Entries Tagged as ''

US military awards USD 5.7 mln contracts for missile defense base in Romania, stalled US-Russia talks re-start

By Liam Lever
March 26, 2013

The US military has awarded a further contract for support services at the missile defense base in Deveselu, Romania. The 31-month Base Operations and Services Support (BOSS) contract has gone to to US company Exelis Systems Corporation and is worth some USD 5.7 million, according to the the US Naval Facility Engineering Command (NAVFAC) in Naples, Italy, which granted the contract.

Under the terms agreed, Exelis will provide accommodation, food services, fuel storage and dispensing, supply services, and maintenance including plumbing, electrical services, water and sewage treatment. The contract was awarded on March 19, according to the US Embassy in Romania.

The deal follows an earlier agreement worth USD 3.3 million with a local firm, SC Glacial PROD SRL, headquartered in Ilfov County. The Romanian company was contracted by the US Army Corps of Engineers Europe District to build temporary facilities for the US Ballistic Missile Defense System at the Deveselu Base, according to information published by the US Embassy in Romania.

News broke yesterday (March 25 ) that talks would restart between the US and Russia over the missile defense program, which has been a cause of friction between the two countries. Russia has opposed the plan to put interceptor missiles at various site in Eastern Europe, including Romania …

Read on: www.romania-insider.com/us-military-awards-usd-5-7-mln-contracts-for-missile-defense-base-in-romania-stalled-us-russia-talks-re-start/

North Korea threatens to attack US military bases in Pacific if provoked

The Guardian
March 21, 2013

Kim Jong-un oversees mock drone strike as North Korea threatens military bases in Japan and on Guam

Link to video: North Korea threatens US airbases in Japan

North Korea has said it will attack US military bases on Japan and the Pacific island of Guam if provoked, a day after its leader, Kim Jong-un, oversaw a mock drone strike on South Korea.

The North also held an air raid drill on Thursday after accusing the United States of preparing a military strike using bombers that have overflown the Korean peninsula as part of drills between South Korean and US forces.

North Korea has stepped up its rhetoric in response to what it calls “hostile” drills between South Korea and the United States. It has also been angered by the imposition of fresh UN sanctions that followed its nuclear test on 12 February.

Separately, South Korea said a hacking attack on the servers of local broadcasters and banks on Wednesday originated from an IP address in China, raising suspicions that the intrusion came from North Korea.

“The United States is advised not to forget that our precision target tools have within their range the Anderson air force base on Guam where the B-52 takes off, as well as the Japanese mainland where nuclear powered submarines are deployed and the navy bases on Okinawa,” the North’s supreme military command spokesman was quoted as saying by the KCNA news agency. …

Read on: www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/21/north-korea-threatens-attack-us

Commander Of U.S. Pacific Forces Warns Climate Change Is Greatest Threat To Security

March 21, 2013

The top American military officer in the Pacific, in charge of watching over the region containing China, North Korea, and Russia, has warned that the greatest long-term threat to security in the region isn’t any of those countries, it’s climate change.

In an interview with the Boston Globe, Navy Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III recently stated that climate change “is probably the most likely thing that is going to happen . . . that will cripple the security environment, probably more likely than the other scenarios we all often talk about.”

“People are surprised sometimes,” he continued. “You have the real potential here in the not-too-distant future of nations displaced by rising sea level. Certainly weather patterns are more severe than they have been in the past. We are on super typhoon 27 or 28 this year in the Western Pacific. The average is about 17.”

The displacement of entire nations will cause significant upheaval in the region, the admiral noted. The creation of large numbers of “climate refugees” will be one of the most significant effects of future climate change, leading to further conflict, food insecurity, environmental destruction, and an increased likelihood of a pandemic.

Military agencies tend to be considerably more pragmatic than political groups, as many of the Navy’s recent actions and statements have demonstrated, and in contrast to the deadlock in American politics with regards to climate change. The Navy has already begun changing the way that it operates, and also the way that it interacts with the countries in the Pacific region.

Read on: http://cleantechnica.com/2013/03/21/commander-of-u-s-pacific-forces-warns-climate-change-is-greatest-threat-to-security/

What Happened to the US Press Corps?

By Robert Parry
March 18, 2013

As the U.S. observes the tenth anniversary of the Iraq invasion, a key question remains: Why was there almost no accountability for journalists and pundits who went along with George W. Bush’s deceptions. The answer can be found in the cover-ups of the Reagan-Bush-41 era, writes Robert Parry.

In the early 1980s, when it became clear to me that the Reagan administration was determined to lie incessantly about its foreign policy initiatives – that it saw propagandizing the American people as a key part of its success – I pondered this question: What is the proper role of a U.S. journalist when the government lies not just once in a while but nearly all the time?

Should you put yourself into a permanently adversarial posture of intense skepticism, as you might in dealing with a disreputable source who had lost your confidence? That is, assume what you’re hearing is unreliable unless it can be proven otherwise.

To many readers, the answer may seem obvious: of course, you should! Indeed, it might seem wise to many of you that I should have assumed that Ronald Reagan and his Cold War hard-liners were always lying and work back from there to the rare occasions when they weren’t.

But it wasn’t that easy. At the time, I was working as an investigative reporter for The Associated Press in Washington and many of my senior news executives were deeply sympathetic to Reagan’s muscular foreign policy after the perceived humiliations of the lost Vietnam War and the long Iranian hostage crisis.

General manager Keith Fuller, the AP’s most senior executive, saw Reagan’s Inauguration and the simultaneous release of the 52 U.S. hostages in Iran on Jan. 20, 1981, as a national turning point in which Reagan had revived the American spirit. Fuller and other top executives were fully onboard Reagan’s foreign policy bandwagon, so you can understand why they wouldn’t welcome some nagging skepticism from a lowly reporter.

The template at the AP, as with other major news organizations including the New York Times under neocon executive editor Abe Rosenthal, was to treat Reagan and his administration’s pronouncements with great respect and to question them only when the evidence was incontrovertible, which it almost never is in such cases. …

Read on: http://consortiumnews.com/2013/03/18/what-happened-to-the-us-press-corps/

Iraq: War’s Legacy of Cancer

By Dahr Jamail (Al Jazeera)
March 18, 2013

Contamination from Depleted Uranium (DU) munitions and other military-related pollution is suspected of causing a sharp rises in congenital birth defects, cancer cases, and other illnesses throughout much of Iraq.

Many prominent doctors and scientists contend that DU contamination is also connected to the recent emergence of diseases that were not previously seen in Iraq, such as new illnesses in the kidney, lungs, and liver, as well as total immune system collapse. DU contamination may also be connected to the steep rise in leukaemia, renal, and anaemia cases, especially among children, being reported throughout many Iraqi governorates.

There has also been a dramatic jump in miscarriages and premature births among Iraqi women, particularly in areas where heavy US military operations occurred, such as Fallujah.

Official Iraqi government statistics show that, prior to the outbreak of the First Gulf War in 1991, the rate of cancer cases in Iraq was 40 out of 100,000 people. By 1995, it had increased to 800 out of 100,000 people, and, by 2005, it had doubled to at least 1,600 out of 100,000 people. Current estimates show the increasing trend continuing.

As shocking as these statistics are, due to a lack of adequate documentation, research, and reporting of cases, the actual rate of cancer and other diseases is likely to be much higher than even these figures suggest. …

Read on: http://truth-out.org/news/item/15166-iraq-wars-legacy-of-cancer

Secretary to Review New Drone Medal

March 18, 2013

In light of recent discussions concerning the new Distinguished Warfare Medal and its order of precedence relative to other military decorations, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered a review of the award. A decision will be made about the medal’s fate after assessing the findings. Opponents of the medal question the hierarchy of technology-driven warfare such as unmanned aerial vehicles, unmanned underwater vehicles, missile defense and cyber capabilities, as the operators may not be anywhere near a combat zone. Production of the medal has stopped, and there are currently no nominations for it.

From: www.military.com/military-report/secretary-to-review-new-drone-medal

Ten years after Iraq invasion, US troops ask: ‘Was it worth it?’

NBCNews.com (blog)
By Jim Maceda

Derek Coy hails from Baytown, Texas, and could be a poster child for American veterans of the war in Iraq as they look back and ask: “Was it all worth it?”

A former U.S. Marine sergeant based in the volatile Anbar province at the height of the conflict, Coy is proud of his service and believes the “invaluable tools” he gained as a Marine will ultimately help him succeed in life.

But seven years since he left Iraq, he’s fighting a different battle — against anxiety, depression and emotional numbness — the effects of post-traumatic stress.

“I still struggle, both mentally and physically, with the toll it took on me and countless others do as well,” he said.

Tuesday [March 19, 2013] will mark 10 years since the “shock and awe” invasion and more than a year since the last company of U.S. troops left Iraq. But only about 4 in 10 Americans who fought there — according to a Pew Research Center poll — believe the reasons for going to war justified the loss in blood and treasure.

Almost 4,500 U.S. troops were killed and more than 32,000 wounded, including thousands with critical brain and spinal injuries. Estimates of the number of Iraqi civilian fatalities are staggering, ranging from 100,000 to 600,000. …

Read on: http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/18/17326297-ten-years-after-iraq-invasion-us-troops-ask-was-it-worth-it

Wikileaks: Pakistan privately approved drone strikes

The Telegraph
Rob Crilly
December 1, 2013

US special forces fought side by side with Pakistani soldiers and the government in Islamabad privately approved drone strikes while publicly condemning the CIA’s covert raids, according to the Wikileaks diplomatic cables

The revelations of America’s secret war in Pakistan will deeply embarrass President Asif Ali Zardari who has long denied such deep co-operation with Washington for fear it would embolden Islamist opposition to his feeble government.

In public, both sides have described putting American boots on the ground as a red line issue.

However, a cable sent by the then US Ambassador to Islamabad, Anne Patterson, states that Pakistan has twice requested American soldiers to embed with its Frontier Corps in North Waziristan and South Waziristan, areas dotted with Taliban and al-Qaeda bases.

On both occasions Pakistan asked for the help of US special forces to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance – including video footage from drones – to its troops. On one mission they helped the Pakistani soldiers target an enemy base with artillery.

“These deployments are highly politically sensitive because of widely-held concerns among the public about Pakistani sovereignty and opposition to allowing foreign military forces to operate in any fashion on Pakistani soil,” she wrote. …

A second cable describes a 2008 meeting with Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, Pakistani prime minister, in which he brushes aside concerns about the use of Predator drones against targets in the tribal areas and gives an insight into how he would deny any co-operation.

“I don’t care if they do it as long as they get the right people. We’ll protest in the National Assembly and then ignore it” …

Read in full: www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/wikileaks/8172922/Wikileaks-Pakistan-privately-approved-drone-strikes.html

Crimes by US military concentrated around US bases

Japan Press Weekly
March 7, 2013

It has been revealed that crimes in Okinawa committed by U.S. military personnel are concentrated in areas around U.S. bases.

At the request of Japanese Communist Party Okinawa Prefectural Assembly member Toguchi Osamu, the Okinawa Prefectural Police Headquarters on March 6 released the findings of U.S. crimes. This is the first time for the prefectural police to publish the data of each district police station.

According to the released materials, U.S. military personnel have committed a total of 1,805 criminal offenses in the prefecture from 1989 to 2013. Of them, the largest number is 1,045 handled by the Okinawa police department, which has the U.S. Kadena Air Base in its jurisdiction. It is followed by 287 of the Ginowan police department with jurisdiction over the U.S. Futenma base and 167 of the Ishikawa police department with Camp Courtney in its district.

Tellingly, no crimes by U.S. soldiers occurred in the areas of the police departments of Itoman and Miyako, which have no U.S. bases. …

Read on: www.japan-press.co.jp/modules/news/index.php?id=5340

U.S. Troops Train For Possible Mission To Secure Syrian Chemical Agents

By Tom Bowman
March 13, 2013

Several weeks ago, Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said the U.S. is planning what to do about Syria’s vast chemical weapons program once Bashar Assad’s regime falls. The Syrians are believed to have hundreds of tons of chemical agents, including sarin, one of the deadliest chemical agents. A few drops can be lethal.

So the central question is this: How can those sites be secured so they don’t fall into the wrong hands?

NPR has learned that the 82nd Airborne Division just wrapped up a nine-day training exercise at Fort Bragg, N.C., working with Army chemical experts from the 20th Support Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, to get ready for a possible mission to deal with those deadly chemicals in Syria.

Thousands of paratroopers jumped in and practiced fighting a foe and surrounding buildings. They wore chemical protective gear, practiced using chemical detectors and corralled mock chemical munitions for containment.

“In support of our roles to the Global Response Force mission, we are taking prudent measures to ensure we are trained and ready for any mission we are called to execute based on volatile regions across the world,” says Lt. Col. Virginia McCabe, a spokeswoman for the 82nd.

As part of that global response, the 82nd always has a brigade on a “short string,” ready to deploy in 18 hours. …

Read on: www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/03/13/174235963/u-s-troops-train-for-possible-mission-to-secure-syrian-chemical-agents