Tag Archives | Pentagon

Pentagon Workers Found To Have Downloaded Child Pornography

PentagonEwen MacAskill writes for the Guardian:

Dozens of Pentagon staff and contractors with high-level security clearance have been found by US federal investigators to have downloaded child pornography.

A spokesman said the defence department takes such matters seriously but would not comment on specific cases.

The Pentagon concern is not just that crimes have been committed, though that alone would be grounds for dismissal, but that it makes those involved security risks.

One of those charged was a contractor who had security clearance at the National Security Agency, which eavesdrops on communications worldwide. He fled the US and is thought to be hiding in Libya.

Details about links between the Pentagon and child pornography were disclosed yesterday in the Boston Globe.

The paper quotes an internal report from the defence criminal investigative service in 2009 which says that though the number found to be involved is small compared with the number employed by the defence department and related organisations, it leaves those involved “at risk of blackmail, bribery, and threats, especially since these individuals typically have access to military installations”.

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Pentagon Asks Troops How Gross It Would Be To Shower With A Gay Person

PentagonAlex Pareene writes on Salon.com:

The Pentagon is surveying 400,000 active troops on how they would handle a potential repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” It is kind of a mess.

Some gay rights groups are concerned that the gay and lesbian service members could inadvertently out themselves by filling it out. The survey is sorta-mostly anonymous, but the Defense Department will not provide immunity to anyone outed. On the other hand, if LGBT service members don’t fill it out, the results could be weighted in favor of semi-anonymous homophobia.

As for the content of the survey? Well, it’s got questions like this:

“If Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is repealed and you are assigned to bathroom facilities with an open bay shower that someone you believe to be a gay or lesbian Service member also used, which are you most likely to do? Mark 1.”

  • “Take no action;
  • “Use the shower at a different time than the Service member I thought to be gay or lesbian;
  • “Discuss how we expect each other to behave and conduct ourselves;
  • “Talk to a chaplain, mentor, or leader about how to handle the situation;
  • “Talk to a leader to see if I had other options;
  • “Something else;
  • “Don’t know.”

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Holy DARPA, Batman! Pentagon’s BaTMAN and RoBIN Projects Attempt to Master Biology

Who knew that reading comic books or watching the classic ’60s Batman TV show would lead to this? Katie Drummond writes in WIRED’s Danger Room:
Batman & Robin

The Pentagon’s blue-sky research arm has outdone itself this time. Darpa’s got two new projects that are ambitious in scope, even by their standards. So maybe that explains why the agency opted to enlist some awesomely bad superhero acronyms to characterize the way-out endeavors.

At least, that’s the best explanation Danger Room can come up with. Because it’s tough to see a connection between the fundamental nature of time, biological design … and Gotham City’s Caped Crusader and Boy Wonder.

Leave it up to the prodigious acronym artists at the Pentagon — responsible for gems like RESURRECT, NIRVANA and DUDE — to go for it anyway. Darpa’s launching Biochronicity and Temporal Mechanisms Arising in Nature (BaTMAN), in an effort to better understand “the spatio-temporal universe,” and, from there, “transform biology from a descriptive to a predictive field of science.”

It’s an area the Darpa’s been exploring for years, especially when it comes to quantum effects in nature.

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The Pentagon’s New Map on The Black Fridays

The Black Fridays Episode 21 — Dr. Thomas Barnett

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The Black Fridays proudly welcome Dr. Thomas Barnett to the show. Dr. Barnett earned his Masters and PhD at Harvard, and is a much sought after Public Speaker, Author, and Blogger.

From 1998 through 2004, Dr. Barnett was a Senior Strategic Researcher and Professor in the Warfare Analysis & Research Department, Center for Naval Warfare Studies, U.S. Naval War College, Newport RI, where he taught and served in a senior advisory role with military and civilian leaders in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, Central Command, Special Operations Command, and Joint Forces Command.

Dr. Barnett has written for Esquire, Wired, National Review, and the Washington Post, and has been interviewed by Rolling Stone, the Economist, Time, BBC World Service, CNN, Fox News and numerous foreign media.… Read the rest

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U.S. Military Lost In A Sea Of PowerPoints

The New York Times reports on our military’s obsession with PowerPoint presentations — and suggests that overuse of the alternately vague, simplistic, and confusing slide shows contributes to questionable decision-making and a separation from reality. Does PowerPoint hold some small share of blame for the Iraq War?

“PowerPoint makes us stupid,” Gen. James N. Mattis of the Marine Corps, the Joint Forces commander, said this month at a military conference in North Carolina.

“It’s dangerous because it can create the illusion of understanding and the illusion of control,” General McMaster said in a telephone interview afterward. “Some problems in the world are not bullet-izable.”

Image: U.S. military slide presentation via New York Times

Image: U.S. military slide presentation via New York Times

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U.S. Military Warns Of Massive Oil Shortage In Five Years

riotsIs this just a scare tactic, or is the military seeing things more accurately than the rest of our government? In contrast with rosier predictions by others — others such as the Department of Energy — a new Pentagon report paints an ominous picture of world-changing oil shortages just a few years away, the Guardian reports:

“By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 million barrels per day,” says the report, which has a foreword by a senior commander, General James N Mattis.

It adds: “While it is difficult to predict precisely what economic, political, and strategic effects such a shortfall might produce, it surely would reduce the prospects for growth in both the developing and developed worlds. Such an economic slowdown would exacerbate other unresolved tensions, push fragile and failing states further down the path toward collapse, and perhaps have serious economic impact on both China and India.”

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Pentagon Hired ‘Crackpot’ Conspiracy Theorist As Al Qaeda Specialist

Justin Elliott writes on TPM Muckraker:
Laurie Mylroie

When the Pentagon’s internal think tank decided in 2004 it needed a better understanding of Al Qaeda, it turned to an unlikely source: the terrorism analyst Laurie Mylroie, who was known as the chief purveyor of the discredited idea that Saddam Hussein was behind Sept. 11 and many other attacks carried out by Al Qaeda.

Mylroie was paid roughly $75,000 to produce a 300-page study, “The History of Al Qaida,” for the Defense Department think tank, known as the Office of Net Assessment, a DOD spokesman tells us. The study, which is dated September 2005, was posted on an intelligence blog last month.

It documents the development of Al Qaeda and spends many pages dancing around the theory that has defined Mylroie’s career — that key Qaeda leaders acted at the behest of the Iraqi regime. She also argues that group-think among U.S. analysts has obscured the true nature of the terrorist group.

Those who know Mylroie’s work are shocked that the Pentagon would hire her.

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The Man Who Conned The Pentagon

Playboy doing what it does best: publishing stories that more respectable publications won’t touch:

The weeks before Christmas brought no hint of terror. But by the afternoon of December 21, 2003, police stood guard in heavy assault gear on the streets of Manhattan. Fighter jets patrolled the skies. When a gift box was left on Fifth Avenue, it was labeled a suspicious package and 5,000 people in the Metropolitan Museum of Art were herded into the cold.

It was Code Orange. Americans first heard of it at a Sunday press conference in Washington, D.C. Weekend assignment editors sent their crews up Nebraska Avenue to the new Homeland Security offices, where DHS secretary Tom Ridge announced the terror alert. “There’s continued discussion,” he told reporters, “these are from credible sources—about near-term attacks that could either rival or exceed what we experienced on September 11.” The New York Times reported that intelligence sources warned “about some unspecified but spectacular attack.”

The financial markets trembled.

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Pentagon Unveils New Chembot

via cnet

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the U.S. Army Research Office awarded a multimillion-dollar contract to iRobot to create the flexible military bot. The maker of the Roomba and Scooba, along with University of Chicago researchers, showed off the oozy results at the Iros conference (the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems) in St. Louis this week.

DARPA envisions the palm-size ChemBot as a mobile robot that can traverse soft terrain and navigate through small openings, such as tiny wall cracks, during reconnaissance and search-and-rescue missions. It gets around by way of a process called “jamming,” in which material can transition between semiliquid and solid states with only a slight change in volume.

In ChemBot’s case, a flexible silicone skin encapsulates a series of pockets containing a mix of air and loosely packed particles. When air is removed from the compartments, the skin attempts to equalize the pressure differential by constricting the particles, which shift slightly to fill the void left by the evacuated air.

In that way, the weird little blob inflates and deflates parts of its body, changing size and shape–and scaring the living daylights out of us. We don’t know exactly when ChemBot will join the Armed Forces, but we can only beg: please, oh please, keep it away from us.

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