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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.
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:
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?
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.
China Plans To Seize South China Sea Island From Philippines, Says “Battle Will Be Restricted” | Zero Hedge
Following Japan’s proclamations that it will take over another 280 ‘disputed ownership’ islands, it appears the increasingly dis-approved of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s path of militarism and provocation is working. As China Daily Mail reports,citing experts, China intends to take back Zhongye Island – ‘illegally’ occupied by the Philippines, according to the Chinese. The Chinese navy has drawn a detailed combat plan to seize the island and the battle will be restricted within the South China Sea. Philippines military is building up on the island and the Chinese see as ‘intolerable’ the “arrogance” relying on US support. It seems the Obama administration may have to ‘not take sides’ in another fight soon.
Background on the build-up…
Eugenio Bito-onon Jr, mayor of the Kalayaan island group, part of the contested Spratly islands administered by the Philippines, recently confirmed that the Western Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines has deployed new air force troops in rotation to the disputed island of Thitu, according to Jaime Laude in a report for the Manila-based Philippine Star on Jan. 5.
Known as Pag-asa in the Philippines and Zhongye island by both China and Taiwan, Thitu is the second largest in the Spratly island chain in the South China Sea and the largest of all Philippine-occupied Spratly islands.
Laude said that the air force troops were deployed to Thitu island by naval aircraft, which will give the residents of the island a chance to visit Kalayaan aboard the returning plane. He added that China’s maritime expansion into the South China Sea continues to put pressure on the Philippines, and the Philippine Navy have also been stationed in the area to defend the islands.
Six countries – Taiwan, China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei — claim in whole or part to the South China Sea and its island chains and shoals.
And the Latest Tensions…
Via China Daily Mail (translated from Chinese media),
Relying on US support, the Philippines is so arrogant as to announce in the New Year that it will increase its navy and air force deployment at Zhongye Island, a Chinese island that it has illegally occupied for years.
It will be an intolerable insult to China
According to experts, the Chinese navy has drawn a detailed combat plan to seize the island and the battle will be restricted within the South China Sea.
The battle is aimed at recovery of the island stolen by the Philippines from China.
There will be no invasion into Filipino territories.
A report in the Philippines Star confirmed the Philippines military buildup on the island.
Source: qianzhan.com “Sudden major move of Chinese troops this year to recover Zhongye Island by force”
Of course, claims that “battle will be restricted” are nothing but taunting and should China launch an offsensive here, we suspect the already dry and brittle tinder box in the South (and East) China Sea could rapidly escalate.
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.
Following a Washington reporter’s request to the Navy to turn over documents related to the Navy Yard Shooting, a US Navy official mistakenly forwarded an internal email outlining instructions on exactly how to avoid his Freedom of Information request. As RT reports, hours after NBC’s Scott Macfarlane’s tweets on the matter went viral, the Navy “regretted the incident” and re-iterated its “commitment to transparency.”
Scott MacFarlane, a news reporter for NBC 4 in Washington, DC, had filed a FOIA request with the Navy in an attempt to compel authorities to turn over documents related to the Navy Yard shooting in September. MacFarlane was seeking memos written by higher-ups at Naval Sea Systems Command from September, October, and November 2013–messages sent by the same officials in the hours directly after the shooting occurred, and images of building 197 at the Navy Yard, where the gunman killed 12 people and injured three others.
The Navy’s FOIA office confirmed that it had received MacFarlane’s request, but instead of sending him the relevant documents, they inadvertently sent an internal email containing instructions on how to avoid the reporter’s request. MacFarlane tweeted a screenshot of the message – which included the name of Robin Patterson, the Navy’s FOIA public liaison – accompanied by the phrase “EPIC FAILURE.”
“I think the appropriate response is ‘cameras are prohibited from the premises, with the exception of ‘official photos’ of specific events and assemblies, or ceremonies, such as retirements,” the email read, in part. “This request is too broad to tie to the specific event. If you discover that there is a ‘photo library,’ I would recommend negotiating with the requester…”
FOIA workers advised each other to avoid turning over information by telling MacFarlane his request was too broad and would constitute a “fishing expedition,” and that he should “narrow the scope of his request.”
“Again, another ‘fishing expedition,’” the screenshot shows. “[J]ust because they are media doesn’t mean the memos shed light on specific government activities.”
Officials also singled out one of MacFarlane’s requests in particular, noting “this one is specific enough that we may be able to deny it. However, I want to talk with the FBI as they may have ‘all the emails during that time, in their possession.’”
Just hours after MacFarlane’s tweets went viral, the Navy’s Twitter feed published a series of messages addressing the military’s respect for the FOIA process.
— U.S. Navy (@USNavy) January 7, 2014
— U.S. Navy (@USNavy) January 7, 2014