Ex-DARPA head becomes consultant to Ukraine’s military industry

From Sputnik

August 30, 2016

Kiev doesn’t seem to have lost its appetite for hiring foreign officials and advisors. Their latest acquisition is Anthony Tether, the former head of the Pentagon’s secretive Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, better known as DARPA. Tether is now an advisor for Ukraine’s state-owned defense conglomerate Ukroboronprom.

According to Ukroboronprom’s official press release, Tether will serve as an “advisor on the long-term development” of the Ukrainian defense industry. The American made history by becoming the conglomorate’s first-ever foreign consultant. His competencies are expected to include offering advice on developing Ukraine’s military-industrial complex, and selling its weapons abroad.

Behind the scenes, speaking to US media after his swearing-in ceremony, Tether hinted that US defense firms will now be more interested in direct investments into Ukrainian companies. He also admitted that discussions about possible US buyouts of major Ukrainian enterprises like Antonov were part of the mandate granted to him by Ukroboronprom, though they do not constitute the focus of his efforts as an advisor.

Ukroboronprom director Roman Romanov praised the ex-US official, saying that Tether would “help us to integrate global management practices, and establish a modern system for the management of business processes.” The Ukrainian military-industrial complex, he said, “has already fulfilled its priority tasks of repairing and restoring military equipment. Now, we will enter into a new level in the exchange of technology, and will be able to produce modern equipment and weaponry. As a result, we will receive access to new markets and integrate even deeper into existing ones.”

Tether, in turn, officially emphasized the importance of creating synergy between the US and Ukrainian defense sectors, as part of expanded cooperation between the two countries. “I think that this will allow us to add 2 plus 2 and get the answer 5,” he quipped, using the Orwellian turn of phrase to describe this ‘synergy’ effort.

Over the next six months, the American consultant is expected to study the “culture” of Ukraine’s military industry. “Today we start writing a new page in the history of the rapid development of Ukraine’s defense complex,” he said.

Beginning in 2015, Ukroboronprom has been making a concerted effort to transition to NATO standards for defense production.

Experts can’t help getting the feeling that Tether’s appointment at Ukroboronprom is either directly or indirectly connected to Kiev’s recent diplomatic offensive to see the joint production of weapons with the US. Last week, Ukrainian Ambassador to the US Valeriy Chaly said that he had high hopes that Ukraine could “produce weapons in cooperation with the Americans on Ukrainian territory.”

Accordingly, Tether’s appointment may very well be Washington’s effort to test the waters and get a real sense of the state of the Ukrainian military industrial complex, and whether there are any tasty morsels left within its mostly Soviet-era R&D and production capabilities.

https://sputniknews.com/military/20160830/1044784786/us-adviser-for-ukroboronprom-analysis.html

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DARPA will test airborne laser ‘death ray’ this summer

By Claire Bernish
Global Research, May 26, 2015
The Anti-Media 25 May 2015

An endless sea of money flowing into the field of military technology creates constant advancements in new and terrifying ways to die, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is on the front lines in that mission. DARPA’s latest defense system, HELLADS, is one step closer to arming aircraft and drones with an exceptionally powerful and destructive, weaponized laser beam.

Set to begin testing at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico this summer, the High-Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System program has been developing an electrically and optically efficient laser for output from a lighter and more compact platform through DARPA contractor, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA ASI). The Gen 3 High Energy Laser System (HEL) measures just 4.26 x 1.31 x 1.64 feet, and uses a compact lithium-ion battery to produce a beam of between 150-300 kW for “deployable tactical platforms.”

To understand how alarming this latest technology actually is, a comparison to current laser weaponry is in order. Already in use on board the USS Ponce, the Navy’s Laser Weapon System produces a beam of light capable of destroying the electronics systems and overheating the engines of drones, small boats, and small aircraft — and can even explode warheads. And those lasers are just 30 kW. Lasers to be used with the HELLADS system are up to ten times more powerful, and even when tested at 50 kW, were able to deliver a consistently high-quality beam for up to 30 seconds at a time, and then only limited in scope by battery life.

But there’s more. Remember the goal of putting this framework in the air? Well, the same contractor that streamlined the laser has also developed the jet-powered Avenger drone which generates enough energy in flight to continually recharge that battery — giving the weapon unlimited ammunition from an agile, unmanned aircraft, capable of speeds around 450 mph, that can stay aloft for up to 18 hours at a time. But not yet.

HELLADS will first be tested on the ground against “rockets, mortars, vehicles and surrogate surface-to-air missiles,”according to a DARPA statement“The technical hurdles were daunting, but it is extremely gratifying to have produced a new type of solid-state laser with unprecedented power and beam quality for its size,” said program manager Rick Bagnell. “The HELLADS laser is now ready to be put to the test on the range against some of the toughest tactical threats our warfighters face.”

Though marketed primarily as a defense system, the statement adds, “Laser weapon systems provide additional capability for offensive missions as well—adding precise targeting with low probability of collateral damage […] Following the field-testing phase, the goal is to make the system available to the military services for further refinement, testing or transition to operational use.”

So, the question must be posed: When so many fight simply to survive, how gratifying can perfecting an obscenely destructive weapon of war really be?

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-latest-in-terrifying-ways-to-die-darpas-airborne-death-ray/5451805

 

Surveillance Valley: Why Google is eager to align itself with America’s military-industrial complex

It is surprising how many people still use gmail, including those involved in community advocacy and social and environmental issues. All data can be taken, and all email recipients recorded with data archives created. This puts everyone at such risk.

Other writers have reported how the U.S. government sends “relevant” information to private companies and industries, like the fracking industry, to thwart protests, etc. There are many other email services, including encrypted ones like Start Mail, that are far better choices.

By Yasha Levine / AlterNet
March 1, 2015

Is it wise for us to hand over the contents of our private lives to private companies?

The following is an excerpt from Yasha Levine’s ongoing investigative project, Surveillance Valley, which you can help support on KickStarter.

Oakland, California: On February 18, 2014, several hundred privacy, labor, civil rights activists packed Oakland’s city hall.

It was a rowdy crowd, and there was a heavy police presence. The people were there to protest the construction of a citywide surveillance center that would turn a firehouse in downtown Oakland into a high-tech intelligence hub straight out of Mission Impossible — a federally funded project that linking up real time audio and video feeds from thousands of sensors across the city into one high-tech control hub, where analysts could pipe the data through face recognition software and enrich its intelligence with data coming in from local, state and federal government and law enforcement agencies.

Residents’ anger at the fusion surveillance center was intensified by a set of internal documents showing that city officials were more interested in using the surveillance center monitor political protests rather than fighting crime: keeping tabs on activists, monitoring non-violent political protests and tracking union organizing that might shut down the Port of Oakland. It was an incendiary find — especially in Oakland, a city with a large marginalized black population, a strong union presence and a long, ugly history of police brutality aimed at minority groups and political activists.

But buried deep in the thousands of pages of planning documents was another disturbing detail. Emails that showed Google — the largest and most powerful corporation in Silicon Valley — was among several other defense contractors vying for a piece of Oakland’s $11 million surveillance contract. What was Google doing there? What could a company known for superior search and cute doodles offer a controversial surveillance center?

Turns out, a lot.

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