VFP Gainesville Chapter 14

Veterans For Peace

A Larger of View of the Anti War Struggle

Carl Sagan as a Scientific Prophet reflects the fear of nuclear War in  his time and takes a larger view of why World Peace is so essential to struggle for.

For more see Andrew Sullivan’s take 

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The Shutdown and the NSA

A closer look at how the shut down affects the functioning of the NSA.  I guess you could call it the Goof the Bad and the Ugly because an impaired agency means reduced domestic spying but it also has a negative impact on active duty military in Afghanistan as support for things like supplying weapons and ammunition is no longer functioning.  Here is a list from Juan Cole’s article:

Top Ten Things Ted Cruz did to the NSA and other Security Agencies that Edward Snowden Couldn’t

1. Some 70% of NSA staff have been sent home as a result of the Republican Party shutdown of the Federal government. Despite its straying into US territory and its possible industrial espionage abroad, the NSA does actually track terrorists, and we would like it to do that well; that ability has doubtless been degraded by Cruz’s grandstanding.

2. Likewise 70% of the CIA has been sent home, at a time when al-Qaeda is reviving. Perhaps the Defense Intelligence Agency is in a bit better shape, since it has more military personnel, who are exempt from being furloughed.

3. 4000 computer specialists working for US intelligence have been furloughed.

4. Some 400,000 civilian support staff at the Department of Defensehave been sent home without pay.

5. Among those sent home are the officials who sign arms contracts and buy weapons. You hope our troops in Afghanistan are well stocked; how exactly new weapons and ammunition can be bought and trucked up from Karachi to the Khyber Pass is not clear.

6. The 1.4 million active duty military personnel will likely see paychecks delayed, with negative effects on morale. David Small writes : “The Marine corporal deployed to Afghanistan, making $2,193.90 a month, is worried about his family back home. His kids rely on food stamps, but that program was cut during shutdown. He will try to maintain focus in a combat zone. But he will be distracted and uncertain.”

7. Likewise, military special pay and bonuses, re-up bonuses, rewards for accepting positions in which there are special needs have all been put on hold, along with promotions. Again, a severe impact on morale.

8. Soldiers may not be able to collect danger pay, affecting 60,000 troops in Afghanistan. Those sent to attend classes will not be able to collect tuition payments.

9. The State Department, whose cables were released by Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and Wikileaks, has weathered a few embarrassing cables. But now it will face increasingly difficulties in doing its job of representing the US abroad. Embassies will stay open for a while since some funding is multi-year. But some sort of disruption is likely if the shutdown continues very long.

10. Some security has to do with biological threats; WJLA notes: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is be severely limited in spotting or investigating disease outbreaks such as the flu or that mysterious MERS virus from the Middle East.”

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My Statement on Syria

Mary Bahr, member VFP Chapter 14, Air Force Intelligence 1966-1969

There are many statements on the web in the press and from government officials saying we should punish Assad for his probable actions in the reported gas attacks in Syria,  Lets look at the outcomes if we punish this so called petty dictator.

First Assad has allies including Russia, China and Iran to name a few. The war in Syria is another proxy war like the others we have fought in the Middle East. When you look at the strategic outcomes of an attack they are even worse than the tactical ones which will not prevent the combatants involved from killing each other and the innocents caught in between. So demonizing Assad, as bad as some of his actions may appear does not justify military action which could destabilize the whole region and cause more attacks over there and in the US. Plus if World War 3 breaks out I guarantee all our children will be affected in multiple ways starting the the price of oil going through the roof.

As for standing up to chemical weapons you have to understand the US history as our hands are not clean on this issue. For example when Saddam Hussein gassed the Kurdish village he was our ally and our AWACs (airborne radar) assisted him. And are we sure that our own allies today in Syria which apparently include Al Quaeda are not involved or are not producing propaganda to get us into the game? The intelligence on this “points to Assad but is inconclusive”. we have far too many examples in our recent history where these kinds of statements proved to be part of the “Fog of War”.

I like the idea of using propaganda to fight fire with fire: coming out really strongly against chemical weapons use with UN resolutions and strong statements from our own government.  And how about shipping gas masks and offering medical help to victims – perhaps again through the UN. The US has neither the moral authority (as a former intelligence officer I know more than I can say) nor should it legally or morally unilaterally try to “fix the world”. This is a disease of Empire which we have been suffering from for too long. It is bankrupting our country with 60 cents of every tax dollar going to our war machine and destroying our culture which is more and more based on violence. We are cheating our children and the children of the world of hope for the future. The US needs to back off and learn to work with others.

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Drones killing innocent Pakistanis, U.N. official says – CNN.com

Farmers are on their way to tend their crops when a missile slams into their midst, thrusting shrapnel in all directions.

A CIA drone, flying so high that the farmers can’t see it, has killed most of them. None of them were militants.

It’s a common scenario, a United Nations human rights researcher said Friday in a statement on drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal region of North Waziristan.

via Drones killing innocent Pakistanis, U.N. official says – CNN.com.

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Leaked Manning Statement | Adbusters Culturejammer Headquarters

Leaked Manning Statement | Adbusters Culturejammer Headquarters.

 

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Drones: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know But Were Always Afraid to Ask | Mother Jones

Drones: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know But Were Always Afraid to Ask | Mother Jones.

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Top Drone Pilots Battle At Elite Training School | The Duffel Blog

Satire alert! Do not take this article literally as some in Congress have been recorded doing recently.  This article is from the Duffel Blog, a military site that is giving the Onion a run for their money!

Top Drone Pilots Battle At Elite Training School | The Duffel Blog

Top Drone Pilots Battle At Elite Training School | The Duffel Blog.

(Top Drone pilot) Ghostbuster’s command eventually recognized his talent and sent him to Top Ground Command and Control Station School (GCCSS) in Coronado—the so-called “Top Drone” program that produces the military’s elite drone pilots.

“I knew right away that I was facing some stiff competition,” Ghostbuster said. “As soon as I walked in the building, there were all these pilots who were overweight and soft and pale, and their faces were covered in acne. You don’t get that kind of body without hours and hours in the cockpit [sic], away from the light of the day. These guys were the real deal

Read more: http://www.duffelblog.com/2013/02/top-drone-pilots-battle-at-elite-training-school/#ixzz2Lk2YiVcz
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Obama officials refuse to say if assassination power extends to US soil | Glenn Greenwald | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

Obama officials refuse to say if assassination power extends to US soil | Glenn Greenwald | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk.

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Everything We Know So Far About Drone Strikes – ProPublica

Everything We Know So Far About Drone Strikes – ProPublica.

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Airborne drones, mimicking gulls, alter wing shape for agility | University of Florida News

Airborne drones, mimicking gulls, alter wing shape for agility

Filed under Engineering, Research, Sciences on Tuesday, August 23, 2005.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The military’s next generation of airborne drones won’t be just small and silent – they’ll also dive between buildings, zoom under overpasses and land on apartment balconies.

At least, that’s what University of Florida engineers are working toward.

Funded by the U.S. Air Force and NASA, UF aerospace engineers have built prototypes of 6-inch- to 2-foot- drones capable of squeezing in and out of tight spots in cities — like tiny urban stunt planes. Their secret: seagull-inspired wings that “morph,” or change shape, dramatically during flight, transforming the planes’ stability and agility at the touch of a button on the operator’s remote control.

“If you fly in the urban canyon, through alleys, around parking garages and between buildings, you need to do sharp turns, spins and dives,” said Rick Lind, a UF assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering who heads the project. “That means you need to change the shape of the aircraft during flight.”

via Airborne drones, mimicking gulls, alter wing shape for agility | University of Florida News.

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