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Full jury seated in Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair's sexual assault case


Full jury seated in Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair's sexual assault case
Published: 08:22 AM, Fri Aug 09, 2013
By Paul Woolverton


The panel of five jurors, all of whom are male Army generals, will begin hearing Sinclair's case Sept. 30.

The last juror seated was Maj. Gen. Donald C. Leins of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon.

He joined Maj. Gen. M. Ted Wong, commanding general of the Northern Regional Medical Command; Maj. Gen. Dean G. Sienko, commanding general of Army Public Health Command; Maj. Gen. Paul E. Crandall, deputy chief of staff for United States Forces Korea; and Maj. Gen. John Wharton, commanding general of the U.S. Army Sustainment Command.

The jurors will be told of Sinclair's three-year adulterous affair with a captain under his command. She has accused him of twice forcing her to perform oral sex - one of numerous accusations that Sinclair faces stemming from the affair and its subsequent investigation.
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Aug 9, 2013, 09:19 AM (0 replies)

Analysts: Cutting aircraft carriers a real possibility


Four aircraft carriers, from back to front, the Abraham Lincoln (72), the Enterprise (65), the George H.W. Bush (77) and the Dwight D. Eisenhower (69), tied up at Norfolk Naval Station on Thursday, February 14, 2013.

Analysts: Cutting aircraft carriers a real possibility
By Mike Hixenbaugh
The Virginian-Pilot
© August 9, 2013

Really? Mothballing aircraft carriers?

The idea floated last week by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel seemed particularly shocking in this Navy town - home to half the nation's fleet of nuclear flattops, where carrier deployments and homecomings routinely lead evening newscasts.

It's tempting to dismiss the notion of retiring two or three of the world's most recognizable warships as political brinkmanship - a veiled attempt to push Congress into reversing big national security cuts.

But defense analysts say people shouldn't roll their eyes at Hagel's warning or other drastic changes described last week in the Pentagon's first formal attempt to detail the long-term effects of sequestration.

unhappycamper comment: Sequestration appears to be finally working at the DoD - they're actually talking about it
Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Aug 9, 2013, 09:11 AM (3 replies)

US & UK Pull Out Yemen Embassy Staff After Series of Drone Strikes


Robert Naiman: US is on a policy collision course in Yemen as it publicly supports democracy but covertly administers drone strikes - August 7, 13

US & UK Pull Out Yemen Embassy Staff After Series of Drone Strikes

JESSICA DESVARIEUX, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore.

The United States and U.K. have ordered all of their embassy staff to evacuate Yemen. This was following a likely U.S. drone strike which killed four alleged al-Qaeda terrorists. The drone strikes on Tuesday were the fourth strikes in two weeks. According to at least one local journalist, a U.S. drone strike on August 1 killed four civilians, including a child.

Here to discuss all this is Robert Naiman. Robert is the policy director at Just Foreign Policy, and he writes on U.S. foreign policy for Huffington Post, Truthout, Al Jazeera English, and other publications. Thanks for being with us, Robert.


We don't know for sure when a drone strike occurs that it's actually a drone strike. We just infer that from reports on the ground. People say, well, we think this was a drone strike. The U.S. doesn't acknowledge it. So we can't really tell for sure between--often we can't tell for sure between a U.S. drone strike, a U.S. man strike, a Yemen Air Force strike, a Saudi Air Force strike. All these things are happening in Yemen. But we think that this was a drone strike because that's how it was described in press reports.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Aug 8, 2013, 07:37 AM (0 replies)

American Bullying: South Korea Furious at US Investigation of Asiana Crash (Boeing)


The investigation, which is based on protecting Boeing’s interests and which betrays a condescending attitude (toward the South Koreans), has already attracted great dissatisfaction in all spectra of South Korean society.

American Bullying: South Korea Furious at US Investigation of Asiana Crash
Wen Wei Po, Hong Kong
Translated By Iman Ng
27 July 2013
Edited by Keith Armstrong

An increasing number of signs reveal that the American and South Korean investigators into the Asiana crash operate in different realities, with both sides treading their own paths and even straying from each other on the most basic premises. South Korea hopes to investigate the reason for the crash in a holistic, comprehensive and fair manner. Meanwhile, U.S. investigators ignore any input by their South Korean counterparts; they follow their own blueprint and eagerly look into pilot error, while taking pains to whitewash the event by redirecting blame away from airplane malfunction. The investigation, which is based on protecting Boeing’s interests and which betrays a condescending attitude [toward the South Koreans], has already attracted great dissatisfaction in all spectra of South Korean society. All sides are now predicting that the final investigative report may point the finger at Asiana Airlines. South Korean officials such as President Park Geun-hye have voiced their opinion in hopes that the Americans will conduct the probe in a transparent and objective manner, so the general public will not question the final outcome.

The reason why America is particularly interested in probing pilot error and focusing less on the malfunctioning Boeing aircraft is to ultimately protect the country's own interests. If the investigation concludes that the accident happened as a result of a maneuvering error on the part of the pilot, the South Koreans will shoulder most of the liability and responsibility. Conversely, if it is concluded that the aircraft's structure was inadequate or that the airport gave erroneous instructions, then San Francisco's airport will have some explaining to do, and the quality of Boeing's aircraft will be called into question. In that case, Boeing and the U.S. stand to lose. Asiana Airlines is currently expanding its operations, but the so-called disaster and its investigation's final report may deter passengers [from flying with it] for safety reasons and have them choose other airlines. All of this deals a fatal blow to Asiana Airlines and the South Korean economy. No matter how one sees it, the investigation is a case of bullying; the U.S. is preoccupied with safeguarding its interests.

Seoul Unhappy with America's Self-Interested Policy

In recent times, the South Korean public has been living under more dread than ever, afraid that peninsular-wide war will break out once more. Though most observers doubt if North Korea could effectively launch an attack on America, it is an undeniable fact that the north has the capability to upgrade its regular artillery attacks to nuclear strikes in an extremely short period of time. If conflict flares up in the peninsula, the South Koreans and their economy will stand to lose the most, not the U.S. The South Koreans sense how invaluable peace is in the midst of tension, longing for stability. They are unhappy that America, in pursuing its self-interest in the region, feels only too afraid that the Korean Peninsula will ever become peaceful. They are especially nostalgic of Kim Dae-jung, who signed the June 15 North–South Joint Declaration with the North Koreans and led to more harmonious relations throughout the Korean Peninsula. But one important thing of note is that peaceful coexistence between North and South Korea does not necessarily fit America's self-interests.

As tensions continue between the two Koreas, America's military thus can justify its increased activity across the peninsula for more military exercises. These exercises between U.S. and Korean troops, though, are unappetizing to Seoul as it is responsible for all of the U.S. military's incurred expenses. What it gets in return, however, is a tragic situation of further confrontation with fellow Koreans in the north and economic damage. The recent tension in the Korean Peninsula stems from the sinking of ROKS Cheonan, in which the South Korean warship was sunk by an unidentified torpedo killing 46 sailors on board. Then-President Lee Myung-bak faulted North Korea, backed by the fact that the torpedo had Korean written on it. The result was that trust between the two Koreas deteriorated until both countries were at loggerheads. Diversion is a much-used military strategy; if perpetrators of the Cheonan incident had written “certain” words on the torpedo beforehand, it might have led to innocent parties being blamed.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Aug 8, 2013, 07:00 AM (3 replies)

And another thing! Russia denies Visas to US Officials involved in Torture, including Yoo, Addingto


And another thing! Russia denies Visas to US Officials involved in Torture, including Yoo, Addington
Posted on 08/08/2013 by Juan Cole

The food fight between the United States and the Russian Federation has revolved around relatively minor issues in the two countries’ relationship like whether Obama will have a summit with Putin in September (no), whether Russia would grant Edward Snowden asylum (yes), whether Americans can adopt Russian babies (no), whether the US would sanction Russian officials for the death in prison of dissident attorney Sergei Magnitsky.

The Russian government dismissed Obama’s cancellation of his summit with Putin at the G-20 meeting (Obama will still attend the latter) as a sign that the United States still doesn’t recognize the Russian Federation as an equal. That is, Putin feels that the Americans have a superiority complex and act in paternalistic and slighting ways toward other countries.

A less remarked-on round in this game of tit for tat (which so far doesn’t rise to the level of being very serious) is the government’s decision last April to deny visas to American officials and former officials who had something to do with torture at Guantanamo, where Russian citizens have been held.


I mostly think these prickly diplomatic snubs are most unhelpful and that both countries should take a deep breath and step back. But actually, the banning of US personnel involved with torture is only right, especially since the US government is never going to prosecute these monsters. You hope that Russian authorities are making sure not to replicate American mistakes.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Aug 8, 2013, 06:33 AM (1 replies)

Is America playing its last card?: Pissing Off Friends is a Doomed Strategy


Is America playing its last card?: Pissing Off Friends is a Doomed Strategy
OpEdNews Op Eds 8/6/2013 at 13:00:21
By Dave Lindorff

Like an obnoxious drunk harassing everyone and spilling drinks at a party, the US has continued to make itself both loathed and laughed at in the wake of the revelations about the National Security Agency's global spying program as revealed by NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

The latest example of this was the report in Germany last week that the US had been massively spying on millions of German people based upon a tortured interpretation of a secret Cold War-era agreement foisted upon the then Bundesrepublik back in the early 1960s. That agreement gave the US and Britain the authority to surveil Soviet and East German spying activities inside what was commonly referred to as West Germany, and also to conduct spying operations to "protect" US troops based there. Obviously, spying on Soviet and East German spies is a far different thing from spying on Germans themselves, and clearly the Cold War is long gone. As for spying on Germans who might threaten the bases, that clearly could have been handled by police in Germany, and in any even would only involve a small and discrete program, not the monitoring of millions people's electronic communications.

Angela Merkel, the conservative German Chancellor whose governing coalition is facing a critical national election in a few weeks, and who has been taking a lot of heat from Germans over disclosures that her government knew all along about the American spying program, has been trying to look proactive, and so the her government announced that it was canceling the spying agreement and ordering a halt to the NSA's spying activities in the country.

The US response: nothing public, but unidentified "sources" in the US government made it clear that, agreement or no agreement, the NSA's spying would continue (a German government official also stated that the supposed termination of the secret Cold War agreement would have "little effect" on continued spying by the US in Germany).
Posted by unhappycamper | Wed Aug 7, 2013, 09:30 AM (0 replies)

Navy abandons plan to fix nuclear sub burned in Maine


The repairs were expected to cost $450 million, after a man set fire to the sub at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in 2012.

Navy abandons plan to fix nuclear sub burned in Maine
By Kevin Miller and Dennis Hoey
Posted: August 6

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Navy has canceled plans to repair a fire-damaged nuclear submarine at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery because of higher-than-anticipated costs and federal budget cuts, officials said Tuesday.

The Navy estimated that it would cost an additional $390 million in the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1 to repair the USS Miami, which was severely damaged by an arsonist at the shipyard in May 2012. As a result, the submarine will be removed from service and the money will be used elsewhere.

The Navy said it has spent $8 million so far for repairs to the submarine – from a $94 million contract it awarded to a contractor in September.

It was unclear Tuesday night how the decision will affect the workload at the shipyard, which employs about 4,700 civilians. But the consensus among union leaders was that it will not cause the loss of any jobs.
Posted by unhappycamper | Wed Aug 7, 2013, 08:35 AM (0 replies)

Will Boeing's Tanker Destroy Lockheed Martin's F-35?


Will Boeing's Tanker Destroy Lockheed Martin's F-35?
By Katie Spence
August 6, 2013 |

In a world where sequestration is the norm, and defense spending exists in a proverbial vice, one thing a company doesn't want to do is have a product that's too expensive. And $10 billion above budget is way, way too expensive. Unfortunately for Boeing's (NYSE: BA ) KC-46A tanker, that's exactly what's happening. But in a surprising twist, this actually may be bad news for Lockheed Martin's (NYSE: LMT ) F-35, not the tanker. Here's what you need to know.

n a report given to Congress in May, the Air Force estimated that over the five decades of planned service, the support costs for the KC-46A tankers would be $103 billion. That's 11% more than the previous estimate of $92.7 billion. More pointedly, it breaches a key component of the program's acquisition baseline plan.

The good news is that this breach isn't something Boeing is liable for -- which is especially good considering Boeing's already liable for an estimated $700 million in cost overruns during the development phase. In fact, this breach is due to the fact that the Air Force intends to increase flying hours on the tanker, as well as assigning 3.5 aircrews to the aircraft, instead of 2.5. What's even better news for taxpayers is that the Air Force stated that it's committed to staying within its budget, and will not seek additional funding for the KC-46A. But that, right there, is bad news for Lockheed.

There have been a number of defense budgets bouncing back and forth between the House and the Senate. But the latest 2014 Defense Appropriations proposal that passed last week in a Senate committee includes funding for the KC-46A development. It also cuts funding for Lockheed's advanced F-35 procurement funding for 2015.

Posted by unhappycamper | Wed Aug 7, 2013, 08:21 AM (0 replies)

Half of potential jurors dismissed as jury selection resumes in Brig. Gen. Sinclair's court-martial


Half of potential jurors dismissed as jury selection resumes in Brig. Gen. Sinclair's court-martial
By Paul Woolverton
Published: 06:52 AM, Wed Aug 07, 2013

Ten potential jurors - all two-star and three-star generals - were considered on Tuesday for the sexual assault court-martial of Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair at Fort Bragg.


Sinclair, a former deputy commander of the 82nd Airborne, is charged with forcible oral sodomy, other unlawful sexual conduct, adultery, having inappropriate relationships with several women, fraud, disobeying orders and other misconduct.

Many of the charges are connected to an adulterous, three-year affair that Sinclair had with an Army captain under his command. She reported the affair and made the assault allegations in March 2012.

In addition to advancing jury selection, the judge, Col. James Pohl, on Tuesday said he denied several previous motions that Sinclair's defense team had pending.
Posted by unhappycamper | Wed Aug 7, 2013, 08:16 AM (0 replies)

Bagram: Torture, Detention Without End at US Military's 'Other Guantanamo


Prisoners languishing in US-run Afghan prison will have no hope as officials admit there is no plan to shut it down

Bagram: Torture, Detention Without End at US Military's 'Other Guantanamo
- Sarah Lazare, staff writer
Published on Monday, August 5, 2013 by Common Dreams

The US military has no plan to close the infamous Bagram prison in Afghanistan—often referred to as the "other Guantanamo"—despite claims it is winding down the US-led war in Afghanistan.

“Is there a plan (to close the prison)? No," Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the top U.S. general in Afghanistan, told the Washington Post in a report published Monday.

Top officials admitted a few weeks ago that there is no end in sight to the prison. "Our impression is that Bagram will remain open even after U.S. combat operations cease in December 2014," Pentagon spokesperson Todd Breasseale told Rolling Stone in late July.

In March, approximately 3,000 Afghan inmates were handed over to the Afghan authorities, who in exchange gave the US permission to continue running the prison for "third party nationals."
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Aug 6, 2013, 07:18 AM (0 replies)
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