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

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Ted Rall: Crime and Punishment

Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Aug 22, 2013, 09:25 AM (0 replies)

Japan-made parts to push up price of F-35 fighter jets for ASDF


Japan-made parts to push up price of F-35 fighter jets for ASDF
August 22, 2013

Two Japanese contractors will supply 24 components for the next-generation F-35 stealth fighters for the Air Self-Defense Force, which will push up the price by 50 percent, sources said.

The F-35 will be built mainly by Lockheed Martin Corp., with parts procured in the United States, Britain and other countries participating in the project. The aircraft will be assembled in the United States, Italy and Japan.

According to the sources, the U.S. government has authorized 24 components for the engine and radar system to be produced in Japan. The parts will account for about 10 percent of the aircraft's value.

Washington has said more Japanese-made parts may be incorporated, which would further push up the price.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Aug 22, 2013, 09:19 AM (0 replies)

Pentagon cuts F-35 operating estimate below $1 trillion: source


Pentagon cuts F-35 operating estimate below $1 trillion: source
Andrea Shalal-Esa 11 hours ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government has slashed its estimate for the long-term operating costs of Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets by more than 20 percent to under $1 trillion, according to a senior defense official, a move that could boost international support for the program.

The Pentagon has been under pressure for over a year to revise its estimate of maintaining a fleet of more than 2,000 F-35s over 55 years, with industry and military officials arguing that many of the assumptions were outdated and off base.

The new estimate of $857 billion could help ensure the new plane turns out to be as affordable as advertised and comes days after South Korea determined that only a bid by Boeing Co for its F-15 Silent Eagle came in below a $7.4 billion price ceiling for its plan to buy 60 new fighter aircraft.

Lockheed's F-35 and the Eurofighter Typhoon remain in the running, but Boeing's pricing marked a step toward winning the contract, according to sources close to the process. A final decision is expected in mid-September.

Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Aug 22, 2013, 09:13 AM (0 replies)

Glimmerglass Intercepts Undersea Cable Traffic for Spy Agencies


Glimmerglass 2011 presentation on CyberSweep.

Glimmerglass Intercepts Undersea Cable Traffic for Spy Agencies
by Pratap Chatterjee, Special to CorpWatch
August 20th, 2013

Glimmerglass, a northern California company that sells optical fiber technology, offers government agencies a software product called “CyberSweep” to intercept signals on undersea cables. The company says their technology can analyze Gmail and Yahoo! Mail as well as social media like Facebook and Twitter to discover “actionable intelligence.”

Could this be the technology that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) is using to tap global communications? The company says it counts several intelligence agencies among its customers but refuses to divulge details. One thing is certain - it is not the only company to offer such capabilities - so if such data mining is not already taking place, that day is not far off.

"Revolutions in communications technologies are usually followed by revolutions in collection capabilities," Jeffrey Richelson, a senior fellow at the National Security Archives and the author of the definitive guide to the U.S. intelligence agencies, told CorpWatch.

The recent leaks by whistleblower Edward Snowden to the Guardian newspaper specifically suggest that the NSA is tapping undersea cables although no details on the specific technology have yet been published. Notably Snowden has revealed evidence that the NSA paid £15.5 million ($25 million) in 2009 to “radically” upgrade a listening station operated by its U.K. equivalent – the Government Communications Head Quarters (GCHQ) in Bude, north Cornwall, England, where many of the cables surface.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Aug 22, 2013, 08:15 AM (0 replies)

Alleged Torturers (CACI) sue Abu Ghraib Torture Victims (Lazare)


Alleged Torturers sue Abu Ghraib Torture Victims (Lazare)
Posted on 08/21/2013 by Juan Cole

‘Defense’ contractor CACI International has taken the shocking step of suing four former Abu Ghraib detainees who are seeking redress in U.S. courts for the company’s role in (allegedly) torturing, humiliating and dehumanizing them, with the U.S. corporation recently requesting that the judge order the plaintiffs—- all of whom are Iraqi—-to pay CACI for legal costs.

CACI is demanding over $15,000 in compensation, mostly for witness fees, travel allowances and deposition transcripts, according to court documents.

“Given the wealth disparities between this multi-billion dollar entity and four torture victims, given what they went through, it’s surprising and appears to be an attempt to intimidate and punish these individuals for asserting their rights to sue in U.S. courts,” Baher Azny, legal director for the Center for Constitutional Rights, which is working on the case, told Common Dreams.

Just weeks ago, a federal judge dismissed the former Abu Ghraib prisoners’ lawsuit against CACI International on the grounds that because Abu Ghraib is overseas, it is beyond the jurisdiction of U.S. courts.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Aug 22, 2013, 07:07 AM (1 replies)

Enough Of this Bullshit


Sequestration Slashes Head Start Funding
Tuesday, 20 August 2013 15:49
By Adrienne Lu, McClatchy Newspapers | Report

WASHINGTON — Last year about 1 million of the nation's poorest children got a leg up on school through Head Start, the federal program that helps prepare children up to age five for school. This fall, about 57,000 children will be denied a place in Head Start and Early Head Start as fallout from sequestration.

New estimates about the automatic budget cuts were released Monday by the federal government. The cuts have slashed more than $400 million from the federal program's $8 billion budget.

Yasmina Vinci, executive director of the National Head Start Association, said sequestration represented the largest hit to Head Start funding in terms of dollars since the program began in 1965.

"The cut has been very painful throughout the country," Vinci said. Nationwide, about 1,600 grantees, which include nonprofits and local government agencies, receive federal Head Start funding.

unhappycamper comment: We need to change the dialog. For starters, let's look at how the United States funds 'stuff':

That big chuck o pie on the right (57% of all discretionary spending) is for 'the military'. It includes things like the 21st century equivalents of $400 dollar toilet seats, the military's black budget, nukes, wasted billions in Afghanistan reconstruction, $2 billion a week to keep the Afghanistan occupation going, and lots of new stuff.

The article cited above states "The cuts have slashed more than $400 million from the federal program's $8 billion budget." Let me show you how to find a quick $400 million to reinstate food to starving Americans.

Since Littoral Combat Ships cost around $500 million dollars each, don't build one. Another way to 'find' a quick $500 million: don't build two F-35 fighters.

Want to find a quick $1 billion? Don't build more nine more $110 million dollar MV-22 Ospreys. Don't build three more $318 million dollar C-17s.

Want to find a quick $5 billion? Stop building $5+ billion dollar stealth destroyers.

Want to find a quick $7 billion? Don't build a Virginia-class submarine this year.

Want to find a quick $40 billion? Stop building the $40 billion dollar USS Gerald R Ford aircraft carrier.

It adds up.

Posted by unhappycamper | Wed Aug 21, 2013, 08:56 AM (1 replies)

Out of Sync


Harper government’s tough-on-crime laws are outdated: Editorial
Published on Mon Aug 19 2013

For 40 years, the United States conducted an unremitting, staggeringly expensive war on drugs.

For at least 30 of those years, Washington sent a succession of “drug czars” to Ottawa to press the Canadian government to get tough on dealers, traffickers and addicts.


It took the Prime Minister six years to get his controversial crime legislation through Parliament, but he finally succeeded last year. The centrepiece of his law-and-order agenda was a series of mandatory minimum sentences, many for drug crimes. They ranged from a jail term of six months for growing six or more marijuana plants to three years behind bars for operating a methamphetamine lab in a residential neighbourhood.

But now, with Canadian courts and prisons ramping up for more trials, more incarceration and longer sentences, the U.S. has changed direction. It is de-escalating its war on drugs, shelving mandatory minimums and allowing judges to divert non-violent offenders into drug treatment and job training programs.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Aug 20, 2013, 07:11 AM (0 replies)

Dirty Dishes


Dirty Dishes
Neues Deutschland, Germany
By Olaf Standke
Translated By Ron Argentati
17 August 2013
Edited by Gillian Palmer

On the transparency of intelligence agencies in the United States.

It hasn't even been a week since Barack Obama tried to educate his kitchen cabinet on the explosive subject of intelligence service transparency — every so often, one just has to show the lady of the house the dishes she just finished washing to prove to her that they're really clean. That's about it regarding the globally criticized National Security Agency and its snooping activities: Come clean to prove they have nothing to hide, which Obama tried to do in a press conference where he soberly assured us the American monitoring programs weren't being abused. Is the president really that clueless?

The most recent revelations to come forth from whistle-blower Edward Snowden's fertile fields show that U.S. foreign intelligence services routinely exceeded congressional and secret court legal mandates — thereby grossly violating the data privacy of American citizens — and, in so doing, deceived the political and legal oversight bodies charged with regulating them. An NSA spokesperson tried to downplay the scandal by claiming that any organization made up of human beings operating in such an atmosphere of complex and diverse regulations is bound to find itself occasionally on the wrong side of the boundary lines.

But the truth is the entire operation appears to have been routinely flouting the law for a long time already.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Aug 20, 2013, 06:59 AM (1 replies)

Boeing secretly testing 777X work automation


Scott Fancher, Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president and general manager attends a news conference on their airplane development update earlier this month in Tokyo. Speculation surrounds where Boeing will focus 777X production.

Boeing secretly testing 777X work automation
Published: August 15, 2013

At a secret facility in Anacortes, more than 40 miles north of Boeing’s widebody-jet plant in Everett, a small group of engineers next month will begin testing advanced automation methods for building the soon-to-be-launched 777X jet.

The project reveals Boeing intends to dramatically change the way the plane’s metal hull is built, reducing manual labor on that task while ramping up the overall production rate.

“We’re going to build the fuselage differently than we do now,” said a senior Boeing engineer familiar with details of the plan. “We’re going to introduce a whole lot of automation.”

Meanwhile, in a nerve-wracking process that could either boost or bust future manufacturing in the Puget Sound region, Boeing is still weighing various plans for where to put 777X manufacturing — including Everett, alternative company facilities and non-Boeing sites.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sun Aug 18, 2013, 07:37 AM (3 replies)

US Arms Industry Would Lose Big from Egypt Aid Cut-Off


An Egyptian army M1 Abrams tank placed near Tahrir Square during the 2011 Egyptian protests.

US Arms Industry Would Lose Big from Egypt Aid Cut-Off
by Thalif Deen
Published on Saturday, August 17, 2013 by Inter Press Service

UNITED NATIONS- The United States, which has refused to cut off its hefty 1.3 billion dollars in annual military aid to Egypt, continues to argue that depriving arms to the 438,500-strong security forces will only “destabilise” the crisis-ridden country.

There is perhaps a more significant – but undisclosed – reason for sustaining military aid flows to Egypt: protecting U.S. defence contractors.

Virtually all – or an overwhelming proportion – of the 1.3 billion dollars granted under Foreign Military Financing (FMF) is plowed back into the U.S. economy, specifically into the U.S. defence industry.

William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Centre for International Policy (CIP), told IPS U.S. President Barack Obama’s refusal to cut-off military aid to Egypt while U.S. weapons are being used to murder protesters is “unconscionable”.

unhappycamper comment: And this is the primary reason we continue to send money to Egypt.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sun Aug 18, 2013, 06:44 AM (6 replies)
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