War News ArticlesExcerpts of key news articles on war
Weapons sales by the United States tripled in 2011 to a record high, driven by major sales to Persian Gulf [countries], according to a new study for Congress. Overseas weapons sales by the United States totaled $66.3 billion last year, or nearly 78 percent of the global arms market, valued at $85.3 billion in 2011. Russia was a distant second, with $4.8 billion in deals. The U.S. weapons sales total was an "extraordinary increase" over the $21.4 billion in deals for 2010, the study found, and was the largest single-year sales total in the history of U.S. arms exports. The previous high was in fiscal year 2009, when American weapons sales overseas totaled nearly $31 billion. Increasing tensions with Iran drove a set of Persian Gulf nations -- Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman -- to spend record amounts on weapons. These states do not share a border with Iran, and their purchases focused on warplanes and complex missile defense systems. The agreements with Saudi Arabia included the purchase of 84 advanced F-15 fighters, a variety of ammunition, missiles and logistics support, and upgrades of 70 of the F-15 fighters in the current fleet ... all contributing to a total Saudi weapons deal with the United States of $33.4 billion, according to the study. The United Arab Emirates bought a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, an advanced anti-missile shield that is valued at $3.49 billion, as well as 16 Chinook helicopters for $939 million.
Note: For analyses of this deeply revealing Congressional report on the intense preparations for war on Iran, click here and here. If just 1% of these skyrocketing arms sales were put towards feeding the world, global hunger would vanish in no time.
The U.S. military is packing to leave Afghanistan - pulling up airfields, tearing down bases, disassembling Humvees for transport. Over the next few weeks, 23,000 troops will fly home, leaving 68,000 troops who will stay until 2014. The looming question, though, is: After 11 years, more than 2,000 U.S. military fatalities and at least $1 trillion in expenses, what are the United States and NATO leaving behind? The answer is bleak: Afghan security forces totally incapable of operating on their own, as the U.S. military quietly acknowledges. And a government so corrupt and ineffectual that, as the Army said in that report to Congress, it "bolsters insurgent messaging." In others words, great PR for the Taliban. Since 2002, the United States has spent $43 billion to train the Afghan military and police. It plans to spend $11.2 billion more this year, and the military has requested another $5.8 billion for 2013. Now the training mission acknowledges that none of the Afghan forces are ready to fight on their own. The highest rating for trained Afghan forces today is "independent - with advisers." Only 7 percent of Afghan army units are capable even of that. That's just one in a nest of problems. Another big one is illiteracy. The special inspector general for Afghan reconstruction, in a recent report, said the literacy rate of Afghan security forces "as a whole is 11 percent." In almost every measurable way, the training mission is losing ground. Aren't we in the same position as the Soviet Union 30 years ago - pursuing a Sisyphean task, inescapably destined to fail?
Note: The author of this article, Joel Brinkley, is a professor of journalism at Stanford University and a Pulitzer Prize-winning former foreign correspondent for the New York Times. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the realities of the US war of aggression in Afghanistan, click here.
The US government has long maintained, reasonably enough, that a defining tactic of terrorism is to launch a follow-up attack aimed at those who go to the scene of the original attack to rescue the wounded and remove the dead. Yet ... this has become one of the favorite tactics of the very same US government. Attacking rescuers (and arguably worse, bombing funerals of America's drone victims) is now a tactic routinely used by the US in Pakistan. In February, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism documented that "the CIA's drone campaign in Pakistan has killed dozens of civilians who had gone to help rescue victims or were attending funerals." Specifically: "at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims." The UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings ... Christof Heyns, said that if "there have been secondary drone strikes on rescuers who are helping (the injured) after an initial drone attack, those further attacks are a war crime." There is no doubt that there have been. The frequency with which the US uses this tactic is reflected by this December 2011 report ... on the drone killing of 16-year-old Tariq Khan and his 12-year-old cousin Waheed, just days after the older boy attended a meeting to protest US drones: "[Witnesses] did not provide pictures of the missile strike scene. Virtually none exist, since drones often target people who show up at the scene."
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 government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
I [Tangerine Bolen] am one of the lead plaintiffs in the civil lawsuit against the National Defense Authorization Act, which gives the president the power to hold any US citizen anywhere for as long as he wants, without charge or trial. In a May hearing, Judge Katherine Forrest issued an injunction against it; this week, in a final hearing in New York City, US government lawyers asserted even more extreme powers – the right to disregard entirely the judge and the law. On Monday 6 August, Obama's lawyers filed an appeal to the injunction – a profoundly important development that, as of this writing, has been scarcely reported. In the earlier March hearing, US government lawyers had confirmed that, yes, the NDAA does give the president the power to lock up people like journalist Chris Hedges and peaceful activists like myself and other plaintiffs. Government attorneys stated on record that even war correspondents could be locked up indefinitely under the NDAA. In this hearing ... Obama's attorneys refused to assure the court, when questioned, that the NDAA's section 1021 – the provision that permits reporters and others who have not committed crimes to be detained without trial – has not been applied by the US government anywhere in the world after Judge Forrest's injunction. In other words, they were telling a US federal judge that they could not, or would not, state whether Obama's government had complied with the legal injunction that she had laid down before them. I, like many in this fight, am now afraid of my government. We have good reason to be.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on civil liberties, click here.
The U.S. government is legally justified in killing its own citizens overseas if they are involved in plotting terror attacks against America, Attorney General Eric Holder said [on March 5], offering the Obama administration's most detailed explanation so far of its controversial targeted killing program. The Fifth Amendment provides that no one can be "deprived of life" without due process of law. But that due process, Holder said, doesn't necessarily come from a court. "Due process and judicial process are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process," the attorney general said. The ACLU called Holder's explanation "a defense of the government’s chillingly broad claimed authority to conduct targeted killings of civilians, including American citizens, far from any battlefield without judicial review or public scrutiny." "Few things are as dangerous to American liberty as the proposition that the government should be able to kill citizens anywhere in the world on the basis of legal standards and evidence that are never submitted to a court, either before or after the fact," said Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project. "Anyone willing to trust President Obama with the power to secretly declare an American citizen an enemy of the state and order his extrajudicial killing should ask whether they would be willing to trust the next president with that dangerous power,” she said. The ACLU is suing the Obama administration, seeking to have documents regarding the targeted killing program made public.
Note: Attorney General Holder's claim that US citizens can be killed by the government without judicial process clearly violates the U.S. Bill of Rights. In addition to the Fifth Amendment that states that no person shall be held to answer for a crime "without due process of law," the Sixth Amendment states that "the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial."
In this town which saw 24 unarmed civilians die in a U.S. raid seven years ago, residents expressed disbelief and sadness that the Marine sergeant who told his troops to "shoot first, ask questions later" reached a deal with prosecutors to avoid jail time. They were outraged both at the American military justice system and at the refusal of Iraq's Shiite-led government to condemn the killings and at least try to bring those responsible to face trial in this country. "We are deeply disappointed by this unfair deal," said Khalid Salman Rasif, an Anbar provincial council member from Haditha. "The U.S. soldier will receive a punishment that is suitable for a traffic violation." The raid took place on Nov. 19, 2005. U.S. military prosecutors worked for more than six years to bring Marine Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich to trial on manslaughter charges that could have sent him away to prison for life. [Then] they offered Wuterich a deal that stopped the proceedings and meant no jail time for the squad leader who ordered his men to "shoot first, ask questions later," resulting in one of the Iraq War's worst attacks on civilians by U.S. troops. The 31-year-old Marine, who was originally accused of unpremeditated murder, pleaded guilty Monday to negligent dereliction of duty for leading the squad that killed 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians during raids after a roadside bomb exploded, killing a fellow Marine and wounding two others.
Note: For earlier reports from reliable sources on the Haditha and other massacres carried out by the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan, click here.
The Sept. 11 attacks triggered a revolution in U.S. spycraft as the intelligence services shattered a longstanding taboo by launching an expansive program of targeted killings by remote control. The greatest shift both in tactics and mindset has been the embrace of the pilotless, hunter-killer aircraft known as drones. The CIA, which doesn't formally acknowledge the covert program, has killed about 2,000 militants with drones, U.S. officials say, most in the past two years as President Barack Obama's national security team aggressively expanded the program. In 2010, the number of drone strikes more than doubled, to 114, and this year, drone campaigns are expanding. The CIA now plans flights in Yemen, and the military is using drones to kill militants in Somalia. Legal challenges to the drone program have secured little traction. The main debate inside the government has been over how to execute the campaign without irreversibly damaging Pakistani cooperation. American citizens can be targets, too. Under the legal authority for the drone program, the CIA must consult the National Security Council before capturing an American posing an imminent threat, but no additional consultation is required to kill an American, a former senior intelligence official said. "The reason there hasn't been more of an outcry about it is, it's the Obama administration defending this authority," said the American Civil Liberties Union's Jameel Jaffer.
Note: For lots more on the illegal methods employed by the CIA and Pentagon in its "endless war", click here.
The Pentagon is asking scientists to figure out how to detect and counter propaganda on social media networks in the aftermath of Arab uprisings driven by Twitter and Facebook. The US military's high-tech research arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), has put out a request for experts to look at "a new science of social networks" that would attempt to get ahead of the curve of events unfolding on new media. The program's goal was to track "purposeful or deceptive messaging and misinformation" in social networks and to pursue "counter messaging of detected adversary influence operations," according to DARPA's request for proposals issued on July 14. The project echoes concerns among top military officers about the lightning pace of change in the Middle East, where social networks have served as an engine for protest against some longtime US allies. Some senior officers have spoken privately of the need to better track unrest revealed in social networks and to look for ways to shape outcomes in the Arab world through Twitter, Facebook or YouTube. Under the proposal, researchers would be expected to unearth and classify the "formation, development and spread of ideas and concepts (memes)" in social media. DARPA planned to spend $42 million (Ł25m) on the Social Media in Strategic Communication (SMISC) program, with prospective contractors asked to test algorithms through "experiments" with social media, it said.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on new Pentagon strategies and technologies for waging war on foreign and domestic populations, click here.
Why do we still go to war? We seem unable to stop. Britain's borders and British people have not been under serious threat for a generation. Yet time and again our leaders crave battle. Why? Last week we got a glimpse of an answer and it was not nice. The outgoing US defence secretary, Robert Gates, berated Europe's "failure of political will" in not maintaining defence spending. He said Nato had declined into a "two-tier alliance" between those willing to wage war and those "who specialise in 'soft' humanitarian, development, peacekeeping and talking tasks". Peace, he implied, is for wimps. Real men buy bombs, and drop them. Libya has cost Britain Ł100m so far, and rising. But Iraq and the Afghan war are costing America $3bn a week, and there is scarcely an industry, or a state, in the country that does not see some of this money. These wars show no signs of being ended, let alone won. But to the defence lobby what matters is the money. It sustains combat by constantly promising success and inducing politicians and journalists to see "more enemy dead", "a glimmer of hope" and "a corner about to be turned". Victory will come, but only if politicians spend more money on "a surge".
Note: For a very similar, classic analysis of war profiteering by famed US Marine Corps General Smedley Butler, click here.
After President Jacobo Arbenz was overthrown in a C.I.A.-backed coup in 1954, the Guatemalan government reversed his policies and branded him a Communist, all but erasing his brief presidency from history. Nearly six decades later, a democratic Guatemala has promised to restore his legacy and treat him as a statesman. In an agreement signed with Mr. Arbenz’s descendants last week, the government promised to revise the school curriculum and grant Mr. Arbenz the treatment afforded to historical heroes. It will name a main highway and a museum wing after the ousted president, prepare a biography of him, publish his widow’s memoir and mount an exhibition about him and his legacy in the National History Museum. The post office will even issue a series of stamps in his honor. After winning the presidency in a landslide election in 1950, Mr. Arbenz began an effort to modernize the economy, including a land-redistribution program that angered American corporations and the United States government. President Eisenhower, convinced that Mr. Arbenz was giving the Communists a foothold in the Americas, authorized a coup that ousted the Guatemalan president in nine days.
Note: Many are still not aware of the role of the US in overthrowing democratically-elected leaders like Guatemala's Arbenz. For a powerful documentary featuring five CIA whistleblowers, one of whom was directly involved in overthrowing Arbenz, only later to regret his actions, click here.
As elated crowds celebrated the death of Osama bin Laden after Navy SEALs killed the al-Qaida chief in a weekend raid in Pakistan some are asking, "Where's the proof?" Photos depicting a bloodied and bruised face appearing to be that of bin Laden began appearing on Twitter and Facebook last night soon after news of his death spread across the Internet. According to Reuters, an archive photo of bin Laden at a news conference proves that image was a fake. Now people are asking to see the evidence proving bin Laden is dead. From Pakistan to the U.S. people expressed their skepticism about the death of the man who is perhaps the most infamous terrorist ever known. Officials said today they are "99.9 percent" certain that bin Laden was shot dead in Pakistan. They also cited CIA photo analysis matching physical features such as bin Laden's height. Rep. Mike Roger, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told the Associated Press that more than one DNA sample was used to identify Osama bin Laden. After Adolf Hitler's suicide in April 1945, conspiracy theories for years suggested Hitler was alive and in hiding. The Russian secret services came forward with a skull and jawbones. DNA results eventually showed the skull was that of a female.
More than 700 leaked secret files on the Guantánamo detainees lay bare the inner workings of America's controversial prison camp in Cuba. The US military dossiers ... reveal how ... many prisoners were flown to the Guantánamo cages and held captive for years on the flimsiest grounds, or on the basis of lurid confessions extracted by maltreatment. The 759 Guantánamo files, classified "secret", cover almost every inmate since the camp was opened in 2002. More than two years after President Obama ordered the closure of the prison, 172 are still held there. The files depict a system often focused less on containing dangerous terrorists or enemy fighters, than on extracting intelligence. Among inmates who proved harmless were an 89-year-old Afghan villager, suffering from senile dementia, and a 14-year-old boy who had been an innocent kidnap victim. The documents also reveal: • US authorities listed the main Pakistani intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), as a terrorist organisation. • Almost 100 of the inmates who passed through Guantánamo are listed by their captors as having had depressive or psychotic illnesses. Many went on hunger strike or attempted suicide. • A number of British nationals and residents were held for years even though US authorities knew they were not Taliban or al-Qaida members.
Note: For many key reports on government secrecy from major media sources, click here.
In December 2003, security forces boarded a bus in Macedonia and snatched a German citizen named Khaled el-Masri. For the next five months, el-Masri was a ghost. Only a select group of CIA officers knew he had been whisked to a secret prison for interrogation in Afghanistan. But he was the wrong guy. In the years since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, officers who committed serious mistakes that left people wrongly imprisoned or even dead have received only minor admonishments or no punishment at all. Many officers who made significant missteps are now the senior managers fighting the president's spy wars. The AP investigation of the CIA's actions revealed a disciplinary system that takes years to make decisions, hands down reprimands inconsistently and is viewed inside the agency as prone to favoritism and manipulation. When people are disciplined, the punishment seems to roll downhill, sparing senior managers even when they were directly involved in operations that go awry. Two officers involved in the death of a prisoner in Afghanistan, for instance, received no discipline and have advanced into Middle East leadership positions. Other officers were punished after participating in a mock execution in Poland and playing a role in the death of a prisoner in Iraq. Those officers retired, then rejoined the intelligence community as contractors. Since 9/11, retired CIA officers have published a variety of books opining on what ails the CIA. Their conclusions differ, but they are in nearly unanimous agreement that the system of accountability is broken.
Note: It is great news that the media is now revealing some of the craziness at the CIA, a topic that was almost taboo for the press in the past.
United States taxpayers have funneled more than $60 billion of aid into Egypt since President Hosni Mubarak came to power in 1981, but more than half of the money has been spent supplying weapons to the country’s military. About $34 billion of the aid to Egypt has come in the form of grants that Congress requires Egypt to spend on American military hardware. In recent years the large amount of aid earmarked for the military, and the relatively low sums supporting civilian aid, have attracted scathing criticism from Egyptians, some of whom argue that US aid has gone to entrench a military dictator at the expense of the fledgling democracy activists. During the early turmoil, protesters were the target of tear gas canisters that read "made in the USA," fueling debate about the aid. Last year, Egypt was the fifth-largest recipient of US aid, getting $1.6 billion. Congress ... authorized major aid packages to both [Egypt and Israel in 1979], using an informal formula — not enshrined in the peace treaty — that gave Egypt $2 for every $3 that Israel received. Israel quickly became the largest recipient of US aid, and Egypt the second-largest — rankings that were only recently overtaken by wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and last year, the disaster in Haiti. The strong interest of US companies could help explain why US military assistance to Egypt has remained at $1.3 billion a year, while its civilian economic assistance has steadily shrunk, from $815 million a decade ago to $250 million requested for 2011. The decline began in 1998, when Israel arranged for a reduction in economic support and an increase military aid. As Israeli’s economic aid shrunk, so too did Egypt’s.
Note: Israel receives about $3 billion a year from the US, yet the population of the country is 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 $3,000 of that to buy US military hardware. For lots more reliable information on how the military/industrial complex manipulates world politics to support the war machine, click here and here.
After World War II, American counterintelligence recruited former Gestapo officers, SS veterans and Nazi collaborators to an even greater extent than had been previously disclosed and helped many of them avoid prosecution or looked the other way when they escaped, according to thousands of newly declassified documents. With the Soviet Union muscling in on Eastern Europe, “settling scores with Germans or German collaborators ... appeared counterproductive,” said a government report published Friday by the National Archives. In chilling detail, the report also elaborates on the close working relationship between Nazi leaders and the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who ... recruited Muslims for the SS, the Nazi Party’s elite military command, [and] was allowed to flee after the war to Syria. The report, “Hitler’s Shadow: Nazi War Criminals, U.S. Intelligence and the Cold War,” grew out of an interagency group created by Congress to identify, declassify and release federal records on Nazi war crimes and on Allied efforts to hold war criminals accountable. It is drawn from a sampling of 1,100 C.I.A. files and 1.2 million Army counterintelligence files that were not declassified until ... 2007. “Hitler’s Shadow” adds a further dimension to a separate Justice Department history of American Nazi-hunting operations, which the government has refused to release ... and which concluded that American intelligence officials created a “safe haven” in the United States for certain other former Nazis.
Note: Following World War Two, more than 1500 Nazi's, including many war criminals, were brought to the US by "Operation Paperclip" and secretly embedded in the US scientific community and intelligence establishment. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the intelligence community.
A report to Congress reveals details on how U.S. intelligence officials used and protected some Nazi Gestapo agents after World War II. The report was authored by historians hired by the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. The report draws from an unprecedented trove of records on clandestine operations that the CIA was persuaded to declassify and from previously inaccessible Army intelligence files. "The CIA records give us a much better picture of the movements of Nazi war criminals in the postwar period. The Army records are voluminous, and will be keeping people busy for many years," said Richard Breitman, of the American University in Washington, D.C., who co-authored the report with Norman J.W. Goda, of the University of Florida. The records were made available under the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act of 1998. Nazi hunters and lawmakers have long raised questions about what U.S. government knew and its involvement with war criminals during the Cold War. The Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act has so far resulted in more than 8 million documents being declassified; a landmark 2005 book on U.S. Intelligence and the Nazis in part authored by Breitman and Goda; and a final report to Congress.
Note: The CIA would never have declassified these documents were it not for pressure from caring citizens which caused Congress to act. For details of the CIA employment of Nazis in its post-war mind-control experimentation on humans without their consent, click here.
A grim picture of the US and Britain's legacy in Iraq has been revealed in a massive leak of American military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes. Almost 400,000 secret US army field reports have been passed to the Guardian ... via the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks. The new logs detail how: • A US helicopter gunship involved in a notorious Baghdad incident had previously killed Iraqi insurgents after they tried to surrender. • More than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents. The logs record 66,081 non-combatant deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities. The numerous reports of detainee abuse, often supported by medical evidence, describe prisoners shackled, blindfolded and hung by wrists or ankles, and subjected to whipping, punching, kicking or electric shocks. Six reports end with a detainee's apparent death. The whistleblowing activists say they have deleted all names from the documents that might result in reprisals.
Note: For an analysis by the Ad Hoc Committee for Justice for Iraq of the still very one-sided picture of the devastation of Iraq provided by this leak of Iraq war logs, click here. For an interview of the leader of Wikileaks on CNN in which he walks out after being asked about his personal life rather than Iraqi deaths, click here.
The Pentagon has burned 9,500 copies of Army Reserve Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer's memoir Operation Dark Heart, his book about going undercover in Afghanistan. A Department of Defense official tells Fox News that the department purchased copies of the first printing because they contained information which could cause damage to national security. The U.S. Army originally cleared the book for release. The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency attempted to block the book about the tipping point in Afghanistan and a controversial pre-9/11 data mining project called "Able Danger." In a letter obtained by Fox News, the DIA says national security could be breached if Operation Dark Heart is published in its current form. The agency also attempted to block key portions of the book that claim "Able Danger" successfully identified hijacker Mohammed Atta as a threat to the United States before the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
Note: Able Danger was the program which identified Mohamed Atta and three other alleged 9/11 hijackers as a potential terror threat before 9/11. To read major media reports on the intense controversy around this program (which is likely why the book is being burned), click here.
The torture of Iraqi detainees at a secret prison in Baghdad was far more systematic and brutal than initially reported, Human Rights Watch reported. Human Rights Watch ... documented its findings, which it described as “credible and consistent,” in a draft report provided to The New York Times. The group said it had interviewed 42 detainees who displayed fresh scars and wounds. Many said they were raped, sodomized with broomsticks and pistol barrels, or forced to engage in sexual acts with one another and their jailers. All said they were tortured by being hung upside down and then whipped and kicked before being suffocated with a plastic bag. Those who passed out were revived, they said, with electric shocks to their genitals and other parts of their bodies. “The horror we found suggests torture was the norm in Muthanna,” said Joe Stork, deputy director of the Middle East program at Human Rights Watch. “Security officials whipped detainees with heavy cables, pulled out finger and toenails, burned them with acid and cigarettes, and smashed their teeth,” Human Rights Watch said.
Note: For more on the atrocities committed by the US and its recent wars, click here.
George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld covered up that hundreds of innocent men were sent to the Guantánamo Bay prison camp because they feared that releasing them would harm the push for war in Iraq and the broader War on Terror, according to a new document obtained by The Times. The accusations were made by Lawrence Wilkerson, a top aide to Colin Powell, the former Republican Secretary of State, in a signed declaration to support a lawsuit filed by a Guantánamo detainee. He claimed that the former Vice-President and Defence Secretary knew that the majority of the initial 742 detainees sent to Guantánamo in 2002 were innocent but believed that it was “politically impossible to release them”. Colonel Wilkerson, a long-time critic of the Bush Administration’s approach to counter-terrorism and the war in Iraq, claimed that the majority of detainees — children as young as 12 and men as old as 93 — never saw a US soldier when they were captured. He said that many were turned over by Afghans and Pakistanis for up to $5,000. Little or no evidence was produced as to why they had been taken. He also claimed that one reason Mr Cheney and Mr Rumsfeld did not want the innocent detainees released was because “the detention efforts would be revealed as the incredibly confused operation that they were”.
Note: For lots more on the realities of the "war on terror", click here.
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