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Military Trained For Haiti Disaster Relief Before Earthquake

Military Trained to Provide Haiti Disaster Relief Before Earthquake

The US military was already prepared to respond for a Haiti disaster one day before the earthquake hit on Jan. 12. US Southern Command in Miami was practicing emergency-relief scenarios for responding to a hurricane hitting the impoverished nation.

Global Research
January 21, 2010

A Haiti disaster relief scenario had been envisaged at the headquarters of US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) in Miami one day prior to the earthquake.

The holding of pre-disaster simulations pertained to the impacts of a hurricane in Haiti. They were held on January 11. (Bob Brewin, Defense launches online system to coordinate Haiti relief efforts (1/15/10) — GovExec.com, complete text of article is contained in Annex)

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), which is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense (DoD), was involved in organizing these scenarios on behalf of US Southern Command.(SOUTHCOM).

Defined as a “Combat Support Agency”, DISA has a mandate to provide IT and telecommunications, systems, logistics services in support of the US military. (See DISA website: Defense Information Systems Agency).

On the day prior to the earthquake, “on Monday [January 11, 2010], Jean Demay, DISA’s technical manager for the agency’s Transnational Information Sharing Cooperation project, happened to be at the headquarters of the U.S. Southern Command in Miami preparing for a test of the system in a scenario that involved providing relief to Haiti in the wake of a hurricane.” (Bob Brewin, op cit, emphasis added)

The Transnational Information Sharing Cooperation project (TISC) is a communications-information tool which “links non-government organizations with the United States [government and military] and other nations for tracking, coordinating and organizing relief efforts”.(Government IT Scrambles To Help Haiti, TECHWEB January 15, 2010).

The TISC is an essential component of the militarization of emergency relief. The US military through DISA oversees the information – communications system used by participating aid agencies. Essentially, it is a communications sharing system controlled by the US military, which is made available to approved non-governmental partner organizations. The Defense Information Systems Agency also “provides bandwidth to aid organizations involved in Haiti relief efforts.”

There are no details on the nature of the tests conducted on January 11 at SOUTHCOM headquarters.

DISA’s Jean Demay was in charge of coordinating the tests. There are no reports on the participants involved in the disaster relief scenarios.

One would expect, given DISA’s mandate, that the tests pertained to simulating communications. logistics and information systems in the case of a major emergency relief program in Haiti.

The fundamental concept underlying DISA’s Transnational Information Sharing Cooperation project (TISC) is to “Achieve Interoperability With Warfighters, Coalition Partners And NGOs” (Defense Daily, December 19, 2008)

Upon completing the tests and disaster scenarios on January 11, TISC was considered to be, in relation to Haiti, in “an advanced stage of readiness”. On January 13, the day following the earthquake, SOUTHCOM took the decision to implement the TISC system, which had been rehearsed in Miami two days earlier:

    “After the earthquake hit on Tuesday [January 12, 2010], Demay said SOUTHCOM decided to go live with the system. On [the following day] Wednesday [January 13, 2010], DISA opened up its All Partners Access Network, supported by the Transnational Information Sharing Cooperation project, to any organization supporting Haiti relief efforts.

    The information sharing project, developed with backing from both SOUTHCOM and the Defense Department’s European Command, has been in development for three years. It is designed to facilitate multilateral collaboration between federal and nongovernmental agencies.

    Demay said that since DISA set up a Haiti Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Community of Interest on APAN on Wednesday [the day following the earthquake], almost 500 organizations and individuals have joined, including a range of Defense units and various nongovernmental organizations and relief groups. (Bob Brewin, Defense launches online system to coordinate Haiti relief efforts (1/15/10) — GovExec.com emphasis added)

DISA has a Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Field Office in Miami. Under the Haiti Disaster Emergency Program initiated on January 12, DISA’s mandate is described as part of a carefully planned military operation:

    DISA is providing US Southern Command with information capabilities which will support our nation in quickly responding to the critical situation in Haiti,” said Larry K. Huffman, DISA’s Principal Director of Global Information Grid Operations. “Our experience in providing support to contingency operations around the world postures us to be responsive in meeting USSOUTHCOM’s requirements.”

    DISA, a Combat Support Agency, engineers and [sic] provides command and control capabilities and enterprise infrastructure to continuously operate and assure a global net-centric enterprise in direct support to joint warfighters, National level leaders, and other mission and coalition partners across the full spectrum of operations. As DoD’s satellite communications leader, DISA is using the Defense Satellite Communications System to provide frequency and bandwidth support to all organizations in the Haitian relief effort. This includes Super High Frequency missions that are providing bandwidth for US Navy ships and one Marine Expeditionary Unit that will arrive shortly on station to provide medical help, security, and helicopters among other support. This also includes all satellite communications for the US Air Force handling round-the-clock air traffic control and air freight operations at the extremely busy Port-Au-Prince Airport. DISA is also providing military Ultra High Frequency channels and contracting for additional commercial SATCOM missions that greatly increase this capability for relief efforts. (DISA -Press Release, January 2010, undated, emphasis added)

In the immediate wake of the earthquake, DISA played a key supportive role to SOUTHCOM, which was designated by the Obama administration as the de facto “lead agency” in the US Haitian relief program. The underlying system consists in integrating civilian aid agencies into the orbit of an advanced communications information system controlled by the US military.

    “DISA is also leveraging a new technology in Haiti that is already linking NGOs, other nations and US forces together to track, coordinate and better organize relief efforts” (Ibid)

 



U.S. pouring 10,000 troops in Haiti

U.S. pouring 10,000 troops in Haiti

Global Research
January 15, 2010

Haiti has a longstanding history of US military intervention and occupation going back to the beginning of the 20th Century. US interventionism has contributed to the destruction of Haiti’s national economy and the impoverishment of its population.

The devastating earthquake is presented to World public opinion as the sole cause of the country’s predicament.

A country has been destroyed, its infrastructure demolished. Its people precipitated into abysmal poverty and despair.

Haiti’s history, its colonial past have been erased.

The US military has come to the rescue of an impoverished Nation. What is its Mandate?

Is it a Humanitarian Operation or an Invasion?

The main actors in America’s “humanitarian operation” are the Department of Defense, the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). (See USAID Speeches: On-The-Record Briefing on the Situation in Haiti, 01/13/10). USAID has also been entrusted in channelling food aid to Haiti, which is distributed by the World Food Program. (See USAID Press Release: USAID to Provide Emergency Food Aid for Haiti Earthquake Victims, January 13, 2010)

The military component of the US mission, however, tends to overshadow the civilian functions of rescuing a desperate and impoverished population. The overall humanitarian operation is not being led by civilian governmental agencies such as FEMA or USAID, but by the Pentagon.

The dominant decision making role has been entrusted to US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM).

A massive deployment of military hardware personnel is contemplated. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen has confirmed that the US will be sending nine to ten thousand troops to Haiti, that includes 4,000 to 5,000 sailors on ships at see, plus 3,000 soldiers and 2,000 marines on the ground. (s) (American Forces Press Service, January 14, 2010)

Aircraft carrier, USS Carl Vinson and its complement of supporting ships has already arrived in Port au Prince. (January 15, 2010). The 2,000-member Marine Amphibious Unit as well as and soldiers from the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne division “are trained in a wide variety of missions including security and riot-control in addition to humanitarian tasks.”

In contrast to rescue and relief teams dispatched by various civilian teams and organizations, the humanitarian mandate of the US military is not clearly defined:

    “Marines are definitely warriors first, and that is what the world knows the Marines for,… [but] we’re equally as compassionate when we need to be, and this is a role that we’d like to show — that compassionate warrior, reaching out with a helping hand for those who need it. We are very excited about this.” (Marines’ Spokesman, Marines Embark on Haiti Response Mission, Army Forces Press Services, January 14, 2010)

While presidents Obama and Préval spoke on the phone, there were no reports of negotiations between the two governments regarding the entry and deployment of US troops on Haitian soil. The decision was taken and imposed unilaterally by Washington. The total lack of a functioning government in Haiti was used to legitimize, on humanitarian grounds, the sending in of a powerful military force, which has de facto taken over several governmental functions.

Navy commissions newest warship, others coming

 



U.S Soldiers Are Waking Up!

U.S Soldiers Are Waking Up!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQfoFzJUsb0

 



Obama to Announce 45,000 Troop Surge in Afghanistan

Obama to Announce 45,000 Troop Surge in Afghanistan

Obama tops Bush in troop buildup

AntiWar.com
October 14, 2009

The Obama Administration has reportedly told the British government that it intends to announce an escalation of another 45,000 troops in Afghanistan, potentially as soon as next week.

The report comes despite claims that the Obama Administration is continuing to hold talks about the strategy, though this seems to be more based on the question of whether to emphasize the failed battle against the Taliban or focus what will soon be over 100,000 troops on fighting the roughly 100 al-Qaeda members reportedly in the nation.

Britain announced that it intends to send another 500 soldiers to Afghanistan to bolster its 9,000-strong force. The announcement reportedly came as a result of the US assurances, and despite the growing domestic opposition to the war.

Several Democrats, including House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, have expressed reservations about the massive escalation, particularly coming just seven months after the administration’s last escalation. Yet Rep. Hoyer urged fellow Democrats to go along with whatever President Obama decides.

 

Obama tops Bush in troop buildup

Bill Van Auken
WSWS
October 14, 2009

The combined US troop deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan have now reached a higher level than existed at any time under the presidency of George W. Bush. This surge past the record set by its predecessor marks another grim milestone in the Obama administration’s escalation of American militarism.

In addition to the 21,000 US soldiers and Marines that Obama ordered deployed to Afghanistan as part of the escalation he unveiled last March, another 13,000 “support” troops are being quietly sent to the country with no official announcement, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

This stealth buildup is a replay of the methods used by the Bush administration in its Iraq surge, when it announced the deployment of an additional 20,000 combat troops while saying nothing about the 8,000 support troops sent with them.

In neither case was the failure to declare the full number an oversight. Obama, like Bush before him, recognizes that the military interventions he oversees are deeply unpopular with the majority of the American people.

According to the troop numbers provided by the Post, there are now 65,000 US troops in Afghanistan, with another 124,000 still in Iraq, for a total of 189,000 American military personnel waging two colonial-style wars and occupations. At the height of the Bush administration’s 2007 “surge” in Iraq, there were 26,000 US troops in Afghanistan and 160,000 in Iraq, for a total of 186,000.

There is every indication that the policies being pursued by the Obama White House will send these numbers significantly higher.

Over the weekend, military officials revealed to the media that the proposal for increased troop levels in Afghanistan submitted by the American commander there, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, included a high-end figure of 80,000—in addition to the 68,000 that are to be deployed by the end of this year.

The New York Times, echoing official sources, commented that this highest request was “highly unlikely to be considered seriously by the White House.” While this may well be true—for now—the leaking of the number serves a definite political purpose, making Obama’s ultimate agreement to a smaller surge—still involving tens of thousands of additional troops in Afghanistan—seem like a reasonable compromise between the White House and the Pentagon.

While visiting Britain this week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stressed the US commitment to continuing the Afghanistan war. “We are not changing our strategy, our strategy remains to achieve the goal of disrupting, dismantling and defeating Al Qaeda and its extremist allies, and denying them safe haven and the capacity to strike us here in London, or New York or anywhere else,” she said in a radio interview. “One should never doubt our commitment or our leadership, we intend to pursue the goal,” Clinton continued. “We will not rest until we do defeat Al Qaeda.”

Clinton’s remarks make clear that the Obama administration, while dropping the term “war on terrorism” coined by the Bush White House, continues to embrace the methods underlying this terminology—in particular, the attempt to terrorize the American people into accepting US wars of conquest and aggression.

The claim that 68,000 US troops—with tens of thousands more likely to follow—are in Afghanistan to fight Al Qaeda and prevent another 9/11 is a transparent pretext. Top US security and military officials have concurred that there are a grand total of approximately 100 individuals affiliated with Al Qaeda presently in Afghanistan, without any means of carrying out an attack on another country. If and when McChrystal’s request for additional troops is met, there will be 1,000 or more US soldiers and Marines in Afghanistan for every Al Qaeda member.

The target of the military escalation is not Al Qaeda, but rather the people of Afghanistan. Washington is attempting to suppress growing popular resistance to the occupation and is prepared to sacrifice the lives of untold numbers of Afghans, as well as those of hundreds if not thousands more US soldiers, to that end.

The defeat of “terrorism” is no more the strategic aim pursued by Washington in Afghanistan than it is in Iraq. US military might has been unleashed in both countries to assert the hegemony of American imperialism over Central Asia and the Persian Gulf, which are the two largest sources of the world’s energy supplies.

The potential costs of this venture are immense. A report prepared by the Pentagon last January describes the stated US goal of achieving a stable client state in Afghanistan as an operation that “will last, at a minimum, decades.” Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, Gen. Barry McCaffrey (ret.) was slightly more optimistic, saying that it would take “10 years of $5 billion a month,” in addition to major fighting.

In Iraq, meanwhile, there is no reason to believe that the stated deadline for pulling US troops out by 2012 will be met. On the contrary, the instability and continued resistance created by the American occupation and the destruction of Iraqi society will be used as a justification for continuing the occupation and asserting US control over the country’s oil fields.

And the threat that the US interventions will provoke new and potentially far bloodier conflicts is growing, as evidenced by the mounting crisis in Pakistan and increasing tensions throughout the Indian subcontinent flowing from the war in Afghanistan.

The debate that is now taking place in the Obama White House is over committing generations of young Americans to endless wars and occupations.

Under conditions in which resources are being denied for desperately needed jobs and basic social services, even more social wealth will be diverted to build up the US military.

Expanding the ranks of the Army is necessary if any significant escalation of the war in Afghanistan is to be sustained. The military is stretched to the breaking point by the two occupations. Even if Obama approves 40,000 more troops, nowhere near that number are immediately available.

While the American political establishment is no doubt counting on a double-digit unemployment rate driving jobless youth into the military, there is growing objective pressure for the reintroduction of conscription, with youth once again drafted to fight in colonial wars.

Millions of people voted for Barack Obama last November in the vain hope that his election would reverse the escalation of militarism initiated under Bush. Their votes, like the growing popular sentiment against the Afghan war, have been disregarded as the Obama administration continues this escalation in the interest of the financial oligarchy that it serves.

80,000 is the High Number of Troops Options in McChrystal’s Request

U.S. Not Planning Major Iraq Troop Cuts Until Next Year

 



McChrystal: Afghanistan Requires 500,000 Troops Over 5 Years

Classified McChrystal Report: 500,000 Troops Will Be Required Over Five Years in Afghanistan

Tom Andrews
Global Research
September 25, 2009

Embedded in General Stanley McChrystal’s classified assessment of the war in Afghanistan is his conclusion that a successful counterinsurgency strategy will require 500,000 troops over five years.

This bombshell was dropped by NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Wednesday:

The numbers are really pretty horrifying. What they say, embedded in this report by McChrystal, is they would need 500,000 troops – boots on the ground – and five years to do the job. No one expects that the Afghan Army could step up to that. Are we gonna put even half that of U.S. troops there, and NATO forces? No way. [Morning Joe, September 23, 2009]

Read Full Article Here

 



Obama will bypass Congress to detain suspects indefinitely

Obama will bypass Congress to detain suspects indefinitely

John Byrne
Raw Story
September 24, 2009

President Barack Obama has quietly decided to bypass Congress and allow the indefinite detention of terrorist suspects without charges.

The move, which was controversial when the idea was first floated in The Washington Post in May, has sparked serious concern among civil liberties advocates. Such a decision allows the president to unilaterally hold “combatants” without habeas corpus — a legal term literally meaning “you shall have the body” — which forces prosecutors to charge a suspect with a crime to justify the suspect’s detention.

Obama’s decision was buried on page A 23 of The New York Times’ New York edition on Thursday. It didn’t appear on that page in the national edition. (Meanwhile, the front page was graced with the story, “Richest Russian’s Newest Toy: An N.B.A. Team.”)

Rather than seek approval from Congress to hold some 50 Guantanamo detainees indefinitely, the administration has decided that it has the authority to hold the prisoners under broad-ranging legislation passed in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001. Former President George W. Bush frequently invoked this legislation as the justification for controversial legal actions — including the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program.

“The administration will continue to hold the detainees without bringing them to trial based on the power it says it has under the Congressional resolution passed after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, authorizing the president to use force against forces of Al Qaeda and the Taliban,” the Times‘ Peter Baker writes. “In concluding that it does not need specific permission from Congress to hold detainees without charges, the Obama administration is adopting one of the arguments advanced by the Bush administration in years of debates about detention policies.”

Constitutional scholar and Salon.com columnist Glenn Greenwald discussed the policy in a column in May. He warned that the ability for a president to “preventively” detain suspects could mushroom into broader, potentially abusive activity.

“It does not merely allow the U.S. Government to imprison people alleged to have committed Terrorist acts yet who are unable to be convicted in a civilian court proceeding,” Greenwald wrote. “That class is merely a subset, perhaps a small subset, of who the Government can detain. Far more significant, ‘preventive detention’ allows indefinite imprisonment not based on proven crimes or past violations of law, but of those deemed generally ‘dangerous’ by the Government for various reasons (such as, as Obama put it yesterday, they ‘expressed their allegiance to Osama bin Laden’ or ‘otherwise made it clear that they want to kill Americans’). That’s what ‘preventive’ means: imprisoning people because the Government claims they are likely to engage in violent acts in the future because they are alleged to be ‘combatants.’”

“Once known, the details of the proposal could — and likely will — make this even more extreme by extending the ‘preventive detention’ power beyond a handful of Guantanamo detainees to anyone, anywhere in the world, alleged to be a ‘combatant,’” Greenwald continues. “After all, once you accept the rationale on which this proposal is based — namely, that the U.S. Government must, in order to keep us safe, preventively detain “dangerous” people even when they can’t prove they violated any laws — there’s no coherent reason whatsoever to limit that power to people already at Guantanamo, as opposed to indefinitely imprisoning with no trials all allegedly ‘dangerous’ combatants, whether located in Pakistan, Thailand, Indonesia, Western countries and even the U.S.”

The Obama Administration appears to have embraced “preventive detention” in part because of problems with how Guantanamo prisoners’ cases — and incarceration — were handled under President Bush. Military prosecutors have said that numerous cases could not be brought successfully in civilian courts because evidence was obtained in ways that wouldn’t be admissible on US soil. The Bush Administration originally sought to try numerous detainees in military tribunals, but the Supreme Court ruled that at least some have the rights to challenge their detention in US courts.

Baker notes that Obama’s decision to hold suspects without charges doesn’t propose as broad an executive authority claimed by President Bush.

“Obama’s advisers are not embracing the more disputed Bush contention that the president has inherent power under the Constitution to detain terrorism suspects indefinitely regardless of Congress,” Baker writes.

In a statement to Baker, the Justice Department said, “The administration would rely on authority already provided by Congress [and] is not currently seeking additional authorization.”

“The position conveyed by the Justice Department in the meeting last week broke no new ground and was entirely consistent with information previously provided by the Justice Department to the Senate Armed Services Committee,” the statement added.

Roughly 50 detainees of the more than 200 still held at the US prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba are thought to be affected by the decision.

Marine who established prison camps: U.S. lost moral high ground

Obama Supports Renewing The PATRIOT ACT

Obama orders to leave torture, indefinite detention intact

 



US Hummers Enter Pakistan, Undercover American Soldiers Swarm Islamabad

US Hummers Enter Pakistan, Undercover American Soldiers and Blackwater Swarm Islamabad

Uruknet
August 31, 2009

A large number of US armored carriers have arrived at Port Qasim. Here are the first exclusive pictures. This adds to increased activity of armed US ‘diplomats’ in the two cities of Islamabad and Peshawar and the construction of the world’s largest US embassy in Islamabad close to sensitive federal government departments. The PPP government and other Pakistani politicians are silently encouraging this expanded American role to counterbalance a powerful Pakistani military.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—Undercover armed Americans are swarming the Pakistani capital in the latest sign that the elected government has allowed Washington to dispatch what is believed to be a large number of American special operations agents and contractual security guards, including the infamous Blackwater private militia.

This comes at a time when whistleblowers within the government and the military are reporting the arrival of a large number of US Marines in Pakistan. Some reports put the figure at 1,000 US soldiers, much of whom are thought to be arriving as part of the massive expansion of the US Embassy and four consulates across the country. While the US embassy continues to deny this, new buildings are under construction to house security teams. The expanded US embassy is supposed to become the largest US embassy in the world.

Above is an exclusive picture taken by a source at the entrance of Port Qasim near Karachi, showing US Hummers being transported out of the facility. According to the source, the shipment was not destined for Afghanistan. The picture was taken on Aug. 19, 2009 and being released here for the first time.

The latest evidence of the growing American military presence in the Pakistani capital is the arrest of four Americans carrying automatic weapons in a part of the Pakistani capital that foreigners seldom visit.

The four were arrested in Sector G-9 of Islamabad in the evening of Saturday, Aug. 29.

A police picket stopped two cars carrying the four Americans who refused to explain why they were carrying sophisticated automatic weapons in the capital city. Diplomats are not supposed to carry weapons because their security is the responsibility of the host government, and security guards are not supposed to be carrying weapons outside the embassy except during official assignments. The four were taken to a police station for interrogation but were released when two retired Pakistani army officers showed up and threatened police officers of dire consequences.

The police established that the four Americans carried diplomatic status and were part of the US embassy staff.

When I called today US embassy spokesperson Richard Snelsire about the incident, he refused to comment and referred me to the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Pakistani police.

“Do US diplomats normally carry weapons?” I asked.

Mr. Snelsire’s reply was, “Only if they are permitted” to do so by the Pakistani government. But he avoided commenting on the incident or explaining whether the four were diplomats.

The spokesman’s reaction confirms suspicions that private US security guards are active in Pakistan. For obvious reasons these guards do not come under the cover of US Department of State employees in Pakistan. This could be one reason why US embassy spokesperson declined comment on the story since the presence and the activities of the four armed men might be beyond the purview of the US embassy in Islamabad.

There is strong evidence that the private US mercenary army, Blackwater, has also established office in the Pakistani capital. Authorities have received several complaints of ill mannered military-type westerners misbehaving or recklessly driving by.

The Pakistani capital was the scene of at least two incidents recently where armed American diplomats verbally and physically assaulted Pakistani police officers. In one case, newspapers called for expelling an armed US diplomat who cursed and swore at the host country. The Pakistani government, which is known to be pro-American, refused to take action.

US HIRING PAK GOVT. SERVANTS AS CONSULTANTS

The Americans appear to have recruited a large number of retired Pakistani army officers, in addition to quietly hiring Pakistani civil servants without making any of this public. A famous government university professor in Islamabad who is active in US media campaigns against Pakistan’s nuclear program has also been hired as a consultant. Government employees cannot offer their services to foreign governments but this is happening now under an increasingly weak Pakistani state and government.

WHO IS INVITING US MILITARY TO PAKISTAN

There are indications that the PPP government and some other politicians, like Nawaz Sharif, are encouraging the Americans to get involved in domestic issues especially as a hedge against a powerful Pakistani military. Politicians are aware they have led the country to a national failure on all fronts since the general elections in February 2008. The public mood is gradually turning against them. This has stoked the rumor mill about disgruntlement within the Pakistani military regarding the failures of the politicians.

Washington is spending nearly one billion dollars to expand its Islamabad embassy. On completion, the US embassy in Islamabad will become the largest in the world. Interestingly, both the government, led by President Zardari, and the opposition, led by Nawaz Sharif, refuse to question why Washington has been granted exceptional concessions to construct an imperial-size embassy and how at least 18 acres of the most expensive real state in the capital has been handed over to the Americans for this purpose at throwaway prices.

Pakistan: U.S. Drone Attack Kills 12, Women and Children Included

The U.S. Invades and Occupies Pakistan

Obama’s War On Terror