War News Stories
Excerpts of Key War News Stories in Major Media
Below are many highly revealing excerpts of important war news stories reported in the major media that suggest a major cover-up.
Links are provided to the full stories on their mainstream media websites. If any link should fail to function, click here
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This comprehensive list of war news stories is usually updated once a week
. For an index to revealing excerpts of news stories on several dozen engaging topics, click here
The biggest threat to America? The size of its own military budget
2013-08-09, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
Posted: 2013-08-19 16:20:28
Don't be fooled by terror alerts and dire warnings: the world in general is a safer place than ever. Don't believe me? Check out what Michael Morell, the No. 2 man at the CIA, had to say about the threats facing America in this recent interview with the Wall Street Journal. If anyone knows about foreign threats, it's gotta be this guy, right? He gets to see everything [at the CIA]. The fact is, none of what Morell describes as a threat actually is a significant threat. And while national security elites – from the secretary of defense to prominent think tank denizens like to describe the world today as a "dangerous" place, it simply isn't true. There were six wars last year (just six!). This follows a consistent trend of declining violence that dates back decades. When wars do occur, they pretty much never occur between states. Since the Gulf war of 1991, territorial conquest has gone the way of the dodo. Indeed, when the US fights a major war these days, it is generally because they've started it – with consistently disastrous results. What is most striking about Morell's warnings is, in fact, the stunning hollowness of the threats he describes. If Syria, North Korea and Iran are truly what threaten us, then truly, we have little to fear from the world outside our borders. That this grab-bag of minor threats is used to justify a defense budget in the range of $600bn, an active and reserve force of 1 million troops and a far-flung empire of military bases and partners – not to mention, a rather effective navy and air force, and thousands of nuclear weapons – is astounding. If this is best the CIA can do, they really need to pick up their game. So, rest easy, America. It's not so bad out there.
Note: Read the powerful words of a top US general showing that war is a racket resulting from greed and propaganda put out by banks and major corporations at this link. To watch the BBC's powerful documentary "Power of Nightmares", showing that "Al Qaeda" was likely fabricated and is in fact little more than a US/UK psychological operation to enable the Global War on Terror, click here.
What if laws applied to everyone?
2013-06-06, Fox News
Posted: 2013-08-19 16:17:59
What if government officials have written laws that apply only to us and not to them? What if we gave them the power to protect our freedoms and our safety and they used that power to trick and trap some of us? What if government officials broke the laws we hired them to enforce? What if they prosecuted others for breaking the same laws they broke? What if the government enacted a law making it a crime to provide material assistance to terrorist organizations? What if the government looked at that law and claimed it applied to a dentist or a shopkeeper who sold services or goods to a terrorist organization, and not just to financiers and bomb makers? What if the Supreme Court ruled that the law is so broad that it covers backslapping, advocacy and free speech? What if the law is so broad that it punishes ideas and the free expression of those ideas, even if no one is harmed thereby? What if FBI agents pretended to be members of these terrorist organizations and set out to find people in America who were willing to join? What if the FBI arrested the people it found and encouraged just as they were about to leave the U.S. and then charged them with providing material assistance to terrorist organizations? What if the president boasted that in his mind these duped dopes were really terrorists and their arrests kept us all safer? What if offensive wars are illegal and morally wrong? What if killing is evil when not done in self-defense? What if those who kill not in self-defense are prosecuted and punished, except when they do so in large numbers and to the sounds of trumpets blaring? What do we do about a government that breaks the laws we have hired it to enforce?
Note: Andrew P. Napolitano, author of this opinion, is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel. Judge Napolitano has written seven books on the U.S. Constitution. His latest is Theodore and Woodrow: How Two American Presidents Destroyed Constitutional Freedom.
U.S. Strategy Plan Calls For Insuring No Rivals Develop
1992-03-08, New York Times
Posted: 2013-08-12 16:48:27
In a broad new policy statement that is in its final drafting stage, the Defense Department asserts that America's political and military mission in the post-Cold-War era will be to insure that no rival superpower is allowed to emerge in Western Europe, Asia or the territory of the former Soviet Union. The classified document makes the case for a world dominated by one superpower whose position can be perpetuated by constructive behavior and sufficient military might to deter any nation or group of nations from challenging American primacy. With its focus on this concept of benevolent domination by one power, the Pentagon document articulates the clearest rejection to date of collective internationalism, the strategy that emerged from World War II when the five victorious powers sought to form a United Nations that could mediate disputes and police outbreaks of violence. Though the document is internal to the Pentagon and is not provided to Congress, its policy statements are developed in conjunction with the National Security Council and in consultation with the President or his senior national security advisers. Its drafting has been supervised by Paul D. Wolfowitz, the Pentagon's Under Secretary for Policy. Mr. Wolfowitz often represents the Pentagon on the Deputies Committee, which formulates policy in an interagency process dominated by the State and Defense departments. The document is known in Pentagon parlance as the Defense Planning Guidance, an internal Administration policy statement that is distributed to the military leaders and civilian Defense Department heads to instruct them on how to prepare their forces, budgets and strategy for the remainder of the decade.
Note: For more on the long-term planning for future war, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Joshua Oppenheimer: 'You celebrate mass killing so you don't have to look yourself in the mirror'
2013-06-20, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-07-31 11:48:55
The year following Indonesia's 1965 coup saw the murder of more than a million "communists" (in fact, enemies of the military, including ethnic Chinese, intellectuals, [and] union members). Anwar [Congo], head of a gang of killers called the Frog Squad, dispatched about 1,000 himself. He is the subject of "The Act of Killing", a documentary that invites Anwar and his friends to dramatise their crimes, to boast about their starring roles in a genocide. Director Joshua Oppenheimer began the film a decade ago by interviewing survivors. But when, at the suggestion of one of them, he turned his camera on the perpetrators, he found they were more than eager to reveal the history themselves. The killers simply adapted a story they had been telling each other for decades: that they were the ruling class, so their acts were heroic. For gangsters like Anwar, Oppenheimer was offering the chance to make a "beautiful family film" – a celebration of their rise, inspired by the Hollywood movies they loved. "They're desperately trying to run away from the reality of what they've done," says Oppenheimer, a 38-year-old Harvard graduate now based in Copenhagen. "You celebrate mass killing so you don't have to look yourself in the mirror in the morning and see a murderer. You keep your victims oppressed so that they don't challenge your story. When you put the justification – the celebration – under a microscope, you don't necessarily see a lack of remorse, but you start to see an unravelling of the killers' conscience. So what appears to be the symptom of a lack of remorse is in fact the opposite. It's a sign of their humanity."
Note: The filming of "The Act of Killing" actually helped these mass murderers to feel some remorse for all the pain and suffering they caused. For lots more on this powerful film, click here.
Blood money: UK’s £12.3bn arms sales to repressive states
2013-07-17, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-07-23 08:49:23
The [UK] Government has issued more than 3,000 export licences for military and intelligence equipment worth a total of £12.3bn to countries which are on its own official list for human rights abuses. The existence of one licence to Israel and the Occupied Territories [is] worth £7.7bn. The scale and detail of the deals emerged after a forensic investigation by a committee of MPs, who also discovered that strategically controlled items have been sent to Iran, China, Sri Lanka, Russia, Belarus and Zimbabwe – all of which feature prominently on the Foreign Office’s list of states with worrying civil rights records. There are even three existing contracts for Syria, notwithstanding the fact that the UK is sending equipment to rebels fighting the Assad regime and is considering arming them. There are also 57 for Argentina, which is not on the list, but which remains in confrontation with Britain over the Falklands. The Government had stated that it would not issue export licences for goods “which might be used to facilitate internal repression” or “might provoke or prolong regional or internal conflicts”.
However, the report by the Committees on Arms Export Controls found there were 62 licences for selling to Iran, ... overwhelmingly cryptographic equipment. This also features heavily in the 271 licences for Russia, along with biotechnology equipment, sniper rifles, laser weapons systems, weapon sights and unmanned air vehicles (drones).
Note: For more on war profiteering, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Congress divided on using aid to pressure Egypt
2013-07-09, NBC News/Associated Press
Posted: 2013-07-16 09:49:14
While the Obama administration throws its support behind Egypt's military, some members of Congress are looking at withholding some or all of America's annual $1.5 billion aid package if a civilian government isn't quickly restored. The administration insisted ... that it won't withhold funds from Egypt's army after its second takeover of a civilian government in the past 29 months. Most of the money goes to the military under an arrangement U.S. leaders have honored since Egypt's 1979 peace treaty with Israel. Despite rocky relations since the ouster of longtime autocrat and longtime U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, the U.S. has continued to financially support the institution it sees as Egypt's guarantor of stability. Some in Congress say the latest military action should change the calculation because it unseated a democratically elected president. Under current law, however, it's President Barack Obama and his administration who decide whether Morsi's overthrow was a coup, which would trigger automatic suspension of most American support. Four-fifths of the money goes to the military and supports operations that include isolating extremist groups and helping secure Israel's borders.
Note: Why are we giving $1.5 billion to Egypt every year? And why does Israel receive about $3 billion a year from the US when the population of the country is only 8 million? If you do the math, the US is providing the equivalent of nearly $4,000 in aid per year to every man, woman and child in Israel, with 3/4 of that to buy US military hardware. It's almost as if the military-industrial establishment wants these countries to go to war. For lots more reliable information on how the military/industrial complex manipulates world politics to support the war machine, click here and here.
U.S. acknowledges killing of four U.S. citizens in counterterrorism operations
2013-05-22, Washington Post
Posted: 2013-05-28 11:06:58
The Obama administration acknowledged [on May 22] that it has killed four Americans in overseas counterterrorism operations since 2009, the first time it has publicly taken responsibility for the deaths. Three are known to have died in CIA drone strikes in Yemen in 2011: Anwar al-Awlaki, his 16-year-old son and Samir Khan. The fourth — Jude Kennan Mohammad, a Florida native indicted in North Carolina in 2009 — was killed in Pakistan, where the CIA has operated a drone campaign against terrorism suspects for nearly a decade. His death was previously unreported. In addition to disclosure of the four killings, Holder wrote that Obama has approved classified briefings for Congress on an overall policy document, informally called the “playbook.” The document, more than a year in the making, codifies the administration’s standards and processes for its unprecedented program of targeted killing and capture of terrorism suspects outside of war zones. Nearly 400 drone strikes, in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, have been launched by the CIA and U.S. military forces during Obama’s presidency. According to Holder’s letter, Awlaki was the only U.S. citizen the administration “has specifically targeted and killed.” Two weeks after Awlaki’s death, his 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman — who had gone to the Yemeni desert in search of his father — was killed in a drone strike meant for someone else. That strike was similarly unacknowledged, although a senior administration official privately characterized it as a “mistake.”
Note: So an American citizen, Awlaki's son, was killed by a drone by "mistake"? What happened to the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states no citizen shall "be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law"? For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the atrocities carried out by the US and UK in their global wars of aggression, click here.
Washington gets explicit: its 'war on terror' is permanent
2013-05-17, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-05-28 11:05:28
On [May 16], the Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing on whether the statutory basis for [the "Global War on Terror"] - the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) - should be revised (meaning: expanded). Asked at a Senate hearing today how long the war on terrorism will last, Michael Sheehan, the assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, answered, 'At least 10 to 20 years.' The military historian Andrew Bacevich has spent years warning that US policy planners have adopted an explicit doctrine of "endless war". Obama officials, despite repeatedly boasting that they have delivered permanently crippling blows to al-Qaida, are now, as clearly as the English language permits, openly declaring this to be so.
It is hard to resist the conclusion that this war has no purpose other than its own eternal perpetuation. This war is not a means to any end but rather is the end in itself. The "war on terror" cannot and will not end on its own [because] the nation's most powerful political and economic factions reap a bonanza of benefits from its continuation. The genius of America's endless war machine is that, learning from the unpleasantness of the Vietnam war protests, it has rendered the costs of war largely invisible.
Note: A top US general long ago exposed the corrupt roots of war in his penetrating book War is a Racket. For a concise, two-page summary of this revealing book, click here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the atrocities carried out by the US and UK in their global wars of aggression, click here.
The price of pacifism: Refusing to go to war is finally being recognised as a brave act
2013-05-18, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-05-28 09:54:29
International Conscientious Objection Day took place this week, on 15 May, and in the UK, a ceremony was held at the CO Commemorative Stone in Tavistock Square, Bloomsbury. The UK has also recently seen the opening of a new memorial to COs, at The National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. The earliest recorded incidence of conscientious objection was in 296AD, when a Roman refused to serve as a soldier because of his religious beliefs; he was killed, but subsequently canonised as Saint Maximilian. The term 'conscientious objector', however, only gained currency during the First World War, following the implementation of conscription in 1916. In Britain, over 16,000 men refused to fight. While it is well known that many with strong religious beliefs objected, interestingly some war-resisters refused on socialist grounds: they would not fight brother workers, feeling that the average soldier was but a pawn of the ruling classes. Few were given total exemption. Many were forced to join the army or the Non-Combatant Corps (NCC), to serve in a supporting role to the armed forces. Many 'conchies' refused either option, and were sent to prison as a result. The abuses they suffered for their stance make for extremely grim reading, [as] told by David Boulton, in his book Objection Overruled. But word got out about such experiences – and public feeling did move towards respect. It became recognised that to stand up and be counted as someone who would not fight required its own, very high, degree of courage.
Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
With Bags of Cash, C.I.A. Seeks Influence in Afghanistan
2013-04-29, New York Times
Posted: 2013-05-07 08:23:15
For more than a decade, wads of American dollars packed into suitcases, backpacks and, on occasion, plastic shopping bags have been dropped off every month or so at the offices of Afghanistan’s president — courtesy of the Central Intelligence Agency. All told, tens of millions of dollars have flowed from the C.I.A. to the office of President Hamid Karzai, according to current and former advisers to the Afghan leader. “We called it ‘ghost money,’ ” said Khalil Roman, who served as Mr. Karzai’s deputy chief of staff from 2002 until 2005. “It came in secret, and it left in secret.” The C.I.A. ... has long been known to support some relatives and close aides of Mr. Karzai. But the new accounts of off-the-books cash delivered directly to his office show payments on a vaster scale, and with a far greater impact on everyday governing. Moreover, there is little evidence that the payments bought the influence the C.I.A. sought. Instead, some American officials said, the cash has fueled corruption and empowered warlords, undermining Washington’s exit strategy from Afghanistan. “The biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan,” one American official said, “was the United States.” Now, Mr. Karzai is seeking control over the Afghan militias raised by the C.I.A. to target ... insurgent commanders, potentially upending a critical part of the Obama administration’s plans for fighting militants as conventional military forces pull back this year. But the C.I.A. has continued to pay.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government corruption, click here.
UN report wants to terminate killer robots, opposes life-or-death powers over humans
2013-05-02, Washington Post/Associated Press
Posted: 2013-05-07 08:08:46
Killer robots that can attack targets without any human input “should not have the power of life and death over human beings,” a new draft U.N. report says. The report for the U.N. Human Rights Commission ... deals with legal and philosophical issues involved in giving robots lethal powers over humans. Report author Christof Heyns, a South African professor of human rights law, calls for a worldwide moratorium on the “testing, production, assembly, transfer, acquisition, deployment and use” of killer robots until an international conference can develop rules for their use. The United States, Britain, Israel, South Korea and Japan have developed various types of fully or semi-autonomous weapons. Heyns focuses on a new generation of weapons that choose their targets and execute them. He calls them “lethal autonomous robotics,” or LARs for short, and says: “Decisions over life and death in armed conflict may require compassion and intuition. Humans — while they are fallible — at least might possess these qualities, whereas robots definitely do not.” The report goes beyond the recent debate over drone killings. Drones do have human oversight. The killer robots are programmed to make autonomous decisions on the spot without orders from humans. “Lethal autonomous robotics (LARs) ... would add a new dimension to this distancing [i.e., the remote control of drones], in that targeting decisions could be taken by the robots themselves. In addition to being physically removed from the kinetic action, humans would also become more detached from decisions to kill - and their execution,” he wrote.
Note: The U.N. draft report is available at this link.
The Billionaire Brothers Behind America's Predator Drones -- And Their Very Strange Past
Posted: 2013-05-07 08:01:42
Gray Butte, CA: The General Atomics drone base, way out in the wastelands of the Mojave Desert ... today ranks as possibly the largest private drone base in the United States. General Atomics took the base over in 2001 and converted it into a testing and quality control facility for its drone fleet. This is where the company tests experimental drone technology--like the newfangled stealth bomber jet drone. But mostly the base is where General Atomics techs assemble and test their Predator and Reaper drones before breaking them down again and shipping them to eager customers in the Air Force, Border Patrol, National Guard and the CIA. The Guardian estimated that U.S. armed forces had about 250 General Atomics drones in 2012. And a good number of them first came through Grey Butte. [The] brothers who make them: Linden Stanley and James Neal Blue, the mysterious Blue brothers who own and run General Atomics. General Atomics does not disclose its financial information, but stats gleaned from public data show that they took in just under $5 billion from U.S. taxpayers from 2000 to 2009. Current annual revenue is estimated to between $600 million and $1 billion, with about 80 percent coming from government defense contracts. Today, General Atomics dominates 25% of the UAV market--a market that will only keep getting bigger and bigger.
Note: For lots more excellent background to the Blue brothers and their predator-producing company, read the NY Times article at this link.
Combat school must disclose trainees
2013-04-23, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2013-04-30 08:17:43
A federal judge in Oakland says the government must release the names of Latin American military leaders it has trained at the installation formerly known as the School of the Americas, where protesters say the United States has nurtured some of the hemisphere's worst human rights abusers. The Defense Department facility at Fort Benning, Ga., now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, provides training in combat and counterinsurgency techniques. The U.S. government, starting in 1994, released the names and military units of trainees who had attended the school since 1946. The list contained more than 60,000 names when disclosure was ended by President George W. Bush's administration in 2004. The Obama administration has defended its predecessor's action in court. But U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton ruled ... that members of SOA Watch, which has protested at the school for more than two decades, were entitled to the names under [FOIA]. She said there was no evidence that any trainees had ever been promised anonymity or had been harmed by the pre-2004 practice of public identification. If Hamilton's decision stands, it will restore an important public safeguard, said Judith Liteky of San Francisco, a plaintiff in the suit and a participant in the protest movement since 1990. Liteky's husband, Charlie Liteky, was awarded the Medal of Honor as an Army chaplain in Vietnam and has served two jail sentences for protests at the Georgia school. Judith Liteky described the school as "an affront to our democracy," saying the opposition movement has compiled more than 500 names of human rights abusers among the graduates.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government corruption, click here.
Gitmo Is Killing Me
2013-04-15, New York Times
Posted: 2013-04-23 08:36:40
I’ve been detained at Guantánamo for 11 years and three months. I have never been charged with any crime. I have never received a trial. Last month, on March 15, I was sick in the prison hospital and refused to be fed. A team from the E.R.F. (Extreme Reaction Force), a squad of eight military police officers in riot gear, burst in. They tied my hands and feet to the bed. They forcibly inserted an IV into my hand. I spent 26 hours in this state, tied to the bed. During this time I was not permitted to go to the toilet. They inserted a catheter, which was painful, degrading and unnecessary. I was not even permitted to pray. I will never forget the first time they passed the feeding tube up my nose. I can’t describe how painful it is to be force-fed this way. As it was thrust in, it made me feel like throwing up. I wanted to vomit, but I couldn’t. There was agony in my chest, throat and stomach. I had never experienced such pain before. I would not wish this cruel punishment upon anyone. I am still being force-fed. Two times a day they tie me to a chair in my cell. My arms, legs and head are strapped down. When they come to force me into the chair, if I refuse to be tied up, they call the E.R.F. team. So I have a choice. Either I can exercise my right to protest my detention, and be beaten up, or I can submit to painful force-feeding. The only reason I am still here is that President Obama refuses to send any detainees back to Yemen. This makes no sense. I am a human being ... and I deserve to be treated like one.
Note: Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, has been a prisoner at Guantánamo Bay since 2002. For an illuminating analysis of this situation by the Washington Post, click here.
2013-04-17, New York Times
Posted: 2013-04-23 08:35:08
A dozen years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, an independent, nonpartisan panel’s examination of the interrogation and detention programs carried out in their aftermath by the Bush administration ... provides a valuable, even necessary reckoning. The work of the [11-member task force convened by the Constitution Project, a legal research and advocacy group] is informed by interviews with dozens of former American and foreign officials, as well as with former prisoners. It is the fullest independent effort so far to assess the treatment of detainees at Guantánamo Bay, in Afghanistan and Iraq, and at the C.I.A.’s secret prisons. The report’s authoritative conclusion that “the United States engaged in the practice of torture” is impossible to dismiss. The report found that those methods violated international legal obligations with “no firm or persuasive evidence” that they produced valuable information that could not have been obtained by other means. The task force found that using torture — like waterboarding, slamming prisoners into walls, and chaining them in uncomfortable stress position for hours — had “no justification”. And in engineering “enforced disappearances” and secret detentions, the United States violated its international treaty obligations. As the panel notes, there never was before “the kind of considered and detailed discussions that occurred after 9/11 directly involving a president and his top advisers on the wisdom, propriety and legality of inflicting pain and torment on some detainees in our custody.”
Note: For another informative article on this from the Times, click here.
Three key lessons from the Obama administration's drone lies
2013-04-11, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-04-16 08:41:10
For years, senior Obama officials, including the president himself, have been making public claims about their drone program that have just been proven to be categorically false. McClatchy's national security reporter, Jonathan Landay, obtained top-secret intelligence documents showing that "contrary to assurances it has deployed US drones only against known senior leaders of al-Qaida and allied groups, the Obama administration has targeted and killed hundreds of suspected lower-level Afghan, Pakistani and unidentified 'other' militants in scores of strikes in Pakistan's rugged tribal area." That article quotes drone expert Micah Zenko of the Council on Foreign Relations as saying that "McClatchy's findings indicate that the administration is 'misleading the public about the scope of who can legitimately be targeted.'" In his own must-read article at Foreign Policy about these disclosures, Zenko writes - under the headline: "Finally, proof that the United States has lied in the drone wars" - that "it turns out that the Obama administration has not been honest about who the CIA has been targeting with drones in Pakistan" and that the McClatchy article "plainly demonstrates that the claim repeatedly made by President Obama and his senior aides - that targeted killings are limited only to officials, members, and affiliates of al-Qaida who pose an imminent threat of attack on the US homeland - is false." Zenko explains that these now-disproven claims may very well make the drone strikes illegal since assertions about who is being targeted were "essential to the legal foundations on which the strikes are ultimately based."
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the lies and crimes committed by the US and UK in their global wars of aggression, click here.
UN Adopts Treaty to Regulate Global Arms Trade
2013-04-03, ABC News/Associated Press
Posted: 2013-04-09 15:10:28
The U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved the first international treaty regulating the multibillion-dollar global arms trade [on April 2], after a more than decade-long campaign. The final vote: 154 in favor, 3 against and 23 abstentions. "This is a victory for the world's people," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. "The Arms Trade Treaty will make it more difficult for deadly weapons to be diverted into the illicit market. ... It will be a powerful new tool in our efforts to prevent grave human rights abuses or violations of international humanitarian law." Never before has there been a treaty regulating the global arms trade, which is estimated to be worth $60 billion. Frank Jannuzi, deputy executive director of Amnesty International USA [said,] "The voices of reason triumphed over skeptics, treaty opponents and dealers in death to establish a revolutionary treaty that constitutes a major step toward keeping assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons out of the hands of despots and warlords who use them to kill and maim civilians, recruit child soldiers and commit other serious abuses." What impact the treaty will actually have remains to be seen. It will take effect 90 days after 50 countries ratify it, and a lot will depend on which ones ratify and which ones don't, and how stringently it is implemented. As for its chances of being ratified by the U.S., the powerful National Rifle Association has vehemently opposed it, and it is likely to face stiff resistance from conservatives in the Senate, where it needs two-thirds to win ratification.
Top Pentagon thinker bemoans “civilian subjugation to the military.”
2013-03-26, Boston Globe
Posted: 2013-04-02 09:10:23
Blistering charges of misplaced power and a morally bankrupt culture in the nation’s “military-industrial complex” are rarely leveled by one of the defense establishment’s own. But that is exactly what ... Gregory D. Foster, a former Army officer and West Point graduate who now teaches national security studies at the National Defense University in Washington [did] when he went after the top brass, political leaders, and defense company executives [at a recent defense budget conference]. He accused them of allowing the nearly sacrosanct principle of civilian control of the military—an early building block of American democracy—to be turned on its head. How? By virtually never questioning the key assumptions of military planning and allowing a largely unchecked, destructive and highly militarized foreign policy to pose as a “properly subordinated military industrial complex.” [Foster said] “This is what I call civilian subjugation to the military. We face it in this administration, we faced it in the Clinton administration...we faced it in the Bush administration.” It all makes for a national security establishment, in Foster’s view, that perpetuates an approach to the world that is overly confrontational, lacks critical thinking about long term objectives, and even undercuts the strategic aims of democracy. For example, he said the accepted orthodoxy of never-ending global threats and the necessity to confront them militarily makes it nearly impossible to fashion a national security strategy that puts real security, crisis prevention, and the preservation of civil society ahead of institutional bias and private profit.
Note: For a penetrating analysis by a great general of the real purposes served by continuous war, click here.
The Lyndon Johnson tapes: Richard Nixon's 'treason'
2013-03-22, BBC News
Posted: 2013-03-25 16:05:16
Declassified tapes of President Lyndon Johnson's telephone calls provide a fresh insight into his world. Among the revelations - he caught Richard Nixon sabotaging the Vietnam peace talks... but said nothing. By the time of the election in November 1968, LBJ had evidence Nixon had sabotaged the Vietnam war peace talks - or, as he put it, that Nixon was guilty of treason and had "blood on his hands". Now, for the first time, the whole story can be told. It begins in the summer of 1968. Nixon feared a breakthrough at the Paris Peace talks designed to find a negotiated settlement to the Vietnam war, and he knew this would derail his campaign. He therefore set up a clandestine back-channel involving Anna Chennault, a senior campaign adviser. At a July meeting in Nixon's New York apartment, the South Vietnamese ambassador was told Chennault represented Nixon and spoke for the campaign. If any message needed to be passed to the South Vietnamese president, Nguyen Van Thieu, it would come via Chennault. In late October 1968 there were major concessions from Hanoi which promised to allow meaningful talks to get underway in Paris - concessions that would justify Johnson calling for a complete bombing halt of North Vietnam. This was exactly what Nixon feared. Chennault was despatched to the South Vietnamese embassy with a clear message: the South Vietnamese government should withdraw from the talks, refuse to deal with Johnson, and if Nixon was elected, they would get a much better deal. So on the eve of his planned announcement of a halt to the bombing, Johnson learned the South Vietnamese were pulling out.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government corruption, click here.
Federal court rejects CIA's denial of drone strikes as 'fiction'
2013-03-15, Los Angeles Times
Posted: 2013-03-25 16:01:07
A federal appeals court said [on March 15] that it will no longer accept the “fiction” from the Obama administration’s lawyers that the CIA has no interest in or documents that describe drone strikes. “It is neither logical nor plausible for the CIA to maintain that it would reveal anything not already in the public domain to say the Agency at least has an intelligence interest in such strikes,” said Chief Judge Merrick Garland. “The defendant is, after all, the Central Intelligence Agency.” The decision gave a partial victory to the American Civil Liberties Union in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that seeks documents on the government’s still-secret policy on drone strikes. The three judges ... rejected the administration’s position that it could simply refuse to “confirm or deny” that it had any such documents. A federal judge had rejected the ACLU’s suit entirely, but the three-judge appeals court revived the suit. The agency’s non-response does not pass the “straight face” test, Garland concluded. He cited public statements from President Obama, new CIA Director John Brennan and former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that discussed the use of drone strikes abroad. “In this case, the CIA has asked the courts ... to give their imprimatur to a fiction of deniability that no reasonable person would regard as plausible,” Garland wrote in ACLU vs. CIA. ACLU attorney Jameel Jaffer called the decision a victory. “It requires the government to retire the absurd claim that the CIA’s interest in targeted killing is a secret,” he said. “It also means that the CIA will have to explain what records it is withholding and on what grounds it is withholding them."
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