Tuesday, December 06, 2016

House OKs $170M in military construction, but no special hiring of foreign workers on H-2B

The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday passed a defense spending bill that provides $170 million for military construction projects on Guam, but it does not include a provision by Guam Del. Madeleine Bordallo that would have made it easier for local contractors to use foreign labor.
Bordallo acknowledged that immigration-related legislation doesn’t have support from Republican leaders in Congress. “I am deeply disappointed that my language to address the H-2B visa challenges on Guam was not included in the final conference report,” Bordallo said.
At the request of Guam’s construction industry, Bordallo tried to change the defense spending bill to address a nearly 100-percent rejection rate for workers on H-2B visas. Hundreds of foreign workers have been sent home this year after their Guam employers couldn't get their H-2B visas renewed or approved.

Congress nixes H-2B relief

Worker numbers continue to fall

"I am deeply disappointed that my language to address the H-2B visa challenges on Guam was not included in the final conference report."– Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo

While the number of H-2B workers on Guam continues to dwindle, Congress has dropped a provision in the fiscal year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would have provided some relief to contractors working on military projects.
According to a November House of Representatives conference report, the House receded in negotiations to bring the amendment into the final draft of the NDAA. The amendment would have granted the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services flexibility to approve H-2B application renewals for contractors involved in military construction projects as well as renewals for temporary workers in Guam's medical industry.

China likely to conduct regular military flights near Okinawa: deputy minister

China is likely to conduct more flights over the Miyako Strait between Japan’s Miyako Islands on a regular basis following a flyover of the strategic waterway last month, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday.
Six Chinese military aircraft flew over the strait as part of a long-distance training exercise on Nov. 25, which was also China’s first military flight around Taiwan, Deputy Minister of National Defense Admiral Lee Hsi-ming (李喜明) told a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee in Taipei.
The flight, which prompted the Japan Air Self-Defense Force to scramble fighter jets to conduct surveillance, might become a routine training exercise, Lee said.

Carter's Asia trip spotlights issues for next Pentagon head

TOKYO - Carter's Asia trip spotlights issues for next Pentagon head  — Ash Carter's final swing across Asia as Pentagon chief shines a spotlight on tough issues to be inherited by his successor, from concern in Tokyo and Seoul about being forced to pay more for U.S. military protection to worry across the region about North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

Carter also will hand off to the next defense secretary unfinished diplomatic business, including deployment of a U.S. missile defense system in South Korea that North Korea and China consider provocative, and uncertain military relations with a longtime treaty ally, the Philippines.

An increasingly muscular China, too, presents the incoming Trump administration with significant military challenges. Among them are Beijing's moves to establish military footholds on artificial reefs and islets in the South China Sea, which has become a flashpoint.

The US military now sees Russia as its biggest threat

SIMI VALLEY, California — Russia's increasing military activities around the world have unsettled top US military officials, who say they are reshaping their budget plans to better address what they now consider to be the most pressing threat to US security.
"Russia is the No. 1 threat to the United States. We have a number of threats that we're dealing with, but Russia could be, because of the nuclear aspect, an existential threat to the United States," Deborah James, the secretary of the Air Force, told Reuters in an interview at the annual Reagan National Defense Forum.

The US military expected a Japanese attack in 1941–but not in Hawaii, explains ‘Countdown to Pearl Harbor’

By Bob Drogin / Los Angeles Times
AS Hollywood regularly reminds us, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on December 7, 1941, was an act of duplicity so monstrous that President Franklin D. Roosevelt called it a “date which will live in infamy”.
Japanese warplanes appeared without warning early that Sunday, sinking or disabling 16 US battleships, cruisers and other warships. The sneak attack killed more than 2,400 Americans and forced the reluctant nation into the caldron of  World War II.
But the iconic images and stirring oratory largely overshadowed disturbing questions of culpability. Why was the Navy’s Pacific Fleet caught at anchor? Why did the Army provide no defense? And was the attack really a surprise?

Monday, December 05, 2016

U.S. reshaping budget to account for Russian military threat

By Andrea Shalal | SIMI VALLEY, CALIF.
Russia's increasing military activities around the world have unsettled top U.S. military officials, who say they are reshaping their budget plans to better address what they now consider to be the most pressing threat to U.S. security.
"Russia is the No. 1 threat to the United States. We have a number of threats that we're dealing with, but Russia could be, because of the nuclear aspect, an existential threat to the United States," Air Force Secretary Deborah James told Reuters in an interview at the annual Reagan National Defense Forum.

Picking a War with China


As Official Washington obsesses about Russia, the Obama administration is mounting a similar strategy against China, surrounding it and then accusing it of “aggression,” as John Pilger explains.
By John Pilger

When I first went to Hiroshima in 1967, the shadow on the steps was still there. It was an almost perfect impression of a human being at ease: legs splayed, back bent, one hand by her side as she sat waiting for a bank to open. At a quarter past eight on the morning of Aug. 6, 1945, she and her silhouette were burned into the granite. I stared at the shadow for an hour or more, unforgettably. When I returned many years later, it was gone: taken away, “disappeared”, a political embarrassment.
A confrontation looms between US and China as both countries engaged in military build up in South East Asia, World War 3 update reveals.
Journalist John Pilgar warns of a possible nuclear war between the two countries in his new documentary The Coming War On China
“The aim of this film is to break a silence: the United States and China may be on the road to war, and nuclear war is no longer unthinkable,” a Daily Star article quotes Pilgar. 
The journalist disclosed that US military commanders have deployed forces at bases in the Pacific islands and South Korea.

Opinion: ASEAN cannot ignore rising Asia-Pacific tensions

A series of developments over the past weeks has definitely increased the diplomatic and military tensions in Asia-Pacific, which the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) cannot ignore because these could, by some miscalculation by trigger-happy military commanders of North Korea, China, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan or the US, ignite a real deadly nuclear war in the region.
The worst scenario: it could even spark a third world war.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

US warns crackdown in Myanmar could radicalize Rohingya

WASHINGTON — It's a scene straight out of Myanmar's dark past: a military offensive waged beyond world view that forces ethnic minority villagers from the smoldering ruins of their homes.
The U.S. government, a key sponsor of Myanmar's democratic transition, says a security crackdown that has displaced tens of thousands Rohingya Muslims and left an unknown number dead risks radicalizing a downtrodden people and stoking religious tensions in Southeast Asia.
The military moved in after armed attacks by unknown assailants on police posts along the border with Bangladesh in October. The attacks in Rakhine State were a possible sign that a small number of Rohingya were starting to fight back against persecution by majority Buddhists who view them as illegal immigrants although many have lived in Myanmar for generations.

India-US military ties closest ever: US defence secretary

WASHINGTON: Days ahead of his visit to India, US defence secretary Ashton Carter on Sunday said that the defence relationship between the world's two largest democracies has never been as close it is now.

"The US-India defence relationship is the closest it's ever been. Through our strategic handshake — with America reaching west in the rebalance, and India reaching east in what Prime Minister Narendra Modi calls his Act East policy — our two nations are exercising together by air, land, and sea like never before," Carter said.

Carter, who would be in India next week, said this in his address to the Regan National Defence Forum in Simi Valley, California.
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The outgoing US defence secretary's last overseas trip includes Japan, India, Israel,Bahrain, Italy and the UK.

Fanohge with Standing Rock

Guam residents are getting ready to ‘Fanohge with Standing Rock’ through three upcoming events planned this month, including a wave and chen’ chule drive on December 9 and a prayer ceremony led by a member of the Pawnee Nation at the Guam National Wildlife Refuge in Ritidian on December 10. 
The events are aimed at showing support for Native American protesters in North Dakota, who hope to stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline from running through their ancestral burial grounds. The $3.8 billion project would construct a pipeline that stretches across four states and 1,172 miles, and would serve to carry Bakken oil patch crude from North Dakota to a hub in Patoka, Illinois.
The proceeds of the two fundraisers will go towards the Water Protectors’ Legal Fund, which serves to benefit Standing Rock protesters and help cover the costs of injuries or legal fees sustained during protests and arrests. 

Friday, December 02, 2016

20 years after SACO agreement, Okinawa base plans languishing

Friday marked 20 years since the Japanese and U.S. governments announced the final report by the Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) for realigning, consolidating and reducing U.S. military facilities and areas in Okinawa Prefecture, including the return of 11 U.S. military facilities and other issues.
Both governments hope to relieve the prefecture’s burden of hosting U.S. bases by implementing a partial return of the Northern Training Area, the largest U.S. military facility in the prefecture, covering land in the villages of Kunigami and Higashi, on Dec. 22. However, the return of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station land in Ginowan in the prefecture, which was the main feature of the SACO final report, has not been translated into reality.

Naha symposium addresses dangers facing Yambaru from U.S. military in Takae, Henoko, Ie-jima


November 27, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo
On the evening of November 26, at a youth assembly hall (Okinawa-ken Seinenkaikan Horu) in Naha City, an Okinawan group opposing military base relocation within Okinawa held an urgent symposium on protecting the whole of Yambaru from becoming a danger zone in the Ie-jime, Takae, and Henoko triangle. Two hundred and fifty people attended the symposium. During the panel discussion problems such as helipad construction, Henoko base construction, and Ie-jima landing strip extension were examined from various angles, including construction illegality and environmental destruction.
In regards to helipad construction in Takae, biologist Masako Yafuso explained that there is no established method to restore the subtropical nature that has been destroyed. She said that the important thing now is to halt construction, even if only for a minute.

Governor suggests reluctant acceptance of helipad construction, remains opposed to Osprey


November 29, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo
On November 28, Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga held an interview with multiple news outlets in advance of the two-year anniversary of his inauguration as governor on December 10. Regarding the plan to return slightly more than half of the U.S. military’s Northern Training Area in Higashi Village and Kunigami Village, the return being conditioned on construction of new U.S. military helipads, Onaga said, “This is the ultimate painful decision. It is difficult to object to the return of roughly four thousand hectares of land,” essentially expressing acceptance of the helipad construction.
Onaga then said, “When thinking about the steady implementation of the SACO (Special Action Committee on Okinawa) report and the relationship of trust with the two villages [of Higashi and Kunigami], I think everything converges on the removal of the Osprey.” When announcing his campaign pledges in October 2014 prior to being elected, Onaga explicitly stated that he opposed the helipads in connection with his call for the Osprey to be removed from Okinawa, and his recent comment thus constitutes a practical revocation of his campaign pledge. He reaffirmed his stance of continuing to oppose the new base construction in Henoko.

US Pacific commander visits Sri Lanka, praising new regime

By K. Ratnayake 
3 December 2016
US Pacific Command (PACOM) chief Admiral Harry B. Harris visited Sri Lanka late last month to stress the island’s importance for the US military buildup in the Indo-Pacific region against China.
Harris, the first four-star US officer to visit Sri Lanka in almost a decade, told the Galle Dialogue International Maritime Conference that he was pleased to be deepening the “military-to-military relationship” between the two countries. He was the key speaker at the annual security meeting, which was attended by senior naval officials from 42 countries, including the US, India, Pakistan, Australia, Germany and the Netherlands. The official theme of this year’s event was, “Fostering Strategic Maritime Partnerships.”

Philippine Typhoon Survivors Protest over US Military Presence

MANILA - A group of protesters gathered Friday near the US Embassy in Manila to rally against the United States' military presence in the Southeast Asian country, as they called for upcoming war games in the city of Ormoc to be cancelled.

Some 20 protesters - including survivors of Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines on Nov. 8, 2013 leaving a trail of destruction - burned a mock US flag and waved banners bearing slogans such as "No to war games", an epa journalist reports.

In a statement, nationalist group Bayan Eastern Visayas said the protest was organized to condemn the alleged use of disaster aid as justification for the US' ongoing military presence in the Philippines.

Lots of military brass on Trump's cabinet shortlist

President-elect Donald Trump has put several U.S. military luminaries on his cabinet shortlist — including what could mark a public-service rebirth for retired Army Gen. David Petraeus.

 Trump met with Petraeus on Monday in New York to interview him for secretary of state. Afterward, the former Army general told reporters it was a “very good conversation, and we’ll see where it goes from here.”

 Petraeus is the one-time U.S. Central Command leader and CIA director whose meteoric career trajectory was halted in 2012 by a scandal over an affair and mishandling classified material. Petraeus had an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, and gave her improper access to information. When exposed, Petraeus had to resign as CIA director. He later pleaded guilty in a misdemeanor deal that avoided jail time.

Suicide should be ruled misconduct more often, lawyer says

The Air Force is investigating whether Col. Eugene Caughey, 46, formerly the vice commander of the 50th Space Wing at Schriever Air Force Base, died in the line of duty.  Caughery shot himself three weeks before his court-martial on rape, sexual assault and adultery charges was scheduled to start in October.

 The Army is investigating the same thing in the suicide of Master Sgt. Timothy Shelton. Shelton, 46, was convicted of sexual abuse of a child at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky on July 15, 2015. He shot himself with a gun retrived from his parked truck after a lunch break before he was to be sentenced.

Andersen commander updates Rotarians on plans

The Rotary Club of Guam met yesterday for their weekly meeting at the Pacific Star Resort and Spa, where Brig. Gen. Douglas Cox was the guest speaker at the luncheon meeting. A 1989 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Cox serves as the commander of the Pacific Air Forces 36th Wing, stationed at Andersen Air Force Base.
Rotarians were briefed on a broad overview of exercises and plans happening at the northern air base.

The US's military edge over Russia and China has come down to one plane

Since World War II, the US has dominated the skies in any region in which it wishes to project power — but recent competition from countries like Russia and China threaten to erode that edge, and only a small group of elite pilots maintain the US's edge in air superiority.
Russia has deployed powerful missile-defense batteries to Syria and its European enclave of Kaliningrad. The US Air Force can't operate in those domains without severe risk. US President Barack Obama himself has acknowledged that these missile deployments greatly complicate and limit the US's options to project power in Syria.

British fighters to overfly South China Sea; carriers in Pacific after 2020: UK envoy

British fighter planes visiting Japan will fly over the South China Sea and Britain will sail aircraft carriers in the Pacific once they are operational in 2020, given concerns about freedom of navigation there, Britain’s ambassador to the United States said on Thursday.
The envoy, Kim Darroch, told a Washington think tank that British Typhoon aircraft currently deployed on a visit to Japan would fly across disputed parts of the South China Sea to assert international overflight rights, but gave no time frame.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Bevacqua: Decolonization is a form of justice

The late French philosopher Jacques Derrida referred to “justice” as a term we use for impossible things. It is a word that we use for things that we can’t ever seem to resolve, about the problems of the past and the present. When a wrong is committed, justice is the word we use for things done in the name of fixing the problems that emerge from that violence, from that harm.
But there is no precise science to justice, no easy way to agree upon what is the appropriate means of making amends for something. Criminal justice systems, restorative justice, reparations, apologies — these are all ways that we try to channel the trauma of the past.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Military awards $9.63 million job to LMS

[GREAT use of money when we don't even have enough for basic social services for our civilian population!  But hey, at least the bases will have almost $10 million of landscaping.]

Landscape Management Systems has been awarded a $9.63 million modification under its contract to provide ground maintenance and tree trimming services Naval Base Guam and Naval Support Activity Andersen, according to an announcement on the military’s contracting website.
The work is to be completed by November 2017.

Retired U.S. Admirals Debate China’s Military Might

American allies and partners in the Pacific don’t Washington or Beijing, “to do anything stupid” that would lead to war after the Trump administration takes office in January, retired Rear Adm. Mike McDevitt, USN, said Tuesday.
The allies and partners “don’t want to have to choose” sides in such a dispute. They want the United States to be “an over-the-horizon force” to counter China militarily. At the same time, they recognize their dependence on China economically, the senior fellow at CAN said during a debate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Tuesday.

Right-Wing Viewpoint: A U.S. Army Role in Countering China’s A2/AD Efforts: The Expeditionary Coastal Artillery Brigade

In much of Asia, ground forces continue to exercise substantial political and bureaucratic power. In most Asian militaries, the ground forces are the largest service and control a substantial portion of most nations’ military budgets. This, in turn, means that ground force commanders exercise substantial political power, both within their respective national security establishments, and also in their political environments. Consequently, the U.S. Army potentially plays a vital role through its interactions with local militaries as fellow ground force leaders who speak the same “language.” This political role is further enhanced by the common desire among many of these militaries to work with a premier ground force, arguably the premier ground force in the world. Because of the various wars in which the United States has engaged since 1990, the U.S. Army has combat experience that is unrivaled in the Asia–Pacific region—which means that the U.S. Army represents a key means of engaging significant military and political players throughout the Asia–Pacific region.

US Coast Guard Chief Seeks Expanded Asia-Pacific Role

The top U.S. Coast Guard official is eyeing a unique role for his fleet in maintaining peace and stability in the East and the South China seas under the incoming presidential administration.

 By mirroring the role of China's Coast Guard in parts of the Asia-Pacific, said Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Paul Zukunft, the U.S. Coast Guard could be the face of U.S. military presence in disputed waters without appearing too threatening.

 "When you look at the East and South China seas, look at China's Coast Guard, it is really the first face of China," he told VOA. "So I've proposed to the Department of Defense that if they were to leverage the U.S. Coast Guard, I would look at providing resources to provide the face of the United States behind a Coast Guard ship, and should that be a consideration for our approach to the East and South China seas with the next administration."

Opinion - Trump must salvage the 'Pacific pivot'

It is said in military organizations that "no good idea survives a change-of-command ceremony," and the same may be said of a U.S. presidential inauguration. Despite several years of advocacy -- with surprisingly little actual shift of attention or resources -- the much vaunted "Pacific pivot" of the Obama administration seems unlikely to be a central organizing feature of a Trump presidency, to say the least. Where will Asia policy go under the new administration? And what does it mean for Asia in the security dimension?

China Wants Stable Ties with Trump Administation

China said Wednesday that it hopes to work with the incoming administration of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump to promote healthy and stable ties between the two nations’ armed forces.
Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said efforts by both Beijing and Washington — including high-level visits, institutional consultations, academic exchanges, and joint training — have further developed military ties.
While the two powers have frequently spared over issues such as North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and the disputed South China Sea, Yang said both have been trying to improve communication on the military front and reduce the risk of misunderstandings.

15TH India-Us military cooperation group meeting begins

New Delhi, Nov 30 (IBNS): A two-day meeting of the 15th India-US Military Cooperation Group (MCG) began here on Wednesday.
India-US MCG is a forum established to progress Defence Cooperation between HQ Integrated Defence Staff and US Pacific Command at the strategic and operational levels.

Pacom Chief Praises Stronger Indo-Asia-Pacific Maritime Partnerships

WASHINGTON, Nov. 29, 2016 — As U.S. forces strengthen ties in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, the island nation of Sri Lanka has emerged as a significant contributor to regional stability and security, U.S. Pacific Command’s commander said yesterday at the Galle Dialogue 2016 conference in Sri Lanka’s capital city of Colombo.
The first American four-star officer to visit Sri Lanka in almost a decade, Navy Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr. said at the two-day international maritime conference that he was pleased to see a deepened military-to-military relationship between Sri Lanka and the United States.
“To continue along a prosperous path, we must expand partnerships among like-minded nations to uphold the rules-based global operating system,” Harris said. “This helps build what [Defense Secretary Ash] Carter calls a ‘principled security network.’”

Japan scrambles jets as Chinese warplanes fly near Okinawa


The Chinese military has conducted air force drills in the western Pacific close to Beijing’s regional rivals Japan and Taiwan on Friday and Saturday. The Japanese Air Force scrambled fighter jets to shadow the Chinese planes.
On Friday, Chinese military planes flew through the Bashi Channel that separates Taiwan and the Philippines. Later on Saturday, the planes passed through the Miyako Strait near Japan's Okinawa island, which hosts a large portion of the US military troops stationed in the country.
The Chinese Air Force said the annual drills went as scheduled and “are not aimed at any specific country, region or target.”

Informed-Public Project seeks environmental justice on Okinawa


A recently founded organization on Okinawa is attempting to hold to account the powers-that-be for the damage that military contamination is causing the island’s environment.
Established this year by Masami Kawamura, the Informed-Public Project (IPP) seeks to bring transparency to the often murky dealings between the national governments of the United States and Japan, as well as Okinawa’s prefectural authorities.
“Tokyo is officially supposed to act as a go-between, delivering Okinawa’s requests to the U.S. side,” Kawamura says. “However, the Japanese government sometimes works in dishonest ways that distort or minimize Okinawans’ will. What’s worse is the prefecture’s failure to oversee these exchanges.”

Feature: Okinawa mourns murder of local girl by U.S. military worker, calls rise for base-hosting liberation

by Jon Day
TOKYO, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- Japanese people in the southernmost prefecture of Okinawa observed six months since the arrest of a U.S. military worker who was suspected of brutally raping and killing a young women, with thousands paying tributes and eulogies at the site of the women's murder on both Saturday and Sunday while calling for the island's base-hosting burdens to be lifted.
As evidenced by the outpouring of grief over the weekend observers close to the matter said that it was apparent that anti-U.S. base sentiment is steadily on the rise in the prefecture that hosts the vast majority of the U.S.'s military bases in Japan, and Okinawans are adamant that the central government and the U.S. returning land used by the bases and relocating the troops off the island is the only way for them to ever hope to lead normal lives.
"It seems as though just as we recover from one horrific incident involving losing one of our family members, neighbors, or our friends, at the hands of (U.S.) troops here, another situation occurs," Yuichiro Taga, 71, the owner of a small hotel in Naha, Okinawa's capital, lamented to local media Sunday.

EDITORIAL: Upcoming base return does little to reduce burden on Okinawa

About half of the 7,824-hectare U.S. Marine Corps Northern Training Area in Okinawa Prefecture, also known as Camp Gonsalves, will be returned to Japan on Dec. 22.
The return will be marked by ceremonies at the prime minister’s office in Tokyo and in the southern prefecture.
A plan for the return of the jungle warfare training area, which straddles the villages of Higashi and Kunigami, was part of the final report in 1996 of the Japan-U.S. Special Action Committee on Okinawa. We appreciate the very fact that the longstanding plan, which has remained pending for two decades, is finally going to be realized.
Questions and concerns abound, however.

Four arrested in Okinawa for obstructing U.S. base transfer work


Four men were arrested Tuesday for obstructing work on moving a major U.S. military base within Okinawa, police said, despite local pressure for it to be shifted outside of the island prefecture.
The four men are suspected of piling around 1,400 concrete blocks at the gate of the U.S. Marine Corps Camp Schwab from Jan. 28 to 30, blocking the passage of vehicles used for construction work, the police said.
The four also allegedly obstructed the movement of trucks hauling construction materials by standing in front of the vehicles, and had other protesters sit on the blocks on Jan. 30.
Camp Schwab is located close to where Japan is building a replacement facility for Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.

Contamination: Documents reveal hundreds of unreported environmental accidents at three U.S. Marine Corps bases on Okinawa


Documents recently released under the Freedom of Information Act show that the U.S. military has been keeping hundreds of environmental accidents at three of its most important bases on Okinawa under wraps

BY 
SPECIAL TO THE JAPAN TIMES
Since 2002, at least 270 environmental accidents on U.S. Marine Corps bases on Okinawa have contaminated land and local waterways but, until now, few of these incidents have been made public. Internal reports highlight serious flaws in training and suggest the lessons of past accidents have not been effectively implemented. Moreover, recent USMC guidelines order service members not to inform Japanese authorities of accidents deemed “politically sensitive,” raising concerns that many incidents may have gone intentionally unreported.
Catalogued in 403 pages of USMC handbooks and reports obtained under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, the accidents occurred on three of the USMC’s most important installations on Okinawa: Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Camp Hansen and Camp Schwab. The earliest report is dated June 2002 and the most recent is from June 2016.
Although the original FOIA request sought documents from 1995 to 2016, only three reports were released for the period between 1995 and 2005. Likewise, no reports for Camp Schwab were released for the years 2008 and 2010, nor were there any documents related to the crash of a HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter on Camp Hansen in August 2013. At the time, the crash caused a public outcry because it occurred near a dam and dangerous levels of arsenic were later discovered in the vicinity.

Trump's parade of retired generals raises questions

WASHINGTON — The military parade for Donald Trump has come early. Two months before Inauguration Day festivities, an extraordinary number of recently retired generals, including some who clashed with President Barack Obama's administration, are marching to the president-elect's doorstep for job interviews.

 It's not unusual for an incoming administration to consider a retired general for a top position like CIA director. But Trump has turned to retired officers so publicly and in such large numbers that it raises questions about the proper balance of military and civilian advice in a White House led by a commander in chief with no defense or foreign policy experience.

 The tilt toward military officials may reflect a limited pool of civilian options. Many officials from previous Republican administrations politically disowned Trump during the campaign, calling him unqualified. And Trump suggested he wouldn't want many of them, as he vowed to "drain the swamp" by running establishment figures out of town.

 Robert Goldich, a retired government defense analyst who has watched administrations for 44 years, says Trump's focus on retired generals might be unprecedented.

Opinion: It's time to drop Operation Christmas Drop


As a note, the us military (U.S. Military), america/americans (America/Americans), have been purposely left lowercase, not to offend those who identify under these labels, but to express the contempt I feel for these entities in this specific context.    
At first it all seemed like just another charitable event, like many others, a good cause. However, learning more over the years, gaining a better understanding of indigenous communities on one end and the pursuits of the us military on the other, have led me to a point where I am now — feeling disgusted, sometimes depressed yet desperate to take action while at the same time remaining cautious that I, like my forbearers, don’t do more harm than good.

Guam Land Could Go to Traditional Chamorro Healers


Guam lawmakers are considering legislation that would dedicate 15 acres of land on the eastern shore of the island to preserve the Chamorro indigenous art of herbal healing.
The bill was discussed during Monday's legislative session, The Pacific Daily News reported (http://bit.ly/2gEkIU1).
The proposal states that the land in Mangilao will be designated to increase access to plants for Chamorro traditional healers, or suruhana and suruhanu. It would also protect a variety of plants and the land from residential or commercial development.
Speaker Judith Won Pat said preserving the traditional healing arts on Guam is a challenge because many herbal plants are on military land.
"The unfortunate thing about it is that some of these you can't just pick them at the hour set by the military," Won Pat said.

Trump's military ambitions could run into budget buzzsaw

As President-elect Donald Trump narrows down his pick for secretary of defense, military spending is close to historic highs with $596 billion budgeted in 2016. The United States spends more on defense than the next seven countries combined, including China, Saudi Arabia and Russia.
Trump’s military readiness plan may drive spending even higher. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates his plan would add another $150 billion in spending.
The plan includes building an active Army of around 540,000 personnel and an Air Force of at least 1,200 fighter aircraft. Those numbers are based on recommendations from various government agencies and think tanks.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

US Navy Plans To Release 20,000 Tons Of Explosives, Heavy Metals Into Pacific Ocean

The US Navy is set to release massive amounts of explosives and contaminants along the country’s Western coast over the next 20 years.
Several times a year, the US publicizes its “war games,” both domestic and abroad, allowing the massive, heavily-funded US military to showcase its might, develop new strategies, and test combat readiness. Yet, ignored all too often is the environmental impact of these exercises which, since World War I, have left behind tons of bombs, heavy metals, explosives, depleted uranium, missiles, and sonarbuoys, which contaminate the world’s oceans and harm humans and marine animals alike. Even though the outright dumping of chemical weapons was banned in 1972, the Navy has continued to carry out a policy of “leaving behind” munitions and explosives following its military exercises. The Navy, for its part, insists that the “contamination of the marine environment by munitions constituentis not well documented,” though critics insist that the Navy has intentionally not looked for or measured its environmental impacts.

China slams ‘unprecedented’ US military build-up in Asia

Barack Obama has overseen an “unprecedented” US military build-up in the Asia-Pacific region, according to Chinese government-backed analysts, who warn that a dramatic rise in US surveillance activities threatens stability in the region
At the dawn of a new era in US foreign policy heralded by the election of Donald Trump as US president, analysts at the National Institute for South China Sea Studies said they saw the “rebalance” to Asia launched by the US in 2009 as dangerously escalatory. 
The US “is continuously increasing its military deployments and military base network in the Asia-Pacific region,” Wu Shicun, the institute’s director, said at a press conference on Friday. “Currently the scale of US military deployments in the region is unprecedented.”