Unlike Water, Money Flows Up Hill
So this squestration, eh? who'll cruise and who'll lose, you ask. Israel, it seems is going to come loout smelinglike cordite, I mean rose. Yes. Roses. But then thanks to AIPAC, Israel already gets so much weapons money that they can't tell which ways up. It's like being buried under an avalanche and you don't know which way to dig to get to the surface...? You don't recall anything like that ever happening to you?
Here's the numbers for Defence, first off:
Total Defense Spending – Between 2001 and 2011 the United States spent $7.2 trillion dollars (in constant FY2012 dollars) on defense, including the Pentagon’s annual base budget, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and nuclear weapons-related activities of the Department of Energy (Function 050). See below for a breakout of the base budget, nuclear weapons, and war costs.
The following is by Nidal el Khairy, formerly of Gaza, currently stateless, living in Amman, Jordan
The Pentagon’s “base” budget – The Pentagon’s annual budget (Function 051) – not including war costs or DoE’s nuclear weapons activities – grew from $290.5 billion in FY2000, to $526.1 billion in FY2011. That’s a nominal increase of $235.6 billion (or 81 percent) and a “real” (inflation-adjusted) increase of $160.3 billion, or 43 percent.
Department of Energy – Annual funding for the nuclear weapons activities rose more slowly between FY2000 and FY2011, from $12.4 billion to $19.0 billion. That’s a nominal increase of $6.6 billion (or 53 percent) and a “real” increase of $3.3 billion, or 21 percent.
War Costs – The total costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, including the Department of Defense and all other federal agencies (Department of State, USAID, etc.) will reach $1.26 trillion by the end of the current fiscal year (FY 2011) on September 30, 2011. Of this, $797.3 billion is for Iraq, and $459.8 billion is for Afghanistan. In constant FY2012 dollars, the totals through FY2011 are $1.36 trillion, $869 billion for Iraq and $487.6 billion for Afghanistan.
These figures, or ones like them, are well known and fairly simple to track. Both the Department of Defense and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) provide data on Pentagon and other military-related spending as part of the annual federal budget request released in February each year. The Congressional Research Service does an excellent job of analyzing the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. NPP also does its own war cost analysis on its “Cost of War” website.
Homeland Security – One security spending figure that isn’t well known is the amount the U.S. government has spent to date on “homeland security.” This is because homeland security funding flows through literally dozens of federal agencies and not just through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). For example, of the $71.6 billion requested for “homeland security” in FY2012, only $37 billion is funded through DHS. A substantial part is funded through the Department of Defense – $18.1 billion in FY2012 – and others, including Health and Human Services ($4.6 billion) and the Department of Justice ($4.1 billion).
Because tracking homeland security funding is so difficult, starting back in FY2003 OMB began looking across the entire budget and providing summary tables of the annual request by agency. This analysis does not, however, provide historical data nor any cumulative funding figures. By going back and reviewing each annual request, however, NPP has been able to determine total government homeland security funding since the September 11 attacks.
Funding for homeland security has risen from $16 billion in FY2001 to $71.6 billion requested for FY2012. Adjusted for inflation, the United States has spent $635.9 billion on homeland security since FY2001. Of this $163.8 billion has been funded within the Pentagon’s annual budget. The remaining $472.1 billion has been funded through other federal agencies. For full details of the FY2012 homeland security request, see the “Homeland Security Mission Funding by Agency and Budget Account” appendix to the FY2012 budget.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has customized its Predator drones, originally built for overseas military operations, to carry out at-home surveillance tasks that have civil libertarians worried: identifying civilians carrying guns and tracking their cell phones.
And we know this because? The documents! Of course, the documents. Good thing no one went to prison.
So what exactly do these documents have to say? Well, more details about the surveillance capabilities of the department's unmanned Predator B drones, which are primarily used to patrol the United States' northern and southern borders but have been pressed into service on behalf of a growing number of law enforcement agencies including the FBI, the Secret Service, the Texas Rangers, and local police.
Homeland Security's specifications for its drones, built by San Diego-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, say they "shall be capable of identifying a standing human being at night as likely armed or not," meaning carrying a shotgun or rifle. They also specify "signals interception" technology that can capture communications in the frequency ranges used by mobile phones, and "direction finding" technology that can identify the locations of mobile devices or two-way radios.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center obtained a partially redacted copy of Homeland Security's requirements for its drone fleet through the Freedom of Information Act and published it this week. CNET unearthed an unredacted copy of the requirements that provides additional information about the aircraft's surveillance capabilities.
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