Posts Tagged ‘military’
Some 22 US nuclear weapons are stored on Dutch territory, says former Dutch Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers…Mr Lubbers, a centre-right prime minister from 1982-94, said they were stored underground in strong-rooms at the Volkel air base in Brabant.
He made the revelation in a documentary for National Geographic – saying: “I would never have thought those silly things would still be there in 2013.”
The presence of nuclear weapons on Dutch soil has long been rumoured…However, Mr Lubbers is believed to be the most senior person to confirm their existence.
“I think they are an absolutely pointless part of a tradition in military thinking,” Mr Lubbers said.
The Telegraaf newspaper quoted experts as saying the weapons held at Volkel were B61 bombs that were developed in the US in the 1960s. At 50 kilotons, they are four times the strength of atom bombs used on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima or Nagasaki at the end of World War II…
The “poorly kept secret” of the existence of nuclear weapons in concrete vaults emerged in 2010 in the classified US documents published by Wikileaks, reported NRC Handelsblad newspaper.
It was mentioned in a report on a conversation involving US Ambassador to Berlin Philip Murphy, US diplomat Phil Gordon and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s national security adviser, Christoph Heusgen.
In November 2010, then-Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal declined to give any explanation to the Dutch parliament.
A spokesman for the Royal Dutch Air Force was quoted by Dutch broadcaster NOS on Monday as saying these issues “are never spoken of“…”[Mr Lubbers], as former prime minister, knows that well,” he added.
Just as American liberals or conservatives fall right in line with every wish of the Pentagon and our military-industrial complex, governments around the world click their heels and listen to Uncle Sugar. It’s easier than thinking for yourself. Less trouble than cutting the umbilical cord to American death machines – and the dollars that flow into government treasuries and, sometimes, Swiss bank accounts.
Just as Obama uses the same excuses as George W Bush, governments of convenient coalitions – Center-Left, Center-Right, patriotic, independent politicians in other nations pay close attention to the people who own the United States – and never get out of line. Transparency is a cool word that still depends upon who owns the house and the windows.
Malnutrition is the underlying cause of death for at least 3.1 million children, accounting for 45% of all deaths among children under the age of five and stunting growth among a further 165 million, according to a set of reports released ahead of a nutrition summit in London.
The shocking figures, published in the Lancet on Thursday, emerged as world leaders prepare to meet on Saturday to pledge extra money for nutrition, ahead of the G8 summit of industrialised countries on 17 June…
Aid for basic nutrition came to $418 million in 2011, only 0.4% of total official development assistance. Similarly, nutrition has been a low government priority in Africa.
Saturday’s nutrition summit, co-hosted by the UK, Brazil and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), is expected to see financial pledges from rich governments and declarations of commitments from poor countries.
Aid campaigners, who see the summit as the biggest opportunity in a decade to secure financial and political commitments on nutrition, expect pledges that will take the overall figure for nutrition to between $600m and $800m a year. Enough Food For Everyone IF, a coalition of more than 200 NGOs and faith groups, which is holding a rally in Hyde Park on Saturday to coincide with the summit, is calling for $1bn a year by 2015.
Even if the summit comes up with more money, it will fall far short of the $9.6bn a year the Lancet says is needed to reduce the number of deaths from malnutrition among under-fives by 1 million. The money would be targeted at 34 countries with high malnutrition rates, supporting interventions identified in the 2008 Lancet series as cost-effective. These include exclusive breastfeeding and appropriate, healthy foods for infants; providing mothers and children with sufficient vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A and zinc supplements, iodised salt, and other micronutrient powders and fortified foods; and the prevention and treatment of cases of acute, severe malnutrition…
Brazil has been one of the success stories in reducing malnutrition. Daniel Silva Balaban, a director at the UN World Food Programme who was involved in Brazil’s nutrition policy, emphasised that hunger and malnutrition was a political problem, not an economic one.
Balaban pointed out that the success of a school feeding programme key to Brazil’s success in tackling malnutrition involved not just the ministry of education but also the co-operation of the education, health, social development and finance ministries.
It also helps if you’e not one of the nations whose military assumes a much higher priority than ordinary citizens – or their children.
Israeli military authorities have not issued travel documents to 21 men and one woman who had hoped to compete in this Sunday’s race in Bethlehem, despite an official request from the head of the Palestine Olympic Committee, Jabril Rajoub.
It means the athletes will have missed the chance to run in two marathons within weeks after the United Nations’s relief agency, UNWRA, last month cancelled its race in Gaza – scheduled for April 11 – in protest at a decision by the territory’s Hamas rulers banning women runners.
The controversy has opened the military to accusations of hypocrisy from critics who point out that the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) posted a blog on its website criticising Hamas’ decision as a denial of human freedom…
Among the would-be Gaza runners are Sanaa Abu-Bahit, 29, a woman who has entered the 5km part of the race, and Nader Al-Masri, who represented Palestine in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
I wouldn’t expect anything less than hypocrisy, allegiance to Israel’s apartheid ideology.
This is similar to the design seen by the Alitalia pilot
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a report from a pilot of an Alitalia passenger jet who says he saw an unmanned aircraft while landing at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York.
“We saw a drone, a drone aircraft,” the pilot can be heard telling controllers on radio calls captured by the website LiveATC.net.
“The FAA is investigating a report… he saw a small, unmanned or remote-controlled aircraft while on final approach to Runway 31 Right,” according a statement sent to CNN by FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown. “The sighting was approximately four to five miles west of the airport at an altitude of approximately 1,500 feet,” she said.
That description puts the aircraft somewhere over Brooklyn and on the other side of the airport from where the plane was coming in for a landing…
The Alitalia aircraft did not have to take any evasive action and landed safely at JFK…
For recreational hobbyists, flying remote-controlled planes is only allowed by the FAA up to 400 feet in the air, and within sight of the operator. If they are going to fly within three miles of an airport, they have to let air traffic controllers know.
Flying unmanned aerial vehicles is illegal for most business purposes; however, governments and public entities such as police departments can apply for permission to operate them.
20 years ago, it would have been called a UFO.
NASA is looking for new ideas on what to do with two space telescopes left over from a once-secret U.S. spy satellite program.
The U.S. space agency asked the scientific community on Tuesday for its input into possible missions for a pair of space telescopes donated last year to NASA by the National Reconnaissance Office, which operates the nation’s spy satellites…
Topping the list of existing proposals is to use one telescope for a mission to learn more about an anti-gravity force known as “dark energy,” which is believed to be responsible for speeding up the universe’s rate of expansion…
The National Academy of Sciences has made that mission, known as the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope, its top choice for an astrophysics space mission for the next decade.
NASA estimates the WFIRST mission would cost $1.5 billion to $2 billion, but it cannot begin a major new astrophysics project until spending winds down on the over-budget and delayed James Webb Space Telescope, which is a successor to the Hubble Space Telescope and is scheduled for launch in 2018.
Another option is to pair the WFIRST mission with a new initiative to view Earth-sized planets beyond the solar system, said Princeton University researcher David Spergel, who organized a workshop for scientists in September to discuss telescope proposals.
The extra-solar planet hunter also could be a stand-alone mission.
Another idea is to use one of the telescopes to study how the sun affects Earth’s magnetic field…
Too bad the red tape-rules of the transfer of ownership prohibit these being used to observe Earth. Bet we could sell them to Google or Apple.
The winds of change
Compulsory military service may be suspended in order to help the Ministry of Defence find the 2.7 billion kroner of cuts it has promised to make.
The news comes ahead of the start of negotiations today between the government and the parties that voted in favour of the last defence budget that expires in two years time.
Compulsory military service is written into the Danish constitution, making it difficult to abolish. That is why the government has instead proposed to suspend the tradition…
Reports suggest that the preliminary negotiations seem to have found about two billion kroner of cuts, while suspending military service is hoped to save an additional 500 million kroner a year.
Almost all 18-year-old Danish men – and a small number of women – serve at least four months of military service once they complete upper secondary school.
The tradition started in the middle of the 19th century and is now considered a rite of passage for most men while also providing the Danish military with a large recruitment ground for its professional army.
As a result, right-wing parties the Konservative (K) and Dansk Folkeparti (DF) are against suspending it.
DF’s defence spokesperson, Maria Krarup…and K’s defence spokesperson, Lene Espersen…said blah, blah, blah!
Opposition party Liberal Alliance (LA) is for getting rid of it though.
“National service belongs to the past,” LA’s defence spokesperson Villum Christensen told Ritzau. “It’s a very expensive way to educate soldiers. We would rather have a professional army.”
Overdue. Of course, even having such a discussion is beyond the comprehension of the slurry of Cold Warriors and spineless hacks we have in Congress.
Bodies dug from graves to fuel trade in Nazi souvenirs…
Servicemen’s groups have condemned the trade in Nazi souvenirs, which has seen hundreds of artifacts – including dog tags and tank parts – stripped from graves in Demyansk, near Novgorod in Russia, and Kurland in Latvia.
The items end up for sale on websites or at specialist fairs while the bodies are dumped in mass graves.
Paul Reed, a military archaeologist, told The Times: “It’s wholesale looting of battle sites, and the bones are just tipped into holes at the end of the day.
“Second World War archaeology is in its infancy at the moment, and these people are destroying our future, as well as desecrating the graves of fallen soldiers. None of them deserved to have their bones dug up.”
Items have reportedly been offered at War and Peace, the biggest military fair in Europe, which takes place at Hop Farm, in Kent.
While the trade is outlawed in France and Germany, it is legal in the UK. And, of course, the US.
Collectors insist they are military historians rather than neo-Nazis who prefer to buy modern replicas.
I don’t care which specific kind of creep these people are – they still are ghouls. Especially the flavor who know damned well they’re buying from grave-robbers.
Graziani – commanding Italian forces in Libya
A political row has erupted in Italy after a memorial was opened to fascist commander Field Marshal Rodolfo Graziani, a convicted war criminal.
Graziani was honoured with a mausoleum and memorial park, built at taxpayers’ expense, in a village south of Rome.
He was notorious as Benito Mussolini’s military commander in colonial wars in Ethiopia and Libya where he carried out massacres and used chemical weapons…
“Is it possible to allow, accept or simply tolerate that, in 2012, we dedicate a park and a museum to the fascist general and minister Rodolfo Graziani?” asked Esterino Montino, head of the Democratic Party in the Lazio region.
He pointed to the “crimes against humanity committed by Graziani in Ethiopia in the 1930s”, La Repubblica newspaper reports.
Graziani was sentenced to 19 years’ imprisonment for war crimes in 1948 but was released from jail after serving only two years, and died in 1955.
The BBC’s David Willey, in Rome, says that the cult of fascist heroes remains alive in certain parts of Italy despite the outlawing of the fascist party in the country’s postwar constitution.
He adds that it is curious, however, that there has been no formal protest that a crypto-fascist mayor of a small town near the capital can, in 2012, publicly honour a man who brought death to thousands of Africans and dishonour to his own country.
He was accompanied by a representative from the Vatican. That’s no surprise either.
Just one of the reminders of America’s war on the Vietnamese people
More than half a century after the United States began dousing Vietnam with the defoliant Agent Orange in a bid to clear the jungle that provided cover for Viet Cong fighters, it is about to begin cleaning up one of the most contaminated spots left over from the war.
The cleanup is expected to take four years and cost more than $43 million. It is the first time that the U.S. has joined with Vietnam to completely cleanse a site tainted with Agent Orange, which has been linked to birth defects, cancer and other ailments.
“This is huge, considering that for many years the U.S. and Vietnam could not see eye to eye at all about this issue,” said Susan Hammond, director of the War Legacies Project, a Vermont-based nonprofit group. “It was one of the last unresolved war legacies between the U.S. and Vietnam…”
“Huge” is not acting after decades of ignoring responsibility. It would be huge if the United States acknowledged the imperial arrogance central to our foreign policy since the end of World war 2. Huge would be assuming the task of cleaning up the death and destruction we have distributed about this planet from Hiroshima to Lebanon, from atomic weapons to Claymore mines and cluster bombs.
Near the Da Nang site, Vo Duoc fought tears as he told the Associated Press that he and other family members, who have suffered diabetes, breast cancer and miscarriages, had tested high for dioxin. Now he fears his grandchildren could be exposed as well.
“They had nothing to do with the war,” Duoc told the AP. “But I live in fear that they’ll test positive like me.”
The U.S. has chipped in for programs to help Vietnamese youth with disabilities but has shied away from saying their problems are specifically linked to the chemical. Vietnam has bristled at that resistance, pointing out that the U.S. has paid billions of dollars in disability payments to American veterans suffering illnesses linked to Agent Orange…
Da Nang, once used as an American military base, is widely seen as the most worrisome hot spot because it sits in the middle of a densely populated city. Nearby lakes are used to raise fish and ducks for human consumption.
Vietnamese authorities poured a concrete slab over the most badly contaminated area 4 1/2 years ago, with technical assistance from U.S. environmental officials and the Ford Foundation, Bailey said. American aid officials also helped plan for the remaining cleanup to destroy the dioxin in soil and sediment on the site.
I hope no one in Washington harms themselves whilst patting each other on the back for this belated attempt at reparations for crimes committed in the name of the United States. The Leaders of the Free World demonstrated a disdain for humanity in Southeast Asia easily matching the worst of European colonialism.
In practice, the Euros and Brits have probably performed slightly better at recognizing both responsibility for their crimes and the appropriateness of aiding the colonial peoples they oppressed. I expect you still couldn’t get a serious aid package for VietNam through Congress valued, say, at the equivalent of what we provide annually for updating our nuclear arsenal.
If National Guard recruiters want to keep sponsoring Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s racing team, the U.S. House is willing to keep providing millions of dollars for the right to back No. 88.
An effort to ban the military from spending $72.3 million on sponsorships was defeated on a bipartisan vote of 216-202 — a victory for Nascar, the National Football League and the National Basketball Association, which lobbied against the proposal.
“I say let the military run the recruiting as they have done successfully for all these years,” said Representative Bill Young of Florida, chairman of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee…
Actually, NASCAR’s advertising productivity is plummeting as fast their income, attendance and viewership.
It would be “irresponsible and outrageous” for Congress to continue allowing the Pentagon to sponsor sports while cutting funding for services that aid struggling families and communities, said Minnesota Democrat Betty McCollum.
“We can spend this money a lot better than we are today,” said Georgia Republican Jack Kingston, who offered the defeated amendment.
Just like planes not worth flying, personnel carriers more dangerous than walking through a minefield – and toilet seats fit for a general’s soft tush – Congress is perfectly willing to throw good money after bad to stay in the good graces of their favorite fundraising pimps.