War News ArticlesExcerpts of Key War News Articles in Media
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.
The effort to win over Afghans on former Taliban turf in Marja has put American and NATO commanders in the unusual position of arguing against opium eradication. From Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal on down, the military’s position is clear: “U.S. forces no longer eradicate,” as one NATO official put it. Opium is the main livelihood of 60 to 70 percent of the farmers in Marja. American Marines occupying the area are under orders to leave the farmers’ fields alone. United Nations drug officials agree with the Americans. Pictures of NATO and other allied soldiers “walking next to the opium fields won’t go well with domestic audiences, but the approach of postponing eradicating in this particular case is a sensible one,” said Jean-Luc Lemahieu, who is in charge of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime here. Though the United States government’s official position is still to support opium crop eradication in general, some American civilian officials say that the internal debate over Marja is far from over within parts of the State Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration. A spokesman for the United States Embassy in Kabul, Brendan J. O’Brien, said officials would decline to comment while the matter was under review.
Note: For weeks the Pentagon and press claimed Marja is a city of 80,000 people, and compared the "battle for Marja" as comparable to the attack on Falluja, Iraq. Then the news leaked out that Marja is not even a town, but an unincorporated agricultural area with a few villages. Now the "city" turns out to be a center of opium poppy production! Could protection of the lucrative poppy crops be the real reason for the selection of this area for the largest single military operation of the occupiers since the invasion in 2001? For more on this, click here.
Deception [is reliant] on the close control of information, running agents (and double-agents) and creating stories that adversaries will readily believe. In an era of ubiquitous information access, anonymous leaks and public demands for transparency, deception operations are extraordinarily difficult. Nevertheless, successful strategic deception has in the past provided the United States with significant advantages that translated into operational and tactical success. Successful deception also minimizes U.S. vulnerabilities, while simultaneously setting conditions to surprise adversaries. Thus, strategic deception capabilities and plans must perforce be highly classified. Deception cannot succeed in wartime without developing theory and doctrine in peacetime. In order to mitigate or impart surprise, the United States should develop more robust interagency deception planning and action prior to the need for military operations. To be effective, a permanent standing office with strong professional intelligence and operational expertise needs to be established.
Note: The above excerpts can be found on pages 77 and 78. For a powerful two-page summary of a top general's description of how the American public is deceived into supporting war, click here.
The deadly trade in cluster bombs is funded by the world's biggest banks who have loaned or arranged finance worth $20bn (Ł12.5bn) to firms producing the controversial weapons, despite growing international efforts to ban them. HSBC, led by ordained Anglican priest Stephen Green, has profited more than any other institution from companies that manufacture cluster bombs. The British bank ... has earned a total of Ł657.3m in fees arranging bonds and share offerings for Textron, which makes cluster munitions described by the US company as "leaving a clean battlefield". HSBC will face protests outside its London headquarters today. Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, JP Morgan and UK-based Barclays Bank are also named among the worst banks in a detailed 126-page report by Dutch and Belgian campaign groups IKV Pax Christi and Netwerk Vlaanderen. Goldman Sachs, the US bank which made Ł3.19bn proft in just three months, earned $588.82m for bank services and lent $250m to Alliant Techsystems and Textron. Last December 90 countries, including the UK, committed themselves to banning cluster bombs by next year. But the US was not one of them. So far 23 countries have ratified the convention. The UK has yet to do so.
Note: For many verifiable revelations of war profiteering by large corporations, click here.
The secret overseas "black sites" where the CIA conducted the interrogations are empty now, if not already dismantled. They were never examined by a congressional committee, nor inspected by the international Red Cross. The black sites not only imprisoned men but reduced them to a near helpless state. The aim, as outlined in one document, was to teach every detainee "to perceive and value his personal welfare, comfort and immediate needs more than the information he is protecting." The prisoners' arrival -- almost always in diapers -- was engineered to achieve that end. After being shaved, stripped and photographed nude, detainees were examined by CIA medical and psychological personnel. Then came a preliminary interrogation that would determine the prisoners' fate. Only those considered extremely cooperative would avoid a trio of techniques designed to produce a "baseline, dependent" state: the deprivation of clothes, solid food and sleep. Follow-up sessions would start with the prisoner standing with his back against a wall and a towel or collar to prevent whiplash wrapped around his neck. He could be thrown against the wall just once "to make a point, or 20 to 30 times consecutively." Prisoners so abhorred the repeated slamming that they would remain in so-called stress positions, such as painful kneeling postures, for hours to avoid a return to the wall, according to one Dec. 30, 2004, memo that amounts to a CIA blueprint for breaking a detainee's will. Earlier this year, the Obama administration released a series of Justice Department memos laying out legal rationales for the array of coercive interrogation methods the CIA employed.
Note: For further revelations from major media sources on the illegal methods used by the US government in its wars around the world, click here.
Photographs of alleged prisoner abuse which Barack Obama is attempting to censor include images of apparent rape and sexual abuse, it has emerged. At least one picture shows an American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner while another is said to show a male translator raping a male detainee. Further photographs are said to depict sexual assaults on prisoners with objects including a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube. Another apparently shows a female prisoner having her clothing forcibly removed to expose her breasts. Detail of the content emerged from Major General Antonio Taguba, the former army officer who conducted an inquiry into the Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq. Allegations of rape and abuse were included in his 2004 report but the fact there were photographs was never revealed. He has now confirmed their existence in an interview with the Daily Telegraph. The graphic nature of some of the images may explain the US President’s attempts to block the release of an estimated 2,000 photographs from prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan despite an earlier promise to allow them to be published. Maj Gen Taguba, who retired in January 2007, said he supported the President’s decision, adding: “These pictures show torture, abuse, rape and every indecency. “I am not sure what purpose their release would serve other than a legal one and the consequence would be to imperil our troops, the only protectors of our foreign policy, when we most need them. “The mere description of these pictures is horrendous enough, take my word for it.”
The Justice Department ... made public detailed memos describing brutal interrogation techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency, as President Obama sought to reassure the agency that the C.I.A. operatives involved would not be prosecuted. In dozens of pages of dispassionate legal prose, the methods approved by the Bush administration for extracting information from senior operatives of Al Qaeda are spelled out in careful detail — like keeping detainees awake for up to 11 straight days, placing them in a dark, cramped box or putting insects into the box to exploit their fears. The interrogation methods were authorized beginning in 2002, and some were used as late as 2005 in the C.I.A.’s secret overseas prisons. The United States prosecuted some Japanese interrogators at war crimes trials after World War II for waterboarding and other methods detailed in the memos. Together, the four memos give an extraordinarily detailed account of the C.I.A.’s methods and the Justice Department’s long struggle, in the face of graphic descriptions of brutal tactics, to square them with international and domestic law. Passages describing forced nudity, the slamming of detainees into walls, prolonged sleep deprivation and the dousing of detainees with water as cold as 41 degrees alternate with elaborate legal arguments concerning the international Convention Against Torture. The revelations may give new momentum to proposals for a full-blown investigation into Bush administration counterterrorism programs and possible torture prosecutions.
Note: For many revealing reports from major media sources on increasing threats to civil liberties, click here.
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