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Styrian Armoury

In what was once a militarily vital section of Europe sits the Styrian Armory, a massive collection of murder equipment that began as a true armory and is now one of the most extensive collections of historical weaponry in the world.

Caught between centuries of fighting between the Ottoman Empire and Hungary, the Austrian state of Styria need weapons. Rather than depend on imported, or arms made for demand, the locals and nobility established the “State Armoury” in the mid-1600’s. The five-story building contained only one floor of administrative space with the remaining four floors of the building given over to the storage of weapons and armor including swords, shields, guns, and primitive rocket-making equipment were all kept on hand. The armory was in use for a little over a century before it was decommissioned when Austria centralized their military forces. The building and its weapons were almost disbanded, but the Styrian citizens managed to get the site saved as a museum.

full story at Atlas Obscura





The men who drop in goats: US govt spent $6m bringing 9 animals to Afghanistan

© Reuters

he US Department of Defense squandered $6 million airlifting rare Italian goats into Afghanistan, attempting to boost the cashmere industry there.

The Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO) spent almost $800 million on various projects in Afghanistan over a five-year period in an attempt to bolster the war-torn economy.

John F. Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), told a Senate hearing this week that TFBSO activities in Afghanistan were “stymied by a lack of strategy, leadership, and coordination” and many of the projects had “little-to-no chance” of actually effecting change.

One such “poorly planned” project saw the task force import nine rare, blond male goats from Italy, and set up a farm and  a lab to certify the wool. The goal was to “bolster the cashmere industry in Herat [Afghanistan’s third largest city].”

The failed project cost American taxpayers just over $6 million. Contractors have claimed up to 350 jobs were created in the process, but Sopko said the project’s status is unknown. He also could not say whether the goats had actually been eaten.

Sopko spoke of numerous other failed projects that were undertaken as well, including the construction of an “ill-conceived” $43 million natural gas filling station in the city of Sheberghan, near Afghanistan’s natural gas fields.

The task force also spent $42 million to develop a “Silicon Valley-modeled startup incubator” for businesses and $7.5 million on “carpet support,” which aimed to “increase the sales of hand knotted carpets.”

TFBSO claims this created nearly 10,000 carpet weaving jobs, but the report’s initial analysis questions “the veracity of this figure.”

Nearly $150 million was spent “by TFBSO leadership to protect, house, and feed its personnel primarily on facilities that were not operated by the US government,” for which SIGAR “has not yet found any data or documentation that analytically demonstrates the return on investment the Task Force gained.”

READ MORE: Pentagon spent $150 million on luxury villas for employees in Afghanistan

“Over the past two years,” Sopko said, “SIGAR has received more complaints of waste, fraud, and abuse relating to TFBSO activities than for any other organization operating in Afghanistan.”

TFBSO ended its programs in Afghanistan at the end of 2014 and ceased all operations in March 2015.

 source RT








Deepcut barracks: rape, ‘pimping’ allegations emerge amid calls for inquiry into army recruit deaths

© Wikipedia

New allegations that recruits were raped and “pimped” out by officers have emerged as calls increase for a public inquiry into the army’s notorious Deepcut training camp.

The new allegations center on the culture of the Surrey facility where the shooting deaths of four army recruits took place between 1995 and 2002. They emerged during a new inquest into the case.

On Saturday, an investigation by The Independent newspaper raised questions about a culture of rape, abuse and exploitation at the camp. It emerged that up to 60 complaints were made to local police by recruits in 1995 alone.

Lawyers acting for the family of Private Cheryl James told a pre-inquest hearing that she may have been sexually exploited by high-ranking soldiers entrusted with her care and raped the night before the 18-year-old was found dead with gunshot wounds to the head.

Her father, Des James, raised his long-held concerns to The Independent, telling the paper: “I believe there was a serious problem with the culture in that camp.

I think there was a culture that breached regulations, a culture of drug use, alcohol bingeing, bullying and sexual intimidation. There was very little respect for individual recruits,” he said.

The James family fought the military for 20 years to get a second inquest. The original proceedings lasted just one hour and, it is claimed, ignored key evidence.

There is no evidence that was collected that could prove that the rifle that was found by the side of her was the rifle that killed her, and there was no evidence that, even if it was, she was the person who fired it,” James said.

© AparatMediaTV

We just want to know what happened to our daughter,” he added.

Around 100 witnesses are said to be coming forward to give evidence to the ongoing inquest, the proceedings of which have being published in detail by investigative journalist Barry Keevins.

Speaking on behalf of the James family, Alison Foster QC said: “These are witnesses who were there at the time, who are complaining of sexual events being organized by others which Cheryl James was part of.

There are unanswered questions remaining that Cheryl may have been sexually coerced or raped the night before her death. The new evidence gives a sinister new slant over the issue of sexual coercion.

There is now a direct allegation that she was ordered to sleep with Witness A by someone higher up, who we are calling Witness B.

Foster said another witness, herself a former recruit, claimed that people were brought to watch James being raped.

Foster likened the culture at the camp to one of “pimping and prostitution.

This is not fraternizing. This is not an illicit sexual relationship between two young people across the ranks.

This is something quite different,” Foster added.

On Sunday it was reported that a number of male recruits have also claimed they had been raped at the camp in the early 1990s.

An anonymous former counsellor from the region told the Independent that two men had told him they had made complaints.

They had talked to the military police and had been told if you go on like this you will be court-martialled or thrown out,” he said.

They made formal complaints [to Surrey Police] and then at some stage it was decided that no action was going to be taken,” he added.

 source RT







URGENT: ISIS withdraws from Ramadi center, takes hundreds as hostages

Iraqi forces.Archival photo.

( Anbar – On Sunday, Khalidiya Council in Anbar Province announced, that all elements of ISIS organization had withdrawn from the center of Ramadi to the eastern areas of the city, while pointed out that the organization had taken hundreds of civilians as hostages and human shields.

The head of Khalidiya Council Ali Dawood said in a statement received by, “The intelligence information revealed that all ISIS elements had escaped from the center of Ramadi areas to Khalidiya Island east of the city, along with hundreds of civilian hostages,” pointing out that, “The cells of ISIS organization were completely collapsed during the cleansing battles.”

Dawood added, “The organization has taken hundreds of civilians as hostages and human shields during their withdrawal from Ramadi, while the security forces are pursuing the elements of the organization to liberate the abducted civilians.”

Source Iraqi News






Cameron Urges Parliament To Back Airstrikes In Syria In Wake Of Paris Attacks

The prime minister said the UK must attack the Syrian city of Raqqa, which he called the “head of the snake”.

‘Unprecedented terrorist attacks’: French President declares state of emergency, closes borders

France's President Francois Hollande. © Regis Duvignau

Amid the “unprecedented terrorist attacks” that have resulted in dozens of deaths, French President Francois Hollande has declared a state of emergency and announced that France will close its borders.

LIVE UPDATES: Many killed and injured in coordinated Parist attacks, hostages taken

Dozens of people have lost their lives in a series of apparently coordinated attacks in the French capital on Friday evening. Addressing the nation, President Francois Hollande called on everyone to remain strong and show “compassion and unity.”

“There is much to fear, but we must face these fears as a nation that knows how to muster its forces and will confront the terrorists,” the president said.

In the wake of the “unprecedented terrorist attacks,” Hollande has ordered the French military to deploy reinforcements in the capital.

Russia has condemned the “series of monstrous terrorist attacks in Paris,” with President Putin offering deepest condolences to the French people, as well as his counterpart. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov added that Russia will offer any help it can to bring those responsible for attacks to justice.

US president Barack Obama also offered “full support” to France to overcome what he said appeared to be a terrorist attack, and noted that the US and France shared the bonds of “liberte, egalite and fraternite.”

“We stand prepared and ready to provide whatever kind of assistance the government and the people of France require,” Obama said.

source RT

Heartbreaking: Here’s What A U.S Soldier Said When Asked To Justify The War On Terror by Sophie McAdam

“You grew up wanting so bad to be Luke Skywalker, but you realize that you were basically a Stormtrooper, a faceless, nameless rifleman, carrying a spear for empire, and you start to accept the startlingly obvious truth that these are people like you.”
Read More:

Japan displays naval power as US extends home fleet’s operation to entire Pacific

Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) destroyer Kurama (L), which is carrying Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, leads the JMSDF fleet during its fleet review at Sagami Bay, off Yokosuka, south of Tokyo October 18, 2015. © Toru Hanai

Japan has showcased its naval strength, including Tokyo’s latest helicopter carrier Izumo. The commander of the US Third Fleet, which was recently given a greater role in the western Pacific, visited the event.

The Fleet Review of the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) is held every three years. The display held on Sunday in Sagami Bay, southwest of Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, featured an armada of carriers, cruisers, destroyers and submarines.

The highlight of the show was Japan’s new 250 meter long helicopter carrier, the Izumo, the biggest warship Japan has built since World War II. Japan designates it a ‘helicopter destroyer’ rather than carrier to comply with the country’s pacifist constitution that renounces war and the threat of force as means to settle international disputes. Technically the country has no military and for numerous years, has not been building aircraft carriers, which are needed to wage war far from home soil.

read the whole article at RT

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