Saturday, May 11, 2013

Survivor Suicides Alarming trend of family members committing suicide after service members die in battle - NBC

Survivor Suicides | NBC4 Washington

... The Kochs are not alone. Experts tell the News4 I-Team they are seeing an increase in cases of military family members killing themselves.

But no one is keeping track.

Dr. Stephen Cozza, a professor of psychiatry at the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, told us, “We don't have good research that would point to unique risks in certain family members about a suicide in a family."

Dr. Cozza is heading one of the largest congressionally funded studies looking at how family members grieve after someone dies in the military. "If certain groups are particularly resilient, we want to understand what can lead to resilience,” he explained, “and how could programs better support health in the community after a death."

So far he's interviewed about 850 adults who lost a service member since Sept. 11, 2001, hoping results from the study will help identify those most at risk.

The Kochs admitted after losing two children, there are days when they think about suicide. “It's heartbreaking,” Christine said. “It hurts every single day."

But Bill said, “It's tempting. But you know what the other sacrifices are. You know what agony it's going to cause."

Instead, they push on. For their surviving son Billy. For each other. And to honor the memory of both Lynn and Steven.

As Bill said, “Steven volunteered for the service. We've been drafted, that's how we look at it."

Drafted to raise awareness about the struggles often missed inside the all-American family.

Chinese Signaling for Conflict: A Predictive Pattern - Defense News

Chinese Signaling for Conflict: A Predictive Pattern | Defense News | defensenews.com

...Chinese signaling should follow the following stages in this hypothetical crisis:

First, systematic integration of political and diplomatic action with military preparations as the signaling escalates through higher levels of authority. These preparations are normally overt and designed to “deter the adversary from the course of action Beijing finds threatening.”

Second, China states why it is justified in using military force should this prove necessary. The message targets both domestic and international audiences. “In essence, Beijing declares that China confronts a serious threat to its security and interests that if not terminated will require the use of military force.”

Third, China begins asserting that the use of force is not Beijing’s preferred resolution to the threat, but one that will be forced upon it should the adversary not heed the deterrence warnings sent. The signaling strategy seeks to grant China the moral high ground in the emerging confrontation. “Such argument supports China’s self-identification as a uniquely peaceful country that employs military force only in defense when provoked by adversaries threatening China’s security or sovereignty.”

The authors suggest China believes that asserting the moral high ground in a fight can ease the international response to any military action it might take and thus reduce the political costs of employing military force.

Fourth, Beijing emphasizes that China’s forbearance and restraint should not be viewed as weakness and that China is prepared to employ military force should that be necessary.

These four signals, or check lists for war, reflect a basic pattern China has demonstrated since its first signaling in 1950 when China sought to deter US forces from crossing the 38th parallel into North Korean territory....

India Prepares For Another Chinese Victory - Strategy Page

Murphy's Law: India Prepares For Another Chinese Victory

...India has discovered that a buildup in these remote areas is easier said than done. Without new roads nothing else really makes much difference. Airfields require fuel and other supplies to be more than just another place where an aircraft can land (and not take off if it needs refueling). Moreover, the Indians found that they were far behind Chinese efforts. When they took a closer look three years ago, Indian staff officers discovered that China had improved its road network along most of their 4,000 kilometer common border. Indian military planners calculated that, as a result of this network, Chinese military units could move 400 kilometers a day on hard surfaced roads, while Indian units could only move half as fast, while suffering more vehicle damage because of the many unpaved roads. Moreover, China had more roads right up to the border. Building more roads on the Indian side will take years, once the bureaucratic problems are overcome (which often takes a decade). The roads are essential to support Indian plans to build more airfields near the border and stationing modern fighters there. Military planners found, once the terrain was surveyed and calculations completed, that it would take a lot more time because of the need to build maintenance facilities, roads to move in fuel and supplies, and housing for military families....
....China realized this first and has built 58,000 kilometers of roads to the Indian border, along with five airbases and several rail lines. Thus, China can move thirty divisions to the border, which is three times more than India can get to its side of the frontier.
-bth:article worth reading in full.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

The Iliad - The wind scatters the leaves on the ground


As is the generation of leaves, so is that of humanity. The wind scatters the leaves on the ground, but the live timber burgeons with leaves again in the season of spring returning. So one generation of men will grow while another dies. VI. 146-150

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Gun crime has plunged, but Americans think it's up, says study -LA Times

Gun crime has plunged, but Americans think it's up, says study - latimes.com

... In less than two decades, the gun murder rate has been nearly cut in half. Other gun crimes fell even more sharply, paralleling a broader drop in violent crimes committed with or without guns. Violent crime dropped steeply during the 1990s and has fallen less dramatically since the turn of the millennium.

The number of gun killings dropped 39% between 1993 and 2011, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported in a separate report released Tuesday. Gun crimes that weren’t fatal fell by 69%. However, guns still remain the most common murder weapon in the United States, the report noted. Between 1993 and 2011, more than two out of three murders in the U.S. were carried out with guns, the Bureau of Justice Statistics found.

The bureau also looked into non-fatal violent crimes. Few victims of such crimes -- less than 1% -- reported using a firearm to defend themselves.

Despite the remarkable drop in gun crime, only 12% of Americans surveyed said gun crime had declined compared with two decades ago, according to Pew, which surveyed  more than 900 adults this spring. Twenty-six percent said it had stayed the same, and 56% thought it had increased....

Monday, May 06, 2013

General’s promotion blocked over her dismissal of sex-assault verdict - WaPo

General’s promotion blocked over her dismissal of sex-assault verdict - The Washington Post

...But her nomination has been blocked by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), a member of the Armed Services Committee, who wants to examine Helms’s previously unpublicized decision to overturn the conviction, on charges of aggravated sexual assault, of a captain at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Helms’s action mirrors another case that has drawn angry attention from Congress and prompted legislators to propose landmark changes in military law. In that instance, victims’ advocates called for the firing of Lt. Gen. Craig A. Franklin, commander of the Third Air Force in Europe, after he tossed out the sexual-assault conviction of a star fighter pilot in February.

In both cases, the generals ignored the recommendations of their legal advisers and overruled a jury’s findings — without publicly revealing why. Neither general was a judge and neither observed the trials, but they intervened to grant clemency before the convictions could be heard by an appeals court.

Helms explained in an internal memo that surfaced only recently that she reversed the jury after reviewing the evidence and finding the captain’s testimony more credible.

Drew Pusateri, a spokesman for McCaskill, said the senator is blocking Helms’s nomination until she receives more information about the general’s decision.

“As the senator works to change the military justice system to better protect survivors of sexual assault and hold perpetrators accountable, she wants to ensure that cases in which commanders overturned jury verdicts . . . are given the appropriate scrutiny,” Pusateri said....

-bth: the only thing that is actually going to stop sexual assault is holding officers and their generals accountable.  Blocking promotion will start to get the point across.  Unfortunately other generals (army) provided waivers for dereliction (not sexual) as they walked out the door into retirement.  Congress can assert itself if the President doesn't have the command and integrity to do so as Commander in Chief.

Head of Air Force sex-assault prevention busted for allegedly groping woman - NYPost

Head of Air Force sex-assault prevention busted for allegedly groping woman - NYPOST.com

The Air Force’s top man in charge of sexual-assault prevention was busted for allegedly groping a woman in suburban Washington D.C., police said today.

A drunken Lt. Col. Jeff Krusinski “approached a female victim in a parking lot and grabbed her breasts and buttocks,” according to a report by the Arlington County police.

The alleged groping happened in the 500 block of 23rd Street in Crystal City at 12:35 a.m. yesterday, cops said.

“The victim fought the suspect off as he attempted to touch her again and alerted police,” according to Arlington County cops.

Krusinski, 41, of Arlington, Va., was removed from his position as head of the branch’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, Air Force spokeswoman Natasha Waggoner said.

The Air Force officer, booked on suspicion of misdemeanor sexual battery, posted a $5,000 bond and was released.

He did not know the victim, cops said.

It wasn’t immediately clear why Krusinski had the cuts and bruises on his face in his booking mugshot....

-bth: until someone like the Sec of the Air Force is fired over this string of sexual assaults within the Air Force, it won't be taken seriously.

Are all telephone calls recorded and accessible to the US government?

Are all telephone calls recorded and accessible to the US government? | Glenn Greenwald | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

...Let's repeat that last part: "no digital communication is secure", by which he means not that any communication is susceptible to government interception as it happens (although that is true), but far beyond that: all digital communications - meaning telephone calls, emails, online chats and the like - are automatically recorded and stored and accessible to the government after the fact. To describe that is to define what a ubiquitous, limitless Surveillance State is.

There have been some previous indications that this is true. Former AT&T engineer Mark Klein revealed that AT&T and other telecoms had built a special network that allowed the National Security Agency full and unfettered access to data about the telephone calls and the content of email communications for all of their customers. Specifically, Klein explained "that the NSA set up a system that vacuumed up Internet and phone-call data from ordinary Americans with the cooperation of AT&T" and that "contrary to the government's depiction of its surveillance program as aimed at overseas terrorists . . . much of the data sent through AT&T to the NSA was purely domestic." But his amazing revelations were mostly ignored and, when Congress retroactively immunized the nation's telecom giants for their participation in the illegal Bush spying programs, Klein's claims (by design) were prevented from being adjudicated in court.

That every single telephone call is recorded and stored would also explain this extraordinary revelation by the Washington Post in 2010:

Every day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications.

It would also help explain the revelations of former NSA official William Binney, who resigned from the agency in protest over its systemic spying on the domestic communications of US citizens, that the US government has "assembled on the order of 20 trillion transactions about US citizens with other US citizens" (which counts only communications transactions and not financial and other transactions), and that "the data that's being assembled is about everybody. And from that data, then they can target anyone they want."

Despite the extreme secrecy behind which these surveillance programs operate, there have been periodic reports of serious abuse. Two Democratic Senators, Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, have been warning for years that Americans would be "stunned" to learn what the US government is doing in terms of secret surveillance....