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Posts Tagged ‘pentagon’


US operations in Iraq costing $7.5m a day

–Since 16 June, panoply of US operations in Iraq have expanded to include around 60 surveillance flights over Isis territory

29 Aug 2014 America’s newest war in Iraq has cost over half a billion dollars so far, according to Pentagon estimates, all before President Barack Obama decides upon a strategy against Islamic State (Isis) militants. Rear Adm John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, told reporters on Friday that daily military operations in Iraq since 16 June, when the White House informed Congress it had ordered up to 275 US troops to bolster embassy security in Baghdad, have cost on average $7.5m. Those operations stretched into their 75th day on Friday, suggesting a cost of around $562.5m.

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Pentagon Gave Ferguson Police Department Military-Grade Weapons

–In 2013 alone, $449,309,003.71 worth of property was transferred to law enforcement,’ the agency’s website states.

13 Aug 2014 The local community of Ferguson, Missouri, may not look like a war zone, but and the Pentagon has helped the police treat it like one. According to Michelle McCaskill, media relations chief at the Defense Logistics Agency, the Ferguson Police Department is part of a federal program called 1033, in which the Department of Defense distributes hundreds of millions of dollars of surplus military equipment to civilian police forces across the U.S. That surplus military equipment doesn’t just mean small items like pistols or automatic rifles; towns like Ferguson could become owners of heavy armored vehicles, including the MRAPs used in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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Invoking emergency health powers, U.S. to use Pentagon Ebola test overseas

6 Aug 2014 U.S. health regulators on Wednesday authorized the use of an Ebola diagnostic test developed by the Pentagon to help ‘contain’ the world’s worst outbreak of the deadly virus. The diagnostic test was authorized for use abroad on military personnel, aid workers and emergency responders in laboratories designated by the Department of Defense to respond to the Ebola outbreak, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said. The test, called DoD EZ1 Real-time RT-PCR Assay, is designed for use on individuals who have symptoms of Ebola infection, who are at risk for exposure or who may have been exposed. The agency can evoke emergency authorization for a medical product it has not approved when there are no adequate alternatives.

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It’s just science: look at this, the IDF must be taking lessons from the Pentagon. The Pentagon could not protect itself from one airplane on September 11th–at least that’s how the story goes–and the MOD got a visit from a Hamas drone, if this report is accurate. Ashdod is where the Israelis kidnapped me to, before incarcerating me at Ramle Prison.

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Pentagon crashed more than 400 military drones

[Too bad they all didn't crash.] 20 Jun 2014 While unmanned drones have become a popular weapon of choice during the United States’ wars in on Iraq and Afghanistan, a new report reveals that hundreds of them have been involved in major accidents around the world. Following an investigation into more than 50,000 pages of federal and military records, the Washington Post found that more than 400 large American drones have crashed since 2001, with almost half of the accidents each causing millions of dollars in damages.

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‘Bring Back Our Girls’ false flag bearing fruit:

U.S. Using Classified Pentagon Spending to Train Elite Antiterror Troops in Four African Nations

28 May 2014 United States Special Operations troops are forming elite counterterrorism units in four countries in North and West Africa. The secretive program, financed in part with millions of dollars in classified Pentagon spending and carried out by trainers, including members of the Army’s Green Berets and Delta Force, was begun last year to instruct and equip hundreds of handpicked commandos [death squads] in Libya, Niger, Mauritania and Mali…For the aborted training outside Tripoli, the Defense Department also tapped into a classified spending account called Section 1208, devised to aid foreign troops assisting American forces conducting counterterrorism missions.

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Clip from news channel on september 11th 2001, clearly stating that no plane hit the pentagon. Strange? Not really.

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Pentagon plans work on new ‘missile defense’ interceptor 25 Feb 2014 The next U.S. military budget will include funds to overhaul Boeing Co’s ground-based missile defense system and develop a replacement for an interceptor built by Raytheon Co, the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer said Tuesday, citing “bad engineering” on the existing system. Reuters reported earlier this month that the Pentagon planned to ask Congress for $4.5 billion in additional funding for missile defense over the next five years, including $560 million for work on a new interceptor after several failed flight tests in recent years.

[Oh, but there’s no money for food stamps, though, right?

We’ve got to get to more reliable systems,” Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, told a conference sponsored by McAleese and Associations and Credit Suisse.

 

Asked if the problems with the current interceptors stemmed from a shortage of funding, Kendall said he attributed the issues more to decisions to rush deployment of technologies that had not been completely and thoroughly tested.

 

“As we go back and understand the failures we’re having and why we’re having them, we’re seeing a lot of bad engineering, frankly,” Kendall said. “It’s because there was a rush … to get something out.”

 

Given problems with all the currently fielded interceptors, a new development effort was needed, Kendall said.

 

“Just patching the things we’ve got is probably not going to be adequate. So we’re going to have to go beyond that,” he said, although he gave no details.

 

Reuters reported earlier this month that the Pentagon planned to ask Congress for $4.5 billion in additional funding for missile defense over the next five years, including $560 million for work on a new interceptor after several failed flight tests in recent years.

 

The White House plans to send its fiscal 2015 budget request to Congress on March 4. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel previewed the Pentagon’s portion of the budget on Monday but did not provide specific details about missile defense.

 

Missile defense is one of the biggest items in the Pentagon’s annual budget, although Republicans have faulted the Obama administration for scaling back funding in recent years.

 

Raytheon, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin Corp are already working on early designs of a new “common kill vehicle”, the part of the ground-based interceptor that hits and destroys an incoming enemy missile on contact. The new development effort would likely accelerate and expand that program, but details have not been released.

 

Sources familiar with the process say the Pentagon now plans to fund development of a new interceptor, specifically the kill vehicle.

 

Missile defense experts say that problems with the Raytheon kill vehicle stem from the fact that testing and development were not complete when the Bush administration opted to deploy some initial ground-based interceptors.

 

The kill vehicle is part of the larger ground-based missile defense system managed by Boeing, with a rocket built by Orbital Sciences Corp.

 

Michael Gilmore, the Defense Department’s chief weapons tester, earlier this month questioned the robustness of the Raytheon kill vehicle after a series of test failures and said the Pentagon should consider a redesign.

 

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Kenneth Maxwell)

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Pentagon, scientists closing in on rapid DNA technology

Researchers are closing in on the final steps of a new system to analyze human DNA in 90 minutes instead of the two to three weeks it now takes, according to interviews with Pentagon and industry officials.

Such a dramatic cut in the amount of time to get a DNA sample has huge ramifications for law enforcement, war crimes investigations and immigration, said Chris Asplen, the executive director of the Global Alliance for Rapid DNA Testing.

“When it comes to solving crime (not proving it in court but actually using DNA to find the killer, rapist, burglar, etc.) the value of DNA as an investigative tool is directly proportional to the speed at which it can be leveraged in any given investigation,” Asplen said.

Pentagon researchers expect to finish evaluating prototypes of the Accelerated Nuclear DNA Equipment (ANDE) system by June, said Jenn Elzea, a Pentagon spokeswoman. The Departments of Homeland Security and Justice are also investigating prototypes, she said.

Once deployed, these systems would significantly reduce the time to analyze DNA, the building blocks of the human body. They would let investigators use the technology in the field instead of sending samples to a clean lab.

NetBio of Waltham, Mass., is developing the rapid DNA prototype under review by the Pentagon’s Rapid Reaction Technology Office, Elzea said. The company was founded in 2000 and is based on research done at MIT’s Whitehead Institute.

Beyond law enforcement, rapid DNA can be used for a variety of applications, Asplen said. They include immigration, human trafficking, war crimes and natural disasters. Military units could track the DNA of suspected terrorists or militants in places such as Afghanistan to gain a better understanding of the “biometrics” of certain populations.

After the research determines if the technology works well enough to deploy to the field, policymakers need to decide who can be screened and when, Elzea said. The Pentagon is already developing the guidance “for the use of rapid DNA analysis capabilities,” she said.

Most government policies governing the use of DNA analysis go back to 1994 and the DNA Identification Act, Asplen said. That law did not anticipate rapid analysis. “The language requires that only DNA tests done in an accredited laboratory may be entered” into the national database. “That language will have to changed,” he said.

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Senate passes $630 billion military budget bill

The United States Senate has approved a massive $632.8 billion worth of military spending, including $80.7 billion for the war in Afghanistan and $17.6 billion for nuclear weapons programs.

The Senate Thursday passed the National Defense Authorization Act, 84-15. The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the bill last week on a strong bipartisan vote.

The spending measure for the 2014 fiscal year will now go to President Barack Obama for his signature.

The House and Senate Armed Services Committees had each passed their own version of the bill in June. During late November, Republicans and Democrats on the committees worked out a compromise bill that incorporated elements of their competing versions.

The bill would authorize everything from overall spending on wars and military salary to procurement of weapons systems and military-related foreign policy issues.

It also includes more than 30 provisions aimed at overhauling the Pentagon’s response to sex crimes, giving greater support to victims and reforming the military justice code to enable a tougher response to sexual assaults.

The Pentagon has estimated that 26,000 members of the military may have been sexually assaulted last year, though thousands were afraid to come forward for fear of inaction or retaliation.

The huge military budget comes as US lawmakers are considering a compromise five-year farm bill that would cut the food stamp program by $8 billion over the next 10 years.

The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program provides food stamps for nearly 48 million Americans.

On Wednesday, the Senate gave final passage to a two-year budget plan that keeps the government funded at over $1 trillion a year through 2015 and avoids potential government shutdowns in January and again in October.

The budget plan gives sequester relief of $22 billion to the Pentagon in fiscal 2014 while allowing unemployment benefits for 1.3 million Americans to expire

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Obama war chiefs widen drone kill box…Lethality of collateral damage ‘must not be excessive’

The Pentagon has loosened its guidelines on avoiding civilian casualties during drone strikes, modifying instructions from requiring military personnel to “ensure” civilians are not targeted to encouraging service members to “avoid targeting” civilians.

In addition, instructions now tell commanders that collateral damage “must not be excessive” in relation to mission goals, according to Public Intelligence, a nonprofit research group that analyzed the military’s directives on drone strikes.

“These subtle but important changes in wording provide insight into the military’s attempts to limit expectations in regards to minimizing collateral damage and predicting the lethal effects of military operations,” Public Intelligence said in a recent report.

The number of civilian casualties caused by U.S. drone strikes is a point of contention among Washington, human rights groups and countries where strikes are conducted, chiefly Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia. Because the strikes are classified operations, the U.S. typically does not acknowledge when they occur, or reveal how many combatants and civilians are killed or injured.

An official for the Air Force — the service primarily tasked with carrying out drone strikes — said “tactical directives have changed a number of times over the years to tackle collateral damage concerns not only from aircraft and helicopters but from mortars and other weapons that deliver effects beyond line of sight.”

The official, who requested anonymity to discuss security matters, declined to say how the directives have changed or what the collateral damage concerns are, citing “operational security.”

Military officials, however, said the Joint Chiefs document is one of several that instruct commanders on conducting drone strikes, as well as theater-specific rules of engagement and the overarching Law of Armed Conflict.

The October 2012 document was published on a Pentagon website several months ago but has since been removed, said Public Intelligence founder and editor Michael Haynes, who obtained and analyzed the documents.

A military official confirmed that the document is being used, among others, to provide guidance for drones.

Human rights groups say such secrecy prevents scrutiny and accountability for civilian casualties. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have released reports focused on Pakistan and Yemen that say the strikes could be illegal and that the U.S. has killed more than 4,700 people, including more than 1,000 civilians.

Administration officials say the strikes are legal because the U.S. is at war with al Qaeda and its associates. They also insist there is a wide gap between the government’s civilian casualty count and those of human rights groups.

“Before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured — the highest standard we can set,” President Obama said in a rare acknowledgment of the strikes in May 2013.

Public Intelligence conducted a word-for-word analysis of an instructional document from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff titled “No-Strike and the Collateral Damage Estimate Methodology,” which was provided to the American Civil Liberties Union in 2009, and a version of the document that was updated in October 2012. The ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain the 2009 version, which is posted on its website.

The 2009 version directs military personnel to take reasonable precautions to ensure that civilians are not targeted in attacks; the 2012 version says service members should “avoid targeting” civilians.

“A requirement to ‘ensure’ that civilians are not the subject of attacks is changed to an admonishment to ‘avoid targeting’ civilians,” Mr. Haynes said.

Moreover, commanders had been instructed to “consider the military necessity for attacking the target, proportionality of the means planned, and reasonableness within the framework of operational objectives.” The modified language tells leaders that collateral damage “must not be excessive” in relation to mission objectives.

What’s more, the updated version adds a paragraph that says the process for estimating collateral damage outlined in the document “does not account for secondary explosions” caused by the strike, such as of a weapons cache or fuel tank, because those explosions “cannot be consistently measured or predicted.”

“The section does say that commanders should be ‘cognizant of the risks’ from secondary explosions, but this is fairly weak wording and does not imply necessary compliance,” Mr. Haynes said.

The earlier version also defines “collateral concern” as objects that are “not considered lawful military targets” under the Law of Armed Conflict. The updated version defines the term as objects “located inside the collateral hazard area.”

The guidance applies only to military drone strikes and not necessarily to those carried out by the CIA, although the military and the CIA work together on some drone operations.

Citing an increase in drone operations last year in Libya, Air Force officials said the number of military drone strikes in 2013 is expected to be lower than in 2012. Officials said military drones last year led to or helped ground troops kill and/or capture more than 1,850 enemy combatants.

Officials declined to specify how many enemy combatants were killed or captured. Pentagon statistics show that 361 Hellfire missiles and six 500-pound laser-guided bombs were fired in 2012. In 2011, 432 Hellfire missiles and 19 500-pound laser-guided bombs were fired.

Military officials say they take great care in differentiating civilians from combatants and sometimes wait several weeks until a target is away from relatives and civilians. But they also acknowledge that it can be difficult to assess civilian casualties or other collateral damage, especially when a target is hiding in a structure or under foliage.

Given this difficulty, the collateral damage estimate “is our best means of minimizing civilian casualties and damages to nearby structures,” said a spokesman for Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“I have talked to Pentagon officials that say they are very, very careful,” said Sarah Holewinski, executive director of Civilians in Conflict. “But it’s not enough to have a conversation and have to trust. There should be a lot more transparency.”

Despite Mr. Obama’s pledge for more transparency on drone strikes, the administration “continues to answer legitimate questions and criticisms by saying, ‘We can’t really talk about this,’” said Naureen Shah, advocacy adviser at Amnesty International.

Senior administration officials recently met with representatives of human rights organizations to discuss reports that the groups published in October, but told participants not to reveal who attended the meetings, where they met or what was discussed.

“To me, this is just yet another example of the unreasonable level of secrecy surrounding this program,” said Letta Tayler, author of Human Rights Watch’s report on U.S. drone strikes in Yemen. “We hope that the U.S. will move swiftly to acknowledge basic details of these strikes.”

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“$8.5 TRILLION In Taxpayer Money Doled Out By Congress To The Pentagon Since 1996 … Has NEVER Been Accounted For”

We’ve repeatedly documented that military waste and fraud are the core problems with the U.S. economy.

For example, we’ve noted that we wouldn’t be in this crisis of hitting the debt ceiling in the first place if we hadn’t spent so much money on unnecessary wars … which are horrible for the economy.

But it goes far beyond actual fighting.  We could easily slash the military and security budget without reducing our national security.

For example, homeland security agencies wasted money on seminars like “Did Jesus Die for Klingons Too?” and training for a “zombie apocalypse” instead of actually focusing on anti-terror efforts.

Republican Senator Tom Coburn notes that the Department of Defense can reduce $67.9 billion over 10 years by eliminating the non-defense programs that have found their way into the budget for the Department of Defense.

BusinessWeek and Bloomberg point out that we could slash military spending without harming our national security. Indeed, we could slash boondoggles that even the generals don’t want.

BusinessWeek provides a list of cost-cutting measures which will not undermine national security. American Conservative does the same.

Moreover, we’ve shown that the military wastes and “loses” (cough) trillions of dollars.  See this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this and this.

The former Secretary of Defense acknowledged in May 2012 that the DOD “is the only major federal agency that cannot pass an audit today.”  The Pentagon will not be ready for an audit for another five years, according to Panetta.

Reuters quantifies these numbers today:

The Pentagon is the only federal agency that has not complied with a law that requires annual audits of all government departments. That means that the $8.5 trillion in taxpayer money doled out by Congress to the Pentagon since 1996, the first year it was supposed to be audited, has never been accounted for. That sum exceeds the value of China’s economic output last year.

Bonus:

Bill Clinton On NSA Spying: “We Are On The Verge Of Having The Worst Of All Worlds: We’ll Have No Security And No Privacy”

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People Who Grow Their Own Food Labeled Extremist By Dept. Of Defense

If the founding fathers were reincarnated today, they’d probably start another revolution, this time to break away from an American government that has become far too imperial for its own good.

And as such, they’d be labeled “extremists” by those who mean to rule us.

In fact, the nation’s founders are considered extremists by the Pentagon, according to a new “training manual” that explicitly labels the framers as such.

Discovered by legal watchdog Judicial Watch via a Freedom of Information Act request, the manual was part of 133 documents provided by the Air Force. The January 2013 Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute “student guide” is entitled “Extremism.” The document says that it is “for training purposes only” and “do not use on the job.”

Believe in freedom? You’re an extremist…

The manual defines an “extremist” as “a person who advocates the use of force or violence; advocates supremacist causes based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or national origin; or otherwise engages to illegally deprive individuals or groups of their civil rights.”

In addition, it says, “Nowadays, instead of dressing in sheets or publically espousing hate messages, many extremists will talk of individual liberties, states’ rights, and how to make the world a better place.”

So, if ye love liberty and freedom more than ye love a big, powerful central government that has grown well beyond its constitutional boundaries, you’re an extremist. If ye dare to take care of yourself, to be an individual who grows his own food (weren’t there a number of farmers and plantation owners in the group of founding fathers?) ye are an enemy of the state.

Under the section, “Extremist Ideologies,” the manual states, “In U.S. history, there are many examples of extremist ideologies and movements. The colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule and the Confederate states who sought to secede from the Northern states are just two examples.”

Though the document released today by Judicial Watch was obtained from the Air Force, it originated in a DOD office and is, therefore, thought to likely be used in other agency components, said Judicial Watch.

“The Obama administration has a nasty habit of equating basic conservative values with terrorism. And now, in a document full of claptrap, its Defense Department suggests that the Founding Fathers, and many conservative Americans, would not be welcome in today’s military,” long-serving JW president Tom Fitton said.

“And it is striking that some [of] the language in this new document echoes the IRS targeting language of conservative and Tea Party investigations. After reviewing this document, one can’t help but worry for the future and morale of our nation’s armed forces,” he added.

This isn’t the first time the federal government, one of its agencies or some other “official” source has equated freedom-loving Americans who have an originalist view of the Constitution and its meaning with extremists.

Irreconcilable violence ahead?

Per InfoWars:

In 2009, Infowars obtained the “law enforcement sensitive” contents of a Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) report entitled “The Modern Militia Movement” which listed supporters of presidential candidates Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin, and Bob Barr as potential “militia” influenced terrorists.

Also, in July 2012 Infowars blew the lid on a Department of Homeland Security-funded study, produced by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland, that characterized Americans who are “suspicious of centralized federal authority,” and “reverent of individual liberty” as “extreme right-wing” terrorists.

In the past couple of decades it became clear that the federal government has become increasingly hostile towards anyone or any political movement that seeks to curb its power. Constitutionalists are portrayed as kooks and psychos, while the ruling class is portrayed as righteous, forthright and proper.

This is dangerous, for not only has it made dialogue next to impossible, but it has also created a climate of irreconcilability that could someday lead to violence.

Sources:

http://www.judicialwatch.org

http://www.infowars.com

http://www.judicialwatch.org

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