‘President Bush should be criminally investigated for torture’ [RT]

After the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the US has come under intense scrutiny for its use of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ that many experts have called torture. Now there are calls to bring those responsible in the US government to justice. Philippe Sands is a Professor of Law at University College, London. In his new book “Torture Team”, Sands explores the legality and ramifications of the US program of state-sponsored torture behind closed doors at Guantanamo Bay. In an RT interview, Sands discusses the possibility of one day bringing those responsible to justice.

 

U.S. Amasses Stealth-Jet Armada Near Iran [wired]

The U.S. Air Force is quietly assembling the world’s most powerful air-to-air fighting team at bases near Iran. Stealthy F-22 Raptors on their first front-line deployment have joined a potent mix of active-duty and Air National Guard F-15 Eagles, including some fitted with the latest advanced radars. The Raptor-Eagle team has been honing special tactics for clearing the air of Iranian fighters in the event of war.

 

The fighters join a growing naval armada that includes Navy carriers, submarines, cruisers and destroyers plus patrol boats and minesweepers enhanced with the latest close-in weaponry.

It’s been years since the Air Force has maintained a significant dogfighting presence in the Middle East. During the 2003 invasion of Iraq Boeing-made F-15Cs flew air patrols from Saudi Arabia, but the Iraqi air force put up no resistance and the Eagle squadrons soon departed. For the next nine years Air Force deployments to the Middle East were handled by ground-attack planes such as A-10s, F-16s and twin-seat F-15E Strike Eagles.

The 1980s-vintage F-15Cs, plagued by structural problems, stayed home in the U.S. and Japan. The brand-new F-22s, built by Lockheed Martin, suffered their own mechanical and safety problems. When they ventured from their home bases in Virginia, Alaska and New Mexico, it was only for short training exercises over the Pacific. The F-15Cs and F-22s sat out last year’s Libya war.

The Air Force fixed the F-15s and partially patched up the F-22s just in time for the escalating stand-off over Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program. In March the Air Force deployed the Massachusetts Air National Guard’s 104th Fighter Wing, flying 20 standard F-15Cs, to an “undisclosed” air base in Southwest Asia — probably either Al Dhafra in the United Arab Emirates or Al Udeid in Qatar. The highly-experienced Massachusetts Guardsmen, who typically have several years more experience than their active-duty counterparts, would be ready “should Iran test the 104th,” said wing commander Col. Robert Brooks.

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US drone attacks kill 29 in eastern Somalia [PressTV]

US assassination drone strikes have claimed the lives of at least 29 people in eastern Somalia, Press TV has learned.

A US assassination drone. (File Photo)

Dozens more have been injured in the attacks in the eastern town of Balad.

The attacks reportedly destroyed at least three al-Shabab militant bases. This comes a day after African Union and Somali troops captured Balad.

US assassination drones attacked the militants’ Harweyne training base in Elasha Biyaha on the outskirts of Mogadishu on Friday, leaving at least 39 dead.

Washington has carried out assassination attacks using the unmanned aircraft in other countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, and Yemen. 

The United States claims the CIA-run strikes are aimed at militants. But witness reports and figures offered by local authorities indicate the attacks are taking a heavy toll on civilians.

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US and Israel to hold largest ever joint military exercise []

Guess why..

Focusing on stopping ballistic missiles and featuring thousands of soldiers, the October drill will simulate simultaneous rocket fire from Syria and Iran

A US Army Patriot Missile launcher (photo credit: US Army/Wikipedia)

Israel and the US are set to hold their largest ever joint military exercise in October, featuring thousands of soldiers and advanced anti-missile defense systems, and simulating simultaneous fire from Iran and Syria.

News of the drill comes amid ongoing violence in Syria, and with Israel and the US closely discussing the means to thwart Iran’s nuclear drive. The commander of the 3rd Air Force, Lt.-Gen.Craig A. Franklin, on a recent visit to Israel, established a planning committee with representatives of the IDF to coordinate the details of the exercise, the Maariv Hebrew daily reported Monday. Some 3,000 US soldiers are to participate, alongside thousands of Israeli troops.

The drill will simulate missiles being fired at Israel from Iran and Syria simultaneously, with potentially tens, if not hundreds, of rockets mid-air at the same time. Israel will test its upgraded Arrow 2 defense system, while the US will deploy the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System andPAC-3 Patriot air defense platforms.

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Medal of Dishonour: US veterans dump awards outraged by endless wars

About time they realize they are not fighting for their country.

Exposing Obama’s not-so-secret war [Politico]

Washington has many “secrets,” but few secrets. The Obama administration will face a test on the difference this month, in a case probing a major national security program.

The administration is defending a federal court challenge to one of its most significant operations in the war against Al Qaeda: the drone program of targeted killings. President Barack Obama’s lawyers insist the entire program is a “secret” — so it can’t even be hauled into court in the first place.

An unmanned U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field. | AP Photo

We know the program exists, however — thanks to the president’s own statements. We even know a little about how it works, based on the many leaks that drove detailed coverage of the drone killings, including that big New York Times exposé on how the “kill list” is made. Whether those leaks were illegal disclosures or acceptable protocol — often a political distinction — took on a new urgency Friday, when the Justice Department announced an investigation into the administration’s endangered secrets.

To that end, Washington insiders are focused on who is leaking. Is it senior Obama aides intent on burnishing the president’s image, as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) alleged? Is it military officials seeking a strategic edge? To win its case under current law, however, the White House must do more than say it didn’t authorize the recent leaks. It must prove that no one in the administration has “officially acknowledged” the program.

In their court filings, Obama’s lawyers made two big claims that will surprise anyone who clicks through the day’s headlines.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0612/77336.html#ixzz1xqS0qpDl

Pentagon’s Last Frontier: Battle-Hardened Troops Headed to Africa [boilingfrogspost]

As the U.S. begins to wind down more than ten consecutive years of combat, mainly counterinsurgency, operations in what has variously been labeled the Broader, Greater and New Middle East, war-tested troops are being prepared for redeployment to Africa andLatin (largely South) America.

Last September President Barack Obama hailed the five million U.S. soldiers that have served in the so-called global war on terror, what he called the 9/11 generation, in the preceding decade.

American commanders issue regular statements that war-time experience in Afghanistan and Iraq has trained the armed forces for new operations in other parts of the world: Africa, Latin America, those parts of the Middle East so far not undermined and attacked, the Balkans-Black Sea-Caucasus arc and the Asia-Pacific region.

On June 8 the Gannett newspaper chain’s Army Times cited the commander of U.S. Army Africa, Major General David Hogg, disclosing that a brigade-size force of U.S. troops – 3,000 “and likely more” – will begin regular deployments to the African continent beginning next year.

africa2

As a component of U.S. Army Africa’s “regionally aligned force concept,” the American military personnel will concentrate on training the armed forces of U.S. Africa Command’s new military allies – which have grown to include all 54 African nations except for Eritrea, Sudan and Zimbabwe after the overthrow of the governments of Ivory Coast and Libya last year – and, in Pentagonese, to advise, assist, partner, enable and mentor in counterinsurgency campaigns like those currently underway in Mali, Somalia and Central Africa.

As Africa is (along with South America) alone in not yet being the site of extensive and sustained U.S. military deployments, according to Hogg “As far as our mission goes, it’s uncharted territory”; in the words of Army Times, Africa is “the Army’s last frontier.”

The latter source stated the initial 3,000-troop-plus initiative is “a pilot program that assigns brigades on a rotational basis to regions around the globe.”

U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) is a unified combatant command whose respective components are U.S. Army Africa (based in Vicenza, Italy), U.S. Naval Forces Africa (Naples, Italy), U.S. Air Forces Africa (Ramstein Air Base, Germany), U.S. Marine Corps Forces Africa and U.S. Special Operations Command Africa (the last two at the Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany where AFRICOM headquarters is located).

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