Archive | April 19, 2016

After a 10-Year Hiatus U.S. Military Returns to Iceland*

After a 10-Year Hiatus U.S. Military Returns to Iceland*

By Trude Pettersen

The U.S. Navy’s return to Keflavik revives an American presence that ended when the service shifted its focus in Europe away from the North Atlantic and toward the Mediterranean.

The Navy is asking for funds to upgrade an aircraft hangar at its former base in Keflavik, Iceland, as part of the Defense Department’s fiscal 2017 budget request, Navy officials say to Stars and Stripes. The hangar will house P-8 Poseidon aircraft, successor to the P-3 Orion once stationed at the base.

Established in 1951, the base is strategically located midway between the U.S. East Coast and Europe, making it ideal for patrolling the frigid waters between Greenland, Iceland and the U.K.

Naval Air Station Keflavik was home to thousands of service members who supported Navy and Air Force fighter jets, tankers and rescue helicopters before closing in 2006.

For now, the Navy is only interested in deploying maritime patrol aircraft for short durations, as needed, the official said. The Navy could eventually establish regular patrol rotations at the base, the official said, which would likely resemble the Navy’s maritime patrol force at its air base in Sigonella, Sicily, where squadrons rotate out every six months.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work visited Iceland last autumn to discuss future operations at Keflavik Air Base with Icelandic officials, Reykjavik Grapevine reported.

“Iceland has become increasingly concerned with the Russian activity,” Work said in an interview with Defense News.

“The Russians have long done transit flights where they pass close by Iceland, but they’ve recently made several circumnavigation flights – flying completely around the island nation. As a result, “Iceland is interested in increasing military cooperation.”

Russian submarines are also patrolling the North Atlantic more frequently than at any time since the end of the Cold War

The United States has a long relationship with Iceland, and by treaty since 1951 continues to be responsible for the defence of the country. Iceland has no military, but the country’s coast guard fulfils most military missions, and is responsible for maintaining Keflavik as a military installation. The last U.S. forces left Iceland in 2006.

U.S. aircraft occasionally still use the base’s facilities. Two F-16s landed there recently when they experienced mechanical difficulties flying across the Atlantic. A U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance and patrol aircraft also visited the base over several days in April to assess the feasibility of operating the aircraft at Keflavik, from where P-3 Orions regularly flew missions during and after the Cold War.

Since 2008, Iceland’s air space has been patrolled by NATO allies as part of the Icelandic Air Policing operation.


Related Topics:

FBI not Allowed in Iceland!

Iceland: Wall Street Shocked as Justice Comes to Banksterville*

Iceland Wizens to Banksters Game with Plan to Remove Power of Commercial Banks to Create Money*

U.S. Military to Reopen Base in Iceland?*

Iceland Counters U.S. Military Claims of ‘Russian Flights’*

U.S. Kept Plans to Reopen Military Base in Iceland from Icelandic PM*

Corrupt Icelandic Officials to Free Jailed Banksters*

Children of Sydney’s Elite Attend School That Bans Screens in Classrooms*

Children of Sydney’s Elite Attend School That Bans Screens in Classrooms*

By Natasha Bita

A top Australian school has banned laptops in class, warning that technology “distracts’’ from old-school quality teaching.

The headmaster of Sydney Grammar School, John Vallance, yesterday described the billions of dollars spent on computers in Australian schools over the past seven years as a “scandalous waste of money’’.

I’ve seen so many schools with limited budgets spending a disproportionate amount of their money on technology that doesn’t really bring any measurable, or non-measurable, benefits,’’ he said.

“Schools have spent hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars­ on interactive whiteboards, digital projectors, and now they’re all being jettisoned.’’

Sydney Grammar has banned students from bringing laptops to school, even in the senior years, and requires them to handwrite assignments and essays until Year 10. Its old-school policy bucks the prevailing trend in most Aus­tralian high schools, and many primary schools, to require parents­ to purchase laptops for use in the classroom.

Dr Vallance said the Rudd-­Gillard government’s $2.4 billion Digital Education Revolution, which used taxpayer funds to buy laptops for high school students, was money wasted.

“It didn’t really do anything except enrich Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard and Apple,’’ he said.

“They’ve got very powerful lobby influence in the educational community.’’

Sydney Grammar students have access to computers in the school computer lab, and use laptops at home.

But Dr Vallance regards­ laptops as a distraction in the classroom.

We see teaching as fundamentally a social activity,’’ he said.

“It’s about interaction ­between people, about discussion, about conversation.

“We find that having laptops or iPads in the classroom inhibit conversation — it’s distracting.

“If you’re lucky enough to have a good teacher and a motivating group of classmates, it would seem a waste to introduce anything that’s going to be a distraction from the benefits that kind of social context will give you.’’

Academically, Sydney Grammar rates among Australia’s top-performing schools, and is frequented by the sons of Sydney’s business and political elite. Almost one in five of its Year 12 graduates placed in the top 1% of Australian students for Australian Tertiary Admission Rank university entry scores last year.

The school’s alumni includes three prime ministers — Malcolm Turnbull, who attended on a scholarship, Edmund Barton and William McMahon — as well as bush poet Banjo Paterson and business chief David Gonski, the architect of a needs-based funding model to help disadvantaged students.

The private boys’ school, which charges fees of $32,644 a year, routinely tops the league tables in the national literacy and numeracy tests.

Dr Vallance said he preferred to spend on teaching staff than on technology.

“In the schools where they have laptops, they get stolen, they get dropped in the playground, they get broken, you have to hire extra staff to fix them, you’ve got to replace them every few years. They end up being massive lines in the budgets of schools which at the same time have leaky toilets and roofs and ramshackle buildings.

“If I had a choice between filling a classroom with laptops or hiring another teacher, I’d take the other teacher every day of the week.’’

Dr Vallance — who will step down as headmaster next year, after 18 years in the job — is a Cambridge scholar, a trustee of the State Library of NSW Foundation and a director of the National Art School.

In 2014 the Coalition government appointed him as a specialist reviewer of the national arts curriculum, which he criticised as “rambling, vague and patronising’’ with “a tendency towards the elimination of rigour’’.

Dr Vallance said yesterday laptops had “introduced a great deal of slackness’’ in teaching. “It’s made it much easier of giving the illusion of having prepared a lesson,’’ he said.

He also criticised as “crazy’’ plans by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority to computerise the National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy tests next year.

“That means generations of students will be doing NAPLAN on computers, they won’t be allowed to write by hand, which I think is crazy,’’ he said.

Allowing children to lose that capacity to express themselves by writing is a very dangerous thing.’’

Dr Vallance said Sydney Grammar had been studying the difference between handwritten and computer-typed tasks among boys in Year 3 and Year 5.

“In creative writing tasks, they find it much easier to write by hand, to put their ideas down on a piece of paper, than they do with a keyboard,’’ he said.

Dr Vallance said he was sure people would call him a “dinosaur’’. “But I’m in no way anti-technology,’’ he said. “I love gadgets. It’s partly because we all love gadgets so much that we have these rules, otherwise we’d all just muck about. Technology is a servant, not a master.

“You can’t end up allowing the tail to wag the dog, which I think it is at the moment.’’

Dr Vallance said computers in the classroom robbed children of the chance to debate and discuss ideas with the teacher.

“One of the most powerful tools in education is conversation,’’ he said.

“The digital delivery of teaching materials across Australia has had a really powerful normative effect.

It’s making it quite difficult for children to learn how to disagree, how not to toe the party line, because they can’t question things — the possibility of questioning things has been taken away from them.’’

Dr Vallance said it was a “really scandalous situation’’ that Australia was “spending more on education than ever before and the results are gradually getting worse and worse’’.

He said it cost $250,000-$500,000 to equip a moderate-sized high school with interactive whiteboards, which are only used at Sydney Grammar if teachers request them.

“That’s a huge amount of money in the life of a school, that could translate to quite a few good members of staff,’’ he said.

“I think when people come to write the history of this period in education … this investment in classroom technology is going to be seen as a huge fraud.’’

The OECD has also questioned the growing reliance on technology in schools. In a report last year, it said schools must give students a solid foundation in reading, writing and math before introducing computers. It found that heavy users of computers in the classroom “do a lot worse in most learning outcomes’’.

“In the end, technology can amplify great teaching, but great technology cannot replace poor teaching,’’ the OECD report concluded.


Related Topics:

Petraeus Advances Notion of Internet as Big Brother

Learning vs. the Artificial World of the Internet!

What You Don’t Want to Know about iPads

Wi-fi Affects the Memory*

Why Two Canadian Schools Have Stopped Using Wi-Fi*

Wi-Fi from Space – Don’t get Excited Google and Co Just Dumbing You Down*

Conscientious Scientists Make an Int’l Appeal on the Wide-scale Problem of Wi-fi*

Canada Parliament Committee Calls for “Protection of Vulnerable Groups” from Wi-fi*

Schoolgirl Found Hanged after Developing Allergic Reaction to School Wi-Fi*

Media Multi-Tasking Shrinks the Brain and Causes Mood Swings*

South America and another U.S Invasion*

South America and another  U.S Invasion*

Latin America’s Popular Movement Patria Grande warned about the implementation of the U.S’ new plan of invading Latin America.

Under a new “Plan Condor,” the United States is seeking to regain control over the region with the support of right-wing forces, Cuba’s news agency Prensa Latina wrote, referring to the organization.

As an example, the group cited a recent coup attempt in Brazil, claiming that in this way the U.S. is trying to prepare the ground for “a decisive offensive against governments and peoples” of other Latin American countries as well, including Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador.

“The empire […] tries to retake control over the continent after a decade of articulated leftwing progressive governments which emerged as a consequence of intensive popular struggles against neo-liberalism,” the news agency wrote.

The aim of this strategy is to “start a new cycle of neoliberal adjustment on the entire continent,” the media source noted, citing the movement.

Late on Sunday, Brazil’s lower house members voted in favour of impeaching the country’s president Dilma Rousseff, sending the vote to the upper chamber known as the Federal Senate.

Rousseff, who was accused by the opposition of corruption and manipulating state bank accounts, said Monday that the procedure of impeachment against her is devoid of any legal grounds.

Initially, Plan Condor, also known as Operation Condor, was carried out in the 1970s-1980s by the intelligence services of six Latin American countries — Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia and Brazil — with the support of the United States. The aim of the operation was to eliminate left-wing political and oppositional forces in these countries.


Related Topics:

The U.S. Coup against Venezuela has Served to Strengthen Caribbean Unity

Coup #2 2015: Obama Incites Bloodshed in Venezuela*

Venezuela Bans ‘Terrorists’ Bush, and Cheney *

For Foiling U.S. Coups, U.S. Slap Sanctions on Venezuela*

Ecuador FM: If There’s a Threat On This Continent, It’s the US*

British Empire Spending Increases with Oil and Gas Discovery in Falkland Islands*

Israeli-Zionist Investigative Journalist Ties Netanyahu to Charlie Hebdo Massacre*

Ecuadorian President Correa on the Final Independence of our Americas*

Military Admits ‘Martial Law’ Training in the U.S for to Imposed around the World*

Speech by Raúl Castro at the Summit of the Americas*

Eugenics of the UN, WHO and World Bank in Mexico*

Guatemalans Reclaiming Democracy*

Bishops Denounce Horrific Desecration of Christian Images in ‘Gay Pride’*

Mexico’s Cardinal Sandoval Referred to the NWO Intent to Destroy the Family*

TPP Preparedness: New Bolivian Law Forces Investor Disputes to Be Settled Locally*

U.S. Interfering in Venezuela Again*

The Secret Agenda Behind the Venezuela-Guyana Conflict*

Guatemalan President to be Impeached*

Mayan People’s Movement Defeats Monsanto Law in Guatemala*

In Mexico Where Words Cost Lives*

Zapatista Resistance Festival Sheds Light on Those Above who Destroy while Those from Below Build*

CIA not Amused at the Rising Left in Spain*

Brazil Cancels $2bn Contract with Israeli Security Firm for 2016 Olympics*

Washington Targets Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina*

Child abduction in Peru – but who are the kidnappers?

Morales Asks Citizens to Believe in Bolivia, Not U.S. Rule*

What I’ve Learnt About US Foreign Policy*

U.S. Agents Are Filling Key Posts in Argentina*

Brazilian Government Ends the Use of Monsanto Pesticide Linked To Microcephaly Cases*

U.S. Tried to Blackmail Morales against Nationalizing Bolivian Oil*

Sexual Violence Ruled a Crime against Humanity in Guatemalan Court*

Rivers Run Blackened by Big Oil in Peru, which the Indigenous are Left to Clean-up*

Brazil’s Right Wing Protest Funded by U.S. Billionaire Foundations, Training in U.S.*

Death Toll Rises to 233 after 7.8 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Ecuador*

Cuba Rejects U.S.-Style Neo-liberalism*

10 Examples of the CIA Using Secret Armies to Overthrow Foreign Governments*

The Secret Oil War Has Begun*

Europe is Built on Corpses and Plunder*

Why the West Destroys and Humiliate Peoples

The West Exports Porn, Casual Sex, and the Blood of the pre-born not Freedom*

US Senate to Maintain Funding for Overseas Abortion, Population Reduction*

Which Force Awakens in Pentagon’s NWO Agenda*

U.S. and U.K. Flagrant Abuse of Int’l Law*

The Psychic Roots of Tyranny*

The Rothschild’s Zionist World Order*

British Banking System the Pumping Heart of Terror Finance and Global Drug Trade*

Zionists Behind White Dispossession*