Military Corruption News ArticlesExcerpts of key news articles on military corruption
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war 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.
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.
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.
Note: 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.’”
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
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