Etiket arşivi: united states

U.S. States Make Opting Out of Vaccinations Harder

Most children in California must be vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella before starting school. Image: D. McNew/Getty

More than ten years after a study in The Lancet falsely linked autism to the measles, mumps and rubella triple vaccine, evidence of reduced immunization rates and rising incidence of disease are spurring politicians to try to make up lost ground.

California has tightened the laws that allow parents in the state to opt out of immunization for their children. It now joins Washington and Vermont in requiring parents who want an exemption to demonstrate that they have received factual information about the risks and benefits of vaccination from a health-care practitioner or the state’s health department.

New Jersey is also considering a bill to strengthen exemption requirements, and similar legislation in Arizona has died in previous legislative sessions, but may be re-introduced next year. The issue is not a partisan one: bills have sponsors in both parties. And it has been recognized outside the medical community — although the California sponsor, Richard Pan (Democrat), is a pediatrician, most of the legislators have no medical background.

Legal loopholes
Each US state sets its own vaccination policies, and most will not generally allow children to attend public school unless they have been vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough); hepatitis B; the Haemophilus influenzae bacterium; measles, mumps and rubella; polio; and varicella (chicken pox). However, 20 states — including California, Washington and Vermont — allow exemptions for personal or philosophical belief, and 48 offer religious exemptions. All states permit exemptions for legitimate medical reasons.

But exemption rates are growing. In Washington, 6% of children entering kindergarten in 2010–11 had an exemption; in Vermont, the figure was 6.2%, compared with the US average of 1.5%. In California, exemptions rates rose by 25% between 2008 and 2010.

These figures are alarming policy-makers, who fear that vaccination rates may fall below the threshold where even unvaccinated people are protected. "There really is a problem when you don’t have herd immunity so that you can stop the infectious diseases," says Senator Karen Keiser (Democrat), who sponsored the Washington law.

Path of least resistance
To increase vaccination rates, law-makers want to make it harder to get an exemption than it is to get a vaccination. "One of the instigators for our laws was the thought that many parents were exempting for convenience," said Michele Roberts, communications manager for the Washington Department of Public Health. "It was easier to sign the exemption form than to track down records or to get your kid to an appointment."

This idea is backed by studies linking the existence of personal-belief exemptions, and the ease of getting them, to reduced vaccination rates and increased incidence of disease.

Diane Peterson, associate director for immunization projects at the Immunization Action Coalition in St Paul, Minnesota, said that strengthening existing rules, for example by requiring a doctor’s signature on exemption forms or asking for annual exemption renewals, is more effective than trying to eliminate philosophical exemptions altogether. "If you don’t have a personal-belief exemption, you will have abuse of the religious exemption," she says.

Research by Saad Omer, an epidemiologist at the Emory Vaccine Center in Atlanta, Georgia, points out similar abuses: he and his colleagues have found that medical exemptions are up to six times more common in states that have lax medical-exemption requirements or don’t allow philosophical exemptions.

Fear response
Growing disease rates will also encourage more parents to get their children immunized. Paul Offit, chief of the division of infectious diseases at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, says that people are "far more compelled by fear than reason".

Disease outbreaks are now hitting the headlines more frequently than vaccine safety concerns. This year, the number of pertussis cases in the United States looks set to be the highest since 1959, and in 2011 the country saw 222 cases of measles — the most since 1996.

Yet not everyone is in favor of vaccination. In the past two years, legislators in Kansas, Mississippi, West Virginia, Massachusetts and South Dakota have introduced bills to add philosophical exemptions — but without success.

In Washington, where the law to strengthen exemption requirements came into force in July 2011, the change is already bringing results: kindergarten exemption rates dropped to 4.5% this year. Time will tell whether the numbers in other states will follow suit.

This article is reproduced with permission from the magazine Nature. The article was first published on October 5, 2012.

“Disable the purveyors”: Is US secretly liquidating dissidents?

In many countries, people who cross the line in opposing the government risk incarceration, torture, or murder.

Until recently, it was hard for American dissidents to cross that line. If they wanted to get arrested for saying something subversive, mere ideas weren’t enough; they would have to actually threaten to physically harm the President or another high official.

But the post-9/11 USA is no longer a beacon of human rights. As former President Jimmy Carter recently wrote in the New York Times, “The United States is abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights.” In his article, Carter points out that top US officials are now openly targeting US citizens for political assassination, “disappearance,” unlimited surveillance, and other forms of gross human rights abuse.

Since we now know that a secret National Security committee is ordering the murder of American citizens, and since we know the CIA has the power to easily simulate deaths from illness and accident, we might as well assume that every time a dissident dies unexpectedly, he or she has been murdered by the US government.

Consider the chilling words of Obama’s information czar Cass Sunstein, who openly advocates that the US government should “disable the purveyors of conspiracy theories.” Sunstein’s article “Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures” argues that “conspiracy theories” (by which he means the 9/11 truth movement) are so dangerous that the government should “cognitively infiltrate” 9/11 truth groups, “disable” those who spread these ideas, and possibly even make the ideas illegal.

One way to “disable the purveyors of conspiracy theories” is to terrorize them with death threats. This is precisely what happened recently in Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia.

On June 13, Dr. James Fetzer, the founder of Scholars for 9/11 Truth, was scheduled to speak at the University Heights Community Center in Seattle. Shortly before the event, the Community Center received a letter that read:

“Community Center, the 9/11 truth event on June 13th is going to be attacked to Kill Jim Fetzer because he says ‘Space Beams’ brought down the Twin Towers. The attack may be a bomb or fire bomb or maybe just gun fire. The Bombing may come at a future date to pay you back for supporting the 9/11 truth movement. Kill Jim Fetzer and the 9/11 truth movement. Kill Jim Fetzer (repeated 6 times). Kill University Heights Community Center (repeated twice) Kill you now.”

Detective Kerry Hays of the Seattle Police Department is currently investigating the case.

The Community Center hastily canceled Dr. Fetzer’s talk. Fortunately, an alternate venue was found at the last minute.

Then a few days later, a similar death threat was emailed to the owner of the Denman Theater in Vancouver, British Columbia, where Dr. Fetzer was organizing the Vancouver 9/11 Hearings. This time, the threat named me and Press TV Canadian correspondent Joshua Blakeney as well as Dr. Fetzer. Fortunately, the theater owner was too busy hosting the event to read his email, so he did not become aware of the threat until the Hearings were over.

Death threats are one way to “disable the purveyors of conspiracy theories.” Actual assassinations are another.

A long list of people who were trying to expose the truth of 9/11 have met with untimely, suspicious deaths. Barry Jennings, the deputy director of Emergency Services Department for the New York City Housing Authority on 9/11, appears to have been murdered after speaking publicly about explosions he witnessed that partly demolished World Trade Center Building 7 on the morning of 9/11. (The demolition of WTC-7, begun in the morning, was completed shortly after 5:20 that afternoon, after WTC owner Larry Silverstein and colleagues “made the decision to pull” the building according to Silverstein’s own statement.)

Another 9/11 truth advocate and eyewitness, Dr. David Graham of Shreveport, Louisiana, was murdered – apparently by the FBI – for writing a book about two of the alleged 9/11 hijackers, who were obvious intelligence assets controlled by people at Barksdale Air Force Base. Graham was poisoned with ethelene glycol (antifreeze). The case is discussed in Sander Hicks’ new book Slingshot to the Juggernaut.

It might be objected that Jennings and Graham were murdered because they were eyewitnesses to a State Crime Against Democracy, or SCAD, not because they were dissidents. Is there any evidence that the US government (or a rogue network infiltrating it) is “disabling the purveyors” of dangerous ideas by killing or otherwise physically harming them, even if they are not eyewitnesses?

Mike Ruppert, the original leader of the 9/11 truth movement, writes that his office was attacked by microwave and/or EMF weapons after he began publishing critiques of the official story of 9/11. The attacks may have contributed to Ruppert’s poor health and distraught frame of mind, which led him to quit the 9/11 truth movement and temporarily flee the USA in 2006.

Another early 9/11 truth advocate, publisher Byron Belitsos, told me that he and many other 9/11 truth organizers in California were targeted by EMF or microwave weapons during the first years after 9/11. Belitsos says the weapons were wielded by men in plain white vans that would park in front of the victim’s house, and that victims suffered immediate and sometimes extreme health effects including headaches, ringing in the ears, nausea, vomiting, severe depression, dizziness, and loss of consciousness.

It does seem that bad things have happened to far too many of the most trail-blazing, prestigious, and/or effective 9/11 truth leaders. Justin Raimondo, the pioneer investigator of Israeli complicity in 9/11, was warned away from the subject – and after he disregarded the warning, he suffered a severe heart attack, despite his relative youth and excellent physical condition. Since his mysterious heart attack, Raimondo has stayed away from the subject of 9/11, and has remained in good health.

David Ray Griffin, the world’s leading voice of 9/11 truth, suffered a partially-disabling stroke in the summer of 2010. While he has recovered sufficiently to continue to write and research, the stroke left him with a slight aphasia that has ended his career as a prolific public speaker.

Dr. Bob Bowman, the former head of Star Wars under two US presidents, has had his 9/11 truth efforts slowed by his struggle with cancer.

Even more tragically, the most prestigious scientist ever to take up the cause of 9/11 truth, Lynn Margulis, died of a stroke November 22, 2011. When I last spoke to Lynn, less than a year before her death, she told me she did not want to speak publicly about 9/11 any more, because “politics is too dangerous.” She sounded scared – like someone had warned or threatened her.

Steven Jones, the physics professor who was forced out of Brigham Young University for researching the demolition of the World Trade Center, was warned to stop by a “connected” colleague. Jones did the right thing: he immediately went public about the apparent threat.

Richard Gage, the founder of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, may have been attacked by the type of EMF or microwave weapon described by Ruppert and Belitsos. In the summer of 2009, in Washington, DC, Gage suddenly suffered vertigo and hearing loss. Activist colleagues who were present suspect some kind of covert attack. Today, Gage still suffers from the after-effects: partial loss of hearing in one ear.

Though some consider microwave and EMF weapons the stuff of science fiction, Maj. Doug Rokke, Ph.D., the former head of the US Army’s depleted uranium cleanup project after Gulf War I, says these weapons are very real, and commonly used in military circles. He described to me how he personally used such weapons on a regular basis while training with Special Forces at US Army facilities: “We had them van-mounted, truck-mounted, plane-mounted, and hand-carried. We would go around zapping each other for fun. This was during exercises, or sometimes just as a practical joke.” Rokke assured me that, based on his firsthand knowledge of US military mind-set and capabilities, 9/11 truth activists have undoubtedly been targeted by exotic non-lethal (and lethal) weapons.

Will writing this article put me on a US government hit list? Twenty years ago, such a question would have sounded absurd. Today, with the USA becoming more of a banana republic every day, it sounds increasingly realistic.

A government that extra-judicially murders, disappears, and tortures its own citizens should clean up its own act before it criticizes other nations. The US should heed former President Carter and start obeying its own Constitution if it wants to have any credibility on human rights.

U.S. Plan for a Base in Uzbekistan to Materialize?

US Plan for a Base in Uzbekistan to Materialize?
Aleksandr Shustov
Edited by RR


Uzbekistan shares borders with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Afghanistan and sits fairly close to Iran and China, all of the countries potentially falling within reach of US forces to be dispatched to the new base.


Geopolitically, the dust is settling in Central Asia in the wake of the noisy Arab Spring. Part of the outcome is likely to be Uzbekistan’s policy swing that would place it solidly in the camp of the US military and its allies as the next leap after the republic put on hold its membership in the Collective Security Treaty Organization. In the meantime, Washington is making vigorous efforts to reset to zero Russian influence over Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, the two Central Asian republics where Russia currently maintains military bases.

US Undersecretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake toured the region on August 15-17. Initially, his itinerary included stays in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan. In Astana [Kazakhstan], he was supposed to be selling the New Silk Road project propped up by the US and clearly aimed to exclude Russia from the Eurasian transit web. In a last-moment adjustment, Blake’s priorities tilted towards Tashkent – on August 15, he met with Uzbek president Islam Karimov and on August 16 Uzbekistan’s foreign ministry hosted a third round of talks with the US coupled with a US-Uzbek business forum. The official account of the negotiations mentioned a wide range of political, economic, and security issues being touched upon, with no specific deals previously unheard of, but, in fact, those have likely been sealed under wraps.

During Blake’s visit, the intrigue revolved around a hypothetical US plan, recently cited by the Kazakh Liter newspaper, to plant a military base in Uzbekistan. The point set forth in Liter was that the arrangement would fit neatly with Uzbekistan’s foreign policy logic, considering that the republic only briefly flirted with Russia after coming under fiery criticism in the West over the handling of the 2005 Andijan drama.

By signaling a green light to a US military base on its territory, Uzbekistan would earn the status of Washington’s key regional partner, with generous economic and military aid, important guarantees, and a fresh sense of confidence vis-a-vis its neighbors with whom Tashkent occasionally gets locked in bitter resources-related disputes. For the US, the benefit of the partnership would be to have a foothold in Uzbekistan with an eye to muscling Russia and China in and beyond Central Asia.

By all means, the article in Liter, an outlet of Kazakhstan’s ruling Nur Otan party, saw the light of day for serious reasons. On August 23, Russia’s Kommersant business daily quoted sources with connections within the Uzbek foreign ministry as saying that Washington and Tashkent opened talks on the creation of an Operative Reaction Center in Uzbekistan charged with the mission of tight coordination to be launched if trouble starts to spill over after the 2014 US withdrawal from Afghanistan. According to Kommersant, the facility would be the biggest one to be run by the US in Central Asia. That, among other things, explains how and why the US plans to distribute much of the army materiel pulled out of Afghanistan among the Central Asian republics: some would be supplied for free to Uzbekistan on a permanent basis to reinforce the Center and some passed to the republic temporarily.

The US has a record of deploying military infrastructures in Uzbekistan. There used to be one – the Karshi-Khanabad base – in 2001-2005 at the Khanabad military aerodrome sited at a distance of 10 km from Karshi in the Qashqadaryo province. Its status was defined by an accord signed in October, 2001, and the US had to rebuild the facility from scratch to later keep there a fleet comprised of a group of S-130 transports, a dozen Black Hawks, and around 1,500 servicemen.

The Karshi-Khanabad base was used to support US operations in Afghanistan, but the US-Uzbek honeymoon came to an end as, under public pressure, Washington urged a fair probe into the 2005 Andijan unrest. In response, Tashkent stated in July, 2005 that US forces were to leave Karshi-Khanabad within a span of six months, which they did by November of the same year, with the homeless aircraft relocating to Bagram airfield in Afghanistan or the Manas airbase leased to the US by Kyrgyzstan.

The plan for an Operative Reaction Center described by Kommersant implies a US military presence of more impressive proportions, as much of the US power would be shifted to the post-Soviet space. If the US get a go-ahead in Uzbekistan, the new base would be packed with aircraft, armored vehicles, and support infrastructures like arsenals and food depots, while US forces on the premises would far outnumber those that formerly inhabited Karshi-Khanabad. Washington evidently hopes to engage with Uzbekistan as Central Asia’s most populous republic and second-biggest economy strategically positioned in the region. Uzbekistan shares borders with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Afghanistan and sits fairly close to Iran and China, all of the countries potentially falling within reach of US forces to be dispatched to the new base.

Under the circumstances, Moscow simply must take steps to dig into Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. A two-day negotiating marathon between Kyrgyz leader Almazbek Atambayev and Russia’s deputy premier Igor Shuvalov took place in Bishkek this month, and at that time a package of three agreements – on military, economic, and energy cooperation – was scheduled to be inked next fall. Chances are that deals on the construction of the Kambarata-1 hydropower plant and the Upper Naryn hydropower cascade – both of key importance to Bishkek – will go through earlier than September 15. Above all, Kyrgyzstan said OK to a Russian military base on its soil (with a lease term of 15 years). Against that background, it does remain unclear whether the US airbase in Manas is there to stay or will be closed in line with Atambayev’s campaign pledge.

A question mark also hangs over the role of Tajikistan in the disposition now taking shape. Talks between Moscow and Dushanbe meant to hammer out an agreement on the lease term for Russia’s 201th base in the republic are deadlocked, and at the moment unofficial reports indicate that the Tajik administration has offered to renew the existing contract till 2016 instead of having it replaced, and promises greater flexibility later on. The problem, though, is that Tajikistan is to hold presidential and parliamentary elections in 2013-2014, the incumbent Emomali Rahmonov is being challenged by a cohort of rivals, some of them US-backed, and, given the prospects for regime change in Tajikistan, Moscow might raise strong objections to the delay.

No doubt, Moscow would be confronted with a situation calling for a tougher than ever strategy if the Operative Reaction Center – a US military base to stay indefinitely in post-Soviet space regarding which Russia has serious ambitions – pops up in Uzbekistan. Following upon several makeshift bases narrowly geared to supply the Western coalition in Afghanistan, the facility would come as a slap in the face to Moscow, a humiliation comparable to what Washington would have experienced seeing Russia install a military base in Mexico, Nicaragua, or Cuba.

How Privacy in America Went Virtually Extinct in Just a Decade

Unless we challenge the idea that we should concede our rights to protect our safety, it’ll get even worse.

We’ve come a long way since the 1880s when Sir Francis Galton, a British anthropologist and a cousin of Charles Darwin, first undertook the scientific study of fingerprints as a means of identification. Now, two centuries later, all information is digital, created, distributed and displayed as a series of 1s and Os.

Today’s surveillance and tracking systems can (in principle) integrate infinite amounts of information: your location and identity via GPS and face recognition technology; video feeds from the cameras located down the street or across the globe; records from any and all databases; electronic communications like voice and emails. It’s all in the processors and the sky’s the limit.

Large server farms — analysis centers — operate throughout the country. They consist of huge “cloud” servers that aggregate and process the datasets through innumerable applications or programs. They process data from federal agencies and local governments as well as private companies, including commercial aggregators who sell personal information.


High-tech surveillance can best be described as 21st-century digital alchemy. It’s not clear how a suspicious activity report can generate either a timely warning; little hard data is available to evaluate the effectiveness. Nor do the entities backing the systems, government or private, provide detailed cost estimates of the building and operating fees of their programs in terms of foiling a single terrorist plot — is there a cost-benefit analysis? The fog of post-9/11 allows the federal government to avoid detailing the true costs associated with the post-9/11 high-tech anti-terrorist mobilization.

The fog of 9/11, a decade-plus later, also permits the popular acceptance of a new policing fiction: Americans must give up their privacy right to safeguard the nation … and enrich private contractors.

The surveillance state is moving aggressively, like the military-industrial complex did after WWII, to capture a huge chunk of federal and local government spending. In the face of the ongoing U.S. economic restructuring, corporate America is banking on the surveillance cash-cow.

The 21st-century surveillance state is anchored in monitoring all digital communications. With the exception of unmediated, face-to-face conversations, little personal life exists outside of a digital sequence of 1s and 0s. Surveillance advocates believe their system can, for example, identify suspected terrorists and prevent an attack. Security pundits argue that facial recognition and other sophisticated software can identify a terrorist; that specially equipped tollbooths and police cars can read passing license plates and cut down on stolen cars. Bold claims are backed with little hard evidence.

The earlier boundaries that characterized “privacy,” like one’s home, mail or phone calls, are so oh-so 20th century. Digital privacy is a thing of the past. Our online presence, our every keystroke, our voice communications, our every commercial exchange, our very digital identity has become a quasi-public characteristic monitored by government and corporate entities. Big Brother has become America’s new normal.

* * *

Two surveillance systems that have recently been in the news, TrapWire and Domain Awareness System (DAS), point to the future of the surveillance state.

First, the isolated element (e.g., the fingerprint, the mug shot) is being integrated into a complex digital profile. Yet, whether a suspicious person or object (e.g., car, container), 21st-century surveillance is grounded in state-of-the-art guesswork.

Second, these systems represent two different business models; one of government use of private product (TrapWire), the other a joint venture between a city government and a private corporation (DAS). This may suggest the next phase in the development of capitalism’s corporate state: from regulator to partner. But most of all, TrapWire and DAS exemplify how the state, at both the federal and local levels, is increasing its power to track the lives of ordinary Americas.

TrapWire correlates video surveillance with other data, including criminal and terrorist watch lists, facial recognition profiles, license plate information, stolen vehicles reports and other event data. Its apparently most break-through feature is predictive capabilities designed to detect patterns of pre-attack surveillance.

Abraxas Corp., a Virginia-based company, developed TrapWire in 2004; it was acquired by San Diego-based Cubic Corp. in 2010 for $124 million in cash. Justin Ferguson, a security researcher, discovered reference to the program in dozens of emails amidst a stash of 5 million emails “liberated” from Texas-based Strategic Forecasting (Stratfor) by Anonymous and published by WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks released some 5 million Strategic Forecasting emails in February 2012 and, within hours, was shut down by unidentified hackers. It suffered a nearly-fatal DDOS (distributed denial-of-service) attack. It argued that the attack was orchestrated by those who didn’t want the Stratfor TrapWire emails released. As Wikileaks reported, "Attacks on escalated after Wikileaks retweeted links to our mirrors of leaked files from WikiLeaks … on a newly discovered mass surveillance program known as TrapWire."

DAS has a very different lineage. It was developed as a commercial partnership between the New York City Police Department and Microsoft at an estimated cost of $30 to $40 million. According to New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, “We’re not your mom and pop police department anymore.” The city will get 30 percent of the profits on Microsoft sales of the system to other cities and countries. At the official launch ceremony, Bloomberg boasted, “We are in the next century. We are leading the pack.”

With DAS, investigators can track individuals or incidents (e.g., a suspicious package) through live video feeds from some 3,000 CCTV cameras, 2,600 radiation substances detectors, check license plate numbers, pull up crime reports and cross-check all information against criminal and terrorist databases.

These two programs add to a growing arsenal of high-tech capabilities being implemented by both federal and local governments in a ceaseless war against terrorism.

“TrapWire is a technology solution predicated upon behavior patterns in red zones to identify surveillance,” said Stratfor Vice President for Intelligence Fred Burton, in a 2009 email. “It helps you connect the dots over time and distance.” Using cameras, sensors and other digital-data capture devices and diverse databases, TrapWire aggregates data at central surveillance points in major U.S. cities and landmarks. If someone is observed repeatedly taking photos or videos at a high-risk location or a car repeatedly passes such a site, the system captures the information. The digital data is then encrypted and nearly instantaneously disseminated to local sites where they are aggregated with other intelligence programs.

Some years ago, the DHS undertook a trial of TrapWire in Washington, DC and Seattle. The trial, which costs $832,000, linked 15 surveillance cameras, but officials reportedly ended the trial because the program did not seem promising.

Nevertheless, the program was adopted in one form or another in many U.S. cities as well as in Ottawa, Canada. For example, TrapWire is a part of the Los Angeles Police Department’s iWatch monitoring system; New York’s “See Something, Say Something” program and reportedly links 500 cameras; the Washington Regional Threat and Analysis Center, DC’s fusion center; a Las Vegas’ database linking surveillance systems of most resorts and the fusion center; the State of Texas spent a half a million dollars with an additional annual licensing fee of $150,000 for it; and the U.S. Army tested it at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall and Fort Meade.

DAS seems a mini version of TrapWire. “We can track where a car associated with a murder suspect is currently located and where it’s been over the past several days, weeks or months,” noted Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. “This is a system developed by police officers for police officers.”

DAS integrates NYPD- and private-operated CCTV camera feeds, license plate data and radiation readings as well as police and intelligence reports. Cameras operate 24/7 and are principally deployed in the Financial District, midtown Manhattan and at strategic transportation points like bridges and tunnels.

According to the police only public areas are monitored and facial recognition technology is not used. Video clips are maintained for 30 days and are ostensibly then deleted … unless the NYPD chooses to preserve them. License plate data is kept for five years and unspecified “environmental data” is preserved indefinitely.

Neal Ungerleider, writing at Fast Company, was surprised while visiting the DAS command-and-control center in lower Manhattan. He found that there were designated places for the representatives from the Federal Reserve, the Bank of New York, Goldman Sachs, Pfizer and CitiGroup. He did not identify places for the ACLU.

U.S., NATO Connive To Remain In Central Asia

The USA has decided with its partners to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan. Uzbekistan will become a key country, which will host a special military centre.

This was discussed at recent talks between US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake and Uzbek President Islam Karimov in Tashkent on 15 August.

It was the bank accounts of President Karimov’s family that influenced his willingness to agree to cooperate with the USA, a reliable source has said.

The Americans threatened that they might create problems with funds of the president’s elder daughter, Gulnara Karimova, that are deposited in Western bank accounts.

Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan will also provide air and land routes for the withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan.

Retreat ways

The use of Central Asia to withdraw NATO troops from Afghanistan in 2014 was first discussed in March, during a visit by US Secretary of Defence Leon Penetta to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Then, the Kyrgyz defence minister was offered military equipment and weapons by the USA free of charge. Consequently, the same topic was discussed by Pentagon officials in Dushanbe and Tashkent.

Now NATO troops are using about 7,000 M-ATV wheeled armoured personnel carriers, 8,000 MRAP armoured vehicles with mine protection, over 10,000 HMMWV off-road vehicles and auxiliary equipment.

In addition, the Pentagon is ready to hand over medical equipment, communication facilities, fire extinguishing equipment

Kyrgyz Defence Ministry officials then agreed to accept military vehicles and communication facilities.

The Kyrgyz Defence Ministry explained that it would be very expensive to use other equipment, namely small arms taken out of battle fields.

American diplomats continued talks with Tashkent and Dushanbe.

Impossible to manage independently

US military top brass believe that hotbeds of instability may emerge on the Afghan-Tajik and Afghan-Uzbek borders after 2014.

In their opinion, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan will not be able to overcome supposed terrorist threats.

CSTO rapid reaction forces will not be able to rebuff Afghan fighters either, the US military believe.

In the opinion of US diplomats, NATO forces can be used to ensure stability in Central Asia.

It is suggested that most of equipment should be given free of charge, and some for storage to Uzbekistan.

At the same time, the matter concerns the possibility of setting up a special military centre to maintain equipment and ensure stability in the region. It will be based in Uzbekistan.

Possibly, later this centre may become another foreign military base in Central Asia.

Leaving bases behind

Americans are not concealing their desire to keep their Manas base in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek. President Almazbek Atambayev last year said that the military base in Bishkek’s Manas airport would be closed in 2014.

But the Kyrgyz government explained that, most likely, the base would remain but under a different name.

The USA will mainly use the territory of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan to withdraw forces from Afghanistan.

The diligence of American diplomats in Central Asia has noticeably increased because of the approaching deadline for the withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan.

After his visit to Tashkent, Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake said that in October he would visit Kyrgyzstan for a second round of talks.

A meeting with Kyrgyz authorities will touch upon the topic of the future presence of NATO troops in Central Asia.

Cryptome unveils Military Police Civil Disturbance Operations

Cryptome unveils Military Police Civil Disturbance Operations.pdf

U.S. Mulls Interceptor Missile Radar Deployments To Japan, Philippines

US considers another X-band radar in Japan – Morimoto

Army Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance

US may deploy yet another early-warning missile defense radar in Japan, Satoshi Morimoto, Japan’s Minister of Defense said at a press conference in Tokyo.

He confirmed that the radar in question is of the so-called X-band type. There’s already one such radar system in the Aomori prefecture in the north of Japan’s central island of Honshu.

According to American media, two more X-band radars are to be deployed in the south of Japan, as well as somewhere in South East Asia, most likely in the Philippines.


The Philippine Star
August 24, 2012

US missile defense plan in Asia slammed
Dennis Carcamo

MANILA, Philippines: The militant group Bayan on Friday raised alarms over the plans of the United States to set up a missile defense system in Asia.

Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said this could probably involved the Philippine government, dragging the country into armed conflicts and war posturing.

Quoting an Wall Street Journal article, which described the US missile defense system “a move American officials say is designed to contain threats from North Korea, but one that could also be used to counter China’s military, Reyes said the US ultimately wants to take control over the region.

“The US wants to remain the top military power in the region even if they are not part of this region. The US wants us to believe that China and North Korea pose a military threat to countries like the Philippines. However, we don’t see any imminent missile threat from these countries,”Reyes said.

Reyes also scored the so-called “deceptive justification” used allegedly by the US in installing a land-based radar in the country.

“In the beginning, they said that the radar system was to intended to help in maritime surveillance, but it’s turning out to be much worse. The radar will be part of the US’ Asia-wide missile system. This practically makes the Philippines a de facto host to US bases,” Reyes said.

“With a radar in place, having land and sea-based missiles onboard US ships can’t be far behind,” Reyes added.


August 24, 2012

Docking of warship part of US’s plan for Asian missile defense system

Steven Hildreth, a missile-defense expert with the Congressional Research Service, an advisory arm of US Congress, was quoted as saying that the U.S. is “laying the foundations” for a region-wide missile defense system that would combine U.S. ballistic missile defenses with those of regional powers, particularly Japan, South Korea and Australia.
By Marya Salamat

MANILA: As the United States “pivots” a bigger part of its overseas armed presence toward the Asia-Pacific region, patriotic Filipinos are alarmed by the increasingly more frequent dockings and visits in the country of likely nuke-armed American warships, submarines and airplanes. Unfortunately, based on plans of US defense officials, these are just some of the many aspects of increased US power projection coming this country’s way.

This week, a missile destroyer – the first of its kind to dock here – arrived in Manila. The Philippine Navy said it is just for a four-day “replenishment,” but progressive groups opposed to US government’s use of the Philippines as an unofficial military base refuse to belittle such dockings.

The 505-foot vessel USS Milius (DDG 69), a guided missile destroyer, docked at the South Harbor in Manila Aug 19. The Philippine Navy spokesman, Col. Omar Tonsay, told the media, a day before, that the docking is not an official visit. He said the missile destroyer will stay at the port from August 18 to 21. On Aug 23, in its official Facebook page, USS Milius posted a photo of the missile destroyer showing it “moored in Manila, Philippines with up and over flags flying and a barge tied up outboard.”

Its crew welcomed what they call as their “liberty” in the Philippines.

Milius has been deployed to the Pacific Ocean since January this year. At the time it left the US for this deployment, its skipper, Cmdr. Nikki Bufkin, reportedly said the destroyer “expects to conduct maritime security and ballistic missile defense operations during the deployment.” Their last deployment was in 2010, guarding an Iraqi oil terminal.

“As a multi-mission AEGIS (ballistic missile defense system) destroyer, Milius is prepared to execute a full range of missions in support of U.S., partner and coalition objectives,” Bufkin said.

Ahead of Milius, two other US nuke-powered submarines visited Subic, Zambales, former site of the largest US naval base outside the mainland. A large ship-building and repair facility here reportedly has contract with the US military to condition or repair US warships.

Not just for replenishment

The revolutionary Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) cautioned Filipinos against being “desensitized” by this regular and increasingly frequent dockings of US military warships and submarines, as well as by the constant presence of American troops and intelligence agents who operate with the Philippine government and military around the country.

“The Filipino people must not let down their patriotic vigilance for even one moment,” the CPP said in a statement.

The US Embassy in Manila has praised the missile destroyer’s visit, saying it “highlights the strong historic, community and military connections between the United States and the Republic of the Philippines.”

But that “connection,” in fact, is what the patriotic Filipinos are condemning as “puppetry and servility of the Philippine reactionary state,” currently led by President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. Why the Aquino’s government has been allowing the US government “to use the Philippines as a platform for its interventionism in the Asia-Pacific region” defies and “stains” the memory of Filipino heroes such as Apolinario Mabini and the Katipuneros, the CPP said.

Mabini and the Katipuneros whose heroism are enshrined in holidays such as National Heroes Day, had fought for national independence and an independent and peace-loving foreign policy. This is the opposite of what the Aquino regime has been pursuing.

The Aquino regime has announced its wholehearted embrace of the US government’s effort to build a network of military outposts in the Asia-Pacific region, from Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam. Aquino government officials have announced early this year that they “invited” the US government and military to use the Philippines in service of the fleet of US warships under the US Pacific Command.

“The docking of the USS Milius further reinforces US control over the Philippines as a military stronghold in its effort to secure its economic and political interests in the region, especially the sea lanes from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific to ensure the flow of US products to the vast Asian market,” said the CPP.

Philippines in US plans to build new Asia missile ‘defense’

Aside from being increasingly used as transit points for refueling and repairs of US military warships and warplanes, as well as in serving as venues for increased US troops’ “rotational” deployment, the Philippines is also being eyed to host important US military facilities.

In a report from the Wall Street Journal yesterday, it was disclosed that the U.S. is planning a major expansion of missile defenses in Asia, a move American officials say is designed to contain threats from North Korea, but one that could also be used to counter China’s military.

US defense officials are quoted as saying that “a centerpiece” of its new missile ‘defense’ would be the deployment of a powerful early-warning radar, known as an X-Band, in an undisclosed southern Japanese island and in the Philippines.

These two new radars are to be installed to supplement the first one already installed in Aomori Prefecture in northern Japan in 2006. Reports said the US and Japanese officials only disclosed that the radar would be “somewhere in Japan,” but not in southern Okinawa where residents have long chafed at the presence of the US troops.

Some U.S. defense officials have reportedly focused on the Philippines as the potential site for the third X-Band, which is manufactured by Raytheon Co. According to Pentagon officials, a location has yet to be determined and the discussions are still at an early stage.

Recall that when President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III went on a state visit to US early this year, and in the high-level talks held by his defense officials with American defense and security officials, they have agreed to build in the country a US-funded and US-equipped “National Coast Watch Center” that would include a powerful radar, purportedly to help the Philippines watch over its coastlines 24/7.

It was presented like a US “support” to an ally who is trying to build a “minimum credible defense posture” particularly against China. But between the Philippines and the US, it is the US who has been more wary of what its defense planners call as “the elephant in the room, which is China.”

In fear of possible Chinese threats to US Navy fleet, crucial to US power projection in the Asia-Pacific, US defense planners are now intending to install two more X-Band radars to create an arc that would allow the U.S. and its regional allies to more accurately track, and launch, too, ballistic missiles against North Korea and China.

Steven Hildreth, a missile-defense expert with the Congressional Research Service, an advisory arm of US Congress, was quoted as saying that the U.S. is “laying the foundations” for a region-wide missile defense system that would combine U.S. ballistic missile defenses with those of regional powers, particularly Japan, South Korea and Australia.

The radar could be installed within months of Japan’s agreement, American officials reportedly said. As for the Philippines, no details have yet been disclosed. But the CPP warned Filipinos especially the patriotic among them to be on guard, considering that “Under the Aquino regime, the puppetry and servility of the Philippine reactionary state has reached its highest levels in recent times.”


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