In a new twist to a widening tale of ethical lapses in the military, the Navy is investigating cheating allegations against about one-fifth of its trainers at a school for naval nuclear power reactor operators. It is the second exam-cheating scandal to hit the military this year, on top of...
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Exam Cheating Scandal Hits #US Navy #Nuclear Force - AP
WASHINGTON February 4, 2014 (AP)
By ROBERT BURNS AP National Security Writer
In a new twist to a widening tale of ethical lapses in the military, the Navy is investigating cheating allegations against about one-fifth of its trainers at a school for naval nuclear power reactor operators.
It is the second exam-cheating scandal to hit the military this year, on top of a series of disclosures in recent months of ethical lapses at all ranks in the military as it transitions from more than a decade of war-fighting.
Unlike an Air Force cheating probe that has implicated nearly 100 officers responsible for land-based nuclear missiles that stand ready for short-notice launch, those implicated in the Navy investigation have no responsibility for nuclear weapons.
The Air Force probe is centered on Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., but could spread to its two other nuclear missile bases in North Dakota and Wyoming. Dozens of officers at Malmstrom have been linked to cheating on a monthly test of their proficiency in handling "emergency war orders" for potential launch of nuclear missiles.
The Navy said its implicated sailors are accused of having cheated on written tests they must pass to be certified as instructors at a nuclear propulsion school at Charleston, S.C. The Navy uses two nuclear reactors there to train sailors for duty aboard any of dozens of submarines and aircraft carriers around the world whose onboard reactors provide propulsion. They are not part of any weapons systems.
The accused sailors had previously undergone reactor operations training at Charleston before deploying aboard a nuclear-power vessel. In the normal course of career moves, they returned to Charleston to serve as instructors, for which they have to pass requalification exams.
Adm. John Richardson, director of the Navy's nuclear propulsion program, said an undisclosed number of senior sailors are alleged to have provided test information to their peers. He was not more specific, but one official said the information was shared from the sailors' home computers, which could be a violation of security rules because information about nuclear reactors operations is classified.
"That'll be an active part of the investigation to fully understand" the extent of any security rule violations, Richardson said. He said the last time the Navy had such a cheating scandal involving its nuclear reactor operators was in 2010 when the USS Memphis, a nuclear-powered submarine, lost about 10 percent of its crew to disciplinary measures after a cheating ring was discovered.
Richardson said the alleged cheating at Charleston came to light Monday when a senior enlisted sailor at the training site reported it to higher authorities. Richardson said the unidentified sailor "recognized that this was wrong" and chose to report it.
The matter was still under investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
Adm. Jonathan Greenert, the chief of naval operations, said at a joint announcement with Richardson that he was upset to learn of the breakdown in discipline.
"To say I am disappointed would be an understatement," Greenert said. "We expect more from our sailors — especially our senior sailors."
Neither Greenert nor Richardson identified the rank of the alleged cheaters but described them as senior enlisted members. There are about 150 nuclear power reactor instructors at the Charleston site. With about 30 of them banned, at least temporarily, from performing their duties, the training program might suffer.
"I could possibly foresee an impact in Charleston," Richardson said. "We'll see if that is broader."
Pressed to say how many sailors were implicated in the investigation, Richardson said a "ballpark figure" was something like 12 to 20. But a short time later, another Navy official said the number was approximately 30 but could change as the investigation unfolds. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss publicly any details beyond what Richardson and Greenert disclosed at their news conference.
Richardson said he could not discuss possible disciplinary action against those involved because the probe was ongoing. However, he said anyone in the naval nuclear power program — either in a training setting or aboard a ship at sea — who is caught cheating would usually be removed from the program and "generally" would be kicked out of the Navy.
The decision to have Greenert and Richardson announce the cheating investigation publicly was a sign of how seriously the Navy takes the matter.
Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report.
Catch the full episode on Thursday! Freedom and democracy are said to be guarantees of human rights, but as the NSA spying scandal and the Arab Spring recent...
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Freedom and democracy are said to be guarantees of human rights, but as the NSA spying scandal and the Arab Spring recently showed, that isn't always the case. Are all people inherently qualified for freedom and democracy? What happens when it is thrust upon them before they are ready? And what does it mean to be free? Oksana is joined by the founder of the Free Software Foundation, Richard Stallman, to discuss these issues.
The “Open letter on the future of Ukraine” issued by Western academics and foreign policy operatives is a vile defense of the ongoing far-right protests in Ukraine.
Juan Carlos Hernandez's insight:
Ukraine and the pro-imperialist intellectuals5 February 2014
The “Open letter on the future of Ukraine” issued by a group of Western academics and foreign policy operatives is a vile defense of the ongoing far-right protests in Ukraine supported by Washington and the European Union (EU). It peddles the old lie, repeated over nearly a quarter century of imperialist wars and interventions in Eastern Europe since the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, that US and EU policy is driven only by a disinterested love of democracy and human rights.
It states, “The future of Ukrainians depends most of all on Ukrainians themselves. They defended democracy and their future 10 years ago, during the Orange Revolution, and they are standing up for those values today. As Europeans grow disenchanted with the idea of a common Europe, people in Ukraine are fighting for that idea and for their country’s place in Europe. Defending Ukraine from the authoritarian temptations of its corrupt leaders is in the interests of the democratic world.”
The identity of the imperialist powers’ local proxies demolishes the open letter’s pretense that the imperialist powers are fighting for democracy. They are relying on a core of a few thousand fascistic thugs from the Right Sector organization and the Svoboda Party to topple the Ukrainian regime in a series of street protests, replace it with a pro-EU government hostile to Moscow, and impose savage austerity measures. Washington and the EU are not fighting for democracy, but organizing a social counterrevolution.
In November, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych backed away from plans to integrate Ukraine into the EU and push through tens of billions of dollars in social cuts against workers to pay back Ukraine’s debts to the major banks. Fearing an explosion of mass protests, he accepted a bailout from Russia instead. The far-right opposition redoubled its efforts, as dueling anti-government and anti-opposition protests spread in Ukrainian- and Russian-speaking parts of the country, respectively.
While EU intervention threatens Ukraine with social collapse and civil war, the open letter stands reality on its head, presenting the developments in Ukraine as a threat to the EU: “It is not too late for us to change things for the better and prevent Ukraine from being a dictatorship. Passivity in the face of the authoritarian turn in Ukraine and the country’s reintegration into a newly expanding Russian imperial sphere of interests pose a threat to the European Union’s integrity.”
In fact, neither Ukraine nor Russia has threatened to attack the EU. It is Ukraine—with its energy pipeline network, strategic military bases, and heavy industry—that is emerging as a major prize in an aggressive thrust by US and European imperialism to plunder the region and target Russia. While US and European imperialism threaten to attack Moscow’s main Middle East allies, Syria and Iran, they are threatening Russia’s main Eastern European ally, Ukraine, with regime change or partition.
The drive to impose untrammeled imperialist domination of Eastern Europe, which began after the restoration of capitalism with escalating NATO interventions and wars in Yugoslavia in the 1990s, is at a very advanced stage. It is setting into motion the next campaign, for regime change and ethnic partition in Russia, where Washington is studying a variety of ethnic groups—from Chechens, to Tatars or Circassians—whose grievances can be mobilized against Moscow.
This is raised quite directly in leading sections of the Western press. TheFinancial Times of London wrote Sunday, “Mr. Yanukovych and Mr. Putin are leaders of a similar type and with a similar governing model. If Ukrainians push the man in Kiev out of power, Russians might wonder why they should not do the same to the man in the Kremlin.”
By aligning themselves with the US-EU drive to dominate Eastern Europe, the signatories of the open letter are embracing what historically have been the aims of German imperialism. Berlin twice invaded Ukraine in the 20th century, in 1918 and 1941. Significantly, imperialism’s proxies in Ukraine today are the political descendants of Ukrainian fascists who helped carry out the Ukrainian Holocaust as allies of the Nazis—whose policy was to depopulate Ukraine and prepare its colonization by German settlers through mass extermination.
Now, at this year’s Munich Security Conference, top German officials stated that Berlin plans to abandon restrictions on the use of military force that it has obeyed since the end of World War II.
The disastrous consequences of the Soviet bureaucracy’s self-destructive policies and the light-minded approach of Mikhail Gorbachev as he moved to dissolve the USSR—believing that the concept of imperialism was a fiction invented by Marxism—are emerging fully into view.
Trotsky warned that the dissolution of the USSR would not only restore capitalism, but also transform Russia into a semi-colonial fiefdom of the imperialist powers: “A capitalist Russia could not now occupy even the third-rate position to which czarist Russia was predestined by the course of the world war. Russian capitalism today would be a dependent, semi-colonial capitalism without any prospects. Russia Number 2 would occupy a position somewhere between Russia Number 1 and India. The Soviet system with its nationalized industry and monopoly of foreign trade, in spite of all its contradictions and difficulties, is a protective system for the economic and cultural independence of the country.”
This is the agenda being laid out by imperialism and its fascist proxies: to return Russia and Ukraine to semi-colonial status through internal subversion, civil war, or external military intervention. Processes are being set into motion that threaten the deaths of millions.
Mobilizing the working class in struggle against imperialist war and neocolonial exploitation is the central task in Eastern Europe. Due warnings must be made. In the absence of such a struggle, given the bankruptcy and unpopularity of the region’s oligarchic regimes, there is every reason to think that determined fascist gangs—supported by imperialist governments and given political cover by pro-imperialist academics and diplomatic operatives—will succeed in toppling existing regimes.
This underscores the reactionary role of the signatories of the open letter. Some are top diplomats or “non-governmental” imperialist operatives—such as former foreign ministers Ana Palacio of Spain and Bernard Kouchner of France, or Chris Stone and Aryeh Neier of the US State Department-linked Open Society Institute of billionaire George Soros. Most, however, are academics and intellectuals who are lending their names to give credibility to far-right reaction in Ukraine, through a foul combination of learned ignorance and historic blindness.
Some of the names on the list of signatories evoke regret—such as Fritz Stern, a historian who was once capable of writing seriously on historical questions.
Others, like that of postmodernist charlatan Slavoj Zizek, come as no surprise. They only confirm the alignment of affluent sections of the middle class with imperialist brigandage, and the reactionary role of pseudo-left thought in training mouthpieces for imperialism.
After decades of intellectual war on Marxism in universities and the media, cultural life is in a disastrous state. Hostile to the Marxist conceptions of imperialism and of material interests driving its policies, these layers are left unmoved by imperialist crimes—the destruction of Fallujah during the US occupation of Iraq, or the drone murder campaign in Afghanistan. Their pens spring into action, however, when EU politicians excite their moral glands by denouncing regimes targeted for imperialist intervention. They can be led by the nose, even behind fascists, with a few empty invocations of human rights.
The global battle for LGBT rights will not start, or end, with rainbow flags in Sochi. American activists are spreading anti-gay fear and anger around the world.
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America’s Ambassadors of Hate #lgbt
The global battle for LGBT rights will not end with rainbow flags in Sochi. American activists are spreading anti-gay propaganda around the world with horrifying success, writes Christopher Dickey. From Jamaica to France, activists warn “what happened in America could happen to you.”