War News ArticlesExcerpts of Key War News Stories in Major Media
Note: This comprehensive list of war news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
The US National Security Agency spied on civil rights leader Martin Luther King and boxer Muhammad Ali during the height of the Vietnam War protests, declassified documents reveal. The documents show the NSA also tracked journalists from the New York Times and the Washington Post and two senators. Some NSA officials later described the programme as "disreputable if not outright illegal", the documents show. The operation, dubbed "Minaret", was originally exposed in the 1970s. However, the names of those on the phone-tapping "watch list" had been kept secret until now. The secret papers were published after a government panel ruled in favour of researchers at George Washington University. The university's National Security Archive - a research institute that seeks to check government secrecy - described the names on the NSA's watch-list as "eye-popping". The agency eavesdropped on civil rights leaders Martin Luther King and Whitney Young as well as boxing champion Muhammad Ali, New York Times journalist Tom Wicker and Washington Post columnist Art Buchwald. The NSA also monitored the overseas phone calls of two prominent US senators - Democrat Frank Church and Republican Howard Baker. In 1967 the strength of the anti-war campaign led President Lyndon Johnson to ask US intelligence agencies to find out if some protests were being stoked by foreign governments. Many of those targeted were considered to be critics of US involvement in the Vietnam War. The NSA worked with other spy agencies to draw up the "watch lists" of anti-war critics, tapping their phone calls. The programme continued after Richard Nixon entered the White House in 1969.
Note: These names were kept secret until now allegedly for reason of "national security." Note how this term is repeatedly used to cover up illegal government activity solely to protect those who commit these crimes. For more on the hidden realities of intelligence agency operations, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
It played unwilling host to one of the bloodiest battles of the Iraq war. Fallujah's ... residents changed the name of their "City of Mosques" to "the polluted city" after the United States launched two massive military campaigns eight years ago. A new study reports a "staggering rise" in birth defects among Iraqi children conceived in the aftermath of the war. High rates of miscarriage, toxic levels of lead and mercury contamination and spiralling numbers of birth defects ranging from congenital heart defects to brain dysfunctions and malformed limbs have been recorded. There is "compelling evidence" to link the increased numbers of defects and miscarriages to military assaults, says Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, one of the lead authors of the report and an environmental toxicologist at the University of Michigan's School of Public Health. US marines first bombarded Fallujah in April 2004. Seven months later, the marines stormed the city for a second time, using some of the heaviest US air strikes deployed in Iraq. American forces later admitted that they had used white phosphorus shells, although they never admitted to using depleted uranium, which has been linked to high rates of cancer and birth defects. The new findings, published in the [Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology], will bolster claims that US and Nato munitions used in the conflict led to a widespread health crisis in Iraq. The latest study found that in Fallujah, more than half of all babies surveyed were born with a birth defect between 2007 and 2010. Before the siege, this figure was more like one in 10. Prior to the turn of the millennium, fewer than 2 per cent of babies were born with a defect.
Note: Similar defects have been found among children born in Basra after British troops invaded, according to the report at the link above. For a five-minute BBC clip showing how the damage inflicted on Iraqi babies is being covered up at the highest levels, click here. For more on this, click here.
Baha Mousa was tortured to death in September 2003 while in the custody of the British armed forces in Iraq. The subsequent inquiry led to a report, published in September 2011, that leaves no doubt about the ... brutal illegality of the UK's current approach to the detention and interrogation of suspected insurgents. The training of interrogators used in Iraq involved blatant illegality: forced nakedness, screaming foul abuse into detainees' faces, sensory deprivation and [other forms of torture]. The list of unlawful killings is endless. And there are hundreds of Iraqis' cases before British courts in which allegations are made of egregious acts of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. A high court judgment in late May ... involves more than 1,000 Iraqi cases of unlawful killings and acts of torture. It establishes that whenever UK personnel abroad have authority and control over others – and commit what might be acts of unlawful killing and torture – there must be an "inquisitorial process" in public into each case. There must also be public scrutiny of the systemic issues arising from these cases. Take, for example, the case of Huda, an eight-year-old girl in a yellow dress playing with her friends one sunlit morning in Basra. A British rifleman in a tank, apparently perceiving her to be a threat to force security, shot her dead without warning at close range. Before this new judgment, the Ministry of Defence successfully shut the door on any accountability. Under the new system, the commanding officer would have to suspend the soldier and send in the military police to forensically examine the scene, interview witnesses and family, and send the results of a full investigation back to London to be examined independently and publicly.
Note: For more on atrocities committed by the US and UK military forces in their wars of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, are in the news constantly, but what about unmanned underwater vehicles? They could also be important in both war and peace, which is why the Defense Department's research arm, DARPA, is looking into a mobile submarine base from which to launch drones. The project, still in the earliest stages, is called "Hydra," after the mythical beast whose heads multiplied upon being cut off. The idea is to create a sort of underwater version of an aircraft carrier. The Hydra, itself an unmanned underwater vehicle, would be stocked with drones of various kinds and capacities: circling overhead, scouting underwater for mines, or listening on the surface.
Note: For more on the US military and police use of drones both abroad and in the US, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
As the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaches, 12 former CIA, FBI, NSA, and US military officials -- including Time Magazine's 2002 person of the year, Colleen Rowley, and former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, who provided the daily brief for three presidents -- say in an open letter to President Obama that the charge that President Assad used chemical weapons on August 21st is based on false intelligence. If this charge is false, and leads to war in Syria, it would not be the first time US leaders have misled their public into going to war. Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War, admitted in 2003 that America went to war in Vietnam on the false intelligence that North Vietnam had attacked a US destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin. The 9/11 Consensus Panel was formed to deal with another notorious fraudulent pretext for war, the attacks of September 11, 2001, that triggered the "war on terror" and the ongoing military actions in the Middle East. [The] Panel was formed in 2011 to show the public [that] 9/11 was a false flag operation. [It] has thus far produced 37 Consensus Points refuting the official story, five of which are released today. The National Institute of Standards and Technology's report on the collapse of World Trade Center 7 failed [to] produce a [video] simulation replicating the instant straight-down collapse of this 47-story steel-framed skyscraper. The official accounts of telephone calls from the airliners, and the surveillance camera images of the hijackers, do not withstand close scrutiny. Other [new Points concern] seismic evidence of explosions below the towers, and molten metal running below the debris for weeks afterwards.
The influential pro-Israel American Israel Public Affairs Committee [AIPAC] will deploy hundreds of activists next week to win support in Congress for military action in Syria, amid an intense White House effort to convince wavering U.S. lawmakers to vote for limited strikes. Congressional aides said they expected the meetings and calls on Tuesday, as President Barack Obama and officials from his administration make their case for missile strikes over the apparent use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government. The vote on action in Syria is a significant political test for Obama and a major push by AIPAC, considered one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington, could provide a boost. The U.S. Senate is due to vote on a resolution to authorize the use of military force as early as Wednesday. Leaders of the House of Representatives have not yet said when they would vote, beyond saying consideration of an authorization is "possible" sometime this week. Obama has asked Congress to approve strikes against Assad's government in response to a chemical weapons attack on August 21 that killed more than 1,400 Syrians. Pro-Israel groups had largely kept a low profile on Syria as the Obama administration sought to build its case for limited strikes after last month's attack on rebel-held areas outside Damascus. But they had generally wanted the debate to focus on U.S. national security rather than how a decision to attack Syria might help Israel, a reflection of their sensitivity to being seen as rooting for the United States to go to war.
Note: For more on government corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Over decades and diverse administrations, justifications for the use of force - limited and full scale - have constantly revolved around weapons of mass destruction. Protection against them, real and imaginary, has served [as] justification for government excess and a curtailment of our freedoms. We stop everything because it is WMD and we fret about the consequences of both action and inaction because it is WMD. We do so because of a little known and little understood entity that truly drives American national security practices: It's called the Program. Founded in the darkest days of nuclear threat during the Eisenhower administration, the Program began as a limited system given responsibility for survival of the government. The nuclear arms race ended, but the Program never completely went away. And since 9/11, like everything else about national security, its mission and focus have expanded. The Program exists through a system of sealed envelopes - four dozen formal Presidential Emergency Action Documents more secret than anything that has been revealed about the National Security Agency of late, arrangements that instruct a surviving entity of what to do if a nation-destroying calamity befalls Washington or the United States. Because Doomsday is now thought by the experts in government to be any day, and because the potential battlefield is anyplace and every place, the work of the Program, and its power, have dramatically expanded. A survival apparatus operates behind the scenes as if survival is perpetually and instantly at stake.
Note: The author of this analysis, William M. Arkin, has written American Coup: How a Terrified Government is Destroying the Constitution, and is co-author of the best-selling book and newspaper series Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State.
Written by Robert H. Scales, a retired Army general and former commandant of the U.S. Army War College. The tapes tell the tale. Go back and look at images of our nation’s most senior soldier, Gen. Martin Dempsey, and his body language during [the] Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on Syria. It’s pretty obvious that Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, doesn’t want this war. Dempsey’s unspoken words reflect the opinions of most serving military leaders. They are embarrassed to be associated with the amateurism of the Obama administration’s attempts to craft a plan that makes strategic sense. None of the White House staff has any experience in war or understands it. So far, at least, this path to war violates every principle of war, including the element of surprise, achieving mass and having a clearly defined and obtainable objective. Prospective U.S. action in Syria is not about threats to American security. They are outraged by the fact that what may happen is an act of war and a willingness to risk American lives to make up for a slip of the tongue about “red lines.” These acts would be for retribution and to restore the reputation of a president. Our serving professionals make the point that killing more Syrians won’t deter Iranian resolve to confront us. The Iranians have already gotten the message. Our people lament our loneliness. Our senior soldiers take pride in their past commitments to fight alongside allies and within coalitions that shared our strategic goals. This war, however, will be ours alone.
Note: For a two-minute video of four-star general Wesley Clark declaring that Syria was in the crosshairs of the US as early as 2001, click here. For more on why the U.S.'s proposed war of aggression against Syria must be stopped, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
A mere 72 hours after President Obama delivered an encomium honoring the life of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., he announced his intention to pound yet another country with bombs. The oxymoron last week was noteworthy for how little attention it received. Yes, a president memorialized an antiwar activist who derided the U.S. government as "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world." Then that same president quickly proposed yet more violence - this time in Syria. Almost nobody mentioned the contradiction. Even worse, as Congress now debates whether to launch yet another military campaign in the Middle East, the antiwar movement that King represented - and that so vigorously opposed the last war - is largely silent. So what happened to that movement? The shorter answer is: It was a victim of partisanship. That's the conclusion that emerges from a recent study by professors at the University of Michigan and Indiana University. Evaluating surveys of more than 5,300 antiwar protesters from 2007 to 2009, the researchers discovered that the many protesters who self-identified as Democrats "withdrew from antiwar protests when the Democratic Party achieved electoral success" in the 2008 presidential election. The withdrawal occurred even as Obama was escalating the war in Afghanistan and intensifying drone wars in places like Pakistan and Yemen. The researchers thus conclude that during the Bush years, many Democrats were not necessarily motivated to participate in the antiwar movement because they oppose militarism and war - they were instead "motivated to participate by anti-Republican sentiments."
Note: For more on why the proposed war of aggression against Syria must be stopped, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
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 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.
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.
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.
The [UK] Government has issued more than 3,000 export licences for military and intelligence equipment worth a total of Ł12.3bn 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 Ł7.7bn. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.