ACTION ALERT: Protest Pentagon Waste, including $86 Million Spent on a Plane that Is ‘Inoperable’

April 4th, 2016 - by admin

Peace & & Christopher Woody / Reuters – 2016-04-04 00:55:08

Take a Small Step Today to Reduce Military Spending

Peace &

(April 3, 2016) — We need you to take the simple step of saying yes to our Thurnderclap appeal.

“Invest in people not war!
Pentagon spending ≠ security!
$ for jobs/education/housing here
#Taxes4Peace #GDAMS”

Click here and sign onto Our Global Day of Action Thunderclap. It will be sent to more than 300,000 people. If we miss our target, we’ll miss the opportunity.

With your help, we can teach people across the country that there are alternatives to more than half of their tax dollars being spent for the Pentagon.

That is $66,000 PER MINUTE spent to build the new generation of life-ending nuclear weapons and their delivery system is more than most people make in a year. Think what that money could buy in your community and for your family.

Thanks for your help.

US Focus Dates: April 16 — 18, 2016

(April 3, 2016) — Beginning on 2011, people and organizations across the US and around the world have joined with the International Peace Bureau to organize the Global Day of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS) events each April to coincide with the release of the annual world military expenditure figures by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI:

It is also timed to coincide with Tax Day, when US citizens pay their taxes and debate their use.

GDAMS engages people across the world in collaborative actions to focus public, political, and media attention on the costs of military spending and the need for new priorities.

We are writing to encourage you to join activists across the US and internationally in this year’s GDAMS activities.

The Pentagon has inflated its budget request to nearly $600 billion, including $58.8 billion for its “overseas contingency operations” — wars – and to quadruple spending for war preparations in Eastern Europe. In the coming years, our government is planning to spend $1 trillion to modernize its nuclear arsenal and its delivery systems, a small fraction of which could bring on nuclear winter.

The new F-35 fighter/bombers are set to cost $1,500,000,000,000 over their “lifetime.” In addition to encouraging and fueling the catastrophic destruction of wars, this spending claims and truncates lives without a shot being fired, a bomb dropped or a missile launched.

Global military spending has surged to an all-time high of more than $1.75 trillion. Given the numerous needs and crises in the US and internationally — water that’s not poisoned, reversing and coping with climate change, the basics of food, housing, education and medical care — it is clear that our, and many other nations’, national budget priorities are seriously wrong and dangerous.

A major reconceptualization and reallocation is needed. It starts with us and the Global Days of Action on Military Spending.

It starts with us and the Global Days of Action on Military Spending.

Thousands of organizations and millions of individuals share this commitment. What is needed is a serious mobilizing to impact policy makers.

Each group and community engaged in GDAMSis encouraged to craft its own approach.

This can be linked to national, local, or international peace, justice and environmental issues.

They can, for example be linked to welfare cuts, hospital and school closures, reductions in pensions or development cooperation; economic inequality, and investing in climate change.

We encourage groups and individuals to use Global Days as an opportunity to connect across sectors — peace, environment, development, labor, youth, faith-based, and anti-poverty organizations who understand the interdependence of our issues. Our only request is that events include opposition to military spending.

The number of GDAMS actions has increased each year and have spanned an array of imaginative possibilities from flash mobs and street theatre, to penny polls, banner displays, seminars, signature collections and concerts; social media campaigns: Selfies or groupies on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest; video productions on YouTube; and any combination that works.

The idea is to generate captivating actions, images and powerful messages to engage people in our communities, impact the decision-makers, and attract media coverage.

GDAMSis key part of the permanent year-round Global Campaign on Military
Spending (GCOMS), also coordinated by the International Peace Bureau. Join activists from all over the world at the Berlin Congress:
Disarm! For a Climate of Peace:
Sept 30 – Oct 3, 2016 – where the military spending campaign will have a central place.

Ideas and tools for organizers are available in the Organizers’ Materials and Previous GDAMS sections. Please also post your GDAMS/US Tax Day activities on the world map and send us photos or links to your events.
Joseph Gerson
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)

Pentagon Wasted Millions on a Flying Boondoggle
The US government spent $86 million on a plane that ‘missed every delivery deadline and remained inoperable’

Christopher Woody / Reuters

WASHINGTON (April 1, 2016) — The US government spent $86 million over seven years developing a counternarcotics surveillance aircraft for Afghanistan, but the plane has never carried out a mission and is sitting idle in Delaware, a watchdog said on Wednesday.

After years of war in Afghanistan, a global hub of opium and hashish production, the US Drug Enforcement Administration had until now largely avoided criticism for questionable spending of the sort leveled widely against the US military.

But Michael Horowitz, the Justice Department inspector general, said in a report that an aircraft purchased by the DEA and modified with tens of millions of Defense Department dollars missed every delivery deadline and remained inoperable.

The project was an “ineffective and wasteful use of government resources,” Horowitz’s audit report said.

While the plane is not likely to ever be deployed to Afghanistan, the DEA has said future maintenance costs will amount to more than $250,000, which will be paid with Defense Department dollars.

The DEA said in a statement it “can and should provide better oversight of its operational funding.” The agency said an internal review had begun. A DEA spokesman declined to answer further questions.

US Army Lt. Col. Valerie Henderson, a Defense Department spokeswoman, told Reuters the department eliminated funding for the aircraft from its budget but was overseeing final upgrades to the plane that are required to be complete in June.

The US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and has spent hundreds of billions of dollars there. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or Sigar, has tallied billions of dollars of questionable US expenditures in the war zone.

According to an investigation by ProPublica, the IG found at least $17 billion in questionable spending in six years. This spending included “$8.4 billion [that] was spent on counternarcotics programs that were so ineffective that Afghanistan has produced record levels of heroin — more than it did before the war started,” ProPublica reported.

Sigar has examined only “a small percentage” of the $110 billion that has been invested in rebuilding Afghanistan. Further investigation will most likely reveal more waste and questionable expenditures, ProPublica said.

A UN report released earlier this year found that not only did Afghanistan have extensive opium production, but also that the exporters of that drug have an interest in supplying the voracious US drug market.

“In different parts of the United States there has been a resurgence in the consumption of heroin, and Afghan heroin has an enormous production. They have more than 200,000 hectares dedicated to the production of heroin in Afghanistan,” said Alejandro Mohar, a member of the UN’s International Narcotics Control Board.

The DEA, which has spent far less money than most government agencies active in the country, ended aviation operations in Afghanistan in mid-2015. The airplane is therefore unlikely ever to go there, but the DEA still plans to cover its maintenance costs with an additional $262,102 in funding meant for Afghanistan operations, Wednesday’s audit said.

The DEA plans to use the aircraft in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America, according to an unnamed DEA official cited in the audit. The DEA and other government agencies have made extensive use of aircraft to interdict drug smuggling and production throughout Latin America.

The report added that the DEA violated federal acquisition rules by not properly evaluating an alternative aircraft that might have been less costly.

Most of the aircraft’s costs were covered by the Defense Department, including a $1.9 million hangar at Kabul International Airport and $65.9 million in modifications.

The DEA got more than 1,000 Afghanistan mission requests it could not fulfill from 2012 to 2015, usually because aircraft were not available or were undergoing maintenance, the audit said.

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