Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
by Fran on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 01:09:21 AM EST
Tomgram: Nick Turse, The Pentagon as Global Landlord

In 2003, Forbes magazine revealed that media mogul Ted Turner was America's top land baron -- with a total of 1.8 million acres across the U.S. The nation's ten largest landowners, Forbes reported, "own 10.6 million acres, or one out of every 217 acres in the country." Impressive as this total was, the Pentagon puts Turner and the entire pack of mega-landlords to shame with over 29 million acres in U.S. landholdings. Abroad, the Pentagon's "footprint" is also that of a giant. For example, the Department of Defense controls 20% of the Japanese island of Okinawa and, according to Stars and Stripes, "owns about 25 percent of Guam." Mere land ownership, however, is just the tip of the iceberg.

In his 2004 book, The Sorrows of Empire, Chalmers Johnson opened the world's eyes to the size of the Pentagon's global footprint, noting that the Department of Defense (DoD) was deploying nearly 255,000 military personnel at 725 bases in 38 countries. Since then, the total number of overseas bases has increased to at least 766 and, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service, may actually be as high as 850. Still, even these numbers don't begin to capture the global sprawl of the organization that unabashedly refers to itself as "one of the world's largest `landlords.'"

The DoD's "real property portfolio," according to 2006 figures, consists of a total of 3,731 sites. Over 20% of these sites are located on more than 711,000 acres outside of the U.S. and its territories. Yet even these numbers turn out to be a drastic undercount. For example, while a 2005 Pentagon report listed U.S. military sites from Antigua and Hong Kong to Kenya and Peru, some countries with significant numbers of U.S. bases go entirely unmentioned -- Afghanistan and Iraq, for example.
In value, the Pentagon's other properties are almost as impressive. The combined worth of the world's two most expensive homes, the $138 million 103-room "Updown Court" in Windlesham, Surrey in the United Kingdom and Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan's $135 million Aspen ski lodge don't even come close to the price tag on Ascension Auxiliary Airfield, located on a small island off the coast of St. Helena (the place of Napoleon Bonaparte's exile and death). It has an estimated replacement value of over $337 million. Other high-priced facilities include Camp Ederle in Italy at $544 million; Incirlik Air Base in Turkey at almost $1.2 billion; and Thule Air Base in Greenland at $2.8 billion; while the U.S. Naval Air Station in Keflavik, Iceland is appraised at $3.4 billion and the various military facilities in Guam are valued at more than $11 billion.

Still, to begin to grasp the Pentagon's global immensity, it helps to look, again, at its land holdings -- all 120,191 square kilometers which are almost exactly the size of North Korea (120,538 square kilometers). These holdings are larger than any of the following nations: Liberia, Bulgaria, Guatemala, South Korea, Hungary, Portugal, Jordan, Kuwait, Israel, Denmark, Georgia, or Austria. The 7,518 square kilometers of 20 micro-states -- the Vatican, Monaco, Nauru, Tuvalu, San Marino, Liechtenstein, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Maldives, Malta, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Seychelles, Andorra, Bahrain, Saint Lucia, Singapore, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati and Tonga -- combined pales in comparison to the 9,307 square kilometers of just one military base, White Sands Missile Range.

by Fran on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 01:12:55 AM EST
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BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | UN hails Iran nuclear agreement
The UN's International Atomic Energy Agency says it has reached a deal with Iran to allow new inspections and safeguards at key nuclear facilities.

Tehran will allow inspectors into Arak heavy water plant and agree safeguards at its Natanz uranium enrichment plant, the UN nuclear watchdog said.

The agency's deputy director described the deal as a framework for resolving a range of nuclear issues with Iran.

Iran says its nuclear programme is for civilian purposes, not bomb-making.

The EU and US, however, accuse the Islamic republic of seeking to build nuclear weapons and have demanded it suspend its uranium enrichment activities.

by Fran on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 01:13:30 AM EST
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Ah, then. This means, It is Over. No more Iran bashing. No war.

Bush can hail his victory and Cheney can go home.

Aircraft carriers can be turned into schools and cities for the homeless and destitute, and military facilities can close. People and objects and money harnessed to the unproductive channels of war can be refocused onto the successes of the next decades.

You smell that? Do you smell that? Peace, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of peace in the morning.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 04:47:39 AM EST
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How many months before the US goes to the UNSC claiming the inspections don't work?

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 05:06:39 AM EST
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It's not nuke power. No. Now the excuse is that Iran is arming insurgents and that attacking Iran would be self defence.

But without the nuke issue, the problem becomes - attacking what in Iran, and how? It's a lot harder to justify using nuclear bunker busters on civilian targets.

I don't suppose BushCheney will accept that they can be cheated of a war quite so easily. But it really is becoming harder and harder for this farce to maintain any momentum.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 08:07:20 AM EST
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that Sadam also let the inspectors in.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 09:40:37 AM EST
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See: ...but Saddam threw out the inspectors! by DoDo on June 3rd, 2007

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 10:05:38 AM EST
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Guardian: S.D. Border Fence Construction Resumes

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Bulldozers are rolling again on the U.S.-Mexico border, moving hundreds of tons of dirt to make way for a 16-foot steel fence in an area that once was the most popular crossing for illegal immigrants.

But before the construction resumed recently, the 14-mile project in San Diego was stalled for years by legal challenges from environmentalists, budget problems and difficulties buying land. Those delays are now raising doubts about a government plan to extend fencing to 370 miles of the Mexican border.

The Bush administration, under pressure to tighten border security, wants all 370 miles done by the end of next year.

``If past experience is any guide, it will cost a lot more than anyone expected and take a lot longer than anyone is talking about right now,'' said David Shirk, director of the University of San Diego's Trans-Border Institute, which studies border issues.

The Homeland Security Department has yet to say where it will build fences in California, Arizona and New Mexico. And the only proposal made public so far - for Texas - drew immediate criticism and is being reworked. Opponents worried it would limit access to the Rio Grande, damage the environment and infuriate Mexicans who cross the border to shop and visit.

The 1,952-mile border stretches over sensitive terrain, including two national wildlife refuges in Arizona. And negotiations for land owned by scores of ranchers and Indian tribes may be challenging.

by lychee on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 01:34:50 AM EST
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El Pais: Cuba toca fondo [Reportaje: el futuro cubano] (14/07/2007)El Pais: Cuba touches bottom [Report: Cuba's future] (14/07/2007)
Dime tres logros de la revolución, pregunta un chiste cubano. La respuesta, obvia: la educación, la salud, el deporte. ¿Y los tres mayores fracasos? Unos segundos de silencio... y el narrador contesta: "El desayuno, el almuerzo y la comida". La broma, que es muy seria, adquiere estos días especial actualidad; casi un año después de que Fidel Castro delegara "provisionalmente" todos sus cargos por una grave enfermedad, aliviar las desesperantes estrecheces y padecimientos cotidianos de la población es para el Gobierno interino de Raúl Castro una prioridad.Tell me three achievents of the Revolution, asks a Cuban joke. The obvious answer: education, health, sport. And the three greatest failures? A few seconds of silence... and the joke-teller answers: "breakfast, lunch and dinner". The joke, which is quire serious, is these days aprticularly current; nearly a year after Fidel Castro "provisionally" delegated all his offices for a serious illness, to alleviate the daily suffering and scarcity of the population is a priority for the interim government of Raúl Castro.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 04:27:26 AM EST
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