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Militarization of Africa: AFRICOM to Deploy “Rapid Reaction” Strike Force in Spain directed against West Africa

Center for Research on Globalization
By Timothy Alexander Guzman
April 23, 2013

In early April, The United States and the Spanish government agreed to station AFRICOM’s “Rapid Reaction” strike force to Moron de la Frontera air base for one year. It involves 500 marines and 8 aircraft that will be used to respond to countries located in Northwest Africa. According to the Associated Press on April 19th, “The U.S. Embassy in Madrid said Friday that “following the tragedy in the Libyan city of Benghazi,” where four U.S. citizens were killed, the U.S. recognized the need for a force able to respond quickly to crises in northwest Africa.” The area of focus is in the Maghreb region in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Mauritania.

All located in close proximity to Northern Mali. AFRICOM is also planning to respond to the current situation in Mali where a civil war between secular Tuareg rebels and Arab militants erupted as reported by the Associated Press on April 21st, that “An official in northern Mali says clashes have broken out near Timbuktu between secular Tuareg rebels and Arab militants.” After the announcement of Spain’s decision to host US troops, violence resumed in this volatile area. “The violence underscores the tensions that remain in northern Mali three months after a French-led military operation largely ousted radical Islamic fighters from the area.

The sidelining of the al-Qaida-linked fighters has allowed for the Tuareg rebels from the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad to regain a presence in the area” the report said. This comes as Mali’s interim president President Dioncounda Traore also announced to his supporters this past Friday that Mali “will be ready to hold democratic elections by July as promised” according to an Associated Press report titled ‘President: Mali will be ready for July vote’ it also stated the following:Security also remains a key concern ahead of elections, especially in the northern cities of Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu, where remnants of the terror groups have staged suicide bombings in the months since they were ousted from power by the French-led military operation that began in January. …

Read on: www.globalresearch.ca/militarization-of-africa-africom-to-deploy-rapid-reaction-strike-force-in-spain-directed-against-west-africa/5332656

The AFRICOM Intelligence and Knowledge Directorate (among other important US departments) is at the Joint Analysis Center at Molesworth, Cambs UK.

The United States Africa Command’s Intelligence Directorate-Molesworth at Royal Air Force Molesworth, United Kingdom, in concert with the AFRICOM Intelligence Directorate and AFRICOM headquarters, both located in Stuttgart, Germany, along with other U.S. Government agencies and international partners, provide primary African theater intelligence for knowledge development and situational awareness for the world’s second largest continent and its 54 countries to ensure sustained security engagement activities to promote a stable and secure environment in support of U.S. foreign policy. (information taken from the USAF military website: www.501csw.usafe.af.mil/units/molesworth)

U.S. sending more medics to Guantanamo as hunger strike grows

Chicage Tribune
By Jane Sutton
April 22, 2013

The U.S. military is sending additional medical personnel to the Guantanamo prison camp, where more than half the captives have joined a hunger strike to protest their open-ended detention, a camp spokesman said on Monday.

Reinforcements numbering fewer than 40 will arrive by the end of April, said Lieutenant Colonel Samuel House, a spokesman for the detention operation at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in southeastern Cuba.

House said the new arrivals would include a doctor, nurses, corpsmen and medics, who will supplement the 100 medical personnel already on duty. Navy hospital corpsmen and Army medics are trained to provide emergency care and basic medical services.

“There was no specific trigger, other than the growing number of detainees that have chosen to hunger strike,” House said.

The U.S. military counted 84 of the 166 prisoners as hunger strikers on Monday and was force-feeding 16 of them liquid meals through tubes inserted in their noses and down into their stomachs. Six were hospitalized for observation, House said.

Hunger strikes have occurred at Guantanamo since shortly after the United States began detaining suspected al Qaeda and Taliban captives there in January 2002.

The current hunger strike began in early February, after guards seized photos and other belongings during a cell search. Prisoners said the guards had also mistreated their Korans during the search, which the U.S. military denies. …

Read on
: www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-usa-guantanamobre93l0xt-20130422,0,901445.story

Rogozin Says U.S. Missile Defense No Longer a Threat

The Moscow Times
April 17, 2013

In an apparent reversal, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said a proposed U.S. missile shield posed no threat to Russia and could easily be penetrated by Russian forces, RIA-Novosti reported Tuesday.

“We have solved the issue of penetrating the missile shield,” Rogozin was quoted as saying in a speech at the Russian Embassy in London.

“We regret that the United States is wasting their money on missile defense and compelling us to do the same. The missile shield is nothing for us, it’s a bluff. It poses no military threat, but remains a political and economic problem,” he said.

The remarks by Rogozin, who oversees Russia’s military-industrial complex, could signal a turning point in Russian criticism of U.S. missile defense plans. Russia repeatedly has denounced the Europe-based shield as an attempt to undermine its national security, and it has spent months trying to convince the U.S. and its allies in NATO to allow it to participate in the plans. …

Read on: www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/rogozin-says-us-missile-defense-no-longer-a-threat/478706.html

Report: US footing greater bill for overseas bases

April 17, 2013

A new report says the United States is footing more of the bill for overseas bases in Germany, Japan and South Korea even as the military reduces American troops in Europe and repositions forces in Asia.

The United States spends $10 billion on permanent overseas bases.

The Pentagon is facing the pressure of deficit-driven, smaller budgets while looking to scale back or close overseas and U.S. domestic bases.

From: www.wkyt.com/home/headlines/Report-US-footing-greater-bill-for-overseas-bases-203371061.html

LANPAC 2013: PACOM working to form air and missile defence CONOPS

IHS Janes.com
By Daniel Wasserbly
April 15, 2013

As US forces in the Pacific are slated to soon receive new missile defence assets, officers at US Pacific Command (PACOM) are working to establish a concept of operations (CONOPS) to ensure different units with different capabilities are working under a common understanding.

Brigadier General Dan Karbler, commanding general of 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, which ultimately resides under PACOM, said the services are about five or six months into the process of establishing a concept of operations for integrated air and missile defence in the Pacific theatre.

An integrated air and missile defence cell has been formed within US Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) staff to work on the concept of operations as well as to focus on clarifying theatre-wide missile defence issues, Gen Karbler said on 11 April at the Association of the US Army’s Land Power in the Pacific (LANPAC) symposium in Honolulu, Hawaii.

US Air Force Major General Russell Handy, director of operations, plans, and policy (A3/5) for PACAF, noted during the same briefing that the project was proving difficult due to the yet unclear budget picture among the commands and their different service components. …

Full article available here: www.janes.com/products/janes/defence-security-report.aspx?ID=1065978088&channel=defence

Palace welcomes return of US bases

Manila Times
By Catherine S. Valente AND Jefferson Antiporda
April 14, 2013

BECAUSE of the developing security crisis in the Korean peninsula, the Philippine government on Sunday said it would allow the return of US military bases in the country but only in case of “extreme emergency.”

Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte disclosed that no less than Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin broached the idea of allowing the US military to set up bases here again in the light of a nuclear threat by Pyongyang.

In an interview aired over state-run Radyo ng Bayan, Valte said Gazmin clarified that the move is only one of the options that the country could take to strengthen its defense posture.

“Nilatag po ni Secretary Gazmin ‘yung konteksto ng kanyang naging sagot at sinabi po niya [Gazmin presented the context of his reply and made it clear that it is only] ‘in cases of extreme emergency’,” she added.

However, Valte explained that the return of the US bases does not refer to the “present situation.”

“The Secretary was talking about a scenario at kasama po ‘yon sa trabaho niya bilang [and it’s part of his job as] Secretary of National Defense na tingnan lahat ng posibleng mangyari lalo ho [to consider all possibilities especially] in matters relative to national defense,” she said.

“Only in the case of extreme emergency, ‘yung katulad pong pinag-uusapan na digmaan [like talks of war],” she added

Valte explained that Article XVIII of the 1987 Constitution bars US military bases in the Philippines. Allowing the US to set up military bases in the countrt would require a new treaty between the two countries and a nationwide referendum.

However, there is an existing Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) between the Philippines and the United States which requires either of the countries to come to the aid of its ally if it is attacked by another country. …

Read on: www.manilatimes.net/index.php/news/top-stories/45480-palace-welcomes-return-of-us-bases

World military spending dips in 2012, first fall since 1998

Chicago Tribune
By Niklas Pollard (Reuters)
April 14, 2013

Global military spending dropped in 2012 for the first time in more than a decade thanks to deep cuts in the United States and Europe which made up for increases in countries such as China and Russia, a leading think-tank said on Monday.

Big powers the United States and its European allies face tight budgets in an economic downturn and have scaled back involvement in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The world’s second biggest economy China, however, is ramping up spending and registered 7.8 percent growth in 2012 from the year before, up 175 percent from 2003.

Military expenditure as a whole fell 0.5 percent to $1.75 trillion last year in the first decline in real terms since 1998, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), which carries out research on international security, armaments and disarmament, said in a statement.

“We are seeing what may be the beginning of a shift in the balance of world military spending from the rich Western countries to emerging regions,” said Sam Perlo-Freeman, director of SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme.

Military expenditure in the United States, the world’s biggest spender by far with a budget about five times that of China, fell 6 percent and stood below 40 percent of the global total for the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union more than 20 years ago, SIPRI said. …

Read on: www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-arms-spending-globalbre93d0cp-20130414,0,7173343.story

(The conflicts round the world don’t drop though).

Revealed: US flew spy drone missions from Australia

ABC News
By Mark Corcoran
September 4, 2012

The United States flew highly classified Global Hawk spy drone missions from the Royal Australian Air Force base at Edinburgh in South Australia from late 2001 until at least 2006.

The operations were detected by a group of Adelaide aviation historians who had a member monitoring aircraft radio frequencies 20 hours a day.

With a wingspan greater than a 737 airliner and a $200 million price tag, the RQ-4 Global Hawk is the biggest, most expensive unmanned aerial vehicle to ever take to the skies.

The spy drone is the jewel in the crown of America’s global electronic intelligence-gathering network. Global Hawk operations are cloaked in secrecy, and the US Air Force likes to keep it that way.

But perhaps the Pentagon severely underestimated the vigilance of Adelaide aviation historians the West Beach Aviation Group (WBAG).

WBAG members have told ABC’s Foreign Correspondent that they monitored the flights until Australian defence security officials paid them a visit and demanded they not publish material revealing the presence of the Global Hawks.

“[The Global Hawks] usually approached and departed at night, although there were a few exceptions – and then they were photographed by the group,” WBAG spokesman Paul Daw said.

“But there were sensitivities. A photographer (from the group) was visited unannounced by Australian military security and questioned for putting movements onto an international web site.

“They claimed he showed vulnerabilities of the base.” …

Read on: www.abc.net.au/news/2012-09-03/revealed-us-flew-drone-missions-from-australia/4236306

Watch related newscast: www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2012/s3582753.htm

North Korea and American insanity

The Huffington Post
By Jerry Kroth
April 12, 2013

In view of the fact that the U.S. military has quite unexpectedly announced North Korea has the capability of launching a nuclear weapon atop a missile, and in view of the fact that the young, untested, unstable, paranoid, and maybe even trigger-happy, North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, is as labile as he is, wouldn’t it be advisable for the craven American media to at least try to mention that the U.S. is, in fact, provoking North Korea by engaging in its ridiculously inflammatory military exercises?

There is almost no mention of the military exercises we are engaged in right across the border from North Korea using thousands of troops, huge artillery ensembles, stealth bombers, and dozens of naval support vessels.

How is the paranoid regime in the North to know we are simply engaged in harmless “exercises” instead of using the term exercises as a ruse to initiate an aggressive, first strike? …

Read on: www.huffingtonpost.com/jerry-kroth/north-korea-and-american-_b_3065651.html

Guantanamo ‘Spying’ Threatens Military Commissions: New Report

The Huffington Post
By Ryan J. Reilly
April 12, 2013

The U.S. military has made it impossible for lawyers and their clients at Guantanamo Bay to have confidence that their communications weren’t being recorded, a new report claims. …

“Every meeting room in which attorneys have been permitted to meet with their clients contained live microphones, disguised as ordinary objects, sensitive enough to detect the slightest whisper,” the report states. “Every room in which attorneys have been permitted to meet with their clients contains cameras capable of the functional equivalent of detecting the slightest whisper – zooming in to read very tiny writing. Every whispered word can be heard. Every written word can be read.” …

Read in full
: www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/12/guantanamo-spying_n_3070023.html