Friday, August 15, 2014

Consider signing this petition /US Loses Track of Weapons Shipped to Afghanistan

Consider signing this petition

The ESRA--Environmental & Social Responsibility Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
Petition by Rabbi Michael Lerner

To be delivered to The United States House of Representatives, The United States Senate, and President Barack Obama

We the undersigned call upon our elected officials to endorse the Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which would:

1. Require public funding of all state and national elections and ban all other monies (not only from corporations, but from political parties, non-profits, and and individual)--in short a real Money out of Politics amendment.

2. Require corporations with incomes above $50 million/yr to get a new corporate charter once every five years which would only be granted to those that could prove a satisfactory history of environmental and social responsibility to a panel of ordinary citizens (after hearing testimony from people all around the world whose lives have been impacted by that corporation's products, services, advertising, treatment of workers and workers in firms to which the corporation sub-contracts, and environmentalists).

3. Requiring environmental education (including teaching empathy, generosity, and environmental sustainability) for every grade level from k-through graduate and professional schools).

4. Preventing corporations from moving their assets out of the places where they have been employing more than 500 people until they have compensated the communities they are leaving for the environmental, economic and/or social damage they are causing by moving those assets.

5. Overturning all parts of the US Constitution that are deemed by the Supreme Court to be in conflict with this amendment, but only to the extent that they are in conflict (so those parts are hereby modified to not be in conflict with this amendment, but in other respects are still in force).

US Loses Track of Weapons Shipped to Afghanistan
Sunday, 03 August 2014 10:42By James Arkin, Center for Public Integrity | Report

The Pentagon has shipped hundreds of thousands of small arms to Afghanistan over the past decade for that country's Army, while creating an elaborate system to track their whereabouts, in hopes of keeping them out of the wrong hands.
Unfortunately, the system failed, according to a new report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, and for reasons that could easily have been foreseen.

The bookkeeping has been so slipshod that it's not possible to say how many weapons are missing. At one place the auditors looked, the Afghan National Army Central Supply Depot in Kabul, the auditors looked at records for 4,388 small arms. But only 3,837 of those arms — a subset of the total there — could be located, representing an error rate of 12 percent.

It turns out there are three databases meant to track the small arms, which include rifles, pistols, machine guns, grenade launchers and shotguns. One is a Defense Department listing of all those shipped from the United States. The second is a Defense Department listing of all those received in Afghanistan. They rely heavily on the serial numbers of the arms.

But these numbers must be entered manually, and the two databases — one showing shipments and one showing receipts — are inexplicably not linked together. The results are not pretty: Of the 474,823 serial numbers recorded in the second database, for example, 203,888 had missing information or were duplicates, according to the report by Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko.

More than 20,000 serial numbers in each of the DOD databases were repeated two or three times, the report said.

The third means of accounting is a database kept by the Afghan National Security Force, which relies on what Sopko's report called "a commercial, off-the-shelf inventory software system" that was "not designed to account for weapons." It does not record the serial numbers of the guns at all, and relies on hand-written records and occasional Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.

The report said that because of the unsatisfactory data, there is "real potential" for these weapons to fall into the hands of insurgents.

The inspector general report recommended that DOD reconcile its two databases and correct all data errors within six months. It also recommended that the Pentagon work with Afghan forces to complete a full inventory of small arms, and determine how to recover or destroy excess weapons.

In response to the first recommendation, Michael Dumont, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia, said his department is now merging the two databases into a single system to track these weapons — 13 years after the U.S. intervention there began. He said it would be completed within six months, as most U.S. forces move towards the door. They also said that while they cannot compel the Afghan government to conduct a more comprehensive inventory, they will request one.

In response to the second recommendation, he said without explanation that a one-time inventory wouldn't solve the inventory problems. But small arms transfers might be dependent on full inventory checks in the future, he said.

The inspector general called these ideas "positive steps toward better weapons accountability."

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

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