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

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After nearly 30 years, Camp Lejeune coming clean


After nearly 30 years, Camp Lejeune coming clean
By ALLEN G. BREED AP National Writer
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. May 18, 2013 (AP)


This is the former Hadnot Point fuel farm, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune's main fuel depot until it was ordered closed in the 1980s. At one point, a layer of gasoline 15 feet thick floated atop the groundwater here, and this "fluid vapor recovery" truck is part of the continuing effort to remove it.

"He's skimming that contaminate out of that well, into this tank," civilian Bob Lowder, head of environmental quality for the base, said during a recent tour. "We'll take that off for recondition or disposal, as appropriate."

The coastal base is the site of what's considered the worst case of drinking-water contamination in the nation's history. But the Marines stress that that's just what it is — history.

Of the more than 600 polluted sites scattered about the 170-square-mile base, about five dozen remain to be addressed. ABC Cleaners — the offsite business that dumped cancer-causing solvents into the Lejeune water table — stands vacant, the paint flaking from its rotting clapboards.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sun May 19, 2013, 08:39 AM (0 replies)

Afghanistan: Pentagon asks to shift $9.6 billion


Pentagon asks to shift $9.6 billion
By DAVID ROGERS | 5/17/13 5:18 PM EDT

The Defense Department began forwarding documents to Congress late Friday seeking to shift as much as $9.6 billion within its budget to cope with what it said were large shortfalls in overseas contingency funds related to Afghanistan.

The massive reprogramming is larger than the $7.5 billion cap set by Congress for annual transfers between accounts. But the Pentagon said only $7.3 billion actually applied to that statutory limit and the remainder could be moved by tapping other transfer authorities available to the department.

About $1 billion, largely to pay for fuel costs, would be moved under transfers related to a working capital fund. To fill the remaining gap, DOD is apparently also tapping into transfer authorities it has under the so-called “foreign currency fluctuations account.”

How all this will sit with Congress is not certain yet. The very size of the transfers pose a challenge for the Appropriations and Armed Services Committees which must review and sign off on the requests, which are sure to entail taking money away from priority programs lawmakers have supported in the past.

unhappycamper comment: "overseas contingency funds" = occupation cost

Keep in mind that all this posturing is over a lousy five percent budget cut. Five fucking percent.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sun May 19, 2013, 07:28 AM (1 replies)

This Is What Winning Looks Like

US Specialist Christopher Saenz looks out over the landscape during a patrol outside the village of Musa Qala, Helmand province.

This Is What Winning Looks Like
By Ben Anderson

I didn’t plan on spending six years covering the war in Afghanistan. I went there in 2007 to make a film about the vicious fighting between undermanned, underequipped British forces and the Taliban in Helmand, Afghanistan’s most violent province. But I became obsessed with what I witnessed there—how different it was from the conflict’s portrayal in the media and in official government statements.

All I had to do was trek out to one of the many tiny, isolated patrol bases that dot the barren, sunbaked landscape and hang out with British infantry troops to see the chaotic reality of the war firsthand: firefights that lasted entire days, suicide bombers who leaped onto unarmored jeeps from behind market stalls, IEDs buried everywhere, and bombs dropped onto Afghans’ homes, sometimes with whole families of innocent civilians inside.

In 2006, when troops were sent into Helmand, British command didn’t think there’d be much fighting at all. The mission was simple: “Facilitate reconstruction and development.” The UK Defense Secretary John Reid even said he hoped the army could complete their mission “without a single shot being fired.”

But with each year that followed, casualties and deaths rose as steadily as the local opium crop. Thousands more British troops were deployed, then tens of thousands of US troops, at the request of General Stanley McChrystal, following a six-month review of the war after President Obama took office. Still, the carnage and confusion continued unabated. Suicide bombings increased sevenfold. Every step you took might reveal yet another IED.

unhappycamper comment: There's a 29 minute non-youtube video that shows the state of the training for Afghan National Police.

I have seen this same shit 43 years ago with our Vietnamese partners.
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri May 17, 2013, 08:01 AM (0 replies)

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair's lawyers want computer evidence from his Fort Bragg residence thrown ou


Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair's lawyers want computer evidence from his Fort Bragg residence thrown out
By Paul Woolverton
Published: 10:30 PM, Thu May 16, 2013

A pretrial hearing in Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair's sexual misconduct case ended Thursday following arguments on whether computers were unconstitutionally seized from his home on Fort Bragg.

The judge did not rule on that issue or most of the others brought before him this week as Sinclair's defense team strove to weaken or knock down the multiple charges he faces.

Sinclair is accused of forcing a captain with whom he had a three-year extra-marital affair into performing oral sex twice, as well as other inappropriate activities with her and three other women.

The next pre-trial hearing is scheduled for June 4. Sinclair's court-martial is scheduled for June 25.

unhappycamper comment: I find it interesting that this guy's lawyers are telling the judge that the no porn rule in the Middle east is unconstitutional. And that the military was wrong to "when computers were taken from his Army-provided home at Fort Bragg."

I wonder what Secretary Hagel is going to to with this guy. Probably nothing.

Posted by unhappycamper | Fri May 17, 2013, 07:14 AM (0 replies)

F-35: Sequester May Cost Air Force 5 More F-35As; Air Guard, Modernization At Risk


F-35: Sequester May Cost Air Force 5 More F-35As; Air Guard, Modernization At Risk
By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on May 15, 2013 at 5:56 PM

ARLINGTON: “I don’t have the exact number yet,” Air Force Maj. Gen. Edward Bolton said Tuesday, but to pay the bill for sequestration, the service might have to cut its fiscal 2013 procurements by “two, three, four, maybe even five F-35s.”

“That money’s just gone,” sighed Bolton, the service’s outgoing deputy assistant secretary for budget, as he addressed a gathering of industry insiders and retired officers (often the same people) at the Arlington headquarters of the non-profit Air Force Association.

The prospective cut would bring the service’s 2013 purchase down from the 19 Joint Strike Fighters requested in the president’s budget to as few as 14.

But all is hanging. “I have final sequestration numbers; I don’t have final decisions on how they’re going to implement that in some of the acquisition programs,” he said.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu May 16, 2013, 09:12 AM (0 replies)

Way of the Future: Navy Launches Mother Drone from Aircraft Carrier

From the What Could Possibly Go Wrong Files:


Way of the Future: Navy Launches Mother Drone from Aircraft Carrier
by Abby Zimet
05.15.13 - 10:23 AM

For the first time the Navy successfully launched a drone the size of a fighter jet - weighing 14,000 pounds, with three times the range of the Predator drone, piloted entirely by computer program with no human intervention - from the deck of the USS George H.W. Bush. The X-47B is the first drone designed to take off and land on a carrier, meaning the U.S. won't need permission from any other pesky countries to use their bases. Not worried enough yet? Watch the video. (video at link)


Experts say aircraft carrier capability will widely expand range and use of pilot-less bombers

In Ominous Development, US Navy Makes Historic Drone Launch
- Jon Queally, staff writer
Published on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 by Common Dreams

As the US Navy celebrated a breakthrough achievement on Tuesday after successfully launching a jet-propelled drone from the deck of the USS George HW Bush, those concerned about the increasing proliferation of US drones and the deadly programs fueled by the remotely piloted aircraft expressed ominous dread.

It was the first time the US military has been able to launch one of its drones from an aircraft carrier and also a test flight for one of the new Navy's powerful, long-range and stealth version of a drone, the X-47B, which was developed by Northrop Grumman at a price of $1.4 billion.

"As our access to overseas ports, forward operating locations and airspace is diminished around the world, the value of the aircraft carrier and the air wing becomes more and more important," said Rear Adm. Ted Branch, commander of Naval Air Forces Atlantic. "So today is history."

And Mark Gunzinger, a defense analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, told Reuters the launch of the long-range, stealth aircraft was "a great story." He said, "It's a milestone and a step forward for unmanned, carrier-based aviation. But I think the real story is what's next. How do we operationalize this capability?"

unhappycamper comment: This article sez: "the X-47B, which was developed by Northrop Grumman at a price of $1.4 billion."

Quick question: Why are wikipedia costs for this stuff always low?


Northrop Grumman X-47B
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from X-47B)

The Northrop Grumman X-47B is a demonstration unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) designed for carrier-based use. Developed by the American defense technology company Northrop Grumman, the X-47 project began as part of DARPA's J-UCAS program, and is now part of the United States Navy's UCAS-D (Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration) program, which aims to create a carrier-based unmanned aircraft. It is intended that the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike System (UCLASS) will enter service in 2019. The X-47B first flew in 2011, and as of 2013, it is undergoing flight testing, having successfully performed a series of land- and carrier-based demonstrations.[2]

The X-47B's first takeoff at Edwards AFB, California, in February 2011
Role Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle
Manufacturer Northrop Grumman
First flight 4 February 2011
Primary user United States Navy
Number built 2
Program cost US$813 million[1]
Developed from X-47A Pegasus
Developed into X-47C UCLASS

Posted by unhappycamper | Thu May 16, 2013, 07:33 AM (3 replies)

Pentagon urges safety valve for F-35 to help jet survive attack


Pentagon urges safety valve for F-35 to help jet survive attack
By Tony Capaccio
Bloomberg News
Posted Wednesday, May. 15, 2013

The Pentagon’s top weapons buyer is backing calls to restore a valve on Lockheed Martin’s F-35 jet that improves the fighter’s chances to survive a hit from a high-explosive round.

Adding an improved valve “would result in the aircraft being fully compliant” with its operational requirements, Frank Kendall, the undersecretary for acquisition, wrote a lawmaker last month in a previously undisclosed letter.

The 2-pound valve system was part of 43 pounds of equipment removed in 2008 to save weight on the F-35, designed and built in west Fort Worth. The valve is intended to shut off the flow of a flammable liquid used to cool avionics.

A computer analysis of the pared-down F-35 design last year determined that its vulnerability to fires ignited by enemy bullets or missile fragments increased 25 percent from an assessment before the equipment’s removal, according to data from the Pentagon’s weapons-testing office.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu May 16, 2013, 06:55 AM (5 replies)

Debris And Liberation

As expected, things are going well in Afghanistan and Iraq.



Afghan security and firefighters gather at the scene of a car bombing in Kabul.

Suicide car bomber strikes NATO convoy in Kabul
By Hashmat Baktash and Mark Magnier
May 16, 2013, 2:31 a.m.

KABUL, Afghanistan -- A powerful suicide car bomb rocked the Afghan capital of Kabul on Thursday morning, killing at least two foreigners and several Afghan civilians, according to local officials.

The attack took place around 8 a.m., said Gen. Mohammad Daud Amin, deputy chief of the Kabul police, a time when many people were commuting to work. Six civilians were killed and 35 wounded, he said. Other officials put the death toll at up to eight.

Mohammad Ayob Salangi, Kabul’s police chief, said at least two foreigners were among those killed in the attack, which occurred when the suicide bomber in a Toyota Corolla pulled up beside a NATO convoy, although Salangi was not sure about the overall number of foreign casualties.

John Manley, a spokesman for the NATO-led international coalition, said it wasn’t immediately clear who was targeted in the blast, which remained under investigation.

And let's not forget Baghdad:


Residents gather at the site of a car bomb attack in Baghdad's Sadr City, May 16, 2013.

Car Bombs Kills 12 in Iraq
VOA News
May 16, 2013

Multiple car bombs have exploded in Baghdad, killing at least 12 people in mainly Shi'ite districts of the Iraqi capital.

The blasts Thursday hit the Sadr City and Kamaliya areas, leaving at least 18 other people wounded.

The attacks follow a wave of bombings Wednesday that also struck mainly Shi'ite neighborhoods. Those blasts killed at least 33 people.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki blamed the violence on what he called "sectarian hatred" and what results from a "sectarian mindset."

Posted by unhappycamper | Thu May 16, 2013, 06:39 AM (0 replies)

Pentagon vows to take action after latest sex assault scandal


Pentagon vows to take action after latest sex assault scandal
By Agence France-Presse
Wednesday, May 15, 2013 18:01 EDT

The US military vowed Wednesday to address a wave of sexual assault cases after a soldier who worked in a rape prevention program was accused of forcing a subordinate into prostitution.

The latest revelation marked the second time in a week that a member of the military assigned to work in its sexual assault prevention program had been placed under investigation for alleged sexual crimes.

Following the new allegation, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered those working as recruiters and in sex assault prevention efforts to undergo fresh screening and training, his spokesman George Little told reporters.

“There is frustration on the part of this secretary,” Little said. “It’s not just about talking about this issue. We have to take action and we have to take action swiftly.”

unhappycamper comment: If Secretary Hagel is serious about MST. he probably should take a personal interest in Brig. Gen. Jeffery Sinclair. He's lawyered up and ready to go again if he is cleared.


Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair can review emails by top generals, judge rules at Fort Bragg
By Paul Woolverton
Published: 11:08 PM, Wed May 15, 2013

The lawyers for Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair on Wednesday continued to attack the process that is leading to his court-martial next month on allegations of sexual assault and misconduct.


He faces numerous other accusations alleging misconduct with the captain and with several other women, misuse of a government credit card and travel vouchers to pay for personal trips, and violation of orders.


The Sinclair team is challenging the constitutionality of an order that prohibited soldiers from possessing pornography in Afghanistan. He is accused of having nude photos and an indecent video of a female major, and of having other nude images on his computer.

Sinclair's lawyers say the order was too broad, that soldiers have a first amendment right to privately read or view what they want.

Posted by unhappycamper | Thu May 16, 2013, 05:54 AM (2 replies)

Germany Pulls Plug on Drone Procurement


Germany Pulls Plug on Drone Procurement
Associated Press

An official says Germany has canceled plans to purchase and modify U.S.-made Global Hawk surveillance drones for 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion).

The drones made by Northrop Grumman were to be equipped with special signal interception devices and re-named Euro Hawk.

One experimental drone already purchased will continue to be used for testing purposes.

A government official said Tuesday the decision not to buy four more drones was taken after it became clear that getting the required authorization to fly them over European airspace would be too costly. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly ahead of a meeting Wednesday of Parliament's defense committee.
Posted by unhappycamper | Wed May 15, 2013, 09:12 AM (0 replies)
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