The End Of All Crossroads

Where the TAXI makes a stop, to ponder upon which road mayhap be true

Tag: US military

Pentagon Fraud

“The contractor fraud provision would make the Department of Defense identify firms that received contracts after they were previously sanctioned for defrauding the Pentagon.”

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November 30, 2012

The Senate on Friday agreed to make the Pentagon compile annual reports on contracting fraud. The provision by Sen. Bernie Sanders was added to a Department of Defense authorization bill. Another Sanders amendment added to the bill today would make public a list of senior military officials who leave the government and land on the payrolls of defense contractors. “This country has a $16 trillion national debt. It is unacceptable that the Department of Defense continues to lose vast sums of taxpayer money because of fraud perpetrated by major defense contractors. This has got to stop,” Sanders said.

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The contractor fraud provision would make the Department of Defense identify firms that received contracts after they were previously sanctioned for defrauding the Pentagon.

Over the past decade, the Department of Defense paid more than $400 billion to contractors who had been previously sanctioned in cases involving $1 million or more in fraud, according to a 2011 Pentagon report. That study, the first of its kind, was required by a Sanders amendment to an earlier defense authorization bill.

Major contractors among the many examples of fraud cited in the report included:
Lockheed Martin. The nation’s largest defense contractor landed $200 billion in taxpayer-funded contracts even after paying $60.95 million in fraud judgments and settlements over the previous 10 years. In 2008, for example, Lockheed paid $10.5 million to settle charges that it submitted false invoices for a multi-billion dollar contract connected to the Titan IV space launch vehicle program. The very next year, Lockheed received $30.2 billion in Pentagon contracts.
The Boeing Company. It paid at least $644 million in fraud judgments and settlements while it received more than $21 billion in contracts in the last decade. In 2000, for example, Boeing agreed to pay $54 million to settle charges that it placed defective gears in more than 140 Chinook helicopters and then sold the helicopters to the Army.
Northrop Grumman Corp. Despite paying at least $410 million in fraud judgments and settlements, the nation’s No. 3 defense contractor was awarded more than $9 billion in taxpayer-funded contracts in the last decade. In 2005, Northrop Grumman paid $62 million to settle charges that it concealed basic inventory problems. Despite the serious charges, Northrop Grumman received $12.7 billion in contracts the next year, a 16 percent increase over the year before.

Under a separate Sanders amendment, the Pentagon would have to shed light on defense contractors that hire retiring Pentagon brass to help them land lucrative government contracts.

A recent study by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the Brave New Foundation found that 70 percent of recently-retired three-and-four star generals left the Pentagon for employment by major defense contractors. At least two of the former generals continued to serve on Defense Department advisory panels. The report did not find that any generals were breaking rules, but said that ethics codes are “riddled with loopholes” and suggested increased public scrutiny could prevent conflicts of interest.

 

SOURCE:
http://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/news/?id=2DF44679-35D7-424E-BB35-6AD57DE44786

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Our Broken World: The Toxic Nexus of Power and Money

“In our global society, only money gives a few people access to power which in return allows the very same people the possibility to accumulate even more wealth.”

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By Gilbert Mercier
NEWS JUNKIE POST
Jan 19, 2012 at 8:41 pm

A Crisis of Ontology

The deadly disease of our global capitalist system is rather easy to understand from a philosophical standpoint. The crisis is ontological, a profound existential turmoil. Human beings are currently defined and valued by what they have, not by what they are. The quantitative aspect of our lives is in the forefront of all human interactions-either between groups or individuals within a group-while the qualitative aspect has been pushed aside, not even on the back burner of our collective consciousness, but literally into the trash of our social interactions. Usually, people are gauged by their assets, incomes, and cars they drive not by evaluating what contributions they make to the common good. We live in a world where a person is defined by quantity not quality, and it is probably our biggest systemic problem.

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This is reflected by countless examples in the popular culture with expressions such as “show me the money”, “money talks” or the famous line in Brian De Palma’s “Scarface”: “First you get the money, than you get the power”. Poor kids, dreaming of a better future, are constantly bombarded by the spectacle of the “bling, the cool cribs, the fancy rides and the sexy babes” which are the trademarks of most Hip Hop music videos. Money is always center stage in this out of reach universe of “players” which regardless of any tangible cultural meaning serve as heroes and role models for the disenfranchised. It is the deadly equation of money= success + happiness + self respect =power. The same toxic component motivates some of the brightest and best educated young people in the United States to opt for a career on Wall Street instead of becoming doctors, engineers or scientists.

In our global society, only money gives a few people access to power which in return allows the very same people the possibility to accumulate even more wealth. A typical example of this vicious cycle is the constant revolving door between investment banks, such as Goldman Sachs and the highest jobs at the US Treasury Department. Top finance executives with a taste for power- such as Hank Paulson or Larry Summers- under the premises of an interest in “public service”, work for governmental branches for a few years, then go back to their extremely lucrative jobs in finance, and so on.

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Anxiety Rising: Occupy Versus Fear and Paradigm Paralysis

Some people are still living under the pretense that “things” in our broken global system will eventually fix themselves up spontaneously by some kind of miracle. Of course it will not happen, and this model is, by essence, the definition of magical thinking. Recently, a Haitian woman, interviewed for the occasion of the second anniversary of the earthquake, said that she was “putting her trust in god not in people” to rebuild Haiti from the horrific disaster. With a rising uncertainty and global anxiety building up like a pressure cooker, most people are scared and either try to escape reality by putting their heads in the sand or are convinced that the global system can be salvaged by making changes from within.

But, what they refuse to see is that following this model of a “business as usual” mentality impair their judgments and lock them into the box of paradigm paralysis. Even so most people feel that we have already entered an extraordinary period of global paradigm shift, the fear of the unknown makes them want to hang on to a system in advance state of decay. More people worldwide are getting aware of the fact that it is not a question of if the system will collapse but rather when.

The global Occupy movement has two functions in this process: firstly, to be the main catalyst for systemic change, secondly, as one of the architects setting up the foundations for a new global system where quality not quantity shall finally prevail in human relationships. Turning what seems to be Utopian into a reality is the challenge, and it is what this brave new world is all about. It is only a question of reaching a certain critical mass, and of developing the psychological ability to welcome the unknown, without fear, and to enter into uncharted territories.

Editor’s Note: All photographs by Magalie L’Abbe.

SOURCE:
http://newsjunkiepost.com/2012/01/19/our-broken-world-the-toxic-nexus-of-power-and-money/

La. town evacuates; police relocate explosives

By JANET McCONNAUGHEY
— Dec. 3 7:46 AM EST

 

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A town in northwest Louisiana was being evacuated and state police were starting a criminal investigation of a company after finding about 6 million pounds of explosive material used in howitzers they say was stored illegally.

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Boxes and small barrels of the M6 artillery propellant were found both outdoors and crammed into unauthorized buildings leased by Explo Systems Inc. at Camp Minden, the former Louisiana Army Ammunitions Plant, state police superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson said Sunday.

Police were evacuating the town of Doyline, about 270 miles northwest of New Orleans. About half the town’s 800 residents left Friday.

The company’s “careless and reckless disregard made it unsafe for their own employees, for schoolchildren in Doyline, for the town of Doyline,” Edmonson said.

The company is located on a portion of the former ammunition plant’s 15,000 acres that is leased for commercial use. Other sections are used for National Guard training.

Capt. Doug Cain, a state police spokesman, identified the product as M6 propellant, used in howitzers and other artillery. The pellets are largely compressed nitrocellulose, also known as guncotton.

Authorities had initially estimated the total at 1 million pounds after an investigator looking into an Oct. 15 explosion at Explo Systems saw cardboard boxes on long rows of pallets behind a building. They found more stacked in sheds and warehouses when crews returned Saturday to begin moving the boxes into bunkers about two miles away on the former munitions site, which covers nearly 23.5 square miles just north of Doyline.

“It wasn’t in their storage magazines. They had it hidden on the property, away from the storage magazines where we would expect to find it,” Cain said.

Edmonson said, “It was stuffed in corners. It was stacked all over.”

He said that in two days, crews have moved just under a million pounds from the tightest-packed buildings into approved containers and onto 27 tractor-trailers to move to storage bunkers. Another 250,000 pounds has been moved a safe distance from the bulk of the material.

It won’t all have to be moved into bunkers to let people return home — the evacuation could be lifted once the propellant is divided into amounts that won’t threaten the town if some ignites, with each area a safe distance from the others, Edmonson said.

Company officials could not be reached Sunday. The owners reportedly are returning Monday from a business trip to South Korea, but the manager has been working with state police from the start, Edmonson said.

Doyline was used to film some scenes for the HBO vampire series “True Blood.”

 

SOURCE:
http://bigstory.ap.org/article/la-town-evacuates-police-relocate-explosives

Doug Casey: The US Is Now the United (Police) State of America Doug Casey, Chairman

“”National security” essentially amounts to nothing more than government security, which amounts to cover for the individuals in the government. Nazi Germany and the USSR were national-security states. As I’ve tried to explain in the past, once a critical mass is reached, it’s impossible to reform a government. I believe we’ve reached that state in the US.”

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November 29, 2012 8:35pm GMT

Louis: Doug, after conversations like the one we had last week, we often get letters from angry readers who accuse you of hating America, disloyalty, and perhaps even treason. These people don’t know or understand what I do about you – that you love the idea that was America. It’s the United State it has become for which you have nothing but contempt. Perhaps we should try to explain this to them?

Doug: I doubt it would work; it’s a tough row to hoe, trying to explain things to people who are so set in their thinking that they truly and literally don’t want to hear anything that might threaten their notions. A person who feels threatened by ideas and who responds with emotion is acting irrationally. How can we have a discussion with someone whose emotion trumps their reason? How do we even begin to untangle the thinking of people who will gather this week to give thanks for the bounty produced by freedom and hard work – the famous puritan work ethic – by eating a turkey bought with food stamps?

But we can outline the ideas, for the record.

Louis: I’ll bring a copy if they ever do put you on trial for thoughtcrime – which is frighteningly close to being real these days and called treason to boot.

Doug: It’s not just close; it’s here. Just try telling an unapproved joke in a security line in an airport these days.

Louis: True enough. Where to begin?

Doug: At the beginning. America was founded as a confederation of independent countries – that’s what a state is. Or was, in our language. The original United States of America was a confederation of countries that banded together for protection against larger and more powerful countries they feared might be hostile. This is not a disputed interpretation of history, but as solid a fact as the study of history produces – and yet a largely neglected one.

Louis: We did cover this ground briefly in our conversations on the Civil War and the Constitution.

Doug: So we did… the short version being that the US Constitution was essentially a coup; the delegates to what we now call the Constitutional Convention were not empowered to replace the existing government – only to improve upon the Articles of Confederation between the then-independent states. The framers of the Constitution drafted it with the notion of a national government already in place, but calmed fears of loss of state sovereignty by calling the new government the “United States of America” – a verbal sleight of hand that worked for over half a century. Then the southern states decided to exercise what these words imply, their right to leave the union. While slavery was and is a wholesale criminal activity I object to in every way possible, the southern states did have the right to secede, both legally and ethically. But the question was settled by force, not reason, and the wrong side won.

Louis: Another coup?

Doug: More like an exposure of the first one for the whole world to see. But by then it was way too late. Despite this, the relative freedom of the US – because it was for many years far freer than other countries – made it possible for artists, engineers, inventors, and businesspeople to flourish and create a society more wealthy and powerful than any the world had ever seen. This is what I call the idea of America – the America That Was.

But the seeds of destruction were already sown at the very beginning – with the Alien and Sedition Acts being perhaps the first highly visible step in the wrong direction. Then came the forceful assertion of one national government, with states reduced to administrative regions via the War of Southern Secession, from 1861-’65. I’m no fan of state governments, incidentally, but at least they’re smaller and closer to their subjects than the federal government. Another major step in the wrong direction occurred with the Spanish-American War of 1898, where the US acquired an overseas empire by force. The next major step downhill was the creation of the Federal Reserve and the income tax, both in 1913, just in time for World War I. It took time for these things to make the system crash, because it was still a fairly free economy.

Louis: But crash it did in 1929…

Doug: Yes. And it led to the Great Depression of 1929-’46, which lasted so long entirely because of the unmitigated disaster of the New Deal (which we discussed recently). The New Deal injected socialist-fascist ideas into mainstream American thought like a poisonous acid, corrupting the heart of the idea of America that once made the place great. The process was completed with Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, which really established the basis of the welfare-warfare state. It truly set the stage for the total ethical, economic, social, political, and even military disaster now unfolding before our eyes.

Still, the beating heart of the idea of America – which is to say both social and economic freedom – took time to corrupt. Like a strong man who doesn’t know he’s headed for a heart attack, American culture didn’t really peak until the 1950s. The bullet-finned 1959 Cadillac is a symbol of this peak, in my mind.

Louis: Then we had Johnson and his “guns and butter” policy – War in Vietnam and War on Poverty at the same time – followed by tricky Dick kicking the last leg out of under the stool by taking the dollar off an even theoretical gold standard.

Doug: Yes. Nixon was arguably even a worse president than Johnson, with the devaluation of the dollar in 1971 and his creation of the War on Drugs. Things have spiraled out of control since then. In The Casey Report, we’ve written reams about these last decades and how they led to and shaped what’s happening now. But I have to say, the focus has been largely financial.

Louis: Which is as it should be, in a publication designed to help investors navigate these turbulent times.

Doug: Yes, but the corruption goes way beyond that, beyond even the senseless wars and idiotic foreign policy we discussed last week. America, once the land of the brave and the home of the free, is well on its way to becoming a police state – worse than any we’ve seen in the past, including the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.

Louis: How could it get worse than that?

Doug: Because Big Brother has better technology now, allowing possible manipulation and control of the population that Stalin and Hitler never dreamed of. And because the US used to be such a great place, a lot of people have been tricked into believing it’s the same as it was. But there’s no more resemblance between the America of old and the US of today than there was between the Rome of the Republic and the Rome of the later emperors. Furthermore, most Americans have conflated the government with society. They’re not only different things, but often antithetical.

Louis: I thought you said you’re an optimist!

Doug: I am. But that’s for the survivors who make it through the wringer the global economy – and every person on this planet – is about to go through. I keep telling you that the coming Greater Depression is going to be even worse than I think it is. You may think I’m joking, but I’m not. I do think that, primarily for reasons we discussed in our conversation on technology, what comes next will not only be even better than I imagine, it will be better than I can imagine… but first we have to go through the wringer. I see no way around it. I truly don’t.

Louis: Okay, I know you believe that. Can you substantiate the police-state claim?

Doug: Well, rather than give you anecdotal evidence – of which there are masses more each day – let me refer to a rather perceptive blog post by a George Washington law professor named Jonathan Turley, titled 10 Reasons Why the US Is No Longer the Land of the Free. I’m sure I don’t see everything the way the professor does, but the list struck me as quite accurate and very important for people to understand.

Louis: I’m sure I don’t want to hear this, but okay, shoot.

Doug: [Chuckles] Maybe you don’t, but I know you value the truth. These points underline something I’ve said for years: the Bill of Rights is a completely dead letter. It’s essentially meaningless and rarely even gets the benefit of lip service. Quoting it will result in derision, if not arrest as a dangerous radical.

Frankly, I didn’t think the civil liberties situation could get worse than it was under Cheney-Bush, but it has. Obama has repealed none of what they did – and added more. So, let’s go through the list. First:

Assassination of US citizens: “President Obama has claimed, as President George W. Bush did before him, the right to order the killing of any citizen considered a terrorist or an abettor of terrorism.”

Of course the very concept of terrorism is highly malleable, with over 100 definitions floating about – as we’ve discussed. But apart from that, it’s now accepted that the president and his minions have the right to kill almost anyone. This conceit will get completely out of control after the next real or imagined major terrorist incident.

Louis: This reminds me of the extraordinary powers given to government agents to battle the War On Some Drugs – like the RICO statutes – which have now been turned against ordinary citizens who have nothing to do with the drug trade.

Doug: Exactly. Once you give the state a power – for whatever good reason you imagine it needs it – it will use that power for whatever those in charge feel is in their interests. And those in charge are never saints.

Next:

Indefinite detention: “Under the law signed last month, terrorism suspects are to be held by the military; the president also has the authority to indefinitely detain citizens accused of terrorism.”

This was a precedent set by Guantánamo, where scores of the accused continue to rot without even a kangaroo-court trial.

Arbitrary justice: “The president now decides whether a person will receive a trial in the federal courts or in a military tribunal, a system that has been ridiculed around the world for lacking basic due process protections. Bush claimed this authority in 2001, and Obama has continued the practice.”

As the government becomes more powerful, it’s completely predictable that everything – including the justice system – will become ever more politicized. And government very rarely relinquishes a power it’s gained. I particularly like the Supreme Court ruling in April 2012 that allows anyone who’s arrested for anything – including littering or jaywalking – to be strip-searched.

Louis: Note to readers: you can’t hear Doug’s voice, but I assure you that his use of the word “like” is sarcastic.

Doug: Just so. Moving right along:

Warrantless searches: “The president may now order warrantless surveillance, including a new capability to force companies and organizations to turn over information on citizens’ finances, communications and associations. Bush acquired this sweeping power under the Patriot Act in 2001, and in 2011, Obama extended the power, including searches of everything from business documents to library records.”

Privacy is now a completely dead concept, from both a legal and a practical point of view. If you want to retain privacy, you now have no alternative to relocating outside the US.

Louis: Or any advanced Western country. I’ve read that there are more surveillance cameras per square mile in London than anywhere else.

Doug: I’ve heard that too. The opposite being true in rural Argentina is one of the things I like about it. Back to the list:

Secret evidence: “The government now routinely uses secret evidence to detain individuals and employs secret evidence in federal and military courts. It also forces the dismissal of cases against the United States by simply filing declarations that the cases would make the government reveal classified information that would harm national security…”

“National security” essentially amounts to nothing more than government security, which amounts to cover for the individuals in the government. Nazi Germany and the USSR were national-security states. As I’ve tried to explain in the past, once a critical mass is reached, it’s impossible to reform a government. I believe we’ve reached that state in the US.

War crimes: “The world clamored for prosecutions of those responsible for waterboarding terrorism suspects during the Bush administration, but the Obama administration said in 2009 that it would not allow CIA employees to be investigated or prosecuted for such actions. This gutted not just treaty obligations but the Nuremberg principles of international law.”

Torture by field operatives under the stress of combat is one thing; torture as official policy is something else again. But torture is now accepted in the US. Worse, there are far more serious war crimes than torture being committed in the name of the US that are going unpunished.

Louis: This is, after all, a far darker version of the same US government that deliberately infected black US citizens with syphilis just to see what would happen, and sent US citizens of Japanese descent to concentration camps during WWII.

Doug: Exactly. The next point is:

Secret court: “The government has increased its use of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which has expanded its secret warrants to include individuals deemed to be aiding or abetting hostile foreign governments or organizations. In 2011, Obama renewed these powers, including allowing secret searches of individuals who are not part of an identifiable terrorist group.”

You no longer live in a free country when there’s zero privacy for citizens, but 100% secrecy for the government and those it employs.

Immunity from judicial review: “Like the Bush administration, the Obama administration has successfully pushed for immunity for companies that assist in warrantless surveillance of citizens, blocking the ability of citizens to challenge the violation of privacy.”

The government has outsourced some of its functions – not least the use of contractors in war zones. Increasingly, being associated with the government gives you a “get out of jail free” card. In the USSR they called this a “krisha” – a roof.

Continual monitoring of citizens: “The Obama administration has successfully defended its claim that it can use GPS devices to monitor every move of targeted citizens without securing any court order or review.”

Bad as this is, it’s just one example. There’s also the use of domestic drones, and hundreds of thousands of cameras that take pictures of everyone everywhere.

Extraordinary renditions: “The government now has the ability to transfer both citizens and noncitizens to another country under a system known as extraordinary rendition, which has been denounced as using other countries, such as Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan, to torture suspects.”

Yes, if someone is kidnapped, there’s plausible deniability if the torturing is done abroad by a third party. And they’re likely to have even fewer compunctions.

Louis: That’s a pretty depressing list, Doug.

Doug: And this is just the beginning. As I’ve said before, I don’t call the shots – just try to tell the truth as I see it. The point is that you couldn’t assemble a list like this even 15 years ago. But now it’s part of the firmament. Worse, it’s going to grow. As the economy turns down over the next few years, the people – acting like scared chimpanzees – will ask the government to “do something.” And it will. The trend is going hyperbolic.

Louis: I can’t argue… and I agree it is not likely to be stopped. So if this is a sure trend, are there investment implications?

Doug: This just goes to reinforce what I’ve been saying for some time. As great as a US citizen’s risk is in the marketplace these days, the greatest single risk to their wealth and health is the government. People simply must internationalize to diversify their political risk. I can’t stress that strongly enough.

Louis: Would you go so far as to say that being a taxpayer in the US now is like being a Jew in Germany in the mid-1930s?

Doug: That’s a good analogy. It’s costly and upsetting to uproot, but the risk if you don’t is unimaginably worse. And I would warn people in other countries to take the same precautions. All of these nation-states are dying dinosaurs that will cause a lot of damage as they thrash about in their death throes. No place is completely safe, but you improve your odds by not putting your eggs all in one basket.

Louis: Okay, I guess we’ve covered that plenty of times. Is there a “police-state play” – any investments one could make before the new Iron Curtain slams down? Handcuff manufacturers?

Doug: Nah – they have those plastic zip-binder things now; they’re so cheap that I doubt the manufacturer can even make big money in volume. But I do remember a speech I attended in the ’90s given by William Bennett, the ex-Drug Czar, who recommended investing in prisons. I excoriated him as a sociopath at that meeting – but he was right. However, that ship has sailed; it’s hard to believe the US can incarcerate more than the current 2.3 million people. Besides, I find it morally offensive to capitalize on what I consider to be criminal enterprises. No, for now the only absolutely crystal-clear imperative is as above: You’ve got to have a Plan B ready in case you need to get out of Dodge – and you need it pronto.

And to those who celebrate Thanksgiving, I urge you to remember that it was hard work and the freedom to profit from it that created the bounty the pilgrims celebrated. It was this enterprising spirit and the liberty to exercise it that was the heart of the idea of the America That Was – the idea that made America great. Those corrupt politicians who have been undermining these values for so long and the willfully ignorant ideologues who support them are responsible for turning this country into the United (Police) State of America. They should be criticized and opposed at every opportunity.

Louis: Okay, Doug. Thanks for another challenging but enlightening conversation.

Doug: My pleasure.

Government Documents Link Global Warming to Advanced Military Climate Modification Technology

“Documents from 1966 reveal the mission of the military and federal agencies to modify the climate”

 

 

Posted by Rusty

(http://chemtrailsplanet.net/2012/11/16/government-documents-link-global-warming-to-advanced-military-climate-modification-technology-2/)

 

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It’s unacceptable that the UN/IPCC continue to push CO2 as the cause for climate change but refuse to acknowledge the military has been actively engaged in Climate Warming Weapons Technologies for more than twenty 20 years.

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TITLE: “Present and Future Plans of Federal Agencies in Weather-Climate Modification”

This set of documents from 1966 reveals a network of government agencies in perpetual and secret collaboration with each other and the military to Modify the Global climate. Created by the elitist National Academy of Sciences – decades of an inter-agency culture of secrecy explains why the issue of covert aerosol Geoengineering is a taboo topic to be degraded to the status of “conspiracy theory” by a matrix of complicit bureaucrats at every opportunity. This is why your local TV “meteorologist” will rarely make a helpful comment about an unusual sky filled with persistent jet trails.

TITLE: “The Evolution of a Weather Modification R&D program Into a Military Weapons System”. A 1986 Critique of the 1966 initiative.

This document appears as an anonymous draft intended as a critique of the US Weather Modification Program that the author characterizes as hijacked into a military weapons system.

 

PLEASE click either Image or Sourcepage for reading the full article
(it has a lot of hyperlinks that would be broken if I just inserted the article herein).