President Donald Trump has asked the Pentagon to plan a grand parade of the U.S. armed forces in Washington this year to celebrate military strength and flex the US empire. This display of militarism will proceed in spite of the very people Trump claims to be honoring being vehemently opposed to it. In fact, an unofficial poll conducted by the military times found the 90% of people do not want a parade. Nevertheless, it will happen.
While many of Trump’s supporters favor the parade, for those who’ve actually served in the military, the idea of being forced to practice day in and day out for a march through Washington D.C. so civilians can pump out their chests with nationalist pride is terrible. There are far better ways to “support the troops” than forcing them to parade around in front of you.
Here’s an idea, end all the wars. If you really want to support the troops, stop using them as pawns in the spread of empire and the expansion of the military-industrial complex. If you really want to support the troops and veterans, how about we address the fact that tens of thousands of them sleep on the streets every single night in the country they offered up their lives for.
To show how much of an insult this parade is to troops and veterans, according to a recent report, the cost of this parade could directly benefit the 40,000 homeless veterans—by feeding them. Instead, it will go to fuel, logistics, drills, and flyovers.
Conservative estimates of the cost of the parade are around $10 million with the higher end budget coming in at $30 million. Even if we divide the lower end number by the total number of homeless veterans, that would be around $250 each.
As Newsweek reports, Feeding America, a non-profit organization and the nation’s largest hunger-relief and food rescue group, found the average cost-per-meal in the U.S. was $2.94 in 2015, the latest data available. The organization culled data from several organizations and agencies, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and found the cost-per-meal ranged from a low of $2.04 in Maverick County, Texas to a high of $5.61 in Crook County, Oregon.
What this means is that the cost of the parade could eliminate hunger among homeless veterans by providing all of them with three meals a day, for at least 14 days and that is using the highest estimate of $5.61.
If we use the average cost of a meal, homeless veterans could get three squares a day for nearly an entire month. While we didn’t ask all 40,000 homeless veterans if they prefer a parade or eating for a month, we are betting the prefer the latter.
Last month, Trump said that if the cost of the parade was exorbitant, he would choose not to have it.
“We’ll see if we can do it at a reasonable cost, and if we can’t, we won’t do it, but the generals would love to do it, I can tell you, and so would I,” he said.
However, this week, the Pentagon released a memo noting that the parade will go on as scheduled.
Although the president assured Americans that there won’t be tanks rolling down the streets, the display of military might will be a logistical nightmare for whatever poor units get stuck with doing it. And, all of it will be for Trump—not the troops.
Instead of chest pumping and back patting, if Trump wants to support the troops and veterans, he should start by addressing the problems plaguing them right now. Sadly, none of this has happened.
When 307,000 veterans die waiting for care they were promised by this country while the president gloats over military equipment, something is seriously wrong.
When the entire country looks the other way while there over 40,000 veterans living on the streets with no home as the president forces active duty military members to put on a show for him, something is seriously wrong.
When Americans remain silent as a veteran kills himself or herself every 65 minutes, every single day, every single month, of every single year as troops and humvees parade down Pennsylvania Avenue celebrating the war that caused these deaths, it’s time to seriously consider a national conversation about what “support the troops” really means. And no parade will ever do that.
Washington, DC — Last August, the Trump administration lifted a ban on military surplus hardware being transferred to police departments across the United States. The controversial 1033 program became a source of citizen outrage after images of police armed with military-grade weaponry, including grenade launchers and armored MRAPs, were beamed into people homes across the country during the battlefield-style police response to the rioting in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014.
As many Americans noted, Ferguson, Missouri looked like a war zone, with police kitted out in Marine-issue camouflage and military-grade body armor, toting short-barreled assault rifles, and rolling around in armored vehicles — virtually indistinguishable from US soldiers.
Shortly after the American public became widely aware, and largely outraged, over the extreme militarization of their local police forces, President Obama signed an Executive Order (EO) that blocked large-caliber weapons, armored vehicles, grenade launchers and other heavy military hardware from being repurposed from battlefields across the globe to small town USA.
This was one of very few notable pro-liberty moves by the Obama admin, however, thanks to the current administration, it is all gone.
The new Trump plan went into effect immediately and completely rolled back the EO that blocked state, county, and local police departments from obtaining military weapons of war. Unsurprisingly, drug warrior extraordinaire, Attorney General Jeff Session led the charge to reinstate the program.
Opening up the torrent of military weapons flowing back into the hands of the world’s deadliest police also opened up the conversation about much-needed scrutiny of this process. And now, a new report proves the need for this scrutiny.
As Tech Dirt reports, not everyone abuses this program, but those that do, do so spectacularly. An 11-member police force (8 full-time and 3 part-time) for a Delaware town with 400 residents has availed itself of more than $3 million in 1033 gear over the last five years. This first came to light late last year when documents obtained by Muckrock prompted town officials to wonder why they hadn’t been notified of the department’s stockpile.
When asked if the Dewey PD could account for all of the items by providing the physical location of items in their possession and paper trails for items sold, Sgt. Cliff Dempsey said, “We’re not going to comment on that matter at this time.”
On the agenda for a Nov. 11 Dewey Beach commissioners’ meeting is the discussion of three options for to the 1033 program:
1. require the DBPD to provide complete accounting for property received through any federal or surplus property program,
2. accept a recommendation from the town’s audit committee to utilize the town’s auditors, or
3. hire an independent consultant to conduct a more comprehensive review.
Earlier this month, the Milford Beacon published the results of a Freedom of Information Act request to the federal Defense Logistics Agency showing the scope of their weapons and equipment cache.
Some of the equipment can be located and some of it has been accounted for. However, what is public is only a fraction of their total arsenal.
As the Beacon reports, among hundreds of line items turned over between March 2013 and December 2017, the police acquired a total of 12 ATVs, 51 jackets or parkas and 13 space heaters, and 19 trucks of all kinds.
Nineteen trucks were received through the LESO program between March 2013 and December 2017. The department asked for many more than that.
Included in this cache of military vehicles—to police a town of 400 citizens—is an armored Humvee and another mine-resistant armored vehicle. There are more vehicles than their police officers can drive and the department apparently sees nothing wrong with this, nor do they want you to know about it.
What’s more, they are apparently profiting from the sale of some of the equipment and refusing to report how much they are making, who they are selling it to, or where the money is going.
As Tech Dirt points out, the extensive list of items obtained makes it appear the Dewey PD has stocked and furnished its office at federal taxpayers’ expense while avoiding any sort of local accountability.
The police department couldn’t care less about accountability either because everything they are doing is apparently legal. They are unafraid of telling the local government to kick rocks.
In November, the Dewey Beach commissioners voted to demand that police provide a full report of all transactions they’ve conducted under the 1033 program. To this date, they’ve yet to report a single thing to the council.
Source Article from http://thefreethoughtproject.com/dept-1033-amassing-secret-arsenal/
All personnel aboard a US military helicopter carrying American service members were killed in a crash in western Iraq, the US Central Command said on Friday. It did not say how many people were killed in the crash late on Thursday. A US military official told Reuters on Thursday the US HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter was carrying seven people. The crash did not appear to be the result of enemy activity, the command said. A second accompanying American helicopter immediately reported the crash and Iraqi security forces and coalition members secured the area. Two unnamed US officials, citing initial reports, said on Thursday the aircraft crashed near al-Qaim, a town in Anbar province close to the Syrian border.
A video showing a new set of tests of the cutting-edge hypersonic Kinzhal missile has been released by the Russian Defense Ministry. President Vladimir Putin earlier said the weapon is designed to penetrate any possible defenses.
The footage features a pair of MiG-31 aircraft carrying a single Kinzhal on its under-fuselage pylons. The planes take off and launch the ‘Kinzhal’ (Russian for “dagger”) missiles during high-altitude flight.
The video shows the very moment of the missile launch. The projectile can be seen detaching from the plane’s belly, shooting off the engine shroud and swiftly blasting away, leaving only a trail in the skies.
The new missile is currently undergoing tests and the pilots involved are getting a grip of the cutting-edge munition during their routine service, Col. Valery Antsibor, deputy commander of Russia’s main test-piloting center, said. Tests of this nature also help the ground crews and all other military personnel involved to get familiar with the new missiles.
The new weapon was unveiled on March 1 by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, with a range of other new arms, which include a nuclear-powered drone submarine, a combat laser system and even a nuclear-powered cruise missile of “unlimited range.”
The ‘Kinzhal’ missile has an effective range of 2,000km and can travel 10 times faster than the speed of sound. The munition is highly maneuverable and can reliably penetrate all the existing and even prospected air-defense systems, according to Russia’s President. The Kinzhal can be fitted with nuclear or conventional warheads.
A criminal investigation for corruption brought against the former President Lee Myung-bak (see photo), charged with corruption, has brought to light the existence of a secret military pact between South Korea and the United Arab Emirates.
Under this pact, concluded in the period 2009 – 2011 (which was during the presidential mandate (2008 to 2013) of Lee Myung Bak) South Korea undertook to defend the United Arab Emirates if a war broke out; an undertaking which it has only, to date, agreed to, with the United States.
This treaty forms part of a sales agreement for a nuclear centre to the Emirates. In December 2009, the South Korean company, Electric Power Corporation was victorious in its tender offer, prevailing over Areva (a French company), General Electric (a US company) and Hitachi (a Japanese company) to build a nuclear complex worth 40 billion dollars. Two of the four 1 400 megawatts reactors, provided for in the agreement, are almost complete. Indeed, the whole complex should be delivered before the end of 2018.
South Korea has deployed peace troops in the following countries:
in South Sudan (the Hanbit unit);
in Lebanon (the Dongmyung unit);
in Oman (the Cheonghae naval unit); and
in the United Arab Emirates (the Akhl (which means “brother” in Arabic) unit. Only 1600 of these men are authorized to fight.
The former President Lee Myung-bak has refused to comment on the revelations about the secret military pact with the United Arab Emirates.
South Korea is in the process of negotiating the construction of other nuclear centres in the region, specifically in Saudi Arabia.
The Emirates is militarily engaged on Saudi Arabia’s side in Yemen. The Saudi King is the leader of the Arab Coalition involved in the war against Yemen and the Emirates is a member of this coalition.
Source Article from http://www.voltairenet.org/article200010.html
March 8th, 2018
“For non-offensive uses only.”
Googleâ€™s artificial intelligence technologies are being used by the US military for one of its drone projects, causing controversy both inside and outside the company.
Googleâ€™s TensorFlow AI systems are being used by the US Department of Defenseâ€™s (DoD) Project Maven, which was established in July last year to use machine learning and artificial intelligence to analyse the vast amount of footage shot by US drones. The initial intention is to have AI analyse the video, detect objects of interest and flag them for a human analyst to review.
Drew Cukor, chief of the DoDâ€™s Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Function Team, said in July: â€œPeople and computers will work symbiotically to increase the ability of weapon systems to detect objects. Eventually we hope that one analyst will be able to do twice as much work, potentially three times as much, as theyâ€™re doing now. Thatâ€™s our goal.â€�
Project Maven forms part of the $7.4bn spent on AI and data processing by the DoD, and has seen the Pentagon partner with various academics and experts in the field of AI and data processing. It has reportedly already been put into use against Islamic State.
A Google spokesperson said: â€œThis specific project is a pilot with the Department of Defense, to provide open source TensorFlow APIs that can assist in object recognition on unclassified data. The technology flags images for human review, and is for non-offensive uses only.â€�
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Source Article from http://www.cryptogon.com/?p=52472
Last month (January), India signed a contract with the Seychelles to install a military base on this archipelago. This was in the context of an Indian initiative, Security and Growth for All in the Region — SAGAR.
Narendra Modi’s government intends to deploy its army in the Indian Ocean after China installed two military bases in Djibouti and in Sri Lanka (Hambantota) and is negotiating the installation of a third with the Republic of Maldives.
Source Article from http://www.voltairenet.org/article199924.html