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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.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
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.
Important 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.