Tag Archives: US Air Force

Top Gun was feeling “sheepish”

Because he was having a Baaaaaaaad day.  That’s the “Humorous” anecdote related to me by two Air Force sergeants who were laughing it up over the Air Force murdering at least one Kurdish civilian in 2000. Ha ha, really damn funny. This goes along with the claims made by the Air Force Murderers who unleash the Predator drones that their weapons don’t actually target Civilians. They LIE as well as murder.

In the attack on the Kurdish shepherd, the Air Force pilot with all the imaging equipment, computerized targeting, etc etc… Couldn’t tell the difference between heavily armed “insurgents” and a flock of Sheep.

Almost in defense of the two USAF sergeants who related this to me, they believed the Pilots assertions that no humans died in the Holocaust he rained down on the Flock of Sheep… and their human shepherd or shepherds. Because domestic sheep always have shepherds.

That would be the Pilot who, by his own admission, couldn’t tell the difference between Human and Sheep in the first place. Even using all his High Tech Murder Machinery.

The Pilot was “patrolling” the Northern No-Fly Zone of Iraq from an airbase in Turkey. and allegedly to protect the Kurds from the Iraqi Army.

The U.S. Military already had a record of assisting their Loyal Turkish Allies in their extermination campaign against the Kurds. Nothing changed with this incident.

Even with Regime Change in Russia and Iraq and America, nothing substantially changed

It kind of gets glossed over in Warmongering Propaganda like that served up by Fox News and The Colorado Springs Gazette, especially the part about some of these operations being conducted jointly between the Turks… and the Soviet Union, Iran and Iraq. The Air Support provided by the U.S.A.F in this genocidal campaign, of course, doesn’t make them accomplices. Of course.

I had published this earlier but given the Jingoistic Bullshit we’re being subjected to not daily but Hourly it seems like a good time to unpack this once more.

“Operation Iraqi Freedom” in a Pig’s Ass.

US Air Force bombing is consistent

Stop the Bombing of El Salvador“At first the Air Force dropped bombs that knocked down trees and houses, killed people, and made 3-meter craters. Then they began to drop bombs that exploded before hitting the ground and others that made craters 8 meters deep to kill us as we hid in our shelters. Now they use worst bombs of all –the flaming liquid [napalm white phosphorous].”
-a refuge as told to the Christian Science Monitor, El Salvador, 1986

National Space [Weapons] Symposium

Unveiling latest military technology
REMINDER! The military-industrial complex converges this week on the Broadmoor Conference Center, in the guise of “Space Symposium 2009.” The biggest mercenaries, profiteers, mass-murderers and top brass will gather over cocktails in the late afternoon, after weapons exhibitors have set up their displays. Local news is already hyping the event, this year’s emphasis is, we kid you not, EDUCATION! Citizens for Peace In Space (CPIS) is reprising their STOP TRUTH DECAY street theater at 5pm on Monday, Coloradans 4 Peace has reserved a more pointed message, to begin at 4pm, before the death-merchant revelers retreat inside.

We will also be bannering the arrival of school buses, Tuesday through Thursday, between 8am-10am. Springs schools have organized field trips to the Space Symposium exhibits, without revealing the context of the massive malevolent industry behind it. In the past, the school children crane their necks to see us, but teachers have been able to dismiss the odd protesters as Peace Luddites, giving the children no clue as to why we might be opposed to the event. This year our message will be more succinct.

In the past, organizers have expressed not knowing where to stand, nor when, to be seen by the school buses. But not this year. The days of containing the protest message to only inoffensive slogans, or coordinating with police as to where it’s permissible to stand, ARE OVER!

Ding-Dong, the Wicked Witch is Dead! Well not quite, Dorothy…

Darth VaderDobson resigns as chairman of Focus on the Family. Yes, the cows are mooing and all is happiness in the land of Odd (Colorado Springs, that is)! Dobson is being replaced by another, retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Patrick P. Caruana, who is a longtime board member and a former executive with that merchant of death, Northrup Grumman.

How befitting the Focus On Right Wing Bullshit People to have their Head Witch replaced by a General Warlock! This is sure to impress the world with their claims of being of the Highest Morality, for sure! NOT………

Darth Vader was busy elsewhere, I guess? But at least The Wicked Witch is Dead!

Obama to continue torturing US held POWs at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan

buzzardsBagram Air Force Base is US military, so why this ‘No US rights’ for Bagram inmates? …The simple answer is that Obama and his Administration will continue to torture Afghan POWs held by the US military. Colorado Springs is kind of a sister city to this torture prison, are we not? BTW, the Air Force Academy Buzzards suck this year with their sad sack 9-16 record.

Air National Guardsmen are aiming Preditor and Reaper Drones from home

Bush has brought the Global War On Terrorism to American shores! Air National Guardsmen deployed at stateside bases are piloting and aiming the Predator and Reaper drones against peoples in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and victims yet unreported. Do you doubt they might be Filipinos, Colombians, Bolivians and South Georgians? If any of those aforementioned want to defend themselves, they could only attack those shooting at them from Arizona, California, Nevada and Texas.

Residents of those states should know they are living in war zones if they live adjacent these installations. Do you know any of these soldiers? The specialists who guide and track the munitions directly to their target’s alarmed faces are called “Sensor Operators” and have been experiencing PTSD right at home!

214th Reconnaissance Group
Tucson, Arizona

163rd Reconnaissance Wing & 196th Reconnaissance Squadron
March Air Reserve Base, California

432nd Reconnaissance Wing
Creech Air Force Base, Nevada

14th Reconnaissance Wing
Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, Houston, Texas

In case the CBS article is removed, we’ll mirror it here:

The Air National Guardsmen who operate Predator drones over Iraq via remote control, launching deadly missile attacks from the safety of Southern California 7,000 miles away, are suffering some of the same psychological stresses as their comrades on the battlefield.

Working in air-conditioned trailers, Predator pilots observe the field of battle through a bank of video screens and kill enemy fighters with a few computer keystrokes. Then, after their shifts are over, they get to drive home and sleep in their own beds.

But that whiplash transition is taking a toll on some of them mentally, and so is the way the unmanned aircraft’s cameras enable them to see people getting killed in high-resolution detail, some officers say.

“When you come in (with a fighter jet) at 500-600 mph, drop a 500-pound bomb and then fly away, you don’t see what happens,” said Col. Albert K. Aimar, who is commander of the 163rd Reconnaissance Wing here and has a bachelor’s degree in psychology. “Now you watch it all the way to impact, and I mean it’s very vivid, it’s right there and personal. So it does stay in people’s minds for a long time.”

He said the stresses are “causing some family issues, some relationship issues.” He and other Predator officers would not elaborate.

But the 163rd has called in a full-time chaplain and enlisted the services of psychologists and psychiatrists to help ease the mental strain on these remote-control warriors, Aimar said. Similarly, chaplains have been brought in at Predator bases in Texas, Arizona and Nevada.

In interviews with five of the dozens of pilots and sensor operators at the various bases, none said they had been particularly troubled by their mission, but they acknowledged it comes with unique challenges, and sometimes makes for a strange existence.

“It’s bizarre, I guess,” said Lt. Col. Michael Lenahan, a Predator pilot and operations director for the 196th Reconnaissance Squadron here. “It is quite different, going from potentially shooting a missile, then going to your kid’s soccer game.”

Among the stresses cited by the operators and their commanders: the exhaustion that comes with the shift work of this 24-7 assignment; the classified nature of the job that demands silence at the breakfast table; and the images transmitted via video.

A Predator’s cameras are powerful enough to allow an operator to distinguish between a man and a woman, and between different weapons on the ground. While the resolution is generally not high enough to make out faces, it is sharp, commanders say.

Often, the military also directs Predators to linger over a target after an attack so that the damage can be assessed.

“You do stick around and see the aftermath of what you did, and that does personalize the fight,” said Col. Chris Chambliss, commander of the active-duty 432nd Wing at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. “You have a pretty good optical picture of the individuals on the ground. The images can be pretty graphic, pretty vivid, and those are the things we try to offset. We know that some folks have, in some cases, problems.”

Chambliss said his experience flying F-16 fighter jets on bombing runs in Iraq during the 1990s prepared him for his current job as a Predator pilot. But Chambliss and several other wing leaders said they were concerned about the sensor operators, who sit next to pilots in the ground control station. Often, the sensor operators are on their first assignment and just 18 or 19 years old, officers said.

While the pilot actually fires the missile, the sensor operator uses laser instruments to guide it all the way to its target.

On four or five occasions, sensor operators have sought out a chaplain or supervisor after an attack, Chambliss said. He emphasized that the number of such cases is very small compared to the number of people involved in Predator operations.

Col. Rodney Horn, vice commander of the 14th Reconnaissance Wing at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base near Houston, said his unit went out of it way to impress upon sensor operators the sometimes lethal nature of the job. “No one’s walking into it blind,” he said.

Master Sgt. Keith LeQuire, a 48-year-old sensor operator here, said the 163rd asks prospective sensor operators whether they are prepared for the deadly serious mission. “No one’s been naive enough to come in to interview but not know about that aspect of the job,” he said.

Unlike soldiers living together in the war zone, the Predator operators do not have the close locker-room-style camaraderie that allows buddies to talk about the day’s events and blow off steam. But many Predator operators at Creech employ a decompression ritual during the long ride home, said Air Force Lt. Col. Robert P. Herz.

“They’re putting a missile down somebody’s chimney and taking out bad guys, and the next thing they’re taking their wife out to dinner, their kids to school,” said Herz, a Ph.D. who interviewed pilots and sensor operators for a doctoral dissertation on human error in Predator accidents.

“A lot of them have told me, `I’m glad I’ve got the hour drive.’ It gives them that whole amount of time to leave it behind,” Herz said. “They get in their bus or car and they go into a zone _ they say, `For the next hour I’m decompressing, I’m getting re-engaged into what it’s like to be a civilian.'”

Col. Gregg Davies, commander of the 214th Reconnaissance Group in Tucson, Ariz., said he knows of no member of his team who has experienced any trauma from launching a Predator attack.

Himself a Predator pilot, Davies said he has found the work rewarding. The Arizona Air National Guard unit flies Predators in both the Iraq and Afghanistan war zones. It has often provided protection for American convoys, and its personnel have seen insurgents planting roadside bombs.

“If we can have an effect there where we can take people out, that’s a real plus in terms of saving American lives,” Davies said. “Our folks look at it as they’re in the fight, they’re saving lives. They don’t feel too bad about that.”

Crossing the line at Peterson AFB

North gate of Peterson AFB
COLORADO SPRINGS- The annual Sisters Witness Against War took an interesting step forward Friday when three sisters decided to step across the line. Ostensibly to deliver a letter which had gone thus far unanswered by the Peterson AFB commander. Event founder Barbara Huber decided she would commit herself to this act of Civil Disobedience and was joined by two others. A press release declared this intention, the Gazette was on hand to record it, and a local patrol car stood by as well.

Barbara explained her plan to the reporter. That she’d sent the letter several times but had not received a response. The only recourse she felt she had was to deliver the letter in person, to know it had reached him. Barbara also admitted knowing that the base commander was away, and so the best she could hope for was to deliver the letter into the hands of his secretary. PAFB confers with Gazette Plain-clothed security had been circulating through our demonstration, asking for specifics about our intentions. When I saw them conferring with the Gazette team, I immediately worried for Barbara’s plan. If the Air Force officers learned that Barbara need only be introduced to their commander’s secretary, that person could be waiting to meet us at the gate and the whole hoopla could be averted.

Fortunately, the Peterson machos seemed all too eager to create a confrontation. As the demonstrators neared the gate, a soldier with the gait of a Carabinieri grabbed a megaphone and cautioned us away. But the sisters continued. Several soldiers donned riot helmets.
Riot gear

Fed intervenesThe man in pink wore a badge on his folder. He couldn’t persuade Barbara to turn back.

Barbara deliberates

(More pictures at csaction.org)

EPILOGUE: PETERSON AFB HAS A RIOT SQUAD

Protesters in custody
COLORADO SPRINGS- There is a postscript to the Sisters Witness Against War arrests at Peterson AFB last Friday. Where we left off, three women stepped across the line to protest our nation’s ongoing militancy, and the base commander’s refusal to hear the consciences of pacifists. Barbara, Mary Ann and Esther were led away to be processed, handed to the police, then released. Esther told me the sight that awaited her as she was taken out of our view.

Taking this step, this year, by the way, was in honor of Elizabeth. As the three women were being escorted around the security/reception building, out of view from the protest, they encountered a line of soldiers, dressed in riot gear, being put through various drills. Asking about the apparent extremity of such measures, the women were told that this happens every time there are protests on the other side of the gate. The preparations are standard procedure.

If you can imagine what it’s like from our side, fifty or more quiet nuns usually, once or twice a year, holding home-sewn banners or small signs, facing a security booth being manned by a dozen soldiers, some with binoculars, some in plain clothes. It’s quiet and uneventful. You’d never guess there are people in riot gear being put through their paces behind the scenes.

I laugh because it’s always a nearly-spoken hope that one day we will walk toward the gate, and all of us supplicate ourselves in a compassionate plea to end the war-making. While probably every participant certainly has the courage to be arrested, decorum and a sense of pragmatism hold us back. We await a better opportunity, an impassioned leader to follow, probably. And so through the years, the sisters have only ever mounted a limited nonviolent assault on that yellow line.

This year as the arrests were wrapping up, a soldier noticed that someone’s feet had unknowingly strayed over the line. He pointed sternly and the wouldn’t-be offender hopped giddily back like a new gambler who hadn’t intended a bet.

Even this time, we murmured to ourselves, if only all of us would simply cross that line, they wouldn’t know what to do with us.

Well, as Esther’s report clarifies, they would know what to do with us. And they ready themselves every year to do it. Which has me thinking that they have a higher respect for our potential than we do ourselves. They know what’s at stake, even as we yet do not.

I struggle questioning whether we can reach across to the military mindset with our pacifist ideology. Especially as their militarism extends to dealing peace-petitioners physical blows. Will there be human consciences to reach, or just gung-ho soldier appetites to satisfy? That question holds me back.

Afghans persist in face of annihilation

Horror! The Taliban is reported to have taken back a half-dozen Afghan towns around Kandahar. It’s an inevitable development of course, the catastrophic consequences of which will be equally unavoidable if America sticks to its guns on the matter. Refugees are already pouring out of the areas. Are they fleeing the Taliban fighters? From the reports of our jingoist embed press, how will we ever know? I’m pretty sure the Afghan refugees are fleeing our retaliatory air strikes, which are certain as rain to blanket every living occupant now determined by US precision weapons to be dark skinned combatants. It will be like Waco without the interminable siege. Who are we kidding? Our unmanned drones are named “Predators” and “Reapers.” They’re armed with missiles of “Hellfire.”

John McCain role model USAF pilot

Dr Barral interviewed John McCain while a prisoner at Hanoi HiltonWho is trying to taint Candidate McCain as a possible Manchurian Candidate? The theory is that Americans don’t know what was done to McCain while he was a prisoner of the North Vietnamese. Except we do know. This tactic reminds me of the far-out 911 theories which are being hyped to make all 911 conspiracy theories seem far-fetched.

A brain-washed POW is at odds with what we do know about McCain’s bombing-interuptus in 1967. As soon as his NV captors realized they held the son of a US admiral, they treated McCain with kid gloves. They even cautioned their press not to interview McCain on political issues lest he sound like he was kowtowing under torture.

Perhaps however the Manchurian Candidate accusations will prompt McCain to release the records of his years in captivity. He has previously worked to keep POW documents from the public. Now only he can authorize the release of his military records.

While a POW, McCain granted a public interview to a Cuban Psychiatrist who published

“From the psychiatric point of view, Dr Barral has the following opinion on the personality of the prisoner who is responsible for many criminal bombing of the people of DRV:

“He showed himself to be intellectually alert during the interview. From a moral point of view he is not in traumatic shock. He is neither dejected nor depressed. He was able to be sarcastic, and even humorous, indicative of psychic equilibrium. From the moral and ideological point of view he showed us he is an insensitive individual without human depth, who does not show the slightest concern, who does not appear to have thought about the criminal acts he committed against a population from the almost absolute impunity of his airplane, and that nevertheless those people saved his life, fed him, and looked after his health, and he is now healthy and strong. I believe that he bombed densely populated places for sport. i noted that he was hardened, that he spoke of banal things as if he were at a cocktail party.”

What does a billion dollars look like?

We hear money has been spirited away by the billions in Iraq. Leading some to wonder what that amount of cash would look like in the tangible sense. For example, would a billion dollars be visible from Google Earth?
Stealth bomber crashes at Anderson Air Force Base in Guam
Last week in Guam, Americans were offered an opportunity to see 71.7 tons of money go up in smoke. By some accounts, “The Spirit of Kansas” was a 2.5 billion dollar plane, others say the B-2 bomber costs 1.2 billion dollars. Hopefully the insurance adjusters will sort it out. The crash represented three to six times more than the Hubble lens, or a solid fraction of our armaments budget.