Berto Jongman: Star-Spangled Baggage — US Veterans Going Nuts…

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

Star-Spangled Baggage

By Ann Jones, TomDispatch

This piece first appeared at TomDispatch. Read Tom Engelhardt’s introduction here.

After an argument about a leave denied, Specialist Ivan Lopez pulled out a .45-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun and began a shooting spree at Fort Hood, America’s biggest stateside base, that left three soldiers dead and 16 wounded.  When he did so, he also pulled America’s fading wars out of the closet.  This time, a Fort Hood mass killing, the second in four and a half years, was committed by a man who was neither a religious nor a political “extremist.”  He seems to have been merely one of America’s injured and troubled veterans who now number in the hundreds of thousands.

Some 2.6 million men and women have been dispatched, often repeatedly, to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and according to a recent survey of veterans of those wars conducted by the Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly one-third say that their mental health is worse than it was before they left, and nearly half say the same of their physical condition.  Almost half say they give way to sudden outbursts of anger.  Only 12% of the surveyed veterans claim they are now “better” mentally or physically than they were before they went to war.

The media coverage that followed Lopez’s rampage was, of course, 24/7 and there was much discussion of PTSD, the all-purpose (if little understood) label now used to explain just about anything unpleasant that happens to or is caused by current or former military men and women. Amid the barrage of coverage, however, something was missing: evidence that has been in plain sight for years of how the violence of America’s distant wars comes back to haunt the “homeland” as the troops return.  In that context, Lopez’s killings, while on a scale not often matched, are one more marker on a bloody trail of death that leads from Iraq and Afghanistan into the American heartland, to bases and backyards nationwide.  It’s a story with a body count that should not be ignored.

War Comes Home

During the last 12 years, many veterans who had grown “worse” while at war could be found on and around bases here at home, waiting to be deployed again, and sometimes doing serious damage to themselves and others.  The organization Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) has campaigned for years for a soldier’s “right to heal” between deployments.  Next month it will release its own report on a common practice at Fort Hood of sending damaged and heavily medicated soldiers back to combat zones against both doctors’ orders and official base regulations. Such soldiers can’t be expected to survive in great shape.

Immediately after the Lopez rampage, President Obama spoke of those soldiers who have served multiple tours in the wars and “need to feel safe” on their home base. But what the president called “that sense of safety… broken once again” at Fort Hood has, in fact, already been shattered again and again on bases and in towns across post-9/11 America—ever since misused, misled, and mistreated soldiers began bringing war home with them.

Since 2002, soldiers and veterans have been committing murder individually and in groups, killing wives, girlfriends, children, fellow soldiers, friends, acquaintances, complete strangers, and—in appalling numbers—themselves. Most of these killings haven’t been on a mass scale, but they add up, even if no one is doing the math.  To date, they have never been fully counted.

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Apr 18

Steven Aftergood: History of CIA Covert Action Against Iran in 1954

Categories: Ethics,Government
Steven Aftergood

Steven Aftergoodeven

HISTORY OF 1953 CIA COVERT ACTION IN IRAN TO BE PUBLISHED

In 1989, the Department of State published a notorious volume that purported to document U.S. foreign policy towards Iran in the early Eisenhower Administration. The volume triggered an avalanche of criticism because it omitted any mention of the CIA’s role in a 1953 covert action that helped overthrow the government of Iran.

Later this year, after the passage of more than two decades, the State Department will rectify that error by publishing a supplemental volume of declassified documents in its Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series that is expected to fill in the missing pieces of the documentary record of the 1953 coup against the Mossadeq government of Iran.

The publication of the 1989 Iran volume was a milestone in the history of U.S. government secrecy that prompted widespread outrage and ridicule, but it also inspired remedial efforts that had some lasting impact.

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Apr 18

WInslow Wheeler: An Inadequate Defense Budget? Or Incompetent Authorization & Appropriations Personalities?

Winslow Wheeler

Winslow Wheeler

An Inadequate Defense Budget?    Compared to Whom?   Compared to When?

Many Republicans and numerous Democrats, especially on the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, have been characterizing the US defense budget as inadequate.  They propose to release the Pentagon from the statutory spending caps set by the Budget Control Act of 2011 and its “sequestration,” which would keep some, but not all, Pentagon spending in the neighborhood of $500 billion, annually, for several years.  The Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of Defense and any other Pentagon official near a microphone have been cheering them on.

Absent from all their talking points are three salient facts:

  1. President Obama’s 2015 request for all national security related programs would exceed $1 Trillion;
  1. the US outspends any other nation, especially presumed threat nations, by a huge amount, and
  1. under the dreaded sequestration, the Pentagon portion of national security spending would remain at historically high levels.

There is a major mismatch between the actual size of the US defense budget and the characterization of inadequacy given to it.  The enormity of the US defense budget, even under sequestration, is readily apparent in both relative and absolute terms.

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Apr 17

SchwartzReport: US Southwest At Grave Risk – Federal Government Owns It and Has No Plan

Stephan A. Schwartz

Stephan A. Schwartz

If you read either the daily SR or the monthly version you know my thinking on why I believe that there will be two major migrations, one away from the coasts, the other out of the Southwest and Great Plains. The first because of too much water, the second because of too little. Here is a good representation of the reasons why I think this.

Climate Change Drying Out Southwest Now, With Worse To Come For A Third Of The Planet
JOE ROMM – Climate Progress

Click on Image to Enlarge

Click on Image to Enlarge

Phi Beta Iota: The federal government — which should not own any land at all — owns most of the west. States should be giving serious thought to ending federal ownership of land at the same time that they begin nullifying insane federal policies that are clearly inimical to society. What the west needs is a Manhattan Project to desalinate massive amounts of water and bring them from the sea inland using solar power, while creating hydroponics industries and ending all fracking and all contamination of groundwater from any source including mega-agricultural fertilizers and toxins.

Click on Image to Enlarge

Click on Image to Enlarge

See Also:

2012 Robert Steele: Reflections on Healing the Americas — Open Source Agency & Hourglass Strategy

Graphic: Robert Steele Global Strategy – The Hourglass Home Base Plus Four

Graphic: USA — 11 Separate Nations Today + Americas RECAP + Book Review

Nevada @ Phi Beta Iota

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Apr 13

BLM halts seizure of Nevada rancher’s cattle, citing safety concerns

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Click on Image to Enlarge

BLM halts seizure of Nevada rancher’s cattle, citing safety concerns

Fearing for their safety as armed protesters gathered in the Nevada back country, federal officials on Saturday suddenly ended a controversial effort to seize hundreds of cattle that a rancher has kept illegally on public land.

The cattle ranch’s owner, Cliven Bundy, and hundreds of armed supporters had threatened to forcefully keep Bureau of Land Management employees from rounding up the approximately 900 cattle. Nearly 400 of the cattle had been seized during the past week. They were being held nearby and could be sent to Utah, authorities said.

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Apr 12

Owl: Nevada Land Fight About Fracking Over Cattle? Senator Harry Reid Making a Bundle Sponsoring Chinese Solar Power Plant on Public Land Tea Party Calls This Our Tiananmen Square Showdown — Snipers and Blackwater Deployed

Who?  Who?

Who? Who?

The futurist lets it rip:

Gerald Celente: Bundy Range War a Fascist Dream

The real reason they are going after Bundy, making way for the frackers? Mike Adams lays out the case in detail for frackers behind federal persecution of Bundy:

This document from the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology(1) shows significant exploratory drilling being conducted in precisely the same area where the Bundy family has been running cattle since the 1870′s. The “Gold Butte” area is indicated on the lower right corner of the document (see below), and it clearly shows numerous exploratory drilling operations have been conducted there. What’s also clear is that oil has been found in nearby areas and possibly even within the Gold Butte area itself. 

Click on Image to Enlarge

Click on Image to Enlarge

More:

BLM sells 29 oil, gas leases in northeast Nevada

BLM fracking racket exposed! Armed siege and cattle theft from Bundy ranch really about fracking leases

Or maybe THIS is the real reason they are after Bundy: Senator Harry Reid & son will make a bundle:

“Back in 2012, the New American reported that Harry Reid’s son, Rory Reid, was the chief representative for a Chinese energy firm planning to build a $5-billion solar plant on public land in Laughlin, Nevada. And journalist Marcus Stern with Reuters also reported that Sen. Reid was heavily involved in the deal as well. [Reid] and his oldest son, Rory, are both involved in an effort by a Chinese energy giant, ENN Energy Group, to build a $5 billion solar farm and panel manufacturing plant in the southern Nevada desert,” he wrote. “Reid has been one of the project’s most prominent advocates, helping recruit the company during a 2011 trip to China and applying his political muscle on behalf of the project in Nevada.” “His son, a lawyer with a prominent Las Vegas firm that is representing ENN, helped it locate a 9,000-acre (3,600-hectare) desert site that it is buying well below appraised value from Clark County, where Rory Reid formerly chaired the county commission.” Although these reports are in plain view, the mainstream media has so far ignored this link.”

More:

Breaking: Sen. Harry Reid Behind BLM Land Grab of Bundy Ranch

Tea Party Lawmaker: Nev. Cattle Roundup ‘Reminded Me Of Tiananmen Square

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Apr 12

Lee Camp: (YouTube 5:30) World Bank President Complains that Internet is Exposing Worker Conditions Worldwide

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Apr 12

Jean Lievins: (YouTube 9:30) The Human Cost of Your iPhone – Should SHOCK You

Jean Lievens

Jean Lievens

Who Pays the Price? The Human Cost of Electronics

This short documentary reveals the hazards of the electronics industry in China profiling workers poisoned by chemicals and their struggle for compensation.

Thousands of young people in China enter export factories to make the West’s favorite electronic gadgets, only to find they have contracted occupational diseases or worse, leukemia, by the age of 25.

Benzine is a class one carcinogenic banned everywhere EXCEPT China.

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Apr 12

Rickard Falkvinge: More People Were Paid To Exploit Heartbleed For The NSA Than To Fix It

Rickard Falkvinge

Rickard Falkvinge

More People Were Paid To Exploit Heartbleed For The NSA Than To Fix It

Infrastructure – Zacqary Adam Green: Unsurprisingly, it turns out that the NSA knew about the Heartbleed bug since shortly after it was added to OpenSSL. While thousands of salaried NSA personnel search for bugs like these to exploit, OpenSSL has only four part-time volunteers maintaining it. Of course this was going to happen.

nsa heartbleedThe idea behind open source software is that “given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.” This only works if there actually are enough eyeballs. Code audits can only happen if there are people with the will, expertise, and time to do so. Rusty Foster pointed out the problem with OpenSSL:

The project’s code is more than fifteen years old, and it has a reputation for being dense, as well as difficult to maintain and to improve. Since the bug was revealed, other programmers have had harsh criticisms for what they regard as a mistake that could easily have been avoided.…

Unlike a rusting highway bridge, digital infrastructure does not betray the effects of age. And, unlike roads and bridges, large portions of the software infrastructure of the Internet are built and maintained by volunteers, who get little reward when their code works well but are blamed, and sometimes savagely derided, when it fails. To some degree, this is beginning to change: venture-capital firms have made substantial investments in code-infrastructure projects, like GitHub and the Node Package Manager. But money and support still tend to flow to the newest and sexiest projects, while boring but essential elements like OpenSSL limp along as volunteer efforts.

This point is only compounded by the NSA news. As it turns out, a great deal of funding was going towards meticulously auditing OpenSSL. The problem is that the NSA keeps the results of these audits to themselves. No bugs are fixed. No patches are committed. Critical flaws are kept under wraps so that they can be used to siphon more data and break into more computers.

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Apr 12

SchwartzReport: Florida Dade County Reaches New Low in Voter Suppression — Long Lines AND All Restrooms are CLOSED

Stephan A. Schwartz

Stephan A. Schwartz

This is the length to which the Republican Party is willing to go to suppress voting. This is the direct result of the gutting of the Voting Rights Act by the activist Robert’s court. Voter suppression ought to be the subject of an intense national debate — as it was in the Civil Rights era — covered const! antly by the media since it strikes at the very foundation of democracy. That it is not is highly revealing of where we are as a country.

New Rule Prohibits Voters In Miami-Dade County From Using The Restroom, No Matter How Long The Line
NICOLE FLATOW – Think Progress

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Apr 12