Entries Tagged as ''

U.S. military developing drones the size of an insect

Calgary Herald
June 26, 2011

American military engineers are developing a new generation of aerial microdrones, shrinking the unmanned aircraft to the size of insects and birds.

Developers at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio have produced dozens of prototypes typical of a James Bond film, based on the flight mechanics of birds, moths and dragonflies.

The Pentagon has rapidly increased its use of drones in the past two years to gather intelligence and launch missiles over Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Supporters claim they have weakened al-Qaeda and reduced the risk of U.S. casualties. …

The next generation will be autonomous, flying themselves and programmed to search out targets, nuclear weapons or even spot survivors of natural disasters. …

Read on: www.calgaryherald.com/news/canada-in-afghanistan/military+developing+drones+size+insect/5007695/story.html

Mayors Tell Congress: Bring War Dollars Home

by Lisa Savage

Mayors from around the world met in Baltimore this week to set public policy for the billions of people living in big cities, depending on municipal services to stay safe. While Congress considered allocating another $118 billion to conduct wars next year – and President Obama absurdly maintained that the costly bombing of Libya is not an act of war, and thus not subject to Congressional oversight – mayors listened to the people.

Following a lively debate about adding stronger language supporting troops and their families, and adding President Obama as a recipient, mayors voted in their June 20 plenary session to call on the federal government to stop funding wars, and bring the money home. …

Immense profits by weapons manufacturers – and the jobs that depend upon war funding – are compelling reasons for wars with vague goals and shifting targets to continue indefinitely. Corporations spend millions lobbying Congress while contriving to pay no income taxes. Many citizens are questioning who the federal government really represents.

President Obama said while campaigning that he was not against all wars, just stupid wars. Bankrupting the country to maintain 800+ military bases abroad, and drop bombs costing $1 million apiece – the equivalent of 25 teachers’ annual salaries – could be the definition of stupid in the 21st Century. Fellow Democrat Rep. John Garamedi of California warned this week, “If the president doesn’t move…he will face a revolution in Congress…It’s coming to that.”

If the President has forgotten that Afghanistan is called “the graveyard of empires,” the people have not. Their mayors now join the chorus calling on the federal government to end endless wars, and bring the war dollars home.

Lisa Savage is CODEPINK’s Local Coordinator for Maine, and an active organizer with the Bring Our War $$ Home campaign. For more information www.wardollarshome.org.

Read in full: www.commondreams.org/headline/2011/06/20-7

US Senate moves to freeze Japan base move

By Shaun Tandon
June 18, 2011

US senators said that they have taken a major step to halt a controversial military base plan on Japan’s Okinawa island and called on the Pentagon to make a fresh assessment.

Just days before top officials from the two nations meet for talks, the Senate Armed Services Committee agreed to bar any funds to move troops from Japan to Guam and ordered a new study on Okinawa’s flashpoint Futenma base.

The language was part of an annual defense funding act approved Thursday. It needs approval from the full Senate and House of Representatives, but senators involved said that their actions on Asian bases enjoyed broad support.

Senator Carl Levin, a member of President Barack Obama’s Democratic Party who heads the committee, said that the base plan in Japan increasingly appeared unfeasible and that the United States needed to control costs. …

Read on: www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=6854537

US House votes to block funding for Libya

June 13, 2011

Bill to prohibit funds for US military operations in Libya unlikely to become law, but seen as snub to president.

The US House of Representatives has voted to prohibit the use of funds for US military operations in Libya.

Politicians adopted the amendment to a military appropriations bill by a vote of 248 to 163 late on Monday.

A number of members of Congress have expressed their dissatisfaction at Barack Obama’s, the US president, decision to go ahead with operations in Libya in March and to continue without congressional authorisation.

According to US law, the president must seek congressional authorisation to send US troops into combat and must withdraw the forces within 60 days if Congress has not authorised the military action.

The amendment, introduced by Democratic representative Brad Sherman from California, invokes the War Powers Resolution, a 1973 law that limits presidential powers on sending troops abroad into combat zones without the consent of Congress.

Sherman’s text states that “none of the funds made available by this act may be used in contravention of the War Powers Act.”

Politicians must still approve the appropriations bill as a whole and the measure must still be approved by the Senate.

Al Jazeera Patty Culhane, reporting from New Hampshire, said: “This is going to be a bit of a shock for Obama administration as the vote was so overwhelmingly against allowing him to use the fund in Libya. …

Read on: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2011/06/20116147535393778.html

NATO’s Afrika Korps Escalates War Of Attrition Against Libya

By Rick Rozoff
June 11, 2011

The relentless and intensifying Western air war against Libya will soon enter its fourth month. For the first thirteen days starting on March 19 under the control of U.S. Africa Command and Operation Odyssey Dawn and thereafter the North Atlantic Treaty Organization-led Operation Unified Protector, the air assaults represent the second longest armed aggression in NATO’s history, already surpassing by a week the 78-day bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999. Only the now nearly decade-long war in Afghanistan exceeds the current campaign in length.

The U.S.-dominated military bloc not only acknowledges but fairly boasts of conducting almost 11,000 air missions and over 4,000 combat sorties since March 31. Preceding that, hundreds of air strikes and over 160 cruise missile attacks were launched by the U.S., Britain, France and other NATO powers.

Altogether, following in the North African footsteps of Napoleon Bonaparte’s France, imperial Britain, Benito Mussolini’s Italy and Adolf Hitler’s Germany, Western nations are engaged in the longest war against an African country in modern times and the most intensive armed aggression against one ever.

At the end of last month a Libyan government spokesman announced that NATO air attacks had killed 718 civilians and wounded 4,067 more between March 19 and May 26. In the interim the North Atlantic military alliance has intensified bombing of the nation’s capital and other parts of the country to an unprecedented level and introduced British and French helicopter gunship and U.S. Hellfire missile-wielding Predator unmanned aerial vehicles operations. …

Read on: http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2011/06/11/natos-afrika-korps-escalates-war-of-attrition-against-libya/

US military bases attacked in Iraq

Press TV
June 11, 2011

Iraqi security officials say the US military bases have come under rocket attacks, in the deadliest raid on the American forces since May 2009.

According to the Iraqi officials, six rockets have hit a US military base in the southern city of Nassiriya. There is no immediate report on possible damage to the base.

On Friday, another US military base was attacked in the northeastern city of Baqouba, the capital of Diyala province.

Earlier, the US military said in a brief statement that “five US service members were killed Monday in central Iraq,” but gave no additional details on the attack.

Iraq’s interior ministry said the troops were killed when a barrage of rockets hit Camp Victory in the southwestern outskirts of Baghdad.

Washington officially ended combat operations in Iraq in August last year and according to American officials, the US army only acts as an advisor and help to the Iraqi security forces.

However, there have been numerous reports about the involvement of the US troops in military operations in Iraq. …

Read on: www.presstv.ir/detail/184260.html

Gates criticizes NATO. How much does U.S. pay?

CBS News
By David S. Morgan
June 10, 2011

In a speech in Brussels, outgoing U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that America’s military alliance with Europe faces a “dim, if not dismal” future, owing to what he characterized as the United States’ disproportionate funding of NATO operations, and of allies “willing and eager for American taxpayers to assume the growing security burden left by reductions in European defense budgets.”

In decrying the inability of all NATO members to contribute to operations, such as enforcing the no-fly zone over Libya, Gates said, “Frankly, many of those allies sitting on the sidelines do so not because they do not want to participate, but simply because they can’t. The military capabilities simply aren’t there.” …

The United States contributes between one-fifth and one-quarter of NATO’s budget. In FY2010 that contribution totaled $711.8 million.

But that factors in only direct payments, not deployments of personnel which – outside of special operations, such as in Afghanistan or Libya – may be used to train European forces (for example, in anti-terrorism skills) that benefit U.S. security. …


U.S. Warship Docks In Romania For NATO Missile Shield System

Russian Information Agency Novosti
June 7, 2011

The U.S. Navy cruiser Monterey anchored in the Romanian southeastern Passenger Berth of the Port of Constanta on the Black Sea within the NATO European missile shield project, Romania news agency Actmedia said on Tuesday.

“The cruiser’s visit to the Port of Constanta is part of the permanent efforts of the U.S. Navy in strengthening the partnership with the Romanian Navy and of increasing interoperability in the Black Sea area,” the U.S. Embassy to Romania was quoted as saying by the agency.

The Monterey is holding its first appearance within the project. It is equipped with the AEGIS air defense system and missiles.

“Moreover, the USS Monterey cruiser is equipped with the AEGIS air defense system that represents the first stage of the adaptive phase approach of the anti-missile shield, an important element to Romania, which agreed to host interceptors within the second phase of the program.” ..

Russia and NATO agreed to cooperate on the so-called European missile shield during the NATO-Russia Council summit in Lisbon in November 2010. NATO insists there should be two independent systems that exchange information, while Russia favors a joint system.

Russia is opposed to the planned deployment of U.S. missile defense systems near its borders, claiming they would be a security threat. The U.S. is reluctant to provide legally binding guarantees that the system will not be directed against Russia.


Oz to eclipse Britain as prime ally of US: analysts

New Zealand Herald
By Greg Ansley
June 4, 2011

Australia’s relationship with the United States could become one of Washington’s most important, rivalling Nato and the special ties to Britain, new American strategic papers predict.

But both papers, lodged with China on the rise, also question present Australian strategic directions and the hugely expensive cutting-edge hardware being bought for its navy and air force.

Colonel John Angevine, a distinguished US military thinker now serving in Afghanistan, warns that Australia is hobbling its ability to deal with the lower-level regional crises it’s most likely to face and says Canberra should rethink its shopping list.

Angevine and Transatlantic Academy research fellow Iskander Rehman also believe Australia should base more US forces on its soil, including strike forces such as submarines and F22 Raptor stealth fighters.

The US already has a significant presence in Australia and is planning to expand the joint naval communications base in Western Australia, to join cyber warfare programmes, and is also understood to be discussing pre-positioning American combat and other material in Australia and increased joint training. …

Read on: www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10730219

U.S. Won’t Become Isolationist, Gates Tells Worried Asian Leaders

The New York Times
By Thom Shanker
June 3, 2011

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates pledged Saturday that the United States would sustain its military presence and diplomatic involvement in Asia, as he sought to calm regional worries about the potential for a new isolationism brought on by fiscal difficulties at home.

In a speech before an audience of Asian defense ministers and military commanders, which included a high-ranking delegation from China, Mr. Gates declared that Washington would not step back from its responsibilities to defend allies, counterbalance regional threats and assist in humanitarian disasters.

He acknowledged the grim economic and political realities facing the American government, saying that “fighting two protracted and costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has strained the U.S. military’s ground forces, and worn out the patience and appetite of the American public for similar interventions in the future.” …

He stressed the unwavering commitment to allies like Japan and South Korea, which are closest to the North Korean threat, and he promised that the Defense Department was enhancing the American presence in Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean. …

Read in full: www.nytimes.com/2011/06/04/world/asia/04gates.html?_r=1