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Senate passes $636 billion defense spending bill

Senate passes $636 billion defense spending bill

WSWS
December 20, 2009

With overwhelming bipartisan support, the United States Senate passed a massive $636 billion military appropriations bill for 2010.

The bill includes some $128 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but it does not fully fund the Obama administration’s escalation in Afghanistan, making likely further appropriations for war spending next year.

The deployment of 30,000 additional US troops is expected to cost $35 to $40 billion a year. On Wednesday, the Pentagon announced that the first of the new troops ordered to Afghanistan have begun to arrive.

All told, US military spending in 2010 will be close to $700 billion. If one adds the hundreds of billions of dollars in military-related spending included in the budgets of other departments, the total is as much as $1 trillion.

The overwhelming support for the bill, which passed 88-10 vote by the Senate on Saturday morning, demonstrates the bipartisan agreement in Washington on the war policy of the Obama administration. The vote comes shortly after President Barack Obama’s Nobel Prize speech, in which he outlined an expansion of US militarism.

Among the many separate provisions of the bill is the allocation of $80 million to acquire more unmanned Predator drones, currently being used to bomb both Afghanistan and Pakistan. The administration is planning on expanding these operations, including drone attacks against insurgents in the Pakistani province of Baluchistan that might target the large city of Quetta.

The Senate, which is currently discussing Obama’s health care overhaul, is expected to vote in support of the measure later this week.

Added on to the bill was a two-month extension of the anti-democratic Patriot Act, which also has bipartisan support. Other amendments to the bill temporarily extended jobless pay and health care assistance for the unemployed. These measures will be reexamined in February.

Meanwhile, states, cities and school districts throughout the country are imposing cuts to balance budget deficits that add up to a small fraction of the military spending bill.

School districts, in particular, are planning crippling cuts in preparation for the second half of the school year, beginning in January. Below are some examples of measures recently pushed through or planned:

• $550 million in K-12 education cuts in Michigan, leading school districts to lay off staff, close schools and eliminate programs.

• $300 million in cuts to K-12 education in Indiana. This amounts to an across-the-board 3-percent cut in the state’s education budget.

• $101.5 million less for public schools in South Carolina, adding to cuts of $85 million in September, along with $38.3 million in Medicaid cuts.

• $110 million in cuts to the 127,000-student Prince George County School District in Maryland, including 490 layoffs, an increase in class sizes, and teacher furloughs.

• $750 million withheld from local governments by New York Governor David Paterson, including funding cuts of between 10 percent and 30 percent for school districts.

• Plans for up to $470 million in cuts to public education in Los Angeles, California, including up to 8,000 layoffs.

The combined budget deficits for all 50 states this year was about $180 billion, less than one third of the military appropriation passed by the Senate.

 

Obama Approves $30 Billion in Military Aid to Israel Over Next Decade

Antiwar.com
December 18, 2009

As the single largest expense of the 2010 foreign aid budget, President Obama approved $2.775 billion in military aid to Israel, the first payment in a decade-long commitment that will reach at least $30 billion.

Last year, Israel’s military budget amounted to $13.3 billion, so the US funding is a significant portion of their overall expenditure. The US formerly provided both military and civilian aid, but it has since been folded entirely into military aid, at Israel’s request.

The money is not a blank check, however. The US requires that Israel spend at least 75% of the money given in military aid with US military contractors, effectively using the foreign aid budget to subsidize domestic weapon-makers.

In addition to military aid, the US also provides $3.148 billion in loan guarantees to Israel, part of a Treasury Department program aimed at keep Israel’s debt manageable. Ironically, though the US budget is spiraling out of control and America’s own debt continues to rise, there was no serious debate of reducing aid to Israel.

The budget also pledges $500 million in American aid to the Fatah Party’s Palestinian Authority. This aid is contingent on certain requirements, including that the group recognize Israel. This funding is distinct from any funding the CIA may give the Palestinian Authority’s security forces, which would be secret.

 



House Passes $1 Trillion Defense Budget

House Passes $1 Trillion Defense Budget

Alternet
September 28, 2008

On Wednesday, the House passed a mammoth defense bill by a 392-39 vote. It’s expected to clear the Senate with little difficulty next week.

It was part of a trillion-dollar stop-gap measure to keep programs running through next March, allowing lawmakers to skip town without passing a final budget. The Associated Press reports, “The legislation came together in a remarkably secret process that concentrated decision-making power in the hands of a few lawmakers.”

In keeping with the tradition of recent years, Bush held a gun to his own head and threatened to pull the trigger if his demands weren’t met. According to the AP, “To earn President Bush’s signature rather than a veto, House and Senate negotiators dropped several provisions he opposed. They include a ban on private interrogators in U.S. military detention facilities and what would have amounted to congressional veto power over a security pact with Iraq.”

In other words, Congress also maintained recent tradition, swearing not to give Bush a blank check and then whipping out their pens and signing a blank check.

The number that the House sent to the Senate for “defense” — $612 billion for the coming year — is eye-popping. Imagine a stack of 612,000 million-dollar bills. Quite a pile.

Read Full Article Here

There Might Be a Financial Crisis, But the World’s Arms Dealers Are Doing Just Fine
http://www.alternet.org/story/100801/

’If we don’t cut back military spending, the bankruptcy of the United States is inevitable’
http://www.tomdispatc..nson_the_pentagon_bailout_fraud

The Pentagon Bailout Fraud
http://www.wakeupfromyourslumber.com/node/8379

Bush Administration Adds $4 Trillion To National Debt
http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2008/09/29/couricandco/entry4486228.shtml

 



U.S. Funds Sent To Al-Qaeda

U.S. Funds Sent To Al-Qaeda

Russia Today
September 23, 2008

A former Iraqi investigator said more then $US13 billion of the money allocated for reconstruction projects in Iraq was wasted or stolen, with some of it ending up in al-Qaeda’s coffers.

Salam Adhoob, a former chief investigator for Iraq’s Commission on Public Integrity – which U.S. officials call Iraq’s equivalent of the FBI – was reporting to the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, an arm of the Democratic caucus.

He said many of the projects funded by the U.S. ‘were not needed, and many were never built’ like an electricity project in Nineveh province that an oversight agency found ‘existed only on paper’, reports the Washington Post newspaper.

Embezzlement schemes were widely used for arms procurement, according to Adhoob. In one case Iraqi Defence ministry officials helped set up two front companies to buy combat vehicles and other equipment with $1.7 billion in U.S. funds. The companies were paid, but for some items only ‘a small percentage’ of the order was delivered and, in one case, the delivered bullet proof vests were defective and absolutely useless.

The ex-investigator said the Iraqi government was not interested in investigating such cases and many investigators feared for their lives. Adhoob said 32 of his colleagues have been killed over the three years he worked for the Iraqi agency, and he eventually fled the country himself because of death threats.

Adhoob said he reported the situation to the U.S. agency charged with detecting and rooting out cases of waste and abuse – the U.S. Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. A spokeswoman for the agency commented that it continues to ‘actively follow up’ on the tip but would not discuss ongoing investigations.

Speaking along with Adhoob was an Iraqi American who worked as an adviser to Defense and State department officials in Iraq for five years. He testified in silhouette by a video link from an undisclosed location because, he said, he feared for his safety. In a modified voice, he accused Iraqi government officials of working with al-Qaeda members at the Baiji refinery to steal oil to sell on the black market.

 

$23 Billion Lost In Iraq

BBC
September 24, 2008

A BBC investigation estimates that around $23bn (£11.75bn) may have been lost, stolen or just not properly accounted for in Iraq.

The BBC’s Panorama programme has used US and Iraqi government sources to research how much some private contractors have profited from the conflict and rebuilding.

Read Full Article Here

Afghanistan Now 15X Deadlier than Iraq
http://ww..BD4BA1FB80B9ABA60042EF7E?diaryId=1936

 



Ron Paul: This Bailout Won’t Be the Last

Ron Paul: This Bailout Won’t Be the Last

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

 

Ron Paul on CNN w/ John Roberts

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sfUKZOHtRs

 

Ron Paul Blasts “Secret Government” Running Economy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d73KlhUq1W8

 



Senate Passes $612B Defense Bill

Senate Passes $612B Defense Bill

Reuters
September 18, 2008

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a $612.5 billion defense spending bill for fiscal 2009, including $70 billion for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As passed on an 88-8 vote, the measure would authorize $103.9 billion for Pentagon procurement, $1.2 billion more than President George W. Bush’s request. Overall, Bush had asked for $611.1 billion for national defense.

Read Full Article Here

Shocking Iraq Incident: 2 U.S. Soldiers Killed by Another
http://www.editorandpub..splay.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003850908

MoD accused of covering up injuries to troops
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new..f-covering-up-injuries-to-troops.html

“We Blew Her to Pieces”
http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/18859

‘US seeks secret bases in Iraq’
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=70001&sectionid=351020201

Satellite Image: Ethnic Cleansing in Iraq Preceded Drop In Violence
http://newsgrist.typepad.com/underbelly/2008/09/satellite-image.html

 



Cafferty: Saakashvili Started This Conflict With Russia

Cafferty: Saakashvili Started This Conflict With Russia


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

 



U.S. and NATO Warships Arrive at Georgia

US warship anchors at Georgian port

Press TV

August 24, 2008

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

The guided missile destroyer USS McFaul has anchored at the Georgian port of Batumi, escalating tensions in the conflict-stricken region.

The US says the destroyer, which arrived at the Black Sea port on Sunday, contains humanitarian aid including baby food, diapers, bottled water and milk, AP reported.

This is while the USS McFaul is outfitted with an array of weaponry, including Tomahawk cruise missiles, which can carry both conventional or nuclear warheads, and a sophisticated radar system.

The US Embassy said the destroyer was the first of five American ships scheduled to arrive this week.

Earlier, Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, deputy chief of Russia’s general staff said that the arrival of the ship and those of other NATO members would escalate tensions, adding that NATO is setting up a naval force in the Black Sea under the ’cover’ of aid deliveries to Georgia.

“Under the cover of needing to deliver humanitarian goods, NATO countries continue to boost their naval grouping,” Nogovitsyn told a news conference in Moscow on Saturday.

The US Navy does not say if the ships are carrying nuclear weapons for security reasons.

Georgian military forces attacked South Ossetia to retake control of the independence-seeking province on August 8. In response, Russia moved its forces to the region where most of the population holds Russian citizenship.

The conflict ended after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a French-brokered ceasefire deal last week.

At least 2,000 people in South Osettia and about 150 in Georgia were killed in the conflict. Also, about 40,000 people were displaced in areas around the conflict zone, according to International Committee of the Red Cross.

 

NATO Ships Enter The Black Sea

IHT

August 22, 2008

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lALlXKzkFw

NATO warships entered the Black Sea on Thursday for what the alliance said were long-planned exercises and routine visits to ports in Romania and Bulgaria.

The move is not linked to the tensions over Russia’s invasion of Georgia, which lies on the eastern shore of the Black Sea, about 900 kilometers (550 miles) from the Romanian coast, said officials at NATO’s military command in southern Belgium.

Three warships — from Spain, Germany and Poland — sailed into the Black Sea on Thursday. They are due to be joined by a U.S. frigate, the USS Taylor, later this week.

They are “conducting a pre-planned routine visit to the Black Sea region to interact and exercise with our NATO partners Romania and Bulgaria, which is an important feature of our routine planning,” said Vice-Adm. Pim Bedet, deputy commander at allied maritime headquarters in Northwood, England.

However, the move risks increasing tensions with Russia which has deployed ships from its Black Sea fleet to the Georgian coast.

The NATO flotilla includes Spain’s SPS Adm. Juan de Bourbon, Germany’s FGS Luebeck and the Polish ship ORP General K Pulaski. Romanian and Bulgarian ships will join them for exercises during a three-week deployment which NATO says has been planned for over a year.

Read Full Article Here

 

NATO suspends Russian council, supports Georgia’s government

AP

August 20, 2008

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

NATO pulled its punches against Russia on Tuesday, suspending formal contacts as punishment for the Georgia invasion but bucking U.S. pressure for more severe penalties.

The Russian ambassador to NATO played down the impact of the emergency meeting of the Western alliance.

“The mountain gave birth to a mouse,” said Dmitry Rogozin.

Although the allies said they would not convene any more meetings of the NATO-Russia Council until Russian troops withdraw from Georgia, they bowed to concerns from Europe — which depends heavily on Russia for energy — and stopped short of adopting specific long-term steps to punish Moscow for its actions.

“There can be no business as usual with Russia under present circumstances,” said Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, the alliance’s secretary-general, after NATO foreign ministers met here.

“We are not abandoning the NATO-Russia Council, but as long as Russian forces are occupying large parts of Georgia, I cannot see the NATO-Russia Council meeting,” he told reporters.

Russia, which has accused the United States of wanting to dismantle the council, asked for a meeting last week but has been rebuffed thus far.

De Hoop Scheffer said “the future will depend on concrete actions from the Russian side,” but he was forced to add that “no specific decisions on programs or projects (with Russia) have been taken.”

The Russians have agreed to a cease-fire deal that requires a troop pullback, but at the Pentagon on Tuesday evening officials said the latest assessment by U.S. intelligence was that the Russians had shown no sign of beginning a substantial withdrawal. Two officials, discussing the intelligence assessment on condition of anonymity, said separately that Russian forces were holding their positions.

In a small victory for the United States, NATO foreign ministers did agree to show support for Georgia’s pro-Western government by creating a NATO-Georgia Commission to oversee the former Soviet republic’s bid to join the alliance and begin providing military training to its army.

Aid deliveries ’cover’ for NATO build up
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=67384&sectionid=351020602

Russia Warns of Corpse Provocation
http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/1010/42/370269.htm

Russian security source says Georgia planned attack year ahead
http://en.rian.ru/russia/20080823/116236332.html

Iraq invites Russian oil company back
http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D92M5K900.htm

Georgia set for military action – Russian General Staff
http://en.rian.ru/russia/20080822/116215518.html

Russia to keep 500 troops in Georgia buffer zone
http://wiredispatch.com/news/?id=308583

US: Russia must return any US equipment
http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5g..mQ9wB4_FnH5KXkA

Russia Seizes U.S. Vehicles
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/aug/23/georgia.russia

Germany’s Schroeder says Georgia sparked fighting
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/LG340681.htm

The History of the Georgia, Russia Conflict
http://www.unobserver.com/inde..ayout5.php&id=5057&blz=1

Medvedev Vies With Putin in Word War
http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/600/42/369927.htm

Moscow: U.S. missile shield may spark arms race
http://www.russiatoday.com/news/news/29298