With the rumour mill grinding out terrifying predictions about a 6th of April attack on Iran by the US it is perhaps not a bad idea to stand still by what this actually means in the cost of human lives and the loss of an ancient civilisation.
George Bush didn’t exactly deny Seymour Hersh’s report in The New Yorker that the Administration is considering using tactical nuclear weapons against Iran.
Neither did Scott McClellan.
Bush called it “wild speculation,” and McClellan said the United States would go ahead with “normal military contingency planning.”
Those are hardly categorical denials.
So let’s look at what the human costs of dropping a tactical nuclear weapon on Iran might entail.
They are astronomical.
“The number of deaths could exceed a million, and the number of people with increased cancer risks could exceed 10 million,” according to a backgrounder by the Union of Concerned Scientists from May 2005.
Where would the military use a stealth bomber armed with a 30,000-pound bomb, and why the rush?
Tucked inside the White House’s $196 billion emergency funding request for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is an item that has some people wondering whether the administration is preparing for military action against Iran.
The item: $88 million to modify B-2 stealth bombers so they can carry a newly developed 30,000-pound bomb called the massive ordnance penetrator, or, in military-speak, the MOP.
The MOP is the the military’s largest conventional bomb, a super “bunker-buster” capable of destroying hardened targets deep underground. The one-line explanation for the request said it is in response to “an urgent operational need from theater commanders.”
What urgent need? The Pentagon referred questions on this to Central Command.
ABC News called CENTCOM to ask what the “urgent operational need” is. CENTCOM spokesman Maj. Todd White said he would look into it, but, so far, no answer.
FORWARD OPERATING BASE CALDWELL, Iraq (CNN) — Although America’s top general in Iraq called al Qaeda “the wolf closest to the sled,” he said sectarian fighting among militias fueled by Iran could be the biggest long-term challenge for Iraq.
Petraeus says Iran must prove it is no longer supplying weapons to Iraq militias.
He said he is in a “show-me mode,” waiting to see if Iran honors a pledge to stop the flow of arms, money and training from Iran into Iraq that has helped both Shiite and Sunni militants.
“Al Qaeda remains the wolf closest to the sled, if you will. The enemy that is always bent on reigniting sectarian violence, causing the most horrific casualties, damaging the infrastructure in the most difficult way. So you cannot lose focus on al Qaeda.”
But, Petraeus added, there was “no question” that Iranian arms were ending up in the hands of the Iraqi militias and there was “no debate” that six Iranians detained by the U.S. military in northern Iraq are Iranian Quds force members, the Iranian unit accused by the United States of training and arming insurgents.
Presidential Airways, Inc is not just a nice aviation service, they have been implicated in the CIA rendition flights.
It is extremely worrying the a trigger happy mercenary group closely connected to Cheney gets this job in a highly volatile region were appart from Afghanistan no official American business is conducted.
Earlier this month, Blackwater USA was involved in the fatal shooting of 11 Iraqi civilians. While the Iraqi government swiftly condemned the contractor, the Bush administration has continued to back Blackwater’s story that it was “defensive fire.”
Last Thursday, Gen. Peter Pace told reporters, “Blackwater has been a contractor in the past with the department and could certainly be in the future.” The next day, that future was already here. The Pentagon had issued a new list of contracts, including one worth $92 million to Presidential Airways, the “aviation unit of parent company Blackwater.” From the release:
Presidential Airways, Inc., an aviation Worldwide Services company (d/b/a Blackwater Aviation), Moyock, N.C., is being awarded an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) type contract for $92,000,000.00. The contractor is to provide all fixed-wing aircraft, personnel, equipment, tools, material, maintenance and supervision necessary to perform passenger, cargo and combi Short Take-Off and Landing air transportation services between locations in the Area of Responsibility of Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan. This contract was competitively procured and two timely offers were received. The performance period is from 1 Oct. 2007 to 30 September 2011.
Blackwater involved in Rendition flights.
This flight was spotted landing at a UK airport – proof that ‘rendition ‘ flights are still taking place
By GLEN OWEN
The row over CIA ‘torture flights’ using British airports has deepened following fresh evidence that a plane repeatedly linked to the controversial programme landed in the UK just days ago.
The plane was logged arriving at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk last weekend, and watching aviation experts said the aircraft, piloted by crew clad in desert fatigues, was immediately surrounded on the runway by armed American security forces.
Its registration number, clearly visible on the fuselage, identifies it as a plane which the European Parliament says has been involved in ‘ghost flights’ to smuggle terrorist suspects to shadowy interrogation centres abroad. Records show the plane is owned by Blackwater USA, a CIA contractor described as ‘the most secretive and powerful mercenary army on the planet’. An eyewitness, who previously worked as an RAF electronic warfare expert, said that as the plane – a CASA-212 Aviocar – taxied to a stop on the runway it was met by a US military Humvee.
ATLANTA (CNN) — Air traffic controllers were forced to use their personal cell phones to reroute hundreds of flights Tuesday after the Federal Aviation Administration’s Memphis Center lost radar and telephone service for more than two hours, snarling air traffic in the middle of the nation.
The FAA’s Memphis Center lost communication service Tuesday, affecting FedEx flights and others.
A spokesman for FedEx, which has its hub in Memphis, Tennessee, said the package delivery company had diverted 11 aircraft to other cities. But most of its flights take off and land after 10 p.m., so FedEx expected the impact to be minimal, the spokesman said.
Air traffic was halted at 12:35 p.m. ET when a major communication line that feeds all the telephones at the FAA’s Memphis Center failed, said FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen.
Service was restored at 3 p.m.
The malfunction, which occurred inside a telephone company’s switching office, made it impossible for air controllers at FAA’s Memphis Center to communicate normally with adjoining centers to hand off control of flights, Bergen said.
An Open Letter to the New Generation of Military Officers Serving and Protecting Our Nation
By Dr. Robert M. Bowman, Lt. Col., USAF, ret., National Commander, The Patriots
“The Nuremberg Principles says that we in the military have not only the right, but also the DUTY to refuse an illegal order. It was on this basis that we executed Nazi officers who were ‘only carrying out their orders’… The Constitution which we are sworn to uphold says that treaties entered into by the United States are the ‘highest law of the land,’ equivalent to the Constitution itself. Accordingly, we in the military are sworn to uphold treaty law, including the United Nations charter and the Geneva Convention… Based on the above, I contend that should some civilian order you to initiate a nuclear attack on Iran (for example), you are duty-bound to refuse that order. I might also suggest that you should consider whether the circumstances demand that you arrest whoever gave the order as a war criminal.”