War News StoriesExcerpts 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 New York Times reported on Sunday that many of those in charge of the CIA’s torture program – the same people whose names were explicitly redacted from the Senate’s torture report in order to avert accountability – “have ascended to the agency’s powerful senior ranks” and now run the CIA drone program. Rather than being fired and prosecuted, they have been rewarded with promotions. The longtime Counterterrorism Center chief who just stepped down, Michael D’Andrea, was previously in charge of the notorious CIA prison known as the Salt Pit, where prisoners were regularly tortured and some died. His replacement, Chris Wood, was also “central to the interrogation program”, according to the Times. The only reason we know D’Andrea and Wood’s names is because the New York Times’ executive editor Dean Baquet commendably decided to publish them. The CIA asked them not to. Adding to the disturbing nature of the CIA’s ability to kill people in complete secrecy, the agency apparently now has a carte blanche to conduct drone strikes on its own. President Obama doesn’t individually approve them anymore – he lets the CIA unilaterally decide to kill people. The Obama administration has promised more transparency around drone strikes, yet at the same time, won’t even acknowledge that the controversial drone strike it’s apologizing for even happened - just because such admission might force courts to hold the government accountable for its actions.
About once a month, staff members of the congressional intelligence committees drive across the Potomac River to C.I.A. headquarters in Langley, Va., and watch ... footage of drone strikes. The screenings have provided a veneer of congressional oversight. The C.I.A.’s killing missions are ... unlikely to change significantly despite President Obama’s announcement on Thursday that a drone strike accidentally killed two innocent hostages, an American and an Italian. Michael D’Andrea ... was chief of operations during the birth of the agency’s detention and interrogation program and then, as head of the C.I.A. Counterterrorism Center, became an architect of the targeted killing program. He presided over the growth of C.I.A. drone operations and hundreds of strikes. Mr. D’Andrea was a forceful advocate for the drone program. He was particularly effective in winning the support of Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who was chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee until January. The confidence Ms. Feinstein and other Democrats express about the drone program ... stands in sharp contrast to the criticism among lawmakers of the now defunct C.I.A. program to capture and interrogate Qaeda suspects in secret prisons. When Ms. Feinstein was asked in a meeting with reporters in 2013 why she was so sure she was getting the truth about the drone program while she accused the C.I.A. of lying to her about torture, she seemed surprised. “That’s a good question, actually.”
Note: The CIA has been aware that drone strikes are ineffective since at least 2009. If drones help terrorists, almost always miss their intended targets, and may be used to target people in the US in the future, what are the real reasons for the US government's drone program?
The targets of the deadly drone strikes that killed two hostages and two suspected American members of al-Qaida were “al-Qaida compounds” rather than specific terrorist suspects, the White House disclosed on Thursday. The lack of specificity suggests that despite a much-publicized 2013 policy change by Barack Obama restricting drone killings by, among other things, requiring “near certainty that the terrorist target is present”, the US continues to launch lethal operations without the necessity of knowing who specifically it seeks to kill. Josh Earnest, the White House spokesman, acknowledged that the January deaths of hostages Warren Weinstein and Giovanni Lo Porto might prompt the tightening of targeting standards. Earnest [confirmed that] the two US civilians killed, longtime English-language propagandist Adam Gadahn and Ahmed Farouq of al-Qaida in the Indian subcontinent, were not “high-value targets” marked for death. In a May 2013 speech, Obama indicated that drone strikes were only permissible when the administration possessed “near certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured, the highest standard we can set”. Human-rights observers see little indication, two years after Obama’s speech, that the US meets its own stated standards. Reprieve, looking at US drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan, concluded last year that the US killed nearly 1,150 people while targeting 41 individuals.
They’re called lethal autonomous weapons, or LAWs, and their military mission would be to seek out, identify and kill a human target independent of human control. Representatives of 60 nations ... met in Geneva during the third week of April in an attempt to define the level of artificial intelligence needed for an international definition of robotic autonomy. The Panel of Experts, under the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), will meet again next year to continue the discussion. None of the industrial nations admits having a LAW, but there’s really no way to confirm the nonexistence of a weapon that would be classified as secret. The U.S. Department of Defense has had a directive in place for three years that outlines the chain of command that would approve their deployment on a case-by-case basis. It’s called Directive 3000.09. On April 15, the third day of the panel meeting, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus ... announced the creation of a new office for unmanned warfare systems. According to Stuart Russell, who addressed the panel, “Devices in the 1-gram range might be able to selectively kill a chosen human target on contact using a shaped explosive charge. I’m not sure what countermeasures one might try against a swarm of 5-gram robots. There will be ... a LAWs arms race."
Note: Current surveillance drones can be hacked, hijacked, and redirected while flying in some cases. Under human guidance, current killer drones almost always miss their intended targets. What will happen when tiny lethal flying robots begin operating without being controlled by human decision makers?
To wage war in Yemen, Saudi Arabia is using F-15 fighter jets bought from Boeing. Pilots from the United Arab Emirates are flying Lockheed Martin’s F-16 to bomb both Yemen and Syria. Soon, the Emirates are expected to complete a deal with General Atomics for a fleet of Predator drones to run spying missions in their neighborhood. As the Middle East descends into proxy wars, sectarian conflicts and battles against terrorist networks, countries in the region that have stockpiled American military hardware are now actually using it and wanting more. American defense firms are following the money. Boeing opened an office in Doha, Qatar, in 2011, and Lockheed Martin set up an office there this year. Lockheed created a division in 2013 devoted solely to foreign military sales, and the company’s chief executive, Marillyn Hewson, has said that Lockheed needs to increase foreign business — with a goal of global arms sales’ becoming 25 percent to 30 percent of its revenue. Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association ... said he viewed the increase in arms sales to the region “with a great deal of trepidation, as it is leading to an escalation in the type and number and sophistication in the weaponry in these countries.” Meanwhile, the deal to sell Predator drones to the Emirates is nearing final approval. If the sale goes through, it will be the first time that the drones will go to an American ally outside of NATO.
Note: If you look at history from the viewpoint that most wars are fostered and enflamed by the military-industrial complex, a lot of things make sense. Read a powerful essay by a top US general exposing the war machine titled "War is a Racket." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Despite a decline in military spending since 2010, U.S. defense expenditures are still 45 percent higher than they were before the 9/11 terror attacks put the country on a seemingly permanent war footing. And despite massive regional buildups spurred by conflict in the Ukraine and the Middle East, the U.S. spends more on its military than the next seven top-spending countries combined, according to new figures compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). That’s nearly three times as much as China, and more than seven times as much as Russia. Saudi Arabia is now the fourth-biggest military spender on the globe, which in its case means spending nearly $80 billion last year buying weapons, mostly from the U.S.. As Mark Mazzetti and Helene Cooper reported for The New York Times over the weekend, the new arms race in the Middle East has resulted in a “boom” for American defense contractors. China, Russia and Saudi Arabia all “substantially increased their military expenditures,” with the Saudis now spending a staggering 10 percent of their GDP on military expenditures. In a supplemental report, SIPRI reports on how the crisis in the Ukraine has led to “a renewed commitment by NATO members to spend at least 2 per cent of their gross domestic product (GDP) on the military.” The U.S. is spending 3.5 percent of its GDP on military expenditures.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
In a war full of failures, the US counternarcotics mission in Afghanistan stands out: opiate production has climbed steadily over recent years to reach record-high levels last year. One clear winner in the anti-drug effort is ... the infamous mercenary company formerly known as Blackwater. Statistics released on Tuesday reveal that the rebranded private security firm, known since 2011 as Academi, reaped over a quarter billion dollars from the futile Defense Department push to eradicate Afghan narcotics, some 21% of the $1.5 bn in contracting money the Pentagon has devoted to the job since 2002. The company is the second biggest beneficiary of counternarcotics largesse in Afghanistan. Only the defense giant Northrop Grumman edged it out, with $325m. According to the US inspector general for Afghanistan “reconstruction”, the $309m Academi got from US taxpayers paid for “training, equipment, and logistical support” to Afghan forces conducting counternarcotics. Far from eradicating the deep-rooted opiate trade, US counternarcotics efforts have ... contributed to the opium boom. In December, the United Nations reported a 60% growth in Afghan land used for opium poppy cultivation since 2011, up to 209,000 hectares. The estimated $3bn value of Afghan heroin and morphine represents some 15% of Afghan GDP. Academi and its former Blackwater incarnation have an infamous history in Afghanistan. It once set up shell companies to disguise its business practices, according to a Senate report, so that its contracts would be unimpeded by company employees’ killings of Iraqi and Afghan civilians.
Note: Blackwater, now called Academi, got caught systematically defrauding the US government, while serving as a "virtual extension of the CIA". The CIA has been linked to the Afghan heroin trade for decades. In 2000, the Taliban had all but eradicated Afghan opium production. Once Afghanistan was under US control, opium production surged to record levels.
In the spring of 2010, Afghan officials struck a deal to free an Afghan diplomat held hostage by Al Qaeda. But the price was steep — $5 million. To come up with the money, [senior security officials] turned to a secret fund that the Central Intelligence Agency bankrolled with monthly cash deliveries to the presidential palace in Kabul, according to several Afghan officials. The Afghan government, they said, had already squirreled away about $1 million from that fund. Within weeks, that money ... was handed over to Al Qaeda, replenishing its coffers after a relentless C.I.A. campaign of drone strikes in Pakistan had decimated the militant network’s upper ranks. The C.I.A.’s contribution to Qaeda’s bottom line, though, was no well-laid trap. It was just another in a long list of examples of how the United States, largely because of poor oversight and loose financial controls, has sometimes inadvertently financed the very militants it is fighting. While refusing to pay ransoms for Americans kidnapped by Al Qaeda, the Taliban or, more recently, the Islamic State, the United States has spent hundreds of billions of dollars over the last decade at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, some of which has been siphoned off to enemy fighters. The C.I.A., meanwhile, continued dropping off bags of cash — ranging each time from a few hundred thousand dollars to more than $1 million — at the presidential palace every month until last year, when Mr. Karzai stepped down. The money was used to buy the loyalty of warlords, legislators and other prominent — and potentially troublesome — Afghans, helping the palace finance a vast patronage network that secured Mr. Karzai’s power base.
Note: A 2013 New York Times article called the US the "biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan" for its CIA bankrolling of Afghan warlords. Meanwhile, over a billion dollars of Iraqi "reconstruction" cash disappeared and was later tracked to a bunker in Lebanon. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
A member of the late Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s brutal secret police who’s been accused of murder taught for more than a decade at the Pentagon’s premier university, despite repeated complaints by his colleagues about his past. Jaime Garcia Covarrubias is charged in criminal court in Santiago with being the mastermind in the execution-style slayings of seven people in 1973, according to court documents. An accuser ... identified Garcia Covarrubias as the person who sexually tortured him. Despite knowing of the allegations, State and Defense department officials allowed Garcia Covarrubias to retain his visa and continue working at a school affiliated with the National Defense University until last year. Human rights groups also question the school’s selection of a second professor, Colombia’s former top military commander. Some Latin America experts said the hirings by the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies reflected a continuing inclination by the U.S government to overlook human rights violations in Latin America, especially in countries where it funded efforts to quash leftists. Those experts were especially troubled by Garcia Covarrubias’ long tenure at one of the nation’s most renowned defense institutions. His case is one of 108 involving tortured, disappeared or murdered supporters of the deposed elected president, Salvador Allende. More than 3,000 people died at the hands of the regime. Despite very graphic torture accusations against Garcia Covarrubias, U.S. officials are rallying behind him.
Note: The Pinochet regime successfully carried out an assassination in Washington D.C. in 1976 despite US Government foreknowledge of the plot. The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly known as the School of the Americas, graduated more than 500 human rights abusers. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The leader of one the most notorious insurgent groups in Iraq was said to be a mysterious Iraqi named Abdullah Rashid al-Baghdadi. As the titular head of the Islamic State in Iraq, an organization publicly backed by Al Qaeda, Baghdadi issued a steady stream of incendiary pronouncements. Despite claims by Iraqi officials that he had been killed in May, Baghdadi appeared to have persevered unscathed. On Wednesday, a senior American military spokesman provided a new explanation for Baghdadi's ability to escape attack: He never existed. Brigadier General Kevin Bergner, the chief American military spokesman, said the elusive Baghdadi was actually a fictional character whose audio-taped declarations were provided by an elderly actor named Abu Adullah al-Naima. The ploy was to invent Baghdadi, a figure whose very name establishes his Iraqi pedigree, [and] install him as the head of a front organization called the Islamic State of Iraq. Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's deputy, sought to reinforce the deception by referring to Baghdadi in his video and Internet statements. Bruce Riedel, a former CIA official and a Middle East expert ... suggested that the disclosures made Wednesday might not be the final word on Baghdadi and the leaders of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. "First, they say we have killed him," Riedel said, referring to the statements by some Iraqi government officials. "Then we heard him after his death and now they are saying he never existed. That suggests that our intelligence on Al Qaeda in Iraq is not what we want it to be."
Note: The above was written in 2007. More recently, the current Islamic State caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was reported in Newsweek to have been held alongside Al Qaeda militants by U.S. forces at Camp Bucca, a "virtual terrorist University" in Iraq.
In 1823 a 24-year-old Yankee, Warren Delano, sailed to Canton. Within seven years he was a senior partner in Russell & Company. Delano's problem, as with all traders, European and American, was that China had much to sell but declined to buy. The British struck upon an ingenious way to reduce a huge trade deficit. Their merchants bribed Chinese officials to allow entry of chests of opium from British-ruled India, though its importation had long been banned by imperial decree. Nearly every American company followed suit. As addiction became epidemic, and as the Chinese began paying with precious silver for the drug, their Emperor finally in 1839 named an Imperial Commissioner to end the trade. Commissioner Lin Tse-hsu proceeded to Canton, seized vast stocks of opium and dumped the chests in the sea. This ... furnished the spark for the Opium War, initiated by Lord Palmerston, the British Prime Minister, and waged with determination to obtain full compensation for the opium. The Celestial Empire was humbled, forced to open five ports to foreign traders and to permit a British colony at Hong Kong. Warren Delano returned to America rich. He eventually gave his daughter Sara in marriage to ... the father of Franklin Roosevelt. The old China trader was close-mouthed about opium, as were his partners in Russell & Company. It is not clear how much F.D.R. knew about this source of his grandfather's wealth.
Note: So FDR's grandfather struck it rich by dealing opium in China. Note that Samuel Russell, who founded Russell & Company, the most powerful opium trader of the time, was the cousin of William Russell, who founded Yale's Skull and Bones society, which counted among its members Presidents William Howard Taft, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush.
Dean Baquet, the executive editor of the New York Times, believes his newspaper – in company with the US mainstream media – failed their audiences after 9/11. He told the German news magazine Der Spiegel that he agreed with the criticism originally made by an NYT reporter, James Risen, Baquet said: “The mainstream press was not aggressive enough after 9/11, was not aggressive enough in asking questions about a decision to go to war in Iraq, was not aggressive enough in asking the hard questions about the war on terror. I accept that for the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times”. Baquet, in charge of the NYT since May 2014, was previously editor-in-chief of the LA Times. In his wide-ranging interview with Der Spiegel, Baquet also spoke about the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden having chosen to tell his story to the Guardian. He said he regards the Guardian as “a new competitor [for the NYT] in the digital age.” He said: “Does it make me nervous that they compete with us and in fact beat us on the Snowden story? Yes. "It hurt a lot. It meant two things. Morally, it meant that somebody with a big story to tell didn’t think we were the place to go, and that’s painful. And then it also meant that we got beaten on what was arguably the biggest national security story in many, many years.
Note: When asked about the New York Times' refusal to report on military drone base locations in the interview referenced above, Baquet recalls, "A high-ranking CIA official called me up and made the case to leave out where the drone base was. It was Saudi Arabia. I accepted it. And I was wrong." For more along these lines, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing articles about mass media manipulation.
The [recent] holiday headlines blared: “End of War” and “Mission Ends” and “U.S. formally ends the war in Afghanistan." Great news! Except: “the fighting is as intense as it has ever been since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001,” according to the Wall Street Journal. And about 10,000 troops will remain there for the foreseeable future. They’ll continue to engage in combat regularly. This is the new reality of war: As long as the White House doesn’t admit the United States is at war, we’re all supposed to pretend as if that’s true. This ruse is not just the work of the president. Members of Congress [are also] letting the public think we’re Definitely Not at War. Another place the United States is Definitely Not at War? Pakistan, where, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the US conducted multiple drone strikes between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, killing at least nine people. Another six “militants” were reportedly killed in a drone strike in Pakistan on Sunday. There was yet another American drone strike in Somalia on 30 December. Meanwhile, the Defense Department quietly announced ... that, later this month, another 1,300 troops will deploy to Iraq in its ever-expanding undeclared war on Isis. The US continues to launch airstrikes against Isis and various other groups in Syria as well. Legal experts across the political spectrum believe this war is without precedent.
Note: Although 21st Century military combat operations may no longer be called war, war has been called a racket since the era of General Smedley Butler, one of the most highly decorated US generals ever. Read General Butler's eye-opening essay "War is a Racket." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
“There was never going to be a perfect time to release this report,” President Barack Obama said earlier this month after the Senate Intelligence Committee unleashed its long-awaited “torture report.” But in the wake of this rare moment of transparency, the administration took the next step in keeping additional evidence of prisoner abuse concealed. The government is withholding nearly 2,100 images that show the military’s brutal treatment of detainees at various prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan. While the previously disclosed pictures from Abu Ghraib are the stuff of nightmares – piles of naked bodies, detainees being led on leashes and U.S. soldiers giving a thumbs-up as it all happens – these photographs are said to be even more disturbing. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) originally sued for the images’ release in 2004. Obama ... blocked the release, [and now] contends that the photographs could further encourage attacks against the U.S. personnel still in Afghanistan and Iraq and could be used by the recently galvanized Islamic State—the terrorist group commonly known as ISIS. Alex Abdo, an ACLU staff attorney working on the case since 2005, said ... that the government is essentially arguing that [the images must remain] secret because they powerfully document abuse. “If there’s anything the debate over torture is missing, it’s the sort of evidence that photographs give you—irrefutable evidence of the brutality of the mistreatment,” Abdo said.
Note: U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein will review the next round of justifications for keeping this material classified on January 20. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
The combined cost of the “war on terror” comes to an estimated $1.6 trillion. A lot of former senior government officials who played important roles in this debacle have done quite well for themselves. [Former CIA director George Tenet] missed multiple signs of a major Al Qaeda attack directed against the United States [prior to 9/11] and approved the Bush administration’s torturing of terror suspects. He got the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He [also] received a $4 million advance to write a memoir. Tenet has received millions more in his current role as ... a board director and advisor to intelligence and military contractors. Louis Freeh, Tenet’s counterpart at the FBI during the run-up to 9/11 [also mishandled] “significant and urgent” intelligence of “serious operational planning” for terrorism attacks by Islamic radicals. Freeh resigned from the FBI two months before 9/11. In 2008, [a businessman named Nasser Kazeminy] was accused of bribing former Senator Norm Coleman, [and] hired Freeh to conduct a “thorough investigation” of the allegations against him in the hopes of clearing his name. In 2011, Freeh issued a public statement saying that his investigation had “completely vindicated” both Kazeminy and Coleman. Freeh also met with the Justice Department – which was investigating the bribery charges but declined to bring a case — on Kazeminy’s behalf. [Today, Freeh has a $3 million] Palm Beach penthouse. Freeh’s wife co-owns it with Kazeminy. The quit claim deed giving Freeh’s wife one-half ownership of the penthouse was signed nine days after Freeh’s vindication of Kazeminy.
Drone strikes and "targeted killings" of terror targets by the United States can be counterproductive and bolster the support of extremist groups, the CIA has admitted in a secret report released by WikiLeaks. The document, by the intelligence agency's Directorate of Intelligence, said that despite the effectiveness of "high value targeting" (HVT), air strikes and special forces operations had a negative impact by boosting the popular support of terror organisations. The CIA report is dated 2009 and talks of operations conducted in countries such as Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Afghanistan and Yemen. Operations against terror targets "may increase support for the insurgents, particularly if these strikes enhance insurgent leaders' lore, if non-combatants are killed in the attacks, if legitimate or semi-legitimate politicians aligned with the insurgents are targeted, or if the government is already seen as overly repressive or violent," the report said. "Senior Taliban leaders' use of sanctuary in Pakistan has also complicated the HVT effort," it reveals. "Moreover, the Taliban has a high overall ability to replace lost leaders ... especially at the middle levels." It speaks of drone strikes also having limited effect in Iraq. According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, US drone strikes have killed between 2,400 and 3,888 people in Pakistan in the years 2004 to 2014 and between 371 and 541 people in Yemen in the years 2002 to 2014.
Note: This report proves that the CIA has been aware that drone strikes are ineffective since at least 2009. If drones help terrorists, almost always miss their intended targets, and may be used to target people in the US in the future, what are the real reasons for the US government's drone program?
War was the leading cause of death in the military nearly every year between 2004 and 2011 until suicides became the top means of dying for troops in 2012 and 2013, according to a bar chart published this week in a monthly Pentagon medical statistical analysis journal. For those last two years, suicide outranked war, cancer, heart disease, homicide, transportation accidents and other causes as the leading killer, accounting for about three in 10 military deaths each of those two years. Transportation accidents, by a small margin, was the leading cause of military deaths in 2008, slightly more than combat. The fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan accounted for anywhere from one out of three deaths in the military — in 2005 and 2010 — to more than 46 percent of deaths in 2007, during the height of the Iraq surge, according to the chart. More than 6,800 troops have died in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11 and more than 3,000 additional service members have taken their lives in that same time, according to Pentagon data.
A destructive “Trojan Horse” malware program has penetrated the software that runs much of the nation’s critical infrastructure and is poised to cause an economic catastrophe, according to the Department of Homeland Security. National Security sources told ABC News there is evidence that the malware was inserted by hackers believed to be sponsored by the Russian government. The hacked software is used to control ... oil and gas pipelines, power transmission grids, water distribution and filtration systems, wind turbines and even some nuclear plants. The hacking campaign has been ongoing since 2011, but no attempt has been made to activate the malware. DHS sources ... fear that the Russians have torn a page from the old, Cold War playbook, and have placed the malware in key U.S. systems as a threat, and/or as a deterrent to a U.S. cyber-attack on Russian systems. The hack became known to insiders last week when a DHS alert bulletin was issued. The bulletin said the “BlackEnergy” penetration recently had been detected by several companies. DHS said “BlackEnergy” is the same malware that was used ... to target NATO and some energy and telecommunications companies. The hacked software is very advanced. It allows designated workers to control various industrial processes through the computer, an iPad or a smart phone, sources said.
Note: For an example of a computer-based attack on industrial infrastructure, read how a malware called Stuxnet targeted Iranian nuclear facilities. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
In the largest opium harvest in Afghanistan's history; with a record 224,000 hectares under cultivation this year, the country produced an estimated 6,400 tons of opium, or around 90 percent of the world's supply. In Afghanistan today, according to U.N. estimates, the opium industry accounts for 15 percent of the economy. The Afghan narcotics trade has gotten undeniably worse since the U.S.-led invasion: The country produces twice as much opium as it did in 2000. In the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah, I arrange an interview with a drug smuggler. I'll call him Sami. He grew up in a camp near the border town of Chagai, in Pakistan. After finishing 11th grade, he got work as a driver and began ... smuggling opium through the desert. Baramcha, a smuggling hub on the Afghan side of the border ... functions as a kind of switching station for much of the opium trade. "The security situation is good ... the drug smugglers and the ISI are tight together," he says, referring to Pakistan's intelligence service. The United States' alliances with opium traffickers in Afghanistan go back to the 1980s, when the CIA waged a dirty war to undermine the Soviet occupation of the country. Large-scale cultivation was introduced [with] support from the ISI and the CIA. U.S. counternarcotics programs, which have cost nearly $8 billion to date, and the Afghan state-building project in general, are perversely part of ... the drug trade.
Note: Read the complete article above for an in depth look at the Afghan narcotics trade. For more, read this 2002 news article, which shows that the Taliban had nearly eliminated opium production in Afghanistan prior to the US led invasion. Yet once the allies defeated the Taliban, opium production hit new records. Today, Afghanistan produces 90% of the global opium supply. This huge source of income is used to fund all kinds of secret projects. Read powerful evidence that the CIA and US military are directly involved in the drug trade.
In 2003, caravans of trucks began to arrive at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington on a regular basis, unloading an unusual cargo — pallets of shrink-wrapped $100 bills. The cash, withdrawn from Iraqi government accounts held in the United States, was loaded onto Air Force C-17 transport planes bound for Baghdad. Exactly what happened to that money after it arrived? Finding the answer became first the job and then the obsession of Stuart W Bowen Jr. His investigators finally had a breakthrough, discovering that $1.2 billion to $1.6 billion had been stolen and moved to a bunker in rural Lebanon. Bowen kept the discovery and his investigation of the cash-filled bunker ... secret. He has never publicly discussed it until now. “Billions of dollars have been taken out of Iraq over the last ten years illegally,” he said. The money ... came from the Development Fund of Iraq, which was created by a United Nations resolution in May 2003 to hold Iraqi oil revenue. An advantage of using the cash from the Development Fund instead of money appropriated by Congress for Iraq was that there were not a lot of rules governing its use, and no federal regulations or congressional oversight of what happened to it. The CIA expressed little interest in pursuing the matter, and the FBI said it lacked jurisdiction, Bowen recalled. An informant told [Bowen] about the bunker, which in addition to the cash, was believed to also have held approximately $200 million in gold belonging to the Iraqi government.
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.