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Posts Tagged ‘F-35’

Funding Israel and Her Enemies, with Grant F. Smith

Posted by M. C. on November 19, 2020

Use link to access interview

https://mailchi.mp/28782d715dc3/whens-the-last-time-you-got-scammed?e=de2d0eded6

Did you know that the United States makes a lot of money selling weapons to the Middle East? A lot of money is exchanged, and U.S. weapons are used to fuel Middle East wars. But all the best con artists make the dupe feel like a winner. 
“Just by understanding the scam that is the QME, you can also better understand the scam that exists on a much broader level.” —Grant F. Smith
What is the scam? And how do we protect ourselves from being ripped off?

Grant F. Smith describes the QME scam in detail, involving the United States selling F-35 fighter jets to both sides of an arms race. Listen to the discussion by clicking the link below.

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Forget Huawei, US spying on Denmark shows the real threat for European countries comes from Washington — RT Op-ed

Posted by M. C. on November 18, 2020

The purpose was to gather information on Denmark’s fighter jet acquisition program, with Washington aiming to secure Copenhagen’s procurement of Lockheed Martin F-35s at the expense of European defense firms.

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/506964-huawei-us-spy-denmark/

Tom Fowdy is a British writer and analyst of politics and international relations with a primary focus on East Asia.

Revelations that America engaged in surveillance on Denmark should come as no surprise. It has consistently spied on its allies, and its efforts to vilify Huawei are simply an attempt to create a smokescreen.

Denmark’s public broadcaster DK has revealed, citing anonymous sources, that the US National Security Agency (NSA) cooperated with the country’s intelligence services in spying on the Danish ministries of finance and foreign affairs.

The purpose was to gather information on Denmark’s fighter jet acquisition program, with Washington aiming to secure Copenhagen’s procurement of Lockheed Martin F-35s at the expense of European defense firms. 

The story, while covered in Denmark and the Netherlands, was largely ignored in the English-speaking international media. The espionage scandal comes at a time when Washington is aggressively pushing the idea of a “clean network”, demanding that European countries exclude the Chinese firm Huawei from their telecommunications networks amid allegations that it is an “espionage risk.” 

However, that isn’t what is happening here. The “clean network” isn’t really clean at all, and the threat to European countries lies far closer to home than Beijing. The US has a long, well-established history of utilizing its intelligence agreements to spy on European countries for commercial reasons, not least when it comes to the bidding of the ‘military-industrial complex.’ Yet, instead of being concerned about this, the public and media have lost themselves in hysteria about a single company, Huawei, whose alleged complicity in espionage has never been proven.

What is the military-industrial complex? The term refers to an oligarchy of American multinational aerospace and defense contractors which constitute the backbone of the US military, such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon, to name a few. These companies exert a disproportionate influence over American politics in order to uphold their enormous profit margins. 

They employ a number of strategies to do so, which include the funding of think tanks that actively promote aggressive and military-led foreign policies, such as the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). But more alarmingly their representatives and lobbyists are immersed within the Washington DC system itself. Take for example Nikki Haley, who was until recently a member of Boeing’s executive board. What does she know about aerospace engineering? Nothing. What does she know about promoting war and neo-conservative policies? Plenty. 

Yet this isn’t all. What this revelation in Denmark reminds us is that the military-industrial complex also coordinates with US intelligence to promote their interests, even undermining competitors within allied countries.

For example, in 1994 it is publicly documented that the US Echelon program undermined a deal between the European firm Airbus and Saudi Arabia in order to secure a $6 billion contract for Boeing. Likewise, it was revealed several years ago that the NSA had spied on Germany’s Chancellery for decades. What has happened in Denmark is not new, it’s part of a trend. 

Despite the US spying on European countries with a view to promoting military-industrial complex interests, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s backing for the “clean network” comes with claims that the scheme promotes privacy and data security by excluding “untrusted vendors.” But it’s obvious that such a network does not exist because the US is able to infiltrate it at will; it is a disingenuous façade. 

The real reason the US seeks to exclude Huawei is not on legitimate security grounds, but to uphold its strategic monopoly over the global internet and network surveillance. Whether Huawei spies or not – and nothing has ever proved it does –  it is nonetheless a company which is not under the political control of the US and its intelligence partners, which makes its networks harder to infiltrate and subvert. 

The US hasn’t aggressively promoted its anti-Huawei campaign because it cares and acts in good faith. It has done so because there is an obvious set of interests which the rise of the Chinese company challenges, and Huawei’s growing influence also brushes against the military-industrial complex as well as America’s various internet surveillance efforts, such as Prism. 

Thus, the message should be this: forget China, the US is the biggest, most advanced and most unrivaled advocate of global surveillance in the world, much of it publicly documented and verified. Not only does America frequently spy on countries it claims to be its allies, but it also seeks to undermine their commercial interests to ensure the global monopoly and profit margins of the military-industrial complex are sustained. 

Therefore, what is described as “the clean network” is little more than hypocrisy from Pompeo, a packaged lie designed to sustain a status quo which favors Washington, and which a Chinese telecommunications firm poses a threat to.

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Israel Demands F-35s As Part Of $8 Billion Military Aid Package | The Libertarian Institute

Posted by M. C. on September 20, 2020

Israel DEMANDS!

Flooding the ME with weaponry.

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/israel-demands-f-35s-as-part-of-8-billion-military-aid-package/

by

With the United States set to use the peace treaty as a chance to sell F-35 warplanes to the United Arab Emirates, Israel has been pushing for a bunch of free U.S. equipment based on pledges for a region-wide qualitative edge. On Wednesday, Israel offered its first list of demands.

The way Israel envisions this going down, they’ll get some $8 billion in equipment, mostly advanced U.S.-made aircraft. This would include an entire squadron of F-35s, the very plane that was supposedly the cause of all this.

While Israel was previously objecting to the sales to the UAE as threatening their military edge, officials are now revising it, based on the reality that they’re not going to get their way on blocking sales.

Now, Israeli officials say that the F-35 sales are expected to start a new region-wide arms race, and it is the arms race for while they need all these new arms. They did not elaborate on this, but also said that they expect leadership changes in some Gulf countries.

Israel offered nothing publicly on why they would expect an arms race, or who would be involved. The reality is that the UAE doesn’t have a lot of military rivals, especially not the sort that would be able to afford an arms race. Though Iran is the catch-all excuse, Iran would never be able to afford a slew of advanced warplanes to counter the F-35s, nor would they be likely to try, given their military doctrine is based on deterrence and retaliatory capabilities.

This article was originally featured at Antiwar.com .

About Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is the News Editor for Antiwar.com, your best source for antiwar news, viewpoints and activities. He has 10 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times and the Detroit Free Press.

 

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Coronavirus Senate Republicans’ $1 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Bill Includes Billions for New Fighter Jets, Attack Helicopters, and Missiles

Posted by M. C. on August 4, 2020

The Trump administration only slashed the budget for the Navy’s procure P–8A Poseidon aircraft by $180 million, but is now seeing its funding increased by $1 billion, reports the Post.

In the best spirit of never letting a  good crisis go to waste we had coronavirus relief money going to diversify corporate boards in the first go around.

Now we  are helping the pentagram fight coronavirus.

I see a gap in college “studies” programs. We need coronavirus studies program to help fill the giant employment gap in professors that teach studies programs.

Still, I am relieved government is on top of this situation.

https://reason.com/2020/07/28/senate-republicans-1-trillion-covid-19-relief-bill-includes-billions-for-new-fighter-jets-attack-helicopters-and-missiles/

The $1 trillion coronavirus relief package released by Senate Republicans this week includes billions of dollars for new weapons and defense projects that appear to have little to do with fighting the pandemic.

Part of the Senate Republicans’ relief package—collectively known as the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Act—is a $306 billion appropriations bill authored by Sen. Richard Shelby (R–Ala.). That legislation includes close to $30 billion in defense spending, with a good chunk of that money allocated to purchasing new aircraft, ships, and missiles.

“I believe we need to act with a sense of urgency. The American people are fighters, but the accumulated strain of this pandemic is a serious burden on folks,” said Shelby, who chairs the Senate’s Appropriations Committee, in a press release. “With the additional resources this legislation provides, I believe we can give them greater confidence that we are getting our arms around this virus.”

Speaking of arms, Shelby’s bill includes $283 million for the Army through the end of 2022 “to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally” on the condition that money be spent on acquiring AH–64 Apache attack helicopters made by Boeing.

The legislation also gives the Army another $375 million for upgrading its complement of Stryker armored personnel carriers, which are made by General Dynamics. The Army reportedly awarded the company a $2.48 billion contract to build new, more mine-resistant Stryker vehicles in June. The text of the HEALS Act says that this funding will come in addition to any money that’s already been allocated.

The Air Force, meanwhile, will get $686 million to purchase more F-35As, a fighter plane made by Lockheed Martin. Its development has been plagued by cost overruns and delays. The bill will also put $720 million into funding buying more C-130J military transport aircraft, in addition to $650 million to pay for replacement wings for the Air Force’s A-10 aircraft.

The Navy will get its beak wet too, receiving $1 billion to purchase P–8A Poseidon aircraft, plus $1.4 billion for new medical ships, $260 million for a new Expeditionary Fast Transport vessel, $41 million for new Naval Strike Missiles and launchers (made by Raytheon), as a well as close to $50 million for submarine-detecting “sonobuoys.”

The Washington Post reports that many of these programs had their funding repurposed to help pay for President Donald Trump’s border wall. Republicans’ coronavirus legislation replaces that funding, and then some.

The Trump administration only slashed the budget for the Navy’s procure P–8A Poseidon aircraft by $180 million, but is now seeing its funding increased by $1 billion, reports the Post.

The Department of Defense is hardly the only recipient of generous line items in the Senate GOP’s relief bill. The Trump administration reportedly requested that the legislation include $1.75 billion for a new FBI headquarters building (although the Wall Street Journal reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–Ky.) has come against that particular item).

Whether all this defense pork will end up being passed by the Senate remains to be seen.

Given that the Senate just last week approved a $740 billion defense spending bill, and the federal government ran an $864 billion budget deficit last month, one could argue now is not the time to spend more money on the military.

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How many ways can Israel wage war on Iran before the media reports Israel is waging war on Iran? – Mondoweiss

Posted by M. C. on July 14, 2020

So, although The New York Times was wrong, it was right. The illusory event did not add another physical act of war to Israel’s resume. It added another new kind of war to the resume: missile attacks, bomb attacks, cyber attacks, assassinations, political assassinations and, now, economic warfare. How many different ways can Israel wage war on Iran before it is transparent that Israel is waging war on Iran?

https://mondoweiss.net/2020/07/how-many-ways-can-israel-wage-war-on-iran-before-the-media-reports-israel-is-waging-war-on-iran/

Israel just bombed Iran. And no one noticed.

On July 2, 2020, two explosions erupted in Iran, and both seem to have been ignited by Israel. Neither explosion attracted much reporting, and what reporting there has been remains thin and confused.

The first report came out on the afternoon of July 3. The Jerusalem Post picked up a story from Kuwait’s Al-Jarida, reporting that a fire had broken out at Iran’s civilian Natanz nuclear enrichment site. The Kuwaiti report says that an unnamed senior source informed them that the fire was caused by an Israeli cyber attack. They suggest that Iran will need about two months to recover from the attack. Iranian officials have since confirmed that, though none of the underground centrifuges were damaged, the above ground damage is extensive, and that their centrifuge program has been substantially set back.

The second attack exploded near Parchin, at a site claimed to be a missile production facility. Citing the same Kuwaiti paper, The Times of Israel attributed the Parchin explosion to missiles dropped by Israeli F-35 stealth fighters.

The Parchin story has drawn little further attention and remains undeveloped, but the Natanz story has confusingly evolved. Though unnamed Iranian officials seemed at first to side with the cyber attack theory, some experts sided with a different theory: that the Natanz explosion was not a cyber attack but an actual, bolder physical attack. In a rare piece of mainstream reporting, The New York Times seems to confirm the physical attack theory. Relying on a “Middle Eastern intelligence official with knowledge of the episode,” the Times reports that the Natanz nuclear complex was not hit by a cyber attack, as it has been previously, but by a “powerful bomb.” The intelligence official added that “Israel was responsible for the attack.” The Times report supports the intelligence source by adding that a “member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps who was briefed on the matter also said an explosive was used.” According to the Revolutionary Guards source, it is likely that someone carried the bomb into the building.

These two attacks seem to add dropping missiles from the sky and walking bombs in on the ground to Israel’s resume of acts of war on Iran. And the resume is long.

Cyber Attacks

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Lawmakers’ Military Earmarks Are Exploding Like Fireworks | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on July 6, 2020

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/lawmaker-military-earmarks-are-exploding-like-fireworks/

Thought these congressional goodies were banned? Wait until you see the latest National Defense Authorization Act.

It’s that time of year again, when lawmakers, Pentagon officials, and observers on the sidelines quibble over what should—and should not—be in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Two weeks after the Senate Armed Services Committee advanced their version of the 2021 NDAA, the House Armed Services Committee advanced their own NDAA. Passions have been high and policymakers have tried inserting everything from base naming requirements and stricter “Buy American” provisions to (much-needed) transparency changes.

But regardless of how the House and Senate reconcile their respective NDAA versions, there’s the lingering inevitability of hundreds of earmarks worth billions of dollars being added as the legislation moves from authorization to appropriation. Typically, the earmarks range from $100,000 for research projects to billions of dollars for unrequested weapons systems. If lawmakers are serious about fixing waste, fraud, and abuse at the Department of Defense (DoD), they’ll need to keep earmarks out of the budget. It won’t be easy for Congress, but taxpayers deserve better than pet projects and endless deficits and debt.

When the media reports DoD spending figures, it’s tempting for them to focus on the topline numbers such as the fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget of $738 billion, which amounts to nearly $6,000 for each American household. Annual DoD spending has increased roughly $200 billion over the past five years, and easily matches (or exceeds) what the U.S. was spending on Defense during the Iraq War 10-15 years ago. But in the grand scheme of things, the media often neglects the disturbing trend of Congress lavishing earmarks onto the Pentagon that were never requested by DoD. Last year, for example, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance found the FY 2020 Defense bill contained an astounding 785 earmarks totaling $16.1 billion(click here for the full list).

Unsurprisingly, the top two slots on the list were taken by the F-35 program, which has an estimated lifetime cost of $1.5 trillion. Despite well-documented dysfunctions with the F-35, lawmakers threw an extra $2 billion in taxpayer money toward the ailing program. For example, the fighter jet’s sea search mode is only capable of examining a small sliver of sea surface while pilots have been complaining about barotrauma and sinus pains while onboard.

Even the supply chain for procuring parts is out-of-whack. The Government Accountability Office notes, “to keep aircraft flying despite parts shortages, from May through November 2018 F-35 squadrons cannibalized (that is, took) parts from other aircraft at rates that were more than six times greater than the services’ objective…personnel at F-35 squadrons are pulling parts off of other aircraft that are already unable to fly instead of waiting for new parts to be delivered through the supply chain.”

Despite these well-documented problems, lawmakers are all-but-certain to request more for the program than Pentagon officials say they will need.

And if the past is any guide, the volume of earmarks will continue to increase. FY 2020’s total of 785 earmarks represented a 15.6 increase from FY 2019’s total of 679 earmarks. This doesn’t seem possible, since there’s supposedly been a ban in place on earmarks since 2011. But lawmakers have ignored the ban and just gotten sneakier, cobbling vague language into bills that doesn’t (strictly speaking) benefit their districts.

But when situations arise such as Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) securing hundreds of millions of dollars for body armor production, taxpayers can’t help but wonder if the funding serves the country, 3M (which is based in Saint Paul, Minnesota), or Rep. McCollum’s reelection bid.  Body armor is undoubtedly important, but a competitive grants process (not earmarks) would be the best way to ensure money is spent wisely.

Clearly, a ban on earmarks hasn’t been enough to deter the self-serving behavior that sows mistrust of Washington, D.C. So, it’s up to lawmakers, taxpayers, and advocacy organizations to call out this behavior and hold members of Congress accountable for wasteful spending. And with the 2020 federal deficit approaching $4 trillion, it’s more important than ever to end these shenanigans. Policymakers shouldn’t let all the intrigue on Capitol Hill get in the way of discipline and accountability.

Ross Marchand is the Vice President of Policy for the Taxpayers Protection Alliance. 

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The Space Force’s Real Mission: Wasting Taxpayer Dollars | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on June 10, 2020

The real reason the Space Force was created was to make it easier for contractors to sell things to the government. This acquisition program supports that effort.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-space-forces-real-mission-wasting-taxpayer-dollars/

They’re already attempting to skirt spending rules for acquisitions. That’s all part of the plan.

Chief Master Sgt. Roger Towberman (R), Space Force and Command Senior Enlisted Leader and CMSgt Roger Towberman (L), with Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett present US President Donald Trump with the official flag of the United States Space Force in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC on May 15, 2020. (Photo by Samuel Corum-Pool/Getty Images)

Back in 2018, when the Space Force was being formed, I warned that the new service would likely seek exemptions from existing regulations governing acquisition, arguing that looser rules would be necessary to keep up with technological development. I hate to say that my warning was pretty prescient.

The newly created United States Space Force wasted little time in attempting to skirt the rules governing how it spends taxpayer money. The service submitted a report last week to Congress that requested the creation of an “Alternative Acquisition System for the U.S. Space Force,” justifying the proposal with lots of jargon: “The U.S. must maintain a strategic advantage in space through both a space-focused military service and a space-tailored acquisition system that rapidly leverages these new industry dynamics.” These policies will hinder Congress’s ability to conduct oversight and result in more money wasted on dubious systems.

In one of the proposed changes, Space Force leaders want to create budget lines for broad mission categories rather than allocated funding for specific programs. In practice, this would mean that instead of asking Congress for funding for a single communications satellite program, as is the current practice for virtually all acquisitions, the Space Force would have a block of money allocated for all communications programs. So Space Force bureaucrats would be able to shift money from one program to another without Congress’s approval.

The real reason the Space Force was created was to make it easier for contractors to sell things to the government. This acquisition program supports that effort.

We’ve seen this before—it is precisely the same reason that the United States Air Force gained its service independence from the Army in 1947. The airmen of that day and their allies in the aviation industry hated having to gain the approval of the non-flyer Army leaders before they could undertake pet projects. Having a separate service meant they had control over their own budget.

Back then, airmen did at least believe their new service could win wars independent of the existing military. Although their theories had already been proven false through massive experimentation during World War II, the Air Force’s quest for service independence was underpinned by a warfighting rationale. The Space Force doesn’t even offer that much.

One of the most vocal proponents for the new service is Representative Mike Rogers. In a speech to the 2017 Space Symposium, he spoke extensively about the low priority the other services placed on space-related programs when drawing up their budgets as the principal reason for creating a new service. Representative Jim Cooper also worked hard on the Space Force’s behalf, but is now somehow surprised by the site selection process for its headquarters. “The vision that Rep. Mike Rogers and I had for the Space Corps was a lean and agile organization that repurposed Air Force funds to protect U.S. assets in space,” he said, “not create another bureaucracy with an edifice complex.” For the record, I warned that this would happen as well.

In attempting to avoid the burdensome major defense acquisition program process, the Space Force is hardly unique. Many of the high-profile acquisition programs underway now, including the B-21 bomber, the Army’s latest tank upgrade, and the F-35 modernization program, are all being done through offices or schemes outside of the formal process to avoid paperwork and testing requirements. But the Space Force’s reasoning isn’t necessarily sound. For example, the new service wants to eliminate several of the decision review points regarding development and production, claiming they are unnecessary for space systems because they are purchased in smaller quantities. While it is true that satellites and other space systems are not purchased in numbers like F-35s, we still buy more of them than we do aircraft carriers, which must go through the full review process.

This is also not the first time an agency has sought a unique acquisition process. Congress created the Missile Defense Agency in 2002 to combine a series of programs into an integrated ballistic missile defense system. The agency received special rules governing the way it purchases equipment and conducts testing, but has little to show for it. Since its founding 18 years ago, the agency has received approximately $174 billion and has produced only limited success. Just this year, after spending $1.3 billion, it pulled the plug on the Redesigned Kill Vehicle Program when it realized the technological challenges were too great to overcome. In all, more than $11 billion worth of Missile Defense Agency programs have come to nothing, and the United States still lacks the means to defend against incoming enemy missiles.

The last thing the American people need is another bureaucracy in Washington draining our tax dollars. There are legitimate military concerns in space and they must be properly addressed. But the key thing to remember is that, much like aviation, space operations by themselves are not decisive in war. It is how they impact operations at sea and on the ground that really matter. To that point, numerous critics now believe Space Force leaders will use their new proposed authorities to buy equipment that is incompatible with the gear used by the other services.

The bureaucratic barriers now established between the Space Force and the actual decisive arms on the ground and at sea will make it more difficult for them to receive the support they need.

Congress should not compound their already massive mistake by giving the Space Force special acquisition authorities. Doing so will accomplish little more than wasting taxpayer money, while simultaneously making it difficult for Congress to oversee its activities and operations. So far our forecasting on the Space Force has demonstrated levels of accuracy rarely seen in our unpredictable pandemic world. Hopefully Congress will heed this warning.

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A Most Sordid Profession – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on April 9, 2020

Why does the military not win wars? In part because winning is not in the interest of the Pentagon and those who feed on it. Wars generate profitable contracts for all manner of supplies and equipment. Either winning or losing ends the gravy train.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/04/fred-reed/a-most-sordid-profession/

A few thoughts on our disastrous trillion-dollar military:

It is unnecessary. It does not defend the United States. The last time it did so was in 1945. The United States has no military enemies. No nation has anything even close to the forces necessary to invade America, and probably none the desire. A fifth of the budget would suffice for any real needs.

“Our boys” are not noble warriors protecting democracy, rescuing maidens, and righting wrongs. They are, like all soldiers, obedient and amoral killers. Pilots bombing Iraq or Syria know they are killing civilians. They do not care. If ordered to bomb Switzerland, they would do it. This is the nature of all armies. Glamorizing this most reprehensible trades is just a means of usefully stimulating the pack instinct which we often call patriotism.

The militarily is America’s worst enemy. It does enormous damage to the United States while providing almost no benefit. Start with the war on Vietnam that cost hugely in money and lives, ours and theirs, with no benefit. Iraq: high cost, no benefit. Afghanistan: High cost, no benefit. Syria: High cost, no benefit.

The costs in lives and money do not include the staggering cost of weapons that do nothing for America or Americans. Do you, the reader, believe that you are safer because of the F-35? Do a dozen aircraft carriers improve the lives of your children? Will the B-21, an unbelievably expensive new thermonuclear bomber, make your streets safer? Then add the bleeding of engineering talent better spent on advancing America’s economic competitiveness. The country has many crying needs, falls behind China, but money and talent go to the military.

We cannot escape from the soldiers. The armed forces have embedded themselves so deeply into the country that they have almost become the country. America is little more than a funding mechanism for what clumsily may be called the military-industrial-intelligence-media-Israeli complex. Some of these entities belong to the military (NSA). Some depend on it (Lockheed-Martin). Some use it to their own ends (Israel), but the military is the central infection from which the other symptoms flow. Congress? A storefront, a subcommittee of the Knesset or, as P. J. O’Rourke put it, a parliament of whores. Factories, jobs, contracts, towns depend on military spending. If the Second Marine Division folded, Jacksonville NC would dry up and blow away. So would dozens of other towns. Without military spending, California’s economy would crash. Universities depend on military research funding.

The military has achieved its current autonomy by degrees, unnoticed. The Pentagon learned much in Vietnam, not about fighting wars, which it still cannot do well, but about managing its real enemy, the public. The media, which savaged the war on Vietnam, are now firmly controlled by the corporations that own them. Thus we do not see photos of the horrors committed by American aircraft bombing cities. While the existence of phenomenally expensive weapons like the B-21 is not quite suppressed, coverage is so slight that most Americans have never heard of it. This the Complex learned from the F-35 debacle. And of course Congress, thoroughly bought and wanting jobs in its districts, allows no serious opposition to anything military. Neither Congress nor the media point out the extent to which military expenditure dominates the economy, draining resources from civilian needs.

Why does the military not win wars? In part because winning is not in the interest of the Pentagon and those who feed on it. Wars generate profitable contracts for all manner of supplies and equipment. Either winning or losing ends the gravy train. For example, the war on Afghanistan of almost two decades has become an entitlement program for the arms industry, accomplishing nothing, killing countless peasants, and lacking purpose other than maintaining an unneeded empire and funneling money to the Complex.

How did the Complex free itself from civilian control? The crucial step in depriving the public of influence was the neutering of the constitutional requirement that wars be declared by Congress. The military thus became the private army of the President and those who control him. Then came the All Volunteer Army, which ended inconvenience to or mutilation of the children of people of importance, leaving the body bags to be filled by deplorables from Memphis or Appalachia or Mexico. America’s wars then became air wars and finally drone wars, reducing casualties to very few. The public, both ignorant and uninvolved, became acquiescent.

As I write, we wait to see whether Trump, and those behind him, will put America deeper into the Mid-East and perhaps war with Russia. If he does, we will read about it the next day in the newspapers. It will be expensive, dangerous, and of no benefit to anyone but the arms industry and Israel.

Despite the asphyxiating economic presence, the military keeps aloof from America. This too serves the purposes of the Complex, further preventing attention by the public to what is not its business. In the days of conscription there was a familiarity with the armed services. Young men from most social classes wore the uniform however ruefully and told of their experiences. Not now. The career military have always tended to keep to themselves, to socialize with each other as the police do. Now the isolation is almost hermetic. You can spend years in Washington or New York and never meet a colonel. Military society with its authoritarianism, its uniforms and its uniform government-issue outlook is not compatible with civil society. To the cultivated, military officers seem simple-minded, conformist and…well, weird.

Add it all up and you see that the citizenry has no say–none–over the Complex, which is autonomous and out of control. If the Complex wants war with Russia or China, we will have-war with Russia or China. Ask people whether they would prefer a naval base in Qatar–which most have never heard of, either the base or the country–or decent heath care. Then ask them which they have.

The military destroys America and there is nothing–nothing at all–that you can do about it.

Further, the Complex drives foreign policy, and in directions of no benefit to America or Americans. For example, the contrived fury against Russia. Why this? Russia presents no danger to America or anyone else. The Complex makes foreign policy for its own ends, not ours.

A rising Asia is challenging the America military Empire. The tide runs against the Complex. North Korea faced Washington down and became a nuclear power. The Crimea went back irrevocably to Russia. East Ukraine does the same. Iran got its treaty and becomes part of the world order. In the South China Sea, China ignores the US, which once was supreme in all the seas. The war against Afghanistan heads for its third decade and the war on Syria seems to have failed. Other things go badly for the Empire. The dollar is under siege as reserve currency. China grows economically, advances rapidly in technology and, doubtless terrifying to Washington, tries to integrate Asia and Europe into a vast economic bloc. The Complex beats the war drums as its fingers loosen on the world’s collective throat.

Washington desperately needs to stop the rollback of American power, stop the erosion of the dollar, block the economic integration of Eurasia and Latin America, keep Russia from trading amicably with Europe. It will do anything to maintain its grip. All of its remote wars in far-off savage lands, of no importance to America or Americans, are to this purpose. A militarized America threatens Russia, threatens China, threatens Iran, threatens North Korea, threatens Venezuela, expands NATO, on and on.

America has been hijacked.

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America's sport

Government’s favorite sport-War

 

 

 

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DOD tester’s report: F-35 is still a lemon | Ars Technica

Posted by M. C. on February 3, 2020

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2020/01/not-a-straight-shooter-dod-review-cites-fleet-of-faults-in-f-35-program/

The latest report on the progress of the US Defense Department’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is due out soon from the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s director for operational test and evaluation (DOT&E), Robert Behler.

Last year’s report was full of bad news. And based on Bloomberg Government’s Tony Capaccio’s early access to the new report, we know much of that bad news is still bad news. In fact, the only real good news is that there are no new major flaws in the $428 billion aircraft program reported by Behler’s team.

But the bad is still bad. For starters, the Air Force version of the F-35 can’t hit what it shoots its gun at.

There are a total of 13 Category 1 “must fix” issues still unresolved with the F-35 that stand between the program and final production. And even as the long list of less critical problems is addressed, new ones keep popping up. “Although the program office is working to fix deficiencies,” Behler wrote in the report viewed by Bloomberg, “new discoveries are still being made, resulting in only a minor decrease in the overall number.” And “many significant” issues remain to be addressed, he noted.

The report does not include data from the current round of combat testing, so even more problems may soon be added to the list.

ALIS doesn’t live here anymore

One of the major sources of problems with the F-35 program is the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS)—the software that drives maintenance and logistics for each F-35 aircraft. ALIS is supposed to intelligently drive the flow of maintenance parts, guide support crews in scheduling maintenance, and ensure the right parts get stuck in the right places. Aircraft health and maintenance action information is sent by the ALIS software in each aircraft out to the entire distributed logistical support network.

But ALIS has had some problems—including the fact that the software was not complete when Lockheed Martin began shipping aircraft, and each group of the 490 aircraft already delivered arrived with one of six different versions of the software. All of them will require extensive software retrofits when the seventh is complete, along with the other 510 or so that are expected to have been delivered worldwide by that point.

There are still 873 specific problems in ALIS and other F-35 software (down from 917 in 2018). In fact, the DOD has announced it will replace ALIS outright, eventually.

And those have been a contributor to the F-35 fleet’s poor reliability. According to OT&E, the overall fleet of F-35s fell far short of being 80-percent “mission capable”—meaning that they could be used in at least one type of combat mission. The Navy’s F-35C fleet “suffered from a particularly poor” mission-capable rate, the OT&E team stated.

In addition to just functional software problems, the OT&E office also reported that cybersecurity issues that had been identified in previous reports on the F-35 program had still not been resolved.

Do you even shoot, bro

While the Navy and Marine Corps versions of the F-35 may have more availability problems than the relatively less-complex Air Force F-35A, they can do at least one thing better: hit what they’re shooting at.

The F-35B and F-35C have externally mounted guns, while the Air Force’s 25-millimeter cannon is mounted internally. Problems with the alignment of the gun’s mount, and the fact that the mount occasionally cracks after the gun has fired, have made the accuracy of the gun “unacceptable,” according to test officials, and have made the Air Force restrict use of the gun. While the F-35 program office has worked on improvements of the gun mount for the F-35A, these have not yet been tested.

But none of this is really slowing down acquisition of the F-35—now the most expensive DOD weapons program in history. Considering that the F-35 was originally supposed to be the “low” in the “high-low mix“—with the F-22 being the more capable aircraft—the huge cost overruns and flaws make the F-35 look increasingly like the world’s most expensive lemon.

 

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Pentagon racks up $35 trillion in accounting changes in a year

Posted by M. C. on January 22, 2020

The Defense Department acknowledged that it failed its first-ever audit in 2018…

FIRST EVER!

While auditors found no evidence of fraud…

Of course not. The government is auditing itself. Like when the justice department investigates the (justice department’s own) FIB.

All that money and we haven’t won a war since 1945 and have been in a stalemate with a couple of almost stone age countries since 2002.

Pentagon: The definition of failure…is rewarded more money by Government: The definition of failure.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/pentagon-racks-up-dollar35-trillion-in-accounting-changes-in-a-year/ar-BBZcVdy

Tony Capaccio

The Pentagon made $35 trillion in accounting adjustments last year alone — a total that’s larger than the entire U.S. economy and underscores the Defense Department’s continuing difficulty in balancing its books.

The latest estimate is up from $30.7 trillion in 2018 and $29 trillion in 2017, the first year adjustments were tracked in a concerted way, according to Pentagon figures and a lawmaker who’s pursued the accounting morass.

The figure dwarfs the $738 billion of defense-related funding in the latest U.S. budget, a spending plan that includes the most expensive weapons systems in the world including the F-35 jet as well as new aircraft carriers, destroyers and submarines.

“Within that $30 trillion is a lot of double, triple, and quadruple counting of the same money as it got moved between accounts,” said Todd Harrison, a Pentagon budget expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The Defense Department acknowledged that it failed its first-ever audit in 2018 and then again last year, when it reviewed $2.7 trillion in assets and $2.6 trillion in liabilities. While auditors found no evidence of fraud in the review of finances that Congress required, they flagged a laundry list of problems, including accounting adjustments.

Although it gets scant public attention compared with airstrikes, troop deployments, sexual assault statistics or major weapons programs, the reliability of the Pentagon’s financial statement is an indication of how effectively the military manages its resources considering that it receives over half of discretionary domestic spending.

The military services make adjustments, some automatic and some manual, on a monthly and quarterly basis, and those actions are consolidated by the Pentagon’s primary finance and accounting service and submitted to the Treasury.

There were 546,433 adjustments in fiscal 2017 and 562,568 in 2018, according to figures provided by Representative Jackie Speier, who asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate. The watchdog agency will release a report on the subject Wednesday after reviewing more than 200,000 fourth-quarter 2018 adjustments totaling $15 trillion.

‘Sloppy Record-Keeping’…

Be seeing you

f35-moneydump

 

 

 

 

 

 

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