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AUKUS Sub Deal Could Sink USA’s Relations With France,


AUKUS Sub Deal Could Sink Relations With France, Buoy Nuclear Tech Advances, Forbes,  
 27 Sep 21,  ”…………… …….. Biden’s recent work to transform Australia into an Indo-Pacific bulwark against China, however, has worryingly offended a critical ally — France — and exposed some serious bungling in the U.S. Government.  The newly announced agreement with the UK and Australia has been labeled Aukus, and it entails the making of a of nuclear-powered submarine fleet in Adelaide to replace Australia’s existing force……….

On the surface, the submarines seems logical. If equipped with nuclear armed submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) they represent potentially maximum firepower with minimum expenditure……

The French government,  informed of this [cancellation of their submarine sales contract] only hours before the public, reacted by recalling its ambassadors and accusing the U.S. and Australia of lying to them. After running on the normalization and renewal of ties of Europe, Biden cannot afford to grievously offend American allies or to take their support for granted, let alone France, America’s oldest European ally. ……
In his upcoming call with President Emmanuel Macron, President Biden might try to minimize the harm done to ensure fruitful cooperation in both Europe and Asia moving forward……..

September 28, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

CIA Reportedly Considered Kidnapping, Assassinating Julian Assange


CIA Reportedly Considered Kidnapping, Assassinating Julian Assange

Mike Pompeo was apparently motivated to get even with Wikileaks following its publication of sensitive CIA hacking tools https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/cia-julian-assange-kidnap-assasinate-1232546/

ByWILLIAM VAILLANCOUR  The CIA reportedly plotted to kidnap Julian Assange, and some senior officials in the agency and the Trump administration allegedly went so far as to consider options for how to assassinate the WikiLeaks founder, Yahoo! Newsreported Sunday.

According to the report, then-director Mike Pompeo was apparently motivated to get even with Wikileaks following its publication of sensitive CIA hacking tools, which the agency found to be “the largest data loss in CIA history.”

Pompeo and others “were completely detached from reality because they were so embarrassed about Vault 7,” according to a former Trump national security official, referring to the document dump. “They were seeing blood.”

Additional CIA plans allegedly included “extensive spying on WikiLeaks associates, sowing discord among the group’s members, and stealing their electronic devices.”

The report, based on conversations with more than 30 former officials, notes that the CIA’s plans for Assange reportedly led to strenuous debates regarding their legality. Some administration officials were so concerned that they felt the need to tell members of Congress about Pompeo’s suggestions.

Assange is currently imprisoned in London as courts weigh a U.S. request to extradite him.

September 28, 2021 Posted by | civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear submarine for Japan? Kono says yes, Kishida says no

Poll leader believes capability is ‘extremely important’ for country

Navy divers assigned to Naval Special Warfare Command conduct operations with the nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine USS North Carolina off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii.

September 26, 2021

TOKYO — Following a recent deal by the U.S. and the U.K. to offer Australia classified technology to build nuclear-powered submarines, should fellow Quad member Japan also seek such a capability? The four candidates running for the Liberal Democratic Party presidential race to succeed Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga were asked the question Sunday on Fuji TV.

Poll leader Taro Kono, minister for administrative reform and also in charge of vaccine distribution, gave a thumbs-up. “As a capability, it is very important for Japan to have nuclear submarines,” he said.

“Whether there are regions [in Japan] willing to host them as a home port, or whether the operating capabilities or costs are pragmatic, these are issues we need to consider going forward,” he added. 

Sanae Takaichi, the former internal affairs minister, also looked favorably upon the idea. “If we think of the worst-case risks in the international environment ahead, I do believe we could have [submarines] that can travel a little longer,” she said, referring to the advantage of nuclear propulsion in that they can stay submerged longer without refueling.

Japan’s Atomic Energy Basic Law stipulates that the use of nuclear power will be limited to peaceful purposes. Takaichi said there was “a need to sort things out” but added she did not believe nuclear-powered submarines to be unconstitutional. 

Former LDP policy chief Fumio Kishida, meanwhile, was less receptive to the idea. “When I think about Japan’s national security arrangements, to what extent do we need it?” he asked.

Nuclear-powered submarines are faster and can travel longer compared to the diesel-electric submarines that Japan currently has. But Kishida was alluding to the fact that the Self-Defense Forces’ operations are primarily in areas close to Japan.  

“To maintain stealth, it will require long hours of work,” he said. “We have to prioritize improving working conditions [of sailors] and secure the personnel.”

Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force has struggled to hire sailors in a country whose population is declining. Submarines are especially unpopular among young recruits, partly because they are unable to use their smartphones for extended periods.

Seiko Noda, the LDP’s executive acting secretary-general, said: “I have no intention to hold such a capability. I want to make clear that we are a nation with three non-nuclear principles,” she said, pointing to Japan’s long-held position of neither possessing nor manufacturing nuclear weapons, nor permitting their introduction into Japanese territory.

“This is not a situation where we can immediately buy and start to use the submarines,” she said. “We must properly establish a national consensus.” 

On Sept. 16,  the U.S., the U.K. and Australia announced an enhanced trilateral security partnership called AUKUS, that will see Washington and London share sensitive nuclear-propulsion technology with Canberra to develop a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines. It is a move to bolster deterrence against China’s growing maritime power. 

https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/Nuclear-submarine-for-Japan-Kono-says-yes-Kishida-says-no

September 28, 2021 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Texas sues federal government to block nuclear waste facility along New Mexico border

Texas sues federal government to block nuclear waste facility along New Mexico border, Adrian Hedden, Carlsbad Current-Argus, 27 Sept 21,   A lawsuit filed by the State of Texas last week stated a proposal to build a storage facility for nuclear waste in the state “unlawful” and called on a federal appeals court to vacate a federal license issued for the project earlier this month..

Interim Storage Partners (ISP) received the license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to build a temporary storage facility for spent nuclear fuel rods in Andrews, Texas along the state’s western border to New Mexico.

The project, an expansion of the company’s facility in Andrews that holds low-level waste, would ultimately hold up to 40,000 metric tons of the high-level waste temporarily until a permanent repository is available.

There is presently no permanent holding place for the waste and critics of the project feared it could become a “de facto” permanent resting place for the waste.

The lawsuit filed Sept. 23  by Abbott and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals demanded the court review and ultimately vacate the license.

“Petitioners pray that, upon review, the Court will hold unlawful and set aside the order issuing Materials License No. SNM-2515 and vacate the License,” the lawsuit read……………….. https://www.currentargus.com/story/news/local/2021/09/27/texas-sues-block-nuclear-waste-facility-along-new-mexico-border/5883388001/

September 28, 2021 Posted by | legal, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Climate change to loom large in talks to form new German government


Climate change to loom large in talks to form new German government

Strong results for green and liberal parties mean climate and energy policies are expected to feature heavily in upcoming coalition talks.

September 28, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SNP and the Greens aim to block Boris Johnson’s plan for new nuclear plants in Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon is expected to temper Boris Johnson’s energy plans by
signalling her intention to block the creation of nuclear plants in
Scotland. The Sunday Times yesterday revealed a push by Rishi Sunak, the
chancellor, for more nuclear power stations to be built to help Britain
reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

A source close to Sunak said:
“His general view is that we should have been doing this ten years ago
when it was cheaper, but we can’t rely on wind and solar power.”


However, the Scottish government, which controls the planning process north
of the border, opposes the technology. Asked for its response to the news
from Whitehall, it referred The Times to a recent statement that it was
“absolutely clear in its opposition to the building of new nuclear power
plants in Scotland under current technologies”.

 Times 27th Sept 2021

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/snp-and-greens-vow-to-block-new-nuclear-reactors-in-scotland-vnx9388cz

September 28, 2021 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

The gas crisis shows it’s time to speed up UK green energy plans — Inside track

For today’s generation a three day week seems difficult to imagine. But Edward Heath’s Conservative government introduced such a measure in 1974, in the context of the oil crisis and facing a strike by coal miners. Last week, in the House of Commons, the business secretary was forced to calm “alarmist” fears that Britain would […]

The gas crisis shows it’s time to speed up UK green energy plans — Inside track

September 27, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bold action needed on nuclear weapons — IPPNW peace and health blog

An open letter from local, county, and state officials to President Joe Biden and the US Congress [The following letter to US President Joe Biden and Members of the US Congress was signed by more than 300 local elected officials from 41 states in the US. The complete list of signatories, including mayors, state legislators, […]

Bold action needed on nuclear weapons — IPPNW peace and health blog

September 27, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

AUKUS and talk of conflict with China could torpedo COP26 climate summit

What role will Australia play in Glasgow? Will we go in good faith, promising bold action on climate change and preparedness to help our neighbouring countries in mitigation and adaptation, in recognition of our shared interests, or will we go as a spoiler? 

History suggests the latter —

U.S.-China talk could torpedo climate conference  https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/us-china-talk-could-torpedo-climate-conference,15558 By Graeme McLeay | 26 September 2021  If the focus favours an uncertain future threat of U.S.-China conflict when world leaders meet in six weeks to address the real danger of climate emergency at COP26, the summit will likely fail, writes Dr Graeme McLeay.

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”

~Dwight D Eisenhower

WHEN “IKE” spoke those words in his 1961 valedictory speech as U.S. President, he would not have dreamt that Australia, 60 years later, would become part of the military-industrial complex of the United States. As someone who understood the horrors of war, he understood the dangers of an arms race while at the same time acknowledging the need for defence at a time when America faced a belligerent adversary. He was cautious.

No such caution is evident in Canberra. In the space of a few days, we have been told we are to have nuclear-powered submarines, a larger presence of American armed forces based in Australia and missiles – presumably of the intercontinental variety – if all the China-talk is to be believed.

The very idea of Australia getting into an arms race with China is risible and preposterous. It will take at least 20 years for Australia to have something like the military capability that China has now and the massive spending involved will impoverish the next generation.

We have not been told whether our neighbours in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Singapore, India and the Pacific Islands have been consulted about the AUKUS deal, which brings a whiff of colonialism about it. New Zealand was quick to make it clear nuclear-powered subs will not be welcome there. It is likely they will also not be welcome in Port Adelaide.

The $90 billion French submarine deal is to be scrapped and bigger, more capable, and almost certainly, more expensive submarines will be built in Adelaide. An uncertain future threat of U.S.-China conflict is the justification for this 20-year program — about the time the world will have tipped into runaway, unstoppable climate change if the world’s present emissions trajectory continues.

In six weeks, world leaders come together in Glasgow to address the existential threat of climate emergency. As the war drums beat louder it appears unlikely they will meet in a spirit of cooperation and harmony. Without both China and the United States on board, there is the possibility of a disastrous failure, much worse than the Copenhagen fiasco because the urgency for action is so much greater.

Climate change and conflict are not unrelated. In a recent report from the Climate Council‘Rising to the Challenge: Addressing Climate and Security in Our Region’, authors describe climate change as a driver of insecurity.

Conflicts will arise over water, rising seas, salination, fisheries and crop failures. India, Pakistan and China – not always the best of pals – rely on meltwater from Himalayan glaciers for the survival of millions and internal conflicts over water have the potential to trigger war among neighbours which could drag the United States in, and Australia with it.

Much of Bangladesh, a country with a population of 166 million, is low lying and already experiencing inundation and salination from sea level rise. Food shortages are almost certain to occur when climate-related crop failures happen in multiple regions at the same time.

According to Climate Council spokeswoman and former Australian Defence Department Head of Defence Preparedness Cheryl Durrant:

‘Australia’s unwillingness to deal with climate change is already affecting our security, leading to a loss of geopolitical influence, particularly in the Pacific.’

What role will Australia play in Glasgow? Will we go in good faith, promising bold action on climate change and preparedness to help our neighbouring countries in mitigation and adaptation, in recognition of our shared interests, or will we go as a spoiler? 

History suggests the latter — a history that goes back to the last century and the first Kyoto agreement. A belated promise of zero emissions by 2050 with no change to our weak 2030 target, with talk of future technology fixes, will convince no one.

The World Health Organization has described climate change as the greatest global health threat. Disruption of Earth’s stable climate and the biodiversity which protects us is an immediate health and security risk. A sober assessment of the risk which China poses to Australian security is common sense but failure to address the real and present danger of climate emergency, clearly set out in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCCSixth Assessment Report, is negligence — negligence which will not go unnoticed by our young.

In his 1961 farewell speech, President Eisenhower also said:

“The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

September 27, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Natrium Fast Reactors’ Also Present a Fast Path to Nuclear Weapons

This is worse than hypocrisy. Once nations have easy access to nuclear explosive material, no inspections can prevent them from making bombs.

‘Fast Reactors’ Also Present a Fast Path to Nuclear Weapons, New “fast reactors” promise sustainable nuclear energy. They also pose serious proliferation risks because they can make lots of plutonium.  https://nationalinterest.org/feature/%E2%80%98fast-reactors%E2%80%99-also-present-fast-path-nuclear-weapons-194272, by Victor Gilinsky Henry Sokolski   6 Sep 21, The Energy Department’s choice for the leading reactor design for reviving nuclear power construction in the United States is so at odds with U.S. nonproliferation policy that it opens America to charges of rank hypocrisy. The Biden administration is proposing to use nuclear fuels that we are telling others—most immediately Iran—not to produce. It will make it difficult to gain the restraints the United States seeks to limit nations’ access to bomb-grade uranium and plutonium.

We are talking here about the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) enthusiastic support of TerraPower’s proposed Natrium “fast reactor” demonstration plant and similar fast reactor projects, which DOE has showered with grants and supports with department-funded enrichment, test reactor, and spent nuclear fuel recycling programs. TerraPower and DOE expect to build hundreds of fast reactors for domestic use and export.  

Unlike conventional nuclear plants that exploit fission reactions triggered by slow neutrons, fast reactors maintain nuclear chain reactions with much more energetic fast neutrons. These reactors are billed as advanced technology, but they are an old idea. The first fast reactor designs date back to post-World War II.

Fast reactors’ main advantage is that they can make lots of plutonium, which can be extracted and used as reactor fuel instead of mining and using more uranium. This sounded good, so good to the Nixon administration that it set a goal to shift electric generation to plutonium-fueled fast reactors by the turn of the century. But the project came a cropper when it ran into safety hurdles that escalated costs. And then the increased awareness of the dangers of putting plutonium—one of the two key nuclear explosives—into the world’s commercial channels finally caused President Gerald Ford to announce the United States would not rely on plutonium fuel until the world could cope with it.   

 

Continue reading

September 27, 2021 Posted by | technology, USA | Leave a comment

How AUKUS May Damage NATO

How AUKUS May Damage NATO   https://www.pressenza.com/2021/09/how-aukus-may-damage-nato/ 24.09.21 – US, United States – Independent Media Institute   The fallout over the AUKUS deal, as we are now seeing, has been a severe rift in relations between two historic allies, the U.S. and France. And the collateral damage may also include NATO.

By James W. Carden

Only weeks after U.S. President Joe Biden courageously ended the war in Afghanistan—in the face of bitter opposition from the media and Congress—came the announcement of the formation of AUKUS, a new trilateral security alliance between the U.S., the UK and Australia.

The creation of AUKUS is only further confirmation—as if more was needed—that the Biden administration intends to wage a new cold war in Asia with China as its target.

This is not a development we should welcome. As the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft’s Anatol Lieven has recently observed, a new cold war “with China… will continue to lock in place the power of the U.S. military-industrial complex and squander trillions more on wasteful and unnecessary military programs designed to benefit American corporations rather than defend the actual security of actual American citizens.”

And so, as Biden puts an end to one hot war, he finds himself starting yet another cold war: One step forward, two steps back.

AUKUS’s debut has been marred by a high-profile controversy with France, which believed it had reached a deal with Australia to provide it with 12 diesel-electric submarines. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, meanwhile, noted in a statement that, instead, the Americans and the British will be providing Australia with nuclear-powered submarines.

European leaders have come out strongly against AUKUS. Both European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen condemned the move. And the French are furious. French President Emmanuel Macron has recalled his ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia, while the former French Ambassador to the U.S. Gérard Araud observed on Twitter, “The new reality of the world rivalry of great and middle powers should lead France to a 2.0 Gaullist stance. Allied but not aligned. Some confrontations are not ours.”

And so, the fallout over the AUKUS deal, as we are now seeing, has been a severe rift in relations between two historic allies, the U.S. and France.

And the collateral damage may also include NATO.

The AUKUS controversy puts the future of the transatlantic alliance in question. Recall that Macron has long been a vocal and perceptive critic of the nearly 75-year-old alliance. A self-described disciple of France’s wartime leader and former President Charles de Gaulle, Macron has criticized the foreign policy of his immediate predecessors as a kind of “imported neoconservatism.” His own foreign policy forays can be characterized as a quest for strategic autonomy, away from the dictates of Washington and London.

Biden’s AUKUS debacle just may give Macron the leverage he needs to move the rest of Europe in his direction, toward a foreign policy that rejects the decades-old Atlanticist consensus in favor of a continental security architecture that takes into account the interests of all of Europe, as de Gaulle once put it, “from the Atlantic to the Urals.”

At a minimum, the AUKUS debacle may have the effect of pushing France closer together with its old ally Russia. Macron may double down on his policy of detente with the Kremlin, which only recently was the target of criticism by his partners in the EU.

This would leave Anglo-American neoconservatives and liberal hawks seething, but such a development might be just what is needed for a stable and peaceful future for Europe.

This article was produced by Globetrotter in partnership with the American Committee for U.S.-Russia Accord. James W. Carden is a writing fellow at Globetrotter and a former adviser to the U.S. State Department. Previously, he was a contributing writer on foreign affairs at the Nation, and his work has also appeared in the Quincy Institute’s Responsible Statecraft, the American ConservativeAsia Times, and more.

September 27, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international | Leave a comment

Uncertainty on how UK will exclude Chinese involvement in Sizewell and Bradwell nuclear projects

China set to be banned from investing in the UK’s nuclear power stations on security grounds – leaving a huge financial gap which may be plugged by pension funds.

Chinese investment in Britain’s next generation of nuclear power stations is set to be banned on security grounds, leaving a multi-billion pound funding hole in the plans……

The Government has committed to making a final investment decision on at least one large nuclear project during this parliament.

Officials are understood to be keen to publish a decision on the future of Sizewell C ahead of next month’s spending review and the UN climate change conference in Glasgow in November.

A senior industry source said: ‘The Chinese will not be involved at Sizewell. This is part of a long journey and is politically much bigger than just one plant.’     Exactly how the Chinese will be frozen out of Sizewell, on the Suffolk coast, is unclear.

They have a 20 per cent stake in development of the project and an option to remain once it is built.

CGN is also involved at Bradwell in Essex, where progress is understood to have stalled, and in the EDF-led Hinkley Point in Somerset, due to be completed in 2026.

Treasury officials have studied several options to replace China’s funds at the plant.

Sources said the favoured option is a regulated asset base (RAB) model, which has been used in other big infrastructure projects such as the Thames Tideway and requires legislation.

Last week, it emerged that Ministers are in talks with the US nuclear reactor manufacturer Westinghouse over a proposal to build a new plant in Anglesey, North Wales.

Separate proposals have been mooted for a series of small modular reactors (SMRs) to complement larger plants, including a programme led by Rolls-Royce.

A Government spokeswoman said: ‘CGN is currently a shareholder in Sizewell C up until the point of the Government’s final investment decision. Negotiations are ongoing and no final decision has been taken.’  https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10028807/China-set-banned-investing-UKs-nuclear-power-stations-security-grounds.html

September 27, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, politics, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Japan’s election campaign – Liberal Democratic Party candidates’ differing views on nuclear recycling.

Three of the four candidates vying to lead the Liberal Democratic Party
called Sunday for Japan to maintain its nuclear fuel recycling program as
they geared up for the last few days of campaigning prior to Wednesday’s
vote. During a Fuji TV program, vaccination minister Taro Kono, the only
contender who has pushed for phasing out nuclear power generation, went
against his leadership rivals and said Japan should pivot away from fuel
recycling “as soon as possible.”

 Japan Times 26th Sept 2021

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/09/26/national/ldp-hopefuls-nuclear-fuel/

September 27, 2021 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

UK government close to deal for Regulated Asset Base (RAB) funding for Sizewell nuclear project

 Ministers close to deal that could end China’s role in UK nuclear power station. Exclusive: deal in which UK government would take stake in Sizewell C would risk inflaming geopolitical tensions. Ministers are
closing in on a deal that could kick China off a project to build a £20bn nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast and pump in tens of millions of pounds of taxpayer cash instead – a move that would heighten geopolitical tensions.

The government could announce plans to take a stake in Sizewell C power station, alongside the French state-backed power giant EDF, as early as next month, ahead of the Cop26 climate summit. That would be likely to result in China General Nuclear (CGN), which currently has a 20% stake in Sizewell, being removed from the project.

Under plans for Sizewell being discussed by Whitehall officials and EDF, the government could take a stake in a development company that will push it through various stages of planning and bureaucracy, sharing the costs with EDF.

Private sector investors such as the insurance funds L&G and Aviva would then be lured in
at a later stage in return for a government-backed funding model called the regulated asset base (RAB), diluting the taxpayer and EDF. Legislation on RAB funding – the same model used to fund airports such as Heathrow and water companies – is due to progress through parliament next month.

 Observer 25th Sept 2021

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/sep/25/ministers-close-to-deal-that-could-end-chinas-role-in-uk-nuclear-power-station

September 27, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Democrat politicians, who get big donations from weapons corporations, vote against cuts to Pentagon spending

Since fiscal year 2001, military contractors have received over 54% of Pentagon spending, totaling about $8 trillion,” Sludge noted. “Over $2.2 trillion of that went to the five largest weapons firms: Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman. These five firms comprise about 40% of military industry cash given to federal candidates.” 

Dems Who Opposed Pentagon Cuts Received Nearly 4x More Donations From Weapons Makers,   Common Dreams The latest passage of the NDAA “is particularly strong evidence that Pentagon contractors’ interests easily take precedence over national security and the public interest for too many members of Congress,” said one critic.   

Dems Who Opposed Pentagon Cuts Received Nearly 4x More Donations From Weapons Makers,   Common Dreams The latest passage of the NDAA “is particularly strong evidence that Pentagon contractors’ interests easily take precedence over national security and the public interest for too many members of Congress,” said one critic.   


KENNY STANCIL
Common Dreams, September 24, 2021
 In a bipartisan 316-113 vote on Thursday night, the U.S. House authorized a $778 billion military budget for fiscal year 2022. Every Republican voted against two amendments to reduce Pentagon spending, but Democrats were split, and a new analysis reveals that lawmakers who rejected the proposed cuts received far more campaign cash from the weapons industry than those who supported the cuts.

One amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), introduced by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), would have slashed the overall spending authorization level by 10%, exempting the paychecks and health benefits of military personnel and the Defense Department’s federal civilian workforce.

The measure failed by a tally of 86-332. According to an analysis of OpenSecrets data by the Security Policy Reform Institute (SPRI) and Sludge, the Democrats who voted against the 10% Pentagon budget cut have taken, on average, 3.7 times more campaign money from arms manufacturers since January 2019 than the Democrats who voted for it.

Sludge‘s Donald Shaw and SPRI’s Stephen Semler wrote Friday that “the average amount of defense cash received by Democrats who opposed the amendment was $60,680, while the Democrats who supported it received an average of $16,497” in contributions from the PACs of Defense Department contractors “as well as donations larger than $250 from those companies’ employees.”

“The vote was a step backwards for House progressives,” noted Shaw and Semler, who added that:

Last year, an identical amendment was put forward and it received 93 votes in favor, seven more than it received yesterday. Nine Democrats switched from supporting the 10% reduction last year to opposing it this year: Emanuel Cleaver (Mo.), Dwight Evans (Pa.), Al Green (Texas), Bill Keating (Mass.), Robin Kelly (Ill.), Stephen Lynch (Mass.), Richard Neal (Mass.), Brad Sherman (Calif.), and Bennie Thompson (Miss.).

Earlier this month, the House Armed Services Committee voted in favor of a Republican-sponsored amendment to add $23.9 billion on top of President Joe Biden’s proposed $753 billion military budget for fiscal year 2022—already up from the $740 billion approved for the previous fiscal year under the Trump administration.

A second NDAA amendment, led by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), would have restored military spending to the level requested by the president. That proposal for a modest 3% cut to the NDAA’s top-line figure garnered the support of a majority of—but not all—House Democrats and was shot down in a 142-286 vote.

Sludge reported that “the 77 Democrats who opposed the 3% cut have received, on average, $52,211 from the defense sector since January 2019, and the 142 Democrats who supported it have received an average of $35,898.”

Lindsay Koshgarian, program director of the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), told Common Dreams on Friday that “the passage of the $23.9 billion increase in the House is particularly strong evidence that Pentagon contractors’ interests easily take precedence over national security and the public interest for too many members of Congress.”

As she spoke in support of Pocan’s amendment on Wednesday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) pushed back against the narrative that cutting Pentagon spending would make Americans less safe, emphasizing how easy it would be to find the funds.

“The Pentagon could save almost $58 billion by eliminating obsolete weapons, weapons like Cold War-era bombers and missiles designed and built in the last century that are completely unsuitable for this one,” said Ocasio-Cortez.

“We could find another $18 billion by simply preventing the end-of-year spending sprees that lead to contract money being shoveled out the door every September,” she added, echoing Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) observation earlier this week that the Pentagon—which has never passed an audit—is “inherently susceptible to fraud.”…………………

The House passage of the NDAA came just over a week after researchers at Brown University’s Costs of War project estimated that as much as half of the $14 trillion that the Pentagon has spent since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan two decades ago has gone to private military contractors. IPS’ Koshgarian and SPRI’s Semler, meanwhile, have both said that corporations gobbled up more than half.

“Since fiscal year 2001, military contractors have received over 54% of Pentagon spending, totaling about $8 trillion,” Sludge noted. “Over $2.2 trillion of that went to the five largest weapons firms: Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman. These five firms comprise about 40% of military industry cash given to federal candidates.”  https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/09/24/dems-who-opposed-pentagon-cuts-received-nearly-4x-more-donations-weapons-makers

September 27, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment