Despite improvements, more than half of the Pentagon’s big weapons systems still cost more than they should, with management failures adding at least $70 billion to the projected costs over the last two years, government auditors said Tuesday.
The Government Accountability Office, a Congressional watchdog, said the biggest program, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, accounted for $28 billion of that increase. Other systems also had significant cost overruns, the agency said, adding that the increases could force the Pentagon to cut the number of ships and planes it buys.
The auditors said many of the problems occurred because the Pentagon began building the systems before the designs were fully tested.
A $600,000 frog sculpture that lights up, gurgles “sounds of nature” and carries a 10-foot fairy girl on its back could soon be greeting Defense Department employees who plan to start working at the $700 million Mark Center in Alexandria, Va. this fall. That is unless a new controversy over the price tag of the public art doesn’t torpedo the idea.
Decried as wasteful spending that will be seen by just a couple thousand of daily workers who arrive on bus shuttles, foes have tried to delay the decision, expected tomorrow, April 1. But in an E-mail, an Army Corps of Engineers official said that the decision can’t be held up because it would impact completion of the huge project.
The City of Alexandria just announced that there are four works of art being considered and that a final decision needs to be made fast. The artwork was put on display for public comment from March 24 to today. The Alexandria News first reported the hasty announcement to decide a winner.
The schedule surprised some who thought that the costly artwork project was on the “back burner,” according to critic Donald Buch, a member of the mayor’s advisory committee overseeing the Mark Center project. “What’s the rush?” he asked.
[See a gallery of political caricatures.]
Buch says he’s not opposed to art, just high-priced works that won’t be seen by many. He estimates that only 2,500 will see the artwork every day as they use the bus transfer station at the Mark Center. “Who the heck is going to see it,” he asked. “To spend six hundred grand to amuse the same people every day is nuts.”
The Mark Center is one of the facilities that thousands of defense workers will be reporting to as part of the Base Realignment and Closure plan, or BRAC, that is shifting workers around Virginia and Maryland. The BRAC plan itself has been criticized as wasteful.
The four art proposals for the bus terminal include works for a wall and sculpture. But the one drawing most attention is the fairy and frog from artist Cheryl Foster. Her proposals describes the sculpture this way: “A 10-foot fairy, using an American Toad as ‘transportation,’ scurries to the entrance of the station. The interior of the toad is illuminated and the sounds of nature emanate from his throat.” She said that nature inspired her.
Buch suggested instead that the Corps should consider a nature park or water feature, not a toad.
According to the Corps, the artwork was the city’s idea. A city official, however, said that Alexandria officials didn’t demand art, but just asked that public artwork be included in the structure. What’s more, the official said that the $600,000 is federal money, and that no Alexandria funds will pay for the art.
MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell’s facebook page boasts ”
Get the last word on the biggest issues and most compelling stories of the day.” Too bad that doesn’t mean getting it right. Recently Mr. O’Donnell put this Nick Ramsey piece out on his MSNBC page.
Basically, Nick Ramsey and Mr. O’Donnell, on his show last night, falsely imply Senator Paul supported the US led “Nato Libyan war/conflict/jaunt/policing/hand holding/let me be clear/camping trip.” So, I decided to get clarification since there was absolutely no evidence of a vote on the US Senate page. A Paul staffer explained it best that Mr. O’Donnell is wrong.
The Paul staff told Free Man In Kentucky “There wasn’t a vote. It was rushed through by Unanimous Consent, with no debate or discussion about what was in it. We didn’t even get to see what it was, and Senator Paul never voted on it. Also, Senator Paul didn’t even have a chance to object to it because the resolution–which is non-binding– was in and out before he made it back to the floor.”
So basically this was a vote done very fast, with no discussion and was rushed through before others could get to the floor? That’s odd. If this had been done by the GOP, Mr. O’Donnell would have so much Hyperbole, it would make Alex Jones look tame.
STOP Killing Innocents!
You are just creating more enemies, thus far America has attacked/in connection:
Japan, Vietnam, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Greece, Laos, China, North Korea, Bolivia, El Salvador, Cambodia, Chile, Uruguay, Cyprus, Angola, Nicaragua, Zambia, Grenada, Lebanon, Libya, Haiti, Iran, Panama, Bulgaria, Somailia, Zaire, Congo, Qatar, Yugoslavia (today known as Serbia and Montenegro), Sudan, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Philippines, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, the list is not complete, feel free to ask me to update with a nation I did not specify.
“We consider this criminal and terrorist aggression. We put the responsibility on the American government,” he told reporters following talks with UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband.
He added: “All of them [the victims] are civilians, Syrian, unarmed and they are on the Syrian territories.
“Killing civilians in international law means a terrorist aggression.”
Asked if Syria would use force if a similar operation was mounted, he said: “As long as you are saying if, I tell you, if they do it again, we will defend our terrorities.”
Oops – (collective Eye Roll Here….)
Referring to the US presidential election, he said: “We hope the coming administration will learn the mistakes of this administration.” BBC.com
It’s not an endorsement Barack Obama probably expected — or wanted — but Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol gave the president high marks for his recent foreign policy gestures.
In his “You’ve come a long way, baby” post Monday night, Kristol praised Obama for his address to the American people about the action he took against Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. On Wednesday’s “Red Eye” on the Fox News Channel, Kristol took things a step further and declared Obama “a born-again neo-con.”
“He didn’t come to me for help, of course,” Kristol said. “I’m not going to acknowledge that. He came to me to make sure I was supporting his sound policies. Of course, since his sound policies are more like the policies people like me have been advocating for quite a while, I’m happy to support them. He’s a born-again neo-con.”
Throughout 2007 and 2008 in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, Obama ran as the anti-war candidate. But Obama has taken on different stripes with this gesture, Kristol joked.
“What’s the joke – they told me if I voted for McCain, we’d be going to war in a third Muslim country?” Kristol said. “I voted for McCain and we’re doing it.”
The president accepted a transparency award in a closed, undisclosed meeting. AP Photo Close
President Obama finally and quietly accepted his “transparency” award from the open government community this week — in a closed, undisclosed meeting at the White House on Monday.
The secret presentation happened almost two weeks after the White House inexplicably postponed the ceremony, which was expected to be open to the press pool.
This time, Obama met quietly in the Oval Office with Gary Bass of OMB Watch, Tom Blanton of the National Security Archive, Danielle Brian of the Project on Government Oversight, Lucy Dalglish of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and Patrice McDermott of OpenTheGovernment.org, without disclosing the meeting on his public schedule or letting photographers or print reporters into the room.
“Our understanding going into the meeting was that it would have a pool photographer and a print reporter, and it turned out to be a private meeting,” Bass told POLITICO. “He was so on point, so on target in the conversation with us, it is baffling why he would not want that message to be more broadly heard by reporters and the public interest community and the public generally.”
Just hours before the White House put off the original event, White House press secretary Jay Carney was defiant in his defense of Obama’s transparency record against criticism that it might have been premature.
“This president has demonstrated a commitment to transparency and openness that is greater than any administration has shown in the past, and he’s been committed to that since he ran for President and he’s taken a significant number of measures to demonstrate that,” Carney said in a testy exchange with Fox News reporter Wendell Goler on March 16.
The transparency advocates who presented the award to Obama say that the recognition is important, because despite the work left to be done, Obama has done a lot to change the government’s posture toward openness issues.
But others believed the positive reinforcement was more than a little unnecessary.
“I don’t feel moved today to say ‘thank you, Mr. President,’” said Steve Aftergood, the director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists. But he said he understands the award to be “aspirational,” in recognition of Obama’s potential to do more on the transparency front.
“And in that sense, one could say it resembles the award at the Nobel Peace Prize,” Aftergood said. “It’s not because Obama brought peace to anyone but because people hoped he would be a force for good in the world, and maybe that’s the way to understand this award.”
LIBYA’S BLOOD FOR OIL: THE VAMPIRE WAR
By Susan Lindauer, former U.S. Asset who covered Libya at the United Nations from 1995 to 2003
Who are we kidding? The United States, Britain and NATO don’t care about bombing civilians to contain rebellion. Their militaries bomb civilians every day without mercy. They have destroyed most of the community infrastructure of Iraq and Afghanistan before turning their sights on Libya. So what’s really going on here?
According to the CIA, the following never happened…
Last October, US oil giants— Chevron and Occidental Petroleum— made a surprising decision to pull out of Libya, while China, Germany and Italy stayed on, signing major contracts with Gadhaffi’s government. As the U.S. Asset who started negotiations for the Lockerbie Trial with Libyan diplomats, I had close ties to Libya’s U.N. Mission from 1995 to 2003. Given my long involvement in the Lockerbie saga, I have continued to enjoy special access to high level intelligence gossip on Libya.
Last summer that gossip got juicy!
About July, I started hearing that Gadhaffi was exerting heavy pressure on U.S. and British oil companies to cough up special fees and kick backs to cover the costs of Libya’s reimbursement to the families of Pan Am 103. Payment of damages for the Lockerbie bombing had been one of the chief conditions for ending U.N. sanctions on Libya that ran from 1992 until 2003. And of course the United Nations forced Gadhaffi to hand over two Libyan men for a special trial at The Hague, though everybody credible was fully conscious of Libya’s innocence in the Lockerbie affair. (Only ignorant politicians trying to score publicity points say otherwise.)
Knowing Gadhaffi as well as I do, I was convinced that he’d done it. He’d bided his time until he could extort compensation from U.S. oil companies. He’s a crafty bastard, extremely intelligent and canny. That’s exactly how he operates. And now he was taking his revenge. As expected, the U.S. was hopping mad about it. Gadhaffi wasn’t playing the game the way the Oil Bloodsuckers wanted. The Vampire of our age—the Oil Industry—roams the earth, sucking the life out of every nation to feed its thirst for profits. Only when they got to Libya, Gadhaffi took on the role of a modern-day Robin Hood, who insisted on replenishing his people for the costs they’d suffered under U.N. sanctions.
Backing up a year earlier, in August 2009 the lone Libyan convicted of the Lockerbie bombing that killed 270 people, Abdelbasset Megrahi, won a compassionate release from Scottish prison. Ostensibly, the British government and Scottish Courts granted Megrahi’s request to die at home with dignity from advance stage cancer—in exchange for dropping a legal appeal packed with embarrassments for the European Courts. The decision to free Megrahi followed shocking revelations of corruption at the special Court of The Hague that handled the Lockerbie Trial. Prosecution witnesses confessed to receiving payments of $4 million each from the United States, in exchange for testimony against Megrahi, a mind-blowing allegation of judicial corruption.
The Lockerbie conviction was full of holes to begin with. Anybody who knows anything about terrorism in the 1980s knows the CIA got mixed up in heroin trafficking out of the Bekaa Valley during the hostage crisis in Lebanon. The Lockerbie conspiracy had been a false flag operation to kill off a joint CIA and Defense Intelligence investigation into kick backs from Islamic Jihad, in exchange for protecting the heroin transit network.
According to my own CIA handler, Dr. Richard Fuisz, who’d been stationed in Lebanon and Syria at the time, the CIA had established a protected drug route from Lebanon to Europe and on to the United States. His statements support other sources that “Operation Corea” allowed Syrian drug dealers led by Monzer al-Kassar (also linked to Oliver North in the Iran-Contra scandal) to ship heroin to the U.S. ON Pan Am flights, in exchange for intelligence on the hostages’ whereabouts in Lebanon. The CIA allegedly made sure that suitcases carrying heroin were not searched at customs. Nicknamed the “Godfather of Terror,” Al Kassar is now serving a prison sentence for conspiring with Colombian drug cartels to assassinate U.S. nationals.
Building up to Lockerbie, the Defense Intelligence team in Beirut, led by Maj. Charles Dennis McKee and Matthew Gannon, suspected that CIA infiltration of the heroin network might be prolonging the hostage crisis. If so, the consequence was severe. AP Reporter Terry Anderson got chained in a basement for 7 years, while 96 other high profile western hostages suffered beatings, mock executions and overall trauma. McKee’s team raised the alarms in Washington that a CIA double agent profiting from the narco-dollars might be warning the hostage takers whenever their dragnet closed in. Washington sent a fact-finding team to Lebanon to gather evidence.
On the day it was blown out of the sky, Pan Am 103 was carrying that team of CIA and FBI investigators, the CIA’s Deputy Chief assigned to Beirut, and three Defense Intelligence officers, including McKee and Gannon, on their way to Washington to deliver a report on the CIA’s role in heroin trafficking, and the impact on terrorist financing and the hostage crisis. In short, everyone with direct knowledge of CIA kickbacks from heroin trafficking died on Pan Am 103. A suitcase packed with $500,000 worth of heroin was found in the wreckage. It belonged to investigators, as proof of the corruption.
The punch line was that the U.S. State Department issued an internal travel advisory, warning that government officials should get off that specific flight on that specific day, because Pan Am 103 was expected to get bombed. That’s right, folks! The U.S. had prior knowledge of the attack.
Unforgivably, nobody told Charles McKee or Matthew Gannon. But other military officials and diplomats got pulled off the flight—making room for a group of students from Syracuse University traveling stand by for the Christmas holidays.
It was a monstrous act! But condemning Megrahi to cover up the CIA’s role in heroin trafficking has struck many Lockerbie afficiandos as grossly unjust. Add the corruption of purchased testimony– $4 million a pop— and Megrahi’s life sentence struck a nerve of obscenity.
It struck Gadhaffi as grievously offensive, as well—The United Nations had forced Libya to fork over $2.7 billion in damages to the Lockerbie families, a rate of $10 million for every death. Once it became clear the U.S. paid two key witnesses $4 million each to commit perjury, spook gossip throughout the summer was rife that Gadhaffi had taken bold action to demand compensation from U.S. (and probably British) oil corporations operating in Libya. More than likely, Libya’s demands for kick backs and compensation extended to other European oil conglomerates as well—particularly France and Italy—who are now spearheading attacks on Libya.
I knew last summer there would be trouble. Payback would be a b—tch on both sides. You don’t lock an innocent man in prison for 10 years on bogus charges of terrorism, and expect forgiveness. The United States and Britain had behaved with remarkable selfishness. You’ve got to admit that Gadhaffi’s attempt to balance the scales of justice demonstrated a flair of righteous nationalism.
Alas, Gadhaffi was playing with fire, no matter how justified his complaint. You don’t strike a tyrant without expecting a tyrant to strike back.
And that’s exactly what’s happening today.
Don’t kid yourself. This is an oil war, and it smacks of imperialist double standards. Two articles by Prof. Chossudovsky at the Global Research Centre are must reading: “Operation Libya and the Battle for Oil: Redrawing the Map of Africa” and “Insurrection and Military Intervention: The US-NATO Attempted Coup d’Etat in Libya?”
There is simply no justification for U.S. or NATO action against Libya. The U.N. charter acknowledges the rights of sovereign nations to put down rebellions against their own governments. Moreover, many observers have commented that plans for military intervention appear to have been much more advanced than U.S. and European leaders want to admit.
For myself, I know in my gut that war planning started months before the democratization movement kicked off throughout the Arab world—a lucky cover for U.S. and European oil policy. Perhaps too lucky.
As Chossudovsky writes, “Hundreds of US, British and French military advisers arrived in Cyrenaica, Libya’s eastern breakaway province” on February 23 and 24— seven (7) days after the start of Gadhaffi’s domestic rebellion. “The advisers, including intelligence officers, were dropped from warships and missile boats at the coastal towns of Benghazi and Tobruk.” (DEBKAfile, US military advisers in Cyrenaica, Feb. 25, 2011) Special forces on the ground in Eastern Libya provided covert support to the rebels.” Eight British Special Forces commandos were arrested in the Benghazi region, while acting as military advisers to opposition forces, according to the Times of London.
We’re supposed to believe the United States, Britain and Europe planned, coordinated and executed a full military intervention in 7 short days— from the start of the Libyan rebellion in mid-February until military advisers appeared on the ground in Libya on February 23-24!
That’s strategically impossible.
Nothing can persuade me that Gadhaffi’s fate wasn’t decided months ago, when Chevron and Occidental Petroleum took their whining to Capitol Hill, complaining that Gadhaffi’s nationalism interfered with their oil profiteering. From that moment, military intervention was on the drawing board as surely as the Patriot Act got stuck in a drawer waiting for 9/11.
The message is simple: Challenge the oil corporations and your government and your people will pay the ultimate price: Give us your oil as cheaply as possible. Or die.
Don’t kid yourself. Nobody gives a damn about suffering in Libya or Iraq. You don’t bomb a village to save it. The U.S., Britain and NATO are the bullies of the neighborhood. The enforcers for Big Oil.
Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan have something in common. They have vast and extraordinary oil and mineral riches. As such, they are all victims of what I call the Vampire Wars. The Arab Princes get paid off, while the bloodsuckers pull the life blood out of the people. They’re scarcely able to survive in their own wealthy societies. The people and the domestic economy are kept alive to uphold the social order, but they are depleted of the nourishment of their own national wealth.
The democratization movements are sending a warning that I don’t think Big Oil, or their protectors in the U.S. and British governments understand or have figured out how to control. The Arab people are finished with this cycle of victimization. They’ve got their stakes out, and they’re starting to figure out how to strike into the heart of these Vampires, sucking the life blood out of their nations.
And woe to the wicked when they do!
This article may be reprinted in full or part with attribution to the author.
Former U.S. Intelligence Asset, Susan Lindauer covered Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Syria/Hezbollah from 1993 to 2003. She is the author of “Extreme Prejudice: The Terrifying Story of the Patriot Act and the Cover Ups of 9/11 and Iraq.”
Like every war the United States has been in since World War 2, the current war in Libya needs a drummed up motive in which all ambitions for empire are forgotten, coaxing the public to unite against a grave threat and/or a just cause, giving the collective OK for the government to kill people while the taxpayers watch it on TV. Vietnam had the staged Gulf of Tonkin incident. The first Gulf War had the liberation of Kuwait and the fabricated incubator baby incident. Afghanistan had the 9/11 false flag event. Iraq had WMD’s. (Wait…no it didn’t) . The media plays out the war story like an action movie, beginning with a staged provocation from an evil adversary so that the audience doesn’t think the handsome leading man is just blowing away hundreds of extras for no reason. It’s like lighting a dark room with a dim flashlight– feeding the nation’s thirst for war while at the same time writing a fiction of noble sacrifice for justice and a greater good.
Make no mistake– President Obama has committed the United States to another war, though he refuses to use that word. Not only that, he has done it without a declaration from Congress, forcing the United States to collectively jump to its feet at the command of the United Nations. Bringing his promised “change” (for the worse), Obama and his puppeteers are steering the dying horse of our nation towards the next phase of world empire for the globalists, draining the public treasury to do it and blatantly ignoring the already weak facade of checks and balances in U.S. government, especially when it comes to the use of military force.
Not only that, but his “humanitarian” mission is doing the opposite of its stated intention– it’s backing genocide.
One could make the excuse that this is simply blowback resulting from the bumbling foreign policy of a president who doesn’t know what he’s doing…if not for the fact that this witch-hunt was taking place even before the United States and its allies officially announced their support for the Libyan rebels and started bombing the country.
This report from Al Jazeera was posted to Youtube on March 1st, 2011. While still perpetuating the myth that the uprising in Libya is an organic revolution and not a staged globalist attack on Gaddafi’s regime to seize Libyan oil and plunge the nation into debt slavery, it covers the attacks on black Africans in Libya before their civil war officially became America’s new foreign entanglement.
The reality that the United States’ first black president– whose father was from Africa– is backing thugs who are carrying out a racist, murderous purge of black Africans is, on an intellectual level, ironic, and on a human level horrifically tragic. Like the protagonist of a Shakespeare play set in modern day, Obama is a character who illustrates the cannibalistic nature of those seek not even power, but the illusion of power, as he’s led by the money forces that control United States policy and obediently continues an agenda that was set in motion long before he even came into office.