Tag Archives | Military

Japanese Man Self-Immolates In Protest of PM Abe’s Plans for Military Expansion, Japanese Media Ignores It Completely

man-shinjuku-self-immolate-burn-death-suicide-protest-collective-self-defense-3“Free media” my entire ass.  I walked into work here in Tokyo and neither the Danish fella I work with nor his Japanese wife had heard anything about a man self-immolating in downtown Tokyo,  despite it happening in the middle of the day at Shinjuku Station, possibly the busiest train station in the world.  This is likely because not a single major Japanese news service covered it at all.

Prime Minister Abe’s plan to revise Article 9 of the Japanese constitution, which limits their military actions to a non-aggressive, purely defensive philosophy, is not really a new thing.  In the past, both the UN and the US have requested that Japan get themselves a “real” army (apparently the highest military budget in Asia doesn’t give you a “real” army), but massive protests from the populace have killed any efforts to do so.

There also hasn’t been any mention of the massive protests currently happening in the city yet.… Read the rest

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Mexican Military Helicopter Crosses Border And Fires On Border Patrol Agents

Mexico Pot CultivationScary stuff. Probably happens (on both sides) more often than we know. It was a “drug interdiction” mission.

TUCSON – News 4 Tucson has learned a Mexican military helicopter travelled across the border and fired on U.S. Border Patrol agents.

It happened in the early morning hours Thursday, west of the San Miguel Gate on the Tohono O’Odham Nation. The chopper fired on the agents but missed them. The chopper then flew back into Mexico. We’re told Mexican authorities contacted the U.S. and apologized for the incident.

We’ve received two statements regarding the incident:

Art del Cueto, Border Patrol Tucson Sector union president:

The incident occurred after midnight and before 6 a.m. Helicopter flew into the U.S. and fired on two U.S. Border Patrol agents. The incident occurred west of the San Miguel Gate on the Tohono O’odham Indian Nation. The agents were unharmed. The helicopter went back into Mexico. Mexico then contacted U.S.

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American Police Departments Adding Military Weapons and Materiel

Nash BearcatThe unwinding of the massive American military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan means that there’s a lot of surplus military equipment that the armed forces are offering to US police departments, many of whom are now equipped better than some armies to fight a war reports the New York Times. Who they are fighting against is an open question for the comments…

NEENAH, Wis. — Inside the municipal garage of this small lakefront city, parked next to the hefty orange snowplow, sits an even larger truck, this one painted in desert khaki. Weighing 30 tons and built to withstand land mines, the armored combat vehicle is one of hundreds showing up across the country, in police departments big and small.

The 9-foot-tall armored truck was intended for an overseas battlefield. But as President Obama ushers in the end of what he called America’s “long season of war,” the former tools of combat — M-16 rifles, grenade launchers, silencers and more — are ending up in local police departments, often with little public notice.

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Obama’s Plan To Use The Military Against American Citizens

Picture: Pete Souza (PD)

Picture: Pete Souza (PD)

I doubt that this will surprise too many disinfonauts, but the Washington Times has found a Pentagon directive describing President Obama’s plan to use military force against Americans – in America:

A 2010 Pentagon directive on military support to civilian authorities details what critics say is a troubling policy that envisions the Obama administration’s potential use of military force against Americans.

The directive contains noncontroversial provisions on support to civilian fire and emergency services, special events and the domestic use of the Army Corps of Engineers.

The troubling aspect of the directive outlines presidential authority for the use of military arms and forces, including unarmed drones, in operations against domestic unrest.

“This appears to be the latest step in the administration’s decision to use force within the United States against its citizens,” said a defense official opposed to the directive.

Directive No. 3025.18, “Defense Support of Civil Authorities,” was issued Dec.

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Twenty Percent of US Soldiers Had Mental Illness Before Enlisting

120117-A-0000X-771 (7016614597)Some people might say you’d have to have a mental problem to enlist in the military, but that’s not exactly the point of a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry as reported in The Guardian:

The first three studies in a large research initiative to better understand US military suicides indicates that some patterns in military suicide are reflective of mental health problems in the civilian population.

The Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (Army Starrs) uses data from existing army systems and what researchers can collect from soldiers to better understand why soldiers might be at an increased risk for suicidal behavior compared to the civilian population.

Two of the three papers, published Monday in Jama Psychiatry, show the results of surveys and interviews with 5,428 soldiers which looked at theprevalence of mental disorders among non-deployed soldiers and suicidal behavior among currently deployed soldiers. The third study tested common theories about military suicide using historical data.

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A Boot Stamping on a Human Face Forever: How the Revolution Will Be Defeated

Pic: US GOV. (PD)

Pic: US GOV. (PD)

Rania Khalek writes at Alternet:

The US is at the forefront of an international arms development effort that includes a remarkable assortment of technologies, which look and sound like they belong in a Hollywood science fiction thriller. From microwave energy blasters and blinding laser beams, to chemical agents and deafening sonic blasters, these weapons are at the cutting edge of crowd control.

The Pentagon’s approved term for these weapons is “non-lethal” or “less-lethal” and they are intended for use against the unarmed . Designed to “control crowds, clear streets, subdue and restrain individuals and secure borders,” they are the 21st century’s version of the police baton, pepper spray and tear gas. As journalist  Ando Arike puts it, “The result is what appears to be the first arms race in which the opponent is the general population.”

The demand for non-lethal weapons (NLW) is rooted in the rise of television. In the 1960s and ’70s the medium let everyday Americans witness the violent tactics used to suppress the civil rights and anti-war movements.

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America’s Black-Ops Blackout

200px-United_States_Special_Operations_Command_InsigniaNich Turse writes at Tomgram:

“Dude, I don’t need to play these stupid games. I know what you’re trying to do.”  With that, Major Matthew Robert Bockholt hung up on me.

More than a month before, I had called U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) with a series of basic questions: In how many countries were U.S. Special Operations Forces deployed in 2013? Are manpower levels set to expand to 72,000 in 2014?  Is SOCOM still aiming for growth rates of 3%-5% per year?  How many training exercises did the command carry out in 2013?  Basic stuff.

And for more than a month, I waited for answers.  I called.  I left messages.  I emailed.  I waited some more.  I started to get the feeling that Special Operations Command didn’t want me to know what its Green Berets and Rangers, Navy SEALs and Delta Force commandos — the men who operate in the hottest of hotspots and most remote locales around the world — were doing.

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Pentagon Lays Out Blueprint For Robot Wars Of The Future

Pic: USDOD (PD)

Pic: USDOD (PD)

Prepare for more drone warfare.

Via Christian Science Monitor:

At a NASCAR racetrack in Miami earlier this month, teams from NASA, Google, and 14 other groups of engineering gurus put cutting-edge robots through some challenging paces.

The aim was to see how well the robots could tackle tasks that may sound simple, but are tricky for nonhumans – including, say, climbing a ladder, unscrewing a hose from a spigot, navigating over rubble, and steering a car.

The contest was dreamed up by the Pentagon’s futuristic experimentation arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and senior defense officials were watching it carefully – well aware that the Pentagon is growing increasingly reliant on robotics.

The Defense Department will become even more reliant on such devices in the decades to come. That’s the conclusion of a new blueprint quietly released by the Pentagon this week, which offers some telling clues about the future of unmanned systems – in other words, drones and robots.

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Drone Wars Go Underwater With New U.S. Navy ‘Glider’

US Navy 101021-N-5972N-006 Daniel Braun, left, Eric Sanchez and David Barney, Systems Center Pacific engineers at Space and Naval Warfare Systems CThanks to activists like Robert Greenwald and his new film Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars, many Americans are well aware of the ominous threat of weaponized aerial drones. Few, however, know that the United States Navy also has a drone program. From TIME Swampland:

While you were out shopping Sunday for those last-minute holiday gifts, the Navy pushed ahead with its own vision of an underwater sugar plum: a fleet of “long endurance, transoceanic gliders harvesting all energy from the ocean thermocline.”

And you thought Jules Verne died in 1905.

Fact is, the Navy has been seeking—pretty much under the surface—a way to do underwater what the Air Force has been doing in the sky: prowl stealthily for long periods of time, and gather the kind of data that could turn the tide in war.

The Navy’s goal is to send an underwater drone, which it calls a “glider,” on a roller-coaster-like path for up to five years.

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