Category Archives: Military

The US spends more on its military than the next 8 countries combined

According to 2015 estimates gathered by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the United States was responsible for 36% of the entire world’s military spending. Even so, President Trump is calling for a $54 billion increase in US military spending which he says is needed to “rebuild the military.” In order to pay for this, Trump is also calling for a $54 billion cut in other parts of the federal budget.

By Emmanuel Ocbazghi/BusinessInsider

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Watch This Trained Eagle Take Down A Flying Drone

As more and more civilians start flying drones, there will probably be an exponential rise in situations where authorities need to quickly take down a poorly-navigated drone hovering above a stadium or government building.

But, since drone companies have yet to provide any sort of backdoor to manually takeover the device’s controls, authorities are on their own in figuring out how to safely take down drones mid-flight.

One Dutch company, Guard From Above, has taken the innovative approach of training birds of prey to physically takedown the UAVs.

The company, which works “mainly for national and international governmental security agencies”, is currently partnering with the Dutch National Police on a trial basis to determine if using birds of prey are a realistic method for taking down drones.

Luckily, the Dutch National Police realize that while using an eagle is definitely the coolest way to take down a drone, it’s not always going to be a realistic method. So, the force is also looking into using “nets and electronic means” to complement their arsenal of falcons and eagles.

As you’d expect, the Dutch aren’t the only law enforcement agency trying to figure out the best way to take down a drone. Last month, Tokyo Police released a clip of officers flying drones with large nets to “catch” and take down smaller drones mid-flight.

And, lest we forget that these are live animals, the Dutch National Science Institute assures readers that they are looking into making sure that no birds are harmed in the line of duty.

By Fitz Tepper/TechCrunch

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Trump: McCain ‘doesn’t know how to win anymore’

Image: Getty via Politico

President Donald Trump revived his feud with John McCain on Thursday morning, tweeting that the Arizona senator “doesn’t know how to win anymore” and shouldn’t have called a U.S. raid in Yemen a failure.

“Sen. McCain should not be talking about the success or failure of a mission to the media. Only emboldens the enemy! He’s been losing so long he doesn’t know how to win anymore,” Trump wrote in a series of tweets Thursday morning. “Just look at the mess our country is in – bogged down in conflict all over the place. Our hero Ryan died on a winning mission ( according to General Mattis), not a ‘failure.’ Time for the U.S. to get smart and start winning again!”

More from Politico

Posted by Libergirl

How the CIA helped apartheid South Africa imprison Nelson Mandela for 27 years — and is now facing lawsuits

It has long been suspected that the CIA played a role in the apartheid South Africa regime’s arrest and 27-year imprisonment of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela. It has now been confirmed.

Donald Rickard, a former U.S. vice-consul in Durban, South Africa who worked as a CIA agent, admitted that he tipped off the apartheid regime with Mandela’s location in 1962, the British media reported this week.

Rickard said the U.S. helped arrest the anti-apartheid leader because he was “the world’s most dangerous communist outside of the Soviet Union.” The U.S. feared Mandela was about “to incite” a communist revolution against the apartheid regime, and could align with the Soviet Union.

“Mandela would have welcomed a war,” the former CIA operative said. “If the Soviets had come in force, the United States would have had to get involved, and things could have gone to hell.”

“We were teetering on the brink here and it had to be stopped, which meant Mandela had to be stopped. And I put a stop to it,” Rickard added.

The 88-year-old ex-CIA operative made these comments in an interview in March with researchers for “Mandela’s Gun,” a new film by British director John Irvin, which will appear in the 2016 Cannes Film Festival next week.

Rickard, who retired from the CIA in 1978, died two weeks after breaking the silence in the interview.

U.S. support for apartheid South Africa

Mandela was imprisoned from 1962 to 1990. He subsequently went on to become South Africa’s first black president, from 1994 and 1999.

In 2013, Mandela died, leaving behind a long legacy of support for liberation movements throughout the world, particularly in Palestine, where anti-apartheid leaders such as Desmond Tutu have compared the actions of the apartheid South African regime to those of the Israeli government. In late April, Palestinian officials unveiled a statue of Mandela in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank.

The U.S. government propped up the apartheid South African regime for decades. Like its close ally, Israel also supported the apartheid regime.

President Ronald Reagan was particularly close with the apartheid South African regime. “Can we abandon a country that has stood beside us in every war we’ve ever fought, a country that strategically is essential to the free world in its production of minerals we all must have?” he asked in a 1981 CBS interview.

Mandela went on to blast U.S. hypocrisy. “I was called a terrorist yesterday, but when I came out of jail, many people embraced me, including my enemies,” he explained in an interview on “Larry King Live” in 2000.

“That is what I normally tell other people who say those who are struggling for liberation in their country are terrorists. I tell them that I was also a terrorist yesterday, but, today, I am admired by the very people who said I was one,” Mandela added.

In fact, it was not until 2008 that the U.S. removed Mandela from its terrorism watch list. When the apartheid South African regime declared Mandela’s political party, the African National Congress, or ANC, to be a terrorist group, the U.S. State Department did the same, in 1988.

The U.S. condemned Mandela and the ANC for its goals to build a “multiracial Socialist government in South Africa,” and for receiving “support from the Soviet bloc, Cuba and a number of African nations.”


Prominent transparency activist Ryan Shapiro, a national security researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is suing the CIA, along with numerous other government agencies, for information about the U.S.’s role in repressing the anti-apartheid movement.

“We’ve long known that there has been a U.S. intelligence agency role in the efforts to surveil and suppress the South African anti-apartheid movement,” he told BBC in an interview this week.

Shapiro says FBI documents he has received show how, when Mandela was released in prison, the FBI spied on him and his inner circle “for political information about who Mandela was speaking to, about anti-apartheid activities.”

Government documents not just from the 1960s, but even from the 1990s, “show that the FBI viewed Nelson Mandela and the South African, United States and global anti-apartheid movements as a serious communist threat that imperiled national security,” Shapiro explained.

He also revealed that the NSA was providing intelligence to the apartheid South African regime on the activities of the anti-apartheid movement.

The CIA, on the other hand, is not complying with Shapiro’s requests. The agency claimed under oath in federal court that it is will not grant the researcher’s FOIA request for records on Nelson Mandela because it is supposedly unable to search through records by someone’s name.

Shapiro, who has been referred to as the “most prolific” Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, requester, is suing the CIA, FBI, NSA and DIA for refusing to release requested records.

Allegations of continued subversion today

The CIA declined to comment on recent media reports about its role in arresting Mandela.

Mandla Mandela, the heir of Nelson Mandela, called on the U.S. and President Barack Obama to apologize, and to make a “full disclosure” of his grandfather’s arrest, The Telegraph reported.

“Whilst we were always aware of the West’s role in overt and covert support for the Apartheid state,” Mandla said, this “disclosure has put an end to decades of denial revealing the fact that the USA put its imperial interests above the struggle for liberation of millions of people.”

“We call on freedom-loving people of the world to come out in condemnation of this betrayal of our nation, the peoples of Southern Africa and all who suffered as a consequence of the USA’s support for the brutal apartheid state,” he added.

Mandla, who is a member of parliament representing Mandela’s ANC party, also suggested that the U.N. should punish the U.S., The Telegraph noted.

Zizi Kodwa, a spokesman for the ANC, told the newspaper the revelation was “a serious indictment” but not surprising.

“We always knew there was always collaboration between some Western countries and the apartheid regime,” he noted.

Kodwa says the U.S. government is still working to undermine South Africa’s government. “We have recently observed that there are efforts to undermine the democratically elected ANC government,” he added. “It is still happening now — the CIA is still collaborating with those who want regime change.”

By Ben Norton/Salon

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Even the ‘most transparent administration in history’ failed to pardon Snowden

In February 2013, President Barack Obama hailed his administration as “the most transparent administration in history.” It was an echo of a 2008 promise, made first on the campaign trail and then enshrined in Presidential memoranda, to share with the world the otherwise opaque dealings of an executive office, to restore trust in public servants. It was a bold promise, and one ultimately hamstrung by the very nature of the office. The Presidency, in charge of a permanent national security apparatus that manages multiple wars and perpetual intelligence operations, is a host of secrets. No well-intentioned transparency from the top-down would ever provide a clear picture of that world.
Transparency would come to the intelligence community from inside. In June 2013, revelations about an NSA mass surveillance program named PRISM appeared first in the Guardian and then in the Washington Post. These stories, which would prove to be the first of dozens, were sourced from secret documents, obtained by a system administrator, working as a contractor for the NSA, named Edward Snowden.
For months, Snowden worked inside the security apparatus, compiling an archive of secrets. This trove is, as it can only be, an incomplete look at the inner workings of America’s intelligence community. After communicating his findings to several journalists, Snowden took leave from his job at the NSA, and then fled from his Hawaii home. First to Hong Kong, and then to Moscow, where he has remained in a state of asylum. While Snowden was in Hong Kong, the United States government charged him under the espionage act, for taking and transmitting secrets to an unauthorized person.
Revelations from the Snowden Files continue regularly, with some coming as recently as December 2016. Almost as long-running as Snowden’s revelations is the debate about what the government should do with Snowden himself. For those who see Snowden’s revelations as spurring needed reforms within the intelligence community, a pardon is the logical next step. The costs of the revelation, from burned assets to compromised missions, are high enough that others see a pardon for Snowden as not only impossible, but dangerous. Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers and in so doing revealed to the American public the full scale of the Vietnam war, hailed Snowden and Chelsea Manning as kindred leakers, courageous in their actions.
Chelsea Manning, it’s worth noting, also leaked a trove of government secrets for publication. Unlike Snowden, Manning was arrested and is currently serving time in Fort Leavenworth prison, where she stated her intent to transition and was regularly subjected to long durations of solitary confinement. On Tuesday, Obama commuted Manning’s sentence. Manning’s 35-year sentence was reduced to time served, plus a few months, with Manning’s ultimate release scheduled for May 17, 2017.
From The New York Times:
At the same time that Mr. Obama commuted the sentence of Ms. Manning, a low-ranking enlisted soldier at the time of her leaks, he also pardoned James E. Cartwright, the retired Marine general and former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who pleaded guilty to lying about his conversations with reporters to F.B.I. agents investigating a leak of classified information about cyberattacks on Iran’s nuclear program.

The two acts of clemency were a remarkable final step for a president whose administration carried out an unprecedented criminal crackdown on leaks of government secrets. Depending on how they are counted, the Obama administration has prosecuted either nine or 10 such cases, more than were charged under all previous presidencies combined.
Despite the many pardons and commutations late in his presidency, it appears that President Obama has made no effort to pardon Edward Snowden, and time has run out for him to do so. Obama entered his office in the middle of two wars, with a national security apparatus fighting a global war on terror on multiple continents. Despite pledges toward transparency and progress on some fronts, the weight of the Obama administration tilts toward secrecy. What the government does in the shadows we may never be privileged to know, until the government itself chooses to declassify it decades later. If Snowden hoped to encourage others to reveal secrets they felt should be public, then Obama’s refusal to pardon Snowden before handing his fate over to a Trump administration could create a chilling effect, discouraging whistleblowers through official or unofficial channels.
It is too early to say how history will judge Edward Snowden. It is, perhaps, fair to say that without Snowden, our version of history would be incomplete.

By Kelsey D. Atherton/PopularScience

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Trump vows to end overseas ‘intervention & chaos,’ rebuild ‘depleted’ US military

Donald Trump has laid out a military policy which he says is aimed at ending “intervention and chaos” overseas. He promised to build up the “depleted” military, but said it would be done with prevention in mind, rather than aggression.
Speaking at the latest stop on his “thank you” tour of swing states, President-elect Donald Trump told a crowd in Fayetteville, North Carolina that he wants to “strengthen old friendships and seek out new friendships,” stressing that the US will “stop racing to topple foreign regimes that we know nothing about, that we shouldn’t be involved with.”

“We don’t want to have a depleted military because we’re all over the place fighting in areas that we shouldn’t be fighting in. It’s not going to be depleted any longer,” he said during the Tuesday event.

He spoke of the need to spend money “on ourselves” rather than continuing to run up an extremely costly tab in the Middle East.

“We’ve spent, at last count, $6 trillion in the Middle East, and our roads have potholes all over, our highways are falling apart, our bridges are falling, our tunnels are no good, our airports are horrible like third world countries,” Trump said. “We’re going to start spending on ourselves, but we’ve got to be so strong militarily like we’ve never ever been before.”

Although Trump vowed to build up the “depleted” military, he said it would be done “not as an act of aggression, but as an act of prevention.”

“In short, we seek peace through strength,” he said.

He went on to stress that the focus of the US military should be on defeating terrorism and destroying Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), promising that the goal would be achieved under his administration.

Also on Tuesday, US President Barack Obama took a much different stance during his final national security speech, defending his legacy of fighting IS – despite continuous criticism by Trump.

“Today the results are clear,” Obama said, crediting the US-led coalition of countries battling IS, and claiming that it has lost more than half its territory and faces a dwindling recruitment effort.

Trump has been critical of Obama’s approach towards IS, claiming he is waging a “politically correct” war against the terrorist group, and criticizing his refusal to use the words “radical Islamic terrorism” after the Orlando massacre.

The president-elect also accused Obama of being the “founder of ISIS” at a Fort Lauderdale, Florida rally in August.

“In fact, in many respects, you know, they honor President Obama. ISIS is honoring President Obama. He is the founder of ISIS. He’s the founder of ISIS, OK?” he said at the time.

Trump’s Tuesday comments were made during the latest stop of his “thank you” tour of swing states which were vital to his win. He will continue the tour in Iowa and Michigan later this week.


Posted by The NON-Conformist

House Pushes Ahead With $611 Billion Defense Policy Bill

Image: CBS Dallas

The Republican-led House is pushing ahead with a $611 billion defense policy bill that prohibits closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and forbids the Pentagon from trimming the number of military bases.

The annual policy bill also awards U.S. troops their largest pay raise in six years.

More from CBS Dallas/Fort Worth

Posted by Libergirl