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60 Years Since the Largest U.S. Nuclear Accident and Captured Federal Agencies

By Robert Dodge | Common Dreams | July 13, 2019

60 years ago today the largest nuclear accident in U.S. history occurred above the Southern California community of Simi Valley when the Santa Susanna Field Laboratory (SSFL) site suffered a partial nuclear meltdown. That accident, kept secret for two decades, has resulted in ongoing local health effects that persist to this day and has pitted the community health and wellbeing against corporate financial interests and captured government agencies.

SSFL, a 2850 acre site, currently owned by the Department of Energy, NASA and the largest owner being Boeing, is a former nuclear reactor and rocket engine testing site. It is located in the hills above the Simi and San Fernando Valleys, at the headwaters of the Los Angeles River. Located about 25 miles from downtown Los Angeles, originally far from population areas, the area now has around 500,000 people within 10 miles of the site. Over its years of operation, there were 10 non-contained nuclear reactors that operated on the site as well as plutonium and uranium fuel fabrication facilities and a “hot lab” where highly irradiated fuel from around the U.S. nuclear complex was shipped for decladding and examination. In addition there were tens of thousands of rocket engine tests conducted over the many years of operation.

The Sodium Reactor Experiment or SRE was the first reactor to provide commercial nuclear power to a U.S. city in Moorpark. Then on July 13, 1959, a partial meltdown occurred in which a third of the fuel experienced melting. Dr. Arjun Makhijani estimated the incident released 260 times the amount of radioactive iodine as was released from the 1979 Three Mile Island accident.

As a result of this partial meltdown and numerous other reactor accidents, radioactive fires, massive chemical contamination in handling of the radioactive and chemically contaminated toxic materials that were routinely burned in open pits through the years at the site, it remains one of the most highly contaminated sites in the country. It has widespread contamination with radionuclides such as cesium-137, strontium-90, plutonium-239 and toxic chemicals perchlorate, trichloroethylene (TCE), heavy metals and dioxins.

In 2012, the U.S. EPA released the results of an extensive radiological survey of Area IV and the Northern Buffer Zone at SSFL, and found 500 samples with radioactivity above background levels, in some cases, thousands of times over background.

These toxins are associated with a multitude of health risks. Many are cancer causing, others are neurotoxins causing a host of issues including learning disabilities, birth defects and many other health effects. The most vulnerable tend to be women and children. Through the years, there have been many health studies performed. In 2006, a cluster of retinoblastoma cases, a rare eye cancer affecting young children, was identified within an area downwind of the site. The retinoblastoma mothers meeting at Los Angeles’s Children’s Hospital ultimately formed a chemo carpool.

The Public Health Institute’s 2012 California Breast Cancer Mapping Project found that the rate of breast cancer is higher in Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Oak Park and Moorpark than in almost any other place in the state.

In addition, studies by cancer registries found elevated rates of bladder cancer associated with proximity to SSFL.

There have been numerous additional studies including one by the UCLA School of Public Health that found significantly elevated cancer death rates among both the nuclear and rocket workers at SSFL from exposures to these toxic materials. Another study by UCLA found offsite exposures to hazardous chemicals by the neighboring population at levels exceeding EPA levels of concern.

A study performed for the Federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry found the incidence of key cancers, those types known to be associated with the contaminants on site, were 60% higher in the offsite population within 5 miles of the site compared to further away.

Unfortunately, these contaminants do not stay on site. When it rains, they wash off site to the Valleys below. When it blows, they become airborne and migrate offsite. The 2017 Woolsey fire is a most recent example. After initially denials, officials finally admitted the fire actually started on the field lab site burning across almost the entire site and potentially spreading toxic chemicals over the basin. Unfortunately, no adequate monitoring was performed and only began days after the flames had moved on.

Ultimately, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), has regulatory oversight of the cleanup and of the responsible parties which include NASA, the Department of Energy (DOE), and Boeing. In 2010, the Department of Energy and NASA signed historic agreements with DTSC that committed them to cleaning up all detectable contamination. The agreements, or Administrative Orders on Consent (AOC), specified that the cleanup was to be completed by 2017. Boeing, which owns most of the SSFL property, refused to sign the cleanup agreements. Nevertheless, DTSC said that its normal procedures require it to defer to local governments’ land use plans and zoning, which for SSFL allow agricultural and rural residential uses. DTSC said SSFL’s zoning would thus require Boeing to conduct a cleanup equivalent to the NASA/DOE requirements.

In response, Boeing, currently under scrutiny after the 737 MAX crashes, launched a massive “greenwashing” campaign in an attempt to convince the public that SSFL’s contamination was minimal, never hurt anyone, and that the site doesn’t need much of a cleanup because it is going to be an open space park. Boeing prefers a re-designation to recreational cleanup standards that are based on someone being on the site infrequently limited to a few hours per week . But people who live near SSFL don’t live in recreational areas, they live in residential areas and as long as the site isn’t fully cleaned up, they will still be at risk of exposure to SSFL contamination.

Recently, both the Dept. of Energy and NASA, following Boeing’s lead, have said that they too want to break out of their legal cleanup agreements and also cleanup to a weak recreational standard. So, all three responsible parties are completely disregarding the state of California’s regulatory authority. In effect they are asserting that they, the polluters, get to decide how much of their contamination gets cleaned up. That violates federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act laws as well as the AOC cleanup agreements. Now more than ever, we need our elected representatives to stand up and demand the existing cleanup agreements be upheld.

Melissa Bumstead, an adjacent West Hills resident whose daughter has twice survived a rare leukemia and who has mapped over 50 other rare pediatric cancers near SSFL, is bringing fresh energy and new voices into the cleanup fight. Her Change.org petition has now been signed by over 650,000 people and is helping to galvanize the community to fight for the full, promised cleanup.

Thus far, almost all local and federal elected officials have voiced concern that the cleanup agreements are being broken, especially in the wake of the Woolsey Fire. What is needed now is action. People ask how to protect themselves. The best thing people can do is fight for the full cleanup of SSFL. Each of has an opportunity to help this effort. We must contact all of our local officials and demand action today for a full cleanup of SSFL.

Robert Dodge is a family physician practicing in Ventura, California. He is the Co-Chair of the Security Committee of National Physicians for Social Responsibility. He is the President of Physicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles.

July 14, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Boeing’s Homicides Will Give Way to Safety Reforms if Flyers Organize

By Ralph Nader | April 4, 2019

To understand the enormity of the Boeing 737 Max 8 crashes (Lion Air 610 and Ethiopian Airlines 302) that took a combined total of 346 lives, it is useful to look at past events and anticipate future possible problems.

In 2011, Boeing executives wanted to start a “clean sheet” new narrow body air passenger plane to replace its old 737 design from the nineteen sixties. Shortly thereafter, Boeing’s bosses panicked when American Airlines put in a large order for the competitive Airbus A320neo.  Boeing shelved the new design and rushed to put out the 737 Max that, in Business Week’s words, was “pushing an ageing design past its limits.” The company raised the 737 Max landing gear and attached larger, slightly more fuel efficient engines angled higher and more forward on the wings. Such a configuration changed the aerodynamics and made the plane more prone to stall (see attached article: https://www.aviationcv.com/aviation-blog/2019/boeing-canceling-737-max).

This put Boeing’s management in a quandary. Their sales pitch to the airlines was that the 737 Max only received an “amended” certification from the FAA. That it did not have to be included in more pilot training, simulators, and detailed in the flight manuals. The airlines could save money and would be more likely to buy the Boeing 737 Max.

Boeing engineers were worried. They knew better. But the managers ordered software to address the stall problem without even telling the pilots or most of the airlines. Using only one operating sensor (Airbus A320neo has three sensors), an optional warning light and indicator, Boeing set the stage for misfiring sensors that overcame pilot efforts to control the planes from their nose-down death dive.

These fixes or patches would not have been used were the new 737’s aerodynamics the same as the previous 737 models. Step by step, Boeing’s criminal negligence, driven by a race to make profits, worsened. Before and after the fatal crashes, Boeing did not reveal, did not warn, did not train, and did not address the basic defective aerodynamic design. It gagged everyone that it could.  Boeing still insists that the 737 Max is safe and is building two a day, while pushing to end the grounding.

Reacting to all these documented derelictions, a flurry of investigations is underway. The Department of Transportation’s Inspector General, Calvin L. Scovel III, is investigating the hapless, captive FAA that has delegated to Boeing important FAA statutory and regulatory duties. The Justice Department and FBI have opened a criminal probe, with an active grand jury. The National Transportation Safety Board, long the hair shirt of the FAA, is investigating. As are two Senate and House Committees. Foreign governments are investigating, as surely are the giant insurance companies who are on the hook. This all sounds encouraging, but we’ve seen such initiatives pull back before.

This time, however, the outrageous corner-cutting and suppression of engineering dissent, within both Boeing and the FAA (there were reported “heated discussions”) produced a worst case scenario. So, Boeing is working overtime with its legions of Washington lobbyists, its New York P.R. firm, its continued campaign contributions to some 330 Members of Congress. The airlines and pilots’ union chiefs (but not some angry pilots) are staying mum, scared into silence due to contracts and jobs, waiting for the Boeing 737 Max planes to fly again.

BUT THE BOEING 737 MAX MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO FLY AGAIN. Pushing new software that will allow Boeing to blame the pilots is a dangerous maneuver. Saying that U.S. pilots, many of whom are ex-Air Force, are more experienced in reacting to a sudden wildly gyrating aircraft (consider the F-16 diving and swooping) than many foreign airline pilots only trained by civil aviation, opens a can of worms from cancellation of 737 Max orders  to indignation from foreign airlines and pilots. It also displays an aversion to human-factors engineering with a vast number of avoidable failure modes not properly envisioned by Boeing’s software patches.

The overriding problem is the basic unstable design of the 737 Max. An aircraft has to be stall proof not stall prone. An aircraft manufacturer like Boeing, notwithstanding its past safety record, is not entitled to more aircraft disasters that are preventable by following long-established aeronautical engineering practices and standards.

With 5,000 Max orders at stake, the unfolding criminal investigation may move the case from criminal negligence to evidence of knowing and willful behavior amounting to corporate homicide involving Boeing officials. Boeing better cut its losses by going back to the drawing boards. That would mean scrapping the 737 Max 8 designs, with its risk of more software time bombs, safely upgrading the existing 737-800 with amenities and discounts for its airline carrier customers and moving ahead with its early decision to design a new plane to compete with Airbus’s model, which does not have the 737 Max’s design problem.

Meanwhile, airline passengers should pay attention to Senator Richard Blumenthal’s interest in forthcoming legislation to bring the regulatory power back into the FAA. Senator Blumenthal also intends to reintroduce his legislation to criminalize business concealment of imminent risks that their products and services pose to innocent consumers and workers (the “Hide No Harm Act”).

What of the near future? Airline passengers should organize a consumer boycott of the Boeing 737 Max 8 to avoid having to fly on these planes in the coming decade. Once Boeing realizes that this brand has a deep marketing stigma, it may move more quickly to the drawing boards, so as to not alienate airline carriers.

Much more information will come out in the coming months. Much more. The NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS), which receives incident reports from pilots, air traffic controllers, dispatchers, cabin crew, maintenance technicians, and others, is buzzing, as is the FlyersRights.org website. Other countries, such as France, have tougher criminal statutes for such corporate crime than the U.S. does. The increasing emergence of whistle-blowers from Boeing, the FAA and, other institutions is inevitable.

Not to mention, the information that will come out of the civil litigation against this killer mass tort disaster. And of course the relentless reporting of newspapers such as the Seattle Times, the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the Washington Post, and AP, among others will continue to shed light on Boeings misdeeds and the FAA’s deficiencies.

Boeing executives should reject the advice from the reassuring, monetized minds of Wall Street stock analysts saying you can easily absorb the $2 billion cost and move on. Boeing, let your engineers and scientists be free to exert their “professional options for revisions” to save your company from the ruinous road you are presently upon.

Respect those who perished at your hand and their grieving families.

April 6, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , | Leave a comment

Greedy Boeing’s Avoidable Design and Software Time Bombs

By Ralph Nader | March 21, 2019

As internal and external pressures mount to hold Boeing responsible for its criminal negligence, the giant company is exerting its immense influence to limit both its past and future accountability. Boeing whistleblowers and outside aviation safety experts are coming forward to reveal the serial, criminal negligence of Boeing’s handling of its dangerous Boeing 737 Max airplanes, grounded in the aftermath of two deadly crashes that took 346 lives. Boeing, is used to having its way in Washington, D.C. For decades, Boeing and some of its airline allies have greased the wheels for chronic inaction related to the additional protection and comfort of airline passengers and airline workers.

Most notoriously, the airlines, after the hijacks to Cuba in the late Sixties and early Seventies, made sure that Congress and the FAA did not require hardened cockpit doors and stronger latches on all aircraft, costing a modest $3000 per plane. Then the 9/11 massacre happened, a grisly consequence of non-regulation, pushed by right wing corporatist advocacy centers.

Year after year, Flyers Rights – the airline passenger consumer group –proposed a real passengers bill of rights. Year after year the industry’s toadies in Congress said no. A slim version passed last year — requiring regulations creating minimum seat standards, regulations regarding prompt refunds for ancillary services not provided or on a flight not taken, and a variety of small improvements for consumers.

Boeing is all over Capitol Hill. They have 100 full time lobbyists in Washington, D.C. Over 300 members of Congress regularly take campaign cash from Boeing. The airlines lather the politicians with complimentary ticket upgrades, amenities, waivers of fees for reservation changes, priority boarding, and VIP escorts. Twice, we sent surveys about these special freebies to every member of Congress with not a single response. (See my letter and survey.)

That is the corrupt backdrop that at least two Congressional Committees have to overcome in holding public hearings into the causes of the Indonesian’s Lion Air crash last October and the Ethiopian Airline crash on March 10, 2019.

Will the Senate and House Committee invite the technical dissenters to testify against Boeing’s sequential corner cutting on its single sensor software that miscued and took control of the 737 Max 8 from its pilots, pulling down on the plane’s nose? Boeing’s sales-driven avoidance of producing effective manuals with upgraded pilot training was courting disaster as was outrageously leaving many of the pilots in the dark.

The Congressional Committees must issue subpoenas to critics of Boeing and the FAA in order to protect them from corporate and agency retaliation.

Moreover, the Committees must get rid of the grotesque self-regulation that allows Boeing to control the aircraft certification process for the FAA. This dangerous delegation has worsened in recent years because Trump and Republicans in Congress have cut the FAA’s budget.

Brace yourself. Here is how the Washington Post described this abandonment of regulation by FAA, endorsed by Boeing’s Congress:

“In practice, one Boeing engineer would conduct a test of a particular system on the Max 8, while another Boeing engineer would act as the FAA’s representative, signing on behalf of the U.S. government that the technology complied with federal safety regulations…”

“Hundreds of Boeing engineers would have played out this scenario thousands of times as the company sought to verify the performance of mechanical systems, hardware installation and massive amounts of computer code…”

So, citizens, watch out for bloviating Congressional Committee members castigating Boeing executives at the witness table before the television cameras and then doing nothing once the television broadcasts fade away.

Boeing’s 737 series started in 1967 and has had a good engineering safety record in this country. But Boeing was in a rush with its Boeing 737 Max 8. They had to catch up with the growing orders for a similar-sized passenger jet built by Airbus. Being in a rush meant a modification that added more seats (a key motivation), that led to larger engines that affected the aerodynamics of the plane that led to the inadequate, mostly uncommunicated software fix to the pilots. Step by step, top management pushed the engineers in ways that compromised their professional expertise and each slide set the stage for a deeper slide. Now, the press is reporting a criminal probe by the Justice Department. The Inspector General of the Department of Transportation is also investigating the FAA’s certification of 737 Max 8.

Years ago, aviation experts say, Boeing should have developed a brand new aircraft design for such intermediate distances. But Boeing dug in and compliant FAA officials dropped the ball. And President Trump has failed to fill three top slots at the FAA since January 2017.

That is why, after flight 302 crashed outside Addis Ababa, both Boeing and the FAA kept issuing statements filled with gibberish saying that the 737 Max 8 was safe, safe, safe—the malfunction-prone software time bomb to the contrary. A brand new plane, crashing twice and taking hundreds of lives, can’t be blamed on pilot error.

Caution: the grounding of the planes may receive a whitewash unless the media keeps light and heat on this corporate-government collusion.

Installing artificial intelligence replacing or overpowering human intelligence in ever more complex machines, such as modern aircraft or weapons systems or medical technology is the harbinger of what’s to come. In a 2014 BBC interview Stephen Hawking, the famed theoretical physicist, said: “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.” And in 2018 Elon Musk said: “If AI has a goal and humanity just happens to be in the way, it will destroy humanity as a matter of course without even thinking about it. No hard feelings.”

At the wreckage near Bishoftu in a small pastoral farm field and in the Java Sea off Indonesia lie the remains of the early victims of arrogant, algorithm-driven corner cutting, by reckless corporate executives and their captive government regulators.

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! 

March 23, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , | Leave a comment

Woolsey Fire started at Santa Susana Field Lab — where “radioactive materials released were never accurately measured”

By John Laforge | CounterPunch | November 30, 2018

In my Nov. 16 column, I reported on potential radiation risks posed by California’s Woolsey wildfire having burned over parts or all of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory—south of Simi Valley, Calif., 30 miles outside Los Angeles—site of at least four partial or total nuclear reactor meltdowns.

The field laboratory operated 10 experimental reactors and conducted rocket engine tests. In his 2014 book Atomic Accidents, researcher James Mahaffey writes, “The cores in four experimental reactors on site … melted.” Reactor core melts always result in the release of large amounts of radioactive gases and particles. Clean up of the deeply contaminated site has not been conducted in spite of a 2010 agreement.

Los Angeles’s KABC-7 TV reported Nov. 13 that the Santa Susana lab site “appears to be the origin of the Woolsey Fire” which has torched over 96,000 acres. Southern Calif. Public Radio said, “According to Cal Fire, the Woolsey Fire started on the afternoon of Thursday, Nov. 8 … on the Santa Susana site.”

In my column I noted that Dr. Arjun Makhijani, President of the Institute for Energy & Environmental Research, estimated that the partial meltdown of the lab’s Sodium Reactor Experiment (SRE) in 1957, caused “the third largest release of iodine-131 in the history of nuclear power,” according to Gar Smith in his 2012 book Nuclear Roulette. But Makhijani was speaking in 2006, so now of course the SRE meltdown counts as the fourth largest radio-iodine release—after the triple meltdowns at Fukushima in Japan in 2011, Chernobyl in Ukraine in 1986, and Windscale in England in 1957.

Santa Susana’s operators caused the destruction of the liquid sodium-cooled SRE on July 12, 1959—“showering the downwind hills and meadows of the 2,850-acre site with a fog of chromium and radioactive isotopes, including iodine-131,” according to Smith in Roulette. It was these hills and meadows that were burned so completely by the Woolsey wildfire.

“It [the fog of isotopes] likely spread to nearby communities such as Simi Valley, Chatsworth and Canoga Park,” according to Southern Calif. Public Radio’s Elina Shatkin (“What Happened at the Santa Susana Nuclear Site During the Woolsey Fire?” Nov. 13.) Makhijani calculated that fallout from the meltdown contained “80 to 100 times the amount of iodine-131 released at Three Mile Island” [in Harrisburg, Penn., in 1979], Smith reports in Roulette. Canoga Park Senior High School is one of four Red Cross evacuation centers for the Woolsey Fire.

During the two weeks after the partial meltdown of the SRE, workers tried to repair it. “When they couldn’t, they were ordered to open the reactor’s large door, releasing radiation into the air,” Shatkin reported for public radio.

Radioactive materials released by the meltdown were never accurately measured in part because monitors inside the SRE went off scale. Yet the melting of fuel didn’t cause the only releases of radiation from SRE—just the single largest. In his 2012 book Mad Science, Joe Mangano writes, “Every day, radioactive gases from holding tanks in the reactor building were released into the air—often at night … sometimes twice a day.” In Atomic Accidents, Mahaffey describes the same practice writing, “The fission gases were piped off and compressed into holding tanks for controlled release into the environment…”

After the July meltdown was halted, Atomics International, which ran the SRE, concocted a report for the Atomic Energy Commission on Aug. 29, 1957. The report falsely declared: “No release of radioactive materials to the plant or its environs occurred and operating personnel were not exposed to harmful conditions.”

However, conditions inside the reactor building were extremely dangerous for workers, and radiation levels are estimated to have reached between 10,000 and one million times greater than normal. According to one worker, staff radiation measuring badges were taken away. John Pace, a young trainee at the lab, “Before July 13, we wore film badges, and after then, at some point they [Atomics International] took them away, since they know that the levels would be really high.”

With 10 experimental reactors, radiation routinely released to the air, years of accidents, and four core meltdowns, the “downwind hills and meadows” can be considered permanently compromised with cancer-causing toxins. Dan Hirsch, president of Committee to Bridge the Gap, a nuclear policy organization told public radio that Santa Susana’s soil has, “a mix of radioactive materials like plutonium, strontium-90 and cesium-137” and perhaps 100 toxic chemicals “such as PCBs, dioxins, heavy metals like mercury and chromium-6 and volatile organic compounds like PCE.” In 2012, the US EPA reported that its soil tests found radioactive cesium-137 at 9,328 times ordinary background levels.

Citizens living in the vicinity of Santa Susana have become harshly critical of the site’s early operators—Boeing, Atomic International and Rocketdyne—who for years burned toxic and radioactive wastes in open pits, endangering all the downwinders. In 2005, Boeing paid $30 million to compensate nearby residents for early mortalities and a range of rare diseases.

John LaForge is a Co-director of Nukewatch, a peace and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, and edits its newsletter.

November 30, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Environmentalism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Neutral and unbiased? Why ‘think tanks’ lobby for war in Syria

By Danielle Ryan | RT | April 17, 2018

When US President Donald Trump fired a barrage of Tomahawk missiles at Syrian government targets last week, it was a good day for defense contractors, at least.

In the aftermath of the strike, which Trump claimed was in retaliation for an alleged chemical attack by the Syrian government, stocks in Tomahawk missile manufacturer Raytheon surged. Raytheon stock has climbed more than 18 percent in 2018 so far. In fact, stocks in defense companies have been climbing in general since Trump entered office promising “historic” increases in military spending.

Almost a year ago to the day, Trump delivered another bump to the defense companies after attacking Syrian government positions for the first time – also in response to an alleged chemical attack, evidence for which remains in question.

After that strike Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics also rose, gaining nearly $5 billion in market value when trading began the next day, even as the wider market slumped.

Later, when Trump appointed the famously militaristic John Bolton as his national security adviser in March, guess what happened? Shares in US energy and defense companies surged yet again. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out: war is profitable. The more missiles Trump fires, the more money these companies make.

But where do the think tanks come in?

There is a pervasive myth that Washington DC ‘think tanks’ are neutral and unbiased players in foreign policy analysis. But where do these centers for foreign policy ‘analysis’ get their money from? You guessed it: defense companies.

There are a few think tanks which dominate in American foreign policy debates. They include the Center For European Policy Analysis (CEPA), the Atlantic Council, the German Marshall Fund (GMF), the Brookings Institution and the Heritage Foundation. All five of them receive generous donations from Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. Three of them also receive funding from the Boeing Company.

Corporations like Exxon Mobil, Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, and Bell Helicopter are also big donors to think tanks. Bell Helicopter is a funder of CEPA, while Exxon funds Brookings, GMF and the Atlantic Council. BAE Systems donates to CEPA, while Northrop Grumman gives to the Atlantic Council. This is not to even mention the money they get directly from US government departments and NATO, which also helps explain their consistently anti-Russian analysis.

Nonetheless, these think tanks enjoy an undue air of independence. Experts who work for these defense contractor-funded institutes are quoted frequently in mainstream newspapers and invited on mainstream channels, where they are presented as independent voices. But those independent voices somehow always seem to be in favor of policies that benefit weapons manufacturers.

War profiteers are filling their coffers in return for ‘analysis’ which promotes military action and massively inflates the threat posed to America by countries like Russia, for example.

A glance at the Twitter feed of CEPA reveals almost obsession-like focus on the so-called threat from Russia. In 2016, the Lockheed and BAE Systems-funded think tank suggested in a report on information warfare that people who have “fallen victim to Kremlin propaganda” should be “deradicalized” in special programs.

The NATO-funded Atlantic Council has consistently lobbied for regime change in Syria. In the days surrounding Trump’s military actions against Syria last week, the Atlantic Council published multiple  pieces of analysis and interviews with a single theme: that Trump did not or would not go far enough with one night of strikes. Earlier, when the alleged chemical attack took place, the think tank argued that Syrian President Bashar Assad was “indulging an addiction” and called on the US to take new military action against him. For some reason, diplomacy does not seem to be high on the Atlantic Council’s agenda.

It seems the more money defense contractors throw at think tanks, the more those think tanks will argue in favor of the military policies that will make those companies the most money. It’s a vicious cycle, but one which doesn’t take much think tank-style ‘analysis’ to  figure out.

The sad thing for the think tank lobbyists, is that the money they make calling for war is nothing in comparison to the money Lockheed, Raytheon, Boeing and the rest make from it. Maybe they should ask for a raise.

April 17, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Russophobia | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Iran’s Aseman Airlines to purchase another 30 Boeing jets

Press TV – January 7, 2018

Iran says it plans to purchase another 30 planes from US aviation giant Boeing if the administration of US President Donald Trump creates no obstacles for the existing order by one of its key airlines.

The announcement was made by Vali Azarvash, the managing director of Atieh Saba Investment Company which is one of the main shareholders of Aseman Airlines.

Azarvash emphasized that no problem had so far occurred as per the previous order by Aseman Airlines to purchase 30 planes from Boeing. The first planes, he said, would be delivered within the next two years.

He said that Atieh Saba Investment would support 95 percent of the costs for purchasing the planes ordered with Boeing.

“If the US politicians create no problems on the way of the implementation of the existing contract, Aseman Airlines will purchase another 30 planes from Boeing,” he was quoted as saying by Iran’s IRNA news agency.

The agreement for the first batch of Boeing planes involves 30 Boeing 737 MAX jets and was signed between the two sides last August.

This came after almost a year of negotiations between Aseman Airlines and the US aviation giant, according to an IRNA report published at the time the contract was signed.

Boeing is to provide 50 planes of the same type to Iran’s flag-carrier airline Iran Air through a similar agreement. The overall value of Iran Air’s order that also involves 30 long-range wide-body 777 aircraft is estimated to be $16.6 billion.

Boeing 737 MAX planes – that would enter service in the second half of 2017 – have a passenger capacity of 130 people and are specifically adequate for domestic and regional flights, IRNA added in its report.

The planes that Aseman Airlines has purchased from Boeing would increase the company’s passenger transportation capacity to above 8,000 seats, it emphasized.

January 7, 2018 Posted by | Economics | , , , | Leave a comment

Back to ‘Star Wars’: Obama Signs FY2017 Defense Bill

By Peter KORZUN | Strategic Culture Foundation | 29.12.2016

As the entire system of arms control is eroding, a war in the orbit appears to be a not so distant future. The US has just taken a big step forward to unleash an arms race in space.

On December 23, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act – the legislation to re-launch the «Star Wars». The national ballistic missile defense (BMD) is to enter a new phase as the commander-in-chief struck the word «limited» from the description of the concept and the mission. The BMD has become «unlimited» now to greatly complicate the international security agenda and heighten tensions with Russia and China. The new law calls for the Defense Department to start «research, development, test and evaluation» of space-based systems for missile defense.

The efforts are to focus on the acquisition of technology to defeat both small-scale and large-scale nuclear attacks and unsettle the strategic balance in US favor.

According to Los Angeles Times, «the provisions signal that the US will seek to use advanced technology to defeat both small-scale and large-scale nuclear attacks. That could unsettle the decades-old balance of power among the major nuclear states». Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), who introduced and shepherded the policy changes in the House, said, «I hope that the day will come when we could have solid-state lasers in space that can defeat any missile attack». Welcome back to «Star Wars» of the eighties!

Philip E. Coyle III, a former assistant secretary of Defense who headed the Pentagon office responsible for testing and evaluating weapon systems, described the idea of a space-based nuclear shield as «a sham». «To do this would cost just gazillions and gazillions», Coyle said. «The technology isn’t at hand — nor is the money. It’s unfortunate from my point of view that the Congress doesn’t see that».

It should be noted that as a candidate, Barack Obama called ballistic missile defense plans «unproven» and vowed to cut them! The decision to re-launch the «Star Wars» is at odds with the opinion of many experts in the field. For instance, the 2016 report by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), says the US missile defense program is costly, unreliable, and exempt from oversight. «Despite more than a decade of development and a bill of $40 billion, the GMD system is simply unable to protect the U.S. public», the authors wrote.

«The missile defense system is one of the most expensive and complex military systems in history, yet it is the only major defense program not subject to standard ‘fly before you buy’ performance standards», said UCS Senior Scientist Laura Grego, the report’s lead author. «Fifteen years of this misguided, hands-off approach has resulted in a costly system that won’t protect the homeland».

But defense contractors will get great profits. Three of them — Boeing Co., Raytheon Co. and Northrop Grumman — donated a total of $40.5 million to congressional campaign funds from 2003 through October of this year, according to federal election records.

The BMD efforts have never stopped. The US deploys powerful sea and shore-based Aegis air-defense systems that, with accurate guidance, could reach into orbit to destroy enemy spacecraft. The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is to reboot the concept of Airborne Laser by building a laser-armed aircraft that can shoot down ballistic missiles after launch – the time they are the most vulnerable.

The United States continues to invest in programs that could provide anti-satellite and space-based weapons capabilities. The US Air Force’s unmanned X-37B space plane has flown secret missions to Earth orbit, carrying a mystery payload. The spacecraft is a maneuverable, reusable, space test platform which boosts into low orbit – around 250 miles high – atop a rocket but lands back on Earth like an airplane. According to Dave Webb, chairman of the Global Network Against Weapons Nuclear Power in Space, the X-37B «is part of the Pentagon’s effort to develop the capability to strike anywhere in the world with a conventional warhead in less than an hour», known as the Prompt Global Strike.

America is funding the development of the Spaceborne Payload Assist Rocket-Kauai (SPARK) launch system, designed to send miniaturized satellites into low-Earth and sun-synchronous orbits. Speedy replacement of disabled satellites in the event of attack is to secure the US military’s use of space constellations in support of operations during a conflict. In its efforts to rapidly launch swarms of miniaturized satellites on the cheap, the US military is also looking to leverage the private sector.

The reusable recovery of a SpaceX’s Falcon 9 has fundamentally changed the military balance of power and, perhaps inadvertently, launched the era of space militarization. According to Stratfor Global Intelligence (SGI), «the battle to militarize space has begun». The think tank believes that «as existing technologies proliferate and new developments provide greater access to space, Cold War frameworks for the peaceful sharing of Earth’s near orbit will erode».

Weapons of mass destruction are banned from space under the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. But the Treaty does not ban the placement of conventional weapons in orbit.

The potential arms race in space in an issue of major concern for the United Nations. In 2008, Russia and China proposed the first ever draft Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects (PPWT). The initiative led nowhere being torpedoed by the United States.

In December 2015, The United Nations General Assembly adopted a Russia-led resolution calling for a nonbinding restriction against the first placement of weapons in outer space (also known as «no first placement initiative»). 129 nations, including China voted to adopt the measure. The only government objecting to the substance of our initiative was the United States. The EU abstained. According to Russian officials, the United States rejects the idea of holding talks with Russia on the problem.

By signing the bill into law, President Obama has ushered the world into an unfettered arms race, unsettling the balance of power among the major nuclear states. The implementation of the law will result in wasting a lot of money while the national debt is heading to $20 trillion.

The landmark change to the BMD policy, especially the plans to base weapons in space, will inevitably complicate the relationship with Russia at the time the entire system of arms control and non-proliferation is about to unravel. From now on, the US will always be perceived as a warmonger who launched an armed race in space and did away with the restrictions on BMD plans – the unsolved problem that obstructs any efforts to address the security agenda and gain positive results.

December 29, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | Leave a comment

Boeing casts fresh doubt on Iran deal

Press TV – October 5, 2016

Fresh skepticism springs up about the fate of a deal which Boeing has signed to provide Iran Air with over 80 jetliners after the US aircraft maker says none will be delivered this year.

Since Boeing announced a tentative deal to sell jetliners to Iran in June, US lawmakers have been trying to block it. Under the agreement, Boeing must supply Iran some 80 passenger jets worth $25 billion at price lists.

On Tuesday, Boeing Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg said while the two sides were making progress on the deal, no deliveries would take place this year.

“We won’t deliver any aircraft under that deal this year – these are deliveries that are a year, two, three downstream,” Muilenburg told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Chicago on future technologies.

Boeing’s deal is similar to another provisional agreement which Iran Air has signed with Airbus to get 118 jetliners from the European aircraft maker.

However, no formal contracts have been signed yet, meaning all of these deals could fail, given the volatile dynamics of the West’s relations with Iran.

Presidential election factor

The tentative deals have already hit a speed bump because major global banks are refusing to handle transactions with Iran for fear of running afoul of US sanctions on the country.

One major roadblock was lifted last month when the US government granted Airbus and Boeing permission to sell aircraft to the Islamic Republic.

Some Iranians, however, believe the US is most likely to put up new hurdles even if it does not scrap the deal entirely.

They are disheartened by what the next presidential elections in the United States might have in store for the patchy relations between Tehran and Washington. Both current US presidential candidates are expected to adopt a much stricter line than President Barack Obama toward Iran.

Another detracting factor which could scupper the deals is opposition from the US Congress.

The US House of Representatives has already passed a motion to block the Boeing deal, with further measures proposed in Congress to bar certain transactions by US financial institutions connected to the export of aircraft.

If the proposed bills to restrict the deal become law, they would also affect other companies’ sales to Iran, including those by Airbus.

Looking for new options

Last month, Iran indicated that it was cutting the Airbus deal by six aircraft and clipping the contract with Boeing by one jet.

Reports also have it that Iran Air has been cooling towards the purchase of 12 A380 superjumbos that were part of the provisional deal.

Iranian airlines, meanwhile, are looking for other options. They have approached smaller aircraft manufacturers which they believe are easier to deal with.

Tentative deals have been signed with France’s ATR and Brazil’s Embraer, while Japan’s Mitsubishi and China’s Comac have held talks with Iranian aviation companies.

Such developments have taken the shine off the deals with Airbus and Boeing – the biggest for Western aviation companies in Iran since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

However, neither of the two airline behemoths wants to lose one of the last untapped aviation markets in the world.

On Tuesday, Muilenberg described Iran “significant opportunity for us.”

“And I’m pleased to see that we’re making steady progress,” he said, adding Boeing was “in the final stages of working through the deal structure with our customers in Iran” while also working through the US government licensing process.

October 5, 2016 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Anglo-American War Machine

By Steven MacMillan | New Eastern Outlook | 27.09.2016

Contrary to the incessant grandstanding by US and British politicians that they are committed to promoting freedom, democracy and peace around the world, the evidence proves that the Anglo-American establishment is in the business of war, destabilization and conflict creation. On top of the numerous imperial wars in the Middle East and North Africa that the Anglo-American establishment has spearheaded, the true nature of these two powers is further confirmed by the fact that Britain is now officially the second biggest arms dealer on the planet, second only to the US. 

On average over the last decade, Britain has sold more weapons than Russia, China and France, according to the UK Trade and Investment department. Two-thirds of the weapons have been sold to Middle Eastern countries since 2010, fuelling many of the deadly conflicts in the region. Recipients of British weapons include 22 of the 30 countries on the UK governments own human rights watch list, further illustrating the complete hypocrisy of British politicians.

Britain has supplied an array of deplorable powers with military hardware, many of which are involved in committing atrocities with those weapons: including illegally supplying Saudi Arabia with Eurofighter Typhoon jets and missiles that have been used in the abhorrent war on Yemen; supplying Israel with arms that have been used in the IDF’s frequent massacres of Palestinians; in addition to selling shotguns, stun grenades and teargas, to the regime in Bahrain – which have been used to suppress protests in the country.

When the US and Britain are not busy killing Syrian soldiers who are fighting against ISIS, they are flooding the most war-torn region on earth (thanks to Western wars) with weapons. The likes of Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing and BAE Systems, have been making a killing off the perennial wars we have seen in the 21st century. The new Western-manufactured Cold War 2.0 has also proved to be beneficial for the war giants, as this is used to justify exorbitant defense/war budgets.

The power and influence of war contractors is nothing new in the West however. In his farewell address to the nation in 1961, the 34th President of the US, Dwight D. Eisenhower, warned the American people of the dangers of this insidious “military-industrial complex:”

“This conjunction, of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry, is new in the American experience. The total influence – economic, political, even spiritual – is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the federal government. We recognise the imperative need for this development, yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications… In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes.”

It is clear that Eisenhower’s warning fell on deaf ears, as the nefarious influence of the military-industrial complex has only grown since he made his historic speech. The amount of money the US spends on defence is staggering comparative to the rest of the world, with the 2015 US defense budget more than three times the size of China’s, and more than nine times the size of Russia’s. The American taxpayer has been filling the pockets of the CEOs of the war giants for too long now, with the decade-and-a-half since 9/11 proving to be an immensely profitable period for these immoral contractors.

Russia Now Earns More from Agriculture than Arms

Whilst the US and Britain are leading the world in arms sales, Russia is now earning more from agricultural exports than arms sales. Last year, Russia replaced the US as the largest producer and exporter of wheat, with grain production increasing in Russia over the past six years. Russia has also established herself as one of the main leaders of the organic revolution that we have seen sweep the world in recent years, as the toxicity of GMO becomes blatantly evident for all to see.

Western aggression is, and will continue to be, the most destructive force on earth. The wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, have brought nothing but misery and devastation to these countries. The West’s proxy war in Syria brought further destabilization and chaos to the region, as well causing the refugee and migrant crisis that has gripped Europe. The 2013-14 colour revolution in Ukraine and the subsequent war in the country serves as yet another example of the pernicious fruits of Western imperialism. If we add on top of all this carnage, the US-led drone wars and the Anglo-American dominated arms industry, there is no question that the Anglo-American war machine is the greatest impediment to global stability today.

September 27, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US defense industry lobbyist delivers a major Daily Mail fail

RT | August 27, 2016

The UK’s most popular mid-market daily, The Daily Mail, has long tried to straddle the line between serious political content and crowd-pleasing tabloid fodder. Sadly, in recent times quite a lot of its Russia coverage has been falling into the second category.

This is particularly true when it comes to using Vladimir Putin’s name to generate internet traffic, with click-bait pieces focused on the Russian President. Indeed, no less than 18 articles graced their special “Putin” section in the first 20 days of August alone.

While most of this constant innuendo is harmless enough, recently things reached a new low. With the headline “Is Trump a Russian agent? Top Kremlinologist presents a tantalizing and disturbing dossier on why the presidential hopeful could have closer links to the Kremlin than it may appear,” the Mail gave ample space to a lobbyist for US defense contractors to publish a factually challenged, and heavily biased, essay on Russia.

The entities that sponsor the author’s activities include Bell Helicopters, Lockheed Martin, the Raytheon Company, and Sikorsky Aircraft. In other words, precisely the same people who benefit the most from renewed tensions between Russia and the West. This support is neatly dressed up in a pseudo-academic sounding enterprise called CEPA (Centre of European Policy Analysis). But don’t be fooled – CEPA is no different from any other lobbying vehicle.

Think Tank Not Thinking

At no point did the Mail explain Edward Lucas’ connections to the armament manufacturers, instead describing him as a “senior editor at the Economist,” which is true, but only half of the story, and very little of it when it comes to Russia. Lucas, together with his fellow lobbyists at CEPA, which include Peter Pomerantsev and Anne Applebaum (who also moonlights as a columnist at the Washington Post), is an experienced activist, who knows how to play to the gallery.

The column itself is extraordinary in its mendacity and inaccuracy, and it is worth highlighting a few examples.

Assailing US Presidential candidate Donald Trump, who is nominally the subject of the diatribe, Lucas seems upset that not only is Trump “friendly to Russia, he is also bitterly critical of American leaders.” Given that the businessman is a presidential nominee of the party that’s been shut out of the White House for the last eight years, it would be somewhat bizarre, in a healthy democracy, if he were not disapproving of what is essentially his opposition.

Next, the writer states that “for years, Russia has cultivated connections in Washington in the hope of gaining political knowledge and leverage.” This is exactly what the US and UK do all over the world, including in Russia. “The Russian government and Kremlin-friendly bodies hire lobbyists, donate money to think tanks, and promote politically influential commercial ties,” he goes on. This is, in fact, the rather logical foundation of foreign relations by all countries.

The Menace of Hypocrisy

Now, to indulge the absurd irony here, this could easily be re-written, so let’s have a go. “For years, America has cultivated connections in Europe in the hope of gaining political knowledge and leverage. The US government and Pentagon-dependent defense contractors hire lobbyists, donate money to think tanks and promote politically influential commercial ties on a scale many times bigger than Russia can afford. For example, in Warsaw, where Lucas himself is employed as a lobbyist by CEPA, which is funded by the State Department and US defense contractors.”

Indeed, in a recent opinion piece in The Nation, American journalist William Greider explained this process. “Why should we care who owns Ukraine? The answer may shock some innocent Americans. It’s about gaining a larger market for the US military-industrial complex. That is, recruiting more customers for the planes and other war-fighting equipment manufactured by US companies,” he wrote.

“After all, that was the real reason for NATO expansion after the Cold War ended. Contrary to its assurances, Washington pushed hard to expand NATO membership eastward, right up to the Russia border. Former Soviet satellites were happy to join, though this was sure to be understood by struggling Russia as a hostile act. Putin’s aggressive posture was his response.

“The true winners were Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and other major arms makers. I know this because as a reporter I attended Washington issue forums where the US companies and their congressional lackeys laid out the arguments for expanding NATO. There was no plausible threat at the time to justify it; Russians were suffering through their horrendous post-Cold War depression,” Greider continued in a rather enlightening piece.

All The World’s a Kremlin

Lucas also makes a rather astonishing association with respect to Trump’s relatively insignificant business interests in Russia (especially when compared to Clinton’s) to ask “is Donald Trump a Russian agent?” This is never properly answered, and instead a hilariously meek “the answer may be no” is offered, followed by this nonsensical explanation: “Trump, say former intelligence officials, is just the sort of ‘asset’ the Kremlin’s spy services would cultivate.” This supposed Russia specialist finds it absolutely plausible that Russian special services might be keen on recruiting flamboyant celebrities known for having loose tongues.

What’s the tell-tale sign of Trump’s sinister ties to Russia? Apparently, “in 2013, he brought the Miss Universe content to Moscow.” Reality check: Trump controlled the pageant for 19 years and in that time the event was held in 18 other places: Panama, Ecuador, Thailand, Mexico, Vietnam, Bahamas, Brazil, Russia, Cyprus, Trinidad, Puerto Rico (twice), and eight times in the USA. Perhaps Trump is so good at multitasking that he is moonlighting as a secret agent for all of these countries at once.

Throughout the lengthy essay, no mention is made of Trump’s warnings that America may have to start shooting down Russian jets, or the Clinton Foundation’s well-documented connections with Russia, because its purpose is not to inform or educate – it’s to whip up fears that bolster the agenda of the author’s patrons, which is selling weaponry.

The Daily Mail describes the writer as a “top Kremlinologist,” which just serves to emphasize that cold-warriors like Lucas cannot leave the past behind. “Kremlinology” was necessary in the Soviet era when government was conducted behind closed doors and seating positions at official events offered clues to political machinations. In the 21st century, if you want to figure out what Russian leaders are thinking, you can read their speeches and essays online.

You’d imagine that the American defense industry could find lobbyists who are capable of reading the Kremlin’s website. This thrift shop John Le Carre stuff is far too old fashioned these days.

August 28, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Militarism | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US Plans to Modernize Nuclear Triad are ‘Foolish’

Sputnik — 12.08.2016

WASHINGTON — The United States is modernizing its nuclear Triad with particular emphasis on US Air Force needs.

“I think starting this round of a new nuclear arms race is extremely foolish and it is based on a lack of understanding,” Perry said. “We are talking about huge expenditures here and it is hardly being discussed or debated and we’re just going ahead with it.”

In October 2015, Northrop Grumman, a US global aerospace and defense technology company, was awarded a development contract to build the next generation B-21 strategic bomber, while Lockheed Martin and Boeing said they planned to submit proposals to develop the GBSD ICBM.

“Nobody really knows what the cost is [for these systems] but people drop figures like $1 trillion,” Perry stated. “But I don’t know what the right number is — if anything, it [$1 trillion] is on the low side.”

Cost considerations are secondary in the new nuclear arms race, Perry noted.

“I’m trying to make people aware of just how dangerous, how really dangerous, this damn business is,” Perry said. “People don’t relate to that and they think it is just another issue of whether we should build these bombers or build these missiles or not.”

The weakness in the US nuclear Triad is the silo-based ICBM’s providing adversaries with known target locations and would be most likely to precipitate a nuclear war, Perry observed.

“If there is a nuclear war, they [ICBM’s] would be the first targets and the problem here is that we know all that and therefore in our alert system, if we see an indication of a launch coming we have to decide whether to launch those ICBM’s right away,” Perry stated. “The ICBM’s are the only ones that pose that particular problem.”

Nuclear Security Tougher Than Cold War Era Due to Cyberthreats

Ensuring the security of nuclear weapons is harder today than during the Cold War years because of the looming cyberthreats that might compromise nuclear weapons command and control systems or lead to an accidental launch.

“It is harder today than it was during the Cold War and there is the danger of cyber confusion or some cyber mistake,” Perry said. “Or someone playing malicious games with cyber and going after our command and control systems.”

The reappearance of Cold War-era nuclear brinkmanship, Perry observed, combined with emerging cyber vulnerabilities makes the likelihood of human or software errors, false alarms, and accidental launches more likely.

“The danger was, and is… that we will go to war by accident,” Perry said. “During the Cold War, one [accident] which looked very, very real and had people convinced it was the real thing was caused by an operator putting a training tape in the computer system and, of course, the training tape was designed to look real, so that was a human error.”

Human errors and false alarms will happen again, and when they do, the president will have just a few minutes to decide whether he or she is going to launch intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), Perry noted.

Perry was the 19th US Secretary of Defense, serving from February 1994 to January 1997. He is also the author of “My Journey to the Nuclear Brink” and director of the Preventative Defense Project at Stanford University in the US state of California.

August 12, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Saudis to Receive Combat Choppers After Removal From UN Child Killing List

Sputnik – 08.06.2016

Saudi Arabia is set to receive 24 Hellfire-armed AH-6i Little Bird helicopters from US aeronautics contractor Boeing, a sale that would have been banned had the UN not removed the Kingdom from their war crimes against children list.

On Wednesday, Boeing announced that they will begin delivering AH-6i Little Bird light attack and reconnaissance helicopters to Saudi Arabia by the end of the month, as the aircraft begin to come off the production line in Mesa, Arizona by the end of this week.

The contract faced uncertainty late last week when the United Nations included Saudi Arabia on a blacklist as part of their annual report on Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC), for their role in indiscriminate bombings of schools and hospitals in Yemen.

Pursuant to the Leahy Law, the US Department of State and Department of Defense are prohibited from providing military assistance to foreign military units that violate human rights, precisely what the United Nations initially certified in their original report. This prohibition extends to approval of foreign arms sales by private US contractors, which would stop the lucrative sale of US weapons to Riyadh.

However, the United Nations announced on Monday, after feverish lobbying by the Saudi envoy to the UN, in conjunction with US and UK officials, to temporarily remove Saudi Arabia from the blacklist, pending further investigation of the statistics provided in the report.

Many interpret the purported temporary move to delete Saudi Arabia from the list of child-killers as a permanent step, including the Saudi delegation, which loudly announced that the decision was “final.”

With human rights atrocities ignored for the sake of political and economic expediency, the path is now paved for the light attack helicopter to make its debut in the skies above Yemen. The Saudi-led mission to combat the Houthi political opposition faction and prop up Saudi-freindly leadership in Yemen has the full support of the US and the UK, despite consistent reports of war crimes conducted by Kingdom forces.

The combat helicopter is said to have a maximum speed of 175 mph, with a range of 267 miles. The aircraft is typically armed with Hellfire missiles, Hydra 70 rockets, air-to-air Stingers, automatic grenade launchers, and five high-caliber machine guns.

June 8, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment