mid-range missile which Iran had just conducted, and then Capehart picked up on that to tell me, in essence: how can you say Iran isn’t aggressive when they’re testing these missiles? Yes, because, clearly, countries of peace (such as the US and Israel) would never do something as belligerent as testing missiles, much like no real Country of Peace would ever want to acquire a nuclear weapon.

UPDATE

The Washington Post’s report describes the incident as having taken place “near Iranian airspace”, and then posts a map to illustrate just how close. Like CNN, though, the Post bases all of its “reporting” on what the US government claims, and does not indicate that it even attempted to obtain comment from the Iranians, simply noting instead that “Iranian media had not reported on the Nov. 1 incident as of Thursday afternoon.”

Moreover, if it turns out that the claim of the US government is accurate and the drone was just outside of Iran’s airspace: does anyone have any thoughts on what the fate would be of an Iranian drone that was found just outside the airspace of the US on the Eastern seaboard, or right near Israeli airspace? I suspect that a lot more than an Iranian drone would be shot at. I’m also quite certain that, in reporting on such an incident, CNN and the Washington Post would be certain to include the views of the US or Israeli governments.

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