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Hawaii’s False Alarm Raises Questions about Militarization

By Jon Letman | Lobe Log | January 29, 2018

In the days since Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency mistakenly issued an emergency alert warning of an inbound ballistic missile to over a million people, many of us in Hawaii have been thinking a lot about weapons and war.

The reaction to the January 13 false alarm has ranged from the deliberative (state legislature hearings) to the deranged (death threats against the unnamed employee who clicked the wrong option and triggered the scare). There has been discussion of the need for a better alert system and a faster response time in case of false alarms.

Critics have pointed out a lack of public preparedness, while others argue that it’s a moot point. Still others see the missile scare as a call to load up on guns, iodine tablets, and MREs in preparation for a post-apocalypse Hawaii.

Everyone agrees that the frightening mishap should serve as a wake-up call not just for Hawaii but the entire country. The debate over how much duct tape and Vienna sausage to keep in stock in case of a nuclear attack overlooks the U.S. role in perpetuating a system that terrorizes people around the world.

Hawaii is home to the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM), the oldest and largest of America’s unified commands. Under PACOM, soldiers and weapons from every branch of the military are stationed, tested, trained, and cycled through Hawaii to conflicts and flashpoints from Syria and Iraq to Afghanistan, the Philippines, the Korean peninsula, and beyond.

The military’s financial influence over the Aloha State is enormous, accounting for $7.8 billion in spending in 2015 and employing over 64,000 defense personnel plus many thousands more who are economically dependent on the military presence.

In 2014, Hawaii ranked second in the nation (below Virginia) as the state with the highest defense spending as a percentage of its GDP. That same year, Honolulu County was in the top 10 (seventh place) for defense contracts. In 2017, Hawaii maintained its second highest ranking (nearly 10 percent) for defense spending as a portion of GDP.

From the dispatch of battleships to the testing of weapons and training of warriors, Hawaii is central to military operations across the region and around the world. Hawaii is a key test site for ballistic missiles, radar, sonar, fighter jets, drones, bombers, and advanced hypersonic weapons intended to strike anywhere on earth in under an hour.

Hawaii-based troops participate in everything from assault missions in Iraq and fighting insurgents in the Philippines to war games and military training on the Korean peninsula and Japan. It conducts these operations from Singapore to Australia and the Arctic. As such, Hawaii plays an enormous role in U.S. global military operations.

Increased military activities, many of them executed or advanced by the U.S., also leads to heightened tensions, internal conflict, invasions, and occupations and wars with both direct and indirect support for actual bombs dropped on actual people.

Pointing this out however, is not likely to be met with much enthusiasm or support. According to a recent NPR/PBS poll, 87 percent of respondents reported having “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the military compared with confidence in the media (at a tepid 30 percent).

Although members of Congress and the president complain that the Pentagon has been “gutted,” the United States continues to outspend all other countries by a long shot—nearly as much as the next nine largest military budgets (seven of which are close allies or strategic partners) combined.

The United States also remain the world’s largest arms dealer, accounting for roughly one-third of all global arms exports, with sales increasing more than 20 percent between 2007 and 2011.

In Trump’s first year, he unleashed a $60 million Tomahawk missile attack on a Syrian air base, dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. arsenal in Afghanistan, and insulted his way to the brink of a nuclear war against North Korea.

Meanwhile Trump is pushing to expand U.S. plans to modernize its nuclear weapons arsenal at a staggering projected cost of $1.2 trillion over the next 30 years. Trump, who reportedly asked, “If we have [nuclear weapons], why can’t we use them,” wants to develop “more usable” nuclear weapons deceptively called “mini-nukes” in order to create a “more credible” deterrent.

The false alarm that Hawaii recently experienced was terrifying, but it pales in comparison to the brutal reality other people experience when actual bombs fall. This militarism, perhaps America’s most destructive addiction, pours money into Hawaii’s coffers—but at a price. The real wake-up call has nothing to do with the lack of preparedness and everything to do with America’s own role in fostering insecurity in the world at large.

January 31, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

War From Above

By Richard Hugus | Aletho News | December 31, 2013

Drone aircraft, which we first heard of as weapons of war used by the United States in foreign lands, are now poised for a full-scale invasion of the skies above the US itself. On December 30, 2013 the US Federal Aviation Administration announced its choices for drone testing in six states around the country — Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia. These six states may in turn do their testing in more than one location, For example, according to the Anchorage Daily News, drone testing centered in Alaska at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks will be called “the ‘Pan-Pacific Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Range Complex.’ It includes six flight ranges in Alaska, four in Hawaii and three in Oregon.” According to the Honolulu Star Advertiser “the Pohakuloa Training Area on Hawaii island, the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai and even the island of Niihau have been included in discussions of places where the testing could occur.” According to the East Oregonian, drone testing is likely to involve a former military base in Pendleton, Port of Tillamook, and Warm Springs. Likewise, the New York operation will be run from the former Griffiss Air Force base in Rome, NY and, according to the Cape Cod Times, will also include the former Otis Air Base on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The Times reports that “the Cape site had the support of the state’s congressional delegation, a statewide military asset commission and business leaders” and that “among the institutions involved in the bid are Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Rochester Institute of Technology.”

What this story reveals is the creation of a huge web of DOD-connected Universities, businesses, corporations, defense contractors, and former and current Pentagon facilities spread all over the country. Included in this web are the many and various chambers of commerce, their boosters in the press, and numerous comprador “officials” anxious to bring federal money into their districts, at the expense of all the other people who live in them. Almost no news coverage has appeared that would imply the FAA decision was anything but a boon for the economy and the advent of a wonderful and inevitable new technology.

There is little news about the down side to hosting drones in all these areas of the country, each with a populace that has simply not been consulted. Drones first came to our attention at the beginning of “the war on terror.” We learned of them first as weapons for highly illegal, cowardly, and indiscriminate “targeted killings” in foreign lands. These weapons have murdered countless innocent people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia pursuant to “kill lists” drawn up every week by the CIA and Pentagon, and approved by the White House. These weapons fulfill the US Air Force’s fantasy of “death from above,” carried out by pilots working in the security and comfort of US bases who, acting as judge, jury, and executioner, destroy supposed enemies from computer consoles as if it were a video game. The cowardliness of wars of aggression being conducted against innocent people in dirt-poor lands by unseen “UAV pilots” in air-conditioned offices thousands of miles away cannot be over-emphasized. This is what unmanned aircraft have brought so far to the reputation of the United States – a new low in the entire universe of human ethics; murder abroad is but the advance of capitalism at home. Wedding parties in Afghanistan have been decimated so that Amazon can deliver CDs and smart phones to our door by drone.

Nor is there news about the introduction of drones domestically as yet another assault on privacy and the human right to be free from surveillance. Domestic law enforcement agencies are just as anxious to spy on the US population and target people they call criminals as the Pentagon and CIA have been to spy on the rest of the world and kill people they call terrorists. It isn’t enough that our phones and computers have been turned by the NSA into astounding instruments of surveillance, that everything we say and do on these instruments is being harvested and stored, and that surveillance cameras are mounted at almost every business and public space. Now the national security state wants to have remote-controlled cameras videotaping us full-time from the sky. The police hope to have drones able to fire “non-lethal weapons” at people they deem to be involved in criminal activity so that they too can play God. Without question, non-lethal weapons will soon become lethal weapons and the US will be trying and executing citizens at home as it has done elsewhere without even a hint of due process.

The domestic military bases which are being revived by this brave new technology originally went out of business because there was nothing for them to do in the fulfillment of their original purpose – defending the country. Otis Air Base, now called “Joint Base Cape Cod”, is a case in point. It used to patrol the skies for Russian aircraft along the northeast coast and ended up being a disaster for the community in which it was situated because it polluted the local groundwater and sole-source drinking water aquifer with untold gallons of dumped jet fuel and cleaning solvents. It sent fighter jets to intercept the two planes hijacked to New York on September 11, 2001, but ended up being part of a ploy to let those planes actually reach the twin towers before they got there. This base and many others have been parasites on the communities around them. They will continue in that role in their new incarnation as hosts to drone spying and drone warfare. The war has come home. The people orchestrating this war – the global elite — have no particular allegiance to the United States. From their point of view, its land and its people must also be brought under control, just like everywhere else. How sad it is to see the scramble to welcome them.

December 31, 2013 Posted by | Aletho News, Civil Liberties, Militarism | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hillary’s Friend McAuliffe Rolls Deep

By Kevin Ryan | Dig Within | October 20, 2013

Yesterday, Hillary Clinton offered a rousing endorsement of “longtime family friend” Terry McAuliffe in his second run for Governor of Virginia. McAuliffe certainly has been a good friend to the Clintons, having once made them a $1.35 million gift which, after becoming a scandal, turned into a loan. But the most interesting parts of McAuliffe’s history often go unnoticed, including his links to the security upgrades at the World Trade Center (WTC) in the late 1990s.

One of the primary companies involved in the security upgrades for the WTC was Ensec International, founded by Charles Finkel. Ensec’s Florida subsidiary had an office on the 33rd floor of the North Tower. At the same time, Finkel was an export sales executive for a company called Engesa, a manufacturer of tanks and other military vehicles for Operation Desert Storm. Engesa was a Saudi-approved supplier.

Ensec’s responsibility at the WTC involved setting up a new system for securing the basement levels, particularly in the parking garages. It was reported that the access control system used was manufactured and installed by Ensec. The system included proprietary software, proximity card readers and vehicle identification tags for all registered vehicles. The system also included cameras, located “in critical locations within the complex, such as machine rooms, computer areas, visitor areas and other sensitive locations.”

Lockheed Martin subcontracted the PANYNJ work to Ensec in November of 1996. This was the same time that Carlyle Group employee and Iran-Contra suspect Barry McDaniel was hired to run operations for the highly suspicious WTC security contractor Stratesec. And just as Ensec obtained the contract to work alongside McDaniel and Stratesec, it added Terry McAullife as a director.

Before joining Ensec, McAuliffe had been involved in a number of suspicious business dealings. For example, he was linked to Teamster related corruption. And he was also involved in a lawsuit regarding Loral Space, a company investigated for collaborating with and giving secrets to the Chinese for use in satellite and intercontinental ballistic missile programs.

The charges against McAuliffe in the Loral Space scandal were that he agreed “to participate in this scheme to sell seats on taxpayer-financed foreign trade missions and other government services in exchange for campaign contributions to the Democratic National Committee (DNC).” McAuliffe also “played a central role in selecting trade mission participants and, on information and belief, securing other favorable treatment from the Clinton Administration for Defendant Loral” It was also reported that McAuliffe “prominently figured among those selected for participating in the high-profile Commerce Department trade mission to China was Defendant Schwartz, who would go on to become the single largest contributor to the DNC.” Bernard Schwartz was the billionaire CEO of Loral.

The CEOs of Hughes Aircraft, Loral, and Lockheed co-wrote a letter to President Clinton, in October 1995, asking the president to “transfer all responsibility for commercial satellite export licensing to the Commerce Department.” Hughes was run by James Abrahamson at the time. Abrahamson would go on to be a director at Stratesec and later, with James Clapper, at satellite spy company GeoEye. Hughes, Loral, and Lockheed ended up paying enormous fines for illegal exports of advanced missile technology to China, and Hughes was charged with 123 counts of national security violations. But in 1996, Clinton did move oversight of the satellite exports to the Department of Commerce and the three CEOs thanked him publicly.

McAuliffe was linked to another company that was mired in scandal―Global Crossing. It was reported that McAuliffe purchased $100,000 in Global Crossing stock before the company went public and cashed out several years later for $18 million (some reports put it at a mere $8 million). Richard Perle was a lobbyist for Global Crossing, which was a partner in several deals with the Chinese company Hutchison Whampoa, called an “arm of the PLA [People’s Liberation Army].” Li Ka-Shing was the Chinese billionaire owner of Hutchison who invested in firms owned by Winston Partners and employed Winston cofounder Marvin Bush’s brother, Neil Bush, as a consultant.

In 2001, McAuliffe became Chairman of the DNC. Between that role and his later job as campaign chairman for Hillary Clinton’s Presidential run, McAuliffe worked as Vice-Chairman of Carret investments. McAuliffe was hired at Carret by Alan Quasha, who once “bailed out George W. Bush’s failing oil company in 1986, folding Bush into his company, Harken Energy, thus setting him on the path to a lucrative and high-profile position as an owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team, and the presidency.”

Alan Quasha had owned Carret since 2003. But he was previously known for his leadership of Harken Energy, and thereby, his connection to the many suspicious organizations related to Harken, including BCCI. At Carret and Harken, Quasha had a partner named Hassan Nemazee. An investor in Harken and the founder of the Iranian-American PAC, Nemazee was also associated with the RAND Corporation. Nemazee was later charged with running a $292 million ponzi scheme.

In any case, Ensec International and its leaders should have been investigated for possible security breaches at the WTC. The management structure at Ensec, including its arms dealer founder Charles Finkel and director Terry McAuliffe, should have led the 9/11 Commission and NIST to consider the problems that might have resulted from this company having rebuilt the access systems for the WTC basement levels. Additionally, the fact that Lockheed Martin had subcontracted the PANYNJ work to Ensec was one indicator that these companies might have benefited from the attacks.

The official U.S. investigations into 9/11 are over but people should keep in mind that certain political figures remain from the glory days of the Bush and Clinton administrations. McAuliffe is one of those political figures and he has a suspicious background that includes unbelievable strokes of financial fortune and work for some apparently very powerful, international operators. Virginia residents might wonder what favors he might do as Governor for those old friends in high places.

October 20, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, False Flag Terrorism | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sicily blocks construction of US defense satellite base

Gazzetta del Sud | January 11, 2013

Palermo The region of Sicily on Friday moved to suspend US defense plans to construct a satellite communications system on the Italian island after activists blocked construction crews. The move, announced by Sicily Governor Rosario Crocetta, came after protestors blocked trucks and cranes overnight in the town of Niscemi and later clashed with police near an American military base.

Builders at the site, which is part of a global satellite defense network called the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS), had allegedly rushed construction in recent days, according to the Sicily governor. “The regional government finds this sudden rush to complete the project truly extraordinary,” said Crocetta. Opponents to the project say it will be an environmental nuisance and threatens world peace. Other bases participating in MUOS are in Australia, Hawaii and Virginia.

January 12, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Sicily blocks construction of US defense satellite base

One Thing Maine, Virginia and Arizona Have in Common: Opposition to the NDAA

By Allie Bohm | ACLU | April 27, 2012

This week, the House Armed Services Committee has turned its attention back to the National Defense Authorization Act and began working on this year’s bill. You remember last year’s perversion that, for the first time in American history, codified indefinite military detention without charge or trial far from any battlefield? State legislators and activists and concerned citizens on the right and the left — and everyone in between — haven’t forgotten.

On Wednesday, Arizona’s state legislature sent a bill opposing the detention provisions in the NDAA to their governor. And, last week, a similar bill became law in Virginia, about a month after Maine passed a joint resolution to the same effect. Add to that list the cities and counties that have passed resolutions urging Congress to repeal the problematic provisions in the NDAA — Fairfax, Calif.; Santa Cruz, Calif.; El Paso County, Colo.; Fremont County, Colo.; Moffat County, Colo.; Weld County, Colo.; Cherokee County, Kan.; Northampton, Mass.; Alleghany County, N.C.; Macomb, N.Y.; Elk County, Pa.; and New Shoreham, R.I. — and the map starts looking awfully full. This is not a red state issue or a blue state issue or a purple state issue. A few of the resolutions are under-inclusive, but their message is still clear: across social and political lines, no one likes the idea of indefinite detention or mandatory military detention far from any battlefield. (Okay, except maybe Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and a few other misguided members of Congress.)

Will your town, city, county, or state be the next to speak up? You can make that happen. Check out our model legislation and activist toolkit for legislative language, talking points, and tips to help you get started. Our bill sends a message from your local legislative body to Congress that the indefinite military detention provisions of the NDAA should be repealed. The model legislation prohibits state and local employees from aiding the federal armed forces in the investigation, arrest, detention, or trial of any person within the United States under the NDAA. It also sends a message from your legislative body to Congress that the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force should expire at the end of the war in Afghanistan so that the government cannot continue to use the AUMF as justification for its claims that war is everywhere and anywhere and that the president can order the American military to imprison without charge or trial people picked up far from any battlefield.

And while you’re at it, head over to our Action Center and urge your member of Congress to fix the NDAA. The time is now. This year’s NDAA provides the perfect opportunity for Congress to fix last year’s debacle. And, we need you — and your state legislators and city council members — to speak up if we’re going to get Congress to finally do the right thing.

April 27, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , | 1 Comment