Ministry of Defence plans unmanned marine drones for fun and games

Matrix version

The Ministry of Defence is seeking to develop a new generation of unmanned maritime “drones” that would be used for anti-submarine warfare and possible missile attacks on enemy ships, the Guardian has learned.

A fleet of Royal Navy unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) is already being used in the Gulf to help prevent Iran laying mines in important sea lanes, and ministers are now considering whether similar devices could be used to tackle pirates off the coast of Somalia.

Documents show that the MoD is hoping to hugely improve drone capabilities, having seen how effective they have been for NATO against the Taliban. Whitehall sources confirm the British military wants to integrate drones across the three armed services as a cheaper way of waging war, providing round-the-clock surveillance and gathering intelligence. “The possibilities of these new drone technologies is endless,” a senior defence official told the Guardian…

Including the removal of people who are just in the way…

“A range of unmanned systems including UUVs, unmanned surface vehicles (USVs), and unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) may be used to support these maritime tasks,” it continues. “And could be expected to perform a number of roles, including, but not limited to, remote sensing, communications relay, delivery of effects such as the deployment of weapons or countermeasures.”

Rear Admiral Chris Parry…said the use of UUVs could be provocative, and possibly illegal under international law. “You use UUVs for work that is dull, dangerous, dirty and dodgy. There may well be problems because you would want to penetrate territorial seas, I’d be amazed if you didn’t…

It goes without saying that if the Brits are this far along, the United States probably has flotillas of these critters bought and paid for by American taxpayers.

Legitimate military use is never a problem with any new device. Hardware in and of itself takes a bit of special design to make it a criminal device. Not that criminal-minded brass running most of the world’s military are above slaughtering civilians by the boatload to achieve their tactical ends.

Oz tells Obama to forget stationing a nuclear aircraft carrier group

“Australia is the gateway to New Zealand – we know hobbits have weapons of mass destruction”

Australia, which tries to tread a fine line between supporting its closest ally, the US, and not upsetting China, its biggest trading partner, yesterday rejected a proposal to base a US nuclear aircraft carrier group near Perth, saying it did not want American bases in the country.

The idea was raised in a Pentagon-commissioned report by the influential Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies, which suggested relocating a carrier and its support fleet from the US east coast to HMAS Stirling, an Australian naval base south of Perth – as part of the latest version of the Cold War popular with Washington politicians.

But the Defence Minister, Stephen Smith, ruled it out, saying that while negotiations were under way to increase US navy access to the base, Australia would not be hosting a US aircraft carrier group, which typically including submarines, destroyers and fighter jets. “We have made it crystal clear from the first moment – we don’t have United States military bases in Australia, and we’re not proposing to,” he said…

The US, which has announced plans to shift the bulk of its naval fleet to the Pacific by 2020, has been forging closer military ties with countries in the region, in an effort to counter China’s growing military strength. It already has a carrier strike group based in the Japanese port of Yokosuka.

Mail me a penny postcard when China decides to waste money to station military bases in Canada, Guatemala, Greenland and a carrier group circling off Chesapeake Bay.

Oh, that’s right. The last aircraft carrier they bought from the Russians has been parked and turned into a luxury hotel. Not proper Cold War behavior at all.

Dumbest revenge ever – for a minor pot bust!

Rene Morris was at work at DelaBruere Auto Sales Thursday when he heard some unusual sounds coming from next door at the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department.

“I felt like I was in a monster jam rally or something,” said Rene Morris, who witnessed the crash.

But police say that monster jam rally was actually 34-year-old Roger Pion of Newport driving over and crushing seven police vehicles with a massive tractor.

“I just couldn’t believe it, just backing up going over it, turns around makes his way to the other vehicles smashes those up,” said Morris…

“We came out and sure enough someone had run over our cruisers with a tractor,” said Chief Deputy Philip Brooks, Orleans County Sheriff’s Department.

The Sheriff’s Department secretary saw the tractor go by before the rampage, but didn’t think twice about it.

“I mean it is Vermont. No, nobody saw it happen,” said Brooks.

After the demo-derby happened in Derby — Pion was arrested a mile and a half away in Newport by other officers. Sheriff’s Deputies couldn’t chase him, because they had no cars on site. Pion’s been in trouble with the law before. He was arrested this past month by the Newport City police for marijuana possession. There’s speculation — the car crushing was revenge…

Police say Pion took out more than half of the sheriff department’s fleet — some of its newest vehicles were only four months old. Damages could be as much as $300,000.

Idiot. The local Tea Party will probably bail him out for his “defense” of individual liberty.

Nuclear bomb facility shuttered after peace activists defeat security, hang banners, anoint facility with human blood

The U.S. government’s only facility for handling, processing and storing weapons-grade uranium has been temporarily shut after anti-nuclear activists, including an 82-year-old nun, breached security fences…

Officials said the facility was shut down on Wednesday at least until next week after three activists cut through perimeter fences to reach the outer wall of a building where highly enriched uranium, a key nuclear bomb component, is stored.

The activists painted slogans and threw human blood on the wall of the facility, one of numerous buildings in the facility known by the code name Y-12…

While moving between the perimeter fences, the activists triggered sensors that alerted security personnel. But officials conceded the intruders were still able to reach the building’s walls before security personnel got to them.

Ellen Barfield, a spokeswoman for the activists who called themselves “Transform Now Plowshares,” said three were arrested and charged with vandalism and criminal trespass.

She said the three, identified as Megan Rice, 82, Michael Walli, 63 and Greg Boertje-Obed, 57, were being held in custody and appeared for a hearing before a U.S. magistrate judge in Knoxville, Tennessee, on Thursday…

Barfield forwarded a statement from the group in which it said the activists had passed through four fences and walked for “over two hours” before reaching the uranium storage building, on which they hung banners and strung crime-scene tape.

Ralph Hutchinson, coordinator for the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, said the group’s intention was not to demonstrate the lack of security at the plant, but to take a stance against the making of nuclear weapons.

It’s truly heartwarming to see Christians who match the original model, the sort of people I shared jail cells with in early days of the civil rights movement, still taking care of business. The bigots who spend their time eating battery chicken sandwiches and carrying plastic muskets might learn a thing or two about the history of their religion – if they studied something more than war.

My best smile has to be over Megan Rice. No wonder the Pope is scared shitless by American nuns. You will hear all sorts of Catholic officialdom denying her stature among the rank-and-file. They will be lying in their teeth.

Sister Megan is exactly the kind of pacifist warrior that used to be common among the faithful. I’ve known Plowshare folks for decades and they deserve all the credit and aid this selfish land can muster in their fight against nuclear warlovers.

Italian court outlaws saying, ‘”you don’t have the balls!”

It took a trial and two appeals. But now Italians know where they stand…They may think it. They may mutter it. But, on pain of a hefty fine, they must not say it.

With all the solemnity on which it can draw, Italy’s highest appeals court has ruled it is a crime to utter the words: “You don’t have the balls.” And for reasons that are potentially as controversial as the judgment itself.

The court decided the phrase should be outlawed, not so much because it cast doubt on the offended party’s virility, but because it implied a “lack of determination, competence and consistency – virtues which, rightly or wrongly, continue to be regarded as suggestive of the male sex’.

In this instance, the offended party was a lawyer from the southern city of Potenza. The existence of his procreative organs was called into question by his cousin, a justice of the peace, in a public courthouse row.

The judges at the trial ruled for the lawyer. But the justice of the peace took his case to appeal, where his counsel persuaded the court that the accusation levelled at him was a load of, well, nonsense.

The judges declared that the claim regarding their learned friend’s allegedly missing testicles could not be regarded as offensive because it had been levelled “in the context of a family dispute”. Undaunted, the offended party appealed to Rome where it was argued, on his behalf in a hearing on 26 June, that while it was acceptable to say, for example, “don’t break my balls”, it was unacceptable to claim that “you don’t possess the attributes – in other words, you are worth less than other men.”