Your Source for Leaks Around the World!

Author Archive

Wastebook 2014: 100 Most Outlandish US Gov’t Expenditures Totaling $25 Billion

In Archive, Economy, Politics, USA on October 22, 2014 at 1:05 PM

10/22/2014

WashingtonTimes:

Plenty of lawmakers talk about rooting out government waste, but Senator Tom Coburn makes a cause of it. He deploys staffers to peruse newspapers and dig through government websites to spot the tens of billions of dollars in pork, boondoggles and extravagance that have contributed to the government’s trillions of dollars of debt.

Coburn is retiring at the end of this year after a decade in the Senate, meaning the 239-page, meticulously footnoted volume he is releasing Wednesday will be his final Wastebook as senator. His departure is raising questions about who, if anyone, will pick up his oversight banner.

“To bureaucrats and politicians, none of this is waste, which is why the only way to stop wasteful Washington spending is by shining a light on it whenever and wherever it occurs, even if it is in your own state — especially when it is in your own state,” Coburn told The Washington Times. “That is why I think every member of Congress should issue their own version of Wastebook so we can debate and set our national priorities every year.”

The Times was allowed to watch some of the decision-making behind this year’s report as the senator and his staff talked through the projects, debated the order of the 10 most wasteful and drafted the report’s cover. This edition is designed to mimic the salacious supermarket tabloids in a commentary on how ridiculous some of the projects have become.

Leading this year’s edition is $19 million in salaries that the government paid to workers who were suspended from their jobs, usually because of misconduct that would have resulted in outright firing at a private company. Other highlights include the $50,000 spent to study whether sea monkeys’ swimming changes the flow of oceans, $450,000 that the Homeland Security Department spent on high-end gym memberships for staffers whose federal health insurance already pays for gym benefits and the increasing number of veterans who get disability payments by claiming sleep apnea at a cost Coburn said could reach $1.2 billion.

All told, Coburn identifies $25 billion in waste from the 100 projects.

More…

Coburn.senate.gov:

“With no one watching over the vast bureaucracy, the problem is not just what Washington isn’t doing, but what it is doing.” Dr. Coburn said. “Only someone with too much of someone else’s money and not enough accountability for how it was being spent could come up some of these projects.”

“I have learned from these experiences that Washington will never change itself. But even if the politicians won’t stop stupid spending, taxpayers always have the last word.”

Congress actually forced federal agencies to waste billions of dollars for purely parochial, political purposes.

For example, lawmakers attached a rider to a larger bill requiring NASA to build a $350 million launch pad tower, which was mothballed as soon as it was completed because the rockets it was designed to test were scrapped years ago. Similarly, when USDA attempted to close an unneeded sheep research station costing nearly $2 million every year to operate, politicians in the region stepped in to keep it open.

Examples of wasteful spending highlighted in “Wastebook 2014” include:

  • Coast guard party patrols – $100,000
  • Watching grass grow – $10,000
  • State department tweets @ terrorists – $3 million
  • Swedish massages for rabbits – $387,000
  • Paid vacations for bureaucrats gone wild – $20 million
  • Mountain lions on a treadmill – $856,000
  • Synchronized swimming for sea monkeys – $50,000
  • Pentagon to destroy $16 billion in unused ammunition — $1 billion
  • Scientists hope monkey gambling unlocks secrets of free will –$171,000
  • Rich and famous rent out their luxury pads tax free – $10 million
  • Studying “hangry” spouses stabbing voodoo dolls – $331,000
  • Promoting U.S. culture around the globe with nose flutists – $90 million

Related Link: Wastebook 2013

Islamic State Video Allegedly Shows Possession of U.S. Air Dropped Weapons

In Archive, ISIS, Islamic State, Military, Syria, Terrorism, USA on October 21, 2014 at 9:37 PM

10/21/2014

Josh Rogin/DailyBeast:

In a new video, ISIS shows American-made weapons it says were intended for the Kurds but actually were air dropped into territory they control.

At least one bundle of U.S. weapons airdropped in Syria appears to have fallen into the hands of ISIS, a dangerous misfire in the American mission to speed aid to Kurdish forces making their stand in Kobani.

An ISIS-associated YouTube account posted a new video online Tuesday entitled, “Weapons and munitions dropped by American planes and landed in the areas controlled by the Islamic State in Kobani.” The video was also posted on the Twitter account of “a3maq news,” which acts as an unofficial media arm of ISIS. The outfit has previously posted videos of ISIS fighters firing American made Howitzer cannons and seizing marijuana fields in Syria.

ISIS had broadly advertised its acquisition of a broad range of U.S.-made weapons during its rampage across Iraq. ISIS videos have showed its fighters driving U.S. tanks, MRAPs, Humvees. There are unconfirmed reports ISIS has stolen three fighter planes from Iraqi bases it conquered.

Senior administration officials said Sunday that three American planes dropped a total of 27 bundles near Kobani and more U.S. air drops could come as part of the joint U.S.-Iraqi effort to aid Kurdish fighters in the Kobani area. The supplies were provided by Kurdish authorities, the official said. There have also been at least 135 air strikes against ISIS in the area, according to the State Department.

The authenticity of this latest video could not be independently confirmed, but the ISIS fighters in the video are in possession of a rich bounty of American hand grenades, rounds for small rockets, and other supplies that they will surely turn around and use on the Kurdish forces they are fighting in and around the Turkish border city.

In the new footage, many of the weapons appear to be U.S. made. But at least one American logistics specialist has his doubts about the authenticity of the video’s claims.

“I’ve watched the video several times and it appears bogus to me,” e-mailed Dakota Wood, a former U.S. Central Command logistics planner, now with the Heritage Foundation. “The RPG [[rocket propelled grenade] rounds seem packaged properly, but the final box opened has Spanish markings. The canister opened at the end of the video is not representative of a current U.S. grenade (all our frag grenades are baseball shaped). The photo of M-16s is highly questionable, as the packaging shown is what one would see at a civilian gun show, instead of the packaging I’m familiar with from shipments to armories. Plus, those boxes also don’t fit with the air drop bundle shown.”

Wood added, “Why deliver a box of loose grenades all tumbling around knowing it’s going to be dropped from x-1000 feet? Why brand new M16s in cardboard boxes that are displayed on tables in a camo-netted setting when the drop occurred in the middle of some pretty sparse terrain and the video/pictures are shared so soon after the drop? There are just a lot of odd elements. And we know from so much propaganda video from all sides that folks will put together and post just about anything to puff-up their story.”

Related Links:

Islamic State Weapons/Ammunition in Iraq and Syria

Iraq Pilots Mistakenly Gave Food, Ammunition to ISIS Militants

U.S. Humanitarian Aid Going to ISIS

CIA Study of Covert Aid Fueled Skepticism About Helping Syrian Rebels

The Descent of Libya: From Africa’s Richest State Under Gaddafi, to Failed State After NATO Intervention

In Archive, Gaddafi, Libya, NATO on October 21, 2014 at 8:52 PM

libya-descent

10/19/2014

Garikai Chengu/GlobalResearch:

This week marks the three-year anniversary of the Western-backed assassination of Libya’s former president, Muammar Gaddafi, and the fall of one of Africa’s greatest nations.

In 1967 Colonel Gaddafi inherited one of the poorest nations in Africa; however, by the time he was assassinated, Gaddafi had turned Libya into Africa’s wealthiest nation. Libya had the highest GDP per capita and life expectancy on the continent. Less people lived below the poverty line than in the Netherlands.

After NATO’s intervention in 2011, Libya is now a failed state and its economy is in shambles. As the government’s control slips through their fingers and into to the militia fighters’ hands, oil production has all but stopped.

The militias variously local, tribal, regional, Islamist or criminal, that have plagued Libya since NATO’s intervention, have recently lined up into two warring factions. Libya now has two governments, both with their own Prime Minister, parliament and army.

On one side, in the West of the country, Islamist-allied militias took over control of the capital Tripoli and other cities and set up their own government, chasing away a parliament that was elected over the summer.

On the other side, in the East of the Country, the “legitimate” government dominated by anti-Islamist politicians, exiled 1,200 kilometers away in Tobruk, no longer governs anything.

The fall of Gaddafi’s administration has created all of the country’s worst-case scenarios: Western embassies have all left, the South of the country has become a haven for terrorists, and the Northern coast a center of migrant trafficking. Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia have all closed their borders with Libya. This all occurs amidst a backdrop of widespread rape, assassinations and torture that complete the picture of a state that is failed to the bone.

America is clearly fed up with the two inept governments in Libya and is now backing a third force: long-time CIA asset, General Khalifa Hifter, who aims to set himself up as Libya’s new dictator. Hifter, who broke with Gaddafi in the 1980s and lived for years in Langley, Virginia, close to the CIA’s headquarters, where he was trained by the CIA, has taken part in numerous American regime change efforts, including the aborted attempt to overthrow Gaddafi in 1996.

In 1991 the New York Times reported that Hifter may have been one of “600 Libyan soldiers trained by American intelligence officials in sabotage and other guerrilla skills…to fit in neatly into the Reagan Administration’s eagerness to topple Colonel Qaddafi”.

Hifter’s forces are currently vying with the Al Qaeda group Ansar al-Sharia for control of Libya’s second largest city, Benghazi. Ansar al-Sharia was armed by America during the NATO campaign against Colonel Gaddafi. In yet another example of the U.S. backing terrorists backfiring, Ansar al-Sharia has recently been blamed by America for the brutal assassination of U.S. Ambassador Stevens.

Hifter is currently receiving logistical and air support from the U.S. because his faction envision a mostly secular Libya open to Western financiers, speculators, and capital.

Perhaps, Gaddafi’s greatest crime, in the eyes of NATO, was his desire to put the interests of local labour above foreign capital and his quest for a strong and truly United States of Africa. In fact, in August 2011, President Obama confiscated $30 billion from Libya’s Central Bank, which Gaddafi had earmarked for the establishment of the African IMF and African Central Bank.

In 2011, the West’s objective was clearly not to help the Libyan people, who already had the highest standard of living in Africa, but to oust Gaddafi, install a puppet regime, and gain control of Libya’s natural resources.

For over 40 years, Gaddafi promoted economic democracy and used the nationalized oil wealth to sustain progressive social welfare programs for all Libyans. Under Gaddafi’s rule, Libyans enjoyed not only free health-care and free education, but also free electricity and interest-free loans. Now thanks to NATO’s intervention the health-care sector is on the verge of collapse as thousands of Filipino health workers flee the country, institutions of higher education across the East of the country are shut down, and black outs are a common occurrence in once thriving Tripoli.

One group that has suffered immensely from NATO’s bombing campaign is the nation’s women. Unlike many other Arab nations, women in Gaddafi’s Libya had the right to education, hold jobs, divorce, hold property and have an income. The United Nations Human Rights Council praised Gaddafi for his promotion of women’s rights.

When the colonel seized power in 1969, few women went to university. Today, more than half of Libya’s university students are women. One of the first laws Gaddafi passed in 1970 was an equal pay for equal work law.

Nowadays, the new “democratic” Libyan regime is clamping down on women’s rights. The new ruling tribes are tied to traditions that are strongly patriarchal. Also, the chaotic nature of post-intervention Libyan politics has allowed free reign to extremist Islamic forces that see gender equality as a Western perversion.

Three years ago, NATO declared that the mission in Libya had been “one of the most successful in NATO history.” Truth is, Western interventions have produced nothing but colossal failures in Libya, Iraq, and Syria. Lest we forget, prior to western military involvement in these three nations, they were the most modern and secular states in the Middle East and North Africa with the highest regional women’s rights and standards of living.

A decade of failed military expeditions in the Middle East has left the American people in trillions of dollars of debt. However, one group has benefited immensely from the costly and deadly wars: America’s Military-Industrial-Complex.

Building new military bases means billions of dollars for America’s military elite. As Will Blum has pointed out, following the bombing of Iraq, the United States built new bases in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

Following the bombing of Afghanistan, the United States is now building military bases in Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

Following the recent bombing of Libya, the United States has built new military bases in the Seychelles, Kenya, South Sudan, Niger and Burkina Faso.

Given that Libya sits atop the strategic intersection of the African, Middle Eastern and European worlds, Western control of the nation, has always been a remarkably effective way to project power into these three regions and beyond.

NATO’s military intervention may have been a resounding success for America’s military elite and oil companies but for the ordinary Libyan, the military campaign may indeed go down in history as one of the greatest failures of the 21st century.

 

Julian Assange Response to Svea Court of Appeal: Deprivation of Liberty, Suppressed SMS Evidence, Embassy Bugged

In Archive, Assange, Ecuador, Sweden, UK, WikiLeaks on October 21, 2014 at 10:51 AM

assange-detained-wo-charge

10/21/2014

Lawyers for Julian Assange have filed a new appeal to the Swedish court, as the WikiLeaks founder continues to be stuck in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for over two years.

In the submission presented to the Swedish Court of Appeal last Friday, Assange’s lawyers say that, “Residence in the embassy is, in other words, a result of the deprivation of liberty imposed on Assange by Sweden.” It goes on to say that his embassy sojourn is already nearly as long as the “maximum sentence for the suspected crime.”

The lawyers believe that to “break the deadlock,” the 43-year-old Australian should be questioned at the embassy in Knightsbridge, where he is staying, rather than go to Sweden, which he believes could lead to his extradition to the US. Swedish prosecutors, however, think it’s a “far-fetched idea”. But in the US this May, Julian Assange was still under “active and ongoing” criminal investigation, which started in 2010 due to WikiLeaks activity. There he may face a 35-year prison sentence for revealing classified documents on the country’s military activities in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The defense also urged the Swedish side to hand over text messages, sent by one of Assange’s accusers, which they believe could serve as evidence that there was no ground for the arrest warrant. Assange says they reveal the woman’s ambiguity over his arrest and even her opposition to the case, based on sexual assault allegations.

The WikiLeaks claim adds that Assange “is most likely under auditory surveillance,” meaning he suspects that the Ecuadorian Embassy has been bugged by the UK. In the summer of last year, a hidden microphone was found beneath a desk in the Ecuadorian ambassador’s office.

The embassy is under constant surveillance by police stationed outside. The officers involved in the operation that has so far cost £7 million have orders to arrest Assange, should he try to leave.

Assange’s lawyers warned “should he be forced to seek hospital care he will lose his political asylum and will be arrested.” Previously, Assange complained about serious health issues he had developed during his embassy confinement that began in August 2012 – a potentially life-threatening heart defect and a chronic lung condition.

Security – A Perpetual War: Lessons From Nature (Mazurczyk/Rzeszutko)

In Archive, Hacking, InfoSec, Internet on October 20, 2014 at 7:45 PM

October 2014

Wojciech Mazurczyk/Elżbieta Rzeszutko (h/t Cryptome):

%d bloggers like this: