Sunday, April 5, 2009

'Advanced missile poses substantial new threat for U.S. Navy'

Report: Chinese Develop Special "Kill Weapon" to Destroy U.S. Aircraft Carriers

U. S. Naval Institute
March 31, 2009

With tensions already rising due to the Chinese navy becoming more aggressive in asserting its territorial claims in the South China Sea, the U.S. Navy seems to have yet another reason to be deeply concerned.

After years of conjecture, details have begun to emerge of a "kill weapon" developed by the Chinese to target and destroy U.S. aircraft carriers.

First posted on a Chinese blog viewed as credible by military analysts and then translated by the naval affairs blog Information Dissemination, a recent report provides a description of an anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) that can strike carriers and other U.S. vessels at a range of 2000km.

The range of the modified Dong Feng 21 missile is significant in that it covers the areas that are likely hot zones for future confrontations between U.S. and Chinese surface forces.

The size of the missile enables it to carry a warhead big enough to inflict significant damage on a large vessel, providing the Chinese the capability of destroying a U.S. supercarrier in one strike.

Because the missile employs a complex guidance system, low radar signature and a maneuverability that makes its flight path unpredictable, the odds that it can evade tracking systems to reach its target are increased. It is estimated that the missile can travel at mach 10 and reach its maximum range of 2000km in less than 12 minutes.

~ more... ~

The multi-trillion question - how long must we wait?

Tony Kinsella writes in the Irish Times :

In January, the US navy commissioned its nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George H Bush . A week ago the Tata corporation commercially launched its Nano, the world's cheapest car. Both are marvels of engineering. One is 333m long and cost €4.6 billion, the other is just three metres and retails for around €1,500. The carrier represents a familiar, if failing, past – the Nano our unfamiliar and challenging future.

Contributing editor of Car Magazine Ben Oliver described the Nano as “a staggeringly important, clever, exciting new thing”. In the face of threatened global economic meltdown, with the ILO predicting 51 million job losses in 2009, it at least offers hope.

The conservative economic guru Hernando de Soto Polar straddles our global rich-poor divide having spent nearly half his life in Switzerland before returning to his native Peru. He estimates there is something of the order of €10 trillion worth of cash in circulation on our planet. This is amplified by around €125 trillion of classic debt. Two highly regulated, and clearly recorded categories, neither of which poses significant problems. There is, however, a third element of wealth in circulation, and one that threatens our economic survival – derivatives and other loans.

De Soto Polar estimates these as having a paper value of between €450 trillion and €750 trillion. In the words of another leading economist, Paul Krugman of Princeton University, they resulted from a process where “Loans no longer stayed with the lender. Instead, they were sold on to others, who sliced, diced and puréed individual debts to synthesise new assets. Subprime mortgages, credit card debts, car loans – all went into the financial system's juicer.”

~ more... ~

A difference of perpsective regarding the arms industry

From the 'players'

Views from a Top Contractor: David Melcher, president of Defense Electronics and Services at ITT




David Melcher, president of Defense Electronics and Services at ITT, talks about the impact of the financial crisis on his company, the major challenges facing the industry under the new administration, how his company manages innovation and differentiates itself from competitors, and how it handles the challenges of managing across a global organization. Melcher offered his views in an interview during the sixth annual Wharton Aerospace Conference held recently in Philadelphia.
View the site


From those who get 'played'

Space Symposium 2009



This is an annual meeting of all the propeller heads from the "defense" contractors like Raytheon, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Blackwater, Triple Canopy, Bechtel, etc. who sell death and destruction to the govenment and buy legislation, access and endless war with the massive profits.

This was Monday, March 30, 2009.

No one was assaulted like last year.

American Express suspends operation in Greece

From the 16 March, 2009 issue of the business daily Express :

American Express bank decided to proceed to suspension of its operation in Greece. However, this decision does not affect the usage of American Express credit cards. The bank's employees stressed that the withdrawal of American Express from the Greek financial credit system will create a domino of rapid reactions in all sectors of economy. Working trade unions protest intensely; OTOE and GSEE as well as American Express Working Union plan to give a press interview today.

Greek Federation of Bank Employee Unions Announcement

Greek Federation of Bank Employee Unions (OTOE) in its announcement stressed:

"OTOE executive secretariat in its immediate meeting today on American Expresses' decision to withdraw definitely from Greece leading that way the country in unemployment and insecurity:

Calls the government to undertake its responsibilities and to intervene directly and effectively in order:

1. To secure employment for working people that are to loose their jobs
2. To secure the pension rights of the bank's employees and pensioners
3. To apply all the contracts and agreements that have to do with the preservation of the Organization and working rights as well as with the banks' obligations regarding the employees' pension funds.

OTOE considers that the difficult financial conjunction our country faces, the closure of the bank irrespectively of the reasons, will create chain reactions with multiple consequences that will affect not only the banks but also several sectors of economy. These consequences must be avoided by immediate political intervention initiated by the government. OTE also stated that it also wishes to stress American Expresses' serious responsibilities a bank that that chooses to withdraw from a country that it has in fact contributed to its development.

Z: 'Any resemblance of real events, to persons living or dead, is not accidental. It is DELIBERATE'

From Costa-Gavras' politically charged 'Z' by Susan King :

In the late 1960s, Costa-Gavras couldn't persuade any French producer or distributor to make his political thriller "Z," which went on to win the Oscar for the best foreign language film of 1969.

"It was an unusual movie," says the 76-year-old filmmaker, born in Greece as Konstantinos Gavras. "There was no love story and there were several characters going through it. It was difficult to explain. I remember even an important producer said to me, 'I will film the telephone book, but not that story.' "

"Z," which opens today at the Nuart with a new print and a new translation for its 40th anniversary, is a thinly veiled, dramatized account of the assassination of liberal Greek politician Gregoris Lambrakis in 1963. The opening credits of the film, which is based on a book by Vassilis Vassilikos, even feature a most unusual disclaimer: "Any resemblance of real events, to persons living or dead, is not accidental. It is DELIBERATE."

The closing credits, meanwhile, list everything that had been banned in Greece after a 1967 military coup, including long hair on men, the Beatles, Mark Twain, modern and popular music and the letter "Z," which was a symbolic reminder that the spirit of Lambrakis and resistance still lived in the country.

Yves Montand, who appeared in Costa-Gavras' first feature film, 1965's "The Sleeping Car Murders," plays the politician, Irene Papas is his wife and Jean-Louis Trintignant is the magistrate assigned to investigate the death.

[ ... ]

The success of the film took Costa-Gavras by surprise. "Especially the American success," he says. "French movies had a small audience [in the U.S], but when the movie opened here it very quickly started to have a huge success. It was extraordinary for us."

Since then, Costa-Gavras has continued to challenge and provoke movie audiences with his politically themed films, including "State of Siege" and his first American movie, "Missing," for which he won an Oscar for adapted screenplay.

Costa-Gavras will also be honored April 23 at the City of Lights City of Angels film festival at the Directors Guild of America building. "The Sleeping Car Murders" will be screened in the afternoon, followed by a one-hour discussion with the director, capped off with the West Coast premiere of his latest film, "Eden Is West," about a young man emigrating from an undisclosed country in the Mediterranean to Paris.

~ more... ~

Greece: Under attack from within

From University World News :

Makki Marseilles
05 April 2009
Issue: 0070

For more than two weeks, the administration headquarters of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the largest in the country, has been occupied by youths, members of non-parliamentary leftwing organisations and sundry other anarchist groups. They have prevented staff from carrying out their duties and are causing serious disruption in the management of the institution.

The youths are protesting at the university's intention to hand its cleaning services to a private contractor. They are also expressing their support to Constantina Kouneva, a heroic trade union official who is still seriously ill in hospital following a craven attack more than three months ago.

During the attack, Kouneva had acid thrown to her face and subsequently was forced to drink it, as a result of which she suffered severe external and internal injuries.

Universities, the youths claim, should not have dealings with private contractors who evidently not only transgress the rights of their staff - often poor, immigrant women working long hours uninsured in dreadful conditions for very low wages - but also terrorise them if they dare to protest as in the case of Kouneva.

During the occupation, staff and academics of the Aristotle University have been unable to carry out their duties and the services of the institution have come to a standstill.

University Rector Anastasios Manthos appealed to the youths to end the occupation but they refused. He contacted the District Attorney to discuss the situation but was told that under the law governing academic sanctuary, the authorities could not intervene unless criminal acts were being committed (occupation is not a criminal act) or if the university's senate committee expressly asked the authorities to intervene.

Manthos and the senate face an extremely delicate situation. They want the occupation to end but they are extremely reluctant to call in the authorities.

In previous similar circumstances police intervention has not been distinguished by discretion or sensitivity. It could easily result in more damage to university property by the withdrawing youths who would not only return once the police left the premises but would also accuse the university authorities of contributing to the abolition of the sanctuary themselves. A university under constant police guard is a contradiction in terms.

The option of calling in the authorities therefore has been rejected and instead Manthos has called on the academics, staff and students of the university to participate in a form of peaceful counter-occupation.

This incident is indicative of the position universities find themselves in. They are becoming the scapegoats and the victims of a society which cannot resolve its own contradictions while being undermined by the same people who are supposed to defend their existence as well as their independence.

Universities find themselves at a centre of a peculiar tug of war which prevents them from fulfilling their mission. On one side motley anarchist groups use the university as a springboard for nefarious activities and a refuge to avoid apprehension; and on the other a weak government, unable to deal with the increasing wave of violence sweeping the country, is all too keen to lay the blame at the universities' door and accuse them of sheltering the offenders.

In this peculiar situation the universities are on a hiding to nothing. They also face a dilemma extremely difficult to resolve: how to stop the marauding youths who not only cause damage to shops, cars, private and public property in and out of the university but also terrorise academics and staff and ultimately prevent the institution functioning effectively.

University authorities want to preserve open, free, easily accessible institutions for their staff, academics and students but they lack the resources to do so and are reluctant to appeal to the security forces.

The situation appears to suit the government's plans to abolish the academic sanctuary and allow police to operate unchecked inside university premises. A recent public relations survey found the public overwhelmingly in favour of such an eventuality showing that the propaganda, if nothing else, is effective.

Instead of improving an untrained and demoralised police force after the traumatic events of last December, which brought them into conflict with the suppressed anger of teenagers, the government is resorting to measures of dubious quality and effectiveness.

The last two introduced by the Justice Minister Nikos Dendias were a long-abolished and long-forgotten 'abuse against authority' and the wearing of a hood.

In the first, if anyone was heard during a demonstration to swear at a police officer he or she could be arrested and given double the sentence provided by the law. In the second, anyone wearing hoods, masks, handkerchiefs, large sunglasses and even make-up deemed to cover wholly or part of the face would be severely punished. Such perspicacity!

Not to be outdone, Athens District Attorney George Sanidas ordered an investigation into all university departments occupied by students or other groups to determine whether criminal acts had been or were about to be committed.

Asked to comment on the recent developments, Education Secretary Aris Spiliotopoulos said in his opinion the current legislation was adequate to deal with the phenomena and that new measures were not necessary.

Spiliotopoulos did not lose the opportunity, however, to restate his earlier proposal that the law school and the architecture department of the Athens University be removed from the centre of the city so that marginal groups would not find ready-made refuge; a proposal the university authorities staunchly reject.

Two things are obvious: social unrest is gathering momentum and will become more difficult to control as the local economy and the international crisis deepens. Second, neither the government nor the police with its present composition are capable of dealing with the situation as they slip and slide towards more and more authoritative measures instead of dealing with the real problems.

The autonomy of the universities in general and the academic asylum in particular are a thorn in the flesh both of the government and the police. Their inability or reluctance to apprehend any of the trouble-makers so far and use the state's legal arsenal against them indicates either a pronounced lack of operational efficiency or a certain amount of complicity.

In either case, the institutions most at risk are the universities and it is incumbent on them to safeguard and retain whatever privileges or freedoms they have. In this light, the initiative mounted by Aristotle Rector Manthos to attempt to reoccupy its institution by peaceful means may prove to be extremely significant.

makki.marseilles@uw-news.com

'The Bush family prefers to see the carrier named after the 41st president in Florida where Jeb Bush, the president’s son, was the governor'

Virginia, Florida spar over carrier money

By Roxana Tiron
15 Mar 2009

Lawmakers and companies typically make the case that their interests deserve a slice of defense funding months before the Pentagon's budget comes out.

But this year, Virginian politicians are keeping their fingers crossed that the Pentagon won't ask for money that would be spent on moving a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier from Norfolk to Florida.

Virginia politicians, led by Gov. Tim Kaine (D), have been pressing the Obama administration not to include funds necessary to get the Mayport Naval Station in Jacksonville ready to house a nuclear carrier.

The release of the detailed budget in April will show whether the intense lobbying campaign of recent months has paid off. Virginians are trying to convince President Obama that the Navy's decision, in early January, to move a carrier to Florida was politically driven due to influence from President Bush.

The likely candidate for the move is the recently-commissioned U.S.S. George H.W. Bush, a carrier that the Navy will keep in Norfolk for the time being.

The entire Bush family was present at the ship's commissioning in Norfolk just days before President Bush stepped down. It is no secret that the Bush family prefers to see the carrier named after the 41st president in Florida where Jeb Bush, the president's son, was the governor.


Mayport is not currently equipped to house the carrier. It likely will not be ready until 2014.

Florida's delegation has been dogged in trying to get a carrier moved to the Jacksonville area. The move could generate billions of dollars for the local economy.

At the same time, Virginia is trying to hold on to as many carriers as possible.

Virginians are pressing the Obama administration and the new leaders at the Pentagon to use an upcoming, sweeping review of defense strategy, known as the Quadrennial Defense Review, to conduct an assessment of the need to move a carrier to Florida...



Streamlined US military spending is now a necessity

20 Mar 2009

...Gates, the lone Cabinet holdover from the Bush administration, is expected to target several weapons systems for elimination. Among them: The F-22 fighter jet and a new class of destroyer for the Navy.

He'll undoubtedly run into well-coordinated PR pushbacks from military contractors, not to mention members of Congress in districts where jobs could be lost.

But this is a push that is long overdue. U.S. military spending amounts to about half the total worldwide. It's roughly equal to the military spending of the next largest 45 countries combined.

You could put together the next 13 largest navies, and ours would still be larger. (And we'd note that 11 of those 13 navies belong to our allies).

So, no pun intended, we've gotten some bang for our buck. However, we've also spent much more than necessary.

A 2008 report from the Government Accountability Office showed that from 2000-2007 the cost of major new defense programs had grown some $300 billion over original estimates. ArmyTimes.com. noted the typical defense system as of 2007 was 26 percent over budget and 21 months behind schedule.

The per-vessel cost of the new destroyer that Gates has in his sights could possibly reach $5 billion. By comparison, the newly-launched aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush cost $6.2 billion.

Lavish new weapons systems aren't needed to fight a foe that has relied on boxcutters for its most devastating attack. And we simply can't afford them...

[ via 'Impeach Bush' Yahoo! Group ]

Merrill Lynch bonuses were 22 times the size of AIG's

Dennis Kucinich sent out a round of letters to top Treasury officials Monday morning, questioning how much they knew about bonuses paid to Merrill Lynch executives that totaled $3.62 billion, nearly 22 times the total bonuses paid to AIG executives. The payouts made up more that 36 percent of the TARP funds the financial institution received from the Federal government.

Kucinich points out that unlike AIG, the bonuses were not locked in by preexisting contracts and were performance bonuses, as opposed to retention bonuses.

The Merrill bonuses were 22 times larger than those paid by AIG ($3,620 million versus $165 million). They were also very large relative to the TARP monies allocated to Merrill. The Merrill bonuses were the equivalent of 36.2% of TARP monies Treasury allocated to Merrill and awarded to BOA after their merger. The bonuses, awarded mostly as cash, were made only to top management at Merrill. To be eligible for the bonuses, Merrill employees had to have a salary of at least $300,000 and attained the title of Vice President or higher.

~ more... ~

Strip search of woman by Police. This could happen to you!



Warning: disturbing scenes

Exclusive: Strip search of woman by Sheriff's Deputies Reported by channel 3 News. Just think if one day you call 911 and you are calling for help, instead of being protected you end up being arrested. As each day passes we are entering into a Police State and we will no longer have any say. Welcome the New World Order and say good bye to the little freedoms we had.

[ via pkpolitics ]

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