Military Corruption Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Military Corruption Media Articles in Major Media
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The United States has fought more than a dozen "secret wars" over the last two decades, according to a new report from the Brennan Center for Justice. Through a combination of ground combat, airstrikes, and operations by U.S. proxy forces, these conflicts have raged from Africa to the Middle East to Asia, often completely unknown to the American people and with minimal congressional oversight. These clandestine conflicts have been enabled by the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, enacted in the wake of the September 11 attacks, as well as the covert action statute, which allows secret, unattributed operations, primarily conducted by the CIA. [The new] analysis is particularly illuminating in the case of Somalia, where the United States developed two key proxy forces, the Danab Brigade and the Puntland Security Force. The CIA began building the Puntland Security Force in 2002 to battle the Al Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabab and later the Islamic State in Somalia, or ISS. The force was transferred to U.S. military control around 2012 and went on to fight alongside U.S. Special Operations forces for a decade. [The Brennan Center's Katherine Yon] Ebright notes that the proxy fighters were "largely independent of the Somali government, despite being an elite armed brigade and one of Somalia's most capable special operations units. And their relationship with U.S. forces was long kept secret, with U.S. officials disavowing the presence of military advisers in Somalia until 2014."
Note: Since 2008, the US has supported at least nine coups in five African countries. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
Ashwaq Abdel Kareem heard the roar of a jet plane that foretold an airstrike. It was near midnight on June 1, 2015. Ashwaq, her husband, and five children were in the backyard. Far above Ashwaq and her family, a Dutch F-16 fighter jet released a bomb that whistled down to hit a car-bomb factory in the center of Hawija's industrial district. The F-16's mission was coordinated by the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS and was planned by the U.S. military. From 2014 to the present day, between 8,000 and 13,000 civilians have died as a result of bombing by the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, according to the monitoring organization Airwars; the coalition only acknowledges the deaths of 1,417 civilians. At the height of the bombing in 2017, as the coalition bombed tightly packed urban areas like Mosul, at least 9,000 civilians died. Yet only one civilian received compensation, although the U.S. military did distribute a limited number of condolence or "ex gratia" payments – which are voluntary payments and not an admission of legal liability – reportedly to the families of around 14 victims. Despite its involvement [with the Hawija bombing], the United States has not offered an apology or individual compensation. This is consistent with U.S. policy that has made compensation for civilians extremely rare. The only legal way for civilians to pursue compensation in the U.S. has been through the Foreign Claims Act, but that excludes compensation for death or injury during combat, making victims of the Hawija bombing ineligible.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
Suicides across the active duty U.S. military decreased over the past 18 months, driven by sharp drops in the Air Force and Marine Corps last year and a similar decline among Army soldiers during the first six months of this year, according to a new Pentagon report. The numbers show a dramatic reversal of what has been a fairly steady increase in recent years. The shift follows increased attention by senior military leaders and an array of new programs aimed at addressing what has been a persistent problem in all the services. The numbers provide a glimmer of hope that some of the recent changes – which range from required counseling visits to stress relief education and recreational outings – may be working. According to the data, the number of suicides in the Air Force and Marine Corp dropped by more than 30 percent in 2021 compared with 2020, and the Navy saw a 10 percent decline. The Army saw a similar 30 percent decrease during the first six months of this year, compared with the same time period last year. The National Guard and the Reserves both saw a small dip in suicides, from 121 in 2020 to 119 in 2021. And there were also fewer Guard deaths in the first half of 2022, compared with last year. The Guard has worked over the last year to reduce suicides through outreach and other changes, including policies to destigmatize getting mental health help and a program that provides firearms locks for service members who keep weapons at home.
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More than 500 retired U.S. military personnel – including scores of generals and admirals – have taken lucrative jobs since 2015 working for foreign governments, mostly in countries known for human rights abuses and political repression, according to a Washington Post investigation. In Saudi Arabia, for example, 15 retired U.S. generals and admirals have worked as paid consultants for the Defense Ministry since 2016. The ministry is led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom's de facto ruler, who U.S. intelligence agencies say approved the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Post contributing columnist, as part of a brutal crackdown on dissent. Saudi Arabia's paid advisers have included retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones, a national security adviser to President Barack Obama, and retired Army Gen. Keith Alexander, who led the National Security Agency under Obama and President George W. Bush. Others who have worked as consultants for the Saudis since Khashoggi's murder include a retired four-star Air Force general and a former commanding general of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. All the while, the gulf countries' security forces have continued to commit human rights abuses at home and beyond their borders. With shared intelligence, aerial refueling and other support from the U.S. government and contractors, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have intervened in Yemen's civil war to disastrous effect, triggering a global humanitarian crisis and killing thousands of civilians.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
Harry Truman became President in April, 1945. Two years later, he signed the National Security Act, which established the C.I.A.. It was supposed to do what its name suggested: centralize the intelligence that various agencies gathered. "It was not intended as a 'Cloak and Dagger' Outfit!," Truman later wrote. In its charter, the C.I.A. was banned from domestic spying. There was no mention of covert action in the law that chartered the C.I.A., but Presidents–starting with Truman–began using it that way. One of the agency's first operations involved meddling in the 1948 Italian election. During the Vietnam War, the C.I.A. had discouraging intelligence to offer, and, when successive Administrations didn't want to hear it, focused on being helpful by providing ... supposedly quick fixes. That meant abetting a coup in 1963, spying on antiwar protesters, and launching the Phoenix Program, an anti-Vietcong campaign marked by torture and by arbitrary executions. More than twenty thousand people were killed under Phoenix's auspices. The C.I.A. has had a "defining failure" for every decade of its existence–sometimes more than one. In the nineteen-nineties, it was the lack of foresight about the Soviet Union; in the two-thousands, it was the phantom weapons of mass destruction, followed by torture and, in still evolving ways, by the drone-based program of targeted killings, with its high toll of civilian deaths. It's difficult to know, at this point, what the C.I.A.'s next defining failure ... will be.
Note: Read more about the CIA's Phoenix Program, which included the kidnapping, torture, and murder of civilians during the Vietnam War. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption from reliable major media sources.
The Pentagon has ordered a sweeping audit of how it conducts clandestine information warfare after major social media companies identified and took offline fake accounts suspected of being run by the U.S. military in violation of the platforms' rules. The takedowns in recent years by Twitter and Facebook of more than 150 bogus personas and media sites created in the United States was disclosed last month by internet researchers Graphika and the Stanford Internet Observatory. U.S. Central Command is among those whose activities are facing scrutiny. Some [takedowns] involved posts from the summer that advanced anti-Russia narratives. One fake account posted an inflammatory tweet claiming that relatives of deceased Afghan refugees had reported bodies being returned from Iran with missing organs. The tweet linked to a video that was part of an article posted on a U.S.-military affiliated website. In 2020 Facebook disabled fictitious personas created by Centcom to counter disinformation spread by China suggesting the coronavirus responsible for covid-19 was created at a U.S. Army lab in Fort Detrick, Md.. The pseudo profiles ... were used to amplify truthful information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Congress in late 2019 passed a law affirming that the military could conduct operations in the "information environment" to defend the United States. The measure, known as Section 1631, allows the military to carry out clandestine psychological operations.
A Malaysian businessman at the heart of the worst scandal to hit the US Navy in modern times has escaped house arrest, the US Marshals Service has said. Leonard Glenn Francis, known as "Fat Leonard", cut his ankle bracelet off before disappearing from his home in San Diego, California. His escape comes three weeks before he was due for sentencing after pleading guilty in 2015 to bribing senior US Navy officers. Francis had been the key figure behind a sprawling multi-million dollar bribery scheme that he operated by way of his Singapore-based company which serviced the US Navy's Pacific fleet. The US justice department describes it as a colossal fraud that cost the navy tens of millions of dollars. Francis ... used his influence with senior commanders to secure lucrative military contracts often involving the Indo-Pacific based 7th Fleet - the largest of the Navy's forward deployed fleets. Prosecutors say he overcharged the navy to the tune of $35m (Ł30m) and plied navy officers with cash, gourmet meals, expensive cigars, rare liquor and wild sex parties in upscale hotels to procure the contracts. Arrested in 2013 he pled guilty in 2015 to offering $500,000 in bribes to US Navy officers in an attempt to funnel official work towards his shipyards. Dozens of navy officials have been ensnared in the case, with four officers having been found guilty, and 28 others, including contractors and naval officials, having pleaded guilty so far. Francis [was] placed under house arrest while acting as a co-operating witness.
Note: At one point, Francis bribed officials to redirect an aircraft carrier. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
It was the evening of June 9, 2006. Three [GuantĂˇnamo Bay] detainees were declared dead. The Navy says the men killed themselves by hanging, in separate nonadjoining cells, in the same way, at the same time, under video surveillance, with no guards noticing and no prisoners calling for the guards to intervene. They tell us that each of the men had bound their wrists and ankles with fabric and shoved fabric down their own throats – and then ask us to believe that they hung themselves. Despite explosive reporting by Scott Horton for Harper's Magazine in which multiple sources ... refuted the official narrative and gave evidence that a cover-up had taken place, no independent official investigation of the incident was ordered. This disturbing episode quickly turned unspeakably dark: Independent autopsies ordered by the families of the dead were useless since the bodies, which showed signs of torture, had been sent home with missing parts. The men's throats – the larynx, the hyoid bone, and the thyroid cartilage – had been removed. Even after this shocking finding ... there would be no investigations. The narrative that these men did something terrible and deserved to be imprisoned for it defines the very nature of the post-9/11 response. It doesn't matter that the original accusations against many of them were flimsy and easily disproved. Due process and the presumption of innocence, the defining values of the American ideal of justice, would be forever denied them.
Note: Read a troubling letter by Sharqawi Al Hajj, a Yemeni citizen detained at Guantanamo Bay. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
Looking Glass Factory, a company based in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, revealed its latest consumer device: a slim, holographic picture frame that turns photos taken on iPhones into 3D displays. Looking Glass received $2.54 million of "technology development" funding from In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the CIA, from April 2020 to March 2021 and a $50,000 Small Business Innovation Research award from the U.S. Air Force in November 2021 to "revolutionize 3D/virtual reality visualization." Across the various branches of the military and intelligence community, contract records show a rush to jump on holographic display technology, augmented reality, and virtual reality display systems as the latest trend. Critics argue that the technology isn't quite ready for prime time, and that the urgency to adopt it reflects the Pentagon's penchant for high-priced, high-tech contracts based on the latest fad in warfighting. Military interest in holographic imaging, in particular, has grown rapidly in recent years. Military planners in China and the U.S. have touted holographic technology to project images "to incite fear in soldiers on a battlefield." Other uses involve the creation of three-dimensional maps of villages of specific buildings and to analyze blast forensics. Palmer Luckey, who founded the technology startup Anduril Industries ... has received secretive Air Force contracts to develop next-generation artificial intelligence capabilities under the so-called Project Maven initiative.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption from reliable major media sources.
The US has few ways to track the substantial supply of anti-tank, anti-aircraft and other weaponry it has sent across the border into Ukraine, sources tell CNN, a blind spot that's due in large part to ... the easy portability of many of the smaller systems now pouring across the border. In the short term, the US sees the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of equipment to be vital to the Ukrainians' ability to hold off Moscow's invasion. But the risk, both current US officials and defense analysts say, is that in the long term, some of those weapons may wind up in the hands of other militaries and militias that the US did not intend to arm. "We have fidelity for a short time, but when it enters the fog of war, we have almost zero," said one source briefed on US intelligence. "It drops into a big black hole." In making the decision to send billions of dollars of weapons and equipment into Ukraine, the Biden administration factored in the risk that some of the shipments may ultimately end up in unexpected places, a defense official said. The Biden administration and NATO countries say they are providing weapons to Ukraine based on what the Ukrainian forces say they need, whether it's portable systems like Javelin and Stinger missiles or the Slovakian S-300 air defense system that was sent over the last week. For decades, the US sent arms into Afghanistan. Inevitably, some weapons ended up on the black market including anti-aircraft Stinger missiles, the same kind the US is now providing to Ukraine.
Note: CBS released a documentary revealing that most weapons sent to the Ukraine never made it to their intended destination. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
It was an attention-grabbing assertion that made headlines around the world: U.S. officials said they had indications suggesting Russia might be preparing to use chemical agents in Ukraine. President Joe Biden later said it publicly. But three U.S. officials told NBC News this week there is no evidence Russia has brought any chemical weapons near Ukraine. They said the U.S. released the information to deter Russia from using the banned munitions. It's one of a string of examples of the Biden administration's ... deploying declassified intelligence as part of an information war against Russia. Coordinated by the White House National Security Council, the unprecedented intelligence releases have been so frequent and voluminous, officials said, that intelligence agencies had to devote more staff members to work on the declassification process, scrubbing the information so it wouldn't betray sources and methods. The idea is to pre-empt and disrupt the Kremlin's tactics, complicate its military campaign, "undermine Moscow's propaganda and prevent Russia from defining how the war is perceived in the world," said a Western government official familiar with the strategy. Multiple U.S. officials acknowledged that the U.S. has used information as a weapon even when confidence in the accuracy of the information wasn't high. Sometimes it has used low-confidence intelligence for deterrent effect, as with chemical agents, and other times, as an official put it, the U.S. is just "trying to get inside Putin's head."
From 2012 to 2017, I worked as a US air force nuclear missile operator. Each time I descended into the missile silo, I had to be ready to launch, at a moment's notice, a nuclear weapon that could wipe a city the size of New York off the face of the earth. I'm glad that people are finally discussing the existential dangers of nuclear weapons. There have been more near-misses than the world knows. After the end of the cold war, the general public allowed the threat of nuclear warfare to recede into the background. The threat simply didn't feel real to new generations like it did to those who grew up huddling under their desks during nuclear attack drills. And the young crews who steward this nuclear arsenal today aren't immune from the post-cold war malaise. In 2013, during my first year on crew, 11 ICBM officers were implicated in a drug scandal. The following year, 34 ICBM launch officers were implicated in a cheating scandal on their monthly proficiency exams. Deborah Lee James, the secretary of the air force at the time, said, "This was a failure of integrity on the part of some of our airmen. It was not a failure of our nuclear mission." In this attempt to save face, Secretary James revealed a state of dissonance that every nuclear missile operator lives with. We are told, day in and day out, that our integrity is crucial to the deterrent value of nuclear weapons and helps make the world a safer place. But what man or woman of integrity could possibly launch a nuclear weapon? Life with nuclear weapons is not safer or more peaceful.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
Russia invaded Ukraine. For years now the Central Intelligence Agency has been preparing for such a moment, not only with prescient intelligence gathering and analysis but also by preparing Ukrainians to mount an insurgency against a Russian occupation. The agency has been training Ukrainian special forces and intelligence officers at a secret facility in the U.S. since 2015. Because the CIA training program is now publicly known, Russia can persuasively claim that Ukrainian insurgents are CIA proxies – a useful statement as propaganda to pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine and as a justification for any harsh measures it takes against Ukrainian civilians. The CIA needs to be honest with the Ukrainians – and itself – about the real intent. In the first U.S.-backed insurgency, according to top secret documents later declassified, American officials intended to use the Ukrainians as a proxy force to bleed the Soviet Union. This time, is the primary goal of the paramilitary program to help Ukrainians liberate their country or to weaken Russia over the course of a long insurgency that will undoubtedly cost as many Ukrainian lives as Russian lives, if not more? Even if a Ukrainian insurgency bleeds Russia over years, the conflict could cause instability to spread across Central and Eastern Europe. This is a pattern in the history of U.S. paramilitary operations – from the Cold War to Afghanistan and Iraq today.
Note: For an alternative view of Ukraine's Zelensky, don't miss this excellent presentation by intrepid reporter Ben Swann (skip to 1:45 to avoid advertisement). For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and war from reliable major media sources.
In a national address delivered this morning, President Joe Biden performed what has now become a familiar ritual for U.S. politicians: announcing the death of a terrorist leader. The latest enemy figure whose death has been presented to Americans as a victory was the head of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi, who was reportedly killed alongside his family during a U.S. special forces raid in northern Syria. Biden characterized the raid as a victory that had made the world more secure, and without cost to Americans. The raid on a home where al-Quraishi was staying killed a total of 13 people, including a number of women and children. Images on social media of mangled corpses immediately began circulating in the aftermath. Since the outset of the Global War on Terrorism over two decades ago, the periodic killings of commanders from groups like the Taliban, Al Qaeda, al-Shabab, and, most recently, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria have been touted as significant victories. Despite these repeated tactical victories ... the underlying wars themselves have continued. The killing of al-Quraishi [is] unlikely to mean an end to the U.S. "forever wars" in the region, which have switched to a permanent mode of militarized policing in which the U.S. reserves the right to carry out bombings and assassinations at will but does not refer to these actions as "war," even when civilians are killed.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
Earlier this week, the military seized power in Burkina Faso, ousting the country's democratically elected president, Roch Marc Christian KaborĂ©. The coup was announced on state television Monday by a young officer who said the military had suspended the constitution and dissolved the government. Beside him sat a camouflage-clad man whom he introduced as Burkina Faso's new leader: Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, the commander of one of the country's three military regions. Damiba is a highly trained soldier, thanks in no small part to the U.S. military, which has a long record of training soldiers in Africa who go on to stage coups. Damiba, it turns out, participated in at least a half-dozen U.S. training exercises, according to U.S. Africa Command, or AFRICOM. Damiba is just the latest in a carousel of coup leaders in West Africa trained by the U.S. military as the U.S. has pumped in more than $1 billion in security assistance to promote "stability" in the region. Since 2008, U.S.-trained officers have attempted at least nine coups (and succeeded in at least eight) across five West African countries, including Burkina Faso (three times), Guinea, Mali (three times), Mauritania, and the Gambia. U.S.-trained coup-plotters aren't strictly confined to West Africa. Before Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi deposed Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi, he underwent basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia, (in 1981) and advanced instruction at the U.S. Army War College (in 2006).
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
[Very few know about] the 1933 "Wall Street putsch" against newly elected Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Roosevelt's bold New Deal experiments inflamed the upper class, provoking a backlash from the nation's most powerful bankers, industrialists and Wall Street brokers. Against the backdrop of charismatic dictators in the world such as Hitler and Mussolini, the sparks of anti-Rooseveltism ignited into full-fledged hatred. Many American intellectuals and business leaders saw nazism and fascism as viable models for the US. There is much evidence that the nation's wealthiest men – Republicans and Democrats alike – were so threatened by FDR's policies that they conspired with antigovernment paramilitarism to stage a coup. The final report by the congressional committee tasked with investigating the allegations ... concluded: "There is no question that [fascism] attempts were discussed, were planned, and might have been placed in execution when and if the financial backers deemed it expedient." [US Marine Corps Maj Gen Smedley Darlington] Butler demanded to know why the names of the country's richest men were removed from the final version of the committee's report. "Like most committees, it has slaughtered the little and allowed the big to escape," Butler said.
For 33 years and four months [the highly decorated General Smedley] Butler had been a United States Marine. Butler knew what most Americans did not: that in all those years, he and his Marines had destroyed democracies and helped put into power the Hitlers and Mussolinis of Latin America, dictators like the Dominican Republic's Rafael Trujillo and Nicaragua's soon-to-be leader Anastasio Somoza – men who would employ violent repression and their U.S.-created militaries to protect American investments and their own power. He had done so on behalf of moneyed interests like City Bank, J. P. Morgan, and the Wall Street financier Grayson M.P. Murphy. And now a bond salesman, who worked for Murphy, was pitching Butler on a domestic operation that set off the old veteran's alarm bells. The bond salesman was Gerald C. MacGuire. He made his proposal: The Marine would lead half a million veterans in a march on Washington, blending the Croix de Feu's assault on the French legislature with the March on Rome that had put Mussolini's Fascisti in power. They would be financed and armed by some of the most powerful corporations in America – including DuPont, the nation's biggest manufacturer of explosives and synthetic materials. The purpose of the action was to stop Roosevelt's New Deal, the president's program to end the Great Depression, which one of the millionaire du Pont brothers deemed "nothing more or less than the Socialistic doctrine called by another name." Butler recognized this immediately as a coup.
Note: Read a concise summary of the highly decorated US General Butler's important book "War is a Racket." He makes clear that the reason we have so much war has little to do with national security and everything to do with padding the pockets of those in the military-industrial complex. Read more about the fascist plot to take over the US that he uncovered. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
Small teams of U.S. Special Operations forces are involved in a low-profile proxy war program on a far greater scale than previously known. While The Intercept and other outlets have previously reported on the Pentagon's use of the secretive 127e authority in multiple African countries, a new document obtained through the Freedom of Information Act offers the first official confirmation that at least 14 127e programs were also active in the greater Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region as recently as 2020. In total, between 2017 and 2020, U.S. commandos conducted at least 23 separate 127e programs across the world. Separately, Joseph Votel, a retired four-star Army general who headed both Special Operations Command and Central Command, which oversees U.S. military efforts in the Middle East, confirmed the existence of previously unrevealed 127e "counterterrorism" efforts in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen. Basic information about these missions – where they are conducted, their frequency and targets, and the foreign forces the U.S. relies on to carry them out – are unknown even to most members of relevant congressional committees and key State Department personnel. Through 127e, the U.S. arms, trains, and provides intelligence to foreign forces. 127e partners are then dispatched on U.S.-directed missions, targeting U.S. enemies to achieve U.S. aims. "If someone were to call a 127-echo program a proxy operation, it would be hard to argue with them," [said a former senior defense official].
President Joe Biden signed a record-shattering military budget earlier this week, and a new analysis ... predicted that if recent contracting trends continue, the Pentagon will funnel $407 billion worth of public funds to private weapons makers this fiscal year - more than the federal government spent when sending $1,400 relief checks to most Americans in 2021. Stephen Semler, co-founder of the Security Policy Reform Institute, found that "from fiscal year (FY) 2002 to FY2021, 55% of all Pentagon spending went to private sector military contractors." "Military spending involves a massive redistribution of wealth from the public to private sector," wrote Semler. "There are over 700 lobbyists representing for-profit military contractors in D.C., and this redistribution of wealth is why they're there." In a Jacobin essay ... Semler argued that Biden is doubling down on the "New Cold War" framework embraced by former President Donald Trump, whose administration claimed that the best way for the U.S. to prevent an armed confrontation with China and Russia "is to be prepared to win one." "Biden's budget allocates nearly $40 billion more than the Trump administration, $170 billion more than Obama's last budget, and 5% more than he campaigned on. Less than 8% of the funding Biden sought for his domestic agenda has come through," [Semler said]. "Adjusted on a per-year average," Semler added, "Biden has only delivered $55 billion of the $700 billion he promised for human and physical infrastructure."
According to the nonprofit organization Airwars, the U.S. has conducted more than 91,000 airstrikes in seven major conflict zones since 2001, with at least 22,000 civilians killed and potentially as many as 48,000. How does America react when it kills civilians? Just last week, we learned that the U.S. military decided that nobody will be held responsible for the August 29 drone attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, that killed 10 members of an Afghan family, including seven children. After an internal review, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin chose to take no action, not even a wrist slap for a single intelligence analyst, drone operator, mission commander, or general. U.S. bombings since 2014 have consistently killed civilians but ... the Pentagon has done almost nothing to discern how many were harmed or what went wrong and might be corrected. Savagery consists of more than the act of killing. It also involves a system of impunity that makes clear to the perpetrators that what they are doing is acceptable, necessary – maybe even heroic – and must not cease. To this end, the United States has developed a machinery of impunity that is arguably the most advanced in the world, implicating not only a broad swathe of military personnel but also the entirety of American society. The machinery of impunity actually has two missions: The most obvious is to excuse people who should not be excused. The other is to punish those who try to expose the machine, because it does not function well in daylight.
On July 19, 2016, American Special Operations forces bombed what they believed were three ISIS "staging areas" on the outskirts of Tokhar. They reported 85 fighters killed. In fact, they hit houses far from the front line. More than 120 villagers were killed. In early 2017 in Iraq, an American war plane struck a dark-colored vehicle ... bearing not a bomb but a man named Majid Mahmoud Ahmed, his wife and their two children. They and three other civilians were killed. None of these deadly failures resulted in a finding of wrongdoing. These cases are drawn from a hidden Pentagon archive of the American air war in the Middle East since 2014. The trove of documents – the military's own confidential assessments of more than 1,300 reports of civilian casualties, obtained by The New York Times – lays bare how the air war has been marked by deeply flawed intelligence, rushed and often imprecise targeting, and the deaths of thousands of civilians, many of them children. In only a handful of cases were the assessments made public. Not a single record provided includes a finding of wrongdoing or disciplinary action. According to the military's count, 1,417 civilians have died in airstrikes in the campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria; since 2018 in Afghanistan, U.S. air operations have killed at least 188 civilians. But The Times's analysis of the documents found that many allegations of civilian casualties had been summarily discounted, with scant evaluation. And the on-the-ground reporting ... found hundreds of deaths uncounted.
Note: If American civilians were killed anywhere by a foreign drone, there would be a media uproar. Where's the justice for these inexcusable deaths? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
The terrorist attack on the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan's capital ... killed more than 170 Afghan civilians and 13 U.S. soldiers. Three days later, Biden authorized a drone strike that the U.S. claimed took out a dangerous cell of ISIS fighters. Biden held up this strike, and another one a day earlier, as evidence of his commitment to take the fight to the terrorists in Afghanistan. But the Kabul strike, which targeted a white Toyota Corolla, did not kill any members of ISIS. The victims were 10 civilians, seven of them children. The driver of the car, Zemari Ahmadi, was a respected employee of a U.S. aid organization. Following a New York Times investigation that fully exposed the lie of the U.S. version of events, the Pentagon and the White House admitted that they had killed innocent civilians, calling it "a horrible tragedy of war." This week, the Pentagon released a summary of its classified review into the attack, which it originally hailed as a "righteous strike" that had thwarted an imminent terror plot. The results were predictable. The report recommended that no personnel be held responsible for the murder of 10 civilians; there was no "criminal negligence," as the report put it. Daniel Hale, a military veteran who pleaded guilty to disclosing classified documents that exposed lethal weaknesses in the drone program, is serving four years in prison. Hale's documents exposed how as many as nine out of 10 victims of U.S. drone strikes in Afghanistan were not the intended targets. In Biden's recent drone strike, 10 of 10 were innocent civilians.
In the introduction to "The Spoils of War," an extraordinary new book by Andrew Cockburn, he makes a straightforward assertion about the U.S. military. "War-fighting efficiency has a low priority," he writes, "by comparison with considerations of personal and internal bureaucracies. ... The military are generally not interested in war, save as a means to budget enhancement." Cockburn suggests that the Pentagon and the corporations that feed off it have generated the largest and most byzantine bureaucracy in human history, filled with innumerable fiefdoms far more focused on besting their internal rivals than outside enemies. Today's generals ... while their days away plotting how to join the board of General Dynamics six hours after their retirement party. They spend 98 percent of their time jockeying for wealth and power within the organization, and at most a residual 2 percent attempting to do what the organization purportedly exists to accomplish. "People say the Pentagon does not have a strategy," he quotes a former Air Force colonel as saying. "They are wrong. The Pentagon does have a strategy. It is: 'Don't interrupt the money flow.'" If you're still not convinced, the proof of this unpalatable pudding is in the eating. Consider America's just-concluded 20-year war in Afghanistan. As the Taliban took over the country in days, it might have seemed that the whole thing was a colossal failure. But if you check your portfolio of defense contractor stocks ... you'll see that, in fact, it was an incredible success.
Note: War profiteering is an old game. Read decorated general Smedley Butler's 1935 book War is a Racket to see how little has changed. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
A bomb hit the house. [Rua Moataz] Khadr and her two daughters were able to free themselves from the rubble that had fallen on them, but her 4-year-old son, Ibrahim Ahmed Yahya, was crushed to death. He was among the 9,000 to 11,000 civilians killed during the yearlong battle for Mosul. Khadr, like most bombing victims in Iraq, has no idea which nation was responsible for the airstrike that killed her son. Was it an American aircraft, British, Dutch? "Even if I found out, what would I do?" she told The Intercept. In its final days in Afghanistan, the U.S. conducted a drone strike that killed 10 civilians in Kabul – seven of them children. Their deaths bring up a thorny question surrounding the frequent U.S. killing of civilians in the 9/11 wars: What would justice look like for the families of civilians who have been wrongfully killed? The media attention generated by the Kabul strike has prompted a rare admission of guilt from the Pentagon and may ultimately lead to monetary compensation for the survivors. But byzantine laws in the U.S. make it all but impossible for foreigners to file for compensation if a relative was killed in combat. The only hope for most survivors is a "sympathy" payment from the U.S. military that does not acknowledge responsibility for causing the deaths. But unsurprisingly, those payments are rare: None were issued in 2020. Meanwhile, U.S. allies involved in bombing campaigns usually hide behind the shield of joint operations to avoid taking responsibility for civilian deaths.
Every day since 9/11, the U.S. military has disciplined soldiers who failed to do their jobs properly. Since 2001, there have been more than 1.3 million cases of discipline in the armed forces, according to the Pentagon's annual reports. But the generals who misled Congress and the American public about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have not needed to worry about negative consequences for their careers. After 20 years of conducting a disinformation campaign about what was really happening on the ground, not a single U.S. general has faced any punishment. Journalist Craig Whitlock's new book, "The Afghanistan Papers," [is] based on secret interviews the government conducted. Whitlock's book offers overwhelming evidence that military leaders knew the war was failing and lied about it. Whitlock described the military's upbeat assessments as "unwarranted and baseless," adding that they "amounted to a disinformation campaign." While a handful of top military officers have been punished for bribe-taking and other offenses in recent years, there has not been a whisper of the possibility of holding combat generals to account for the carnage they perpetuated. "An officer who misrepresented, misled, and lied to Congress, under the standards of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, has committed a crime," noted Paul Yingling, a retired Army officer. "As matters stand now, a private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war."
Just two days after the U.S. ended its 20-year war in Afghanistan, more than a dozen Democrats with strong ties to the military establishment defied President Joe Biden and voted to add nearly $24 billion to the defense budget for fiscal year 2022. On Wednesday, 14 Democrats joined 28 Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee to adopt an amendment from Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., to the fiscal year 2022 defense authorization bill that would boost Biden's $715 billion spending proposal to $738.9 billion. The move follows the Senate Armed Services Committee's vote to similarly raise the top line to more than $740 billion in its July markup of the bill. Many of the Democrats who voted for the $24 billion increase have close ties to the defense establishment. Their districts are home to job-promoting manufacturing sites and military bases. Many of the Democrats have also received generous campaign donations from contractors. In fact, Federal Election Commission data shows that in the first six months of this year, the 14 Democrats collectively received at least $135,000 from PACs representing the country's top 10 defense vendors: Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, L3Harris, Huntington Ingalls Industries, Leidos, Honeywell, and Booz Allen Hamilton.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) is asking President Biden to pardon a former Air Force intelligence analyst who exposed secrets about drone warfare in Afghanistan. In July, Daniel Hale pleaded guilty in federal court in Alexandria to violating the Espionage Act and was sentenced in July to 45 months in prison for leaking classified documents to the Intercept. In court, Hale said he felt compelled to speak out about the immorality of the drone program after realizing he had helped kill Afghan civilians, including a small child. "Not a day goes by that I don't question the justification for my actions," he wrote to the judge. "I am grief-stricken and ashamed of myself." One document he leaked showed that during a five-month operation in Afghanistan, nearly 90 percent of the people killed were not the intended targets. "I take extremely seriously the prohibition on leaking classified information, but I believe there are several aspects of Mr. Hale's case that merit a full pardon," Omar wrote in the letter sent to Biden. "The information, while politically embarrassing to some, has shone a vital light on the legal and moral problems of the drone program and informed the public debate on an issue that has for too many years remained in the shadows." This week, Hale was awarded the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence, given by a group of whistleblowers from the national security community. Edward Snowden received the same award in 2013.
Note: Hale's leak was the basis for an article series called The Drone Papers. A 2014 analysis found that attempts to kill 41 people with drones resulted in 1,147 deaths. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
The Taliban now has access to $85 billion worth of American military equipment and the biometric data of the Afghans who have assisted soldiers over the past 20 years, a Republican congressman has warned. Jim Banks, a former US Navy reservist, said that the vast amount of hardware left behind includes 75,000 vehicles, 200 airplanes and helicopters and 600,000 small arms and light weapons. "The Taliban now has more Black Hawk helicopters than 85 per cent of the countries in the world," he said. Other equipment seized by the Taliban includes night-vision goggles, body armour and medical supplies, he said. Mr Banks says he is sure of the numbers because he worked as a foreign military sales officer, acquiring the equipment that America provided, then turning it over to Afghan forces. "Unfathomable to me and so many others, the Taliban now has biometric devices which have the fingerprints, eye scans and biographical information of all the Afghans who helped us and were on our side in the last 20 years," Mr Banks said. "There is no plan by this administration to get those weapons back. Already, the Taliban say they have deployed an elite unit boasting high-tech equipment to guard sites in the Afghan capital. The militants' propaganda channels released a slick film of a unit called the "Badri 313 Brigade", saying they would be on the streets of Kabul. Slow motion footage showed them wearing modern helmets, sun glasses, body armour and carrying similar rifles to the Afghan forces.
Note: Why didn't the military prioritize removing this huge amount of equipment that they knew would be taken over by the Taliban? Do you think this equipment might have been left behind on purpose by those who profit from war? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
For two decades, Americans have told each other one lie after another about the war in Afghanistan. The lies have come from the White House, Congress, the State Department, the Pentagon, and the CIA, as well as from Hollywood, cable news pundits, journalists, and the broader culture. But at the very edge of the American empire, the war was nasty and brutish. This month, as the Taliban swiftly took control of Kabul and the American-backed government collapsed, the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the government's watchdog over the Afghan experience, issued his final report. The assessment includes remarkably candid interviews with former American officials involved in shaping U.S. policy in Afghanistan that, collectively, offer perhaps the most biting critique of the 20-year American enterprise ever published in an official U.S. government report. One of the first things the U.S. did after gaining effective control over Afghanistan following the Taliban's ouster in 2001 was to set up secret torture chambers. Beginning in 2002, the CIA tortured both Afghans and foreign prisoners flown to these torture rooms from all over Central Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. American drone strikes also started early in Afghanistan. Afghanistan soon became the beta test site for high-tech drone warfare ... yet the U.S. refused to keep track of civilian casualties from drone strikes.
When Myanmar's military seized power in a Feb. 1 coup, millions across the country took to the streets in protest. The Myanmar military responded with weapons of war and brutal, premeditated counterinsurgency tactics against demonstrators. U.N. officials and human rights groups say these acts must be investigated as crimes against humanity. Noise from the nearby pagoda roused Aung and his family before dawn on April 9. He saw dozens of soldiers shouting and cursing as they streamed onto trucks, rifles slung across their chests. By the end of that day, the Myanmar military, known as the Tatmadaw, and police officers had killed at least 82 people, according to groups tracking protest deaths – making it the deadliest single crackdown since the military seized power. A Washington Post investigation of that day's events reveals the use of counterinsurgency tactics, specialized military units and military-grade weaponry against civilian protesters – resulting in a high number of casualties. "It is very systematic [and] the pattern of violence is very, very clear," said Tom Andrews, the United Nations' special rapporteur for Myanmar. "These are crimes against humanity," he said, noting especially the premeditation before the attacks in Bago. Zaya, a front-line protester ... said he and others there heard the sounds of heavy weaponry. [A] wall, which withstood gunfire for hours, began to shake and collapse. Soldiers then rushed forward ... shooting indiscriminately. "They were killed like goats in a slaughterhouse," he said.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
The U.S. provided an estimated $83 billion worth of training and equipment to Afghan security forces since 2001. This year, alone, the U.S. military aid to Afghan forces was $3 billion. Putting price tags on American military equipment still in Afghanistan isn't an easy task. In the fog of war – or withdrawal – Afghanistan has always been a black box with little sunshine. Not helping transparency, the Biden Administration is now hiding key audits on Afghan military equipment. This week, our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com reposted two key reports on the U.S. war chest of military gear in Afghanistan that had disappeared from federal websites. 1. Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit of U.S. provided military gear in Afghanistan (August 2017). 2. Special Inspector General For Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) audit of $174 million in lost ScanEagle drones (July 2020). An unnamed official told Reuters that current intelligence assessment was that the Taliban took control of more than 2,000 armored vehicles, including American Humvees, and as many as 40 aircraft that may include UH-60 Black Hawks, scout attack helicopters and ScanEagle military drones. "We don't have a complete picture, obviously, of where every article of defense materials has gone, but certainly a fair amount of it has fallen into the hands of the Taliban," White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said.
Note: There was no good reason to so rush that departure out of Afghanistan that a huge amount valuable military weapons and equipment was left behind for the Taliban to use. Could it be that certain rogue elements at high levels in government wanted them armed to keep the conflict going and keep the money flowing into the pockets of those who benefit from war? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
From Vietnam to Iraq to Afghanistan, the pattern of American officials showering questionable political allies abroad with armfuls of cash is a long-established practice. However, the idea that this is the reason the "missions" fail in such places is just a continuation of the original propaganda lines that get us into these messes. It's a way of saying the subject populations are to blame for undermining our noble efforts, when the missions themselves are often preposterous. The lion's share of the looting is usually done by our own marauding contracting community. Contractors [in Afghanistan] made fortunes monstrously overcharging the taxpayer for everything from private security, to dysfunctional or unnecessary construction projects, to social programs that ... had no chance for success. The Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) some years ago identified "$15.5 billion of waste, fraud, and abuse ... in our published reports and closed investigations between SIGAR's inception in 2008 and December 31, 2017," and added an additional $3.4 billion in a subsequent review. All told, "SIGAR reviewed approximately $63 billion and concluded that a total of approximately $19 billion or 30 percent of the amount reviewed was lost to waste, fraud, and abuse." Thirty percent! If the overall cost of the war was, as reported, $2 trillion ... a crude back of the envelope calculation for the amount lost to fraud during the entire period might be $600 billion.
There should be a serious accounting for the Afghanistan debacle. The United States waged its longest war in a distant, impoverished country. After two decades, more than 775,000 troops deployed, far more than $1 trillion spent, more than 2,300 U.S. deaths and 20,500 wounded in action, tens of thousands of Afghani civilian deaths, the United States managed to create little more than a kleptocracy. Rather than focusing on how we got out, it would be far wiser to focus on how we got in. The accounting can draw from the ... Afghanistan Papers project. The papers come from ... the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, based on interviews with hundreds of officials who guided the mission. Their words are a savage and telling indictment. Under President George W. Bush, the early mission – to defeat al-Qaeda and get Osama bin Laden in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 – quickly turned to nation-building. That mission was an abject failure from the beginning. Adjusted for inflation, the United States spent more money developing Afghan institutions than it had spent to help all of Western Europe after World War II. Yet as Ryan Crocker, a former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan concluded, the "single biggest project" stemming from the flood of dollars "may have been the development of mass corruption." Nearly $10 billion was spent to eradicate poppy production but as of 2018, Afghan farmers produced more than 80 percent of the global opium supply.
If you purchased $10,000 of stock evenly divided among America's top five defense contractors on September 18, 2001 – the day President George W. Bush signed the Authorization for Use of Military Force in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks – and faithfully reinvested all dividends, it would now be worth $97,295. This is a far greater return than was available in the overall stock market over the same period. $10,000 invested in an S&P 500 index fund on September 18, 2001, would now be worth $61,613. That is, defense stocks outperformed the stock market overall by 58 percent during the Afghanistan War. Moreover, given that the top five biggest defense contractors – Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and General Dynamics – are of course part of the S&P 500, the remaining firms had lower returns than the overall S&P returns. These numbers suggest that it is incorrect to conclude that the Taliban's immediate takeover of Afghanistan upon the U.S.'s departure means that the Afghanistan War was a failure. On the contrary, from the perspective of some of the most powerful people in the U.S., it may have been an extraordinary success. Notably, the boards of directors of all five defense contractors include retired top-level military officers. Several commentators address this dynamic in the 2005 documentary "Why We Fight." Former CIA contractor and academic Chalmers Johnson states, "I guarantee you, when war becomes that profitable, you're going to see more of it."
Note: Wartime profiteering is an old game. Read decorated general Smedley Butler's 1935 book War is a Racket to see how little has changed. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
Last summer, as one city after another broke out in protest against the murder of George Floyd, some of the most enduring images were not of the demonstrators, but of the police: decked out in riot gear, aiming automatic weapons at peaceful crowds, and riding around on armored vehicles built for war. The crackdowns on protesters renewed furious demands to end a suite of federal programs that have put billions of dollars' worth of military weapons in the hands of local police. The Pentagon's 1033 program ... transfers weapons and equipment from America's foreign wars directly to domestic law enforcement agencies. Under a Freedom of Information Act request, HuffPost has exclusively obtained hundreds of letters that local law enforcement agencies wrote to the Department of Defense in 2017 and 2018 making the case to receive an armored vehicle under the 1033 program. The documents reveal that hundreds of police departments across the country, in communities of all sizes, are willing to deploy armored vehicles to carry out even the most routine tasks: making traffic stops; serving search warrants; responding to domestic violence; responding to people threatening suicide. In response to these requests, the Pentagon has provided thousands of small-town police and sheriff agencies with vehicles built to withstand conditions of war [and] distributed billions of dollars' worth of helicopters, body armor, night vision equipment, ammunition, rifle sights, machine guns and assault rifles.
Note: This ABC News article shows that providing police with military gear does not reduce crime nor protect police officers. Read more about the Pentagon's 1033 program. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in the military and in policing from reliable major media sources.
They were Colombian mercenaries, Haitian authorities said, dispatched in a brazen international plot orchestrated through a Florida-based security firm that culminated in the assassination of President Jovenel MoĂŻse and plunged the nation into uncertainty and terror. Eighteen Colombians, most of them former soldiers, some hailing from elite units, have been arrested in connection with the July 7 assassination. Three others were killed in the aftermath of the assault, while five more are reportedly still at large. Two Haitian Americans, one a former U.S. government informant, turned themselves in hours after the attack, claiming that they were translators aiding an effort to serve an arrest warrant on the president and transfer him to the presidential palace, not to kill him. At least seven of the alleged assassins received U.S. training during their military careers. According to a U.S. official, between 2001 and 2015, the soldiers received instruction in both Colombia and the U.S. on skills ranging from military leadership and professional development to counternarcotics and counterterrorism. The Colombians' presence in Haiti has opened a rare window into a murky private security world that extends from the U.S. into Latin America and the Caribbean. Through three of the most consequential conflicts of the past century – the Cold War, the drug war, and the war on terror – the interlocking relationship between U.S. and Colombian security forces has produced a generation of hired guns.
The Biden administration has made combating sexual assault in the military a major policy goal. From 2013 to 2019, that was also Amy Braley-Franck's mission – advocating for victims of sexual crimes within the military. A day after she informed a top general about widespread mishandling of sexual assault cases, however, she was suspended from duty and has been ever since. Braley-Franck has been a high-profile whistleblower, bringing the issue of sexual assault and command abuses to public attention. For close to two years, though, Braley-Franck has been suspended from her role as an Army sexual assault prevention and response victim advocate. She sees the suspension, at the hands of a general she was serving under, as a clear case of retaliation. President Joe Biden formed the Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault, which recently recommended taking sexual assault cases outside the chain of command, a change military leaders have long resisted. Braley-Franck said her case proves that more reforms are still needed if the military truly wishes to rein in sexual misconduct. The Defense Department estimates that around 20,500 service members experience sexual assault annually, but only 6,290 official allegations of sexual assault were made in 2020. Since 2010, according to the Independent Review Commission, roughly 644,000 active-duty military personnel have been sexually assaulted or sexually harassed.
Portions of a military information campaign meant to influence the Canadian public during the COVID-19 pandemic continued to operate months after the chief of the defence staff at the time ordered it shut down in the spring of 2020. The Canadian military recently conducted four reviews of controversial initiatives. A copy of one of those reviews was obtained by CBC News under access to information legislation. That review shows that even after the then-chief of the defence staff, Jonathan Vance, verbally called off the overall influence campaign in April 2020, some influence activities aimed at Canadians carried on for another six months – until Vance issued a written edict in November 2020. The military deployed propaganda techniques in Canada without approval during the pandemic and gathered information about Canadians' online activities without permission from authorities. DND denies it has used psychological warfare techniques, honed during the Afghan war, on Canadians. But the line between psychological warfare and information operation campaigns has become increasingly blurry over the last few years. The review document obtained by CBC News says the Canadian Joint Operations Command (CJOC) ... "liberally interpreted" department policy. The unit decided it had the authority to conduct information operations on Canadians without government approval because it was asked by the government to help with the response to the pandemic.
Note: Learn more in this article titled, "Military leaders saw pandemic as unique opportunity to test propaganda techniques on Canadians, Forces report says." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced he will support changes to the military justice system that would take sexual assault cases away from the chain of command and let independent military lawyers handle them. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who has long pushed for legislation on the issue, praised Austin's move but [said] that it doesn't go far enough. Austin said he will present President Biden with a series of recommendations aiming to "finally end the scourge of sexual assault and sexual harassment in the military." It's a seismic shift that requires amending the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which no other secretary of defense has been willing to do. Austin's announcement follows a report by the Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault in the Military, whose mandate from Biden was to find solutions to improve accountability, prevention, climate and culture, and victim care and support involved in such cases. The Pentagon has long resisted any outside interference. In studying the issue for several years, Gillibrand said, "We recognized that there's a lot of bias in the military justice system." She noted that the rate of sexual assaults in the military continues to grow, but relatively few cases go to trial or end in convictions. A 2020 report from the Defense Department indicates unrestricted reports of sexual assaults in the military have doubled, while the rate of prosecution and conviction has been halved since 2013.
The US navy set off a massive explosion last week, detonating a 40,000lb blast as part of a test to determine whether its newest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald Ford, is ready for war. The test, known as a full ship shock trial, is just the first of three planned blasts over the coming months. But the amount of explosive used – 40,000 lbs – is enough to have outsized effects on any marine life in the area, said Michael Jasny, who directs the Natural Resources Defense Council's Marine Mammal Protection Project. "The navy's own modeling indicates that some smaller species of marine mammals would be expected to die within 1-2km of the blast, and that some marine mammal species would suffer injury including hearing loss out to 10km of the blast. That gives some sense of the power of the explosives we are talking about," Jasny said. "We don't know how conscientiously the blast site was chosen, and we don't know how effective the monitoring was before the detonation, so it's hard to put a great deal of faith in the safety of marine life." The area is home to populations of dolphin and small whales at this time of year, and Jasny says that's worrisome because as a general rule, smaller animals are more vulnerable to blast injury. "A large whale might need to be within a few hundred meters of the blast to die, while a small mammal could be a couple of kilometers away," he said, adding that even if the animals survive, loss of hearing is a significant problem for mammals who make their living in the ocean.
Since 9/11, four times as many U.S. service members and veterans have died by suicide than have been killed in combat, according to a new report. The research, compiled by the Costs of War Project at Brown University, found an estimated 30,177 active duty personnel and veterans who have served in the military since 9/11 have died by suicide, compared with 7,057 killed in post 9/11 military operations. The figures include all service members, not just those who served in combat during that time. The majority of the deaths are among veterans who account for an estimated 22,261 of the suicides during that period. "The trend is deeply alarming," the report says. "The increasing rates of suicide for both veterans and active duty personnel are outpacing those of the general population, marking a significant shift." The Department of Veterans Affairs releases information on deaths by suicide, but it does not distinguish by conflict. The report's author, Thomas "Ben" Suitt III, took the VA data and estimated the total number of veteran suicides based on their ages and other factors. A total of 5,116 active duty service members have died by suicide since Sept. 11, 2001, the report says. Figures for the National Guard and Reserves are not available for the first 10 years, but from 2011 to 2020 an estimated 1,193 National Guard and 1,607 Reservists have died by suicide. In an interview, Suitt said the number 30,177 is likely well below the actual number of suicides for active duty and veterans.
Pulling a pistol from his waistband, the young man spun his human shield toward police. "Don't do it!" a pursuing officer pleaded. The young man complied, releasing the bystander and tossing the gun. Police ... soon learned that the 9mm Beretta had a rap sheet. Bullet casings linked it to four shootings. The pistol was U.S. Army property. The Army couldn't say how its Beretta M9 got to New York's capital. Until the June 2018 police foot chase, the Army didn't even realize someone had stolen the gun. Inventory records checked by investigators said the M9 was 600 miles away - safe inside Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In the first public accounting of its kind in decades, an Associated Press investigation has found that at least 1,900 U.S. military firearms were lost or stolen during the 2010s, with some resurfacing in violent crimes. AP's total is a certain undercount. Government records covering the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force show pistols, machine guns, shotguns and automatic assault rifles have vanished from armories, supply warehouses, Navy warships, firing ranges and other places where they were used, stored or transported. These weapons of war disappeared because of unlocked doors, sleeping troops, a surveillance system that didn't record, break-ins and other security lapses that, until now, have not been publicly reported. The Army sought to suppress information on missing weapons and gave misleading numbers that contradict internal memos.
Note: The Obama Administration covered up the ATF's Operation Fast and Furious, which lost track of 1,400-2,000 guns purchased by criminals and resulted in the death of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. The U.S. Army has unbelievably also lost many airplanes, tanks, and Javelin missiles. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
"I'm not going to change," Joe Biden said in his 2008 vice presidential debate. "I have 35 years in public office. I haven't changed in that time." The Intercept conducted an exhaustive analysis of Biden's political career, with a focus on his positions on dozens of U.S. wars and military campaigns, CIA covert actions, and abuses of power; his views on whistleblowers and leakers; and his shifting stance on the often contentious relationship between the executive and legislative branches over war powers. The picture that emerges is of a man who is dedicated to the U.S. as an empire, who believes that preserving U.S. national interests and "prestige" on the global stage outweighs considerations of morality or even at times the deaths of innocent people. Even in cases in which he passionately opposed U.S. military or CIA action, such as in President Ronald Reagan's 1980s campaigns to aid the Contra death squads in Nicaragua and the right-wing military junta in El Salvador, Biden sought ways to tweak U.S. policy in return for his political or legislative support. Throughout the 1990s, he pushed through harsh and punitive policies on crime, while spearheading sweeping surveillance legislation that would form the basis for the Patriot Act after 9/11. Biden would emerge, in the early stages of the "war on terror," as a leading legislative force supporting the most far-reaching aspirations of the Bush-Cheney White House. He was instrumental in the rushed passage of the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force.
Note: Have you noticed that on the campaign trail, every US president from both parties has advocated for peace, while when they assume office they strongly support the military-industrial complex? So whose will are they serving, the people or the military machine? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and war from reliable major media sources.
Pentagon scientists working inside a secretive unit set up at the height of the Cold War have created a microchip to be inserted under the skin, which will detect COVID-19 infection, and a revolutionary filter that can remove the virus from the blood when attached to a dialysis machine. The team at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have been working for years on preventing and ending pandemics. One of their recent inventions, they told 60 Minutes on Sunday night, was a microchip which detects COVID infection in an individual before it can become an outbreak. The microchip is sure to spark worries among some about a government agency implanting a microchip in a citizen. Retired Colonel Matt Hepburn, an army infectious disease physician leading DARPA's response to the pandemic, showed the 60 Minutes team a tissue-like gel, engineered to continuously test your blood. 'You put it underneath your skin and what that tells you is that there are chemical reactions going on inside the body, and that signal means you are going to have symptoms tomorrow,' he explained. 'It's like a "check engine" light,' said Hepburn. Troops are likely to be highly skeptical of the new invention. In February, The New York Times reported that a third of troops have refused to take the vaccine, sighting concerns that the vaccine contains a microchip devised to monitor recipients, that it will permanently disable the body's immune system or that it is some form of government control.
Members of the U.S. special operations forces deployed to 154 countries, or roughly 80 percent of the world's nations, last year, but information about exactly where elite forces conduct missions, under what authorities they operate, who they've killed, and whether they're adhering to the laws of armed conflict is closely guarded, buried in obscure legal provisions, shrouded in secrecy, or allegedly unknown even to Special Operations Command. The command, known as SOCOM, will only name half the countries where its forces were active in 2020. It claims that its personnel – Navy SEALs, Army Green Berets, and Marine Corps Raiders among them – have captured or killed "thousands of terrorists" under one obscure program but also that it doesn't track such data. SOCOM refuses to provide even basic information about publicly acknowledged operations. Some of the least-known special operations missions are authorized under a provision known as "Section 1202 Authority," which first appeared in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, and is "used to provide support to foreign forces, irregular forces, groups, or individuals" taking part in irregular warfare. Neither the Defense Department, SOCOM, nor any media outlet has ever revealed detailed information about 1202 missions, but based on what little is known about them, they are explicitly focused on so-called near-peer competitors such as China and Russia.
The U.S. accounted for 37% of all global arms exports over the last five years, with Saudi Arabia – easily the world's top arms buyer – accounting for one-quarter of those sales, according to new data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. U.S. arms exports rose by 15% from 2011-2015 to 2016-2020, with 96 countries buying arms from America. Russia remained the second-largest exporter with 20% of the market, but supplied a smaller pool of 44 countries and saw sales fall by 22% from the previous five years due primarily to a decrease in sales to India. The next largest arms exporters were France (8% of the total), Germany (5%) and China (5%). China's sales also slid by 8% in the past five years, while exports from Europe increased significantly. Israel and South Korea both accounted for about 3% of the total after significantly increasing their exports over the past five years. Russia had four major clients that accounted for two-thirds of all exports – India, China, Algeria and Egypt – while Pakistan was by far China's biggest client. The U.S. had a diversified pool of major buyers: Saudi Arabia, Australia, South Korea, Japan, the UAE, Qatar, Israel and the U.K. Arms imports overall were flat between 2011–2015 and 2016–2020, but rose in the Middle East (+25%) while falling in the Americas (-43%), Africa (-13%), and Asia and Oceania (-8.3%).
The main focus of the War Legacies Project is to document the long-term effects of the defoliant known as Agent Orange and provide humanitarian aid to its victims. Agent Orange – best known for its widespread use by the U.S. military to clear vegetation during the Vietnam War – is notorious for being laced with a chemical contaminant called 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-P-dioxin, or TCDD, regarded as one of the most toxic substances ever created. The use of the herbicide in the neutral nation of Laos by the United States – secretly, illegally and in large amounts – remains one of the last untold stories of the American war in Southeast Asia. Only in the last two decades has the United States finally acknowledged and taken responsibility for the legacy of Agent Orange in Vietnam. While records of spraying operations inside Laos exist, the extent to which the U.S. military broke international agreements has never been fully documented, until now. An in-depth, monthslong review of old Air Force records, including details of hundreds of spraying flights, as well as interviews with many residents of villages along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, reveals that, at a conservative estimate, at least 600,000 gallons of herbicides rained down on the ostensibly neutral nation during the war. Of the 517 cases of disabilities and birth defects so far documented by the War Legacies Project in Laos, about three-fourths, like malformed limbs, are identifiable to the untrained eye as ... linked to exposure to Agent Orange.
Note: In 2012, Monsanto settled a lawsuit related to its manufacture of Agent Orange for $93 million. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption and war from reliable major media sources.
Deep in the Sahara, the C.I.A. is continuing to conduct secret drone flights from a small but steadily expanding air base, even as the Biden administration has temporarily limited drone strikes against suspected terrorists outside conventional war zones, such as Afghanistan. Soon after it set up the base in northern Niger three years ago, the C.I.A. was poised to launch drone strikes from the site. But there is no public evidence that the agency has carried out anything but surveillance missions so far. New satellite imagery shows that the air base in Dirkou, Niger, has grown significantly since The New York Times first reported the C.I.A. operations there in 2018, to include a much longer runway and increased security. The new imagery also shows for the first time what appears to be an MQ-9 Reaper drone taxiing to or from a clamshell hangar. Under a directive that Mr. Biden's national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, quietly imposed on Jan. 20, Inauguration Day, the military and the C.I.A. must now obtain White House permission to attack terrorism suspects in poorly governed places where there are scant or no American ground troops, such as Somalia, Yemen and Libya. Under the Trump administration, they had been allowed to decide for themselves whether circumstances on the ground met certain conditions and an attack was justified. A recent report by the International Crisis Group concluded that the military-first strategy of France and its allies, including the United States, has failed.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption from reliable major media sources.
The possibility of a super soldier is not so outlandish and one that not just China is interested in. Enhancement is nothing new - since ancient times, troops have been bolstered by advancements in weaponry, kit and training. But today, enhancement could mean much more than merely giving an individual soldier a better gun. It could mean altering the individual soldier. In 2017, Russia's President Vladimir Putin warned that humanity could soon create something "worse than a nuclear bomb". "One may imagine that a man can create a man with some given characteristics, not only theoretically but also practically. He can be a genius mathematician, a brilliant musician or a soldier, a man who can fight without fear, compassion, regret or pain." Last year, the former US Director of National Intelligence (DNI), John Ratcliffe, went further with a blunt accusation against China. "China has even conducted human testing on members of the People's Liberation Army in hope of developing soldiers with biologically enhanced capabilities. There are no ethical boundaries to Beijing's pursuit of power," he wrote. Prof [Patrick] Lin said "a key challenge is that nearly all of this is dual-use research. For instance, exoskeleton research was first aimed at helping or curing people of medical conditions, such as to help paralysed patients walk again. But this therapeutic use can be easily weaponised. It's not obvious how to regulate it, without overly broad regulation that also frustrates therapeutic research."
Note: A New York Post article titled "France, China developing biologically engineered supersoldiers" describes how "France has joined the fray in creating terminator troops that can be 'bred to kill." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
There was one story Neil Sheehan chose not to tell. It was the story of how he had obtained the Pentagon Papers. The Pentagon Papers, arguably the greatest journalistic catch of a generation, were a secret history of United States decision-making on Vietnam, commissioned in 1967 by the secretary of defense. Their release revealed for the first time the extent to which successive White House administrations had intensified American involvement in the war while hiding their own doubts about the chances of success. [Sheehan] also revealed that he had defied the explicit instructions of his confidential source, whom others later identified as Daniel Ellsberg, a former Defense Department analyst who had been a contributor to the secret history while working for the Rand Corporation. In 1969, Mr. Ellsberg had illicitly copied the entire report, hoping that making it public would hasten an end to a war he had come passionately to oppose. Contrary to what is generally believed, Mr. Ellsberg never "gave" the papers to The Times, Mr. Sheehan emphatically said. Mr. Ellsberg told Mr. Sheehan that he could read them but not make copies. So Mr. Sheehan smuggled the papers out of the apartment in Cambridge, Mass., where Mr. Ellsberg had stashed them; then he copied them illicitly, just as Mr. Ellsberg had done, and took them to The Times. Over the next two months, he strung Mr. Ellsberg along. He told him that his editors were deliberating. In fact, he was ... working feverishly toward publication.
President-elect Joe Biden's first picks for senior national security posts – Antony Blinken as secretary of state, Jake Sullivan as national security adviser, and Avril Haines as director of national intelligence – served in the Obama administration and are now being hailed as the sort of steady hands that America needs. But that's not the good news it seems to be. The costs of normalcy have been grave. "It's worth keeping in mind that the global war on terror has killed more than 7,000 U.S. servicemembers – more than twice the number of people killed by the 9/11 attacks – and more than 800,000 lives worldwide," said Daphne Eviatar, Amnesty International USA's director of Security With Human Rights. "It's also cost the U.S. more than $6.4 trillion." Biden's presidential team of national security advisers is loaded with leading members of the Beltway foreign policy establishment unaffectionately known as "the Blob." It's a well-worn group of advisers who backed or waged the disastrous wars of the last two decades. At first glance, Biden's national security blueprint might look like a departure, even a repudiation, of the Obama template. "Biden will end the forever wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East," reads the plan for "Leading the Democratic World" at JoeBiden.com. But Biden's plan isn't actually what it seems. The fine print reads: "Biden will bring the vast majority of our troops home from Afghanistan and narrowly focus our mission on Al-Qaeda and ISIS."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
Three women hired to work for the military's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program are speaking out, alleging improper investigations and retaliation firings despite the Pentagon spending tens of millions of dollars on prevention and pledging to tackle the systemic issue. Amy Braley Franck, Marianne Bustin and Lindsey Knapp were all hired to work for the program, which was established by the Pentagon 15 years ago to provide support and resources to survivors of sexual assault and rape. Their jobs involved advocating for victims and helping navigate the process of reporting incidents of assault. They spoke to CBS News as part of a year and a half-long investigation, in which nearly two dozen survivors spoke out about their assaults. Military commanders are required to refer reports of sexual assault to criminal investigators. However, Franck found evidence that commanders were investigating some cases themselves – violating the military's own code of justice. "I discovered written documentation of illegal investigations and victims languishing," she said. "People are afraid," Franck said. "I have young ladies and men say, 'The rape was bad, but I don't wanna go through this other thing because it's worse than the rape.'" "This other thing," she said, referred to "the retaliation, the treatment, the judgment." Last year, Franck was suspended from her position as a victim advocate the day after she contacted a commanding general about retaliation she was seeing in the Army.
The Pentagon failed its comprehensive audit in fiscal 2020, the third year it has failed since the first audit was conducted in 2018, reflecting system and accounting problems across its vast bureaucracy that could persist until 2027, the department's comptroller said. "The process of getting to a clean opinion for federal agencies, it can take a long time," said Thomas Harker, who is also undersecretary of defense and chief financial officer. After the first audit of the Pentagon's nearly $3 trillion worth of assets in fiscal 2018, then-Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said the department received an opinion of "disclaimer," a term used by auditors for findings that do not meet accounting standards. Harker said the Department of Homeland Security took a decade to pass a comprehensive audit, and the Pentagon could take just as long, making the possible date for its first clean audit somewhere around 2027. Coronavirus-related travel restrictions hampered the auditing process this year as auditors had to resort to video feeds or photographs to execute due diligence, Harker said. Around 1,400 auditors tested the systems and record-keeping processes on weapons systems, military personnel and property around the world in 100 site visits, 530 virtual visits and samples. The process resulted in 24 standalone audits, comprising the overall audit. Fees for the audit were $203 million this year.
Note: Every business in the U.S. is required to account for every dollar in their budget, yet the Pentagon cannot account for trillions of dollars in violation of the US Constitution Article I Section 9 Clause 7. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
In his 1961 farewell address, President Dwight Eisenhower cautioned the United States against "unwarranted influence" — what he saw as an alarming alignment of corporate interests with military operations, a relationship he famously called: "the military-industrial complex." Col. Lawrence Wilkerson ... spent over 30 years in the U.S. Army [and] was chief of staff for former Secretary of State, General Colin Powell. He believes that Eisenhower was right, and is a fierce critic of the military-industrial complex. Or what he calls "the warfare state," an obvious play on "welfare state." He believes military spending ... is ruining America. "Today we have become what Eisenhower's worst nightmare predicted in his farewell address," says Wilkerson. Col. Wilkerson has seen firsthand how military expenditures create a devastating feedback loop with politics. "The country marches on to yet another war, another trillion dollar fiasco, another bloodbath for young men and women who are signed up because they were bribed to do so," says Col. Wilkerson. He says "bribed" unapologetically, as the U.S. military relies disproportionately on personnel from have-not states to fill its ranks. The expenditures, however, don't benefit the troops. "The divorce rate: off the charts in the services now. Suicide rate: off the charts in the services now. More post-traumatic stress then you'd ever imagine," Col. Wilkerson explains. "We are almost $22 trillion in debt right now. We've not been this far in debt since the last year of World War Two."
Note: Read a two-page summary of General Smedley Butler's important book, titled "War is a Racket". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
The United States is poised to continue spending more money on the Pentagon than the next 10 countries combined, with some 1 million troops deployed in about 175 countries. In other words, there's no end in sight for our forever wars. Monday marks the 19th anniversary of the vote to pass the post-9/11 Authorization for Use of Military Force, or AUMF, a blank check to deploy U.S. military personnel anywhere in the world in the name of going after terrorists. Our country's response to that attack has had unintended and tragic consequences: war profiteering by military contractors, traumatic impact to our soldiers, and massive numbers of refugees and civilian casualties around the world. Under the auspices of two laws that are now nearly 20 years old, the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs, the United States is militarily engaged in 80 countries, outside of the public eye and with little congressional oversight. The past four years have seen the Trump administration cite these laws as the legal justification to assassinate a foreign government official and take us to the brink of war with Iran, expand the U.S. military footprint in the African continent and indefinitely occupy eastern Syria. Yet the past four years have also seen a growing recognition in Congress that ... we must repeal these laws and reclaim the legislative branch's sole constitutional authority to declare war. For far too long, Congress has relied on the executive branch to tell us what does and does not constitute war.
Note: The above was written by Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who represents California's 13th Congressional District. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
President Donald Trump launched an unprecedented public attack against the leadership of the US military on Monday, accusing them of waging wars to boost the profits of defense manufacturing companies. "I'm not saying the military's in love with me - the soldiers are, the top people in the Pentagon probably aren't because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy," Trump [said]. Trump's extraordinary comments come as several defense officials tell CNN relations between the President and Pentagon leadership are becoming increasingly strained. They also followed efforts by Trump to convince the public that he had not made a series of reported disparaging remarks about US military personnel and veterans, which were first reported by The Atlantic magazine. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows appeared to attempt to walk back Trump's comments ... saying the President's accusations against the "top people at the Pentagon" were not directed specifically at people like Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. "Those comments are not directed specifically at them as much as it is what we all know happens in Washington, DC," Meadows said, saying "That comment was more directed about the military industrial complex." Trump has also repeatedly touted boosting the defense budget as one of his administration's major accomplishments.
Note: Is Trump actually breaking ranks with almost every other U.S. president and going after the military-industrial complex?
The Australian state of Victoria [announced] on Tuesday that military personnel will be deployed to enforce Covid-19 lockdown orders, amid growing concerns about attacks on police. Authorities warned police were facing a sometimes violent resistance, often by so-called 'sovereign citizens' groups who considered themselves above the law. Victoria earlier this week imposed a night curfew, tightened restrictions on people's daily movements and ordered large parts of the local economy to close to slow the spread of coronavirus. But nearly a third of those who contracted Covid-19 were not home isolating when checked on by officials, requiring tough new penalties, Daniel Andrews, the state premier, said. Fines of nearly A$5,000 (Ł2,710) will be issued to anyone breaching stay at home orders. Repeat offenders face a fine of up to A$20,000. "There is literally no reason for you to leave your home and if you were to leave your home and not be found there, you will have a very difficult time convincing Victoria police that you have a lawful reason," Mr Andrews told reporters in Melbourne. The only exemption will be for urgent medical care, said Mr Andrews, adding anyone under a self-isolation order will no longer be allowed to leave their homes for outdoor exercise. Mr Andrews said an additional 500 unarmed military personnel will this week deploy to Victoria to assist police in ensuring self-isolation orders are being complied with. The latest military deployment will join about 1,500 troops already in Victoria.
Note: Learn more about the incredible, draconian measures being taken in Australia in this article banned by facebook. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
While the country is subsumed by both public health and an unemployment crisis, and is separately focused on a sustained protest movement against police abuses, a massive $740.5 billion military spending package was approved last week by the Democratic-controlled House Armed Services Committee. Pro-war and militaristic Democrats on the Committee joined with GOP Rep. Liz Cheney and the pro-war faction she leads to form majorities which approved one hawkish amendment after the next. How do Democrats succeed in presenting an image of themselves based on devotion to progressive causes and the welfare of the ordinary citizen while working with Liz Cheney to ensure that vast resources are funneled to the weapons manufacturers, defense sector and lobbyists who fund their campaigns? Why would a country with no military threats from any sovereign nation to its borders spend almost a trillion dollars a year for buying weapons while its citizens linger without health care, access to quality schools, or jobs? When these committee members return to their blue districts, they talk endlessly about topics such as the NRA, LGBTs, and reproductive rights — issues on which many do little work and over which they wield little influence — in order to manufacture brands for themselves as good, caring progressives, which is how they are reelected over and over. When they return to Washington, what they really do is spend their time collaborating with lobbyists for ... the “defense” industry.
Ties between Silicon Valley and the Pentagon are deeper than previously known, according to thousands of previously unreported subcontracts published Wednesday. The subcontracts were obtained through open records requests by accountability nonprofit Tech Inquiry. They show that tech giants including Google, Amazon, and Microsoft have secured more than 5,000 agreements with agencies including the Department of Defense, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the FBI. Tech workers in recent years have pressured their employers to drop contracts with law enforcement and the military. Google workers revolted in 2018 after Gizmodo revealed that Google was building artificial intelligence for drone targeting through a subcontract with the Pentagon — after some employees quit in protest, Google agreed not to renew the contract. Employees at Amazon and Microsoft have petitioned both companies to drop their contracts with ICE and the military. Neither company has. The newly-surfaced subcontracts ... show that the companies' connections to the Pentagon run deeper than many employees were previously aware. Tech Inquiry's research was led by Jack Poulson, a former Google researcher. "Often the high-level contract description between tech companies and the military looks very vanilla," Poulson [said]. "But only when you look at the details ... do you see the workings of how the customization from a tech company would actually be involved."
The House Armed Services Committee voted overwhelmingly in favor of an amendment – jointly sponsored by Democratic Congressman Jason Crow of Colorado and Congresswoman Cheney of Wyoming – prohibiting the expenditure of monies to reduce the number of U.S. troops deployed in Afghanistan below 8,000 without a series of conditions first being met. The Crow/Cheney amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) ... passed by a vote of 45-11. The NDAA was then unanimously approved by the Committee by a vote of 56-0. It authorizes $740.5 billion in military spending. President Trump throughout the year has insisted that the Pentagon present plans for withdrawing all troops from Afghanistan prior to the end of 2020. Shortly after those White House withdrawal plans were reported, anonymous intelligence officials leaked a series of claims to the New York Times regarding Ă˘â‚ŹĹ’bountiesĂ˘â‚ŹĹĄ allegedly being paid by Russia to Taliban fighters to kill U.S. troops. Those leaks emboldened opposition to troop withdrawal from Afghanistan on the ground that it would be capitulating to Russian treachery. It was that New York Times leak that Liz Cheney, along with GOP Congressman Mac Thornberry, cited in a joint statement on Monday to suggest troop withdrawal would be precipitous. The NDAA that was approved ... also imposed restrictions on Trump's plan to withdraw troops from Germany. Congresswoman Cheney, to oppose this troop removal from Germany, cited ... the threat of Russia.
Note: When it comes to funding the war machine, both Democrats and Republicans are rarely opposed. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and war from reliable major media sources.
Protesters mobilizing across the country against racism and excessive force by police have been countered by law enforcement officers more heavily armed than ever. Three federal programs have allowed local and state law enforcement to arm itself with military equipment. Since 1997, the Defense Department has transferred excess or unused equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies. Departments have acquired more than $7 billion worth of guns, helicopters, armored vehicles and ammunition under the program. The transfers were limited under the Obama administration but re-expanded under President Donald Trump in 2017. Now Congress is considering reining it in again. But that effort, if successful, is unlikely to touch an even bigger source of advanced weapons accessible to civilian police. Two Department of Homeland Security initiatives established in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks have given state and local law enforcement agencies billions more to buy equipment without the rules and restrictions of the Defense Department program. Because of the Defense Department program, authorized by Section 1033 of the National Defense Authorization Act, more than 6,500 law enforcement agencies across the country currently possess more than $1.8 billion worth of equipment. Since 2003, states and metro areas have received $24.3 billion from two DHS grant programs, which have little oversight: The State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) and the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI).
Note: Read also this wired.com article revealing how the 1033 program has shipped over $7.4 billion of Defense Department property to more than 8,000 law enforcement agencies and this NPR article detailing the military weaponry gifted to police around the US. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
Year after year, the bombs fell — on wedding tents, funeral halls, fishing boats and a school bus, killing thousands of civilians and helping turn Yemen into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Weapons supplied by American companies, approved by American officials, allowed Saudi Arabia to pursue the reckless campaign. But in June 2017, an influential Republican senator decided to cut them off, by withholding approval for new sales. It was a moment that might have stopped the slaughter. Not under President Trump. Trade adviser Peter Navarro ... wrote a memo to Jared Kushner and other top White House officials calling for an intervention. He titled it “Trump Mideast arms sales deal in extreme jeopardy, job losses imminent.” Within weeks, the Saudis were once again free to buy American weapons. The intervention, which has not been previously reported, underscores a fundamental change in American foreign policy under Mr. Trump. Where foreign arms sales in the past were mostly offered and withheld to achieve diplomatic goals, the Trump administration pursues them mainly for the profits they generate and the jobs they create, with little regard for how the weapons are used. Mr. Trump has tapped Mr. Navarro ... to be a conduit between the Oval Office and defense firms. His administration has also rewritten the rules for arms exports, speeding weapon sales to foreign militaries. The State Department, responsible for licensing arms deals, now is charged with more aggressively promoting them.
Luke Denman, 34, was one of two ex-Green Berets arrested in a foiled plot to oust Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro. He's now locked up in a Venezuelan jail, his fate in the hands of a leader the U.S. government considers a dictator responsible for tens of millions of his people going hungry. Much remains unknown about the ill-fated operation. According to the Venezuelan government, eight "mercenary terrorists" were killed and several captured, including Denman and fellow Army veteran Airan Berry, during an attempt to seize Maduro and topple his government. A third ex-Green Beret, Jordan Goudreau, claimed responsibility for the plot. A decorated former U.S. commando, Goudreau operated a Florida-based private security company called Silvercorp USA. Before he went into hiding, Goudreau had said in multiple interviews the plan was initially coordinated with representatives of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who is recognized as the country's interim president by the U.S. and much of the international community. But the relationship soured and Goudreau moved forward with the operation anyway. In interviews with NBC News, a half dozen family members and close friends of Denman and Berry said they believe the former Special Operations soldiers would have only participated in such an operation had the two men been convinced it was supported by the U.S. government.
Note: Important parts of this situation's history are described in a 2012 article titled, "Why the US demonises Venezuela's democracy". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
The US [provided a] $3.7 million grant to the Wuhan-based laboratory carrying out research on virus derived from bat caves. The Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) was conducting the coronavirus experiments on mammals, with funds received from the United States National Institute of Health. The NIH has been listed as a partner by the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Other American institutes that have partnered with the research lab, include: University of Alabama, University of North Texas Eco Health Alliance [and] Harvard University. WIV ... has more than 1,500 strains of deadly viruses stored and specialises in research of 'the most dangerous pathogens', in particular the viruses carried by bats. The project released its first research in November 2017 ... titled 'Discovery of a rich gene pool of bat SARS-related coronaviruses provides new insights into the origin of SARS coronavirus.' Hitting out at the US government, US Congressman Matt Gaetz said: "I'm disgusted to learn that for years the US government has been funding dangerous and cruel animal experiments at the Wuhan Institute, which may have contributed to the global spread of coronavirus." Conspiracy theories have been hinting at the possibility of the virus being developed in the WIV. Last week, Cao Bin, a doctor at the Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital ... revealed that out of the first 41 cases found positive for coronavirus, 13 had no contact with the wildlife market, raising the doubts that the virus was in fact lab originated. 'It seems clear that the seafood market is not the only origin of the virus,' he said.
Note: Newsweek reported that in 2017, Anthony Fauci predicted a "surprise outbreak" during Trump's presidency. Respected author Peter Breggin, M.D., has uncovered more on how the U.S. and China collaborated to transform an animal coronavirus into one that can attack humans. Don't miss his excellent essay with a link direct to the study, which was published in the prestigious British journal Nature. Why was an FDA official involved and why was NIH funding a project that enabled the Chinese to develop a military weapon or to accidentally or purposely cause an epidemic?
The coronavirus pandemic now ravaging the United States should lead every American to a series of important questions: What are the real threats that I face? What has my government been prioritizing in terms of my - and the nation’s - security? And where has all my tax money been going? It’s hard not to conclude that the American government’s national security priorities have been so askew of reality that they left the country dramatically unprepared for an acute threat to millions of its people. The government’s focus has been overwhelmingly on the threat of extremist groups and unfriendly regimes abroad, mostly in the Middle East. These confrontations have won America an ever-growing list of enemies around the world. But their impact on the United States itself is now also being painfully revealed: a country that has spent trillions on foreign wars but is unable to defend its citizens from basic threats like disease and economic collapse. The last few weeks have revealed a spectacle of a federal government apparently incapable of doing what is required to stop the spread of a pandemic on American soil. Meanwhile, the avalanche of military spending that was released after the September 11 attacks continues to roll onwards. According to Brown University’s Costs of War Project, the U.S. government has spent a staggering $6.4 trillion on its wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan since 2001. Interest payments on the borrowing needed to pay for the wars ... could run to as much as $8 trillion by midcentury.
The amount of money spent in one year by the U.S. on nuclear weapons could instead provide 300,000 ICU (intensive care unit) beds, 35,000 ventilators and 75,000 doctors' salaries, according to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) - a "coalition of non-government organizations promoting adherence to and implementation of the UN [United Nations} nuclear weapon ban treaty." In its recent report, the group stated that, according to armscontrol.org, the U.S. spent $35.1 billion on nuclear weapons in 2019. As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increases, more resources are required. The shortage of ventilators in U.S. hospitals has ... been a major issue during the coronavirus pandemic. During a recent interview with Vox, Dr. Tom Freiden, former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), stated that "in the worst-case scenario, in which there is an exponential surge in COVID-19 cases, the need for ventilators could greatly outstrip the number available." In addition to the shortage, the cost of the ventilators has also become a problem for hospitals. They can cost between $25,000 to $50,000 and require very skilled people to run them. The report published by ICAN also touches on the nuclear spending costs of the United Kingdom and France. For instance, France spent around $4.9 million on nuclear weapons in 2019. This amount ... would translate to 100,000 ICU beds, 10,000 ventilators and the salaries of 20,000 French nurses and 10,000 French doctors.
Note: Read this Washington Post article about a secret stockpile which could be used now. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.
Even as President Trump says he tested negative for coronavirus, the COVID-19 pandemic raises the fear that huge swaths of the executive branch or even Congress and the Supreme Court could also be disabled, forcing the implementation of "continuity of government" plans. Above-Top Secret contingency plans already exist for what the military is supposed to do if all the Constitutional successors are incapacitated. Standby orders were issued more than three weeks ago to ready these plans, not just to protect Washington but also to prepare for the possibility of some form of martial law. The various plans – codenamed Octagon, Freejack and Zodiac – are the underground laws to ensure government continuity. Under these extraordinary plans, "devolution" could circumvent the normal Constitutional provisions for government succession, and military commanders could be placed in control around America. Since Hurricane Katrina in 2006, no emergency has triggered any state to even request federal military aid under these procedures. Part of the reason, the senior officer involved in planning says, is that local police forces have themselves become more capable, acquiring military-grade equipment and training. And part of the reason is that the governors have worked together to strengthen the National Guard, which can enforce domestic law when it is mustered under state control.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.
Brandon Bryant was enlisted in the US Air Force for six years. During his time with the military, he operated Predator drones, remotely firing missiles at targets more than 7,000 miles away from the small room containing his workspace near Las Vegas, Nevada. Mr Bryant says he reached his breaking point with the US military after killing a child in Afghanistan that his superiors told him was “a dog.” Following that incident, Mr Bryant quit the military and began speaking out against the drone program. During his time in the Air Force, Mr Bryant estimates he contributed directly to killing 13 people himself and says his squadron fired on 1,626 targets including women and children. He says he has been left suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Mr Bryant said that despite his misgivings about the program, his superiors used punitive measures and mockery to keep him in line. He has said the US military is “worse than the Nazis” because “we should know better.” Mr Bryant said he and his family have been threatened for speaking out against the drone program and that he has lost friends and been estranged from other members of his family over his whistle-blowing. Ultimately Mr Bryant wants the public to understand the dehumanizing effect of the drone program on the operators and the individuals targeted. “I would want people to know, beyond its existence, the consequences it has on us as a species to delineate our power into something so easily destructive,” Mr Bryant said.
Note: Drones almost always miss their intended targets and create more terrorists than they kill. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
Eleven military bases near major airports in the United States are setting up quarantine centers for possible coronavirus patients, the Department of Defense said. The Department of Health and Human Services asked the Pentagon for quarantine space in case beds fill up at other coronavirus centers around the country, according to a DOD statement. The Pentagon already agreed to house up to 1,000 people for quarantine after they returned to the United States from areas with the virus, the Associated Press reports. As of Friday, more than 31,400 people have been infected with the 2019 coronavirus worldwide, with most in mainland China, according to the AP. More than 630 people have died from the virus, almost all in China, the AP reports. “These are tertiary locations, and HHS already has primary and secondary locations identified that are not DOD facilities,” the Pentagon said. Each base will be able to house up to 20 patients along with public health personnel and equipment. The agreement lasts until Feb. 22, the DOD said. “DOD personnel will not be in direct contact with the evacuees and will minimize contact with personnel supporting the evacuees,” the Pentagon said. If anyone tests positive for the virus, public health officials with DHHS will move them to a civilian hospital, according to the statement.
Note: Read an excellent article suggesting there is much fear mongering taking place around the Coronavirus. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health from reliable major media sources.
The War in Iraq cost nearly $2 trillion, roughly $8,000 per U.S. taxpayer, representing 9 percent of the national debt. The current cost to the federal government for conflict zone operations in Iraq is an estimated $1.922 billion ... according to an analysis and a January report from The Cost of Wars project. Without a war tax and few war bonds, direct war spending on post-9/11 wars by the Pentagon resulted in interest payments of about $444 billion, the report estimated. The author warns even if the fighting stopped today, and the Trump Administration pulled out of all ongoing fights in the "Global War on Terror," those cumulative interest payments would continue to rise. If all war spending stopped today the existing war debt would "rise ... to $6.5 trillion by 2050," according to the report's estimates. Over the last 18 years of engagements in South Asia and the Middle East, the American "government has financed this war by borrowing funds," writes Heidi Peltier, the author of the report. War is more costly than just boots on the ground and equipment brought to the theaters of conflict. The physical and emotional trauma incurred by soldiers and those living in war zones is oftentimes incalculable. 4.1 million veterans who served in wars post-9/11 are receiving medical benefits, among other compensation nearing $199 billion, according to reports from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Note: Read the summary of a highly decorated US general's important book "War is a Racket." He makes clear that the reason we have so much war has little to do with national security and everything to do with padding the pockets of those in the military-industrial complex. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
The Trump administration’s decision this week to expand the use of land mines has baffled and angered humans rights and arms control groups, which say the decision further imperils anyone who may encounter the weapons. In 2018, nearly 20 civilians were killed or injured every day by land mines and other unexploded ordnance remnants, such as cluster munitions. Children represented 40 percent of the casualties. Land mine use and production are banned by 164 countries. The United States is not one of them, but Obama-era restrictions only allowed anti-personnel land mines to be used in defense of the Korean Peninsula. The new Trump policy reverses those regulations. Most land mines that menace civilians are “dumb” or persistent. They can remain dangerous indefinitely until someone — commonly a child or farmer — encounters one. The United States does not have any of these land mines in its inventory, defense officials said. In recent decades, the United States has produced “smart” or nonpersistent mines that can be set to self-destruct in a certain number of minutes, hours or days after they are deployed. Nearly 120,000 “smart,” nonpersistent mines were used in the Gulf War. Even though the Pentagon suggested a low dud rate, anti-personnel and antitank weapons that failed to self-detonate littered Kuwait, a 2002 Government Accountability Office report said. Nearly 2,000 duds were uncovered by contractors working in one sector alone out of seven, the GAO report concluded.
The Trump administration announced Friday that it is adding six new countries to the existing travel ban, joining the seven already on the list. The administration’s rationale for the ban is that conditions in those countries, especially the level of terrorism, raised the risk of allowing their citizens into the U.S. to an unacceptable level. But if the administration is correct about the risks posed from the countries on the newly expanded list, why does it continue to allow the U.S. government and companies to sell weapons to more than half of them? During the Trump administration alone, the U.S. has sold Libya, Yemen, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria and Tanzania (the last five of which are new additions to the travel ban) everything from handguns and automatic weapons to light attack aircraft. Since 2002 the U.S. has sold roughly $409 million worth of these weapons to 10 of these 13 nations despite their troubled political systems, poor human rights records, high levels of corruption and their participation in a range of conflicts. In these places, U.S. arms have not brought stability, much less peace. Instead, in many cases they have led to increased homicide rates and fed state-sponsored violence, and may have exacerbated rather than ameliorated terrorism and civil conflicts. The U.S., for instance, has delivered millions of dollars in weapons to Nigeria since Trump took office and the country is notorious for losing these weapons to Boko Haram - the exact group the weapons are being sold to fight.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
The Pentagon made $35 trillion in accounting adjustments last year alone - a total that's larger than the entire U.S. economy and underscores the Defense Department's continuing difficulty in balancing its books. The latest estimate is up from $30.7 trillion in 2018 and $29 trillion in 2017, the first year adjustments were tracked in a concerted way. The figure dwarfs the $738 billion of defense-related funding in the latest U.S. budget. The Defense Department acknowledged that it failed its first-ever audit in 2018 and then again last year, when it reviewed $2.7 trillion in assets and $2.6 trillion in liabilities. While auditors found no evidence of fraud in the review of finances that Congress required, they flagged a laundry list of problems, including accounting adjustments. There were 546,433 adjustments in fiscal 2017 and 562,568 in 2018, according to figures provided by Representative Jackie Speier, who asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate. The GAO estimated based on a sample that at least 96% of 181,947 automatic adjustments made in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 "didn't have adequate supporting documentation." "In layman's terms, this means that the DoD made adjustments to accounting records without having documentation to support the need or amount for the adjustment," said Dwrena Allen, spokeswoman for the Pentagon's inspector general.
Note: $35 trillion is much more than the entire GDP of the US for 2020 ($21 trillion). A search shows that Bloomberg and Yahoo! News were the only ones to cover this shocking news. Why would that be? All businesses large and small are required to account for every dollar, while the Pentagon gets away with trillions of dollars of financial mismanagement. Explore what a top US general had to say about this on this webpage. You can also find this article on this webpage. For more, see concise summaries of revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
The Pentagon made $35 trillion in accounting adjustments last year alone – a total that's larger than the entire US economy and underscores the Defense Department's continuing difficulty in balancing its books. The latest estimate is up from $30.7 trillion in 2018 and $29 trillion in 2017, the first year adjustments were tracked in a concerted way. The figure dwarfs the $738 billion of defense-related funding in the latest US budget. The Defense Department acknowledged that it failed its first-ever audit in 2018 and then again last year. Auditors ... flagged a laundry list of problems, including accounting adjustments. There were 546,433 adjustments in fiscal 2017 and 562,568 in 2018, according to figures provided by Representative Jackie Speier, who asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate. The watchdog agency will report on the subject ... after reviewing more than 200,000 fourth-quarter 2018 adjustments totaling $15 trillion. The "combined errors, shorthand, and sloppy record-keeping by DoD accountants do add up to a number nearly 1.5 times the size of the US economy," said Speier. The report shows the Pentagon "employs accounting adjustments like a contractor paints over mold. Their priority is making the situation look manageable, not solving the underlying problem." The GAO estimated based on a sample that at least 96 percent of 181,947 automatic adjustments made in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 "didn't have adequate supporting documentation."
Note: Why was this not front page news? Why is it the vast majority of people know so little about Pentagon corruption? Read lots more in this excellent article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
In 2019, an Army laboratory at Fort Detrick that studies deadly infectious material like Ebola and smallpox was shut down for a period of time after a CDC inspection, with many projects being temporarily halted. ABC7 has received documents from the CDC outlining violations they discovered during a series of inspections that year, some of which were labeled "serious." Earlier that year, the US Army Medical Research Institute had announced an experiment at the Fort Detrick laboratory that would involve infecting rhesus macaque monkeys with active Ebola virus to test a cure they were developing. Several of the laboratory violations the CDC noted in 2019 concerned "non-human primates" infected with a "select agent", the identity of which is unknown – it was redacted in all received documents, because disclosing the identity and location of the agent would endanger public health or safety, the agency says. In addition to Ebola, the lab works with other deadly agents like anthrax and smallpox. Select agents are defined by the CDC as "biological agents and toxins that have been determined to have the potential to pose a severe threat to public health and safety, to animal and plant health, or to animal or plant products." The CDC notes that the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases had "systematically failed to ensure implementation of biosafety and containment procedures commensurate with the risks associated with working with select agents and toxins."
As part of the incendiary and escalating crisis surrounding the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, there has come an explanation of why the Iranian commander was actually in Baghdad. The commander is said to have been in Iraq to discuss moves to ease tensions between Tehran and Saudi Arabia. Iraq’s prime minister revealed that he was due to be meeting the Iranian commander to discuss moves being made to ease the confrontation between Shia Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia. Adil Abdul-Mahdi was quite clear: “I was supposed to meet him in the morning the day he was killed.” The prime minister also disclosed that Donald Trump had called him to ask him to mediate following the attack on the US embassy in Baghdad. According to Iraqi officials ... the siege of the embassy was lifted and the US president personally thanked Abdul-Mahdi for his help. There was nothing to suggest to the Iraqis that it was unsafe for Soleimani to travel to Baghdad. This suggests that Trump helped lure the Iranian commander to a place where he could be killed. It is possible that the president was unaware of the crucial role that Soleimani was playing in the attempted rapprochement with the Saudis. Or that he knew but did not care. One may even say that it is not in the interest of a president ... whose first official trip after coming to office was a weapons-selling trip to Saudi Arabia ... to have peace break out between the Iranians and the kingdom. The Trump administration continues to insist that Soleimani was killed because he was about to launch an imminent terror campaign, without providing any evidence for the assertion.
Note: Read an excellent analysis of the deeper reasons behind this brazen provocation. Learn more in this New York Times article. A Washington Post article titled "The White House has formally notified Congress of the Soleimani strike" shows steps are being taken for declaring. war. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war corruption from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our War Information Center.
A loud chorus of voices has appeared in the media to celebrate President Donald Trump’s decision to assassinate Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, a move that has sparked renewed tension in the Middle East, a new deployment of U.S. forces, and predictions of increased military spending. Many of the pundits who appeared on national television or were quoted in major publications to praise the president’s actions have undisclosed ties to the defense industry — the only domestic industry that stands to gain from increased violence. Jack Keane, a retired Army general, appeared on Fox News and NPR over the last three days to praise Trump for the strike on Suleimani. Keane has worked for military companies, including General Dynamics and Blackwater, and currently serves as a partner at SCP Partners, a venture capital firm that invests in defense contractors. David Petraeus, the retired general who once commanded U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, was quoted by multiple outlets in support of the slaying. Petraeus, notably, works for Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Co., the investment firm with holdings in several major defense contractors that is reportedly moving to “build up its defense portfolio.” “It is imperative that viewers are aware when their news commentary is coming from someone with a financial incentive tied to the topic they’re commenting on, especially when so many lives hang in the balance,” says Gin Armstrong, a senior researcher with the Public Accountability Initiative.
The US government is no stranger to the dark arts of political assassinations. Over the decades it has deployed elaborate techniques against its foes, from dispatching a chemist armed with lethal poison to try to take out Congo’s Patrice Lumumba in the 1960s to planting poison pills ... in the Cuban leader Fidel Castro’s food. But the killing of General Qassem Suleimani, the leader of Iran’s elite military Quds Force, was in in a class all its own. Its uniqueness lay ... in the brazenness of its execution and the apparently total disregard for either legal niceties or human consequences. “The US simply isn’t in the practice of assassinating senior state officials out in the open,” said Charles Lister, senior fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington. Donald Trump’s gloating tweets over the killing combined with a sparse effort to justify the action in either domestic or international law has led to the US being accused of the very crimes it normally pins on its enemies. Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, denounced the assassination as an “act of international terrorism”. Mary Ellen O’Connell, a professor of international law at the University of Notre Dame, draws a direct line between earlier US administrations and the convention-shredding unpredictability of Trump. “Since Obama there has been a steady dilution of international law,” O’Connell said. “Suleimani’s death marks the next dilution – we are moving down a slope towards a completely lawless situation.” O’Connell added that there was only one step left for the US now to take. “To completely ignore the law. Frankly, I think President Trump is there already – his only argument has been that Suleimani was a bad guy and so he had to be killed.”
Note: Learn more about this brazen provocation in this New York Times article. A Washington Post article titled "The White House has formally notified Congress of the Soleimani strike" shows steps are being taken for declaring. war. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war corruption from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our War Information Center.
The Senate will be voting this week on the Trump military budget, which calls for a massive increase in defense spending. I strongly oppose this legislation. At a time when we have massive levels of income and wealth inequality; when half of our people are living paycheck to paycheck; when more than 500,000 Americans are homeless; and when public schools throughout the country are struggling to pay their teachers a livable salary, it is time to change our national priorities. I find it ironic that when I and other progressive members of Congress propose legislation to address the many unmet needs of workers, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor, we are invariably asked, “How will we pay for it?” Yet we rarely hear that question with regard to huge increases in military spending, tax breaks for billionaires or massive subsidies for the fossil fuel industry. When it comes to giving the Pentagon $738 billion — even more money than it requested — there is a deafening silence within Congress and the ruling elites about what our nation can and cannot afford. When I talk about changing national priorities, I’m talking about the fact that the $120 billion increase in Pentagon spending — compared with the final year of the Obama administration — could have made every public college, university, trade school and apprenticeship program in the United States tuition free, eliminated homelessness and provided universal school meals to every kid in our nation’s public schools.
Note: The above article was written by Bernie Sanders. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and income inequality from reliable major media sources.
This past week, Washington Post reporting showed that the conflict in Afghanistan has been an operation of deception. But The Afghanistan Papers were not a revelation to me. I was one of the deceivers. From July 2009 to March 2010, I served as one of the U.S. Air Force’s designees for a nation-building mission, and I witnessed the disconnect between what happened on the ground and the messages the public heard about it. As my team’s information operations officer, I played a direct role in crafting those messages. But my job wasn’t only to mislead the American public: Our information campaign extended to the Afghan people and to higher-ups within the American military itself. I arrived in Paktia province in July 2009, as part of a provincial reconstruction team (PRT). I wrote broadcast news copy for the team’s interpreters to translate and thought of it as a persuasive tool. Local listeners were, in military lingo, the subjects of “non-lethal targeting.” As accusations of fraud, ballot tampering and voter intimidation circulated around the presidential election, I followed my supervisors’ directives to “aggressively pursue” interviews ... “highlighting the transparency and legitimacy of the election process.” Corruption littered our daily interactions, and a few months into our deployment, my PRT launched an investigation that ultimately uncovered a scheme that wound its way through upper-level government officials, including Paktia’s then-governor and chief of police.
Note: Listen to a 30-minute NY Times newscast showing the blatant lies behind the Afghanistan war. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
A confidential trove of government documents obtained by The Washington Post reveals that senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable. The documents ... include more than 2,000 pages of previously unpublished notes of interviews with people who played a direct role in the war. Since 2001, more than 775,000 U.S. troops have deployed to Afghanistan, many repeatedly. Of those, 2,300 died there and 20,589 were wounded. The interviews ... underscore how three presidents — George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump — and their military commanders have been unable to deliver on their promises to prevail in Afghanistan. The interviews also highlight the U.S. government’s botched attempts to curtail runaway corruption, build a competent Afghan army and police force, and put a dent in Afghanistan’s thriving opium trade. With judges and police chiefs and bureaucrats extorting bribes, many Afghans soured on democracy. Meanwhile, as U.S. hopes for the Afghan security forces failed to materialize, Afghanistan became the world’s leading source of a growing scourge: opium. The United States has spent about $9 billion to fight the problem ... but Afghan farmers are cultivating more opium poppies than ever. Last year, Afghanistan was responsible for 82 percent of global opium production.
Note: How is it that Afghanistan became the leading opium producer in the world under the watch of the US, when the Taliban had all but eradicated opium in 2001? Read how Afghan officials and US contractors profited handsomely from the opium boom. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
American taxpayers have spent $6.4 trillion on post-9/11 wars and military action in the Middle East and Asia, according to a new study. The report, from the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs at Brown University, also finds that more than 801,000 people have died as a direct result of fighting. Of those, more than 335,000 have been civilians. Another 21 million people have been displaced due to violence. The $6.4 trillion figure reflects the cost across the U.S. federal government since the price of America’s wars is not borne by the Defense Department alone, according to Neta Crawford, who authored the study. Crawford explains that the post-9/11 wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria have expanded to more than 80 countries — “becoming a truly global war on terror.” The longer wars drag on, more and more service members will ultimately claim veterans benefits and disability payments. “Even if the United States withdraws completely from the major war zones by the end of FY2020 and halts its other Global War on Terror operations, in the Philippines and Africa for example, the total budgetary burden of the post-9/11 wars will continue to rise as the U.S. pays the on-going costs of veterans’ care and for interest on borrowing to pay for the wars,” Crawford writes. In March, the Pentagon estimated that the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria have cost each taxpayer $7,623 through fiscal 2018.
Note: Note that $6.4 trillion divided by the 320 million in the U.S. equals $20,000 spent for every man, woman, and child over the past two decades. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
Suicide rates for active-duty service members and veterans are rising, in part, experts say, because a culture of toughness and self-sufficiency may discourage service members in distress from getting the assistance they need. In some cases, the military services discharge those who seek help, an even worse outcome. More than 45,000 veterans and active-duty service members have killed themselves in the past six years. That is more than 20 deaths a day — in other words, more suicides each year than the total American military deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq. The latest Pentagon figures show the suicide rate for active-duty troops across all service branches rose by over a third in five years, to 24.8 per 100,000 active-duty members in 2018. Those most at risk have been enlisted men under 30. The data for veterans is also alarming. In 2016, veterans were one and a half times more likely to kill themselves than people who hadn’t served in the military, according to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. Among those ages 18 to 34, the rate went up nearly 80 percent from 2005 to 2016. The risk nearly doubles in the first year after a veteran leaves active duty, experts say. The Pentagon this year also reported on military families, estimating that in 2017 there were 186 suicide deaths among military spouses and dependents. Military officials note that the suicide rates for service members and veterans are comparable to the general population after adjusting for the military’s demographics — predominantly young and male.
Heavily armed men burst into the home in the middle of night, hustling four brothers into separate rooms. Afghan special forces then shot them in the head and heart. The operation, the CIA-trained Afghan unit said, targeted the Islamic State group's militants in a remote region of eastern Nangarhar Province. In reality, the raid took place in the province's capital of Jalalabad. The truth of their deaths was eventually revealed by local and international media and the country's intelligence chief, Masoom Stanikzai, was forced to resign. But that's not enough, says Human Rights Watch in a new report released Thursday documenting what it says are mounting atrocities by U.S.-backed Afghan special forces and rising civilian deaths by both American and Afghan forces. It calls for an investigation into whether the U.S. has committed war crimes in Afghanistan. The report says U.S.-led peace talks to end the 18-year-old war have omitted addressing the future of the Afghan special forces that work "as part of the covert operations of the Central Intelligence Agency." The report suggests either disbanding them or bringing them under the control of the Defense Ministry. "These troops include Afghan strike forces who have been responsible for extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances, indiscriminate airstrikes, attacks on medical facilities, and other violations of international humanitarian law, or the laws of war," it says.
If the horsemen of the apocalypse ever hung up their riding boots, this could be a photo of the retirement party. Five men and a woman of very different backgrounds and different continents, brought together by an investment bank and shared history of mayhem. The smiles and hand-holding in the group photo at the JP Morgan International Council in New Delhi are redolent of fond memories. The dean of the bunch is ... Henry Kissinger, the 96-year-old living embodiment of cold war realpolitik with a wealth of foreign policy knowledge and major wars to his name, including the undeclared, illegal mass bombing of Cambodia. Standing in the rear are three of the leading minds behind the 2003 Iraq invasion. Tony Blair is at the left, next to Condoleezza Rice, who was George Bush’s national security adviser at the time. Over to their right is John Howard who, as Australian leader at the time, sent his country’s troops into the fray. The latter-day crusade in pursuit of Saddam Hussein’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction was one of the most disastrous mistakes in history. In among the trio is Robert Gates, former CIA director and defence secretary, who sat the Iraq war out but as deputy director of the CIA did advocate a bombing campaign against Nicaragua. At the centre and focal point of the little group is its newest member, Narendra Modi. The Indian prime minister ... may be being inducted early for moving troops into Kashmir, revoking its autonomous status and rounding up Muslims, even at the risk of nuclear war with Pakistan.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
Holding the Nazi war criminal Rudolf Hess as the lone prisoner in Germany’s Spandau Prison in 1985 cost an estimated $1.5 million in today’s dollars. Then there is Guantánamo Bay, where the expense now works out to about $13 million for each of the 40 prisoners being held there. According to a tally by The New York Times, the total cost last year of holding the prisoners ... paying for the troops who guard them, running the war court and doing related construction, exceeded $540 million. The $13 million per prisoner cost almost certainly makes Guantánamo the world’s most expensive detention program. The military assigns around 1,800 troops to the detention center, or 45 for each prisoner. Judges, lawyers, journalists and support workers are flown in and out on weekly shuttles. The estimated annual cost of $540 million ... does not include expenses that have remained classified, presumably including a continued C.I.A. presence. But the figures show that running the range of facilities built up over the years has grown increasingly expensive even as the number of prisoners has declined. A Defense Department report in 2013 calculated the annual cost of operating Guantánamo Bay’s prison and court system at $454.1 million, or nearly $90 million less than last year. At the time, there were 166 prisoners at Guantánamo, making the per-prisoner cost $2.7 million. The 2013 report put the total cost of building and operating the prison since 2002 at $5.2 billion through 2014, a figure that now appears to have risen to past $7 billion.
Note: Read an article by a Yemeni citizen detained at Guantanamo Bay, titled, "Will I Die At Guantanamo Bay? After 15 Years, I Deserve Justice." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
From Bloomberg: Fake news and social media posts are such a threat to U.S. security that the Defense Department is launching a project to repel “large-scale, automated disinformation attacks.” One of the Pentagon’s most secretive agencies, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), is developing “custom software that can unearth fakes hidden among more than 500,000 stories, photos, video and audio clips.” It’s the latest in a string of stories about new methods of control over information flow that should, but for some reason do not, horrify every working journalist. “Fake news” is a poorly-defined, amorphous concept that the public has been trained to fear without really understanding. Fake news has a long history in America. The worst “fake news” almost always involves broad-scale deceptions foisted on the public by official (and often unnamed) sources, in conjunction with oligopolistic media companies, usually in service of rallying the public behind a dubious policy objective like a war or authoritarian crackdown. From the ... Gulf of Tonkin lie that launched the Vietnam War, to the more recent WMD fiasco, true “fake news” is a concerted, organized, institutional phenomenon that involves deceptions cooked up at the highest levels. If there’s a fake news story out there, it’s the fake news panic itself. Of course, the final, omnipresent ingredient in most major propaganda campaigns is the authoritarian solution. Here, it’s unelected, unsupervised algorithmic control over media.
Katharine Gun and Martin Bright could be forgiven for fielding Hollywood’s overtures with a degree of skepticism. Ever since their story was documented in Marcia and Thomas Mitchell’s 2008 book “The Spy Who Tried to Stop a War,” Gun, the British whistleblower who attempted to prevent the Iraq War, and Bright, an investigative journalist who broke the leak, had sat down with many a filmmaker interested in translating their tale. So when veteran South African director Gavin Hood expressed interest, Gun and Bright took the development with a grain of salt. When Gun met with Hood, however, she was struck by his engagement. The end result, “Official Secrets,” opens locally Friday with Keira Knightley playing Gun and Matt Smith as Bright. The movie depicts the decision Gun made in 2003, while working for British intelligence agency GCHQ, to leak a secret memo exposing plans by the American government to potentially blackmail members of the U.N. Security Council into supporting the Iraq War. “Official Secrets” probes myriad issues that remain resonant a decade and a half later, including government overreach and accountability, the toxicity of anti-Muslim sentiment, and the merits of an intrepid free press. By positioning Gun as an everywoman, “Official Secrets” asks its audience to ponder the moral dilemma at its core. “I didn’t set out to be a whistleblower,” Gun says. “Hopefully people will see it and come away with the thought, ‘What would I do if I was in a similar situation?’”
Note: Explore more on this courageous whistleblower in this revealing article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption from reliable major media sources.
By arming and backing a Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen, the United States, Britain and France may be complicit in potential war crimes, the United Nations said in a scathing report. The wide-ranging report from a team of investigators commissioned by the U.N. Human Rights Council found that all parties to the conflict had perpetrated possible war crimes through airstrikes, shelling, snipers and land mines, as well as arbitrary killings, torture and other abuses. The Saudi-led coalition, which is aligned with Yemen’s internationally recognized government, is accused of intentionally starving Yemenis as a tactic of war and killing thousands of civilians in airstrikes. The coalition’s foes, northern rebels known as Houthis, are accused of planting land mines, shelling cities and deploying child soldiers. The investigators highlighted what many of the war’s critics describe as the destructive role played by the United States, Britain and France - all permanent U.N. Security Council members. The United States, in particular, provides logistical support and intelligence to the coalition, in addition to selling billions of dollars in weaponry to the group. By some estimates, the conflict has killed as many as 95,000 people, including tens of thousands of civilians, violating international humanitarian laws. Time and again, the Saudi-led coalition has promised to investigate such alleged violations. But coalition airstrikes on civilian targets - hospitals, clinics, markets, even school buses carrying children - have been unrelenting.
Safety concerns at a prominent military germ lab have led the government to shut down research involving dangerous microbes. “Research is currently on hold,” the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, in Fort Detrick, Md., said in a statement. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decided to issue a “cease and desist order” last month to halt the research at Fort Detrick because the center did not have “sufficient systems in place to decontaminate wastewater” from its highest-security labs. The C.D.C. cited “national security reasons” as the rationale for not releasing information about its decision. The institute is a biodefense center that studies germs and toxins that could be used to threaten the military or public health, and also investigates disease outbreaks. The problems date back to May 2018, when storms flooded and ruined a decades-old steam sterilization plant that the institute had been using to treat wastewater from its labs. The damage halted research for months, until the institute developed a new decontamination system using chemicals. The new system required changes in certain procedures. During an inspection in June, the C.D.C. found that the new procedures were not being followed. Inspectors also found mechanical problems with the chemical-based decontamination system, as well as leaks. In 2009, research at the institute in Fort Detrick was suspended because it was storing pathogens not listed in its database.
Note: Check out credible evidence that links the Fort Detrick lab shutdown with the start of the Coronavirus outbreak on this webpage. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
Since U.S. Africa Command began operations in 2008, the number of U.S. military personnel on the African continent has jumped 170 percent, from 2,600 to 7,000. The number of military missions, activities, programs, and exercises there has risen 1,900 percent, from 172 to 3,500. Drone strikes have soared and the number of commandos deployed has increased exponentially along with the size and scope of AFRICOM’s constellation of bases. AFRICOM “disrupts and neutralizes transnational threats” in order to “promote regional security, stability and prosperity,” according to its mission statement. But since AFRICOM began, key indicators of security and stability in Africa have plummeted according to the Defense Department’s Africa Center for Strategic Studies, a Pentagon research institution. “Overall, militant Islamist group activity in Africa has doubled since 2012,” according to a recent analysis by the Africa Center. The number of “violent events” across the continent has jumped 960 percent, from 288 in 2009 to 3,050 in 2018, according to the Africa Center’s analysis. While a variety of factors have likely contributed to the rise in violence, some experts say that the overlap between the command’s existence and growing unrest is not a coincidence. “The sharp increase in terrorist incidents in Africa underscores the fact that the Pentagon’s overly militarized approach to the problem has been a dismal failure,” said William Hartung ... at the Center for International Policy.
Note: Drone strikes almost always miss their intended targets. And according to retired Army Gen. Mike Flynn, drone strikes create more terrorists than they kill. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
President Donald Trump has vetoed three joint resolutions prohibiting arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the White House announced Wednesday, rejecting an attempt by congressional lawmakers to halt the controversial weapons transfers. The package of resolutions of disapproval stood as a symbolic showing of congressional opposition ... to the administration's relationship to Saudi Arabia, following the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year. The Trump administration declared in May an emergency to bypass Congress and expedite billions of dollars in arms sales to various countries - including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates - citing the need to deter what it called "the malign influence" of Iran throughout the Middle East. Rep. Eliot Engel, a Democrat from New York who is the chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said there is no emergency that calls for Trump to go around Congress with these arms deals. "The President's veto sends a grim message that America's foreign policy is no longer rooted in our core values - namely a respect for human rights - and that he views Congress not as a coequal branch of government, but an irritant to be avoided or ignored," Engel said in a news release. "Worse still, this veto is going to cost innocent lives. These weapons are going to continue fueling a reckless and brutal campaign of violence and exacerbating the world's worst humanitarian catastrophe."
Note: Like almost every president before him, Trump continually supports the military-industrial complex which pads the pockets of the 1%, even with a thoroughly corrupt country like Saudi Arabia which terribly oppresses women, tortures and assassinates dissidents and so much more. For more on this corruption, read an essay by one of the most highly decorated U.S. generals titled "War is a Racket." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives quietly passed a bill requiring the Inspector General of the Department of Defense (DoD) to conduct a review into whether the Pentagon experimented with ticks and other blood-sucking insects for use as biological weapons between 1950 and 1975. If the Inspector General finds that such experiments occurred, then, according to the bill, they must provide the House and Senate Armed Services committees with a report on the scope of the research and "whether any ticks or insects used in such experiments were released outside of any laboratory by accident or experiment design," potentially leading to the spread of diseases such as Lyme. The amendment was put forward by Rep. Chris Smith, a Republican from New Jersey, who was "inspired" by several books and articles claiming that the U.S. government had conducted research at facilities such as Fort Detrick, Maryland, and Plum Island, New York, for this purpose. One of the books that Smith refers to - called Bitten: The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons ... features interviews with late Swiss-born scientist Willy Burgdorfer - the man credited with discovering the bacterial pathogen that causes Lyme disease - who once worked for the DoD as a bioweapons specialist. "Those interviews ... suggest that he and other bioweapons specialists stuffed ticks with pathogens to cause severe disability, disease - even death - to potential enemies," Smith said.
Afghan security forces and their American-led international allies have killed more civilians so far this year than the Taliban have, the United Nations said in a report on Tuesday, once again raising alarm that ordinary Afghans are bearing the brunt of an increasingly deadly 18-year war. In the first six months of the year, the conflict killed nearly 1,400 civilians and wounded about 2,400 more. Afghan forces and their allies caused 52 percent of the civilian deaths compared with 39 percent attributable to militants — mostly the Taliban, but also the Islamic State. The figures do not total 100 percent because responsibility for some deaths could not be definitively established. The higher civilian death toll caused by Afghan and American forces comes from their greater reliance on airstrikes, which are particularly deadly for civilians. The United Nations said airstrikes resulted in 363 civilian deaths and 156 civilian injuries. The United Nations report comes as both sides try to increase their battlefield leverage amid continuing peace negotiations in Doha, Qatar, between the United States and the Taliban. The United Nations report said 83 percent of casualties from airstrikes were attributed to “international military forces,” essentially pointing the finger at the United States military, which is the only member of the international coalition in Afghanistan that carries out airstrikes. The Afghan Air Force was responsible for about 10 percent. Fourteen American soldiers have died in Afghanistan so far this year.
The leftist financier George Soros and the right-wing Koch brothers have little in common. Now they have found something to agree on: the United States must end its “forever war” and adopt an entirely new foreign policy. In one of the most remarkable partnerships in modern American political history, Soros and Charles Koch ... are joining to finance a new foreign-policy think tank in Washington. It will promote an approach to the world based on diplomacy and restraint rather than threats, sanctions, and bombing. This think tank ... will be called the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, an homage to John Quincy Adams, who in a seminal speech on Independence Day in 1821 declared that the United States “goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.” The Quincy Institute will promote a foreign policy based on that live-and-let-live principle. The Quincy Institute will likely advocate a withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan and Syria; a return to the nuclear deal with Iran; less confrontational approaches to Russia and China; an end to regime-change campaigns against Venezuela and Cuba; and sharp reductions in the defense budget. It aims to issue four reports before the end of 2019: two offering alternative approaches to the Middle East and East Asia, one on “ending endless war,” and one called “democratizing foreign policy.”
Note: This seems too good to be true. We'll see how it unfolds. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
The United States is stepping up digital incursions into Russia’s electric power grid in a warning to President Vladimir V. Putin and a demonstration of how the Trump administration is using new authorities to deploy cybertools more aggressively, current and former government officials said. In interviews over the past three months, the officials described the previously unreported deployment of American computer code inside Russia’s grid and other targets as a classified companion to more publicly discussed action directed at Moscow’s disinformation and hacking units around the 2018 midterm elections. In August of 2018, President Trump signed [an] executive order ... called National Security Presidential Memorandum 13. Its contents are still classified, but essentially it allows the Cyber Command to go ahead and conduct all kinds of operations inside foreign networks without going back to the president for prior approval. The first thing it did was go after those units in Russia that were responsible for a lot of the election-hacking. They went after the G.R.U., the Russian military intelligence unit that had been responsible for breaking into the D.N.C.. A lot of that ... was made public. What wasn’t made public was a parallel effort to go inside the Russian power grid, to put some code in places where the Russians ... wouldn’t see it, in case the U.S. ever needed to act against Russia’s utilities as the Russians were putting malware in our systems.
Note: A 2007 New York Times article describes the formation of the Air Force Cyberspace Command to arm the US military in anticipation of widespread computer-based warfare. A more recent Guardian article says, "we might already be living through the first world cyberwar." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption from reliable major media sources.
Defense executives from around the country crowded into Goldman Sachs’ glimmering tower in downtown Manhattan in mid-May, eager to present before a conference of bankers and financial analysts. While much of the world was on edge over simmering tension in the Middle East, as the U.S. and its allies have stoked tensions with Iran, the businessmen at the conference talked of opportunity. Eric DeMarco, the president of Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, addressed the conference, arguing that his company is “very well-aligned” for the shift in the military budget away from asymmetrical fighting toward nation-state warfare. The rising threat of war with Iran, Russia, and China, DeMarco continued, could threaten U.S. naval power, which could require ballistic missile threat upgrades, the type of systems Kratos Defense specializes in. Large arms manufacturers from across the industry have similarly told investors that escalating conflict with Iran could be good for business. The statements to investors come as the U.S. has openly threatened to launch a new war. In recent weeks, the Trump administration discussed sending 120,000 soldiers to the Middle East in preparation for war with Iran, a move that comes after two years of increasing sanctions and militant rhetoric about the threat posed by the government in Tehran. The escalating tensions, while raising the potential for catastrophic conflict and loss of human life, could also be good for companies in the business of war.
Note: Read an essay by one of the most highly decorated U.S. generals titled "War is a Racket." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
Nearly everyone who’s seen it and lived to tell the tale describes it the same way: a horrifying, otherworldly thing of ghastly beauty that has haunted their life ever since. “The colors were beautiful,” remembers a man in Morgan Knibbe’s short documentary The Atomic Soldiers. “I hate to say that.” Many tales of the atomic bomb, however, weren’t told at all. In addition to the hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians who died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, an estimated 400,000 American soldiers and sailors also observed nuclear explosions - many just a mile or two from ground zero. From 1946 to 1992, the U.S. government conducted more than 1,000 nuclear tests, during which unwitting troops were exposed to vast amounts of ionizing radiation. After the tests, the soldiers, many of whom were traumatized, were sworn to an oath of secrecy. Breaking it even to talk among themselves was considered treason, punishable by a $10,000 fine and 10 or more years in prison. In Knibbe’s film, some of these atomic veterans break the forced silence to tell their story for the very first time. They describe how the blast knocked them to the ground; how they could see the bones and blood vessels in their hands, like viewing an X-ray. What appalled Knibbe the most was how the U.S. government failed the veterans. “Until this day, a lot of what has happened - and the radiation-related diseases the veterans have contracted and passed on to the generations after them - is still being covered up,” Knibbe said.
Note: Don't miss the most profound, 22-minute video at the link above. And for lots more on the huge cover-up of the terrifying effects of the bomb, see this most informative webpage. Explore lots more astonishing, verifiable information on humans used as guinea pigs in the last 100 years.
The strange objects, one of them like a spinning top moving against the wind, appeared almost daily from the summer of 2014 to March 2015, high in the skies over the East Coast. Navy pilots reported to their superiors that the objects had no visible engine or infrared exhaust plumes, but that they could reach 30,000 feet and hypersonic speeds. “These things would be out there all day,” said Lt. Ryan Graves, an F/A-18 Super Hornet pilot who has been with the Navy for 10 years, and who reported his sightings to the Pentagon and Congress. “With the speeds we observed, 12 hours in the air is 11 hours longer than we’d expect.” No one in the Defense Department is saying that the objects were extraterrestrial. Lieutenant Graves and four other Navy pilots, who said ... that they saw the objects in 2014 and 2015 in training maneuvers from Virginia to Florida off the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, make no assertions of their provenance. But the objects have gotten the attention of the Navy, which earlier this year sent out new classified guidance for how to report what the military calls unexplained aerial phenomena, or unidentified flying objects. The sightings were reported to the Pentagon’s ... Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, which analyzed the radar data, video footage and accounts provided by senior officers from the Roosevelt. Luis Elizondo, a military intelligence official who ran the program until he resigned in 2017, called the sightings “a striking series of incidents.”
Note: The fact that the media is no longer debunking UFOs suggests that a gradual acculturation process is being used. Those in the know have been aware of many intense UFO encounters reported by military officers and more for many decades. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on UFOs from reliable major media sources.
The Trump administration on Friday cited a national security "emergency" allegedly caused by Iran to bypass Congress and rush through arms sales worth billions of dollars to Saudi Arabia and other Middle East allies, in a move that drew condemnation from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Citing a rarely used provision of arms control law, the administration informed lawmakers it was declaring a national security emergency, allowing it to go ahead with the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan without congressional approval, according to administration letters sent to senators. The decision affected various arms packages worth roughly $8 billion. The move came despite growing bipartisan opposition to any arms sales to Saudi Arabia amid outrage over the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last year, as well as over Riyadh's air war in Yemen that has caused high numbers of civilian casualties. A bipartisan majority in Congress has voted to halt U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen but President Donald Trump vetoed the legislation. Democrats in Congress said the Trump administration expedited the arms packages because it could not secure a majority of lawmakers to support any proposed sales to the Saudis.
Note: The military-industrial complex clearly has Donald Trump on their side. Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen is a humanitarian disaster. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
Over the last 80 years, much of the land surrounding Venetucci Farm was sold to the US army to establish the base now known as Fort Carson. Farming activities have stopped. In 2016, irrigation water was found to be contaminated with elevated levels of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs). The foundation that runs the farm has joined forces with a local water district to sue the US Air Force, alleging that toxic chemicals used in firefighting foam at a nearby base have tainted the water. Similar concerns have been raised about dozens of other bases across the country. But the problem is not limited to areas close to military installations. PFCs and related human-made chemicals, more generally known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), have been virtually unregulated since at least the 1950s. As well as at industrial sites, airports and bases, PFAS have long been used in household products. They are everywhere. A 2007 study estimated that PFAS are in the blood of 98% of Americans, while last year an analysis by the not-for-profit Environmental Working Group found that more than 1,500 drinking water systems nationwide could be contaminated by PFAS. Studies suggest that certain PFAS may affect the growth, learning and behaviour of infants and older children; lower a woman’s chance of getting pregnant; interfere with the body’s natural hormones; increase cholesterol levels; affect the immune system; and increase the risk of kidney and testicular cancer and thyroid problems.
Note: Read more about these chemicals contaminating the drinking water of 110 million Americans. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health from reliable major media sources.
As a candidate, Donald Trump vowed to avoid getting the U.S. entangled in more wars. As president, Trump has been playing with fire, first with North Korea and now with Iran. For a leader supposedly averse to military confrontation, Trump’s initial mistake with Iran was pulling out of a 2015 deal in which the nation agreed to significantly scale back its nuclear program and submit to inspections in return for a lifting of sanctions. Then Trump last year brought on the the hawkish interventionist John Bolton as his national security adviser. The Bolton influence seems apparent in the administration’s provocative response to still-classified intelligence that the Iranians were positioning to attack U.S. interests in the region. The U.S. show of force included the assignment of the Navy’s Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Persian Gulf, escalating ... tensions. Americans have seen all too tragically how easily brinkmanship can devolve into war. Alleged attacks on two Navy destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin led to the ... congressional resolutions in 1964 that led this nation into full-scale involvement in the Vietnam War. The 2003 invasion of Iraq was justified, in part, by what proved to be false claims that Saddam Hussein’s regime had weapons of mass destruction. Those miscalculations echo loudly when Americans hear the president or Iran hawks such as Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., suggest that war with Iran would be justified by an attack on the U.S. or its allies.
Note: Obama also promised to get the US out of wars in his campaign only to radically change his tune after being elected. The military-industrial complex is incredibly powerful and somehow manages to get every president to support their agenda. To understand how this happens, read what a top US general had to say in this eye-opening essay. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
The official school of the United States' Special Operations Command has published a new paper detailing a decades-long history of Pentagon-backed interference around the world, hoping to provide insight on how best to approach such efforts in the present and future. The 250-page study, "Support to Resistance: Strategic Purpose and Effectiveness," was compiled by Army Special Forces veteran Will Irwin. Its findings present a comprehensive look at how the U.S. has supported efforts to pressure, undermine and overthrow foreign governments. The report includes some 47 case studies spanning from 1941 to 2003, detailing a legacy of mixed results that included assisting partisans against the Axis Power satellites during World War II, bolstering anti-communist forces throughout the Cold War and taking on post-9/11 adversaries in Afghanistan and Iraq. The numerous Washington-orchestrated coups of the past 70 years were "not included in this study as they did not involve legitimate resistance movements." Of the 47 cases analyzed, 23 were deemed "successful," 20 were designated "failures," two were classified as "partially successful" and two more - both during World War II - were called "inconclusive" as the broader conflict led to an Allied victory anyway. Coercion was the most successful method at a three-quarters rate of success or partial success, while disruption worked just over half the time and regime change only yielded the desired result in 29 percent of the cases reviewed.
In its latest budget request, the Trump administration is asking for a near-record $750 billion for the Pentagon and related defense activities. If passed by Congress, it will be one of the largest military budgets in American history, topping peak levels reached during the Korean and Vietnam wars. That $750 billion represents only part of the actual annual cost of our national-security state. There are at least 10 separate pots of money dedicated to fighting wars, preparing for yet more wars, and dealing with the consequences of wars already fought. The Pentagon’s regular, or base, budget is slated to be $544.5 billion in fiscal year 2020. The Pentagon’s own Defense Business Board found that cutting unnecessary overhead, including a bloated bureaucracy and a startlingly large shadow workforce of private contractors, would save $125 billion over five years. The Pentagon also maintains its very own slush fund, formally known as the Overseas Contingency Operations account, or OCO. In theory, the fund is meant to pay for the War on Terror. Of the nearly $174 billion proposed for the war budget and “emergency” funding, only a little more than $25 billion is meant to directly pay for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. The rest will be set aside for what’s termed enduring activities that would continue even if those wars ended or for routine Pentagon activities. Our final annual tally for war, preparations for war, and the impact of war comes to more than $1.25 trillion, more than double the Pentagon’s base budget.
Note: Read summaries of several major media articles showing the Pentagon's blatant lies and disregard for accounting. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the military.
America’s military budget is set to grow for a fifth consecutive year to near-historic highs in 2020. The Trump administration has proposed $750 billion in defense spending as part of its budget request to Congress for next year, as well as steep cuts to domestic programs in health care and education. House Democrats in their budget proposed increasing defense spending to $733 billion a year ... in exchange for Republican support for an increase in domestic spending that would be twice as large. Under either budget plan, the United States is expected to spend more on its military in 2020 than at any point since World War II, except for a handful of years at the height of the Iraq War, said Todd Harrison, a defense budget expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Overall, military spending has already increased from $586 billion in 2015 to $716 billion in 2019. Earlier this year, the Congressional Budget Office projected the United States would spend more than $7 trillion on defense over the next decade, which is in line with both the White House’s and House Democrats’ budget plans. Some prominent Democrats ... have called for cutting military spending as a way to free up funding for their other projects. At European levels of U.S. military spending, America could fund a universal child-care policy, extend health insurance to the approximately 30 million Americans who lack it or provide substantial investments in repairing the nation’s infrastructure. But cuts to military spending are unlikely.
Note: Read summaries of several major media articles showing the Pentagon's blatant lies and disregard for accounting. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the military.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was arrested on Thursday at Ecuador's London embassy, where he had been granted asylum since 2012. The United States alleges that he conspired with Chelsea Manning to access classified information on Department of Defense computers. Since it launched in 2006, Wikileaks has become renowned for publishing thousands of classified documents covering everything from the film industry to national security and wars. In 2010, Wikileaks published a video from a US military helicopter showing the killing of civilians in Baghdad, Iraq. A voice on the transmission urged the pilots to "light 'em all up" and the individuals on the street were fired at from the helicopter. When a van arrived on the scene to pick up the wounded, it too was fired at. Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen and his assistant Saeed Chmagh were both killed in the attack. Wikileaks has published hundreds of thousands of documents leaked by former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning. Documents relating to the war in Afghanistan revealed how the US military had killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents. Further documents from the Iraq war revealed that 66,000 civilians had been killed - more than previously reported. The documents also showed that prisoners had been tortured by Iraqi forces. Among the leaks were more than 250,000 messages sent by US diplomats. They revealed that the US wanted to collect "biographic and biometric" information ... of key officials at the UN.
Note: Read more about Wikileaks' effort to promote openness over secrecy. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
Redactions ... symbolize the ongoing tug-of-war between discretion and truth, between a government that knows what we don’t need to know and a citizenry that desires the whole story. That desire is inflamed after two years of theorizing about the Mueller report. “I think it’s going to be more disappointing than not, and frustrating to many,” says D.C. attorney Mark S. Zaid, who handles cases involving national security and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Zaid once sued the government for records related to the death of Princess Diana and the FBI surrendered reams of material. Zaid was thrilled, until he opened the boxes. Two thousand pages of redactions. Every page, blacked out. In 2003 the Department of Justice released a 186-page report on its hiring practices, and half of it was blacked out. American leaders brag about transparency but their agencies historically have cultivated a “culture of caution.” By the turn of last century at least 1.5 billion documents over 25 years old were kept from the public because of national security concerns. Classification cost the federal government $18.49 billion in fiscal year 2017 alone. Redactions can be cosmetic, or historic [like] the 14 blank pages of a 2002 Pentagon assessment of Iraq’s nuclear-weapons program. [Yet] when 19,045 documents related to the John F. Kennedy assassination were released last year, Nate Jones of the National Security Archive was struck by the banality of the information the government had insisted on keeping secret for years.
Note: Why was so much material around the death of Princess Diana redacted? Explore some of the strangeness around the killing of Princess Diana in this news article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on secrecy from reliable major media sources.
The United States has revoked the visa of the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor because of her attempts to investigate allegations of war crimes in Afghanistan, including any that may have been committed by American forces. Ms. Bensouda, a Gambian lawyer for the court, which is based in The Hague, formally requested an investigation more than a year ago into war crimes in Afghanistan. The inquiry would mostly focus on large-scale crimes against civilians attributed to the Taliban and Afghan government forces. But it would also examine alleged C.I.A. and American military abuse in detention centers in Afghanistan in 2003 and 2004, and at sites in Poland, Lithuania and Romania, putting the court directly at odds with the United States. The United States is not a member state of the I.C.C. and does not recognize the court’s authority to prosecute Americans. In the past, though, the United States has cooperated with the court on other investigations, and Washington played a central role in establishing international criminal law at the Nuremberg trials. [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo, in a March news briefing in Washington, said investigators “should not assume that you will still have or will get a visa, or that you will be permitted to enter the United States” if they are part of a I.C.C. investigation. “These visa restrictions will not be the end of our efforts,” Mr. Pompeo said at the time. “We are prepared to take additional steps, including economic sanctions if the I.C.C. does not change its course.”
The Democrat-controlled House Budget Committee voted 19-17 Wednesday to move a bill sponsored by Chairman John Yarmuth (D-KY) out of committee. Called the “Investing for the People Act of 2019,” it’s essentially the Democrats’ answer to Donald Trump’s radical budget proposal from early March. The Trump budget ... seeks a whopping 9% cut overall in non-defense or NDD spending ... while seeking a 5% increase in defense spending. Trump wants to reward the Pentagon for flunking its first-ever audit last year by giving it a fat bump - from a record $716 billion to new record of $750 billion. Meanwhile, Trump hopes to slash non-defense spending from last year’s $597 billion figure to $543 billion this year. Now, in the Yarmuth budget bill, $733 billion is the Democrats’ opening offer to the Pentagon. Trump’s 2020 budget proposal made a joke of the 2011 Budget Control Act, which essentially forced Congress to raise and lower defense and non-defense spending together through a series of caps. Roughly speaking, defense is supposed to be capped at around 53-54% of discretionary spending. The Pentagon has always been able to get around even those generous caps ... with Overseas Contingency Operations or “OCO” spending. Often called “war funding,” OCO budgets technically don’t count as defense spending, even though they are. To make his defense-hike/non-defense cut strategy work under the Budget Control Act, Trump this year had to propose a massive hike in OCO funding, going from $69 billion last year to $165 billion this year.
Note: Read summaries of several major media articles showing the Pentagon's blatant lies and disregard for accounting. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the military.
Congress made history this week by passing a resolution that cuts off U.S. support for Saudi-led forces in the civil war in Yemen. This is the first time since Congress originally passed the War Powers Resolution in 1973 that we have used it to call on the president to withdraw from an undeclared war. The passage of this resolution has implications far beyond Yemen and opens a much broader and extremely important debate about how and when the United States uses our military, and who must authorize that use. According to a recent study by the Costs of War Project at Brown University, the War on Terror will have cost American taxpayers almost $5 trillion through Fiscal Year 2019. When taking in to account future health care obligations for veterans injured in post-9/11 wars, the bill comes closer to $6 trillion. Even after this enormous expense, the world has more militants, not fewer. A November 2018 report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies found that the number of militants has continued to grow. “Despite nearly two decades of U.S.-led counterterrorism operations,” the report said, “there are nearly four times as many Sunni Islamic militants today as there were on September 11, 2001.” The time is long overdue for Congress to reassert its constitutional responsibility over war making. We need a serious national debate over when and where we put our military in harm’s way. Congress’s historic vote on Yemen this week is an important beginning in that process, now we must continue forward.
Note: The above was written by senators Bernie Sanders and Mike Lee. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the military.
Donald Trump recently unleashed his dark vision for our nation and our world, in the form of his budget request to Congress. With this budget, Trump takes more than $1tn in taxpayer money and disperses fully $750bn to the military. Out of every taxpayer dollar, in other words, 62 cents go to the military and our militarized Department of Homeland Security. (Veterans’ benefits take another seven cents.) The budget also cuts billions from non-discretionary anti-poverty programs outside of this $1tn. Medicaid and food stamps would be cut and disfigured beyond recognition. At every turn, the Trump budget finds vast billions for militarization, while it cuts much smaller poverty and other programs, claiming the goal is to save money. It includes $164bn in war funding, but it cuts $4.7bn in economic development and food assistance to other nations. It finds $14bn for a vanity project military branch called the space force, while it cuts $1.2bn for a program that’s built and preserved more than 1m affordable homes. It includes $11bn for contractor Lockheed Martin to build more F-35 jet fighters, but it cuts $3.7bn in heating and cooling assistance for 6m poor households. And it includes more than $12bn for a wall at our border, while it cuts $1bn for Job Corps. Unjust budgets and misplaced priorities aren’t just a Trump problem. The United States has been addicted to excessive military spending at the expense of true security at home for decades.
In September 2017, Aileen Black wrote an email to her colleagues at Google. Black, who led sales to the U.S. government, worried that details of the company’s work to help the military guide lethal drones would become public through the Freedom of Information Act. “We will call tomorrow to reinforce the need to keep Google under the radar," Black wrote. According to a Pentagon memo signed last year, however, no one at Google needed worry: All 5,000 pages of documents about Google’s work on the drone effort, known as Project Maven, are barred from public disclosure, because they constitute “critical infrastructure security information." The memo is part of a recent wave of federal decisions that keep sensitive documents secret on that same basis - thus allowing agencies to quickly deny document requests. In response to a Freedom of Information Act request I filed more than a year ago, seeking documents related to Project Maven’s use of Google technology, the Defense Department said that it had discovered 5,000 pages of relevant material - and that every single page was exempt from disclosure. Some of the pages included trade secrets, sensitive internal deliberations, and private personal information about some individuals, the department said. Such information can be withheld under the act. But it said all of the material could be kept private under “Exemption 3" of the act, which allows the government to withhold records under a grab bag of other federal statutes.
Note: Read more about Project Maven. Google employees strongly opposed working on war technology, and circulated a petition to stop the project. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the corporate world.
Sixteen years ago this week, the United States invaded Iraq. We went in on an unconvincing excuse, articulated by George W. Bush: “Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised. This regime has already used weapons of mass destruction against Iraq’s neighbors and against Iraq’s people.” To the lie about the possession of WMDs, Bush added a few more: that Hussein “trained and harbored terrorists, including operatives of al-Qaeda.” WMD became the archetype of a modern propaganda campaign. In the popular imagination, the case for war was driven by a bunch of Republicans and one ... New York Times reporter named Judith Miller. It’s been forgotten this was actually a business-wide consensus, which included the enthusiastic participation of a blue-state intelligentsia. The Washington Post and New York Times were key editorial-page drivers of the conflict; MSNBC unhired Phil Donahue and Jesse Ventura over their war skepticism; CNN flooded the airwaves with generals and ex-Pentagon stoolies, and broadcast outlets ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS stacked the deck even worse: In a two-week period before the invasion, the networks had just one American guest out of 267 who questioned the war. The WMD episode is remembered as a grotesque journalistic failure, one that led to disastrous war that spawned ISIS.
According to a study led by Michigan State University professor Mark Skidmore, some $21 trillion in Pentagon accounting transactions, made over a 17-year period, lack supporting data. This doesn’t mean the money is gone - the Pentagon only received roughly $9.2 trillion in budget money during that time - but it does mean the system is so choked with bad numbers, we have little idea of what mischief might be taking place at the Department of Defense. Double-billing [is] an alarmingly simple scheme. As Andy the Air Force accountant puts it: “A contractor accidentally invoices the military twice. It gets paid twice.” For example, one company got paid in full for delivering just 28 percent of a lug-nut contract; or the Swiss contractor that supposedly over-billed by $757 million to supply the troops in Afghanistan. In one of the worst military scandals in recent history, a contractor called “Fat Leonard” reportedly bribed Navy officials with prostitutes and more than $500,000 in order to steer Navy boats to his portside service centers, where he systematically overbilled taxpayers. The ... grifter got more than $200 million in Navy contracts. On paper, the military can lose track of even big things — like 39 Black Hawk helicopters. But Andy thinks if independent analysts get to actually count the stuff that’s supposed to be sitting in depots, this will [reveal] the true extent of the corruption and/or disorganization in the military.
Note: Read more about the Pentagon's massive accounting frauds in this article. Read a 2017 article documenting the investigation which found $21 Trillion unaccounted for in government coffers. Then read summaries of several major media articles showing the Pentagon's blatant lies and disregard for accounting. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
Despite being the taxpayers’ greatest investment - more than $700 billion a year - the Department of Defense has remained an organizational black box throughout its history. It’s repelled generations of official inquiries, the latest being an audit three decades in the making, mainly by scrambling its accounting into such a mess that it may never be untangled. Ahead of misappropriation, fraud, theft, overruns, contracting corruption and other abuses that are almost certainly still going on, the Pentagon’s first problem is its books. It’s the world’s largest producer of wrong numbers. At the tail end of last year, the Department of Defense finally completed an audit. At a cost of $400 million, some 1,200 auditors charged into the jungle of military finance, but returned in defeat. They were unable to pass the Pentagon or flunk it. They could only offer no opinion, explaining the military’s empire of hundreds of acronymic accounting silos was too illogical to penetrate. Twenty-nine years ago, in 1990, Congress ordered all government agencies to begin producing audited financial statements. In 2011, [the Pentagon] finally agreed to be ready by 2017, which turned into 2018. If and when the defense review is ever completed, we’re likely to find ... the military’s losses and liabilities hidden in Enron-like special-purpose vehicles, assets systematically overvalued, monies Congress approved for X feloniously diverted to Program Y, contractors paid twice, parts bought twice, repairs done unnecessarily and at great expense, and so on.
Note: Read more about the Pentagon's massive accounting fraud in this article. Read a 2017 article documenting an investigation which found $21 Trillion unaccounted for in government coffers. Then read summaries of several major media articles showing the Pentagon's blatant lies and disregard for accounting. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
President Donald Trump has revoked a policy set by his predecessor requiring US intelligence officials to publish the number of civilians killed in drone strikes outside of war zones. The 2016 executive order was brought in by then-President Barack Obama, who was under pressure to be more transparent. Since the 9/11 terror attack, drone strikes have been increasingly used against terror and military targets. The rule ... required the head of the CIA to release annual summaries of US drone strikes and assess how many died as a result. Mr Trump's executive order does not overturn reporting requirements on civilian deaths set for the military by Congress. During Mr Obama's eight years in office, 1,878 drone strikes were carried out. Since Mr Trump was elected in 2016, there have been 2,243 drone strikes. The Republican president has also made some of the operations, the ones outside of war zones, more secretive. As a result, things have different today: under Mr Trump, there are more drone strikes - and less transparency. Lawmakers and rights groups have criticised Mr Trump's decision, saying it could allow the CIA to conduct drone strikes without accountability. Representative Adam Schiff, a Democrat who chairs Congress's intelligence committee, called the requirement issued by Obama "an important measure of transparency," and said "there is simply no justification" for cancelling it.
Note: This 2014 article describes how attempts to kill 41 men with drone strikes resulted in 1,147 deaths. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Eight members of Congress have taken a pledge to work to bring ongoing U.S. global military conflicts to a “responsible and expedient” end, the result of a first-of-its kind lobbying effort by military veterans on Capitol Hill. The pledge was written and organized by a group called Common Defense ... which advocates for scaling back U.S. military commitments overseas. The effort ... is unique in that it is driven almost exclusively by veterans and focuses on global conflicts broadly, rather than one specific war. In 2001, Congress authorized military operations against the groups responsible for those attacks. In the years since, that congressional authorization has been interpreted broadly and has led to combat against groups, like the Islamic State, that did not exist on 9/11. “The United States has been in a state of continuous, global, open-ended military conflict since 2001. Over 2.5 million troops have fought in this ‘Forever War’ in over a dozen countries – including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Jordan, Niger, Somalia, and Thailand,” the pledge reads. It continues: “I pledge to the people of the United States of America, and to our military community in particular, that I will (1) fight to reclaim Congress’s constitutional authority to conduct oversight of U.S. foreign policy and independently debate whether to authorize each new use of military force, and (2) act to bring the Forever War to a responsible and expedient conclusion.”
Note: To understand how the military-industrial complex continually undermines democracy and creates pretexts for war to pad the pockets of those who support the war machine, see this most excellent collection of major media news articles. Read a great article on how polarization is negatively impacting our world. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
A senior French officer involved in the fight against Islamic State in Syria faces punishment after launching a scathing attack on the U.S.-led coalition's methods to defeat the group in its remaining stronghold of Hajin, the army said on Saturday. Colonel Francois-Regis Legrier, who has been in charge of directing French artillery supporting Kurdish-led groups in Syria since October, said the coalition's focus had been on limiting its own risks and this had greatly increased the death toll among civilians and the levels of destruction. "We have massively destroyed the infrastructure and given the population a disgusting image of what may be a Western-style liberation leaving behind the seeds of an imminent resurgence of a new adversary," he said, in rare public criticism by a serving officer. The coalition could have got rid of just 2,000 militant fighters - who lacked air support or modern technological equipment - much more quickly and effectively by sending in just 1,000 troops, he argued. "This refusal raises a question: why have an army that we don't dare use?" he said. Legrier's article has embarrassed French authorities just hours before the coalition is expected to announce the defeat of the hardline Islamist group. "We have in no way won the war because we lack a realistic and lasting policy and an adequate strategy," Legrier said. "How many Hajins will it take to understand that we are on the wrong track?"
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
I’ve always been fascinated by nuclear weapons and the self-destructive tendencies of mankind. So when I found declassified United States Civil Defense footage of soldiers maneuvering in the glare of a mushroom cloud, I wanted to learn more about their stories. I discovered that as many as 400,000 American soldiers and sailors observed nuclear explosions just a few miles from ground zero in more than 200 atmospheric tests conducted between 1946 and 1962. It was difficult to get a precise count of how many men were involved, because most information was classified — including reports on the illnesses the veterans suffered and the radioactive pollution that was released into the environment around the test sites. They served near dangerous nuclear tests — and it has haunted them ever since. With so little information available and the number of remaining veterans dwindling rapidly, I wanted to prevent these stories from disappearing. I decided to interview some of them as research for a fiction film on the topic and wound up making this documentary in the process. Because of secrecy agreements they had signed, some of them were hesitant to talk about their experiences. Getting to know these men was an experience I will never forget. I realized that my own generation seems to have become numb to what nuclear war could do to humanity. The accounts of the atomic soldiers can help us understand that horror.
Note: The author of this article, Morgan Knibbe, is a Dutch documentary filmmaker. The 15-minute documentary he made, available at the link above, is so important. These men were used as guinea pigs in nuclear bomb tests and have suffered in silence for decades because of those who promote war on our planet. Please watch and spread the word far and wide. For lots more on humans being used mercilessly as guinea pigs, see this webpage.
October 4th, 2018, was a busy news day. The only thing that did not make the news was an announcement by a little-known government body called the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board - FASAB - that essentially legalized secret national security spending. The new guidance, “SFFAS 56 – CLASSIFIED ACTIVITIES” permits government agencies to “modify” public financial statements. It also expressly allows federal agencies to refrain from telling taxpayers if and when public financial statements have been altered. To Michigan State professor Mark Skidmore, who’s been studying discrepancies in defense expenditures for years, the new ruling - and the lack of public response to it - was a shock. “From this point forward,” he says, “the federal government will keep two sets of books, one modified book for the public and one true book that is hidden.” Catherine Austin Fitts was Assistant Secretary for Housing and Urban Development during the George H.W. Bush administration. She’s been working with Skidmore on defense accounting issues for two years. She was so alarmed about the new FASAB ruling she commissioned an in-depth study of “Standard 56” for her site, the Solari Report. The report writes bluntly that SFFAS 56 is: “... taking government accounting practices from laxly enforced reporting standards to a new benchmark entirely–expressly approved obfuscation of reporting and, in some cases, outright concealing financials.”
President Donald Trump's ... announcement that he intends to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria ... provoked bipartisan outrage among Washington’s reflexively pro-war establishment. Both GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the country’s most reliable war supporters, and Hillary Clinton, who repeatedly criticized former President Barack Obama for insufficient hawkishness, condemned Trump’s decision. A large plurality of Americans support Trump’s Syria withdrawal announcement: 49 percent support to 33 percent opposition. Democrats are far more supportive of keeping troops there than Republicans. This case is even more stark since Obama ran in 2008 on a pledge to end the war in Afghanistan and bring all troops home. Throughout the Obama years, polling data consistently showed that huge majorities of Democrats favored a withdrawal of all troops from Afghanistan. While Democrats were more or less evenly divided early last year on whether the U.S. should continue to intervene in Syria, all that changed once Trump announced his intention to withdraw. At the same time, Democratic policy elites in Washington are once again formally aligning with neoconservatives, even to the point of creating joint foreign policy advocacy groups. MSNBC is stuffed full of former Bush-Cheney officials, security state operatives, and agents, while even the liberal stars are notably hawkish. All of this has resulted in a new generation of Democrats ... a party that is increasingly pro-war and militaristic.
Note: Some claim that there is only one party in the U.S. – the war party. Read an excellent essay by a top U.S. general revealing how "war is a racket." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war corruption from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our War Information Center.
Major speeches by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), both potential presidential contenders in 2020, issued a challenge ... to the foreign policy establishment in both parties. Sanders and Warren ... have both issued direct indictments: Sanders at Westminster College and at the School of Advanced International Studies, and Warren at American University and in the pages of the establishment journal Foreign Affairs. Both Sanders and Warren embrace the growing Democratic opposition to wars without end and without purpose. Both Warren and Sanders would end the 17-year war in Afghanistan; both would cut the military budget. And both oppose the trillion-dollar commitment to a new nuclear arms race. Sanders evokes a “global struggle” between the “movement for democracy, equalitarianism, economic, social, racial and environmental justice” and a “growing worldwide movement towards authoritarianism, oligarchy and kleptocracy.” Warren echoes that “democracy is running headlong into the ideologies of nationalism, authoritarianism and corruption.” Sanders and Warren argue ... that the new authoritarians are rising because of the failure of the global economic order.
Note: With their strong anti-war stance and desire to expose the banksters, it is no surprise that the major media (largely controlled by the banks and the military-industrial complex) is already mounting a smear campaign against both Warren and Sanders, as reported by Matt Taibbi in this Rolling Stone article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and war.
For three years, the United States has supported a coalition led by Saudi Arabia that is waging war inside Yemen. Our role in the coalition is significant -- we sell bombs and weapons to the Saudis, we help them pick targets inside Yemen, and until recently, we refueled their planes in the sky. To anyone paying attention, it's clear that the United States is engaged in a war in Yemen. And yet this war has not been authorized or debated by Congress. Our involvement started quietly under President Barack Obama, and now President Donald Trump has increased our participation. Yemen has become a hell on earth for the civilians caught within its borders. More than 10,000 innocents have been killed in the Saudi-led bombing campaign since the beginning of the civil war. Targets have included schools, hospitals, weddings, a funeral party and recently a school bus carrying 38 children to a field trip. More than 22 million people - three quarters of the population - require humanitarian assistance and protection. The country is on the brink of famine and is in the midst of the worst cholera outbreak in the world. To date, an estimated 85,000 children under the age of 5 in Yemen may have died from starvation and disease. In many ways, this suffering is an intentional byproduct of the Saudi coalition, which has targeted water treatment plants, health clinics and even a Doctors Without Borders hospital, all with US assistance.
The military is warning the U.S. government to prepare for a potential electromagnetic pulse weapon attack, as countries like North Korea, Russia and Iran develop the special arms. The shocking report, published by the Air Force's Air University, reveals that the U.S. is dismally unprepared for such an attack. And it could take 18 months to restore the electricity grid and social order. 'Based on the totality of available data an electromagnetic spectrum attack may be a threat to the United States, Democracy and world order,' the 2018 report says. 'An EMP would cause instantaneous and simultaneous loss of many technologies reliant on electrical power and computer circuit boards, such as cell phones and GPS devices,' the report says. Military and commercial jets would be degraded, bases would be cut off, and power and GPS would go dark. The U.S. would be unable to determine who even launched the attack as they would be deployed via satellite. The attack would dismantle or interfere with electricity, affecting transportation, food processing and healthcare. 'Failures may include long-term loss of electrical power (due to loss of emergency generators), sewage, fresh water, banking, landlines, cellular service, vehicles,' the report says. The report's authors Air Force Maj. David Stuckenberg, former CIA director James Woolsey, and Col. Douglas DeMaio want the government to declare a potential EMP attack as a critical issue.
Note: The military report mentioned above is available here. The article fails to mention that EMP weapons already developed by the US could destroy civilization as we know it. Other countries are clearly a threat, yet the biggest threat is the US military. Explore an ABC News article and declassified documents which reveal that the Pentagon once "drafted plans to kill innocent people and commit acts of terrorism in U.S. cities to create public support for a war against Cuba," as reported in the ABC article.
The U.S. military has long insisted that it maintains a “light footprint” in Africa, and there have been reports of proposed drawdowns ... and closures of outposts on the continent, due to a 2017 ambush in Niger and an increasing focus on rivals like China and Russia. But through it all, U.S. Africa Command has fallen short of providing concrete information about its bases on the continent. Documents obtained from AFRICOM by The Intercept, via the Freedom of Information Act, however, offer a unique window onto the sprawling network of U.S. military outposts in Africa, including previously undisclosed or unconfirmed sites in hotspots like Libya, Niger, and Somalia. The military’s constellation of bases includes 34 sites scattered across the continent, with high concentrations in the north and west as well as the Horn of Africa. These regions, not surprisingly, have also seen numerous U.S. drone attacks and low-profile commando raids in recent years. Libya — the site of drone and commando missions, but for which President Donald Trump said he saw no U.S. military role just last year — is nonetheless home to three previously undisclosed outposts. According to [military expert] Adam Moore ... “It is getting harder for the U.S. military to plausibly claim that it has a ‘light footprint’ in Africa. In just the past five years, it has established what is perhaps the largest drone complex in the world in Djibouti — Chabelley — which is involved in wars on two continents, Yemen, and Somalia.”
On November 15, Ernst & Young and other private firms that were hired to audit the Pentagon announced that they could not complete the job. Congress had ordered an independent audit of the Department of Defense, the government’s largest single cost center - the Pentagon receives two of every three federal tax dollars collected - after the Pentagon failed for decades to audit itself. The firms concluded, however ... that a reliable audit was simply impossible. Now, a Nation investigation has uncovered an explanation for the Pentagon’s foot-dragging: For decades, the DoD’s leaders and accountants have been perpetrating a gigantic, unconstitutional accounting fraud, deliberately cooking the books to mislead the Congress and drive the DoD’s budgets ever higher, regardless of military necessity. DoD has literally been making up numbers in its annual financial reports to Congress - representing trillions of dollars’ worth of seemingly nonexistent transactions - knowing that Congress would rely on those misleading reports. When the DoD submits its annual budget requests to Congress, it sends along the prior year’s financial reports, which contain fabricated numbers. The fabricated numbers disguise the fact that the DoD does not always spend all of the money Congress allocates in a given year. However, instead of returning such unspent funds to the US Treasury, as the law requires, the Pentagon sometimes launders and shifts such moneys to other parts of the DoD’s budget.
Note: Other than the above article, and weak Bloomberg and Reuters articles, the major media blatantly failed to report on the Pentagon's outrageous accounting failure. CNN posted one article not about the problem, but how the Pentagon claims they are fixing the problem. This demonstrates the military-industrial complex's strangle hold over media reporting. To understand just how serious and deep this problem is, see our carefully researched article using reliable sources to show how trillions are missing and reveal rampant deception and outright lying on the part of the Pentagon.
Today the UN security council will debate a UK-drafted resolution containing a rather gentle entreaty to the warring parties in Yemen. It will ask them to take “constant care to spare civilian objects, including those necessary for food production, distribution, processing and storage”. If that sounds like the safety instructions for a new vacuum cleaner, then welcome to the world of UN resolutions. But what it actually reveals is a far darker, more shameful truth.The truth of a Saudi-led coalition, armed by Britain and the United States, which from the very start of the conflict in 2015 has sought to use starvation as a weapon of war. Their on-off blockades of any ports and airports controlled by the Houthi rebels have drastically cut supplies of food to a Yemeni population that relies on imports to eat. But far more insidiously, and in the absence of imports, the Saudi air force has systematically and deliberately destroyed the domestic means of producing and distributing food inside Yemen. Their bombs have constantly targeted agricultural land, dairy farms, food processing factories, and the markets where food is sold. these are no mistakes. These are medieval tactics with modern weapons deliberately employed by the architect of the Yemen war – Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – in an attempt to bring the rebel-held areas of the country to their knees. He could not care less about the impact on Yemen’s civilian population, any more than he cared about what happened to Jamal Khashoggi.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Nearly four times as many Sunni Islamic militants are operating around the world today as on Sept. 11, 2001, despite nearly two decades of American-led campaigns to combat Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, a new independent study concludes. That amounts to as many as 230,000 Salafi jihadist fighters in nearly 70 countries, with the largest numbers in Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to the study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank. The report’s conclusions ... underscore the resiliency of these terrorist groups, and the policy failures by the United States and its allies in responding. The findings also highlight the continuing potency of the groups’ ideology and social-media branding in raising money and attracting new recruits as they pivot from battlefield defeats in strongholds like Iraq and Syria to direct guerrilla-style attacks there and in other hot spots. The West has largely failed to address the root causes of terrorism that perpetuate seemingly endless waves of fighters who are increasingly turning to armed drones, artificial intelligence and encrypted communications to foil the allies’ conventional military superiority, the report said. Last week, Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs released its annual report, the Costs of War study, in which it calculated that the United States will have spent $5.9 trillion on activities related to the global counterterrorism campaign by October 2019.
Note: According to a top US general, wars are created and fostered to fill the coffers of the big bankers and corporations. Read an excellent essay on how the US helped to create and foster ISIS. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption and terrorism.
The Pentagon has failed what is being called its first-ever comprehensive audit, a senior official said on Thursday, finding U.S. Defense Department accounting discrepancies that could take years to resolve. Results of the inspection - conducted by some 1,200 auditors and examining financial accounting on a wide range of spending including on weapons systems, military personnel and property - were expected to be completed later in the day. “We failed the audit, but we never expected to pass it,” Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan told reporters, adding that the findings showed the need for greater discipline in financial matters within the Pentagon. “It was an audit on a $2.7 trillion dollar organization, so the fact that we did the audit is substantial,” Shanahan added. The U.S. defense budget for the 2018 fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30 was about $700 billion. He did not provide a figure detailing how much money was unaccounted for in the audit. “Some of the compliance issues are irritating to me,” Shanahan added. A 1990 federal law mandated that U.S. government agencies be audited, but the Pentagon had not faced a comprehensive audit until this one was launched in December. Defense officials and outside experts have said it may be years before the Pentagon is able to fix its accounting gaps and errors and pass an audit.
Note: Read a 2017 article documenting an investigation which found $21 Trillion missing from government coffers. Then read summaries of several major media articles showing the Pentagon's blatant lies and disregard for accounting. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
We all now know the name of Arab journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but very few of us know the name of Arab journalist Tareq Ayoub. An elected president of the United States has been blamed for killing Ayoub. We rightly demand justice in the case of Khashoggi, so why not in the case of Ayoub? On the morning of April 8, 2003, less than three weeks after U.S. President George W. Bush ordered the illegal invasion of Iraq, Al Jazeera reporter Tareq Ayoub was on the rooftop of his network’s Baghdad bureau ... reporting live. An American A-10 Warthog attack jet appeared. “The plane was flying so low that those of us downstairs thought it would land on the roof,” Maher Abdullah, the network’s Baghdad correspondent, later recalled. “We actually heard the rocket being launched. It was a direct hit.” Ayoub was killed. Fifteen minutes later, a second American warplane launched a second missile at the building. But the U.S. government, like the Saudi government in recent weeks, tried to duck responsibility. It was just a “grave mistake,” according to a State Department spokesperson. “This coalition does not target journalists,” a U.S. general told reporters. Al Jazeera’s managing director, Mohammed Jassem al-Ali, had written a letter to the Pentagon less than two months earlier ... providing U.S. officials with the exact address and coordinates of the Baghdad bureau. The U.S. military had bombed Al Jazeera’s Kabul office in November 2001, and the network’s bosses wanted to prevent a repeat of such an incident.
Passwords that took seconds to guess, or were never changed from their factory settings. Cyber vulnerabilities that were known, but never fixed. Those are two common problems plaguing some of the Department of Defense's newest weapons systems, according to the Government Accountability Office. The flaws are highlighted in a new GAO report, which found the Pentagon is "just beginning to grapple" with the scale of vulnerabilities in its weapons systems. Drawing data from cybersecurity tests conducted on Department of Defense weapons systems from 2012 to 2017, the report says that by using "relatively simple tools and techniques, testers were able to take control of systems and largely operate undetected" because of basic security vulnerabilities. The GAO says the problems were widespread: "DOD testers routinely found mission critical cyber vulnerabilities in nearly all weapon systems that were under development." The Pentagon has only recently made it a priority to ensure the cybersecurity of its weapons systems. It's still determining how to achieve that goal - and at this point, the report states, "DOD does not know the full scale of its weapon system vulnerabilities." Part of the reason for the ongoing uncertainty ... is that the Defense Department's hacking and cyber tests have been "limited in scope and sophistication." When problems were identified, they were often left unresolved. The GAO cites a test report in which only one of 20 vulnerabilities that were previously found had been addressed.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The Pentagon is studying whether insects can be enlisted to combat crop loss during agricultural emergencies. The bugs would carry genetically engineered viruses that could be deployed rapidly if critical crops such as corn or wheat became vulnerable to a drought, a natural blight or a sudden attack by a biological weapon. The concept envisions the viruses making genetic modifications ... during a single growing season. The program, funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), has a warm and fuzzy name: “Insect Allies.” But some critics find the whole thing creepy. A team of skeptical scientists and legal scholars published an article in the journal Science on Thursday arguing that the Insect Allies program opens a “Pandora’s box" and involves technology that “may be widely perceived as an effort to develop biological agents for hostile purposes and their means of delivery.” The authors ... contend that Insect Allies could potentially be interpreted as a violation of an international treaty called the Biological Weapons Convention. “We argue that there is the risk that the program is seen as not justified by peaceful purposes,” [said] co-author Silja Voeneky, a professor of international law. She said the use of insects as a key feature of the program is particularly alarming, because insects could be deployed cheaply and surreptitiously by malevolent actors.
Within the Defense Department, one agency’s recent project sounds futuristic: millions of insects carrying viruses descend upon crops and then genetically modify them to withstand droughts, floods and foreign attacks. But in a warning published Thursday in the journal Science, a group of independent scientists and lawyers objected. They argue that the endeavor is not so different from designing biological weapons - banned under international law since 1975 - that could swarm and destroy acres of crops. “Once you engineer a virus that spreads by insect, it is hard to imagine how you would ever control it,” said Guy Reeves, a researcher ... who contributed to the critique. “You haven’t just released a transmissible virus - you’ve released a disease,” he added. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or Darpa ... launched the Insect Allies research program in 2016, budgeting $45 million over four years to transform agricultural pests into vectors that can transfer protective genes into plants within one growing season. The critics said publishing the new research findings could establish “preliminary instruction manuals” for developing offensive biological weapons. Foreign military programs are often “driven by perception of competitors’ activities,” the critics warn, and “the mere announcement of this program may motivate other countries to develop their own capabilities in this arena — indeed, it may have already done so.”
More than a year after his plan to privatize the Afghan war was first shot down by the Trump administration, Erik Prince returned late last month to Kabul to push the proposal on the beleaguered government in Afghanistan, where many believe he has the ear - and the potential backing - of the U.S. president. Prince swept through the capital, meeting with influential political figures within and outside the administration of President Ashraf Ghani. “He’s winning Afghans over with the assumption that he’s close to Trump,” said one well-informed Afghan. Prince also sparked what Ghani ... condemned as “a debate” within the country over “adding new foreign and unaccountable elements to our fight.” At the Pentagon, the head of the U.S. Central Command, Gen. Joseph Votel, told reporters that “I absolutely do not agree” with Prince’s contention that he could win the war more quickly and for less money with a few thousand hired guns. Prince, the brother of U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and a substantial contributor to Trump’s presidential campaign ... has made a controversial career out of providing security for hire. Since severing his ties to Blackwater - the company he founded that was accused of heavy-handed practices, including the killing of civilians, while under U.S. contract in Iraq - Prince has cycled through several iterations of the same business and now runs a Hong Kong-based company called Frontier Services.
Note: A 2015 article titled, "Former Blackwater gets rich as Afghan drug production hits record high" describes some of Eric Prince's previous business activities in Afghanistan. Prince's companies also got caught systematically defrauding the US government while serving as a "virtual extension of the CIA". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
A soldier wears a skullcap that stimulates his brain to make him learn skills faster, or reads his thoughts as a way to control a drone. Another is plugged into a Tron-like “active cyber defense system,” in which she mentally teams up with computer systems “to successfully multitask during complex military missions.” The Pentagon is already researching these seemingly sci-fi concepts. The basics of brain-machine interfaces are being developed—just watch the videos of patients moving prosthetic limbs with their minds. The Defense Department is examining newly scientific tools, like genetic engineering, brain chemistry, and shrinking robotics, for even more dramatic enhancements. But the real trick may not be granting superpowers, but rather making sure those effects are temporary. Last year, three Canadian defense researchers published a paper that explored the intersection of human enhancement and ethics. They found that the permanence of the enhancement could have impacts on troops in the field ... as well as a return to civilian life. They also note that “many soldier resilience human enhancement technologies raised health and safety questions.” The Canadian researchers wrote: “Are there unknown side effects or long term effects that could lead to unanticipated health problems during deployment or after discharge? Moreover, is it ethical to force a soldier to use the technology in question, or should he/she be allowed to consent to its use? Can consent be fully free from coercion in the military?”
Note: Read an excellent article detailing the risks of biosensors implanted under the skin which have already been developed. Some smaller than a grain of rice can be injected with a needle. Watch a slick video promoting this brave new world. Learn how this is already planned for use on soldiers. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
In his first major policy address since joining the White House in April, national security adviser John Bolton offered a particularly aggressive demonstration of President Trump's "America First" agenda. He threatened the International Criminal Court, a U.N.-mandated body based in The Hague, with punitive measures should it pursue an investigation into alleged U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan. He warned that the United States would ban ICC judges and prosecutors from entering the country, sanction their funds in the U.S. financial system and punish any company or government that complies with an ICC investigation into Americans. The ICC's chief prosecutor announced last November that she had "reasonable evidence" to investigate allegations regarding the abuse, torture and even rape of at least 88 Afghan detainees, allegedly carried out by U.S. armed forces in Afghanistan and at clandestine CIA interrogation centers in Europe. The ICC is far from a perfect institution. But it still represents a key cog in the international system, and one that could yet provide justice for the hideous crimes of those like ... Myanmar's generals. Instead, it may yet become another casualty of Trump's wider war on liberal internationalism. "It is an all-out bid by Donald Trump to end the ICC, the world’s foremost criminal tribunal, and with it, the very concept of international justice," wrote the Guardian's Simon Tisdall. "Bolton is the man wielding the knife. And there is a strong possibility they will succeed."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Dozens of civilians, mostly children, were killed or injured in an airstrike on Thursday by U.S. allies on a bus in a crowded market in northern Yemen. The International Committee of the Red Cross said the attack struck a bus carrying children in ... Saada province, which borders Saudi Arabia. “Body parts were scattered all over the area,” said Hassan Muwlef, executive director of the Red Crescent office in Saada. “The school bus was totally burned and destroyed.” Most of the children were under the age of 10, [said] Johannes Bruwer, the ICRC’s head of delegation in Yemen. The assault was the latest airstrike against civilians carried out by an American-backed regional coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The coalition entered Yemen’s civil war more than three years ago to fight northern Houthi rebels, who seized power from Yemen’s internationally recognized government. The conflict has also turned into a proxy war ... between the Sunni Muslim coalition and Iran’s Shiite theocracy, which is widely believed to be backing the rebels. The United States is helping the coalition, the only party in the conflict to use warplanes, with refueling, intelligence and billions in weapons sales. Human rights groups and Washington Post journalists have seen remnants of U.S.-made bombs at attack sites where civilians were struck. Civilian deaths have continued to multiply, even as the coalition promises not to target civilians.
Note: With weapons and support from the US and UK for the Saudi-led coalition, this war has already caused over 10,000 civilian deaths. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
The White House on Thursday announced ambitious plans to create the U.S. Space Force as a sixth, separate military warfighting service by 2020. Military leaders and experts have questioned the wisdom of launching an expensive, bureaucratic new service branch. Vice President Mike Pence announced the new force during a Pentagon speech, fleshing out an idea that President Donald Trump has extolled in recent months as he vowed to ensure American dominance in space. Pence described space as a domain that was once peaceful and uncontested but has now become crowded and adversarial. The last time the U.S. created a new uniformed military service was in 1947. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has endorsed steps to reorganize the military's space-warfighting forces and create a new command, but he previously opposed launching an expensive new service. The military's role in space has been under scrutiny because the United States is increasingly reliant on orbiting satellites that are difficult to protect. U.S. intelligence agencies reported earlier this year that Russia and China were pursuing "nondestructive and destructive" anti-satellite weapons for use during a future war. And there are growing worries about cyberattacks that could target satellite technology. Much of the military's current space power is wielded by the Air Force Space Command, which ... has about 38,000 personnel and operates 185 military satellite systems, including the Global Positioning System and communications and weather satellites.
Note: In 1974, the founder of modern rocket science Wernher Von Braun told his spokesperson Dr. Carol Rosin that "first the Russians are going to be considered the enemy. Then terrorists would be identified. The next enemy was asteroids – against asteroids we are going to build space-based weapons. Then ... the last card is the alien card. We are going to have to build space-based weapons against aliens, and all of it is a lie."
Time eases only so much doubt. Six years after leaving the Army, [Robert] Soto still spent nights awake, trying to come to terms with his Korengal tour. It was not regret or the trauma of combat that drained him. It was the memories of lost soldiers, an indelible grief blended with a fuller understanding that could feel like a curse. He tread as if a balance might exist between respecting the sacrifice and pain of others and speaking forthrightly about the fatal misjudgments of those who managed America’s wars. “I try to be respectful; I don’t want to say that people died for nothing,” he said. “I could never make the families who lost someone think their loved one died in vain.” Still he wondered: Was there no accountability for the senior officer class? The war was turning 17, and the services and the Pentagon seemed to have been given passes on all the failures and the drift. Even if the Taliban were to sign a peace deal tomorrow, there would be no rousing sense of victory, no parade. In Iraq, the Islamic State metastasized in the wreckage of the war to spread terror around the world. The human costs were past counting, and the whitewash was both institutional and personal, extended to one general after another, including many of the same officers whose plans and orders had either fizzled or failed to create lasting success, and yet who kept rising. Soto watched some of them as they were revered and celebrated in Washington and by members of the press, even after past plans were discredited and enemies retrenched.
Note: Read an essay by one of the most highly decorated U.S. generals titled "War is a Racket." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
Last October, four U.S. soldiers – including two commandos – were killed in an ambush in Niger. Since then, talk of U.S. special operations in Africa has centered on missions being curtailed and troop levels cut. Press accounts have suggested that the number of special operators on the front lines has been reduced. At the same time, a “sweeping Pentagon review” of special ops missions on the continent may result in drastic cuts in the number of commandos operating there. [Yet], there is no evidence yet of massive cuts, gradual reductions, or any downsizing whatsoever. In fact, the number of commandos operating on the continent has barely budged since 2017. Nearly 10 months after the debacle in Niger, the tally of special operators in Africa remains essentially unchanged. 16.5 percent of commandos overseas are deployed in Africa. This is about the same percentage of special operators sent to the continent in 2017 and represents a major increase over deployments during the first decade of the post-9/11 war on terror. In 2006, for example, just 1 percent of all U.S. commandos deployed overseas were in Africa. While media reports have focused on the possibility of imminent reductions, the number of commandos deployed in Africa is nonetheless up 96 percent since 2014 and remains fundamentally unchanged since the deadly 2017 ambush in Niger.
Note: Read more about the "shadow wars" being waged in Africa by US Special Operations forces. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
When UN Secretary-General António Guterres visited the Central African Republic (CAR) in October of 2017, his words echoed a theme that he’d been sounding since taking office in January: Stemming the problem of sexual abuse and exploitation by UN peacekeepers was among his top priorities. The same month of Guterres’ visit to CAR, the UN had received a report of a new rape case there. A young woman named Mauricette, who was 17 at the time, said she was raped by peacekeepers on her way home from a funeral. Mauricette went months without hearing from the UN after her initial interview with them. The details of what allegedly happened to Mauricette are grim. “She was vomiting,” says Jean-Gaston Endjileteko, who works at Samaritans’ Medical Center, where Mauricette had been treated. “She told me she had drunk some drugged tea spiked with a powder at the Mauritanian checkpoint. The hospital reported Mauricette’s rape, and she was interviewed by a local UN representative. But then, the UN went silent. “I’ve heard nothing,” Mauricette says. “No news.” That was approximately two months after Mauricette’s initial interview with the UN — so [PBS correspondent Ramita] Navai brought the delay to the attention of Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, Head of UN Mission, Central African Republic. Mauricette still hadn’t heard anything further from the UN — four months after FRONTLINE brought the delay in communication with her about her case to the UN’s attention.
Note: An hour-long episode of PBS FRONTLINE details the sad case introduced by the article above. In 2015, more than a year after allegations of UN peacekeepers sexual abusing children came to light, it was reported that the UN had taken disciplinary action against the whistleblower who exposed wrongdoing, but not against the soldiers accused of abuses. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
Note down this number: MFG BGM-71E-1B. I found [it] printed on the side of a spent missile casing lying in the basement of a bombed-out Islamist base in eastern Aleppo last year. At the top were the words “Hughes Aircraft Co”, founded in California ... and sold in 1997 to Raytheon, the massive US defence contractor whose profits last year came to $23.35bn. Shareholders include the Bank of America and Deutsche Bank. There were dozens of other used-up identical missile casings in the same underground room in the ruins of eastern Aleppo. These anti-armour missiles ... were not individual items smuggled into Syria. These were shipments, whole batches of weapons that left their point of origin on military aircraft pallets. There are videos of Islamist fighters using the BGM-71E-1B variety in Idlib province two years before I found the casings of other anti-tank missiles in neighbouring Aleppo. There is neither an obligation nor an investigative mechanism on the part of the arms manufacturers to ensure that their infinitely expensive products are not handed over ... to Isis, al-Nusra/al-Qaeda – which was clearly the case in Aleppo – or some other [group] branded by the US State Department itself as a “terrorist organisation”. Why don’t Nato track all these weapons as they leave Europe and America? Why don’t they expose the real end-users of these deadly shipments? The arms manufacturers I spoke to in the Balkans attested that Nato and the US are fully aware of the buyers of all their machine guns and mortars.
Note: This article was written by award-winning investigative journalist Robert Fisk. More on this available here. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
War rains down from the sky in Yemen, where an aerial bombing campaign by Saudi-led and American-backed coalition hammers much of the north. The U.S. military supports the campaign against the Houthi rebels with logistics and intelligence, and sells the Saudis many of the bombs it drops on that country. In the mountains outside the capital, we gained exclusive access to the site where the Houthis store unexploded American-made bombs, like this 2000 pound Mark 84 bomb made in Garland, Texas. It landed in the middle of the street in the capital, we are told. The Houthis also let us see a storage site with the remains of American-made cluster bombs. Cluster bombs are amongst the most deadly to civilians, filled with baseball-sized smaller bombs that scatter over a larger area. Any that don’t explode stay where they fell, primed, and often wounding civilians like land mines. Deep into Yemen’s countryside ... I found a Doctors Without Borders cholera treatment center completely destroyed by an airstrike the day before. It was just about to open its doors to patients. The war has made it harder for people to access clean running water, leading to the worst cholera outbreak in modern history. Most people here, whether they support the Houthis or not, know that many of the bombs being dropped are American. It provides a strong propaganda tool for the Houthi rebels, who go by the slogan “Death to America.”
Note: PBS special correspondent Jane Ferguson smuggled herself across the front lines into Yemen to report this series. In 2015, the New York Times was caught making false claims about US-made cluster munitions. The international trade in cluster bombs is funded by major banks. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
The US should put more emphasis on directed-energy weapons, including concentrating on developing a doctrine for their use, said Brig. Gen. William Whittenberger, assistant to the director of strategic plans at Air Force Special Operations on Command. “Our entire integrated air defense can be dismantled through directed-energy efforts,” he [said], including both laser and microwave energy. “Radar [can be] overloaded, computers and terminals overheated, rendering command and control centers ineffective, guidance capability on missiles blinded or burned, satellites overloaded, cell phone towers destroyed, all by directed-energy systems, those are simple, effective, offensive actions ... with less risk, increased effectiveness, less cost, less collateral damage over today’s capabilities,” he said. The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense approved its version of the Fiscal 2019 funding bill ... which included a total of $317 million in directed energy programs. Whittenberger said the US must “harden against these threats or become a victim to our own success as these technologies will be pirated by other peer nations,” which will also make directed-energy weapon advances of their own. More emphasis also must be placed on doctrine. Currently, he said, work on military use of directed-energy technology is being done “from the bottom up.” However, he noted, “We need to flip that to working doctrinally down and making sure that we have the right requirements in place."
Note: Read more on the exotic weapons being developed for the US military. And even more here. China was recently reported to be working on a new handheld laser weapon designed to set people on fire from half a mile away. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing non-lethal weapons news articles from reliable major media sources.
Before the bullet tore through his left leg, Hadad Gamry knew that he was venturing too close to the razor-wire fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. But the 20-year-old wanted the world to know how angry he was, so Gamry says he taunted the soldiers on the other side anyway. That decision resulted in him becoming ... one of the more than 13,000 Palestinians protesters injured near the barrier. At least 142 demonstrators have also been killed by Israeli troops. Israel maintains that Hamas, the Islamist group ... that many countries consider a terrorist organization, has encouraged civilians to put themselves in harm’s way. Gamry and others NBC News spoke to in Gaza rejected the idea that Hamas had compelled them to go to the fence, saying they went because they had run out of ways to make the world pay attention to their suffering. The pervasive threat of violence backs up the land, sea and air blockade imposed in 2007. Hamas won elections the previous year. Economically, the blockade is making life intolerable for many of Gaza’s 2 million residents. Almost none of the water is clean, raw sewage is pumped straight into the sea and worsening power shortages mean Gazans have electricity for only around four hours a day on average. Unemployment rates are close to 50 percent — more than 65 percent among those under 30. Israel and much of the world officially refuses to deal with Hamas and long-term talks aimed at creating an independent Palestinian state ... have stalled.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Donald Trump said on Monday he would direct the Pentagon to create a “space force” as a new branch of the US military to shore up American dominance in space. Trump claimed that the plan will ensure that America, which plans a return to the moon and a mission to Mars, stays ahead of China and Russia in any new space race. But it is likely to raise fears over the militarisation of space. “Very importantly, I’m hereby directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a space force as the sixth branch of the armed forces,” the president said at the White House. “We are going to have the air force and we are going to have the space force – separate but equal.” The president was speaking at the third meeting of the National Space Council, revived after a quarter of a century. He was joined by Mike Pence, the new Nasa administrator Jim Bridenstine and former astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon. But there was a skeptical reaction from Bill Nelson, the Democratic senator for Florida. He tweeted: “The president told a US general to create a new Space Force as 6th branch of military today, which generals tell me they don’t want. During his remarks, Trump ... insisted: “When it comes to defending America, it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space. So important.” Trump has floated the idea of a space force before but met both mockery and high-level resistance.
Note: In 1974, the founder of modern rocket science Wernher Von Braun told his spokesperson Dr. Carol Rosin that "first the Russians are going to be considered the enemy. Then terrorists would be identified. The next enemy was asteroids – against asteroids we are going to build space-based weapons. Then ... the last card is the alien card. We are going to have to build space-based weapons against aliens, and all of it is a lie."
A short press statement by the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, effectively [gives] a green light for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to launch an offensive in Yemen aimed at capturing Hodeidah on the Red Sea. The port city is the point of entry for 70 per cent of food and medical supplies for the eight million Yemenis whom the UN says are on the brink of starvation out of the 22 million in need of humanitarian aid. Pompeo was deliberately low-key in his three sentence statement about Hodeidah: “I have spoken with Emirati leaders and made clear our desire to address their security concerns while preserving the free flow of humanitarian aid and life-saving commercial imports.” Absent from this message for the first time was any call for Saudi Arabia and the UAE not to attack Hodeidah. The US and UAE have been working hard on a smokescreen of misinformation about who is responsible for what is happening and why they are launching the offensive now. The 25,000 Yemeni fighters advancing on Hodeidah are not an independent force but are paid for and under the control of the UAE. Air support is provided by the Saudis and the UAE with the US providing essential services such as mid-air refuelling and target intelligence. The Hodeidah operation may ... turn a humanitarian disaster, which the UN is already calling the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, into complete catastrophe. Three quarters of the 27 million Yemenis already require aid to survive and this may be cut off in the next few days.
The U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS may have committed war crimes as its airstrikes rained down on civilians trapped by the brutal fighting in the Syrian city of Raqqa last year, a new report claims. According to an investigation by Amnesty International, American, British and French strikes on the city from June to October 2017 “decimated extended families and neighborhoods” as the coalition embarked on a “war of annihilation.” Amnesty [claimed] its investigation provided “prima facie evidence that several coalition attacks that killed and injured civilians violated international humanitarian law.” After heavy fighting, surviving ISIS fighters were allowed to leave the city in October 2017. The U.S., British and French militaries claimed they did everything possible to minimize the risk of collateral damage during the operation, but Amnesty says hundreds died and thousands more were injured during the assault. The U.S. said it fired more than 30,000 artillery rounds during the five-month operation, and American forces were responsible for 90 percent of the airstrikes. The organization interviewed 112 civilian residents of Raqqa and visited the sites of 42 air, artillery and mortar strikes. The report focused on four cases in particular, which Amnesty said amounted to war crimes. In all cases “witnesses reported that there were no fighters in the vicinity at the time of the attacks,” Amnesty said. “Such attacks could be either direct attacks on civilians or civilian objects or indiscriminate attacks.”
Seymour M. Hersh didn’t even want to write a memoir. His publishers at Alfred A. Knopf ... “said, ‘Write a memoir,’ and I said, ‘No way,’” Mr. Hersh, 81, recalled the other day. The story of a working-class [kid who] exposed the horror of the My Lai massacre, revealed domestic and foreign abuses by the C.I.A. and harried Washington’s elite ... was not finished. Not for the first time in his career, the editors prevailed. “Reporter,” a 355-page memoir, will be released on Tuesday. The book ... reconstructs his reporting on Vietnam, his feuds with Henry Kissinger, the foibles of former bosses. He notes that major publications passed on his My Lai exposé, fearful of government denials that American soldiers had murdered dozens of Vietnamese civilians. In the end, Mr. Hersh syndicated the stories himself, and won a Pulitzer Prize for his efforts. Mr. Hersh’s place in the pantheon of reporters is secure, but his current status is ambiguous. In arguably the most fertile moment for investigative reporting since Watergate, he has been on the sidelines. By choice, he said. Mr. Hersh has found himself at odds with much of Washington’s reporting establishment since The New Yorker declined to publish his report on the death of Osama bin Laden — a story that directly contradicted the account given by the Obama White House and much of the mainstream press. His subsequent reporting on Syria, which questioned whether President Bashar al-Assad had gassed his own people, was similarly derided. But Mr. Hersh is unrepentant.
Google will not seek to extend its contract next year with the Defense Department for artificial intelligence used to analyze drone video, squashing a controversial alliance that had raised alarms over the technological buildup between Silicon Valley and the military. Google ... has faced widespread public backlash and employee resignations for helping develop technological tools that could aid in warfighting. Google will soon release new company principles related to the ethical uses of AI. Thousands of Google employees wrote chief executive Sundar Pichai an open letter urging the company to cancel the contract, and many others signed a petition saying the company’s assistance in developing combat-zone technology directly countered the company’s famous “Don’t be evil” motto. Several Google AI employees had told The Post they believed they wielded a powerful influence over the company’s decision-making. The advanced technology’s top researchers and developers are in heavy demand, and many had organized resistance campaigns or threatened to leave. The sudden announcement Friday was welcomed by several high-profile employees. Meredith Whittaker, an AI researcher and the founder of Google’s Open Research group, tweeted Friday: “I am incredibly happy about this decision, and have a deep respect for the many people who worked and risked to make it happen. Google should not be in the business of war.”
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Hundreds of academics have urged Google to abandon its work on a U.S. Department of Defense-led drone program codenamed “Project Maven”. An open letter calling for change was published Monday by the International Committee for Robot Arms Control (ICRAC). The project is formally known as the Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team. Its objective is “to turn the enormous volume of data available to DoD into actionable intelligence”. More than 3,000 Google staffers signed a petition in April in protest at the company's focus on warfare. “We believe that Google should not be in the business of war,” it read. “Therefore we ask that Project Maven be cancelled.” The ICRAC warned this week the project could potentially be mixed with general user data and exploited to aid “targeted killing.” Currently, its letter has nearly 500 signatures. It stated: “We are ... deeply concerned about the possible integration of Google’s data on people’s everyday lives with military surveillance data, and its combined application to targeted killing ... Google has moved into military work without subjecting itself to public debate or deliberation. While Google regularly decides the future of technology without democratic public engagement, its entry into military technologies casts the problems of private control of information infrastructure into high relief.” Lieutenant Colonel Garry Floyd, deputy chief of the Algorithmic Warfare Cross Functional Team, said ... earlier this month that Maven was already active in “five or six” combat locations.
Note: You can read the full employee petition on this webpage. The New York Times also published a good article on this. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and war.
There’s something eating at Google employees. Roughly one dozen employees of the search giant have resigned in the wake of reports that the ... company is providing artificial intelligence to the Pentagon. The employees resigned because of ethical concerns over the company’s work with the Defense Department that includes helping the military speed up analysis of drone footage by automatically classifying images of objects and people, Gizmodo reported. Many of the employees who quit have written accounts of their decisions to leave the company. Their stories have been gathered and shared in an internal document. Google is helping the DoD’s Project Maven “implement machine learning to classify images gathered by drones,” according to the report. “Some employees believe humans, not algorithms, should be responsible for this sensitive and potentially lethal work - and that Google shouldn’t be involved in military work at all.” The 12 resignations are the first known mass resignations at Google in protest against one of the company’s business decisions - and they speak to the strongly felt ethical concerns of the employees who are departing. In addition to the resignations, nearly 4,000 Google employees have voiced their opposition to Project Maven in an internal petition that asks Google to immediately cancel the contract and institute a policy against taking on future military work.
Note: You can read the full employee petition on this webpage. An open letter in support of google employees and tech workers was signed by more than 90 academics in artificial intelligence, ethics, and computer science. The New York Times also published a good article on this. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and war
Palestinian officials say at least 58 people have been killed in the latest round of protests. A mass attempt by Palestinians to cross the border fence separating Israel from Gaza turned violent, as Israeli soldiers responded with rifle fire. Monday became the bloodiest day since the campaign of demonstrations began seven weeks ago to protest Israel’s economic blockade of Gaza. Tens of thousands of Palestinians took part in the Gaza protests. Protests also took place on the West Bank. By late in the evening, 58 Palestinians, including several teenagers, had been killed and more than 1,350 wounded by gun fire, the Health Ministry said. Israeli soldiers and snipers used barrages of tear gas as well as live gunfire to keep protesters from entering Israeli territory. The protest nearest to Gaza City ... turned into a pitched battle. Emergency workers with stretchers carried off a stream of injured protesters, many with leg wounds but some having been shot in the abdomen. Even as Palestinians’ anger erupted, American and Israeli officials celebrated President Trump’s move of the embassy to Jerusalem. Previous administrations in Washington, like the governments of most American allies, had been unwilling to make the transfer, insisting that the status of Jerusalem needed to be resolved in a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
It looks like an ordinary commercial warehouse, only much bigger. When the lights come on, hundreds of thousands of shrink-wrapped boxes of medicines emerge from the gloom, stacked on shelves nearly five stories high. This [warehouse] and several others across the country are part of the $7 billion Strategic National Stockpile, a government repository of drugs and supplies ready for deployment in a bioterrorism or nuclear attack, or ... other major public health emergency. For nearly two decades, the repository has been almost exclusively managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That will change under a Trump administration plan to shift oversight of the $575 million program. Public health officials and members of Congress ... worry the move will disrupt a complex process that relies on long-standing relationships. Experts also question whether the administration’s plan will politicize decision-making about products bought for the stockpile. The office of the assistant secretary for preparedness and response (ASPR) oversees the process by which the government awards contracts to private biotechnology companies that develop and manufacture medicines. The CDC then is responsible for buying and replenishing the materials. Come October, however, the ASPR will be in charge of choosing the products and then purchasing them for the stockpile. Critics say it will allow biotech companies to lobby for more of their specialized, and often more expensive, drugs to be included.
Note: With a $7 billion price tag, big Pharma is making money hands over fist on this repository which is almost never used. Most of these drugs have a shelf life of well under 10 years, so major parts of this huge inventory go to waste every year and have to be disposed of. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.
Thousands of Google employees, including dozens of senior engineers, have signed a letter protesting the company’s involvement in a Pentagon program that uses artificial intelligence to interpret video imagery and could be used to improve the targeting of drone strikes. The letter, which is circulating inside Google and has garnered more than 3,100 signatures, reflects a culture clash ... that is likely to intensify as cutting-edge artificial intelligence is increasingly employed for military purposes. “We believe that Google should not be in the business of war,” says the letter, addressed to Sundar Pichai, the company’s chief executive. It asks that Google pull out of Project Maven, a Pentagon pilot program, and announce a policy that it will not “ever build warfare technology.” That kind of idealistic stance ... is distinctly foreign to Washington’s massive defense industry and certainly to the Pentagon, where the defense secretary, Jim Mattis, has often said a central goal is to increase the “lethality” of the United States military. Some of Google’s top executives have significant Pentagon connections. Eric Schmidt, former executive chairman of Google and still a member of the executive board of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, serves on a Pentagon advisory body, the Defense Innovation Board, as does a Google vice president, Milo Medin. Project Maven ... began last year as a pilot program to find ways to speed up the military application of the latest A.I. technology.
Note: The use of artificial intelligence technology for drone strike targeting is one of many ways warfare is being automated. Strong warnings against combining artificial intelligence with war have recently been issued by America's second-highest ranking military officer, tech mogul Elon Musk, and many of the world's most recognizable scientists. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
By completing the $1.3 trillion spending bill for the remainder of 2018, the Republican Congress and the president took the first big step in implementing their highest priority: a huge increase in the Pentagon budget. The United States has embarked - with hardly a pause after 16 years of costly and counterproductive wars - on another binge of military spending. Which is worse? The Republican Party’s crude equation of greater spending with more security, or the Democrats’ utter lack of opposition to this unjustified boondoggle for the Pentagon? Each is a powerful indictment of the state of our politics. Together they could signal the end of any rational debate on national security in a country that spends about as much on defense as the next eight nations (ranked by military expenditures) combined. The defense budget at the end of President Barack Obama’s administration, adjusted for inflation, was still at the levels of the Reagan buildup in the 1980s. The jaw-dropping increases in the congressional agreement and Trump’s proposed budget for future years will return us to near the record levels of 2010 when the country still had about 150,000 troops deployed between Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, the United States has about 19,000 troops deployed to those two nations. And the response by the Democratic Party? With few exceptions, complicity and silence. Since Trump assumed the presidency, congressional Democrats have had one concern about increased military spending: how to use it as leverage for comparable increases in domestic spending. And that is exactly what happened with the recent spending bill.
Note: Read a powerful essay by one of the most highly decorated U.S. general's ever exposing war-making as a racket supported by the military industrial complex. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and war.
Meet service members entrusted with guarding nuclear missiles that are among the most powerful in America's arsenal. Air Force records ... show they bought, distributed and used the hallucinogen LSD and other mind-altering illegal drugs as part of a ring that operated undetected for months on a highly secure military base in Wyoming. After investigators closed in, one airman deserted to Mexico. "Although this sounds like something from a movie, it isn't," said Capt. Charles Grimsley, the lead prosecutor of one of several courts martial. Fourteen airmen were disciplined. Six of them were convicted in courts martial of LSD use or distribution or both. None of the airmen was accused of using drugs on duty. Yet it's another blow to the reputation of the Air Force's nuclear missile corps, which is capable of unleashing hell in the form of Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs. The service members accused of involvement in the LSD ring were from the 90th Missile Wing, which operates one-third of the 400 Minuteman 3 missiles that stand "on alert" 24/7 in underground silos scattered across the northern Great Plains. Airman Basic Kyle S. Morrison acknowledged at his court martial that under the influence of LSD he could not have responded if recalled to duty in a nuclear security emergency. In all, disciplinary action was taken against 14 airmen.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Everybody's heard of the My Lai massacre - March 16, 1968, 50 years ago today - but not many know about the man who stopped it: Hugh Thompson, an Army helicopter pilot. When he arrived, American soldiers had already killed 504 Vietnamese civilians. They were going to kill more, but they didn't - because of what Thompson did. "We started noticing these large numbers of bodies everywhere," [Thompson said]. "They were old women, old men, children, kids, babies." Then Thompson ... "saw some civilians hiding in a bunker, cowering. Saw some advancing Americans coming that way. I just figured it was time to do something, to not let these people get killed. Landed the aircraft in between the Americans and the Vietnamese, told my crew chief and gunner to cover me, got out of the aircraft, went over to the American side." What happened next was one of the most remarkable events of the entire war, and perhaps unique: Thompson told the American troops that, if they opened fire on the Vietnamese civilians in the bunker, he and his crew would open fire on them. "I thank God to this day that everybody did stay cool and nobody opened up. It was time to stop it. That was the only way the madness ... could be stopped." Back at their base he filed a complaint about the killing of civilians that he had witnessed. The Army covered it up. But eventually the journalist Seymour Hersh found out about the massacre, and his report made it worldwide news and a turning point in the war.
In December, the Defense Department declassified two videos documenting encounters between U.S. Navy F-18 fighters and unidentified aircraft. The first video captures multiple pilots observing and discussing a strange, hovering, egg-shaped craft, apparently one of a “fleet” of such objects, according to cockpit audio. The second shows a similar incident involving an F-18 attached to the USS Nimitz carrier battle group in 2004. The videos, along with observations by pilots and radar operators, appear to provide evidence of the existence of aircraft far superior to anything possessed by the United States or its allies. Defense Department officials who analyze the relevant intelligence confirm more than a dozen such incidents off the East Coast alone since 2015. Military departments and agencies treat such incidents as isolated events rather than as part of a pattern requiring serious attention and investigation. Reports from different services and agencies remain largely ignored and unevaluated inside their respective bureaucratic stovepipes. There is no Pentagon process for synthesizing all the observations the military is making. The current approach is equivalent to having the Army conduct a submarine search without the Navy. It is also reminiscent of the counterterrorism efforts of the CIA and the FBI before Sept. 11, 2001, when each had information on the hijackers that they kept to themselves. In this instance, the truth may ultimately prove benign, but why leave it to chance?
Note: The above was written by Christopher Mellon, who served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for intelligence in the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing UFO news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our UFO Information Center.
One of the very first things I was taught when I joined the C.I.A. was that we do not conduct assassinations. It was drilled into new recruits over and over again. Today, it seems that all that is left of this policy is a euphemism. We don’t call them assassinations anymore. Now, they are “targeted killings,” most often performed by drone strike, and they have become America’s go-to weapon in the war on terror. There have been many who have objected, claiming that the killings inspire more attacks on the United States, complicate our diplomacy and undermine our moral authority in the world. Yet the targeted killings drone on with no end in sight. Just counting the campaigns in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, the Bush administration conducted at least 47 targeted killings by drones, while under the Obama administration that number rose to 542. America’s difficult relationship with targeted killing and the dilemmas we may face in the future are beautifully illuminated by the longer story of Israel’s experiences with assassination in its own endless war against terrorism. Israel has always been just a bit farther down this slippery slope than the United States. Americans now have a terrific new introduction to that story with the publication of Ronen Bergman’s “Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations.”
In Yemen, a child under the age of five dies of preventable causes every 10 minutes. That is just one startling fact from a country that has been torn by war for nearly three years. More than 10,000 civilians have died and over 40,000 have been wounded in this war. An estimated 17 million people – 60 percent of the total population – do not have reliable access to food. Americans have so far provided more than $768 million in humanitarian aid to that country. What few Americans know, however, is that the U.S. military is making the crisis worse by helping one side in the conflict bomb innocent civilians. The millions we have spent in humanitarian aid were necessitated, in part, by a U.S. government failure. In March 2015, a coalition of Arab forces led by Saudi Arabia launched a military intervention into Yemen. The Obama administration, without consulting Congress, quickly authorized U.S. military forces to provide “logistical and intelligence support” to the Saudi coalition. U.S. military support for this intervention continues to this day. U.S. forces are coordinating, refueling and targeting with the Saudi-led coalition. We believe that since Congress has not authorized military force for this conflict, the United States should play no role in it beyond providing desperately needed humanitarian aid. That is why we are introducing a joint resolution that would force Congress to vote on the U.S. war in Yemen. If Congress does not authorize the war, our resolution would require U.S. involvement in Yemen to end.
Note: The above was written by US senators Mike Lee, Bernie Sanders, and Chris Murphy. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
More than 25 years after the end of its civil war, families in El Salvador are still searching for an estimated 3,000 children who disappeared in the fighting. The country's military has so far refused to open its archives from that period to allow an investigation into the whereabouts of children separated from their families. In a decision released in January, El Salvador's Supreme Court backed the demand of Nicolasa Rivas for a probe into the disappearances of her daughters, Gladys Suleyma and Norma Climaco Rivas. Rivas blames the military for taking her daughters. The U.N. Truth Commission created with the signing of the peace agreement in January 1992 estimated there were 5,000 forced disappearances during the war. Human rights advocates have documented about 3,000 more cases and estimate that about 3,000 of all the disappeared were minors. The Supreme Court's decision ordered the armed forces to release information related to a military operation called "Mario Azenon Palma." It was during that operation that Gladys and Norma disappeared. The Defense Ministry has said that ... "no documents or registries of any kind related to the alleged operation have been found." The operation's existence has been confirmed by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. In its ruling supporting Rivas' call for an investigation into the fate of her daughters, the Supreme Court said there was sufficient information to conclude "they were involuntarily disappeared at the hands of soldiers."
Note: Consider the possibility that many of these kids were used in sex trafficking to bring in money to the military. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Of Lockheed Martin’s $51 billion in sales last year, nearly 70 percent, or $35.2 billion, came from sales to the U.S. government. It’s a colossal figure, hard to comprehend. So think of it this way: Lockheed’s government sales are nearly what the Trump administration proposed for the State Department next year in its recently released spending plan. Or $15 billion more than all of NASA. Or about the gross domestic product of Bolivia. Year after year, Lockheed has received more federal money than any other corporation. Now, President Trump has opened the floodgates for defense spending, proposing $716 billion for the Pentagon, a 13 percent increase. And the defense industry is poised to profit, with Lockheed in the lead. “Diplomacy is out; airstrikes are in,” said Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace consultant with the Teal Group. In 2013, Marine Corps Gen. Jim Mattis, now the secretary of defense, told Congress, “If you don’t fully fund the State Department, then I need to buy more ammunition.” As journalist Fred Kaplan noted in Slate, the Trump administration’s budget calls for a more than 25 percent increase in spending on missiles and munitions and a 26 percent cut to the State Department’s funding. The Pentagon wants to buy more Super Hornet fighter jets, a boon for Boeing. But ... there has been nothing like the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Over its projected 60-year life span, it’s expected to cost more than $1 trillion, making it the most expensive weapons program in the history of the Defense Department.
Note: Lockheed Martin runs a breathtakingly big part of the United States, and was reported in 2015 to be “engaged in deep and systemic corruption" including paying off a Congresswoman. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the corporate world.
Air Force One is primed to receive an upgrade that will include new refrigerators expected to cost American taxpayers nearly $24 million. The US Air Force awarded Boeing a $23.6 million contract in December to replace two of the five "cold chiller units" aboard the aircraft. The $24 million contract will cover the costs of engineering support services for the new chillers - including prototype design, manufacturing and installation, according to the DOD contract. Former senior adviser to President Barack Obama Eric Schultz mocked the high price tag in a tweet on Friday, saying, "we would have been impeached." The Boeing fridge contract isn't the first time an administration has come under fire for the high cost of military aircraft upgrades - the Obama administration was pressured to scuttle plans to build a new fleet of presidential helicopters in 2009 after reports emerged that they cost at least $11 billion. When he was running for president, Trump boasted he would swap out Air Force One with his private jet and has been fiercely critical of the cost of the new Air Force One program in the past. But since taking office, Trump - like his predecessors - has traveled aboard the Boeing-made VC-25 aircraft. The Air Force announced last year that it had finalized a deal to purchase two already-built aircraft from Boeing to serve as the next generation of Air Force One. That contract is separate from the arrangement ... for upkeep of the current Air Force One fleet.
U.S. and allied strikes against the Islamic State may have killed as many as 6,000 civilians in 2017. Airwars, which investigates allegations of civilian casualties by using social media and other information sources, said that between 3,923 and 6,102 noncombatants were “likely killed” in air and artillery strikes by the United States and its partners in 2017. The estimate for Iraq and Syria was more than triple that of the year before. While the Airwars data includes strikes by the United States and partner nations including Britain and France, most of the military activity has been conducted by American forces. The group’s estimate is vastly higher than the figure put forward by U.S. Central Command, which conducts its own investigations of selected U.S. strikes. According to its most recent public report, Centcom has determined that at least 817 civilians have been killed since the air campaign began in 2014.
The existence of UFOs had been “proved beyond reasonable doubt,” according the head of the secret Pentagon program that analyzed the mysterious aircrafts. Luis Elizondo [said] of the sightings, “In my opinion, if this was a court of law, we have reached the point of ‘beyond reasonable doubt.’ I think it’s pretty clear this is not us, and it’s not anyone else, so no one has to ask questions where they’re from.” Elizondo led the U.S. Defense Department’s Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, investigating evidence of UFOs and alien life, from 2007 to 2012, when it was shuttered. Its existence was first reported by The New York Times last week. Elizondo [said] that there had been “lots” of UFO sightings and witnesses interviewed during the program’s five years. Investigators pinpointed geographical “hot spots” that were sometimes near nuclear facilities and power plants. They also observed trends among the aircrafts, including lack of flight surfaces on the objects and extreme maneuverability. “There was never any display of hostility, but ... they maneuvered in ways no one else in the world had,” he said. Despite Pentagon funding running out in 2012, Elizondo oversaw UFO work for another five years before resigning in October 2017 out of frustration with the secrecy of the investigations. He had pushed for videos of the possible alien sightings to be made public so people could see the footage. In his resignation letter to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Elizondo asked, “Why aren’t we spending more time and effort on this issue?”
Note: Elizondo is one of several former government officials now employed by To the Stars Academy for Arts and Sciences, which claims it will "advance research into unexplained phenomena and develop related technology." This may be part of a planned roll out so that the public becomes more comfortable with the existence of UFOs. Many dozens of top officials have spoken openly of their personal involvement in the UFO cover-up, yet the media has failed to make this headlines until now. For more, explore the excellent, reliable resources in our UFO Information Center.
Earlier this year, a Michigan State University economist, working with graduate students and a former government official, found $21 trillion in unauthorized spending in the departments of Defense and Housing and Urban Development for the years 1998-2015. The work of Mark Skidmore and his team, which included digging into government websites and repeated queries to U.S. agencies that went unanswered, coincided with the Office of Inspector General, at one point, disabling the links to all key documents showing the unsupported spending. Now, the Department of Defense has announced it will conduct the first department-wide, independent financial audit in its history. The Defense Department did not say specifically what led to the audit. But the announcement came four days after Skidmore discussed his team’s findings on USAWatchdog, a news outlet run by former CNN and ABC News correspondent Greg Hunter. Skidmore got involved last spring when he heard Catherine Austin Fitts, former assistant secretary of Housing and Urban Development, refer to a report which indicated the Army had $6.5 trillion in unsupported adjustments, or spending, in fiscal 2015. Given the Army’s $122 billion budget, that meant unsupported adjustments were 54 times spending authorized by Congress. Typically, such adjustments in public budgets are only a small fraction of authorized spending. Skidmore thought Fitts had made a mistake. “Maybe she meant $6.5 billion and not $6.5 trillion,” he said. “So I found the report myself and sure enough it was $6.5 trillion.”
Note: Explore this webpage for additional background on this story. See also a detailed analysis of these missing trillions, which amount to $65,000 per man, woman, and child in the US. And don't miss this highly revealing interview with Prof. Mark Skidmore of Michigan State with even more startling news. Why isn't the major media reporting this huge news?
Global sales of weapons and military services have risen for the first time in five years, helped in part by an increase in sales by British companies. Weapons – many of which are fueling deadly conflicts in the Middle East – are now being bought and sold at the highest level since 2010, with sales up more than a third (38 per cent) since 2002. Military kit worth $374.8bn (Ł280bn) was sold in 2016 by the industry’s top 100 companies, an annual review by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) found. The booming books of some of the world’s largest defence companies can be explained both by an increasingly militarised world and spiraling costs of complex battlefield equipment, Professor Taylor [of the Royal United Services Institute] said. “Equipment costs are going up and the trend is not abating," he told The Independent. UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia have been among the most controversial transfers of military hardware anywhere in the world, with critics of the Government warning that the equipment is being used by a country that refuses to end its blockade of Yemen. Thousands of people have been killed in that conflict, which pitches a Saudi-led coalition against Iran-backed Houthi rebels. UK sales of arms and military kit to the Saudis reached Ł1.1bn in the first half of 2017. Meanwhile, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which implements foreign arms sales, announced sales of $41.93bn for the year to the end of September, a 25 per cent rise on the previous 12 months.
Note: See an excellent and revealing graphic of the world's 100 largest arms sellers. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
On July 26, 2016, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a report "Army General Fund Adjustments Not Adequately Documented or Supported". The report indicates that for fiscal year 2015 the Army failed to provide adequate support for $6.5 trillion. Given that the entire Army budget in fiscal year 2015 was $120 billion, unsupported adjustments were 54 times the level of spending authorized by Congress. An appendix to the July 2016 report shows $2 trillion in changes to the Army General Fund balance sheet due to unsupported adjustments. On the asset side, there is $794 billion increase in the Army's Fund Balance with the U.S. Treasury. There is also an increase of $929 billion in the Army's Accounts Payable. What is the source of the additional $794 billion in the Army's Fund Balance? The July 2016 report is not the only such report of unsubstantiated adjustments. Mark Skidmore and Catherine Austin Fitts, former Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, conducted a search of government websites and found similar reports dating back to 1998. While the documents are incomplete, original government sources indicate $21 trillion in unsupported adjustments have been reported for the Department of Defense and the Department of Housing and Urban Development for the years 1998-2015. [And why] after Mark Skidmore began inquiring about OIG-reported unsubstantiated adjustments, [was] the OIG's webpage, which documented, albeit in a highly incomplete manner, these unsupported "accounting adjustments," ... mysteriously taken down?
Note: Explore this webpage for a brief background to this astounding news. See also a detailed analysis of these missing trillions, which amount to $65,000 per man, woman, and child in the US. And don't miss this highly revealing interview with Prof. Mark Skidmore of Michigan State with even more startling news.
The Pentagon's watchdog agency said Tuesday it found a "troubling" number of failures this year by military law enforcement agencies to alert the FBI to criminal history information. The Pentagon's inspector general happened to be wrapping up a monthslong review of compliance with reporting requirements when former Air Force member Devin P. Kelley opened fire in a Sutherland Springs, Texas, church on Nov. 5, killing 25 people. Kelley had been convicted of assaulting family members in a 2012 court martial ... but the information was not passed on to the FBI as required by Pentagon regulations. The lapse, acknowledged by the Air Force, meant he was not flagged in databases used for background checks of gun buyers. Tuesday's report said that from February through October, the military's law enforcement organizations failed to submit 24 percent of required fingerprint cards for inclusion in FBI databases and 31 percent of required reports of court martial convictions, known as final disposition reports. The data is supposed to be submitted to the FBI for many offenses, including assault, murder and desertion. The Army's failure rate on fingerprint reporting was 28 percent, the Navy's and Marine Corps' both were 29 percent. The Air Force's was 14 percent. The Army failed to submit final disposition reports in 41 percent of cases; the Navy and the Marine Corps in 36 percent of cases, and the Air Force in 14 percent of cases.
Shell should face investigations in three countries for alleged complicity in Nigerian government abuses, including murder and rape, more than two decades ago in the oil-rich Niger River delta, Amnesty International said. Authorities in Nigeria, the Netherlands and UK should investigate Shell’s conduct, especially in the Ogoni area of the southern delta, the London-based human-rights group said. Violations linked to Europe’s largest energy company amounted to criminal infractions for which it should be prosecuted, it said. “The evidence we have reviewed shows that Shell repeatedly encouraged the Nigerian military to deal with community protests, even when it knew the horrors this would lead to,” Audrey Gaughran, director of Global Issues at Amnesty International, said. Shell “even provided the military with material support, including transport, and in at least one instance paid a military commander notorious for human rights violations,” she said. Shell, the oldest energy company in Africa’s biggest oil producer, operates a joint venture with the government that pumps more than a third of the nation’s crude, the state’s main source of revenue. Other joint ventures are run by ExxonMobil, Chevron, Total and Eni. Protests by the Ogoni ethnic minority against Shell in the 1990s alleging widespread pollution and environmental degradation prompted a repressive response from the military government then in power. Nine ethnic-minority activists, including the writer Ken Saro-Wiwa, were executed in 1995.
Note: It was reported in 2010 that pollution linked to oil production had reduced rural Nigerian life expectancy to "little more than 40 years of age". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the corporate world.
President Donald Trump has increased the number of U.S. troops and civilians working for the Department of Defense in the Middle East to 54,180 from 40,517 in the past four months, representing a 33-percent rise. This number doesn't even account for the big rise in troops stationed in Afghanistan since ... late August. These numbers are no secret, which raises concerns about the apparent lack of discourse over the expansion of the U.S. military. The Trump administration has been quite vocal about the recent increase in troops in Afghanistan. But the rise in the presence of the U.S. military elsewhere in the Middle East has been relatively under the radar. Some in the U.S. military even seem to be unaware of the recent increase in personnel in the region. On November 16 ... Lieutenant General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. was asked about troop numbers in Syria and Iraq at a press briefing, and he said, "In Syria, we have ... about 503 operating. And in Iraq, we have approximately 5,262, I believe is the number. So those are the numbers." However, the U.S. has 1,720 troops in Syria and 8,892 in Iraq. With Trump in the White House, there has been an increase in U.S. troops killed in action overseas as well as a large spike in civilian deaths from airstrikes. A United Nations report in October claimed civilian deaths had increased by 50 percent in Afghanistan compared to the same point last year.
The U.S. government [planned] false flag attacks with Soviet aircraft to justify war with the USSR or its allies, newly declassified documents surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy show. In a three-page memo, members of the National Security Council wrote, "There is a possibility that such aircraft could be used in a ... provocation operation in which Soviet aircraft would appear to attack US or friendly installations to provide an excuse for U.S. intervention." The memo shows that the department, along with the CIA, considered buying Soviet aircraft to stage the attacks, even getting estimates from the Air Force on how long it would take and how much it would cost to produce the planes domestically and covertly. The document also outlined the possibility of purchasing such aircraft from non-Soviet Bloc countries that had received planes from the USSR, or from pilots that had defected, instead of building them domestically. The CIA deemed those plans too risky. It is unclear when the memo was written or circulated. The NSC staff mention a meeting on March 22, 1962, when a "Special Group" discussed the attorney general's questions about acquiring Soviet aircraft. The document was last reviewed by the CIA in February 1998, and a stamp shows it was declassified in March 2016. But, strangely, the document's cover letter shows a date of "00/00/00."
Note: ABC News back in 2001 was the only major media to report on Operation Northwoods, which is the code name for a very similar plan, when the first documents on this were declassified. As these earlier documents show, the plan was approved by the top Pentagon chiefs to create a pretext for war with Cuba by sinking an American ship in the Havana harbor or creating a "terror campaign" in cities like Miami and Washington D.C. Why was this stunning news only reported by ABC? For a possible reason, see this excellent summary of testimony by major media whistleblowers.
The U.S. Coast Guard is targeting low-level smugglers in international waters - shackling them on ships for weeks or even months before arraignment in American courts. The U.S. Coast Guard never intended to operate a fleet of “floating Guantánamos,” as a former Coast Guard lawyer put it. But a set of laws, including the 1986 Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act ... defined drug smuggling in international waters as a crime against the United States. Through the 2000s, maritime detentions averaged around 200 a year. Then in 2012, the Department of Defense’s Southern Command [was] tasked with leading the war on drugs in the Americas. In 2016, under the Southern Command’s strategy, the Coast Guard ... detained 585 suspected drug smugglers, mostly in international waters. That year, 80 percent of these men were taken to the United States to face criminal charges, up from a third of detainees in 2012. In the 12 months that ended in September 2017, the Coast Guard captured more than 700 suspects and chained them aboard American ships. Most of these men remain confounded by their capture by the Americans, dubious that U.S. officials had the authority to arrest them and to lock them in prison. But it is the memory of their surreal imprisonment at sea that these men say most torments them. These detainees paint a grim picture of the conditions of their extended capture. The ... periods of detention employed by the United States in its antidrug campaign run counter to international human rights norms.
Note: The war on drugs has been called a "trillion dollar failure" with an "overwhelmingly negative" public health impact. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.
Lorry driver Abu Fawzi thought it was going to be just another job. He drives an 18-wheeler ... in northern Syria. But this time, his load was to be human cargo. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters opposed to IS, wanted him to lead a convoy that would take hundreds of families displaced by fighting ... to a camp further north. [He was told] the job would take six hours. He and his fellow drivers ... had been lied to. Instead, it would take three days of hard driving, carrying a deadly cargo - hundreds of IS fighters, their families and tonnes of weapons and ammunition. The deal to let IS fighters escape from Raqqa ... would spare lives and bring fighting to an end. But it also enabled many hundreds of IS fighters to escape from the city. At the time, neither the US and British-led coalition, nor the SDF, which it backs, wanted to admit their part. Has the pact, which stood as Raqqa’s dirty secret, unleashed a threat to the outside world - one that has enabled militants to spread far and wide across Syria and beyond? Great pains were taken to hide it from the world. Publicly, the SDF said that only a few dozen fighters had been able to leave, all of them locals. But one lorry driver tells us that isn't true. "We took out around 4,000 people including women and children," [the lorry driver said]. The convoy was six to seven kilometres long. In light of the BBC investigation, the coalition now admits the part it played in the deal. Some 250 IS fighters were allowed to leave Raqqa, with 3,500 of their family members.
Note: The rise of Islamic State militants was a predicted outcome of a CIA and MI6 program to transfer weapons from Libyan stockpiles to Syrian rebels in 2012. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
People with a history of mental illness, drug abuse and self-mutilation can now apply to serve in the U.S. Army, according to a report on Sunday, which emerged as a former Air Force recruit’s mass shooting at a Texas church continues raising questions about the military’s handling of mental health problems. The Army signed off on the change of policy in August but never announced it. Under the new policy, applicants with mental health issues that previously would have barred them from service can ask for waivers allowing them to sign up. This ends an eight-year ban on the waivers that started after a spike in suicides among American fighters. More than 200 active-duty servicemembers have died by suicide every year since 2008, according to Pentagon data. The latest mental health controversy began last week after Devin Kelley ... shot and killed 26 people. Kelley had been kicked out of the Air Force in 2012 for assaulting his wife and infant stepson, and he was also committed to a mental health facility in New Mexico, where he escaped after threatening to kill his superiors. The Air Force said Kelley was ... never entered into a federal criminal database, which would have stopped him from buying weapons. This is the second consecutive year the Army has changed its recruiting standards to meet crushing demands for more troops.
The FBI’s background-check system is missing millions of records of criminal convictions, mental illness diagnoses and other flags that would keep guns out of potentially dangerous hands. Experts who study the data say government agencies responsible for maintaining such records have long failed to forward them into federal databases used for gun background checks. As the shooting at a Texas church on Sunday showed, what the FBI doesn’t know can get people killed. In that case, the gunman had been convicted at a court-martial of charges stemming from a domestic violence case. Officials say the Air Force never notified the FBI of his conviction, so when he purchased weapons at a retail store, he cleared the background check. The FBI said it doesn’t know the scope of the problem, but the National Rifle Association says about 7 million records are absent from the system, based on a 2013 report [which] determined that “at least 25% of felony convictions "are not available" to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System maintained by the FBI. In light of the Texas shooting, Air Force officials have ... faulted the staff at an air base for not sending the necessary information to the FBI, but federal officials who work in the database effort say the problem of military nonreporting of domestic violence cases extends far beyond a single base or service branch. A large number of people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence - who also are prohibited from buying guns - are absent from the FBI database as well.
The USS Cole case judge Wednesday found the Marine general in charge of war court defense teams guilty of contempt for refusing to follow the judge’s orders and sentenced him to 21 days confinement and to pay a $1,000 fine. Air Force Col. Vance Spath also declared “null and void” a decision by Marine Brig. Gen. John Baker, 50, to release three civilian defense attorneys from the capital terror case. The lawyers resigned last month over ... something so secretive at the terror prison that the public cannot know. Wednesday evening ... Judge Spath issued another order: Directing the three lawyers - Rick Kammen, Rosa Eliades and Mary Spears - to litigate Friday in the death-penalty case against Abd al Rahim al Nashiri remotely from the Washington D.C., area by video feed to Guantánamo. The judge’s dizzying pace of events ... came as the colonel sought to force the civilian, Pentagon-paid attorneys back on the case. Spath, who has declared they had no good cause to quit, had ordered Kammen, Eliades and Spears to come to Guantánamo on Sunday with other war court staff for a pretrial hearing. They refused. Kammen, a veteran capital defense attorney who had represented Nashiri for a decade, said Spath’s order to travel was an “illegal” effort to have three U.S. citizens “provide unethical legal services to keep the façade of justice that is the military commissions running.” Nashiri is accused of orchestrating al Qaida’s Oct. 12, 2000 suicide bombing of the U.S. warship off Yemen. No trial date has been set.
Note: Nashiri was reportedly tortured by the CIA. Read the 10 Craziest Things in the Senate Report on Torture. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing intelligence agency corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
American taxpayers have spent $1.46 trillion on wars abroad since September 11, 2001. The Department of Defense periodically releases a “cost of war” report. The newly released version ... covers the time from the September 11th terrorist attacks through mid-2017. The Afghanistan War from 2001 to 2014 and Iraq War from 2003 to 2011 account for the bulk of expenses: more than $1.3 trillion. The continuing presence in Afghanistan and aerial anti-ISIS operations in Iraq and Syria since 2014 have cost a combined $120 billion. The report’s costs include only direct war-related expenses. It most notably does not include the expense of veteran’s benefits for troops who serve in these wars or the intelligence community’s expenses related to Global War on Terror. A 2011 paper ... estimated the cost of veterans’ benefits as $600 billion to $1 trillion over the next 40 years. According to the Congressional Research Service, the only war in U.S. history to cost more than the Global War on Terror is World War II, at more than $4.1 trillion in present dollars. Direct war-related expenses from the Vietnam War cost $738 billion in today's dollars.
Something extraordinary was revealed today. Former high-level officials and scientists with deep black experience who have always remained in the shadows came forward on one platform. These insiders have long-standing connections to government agencies which may have programs investigating unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP/UFOs). The team includes a 25-year veteran of the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, a Lockheed Martin Program Director for Advanced Systems at “Skunk Works”, and a former deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence. Today marked the official launch of To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science (TTS/AAS) an innovative Public Benefit Corporation which will advance research into unexplained phenomena and develop related technology. Luis Eiizondo [is] the former Director of Programs to investigate Unidentified Aerial Threats for the Office of the Secretary of Defense. As a result of his position managing the DOD program for almost a decade, Lue said “I learned that the phenomena is indeed real.” Lue does not speak for the DOD, since he is no longer employed there; he speaks independently as part of the TTS Academy. Lue also stated: “We are also planning to provide never before released footage from real US Government systems...not blurry, amateur photos, but real data and real videos.” And even more significant: “We are inviting our Government colleagues and friends in Defense to participate regularly with their own findings.”
Note: Watch an intriguing 40-minute video of this group of very high level military intelligence talking openly about UFOs (transcript here). This is clearly a carefully planned and staged event. The question is to what end? Watch an excellent eight-minute video showing something is seriously fishy about Tom DeLonge and his company. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing UFO news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our UFO Information Center.
Members of Congress are demanding answers after a St. Louis scholar's new book revealed details of secret Cold War-era U.S. government testing in which countless unsuspecting people, including many children, pregnant women and minorities, were fed, sprayed or injected with radiation and other dangerous materials. Lisa Martino-Taylor ... wrote "Behind the Fog: How the U.S. Cold War Radiological Weapons Program Exposed Innocent Americans," [using] Freedom of Information Act requests to obtain previously unreleased documents, including Army records. She found that a small group of researchers, aided by leading academic institutions, worked to develop radiological weapons and later "combination weapons" using radioactive materials along with chemical or biological weapons. Martino-Taylor said the offensive radiological weapons program was a top priority for the government. Unknowing people in places throughout the U.S., as well as parts of England and Canada, were subjected to potentially deadly material through open-air spraying, ingestion and injection. "They targeted the most vulnerable in society," Martino-Taylor said. "They targeted children. They targeted pregnant women. People who were ill in hospitals. They targeted wards of the state. And they targeted minority populations." [House Democrat William Lacy] Clay said he was angered that Americans were used as "guinea pigs" for research. "I join with my colleagues to demand the whole truth about this testing," Clay said in a statement.
Note: See this news article for photos and a video of this event. Read about dozens of other incidents in which humans were used as guinea pigs, at times resulting in deaths that were covered up. Another video is available here. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the scientific community.
As part of his ongoing crusade targeting black athletes, President Donald Trump shared a tweet. It included an image of Pat Tillman, the former NFL safety-turned-U.S. Army Ranger who was killed in Afghanistan in the spring of 2004. Trump was co-signing a suggestion that Tillman was a true patriot, unlike those who have chosen to kneel during the national anthem. Tillman’s is indeed an all-American story, it’s just not the kind that Trump and his supporters want it to be. Few episodes of the post-9/11 era have called down more disgrace upon the military than its handling of Tillman’s death. Tillman was 25 years old when he joined the Army ... expecting to join the fight against Al Qaeda and the effort to bring Osama bin Laden to justice. Instead, he was sent to Iraq. Tillman loathed the Iraq War. He confided in his brother and their friend Russell Baer that he thought the invasion and occupation were “fucking illegal.” On April 22,  Tillman was killed. His memorial service was broadcast on national television. The military provided a Navy SEAL ... with a narrative to read to mourners. It described how Tillman charged up a ridgeline, braving enemy fire, and died defending his fellow soldiers. The military knew Tillman was killed by his fellow soldiers, brought down by three bullets to the head let loose during spasms of wildly irresponsible but deliberate shooting. In Tillman’s death, powerful officials saw an opportunity to spin a yarn of heroic sacrifice, rather than an obligation to tell the truth.
In a democracy, no one should be comforted to hear that generals have imposed discipline on an elected head of state. That was never supposed to happen in the United States. Now it has. Ultimate power to shape American foreign and security policy has fallen into the hands of three military men: General James Mattis, the secretary of defense; General John Kelly, President Trump’s chief of staff; and General H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser. They do not put on their ribbons to review military parades or dispatch death squads to kill opponents, as members of old-style juntas did. Yet their emergence reflects a new stage in the erosion of our political norms and the militarization of our foreign policy. Already they have exerted a stabilizing influence. Mattis refuses to join the rush to bomb North Korea, Kelly has imposed a measure of order on the White House staff, and McMaster pointedly distanced himself from Trump’s praise for white nationalists after the violence in Charlottesville. Being ruled by generals seems preferable to the alternative. It isn’t. Trump has made clear that when he must make foreign policy choices, he will defer to “my generals.” Military commanders are trained to fight wars, not to decide whether fighting makes strategic sense. That is properly the job of diplomats. Many Americans ... are so disgusted by the corruption and shortsightedness of our political class that they turn to soldiers as an alternative. It is a dangerous temptation.
Note: Check out this excellent article which shows how Trump, like Obama and his other predecessors, has been co-opted to support the hugely profitable war machine. According to this recent New York Times article, John Kelly now directly controls what news President Trump is and is not allowed to see. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the military.
The relationship between US national security and Hollywood is much deeper and more political than anyone has ever acknowledged. It is a matter of public record that the Pentagon has had an entertainment liaison office since 1948. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) established a similar position in 1996. Although it was known that they sometimes request script changes in exchange for advice, permission to use locations, and equipment such as aircraft carriers, each appeared to have passive, and largely apolitical roles. Files we obtained, mainly through the US Freedom of Information Act, show that between 1911 and 2017, more than 800 feature films received support from the US Government’s Department of Defence (DoD), a significantly higher figure than previous estimates indicate. These included blockbuster franchises such as Transformers, Iron Man, and The Terminator. On television, we found over 1,100 titles received Pentagon backing – 900 of them since 2005, from Flight 93 to Ice Road Truckers to Army Wives. When we include individual episodes for long running shows like 24, Homeland, and NCIS, as well as the influence of other major organisations like the FBI and White House, we can establish unequivocally for the first time that the national security state has supported thousands of hours of entertainment. For its part, the CIA has assisted in 60 film and television shows since its formation in 1947. This is a much lower figure than the DoD’s but its role has nonetheless been significant.
Note: Read how the Pentagon controls the script of hundreds of movies, some quite well known. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the manipulation of public perception.
A U.S. contractor bilked the American military out of $50 million spent on Bentleys, Aston Martins and big salaries for senior staffers’ significant others, according to a government audit. Senator Claire McCaskill demanded on Wednesday that the Pentagon explain why it was allowed to get away with it. The British company New Century Consulting (NCC) was deployed by the U.S. overseas to train Afghanistan forces. It was originally subcontracted by the now-defunct company Imperitas from 2008 to 2013 but has since taken over the contract completely. Under Imperitas, NCC ... paid the significant others of senior staff an average of $420,000 as “executive assistants” who worked from home, auditors found. It’s not clear whether Imperitas or NCC actually completed their work in Afghanistan, as neither retained complete training records. In a letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis Wednesday, McCaskill ... wrote that “NCC was unable to provide evidence that these executive assistants actually performed any work.” This is not the first time that NCC or Imperitas spending has been questioned or the companies investigated. In 2016, a federal lawsuit was brought in New York by investors against Imperitas. In 2015, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction had an ongoing criminal investigation open against both NCC and Imperitas. And in 2012, two former employees of Imperitas ... sued the company, alleging their co-workers abused alcohol and drugs and possessed illegal weapons—all violations of U.S. policy.
A former chief investigator at the Guantanamo Bay detention center is accusing the Pentagon of blocking publication of his book on the use of brutal interrogation techniques and top U.S. officials' advocacy of what he calls "torture." Mark Fallon, a Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) veteran, said his book "Unjustifiable Means" reveals no classified information or new detainee abuse cases but details internal deliberations about interrogation methods, identifies officials who advocated "torture" and describes how he and others objected. "This is more of an inside view of the fight to try to stop torture," he said. "There was a tremendous opposition within the government itself believing these were war crimes, and I name names." The use of the brutal interrogation methods made the country less safe, he said. Fallon said that he was told it would take no more than six weeks for the Defense Department office that scrubs manuscripts for unauthorized information to review his book. That was more than seven months ago. He has since missed his submission deadline, had to cancel a book tour and enlisted the American Civil Liberties Union and Columbia University's Knight First Amendment Institute to fight what he contends is a Pentagon effort to suppress his work and stifle his right to free speech. Now the ACLU and the Columbia University institute are taking Fallon's case to Congress.
Note: For more along these lines, see the "10 Craziest Things in the Senate Report on Torture". For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the intelligence community.
For decades, some of the dirtiest, darkest secrets of the chemical industry have been kept in Carol Van Strum’s barn. The ... structure in rural Oregon housed more than 100,000 pages of documents obtained through legal discovery in lawsuits against Dow, Monsanto, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Forest Service, the Air Force, and pulp and paper companies, among others. As of today, those documents and others ... will be publicly available through a project called the Poison Papers. The library contains more than 200,000 pages of information and “lays out a 40-year history of deceit and collusion involving the chemical industry and the regulatory agencies that were supposed to be protecting human health and the environment,” said Peter von Stackelberg, a journalist who along with the Center for Media and Democracy and the Bioscience Resource Project helped put the collection online. Van Strum didn’t set out to be the repository for the people’s pushback against the chemical industry. But [in 1974] she realized the Forest Service was spraying her area with an herbicide called 2,4,5-T. The chemicals hurt people and animals. Residents ... filed a suit that led to a temporary ban on 2,4,5-T in their area in 1977 and, ultimately, to a total stop to the use of the chemical in 1983. For Van Strum, the suit was also the beginning of lifetime of battling the chemical industry. “We didn’t think of ourselves as environmentalists, that wasn’t even a word back then,” Van Strum said. “We just didn’t want to be poisoned.”
Note: The herbicide 2,4,5-T is a main ingredient of Agent Orange. As recently as 2012, Monsanto, a manufacturer of Agent Orange, agreed to pay $93 million to settle claims of this poison's pollution of a US town. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and health.
Mary-Ann Rich rises at precisely 4:45 every morning. After feeding her cat, she ... sits for 20 minutes, motionless, her mind drifting far from the images of burned and blown up bodies that have haunted her for a decade. For the past four years, Rich has repeated this daily ritual to help heal her emotional scars from the 18 months she spent as an Army nurse in Iraq. After being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, she bounced from one treatment to another without much effect. Then she was introduced to Transcendental Meditation, or TM. She says that TM, more than any kind of therapy or pharmaceutical, has kept [the] horrors [of PTSD] at bay. Thousands of veterans ... have turned to TM to treat their PTSD - with blessing of the Pentagon and the Veterans Administration, which are struggling to treat the epidemic levels of PTSD and suicide among Iraq and Afghanistan vets. Aided by $30 million in grants from the Pentagon and the National Institutes of Health, [the nonprofit David Lynch Foundation] has worked ... to bring TM to vets and active-duty soldiers. TM practitioners receive a secret mantra - a meaningless word-sound - and repeat it to trigger a free-flowing 20-minute meditation twice a day. Colonel Brian Rees ... served as a doctor in Iraq and Afghanistan. TM’s simplicity, Rees says, is uniquely suited to the job of treating PTSD. In 2011, he researched 33 different meditation techniques and found that TM had the greatest potential to bolster soldiers’ resilience.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
In the sometimes hostile waters of the Persian Gulf looms the US Navy's first - in fact, the world's first - active laser weapon. The LaWS, an acronym for Laser Weapons System, is not science fiction. It is not experimental. It is deployed on board the USS Ponce amphibious transport ship, ready to be fired at targets today and every day by Capt. Christopher Wells and his crew. CNN was granted exclusive access to a live-fire test of the laser. "It is more precise than a bullet," Wells told CNN. "This is a very versatile weapon, it can be used against a variety of targets." For the test, the USS Ponce crew launched the target - a drone aircraft, a weapon in increasing use. Immediately, the weapons team zeroed in. "We don't have to lead a target," Hughes explained. "We see it, we focus on it, and we can negate that target." In an instant, the drone's wing lit up, heated to a temperature of thousands of degrees, lethally damaging the aircraft and sending it hurtling down to the sea. The strike comes silently and invisibly. "It operates in an invisible part of the electromagnetic spectrum so you don't see the beam, it doesn't make any sound, it's completely silent and it's incredibly effective at what it does," said Hughes. All the $40 million system needs to operate is a supply of electricity, which is derived from its own small generator, and has a crew of three. No multi-million-dollar missile, no ammunition at all. The cost per use? "It's about a dollar a shot," said Hughes.
America's second-highest ranking military officer, Gen. Paul Selva, advocated Tuesday for "keeping the ethical rules of war in place lest we unleash on humanity a set of robots that we don't know how to control." Selva was responding to a question from Sen. Gary Peters, a Michigan Democrat, about his views on a Department of Defense directive that requires a human operator to be kept in the decision-making process when it comes to the taking of human life by autonomous weapons systems. Peters said the restriction was "due to expire later this year." "I don't think it's reasonable for us to put robots in charge of whether or not we take a human life," Selva told the Senate Armed Services Committee during a confirmation hearing for his reappointment as the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He predicted that "there will be a raucous debate in the department about whether or not we take humans out of the decision to take lethal action," but added that he was "an advocate for keeping that restriction." Selva said humans needed to remain in the decision making process "because we take our values to war." His comments come as the US military has sought increasingly autonomous weapons systems.
Note: In another article Tesla founder Elon Musk's warns against the dangers of AI without regulation. A 2013 report for the U.N. Human Rights Commission called 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. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Drone pilots have been quitting the U.S. Air Force in record numbers. They cite a combination of low-class status in the military, overwork and psychological trauma. But a widely publicized new memoir about America’s covert drone war fails to mention the “outflow increases,” as one internal Air Force memo calls it. “Drone Warrior: An Elite Soldier’s Inside Account of the Hunt for America’s Most Dangerous Enemies” chronicles the nearly 10 years that Brett Velicovich, a former special operations member, spent using drones to help special forces find and track terrorists. Conveniently, it also puts a hard sell on a program whose ranks the military is struggling to keep full. The book is, at best, a tale of hyper-masculine bravado and, at worst, a piece of military propaganda designed to ease doubts about the drone program and increase recruitment. Velicovich exaggerates the accuracy of the technology, neglecting to mention how often it fails or that such failures have killed an untold number of civilians. For instance, the CIA killed 76 children and 29 adults in its attempts to take out Ayman al Zawahiri, the leader of Al Qaeda, who reportedly is still alive. The film rights to “Drone Warrior” were bought over a year ago, with much fanfare, by Paramount Pictures. This development is predictable. The U.S. military and Hollywood have long enjoyed a symbiotic relationship. But there is something particularly unseemly about Hollywood’s enthusiasm for bringing Velicovich’s version of drone warfare to the big screen.
Note: Documents obtained by a crowdfunded investigative journalism project show that US military and intelligence agencies have influenced over 1,800 movies and television shows. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption and the manipulation of mass media.
President Trump’s advisers recruited two businessmen who profited from military contracting to devise alternatives to the Pentagon’s plan to send thousands of additional troops to Afghanistan. Erik D. Prince, a founder of the private security firm Blackwater Worldwide, and Stephen A. Feinberg, a billionaire financier who owns the giant military contractor DynCorp International, have developed proposals to rely on contractors instead of American troops in Afghanistan at the behest of Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, and Jared Kushner, his senior adviser. Soliciting the views of Mr. Prince and Mr. Feinberg ... raises a host of ethical issues, not least that both men could profit from their recommendations. Mr. Feinberg ... met with the president on Afghanistan, according to an official, while Mr. Prince briefed several White House officials, including General McMaster. In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal in May, [Mr. Prince] called on the White House ... to use “private military units” to fill the gaps left by departed American soldiers. If Mr. Trump opted to use more contractors and fewer troops, it could also enrich DynCorp, which has already been paid $2.5 billion by the State Department for its work in the country. Mr. Feinberg controls DynCorp through Cerberus Capital Management.
Note: When Blackwater changed its name to Academi, the US paid $309 million to this company to conduct counternarcotics operations in Afghanistan. These operations reportedly contributed to the Afghan opium boom. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the corporate world.
The United States is stumbling into another decade of war in the greater Middle East. And this next decade of conflict might prove to be even more destabilizing than the last one. In the fight against the Islamic State, U.S. forces have been aggressively initiating attacks, resulting in a sharp rise in civilian deaths in Iraq and Syria. And in a dramatic escalation, this week the United States shot down a Syrian warplane, putting Washington on a collision course with Syria’s ally, Russia. Worse yet, it is unclear how this belligerence toward the Bashar al-Assad regime will achieve the sole stated mission of the United States’ involvement in Syria: to defeat the Islamic State. In Afghanistan, Trump has delegated the details of a mini-surge of 4,000 more troops to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. The United States has been in Afghanistan for 16 years. And yet, Mattis acknowledges that the United States is “not winning.” What will an additional 4,000 troops now achieve that 130,000 troops could not? In Yemen, the United States is more actively engaged in a conflict that does little to advance the fight against radical Islamist terrorism. Washington is further fueling Saudi Arabia’s proxy war against Iran - a war that has led the kingdom into a de facto alliance with al-Qaeda in Yemen. In almost every situation that U.S. forces are involved in, the solutions are more political than military. After 16 years of continuous warfare ... somebody in Washington needs to ask - before the next bombing or deployment: What is going on?
Hundreds of men swept up in the hunt for al-Qaida militants have disappeared into a secret network of prisons in southern Yemen where abuse is routine and torture extreme - including the "grill," in which the victim is tied to a spit like a roast and spun in a circle of fire, an Associated Press investigation has found. Senior American defense officials acknowledged Wednesday that U.S. forces have been involved in interrogations of detainees in Yemen but denied any participation in or knowledge of human rights abuses. Interrogating detainees who have been abused could violate international law, which prohibits complicity in torture. The secret prisons are inside military bases, ports, an airport, private villas and even a nightclub. Some detainees have been flown to an Emirati base across the Red Sea in Eritrea, according to Yemen Interior Minister Hussein Arab and others. Several U.S. defense officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the topic, told AP that American forces do participate in interrogations of detainees at locations in Yemen, provide questions for others to ask, and receive transcripts of interrogations from Emirati allies. They said U.S. senior military leaders were aware of allegations of torture at the prisons in Yemen, looked into them, but were satisfied that there had not been any abuse when U.S. forces were present. Inside war-torn Yemen, however ... nearly 2,000 men have disappeared into the clandestine prisons, a number so high that it has triggered near-weekly protests.
Note: Saudi Arabia's military campaign in Yemen has strong US military support, and flagrantly violates international law. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Fifteen years after he helped devise the brutal interrogation techniques used on terrorism suspects in secret C.I.A. prisons, John Bruce Jessen, a former military psychologist, expressed ambivalence about the program. He described himself and a fellow military psychologist, James Mitchell, as reluctant participants in using the techniques, some of which are widely viewed as torture. The two psychologists ... are defendants in the only lawsuit that may hold participants accountable for causing harm. Revelations about the C.I.A. practices ... led to an eventual ban on the techniques and a prohibition by the American Psychological Association against members’ participation in national security interrogations. The two psychologists argue that the C.I.A., for which they were contractors, controlled the program. But it is difficult to successfully sue agency officials because of government immunity. Under the agency’s direction, the two men ... proposed [and applied] the “enhanced interrogation” techniques. Their business received $81 million. When [the psychologists] wanted to end the waterboarding sessions as no longer useful, C.I.A. supervisors ... ordered them to continue. Dr. Mitchell said that the C.I.A. officials told them: “‘You guys have lost your spine.’ I think the word that was actually used is that you guys are pussies. There was going to be another attack in America and the blood of dead civilians are going to be on your hands.”
Note: Prior to condemning torture, some of the American Psychological Association’s top officials sought to curry favor with Pentagon officials by supporting the CIA's brutal interrogation methods. For more along these lines, read about how the torture program fits in with a long history of human experimentation by corrupt intelligence agencies working alongside unethical scientists. For more, see this list of programs that treated humans as guinea pigs.
The extraordinary destruction of a Syrian fighter jet by a US aircraft on Sunday has precious little to do with the Syrian plane’s target in the desert near Rasafa – but much to do with the advance of the Syrian army close to the American-backed Kurdish forces along the Euphrates. The American strike on Monday was ... a warning to the Syrians to stay away from the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces – the facade-name for large numbers of Kurds and a few Arab fighters – since they are now very close to each other in the desert. But the Syrian military are still winning against Isis and its fellow militias – with Russian and Hezbollah help, of course – although comparatively few Iranians are involved. The US has been grossly exaggerating the size of the Iranian forces in Syria, perhaps because this fits in with Saudi and American nightmares of Iranian expansion. So who is fighting Isis? And who is not fighting Isis? The Syrian army, supported by the Russians, is fighting Isis. But what is America doing attacking first Assad’s air base near Homs, then the regime’s allies near Al-Tanf and now one of Assad’s fighter jets? It seems that Washington is now keener to strike at Assad – and his Iranian supporters inside Syria – than it is to destroy Isis. That would be following Saudi Arabia’s policy. If we are to believe all the Americans now say, they want to destroy Isis but are quite prepared to go on attacking the Syrian government forces that are fighting Isis. Does Washington want simply to break up Syria and leave it as a failed state?
UN war crimes investigators have denounced a “staggering loss of civilian life” caused by the US-backed campaign to reclaim Raqqa, the de facto capital of Islamic State. The independent commission of inquiry tasked with investigating violations of international law, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria said the intensification of airstrikes by the US-led coalition had led to the deaths of at least 300 civilians in the city. The Raqqa operation began last week with a ground assault by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an umbrella group comprising Kurdish and Arab militiamen armed by the US and supported by coalition airstrikes. “The intensification of airstrikes ... has resulted not only in staggering loss of civilian life, but has also led to 160,000 civilians fleeing their homes and becoming internally displaced,” Paulo Pinheiro, the chairman of the UN commission of inquiry, told the human rights council in Geneva. The civilian cost of the campaign was highlighted last week when footage emerged of coalition planes deploying white phosphorus in the city, which is home to tens of thousands of civilians, prisoners of war, enslaved Yazidi women, and a few thousand Isis militants. Human Rights Watch urged the coalition separately on Wednesday to exercise great caution when using white phosphorus, saying it could cause “horrific and long-lasting harm” in crowded cities such as Raqqa.
The U.S. Army failed to properly monitor more than $1 billion worth of arms transfers in Iraq and Kuwait, according to a declassified government audit obtained by Amnesty International. Amnesty obtained the documents through Freedom of Information law requests. The group’s research documents lax controls and record-keeping ... which has resulted in arms manufactured in the U.S. and other countries winding up in the hands of armed groups known to be committing war crimes and other atrocities, such as the Islamic State militant group (ISIS). The U.S. Department of Defense audit from September 2016 shows that the DoD “did not have accurate, up-to-date records on the quantity and location” of ... tens of thousands of assault rifles (worth $28 million), hundreds of mortar rounds and hundreds of Humvee armored vehicles destined for use by the central Iraqi Army. A previous DoD audit, in 2015, pointed to even less rigorous stockpile monitoring procedures being enforced by the Iraqi armed forces. Meanwhile, the Pentagon has overbilled the U.S. military for fuel by almost $6 billion over the past seven years, and then used the money to bolster underfunded or mismanaged defense programs, according to a report in The Washington Post on Saturday. Earlier, the federal Government Accountability Office criticized the U.S. for failing to account for thousands of rifles issued to Afghan security forces. The 2009 report said some weapons were documented to be in the hands of insurgents.
Note: Since 1996, approximately $10 trillion in taxpayer money has gone unaccounted for at the US Dept. of Defense. Read a verifiable and carefully researched report on the covert origins of ISIS. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Annie Jacobsen is back with a new tome that should entice anyone who doesn't mind thinking outside the box. Phenomena: The Secret History of the U.S. Government's Investigations into Extrasensory Perception and Psychokinesis [is] a well researched and fascinating tale. The story involves author Aldous Huxley, spoon-bender Uri Geller, the CIA, the lesser-known "Defense Intelligence Agency," Delta Force, Soviet Russia, President Ronald Reagan, as well as Ed Dames who was a character in the movie "The Men Who Stare at Goats," which starred George Clooney. The yarn really gets going after WWII and the advent of the Cold War when worries about what the Soviets were doing reached a peak. Believing that the Russians were involved in so-called psyops (a.k.a. psychological operations) the U.S. Military jumped into the fray with lots of money and resources. Specifically, massive and somewhat successful research was done into the area known as remote viewing. That's where trained and talented personnel try to see what is happening in a location elsewhere in the world using only their mind to do so. This work sometimes edged into precognition or receiving visions of events before they actually occur. Notably, via extrasensory perception, one person gained knowledge that a senior military officer would be kidnapped by European terrorists. When the abduction happened ... with the help of the psyops personnel, the hostage was found alive. That's just one successful episode in the story.
A US Central Command investigation found that a March US airstrike in northern Syria did in fact strike a building that was part of a "mosque complex." For days following the March 16 strike, the Pentagon adamantly rejected the notion that a mosque was hit and that there were civilian casualties - even as numerous social media reports showed images of bodies being taken out of the rubble. Instead, in the initial hours following the strike by US drones and aircraft, the Pentagon insisted that it hit only a building some 40 feet away from the mosque, where it said al Qaeda members were holding a meeting. Typically any religious structure would be on a so-called no-strike list, along with hospitals and schools. There are procedures to move structures off the no-strike list if it is clear they have lost their protected status because terrorists are using them and there are no civilians present. It is ... not clear if the building was listed as a religious site on a database that the mission planners were unaware of. One official said the investigation found that "religious use" was a primary function of the building at times. The day after the strike, Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters: "We do not currently assess there were any civilian casualties."
Note: Record numbers of civilians have reportedly been killed by US-led strikes in recent months. Casualties of war whose identities are unknown are frequently misreported to be "militants". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
"It's the world's biggest funder of terrorism. Saudi Arabia funnels our petrodollars, our very own money, to fund the terrorists that seek to destroy our people." So said Donald Trump, private citizen. But then President Trump made Saudi Arabia his very first foreign destination. Trump rode in a golf cart with King Salman, did a traditional sword dance and speechified about America's great friendship with "the Magnificent Kingdom." What changed Trump's mind? Apparently, $110 billion. That's how much the Saudis announced Saturday that they'll spend to buy advanced American weaponry - one of the biggest arms deals in history. This weapons deal, the president said, is all about U.S. jobs. Yet how many Americans want to work to arm the country that, as Citizen Trump said, "blew up the World Trade Center"? Fifteen of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudis. The 9/11 Commission report found that Saudi society "was a place where al Qaeda raised money directly from individuals and through charities," and that it was likely that "charities with significant Saudi government sponsorship diverted funds to al Qaeda." Massive amounts of funding still go from Saudi Arabia to extremist groups. The main force behind the weekend's arms deal is King Salman's son, Mohammed bin Salman. This young prince is leading Saudi's war in Yemen, where Saudi attacks on civilians have been flagrant enough to make the United Nations warn of war crimes.
The Mother of All Bombs made news last week after the U.S. military dropped its most powerful non-nuclear bomb at a site in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar Province. This massive ... explosive device may seem a high-tech marvel. But the technology is old news, based on ... World War II-era theories. Yet there’s plenty of new news on the military weapons front. The military’s new toys are often fantastically costly. Yet in some categories, technological advances create opportunities for cheap but powerful military tools ... starting with weaponized drones. The Defense Department is designing robotic fighter jets that would fly into combat alongside manned aircraft. It has tested missiles that can decide what to attack, and it has built ships that can hunt for enemy submarines ... without any help from humans. The dilemma posed by artificial intelligence-driven autonomous weapons - which some scientists liken to the “third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms” - is that to take fullest advantage of such weapons, the logical move would be to leave humans entirely out of lethal decision-making, allowing for quicker responses to threats. But if future presidents and Pentagons trusted algorithms to make such decisions, conflicts between two nations relying on such technology could rapidly escalate - to possibly apocalyptic levels - without human involvement. More than 20,000 AI researchers, scientists and [others have signed] a ...petition endorsing a ban on offensive autonomous weapons.
Note: In 2013, the United Nations investigated the rise of lethal autonomous robots, and reported that this technology endangers human rights and should not be developed further without international oversight. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Just over a week ago, the White House declared that ordering an American aircraft carrier into the Sea of Japan would send a powerful deterrent signal to North Korea and give President Trump more options in responding to the North’s provocative behavior. “We’re sending an armada,” Mr. Trump said to Fox News last Tuesday afternoon. The problem was that the carrier, the Carl Vinson, and the three other warships in its strike force were that very moment sailing in the opposite direction, to take part in joint exercises with the Australian Navy ... 3,500 miles southwest of the Korean Peninsula. White House officials said Tuesday that they had been relying on guidance from the Defense Department. Officials there described a glitch-ridden sequence of events ... which perpetuated the false narrative that a flotilla was racing toward the waters off North Korea. By the time the White House was asked about the Carl Vinson, its imminent arrival had been emblazoned on front pages across East Asia, fanning fears that Mr. Trump was considering a pre-emptive military strike. In South Korea ... fears of a full-blown war erupted. The government rushed to reassure the public that the Carl Vinson was coming only to deter North Korean provocations. After a week of war drums, fueled by the reports of the oncoming armada, tensions subsided when the weekend passed with only a military parade in Pyongyang and a failed missile test, [while] the Carl Vinson ... was thousands of miles from where most of the world thought it was.
A leading weapons academic has claimed that the Khan Sheikhoun nerve agent attack in Syria was staged. Theodore Postol, a [former scientific advisor at the Department of Defense (DoD)], issued a series of three reports in response to the White House's finding that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad perpetrated the attack on 4 April. Postol said: "I have reviewed the [White House's] document carefully, and [it] does not provide any evidence whatsoever that the US government has concrete knowledge that the government of Syria was the source of the chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria. "In fact, a main piece of evidence that is cited in the document point to an attack that was executed by individuals on the ground, not from an aircraft, on the morning of 4 April. "My own assessment is that the source [of the sarin release] was very likely tampered with or staged, so no serious conclusion could be made from the photographs cited by the White House." The image Postol refers to is that of a crater containing a shell inside, which is said to have contained the sarin gas. His analysis of the shell suggests that it could not have been dropped from an airplane as the damage of the casing is inconsistent from an aerial explosion. Instead, Postol said it was more likely that an explosive charge was laid upon the shell containing sarin, before being detonated. The implication of Postol's analysis is that [the attack] was carried out by anti-government insurgents as Khan Sheikhoun is in militant-controlled territory of Syria.
Note: See an excellent list of 10 points with strong evidence Assad was not behind the chemical attacks the media has pinned on him. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the manipulation of mass media.
An Associated Press investigation of U.N. missions during the past 12 years found nearly 2,000 allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers and other personnel around the world. More than 300 of the allegations involved children. Only a fraction of the alleged perpetrators served jail time. In Haiti, at least 134 Sri Lankan peacekeepers exploited nine children in a sex ring from 2004 to 2007, according to an internal U.N. report. 114 peacekeepers were sent home. None was ever imprisoned. In March, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced new measures to tackle sexual abuse. But the proclamation had a depressingly familiar ring: More than a decade ago, the United Nations commissioned a report that promised to do much the same thing, yet most of the reforms never materialized. For a full two years after those promises were made, the children in Haiti were passed around from soldier to soldier. And in the years since, peacekeepers have been accused of sexual abuse the world over. The AP found that some 150 allegations of abuse and exploitation by U.N. peacekeepers and other personnel were reported in Haiti alone between 2004 and 2016. Aside from the Sri Lankan sex ring in Haiti, some perpetrators were jailed for other cases. Alleged abusers came from Bangladesh, Brazil, Jordan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Uruguay and Sri Lanka. More countries may have been involved, but the United Nations only started disclosing alleged perpetrators' nationalities after 2015.
Note: In 2015, UN officials unsuccessfully attempted to cover up an internal report alleging sexual abuse of children by peacekeeping troops in Africa. Watch an excellent segment by Australia's "60-Minutes" team "Spies, Lords and Predators" on a pedophile ring in the UK which leads directly to the highest levels of government. A second suppressed documentary, "Conspiracy of Silence," goes even deeper into this topic in the US. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
On Thursday, Donald Trump released a preliminary budget proposal that calls for a $52bn increase in military spending. But just last December, a Washington Post investigation found that the Pentagon had buried a report that outlines $125bn in waste at the Department of Defense. Although it’s required to by law, the DoD has never had an audit, something every American person, every company and every other government agency is subject to. The result is an astounding $10tn [that $10 trillion!] in taxpayer money that has gone unaccounted for since 1996. “Over the last 20 years, the Pentagon has broken every promise to Congress about when an audit would be completed,” the director of the Audit the Pentagon coalition, Rafael DeGennaro, told the Guardian. “Meanwhile, Congress has more than doubled the Pentagon’s budget.” Legislation in the early 1990s demanded that all government agencies had annual audits, but the Pentagon has exempted itself without consequence for 20 years now. In the meantime, the GAO and Office of the Inspector General (IG) have published an endless stream of reports documenting financial mismanagement: $500m in aid to Yemen lost here, $5.8bn in supplies lost there, $8,000 spent on helicopter gears that really cost $500. During this past election cycle, both the Democratic and Republican platforms called for the Pentagon’s audit. But despite broad support, the issue has remained stagnant in Washington.
Note: When every business in the country and every other branch of government is required to account for every dollar, how can the Pentagon get away with failing to account for literally trillions of dollars year after year? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
A retired US Navy admiral is one of six former officers arrested and charged with bribery in a recently-unsealed indictment, part of an ongoing investigation into the “Fat Leonard” scandal. Retired Navy Adm. Bruce Loveless ... stood accused of providing classified information and offering preferential business treatment to Malaysian defense contractor Leonard Glenn Francis, known as “Fat Leonard.” In exchange, the indictment charges, he and the other members of Mr. Francis’s “Wolf Pack” received a host of bribes, including meals, hotels, and encounters with prostitutes. Francis’s company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, had long serviced Navy ships in the Pacific, cleaning, refueling, and restocking the ships. Over the course of a decade starting round 2005, Francis and his company worked to develop ties with Navy officers. These Navy officers, in turn, helped recruit others who might be willing to share classified shipping schedules and route Navy ships through ports where Francis’s company could charge fake tariffs, prosecutors allege. In 2007, an email from chief warrant officer Robert Gorsuch told Francis that these officers were developing “personality profiles” on potential recruits. The rewards for participating Navy officers for this association – which Francis admitted in 2015 cost the Navy $200 million – were substantial. The indictment enumerates the bribes received by officers between 2006 and 2012. All in all, 13 defendants have pleaded guilty so far.
Note: At one point, Frances bribed Naval officials to redirect an aircraft carrier, and avoided prosecution for years by also bribing military investigators. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in the military and in the corporate world.
Leaked court documents raise concerns that the murder of the Honduran environmentalist Berta Cáceres was an extrajudicial killing planned by military intelligence specialists linked to the country’s US–trained special forces. Cáceres was shot dead a year ago while supposedly under state protection after receiving death threats over her opposition to a hydroelectric dam. The murder of Cáceres, winner of the prestigious Goldman environmental prize in 2015, prompted international outcry and calls for the US to revoke military aid to Honduras, a key ally in its war on drugs. Eight men have been arrested in connection with the murder, including one serving and two retired military officers. Officials have denied state involvement in the activist’s murder, and downplayed the arrest of the serving officer Maj Mariano Díaz. But ... Díaz, a decorated special forces veteran, was appointed chief of army intelligence in 2015. Another suspect, Lt Douglas Giovanny Bustillo joined the military on the same day as Díaz. Díaz and Bustillo both received military training in the US. A third suspect, Sgt Henry Javier Hernández, was a former special forces sniper, who had worked under the direct command of Díaz. Last year, the Guardian reported that a former Honduran soldier said he had seen Cáceres’s name on a hitlist that was passed to US-trained units. Sgt Rodrigo Cruz said that two elite units were given lists featuring the names and photographs of activists – and ordered to eliminate each target.
Note: The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly known as the School of the Americas, reportedly graduated more than 500 human rights abusers. The identities of many other US-trained troops operating in other countries remain hidden by US courts. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), who has charged the Obama administration with funneling money to the Islamic State and al-Qaeda-linked groups in Syria, visited Damascus this week on what her office called a “fact-finding trip ... to promote and work for peace.” A member of the House Foreign Affairs and Armed Services committees, Gabbard has called for the administration to abandon all assistance to armed groups and stop seeking Assad’s overthrow, saying that the effort undermines the fight against the Islamic State there. Gabbard last month introduced the Stop Arming Terrorists Act, which would bar the U.S. government from providing money or other support to the Islamic State ... or to any of their allies or to any countries that support them directly or indirectly. “If you or I gave money, weapons or support to al-Qaeda or ISIS, we would be thrown in jail,” she said in announcing the legislation. “Yet the U.S. government has been violating this law for years, quietly supporting allies and partners of al-Qaeda, ISIL ... and other terrorist groups with money, weapons and intelligence support, in their fight to overthrow the Syrian government.” Citing news reports detailing CIA and other support to groups fighting against Assad ... Gabbard compared the U.S. effort to the Reagan administration’s secret funding of Nicaraguan rebels who sought to overthrow that country’s government in the 1980s, despite a congressional ban.
Note: A powerful and well researched article shows the key role the U.S. played in the formation and support of ISIS. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and terrorism.
Mice were turned into Walking Dead-style zombie killers by turning on a light that activated specific brain cells associated with hunting, scientists have revealed. The researchers found that firing one set of neurons prompted the mouse to pursue its prey, while doing the same to another set caused the animal to bite and kill its target. The effect was so strong that the otherwise perfectly ordinary creature would attack anything nearby, such as sticks or bottle caps, as well as more normal prey like crickets. A technique called optogenetics ... allowed [scientists] to activate specific brain cells using a laser. So one minute the mice would be behaving normally, but as soon as the laser was turned on they would aggressively attack whatever was around them. The effect was stronger in mice that were hungry, and they also did not attack other mice in the cage. Professor Ivan de Araujo, of Yale University School of Medicine, who took part in the research, said ... “The system is not just generalised aggression. It seems to be related to the animal’s interest in obtaining food.” he said. However, the effect was so powerful that the mice would attack inedible objects. The paper in Cell explained: “When a non-edible item was placed in the cage, laser activation caused the otherwise indifferent mice to immediately ... seize the object, which was then held with the forepaws and bitten. “Behaviour was interrupted immediately upon laser deactivation." It said the mice were never seen to attack inanimate objects unless the laser was used.
Note: Remember that secret military projects are often 10 to 20 years of anything being publicly announced. How far have they gone with this? Are soldier secretly being subjected to this technology? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing major media articles on secret government mind control programs.
The U.S. dropped an average of 72 bombs every day - the equivalent of three an hour - in 2016, according to an analysis of American strikes around the world. The report from the Council of Foreign Relations comes as Barack Obama finishes up [a] presidency ... that began with promises to withdraw from international conflicts. According to the New York City-based think tank, 26,171 bombs were dropped on Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan during the year. CFR warned that its estimates were "undoubtedly low, considering reliable data is only available for airstrikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya, and a single 'strike,' according to the Pentagon's definition, can involve multiple bombs or munitions." Some 24,287 bombs were used in Iraq and Syria. In 2015, the U.S. dropped 22,110 bombs in Iraq and Syria, CFR reported. Last year saw a sharp uptick in strikes in Afghanistan, with 1,337 compared with 947 in 2015.
Life as we know it almost ended in 1980. At a Titan II complex in Damascus, Ark., a technician dropped a wrench during routine service of one of the missiles. It bounced down the cavernous silo and punctured the missile’s fuselage. Rocket fuel poured out, and desperate efforts began to prevent the warhead – 600 times greater in explosive power than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima – from detonating. With reenactments the equal of any thriller and gripping interviews with participants, experts, and survivors, Robert Kenner’s “Command and Control” shows how close we came to the brink of annihilation, and how likely the chances are of such an accident occurring again — with potentially catastrophic consequences. While “Command and Control” tells the story of a nuclear catastrophe that nearly happened in the past, Peter Galison and Robb Moss’s documentary “Containment” shows how the distant future - as in hundreds of thousands of years from now - might be a little dicey, too. The problem is the hundreds of millions of gallons of nuclear waste, some with a half-life in six digits, the residue of weapons making and reactors, that litter the landscape. Not only must secure places be found to store it, but some way must be devised to warn future generations who might not share the same language as us. Moss and Galison employ startling documentary footage and scintillating sci-fi-like animation in examining the danger.
Note: Watch a riveting 10-minute clip from the documentary on the near disaster in Arkansas. One former officer involved in the incident states, "You had to be ready to destroy an entire civilization." For lots more on this important documentary, see this PBS webpage.
Africa has seen the most dramatic growth in the deployment of America’s elite troops of any region of the globe over the past decade. In 2006, just 1% of commandos sent overseas were deployed in the U.S. Africa Command area of operations. In 2016, 17.26% of all U.S. Special Operations forces ... deployed abroad were sent to Africa, according to data supplied to The Intercept by U.S. Special Operations Command. That total ranks second only to the Greater Middle East where the U.S. is waging war against enemies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. Brigadier General Donald Bolduc, the chief of U.S. Special Operations Command Africa, told African Defense, a U.S. trade publication, “We are not at war in Africa - but our African partners certainly are.” That statement stands in stark contrast to this year’s missions in Somalia where, for example, U.S. Special Operations forces assisted local commandos in killing several members of the militant group, al-Shabab and Libya, where they supported local fighters battling members of the Islamic State. These missions also speak to the exponential growth of special operations on the continent. U.S. special operators were actually deployed in at least 33 African nations, more than 60% of the 54 countries on the continent, in 2016. The majority of African governments that hosted deployments of U.S. commandos in 2016 have seen their own security forces cited for human rights abuses by the U.S. State Department.
We might already be living through the first world cyberwar – it’s just that we haven’t acknowledged or named it yet. What might a timeline of that war look like? Well, 2007 seems like a good bet as a starting point – with a concerted series of cyber-attacks on Estonia. In 2008 there were events that a historian might weave into a narrative of a global cyberwar, when several underwater internet cables were cut during the course of the year, interrupting internet communication and particularly affecting the Middle East. In 2010 the Stuxnet worm was used to attack Iran’s nuclear program. Another event from 2010, the WikiLeaks American embassy cables release ... would be irresistible for a historian to refer to in this context. One of the things that makes the first world cyberwar different from conventional warfare [is] the mix of nation states being involved with pressure groups, whistleblowers and hackers. Historians will be unable to ignore ... the 2016 US election campaign being influenced by alleged hacked and leaked emails. What reason is there to suppose that these events might eventually be grouped together as a single world cyberwar by historians? It is the idea that hostilities might formally come to an end. You can envisage a scenario where Russia, China and the US can see a mutual benefit in de-escalating cyber-attacks between the three of them.
Note: A 2007 New York Times article describes the formation of the Air Force Cyberspace Command to arm the US military in anticipation of widespread computer-based warfare. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Suicide - not combat - is the leading killer of U.S. troops deployed to the Middle East to fight Islamic State militants, according to newly released Pentagon statistics. U.S. casualties have been relatively low since the U.S.-led war effort began with a bombing campaign in August 2014, reflecting the limited combat exposure for troops. Of the 31 troops who have died as of Dec. 27 in Operation Inherent Resolve, 11 have taken their own lives. Eight died in combat, seven in accidents and four succumbed to illness or injury. The cause of one death is under investigation. The reasons suicide ranks as the No. 1 cause of troop deaths ... likely include mental illnesses that enlistees brought with them to boot camp, post-traumatic stress, multiple combat deployments and heightened anxiety in a military at war for 16 years. By far, 2016 has been the most dangerous for U.S. forces since the war began. Seven of the eight combat deaths have occurred in 2016, and 21 of the 26 troops wounded in action suffered their injuries this year. But the military's suicide problem continues. Between 2001 and 2010, the rate of suicide in the military doubled. The chief spike occurred around 2005 when fighting and combat deaths soared in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Army shouldered most of the war’s burden. The Army still has the highest percentage among the services for suicide. As a whole, the military’s rate of suicide of about 20 per 100,000 troops in 2014 was comparable to the same civilian population.
The United States again ranked first in global weapons sales last year, signing deals for about $40 billion, or half of all agreements in the worldwide arms bazaar, and far ahead of France, the No. 2 weapons dealer with $15 billion in sales, according to a new congressional study. Developing nations continued to be the largest buyers of arms in 2015, with Qatar signing deals for more than $17 billion in weapons last year, followed by Egypt, which agreed to buy almost $12 billion in arms, and Saudi Arabia, with over $8 billion in weapons purchases. The United States and France increased their overseas weapons sales in 2015, as purchases of American weapons grew by around $4 billion and France’s deals increased by well over $9 billion. The report, “Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 2008-2015,” was prepared by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, a division of the Library of Congress, and delivered to legislators last week. The annual review is considered the most comprehensive assessment of global arms sales available in an unclassified form. Russia, another dominant power in the global arms market, saw a modest decline in orders for its weapons, dropping to $11.1 billion in sales from the $11.2 billion total in 2014. China reached $6 billion in weapons sales, up from its 2014 total of over $3 billion. The largest buyers of weapons in the developing world in 2015 were Qatar, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Pakistan, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq.
Note: Read about a lavish party thrown for a Pentagon official in charge of administering arms sales by weapons industry executives. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
The systems devised to govern the use of nuclear weapons, like all complex technological systems, are inherently flawed. But the failure of a nuclear command-and-control system can have [serious] consequences. Millions of people, perhaps hundreds of millions, could be annihilated inadvertently. Today, the odds of a nuclear war being started by mistake are low - and yet the risk is growing, as the United States and Russia drift toward a new cold war. Many of the nuclear-weapon systems on both sides are aging and obsolete. The personnel who operate those systems often suffer from poor morale and poor training. In 2013, the two-star general in charge of the entire Minuteman [intercontinental ballistic missile] force was removed from duty after going on a drunken bender during a visit to Russia. The following year, almost a hundred Minuteman launch officers were disciplined for cheating on their proficiency exams. In 2015 ... a launch officer at Minot Air Force Base, in North Dakota, was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison for heading a violent street gang. As the job title implies, launch officers are entrusted with the keys for launching intercontinental ballistic missiles. The Minuteman III is a relic of the Cold War not only in design but also in its strategic purpose. When the atomic bomb was being developed ... the destruction of cities and the deliberate targeting of civilians was just another military tactic. The Geneva Conventions later classified those practices as war crimes - and yet nuclear weapons have no other real use.
Note: The above was written by Eric Schlosser, author of the 2013 book "Command and Control," which documents errors and accidents in the arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union. The US came very close to accidentally starting a nuclear war in 1973. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
The US "got it wrong" about Saddam Hussein and Iraq, the CIA analyst who interrogated the former dictator has said. John Nixon had numerous conversations with the deposed leader and now says that America was critically mistaken about their intervention Iraq. In particular, he claims, the CIA’s view of Hussein’s attitude to using chemical weapons was wrong. During the interrogations, Mr Nixon asked Hussein if he’d ever thought of engaging in a pre-emptive strike with WMDs against US troops based in Saudi Arabia. According to Mr Nixon ... the former dictator’s reply was: “We never thought about using weapons of mass destruction. It was not discussed. Use chemical weapons against the world? Is there anyone with full faculties who would do this?” Mr Nixon admitted this was “not what we had expected to hear”. The main reason the American and British governments used to justify the controversial invasion of Iraq was the supposed risk posed by the WMDs possessed by the country. Nearly 200,000 people have died in the conflicts that followed. Iraq is now widely regarded as a failed state, and still suffers from widespread violence. Thirteen years on, at least 5,000 American troops remain in the country. Mr Nixon also spoke out against Mr Bush, who was rude towards him and reportedly made inappropriate jokes about the missing WMDs. Mr Bush blamed the CIA for Iraq’s failures, Mr Nixon said, adding that he “called its analysis ‘guesswork’ while hearing only what he wanted to hear”.
Note: Have you noticed how every Arabic nation to which the U.S. has sent armed forces has ended up not with a stronger democracy, but in a situation of chaos? Do you think this might be intentional? The war machine makes huge profits from conditions of chaos. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
The watchdog wing of Congress has quietly launched an investigation into the “integrity” of the Pentagon’s whistleblower protection program. The Government Accountability Office, which serves as the investigative arm of Congress, has been looking into the extent to which Department of Defense whistleblower policies ... reassure employees of their rights to raise concerns “without fear of reprisal.” The investigation will also likely target senior Pentagon officials accused of destroying evidence that would have exculpated former senior NSA official Thomas Drake, who raised internal complaints about what he believed to be NSA misconduct and waste before ultimately approaching journalists. Rather than having his concerns acknowledged, Drake spent months fighting charges against him under the Espionage Act. His career in the intelligence community was ended. “Bureaucratic abuses of power are the primary reason otherwise circumspect national security whistleblowers leak to the media. It is too dangerous to work within an untrustworthy system,” Tom Devine, legal director of the Government Accountability Project, wrote in a statement. John Crane, formerly the assistant inspector general in the Pentagon, revealed his role in attempting to protect Drake’s identity and investigate the document destruction involved in his case last May - an effort he claims cost him his job. The implications of the investigation may eventually be important for evaluating the actions of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Note: Mass surveillance whistleblower Thomas Drake attempted to work within the system and was was targeted for prosecution. John Crane was forced out of the Pentagon in 2013. His story is told in a new book, titled, Bravehearts: Whistle Blowing In The Age of Snowden by Mark Hertsgaard. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy.
The Pentagon has buried an internal study that exposed $125 billion in administrative waste in its business operations. Pentagon leaders had requested the study to help make their enormous back-office bureaucracy more efficient. But after the project documented far more wasteful spending than expected, senior defense officials moved swiftly to kill it by discrediting and suppressing the results. The report, issued in January 2015, identified “a clear path” for the Defense Department to save $125 billion over five years. The plan would not have required layoffs of civil servants or reductions in military personnel. Instead, it would have streamlined the bureaucracy ... curtailed high-priced contractors and made better use of information technology. The study was produced last year by the Defense Business Board, a federal advisory panel. Their report revealed ... that the Pentagon was spending almost a quarter of its $580 billion budget on overhead and core business operations such as accounting, human resources, logistics and property management. The data showed that the Defense Department was paying a staggering number of people - 1,014,000 contractors, civilians and uniformed personnel - to fill back-office jobs far from the front lines. That workforce supports 1.3 million troops on active duty.
Note: Despite its outrageous administrative expenses, the Pentagon is literally unable to account for itself. Could it be that the real reason the Pentagon is the only branch of US government that doesn't balance its books is that they don't want us to know where the money is going? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The Iraqi army, backed by US-led airstrikes, is trying to capture east Mosul at the same time as the Syrian army and its Shia paramilitary allies are fighting their way into east Aleppo. An estimated 300 civilians have been killed in Aleppo by government artillery and bombing in the last fortnight, and in Mosul there are reportedly some 600 civilian dead over a month. Despite these similarities, the reporting by the international media of these two sieges is radically different. In Mosul, civilian loss of life is blamed on Isis, with its indiscriminate use of mortars and suicide bombers, while the Iraqi army and their air support are largely given a free pass. Contrast this with Western media descriptions of the inhuman savagery of President Assad’s forces indiscriminately slaughtering civilians. One factor making the sieges of east Aleppo and east Mosul so similar, and different, from past sieges in the Middle East ... is that there are no independent foreign journalists present. They are not there for the very good reason that Isis imprisons and beheads foreigners while Jabhat al-Nusra, until recently the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, is only a shade less bloodthirsty. Unsurprisingly, foreign journalists covering developments in east Aleppo and rebel-held areas of Syria overwhelmingly do so from Lebanon or Turkey. But, strangely enough, the same media organisations continue to put their trust in the veracity of information coming out of areas under the control of these same potential kidnappers and hostage takers.
Note: Read more on the media bias in news coverage of these wars in this article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war and the manipulation of public perception.
War in Space: The Next Battlefield [is] an in-depth CNN Special Report on the arms race in outer space. The one-hour documentary explores the belief by many in the military and civilian experts that war in space is inevitable. The American way of life depends on satellites in space, such as daily commutes, to withdrawing money from a bank, to the soldiers and intelligence agencies defending the U.S. abroad and at home. U.S. adversaries, like China and Russia, are pushing an arms race in space, taking aim at America with a dizzying array of weapons seemingly borrowed from science fiction. With rare access to classified U.S. military command and operations centers, CNN showcases the devastation that would be caused by space warfare and how the U.S. military is preparing for the alarming prospect. CNN’s chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto interviewed more than 10 national security, defense and high-ranking military personnel for the documentary including the entire chain of command for space warfare. [The documentary contains] the first interview with Defensive Duty Officer, 1st Lieutenant Andrew Engle, a newly created position to monitor threats in space. CNN was also the first network to have access inside the Advanced Missile Warning and Battlespace Awareness Operations Floor at Buckley Air Force Base and Lockheed Martin's facility where it is building the next generation satellite, the GPS III.
Note: This article claims "U.S. adversaries, like China and Russia, are pushing an arms race in space." In fact, the US Space Command has been advocating "full-spectrum" dominance for decades using terms like "Master of Space" and making statements, such as "dominating the space dimension of military operations to protect US interests and investment." So who is the aggressor here? For more, see this article and this one. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
It was known as the “secret war,” but the covert campaign the Kennedy administration waged against Fidel Castro in the years after the Bay of Pigs rivaled open warfare in time, effort and money spent. It was a war waged largely by the Central Intelligence Agency from an informal command post at what was then the south campus of the University of Miami - home to JMWAVE, the code name for the biggest CIA station in the world outside Langley, Virginia. From there, upward of 400 full-time CIA officers toiled, plotting the covert campaign against Cuba, ranging from sabotage to assassination. Its chief from 1962 to 1965 ... was Ted Shackley. But Shackley was not the real commander of the covert war. That role fell to Robert F. Kennedy, the U.S. attorney general and brother of the president. By the fall of 1961, under intense prodding from Robert Kennedy, the U.S. policy had evolved into Operation Mongoose, the code name for a multiagency covert action plan designed to bring down Castro. The basic concept of the entire operation was to “bring about the revolt of the Cuban people ... and institute a new government,” [Mongoose operations chief Brig. Gen. Edward] Lansdale [said]. The budget of the Miami station has been estimated at $50 million annually during its peak years. In the most active period - roughly 1962 to 1964 - several thousand Cubans were on the payroll for a variety of tasks, ranging from sabotage and infiltration runs to Cuba to propaganda activities.
Note: A 1967 report declassified in 2003 describes some of the CIA's many plans to kill or embarrass Fidel Castro. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing intelligence agency news articles from reliable major media sources.
The heads of the Pentagon and the nation’s intelligence community have recommended to President Obama that the director of the National Security Agency, Adm. Michael S. Rogers, be removed. The recommendation, delivered to the White House last month, was made by Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter and Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr.. The news comes as Rogers is being considered by President-elect Donald Trump to be his nominee for director of national intelligence to replace Clapper as the official who oversees all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies. In a move apparently unprecedented for a military officer, Rogers, without notifying superiors, traveled to New York to meet with Trump on Thursday at Trump Tower. That caused consternation at senior levels of the administration, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Carter has concerns with Rogers’s performance, officials said. The driving force for Clapper ... was the separation of leadership roles at the NSA and U.S. Cyber Command, and his stance that the NSA should be headed by a civilian. The expectation had been that Rogers would be replaced before the Nov. 8 election. Meanwhile, in February, Rogers ... merged the agency’s spying and hacking arms with its computer-security division into one Directorate of Operations. That reorganization has only intensified the discontent that has marked Rogers’s tenure at the agency. “The morale is horrible,” one former senior official said.
Note: Edward Snowden tweeted this article stating, "The real story you're not hearing about is a revolt within the US Intelligence Community." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in the military and in intelligence agencies.
Rear Adm. Gene La Rocque, a decorated Navy veteran who spoke out against the wastes of war, was labeled a traitor by some and went on to found the Center for Defense Information, a private think tank that was described as both pro-peace and pro-military, died on Monday in Washington. He was 98. Admiral La Rocque attracted particular attention when he gave an interview to Studs Terkel for his 1984 book, “The Good War: An Oral History of World War Two.” Admiral La Rocque described the State Department as having become “the lackey of the Pentagon” and lamented the loss of civilian control. After retiring from the Navy in the early 1970s, he founded the Center for Defense Information with Rear Adm. Eugene Carroll. The new organization ... began with three primary goals: to avert a nuclear war with the Soviet Union, to end the Vietnam War and to monitor the influence of the military-industrial complex. As the center’s director, Admiral La Rocque continued his battle long after the first two goals had been achieved. In 1990 he was calling for the nation’s military budget to be reduced by one-third, to $200 billion, and troop strength to be reduced from three million to two million. And he was working to take the profit out of weapons manufacture, although he doubted that the military would ever produce its own weapons again. Admiral La Rocque contributed a note to The Defense Monitor as recently as last year, expressing concern that the influence of the military-industrial complex was still “growing in power.”
Note: Read Admiral La Rocque's statement on how government security agencies orchestrate wars and see him featured in an excellent 22-minute PBS documentary "The Secret Government" on this webpage. Another top US general wrote a powerful essay titled "War is a Racket." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Do the committees that oversee the vast U.S. spying apparatus take intelligence community whistleblowers seriously? For the last 20 years, the answer has been a resounding “no.” My own experience in 1995-96 is illustrative. Over a two-year period working with my wife, Robin (who was a CIA detailee to a Senate committee at the time), we discovered that, contrary to the public statements by then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Colin Powell and other senior George H. W. Bush administration officials ... American troops had in fact been exposed to chemical agents during and after the 1991 war with Saddam Hussein. Officials at the Pentagon and CIA were working to bury it. The agency didn’t care about helping to find out why hundreds of thousands of American Desert Storm veterans were ill. Seeing the writing on the wall, I began working on what would become a book about our experience: “Gassed in the Gulf.” The agency tried to block publication of the book and attempted to reclassify hundreds of previously declassified Department of Defense and CIA intelligence reports that helped us make our case. Our story [became] a front-page sensation just days before the 1996 presidential election. Within six months, the CIA was forced to admit that it had indeed been withholding data on such chemical exposures, which were a possible cause of the post-war illnesses that would ultimately affect about one-third of the nearly 700,000 U.S. troops who served in Kuwait and Iraq. None of the CIA or Pentagon officials who perpetrated the cover-up were fired or prosecuted.
Note: The above article was written by whistleblower and former CIA analyst Patrick Eddington. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about intelligence agency corruption and the manipulation of public perception.
As a former member of the House of Representatives, I remember 16 years of congressional hearings where pedigreed experts came to advocate wars in testimony based on circular, rococo thinking devoid of depth, reality, and truth. I remember other hearings where the Pentagon was unable to reconcile over $1 trillion in accounts, lost track of $12 billion in cash sent to Iraq, and rigged a missile-defense test. War is first and foremost a profitable racket. How else to explain that in the past 15 years this city’s so called bipartisan foreign policy elite has promoted wars in Iraq and Libya, and interventions in Syria and Yemen, which have opened Pandora’s box to a trusting world, to the tune of trillions of dollars, a windfall for military contractors. The American people are fed up with war, but a concerted effort is being made through fearmongering, propaganda, and lies to prepare our country for a dangerous confrontation, with Russia in Syria. The demonization of Russia is a calculated plan to resurrect a raison d’ętre for stone-cold warriors trying to escape from the dustbin of history by evoking the specter of Russian world domination. As this year’s presidential election comes to a conclusion, the Washington ideologues are regurgitating the same bipartisan consensus that has kept America at war since 9/11 and made the world a decidedly more dangerous place.
Note: The above was written by Dennis Kucinich, who represented Ohio's 10th District from 1997 to 2013. Read a great piece by a top U.S. general titled "War is a Racket." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
A British man who traveled to Poland to give a lecture on conspiracy theories and was found dead in his Warsaw apartment was conducting an investigation into alleged pedophilia that took place in a US Army-run facility. Prior to his death, [Max] Spiers texted his mother to say 'If anything happens to me, investigate'. He was ruled to have died from natural causes despite no post-mortem examination being carried out on his body. Friends have claimed he died ... after he 'vomited a black liquid'. Now it has emerged that Spiers was inquiring about allegations of widespread sexual abuse against children that was committed at a military base in California by employees acting under the influence of a satanic cult. In 1987, the US Army demolished a child care center at its Presidio base in Northern California just one year after as many as 60 children were sexually abused there. One civilian employee of the center, Gary Willard Hambright, was indicted for molesting 10 children. Charges against him were ultimately dropped. One US Army officer at the base, Lt. Col. Michael Aquino, was alleged to have taken part in the abuse. Aquino was known as the self-confessed founder of a Satanic movement known as The Temple of Set. Despite rumors of his involvement and a police investigation, he was never charged. Spiers was looking into the Presidio affair and Aquino's role, which he believed to be part of a larger underground movement that entailed ritual sexual abuse of children in San Francisco in the late 1980s.
Note: For lots more on the Presidio affair, see this excellently researched piece. Read a great essay on several cases of pedophilia rings involving top politicians. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
A US navy destroyer fired a barrage of cruise missiles at three radar sites controlled by the rebel Houthi movement in Yemen. This attack marked the first time the US has fought the rebels directly in Yemen’s devastating civil war. The Pentagon justified this attack as retaliation. Last week, missiles were fired on two separate occasions at another navy destroyer off of Yemen’s southern coast. Those missiles fell harmlessly into the water, but they were enough of a provocation that the navy responded with its own bombardment. Immediately prior to those incidents, on Saturday 8 October, a 500lb laser-guided US-made bomb was dropped on a funeral procession by the US-sponsored Saudi-led coalition fighting the rebels. This bomb killed more than 140 people, mostly civilians, and wounded more than 525 people. Human Rights Watch called the incident “an apparent war crime”. The US ... has sold the Saudis $110bn worth of arms since President Obama assumed office. The US also supplies the Saudis with necessary intelligence and logistics to prosecute its war. The situation in Yemen is already catastrophic and largely out of view. Since the conflict began 18 months ago, more than 6,800 people have been killed. Both rebels and the regime have committed atrocities, though most of the dead are civilians and most have been killed by Saudi-led airstrikes. Almost 14.4 million people are now “food insecure”, according to the UN’s World Food Program, and 2.8 million people have been displaced.
Note: Read a two-page summary of a highly decorated US general's book which exposes how war is a racket meant to benefit the big bankers and power elite. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
According to a startling Pentagon video obtained by The Intercept, the future of global cities will be an amalgam of â€¦ urban hellscapes – brutal and anarchic supercities filled with gangs of youth-gone-wild, a restive underclass, criminal syndicates, and bands of malicious hackers. At least that's the scenario outlined in "Megacities: Urban Future, the Emerging Complexity," a five-minute video that has been used at the Pentagon's Joint Special Operations University. All that stands between the coming chaos and the good people of Lagos and Dhaka (or maybe even New York City) is the U.S. Army, according to the video, which The Intercept obtained via the Freedom of Information Act. "Megacities are complex systems where people and structures are compressed together in ways that defy both our understanding of city planning and military doctrine," says a disembodied voice. "These are the future breeding grounds, incubators, and launching pads for adversaries and hybrid threats." A separate Army study published this year bemoans the fact that the "U.S. Army is incapable of operating within the megacity." These fears are reflected in the hyperbolic "Megacities" video. "Even our counterinsurgency doctrine, honed in the cities of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan, is inadequate to address the sheer scale of population in the future urban reality," the film notes.
Note: The Pentagon video is available at the link above. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
The poster child of the American torture program sits in a Guantanamo Bay prison cell, where many U.S. officials hope he will simply be forgotten. Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, known to the world as Abu Zubaydah ... was the “guinea pig” of the CIA torture program. He was the first prisoner sent to a secret CIA “black site,” the first to have his interrogation “enhanced ” and the only prisoner subjected to all of the CIA’s approved techniques, as well as many that were not authorized. He is the man for whom the George W. Bush administration wrote the infamous torture memo in the summer of 2002. Senior officials thought he had been personally involved in every major al-Qaeda operation, including 9/11. Today, the United States acknowledges that assessment was, to put it graciously, overblown. His extended torture provided no actionable intelligence about al-Qaeda’s plans. He has never been charged with a violation of U.S. law, military or civilian, and apparently never will be formally charged. Instead, he languishes at Guantanamo. After years in secret prisons around the world, he remains incommunicado, with no prospect of trial. Who is Zubaydah, really? Public understanding about Zubaydah remains remarkably controlled and superficial. In connection with Zubaydah’s stalled case seeking federal court review of his detention, the government has recently agreed to clear for public release a few of the letters he has written to us. These brief letters [are] published here for the first time.
Note: The use of humans as guinea pigs in government, military, and medical experiments has a long history. For more along these lines, see the "10 Craziest Things in the Senate Report on Torture". For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the intelligence community.
A former contractor for a UK-based public relations firm says that the Pentagon paid more than half a billion dollars for the production and dissemination of fake Al-Qaeda videos that portrayed the insurgent group in a negative light. The PR firm, Bell Pottinger, worked alongside top US military officials at Camp Victory in Baghdad at the height of the Iraq War. The agency was tasked with crafting TV segments in the style of unbiased Arabic news reports, videos of Al-Qaeda bombings that appeared to be filmed by insurgents, and anti-insurgent commercials. Those who watched the videos could be tracked by US forces. Bell Pottinger ... could have earned as much as $120m from the US in 2006. Former video editor Martin Wells, who worked on the IOTF contract with Bell Pottinger, said they were given very specific instructions on how to produce the fake Al-Qaeda propaganda films. US Marines would then take CDs containing the videos while on patrol, then plant them at sites during raids. “If they’re raiding a house and they’re going to make a mess of it looking for stuff anyway, they’d just drop an odd CD there,” he said. The CDs were encoded to open the videos on RealPlayer software that connects to the Internet when it runs. It would issue an IP address that could then be tracked by US intelligence. The programmes produced by Bell Pottinger would move up the chain of command ... and could sometimes go as high up as the White House for approval.
Note: Read more about the fake "Al Qaeda" videos produced and distributed for the Pentagon. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption and the manipulation of public perception.
In the past few days a number of politicians and former generals have criticised the so-called hounding of British soldiers by what they claim are just money-grabbing lawyers launching ill-founded cases into alleged wartime abuse. Criticising the work of the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (Ihat), Tim Collins, the retired colonel who led British troops in Iraq, said the allegations were being made by “parasitic lawyers”. Theresa May has said she wants to end the “industry” of vexatious claims. And Tony Blair, who launched the military action in Iraq and Afghanistan, said: “I am very sorry that our soldiers and their families have been put through this ordeal.” The reality, of course, is somewhat different. The Ministry of Defence has already paid out Ł20m in compensation to victims of abuse in Iraq. Anyone who has been involved in litigation with the MoD knows that it will pay up only if a case is overwhelming or the ministry wants to cover something up. The complaints before the Ihat are not just from lawyers. They are also from serving and former members of the armed forces with no financial interest in the outcome. Even more disturbing, many of these investigations may lead to the door of the MoD itself. Many of the allegations concern physical, sexual and religious abuse during interrogation. The conduct appears systematic, and ... there were secret detention facilities in the UK area of operations which appear to have bypassed prisoner of war facilities. If this is correct, it is in violation of the Geneva conventions.
Note: The Chilcot inquiry recently concluded that Tony Blair deliberately lied to MPs and the public on Iraq to commit British troops to the US-led invasion in 2003. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about war corruption and the manipulation of public perception.
Activists have no right to force public disclosure of the names of Latin American military leaders trained at a U.S. Army installation formerly known as the School of the Americas, a divided federal appeals court ruled Friday. A federal judge had ruled in 2013 that the government must identify students and instructors at the school at Fort Benning, Ga., whose graduates have included Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega and Salvadoran death squad leader Roberto d’Aubuisson. But in a 2-1 ruling Friday, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ... said the information had little public value, and that disclosure would invade the trainees’ privacy. “There are many groups in foreign countries that would seek to harm those who are publicly associated with the United States military,” Judge Sandra Ikuta said in the majority opinion. She also cited assurances by the Defense Department and an oversight board that the school ... is complying with a federal law that requires it to instruct students about human rights. Federal law additionally requires the department to deny enrollment to any member of a military unit that has committed a “gross violation of human rights,” Ikuta said. Dissenting Judge Paul Watford said the majority was taking the government’s word that everything was in order — a “fox-guarding-the-henhouse notion” — despite past revelations of abuses by School of the Americas graduates. He noted that past training materials disclosed by the Pentagon in 1996 included manuals providing “instruction on torturing and executing insurgents.”
Note: 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.
Does free college threaten our all-volunteer military? That is what Benjamin Luxenberg, on the military blog War on the Rocks says. Unlike nearly every other developed country, which offer free or low cost higher education ... in America you need money to go to college. Right now there are only a handful of paths to higher education in America: have well-to-do parents; be low-income and smart to qualify for financial aid, take on crippling debt, or ... join the military. Overall, 75 percent of those who enlisted or who sought an officer’s commission said they did so to obtain educational benefits. And in that vein, Luxenberg raises the question: If college was cheaper, would they still enlist? It is a practical question worth asking, but raises more serious issues. Do tuition costs need to stay high to help keep the ranks filled? Does unequal access to college help sustain our national defense? A single F-35 fighter plane costs $178 million. Dropping just one plane from inventory generates 3,358 years of college money. We could pass on buying a handful of the planes, and a lot of people who now find college out of reach could go to school. The defense budget is some $607 billion, already the world’s largest by far. The cost of providing broader access to higher education would be a tiny fraction of that amount, far below any threshold where a danger to America’s defense could be reasonably argued.
Note: The Pentagon is the only segment of US government that doesn't balance its books, and Pentagon auditors are heavily pressured to look the other way on blatant corruption. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Here’s what passes for funny in a room packed full of weapons-industry executives and lobbyists: When Vice Adm. Joseph Rixey — the man in charge of the Pentagon agency that administers foreign arms sales — said “I know you don’t go after human rights violators for potential customers.” The line produced chuckles in the room. Rixey was the guest of honor at a reception Wednesday hosted by the Senate Aerospace Caucus, a group of more than a dozen senators who “work to ensure a strong, secure, and competitive American aerospace sector.” The event ... was cohosted by the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), the lobbying group for weapons contractors like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon. Rixey is the director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), the Pentagon agency charged with overseeing the Pentagon’s relations with the militaries of U.S. allies. Over the past year, the DSCA has approved upwards of $47 billion in such contracts, for weapons transfers to countries like Egypt, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. In his own remarks, Rixey lauded the relationship between the DSCA and industry. “We at DSCA are thankful that we have the support of our counterparts within the United States government and with defense industries,” he said. Rixey was joined by caucus co-chairs Sens. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., who praised the industry for its role in overseas weapons sales on both foreign policy and economic grounds.
Note: The Pentagon is the only segment of US government that doesn't balance its books, and Pentagon auditors are heavily pressured to look the other way on blatant corruption. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
For two years after the accident, Yei Yang refused to leave his home. "I couldn't farm, I couldn't go to see friends, as they might be afraid of me," Yang tells CNN. "I didn't want to live." Yang was just 22 and burning rubbish near his village in the province of Xieng Khoung in north-eastern Laos, when a bomb blast tore off one of his eyelids, his top lip and an ear, mutilated one of his arms, and left him with severe scarring from the waist up. His wounds were not caused by a modern day conflict, but by the remnants of a war that was waged more than 40 years ago, and is still destroying lives in this small Southeast Asian nation. Some 80 million unexploded bombs are scattered across the country - the deadly legacy of what became known as America's "secret war" in Laos - a CIA-led mission during the Vietnam War. In total, between 1964 and 1973, the US dropped more than two million tons of bombs - one of the heaviest aerial bombardments in history. Most of the munitions dropped were cluster bombs, which splinter before impact, spreading hundreds of smaller bomblets. To this day, less than 1% of the bombs have been removed, according to US-based NGO Legacies of War, which is spearheading the campaign to clear them. More than 20,000 people have been killed or maimed by the unexploded ordnance (UXOs) since the war ended, and currently, 50 people are maimed or killed every year. Around 40% of those are children.
The Pentagon provided more than 1.45 million firearms to various security forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, including more than 978,000 assault rifles, 266,000 pistols and almost 112,000 machine guns. Many of the recipients of these weapons became brave and important battlefield allies. But many more did not. The weapons were part of a vast and sometimes minimally supervised flow of arms from a superpower to armies and militias often compromised by poor training, desertion, corruption and patterns of human rights abuses. The Pentagon said it has records for [about 700,000] firearms. This is an amount ... that only accounts for 48 percent of the total small arms supplied by the U.S. government that can be found in open-source government reports. By this year, various internet arms traders, including many on Facebook, were hawking a seemingly unending assortment of weapons of obvious American origin. Facebook closed many pages in the Middle East that were serving as busy arms bazaars, including pages in Syria and Iraq on which firearms with Pentagon origins accounted for a large fraction of the visible trade. But many new arms-trading Facebook pages have since cropped up, including, according to their own descriptions, virtual markets operating from Baghdad and Karbala. The procession of arms purchases and handouts has continued to this day.
Note: A 2015 report describes how the US armed ISIS in Iraq. This eye-opening report shows how the US was involved in the creation of ISIS. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
The United States Army's finances are so jumbled it had to make trillions of dollars of improper accounting adjustments to create an illusion that its books are balanced. The Defense Department’s Inspector General ... said the Army made $2.8 trillion in wrongful adjustments to accounting entries in one quarter alone in 2015, and $6.5 trillion for the year. The amounts dwarf the Defense Department’s entire budget. The "forced" adjustments rendered the statements useless because "DoD and Army managers could not rely on the data in their accounting systems when making management and resource decisions." [This] is the latest example of the severe accounting problems plaguing the Defense Department for decades. As a result, there has been no way to know how the Defense Department – far and away the biggest chunk of Congress’ annual budget – spends the public’s money. "Where is the money going? Nobody knows," said Franklin Spinney, a retired military analyst for the Pentagon. For years, the Inspector General - the Defense Department's official auditor - has inserted a disclaimer on all military annual reports. The accounting is so unreliable that "the basic financial statements may have undetected misstatements that are both material and pervasive." DFAS [Defense Finance and Accounting Services] also could not make accurate year-end Army financial statements because more than 16,000 financial data files had vanished from its computer system.
Note: CNBC strangely removed this article, though you can still find it on this Reuters webpage. $6.5 trillion is the equivalent of $20,000 for every citizen of the US. If any business or other branch of government had balance sheets like this, it would be all over the news with people demanding reform. Why does the military get away with this year after year? See the actual Department of Defense report for more. Then see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Bolivia’s president Evo Morales has opened a new “anti-imperialist” military academy to counter US policies and military influence in Latin America. “If the empire teaches domination of the world from its military schools, we will learn from this school to free ourselves from imperial oppression,” the country’s first indigenous president said. “We want to build anti-colonial and anti-capitalist thinking with this school that binds the armed forces to social movements and counteracts the influence of the School of the Americas that always saw the indigenous as internal enemies,” he told a crowd that included the defense ministers of Venezuela and Nicaragua. Some Latin American officers trained at the US-based School of the Americas went on to commit atrocities under 20th century military dictatorships. In 2000, the academy at Fort Benning, Georgia, was renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. Morales, who expelled the US ambassador and counter-narcotics agents in 2008, accused Washington of encouraging “congressional coups” such as the impending impeachment trial of suspended President Dilma Rousseff in Brazil. He also said the US promotes global terrorism through military interventions, citing the rise of the Islamic State group as an example. The re-inaugurated school carries the name of General Juan Jose Torres, a leftist who was Bolivia’s de facto president in 1970 and who expelled the Peace Corps for allegedly sterilizing indigenous women.
Note: 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.
As the United States and its allies continue their bombing campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, many more noncombatants are perishing than they seem prepared to admit. Airwars, the organization I lead, at present estimates that at least 1,500 civilians have been killed by the United States-led coalition. Similar or higher tallies are reported by other monitoring groups, like Iraq Body Count and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. But coalition officials have publicly admitted just 55 deaths. It may just be a matter of looking. “Our policy is not to go out and seek” allegations of civilian casualties, a senior official from United States Central Command, or Centcom, which oversees the bombing campaign, told me recently when I asked about the discrepancy between reports of noncombatant deaths and official investigations. It took about 15 months into the war for any admission of civilian deaths in Iraq - despite thousands of airstrikes and more than 130 reported incidents. An average of 173 days still passes between a civilian casualty in Iraq or Syria and any public admission of responsibility. The Pentagon is not alone in its accounting failures. Russia still denies the more than 2,000 deaths it has most likely caused in Syria, while all 12 of the United States’ coalition partners insist they have killed only “bad guys.” This then is a systemic problem, one that suggests militaries are at present unfit - or unwilling - to count the dead accurately from above.
Note: The above was written by Chris Woods, author of “Sudden Justice: America’s Secret Drone Wars.” For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
By the time I started working at the Defense Department in the early years of the Obama administration, the Pentagon's 17.5 miles of corridors had sprouted dozens of shops and restaurants catering to the building's 23,000 employees. And, over time, the U.S. military has itself come to offer a similar one-stop shopping experience to the nation's top policymakers. As retired Army Lt. Gen. Dave Barno once put it to me, the relentlessly expanding U.S. military has become "a Super Walmart with everything under one roof" - and two successive presidential administrations have been eager consumers. The military's transformation into the world's biggest one-stop shopping outfit is ... at once the product and the driver of seismic changes in how we think about war, with consequent challenges both to our laws and to the military itself. We've gotten into the habit of viewing every new threat through the lens of "war," thus asking our military to take on an ever-expanding range of nontraditional tasks. But viewing more and more threats as "war" brings more and more spheres of human activity into the ambit of the law of war, with its greater tolerance of secrecy, violence, and coercion - and its reduced protections for basic rights. Meanwhile, asking the military to take on more and more new tasks requires higher military budgets, forcing us to look for savings elsewhere. As budget cuts cripple civilian agencies, their capabilities dwindle, and we look to the military to pick up the slack, further expanding its role.
Note: As the Tribune has strangely removed this article, here's an alternate link. Another cutting article shows that according to the latest report on public relations spending from the Government Accountability Office, the US government PR apparatus has spent over $1 billion annually — $626 million of which the Pentagon allots to employ a massive propaganda army. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
One of the most tortured men in the history of Guantánamo Bay has received clearance from the wartime prison’s quasi-parole board to leave after nearly 14 years of detention without charge. Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a Mauritanian citizen whose harrowing account of his torture at Guantánamo Bay became an international bestseller in 2015, will soon leave behind the Cuban detention center where US military personnel contorted his body; bombarded him with noise; deprived him of sleep; stuffed his clothing with ice during a nighttime boat ride meant to to convince him he was headed to an even worse place; threatened his life; and threatened his mother with rape. A nonlegal panel representing various US security agencies tasked with assessing threats posed by Guantánamo’s 76 residual detainees, found Slahi to represent no “continuing significant threat to the security of the United States”. The consensus decision, reached on 14 July, was made public on Wednesday. A federal judge in 2010 [had previously] ordered him freed for lack of evidence untainted by torture to justify his detention, yet the US justice department appealed. In the summer of 2003, senior Guantánamo officials, believing Slahi was an important link to al-Qaida, sought and received permission from the Pentagon to torture him. US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld personally approved Slahi’s torture. In his book, Slahi recalled ... that he would tell his tormentors whatever they wished to hear. “I don’t care, as long as you are pleased,” Slahi informed his interrogators.
Note: By the time Slahi's bestselling book Guantanamo Diary was published, leaked documents obtained by BBC News had revealed that more than 150 innocent people were detained at Guantanamo after being rounded up for no reason. For more along these lines, read about how the torture program fits in with a long history of human experimentation by corrupt intelligence agencies working alongside unethical scientists.
Longstanding financial management challenges prevent the Army from issuing auditable financial statements. Army and Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) Indianapolis personnel did not adequately support $2.8 trillion in third quarter adjustments and $6.5 trillion in yearend adjustments made to Army General Fund data during FY 2015 financial statement compilation. In addition, DFAS Indianapolis did not document or support why the Defense Departmental Reporting System Budgetary (DDRS-B) ... removed at least 16,513 of 1.3 million records during third quarter FY 2015. DFAS Indianapolis did not have detailed documentation ... or have accurate or complete system reports. As a result, the data used to prepare the FY 2015 AGF third quarter and yearend financial statements were unreliable and lacked an adequate audit trail. Until the Army and DFAS Indianapolis correct these control deficiencies, there is considerable risk that AGF financial statements will be materially misstated and the Army will not achieve audit readiness by the congressionally mandated deadline of September 30, 2017.
Note: Underneath its technical jargon, the above report shows that the Pentagon has lost track of trillions of dollars and thousands of accounting records. Despite its outrageous administrative expenses, the Pentagon remains literally unable to account for itself. Could it be that the real reason the Pentagon is the only branch of US government that doesn't balance its books is that they don't want us to know where the money is going? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The [FDA] amassed a stockpile of pistols, shotguns, and semiautomatic rifles, along with ample supplies of ammunition, liquid explosives, gun scopes, and suppressors. Between 2006 and 2014, [the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, an agency of the USDA] spent nearly $4.8 million to arm itself. And far from being an outlier, it is one of dozens of federal agencies that spends lavishly on guns, ammunition, and military-style equipment. A report issued this month by American Transparency ... chronicles the explosive - and expensive - trend toward militarizing federal agencies, most of which have no military responsibilities. Between 2006 and 2014, the report shows, 67 federal bureaus, departments, offices, and services spent at least $1.48 billion on ammunition and material one might expect to find in the hands of SWAT teams, Special Forces soldiers - or terrorists. The Internal Revenue Service, for example, now spends more than $1 million annually on firearms, ammunition, and military gear. Since 2006, the Department of Veterans Affairs ... has poured nearly $11.7 million into guns and ammo. Even the Smithsonian Institution and the Social Security Administration have each devoted hundreds of thousands of dollars to weaponry. There are now fewer US Marines than there are officers at federal administrative agencies with the authority to carry weapons and make arrests.
Note: The Washington Post in 2009 reported that military influence over US civilian authorities was quietly increasing, and the militarization of US police has been well-documented. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about government corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.
Teenage recruits were raped by staff and forced to rape each other as part of initiation practices in the Australian military going back to 1960, a public inquiry heard on Tuesday. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse is hearing evidence from men and women who say they were sexually abused when they were as young as 15, in certain divisions of the Australian defense force. This commission is focusing on alleged abuse at the naval training center HMAS Leeuwin in Western Australia and the army apprentice school Balcombe in Victoria during the 1960s, '70s and '80s and also among cadets with the Australian defense force since 2000. In total, 111 victims came forward to report abuse. More than a dozen of them will give evidence to the inquiry. "On multiple occasions, I was snatched from my bed in the middle of the night by older recruits and dragged to a sports oval," said one male witness who wasn't named. The witness said he was forced to rape other recruits, and was raped himself by older recruits and staff. "The environment made it useless to resist," he said. "One could stand only so much abuse before realizing that saying 'no' was pointless." Many survivors say that when they reported the abuse, they were ignored, punished, or told it was "a rite of passage" in their initiation period. The inquiry also will hear evidence from former and current staff members, and examine the handling of complaints and the responses to claims for compensation.
Note: Watch videos providing powerful evidence rape has also been used to initiate future officers in the US Marine Corps. Watch an excellent segment by Australia's "60-Minutes" team "Spies, Lords and Predators" on a pedophile ring in the UK which leads directly to the highest levels of government. A second suppressed documentary, "Conspiracy of Silence," goes even deeper into this topic in the US. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
Several hundred thousand [soldiers] took part in atmospheric nuclear tests conducted in the Pacific and in Nevada. They were posted within range of exploding bombs — in effect made to be guinea pigs in studies of how combat troops might stand up in a war fought with nuclear arms. Many among these “atomic veterans” suffered cancers and other diseases. Frank Farmer ... witnessed 18 atomic detonations in 1958. “It’s so bright you actually see your bones in your hands.” He and his shipmates were issued no protective gear. Despite government assurances that their exposure to radiation had been insufficient to inflict physical harm, veterans could see they were getting sick in disproportionate numbers. Some began to speak out, ignoring oaths they had signed never to discuss their experiences. “More and more I heard about guys that had prostate cancer and lung cancer and all kinds of cancers,” said Mr. Farmer, who suffered hearing loss and a body rash that did not go away. Decades passed before corrective measures were taken. Issues raised by [these] difficulties resound in modern wars. As with the atomic veterans, officialdom’s default position has generally been to wave off any suggestion of a link between a soldier’s illness and a command-level decision. That was the case with Agent Orange ... in Vietnam. Years passed before the government accepted a “presumptive” connection between herbicides and cancers afflicting Vietnam veterans. Soldiers who served in Afghanistan and Iraq and in the 1991 Persian Gulf war complain of breathing problems, neurological damage, gastrointestinal disorders and other illnesses. Many suspect that blame lies with practices off the battlefield.
Note: Don't miss a profoundly moving 22-minute documentary in which several atomic veterans describe in detail what happened, how they suffered, and how the government denied responsibility for decades. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war corruption from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our War Information Center.
As a witness to the removal of fallen U.S. troops from Afghanistan, Army Chaplain Christopher John Antal can’t recall a time when that solemn ceremony wasn’t conducted without the presence of drones passing along the horizon. On April 12, Antal resigned his commission as an officer in the Army because of his conscientious objection to the United States’ drone policy. In a letter addressed to ... Barack Obama, Antal wrote, “The executive branch continues to claim the right to kill anyone, anywhere on Earth, at any time, for secret reasons, based on secret evidence, in a secret process, undertaken by unidentified officials. I refuse to support this policy of unaccountable killing.” In doing so, he joined other previous members of the armed forces who have addressed Obama to criticize his drone strike policy, including four former members of the Air Force who penned a letter in November of 2015 warning the president that the strikes “served as a recruitment tool similar to Guantanamo Bay.” Antal’s resignation concluded nearly eight years of service as an Army chaplain. He publicly voiced [his concerns about the targeted killings] in a Veterans Day sermon Nov. 11, 2012, when he gave a lyrical sermon criticizing drones on his base in Afghanistan and posted it online. Antal ... was called into the office of a general who told him to take down the sermon. “He told me that my message did not support the mission,” Antal said. He worried that his views about drones could land him in a military prison if did not leave his post.
Note: Drone strikes almost always miss their intended targets and reportedly create more terrorists than they kill. Casualties of war whose identities are unknown are frequently mis-reported to be "militants". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
It was Soviet intervention, not the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that caused Japan to surrender. Most Americans cling to the myth that the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 [forced] Japan's surrender without a U.S. invasion. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth. As the National Museum of the U.S. Navy makes clear, the atomic bombs ... "made little impact on the Japanese military. However, the Soviet invasion of Manchuria ... changed their minds." As shocking as this may be to Americans today, it was well known to military leaders at the time. In fact, seven of America's eight five-star officers in 1945 said that the bombs were either militarily unnecessary, morally reprehensible or both. Following the defeat at Saipan in July 1944, many Japanese leaders realized the war could not be won militarily. Telegrams going back and forth between Japanese officials in Tokyo and Moscow made it clear that the Japanese were seeking an honorable way to end what they had started. The U.S. had been firebombing and wiping out Japanese cities since early March. Destruction reached 99.5 percent in the city of Toyama. Japanese leaders accepted that the U.S. could and would wipe out Japan's cities. It didn't make a big difference whether this was one plane and one bomb or hundreds of planes and thousands of bombs. The atomic bombs contributed next to nothing to U.S. victory, but they did slaughter hundreds of thousands of civilians.
Note: Read a detailed description of how the New York Times suppressed and skewed the facts about the effects of the atomic bomb in order to forward the war-profiteering agenda. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about government corruption and the manipulation of public opinion.
Morley Safer, who was a correspondent on CBS’s 60 Minutes from 1970 until just last week, died Thursday at age 84. In 1965, Safer was sent to Vietnam by CBS. That August he filed a famous report showing American soldiers burning down a Vietnamese village. The next year, he wrote a newspaper column about a visit to Saigon by Arthur Sylvester, the ... head of all the U.S. military’s PR. Sylvester, [who] had arranged to speak with reporters for U.S. outlets, [said] that American correspondents had a patriotic duty to disseminate only information that made the United States look good. A network television correspondent said, “Surely, Arthur, you don’t expect the American press to be the handmaidens of government.” “That’s exactly what I expect,” came the reply. An agency man raised the problem [of] the credibility of American officials. [Sylvester], the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, [responded]: “Look, if you think any American official is going to tell you the truth, then you’re stupid. Did you hear that? Stupid.” A Democratic senator from Indiana, entered Safer’s article into the Congressional Record, and ... a Republican representative from Missouri called for Sylvester to resign. For its part, the Pentagon told CBS executives: “Unless you get Safer out of there, he’s liable to end up with a bullet in his back.” Moreover, Sylvester absolutely meant what he said [to] the journalists in Saigon. [By that time], he’d already told some of the key U.S. government lies about the Cuban missile crisis.
“When the guilt of our roles in facilitating this systematic loss of innocent life became too much, all of us succumbed to PTSD,” [said] an open letter to the Obama administration, crafted by four former Air Force servicemen, each of whom played a role in the nation’s targeted killing program. The moral pang of the letter reflects a very basic ethical tenet. Concluding the letter, the former soldiers write that after suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, “We were cut loose by the same government we gave so much to - sent out in the world without adequate medical care, reliable health services, or necessary benefits. Some of us are now homeless. Others of us barely make it.” Several years ago now, The New York Times published an op-ed by one of the authors titled “Drones, Ethics, and the Armchair Soldier,” which argued that the physical remove of drone warfare would give pilots the space to engage in moral reflection ... that the urgency and danger of traditional warfare often preclude. In the United States, conscientious objection to engaging in war is permitted on secular and moral ground - but only if the individual objects to war on the whole. Members of the US armed forces are not allowed to [refuse] to engage in particular wars or ... military assignments on the basis of a moral objection. Drones [open] up both moral dilemma and moral opportunity. Every soldier is in fact required to disobey illegal orders (to deliberately kill civilians, for example). But this is different from conscientious objection.
Note: Drone strikes almost always miss their intended targets and reportedly create more terrorists than they kill. Casualties of war whose identities are unknown are frequently mis-reported to be "militants". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
The scariest part of Emily Vorland’s relatively uneventful 2009 deployment to Iraq was that the enemy wore Army green. When a higher-ranking male officer sexually harassed her, her commander told Vorland to file a formal complaint. So she did. The investigation ... concluded she had “acted inappropriately,” engaged in consensual sex and was lying about it. A lesbian, she was concerned that her best defense was one that would end her military career. The Army [discharged her] for “unacceptable conduct.” Even as the military scrambles under congressional pressure to prevent future cases of sexual abuse, past victims are suffering for having stood up for themselves. Thousands of victims have been pushed out of the service with less-than-honorable discharges, which can leave them with no or reduced benefits, poor job prospects and a lifetime of stigma. Worse, when they try to rectify their situation, as Vorland did, fewer than 10% of them succeed, the advocacy group Human Rights Watch estimates. “Military personnel who report a sexual assault frequently find that their military career is the biggest casualty,” the group says in a new report. 163 veterans [were] ousted from the military between 1966 and 2015 after complaining about sexual abuse, ranging from harassment to rape. “Our interviews suggest that all too often superior officers choose to expeditiously discharge sexual-assault victims rather than support their recovery and help them keep their position,” the study says.
Note: A 2015 Associated Press article states that: "the true scope of sex-related violence in the military communities is vastly underreported." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
The world's first race for drones controlled by people's thoughts involved 16 pilots flying drones over a course of just 10 yards in an indoor basketball court. "With events like this, we're popularizing the use of BCI (brain-computer interface) instead of it being stuck in the research lab," said [PhD student] Chris Crawford. Mind-controlled technology already is helping paralyzed people move limbs or robotic prosthetics. The technology ... works by using an EEG headset that has been calibrated to identify the electrical activity associated with particular thoughts in each wearer's brain. Programmers write code to translate these ... signals into commands that computers send to the drones. Professor Juan Gilbert, whose computer science students organized the race, [wants] to know how mind-controlled devices could expand and change the way we play, work and live. But as the technology moves toward wider adoption, ethical, legal and privacy questions remain unresolved. The US Defence Department - which uses drones to kill suspected terrorists ... from vast distances - is looking for military brain-control applications. A 2014 Defence Department grant supports the Unmanned Systems Laboratory ... where researchers have developed a system enabling a single person with no prior training to fly multiple drones simultaneously through mind control.
Note: Read an article which dives deep into the use of neuroscience as a weapon. And since drone strikes almost always miss their intended targets and reportedly create more terrorists than they kill, is it really a good idea to make drone fleets easier for the military to deploy?
Since 2013, lawmakers have tried to pass a bill that would reform key parts of how the military justice system deals with sexual assault, but during key stages of the legislative debate, the Pentagon misled Congress by “cherry picking” information, later disproved, about a hundred cases, according to a report released by a watchdog group Monday and provided to the Associated Press. At issue is the Military Justice Improvement Act, or MIJA, [which] aimed to change how the military treated sexual-assault cases by basically removing unit commands from the judicial process that decided whether cases should move forward. During testimony to Congress, Navy Adm. James Winnefeld, then the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that if the bill passed, fewer sexual-assault cases in the military would go to trial. He claimed that between 2010 and 2013 there were 93 instances of civilian prosecutors refusing to take certain sexual-assault cases, prompting military commanders to insist on taking them to court-martial. Winnefeld’s claims, echoed by at least four senators, were largely untrue. Out of 81 of the 93 cases, “there was not one example of a commander ‘insisting’ a case be prosecuted,” the report says. “In each case, military investigators or military attorneys requested the case from civilian authorities.” The report goes on to say that in two-thirds of the 93 cases, “there was no sexual-assault allegation, civilian prosecutors never declined the case, or the military failed to prosecute for sexual assault.”
Note: A 2015 Associated Press article states that: "the true scope of sex-related violence in the military communities is vastly underreported." The above article shows that corrupt military officials have lied to Congress to keep it that way. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
Sexual violence in war “is as destructive as any bomb or bullet”, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said a couple of years ago. As he was uttering these words, the UN’s own peacekeepers were themselves carrying out the most appalling abuse. In 2014, when Mr Ban was speaking out on behalf of the victims, three girls in the Central African Republic have alleged they were tied up and forced to have sex with a dog by a French military commander. There were no fewer than 99 allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation by the “blue helmets” – as UN military personnel are nicknamed – last year, and there have been 25 new claims this year. This isn’t the first time such claims have surfaced about the conduct of UN peacekeepers. There was an alleged paedophile ring in the Democratic Republic of Congo, UN police officers in Bosnia were paying for prostitutes and trafficking young women from Eastern Europe, and Pakistani peacekeepers were found guilty of sexual abuse in Haiti. There’s a track record going back decades. In January, an independent review into the abuses accused the UN of failing to respond to allegations of child abuse against the peacekeepers. The UN’s response? Last month, the Security Council passed its first ever resolution to tackle sexual abuse by its peacekeepers. Military or police units would be repatriated “where there is credible evidence of widespread or systemic sexual exploitation and abuse”. Is that really the best the UN can do?
Note: Watch an excellent segment by Australia's "60-Minutes" team titled "Spies, Lords and Predators" on a pedophile ring in the UK which leads directly to the highest levels of government. A second suppressed documentary, "Conspiracy of Silence," goes even deeper into this sad subject in the US. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
Two senior intelligence analysts at U.S. Central Command say the military has forced them out of their jobs because of their skeptical reporting on U.S.-backed rebel groups in Syria. It’s the first known instance of possible reprisals against CENTCOM personnel after analysts accused their bosses of manipulating intelligence reports about the U.S.-led campaign against ISIS in order to paint a rosier picture of progress in the war. One of the analysts alleging reprisals is the top analyst in charge of Syria issues at CENTCOM. He and a colleague doubted rebels’ capabilities and their commitment to U.S. objectives in the region. [Their] views put them at odds with military brass, who last year had predicted that a so-called moderate opposition would make up a 15,000-man ground force to take on ISIS. An initial $500 million program to train and arm those fighters failed spectacularly. And until the very end, Pentagon leaders claimed the operation was more or less on track. The Pentagon inspector general and a congressional task force are investigating allegations of doctored intelligence reports about ISIS. More than 50 CENTCOM analysts have said that senior officials gave more scrutiny and pushback on reports that suggested U.S. efforts to destroy ISIS weren’t progressing. The Defense Department inspector general is also looking into ... "whether there was any falsification, distortion, delay, suppression, or improper modification of intelligence information.”
Note: Explore powerful evidence that ISIS is aided and was possibly even created by covert US support. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Syrian militias armed by different parts of the U.S. war machine have begun to fight each other on the plains between the besieged city of Aleppo and the Turkish border. The fighting has intensified over the last two months, as CIA-armed units and Pentagon-armed ones have repeatedly shot at each other while maneuvering through contested territory on the northern outskirts of Aleppo. Last year, the Pentagon helped create a new military coalition, the Syrian Democratic Forces ... to take territory away from the Islamic State. The group is dominated by Kurdish outfits known as People's Protection Units or YPG. It has received air-drops of weapons and supplies and assistance from U.S. Special Forces. The U.S. backing for a heavily Kurdish armed force has been a point of tension with the Turkish government, which has a long history of crushing Kurdish rebellions. The CIA, meanwhile, has its own operations center inside Turkey from which it has been directing aid to rebel groups in Syria, providing them with TOW antitank missiles from Saudi Arabian weapons stockpiles. While the Pentagon's actions are part of an overt effort by the U.S. and its allies against Islamic State, the CIA's backing of militias is part of a separate covert U.S. effort aimed at keeping pressure on the Assad government. Over the last several months ... Kurdish-led groups [expanded] their zone of control to the outskirts of Aleppo, bringing them into more frequent conflict with the CIA-backed outfits.
Note: Explore powerful evidence that ISIS is aided and was possibly even created by covert US support. Watch this video which shows how the US and its allies stoke war in order to pad the pockets of mega-corporations which profit greatly from arms sales. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
The U.S. military has stepped up investigations of high-ranking officers for sexual assault. The Defense Department ... has revamped its policies to prevent sexual assault and to hold perpetrators accountable. During the federal fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 116 officers of all stripes were court-martialed, discharged or received some sort of punishment after they were criminally investigated for sexual assault. That was more than double the number from three years earlier. Of last year’s cases, eight were against senior officers holding a rank equivalent to colonel or Navy captain or higher. While that figure may seem small, it represented a fourfold increase from 2012. Overall, the vast majority of troops investigated for sexual assault are enlisted personnel, who accounted for 94 percent of all cases last year. Enlisted troops outnumber officers by a ratio of 4.6 to 1. Under the military justice system, senior officers are responsible for deciding whether individuals under their command should be prosecuted. Some lawmakers and advocacy groups are pushing to strip commanders of that power and to give it instead to uniformed prosecutors. The Pentagon has resisted such proposals, saying they would undermine command authority. When senior officers themselves are charged with sexual assault, it “makes it appear as if the fox was guarding the henhouse,” said [Don] Christensen, the president of Protect Our Defenders, which has lobbied Congress to change the law.
Note: A 2015 Associated Press article states that: "the true scope of sex-related violence in the military communities is vastly underreported." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
President Obama has authorized a limited new plan to train and arm rebel fighters to confront Islamic State militants in Syria, relaunching a Pentagon program that was suspended last fall after a series of embarrassing setbacks. The program is separate from a covert CIA-run training operation. The original plan involved selecting fighters from moderate Syrian rebel groups, taking them to Arab military bases outside Syria, and providing arms, equipment and six weeks of training. They then would [be] sent back to Syria. The first 54 recruits were ambushed in July by Nusra Front, an Al Qaeda affiliate. The second class of 71 surrendered much of their U.S.-issued ammunition and trucks to Nusra Front fighters in September in exchange for safe passage through northern Syria. The program initially was envisioned as a $500-million, three-year plan to recruit, train and equip fighters at bases in Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Thousands of rebels applied. Many were ... ineligible. In addition, the prospective host countries and many of the fighters disagreed with the U.S. emphasis on fighting Islamic State, saying the training should focus on ousting Syrian President Bashar Assad. The Pentagon shut the program down in less than a year. In its place, the Pentagon began providing communications equipment, weapons and ammunition to rebel commanders. The equipment was dropped into Syria by U.S. aircraft and distributed among the units as they pushed into territory controlled by Islamic State.
Note: Explore powerful evidence that ISIS is aided and was possibly even created by covert US support. Watch this video which shows how the US and its allies stoke war in order to pad the pockets of mega-corporations which profit greatly from arms sales. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
The fifth year of the Syrian conflict was the worst yet for civilians - and Russia, the U.S., France and Britain are partly to blame. That's according to a new report from 30 aid and human rights groups. Titled "Fuelling the Fire," the report says some 50,000 people have been killed since April 2014 and that nearly a million more have been forced to flee their homes. It also says that as permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, the U.S., Britain, France and Russia could be doing much more to end the bloodshed. While fixing most of the blame on the Syrian regime and armed opposition groups, as well as violent extremists such as the Islamic State, the report says major world powers are undermining their own calls for peace through the weapons they provide to combatants, their own military strikes and what the report calls inadequate pressure on their allies to stop the killing. Jan Egeland with the Norwegian Refugee Council, one of the groups behind the report, said this week in Geneva that despite recent progress in aiding besieged areas, there are still seven places where they can't get aid to trapped people. "It's very clear that the seven areas where we have not reached, are [controlled] — six by the government, one by Islamic State," he said.
Note: The underlying reason for this war and most wars is the huge profits that are made, as clearly revealed by a top US general in his highly revealing book "War is a Racket." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
It is worse in Afghanistan now than ... ever. The conflict, begun initially to oust the Taliban that sheltered al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S., has cost the lives of more than 3,500 Coalition service members and tens of thousands of Afghan civilians. The war ... moved back into focus three weeks ago with the death of Wasil Ahmad. Wasil learned firearms and commanded a unit of anti-Taliban fighters briefly, before Taliban gunmen on a motorbike mowed him down as he bought food for his mother and siblings. Wasil was just 11 years old. Dissent in the ranks of the Taliban has led to ISIS becoming a radical, brutal and attractive alternative to the country's disenfranchised youth, for whom the old insurgency isn't moving fast enough. The Taliban hold more territory now than at any time since 2001. There are about 10,000 U.S. troops left, who can hunt extremists, but not hold territory. In terms of Western goals - things are right back where they started: needing to keep Afghanistan free of extremists and a viable country for its people. Without that the result is thousands of refugees in Europe, and ISIS gets a new safe haven. What is left is a country where the West is discredited; ... where most fighters are meaner, better armed, and more chaotic than they were in 2001; and whose name causes opinion-formers in the West to try and change the subject.
Note: The underlying reason for this war and most wars is the huge profits that are made, as clearly revealed by a top US general in his highly revealing book "War is a Racket." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
The Republican-led House intelligence committee wants the Pentagon to provide what it believes are illegally deleted intelligence files pertaining to the U.S. military campaign against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. "We have been made aware that both files and emails have been deleted by personnel at CENTCOM, and we expect that the Department of Defense will provide these and all other relevant documents to the committee," [Committee Chairman Devin] Nunes said at a hearing Thursday. Nunes' assertions led to an extraordinary public acknowledgment from Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, who was testifying before the committee, of the "unusually high" dissatisfaction inside the agency responsible for providing military intelligence on ISIS. There is already an ongoing Defense Department Inspector General investigation into allegations that intelligence analysts at CENTCOM were pressured into changing their analysis to make their reports sound overly optimistic. Congress is conducting a separate investigation. The committee has information from whistleblowers that both intelligence files and emails were deliberately deleted at Central Command, but that copies remain in the hands of analysts. Some Pentagon officials have privately told CNN they believe the problem at Central Command is that some analysts feel their work is not accepted if it shows a negative view of progress.
The Navy is looking to increase its use of drones that are more and more independent of direct human control. In recent days, Pentagon officials and Navy leaders have spoken about the program and the push to develop more autonomous and intelligent unmanned systems. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter in a speech earlier this month confirmed that the United States was developing "self-driving boats which can network together to do all kinds of missions, from fleet defense to close-in surveillance." And Rear Adm. Robert P. Girrier, the Navy's director of Unmanned Warfare Systems, discussed the effort at a January event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The drive is being dubbed "human machine teaming," which uses unmanned vehicles that are more independent than those piloted or supervised by human operators. Girrier told the audience that the "technology is there" and that more autonomous drones would allow the United States "to achieve supremacy at a lower cost." The Navy's push comes despite critics expressing increasing alarm at further automating drones, advances that have sparked fears of militaries developing robots that can kill without accountability. In July a group of concerned scientists, researchers and academics ... argued against the development of autonomous weapons systems. They warned of an artificial intelligence arms race and called for a "ban on offensive autonomous weapons beyond meaningful human control."
Note: In another article Tesla founder Elon Musk's warns against the dangers of AI without regulation. A 2013 report for the U.N. Human Rights Commission called 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. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
In 2007, shortly after vice-president Joe Biden learned that his eldest son would be deployed to Iraq, the then-presidential hopeful turned to a modest crowd at the Iowa state fair and admitted that he didn’t want Beau to go. Beau arrived in Iraq the following year. Though he returned home safely ... his health deteriorated, and he was diagnosed with brain cancer. Less than two years later, he died at the age of 46. A new book ... suggests a possible link between his illness and service. Based on clusters of similar cases, scientific studies and expert opinions, author Joseph Hickman proposes in The Burn Pits: The Poisoning of America’s Soldiers that [some] US service members in Iraq and Afghanistan confronted ... respiratory issues relating to their burn pit exposure. Others likely developed more life-threatening conditions such as cancers, Hickman contends, because of what the burn pits were built on top of: the remnants of Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons program. The Pentagon ordered the use of open-air burn pits to dispose of the wars’ massive volume of waste. Among the other hazardous items service members recall being burned are: petroleum, oil, rubber, tires, plastic, styrofoam, batteries, appliances, electrical equipment, pesticides, aerosol cans, oil, explosives, casings, medical waste and animal and human carcasses. The VA does does not acknowledge a link between burn pits and long-term health problems. Of the 500 people included in Hickman’s burn pit study, the VA denied disability benefits to over 90% of them.
Note: Read more about these toxic burn pits and the US military's ongoing refusal to accept responsibility for the negative impacts of these on veteran's health. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The United States spent more than $7 billion in the past 14 years to fight the runaway poppy production that has made Afghan opium the world’s biggest brand. Tens of billions more went to governance programs to stem corruption and train a credible police force. But ... more than ever, Afghan government officials have become directly involved in the opium trade. Some of the most important regional police and security commanders, including allies of American military and intelligence officials, are closely identified with the opium trade. Farmers said they paid [government officials] about $40 for each acre of poppies under cultivation. In 2015, that meant nearly $3 million in payments from the district of Garmsir alone. Garmsir is just one of several districts in ... the heart of poppy country. By the most basic metric, the international effort to curb poppy production in Afghanistan has failed. More opium was cultivated in 2014, the last year of the NATO combat mission, than in any other year since the United Nations began keeping records in 2002. Government complicity in the opium trade is not new. Taxation on a districtwide level in the main opium-growing centers, however, has been less common. Most who spoke about it did so on the condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals. Farmers in Nad Ali said tax collection depended on ... one’s relationship with the local police commander. In some cases, the teams sent by the government to eradicate crops collected the funds. In others, it was the local or national police.
Note: For solid evidence that rogue elements of the US government are making big profits from opium sales, read the riveting stories of two award-winning journalists. For more, read how US counternarcotics efforts have contributed to the Afghan opium boom.
The Overseas Contingency Operations budget ... was known from 2001 to 2009 as “the supplemental” and is now considered a de facto slush fund. It began as the war budget President George W. Bush needed for the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan without having to go back to Congress every time the Defense Department needed to modify its main half-trillion-dollar budget. The Pentagon does not have to release details publicly on how specifically this money will be spent. As a result, [the OCO] has ballooned into an ambiguous part of the budget to which government financiers increasingly turn to pay for other, at times unrelated, costs. This year the proposed budget ... grew by $200 million despite thousands fewer combat troops in Afghanistan and, technically, none in Iraq. Janine Davidson, who is awaiting Senate confirmation to become undersecretary of the Navy, wrote last year about the perils of letting this budget remain unchecked. Adams believes the increased reliance on this budget “fractures budget discipline” for the Defense Department and demonstrates that normal budget process “is completely broken.” It leaves the Defense Department all the money it needs for operations and paying its bills, and then some. “When you’ve done that, you’ve basically said to all the people who run the Pentagon, ‘You’re awash with money. Priority-setting is no longer necessary.’”
Billions of dollars spent by the U.S. government in Afghanistan over the past decade has failed to make the country safer or substantially improve its economic prospects, according to a new report. The special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction [SIGAR] says its investigations led to the imprisonment of two U.S. Army sergeants who were found guilty of accepting illegal bribes. SIGAR’s report also points out that between October and December 2015, “Afghanistan proved even more dangerous than it was a year ago” and that the Taliban now controls more territory, around 30 percent, than at any time since 2001. The U.S. has spent $113.1 billion funding Afghanistan’s reconstruction since 2002, including $8.4 billion for counter-narcotics efforts. Despite that enormous sum ... Afghanistan has the equivalent of 400,000 football fields of opium under cultivation. SIGAR’s quarterly report follows a series of damning discoveries about Department of Defense spending in Afghanistan. In December, SIGAR released a report that said the DOD spent $150 million on private homes ... for between five and 10 U.S. government employees. Afghanistan is also perceived as one of the most corrupt countries in the world: Transparency International ranks Afghanistan as 166th out of 168 countries.
Note: The same thing could be said about Iraq. The US has spent several trillion dollars pursuing a policy of endless war since 9/11. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Top U.S. military commanders, who only a few months ago were planning to pull the last American troops out of Afghanistan by year’s end, are now quietly talking about an American commitment that could keep thousands of troops in the country for decades. The new American outlook marks a striking change for Obama, who campaigned on a promise to bring American troops home and has said repeatedly that he does not support the “idea of endless war.” And it highlights a major shift for the American military, which has spent much of the past decade racing to hit milestones as part of its broader “exit strategy” from Afghanistan and Iraq. These days, that phrase has largely disappeared from the military’s lexicon. In its place, there is a broad recognition in the Pentagon that building an effective Afghan army and police force will take a generation’s commitment, including billions of dollars a year in outside funding and constant support from thousands of foreign advisers on the ground. There are now 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Plans call for Obama to halve that force by the time he leaves office, but he could defer the decision to the next president.
Note: The US has spent several trillion dollars pursuing a policy of endless war since 9/11. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
United Nations (U.N.) peacekeeping personnel must lose their status as “a privileged class,” according to a former senior U.N. official, after fresh allegations of sexual abuse of minors by peacekeepers in Central African Republic (CAR) emerged. The U.N. peacekeeping mission in CAR - known as MINUSCA - said on Tuesday that it was investigating allegations concerning sexual exploitation and abuse of minors, as well as other misconduct, by peacekeepers and international forces. The peacekeepers came from Gabon, Egypt and Morocco, and AFP reported that the allegations brings the total number of sexual abuse cases against U.N. peacekeepers in CAR to 26. According to Paula Donovan, who served as a senior advisor to the U.N. Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa from 2003 to 2006, the latest allegations mean that the U.N.’s “sex abuse crisis is now more exposed than ever before, but there’s no evidence that the U.N. has changed the way it’s dealing with the problem. The U.N. treats reports of sexual abuse by its personnel as administrative matters to be handled internally and in secret, rather than as serious violent crimes,” says Donovan.
Note: A personal friend of WantToKnow.info manager Fred Burks served with the Peace Corps in Africa where she saw learned of horrendous sexual abuse, but was told by all of her superiors in Peace Corps not to touch that one. Watch an excellent segment by Australia's "60-Minutes" team titled "Spies, Lords and Predators" on a pedophile ring in the UK which leads directly to the highest levels of government. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
In total, incidents involving sexual assault in which the children of service members are victims occur hundreds of times each year, data the Defense Department provided ... show. The figures offer greater insight into the sexual abuse of children committed by service members, a problem of uncertain scale due to a lack of transparency into the military's legal proceedings. With more than 1 million military dependents, the number of cases appears statistically small. An AP investigation ... found more inmates are in military prisons for child sex crimes than for any other offense. But the military's opaque justice system keeps the public from knowing the full extent of their crimes or how much time they spend behind bars. Responding to AP's findings, three Democratic senators have urged Defense Secretary Ash Carter to lift what they called the military justice system's "cloak of secrecy" and make records from sex-crimes trials readily accessible. The senators also raised another concern. Child sex-assault cases are not included in the Defense Department's annual report to Congress on sexual assaults, which focuses primarily on adult-on-adult incidents, they said. The senators ... told Carter in a Dec. 8 letter they are concerned the department may be underestimating how many sexual assaults are occurring in the military.
Note: When it comes to sexual abuse, the US military has reportedly fostered a culture of coverup. Watch an excellent segment by Australia's "60-Minutes" team titled "Spies, Lords and Predators" on a pedophile ring in the UK which leads directly to the highest levels of government. A second suppressed documentary, "Conspiracy of Silence," goes even deeper into this sad subject. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
For the past two years, the Pentagon has acknowledged having a severe problem with sexual assault in the ranks. Soldiers entrusted with key roles in the campaign against sexual assault and harassment have ... been accused of committing those very offenses. The Army Reserve’s 80th Training Command summoned about 350 personnel to an Orlando hotel in 2013 for a four-day conference on sexual-assault prevention. One session highlighted how excessive drinking is often at the root of sex crimes committed by those in uniform. Soon after the conference began, sheriff’s deputies were called to the hotel to investigate a report that a female guest had been raped by one of the participants - an inebriated soldier she had met at the hotel pool. Overall, the Defense Department received 6,131 reports of sexual assault last year, a figure that has more than doubled since 2007. In March, a sexual-assault-prevention officer for an Army battalion at Fort Hood, Tex., pleaded guilty to acting as a pimp by luring cash-strapped young female soldiers into a prostitution ring. Last year, the Army disciplined its former top sex-crimes prosecutor after receiving a complaint that he had kissed and groped a female officer - while attending a conference on sexual assault. The system shows that the military doesn’t really take sexual assault seriously.
Note: When it comes to sexual abuse, the US military has reportedly fostered a culture of coverup. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
Navy SEALs stomped on ... bound Afghan detainees and dropped heavy stones on their chests. A few hours earlier, shortly after dawn on May 31, 2012, a bomb had exploded at a checkpoint manned by an Afghan Local Police unit that the SEALs were training. Angered by the death of one of their comrades in the blast, the police militiamen had rounded up half a dozen or more suspects from a market in the village of Kalach and forced them to a nearby American outpost. Along the way, they beat them. A United States Army medic standing guard at the base, Specialist David Walker, had expected the men from SEAL Team 2 to put a stop to the abuse. Instead, he said, one of them “jump-kicked this guy kneeling on the ground.” Two others joined in, [and] beat the detainees so badly that by dusk, one would die. Four American soldiers working with the SEALs reported the episode. The SEAL command, though, cleared the Team 2 members of wrongdoing in a closed disciplinary process that is typically used only for minor infractions. Two of the SEALs and their lieutenant have since been promoted. Several military justice experts ... said that it had been inappropriate for the SEAL command to treat such allegations as an internal disciplinary matter. “It’s unfathomable,” said Donald J. Guter, a retired rear admiral and former judge advocate general of the Navy, in charge of all its lawyers. “It really does look like this was intended just to bury this.”
A high-ranking member of Thailand’s police force charged with investigating human trafficking has fled to Australia and requested asylum. Major General Paween Pongsirin said he ... believed his life was in danger after the investigation uncovered evidence that members of Thailand’s military and police force were participating in human trafficking operations. “I worked in the trafficking area to help human beings who were in trouble,” he said. “But now it is me who is in trouble. Paween began leading the investigation in May, after more than 30 bodies were found buried in graves near Thailand’s southern border with Malaysia. Paween’s investigation has led to allegations of trafficking against 153 people, including at least one senior military official, though he said other government officials would be implicated. The suspected traffickers are accused of starving refugees and denying health treatment, among other offenses. Thailand’s military has held leadership in the country since a coup d'état last year. Paween told the Guardian he resigned in November after the five-month investigations was halted. Despite his protests, Paween was transferred to southern Thailand, where he said "senior police" officials were linked to the human trafficking trade. “Human trafficking is a big network that involves lots of the military, politicians and police,” he told the Guardian. “Unfortunately, those bad police and bad military are the ones that have power.”
America's only top-secret airline may be hiring again. Janet Airlines, which flies from from Las Vegas to a number of government sites, is reportedly looking for a pilot for its Boeing 737 aircraft. Janet - an acronym which some claim stands for "Just Another Non-Existent Terminal" - is a shuttle service that is operated by defense contractor AECOM and the U.S. Air Force, making daily flights from a private, unmarked (and heavily guarded) terminal at McCarran International Airport to military bases including the restricted Tonopah Test Range, aircraft manufacturing site Plant 42 and a site at Groom Lake, Nevada which ... is more commonly known as Area 51. The Tactical Air Network discovered a job posting on AECOM's website for a First Officer, and the contractor is currently accepting applications from candidates with a ... Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI) in order to qualify for Top Secret security clearance. Janet's fleet currently includes white 737-600 aircraft, which are remarkable for how completely unremarkable they are, with no logos and no markings other than a red stripe and a registration number. The Janet jets are the narrow visible bandwidth of a much broader spectrum of 'black world' places and projects. At its core, Janet Airlines is the heart of an entire clandestine defense ecosystem that is spread across the deserts of the American southwest, pumping talent and brain power to some of the most advanced technologies mankind has ever developed.
The above video [see video at link above], reportedly recorded outside of Aleppo, Syria and posted online Tuesday, features rebels from the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army firing a U.S.-supplied anti-tank guided missile at what it is clearly a U.S.-made Humvee. Rarely do the weapons and equipment of a conflict come together in a single video to highlight how America now fights its wars, but there it is. According to the caption on the video, the strike killed one occupant. The now-destroyed Humvee was mounted with a 14.5mm anti-aircraft gun. It is unclear if the U.S. Humvee is one that the Islamic State might have captured from Iraqi security forces during its blitz across parts of northern Iraq last year, or if it’s from U.S.-supplied Iraqi militias who have since entered Syria to prop up President Bashar al-Assad’s fledging forces. One thing is for certain: that truck was built in the U.S.A. As the war enter its fifth year ... the number of deaths crest well over 250,000.
Note: Isn't it interesting that many of the weapons used by both sides in the Syrian conflict come from the US. Watch this video which shows how the US and its allies stoke war in order to pad the pockets of mega-corporations which profit greatly from arms sales. Then read this New York Times article which shows how the FBI aids and abets terrorism on a regular basis to keep us in fear. The evidence is overwhelming that the war on terror is a manipulated fraud to keep the public in fear and keep certain factions of the power elite in power and control.
There’s no longer any doubt that thousands of West Coasters witnessed an unarmed missile streaking across the sky Saturday night. What remains open to interpretation: Why? Why test-fire a missile within sight of the nation’s second-largest city? Did officials underestimate social media’s ability to turn a routine event into front-page fodder? Or was that the plan all along, using the inevitable influence of social media to flex America’s military might for observers in Beijing and Moscow? The answer: It’s complicated. Loren Thompson, a military analyst who used to teach nuclear strategy at Georgetown University, told The Washington Post that “We have entered an era when anybody can reach a large audience using social media and the blogosphere, so the military needs to look closely at the implications of testing close to population centers. Obviously, with something as large as a Trident II missile, whether you launch during the daytime or at night, it will be visible,” he said. “That’s just the nature of it.” Even so, the extra attention might not have mattered to military officials, Thompson said. If you ignore the frenzy on social media, there is a benefit to visibility: The U.S. Navy, Thompson writes in Forbes, views nuclear deterrence as its most important mission, and the Trident is the backbone of that deterrence. “You could have demonstrated same point to the Russians or the Chinese without getting people really concerned in L.A.,” Thompson told The Post.
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) is asking why a small Department of Defense task force charged with developing the Afghan economy spent nearly $150 million on private villas, security guards and luxury meals. In a letter to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter ... SIGAR chief John Sopko wrote that members of the Defense Department’s Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO) could have used accommodations available on local military bases and other U.S. government facilities. Former TFBSO employees told SIGAR investigators that the $150 million ... supported “no more than 5 to 10” employees. Triple Canopy is one of the firms that have financially benefited the most from post-9/11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning roughly $2.2 billion in government contracts since 2003. The company has continued to receive lucrative government contracts despite being at the center of several controversies related to the killing of civilians in Iraq by its employees and providing falsified documents for its private security guards. The decision to hire the contractors is believed to have originated with former deputy undersecretary of defense and TFSBO director Paul Brinkley. In 2007, he was investigated by the military on allegations of financial mismanagement and personal misconduct while based in Iraq, but continued serving in government until 2011.
Note: By mid-2014, the US had spent more money on Afghanistan's "reconstruction" than it spent on the entire Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe following WWII. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The Navy is poised to promote the admiral in charge of its elite SEAL teams and other commando units even though Pentagon investigators determined that he illegally retaliated against staff members who he mistakenly suspected were whistleblowers. Rear Adm. Brian L. Losey was investigated five times by the Defense Department’s inspector general after subordinates complained that he had wrongly fired, demoted or punished them during a vengeful but fruitless hunt for the person who had anonymously reported him for a minor travel-policy infraction. After conducting separate, years-long investigations that involved more than 100 witnesses and 300,000 pages of e-mails, the inspector general upheld complaints from three of the five staff members. In each of those cases, it recommended that the Navy take action against Losey for violating whistleblower-protection laws, the documents show. The Navy, however, dismissed the findings this month and decided not to discipline Losey. He now leads the Naval Special Warfare Command. The previously undisclosed investigations into one of the Navy’s top SEALs underscore the weakness of the military’s whistleblower-protection law and how rarely violators are punished. Of the 1,196 whistleblowercases closed by the Defense Department during the 12 months ending March 31, only 3 percent were upheld by investigators. The complaints against Losey also illustrate the Pentagon’s long-standing reluctance to discipline top brass for wrongdoing and how the military typically conceals misconduct investigations from public view.
U.S. President Barack Obama’s pledge Thursday to keep American troops in Afghanistan through 2016 was the last thing Mary Hladky wanted to hear. “It’s what we were dreading,” said the mother of three, whose son Ryan is in the National Guard after serving in the Army from 2009 to 2013 and in Afghanistan during the surge in 2011. She said announcements such as the one Obama made last week no longer surprise her, but they are still very upsetting. In May 2014, Obama said it was “time to turn the page on ... the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq,” saying he would withdraw the last American troops from the former country by 2016. Thursday, the president reversed course, saying the U.S. would keep at least 9,800 troops in the Central Asian nation through most of 2016, with at least 5,500 of them there at the end of next year. Obama ... was joined by Vice President Joe Biden and top military leaders when he made the announcement in Washington. After her son’s deployment, Hladky joined a group called Military Families Speak Out (MFSO), which has for years urged lawmakers to bring U.S. troops back from the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Although Obama said last week he opposes the idea of what he called “endless war,” it appears the decision to conclude what is now a 14-year-old conflict in Afghanistan will no longer be his to make, given the end of his term in office in January 2017. Meanwhile, his move has resulted in a tremendous amount of anger and betrayal being felt among many military families.
From 2011 to 2013, the most elite forces in the U.S. military, supported by the CIA and other elements of the intelligence community, set out to destroy the Taliban and al Qaeda forces that remained hidden ... along Afghanistan’s northeastern border with Pakistan. Dubbed Operation Haymaker, the campaign has been described as a potential model for the future of American warfare. The military’s own analysis demonstrates that the Haymaker campaign was in many respects a failure. The vast majority of those killed in airstrikes were not the direct targets. Nor did the campaign succeed in significantly degrading al Qaeda’s operations in the region. The frequency with which “targeted killing” operations hit unnamed bystanders is among the more striking takeaways from the Haymaker slides. [Documents obtained by The Intercept] show that during a five-month stretch of the campaign, nearly nine out of 10 people who died in airstrikes were not the Americans’ direct targets. Larry Lewis, formerly a principal research scientist at the Center for Naval Analyses, ... found that drone strikes in Afghanistan were 10 times more likely to kill civilians than conventional aircraft. This month, an American airstrike on a hospital run by the international organization Médecins Sans Frontičres ... killed at least a dozen members of the humanitarian group’s medical staff and 10 patients, including three children. A nurse on the scene recalled seeing six victims in the intensive care unit ablaze in their beds.
On October 3, a U.S. AC-130 gunship attacked a hospital run by Médecins Sans Frontičres in Kunduz, Afghanistan, partially destroying it. The U.S. has repeatedly attacked civilian facilities in the past but the targets have generally not been affiliated with a European, Nobel Peace Prize-winning humanitarian organization such as MSF. On the seventh day of Operation Desert Storm, [a] U.S.-led coalition bombed the Infant Formula Production Plant in the Abu Ghraib suburb of Baghdad. The CIA’s own investigation later concluded the site had been bombed “in the mistaken belief that it was a key BW [Biological Weapon] facility.” In 1998, the Clinton administration targeted the Al Shifa [pharmaceutical] factory with 13 cruise missiles [claiming] the plant was “associated with the bin Laden network” and was “involved in the production of materials for chemical weapons.” The Clinton administration never produced any convincing evidence. The plant had produced 90 percent of Sudan’s major pharmaceutical products. Due to its destruction “tens of thousands of people ... have suffered and died. At the beginning of the U.S-led invasion of Afghanistan, the U.S. attacked the complex housing the International Committee of the Red Cross in Kabul. Then the U.S. bombed the same complex again. The second attack destroyed warehouses containing tons of food and supplies for refugees. Several weeks after the Red Cross attacks, the U.S. bombed the Kabul bureau of Al Jazeera, destroying it and damaging the nearby office of the BBC.
Note: Yet the US military claims it has incredible accuracy with its bombings and the information on which they are based. The link above provides a list of major recent US military attacks on civilian institutions. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Yesterday afternoon, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power marched to Twitter to proclaim: “We call on Russia to immediately cease attacks on Syrian oppo[sition and] civilians.” Along with that decree, she posted a statement from the U.S. and several of its closest authoritarian allies — including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the U.K. — warning Russia that civilian casualties “will only fuel more extremism and radicalization.” Early this morning, in the Afghan city of Kunduz, the U.S. dropped bombs on a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders. The airstrike killed at least nine of the hospital’s medical staff, and seriously injured dozens of patients. This strike on a hospital in Afghanistan comes days after the Saudi-led coalition bombed a wedding in Yemen that killed more than 130 people. After days of silence from the U.S. government ... the Saudi Foreign Minister told CBS News that “We work with our allies including the United States on these targets.” This last week has been a particularly gruesome illustration of continuous U.S. conduct under the War on Terror banner, including under the Nobel Peace Prize-winning president. The formula by now is clear: bombing whatever countries it wants, justifying it all by reflexively labelling their targets as “terrorists,” and then dishonestly denying or casually dismissing the civilians they slaughter as “collateral damage.” Russia [uses] this exact rhetorical template in Syria.
CBC News has learned that a Canadian military effort to formally create integrated forces with the United States for expeditionary operations included an even more ambitious option — a plan to fully integrate military forces. The Canadian military efforts were ultimately ... refocused on improving interoperability between the forces. The Canada-U.S. Integrated Forces program was led at the highest levels, with then Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Tom Lawson and the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey (now retired), meeting on "several occasions" to hash out a plan that included an option for "fully integrated forces." CBC News reported that the Canadian military had been working on a plan to create a binational integrated military force with the U.S., under which air, sea, land and special operations forces would be jointly deployed under unified command outside Canada. "The government has neither expressed interest in the concept of Canada-U.S. force integration nor directed exploration of it," [defense ministry spokesman Daniel] Proussalidis told CBC News. But the new information from the Defence Department shows the planning ... happened at the highest levels of both forces. A fully integrated force could be politically dangerous.
American-trained Syrian fighters gave at least a quarter of their U.S.-provided equipment to al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria early this week, the U.S. Central Command said late Friday. The acknowledgment is the latest discouraging report regarding the $500 million train-and-equip program, which Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, head of Central Command, said last week had only “four or five” trained Syrian fighters active in Syria. Since then, the military has said approximately 70 fighters have been added. In the toxic and chaotic Syrian mix, Jabhat al-Nusra and many Syrian rebels are fighting a separate war from the one being waged by the United States against the Islamic State. Their main goal is the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad. U.S. military vetters have had a hard time finding approved Syrians to train who are also willing to pledge to direct their focus toward the Islamic State rather than Assad. The Pentagon’s admission of the arms turnover comes at an especially sensitive time for the White House. In light of the shortcomings of the train-and-equip program ... White House and Pentagon officials have been considering providing arms and ammunition to a wider array of rebel groups and relaxing some vetting standards. The recent disclosures, however, highlight the pitfalls of that strategy in Syria, where the United States has essentially no troops on the ground and little means of accounting for the weapons it provides.
Note: A carefully researched report on the covert origins of ISIS shows that the U.S. has been providing arms and support to al-Nusra by various channels for years. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
This year, US Special Operations forces have already deployed to 135 nations, according to Ken McGraw, a spokesman for Special Operations Command (SOCOM). That’s roughly 70 percent of the countries on the planet. Every day, in fact, America’s most elite troops are carrying out missions in 80 to 90 nations, practicing night raids or sometimes conducting them for real, engaging in sniper training or sometimes actually gunning down enemies from afar. As part of a global engagement strategy of endless hush-hush operations conducted on every continent but Antarctica, they have now eclipsed the number and range of special ops missions undertaken at the height of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the waning days of the Bush administration, Special Operations forces (SOF) were reportedly deployed in only about 60 nations around the world. By 2010, according to the Washington Post, that number had swelled to 75. [It reached] a new record of 135 this summer. This 80 percent increase over the last five years is indicative of SOCOM’s exponential expansion which first shifted into high gear following the 9/11 attacks. SOCOM will not name the 135 countries in which America’s most elite forces were deployed this year, let alone disclose the nature of those operations. These forces carry out operations almost entirely unknown to the American taxpayers who fund them, operations conducted far from the scrutiny of the media or meaningful outside oversight of any kind.
Testimony at a Senate hearing Tuesday demonstrated that [the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)] remains a dangerous place for whistleblowers who report wrong doing. “The VA has a culture problem with whistleblower retaliation,” said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. The “culture of fear” Johnson spoke of is evident in the number of VA cases handled by the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), an independent body that deals with whistleblower retaliation among other things. VA whistleblower reprisal cases received by OSC has been rising quickly, from 405 in fiscal 2013 to a projected 712 for fiscal 2015 – a 75 percent jump. [Special Counsel Carolyn] Lerner expects approximately 35 percent of the possible 4,000 prohibited personnel practice cases filed from across government this year to be from VA employees. Lerner complained to Obama in a Sept. 17 letter about the lack of discipline for VA managers found to have done wrong. After listing cases where managers were not disciplined, or only lightly so, for infractions, Lerner wrote: “The lack of accountability in these cases stands in stark contrast to disciplinary actions taken against VA whistleblowers. The VA has attempted to fire or suspend whistleblowers for minor indiscretions and, often, for activity directly related to the employee’s whistleblowing.”
Note: In 2011, BBC began asking if the U.S. government was "at war with whistleblowers". Watch a fascinating interview with whistleblower Rebekah Roth, an airline attendant who uncovers an abundance of key new information on 9/11. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The incidents of sexual assault on children described by American service members who served in Afghanistan are sickening. Boys screaming in the night as Afghan police officers attacked them. Three or four Afghan men found lying on the floor of a room at a military base with children between them, presumably for sex play. No less offensive is that American soldiers and Marines who wanted to intervene could not. The Pentagon’s indulgent, even complicit, attitude toward pedophiles among the Afghan militias that it funded and trained is indefensible, at odds with American values and with international laws Washington has taken the lead in promoting. Sexual abuse would appear to violate the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit violence, cruel treatment and “outrages upon personal dignity” against people taken into custody. International human rights law outlaws rape. The Geneva Conventions and federal law also impose an obligation on the United States to investigate and prosecute violations of the laws of war under its jurisdiction, including military bases in Afghanistan. “There are no gray areas here,” said John Sifton of Human Rights Watch. Fourteen long years of war and billions of dollars invested have proved that the United States cannot remake Afghanistan. But there should be no question that the American military cannot allow such practices on its bases. Nor should service members like Captain Quinn and Sergeant Martland be penalized for refusing to turn a blind eye when a boy is kept as a sex slave.
Note: If you want to understand how pedophile rings have infiltrated the highest levels of government, don't miss the powerful Discovery Channel documentary on this available here. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on sexual abuse scandals from reliable major media sources.
In his last phone call home, Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley Jr. told his father: From his bunk in southern Afghanistan, he could hear Afghan police officers sexually abusing boys they had brought to the base. “At night we can hear them screaming, but we’re not allowed to do anything about it,” the Marine’s father ... recalled his son telling him before he was shot to death at the base in 2012. Rampant sexual abuse of children has long been a problem in Afghanistan, particularly among armed commanders who dominate much of the rural landscape. American soldiers and Marines have been instructed not to intervene. The policy has endured as American forces have recruited and organized Afghan militias. Instead of weeding out pedophiles, the American military was arming them in some cases and placing them as the commanders of villages. Dan Quinn, a former Special Forces captain who beat up an American-backed militia commander for keeping a boy chained to his bed as a sex slave, [said], “We were putting people into power who would do things that were worse than the Taliban did — that was something village elders voiced to me.” The policy of instructing soldiers to ignore child sexual abuse by their Afghan allies is coming under new scrutiny, particularly as it emerges that service members like Captain Quinn have faced discipline, even career ruin, for disobeying it. After the beating, the Army relieved Captain Quinn of his command and pulled him from Afghanistan. He has since left the military.
Note: If you want to understand how pedophile rings have infiltrated the highest levels of government, don't miss the powerful Discovery Channel documentary on this available here. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on sexual abuse scandals from reliable major media sources.
Tens of thousands of troops were used in testing conducted by the U.S. military between 1922 and 1975. The military wanted to learn how to induce symptoms such as "fear, panic, hysteria, and hallucinations" in enemy soldiers. Those who are still alive are part of a class action lawsuit against the Army. If they're successful, the Army will have to explain to anyone who was used in testing exactly what substances they were given and any known risks, [as well as] provide those veterans with health care for any illnesses that result, in whole or in part, from the testing. At least 70,000 troops were used in the testing. Researchers kept information about which agents they were administering from test subjects, [referring to the agents by] code names such as CAR 302668. That's one of the agents, records show, that researchers injected into Frank Rochelle in 1968. In 1975, the Army's chief of medical research admitted to Congress that he didn't have the funding to monitor test subjects' health after they went through the experiments. Since then, the military says it has ended all chemical and biological testing. Test subjects like Rochelle say that's not enough. "We were assured that everything that went on inside the clinic, we were going to be under 100 percent observation; they were going to do nothing to harm us," he says. "And also we were sure that we would be taken care of afterwards if anything happened. Instead we were left to hang out to dry."
Note: The rampant use of humans as guinea pigs in government, military, and medical experiments over the last century is laid out on this timeline. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
No one knows what the Air Force’s top-secret new bomber will look like. But the service keeps saying it knows how much it’s going to cost. That’s what makes the Air Force’s $25 billion price tag error so disconcerting. The problem began last year, when the service told Congress the yet-to-be-built Long-Range Strike Bomber would cost $33.1 billion between 2015 and 2025. It recently updated the estimate (from 2016 to 2026) to $58.4 billion - a hike of $25.3 billion, or 76%. But, the Air Force acknowledged last week, the latest cost estimate to develop and buy the aircraft over the coming decade is pegged at $41.7 billion. The pair of multi-billion-dollar snafus - $9 billion too low last year, $17 billion too high this year - is head-spinning. It leads to a simple question: is anyone minding the store? So what happened? “It occurred in part because of human error,” Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said Monday. “And in part because of process error, meaning a couple of our people got the figures wrong and the process of coordination was not fully carried out in this case.” Those who erred have been “counseled,” James said. “The key thing is there has been no change in those cost figures.” In other words, that recent $41.7 billion estimate is rock solid, at least for now.
Note: Can "human error" also explain the $8.5 trillion that disappeared from the Pentagon since 1996 and much more?
The world’s largest defense contractor has agreed to pay $4.7 million to settle charges that it illegally used government money. Top executives for Lockheed Martin — who were being paid by the federal government to run Sandia National Laboratories — ran a fierce campaign to lobby [government] officials for a seven-year extension of their contract, [and] urged them to close the bidding to competition. To clinch the contract extension, Sandia labs officials hired high-priced consultants — including Heather A. Wilson, the former New Mexico congresswoman, who allegedly was paid $226,000. Wilson was not just on Lockheed’s payroll. From 2009 through 2011, she had consulting jobs for Lockheed and three other contractors managing the Energy Department’s national lab, charging taxpayers a total of $450,000. But the contractors could not document her work, said [Energy Department Inspector General Gregory] Friedman, whose staff found that the justification for the billing did “not meet even minimum standards” for federal payments.” Wilson ... left Congress in 2009. Jay Coghlan of Nuclear Watch New Mexico, called the deal a “slap on the wrist for the world’s biggest defense contractor to pay,” [and] wrote on the NuclearWatch blog Lockheed “engaged in deep and systemic corruption, including paying Congresswoman Heather Wilson $10,000 a month starting the day after she left office for so-called consulting services that had no written work requirements.”
Note: Lockheed Martin runs a breathtakingly big part of the United States. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the corporate world.
U.S. special operations forces in Iraq developed an untraceable explosive device they nicknamed the Xbox to kill Iraqi Shiite militiamen smuggling roadside bombs from Iran to attack American troops, according to a new book. Starting in about 2007, Army Delta Force commandos in a special task force in the war to oust Saddam Hussein used the bombs against Iranian collaborators whose improvised explosive devices were powerful enough to destroy the most heavily armored U.S. vehicles, Sean Naylor wrote in “Relentless Strike: The Secret History of Joint Special Operations Command.” The Xbox bomb “was designed to look and behave exactly like one made by Iraqi insurgents” with a hodgepodge of Russian, Chinese and Pakistani-made parts, wrote Naylor, a contributing editor at Foreign Policy. The intent was that if the device were sent to the FBI for analysis, even its experts “would mistakenly trace the bomb back” to a particular terrorist bomb maker. Using the bomb ... the command “found a way around the political restrictions by killing its enemies without leaving any U.S. fingerprints,” according to the book.
In 1945, as a first-year student at Kyushu Imperial University’s medical school in southern Japan, [Toshio] Tono became an unwilling witness to atrocities. Just weeks after he began his studies, a US B-29 Superfortress crashed in northern Kyushu island. The [surviving] airmen were rounded up by police and placed in military custody. The prisoners were led to believe they were going to receive treatment for their injuries. But over the following three weeks, they were to be subjected to a depraved form of pathology at the medical school – procedures to which Tono is the only surviving witness. According to testimony ... at the Allied War Crimes Tribunals, they injected one anaesthetised prisoner with seawater. Other airmen had parts of their organs removed, with one deprived of an entire lung. In another experiment, doctors drilled through the skull of a live prisoner. “The experiments had absolutely no medical merit,” [Tono] said. “They were being used to inflict as cruel a death as possible on the prisoners. Of the 30 Kyushu University doctors and military staff who stood trial in 1948, 23 were convicted of vivisection and the wrongful removal of body parts. But they were never punished. President Truman issued an executive order that led to freedom for imprisoned war criminals. By the end of 1958, all Japanese war criminals had been released and began reinventing themselves, some as mainstream politicians, under their new, US-authored constitution.
Note: The German Nazis conducted similarly horrifying experiments on humans, as described in this Harper's Magazine article. Many of the Nazi scientists involved were secretly brought to the U.S. under Operation Paperclip. And according to this disturbing essay of a survivor, Nazi torturers were brought to the US to train CIA to train operatives in how to create multiple personality super spies through torture, drugs, and hypnosis.
The Defense Department earlier this summer released a comprehensive manual outlining its interpretation of the law of war. The 1,176-page document, the first of its kind, includes guidelines on the treatment of journalists covering armed conflicts that would make their work more dangerous, cumbersome and subject to censorship. Journalists, the manual says, are generally regarded as civilians, but may in some instances be deemed “unprivileged belligerents,” a legal term that applies to fighters that are afforded fewer protections than the declared combatants in a war. The manual warns that “Reporting on military operations can be very similar to collecting intelligence or even spying.” It says that governments “may need to censor journalists’ work or take other security measures so that journalists do not reveal sensitive information to the enemy.” Allowing this document to stand as guidance for commanders, government lawyers and officials of other nations would do severe damage to press freedoms. Authoritarian leaders around the world could point to it to show that their despotic treatment of journalists — including Americans — is broadly in line with the standards set by the United States government. The document’s broad assertion that journalists’ work may need to be censored lest it reveal sensitive information to the enemy ... seems to contravene American constitutional and case law, and offers other countries that routinely censor the press a handy reference point.
Note: Read a critical analysis of the Pentagon’s new manual from the Committee to Protect Journalists. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in the intelligence community and the manipulation of public perception.
The first year of the ... air war against Isis has already seen more than 17,000 bombs and missiles dropped on Iraq and Syria. The coalition has conceded just two civilian deaths. Asked how many other non-combatants have died, officials demurred: “We aren’t going to speculate on this subject,” one senior CENTCOM spokesman recently told me. There’s rather less discomfort when it comes to boasting of how many enemy fighters are dead: 15,000 at their last count. Addressing this information gap, the monitoring group ... Airwars has examined all known claims of civilian deaths during the last year. In this time there were almost 120 such alleged incidents of non-combatants being affected by air-strikes across Iraq and Syria. In more than 50 cases we felt there was enough evidence – often including photographs, eyewitness testimony and the names of victims – to strongly indicate civilians had been killed by the coalition. It’s likely that between 459 and 591 non-combatants died in these attacks, including 100 children. The Ministry of Defence asserts that “We are not aware of any incidents of civilian casualties as a result of UK strike activity over Iraq.” It’s impossible to test that claim publicly, and with eight other nations also bombing that country there is little chance of accountability for those civilians affected. Syria is even more of a free-for-all, with Israeli and Turkish jets carrying out strikes alongside the Coalition and the Assad regime.
Note: Read an excellent essay by a top US general exposing how war is a racket. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about war and the manipulation of public perception.
Retired Army Gen. Mike Flynn, a top intelligence official in the post-9/11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, says in a forthcoming interview ... that the drone war is creating more terrorists than it is killing. He also asserts that the U.S. invasion of Iraq helped create the Islamic State. Flynn, who in 2014 was forced out as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, has in recent months become an outspoken critic of the Obama administration’s Middle East strategy. The former three star general ... describes the present approach of drone warfare as “a failed strategy.” What we have is this continued investment in conflict,” the retired general says. “The more weapons we give, the more bombs we drop, that just … fuels the conflict.” In 2010, [Flynn] published a controversial report on intelligence operations in Afghanistan, stating in part that the military could not answer “fundamental questions” about the country and its people despite nearly a decade of engagement there. Earlier this year, Flynn commended the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture saying that torture had eroded American values and that in time, the U.S. “will look back on it, and it won’t be a pretty picture.”
Note: Drone strikes almost always miss their intended targets. Casualties of war whose identities are unknown are frequently mis-reported to be "militants". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about military corruption.
People who lived near the site of the first atomic bomb test in the New Mexico desert and later developed cancer and other health problems need to be compensated, a U.S. senator said Thursday. The federal government neglected residents of the historic Hispanic village of Tularosa near the Trinity Site, where the weapon was detonated on July 16, 1945, Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., said in a speech on the Senate floor on the 70th anniversary of the test. "The rest of the world didn't know about the tragedies that happened in the Tularosa Basin. For a long time, the government denied that anything happened at all," Udall said. "Attention ... must be paid now." Udall met with residents and family members who lived near the test site. He believes they should be included in the federal Radiation Exposure Compensation Act program, which could provide a $50,000 payout. Many of those living near the Trinity Site were not told about the dangers and later suffered rare forms of cancer. Researchers from the National Cancer Institute are studying past and present cancer cases in New Mexico that might be related to the test, [which] took place in southern New Mexico as part of the Manhattan Project, the secretive World War II program that provided enriched uranium for the atomic bomb.
Note: For more along these lines, read how the effects of the atomic bomb were covered up.
Jade Helm 15, the controversial Special Operations exercise that spawned a wave of conspiracy theories about a government takeover, will open next week without any media allowed to observe it, a military spokesman said. Embedded reporters won’t be permitted at any point during the exercise, in which military officials say that secretive Special Operations troops will maneuver through private and publicly owned land in several southern states. The exercise is scheduled for July 15 through September 15 and is expected to include more than 1,200 troops. Army Special Operations Command announced the exercise in March, saying its size and scope would set it apart from most training exercises. For months, some protesters have said Jade Helm is setting the stage for future martial law. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, called in April for the Texas State Guard to monitor the exercise [to] improve communication between Special Operations forces and civilians in Texas. The Washington Post has several times requested access to observe the exercise, making the case to the military that first-hand media coverage would help explain the mission. [Army spokesman Lt. Col. Mark] Lastoria said it is not possible to allow a journalist to travel with Special Operations forces in the field. The military has granted access to Special Operations in the past, however. In one recent example, a journalist observed the exercise Robin Sage in North Carolina.
Note: See interesting information on Jade Helm 15 based on government documents concluding that it is largely an artificial intelligence operation.
As a young U.S. Army soldier during World War II, Rollins Edwards knew better than to refuse an assignment. When officers led him and a dozen others into a wooden gas chamber and locked the door, he didn't complain. None of them did. Then, a mixture of mustard gas and a similar agent called lewisite was piped inside. "It felt like you were on fire," recalls Edwards, now 93 years old. "Guys started screaming and hollering and trying to break out." Edwards was one of 60,000 enlisted men enrolled in a once-secret government program – formally declassified in 1993 – to test mustard gas and other chemical agents on American troops. But there was a specific reason he was chosen: Edwards is African-American. While the Pentagon admitted decades ago that it used American troops as test subjects in experiments with mustard gas, until now, officials have never spoken about the tests that grouped subjects by race. All of the World War II experiments with mustard gas were done in secret. [Subjects] received no follow-up health care or monitoring of any kind. They were sworn to secrecy about the tests under threat of dishonorable discharge and military prison time. In 1991, federal officials for the first time admitted that the military conducted mustard gas experiments on enlisted men during World War II. However the race-based experiments remained largely a secret until ... 2008. Despite months of federal records requests, NPR still hasn't been given access to hundreds of pages of documents related to the experiments, which could provide confirmation of the motivations behind them.
The Obama administration is again allowing the CIA to use drone strikes to secretly kill people that the spy agency does not know the identities of in multiple countries - despite repeated statements to the contrary. Apparently the drone operators didn't even know at the time who they were aiming at - only that they thought the target was possibly a terrorist hideout. It's what's known as a "signature" strike. Signature strikes has led to scores of civilians being killed over the past decade, including two completely innocent hostages ... one of whom was a US citizen ... less than two months ago. It's a way of killing that's been roundly condemned by human rights organizations and that some members of Congress have tried to outlaw. Here's how the New York Times described it: "The joke was that when the CIA sees "three guys doing jumping jacks," the agency thinks it is a terrorist training camp, said one senior official. Men loading a truck with fertilizer could be bombmakers – but they might also be farmers." It has become increasingly clear that the "rules" are virtually meaningless. As is typical with the US government's extrajudicial killing policy, there was no public debate about any of the changes to the supposed rules, or even announcement that they ever changed - only an unofficial leak to a journalist after the latest killing. Beyond the enormous human rights consequences related to such a dangerous policy, these types of strikes backfire on the United States, sowing hatred in the populations of bombed countries and breeding sympathy for al-Qaida where there was none before.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on terrorism from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our War Information Center.
Roughly 600 officers, known as missileers ... are responsible for launching America's 450 nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles. [They] have agreed to render whole cities [into] "smokin' holes." [In their training] the first requirement is signing a document committing to end the world if so ordered by the president. After a few months of key launch exercises ... "you become utterly desensitized to tending nuclear weapons," one former missileer says. Three years of sleepless nights following checklists out on the American tundra feels like a prison term. That might explain why a disproportionate number of nuclear commanders and missileers have recently been charged with criminal acts. ICBM bases [have] unusually high rates of criminality, domestic violence and security lapses. Court-martial rates ... are more than twice as high as in the overall Air Force. In October 2013, Michael Carey, a two-star general overseeing the entire nuclear command, was ousted for "misconduct" on an official trip to Moscow. A few months later [two officers] were caught sending phone messages to 11 other officers about "specific, illegal drug use that included synthetic drugs, Ecstasy, and amphetamines." Over the years, safeguards have failed so spectacularly that even an atheist might suspect divine intervention. A hydrogen bomb fell out of a plane in 1958 and leveled a South Carolina home without detonating. Another bomb accidentally parachuted towards Goldsboro, North Carolina in 1961, but failed to activate.
Note: Read about a wild incident where a UFO shut down many ICBMs seemingly as a message to humanity not to play with these toys. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our War Information Center.
The Navy’s SEAL Team 6 ... best known for killing Osama bin Laden, has been transformed by more than a decade of combat into a global manhunting machine. That role reflects America’s new way of war, in which conflict is distinguished ... by the relentless killing of suspected militants. While fighting grinding wars of attrition in Afghanistan and Iraq, Team 6 ... joined Central Intelligence Agency operatives in an initiative called the Omega Program, which offered greater latitude in hunting adversaries. Team 6 has successfully carried out thousands of dangerous raids that military leaders credit with weakening militant networks, but its activities have also spurred recurring concerns. Afghan villagers and a British commander accused SEALs of indiscriminately killing men in one hamlet; in 2009, team members joined C.I.A. and Afghan paramilitary forces in a raid that left a group of youths dead and inflamed tensions between Afghan and NATO officials. When suspicions have been raised about misconduct, outside oversight has been limited. “This is an area where Congress notoriously doesn’t want to know too much,” said Harold Koh, the State Department’s former top legal adviser. Like the C.I.A.’s campaign of drone strikes, Special Operations missions offer policy makers an alternative to costly wars of occupation. But the bulwark of secrecy around Team 6 makes it impossible to fully assess its record and the consequences of its actions, including civilian casualties or the deep resentment inside the countries where its members operate.
Note: Drone strikes almost always miss their intended targets. Casualties of war whose identities are unknown are frequently mis-reported to be "militants". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about military corruption and high level manipulation of mass media.
Iraqi security forces lost 2,300 Humvee armored vehicles when Islamic State overran the northern city of Mosul in June 2014. Coupled with previous losses of American weapons, the conclusion is simple: The United States is effectively supplying Islamic State with tools of war the militant group cannot otherwise hope to acquire. Losses to Islamic State include at least 40 M1A1 main battle tanks ... 74,000 machine guns, and as many as 52 M198 howitzer mobile gun systems. To help replenish Iraq's motor pool, the U.S. State Department last year approved a sale to Iraq of 1,000 Humvees, along with their armor upgrades, machine guns and grenade launchers. The United States previously donated 250 Mine Resistant Armored Personnel carriers (MRAPs) to Iraq, plus unaccountable amounts of material left behind when American forces departed in 2011. The United States is currently in the process of moving to Iraq 175 M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks, 55,000 rounds of main tank-gun ammunition, $600 million in howitzers and trucks, $700 million worth of Hellfire missiles and 2,000 AT-4 rockets. The Hellfires and AT-4's, anti-tank weapons, are presumably going to be used to help destroy the American armor in the hands of Islamic State. It's a surreal state of affairs in which American weaponry is being sent into Iraq to destroy American weaponry previously sent into Iraq.
Note: Remember that many in power want perpetual war to keep the profits flowing. Read a verifiable and carefully researched report on the covert origins of ISIS. Explore a powerful article titled "Ex-US Intelligence Officials Confirm: Secret Pentagon Report Proves US Complicity In Creation Of ISIS." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
For months, the U.N.'s top human rights officials knew about allegations of child sexual abuse by French soldiers in Central African Republic. But they didn't follow up because they assumed French authorities were handling it ... even as France pressed the U.N. for more information about the case. The deputy high commissioner for human rights also says that her colleague who first informed French authorities last July did it because he didn't think the recently created U.N. peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic would act on the allegations. A year after the U.N. first heard allegations from children as young as 9 that French soldiers had sexually abused them, sometimes in exchange for food, it seems that the only person who has been punished is the U.N. staffer who told French authorities. The Paris prosecutor's office this month, however, blamed the U.N. "hierarchy" for taking more than six months to supply answers to its questions. The U.N. finally handed over written answers on April 29, the Paris prosecutor's office said — the same day that the Guardian newspaper first made the French and U.N. inquiries public. French soldiers had been tasked with protecting civilians in Central African Republic from vicious violence between Christians and Muslims. Thousands of scared people had crammed into a camp for displaced people. Residents have told the AP that soldiers offered cookies, other food or bottles of water in exchange for sodomy or oral sex. It is still not clear where the accused soldiers are now.
Note: Explore powerful evidence from a suppressed Discovery Channel documentary showing that child sexual abuse scandals reach to the highest levels of government. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about sexual abuse scandals and government corruption from reliable major media sources.
Four years after the death of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden at the hands of US Navy Seals in Abottabad, Pakistan, a new report ... by journalist Seymour Hersh questions the Obama administration’s account of the killing of Osama bin Laden. The report claims that, among the lies, the biggest was the idea that the raid in May 2011 that killed bin Laden was an all-American event. "The most blatant lie was that Pakistan’s two most senior military leaders – General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, chief of the army staff, and General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, director general of the ISI – were never informed of the US mission," the report says. The report also says that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency had been holding bin Laden as a prisoner since 2006, and that the US learned about the Al Qaeda leader’s location through a former senior Pakistani intelligence officer, who gave the information in return for the reward being offered by American officials. The White House has said bin Laden was found through tracking his couriers. Hersh’s primary US source for his story is "a retired senior intelligence official who was knowledgeable about the initial intelligence about bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad." White House spokesman Josh Earnest ... dismissed the Hersh piece, saying it was "riddled with inaccuracies." Hersh, a longtime contributor to The New Yorker, is an award-winning journalist who has won numerous prizes for his investigative reporting, including the Pulitzer Prize.
Note: There are many big problems with the official story of the killing of bin Laden. For starters, read the review on the London Review of Books website. For more, see this ABC News article, this BBC article and this AP article.
The families of Navy SEAL Team 6 members killed in a disastrous August 2011 helicopter crash in Afghanistan blamed the government for the tragedy, during an emotional press conference. Speaking at the National Press Club, [they] claimed President Obama turned the SEALs group into a Taliban target after the administration revealed they had conducted the bin Laden raid. Doug Hamburger, whose son Patrick was killed, called the incident an “ambush” that could have been prevented. “We’re very concerned that the administration had disclosed that the Navy SEALs had carried out a successful attack on bin Laden’s compound resulting in his death. Never before in the history of our county (had) a sitting president released that type of information to the public,” Hamburger said. In all, 38 people died that night after the chopper was shot down by a Taliban-owned rocket-propelled grenade –or RPG – over the Wardak Province on Aug. 6, 2011. Charles Strange, whose son Michael, 25, died in the attack said Obama personally promised him a thorough investigation of what happened but has failed to deliver. Strange also blamed top military brass for sending the troops into a situation they were allegedly ill-equipped and unprepared to handle. Karen Vaughn says she wants to know why her son Aaron and his team were not using special operations aircraft. The night her son Aaron died, he was in a helicopter that was built in the 1960s and last retrofitted in 1985.
Note: How strange that the day the most military deaths happened in Afghanistan included the deaths of most of those on the team which allegedly killed bin Laden. Could this have been to keep them from revealing secrets to the public about the killing? For two BBC reports suggesting that bin Laden may already have been dead, see this webpage and this one. Why would bin Laden's body be buried at sea? Could it be to prevent a proof of identity?
Former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers has formed a new pressure group ... to serve as the “premiere national security and foreign policy organization during the 2016 debate” and to “help elect a president who supports American engagement and a strong foreign policy.” Roger’s group, Americans for Peace, Prosperity, and Security, is hosting candidate events and intends to host a candidate forum later this year. A look at the business executives helping APPS steer presidential candidates towards more hawkish positions reveals that many are defense contractors who stand to gain financially from continued militarism. Rogers may have a conflict of interest as well. Explaining the goals of his group to a news outlet in Indiana, Rogers lamented the lack of “surveillance capabilities” and warned of increasing threat of cyberwarfare. “It’s not unusual for the arms industry to use front groups to press for a more aggressive foreign policy,” says William Hartung, director of the Arms & Security Project at the Center for International Policy. “It sounds a lot more credible when a group called ‘Americans for Peace, Prosperity and Security’ calls for a policy shift than if the same argument comes out of the mouth of an arms executive or lobbyist whose livelihood is tied to the spread of tension and conflict,” Hartung said.
Note: Read a powerful essay by a top US general exposing the war machine titled "War is a Racket." For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing electoral process corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Department of Defense personnel spent more than $1 million at casinos and strip clubs on government credit cards in one year, a Pentagon audit by the DOD Inspector General has revealed. Civilian and military employees racked up the vast majority of those charges - about $950,000 - at casinos from July 2013 to June 2014. They charged roughly $96,000 at strip clubs. Using the cards did not violate laws because the cardholders paid their "personal" expenses, DOD officials told NBC News. Taxpayer dollars were not spent in the transactions, officials said. However, the charges did run foul of some standards for the agency. Administrative action has been taken against 364 cardholders, and most have gone through "counseling" for card use. Officials could not confirm to NBC if any of the cardholders lost their jobs.
Note: The US Defense Department routinely lies about its budget and occasionally loses track of trillions of dollars. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
In a scathing critique of the Defense Department's efforts to curb sexual assaults, a U.S. senator warned Monday that the true scope of sex-related violence in the military communities is "vastly underreported" and that victims continue to struggle for justice. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said in a report that the Pentagon refused to provide her with all the information she requested about sexual assaults at several major bases. The material she did receive revealed that the spouses of service members and civilian women who live or work near military facilities are especially vulnerable to being sexually assaulted. Yet they "remain in the shadows" because neither is counted in Defense Department surveys to determine the prevalence of sexual assaults, the report said. In its annual report on sexual assaults in the military released Friday, the Defense Department reported progress in staunching the epidemic of sexual assaults. It estimated that sex crimes are decreasing and more victims are choosing to report them — a sign there is more confidence offenders will be held accountable. To Gillibrand ... the case files contradict the Pentagon's assertion that military commanders will be tough on service members accused of sex crimes.
Note: The cases described in Sen. Gillibrand's report reveal a pattern of widespread sexual abuse around U.S. military bases that is routinely covered up. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about sexual abuse scandals and military corruption from reliable major media sources.
Nearly two-thirds of women in the military who filed sexual assault complaints last year said they faced retaliation, according to a Pentagon report released on Friday. The study found that the number of sexual assaults in the military declined last year, echoing the conclusion of a Defense Department report released in December. Even as sexual assaults were reported to have declined, the Pentagon said that more service members filed assault complaints, and that about a third of attacks were now being reported. “Despite our efforts to date, the fight against sexual assault is far from over,” [Defense Secretary Ashton B.] Carter wrote in a memo that was released with the new study. “I am concerned that far too many of those who report the crime perceive some kind of retaliation.” Using the standard of unwanted sexual contact, the Pentagon estimated that just under 19,000 service members were assaulted last year, a drop of about 27 percent from 2012. The number of attacks actually reported last year was 6,131, an 11 percent increase over the previous year and a 70 percent jump over 2012.
A senior United Nations aid worker has been suspended for disclosing to prosecutors an internal report on the sexual abuse of children by French peacekeeping troops in the Central African Republic. Anders Kompass passed the document to the French authorities because of the UN’s failure to take action to stop the abuse. The report documented the sexual exploitation of children as young as nine by French troops stationed in the country as part of international peacekeeping efforts. The abuses took place in 2014 when the UN mission in the country, Minusca, was in the process of being set up. The Guardian has been passed the internal report. It was commissioned by the UN office of the high commissioner for human rights after reports on the ground that children, who are among the tens of thousands displaced by the fighting, were being sexually abused. Entitled Sexual Abuse on Children by International Armed Forces ... the report details the rape and sodomy of starving and homeless young boys by French peacekeeping troops who were supposed to be protecting them at a centre for internally displaced people in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic. The UN has faced several scandals in the past relating to its failure to act over paedophile rings operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kosovo and Bosnia. It has also faced allegations of sexual misconduct by its troops in Haiti, Burundi and Liberia.
Note: Explore powerful evidence from a suppressed Discovery Channel documentary showing that child sexual abuse scandals reach to the highest levels of government. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about sexual abuse scandals 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.
As the Missouri National Guard prepared to deploy to help quell riots in Ferguson, Missouri ... the guard used highly militarized words such as "enemy forces" and "adversaries" to refer to protesters, according to documents obtained by CNN. The National Guard's language, contained in internal mission briefings obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, is intensifying the concerns of some who objected to the police officers' actions ... after the August 9 shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by city police officer Darren Wilson. A grand jury declined to indict Wilson in the case. "It's disturbing when you have what amounts to American soldiers viewing American citizens somehow as the enemy," said Antonio French, an alderman in St. Louis. The documents reveal that the Missouri guard was especially concerned that "adversaries" might use phone apps and police scanners to expose operational security. A document titled "Operation Show-Me Protection II," which outlines the Missouri National Guard's mission in Ferguson, listed players on the ground deemed "Friendly Forces" and "Enemy Forces." Among groups characterized as hate groups were ... "General Protesters." In addition to analyzing the threat general protesters could pose to soldiers, the National Guard also briefed its commanders on their intelligence capabilities so they could "deny adversaries the ability to identify Missouri National Guard vulnerabilities," the mission set states.
Note: The Pentagon's systematic militarization of domestic police forces is well-reported. Now we learn that the National Guard is trained to treat protesters like enemy troops. What happens to civil liberties when civil society is viewed by authorities as a battle-front?
In a ghostly reminder of the Bay Area's nuclear heritage, scientists announced Thursday they have captured the first clear images of a radioactivity-polluted World War II aircraft carrier that rests on the ocean floor 30 miles off the coast of Half Moon Bay. The USS Independence saw combat at Wake Island and other decisive battles against Japan in 1944 and 1945 and was later blasted with radiation in two South Pacific nuclear tests. The Navy deliberately sank the contaminated ship in 1951 south of the Farallon Islands. The rediscovery of the USS Independence offers a fascinating glimpse into American military history and raises old questions about the safety of the Farallon Islands Radioactive Waste Dump ... where the federal government dumped nearly 48,000 barrels of low-level radioactive waste between 1946 and 1970. The Independence was sunk on Jan. 26, 1951, and came to rest 2,600 feet below the ocean surface. The Navy withheld the location of the wreck for decades, but the U.S. Geological Survey found its likely resting place while mapping the sea floor in 1990. Retired judge and state legislator Quentin Kopp, who many years ago demanded research into the Navy's disposal of radioactive material off Northern California before 1970, said Thursday that the question of whether the waste posed a risk to humans and wildlife was never resolved.
Note: A CNN article and a CBS article fail to mention anything about the Farallon Islands Radioactive Waste Dump and CNN doesn't even mention radioactive material on the ship. Neither mentions the many drums of radioactive material are buried within the ship. Do you think the media is complicit in hiding key information regarding public health? For verifiable information that this happens much more than people think, read this two-page summary.
When Bruce E. Ivins, an Army microbiologist, took a fatal overdose of Tylenol in 2008, the government declared that he had been responsible for the anthrax letter attacks of 2001, which killed five people and set off a nationwide panic, and closed the case. Now, a former senior F.B.I. agent who ran the anthrax investigation for four years says that the bureau gathered “a staggering amount of exculpatory evidence” regarding Dr. Ivins that remains secret. The former agent, Richard L. Lambert, who spent 24 years at the F.B.I., says he believes it is possible that Dr. Ivins was the anthrax mailer, but he does not think prosecutors could have convicted him had he lived to face criminal charges. In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Tennessee last Thursday, Mr. Lambert accused the bureau of trying “to railroad the prosecution of Ivins” and, after his suicide, creating “an elaborate perception management campaign” to bolster its claim that he was guilty. Mr. Lambert’s lawsuit accuses the bureau and the Justice Department of forcing his dismissal from a job as senior counterintelligence officer ... in retaliation for his dissent on the anthrax case. The anthrax letters were mailed to United States senators and news organizations in the weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The bureau’s investigation ... focused on a former Army scientist and physician, Dr. Steven J. Hatfill, who was subsequently cleared and given a $4.6 million settlement to resolve a lawsuit.
Patrick J. O’Reilly was at times “a cheerleader and an advocate” for the Missile Defense Agency during his four years as director. But he broke ranks with his predecessors at the agency by questioning flawed programs. In a series of interviews, O’Reilly said members of Congress whose states or districts benefited from missile defense spending fought doggedly to protect three of the programs long after their shortcomings became obvious. He described how Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Santa Clarita) reacted when he outlined his reservations about the Airborne Laser project, envisioned as a fleet of Boeing 747s that would be modified to fire laser beams at enemy missiles. “He’d immediately start talking about, ‘How much money do you need?’ I was trying to say, ‘On the technical merits, it doesn’t make sense.’” The project was killed in 2012, after a decade of testing and $5.3 billion in spending. O’Reilly grew skeptical of another missile defense project, the Kinetic Energy Interceptor, after he learned that Navy ships would have to be retrofitted ... to accommodate the 40-foot-long rocket. Existing ships could not carry interceptors longer than 22 feet, he said. The project’s backers included Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, [and] Sens. Jeff Sessions and Richard C. Shelby of Alabama. O’Reilly said the three senators bristled when he suggested that the Kinetic Energy Interceptor was unworkable. The program nevertheless was discontinued [in 2009]. By then, $1.7 billion had been spent on it.
Elite service members from four branches of the U.S. military will launch an operation this summer in which they will operate covertly among the U.S. public and travel from state to state in military aircraft. Texas, Utah and a section of southern California are labelled as hostile territory, and New Mexico isn’t much friendlier. That’s the scheme for Jade Helm 15, a new Special Operations exercise that runs from July 15 to Sept. 15. Army Special Operations Command announced it last week, saying the size and scope of the mission sets it apart from many other training exercises. The exercise has prompted widespread conspiracy theories that the United States is preparing to hatch martial law. In particular, some have expressed alarm about this map, which outlines events for the exercise in unclassified documents posted online last week. The Washington Post verified them to be legitimate by speaking to Army sources. They appear to have been prepared for local authorities. It’s also worth noting that the military has routinely launched exercises in the past in which regions of the United States are identified as hostile for the purpose of training.
Note: This Washington Post article is clearly playing down some important facts and developments. Why is the US military spending so much time and money preparing for scenarios where US soil and citizens are considered enemies? Read and educate yourself with this excellent article on Operation Jade Helm 15, one in a string of US exercises planning for mass civilian arrests under a variety of scenarios.
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 engine was destroyed after a weapon called an 'ATHENA', short for Advanced Test High Energy Asset, was fired at ... a truck from one mile away. This 30 kilowatt fibre-optic laser was manufactured by US defence company Lockheed Martin. They say it's the first time a ground-based system like theirs, combining multiple laser streams into one beam, has ever been successfully tested. Increasingly it looks like lasers will take centre stage on the battlefields of the future. Last year the US navy installed its first laser weapon system, called LaWs, on warship USS Ponce. Looking like a cross between a telescope and a cannon, it tracks a moving target before firing a high-intensity light beam strong enough to burn a hole through steel. You can't see the laser because it is on the infrared spectrum, but it is a versatile and cheap weapon. Each pulse of energy from the laser "costs under a dollar". It is also apparently easy to use. Rear Admiral Matthew Klunder told a press conference in December: "Any of you that can do Xbox or PS4, you'll be good with this." During testing this laser brought down a drone and took out a small boat. Footage of the test shows the speedboat bursting into flames. Laser weapons are currently banned for use against humans, according to the Geneva Convention, a series of rules which govern warfare.
Malaysian defense contractor [Leonard Glenn Francis] pleaded guilty [to bribing] "scores" of U.S. Navy officials [while] presiding over a decade-long corruption scheme. His Singapore-based firm, Glenn Defense Marine Asia ... bilked the service out of tens of millions of dollars. Five current and former Navy officials have pleaded guilty so far. Francis, 50, agreed to forfeit $35 million in ill-gotten proceeds and could face up to 25 years in prison. [He also] provided evidence against two more Navy officials who have yet to be charged: a lieutenant commander and a ... civilian official [that] worked as a mole for Glenn Defense Marine. The Navy says that [Frances] was repeatedly able to thwart criminal investigators by bribing a senior agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, who fed him sensitive files and helped to cover his tracks. A Navy captain, Daniel Dusek, admitted to disclosing military secrets to Francis and his firm in exchange for prostitutes, cash and visits to luxury hotels. Dusek provided classified information about Navy ship schedules dozens of times. According to court records, in October 2010, Dusek [as deputy director of operations for the 7th Fleet] persuaded the Navy to send an aircraft carrier, the USS Abraham Lincoln, and its strike group to visit a port in Malaysia that was largely controlled by Glenn Defense Marine. As a result, the company was able to easily inflate invoices and overcharge the Navy.
Note: Frances bribed Naval officials to redirect an aircraft carrier, and avoided prosecution for years by also bribing military investigators. If he could do this, and if Brent R. Wilkes could persuade the #3 Official at the CIA to award him millions in suspicious agency contracts, what else have corrupt government officials been bribed to do?
The Ministry of Defence has paid out more than Ł2 million in out-of-court settlements in the last three years as a result of claims that young cadets were sexually abused. The cases includes allegations that teenage boys performed ritual sex acts on younger cadets, and a cadet who was raped by an instructor and gave birth to her abuser’s child. Some of the settlements are understood to relate to historic abuse, perpetrated against adults when they were children. Others relate to abuse carried out in recent years. [One] settlement involved a teenage girl who was sexually abused by her adult cadet instructor while she was a cadet under his charge. Eventually she gave birth to her abuser’s child, leading to her suffering post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic depression. The MoD admitted liability at an early stage and settled the claim for Ł210,000. Among the settlements made in 2012, four people made a successful claim for Ł900,000 after alleging they were abused when they were young members of the Army Cadets in Harborne, Birmingham. An MoD spokesperson said: “We take any allegation of abuse extremely seriously. All adult volunteers undergo enhanced criminal record checks and are made fully aware of their responsibility to protect children from harm.”
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sex abuse scandal 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 US Navy has announced that a new laser weapon it tested earlier this year was a success. A video of the laser weapon system (Laws), released by the Office of Naval Research, shows the laser being deployed aboard USS Ponce in September in the Persian Gulf. It shows the weapon being used against two test targets, including a speedboat which bursts into flames. Other targets were located at sea and in the air, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones. Rear Adm. Matthew L. Klunder, chief of naval research, said in a statement on Wednesday that the “powerful” Laws system will “play a vital role in the future of naval combat operations”. The prototype weapon in the video cost $40 million to produce, dealt with a “tough” pace, adverse weather conditions including a sandstorm, and destroyed targets” with “near-instantaneous lethality.” Officials claim the weapon is capable of destroying its targets with pin-point accuracy. The captain of the USS Ponce could use it against a real threat if required. Operated using a video game controller, the system hit targets mounted aboard small boats speeding towards the ship. In a separate test, the laser targeted and shot a drone out of the sky.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our War Information Center.
A new analysis of the data available to the public about drone strikes, conducted by the human-rights group Reprieve, indicates that even when operators target specific individuals – the most focused effort of what Barack Obama calls “targeted killing” – they kill vastly more people than their targets, often needing to strike multiple times. Attempts to kill 41 men resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,147 people, as of 24 November. Reprieve [focused on] cases in which specific people were targeted by drones multiple times. Their data, shared with the Guardian, raises questions about the accuracy of US intelligence. The analysis is a partial estimate. “Drone strikes ... are only as precise as the intelligence that feeds them. There is nothing precise about intelligence that results in the deaths of 28 unknown people, including women and children, for every ‘bad guy’ the US goes after, ”said Reprieve’s Jennifer Gibson. The data cohort is only a fraction of those killed by US drones. Neither Reprieve nor the Guardian examined ... the so-called “signature strikes” that attack people based on a pattern of behavior considered suspicious, rather than intelligence tying their targets to terrorist activity. An analytically conservative Council on Foreign Relations tally assesses that 500 drone strikes outside of Iraq and Afghanistan have killed 3,674 people. Like all weapons, drones will inevitably miss their targets. But the secrecy surrounding them obscures how often misses occur and the reasons for them.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources, including this NPR article that reports on the possibility of future drone strikes taking place within the US.
It has been more than two years since The New York Times revealed that “Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties” of his drone strikes which “in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants ... unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.” The paper noted that “this counting method may partly explain the official claims of extraordinarily low collateral deaths,” and even quoted CIA officials as deeply “troubled” by this decision. After the Times article, most large western media outlets continued to describe completely unknown victims of U.S. drone attacks as “militants” — even though they (a) had no idea who those victims were or what they had done and (b) were well-aware by that point that the term had been “re-defined” by the Obama administration. Like the U.S. drone program itself, this deceitful media practice continues unabated. The U.S. government itself —let alone the media outlets calling them “militants”— often has no idea who has been killed by drone strikes in Pakistan. The Intercept previously reported that targeting decisions can even be made on the basis of nothing more than metadata analysis and tracking of SIM cards in mobile phones. Just last month, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism documented that “fewer than 4% of the people killed have been identified by available records as named members of al Qaeda.”
Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest in Washington State are ... where the US Navy aims to conduct its Northwest Electromagnetic Radiation Warfare training program. It will fly ... 2,900 training exercises over wilderness, communities and cities across the Olympic Peninsula for 260 days per year, with exercises lasting up to 16 hours per day. No public notices for the Navy's plans were published in any media that directly serve the Olympic Peninsula. But word spread. Public outcry forced the Navy to extend the public comment period until November 28 and schedule more public meetings. According to the US Navy's Information Dominance Roadmap 2013-2028, the Navy states it "will require new capabilities to fully employ integrated information in warfare by expanding the use of advanced electronic warfare." The purpose of these war games is to train to deny the enemy "all possible frequencies of electromagnetic radiation (i.e. electromagnetic energy) for use in such applications as communication systems..." David King, the mayor of Port Townsend, a town on the Northeast corner of the Olympic Peninsula, has voiced his opposition to the plan, along with numerous other public officials. Mike Welding, the Naval Air Station at Whidbey Island spokesman, recently admitted to reporters, "If someone is in the exclusion area for more than 15 minutes, that's a ballpark estimate for when there would be some concern for potential to injure, to receive burns."
Note: We don't generally use truth-out.org as a reliable source, but as no major media are covering this most important development, we're including this article here. To verify this information, please click on some of the links in the article and see the U.S. Navy's "Information Dominance Roadmap".
The U.S. Army has been slow to investigate hundreds of millions of dollars in missing weapons systems, vehicles, electronics and communications gear in Afghanistan, according to the Pentagon’s inspector general. The Army field support brigade in Afghanistan responsible for managing gear being shipped out of the country failed to report “in a timely manner” 15,600 pieces of unaccounted gear valued at as much as $419.5 million, according to a report labelled “For Official Use Only” that reviewed major lost-property reports from fiscal 2013. Some of the missing gear eventually may turn up as the U.S. completes the bulk of its withdrawal, Army officials said in a response to the inspector general. Yet with the closing of 309 bases since 2010, “only a fraction of the items” from previous reviews of unaccounted property has been recovered, according to the audit dated Oct. 30. “Due to the significant delays in reporting inventory losses” the Army’s Rock Island, Illinois-based Sustainment Command, which oversees the effort, “does not have accurate accountability and visibility of its property," said Michael Roark, assistant inspector general for contract management, who signed the report. “There is a risk that missing property will not be recovered” and “no one was held financially responsible for the property losses or accountable for missing reporting deadlines,” the report found. The audit disclosed ... 133,557 lost items valued at $238.4 million.
Note: Do you really think this equipment was just lost? Would the military just leave expensive and sensitive equipment carelessly? Could it be that it is meant to fall into enemy hands in order to keep the war machine pumping its huge profits into the pockets of certain elite groups? For more along these lines, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable sources.
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.
Declassified US records reveal the nation's intelligence chiefs used hundreds of Nazis as spies and informants after World War Two. Academics studying the documents say America used at least 1,000 ex-Nazis. Some had served at the highest levels of the Nazi Party, and were recruited to work as spies for the US in Europe. Former SS officer Otto von Bolschwing reportedly wrote policy papers on how to terrorise Jews, but was hired by the CIA to spy in Europe after World War Two. The agency is said to have relocated him and his family to New York in the 1950s as a reward for loyal service. Nazi collaborator Aleksandras Lileikis - linked to the massacres of tens of thousands of Jews in Lithuania - was recruited by the US as a spy in East Germany and later brought over to Boston. There is evidence the CIA even tried to intervene when Mr Lileikis became the subject of a war crimes investigation. Records indicate long-time FBI director J Edgar Hoover not only approved of the use of ex-Nazis as spies, he also dismissed the horrific acts they had been involved in during the war as Soviet propaganda. The revelations come one week after an Associated Press investigation found the US government had paid dozens of suspected Nazi war criminals millions of dollars in Social Security benefits.
Note: Explore powerful evidence that the CIA secretly smuggled Nazi war criminals into the US to teach them mind control techniques.
Monkeys taught how to gamble and play video games. People paid to watch grass grow. Swedish massages given to rabbits. These are just a few examples from the 100 entry-long list in a book detailing government waste, compiled by retiring GOP Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. In the 2014 edition of the "Wastebook," Coburn notes that getting rid of the practice of pork barrel spending is next to impossible. "What I have learned from these experiences is Washington will never change itself," he said." Some of the worst offenses listed in the book: The $1 billion price tag the Pentagon paid to destroy $16 billion worth of ammunition, enough to pay a full years' salary for over 54,000 Army privates. The book cites Pentagon officials who said the surplus ammunition has become "obsolete, unusable, or their use is banned by international treaty." The Army spent nearly half a million dollars -- $414,000 -- to develop a video game called "America's Army," a version of which terrorists have used to train for missions, according to National Security Agency e-mails sent in 2007 and leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Coburn notes ... the national debt, which is "quickly approaching $18 trillion."
Note: For more, see the Chicago Tribune's article on "Wastebook".
Opium poppy cultivation has hit an all-time high in Afghanistan despite a 10-year, $7.6 billion effort by the U.S. government to fight it, according to a new report. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan, who authored the report, warned Secretary of State John Kerry, Attorney General Eric Holder and other top U.S. officials that the gap between expenditures and results should make them rethink their approach. "Given the severity of the opium problem and its potential to undermine U.S. objectives in Afghanistan," said Special Inspector General John Sopko in a letter to the officials, "I strongly suggest that your departments consider the trends in opium cultivation and the effectiveness of past counternarcotics efforts when planning future initiatives." According to SIGAR's report, the value of the opium produced in Afghanistan reached $3 billion in 2013, a 50 percent increase from 2012, and is likely to increase still further in 2014. Some of the increase is due to the use of affordable “deep well” technology over the past decade to turn 200,000 hectares of former desert in southwestern Afghanistan into arable land. Some of the land is now being used to grow opium poppies. Opium poppy cultivation is used to fund the Taliban and other insurgent groups and stokes corruption, says the report.
Note: A 2002 news article shows that "the Taliban in July 2000, coupled with severe droughts last year, reduced the country's opium yield by 91% in 2001." Yet once the allies defeated the Taliban, opium production hit new records. Do you really think the plan was to eradicate opium? 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.
The Obama version of national security looks almost indistinguishable from the one he inherited. Critics tend to focus on Obama himself, but Tufts University political scientist Michael J. Glennon has a more pessimistic answer: Obama couldn’t have changed policies much even if he tried. Our government no longer works that way. In a new book, “National Security and Double Government,” he catalogs the ways that the defence and national security apparatus is effectively self-governing, with virtually no accountability, transparency, or checks and balances of any kind. He uses the term “double government”: There’s the one we elect, and then there’s the one behind it, steering huge swaths of policy almost unchecked. Elected officials end up serving as mere cover for the real decisions made by the bureaucracy. “National Security and Double Government” comes favorably blurbed by former members of the Defense Department, State Department, White House, and even the CIA. Glennon spoke with Ideas from his office. IDEAS: Where does the term “double government” come from? GLENNON: Walter Bagehot - the scholar who presided over the birth of The Economist magazine. IDEAS: What evidence exists for saying America has a double government? GLENNON: The documented evidence in the book is substantial — there are 800 footnotes. I think the American people ... believe that when they vote for a president or member of Congress or succeed in bringing a case before the courts, that policy is going to change. Policy by and large in the national security realm is made by the concealed institutions.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing stories about questionable intelligence agency practices from reliable sources.
The mysterious workings of a Pentagon office that oversees clandestine operations are unraveling in federal court, where a criminal investigation has exposed a secret weapons program ... to manufacture an untraceable batch of automatic-rifle silencers. The silencers — 349 of them — were ordered by a little-known Navy intelligence office at the Pentagon known as the Directorate for Plans, Policy, Oversight and Integration. The directorate is composed of fewer than 10 civilian employees, most of them retired military personnel. Court records filed by prosecutors allege that the Navy paid the auto mechanic — the brother of the directorate’s boss — $1.6 million for the silencers, even though they cost only $10,000 in parts and labor to manufacture. If the foreign-made weapons were equipped with unmarked silencers, the source said, the weapons could have been used by U.S. or foreign forces for special operations in other countries without any risk that they would be traced back to the United States. No documentation has surfaced in court to indicate that Navy officials formally signed off on the silencer project, although many pretrial motions have been filed under seal. Hall, the directorate official charged with illegally purchasing the silencers, has asserted that he received verbal approval for the secret program from Robert C. Martinage, a former acting undersecretary of the Navy, according to statements made during pretrial hearings. Martinage was forced to resign in January after investigators looking into the silencer deal found evidence that he had engaged in personal misconduct ... unrelated to the silencer contract.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing stories about questionable intelligence agency practices from reliable sources.
The U.S. today began bombing targets inside Syria, in concert with its lovely and inspiring group of five allied regimes: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Jordan. That means that Syria becomes the 7th predominantly Muslim country bombed by 2009 Nobel Peace Laureate Barack Obama—after Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Iraq. The utter lack of interest in what possible legal authority Obama has to bomb Syria is telling indeed: Empires bomb who they want, when they want, for whatever reason (indeed, recall that Obama bombed Libya even after Congress explicitly voted against authorization to use force). It was just over a year ago that Obama officials were insisting that bombing and attacking Assad was a moral and strategic imperative. Instead, Obama is now bombing Assad’s enemies while politely informing his regime of its targets in advance. It seems irrelevant on whom the U.S. wages war; what matters is that it be at war, always and forever. Six weeks of bombing hasn’t budged ISIS in Iraq, but it has caused ISIS recruitment to soar. That’s all predictable: the U.S. has known for years that what fuels and strengthens anti-American sentiment is exactly what they keep doing: aggression in that region. They do all of this not despite triggering those outcomes, but because of it. Continuously creating and strengthening enemies is a feature, not a bug. It is what justifies the ongoing greasing of the profitable and power-vesting machine of Endless War. As the disastrous Libya “intervention” should conclusively and permanently demonstrate, the U.S. does not bomb countries for humanitarian objectives. Humanitarianism is the pretense, not the purpose.
Note: Read this powerful essay showing how the US has fed Islamic extremism in order to fill the pockets of those who run the war machine. For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
A sprawling new plant [near Kansas City] in a former soybean field makes the mechanical guts of America’s atomic warheads. Bigger than the Pentagon, full of futuristic gear and thousands of workers, the plant, dedicated last month, modernizes the aging weapons that the United States can fire from missiles, bombers and submarines. It is part of a nationwide wave of atomic revitalization that includes plans for a new generation of weapon carriers. A recent federal study put the collective price tag, over the next three decades, at up to a trillion dollars. This expansion comes under a president who campaigned for “a nuclear-free world” and made disarmament a main goal of American defense policy. Supporters of arms control, as well as some of President Obama’s closest advisers, say their hopes for the president’s vision have turned to baffled disappointment as the modernization of nuclear capabilities has become an end unto itself. “A lot of it is hard to explain,” said Sam Nunn, the former senator whose writings on nuclear disarmament deeply influenced Mr. Obama.
Note: Consider the possibility the Obama, shortly after becoming president, may have received a death threat to his children if he didn't comply with the desires of powerful, greedy forces which want everlasting war on our planet. The trillion-dollar war industry has no qualms threatening anyone who gets in the way of their profits. For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources and read what a top US general had to say about how he was manipulated.
School police departments across the country have taken advantage of free military surplus gear, stocking up on mine resistant armoured vehicles, grenade launchers and scores of M16 rifles. At least 26 school districts across the country have participated in the Pentagon’s surplus program. Federal records show schools in California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Nevada, Texas and Utah obtained surplus military gear. Nearly two dozen education and civil liberties groups sent a letter earlier this week to the Pentagon and the Justice and Education departments urging a stop to transfers of military weapons to school police. The Los Angeles Unified School District — the nation’s second-largest school district, enrolling more than 900,000 students — said in a statement this week that it would remove three grenade launchers it had acquired under the program in 2001 because they “are not essential life-saving items within the scope, duties and mission” of the district’s police force. But the district plans to keep 60 M16s and a MRAP, a military vehicle used in Iraq and Afghanistan that is built to withstand mine blasts. Los Angeles school board member Steve Zimmer said the district will likely also let go of the MRAP, too. The board was told of the specific equipment the district had received only after the protests last month in Ferguson, Zimmer said. Jill Poe, police chief in the Southern California’s Baldwin Park school district, said she’ll be returning the three M16 rifles acquired under her predecessor.
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Retired General Anthony Zinni [has demanded] up to 10,000 American boots on the ground to battle ISIS. Retired General Jack [Keane has made] more vague demands, such as for “offensive” air strikes and the deployment of more military advisers to the region. Many of these former Pentagon officials [have a vested interest] as paid directors and advisers to some of the largest military contractors in the world. Ramping up America’s military presence in Iraq and directly entering the war in Syria, along with greater military spending more broadly, is a debatable solution to a complex political and sectarian conflict. But those goals do unquestionably benefit one player in this saga: America’s defense industry. Keane is a great example of this phenomenon. His think tank, the Institute for the Study of War, ... has provided the data on ISIS used for multiple stories by The New York Times, the BBC and other leading outlets. Keane has appeared on Fox News at least nine times over the last two months to promote the idea that the best way to stop ISIS is through military action—in particular, through air strikes deep into ISIS-held territory. Left unsaid during his media appearances ... are Keane’s other gigs: as special adviser to Academi, the contractor formerly known as Blackwater; as a board member to tank and aircraft manufacturer General Dynamics; a “venture partner” to SCP Partners, an investment firm that partners with defense contractors, including XVionics, an “operations management decision support system” company used in Air Force drone training; and as president of his own consulting firm, GSI LLC. Retired General Anthony Zinni, perhaps the loudest advocate of a large deployment of American soldiers into the region to fight IS, is a board member to BAE Systems’ US subsidiary, and also works for several military-focused private equity firms.
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
In the space of a single primetime address on [September 10], Barack Obama dealt a crippling blow to a creaking, 40-year old effort to restore legislative primacy to American warmaking. The administration’s rationale, at odds with the war it is steadily expanding, is to forestall an endless conflict foisted upon it by a bloodthirsty legislature. Yet one of the main authorities Obama is relying on for avoiding Congress is the 2001 ... document known as the Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) that few think actually applies to ISIS. Taken together with the congressional leadership’s shrug, Obama has stripped the veneer off a contemporary fact of American national security: presidents make war on their own, and congresses acquiesce. An allergy to congressional authorisation is enmeshed with the president’s stated desire to end what he last year termed a “perpetual war” footing. It has led Obama in directions legal scholars consider highly questionable. Not only has Obama rejected restrictions of his warmaking power, he has also rejected legislative expansions of it - a more curious choice. Obama has been wary that Congress will offer up new laws that entrench and expand an amorphous war that, in his mind, he has waged with the minimum necessary amount of force. Obama last year advocated the eventual repeal of the 2001 authorisation - as well as the 2002 congressional approval of the Iraq war - to aid in turning a page on a long era of US warfare. [After Obama's address] a senior administration official told reporters that the 2001 authorisation covered the war against ISIS.
Note: The war machine marches on as the US presidency claims ever more power over Congress. For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Amid widespread criticism of the deployment of military-grade weapons and vehicles by police officers in Ferguson, MO ... NPR obtained data from the Pentagon on every military item sent to local, state and federal agencies through the Pentagon's Law Enforcement Support Office — known as the 1033 program — from 2006 through April 23, 2014. We took the raw data, analyzed it and have organized it. We are making that data set available to the public. The 1033 program is the key source of ... military items being sent to local law enforcement [such as] mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles, or MRAPs. More than 600 of them have been sent ... mostly within the past year. The Pentagon has also distributed: 79,288 assault rifles, 205 grenade launchers, 11,959 bayonets, 3,972 combat knives, $124 million worth of night-vision equipment, including night-vision sniper scopes, 479 bomb detonator robots, 50 airplanes, 422 helicopters, [and] more than $3.6 million worth of camouflage gear and other "deception equipment." The list [also] includes building materials, musical instruments and even toiletries. Congress authorized the 1033 program in 1989 to equip local, state and federal agencies in the war on drugs. In 1996, Congress widened the program's scope to include counterterrorism. The data do not confirm whether either of those public safety goals are, in fact, driving decisions.
America has raged against the appalling behavior of the local police in Ferguson, Missouri, and for good reason: automatic rifles pointed at protesters, tank-like armored trucks blocking marches, the teargassing and arresting of reporters, tactics unfit even for war zones. [But ire] should also be focused on the federal government agency that has enabled the rise of military police, and so much more: the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The 240,000-employee [agency] has been the primary arms dealer for out-of-control local cops in Ferguson and beyond, handing out tens of billions of dollars in grants for military equipment in the last decade with little to no oversight. Police can act like paramilitary forces to combat the most mundane crimes without much worry of the consequences. But the problem with DHS is much larger than just combat gear: Homeland Security is also transferring tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in high-tech spying technology to local police through a sprawling backroom operation surveilling your neighborhood, much of which may be unconstitutional. DHS has its own fleet of Predator drones roaming the US border and far beyond, which it has loaned out to police over 500 times. Homeland Security is also handing out millions of dollars to local police to “accelerate and facilitate the adoption” of smaller drones that police can fly themselves. Cops claim they want these “middleman” drones for “emergencies,” but ... documents show they’ll end up using them for “crowd control” and “intelligence gathering”.
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing terrorism news articles from reliable major media sources.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed [is] facing a military commission at Guantanamo Bay and potentially the death penalty. He was captured in 2003 but his case still hasn't gone to trial. Last week, Maj. Jason Wright — one of the lawyers defending Mohammed — resigned from the Army. He has accused the U.S. government of "abhorrent leadership" on human rights and due process guarantees and says it is crafting a "show trial." For nearly three years, he served on Mohammed's defense team. Wright formally resigned on Aug. 26. Wright [says] that it's hard to gain any client's trust, but it was especially hard with Mohammed. His former client is one of six "high-value detainees" being prosecuted at Guantanamo for offenses that could carry the death penalty. "All six of these men have been tortured by the U.S. government," he says. Wright says Mohammed in particular has faced a level of torture "beyond comprehension." He says his client was waterboarded by the CIA 183 times and subjected to over a week of sleep deprivation; there were threats that his family would be killed. "And those are just the declassified facts that I'm able to actually speak about," Wright says. Wright wasn't allowed to discuss too many details of the detainee abuse in court. "The CIA tortured these men. They've gone to extraordinary lengths to try to keep that completely hidden from public view," Wright says. "So the statute that Congress passed has a number of protections to ensure that no information about the U.S. torture program will ever come out."
Note: Why hasn't this been covered by other major media in the US? For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing terrorism news articles from reliable major media sources.
Les Goldsmith, the CEO of ESD America [marketers of the Crytophone 500], points me to a map that he and his customers have created, indicating 17 different phony cell towers known as “interceptors,” detected by the CryptoPhone 500 around the United States during the month of July alone. Interceptors look to a typical phone like an ordinary tower. Once the phone connects with the interceptor, a variety of “over-the-air” attacks become possible, from eavesdropping on calls and texts to pushing spyware to the device. “Interceptor use in the U.S. is much higher than people had anticipated,” Goldsmith says. “One of our customers took a road trip from Florida to North Carolina and he found 8 different interceptors on that trip. We even found one at South Point Casino in Las Vegas.” Who is running these interceptors and what are they doing with the calls? Goldsmith says we can’t be sure, but he has his suspicions. “Are some of them U.S. government interceptors?” [asks] Goldsmith. Interceptors vary widely in expense and sophistication – but in a nutshell, they are radio-equipped computers with software that can use arcane cellular network protocols and defeat the onboard encryption. For governments or other entities able to afford a price tag of “less than $100,000,” says Goldsmith, high-quality interceptors are quite realistic. Some interceptors are limited, only able to passively listen to either outgoing or incoming calls. But full-featured devices like the VME Dominator, available only to government agencies, can not only capture calls and texts, but even actively control the phone, sending out spoof texts, for example.
Note: Do you think the government might have put up fake cell towers to nab more data? For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government surveillance news articles from reliable major media sources.
A century has passed since the start of World War I, which many people at the time declared was “the war to end all wars.” Unfortunately, wars just kept happening. In influential research sponsored by the World Bank, the Oxford economist Paul Collier has shown that the best predictor of civil war, which is all too common in poor countries, is the availability of lootable resources like diamonds. Whatever other reasons rebels cite for their actions seem to be mainly after-the-fact rationalizations. If you’re a modern, wealthy nation, however, war — even easy, victorious war — doesn’t pay. And this has been true for a long time. In his famous 1910 book The Great Illusion