Monday, December 31, 2012

While The Public is Lulled to Sleep D.C's. Circus Maximus "expedites"

Besides distracting the public with one dire threat after another (e.g. the fiscal cliff), our Circus Maximus in Washington, D.C. (the U.S. Congress) accomplishes what it actually wants to do without drawing very much attention.  Be your own judge:

December 31st, 2012 by Steven Aftergood - Senate Passes Intelligence Bill Without Anti-Leak Measures

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the bill was revised in order to expedite its passage.

“Since the bill was reported out,” she said, “the Committee has received thoughtful comments from our colleagues, media organizations, and from organizations that advocate for greater governmental transparency. As a result of these comments, and technical suggestions received from the Executive Branch, we have decided to remove ten of the twelve sections in the title of the original bill that addressed unauthorized disclosures of classified information so that we might ensure enactment this year of the important other provisions of the bill.”

Before the anti-leak measures had been removed "in order to expedite passage", the Washington Post had complained that "A bill to stop security leaks puts a plug on democracy".

Given that lawyers are, besides a majority of U.S. Senators, the usual leakers of classified intelligence information, perhaps it is time for the public to get concerned.

 "Almost all leakers are lawyers. That's the bottom line." - Howell Hiram Raines, former executive editor of the New York Times, to audience at the Aspen Institute,  July 21, 2006

Submarines are always silent and strange.  


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Updating Stealth

Then (Oct 17, 2011)
Collins Class submarines most expensive ever to go to sea
AUSTRALIA'S troubled Collins Class submarines are more than twice as expensive to operate as US Navy nuclear submarines that are more than three times bigger. ...
And NOW  Keeping Collins afloat ludicrous: expert Rex Patrick, a former submariner, said that despite its multibillion-dollar budget and 7000-strong workforce, the DMO had been spectacularly and consistently wrong on the cost estimates it has given the government on maintaining the Collins-class fleet. Each of the six boats costs twice as much to sustain and operate as an American nuclear submarine, while falling far short in terms of either capability or availability, Mr Patrick said.

 Then (May 19, 2011) Sailor pleads guilty to attempted China spying
 ... And NOW  Robert Hoffman is charged with trying to sell secrets about U.S. submarines to the Russians.  The FBI conducted a sting operation that snagged Hoffman.

Then (October 11, 2011)
Russia's Nerpa sub to start final sea trials in October. Finality could be a definite possibility for this ill-fated vessel. ... And NOW  India claims problems with Russian-leased nuclear sub.  The submarine   exhibits debilitating problems of major equipment.

Then (Sep. 15, 2012
The U.S. Navy has moved one step closer to designing the next generation of submarine chasers: roving drone ships capable of scanning the seas for the quietest diesel subs. ... And NOW  DCNS is developing an anti-aircraft missile launched from a submarine.  Regarding the anti-aircraft missile, unveiled at the recent Euronaval Paris, he said [it] will be available in two versions: one to be launched from a system mounted on a mast, the other from a drone submarine.

Then (May 17, 2011)
Hunter, who served as a Marine in Iraq and Afghanistan, said that if the Navy wanted to recognize "the Hispanic contribution to our nation, many other names come to mind." Hunter mentioned Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta, killed in combat in Iraq and nominated for the Medal of Honor. "Peralta is one of many Hispanic war heroes -- some of whom are worthy of the same recognition," Hunter said.    ... And NOW  USNS Cesar Chavez (T-AKE-14)

Submarines are always silent and strange.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Very Bad News

U.S. military officials are investigating the apparent suicide of Navy SEAL Cdr. Job W. Price., 42, of Pottstown, Pa., "who died Saturday of a non-combat-related injury while supporting stability operations in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan."

Our deepest sympathies are reserved for Cdr. Price's family, friends, and those with whom he served. We lost another good one.
Suicide?  At this time of year a SEAL officer's suicide could have been timed as an especially alarming message. Though certainly not inevitable, chances that a suicide victim with SEAL command and O-4 rank might not realize the added sensitivity of his tragic act at Christmas is far from remoteAn arson disabled USS Miami and attempted distribution of submarine secrets to the Russian Federation has already made 2012 a troubling year for our Navy's leadership.

While any of us might become depressed by life's bitter events, can we think of anyone more exposed to depressing events, sights and relationships than leaders of our elite military units?  The reported rate of suicide among SEAL team members has been even less than negligible (discounting sacrificial acts of uncommon valor). 

What could make suicide for a man of such uncommon courage as urgent? Probably not any terminal health issue. An anonymous U.S. military official, said, "Price had no immediately known professional or work problems other than the stresses of deployment, which can be tremendous for troops."

Perhaps a pressing family issue back home and personal leave had to be denied? - Entirely possible.  Perhaps a career-ending action or statement? -That we are not likely ever to learn.

Which finding would be more tragic, suicide or homicide? 

ANSWER: Homicide by either an Afgan turncoat, or even worse, another U.S. military combatant would be more tragic.

The Washington Post's report (linked above) leads readers to believe that wherever a fatal gunshot occurred, it was either not heard or not considered unusual enough to investigate until CDR Price failed to appear at a scheduled appointment. Appointment with whom?

Do not hold your breath for answers; more than likely, however, every member of Cdr. Price's SEAL team and certain people in D.C. know the tragic reality of actual events by now. 

To our readers: We wish you Peace and goodwill now and throughout the New Year!

Submarines are always silent and strange.