Posts Tagged ‘Pentagon’

Pentagon Author Exposes Zelikow’s Key Role in 9/11 Cover-Up

October 17, 2010

Maidhc Ó Cathail, Foreign Policy Journal, Oct 17, 2010

ln an interview on the Fox Business Network, a retired U.S. intelligence officer accused the official in charge of the 9/11 Commission of a cover-up of intelligence failures leading up to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

Appearing on the political talk show Freedom Watch, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer and the author of Operation Dark Heart, a much-hyped new book on the war in Afghanistan, spoke about his mid-October 2003 encounter with Dr. Philip Zelikow, then executive director of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States.

During a fact-finding mission to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, Zelikow’s team was briefed by Shaffer on Able Danger, a DIA data mining project that had allegedly identified Mohammed Atta as a threat to the U.S. a year before 9/11.

Operation Dark HeartParenthetically, the “Mohammed Atta” identified by Able Danger may have been an imposter operating under a stolen identity, as occurred in the assassination of a senior Hamas official in Dubai. In an interview with a German newspaper, reported by the Guardian, Mohammed Atta’s father claimed that his son had nothing to do with the attacks and was still alive a year after 9/11.

Whichever Mohammed Atta was referred to by Shaffer in Bagram, Zelikow reportedly “fell silent with shock at the news.”

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It’s Obama’s Empire Now

July 16, 2010

Karzai and Obama
White House / Pete Souza
President Barack Obama and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai meet in an arrival ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Kabul on March 28.

By Stanley Kutler, truthdig.com, July 13, 2010

The American Empire is alive and well—and as expansive as ever. We have established more than 700 military bases across the world, largely encircling the peripheries of Russia and China, which are now central to the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. The Cold War in the aftermath of World War II drove the expansion as we searched for security—and markets, to be sure.

Perhaps we now are the largest imperial power the world ever has known. Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan trivializes the once-massive naval and air facility at Cam Ranh Bay during the Vietnam War, and we have developed “permanent” mega-bases in Iraq. We engage in denial, and euphemisms abound. Stumping for the colonial takeover of the Philippines in 1901, Theodore Roosevelt, so fashionable today, insisted that “there is not an imperialist in the country. … Expansion? Yes. … Expansion has been the law of our national growth.” Chalmers Johnson reminds us of Democrat Woodrow Wilson’s liberal “idealist imperialism,” which would make the world safe for democracy. (See Johnson’s “The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic” and other works.) Deceit comes from the top.

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Pentagon reveals secret: U.S. has 5,113 nuclear warheads

May 4, 2010

Slideshow image

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton addresses the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) conference at United Nations headquarters, Monday, May 3, 2010. (AP / Richard Drew)

CTV.Ca, May 3, 2010

The Associated Press

NEW YORK — The United States has 5,113 nuclear warheads in its stockpile and “several thousand” more retired warheads awaiting the junk pile, the Pentagon said Monday in an unprecedented accounting of a secretive arsenal born in the Cold War and now shrinking rapidly.

The Obama administration disclosed the size of its atomic stockpile going back to 1962 as part of a campaign to get other nuclear nations to be more forthcoming, and to improve its bargaining position against the prospect of a nuclear Iran.

“We think it is in our national security interest to be as transparent as we can be about the nuclear program of the United States,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told reporters at the United Nations, where she addressed a conference on containing the spread of atomic weapons.

The United States previously has regarded such details as top secret.

The figure includes both “strategic,” or long-range weapons, and those intended for use at shorter range.

The Pentagon said the stockpile of 5,113 as of September 2009 represents a 75 per cent reduction since 1989.

A rough count of deployed and reserve warheads has been known for years, so the Pentagon figures do not tell nuclear experts much they did not already know.

Hans Kristensen, director of Nuclear Information Project, Federation of American Scientists in Washington, said his organization already had put the number at around 5,100 by reviewing budget estimates and other documents.

The import of the announcement is the precedent it sets, Kristensen said.

“The important part is that the U.S. is no longer going to keep other countries in the dark,” he said.

Clinton said the disclosure of numbers the general public has never seen “builds confidence” that the Obama administration is serious about stopping the spread of atomic weapons and reducing their numbers.

The administration is not revealing everything.

The Pentagon figure released Monday includes deployed weapons, which are those more or less ready to launch, and reserve weapons. It does not include thousands of warheads that have been disabled or all but dismantled. Those weapons could, in theory, be reconstituted, or their nuclear material repurposed.

Estimates of the total U.S. arsenal range from slightly more than 8,000 to above 9,000, but the Pentagon will not give a precise number.

Whether to reveal the full total, including those thousands of nearly dead warheads, was debated within the Obama administration. Keeping those weapons out of the figure released Monday represented a partial concession to intelligence agency officials and others who argued national security could be harmed by laying the entire nuclear arsenal bare.

A senior defence official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the overall total remains classified, did not dispute the rough estimates developed by independent analysts.

Exposure of once-classified totals for U.S. deployed and reserve nuclear weapons is intended to nudge nations such as China, which has revealed little about its nuclear stockpile.

“You can’t get anywhere toward disarmament unless you’re going to be transparent about how many weapons you have,” said Sharon Squassoni, a nuclear policy analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Russia and the United States have previously disclosed the size of their stockpiles of deployed strategic weapons, and France and Britain have released similar information. All have signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which is the subject of the U.N. review that began Monday.

The U.S. revelations are calculated to improve Washington’s bargaining power with Iran’s allies and friends for the drive to head off what the West charges is a covert Iranian program to build a bomb.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahamadinejad spoke ahead of Clinton at the conference, denouncing U.S. efforts to pressure his regime to abandon its nuclear program.

The U.N. conference will try to close loopholes in the internationally recognized rules against the spread of weapons technology.

Independent analysts estimate the total world stockpile of nuclear warheads at more than 22,000.

The Federation of American Scientists estimates that nearly 8,000 of those warheads are operational, with about 2,000 U.S. and Russian warheads ready for use on short notice.

The United States and Russia burnished their credentials for insisting that other countries forgo atomic weapons by agreeing last month to a new strategic arms reduction treaty.

The New START treaty sets a limit of 1,550 deployed strategic nuclear warheads for each side, down from 2,200 under a 2002 deal. The pact re-establishes anti-cheating procedures that provide the most comprehensive and substantial arms control agreement since the original 1991 START treaty.

Pentagon chief condemns European “pacifism”

February 26, 2010

By Bill Van Auken, wsws.org,  Feb 26, 2010

Amid growing fears in Washington that European powers may withdraw their troops from Afghanistan, just as the US escalates the war there, Defense Secretary Robert Gates delivered a speech blasting Europe for insufficient militarization and warning of a deepening crisis in the NATO alliance.

Gates gave the speech February 23 at Washington’s National Defense University, a training center for mid-level and senior US officers. His audience was a forum on the reworking of the “strategic concept”—essentially the mission statement—of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

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Cashing in the War Dividend: The Joys of Perpetual War

October 23, 2009

By Jo Comerford, TomDispatch.com, Oct 20, 2009

So you thought the Pentagon was already big enough? Well, what do you know, especially with the price of the American military slated to grow by at least 25% over the next decade?

Forget about the butter. It’s bad for you anyway. And sheer military power, as well as the money behind it, assures the country of a thick waistline without the cholesterol. So, let’s sing the praises of perpetual war. We better, since right now every forecast in sight tells us that it’s our future.

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VIDEO: Former General of all American Intelligence: An Aircraft did not hit the Pentagon on 9/11

July 5, 2009
authoritative statement
by Major General (ret) Albert Stubblebine
Global Research, July 5, 2009

“I do know that the Pentagon was not hit by an aircraft”

NO WAY, THE PRESS IS SAYING WHAT THEY HAVE BEEN TOLD TO SAY,

THE STORIES ABOUT 9/11 ARE FALSE,

Major General Albert “Bert” N. Stubblebine III, former head of all intelligence says:

The Pentagon was NOT hit by a plane

click link below

Leading Rights Groups Call On Obama To Release Prisoner Abuse Photos

June 1, 2009

ACLU Calls On Court To Adhere To Mandate Requiring Release Of Abuse Photos

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org

ACLU, June 1, 2009

NEW YORK – Several of the nation’s leading human rights and civil liberties organizations sent a letter to President Obama today urging him to release photos depicting the abuse of detainees by U.S. personnel overseas.

The letter, signed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and dozens of other groups, calls on the president to reconsider his decision to block the release of the photos. It states, “The hallmark of an open society is that we do not conceal information that reflects poorly on us – we expose it to the light of day, so that wrongdoers can be held accountable and future abuses prevented.”

“The disclosure of these photographs serves as a further reminder that abuse of prisoners in U.S.-administered detention centers was systemic,” said Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU National Security Project. “Some of the abuse occurred because senior civilian and military officials created a culture of impunity in which abuse was tolerated, and some of the abuse was expressly authorized. It’s imperative that senior officials who condoned or authorized abuse now be held accountable for their actions.”

Also today, the ACLU asked a federal appeals court to uphold its earlier ruling that the government must release the photos. On May 28, the government filed a motion asking the court to recall its mandate ordering their release, and today the ACLU filed its opposition to that motion.

“The public has an undeniable right to see these photos. As disturbing as they may be, it is critical that the American people know the full truth about the abuse that occurred in their name. The government’s decision to suppress the photos is fundamentally inconsistent with President Obama’s own promise of transparency and accountability,” said Amrit Singh, staff attorney with the ACLU. “The government has failed to show any good cause for the court to recall its mandate that the photos be released, and we are confident the court will uphold its original order.”

In September 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ordered the government to turn over the photos in response to an ACLU Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit. The Obama administration originally indicated that it would not appeal that decision and would release the photos, but abruptly reversed its commitment to do so shortly before the agreed-upon deadline.

In addition to Jaffer and Singh, attorneys on the case are Judy Rabinovitz of the national ACLU; Arthur Eisenberg and Beth Haroules of the New York Civil Liberties Union; Lawrence S. Lustberg and Jenny Brooke Condon of the New Jersey-based law firm Gibbons P.C.; and Shayana Kadidal and Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

More information about the ACLU’s FOIA lawsuit, including today’s filing, is online at: www.aclu.org/torturefoia

The full text of the letter to President Obama is below and available online at: www.aclu.org/safefree/torture/39709res20090601.html

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Pentagon war spending hits $685.7 billion – GAO

March 31, 2009

Reuters, March 30, 2009

WASHINGTON, March 30 (Reuters) – Pentagon spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and to fight terrorism elsewhere has reached $685.7 billion since 2001, a U.S. government watchdog agency said on Monday.

The Government Accountability Office, or GAO, said the Iraq war accounted for $533.5 billion in Defense Department spending obligations through last December, while spending on operations in Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa and the Philippines totaled $124.1 billion.

The remaining $28.1 billion was for operations to defend the U.S. mainland, the GAO said in a letter to Congress dated March 30.

The spending total equals about 85 percent of the $808 billion that Congress has appropriated for military operations in the global war on terrorism since the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington, the GAO said.

The $122.3 billion difference reflects multiyear contracts for procurement, military construction, research, development and other programs, the watchdog agency said.

GAO figures show the rise in Pentagon obligations slowing from 40 percent hikes between 2005 and 2007 to a 33 percent increase in 2008. Obligations for 2008 totaled $162.4 billion.

Congress has appropriated $65.9 billion for 2009 so far and the Obama administration is seeking another $75.5 billion, suggesting $141.4 billion in total appropriations for the year, down from 2008.

Pentagon spending in the first three months of fiscal year 2009 — from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2008 — equaled about $31 billion, of which $25 billion went to the war in Iraq and nearly $6 billion to operations in Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa and the Philippines.

The Army accounted for $21.5 billion of war on terrorism obligations during the same period, followed by the Air Force at $3.7 billion. (Reporting by David Morgan, editing by Patricia Zengerle)

US Influence in Iraq Far From Over

March 2, 2009

by Eric Margolis | Toronto Sun, March 2, 2001

Barack Obama won the votes of many Americans by promising to swiftly end the Iraq War and bring U.S. troops home. He denounced George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq as a “violation of international law.”

So will U.S. troops leave Iraq? Will those responsible for this trumped-up war face justice?

No, on both counts.

President Obama says U.S. combat troops will leave Iraq by August 2010. However, the U.S. military occupation will not end. What we are seeing is a public relations shell game.

The U.S. has 142,000 soldiers and nearly 100,000 mercenaries occupying Iraq. Obama’s plan calls for withdrawing the larger portion of the U.S. garrison but leaving 50,000-60,000 troops in Iraq.

To get around his promise to withdraw all “combat” troops, the president and his advisers are rebranding the stay-behind garrison as “training troops, protection for American interests, and counterterrorism forces.”

At a time when the U.S. is bankrupt and faces a $1.75 trillion deficit, the Pentagon’s gargantuan $664 billion budget (50% of total global military spending) will grow in 2009 and 2010 by another $200 billion to pay for the occupation of Iraq and Obama’s expanded war in Afghanistan. Throw in another $40 billion to $50 billion for the CIA and other intelligence agencies.

Obama insists the U.S. will withdraw from Iraq. But his words are belied by the Pentagon, which continues to expand bases in Iraq, including Balad and Al-Asad, with 4,400-metre runways for heavy bombers and transports.

AIR BRIDGE

They are key links in the U.S. Air Force’s new air bridge that extends from Germany to Bulgaria and Romania, Iraq and the Gulf, then onward to Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Besides Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone and U.S. embassy (the world’s largest), the Pentagon reportedly wants to retain 58 permanent bases in Iraq (by comparison, there are 36 in South Korea), total control of its air space and immunity from Iraqi law for all U.S. troops.

The U.S. also will retain major bases in neighbouring Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Diego Garcia. U.S. oil companies are moving in to exploit Iraq’s vast energy reserves, the Mideast’s second largest after Saudi Arabia.

U.S. troop levels will remain high during Iraq’s December elections to ensure “security,” according to the Pentagon. In other words, ensuring the U.S.-selected regime “wins” the vote. Iraqi parties, notably Baath, opposing the U.S. occupation, are banned from running. Many Iraqis believe the U.S. will never leave their nation.

In short, contrary to all Obama’s high-blown rhetoric about pulling out of Iraq, Washington clearly intends it will remain a U.S. military, political and economic protectorate. Washington is following exactly the same control model the British Empire used to rule Iraq, and exploit its oil: Install a figurehead ruler, keep him in power using a “native” army (read today’s Iraqis army and police). RAF units based in Iraq (read U.S. air bases) bomb any rebellious areas. Smaller British ground units based in non-urban areas are on call to put down attempted coups against the king. The U.S. plan for Iraq is identical.

Obama made clear that officials responsible for the Iraq war, torture, kidnapping or assassination will not be prosecuted. The theft of over $50 billion in U.S. “reconstruction” funds sent to Iraq is being hushed up.

By contrast, Britons are demanding release of cabinet documents leading to war that are likely to expose Tony Blair’s lies and illegalities.

BYGONES

There is no corresponding call for justice in the United States. Obama tells the public, let bygones be bygones. Unless, of course, it’s Osama bin Laden.

Between 600,000 and one million Iraqis died as a result of President George W. Bush’s aggression, which cost nearly $1 trillion and some 4,500 U.S. dead. Four million Iraqis remain refugees. The U.S. holds over 20,000 Iraqi political prisoners.

Mr. President, this is not a bygone. It’s a historic crime that demands justice. Keep your word about withdrawing from Iraq. Enough with the Bush doubletalk.

Eric Margolis is a columnist for The Toronto Sun. A veteran of many conflicts in the Middle East, Margolis recently was featured in a special appearance on Britain’s Sky News TV as “the man who got it right” in his predictions about the dangerous risks and entanglements the US would face in Iraq. His latest book is American Raj: Liberation or Domination?: Resolving the Conflict Between the West and the Muslim World

Dismay at Obama plan to leave 50,000 US troops in Iraq after 2010

February 27, 2009
US troops conduct a foot patrol along the Tigris river south of Baghdad, Iraq

US troops conduct a foot patrol along the Tigris river south of Baghdad, Iraq. Photograph: David Furst/AFP/Getty images

Democratic Congressional leaders have expressed dismay that President Barack Obama is planning to leave as many as 50,000 US troops in Iraq even after the long-awaited withdrawal of combat troops next year.

Obama, on a visit to a military base in North Carolina today, will announce plans to make good on his campaign pledge to withdraw US combat troops from Iraq. There are about 145,000 US troops in Iraq and Obama is expected to say that most of the combat troops will be withdrawn by August next year.

The president called Congressional leaders to the White House yesterday to inform them in advance of his plan.

But the Congress members, most of whom were opposed to the war, expressed regret afterwards that so many, between 35,000 and 50,000, are to be left behind.

According to one congressional official, lawmakers were told that General David Petraeus, head of US Central Command, and General Ray Odierno, the top commander in Baghdad, believed the plan presented moderate risk but supported the 50,000 figure.

When Obama was on the campaign trail, his promise to withdraw US troops was widely understood to mean all US troops, even though his advisers said a large force would be left behind to help with training, as back-up support for the Iraqi government and to prevent a return of al-Qaida-linked forces.

Before meeting Obama, Harry Reid, the Democratic leader in the Senate, said he would convey his concern, saying that “talk about 50,000 – that’s a little higher number than I anticipated”.

John McHugh, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee, said Obama promised him to reconsider the new strategy if violence rises. McHugh said he was worried the situation in Iraq remained fragile, especially as it approaches elections in December.

“Our commanders must have the flexibility they need in order to respond to these challenges, and President Obama assured me that there is a ‘Plan B,'” he said in a statement.

Some Democrats are sceptical but because they say it would leave too many troops behind.

“I have been one for a long time that’s called for significant cutbacks in Iraq, and I am happy to listen to the secretary of defence and the president,” senate majority leader, Harry Reid, told reporters before the briefing. “But when they talk about 50,000, that’s a little higher number than I had anticipated.”

In a separate development, the US military will allow news media to cover the return of the bodies of service personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, a reversal of George Bush’s policy of bringing the flag-draped coffins back into the country in secret.

The Pentagon has long acknowledged the toll on public support for war that images of the coffins could take. The Vietnam war was heavily televised, and media images of casualties helped turn the country against the conflict.

In 1999, a top American general said that US military conflicts must pass the “Dover test” of public reaction to casualties, named after Dover air force base in Delaware, where casualties arrive.

In 2003, with the US public already deeply divided on the war on Iraq, the Bush administration began enforcing the ban worldwide, with military officials even prohibiting photographs of body bags at bases in Iraq.

Bush administration officials said the ban protected families’ privacy. Critics said it was a heavy-handed way of keeping the public in the dark about the human toll. In Britain, photographers are permitted to cover the return of fallen soldiers.

The ban dates back to the 1991 Gulf war but was overlooked during the Clinton administration.


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