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Ukraine Accuses Russian Fighter Jets Of Violating Its Airspace | Zero Hedge

Ukraine Accuses Russian Fighter Jets Of Violating Its Airspace | Zero Hedge.

Infantry, navy, and now air force. At least according to the Ukraine, which reported that Russian fighter jets twice violated Ukraine’s air space over the Black Sea during the night, Interfax news agency quoted the Defence Ministry as saying on Monday. It said Ukraine’s air force had scrambled a Sukhoi SU-27 interceptor aircraft and prevented any “provocative actions” but gave no further details. That was just the cherry on top to what has already been an exhausting day for risk in Russia and the Ukraine, both of which saw their currencies tumble to all time lows.

In the meantime, Russian fortifications in the region continue. Reuters summarizes:

A Ukrainian border guard spokesman said on Monday that Russian ships had been moving in and around the Crimean port city of Sevastopol, where the Russian Black Sea Fleet has a base, and that Russian forces had blocked mobile telephone services in some parts of Crimea.

He said Moscow was building up its armor near a ferry port on Russia’s side of the 4.5 km (three mile) wide Kerch straight, which separates Crimea from Russia.

“There are armoured vehicles on the other side of the strait. We can’t predict whether or not they will put any vehicles on the ferry,” the spokesman said by telephone.

There was no immediate comment from the Russian Defence Ministry.

Russian forces have already bloodlessly seized Crimea – an isolated Black Sea peninsula with an ethnic Russian majority, where Moscow has a naval base.

On Sunday they surrounded several small Ukrainian military outposts there and demanded the Ukrainian troops disarm. Some refused, leading to stand-offs, although no shots were fired.

All eyes are now on whether Russia makes a military move in predominantly Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine, where pro-Moscow demonstrators have marched and raised Russian flags over public buildings in several cities in the last two days.

Russia has staged war games with 150,000 troops along the land border, but so far they have not crossed. Kiev says Moscow is orchestrating the protests to justify a wider invasion.

Ukraine’s security council ordered the general staff to immediately put all armed forces on highest alert. However, Kiev’s small and underequipped military is seen as no match for Russia’s superpower might.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry condemned Russia for what he called an “incredible act of aggression” and threatened “very serious repercussions”.

G8 countries and other nations were prepared to “to go to the hilt to isolate Russia” if Moscow made the wrong choices in Ukraine, Kerry told CBS program Face the Nation.

“They are prepared to isolate Russia economically. The rouble is already going down. Russia has major economic challenges,” he said. He mentioned visa bans, asset freezes and trade isolation as possible steps.

While the EU and NATO stepped up verbal pressure on Moscow, a German spokesman said Merkel believed it was not too late to resolve the Ukrainian crisis by political means despite differences of opinion between Putin and the West.

The German leader, who speaks fluent Russian, has had several long telephone calls with the German-speaking Putin since the crisis erupted with mass protests in Kiev.

“There is no doubt President Putin has a completely different view on the situation and events in Crimea from the German government and our Western partners,” spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters. But he added: “It is still not too late to resolve this crisis peacefully by political means.”

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he would ask Russia’s foreign minister at a meeting in Geneva to refrain from acts or rhetoric that would further escalate the crisis. He was sending his deputy to convey the same message to the Ukrainian authorities in Kiev, he said.

So far, the Western response has been largely symbolic. Obama and others suspended preparations for a G8 summit in Sochi, where Putin has just finished staging his $50 billion winter Olympic games. Some countries recalled ambassadors. Britain said its ministers would stay away from the Paralympics due next in Sochi.

With the confrontation in Crimea having remained bloodless for days, a mood of imminent catastrophe has begun to ebb in Kiev, but many people are still on edge.

On Kiev’s Independence Square, known as the Maidan, where protesters manned barricades for three months to bring down Yanukovich, the morning crowds were smaller than in the past few days as people returned to work.

“Crimea, we are with you!” read one placard. “Putin – Hitler of the 21st century,” read another.

Sergei Lavreynenko, 44, a librarian from Kiev, said Ukrainians were ready to take up arms to defend the country, and were frustrated at mixed messages from the authorities.

“Of course we are all ready to go,” he said next to a display of homemade mortar tubes and molotov cocktails used in the uprising against Yanukovich. “We have all served in the military. We have military specialisms. If we can build our own mortar tube like that, we can do even better…. But it needs to be organized. You can’t just get a bunch of guys, grab sticks and clubs and race off to Crimea.”

Ukraine Accuses Russian Fighter Jets Of Violating Its Airspace | Zero Hedge

Ukraine Accuses Russian Fighter Jets Of Violating Its Airspace | Zero Hedge.

Infantry, navy, and now air force. At least according to the Ukraine, which reported that Russian fighter jets twice violated Ukraine’s air space over the Black Sea during the night, Interfax news agency quoted the Defence Ministry as saying on Monday. It said Ukraine’s air force had scrambled a Sukhoi SU-27 interceptor aircraft and prevented any “provocative actions” but gave no further details. That was just the cherry on top to what has already been an exhausting day for risk in Russia and the Ukraine, both of which saw their currencies tumble to all time lows.

In the meantime, Russian fortifications in the region continue. Reuters summarizes:

A Ukrainian border guard spokesman said on Monday that Russian ships had been moving in and around the Crimean port city of Sevastopol, where the Russian Black Sea Fleet has a base, and that Russian forces had blocked mobile telephone services in some parts of Crimea.

He said Moscow was building up its armor near a ferry port on Russia’s side of the 4.5 km (three mile) wide Kerch straight, which separates Crimea from Russia.

“There are armoured vehicles on the other side of the strait. We can’t predict whether or not they will put any vehicles on the ferry,” the spokesman said by telephone.

There was no immediate comment from the Russian Defence Ministry.

Russian forces have already bloodlessly seized Crimea – an isolated Black Sea peninsula with an ethnic Russian majority, where Moscow has a naval base.

On Sunday they surrounded several small Ukrainian military outposts there and demanded the Ukrainian troops disarm. Some refused, leading to stand-offs, although no shots were fired.

All eyes are now on whether Russia makes a military move in predominantly Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine, where pro-Moscow demonstrators have marched and raised Russian flags over public buildings in several cities in the last two days.

Russia has staged war games with 150,000 troops along the land border, but so far they have not crossed. Kiev says Moscow is orchestrating the protests to justify a wider invasion.

Ukraine’s security council ordered the general staff to immediately put all armed forces on highest alert. However, Kiev’s small and underequipped military is seen as no match for Russia’s superpower might.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry condemned Russia for what he called an “incredible act of aggression” and threatened “very serious repercussions”.

G8 countries and other nations were prepared to “to go to the hilt to isolate Russia” if Moscow made the wrong choices in Ukraine, Kerry told CBS program Face the Nation.

“They are prepared to isolate Russia economically. The rouble is already going down. Russia has major economic challenges,” he said. He mentioned visa bans, asset freezes and trade isolation as possible steps.

While the EU and NATO stepped up verbal pressure on Moscow, a German spokesman said Merkel believed it was not too late to resolve the Ukrainian crisis by political means despite differences of opinion between Putin and the West.

The German leader, who speaks fluent Russian, has had several long telephone calls with the German-speaking Putin since the crisis erupted with mass protests in Kiev.

“There is no doubt President Putin has a completely different view on the situation and events in Crimea from the German government and our Western partners,” spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters. But he added: “It is still not too late to resolve this crisis peacefully by political means.”

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he would ask Russia’s foreign minister at a meeting in Geneva to refrain from acts or rhetoric that would further escalate the crisis. He was sending his deputy to convey the same message to the Ukrainian authorities in Kiev, he said.

So far, the Western response has been largely symbolic. Obama and others suspended preparations for a G8 summit in Sochi, where Putin has just finished staging his $50 billion winter Olympic games. Some countries recalled ambassadors. Britain said its ministers would stay away from the Paralympics due next in Sochi.

With the confrontation in Crimea having remained bloodless for days, a mood of imminent catastrophe has begun to ebb in Kiev, but many people are still on edge.

On Kiev’s Independence Square, known as the Maidan, where protesters manned barricades for three months to bring down Yanukovich, the morning crowds were smaller than in the past few days as people returned to work.

“Crimea, we are with you!” read one placard. “Putin – Hitler of the 21st century,” read another.

Sergei Lavreynenko, 44, a librarian from Kiev, said Ukrainians were ready to take up arms to defend the country, and were frustrated at mixed messages from the authorities.

“Of course we are all ready to go,” he said next to a display of homemade mortar tubes and molotov cocktails used in the uprising against Yanukovich. “We have all served in the military. We have military specialisms. If we can build our own mortar tube like that, we can do even better…. But it needs to be organized. You can’t just get a bunch of guys, grab sticks and clubs and race off to Crimea.”

China and Russia may hold joint naval drill in the Mediterranean — RT News

China and Russia may hold joint naval drill in the Mediterranean — RT News.

Image from mod.gov.cn / Li Xiao and Hu QuanfuImage from mod.gov.cn / Li Xiao and Hu Quanfu

Russia and China have agreed to conduct a joint naval drill in the Mediterranean Sea, a Russian media report cites the Defense Ministry. The countries’ fleets are currently involved in an intl operation to escort the Syrian chemical weapons stockpile.

The Defense Ministry said on Sunday that group of Russian naval officers deployed onboard a heavy nuclear missile cruiser “Peter the Great” visited Chinese frigate Yancheng.

“On board the Chinese patrol ship, Russian sailors discussed with their foreign counterparts the possibility of joint tactical exercises in the Mediterranean Sea. Under the agreement, such exercises can be carried out in the near future in an effort to improve the level of operational compatibility between Russian and Chinese warships during joint operations in the eastern Mediterranean,”
 the statement from the Ministry of Defense said.

The main aim of the joint naval exercise would be to increase the level of operational cooperation between the two navies designed to tackle terrorist threats and improve joint rescue operations at sea, the Ministry explained.

On January 7, both counties escorted the first consignment of Syrian chemical weapons materials that has left the country on a Danish ship. This became the first practical interaction between the Russian and the Chinese navies.

 

Image from mod.gov.cn / Li Xiao and Hu QuanfuImage from mod.gov.cn / Li Xiao and Hu Quanfa

The Chinese Department of Defense noted that Captain Pyshklov, commanding officer of the Mediterranean Combat Group of the Russian Navy, praised the performance of the Yancheng during the escort operation, while his counterpart, Li Pengcheng spoke highly of the important role the Russian Navy played in the escort operation for the ships transporting Syria’s chemical weapons.

In July, Russia and China held a three-day joint naval military exercise. The “Naval Interaction-2013″ in the open waters off the Port of Vladivostok became China’s largest overseas military exercises in terms of the number of troops deployed outside its territorial waters. Seven Chinese warships including four destroyers, two frigates and one comprehensive supply ship took part in the war games.

Both Russian and Chinese ships have polished their skills in joint air-defense and maritime replenishment. They have also practiced tackling submarine threats and tested their skills in joint escort and in rescuing a hijacked ship while shooting maritime targets.

Russia and China have regularly held joint naval drills since 2005 within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. However, “Naval Interaction-2013″ was only the second exercise conducted outside the SCO: the first was held in April 2012.

In recent years, the Chinese navy has participated in a series of joint exercises in the Pacific and Indian oceans, while Chinese ground forces have taken part in land war games organized by the SCO.

 

The Complete Chinese War Preparedness And Military Update | Zero Hedge

The Complete Chinese War Preparedness And Military Update | Zero Hedge.

With China increasingly in the news involving some new diplomatic or geopolitical escalation, a new territorial claim, the launch of a brand new aircraft carrier, or just general chatter of military tensions surrounding the aspirational reserve currency superpower, it is time for yet another update of the complete “military and security developments  involving the people’s republic of China”, courtesy of the annual report to Congress discussing precisely this issue.

The only Org Chart that matters:

 

China Sovereignty Claims:

 

Chinese Ground Forces:

 

Chinese ground force distribution map:

 

Chinese Navy:

 

Chinese Airforce:

 

Chinese airforce distribution map:

 

China Taiwan Strait and SRBM Coverage:

 

China Conventional Strike Capabilities:

 

Chinese Missile balance:

 

China Precision Strike capabilities:

 

Chinese ICBM reach capabilities:

 

The full report link – pdf.

China Building Second Aircraft Carrier, Two More In The Pipeline | Zero Hedge

China Building Second Aircraft Carrier, Two More In The Pipeline | Zero Hedge.

For months, rumors have been floating that China is building a second aircrafit carrier. It is not a fact. Reuters cites Chinese and Hong Kong media reports that China is building its second aircraft carrier, which is expected to take six years. While it is constructing this one, China plans to build at least two more, as it aims to have four aircraft carriers in the near future.

As a reminder, the country’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning – a Soviet-era ship bought from Ukraine in 1998 and re-fitted in a Chinese shipyard – has long been a symbol of China’s naval build-up, and recently saw its maiden voyage in the South China Sea when in a clear demonstration of naval force, it crossed through the Taiwan straits. The Liaoning successfully executed more than 100 tests, including those of its combat systems, during drills in the disputed South China Sea last month. The exercises off the coast of Hainan Island marked not only the first time China had sent a carrier into the South China Sea but the first time it had maneuvered with the kind of strike group of escort ships U.S. carriers deploy, according to regional military officers and analysts.

However, since the Lioning was a retrofit and not China’s own creation, the country’s navy has been scrambling to get beyond the ridicule it can only “reverse engineer” its crowning ship. Hence the push for a second one.

From Reuters:

After two decades of double-digit increases in the military budget, China’s admirals plan to develop a full blue-water navy capable of defending growing economic interests as well as disputed territory in the South and East China Seas.

 

Successfully operating the 60,000-tonne Liaoning is the first step in what state media and some military experts believe will be the deployment of locally built carriers by 2020.

 

In comments carried on Chinese news websites, Wang Min, the Communist Party boss of the northeastern province of Liaoning, where the first carrier is based, said the second carrier was being built in the port city of Dalian.

 

Its construction would take about six years, and in future China would have a fleet of at least four carriers, Wang told members of the province’s legislature on Saturday, the reports added.

 

Dalian is the port where the existing carrier was re-fitted for use by the Chinese navy.

Of course, the parallels to the cold war build up of nuclear weapons between the US and the USSR are quite obvious making one wonder if the same strategy is in play once more, especially when one considers that the US itself is also building three Ford-class supercarriers, the CVN-78, 79 and 80.

Finally, as we showed before, here are leaked photos of the second aircraft carrier in construction from China Defense.

 

Finally for those curious about more than just China’s nascent aircraft carrier fleet, here are some additional maps from the most recent Congressional report on Chinese military developments:

Libya declares state of emergency – Middle East – Al Jazeera English

Libya declares state of emergency – Middle East – Al Jazeera English.

Libya has declared a state of emergency as the air force attacked gunmen in the remote south to end unrest between rival armed groups that have been clashing for days.

The General National Congress, Libya’s highest political authority, took the decision on Saturday during an “extraordinary session” after the parliament put the army on alert as gunmen stormed the air force base, Tamenhant, near the southern city of Sabha, an official said.

“A force was readied, then aircraft moved and took off and dealt with the targets,” Abdul-Raziq al-Shabahi, defence ministry spokesman, told reporters in Tripoli.

He said the army was tracking the attackers after they fled into the desert.

Earlier on Saturday, Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said a small group of gunmen had entered the air force base outside Sabha, 770km south of the capital Tripoli, but the government was in control of the town and its civilian airport.

“This confrontation (at the air base) is continuing but in a few hours it will be solved,” the prime minister told a televised address, without elaborating.

Zeidan said he had sent his defence minister to Misrata to instruct troops based there to move to the south.

“The troops from Misrata have been commissioned by the government to conduct a national task … to spread security and stability in the region,” he said in the address.

Tribal clashes

Local sources said the clashes that started last week were sparked by the death of a rebel chief linked to the Awled Sleiman, adding that the tribe accused the Toubou of murdering him.

The Toubou are black oasis farmers by tradition who also live in southern Libya, northern Chad and Niger, who have repeatedly said they were being marginalised.

Western powers fear the OPEC producer will slide into instability as the government struggles to contain heavily-armed groups and tribesmen who helped topped Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 but refuse to disarm.

Activist Post: Why Are Dozens Of High Ranking Officers Being Purged From The U.S. Military?

Activist Post: Why Are Dozens Of High Ranking Officers Being Purged From The U.S. Military?.

Michael Snyder
Activist Post

Since Barack Obama has been in the White House, high ranking military officers have been removed from their positions at a rate that is absolutely unprecedented. Things have gotten so bad that a number of retired generals are publicly speaking out about the “purge” of the U.S. military that they believe is taking place.

As you will see below, dozens of highly decorated military leaders have been dismissed from their positions over the past few years. So why is this happening?

When I was growing up, my father was an officer in the U.S. Navy.  And what is going on right now is absolutely crazy – especially during a time of peace.  Is there a deliberate attempt to “reshape” the military and remove those that don’t adhere to the proper “viewpoints”?  Does someone out there feel a need to get officers that won’t “cooperate” out of the way?

Throughout world history, whatever comes next after a “military purge” is never good.  If this continues, what is the U.S. military going to look like in a few years?

Perhaps you are reading this and you think that “purge” is too strong a word for what is taking place.  Well, just consider the following quotes from some very highly decorated retired officers…

Retired Army Major General Paul Vallely: “The White House protects their own. That’s why they stalled on the investigation into fast and furious, Benghazi and Obamacare. He’s intentionally weakening and gutting our military, Pentagon and reducing us as a superpower, and anyone in the ranks who disagrees or speaks out is being purged.”

Retired Army Major General Patrick Brady: “There is no doubt he (Obama) is intent on emasculating the military and will fire anyone who disagrees with him.”

Retired Army Lt. General William G. “Jerry” Boykin: “Over the past three years, it is unprecedented for the number of four-star generals to be relieved of duty, and not necessarily relieved for cause.”

Retired Navy Captain Joseph John: “I believe there are more than 137 officers who have been forced out or given bad evaluation reports so they will never make Flag (officer), because of their failure to comply to certain views.”

According to the Blaze, one anonymous Pentagon official has said that even young officers have been told “not to talk about Obama or the politics of the White House”…

A Pentagon official who asked to remain nameless because they were not authorized to speak on the matter said even “young officers, down through the ranks have been told not to talk about Obama or the politics of the White House. They are purging everyone and if you want to keep your job — just keep your mouth shut.”

Now this trend appears to be accelerating.  We have seen a whole bunch of news stories about military officers being dismissed lately.

Almost always, a “legitimate reason” is given for the dismissal.  And without a doubt, if a military officer is actually behaving unethically, that officer should be held accountable.

However, the reality is that everyone has “skeletons in the closet”, and if you really want to get rid of someone it is usually not too hard to find a way to justify your decision.

The following are excerpts from three news stories about military officers in trouble that have come out so far in 2014…

#1 The Air Force Times: A group of former Air Force majors, forced out this summer by a noncontinuation board, plans to file a lawsuit claiming the service had no right to separate them simply to meet end-strength numbers set by Congress.

More than 10 of the 157 dismissed majors are banding together to challenge the move in court, seeking either reinstatement or early retirement pay. All 157 had been twice passed over for promotion and were within six years of retirement.

#2 Defense News: Acting US Navy Undersecretary Robert Martinage, the department’s No. 2, has resigned under pressure, sources confirmed for Defense News.

The resignation, which Martinage announced to his staff Tuesday morning, came after allegations were made of inappropriate conduct with a subordinate woman, the sources confirmed.

#3 Huffington Post: The Air Force says 34 nuclear missile launch officers have been implicated in a cheating scandal and have been stripped of their certification in what is believed to be the largest such breach of integrity in the nuclear force.

Some of the officers apparently texted to each other the answers to a monthly test on their knowledge of how to operate the missiles. Others may have known about it but did not report it.

The cheating was discovered during a drug investigation that involves 11 Air Force officers across six bases in the U.S. and England.

—–

Taken alone, it would be easy to dismiss those stories as “coincidences”.  But when you put them together with the stories of dozens of other high ranking military officers that have been purged from the U.S. military in recent years, a very disturbing pattern emerges.

The following is a list of high ranking military officers that have been dismissed over the past few years that has been circulating all over the Internet.  I think that you will agree that this list is quite stunning…

Commanding Generals fired:

  • General John R. Allen-U.S. Marines Commander International Security Assistance Force [ISAF] (Nov 2012)
  • Major General Ralph Baker (2 Star)-U.S. Army Commander of the Combined Joint Task Force Horn in Africa (April 2013)
  • Major General Michael Carey (2 Star)-U.S. Air Force Commander of the 20th US Air Force in charge of 9,600 people and 450 Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (Oct 2013)
  • Colonel James Christmas-U.S. Marines Commander 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit & Commander Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response Unit (July 2013)
  • Major General Peter Fuller-U.S. Army Commander in Afghanistan (May 2011)
  • Major General Charles M.M. Gurganus-U.S. Marine Corps Regional Commander of SW and I Marine Expeditionary Force in Afghanistan (Oct 2013)
  • General Carter F. Ham-U.S. Army African Command (Oct 2013)
  • Lieutenant General David H. Huntoon (3 Star), Jr.-U.S. Army 58th Superintendent of the US Military Academy at West Point, NY (2013)
  • Command Sergeant Major Don B Jordan-U.S. Army 143rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command (suspended Oct 2013)
  • General James Mattis-U.S. Marines Chief of CentCom (May 2013)
  • Colonel Daren Margolin-U.S. Marine in charge of Quantico’s Security Battalion (Oct 2013)
  • General Stanley McChrystal-U.S. Army Commander Afghanistan (June 2010)
  • General David D. McKiernan-U.S. Army Commander Afghanistan (2009)
  • General David Petraeus-Director of CIA from September 2011 to November 2012 & U.S. Army Commander International Security Assistance Force [ISAF] and Commander U.S. Forces Afghanistan [USFOR-A] (Nov 2012)
  • Brigadier General Bryan Roberts-U.S. Army Commander 2nd Brigade (May 2013)
  • Major General Gregg A. Sturdevant-U.S. Marine Corps Director of Strategic Planning and Policy for the U.S. Pacific Command & Commander of Aviation Wing at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan (Sept 2013)
  • Colonel Eric Tilley-U.S. Army Commander of Garrison Japan (Nov 2013)
  • Brigadier General Bryan Wampler-U.S. Army Commanding General of 143rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command of the 1st Theater Sustainment Command [TSC] (suspended Oct 2013)

Commanding Admirals fired:

  • Rear Admiral Charles Gaouette-U.S. Navy Commander John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group Three (Oct 2012)
  • Vice Admiral Tim Giardina(3 Star, demoted to 2 Star)-U.S. Navy Deputy Commander of the US Strategic Command, Commander of the Submarine Group Trident, Submarine Group 9 and Submarine Group 10 (Oct 2013)

Naval Officers fired: (All in 2011)

  • Captain David Geisler-U.S. Navy Commander Task Force 53 in Bahrain (Oct 2011)
  • Commander Laredo Bell-U.S. Navy Commander Naval Support Activity Saratoga Springs, NY (Aug 2011)
  • Lieutenant Commander Kurt Boenisch-Executive Officer amphibious transport dock Ponce (Apr 2011)
  • Commander Nathan Borchers-U.S. Navy Commander destroyer Stout (Mar 2011)
  • Commander Robert Brown-U.S. Navy Commander Beachmaster Unit 2 Fort Story, VA (Aug 2011)
  • Commander Andrew Crowe-Executive Officer Navy Region Center Singapore (Apr 2011)
  • Captain Robert Gamberg-Executive Officer carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower (Jun 2011)
  • Captain Rex Guinn-U.S. Navy Commander Navy Legal Service office Japan (Feb 2011)
  • Commander Kevin Harms- U.S. Navy Commander Strike Fighter Squadron 137 aboard the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln (Mar 2011)
  • Lieutenant Commander Martin Holguin-U.S. Navy Commander mine countermeasures Fearless (Oct 2011)
  • Captain Owen Honors-U.S. Navy Commander aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (Jan 2011)
  • Captain Donald Hornbeck-U.S. Navy Commander Destroyer Squadron 1 San Diego (Apr 2011)
  • Rear Admiral Ron Horton-U.S. Navy Commander Logistics Group, Western Pacific (Mar 2011)
  • Commander Etta Jones-U.S. Navy Commander amphibious transport dock Ponce (Apr 2011)
  • Commander Ralph Jones-Executive Officer amphibious transport dock Green Bay (Jul 2011)
  • Commander Jonathan Jackson-U.S. Navy Commander Electronic Attack Squadron 134, deployed aboard carrier Carl Vinson (Dec 2011)
  • Captain Eric Merrill-U.S. Navy Commander submarine Emory S. Land (Jul 2011)
  • Captain William Mosk-U.S. Navy Commander Naval Station Rota, U.S. Navy Commander Naval Activities Spain (Apr 2011)
  • Commander Timothy Murphy-U.S. Navy Commander Electronic Attack Squadron 129 at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, WA (Apr 2011)
  • Commander Joseph Nosse-U.S. Navy Commander ballistic-missile submarine Kentucky (Oct 2011)
  • Commander Mark Olson-U.S. Navy Commander destroyer The Sullivans FL (Sep 2011)
  • Commander John Pethel-Executive Officer amphibious transport dock New York (Dec 2011)
  • Commander Karl Pugh-U.S. Navy Commander Electronic Attack Squadron 141 Whidbey Island, WA (Jul 2011)
  • Commander Jason Strength-U.S. Navy Commander of Navy Recruiting District Nashville, TN (Jul 2011)
  • Captain Greg Thomas-U.S. Navy Commander Norfolk Naval Shipyard (May 2011)
  • Commander Mike Varney-U.S. Navy Commander attack submarine Connecticut (Jun 2011)
  • Commander Jay Wylie-U.S. Navy Commander destroyer Momsen (Apr 2011)

Naval Officers fired: (All in 2012):

  • Commander Alan C. Aber-Executive Officer Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 71 (July 2012)
  • Commander Derick Armstrong- U.S. Navy Commander missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (May 2012)
  • Commander Martin Arriola- U.S. Navy Commander destroyer USS Porter (Aug 2012)
  • Captain Antonio Cardoso- U.S. Navy Commander Training Support Center San Diego (Sep 2012)
  • Captain James CoBell- U.S. Navy Commander Oceana Naval Air Station’s Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic (Sep 2012)
  • Captain Joseph E. Darlak- U.S. Navy Commander frigate USS Vandegrift (Nov 2012)
  • Captain Daniel Dusek-U.S. Navy Commander USS Bonhomme
  • Commander David Faught-Executive Officer destroyer Chung-Hoon (Sep 2012)
  • Commander Franklin Fernandez- U.S. Navy Commander Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 24 (Aug 2012)
  • Commander Ray Hartman- U.S. Navy Commander Amphibious dock-landing ship Fort McHenry (Nov 2012)
  • Commander Shelly Hakspiel-Executive Officer Navy Drug Screening Lab San Diego (May 2012)
  • Commander Jon Haydel- U.S. Navy Commander USS San Diego (Mar 2012)
  • Commander Diego Hernandez- U.S. Navy Commander ballistic-missile submarine USS Wyoming (Feb 2012)
  • Commander Lee Hoey- U.S. Navy Commander Drug Screening Laboratory, San Diego (May 2012)
  • Commander Ivan Jimenez-Executive Officer frigate Vandegrift (Nov 2012)
  • Commander Dennis Klein- U.S. Navy Commander submarine USS Columbia (May 2012)
  • Captain Chuck Litchfield- U.S. Navy Commander assault ship USS Essex (Jun 2012)
  • Captain Marcia Kim Lyons- U.S. Navy Commander Naval Health Clinic New England (Apr 2012)
  • Captain Robert Marin- U.S. Navy Commander cruiser USS Cowpens (Feb 2012)
  • Captain Sean McDonell- U.S. Navy Commander Seabee reserve unit Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 14 FL (Nov 2012)
  • Commander Corrine Parker- U.S. Navy Commander Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 1 (Apr 2012)
  • Captain Liza Raimondo- U.S. Navy Commander Naval Health Clinic Patuxent River, MD (Jun 2012)
  • Captain Jeffrey Riedel- Program manager, Littoral Combat Ship program (Jan 2012)
  • Commander Sara Santoski- U.S. Navy Commander Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 15 (Sep 2012)
  • Commander Kyle G. Strudthoff-Executive Officer Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25 (Sep 2012)
  • Commander Sheryl Tannahill- U.S. Navy Commander Navy Operational Support Center [NOSC] Nashville, TN (Sep 2012)
  • Commander Michael Ward- U.S. Navy Commander submarine USS Pittsburgh (Aug 2012)
  • Captain Michael Wiegand- U.S. Navy Commander Southwest Regional Maintenance Center (Nov 2012)
  • Captain Ted Williams- U.S. Navy Commander amphibious command ship Mount Whitney (Nov 2012)
  • Commander Jeffrey Wissel- U.S. Navy Commander of Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron 1 (Feb 2012)

Naval Officers fired: (All in 2013):

  • Lieutenant Commander Lauren Allen-Executive Officer submarine Jacksonville (Feb 2013)
  • Reserve Captain Jay Bowman-U.S. Navy Commander Navy Operational Support Center [NOSC] Fort Dix, NJ (Mar 2013)
  • Captain William Cogar-U.S. Navy Commander hospital ship Mercy’s medical treatment facility (Sept 2013)
  • Commander Steve Fuller-Executive Officer frigate Kauffman (Mar 2013)
  • Captain Shawn Hendricks-Program Manager for naval enterprise IT networks (June 2013)
  • Captain David Hunter-U.S. Navy Commander of Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron 12 & Coastal Riverine Group 2 (Feb 2013)
  • Captain Eric Johnson-U.S. Navy Chief of Military Entrance Processing Command at Great Lakes Naval Training Center, IL (2013)
  • Captain Devon Jones-U.S. Navy Commander Naval Air Facility El Centro, CA (July 2013)
  • Captain Kevin Knoop-U.S. Navy Commander hospital ship Comfort’s medical treatment facility (Aug 2013)
  • Lieutenant Commander Jack O’Neill-U.S. Navy Commander Operational Support Center Rock Island, IL (Mar 2013)
  • Commander Allen Maestas-Executive Officer Beachmaster Unit 1 (May 2013)
  • Commander Luis Molina-U.S. Navy Commander submarine Pasadena (Jan 2013)
  • Commander James Pickens-Executive Officer frigate Gary (Feb 2013)
  • Lieutenant Commander Mark Rice-U.S. Navy Commander Mine Countermeasures ship Guardian (Apr 2013)
  • Commander Michael Runkle-U.S. Navy Commander of Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2 (May 2013)
  • Commander Jason Stapleton-Executive Office Patrol Squadron 4 in Hawaii (Mar 2013)
  • Commander Nathan Sukols-U.S. Navy Commander submarine Jacksonville (Feb 2013)
  • Lieutenant Daniel Tyler-Executive Officer Mine Countermeasures ship Guardian (Apr 2013)
  • Commander Edward White-U.S. Navy Commander Strike Fighter Squadron 106 (Aug 2013)
  • Captain Jeffrey Winter-U.S. Navy Commander of Carrier Air Wing 17 (Sept 2013)
  • Commander Thomas Winter-U.S. Navy Commander submarine Montpelier (Jan 2013)
  • Commander Corey Wofford- U.S. Navy Commander frigate Kauffman (Feb 2013)

So what do you think about all of this?

Do you believe that a “purge” of high ranking military officers is taking place?

Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…

This article first appeared here at the American Dream.  Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.

How the U.S. Employs Overseas Sweatshops to Produce Government Uniforms | A Lightning War for Liberty

How the U.S. Employs Overseas Sweatshops to Produce Government Uniforms | A Lightning War for Liberty.

The following article from the New York Times is extraordinarily important as it perfectly highlights the incredible hypocrisy of the U.S. government when it comes to overseas slave labor and human rights. While the Obama Administration (and the ones that came before it) publicly espouse self-important platitudes about our dedication to humanitarianism, when it comes down to practicing what we preach, our government fails miserably and is directly responsible for immense human suffering.

Let’s get down to some facts. The U.S. government is one of the largest buyers of clothing from overseas factories at over $1.5 billion per year. To start, considering our so-called “leaders” are supposedly so concerned about the state of the U.S. economy, why aren’t we spending the money here at home at U.S. factories? If we don’t have the capacity, why don’t we build the capacity? After all, if we need the uniforms anyway, and it is at the taxpayers expense, wouldn’t it make sense to at least ensure production at home and create some jobs? If a private business wants to produce overseas that’s fine, but you’d think the government would be a little more interested in boosting domestic industry.

However, the above is just a minor issue. Not only does the U.S. government spend most of its money for clothing at overseas factories, but it employs some of the most egregious human rights abusers in the process. Child labor, beatings, restrictions on bathroom brakes, padlocked exits and much more is routine practice at these factories. Even worse, in the few instances in which the government is required to actually use U.S. labor, they just contract with prisons for less than $2 per hour using domestic slave labor. Then, when questions start to get asked, government agencies actually go out of their way to keep the factory lists out of the public’s eye, even going so far as denying requests when pressed for information by members of Congress.

Sadly, as usual, at the end of the day this is all about profits and money. Money government officials will claim is being saved by the taxpayer, but in reality is just being funneled to well connected bureaucrats.

From the New York Times:

WASHINGTON — One of the world’s biggest clothing buyers, the United States government spends more than $1.5 billion a year at factories overseas, acquiring everything from the royal blue shirts worn by airport security workers to the olive button-downs required for forest rangers and the camouflage pants sold to troops on military bases.

But even though the Obama administration has called on Western buyers to use their purchasing power to push for improved industry working conditions after several workplace disasters over the last 14 months, the American government has done little to adjust its own shopping habits.

Labor Department officials say that federal agencies have “zero tolerance” for using overseas plants that break local laws, but American government suppliers in countries including Bangladesh, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mexico, Pakistan and Vietnam show a pattern of legal violations and harsh working conditions, according to audits and interviews at factories. Among them: padlocked fire exits, buildings at risk of collapse, falsified wage records and repeated hand punctures from sewing needles when workers were pushed to hurry up.

In Bangladesh, shirts with Marine Corps logos sold in military stores were made at DK Knitwear, where child laborers made up a third of the work force, according to a 2010 audit that led some vendors to cut ties with the plant.Managers punched workers for missed production quotas, and the plant had no functioning alarm system despite previous fires, auditors said.Many of the problems remain, according to another audit this year and recent interviews with workers.

At Zongtex Garment Manufacturing in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, which makes clothes sold by the Army and Air Force, an audit conducted this year found nearly two dozen under-age workers, some as young as 15. Several of them described in interviews with The New York Times how they were instructed to hide from inspectors.

“Sometimes people soil themselves at their sewing machines,” one worker said, because of restrictions on bathroom breaks.

And there is no law prohibiting the federal government from buying clothes produced overseas under unsafe or abusive conditions.

Why am I not surprised…

“It doesn’t exist for the exact same reason that American consumers still buy from sweatshops,” said Daniel Gordon, a former top federal procurement official who now works at George Washington University Law School. “The government cares most about getting the best price.”

Labor and State Department officials have encouraged retailers to participate in strengthening rules on factory conditions in Bangladesh — home to one of the largest and most dangerous garment industries. But defense officials this month helped kill a legislative measure that would have required military stores, which last year made more than $485 million in profit, to comply with such rules because they said the $500,000 annual cost was too expensive.

As usual, it is all about the money. You think average Americans are seeing any of that massive profit? Believe me, someone is and it’s not you.

At Manta Apparels, for example, which makes uniforms for the General Services Administration, employees said beatings are common and fire exits are kept chained except when auditors visit. The local press has described Manta as one of the most repressive factories in the country. A top labor advocate, Aminul Islam, was organizing there in 2010 when he was first arrested by the police and tortured. In April 2012, he was found dead, a hole drilled below his right knee and his ankles crushed.

Conditions like those are possible partly because American government agencies usually do not know which factories supply their goods or are reluctant to reveal them. Soon after a fire killed at least 112 people at the Tazreen Fashions factory in Bangladesh in November 2012, several members of Congress asked various agencies for factory addresses. Of the seven agencies her office contacted, Representative Carolyn Maloney, Democrat of New York, said only the Department of the Interior turned over its list.

Federal officials still have to navigate a tangle of rules. Defense officials, for instance, who spend roughly $2 billion annually on military uniforms, are required by a World War II-era rule called the Berry Amendment to have most of them made in the United States. In recent years, Congress has pressured defense officials to cut costs on uniforms. Increasingly, the department has turned to federal prisons, where wages are under $2 per hour. Federal inmates this year stitched more than $100 million worth of military uniforms.

The Marine Corps and Navy still do not require audits of these factories. The Air Force and Army exchanges do, but the audits can come from retailers, and defense officials fail to do routine spot checks to confirm their accuracy.

The Marine Corps and Navy still do not require audits of these factories. The Air Force and Army exchanges do, but the audits can come from retailers, and defense officials fail to do routine spot checks to confirm their accuracy.

For now, Bangladesh’s garment sector continues to grow, as do purchases from one of its bulk buyers. In the year since Tazreen burned down, American military stores have shipped even more clothes from Bangladesh.

This is the human equivalent of factory farming and every decent American citizen should be appalled that this is happening on multiple levels. Please share this post to raise awareness.

Full article here.

In Liberty,
Mike

Coincidence? Israel Launches Largest Ever Air Force “Exercise” The Day After Iran Deal | Zero Hedge

Coincidence? Israel Launches Largest Ever Air Force “Exercise” The Day After Iran Deal | Zero Hedge.

We are sure it was all planned a long time ago but the irony is not lost on us. A day after the US pisses the Israelis off with a sorta kinda deal with Iran, for the first time in Israel’s history, the Israel Air Force launched the “Blue Flag” training exercise – an international air force exercise with participation by the US, Italian and Greek air forces.

 

Via Israeli Defense Forces blog,

This past Sunday, Nov. 24, the Israel Air Force launched – for the first time in Israel’s history – the Blue Flag international training exercise at the Ovda airbase in southern Israel. The large-scale international exercise is a joint exercise of the US, Italian and Greek air forces and will be held entirely in English. The exercise, which will continue through Thursday, Nov. 28, is a part of the IAF’s elite training program. The goal of the exercise is to improve Israel’s general air defense capabilities while learning together and cooperating with global allies.

 

US Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, was present at the opening of the exercise. “Israel lives in a dangerous neighborhood. We need the best equipped, best trained forces as possible to protect our people and our security,” he said. “We also need allies and we have great allies here…all training together and reinforcing a partnership that gets stronger with each passing year.”

Blue Flag

The exercise involves workshops that simulated enemy forces as well as training missions to identify anti-aircraft missiles. The exercise showcases the Israel Air Force’s aerial capabilities. Just last month, the IAF conducted a speciallong-range flight exercise in which squadrons practicedrefueling planes in midair, testing the IAF’s ability to fly exceptionally long distances.

Watch as the IAF refuels midair: 

 

“For us, it is about training together,” a US Air Force soldier explained. “We have been leading up to this exercise for a couple years now. We’re here to continue to work together.”

“Blue Flag” has been in the works for over a year, and the IAF had conducted two training flights a day during the past six months in anticipation of the exercise, in addition to conducting a preparatory workshop earlier this year which had aerial teams train for flights conducted entirely in English.

 

 

Representatives from other countries observed the exercise, with the possibility of participating in future years.

 

Second Air Force Drone Crashes, Self Destructs In Florida | Zero Hedge

Second Air Force Drone Crashes, Self Destructs In Florida | Zero Hedge.

 

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