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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 1/4/16

Dispatches 2015 News Awards

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The George Orwell Award For Language goes to the intelligence gathering organizations of the "Five Eyes" surveillance alliance -- the U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand -- who changed the words "mass surveillance" to "bulk collection." The linguistic gymnastics allows the Five to claim that they are not violating Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. In the 2000 decision of Amann v. Switzerland, the Court found that it was illegal to store information on an individual's private life.

As investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald points out, the name switch is similar to replacing the world "torture" with "enhanced interrogation techniques." The first is illegal, the second vague enough for interrogators to claim they are not violating the International Convention Against Torture.

A runner up is the U.S. Defense Department, which changed the scary title of "Air Sea Battle" to describe the U.S.'s current military doctrine vis-a-vis China, to "Joint Concept for Access and Maneuver in the Global Commons." The Air Sea Battle doctrine calls for bottling up China's navy, launching missile attacks to destroy command centers, and landing troops on the Chinese mainland. It includes scenarios for the use of nuclear weapons. "Global Commons," on the other hand, sounds like a picnic on the lawn.

The Lassie Come Home Award to the U.S. Marine Corps for creating a 160-pound robot dog that will "enhance the Marine Corps war-fighting capabilities," according to Captain James Pineiro. Pineiro heads up the Corp's Warfighting Laboratory at Quantico, Virginia. "We see it as a great potential for the future dismounted infantry."

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is also designing an autonomous fighting robot. Can the Terminator be far off?

The Golden Lemon Award goes to Lockheed Martin, the biggest arms manufacturer in the world, which has managed to produce two stunningly expensive weapons systems that don't work.

The F-35 Lightning II is the single most expensive weapons system in U.S. history: $1.5 trillion. It is supposed to replace all other fighter-bomber aircraft in the American arsenal, including the F-15, F-16 and F-18, and will begin deployment in 2016.

Slight problem.

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Conn M. Hallinan is a columnist for Foreign Policy In Focus, "A Think Tank Without Walls, and an independent journalist. He holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley. He oversaw the (more...)
 
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