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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

F-35 pilots left blind.

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (AFP Photo / HO / US Navy / MCS2D)
The ill-fated F-22 fighter jet isn’t the only aircraft that has the Pentagon scratching their head. A new report published by the US Government Accountability Office reveals that the insanely expensive F-35 plane has its fair share of problems too.
As the US Air Force tries to examine the culprit behind the dozens of reported incidents logged onboard its fleet of F-22s, its allegedly more advanced sister plane isn’t sitting too pretty either. According to the GAO’s annual report on the F-35 (pic), the future of the program pegged at costing the Pentagon more than $1.5 trillion over the next three decades is up in the air. The planes, on the other hand — well, not so much.
At the center of the controversy keeping Air Force officials scrambling for explanations is a state-of-the-art visor that is supposed to provide pilots with up-to-the-second information about the aircraft’s every move. The report says that the visor is "integral to the mission systems architecture,” which is now being jeopardized because the headgear isn’t providing pilots with the right information. The problem seems to be with the visor’s inability to counter the turbulence the planes encounter during their mission that move them at upwards of 1,200 miles-per-hour, which is instead creating an error being called “display jitter,” described as “the undesired shaking of display, making symbology unreadable.”
Since the F-35 is expected to operate in tandem with a correctly calibrated visor, these jitters aren’t just causing headaches for the pilots expected to wear them. The website Foreign Policy reports that since the system relies on working headgear, the Pentagon is now developing a replacement piece that is expected to add another $80 million to the program’s price tag, which has already exceeded the estimated cost by around $1 billion.
Although the F-35 isn’t expected to be up and running until 2018, the actual launch date might be even later. The GAO’s report reveals that the plane also has been documented to have problems with landing in tight spaces and the software that helps power it is in desperate need of an upgrade. Then there is another issue involving the craft’s tailhook, which, if corrected, might cause even more problems to arise. If redesigned, the GAO says that "other aircraft structural modifications may also be required,” skyrocketing the completion cost to even more astronomical numbers.
Amid testing of the fleet, the Air Force has already grounded around $400 billion worth of F-35 fighters no fewer than three times. Earlier this year, US Air Force Major General John F. Thompson, deputy Joint Strike Force Program executive officer, told reporters that the military vowed to see no further delays in the F-35 program that has so far been marred with mishaps. Both Britain and Australia had expressed interesting in purchasing F-35s from the Pentagon to be used in their own military, but in March asked for more time to consider the contract after the last slew of incidents had foreign air forces reconsideri
Full report RT  |  18 June, 2012

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Most Staggering Moments From A New Documentary About Military Rape.

Ariana Klay Invisible War
Lauren Brown | Jun. 18, 2012,

A new documentary by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Kirby Dick attempts to shed light on what's becoming known as America's best kept secret: the epidemic of rape in the military.
Inspired by a 2007 Salon story by journalist Helen Benedict, "The Invisible War" tells the stories of both female and male servicemembers who were raped by their peers and commanders. In most cases the military did nothing to prosecute the perpetrators and in some cases actually punished the victims. 
These are some of the staggering statistics revealed in the film (all sources come from U.S. government studies):
  • An estimated 500,000 men and women in the military have been sexually assaulted since WWII
  • In 2009, an estimated 20,000 men were victims of military sexual assault
  • Prosecution rates are extremely low: in 2011, officials received more than 3,000 reports of sexual assault and less than 200 military members were convicted
  • An estimated 15 percent of recruits attempted or committed rape before entering service—which is double the rate in civilian society
  • Twenty-five percent of women didn't report an incident because their commander was their rapist
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta watched the film on April 14. Two days later he ordered that sexual assault investigations be moved to a higher ranking colonel. He also announced that each branch of the armed forces would establish a Special Victims Unit.

Chicago more dangerous than Afghanistan?

AFP Photo / Jewel Samad

Along with deep dish pizza pies and some of the best museums America has to offer, Chicago, Illinois can now advertise that it offers something else special for tourists: a good chance of being shot at. So far in 2012, more people have been killed in the metropolitan Midwest city than the number of US servicemen in Afghanistan, where American troops are trying to tie up the loose ends in a war that’s approaching the eleventh year mark.
Barely six months into 2012, Chicago has already hosted 228 homicides this year; overseas in Afghanistan, the body count for US troops has reached a comparably meager 144. Matched up against other major cities, Chicago’s murder rate exceeds four-times what residents of New York have experienced this year, reports The Daily. What’s worse, however, is that death toll isn’t expected to teeter off anytime soon.
“Violence has always been most pronounced on summer weekends in Chicago,” Roseanna Ander of the University of Chicago Crime Lab tells The Daily. “One likely factor [for this year’s rise in gun violence] is the warmer-than-usual weather and the early spring. Over 80 percent of shootings occur outdoors and in public places.”
Temperatures in Chicago are already in the low-90s and expected to only increase in the coming weeks and month before autumn weather aims to make the Windy City that much more tolerable. In the meantime, however, homicide detectives have their work cut out for them. Last weekend saw nine people in Chicago killed in only the span a few hours, which came but two weeks after another 10 lost their lives in shootouts.
"I don't know how to overcome it, except to keep communicating the facts," Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy told reporters this week, reports the Chicago Tribune. "And that's what we're going to continue to do."
The homicide rate for the city of Chicago is so far up 50 percent from one year earlier. That isn’t to say, of course, that the recent surge is the start of an all new trend. Since the War in Afghanistan began in late 2001, around 2,000 US soldiers have lost their lives while fighting for Uncle Sam; during that same span of time, homicides in Chicago have exceeded 5,000.
“If you look at past decades, you see, as in the rest of the country, a significant decrease in shootings and homicides,”McCarthy adds to The Daily. “But we have haven’t moved as far down as cities like L.A. and New York.”
US President Barack Obama and his family were in Chicago this weekend to attend the wedding of a family friend, an event which prompted the Chicago Police Department to dispatch between 100 and 200 cops to patrol the area, reports The Chicago Sun-Times’. Although it’s not unusual for law enforcement presence for be that extreme for an event featuring such high caliber guests, some officer say that the city might have better things to do with its police force.
“Just look at what’s been happening every single weekend,” Daniel Gorman, vice president of Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police, tells The Daily. “Although we appreciate the overtime, we still can’t ignore that we’ve got a manpower crisis, and the recent violence in the city is proof of that crisis.”

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Arming, to be used on peaceful demonstrators!

Russia : Arms America sold used against peaceful demonstration...

Published on Jun 14, 2012 by hjmanan : Sergey Lavrov, Foreign Minister of Russia speaking after he refuted Hillary Clinton allegation of Russia selling helicopter-gunships to Syria. He accused America of selling to Egypt & Gulf States for used in suppression.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Military Suicide Epidemic:

DN : More U.S. Soldiers Have Killed Themselves Than Died on Battlefield in 2012

More U.S. soldiers have died this year by taking their own lives than on the battlefield. The Pentagon says there have been at least 154 suicides among active-duty troops in 2012, a rate of nearly one each day. We’re joined by three guests: Kevin Hines, who survived a jump off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and now counsels suicidal soldiers; Bonnie Carroll, co-chair of the Pentagon’s Task Force on the Prevention of Suicide in the Armed Forces and president of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors; and journalist Aaron Glantz, author of the book "The War Comes Home: Washington’s Battle Against America’s Veterans."

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Border agency overextended on drone program.

The Homeland Security Department ordered so many drones it can’t keep them all flying and doesn’t have a good plan for how to use them, according to a new audit the department’s inspector general released Monday.
In a blunt assessment, investigators said Customs and Border Protection's Office of Air and Marine has a fleet of nine “unmanned aircraft systems” and is awaiting a 10th — though it doesn’t have enough ground support and doesn’t have a good plan for prioritizing missions.
“CBP procured unmanned aircraft before implementing adequate plans,” the investigators said.
The Defense Department uses armed drones overseas in its war on terror, and a U.S. Navy drone crashed on Maryland’s Eastern Shore on Monday afternoon, according to the Associated Press.
American law enforcement agencies at all levels are also increasingly turning to drones for use in detecting or preventing crimes in the U.S. But they find themselves butting heads with civil libertarians who worry about intrusion into innocent citizens’ private lives.
The inspector general said given the number of aircraft, CBP should have been able to fly more than 10,000 hours of missions per year, but in the year under review the agency flew less than 4,000 hours.
Underscoring the ad hoc approach, the agency doesn’t have a dedicated budget for running drones, and has had to siphon money from other areas to keep the program afloat. Investigators said the budget woes mean future missions may have to be scrapped — yet the underfunded fleet continues to grow.
“Despite the current underutilization of unmanned aircraft, CBP received two additional aircraft in late 2011 and was awaiting delivery of a tenth aircraft in 2012,” the inspector general said.
In a statement, CBP officials said they accepted the auditor’s recommendations and will work to improve the program.
“CBP’s Unmanned Aircraft System program provides command, control, communication, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capability to support personnel and capabilities on the ground,” the agency said.
Since fiscal year 2004, when CBP conducted its first pilot study of using drones, the federal government has spent $240.6 million on the program, with each Predator B drone in the fleet costing about $14 million.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Israel's mass evacuation plan

Published on Jun 11, 2012 by infolivetvenglish : The Ministerial Committee on Home Front Affairs is set to discuss a plan for a mass evacuation in the event of a missile attack. According to the plan, entire cities will be moved to southern Israel around Eilat and the Arava area. One source at the Home Front Protection Ministry said that towns near Ariel may also serve as temporary evacuation centers. The plan also applies to cases of natural disasters at the national level and is a reworking of one of Israel's contingency plans. According to the plan, citizens of central and northern Israel will be housed in schools, educational establishments and even boarding schools, bed and breakfasts and hotels in cases of national emergency. Home Front Protection Minister Matan Vilnai said that after a briefing from the national security adviser, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu green-lighted the plan. It will be introduced to various government ministers after being approved by the ministerial committee. The plan is estimated to cost hundreds of millions of shekels.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

NDAA banned: Indefinite detention of Americans 'unconstitutional'

Published on Jun 8, 2012 by RussiaToday : A Federal judge in the US has ruled Washington cannot indefinitely detain Americans suspected of having terrorist ties unless they have been found in connection with the September Eleventh attacks. It comes just six months after President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act, which would have allowed American citizens to be held without trial or charge. The judge initially ruled the act was unconstitutional last month, but the Obama administration asked her to reconsider the ruling. Attorney Carl Mayer says the act threatened Americans' basic freedoms.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Bruce Willis and Demi Moore's Daughter Scout Arrested For Underage Drinking

Scout Willis

Bruce Willis and Demi Moore's 20-year-old daughter, Scout LaRue Willis, was arrested Monday afternoon for underage drinking.
Willis, who is a student at Brown University, was caught with an open 8 oz. Pakistani beer in Union Square.
When a police officer asked for identification, Willis handed over a fake ID with the name "Katherine Kelly" before revealing her real identity.
Willis was then cited for misdemeanor criminal impersonation and open container law violation. She was released without bail early Tuesday morning but is due for a court appearance on July 31.
Willis' troubles come just a few months after her mother Demi left rehab following a seizure at home while partying with a group of friends and her oldest daughter, Rumer.

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