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A FOCUS ON THE FORCES CHANGING OUR WORLD

Posts tagged Military

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Video: Mussolini in Color : The Blackshirts

So I was watching this video and realized that Mussolini’s “Blackshirts” were ex-military - and they were responsible for much of the terror that went on in fascist Italy…

…this got me wondering: “don’t we have a similar phenomenon going on in the United States with Police?”

Due to the recession in the US - there are MANY ex-military looking for jobs, and where are they going to get jobs? The police, as this article from 2011 states:

 

People with military backgrounds are bombarding the Topeka Police Department with job applications, as employment options for returning soldiers continue to be dismal in today’s economy.

"We’ve noticed a significant increase in the number of military personnel that have applied in the last several years," said Topeka police Sgt. Ron Gish. "Many of them have combat experience, but some do not."

Gish, who recruits new officers to the Topeka Police Department in addition to working in crime prevention, said jobs are posted online and in law enforcement publications.

He said he has received job inquiries from military members on active duty as far away as Iraq, as well as from civilians in states ranging from Michigan to California.

Although this article is from Kansas - it is a microcosm of what is going on nation-wide. 

There is another interesting, yet deplorable trend going on with police (aside from the troubling level of militarization) is the amount of dogs being killed by cops which is being documented quite well on this wordpress blog; Dogs That Cops Killed. Of course I can’t help but speculate this practice of killing dogs is something learned in the Military [TW - this video is of a dog being killed in Iraq by a US soldier at close range].

So - are all the elements of fascism coming to the USA purely occurring due to happenstance or has it been orchestrated in such a way so that it only appears to be a peculiar coincidence? 
 

Filed under Police fascism dogs ex-military military iraq thoughts

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The Army Has Issued Anti-Suicide Nasal Spray To Keep Troops From Taking The ‘Easy Out’

SOURCE

The military suicide rate doubled in July. That’s one of our troops, almost every day.

To come up with an answer, the Army recently gave 3 million dollars to a university of Indiana research center, and those researchers came back with this: Anti-Suicide Nasal Spray.

Katie Drummond of The Daily reports researchers found a naturally occuring neurochemical called thyrotropin-releasing hormone, or TRH, that has euphoric, calming, anti-depressant effects. News of the nasal spray comes as a relief to some, who had to endure spinal taps for injections of the medicine.

The Pentagon, which tracks military suicides, reported that troops have committed the act at an 18 percent increase over the same period last year. Now, more troops die by their own hands that by the hands of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The spray is only possible because of advances in “nanotechnology delivery systems.” Researchers plan to run a full battery of trials over the next few years, and hopefully put the spray not only in the hands of soldiers, but civilians as well.

The scientists say that applications go beyond anti-depression medications.



Filed under News Military Suicide

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Listening Post - Feature: The Pentagon’s grip on Hollywood

The military entertainment complex is an old phenomenon that binds Hollywood with the US military. Known as militainment, it serves both parties well. Filmmakers get access to high tech weaponry - helicopters, jet planes and air craft carriers while the Pentagon gets free and positive publicity.

The latest offering to come from this relationship is Act of Valor and it takes the collaboration one step further. The producers get more than just equipment — they have cast active-duty military personnel in the lead roles, prompting critics to say the lines have become so blurred that it is hard to see where Hollywood ends and Pentagon propaganda begins. In this week’s feature, the Listening Post’s Nic Muirhead looks at the ties between the US military and Hollywood. 

Filed under News Military Hollywood Propaganda Militarism

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Kickstarter of Doom: Hoax Site ‘Funds’ Torture Bus, Death Drones

SOURCE

Inspired by the Kony 2012 fad, a group of New York University grad students has set up the wartime version of Kickstarter, where random people can bankroll new weapons and new paramilitary missions. Among the offerings: an all-seeing drone armed with “a new kind of explosive” promising to cut down on civilian casualties, or a bus packed with a rolling “enhanced interrogation” center.

Just one thing, and it’s a spoiler alert: The site, Kickstriker, is an obvious hoax — one meant to get you thinking about how a world of crowdfunded warfare might not be so far away.

“Polemically, that’s really interesting,” says Clay Shirky, the NYU professor and internet theorist, out of whose communications tech class the idea was born, “but that’s actually a thing that could happen, given that there are these guns for hire. What would it take to create a crowdsourced hire of [mercenaries]?”

Kickstriker, a site only a few days old, bills itself as a way for average citizens “who care” to support the resolution of intractable wars. “Following the massive success of Invisible Children’s ‘Kony 2012′ campaign, we found ourselves excited about the potential that crowdsourcing held for addressing global conflicts,” reads its About page. “Disappointed” by the backlash to Kony 2012′s messianism, comfort with U.S. military intervention and disquieting racial undertones, the crew of three Shirky students sought to “cut out the middleman in online activism.”

While the site is “in beta,” it’s only got a few projects ready for funding. One of them is the “Panopticopter,” the brainchild of three MIT students, a “prototype drone that has more accurate image-capture and image-processing abilities than the current generation of drones being used by the U.S. military,” plus a special, experimental explosive more advanced than the Hellfire missiles armed drones currently tote.

Another is the “Mobile Black Site,” a transportable torture chamber: “With the click of a button, an operator can alter its temperature, noise level, darkness and/or humidity. The MBS also comes equipped with a 165-decibel sound system, capable of playing music and other sounds at unprecedented levels (for reference, just 158 decibels can cause intense nausea).”

Charming. But also, not real.

Check out the “MIT students” working on the drone project: “The three of us (Brandon McCartney, Natassia Zolot and Radric Davis) can spend the summer focusing on the Panopticopter.” That would be real names of the rappers Lil BKreayshawn and Gucci Mane. (While I have no doubt about Gucci’s engineering prowess, I certainly doubt his ability to stay out of jail for an entire summer; and he seems to prefer working with Kreay’s awful co-conspirator V-Nasty.)

And that Mobile Black Site? It’s supposedly pushed by the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank, with partnership from longtime CIA cutout Tepper Aviation. (#eyeroll) Indeed, when you click through the donation tool, Kickstriker admits the hoax before the gullible open their wallets and its creators end up arrested for fraud.

So what’s the Kickstriker crew’s real goal here?

During one of Shirky’s classes in mid-March, a discussion broke out about Kony 2012. One of the site’s founders, James Borda, mused as a reductio ad absurdum about doing a Kickstarter campaign so Blackwater could get the cash to hunt war criminal Joseph Kony. “This hush fell over the room,” Shirky remembers.

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Filed under News Military Militarism Torture Mercenary Blackwater

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Starve the Beast of Empire: Ax the Income Tax

by John V. Walsh

As we approach April 15, the day when we render unto Caesar what is ours, it is well to bear a few stark and simple numbers in mind.

The personal income tax for 2011 will haul in a hefty $1.09 trillion to the federal coffers. The estimate for 2012* is $1.16 trillion.  

On the other side of the ledger, the best estimate of the known “national security” expenditures for 2012 is $1.22 trillion dollars.

That’s right; it takes the entire personal income tax, and then some, to cover the costs of war and Empire.  

The total federal revenue from every source will be $2.47 trillion in 2012, so the war machine and its various appurtenances take an enormous bite out of the total federal budget. 

There is a question of morality when the taxpayer forks over enormous tribute to bulk up a military Empire which visits death and destruction on untold numbers of people in the developing world – often with a public relations veneer of “humanitarian” endeavors.    Historically antiwar tax resistance of various types has grown out of such moral concerns.  The moral consideration bites harder when the wars are either sold on the basis of lies as W’s war on Iraq or are undeclared as with Obama’s on Libya, Pakistan, Syria and Iran.   In the case of undeclared wars for which we pay, it may fairly be said that we have taxation without representation.

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Filed under Commentary Antiwar Income Tax Empire Military Imperialism

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Military wants better machine vision for smarter robot camera

SOURCE

Computer vision works much better than it once did, and that could enable a diverse range of machines to see and understand their environments. Such machines could be useful in everything from military scouting to self-driving cars.

That’s why the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, is doing research into vision in a program known as Mind’s Eye. James Donlon (pictured right), program manager for the Mind’s Eye project, said at the recentEmbedded Vision Alliance summit in San Jose, Calif., that vision systems being tested now aren’t that bad at recognizing patterns such as a person about to be hit by a car that is backing up. But they still make mistakes that are sometimes comical, like mistaking a stationary object for a person or focusing on the wrong thing in a scene.

The Mind’s Eye research has been going on for about 18 months and is about half-way complete. After three years, the various vision projects will lead to lab prototypes that can eventually be brought to market. The systems being developed will do things like recognize someone walking, touching an object, or taking other actions. If the research pans out, we could see robots and other machines getting much better at the vision-based tasks that humans are best at.

“The difference between how a machine can describe a scene and how a person would describe that scene is quite vast still,” Donlon said. “Solving this is what the Mind’s Eye program is about. So far, humans are still best at this.”

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Filed under News Military Tech Technology Darpa Surveillance Surveillance state Robot Cameras

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Who consumes more natural resources, you or perpetual wars?

SOURCE

The Pentagon is not concerned with the planets rare –earth mineral outlook. The media’s management perception program has done their job.  Convince us natural resources are becoming scarce and military conquest [perpetual wars] is necessary to sustain [buzzword for control] the planet. The brainwashing screen [media] is constantly telling you, I and the people of the planet that we [humans] are depleting rare earth minerals and oil reserves through our daily material and energy consumption, however the media will ‘NEVER’ discuss or criticize the Pentagon/NATO for their consumption of oil/diesel used for aircraft, naval fleets and ground transportation or the rare earth minerals required for high tech weaponry to fight endless wars. The Department of Defense uses 360,000 barrels of oil each day [1]. Who consumes more natural resources, you or perpetual wars?

1.      Sohbet Karbuz; A Look at US Military Energy Consumption; The Daily Energy Report June 8th , 2011

-Phantom Report

Pentagon ‘naive’ on rare earth outlook, several experts say

Source:  Pittsburgh Tribune

A Pentagon report that says domestic sources will allow the U.S. military to meet most of its demand for rare earth elements by next year was blasted on Monday by several experts.

After more than a year in preparation, the seven-page report predicts an end to China’s stranglehold on the elements needed for high-tech U.S. weaponry from smart bombs to lasers.

That view is “rather naïve” and ill-informed, said Ed Richardson, president of the U.S. Magnetic Materials Association and an expert in rare earth elements.

For instance, he said that even if U.S. miners are able to find enough of rare earths dysprosium and neodymium to produce military-grade magnets, the nation has lost the manufacturing capacity to refine the raw materials.

“There are no producers left in the States,” Richardson said, echoing the findings of a Tribune-Review investigation published in January 2011.

Richardson and other experts who spoke to the Trib said China and Japan control refining. That will not likely change for years, he said.

“If we want the magnets, I guess we will have to go to China,” Richardson said. “And we’ll have to ask them very, very nicely.”

“The only way we can get that material right now is from a foreign company in China,” agreed Jack Lifton, co-founder of Technology Metals Research, an Illinois company that follows the rare earth industry.

He said the report was “so lame I can’t believe it.”

Brett Lambert, the Pentagon official responsible for industrial policy, declined to comment on the report. He told a Trib reporter to call Defense Department public relations and then hung up the phone.

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Filed under News Military Environment Destruction DoD Pentagon US Government Earth NATO

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Hundreds of Warbots Will Join Cops’ Ranks

SOURCE

The war in Iraq is (mostly) over. The war in Afghanistan is (slowlyincompletely) ending. And yet the new battlefield robots produced by a decade of war are having an easier transition to peacetime than some human veterans. The robots are simply trading their fatigues for the blue uniforms of American police.

That’s what an official with the Defense Logistics Agency told a conference in Washington last week. Any police or homeland security department with a counterterrorism or anti-drug mission and the ability to execute an arrest warrant can be eligible to get its very own robot. Dan Arnold, a regional manager of the agency’s Disposition Office, says that “hundreds” of war-hardened ‘bots will be donated to police departments, National Defense reported.

To be clear, the cops aren’t about to get battle-hardened unmanned aircraft. Police Departments will have to buy their own spy drones, complete with all the regulatory restrictions the Federal Aviation Administration imposes.

Instead, the likeliest robotic police recruits are ground robots, used for tactical surveillance or for explosives-handling. Things like the Throwbot, a small robot that looks like a Shake Weight and literally tossed by troops around corners to expand their fields of vision. Or the PackBot and Talon machines, which have become so central to bomb disposal in places like Afghanistan. (Although it’s worth noting that many PDs already have these bots, thanks to some pretty generous — some would say excessive — homeland security grants.)

But the Defense Logistics Agency isn’t exactly sure yet which robots it’s going to give away. It’s going to depend, in part, on a surplus of particular robots in military depots.

“At this time, DLA Disposition Services does not know which robots in particular will be deemed excess as that decision is being made by the Army,” Lt. Col. Melinda Morgan, a Defense Department spokeswoman, tells Danger Room. “The item manager for these robots, located at the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, will determine which models can be declared excess based on operational requirements and sufficient numbers of newer models presently in stock.”

There’s a larger trend at work: Today’s military tech is very often tomorrow’s civilian police tech. Miami-Dade police already fly a spy robot developed for the Pentagon; troops nicknamed it the Flying Beer Keg. And the Department of Homeland Security really likes the military’s ability to see giant swaths of land all at once.

Humble suggestion: If cop shops are eager to get a hold of military tech, maybe they can also hire the flesh-and-blood veterans who know how to operate it.

Filed under News Military Tech Technology Police State War Police Military DHS

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A fog of drugs and war

More than 110,000 active-duty Army troops last year took antidepressants, sedatives and other prescription medications. Some see a link to aberrant behavior.

By Kim Murphy

U.S. Air Force pilot Patrick Burke's day started in the cockpit of a B-1 bomber near the Persian Gulf and proceeded across nine time zones as he ferried the aircraft home to South Dakota.

Every four hours during the 19-hour flight, Burke swallowed a tablet of Dexedrine, the prescribed amphetamine known as “go pills.” After landing, he went out for dinner and drinks with a fellow crewman. They were driving back to Ellsworth Air Force Base when Burke began striking his friend in the head.

"Jack Bauer told me this was going to happen — you guys are trying to kidnap me!" he yelled, as if he were a character in the TV show "24."

When the woman giving them a lift pulled the car over, Burke leaped on her and wrestled her to the ground. “Me and my platoon are looking for terrorists,” he told her before grabbing her keys, driving away and crashing into a guardrail.

Burke was charged with auto theft, drunk driving and two counts of assault. But in October, a court-martial judge found the young lieutenant not guilty “by reason of lack of mental responsibility” — the almost unprecedented equivalent, at least in modern-day military courts, of an insanity acquittal.

Four military psychiatrists concluded that Burke suffered from “polysubstance-induced delirium” brought on by alcohol, lack of sleep and the 40 milligrams of Dexedrine he was issued by the Air Force.

In a small but growing number of cases across the nation, lawyers are blaming the U.S. military's heavy use of psychotropic drugs for their clients' aberrant behavior and related health problems. Such defenses have rarely gained traction in military or civilian courtrooms, but Burke's case provides the first important indication that military psychiatrists and court-martial judges are not blind to what can happen when troops go to work medicated.

After two long-running wars with escalating levels of combat stress, more than 110,000 active-duty Army troops last year were taking prescribed antidepressants, narcotics, sedatives, antipsychotics and anti-anxiety drugs, according to figures recently disclosed to The Times by the U.S. Armysurgeon general. Nearly 8% of the active-duty Army is now on sedatives and more than 6% is on antidepressants — an eightfold increase since 2005.

"We have never medicated our troops to the extent we are doing now…. And I don’t believe the current increase in suicides and homicides in the military is a coincidence," said Bart Billings, a former military psychologist who hosts an annual conference on combat stress.

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Filed under News Feature Military Drugs Antidepressants Army War Air Force

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“Telepathic troops” may be next secret weapon

Side Note: This is yet another step into transhumanism - the mending of humans with computers, to put it in the simplest terms. It’s one of those movements that looks good on the surface, but when taking into consideration with all its potential militaristic applications - it’s just deplorable and disgusting. (Not to be confused with transsexuality, or gender dysphoria, which is something completely different and harmless.) 
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SOURCE
 (Also Here)

The United States army is trying to create a force of “telepathic troops” who can communicate silently in the din of battle by reading each other’s minds…..

The Irvine technology works like this: volunteers wear a cap studded with 128 gel-soaked electrodes and are asked to think of key words chosen by researchers who match them up with chemical flares they observe in the brain. The volunteers’ thoughts are effectively “read” and converted into computer code.

The key words include standard military commands which show up as symbols on a computer screen. These will eventually be used to create a dictionary of critical phrases, such as “enemy ahead” or “call in helicopters”, that can be transmitted to comrades.

The telepathy helmets can identify and correctly transmit 45 per cent of commands, according to The Brain. The army needs a radical improvement in that rate. Aviation sources say that if the success rate improved sufficiently, the technology could eventually be built in to fighter pilots’ helmets to speed up response times to threats from incoming missiles.

The research raises a series of questions, including whether a mind-reading capability could be used in the interrogation of terrorist suspects, perhaps replacing methods such as waterboarding which are regarded by many as immoral and ineffective.

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Filed under News Military Technology Transhumanism Future United States Telepathy Pentagon

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The Hunger Games as a Metaphor for the Warfare State

by Joel Poindexter

Much has been written about The Hunger Games and many of the underlying libertarian themes in that story. Jeffrey Tucker recently described the similarity between the fictional games and voting. Brent Railey noted just the other day the realities of the black market springing up to provide what the state can’t, or won’t, and the futility in relying on political figures for salvation. A co-worker of mine suggested that another lesson is that when fighting one evil, it’s important not to become just as evil yourself; a lesson from later in the series. In this essay I’d like to draw attention to the allegory of the games and the modern warfare state.

Briefly, for the benefit of those unfamiliar with the trilogy, here’s the background. North America has descended into a full-blown totalitarian state, with the people forced to live in virtual internment camps. The citizens of each region, or district, work as slaves to the Capitol, providing such goods as coal, seafood, or electronics.

In order to maintain control over the people and remind them of their impotence, a group of teens is selected each year to fight in a gladiatorial arena. The event, called the Hunger Games, is televised for the entertainment of those in the Capitol, and the punishment of those in the various districts. A rebellion ensues and, well, you ought to just read the series.

So right off the bat it’s pretty clear: An impoverished underclass, already forced to pay tribute to the government, has its youth pressed into violent service by the wealthy and politically powerful, for the entertainment and enrichment of this ruling elite. This pretty well describes the nation-state in virtually all times and all places, but it goes far beyond this.

The next similarity one finds is the way in which children are selected for the games: a draft. Each child’s name is placed in a bowl, and a representative from the Capitol draws the “winner.” There is a slight twist, one that makes the process even more similar to the actual draft. Each child may be entered additional times in exchange for greater food rations for their family.

The obvious effect is that poorer families are at greater odds of having their children selected for the games. In similar fashion, special rules applied during the draft allowed wealthy draftees to receive deferments, effectively allowing them to avoid military service. In modern times the ranks of the military are almost exclusively made up of the middle class and poor, who are promised better-paying jobs and opportunities otherwise not available at home.

While the people of most districts generally dread the “reaping,” in others, participation in the games is a coveted experience. In these districts, children, known as “Careers,” volunteer to go after training their whole lives. In very much the same way, military service is a generational endeavor. There are many soldiers now serving who can trace their family’s participation in wars going back many generations. It’s not uncommon for recruits to explain that their reason for joining was, at least in part, because their fathers and grandfathers served; “it’s just what we do.”

It continues.

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Filed under Commentary Military Anti-War Hunger Games Propaganda Dissent

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S.Korea, U.S. Practice Stabilizing N.Korea in Civil War

SOURCE

The annual joint South Korean and U.S. exercises dubbed “Key Resolve” last month for the first time practiced deploying more than 100,000 South Korean troops in North Korea to stabilize the country in case of regime collapse. 

The two countries “practiced deploying a large contingent of troops to bring stability in the North in case of civil war in the wake of sudden change there,” a government source said on Thursday. "Seoul and Washington practiced preparing for sudden change in the North for the first time during last year’s Key Resolve drill, but this was the first time we went on the assumption that South Korean troops would be deployed in the North." 

This year’s exercise supposed that civil war breaks out due to conflict between hawks and doves in the North Korean military. It envisioned deploying several South Korean Army corps south of Pyongyang to bring hardliners under control and stabilize the North. 

A few years back, the two countries’ militaries formulated a contingency plan for six scenarios of sudden change in the North — a coup, civil war, a mass exodus of North Koreans, a massive natural disaster, and kidnapping of South Korean citizens by the North. But they did not stage a drill on the specific assumption of civil war for fear of upsetting the North. 

"We conducted the drill this time because top military leaders in South Korea and the U.S. concluded that nobody knows what scenario will materialize because the regime of new leader Kim Jong-un is still unstable," the source added. 

Seoul is reportedly worried that North Korean military hardliners have strengthened their position since former leader Kim Jong-il’s sudden death late last year.

Filed under News Imperialism North Korea South Korea Military Drills United States

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Israel Presses US for Another $700 Million in Military Aid

By Jason Ditz

The Israeli government has reportedly submitted a formal request for the US to agree to an additional $700 million in military funding, above and beyond the massive amount already allocated, to pay for the Iron Dome and Magic Wand missile defense systems.

This request is above and beyond the money the Pentagon was already seeking for Israel’s Iron Dome system, as the short range missiles, which were largely unsuccessful during the recent Gaza Strip attacks. The Israeli government wants to expand the number of batteries available.

The Iron Dome system was initially defunded by the Israeli military in 2010, when they decided it was not cost effective. The US immediately approved full funding for it. Now, the US is liable to be on the hook for the Magic Wand system as well.

Though official statements from the US have not been made on the new request, reports say that the US is likely to make the $700 million a de facto bribe, aimed at convincing Israel to delay its attack on Iran just a little longer.

Filed under News Israel USA Military Pentagon Weapons Missile Iron Dome

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