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Pentagon Kills Big Airborne Laser, Now Wants Small Laser Drones


The Boeing 747 Airborne Laser project has been mothballed despite successfully destroying a ballistic missile and other targets. But don’t despair, pew-pew destruction fans: the US Missile Defense Command now wants to use small high altitude drones armed with lasers.

The Airborne Laser projects started in the 1990s. Installed in a Boeing 747-400F, the multi-megawatt-class chemical oxygen iodine laser was designed to destroy the propulsion of enemy nuclear ICBMs, taking down the missile and its nuclear warheads.

The Pentagon spent $5 billion on this defense laser, but it has finally been killed because of mounting costs, the current economical crisis and doubts about its actual practical value in real life scenarios.

But everything is not lost: the Pentagon will use the experience to develop other laser defense systems, using high altitude drones equipped with lasers. According to MDA Director Army Lt. Gen. Patrick O’Reilly, they will be simpler and more effective. …


Russia wants fair hearing on missile defense – Medvedev

RIA Novosti
December 22, 2011

Russia is ready for constructive dialogue on missile defense with its Western partners but hopes for give and take, President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday.

“I only want to confirm that we are open for constructive dialogue and substantive work with our partners, if they learn to listen to us,” Medvedev said in his final state-of-the-nation address before he steps down next year.

“We count on reciprocity in order to reach mutually acceptable solutions as soon as possible and to maintain an atmosphere of trust.”

Russia-NATO missile defense talks have stalled as Moscow is seeking legally binding guarantees that the U.S.-backed European missile defense program will not be directed against it.

Washington, however, refuses to provide the guarantees, saying the shield is directed against rogue states such as Iran and North Korea. …


UK responsible for base clean-up

Royal Gazette
By Walton Brown
December 21, 2011

Addressing Bermuda’s House of Assembly on January 15, 1942, on his way home from Washington, Britain’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill spoke of the agreement for the leasing to the United States of bases in Bermuda. He told the Members of Colonial Parliament that “you in Bermuda happen to be called upon to play a part of especial importance and distinction. Everybody has to do his duty to the cause – first to the British Empire, but above that to the world cause.” Sir Winston went on to state: “I wish to express to you my strong conviction that these bases are important pillars of the bridge connecting the two great English-speaking democracies. You have cause to be proud that it has fallen to your lot to make this important contribution to a better world.” He concluded his remarks by expressing his “profound gratitude”.

For more than 50 years the special relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States was manifested, as far as Bermuda is concerned, in the gift of this lease – not part of the bases for weapons swap that characterised other UK-US base deals. With the Cold War over and the military need for the bases eroding, the United States made the decision in early 1990s to close the bases and return the land to Bermuda well ahead of the 2040 lease expiration date.

One of the residual issues is the base cleanup, now estimated to cost over $70 million. This should not be a cost borne by the Bermuda Government. In recognition of the UK’s “profound gratitude” for the sacrifices made by Bermudians as well as the fact that Bermuda had no role in the decision to grant the US a base on the island, it cannot logically, morally, even legally, be a Bermuda responsibility. Minimally, the UK must bear responsibility for this …

Read on: www.royalgazette.com/article/20111221/COLUMN02/712219997

Ed…..This is all part of the extraordinary ‘arrangements’ that were made – we clean up their mess!

Indefinite detention bill passes in Senate

Russia Today
December 16, 2011

US Senate today voted 86 to 13 in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012

Exactly 220 years to the date after the Bill of Rights was ratified, the US Senate today voted 86 to 13 in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, allowing the indefinite detention and torture of Americans.

After a back-and-forth in recent days between both the Senate and House yielded intense criticism from Americans attempting to hold onto their Constitutional rights, NDAA FY2012 is now on its way to the White House, where yesterday the Obama administration revealed that the president would not veto the legislation, cancelling out a warning he offered less than a month earlier.

Obama has finally brought about change to America, but it’s nothing to be hopeful about.

Speaking before the Senate this afternoon, Sen. Lindsey Graham (Rep-SC) told his colleagues, “I hope you believe America is part of the battlefield.” The United States is at war, he insisted, and anyone alleged to be in opposition to the US government’s game will now be subjected to military-style detention indefinitely.

As RT reported earlier, one provision in NDAA FY2012 will allow for the reinstatement of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” essentially making waterboarding and forms of psychological torture a very possible reality for anyone America deems to be a threat, including its own citizens who, prior to the ruling, had the US Constitution on their side.

Among the corporations which have lobbied in support of NDAA FY2012 are several military contractors, including Honeywell and Bluewater Defense, who together have received millions of dollars in Pentagon guarantees this year alone. …

Read on: http://rt.com/usa/news/indefinite-detention-bill-senate-905/

Romania ratifies US missile shield agreement

December 6, 2011

The Romanian parliament on Tuesday ratified an accord to host US missile interceptors on its soil, a day before a meeting of the 28 NATO members in Brussels.

The Senate unanimously adopted the draft law ratifying the Romania-US agreement signed in September that would allow the establishment and operation of a US land-based ballistic missile defence system in Romania as part of NATO’s efforts to build a continental missile shield.

“The location of some elements of the US missile shield represents a very important contribution to the security of Romania, the US and and the entire alliance,” Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi told senators, according to Mediafax news agency.

The draft law was adopted by the lower house in November and is now set to be promulgated by President Traian Basescu.

The deployment of the missile interceptors is expected to take place in 2015 at a former airbase in southern Romania. …

Read on: www.spacewar.com/reports/Romania_ratifies_US_missile_shield_agreement_999.html

As US leaves, Iraqi forces still under construction

By Jim Loney
Decemeber 11, 2011

Nearly nine years after the United States threw out Saddam Hussein and dissolved his feared security machine, Iraq’s rebuilt military is a long way from matching up with regional powers like Saudi Arabia, Iran and Israel.

With little air defense, marginal control of its borders and a tenuous grip on Sunni insurgents and Shi’ite militias, Iraq may depend on American military help for years to come, even as most U.S. troops leave Iraqi soil by mid-December.

But current external threats are few amid Arab Spring turmoil and the Iran nuclear confrontation, analysts say, which may buy time for Iraq’s nascent forces to rebuild and re-arm.

A regional power under Saddam with 700,000 troops and an air force of 40,000 aviators flying French Mirage and Soviet MiG combat jets, the Iraqi military was devastated and then disbanded by U.S. occupation forces in 2003.

The ongoing internal battle against a stubborn insurgency and external defense now falls to a security force the government numbers at about 900,000 largely trained by Americans but not yet fully equipped for the task.

“We are ready. But we need help,” said General Hamid al-Maliki, head of the Army Aviation Command, echoing the sentiments of many Iraqi leaders. “Very, very big help.” …

Read on: www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/11/us-iraq-withdrawal-security-idUSTRE7BA0GN20111211

Birth defects, rubble scar Iraq’s Falluja

Independent Online
December 11 2011

As US forces pull out of Iraq, residents and officials in Falluja say they leave behind bullet-riddled homes, destroyed infrastructure and a worrying increase in birth defects and maladies in a city polluted by weapons and war chemicals.

Amir Hussain and Awfa Abdullah got married in Falluja in 2004 but their lives were turned upside by the birth of their two babies.

Their first child, a baby boy born in 2006, had brain damage and died last year. The second, a baby girl who was born in 2007, suffers from severe skin rashes and has one leg longer than the other.

“We’ve decided to stop having babies. We don’t want any more, because it means new suffering and a new battle against new diseases,” Hussain said. “It is our bad luck. Maybe because we got married in the wrong time and in the wrong place.”

Falluja, in the desert province of Anbar, served as a base for Iraqi fighters after the 2003 US-led invasion, and witnessed two major conflicts in 2004. US troops used overwhelming force, tanks, fighter jets and helicopter gunships to crush insurgents there. …

Read on: www.iol.co.za/dailynews/news/birth-defects-rubble-scar-iraq-s-falluja-1.1194726

Pressure to review US extradition rules after Commons speaks

The Telegraph
By Tom Whitehead
December 6, 2011

In a landmark debate, MPs unanimously passed a motion calling for a review of the extradition treaty between the UK and US, which critics argue is unfair.

It was a significant victory for campaigners and families of Britons facing extradition, particularly Janis Sharp, the mother of Gary McKinnon, the autism sufferer wanted by American authorities to answer computer hacking charges.

Mrs Sharp said her son is suffering severe depression.

“This will be his 10th Christmas since his arrest and it has destroyed his life and it has destroyed ours,” she told BBC Breakfast.

“Here the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said in 2002 that Gary was looking at six months’ community service but then when the Americans took over suddenly it becomes 60 years.

“So there is a huge disparity.”

The motion also called for a review of the European Arrest Warrant amid concerns it is used to target people suspected of the most minor of offences or who are innocent.

Critics have argued the 2003 Extradition Treaty is unfairly balanced against Britain because it is harder to bring a suspect from the US than to send one from the UK. …

Read on: www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/8936607/Pressure-to-review-US-extradition-rules-after-Commons-speaks.html

Russia Will Not Stop U.S. Missile Defense Plans, Envoy Says

Global Security Newswire
December 5, 2011

The U.S. ambassador to NATO on Friday said the Obama administration initiative to establish a missile defense system across Europe would go forward “whether Russia likes it or not,” Reuters reported.

The U.S. plan calls for deploying a web of missile interceptors and associated technology in nations such as Poland, Romania and Turkey. The plan would provide the backbone of a planned NATO missile shield, and the Western alliance has spent the last year trying to persuade Russia to join the effort.

Moscow, though, says the NATO system might be aimed at countering Russia’s nuclear forces. It has threatened to deploy short-range missiles in its Baltic enclave and to withdraw from the New START nuclear arms control treaty if an agreement on missile defense cannot be reached with Washington and NATO.

However, U.S. Ambassador Ivo Daalder informed journalists the Kremlin’s problems with the planned missile shield “won’t be the driving force in what we do.”

Since the Obama administration announced its “phased adaptive approach” for European missile defense in fall 2009 — a scaled-back approach to an earlier Bush administration plan — U.S. calculations of the danger of a ballistic missile strike from Iran have only increased, Daalder said.

“It’s accelerating and becoming more severe than even we thought two years ago,” Daalder said of the Iranian missile threat. …

Read on: www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20111205_9867.php

US Expanding Drone Bases To Assassinate “Suspects”

UK Progressive Magazine
By sherwood Ross
December 3, 2011

Forecasting a future of robotic warfare in which perverted science is put at the service of its Empire, the U.S. has built 60 bases around the world for its unmanned, remotely controlled killer drone warplanes. And more bases are under construction.

“Run by the military, the Central Intelligence Agency, and their proxies, these bases…are the backbone of a new robotic way of war,” writes Nick Turse, an investigative journalist for AlterNet and TomDispatch.

The bases “are also the latest development in a long-evolving saga of American power projection abroad—in this case, remote-controlled strikes anywhere on the planet with a minimal foreign ‘footprint’ and little accountability,” Turse points out.

He notes that there may be even more than 60 bases since the Pentagon has dropped a “cloak of secrecy” over its operations. With the recent murder of American citizen Anwar al-Aulaqi in Yemen, the drones are now assassinating suspects in no fewer than six countries, Turse says.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post also reports the Obama Pentagon is building a constellation of secret drone bases in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian peninsula to attack al-Qaeda affiliates in Somalia and Yemen.

A number of the drone bases are located in the U.S., centered at Creech Air Force base outside Las Vegas, Nev., where “pilots” seated in front of computer screens can direct the unmanned drones and command them to launch a Hellfire missile on a suspect in Afghanistan, 7,500 miles away. …

Read on: www.ukprogressive.co.uk/us-expanding-drone-bases-to-assassinate-%E2%80%9Csuspects%E2%80%9D/article16087.html