Tag Archives | Military

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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U.S. Military Switching From Lead To ‘Green’ Bullets

M855A1 cartridge and bulletJust what is a “green” bullet, you may well ask. Fox News casts its skeptical eye over an attempt to decrease the the amount of lead in our environment:

When the last bullet-producing lead smelter closes its doors on Dec. 31, it will mark a major victory for those who say lead-based ammunition pollutes the environment, but others warn ‘green’ bullets will cost more, drive up copper prices and do little to help conservation.

The bid to ban lead bullets, seen by some as harmful to the environment, started slowly more than a decade ago. But with two dozen states, including California, banning bullets made of the soft, heavy metal, the lead bullet’s epitaph was already being written when the federal government finished it off.

First, the military announced plans to phase out lead bullets by 2018.

Then the federal Environmental Protection Agency, citing emissions, ordered the shutdown of the Doe Run company’s lead smelter in Herculaneum, Mo., by year’s end.

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How America Is Militarizing Borders Around The World

borderTomDispatch on the ballooning border-military-industrial complex:

CESFRONT is an outgrowth of a U.S. effort to promote “strong borders” abroad as part of its Global War on Terror. An overlooked manifestation of U.S. imperial policy in the post-9/11 era [is that] militarized borders are becoming ever more common throughout the world, especially in areas of U.S. influence.

In a seminal article “Where’s the U.S. Border?,” Michael Flynn, founder of the Global Detention Project, described the expansion of U.S. “border enforcement” to the planet in the context of the Global War on Terror as essentially a new way of defining national sovereignty. “U.S. border control efforts,” he argued, “have undergone a dramatic metamorphosis in recent years as the United States has attempted to implement practices aimed at stopping migrants long before they reach U.S. shores.”

In this way, borders are, in a sense, being both built up and torn down. Just as with the drones that, from Pakistan to Somalia, the White House sends across national boundaries to execute those it has identified as our enemies, so with border patrolling: definitions of U.S.

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Medical, Military, and Ethics Experts Say Health Professionals Designed and Participated in Cruel, Inhumane, and Degrading Treatment and Torture of Detainees

The documentary “Doctors of the Dark Side” revealed the issues highlighted in the report.

The Institute on Medicine as a Profession’s press release, below, summarizes the report “Ethics Abandoned: Medical Professionalism and Detainee Abuse in the War on Terror” that is causing a massive stir in the media. Let’s hope it ends up affecting policy…

New York, NY — An independent panel of military, ethics, medical, public health, and legal experts today charged that U.S. military and intelligence agencies directed doctors and psychologists working in U.S. military detention centers to violate standard ethical principles and medical standards to avoid infliction of harm. The Task Force on Preserving Medical Professionalism in National Security Detention Centers (see attached) concludes that since September 11, 2001, the Department of Defense (DoD) and CIA improperly demanded that U.S. military and intelligence agency health professionals collaborate in intelligence gathering and security practices in a way that inflicted severe harm on detainees in U.S.

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U.S. Military Will Have ‘Iron Man’ Suit Prototype In 12 Months

As disinfonauts well know, any cool invention from science fiction will eventually become science reality, Iron Man suits are on the way reports the Los Angeles Times:
Army Capt. Brian Dowling was leading his Special Forces team through a steep mountain pass in eastern Afghanistan when insurgents ambushed his patrol, leaving two of his soldiers pinned down with life-threatening wounds. After a furious firefight, the two men were rescued, but that episode in 2006 would change Dowling's life. Now employed by a small defense company, he is part of a crash effort by U.S. Special Operations Command to produce a radically new protective suit for elite soldiers to wear into battle — one with bionic limbs, head-to-toe armor, a built-in power supply and live data feeds projected on a see-through display inside the helmet. They call it — what else? — the "Iron Man suit." "We're taking the Iron Man concept and bringing it closer to reality," said Dowling, referring to the Marvel Comics character Tony Stark, an industrialist and master engineer who builds a rocket-powered exoskeleton, turning himself into a superhero. The Special Operations Command began soliciting ideas for the suit this year from industry, academia and government labs, and has held two conferences where potential bidders, including Dowling's company, Revision Military, demonstrated their products. Military officials say they are trying to produce a working prototype within the next 12 months. But no contracts have been signed, and the Pentagon has not ventured to make a cost estimate...
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The Six Primary Reasons for Why They Hate Us

via chycho

Why-Do-You-Hate-UsIn response to 9/11, on September 20, 2001, then President George W. Bush delivered a speech in which he deflected and trivialized the reasons for the grievances that many around the globe have regarding U.S. foreign policy. In his address to a joint session of Congress and the nation, in his attempt to answer America’s questions as to “Why do they hate us?”, he stated:

“They hate what they see right here in this chamber: a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms: our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.”

Now that most of us are well aware that the situation is a lot more complicated than they hate us because of “our freedoms”, let’s hear what some of those reasons are.

In the following House Homeland Security Committee meeting held on October 9, 2013, former CIA intelligence officer, Michael F.Read the rest

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Military To Use “Spy Rocks” For Surveillance

spy rocksThere’s no one around to hear us but that rock sitting over there. Wired UK reports:

At the annual AUSA Army meeting in Washington, DC, Lockheed Martin showcased developments in their surveillance technology called SPAN (Self-Powered Ad-hoc Network), a “covert, perpetually self-powered wireless sensor network” that can provide “unobtrusive, continuous surveillance” in units so small they can fit in a rock.

SPAN is a mesh network of self-organizing sensors that, when triggered, can cue a camera or an unmanned aerial vehicle to further study an area, or summon an engineer when a pipeline or bridge structure is in danger or fractured.

Lockheed touts the “field-and-forget” technology as providing maximum coverage at minimal costs, claiming that the sensors can remain in the field for years at a time without maintenance, powered by solar technology. The defense contractor is hoping to sell its spy rocks for surveillance, border protection, pipeline monitoring and bridge security, among other things.

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United States Eases Regulations on Exporting Weapons: “Quit Arming the Fucking World, Man”, Bill Hicks

via chycho
arms_sales
So, it looks like “in a boon for military contractors, the United States is relaxing controls on military exports, allowing some U.S.-made military parts to flow to nearly any country in the world with little oversight.”

Considering these latest revelations, I thought it would be worthwhile sharing a few wise words from one of the greatest teachers that I have ever come across, Bill Hicks:

“Quit arming the fucking world, man…. We keep arming these little countries and then going blowing the shit out of ‘em. We’re like the bullies of the globe. We’re like Jack Palance in the movie Shane, throwing a pistol at the sheep herder’s feet.”

Bill Hicks on Arming The world

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