War Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key War Media Articles in Major Media
Note: Explore our full index to key excerpts of revealing major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
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.
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.
President Donald Trump has vetoed legislation that limited a president’s ability to wage war against Iran without the approval of Congress. Mr Trump said that he vetoed the Iran war powers resolution because it was “insulting” to the presidency. Congress passed the Iran war powers resolution in the aftermath of the US killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, amid widespread concerns about tensions between the US and Iran. At the time, the resolution – which was introduced to Congress by Democratic Senator Tim Kaine – showed bipartisan support for reigning-in president Trump’s war-making powers. “The resolution implies that the President’s constitutional authority to use military force is limited to defense of the United States and its forces against imminent attack. That is incorrect,” Trump said. “We live in a hostile world of evolving threats, and the Constitution recognizes that the President must be able to anticipate our adversaries’ next moves and take swift and decisive action in response. That’s what I did!” Congress is not expected to override the president’s veto during a vote on Thursday, as Republicans hold a 53-to 47-seat majority in the US senate. Mr Kaine on Wednesday called on senators to vote with him to override the veto, saying on Twitter: “I urge my colleagues to join me in voting to override his veto—Congress must vote before sending our troops into harm’s way.” The resolution was passed by the House of Representatives in March and the Senate in April.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war 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?
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.
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.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
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.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
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.
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.
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.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war 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.
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.
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.
Halfway through his first five-year term, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres is becoming defined by his silence on human rights - even as serious rights abuses proliferate. Numerous governments have voiced concerns about China’s detention of 1 million Turkic, mainly Uighur, Muslims for forced indoctrination. Yet Guterres has not said a word about it in public. Instead, he praises China’s development prowess. Guterres has also repeatedly declined to exercise his authority to establish fact-finding missions into egregious rights violations, such as Saudi Arabia’s murder of Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi, the use of chemical weapons in Syria, and the murder of two U.N. sanctions monitors in Congo. Apart from his spokesman’s feeble appeal to the United States to fulfill its legal obligations as host for the United Nations, Guterres has stayed silent on the Trump administration’s revocation of a visa for the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor over possible investigations of U.S. torture in Afghanistan. There is no doubt that Guterres is a skilled and conscientious diplomat, but his decision to suppress his voice on human rights, especially as civilians are targeted in armed conflicts, is misguided. For more than two years, Guterres offered excuses for not publicly defending human rights. He wanted to focus on internal reforms. He needed to stabilize relations with Trump. But today’s crises are too acute, the civilian victims too numerous, for Guterres to reduce his job to mediator in chief.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles 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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are goodbye notes — and then there's William Arkin's frustrated farewell to NBC News. Arkin's 2,228-word memo to his colleagues says that his time at NBC News has been "gratifying." But he bluntly expresses his displeasure with the "Trump circus," US foreign policy failures, and the state of television news. He's far from the only person in a national newsroom to feel that way. But he is spelling it out in no uncertain terms. Arkin has worked for NBC on and off for three decades, sometimes as a military analyst, sometimes as a reporter and consultant. He describes himself as a scholar at heart, and he has authored numerous books about national security. Friday will be his last day at NBC. Arkin is a sharp critic of what he calls "perpetual war" and the "creeping fascism of homeland security." In his farewell memo, he said the American press is not aggressive enough about covering military engagements. "I find it disheartening that we do not report the failures of the generals and national security leaders," he said. "I find it shocking that we essentially condone continued American bumbling in the Middle East and now Africa through our ho-hum reporting." He said that most of his critiques of NBC apply to the rest of the news media, as well. He also said in the memo that the Trump age led NBC to start "emulating the national security state itself — busy and profitable. No wars won but the ball is kept in play."
Note: See also an excellent interview with Mr. Arkin about his departure from NBC. For more on this, see this concise summary of War Is A Racket, a powerful book written by one of the most highly decorated US generals ever. 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 Media 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 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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
The Swedish government has begun sending all 4.8m of the country’s households a public information leaflet telling the population, for the first time in more than half a century, what to do in the event of a war. Om krisen eller kriget kommer (If crisis or war comes) explains how people can secure basic needs ... what warning signals mean, where to find bomb shelters and how to contribute to Sweden’s “total defence”. The 20-page pamphlet, illustrated with pictures of sirens, warplanes and families fleeing their homes, also prepares the population for dangers such as cyber and terror attacks and climate change, and includes a page on identifying fake news. Similar leaflets were first distributed in neutral Sweden in 1943, at the height of the second world war. Updates were issued regularly to the general public until 1961. “Society is vulnerable, so we need to prepare ourselves as individuals,” said Dan Eliasson of the Swedish civil contingencies agency, which is in charge of the project. “There’s also an information deficit in terms of concrete advice, which we aim to provide.” The publication comes as the debate on security – and the possibility of joining Nato – has intensified in Sweden in the wake of Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and recent incursions into Swedish airspace and territorial waters by Russian planes and submarines. The country has begun reversing military spending cuts and last year staged its biggest military exercises in nearly a quarter of a century.
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
This is the story of a town called Douma ... and of an underground clinic whose images of suffering allowed three of the Western world’s most powerful nations to bomb Syria last week. When I track [a doctor] down in the very same clinic, [he] tells me that the “gas” videotape which horrified the world – despite all the doubters – is perfectly genuine. The same 58-year old senior Syrian doctor then adds something profoundly uncomfortable: the patients, he says, were overcome not by gas but by oxygen starvation in the rubbish-filled tunnels and basements in which they lived. Dr Rahaibani ... showed me his lowly hospital and the few beds where a small girl was crying as nurses treated a cut above her eye. “All the doctors know what happened. There was a lot of shelling [by government forces] and aircraft were always over Douma at night – but on this night, there was wind and huge dust clouds began to come into the basements and cellars where people lived. People began to arrive here suffering from hypoxia, oxygen loss. Then someone at the door, a “White Helmet”, shouted “Gas!”, and a panic began. People started throwing water over each other. Yes, the video was filmed here, it is genuine, but what you see are people suffering from hypoxia – not gas poisoning.” Oddly, after chatting to more than 20 people, I couldn’t find one who showed the slightest interest in Douma’s role in bringing about the Western air attacks. Two actually told me they didn’t know about the connection.
Note: Learn an alternative view of who the "white helmets" are in this Corbett Report. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles 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.
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 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.
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 world is rolling backward, and at a disturbingly faster pace, in the struggle to limit carnage from land mines and other booby-trap explosives. The most recent numbers, covering 2016, are appalling. Known casualties that year came to 8,605, including 2,089 deaths, according to a new report by Landmine Monitor. The toll was nearly 25 percent higher than the 6,967 maimed and dead counted a year earlier, and more than double the 3,993 in 2014. Much of the 2016 mayhem stemmed from conflicts in Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine and Yemen, but people in 56 countries and other areas were killed or wounded. Nearly 80 percent of the victims were civilians; children accounted for 42 percent of civilian casualties. One subset of the menace, cluster munitions, is singularly vicious. Cluster munitions alone caused 971 known casualties in 2016, more than twice the toll of the previous year. Most victims were Syrians ... but Saudi Arabia has also used American-supplied cluster bombs in Yemen. Thanks to an international treaty that came into force in 1999 - now signed by 163 countries and banning the production, stockpiling and transfer of land mines - casualties ... reached a low of 3,450 in 2013, compared with 9,228 in 1999. Nearly all that hard-won progress has been erased. Land mine and cluster munitions treaties are undercut by the refusal of some of modern warfare’s most powerful players to sign them. Among those countries are China, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Russia and Saudi Arabia. And the United States.
Note: The international cluster bomb trade is funded by world's biggest banks. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
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.
When Beatrice Fihn received a call on Oct. 6 informing the 35-year-old Swede that her group, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, she suspected a possible prank. Not that you should blame her - ICAN is just 10 years old, and the group’s aims can seem positively fanciful: the complete elimination of the world’s roughly 15,000 nuclear warheads. But that call from the Norwegian Nobel Committee was real, and so is Fihn’s goal. ICAN, a global coalition of 440 partner organizations in 98 countries, was honored for its efforts to advance the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was successfully finalized by two-thirds of the United Nations’ 192 members this summer. The treaty—which would outlaw nuclear weapons’ use, production and possession—is now open for ratification, and will become international law after 50 countries sign on. Those countries almost certainly won’t include the members of the nuclear club: The U.S., Russia, China, Great Britain, France, Pakistan, India and North Korea. Fihn is realistic that nuclear weapons won’t be abolished overnight. But just as earlier treaties banning biological weapons and land mines eventually led to such munitions being phased out, she believes a nuclear arms ban could help turn the public against these truly horrific weapons of mass destruction.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
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.
Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), told an audience at the Halifax International Security Forum in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Saturday that he has given a lot of thought to what he would say if a president ordered a strike he considered unlawful. As head of STRATCOM, Hyten is responsible for overseeing the U.S. nuclear arsenal. "I provide advice to the president, he will tell me what to do," Hyten added. "And if it's illegal, guess what's going to happen? I'm going to say, 'Mr. President, that's illegal.' And guess what he's going to do? He's going to say, 'What would be legal?' And we'll come up with options, with a mix of capabilities to respond to whatever the situation is, and that's the way it works." Hyten said he has been trained every year for decades in the law of armed conflict, which takes into account specific factors to determine legality - necessity, distinction, proportionality, unnecessary suffering and more. Running through scenarios of how to react in the event of an illegal order is standard practice, he said. "If you execute an unlawful order, you will go to jail. You could go to jail for the rest of your life," Hyten said. Hyten's comments come against the backdrop of continued tension with North Korea. In the past, the president has pledged to unleash "fire and fury" and to "totally destroy" North Korea if necessary. Hyten's comments also come as Congress is re-examining the authorization of the use of military force and power to launch a nuclear strike.
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.
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.
Afghanistan, the world’s largest producer of opium, has harvested a record crop this year that more than doubled last year’s production. Salamt Azimi, the country’s minister for counter-narcotics, told VOA's Pashto service that insecurity kept the government from implementing poppy eradication programs, leading to a 64 percent jump in land dedicated to the lucrative crop to 340,000 hectares. The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime estimated that opium accounted for some 16 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product last year, including more than two-thirds of the entire agricultural sector. In addition to fueling insecurity, violence and insurgency, the drug production is discouraging private and public investment, a UNODC report said. Afghanistan’s opium production plunged in 2001 after the Taliban-led government banned it. But it jumped back to pre-ban levels - and higher - after the U.S. led invasion of the country late that year. U.S. anti-drug officials say the Taliban provides protection to traffickers in exchange for weapons, funding and other support. A single kilogram of heroin can generate approximately $1.5 million by the time it reaches users, and the U.S. is trying to cope with a rise in addiction to opiates, both prescription drugs and illegally produced drugs like heroin. That leads to opportunities to bribe police, judges and customs officials, feeding Afghanistan’s endemic corruption and scaring off foreign investment.
Note: How is it that under the Taliban opium production was decimated, yet once the US invaded, it has continually set record highs. Could it be that factions of the power elite benefit greatly from this illegal trade? According to a 2016 New York Times article, Afghan government officials closely allied with US military and intelligence officials have been directly involved in the opium trade. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
President Donald Trump said he wanted what amounted to a nearly tenfold increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal during a gathering this past summer of the nation’s highest-ranking national security leaders, according to three officials who were in the room. Trump’s comments, the officials said, came in response to a briefing slide he was shown that charted the steady reduction of U.S. nuclear weapons since the late 1960s. Trump indicated he wanted a bigger stockpile, not the bottom position on that downward-sloping curve. According to the officials present, Trump’s advisers, among them the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, were surprised. Some officials present said they did not take Trump’s desire for more nuclear weapons to be literally instructing the military to increase the actual numbers. But his comments raised questions about his familiarity with the nuclear posture and other issues. Two officials present said that at multiple points in the discussion, the president expressed a desire not just for more nuclear weapons, but for additional U.S. troops and military equipment. Any increase in America’s nuclear arsenal would not only break with decades of U.S. nuclear doctrine but also violate international disarmament treaties signed by every president since Ronald Reagan. Nonproliferation experts warned that such a move could set off a global arms race.
President Donald Trump made a series of cryptic remarks during a pre-dinner photo session with his top military advisers and their spouses Thursday night in the State Dining Room of the White House. As photographers snapped pictures and recorded video, Trump asked reporters: "You guys know what this represents?" “Maybe it’s the calm before the storm,” he said, answering his own question. "What's the storm?" one reporter asked. “Could be the calm before the storm,” he repeated. It was not immediately clear whether Trump was referring to one of a handful of thorny military or foreign policy areas - North Korea, the fight against ISIS, Iran's nuclear program, or the recent deaths of three U.S. soldiers in Niger - or simply making a joke. "We have the world's great military people in this room, I will tell you that. And uh, we're gonna have a great evening, thank you all for coming." "What storm, Mr. President?" NBC News' Kristen Welker asked again. "You'll find out," Trump replied, before reporters were ushered out of the room. NBC News has reached out to the White House for comment. In remarks to military leaders at the event, Trump thanked them and spoke of “pressing national security issues facing our country,” according to an official White House transcript. The mystery continued into Friday. Trump, asked again during a brief session with U.S. manufacturers what he meant the night before, said only that "you'll find out" and winked.
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.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Chelsea Manning, the transgender U.S. Army soldier who spent seven years in prison for leaking classified documents, will not be distinguished visiting fellow at Harvard after growing backlash prompted the school to rescind the invitation. The school withdrew Manning's invite two days after announcing she would be one of roughly ten visiting fellows this fall. Manning's designation as a visiting fellow led to Mike Morell, former deputy director and acting director of the CIA, to resign his post as a senior fellow at Harvard University, CBS reported. CIA Director Mike Pompeo also canceled a speaking event Thursday at a Harvard forum in protest of what he called the school's decision to place Manning in a "position of honor." Manning was convicted of leaking more than 700,000 classified documents, including battlefield reports on Iraq and Afghanistan and State Department cables, while working as an intelligence analyst in Iraq. She said the leaks were intended to expose wrongdoing. Manning was arrested in May 2010 and given a 35-year sentence, which was commuted in the final days of the Obama administration. Manning was known as Pvt. Bradley Manning at the time of her arrest, but announced she was transgender during her incarceration. Elmendorf said Manning will still spend a day at the Kennedy School and speak in the Forum, though she will not be designated a visiting fellow.
Note: Read about Manning's wartime whistleblowing in this CNN story. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in intelligence agencies and in the corporate world.
This summer, operatives with the Central Intelligence Agency gathered at Arlington National Cemetery to bury two of their own. Brian Ray Hoke and Nathaniel Patrick Delemarre, elite gunslingers who worked for the C.I.A.’s paramilitary force, were laid to rest after a firefight with Islamic State militants. Their deaths this past October were never acknowledged by the C.I.A., beyond two memorial stars chiseled in a marble wall at the agency’s headquarters in Langley, Va. Today there are at least 18 stars on that wall representing the number of C.I.A. personnel killed in Afghanistan - a tally that has not been previously reported, and one that rivals the number of C.I.A. operatives killed in the wars in Vietnam and Laos nearly a half century ago. The deaths are a reflection of the heavy price the agency has paid in a secret, nearly 16-year-old war, where thousands of C.I.A. operatives have served since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The deaths of Mr. Hoke, 42, and Mr. Delemarre, 47, show how the C.I.A. continues to move from traditional espionage to the front lines, and underscore the pressure the agency faces now that President Trump has pledged to keep the United States in Afghanistan with no end in sight.
Sixteen years ago, Rep. Barbara Lee was the sole member of Congress to vote against authorizing the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. Throughout the presidencies of Bush and Barack Obama, Lee waged a lonely crusade to repeal the war resolution initially aimed at al Qaeda’s Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington. Last month, she won a stunning victory when a bipartisan House committee voted to repeal the authorization in an amendment to the 2018 defense spending bill. But her win was short-lived. House Republican leaders stripped the amendment from the bill without a vote in a late-night maneuver that blocked Lee from leading a larger House debate on the president’s use of military force without further approval by Congress. The 2001 authorization was passed by Congress three days after the 9/11 attacks. “It was hastily written; it was overly broad; it was 60 words,” Lee said. Citing the Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan arm of Congress, Lee said presidents have used the authorization at least 37 times since the initial Afghanistan invasion in October 2001. The [current] administration, Lee noted, has proposed severe cuts to domestic spending to pay for a bigger military. Escalating the Afghanistan conflict, she said, will come at the expense of “schools and infrastructure and jobs and health care - all the nation-building resources that we need here, here in my own district. “Yet they’re cutting these programs to fund these wars, and that’s ... unfair to the country,” she said.
Note: Read about the unprecedented plan to privatize the war in Afghanistan. According to Congressman Thomas Massie, the US government has made deals with the Taliban to give them electricity and turn a blind eye to their opium trade. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Some of the world’s leading robotics and artificial intelligence pioneers are calling on the United Nations to ban the development and use of killer robots. Tesla’s Elon Musk and Alphabet’s Mustafa Suleyman are leading a group of 116 specialists from across 26 countries who are calling for the ban on autonomous weapons. The UN recently voted to begin formal discussions on such weapons which include drones, tanks and automated machine guns. Ahead of this, the group of founders of AI and robotics companies have sent an open letter to the UN calling for it to prevent the arms race that is currently under way for killer robots. In their letter, the founders warn the review conference ... that this arms race threatens to usher in the “third revolution in warfare” after gunpowder and nuclear arms. The founders wrote: “Once developed, lethal autonomous weapons will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend.” The founders call for “morally wrong” lethal autonomous weapons systems to be added to the list of weapons banned under the UN’s convention on certain conventional weapons (CCW) brought into force in 1983, which includes chemical and intentionally blinding laser weapons. Musk ... has repeatedly warned for the need for pro-active regulation of AI, calling it humanity’s biggest existential threat. While the suggestion of killer robots conjures images from science fiction ... lethal autonomous weapons are already in use.
Note: Despite Gen. Paul Selva's recent warning against putting "robots in charge of whether or not we take a human life," the US is among several countries currently moving forward with automating warfare. 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.
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 White House is actively considering a bold plan to turn over a big chunk of the U.S. war in Afghanistan to private contractors. Under the proposal, 5,500 private contractors, primarily former Special Operations troops, would advise Afghan combat forces. The plan also includes a 90-plane private air force that would provide air support in the nearly 16-year-old war against Taliban insurgents, Erik Prince, founder of the Blackwater security firm, [said]. The U.S. military has 8,400 U.S. troops [in Afghanistan]. They do not have a direct combat role, and presumably would be replaced gradually by the contractors. The plan remains under serious consideration within the White House despite misgivings by Trump's national security adviser ... and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Prince, who has met frequently with administration officials to discuss his plan, is the brother of Trump's education secretary, Betsy Devos. Prince said the contractors would be “adjuncts” of the Afghan military and would wear that nation’s military uniforms. Currently, troops from a U.S.-led coalition ... are not embedded with conventional combat units in the field. Under the plan the contractors would be embedded with Afghanistan's more than 90 combat battalions throughout the country. Blackwater has attracted controversy under Prince's leadership. In 2007, four Blackwater security personnel were accused of killing 14 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad.
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 corporate corruption and war.
The House Appropriations Committee’s voice vote on June 29, to approve an amendment repealing the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force, came as a surprise to congressional leaders; reporters on Capitol Hill; and the amendment’s sponsor, Rep. Barbara Lee. The AUMF is the controversial legal authority under which most U.S. counterterrorism activities are conducted. Lee has been on a mission to repeal it since Sept. 14, 2001, when she cast the one and only vote in Congress against the original authorization. In the 16 years that followed, Lee has sponsored numerous bills ... intended to overturn the authorization, to no avail. The vote in June, the first time a congressional committee had passed an AUMF repeal, showed that she’s finally no longer alone in believing that the authorization she describes as a “blank check” is no good. In the end, the House Rules Committee stripped Lee’s amendment out of the bill. History has vindicated many of Lee’s concerns about the AUMF: It has, as she warned, dramatically expanded the president’s power to use military force, reduced congressional oversight, and vastly grown the U.S. military footprint around the world with no end in sight to the escalation. The measure includes no time or geographic distinctions, and three presidential administrations have taken full advantage of that ambiguity. A 2016 Congressional Research Service report found that the AUMF’s authority had been invoked 37 times for operations in 14 countries.
Early last month, the C.I.A. director, Mike Pompeo, recommended to President Trump that he shut down a four-year-old effort to arm and train Syrian rebels. The president swiftly ended the program. The rebel army was by then a shell, hollowed out by more than a year of bombing by Russian planes. Critics in Congress had complained for years about the costs - more than $1 billion over the life of the program - and reports that some of the C.I.A.-supplied weapons had ended up in the hands of a rebel group tied to Al Qaeda further sapped political support for the program. President Barack Obama ... agreed to the program in 2013. It soon fell victim to the constantly shifting alliances in Syria’s six-year-old civil war. Once C.I.A.-trained fighters crossed into Syria, C.I.A. officers had difficulty controlling them. The fact that some of their C.I.A. weapons ended up with Nusra Front fighters - and that some of the rebels joined the group - confirmed the fears of many in the Obama administration when the program began. Although the Nusra Front was widely seen as an effective fighting force against [President Bashar al-Assad]’s troops, its Qaeda affiliation made it impossible for the Obama administration to provide direct support for the group. American intelligence officials estimate that the Nusra Front now has as many as 20,000 fighters in Syria, making it Al Qaeda’s largest affiliate. Officials also received ... reports that the C.I.A.-trained rebels had summarily executed prisoners and committed other violations of the rules of armed conflict.
For nearly four years, Syrian rebels have clung to a programme of CIA assistance as a symbol of US support in their battle against Bashar al-Assad’s regime. So reports that Donald Trump’s administration will stop the limited scheme to arm and train Syria’s opposition forces have sparked anger and confusion. Rebels say they have not been informed of any changes to the policy introduced ... in 2013 as part of efforts to put pressure on Syria’s president. According to ... the Washington Post newspaper, Mr Trump decided last month to end funding for the CIA programme. Rebels contacted by the Financial Times say their CIA interlocutors had not confirmed any change, and political opposition figures who met US officials this week say they, too, were given no hint of any change. One rebel commander who asked not to be named said US support had been waning for months but noted that the rebels had been given their salaries as normal last month. The CIA funding for rebel groups fed into two internationally backed operations that supported an array of rebel groups. Many observers and even rebels themselves criticised the programme for turning a blind eye to its funding ending up with jihadis. Rebels who received support would return to volatile territories in Syria, only to be pressed by an al-Qaeda-linked jihadi group to hand over a cut. “Frankly so much of the weapons and ammunition were going to [Syria’s al-Qaeda affiliate] that it’s probably a good thing,” [an] opposition figure said.
Note: What is the CIA doing paying the salaries of rebels in Syria? For more, see this informative article. Then, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the intelligence community.
House Republicans have stripped from a Defense Department spending bill Rep. Barbara Lee's amendment to reconsider the authority the president has to wage war. The House Appropriations Committee unexpectedly opened the door last month to ending the authorization approved by Congress in 2001 when Lee's amendment was added to a Defense Department measure after 16 years of attempts. Congress would have had 240 days to debate a new authorization. At the end of that time, the 2001 authorization would have been repealed. The version of the Defense Department bill approved by the House Rules Committee overnight removes Lee's amendment and replaces it with an amendment ... that gives the White House 30 days to tell Congress its strategy for defeating Al Qaeda and Islamic State. The Rules Committee decides what debate on a bill will look like on the House floor. “Stripping my bipartisan amendment to repeal the 2001 AUMF – in the dead of night, without a vote – may be a new low," Lee said in a statement. Lee ... was the only member of Congress to object in September 2001 to the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, a resolution in response to the terrorist attacks that paved the way for the war in Afghanistan. The resolution has since been used by President George W. Bush, President Obama and now President Trump to justify more than 35 military actions in nearly 20 countries around the world without going back to Congress for new permission to send troops into harm's way.
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.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is closing a decades-old office in the State Department that has helped seek justice for victims of war crimes. The Office of Global Criminal Justice advises the secretary of state on issues surrounding war crimes and genocide, and helps form policy to address such atrocities. It was established ... in 1997. The office has supported the work of criminal courts in countries including Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, Cambodia and the Central African Republic, and has pushed for greater U.S. support of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. The office has also offered rewards that have resulted in information disclosures about and apprehension of war criminals, and has inveighed against brutal dictators. (It has not, however, criticized Saudi Arabia or other American allies with dismal human rights records.) “It just makes official what has been U.S. policy since 9/11, which is that there will be no notice taken of war crimes because so many of them were being committed by our own allies, our military and intelligence officers and our elected officials,” Maj. Todd E. Pierce, a former judge advocate general defense attorney at Guantanamo, told Newsweek. The office was formed following the 1996 passage of the War Crimes Act, which defined a war crime as a “grave breach” of the Geneva Conventions. When the CIA began using torture early in the Iraq War and, later, jailing people indefinitely and without trial in Guantanamo, the U.S. was in open breach of the conventions.
Nearly as many Iraqi and Syrian civilians have died in US-led air strikes under Donald Trump as were killed during the whole administration of Barack Obama, independent analysts say. As of 13 July, more than 2,200 civilians had been killed by the US-led international coalition against Isis since Donald Trump entered the White house in January - compared with the estimated 2,300 civilians who died during similar strikes between 2014 and 2016. Roughly 80 civilians per month died in strikes under Mr Obama but this has now risen to approximately 360 per month ... according to research by the military tracking organisation Airwars. Part of the rise in these figures is due to the changing nature of the war against Isis, as the jihadist group became entrenched in the major cities of Mosul and Raqqa. The coalition's own civilian casualty figures are much lower than Airwars', but they too show an increase. Following a new war plan unveiled by US Secretary of Defense General James Mattis in February, the US has focused its efforts on “annihilation tactics”. In one incident in Mosul in March, the US admitted it was responsible for the deaths of 101 men, women and children. Britain, France, Australia and Belgium have also taken part in the bombing campaign but the US is the only one to admit responsibility for any civilian deaths.
Note: Coalition airstrikes have reportedly targeted schools and other non-military locations. Killing increasing numbers of civilians is a sure way to create more anti-US terrorists. 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 arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby has agreed to pay a $3m fine and forfeit thousands of smuggled ancient Iraqi artifacts that the US government alleges were intentionally mislabeled. Hobby Lobby became a household name when the US supreme court ruled in its favor in the 2014 case Burwell v Hobby Lobby Stores, which in effect gave certain “closely-held” corporations the same religious rights as individuals. Hobby Lobby had begun acquiring a variety of historical Bibles and other artifacts in 2009 [and] executed an agreement to purchase more than 5,500 artifacts in December 2010 for $1.6m. Packages bore shipping labels that described their contents as “ceramic tiles”. Importing Iraqi cultural property into the US has been restricted since 1990 and banned outright since 2004. In the Hobby Lobby case, a dealer based in the United Arab Emirates shipped ... artifacts to three different corporate addresses in Oklahoma City. Five shipments that were intercepted by federal customs officials bore shipping labels that falsely declared that the artifacts’ country of origin was Turkey. In September 2011, a package containing about 1,000 clay bullae, an ancient form of inscribed identification, was received by Hobby Lobby from an Israeli dealer and accompanied by a false declaration stating that its country of origin was Israel. The illegal sale of historical artifacts is one way in which militant groups such as al-Qaida and Islamic State finance their activities.
Note: The rape of ancient Iraqi artifacts during the war is an incredibly important and underreported story. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Crippling deficits and a nightmarish national debt are popular, recurring tropes in American politics. Politicians and the pundit class ... complain that America is running out of money when it comes to helping the poor, people of color, the disabled and the elderly. Their worries miraculously disappear whenever the military wants to start a new war. A recent editorial in the Washington Post [alleged] that single payer in the U.S. is simply unaffordable. Yet in the past 20 years of editorials on U.S. wars - every one of which the paper has supported - the Post has never framed the issue of bombing and occupying as one of cost. Most glaringly, its 2003 editorials in support of invading Iraq never mentioned dollars and cents, even though that war ended up costing the U.S. more than $2 trillion. In the presidential debates, billionaire Pete Peterson’s pro-Social Security privatization group, the “bipartisan” Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, was mentioned twice by the moderators ... in the context of deficits and the alleged impending insolvency of Social Security. Yet none of the 178 mentions of Russia, 71 mentions of Syria, or 67 mentions of Iran had anything to do with costs to the U.S. Treasury. An estimated 44,000 Americans die a year because they don’t have access to healthcare, whereas you’re more likely to die taking a bath than at the hands of a terrorist. Why is spending on the latter existential and beyond cost-cutting, but working urgently to address the former a budget-buster we can’t afford?
Note: Despite reports of massive budgetary mismanagement, the Pentagon has never been audited. 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 news articles on government corruption and the manipulation of mass media.
We have had two consecutive presidents - Barack Obama and Donald Trump - who have in their own way recognized the limits of American military power in achieving political outcomes across the globe, yet we have been at war the whole time they've been in office. They were preceded by a president who promised a "humble foreign policy," no nation-building, and military involvement only where the exits were clearly marked. But George W. Bush's abandonment of those campaign planks set the United States on a foreign-policy course that has clearly not worked as planned. Still, at least he was operating in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, before all the unintended consequences of Iraq-style regime change were so blatantly known. Neither Obama nor Trump has that excuse. Obama largely owes his presidency to his 2002 speech opposing the invasion of Iraq and other "dumb wars." Trump won the 2016 South Carolina primary the day after denouncing the Iraq war in terms that got Ron Paul nearly tossed off the debate stage in the same state a decade ago. The foreign policy advice presidents receive is predominantly hawkish. So is the reinforcement they get from the Washington establishment. Things happen all over the world that seem to cry out for some kind of American response. But ... until some of this institutional bias in favor of intervention changes, we will keep voting for presidents who promise peace but deliver war.
Note: Read an excellent article showing how the power elite and their war machine corrupt world leaders. Powerful political and economic interests profit immensely from an endless war on terror. A top US general long ago exposed the corrupt roots of war in his penetrating 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 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?
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.
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.
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.
Vilified by accusations of using a chemical bomb, Syria’s president intensified his counterpropaganda campaign on Thursday, suggesting that child actors had staged death scenes to malign him and that American warplanes had bombed a terrorist warehouse full of poison gases, killing hundreds of people. In his first interview since an April 4 attack on the northern town of Khan Sheikhoun that killed over 80 people, sickened hundreds and outraged the world, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria not only repeated the government’s denials of responsibility but contended without evidence that the episode had been fabricated as a pretext for an American retaliatory missile strike. “We don’t know whether those dead children were killed in Khan Sheikhoun,” Mr. Assad told Agence France-Presse in the television interview from Damascus. Medical examiners in Turkey, where many of the Khan Sheikhoun victims were taken, have said that autopsies showed they had been attacked with sarin, a lethal nerve agent and a banned chemical weapon. The interview with Mr. Assad was broadcast as the Syrian government’s news agency asserted without evidence that American warplanes had bombed what it called a chemical weapons cache possessed by Islamic State militants in Syria on Wednesday, leaving hundreds dead, including “a large number of civilians, due to suffocation caused by the inhalation of toxic materials.”
Note: Isn't it strange the press blamed the April 4th chemical attacks on Assad, but no one bothered to ask him at the time and report if he claimed responsibility? Only nine days later did the above article come out reporting that he denied being behind them. And as reported on CNN, Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean called Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard a "disgrace" for questioning who was behind the chemical attack. Could the war mongers have so wanted to blame this on Assad that they purposely waited over a week to report this denial?
The United States launched more airstrikes in Yemen this month than during all of last year. In Syria, it has airlifted local forces to front-line positions and has been accused of killing civilians in airstrikes. In Iraq, American troops and aircraft are central in supporting an urban offensive in Mosul. Indications are mounting that the United States military is deepening its involvement in a string of complex wars in the Middle East that lack clear endgames. Officials say that what is happening is a shift in military decision-making that began under President Barack Obama. Robert Malley, a former senior official in the Obama administration and now vice president for policy at the International Crisis Group, said the uptick in military involvement ... did not appear to have been accompanied by increased planning for the day after potential military victories. The lack of diplomacy and planning for the future in places like Yemen and Syria could render victories there by the United States and its allies unsustainable. Others fear that greater military involvement could drag the United States into murky wars and that increased civilian deaths could feed anti-Americanism and jihadist propaganda. Some insist that this has already happened. “Daesh is happy about the American attacks against civilians to prove its slogans that the Americans want to kill Muslims everywhere and not only the Islamic State’s gunmen,” a resident of the Syrian city of Raqqa wrote via WhatsApp, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State.
Note: There is no doubt that U.S. drone killings in the Middle East have created many terrorists. If your innocent mother or sister were killed by a foreign drone, do you think you might develop feelings against that country? Learn how even U.S. generals have said the U.S. has backed terrorists in this well researched essay on the origins of ISIS. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
A sharp rise in the number of civilians reported killed in U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria is spreading panic, deepening mistrust and triggering accusations that the United States and its partners may be acting without sufficient regard for lives of noncombatants. Residents desperately trying to flee ... are being blocked by the militants, who frequently use civilians as human shields. Figures compiled by monitoring organizations and interviews with residents paint an increasingly bloody picture, with the number of casualties in March already surpassing records for a single month. The worst alleged attack was in Mosul, where rescue teams are still digging out bodies after what residents describe as a hellish onslaught. Iraqi officials and residents say as many as 200 died in U.S.-led strikes, with more than 100 bodies recovered from a single building. The escalation of U.S. strikes around the city of Raqqa occurred in February. In March, the tempo increased further, with more sites being targeted that have no obvious military value, according to a Syrian ... from Raqqa. “They are hitting everything that isn’t a small house,” including the barges that ferry passengers across the river dividing the city now that the bridges have been disabled, he said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of concern for his family.
A non-profit organization that tracks civilian casualties caused by airstrikes in the Middle East said it has shifted nearly all of its resources to track a surge of claims regarding U.S.-led strikes in Syria and Iraq. The group, called Airwars.org, had been tracking deaths caused by both Russian and U.S. airstrikes. “Almost 1,000 civilian non-combatant deaths have already been alleged from coalition actions across Iraq and Syria in March - a record claim,” Airwars said in a statement. In the last week, three mass casualty incidents have been attributed to U.S.-led forces in Iraq and Syria, making March one of the most lethal months for civilians in the the two-year-old war against the Islamic State. Last week, U.S. drones targeted what locals deemed a mosque in Aleppo province in a bid to target al-Qaeda leaders. Those on the ground said at least 47 civilians ... died in the strikes. On Monday, a conflict monitoring group ... said a strike near Raqqa targeted a school that was serving as a home for multiple families displaced by fighting in the area, killing at least 33. On Thursday, Iraqi media reported that an airstrike in Mosul killed more than 200 people. According to Airwars, more than 2,500 civilians have been killed by the U.S.-led coalition, which has admitted to killing only roughly 220 civilians.
Note: Killing civilians is a sure way to create more anti-US terrorists. Why do we let the US government get away with regularly killing civilians? If American civilians were killed, there would be an uproar. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
US President Donald Trump has given the Central Intelligence Agency new authority to conduct drone attacks against suspected militants. The move would be a change from the policy of former President Barack Obama's administration of limiting the CIA's paramilitary role. The United States was the first to use unmanned aircraft fitted with missiles to kill militant suspects in the years after the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington. Strikes by missile-armed Predator and Reaper drones against overseas targets began under former President George W. Bush and were expanded by Obama. Critics of the targeted killing program question whether the strikes create more militants than they kill. They cite the spread of jihadist organisations and militant attacks throughout the world as evidence that targeted killings may be exacerbating the problem. In July, the US government accepted responsibility for inadvertently killing up to 116 civilians in strikes in countries where America is not at war.
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.
Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard met with President Bashar al-Assad during a secret, four-day trip to Syria, she told CNN's Jake Tapper Wednesday. "When the opportunity arose to meet with him, I did so because I felt that it's important that if we profess to truly care about the Syrian people, about their suffering, then we've got to be able to meet with anyone that we need to if there is a possibility that we can achieve peace," the Hawaiian congresswoman said. When asked ... whether she had reservations about meeting with Assad, who is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians, Gabbard said there has to be a dialogue between the US and Syria. "My commitment is on ending this war that has caused so much suffering to the Syrian people, to these children, to these families, many of whom I met on this trip," Gabbard said. [As] a member of the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committee, [Gabbard] recently introduced legislation that would prohibit sending federal funds to nations that support terrorist groups. "(The Syrians) asked me, 'Why are the United States and its allies supporting these terror groups which are destroying Syria, when it was al Qaeda that attacked the United States on 9/11, not Syria.' I didn't have an answer to them." The US government claims it does not fund these groups and only provides assistance to so-called moderate rebels. However, Gabbard said the Syrians she met with told her that there are no moderate rebels in the country.
Note: Don't miss the CNN interview with Gabbard which raises important questions. For more undeniable evidence on U.S. involvement in developing and supporting ISIS, see this excellent essay. 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 ex-British Ambassador to Syria has accused the Foreign Office of lying over the country’s civil war and said British policy there has "made the situation worse". [Peter] Ford, who was Britain's ambassador to Syria from 1999 to 2003, claimed that the UK had misread and misrepresented the situation in the country since the start of the conflict. He said: "The British Foreign Office to which I used to belong, I’m sorry to say has gotten Syria wrong every step of the way. "They told us at the beginning that Assad’s demise was imminent. "But then they told us that the opposition was dominated by these so-called moderates. That proved not to be the case and now they're telling us another big lie – that Assad can’t control the rest of the country. Well I’ve got news for them – he’s well on the way to doing so." Mr Ford said that when the conflict started the UK should have either "put everything, including our own forces on to the battlefield, or if in our judgement – as it would have been my judgement – that was not realistic, refrain from encouraging the opposition to mount a doomed campaign." He claimed the UK’s tough talk on one hand, followed by little action to back rebels in Syria on the other had preceded a rebellion that had "only led to hundreds of thousands of civilians being maimed and killed". "We have made the situation worse." He added: "It was eminently foreseeable to anyone who was not intoxicated with wishful thinking." The UK has consistently taken the line that Assad cannot be a part of Syria’s future.
Note: Regarding the recent chemical attack in Syria, the BBC has not posted it, but you can watch this BBC interview in which former U.K. ambassador to Syria Peter Ford raises serious questions about what happened and who is behind it. 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 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.
On the sixth anniversary of the first infamous "Cablegate" by WikiLeaks ... it has expanded its Public Library of US Diplomacy (PLUSD) with 531,525 new diplomatic cables from 1979. In a statement to coincide with the release of the cables, known as "Carter Cables III", Mr Assange explained how events which unfolded in 1979 had begun a series of events that led to the rise of ISIS: "The Iranian revolution, the Saudi Islamic uprising and the Egypt-Israel Camp David Accords led not only to the present regional power dynamic but decisively changed the relationship between oil, militant Islam and the world. "The uprising at Mecca permanently shifted Saudi Arabia towards Wahhabism, leading to the transnational spread of Islamic fundamentalism and the US-Saudi destabilisation of Afghanistan." He said at this point Osama bin Laden left his native Saudi Arabia for Pakistan to support the Afghan Mujahideen. He added: "The invasion of Afghanistan by the USSR would see Saudi Arabia and the CIA push billions of dollars to Mujahideen fighters as part of Operation Cyclone, fomenting the rise of al-Qaeda and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union." The rise of al-Qaeda eventually bore the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, enabling the US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq and over a decade of war, leaving, at its end, the ideological, financial and geographic basis for ISIS."
Note: Read a well-researched essay from the profound online book Lifting the Veil suggesting the War on Terror is a fraud. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing terrorism news articles from reliable major media sources.
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.
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.
Two large Sunni Arab urban centres – East Aleppo in Syria and Mosul in Iraq – are being besieged by pro-government forces strongly supported by foreign airpower. Yet the coverage is very different. In Libya ... opposition activists were able to gain control of the media narrative. The overthrow of Gaddafi rapidly reduced Libya to a violent and criminalised anarchy with little likelihood of recovery. In present day Syria and Iraq one can see much the same process at work. In East Aleppo, some 250,000 civilians and 8,000 insurgents, are under attack by the Syrian Army ... supported by the Russian and Syrian air forces. The bombing of East Aleppo has rightly caused worldwide revulsion and condemnation. But look at how differently the international media is treating a similar situation in Mosul, 300 miles east of Aleppo, where one million people and an estimated 5,000 Isis fighters are being encircled by the Iraqi army ... with massive support from a US-led air campaign. In the case of Mosul, unlike Aleppo, the defenders are to blame for endangering civilians by using them as human shields and preventing them leaving. The extreme bias shown in foreign media coverage of similar events in Iraq and Syria will be a rewarding subject for PhDs students looking at the uses and abuses of propaganda down the ages. Nothing much has changed since 2003 when the Iraqi opposition to Saddam Hussein had persuaded foreign governments and media alike that the invading American and British armies would be greeted with rapture by the Iraqi people.
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.
The furore over the sexual antics of Donald Trump is preventing much attention being given to the latest batch of leaked emails to and from Hillary Clinton. Most fascinating of these is [a] memo, dated 17 August 2014. There is no ambivalence about who is backing Isis. The memo says: “We need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to Isis and other radical groups in the region.” After 9/11, the US refused to confront these traditional Sunni allies and thereby ensured that the “War on Terror” would fail decisively; 15 years later, al-Qaeda in its different guises is much stronger than it used to be because shadowy state sponsors, without whom it could not have survived, were given a free pass. It is not as if Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State ... did not know what was happening. An earlier WikiLeaks release of a State Department cable sent under her name in December 2009 states that “Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaeda, the Taliban, LeT [Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan].” But Saudi complicity with these movements never became a central political issue in the US. Why not? The US did not think it was in its interests to cut its traditional Sunni allies loose and put a great deal of resources into making sure that this did not happen. They brought on side compliant journalists, academics and politicians willing to give overt or covert support to Saudi positions.
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. Then check out a very well-researched essay describing how the war on terror is a fraud. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
As the 1973 Yom Kippur war between Israel and neighboring Arab states intensified, I was in an underground missile launch center in Montana with a crewmate when we received an emergency message to prepare for nuclear war with the Soviet Union. We trusted the president to defuse the crisis and avert a nuclear war. Dwight D. Eisenhower recoiled at the concept of nuclear overkill, where far more people are killed than necessary to defeat an enemy. Richard M. Nixon (president during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war) ... worried about the way war plans “lightly tossed about millions of deaths.” Ronald Reagan, for all his thunder about the Soviet Union being “an evil empire” and joking that “we begin bombing in five minutes,” was privately averse to nuclear weapons. Donald J. Trump is of a radically different ilk and temperament from past presidents. In 1973, as it turned out, President Nixon was not in charge when the order came down to prepare for nuclear conflict. Under stress from the Watergate scandal, he had retired for the evening, drunk. His unelected advisers, led by the national security adviser, Henry A. Kissinger, and Defense Secretary James R. Schlesinger, ran the show that night. Our trust in the president was misplaced. He was not even awake when my crewmate and I saddled up for nuclear war. The president had lost personal control of the situation. But upon reflection, it would have been far scarier if a cocksure Mr. Trump, consulting no one but himself, had been there calling the shots.
A secret FBI study found that anger over U.S. military operations abroad was the most commonly cited motivation for individuals involved in cases of “homegrown” terrorism. The report also identified no coherent pattern to “radicalization,” concluding that it remained near impossible to predict future violent acts. The study ... surveyed intelligence analysts and FBI special agents across the United States who were responsible for nearly 200 cases ... involving “homegrown violent extremists.” The survey responses reinforced the FBI’s conclusion that such individuals “frequently believe the U.S. military is committing atrocities in Muslim countries, thereby justifying their violent aspirations,” [and] notes that between 2009 and 2012, 10 out of 16 attempted or successful terrorist attacks in the United States targeted military facilities or personnel. The report ... is dated December 20, 2012. The survey seems designed to look only at Muslim violent extremism. Perpetrators of more recent attacks have latched onto U.S. foreign policy to justify violence. In many of these cases, pundits and politicians focus on the role of religion, something Marc Sageman, a former CIA officer and author of “Leaderless Jihad: Terror Networks in the Twenty-First Century,” describes as a “red herring,” citing a history of shifting ideologies used to justify terrorist acts. “Politicians try very hard not to talk about foreign policy or military action being a major contributor to homegrown terrorism,” Sageman says.
Note: Read a well-researched essay describing how the war on terror is based on fraud. If terrorism is such a grave threat in the US, why does the FBI have to manufacture "terrorist" plots and then exaggerate its anti-terrorism success?
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.
As the Syrian peace accord has crumbled - even threatening to reignite the Cold War - and barrel bombs continue to fall on the rebel-held city of Aleppo, many are fleeing the death and destruction. But one group of residents has vowed to stay behind and help. They are the "White Helmets," a volunteer team of first responders who plunge head-first into crumbling buildings to save civilians trapped in the rubble of Syria's brutal civil war. Named after their iconic protective headgear, the group of about 3,000 rescue workers have reportedly saved more than 60,000 lives since the civil war began. In August, their courage garnered international attention when they rescued 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh, the stunned little boy covered in dust and blood whose photo shocked the world. They have since been nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize. The heroism of these ordinary citizens - former doctors, shopkeepers, and teachers - is profiled in a 40-minute Netflix documentary. "These are very normal, ordinary people who now do one of the most extraordinary jobs on this planet," said the film's director, Orlando von Einsiedel. "They represent the best of what humanity can be," he said. "It has given us faith in humanity and has made us want to be better people."
Note: When the media seems to want us to hate Muslims, it's so important to read about the beautiful examples of these heroes. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
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.
The Pentagon gave a controversial U.K. PR firm over half a billion dollars to run a top secret propaganda program in Iraq, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism can reveal. Bell Pottinger’s output included short TV segments made in the style of Arabic news networks and fake insurgent videos which could be used to track the people who watched them, according to a former employee. The agency’s staff worked alongside high-ranking U.S. military officers in their Baghdad Camp Victory headquarters. Bell Pottinger reported to the Pentagon, the CIA, and the National Security Council on its work in Iraq. In the first media interview any Bell Pottinger employee has given about the work for the U.S. military in Iraq, video editor Martin Wells told the Bureau his time in Camp Victory was “shocking, eye-opening, life-changing.” The firm’s output was signed off by former General David Petraeus - then commander of the coalition forces in Iraq - and on occasion by the White House, he said. Bell Pottinger’s work in Iraq was a huge media operation which cost over a hundred million dollars a year on average. The ... most sensitive program described by Wells was the production of fake al Qaeda propaganda films. U.S. marines would take the CDs on patrol and drop them in the chaos when they raided targets. Wells explained how the team embedded a code into the CDs which linked to a Google Analytics account, giving a list of IP addresses where the CDs had been played.
Note: So the Pentagon made propaganda films to recruit for Al Qaeda, bombed a place upsetting the people there, then seeded these films to try to capture anyone who was interested in the propaganda they spread. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about war corruption and the manipulation of public perception.
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.
The United States paid over a million euros to the family of Giovanni Lo Porto, an Italian aid worker killed in a U.S. drone strike in January of last year, according to newly released documents. The 37-year-old Lo Porto died when CIA drones struck an al Qaeda compound where he was being held hostage along with Warren Weinstein, an American humanitarian worker. In a rare admission of responsibility, President Barack Obama acknowledged the strike and promised compensation for the families. The Intercept first reported that the family had reached a settlement with the U.S. government in July. The document also states that the agreement does not imply “a waiver of sovereign or personal immunity.” Lawyers for the Lo Porto family had pressed the Italian state prosecutor to consider a criminal case against the United States, while acknowledging that the chances of such a case going forward were slim. They also asked for more information from U.S. agencies about the strike and its aftermath. The U.S. has, in a few instances, paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to the families of civilians killed in attacks in Yemen, but has not publicly acknowledged doing so. Many human rights advocacy groups see a double standard in the silence of the U.S. government on the cases of non-Westerners who have died.
Note: The families of thousands of innocent citizens killed by US drones in the Middle East have received zero compensation. 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 government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Between 2003 and 2009, the Bush White House “lost” 22 million emails. This correspondence included millions of emails written ... when the Bush administration was ginning up support for what turned out to be a disastrous war in Iraq with false claims that the country possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Most troubling, researchers found a suspicious pattern in the White House email system blackouts, including periods when there were no emails available from the office of Vice President Dick Cheney. In 1978, Congress passed the Presidential Records Act (PRA), which mandated that all presidential and vice presidential records ... be preserved and that the public, not the president, owned the records. Bush administration emails could have aided a special prosecutor’s investigation into a White House effort to discredit a diplomat who disagreed with the administration’s fabricated Iraq WMD evidence. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who was brought in to investigate that case, said ... potentially relevant emails sent by aides in Cheney's office were in the administration's system but he couldn’t get them. The supposedly lost emails also prevented Congress from fully investigating, in 2007, the politically motivated firing of nine U.S. attorneys. When the ... Senate Judiciary Committee subpoenaed related emails, Bush’s attorney general, Alberto Gonzalez, said many were inaccessible or lost on a nongovernmental private server run by the RNC.
Note: The Bush administration's lies about WMDs in Iraq were covered up, in part, by publicly revealing the identity of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and the manipulation of public perception.
Immediately after the 9/11 attack, while bodies were still buried in the rubble, George W. Bush demanded from Congress the legal authorization to use military force against those responsible for the attack. The resulting resolution that was immediately cooked up was both vague and broad. Despite this broadness, or because of it, the House of Representatives on September 14 approved the resolution by a vote of 420-1. The lone dissenting vote was Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee of California, who ... not only voted “no” but stood up on the House floor to deliver [an] eloquent, unflinching and, as it turns out, extremely prescient explanation for her opposition. She [pointed] out that the resolution “was a blank check to the president to attack anyone involved in the Sept. 11 events - anywhere, in any country, without regard to our nation’s long-term foreign policy, economic and national security interests, and without time limit.” She added: “A rush to launch precipitous military counterattacks runs too great a risk that more innocent men, women, children will be killed.” For her lone stance, Lee was deluged with rancid insults and death threats. She was vilified as “anti-American”. Since then, she has been repeatedly rejected in her bids to join the House Democratic leadership, typically losing to candidates close to Wall Street and in support of militarism. But beyond the obvious bravery needed to take the stand she took, she has been completely vindicated on the merits. It’s impossible to overstate how correct Lee was.
Note: For more on Rep. Lee's efforts to stop giving the US president dictatorial power over waging war, see this Los Angeles Times article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing 9/11 news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our 9/11 Information Center.
In the days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when Congress voted to authorize military force against the people who “planned, authorized, committed, or aided” the hijackings, few Americans could have imagined the resulting manhunt would span from West Africa all the way to the Philippines. Today ... it looks like the war on terror is still in its opening act. The Islamic State, which was largely created by the U.S. invasion of Iraq, controls vast swaths of territory in Iraq, Syria, and Libya. The death toll in the countries the U.S. attacked remains untallied, but conservative estimates range from the hundreds of thousands to well over a million. The financial cost of the war on terror is incalculable. After 15 years, the only winners in the war on terror have been the contractors. At home, the war on terror has become a constitutional nightmare. The U.S. has adopted a practice of indefinitely detaining terror suspects. Police departments across the country secretly import military-grade spy equipment. Courts have ruled that families cannot sue to get their children off government kill lists. NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the U.S. has become the largest surveillance state in history. Bombing multiple countries in the Middle East has become business as usual, and often goes unreported. As ... media engagement with the wars diminishes, and it is all too easy to forget about our permanent state of war. But the victims of U.S. violence are unlikely to forget, creating a potentially endless supply of new enemies.
President Barack Obama said Tuesday that US has an "obligation" to help Laos recover from a brutal secret bombing campaign that destroyed parts of the Southeast Asian nation. During an address to the Lao people in the country's capital, Obama pledged $90 million in a joint three-year project with the country's government to clear ... some 80 million unexploded cluster bombs dropped during a secret US bombing campaign as part of the Vietnam War 40 years ago. "The remnants of war continue to shatter lives here in Laos," Obama said. "That's why I've dramatically increased or funding to remove these unexploded bombs." The move was welcomed by Laos President Bounnhang Vorachit as a way of strengthening mutual trust after the devastating campaign, that still maims or kills 50 people who stumble upon unexploded mines each year. Efforts to find the bombs will be aided the Pentagon, who will supply records of where they were dropped. To this day, less than 1% of the bombs have been cleared, according to US-based non-government organization Legacies of War. US funding for clearance of unexploded ordnance and victims' assistance has steadily grown since 2010. This year, Congress allotted $19.5 million, but now, for the first time, an American president has publicly recognized that the US has a responsibility to do more. "That conflict was another reminder that whatever the cause, whatever our intentions, war inflicts terrible toll, especially on innocent men, women and children," Obama said.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
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.
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.
Half a century ago, cold war tensions nearly came to a head over a couple of sunspots. On May 23, 1967, the US Air Force was preparing its nuclear-armed aircraft for takeoff. The Soviet Union had jammed US surveillance radars, military officials believed, which was considered an act of war. But according to a new study ... scientists arrived just in time to defuse the situation: it was actually a solar storm, not a Soviet military operation, that jammed the radars. Earlier that month, researchers had noticed a large group of magnetically charged sunspots on the solar surface. These cool, dark sunspots are known to launch bursts of solar radiation, called solar flares, as well as plasma eruptions called coronal mass ejections (CMEs). On May 23, they recorded a solar flare so intense that it was visible by the naked eye. The same day, US military officials found that three of its Ballistic Missile Early Warning System radar sites appeared to be jammed. The Air Force prepared aircraft with nuclear weapons, ready to scramble in retaliation. Solar forecasters from the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) intervened in time to stop the launch. When convention and science don’t offer satisfactory answers, we often turn to the fantastic. Last month, an unidentified blip was spotted in the corner of an International Space Station video feed. But just as the object approached Earth’s atmosphere, the feed cut off, prompting that rumors NASA was covering up evidence of UFOs.
Note: A solar storm in 1859 was powerful enough to cause sparks to leap from telegraph equipment. A similar storm today would likely decimate communications systems around the world. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the mysterious nature of reality.
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.
The Chilcot inquiry has delivered a damning verdict on the decision by former prime minister Tony Blair to commit British troops to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Chilcot finds that Blair deliberately exaggerated the threat posed by the Iraqi regime as he sought to make the case for military action to MPs and the public in the buildup to the invasion. The then prime minister disregarded warnings about the potential consequences of military action, and relied too heavily on his own beliefs, rather than the more nuanced judgments of the intelligence services. Tony Blair wrote to George W Bush eight months before the Iraq invasion to offer his unqualified backing for war well before UN weapons inspectors had complete their work, saying: “I will be with you, whatever.” The report says that between early 2002 and March 2003 Blair was told that, post-invasion, Iraq could degenerate into civil war. Chilcot rejects Blair’s claim that the subsequent chaos and sectarian conflict could not have been predicted. Before the war, Blair had said that the US-led invasion coalition would try to minimise civilian casualties. As the war and occupation unfolded, however, the MoD made only a “broad estimate” of how many Iraqis were being killed. More time was devoted to which department should have responsibility for the issue than was spent on finding out the number. The government’s main interest was to “rebut accusations that coalition forces were responsible for the deaths of large numbers” of Iraqis.
The Obama administration just released numbers suggesting ... that drone strikes in countries excluding Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria have resulted in between at least 64 and 116 noncombatant deaths during his administration. The president also issued an executive order effectively directing his successor to ... publish this data going forward. The new executive order means it will be harder for the next president to kill in total secrecy. Obama’s use [of drones] over the last seven years set a disastrous global precedent: using a new weapons technology as an excuse to kill in secret and without regard for international law. Today’s developments are an incremental but important step away from the notion that new technology is a license for secrecy. The downside, though, is that the drone data could be completely misleading – and provide a veneer of legitimacy to unlawful killings. There are reports of hundreds of unidentified people killed in apparent “signature strikes,” where targeting decisions were made on the basis of patterns of behavior rather than identification of a specific individual. Amnesty International and other groups have also documented so-called rescuer strikes, where the US killed or injured individuals who were trying to help the victims of an initial strike. The CIA, an agency with an extremely poor record of accountability to the public, is still conducting strikes. Its continued role is likely one reason we aren’t getting fuller answers to our questions about drones.
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.
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.
President Obama will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima, the Japanese city that the United States nearly destroyed with a nuclear bomb in 1945. While the bombing ... killed as many as 150,000 people, Obama is not expected to apologize during his visit. After more than 70 years, why not apologize for Hiroshima? Countries in general do not apologize for violence against other countries. What else has America not apologized for? Here are a few ideas. During the Vietnam War, the United States sprayed about 12 million gallons of Agent Orange, a herbicide, over areas of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. About 1 million people were disabled or suffered health problems because of contact with the herbicide. There has been no apology for this or for other controversies of the war. In 1953, democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh was overthrown in a coup [that] was carried out under CIA direction ... with the aid of the British Secret Intelligence Service. The United States and Britain have never apologized for [this], with the Obama administration recently stating that it had no plans to. The United States is also widely suspected of involvement in a bloody 1973 coup that ousted socialist Chilean President Salvador Allende in 1973 and put dictator Augusto Pinochet in control. In 1977, Brady Tyson, deputy leader of the U.S. delegation to the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva, did ... offer an apology for the U.S. involvement in the coup, but he was quickly disavowed by the State Department.
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. Although CIA involvement in the Iranian coup and the Pentagon's prolonged support for the Pinochet regime's torturers are now well-known, the intelligence community remains unapologetically corrupt.
As the Obama administration prepares to publish a long-delayed accounting of how many militants and noncombatant civilians it has killed since 2009, its statistics may be defined as much by what is left out as by what is included. Release of the information was first envisioned ... as part of strict new guidelines President Obama announced for the United States’ controversial use of drones and other forms of lethal force to battle terrorism abroad. Such operations, Obama said ... would also be subject to new transparency and oversight. The death tolls, like the guidelines, will cover places where the United States conducts airstrikes but does not consider itself officially at war. They are likely to exclude Pakistan, where the CIA has conducted hundreds of drone strikes. The United States still does not publicly acknowledge CIA attacks inside Pakistan, although the Pentagon announced Saturday that it had targeted Taliban leader Akhtar Mohammad Mansour in Pakistan. Not all strikes in the included countries are considered counterterrorism actions. The totals will almost inevitably be challenged by independent groups that keep their own tallies and for years have charged that the administration undercounts civilian deaths caused by drone strikes. In emailed responses to written questions, the Defense Department said it keeps no central list of strikes “outside areas of active hostilities.” Some are announced by the Pentagon, some by Central Command in charge of Yemen, and others by the Africa Command. Some are not made public at all.
Note: Watch this video which shows how governments promote war in order to pad the pockets of mega-corporations which profit greatly from arms sales. 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.
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.
I’m a science journalist. That keeps me busy, because, as you know, most peer-reviewed scientific claims are wrong. So I’m a skeptic, but with a small s, not capital S. “The Science Delusion” is common among Capital-S Skeptics. You don’t apply your skepticism equally. You are extremely critical of belief in God, ghosts, heaven, ESP, astrology, homeopathy and Bigfoot. Meanwhile, you neglect [many] dubious and even harmful claims promoted by major scientists and institutions. Let’s take a look at ... mainstream medicine. Over the past half-century, physicians and hospitals have introduced increasingly sophisticated, expensive tests. They assure us that early detection of disease will lead to better health. But tests often do more harm than good. For every woman whose life is extended because a mammogram detected a tumor, up to 33 receive unnecessary treatment, including biopsies, surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. For men diagnosed with prostate cancer after a PSA test, the ratio is 47 to one. Similar data are emerging on colonoscopies and other tests. Mental-health care suffers from similar problems. The biological theory that really drives me nuts is the deep-roots theory of war. According to the theory, lethal group violence is in our genes. But the evidence is overwhelming that war was a cultural innovation. I hate the deep-roots theory not only because it’s wrong, but also because it encourages fatalism toward war. War is our most urgent problem.
Note: The above was written by John Horgan, director of the Center for Science Writings at the Stevens Institute of Technology. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing science corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
President Obama has proposed granting Israel the largest package of military aid ever provided by the United States to another nation, but he and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remain deeply at odds over a figure for the assistance despite months of negotiations. American officials have balked as their Israeli counterparts insisted on more generous terms for a new 10-year military aid package that could top $40 billion. The divide, which could have broad national security implications for both the United States and Israel, is exacerbated by the pent-up animosity between Mr. Obama and Mr. Netanyahu, which has been stoked by their radically divergent views of the nuclear deal with Iran. Israel has been the largest cumulative recipient of American foreign aid since World War II. Discussions about the agreement are being conducted in strict secrecy. Neither side would detail specific funding levels. But the disputes over money are grounded in more profound rifts over policy, politics and national security strategy. While the president views the Iran agreement as having bolstered Israel’s security ... by restraining Tehran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon, the Israelis believe that the lifting of sanctions on Iran has only emboldened a government that directly threatens them. “The administration doesn’t want to lose the Iran battle after they’ve already won it by rewarding Israel with an over-the-top increase in aid,” said Aaron David Miller, vice president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Note: With a population of about 8.5 million, US yearly aid to Israel is almost $500 to every man, woman, and child in the country. The vast majority of aid to Israel is dedicated to purchasing US military hardware. Watch this video which shows how governments promote 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.
Documents detailing Israel’s alleged defence exports to Rwanda during the country’s civil war and genocide in the 1990s are to remain sealed, the country’s Supreme Court has ruled. Two years ago Professor Yair Auron and attorney Eitay Mack submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Israel’s defence ministry to discover the nature of any arms exports made to Rwanda between 1990 and 1995, the Times of Israel reports. Between 800,000 and 1 million people were killed over the course of 100 days in Rwanda in 1994. Weapons used in the genocide allegedly included Israeli-made 5.56mm bullets, rifles and grenades. Information apparently detailing this is sealed in the contested documentation. Mr Auron and Mr Mack’s request reportedly stated: “According to various reports in Israel and abroad, the defence exports to Rwanda ostensibly violated international law, at least during the period of the weapons embargo imposed by the UN Security Council.” The Supreme Court ... rejected the appeal for the documents to be released, stating: “Disclosure of the information sought does not advance the public interest claimed by the appellants to the extent that it takes preference and precedence over the claims of harm to state security and international relations,” Haaretz reports. Mr Mack responded to the decision by calling it “mistaken and immoral,” but said that “at no point during the proceedings was there a denial that there were defence exports during the genocide,” and vowed to “continue to fight to expose the truth”.
Note: Watch this video which shows how governments promote 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.
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.
One week before the Brussels terrorist attacks, a Saudi-led coalition bombed a market in Mastaba, Yemen. Although more people died in Mastaba than in Brussels - 106 versus 34 - the media and the international community in general ignored that earlier atrocity, as they've ignored most of the 150 indiscriminate aerial attacks reported by the United Nations and Human Rights Watch in the last year. The West is actually supporting - by way of arms and military assistance - this all-but-invisible war. The Saudis are violating international law as they carry out attacks [on] schools, hospitals, markets and homes, [which] account for 60% of the 3,200 civilians killed in the conflict. The U.S. and Britain are ... the lead providers of the Saudi coalition's arsenal. Saudi Arabia has ... contracted for at least $20 billion in weapons from the U.S. and almost $4.3 billion in weapons from Britain in 2015. Many human rights and humanitarian organizations, as well as the European Parliament, have called for an embargo on arms sales to Saudi Arabia. What remains unknown is the exact nature of the U.S. and British military role in the Saudi campaign. The U.S. Defense Department has vaguely stated that it is providing “targeting assistance,” which as a matter of law means it is liable for unlawful strikes in which it takes part. Member states of the U.N. Human Rights Council attempted to pursue ... an investigation [into unlawful airstrikes in Yemen], but the Saudi-U.S.-Britain trifecta effectively quashed it.
Note: In one of the largest arms deal ever, the sale of $60 billion worth of US fighter jets and attack helicopters to Saudi Arabia quietly proceeded in 2010 with State Department approval. An International Business Times investigation shows that $10 Million in Clinton Foundation donations coincided with a 97% increase in arms export authorizations to Saudi Arabia from 2006-2012. 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."
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.
For days now, American cable news has broadcast non-stop coverage of the horrific attack in Brussels. This type of coverage is accorded only to Western victims of violence, but almost never to the non-Western victims of the West’s own violence. A little more than a week ago ... fighter jets from a Saudi-led (U.S.– and U.K.-supported) coalition bombed a market in Mastaba, in Yemen’s northern province of Hajjah. The latest count indicates that about 120 people were killed, including more than 20 children, and 80 were wounded in the strikes. Over the past several years, the U.S. has launched hideous civilian-slaughtering strikes in Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Libya, and Iraq. You’ll almost never hear any of those victims’ names on CNN, NPR, or most other large U.S. media outlets. No famous American TV correspondents will be sent to the places where those people have their lives ended by the bombs of the U.S. and its allies. At most, you’ll hear small, clinical news stories briefly and coldly describing what happened - usually accompanied by a justifying claim from U.S. officials, uncritically conveyed, about why the bombing was noble - but, even in those rare cases where such attacks are covered at all, everything will be avoided that would cause you to have any visceral or emotional connection to the victims. You’ll never know anything about them - not even their names ... and will therefore have no ability to feel anything for them. As a result, their existence will barely register. That’s by design.
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.
Rape in war is as old as war itself. But the intimate nature of sexual assault means that the horrors often go undocumented, sanitized out of history books and glossed over in news accounts. Yet that mass rape is so common in wartime only makes it more corrosive. The U.N. reports that 200,000 Congolese women and children have been raped during Congo’s long-simmering conflict. Estimates for South Sudan are in the thousands. Both numbers are likely too low, says Pablo Castillo-Diaz, a specialist on sexual violence in conflict for U.N. Women. “Rape is one of the most underreported war crimes that there are. Women, if they survive the attack, rarely tell anyone else. We only hear of the most brutal incidences or the public ones that the whole community sees.” But that’s begun to change. Rape may be a common war tactic, but it was only prosecuted as a crime against humanity in 1998, by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, following the discovery of the rape camps used by Serb soldiers during the Bosnian war. At the same time, Rwandan officials were also charged with rape as a war crime during that country’s 1994 genocidal conflict. Widespread media coverage of both trials drew international condemnation. Talking about rape in war became less taboo. Recently ... ISIS’s sale of Yezidi women as sexual slaves in Iraq and Syria, and Boko Haram’s abduction of hundreds of schoolgirls for forced marriages in Nigeria, have pushed survivors and activists to demand a real global response to a war crime with consequences so enduring it all but precludes peace.
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.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Real health care for all would be nice, we are told, but there's just no room for it in the budget. What's rarely mentioned ... is that the current version of the budget - the place where our taxes go and metamorphose into services and activities that are supposed to support us - is extremely bad for our health. Much of our tax money, on both the federal and state levels, is funneled toward activities that are literally killing people. Instead of dismissing "health care for all" as an appealing-but-unachievable dream, we need to talk about how we can shift our overall funding priorities from a framework of death and destruction to one of life and healing. In mid-February, the Obama administration released its 2017 budget proposal, in which almost $623 billion is allocated to the Pentagon and related spending. The "global war on terror" has left 1.3 million dead. Beyond Pentagon funding, the administration's 2017 budget calls for $19 billion for nuclear weapons. In fact, President Obama recently proposed [expanding] the US's [nuclear] arsenal, spending $1 trillion over 30 years. This prioritization of state-sponsored death and destruction over health and renewal is by no means limited to the US Defense Department. Each year, in total ... the United States spends about $80 billion on incarceration. This country locks 2.3 million people ... inside cages. In part, real "health care" would necessitate dismantling [our] violent institutions.
Note: Read an excellent article diving deeper into this issue titled "Why the Deafening Silence on Cutting the Military Budget?" For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government 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.
Before Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, and Edward Snowden, the intelligence whistleblower, there was Katharine Gun. The former GCHQ employee ... was a young Mandarin specialist at the British government’s eavesdropping agency in Cheltenham. In early 2003 she received an email asking her and her colleagues to help the US government spy on UN security council delegations in New York. It was a critical moment, as Washington was seeking UN backing for its invasion of Iraq. Gun decided the world had to know, whatever the cost to her life and career. She leaked the memo to the Observer and was arrested, lost her job and faced trial under the Official Secrets Act. Thirteen years later, as bloodshed continues in Iraq, the almost forgotten story is to be brought to a new audience in Official Secrets, a movie [that] will chart Gun’s unlikely bid – courageous self-sacrifice to supporters, treachery in the view of critics – to block George W Bush and Tony Blair’s march to war. Unlike many whistleblowers who leak thousands of documents after the event, Gun was intervening in an active operation and trying to stop a war. The US National Security Agency memo told employees of GCHQ to gather “the whole gamut of information that could give American policymakers an edge in obtaining results favourable to US goals or to head off surprises”. “I saw the email and my gut reaction was pretty instantaneous, that it was highly explosive information and that it should be out in the public domain,” she recalled.
Note: The US has spent several trillion dollars pursuing a policy of endless war since 9/11. Great Britain did not believe Iraq to be a global security threat, but backed the US-led invasion on this false pretense for political reasons. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
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.
Ramadi was liberated today, but will anyone notice? The sad fact is that nothing that actually happens on the ground against Daesh (ISIS) is likely going to have a material effect on the culture of fear that has been created to infest the American psyche by so many people who should know so much better. A whopping 59% of Democrats are unhappy with the progress President Obama has made on the war on terror, along with 86% of Republicans and 69% of independents. What did anyone expect? Since the Paris shootings, and certainly since the shootings in San Bernardino, through the efforts of our leading television news stars, Daesh has been converted into the greatest threat to Western civilization since the Battle of Tours. They are supervillains with mad computer skillz and secret Muslim mind-tricks who can turn your children into implacable murder machines. If you want to see what losing the war on terror really looks like, don't look to the Middle East. Instead, watch the television commercials approved by the various Republican presidential candidates. The three Democratic candidates are better, but not by much. You can't win a "war" on terror any more than you can win a "war" on hate or a "war" on any other easily activated human emotion, if there are enough powerful institutions that can profit from its activation. It's really up to the rest of us ... to keep things in perspective about the genuine dangers and the fantastical ones by which other people profit.
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 news articles about the manipulation of public perception.
Foreign arms sales by the United States jumped by almost $10 billion in 2014, about 35 percent, even as the global weapons market remained flat and competition among suppliers increased, a new congressional study has found. American weapons receipts rose to $36.2 billion in 2014 from $26.7 billion the year before, bolstered by multibillion-dollar agreements with Qatar, Saudi Arabia and South Korea. The United States remained the single largest provider of arms around the world last year, controlling just over 50 percent of the market. Russia followed the United States as the top weapons supplier, completing $10.2 billion in sales, compared with $10.3 billion in 2013. Sweden was third, with roughly $5.5 billion in sales, followed by France with $4.4 billion and China with $2.2 billion. South Korea ... was the world’s top weapons buyer in 2014, completing $7.8 billion in contracts. Iraq followed South Korea, with $7.3 billion in purchases. Some arms producers have adopted measures like flexible financing, counter-trade guarantees and coproduction and co-assembly agreements to try to secure sales. Given its positioning, the United States was likely to remain the dominant supplier of arms to developing nations in coming years. As in previous years, the vast majority of arms were supplied by large, established countries to developing ones, which made $61.8 billion in total purchases in 2014.
Note: This annual report is among the most detailed nonclassified international arms sales data available to the public. 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.
A new report from Amnesty International links Islamic State (IS) to American-manufactured weapons sourced from ... more than 25 different countries, including Iraqi military stocks that were supplied to the Iraqi army by the United States. “The quantity and range of IS stocks of arms and ammunition ultimately reflect decades of irresponsible arms transfers to Iraq ... as well as endemic corruption in Iraq itself,” the report reads. That stockpile, according to Amnesty International, includes “more than 100 different types of arms and ammunition,” including hundreds of thousands of US-manufactured assault rifles and pistols that were supplied to the Iraqi army between 2003 and 2007, during the US-led occupation. When IS captured several Iraqi cities in 2014, it also captured military bases and remaining weapons stockpiles that had not been secured by Iraqi military forces during the previous war. Since then, the terrorist organization has continued to capture US-manufactured weapons previously owned by the Iraqi military. In order to stop these weapons from continuing to end up in the wrong hands, the report recommends utilizing stricter regulations for the export and transfer of weapons to Iraq and the Iraqi military, and ... upholding the Arms Trade Treaty, which was adopted by the United Nations in 2013 as an attempt to oversee this largely unregulated trade. The United States has signed but not ratified the treaty.
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.
A group formed this year by executives and lobbyists for the defense contracting industry is taking credit for “driving the national debate on foreign policy during the 2016 presidential election,” and in particular for getting Republican presidential candidates to call for escalating military action in Syria. In an email to supporters over the weekend, Mike Rogers, the founder of Americans for Peace, Prosperity, and Security, hailed the group for “pushing candidates on national security.” The email also highlighted a quote from Jeb Bush at an APPS forum calling for the U.S. to be prepared for a “long haul” war on ISIS, and a similar comment from Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who said the U.S. should engage ISIS as it had against the Taliban in Afghanistan. APPS was formed by current and former officials from Raytheon, BAE Systems, SAIC, and other major defense contractors. Lobbyists who represent the defense industry are also involved. Rogers, the former House Intelligence Committee chairman who retired from Congress last year, also represents private clients. To “help elect a president who supports American engagement and a strong foreign policy,” the group spends money on public events in primary states and encourages presidential candidates to take hawkish positions.
Months after the Obama administration declared combat operations over in Afghanistan, the CIA continues to run a shadow war in the eastern part of the country, overseeing an Afghan proxy called the Khost Protection Force [KPF], according to local officials, former commanders of that militia and Western advisers. The highly secretive paramilitary unit has been implicated in civilian killings, torture, questionable detentions, arbitrary arrests and use of excessive force in controversial night raids. In several attacks, witnesses described hearing English being spoken by armed men who had interpreters with them, suggesting American operatives were present during assaults where extreme force was used. Afghan government officials acknowledge that the KPF has killed civilians and committed other abuses. In Khost, the KPF is more influential than the Afghan army and police, and is unaccountable to the provincial government. The CIA [directs] the KPF’s operations, paying fighters’ salaries, and training and equipping them. The CIA is not bound by the Bilateral Security Agreement between Afghanistan and Washington that, among other rules, limits the ability of U.S. military forces to enter Afghan homes. The KPF was one of several large paramilitary forces created by the CIA in the months after the Taliban was ousted following the 9/11 attacks.
Note: Read a fascinating article titled "Does the Pentagon Want Nuclear War Against Russia?" Key leaders in both the CIA and Pentagon seem to want war at all costs, particularly as war fills their coffers and those of their big business buddies. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and throughout intelligence agencies.
The devastating civil war in Syria has claimed the lives of more than 19,000 children since the conflict began in 2011, according to new estimates tabulated by the Syrian Human Rights Network. The report found that 18,858 Syrian children were killed by government forces, mostly through missile shelling and the use of barrel bombs in active conflict zones, from March 2011 through October 2015. 582 children were shot by snipers and 159 were tortured to death in government prisons, the group wrote. Rebel forces killed an additional 603 children in that time frame, and another 229 died at the hands of the Islamic State militant group. Since September, Russian airstrikes have resulted in the deaths of at least 86 children, while airstrikes by U.S.-backed coalition forces have killed 75, the report said. The influx of Syrian refugees into Europe has stoked a continent-wide crisis in recent years. But a newer debate around how many refugees to accept, and how to screen them, has cropped up in Europe and the United States in recent days amid fears that terrorists could try to infiltrate refugee groups. Various human rights groups put the total civilian death toll from the Syrian conflict at around 200,000, making child deaths around 10 percent of the carnage. But death counts have been overwhelmingly difficult to calculate; the United Nations announced last year it would stop updating its estimates.
Note: The New York Times recently reported that a Syrian passport found at a Paris bombing site was planted as part of a false evidence trail "to turn public opinion against Syrian refugees." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Terrorism and mass migration are bitter results of outside meddling in the Middle East. They will intensify. Interventions multiply our enemies. Every village raid, every drone strike, and every shot fired in anger on foreign soil produces anti-Western passion. Some are shocked when that passion leads to violent reaction. They should not be. The instinct to protect one’s own, and to strike back against attackers, is as old as humanity itself. Horrific terror assaults cannot be justified as any kind of self-defense. Their savagery is inexcusable by all legal, political, and moral standards. But they do not emerge from nowhere. It was never realistic for the West - the invading world - to imagine that it is an impregnable fortress, or an island, or a planet apart from the regions its armies invade. This is especially true of Europe, which is literally just a long walk from the conflict zone. Now that Russia has joined the list of intervening powers, it too is vulnerable. So is the United States. Countries, nations, and peoples must shape their own fates. Often they do so by reacting to oppression. Religion kept Europe in the Dark Ages for a thousand years. Russians and Chinese accepted brutal Communist rule for generations. Violent extremism in the Middle East will end only when people who live there end it. That cannot begin to happen until outsiders leave the region to its own people. The Middle East will not stabilize until its people are allowed to act for themselves, rather than being acted upon by others.
Note: A carefully researched report on the covert origins of ISIS suggests the creation of terrorists is useful for Washington's elite. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing terrorism news articles from reliable major media sources.
In 2009, not long after his historic election and seven years after the first U.S. drone strike, President Barack Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize. Since then, however, deadly U.S. drone strikes have increased sharply, as have doubts about the program’s reliability and effectiveness. The latest criticism comes from Drone, a new documentary about the CIA’s covert drone war. To help promote the film and inveigh against the agency’s drone program ... four former operators - Stephen Lewis, Michael Haas, Cian Westmoreland and Brandon Bryant - appeared at a press conference. Speaking out can lead to veiled threats and prosecution. Which is why for years Bryant was the only drone veteran who openly rebuked the drone war. But his persistence and his appearance in the film, the other three say, inspired them to come forward. On multiple occasions, the men say they complained to their superiors about their concerns to no avail. Drone strikes kill far more civilians than the government admits. These deaths, they argue, wind up helping militant groups recruit new members and hurt the U.S.’s long-term security. By distancing soldiers from the battlefield, the operators suggest the people carrying out strikes may become even more desensitized to killing than their counterparts on the front lines. On some occasions, Haas says operators referred to children as “fun-sized terrorists” or “TITS,” terrorists in training.
Note: A human rights attorney has stated the four former Air Force drone operators-turned-whistleblowers mentioned above have had their credit cards and bank accounts frozen. How many more have not spoken out against these abuses for fear of retaliation like this? Read more about the major failings of US drone attacks. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
The war in Syria has become a tangled web of conflict dominated by "al-Qaeda veterans, hardened Iraqi insurgents, Arab jihadist ideologues and Western volunteers." On the surface, those competing actors are fueled by an overlapping mixture of ideologies and political agendas. Just below it, experts suspect, they're powered by something else: Captagon. A tiny, highly addictive pill produced in Syria and widely available across the Middle East, its illegal sale funnels hundreds of millions of dollars back into the war-torn country's black-market economy each year. A powerful amphetamine tablet based on the original synthetic drug known as "fenethylline," Captagon quickly produces a euphoric intensity in users, allowing Syria's fighters to stay up for days, killing with a numb, reckless abandon. "Syrian government forces and rebel groups each say the other uses Captagon to endure protracted engagements without sleep, [and] ordinary Syrians are increasingly experimenting with the pills," Reuters reported. One secular ex-Syrian fighter who spoke to the BBC said the drug is tailor-made for the battlefield because of its ability to give soldiers superhuman energy and courage. Another ex-fighter told the BBC that his 350-person brigade took the pill without knowing if it was a drug or medicine for energy. While Westerners have speculated that the drug is being used by Islamic State fighters, the biggest consumer has for years been Saudi Arabia. In 2010, a third of the world's supply - about seven tons - ended up in Saudi Arabia.
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.
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.
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.
Pope Francis on Thursday gently scolded Congress on a variety of issues. Speaking about his determination “to minimize and, in the long term, to end the many armed conflicts throughout our world,” when he said this: "Here we have to ask ourselves: Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade." The U.S. is by far the largest arms supplier in the world. During the Obama administration, weapons sales have surged to record levels, in large part due to huge shipments to Gulf States, particularly Saudi Arabia. A healthy chunk of those arms sales are heavily subsidized by the U.S. taxpayer. Congress, which could have blocked any of this, went along happily — in no small part because of the approximately $150 million a year the defense industry spends on lobbying and direct campaign contributions. U.S. firms make up seven of the top 10 arms-exporting companies, with Lockheed Martin and Boeing coming in at numbers one and two. In August, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that he would even further speed up U.S. arms sales to Gulf countries.
Note: Read an excellent essay by a top US general exposing how war is a racket. The Pope began speaking out against this racket in a talk with Italian schoolchildren in May. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Japan is expected to pass controversial security bills ... after days of fraught debates that at times descended into scuffles, tears and tantrums. The controversial laws have seen tens of thousands take to the streets in almost daily rallies for the past few weeks, in a show of public anger on a scale rarely seen in Japan. Opponents argue the new laws – which would allow the tightly restricted military to intervene overseas to defend its allies – violate Japan’s pacifist constitution and could see the country dragged into American wars in far-flung parts of the globe. The changes reinterpret the constitution to allow Japan’s military to fight to protect its allies, which [prime minister Shinzo] Abe argues is necessary because of threats from an increasingly belligerent China and unstable North Korea. Still, there are growing signs the campaign has taken a political toll – opinion polls show the vast majority of the public is against the bills. Protesters, including a Nobel Prize winner, popular musicians and other prominent figures, fear the changes could fundamentally alter Japan’s character as a pacifist nation. Security experts said the bills would also force a re-evaluation of Japan’s place on the world stage.
Only four or five Syrian individuals trained by the United States military to confront the Islamic State remain in the fight, the head of the United States Central Command told a Senate panel on Wednesday, a bleak acknowledgment that the Defense Department’s $500 million program to raise an army of Syrian fighters has gone nowhere. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, the top American commander in the Middle East, also told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the United States would not reach its goal of training 5,000 Syrian fighters anytime soon. In May, the Defense Department began its training program for up to 5,400 fighters a year, in what White House officials described as a necessary component of President Obama’s strategy to use local troops on the ground against the Islamic State. General Austin told the Senate committee that many fighters in the first class of 54 graduates of the training program for Syrians were attacked in July by an offshoot of Al Qaeda, the Nusra Front, and either fled or were killed, leaving only a “small number” of rebels still in the fight. Asked how many fighters were still in Syria, General Austin said that “it’s a small number.” He added, “We’re talking four or five.”
Jeremy Corbyn’s stunning transformation from perennial leftist rebel to leader of Britain’s Labour Party upended British politics Saturday. The Corbyn victory represented an extraordinary rebuke to Labour’s more centrist powers-that-be, especially to former prime minister Tony Blair, who had campaigned vigorously against Corbyn. But interventions from Blair and other party heavyweights apparently did little to halt Corbyn’s momentum and may have even backfired. In a fiery victory speech, Corbyn vowed to combat society’s “grotesque inequality” and make Britain a more humane country. Corbyn has often bucked the Labour leadership on critical issues — including the vote to authorize the Iraq war — and his message resonated among Labour voters who believe their party has been reduced to a pale imitation of the Tories, especially as it lurched to the center under Blair. He has previously called for Britain to leave NATO, favors unilateral nuclear disarmament and champions the nationalization of vast sectors of the economy. He has also said that he will apologize on behalf of Labour for the Iraq invasion and that Blair could face war-crimes charges. In Britain ... voters on both ends of the spectrum are looking for alternatives to the traditional power-brokers. “This isn’t just a leftist phenomenon. It’s a populist phenomenon,” [Queen Mary University professor Tim] Bale said. “It’s the idea that voters are fed up with politics as usual and an elite that’s compromised.”
Note: Former prime minister Tony Blair was reported to have personally made millions from warmongering, and was convicted in a symbolic Malaysian trial of “crimes against peace” in Iraq. Will Corbyn actually attempt to bring formal charges against Blair in the U.K.?
Hamid Karzai, the former president of Afghanistan, has questioned the existence of al-Qaida, and denied that the 9/11 terror attacks ... were planned in Afghanistan. On the eve of the anniversary of the 2001 attacks, Karzai, who left office last year after 12 years, used an interview with al Jazeera to express his doubt that the terrorist group led by the late Osama bin Laden was responsible for the operation which prompted the invasion of Afghanistan. Karzai ... also claimed in the interview that Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan are “definitely” members of “Pakistani militias”. When asked if he agreed that al-Qaida in Afghanistan had been behind the 9/11 attacks ... Karzai replied: “I can tell you for a fact that the operation was neither conducted from Afghanistan, nor were the Afghan people responsible for that.” A daring and bloody operation involving US special forces and the CIA put Karzai back in Afghanistan in the last weeks of the 2001 war and then into power as a supposed consensus candidate. But Karzai quickly proved himself independent and contrarian. Officials from the US, the UK, Nato and the UN all repeatedly criticised Karzai for failing to crack down on rampant corruption and the booming narcotics trade in Afghanistan. By 2009, according to Robert Gates, the former US defence secretary, Washington was so keen to oust the Afghan president that officials connived in delaying an Afghan presidential election and then tried to manipulate the outcome in a “clumsy and failed putsch”.
Note: By 2000, the Taliban had mostly stopped heroin production in Afghanistan. But once former Unocal employee Hamid Karzai was installed into power by the US, bags of CIA cash helped transform Afghanistan into a narco state.
David Cameron is facing questions over Britain’s decision to follow the US model of drone strikes after the prime minister confirmed that the government had authorised an unprecedented aerial strike in Syria that killed two Britons fighting alongside Islamic State (Isis). Cameron justified the strikes on the grounds that Reyaad Khan, a 21-year-old from Cardiff, who had featured in a prominent Isis recruiting video last year, represented a “clear and present danger”. Two other Isis fighters were killed in the attack, [which was] the first time that a UK prime minister has authorised the targeting of a UK citizen by an unmanned aerial drone outside a formal conflict. One of them, Ruhul Amin, 26, was also British. A third Briton, Junaid Hussain, 21, was killed by a separate US airstrike three days later. Cameron disclosed the strikes in a dramatic afternoon statement which had originally been billed as a chance to outline his plans to take thousands of extra refugees from Syria. Downing Street dismissed suggestions that the prime minister had deliberately engineered UK involvement in the drone strikes rather than leaving them to the US ... as a way of making the case for greater British involvement in action against Isis in the country. Cameron, who had said that he would seek parliament’s approval before extending any British military action against Isis targets from Iraq to Syria, said he had acted in line with his commitments, [because he] reserved the right to authorise strikes without a vote in the event of an emergency.
Note: So as long as a person is declared a known terrorist, the government is claiming the right to kill that person without any legal process. Is that constitutional? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
The New York Times today has a truly bizarre article regarding the U.S. and cluster bombs. The Paper of Record [claims the U.S.] government, though refusing to sign the cluster ban treaty, has nonetheless “abided by its provisions.” This claim is totally false. The U.S. has long been and remains one of the world’s most aggressive suppliers of cluster munitions, and has used those banned weapons itself in devastating ways. In December 2009 - just weeks after he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize - President Obama ordered a cruise missile strike (that) “killed 35 women and children.” Among the munitions used in that strike were cluster bombs. Although the U.S. at first refused to confirm responsibility, a Yemeni journalist, Abdulelah Haider Shaye, visited the scene and found irrefutable proof that it was done by the U.S., a finding subsequently confirmed. Obama ... then forced the imprisonment for years of the Yemeni journalist who reported it. Under the treaty which The Paper of Record today claimed the U.S. honors: "Each State Party undertakes never under any circumstances to: (a) Use cluster munitions; (b) Develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer to anyone, directly or indirectly, cluster munitions; (c) Assist, encourage or induce anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Convention. The U.S. does not occasionally violate one of those provisions. It continually violates all of them, systematically and as a matter of policy.
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?
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.
Aliens flew to earth on peace missions to prevent nuclear war between America and the Soviet Union at the start of the Cold War, according to a former Nasa astronaut. Dr Edgar Mitchell has made a series of increasingly bizarre claims about extra terrestrial life. His status as the sixth man to walk on the moon - during the Apollo 14 mission in 1971 - gives his claims a ready audience. Now he says military top brass saw UFOs visiting Earth during weapons tests in the 1940s at American missile bases and the famous White Sands Proving Ground, in the New Mexico desert, where the world's first nuclear bomb was detonated in 1945. "White Sands was a testing ground for atomic weapons - and that's what the extra-terrestrials were interested in ... they wanted to know about our military capabilities," [Mitchell said]. "My own experience talking to people has made it clear the ETs had been attempting to keep us from going to war and help create peace on Earth." He claims other officers manning missile silos or Pacific bases back up his claims with stories of alien spacecraft shooting down test rockets mid-flight.
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.
An assistant professor in the law department of the US military academy at West Point has argued that legal scholars critical of the war on terrorism represent a “treasonous” fifth column that should be attacked as enemy combatants. In a lengthy academic paper, the professor, William C Bradford, proposes to threaten “Islamic holy sites” as part of a war against undifferentiated Islamic radicalism. That war ought to be prosecuted vigorously, he wrote, “even if it means great destruction, innumerable enemy casualties, and civilian collateral damage”. Other “lawful targets” for the US military in its war on terrorism, Bradford argues, include “law school facilities, scholars’ home offices and media outlets where they give interviews” – all civilian areas, but places where a “causal connection between the content disseminated and Islamist crimes incited” exist. He suggests in a footnote that “threatening Islamic holy sites might create deterrence, discredit Islamism, and falsify the assumption that decadence renders Western restraint inevitable”. The US military’s educational institutions have come under fire before for promoting “total war” against Islam. In 2012, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, ordered a comprehensive scouring of anti-Islam training material after a course proposed “Hiroshima” tactics against Islamic holy sites, targeting the “civilian population wherever necessary”.
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.
Former New York Times reporter Judy Miller ... granted anonymity to government officials and then uncritically laundered their dubious claims. As the paper’s own editors put it in their 2004 mea culpa about the role they played in selling the [Iraq] war: “We have found a number of instances of coverage that ... seems questionable now, was insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged.” But 12 years after Miller left, you can pick up that same paper on any given day and ... find reporters doing exactly the same thing. It is worth observing how damaging it continues to be, because, shockingly, all sorts of self-identified “journalists” — both within the paper and outside of it — continue to equate unverified assertions from government officials as Proven Truth, even when these officials are too cowardly to attach their names to these claims, as long as papers such as the NYT launder them. Among the assertions mindlessly repeated by the Paper of Record from its beloved anonymous officials is this one: that ISIS learned to use couriers as a result of the Snowden revelations. The claim itself ... is monumentally stupid. Terrorists have known for a very long time that the U.S. government and its allies are trying to intercept their communications, and have long used encryption and other means to prevent that. This is the same process that enabled the New York Times, more than any other media outlet, to sell the Iraq War to the American public, and they’re using exactly the same methods to this day.
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.
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.
Today’s conspiracy theory is tomorrow’s news headlines. The truth is not only out there, but it’s more outlandish than anything we could have made up. So, what are some of our biggest conspiracies? The Iraq War. America is attacked by terrorists and so, declares war on a country that had nothing whatsoever to do with the attacks, while ignoring an oil rich ally which had everything to do with them. The result is a disaster. And yet, we can’t really bring ourselves to hold anyone accountable. Fifa [is] the conspiracy du jour. We always knew Fifa was shonky and bribey, but ... it now looks like every World Cup in the last three decades ... could have been fixed. For those who say "it’s only a stupid sport", well, recently we’ve heard accusations of arms deals for votes involving ... Saudi Arabia. The banking crisis [is a] nice financial counterpoint to Iraq. Virtually destroy the western financial system. Get bailed out by the taxpayers who you’ve been ripping off. Oh, and while we’re at it, the banks played a part in the Fifa scandal. Paedophiles. At first it was just a few rubbish light entertainers. Then we had people muttering about the political establishment – and others counter-muttering don’t be ridiculous, that’s a conspiracy theory. But it wasn’t. Now, it’s a slow-motion train crash and an endless series of glacial government inquiries.
That inestimable French journal Le Monde Diplomatique this month carries a wodge of articles under the title “Did you say conspiracy?”, painfully dissecting how many false-flag stories turned out to be true. There’s the 1933 burning of the Reichstag which might have been started by the Nazis; the successful – and real – CIA-MI5 plot to overthrow Iran’s elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh; Israel’s 1954 “Operation Susannah” in which Israeli-organised attacks on UK and US buildings in Cairo were blamed on Egyptian nationalists; and the 1964 Tonkin incident, when America reported totally imaginary North Vietnamese attacks on a US warship, which led to the very real launching of the Vietnam War. Intelligence reports to the French government have been recording US air strikes against Isis that have avoided endangering positions held by al-Nusra ... the “moderate” Jabhat al-Nusra rebels, the throat-cutters and executioners who are playing the anti-Isis card to woo the US. When Isis arrived in its thousands to assault Palmyra last month – for the most part, in broad daylight – not one US plane appeared in Syrian skies. You don’t have to be a reporter, let alone a conspiracy theorist, to see the warning lights around the “war on terror” story in Syria. Because some of the terrorists are soon going to be our terrorists – as long as they fight ... the Assad terrorists at the same time. All they need is more cash and more weapons. And I bet you they’ll get them, courtesy of the ol’ US of A. Just don’t mention the word conspiracy.
Note: Explore an excellent summary of false flag operations which shows how those in power will attach their own countries to gain a power advantage. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on terrorism from reliable major media sources. For more on the war on terrorism, see 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.
On Monday the trial in London of a Swedish man, Bherlin Gildo, accused of terrorism in Syria, collapsed after it became clear British intelligence had been arming the same rebel groups the defendant was charged with supporting. The prosecution abandoned the case, apparently to avoid embarrassing the intelligence services. Reports were cited that MI6 had cooperated with the CIA on a “rat line” of arms transfers from Libyan stockpiles to the Syrian rebels in 2012 after the fall of the Gaddafi regime. Terrorism is now squarely in the eye of the beholder. A revealing light on how we got here has now been shone by a recently declassified secret US intelligence report, written in August 2012, which uncannily predicts – and effectively welcomes – the prospect of a “Salafist principality” in eastern Syria and an al-Qaida-controlled Islamic state in Syria and Iraq. In stark contrast to western claims at the time, the Defense Intelligence Agency document identifies al-Qaida in Iraq (which became Isis) and fellow Salafists as the “major forces driving the insurgency in Syria” – and states that “western countries, the Gulf states and Turkey” were supporting the opposition’s efforts to take control of eastern Syria. A year into the Syrian rebellion, the US and its allies weren’t only supporting and arming ... extreme sectarian groups; they were prepared to countenance the creation of some sort of “Islamic state” – despite the “grave danger” to Iraq’s unity – as a Sunni buffer to weaken Syria.
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.
Federal law designates the secretary of state as “responsible for the continuous supervision and general direction of sales” of arms, military hardware and services to foreign countries. In practice, that meant that [Hillary] Clinton was charged with rejecting or approving weapons deals — and when it came to Clinton Foundation donors, Hillary Clinton’s State Department did a whole lot of approving. While Clinton was secretary of state, her department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to Clinton Foundation donors. That figure ... is almost double the value of arms sales to those countries during the same period of President George W. Bush’s second term. The Clinton-led State Department also authorized $151 billion of separate Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 of the countries that gave to the Clinton Foundation. That was a 143 percent increase in completed sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration. The 143 percent increase in U.S. arms sales to Clinton Foundation donors compares to an 80 percent increase in such sales to all countries over the same time period. American military contractors and their affiliates that donated to the Clinton Foundation — and in some cases, helped finance speaking fees to Bill Clinton — also got in on the action. Those firms and their subsidiaries were listed as contractors in $163 billion worth of arms deals authorized by the Clinton State Department.
Note: If you can not access this article at the link above, it is also available here. If you look at war and global politics from the point of view of war profiteering, you can see why despite popular opposition to war, it never stops. Read an excellent essay by a top US general exposing how war is a racket.
Colonel Ian Henderson was a British official dubbed “the Butcher of Bahrain” because of atrocities he repeatedly committed during the 30 years he served as chief security official of that Middle Eastern country. A 2002 Guardian article reported that “during this time his men allegedly detained and tortured thousands of anti-government activists”; his official acts “included the ransacking of villages, sadistic sexual abuse and using power drills to maim prisoners”. Col. Henderson was never punished in any way. For years, human rights groups have fought to obtain ... a 37-year-old diplomatic cable, relating to British responsibility for Henderson’s brutality in Bahrain. Ordinarily, documents more than 30 years old are disclosable. Now, a governmental tribunal ruled ... that most of the diplomatic cable shall remain suppressed. The tribunal’s ruling was at least partially based on “secret evidence ... that the release of such information could jeopardise Britain’s new military base in the country.” This is the core mindset now prevalent in both the U.S. and U.K. for hiding their crimes from their own populations and the rest of the world: disclosure of what we did will embarrass and shame us, cause anger toward us, and thus harm our “national security.” This is exactly the same mentality driving the Obama administration’s years-long effort to suppress photographs showing torture of detainees by the U.S.. Obama insisted that to release the photos “would be to further inflame anti-American opinion and to put our troops in danger.”
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.
The New York Times reported on Sunday that many of those in charge of the CIA’s torture program – the same people whose names were explicitly redacted from the Senate’s torture report in order to avert accountability – “have ascended to the agency’s powerful senior ranks” and now run the CIA drone program. Rather than being fired and prosecuted, they have been rewarded with promotions. The longtime Counterterrorism Center chief who just stepped down, Michael D’Andrea, was previously in charge of the notorious CIA prison known as the Salt Pit, where prisoners were regularly tortured and some died. His replacement, Chris Wood, was also “central to the interrogation program”, according to the Times. The only reason we know D’Andrea and Wood’s names is because the New York Times’ executive editor Dean Baquet commendably decided to publish them. The CIA asked them not to. Adding to the disturbing nature of the CIA’s ability to kill people in complete secrecy, the agency apparently now has a carte blanche to conduct drone strikes on its own. President Obama doesn’t individually approve them anymore – he lets the CIA unilaterally decide to kill people. The Obama administration has promised more transparency around drone strikes, yet at the same time, won’t even acknowledge that the controversial drone strike it’s apologizing for even happened - just because such admission might force courts to hold the government accountable for its actions.
About once a month, staff members of the congressional intelligence committees drive across the Potomac River to C.I.A. headquarters in Langley, Va., and watch ... footage of drone strikes. The screenings have provided a veneer of congressional oversight. The C.I.A.’s killing missions are ... unlikely to change significantly despite President Obama’s announcement on Thursday that a drone strike accidentally killed two innocent hostages, an American and an Italian. Michael D’Andrea ... was chief of operations during the birth of the agency’s detention and interrogation program and then, as head of the C.I.A. Counterterrorism Center, became an architect of the targeted killing program. He presided over the growth of C.I.A. drone operations and hundreds of strikes. Mr. D’Andrea was a forceful advocate for the drone program. He was particularly effective in winning the support of Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who was chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee until January. The confidence Ms. Feinstein and other Democrats express about the drone program ... stands in sharp contrast to the criticism among lawmakers of the now defunct C.I.A. program to capture and interrogate Qaeda suspects in secret prisons. When Ms. Feinstein was asked in a meeting with reporters in 2013 why she was so sure she was getting the truth about the drone program while she accused the C.I.A. of lying to her about torture, she seemed surprised. “That’s a good question, actually.”
Note: The CIA has been aware that drone strikes are ineffective since at least 2009. If drones help terrorists, almost always miss their intended targets, and may be used to target people in the US in the future, what are the real reasons for the US government's drone program?
They’re called lethal autonomous weapons, or LAWs, and their military mission would be to seek out, identify and kill a human target independent of human control. Representatives of 60 nations ... met in Geneva during the third week of April in an attempt to define the level of artificial intelligence needed for an international definition of robotic autonomy. The Panel of Experts, under the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), will meet again next year to continue the discussion. None of the industrial nations admits having a LAW, but there’s really no way to confirm the nonexistence of a weapon that would be classified as secret. The U.S. Department of Defense has had a directive in place for three years that outlines the chain of command that would approve their deployment on a case-by-case basis. It’s called Directive 3000.09. On April 15, the third day of the panel meeting, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus ... announced the creation of a new office for unmanned warfare systems. According to Stuart Russell, who addressed the panel, “Devices in the 1-gram range might be able to selectively kill a chosen human target on contact using a shaped explosive charge. I’m not sure what countermeasures one might try against a swarm of 5-gram robots. There will be ... a LAWs arms race."
Note: Current surveillance drones can be hacked, hijacked, and redirected while flying in some cases. Under human guidance, current killer drones almost always miss their intended targets. What will happen when tiny lethal flying robots begin operating without being controlled by human decision makers?
The targets of the deadly drone strikes that killed two hostages and two suspected American members of al-Qaida were “al-Qaida compounds” rather than specific terrorist suspects, the White House disclosed on Thursday. The lack of specificity suggests that despite a much-publicized 2013 policy change by Barack Obama restricting drone killings by, among other things, requiring “near certainty that the terrorist target is present”, the US continues to launch lethal operations without the necessity of knowing who specifically it seeks to kill. Josh Earnest, the White House spokesman, acknowledged that the January deaths of hostages Warren Weinstein and Giovanni Lo Porto might prompt the tightening of targeting standards. Earnest [confirmed that] the two US civilians killed, longtime English-language propagandist Adam Gadahn and Ahmed Farouq of al-Qaida in the Indian subcontinent, were not “high-value targets” marked for death. In a May 2013 speech, Obama indicated that drone strikes were only permissible when the administration possessed “near certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured, the highest standard we can set”. Human-rights observers see little indication, two years after Obama’s speech, that the US meets its own stated standards. Reprieve, looking at US drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan, concluded last year that the US killed nearly 1,150 people while targeting 41 individuals.
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.
To wage war in Yemen, Saudi Arabia is using F-15 fighter jets bought from Boeing. Pilots from the United Arab Emirates are flying Lockheed Martin’s F-16 to bomb both Yemen and Syria. Soon, the Emirates are expected to complete a deal with General Atomics for a fleet of Predator drones to run spying missions in their neighborhood. As the Middle East descends into proxy wars, sectarian conflicts and battles against terrorist networks, countries in the region that have stockpiled American military hardware are now actually using it and wanting more. American defense firms are following the money. Boeing opened an office in Doha, Qatar, in 2011, and Lockheed Martin set up an office there this year. Lockheed created a division in 2013 devoted solely to foreign military sales, and the company’s chief executive, Marillyn Hewson, has said that Lockheed needs to increase foreign business — with a goal of global arms sales’ becoming 25 percent to 30 percent of its revenue. Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association ... said he viewed the increase in arms sales to the region “with a great deal of trepidation, as it is leading to an escalation in the type and number and sophistication in the weaponry in these countries.” Meanwhile, the deal to sell Predator drones to the Emirates is nearing final approval. If the sale goes through, it will be the first time that the drones will go to an American ally outside of NATO.
Note: If you look at history from the viewpoint that most wars are fostered and enflamed by the military-industrial complex, a lot of things make sense. Read a powerful essay by a top US general exposing the war machine titled "War is a Racket." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
When Americans look out at the world, we see a swarm of threats. China seems resurgent and ambitious. Russia is aggressive. Iran menaces our allies. Middle East nations we once relied on are collapsing in flames. Latin American leaders sound steadily more anti-Yankee. Terror groups capture territory and commit horrific atrocities. We fight Ebola with one hand while fending off Central American children with the other. In fact, this world of threats is an illusion. The United States has no potent enemies. We are not only safe, but safer than any big power has been in all of modern history. It will be generations before China is able to pose a serious challenge to the United States — and there is little evidence it wishes to do so. Russia is ... not always a friendly neighbor but no threat to the United States. Violence in the Middle East has no serious implication for American security. As for domestic terrorism, the risk for Americans is modest: You have more chance of being struck by lightning on your birthday than of dying in a terror attack. Promoting the image of a world full of enemies creates a “security psychosis” that misshapes our view of the world. In extreme cases, it pushes us into wars aimed at preempting threats that do not actually exist. Arms manufacturers profit from the security psychosis even more directly than militarists. Finding new threats is always good business for someone.
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 news articles about government corruption and the manipulation of public perception.
In a war full of failures, the US counternarcotics mission in Afghanistan stands out: opiate production has climbed steadily over recent years to reach record-high levels last year. One clear winner in the anti-drug effort is ... the infamous mercenary company formerly known as Blackwater. Statistics released on Tuesday reveal that the rebranded private security firm, known since 2011 as Academi, reaped over a quarter billion dollars from the futile Defense Department push to eradicate Afghan narcotics, some 21% of the $1.5 bn in contracting money the Pentagon has devoted to the job since 2002. The company is the second biggest beneficiary of counternarcotics largesse in Afghanistan. Only the defense giant Northrop Grumman edged it out, with $325m. According to the US inspector general for Afghanistan “reconstruction”, the $309m Academi got from US taxpayers paid for “training, equipment, and logistical support” to Afghan forces conducting counternarcotics. Far from eradicating the deep-rooted opiate trade, US counternarcotics efforts have ... contributed to the opium boom. In December, the United Nations reported a 60% growth in Afghan land used for opium poppy cultivation since 2011, up to 209,000 hectares. The estimated $3bn value of Afghan heroin and morphine represents some 15% of Afghan GDP. Academi and its former Blackwater incarnation have an infamous history in Afghanistan. It once set up shell companies to disguise its business practices, according to a Senate report, so that its contracts would be unimpeded by company employees’ killings of Iraqi and Afghan civilians.
Note: Blackwater, now called Academi, got caught systematically defrauding the US government, while serving as a "virtual extension of the CIA". The CIA has been linked to the Afghan heroin trade for decades. In 2000, the Taliban had all but eradicated Afghan opium production. Once Afghanistan was under US control, opium production surged to record levels.
In the spring of 2010, Afghan officials struck a deal to free an Afghan diplomat held hostage by Al Qaeda. But the price was steep — $5 million. To come up with the money, [senior security officials] turned to a secret fund that the Central Intelligence Agency bankrolled with monthly cash deliveries to the presidential palace in Kabul, according to several Afghan officials. The Afghan government, they said, had already squirreled away about $1 million from that fund. Within weeks, that money ... was handed over to Al Qaeda, replenishing its coffers after a relentless C.I.A. campaign of drone strikes in Pakistan had decimated the militant network’s upper ranks. The C.I.A.’s contribution to Qaeda’s bottom line, though, was no well-laid trap. It was just another in a long list of examples of how the United States, largely because of poor oversight and loose financial controls, has sometimes inadvertently financed the very militants it is fighting. While refusing to pay ransoms for Americans kidnapped by Al Qaeda, the Taliban or, more recently, the Islamic State, the United States has spent hundreds of billions of dollars over the last decade at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, some of which has been siphoned off to enemy fighters. The C.I.A., meanwhile, continued dropping off bags of cash — ranging each time from a few hundred thousand dollars to more than $1 million — at the presidential palace every month until last year, when Mr. Karzai stepped down. The money was used to buy the loyalty of warlords, legislators and other prominent — and potentially troublesome — Afghans, helping the palace finance a vast patronage network that secured Mr. Karzai’s power base.
Note: A 2013 New York Times article called the US the "biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan" for its CIA bankrolling of Afghan warlords. Meanwhile, over a billion dollars of Iraqi "reconstruction" cash disappeared and was later tracked to a bunker in Lebanon. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
A member of the late Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s brutal secret police who’s been accused of murder taught for more than a decade at the Pentagon’s premier university, despite repeated complaints by his colleagues about his past. Jaime Garcia Covarrubias is charged in criminal court in Santiago with being the mastermind in the execution-style slayings of seven people in 1973, according to court documents. An accuser ... identified Garcia Covarrubias as the person who sexually tortured him. Despite knowing of the allegations, State and Defense department officials allowed Garcia Covarrubias to retain his visa and continue working at a school affiliated with the National Defense University until last year. Human rights groups also question the school’s selection of a second professor, Colombia’s former top military commander. Some Latin America experts said the hirings by the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies reflected a continuing inclination by the U.S government to overlook human rights violations in Latin America, especially in countries where it funded efforts to quash leftists. Those experts were especially troubled by Garcia Covarrubias’ long tenure at one of the nation’s most renowned defense institutions. His case is one of 108 involving tortured, disappeared or murdered supporters of the deposed elected president, Salvador Allende. More than 3,000 people died at the hands of the regime. Despite very graphic torture accusations against Garcia Covarrubias, U.S. officials are rallying behind him.
Note: The Pinochet regime successfully carried out an assassination in Washington D.C. in 1976 despite US Government foreknowledge of the plot. The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly known as the School of the Americas, graduated more than 500 human rights abusers. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The 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.
Dean Baquet, the executive editor of the New York Times, believes his newspaper – in company with the US mainstream media – failed their audiences after 9/11. He told the German news magazine Der Spiegel that he agreed with the criticism originally made by an NYT reporter, James Risen, Baquet said: “The mainstream press was not aggressive enough after 9/11, was not aggressive enough in asking questions about a decision to go to war in Iraq, was not aggressive enough in asking the hard questions about the war on terror. I accept that for the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times”. Baquet, in charge of the NYT since May 2014, was previously editor-in-chief of the LA Times. In his wide-ranging interview with Der Spiegel, Baquet also spoke about the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden having chosen to tell his story to the Guardian. He said he regards the Guardian as “a new competitor [for the NYT] in the digital age.” He said: “Does it make me nervous that they compete with us and in fact beat us on the Snowden story? Yes. "It hurt a lot. It meant two things. Morally, it meant that somebody with a big story to tell didn’t think we were the place to go, and that’s painful. And then it also meant that we got beaten on what was arguably the biggest national security story in many, many years.
Note: When asked about the New York Times' refusal to report on military drone base locations in the interview referenced above, Baquet recalls, "A high-ranking CIA official called me up and made the case to leave out where the drone base was. It was Saudi Arabia. I accepted it. And I was wrong." For more along these lines, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing articles about mass media manipulation.
The [recent] holiday headlines blared: “End of War” and “Mission Ends” and “U.S. formally ends the war in Afghanistan." Great news! Except: “the fighting is as intense as it has ever been since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001,” according to the Wall Street Journal. And about 10,000 troops will remain there for the foreseeable future. They’ll continue to engage in combat regularly. This is the new reality of war: As long as the White House doesn’t admit the United States is at war, we’re all supposed to pretend as if that’s true. This ruse is not just the work of the president. Members of Congress [are also] letting the public think we’re Definitely Not at War. Another place the United States is Definitely Not at War? Pakistan, where, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the US conducted multiple drone strikes between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, killing at least nine people. Another six “militants” were reportedly killed in a drone strike in Pakistan on Sunday. There was yet another American drone strike in Somalia on 30 December. Meanwhile, the Defense Department quietly announced ... that, later this month, another 1,300 troops will deploy to Iraq in its ever-expanding undeclared war on Isis. The US continues to launch airstrikes against Isis and various other groups in Syria as well. Legal experts across the political spectrum believe this war is without precedent.
Note: Although 21st Century military combat operations may no longer be called war, war has been called a racket since the era of General Smedley Butler, one of the most highly decorated US generals ever. Read General Butler's eye-opening essay "War is a Racket." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
“There was never going to be a perfect time to release this report,” President Barack Obama said earlier this month after the Senate Intelligence Committee unleashed its long-awaited “torture report.” But in the wake of this rare moment of transparency, the administration took the next step in keeping additional evidence of prisoner abuse concealed. The government is withholding nearly 2,100 images that show the military’s brutal treatment of detainees at various prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan. While the previously disclosed pictures from Abu Ghraib are the stuff of nightmares – piles of naked bodies, detainees being led on leashes and U.S. soldiers giving a thumbs-up as it all happens – these photographs are said to be even more disturbing. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) originally sued for the images’ release in 2004. Obama ... blocked the release, [and now] contends that the photographs could further encourage attacks against the U.S. personnel still in Afghanistan and Iraq and could be used by the recently galvanized Islamic State—the terrorist group commonly known as ISIS. Alex Abdo, an ACLU staff attorney working on the case since 2005, said ... that the government is essentially arguing that [the images must remain] secret because they powerfully document abuse. “If there’s anything the debate over torture is missing, it’s the sort of evidence that photographs give you—irrefutable evidence of the brutality of the mistreatment,” Abdo said.
Note: U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein will review the next round of justifications for keeping this material classified on January 20. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
The combined cost of the “war on terror” comes to an estimated $1.6 trillion. A lot of former senior government officials who played important roles in this debacle have done quite well for themselves. [Former CIA director George Tenet] missed multiple signs of a major Al Qaeda attack directed against the United States [prior to 9/11] and approved the Bush administration’s torturing of terror suspects. He got the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He [also] received a $4 million advance to write a memoir. Tenet has received millions more in his current role as ... a board director and advisor to intelligence and military contractors. Louis Freeh, Tenet’s counterpart at the FBI during the run-up to 9/11 [also mishandled] “significant and urgent” intelligence of “serious operational planning” for terrorism attacks by Islamic radicals. Freeh resigned from the FBI two months before 9/11. In 2008, [a businessman named Nasser Kazeminy] was accused of bribing former Senator Norm Coleman, [and] hired Freeh to conduct a “thorough investigation” of the allegations against him in the hopes of clearing his name. In 2011, Freeh issued a public statement saying that his investigation had “completely vindicated” both Kazeminy and Coleman. Freeh also met with the Justice Department – which was investigating the bribery charges but declined to bring a case — on Kazeminy’s behalf. [Today, Freeh has a $3 million] Palm Beach penthouse. Freeh’s wife co-owns it with Kazeminy. The quit claim deed giving Freeh’s wife one-half ownership of the penthouse was signed nine days after Freeh’s vindication of Kazeminy.
Drone strikes and "targeted killings" of terror targets by the United States can be counterproductive and bolster the support of extremist groups, the CIA has admitted in a secret report released by WikiLeaks. The document, by the intelligence agency's Directorate of Intelligence, said that despite the effectiveness of "high value targeting" (HVT), air strikes and special forces operations had a negative impact by boosting the popular support of terror organisations. The CIA report is dated 2009 and talks of operations conducted in countries such as Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Afghanistan and Yemen. Operations against terror targets "may increase support for the insurgents, particularly if these strikes enhance insurgent leaders' lore, if non-combatants are killed in the attacks, if legitimate or semi-legitimate politicians aligned with the insurgents are targeted, or if the government is already seen as overly repressive or violent," the report said. "Senior Taliban leaders' use of sanctuary in Pakistan has also complicated the HVT effort," it reveals. "Moreover, the Taliban has a high overall ability to replace lost leaders ... especially at the middle levels." It speaks of drone strikes also having limited effect in Iraq. According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, US drone strikes have killed between 2,400 and 3,888 people in Pakistan in the years 2004 to 2014 and between 371 and 541 people in Yemen in the years 2002 to 2014.
Note: This report proves that the CIA has been aware that drone strikes are ineffective since at least 2009. If drones help terrorists, almost always miss their intended targets, and may be used to target people in the US in the future, what are the real reasons for the US government's drone program?
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.
Lockheed Martin, the Pentagon's No. 1 weapons supplier, has rarely felt the need to blow its horn about its secrecy-shrouded crown jewel. "Skunk Works," Lockheed's business for developing weapons outside the company's main chain of command, is starting to lift the veil in a sign of fierce pressure to win new orders and protect its brand. Skunk Works has been celebrated since it developed the first jet fighter in 143 days during World War Two to battle the Nazis. But its logo was kept off buildings and employees were barred from saying where they worked. Now, the company has published a glossy brochure with a 10-point "Skunk Works 2015" agenda focused on keeping costs down, working closely with government, and building prototypes. Its officials are meeting in small groups with all 3,300 employees, or "Skunks" as they are known, to underscore the importance of staying competitive. In one building, Lockheed is using the world's largest gantry machine and 3-D printing to build aircraft. Across campus, Lockheed has a giant airship ... and a compact nuclear fusion reactor that could revolutionize power generation. Skunk Works has survived over the years because it is not only an advanced research arm, but also makes money by managing a few signature programs, including the F-22 stealth fighter and other classified programs, general manager Rob Weiss told Reuters. He gave no numbers.
Note: According to this New York Times article, Lockheed Martin runs a "breathtakingly big part" of the US. This company also paid $4.7 million in 2015 to settle charges it lobbied for federal contracts with federal money. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the corporate world.
In the largest opium harvest in Afghanistan's history; with a record 224,000 hectares under cultivation this year, the country produced an estimated 6,400 tons of opium, or around 90 percent of the world's supply. In Afghanistan today, according to U.N. estimates, the opium industry accounts for 15 percent of the economy. The Afghan narcotics trade has gotten undeniably worse since the U.S.-led invasion: The country produces twice as much opium as it did in 2000. In the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah, I arrange an interview with a drug smuggler. I'll call him Sami. He grew up in a camp near the border town of Chagai, in Pakistan. After finishing 11th grade, he got work as a driver and began ... smuggling opium through the desert. Baramcha, a smuggling hub on the Afghan side of the border ... functions as a kind of switching station for much of the opium trade. "The security situation is good ... the drug smugglers and the ISI are tight together," he says, referring to Pakistan's intelligence service. The United States' alliances with opium traffickers in Afghanistan go back to the 1980s, when the CIA waged a dirty war to undermine the Soviet occupation of the country. Large-scale cultivation was introduced [with] support from the ISI and the CIA. U.S. counternarcotics programs, which have cost nearly $8 billion to date, and the Afghan state-building project in general, are perversely part of ... the drug trade.
Note: Read the complete article above for an in depth look at the Afghan narcotics trade. For more, read this 2002 news article, which shows that the Taliban had nearly eliminated opium production in Afghanistan prior to the US led invasion. Yet once the allies defeated the Taliban, opium production hit new records. Today, Afghanistan produces 90% of the global opium supply. This huge source of income is used to fund all kinds of secret projects. Read powerful evidence that the CIA and US military are directly involved in the drug trade.
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.
A destructive “Trojan Horse” malware program has penetrated the software that runs much of the nation’s critical infrastructure and is poised to cause an economic catastrophe, according to the Department of Homeland Security. National Security sources told ABC News there is evidence that the malware was inserted by hackers believed to be sponsored by the Russian government. The hacked software is used to control ... oil and gas pipelines, power transmission grids, water distribution and filtration systems, wind turbines and even some nuclear plants. The hacking campaign has been ongoing since 2011, but no attempt has been made to activate the malware. DHS sources ... fear that the Russians have torn a page from the old, Cold War playbook, and have placed the malware in key U.S. systems as a threat, and/or as a deterrent to a U.S. cyber-attack on Russian systems. The hack became known to insiders last week when a DHS alert bulletin was issued. The bulletin said the “BlackEnergy” penetration recently had been detected by several companies. DHS said “BlackEnergy” is the same malware that was used ... to target NATO and some energy and telecommunications companies. The hacked software is very advanced. It allows designated workers to control various industrial processes through the computer, an iPad or a smart phone, sources said.
Note: For an example of a computer-based attack on industrial infrastructure, read how a malware called Stuxnet targeted Iranian nuclear facilities. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
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.
Here's the beginning of a little post-9/11 list: six incontestable areas where America is #1. Investment in our military and our national security state! No other country comes within a light year of us! In 2011, the defense budgets of the next 13 countries combined didn't quite equal ours and we've been dumping up to a trillion dollars yearly into the national security budget since 9/11. We're #1 in "renditions" ("kidnappings")! Post-9/11, at least 136 "terror suspects" (some certifiably innocent) were taken by the CIA and other American outfits off the streets of global cities. We're #1 in knocking off wedding parties from the air! At least eight of them in three countries! Bridal parties, brides and grooms, hundreds of wedding goers obliterated by American air power! We're #1 in military bases on foreign soil! We have hundreds of them across the planet, some the size of small American towns. We're number #1 in invading, occupying, and/or bombing Muslim countries, 14 of them since 1980! I challenge you, find me another country with such an accomplishment. We're number #1 in investing in militaries that won't "stand up"! At least $25 billion for the Iraqi military alone (and you know how successful we were there, since it recently collapsed, allowing us to rearm it and stand it up again). And that's nothing compared to the Afghan military into which our country had poured $51 billion by 2011 and billions more thereafter.
Note: For more along these lines, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable sources.
In 2003, caravans of trucks began to arrive at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington on a regular basis, unloading an unusual cargo — pallets of shrink-wrapped $100 bills. The cash, withdrawn from Iraqi government accounts held in the United States, was loaded onto Air Force C-17 transport planes bound for Baghdad. Exactly what happened to that money after it arrived? Finding the answer became first the job and then the obsession of Stuart W Bowen Jr. His investigators finally had a breakthrough, discovering that $1.2 billion to $1.6 billion had been stolen and moved to a bunker in rural Lebanon. Bowen kept the discovery and his investigation of the cash-filled bunker ... secret. He has never publicly discussed it until now. “Billions of dollars have been taken out of Iraq over the last ten years illegally,” he said. The money ... came from the Development Fund of Iraq, which was created by a United Nations resolution in May 2003 to hold Iraqi oil revenue. An advantage of using the cash from the Development Fund instead of money appropriated by Congress for Iraq was that there were not a lot of rules governing its use, and no federal regulations or congressional oversight of what happened to it. The CIA expressed little interest in pursuing the matter, and the FBI said it lacked jurisdiction, Bowen recalled. An informant told [Bowen] about the bunker, which in addition to the cash, was believed to also have held approximately $200 million in gold belonging to the Iraqi government.
Any doubts about whether Endless War ... is official American doctrine should be permanently erased by this week’s comments from two leading Democrats, both former top national security officials in the Obama administration. Leon Panetta, the long-time Democratic Party operative who served as Obama’s Defense Secretary and CIA Director, said this week of Obama’s new bombing campaign: “I think we’re looking at kind of a 30-year war.” He criticized Obama ... for being insufficiently militaristic. Then we have Hillary Clinton [who] at an event in Ottawa yesterday ... proclaimed that the fight against these “militants” will “be a long-term struggle” that should entail an “information war” as “well as an air war.” The new war, she said, is “essential” and the U.S. shies away from fighting it “at our peril.” Like Panetta (and most establishment Republicans), Clinton made clear ... that virtually all of her disagreements with Obama’s foreign policy were the by-product of her view of Obama as insufficiently hawkish, militaristic and confrontational. “Endless War” is not dramatic rhetorical license but a precise description of America’s foreign policy. It’s not hard to see why. A state of endless war justifies ever-increasing state power and secrecy and a further erosion of rights. It also entails a massive transfer of public wealth to the “homeland security” and weapons industry (which the US media deceptively calls the “defense sector”). The War on Terror ... was designed from the start to be endless. This war ... thus enables an endless supply of power and profit to flow to those political and economic factions that control the government regardless of election outcomes.
Note: Read the prophetic writings of one of the most highly decorated US generals ever describing how he discovered after retirement that war is created by bankers and mega-corporations to funnel ever more tax-payer money into their coffers. For more along these lines, see the excellent, reliable resources provided in our War Information Center.
As the United States charges once more into war, little debate has centered on the actual utility of war. Instead, policymakers and pundits have focused their comments on combating the latest danger to our nation and its interests. In late August, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel claimed Islamic State was an “imminent threat to every interest we have” and that the sophisticated group was “beyond anything we've seen.” With few dissenting voices, either in Congress or in the American media, U.S. air forces plunged again into the unstable region of the Middle East. For well over a decade — one might suggest over multiple decades — the United States has been engaged in war, yet so few in the public sphere seem willing to ask, as a Vietnam-era hit song did: “War, what is it good for?” It seems plausible to argue that war is a phenomenon increasingly serving itself rather than any durable political goals. War as a political tool has more and more demonstrated its inability to deliver. As historian Mary Dudziak has artfully suggested, “Military conflict has been ongoing for decades, yet public policy rests on the false assumption that it is an aberration.” If war provides meaning, why, as Dudziak asks, does military engagement no longer require “the support of the American people but instead their inattention”? If a theory of forward defense, of fighting on someone else's shores rather than our own, is the rationale for constant war, when will we achieve a sense of national security that no longer requires constant battle? What if peace never comes? What if war only engenders new enemies and new threats? War ... has not assuaged our fears of vulnerability. It has not left us with a more stable international environment. So we come back to that song's question: “War, what is it good for?” And we have to at least consider the song's answer: “Absolutely nothing.”
Note: Kudos to the LA Times for publishing this article, though it fails to mention that war is very good for lining the pockets of all involved with the huge warm industry. Read the prophetic writings of one of the most highly decorated US generals ever describing how he discovered after retirement that war is created by mega-corporations to funnel ever more tax-payer money into their coffers. For more along these lines, see the excellent, reliable resources provided in our War Information Center.
As the Obama Administration prepared to bomb Syria without congressional or U.N. authorization, it faced two problems. The first was the difficulty of sustaining public support for a new years-long war against ISIS, a group that clearly posed no imminent threat to the “homeland.” A second was the lack of legal justification for launching a new bombing campaign. The solution to both problems was found in the wholesale concoction of a brand new terror threat that was branded “The Khorasan Group.” After spending weeks depicting ISIS as an unprecedented threat — too radical even for Al Qaeda! — administration officials suddenly began spoon-feeding their favorite media organizations ... tales of a secret group that was even scarier and more threatening than ISIS, one that posed a direct and immediate threat to the American Homeland. The unveiling of this new group was performed in a September 13 article by the Associated Press, who cited unnamed U.S. officials. AP depicted the U.S. officials who were feeding them the narrative as engaging in some sort of act of brave, unauthorized truth-telling. On the morning of September 18, CBS News broadcast a segment that is as pure war propaganda as it gets: directly linking the soon-to-arrive U.S. bombing campaign in Syria to the need to protect Americans from being exploded in civilian jets by Khorasan. As usual, anonymity was granted to U.S. officials to make these claims. As usual, there was almost no evidence for any of this. Nonetheless, American media outlets — eager, as always, to justify American wars — spewed all of this with very little skepticism. Worse, they did it by pretending that the U.S. government was trying not to talk about all of this — too secret! — but they, as intrepid, digging journalists, managed to unearth it from their courageous “sources.”
Note: Read the entire informative article to see how the media participates in manipulating unsuspecting citizens into more war. For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing media corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Traditionally, you wouldn't gift someone a rat. Tanzania-based NGO Apopo, however, thinks rats make excellent gifts. So much so that they've launched an adopt-a-rat program, which allows participants to sponsor the animal. Despite the creatures' reputation for thieving and spreading disease, [Apopo's founder Bart] Weetjens has proven that rats can ... save lives. Apopo's rats have actually saved thousands. They are highly trained to sniff out land mines and detect tuberculosis - two scourges that have had a tremendously negative impact across the African continent. And his rats are fast. A single rat can clear 200 square feet in an hour (done manually, the same area would take 50 hours to clear). A TB-detection rat can evaluate 50 samples in eight minutes (almost a day's work for a lab technician). In 2006, Weetjens started testing his "hero rats," as he dubs them, on the mine fields in Mozambique, a country that at that time was one of the worst affected by landmines, thanks mainly to a civil war that ended in 1992. Since then, Apopo has cleared the country of 6,693 landmines, 29,934 small arms and ammunition, and 1,087 bombs. Mozambique is on track to be free of landmines by the year's end. In 2005, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a TB crisis in Africa. It's a problem Weetjens realized he could address with his sniffer rats. So far, they've analyzed over 260,000 samples from health clinics in Dar es Salaam. They are cheap to train, cheaper to procure, and plentiful.
Led by Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT), the biggest U.S. defense companies are trading at record prices as shareholders reap rewards from escalating military conflicts around the world. Investors see rising sales for makers of missiles, drones and other weapons as the U.S. hits Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq, said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Chicago-based BMO Private Bank. “As we ramp up our military muscle in the Mideast, there’s a sense that demand for military equipment and weaponry will likely rise,” said Ablin, who oversees $66 billion including Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC) and Boeing Co. (BA) shares. “To the extent we can shift away from relying on troops and rely more heavily on equipment -- that could present an opportunity.” Bombardments of Islamic State strongholds added to tensions this year that include U.S.-led sanctions on Russia for backing Ukrainian rebels. The U.S. also is the biggest foreign military supplier to Israel, which waged a 50-day offensive against the Hamas Islamic movement in the Gaza Strip. A Bloomberg Intelligence gauge of the four largest Pentagon contractors ... rose 19 percent this year through yesterday, outstripping the 2.2 percent gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Industrials Index. Lockheed, the world’s biggest defense company, reached an all-time high of $180.74 on Sept. 19, when Northrop, Raytheon Co. (RTN) and General Dynamics Corp. (GD) also set records. That quartet and Chicago-based Boeing accounted for about $105 billion in federal contract orders last year. U.S. lawmakers including Representative Peter King, a New York Republican, have suggested that the new global threats could prompt Congress to reconsider planned reductions in defense spending.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war profiteering news articles from reliable major media sources.
A massive, $7.2 billion Army intelligence contract signed just 10 days ago underscores the central role to be played by the National Security Agency and its army of private contractors in the unfolding air war being carried out by the United States and its Gulf States allies against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. INSCOM’s “global intelligence support” contract will place the contractors at the center of this fight. Under its terms, 21 companies, led by Booz Allen Hamilton, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, will compete over the next five years to provide “fully integrated intelligence, security and information operations” in Afghanistan and “future contingency operations” around the world. INSCOM announced the global intelligence contract two days after President Obama, in a speech to the nation, essentially declared war on ISIS in Iraq and Syria and outlined a campaign of airstrikes and combat actions to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the terrorist group. The top contractors on the INSCOM contract are already involved in the war. Lockheed Martin, for example, makes the Hellfire missiles that are used extensively in U.S. drone strikes. Northrop Grumman makes the Global Hawk surveillance drone. Both companies have large intelligence units. 70 percent of the U.S. intelligence budget is spent on private contractors. This spending [is] estimated at around $70 billion a year. [There is a] revolving door between INSCOM and its contractors. The system is corrupted by the close relationships between the companies and their agencies, said [Tom] Drake, who as a whistle-blower was nearly sent to prison for exposing the waste, fraud and abuse in a contracted program at the NSA that ended up losing over $7 billion.
Note: Read a powerful essay written by a top US general showing how he was fooled into supporting wars that were generated by the powerful global elite who want never-ending war in order to keep their profits flowing.
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.
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.
The rise of ISIS has been aided by the failure of the US government to investigate the connection between the Saudi Arabian government and jihadist networks, said former senator Bob Graham. Senator Graham, who chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that successive administrations had failed to examine the connections between the Saudis and Sunni militant groups. "I believe that the failure to shine a full light on Saudi actions ... has contributed to the Saudi ability to continue to engage in actions that are damaging to the US – and in particular their support for ISIS," he said. The Saudis have been accused of using Sunni militant groups as proxies, channeling money to Islamist groups battling the forces of president Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war, as Sunni and Shia battle for hegemony in the Middle East. The Shia Iranians are chief backers of Assad, and Nouri al Maliki's Shia-dominated government which collapsed following ISIS' onslaught in Iraq, accused the Saudi Arabia and Qatar of funding ISIS, and facilitating "genocide". [Graham] said that Saudi Arabia gives support to the "the most extremist elements among the Sunni". Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was the son of a wealthy construction magnate, who had close ties to the Saudi royal family. It is alleged that redacted pages of the [Joint Congressional 9/11 inquiry] report establish links between Saudi government officials and al-Qaida.
Note: Watch the highly illuminating BBC documentary "Power of Nightmares" that reveals that al-Qaida, under the control of Osama bin Laden, has never actually existed, but is a US/UK-government psychological operation to launch the "Global War on Terror". For more on this, read Prof. David Ray Griffin's deeply revealing book Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive?
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.
Washington’s elite media, as usual, ... are baying for war. They are ... essentially demanding a major military assault [on ISIS]. Watching post-invasion reality in the region should have made it clear to anyone paying any attention at all that ... military action kills not just enemies but innocent civilians, creates refugee crises, ... further destabilizes entire regions, and alters the future in unanticipated and sometimes disastrous ways. In a nation that considers itself peaceful and civilized, the case for military action should be overwhelmingly stronger than the case against. It must face, and survive, aggressive questioning. There is no reason to expect that kind of pushback from within Congress — leading figures ... are falling into line with the hawkish consensus for some sort of action. And Vice President Joe Biden [said on September 3] that the U.S. will follow ISIS “to the gates of hell“. In the absence of a coherent opposition party or movement, it’s the Fourth Estate’s duty to ask those questions, and demand not just answers, but evidence to back up those answers. [In an interview,] Paul R. Pillar, formerly the CIA’s top Middle East analyst, ... marveled at the “kind of mass emotional phenomenon” based in part on the recent barbaric beheadings of captured free-lance journalists and the scary maps that make it seem like ISIS is about to take Baghdad. But, he said, the press is “getting excited in a way that I think has been blown well out of proportion.” Have we considered whether part of the group’s purpose is to provoke more U.S. intervention?
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing major media corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
On July 23rd, officials of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee—the powerful lobbying group known as AIPAC—gathered in a conference room at the Capitol for a closed meeting with a dozen Democratic senators. The agenda of the meeting, which was attended by other Jewish leaders as well, was the war in the Gaza Strip. In the century-long conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians, the previous two weeks had been particularly harrowing. In Gaza, there were scenes of utter devastation, with hundreds of Palestinian children dead from bombing and mortar fire. The Israeli government claimed that it had taken extraordinary measures to minimize civilian casualties, but the United Nations was launching an inquiry into possible war crimes. AIPAC ... endorsed a Senate resolution in support of Israel’s “right to defend its citizens,” which had seventy-nine co-sponsors and passed without a word of dissent. AIPAC is prideful about its influence. Its promotional literature points out that a reception during its annual policy conference, in Washington, “will be attended by more members of Congress than almost any other event, except for a joint session of Congress or a State of the Union address.” AIPAC has more than a hundred thousand members, a network of seventeen regional offices, and a vast pool of donors. The lobby does not raise funds directly. Its members do, and the amount of money they channel to political candidates is difficult to track. But everybody in Congress recognizes its influence in elections, and the effect is evident.
Note: To understand the powerful influence of the Israeli lobby on US politics, read the entire revealing article at the link above. For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption 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.
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, the British journalist Norman Angell argued that “military power is socially and economically futile.” As he pointed out, in an interdependent world (which already existed in the age of steamships, railroads, and the telegraph), war would necessarily inflict severe economic harm even on the victor. Modern nations can’t enrich themselves by waging war. Yet wars keep happening. Why? Governments all too often gain politically from war, even if the war in question makes no sense in terms of national interests. Nations almost always rally around their leaders in times of war, no matter how foolish the war or how awful the leaders. Argentina’s junta briefly became extremely popular during the Falklands war. For a time, the “war on terror” took President George W. Bush’s approval to dizzying heights, and Iraq probably won him the 2004 election. True to form, Mr. Putin’s approval ratings have soared since the Ukraine crisis began.
Note: For more on this, see this concise summary of War Is A Racket, a powerful book written by one of the most highly decorated US generals ever.
The New York Times announced on [August 7] that it will use the word torture to describe the United States' controversial interrogation tactics on terror suspects. "From now on, The Times will use the word “torture” to describe incidents in which we know for sure that interrogators inflicted pain on a prisoner in an effort to get information," said Times executive editor Dean Baquet. In the past, the Times had been sharply criticized for not using the word torture. Instead, [it] had referred to torture as "brutal interrogation," or similar epithets. The Times is hardly the only major media outlet to avoid using the word "torture." Reuters referred to the tactics as "brutal interrogation methods" and the AP has called them "enhanced interrogation techniques." The media have been accused of following along with President Bush's denial that the U.S. does not use torture. Banquet [says] that "while the methods set off a national debate, the Justice Department insisted that the techniques did not rise to the legal definition of 'torture.'” Baquet said that reporters and editors had debated the issue in wake of the Senate Intelligence Committee's torture report, which has yet to be released. Last week, President Obama admitted that the CIA "tortured some folks" in post-9/11 anti-terror efforts.
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing media cover-ups news articles from reliable major media sources.
A U.S. Senate committee report will conclude that the CIA's use of harsh interrogation after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks yielded no critical intelligence on terrorist plots that could not have been obtained through non-coercive methods, U.S. officials familiar with the document said. [The] report [is] expected to suggest that the "enhanced" techniques were unnecessary and also to accuse some CIA officers of misleading Congress about the effectiveness of the program. Officials said the Senate Intelligence Committee was unlikely to release the report to the public without some additional review. "A preliminary review of the report indicates there have been significant redactions. We need additional time to understand the basis for these redactions and determine their justification. Therefore the report will be held until further notice and released when that process is completed," Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the committee's chair, said. Committee investigators also concluded that the agency misled other executive branch agencies and Congress by claiming that only by using harsh methods did the agency achieve ... counter-terrorism breakthroughs that otherwise would not have been possible. The report will criticize some CIA officials by name, the officials said.
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing intelligence agency operations news articles from reliable major media sources.
The U.S. has now spent more on the reconstruction of Afghanistan than it spent on the Marshall Plan, which resuscitated Europe after World War II. The Marshall Plan delivered $103 billion in today’s dollars to 16 European countries between 1948 and 1952. That has now been topped by congressional appropriations for reconstruction in Afghanistan, which so far have come to $109 billion in today’s dollars. The difference: The Marshall Plan helped Europe get back on its feet, while Afghanistan is a chaotic mess. The Marshall Plan comparison is the most striking fact in a depressing, 259-page quarterly report to Congress issued July 30 by John Sopko, the congressionally appointed special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction. One recent audit ... raised concerns about the army’s ability to account for some 465,000 U.S.-provided small arms. This quarter, Sopko’s report says, a local police unit cut the power lines from Kabul ... “in retaliation for not being paid for three months.” To cut costs, NATO plans to shrink the Afghan National Security Forces to less than 230,000 by 2017. But an independent assessment ... concluded that the forces will require more than 370,000 people. That would cost three times as much as the Afghan government’s entire domestic revenue. Afghanistan’s main exports are carpets and rugs, dried fruits, medicinal plants, opium, and gems. But Sopko observes, “opiates are not part of the licit economy, and gems are easy to smuggle, so their contributions to government revenue are limited.”
Note: By 2000, the Taliban had mostly stopped heroin production in Afghanistan. But once this country was under US control, illicit drug production surged to record levels and Afghanistan became a narco state. How much "reconstruction" money became the drug cartel money that kept big banks afloat in 2008?
[Phil Donahue:] I [have] produced ... an anti-Iraq War documentary. It’s titled “Body of War,” and it is available on Netflix. I’d very much like you to see the behavior of the [US] congressmen [in my film]. They were summoned to the White House by WHIG, White House Iraq Group. This is a Karl Rove committee that included the advertising warriors who named our invasion “Shock and Awe,” and “Rolling Thunder,” like video games. And they gave them their talking points: “A smoking gun will become a mushroom cloud”; “The longer we wait, the more dangerous he becomes”; “Saddam has more weapons of mass destruction than Hitler ever had”; “I see Hitler in Saddam Hussein.” And they read this, they’re looking down at the piece of paper, in what was at most a shell debate, that led to the deaths of over 4,500 service people, men and women both, not to mention how many injuries, we’re not even sure, we’re not even sure how many Iraqis are dead, and the refugees are in the millions. This is unbelievable. You’ve got to see this debate. It’s truly a very instructive piece on what you can do if you scare the people. George Bush took this nation, the mainstream media included, and led it right into this war. It was an amazingly executed, brilliantly executed, plan. The politics of fear. We haven’t won a war, and we’re spending $2 billion a day on things that go “boom.” We have become a warrior nation. We have no respect for diplomacy. We have to be tough, and we don’t talk to people we don’t like.
Note: Learn lots more about the politics of fear by watching online the BBC documentary Power of Nightmares. For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
His CIA career included assignments in Africa, Afghanistan and Iraq, but the most perilous posting for Jeffrey Scudder turned out to be a two-year stint in a sleepy office that looks after the agency’s historical files. It was there that Scudder discovered a stack of articles, hundreds of histories of long-dormant conflicts and operations that he concluded were still being stored in secret years after they should have been shared with the public. To get them released, Scudder submitted a request under the Freedom of Information Act — a step that any citizen can take, but one that is highly unusual for a CIA employee. Four years later, the CIA has released some of those articles and withheld others. It also has forced Scudder out. His request set in motion a harrowing sequence. He was confronted by supervisors and accused of mishandling classified information while assembling his FOIA request. His house was raided by the FBI and his family’s computers seized. Stripped of his job and his security clearance, Scudder said he agreed to retire last year after being told that if he refused, he risked losing much of his pension. “I submitted a FOIA and it basically destroyed my entire career,” Scudder said. Scudder’s case .. highlights the risks to workers who take on their powerful spy-agency employers. Scudder’s actions appear to have posed no perceptible risk to national security, but he found himself in the cross hairs of the CIA and FBI.
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Leaders at an African summit have voted to give themselves and their allies immunity from prosecution for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide at a new African Court of Justice and Human Rights. The continent ... has two sitting presidents and one ousted president facing charges at the International Criminal Court. Amnesty International called it "a backward step in the fight against impunity and a betrayal of victims of serious violations of human rights." The decision came [on June 27] at an African Union summit vote in Equatorial Guinea from which journalists were excluded, Amnesty International said. News of the vote was imparted obliquely in a statement [on June 30] about the summit outcomes. A paragraph listing legal instruments agreed at the meeting included the "Protocol on Amendments to the Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights." That amendment bars the court from prosecuting sitting African leaders and vaguely identified "senior officials." Forty-two African and international civil society and rights groups had objected to the amendment, noting in an open letter before the summit that the impunity violates international and domestic laws as well as the constitution of the African Union.
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war crimes news articles from reliable major media sources.
Just weeks before Blackwater guards fatally shot 17 civilians at Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007, the State Department began investigating the security contractor’s operations in Iraq. But the inquiry was abandoned after Blackwater’s top manager there issued a threat: “that he could kill” the government’s chief investigator and “no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq.” American Embassy officials in Baghdad sided with Blackwater rather than the State Department investigators as a dispute over the probe escalated in August 2007, the previously undisclosed documents show. The officials told the investigators that they had disrupted the embassy’s relationship with the security contractor and ordered them to leave the country. After returning to Washington, the chief investigator wrote a scathing report to State Department officials documenting misconduct by Blackwater employees and warning that lax oversight of the company, which had a contract worth more than $1 billion to protect American diplomats, had created “an environment full of liability and negligence.” “The management structures in place to manage and monitor our contracts in Iraq have become subservient to the contractors themselves,” the investigator, Jean C. Richter, wrote in an Aug. 31, 2007, memo to State Department officials. “Blackwater contractors saw themselves as above the law,” he said, adding that the “hands off” management resulted in a situation in which “the contractors, instead of Department officials, are in command and in control.”
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war crimes news articles from reliable major media sources.
The lead-up to the war in Iraq in 2003 was not The Times’s finest hour. Some of the news reporting was flawed, driven by outside agendas and lacking in needed skepticism. Many Op-Ed columns promoted the idea of a war that turned out to be both unfounded and disastrous. Readers have not forgotten. In recent weeks, with Iraq in chaos, military intervention there again has been under consideration, and readers are on high alert. Given The Times’s troubled history when it comes to this subject, readers have good reason to be wary about what appears in the paper about military intervention in Iraq. Many readers have complained ... that The Times is amplifying the voices of hawkish neoconservatives and serving as a megaphone for anonymously sourced administration leaks, while failing to give voice to those who oppose intervention. The readers have a point worth considering. On the Op-Ed pages and in the news columns, there have been very few outside voices of those who opposed the war last time, or those who reject the use of force now. But the neoconservatives and interventionists are certainly being heard. A recent profile of the historian Robert Kagan, a leading proponent of the invasion of Iraq in 2003 who is once more in the news, was one focus of sharp reader criticism. The coverage has not featured the kind of in-depth attention that readers want as a counterbalance to pieces like the one on Mr. Kagan.
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing media corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
A U.S. soldier imprisoned for leaking documents to WikiLeaks broke her silence in a fiery editorial accusing the United States of lying about Iraq. Chelsea [formerly Bradley] Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2013 for leaking 750,000 pages of classified documents to the anti-secrecy group. Manning has stayed out of the limelight since the conviction. But she was back Saturday, with an opinion piece titled "The Fog Machine of War" in The New York Times. In it, she accuses the U.S. media of looking the other way when chaos and corruption reigned in Iraq and Afghanistan. "I believe that the current limits on press freedom and excessive government secrecy make it impossible for Americans to grasp fully what is happening in the wars we finance." She said that during the 2010 elections in Iraq, the media duped the world into thinking that all was well. "You might remember that the American press was flooded with stories declaring the elections a success, complete with upbeat anecdotes and photographs of Iraqi women proudly displaying their ink-stained fingers," she wrote. "The subtext was that United States military operations had succeeded in creating a stable and democratic Iraq. Those of us stationed there were acutely aware of a more complicated reality." She said at the time, she got regular reports detailing security forces' crackdown against dissidents "on behalf" of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. "I was shocked by our military's complicity in the corruption of that election," she said. "Yet these deeply troubling details flew under the American media's radar."
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war crimes news articles from reliable major media sources.
Meet Saudi Arabia’s latest monstrous contribution to world history: the Islamist Sunni caliphate of Iraq and the Levant [ISIS], conquerors of Mosul and Tikrit – and Raqqa in Syria – and possibly Baghdad. From Aleppo in northern Syria almost to the Iraqi-Iranian border, the jihadists of ISIS and sundry other groupuscules paid by the Saudi Wahhabis – and by Kuwaiti oligarchs – now rule thousands of square miles. Apart from Saudi Arabia’s role in this catastrophe, what other stories are to be hidden from us in the coming days and weeks? While the Americans support the wretched Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his elected Shia government in Iraq, the same Americans still demand the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad of Syria and his regime, even though both leaders are now brothers-in-arms against the victors of Mosul and Tikrit. We all know of the “deep concern” of Washington and London at the territorial victories of the Islamists. No one, however, will feel as much of this “deep concern” as Shia Iran and Assad of Syria and Maliki of Iraq, who must regard the news from Mosul and Tikrit as a political and military disaster. Just when Syrian military forces were winning the war for Assad, tens of thousands of Iraqi-based militants may now turn on the Damascus government. No one will care now how many hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been slaughtered since 2003 because of the fantasies of Bush and Blair. Saudi Arabia will continue to be treated as a friendly “moderate” in the Arab world, even though ... millions of its dollars are arming those same fighters.
A year after Obama laid out new conditions for drone attacks around the world, U.S. forces are failing to comply fully with the rules he set for them: to strike only when there is an imminent threat to Americans and when there is virtually no danger of taking innocent lives. Although Obama promised greater transparency in his speech at the National Defense University, U.S. lawmakers are increasingly critical of the secrecy surrounding the operations. There are growing concerns in Washington that the net effect of the targeted-killing program may be counterproductive. [Obama] is showing no sign of relinquishing what has become his counterterrorism weapon of choice since he took office in 2009. Drones are spreading to new areas ... in far-flung places like Somalia and in Nigeria. "Here we are, a year later, asking 'what has really changed?'" said University of Notre Dame law professor Mary Ellen O'Connell, a leading expert on extrajudicial killings who has testified before U.S. congressional committees. "The drones are still flying and the president still sees the attractiveness of this cold and antiseptic means of killing." Obama's vision of shifting control of the drone program from the shadowy paramilitary arm of the Central Intelligence Agency to the more publicly accountable Pentagon is moving at what one national security source described as a "glacial pace." The Pentagon's Joint Special Operations Command is widely believed to have been behind the December 12 drone strike in a remote part of Yemen that hit a convoy later identified as a wedding procession, killing 15 people.
Note: For more on the expansion of drones in skies worldwide, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Whether it concerns bankers after the crisis in 2008 or the shooting of innocent civilians by American contractors in Iraq, the prosecution does not seem to be up to the task. [The fatal] shooting [of 17 people by Blackwater Worldwide mercenaries] in Nisour Square [Baghdad in Oct. 2007] became a signature moment in the Iraq war. Five Blackwater security guards were indicted on manslaughter and weapons charges, and a sixth entered a plea deal to testify against his former colleagues. But over the years, a case that once seemed so clear-cut has been repeatedly undermined by the government’s own mistakes. Prosecutors are trying to hold together what is left of it. But charges against one contractor were dropped last year because of a lack of evidence. And the government suffered another self-inflicted setback in April when a federal appeals court ruled that the prosecution had missed a deadline and allowed the statute of limitations to expire against a second contractor. The [episode inflamed] anti-American sentiment abroad and helped cement the image of Blackwater, whose security guards were involved in scores of shootings, as a trigger-happy company that operated with impunity because of its lucrative contracts with the American government. “As citizens, we need to ask why our government fails to achieve any accountability for such blatant wrongdoing,” said Susan Burke, a lawyer who represented Iraqi victims of the Nisour Square shooting in a lawsuit that Blackwater settled by paying an undisclosed amount. “The ongoing delays and mistakes undermine any confidence in the system.”
Note: For more on government corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Attorney James Connell has visited his client inside the secret Guantanamo prison complex known as Camp 7 only once, taken in a van with covered windows on a circuitous trek to disguise the route on the scrub brush-and-cactus covered military base. Connell is allowed to say virtually nothing about what he saw in the secret camp where the most notorious terror suspects in U.S. custody are held except that it is unlike any detention facility he's encountered. "It's much more isolating than any other facility that I have known," the lawyer says. "I've done cases from the Virginia death row and Texas death row and these pretrial conditions are much more isolating." The Camp 7 prison unit is so shrouded in secrecy that its location on the U.S. base in Cuba is classified and officials refuse to discuss it. Camp 7 has never been part of the scripted tours of Guantanamo offered to journalists and there are no published photos. It's not even mentioned on a military media handout about the detention center. Military officials, while insisting that they adhere to international human rights standards, refuse to describe Camp 7. A few facts have come out through government reports and court testimony. It apparently holds 15 of the 154 prisoners at Guantanamo. The men are apparently held in solid-walled cells — as opposed to the cage-like structures used soon after the U.S. began using Guantanamo as a prison in 2002 — that are intended to limit their ability to communicate with each other. The secret camp also is apparently falling apart.
Note: For more on government secrecy, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
The FBI’s transformation from a crime-fighting agency to a counterterrorism organization in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has been well documented. Less widely known has been the bureau’s role in secret operations against al-Qaeda and its affiliates in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other locations around the world. With the war in Afghanistan ending, FBI officials have become more willing to discuss a little-known alliance between the bureau and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) that allowed agents to participate in hundreds of raids in Iraq and Afghanistan. The relationship benefited both sides. JSOC used the FBI’s expertise in exploiting digital media and other materials to locate insurgents and detect plots, including any against the United States. The bureau’s agents, in turn, could preserve evidence and maintain a chain of custody should any suspect be transferred to the United States for trial. In early 2003, two senior FBI counterterrorism officials traveled to Afghanistan to meet with the Joint Special Operations Command’s deputy commander at Bagram air base. The pace of activity in Afghanistan was slow at first. An FBI official said there was less than a handful of [Hostage and Rescue Team] deployments to Afghanistan in those early months; the units primarily worked with the SEALs as they hunted top al-Qaeda targets. The tempo quickened with the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. At first, the HRT’s mission was mainly to protect other FBI agents when they left the Green Zone, former FBI officials said. In 2005, all of the HRT members in Iraq began to work under JSOC.
Note: For more on the realities of intelligence agency operations, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
After speaking [on April 8] at the Lyndon B. Johnson Library in Austin to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, [former President Jimmy] Carter spoke with TIME by phone about his recent [activities] and his recent book, A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power.You say in A Call to Action that Jesus Christ was the greatest liberator of women in his culture. Why was that? One of the examples that he set invariably in every word and deed of his life was to emphasize the equality of women and even to exalt women well beyond any status they had enjoyed in any previous decades or centuries or even since then. What could the U.S. do better to address human trafficking? [In the US] for every brothel owner or pimp or male customer, there are 50 girls who are arrested for being prostitutes. Other countries have tried the other way around, and it works beautifully. Sweden is the No. 1 example that other countries are now emulating, where they bring the charges against the brothel owners and the pimps and the male customers, and they do not prosecute the girls, who quite often are brought into that trade involuntarily. You said last week that “the U.S. is the No. 1 warmonger on earth”. Yes, it is. It has been. You can look at the record: ever since the United Nations was formed after the Second World War, the United States has almost constantly been at war somewhere. There are about 30 countries where we have initiated armed conflict.
A Senate intelligence committee investigation found that the Central Intelligence Agency employed brutal interrogation methods that turned out to be largely useless and then lied about their effectiveness. The Senate report contradicts the main defenses of the Bush-era torture program: That harsh methods were needed to produce "actionable results," and that the program itself helped save American lives by foiling terror attacks. Instead, the CIA overstated the effectiveness of the program and concealed the harshness of the methods they used. Intelligence breakthroughs credited to the “enhanced interrogation” program by the CIA were instead gleaned through other means, and then used by the agency to bolster defenses of the program. Conservative media figures incessantly hyped former Bush administration officials’ at times verifiably false claims about the efficacy of the program. The Bush administration’s trip to the “dark side” provided pundits, op-ed columnists, and other media personalities an endless stream of satisfaction from talking like the greased up protagonists of 1980s action films.
Note: For an article explaining how even though this report may be declassified, the public will not have access to most of it, click here. For more on the realities of intelligence agency operations, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
The US came under sharp criticism at the UN human rights committee in Geneva on [March 13] for a long list of human rights abuses that included everything from detention without charge at Guantánamo, drone strikes and NSA surveillance, to the death penalty, rampant gun violence and endemic racial inequality. The experts raised questions about the National Security Agency’s surveillance of digital communications in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations. The committee’s 18 experts [are] charged with upholding the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), a UN treaty that the US ratified in 1992. The US came under sustained criticism for its global counter-terrorism tactics, including the use of unmanned drones to kill al-Qaida suspects, and its transfer of detainees to third countries that might practice torture, such as Algeria. Committee members also highlighted the Obama administration’s failure to prosecute any of the officials responsible for permitting waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation” techniques under the previous administration. Walter Kälin, a Swiss international human rights lawyer who sits on the committee, attacked the US government’s refusal to recognise the convention’s mandate over its actions beyond its own borders. The US has asserted since 1995 that the ICCPR does not apply to US actions beyond its borders - and has used that “extra-territoriality” claim to justify its actions in Guantánamo and in conflict zones.
Note: How sad that it appears this news was not reported in any major US media.
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden accused Sen. Dianne Feinstein of hypocrisy ... for complaining about alleged CIA spying on U.S. senators while tolerating government spying on private citizens. "It's clear the CIA was trying to play 'keep away' with documents relevant to an investigation by their overseers in Congress, and that's a serious constitutional concern,” said Snowden in a statement to NBC News. “But it's equally if not more concerning that we're seeing another 'Merkel Effect,' where an elected official does not care at all that the rights of millions of ordinary citizens are violated by our spies, but suddenly it's a scandal when a politician finds out the same thing happens to them." Snowden was ... referring to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s indignation at reports that the U.S. had listened in on her personal conversations, but her failure to condemn the NSA for mass surveillance of communications of German citizens. Both were revealed by the release of documents that Snowden took from NSA computers and distributed to journalists.
Note: For more on the out-of-control activities of intelligence agencies, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein accused the CIA on [March 11] of violating the law and the Constitution of the United States by interfering in a committee investigation into Bush-era torture of terror suspects. Feinstein said the CIA had removed documents provided to the committee through a special, segregated network set up by the agency for the committee to pursue its investigation. Among the documents removed was an internal review of CIA interrogation techniques conducted by then-CIA Director Leon Panetta, which committee members have said corroborated committee findings critical of the agency’s interrogation program. “The CIA just went and searched the committee’s computers,” Feinstein said on the Senate floor. “This was done without the knowledge or approval of committee members or staff, and in violation of our written agreements. Further, this type of behavior would not have been possible had the CIA allowed the committee to conduct the review of documents here in the Senate,” Feinstein said. Feinstein said that the CIA’s activities may have violated the Fourth Amendment, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and executive order 12333, which bars the CIA from conducting domestic surveillance. Feinstein also said the CIA’s activities violated the separation of powers principles in the Constitution by interfering with congressional oversight of the executive branch.
Note: For more on the out-of-control activities of intelligence agencies, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
The confirmation in December that former CIA Director Leon Panetta let classified information slip to "Zero Dark Thirty" screenwriter Mark Boal during a speech at the agency headquarters should result in a criminal espionage charge if there is any truth to Obama administration claims that it isn't enforcing the Espionage Act only against political opponents. I'm one of the people the Obama administration charged with criminal espionage, one of those whose lives were torn apart by being accused, essentially, of betraying [their] country. The president and the attorney general have used the Espionage Act against more people than all other administrations combined, but not against real traitors and spies. The law has been applied selectively, often against whistle-blowers and others who expose illegal, corrupt government actions. After I blew the whistle on the CIA's waterboarding torture program in 2007, I was the subject of a years-long FBI investigation. In 2012, the Justice Department charged me with "disclosing classified information to journalists, including the name of a covert CIA officer and information revealing the role of another CIA employee in classified activities." I had revealed no more than others who were never charged, about activities ... that were hardly secret. I am serving a 30-month sentence. The Espionage Act, the source of the most serious charges against me, was written and passed during World War I and... is so outdated that it refers only to "national defense information" rather than "classified information," because the classification system had not yet been invented.
Note: The author of this article, John Kiriakou, is a former CIA counter-terrorism officer and former senior investigator on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He is incarcerated in the Federal Correctional Institution in Loretto, Pa. You can read about his case at http://www.defendjohnk.com. For more on the out-of-control activities of intelligence agencies, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
In the early morning hours of February 5, a group of armed men – some dressed in Pakistani police uniforms – appeared at Kareem Khan’s home, awoke him and his family at gunpoint, and took him away in an unmarked vehicle. Khan was hooded, shackled around the wrists and ankles, and driven for hours, eventually arriving at a building where he was thrown into a windowless holding cell. There he stayed for more than a week, during which he was subjected to sensory deprivation and physical abuse. Khan says he was repeatedly beaten on the soles of his feet and threatened with death by his captors. He was kept hooded and shackled for most of the day, and fed only dry bread and water. Khan has no doubts about why he was targeted. He is the first person to attempt a legal challenge to the CIA drone program in Pakistan, after his son and brother were killed in a drone strike near his home in North Waziristan on December 31st 2009. His abduction and detention occurred just over a week before Khan was to travel with [his Pakistani lawyer, Shahzad] Akbar and Jennifer Gibson, a lawyer with the UK-based legal charity Reprieve, to speak with European parliamentarians about the CIA drone program. Among the topics of discussion were the extralegal nature of the program, as well as covert intelligence sharing by European spy agencies. While in captivity, Khan was interrogated by men who refused to identify themselves, and who questioned him repeatedly about his plans to speak with the media and about the cases of others who had been killed by drones. Since the start of the “War on Terror” it has been estimated by local human rights groups that as many as 8,000 Pakistani citizens have been “disappeared” by local intelligence agencies, often at the behest of their American counterparts.
Note: The Intercept is the new media source being funded by Pierre Omidyar and featuring Glenn Greenwald and other top reporters known for their independence. For more on the atrocities committed by the US and UK in the illegal "global war on terror", see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
In the years after the end of WWII, CIA and US intelligence operatives tested LSD and other interrogation techniques on captured Soviet spies—all with the help of former Nazi doctors. It was 1946. The Joint Chiefs of Staff were preparing for ‘total war’ with the Soviets. They even set an estimated start date of 1952. U.S. military officers had been capturing and then hiring Hitler’s weapons makers in a Top Secret program that would become known as Operation Paperclip. Soon, more than 1,600 of these men and their families would be living the American dream, right here in the United States. In 1948, Operation Paperclip’s Brigadier General Charles E. Loucks ... was working with Hitler’s former chemists when one of the scientists [shared] information about a drug with military potential ... LSD. Documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reveal that the U.S. developed its post-war enhanced interrogation techniques ... under the CIA code name Operation Bluebird. The CIA teamed up with the Army Chemical Corps at Camp Detrick, in Maryland, to conduct further research and development on the chemistry of mind-altering drugs. One [Detrick agent was] Dr. Frank Olson, a former army officer and bacteriologist turned agency operative whose sudden demise—by covert LSD poisoning—in 1953 would nearly bring down the CIA. In one of the rare, surviving official documents from the program, Deputy Director of Central Intelligence Allen Dulles sent a secret memo to Richard Helms: “In our conversation of 9 February 1951, I outlined to you the possibilities of augmenting the usual interrogation methods by the use of drugs, hypnosis, shock, etc., and emphasized the defensive aspects as well as the offensive opportunities.”
Note: To read excerpts from incredibly revealing declassified CIA documents on these programs, click here. For more on secret government mind control programs which have had a powerful hidden influence on global politics, see our Mind Control Information Center available here.
The National Security Agency is using complex analysis of electronic surveillance, rather than human intelligence, as the primary method to locate targets for lethal drone strikes – an unreliable tactic that results in the deaths of innocent or unidentified people. According to a former drone operator for the military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) who also worked with the NSA, the agency often identifies targets based on controversial metadata analysis and cell-phone tracking technologies. Rather than confirming a target’s identity with operatives or informants on the ground, the CIA or the U.S. military then orders a strike based on the activity and location of the mobile phone. The former JSOC drone operator ... states that innocent people have “absolutely” been killed as a result. Some top Taliban leaders, knowing of the NSA’s targeting method, have purposely and randomly distributed SIM cards among their units in order to elude their trackers. As a result, even when the agency correctly identifies and targets a SIM card belonging to a terror suspect, the phone may actually be carried by someone else, who is then killed in a strike. The Obama administration has repeatedly insisted that its operations kill terrorists with the utmost precision. Within the NSA ... a motto quickly caught on at Geo Cell: ‘We Track ’Em, You Whack ’Em.’” In December 2009, utilizing the NSA’s metadata collection programs, the Obama administration dramatically escalated U.S. drone and cruise missile strikes in Yemen. The first strike in the country known to be authorized by Obama targeted an alleged Al Qaeda camp in the southern village of al-Majala. The strike, which included the use of cluster bombs, resulted in the deaths of 14 women and 21 children.
Note: For an in-depth interview on this important topic, click here. Would anyone in a developed country tolerate their citizens being killed by the drones of a foreign government? Note also that The Intercept is the new media source being funded by Pierre Omidyar and featuring Glenn Greenwald and other top reporters known for the their independence.
In early 2003, two senior CIA officers arrived at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw to pick up a pair of large cardboard boxes. Inside were bundles of cash totaling $15 million that had been flown from Germany via diplomatic pouch. The Americans and Poles then sealed an agreement that over the previous weeks had allowed the CIA the use of a secret prison — a remote villa in the Polish lake district — to interrogate al-Qaeda suspects. The Polish intelligence service received the money, and the CIA had a solid location for its newest covert operation, according to former agency officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the interrogation program, including previously unreported details about the creation of the CIA’s “black sites,” or secret prisons. The CIA prison in Poland was arguably the most important of all the black sites created by the agency after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. It was the first of a trio in Europe that housed the initial wave of accused Sept. 11 conspirators, and it was where Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-declared mastermind of the attacks, was waterboarded 183 times after his capture. In December, the European Court of Human Rights heard arguments that Poland violated international law and participated in torture by accommodating its American ally. “In the face of Polish and United States efforts to draw a veil over these abuses, the European Court of Human Rights now has an opportunity to break this conspiracy of silence and uphold the rule of law,” said Amrit Singh, a lawyer with the Open Society Justice Initiative.
Note: For more on the realities of intelligence agency activities, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
A series of revelations about the rocket believed to have delivered poison sarin gas to a Damascus suburb last summer are challenging American intelligence assumptions about that attack and suggest that the case U.S. officials initially made for retaliatory military action was flawed. A team of security and arms experts, meeting this week in Washington to discuss the matter, has concluded that the range of the rocket that delivered sarin in the largest attack that night was too short for the device to have been fired from the Syrian government positions where the Obama administration insists they originated. The authors of a report released Wednesday said that their study of the rocket’s design, its likely payload and its possible trajectories show that it would have been impossible for the rocket to have been fired from inside areas controlled by the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad. In the report, titled “Possible Implications of Faulty U.S. Technical Intelligence,” Richard Lloyd, a former United Nations weapons inspector, and Theodore Postol, a professor of science, technology and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, argue that the question about the rocket’s range indicates a major weakness in the case for military action initially pressed by Obama administration officials. Postol said that a basic analysis of the weapon ... would have shown that it wasn’t capable of flying the 6 miles from the center of the Syrian government-controlled part of Damascus to the point of impact in the suburbs, or even the 3.6 miles from the edges of government-controlled ground.
Note: For more on government lies designed to start wars, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
After a tumultuous year at the war-on-terror detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the U.S. military's motto is "Safe, Humane, Legal, Transparent," operations are cloaked in secrecy. The prison approaches the start of its 13th year next week with a new reclusive regime that no longer discloses what was once routinely released information. The daily tally of hunger striking detainees — the protest that engulfed more than 100 prisoners at its peak this summer — stopped in December. Guards and other prison camp troops are under orders to withhold their names when talking to reporters. On the witness stand in the war court recently, a lawyer in the uniform of an Air Force officer gave sworn testimony under a curious, unexplained fake name — "Major Krueger." Guantanamo is remote, and what is happening there in this new era has mostly gone unnoticed. The government controls access to everything pertaining to Guantanamo. Journalists have to get the military's permission to go there, navigate censorship of their pictures, wait 40 seconds to hear what happens in court and then wait weeks to see court filings. The current crackdown on information can range from the mildly curious to the outright comedic. At times it seems to signify a gratuitous use of power by troops on rotation with sudden power to [wield] a censor's scissors. At times, it suggests a government bureaucracy whose default is knee-jerk secrecy.
Note: For more on government secrecy, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Whenever I read comments by politicians defending the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Predator and Reaper program – aka drones – I wish I could ask them a few questions. I'd start with: "How many women and children have you seen incinerated by a Hellfire missile?" Few of these politicians who so brazenly proclaim the benefits of drones have a real clue of what actually goes on. I, on the other hand, have seen these awful sights first hand. What the public needs to understand is that the video provided by a drone is not usually clear enough to detect someone carrying a weapon, even on a crystal-clear day. This makes it incredibly difficult for the best analysts to identify if someone has weapons for sure. One example comes to mind: "The feed is so pixelated, what if it's a shovel, and not a weapon?" I felt this confusion constantly, as did my fellow UAV analysts. We always wonder if ... we destroyed an innocent civilian's life all because of a bad image or angle. I know the feeling you experience when you see someone die. Horrifying barely covers it. When you are exposed to it over and over again it becomes like a small video, embedded in your head, forever on repeat, causing psychological pain and suffering. UAV troops are victim to not only the haunting memories of this work that they carry with them, but also the guilt of always being a little unsure of how accurate their confirmations of weapons or identification of hostile individuals were. The UAVs in the Middle East are used as a weapon, not as protection, and as long as our public remains ignorant to this, this serious threat to the sanctity of human life – at home and abroad – will continue.
Note: For more on war crimes committed by the US and UK in the illegal "global war on terror", see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh accused the Obama administration ... of having “cherry-picked intelligence” regarding the Aug. 21 chemical attack in Syria that served as evidence for an argument in favor of striking President Bashar Assad's government. Though President Barack Obama eventually decided not to strike Syria, the administration made a public case for war by saying that Assad’s regime was responsible for a poison gas attack in the outskirts of Damascus. The U.N. later concluded the attack had involved the nerve agent sarin. In his piece -- titled "Whose Sarin?" -- Hersh reported that al-Nusra, a jihadi group fighting in Syria’s long-running civil war, had also "mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and was capable of manufacturing it in quantity.” Therefore, he wrote, “Obama did not tell the whole story” when stating with certainty that Assad had to be responsible, crossing a so-called "red line" that would trigger U.S. retaliation. Hersh is a freelancer, but he's best known these days for his work in The New Yorker, where he helped break the Abu Ghraib scandal in 2004. In an email, Hersh wrote that “there was little interest” for the story at The New Yorker. Hersh then took the story to The Washington Post. Hersh wrote that he was told by email that Executive Editor Marty Baron decided “that the sourcing in the article did not meet the Post's standards.” Hersh [then] sent the Syria story to editors at the London Review of Books, LRB Senior Editor Christian Lorentzen [said]. Lorentzen said the piece was not only edited, but thoroughly fact checked by a former New Yorker fact checker who had worked with Hersh in the past.
Note: For more on government lies to provide pretexts for war, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Europe’s human rights court shone a rare public light [December 3] on the secret network of European prisons that the CIA used to interrogate terrorism suspects, reviving questions about the “extraordinary renditions” that angered many on this continent. At [the] hearing, attorneys for two terrorism suspects currently held by the United States at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, accused Poland of human rights abuses. The lawyers say the suspects fell victim to the CIA’s rendition program, in which terrorism suspects were kidnapped and transferred to third countries; they allege that the two were tortured in a remote Polish prison. All the prisons were closed by May 2006. Interrogations at sea have replaced CIA “black sites” as the U.S. government’s preferred method for holding terrorism suspects and questioning them without access to lawyers. One of the cases heard [concerns] 48-year-old Saudi national Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who faces U.S. terrorism charges for allegedly orchestrating the al-Qaeda attack on the USS Cole in 2000, a bombing in the Yemeni port of Aden that killed 17 sailors. The second case involves 42-year-old Abu Zubaida, a Palestinian also held in Guantanamo who has never been charged with a crime. Both men say they were brought in December 2002 to Poland, where they were detained and subjected to harsh questioning at a Polish military installation in Stare Kiejkuty, a village in the country’s remote northeast. There they were subject to mock executions, waterboarding and other tortures, including being told their families would be arrested and sexually abused, said Amrit Singh, a lawyer representing Nashiri.
Note: For more on war crimes by the US and UK in the "global war on terror", see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Twelve years ago, on 13 November 2001, President George W Bush signed an order authorizing the detention of suspected al-Qaida members and supporters, and the creation of military commissions. A total of seven detainees out of the 779 men ever held at Guantánamo have been convicted and sentenced. Five of the seven are no longer at Guantánamo creating a paradox: you have to lose to win. Those lucky enough to get charged and convicted of a war crime have good odds of getting out of Guantánamo, but those who are never charged could spend the rest of their lives in prison. Since nearly all of the men held at Guantánamo have been there since long before 2006 and most were at best low-level flunkies, the government's inability to charge them with providing material support for terrorism means they likely will never face a military commission for a trial that might have enabled them to find a way out of Guantánamo. In September 2006, 14 high-value detainees held in CIA black sites were transferred to military custody at Guantánamo. Only one has been tried and convicted. The law that has evolved from Guantánamo has been a black eye for the country: from the Supreme Court ruling that President Bush's military commissions were illegal to the Washington DC circuit ruling [that] all of the men convicted in military commissions were charged with an offense that was not a legitimate war crime. America's enemies and allies alike, in their criticism of US war on terrorism practices, cite Guantánamo as an example of failed leadership.
Note: For more on military corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
“The Brothers” is a riveting chronicle of government-sanctioned murder, casual elimination of “inconvenient” regimes, relentless prioritization of American corporate interests and cynical arrogance on the part of two men. John Foster Dulles and his brother, Allen, were ... lawyers, partners in the immensely powerful firm of Sullivan & Cromwell. John Foster Dulles served as secretary of state from 1953 to 1959; his brother ran the C.I.A. from 1953 to 1961. In his detailed, wellconstructed and highly readable book, Stephen Kinzer ... shows how the brothers drove America’s interventionist foreign policy. Kinzer highlights John Foster Dulles’s central role in channeling funds from the United States to Nazi Germany in the 1930s. Sullivan & Cromwell floated bonds for Krupp A. G., the arms manufacturer, and also worked for I. G. Farben, the chemicals conglomerate that later manufactured Zyklon B, the gas used to murder millions of Jews. For the Dulles brothers, and for much of the American government, threats to corporate interests were categorized as support for communism. There are also reminders in Kinzer’s book of dark events in the history of American intelligence. Sixty years ago, Frank Olson, a C.I.A. officer, was reported to have jumped to his death during mind-control experiments “in which psychoactive drugs were administered to unknowing victims.” But last year, Kinzer reports, Olson’s family filed suit, claiming he had actually been murdered after visiting secret C.I.A. prisons in Europe.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing intelligence agency corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Doctors and psychologists working for the US military violated the ethical codes of their profession under instruction from the defence department and the CIA to become involved in the torture and degrading treatment of suspected terrorists, an investigation has concluded. The report of the Taskforce on Preserving Medical Professionalism in National Security Detention Centres concludes that after 9/11, health professionals working with the military and intelligence services "designed and participated in cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment and torture of detainees". The report lays blame primarily on the defence department (DoD) and the CIA, which required their healthcare staff to put aside any scruples in the interests of intelligence gathering and security practices that caused severe harm to detainees, from waterboarding to sleep deprivation and force-feeding. The two-year review by the 19-member taskforce, Ethics Abandoned: Medical Professionalism and Detainee Abuse in the War on Terror, supported by the Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) and the Open Society Foundations, says that the DoD termed those involved in interrogation "safety officers" rather than doctors. Doctors and nurses were required to participate in the force-feeding of prisoners on hunger strike, against the rules of the World Medical Association and the American Medical Association. Doctors and psychologists working for the DoD were required to breach patient confidentiality and share what they knew of the prisoner's physical and psychological condition with interrogators, and were used as interrogators themselves.
Note: For more on the realities of intelligence agency operations, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
As vice-president of the United States, Dick Cheney was a key architect of a post-9/11 response that featured waterboarding and other acts of torture, a global secret detention program where people were held for years without charge, and “extraordinary rendition,” by which innocent men such as Maher Arar were sent to countries like Syria to be tortured. His legacy of “endless war” continues today. Dick Cheney’s $500-a-person book tour appearance in Vancouver in September 2011 resulted in protests, with demonstrators calling for Cheney to be banned or prosecuted as a war criminal. Instead of returning to Canada last year, Cheney cancelled a trip to Toronto, deeming Canada too dangerous because of the likely demonstrators that would greet him. It’s unclear why Cheney now feels safe enough to venture north to Toronto. Bush was also met by hundreds of protestors seeking his arrest when he spoke at a business forum in Surrey, British Columbia in October 2011. In addition, with the support of the Canadian Centre for International Justice and the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, four men who were tortured at Guantánamo initiated a private prosecution for torture against Bush. Canada is a signatory to the United Nations Convention Against Torture. Under the Torture Convention, Canada is obligated to investigate and prosecute known torturers present in its territory (or, when possible, extradite them elsewhere for prosecution). Canada has incorporated this obligation into its domestic criminal code.
Note: How amazing to read an article like this in one of Canada's most respected newspapers! The times they are a-changin'!
On 11 March 1958, in Mars Bluff, South Carolina, a man called Walter Gregg was building shelves in his shed with his son, when a Mark 6 atom bomb landed in his yard. Mrs Gregg was inside [the house], sewing. The little Gregg girls were playing outside. The fissile core of the bomb had been removed for safer transit, but the explosives that powered it nonetheless blew the Gregg house to bits, killing half a dozen of the Gregg chickens. In military talk this sort of thing is known as a "broken arrow", an accident involving nuclear weapons that falls short of causing risk of war, and Schlosser's book is about the several dozens of these that have happened – counting only those of US origin – since the atomic bomb was invented in 1945. The next-up sort of accident is called a Nucflash. So far, it hasn't happened, but Schlosser considers this due as much to luck as anything else. [The book] aims to "pierce a false sense of comfort", ... the popular assumption that ... the threat of nuclear escalation has gone away for good. It hasn't, is Schlosser's miserable message. "They are out there, soulless and mechanical, sustained by our denial – and they work." In this book, he's interested in how "the effort to control nuclear weapons – to ensure that one doesn't go off by accident" is undermined, over and over again, by demands from the military for bombs they can trust to explode.
Note: Watch a 16-minute interview with Erik Schlosser showing how close we have come to accidental nuclear explosions. For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing nuclear risk news articles from reliable major media sources.
[In] Miram Shah, the frontier Pakistani town that has become a virtual test laboratory for drone warfare, ... residents paint a portrait of extended terror and strain within a tribal society caught between vicious militants and the American drones hunting them. Their claims of distress are now being backed by a new Amnesty International investigation that found, among other points, that at least 19 civilians in the surrounding area of North Waziristan had been killed in just two of the drone attacks since January 2012 — a time when the Obama administration has held that strikes have been increasingly accurate and free of mistakes. Miram Shah ... has become a fearful and paranoid town, dealt at least 13 drone strikes since 2008 — more than any other urban settlement in the world. Even when the missiles do not strike, buzzing drones hover day and night, scanning the alleys and markets with roving high-resolution cameras. The strikes in the area mostly occur in densely populated neighborhoods. The drones have hit a bakery, a disused girls’ school and a money changers’ market, residents say. The constant presence of circling drones — and accompanying tension over when, or whom, they will strike — is a crushing psychological burden for many residents. Sales of sleeping tablets, antidepressants and medicine to treat anxiety have soared, said Hajji Gulab Jan Dawar, a pharmacist in the town bazaar. Women were particularly troubled, he said, but men also experienced problems. State services have virtually collapsed. At the local hospital, corrupt officials are reselling supplies of medicine and fuel in the town market, doctors said.
Note: For more on the illegal killing worldwide of innocent men, women, and children by missile strikes from US drones, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
The United States is facing increasingly harsh criticism over its use of lethal drone strikes to target suspected terrorists. American drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen may amount to war crimes, according to a pair of reports released by international human rights groups. Examining nine drone strikes in Pakistan, the Amnesty International report concludes that the attacks killed large numbers of innocent civilians, and accuses the U.S. of targeting rescuers who arrive in the aftermath of the strikes to aid the wounded. A report from Human Rights Watch states that the majority of people killed by six drone strikes in Yemen were civilians (57 out of the 82 killed). The groups’ findings that the United States has killed more civilians than it has admitted are bolstered by a UN report ... that stated U.S. drone strikes had killed as many as 400 civilians in Pakistan and almost 60 in Yemen. These reports clash with the U.S. government’s own assessment of the strikes. Officials have maintained that civilian casualties from drone strikes are minimal, even in the face of multiple third-party evaluations that state otherwise. Both groups are demanding that the Obama administration investigate allegations of civilian deaths, release more information about the legal basis for drone strikes on suspected terrorists, provide restitution to those unjustly harmed and reveal the identities of those who lost their lives in the attacks.
Note: If a single civilian in the US were killed by a foreign drone, the entire nation would be up in arms. Do we have a double standard here? For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war atrocities news articles from reliable major media sources.
US officials responsible for the secret CIA drone campaign [in] Pakistan may have committed war crimes and should stand trial, a report by a leading human rights group warns. Amnesty International has highlighted the case of a grandmother who was killed while she was picking vegetables and other incidents which could have broken international laws designed to protect civilians. The report is issued in conjunction with an investigation by Human Rights Watch detailing missile attacks in Yemen which the group believes could contravene the laws of armed conflict, international human rights law and Barack Obama's own guidelines on drones. Getting to the bottom of individual strikes is exceptionally difficult in the restive areas bordering Afghanistan, where thousands of militants have settled. People are often terrified of speaking out, fearing retribution from both militants and the state, which is widely suspected of colluding with the CIA-led campaign. But Amnesty mounted a major effort to investigate nine of the many attacks to have struck the region over the last 18 months, including one that killed 18 labourers in North Waziristan as they waited to eat dinner in an area of heavy Taliban influence in July 2012. All those interviewed by Amnesty strongly denied any of the men had been involved in militancy. "Amnesty International has serious concerns that this attack violated the prohibition of the arbitrary deprivation of life and may constitute war crimes or extrajudicial executions," the report said. It called for those responsible to stand trial.
Note: If just one citizen were killed in the U.S. or Europe by a foreign drone, there would be an absolute uproar. Why the double standard? For more on the use of drones to kill abroad and spy at home, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
A United Nations investigation has so far identified 33 drone strikes around the world that have resulted in civilian casualties and may have violated international humanitarian law. The report by the UN's special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, Ben Emmerson, calls on the US to declassify information about operations co-ordinated by the CIA and clarify its position on the legality of unmanned aerial attacks. The 22-page document examines incidents in Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Pakistan and Gaza. It has been published to coincide with a related report [by] Professor Christof Heyns, the UN's special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, which warned that the technology was being misused as a form of "global policing". Emmerson, who travelled to Islamabad for his investigation, said the Pakistan ministry of foreign affairs has records of as many as 330 drone strikes in the country's north-western tribal areas since 2004. Up to 2,200 people have been killed – of whom at least 400 were civilians – according to the Pakistan government. In Yemen, Emmerson's report says that as many as 58 civilians are thought to have been killed in attacks by UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles). Emmerson criticises the CIA's involvement in US drone strikes for creating "an almost insurmountable obstacle to transparency". He adds: "One consequence is that the United States has to date failed to reveal its own data on the level of civilian casualties inflicted through the use of remotely piloted aircraft in classified operations conducted in Pakistan and elsewhere."
Note: If just one citizen were killed in the U.S. or Europe by a foreign drone, there would be an absolute uproar. Why the double standard? For more on the use of drones to kill abroad and spy at home, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
It was an innocuous e-mail, one of millions sent every day by spouses with updates on the situation at home. But this one was of particular interest to the National Security Agency and contained clues that put the sender’s husband in the crosshairs of a CIA drone. Days later, Hassan Ghul ... was killed by a drone strike in Pakistan’s tribal belt. Documents provided ... by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden confirm his demise in October 2012 and reveal the agency’s extensive involvement in the targeted killing program that has served as a centerpiece of President Obama’s counterterrorism strategy. The documents provide the most detailed account of the intricate collaboration between the CIA and the NSA in the drone campaign. [The] collection of records in the Snowden trove [make] clear that the drone campaign — often depicted as the CIA’s exclusive domain — relies heavily on the NSA’s ability to vacuum up enormous quantities of e-mail, phone calls and other fragments of signals intelligence, or SIGINT. To handle the expanding workload, the NSA created a secret unit known as the Counter-Terrorism Mission Aligned Cell, or CT MAC, to concentrate the agency’s vast resources on hard-to-find [targets]. Former CIA officials said the files are an accurate reflection of the NSA’s contribution to finding targets in a campaign that has killed more than 3,000 people [in] Pakistan.
Note: For more on the use of drones to kill abroad and spy at home, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
[Seymour] Hersh, the investigative journalist who has been the nemesis of US presidents since the 1960s and who was once described by the Republican party as "the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist", ... is angry about the timidity of journalists in America, their failure to challenge the White House and be an unpopular messenger of truth. Don't even get him started on the ... death of Osama bin Laden. "Nothing's been done about that story, it's one big lie, not one word of it is true," he says of the dramatic US Navy Seals raid in 2011. Hersh is writing a book about national security and has devoted a chapter to the bin Laden killing. He says a recent report put out by an "independent" Pakistani commission about life in the Abottabad compound in which Bin Laden was holed up would not stand up to scrutiny. "The Pakistanis put out a report, don't get me going on it. Let's put it this way, it was done with considerable American input. It's a bullshit report," he says hinting of revelations to come in his book. The Obama administration lies systematically, he claims, yet none of the leviathans of American media, the TV networks or big print titles, challenge him. He is certain that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden "changed the whole nature of the debate" about surveillance. "But I don't know if it's going to mean anything in the long [run] because the polls I see in America – the president can still say to voters 'al-Qaida, al-Qaida' and the public will vote two to one for this kind of surveillance, which is so idiotic," he says.
Note: For a powerful analysis by scholar David Ray Griffin of the years-long Osama bin Laden psyop, arguing that bin Laden probably died in December 2001, see his book Osama Bin Laden: Dead or Alive?. For more on media cover-ups of important realities, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
The US National Security Agency spied on civil rights leader Martin Luther King and boxer Muhammad Ali during the height of the Vietnam War protests, declassified documents reveal. The documents show the NSA also tracked journalists from the New York Times and the Washington Post and two senators. Some NSA officials later described the programme as "disreputable if not outright illegal", the documents show. The operation, dubbed "Minaret", was originally exposed in the 1970s. However, the names of those on the phone-tapping "watch list" had been kept secret until now. The secret papers were published after a government panel ruled in favour of researchers at George Washington University. The university's National Security Archive - a research institute that seeks to check government secrecy - described the names on the NSA's watch-list as "eye-popping". The agency eavesdropped on civil rights leaders Martin Luther King and Whitney Young as well as boxing champion Muhammad Ali, New York Times journalist Tom Wicker and Washington Post columnist Art Buchwald. The NSA also monitored the overseas phone calls of two prominent US senators - Democrat Frank Church and Republican Howard Baker. In 1967 the strength of the anti-war campaign led President Lyndon Johnson to ask US intelligence agencies to find out if some protests were being stoked by foreign governments. Many of those targeted were considered to be critics of US involvement in the Vietnam War. The NSA worked with other spy agencies to draw up the "watch lists" of anti-war critics, tapping their phone calls. The programme continued after Richard Nixon entered the White House in 1969.
Note: These names were kept secret until now allegedly for reason of "national security." Note how this term is repeatedly used to cover up illegal government activity solely to protect those who commit these crimes. For more on the hidden realities of intelligence agency operations, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
For almost nine hours starting on Sept. 18, 1980, brave airmen sought to contain the damage precipitated by a dropped wrench socket that hit a Titan II missile -- which was tipped with a W-53 thermonuclear warhead -- in its silo [in Damascus, Arkansas]. The socket pierced the missile’s skin, causing fuel and oxidizer leaks. The ensuing explosion destroyed the silo, propelling missile parts and [the] warhead into abbreviated flight. One airman died from internal wounds while 21 personnel were injured. The W-53 warhead ended up on a nearby roadside -- passed by motorists but fortunately never detonated. Close, but no mushroom cloud. This freakish event is at the core of Eric Schlosser’s new book, Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident and the Illusion of Safety. “The United States has narrowly avoided a long series of nuclear disasters,” he writes. He reveals declassified studies that disclose hundreds of mishaps between 1950 and 1967 and beyond. They include a B-61 hydrogen bomb accidentally dropped 7 feet from a parked B-52 bomber at Carswell Air Force Base when a crewman pulled a handle too hard, and a Mark 6 atomic bomb landing in a Mars Bluff, South Carolina backyard, creating a 35-foot-deep crater and blowing out nearby windows and doors. Schlosser takes Baby Boomers of the “duck and cover” era down a Megaton Memory Lane while providing a vivid primer for the Twitter generation on a world where nuclear weapons were a fact of life to deter a larger-than-life Soviet Union depicted as bent on world domination.
Note: Watch a 16-minute interview with Erik Schlosser showing how close we have come to accidental nuclear explosions. For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing nuclear risk news articles from reliable major media sources.
Israel has 80 nuclear warheads and the potential to double that number, according to a new report by U.S. experts. In the Global Nuclear Weapons Inventories, recently published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, proliferation experts Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris write that Israel stopped production of nuclear warheads in 2004. But the country has enough fissile material for an additional 115 to 190 warheads, according to the report, meaning it could as much as double its arsenal. Previous estimates have been higher but the new figures agree with the 2013 Stockholm International Peace Research Institute yearbook on armament and international security. The yearbook estimated 50 of Israel's nuclear warheads were for medium-range ballistic missiles and 30 were for for bombs carried by aircraft. Although widely assumed a nuclear power, Israel has never acknowledged possessing nuclear weapons or capabilities and continues to maintain its decades-old "strategic ambiguity" policy on the matter, neither confirming nor denying foreign reports on the issue. In 1986, Mordechai Vanunu, an Israeli nuclear technician, leaked the country's alleged nuclear secrets to a British newspaper, and said Israel had at least 100 nuclear weapons. Vanunu was later convicted of espionage and treason and was released from jail in 2004 after serving 17 years. Israel continued to adhere to its vagueness policy after comments made by then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2006 were interpreted by many as an inadvertent confirmation that Israel had nuclear weapons.
Note: For more on government secrecy, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
As the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaches, 12 former CIA, FBI, NSA, and US military officials -- including Time Magazine's 2002 person of the year, Colleen Rowley, and former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, who provided the daily brief for three presidents -- say in an open letter to President Obama that the charge that President Assad used chemical weapons on August 21st is based on false intelligence. If this charge is false, and leads to war in Syria, it would not be the first time US leaders have misled their public into going to war. Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War, admitted in 2003 that America went to war in Vietnam on the false intelligence that North Vietnam had attacked a US destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin. The 9/11 Consensus Panel was formed to deal with another notorious fraudulent pretext for war, the attacks of September 11, 2001, that triggered the "war on terror" and the ongoing military actions in the Middle East. [The] Panel was formed in 2011 to show the public [that] 9/11 was a false flag operation. [It] has thus far produced 37 Consensus Points refuting the official story, five of which are released today. The National Institute of Standards and Technology's report on the collapse of World Trade Center 7 failed [to] produce a [video] simulation replicating the instant straight-down collapse of this 47-story steel-framed skyscraper. The official accounts of telephone calls from the airliners, and the surveillance camera images of the hijackers, do not withstand close scrutiny. Other [new Points concern] seismic evidence of explosions below the towers, and molten metal running below the debris for weeks afterwards.
The influential pro-Israel American Israel Public Affairs Committee [AIPAC] will deploy hundreds of activists next week to win support in Congress for military action in Syria, amid an intense White House effort to convince wavering U.S. lawmakers to vote for limited strikes. Congressional aides said they expected the meetings and calls on Tuesday, as President Barack Obama and officials from his administration make their case for missile strikes over the apparent use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government. The vote on action in Syria is a significant political test for Obama and a major push by AIPAC, considered one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington, could provide a boost. The U.S. Senate is due to vote on a resolution to authorize the use of military force as early as Wednesday. Leaders of the House of Representatives have not yet said when they would vote, beyond saying consideration of an authorization is "possible" sometime this week. Obama has asked Congress to approve strikes against Assad's government in response to a chemical weapons attack on August 21 that killed more than 1,400 Syrians. Pro-Israel groups had largely kept a low profile on Syria as the Obama administration sought to build its case for limited strikes after last month's attack on rebel-held areas outside Damascus. But they had generally wanted the debate to focus on U.S. national security rather than how a decision to attack Syria might help Israel, a reflection of their sensitivity to being seen as rooting for the United States to go to war.
Note: For more on government corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Over decades and diverse administrations, justifications for the use of force - limited and full scale - have constantly revolved around weapons of mass destruction. Protection against them, real and imaginary, has served [as] justification for government excess and a curtailment of our freedoms. We stop everything because it is WMD and we fret about the consequences of both action and inaction because it is WMD. We do so because of a little known and little understood entity that truly drives American national security practices: It's called the Program. Founded in the darkest days of nuclear threat during the Eisenhower administration, the Program began as a limited system given responsibility for survival of the government. The nuclear arms race ended, but the Program never completely went away. And since 9/11, like everything else about national security, its mission and focus have expanded. The Program exists through a system of sealed envelopes - four dozen formal Presidential Emergency Action Documents more secret than anything that has been revealed about the National Security Agency of late, arrangements that instruct a surviving entity of what to do if a nation-destroying calamity befalls Washington or the United States. Because Doomsday is now thought by the experts in government to be any day, and because the potential battlefield is anyplace and every place, the work of the Program, and its power, have dramatically expanded. A survival apparatus operates behind the scenes as if survival is perpetually and instantly at stake.
Note: The author of this analysis, William M. Arkin, has written American Coup: How a Terrified Government is Destroying the Constitution, and is co-author of the best-selling book and newspaper series Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State.
Written by Robert H. Scales, a retired Army general and former commandant of the U.S. Army War College. The tapes tell the tale. Go back and look at images of our nation’s most senior soldier, Gen. Martin Dempsey, and his body language during [the] Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on Syria. It’s pretty obvious that Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, doesn’t want this war. Dempsey’s unspoken words reflect the opinions of most serving military leaders. They are embarrassed to be associated with the amateurism of the Obama administration’s attempts to craft a plan that makes strategic sense. None of the White House staff has any experience in war or understands it. So far, at least, this path to war violates every principle of war, including the element of surprise, achieving mass and having a clearly defined and obtainable objective. Prospective U.S. action in Syria is not about threats to American security. They are outraged by the fact that what may happen is an act of war and a willingness to risk American lives to make up for a slip of the tongue about “red lines.” These acts would be for retribution and to restore the reputation of a president. Our serving professionals make the point that killing more Syrians won’t deter Iranian resolve to confront us. The Iranians have already gotten the message. Our people lament our loneliness. Our senior soldiers take pride in their past commitments to fight alongside allies and within coalitions that shared our strategic goals. This war, however, will be ours alone.
Note: For a two-minute video of four-star general Wesley Clark declaring that Syria was in the crosshairs of the US as early as 2001, click here. For more on why the U.S.'s proposed war of aggression against Syria must be stopped, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
A mere 72 hours after President Obama delivered an encomium honoring the life of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., he announced his intention to pound yet another country with bombs. The oxymoron last week was noteworthy for how little attention it received. Yes, a president memorialized an antiwar activist who derided the U.S. government as "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world." Then that same president quickly proposed yet more violence - this time in Syria. Almost nobody mentioned the contradiction. Even worse, as Congress now debates whether to launch yet another military campaign in the Middle East, the antiwar movement that King represented - and that so vigorously opposed the last war - is largely silent. So what happened to that movement? The shorter answer is: It was a victim of partisanship. That's the conclusion that emerges from a recent study by professors at the University of Michigan and Indiana University. Evaluating surveys of more than 5,300 antiwar protesters from 2007 to 2009, the researchers discovered that the many protesters who self-identified as Democrats "withdrew from antiwar protests when the Democratic Party achieved electoral success" in the 2008 presidential election. The withdrawal occurred even as Obama was escalating the war in Afghanistan and intensifying drone wars in places like Pakistan and Yemen. The researchers thus conclude that during the Bush years, many Democrats were not necessarily motivated to participate in the antiwar movement because they oppose militarism and war - they were instead "motivated to participate by anti-Republican sentiments."
Note: For more on why the proposed war of aggression against Syria must be stopped, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Don't be fooled by terror alerts and dire warnings: the world in general is a safer place than ever. Don't believe me? Check out what Michael Morell, the No. 2 man at the CIA, had to say about the threats facing America in this recent interview with the Wall Street Journal. If anyone knows about foreign threats, it's gotta be this guy, right? He gets to see everything [at the CIA]. The fact is, none of what Morell describes as a threat actually is a significant threat. And while national security elites – from the secretary of defense to prominent think tank denizens like to describe the world today as a "dangerous" place, it simply isn't true. There were six wars last year (just six!). This follows a consistent trend of declining violence that dates back decades. When wars do occur, they pretty much never occur between states. Since the Gulf war of 1991, territorial conquest has gone the way of the dodo. Indeed, when the US fights a major war these days, it is generally because they've started it – with consistently disastrous results. What is most striking about Morell's warnings is, in fact, the stunning hollowness of the threats he describes. If Syria, North Korea and Iran are truly what threaten us, then truly, we have little to fear from the world outside our borders. That this grab-bag of minor threats is used to justify a defense budget in the range of $600bn, an active and reserve force of 1 million troops and a far-flung empire of military bases and partners – not to mention, a rather effective navy and air force, and thousands of nuclear weapons – is astounding. If this is best the CIA can do, they really need to pick up their game. So, rest easy, America. It's not so bad out there.
Note: Read the powerful words of a top US general showing that war is a racket resulting from greed and propaganda put out by banks and major corporations at this link. To watch the BBC's powerful documentary "Power of Nightmares", showing that "Al Qaeda" was likely fabricated and is in fact little more than a US/UK psychological operation to enable the Global War on Terror, click here.
The CIA has been subjecting operatives to monthly polygraph tests in an attempt to suppress details of a reported US arms smuggling operation in Benghazi that was ongoing when its ambassador was killed by a mob in the city last year, according to reports. Up to 35 CIA operatives were working in the city during the attack last September on the US consulate that resulted in the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, according to CNN. The television network said that a CIA team was working in an annex near the consulate on a project to supply missiles from Libyan armouries to Syrian rebels. Sources said that more Americans were hurt in the assault ... than had been previously reported. CIA chiefs were actively working to ensure the real nature of its operations in the city did not get out. So only the losses suffered by the State Department in the city had been reported to Congress. Frank Wolf, a US congressman who represents the district that contains CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, is one of 150 members of Congress for a new investigation into the failures in Benghazi. "I think it is a form of a cover-up, and I think it's an attempt to push it under the rug," he said. "We should have the people who were on the scene come in, testify under oath, do it publicly, and lay it out. And there really isn't any national security issue involved with regards to that."
Note: For more on the hidden realities of intelligence agency operations, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, are in the news constantly, but what about unmanned underwater vehicles? They could also be important in both war and peace, which is why the Defense Department's research arm, DARPA, is looking into a mobile submarine base from which to launch drones. The project, still in the earliest stages, is called "Hydra," after the mythical beast whose heads multiplied upon being cut off. The idea is to create a sort of underwater version of an aircraft carrier. The Hydra, itself an unmanned underwater vehicle, would be stocked with drones of various kinds and capacities: circling overhead, scouting underwater for mines, or listening on the surface.
Note: For more on the US military and police use of drones both abroad and in the US, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
The [UK] Government has issued more than 3,000 export licences for military and intelligence equipment worth a total of Ł12.3bn to countries which are on its own official list for human rights abuses. The existence of one licence to Israel and the Occupied Territories [is] worth Ł7.7bn. The scale and detail of the deals emerged after a forensic investigation by a committee of MPs, who also discovered that strategically controlled items have been sent to Iran, China, Sri Lanka, Russia, Belarus and Zimbabwe – all of which feature prominently on the Foreign Office’s list of states with worrying civil rights records. There are even three existing contracts for Syria, notwithstanding the fact that the UK is sending equipment to rebels fighting the Assad regime and is considering arming them. There are also 57 for Argentina, which is not on the list, but which remains in confrontation with Britain over the Falklands. The Government had stated that it would not issue export licences for goods “which might be used to facilitate internal repression” or “might provoke or prolong regional or internal conflicts”. However, the report by the Committees on Arms Export Controls found there were 62 licences for selling to Iran, ... overwhelmingly cryptographic equipment. This also features heavily in the 271 licences for Russia, along with biotechnology equipment, sniper rifles, laser weapons systems, weapon sights and unmanned air vehicles (drones).
Note: For more on war profiteering, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
While the Obama administration throws its support behind Egypt's military, some members of Congress are looking at withholding some or all of America's annual $1.5 billion aid package if a civilian government isn't quickly restored. The administration insisted ... that it won't withhold funds from Egypt's army after its second takeover of a civilian government in the past 29 months. Most of the money goes to the military under an arrangement U.S. leaders have honored since Egypt's 1979 peace treaty with Israel. Despite rocky relations since the ouster of longtime autocrat and longtime U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, the U.S. has continued to financially support the institution it sees as Egypt's guarantor of stability. Some in Congress say the latest military action should change the calculation because it unseated a democratically elected president. Under current law, however, it's President Barack Obama and his administration who decide whether Morsi's overthrow was a coup, which would trigger automatic suspension of most American support. Four-fifths of the money goes to the military and supports operations that include isolating extremist groups and helping secure Israel's borders.
Note: Why are we giving $1.5 billion to Egypt every year? And why does Israel receive about $3 billion a year from the US when the population of the country is only 8 million? If you do the math, the US is providing the equivalent of nearly $4,000 in aid per year to every man, woman and child in Israel, with 3/4 of that to buy US military hardware. It's almost as if the military-industrial establishment wants these countries to go to war. For lots more reliable information on how the military/industrial complex manipulates world politics to support the war machine, click here and here.
The year following Indonesia's 1965 coup saw the murder of more than a million "communists" (in fact, enemies of the military, including ethnic Chinese, intellectuals, [and] union members). Anwar [Congo], head of a gang of killers called the Frog Squad, dispatched about 1,000 himself. He is the subject of "The Act of Killing", a documentary that invites Anwar and his friends to dramatise their crimes, to boast about their starring roles in a genocide. Director Joshua Oppenheimer began the film a decade ago by interviewing survivors. But when, at the suggestion of one of them, he turned his camera on the perpetrators, he found they were more than eager to reveal the history themselves. The killers simply adapted a story they had been telling each other for decades: that they were the ruling class, so their acts were heroic. For gangsters like Anwar, Oppenheimer was offering the chance to make a "beautiful family film" – a celebration of their rise, inspired by the Hollywood movies they loved. "They're desperately trying to run away from the reality of what they've done," says Oppenheimer, a 38-year-old Harvard graduate now based in Copenhagen. "You celebrate mass killing so you don't have to look yourself in the mirror in the morning and see a murderer. You keep your victims oppressed so that they don't challenge your story. When you put the justification – the celebration – under a microscope, you don't necessarily see a lack of remorse, but you start to see an unravelling of the killers' conscience. So what appears to be the symptom of a lack of remorse is in fact the opposite. It's a sign of their humanity."
Note: The filming of "The Act of Killing" actually helped these mass murderers to feel some remorse for all the pain and suffering they caused. For lots more on this powerful film, click here.
Baha Mousa was tortured to death in September 2003 while in the custody of the British armed forces in Iraq. The subsequent inquiry led to a report, published in September 2011, that leaves no doubt about the ... brutal illegality of the UK's current approach to the detention and interrogation of suspected insurgents. The training of interrogators used in Iraq involved blatant illegality: forced nakedness, screaming foul abuse into detainees' faces, sensory deprivation and [other forms of torture]. The list of unlawful killings is endless. And there are hundreds of Iraqis' cases before British courts in which allegations are made of egregious acts of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. A high court judgment in late May ... involves more than 1,000 Iraqi cases of unlawful killings and acts of torture. It establishes that whenever UK personnel abroad have authority and control over others – and commit what might be acts of unlawful killing and torture – there must be an "inquisitorial process" in public into each case. There must also be public scrutiny of the systemic issues arising from these cases. Take, for example, the case of Huda, an eight-year-old girl in a yellow dress playing with her friends one sunlit morning in Basra. A British rifleman in a tank, apparently perceiving her to be a threat to force security, shot her dead without warning at close range. Before this new judgment, the Ministry of Defence successfully shut the door on any accountability. Under the new system, the commanding officer would have to suspend the soldier and send in the military police to forensically examine the scene, interview witnesses and family, and send the results of a full investigation back to London to be examined independently and publicly.
Note: For more on atrocities committed by the US and UK military forces in their wars of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
What if government officials have written laws that apply only to us and not to them? What if we gave them the power to protect our freedoms and our safety and they used that power to trick and trap some of us? What if government officials broke the laws we hired them to enforce? What if they prosecuted others for breaking the same laws they broke? What if the government enacted a law making it a crime to provide material assistance to terrorist organizations? What if the government looked at that law and claimed it applied to a dentist or a shopkeeper who sold services or goods to a terrorist organization, and not just to financiers and bomb makers? What if the Supreme Court ruled that the law is so broad that it covers backslapping, advocacy and free speech? What if the law is so broad that it punishes ideas and the free expression of those ideas, even if no one is harmed thereby? What if FBI agents pretended to be members of these terrorist organizations and set out to find people in America who were willing to join? What if the FBI arrested the people it found and encouraged just as they were about to leave the U.S. and then charged them with providing material assistance to terrorist organizations? What if the president boasted that in his mind these duped dopes were really terrorists and their arrests kept us all safer? What if offensive wars are illegal and morally wrong? What if killing is evil when not done in self-defense? What if those who kill not in self-defense are prosecuted and punished, except when they do so in large numbers and to the sounds of trumpets blaring? What do we do about a government that breaks the laws we have hired it to enforce?
Note: Andrew P. Napolitano, author of this opinion, is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel. Judge Napolitano has written seven books on the U.S. Constitution. His latest is Theodore and Woodrow: How Two American Presidents Destroyed Constitutional Freedom.
Toward the end of a May 27 article in The Times about President Obama’s speech in which, among other things, he mentioned setting new standards for ordering drone strikes against non-Americans, there was this rather disturbing paragraph: “Even as he set new standards, a debate broke out about what they actually meant and what would actually change. For now, officials said, ‘signature strikes’ targeting groups of unidentified armed men presumed to be extremists will continue in the Pakistani tribal areas.” As Glenn Greenwald has pointed out, those two sentences seem to contradict the entire tenor of Mr. Obama’s speech, and of a letter to Congress from Attorney General Eric Holder. Both men seemed to be saying that the administration would stop using unmanned drones to kill targets merely suspected, due to their location or their actions, of a link to Al Qaeda or another terrorist organization. Those strikes have resulted in untold civilian casualties that have poisoned America’s relationship with Yemen and Pakistan. Mr. Obama talked at some length about civilian casualties, and also said that the need to use drone strikes against “forces that are massing to support attacks on coalition forces” will disappear once American forces withdraw from Afghanistan at the end of 2014. But so what to make of that paragraph in the May 27 article? I asked the White House. What I got in response was part of a background briefing given after the president’s speech that repeated the language about how the need for signature strikes will fade.
Note: Drone strikes often 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 government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The Obama administration acknowledged [on May 22] that it has killed four Americans in overseas counterterrorism operations since 2009, the first time it has publicly taken responsibility for the deaths. Three are known to have died in CIA drone strikes in Yemen in 2011: Anwar al-Awlaki, his 16-year-old son and Samir Khan. The fourth — Jude Kennan Mohammad, a Florida native indicted in North Carolina in 2009 — was killed in Pakistan, where the CIA has operated a drone campaign against terrorism suspects for nearly a decade. His death was previously unreported. In addition to disclosure of the four killings, Holder wrote that Obama has approved classified briefings for Congress on an overall policy document, informally called the “playbook.” The document, more than a year in the making, codifies the administration’s standards and processes for its unprecedented program of targeted killing and capture of terrorism suspects outside of war zones. Nearly 400 drone strikes, in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, have been launched by the CIA and U.S. military forces during Obama’s presidency. According to Holder’s letter, Awlaki was the only U.S. citizen the administration “has specifically targeted and killed.” Two weeks after Awlaki’s death, his 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman — who had gone to the Yemeni desert in search of his father — was killed in a drone strike meant for someone else. That strike was similarly unacknowledged, although a senior administration official privately characterized it as a “mistake.”
Note: So an American citizen, Awlaki's son, was killed by a drone by "mistake"? What happened to the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states no citizen shall "be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law"? For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the atrocities carried out by the US and UK in their global wars of aggression, click here.
International Conscientious Objection Day took place this week, on 15 May, and in the UK, a ceremony was held at the CO Commemorative Stone in Tavistock Square, Bloomsbury. The UK has also recently seen the opening of a new memorial to COs, at The National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. The earliest recorded incidence of conscientious objection was in 296AD, when a Roman refused to serve as a soldier because of his religious beliefs; he was killed, but subsequently canonised as Saint Maximilian. The term 'conscientious objector', however, only gained currency during the First World War, following the implementation of conscription in 1916. In Britain, over 16,000 men refused to fight. While it is well known that many with strong religious beliefs objected, interestingly some war-resisters refused on socialist grounds: they would not fight brother workers, feeling that the average soldier was but a pawn of the ruling classes. Few were given total exemption. Many were forced to join the army or the Non-Combatant Corps (NCC), to serve in a supporting role to the armed forces. Many 'conchies' refused either option, and were sent to prison as a result. The abuses they suffered for their stance make for extremely grim reading, [as] told by David Boulton, in his book Objection Overruled. But word got out about such experiences – and public feeling did move towards respect. It became recognised that to stand up and be counted as someone who would not fight required its own, very high, degree of courage.
Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
On [May 16], the Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing on whether the statutory basis for [the "Global War on Terror"] - the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) - should be revised (meaning: expanded). Asked at a Senate hearing today how long the war on terrorism will last, Michael Sheehan, the assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, answered, 'At least 10 to 20 years.' The military historian Andrew Bacevich has spent years warning that US policy planners have adopted an explicit doctrine of "endless war". Obama officials, despite repeatedly boasting that they have delivered permanently crippling blows to al-Qaida, are now, as clearly as the English language permits, openly declaring this to be so. It is hard to resist the conclusion that this war has no purpose other than its own eternal perpetuation. This war is not a means to any end but rather is the end in itself. The "war on terror" cannot and will not end on its own [because] the nation's most powerful political and economic factions reap a bonanza of benefits from its continuation. The genius of America's endless war machine is that, learning from the unpleasantness of the Vietnam war protests, it has rendered the costs of war largely invisible.
Note: A top US general long ago exposed the corrupt roots of war in his penetrating book War is a Racket. For a concise, two-page summary of this revealing book, click here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the atrocities carried out by the US and UK in their global wars of aggression, click here.
Killer robots that can attack targets without any human input “should not have the power of life and death over human beings,” a new draft U.N. report says. The report for the U.N. Human Rights Commission ... deals with legal and philosophical issues involved in giving robots lethal powers over humans. Report author Christof Heyns, a South African professor of human rights law, calls for a worldwide moratorium on the “testing, production, assembly, transfer, acquisition, deployment and use” of killer robots until an international conference can develop rules for their use. The United States, Britain, Israel, South Korea and Japan have developed various types of fully or semi-autonomous weapons. Heyns focuses on a new generation of weapons that choose their targets and execute them. He calls them “lethal autonomous robotics,” or LARs for short, and says: “Decisions over life and death in armed conflict may require compassion and intuition. Humans — while they are fallible — at least might possess these qualities, whereas robots definitely do not.” The report goes beyond the recent debate over drone killings. Drones do have human oversight. The killer robots are programmed to make autonomous decisions on the spot without orders from humans. “Lethal autonomous robotics (LARs) ... would add a new dimension to this distancing [i.e., the remote control of drones], in that targeting decisions could be taken by the robots themselves. In addition to being physically removed from the kinetic action, humans would also become more detached from decisions to kill - and their execution,” he wrote.
Note: The U.N. draft report is available at this link.
For more than a decade, wads of American dollars packed into suitcases, backpacks and, on occasion, plastic shopping bags have been dropped off every month or so at the offices of Afghanistan’s president — courtesy of the Central Intelligence Agency. All told, tens of millions of dollars have flowed from the C.I.A. to the office of President Hamid Karzai, according to current and former advisers to the Afghan leader. “We called it ‘ghost money,’ ” said Khalil Roman, who served as Mr. Karzai’s deputy chief of staff from 2002 until 2005. “It came in secret, and it left in secret.” The C.I.A. ... has long been known to support some relatives and close aides of Mr. Karzai. But the new accounts of off-the-books cash delivered directly to his office show payments on a vaster scale, and with a far greater impact on everyday governing. Moreover, there is little evidence that the payments bought the influence the C.I.A. sought. Instead, some American officials said, the cash has fueled corruption and empowered warlords, undermining Washington’s exit strategy from Afghanistan. “The biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan,” one American official said, “was the United States.” Now, Mr. Karzai is seeking control over the Afghan militias raised by the C.I.A. to target ... insurgent commanders, potentially upending a critical part of the Obama administration’s plans for fighting militants as conventional military forces pull back this year. But the C.I.A. has continued to pay.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government corruption, click here.
Gray Butte, CA: The General Atomics drone base, way out in the wastelands of the Mojave Desert ... today ranks as possibly the largest private drone base in the United States. General Atomics took the base over in 2001 and converted it into a testing and quality control facility for its drone fleet. This is where the company tests experimental drone technology--like the newfangled stealth bomber jet drone. But mostly the base is where General Atomics techs assemble and test their Predator and Reaper drones before breaking them down again and shipping them to eager customers in the Air Force, Border Patrol, National Guard and the CIA. The Guardian estimated that U.S. armed forces had about 250 General Atomics drones in 2012. And a good number of them first came through Grey Butte. [The] brothers who make them: Linden Stanley and James Neal Blue, the mysterious Blue brothers who own and run General Atomics. General Atomics does not disclose its financial information, but stats gleaned from public data show that they took in just under $5 billion from U.S. taxpayers from 2000 to 2009. Current annual revenue is estimated to between $600 million and $1 billion, with about 80 percent coming from government defense contracts. Today, General Atomics dominates 25% of the UAV market--a market that will only keep getting bigger and bigger.
Note: For lots more excellent background to the Blue brothers and their predator-producing company, read the NY Times article at this link.
A federal judge in Oakland says the government must release the names of Latin American military leaders it has trained at the installation formerly known as the School of the Americas, where protesters say the United States has nurtured some of the hemisphere's worst human rights abusers. The Defense Department facility at Fort Benning, Ga., now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, provides training in combat and counterinsurgency techniques. The U.S. government, starting in 1994, released the names and military units of trainees who had attended the school since 1946. The list contained more than 60,000 names when disclosure was ended by President George W. Bush's administration in 2004. The Obama administration has defended its predecessor's action in court. But U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton ruled ... that members of SOA Watch, which has protested at the school for more than two decades, were entitled to the names under [FOIA]. She said there was no evidence that any trainees had ever been promised anonymity or had been harmed by the pre-2004 practice of public identification. If Hamilton's decision stands, it will restore an important public safeguard, said Judith Liteky of San Francisco, a plaintiff in the suit and a participant in the protest movement since 1990. Liteky's husband, Charlie Liteky, was awarded the Medal of Honor as an Army chaplain in Vietnam and has served two jail sentences for protests at the Georgia school. Judith Liteky described the school as "an affront to our democracy," saying the opposition movement has compiled more than 500 names of human rights abusers among the graduates.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government corruption, click here.
A dozen years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, an independent, nonpartisan panel’s examination of the interrogation and detention programs carried out in their aftermath by the Bush administration ... provides a valuable, even necessary reckoning. The work of the [11-member task force convened by the Constitution Project, a legal research and advocacy group] is informed by interviews with dozens of former American and foreign officials, as well as with former prisoners. It is the fullest independent effort so far to assess the treatment of detainees at Guantánamo Bay, in Afghanistan and Iraq, and at the C.I.A.’s secret prisons. The report’s authoritative conclusion that “the United States engaged in the practice of torture” is impossible to dismiss. The report found that those methods violated international legal obligations with “no firm or persuasive evidence” that they produced valuable information that could not have been obtained by other means. The task force found that using torture — like waterboarding, slamming prisoners into walls, and chaining them in uncomfortable stress position for hours — had “no justification”. And in engineering “enforced disappearances” and secret detentions, the United States violated its international treaty obligations. As the panel notes, there never was before “the kind of considered and detailed discussions that occurred after 9/11 directly involving a president and his top advisers on the wisdom, propriety and legality of inflicting pain and torment on some detainees in our custody.”
Note: For another informative article on this from the Times, click here.
I’ve been detained at Guantánamo for 11 years and three months. I have never been charged with any crime. I have never received a trial. Last month, on March 15, I was sick in the prison hospital and refused to be fed. A team from the E.R.F. (Extreme Reaction Force), a squad of eight military police officers in riot gear, burst in. They tied my hands and feet to the bed. They forcibly inserted an IV into my hand. I spent 26 hours in this state, tied to the bed. During this time I was not permitted to go to the toilet. They inserted a catheter, which was painful, degrading and unnecessary. I was not even permitted to pray. I will never forget the first time they passed the feeding tube up my nose. I can’t describe how painful it is to be force-fed this way. As it was thrust in, it made me feel like throwing up. I wanted to vomit, but I couldn’t. There was agony in my chest, throat and stomach. I had never experienced such pain before. I would not wish this cruel punishment upon anyone. I am still being force-fed. Two times a day they tie me to a chair in my cell. My arms, legs and head are strapped down. When they come to force me into the chair, if I refuse to be tied up, they call the E.R.F. team. So I have a choice. Either I can exercise my right to protest my detention, and be beaten up, or I can submit to painful force-feeding. The only reason I am still here is that President Obama refuses to send any detainees back to Yemen. This makes no sense. I am a human being ... and I deserve to be treated like one.
Note: Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, has been a prisoner at Guantánamo Bay since 2002. For an illuminating analysis of this situation by the Washington Post, click here.
For years, senior Obama officials, including the president himself, have been making public claims about their drone program that have just been proven to be categorically false. McClatchy's national security reporter, Jonathan Landay, obtained top-secret intelligence documents showing that "contrary to assurances it has deployed US drones only against known senior leaders of al-Qaida and allied groups, the Obama administration has targeted and killed hundreds of suspected lower-level Afghan, Pakistani and unidentified 'other' militants in scores of strikes in Pakistan's rugged tribal area." That article quotes drone expert Micah Zenko of the Council on Foreign Relations as saying that "McClatchy's findings indicate that the administration is 'misleading the public about the scope of who can legitimately be targeted.'" In his own must-read article at Foreign Policy about these disclosures, Zenko writes - under the headline: "Finally, proof that the United States has lied in the drone wars" - that "it turns out that the Obama administration has not been honest about who the CIA has been targeting with drones in Pakistan" and that the McClatchy article "plainly demonstrates that the claim repeatedly made by President Obama and his senior aides - that targeted killings are limited only to officials, members, and affiliates of al-Qaida who pose an imminent threat of attack on the US homeland - is false." Zenko explains that these now-disproven claims may very well make the drone strikes illegal since assertions about who is being targeted were "essential to the legal foundations on which the strikes are ultimately based."
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the lies and crimes committed by the US and UK in their global wars of aggression, click here.
The U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved the first international treaty regulating the multibillion-dollar global arms trade [on April 2], after a more than decade-long campaign. The final vote: 154 in favor, 3 against and 23 abstentions. "This is a victory for the world's people," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. "The Arms Trade Treaty will make it more difficult for deadly weapons to be diverted into the illicit market. ... It will be a powerful new tool in our efforts to prevent grave human rights abuses or violations of international humanitarian law." Never before has there been a treaty regulating the global arms trade, which is estimated to be worth $60 billion. Frank Jannuzi, deputy executive director of Amnesty International USA [said,] "The voices of reason triumphed over skeptics, treaty opponents and dealers in death to establish a revolutionary treaty that constitutes a major step toward keeping assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons out of the hands of despots and warlords who use them to kill and maim civilians, recruit child soldiers and commit other serious abuses." What impact the treaty will actually have remains to be seen. It will take effect 90 days after 50 countries ratify it, and a lot will depend on which ones ratify and which ones don't, and how stringently it is implemented. As for its chances of being ratified by the U.S., the powerful National Rifle Association has vehemently opposed it, and it is likely to face stiff resistance from conservatives in the Senate, where it needs two-thirds to win ratification.
Blistering charges of misplaced power and a morally bankrupt culture in the nation’s “military-industrial complex” are rarely leveled by one of the defense establishment’s own. But that is exactly what ... Gregory D. Foster, a former Army officer and West Point graduate who now teaches national security studies at the National Defense University in Washington [did] when he went after the top brass, political leaders, and defense company executives [at a recent defense budget conference]. He accused them of allowing the nearly sacrosanct principle of civilian control of the military—an early building block of American democracy—to be turned on its head. How? By virtually never questioning the key assumptions of military planning and allowing a largely unchecked, destructive and highly militarized foreign policy to pose as a “properly subordinated military industrial complex.” [Foster said] “This is what I call civilian subjugation to the military. We face it in this administration, we faced it in the Clinton administration...we faced it in the Bush administration.” It all makes for a national security establishment, in Foster’s view, that perpetuates an approach to the world that is overly confrontational, lacks critical thinking about long term objectives, and even undercuts the strategic aims of democracy. For example, he said the accepted orthodoxy of never-ending global threats and the necessity to confront them militarily makes it nearly impossible to fashion a national security strategy that puts real security, crisis prevention, and the preservation of civil society ahead of institutional bias and private profit.
Note: For a penetrating analysis by a great general of the real purposes served by continuous war, click here.
Declassified tapes of President Lyndon Johnson's telephone calls provide a fresh insight into his world. Among the revelations - he caught Richard Nixon sabotaging the Vietnam peace talks... but said nothing. By the time of the election in November 1968, LBJ had evidence Nixon had sabotaged the Vietnam war peace talks - or, as he put it, that Nixon was guilty of treason and had "blood on his hands". Now, for the first time, the whole story can be told. It begins in the summer of 1968. Nixon feared a breakthrough at the Paris Peace talks designed to find a negotiated settlement to the Vietnam war, and he knew this would derail his campaign. He therefore set up a clandestine back-channel involving Anna Chennault, a senior campaign adviser. At a July meeting in Nixon's New York apartment, the South Vietnamese ambassador was told Chennault represented Nixon and spoke for the campaign. If any message needed to be passed to the South Vietnamese president, Nguyen Van Thieu, it would come via Chennault. In late October 1968 there were major concessions from Hanoi which promised to allow meaningful talks to get underway in Paris - concessions that would justify Johnson calling for a complete bombing halt of North Vietnam. This was exactly what Nixon feared. Chennault was despatched to the South Vietnamese embassy with a clear message: the South Vietnamese government should withdraw from the talks, refuse to deal with Johnson, and if Nixon was elected, they would get a much better deal. So on the eve of his planned announcement of a halt to the bombing, Johnson learned the South Vietnamese were pulling out.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government corruption, click here.
The head of a UN team investigating US drone strikes in Pakistan has said that Islamabad does not consent to them and sees them as a territorial violation. American officials say privately that co-operation with Pakistan has not ended altogether - despite a cooling of relations - and key Pakistani military officers and civilian politicians continue to support the strikes. It is estimated that between 2004 and 2013, CIA drone attacks in Pakistan killed up to 3,460 people. About 890 of them were civilians and the vast majority of strikes were carried out under the President Barack Obama's administration. "The position of the government of Pakistan is quite clear," Mr Emmerson said on Friday. "It does not consent to the use of drones by the United States on its territory and it considers this to be a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty and territorial integrity." The drone campaign "involves the use of force on the territory of another state without its consent", he said. Furthermore Pakistan believes that drone strikes are radicalising a new generation of militants, he said, when it was capable of fighting Islamist extremists in the country by itself. The UN special rapporteur said that as a matter of international law, drone strikes were only lawful if they took place at the express request of the country concerned.
Note: Why are these drone strikes allowed to continue when Pakistan clear opposes them and when there is not doubt many civilians are killed? For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government corruption, click here.
A federal appeals court said [on March 15] that it will no longer accept the “fiction” from the Obama administration’s lawyers that the CIA has no interest in or documents that describe drone strikes. “It is neither logical nor plausible for the CIA to maintain that it would reveal anything not already in the public domain to say the Agency at least has an intelligence interest in such strikes,” said Chief Judge Merrick Garland. “The defendant is, after all, the Central Intelligence Agency.” The decision gave a partial victory to the American Civil Liberties Union in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that seeks documents on the government’s still-secret policy on drone strikes. The three judges ... rejected the administration’s position that it could simply refuse to “confirm or deny” that it had any such documents. A federal judge had rejected the ACLU’s suit entirely, but the three-judge appeals court revived the suit. The agency’s non-response does not pass the “straight face” test, Garland concluded. He cited public statements from President Obama, new CIA Director John Brennan and former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that discussed the use of drone strikes abroad. “In this case, the CIA has asked the courts ... to give their imprimatur to a fiction of deniability that no reasonable person would regard as plausible,” Garland wrote in ACLU vs. CIA. ACLU attorney Jameel Jaffer called the decision a victory. “It requires the government to retire the absurd claim that the CIA’s interest in targeted killing is a secret,” he said. “It also means that the CIA will have to explain what records it is withholding and on what grounds it is withholding them."
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the lies required to sustain the illegal US/UK wars of aggression in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, click here.
Last month a three-year-long federal prosecution of Blackwater collapsed. The government’s 15-felony indictment—on such charges as conspiring to hide purchases of automatic rifles and other weapons from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives—could have led to years of jail time for Blackwater personnel. In the end, however, the government got only misdemeanor guilty pleas by two former executives, each of whom were sentenced to four months of house arrest, three years’ probation, and a fine of $5,000. Prosecutors dropped charges against three other executives named in the suit and abandoned the felony charges altogether. But the most noteworthy thing about the largely failed prosecution wasn’t the outcome. It was the tens of thousands of pages of documents—some declassified—that the litigation left in its wake. These documents illuminate Blackwater’s defense strategy: to defeat the charges it was facing, Blackwater built a case not only that it worked with the CIA—which was already widely known—but that it was in many ways an extension of the agency itself. [CEO Erik] Prince [said] recently, “Blackwater’s work with the CIA began when we provided specialized instructors and facilities that the Agency lacked. In the years that followed, the company became a virtual extension of the CIA because we were asked time and again to carry out dangerous missions, which the Agency either could not or would not do in-house.”
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the growing privatization of intelligence agency functions, click here.
When the US invaded Iraq in March 2003, the Bush administration estimated that it would cost $50-60bn to overthrow Saddam Hussein and establish a functioning government. This estimate was catastrophically wrong: the war in Iraq has cost $823.2bn between 2003 and 2011. Some estimates suggest that it may eventually cost as much as $3.7tn when ... the long-term costs of caring for the wounded and the families of those killed [are factored in]. The most striking fact about the cost of the war in Iraq has been the extent to which it has been kept "off the books" of the government's ledgers and hidden from the American people. This was done by design. The most obvious way in which the true cost of this war was kept hidden was with the use of supplemental appropriations to fund the occupation. By one estimate, 70% of the costs of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2003 and 2008 were funded with supplemental or emergency appropriations approved outside the Pentagon's annual budget. With the Iraq war treated as an "off the books" expense, the Pentagon was allowed to keep spending on high-end military equipment and cutting-edge technology. The Bush administration masked the cost of the war with deficit spending to ensure that the American people would not face up to its costs while President Bush was in office. [It] encouraged the American people to keep spending and "enjoy life", while the government paid for the occupation of Iraq on a credit card they hoped never to have to repay.
Commencing immediately upon the 9/11 attack, the US government ... has spent 12 straight years inventing and implementing new theories of government power in the name of Terrorism. Every year since 9/11 has ushered in increased authorities of exactly the type Americans are inculcated to believe only exist in those other, non-free societies: ubiquitous surveillance, impenetrable secrecy, and the power to imprison and even kill without charges or due process. The Obama administration has already exercised the power to target even its own citizens for execution far from any battlefield. [This] has prompted almost no institutional resistance from the structures designed to check executive abuses: courts, the media, and Congress. Last week's 13-hour filibuster of John Brennan's confirmation as CIA director by GOP Sen. Rand Paul was one of the first ... Congressional efforts to dramatize and oppose just how radical these Terrorism-justified powers have become. For the first time since the 9/11 attack, even lowly cable news shows were forced ... to extensively discuss the government's extremist theories of power. All of this put Democrats ... in a very uncomfortable position. The politician who took such a unique stand in defense of these principles was not merely a Republican but a leading member of its dreaded Tea Party wing. Some Democrats, to their credit, publicly supported Paul. But most Democratic Senators ran away as fast as possible from having anything to do with the debate. Paul was doing nothing more than voicing concerns that have long been voiced by leading civil liberties groups such as the ACLU. But almost without exception, progressives who defend Obama's Terrorism policies steadfastly ignore the fact that they are embracing policies that are vehemently denounced by the ACLU.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the loss of civil liberties in the US, click here.
With debate intensifying in the United States over the use of drone aircraft, the U.S. military said ... that it had removed data about air strikes carried out by unmanned planes in Afghanistan from its monthly air power summaries. U.S. President Barack Obama's administration has increasingly used drones to target against ... militants overseas. The debate was intensified by Obama's decision to nominate his chief counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan, an architect of the drone campaign, as the new director of the CIA. Brennan was sworn into office on [March 8] following a protracted confirmation battle that saw Senator Rand Paul attempt to block a vote on the nomination with a technical maneuver called a filibuster, in which he tried to prevent a vote by talking continuously. Paul held the Senate floor for more than 12 hours while talking mainly about drones, expressing concern that Obama's administration might use the aircraft to target U.S. citizens on home soil.
Note: For a disturbing report on the massive expansion of drones over US skies, click here.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is filibustering the nomination of John Brennan to be director of the CIA, delivering a protracted speech on the Senate floor in protest of the Obama administration's controversial drone program, of which Brennan has been a key architect. Paul, speaking during the debate surrounding Brennan's nomination on the Senate floor, said he would "speak until I can no longer speak" in order to get his point across. "I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court," he said. Yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder clarified to Paul in a letter that the U.S. drone policy does authorize the use of military force on against Americans on U.S. soil in cases of "extraordinary circumstance." Paul, a longstanding opponent of the administration's controversial targeted killing policy, expressed his outrage in a statement following his receipt of the letter and continued that tirade on the floor today. "That Americans could be killed in a cafe in San Francisco or in a restaurant in Houston or at their home in bowling green, Kentucky, is an abomination," Paul said. "I object to people becoming so fearful they gradually give up their rights."
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the loss of civil liberties in the US, click here.
The Pentagon sent a US veteran of the "dirty wars" in Central America to oversee sectarian police commando units in Iraq that set up secret detention and torture centres to get information from insurgents. These units conducted some of the worst acts of torture during the US occupation and accelerated the country's descent into full-scale civil war. Colonel James Steele was a 58-year-old retired special forces veteran when he was nominated by Donald Rumsfeld to help organise the paramilitaries in an attempt to quell a Sunni insurgency. After the Pentagon lifted a ban on Shia militias joining the security forces, the Special Police Commando (SPC) membership was increasingly drawn from ... Shia groups such as the Badr brigades. A second special adviser, retired Colonel James H Coffman, worked alongside Steele in detention centres that were set up with millions of dollars of US funding. Coffman reported directly to General David Petraeus, sent to Iraq in June 2004 to organise and train the new Iraqi security forces. Steele, who was in Iraq from 2003 to 2005, and returned to the country in 2006, reported directly to Rumsfeld. The allegations, made by US and Iraqi witnesses in the Guardian/BBC documentary ["James Steele: America's Mystery Man in Iraq"], implicate US advisers for the first time in the human rights abuses committed by the commandos. It is also the first time that Petraeus – who last November was forced to resign as director of the CIA after a sex scandal – has been linked through an adviser to this abuse.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on war crimes committed by the US and UK in their post-9/11 wars of aggression, click here.
Attorney General Eric Holder has said in a letter to Sen. Rand Paul that the president could in an "entirely hypothetical" situation authorize the military to use lethal force within U.S. territory. The letter to Paul came in response to three inquiries the Kentucky Republican sent to John Brennan, President Obama's nominee for CIA director. Paul's letters asked if it was legal for the U.S. government to use lethal force, including in the form of drone strikes, on Americans inside the country. Here's Holder's response, in part: "As members of this Administration have previously indicated, the U.S. government has not carried out drone strikes in the United States and has no intention of doing so. The question you have posed is therefore entirely hypothetical, unlikely to occur, and one we hope no President will ever have to confront. It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States. For example, the President could conceivably have no choice but to authorize the military to use such force if necessary to protect the homeland in the circumstances of a catastrophic attack like the ones suffered on December 7, 1941, and September 11, 2001."
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the loss of civil liberties in the US, click here.
Researchers have cataloged some 42,500 Nazi ghettos and camps throughout Europe, spanning German-controlled areas from France to Russia and Germany itself, during Hitler’s reign of brutality from 1933 to 1945. The documented camps include not only “killing centers” but also thousands of forced labor camps, where prisoners manufactured war supplies; prisoner-of-war camps; sites euphemistically named “care” centers, where pregnant women were forced to have abortions or their babies were killed after birth; and brothels, where women were coerced into having sex with German military personnel. Auschwitz and a handful of other concentration camps have come to symbolize the Nazi killing machine in the public consciousness. Likewise, the Nazi system for imprisoning Jewish families in hometown ghettos has become associated with a single site — the Warsaw Ghetto, famous for the 1943 uprising. But these sites, infamous though they are, represent only a minuscule fraction of the entire German network, the new research makes painfully clear. The maps the researchers have created to identify the camps and ghettos turn wide sections of wartime Europe into black clusters of death, torture and slavery — centered in Germany and Poland, but reaching in all directions. The lead editors on the project, Geoffrey Megargee and Martin Dean, estimate that 15 million to 20 million people died or were imprisoned in the sites that they have identified as part of a multivolume encyclopedia.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on crimes committed in wars of aggression, click here.
Bradley Manning has confessed in open court to providing vast archives of military and diplomatic files to the antisecrecy group WikiLeaks, saying he wanted the information to become public "to make the world a better place". Appearing before a military judge for more than an hour on [Feb. 28], Private Manning read a statement recounting how he joined the military, became an intelligence analyst in Iraq, decided that certain documents should become known to the American public to prompt a wider debate about the Iraq War, and ultimately uploaded them to WikiLeaks. Before reading the statement, he pleaded guilty to 10 criminal counts in connection with the leak, which included videos of airstrikes in Iraq and Afghanistan in which civilians were killed, logs of military incident reports, assessment files of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and 250,000 diplomatic cables. The guilty pleas exposed him to up to 20 years in prison. But the case against the slightly built, bespectacled 25-year-old – who has become a folk hero among antiwar and whistleblower advocacy groups – is not over. In a riveting personal history, Private Manning portrayed himself as thinking carefully about the categories of information he was divulging, excluding the sort that would harm the United States. He said he was initially concerned about diplomatic cables in particular, but after doing research learned that the most sensitive ones were not placed into the database to which he had access, and he concluded that those might prove "embarrassing" but would not cause harm.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on crimes committed in wars of aggression, click here.
The Government has secretly ramped up a controversial programme that strips people of their British citizenship on national security grounds – with two of the men subsequently killed by American drone attacks. Since 2010, the Home Secretary, Theresa May, has revoked the passports of 16 individuals, many of whom are alleged to have had links to militant or terrorist groups. Critics of the programme warn that it allows ministers to “wash their hands” of British nationals suspected of terrorism who could be subject to torture and illegal detention abroad. They add that it also allows those stripped of their citizenship to be killed or “rendered” without any onus on the British Government to intervene. At least five of those deprived of their UK nationality ... were born in Britain, and one man had lived in the country for almost 50 years. Those affected have their passports cancelled, and lose their right to enter the UK – making it very difficult to appeal. The leading human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce said the present situation “smacked of mediaeval exile, just as cruel and just as arbitrary”. Ian Macdonald QC, the president of the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association, described the citizenship orders as “sinister”. “It’s not open government; it’s closed, and it needs to be exposed.” Government officials act when people are out of the country – on two occasions while on holiday – before cancelling passports and revoking citizenships.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on crimes committed in wars of aggression, click here.
If Bradley Manning did what he is accused of doing, then he is a consummate hero, and deserves a medal and our collective gratitude, not decades in prison. At his court-martial proceeding [today] in Fort Meade, Manning ... pleaded guilty to having been the source of the most significant leaks to WikiLeaks. He also pleaded not guilty to 12 of the 22 counts, including the most serious - the capital offense of "aiding and abetting the enemy", which could send him to prison for life - on the ground that nothing he did was intended to nor did it result in harm to US national security. The US government will now almost certainly proceed with its attempt to prosecute him on those remaining counts. Spencer Ackerman was there and reported: "Manning's motivation in leaking, he said, was to 'spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and foreign policy in general', he said, and 'cause society to reevaluate the need and even desire to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore their effect on people who live in that environment every day.' Manning is absolutely right when he said today that the documents he leaked "are some of the most significant documents of our time". They revealed a multitude of previously secret crimes and acts of deceit and corruption by the world's most powerful factions. Journalists and even some government officials have repeatedly concluded that any actual national security harm from his leaks is minimal if it exists at all. To this day, the documents Manning just admitted having leaked play a prominent role in the ability of journalists around the world to inform their readers about vital events.
It has been 10 long years since "Shock and Awe" – the opening bombardment of Baghdad – lit up the skies above the Tigris. Have we learned the lessons of that disastrous period? And what were those lessons? For nearly a year prior to the invasion, President Bush and his administration peppered the airwaves with serious accusations against Saddam Hussein. The intelligence supporting the claims was either not believed, or was highly disputed, by the experts. As a covert CIA operations officer working frantically in the months before the war to find and verify hard intelligence about Iraq's presumed WMD program, Valerie [Plame] was keenly interested in watching Secretary of State Colin Powell address the United Nations on 6 February 2003. As [she] watched the speech unfold on TV from CIA headquarters that morning, she experienced what can only be described as "cognitive dissonance". It became clear, as Powell laid out the case for war ... that his robust claims about the state of Iraqi WMD simply did not match the intelligence which she had worked on daily for months. Powell's claim from a discredited defector code-named "Curveball" on Iraq's biological weapons capability was particularly alarming. Valerie knew that "Curveball" had been deemed a "fabricator" by the agency, meaning that none of his intelligence could be believed. The implications suddenly become obvious: we were watching a kabuki play and the outcome was predetermined. The Bush administration was determined to go to war, however bad the intelligence, and not even Secretary of State Powell was going to stand in the way.
The Justice Department "white paper" purporting to authorize Obama's power to extrajudicially execute US citizens was leaked three weeks ago. Since then, the administration - including the president himself and his nominee to lead the CIA, John Brennan - has been repeatedly asked whether this authority extends to US soil, i.e., whether the president has the right to execute US citizens on US soil without charges. In each instance, they have refused to answer. Brennan has been asked the question several times as part of his confirmation process. Each time, he simply pretends that the question has not been asked, opting instead to address a completely different issue. It's really worth pausing to remind ourselves of how truly radical and just plainly unbelievable this all is. What's more extraordinary: that the US Senate is repeatedly asking the Obama White House whether the president has the power to secretly order US citizens on US soil executed without charges or due process, or whether the president and his administration refuse to answer? That this is the "controversy" surrounding the confirmation of the CIA director - and it's a very muted controversy at that - shows just how extreme the degradation of US political culture is.
Note: For a revealing 27-minute documentary on drones which operate in swarms and pose serious ethical questions in both peace and war, click here.
Drone war proponents are facing inconvenient truths. This month, for instance, they are facing a new United Nations report showing that President Obama's escalation of the Afghanistan War - in part by an escalation in drone air strikes - is killing hundreds of children "due notably to reported lack of precautionary measures and indiscriminate use of force." Drone-war cheerleaders will no doubt find this news difficult to explain away. Sen. Angus King [justified] the drone war earlier this month. "Drones are a lot more civilized than what we used to do," he told a cable television audience. "I think it's actually a more humane weapon because it can be targeted to specific enemies and specific people." Designed to obscure mounting civilian casualties, King's phrase "humane weapon" is the crux of the larger argument. The idea is that an intensifying drone war is necessary - and even humane! - because it is more surgical than violent global ground war, which is supposedly America's only other option. In a country whose culture so often (wrongly) portrays bloodshed as the most effective problem solver, many Americans hear this now-ubiquitous drone-war argument and reflexively agree with its suppositions. By deliberately ignoring any other less violent option, drone-war proponents who employ choice-narrowing language are ... precluding America from making more prudent, informed and dispassionate national security decisions - the kind that might stop us from repeating the worst mistakes of our own history.
Note: For a revealing 27-minute documentary on drones which operate in swarms and pose serious ethical questions in both peace and war, click here.
NBC News National Investigative Correspondent Michael Isikoff co-authored the best-selling book Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War with David Corn. Their book is the basis for the new MSNBC documentary, "Hubris: Selling the Iraq War". The reporting ... at a time when the movie "Zero Dark Thirty" has drawn attention to the issue, shows viewers the role that torture played in intelligence-gathering after 9/11. The real-life role of torture in pre-Iraq war intelligence, which is reported in Hubris, has far scarier implications than the Hollywood version. MSNBC: What was the single most shocking thing you discovered? [Isikoff:] I still find the Ibn Shaykh al-Libi story ... the most shocking of all. At first, he’s questioned by the FBI–then “rendered” by the CIA in early 2002 to Egypt, where he was subjected to torture: beatings [and] a mock burial. He suddenly coughed up a story–that Iraq was training al-Qaida members in chemical and biological weapons–that nobody in the U.S. intelligence community really believed. The CIA internally even wrote an assessment concluding that al-Libi was likely fabricating much of what he told the Egyptians. Yet suddenly in September 2002, the White House starts using the claim that Iraq is training al-Qaida in “poisons and gases”–a claim based entirely on al-Libi. After the war, al-Libi is returned to U.S. custody and recants the whole thing, saying he made it up because the Egyptians were torturing him. Anybody who saw "Zero Dark Thirty" and thinks it vindicates waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques” should watch "Hubris".
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on torture and other war crimes committed by the US, click here.
The newly disclosed “white paper” offering a legal reasoning behind the claim that President Obama has the power to order the killing of American citizens ... coyly describes another, classified document ... that actually provided the legal justification for ordering the killing of American citizens. That document still has not been provided to Congress, despite repeated demands from lawmakers. According to the white paper, the Constitution and the Congressional authorization for the use of force after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, gave Mr. Obama the right to kill any American citizen that an “informed, high-level official” decides is a “senior operational leader of Al Qaeda or an associated force” and presents an “imminent threat of violent attack.” It never tries to define what an “informed, high-level official” might be, and the authors of the memo seem to have redefined the word “imminent” in a way that diverges sharply from its customary meaning. It takes the position that the only “oversight” needed for such a decision resides within the executive branch, and there is no need to explain the judgment to Congress, the courts or the public — or, indeed, to even acknowledge that the killing took place. The paper argues that judges and Congress don’t have the right to rule on or interfere with decisions made in the heat of combat. The white paper “is a confusing blend of self-defense and law of war concepts” said Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies. “Its due process analysis is especially weak.”
Note: To read the entire 'white paper' on drone strikes on Americans, click here. For a more detailed analysis by a distinguished lawyer, click here. What this means is that if the president doesn't like someone and deems him an imminent threat, he can have that person killed and legally keep it all a secret. Is America drifting towards a police state?
[The] New York Times and Washington Post ... are facing accusations of complicity after it emerged that they bowed to pressure from the Obama administration not to disclose the existence of a secret drone base in Saudi Arabia despite knowing about it for a year. Amid renewed scrutiny over the Obama administration's secrecy over its targeted killing programme, media analysts and national security experts said the revelation that some newspapers had co-operated over the drone base had reopened the debate over the balance between freedom of information and national security. One expert described the initial decision not to publish the base's location as "shameful and craven". Dr Jack Lule, a professor of journalism and communication at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, said that the national security implications did not merit holding on to the story. "The decision not to publish is a shameful one. The national security standard has to be very high, perhaps imminent danger," he said. The Obama administration has resisted any effort to open up its targeted killing programme to public scrutiny. The White House legal advice on the assassinations program, including the killing of a US citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, has been withheld from the public and Congress, despite repeated requests to make it public. Lule said that in not publishing the location of the base when it had the information, the newspaper had failed in its responsibility to the public. "It happened at the top ranks of the media, too. They should have been leading the pack in calling for less secrecy. For them to give up that post is terrible."
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on major media coverups, click here.
The full extent of the CIA's extraordinary rendition programme has been laid bare with the publication of a report showing there is evidence that more than a quarter of the world's governments covertly offered support. A 213-page report compiled by the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), a New York-based human rights organisation, says that at least 54 countries co-operated with the global kidnap, detention and torture operation that was mounted after 9/11, many of them in Europe. So widespread and extensive was the participation of governments across the world that it is now clear the CIA could not have operated its programme without their support, according to the OSJI. "Responsibility for these violations does not end with the United States. Secret detention and extraordinary rendition operations, designed to be conducted outside the United States under cover of secrecy, could not have been implemented without the active participation of foreign governments. These governments too must be held accountable." The states identified by the OSJI include those such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt and Jordan where the existence of secret prisons and the use of torture has been well documented for many years. But the OSJI's rendition list also includes states such as Ireland, Iceland and Cyprus, which are accused of granting covert support for the programme by permitting the use of airspace and airports by aircraft involved in rendition flights. Iran and Syria are identified by the OSJI as having participated in the rendition programme.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the illegal operations that comprise the 'global war on terror', click here.
A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” -- even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S. The 16-page memo ... provides new details about the legal reasoning behind one of the Obama administration’s most secretive and controversial polices: its dramatically increased use of drone strikes against al-Qaida suspects abroad, including those aimed at American citizens. In March, Attorney General Eric Holder specifically endorsed the constitutionality of targeted killings of Americans, saying they could be justified if government officials determine the target poses “an imminent threat of violent attack.” But the confidential Justice Department “white paper” introduces a ... “broader concept of imminence” than actual intelligence about any ongoing plot against the U.S. homeland. “The condition that an operational leader present an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future,” the memo states. Instead, it says, an “informed, high-level” official of the U.S. government may determine that the targeted American has been “recently” involved in “activities” posing a threat of a violent attack and “there is no evidence suggesting that he has renounced or abandoned such activities.” The memo does not define “recently” or “activities.”
The president has a clandestine network targeting a 'kill list' justified by secret laws. How is that different than a death squad? The film Dirty Wars, which premiered at Sundance ... tracks the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), a network of highly-trained, completely unaccountable US assassins, armed with ever-expanding "kill lists". [Narrator Jeremy] Scahill and [director Rick] Rowley track this new model of US warfare that strikes at civilians and insurgents alike – in 70 countries. They interview former JSOC assassins, who are shell-shocked at how the "kill lists" they are given keep expanding, even as they eliminate more and more people. Our conventional forces are subject to international laws of war: they are accountable for crimes in courts martial; and they run according to a clear chain of command. As much as the US military may fall short of these standards at times, it is a model of lawfulness compared with JSOC, which has far greater scope to undertake the commission of extra-legal operations – and unimaginable crimes. JSOC morphs the secretive, unaccountable mercenary model of private military contracting, which Scahill identified in Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army, into a hybrid with the firepower and intelligence backup of our full state resources. JSOC operates outside the traditional chain of command; it reports directly to the president of the United States. What does it means for the president to have an unaccountable paramilitary force, which can assassinate anyone anywhere in the world?
Note: For more on JSOC, click here.
Four years into his presidency, President Obama's political formula should be obvious. He gives fabulous speeches teeming with popular liberal ideas, often refuses to take the actions necessary to realize those ideas and then banks on most voters, activists, reporters and pundits never bothering to notice - or care about - his sleight of hand. Never was this formula more apparent than when the president discussed military conflicts during his second inaugural address. Declaring that "a decade of war is now ending," he insisted that he "still believe(s) that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war." Few seemed to notice that the words came from the same president who is manufacturing a state of "perpetual war." Obama, let's remember, is the president who escalated the Afghanistan War and whose spokesman recently reiterated that U.S. troops are not necessarily leaving that country anytime soon. He is the president who has initiated undeclared wars in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya. Just days before Obama's inaugural address declaring an end to war, the Washington Post reported that the administration's new manual establishing "clear rules" for counterterrorism operations specifically creates a "carve-out (that) would allow the CIA to continue" the president's intensifying drone war. That's the "perpetual war," you'll recall, in which Obama asserts the extra-constitutional right to compile a "kill list" and then order bombing raids of civilian areas in hopes of killing alleged militants - including U.S. citizens.
Note: Could it be that the military-industrial complex has significantly more power than the president? For powerful evidence of this from a high-ranking US general, click here.
In December 2010, the hacktivist collective Anonymous voiced their displeasure with PayPal, over that company's part in the banking blockade of Wikileaks. A reported 10,000 protesters around the world took to the internet with a protest method known as DDoS (distributed denial of service) – the functional equivalent of repeatedly hitting the refresh button on a computer. With enough people refreshing enough times, the site is flooded with traffic, slowed, or even temporarily knocked offline. No damage is done to the site or its backing computer system; and when the protest is over, the site resumes business as usual. This is not "hacking". It is protest, and it is speech. Or it was … until the United States government decided to serve 42 warrants and indict 14 protesters. While protest charges have typically been seen as tantamount to nuisance crimes, like trespassing or loitering, these were different. The 14 PayPal defendants, some of whom were teenagers when the protest occurred, find themselves looking at 15 years in federal prison – for exercising their free speech rights; for redressing their grievances to PayPal, a major corporation; for standing up for what they believed was right. Instead of being handed a $50 fine, as one would face for traditional protest crimes such as a sit-in, the PayPal defendants' freedoms are in real jeopardy. Since the PayPal prosecution, there have been no DDoS protests on that scale. Speech has been chilled. Supreme court Justice William O Douglas said: "Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us."
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on civil liberties, click here.
John Brennan, the counter-terrorism adviser nominated by President Obama to be the next head of the CIA, has reportedly agreed to exempt agency strikes in Pakistan from a new set of rules that attempts to justify and codify the use of drones to assassinate leaders of al-Qaida and other terrorist groups around the world, including US citizens. The dispensation to allow so-called targeted killing to continue without restrictions in Pakistan removes from the new set of guidelines the most important and controversial target of drone strikes. In the past few weeks the frequency of US strikes in the tribal areas of northern Pakistan ... has been stepped up. The pass would allow the US to sustain heavy bombardments of the tribal regions via drones launched from bases in Afghanistan for another year or two, ahead of the withdrawal of most American forces from that country in 2014. The decision to give the US targeted-killing programme the appearance of legal propriety by codifying it, and now the temporary exemption granted from that codification to Pakistan, were both taken by Brennan. A counter-terrorism expert with 25 years experience in the CIA, his nomination to run the agency has raised eyebrows among civil liberties groups because of his senior role in the CIA under George W Bush at a time when torture was used on terror suspects and because of his fondness for drone strikes. The UK-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that there have been 362 drone strikes in the country since 2004 – 310 of them launched on Obama's watch. The strikes have killed up to 3,461 people.
Note: Imagine the uproar if another country killed innocent civilians in the US while using drones to kill terrorists in the country. Visit the Living Under Drones website here. For more analysis click here.
Bradley Manning, the US soldier accused of being behind the largest leak of state secrets in America's history, has been denied the chance to make a whistleblower defence in his upcoming court martial in which he faces possible life in military custody with no chance of parole. The judge presiding over Manning's prosecution by the US government ... ruled in a pre-trial hearing that Manning will largely be barred from presenting evidence about his motives in leaking the documents and videos. In an earlier hearing, Manning's lead defence lawyer, David Coombs, had argued that his motive was key to proving that he had no intention to harm US interests or to pass information to the enemy. The ruling is a blow to the defence as it will make it harder for the soldier's legal team to argue he was acting as a whistleblower and not as someone who knowingly damaged US interests at a time of war. "This is another effort to attack the whistleblower defence," said Nathan Fuller, a spokesman for the Bradley Manning support network, after the hearing. The judge also blocked the defence from presenting evidence designed to show that WikiLeaks caused little or no damage to US national security. The most serious charge, "aiding the enemy", which carries the life sentence, accuses [Manning] of arranging for state secrets to be published via WikiLeaks on the internet knowing that al-Qaida would have access to it.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on civil liberties, click here.
Suicides in the U.S. military surged to a record 349 last year, far exceeding American combat deaths in Afghanistan, and some private experts are predicting the dark trend will worsen this year. The problem reflects severe strains on military personnel burdened with more than a decade of combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, complicated by anxiety over the prospect of being forced out of a shrinking force. The 349 suicides among active-duty troops last year were up from 301 the year before and exceeded the Pentagon's own internal projection of 325. Last year's total is the highest since the Pentagon began closely tracking suicides in 2001. It exceeds the 295 Americans who died in Afghanistan last year. Military suicides began rising in 2006 and soared to a then-record 310 in 2009 before leveling off for two years. It came as a surprise to many that the numbers resumed an upward climb this year, given that U.S. military involvement in Iraq is over and the Obama administration is taking steps to wind down the war in Afghanistan.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the realities of the "endless war", click here.
A defense contractor whose subsidiary was accused in a lawsuit of conspiring to torture detainees at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq has paid $5.28 million to 71 former inmates held there and at other U.S.-run detention sites between 2003 and 2007. The settlement in the case involving Engility Holdings Inc. of Chantilly, Va., marks the first successful effort by lawyers for former prisoners at Abu Ghraib and other detention centers to collect money from a U.S. defense contractor in lawsuits alleging torture. Another contractor, CACI, is expected to go to trial over similar allegations this summer. The defendant in the lawsuit, L-3 Services Inc., now an Engility subsidiary, provided translators to the U.S. military in Iraq. The former detainees filed the lawsuit in federal court in Greenbelt, Md., in 2008. L-3 Services "permitted scores of its employees to participate in torturing and abusing prisoners over an extended period of time throughout Iraq," the lawsuit stated. The company "willfully failed to report L-3 employees' repeated assaults and other criminal conduct by its employees to the United States or Iraq authorities." A military investigation in 2004 identified 44 alleged incidents of detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib. No employee from L-3 Services was charged with a crime in investigations by the U.S. Justice Department.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on corporate corruption, click here.
In October, the Washington Post's Greg Miller reported that the administration was instituting a "disposition matrix" to determine how terrorism suspects will be disposed of, all based on this fact: "among senior Obama administration officials, there is broad consensus that such operations are likely to be extended at least another decade." As Miller puts it: "That timeline suggests that the United States has reached only the midpoint of what was once known as the global war on terrorism." The polices adopted by the Obama administration ... leave no doubt that they are accelerating, not winding down, the war apparatus that has been relentlessly strengthened over the last decade. In the name of the War on Terror, the current president has diluted decades-old Miranda warnings; codified a new scheme of indefinite detention on US soil; plotted to relocate Guantanamo to Illinois; increased secrecy, repression and release-restrictions at the camp; minted a new theory of presidential assassination powers even for US citizens; renewed the Bush/Cheney warrantless eavesdropping framework for another five years, as well as the Patriot Act, without a single reform; and just signed into law all new restrictions on the release of indefinitely held detainees. Does that sound to you like a government anticipating the end of the War on Terror any time soon? Or does it sound like one working feverishly to make their terrorism-justified powers of detention, surveillance, killing and secrecy permanent? There's a good reason US officials are assuming the "War on Terror" will persist indefinitely: namely, their actions ensure that this occurs.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the War on Terror, click here.
A federal judge in Manhattan refused on [January 2] to require the Justice Department to disclose a memorandum providing the legal justification for the targeted killing of a United States citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, who died in a drone strike in Yemen in 2011. The ruling, by Judge Colleen McMahon, was marked by skepticism about the antiterrorist program that targeted him, and frustration with her own role in keeping the legal rationale for it secret. “I can find no way around the thicket of laws and precedents that effectively allow the executive branch of our government to proclaim as perfectly lawful certain actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws while keeping the reasons for their conclusion a secret,” she wrote. “The Alice-in-Wonderland nature of this pronouncement is not lost on me,” Judge McMahon wrote, adding that she was operating in a legal environment that amounted to “a veritable Catch-22.” Judge McMahon’s opinion included an overview of what she called “an extensive public relations campaign” by various government officials about the American role in the killing of Mr. Awlaki and the circumstances under which the government considers targeted killings, including of its citizens, to be lawful. The government’s public comments were as a whole “cryptic and imprecise,” Judge McMahon said. Even as she ruled against the plaintiffs, the judge wrote that the public should be allowed to judge whether the administration’s analysis holds water.
Note: For analysis of the significance of this reluctant court ruling upholding continued secrecy of the drone assassinations, click here.
Why is Guantánamo so hard to close? Because it's been an integral part of American politics and policy for over a century. Gitmo's "legal black hole" opened in 1903 with a peculiar lease that affirmed Cuba's total sovereignty over Guantánamo Bay, but gave the US "complete jurisdiction and control", creat[ing] a space where neither nation's laws clearly applied. Gitmo's generations of detainees have been inextricable, if often invisible, parts of America's deepest conflicts: over immigration, public health, human rights, and national security. The Guantánamo Public Memory Project involves historians, archivists, activists, military personnel, and over a dozen universities in raising public awareness of Gitmo's long history and foster dialogue on the future of this place, its people, and its policies. Gitmo will be with us for years to come. The lease with Cuba is perpetual. Today, even as 166 men remain detained, the base is readying itself for its next opening. Facilities to house 25,000 potential refugees were recently completed. Our responsibility is to remember Guantánamo: to learn from its past, listen to the stories of all of its people, and always keep it in our sights.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on civil liberties, click here.
The National Rifle Association continues to block any gun control laws whatsoever, and even trumpets its efforts to block the global arms trade treaty, slated for negotiations at the United Nations this March. On Christmas Eve, the same day as the attack in Webster, the UN general assembly voted to move ahead with 10 days of negotiations on the arms trade treaty, to commence 18 March. The NRA succeeded in helping to scuttle the global arms trade treaty, delivering to President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a letter opposing the treaty signed by 50 US senators, including eight Democrats, and 130 members of the House of Representatives. The global treaty shouldn't be controversial. By signing on, governments agree not to export weapons to countries that are under an arms embargo, or to export weapons that would facilitate "the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes" or other violations of international humanitarian law. Amnesty International last week called on the NRA to "immediately drop its campaign of distortions and lies about the pending United Nations' global arms trade treaty". Amnesty USA's Michelle Ringuette elaborated: "These unregulated weapons are used to force tens of thousands of children into armed conflict and to rape women and girls in conflict zones. More than 26 million people around the globe are forced from their homes, and their livelihoods destroyed, by armed conflict. The NRA must immediately stand down on its campaign to block a global arms trade treaty."
The new Kathryn Bigelow movie "Zero Dark Thirty" has renewed the debate on the efficacy of torture. The film obliquely credits the discovery of the key piece of information in the search for [Osama] Bin Laden to the torture of an Al Qaeda prisoner held by the CIA. This is at odds with the facts as they have been recounted by journalists reporting on the manhunt, by Obama administration intelligence officials and by legislative leaders. Bigelow and her writing partner, Mark Boal, are promoting "Zero Dark Thirty" in part by stressing its basis in fact. It's curious that they could have gotten this central, contentious point wrong. And because they originally set out to make a movie about the frustrating failure to find Bin Laden, it's hard to believe their aim was to celebrate torture. But that's in effect what they've done. It was Dick Cheney's idea that the United States could solve complicated problems just by being brave enough, or tough enough, or both. Despite the fact that the world doesn't seem to work that way, Cheney's argument had a force and a tenor that fits with our national narrative of exceptionalism. It's satisfying. We are willing to believe there is something heroic, justifiable about torture. There is not. The moral objection ought to be obvious. We've had laws against torture for decades. We've had these laws for the simplest of reasons — we decided it was wrong. In almost no contemporary culture is it presumed to be not wrong.
Note: There have been numerous reports of bin Laden's death before the "official" killing. Click here and here for two intriguing BBC reports on this. WantToKnow team member David Ray Griffin's book establishing the likelihood that Osama bin Laden died in December 2001, Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive?, is available here.
Numerous commentators have lamented the vastly different reactions in the US to the heinous shooting of children in Newtown, Connecticut ... compared to the continuous killing of (far more) children and innocent adults by the US government in Pakistan and Yemen, among other places. It is well worth asking what accounts for this radically different reaction to the killing of children and other innocents. There are ... two key issues highlighted by the intense grief for the Newtown victims compared to the utter indifference to the victims of Obama's militarism. The first is that it underscores how potent and effective the last decade's anti-Muslim dehumanization campaign has been. Every war - particularly protracted ones like the "War on Terror" - demands sustained dehumanization campaigns against the targets of the violence. Few populations will tolerate continuous killings if they have to confront the humanity of those who are being killed. That's what dehumanization is: their humanity is disappeared so that we don't have to face it. [The] other issue highlighted by this disparate reaction: the question of agency and culpability. It's easy to express rage over the Newtown shooting because so few of us bear any responsibility for it. Exactly the opposite is true for the violence that continuously kills children and other innocent people in the Muslim world. US citizens pay for it, enable it, and now under Obama, most at the very least acquiesce to it if not support it. It's always much more difficult to acknowledge the deaths that we play a role in causing than it is to protest those to which we believe we have no connection.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on war crimes committed in the US wars of aggression in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, click here. For a key article raising serious questions about the official story of the Newtown shooting, click here.
Packed into hand luggage and tucked into jacket pockets, roughly hewed bars of gold are being flown out of Kabul with increasing regularity, confounding Afghan and American officials who fear money launderers have found a new way to spirit funds from the country. Most of the gold is being carried on commercial flights destined for Dubai. One courier, for instance, carried nearly 60 pounds of gold bars, each about the size of an iPhone, aboard an early morning flight in mid-October, according to an airport security report. The load was worth more than $1.5 million. The gold is fully declared and legal to fly. Some, if not most, is legitimately being sent by gold dealers seeking to have old and damaged jewelry refashioned into new pieces by skilled craftsmen in the Persian Gulf, said Afghan officials and gold dealers. But gold dealers in Kabul and current and former Kabul airport officials say there has been a surge in shipments since early summer. The talk of a growing exodus of gold from Afghanistan has been spreading among the business community here, and in recent weeks has caught the attention of Afghan and American officials. The officials are now puzzling over the origin of the gold — very little is mined in Afghanistan, although larger mines are planned — and why so much appears to be heading for Dubai. As a European official who tracks the Afghan economy put it, “new mysteries abound”. There is reason to be suspicious: the gold shipments track with the far larger problem of cash smuggling.
Note: Remember that under US supervision Afghanistan regained its status as the #1 opium and heroin producer in the world. Could this gold somehow be linked to the drug trade which evidence suggests is being monitored if not facilitated by rogue elements of the US government?
CIA agents tortured a German citizen, sodomising, shackling, and beating him, as Macedonian state police looked on, the European court of human rights said in a historic judgment released on [December 13]. In a unanimous ruling, it also found Macedonia guilty of torturing, abusing, and secretly imprisoning Khaled el-Masri, a German of Lebanese origin allegedly linked to terrorist organisations. Masri was seized in Macedonia in December 2003 and handed over to a CIA "rendition team" at Skopje airport and secretly flown to Afghanistan. It is the first time the court has described CIA treatment meted out to terror suspects as torture. "The grand chamber of the European court of human rights unanimously found that Mr el-Masri was subjected to forced disappearance, unlawful detention, extraordinary rendition outside any judicial process, and inhuman and degrading treatment," said James Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative. He described the judgment as "an authoritative condemnation of some of the most objectionable tactics employed in the post-9/11 war on terror". Jamil Dakwar, of the American Civil Liberties Union, described the ruling as "a huge victory for justice and the rule of law". The Strasbourg court said it found Masri's account of what happened to him "to be established beyond reasonable doubt".
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on illegal acts by US intelligence agencies, click here.
The U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution [on December 3] calling on Israel to quickly open its nuclear program for inspection and backing a high-level conference to ban nuclear weapons from the Middle East that was just canceled. All Arab nations and Iran had planned to attend the conference in mid-December in Helsinki, Finland, but the United States announced on Nov. 23 that it wouldn't take place, citing political turmoil in the region and Iran's defiant stance on nonproliferation. Iran and some Arab nations countered that the real reason for the cancellation was Israel's refusal to attend. The resolution, approved by a vote of 174-6 with 6 abstentions, calls on Israel to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty "without further delay" and open its nuclear facilities to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Those voting "no" were Israel, the U.S., Canada, Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau. Israel refuses to confirm or deny it has nuclear bombs, though it is widely believed to have a nuclear arsenal. It has refused to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, or NPT, along with three nuclear weapon states — India, Pakistan and North Korea. The region's Muslim nations argue that Israel's undeclared nuclear arsenal presents the greatest threat to peace in the region.