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Member since: Wed Mar 16, 2005, 11:12 AM
Number of posts: 60,364

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Landmark Case In U.S. Civil Court On Rape By U.S. Military In Japan Eleven Years Ago


Catherine Fisher with a picture of her attacker. Picture: Gran Ole

Landmark Case In U.S. Civil Court On Rape By U.S. Military In Japan Eleven Years Ago
OpEdNews Op Eds 5/24/2013 at 12:05:07
By Ann Wright

In a landmark case, on September 6, 2012, a Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Circuit Court Judge gave standing to an Australian woman to collect a Japanese civil judgment against a former US Navy sailor for raping her in Japan 11 years ago.

A civil judgment by a Tokyo court in 2004 ordered sailor Bloke T. Deans to pay 3 million yen in damages to Catherine Jane Fisher as compensation for emotional and physical harm from the rape. However, despite knowing of the Japanese court case against Deans, the US Navy issued Deans an honorable discharge and allowed him to leave Japan without informing either the Japanese court or Ms. Fisher.

For 10 years, Ms. Fisher searched for Mr. Deans and in 2011 she finally located him in Milwaukee. In May, 2012, Ms. Fisher filed a suit against Mr. Deans in Milwaukee Circuit Court.

Ms. Fisher's journey to hold her rapist accountable has been shown in the Australian TV documentary "The Power of One" on the national "60 Minutes" series.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat May 25, 2013, 08:13 AM (0 replies)

Court orders UK to hold inquiries into illegal civilian deaths during Iraq War


High court rules that up to 161 allegedly unlawful killings by British military should be subject of coroner-style hearings

Court orders UK to hold inquiries into illegal civilian deaths during Iraq War
By Ian Cobain, The Guardian
Friday, May 24, 2013 15:58 EDT

A series of public inquests should be held into the deaths of civilians who are alleged to have been killed unlawfully by the British military following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the high court has ruled.

In a ground-breaking judgment that could have an impact on how the British military is able to conduct operations among civilians in the future, the court ruled on Friday that up to 161 deaths should be the subject of hearings modelled upon coroners’ inquests.

In practice, a series of hearings – possibly amounting to more than 100 – are likely to be held as a result of the judgment, which follows a three-year legal battle on behalf of the Iraqis’ families.

Each hearing must involve a “full, fair and fearless investigation accessible to the victim’s families and to the public”, the court ruled, and should examine not only the immediate circumstances but other issues surrounding each death.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat May 25, 2013, 06:41 AM (0 replies)

On Memorial Day, it’s time to make sure our veterans suffering from burn pit diseases get the care t


On Memorial Day, it’s time to make sure our veterans suffering from burn pit diseases get the care they need
By Nora Eisenberg
Friday, May 24, 2013 12:04 EDT

This Memorial Day weekend, amid barbeques and picnics, many Americans will make time to remember the troops that have died in the twelve years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq. But the number, 6,521, tells only part of the price our troops have paid. The longest wars in U.S. history have actually claimed far fewer American lives than our other extended foreign wars in the past century (WWI: 116,516; WWII: 405,399; Korea: 36,574; and Vietnam: 58,220). It’s in the living that we see the full catastrophic toll of our recent wars on our service men and women. Over 900,000 of the 1.6 million veterans of these wars are patients in the VA system, and over 800,000 have applied for disability benefits. The dead are at peace, we hope, but the living casualties still suffer the wounds of war.

Traumatic brain injury, post traumatic stress disorder, amputations, burns and facial disfiguration -— all these we have seen on our TV screens, however fleetingly. But another signature injury that has scrawled its misery across veterans’ lives remains largely unknown. It goes by different names — Burn Pit disease, Gulf War 2 Syndrome, Iraq and Afghanistan War Lung Injury, Post-Deployment Illness — but what veterans and contract workers who have it, and the small cadre of physician-scientists dedicated to understanding and treating it, agree on is that, like Gulf War Illness, its cause is wartime toxic exposure. An inhalational injury, it attacks the airways and lungs first, and then can wound most every other organ and system. “Burn pits were constant,” Paul Rieckhoff, director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said, and most everyone was exposed to them “sometime during their deployment.” In 2009, the military admitted that as many as 360,000 veterans may have suffered traumatic brain injury, an, in turn, established programs for research and treatment. But about the systemic disease of our recent wars, the brass is admitting — and doing — almost nothing.

Thousands of sick veterans trace their illness to the burn pits, which the military as well as their contractors KBR and Halliburton used — instead of closed incinerators — to process garbage on US bases in Afghanistan and Iraq. Acres wide and hundreds of feet deep, the open furnaces burned day and night, morphing solid human waste, body parts, blood specimens, plastic water bottles, Styrofoam plates, Humvees, computers and more into black fumes and ash that covered the sky and ground. In the earliest grades, young children learn that solids and liquids when heated at high temperatures becomes gases, and that there are certain things we do not burn in the open air because they become poison gases, which can make us sick or dead.

The torments endured by Captain LeRoy Torres, a Texas state trooper and Army Reservist, are alarming but not uncommon. Stationed at Balad Air Base, the biggest base with the baddest pit, LeRoy immediately felt sick, but the “black goop” that he and the soldiers around him were hacking up was just a sign of “Iraq Crud,” caused by a passing irritation to desert air, commanders said. But back home, LeRoy coughed and wheezed constantly and unable to work or walk more than a few feet, he went from doctor to doctor, from local facilities to the VA War Disease Center in DC. Respiratory infection, mild asthma maybe, the doctors said, as their CT scans and spirometry showed no pathology and they were unaware of war-zone associated lung disease. Finally, a lung biopsy diagnosed constrictive bronchiolitis, a debilitating and often degenerative lung disease associated with inhaling industrial chemicals. Today, LeRoy has spleen cysts and a brain lesion, suffers excruciating headaches and is bed-bound most days. A registry that his wife, Rosie, founded to document and help the many troops suffering profound illness they trace to the burn pits now has thousands of names, though sadly some on the list have died, a couple from cancer.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat May 25, 2013, 06:23 AM (0 replies)

Banks’ Lobbyists Help in Drafting Financial Bills


Kenneth E. Bentsen Jr., left, a Wall Street lobbyist, at a House financial services panel meeting.

Banks’ Lobbyists Help in Drafting Financial Bills
May 23, 2013, 9:44 pm

WASHINGTON — Bank lobbyists are not leaving it to lawmakers to draft legislation that softens financial regulations. Instead, the lobbyists are helping to write it themselves.

One bill that sailed through the House Financial Services Committee this month — over the objections of the Treasury Department — was essentially Citigroup’s, according to e-mails reviewed by The New York Times. The bill would exempt broad swathes of trades from new regulation.

In a sign of Wall Street’s resurgent influence in Washington, Citigroup’s recommendations were reflected in more than 70 lines of the House committee’s 85-line bill. Two crucial paragraphs, prepared by Citigroup in conjunction with other Wall Street banks, were copied nearly word for word. (Lawmakers changed two words to make them plural.)

The lobbying campaign shows how, three years after Congress passed the most comprehensive overhaul of regulation since the Depression, Wall Street is finding Washington a friendlier place.
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri May 24, 2013, 09:45 AM (1 replies)

Terracide and the Terrarists Destroying the Planet for Record Profits


Terracide and the Terrarists Destroying the Planet for Record Profits
By Tom Engelhardt

We have a word for the conscious slaughter of a racial or ethnic group: genocide. And one for the conscious destruction of aspects of the environment: ecocide. But we don't have a word for the conscious act of destroying the planet we live on, the world as humanity had known it until, historically speaking, late last night. A possibility might be "terracide" from the Latin word for earth. It has the right ring, given its similarity to the commonplace danger word of our era: terrorist.

The truth is, whatever we call them, it's time to talk bluntly about the terrarists of our world. Yes, I know, 9/11 was horrific. Almost 3,000 dead, massive towers down, apocalyptic scenes. And yes, when it comes to terror attacks, the Boston Marathon bombings weren't pretty either. But in both cases, those who committed the acts paid for or will pay for their crimes.

In the case of the terrarists -- and here I'm referring in particular to the men who run what may be the most profitable corporations on the planet, giant energy companies like ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP, and Shell -- you're the one who's going to pay, especially your children and grandchildren. You can take one thing for granted: not a single terrarist will ever go to jail, and yet they certainly knew what they were doing.

It wasn't that complicated. In recent years, the companies they run have been extracting fossil fuels from the Earth in ever more frenetic and ingenious ways. The burning of those fossil fuels, in turn, has put record amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. Only this month, the CO2 level reached 400 parts per million for the first time in human history. A consensus of scientists has long concluded that the process was warming the world and that, if the average planetary temperature rose more than two degrees Celsius, all sorts of dangers could ensue, including seas rising high enough to inundate coastal cities, increasingly intense heat waves, droughts, floods, ever more extreme storm systems, and so on.
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri May 24, 2013, 09:13 AM (11 replies)

Helmet for Britain's new F-35 fighter has 'significant technical deficiencies'


An “augmented reality” flight helmet for Britain’s new F-35 fighter allowing the pilot to see 360 degrees has “significant technical deficiencies” which have forced designers back to the drawing board.

Helmet for Britain's new F-35 fighter has 'significant technical deficiencies'
By Ben Farmer
9:33AM BST 21 May 2013

Designers have been begun work on a second, less advanced version after testing showed the helmet-mounted display “did not meet warfighter requirements”.

The display remained a “critical technical risk” which could “substantially degrade” the performance of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter according to a United States congressional watchdog.

“The program is pursuing a dual path by developing a second, less capable helmet while working to fix the first helmet design,” the US Government Accountability Office reported.

Britain is buying dozens of F-35s from Lockheed Martin at around £71 million each. The F-35, which will be known as the Lightning II, is the world’s most expensive and technologically advanced combat aircraft, but has been beset by spiralling costs and equipment setbacks.

unhappycamper comment: IIRC, that's the same not-ready-for-prime-time $250,000 brain bucket made by a US contractor. I went looking in my journal archives for the thread on this brain bucket and could not find it. I wonder how much this is going to cost after it's 'fixed'.
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri May 24, 2013, 08:27 AM (1 replies)

U.S. sees first drop in F-35 costs; other programs steady


U.S. sees first drop in F-35 costs; other programs steady
By Andrea Shalal-Esa
WASHINGTON | Thu May 23, 2013 6:54pm EDT

(Reuters) - The Pentagon on Thursday told Congress it expected a 1 percent drop in the cost of its biggest weapons program, the Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT.N) F-35 fighter jet, while averting the huge cost increases seen on other weapons programs in recent years.

The Defense Department's annual report to lawmakers showed a $40 billion, or 2.4 percent, cost increase in 78 major arms programs, mainly due to accounting changes and higher order quantities. But none of the cost increases were big enough to trigger the congressionally mandated live-or-die reviews that have been commonplace in recent years.

The cost of the developing and building the F-35, a new radar-evading fighter jet, is now projected at $391.2 billion, down from last year's estimate of $395.7 billion, according to the Pentagon's "selected acquisition report.

The report did not revise the projected $1.1 trillion cost of operating and maintaining the fleet of 2,443 new fighter jets over the next five decades, or the projected cost per flying hour, despite ongoing work by the F-35 program office and the main contractors to reduce those costs.

unhappycamper comment: Allegedly the Cost Per Flying Hour (CPFH) for the F-35A is around $31,900. But like most things 'defense' they always cost more --> http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx?plckBlogId=Blog:27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7&plckPostId=Blog%3A27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7Post%3Af5843809-1a12-42de-8d48-e4d13eac94d5

My two cents: Banksters and corporations caused the financial meltdown in 2008. I do not see how bankrupting what's left of the US economy to make sure Lockheed Martin's balance sheet looks good is the correct thing to do.
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri May 24, 2013, 08:04 AM (0 replies)

Ronald Reagan’s ‘Star Wars’ project still hasn’t met original goal 30 years later


Ronald Reagan’s ‘Star Wars’ project still hasn’t met original goal 30 years later
By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, May 23, 2013 10:43 EDT

Three decades after Ronald Reagan launched his “Star Wars” project, the costly missile defense program has become a pillar of US strategy despite lingering doubts about its technology.

No longer designed to counter a Soviet nuclear attack, the anti-missile network is supposed to thwart a “limited attack” from North Korea or Iran. But numerous experts question if the system even works.

While Reagan’s blueprint provoked bitter debate in the 1980s, today’s program is now firmly entrenched in Washington. The project, however, still requires a daunting technical feat — to hit a ballistic missile travelling outside the atmosphere with another missile.

Supported by advanced radar, SM-3 interceptors aboard 26 naval ships and ground-based interceptors in silos in Alaska and California are designed to collide with long-range missiles, including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), as they speed through space.

unhappycamper comment: Each one of the SM-3 missiles we have bought (the ones that can't shoot down incoming ICBMs) cost somewhere between $9 ~ $24 million dollars each --> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SM-3

For nine million dollars I would expect to hit whatever the SM-3 is designed for. For twenty four million dollars I would expect to hit everything incoming. Neither one of those expectations will be met with the current crop of not-ready-for-prime-time SM-3 missiles.

SM-3s and the whole missile defense project should go in the same bucket as our one trillion dollar F-35 project, our forty billion dollar Ford-class aircraft carriers, our two point two billion dollar B-2 bombers, our new Ground Combat Vehicles which start out at two hundred and fifty grand a copy, and our four hundred eighteen million dollar F-22s that have never been in combat.
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri May 24, 2013, 07:33 AM (1 replies)

Minister on the Defensive: Drone Program Collapse Has Berlin Under Pressure


Thomas de Maizière has long been a close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel. But the defense minister now finds himself at the center of controversy after cancelling Germany's half-billion euro surveillance drone program last week. He has allegedly known about the project's problems for months.

Minister on the Defensive: Drone Program Collapse Has Berlin Under Pressure

German Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière was disappointed. The "stronger public debate" he had envisioned did "not really occur," he said, adding that the discussion was somewhat "anemic."

The generals listening to the defense minister in the German capital one evening last week were only moderately interested. De Maizière went on about veterans, esprit de corps and the timeless topic of maintaining tradition in the German military, the Bundeswehr.

He said nothing, however, about the more pressing piece of news making the rounds in Berlin. De Maizière had just cancelled the Euro Hawk surveillance drone program, one of the federal government's key defense projects, which failed because it was unable to fulfill the requirements necessary to be certified to fly in German airspace. Initial calculations indicate that the debacle represents a waste of more than €500 million ($650 million), but de Maizière, a senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), said nothing about it.

Nor has he since. Instead, he is waiting for the completion of a detailed report on the drone program and plans to finally make comments in front of German parliament's Defense Committee on June 5. Waiting that long, however, promises to be difficult. This week, several new details have emerged, making it apparent that the Defense Ministry has known about the problems facing the drone program for years, yet continued to pump money into the program nonetheless.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu May 23, 2013, 09:34 AM (0 replies)

Our Women in Uniform Deserve Better


The Pentagon has a systemic problem with foxes guarding henhouses when it comes to doing battle with the military's sexual assault problem.

Our Women in Uniform Deserve Better
By Other Words
OpEdNews Op Eds 5/22/2013 at 14:08:23


While men still comprise the overwhelming majority of our troops and officers, the number of women has risen substantially in the last decade. Unfortunately, so has the numbers of rapes and other sexual assaults. In fact, military women are much more likely to be sexually assaulted by a fellow soldier than killed by an enemy.

This month, the Pentagon released the latest grim statistics on this front: There were 3,374 reported cases of sexual assault in the ranks over the course of the 2012 fiscal year, and officials believe an additional 26,000 sexual assaults went unreported. Despite all the attention this problem has garnered for years, sexual assault is growing more common. The official rate is up by 13 percent and the unreported estimated rate has climbed 35 percent in the past two years.

Those shameful numbers don't have to speak for themselves. The Pentagon's report came just two days after Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, the Air Force officer in charge of sexual assault training, was arrested for -- you guessed it -- getting drunk and sexually assaulting a complete stranger in an Arlington, Virginia parking lot.

A week later, the military said it was investigating whether Sgt. 1st Class Gregory McQueen, a man whose job it was to prevent sexual abuse and harassment at Ft. Hood in Texas, was himself committing a battery of sexual offenses -- and even running a prostitution ring.

unhappycamper comment: One Brigadier General, Jeffery Sinclair, will be coming up for trial soon for sexual assault, sodomy and porn on his PC. (look in this forum for past articles about Jeff)

Brig. Gen. Bryan T. Roberts was suspended for his post at Ft. Jackson, SC while the military investigates allegations of "adultery and a physical altercation," officials said. --> http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/05/21/191901/pentagon-faces-another-sex-scandal.html

Many of the good ole boys at the Pentagon still don't get it. And I doubt they will until officers and NCOs are jailed for their crimes; nothing will change within the culture of military rape until that happens.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu May 23, 2013, 08:52 AM (0 replies)
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