Posts tagged soldiers
By Madison Ruppert
Editor of End the Lie
Apparently the United States isn’t the only Western country pouring money into futuristic drone technology as it is now being reported that British soldiers are using tiny drones for surveillance in Afghanistan and have been since 2012.
The drones being used by the UK are absolutely tiny at a mere 4 inches by one inch, weighing around half an ounce with up to 30 minutes of flight time and a top speed of 22 miles per hour, according to the BBC.
Some might say that this technology is somewhat basic compared to advances like drone-borne EMP missiles, drone-based facial recognition technology, perpetual flight, automated tracking technology, cameras capable of capturing over 30 square miles in a single shot and more.
The helicopter-like drone, called “Black Hornet Nano,” was developed in Norway and is equipped with a small camera capable of sending video and still images to a handheld remote control device.
The British Ministry of Defense (MoD) is apparently a fan of the device, saying that it can fly around obstacles and corners and can identify unnamed potential hidden dangers.
The MoD also said that the drone can be easily carried by soldiers on patrol and is capable of flying in harsh, windy conditions.
According to an unnamed MoD spokeswoman cited by the BBC, the Black Hornet Nano has been used since 2012.
The drones are the result of a £20 million (about $31.51 million) contract with Marlborough Communications out of Surrey, England to supply and maintain 160 Black Hornets.
However, the drones were originally developed for Prox Dynamics, a company out of Norway that dubs itself “The Specialist in Micro Air Vehicles.”
Indeed, the Prox Dynamics homepage shows a drone that appears so petite it almost makes the Black Hornet look large.
On top of the drone on the homepage placed next to a coin for a size comparison, previously developed Prox Dynamics products include two award winning 1 gram ornithopters.
On top of the miniature drones capable of being directly piloted or flying autonomously along programmed GPS coordinates, the UK operates 300 larger drones in Afghanistan, according to the BBC.
In addition, according to a Sky News article from October 2012, the UK’s armed drone fleet in Afghanistan is going to double.
“We used [the Black Hornet] to look for insurgent firing points and check out exposed areas of the ground before crossing, which is a real asset,” said Sgt Christopher Petherbridge of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force in Afghanistan.
“Black Hornet is definitely adding value, especially considering the light weight nature of it,” Petherbridge told Sky News.
“It is very easy to operate and offers amazing capability to the guys on the ground,” Petherbridge said.
The praise coming from the MoD and Petherbridge make the stories from Sky and the BBC read much like promotional press releases for the tiny drones.
Regardless, drones are clearly becoming an increasingly integral aspect of the UK’s arsenal.
According to Defense Minister Philip Dunne, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems will be a “key component” of the MoD’s investment over the coming decade.
“Black Hornet gives our troops the benefits of surveillance in the palm of their hands. It is extremely light and portable whilst out on patrol,” Dunne said, according to Sky.
“[N]ow that we have balanced the defence budget we are able to confidently invest in these kinds of cutting-edge technologies,” Dunne said.
“Spending outlined last month also includes almost £36bn for a new generation of nuclear-powered submarines, almost £19bn for combat aircraft, and around £17bn for Royal Navy warships,” according to the BBC.
About Madison Ruppert
Madison Ruppert is a Los Angeles-based independent journalist and researcher as well as the founder, owner, administrator and editor of EndtheLie.com. He has no affiliations with any government agencies, political parties, non-governmental organizations, or economic schools. He is available for freelance writing assignments and appearances or interviews in any format. He can be reached by emailing Admin@EndtheLie.com
More at EndtheLie.com – http://EndtheLie.com/2013/02/04/half-ounce-surveillance-drones-have-been-used-by-british-soldiers-in-afghanistan-since-2012/#ixzz2K1UhiCeb
By Raw Story
Four Polish soldiers, accused of committing war crimes in Afghanistan, on Wednesday faced the first day of a re-trial after Poland’s Supreme Court last year overturned their acquittal, a military court spokesman said.
The case marks the first instance in which Polish troops have faced a court martial for war crimes while fighting abroad.
The men are suspected in connection with the August 2007 deaths of six civilians in the Afghan village of Nangar Khel, in the mountainous southeastern province of Paktika.
The victims included a man, two women and three children who were killed by machinegun fire and shrapnel.
All members of Poland’s contingent in NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the soldiers opened fire with mortars and automatic weapons on the village claiming they had been responding to an attack by Taliban rebels.
In a previous ruling, in June 2011, a Polish court cleared them for lack of evidence they had intended to attack civilians.
But in March 2012, the Supreme court overturned the acquittal, arguing that evidence suggesting the deaths were “a deliberate act” had been overlooked.
Prosecutors have said the deaths occurred several hours after the Poles had responded to another attack on a separate patrol.
Three of the four accused face life in prison if found guilty.
The fourth, who is not accused of deliberately killing civilians but only of opening fire on a civilian target, faces 15 years imprisonment.
All of them have pleaded not guilty, claiming that the civilian deaths resulted from faulty mortar equipment when they responded to a Taliban attack.
Ex-communist Poland, which joined NATO in 1999, has some 1,800 troops deployed in Afghanistan with NATO’s ISAF mission fighting a Taliban insurgency.
Close to 40 Polish military personnel have died there since the mission began in 2002.
Editor’s Note: Never forget the Christmas Truce of World War I, when troops refused to be pawns of empire for one blessed day. May American soldiers declare a grassroots truce every Christmas, and may it be Christmas all year round.
The Christmas Truce, which occurred primarily between the British and German soldiers along the Western Front in December 1914, is an event the official histories of the “Great War” leave out, and the Orwellian historians hide from the public. Stanley Weintraub has broken through this barrier of silence and written a moving account of this significant event by compiling letters sent home from the front, as well as diaries of the soldiers involved. His book is entitled Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce. The book contains many pictures of the actual events showing the opposing forces mixing and celebrating together that first Christmas of the war. This remarkable story begins to unfold, according to Weintraub, on the morning of December 19, 1914:
“Lieutenant Geoffrey Heinekey, new to the 2nd Queen’s Westminister Rifles, wrote to his mother, ‘A most extraordinary thing happened. . . . Some Germans came out and held up their hands and began to take in some of their wounded and so we ourselves immediately got out of our trenches and began bringing in our wounded also. The Germans then beckoned to us and a lot of us went over and talked to them and they helped us to bury our dead. This lasted the whole morning and I talked to several of them and I must say they seemed extraordinarily fine men. . . . It seemed too ironical for words. There, the night before we had been having a terrific battle and the morning after, there we were smoking their cigarettes and they smoking ours.” (p. 5)
Weintraub reports that the French and Belgians reacted differently to the war and with more emotion than the British in the beginning. The war was occurring on their land and “The French had lived in an atmosphere of revanche since 1870, when Alsace and Lorraine were seized by the Prussians” in a war declared by the French (p. 4). The British and German soldiers, however, saw little meaning in the war as to them, and, after all, the British King and the German Kaiser were both grandsons of Queen Victoria. Why should the Germans and British be at war, or hating each other, because a royal couple from Austria were killed by an assassin while they were visiting in Serbia? However, since August when the war started, hundreds of thousands of soldiers had been killed, wounded or missing by December 1914 (p. xvi).
It is estimated that over eighty thousand young Germans had gone to England before the war to be employed in such jobs as waiters, cooks, and cab drivers and many spoke English very well. It appears that the Germans were the instigators of this move towards a truce. So much interchange had occurred across the lines by the time that Christmas Eve approached that Brigadier General G.T. Forrestier-Walker issued a directive forbidding fraternization:
“For it discourages initiative in commanders, and destroys offensive spirit in all ranks. . . . Friendly intercourse with the enemy, unofficial armistices and exchange of tobacco and other comforts, however tempting and occasionally amusing they may be, are absolutely prohibited.” (p. 6–7)
Later strict orders were issued that any fraternization would result in a court-martial. Most of the seasoned German soldiers had been sent to the Russian front while the youthful and somewhat untrained Germans, who were recruited first, or quickly volunteered, were sent to the Western Front at the beginning of the war. Likewise, in England young men rushed to join in the war for the personal glory they thought they might achieve and many were afraid the war might end before they could get to the front. They had no idea this war would become one of attrition and conscription or that it would set the trend for the whole 20th century, the bloodiest in history which became known as the War and Welfare Century.
As night fell on Christmas Eve the British soldiers noticed the Germans putting up small Christmas trees along with candles at the top of their trenches and many began to shout in English “We no shoot if you no shoot”(p. 25). The firing stopped along the many miles of the trenches and the British began to notice that the Germans were coming out of the trenches toward the British who responded by coming out to meet them. They mixed and mingled in No Man’s Land and soon began to exchange chocolates for cigars and various newspaper accounts of the war which contained the propaganda from their respective homelands. Many of the officers on each side attempted to prevent the event from occurring but the soldiers ignored the risk of a court-martial or of being shot.
Some of the meetings reported in diaries were between Anglo-Saxons and German Saxons and the Germans joked that they should join together and fight the Prussians. The massive amount of fraternization, or maybe just the Christmas spirit, deterred the officers from taking action and many of them began to go out into No Man’s Land and exchange Christmas greetings with their opposing officers. Each side helped bury their dead and remove the wounded so that by Christmas morning there was a large open area about as wide as the size of two football fields separating the opposing trenches. The soldiers emerged again on Christmas morning and began singing Christmas carols, especially “Silent Night.” They recited the 23rd Psalm together and played soccer and football. Again, Christmas gifts were exchanged and meals were prepared openly and attended by the opposing forces. Weintraub quotes one soldier’s observation of the event: “Never . . . was I so keenly aware of the insanity of war” (p. 33).
The first official British history of the war came out in 1926 which indicated that the Christmas Truce was a very insignificant matter with only a few people involved. However, Weintraub states:
“During a House of Commons debate on March 31, 1930, Sir H. Kinglsey Wood, a Cabinet Minister during the next war, and a Major ‘In the front trenches’ at Christmas 1914, recalled that he ‘took part in what was well known at the time as a truce. We went over in front of the trenches and shook hands with many of our German enemies. A great number of people [now] think we did something that was degrading.’ Refusing to presume that, he went on, ‘The fact is that we did it, and I then came to the conclusion that I have held very firmly ever since, that if we had been left to ourselves there would never have been another shot fired. For a fortnight the truce went on. We were on the most friendly terms, and it was only the fact that we were being controlled by others that made it necessary for us to start trying to shoot one another again.’ He blamed the resumption of the war on ‘the grip of the political system which was bad, and I and others who were there at the time determined there and then never to rest. . . . Until we had seen whether we could change it.’ But they could not.” (p. 169–70)
US Army statistics show that the suicide rate among military personnel is rising exponentially. Last July, an estimated 38 suicides were “confirmed or suspected” by soldiers making that month the deadliest time in Army history.
Active duty suicides have climbed up to 22% with 116 deaths so far in 2012. Veterans are in most danger of committing suicide. While the Army has traditionally viewed younger soldiers as “at risk” for suicide, since the majority of deaths are occurring with veteran and older soldiers, that assumption is shifting.
Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, US Army vice chief of staff, said: “Suicide is the toughest enemy I have faced in my 37 years in the Army. And, it’s an enemy that’s killing not just soldiers, but tens of thousands of Americans every year. That said, I do believe suicide is preventable. To combat it effectively will require sophisticated solutions aimed at helping individuals to build resiliency and strengthen their life coping skills. As we prepare for Suicide Prevention Month in September we also recognize that we must continue to address the stigma associated with behavioral health. Ultimately, we want the mindset across our force and society at large to be that behavioral health is a routine part of what we do and who we are as we strive to maintain our own physical and mental wellness.”
Leon Panetta, US Defense Secretary testified before Congress about solider suicides, saying “that this is an epidemic . . . something’s wrong.”
US defence secretary says Pakistan is offering safe havens to terrorists as he arrives in Kabul for Nato talks
Leon Panetta in Kabul, where he called on Pakistan to do more to crack down on militants.
The US defence secretary, Leon Panetta, has said the United States is reaching the limits of its patience with Pakistan because of the safe havens the country offers to insurgents from neighbouring Afghanistan.
In some of the strongest language used by a US official to describe the strained ties between Washington and Islamabad, Panetta said: “It is difficult to achieve peace in Afghanistan as long as there is a safe haven for terrorists in Pakistan.”
The US has confirmed that Russian troops will carry out joint anti-terror drills on American soil in May. Reports of the unprecedented initiative had triggered hysteria in American public debate, with claims of the US fraternizing with “the enemy.”
Commander Wendy L. Snyder, US Defense Press Officer for policy told The New American in an e-mail the Russian soldiers will be invited by the US government.
This is part of a “formal bilateral exchange program between the US and Russia that seeks to develop transparency and promote defense reform,” she wrote.
Around twenty airborne Russian troops with arrive in Fort Carson, Colorado to take part in the training program targeting “terrorists”. It will be the first time Russian soldiers have conducted military training on American territory.
However, the landmark news of the Russian troops’ arrival was not greeted with enthusiasm by everyone. Fear-mongering reports in US media called the exercise “a front” for the Russians to turn US weapons against the Americans and “take and hold Denver airport.”
Citing an erroneous report that it said came from the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, US website theblaze.com claimed just that.
“Russian airborne troops (using US weapons that they had previously trained with at Fort Carson) will fly to and then parachute from their planes having the objectives of seizing the CIA’s main computer facility in Denver, the NSA’s main computer facility in Bluffdale, Utah, and taking control of main runways and terminals of the Denver International Airport,” the publication wrote.
MEDS KILLING SOLDIERS BY HEART ATTACK
PSYCHIATRIC DRUGS KILLING SOLDIERS BY HEART ATTACK
WHO IS PROFITING?
DAUGHTER OF SENATOR WINS DRUG-SUPPLYING CONTRACT WITH THE ARMY
By Jon Rappoport
MARCH 30, 2012. Is the US military employing a policy that is killing its own soldiers?
Dr. Fred Baughman published an explosive letter in the European Heart Journal (December 29, 2011) that detailed yet another aspect of death by medicine: “Psychotropic drugs and sudden death.” (See also Hundreds of Soldiers & Vets Dying From Antipsychotic–Seroquel published on Nov 7, 2011)
This time it’s American soldiers and fatal heart attacks, brought on by so-called antipsychotic drugs; for example, Seroquel, given for PTSD.
Baughman began his own investigation into four American soldiers who died in their sleep, in 2008. Baughman writes: “…all in their twenties…no signs of suicide or of a multi-drug ‘overdose’…as claimed by the Inspector General of the VA…All were on the same prescribed drug cocktail, Seroquel (antipsychotic), Paxil (antidepressant) and Klonopin (benzodiazepine).”
Baughman calls on the Surgeon General to embargo the use of all antipsychotics and antidepressants in the military.
Baughman’s initial inquiry suggests as many as 247 soldiers have died from cardiac arrest after ingesting these drugs.
He finds the US military has spent, in the last decade, $1.5 billion on antipsychotic drugs, despite the fact that these meds have never been approved for PTSD or sleep disorders.
– Expressing the sense of Congress that the use of offensive military force by a President without prior and clear authorization of an Act of Congress constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution. (Introduced in House – IH)
Please show your support for Congressman Walter B. Jones: http://jones.house.gov/
Obama & U.N. Declare Congress Ceremonial: Alex Jones Calls for Impeachment!
Rep. Walter Jones, a North Carolina Republican, has introduced H. Concurrent Resolution 107, which calls on the House, the Senate Concurring, to prevent Obama from starting another war without authorization from Congress. The resolution was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary on March 7.
Obama has violated article I, section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution.
Obama’s unconstitutional decision to involve the U.S. in the illegal attack on Libya without the consent of Congress motivated at least some members of the House of Representatives to demand an explanation. On June 3 of last year, the House passed a resolution demanding that the president provide an explanation to the American people, a request that was ignored by Obama and his administration.
Rep. Jones’ resolution states that any use of military force by Obama without explicit consent and authorization of Congress constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution.
It will be interesting to see if the resolution makes it out the Committee on the Judiciary. It was virtually ignored by the corporate establishment media.
Now more than every we need the Champion of the Constitution that has been trying to defend We The People!
Please visit Ron Paul’s official campaign site by following the link below and donate today!
Now more than every we need the Champion of the Constitution!
Please visit Ron Paul’s official campaign site by following the link below and donate today!