War News StoriesExcerpts of Key War News Stories in Major Media
Note: This comprehensive list of war news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
Over the last century, the U.S. military has shown a consistent disregard for civilian lives. It has repeatedly cast or misidentified ordinary people as enemies; failed to investigate civilian harm allegations; excused casualties as regrettable but unavoidable; and failed to prevent their recurrence or to hold troops accountable. These long-standing practices stand in stark contrast to the U.S. government's public campaigns to sell its wars as benign, its air campaigns as precise, its concern for civilians as overriding, and the deaths of innocent people as "tragic" anomalies. Such campaigns have mainly served to obscure the true toll of the American way of war, from the "banana wars" of the 1920s to the "forever wars" a century later. During the first 20 years of the war on terror, the U.S. conducted more than 91,000 airstrikes across seven major conflict zones – Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen – and killed up to 48,308 civilians, according to a 2021 analysis by Airwars, a U.K.-based airstrike monitoring group. A 2020 study of post-9/11 civilian casualty incidents found most have gone uninvestigated. When they do come under official scrutiny, American military witnesses are interviewed while civilians – victims, survivors, family members – are almost totally ignored, "severely compromising the effectiveness of investigations," according to the Center for Civilians in Conflict and Columbia Law School's Human Rights Institute.
Note: The profit motive behind these wars was clearly described in 1935 by General Smedley Butler in War is a Racket. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
The conflict between Israel and Hamas is just the latest impetus behind a boom in international arms sales that is bolstering profits and weapons-making capacity among American suppliers. The surge in sales is providing the Biden administration with new opportunities to tie the militaries of other countries more closely to the United States, the world's biggest arms exporter, while also raising concerns that a more heavily armed world will be prone to careen into further wars. Even before Israel responded to the deadly Hamas attack, the combination of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the perception of a rising threat from China was spurring a global rush to purchase fighter planes, missiles, tanks, artillery, munitions and other lethal equipment. Worldwide military spending last year – on weapons, personnel and other costs – hit $2.2 trillion, the highest level in inflation-adjusted dollars since at least the end of the Cold War, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which prepares an annual tally. Excluding sales within the United States, China and Russia, worldwide spending on military procurement is expected to hit $241 billion next year, a 23 percent increase since last year. That is by far the largest two-year increase in the database maintained by Janes, a company that has been tracking military spending for nearly two decades. As of last year, the United States controlled an estimated 45 percent of the world's weapons exports, nearly five times more than any other nation.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
One month since Hamas's surprise attack, little is known about the weapons the U.S. has provided to Israel. Whereas the Biden administration released a three-page itemized list of weapons provided to Ukraine, down to the exact number of rounds, the information released about weapons sent to Israel could fit in a single sentence. A retired Marine general who worked in the region, who asked for anonymity because he was not authorized by his former employer to speak publicly, attributed the secrecy to the political sensitivity of the conflict. In particular, the retired officer said, weapons used in door-to-door urban warfare, which are likely to result in civilian casualties, are not going to be something the administration wants to publicize. The goal of removing Hamas completely from power is widely expected to take a significant commitment to a long-term ground presence and heavy urban fighting. According to the New Yorker, Israeli officials told their American counterparts that the war could last 10 years. Hamas's attack on Israel ... resulted in a cascade of arms assistance from the U.S. Though the Biden administration at first declined to identify any specific weapons systems, as details trickled out in the press, it has gradually acknowledged some. These include "precision guided munitions, small diameter bombs, artillery, ammunition, Iron Dome interceptors and other critical equipment," [said] Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder. What "other critical equipment" entails remains a mystery.
Note: From 2018-2022, the US was responsible for 40 percent of global weapons exports. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
During a Senate briefing last week, a federal counterterrorism official cited the October 7 Hamas attack while urging Congress to reauthorize a sprawling and controversial surveillance program repeatedly used to spy on U.S. citizens on U.S. soil. "As evidenced by the events of the past month, the terrorist threat landscape is highly dynamic and our country must preserve [counterterrorism] fundamentals to ensure constant vigilance," said Director of the National Counterterrorism Center Christine Abizaid. She pointed to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which enables the U.S. government to gather vast amounts of intelligence – including about U.S. citizens ... without first seeking a warrant. Section 702 "provides key indications and warning on terrorist plans and ... gives us strategic insight into foreign terrorists and their networks overseas," Abizaid said. "I respectfully urge Congress to reauthorize this vital authority." The controversial program is set to expire at the end of the year, and lawmakers sympathetic to the intelligence community are scrambling to protect it. Sean Vitka ... at the civil liberties group Demand Progress [said] that now is the time to enact lasting and dramatic oversight of the 702 authority. "The government has completely failed to demonstrate that any of the privacy protections reformers have called for would impair national security ... so now we're seeing people grasping at straws trying to turn everything into an excuse for reauthorization," Vitka said.
The morning of the Hamas attack, [Maoz] Inon's parents were at home in their community of Netiv HaAsara, a mere quarter-mile from Gaza. A Hamas fighter launched a rocket-propelled grenade that directly hit his parents' wooden house. Amid this sea of grief that he's cratered into, Inon says he feels no urge for revenge. "I was crying, and I'm still crying, for all the innocent victims from both sides that will die," he says. "And I'm crying for this 100 years of bloodshed, of cycle of death." Inon says that this cycle can seem endless, but he has hope. "It seems like there is no solution," he says, "but there is." Inon says he had something of a vision after this war began. "I saw an image of everyone crying," he recalls. He says we shouldn't have more weapons, build higher walls and create better security systems. "That's the old world, OK? You want to start a new world? We need to cry ... And then," he says, "we'll see the path for peace." In one of [political psychologist Oded Adomi] Leshem's research studies, he shows that Jewish Israelis and Palestinians consistently underestimate the other group's hope for peace. "This underestimation actually reduces one's own hope." Unlike conflict, which Leshem says is bloody but familiar to Israelis and Palestinians, hope is different. It's unfamiliar and unpredictable. "If we kind of accept this unpredictability," he says, "take the chance [on] this uncertain thing – which is called peace between the [Jordan] River and the [Mediterranean] Sea – then this is closely related to hope."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
The United Nations has warned that there was "clear evidence" that war crimes may have been committed in "the explosion of violence in Israel and Gaza". Meanwhile, Wall Street is hoping for an explosion in profits. During third-quarter earnings calls this month, analysts from Morgan Stanley and TD Bank took note of this potential profit-making escalation in conflict and asked unusually blunt questions about the financial benefit of the war between Israel and Hamas. TD Cowen's Cai von Rumohr, managing director and senior research analyst specializing in the aerospace industry, [asked] about the upside for General Dynamics, an aerospace and weapons company in which TD Asset Management holds over $16m in stock. The aerospace and weapons sector ... enjoyed a 7-percentage point jump in value in the immediate aftermath of Hamas's 7 October attack on Israel and the beginning of Israel's bombardment of Gaza. "Hamas has created additional demand, we have this $106bn request from the president," said Von Rumohr, during General Dynamics' earnings call on 25 October. "Can you give us some general color in terms of areas where you think you could see incremental acceleration in demand?" Aside from the callousness of casually discussing the financial benefits of far-off armed conflict, the comments raise questions about whether these major institutional shareholders of weapons stocks are abiding by their own human rights policies.
Ever since Israel responded to Hamas's atrocities with a vicious onslaught that has killed more than 8,000 Palestinians there has been an attempt to silence, intimidate and harass Palestinian sympathisers. Inevitably, it is Palestinians who suffer the brunt of a campaign to stigmatise even the most basic opposition to the mass slaughter of their people. Viet Thanh Nguyen, the son of refugees and a sympathiser with other displaced people, had a talk at the 92nd Street Y centre in New York postponed after he signed an open letter demanding an "end to the violence and destruction in Palestine". What of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, whose longstanding conference in Houston was cancelled following the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce describing the event as "a conference for Hamas supporters"? The Hilton cited security concerns as the reason for the cancellation. The keynote speaker, Rashida Tlaib, the first ever elected Palestinian-American congresswoman, has been targeted by a Republican smear campaign, with an attempt to censure her for "antisemitic activity" and "sympathising with terrorist organisations" – all baseless attacks. Meanwhile, MSNBC reportedly stopped three of its Muslim broadcasters from presenting their shows, with no explanation. The broadcaster claimed any change in programming as "coincidental". This intimidation has deadly consequences: it undermines public pressure on Israel's western allies to stop the slaughter and end the occupation.
While the sad reality of violence and division dominates the media, countless grassroots organizations are working tirelessly to bring peace and reconciliation to the Israel-Palestine conflict. As the region continues to be ravaged by violence, Standing Together, Israel's largest Arab-Jewish grassroots organization, brings together Jewish and Palestinian volunteers. They labor relentlessly to assist victims of continuous violence while also campaigning for peace, equality, social justice, and climate justice. Their message is clear: the future they envision is one of peace, Israeli and Palestinian independence, full equality, and environmental justice. The Parents Circle – Families Forum, which includes over 600 families who have lost loved ones in the conflict, is a symbol of reconciliation. This joint Israeli-Palestinian organization encourages conversation and reconciliation through education, public gatherings, and media participation, presenting a ray of hope for a future of coexistence. Integrated schools in Israel, where Jewish and Palestinian children attend classes together, serve as an example of a more inclusive future. Hand in Hand promotes understanding by bringing parents together for debate and shared study of Hebrew and Arabic. They are sowing seeds of oneness. Jerusalem Peacebuilders brings together Israelis, Palestinians, and Americans with the goal of developing tomorrow's leaders. Their work highlights the futility of violent war and the critical need for nonviolence.
Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.
The screams of children are difficult to hear over the noise and fury of the Gaza maelstrom. In a joint statement on Sunday, the US, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Canada called for "adherence to international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians". But they know full well that, in Gaza, the exact opposite is happening. And it's not only them. The likes of China and Russia are doing nothing to stop it, either. Last week, the Save the Children charity reported that one child in Gaza was being killed every 15 minutes. On Saturday, the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor was estimating a daily death toll of 200 children and infants. Of the more than 4,600 Palestinians killed since Israeli forces began their bombardment, about 40% are children, the Hamas-run Palestinian health ministry says. Behind these stark figures lies a world of pain. At least 3,250 children have been injured, with 1,240 needing specialised medical care, as of last week. Many have extensive burns and shrapnel wounds or have lost limbs. Yet hospitals and clinics that have been damaged or destroyed or are short of medical supplies – due to Israel's siege – are unable to treat them adequately. "Israel's bombardment and unlawful total blockade of Gaza mean that countless wounded and sick children, among many other civilians, will die for want of medical care," said Human Rights Watch. Killing and targeting civilians, especially children, is illegal under international humanitarian law.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
On Wednesday, the United States was the only country to vote "no" on a proposed U.N. Security Council resolution authored by Brazil that called for "humanitarian pauses" in Israel's bombing of Gaza. Twelve countries voted for the resolution, including several surprising ones, such as France and the United Arab Emirates. Two more, Russia and the U.K., abstained. But according to the Security Council's rules, America's sole "no" vote meant that the resolution failed. The Security Council has 15 countries. Ten are rotating members, elected by the U.N. General Assembly and serving on the council for a period of two years. Five are permanent members: the U.S., Russia, China, France, and the U.K. If any of the permanent members vetoes a resolution, it will not pass, no matter how many votes are in favor. The first U.S. veto to protect Israel occurred in 1972. Since then, the U.S. has vetoed about four dozen more resolutions criticizing Israel. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has similarly vetoed numerous resolutions to protect its own client state, Syria, as well as itself concerning Ukraine. Since the U.N.'s founding, it has largely always been a debating society because the world's most powerful countries, led by the U.S., want it that way. There has recently been renewed energy at the U.N. to change things. However, given the fact that the five permanent members can block any changes, the best idea that anyone could come up with was to ask them nicely to change.
Note: Israel has been the largest recipient of U.S. military assistance, receiving $158 billion since the country's establishment in 1948. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war and government corruption from reliable major media sources.
President Joe Biden departed for Israel on Tuesday evening on a high-stakes diplomatic visit amid ongoing Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed. As Biden grapples with the crisis, several U.S. officials told HuffPost it has become difficult to have a full debate within his administration about what's happening in Israel-Palestine and in particular that people who want to talk about Israeli restraint or humanitarian protections for Palestinians feel stifled. Several staffers across multiple agencies, most of whom work on national security issues, told HuffPost they and their colleagues worry about retaliation at work for questioning Israel's conduct amid the U.S.-backed Israeli campaign to avenge an Oct. 7 attack by Hamas, the Palestinian militant group, that killed more than 1,400 Israelis. The fear is especially intense among staffers with Muslim backgrounds. On Sunday, presidential personnel office chief Gautam Raghavan organized a call with close to a dozen current and former high-level Muslim appointees to discuss their concerns. Some staffers said they felt unsafe voicing their opinions around colleagues because it could endanger their careers, according to a person on the call. The period since the Hamas attack represents "the first time in the administration that there was a real culture of silence," one official said. "It feels like post-9/11 where you feel like your thoughts are being policed, and you're really afraid of being seen as anti-American or an anti-Semite."
In the shadow of war, Arab-Jewish solidarity initiatives emerge. "On Sunday, the second day of the war, we saw that there was enormous chaos and realized we must do something," said Sleman Shlebe, a Bedouin resident of the northern Negev, who in a short time recruited some 600 volunteers, mostly from the Azazmeh tribe, who arrived with their ATVs and created emergency teams to search for missing Israelis. On Saturday evening, a message was sent to members of a host of activist WhatsApp groups about the establishment of a joint Arab-Jewish civil guard in Tel Aviv-Jaffa. Its goal: to protect local residents, regardless of religion or ethnic background, should clashes erupt among them. Within hours, some 1,000 people joined the guard's new WhatsApp group. Nearly 500 listened in during a video conference that evening – Jews and Arabs, all ready to make sure the events of May 2021, when inter-communal riots broke out in Jaffa and other "mixed" cities during a round of fighting between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza, wouldn't be repeated. Members of the new patrol group, which is unarmed, are tasked with trying to keep the streets calm as the war evolves. One way they are helping ease tensions under such circumstances is by documenting incidents by video; they also express their solidarity with local residents. The new guards are planning to deploy if there is a potentially explosive situation, such as during prayers at a mosque, church or synagogue.
As Israel escalates its attacks on Gaza, the State Department is discouraging diplomats working on Middle East issues from making public statements suggesting the U.S. wants to see less violence. In messages circulated on Friday, State Department staff wrote that high-level officials do not want press materials to include three specific phrases: "de-escalation/ceasefire," "end to violence/bloodshed" and "restoring calm." The revelation provides a stunning signal about the Biden administration's reluctance to push for Israeli restraint as the close U.S. partner expands the offensive it launched after Hamas ... attacked Israeli communities. U.S. officials have said they expect Israel to abide by the laws of war in its operation against Hamas. But they have avoided discussion of a ceasefire, even as aid groups and some analysts have suggested that may be essential to allow civilians to flee Gaza and allow vital supplies to enter the area after Israel cut off electricity and water. U.S. President Joe Biden has repeatedly pledged to support Israel as it seeks to avenge the unprecedented Hamas assault. Yet as Israel's biggest source of diplomatic and military support, the U.S. has significant leverage in the matter of how the country chooses to seek retribution and whether Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tries to limit the civilian toll of his response. Biden allies may nudge the president and his team to issue stronger calls for Netanyahu to prioritize humanitarian concerns.
Note: Why wasn't this headline in other major media? Both Washington Post and NBC News included this in only one paragraph in longer articles as if it were unimportant. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
For almost 4,000 years, some governments have insisted that if wars must be fought, there should be rules. During its assault, on Black Saturday, Hamas broke numerous laws of war, starting with its rocket fire into Israel, which made no attempt to discriminate between military and civilian targets, breaking article 13 of protocol II of the Geneva conventions. Its fighters murdered, tortured and raped, breaking common article 3 of the Geneva conventions and articles 27 and 32 of the fourth convention. They also engaged in pillage and terrorism (33, fourth convention) and the taking of hostages (34, fourth, and article 8 of the Rome statute). In responding to this attack, Israel has also broken several laws of war. These crimes begin with the use of collective penalties against the people of Gaza (article 33 of the fourth convention and article 4 of protocol II). One aspect of this punishment appears to be the pattern of Israel's bombing and shelling of Gaza. The war crime in this case is the damage to property: article 50 of the first Geneva convention, article 51 of the second Geneva convention and article 147 of the fourth Geneva convention. Many of the buildings hit, including numerous schools and health facilities, do not appear to qualify as military targets, despite Israeli claims that Hamas uses people as human shields. Such indiscriminate attacks contravene article 13, protocol II and article 53, fourth convention. The bombing of mosques breaks article 16 of protocol II.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
As war in Ukraine continues, controversial defense contractors and adjacent companies like Palantir, Anduril, and Clearview AI are taking advantage to develop and level-up controversial AI-driven weapons systems and surveillance technologies. These organizations' common link? The support of the controversial, yet ever-more powerful Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel. Thiel-backed groups' involvement in war serves to develop not only problematic and unpredictable weapons technologies and systems, but also apparently to advance and further interconnect a larger surveillance apparatus formed by Thiel and his elite allies' collective efforts across the public and private sectors, which arguably amount to the entrenchment of a growing technocratic panopticon aimed at capturing public and private life. What's more, Thiel's funding efforts signal interest in developing expansive surveillance technologies, especially in the name of combatting "pre-crime" through "predictive policing" style surveillance. As an example, Thiel's provided significant funds to Israeli intelligence-linked startup Carbyne911 (as did Jeffrey Epstein), which develops call-handling and call-identification capacities for emergency services, and has ... a predictive-policing component. Thiel also assisted in the development and subsequent privatized spinoffs of the US Government's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Total Information Awareness project.
Note: Peter Thiel was also recently reported to be an FBI informant. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.
For Palestinians in Gaza, Israel's eyes are never very far away. Surveillance drones buzz constantly from the skies. The highly-secured border is awash with security cameras and soldiers on guard. But Israel's eyes appeared to have been closed in the lead-up to an unprecedented onslaught by the militant Hamas group, which broke down Israeli border barriers and sent hundreds of militants into Israel to carry out a brazen attack that has killed hundreds. Israel withdrew troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005. But even after Hamas overran Gaza in 2007, Israel appeared to maintain its edge, using technological and human intelligence. It claimed to know the precise locations of Hamas leadership and appeared to prove it through the assassinations of militant leaders in surgical strikes, sometimes while they slept in their bedrooms. Israel has known where to strike underground tunnels used by Hamas to ferry around fighters and arms. Despite those abilities, Hamas was able to keep its plan under wraps. The ferocious attack, which likely took months of planning and meticulous training and involved coordination among multiple militant groups, appeared to have gone under Israel's intelligence radar. An Egyptian intelligence official said Egypt, which often serves as a mediator between Israel and Hamas, had spoken repeatedly with the Israelis about "something big," without elaborating. He said Israeli officials were focused on the West Bank and played down the threat from Gaza.
Note: According to Efrat Fenigson, a former Israeli soldier who served on the Gaza border, "A cat moving alongside the fence is triggering all forces." How could Israeli intelligence not have known that this attack was coming? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and war from reliable major media sources.
Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) [is] Europe's biggest arms fair, which takes place every two years in the Excel convention centre in east London. It is a sprawling supermarket of modern warfare, where the world's armies come to buy the latest AI-guided missiles and tanks, inspect giant warships moored in the Royal Docks, and queue to take a turn sitting in the cockpits of fighter jets. Joystick manufacturers jostle with makers of invisibility cloaks, while purveyors of VR simulators compete with those of radar jammers, next to endless ranks of machine guns. Sleek submarines sparkle on spotlit plinths while flocks of missile-carrying drones dangle from the ceiling like menacing mobiles. "This year feels much busier than usual," one bomb salesman tells me, standing by a gleaming rack of cone-shaped warheads, polished like trophies in a glass cabinet. "It seems war is back in a big way. People are looking to stock up." Whereas attendees of this great murderous bazaar may once have felt sheepish, they now proudly march through the entrance gates with their heads held high. Recent events in Ukraine have sharpened minds and opened wallets in relation to government spending on defence. Total global military expenditure reached an all-time high of $2.2tn (Ł1.8tn) in 2022. Outside the exhibition halls, reality hits. "Please be aware," a polite protester tells visitors, "that many of the countries you are doing business with are on the UK government's human rights priority list."
Note: As one defense executive flat-out told Reuters during the event, "war is good for business." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war and military corruption from reliable major media sources.
What would a progressive Pentagon look like? I'm not talking about a "woke" Pentagon that touts and celebrates its "diversity," including its belated acceptance of LGBTQ+ members. Painting "Black Lives Matter" and rainbow flags on B-52 bombers doesn't make the bombs dropped any less destructive. All too many Americans didn't know how badly they'd been lied to about the Vietnam War until the Pentagon Papers emerged near the end of that disastrous conflict. All too many Americans didn't know how badly they'd been lied to about the Afghan War until the Afghan War Papers emerged near the end of that disastrous conflict. All too many Americans didn't know how badly they'd been lied to about the Iraq War until the myth of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction (which had been part of the bogus rationale for invading that country) crumbled. A progressive Pentagon would ... celebrate the insights of Generals Smedley Butler and Dwight D. Eisenhower that war is fundamentally a racket (Butler) and that the military-industrial-congressional complex poses the severest of threats to freedom and democracy in America (President Eisenhower). A progressive Pentagon would ... recognize that one cannot serve both a republic and an empire, that a choice must be made, and that a Pentagon of the present kind in a genuine republic would voluntarily downsize itself, while largely dismantling its imperial infrastructure of perhaps 800 overseas bases.
Note: Read decorated general Smedley Butler's 1935 book War is a Racket. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
Candid public discourse about the "war on terror" is long overdue. Hindsight offers an opportunity to take a fresh look at the official pronouncements and unheeded dissent that came soon after September 11, 2001. When the first U.S. missiles struck Afghanistan, a Gallup poll found that "90 percent of Americans approve of the United States taking such military action, while just 5 percent are opposed, and another 5 percent are unsure." A frenzy for war had taken hold, despite the fact that none of the 9/11 hijackers were Afghans. In effect, the United States proceeded, with displaced rage, to inflict collective punishment on vast numbers of Afghan people. More than 20 years later, are we ready to face up to the human toll of the war on terror? Counting only the people killed directly in U.S. wars since 2001, researchers at the Costs of War project at Brown University have estimated those deaths at between 906,000 and 937,000. The study found that at least 364,000 of them were civilians who lost their lives "in the violence of the U.S. post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere." Meanwhile, "several times as many more have been killed as a reverberating effect of the wars." The estimated number of people directly and indirectly killed is 4.5 million. Labeled as a war on terror, open-ended U.S. warfare remains so routine that no one asks anymore when it might end.
A half-dozen or so men gathered last month [at] one of Kyiv's swankiest hotels to discuss the lucrative business of arming Ukrainian troops. The group included Ukrainian military and government officials, who are always in the market for explosive shells. The center of attention was their gregarious host, a Florida-based arms contractor named Marc Morales. And joining the group was a stout, bearded man who served both the buyers and sellers: Vladimir Koyfman, a chief sergeant in the Ukrainian military whom Mr. Morales pays to arrange meetings with his government contacts. The [Biden] administration has sent Ukraine more than $40 billion in security aid, including advanced weapons like HIMARS rockets and Patriot missiles. But the Pentagon also relies heavily on little-known arms dealers like Mr. Morales. The Pentagon has awarded his company about $1 billion in contracts, mostly for ammunition. And records show he has built a roughly $200 million side business selling to the Ukrainians directly. Mr. Morales's competitors say that he has an unfair advantage. His ties to the Pentagon. Arms brokers from around the world are competing for a limited supply of Soviet-style arms, mostly from Eastern Europe, to then sell to Ukraine. With cash pouring in from Washington, Mr. Morales can afford to pay more than his competitors do, several Eastern European arms dealers complained. He then makes good on his American contracts and buys more ammunition on his own to sell to Ukraine directly.
The day after the U.S. government began routinely bombing faraway places, the lead editorial in the New York Times expressed some gratification. Nearly four weeks had passed since 9/11 ... and America had finally stepped up its "counterattack against terrorism" by launching airstrikes on al-Qaeda training camps and Taliban military targets in Afghanistan. The Project on Defense Alternatives concluded that American air strikes had killed more than 1,000 [Afghan] civilians during the last three months of 2001. By mid-spring 2002, the Guardian reported, "as many as 20,000 Afghans may have lost their lives as an indirect consequence of the U.S. intervention." Under the "war on terror" rubric, open-ended warfare was well underway – "as if terror were a state and not a technique," as Joan Didion wrote in 2003. "We had seen, most importantly, the insistent use of September 11 to justify the reconception of America's correct role in the world as one of initiating and waging virtually perpetual war." Unlike those killed on 9/11, the Iraqi dead were routinely off the American media radar screen, as were the psychological traumas suffered by Iraqis and the decimation of their country's infrastructure. For the White House, the Pentagon, and Congress, the war on terror offered a political license to kill and displace people on a large scale in at least eight countries. The resulting carnage often included civilians. The dead and maimed had no names or faces that reached those who signed the orders and appropriated the funds.
Note: A 2021 report estimated that the War on Terror had "killed up to 929,000 people and cost over $8 trillion." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
In 2023, this country's drone warfare program has entered its third decade with no end in sight. Despite the fact that the 22nd anniversary of 9/11 is approaching, policymakers have demonstrated no evidence of reflecting on the failures of drone warfare and how to stop it. Instead, the focus continues to be on simply shifting drone policy in minor ways within an ongoing violent system. Washington's war on terror has inflicted disproportionate violence on communities across the globe, while using this form of asymmetrical warfare to further expand the space between the value placed on American lives and those of Muslims. Since the war on terror was launched, the London-based watchdog group Airwars has estimated that American air strikes have killed at least 22,679 civilians and possibly up to 48,308 of them. Such killings have been carried out for the most part by desensitized killers, who have been primed towards the dehumanization of the targets of those murderous machines. In the words of critic Saleh Sharief, "The detached nature of drone warfare has anonymized and dehumanized the enemy, greatly diminishing the necessary psychological barriers of killing." While the use of drones in the war on terror began under President George W. Bush, it escalated dramatically under Obama. Then, in the Trump years, it rose yet again. Though the use of drones in Joe Biden's first year in office was lower than Trump's, what has remained consistent is the lack of ... accountability for the slaughter of civilians.
Note: A 2014 analysis found that attempts to kill 41 people with drones resulted in 1,147 deaths. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
Swiss journalist Maurine Mercier found several United States citizens fighting in Ukraine under the guise of humanitarian work. These rudderless warriors are a symbol of a society addicted to warfare. They reflect the tensions that author and antiwar activist Norman Solomon unwinds in his brilliant new book, War Made Invisible, which examines the profound causes and costs of U.S. interventionism. Solomon's book unveils the disturbing proximity between the ruling class and corporate media since the Vietnam War, revealing how the fourth estate sustains the assumptions that make intervention possible in Ukraine and elsewhere. "The essence of propaganda is repetition," he argues. "The frequencies of certain assumptions blend into a kind of white noise," conditioning U.S. people to support military operations they never see or truly understand. This was never clearer than during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Indeed, across the media landscape, embedded intellectuals mobilized their pens to solidify public support for war. ABC, NBC, CBS and PBS all skewed their coverage. In many ways, militarism is a form of class warfare. "The fat profit margins from supplying the Pentagon and kindred agencies," Solomon explains, exacerbate economic inequality while redirecting resources away from social programs. In effect, war is perpetual because it is profitable, enriching an elite firmly entrenched in the military-industrial complex.
In its newly released 2023 Trafficking in Persons Report, the Biden administration provided a glaring, but largely unnoticed, admission that it has failed to implement a key provision of U.S. law aimed at preventing the recruitment and use of child soldiers. The report acknowledged that the administration has yet to finalize a congressionally mandated list of governments complicit in child soldier recruitment or use. With this list responsible for spurring urgently needed U.S. child soldier prevention efforts, its delay could have potentially severe consequences. Despite decades of concerted action to end the use of children as tools of war, the recruitment and use of child soldiers remains one of the most widespread abuses inflicted upon children in conflict, with the UN having verified the recruitment and use of 7,622 child soldiers last year – a 21 percent increase compared to 2021. Among those implicated in the use of child soldiers are security forces and armed groups led or supported by governments that rely heavily on U.S. defense cooperation to sustain their security operations. Somalia, for example, which recruited and used dozens of child soldiers in 2022, is among the most significant recipients of U.S. military aid in sub-Saharan Africa, with U.S. security assistance to and peacekeeping operations in the country amounting to roughly $3 billion over the past decade. The Biden administration can incentive governments implicated in the recruitment or use of child soldiers to put an end to these horrendous practices.
Hours after Senate Democrats blocked an effort to install greater oversight over the billions of dollars the United States is sending to Ukraine, the watchdog who oversaw U.S. spending in Afghanistan issued a warning. Spending too much too fast, with little oversight, would lead to "unanticipated consequences," John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR, said at an event. Sopko especially warned about the risk of fueling corruption, perhaps the most damaging legacy of the billions the U.S. spent in Afghanistan and a major factor in the collapse of its effort in the country. "If that much money is coming in, you know some of it is going to be stolen," he said. "In Afghanistan, corruption was the existential threat. It wasn't the Taliban. It was corruption that did us in." Debate over installing a special inspector for Ukraine modeled after SIGAR began swirling on Capitol Hill as it became clear that U.S. support for Ukraine in the face of Russia's full-scale invasion would reach unprecedented levels. Congress approved some $113 billion in aid to Ukraine last year, and some analysts put the full figure to date at closer to $137 billion. By comparison, the U.S. spent some $146 billion in reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan between 2002 and 2022 (although it spent far more going to war there in the first place). "By the end of this year, we will have spent more money in Ukraine than we did to do the entire Marshall Plan after World War II," Sopko said.
The IMF and other neoliberal institutions in Ukraine are saying that there are quite a few jobs being created there. But the people I speak to can't find jobs. On top of that, there are those 12 million people who are abroad. Where will there be jobs for them? There is a lot of talk about the Marshall Plan. But the main lessons from the Marshall Plan I did not see reflected in these recovery plans. First of all, there was the write-off of debts. Second of all, there were grants given to countries, and states were allowed to act as investors and were allowed to directly buy food for families or buy supplies for industries. This is not the case in Ukraine. In reality, a big part of the financial assistance given to Ukraine is in the form of debt. The help supposedly given by the IMF of $15 billion ... is actually $15 billion of debt. And because it's debt, the interest rate on this debt will be something like 7 or 8 percent. What the European Union is doing with Ukraine is what they did with Greece after 2010. The European Union made an agreement in 2010 with the IMF to gather money to give to the Greek government with very strong and brutal conditionalities. And that's exactly what [is happening] with the type of assistance given to Ukraine. The debt trap for Ukraine is very dangerous. With the new financial assistance given to Ukraine, in the next ten years, the debt will increase by something like $40 billion. Essentially, from $132 to $170 billion. And the creditors know perfectly that it will be impossible for Ukraine to pay back all this debt.
A new investigation reveals the extent of the CIA's involvement in the war in Ukraine, where the agency operates clandestinely in what, under a formal declaration of war, would be the domain of the military. The author of the investigation [is] William Arkin, a national security reporter and senior editor at Newsweek, who says that the CIA has "got its hand in a little bit of everything" in Ukraine. "This might come as a surprise to some people, but, as my sources explained it to me, the reality is that Ukraine is not an ally of the United States," [said Arkin]. "We have no treaty obligations towards Ukraine. And the United States is not at war with Russia. So this is a particularly unique battlefield in which the CIA is playing an outsize role, but it is playing an outsize role because the Biden administration has been firm in saying that the U.S. military will not be involved in any direct way in the fighting or on the battlefield or, indeed, inside Ukraine." The CIA is no stranger to Ukraine. Clearly, in the post-World War II period, it was involved in developing right-wing groups within Ukraine that were opposing the Soviet Union, a lot of them former neo-Nazis. "I don't see much movement or much interest even on the part of the U.S. government in Washington ... to find a peaceful resolution" [said Arkin]. "So, really, no one is playing that role. The United Nations is not playing that role. There is no neutral party that really is playing the role of trying to end the conflict between the two parties."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption from reliable major media sources.
Though once confined to the realm of science fiction, the concept of supercomputers killing humans has now become a distinct possibility. In addition to developing a wide variety of "autonomous," or robotic combat devices, the major military powers are also rushing to create automated battlefield decision-making systems, or what might be called "robot generals." In wars in the not-too-distant future, such AI-powered systems could be deployed to deliver combat orders to American soldiers, dictating where, when, and how they kill enemy troops or take fire from their opponents. In its budget submission for 2023, for example, the Air Force requested $231 million to develop the Advanced Battlefield Management System (ABMS), a complex network of sensors and AI-enabled computers designed to ... provide pilots and ground forces with a menu of optimal attack options. As the technology advances, the system will be capable of sending "fire" instructions directly to "shooters," largely bypassing human control. The Air Force's ABMS is intended to ... connect all US combat forces, the Joint All-Domain Command-and-Control System (JADC2, pronounced "Jad-C-two"). "JADC2 intends to enable commanders to make better decisions by collecting data from numerous sensors, processing the data using artificial intelligence algorithms to identify targets, then recommending the optimal weapon ... to engage the target," the Congressional Research Service reported in 2022.
Note: Read about the emerging threat of killer robots on the battlefield. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
Research by Brown University is shedding light on the impact of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and other conflict zones, finding that the U.S. military, among others, contributes significantly to climate change, becoming one of the world's top greenhouse gas emitters through the fighting of battles. Air pollution from military vehicles and weaponry has adversely affected public health among civilians in the war zone and U.S. service members. The report examines everything from the destruction of military base garbage in burn pits to the deforestation in Afghanistan to cancer, birth defects and other conditions associated with war-related toxins. "The water supply in the war zones has been contaminated by oil from military vehicles and depleted uranium from ammunition. Along with the degradation of the natural resources in these countries ... the animal and bird populations have also been adversely affected." Now think about Russia and Ukraine. Russia's targeting of Ukraine's energy grid has been particularly damaging, as oil depots and gas power plants explode, releasing carbon and methane into the air. Reports suggest that ordinary Ukrainians are feeling the impact, forced to rely on dirtier fuels to keep warm. A recent report by GHG, a Dutch firm examining the war's greenhouse gas impact, found that each explosion of a missile or projectile causes pollution of air, water and land with toxic substances, and that Russian bombing of industrial infrastructure in Ukraine has led to uncontrolled chemical releases.
In the roughly 16 months since Russia's February 2022 escalation of the Ukraine conflict, the US government has approved several multi-billion dollar spending packages to sustain the Kiev military's fight against Moscow. Though many Americans likely believe that US dollars allocated for Ukraine are spent directly on supplies for the war effort, the lead author of this report, Heather Kaiser, conducted a thorough review of Washington's budget for the 2022 and 2023 fiscal year and discovered that is far from the case. US taxpayers may be shocked to learn that as their families grappled with fears of Social Security's looming insolvency, the Social Security Administration in Washington sent $4.48 million to the Kiev government in 2022 and 2023 alone. In another example of bizarre spending, USAID paid off $4.5 billion worth of Ukraine's sovereign debt through payments made to the World Bank – all while Congress went to loggerheads over America's ballooning national debt. (Western financial interests including BlackRock Inc. are among the largest holders of Ukrainian government bonds.) Calculating the total dollar amount that the US has given to Ukraine is incredibly challenging for multitude of reasons: there is a lag in reporting expenditures; covert money given by the CIA (Title 50 Covert Action) won't be publicly disclosed; and direct military assistance in the form of military equipment is not calculated in the same manner as raw cash.
Note: The above article doesn't provide a total figure. Congress approved $113 billion in aid to Ukraine in 2022. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
Weapons-grade robots and drones being utilized in combat isn't new. But AI software is, and it's enhancing – in some cases, to the extreme – the existing hardware, which has been modernizing warfare for the better part of a decade. Now, experts say, developments in AI have pushed us to a point where global forces now have no choice but to rethink military strategy – from the ground up. "It's realistic to expect that AI will be piloting an F-16 and will not be that far out," Nathan Michael, Chief Technology Officer of Shield AI, a company whose mission is "building the world's best AI pilot," says. We don't truly comprehend what we're creating. There are also fears that a comfortable reliance in the technology's precision and accuracy – referred to as automation bias – may come back to haunt, should the tech fail in a life or death situation. One major worry revolves around AI facial recognition software being used to enhance an autonomous robot or drone during a firefight. Right now, a human being behind the controls has to pull the proverbial trigger. Should that be taken away, militants could be misconstrued for civilians or allies at the hands of a machine. And remember when the fear of our most powerful weapons being turned against us was just something you saw in futuristic action movies? With AI, that's very possible. "There is a concern over cybersecurity in AI and the ability of either foreign governments or an independent actors to take over crucial elements of the military," [filmmaker Jesse Sweet] said.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
As the Ukraine war drags on, the Biden administration is now reportedly in the final stages of deciding whether to send more [cluster munitions] to the Ukrainian military. The decision to supply cluster munitions to Ukraine would likely be seen as a setback to nonproliferation efforts aimed at stopping use of the weapon. The report by Human Rights Watch analyzing the impact of previous cluster munition attacks carried out last summer by the Ukrainian military found numerous dead and wounded civilians in Izium who were hit by exploding cluster bomblets. Cluster munitions are controversial due to the manner in which "bomblets" are scattered around a targeted area, creating secondary explosions that can cause death and injury even long after a conflict has ceased. The bombs are currently at the center of an international campaign to ban their use in armed conflict. More than 100 states have signed an international convention on cluster munitions vowing not to employ them in war, produce them domestically, or encourage their use in foreign conflicts. Despite public pressure to join, the U.S. has not become a signatory to the convention. The Ukrainian military was reported to have requested significant transfers of the munitions late last year. "Cluster munitions used by Russia and Ukraine are killing civilians now and will continue to do so for many years," said Mary Wareham, advocacy director of the Arms Division at Human Rights Watch, in the report.
Note: The global cluster bombs trade is funded by the world's biggest banks. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and war from reliable major media sources.
With the U.S. supplying billions-of-dollars of munitions to Ukraine and growing tensions in the Taiwan Strait, some Pentagon generals are sounding alarms about the dwindling supply of U.S. weapons ... at a time when the cost of replacing them is skyrocketing. A six-month investigation by 60 Minutes found it has less to do with foreign entanglements than domestic ones - what can only be described as price gouging by U.S. defense contractors. It wasn't always like this. The roots of the problem can be traced to 1993, when the Pentagon, looking to cut costs, urged defense companies to merge. Fifty one major contractors consolidated to five giants. The landscape has totally changed. In the '80s, there was intense competition amongst a number of companies. And so the government had choices. They had leverage. We have limited leverage now. The problem was compounded when the Pentagon, in another cost saving move, cut 130,000 employees whose jobs were to negotiate and oversee defense contracts. The Pentagon granted companies unprecedented leeway to monitor themselves. Instead of saving money ... the price of almost everything began to rise. In the competitive environment before the companies consolidated, a shoulder fired stinger missile cost $25,000 in 1991. With Raytheon now the sole supplier, it costs more than $400,000 to replace each missile sent to Ukraine ... even accounting for inflation and some improvements that's a seven-fold increase.
Note: Leading military contractors are hiking up prices of everyday products as well, costing US taxpayers more than $1.3 million in unnecessary markups. Explore how the Pentagon paid arms manufacturer Boeing over $200,000 for four trash cans used in surveillance planes (roughly $51,606 per unit). War profiteering happens on many levels, as articulated in a summary of War is a Racket by General Smedley D. Butler.
Since Russia launched its full-scale invasion last year, Ukrainian authorities have threatened, revoked, or denied press credentials of journalists working for half a dozen Ukrainian and foreign news outlets because of their coverage. Veteran war correspondents, for their part, are accusing Ukrainian officials of making reporting on the reality of the war ... nearly impossible. "I've covered four wars, and I've never seen such a chasm between the drama and intensity and historic import of the reality of the conflict on the one hand, and the superficiality and meagerness of its documentation by the press on the other," Luke Mogelson, a contributing writer for the New Yorker, told The Intercept. "It's wild how little of what's happening is being chronicled. And the main reason, though not the only one, is that the Ukrainian government has made it virtually impossible for journalists to do real front line reportage." Mogelson added that the restrictions come from military and political brass and run counter to rank-and-file soldiers' desire to share their experiences. "The guys who are actually out doing the killing and dying and enduring the misery of the front are almost always thrilled to have journalists witness what they're going through," he added. Ukrainian journalists have also warned that military handlers' tight oversight of journalists is skewing coverage of the war. The Ukrainian military doesn't have a formal embed system. Most press access consists of short, chaperoned visits to military positions.
Note: The proxy war in Ukraine was designed to serve U.S. military-intelligence interests. Read an excellent analysis by Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Chris Hedges, who covers what's going on in Ukraine and Russia beyond the official media establishment narrative. For further exploration, read an in-depth report by veteran journalist Seymour Hersh, who received revealing information from U.S. intelligence sources about how US taxpayer money is being used in this war.
More than 50 years had passed since Ellsberg – risking prison for the rest of his life – had provided the New York Times and other newspapers with 7,000 pages of top-secret documents that quickly became known as the Pentagon Papers. From then on, he continued to speak, write, and protest as a tireless antiwar activist. I asked what the impacts would likely be if pictures of people killed by the U.S. military's bombing campaigns were on the front pages of American newspapers. "I am in favor, unreservedly, of making people aware what the human consequences are of what we're doing – where we are killing people, what the real interests appear to be involved, who is benefiting from this, what are the circumstances of the killing," Ellsberg replied. "I want that to come out. It is not impossible, especially [with] social media, where people can be their own investigative journalists." Ellsberg died today from pancreatic cancer. While he is best known as the whistleblower who gave the Pentagon Papers about the Vietnam War to the world, he went on for 52 years to expose other types of secrets – including hidden truths about the psychology and culture of U.S. militarism. Ellsberg added, "How much of a role does the media actually play in ... deceiving the public? I would say, as a former insider, one becomes aware: It's not difficult to deceive them. First of all, you're often telling them what they would like to believe – that we're better than other people, we are superior in our morality and our perceptions of the world."
Note: This article was written by Norman Soloman, longtime political activist and media critic on war coverage. Explore a powerfully written adaptation from Soloman's new book, War Made Invisible: How America Hides the Human Toll of Its Military Machine. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of news articles on government corruption and the war machine from reliable major media sources.
A MintPress investigation has found that a host of Western government officials, intelligence agents and assets have been directly involved in intimate collaboration with Nazi groups and individuals since at least 2014. This has included involvement in creating and operating the Nazi-run kill list in Ukraine. While Western media have belatedly been forced to concede that there are Nazi influences in Ukraine, many journalists have insisted that the visible fascist patches on uniforms are only there to troll Russians and that they are insignificant and a gift to Russian propaganda. Still, other journalists admit to asking Ukrainian service members to cover up their Nazi symbols. Last May, The Irish Independent claimed that [former adviser to Ukraine's foreign minister Cormac] Smith is "an unlikely key player in the information war," who "estimates he has given about 100 TV, radio and print interviews with the international media in the past few months to tell Kyiv's side of the story." Smith has a nice line in outrageous propaganda gambits, claiming that Russians are the actual Nazis and that they murder, rape and pillage, including the rape of children. As it turns out, the source of many of the allegations ... was the Ukraine parliamentary commissioner for human rights, Lyudmila Denisova. Last year, it was comprehensively demonstrated that her stories had little evidential basis. She ... admitted to "promoting fake news to persuade Western countries to send more arms and aid." Smith nonetheless carried on making vague allegations of rape for months afterward.
Note: US agencies used at least 1,000 ex-Nazis as spies and informants during the Cold War. Nazi doctors were also used used to teach the CIA mind control methods. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the war machine from reliable major media sources.
Last year, my name was added to a blacklist published online by the Ukraine Center for Countering Disinformation. I joined over ninety others deemed to be "speakers who promote narratives consonant with Russian propaganda." These included Manuel Pineda and Clare Daly, both leftist Members of the European Parliament (MEP); Also counted are ... a slew of rightist MEPs; Ex CIA officer, Ray McGovern; former military and intelligence figures such as Scott Ritter and Douglas McGregor. Journalists on the list included Glenn Greenwald, Tucker Carlson and Eva Bartlett. The Center for Countering Disinformation ... is an official governmental body created in late March 2021, along with a similar organization, the Center for Strategic Communication, by President Zelensky himself. They [are] related to other blacklisting websites like Myrotvorets ("Peacemaker"), widely seen as a "kill list." The covert "kill list" website is a product of the Ukraine regime, effectively funded by the CIA (amongst others) and is hosted by NATO. One extraordinary thing is that many American citizens, including ex-military and intelligence operatives, are included, as well as a significant number of citizens of NATO member countries. Perhaps the most remarkable element is that NATO has hosted the site ... on its servers in Brussels. Myrotvorets lists thousands of "saboteurs", "separatists", "terrorists" and "traitors". Sometimes, it has crossed out their photographs once they had been killed, with the label "liquidated".
Note: This article was written by sociology professor and investigative researcher David Miller, who is widely known for his writings on propaganda, lobbying, and media issues. Tune into an entertaining yet revealing video from The Jimmy Dore Show to further explore interesting perspectives about the Ukrainian "Kill List."
How Death Outlives War: The Reverberating Impact of the Post-9/11 Wars on Human Health, published by the Costs of War project at Brown University's Watson Institute, focuses on what [author Stephanie Savell] terms "indirect deaths" – caused not by outright violence but by consequent, ensuing economic collapse, loss of livelihoods, food insecurity, destruction of public health services, environmental contamination and continuing trauma, including mental health problems, domestic and sexual abuse and displacement. Calculated this way, the total number of deaths that occurred as a result of post-9/11 warfare in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya and Somalia rises dramatically from an upper estimate of 937,000 to at least 4.5 million, of which up to 3.6 million were "indirect deaths". Such deaths grow in scale over time. In Afghanistan, where the war ignited by the 2001 US-led invasion ended in 2021, the indirect death toll and related health problems are still rising. Experts suggest "a reasonable, conservative average estimate for any contemporary conflict is a ratio of four indirect deaths for every one direct death", Savell says. The poorer the population, the higher the resulting indirect mortality when conflict erupts. Savell does not attempt to apportion blame between various actors, although the US, which launched the "global war on terror" in 2001, bears heavy responsibility. An estimated 38 million people have been displaced since 2001.
Across Ukraine's vast expanse, there are thought to be 174,000 square kilometres which are contaminated by landmines. It is an area of land larger than England, Wales and Northern Ireland combined. In the war-scarred Kharkiv region, warning signs occasionally appear next to brown, barren fields which were once front lines. Even more infrequent is the sight of demining teams sweeping their metal detectors across small, taped-off areas. A literal scratching of the surface. More landmines have been found in the Kharkiv region than anywhere else in Ukraine. The Russians deployed landmines to both defend their positions and slow the Ukrainians. After leaving in a rush, a lethal footprint was left behind. In the small town of Balakliya, on a patch of land next to an apartment block, Oleksandr Remenets' team have already found six anti-personnel mines. They'd earlier uncovered around 200 nearby. "My family calls me every morning to tell me to watch where I tread," he says. "One of our guys lost his foot last year." The day after we spoke, another member of his team was wounded by a mine. Since September, 121 civilians have been injured in the Kharkiv region alone, according to the State Emergency Service. 29 were killed. More than 55,000 explosives have been found in the area. So-called butterfly mines [are] the most common in the area. They're only three to four inches wide, propeller shaped, and are scattered from a rocket. They're banned by international law. That hasn't stopped them from being used in this war.
The U.S. carpet bombing of Cambodia between 1969 and 1973 has been well documented, but its architect, former national security adviser and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger ... bears responsibility for more violence than has been previously reported. An investigation by The Intercept provides evidence of previously unreported attacks that killed or wounded hundreds of Cambodian civilians during Kissinger's tenure in the White House. "You can trace a line from the bombing of Cambodia to the present," said Greg Grandin, author of "Kissinger's Shadow." "The covert justifications for illegally bombing Cambodia became the framework for the justifications of drone strikes and forever war." Kissinger bears significant responsibility for attacks in Cambodia that killed as many as 150,000 civilians, according to Ben Kiernan, former director of the Genocide Studies Program at Yale University and one of the foremost authorities on the U.S. air campaign in Cambodia. That's up to six times the number of noncombatants thought to have died in U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen during the first 20 years of the war on terror. Grandin estimated that, overall, Kissinger – who also helped to prolong the Vietnam War and facilitate genocides in Cambodia, East Timor, and Bangladesh; accelerated civil wars in southern Africa; and supported coups and death squads throughout Latin America – has the blood of at least 3 million people on his hands.
The Taliban clashed with Iranian border guards over the weekend, and it used American equipment to do it. Videos of the skirmish are all over social media, and they show Afghanistan fighters using a mix of old Soviet gear and U.S. weapons from the War on Terror. On Telegram, videos from the advocacy group HalVash showed U.S. armored Humvees rolling down a road. One dramatic video ... showed a Humvee with an M240 machine gun in the back. Taken from the point of view of the man behind the gun, the shot lingers on the spent ammunition littering the top of the Humvee. According to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), a U.S. agency that tracked waste, fraud, and abuse in Afghanistan, America spent around $18.6 billion equipping the Afghan National. Much of that equipment is now in the hands of the Taliban. The Pentagon has said it left behind about $7.12 billion worth of military equipment, and it's had a hard time keeping track of it all in the wake of its withdrawal. The U.S. would frequently ship guns and equipment into the country only to have it go missing later. Shipping containers filled with small arms would sit unattended for years. The Taliban has much of it now. After the collapse, a Taliban official told AL Jazeera that it had taken more than 300,000 light arms, 26,000 heavy weapons, and around 61,000 military vehicles when it took over the country. He said the plan was to use these weapons and the Soviet-era armor to create a "grand army."
Note: Read how the U.S. documented 12 years of failed reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan involving billions of dollars wasted and thousands of lives lost. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) estimates that six countries–the U.S., Russia, France, China, Germany, and Italy–were responsible for 80 percent of global weapons exports from 2018 to 2022. The U.S. alone counted for 40 percent, while Russia was a distant second at 16 percent. Maintaining and growing their market share is a prerogative for countries that export weapons. Turkey has sold many drones to Ukraine, while Iran has sold its own arsenal to Russia. Both Turkey and Iran are aiming to pitch their products as low-cost alternatives to Western manufacturers. Turkey, however, is still in talks to buy Russia's S-400 missile defense system. Its provision of weapons to Ukraine, while it continues to negotiate weapons deals with Russia, demonstrates the complicated nature of the global arms industry. The war in Ukraine continues to underline how integral the arms industry is to geopolitics. China, for example, has not provided weapons to either Ukraine or Russia, but its largest civilian drone maker, DJI, is one of the most important suppliers for their militaries. The U.S. has been criticized in recent years for its weapons exports to Saudi Arabia, which is under fire for human rights abuses and for its conflict in Yemen. And though claims of Western weapons being smuggled out of Ukraine have often been dismissed, there is concern that many of the weapons sent to the Ukrainian military have or will end up on the black market.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
The U.S. corporate media's first response to the leaking of secret documents about the war in Ukraine was to throw some mud in the water, declare "nothing to see here," and cover it as a depoliticized crime story about a 21-year-old Air National Guardsman who published secret documents to impress his friends. What these documents reveal, however, is that the war is going worse for Ukraine than our political leaders have admitted to us, while going badly for Russia too, so that neither side is likely to break the stalemate this year, and this will lead to "a protracted war beyond 2023," as one of the documents says. We can't help wondering what President Biden's plan could be, or if he even has one. In what amounts to a second leak that the corporate media have studiously ignored, U.S. intelligence sources have told veteran investigative reporter Seymour Hersh that they are asking the same questions, and they describe a "total breakdown" between the White House and the U.S. intelligence community. According to Hersh's report, the CIA assesses that Ukrainian officials, including President Zelenskyy, have embezzled $400 million from money the United States sent Ukraine to buy diesel fuel for its war effort, in a scheme that involves buying cheap, discounted fuel from Russia. Meanwhile, Hersh says, Ukrainian government ministries literally compete with each other to sell weapons paid for by U.S. taxpayers to private arms dealers in Poland, the Czech Republic and around the world.
As mainstream U.S. media outlets pause to remember the U.S. invasion of Iraq, it's clear that there's a lot they hope we'll forget – first and foremost, the media's own active complicity in whipping up public support for the war. But the more you dig into mainstream news coverage from that period ... the harder it is to forget how flagrantly news networks across the broadcast and cable landscape uncritically spread the Bush administration's propaganda and actively excluded dissenting voices. A 2003 report by the media watchdog Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) found that in the two weeks leading up to the invasion, ABC World News, NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, and the PBS Newshour featured a total of 267 American experts, analysts, and commentators on camera to supposedly help make sense of the march to war. Of these 267 guests, an astounding 75% were current or former government or military officials, and a grand total of one expressed any skepticism. The bedrock democratic principle of an independent, adversarial press was simply tossed out the window. "Often journalists blame the government for the failure of the journalists themselves to do independent reporting," [author Norman] Solomon says. "But nobody forced the major networks like CNN to do so much commentary from retired generals and admirals and all the rest of it. That really runs directly counter to the idea of an independent press."
It had been 15 years since the U.S. invaded Iraq when, on March 19, 2018, the celebrated Iraqi novelist and poet Sinan Antoon published a blistering op-ed in The New York Times. He took readers through his observations of the steady deterioration of Iraqi society since the war began, but the most scathing words came toward the end. "No one knows for certain how many Iraqis have died as a result of the invasion 15 years ago," Antoon wrote. "Some credible estimates put the number at more than one million. You can read that sentence again. The invasion of Iraq is often spoken of in the United States as a â€blunder,' or even a â€colossal mistake.' It was a crime. Those who perpetrated it are still at large." That the invasion was not just a moral catastrophe but an egregious war crime has been echoed by everyone from United Nations heads to human rights leaders. With the 20th anniversary of the invasion now approaching, the sanitizing of the war's major culprits – or, at the very least, the soft forgetting of their crimes – continues. As the very top decision-makers faded into retirement, the next layer of war pushers, enablers and overseers – the top defense and national security officials and the celebrity generals – went on to profit immensely following their leadership of an illegal war, darting through the revolving door to snag coveted corporate board seats and prestigious university appointments. Many of them remain in these positions with defense industry giants, tech firms and Wall Street investors today.
In February, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) published an extensive investigation into the spectacular collapse of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces' (ANDSF), which the U.S. spent two decades and $90 billion building. In common with previous SIGAR reports, it offers a remarkably uncompromising, no-punches-pulled assessment, exposing corruption, incompetence, lies, and delusion every step of the way. The Pentagon and State Department rejected SIGAR's jurisdiction over them, declined to review interim drafts of the report, denied access to their staff, and "mostly" refused to answer requests for information. The Afghan government and military, their trainers and the Pentagon alike were all heavily incentivized to lie to one another, and political leaders in Washington, who were in turn motivated to mislead the public. As prior SIGAR reports also found, so much money and equipment were flowing into Afghanistan without any supervision whatsoever, and weaponry and other aid were misused, stolen or illegally sold off with ease by Afghans, U.S. personnel and Pentagon contractors. SIGAR ominously warns that a similar absence of accountability is evident in the "unprecedented" U.S. arms shipments to Ukraine since Russia's invasion on February 24, 2022. Despite U.S. leaders promising a keen eye is being kept on the weapons shipments, SIGAR's report makes clear these same officials did not even know what was being sent to Afghanistan. Is the same true for Kiev?
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq. We must not forget how the George W Bush administration manipulated the facts, the media and the public after the horrific attacks of 9/11, hellbent as the administration was to go to war in Iraq. On 11 September 2001, mere hours after the attacks, Donald Rumsfeld, the then secretary of defense, was already sending a memo to the joint chiefs of staff to find evidence that would justify attacking the Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein (as well as Osama bin Laden). In the two years following 9/11, Bush and his top officials publicly uttered at least 935 lies about the threat that Saddam posed to the United States, according to the Center for Public Integrity. In the run-up to war, Bush & associates flooded the airwaves with the talking point "we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud" so often that it began to sound like a jingle from a cheap law firm commercial. No weapons of mass destruction were ever found. Bush succeeded at the time because the public, primed to be afraid, was susceptible to his lies. The New York Times, as the nation's leading newspaper, played a key role in disseminating the administration's lies. The Iraq war ushered in a style of politics where truth is, at best, an inconvenience. Long before Trump spokesperson Kellyanne Conway ... told NBC's Chuck Todd about "alternative facts" ... we were already living in a post-truth world, one created in part by an established media willing and able to amplify government lies.
When the Afghan military and government collapsed in the summer of 2021, it was the worst failure of the U.S. defense establishment since the fall of Saigon. A new report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR, issued this week sheds critical light on what went so terribly wrong in America's longest war – and how tens of thousands of ordinary Afghans were set up by their leaders and foreign partners to fight and die for a doomed cause. The American mission in Afghanistan had been to build an army that could stand on its own feet to resist the Taliban. In the end, however, the Afghan military was not only riddled with corruption, but also designed to function properly only so long as the foreign contractors and soldiers remained around to manage it. In effect, similar to its disastrous experience in South Vietnam, the United States had attempted to build an army suitable for a modern, industrialized country like itself, rather than one that would fit the realities of a poor and agrarian state. "The types of security forces that we were trying to build, which were relatively sophisticated and relied on advanced technology and electronics logistics systems, were just not within the general capacity of what Afghanistan would be able to use in sustainable ways," said Jonathan Schroden, an Afghanistan expert at the Center for Naval Analyses. "The real damning thing about what is in the report is that people had been telling the U.S. military this for years."
Last week, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides appeared to endorse a plan for Israel to attack Iranian nuclear facilities with U.S. support. Nides's words come after recent high-level military drills between Israel and the United States intended to showcase the ability to strike Iranian targets, as well as recent acts of sabotage and assassination inside Iran believed to have been carried out by both countries. The Israeli escalations mean that the U.S. now faces the unsavory prospect of a major crisis flaring up in the Middle East at the exact moment when its bandwidth is already stretched thin because of a major war in Europe and its deteriorating relationship with China. "The decision to leave the JCPOA ... allowed Iran to restart its nuclear program and raise once again the question of what the U.S., Israel, or anyone else might do about it," said Stephen Walt ... at the Harvard Kennedy School, referring to the nuclear deal by the initials of its former name, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The nuclear deal was intended to avoid the Middle East confrontation now visible on the horizon. Signed by President Barack Obama in 2015, the deal traded strict limits on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for its reintegration into the global economy. When President Donald Trump violated the deal ... this pragmatic arrangement went out the window – not only removing limits on Iran's nuclear program, but also politically empowering hard-liners inside Iran who had balked at negotiating in the first place.
Antiterrorist moral fervor and ideological blinders propelled the U.S. into its biggest foreign policy blunder since World War Two. The U.S. government constantly embellished the storyline to demonize the communist opposition. A CIA operative provided materials for a massive bomb that ripped through a main square in Saigon in 1952. A Life magazine photographer was waiting on the scene, and his resulting snap appeared with a caption blaming the carnage on Viet Minh Communists. The Kennedy administration sought credibility by profoundly deceiving the American people and Congress regarding its Vietnam policy. In August 1963, South Vietnamese Special Forces "carried out midnight raids against Buddhist pagodas throughout the country. More than 1400 people, mostly monks were arrested and many of them were beaten," according to the Pentagon Papers. The CIA was bankrolling these Special Forces, which were supposed to be used for covert operations against the Viet Cong or North Vietnam, not for religious repression. The Johnson administration exploited the terrorist label to sway Americans to support greater U.S. Involvement in Vietnam. In a special message to Congress on May 18, 1964 seeking additional fund for Vietnam, LBJ declared, "the Viet Cong guerrillas, under orders from their Communist masters in the North, have intensified terrorist actions against the peaceful people of South Vietnam. This increased terrorism requires increased response."
With more than $100 billion in U.S. weaponry and financial aid flowing to Ukraine in less than a year – and more on the way to counter Russia's invasion – concerns about arms falling into terrorists' hands and dollars into corrupt officials' pockets are mounting. The special inspector general who has overseen aid to Afghanistan since 2012, and some House Republicans, warn of the need for closer oversight of the military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. The scale of the effort is massive. The $113 billion appropriated by Congress in 2022 approaches the $146 billion spent in 20 years for military and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. The Pentagon spent $62.3 billion in 2022 on Ukraine for weapons, ammunition, training, logistics, supplies, salaries and stipends, according to the Joint Strategic Oversight Plan for Ukraine Response report. Inspectors general for several agencies released the report in January. The State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development spent $46 billion for activities ranging from border security to funds for basic government services. Other government agencies, including the Department of Agriculture, spent another $5 billion. The report noted the difficulty U.S. agencies had accounting for the billions spent. The Pentagon, for example, was "unable to provide end-use monitoring in accordance with DoD policy" in Ukraine. "End-use monitoring" includes tracking serial numbers of weapons and ammunition to ensure they're used as intended.
Note: Watch a concise, 15-min overview that reveals the background of the US-Ukraine-Russia war beyond the official narrative portrayed by Western media. This includes the decades-long US campaign to overthrow governments across Europe via US-funded radical militia groups, as part of efforts to maintain control over other nations and the world's resources. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
On 6 June, satellite images captured hundreds of craters made by artillery shells and a 40m-wide (131 ft) hole left by a bomb in fields around the village of Dovhenke, in eastern Ukraine. It is just one site left scarred by Russia's invasion of its neighbour. And as the war continues to wreak a devastating humanitarian toll on the people caught up in the fighting, the conflict is leaving a far less obvious, toxic legacy on the land itself. Amongst the pockmarked landscape and burned-out buildings of Dovhenke, heavy metals, fuel and chemical residues from ammunition and missiles have seeped into the soil. Although the full extent of soil contamination in Ukraine is not yet known, there are concerns that the conflict will cause long-lasting damage to the country's agricultural productivity. Ukraine is one of the world's most important producers and exporters of cereals and oilseeds, including corn, wheat, barley and sunflower oil. The widespread pollution caused by the conflict also threatens local wildlife and the health of communities, who are at risk of eating contaminated crops. The latest figures collated in January by the UNEP estimate that 618 industrial or critical infrastructure sites have been damaged or destroyed in the year since the war began. A special taskforce coordinated by the Ecological Inspectorate of Ukraine, is investigating environmental crimes such as attacks on water facilities, chemical factories and nuclear power plants. UNEP warns that this impact assessment could be "a colossal task."
A war between China and Taiwan will be extremely good for business at America's Frontier Fund ... according to audio from a February 1 event. The remarks occurred at a tech finance symposium hosted at the Manhattan offices of Silicon Valley Bank. "If the China-Taiwan situation happens, some of our investments will 10x, like overnight," [a] person who identified as "Tom" said. "So I don't want to share the name, but the one example I gave was a critical component that ... the total market value is $200 million, but it is a critical component to a $50 billion market cap. That's like a choke point, right. And so if it's only produced in China, for example, and there's a kinetic event in the Pacific, that would 10x overnight, like no question about it. There's a couple of different things like that." AFF is surely not the only venture fund that would see stratospheric returns throughout their portfolio in the case of a destabilizing global crisis, like a "kinetic event in the Pacific" – that is to say, war. Gilman Louie, AFF's co-founder and current CEO, serves as chair of the National Intelligence University, advises Biden through his Intelligence Advisory Board, and was tapped for the State Department's Foreign Affairs Policy Board. Louie previously ran In-Q-Tel, the CIA's venture capital arm. In other words, AFF stands to massively profit from a geopolitical crisis while its CEO advises the Biden administration on geopolitical crises. AFF was founded last year with support from former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
Note: While the detection of a Chinese spy balloon drums up significant fear and outrage over hostile foreign "threats," an incisive article reveals how US surveillance of foreign countries is quite common, including their recent expansion of military bases in Southeast Asia to monitor and surveil China. Furthermore, many independent journalists are questioning the war-fueling narrative that China is a threat to national security. Watch an insightful analysis uncovering the deeper story of what's behind the growing tensions between the US and China.
The United States has been secretly seeding clouds over North Vietnam, Laos and South Vietnam to increase and control the rainfall for military purposes. Government sources, both civilian and military, said during an extensive series of interviews that the Air Force cloud seeding program has been aimed most recently at hindering movement of North Vietnamese troops and equipment and suppressing enemy antiaircraft missile fire. The disclosure confirmed growing speculation in Congressional and scientific circles about the use of weather modification in Southeast Asia. Despite years of experiments with rainmaking in the United States and elsewhere, scientists are not sure they understand its long term effect on the ecology of a region. The weather manipulation in Indochina, which was first tried in South Vietnam in 1963, is the first confirmed use of meteorological warfare. One well-informed source said that Navy scientists were responsible for developing a new kind of chemical agent effective in the warm stratus clouds that often shielded many key antiaircraft sites in northern parts of North Vietnam. The chemical, he said, "produced a rain that had an acidic quality to it and it would foul up mechanical equipment–like radars, [and] trucks." "This wasn't originally our planning," the official added, "it was a refinement." Apparently, many Air Force cloud-seeding missions were conducted over North Vietnam and Laos simply to confuse or "attenuate" ... the radar equipment that controls anti aircraft missiles.
Note: Despite potentially grave risks, some are calling for large scale geoengineering to combat climate change. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on climate change from reliable major media sources.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has graduated from the hype stage of the last decade and its use cases are now well documented. Whichever nation best adapts this technology to its military – especially in space – will open new frontiers in innovation and determine the winners and losers. The US Army has anticipated this impending AI disruption and has moved quickly to stand up efforts like Project Linchpin to construct the infrastructure and environment necessary to proliferate AI technology across its intelligence, cyber, and electronic warfare communities. However, it should come as no surprise that China anticipated this advantage sooner than the US and is at the forefront of adoption. Chinese dominance in AI is imminent. The Chinese government has made enormous investments in this area (much more than Western countries) and is the current leader in AI publications and research patents globally. Meanwhile, China's ambitions in space are no longer a secret – the country is now on a trajectory to surpass the US in the next decade. The speed, range, and flexibility afforded by AI and machine learning gives those on orbit who wield it an unprecedented competitive edge. The advantage of AI in space warfare, for both on-orbit and in-ground systems, is that AI algorithms continuously learn and adapt as they operate, and the algorithms themselves can be upgraded as often as needed, to address or escalate a conflict. Like electronic warfare countermeasures during the Cold War, AI is truly the next frontier.
Throughout the Trump and Biden administrations, the U.S. has been on an escalating trajectory toward a new Cold War featuring the prime adversaries from the original, Russia and China. The ratcheted-up rhetoric from U.S. politicians – combined with Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the tensions between China and Taiwan, and Beijing's major advancements and investments in weapons systems and war technology – has heralded a bonanza for the defense industry. Congress will soon vote on a record-shattering $857 billion defense spending bill that authorizes $45 billion more than Biden requested. Included in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2023, finalized on December 6, is the establishment of a multiyear no-bid contract system through which Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, and other weapons manufacturers are being empowered to expand their "industrial base" and business. The unprecedented flow of weapons to Ukraine has included a substantial transfer of weapons from the U.S. stockpile, amounting to approximately $10 billion worth of weapons. U.S. lawmakers have used this fact to push for expanding the scope of not only weapons procurements to "replenish" the arsenal, but also to maintain the pipeline of weapons to Ukraine and European-allied nations through at least the end of 2024. While Russia's invasion of Ukraine remains a central focus, the appetite for countering China's own expansive weapons and technology development is on track to grow for years to come.
Note: Another eye-opening article on this issue reports that the U.S. has spent more than $21 trillion on militarization since September 11, 2001." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
The United States has fought more than a dozen "secret wars" over the last two decades, according to a new report from the Brennan Center for Justice. Through a combination of ground combat, airstrikes, and operations by U.S. proxy forces, these conflicts have raged from Africa to the Middle East to Asia, often completely unknown to the American people and with minimal congressional oversight. These clandestine conflicts have been enabled by the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, enacted in the wake of the September 11 attacks, as well as the covert action statute, which allows secret, unattributed operations, primarily conducted by the CIA. [The new] analysis is particularly illuminating in the case of Somalia, where the United States developed two key proxy forces, the Danab Brigade and the Puntland Security Force. The CIA began building the Puntland Security Force in 2002 to battle the Al Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabab and later the Islamic State in Somalia, or ISS. The force was transferred to U.S. military control around 2012 and went on to fight alongside U.S. Special Operations forces for a decade. [The Brennan Center's Katherine Yon] Ebright notes that the proxy fighters were "largely independent of the Somali government, despite being an elite armed brigade and one of Somalia's most capable special operations units. And their relationship with U.S. forces was long kept secret, with U.S. officials disavowing the presence of military advisers in Somalia until 2014."
Note: Since 2008, the US has supported at least nine coups in five African countries. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
On Monday morning, 30 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus sent a letter to the White House that attempted to gingerly open a conversation about a potential diplomatic end to Russia's war on Ukraine. The door was slammed shut by the evening, met with enough fury to elicit a "clarification" in the form of a statement from caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal. "Let me be clear," Jayapal said in a statement issued just before 7 p.m., "We are united as Democrats in our unequivocal commitment to supporting Ukraine in their fight for their democracy and freedom in the face of the illegal and outrageous Russian invasion, and nothing in the letter advocates for a change in that support." On Tuesday afternoon, Jayapal followed the clarification by fully withdrawing the letter, saying it was "released by staff without vetting." That the letter was met with fierce opposition is a measure of the space available for debate among congressional Democrats when it comes to support for the war and how it might be stopped before it turns nuclear: roughly zero. "I have voted for every defense package to Ukraine and stand firmly for Ukraine's sovereignty," Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., a letter signer, told The Intercept. "It should not be controversial to say we need to explore every diplomatic avenue to seek a just peace." "The alternative to diplomacy is protracted war, with both its attendant certainties and catastrophic and unknowable risks," the letter read.
Note: The powerful war machine can compromise even those with good intentions. Read an excellent article calling for urgent diplomacy on both sides of the political aisle to promote peaceful and democratic outcomes. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
Ashwaq Abdel Kareem heard the roar of a jet plane that foretold an airstrike. It was near midnight on June 1, 2015. Ashwaq, her husband, and five children were in the backyard. Far above Ashwaq and her family, a Dutch F-16 fighter jet released a bomb that whistled down to hit a car-bomb factory in the center of Hawija's industrial district. The F-16's mission was coordinated by the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS and was planned by the U.S. military. From 2014 to the present day, between 8,000 and 13,000 civilians have died as a result of bombing by the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, according to the monitoring organization Airwars; the coalition only acknowledges the deaths of 1,417 civilians. At the height of the bombing in 2017, as the coalition bombed tightly packed urban areas like Mosul, at least 9,000 civilians died. Yet only one civilian received compensation, although the U.S. military did distribute a limited number of condolence or "ex gratia" payments – which are voluntary payments and not an admission of legal liability – reportedly to the families of around 14 victims. Despite its involvement [with the Hawija bombing], the United States has not offered an apology or individual compensation. This is consistent with U.S. policy that has made compensation for civilians extremely rare. The only legal way for civilians to pursue compensation in the U.S. has been through the Foreign Claims Act, but that excludes compensation for death or injury during combat, making victims of the Hawija bombing ineligible.
In 1967, Israel attacked a US spy ship, killing 34 men and injuring many more. The Israelis claimed it was an accident, the Americans backed them up. Both governments concealed the horrific truth. As the [USS] Liberty sat within eyeshot of El Arish, eavesdropping on surrounding communications, Israeli soldiers turned the town into a slaughterhouse, systematically butchering their prisoners. In the shadow of the El Arish mosque, they lined up about 60 unarmed Egyptian prisoners, hands tied behind their backs, and then opened fire with machine guns until the pale desert sand turned red. This and other war crimes were just some of the secrets Israel had sought to conceal since the start of the conflict. An essential element in the Israeli battle plan seemed to have been to hide much of the war behind a carefully constructed curtain of lies: lies about the Egyptian threat, lies about who started the war, lies to the US. Into this sea of deception and slaughter sailed the USS Liberty, an enormous spy factory loaded with the latest eavesdropping gear. The order was given to kill her and at 12.05pm, three motor torpedo boats from the port of Ashdod, about 50 miles away, departed. Israeli air force fighters, loaded with 50mm cannon ammunition, rockets and napalm, followed. According to information, interviews and documents obtained, for nearly 35 years the NSA has hidden the fact that one of its planes - a Navy EC-121 ferret - was overhead at the time of the incident, eavesdropping on what was going on below.
Note: Watch an excellent documentary on this cruel attack. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
The Biden administration bought $290 million of anti-radiation drugs this week as the president warned of "the prospect of Armageddon" being sparked by warmongering Russian leader Vladimir Putin. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) confirmed that the major supply of Nplate was part of "ongoing efforts to be better prepared to save lives following radiological and nuclear emergencies." The drug – which can be used on kids as well as adults – is "approved to treat blood cell injuries that accompany acute radiation syndrome [ARS] in adult and pediatric patients," the department said. Such radiation sickness "occurs when a person's entire body is exposed to a high dose of penetrating radiation, reaching internal organs in a matter of seconds," the alarming HHS release noted. Nplate, made by California-based Amgen, stimulates the body's production of platelets "to reduce radiation-induced bleeding." The $290 million funding came from Project BioShield, the 2004 law that provides investment that encourages companies to "develop the medical countermeasures that are critical to national security." The initial announcement did not detail how ... the drug would be distributed. An HHS spokesperson insisted that the investment was part of "ongoing" nuclear prep, and had "not been accelerated by the situation in Ukraine." However, it was approved just days before President Biden publicly admitted that Putin was "not joking when he talks about the use of tactical nuclear weapons."
Note: Is it any surprise that the US government is giving a gift of $290 million (US taxpayer money) to big Pharma? Remember that like previous huge purchases of drugs that were never used, these drugs have expiration dates after which they must be tossed. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
The US has few ways to track the substantial supply of anti-tank, anti-aircraft and other weaponry it has sent across the border into Ukraine, sources tell CNN, a blind spot that's due in large part to ... the easy portability of many of the smaller systems now pouring across the border. In the short term, the US sees the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of equipment to be vital to the Ukrainians' ability to hold off Moscow's invasion. But the risk, both current US officials and defense analysts say, is that in the long term, some of those weapons may wind up in the hands of other militaries and militias that the US did not intend to arm. "We have fidelity for a short time, but when it enters the fog of war, we have almost zero," said one source briefed on US intelligence. "It drops into a big black hole." In making the decision to send billions of dollars of weapons and equipment into Ukraine, the Biden administration factored in the risk that some of the shipments may ultimately end up in unexpected places, a defense official said. The Biden administration and NATO countries say they are providing weapons to Ukraine based on what the Ukrainian forces say they need, whether it's portable systems like Javelin and Stinger missiles or the Slovakian S-300 air defense system that was sent over the last week. For decades, the US sent arms into Afghanistan. Inevitably, some weapons ended up on the black market including anti-aircraft Stinger missiles, the same kind the US is now providing to Ukraine.
Note: CBS released a documentary revealing that most weapons sent to the Ukraine never made it to their intended destination. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
[Very few know about] the 1933 "Wall Street putsch" against newly elected Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Roosevelt's bold New Deal experiments inflamed the upper class, provoking a backlash from the nation's most powerful bankers, industrialists and Wall Street brokers. Against the backdrop of charismatic dictators in the world such as Hitler and Mussolini, the sparks of anti-Rooseveltism ignited into full-fledged hatred. Many American intellectuals and business leaders saw nazism and fascism as viable models for the US. There is much evidence that the nation's wealthiest men – Republicans and Democrats alike – were so threatened by FDR's policies that they conspired with antigovernment paramilitarism to stage a coup. The final report by the congressional committee tasked with investigating the allegations ... concluded: "There is no question that [fascism] attempts were discussed, were planned, and might have been placed in execution when and if the financial backers deemed it expedient." [US Marine Corps Maj Gen Smedley Darlington] Butler demanded to know why the names of the country's richest men were removed from the final version of the committee's report. "Like most committees, it has slaughtered the little and allowed the big to escape," Butler said.
In early days of America's space program, two men met over a bottle of Jack Daniel's. It was roughly 1959, when the future of America's young space program was clouded by technological disagreements. On one side of the bottle was Wernher von Braun, the engineering genius who had developed the world's first ballistic missile for Adolf Hitler during World War II. He had once been a member of Hitler's Schutzstaffel, or SS, but now ran NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. On the other side was Abraham Silverstein, who had grown up in a poor Jewish family in Indiana. He was NASA's space flight chief. One former Nazi, one American Jew. Little more than a decade separated them from the Holocaust. Looming before two of America's top rocket engineers were many critical decisions, including what kind of fuel would be needed to blast off astronauts to the moon. The collaboration between Von Braun and Silverstein was not unique. During the Apollo program, which landed Americans on the moon six times between 1969 and 1972, NASA was filled with both Jewish scientists and a large group of Germans who had worked for Hitler before and during World War II. In recent years, a deeper analysis has focused on America's decision to bring 125 German rocket scientists and engineers to the U.S. after World War II under a secret program approved by President Truman and code-named Operation Paperclip. Much of the history of the underground factory was held secret from the American public until the 1970s.
Note: Learn more about Operation Paperclip which secretly brought hundreds of Nazi scientists to the U.S. And more in a New York Times article about the Nazis given safe haven in the US. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
Small teams of U.S. Special Operations forces are involved in a low-profile proxy war program on a far greater scale than previously known. While The Intercept and other outlets have previously reported on the Pentagon's use of the secretive 127e authority in multiple African countries, a new document obtained through the Freedom of Information Act offers the first official confirmation that at least 14 127e programs were also active in the greater Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region as recently as 2020. In total, between 2017 and 2020, U.S. commandos conducted at least 23 separate 127e programs across the world. Separately, Joseph Votel, a retired four-star Army general who headed both Special Operations Command and Central Command, which oversees U.S. military efforts in the Middle East, confirmed the existence of previously unrevealed 127e "counterterrorism" efforts in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen. Basic information about these missions – where they are conducted, their frequency and targets, and the foreign forces the U.S. relies on to carry them out – are unknown even to most members of relevant congressional committees and key State Department personnel. Through 127e, the U.S. arms, trains, and provides intelligence to foreign forces. 127e partners are then dispatched on U.S.-directed missions, targeting U.S. enemies to achieve U.S. aims. "If someone were to call a 127-echo program a proxy operation, it would be hard to argue with them," [said a former senior defense official].
If a summer COVID surge, a monkeypox outbreak, inflation and a continuing war in Europe weren't enough to worry about – how about preparing for a nuclear attack? Mayor Eric Adams defended New York City's newest PSA on Tuesday, saying a nuclear attack preparedness spot from the Office of Emergency Management was a "great idea" born out of the ongoing Russian war in Ukraine. The campaign launched Monday and features a short PSA outlining three steps that New Yorkers can take "as the threat landscape continues to evolve." There are no imminent nuclear threats to New York City, Adams emphasized, but there will be a series of emergency management ads highlighting preparedness efforts. Emergency management officials say it's important to know the steps to stay safe even if the likelihood of a nuclear attack in NYC in the immediate future is quite low. Still, many New Yorkers were left asking, "Why now?" Some of a certain age saw the PSA as a sort-of blast from the past, something not seen in this country since the 1970s when messages showing cartoon turtles softening the then-very real looming threat of nuclear annihilation. In the event of a nuclear incident, the PSA advises the following actions: Get inside: Move indoors and away from any windows. Stay inside: Close all doors and window, and move into the basement if you have one. Stay tuned and stay put: Follow media for latest details and watch for officials alerts when its safe to go outside.
Note: Fear mongering, anyone? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
When the ... story of Martin Bormann is written it will reveal him to be the man largely responsible for West Germany's postwar recovery. The blueprint for this economic resurgence was outlined at a secret meeting of German industrialists in Strasbourg, France, on Aug. 10, 1944. A directive addressed to the meeting from Martin Bormann–the most powerful man in Germany next to Hitler–said the war was practically lost and that a postwar commercial campaign must take its place. The secret, verbatim minutes of this conference ... promised that "the Government would allocate large sums to industrialists so that each could establish a secure postwar foundations in foreign countries." The minutes also noted that "after the defeat of Germany, the Nazi party recognizes that certain of its best known leaders will be condemned as war criminals. However, in cooperation with the industrialists it is arranging to place its less conspicuous but most important members in positions with various German factories as technical experts or members of its research and designing offices." A report by the U.S. Treasury Department in 1946 stated that 750 companies were set up all over the world by the German industrialists following the Aug. 10, 1944 meeting. Their listing noted 112 in Spain, 58 in Portugal, 35 in Turkey, 98 in Argentina, 214 in Switzerland, 233 in various other countries. The master plan ... had two aspects: removal of funds from the Third Reich and stepping up of German investments in neutral countries.
Note: As is now widely known, Project Paperclip secretly brought many hundreds of Nazi scientists to the US under pseudonyms so that public would not know we were hiring them. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
Nikola Tesla, father of modern methods of generation and distribution of electrical energy, who was 78 years old yesterday, announced a new invention, or inventions, which he said, he considered the most important of the 700 made by him so far. He has perfected a method and apparatus, Dr. Tesla said yesterday ... which will send concentrated beams of particles through the free air, of such tremendous energy that they will bring down a fleet of 10,000 enemy airplanes at a distance of 250 miles from a defending nation's border and will cause armies of millions to drop dead in their tracks. This "death-beam," Dr. Tesla said, will operate silently but effectively at distances "as far as a telescope could see an object on the ground and as far as the curvature of the earth would permit it." It will be invisible and will leave no marks behind it beyond its evidence of destruction. An army of 1,000,000 dead, annihilated in an instant, he said, would not reveal even under the most powerful microscope just what catastrophe had caused its destruction. Dr. Tesla said this latest invention of his would make war impossible. It would make every nation impregnable against attack by airplanes or by large invading armies. But while it will make every nation safe against any attack by a would-be invader, Dr. Tesla added, the death-beam by its nature could not be employed similarly as a weapon for offense. For this death-beam, he explained, could be generated only from large, stationary and immovable power plants.
It was an attention-grabbing assertion that made headlines around the world: U.S. officials said they had indications suggesting Russia might be preparing to use chemical agents in Ukraine. President Joe Biden later said it publicly. But three U.S. officials told NBC News this week there is no evidence Russia has brought any chemical weapons near Ukraine. They said the U.S. released the information to deter Russia from using the banned munitions. It's one of a string of examples of the Biden administration's ... deploying declassified intelligence as part of an information war against Russia. Coordinated by the White House National Security Council, the unprecedented intelligence releases have been so frequent and voluminous, officials said, that intelligence agencies had to devote more staff members to work on the declassification process, scrubbing the information so it wouldn't betray sources and methods. The idea is to pre-empt and disrupt the Kremlin's tactics, complicate its military campaign, "undermine Moscow's propaganda and prevent Russia from defining how the war is perceived in the world," said a Western government official familiar with the strategy. Multiple U.S. officials acknowledged that the U.S. has used information as a weapon even when confidence in the accuracy of the information wasn't high. Sometimes it has used low-confidence intelligence for deterrent effect, as with chemical agents, and other times, as an official put it, the U.S. is just "trying to get inside Putin's head."
The U.S. provided an estimated $83 billion worth of training and equipment to Afghan security forces since 2001. This year, alone, the U.S. military aid to Afghan forces was $3 billion. Putting price tags on American military equipment still in Afghanistan isn't an easy task. In the fog of war – or withdrawal – Afghanistan has always been a black box with little sunshine. Not helping transparency, the Biden Administration is now hiding key audits on Afghan military equipment. This week, our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com reposted two key reports on the U.S. war chest of military gear in Afghanistan that had disappeared from federal websites. 1. Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit of U.S. provided military gear in Afghanistan (August 2017). 2. Special Inspector General For Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) audit of $174 million in lost ScanEagle drones (July 2020). An unnamed official told Reuters that current intelligence assessment was that the Taliban took control of more than 2,000 armored vehicles, including American Humvees, and as many as 40 aircraft that may include UH-60 Black Hawks, scout attack helicopters and ScanEagle military drones. "We don't have a complete picture, obviously, of where every article of defense materials has gone, but certainly a fair amount of it has fallen into the hands of the Taliban," White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said.
Note: There was no good reason to so rush that departure out of Afghanistan that a huge amount valuable military weapons and equipment was left behind for the Taliban to use. Could it be that certain rogue elements at high levels in government wanted them armed to keep the conflict going and keep the money flowing into the pockets of those who benefit from war? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
The nation's biggest oil and gas companies have significantly increased stock buybacks and dividends since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, raising questions about whether the firms are using wartime profits to enrich investors instead of curbing Americans' pain at the pump. The report released today by Friends of the Earth, Public Citizen and BailoutWatch turns up the heat on the fossil fuel industry ahead of two high-profile congressional hearings this week, when Democrats plan to scrutinize the industry's windfall profits amid rising crude prices sparked by the war in Ukraine. The three groups looked at Securities and Exchange Commission filings and public statements from the 20 largest U.S.-headquartered oil and gas companies. In January and February, seven companies' boards authorized their corporate treasuries to buy back and retire $24.35 billion in stock – a 15 percent increase over all of the buybacks authorized in 2021. Six of those decisions came in February, after fears of Russian aggression against Ukraine lifted stock prices. In total, the 20 companies announced $45.6 billion in stock buybacks since the start of 2021. More than half of the companies boosted their dividends in January and February. Of the 11 companies raising their dividends, nine were increases of more than 15 percent and four were increases of more than 40 percent.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption from reliable major media sources.
Russia invaded Ukraine. For years now the Central Intelligence Agency has been preparing for such a moment, not only with prescient intelligence gathering and analysis but also by preparing Ukrainians to mount an insurgency against a Russian occupation. The agency has been training Ukrainian special forces and intelligence officers at a secret facility in the U.S. since 2015. Because the CIA training program is now publicly known, Russia can persuasively claim that Ukrainian insurgents are CIA proxies – a useful statement as propaganda to pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine and as a justification for any harsh measures it takes against Ukrainian civilians. The CIA needs to be honest with the Ukrainians – and itself – about the real intent. In the first U.S.-backed insurgency, according to top secret documents later declassified, American officials intended to use the Ukrainians as a proxy force to bleed the Soviet Union. This time, is the primary goal of the paramilitary program to help Ukrainians liberate their country or to weaken Russia over the course of a long insurgency that will undoubtedly cost as many Ukrainian lives as Russian lives, if not more? Even if a Ukrainian insurgency bleeds Russia over years, the conflict could cause instability to spread across Central and Eastern Europe. This is a pattern in the history of U.S. paramilitary operations – from the Cold War to Afghanistan and Iraq today.
Note: For an alternative view of Ukraine's Zelensky, don't miss this excellent presentation by intrepid reporter Ben Swann (skip to 1:45 to avoid advertisement). For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and war from reliable major media sources.
Of all the world's lost cities, none surely can compete for evocative splendour, age or mystery with Babylon. Here on the desert plains 60 miles south of Baghdad, where the sun turns horizons into flashing pools of mercury, is where so much human history began. Land of the Fertile Crescent, bounded by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, this is successively the realm of Sumer and Akkad, Assyria, Babylonia, Mesopotamia and Iraq. I visited the site in November 2004, just as Polish troops were preparing to hand it over to the Iraqi authorities. The late Donny George, then head of the Iraq Museum, had warned me in Baghdad about the terrible damage done to the site by the Polish military. He was aghast at reports of soldiers filling sandbags with earth containing archaeological fragments; of armoured vehicles crushing sixth-century BC bricks on the Processional Way; of looters gouging out pieces of dragons from the Ishtar Gate; of digging, levelling, compacting and gravelling in this ancient city. "It's mankind's greatest heritage site," he said. "You don't just start digging it up to make more room for your tanks." Dr John Curtis, keeper of the Department of the Ancient Near East at the British Museum, visited Babylon in late 2004. In his report, he said it was "regrettable" that a large military base should have been established on one of the world's most important archaeological sites. "This is tantamount to establishing a military camp around the Great Pyramid in Egypt or around Stonehenge in Britain."
As Russia perpetrates war crimes against the people of Ukraine, the fossil fuel industries in Colorado and across the country are licking their collective chops and preparing to cash in on the crisis, likely generating yet another round of record profits in adherence to one of the most famous maxims, often attributed to Winston Churchill, "Never let a good crisis go to waste." The price of gasoline is high right now. Big Oil is exploiting the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its effects on the price of gas to run up record profits. At the end of 2021, BP, Exxon Mobil, Shell, and Chevron all reported the highest profits they've seen since 2014, and every single company attributed those record profits to surging oil prices as post-pandemic demand increased and supply had not yet met that demand. Last week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki pointed out that U.S. oil companies are sitting on over 9,000 federal drilling permits, claiming that these should be tapped before additional leases are granted. The industry balked, arguing that "developing a lease takes years and substantial effort to determine whether the underlying geology holds commercial quantities of oil and/or gas," undermining their own point while they're making it: if it takes so long to produce oil from a new lease, how on earth would issuing new leases have any discernible effect on gas prices today? When record-high prices coincide with record profits, as they almost always do, it is lunacy to ignore the obvious connection between the two.
Note: Explore an alternative viewpoint on the Ukrainian situation from a respected source. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption from reliable major media sources.
In a national address delivered this morning, President Joe Biden performed what has now become a familiar ritual for U.S. politicians: announcing the death of a terrorist leader. The latest enemy figure whose death has been presented to Americans as a victory was the head of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi, who was reportedly killed alongside his family during a U.S. special forces raid in northern Syria. Biden characterized the raid as a victory that had made the world more secure, and without cost to Americans. The raid on a home where al-Quraishi was staying killed a total of 13 people, including a number of women and children. Images on social media of mangled corpses immediately began circulating in the aftermath. Since the outset of the Global War on Terrorism over two decades ago, the periodic killings of commanders from groups like the Taliban, Al Qaeda, al-Shabab, and, most recently, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria have been touted as significant victories. Despite these repeated tactical victories ... the underlying wars themselves have continued. The killing of al-Quraishi [is] unlikely to mean an end to the U.S. "forever wars" in the region, which have switched to a permanent mode of militarized policing in which the U.S. reserves the right to carry out bombings and assassinations at will but does not refer to these actions as "war," even when civilians are killed.
Earlier this week, the military seized power in Burkina Faso, ousting the country's democratically elected president, Roch Marc Christian KaborĂ©. The coup was announced on state television Monday by a young officer who said the military had suspended the constitution and dissolved the government. Beside him sat a camouflage-clad man whom he introduced as Burkina Faso's new leader: Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, the commander of one of the country's three military regions. Damiba is a highly trained soldier, thanks in no small part to the U.S. military, which has a long record of training soldiers in Africa who go on to stage coups. Damiba, it turns out, participated in at least a half-dozen U.S. training exercises, according to U.S. Africa Command, or AFRICOM. Damiba is just the latest in a carousel of coup leaders in West Africa trained by the U.S. military as the U.S. has pumped in more than $1 billion in security assistance to promote "stability" in the region. Since 2008, U.S.-trained officers have attempted at least nine coups (and succeeded in at least eight) across five West African countries, including Burkina Faso (three times), Guinea, Mali (three times), Mauritania, and the Gambia. U.S.-trained coup-plotters aren't strictly confined to West Africa. Before Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi deposed Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi, he underwent basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia, (in 1981) and advanced instruction at the U.S. Army War College (in 2006).
A plot of Wall Street interests to overthrow President Roosevelt and establish a Fascist dictatorship, backed by a private army of 500,000 ex-soldiers and others, was charged by Major Gen. Smedley D. Butler, retired Marine Corps officer, who appeared yesterday before the House of Representatives Committee on Un-American Activities, which began hearings on the charges. [The committee] heard testimony from General Butler and Gerald P. Maguire, a bond salesman in the Stock Exchange firm of Grayson M.P. Murphy & Co., 52 Broadway, named by General Butler as having urged him to head the proposed Fascist army. There were immediate emphatic denials by the purported plotters. From Philadelephia came word that General Butler had told friends there that General Hugh S. Johnson, former NRA administrator, was scheduled for the role of dictator, and that J. P. Morgan & Co. as well as Murphy & Co. were behind the plot.
Note: General Butler, who was greatly loved by his troops, only discovered how he and his troops had been used by Wall Street bankers after retiring from the military. As a result, he wrote a seminal book titled "War is a Racket" for which you can find an excellent summary on this webpage. Explore a suppressed book on this titled "The Plot to Seize the White House." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our War Information Center.
On July 19, 2016, American Special Operations forces bombed what they believed were three ISIS "staging areas" on the outskirts of Tokhar. They reported 85 fighters killed. In fact, they hit houses far from the front line. More than 120 villagers were killed. In early 2017 in Iraq, an American war plane struck a dark-colored vehicle ... bearing not a bomb but a man named Majid Mahmoud Ahmed, his wife and their two children. They and three other civilians were killed. None of these deadly failures resulted in a finding of wrongdoing. These cases are drawn from a hidden Pentagon archive of the American air war in the Middle East since 2014. The trove of documents – the military's own confidential assessments of more than 1,300 reports of civilian casualties, obtained by The New York Times – lays bare how the air war has been marked by deeply flawed intelligence, rushed and often imprecise targeting, and the deaths of thousands of civilians, many of them children. In only a handful of cases were the assessments made public. Not a single record provided includes a finding of wrongdoing or disciplinary action. According to the military's count, 1,417 civilians have died in airstrikes in the campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria; since 2018 in Afghanistan, U.S. air operations have killed at least 188 civilians. But The Times's analysis of the documents found that many allegations of civilian casualties had been summarily discounted, with scant evaluation. And the on-the-ground reporting ... found hundreds of deaths uncounted.
Note: If American civilians were killed anywhere by a foreign drone, there would be a media uproar. Where's the justice for these inexcusable deaths? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
According to the nonprofit organization Airwars, the U.S. has conducted more than 91,000 airstrikes in seven major conflict zones since 2001, with at least 22,000 civilians killed and potentially as many as 48,000. How does America react when it kills civilians? Just last week, we learned that the U.S. military decided that nobody will be held responsible for the August 29 drone attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, that killed 10 members of an Afghan family, including seven children. After an internal review, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin chose to take no action, not even a wrist slap for a single intelligence analyst, drone operator, mission commander, or general. U.S. bombings since 2014 have consistently killed civilians but ... the Pentagon has done almost nothing to discern how many were harmed or what went wrong and might be corrected. Savagery consists of more than the act of killing. It also involves a system of impunity that makes clear to the perpetrators that what they are doing is acceptable, necessary – maybe even heroic – and must not cease. To this end, the United States has developed a machinery of impunity that is arguably the most advanced in the world, implicating not only a broad swathe of military personnel but also the entirety of American society. The machinery of impunity actually has two missions: The most obvious is to excuse people who should not be excused. The other is to punish those who try to expose the machine, because it does not function well in daylight.
In the introduction to "The Spoils of War," an extraordinary new book by Andrew Cockburn, he makes a straightforward assertion about the U.S. military. "War-fighting efficiency has a low priority," he writes, "by comparison with considerations of personal and internal bureaucracies. ... The military are generally not interested in war, save as a means to budget enhancement." Cockburn suggests that the Pentagon and the corporations that feed off it have generated the largest and most byzantine bureaucracy in human history, filled with innumerable fiefdoms far more focused on besting their internal rivals than outside enemies. Today's generals ... while their days away plotting how to join the board of General Dynamics six hours after their retirement party. They spend 98 percent of their time jockeying for wealth and power within the organization, and at most a residual 2 percent attempting to do what the organization purportedly exists to accomplish. "People say the Pentagon does not have a strategy," he quotes a former Air Force colonel as saying. "They are wrong. The Pentagon does have a strategy. It is: â€Don't interrupt the money flow.'" If you're still not convinced, the proof of this unpalatable pudding is in the eating. Consider America's just-concluded 20-year war in Afghanistan. As the Taliban took over the country in days, it might have seemed that the whole thing was a colossal failure. But if you check your portfolio of defense contractor stocks ... you'll see that, in fact, it was an incredible success.
Note: War profiteering is an old game. Read decorated general Smedley Butler's 1935 book War is a Racket to see how little has changed. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
A bomb hit the house. [Rua Moataz] Khadr and her two daughters were able to free themselves from the rubble that had fallen on them, but her 4-year-old son, Ibrahim Ahmed Yahya, was crushed to death. He was among the 9,000 to 11,000 civilians killed during the yearlong battle for Mosul. Khadr, like most bombing victims in Iraq, has no idea which nation was responsible for the airstrike that killed her son. Was it an American aircraft, British, Dutch? "Even if I found out, what would I do?" she told The Intercept. In its final days in Afghanistan, the U.S. conducted a drone strike that killed 10 civilians in Kabul – seven of them children. Their deaths bring up a thorny question surrounding the frequent U.S. killing of civilians in the 9/11 wars: What would justice look like for the families of civilians who have been wrongfully killed? The media attention generated by the Kabul strike has prompted a rare admission of guilt from the Pentagon and may ultimately lead to monetary compensation for the survivors. But byzantine laws in the U.S. make it all but impossible for foreigners to file for compensation if a relative was killed in combat. The only hope for most survivors is a "sympathy" payment from the U.S. military that does not acknowledge responsibility for causing the deaths. But unsurprisingly, those payments are rare: None were issued in 2020. Meanwhile, U.S. allies involved in bombing campaigns usually hide behind the shield of joint operations to avoid taking responsibility for civilian deaths.
The United States has been secretly seeding clouds over North Vietnam, Laos and South Vietnam to increase and control the rainfall for military purposes. Government sources, both civilian and military, said during an extensive series of interviews that the Air Force cloud seeding program has been aimed most recently at hindering movement of North Vietnamese troops and equipment and suppressing enemy antiaircraft missile fire. The disclosure confirmed growing speculation in Congressional and scientific circles about the use of weather modification in Southeast Asia. Despite years of experiments with rainmaking in the United States and elsewhere, scientists are not sure they understand its long term effect on the ecology of a region. The weather manipulation in Indochina, which was first tried in South Vietnam in 1963, is the first confirmed use of meteorological warfare. Although it is not prohibited by any international conventions on warfare, artificial rainmaking has been strenuously opposed by some State Department officials. According to interviews, the Central Intelligence Agency initiated the use of cloud seeding over Hue, in the northern part of South Vietnam. "We first used that stuff in about August of 1963," one former C.I.A. agent said. "The agency got an Air America Beechcraft and had it rigged up with silver iodide. There was another demonstration and we seeded the area. It rained." A similar cloud seeding was carried out by C.I.A. aircraft in Saigon at least once during the summer of 1964.
Note: Yet many believe weather modification is not possible. Why is that? The US Air Force has called weather modification a force multiplier in warfare. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
Every day since 9/11, the U.S. military has disciplined soldiers who failed to do their jobs properly. Since 2001, there have been more than 1.3 million cases of discipline in the armed forces, according to the Pentagon's annual reports. But the generals who misled Congress and the American public about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have not needed to worry about negative consequences for their careers. After 20 years of conducting a disinformation campaign about what was really happening on the ground, not a single U.S. general has faced any punishment. Journalist Craig Whitlock's new book, "The Afghanistan Papers," [is] based on secret interviews the government conducted. Whitlock's book offers overwhelming evidence that military leaders knew the war was failing and lied about it. Whitlock described the military's upbeat assessments as "unwarranted and baseless," adding that they "amounted to a disinformation campaign." While a handful of top military officers have been punished for bribe-taking and other offenses in recent years, there has not been a whisper of the possibility of holding combat generals to account for the carnage they perpetuated. "An officer who misrepresented, misled, and lied to Congress, under the standards of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, has committed a crime," noted Paul Yingling, a retired Army officer. "As matters stand now, a private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war."
The pricetag of America's global war on terror is estimated to stand at roughly $8 trillion, according to a new report from Brown University's Costs of War project. The estimate factors in "future costs for veteran's care, the total budgetary costs and future obligations of the post-9/11 wars." The report attributes $2.3 trillion to the Afghanistan and Pakistan war zone, $2.1 trillion to the Iraq and Syria war zone, and $355 billion to other war zones. Dr. Neta C. Crawford, co-director of the Costs of War Project, in a statement said the project's accounting "goes beyond the Pentagon's numbers because the costs of the reaction to 9/11 have rippled through the entire budget." Costs of War also estimates that the war on terror, which will mark its 20th anniversary in a few weeks on September 11, has directly killed 897,000 to 929,000 people - including at least 387,072 civilians. In a report released last year, Costs of War estimated that the war on terror has displaced at least 37 million people on top of the hundreds of thousands of people killed in direct war violence. Though the US no longer has a troop presence in Afghanistan, the war on terror is seemingly poised to continue there as the Biden administration signals that it will continue to target ISIS-K in the country via drones and other means. The US also continues to have a military presence in Iraq and Syria, among other countries, and in recent weeks has conducted multiple airstrikes against Al Shabaab, an Al Qaeda affiliate, in Somalia.
The Taliban now has access to $85 billion worth of American military equipment and the biometric data of the Afghans who have assisted soldiers over the past 20 years, a Republican congressman has warned. Jim Banks, a former US Navy reservist, said that the vast amount of hardware left behind includes 75,000 vehicles, 200 airplanes and helicopters and 600,000 small arms and light weapons. "The Taliban now has more Black Hawk helicopters than 85 per cent of the countries in the world," he said. Other equipment seized by the Taliban includes night-vision goggles, body armour and medical supplies, he said. Mr Banks says he is sure of the numbers because he worked as a foreign military sales officer, acquiring the equipment that America provided, then turning it over to Afghan forces. "Unfathomable to me and so many others, the Taliban now has biometric devices which have the fingerprints, eye scans and biographical information of all the Afghans who helped us and were on our side in the last 20 years," Mr Banks said. "There is no plan by this administration to get those weapons back. Already, the Taliban say they have deployed an elite unit boasting high-tech equipment to guard sites in the Afghan capital. The militants' propaganda channels released a slick film of a unit called the "Badri 313 Brigade", saying they would be on the streets of Kabul. Slow motion footage showed them wearing modern helmets, sun glasses, body armour and carrying similar rifles to the Afghan forces.
Note: Why didn't the military prioritize removing this huge amount of equipment that they knew would be taken over by the Taliban? Do you think this equipment might have been left behind on purpose by those who profit from war? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
For two decades, Americans have told each other one lie after another about the war in Afghanistan. The lies have come from the White House, Congress, the State Department, the Pentagon, and the CIA, as well as from Hollywood, cable news pundits, journalists, and the broader culture. But at the very edge of the American empire, the war was nasty and brutish. This month, as the Taliban swiftly took control of Kabul and the American-backed government collapsed, the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the government's watchdog over the Afghan experience, issued his final report. The assessment includes remarkably candid interviews with former American officials involved in shaping U.S. policy in Afghanistan that, collectively, offer perhaps the most biting critique of the 20-year American enterprise ever published in an official U.S. government report. One of the first things the U.S. did after gaining effective control over Afghanistan following the Taliban's ouster in 2001 was to set up secret torture chambers. Beginning in 2002, the CIA tortured both Afghans and foreign prisoners flown to these torture rooms from all over Central Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. American drone strikes also started early in Afghanistan. Afghanistan soon became the beta test site for high-tech drone warfare ... yet the U.S. refused to keep track of civilian casualties from drone strikes.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) is asking President Biden to pardon a former Air Force intelligence analyst who exposed secrets about drone warfare in Afghanistan. In July, Daniel Hale pleaded guilty in federal court in Alexandria to violating the Espionage Act and was sentenced in July to 45 months in prison for leaking classified documents to the Intercept. In court, Hale said he felt compelled to speak out about the immorality of the drone program after realizing he had helped kill Afghan civilians, including a small child. "Not a day goes by that I don't question the justification for my actions," he wrote to the judge. "I am grief-stricken and ashamed of myself." One document he leaked showed that during a five-month operation in Afghanistan, nearly 90 percent of the people killed were not the intended targets. "I take extremely seriously the prohibition on leaking classified information, but I believe there are several aspects of Mr. Hale's case that merit a full pardon," Omar wrote in the letter sent to Biden. "The information, while politically embarrassing to some, has shone a vital light on the legal and moral problems of the drone program and informed the public debate on an issue that has for too many years remained in the shadows." This week, Hale was awarded the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence, given by a group of whistleblowers from the national security community. Edward Snowden received the same award in 2013.
Note: Hale's leak was the basis for an article series called The Drone Papers. A 2014 analysis found that attempts to kill 41 people with drones resulted in 1,147 deaths. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
Few lawmakers are as outspoken about the end of the war in Afghanistan as Michael Waltz, a Republican from Florida's 6th Congressional District. In recent weeks, Waltz has called on President Joe Biden to "reverse course," relaunch military operations in the region. The Florida congressman has warned darkly of an "Al-Qaeda 3.0" and stated that no negotiations should take place with the Taliban "until the situation is stabilized militarily." There's one crucial part of Waltz's experience he tends to leave out: Before his successful run for Congress in 2018, he managed a lucrative defense contracting firm with offices in Afghanistan. The company was recently sold to Pacific Architects and Engineers, or PAE, one of the largest war contractors the U.S. has hired to train and mentor Afghan security forces. The deal personally enriched Waltz by up to $26 million, a figure made public by a filing disclosed this month. In 2010, after stints in the military and as an adviser to the Bush administration, Waltz helped found Metis Solutions, a defense contractor that "provides strategic analysis, intelligence support, and training," with offices in Arlington, Virgina; Tampa, Florida; Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; and Kabul, Afghanistan. Congressional ethics disclosures show that in 2019, Waltz held up to $1 million in equity from Metis Solutions and up to $250,000 in options of Metis Solutions stock. The lawmaker's subsequent ethics disclosure ... shows that he earned between $5 and $25 million in capital gains from his stock sales.
Note: Watch a rare video revealing the manipulations behind the call to send troops to Afghanistan. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and war from reliable major media sources.
There should be a serious accounting for the Afghanistan debacle. The United States waged its longest war in a distant, impoverished country. After two decades, more than 775,000 troops deployed, far more than $1 trillion spent, more than 2,300 U.S. deaths and 20,500 wounded in action, tens of thousands of Afghani civilian deaths, the United States managed to create little more than a kleptocracy. Rather than focusing on how we got out, it would be far wiser to focus on how we got in. The accounting can draw from the ... Afghanistan Papers project. The papers come from ... the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, based on interviews with hundreds of officials who guided the mission. Their words are a savage and telling indictment. Under President George W. Bush, the early mission – to defeat al-Qaeda and get Osama bin Laden in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 – quickly turned to nation-building. That mission was an abject failure from the beginning. Adjusted for inflation, the United States spent more money developing Afghan institutions than it had spent to help all of Western Europe after World War II. Yet as Ryan Crocker, a former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan concluded, the "single biggest project" stemming from the flood of dollars "may have been the development of mass corruption." Nearly $10 billion was spent to eradicate poppy production but as of 2018, Afghan farmers produced more than 80 percent of the global opium supply.
From Vietnam to Iraq to Afghanistan, the pattern of American officials showering questionable political allies abroad with armfuls of cash is a long-established practice. However, the idea that this is the reason the "missions" fail in such places is just a continuation of the original propaganda lines that get us into these messes. It's a way of saying the subject populations are to blame for undermining our noble efforts, when the missions themselves are often preposterous. The lion's share of the looting is usually done by our own marauding contracting community. Contractors [in Afghanistan] made fortunes monstrously overcharging the taxpayer for everything from private security, to dysfunctional or unnecessary construction projects, to social programs that ... had no chance for success. The Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) some years ago identified "$15.5 billion of waste, fraud, and abuse ... in our published reports and closed investigations between SIGAR's inception in 2008 and December 31, 2017," and added an additional $3.4 billion in a subsequent review. All told, "SIGAR reviewed approximately $63 billion and concluded that a total of approximately $19 billion or 30 percent of the amount reviewed was lost to waste, fraud, and abuse." Thirty percent! If the overall cost of the war was, as reported, $2 trillion ... a crude back of the envelope calculation for the amount lost to fraud during the entire period might be $600 billion.
If you purchased $10,000 of stock evenly divided among America's top five defense contractors on September 18, 2001 – the day President George W. Bush signed the Authorization for Use of Military Force in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks – and faithfully reinvested all dividends, it would now be worth $97,295. This is a far greater return than was available in the overall stock market over the same period. $10,000 invested in an S&P 500 index fund on September 18, 2001, would now be worth $61,613. That is, defense stocks outperformed the stock market overall by 58 percent during the Afghanistan War. Moreover, given that the top five biggest defense contractors – Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and General Dynamics – are of course part of the S&P 500, the remaining firms had lower returns than the overall S&P returns. These numbers suggest that it is incorrect to conclude that the Taliban's immediate takeover of Afghanistan upon the U.S.'s departure means that the Afghanistan War was a failure. On the contrary, from the perspective of some of the most powerful people in the U.S., it may have been an extraordinary success. Notably, the boards of directors of all five defense contractors include retired top-level military officers. Several commentators address this dynamic in the 2005 documentary "Why We Fight." Former CIA contractor and academic Chalmers Johnson states, "I guarantee you, when war becomes that profitable, you're going to see more of it."
Note: Wartime profiteering is an old game. Read decorated general Smedley Butler's 1935 book War is a Racket to see how little has changed. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
Since 9/11, four times as many U.S. service members and veterans have died by suicide than have been killed in combat, according to a new report. The research, compiled by the Costs of War Project at Brown University, found an estimated 30,177 active duty personnel and veterans who have served in the military since 9/11 have died by suicide, compared with 7,057 killed in post 9/11 military operations. The figures include all service members, not just those who served in combat during that time. The majority of the deaths are among veterans who account for an estimated 22,261 of the suicides during that period. "The trend is deeply alarming," the report says. "The increasing rates of suicide for both veterans and active duty personnel are outpacing those of the general population, marking a significant shift." The Department of Veterans Affairs releases information on deaths by suicide, but it does not distinguish by conflict. The report's author, Thomas "Ben" Suitt III, took the VA data and estimated the total number of veteran suicides based on their ages and other factors. A total of 5,116 active duty service members have died by suicide since Sept. 11, 2001, the report says. Figures for the National Guard and Reserves are not available for the first 10 years, but from 2011 to 2020 an estimated 1,193 National Guard and 1,607 Reservists have died by suicide. In an interview, Suitt said the number 30,177 is likely well below the actual number of suicides for active duty and veterans.
The U.S. House of Representatives moved Thursday to repeal a nearly two-decade-old war powers measure, marking what many lawmakers hope will be the beginning of the end of wide-ranging authorities given to the president after the 9/11 terror attacks. The vote was 268-161. The measure now heads to the Senate. Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee of California – who in 2001 and 2002 voted against two war power measures passed in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks – was the sponsor of the repeal bill. The plan would end the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force, or AUMF, that greenlighted then-President George W. Bush's plans to invade Iraq. Lee's legislation drew bipartisan support. Her repeal of the 2002 authority, which was issued on Oct. 16 of that year, had more than 130 co-sponsors. In the Senate, Democrat Tim Kaine of Virginia is sponsoring a similar bill with help from Republican Todd Young of Indiana and four other GOP senators. On Wednesday, the repeal drew the support of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., for the first time. "It will eliminate the danger of a future administration reaching back into the legal dustbin to use it as a justification for military adventurism," Schumer said. He noted that former President Donald Trump used the 2002 authority as a partial justification for an airstrike against an Iranian target in Iraq last year. Now, with the Iraq War over for nearly a decade, the 2002 authorization, and its use as a primary justification for military action, has lost its vital purpose.
According to a startling Pentagon video obtained by The Intercept, the future of global cities will be an amalgam of â€¦ urban hellscapes – brutal and anarchic supercities filled with gangs of youth-gone-wild, a restive underclass, criminal syndicates, and bands of malicious hackers. At least that's the scenario outlined in "Megacities: Urban Future, the Emerging Complexity," a five-minute video that has been used at the Pentagon's Joint Special Operations University. All that stands between the coming chaos and the good people of Lagos and Dhaka (or maybe even New York City) is the U.S. Army, according to the video, which The Intercept obtained via the Freedom of Information Act. "Megacities are complex systems where people and structures are compressed together in ways that defy both our understanding of city planning and military doctrine," says a disembodied voice. "These are the future breeding grounds, incubators, and launching pads for adversaries and hybrid threats." A separate Army study published this year bemoans the fact that the "U.S. Army is incapable of operating within the megacity." These fears are reflected in the hyperbolic "Megacities" video. "Even our counterinsurgency doctrine, honed in the cities of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan, is inadequate to address the sheer scale of population in the future urban reality," the film notes.
Note: The Pentagon video is available at the link above. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
The main focus of the War Legacies Project is to document the long-term effects of the defoliant known as Agent Orange and provide humanitarian aid to its victims. Agent Orange – best known for its widespread use by the U.S. military to clear vegetation during the Vietnam War – is notorious for being laced with a chemical contaminant called 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-P-dioxin, or TCDD, regarded as one of the most toxic substances ever created. The use of the herbicide in the neutral nation of Laos by the United States – secretly, illegally and in large amounts – remains one of the last untold stories of the American war in Southeast Asia. Only in the last two decades has the United States finally acknowledged and taken responsibility for the legacy of Agent Orange in Vietnam. While records of spraying operations inside Laos exist, the extent to which the U.S. military broke international agreements has never been fully documented, until now. An in-depth, monthslong review of old Air Force records, including details of hundreds of spraying flights, as well as interviews with many residents of villages along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, reveals that, at a conservative estimate, at least 600,000 gallons of herbicides rained down on the ostensibly neutral nation during the war. Of the 517 cases of disabilities and birth defects so far documented by the War Legacies Project in Laos, about three-fourths, like malformed limbs, are identifiable to the untrained eye as ... linked to exposure to Agent Orange.
Note: In 2012, Monsanto settled a lawsuit related to its manufacture of Agent Orange for $93 million. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption and war from reliable major media sources.
"I'm not going to change," Joe Biden said in his 2008 vice presidential debate. "I have 35 years in public office. I haven't changed in that time." The Intercept conducted an exhaustive analysis of Biden's political career, with a focus on his positions on dozens of U.S. wars and military campaigns, CIA covert actions, and abuses of power; his views on whistleblowers and leakers; and his shifting stance on the often contentious relationship between the executive and legislative branches over war powers. The picture that emerges is of a man who is dedicated to the U.S. as an empire, who believes that preserving U.S. national interests and "prestige" on the global stage outweighs considerations of morality or even at times the deaths of innocent people. Even in cases in which he passionately opposed U.S. military or CIA action, such as in President Ronald Reagan's 1980s campaigns to aid the Contra death squads in Nicaragua and the right-wing military junta in El Salvador, Biden sought ways to tweak U.S. policy in return for his political or legislative support. Throughout the 1990s, he pushed through harsh and punitive policies on crime, while spearheading sweeping surveillance legislation that would form the basis for the Patriot Act after 9/11. Biden would emerge, in the early stages of the "war on terror," as a leading legislative force supporting the most far-reaching aspirations of the Bush-Cheney White House. He was instrumental in the rushed passage of the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force.
Note: Have you noticed that on the campaign trail, every US president from both parties has advocated for peace, while when they assume office they strongly support the military-industrial complex? So whose will are they serving, the people or the military machine? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and war from reliable major media sources.
Members of the U.S. special operations forces deployed to 154 countries, or roughly 80 percent of the world's nations, last year, but information about exactly where elite forces conduct missions, under what authorities they operate, who they've killed, and whether they're adhering to the laws of armed conflict is closely guarded, buried in obscure legal provisions, shrouded in secrecy, or allegedly unknown even to Special Operations Command. The command, known as SOCOM, will only name half the countries where its forces were active in 2020. It claims that its personnel – Navy SEALs, Army Green Berets, and Marine Corps Raiders among them – have captured or killed "thousands of terrorists" under one obscure program but also that it doesn't track such data. SOCOM refuses to provide even basic information about publicly acknowledged operations. Some of the least-known special operations missions are authorized under a provision known as "Section 1202 Authority," which first appeared in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, and is "used to provide support to foreign forces, irregular forces, groups, or individuals" taking part in irregular warfare. Neither the Defense Department, SOCOM, nor any media outlet has ever revealed detailed information about 1202 missions, but based on what little is known about them, they are explicitly focused on so-called near-peer competitors such as China and Russia.
The U.S. accounted for 37% of all global arms exports over the last five years, with Saudi Arabia – easily the world's top arms buyer – accounting for one-quarter of those sales, according to new data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. U.S. arms exports rose by 15% from 2011-2015 to 2016-2020, with 96 countries buying arms from America. Russia remained the second-largest exporter with 20% of the market, but supplied a smaller pool of 44 countries and saw sales fall by 22% from the previous five years due primarily to a decrease in sales to India. The next largest arms exporters were France (8% of the total), Germany (5%) and China (5%). China's sales also slid by 8% in the past five years, while exports from Europe increased significantly. Israel and South Korea both accounted for about 3% of the total after significantly increasing their exports over the past five years. Russia had four major clients that accounted for two-thirds of all exports – India, China, Algeria and Egypt – while Pakistan was by far China's biggest client. The U.S. had a diversified pool of major buyers: Saudi Arabia, Australia, South Korea, Japan, the UAE, Qatar, Israel and the U.K. Arms imports overall were flat between 2011–2015 and 2016–2020, but rose in the Middle East (+25%) while falling in the Americas (-43%), Africa (-13%), and Asia and Oceania (-8.3%).
There was one story Neil Sheehan chose not to tell. It was the story of how he had obtained the Pentagon Papers. The Pentagon Papers, arguably the greatest journalistic catch of a generation, were a secret history of United States decision-making on Vietnam, commissioned in 1967 by the secretary of defense. Their release revealed for the first time the extent to which successive White House administrations had intensified American involvement in the war while hiding their own doubts about the chances of success. [Sheehan] also revealed that he had defied the explicit instructions of his confidential source, whom others later identified as Daniel Ellsberg, a former Defense Department analyst who had been a contributor to the secret history while working for the Rand Corporation. In 1969, Mr. Ellsberg had illicitly copied the entire report, hoping that making it public would hasten an end to a war he had come passionately to oppose. Contrary to what is generally believed, Mr. Ellsberg never "gave" the papers to The Times, Mr. Sheehan emphatically said. Mr. Ellsberg told Mr. Sheehan that he could read them but not make copies. So Mr. Sheehan smuggled the papers out of the apartment in Cambridge, Mass., where Mr. Ellsberg had stashed them; then he copied them illicitly, just as Mr. Ellsberg had done, and took them to The Times. Over the next two months, he strung Mr. Ellsberg along. He told him that his editors were deliberating. In fact, he was ... working feverishly toward publication.
The most probable cause of a series of mysterious afflictions that sickened American spies and diplomats abroad in the past several years was radiofrequency energy, a type of radiation that includes microwaves, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has concluded in a report. The conclusion by a committee of 19 experts in medicine and other fields cited "directed, pulsed radiofrequency energy" as "the most plausible mechanism" to explain the illness, which came to be known as Havana syndrome. The report, which was commissioned by the State Department, provides the most definitive explanation yet of the illness that struck scores of government employees, first at the U.S. Embassy in Havana in 2016, and then in China and other countries. Many of the officers suffered from dizziness, fatigue, headaches, and loss of hearing, memory and balance, and some were forced into permanent retirement. C.I.A. officers visiting overseas stations also experienced similar symptoms. The new report reveals strong evidence that the incidents were the result of a malicious attack. It attributes the illnesses to "directed" and "pulsed" – rather than "continuous" – energy, implying that the victims' exposure was targeted and not the result of more common sources of microwave energy. It also said the committee found the immediate symptoms that patients reported ... were more consistent with a directed "attack" of radiofrequency energy.
Note: Many have belittled the possibility of directed energy beam weapons being used to cause harm and alter consciousness. We have been reporting on this for many years. For excellent, reliable information on this disturbing trend, see this essay and these news summaries.
President-elect Joe Biden's first picks for senior national security posts – Antony Blinken as secretary of state, Jake Sullivan as national security adviser, and Avril Haines as director of national intelligence – served in the Obama administration and are now being hailed as the sort of steady hands that America needs. But that's not the good news it seems to be. The costs of normalcy have been grave. "It's worth keeping in mind that the global war on terror has killed more than 7,000 U.S. servicemembers – more than twice the number of people killed by the 9/11 attacks – and more than 800,000 lives worldwide," said Daphne Eviatar, Amnesty International USA's director of Security With Human Rights. "It's also cost the U.S. more than $6.4 trillion." Biden's presidential team of national security advisers is loaded with leading members of the Beltway foreign policy establishment unaffectionately known as "the Blob." It's a well-worn group of advisers who backed or waged the disastrous wars of the last two decades. At first glance, Biden's national security blueprint might look like a departure, even a repudiation, of the Obama template. "Biden will end the forever wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East," reads the plan for "Leading the Democratic World" at JoeBiden.com. But Biden's plan isn't actually what it seems. The fine print reads: "Biden will bring the vast majority of our troops home from Afghanistan and narrowly focus our mission on Al-Qaeda and ISIS."
The United States is poised to continue spending more money on the Pentagon than the next 10 countries combined, with some 1 million troops deployed in about 175 countries. In other words, there's no end in sight for our forever wars. Monday marks the 19th anniversary of the vote to pass the post-9/11 Authorization for Use of Military Force, or AUMF, a blank check to deploy U.S. military personnel anywhere in the world in the name of going after terrorists. Our country's response to that attack has had unintended and tragic consequences: war profiteering by military contractors, traumatic impact to our soldiers, and massive numbers of refugees and civilian casualties around the world. Under the auspices of two laws that are now nearly 20 years old, the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs, the United States is militarily engaged in 80 countries, outside of the public eye and with little congressional oversight. The past four years have seen the Trump administration cite these laws as the legal justification to assassinate a foreign government official and take us to the brink of war with Iran, expand the U.S. military footprint in the African continent and indefinitely occupy eastern Syria. Yet the past four years have also seen a growing recognition in Congress that ... we must repeal these laws and reclaim the legislative branch's sole constitutional authority to declare war. For far too long, Congress has relied on the executive branch to tell us what does and does not constitute war.
Note: The above was written by Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who represents California's 13th Congressional District. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
A soldier wears a skullcap that stimulates his brain to make him learn skills faster, or reads his thoughts as a way to control a drone. Another is plugged into a Tron-like “active cyber defense system,” in which she mentally teams up with computer systems “to successfully multitask during complex military missions.” The Pentagon is already researching these seemingly sci-fi concepts. The basics of brain-machine interfaces are being developed—just watch the videos of patients moving prosthetic limbs with their minds. The Defense Department is examining newly scientific tools, like genetic engineering, brain chemistry, and shrinking robotics, for even more dramatic enhancements. But the real trick may not be granting superpowers, but rather making sure those effects are temporary. Last year, three Canadian defense researchers published a paper that explored the intersection of human enhancement and ethics. They found that the permanence of the enhancement could have impacts on troops in the field ... as well as a return to civilian life. They also note that “many soldier resilience human enhancement technologies raised health and safety questions.” The Canadian researchers wrote: “Are there unknown side effects or long term effects that could lead to unanticipated health problems during deployment or after discharge? Moreover, is it ethical to force a soldier to use the technology in question, or should he/she be allowed to consent to its use? Can consent be fully free from coercion in the military?”
Note: Read an excellent article detailing the risks of biosensors implanted under the skin which have already been developed. Some smaller than a grain of rice can be injected with a needle. Watch a slick video promoting this brave new world. Learn how this is already planned for use on soldiers. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
The House Armed Services Committee voted overwhelmingly in favor of an amendment – jointly sponsored by Democratic Congressman Jason Crow of Colorado and Congresswoman Cheney of Wyoming – prohibiting the expenditure of monies to reduce the number of U.S. troops deployed in Afghanistan below 8,000 without a series of conditions first being met. The Crow/Cheney amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) ... passed by a vote of 45-11. The NDAA was then unanimously approved by the Committee by a vote of 56-0. It authorizes $740.5 billion in military spending. President Trump throughout the year has insisted that the Pentagon present plans for withdrawing all troops from Afghanistan prior to the end of 2020. Shortly after those White House withdrawal plans were reported, anonymous intelligence officials leaked a series of claims to the New York Times regarding Ă˘â‚ŹĹ’bountiesĂ˘â‚ŹĹĄ allegedly being paid by Russia to Taliban fighters to kill U.S. troops. Those leaks emboldened opposition to troop withdrawal from Afghanistan on the ground that it would be capitulating to Russian treachery. It was that New York Times leak that Liz Cheney, along with GOP Congressman Mac Thornberry, cited in a joint statement on Monday to suggest troop withdrawal would be precipitous. The NDAA that was approved ... also imposed restrictions on Trump's plan to withdraw troops from Germany. Congresswoman Cheney, to oppose this troop removal from Germany, cited ... the threat of Russia.
Note: When it comes to funding the war machine, both Democrats and Republicans are rarely opposed. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and war from reliable major media sources.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was arrested on Thursday at Ecuador's London embassy, where he had been granted asylum since 2012. The United States alleges that he conspired with Chelsea Manning to access classified information on Department of Defense computers. Since it launched in 2006, Wikileaks has become renowned for publishing thousands of classified documents covering everything from the film industry to national security and wars. In 2010, Wikileaks published a video from a US military helicopter showing the killing of civilians in Baghdad, Iraq. A voice on the transmission urged the pilots to "light 'em all up" and the individuals on the street were fired at from the helicopter. When a van arrived on the scene to pick up the wounded, it too was fired at. Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen and his assistant Saeed Chmagh were both killed in the attack. Wikileaks has published hundreds of thousands of documents leaked by former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning. Documents relating to the war in Afghanistan revealed how the US military had killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents. Further documents from the Iraq war revealed that 66,000 civilians had been killed - more than previously reported. The documents also showed that prisoners had been tortured by Iraqi forces. Among the leaks were more than 250,000 messages sent by US diplomats. They revealed that the US wanted to collect "biographic and biometric" information ... of key officials at the UN.
Note: Read more about Wikileaks' effort to promote openness over secrecy. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
At least 37 million people have been displaced as a direct result of the wars fought by the United States since Sept. 11, 2001, according to a new report from Brown University’s Costs of War project. That figure exceeds those displaced by conflict since 1900, the authors say, with the exception of World War II. It is the first time the number of people displaced by U.S. military involvement during this period has been calculated. The findings come at a time when the United States and other Western countries have become increasingly opposed to welcoming refugees, as anti-migrant fears bolster favor for closed-border policies. The report accounts for the number of people, mostly civilians, displaced in and from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, Libya and Syria, where fighting has been the most significant, and says the figure is a conservative estimate — the real number may range from 48 million to 59 million. The calculation does not include the millions of other people who have been displaced in countries with smaller U.S. counterterrorism operations, according to the report, including those in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and Niger. “This has been one of the major forms of damage, of course along with the deaths and injuries, that have been caused by these wars,” said David Vine, a professor of anthropology ... and the lead author of the report.
The coronavirus pandemic now ravaging the United States should lead every American to a series of important questions: What are the real threats that I face? What has my government been prioritizing in terms of my - and the nation’s - security? And where has all my tax money been going? It’s hard not to conclude that the American government’s national security priorities have been so askew of reality that they left the country dramatically unprepared for an acute threat to millions of its people. The government’s focus has been overwhelmingly on the threat of extremist groups and unfriendly regimes abroad, mostly in the Middle East. These confrontations have won America an ever-growing list of enemies around the world. But their impact on the United States itself is now also being painfully revealed: a country that has spent trillions on foreign wars but is unable to defend its citizens from basic threats like disease and economic collapse. The last few weeks have revealed a spectacle of a federal government apparently incapable of doing what is required to stop the spread of a pandemic on American soil. Meanwhile, the avalanche of military spending that was released after the September 11 attacks continues to roll onwards. According to Brown University’s Costs of War Project, the U.S. government has spent a staggering $6.4 trillion on its wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan since 2001. Interest payments on the borrowing needed to pay for the wars ... could run to as much as $8 trillion by midcentury.
While the country is subsumed by both public health and an unemployment crisis, and is separately focused on a sustained protest movement against police abuses, a massive $740.5 billion military spending package was approved last week by the Democratic-controlled House Armed Services Committee. Pro-war and militaristic Democrats on the Committee joined with GOP Rep. Liz Cheney and the pro-war faction she leads to form majorities which approved one hawkish amendment after the next. How do Democrats succeed in presenting an image of themselves based on devotion to progressive causes and the welfare of the ordinary citizen while working with Liz Cheney to ensure that vast resources are funneled to the weapons manufacturers, defense sector and lobbyists who fund their campaigns? Why would a country with no military threats from any sovereign nation to its borders spend almost a trillion dollars a year for buying weapons while its citizens linger without health care, access to quality schools, or jobs? When these committee members return to their blue districts, they talk endlessly about topics such as the NRA, LGBTs, and reproductive rights — issues on which many do little work and over which they wield little influence — in order to manufacture brands for themselves as good, caring progressives, which is how they are reelected over and over. When they return to Washington, what they really do is spend their time collaborating with lobbyists for ... the “defense” industry.
President Donald Trump has vetoed legislation that limited a president’s ability to wage war against Iran without the approval of Congress. Mr Trump said that he vetoed the Iran war powers resolution because it was “insulting” to the presidency. Congress passed the Iran war powers resolution in the aftermath of the US killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, amid widespread concerns about tensions between the US and Iran. At the time, the resolution – which was introduced to Congress by Democratic Senator Tim Kaine – showed bipartisan support for reigning-in president Trump’s war-making powers. “The resolution implies that the President’s constitutional authority to use military force is limited to defense of the United States and its forces against imminent attack. That is incorrect,” Trump said. “We live in a hostile world of evolving threats, and the Constitution recognizes that the President must be able to anticipate our adversaries’ next moves and take swift and decisive action in response. That’s what I did!” Congress is not expected to override the president’s veto during a vote on Thursday, as Republicans hold a 53-to 47-seat majority in the US senate. Mr Kaine on Wednesday called on senators to vote with him to override the veto, saying on Twitter: “I urge my colleagues to join me in voting to override his veto—Congress must vote before sending our troops into harm’s way.” The resolution was passed by the House of Representatives in March and the Senate in April.
Year after year, the bombs fell — on wedding tents, funeral halls, fishing boats and a school bus, killing thousands of civilians and helping turn Yemen into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Weapons supplied by American companies, approved by American officials, allowed Saudi Arabia to pursue the reckless campaign. But in June 2017, an influential Republican senator decided to cut them off, by withholding approval for new sales. It was a moment that might have stopped the slaughter. Not under President Trump. Trade adviser Peter Navarro ... wrote a memo to Jared Kushner and other top White House officials calling for an intervention. He titled it “Trump Mideast arms sales deal in extreme jeopardy, job losses imminent.” Within weeks, the Saudis were once again free to buy American weapons. The intervention, which has not been previously reported, underscores a fundamental change in American foreign policy under Mr. Trump. Where foreign arms sales in the past were mostly offered and withheld to achieve diplomatic goals, the Trump administration pursues them mainly for the profits they generate and the jobs they create, with little regard for how the weapons are used. Mr. Trump has tapped Mr. Navarro ... to be a conduit between the Oval Office and defense firms. His administration has also rewritten the rules for arms exports, speeding weapon sales to foreign militaries. The State Department, responsible for licensing arms deals, now is charged with more aggressively promoting them.
The US [provided a] $3.7 million grant to the Wuhan-based laboratory carrying out research on virus derived from bat caves. The Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) was conducting the coronavirus experiments on mammals, with funds received from the United States National Institute of Health. The NIH has been listed as a partner by the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Other American institutes that have partnered with the research lab, include: University of Alabama, University of North Texas Eco Health Alliance [and] Harvard University. WIV ... has more than 1,500 strains of deadly viruses stored and specialises in research of 'the most dangerous pathogens', in particular the viruses carried by bats. The project released its first research in November 2017 ... titled 'Discovery of a rich gene pool of bat SARS-related coronaviruses provides new insights into the origin of SARS coronavirus.' Hitting out at the US government, US Congressman Matt Gaetz said: "I'm disgusted to learn that for years the US government has been funding dangerous and cruel animal experiments at the Wuhan Institute, which may have contributed to the global spread of coronavirus." Conspiracy theories have been hinting at the possibility of the virus being developed in the WIV. Last week, Cao Bin, a doctor at the Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital ... revealed that out of the first 41 cases found positive for coronavirus, 13 had no contact with the wildlife market, raising the doubts that the virus was in fact lab originated. 'It seems clear that the seafood market is not the only origin of the virus,' he said.
Note: Newsweek reported that in 2017, Anthony Fauci predicted a "surprise outbreak" during Trump's presidency. Respected author Peter Breggin, M.D., has uncovered more on how the U.S. and China collaborated to transform an animal coronavirus into one that can attack humans. Don't miss his excellent essay with a link direct to the study, which was published in the prestigious British journal Nature. Why was an FDA official involved and why was NIH funding a project that enabled the Chinese to develop a military weapon or to accidentally or purposely cause an epidemic?
Brandon Bryant was enlisted in the US Air Force for six years. During his time with the military, he operated Predator drones, remotely firing missiles at targets more than 7,000 miles away from the small room containing his workspace near Las Vegas, Nevada. Mr Bryant says he reached his breaking point with the US military after killing a child in Afghanistan that his superiors told him was “a dog.” Following that incident, Mr Bryant quit the military and began speaking out against the drone program. During his time in the Air Force, Mr Bryant estimates he contributed directly to killing 13 people himself and says his squadron fired on 1,626 targets including women and children. He says he has been left suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Mr Bryant said that despite his misgivings about the program, his superiors used punitive measures and mockery to keep him in line. He has said the US military is “worse than the Nazis” because “we should know better.” Mr Bryant said he and his family have been threatened for speaking out against the drone program and that he has lost friends and been estranged from other members of his family over his whistle-blowing. Ultimately Mr Bryant wants the public to understand the dehumanizing effect of the drone program on the operators and the individuals targeted. “I would want people to know, beyond its existence, the consequences it has on us as a species to delineate our power into something so easily destructive,” Mr Bryant said.
Note: Drones almost always miss their intended targets and create more terrorists than they kill. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
The War in Iraq cost nearly $2 trillion, roughly $8,000 per U.S. taxpayer, representing 9 percent of the national debt. The current cost to the federal government for conflict zone operations in Iraq is an estimated $1.922 billion ... according to an analysis and a January report from The Cost of Wars project. Without a war tax and few war bonds, direct war spending on post-9/11 wars by the Pentagon resulted in interest payments of about $444 billion, the report estimated. The author warns even if the fighting stopped today, and the Trump Administration pulled out of all ongoing fights in the "Global War on Terror," those cumulative interest payments would continue to rise. If all war spending stopped today the existing war debt would "rise ... to $6.5 trillion by 2050," according to the report's estimates. Over the last 18 years of engagements in South Asia and the Middle East, the American "government has financed this war by borrowing funds," writes Heidi Peltier, the author of the report. War is more costly than just boots on the ground and equipment brought to the theaters of conflict. The physical and emotional trauma incurred by soldiers and those living in war zones is oftentimes incalculable. 4.1 million veterans who served in wars post-9/11 are receiving medical benefits, among other compensation nearing $199 billion, according to reports from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Note: Read the summary of a highly decorated US general's important book "War is a Racket." He makes clear that the reason we have so much war has little to do with national security and everything to do with padding the pockets of those in the military-industrial complex. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
The Trump administration’s decision this week to expand the use of land mines has baffled and angered humans rights and arms control groups, which say the decision further imperils anyone who may encounter the weapons. In 2018, nearly 20 civilians were killed or injured every day by land mines and other unexploded ordnance remnants, such as cluster munitions. Children represented 40 percent of the casualties. Land mine use and production are banned by 164 countries. The United States is not one of them, but Obama-era restrictions only allowed anti-personnel land mines to be used in defense of the Korean Peninsula. The new Trump policy reverses those regulations. Most land mines that menace civilians are “dumb” or persistent. They can remain dangerous indefinitely until someone — commonly a child or farmer — encounters one. The United States does not have any of these land mines in its inventory, defense officials said. In recent decades, the United States has produced “smart” or nonpersistent mines that can be set to self-destruct in a certain number of minutes, hours or days after they are deployed. Nearly 120,000 “smart,” nonpersistent mines were used in the Gulf War. Even though the Pentagon suggested a low dud rate, anti-personnel and antitank weapons that failed to self-detonate littered Kuwait, a 2002 Government Accountability Office report said. Nearly 2,000 duds were uncovered by contractors working in one sector alone out of seven, the GAO report concluded.
A loud chorus of voices has appeared in the media to celebrate President Donald Trump’s decision to assassinate Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, a move that has sparked renewed tension in the Middle East, a new deployment of U.S. forces, and predictions of increased military spending. Many of the pundits who appeared on national television or were quoted in major publications to praise the president’s actions have undisclosed ties to the defense industry — the only domestic industry that stands to gain from increased violence. Jack Keane, a retired Army general, appeared on Fox News and NPR over the last three days to praise Trump for the strike on Suleimani. Keane has worked for military companies, including General Dynamics and Blackwater, and currently serves as a partner at SCP Partners, a venture capital firm that invests in defense contractors. David Petraeus, the retired general who once commanded U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, was quoted by multiple outlets in support of the slaying. Petraeus, notably, works for Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Co., the investment firm with holdings in several major defense contractors that is reportedly moving to “build up its defense portfolio.” “It is imperative that viewers are aware when their news commentary is coming from someone with a financial incentive tied to the topic they’re commenting on, especially when so many lives hang in the balance,” says Gin Armstrong, a senior researcher with the Public Accountability Initiative.
Time eases only so much doubt. Six years after leaving the Army, [Robert] Soto still spent nights awake, trying to come to terms with his Korengal tour. It was not regret or the trauma of combat that drained him. It was the memories of lost soldiers, an indelible grief blended with a fuller understanding that could feel like a curse. He tread as if a balance might exist between respecting the sacrifice and pain of others and speaking forthrightly about the fatal misjudgments of those who managed America’s wars. “I try to be respectful; I don’t want to say that people died for nothing,” he said. “I could never make the families who lost someone think their loved one died in vain.” Still he wondered: Was there no accountability for the senior officer class? The war was turning 17, and the services and the Pentagon seemed to have been given passes on all the failures and the drift. Even if the Taliban were to sign a peace deal tomorrow, there would be no rousing sense of victory, no parade. In Iraq, the Islamic State metastasized in the wreckage of the war to spread terror around the world. The human costs were past counting, and the whitewash was both institutional and personal, extended to one general after another, including many of the same officers whose plans and orders had either fizzled or failed to create lasting success, and yet who kept rising. Soto watched some of them as they were revered and celebrated in Washington and by members of the press, even after past plans were discredited and enemies retrenched.
Note: Read an essay by one of the most highly decorated U.S. generals titled "War is a Racket." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
As part of the incendiary and escalating crisis surrounding the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, there has come an explanation of why the Iranian commander was actually in Baghdad. The commander is said to have been in Iraq to discuss moves to ease tensions between Tehran and Saudi Arabia. Iraq’s prime minister revealed that he was due to be meeting the Iranian commander to discuss moves being made to ease the confrontation between Shia Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia. Adil Abdul-Mahdi was quite clear: “I was supposed to meet him in the morning the day he was killed.” The prime minister also disclosed that Donald Trump had called him to ask him to mediate following the attack on the US embassy in Baghdad. According to Iraqi officials ... the siege of the embassy was lifted and the US president personally thanked Abdul-Mahdi for his help. There was nothing to suggest to the Iraqis that it was unsafe for Soleimani to travel to Baghdad. This suggests that Trump helped lure the Iranian commander to a place where he could be killed. It is possible that the president was unaware of the crucial role that Soleimani was playing in the attempted rapprochement with the Saudis. Or that he knew but did not care. One may even say that it is not in the interest of a president ... whose first official trip after coming to office was a weapons-selling trip to Saudi Arabia ... to have peace break out between the Iranians and the kingdom. The Trump administration continues to insist that Soleimani was killed because he was about to launch an imminent terror campaign, without providing any evidence for the assertion.
Note: Read an excellent analysis of the deeper reasons behind this brazen provocation. Learn more in this New York Times article. A Washington Post article titled "The White House has formally notified Congress of the Soleimani strike" shows steps are being taken for declaring. war. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war corruption from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our War Information Center.
The US government is no stranger to the dark arts of political assassinations. Over the decades it has deployed elaborate techniques against its foes, from dispatching a chemist armed with lethal poison to try to take out Congo’s Patrice Lumumba in the 1960s to planting poison pills ... in the Cuban leader Fidel Castro’s food. But the killing of General Qassem Suleimani, the leader of Iran’s elite military Quds Force, was in in a class all its own. Its uniqueness lay ... in the brazenness of its execution and the apparently total disregard for either legal niceties or human consequences. “The US simply isn’t in the practice of assassinating senior state officials out in the open,” said Charles Lister, senior fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington. Donald Trump’s gloating tweets over the killing combined with a sparse effort to justify the action in either domestic or international law has led to the US being accused of the very crimes it normally pins on its enemies. Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, denounced the assassination as an “act of international terrorism”. Mary Ellen O’Connell, a professor of international law at the University of Notre Dame, draws a direct line between earlier US administrations and the convention-shredding unpredictability of Trump. “Since Obama there has been a steady dilution of international law,” O’Connell said. “Suleimani’s death marks the next dilution – we are moving down a slope towards a completely lawless situation.” O’Connell added that there was only one step left for the US now to take. “To completely ignore the law. Frankly, I think President Trump is there already – his only argument has been that Suleimani was a bad guy and so he had to be killed.”
Note: Learn more about this brazen provocation in this New York Times article. A Washington Post article titled "The White House has formally notified Congress of the Soleimani strike" shows steps are being taken for declaring. war. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war corruption from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our War Information Center.
This past week, Washington Post reporting showed that the conflict in Afghanistan has been an operation of deception. But The Afghanistan Papers were not a revelation to me. I was one of the deceivers. From July 2009 to March 2010, I served as one of the U.S. Air Force’s designees for a nation-building mission, and I witnessed the disconnect between what happened on the ground and the messages the public heard about it. As my team’s information operations officer, I played a direct role in crafting those messages. But my job wasn’t only to mislead the American public: Our information campaign extended to the Afghan people and to higher-ups within the American military itself. I arrived in Paktia province in July 2009, as part of a provincial reconstruction team (PRT). I wrote broadcast news copy for the team’s interpreters to translate and thought of it as a persuasive tool. Local listeners were, in military lingo, the subjects of “non-lethal targeting.” As accusations of fraud, ballot tampering and voter intimidation circulated around the presidential election, I followed my supervisors’ directives to “aggressively pursue” interviews ... “highlighting the transparency and legitimacy of the election process.” Corruption littered our daily interactions, and a few months into our deployment, my PRT launched an investigation that ultimately uncovered a scheme that wound its way through upper-level government officials, including Paktia’s then-governor and chief of police.
Note: Listen to a 30-minute NY Times newscast showing the blatant lies behind the Afghanistan war. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
A confidential trove of government documents obtained by The Washington Post reveals that senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable. The documents ... include more than 2,000 pages of previously unpublished notes of interviews with people who played a direct role in the war. Since 2001, more than 775,000 U.S. troops have deployed to Afghanistan, many repeatedly. Of those, 2,300 died there and 20,589 were wounded. The interviews ... underscore how three presidents — George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump — and their military commanders have been unable to deliver on their promises to prevail in Afghanistan. The interviews also highlight the U.S. government’s botched attempts to curtail runaway corruption, build a competent Afghan army and police force, and put a dent in Afghanistan’s thriving opium trade. With judges and police chiefs and bureaucrats extorting bribes, many Afghans soured on democracy. Meanwhile, as U.S. hopes for the Afghan security forces failed to materialize, Afghanistan became the world’s leading source of a growing scourge: opium. The United States has spent about $9 billion to fight the problem ... but Afghan farmers are cultivating more opium poppies than ever. Last year, Afghanistan was responsible for 82 percent of global opium production.
Note: How is it that Afghanistan became the leading opium producer in the world under the watch of the US, when the Taliban had all but eradicated opium in 2001? Read how Afghan officials and US contractors profited handsomely from the opium boom. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
American taxpayers have spent $6.4 trillion on post-9/11 wars and military action in the Middle East and Asia, according to a new study. The report, from the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs at Brown University, also finds that more than 801,000 people have died as a direct result of fighting. Of those, more than 335,000 have been civilians. Another 21 million people have been displaced due to violence. The $6.4 trillion figure reflects the cost across the U.S. federal government since the price of America’s wars is not borne by the Defense Department alone, according to Neta Crawford, who authored the study. Crawford explains that the post-9/11 wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria have expanded to more than 80 countries — “becoming a truly global war on terror.” The longer wars drag on, more and more service members will ultimately claim veterans benefits and disability payments. “Even if the United States withdraws completely from the major war zones by the end of FY2020 and halts its other Global War on Terror operations, in the Philippines and Africa for example, the total budgetary burden of the post-9/11 wars will continue to rise as the U.S. pays the on-going costs of veterans’ care and for interest on borrowing to pay for the wars,” Crawford writes. In March, the Pentagon estimated that the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria have cost each taxpayer $7,623 through fiscal 2018.
Note: Note that $6.4 trillion divided by the 320 million in the U.S. equals $20,000 spent for every man, woman, and child over the past two decades. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
Suicide rates for active-duty service members and veterans are rising, in part, experts say, because a culture of toughness and self-sufficiency may discourage service members in distress from getting the assistance they need. In some cases, the military services discharge those who seek help, an even worse outcome. More than 45,000 veterans and active-duty service members have killed themselves in the past six years. That is more than 20 deaths a day — in other words, more suicides each year than the total American military deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq. The latest Pentagon figures show the suicide rate for active-duty troops across all service branches rose by over a third in five years, to 24.8 per 100,000 active-duty members in 2018. Those most at risk have been enlisted men under 30. The data for veterans is also alarming. In 2016, veterans were one and a half times more likely to kill themselves than people who hadn’t served in the military, according to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. Among those ages 18 to 34, the rate went up nearly 80 percent from 2005 to 2016. The risk nearly doubles in the first year after a veteran leaves active duty, experts say. The Pentagon this year also reported on military families, estimating that in 2017 there were 186 suicide deaths among military spouses and dependents. Military officials note that the suicide rates for service members and veterans are comparable to the general population after adjusting for the military’s demographics — predominantly young and male.
Heavily armed men burst into the home in the middle of night, hustling four brothers into separate rooms. Afghan special forces then shot them in the head and heart. The operation, the CIA-trained Afghan unit said, targeted the Islamic State group's militants in a remote region of eastern Nangarhar Province. In reality, the raid took place in the province's capital of Jalalabad. The truth of their deaths was eventually revealed by local and international media and the country's intelligence chief, Masoom Stanikzai, was forced to resign. But that's not enough, says Human Rights Watch in a new report released Thursday documenting what it says are mounting atrocities by U.S.-backed Afghan special forces and rising civilian deaths by both American and Afghan forces. It calls for an investigation into whether the U.S. has committed war crimes in Afghanistan. The report says U.S.-led peace talks to end the 18-year-old war have omitted addressing the future of the Afghan special forces that work "as part of the covert operations of the Central Intelligence Agency." The report suggests either disbanding them or bringing them under the control of the Defense Ministry. "These troops include Afghan strike forces who have been responsible for extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances, indiscriminate airstrikes, attacks on medical facilities, and other violations of international humanitarian law, or the laws of war," it says.
If the horsemen of the apocalypse ever hung up their riding boots, this could be a photo of the retirement party. Five men and a woman of very different backgrounds and different continents, brought together by an investment bank and shared history of mayhem. The smiles and hand-holding in the group photo at the JP Morgan International Council in New Delhi are redolent of fond memories. The dean of the bunch is ... Henry Kissinger, the 96-year-old living embodiment of cold war realpolitik with a wealth of foreign policy knowledge and major wars to his name, including the undeclared, illegal mass bombing of Cambodia. Standing in the rear are three of the leading minds behind the 2003 Iraq invasion. Tony Blair is at the left, next to Condoleezza Rice, who was George Bush’s national security adviser at the time. Over to their right is John Howard who, as Australian leader at the time, sent his country’s troops into the fray. The latter-day crusade in pursuit of Saddam Hussein’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction was one of the most disastrous mistakes in history. In among the trio is Robert Gates, former CIA director and defence secretary, who sat the Iraq war out but as deputy director of the CIA did advocate a bombing campaign against Nicaragua. At the centre and focal point of the little group is its newest member, Narendra Modi. The Indian prime minister ... may be being inducted early for moving troops into Kashmir, revoking its autonomous status and rounding up Muslims, even at the risk of nuclear war with Pakistan.
Afghan security forces and their American-led international allies have killed more civilians so far this year than the Taliban have, the United Nations said in a report on Tuesday, once again raising alarm that ordinary Afghans are bearing the brunt of an increasingly deadly 18-year war. In the first six months of the year, the conflict killed nearly 1,400 civilians and wounded about 2,400 more. Afghan forces and their allies caused 52 percent of the civilian deaths compared with 39 percent attributable to militants — mostly the Taliban, but also the Islamic State. The figures do not total 100 percent because responsibility for some deaths could not be definitively established. The higher civilian death toll caused by Afghan and American forces comes from their greater reliance on airstrikes, which are particularly deadly for civilians. The United Nations said airstrikes resulted in 363 civilian deaths and 156 civilian injuries. The United Nations report comes as both sides try to increase their battlefield leverage amid continuing peace negotiations in Doha, Qatar, between the United States and the Taliban. The United Nations report said 83 percent of casualties from airstrikes were attributed to “international military forces,” essentially pointing the finger at the United States military, which is the only member of the international coalition in Afghanistan that carries out airstrikes. The Afghan Air Force was responsible for about 10 percent. Fourteen American soldiers have died in Afghanistan so far this year.
By arming and backing a Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen, the United States, Britain and France may be complicit in potential war crimes, the United Nations said in a scathing report. The wide-ranging report from a team of investigators commissioned by the U.N. Human Rights Council found that all parties to the conflict had perpetrated possible war crimes through airstrikes, shelling, snipers and land mines, as well as arbitrary killings, torture and other abuses. The Saudi-led coalition, which is aligned with Yemen’s internationally recognized government, is accused of intentionally starving Yemenis as a tactic of war and killing thousands of civilians in airstrikes. The coalition’s foes, northern rebels known as Houthis, are accused of planting land mines, shelling cities and deploying child soldiers. The investigators highlighted what many of the war’s critics describe as the destructive role played by the United States, Britain and France - all permanent U.N. Security Council members. The United States, in particular, provides logistical support and intelligence to the coalition, in addition to selling billions of dollars in weaponry to the group. By some estimates, the conflict has killed as many as 95,000 people, including tens of thousands of civilians, violating international humanitarian laws. Time and again, the Saudi-led coalition has promised to investigate such alleged violations. But coalition airstrikes on civilian targets - hospitals, clinics, markets, even school buses carrying children - have been unrelenting.
Since U.S. Africa Command began operations in 2008, the number of U.S. military personnel on the African continent has jumped 170 percent, from 2,600 to 7,000. The number of military missions, activities, programs, and exercises there has risen 1,900 percent, from 172 to 3,500. Drone strikes have soared and the number of commandos deployed has increased exponentially along with the size and scope of AFRICOM’s constellation of bases. AFRICOM “disrupts and neutralizes transnational threats” in order to “promote regional security, stability and prosperity,” according to its mission statement. But since AFRICOM began, key indicators of security and stability in Africa have plummeted according to the Defense Department’s Africa Center for Strategic Studies, a Pentagon research institution. “Overall, militant Islamist group activity in Africa has doubled since 2012,” according to a recent analysis by the Africa Center. The number of “violent events” across the continent has jumped 960 percent, from 288 in 2009 to 3,050 in 2018, according to the Africa Center’s analysis. While a variety of factors have likely contributed to the rise in violence, some experts say that the overlap between the command’s existence and growing unrest is not a coincidence. “The sharp increase in terrorist incidents in Africa underscores the fact that the Pentagon’s overly militarized approach to the problem has been a dismal failure,” said William Hartung ... at the Center for International Policy.
Note: Drone strikes almost always miss their intended targets. And according to retired Army Gen. Mike Flynn, drone strikes create more terrorists than they kill. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
President Donald Trump has vetoed three joint resolutions prohibiting arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the White House announced Wednesday, rejecting an attempt by congressional lawmakers to halt the controversial weapons transfers. The package of resolutions of disapproval stood as a symbolic showing of congressional opposition ... to the administration's relationship to Saudi Arabia, following the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year. The Trump administration declared in May an emergency to bypass Congress and expedite billions of dollars in arms sales to various countries - including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates - citing the need to deter what it called "the malign influence" of Iran throughout the Middle East. Rep. Eliot Engel, a Democrat from New York who is the chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said there is no emergency that calls for Trump to go around Congress with these arms deals. "The President's veto sends a grim message that America's foreign policy is no longer rooted in our core values - namely a respect for human rights - and that he views Congress not as a coequal branch of government, but an irritant to be avoided or ignored," Engel said in a news release. "Worse still, this veto is going to cost innocent lives. These weapons are going to continue fueling a reckless and brutal campaign of violence and exacerbating the world's worst humanitarian catastrophe."
Note: Like almost every president before him, Trump continually supports the military-industrial complex which pads the pockets of the 1%, even with a thoroughly corrupt country like Saudi Arabia which terribly oppresses women, tortures and assassinates dissidents and so much more. For more on this corruption, read an essay by one of the most highly decorated U.S. generals titled "War is a Racket." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
Several hundred thousand [soldiers] took part in atmospheric nuclear tests conducted in the Pacific and in Nevada. They were posted within range of exploding bombs — in effect made to be guinea pigs in studies of how combat troops might stand up in a war fought with nuclear arms. Many among these “atomic veterans” suffered cancers and other diseases. Frank Farmer ... witnessed 18 atomic detonations in 1958. “It’s so bright you actually see your bones in your hands.” He and his shipmates were issued no protective gear. Despite government assurances that their exposure to radiation had been insufficient to inflict physical harm, veterans could see they were getting sick in disproportionate numbers. Some began to speak out, ignoring oaths they had signed never to discuss their experiences. “More and more I heard about guys that had prostate cancer and lung cancer and all kinds of cancers,” said Mr. Farmer, who suffered hearing loss and a body rash that did not go away. Decades passed before corrective measures were taken. Issues raised by [these] difficulties resound in modern wars. As with the atomic veterans, officialdom’s default position has generally been to wave off any suggestion of a link between a soldier’s illness and a command-level decision. That was the case with Agent Orange ... in Vietnam. Years passed before the government accepted a “presumptive” connection between herbicides and cancers afflicting Vietnam veterans. Soldiers who served in Afghanistan and Iraq and in the 1991 Persian Gulf war complain of breathing problems, neurological damage, gastrointestinal disorders and other illnesses. Many suspect that blame lies with practices off the battlefield.
Note: Don't miss a profoundly moving 22-minute documentary in which several atomic veterans describe in detail what happened, how they suffered, and how the government denied responsibility for decades. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war corruption from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our War Information Center.
I’ve always been fascinated by nuclear weapons and the self-destructive tendencies of mankind. So when I found declassified United States Civil Defense footage of soldiers maneuvering in the glare of a mushroom cloud, I wanted to learn more about their stories. I discovered that as many as 400,000 American soldiers and sailors observed nuclear explosions just a few miles from ground zero in more than 200 atmospheric tests conducted between 1946 and 1962. It was difficult to get a precise count of how many men were involved, because most information was classified — including reports on the illnesses the veterans suffered and the radioactive pollution that was released into the environment around the test sites. They served near dangerous nuclear tests — and it has haunted them ever since. With so little information available and the number of remaining veterans dwindling rapidly, I wanted to prevent these stories from disappearing. I decided to interview some of them as research for a fiction film on the topic and wound up making this documentary in the process. Because of secrecy agreements they had signed, some of them were hesitant to talk about their experiences. Getting to know these men was an experience I will never forget. I realized that my own generation seems to have become numb to what nuclear war could do to humanity. The accounts of the atomic soldiers can help us understand that horror.
Note: The author of this article, Morgan Knibbe, is a Dutch documentary filmmaker. The 15-minute documentary he made, available at the link above, is so important. These men were used as guinea pigs in nuclear bomb tests and have suffered in silence for decades because of those who promote war on our planet. Please watch and spread the word far and wide. For lots more on humans being used mercilessly as guinea pigs, see this webpage.
Defense executives from around the country crowded into Goldman Sachs’ glimmering tower in downtown Manhattan in mid-May, eager to present before a conference of bankers and financial analysts. While much of the world was on edge over simmering tension in the Middle East, as the U.S. and its allies have stoked tensions with Iran, the businessmen at the conference talked of opportunity. Eric DeMarco, the president of Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, addressed the conference, arguing that his company is “very well-aligned” for the shift in the military budget away from asymmetrical fighting toward nation-state warfare. The rising threat of war with Iran, Russia, and China, DeMarco continued, could threaten U.S. naval power, which could require ballistic missile threat upgrades, the type of systems Kratos Defense specializes in. Large arms manufacturers from across the industry have similarly told investors that escalating conflict with Iran could be good for business. The statements to investors come as the U.S. has openly threatened to launch a new war. In recent weeks, the Trump administration discussed sending 120,000 soldiers to the Middle East in preparation for war with Iran, a move that comes after two years of increasing sanctions and militant rhetoric about the threat posed by the government in Tehran. The escalating tensions, while raising the potential for catastrophic conflict and loss of human life, could also be good for companies in the business of war.
Note: Read an essay by one of the most highly decorated U.S. generals titled "War is a Racket." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
Nearly everyone who’s seen it and lived to tell the tale describes it the same way: a horrifying, otherworldly thing of ghastly beauty that has haunted their life ever since. “The colors were beautiful,” remembers a man in Morgan Knibbe’s short documentary The Atomic Soldiers. “I hate to say that.” Many tales of the atomic bomb, however, weren’t told at all. In addition to the hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians who died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, an estimated 400,000 American soldiers and sailors also observed nuclear explosions - many just a mile or two from ground zero. From 1946 to 1992, the U.S. government conducted more than 1,000 nuclear tests, during which unwitting troops were exposed to vast amounts of ionizing radiation. After the tests, the soldiers, many of whom were traumatized, were sworn to an oath of secrecy. Breaking it even to talk among themselves was considered treason, punishable by a $10,000 fine and 10 or more years in prison. In Knibbe’s film, some of these atomic veterans break the forced silence to tell their story for the very first time. They describe how the blast knocked them to the ground; how they could see the bones and blood vessels in their hands, like viewing an X-ray. What appalled Knibbe the most was how the U.S. government failed the veterans. “Until this day, a lot of what has happened - and the radiation-related diseases the veterans have contracted and passed on to the generations after them - is still being covered up,” Knibbe said.
Note: Don't miss the most profound, 22-minute video at the link above. And for lots more on the huge cover-up of the terrifying effects of the bomb, see this most informative webpage. Explore lots more astonishing, verifiable information on humans used as guinea pigs in the last 100 years.
The discovery of reporter George Weller's firsthand account of conditions in post-nuclear Nagasaki sheds light on one of the great journalistic betrayals of the last century: the cover-up of the effects of the atomic bombing on Japan. On Aug. 6, 1945, the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima; three days later, Nagasaki was hit. Gen. Douglas MacArthur promptly declared southern Japan off-limits, barring the news media. More than 200,000 people died in the atomic bombings of the cities, but no Western journalist witnessed the aftermath and told the story. A month after the bombings, two reporters defied General MacArthur and struck out on their own. Mr. Weller, of the Chicago Daily News, took row boats and trains to reach devastated Nagasaki. Independent journalist Wilfred Burchett rode a train for 30 hours and walked into the charred remains of Hiroshima. Both men encountered nightmare worlds. Mr. Burchett's article, headlined "The Atomic Plague," was published Sept. 5, 1945, in the London Daily Express. The story caused a worldwide sensation and was a public relations fiasco for the U.S. military. So when Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter George Weller's 25,000-word story on the horror that he encountered in Nagasaki was submitted to military censors, General MacArthur ordered the story killed, and the manuscript was never returned. Recently, Mr. Weller's son, Anthony, discovered a carbon copy of the suppressed dispatches among his father's papers (George Weller died in 2002).
Note: George Weller's account of post-war Japan can be read in the book First Into Nagasaki. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
The Justice Department is investigating allegations that officers of a special Venezuelan anti-drug unit funded by the CIA smuggled more than 2,000 pounds of cocaine into the United States with the knowledge of CIA officials - despite protests by the Drug Enforcement Administration. That is a huge amount of cocaine. But it was hardly a first. The agency has never been above using individuals or organizations with known links to drug trafficking. Until recently, no DEA country attaché overseas was allowed to initiate an investigation into a suspected drug trafficker ... without clearance from the local CIA station chief. CIA ties to international drug trafficking date to the Korean War. Nowhere, however, was the CIA more closely tied to drug traffic than it was in Pakistan during the Afghan War. As its principal conduit for arms and money to the Afghan guerrillas, the agency chose the Pakistan military's Inter-Services Intelligence Bureau. The ISI in turn steered the CIA's support toward [an Islamic fundamentalist who] received almost half of the agency's financial support during the war. But many of his commanders were also major heroin traffickers. Soon the trucks that delivered arms to the guerrillas in Afghanistan were coming back ... full of heroin. The heroin traffic blossomed in the shadows of a CIA-sustained guerrilla war. The conflict and its aftermath have given the world another Golden Triangle: the Golden Crescent, sweeping through Afghanistan, Pakistan and parts of the former Soviet Union. Many of those involved in the drug traffic are men who were once armed, trained and financed by the CIA.
Note: The entire article at the link above is highy revealing. Read more about the CIA's ongoing involvement with Afghan heroin trafficking. The Taliban banned opium production in 2000 reducing the yield by 90%. Yet shortly after the U.S. defeated the Taliban, Afghanistan quickly returned to supplying 75% of the world's heroin. Do you think the U.S. is serious about stopping the drug trade? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing intelligence agency corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The United States has revoked the visa of the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor because of her attempts to investigate allegations of war crimes in Afghanistan, including any that may have been committed by American forces. Ms. Bensouda, a Gambian lawyer for the court, which is based in The Hague, formally requested an investigation more than a year ago into war crimes in Afghanistan. The inquiry would mostly focus on large-scale crimes against civilians attributed to the Taliban and Afghan government forces. But it would also examine alleged C.I.A. and American military abuse in detention centers in Afghanistan in 2003 and 2004, and at sites in Poland, Lithuania and Romania, putting the court directly at odds with the United States. The United States is not a member state of the I.C.C. and does not recognize the court’s authority to prosecute Americans. In the past, though, the United States has cooperated with the court on other investigations, and Washington played a central role in establishing international criminal law at the Nuremberg trials. [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo, in a March news briefing in Washington, said investigators “should not assume that you will still have or will get a visa, or that you will be permitted to enter the United States” if they are part of a I.C.C. investigation. “These visa restrictions will not be the end of our efforts,” Mr. Pompeo said at the time. “We are prepared to take additional steps, including economic sanctions if the I.C.C. does not change its course.”
Halfway through his first five-year term, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres is becoming defined by his silence on human rights - even as serious rights abuses proliferate. Numerous governments have voiced concerns about China’s detention of 1 million Turkic, mainly Uighur, Muslims for forced indoctrination. Yet Guterres has not said a word about it in public. Instead, he praises China’s development prowess. Guterres has also repeatedly declined to exercise his authority to establish fact-finding missions into egregious rights violations, such as Saudi Arabia’s murder of Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi, the use of chemical weapons in Syria, and the murder of two U.N. sanctions monitors in Congo. Apart from his spokesman’s feeble appeal to the United States to fulfill its legal obligations as host for the United Nations, Guterres has stayed silent on the Trump administration’s revocation of a visa for the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor over possible investigations of U.S. torture in Afghanistan. There is no doubt that Guterres is a skilled and conscientious diplomat, but his decision to suppress his voice on human rights, especially as civilians are targeted in armed conflicts, is misguided. For more than two years, Guterres offered excuses for not publicly defending human rights. He wanted to focus on internal reforms. He needed to stabilize relations with Trump. But today’s crises are too acute, the civilian victims too numerous, for Guterres to reduce his job to mediator in chief.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Congress made history this week by passing a resolution that cuts off U.S. support for Saudi-led forces in the civil war in Yemen. This is the first time since Congress originally passed the War Powers Resolution in 1973 that we have used it to call on the president to withdraw from an undeclared war. The passage of this resolution has implications far beyond Yemen and opens a much broader and extremely important debate about how and when the United States uses our military, and who must authorize that use. According to a recent study by the Costs of War Project at Brown University, the War on Terror will have cost American taxpayers almost $5 trillion through Fiscal Year 2019. When taking in to account future health care obligations for veterans injured in post-9/11 wars, the bill comes closer to $6 trillion. Even after this enormous expense, the world has more militants, not fewer. A November 2018 report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies found that the number of militants has continued to grow. “Despite nearly two decades of U.S.-led counterterrorism operations,” the report said, “there are nearly four times as many Sunni Islamic militants today as there were on September 11, 2001.” The time is long overdue for Congress to reassert its constitutional responsibility over war making. We need a serious national debate over when and where we put our military in harm’s way. Congress’s historic vote on Yemen this week is an important beginning in that process, now we must continue forward.
Note: The above was written by senators Bernie Sanders and Mike Lee. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the military.
Sixteen years ago this week, the United States invaded Iraq. We went in on an unconvincing excuse, articulated by George W. Bush: “Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised. This regime has already used weapons of mass destruction against Iraq’s neighbors and against Iraq’s people.” To the lie about the possession of WMDs, Bush added a few more: that Hussein “trained and harbored terrorists, including operatives of al-Qaeda.” WMD became the archetype of a modern propaganda campaign. In the popular imagination, the case for war was driven by a bunch of Republicans and one ... New York Times reporter named Judith Miller. It’s been forgotten this was actually a business-wide consensus, which included the enthusiastic participation of a blue-state intelligentsia. The Washington Post and New York Times were key editorial-page drivers of the conflict; MSNBC unhired Phil Donahue and Jesse Ventura over their war skepticism; CNN flooded the airwaves with generals and ex-Pentagon stoolies, and broadcast outlets ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS stacked the deck even worse: In a two-week period before the invasion, the networks had just one American guest out of 267 who questioned the war. The WMD episode is remembered as a grotesque journalistic failure, one that led to disastrous war that spawned ISIS.
Eight members of Congress have taken a pledge to work to bring ongoing U.S. global military conflicts to a “responsible and expedient” end, the result of a first-of-its kind lobbying effort by military veterans on Capitol Hill. The pledge was written and organized by a group called Common Defense ... which advocates for scaling back U.S. military commitments overseas. The effort ... is unique in that it is driven almost exclusively by veterans and focuses on global conflicts broadly, rather than one specific war. In 2001, Congress authorized military operations against the groups responsible for those attacks. In the years since, that congressional authorization has been interpreted broadly and has led to combat against groups, like the Islamic State, that did not exist on 9/11. “The United States has been in a state of continuous, global, open-ended military conflict since 2001. Over 2.5 million troops have fought in this ‘Forever War’ in over a dozen countries – including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Jordan, Niger, Somalia, and Thailand,” the pledge reads. It continues: “I pledge to the people of the United States of America, and to our military community in particular, that I will (1) fight to reclaim Congress’s constitutional authority to conduct oversight of U.S. foreign policy and independently debate whether to authorize each new use of military force, and (2) act to bring the Forever War to a responsible and expedient conclusion.”
Note: To understand how the military-industrial complex continually undermines democracy and creates pretexts for war to pad the pockets of those who support the war machine, see this most excellent collection of major media news articles. Read a great article on how polarization is negatively impacting our world. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
As a former member of the House of Representatives, I remember 16 years of congressional hearings where pedigreed experts came to advocate wars in testimony based on circular, rococo thinking devoid of depth, reality, and truth. I remember other hearings where the Pentagon was unable to reconcile over $1 trillion in accounts, lost track of $12 billion in cash sent to Iraq, and rigged a missile-defense test. War is first and foremost a profitable racket. How else to explain that in the past 15 years this city’s so called bipartisan foreign policy elite has promoted wars in Iraq and Libya, and interventions in Syria and Yemen, which have opened Pandora’s box to a trusting world, to the tune of trillions of dollars, a windfall for military contractors. The American people are fed up with war, but a concerted effort is being made through fearmongering, propaganda, and lies to prepare our country for a dangerous confrontation, with Russia in Syria. The demonization of Russia is a calculated plan to resurrect a raison d’ętre for stone-cold warriors trying to escape from the dustbin of history by evoking the specter of Russian world domination. As this year’s presidential election comes to a conclusion, the Washington ideologues are regurgitating the same bipartisan consensus that has kept America at war since 9/11 and made the world a decidedly more dangerous place.
Note: The above was written by Dennis Kucinich, who represented Ohio's 10th District from 1997 to 2013. Read a great piece by a top U.S. general titled "War is a Racket." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
A senior French officer involved in the fight against Islamic State in Syria faces punishment after launching a scathing attack on the U.S.-led coalition's methods to defeat the group in its remaining stronghold of Hajin, the army said on Saturday. Colonel Francois-Regis Legrier, who has been in charge of directing French artillery supporting Kurdish-led groups in Syria since October, said the coalition's focus had been on limiting its own risks and this had greatly increased the death toll among civilians and the levels of destruction. "We have massively destroyed the infrastructure and given the population a disgusting image of what may be a Western-style liberation leaving behind the seeds of an imminent resurgence of a new adversary," he said, in rare public criticism by a serving officer. The coalition could have got rid of just 2,000 militant fighters - who lacked air support or modern technological equipment - much more quickly and effectively by sending in just 1,000 troops, he argued. "This refusal raises a question: why have an army that we don't dare use?" he said. Legrier's article has embarrassed French authorities just hours before the coalition is expected to announce the defeat of the hardline Islamist group. "We have in no way won the war because we lack a realistic and lasting policy and an adequate strategy," Legrier said. "How many Hajins will it take to understand that we are on the wrong track?"
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
President Donald Trump's ... announcement that he intends to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria ... provoked bipartisan outrage among Washington’s reflexively pro-war establishment. Both GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the country’s most reliable war supporters, and Hillary Clinton, who repeatedly criticized former President Barack Obama for insufficient hawkishness, condemned Trump’s decision. A large plurality of Americans support Trump’s Syria withdrawal announcement: 49 percent support to 33 percent opposition. Democrats are far more supportive of keeping troops there than Republicans. This case is even more stark since Obama ran in 2008 on a pledge to end the war in Afghanistan and bring all troops home. Throughout the Obama years, polling data consistently showed that huge majorities of Democrats favored a withdrawal of all troops from Afghanistan. While Democrats were more or less evenly divided early last year on whether the U.S. should continue to intervene in Syria, all that changed once Trump announced his intention to withdraw. At the same time, Democratic policy elites in Washington are once again formally aligning with neoconservatives, even to the point of creating joint foreign policy advocacy groups. MSNBC is stuffed full of former Bush-Cheney officials, security state operatives, and agents, while even the liberal stars are notably hawkish. All of this has resulted in a new generation of Democrats ... a party that is increasingly pro-war and militaristic.
Note: Some claim that there is only one party in the U.S. – the war party. Read an excellent essay by a top U.S. general revealing how "war is a racket." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war corruption from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our War Information Center.
There are goodbye notes — and then there's William Arkin's frustrated farewell to NBC News. Arkin's 2,228-word memo to his colleagues says that his time at NBC News has been "gratifying." But he bluntly expresses his displeasure with the "Trump circus," US foreign policy failures, and the state of television news. He's far from the only person in a national newsroom to feel that way. But he is spelling it out in no uncertain terms. Arkin has worked for NBC on and off for three decades, sometimes as a military analyst, sometimes as a reporter and consultant. He describes himself as a scholar at heart, and he has authored numerous books about national security. Friday will be his last day at NBC. Arkin is a sharp critic of what he calls "perpetual war" and the "creeping fascism of homeland security." In his farewell memo, he said the American press is not aggressive enough about covering military engagements. "I find it disheartening that we do not report the failures of the generals and national security leaders," he said. "I find it shocking that we essentially condone continued American bumbling in the Middle East and now Africa through our ho-hum reporting." He said that most of his critiques of NBC apply to the rest of the news media, as well. He also said in the memo that the Trump age led NBC to start "emulating the national security state itself — busy and profitable. No wars won but the ball is kept in play."
Note: See also an excellent interview with Mr. Arkin about his departure from NBC. For more on this, see this concise summary of War Is A Racket, a powerful book written by one of the most highly decorated US generals ever. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war corruption from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Media Information Center.
The engine was destroyed after a weapon called an 'ATHENA', short for Advanced Test High Energy Asset, was fired at ... a truck from one mile away. This 30 kilowatt fibre-optic laser was manufactured by US defence company Lockheed Martin. They say it's the first time a ground-based system like theirs, combining multiple laser streams into one beam, has ever been successfully tested. Increasingly it looks like lasers will take centre stage on the battlefields of the future. Last year the US navy installed its first laser weapon system, called LaWs, on warship USS Ponce. Looking like a cross between a telescope and a cannon, it tracks a moving target before firing a high-intensity light beam strong enough to burn a hole through steel. You can't see the laser because it is on the infrared spectrum, but it is a versatile and cheap weapon. Each pulse of energy from the laser "costs under a dollar". It is also apparently easy to use. Rear Admiral Matthew Klunder told a press conference in December: "Any of you that can do Xbox or PS4, you'll be good with this." During testing this laser brought down a drone and took out a small boat. Footage of the test shows the speedboat bursting into flames. Laser weapons are currently banned for use against humans, according to the Geneva Convention, a series of rules which govern warfare.
The US Navy has announced that a new laser weapon it tested earlier this year was a success. A video of the laser weapon system (Laws), released by the Office of Naval Research, shows the laser being deployed aboard USS Ponce in September in the Persian Gulf. It shows the weapon being used against two test targets, including a speedboat which bursts into flames. Other targets were located at sea and in the air, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones. Rear Adm. Matthew L. Klunder, chief of naval research, said in a statement on Wednesday that the “powerful” Laws system will “play a vital role in the future of naval combat operations”. The prototype weapon in the video cost $40 million to produce, dealt with a “tough” pace, adverse weather conditions including a sandstorm, and destroyed targets” with “near-instantaneous lethality.” Officials claim the weapon is capable of destroying its targets with pin-point accuracy. The captain of the USS Ponce could use it against a real threat if required. Operated using a video game controller, the system hit targets mounted aboard small boats speeding towards the ship. In a separate test, the laser targeted and shot a drone out of the sky.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our War Information Center.
For three years, the United States has supported a coalition led by Saudi Arabia that is waging war inside Yemen. Our role in the coalition is significant -- we sell bombs and weapons to the Saudis, we help them pick targets inside Yemen, and until recently, we refueled their planes in the sky. To anyone paying attention, it's clear that the United States is engaged in a war in Yemen. And yet this war has not been authorized or debated by Congress. Our involvement started quietly under President Barack Obama, and now President Donald Trump has increased our participation. Yemen has become a hell on earth for the civilians caught within its borders. More than 10,000 innocents have been killed in the Saudi-led bombing campaign since the beginning of the civil war. Targets have included schools, hospitals, weddings, a funeral party and recently a school bus carrying 38 children to a field trip. More than 22 million people - three quarters of the population - require humanitarian assistance and protection. The country is on the brink of famine and is in the midst of the worst cholera outbreak in the world. To date, an estimated 85,000 children under the age of 5 in Yemen may have died from starvation and disease. In many ways, this suffering is an intentional byproduct of the Saudi coalition, which has targeted water treatment plants, health clinics and even a Doctors Without Borders hospital, all with US assistance.
Major speeches by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), both potential presidential contenders in 2020, issued a challenge ... to the foreign policy establishment in both parties. Sanders and Warren ... have both issued direct indictments: Sanders at Westminster College and at the School of Advanced International Studies, and Warren at American University and in the pages of the establishment journal Foreign Affairs. Both Sanders and Warren embrace the growing Democratic opposition to wars without end and without purpose. Both Warren and Sanders would end the 17-year war in Afghanistan; both would cut the military budget. And both oppose the trillion-dollar commitment to a new nuclear arms race. Sanders evokes a “global struggle” between the “movement for democracy, equalitarianism, economic, social, racial and environmental justice” and a “growing worldwide movement towards authoritarianism, oligarchy and kleptocracy.” Warren echoes that “democracy is running headlong into the ideologies of nationalism, authoritarianism and corruption.” Sanders and Warren argue ... that the new authoritarians are rising because of the failure of the global economic order.
Note: With their strong anti-war stance and desire to expose the banksters, it is no surprise that the major media (largely controlled by the banks and the military-industrial complex) is already mounting a smear campaign against both Warren and Sanders, as reported by Matt Taibbi in this Rolling Stone article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and war.
The U.S. military has long insisted that it maintains a “light footprint” in Africa, and there have been reports of proposed drawdowns ... and closures of outposts on the continent, due to a 2017 ambush in Niger and an increasing focus on rivals like China and Russia. But through it all, U.S. Africa Command has fallen short of providing concrete information about its bases on the continent. Documents obtained from AFRICOM by The Intercept, via the Freedom of Information Act, however, offer a unique window onto the sprawling network of U.S. military outposts in Africa, including previously undisclosed or unconfirmed sites in hotspots like Libya, Niger, and Somalia. The military’s constellation of bases includes 34 sites scattered across the continent, with high concentrations in the north and west as well as the Horn of Africa. These regions, not surprisingly, have also seen numerous U.S. drone attacks and low-profile commando raids in recent years. Libya — the site of drone and commando missions, but for which President Donald Trump said he saw no U.S. military role just last year — is nonetheless home to three previously undisclosed outposts. According to [military expert] Adam Moore ... “It is getting harder for the U.S. military to plausibly claim that it has a ‘light footprint’ in Africa. In just the past five years, it has established what is perhaps the largest drone complex in the world in Djibouti — Chabelley — which is involved in wars on two continents, Yemen, and Somalia.”
Today the UN security council will debate a UK-drafted resolution containing a rather gentle entreaty to the warring parties in Yemen. It will ask them to take “constant care to spare civilian objects, including those necessary for food production, distribution, processing and storage”. If that sounds like the safety instructions for a new vacuum cleaner, then welcome to the world of UN resolutions. But what it actually reveals is a far darker, more shameful truth.The truth of a Saudi-led coalition, armed by Britain and the United States, which from the very start of the conflict in 2015 has sought to use starvation as a weapon of war. Their on-off blockades of any ports and airports controlled by the Houthi rebels have drastically cut supplies of food to a Yemeni population that relies on imports to eat. But far more insidiously, and in the absence of imports, the Saudi air force has systematically and deliberately destroyed the domestic means of producing and distributing food inside Yemen. Their bombs have constantly targeted agricultural land, dairy farms, food processing factories, and the markets where food is sold. these are no mistakes. These are medieval tactics with modern weapons deliberately employed by the architect of the Yemen war – Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – in an attempt to bring the rebel-held areas of the country to their knees. He could not care less about the impact on Yemen’s civilian population, any more than he cared about what happened to Jamal Khashoggi.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Nearly four times as many Sunni Islamic militants are operating around the world today as on Sept. 11, 2001, despite nearly two decades of American-led campaigns to combat Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, a new independent study concludes. That amounts to as many as 230,000 Salafi jihadist fighters in nearly 70 countries, with the largest numbers in Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to the study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank. The report’s conclusions ... underscore the resiliency of these terrorist groups, and the policy failures by the United States and its allies in responding. The findings also highlight the continuing potency of the groups’ ideology and social-media branding in raising money and attracting new recruits as they pivot from battlefield defeats in strongholds like Iraq and Syria to direct guerrilla-style attacks there and in other hot spots. The West has largely failed to address the root causes of terrorism that perpetuate seemingly endless waves of fighters who are increasingly turning to armed drones, artificial intelligence and encrypted communications to foil the allies’ conventional military superiority, the report said. Last week, Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs released its annual report, the Costs of War study, in which it calculated that the United States will have spent $5.9 trillion on activities related to the global counterterrorism campaign by October 2019.
Note: According to a top US general, wars are created and fostered to fill the coffers of the big bankers and corporations. Read an excellent essay on how the US helped to create and foster ISIS. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption and terrorism.
We all now know the name of Arab journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but very few of us know the name of Arab journalist Tareq Ayoub. An elected president of the United States has been blamed for killing Ayoub. We rightly demand justice in the case of Khashoggi, so why not in the case of Ayoub? On the morning of April 8, 2003, less than three weeks after U.S. President George W. Bush ordered the illegal invasion of Iraq, Al Jazeera reporter Tareq Ayoub was on the rooftop of his network’s Baghdad bureau ... reporting live. An American A-10 Warthog attack jet appeared. “The plane was flying so low that those of us downstairs thought it would land on the roof,” Maher Abdullah, the network’s Baghdad correspondent, later recalled. “We actually heard the rocket being launched. It was a direct hit.” Ayoub was killed. Fifteen minutes later, a second American warplane launched a second missile at the building. But the U.S. government, like the Saudi government in recent weeks, tried to duck responsibility. It was just a “grave mistake,” according to a State Department spokesperson. “This coalition does not target journalists,” a U.S. general told reporters. Al Jazeera’s managing director, Mohammed Jassem al-Ali, had written a letter to the Pentagon less than two months earlier ... providing U.S. officials with the exact address and coordinates of the Baghdad bureau. The U.S. military had bombed Al Jazeera’s Kabul office in November 2001, and the network’s bosses wanted to prevent a repeat of such an incident.
On May 7, 1915, the RMS Lusitania, jewel of the Cunard Line, was on a New York-to-Liverpool run when it was attacked by a German U-boat 12 miles off the coast of Ireland. At 2:10 p.m., a torpedo plowed into the ship and exploded. Fifteen seconds later, a massive second explosion rocked the ship again. Within a mere 18 minutes, the Lusitania plunged 300 feet to the bottom of the Celtic Sea. Of the 1,959 passengers and crew, 1,198 were lost. The tragedy sparked anti-German fervor that eventually drew the United States into World War I. [Colin] Barnes has had a long career as a fisherman and dive boat captain. He's sailed over the wreck of the Lusitania at least 50 times. He often reflects on what it must have been like during the disaster — more than 1,000 people in the freezing water, wreckage strewn about. "Everyone who survived said how awful it was, listening to all these people crying for help," he muses. "Just hundreds of people were about to perish in the cold water and just yelling for help." His voice quavers slightly as he recounts the unfathomable actions of the British Royal Navy. The Navy had dispatched a cruiser from nearby Queenstown to undertake a rescue — but the ship was mysteriously recalled just as it steamed into view of the survivors. The stricken masses were left frantically waving in disbelief. With its historical intrigue and forensic cul-de-sacs, the Lusitania is a powerful magnet for a colorful cast of obsessives determined to solve the mystery.
Note: Could it be that certain powerful elites wanted these massive death numbers to draw the US into the war? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Three days before the Dec. 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt was warned in a memo from naval intelligence that Tokyo's military and spy network was focused on Hawaii. In the newly revealed 20-page memo from FDR's declassified FBI file, the Office of Naval Intelligence on December 4 warned, "In anticipation of open conflict with this country, Japan is vigorously utilizing every available agency to secure military, naval and commercial information, paying particular attention to the West Coast, the Panama Canal and the Territory of Hawaii." The memo, published in the new book December 1941: 31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World went on to say that the Japanese were collecting "detailed technical information" that would be specifically used by its navy. To collect and analyze information, they were building a network of spies through their U.S. embassies and consulates. Historian and acclaimed Reagan biographer Craig Shirley, author of the just released December 1941, doesn't blame FDR for blowing it, but instead [said] that it "does suggest that there were more pieces to the puzzle" that the administration missed. He compares the missed signals leading up to Japan's attack to 9/11, which government investigations also show that the Clinton and Bush administrations missed clear signals that an attack was coming. "So many mistakes through so many levels of Washington," said Shirley. "Some things never change."
Note: Explore powerful evidence that US president Franklin Roosevelt was baiting Japan into an attack on Pearl Harbor. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
It's plainly wrong for a member of Congress to collaborate with a public relations firm to produce knowingly deceptive testimony on an important issue. Yet Representative Tom Lantos of California has been caught doing exactly that. Mr. Lantos is co-chairman of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus. An article last week on The Times's Op-Ed page by John MacArthur, the publisher of Harper's magazine, revealed the identity of a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl who told the caucus that Iraqi soldiers had removed scores of babies from incubators and left them to die. The girl, whose testimony helped build support for the Persian Gulf war, was identified only as "Nayirah." She is not just some Kuwaiti but the daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador to the U.S.. Saddam Hussein committed plenty of atrocities, but not, apparently, this one. The teen-ager's accusation, at first verified by Amnesty International, was later refuted by that group as well as by other independent human rights monitors. But the issue is not so much the accuracy of the testimony as the identity and undisclosed bias of the witness. How did the girl's testimony come about? It was arranged by the big public relations firm of Hill & Knowlton on behalf of a client, the Kuwaiti-sponsored Citizens for a Free Kuwait, which was then pressing Congress for military intervention. Mr. Lantos knew the girl's identity but concealed it from the public and from the other caucus co-chairman, Representative John E. Porter of Illinois.
Note: Read more about this fabricated story used to push a pro-war agenda in this article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war and the manipulation of public perception.
Iraq invaded Kuwait in August of 1990. The Kuwait government had to find a way to "sell the war" to the American public. The Kuwait government in exile [hired] the American PR firm Hill & Knowlton ... for $10.7 million to devise a campaign to win American support for the war. It's wasn't an easy sell. The Sept. 5 edition of the London Daily Telegraph ... ran a claim by the exiled Kuwait housing minister that, "babies in the premature unit of one of the hospitals had been removed from their incubators." The Hill & Knowlton people jumped on the story. On October 10 ... a young woman named Nayirah [told a congressional] committee, "I saw the Iraqi soldiers come into the hospital with guns. They took the babies out of the incubators, took the incubators and left the babies on the cold floor to die." Hill & Knowlton immediately faxed details of her speech to newsrooms across the country. The babies in incubator stories became a lead item in newspapers, and on radio and TV. The young woman ... was the daughter of Kuwait's ambassador to the United States, and actually hadn't seen the "atrocities" she described. Similar unsubstantiated stories appeared at the UN a few weeks later, where a team of "witnesses," coached by Hill & Knowlton, gave "testimony" ... about atrocities in Iraq. Seven witnesses used false names. On November 29, 1990, the UN authorized use of "all means necessary" to eject Iraq from Kuwait. On January 12, 1991, Congress authorized the use of force. The story was later discredited.
More than a year after his plan to privatize the Afghan war was first shot down by the Trump administration, Erik Prince returned late last month to Kabul to push the proposal on the beleaguered government in Afghanistan, where many believe he has the ear - and the potential backing - of the U.S. president. Prince swept through the capital, meeting with influential political figures within and outside the administration of President Ashraf Ghani. “He’s winning Afghans over with the assumption that he’s close to Trump,” said one well-informed Afghan. Prince also sparked what Ghani ... condemned as “a debate” within the country over “adding new foreign and unaccountable elements to our fight.” At the Pentagon, the head of the U.S. Central Command, Gen. Joseph Votel, told reporters that “I absolutely do not agree” with Prince’s contention that he could win the war more quickly and for less money with a few thousand hired guns. Prince, the brother of U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and a substantial contributor to Trump’s presidential campaign ... has made a controversial career out of providing security for hire. Since severing his ties to Blackwater - the company he founded that was accused of heavy-handed practices, including the killing of civilians, while under U.S. contract in Iraq - Prince has cycled through several iterations of the same business and now runs a Hong Kong-based company called Frontier Services.
Note: A 2015 article titled, "Former Blackwater gets rich as Afghan drug production hits record high" describes some of Eric Prince's previous business activities in Afghanistan. Prince's companies also got caught systematically defrauding the US government while serving as a "virtual extension of the CIA". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
In his first major policy address since joining the White House in April, national security adviser John Bolton offered a particularly aggressive demonstration of President Trump's "America First" agenda. He threatened the International Criminal Court, a U.N.-mandated body based in The Hague, with punitive measures should it pursue an investigation into alleged U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan. He warned that the United States would ban ICC judges and prosecutors from entering the country, sanction their funds in the U.S. financial system and punish any company or government that complies with an ICC investigation into Americans. The ICC's chief prosecutor announced last November that she had "reasonable evidence" to investigate allegations regarding the abuse, torture and even rape of at least 88 Afghan detainees, allegedly carried out by U.S. armed forces in Afghanistan and at clandestine CIA interrogation centers in Europe. The ICC is far from a perfect institution. But it still represents a key cog in the international system, and one that could yet provide justice for the hideous crimes of those like ... Myanmar's generals. Instead, it may yet become another casualty of Trump's wider war on liberal internationalism. "It is an all-out bid by Donald Trump to end the ICC, the world’s foremost criminal tribunal, and with it, the very concept of international justice," wrote the Guardian's Simon Tisdall. "Bolton is the man wielding the knife. And there is a strong possibility they will succeed."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
As part of his ongoing crusade targeting black athletes, President Donald Trump shared a tweet. It included an image of Pat Tillman, the former NFL safety-turned-U.S. Army Ranger who was killed in Afghanistan in the spring of 2004. Trump was co-signing a suggestion that Tillman was a true patriot, unlike those who have chosen to kneel during the national anthem. Tillman’s is indeed an all-American story, it’s just not the kind that Trump and his supporters want it to be. Few episodes of the post-9/11 era have called down more disgrace upon the military than its handling of Tillman’s death. Tillman was 25 years old when he joined the Army ... expecting to join the fight against Al Qaeda and the effort to bring Osama bin Laden to justice. Instead, he was sent to Iraq. Tillman loathed the Iraq War. He confided in his brother and their friend Russell Baer that he thought the invasion and occupation were “fucking illegal.” On April 22,  Tillman was killed. His memorial service was broadcast on national television. The military provided a Navy SEAL ... with a narrative to read to mourners. It described how Tillman charged up a ridgeline, braving enemy fire, and died defending his fellow soldiers. The military knew Tillman was killed by his fellow soldiers, brought down by three bullets to the head let loose during spasms of wildly irresponsible but deliberate shooting. In Tillman’s death, powerful officials saw an opportunity to spin a yarn of heroic sacrifice, rather than an obligation to tell the truth.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Startling new evidence revealed in a BBC documentary shows that President Lyndon Johnson had no doubts that the Israeli attack on American spy ship USS Liberty, which left 34 American servicemen dead and 171 wounded, had been a deliberate attack. The incident happened ... during the Arab-Israeli Six Day War. Unmarked Israeli planes attacked and nearly sank the USS Liberty. Israel has always claimed that the affair was a tragic accident. The government of President Lyndon Johnson publicly accepted this explanation. In fact ... those at the very top never believed the Israeli version. The picture that emerges is of a daring ploy by Israel to fake an Egyptian attack on the American spy ship, and thereby provide America with a reason to officially enter the war against Egypt. Intercepts recorded during the incident reveal how America was convinced the attack was intentional, and the minutes of a White House meeting clearly suggest that President Johnson believed the attack had been deliberate. The Liberty survivors have continued to argue that the attack was intentional and that the US government colluded in a cover-up. Today, the veterans are still calling for a full investigation by Congress. It remains the only case of an attack on a US ship without a full Congressional enquiry. [The documentary] offers evidence of a secret collaboration between America and Israel before and during the war - a covert alliance of intelligence agencies that has always been denied by both sides.
Note: The complete BBC documentary can be viewed here. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the intelligence community.
Note down this number: MFG BGM-71E-1B. I found [it] printed on the side of a spent missile casing lying in the basement of a bombed-out Islamist base in eastern Aleppo last year. At the top were the words “Hughes Aircraft Co”, founded in California ... and sold in 1997 to Raytheon, the massive US defence contractor whose profits last year came to $23.35bn. Shareholders include the Bank of America and Deutsche Bank. There were dozens of other used-up identical missile casings in the same underground room in the ruins of eastern Aleppo. These anti-armour missiles ... were not individual items smuggled into Syria. These were shipments, whole batches of weapons that left their point of origin on military aircraft pallets. There are videos of Islamist fighters using the BGM-71E-1B variety in Idlib province two years before I found the casings of other anti-tank missiles in neighbouring Aleppo. There is neither an obligation nor an investigative mechanism on the part of the arms manufacturers to ensure that their infinitely expensive products are not handed over ... to Isis, al-Nusra/al-Qaeda – which was clearly the case in Aleppo – or some other [group] branded by the US State Department itself as a “terrorist organisation”. Why don’t Nato track all these weapons as they leave Europe and America? Why don’t they expose the real end-users of these deadly shipments? The arms manufacturers I spoke to in the Balkans attested that Nato and the US are fully aware of the buyers of all their machine guns and mortars.
Note: This article was written by award-winning investigative journalist Robert Fisk. More on this available here. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Dozens of civilians, mostly children, were killed or injured in an airstrike on Thursday by U.S. allies on a bus in a crowded market in northern Yemen. The International Committee of the Red Cross said the attack struck a bus carrying children in ... Saada province, which borders Saudi Arabia. “Body parts were scattered all over the area,” said Hassan Muwlef, executive director of the Red Crescent office in Saada. “The school bus was totally burned and destroyed.” Most of the children were under the age of 10, [said] Johannes Bruwer, the ICRC’s head of delegation in Yemen. The assault was the latest airstrike against civilians carried out by an American-backed regional coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The coalition entered Yemen’s civil war more than three years ago to fight northern Houthi rebels, who seized power from Yemen’s internationally recognized government. The conflict has also turned into a proxy war ... between the Sunni Muslim coalition and Iran’s Shiite theocracy, which is widely believed to be backing the rebels. The United States is helping the coalition, the only party in the conflict to use warplanes, with refueling, intelligence and billions in weapons sales. Human rights groups and Washington Post journalists have seen remnants of U.S.-made bombs at attack sites where civilians were struck. Civilian deaths have continued to multiply, even as the coalition promises not to target civilians.
Note: With weapons and support from the US and UK for the Saudi-led coalition, this war has already caused over 10,000 civilian deaths. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Last October, four U.S. soldiers – including two commandos – were killed in an ambush in Niger. Since then, talk of U.S. special operations in Africa has centered on missions being curtailed and troop levels cut. Press accounts have suggested that the number of special operators on the front lines has been reduced. At the same time, a “sweeping Pentagon review” of special ops missions on the continent may result in drastic cuts in the number of commandos operating there. [Yet], there is no evidence yet of massive cuts, gradual reductions, or any downsizing whatsoever. In fact, the number of commandos operating on the continent has barely budged since 2017. Nearly 10 months after the debacle in Niger, the tally of special operators in Africa remains essentially unchanged. 16.5 percent of commandos overseas are deployed in Africa. This is about the same percentage of special operators sent to the continent in 2017 and represents a major increase over deployments during the first decade of the post-9/11 war on terror. In 2006, for example, just 1 percent of all U.S. commandos deployed overseas were in Africa. While media reports have focused on the possibility of imminent reductions, the number of commandos deployed in Africa is nonetheless up 96 percent since 2014 and remains fundamentally unchanged since the deadly 2017 ambush in Niger.
Note: Read more about the "shadow wars" being waged in Africa by US Special Operations forces. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
War rains down from the sky in Yemen, where an aerial bombing campaign by Saudi-led and American-backed coalition hammers much of the north. The U.S. military supports the campaign against the Houthi rebels with logistics and intelligence, and sells the Saudis many of the bombs it drops on that country. In the mountains outside the capital, we gained exclusive access to the site where the Houthis store unexploded American-made bombs, like this 2000 pound Mark 84 bomb made in Garland, Texas. It landed in the middle of the street in the capital, we are told. The Houthis also let us see a storage site with the remains of American-made cluster bombs. Cluster bombs are amongst the most deadly to civilians, filled with baseball-sized smaller bombs that scatter over a larger area. Any that don’t explode stay where they fell, primed, and often wounding civilians like land mines. Deep into Yemen’s countryside ... I found a Doctors Without Borders cholera treatment center completely destroyed by an airstrike the day before. It was just about to open its doors to patients. The war has made it harder for people to access clean running water, leading to the worst cholera outbreak in modern history. Most people here, whether they support the Houthis or not, know that many of the bombs being dropped are American. It provides a strong propaganda tool for the Houthi rebels, who go by the slogan “Death to America.”
Note: PBS special correspondent Jane Ferguson smuggled herself across the front lines into Yemen to report this series. In 2015, the New York Times was caught making false claims about US-made cluster munitions. The international trade in cluster bombs is funded by major banks. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Before the bullet tore through his left leg, Hadad Gamry knew that he was venturing too close to the razor-wire fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. But the 20-year-old wanted the world to know how angry he was, so Gamry says he taunted the soldiers on the other side anyway. That decision resulted in him becoming ... one of the more than 13,000 Palestinians protesters injured near the barrier. At least 142 demonstrators have also been killed by Israeli troops. Israel maintains that Hamas, the Islamist group ... that many countries consider a terrorist organization, has encouraged civilians to put themselves in harm’s way. Gamry and others NBC News spoke to in Gaza rejected the idea that Hamas had compelled them to go to the fence, saying they went because they had run out of ways to make the world pay attention to their suffering. The pervasive threat of violence backs up the land, sea and air blockade imposed in 2007. Hamas won elections the previous year. Economically, the blockade is making life intolerable for many of Gaza’s 2 million residents. Almost none of the water is clean, raw sewage is pumped straight into the sea and worsening power shortages mean Gazans have electricity for only around four hours a day on average. Unemployment rates are close to 50 percent — more than 65 percent among those under 30. Israel and much of the world officially refuses to deal with Hamas and long-term talks aimed at creating an independent Palestinian state ... have stalled.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
A short press statement by the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, effectively [gives] a green light for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to launch an offensive in Yemen aimed at capturing Hodeidah on the Red Sea. The port city is the point of entry for 70 per cent of food and medical supplies for the eight million Yemenis whom the UN says are on the brink of starvation out of the 22 million in need of humanitarian aid. Pompeo was deliberately low-key in his three sentence statement about Hodeidah: “I have spoken with Emirati leaders and made clear our desire to address their security concerns while preserving the free flow of humanitarian aid and life-saving commercial imports.” Absent from this message for the first time was any call for Saudi Arabia and the UAE not to attack Hodeidah. The US and UAE have been working hard on a smokescreen of misinformation about who is responsible for what is happening and why they are launching the offensive now. The 25,000 Yemeni fighters advancing on Hodeidah are not an independent force but are paid for and under the control of the UAE. Air support is provided by the Saudis and the UAE with the US providing essential services such as mid-air refuelling and target intelligence. The Hodeidah operation may ... turn a humanitarian disaster, which the UN is already calling the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, into complete catastrophe. Three quarters of the 27 million Yemenis already require aid to survive and this may be cut off in the next few days.
The U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS may have committed war crimes as its airstrikes rained down on civilians trapped by the brutal fighting in the Syrian city of Raqqa last year, a new report claims. According to an investigation by Amnesty International, American, British and French strikes on the city from June to October 2017 “decimated extended families and neighborhoods” as the coalition embarked on a “war of annihilation.” Amnesty [claimed] its investigation provided “prima facie evidence that several coalition attacks that killed and injured civilians violated international humanitarian law.” After heavy fighting, surviving ISIS fighters were allowed to leave the city in October 2017. The U.S., British and French militaries claimed they did everything possible to minimize the risk of collateral damage during the operation, but Amnesty says hundreds died and thousands more were injured during the assault. The U.S. said it fired more than 30,000 artillery rounds during the five-month operation, and American forces were responsible for 90 percent of the airstrikes. The organization interviewed 112 civilian residents of Raqqa and visited the sites of 42 air, artillery and mortar strikes. The report focused on four cases in particular, which Amnesty said amounted to war crimes. In all cases “witnesses reported that there were no fighters in the vicinity at the time of the attacks,” Amnesty said. “Such attacks could be either direct attacks on civilians or civilian objects or indiscriminate attacks.”
The largest government contractor you’ve never heard of [is] a company known simply by the nondescript initials SAIC (for Science Applications International Corporation). It is larger than the departments of Labor, Energy, and Housing and Urban Development combined. No contractor seems to exploit conflicts of interest in Washington with more zeal. And no contractor cloaks its operations in greater secrecy. SAIC has displayed an uncanny ability to thrive in every conceivable political climate. It is the invisible hand behind a huge portion of the national-security state—the one sector of the government whose funds are limitless. SAIC represents, in other words, a private business that has become a form of permanent government. Civilians at SAIC used to joke that the company had so many admirals and generals in its ranks it could start its own war. Some might argue that, in the case of Iraq, it did. 9/11 ... was very, very good for SAIC. In the aftermath of the attacks ... SAIC was ready. SAIC executives have been involved at every stage of the life cycle of the war in Iraq. SAIC personnel were instrumental in pressing the case that weapons of mass destruction existed in Iraq ... and that war was the only way to get rid of them. Then ... SAIC secured contracts for a broad range of operations in soon-to-be-occupied Iraq. When no weapons of mass destruction were found, SAIC personnel staffed the commission that was set up to investigate how American intelligence could have been so disastrously wrong.
Note: SAIC changed its name to Leidos in 2013. Lockheed Martin, which already ran a breathtakingly big part of the United States, and was reported in 2015 to be “engaged in deep and systemic corruption" including paying off a Congresswoman, merged with Leidos in 2016. The hidden war machine is consolidating. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the corporate world.
Google will not seek to extend its contract next year with the Defense Department for artificial intelligence used to analyze drone video, squashing a controversial alliance that had raised alarms over the technological buildup between Silicon Valley and the military. Google ... has faced widespread public backlash and employee resignations for helping develop technological tools that could aid in warfighting. Google will soon release new company principles related to the ethical uses of AI. Thousands of Google employees wrote chief executive Sundar Pichai an open letter urging the company to cancel the contract, and many others signed a petition saying the company’s assistance in developing combat-zone technology directly countered the company’s famous “Don’t be evil” motto. Several Google AI employees had told The Post they believed they wielded a powerful influence over the company’s decision-making. The advanced technology’s top researchers and developers are in heavy demand, and many had organized resistance campaigns or threatened to leave. The sudden announcement Friday was welcomed by several high-profile employees. Meredith Whittaker, an AI researcher and the founder of Google’s Open Research group, tweeted Friday: “I am incredibly happy about this decision, and have a deep respect for the many people who worked and risked to make it happen. Google should not be in the business of war.”
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The Swedish government has begun sending all 4.8m of the country’s households a public information leaflet telling the population, for the first time in more than half a century, what to do in the event of a war. Om krisen eller kriget kommer (If crisis or war comes) explains how people can secure basic needs ... what warning signals mean, where to find bomb shelters and how to contribute to Sweden’s “total defence”. The 20-page pamphlet, illustrated with pictures of sirens, warplanes and families fleeing their homes, also prepares the population for dangers such as cyber and terror attacks and climate change, and includes a page on identifying fake news. Similar leaflets were first distributed in neutral Sweden in 1943, at the height of the second world war. Updates were issued regularly to the general public until 1961. “Society is vulnerable, so we need to prepare ourselves as individuals,” said Dan Eliasson of the Swedish civil contingencies agency, which is in charge of the project. “There’s also an information deficit in terms of concrete advice, which we aim to provide.” The publication comes as the debate on security – and the possibility of joining Nato – has intensified in Sweden in the wake of Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and recent incursions into Swedish airspace and territorial waters by Russian planes and submarines. The country has begun reversing military spending cuts and last year staged its biggest military exercises in nearly a quarter of a century.
Hundreds of academics have urged Google to abandon its work on a U.S. Department of Defense-led drone program codenamed “Project Maven”. An open letter calling for change was published Monday by the International Committee for Robot Arms Control (ICRAC). The project is formally known as the Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team. Its objective is “to turn the enormous volume of data available to DoD into actionable intelligence”. More than 3,000 Google staffers signed a petition in April in protest at the company's focus on warfare. “We believe that Google should not be in the business of war,” it read. “Therefore we ask that Project Maven be cancelled.” The ICRAC warned this week the project could potentially be mixed with general user data and exploited to aid “targeted killing.” Currently, its letter has nearly 500 signatures. It stated: “We are ... deeply concerned about the possible integration of Google’s data on people’s everyday lives with military surveillance data, and its combined application to targeted killing ... Google has moved into military work without subjecting itself to public debate or deliberation. While Google regularly decides the future of technology without democratic public engagement, its entry into military technologies casts the problems of private control of information infrastructure into high relief.” Lieutenant Colonel Garry Floyd, deputy chief of the Algorithmic Warfare Cross Functional Team, said ... earlier this month that Maven was already active in “five or six” combat locations.
Note: You can read the full employee petition on this webpage. The New York Times also published a good article on this. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and war.
There’s something eating at Google employees. Roughly one dozen employees of the search giant have resigned in the wake of reports that the ... company is providing artificial intelligence to the Pentagon. The employees resigned because of ethical concerns over the company’s work with the Defense Department that includes helping the military speed up analysis of drone footage by automatically classifying images of objects and people, Gizmodo reported. Many of the employees who quit have written accounts of their decisions to leave the company. Their stories have been gathered and shared in an internal document. Google is helping the DoD’s Project Maven “implement machine learning to classify images gathered by drones,” according to the report. “Some employees believe humans, not algorithms, should be responsible for this sensitive and potentially lethal work - and that Google shouldn’t be involved in military work at all.” The 12 resignations are the first known mass resignations at Google in protest against one of the company’s business decisions - and they speak to the strongly felt ethical concerns of the employees who are departing. In addition to the resignations, nearly 4,000 Google employees have voiced their opposition to Project Maven in an internal petition that asks Google to immediately cancel the contract and institute a policy against taking on future military work.
Note: You can read the full employee petition on this webpage. An open letter in support of google employees and tech workers was signed by more than 90 academics in artificial intelligence, ethics, and computer science. The New York Times also published a good article on this. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and war
This is the story of a town called Douma ... and of an underground clinic whose images of suffering allowed three of the Western world’s most powerful nations to bomb Syria last week. When I track [a doctor] down in the very same clinic, [he] tells me that the “gas” videotape which horrified the world – despite all the doubters – is perfectly genuine. The same 58-year old senior Syrian doctor then adds something profoundly uncomfortable: the patients, he says, were overcome not by gas but by oxygen starvation in the rubbish-filled tunnels and basements in which they lived. Dr Rahaibani ... showed me his lowly hospital and the few beds where a small girl was crying as nurses treated a cut above her eye. “All the doctors know what happened. There was a lot of shelling [by government forces] and aircraft were always over Douma at night – but on this night, there was wind and huge dust clouds began to come into the basements and cellars where people lived. People began to arrive here suffering from hypoxia, oxygen loss. Then someone at the door, a “White Helmet”, shouted “Gas!”, and a panic began. People started throwing water over each other. Yes, the video was filmed here, it is genuine, but what you see are people suffering from hypoxia – not gas poisoning.” Oddly, after chatting to more than 20 people, I couldn’t find one who showed the slightest interest in Douma’s role in bringing about the Western air attacks. Two actually told me they didn’t know about the connection.
Note: Learn an alternative view of who the "white helmets" are in this Corbett Report. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Thousands of Google employees, including dozens of senior engineers, have signed a letter protesting the company’s involvement in a Pentagon program that uses artificial intelligence to interpret video imagery and could be used to improve the targeting of drone strikes. The letter, which is circulating inside Google and has garnered more than 3,100 signatures, reflects a culture clash ... that is likely to intensify as cutting-edge artificial intelligence is increasingly employed for military purposes. “We believe that Google should not be in the business of war,” says the letter, addressed to Sundar Pichai, the company’s chief executive. It asks that Google pull out of Project Maven, a Pentagon pilot program, and announce a policy that it will not “ever build warfare technology.” That kind of idealistic stance ... is distinctly foreign to Washington’s massive defense industry and certainly to the Pentagon, where the defense secretary, Jim Mattis, has often said a central goal is to increase the “lethality” of the United States military. Some of Google’s top executives have significant Pentagon connections. Eric Schmidt, former executive chairman of Google and still a member of the executive board of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, serves on a Pentagon advisory body, the Defense Innovation Board, as does a Google vice president, Milo Medin. Project Maven ... began last year as a pilot program to find ways to speed up the military application of the latest A.I. technology.
Note: The use of artificial intelligence technology for drone strike targeting is one of many ways warfare is being automated. Strong warnings against combining artificial intelligence with war have recently been issued by America's second-highest ranking military officer, tech mogul Elon Musk, and many of the world's most recognizable scientists. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
By completing the $1.3 trillion spending bill for the remainder of 2018, the Republican Congress and the president took the first big step in implementing their highest priority: a huge increase in the Pentagon budget. The United States has embarked - with hardly a pause after 16 years of costly and counterproductive wars - on another binge of military spending. Which is worse? The Republican Party’s crude equation of greater spending with more security, or the Democrats’ utter lack of opposition to this unjustified boondoggle for the Pentagon? Each is a powerful indictment of the state of our politics. Together they could signal the end of any rational debate on national security in a country that spends about as much on defense as the next eight nations (ranked by military expenditures) combined. The defense budget at the end of President Barack Obama’s administration, adjusted for inflation, was still at the levels of the Reagan buildup in the 1980s. The jaw-dropping increases in the congressional agreement and Trump’s proposed budget for future years will return us to near the record levels of 2010 when the country still had about 150,000 troops deployed between Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, the United States has about 19,000 troops deployed to those two nations. And the response by the Democratic Party? With few exceptions, complicity and silence. Since Trump assumed the presidency, congressional Democrats have had one concern about increased military spending: how to use it as leverage for comparable increases in domestic spending. And that is exactly what happened with the recent spending bill.
Note: Read a powerful essay by one of the most highly decorated U.S. general's ever exposing war-making as a racket supported by the military industrial complex. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and war.
He is a cheerful old farmer who jokes as he serves rice cakes made by his wife, and then he switches easily to explaining what it is like to cut open a 30-year-old man who is tied naked to a bed and dissect him alive, without anesthetic. The old man, who insisted on anonymity, explained the reason for the vivisection. The Chinese prisoner had been deliberately infected with the plague as part of a research project ... to develop plague bombs for use in World War II. After infecting him, the researchers decided to cut him open to see what the disease does to a man's inside. No anesthetic was used, he said, out of concern that it might have an effect on the results. That research program was one of the great secrets of Japan during and after World War II: a vast project to develop weapons of biological warfare, including plague, anthrax, cholera and a dozen other pathogens. Unit 731 of the Japanese Imperial Army conducted research by experimenting on humans and by "field testing" plague bombs ... to see whether they could start plague outbreaks. They could. At least 3,000 people ... were killed in the medical experiments; none survived. The research was kept secret after the end of the war in part because the United States Army granted immunity from war crimes prosecution to the doctors in exchange for their data. Japanese and American documents show that the United States helped cover up the human experimentation. Instead of putting the ringleaders on trial, it gave them stipends.
Note: The German Nazis conducted similarly horrifying experiments on humans, as described in this Harper's Magazine article. Many of the Nazi scientists involved were secretly brought to the U.S. under Operation Paperclip. And according to this disturbing essay of a survivor, Nazi torturers were brought to the US to train CIA to train operatives in how to create multiple personality super spies through torture, drugs, and hypnosis.
In 1945, as a first-year student at Kyushu Imperial University’s medical school in southern Japan, [Toshio] Tono became an unwilling witness to atrocities. Just weeks after he began his studies, a US B-29 Superfortress crashed in northern Kyushu island. The [surviving] airmen were rounded up by police and placed in military custody. The prisoners were led to believe they were going to receive treatment for their injuries. But over the following three weeks, they were to be subjected to a depraved form of pathology at the medical school – procedures to which Tono is the only surviving witness. According to testimony ... at the Allied War Crimes Tribunals, they injected one anaesthetised prisoner with seawater. Other airmen had parts of their organs removed, with one deprived of an entire lung. In another experiment, doctors drilled through the skull of a live prisoner. “The experiments had absolutely no medical merit,” [Tono] said. “They were being used to inflict as cruel a death as possible on the prisoners. Of the 30 Kyushu University doctors and military staff who stood trial in 1948, 23 were convicted of vivisection and the wrongful removal of body parts. But they were never punished. President Truman issued an executive order that led to freedom for imprisoned war criminals. By the end of 1958, all Japanese war criminals had been released and began reinventing themselves, some as mainstream politicians, under their new, US-authored constitution.
Note: The German Nazis conducted similarly horrifying experiments on humans, as described in this Harper's Magazine article. Many of the Nazi scientists involved were secretly brought to the U.S. under Operation Paperclip. And according to this disturbing essay of a survivor, Nazi torturers were brought to the US to train CIA to train operatives in how to create multiple personality super spies through torture, drugs, and hypnosis.
Japan has again been forced to confront its wartime conduct after a former doctor in the country's imperial navy admitted he had conducted experiments on Filipino prisoners during the second world war. Akira Makino, 84, said in an interview with the Kyodo news agency that he had performed surgery and amputations on dozens of prisoners of war before they were executed in the Philippines. Mr Makino is one of several former Japanese soldiers who decided to reveal the truth about their country's use of human guinea pigs before they die. Unit 731, the imperial Japanese army's notorious germ warfare unit, killed thousands of Chinese civilians and Allied PoWs at its sprawling complex in Harbin, northern China. The victims ... were injected with typhus, cholera and other diseases. They died during the experiments or were executed to prevent them from talking about their experiences. As the end of the war approached, the unit destroyed evidence of their activities. The extent of their activities only came to light following testimony from repentant former doctors, soldiers and nurses. US authorities secretly granted unit officials immunity from prosecution in return for access to years of research into biological weapons. Several former Unit 731 officials went on to enjoy prominent careers in medicine, academia and business. Mr Makino ... said he remained haunted by memories of the experiments. "We should not repeat that misery again," he said. "I want to tell the truth about the war."
Note: Explore a list depicting the rampant use of humans as guinea pigs in government, military, and medical experiments over the last century.
Everybody's heard of the My Lai massacre - March 16, 1968, 50 years ago today - but not many know about the man who stopped it: Hugh Thompson, an Army helicopter pilot. When he arrived, American soldiers had already killed 504 Vietnamese civilians. They were going to kill more, but they didn't - because of what Thompson did. "We started noticing these large numbers of bodies everywhere," [Thompson said]. "They were old women, old men, children, kids, babies." Then Thompson ... "saw some civilians hiding in a bunker, cowering. Saw some advancing Americans coming that way. I just figured it was time to do something, to not let these people get killed. Landed the aircraft in between the Americans and the Vietnamese, told my crew chief and gunner to cover me, got out of the aircraft, went over to the American side." What happened next was one of the most remarkable events of the entire war, and perhaps unique: Thompson told the American troops that, if they opened fire on the Vietnamese civilians in the bunker, he and his crew would open fire on them. "I thank God to this day that everybody did stay cool and nobody opened up. It was time to stop it. That was the only way the madness ... could be stopped." Back at their base he filed a complaint about the killing of civilians that he had witnessed. The Army covered it up. But eventually the journalist Seymour Hersh found out about the massacre, and his report made it worldwide news and a turning point in the war.
Dorothy Hansen used to pay her taxes faithfully every year - until the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Since then, the 87-year-old Sebastopol resident has stopped filing her income tax returns to show her disapproval of the war. "I am very sure that I don't want to have any part in killing people and I certainly don't want a part in any wars that do just that," Hansen said. With the tax-filing deadline just two weeks away, some... are using it as an opportunity to protest the war by withholding their tax dollars to fund it. Known as war tax resisters, they consider it an act of civil disobedience. Some withhold only a symbolic portion of what they owe - $10.40, for example, to represent the 1040 tax form - while others, like Hansen, refuse to pay anything at all. Many will redirect their tax dollars to a charity of their choice. The risks can be costly if a resister is caught. Some resisters have had their wages garnisheed or property seized. Jesse Weller, an IRS spokesman, said the agency does not keep statistics on war tax resisters. The National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee ... said they have no way of tracking their numbers either. Weller said the IRS goes after promoters of tax resistance more aggressively than those who participate in the movement and warns that anyone who gets caught can face a criminal or civil penalty. Nonetheless, war tax resisters persist. Hansen said she will stand by her beliefs regardless of the consequences.
Note: See the letter WantToKnow.info founder Fred Burks wrote to the IRS on why he is withholding war taxes. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
When the United States invaded Iraq more than four years ago, war opponent David Gross asked his bosses for a radical pay cut, enough so he wouldn't have to pay taxes to support the war. "I was having a hard time looking at myself in the mirror," Gross said. "I knew the bombs falling were in part paid with my tax dollars. I had to actually do something concrete to remove my complicity." The San Francisco technical writer was making close to $100,000 a year. He ... later figured out he would have to make less than minimum wage. In any event, his employer turned him down and he quit. Gross, 38, now works on a contract basis, and last year he refused to pay self-employment taxes. War tax resistance, popularized by Henry David Thoreau in the 19th century and by singer Joan Baez and others during the Vietnam War, is gaining renewed interest among peace activists upset over the Iraq war. "We definitely had more people calling, sending e-mails about how they decided to start resisting," said Ruth Benn, coordinator of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee in New York. Benn estimates 8,000 to 10,000 Americans refuse to pay some or all of their federal taxes over war objections. Many tax protesters say they redirect the money they withhold to charities. Some, like Joanne Sheehan of Norwich, keep their income below taxable levels. "I don't see the point of working for peace and paying for war," Sheehan said.
Note: See the letter WantToKnow.info founder Fred Burks wrote to the IRS on why he is withholding war taxes. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
More than 25 years after the end of its civil war, families in El Salvador are still searching for an estimated 3,000 children who disappeared in the fighting. The country's military has so far refused to open its archives from that period to allow an investigation into the whereabouts of children separated from their families. In a decision released in January, El Salvador's Supreme Court backed the demand of Nicolasa Rivas for a probe into the disappearances of her daughters, Gladys Suleyma and Norma Climaco Rivas. Rivas blames the military for taking her daughters. The U.N. Truth Commission created with the signing of the peace agreement in January 1992 estimated there were 5,000 forced disappearances during the war. Human rights advocates have documented about 3,000 more cases and estimate that about 3,000 of all the disappeared were minors. The Supreme Court's decision ordered the armed forces to release information related to a military operation called "Mario Azenon Palma." It was during that operation that Gladys and Norma disappeared. The Defense Ministry has said that ... "no documents or registries of any kind related to the alleged operation have been found." The operation's existence has been confirmed by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. In its ruling supporting Rivas' call for an investigation into the fate of her daughters, the Supreme Court said there was sufficient information to conclude "they were involuntarily disappeared at the hands of soldiers."
Note: Consider the possibility that many of these kids were used in sex trafficking to bring in money to the military. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
In Yemen, a child under the age of five dies of preventable causes every 10 minutes. That is just one startling fact from a country that has been torn by war for nearly three years. More than 10,000 civilians have died and over 40,000 have been wounded in this war. An estimated 17 million people – 60 percent of the total population – do not have reliable access to food. Americans have so far provided more than $768 million in humanitarian aid to that country. What few Americans know, however, is that the U.S. military is making the crisis worse by helping one side in the conflict bomb innocent civilians. The millions we have spent in humanitarian aid were necessitated, in part, by a U.S. government failure. In March 2015, a coalition of Arab forces led by Saudi Arabia launched a military intervention into Yemen. The Obama administration, without consulting Congress, quickly authorized U.S. military forces to provide “logistical and intelligence support” to the Saudi coalition. U.S. military support for this intervention continues to this day. U.S. forces are coordinating, refueling and targeting with the Saudi-led coalition. We believe that since Congress has not authorized military force for this conflict, the United States should play no role in it beyond providing desperately needed humanitarian aid. That is why we are introducing a joint resolution that would force Congress to vote on the U.S. war in Yemen. If Congress does not authorize the war, our resolution would require U.S. involvement in Yemen to end.
Note: The above was written by US senators Mike Lee, Bernie Sanders, and Chris Murphy. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Global sales of weapons and military services have risen for the first time in five years, helped in part by an increase in sales by British companies. Weapons – many of which are fueling deadly conflicts in the Middle East – are now being bought and sold at the highest level since 2010, with sales up more than a third (38 per cent) since 2002. Military kit worth $374.8bn (Ł280bn) was sold in 2016 by the industry’s top 100 companies, an annual review by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) found. The booming books of some of the world’s largest defence companies can be explained both by an increasingly militarised world and spiraling costs of complex battlefield equipment, Professor Taylor [of the Royal United Services Institute] said. “Equipment costs are going up and the trend is not abating," he told The Independent. UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia have been among the most controversial transfers of military hardware anywhere in the world, with critics of the Government warning that the equipment is being used by a country that refuses to end its blockade of Yemen. Thousands of people have been killed in that conflict, which pitches a Saudi-led coalition against Iran-backed Houthi rebels. UK sales of arms and military kit to the Saudis reached Ł1.1bn in the first half of 2017. Meanwhile, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which implements foreign arms sales, announced sales of $41.93bn for the year to the end of September, a 25 per cent rise on the previous 12 months.
Note: See an excellent and revealing graphic of the world's 100 largest arms sellers. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
The world is rolling backward, and at a disturbingly faster pace, in the struggle to limit carnage from land mines and other booby-trap explosives. The most recent numbers, covering 2016, are appalling. Known casualties that year came to 8,605, including 2,089 deaths, according to a new report by Landmine Monitor. The toll was nearly 25 percent higher than the 6,967 maimed and dead counted a year earlier, and more than double the 3,993 in 2014. Much of the 2016 mayhem stemmed from conflicts in Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine and Yemen, but people in 56 countries and other areas were killed or wounded. Nearly 80 percent of the victims were civilians; children accounted for 42 percent of civilian casualties. One subset of the menace, cluster munitions, is singularly vicious. Cluster munitions alone caused 971 known casualties in 2016, more than twice the toll of the previous year. Most victims were Syrians ... but Saudi Arabia has also used American-supplied cluster bombs in Yemen. Thanks to an international treaty that came into force in 1999 - now signed by 163 countries and banning the production, stockpiling and transfer of land mines - casualties ... reached a low of 3,450 in 2013, compared with 9,228 in 1999. Nearly all that hard-won progress has been erased. Land mine and cluster munitions treaties are undercut by the refusal of some of modern warfare’s most powerful players to sign them. Among those countries are China, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Russia and Saudi Arabia. And the United States.
Note: The international cluster bomb trade is funded by world's biggest banks. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
U.S. and allied strikes against the Islamic State may have killed as many as 6,000 civilians in 2017. Airwars, which investigates allegations of civilian casualties by using social media and other information sources, said that between 3,923 and 6,102 noncombatants were “likely killed” in air and artillery strikes by the United States and its partners in 2017. The estimate for Iraq and Syria was more than triple that of the year before. While the Airwars data includes strikes by the United States and partner nations including Britain and France, most of the military activity has been conducted by American forces. The group’s estimate is vastly higher than the figure put forward by U.S. Central Command, which conducts its own investigations of selected U.S. strikes. According to its most recent public report, Centcom has determined that at least 817 civilians have been killed since the air campaign began in 2014.
A former contractor for a UK-based public relations firm says that the Pentagon paid more than half a billion dollars for the production and dissemination of fake Al-Qaeda videos that portrayed the insurgent group in a negative light. The PR firm, Bell Pottinger, worked alongside top US military officials at Camp Victory in Baghdad at the height of the Iraq War. The agency was tasked with crafting TV segments in the style of unbiased Arabic news reports, videos of Al-Qaeda bombings that appeared to be filmed by insurgents, and anti-insurgent commercials. Those who watched the videos could be tracked by US forces. Bell Pottinger ... could have earned as much as $120m from the US in 2006. Former video editor Martin Wells, who worked on the IOTF contract with Bell Pottinger, said they were given very specific instructions on how to produce the fake Al-Qaeda propaganda films. US Marines would then take CDs containing the videos while on patrol, then plant them at sites during raids. “If they’re raiding a house and they’re going to make a mess of it looking for stuff anyway, they’d just drop an odd CD there,” he said. The CDs were encoded to open the videos on RealPlayer software that connects to the Internet when it runs. It would issue an IP address that could then be tracked by US intelligence. The programmes produced by Bell Pottinger would move up the chain of command ... and could sometimes go as high up as the White House for approval.
Note: Read more about the fake "Al Qaeda" videos produced and distributed for the Pentagon. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption and the manipulation of public perception.
Lorry driver Abu Fawzi thought it was going to be just another job. He drives an 18-wheeler ... in northern Syria. But this time, his load was to be human cargo. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters opposed to IS, wanted him to lead a convoy that would take hundreds of families displaced by fighting ... to a camp further north. [He was told] the job would take six hours. He and his fellow drivers ... had been lied to. Instead, it would take three days of hard driving, carrying a deadly cargo - hundreds of IS fighters, their families and tonnes of weapons and ammunition. The deal to let IS fighters escape from Raqqa ... would spare lives and bring fighting to an end. But it also enabled many hundreds of IS fighters to escape from the city. At the time, neither the US and British-led coalition, nor the SDF, which it backs, wanted to admit their part. Has the pact, which stood as Raqqa’s dirty secret, unleashed a threat to the outside world - one that has enabled militants to spread far and wide across Syria and beyond? Great pains were taken to hide it from the world. Publicly, the SDF said that only a few dozen fighters had been able to leave, all of them locals. But one lorry driver tells us that isn't true. "We took out around 4,000 people including women and children," [the lorry driver said]. The convoy was six to seven kilometres long. In light of the BBC investigation, the coalition now admits the part it played in the deal. Some 250 IS fighters were allowed to leave Raqqa, with 3,500 of their family members.
Note: The rise of Islamic State militants was a predicted outcome of a CIA and MI6 program to transfer weapons from Libyan stockpiles to Syrian rebels in 2012. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
When Beatrice Fihn received a call on Oct. 6 informing the 35-year-old Swede that her group, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, she suspected a possible prank. Not that you should blame her - ICAN is just 10 years old, and the group’s aims can seem positively fanciful: the complete elimination of the world’s roughly 15,000 nuclear warheads. But that call from the Norwegian Nobel Committee was real, and so is Fihn’s goal. ICAN, a global coalition of 440 partner organizations in 98 countries, was honored for its efforts to advance the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was successfully finalized by two-thirds of the United Nations’ 192 members this summer. The treaty—which would outlaw nuclear weapons’ use, production and possession—is now open for ratification, and will become international law after 50 countries sign on. Those countries almost certainly won’t include the members of the nuclear club: The U.S., Russia, China, Great Britain, France, Pakistan, India and North Korea. Fihn is realistic that nuclear weapons won’t be abolished overnight. But just as earlier treaties banning biological weapons and land mines eventually led to such munitions being phased out, she believes a nuclear arms ban could help turn the public against these truly horrific weapons of mass destruction.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
President Donald Trump has increased the number of U.S. troops and civilians working for the Department of Defense in the Middle East to 54,180 from 40,517 in the past four months, representing a 33-percent rise. This number doesn't even account for the big rise in troops stationed in Afghanistan since ... late August. These numbers are no secret, which raises concerns about the apparent lack of discourse over the expansion of the U.S. military. The Trump administration has been quite vocal about the recent increase in troops in Afghanistan. But the rise in the presence of the U.S. military elsewhere in the Middle East has been relatively under the radar. Some in the U.S. military even seem to be unaware of the recent increase in personnel in the region. On November 16 ... Lieutenant General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. was asked about troop numbers in Syria and Iraq at a press briefing, and he said, "In Syria, we have ... about 503 operating. And in Iraq, we have approximately 5,262, I believe is the number. So those are the numbers." However, the U.S. has 1,720 troops in Syria and 8,892 in Iraq. With Trump in the White House, there has been an increase in U.S. troops killed in action overseas as well as a large spike in civilian deaths from airstrikes. A United Nations report in October claimed civilian deaths had increased by 50 percent in Afghanistan compared to the same point last year.
The U.S. government [planned] false flag attacks with Soviet aircraft to justify war with the USSR or its allies, newly declassified documents surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy show. In a three-page memo, members of the National Security Council wrote, "There is a possibility that such aircraft could be used in a ... provocation operation in which Soviet aircraft would appear to attack US or friendly installations to provide an excuse for U.S. intervention." The memo shows that the department, along with the CIA, considered buying Soviet aircraft to stage the attacks, even getting estimates from the Air Force on how long it would take and how much it would cost to produce the planes domestically and covertly. The document also outlined the possibility of purchasing such aircraft from non-Soviet Bloc countries that had received planes from the USSR, or from pilots that had defected, instead of building them domestically. The CIA deemed those plans too risky. It is unclear when the memo was written or circulated. The NSC staff mention a meeting on March 22, 1962, when a "Special Group" discussed the attorney general's questions about acquiring Soviet aircraft. The document was last reviewed by the CIA in February 1998, and a stamp shows it was declassified in March 2016. But, strangely, the document's cover letter shows a date of "00/00/00."
Note: ABC News back in 2001 was the only major media to report on Operation Northwoods, which is the code name for a very similar plan, when the first documents on this were declassified. As these earlier documents show, the plan was approved by the top Pentagon chiefs to create a pretext for war with Cuba by sinking an American ship in the Havana harbor or creating a "terror campaign" in cities like Miami and Washington D.C. Why was this stunning news only reported by ABC? For a possible reason, see this excellent summary of testimony by major media whistleblowers.
Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), told an audience at the Halifax International Security Forum in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Saturday that he has given a lot of thought to what he would say if a president ordered a strike he considered unlawful. As head of STRATCOM, Hyten is responsible for overseeing the U.S. nuclear arsenal. "I provide advice to the president, he will tell me what to do," Hyten added. "And if it's illegal, guess what's going to happen? I'm going to say, 'Mr. President, that's illegal.' And guess what he's going to do? He's going to say, 'What would be legal?' And we'll come up with options, with a mix of capabilities to respond to whatever the situation is, and that's the way it works." Hyten said he has been trained every year for decades in the law of armed conflict, which takes into account specific factors to determine legality - necessity, distinction, proportionality, unnecessary suffering and more. Running through scenarios of how to react in the event of an illegal order is standard practice, he said. "If you execute an unlawful order, you will go to jail. You could go to jail for the rest of your life," Hyten said. Hyten's comments come against the backdrop of continued tension with North Korea. In the past, the president has pledged to unleash "fire and fury" and to "totally destroy" North Korea if necessary. Hyten's comments also come as Congress is re-examining the authorization of the use of military force and power to launch a nuclear strike.
Afghanistan, the world’s largest producer of opium, has harvested a record crop this year that more than doubled last year’s production. Salamt Azimi, the country’s minister for counter-narcotics, told VOA's Pashto service that insecurity kept the government from implementing poppy eradication programs, leading to a 64 percent jump in land dedicated to the lucrative crop to 340,000 hectares. The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime estimated that opium accounted for some 16 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product last year, including more than two-thirds of the entire agricultural sector. In addition to fueling insecurity, violence and insurgency, the drug production is discouraging private and public investment, a UNODC report said. Afghanistan’s opium production plunged in 2001 after the Taliban-led government banned it. But it jumped back to pre-ban levels - and higher - after the U.S. led invasion of the country late that year. U.S. anti-drug officials say the Taliban provides protection to traffickers in exchange for weapons, funding and other support. A single kilogram of heroin can generate approximately $1.5 million by the time it reaches users, and the U.S. is trying to cope with a rise in addiction to opiates, both prescription drugs and illegally produced drugs like heroin. That leads to opportunities to bribe police, judges and customs officials, feeding Afghanistan’s endemic corruption and scaring off foreign investment.
Note: How is it that under the Taliban opium production was decimated, yet once the US invaded, it has continually set record highs. Could it be that factions of the power elite benefit greatly from this illegal trade? According to a 2016 New York Times article, Afghan government officials closely allied with US military and intelligence officials have been directly involved in the opium trade. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
American taxpayers have spent $1.46 trillion on wars abroad since September 11, 2001. The Department of Defense periodically releases a “cost of war” report. The newly released version ... covers the time from the September 11th terrorist attacks through mid-2017. The Afghanistan War from 2001 to 2014 and Iraq War from 2003 to 2011 account for the bulk of expenses: more than $1.3 trillion. The continuing presence in Afghanistan and aerial anti-ISIS operations in Iraq and Syria since 2014 have cost a combined $120 billion. The report’s costs include only direct war-related expenses. It most notably does not include the expense of veteran’s benefits for troops who serve in these wars or the intelligence community’s expenses related to Global War on Terror. A 2011 paper ... estimated the cost of veterans’ benefits as $600 billion to $1 trillion over the next 40 years. According to the Congressional Research Service, the only war in U.S. history to cost more than the Global War on Terror is World War II, at more than $4.1 trillion in present dollars. Direct war-related expenses from the Vietnam War cost $738 billion in today's dollars.
Members of Congress are demanding answers after a St. Louis scholar's new book revealed details of secret Cold War-era U.S. government testing in which countless unsuspecting people, including many children, pregnant women and minorities, were fed, sprayed or injected with radiation and other dangerous materials. Lisa Martino-Taylor ... wrote "Behind the Fog: How the U.S. Cold War Radiological Weapons Program Exposed Innocent Americans," [using] Freedom of Information Act requests to obtain previously unreleased documents, including Army records. She found that a small group of researchers, aided by leading academic institutions, worked to develop radiological weapons and later "combination weapons" using radioactive materials along with chemical or biological weapons. Martino-Taylor said the offensive radiological weapons program was a top priority for the government. Unknowing people in places throughout the U.S., as well as parts of England and Canada, were subjected to potentially deadly material through open-air spraying, ingestion and injection. "They targeted the most vulnerable in society," Martino-Taylor said. "They targeted children. They targeted pregnant women. People who were ill in hospitals. They targeted wards of the state. And they targeted minority populations." [House Democrat William Lacy] Clay said he was angered that Americans were used as "guinea pigs" for research. "I join with my colleagues to demand the whole truth about this testing," Clay said in a statement.
Note: See this news article for photos and a video of this event. Read about dozens of other incidents in which humans were used as guinea pigs, at times resulting in deaths that were covered up. Another video is available here. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the scientific community.
Lockheed Martin, the Pentagon's No. 1 weapons supplier, has rarely felt the need to blow its horn about its secrecy-shrouded crown jewel. "Skunk Works," Lockheed's business for developing weapons outside the company's main chain of command, is starting to lift the veil in a sign of fierce pressure to win new orders and protect its brand. Skunk Works has been celebrated since it developed the first jet fighter in 143 days during World War Two to battle the Nazis. But its logo was kept off buildings and employees were barred from saying where they worked. Now, the company has published a glossy brochure with a 10-point "Skunk Works 2015" agenda focused on keeping costs down, working closely with government, and building prototypes. Its officials are meeting in small groups with all 3,300 employees, or "Skunks" as they are known, to underscore the importance of staying competitive. In one building, Lockheed is using the world's largest gantry machine and 3-D printing to build aircraft. Across campus, Lockheed has a giant airship ... and a compact nuclear fusion reactor that could revolutionize power generation. Skunk Works has survived over the years because it is not only an advanced research arm, but also makes money by managing a few signature programs, including the F-22 stealth fighter and other classified programs, general manager Rob Weiss told Reuters. He gave no numbers.
Note: According to this New York Times article, Lockheed Martin runs a "breathtakingly big part" of the US. This company also paid $4.7 million in 2015 to settle charges it lobbied for federal contracts with federal money. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the corporate world.
President Donald Trump said he wanted what amounted to a nearly tenfold increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal during a gathering this past summer of the nation’s highest-ranking national security leaders, according to three officials who were in the room. Trump’s comments, the officials said, came in response to a briefing slide he was shown that charted the steady reduction of U.S. nuclear weapons since the late 1960s. Trump indicated he wanted a bigger stockpile, not the bottom position on that downward-sloping curve. According to the officials present, Trump’s advisers, among them the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, were surprised. Some officials present said they did not take Trump’s desire for more nuclear weapons to be literally instructing the military to increase the actual numbers. But his comments raised questions about his familiarity with the nuclear posture and other issues. Two officials present said that at multiple points in the discussion, the president expressed a desire not just for more nuclear weapons, but for additional U.S. troops and military equipment. Any increase in America’s nuclear arsenal would not only break with decades of U.S. nuclear doctrine but also violate international disarmament treaties signed by every president since Ronald Reagan. Nonproliferation experts warned that such a move could set off a global arms race.
President Donald Trump made a series of cryptic remarks during a pre-dinner photo session with his top military advisers and their spouses Thursday night in the State Dining Room of the White House. As photographers snapped pictures and recorded video, Trump asked reporters: "You guys know what this represents?" “Maybe it’s the calm before the storm,” he said, answering his own question. "What's the storm?" one reporter asked. “Could be the calm before the storm,” he repeated. It was not immediately clear whether Trump was referring to one of a handful of thorny military or foreign policy areas - North Korea, the fight against ISIS, Iran's nuclear program, or the recent deaths of three U.S. soldiers in Niger - or simply making a joke. "We have the world's great military people in this room, I will tell you that. And uh, we're gonna have a great evening, thank you all for coming." "What storm, Mr. President?" NBC News' Kristen Welker asked again. "You'll find out," Trump replied, before reporters were ushered out of the room. NBC News has reached out to the White House for comment. In remarks to military leaders at the event, Trump thanked them and spoke of “pressing national security issues facing our country,” according to an official White House transcript. The mystery continued into Friday. Trump, asked again during a brief session with U.S. manufacturers what he meant the night before, said only that "you'll find out" and winked.
We have had two consecutive presidents - Barack Obama and Donald Trump - who have in their own way recognized the limits of American military power in achieving political outcomes across the globe, yet we have been at war the whole time they've been in office. They were preceded by a president who promised a "humble foreign policy," no nation-building, and military involvement only where the exits were clearly marked. But George W. Bush's abandonment of those campaign planks set the United States on a foreign-policy course that has clearly not worked as planned. Still, at least he was operating in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, before all the unintended consequences of Iraq-style regime change were so blatantly known. Neither Obama nor Trump has that excuse. Obama largely owes his presidency to his 2002 speech opposing the invasion of Iraq and other "dumb wars." Trump won the 2016 South Carolina primary the day after denouncing the Iraq war in terms that got Ron Paul nearly tossed off the debate stage in the same state a decade ago. The foreign policy advice presidents receive is predominantly hawkish. So is the reinforcement they get from the Washington establishment. Things happen all over the world that seem to cry out for some kind of American response. But ... until some of this institutional bias in favor of intervention changes, we will keep voting for presidents who promise peace but deliver war.
Note: Read an excellent article showing how the power elite and their war machine corrupt world leaders. Powerful political and economic interests profit immensely from an endless war on terror. A top US general long ago exposed the corrupt roots of war in his penetrating book War is a Racket. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Chelsea Manning, the transgender U.S. Army soldier who spent seven years in prison for leaking classified documents, will not be distinguished visiting fellow at Harvard after growing backlash prompted the school to rescind the invitation. The school withdrew Manning's invite two days after announcing she would be one of roughly ten visiting fellows this fall. Manning's designation as a visiting fellow led to Mike Morell, former deputy director and acting director of the CIA, to resign his post as a senior fellow at Harvard University, CBS reported. CIA Director Mike Pompeo also canceled a speaking event Thursday at a Harvard forum in protest of what he called the school's decision to place Manning in a "position of honor." Manning was convicted of leaking more than 700,000 classified documents, including battlefield reports on Iraq and Afghanistan and State Department cables, while working as an intelligence analyst in Iraq. She said the leaks were intended to expose wrongdoing. Manning was arrested in May 2010 and given a 35-year sentence, which was commuted in the final days of the Obama administration. Manning was known as Pvt. Bradley Manning at the time of her arrest, but announced she was transgender during her incarceration. Elmendorf said Manning will still spend a day at the Kennedy School and speak in the Forum, though she will not be designated a visiting fellow.
Note: Read about Manning's wartime whistleblowing in this CNN story. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in intelligence agencies and in the corporate world.
Some of the world’s leading robotics and artificial intelligence pioneers are calling on the United Nations to ban the development and use of killer robots. Tesla’s Elon Musk and Alphabet’s Mustafa Suleyman are leading a group of 116 specialists from across 26 countries who are calling for the ban on autonomous weapons. The UN recently voted to begin formal discussions on such weapons which include drones, tanks and automated machine guns. Ahead of this, the group of founders of AI and robotics companies have sent an open letter to the UN calling for it to prevent the arms race that is currently under way for killer robots. In their letter, the founders warn the review conference ... that this arms race threatens to usher in the “third revolution in warfare” after gunpowder and nuclear arms. The founders wrote: “Once developed, lethal autonomous weapons will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend.” The founders call for “morally wrong” lethal autonomous weapons systems to be added to the list of weapons banned under the UN’s convention on certain conventional weapons (CCW) brought into force in 1983, which includes chemical and intentionally blinding laser weapons. Musk ... has repeatedly warned for the need for pro-active regulation of AI, calling it humanity’s biggest existential threat. While the suggestion of killer robots conjures images from science fiction ... lethal autonomous weapons are already in use.
Note: Despite Gen. Paul Selva's recent warning against putting "robots in charge of whether or not we take a human life," the US is among several countries currently moving forward with automating warfare. A 2013 report for the U.N. Human Rights Commission called for a worldwide moratorium on the “testing, production, assembly, transfer, acquisition, deployment and use” of killer robots until an international conference can develop rules for their use. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Military officials and weather modification experts could be on the verge of joining forces to better gauge, react to, and possibly nullify future hostile forces churned out by Mother Nature. While some consider the idea farfetched, some military tacticians have already pondered ways to turn weather into a weapon. What would a military strategist gain in having an "on-switch" to the weather? Clearly, it offers the ability to degrade the effectiveness of enemy forces. In this regard, nanotechnology could be utilized to create clouds of tiny smart particles. Atmospherically buoyant, these ultra-small computer particles could navigate themselves to block optical sensors. Alternatively, they might be used to provide an atmospheric electrical potential difference - a way to precisely aim and time lightning strikes over the enemy’s head – thereby concoct thunderbolts on demand. Perhaps that’s too far out for some. But some blue sky thinkers have already looked into these and other scenarios in "Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025" – a research paper written by a seven person team of military officers and presented in 1996 as part of a larger study dubbed Air Force 2025. In 2025, the report summarized, U.S. aerospace forces can "own the weather" by capitalizing on emerging technologies and focusing development of those technologies to war-fighting applications. "Such a capability offers the war fighter tools to shape the battlespace in ways never before possible," the report concluded.
Note: Explore an excellent summary of the 1996 USAF report titled "Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025." Links to the original report are available.
Drone pilots have been quitting the U.S. Air Force in record numbers. They cite a combination of low-class status in the military, overwork and psychological trauma. But a widely publicized new memoir about America’s covert drone war fails to mention the “outflow increases,” as one internal Air Force memo calls it. “Drone Warrior: An Elite Soldier’s Inside Account of the Hunt for America’s Most Dangerous Enemies” chronicles the nearly 10 years that Brett Velicovich, a former special operations member, spent using drones to help special forces find and track terrorists. Conveniently, it also puts a hard sell on a program whose ranks the military is struggling to keep full. The book is, at best, a tale of hyper-masculine bravado and, at worst, a piece of military propaganda designed to ease doubts about the drone program and increase recruitment. Velicovich exaggerates the accuracy of the technology, neglecting to mention how often it fails or that such failures have killed an untold number of civilians. For instance, the CIA killed 76 children and 29 adults in its attempts to take out Ayman al Zawahiri, the leader of Al Qaeda, who reportedly is still alive. The film rights to “Drone Warrior” were bought over a year ago, with much fanfare, by Paramount Pictures. This development is predictable. The U.S. military and Hollywood have long enjoyed a symbiotic relationship. But there is something particularly unseemly about Hollywood’s enthusiasm for bringing Velicovich’s version of drone warfare to the big screen.
Note: Documents obtained by a crowdfunded investigative journalism project show that US military and intelligence agencies have influenced over 1,800 movies and television shows. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption and the manipulation of mass media.
This summer, operatives with the Central Intelligence Agency gathered at Arlington National Cemetery to bury two of their own. Brian Ray Hoke and Nathaniel Patrick Delemarre, elite gunslingers who worked for the C.I.A.’s paramilitary force, were laid to rest after a firefight with Islamic State militants. Their deaths this past October were never acknowledged by the C.I.A., beyond two memorial stars chiseled in a marble wall at the agency’s headquarters in Langley, Va. Today there are at least 18 stars on that wall representing the number of C.I.A. personnel killed in Afghanistan - a tally that has not been previously reported, and one that rivals the number of C.I.A. operatives killed in the wars in Vietnam and Laos nearly a half century ago. The deaths are a reflection of the heavy price the agency has paid in a secret, nearly 16-year-old war, where thousands of C.I.A. operatives have served since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The deaths of Mr. Hoke, 42, and Mr. Delemarre, 47, show how the C.I.A. continues to move from traditional espionage to the front lines, and underscore the pressure the agency faces now that President Trump has pledged to keep the United States in Afghanistan with no end in sight.
Sixteen years ago, Rep. Barbara Lee was the sole member of Congress to vote against authorizing the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. Throughout the presidencies of Bush and Barack Obama, Lee waged a lonely crusade to repeal the war resolution initially aimed at al Qaeda’s Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington. Last month, she won a stunning victory when a bipartisan House committee voted to repeal the authorization in an amendment to the 2018 defense spending bill. But her win was short-lived. House Republican leaders stripped the amendment from the bill without a vote in a late-night maneuver that blocked Lee from leading a larger House debate on the president’s use of military force without further approval by Congress. The 2001 authorization was passed by Congress three days after the 9/11 attacks. “It was hastily written; it was overly broad; it was 60 words,” Lee said. Citing the Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan arm of Congress, Lee said presidents have used the authorization at least 37 times since the initial Afghanistan invasion in October 2001. The [current] administration, Lee noted, has proposed severe cuts to domestic spending to pay for a bigger military. Escalating the Afghanistan conflict, she said, will come at the expense of “schools and infrastructure and jobs and health care - all the nation-building resources that we need here, here in my own district. “Yet they’re cutting these programs to fund these wars, and that’s ... unfair to the country,” she said.
Note: Read about the unprecedented plan to privatize the war in Afghanistan. According to Congressman Thomas Massie, the US government has made deals with the Taliban to give them electricity and turn a blind eye to their opium trade. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
A U.S. contractor bilked the American military out of $50 million spent on Bentleys, Aston Martins and big salaries for senior staffers’ significant others, according to a government audit. Senator Claire McCaskill demanded on Wednesday that the Pentagon explain why it was allowed to get away with it. The British company New Century Consulting (NCC) was deployed by the U.S. overseas to train Afghanistan forces. It was originally subcontracted by the now-defunct company Imperitas from 2008 to 2013 but has since taken over the contract completely. Under Imperitas, NCC ... paid the significant others of senior staff an average of $420,000 as “executive assistants” who worked from home, auditors found. It’s not clear whether Imperitas or NCC actually completed their work in Afghanistan, as neither retained complete training records. In a letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis Wednesday, McCaskill ... wrote that “NCC was unable to provide evidence that these executive assistants actually performed any work.” This is not the first time that NCC or Imperitas spending has been questioned or the companies investigated. In 2016, a federal lawsuit was brought in New York by investors against Imperitas. In 2015, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction had an ongoing criminal investigation open against both NCC and Imperitas. And in 2012, two former employees of Imperitas ... sued the company, alleging their co-workers abused alcohol and drugs and possessed illegal weapons—all violations of U.S. policy.
For nearly four years, Syrian rebels have clung to a programme of CIA assistance as a symbol of US support in their battle against Bashar al-Assad’s regime. So reports that Donald Trump’s administration will stop the limited scheme to arm and train Syria’s opposition forces have sparked anger and confusion. Rebels say they have not been informed of any changes to the policy introduced ... in 2013 as part of efforts to put pressure on Syria’s president. According to ... the Washington Post newspaper, Mr Trump decided last month to end funding for the CIA programme. Rebels contacted by the Financial Times say their CIA interlocutors had not confirmed any change, and political opposition figures who met US officials this week say they, too, were given no hint of any change. One rebel commander who asked not to be named said US support had been waning for months but noted that the rebels had been given their salaries as normal last month. The CIA funding for rebel groups fed into two internationally backed operations that supported an array of rebel groups. Many observers and even rebels themselves criticised the programme for turning a blind eye to its funding ending up with jihadis. Rebels who received support would return to volatile territories in Syria, only to be pressed by an al-Qaeda-linked jihadi group to hand over a cut. “Frankly so much of the weapons and ammunition were going to [Syria’s al-Qaeda affiliate] that it’s probably a good thing,” [an] opposition figure said.
Note: What is the CIA doing paying the salaries of rebels in Syria? For more, see this informative article. Then, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the intelligence community.
Early last month, the C.I.A. director, Mike Pompeo, recommended to President Trump that he shut down a four-year-old effort to arm and train Syrian rebels. The president swiftly ended the program. The rebel army was by then a shell, hollowed out by more than a year of bombing by Russian planes. Critics in Congress had complained for years about the costs - more than $1 billion over the life of the program - and reports that some of the C.I.A.-supplied weapons had ended up in the hands of a rebel group tied to Al Qaeda further sapped political support for the program. President Barack Obama ... agreed to the program in 2013. It soon fell victim to the constantly shifting alliances in Syria’s six-year-old civil war. Once C.I.A.-trained fighters crossed into Syria, C.I.A. officers had difficulty controlling them. The fact that some of their C.I.A. weapons ended up with Nusra Front fighters - and that some of the rebels joined the group - confirmed the fears of many in the Obama administration when the program began. Although the Nusra Front was widely seen as an effective fighting force against [President Bashar al-Assad]’s troops, its Qaeda affiliation made it impossible for the Obama administration to provide direct support for the group. American intelligence officials estimate that the Nusra Front now has as many as 20,000 fighters in Syria, making it Al Qaeda’s largest affiliate. Officials also received ... reports that the C.I.A.-trained rebels had summarily executed prisoners and committed other violations of the rules of armed conflict.
The White House is actively considering a bold plan to turn over a big chunk of the U.S. war in Afghanistan to private contractors. Under the proposal, 5,500 private contractors, primarily former Special Operations troops, would advise Afghan combat forces. The plan also includes a 90-plane private air force that would provide air support in the nearly 16-year-old war against Taliban insurgents, Erik Prince, founder of the Blackwater security firm, [said]. The U.S. military has 8,400 U.S. troops [in Afghanistan]. They do not have a direct combat role, and presumably would be replaced gradually by the contractors. The plan remains under serious consideration within the White House despite misgivings by Trump's national security adviser ... and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Prince, who has met frequently with administration officials to discuss his plan, is the brother of Trump's education secretary, Betsy Devos. Prince said the contractors would be “adjuncts” of the Afghan military and would wear that nation’s military uniforms. Currently, troops from a U.S.-led coalition ... are not embedded with conventional combat units in the field. Under the plan the contractors would be embedded with Afghanistan's more than 90 combat battalions throughout the country. Blackwater has attracted controversy under Prince's leadership. In 2007, four Blackwater security personnel were accused of killing 14 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad.
Note: When Blackwater changed its name to Academi, the US paid $309 million to this company to conduct counternarcotics operations in Afghanistan. These operations reportedly contributed to the Afghan opium boom. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and war.
The House Appropriations Committee’s voice vote on June 29, to approve an amendment repealing the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force, came as a surprise to congressional leaders; reporters on Capitol Hill; and the amendment’s sponsor, Rep. Barbara Lee. The AUMF is the controversial legal authority under which most U.S. counterterrorism activities are conducted. Lee has been on a mission to repeal it since Sept. 14, 2001, when she cast the one and only vote in Congress against the original authorization. In the 16 years that followed, Lee has sponsored numerous bills ... intended to overturn the authorization, to no avail. The vote in June, the first time a congressional committee had passed an AUMF repeal, showed that she’s finally no longer alone in believing that the authorization she describes as a “blank check” is no good. In the end, the House Rules Committee stripped Lee’s amendment out of the bill. History has vindicated many of Lee’s concerns about the AUMF: It has, as she warned, dramatically expanded the president’s power to use military force, reduced congressional oversight, and vastly grown the U.S. military footprint around the world with no end in sight to the escalation. The measure includes no time or geographic distinctions, and three presidential administrations have taken full advantage of that ambiguity. A 2016 Congressional Research Service report found that the AUMF’s authority had been invoked 37 times for operations in 14 countries.
In the sometimes hostile waters of the Persian Gulf looms the US Navy's first - in fact, the world's first - active laser weapon. The LaWS, an acronym for Laser Weapons System, is not science fiction. It is not experimental. It is deployed on board the USS Ponce amphibious transport ship, ready to be fired at targets today and every day by Capt. Christopher Wells and his crew. CNN was granted exclusive access to a live-fire test of the laser. "It is more precise than a bullet," Wells told CNN. "This is a very versatile weapon, it can be used against a variety of targets." For the test, the USS Ponce crew launched the target - a drone aircraft, a weapon in increasing use. Immediately, the weapons team zeroed in. "We don't have to lead a target," Hughes explained. "We see it, we focus on it, and we can negate that target." In an instant, the drone's wing lit up, heated to a temperature of thousands of degrees, lethally damaging the aircraft and sending it hurtling down to the sea. The strike comes silently and invisibly. "It operates in an invisible part of the electromagnetic spectrum so you don't see the beam, it doesn't make any sound, it's completely silent and it's incredibly effective at what it does," said Hughes. All the $40 million system needs to operate is a supply of electricity, which is derived from its own small generator, and has a crew of three. No multi-million-dollar missile, no ammunition at all. The cost per use? "It's about a dollar a shot," said Hughes.
America's second-highest ranking military officer, Gen. Paul Selva, advocated Tuesday for "keeping the ethical rules of war in place lest we unleash on humanity a set of robots that we don't know how to control." Selva was responding to a question from Sen. Gary Peters, a Michigan Democrat, about his views on a Department of Defense directive that requires a human operator to be kept in the decision-making process when it comes to the taking of human life by autonomous weapons systems. Peters said the restriction was "due to expire later this year." "I don't think it's reasonable for us to put robots in charge of whether or not we take a human life," Selva told the Senate Armed Services Committee during a confirmation hearing for his reappointment as the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He predicted that "there will be a raucous debate in the department about whether or not we take humans out of the decision to take lethal action," but added that he was "an advocate for keeping that restriction." Selva said humans needed to remain in the decision making process "because we take our values to war." His comments come as the US military has sought increasingly autonomous weapons systems.
Note: In another article Tesla founder Elon Musk's warns against the dangers of AI without regulation. A 2013 report for the U.N. Human Rights Commission called for a worldwide moratorium on the “testing, production, assembly, transfer, acquisition, deployment and use” of killer robots until an international conference can develop rules for their use. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
House Republicans have stripped from a Defense Department spending bill Rep. Barbara Lee's amendment to reconsider the authority the president has to wage war. The House Appropriations Committee unexpectedly opened the door last month to ending the authorization approved by Congress in 2001 when Lee's amendment was added to a Defense Department measure after 16 years of attempts. Congress would have had 240 days to debate a new authorization. At the end of that time, the 2001 authorization would have been repealed. The version of the Defense Department bill approved by the House Rules Committee overnight removes Lee's amendment and replaces it with an amendment ... that gives the White House 30 days to tell Congress its strategy for defeating Al Qaeda and Islamic State. The Rules Committee decides what debate on a bill will look like on the House floor. “Stripping my bipartisan amendment to repeal the 2001 AUMF – in the dead of night, without a vote – may be a new low," Lee said in a statement. Lee ... was the only member of Congress to object in September 2001 to the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, a resolution in response to the terrorist attacks that paved the way for the war in Afghanistan. The resolution has since been used by President George W. Bush, President Obama and now President Trump to justify more than 35 military actions in nearly 20 countries around the world without going back to Congress for new permission to send troops into harm's way.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is closing a decades-old office in the State Department that has helped seek justice for victims of war crimes. The Office of Global Criminal Justice advises the secretary of state on issues surrounding war crimes and genocide, and helps form policy to address such atrocities. It was established ... in 1997. The office has supported the work of criminal courts in countries including Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, Cambodia and the Central African Republic, and has pushed for greater U.S. support of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. The office has also offered rewards that have resulted in information disclosures about and apprehension of war criminals, and has inveighed against brutal dictators. (It has not, however, criticized Saudi Arabia or other American allies with dismal human rights records.) “It just makes official what has been U.S. policy since 9/11, which is that there will be no notice taken of war crimes because so many of them were being committed by our own allies, our military and intelligence officers and our elected officials,” Maj. Todd E. Pierce, a former judge advocate general defense attorney at Guantanamo, told Newsweek. The office was formed following the 1996 passage of the War Crimes Act, which defined a war crime as a “grave breach” of the Geneva Conventions. When the CIA began using torture early in the Iraq War and, later, jailing people indefinitely and without trial in Guantanamo, the U.S. was in open breach of the conventions.
Nearly as many Iraqi and Syrian civilians have died in US-led air strikes under Donald Trump as were killed during the whole administration of Barack Obama, independent analysts say. As of 13 July, more than 2,200 civilians had been killed by the US-led international coalition against Isis since Donald Trump entered the White house in January - compared with the estimated 2,300 civilians who died during similar strikes between 2014 and 2016. Roughly 80 civilians per month died in strikes under Mr Obama but this has now risen to approximately 360 per month ... according to research by the military tracking organisation Airwars. Part of the rise in these figures is due to the changing nature of the war against Isis, as the jihadist group became entrenched in the major cities of Mosul and Raqqa. The coalition's own civilian casualty figures are much lower than Airwars', but they too show an increase. Following a new war plan unveiled by US Secretary of Defense General James Mattis in February, the US has focused its efforts on “annihilation tactics”. In one incident in Mosul in March, the US admitted it was responsible for the deaths of 101 men, women and children. Britain, France, Australia and Belgium have also taken part in the bombing campaign but the US is the only one to admit responsibility for any civilian deaths.
Note: Coalition airstrikes have reportedly targeted schools and other non-military locations. Killing increasing numbers of civilians is a sure way to create more anti-US terrorists. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
President Trump’s advisers recruited two businessmen who profited from military contracting to devise alternatives to the Pentagon’s plan to send thousands of additional troops to Afghanistan. Erik D. Prince, a founder of the private security firm Blackwater Worldwide, and Stephen A. Feinberg, a billionaire financier who owns the giant military contractor DynCorp International, have developed proposals to rely on contractors instead of American troops in Afghanistan at the behest of Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, and Jared Kushner, his senior adviser. Soliciting the views of Mr. Prince and Mr. Feinberg ... raises a host of ethical issues, not least that both men could profit from their recommendations. Mr. Feinberg ... met with the president on Afghanistan, according to an official, while Mr. Prince briefed several White House officials, including General McMaster. In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal in May, [Mr. Prince] called on the White House ... to use “private military units” to fill the gaps left by departed American soldiers. If Mr. Trump opted to use more contractors and fewer troops, it could also enrich DynCorp, which has already been paid $2.5 billion by the State Department for its work in the country. Mr. Feinberg controls DynCorp through Cerberus Capital Management.
Note: When Blackwater changed its name to Academi, the US paid $309 million to this company to conduct counternarcotics operations in Afghanistan. These operations reportedly contributed to the Afghan opium boom. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the corporate world.
The arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby has agreed to pay a $3m fine and forfeit thousands of smuggled ancient Iraqi artifacts that the US government alleges were intentionally mislabeled. Hobby Lobby became a household name when the US supreme court ruled in its favor in the 2014 case Burwell v Hobby Lobby Stores, which in effect gave certain “closely-held” corporations the same religious rights as individuals. Hobby Lobby had begun acquiring a variety of historical Bibles and other artifacts in 2009 [and] executed an agreement to purchase more than 5,500 artifacts in December 2010 for $1.6m. Packages bore shipping labels that described their contents as “ceramic tiles”. Importing Iraqi cultural property into the US has been restricted since 1990 and banned outright since 2004. In the Hobby Lobby case, a dealer based in the United Arab Emirates shipped ... artifacts to three different corporate addresses in Oklahoma City. Five shipments that were intercepted by federal customs officials bore shipping labels that falsely declared that the artifacts’ country of origin was Turkey. In September 2011, a package containing about 1,000 clay bullae, an ancient form of inscribed identification, was received by Hobby Lobby from an Israeli dealer and accompanied by a false declaration stating that its country of origin was Israel. The illegal sale of historical artifacts is one way in which militant groups such as al-Qaida and Islamic State finance their activities.
Note: The rape of ancient Iraqi artifacts during the war is an incredibly important and underreported story. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The extraordinary destruction of a Syrian fighter jet by a US aircraft on Sunday has precious little to do with the Syrian plane’s target in the desert near Rasafa – but much to do with the advance of the Syrian army close to the American-backed Kurdish forces along the Euphrates. The American strike on Monday was ... a warning to the Syrians to stay away from the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces – the facade-name for large numbers of Kurds and a few Arab fighters – since they are now very close to each other in the desert. But the Syrian military are still winning against Isis and its fellow militias – with Russian and Hezbollah help, of course – although comparatively few Iranians are involved. The US has been grossly exaggerating the size of the Iranian forces in Syria, perhaps because this fits in with Saudi and American nightmares of Iranian expansion. So who is fighting Isis? And who is not fighting Isis? The Syrian army, supported by the Russians, is fighting Isis. But what is America doing attacking first Assad’s air base near Homs, then the regime’s allies near Al-Tanf and now one of Assad’s fighter jets? It seems that Washington is now keener to strike at Assad – and his Iranian supporters inside Syria – than it is to destroy Isis. That would be following Saudi Arabia’s policy. If we are to believe all the Americans now say, they want to destroy Isis but are quite prepared to go on attacking the Syrian government forces that are fighting Isis. Does Washington want simply to break up Syria and leave it as a failed state?
The United States is stumbling into another decade of war in the greater Middle East. And this next decade of conflict might prove to be even more destabilizing than the last one. In the fight against the Islamic State, U.S. forces have been aggressively initiating attacks, resulting in a sharp rise in civilian deaths in Iraq and Syria. And in a dramatic escalation, this week the United States shot down a Syrian warplane, putting Washington on a collision course with Syria’s ally, Russia. Worse yet, it is unclear how this belligerence toward the Bashar al-Assad regime will achieve the sole stated mission of the United States’ involvement in Syria: to defeat the Islamic State. In Afghanistan, Trump has delegated the details of a mini-surge of 4,000 more troops to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. The United States has been in Afghanistan for 16 years. And yet, Mattis acknowledges that the United States is “not winning.” What will an additional 4,000 troops now achieve that 130,000 troops could not? In Yemen, the United States is more actively engaged in a conflict that does little to advance the fight against radical Islamist terrorism. Washington is further fueling Saudi Arabia’s proxy war against Iran - a war that has led the kingdom into a de facto alliance with al-Qaeda in Yemen. In almost every situation that U.S. forces are involved in, the solutions are more political than military. After 16 years of continuous warfare ... somebody in Washington needs to ask - before the next bombing or deployment: What is going on?
Crippling deficits and a nightmarish national debt are popular, recurring tropes in American politics. Politicians and the pundit class ... complain that America is running out of money when it comes to helping the poor, people of color, the disabled and the elderly. Their worries miraculously disappear whenever the military wants to start a new war. A recent editorial in the Washington Post [alleged] that single payer in the U.S. is simply unaffordable. Yet in the past 20 years of editorials on U.S. wars - every one of which the paper has supported - the Post has never framed the issue of bombing and occupying as one of cost. Most glaringly, its 2003 editorials in support of invading Iraq never mentioned dollars and cents, even though that war ended up costing the U.S. more than $2 trillion. In the presidential debates, billionaire Pete Peterson’s pro-Social Security privatization group, the “bipartisan” Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, was mentioned twice by the moderators ... in the context of deficits and the alleged impending insolvency of Social Security. Yet none of the 178 mentions of Russia, 71 mentions of Syria, or 67 mentions of Iran had anything to do with costs to the U.S. Treasury. An estimated 44,000 Americans die a year because they don’t have access to healthcare, whereas you’re more likely to die taking a bath than at the hands of a terrorist. Why is spending on the latter existential and beyond cost-cutting, but working urgently to address the former a budget-buster we can’t afford?
Note: Despite reports of massive budgetary mismanagement, the Pentagon has never been audited. Could it be that the real reason the Pentagon is the only branch of US government that doesn't balance its books is that they don't want us to know where the money is going? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the manipulation of mass media.
UN war crimes investigators have denounced a “staggering loss of civilian life” caused by the US-backed campaign to reclaim Raqqa, the de facto capital of Islamic State. The independent commission of inquiry tasked with investigating violations of international law, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria said the intensification of airstrikes by the US-led coalition had led to the deaths of at least 300 civilians in the city. The Raqqa operation began last week with a ground assault by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an umbrella group comprising Kurdish and Arab militiamen armed by the US and supported by coalition airstrikes. “The intensification of airstrikes ... has resulted not only in staggering loss of civilian life, but has also led to 160,000 civilians fleeing their homes and becoming internally displaced,” Paulo Pinheiro, the chairman of the UN commission of inquiry, told the human rights council in Geneva. The civilian cost of the campaign was highlighted last week when footage emerged of coalition planes deploying white phosphorus in the city, which is home to tens of thousands of civilians, prisoners of war, enslaved Yazidi women, and a few thousand Isis militants. Human Rights Watch urged the coalition separately on Wednesday to exercise great caution when using white phosphorus, saying it could cause “horrific and long-lasting harm” in crowded cities such as Raqqa.
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.
The controversy surrounding Adolf Hitler's skull fragments is a little embarrassing for the Russian secret services. In 2000 they presented a skull fragment and a piece of jawbone that they claimed were the remains of the Nazi leader. It was an attempt to quash ... rumors that he had escaped alive at the end of World War II. But in October US researchers presented the results of DNA tests on the skull and said it definitely didn't belong to the dictator. "The bone ... corresponds to a woman between the ages of 20 and 40," said Nick Bellantoni of the University of Connecticut. Russia's FSB intelligence service, the successor to the KGB, has now rejected the doubts. The bones are definitely Hitler's, Vasily Khristoforov, the director of the FSB archives, told the newspaper Izvestiya. Moscow is the only place with the mortal remains of Hitler, Khristoforov said. However, Bellantoni said he was allowed to work on the skull for an hour. When he flew home from Moscow he had two samples in his luggage: a sample from the skull fragment and one sample of blood from the sofa on which Hitler is said to have shot himself. Bellantoni was able to compare the bloodstains on the blood-stained fabric with photos the Soviets took after they seized Hitler's bunker in Berlin. The stains had matched those in the photos. The research showed that the sofa blood DNA did not match the skull DNA. The sofa blood was male and the skull belonged to a woman.
Note: Some believe that Hitler's death was faked. His remains were reportedly sent to Russia. This report is evidence in support of that. Another top Nazi killer, Dr. Aribert Heim, was captured, but very strangely never prosecuted, as reported in this ABC News article. For the deeper story behind the allowing of top Nazi doctors to escape, see this well researched piece.
On the sixth anniversary of the first infamous "Cablegate" by WikiLeaks ... it has expanded its Public Library of US Diplomacy (PLUSD) with 531,525 new diplomatic cables from 1979. In a statement to coincide with the release of the cables, known as "Carter Cables III", Mr Assange explained how events which unfolded in 1979 had begun a series of events that led to the rise of ISIS: "The Iranian revolution, the Saudi Islamic uprising and the Egypt-Israel Camp David Accords led not only to the present regional power dynamic but decisively changed the relationship between oil, militant Islam and the world. "The uprising at Mecca permanently shifted Saudi Arabia towards Wahhabism, leading to the transnational spread of Islamic fundamentalism and the US-Saudi destabilisation of Afghanistan." He said at this point Osama bin Laden left his native Saudi Arabia for Pakistan to support the Afghan Mujahideen. He added: "The invasion of Afghanistan by the USSR would see Saudi Arabia and the CIA push billions of dollars to Mujahideen fighters as part of Operation Cyclone, fomenting the rise of al-Qaeda and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union." The rise of al-Qaeda eventually bore the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, enabling the US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq and over a decade of war, leaving, at its end, the ideological, financial and geographic basis for ISIS."
Note: Read a well-researched essay from the profound online book Lifting the Veil suggesting the War on Terror is a fraud. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing terrorism news articles from reliable major media sources.
A US Central Command investigation found that a March US airstrike in northern Syria did in fact strike a building that was part of a "mosque complex." For days following the March 16 strike, the Pentagon adamantly rejected the notion that a mosque was hit and that there were civilian casualties - even as numerous social media reports showed images of bodies being taken out of the rubble. Instead, in the initial hours following the strike by US drones and aircraft, the Pentagon insisted that it hit only a building some 40 feet away from the mosque, where it said al Qaeda members were holding a meeting. Typically any religious structure would be on a so-called no-strike list, along with hospitals and schools. There are procedures to move structures off the no-strike list if it is clear they have lost their protected status because terrorists are using them and there are no civilians present. It is ... not clear if the building was listed as a religious site on a database that the mission planners were unaware of. One official said the investigation found that "religious use" was a primary function of the building at times. The day after the strike, Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters: "We do not currently assess there were any civilian casualties."
Note: Record numbers of civilians have reportedly been killed by US-led strikes in recent months. Casualties of war whose identities are unknown are frequently misreported to be "militants". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Just over a week ago, the White House declared that ordering an American aircraft carrier into the Sea of Japan would send a powerful deterrent signal to North Korea and give President Trump more options in responding to the North’s provocative behavior. “We’re sending an armada,” Mr. Trump said to Fox News last Tuesday afternoon. The problem was that the carrier, the Carl Vinson, and the three other warships in its strike force were that very moment sailing in the opposite direction, to take part in joint exercises with the Australian Navy ... 3,500 miles southwest of the Korean Peninsula. White House officials said Tuesday that they had been relying on guidance from the Defense Department. Officials there described a glitch-ridden sequence of events ... which perpetuated the false narrative that a flotilla was racing toward the waters off North Korea. By the time the White House was asked about the Carl Vinson, its imminent arrival had been emblazoned on front pages across East Asia, fanning fears that Mr. Trump was considering a pre-emptive military strike. In South Korea ... fears of a full-blown war erupted. The government rushed to reassure the public that the Carl Vinson was coming only to deter North Korean provocations. After a week of war drums, fueled by the reports of the oncoming armada, tensions subsided when the weekend passed with only a military parade in Pyongyang and a failed missile test, [while] the Carl Vinson ... was thousands of miles from where most of the world thought it was.
A leading weapons academic has claimed that the Khan Sheikhoun nerve agent attack in Syria was staged. Theodore Postol, a [former scientific advisor at the Department of Defense (DoD)], issued a series of three reports in response to the White House's finding that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad perpetrated the attack on 4 April. Postol said: "I have reviewed the [White House's] document carefully, and [it] does not provide any evidence whatsoever that the US government has concrete knowledge that the government of Syria was the source of the chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria. "In fact, a main piece of evidence that is cited in the document point to an attack that was executed by individuals on the ground, not from an aircraft, on the morning of 4 April. "My own assessment is that the source [of the sarin release] was very likely tampered with or staged, so no serious conclusion could be made from the photographs cited by the White House." The image Postol refers to is that of a crater containing a shell inside, which is said to have contained the sarin gas. His analysis of the shell suggests that it could not have been dropped from an airplane as the damage of the casing is inconsistent from an aerial explosion. Instead, Postol said it was more likely that an explosive charge was laid upon the shell containing sarin, before being detonated. The implication of Postol's analysis is that [the attack] was carried out by anti-government insurgents as Khan Sheikhoun is in militant-controlled territory of Syria.
Note: See an excellent list of 10 points with strong evidence Assad was not behind the chemical attacks the media has pinned on him. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the manipulation of mass media.
The Mother of All Bombs made news last week after the U.S. military dropped its most powerful non-nuclear bomb at a site in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar Province. This massive ... explosive device may seem a high-tech marvel. But the technology is old news, based on ... World War II-era theories. Yet there’s plenty of new news on the military weapons front. The military’s new toys are often fantastically costly. Yet in some categories, technological advances create opportunities for cheap but powerful military tools ... starting with weaponized drones. The Defense Department is designing robotic fighter jets that would fly into combat alongside manned aircraft. It has tested missiles that can decide what to attack, and it has built ships that can hunt for enemy submarines ... without any help from humans. The dilemma posed by artificial intelligence-driven autonomous weapons - which some scientists liken to the “third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms” - is that to take fullest advantage of such weapons, the logical move would be to leave humans entirely out of lethal decision-making, allowing for quicker responses to threats. But if future presidents and Pentagons trusted algorithms to make such decisions, conflicts between two nations relying on such technology could rapidly escalate - to possibly apocalyptic levels - without human involvement. More than 20,000 AI researchers, scientists and [others have signed] a ...petition endorsing a ban on offensive autonomous weapons.
Note: In 2013, the United Nations investigated the rise of lethal autonomous robots, and reported that this technology endangers human rights and should not be developed further without international oversight. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Vilified by accusations of using a chemical bomb, Syria’s president intensified his counterpropaganda campaign on Thursday, suggesting that child actors had staged death scenes to malign him and that American warplanes had bombed a terrorist warehouse full of poison gases, killing hundreds of people. In his first interview since an April 4 attack on the northern town of Khan Sheikhoun that killed over 80 people, sickened hundreds and outraged the world, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria not only repeated the government’s denials of responsibility but contended without evidence that the episode had been fabricated as a pretext for an American retaliatory missile strike. “We don’t know whether those dead children were killed in Khan Sheikhoun,” Mr. Assad told Agence France-Presse in the television interview from Damascus. Medical examiners in Turkey, where many of the Khan Sheikhoun victims were taken, have said that autopsies showed they had been attacked with sarin, a lethal nerve agent and a banned chemical weapon. The interview with Mr. Assad was broadcast as the Syrian government’s news agency asserted without evidence that American warplanes had bombed what it called a chemical weapons cache possessed by Islamic State militants in Syria on Wednesday, leaving hundreds dead, including “a large number of civilians, due to suffocation caused by the inhalation of toxic materials.”
Note: Isn't it strange the press blamed the April 4th chemical attacks on Assad, but no one bothered to ask him at the time and report if he claimed responsibility? Only nine days later did the above article come out reporting that he denied being behind them. And as reported on CNN, Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean called Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard a "disgrace" for questioning who was behind the chemical attack. Could the war mongers have so wanted to blame this on Assad that they purposely waited over a week to report this denial?
The ex-British Ambassador to Syria has accused the Foreign Office of lying over the country’s civil war and said British policy there has "made the situation worse". [Peter] Ford, who was Britain's ambassador to Syria from 1999 to 2003, claimed that the UK had misread and misrepresented the situation in the country since the start of the conflict. He said: "The British Foreign Office to which I used to belong, I’m sorry to say has gotten Syria wrong every step of the way. "They told us at the beginning that Assad’s demise was imminent. "But then they told us that the opposition was dominated by these so-called moderates. That proved not to be the case and now they're telling us another big lie – that Assad can’t control the rest of the country. Well I’ve got news for them – he’s well on the way to doing so." Mr Ford said that when the conflict started the UK should have either "put everything, including our own forces on to the battlefield, or if in our judgement – as it would have been my judgement – that was not realistic, refrain from encouraging the opposition to mount a doomed campaign." He claimed the UK’s tough talk on one hand, followed by little action to back rebels in Syria on the other had preceded a rebellion that had "only led to hundreds of thousands of civilians being maimed and killed". "We have made the situation worse." He added: "It was eminently foreseeable to anyone who was not intoxicated with wishful thinking." The UK has consistently taken the line that Assad cannot be a part of Syria’s future.
Note: Regarding the recent chemical attack in Syria, the BBC has not posted it, but you can watch this BBC interview in which former U.K. ambassador to Syria Peter Ford raises serious questions about what happened and who is behind it. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
A non-profit organization that tracks civilian casualties caused by airstrikes in the Middle East said it has shifted nearly all of its resources to track a surge of claims regarding U.S.-led strikes in Syria and Iraq. The group, called Airwars.org, had been tracking deaths caused by both Russian and U.S. airstrikes. “Almost 1,000 civilian non-combatant deaths have already been alleged from coalition actions across Iraq and Syria in March - a record claim,” Airwars said in a statement. In the last week, three mass casualty incidents have been attributed to U.S.-led forces in Iraq and Syria, making March one of the most lethal months for civilians in the the two-year-old war against the Islamic State. Last week, U.S. drones targeted what locals deemed a mosque in Aleppo province in a bid to target al-Qaeda leaders. Those on the ground said at least 47 civilians ... died in the strikes. On Monday, a conflict monitoring group ... said a strike near Raqqa targeted a school that was serving as a home for multiple families displaced by fighting in the area, killing at least 33. On Thursday, Iraqi media reported that an airstrike in Mosul killed more than 200 people. According to Airwars, more than 2,500 civilians have been killed by the U.S.-led coalition, which has admitted to killing only roughly 220 civilians.
Note: Killing civilians is a sure way to create more anti-US terrorists. Why do we let the US government get away with regularly killing civilians? If American civilians were killed, there would be an uproar. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
A sharp rise in the number of civilians reported killed in U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria is spreading panic, deepening mistrust and triggering accusations that the United States and its partners may be acting without sufficient regard for lives of noncombatants. Residents desperately trying to flee ... are being blocked by the militants, who frequently use civilians as human shields. Figures compiled by monitoring organizations and interviews with residents paint an increasingly bloody picture, with the number of casualties in March already surpassing records for a single month. The worst alleged attack was in Mosul, where rescue teams are still digging out bodies after what residents describe as a hellish onslaught. Iraqi officials and residents say as many as 200 died in U.S.-led strikes, with more than 100 bodies recovered from a single building. The escalation of U.S. strikes around the city of Raqqa occurred in February. In March, the tempo increased further, with more sites being targeted that have no obvious military value, according to a Syrian ... from Raqqa. “They are hitting everything that isn’t a small house,” including the barges that ferry passengers across the river dividing the city now that the bridges have been disabled, he said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of concern for his family.
The United States launched more airstrikes in Yemen this month than during all of last year. In Syria, it has airlifted local forces to front-line positions and has been accused of killing civilians in airstrikes. In Iraq, American troops and aircraft are central in supporting an urban offensive in Mosul. Indications are mounting that the United States military is deepening its involvement in a string of complex wars in the Middle East that lack clear endgames. Officials say that what is happening is a shift in military decision-making that began under President Barack Obama. Robert Malley, a former senior official in the Obama administration and now vice president for policy at the International Crisis Group, said the uptick in military involvement ... did not appear to have been accompanied by increased planning for the day after potential military victories. The lack of diplomacy and planning for the future in places like Yemen and Syria could render victories there by the United States and its allies unsustainable. Others fear that greater military involvement could drag the United States into murky wars and that increased civilian deaths could feed anti-Americanism and jihadist propaganda. Some insist that this has already happened. “Daesh is happy about the American attacks against civilians to prove its slogans that the Americans want to kill Muslims everywhere and not only the Islamic State’s gunmen,” a resident of the Syrian city of Raqqa wrote via WhatsApp, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State.
Note: There is no doubt that U.S. drone killings in the Middle East have created many terrorists. If your innocent mother or sister were killed by a foreign drone, do you think you might develop feelings against that country? Learn how even U.S. generals have said the U.S. has backed terrorists in this well researched essay on the origins of ISIS. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard met with President Bashar al-Assad during a secret, four-day trip to Syria, she told CNN's Jake Tapper Wednesday. "When the opportunity arose to meet with him, I did so because I felt that it's important that if we profess to truly care about the Syrian people, about their suffering, then we've got to be able to meet with anyone that we need to if there is a possibility that we can achieve peace," the Hawaiian congresswoman said. When asked ... whether she had reservations about meeting with Assad, who is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians, Gabbard said there has to be a dialogue between the US and Syria. "My commitment is on ending this war that has caused so much suffering to the Syrian people, to these children, to these families, many of whom I met on this trip," Gabbard said. [As] a member of the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committee, [Gabbard] recently introduced legislation that would prohibit sending federal funds to nations that support terrorist groups. "(The Syrians) asked me, 'Why are the United States and its allies supporting these terror groups which are destroying Syria, when it was al Qaeda that attacked the United States on 9/11, not Syria.' I didn't have an answer to them." The US government claims it does not fund these groups and only provides assistance to so-called moderate rebels. However, Gabbard said the Syrians she met with told her that there are no moderate rebels in the country.
Note: Don't miss the CNN interview with Gabbard which raises important questions. For more undeniable evidence on U.S. involvement in developing and supporting ISIS, see this excellent essay. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and terrorism.
US President Donald Trump has given the Central Intelligence Agency new authority to conduct drone attacks against suspected militants. The move would be a change from the policy of former President Barack Obama's administration of limiting the CIA's paramilitary role. The United States was the first to use unmanned aircraft fitted with missiles to kill militant suspects in the years after the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington. Strikes by missile-armed Predator and Reaper drones against overseas targets began under former President George W. Bush and were expanded by Obama. Critics of the targeted killing program question whether the strikes create more militants than they kill. They cite the spread of jihadist organisations and militant attacks throughout the world as evidence that targeted killings may be exacerbating the problem. In July, the US government accepted responsibility for inadvertently killing up to 116 civilians in strikes in countries where America is not at war.
Note: Drone strikes almost always miss their intended targets and reportedly create more terrorists than they kill. Casualties of war whose identities are unknown are frequently mis-reported to be "militants". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
The U.S. dropped an average of 72 bombs every day - the equivalent of three an hour - in 2016, according to an analysis of American strikes around the world. The report from the Council of Foreign Relations comes as Barack Obama finishes up [a] presidency ... that began with promises to withdraw from international conflicts. According to the New York City-based think tank, 26,171 bombs were dropped on Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan during the year. CFR warned that its estimates were "undoubtedly low, considering reliable data is only available for airstrikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya, and a single 'strike,' according to the Pentagon's definition, can involve multiple bombs or munitions." Some 24,287 bombs were used in Iraq and Syria. In 2015, the U.S. dropped 22,110 bombs in Iraq and Syria, CFR reported. Last year saw a sharp uptick in strikes in Afghanistan, with 1,337 compared with 947 in 2015.
Mice were turned into Walking Dead-style zombie killers by turning on a light that activated specific brain cells associated with hunting, scientists have revealed. The researchers found that firing one set of neurons prompted the mouse to pursue its prey, while doing the same to another set caused the animal to bite and kill its target. The effect was so strong that the otherwise perfectly ordinary creature would attack anything nearby, such as sticks or bottle caps, as well as more normal prey like crickets. A technique called optogenetics ... allowed [scientists] to activate specific brain cells using a laser. So one minute the mice would be behaving normally, but as soon as the laser was turned on they would aggressively attack whatever was around them. The effect was stronger in mice that were hungry, and they also did not attack other mice in the cage. Professor Ivan de Araujo, of Yale University School of Medicine, who took part in the research, said ... “The system is not just generalised aggression. It seems to be related to the animal’s interest in obtaining food.” he said. However, the effect was so powerful that the mice would attack inedible objects. The paper in Cell explained: “When a non-edible item was placed in the cage, laser activation caused the otherwise indifferent mice to immediately ... seize the object, which was then held with the forepaws and bitten. “Behaviour was interrupted immediately upon laser deactivation." It said the mice were never seen to attack inanimate objects unless the laser was used.
Note: Remember that secret military projects are often 10 to 20 years of anything being publicly announced. How far have they gone with this? Are soldier secretly being subjected to this technology? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing major media articles on secret government mind control programs.
Suicide - not combat - is the leading killer of U.S. troops deployed to the Middle East to fight Islamic State militants, according to newly released Pentagon statistics. U.S. casualties have been relatively low since the U.S.-led war effort began with a bombing campaign in August 2014, reflecting the limited combat exposure for troops. Of the 31 troops who have died as of Dec. 27 in Operation Inherent Resolve, 11 have taken their own lives. Eight died in combat, seven in accidents and four succumbed to illness or injury. The cause of one death is under investigation. The reasons suicide ranks as the No. 1 cause of troop deaths ... likely include mental illnesses that enlistees brought with them to boot camp, post-traumatic stress, multiple combat deployments and heightened anxiety in a military at war for 16 years. By far, 2016 has been the most dangerous for U.S. forces since the war began. Seven of the eight combat deaths have occurred in 2016, and 21 of the 26 troops wounded in action suffered their injuries this year. But the military's suicide problem continues. Between 2001 and 2010, the rate of suicide in the military doubled. The chief spike occurred around 2005 when fighting and combat deaths soared in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Army shouldered most of the war’s burden. The Army still has the highest percentage among the services for suicide. As a whole, the military’s rate of suicide of about 20 per 100,000 troops in 2014 was comparable to the same civilian population.
Life as we know it almost ended in 1980. At a Titan II complex in Damascus, Ark., a technician dropped a wrench during routine service of one of the missiles. It bounced down the cavernous silo and punctured the missile’s fuselage. Rocket fuel poured out, and desperate efforts began to prevent the warhead – 600 times greater in explosive power than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima – from detonating. With reenactments the equal of any thriller and gripping interviews with participants, experts, and survivors, Robert Kenner’s “Command and Control” shows how close we came to the brink of annihilation, and how likely the chances are of such an accident occurring again — with potentially catastrophic consequences. While “Command and Control” tells the story of a nuclear catastrophe that nearly happened in the past, Peter Galison and Robb Moss’s documentary “Containment” shows how the distant future - as in hundreds of thousands of years from now - might be a little dicey, too. The problem is the hundreds of millions of gallons of nuclear waste, some with a half-life in six digits, the residue of weapons making and reactors, that litter the landscape. Not only must secure places be found to store it, but some way must be devised to warn future generations who might not share the same language as us. Moss and Galison employ startling documentary footage and scintillating sci-fi-like animation in examining the danger.
Note: Watch a riveting 10-minute clip from the documentary on the near disaster in Arkansas. One former officer involved in the incident states, "You had to be ready to destroy an entire civilization." For lots more on this important documentary, see this PBS webpage.
We might already be living through the first world cyberwar – it’s just that we haven’t acknowledged or named it yet. What might a timeline of that war look like? Well, 2007 seems like a good bet as a starting point – with a concerted series of cyber-attacks on Estonia. In 2008 there were events that a historian might weave into a narrative of a global cyberwar, when several underwater internet cables were cut during the course of the year, interrupting internet communication and particularly affecting the Middle East. In 2010 the Stuxnet worm was used to attack Iran’s nuclear program. Another event from 2010, the WikiLeaks American embassy cables release ... would be irresistible for a historian to refer to in this context. One of the things that makes the first world cyberwar different from conventional warfare [is] the mix of nation states being involved with pressure groups, whistleblowers and hackers. Historians will be unable to ignore ... the 2016 US election campaign being influenced by alleged hacked and leaked emails. What reason is there to suppose that these events might eventually be grouped together as a single world cyberwar by historians? It is the idea that hostilities might formally come to an end. You can envisage a scenario where Russia, China and the US can see a mutual benefit in de-escalating cyber-attacks between the three of them.
Note: A 2007 New York Times article describes the formation of the Air Force Cyberspace Command to arm the US military in anticipation of widespread computer-based warfare. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Africa has seen the most dramatic growth in the deployment of America’s elite troops of any region of the globe over the past decade. In 2006, just 1% of commandos sent overseas were deployed in the U.S. Africa Command area of operations. In 2016, 17.26% of all U.S. Special Operations forces ... deployed abroad were sent to Africa, according to data supplied to The Intercept by U.S. Special Operations Command. That total ranks second only to the Greater Middle East where the U.S. is waging war against enemies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. Brigadier General Donald Bolduc, the chief of U.S. Special Operations Command Africa, told African Defense, a U.S. trade publication, “We are not at war in Africa - but our African partners certainly are.” That statement stands in stark contrast to this year’s missions in Somalia where, for example, U.S. Special Operations forces assisted local commandos in killing several members of the militant group, al-Shabab and Libya, where they supported local fighters battling members of the Islamic State. These missions also speak to the exponential growth of special operations on the continent. U.S. special operators were actually deployed in at least 33 African nations, more than 60% of the 54 countries on the continent, in 2016. The majority of African governments that hosted deployments of U.S. commandos in 2016 have seen their own security forces cited for human rights abuses by the U.S. State Department.
The United States again ranked first in global weapons sales last year, signing deals for about $40 billion, or half of all agreements in the worldwide arms bazaar, and far ahead of France, the No. 2 weapons dealer with $15 billion in sales, according to a new congressional study. Developing nations continued to be the largest buyers of arms in 2015, with Qatar signing deals for more than $17 billion in weapons last year, followed by Egypt, which agreed to buy almost $12 billion in arms, and Saudi Arabia, with over $8 billion in weapons purchases. The United States and France increased their overseas weapons sales in 2015, as purchases of American weapons grew by around $4 billion and France’s deals increased by well over $9 billion. The report, “Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 2008-2015,” was prepared by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, a division of the Library of Congress, and delivered to legislators last week. The annual review is considered the most comprehensive assessment of global arms sales available in an unclassified form. Russia, another dominant power in the global arms market, saw a modest decline in orders for its weapons, dropping to $11.1 billion in sales from the $11.2 billion total in 2014. China reached $6 billion in weapons sales, up from its 2014 total of over $3 billion. The largest buyers of weapons in the developing world in 2015 were Qatar, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Pakistan, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq.
Note: Read about a lavish party thrown for a Pentagon official in charge of administering arms sales by weapons industry executives. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
The systems devised to govern the use of nuclear weapons, like all complex technological systems, are inherently flawed. But the failure of a nuclear command-and-control system can have [serious] consequences. Millions of people, perhaps hundreds of millions, could be annihilated inadvertently. Today, the odds of a nuclear war being started by mistake are low - and yet the risk is growing, as the United States and Russia drift toward a new cold war. Many of the nuclear-weapon systems on both sides are aging and obsolete. The personnel who operate those systems often suffer from poor morale and poor training. In 2013, the two-star general in charge of the entire Minuteman [intercontinental ballistic missile] force was removed from duty after going on a drunken bender during a visit to Russia. The following year, almost a hundred Minuteman launch officers were disciplined for cheating on their proficiency exams. In 2015 ... a launch officer at Minot Air Force Base, in North Dakota, was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison for heading a violent street gang. As the job title implies, launch officers are entrusted with the keys for launching intercontinental ballistic missiles. The Minuteman III is a relic of the Cold War not only in design but also in its strategic purpose. When the atomic bomb was being developed ... the destruction of cities and the deliberate targeting of civilians was just another military tactic. The Geneva Conventions later classified those practices as war crimes - and yet nuclear weapons have no other real use.
Note: The above was written by Eric Schlosser, author of the 2013 book "Command and Control," which documents errors and accidents in the arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union. The US came very close to accidentally starting a nuclear war in 1973. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
The US "got it wrong" about Saddam Hussein and Iraq, the CIA analyst who interrogated the former dictator has said. John Nixon had numerous conversations with the deposed leader and now says that America was critically mistaken about their intervention Iraq. In particular, he claims, the CIA’s view of Hussein’s attitude to using chemical weapons was wrong. During the interrogations, Mr Nixon asked Hussein if he’d ever thought of engaging in a pre-emptive strike with WMDs against US troops based in Saudi Arabia. According to Mr Nixon ... the former dictator’s reply was: “We never thought about using weapons of mass destruction. It was not discussed. Use chemical weapons against the world? Is there anyone with full faculties who would do this?” Mr Nixon admitted this was “not what we had expected to hear”. The main reason the American and British governments used to justify the controversial invasion of Iraq was the supposed risk posed by the WMDs possessed by the country. Nearly 200,000 people have died in the conflicts that followed. Iraq is now widely regarded as a failed state, and still suffers from widespread violence. Thirteen years on, at least 5,000 American troops remain in the country. Mr Nixon also spoke out against Mr Bush, who was rude towards him and reportedly made inappropriate jokes about the missing WMDs. Mr Bush blamed the CIA for Iraq’s failures, Mr Nixon said, adding that he “called its analysis ‘guesswork’ while hearing only what he wanted to hear”.
Note: Have you noticed how every Arabic nation to which the U.S. has sent armed forces has ended up not with a stronger democracy, but in a situation of chaos? Do you think this might be intentional? The war machine makes huge profits from conditions of chaos. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
The Iraqi army, backed by US-led airstrikes, is trying to capture east Mosul at the same time as the Syrian army and its Shia paramilitary allies are fighting their way into east Aleppo. An estimated 300 civilians have been killed in Aleppo by government artillery and bombing in the last fortnight, and in Mosul there are reportedly some 600 civilian dead over a month. Despite these similarities, the reporting by the international media of these two sieges is radically different. In Mosul, civilian loss of life is blamed on Isis, with its indiscriminate use of mortars and suicide bombers, while the Iraqi army and their air support are largely given a free pass. Contrast this with Western media descriptions of the inhuman savagery of President Assad’s forces indiscriminately slaughtering civilians. One factor making the sieges of east Aleppo and east Mosul so similar, and different, from past sieges in the Middle East ... is that there are no independent foreign journalists present. They are not there for the very good reason that Isis imprisons and beheads foreigners while Jabhat al-Nusra, until recently the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, is only a shade less bloodthirsty. Unsurprisingly, foreign journalists covering developments in east Aleppo and rebel-held areas of Syria overwhelmingly do so from Lebanon or Turkey. But, strangely enough, the same media organisations continue to put their trust in the veracity of information coming out of areas under the control of these same potential kidnappers and hostage takers.
Note: Read more on the media bias in news coverage of these wars in this article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war and the manipulation of public perception.
War in Space: The Next Battlefield [is] an in-depth CNN Special Report on the arms race in outer space. The one-hour documentary explores the belief by many in the military and civilian experts that war in space is inevitable. The American way of life depends on satellites in space, such as daily commutes, to withdrawing money from a bank, to the soldiers and intelligence agencies defending the U.S. abroad and at home. U.S. adversaries, like China and Russia, are pushing an arms race in space, taking aim at America with a dizzying array of weapons seemingly borrowed from science fiction. With rare access to classified U.S. military command and operations centers, CNN showcases the devastation that would be caused by space warfare and how the U.S. military is preparing for the alarming prospect. CNN’s chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto interviewed more than 10 national security, defense and high-ranking military personnel for the documentary including the entire chain of command for space warfare. [The documentary contains] the first interview with Defensive Duty Officer, 1st Lieutenant Andrew Engle, a newly created position to monitor threats in space. CNN was also the first network to have access inside the Advanced Missile Warning and Battlespace Awareness Operations Floor at Buckley Air Force Base and Lockheed Martin's facility where it is building the next generation satellite, the GPS III.
Note: This article claims "U.S. adversaries, like China and Russia, are pushing an arms race in space." In fact, the US Space Command has been advocating "full-spectrum" dominance for decades using terms like "Master of Space" and making statements, such as "dominating the space dimension of military operations to protect US interests and investment." So who is the aggressor here? For more, see this article and this one. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
“Master of Space” – a motto of the United States Space Command, a joint Air Force, Army and Navy command set up by the Pentagon in 1985 – says it all. Our military leaders seek to control outer space, and dominate the earth, by basing weapons in space. Corporate America is deeply involved. “US Space Command–dominating the space dimension of military operations to protect US interests and investment,” says the command’s Vision for 2020, a report whose colorful cover depicts a laser weapon in space zapping targets on the Earth below. The projection of US power by means of deadly technology has other nations understandably upset. This past January ... UN Secretary General Kofi Annan urged the UN’s annual Conference on Disarmament to “ensure that outer space remains weapons-free.” At the March session of the conference, China’s Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs ... called for an international law forbidding not only nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction in space - as does the 1967 Outer Space Treaty - but “any weapons” in space. In November 138 nations voted in the UN General Assembly to reaffirm the Outer Space Treaty and its provision that space “shall be for peaceful purposes.” Only the United States and Israel abstained. Assistant secretary of the Air Force for Space Keith Hall says, “We have [space dominance] and we’re going to keep it.” And money flows for it. Follow the money and you find ... about 75 corporations [involved] in space weapons projects.
Note: For more, see the US Space Command's Vision for 2020 and its Long Range Plan. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Traditionally, you wouldn't gift someone a rat. Tanzania-based NGO Apopo, however, thinks rats make excellent gifts. So much so that they've launched an adopt-a-rat program, which allows participants to sponsor the animal. Despite the creatures' reputation for thieving and spreading disease, [Apopo's founder Bart] Weetjens has proven that rats can ... save lives. Apopo's rats have actually saved thousands. They are highly trained to sniff out land mines and detect tuberculosis - two scourges that have had a tremendously negative impact across the African continent. And his rats are fast. A single rat can clear 200 square feet in an hour (done manually, the same area would take 50 hours to clear). A TB-detection rat can evaluate 50 samples in eight minutes (almost a day's work for a lab technician). In 2006, Weetjens started testing his "hero rats," as he dubs them, on the mine fields in Mozambique, a country that at that time was one of the worst affected by landmines, thanks mainly to a civil war that ended in 1992. Since then, Apopo has cleared the country of 6,693 landmines, 29,934 small arms and ammunition, and 1,087 bombs. Mozambique is on track to be free of landmines by the year's end. In 2005, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a TB crisis in Africa. It's a problem Weetjens realized he could address with his sniffer rats. So far, they've analyzed over 260,000 samples from health clinics in Dar es Salaam. They are cheap to train, cheaper to procure, and plentiful.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Two large Sunni Arab urban centres – East Aleppo in Syria and Mosul in Iraq – are being besieged by pro-government forces strongly supported by foreign airpower. Yet the coverage is very different. In Libya ... opposition activists were able to gain control of the media narrative. The overthrow of Gaddafi rapidly reduced Libya to a violent and criminalised anarchy with little likelihood of recovery. In present day Syria and Iraq one can see much the same process at work. In East Aleppo, some 250,000 civilians and 8,000 insurgents, are under attack by the Syrian Army ... supported by the Russian and Syrian air forces. The bombing of East Aleppo has rightly caused worldwide revulsion and condemnation. But look at how differently the international media is treating a similar situation in Mosul, 300 miles east of Aleppo, where one million people and an estimated 5,000 Isis fighters are being encircled by the Iraqi army ... with massive support from a US-led air campaign. In the case of Mosul, unlike Aleppo, the defenders are to blame for endangering civilians by using them as human shields and preventing them leaving. The extreme bias shown in foreign media coverage of similar events in Iraq and Syria will be a rewarding subject for PhDs students looking at the uses and abuses of propaganda down the ages. Nothing much has changed since 2003 when the Iraqi opposition to Saddam Hussein had persuaded foreign governments and media alike that the invading American and British armies would be greeted with rapture by the Iraqi people.
Rear Adm. Gene La Rocque, a decorated Navy veteran who spoke out against the wastes of war, was labeled a traitor by some and went on to found the Center for Defense Information, a private think tank that was described as both pro-peace and pro-military, died on Monday in Washington. He was 98. Admiral La Rocque attracted particular attention when he gave an interview to Studs Terkel for his 1984 book, “The Good War: An Oral History of World War Two.” Admiral La Rocque described the State Department as having become “the lackey of the Pentagon” and lamented the loss of civilian control. After retiring from the Navy in the early 1970s, he founded the Center for Defense Information with Rear Adm. Eugene Carroll. The new organization ... began with three primary goals: to avert a nuclear war with the Soviet Union, to end the Vietnam War and to monitor the influence of the military-industrial complex. As the center’s director, Admiral La Rocque continued his battle long after the first two goals had been achieved. In 1990 he was calling for the nation’s military budget to be reduced by one-third, to $200 billion, and troop strength to be reduced from three million to two million. And he was working to take the profit out of weapons manufacture, although he doubted that the military would ever produce its own weapons again. Admiral La Rocque contributed a note to The Defense Monitor as recently as last year, expressing concern that the influence of the military-industrial complex was still “growing in power.”
Note: Read Admiral La Rocque's statement on how government security agencies orchestrate wars and see him featured in an excellent 22-minute PBS documentary "The Secret Government" on this webpage. Another top US general wrote a powerful essay titled "War is a Racket." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Do the committees that oversee the vast U.S. spying apparatus take intelligence community whistleblowers seriously? For the last 20 years, the answer has been a resounding “no.” My own experience in 1995-96 is illustrative. Over a two-year period working with my wife, Robin (who was a CIA detailee to a Senate committee at the time), we discovered that, contrary to the public statements by then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Colin Powell and other senior George H. W. Bush administration officials ... American troops had in fact been exposed to chemical agents during and after the 1991 war with Saddam Hussein. Officials at the Pentagon and CIA were working to bury it. The agency didn’t care about helping to find out why hundreds of thousands of American Desert Storm veterans were ill. Seeing the writing on the wall, I began working on what would become a book about our experience: “Gassed in the Gulf.” The agency tried to block publication of the book and attempted to reclassify hundreds of previously declassified Department of Defense and CIA intelligence reports that helped us make our case. Our story [became] a front-page sensation just days before the 1996 presidential election. Within six months, the CIA was forced to admit that it had indeed been withholding data on such chemical exposures, which were a possible cause of the post-war illnesses that would ultimately affect about one-third of the nearly 700,000 U.S. troops who served in Kuwait and Iraq. None of the CIA or Pentagon officials who perpetrated the cover-up were fired or prosecuted.
Note: The above article was written by whistleblower and former CIA analyst Patrick Eddington. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about intelligence agency corruption and the manipulation of public perception.
By the time I started working at the Defense Department in the early years of the Obama administration, the Pentagon's 17.5 miles of corridors had sprouted dozens of shops and restaurants catering to the building's 23,000 employees. And, over time, the U.S. military has itself come to offer a similar one-stop shopping experience to the nation's top policymakers. As retired Army Lt. Gen. Dave Barno once put it to me, the relentlessly expanding U.S. military has become "a Super Walmart with everything under one roof" - and two successive presidential administrations have been eager consumers. The military's transformation into the world's biggest one-stop shopping outfit is ... at once the product and the driver of seismic changes in how we think about war, with consequent challenges both to our laws and to the military itself. We've gotten into the habit of viewing every new threat through the lens of "war," thus asking our military to take on an ever-expanding range of nontraditional tasks. But viewing more and more threats as "war" brings more and more spheres of human activity into the ambit of the law of war, with its greater tolerance of secrecy, violence, and coercion - and its reduced protections for basic rights. Meanwhile, asking the military to take on more and more new tasks requires higher military budgets, forcing us to look for savings elsewhere. As budget cuts cripple civilian agencies, their capabilities dwindle, and we look to the military to pick up the slack, further expanding its role.
Note: As the Tribune has strangely removed this article, here's an alternate link. Another cutting article shows that according to the latest report on public relations spending from the Government Accountability Office, the US government PR apparatus has spent over $1 billion annually — $626 million of which the Pentagon allots to employ a massive propaganda army. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
The furore over the sexual antics of Donald Trump is preventing much attention being given to the latest batch of leaked emails to and from Hillary Clinton. Most fascinating of these is [a] memo, dated 17 August 2014. There is no ambivalence about who is backing Isis. The memo says: “We need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to Isis and other radical groups in the region.” After 9/11, the US refused to confront these traditional Sunni allies and thereby ensured that the “War on Terror” would fail decisively; 15 years later, al-Qaeda in its different guises is much stronger than it used to be because shadowy state sponsors, without whom it could not have survived, were given a free pass. It is not as if Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State ... did not know what was happening. An earlier WikiLeaks release of a State Department cable sent under her name in December 2009 states that “Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaeda, the Taliban, LeT [Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan].” But Saudi complicity with these movements never became a central political issue in the US. Why not? The US did not think it was in its interests to cut its traditional Sunni allies loose and put a great deal of resources into making sure that this did not happen. They brought on side compliant journalists, academics and politicians willing to give overt or covert support to Saudi positions.
Note: Read a two-page summary of a highly decorated US general's book which exposes how war is a racket meant to benefit the big bankers and power elite. Then check out a very well-researched essay describing how the war on terror is a fraud. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
A US navy destroyer fired a barrage of cruise missiles at three radar sites controlled by the rebel Houthi movement in Yemen. This attack marked the first time the US has fought the rebels directly in Yemen’s devastating civil war. The Pentagon justified this attack as retaliation. Last week, missiles were fired on two separate occasions at another navy destroyer off of Yemen’s southern coast. Those missiles fell harmlessly into the water, but they were enough of a provocation that the navy responded with its own bombardment. Immediately prior to those incidents, on Saturday 8 October, a 500lb laser-guided US-made bomb was dropped on a funeral procession by the US-sponsored Saudi-led coalition fighting the rebels. This bomb killed more than 140 people, mostly civilians, and wounded more than 525 people. Human Rights Watch called the incident “an apparent war crime”. The US ... has sold the Saudis $110bn worth of arms since President Obama assumed office. The US also supplies the Saudis with necessary intelligence and logistics to prosecute its war. The situation in Yemen is already catastrophic and largely out of view. Since the conflict began 18 months ago, more than 6,800 people have been killed. Both rebels and the regime have committed atrocities, though most of the dead are civilians and most have been killed by Saudi-led airstrikes. Almost 14.4 million people are now “food insecure”, according to the UN’s World Food Program, and 2.8 million people have been displaced.
Note: Read a two-page summary of a highly decorated US general's book which exposes how war is a racket meant to benefit the big bankers and power elite. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Between 2003 and 2009, the Bush White House “lost” 22 million emails. This correspondence included millions of emails written ... when the Bush administration was ginning up support for what turned out to be a disastrous war in Iraq with false claims that the country possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Most troubling, researchers found a suspicious pattern in the White House email system blackouts, including periods when there were no emails available from the office of Vice President Dick Cheney. In 1978, Congress passed the Presidential Records Act (PRA), which mandated that all presidential and vice presidential records ... be preserved and that the public, not the president, owned the records. Bush administration emails could have aided a special prosecutor’s investigation into a White House effort to discredit a diplomat who disagreed with the administration’s fabricated Iraq WMD evidence. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who was brought in to investigate that case, said ... potentially relevant emails sent by aides in Cheney's office were in the administration's system but he couldn’t get them. The supposedly lost emails also prevented Congress from fully investigating, in 2007, the politically motivated firing of nine U.S. attorneys. When the ... Senate Judiciary Committee subpoenaed related emails, Bush’s attorney general, Alberto Gonzalez, said many were inaccessible or lost on a nongovernmental private server run by the RNC.
Note: The Bush administration's lies about WMDs in Iraq were covered up, in part, by publicly revealing the identity of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and the manipulation of public perception.
A secret FBI study found that anger over U.S. military operations abroad was the most commonly cited motivation for individuals involved in cases of “homegrown” terrorism. The report also identified no coherent pattern to “radicalization,” concluding that it remained near impossible to predict future violent acts. The study ... surveyed intelligence analysts and FBI special agents across the United States who were responsible for nearly 200 cases ... involving “homegrown violent extremists.” The survey responses reinforced the FBI’s conclusion that such individuals “frequently believe the U.S. military is committing atrocities in Muslim countries, thereby justifying their violent aspirations,” [and] notes that between 2009 and 2012, 10 out of 16 attempted or successful terrorist attacks in the United States targeted military facilities or personnel. The report ... is dated December 20, 2012. The survey seems designed to look only at Muslim violent extremism. Perpetrators of more recent attacks have latched onto U.S. foreign policy to justify violence. In many of these cases, pundits and politicians focus on the role of religion, something Marc Sageman, a former CIA officer and author of “Leaderless Jihad: Terror Networks in the Twenty-First Century,” describes as a “red herring,” citing a history of shifting ideologies used to justify terrorist acts. “Politicians try very hard not to talk about foreign policy or military action being a major contributor to homegrown terrorism,” Sageman says.
Note: Read a well-researched essay describing how the war on terror is based on fraud. If terrorism is such a grave threat in the US, why does the FBI have to manufacture "terrorist" plots and then exaggerate its anti-terrorism success?
As the 1973 Yom Kippur war between Israel and neighboring Arab states intensified, I was in an underground missile launch center in Montana with a crewmate when we received an emergency message to prepare for nuclear war with the Soviet Union. We trusted the president to defuse the crisis and avert a nuclear war. Dwight D. Eisenhower recoiled at the concept of nuclear overkill, where far more people are killed than necessary to defeat an enemy. Richard M. Nixon (president during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war) ... worried about the way war plans “lightly tossed about millions of deaths.” Ronald Reagan, for all his thunder about the Soviet Union being “an evil empire” and joking that “we begin bombing in five minutes,” was privately averse to nuclear weapons. Donald J. Trump is of a radically different ilk and temperament from past presidents. In 1973, as it turned out, President Nixon was not in charge when the order came down to prepare for nuclear conflict. Under stress from the Watergate scandal, he had retired for the evening, drunk. His unelected advisers, led by the national security adviser, Henry A. Kissinger, and Defense Secretary James R. Schlesinger, ran the show that night. Our trust in the president was misplaced. He was not even awake when my crewmate and I saddled up for nuclear war. The president had lost personal control of the situation. But upon reflection, it would have been far scarier if a cocksure Mr. Trump, consulting no one but himself, had been there calling the shots.
The Pentagon gave a controversial U.K. PR firm over half a billion dollars to run a top secret propaganda program in Iraq, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism can reveal. Bell Pottinger’s output included short TV segments made in the style of Arabic news networks and fake insurgent videos which could be used to track the people who watched them, according to a former employee. The agency’s staff worked alongside high-ranking U.S. military officers in their Baghdad Camp Victory headquarters. Bell Pottinger reported to the Pentagon, the CIA, and the National Security Council on its work in Iraq. In the first media interview any Bell Pottinger employee has given about the work for the U.S. military in Iraq, video editor Martin Wells told the Bureau his time in Camp Victory was “shocking, eye-opening, life-changing.” The firm’s output was signed off by former General David Petraeus - then commander of the coalition forces in Iraq - and on occasion by the White House, he said. Bell Pottinger’s work in Iraq was a huge media operation which cost over a hundred million dollars a year on average. The ... most sensitive program described by Wells was the production of fake al Qaeda propaganda films. U.S. marines would take the CDs on patrol and drop them in the chaos when they raided targets. Wells explained how the team embedded a code into the CDs which linked to a Google Analytics account, giving a list of IP addresses where the CDs had been played.
Note: So the Pentagon made propaganda films to recruit for Al Qaeda, bombed a place upsetting the people there, then seeded these films to try to capture anyone who was interested in the propaganda they spread. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about war corruption and the manipulation of public perception.
In the past few days a number of politicians and former generals have criticised the so-called hounding of British soldiers by what they claim are just money-grabbing lawyers launching ill-founded cases into alleged wartime abuse. Criticising the work of the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (Ihat), Tim Collins, the retired colonel who led British troops in Iraq, said the allegations were being made by “parasitic lawyers”. Theresa May has said she wants to end the “industry” of vexatious claims. And Tony Blair, who launched the military action in Iraq and Afghanistan, said: “I am very sorry that our soldiers and their families have been put through this ordeal.” The reality, of course, is somewhat different. The Ministry of Defence has already paid out Ł20m in compensation to victims of abuse in Iraq. Anyone who has been involved in litigation with the MoD knows that it will pay up only if a case is overwhelming or the ministry wants to cover something up. The complaints before the Ihat are not just from lawyers. They are also from serving and former members of the armed forces with no financial interest in the outcome. Even more disturbing, many of these investigations may lead to the door of the MoD itself. Many of the allegations concern physical, sexual and religious abuse during interrogation. The conduct appears systematic, and ... there were secret detention facilities in the UK area of operations which appear to have bypassed prisoner of war facilities. If this is correct, it is in violation of the Geneva conventions.
Note: The Chilcot inquiry recently concluded that Tony Blair deliberately lied to MPs and the public on Iraq to commit British troops to the US-led invasion in 2003. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about war corruption and the manipulation of public perception.
As the Syrian peace accord has crumbled - even threatening to reignite the Cold War - and barrel bombs continue to fall on the rebel-held city of Aleppo, many are fleeing the death and destruction. But one group of residents has vowed to stay behind and help. They are the "White Helmets," a volunteer team of first responders who plunge head-first into crumbling buildings to save civilians trapped in the rubble of Syria's brutal civil war. Named after their iconic protective headgear, the group of about 3,000 rescue workers have reportedly saved more than 60,000 lives since the civil war began. In August, their courage garnered international attention when they rescued 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh, the stunned little boy covered in dust and blood whose photo shocked the world. They have since been nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize. The heroism of these ordinary citizens - former doctors, shopkeepers, and teachers - is profiled in a 40-minute Netflix documentary. "These are very normal, ordinary people who now do one of the most extraordinary jobs on this planet," said the film's director, Orlando von Einsiedel. "They represent the best of what humanity can be," he said. "It has given us faith in humanity and has made us want to be better people."
Note: When the media seems to want us to hate Muslims, it's so important to read about the beautiful examples of these heroes. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Does free college threaten our all-volunteer military? That is what Benjamin Luxenberg, on the military blog War on the Rocks says. Unlike nearly every other developed country, which offer free or low cost higher education ... in America you need money to go to college. Right now there are only a handful of paths to higher education in America: have well-to-do parents; be low-income and smart to qualify for financial aid, take on crippling debt, or ... join the military. Overall, 75 percent of those who enlisted or who sought an officer’s commission said they did so to obtain educational benefits. And in that vein, Luxenberg raises the question: If college was cheaper, would they still enlist? It is a practical question worth asking, but raises more serious issues. Do tuition costs need to stay high to help keep the ranks filled? Does unequal access to college help sustain our national defense? A single F-35 fighter plane costs $178 million. Dropping just one plane from inventory generates 3,358 years of college money. We could pass on buying a handful of the planes, and a lot of people who now find college out of reach could go to school. The defense budget is some $607 billion, already the world’s largest by far. The cost of providing broader access to higher education would be a tiny fraction of that amount, far below any threshold where a danger to America’s defense could be reasonably argued.
Note: The Pentagon is the only segment of US government that doesn't balance its books, and Pentagon auditors are heavily pressured to look the other way on blatant corruption. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The United States paid over a million euros to the family of Giovanni Lo Porto, an Italian aid worker killed in a U.S. drone strike in January of last year, according to newly released documents. The 37-year-old Lo Porto died when CIA drones struck an al Qaeda compound where he was being held hostage along with Warren Weinstein, an American humanitarian worker. In a rare admission of responsibility, President Barack Obama acknowledged the strike and promised compensation for the families. The Intercept first reported that the family had reached a settlement with the U.S. government in July. The document also states that the agreement does not imply “a waiver of sovereign or personal immunity.” Lawyers for the Lo Porto family had pressed the Italian state prosecutor to consider a criminal case against the United States, while acknowledging that the chances of such a case going forward were slim. They also asked for more information from U.S. agencies about the strike and its aftermath. The U.S. has, in a few instances, paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to the families of civilians killed in attacks in Yemen, but has not publicly acknowledged doing so. Many human rights advocacy groups see a double standard in the silence of the U.S. government on the cases of non-Westerners who have died.
Note: The families of thousands of innocent citizens killed by US drones in the Middle East have received zero compensation. Drone strikes almost always miss their intended targets and reportedly create more terrorists than they kill. Casualties of war whose identities are unknown are frequently mis-reported to be "militants". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Immediately after the 9/11 attack, while bodies were still buried in the rubble, George W. Bush demanded from Congress the legal authorization to use military force against those responsible for the attack. The resulting resolution that was immediately cooked up was both vague and broad. Despite this broadness, or because of it, the House of Representatives on September 14 approved the resolution by a vote of 420-1. The lone dissenting vote was Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee of California, who ... not only voted “no” but stood up on the House floor to deliver [an] eloquent, unflinching and, as it turns out, extremely prescient explanation for her opposition. She [pointed] out that the resolution “was a blank check to the president to attack anyone involved in the Sept. 11 events - anywhere, in any country, without regard to our nation’s long-term foreign policy, economic and national security interests, and without time limit.” She added: “A rush to launch precipitous military counterattacks runs too great a risk that more innocent men, women, children will be killed.” For her lone stance, Lee was deluged with rancid insults and death threats. She was vilified as “anti-American”. Since then, she has been repeatedly rejected in her bids to join the House Democratic leadership, typically losing to candidates close to Wall Street and in support of militarism. But beyond the obvious bravery needed to take the stand she took, she has been completely vindicated on the merits. It’s impossible to overstate how correct Lee was.
Note: For more on Rep. Lee's efforts to stop giving the US president dictatorial power over waging war, see this Los Angeles Times article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing 9/11 news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our 9/11 Information Center.
In the days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when Congress voted to authorize military force against the people who “planned, authorized, committed, or aided” the hijackings, few Americans could have imagined the resulting manhunt would span from West Africa all the way to the Philippines. Today ... it looks like the war on terror is still in its opening act. The Islamic State, which was largely created by the U.S. invasion of Iraq, controls vast swaths of territory in Iraq, Syria, and Libya. The death toll in the countries the U.S. attacked remains untallied, but conservative estimates range from the hundreds of thousands to well over a million. The financial cost of the war on terror is incalculable. After 15 years, the only winners in the war on terror have been the contractors. At home, the war on terror has become a constitutional nightmare. The U.S. has adopted a practice of indefinitely detaining terror suspects. Police departments across the country secretly import military-grade spy equipment. Courts have ruled that families cannot sue to get their children off government kill lists. NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the U.S. has become the largest surveillance state in history. Bombing multiple countries in the Middle East has become business as usual, and often goes unreported. As ... media engagement with the wars diminishes, and it is all too easy to forget about our permanent state of war. But the victims of U.S. violence are unlikely to forget, creating a potentially endless supply of new enemies.
For two years after the accident, Yei Yang refused to leave his home. "I couldn't farm, I couldn't go to see friends, as they might be afraid of me," Yang tells CNN. "I didn't want to live." Yang was just 22 and burning rubbish near his village in the province of Xieng Khoung in north-eastern Laos, when a bomb blast tore off one of his eyelids, his top lip and an ear, mutilated one of his arms, and left him with severe scarring from the waist up. His wounds were not caused by a modern day conflict, but by the remnants of a war that was waged more than 40 years ago, and is still destroying lives in this small Southeast Asian nation. Some 80 million unexploded bombs are scattered across the country - the deadly legacy of what became known as America's "secret war" in Laos - a CIA-led mission during the Vietnam War. In total, between 1964 and 1973, the US dropped more than two million tons of bombs - one of the heaviest aerial bombardments in history. Most of the munitions dropped were cluster bombs, which splinter before impact, spreading hundreds of smaller bomblets. To this day, less than 1% of the bombs have been removed, according to US-based NGO Legacies of War, which is spearheading the campaign to clear them. More than 20,000 people have been killed or maimed by the unexploded ordnance (UXOs) since the war ended, and currently, 50 people are maimed or killed every year. Around 40% of those are children.
President Barack Obama said Tuesday that US has an "obligation" to help Laos recover from a brutal secret bombing campaign that destroyed parts of the Southeast Asian nation. During an address to the Lao people in the country's capital, Obama pledged $90 million in a joint three-year project with the country's government to clear ... some 80 million unexploded cluster bombs dropped during a secret US bombing campaign as part of the Vietnam War 40 years ago. "The remnants of war continue to shatter lives here in Laos," Obama said. "That's why I've dramatically increased or funding to remove these unexploded bombs." The move was welcomed by Laos President Bounnhang Vorachit as a way of strengthening mutual trust after the devastating campaign, that still maims or kills 50 people who stumble upon unexploded mines each year. Efforts to find the bombs will be aided the Pentagon, who will supply records of where they were dropped. To this day, less than 1% of the bombs have been cleared, according to US-based non-government organization Legacies of War. US funding for clearance of unexploded ordnance and victims' assistance has steadily grown since 2010. This year, Congress allotted $19.5 million, but now, for the first time, an American president has publicly recognized that the US has a responsibility to do more. "That conflict was another reminder that whatever the cause, whatever our intentions, war inflicts terrible toll, especially on innocent men, women and children," Obama said.
As the United States and its allies continue their bombing campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, many more noncombatants are perishing than they seem prepared to admit. Airwars, the organization I lead, at present estimates that at least 1,500 civilians have been killed by the United States-led coalition. Similar or higher tallies are reported by other monitoring groups, like Iraq Body Count and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. But coalition officials have publicly admitted just 55 deaths. It may just be a matter of looking. “Our policy is not to go out and seek” allegations of civilian casualties, a senior official from United States Central Command, or Centcom, which oversees the bombing campaign, told me recently when I asked about the discrepancy between reports of noncombatant deaths and official investigations. It took about 15 months into the war for any admission of civilian deaths in Iraq - despite thousands of airstrikes and more than 130 reported incidents. An average of 173 days still passes between a civilian casualty in Iraq or Syria and any public admission of responsibility. The Pentagon is not alone in its accounting failures. Russia still denies the more than 2,000 deaths it has most likely caused in Syria, while all 12 of the United States’ coalition partners insist they have killed only “bad guys.” This then is a systemic problem, one that suggests militaries are at present unfit - or unwilling - to count the dead accurately from above.
Note: The above was written by Chris Woods, author of “Sudden Justice: America’s Secret Drone Wars.” For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
The Pentagon provided more than 1.45 million firearms to various security forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, including more than 978,000 assault rifles, 266,000 pistols and almost 112,000 machine guns. Many of the recipients of these weapons became brave and important battlefield allies. But many more did not. The weapons were part of a vast and sometimes minimally supervised flow of arms from a superpower to armies and militias often compromised by poor training, desertion, corruption and patterns of human rights abuses. The Pentagon said it has records for [about 700,000] firearms. This is an amount ... that only accounts for 48 percent of the total small arms supplied by the U.S. government that can be found in open-source government reports. By this year, various internet arms traders, including many on Facebook, were hawking a seemingly unending assortment of weapons of obvious American origin. Facebook closed many pages in the Middle East that were serving as busy arms bazaars, including pages in Syria and Iraq on which firearms with Pentagon origins accounted for a large fraction of the visible trade. But many new arms-trading Facebook pages have since cropped up, including, according to their own descriptions, virtual markets operating from Baghdad and Karbala. The procession of arms purchases and handouts has continued to this day.
Note: A 2015 report describes how the US armed ISIS in Iraq. This eye-opening report shows how the US was involved in the creation of ISIS. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
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.
Half a century ago, cold war tensions nearly came to a head over a couple of sunspots. On May 23, 1967, the US Air Force was preparing its nuclear-armed aircraft for takeoff. The Soviet Union had jammed US surveillance radars, military officials believed, which was considered an act of war. But according to a new study ... scientists arrived just in time to defuse the situation: it was actually a solar storm, not a Soviet military operation, that jammed the radars. Earlier that month, researchers had noticed a large group of magnetically charged sunspots on the solar surface. These cool, dark sunspots are known to launch bursts of solar radiation, called solar flares, as well as plasma eruptions called coronal mass ejections (CMEs). On May 23, they recorded a solar flare so intense that it was visible by the naked eye. The same day, US military officials found that three of its Ballistic Missile Early Warning System radar sites appeared to be jammed. The Air Force prepared aircraft with nuclear weapons, ready to scramble in retaliation. Solar forecasters from the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) intervened in time to stop the launch. When convention and science don’t offer satisfactory answers, we often turn to the fantastic. Last month, an unidentified blip was spotted in the corner of an International Space Station video feed. But just as the object approached Earth’s atmosphere, the feed cut off, prompting that rumors NASA was covering up evidence of UFOs.
Note: A solar storm in 1859 was powerful enough to cause sparks to leap from telegraph equipment. A similar storm today would likely decimate communications systems around the world. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the mysterious nature of reality.
I’m a science journalist. That keeps me busy, because, as you know, most peer-reviewed scientific claims are wrong. So I’m a skeptic, but with a small s, not capital S. “The Science Delusion” is common among Capital-S Skeptics. You don’t apply your skepticism equally. You are extremely critical of belief in God, ghosts, heaven, ESP, astrology, homeopathy and Bigfoot. Meanwhile, you neglect [many] dubious and even harmful claims promoted by major scientists and institutions. Let’s take a look at ... mainstream medicine. Over the past half-century, physicians and hospitals have introduced increasingly sophisticated, expensive tests. They assure us that early detection of disease will lead to better health. But tests often do more harm than good. For every woman whose life is extended because a mammogram detected a tumor, up to 33 receive unnecessary treatment, including biopsies, surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. For men diagnosed with prostate cancer after a PSA test, the ratio is 47 to one. Similar data are emerging on colonoscopies and other tests. Mental-health care suffers from similar problems. The biological theory that really drives me nuts is the deep-roots theory of war. According to the theory, lethal group violence is in our genes. But the evidence is overwhelming that war was a cultural innovation. I hate the deep-roots theory not only because it’s wrong, but also because it encourages fatalism toward war. War is our most urgent problem.
Note: The above was written by John Horgan, director of the Center for Science Writings at the Stevens Institute of Technology. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing science corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The Obama administration just released numbers suggesting ... that drone strikes in countries excluding Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria have resulted in between at least 64 and 116 noncombatant deaths during his administration. The president also issued an executive order effectively directing his successor to ... publish this data going forward. The new executive order means it will be harder for the next president to kill in total secrecy. Obama’s use [of drones] over the last seven years set a disastrous global precedent: using a new weapons technology as an excuse to kill in secret and without regard for international law. Today’s developments are an incremental but important step away from the notion that new technology is a license for secrecy. The downside, though, is that the drone data could be completely misleading – and provide a veneer of legitimacy to unlawful killings. There are reports of hundreds of unidentified people killed in apparent “signature strikes,” where targeting decisions were made on the basis of patterns of behavior rather than identification of a specific individual. Amnesty International and other groups have also documented so-called rescuer strikes, where the US killed or injured individuals who were trying to help the victims of an initial strike. The CIA, an agency with an extremely poor record of accountability to the public, is still conducting strikes. Its continued role is likely one reason we aren’t getting fuller answers to our questions about drones.
Note: Drone strikes almost always miss their intended targets and reportedly create more terrorists than they kill. Casualties of war whose identities are unknown are frequently mis-reported to be "militants". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
The Chilcot inquiry has delivered a damning verdict on the decision by former prime minister Tony Blair to commit British troops to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Chilcot finds that Blair deliberately exaggerated the threat posed by the Iraqi regime as he sought to make the case for military action to MPs and the public in the buildup to the invasion. The then prime minister disregarded warnings about the potential consequences of military action, and relied too heavily on his own beliefs, rather than the more nuanced judgments of the intelligence services. Tony Blair wrote to George W Bush eight months before the Iraq invasion to offer his unqualified backing for war well before UN weapons inspectors had complete their work, saying: “I will be with you, whatever.” The report says that between early 2002 and March 2003 Blair was told that, post-invasion, Iraq could degenerate into civil war. Chilcot rejects Blair’s claim that the subsequent chaos and sectarian conflict could not have been predicted. Before the war, Blair had said that the US-led invasion coalition would try to minimise civilian casualties. As the war and occupation unfolded, however, the MoD made only a “broad estimate” of how many Iraqis were being killed. More time was devoted to which department should have responsibility for the issue than was spent on finding out the number. The government’s main interest was to “rebut accusations that coalition forces were responsible for the deaths of large numbers” of Iraqis.
This was a difficult book for Avner Cohen to write. As an Israeli, he had to break the code of silence that surrounds the discussion of nuclear weapons in his homeland. But he has done a superb job of laying out the political history of Israel's nuclear program from its foundation in 1950 through the acceptance by the United States of Israel as a nuclear-weapon state in 1970. With "Israel and the Bomb," he has written a scholarly treatise that includes over 1,200 footnotes, yet reads like a novel. Israel was the sixth nation in the world - and the first in the Middle East - to acquire nuclear weapons. However, unlike those of the first five, its nuclear program has remained opaque, that is, shrouded in secrecy, officially unacknowledged and insulated from domestic politics. Israel's policy was also shaped by its interaction with France, the United States and Egypt. For its part, the United States realized as early as the Eisenhower Administration that it was not in a position to stop the Israeli program. At the same time, Israel could not openly defy American opposition to the spread of nuclear weapons. Opacity was the solution. Israel also did not wish to provoke the Arab nations into developing their own nuclear weapons or launching a pre-emptive attack on its Dimona reactor. As long as the Israelis kept a low profile, the Arabs, led by Egypt, played down the issue. Israel today remains the only nuclear-opaque state in the world.
Note: Israel refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or allow UN inspectors to inspect its opaque nuclear program. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government secrecy news articles from reliable major media sources.
As a witness to the removal of fallen U.S. troops from Afghanistan, Army Chaplain Christopher John Antal can’t recall a time when that solemn ceremony wasn’t conducted without the presence of drones passing along the horizon. On April 12, Antal resigned his commission as an officer in the Army because of his conscientious objection to the United States’ drone policy. In a letter addressed to ... Barack Obama, Antal wrote, “The executive branch continues to claim the right to kill anyone, anywhere on Earth, at any time, for secret reasons, based on secret evidence, in a secret process, undertaken by unidentified officials. I refuse to support this policy of unaccountable killing.” In doing so, he joined other previous members of the armed forces who have addressed Obama to criticize his drone strike policy, including four former members of the Air Force who penned a letter in November of 2015 warning the president that the strikes “served as a recruitment tool similar to Guantanamo Bay.” Antal’s resignation concluded nearly eight years of service as an Army chaplain. He publicly voiced [his concerns about the targeted killings] in a Veterans Day sermon Nov. 11, 2012, when he gave a lyrical sermon criticizing drones on his base in Afghanistan and posted it online. Antal ... was called into the office of a general who told him to take down the sermon. “He told me that my message did not support the mission,” Antal said. He worried that his views about drones could land him in a military prison if did not leave his post.
Note: Drone strikes almost always miss their intended targets and reportedly create more terrorists than they kill. Casualties of war whose identities are unknown are frequently mis-reported to be "militants". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
I have rarely seen the Commons so full and so silent as when it met yesterday to hear of the London bombings. Perhaps the loss is hardest to bear because it is so difficult to answer the question why it should have happened. We may be offered a website entry or a video message attempting to justify the impossible, but there is no language that can supply a rational basis for such arbitrary slaughter. In the absence of anyone else owning up to yesterday's crimes, we will be subjected to a spate of articles analysing the threat of militant Islam. Osama bin Laden is [not] a true representative of Islam. Bin Laden was, though, a product of a monumental miscalculation by western security agencies. Throughout the 80s he was armed by the CIA and funded by the Saudis to wage jihad against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. Al-Qaida ... was originally the computer file of the thousands of mujahideen who were recruited and trained with help from the CIA to defeat the Russians. Inexplicably, and with disastrous consequences, it never appears to have occurred to Washington that once Russia was out of the way, Bin Laden's organisation would turn its attention to the west. The danger now is that the west's current response to the terrorist threat compounds that original error. So long as the struggle against terrorism is conceived as a war that can be won by military means, it is doomed to fail. Whatever else can be said in defence of the war in Iraq today, it cannot be claimed that it has protected us from terrorism on our soil.
Note: The above article was written by Robin Cook, who served as both the Foreign Secretary of the UK and the leader of the House of Commons. Less than one month after this article was written (which was also the day after the 7/7 London bombings), Mr. Cook died of a heart attack while taking a walk. For proof that the CIA developed a silent gun which shot a poison to mimic a heart attack in a way that was not traceable, watch this short video which presents the testimony of a former CIA secretary and Congressional testimony on this secret weapon.
It was Soviet intervention, not the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that caused Japan to surrender. Most Americans cling to the myth that the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 [forced] Japan's surrender without a U.S. invasion. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth. As the National Museum of the U.S. Navy makes clear, the atomic bombs ... "made little impact on the Japanese military. However, the Soviet invasion of Manchuria ... changed their minds." As shocking as this may be to Americans today, it was well known to military leaders at the time. In fact, seven of America's eight five-star officers in 1945 said that the bombs were either militarily unnecessary, morally reprehensible or both. Following the defeat at Saipan in July 1944, many Japanese leaders realized the war could not be won militarily. Telegrams going back and forth between Japanese officials in Tokyo and Moscow made it clear that the Japanese were seeking an honorable way to end what they had started. The U.S. had been firebombing and wiping out Japanese cities since early March. Destruction reached 99.5 percent in the city of Toyama. Japanese leaders accepted that the U.S. could and would wipe out Japan's cities. It didn't make a big difference whether this was one plane and one bomb or hundreds of planes and thousands of bombs. The atomic bombs contributed next to nothing to U.S. victory, but they did slaughter hundreds of thousands of civilians.
Note: Read a detailed description of how the New York Times suppressed and skewed the facts about the effects of the atomic bomb in order to forward the war-profiteering agenda. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about government corruption and the manipulation of public opinion.
President Obama will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima, the Japanese city that the United States nearly destroyed with a nuclear bomb in 1945. While the bombing ... killed as many as 150,000 people, Obama is not expected to apologize during his visit. After more than 70 years, why not apologize for Hiroshima? Countries in general do not apologize for violence against other countries. What else has America not apologized for? Here are a few ideas. During the Vietnam War, the United States sprayed about 12 million gallons of Agent Orange, a herbicide, over areas of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. About 1 million people were disabled or suffered health problems because of contact with the herbicide. There has been no apology for this or for other controversies of the war. In 1953, democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh was overthrown in a coup [that] was carried out under CIA direction ... with the aid of the British Secret Intelligence Service. The United States and Britain have never apologized for [this], with the Obama administration recently stating that it had no plans to. The United States is also widely suspected of involvement in a bloody 1973 coup that ousted socialist Chilean President Salvador Allende in 1973 and put dictator Augusto Pinochet in control. In 1977, Brady Tyson, deputy leader of the U.S. delegation to the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva, did ... offer an apology for the U.S. involvement in the coup, but he was quickly disavowed by the State Department.
Note: Read a detailed description of how the New York Times suppressed and skewed the facts about the effects of the atomic bomb in order to forward the war-profiteering agenda. Although CIA involvement in the Iranian coup and the Pentagon's prolonged support for the Pinochet regime's torturers are now well-known, the intelligence community remains unapologetically corrupt.
As the Obama administration prepares to publish a long-delayed accounting of how many militants and noncombatant civilians it has killed since 2009, its statistics may be defined as much by what is left out as by what is included. Release of the information was first envisioned ... as part of strict new guidelines President Obama announced for the United States’ controversial use of drones and other forms of lethal force to battle terrorism abroad. Such operations, Obama said ... would also be subject to new transparency and oversight. The death tolls, like the guidelines, will cover places where the United States conducts airstrikes but does not consider itself officially at war. They are likely to exclude Pakistan, where the CIA has conducted hundreds of drone strikes. The United States still does not publicly acknowledge CIA attacks inside Pakistan, although the Pentagon announced Saturday that it had targeted Taliban leader Akhtar Mohammad Mansour in Pakistan. Not all strikes in the included countries are considered counterterrorism actions. The totals will almost inevitably be challenged by independent groups that keep their own tallies and for years have charged that the administration undercounts civilian deaths caused by drone strikes. In emailed responses to written questions, the Defense Department said it keeps no central list of strikes “outside areas of active hostilities.” Some are announced by the Pentagon, some by Central Command in charge of Yemen, and others by the Africa Command. Some are not made public at all.
Note: Watch this video which shows how governments promote war in order to pad the pockets of mega-corporations which profit greatly from arms sales. Drone strikes almost always miss their intended targets and reportedly create more terrorists than they kill. Casualties of war whose identities are unknown are frequently mis-reported to be "militants". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
“When the guilt of our roles in facilitating this systematic loss of innocent life became too much, all of us succumbed to PTSD,” [said] an open letter to the Obama administration, crafted by four former Air Force servicemen, each of whom played a role in the nation’s targeted killing program. The moral pang of the letter reflects a very basic ethical tenet. Concluding the letter, the former soldiers write that after suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, “We were cut loose by the same government we gave so much to - sent out in the world without adequate medical care, reliable health services, or necessary benefits. Some of us are now homeless. Others of us barely make it.” Several years ago now, The New York Times published an op-ed by one of the authors titled “Drones, Ethics, and the Armchair Soldier,” which argued that the physical remove of drone warfare would give pilots the space to engage in moral reflection ... that the urgency and danger of traditional warfare often preclude. In the United States, conscientious objection to engaging in war is permitted on secular and moral ground - but only if the individual objects to war on the whole. Members of the US armed forces are not allowed to [refuse] to engage in particular wars or ... military assignments on the basis of a moral objection. Drones [open] up both moral dilemma and moral opportunity. Every soldier is in fact required to disobey illegal orders (to deliberately kill civilians, for example). But this is different from conscientious objection.
Morley Safer, who was a correspondent on CBS’s 60 Minutes from 1970 until just last week, died Thursday at age 84. In 1965, Safer was sent to Vietnam by CBS. That August he filed a famous report showing American soldiers burning down a Vietnamese village. The next year, he wrote a newspaper column about a visit to Saigon by Arthur Sylvester, the ... head of all the U.S. military’s PR. Sylvester, [who] had arranged to speak with reporters for U.S. outlets, [said] that American correspondents had a patriotic duty to disseminate only information that made the United States look good. A network television correspondent said, “Surely, Arthur, you don’t expect the American press to be the handmaidens of government.” “That’s exactly what I expect,” came the reply. An agency man raised the problem [of] the credibility of American officials. [Sylvester], the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, [responded]: “Look, if you think any American official is going to tell you the truth, then you’re stupid. Did you hear that? Stupid.” A Democratic senator from Indiana, entered Safer’s article into the Congressional Record, and ... a Republican representative from Missouri called for Sylvester to resign. For its part, the Pentagon told CBS executives: “Unless you get Safer out of there, he’s liable to end up with a bullet in his back.” Moreover, Sylvester absolutely meant what he said [to] the journalists in Saigon. [By that time], he’d already told some of the key U.S. government lies about the Cuban missile crisis.
President Obama has proposed granting Israel the largest package of military aid ever provided by the United States to another nation, but he and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remain deeply at odds over a figure for the assistance despite months of negotiations. American officials have balked as their Israeli counterparts insisted on more generous terms for a new 10-year military aid package that could top $40 billion. The divide, which could have broad national security implications for both the United States and Israel, is exacerbated by the pent-up animosity between Mr. Obama and Mr. Netanyahu, which has been stoked by their radically divergent views of the nuclear deal with Iran. Israel has been the largest cumulative recipient of American foreign aid since World War II. Discussions about the agreement are being conducted in strict secrecy. Neither side would detail specific funding levels. But the disputes over money are grounded in more profound rifts over policy, politics and national security strategy. While the president views the Iran agreement as having bolstered Israel’s security ... by restraining Tehran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon, the Israelis believe that the lifting of sanctions on Iran has only emboldened a government that directly threatens them. “The administration doesn’t want to lose the Iran battle after they’ve already won it by rewarding Israel with an over-the-top increase in aid,” said Aaron David Miller, vice president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Note: With a population of about 8.5 million, US yearly aid to Israel is almost $500 to every man, woman, and child in the country. The vast majority of aid to Israel is dedicated to purchasing US military hardware. Watch this video which shows how governments promote war in order to pad the pockets of mega-corporations which profit greatly from arms sales. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Rape in war is as old as war itself. But the intimate nature of sexual assault means that the horrors often go undocumented, sanitized out of history books and glossed over in news accounts. Yet that mass rape is so common in wartime only makes it more corrosive. The U.N. reports that 200,000 Congolese women and children have been raped during Congo’s long-simmering conflict. Estimates for South Sudan are in the thousands. Both numbers are likely too low, says Pablo Castillo-Diaz, a specialist on sexual violence in conflict for U.N. Women. “Rape is one of the most underreported war crimes that there are. Women, if they survive the attack, rarely tell anyone else. We only hear of the most brutal incidences or the public ones that the whole community sees.” But that’s begun to change. Rape may be a common war tactic, but it was only prosecuted as a crime against humanity in 1998, by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, following the discovery of the rape camps used by Serb soldiers during the Bosnian war. At the same time, Rwandan officials were also charged with rape as a war crime during that country’s 1994 genocidal conflict. Widespread media coverage of both trials drew international condemnation. Talking about rape in war became less taboo. Recently ... ISIS’s sale of Yezidi women as sexual slaves in Iraq and Syria, and Boko Haram’s abduction of hundreds of schoolgirls for forced marriages in Nigeria, have pushed survivors and activists to demand a real global response to a war crime with consequences so enduring it all but precludes peace.
Documents detailing Israel’s alleged defence exports to Rwanda during the country’s civil war and genocide in the 1990s are to remain sealed, the country’s Supreme Court has ruled. Two years ago Professor Yair Auron and attorney Eitay Mack submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Israel’s defence ministry to discover the nature of any arms exports made to Rwanda between 1990 and 1995, the Times of Israel reports. Between 800,000 and 1 million people were killed over the course of 100 days in Rwanda in 1994. Weapons used in the genocide allegedly included Israeli-made 5.56mm bullets, rifles and grenades. Information apparently detailing this is sealed in the contested documentation. Mr Auron and Mr Mack’s request reportedly stated: “According to various reports in Israel and abroad, the defence exports to Rwanda ostensibly violated international law, at least during the period of the weapons embargo imposed by the UN Security Council.” The Supreme Court ... rejected the appeal for the documents to be released, stating: “Disclosure of the information sought does not advance the public interest claimed by the appellants to the extent that it takes preference and precedence over the claims of harm to state security and international relations,” Haaretz reports. Mr Mack responded to the decision by calling it “mistaken and immoral,” but said that “at no point during the proceedings was there a denial that there were defence exports during the genocide,” and vowed to “continue to fight to expose the truth”.
Note: Watch this video which shows how governments promote war in order to pad the pockets of mega-corporations which profit greatly from arms sales. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Two senior intelligence analysts at U.S. Central Command say the military has forced them out of their jobs because of their skeptical reporting on U.S.-backed rebel groups in Syria. It’s the first known instance of possible reprisals against CENTCOM personnel after analysts accused their bosses of manipulating intelligence reports about the U.S.-led campaign against ISIS in order to paint a rosier picture of progress in the war. One of the analysts alleging reprisals is the top analyst in charge of Syria issues at CENTCOM. He and a colleague doubted rebels’ capabilities and their commitment to U.S. objectives in the region. [Their] views put them at odds with military brass, who last year had predicted that a so-called moderate opposition would make up a 15,000-man ground force to take on ISIS. An initial $500 million program to train and arm those fighters failed spectacularly. And until the very end, Pentagon leaders claimed the operation was more or less on track. The Pentagon inspector general and a congressional task force are investigating allegations of doctored intelligence reports about ISIS. More than 50 CENTCOM analysts have said that senior officials gave more scrutiny and pushback on reports that suggested U.S. efforts to destroy ISIS weren’t progressing. The Defense Department inspector general is also looking into ... "whether there was any falsification, distortion, delay, suppression, or improper modification of intelligence information.”
Note: Explore powerful evidence that ISIS is aided and was possibly even created by covert US support. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Syrian militias armed by different parts of the U.S. war machine have begun to fight each other on the plains between the besieged city of Aleppo and the Turkish border. The fighting has intensified over the last two months, as CIA-armed units and Pentagon-armed ones have repeatedly shot at each other while maneuvering through contested territory on the northern outskirts of Aleppo. Last year, the Pentagon helped create a new military coalition, the Syrian Democratic Forces ... to take territory away from the Islamic State. The group is dominated by Kurdish outfits known as People's Protection Units or YPG. It has received air-drops of weapons and supplies and assistance from U.S. Special Forces. The U.S. backing for a heavily Kurdish armed force has been a point of tension with the Turkish government, which has a long history of crushing Kurdish rebellions. The CIA, meanwhile, has its own operations center inside Turkey from which it has been directing aid to rebel groups in Syria, providing them with TOW antitank missiles from Saudi Arabian weapons stockpiles. While the Pentagon's actions are part of an overt effort by the U.S. and its allies against Islamic State, the CIA's backing of militias is part of a separate covert U.S. effort aimed at keeping pressure on the Assad government. Over the last several months ... Kurdish-led groups [expanded] their zone of control to the outskirts of Aleppo, bringing them into more frequent conflict with the CIA-backed outfits.
Note: Explore powerful evidence that ISIS is aided and was possibly even created by covert US support. Watch this video which shows how the US and its allies stoke war in order to pad the pockets of mega-corporations which profit greatly from arms sales. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
One week before the Brussels terrorist attacks, a Saudi-led coalition bombed a market in Mastaba, Yemen. Although more people died in Mastaba than in Brussels - 106 versus 34 - the media and the international community in general ignored that earlier atrocity, as they've ignored most of the 150 indiscriminate aerial attacks reported by the United Nations and Human Rights Watch in the last year. The West is actually supporting - by way of arms and military assistance - this all-but-invisible war. The Saudis are violating international law as they carry out attacks [on] schools, hospitals, markets and homes, [which] account for 60% of the 3,200 civilians killed in the conflict. The U.S. and Britain are ... the lead providers of the Saudi coalition's arsenal. Saudi Arabia has ... contracted for at least $20 billion in weapons from the U.S. and almost $4.3 billion in weapons from Britain in 2015. Many human rights and humanitarian organizations, as well as the European Parliament, have called for an embargo on arms sales to Saudi Arabia. What remains unknown is the exact nature of the U.S. and British military role in the Saudi campaign. The U.S. Defense Department has vaguely stated that it is providing “targeting assistance,” which as a matter of law means it is liable for unlawful strikes in which it takes part. Member states of the U.N. Human Rights Council attempted to pursue ... an investigation [into unlawful airstrikes in Yemen], but the Saudi-U.S.-Britain trifecta effectively quashed it.
Note: In one of the largest arms deal ever, the sale of $60 billion worth of US fighter jets and attack helicopters to Saudi Arabia quietly proceeded in 2010 with State Department approval. An International Business Times investigation shows that $10 Million in Clinton Foundation donations coincided with a 97% increase in arms export authorizations to Saudi Arabia from 2006-2012. The underlying reason for this war and most wars is the huge profits that are made, as clearly revealed by a top US general in his highly revealing book "War is a Racket."
For days now, American cable news has broadcast non-stop coverage of the horrific attack in Brussels. This type of coverage is accorded only to Western victims of violence, but almost never to the non-Western victims of the West’s own violence. A little more than a week ago ... fighter jets from a Saudi-led (U.S.– and U.K.-supported) coalition bombed a market in Mastaba, in Yemen’s northern province of Hajjah. The latest count indicates that about 120 people were killed, including more than 20 children, and 80 were wounded in the strikes. Over the past several years, the U.S. has launched hideous civilian-slaughtering strikes in Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Libya, and Iraq. You’ll almost never hear any of those victims’ names on CNN, NPR, or most other large U.S. media outlets. No famous American TV correspondents will be sent to the places where those people have their lives ended by the bombs of the U.S. and its allies. At most, you’ll hear small, clinical news stories briefly and coldly describing what happened - usually accompanied by a justifying claim from U.S. officials, uncritically conveyed, about why the bombing was noble - but, even in those rare cases where such attacks are covered at all, everything will be avoided that would cause you to have any visceral or emotional connection to the victims. You’ll never know anything about them - not even their names ... and will therefore have no ability to feel anything for them. As a result, their existence will barely register. That’s by design.
The fifth year of the Syrian conflict was the worst yet for civilians - and Russia, the U.S., France and Britain are partly to blame. That's according to a new report from 30 aid and human rights groups. Titled "Fuelling the Fire," the report says some 50,000 people have been killed since April 2014 and that nearly a million more have been forced to flee their homes. It also says that as permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, the U.S., Britain, France and Russia could be doing much more to end the bloodshed. While fixing most of the blame on the Syrian regime and armed opposition groups, as well as violent extremists such as the Islamic State, the report says major world powers are undermining their own calls for peace through the weapons they provide to combatants, their own military strikes and what the report calls inadequate pressure on their allies to stop the killing. Jan Egeland with the Norwegian Refugee Council, one of the groups behind the report, said this week in Geneva that despite recent progress in aiding besieged areas, there are still seven places where they can't get aid to trapped people. "It's very clear that the seven areas where we have not reached, are [controlled] — six by the government, one by Islamic State," he said.
Note: The underlying reason for this war and most wars is the huge profits that are made, as clearly revealed by a top US general in his highly revealing book "War is a Racket." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
President Obama has authorized a limited new plan to train and arm rebel fighters to confront Islamic State militants in Syria, relaunching a Pentagon program that was suspended last fall after a series of embarrassing setbacks. The program is separate from a covert CIA-run training operation. The original plan involved selecting fighters from moderate Syrian rebel groups, taking them to Arab military bases outside Syria, and providing arms, equipment and six weeks of training. They then would [be] sent back to Syria. The first 54 recruits were ambushed in July by Nusra Front, an Al Qaeda affiliate. The second class of 71 surrendered much of their U.S.-issued ammunition and trucks to Nusra Front fighters in September in exchange for safe passage through northern Syria. The program initially was envisioned as a $500-million, three-year plan to recruit, train and equip fighters at bases in Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Thousands of rebels applied. Many were ... ineligible. In addition, the prospective host countries and many of the fighters disagreed with the U.S. emphasis on fighting Islamic State, saying the training should focus on ousting Syrian President Bashar Assad. The Pentagon shut the program down in less than a year. In its place, the Pentagon began providing communications equipment, weapons and ammunition to rebel commanders. The equipment was dropped into Syria by U.S. aircraft and distributed among the units as they pushed into territory controlled by Islamic State.
Note: Explore powerful evidence that ISIS is aided and was possibly even created by covert US support. Watch this video which shows how the US and its allies stoke war in order to pad the pockets of mega-corporations which profit greatly from arms sales. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Toward the end of a May 27 article in The Times about President Obama’s speech in which, among other things, he mentioned setting new standards for ordering drone strikes against non-Americans, there was this rather disturbing paragraph: “Even as he set new standards, a debate broke out about what they actually meant and what would actually change. For now, officials said, ‘signature strikes’ targeting groups of unidentified armed men presumed to be extremists will continue in the Pakistani tribal areas.” As Glenn Greenwald has pointed out, those two sentences seem to contradict the entire tenor of Mr. Obama’s speech, and of a letter to Congress from Attorney General Eric Holder. Both men seemed to be saying that the administration would stop using unmanned drones to kill targets merely suspected, due to their location or their actions, of a link to Al Qaeda or another terrorist organization. Those strikes have resulted in untold civilian casualties that have poisoned America’s relationship with Yemen and Pakistan. Mr. Obama talked at some length about civilian casualties, and also said that the need to use drone strikes against “forces that are massing to support attacks on coalition forces” will disappear once American forces withdraw from Afghanistan at the end of 2014. But so what to make of that paragraph in the May 27 article? I asked the White House. What I got in response was part of a background briefing given after the president’s speech that repeated the language about how the need for signature strikes will fade.
Note: Drone strikes often miss their intended targets and reportedly create more terrorists than they kill. Casualties of war whose identities are unknown are frequently mis-reported to be "militants". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The 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.
The Republican-led House intelligence committee wants the Pentagon to provide what it believes are illegally deleted intelligence files pertaining to the U.S. military campaign against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. "We have been made aware that both files and emails have been deleted by personnel at CENTCOM, and we expect that the Department of Defense will provide these and all other relevant documents to the committee," [Committee Chairman Devin] Nunes said at a hearing Thursday. Nunes' assertions led to an extraordinary public acknowledgment from Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, who was testifying before the committee, of the "unusually high" dissatisfaction inside the agency responsible for providing military intelligence on ISIS. There is already an ongoing Defense Department Inspector General investigation into allegations that intelligence analysts at CENTCOM were pressured into changing their analysis to make their reports sound overly optimistic. Congress is conducting a separate investigation. The committee has information from whistleblowers that both intelligence files and emails were deliberately deleted at Central Command, but that copies remain in the hands of analysts. Some Pentagon officials have privately told CNN they believe the problem at Central Command is that some analysts feel their work is not accepted if it shows a negative view of progress.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
It is worse in Afghanistan now than ... ever. The conflict, begun initially to oust the Taliban that sheltered al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S., has cost the lives of more than 3,500 Coalition service members and tens of thousands of Afghan civilians. The war ... moved back into focus three weeks ago with the death of Wasil Ahmad. Wasil learned firearms and commanded a unit of anti-Taliban fighters briefly, before Taliban gunmen on a motorbike mowed him down as he bought food for his mother and siblings. Wasil was just 11 years old. Dissent in the ranks of the Taliban has led to ISIS becoming a radical, brutal and attractive alternative to the country's disenfranchised youth, for whom the old insurgency isn't moving fast enough. The Taliban hold more territory now than at any time since 2001. There are about 10,000 U.S. troops left, who can hunt extremists, but not hold territory. In terms of Western goals - things are right back where they started: needing to keep Afghanistan free of extremists and a viable country for its people. Without that the result is thousands of refugees in Europe, and ISIS gets a new safe haven. What is left is a country where the West is discredited; ... where most fighters are meaner, better armed, and more chaotic than they were in 2001; and whose name causes opinion-formers in the West to try and change the subject.
Note: The underlying reason for this war and most wars is the huge profits that are made, as clearly revealed by a top US general in his highly revealing book "War is a Racket." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Real health care for all would be nice, we are told, but there's just no room for it in the budget. What's rarely mentioned ... is that the current version of the budget - the place where our taxes go and metamorphose into services and activities that are supposed to support us - is extremely bad for our health. Much of our tax money, on both the federal and state levels, is funneled toward activities that are literally killing people. Instead of dismissing "health care for all" as an appealing-but-unachievable dream, we need to talk about how we can shift our overall funding priorities from a framework of death and destruction to one of life and healing. In mid-February, the Obama administration released its 2017 budget proposal, in which almost $623 billion is allocated to the Pentagon and related spending. The "global war on terror" has left 1.3 million dead. Beyond Pentagon funding, the administration's 2017 budget calls for $19 billion for nuclear weapons. In fact, President Obama recently proposed [expanding] the US's [nuclear] arsenal, spending $1 trillion over 30 years. This prioritization of state-sponsored death and destruction over health and renewal is by no means limited to the US Defense Department. Each year, in total ... the United States spends about $80 billion on incarceration. This country locks 2.3 million people ... inside cages. In part, real "health care" would necessitate dismantling [our] violent institutions.
Note: Read an excellent article diving deeper into this issue titled "Why the Deafening Silence on Cutting the Military Budget?" For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
In 2007, shortly after vice-president Joe Biden learned that his eldest son would be deployed to Iraq, the then-presidential hopeful turned to a modest crowd at the Iowa state fair and admitted that he didn’t want Beau to go. Beau arrived in Iraq the following year. Though he returned home safely ... his health deteriorated, and he was diagnosed with brain cancer. Less than two years later, he died at the age of 46. A new book ... suggests a possible link between his illness and service. Based on clusters of similar cases, scientific studies and expert opinions, author Joseph Hickman proposes in The Burn Pits: The Poisoning of America’s Soldiers that [some] US service members in Iraq and Afghanistan confronted ... respiratory issues relating to their burn pit exposure. Others likely developed more life-threatening conditions such as cancers, Hickman contends, because of what the burn pits were built on top of: the remnants of Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons program. The Pentagon ordered the use of open-air burn pits to dispose of the wars’ massive volume of waste. Among the other hazardous items service members recall being burned are: petroleum, oil, rubber, tires, plastic, styrofoam, batteries, appliances, electrical equipment, pesticides, aerosol cans, oil, explosives, casings, medical waste and animal and human carcasses. The VA does does not acknowledge a link between burn pits and long-term health problems. Of the 500 people included in Hickman’s burn pit study, the VA denied disability benefits to over 90% of them.
Note: Read more about these toxic burn pits and the US military's ongoing refusal to accept responsibility for the negative impacts of these on veteran's health. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Before Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, and Edward Snowden, the intelligence whistleblower, there was Katharine Gun. The former GCHQ employee ... was a young Mandarin specialist at the British government’s eavesdropping agency in Cheltenham. In early 2003 she received an email asking her and her colleagues to help the US government spy on UN security council delegations in New York. It was a critical moment, as Washington was seeking UN backing for its invasion of Iraq. Gun decided the world had to know, whatever the cost to her life and career. She leaked the memo to the Observer and was arrested, lost her job and faced trial under the Official Secrets Act. Thirteen years later, as bloodshed continues in Iraq, the almost forgotten story is to be brought to a new audience in Official Secrets, a movie [that] will chart Gun’s unlikely bid – courageous self-sacrifice to supporters, treachery in the view of critics – to block George W Bush and Tony Blair’s march to war. Unlike many whistleblowers who leak thousands of documents after the event, Gun was intervening in an active operation and trying to stop a war. The US National Security Agency memo told employees of GCHQ to gather “the whole gamut of information that could give American policymakers an edge in obtaining results favourable to US goals or to head off surprises”. “I saw the email and my gut reaction was pretty instantaneous, that it was highly explosive information and that it should be out in the public domain,” she recalled.
Note: The US has spent several trillion dollars pursuing a policy of endless war since 9/11. Great Britain did not believe Iraq to be a global security threat, but backed the US-led invasion on this false pretense for political reasons. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
“The Brothers” is a riveting chronicle of government-sanctioned murder, casual elimination of “inconvenient” regimes, relentless prioritization of American corporate interests and cynical arrogance on the part of two men. John Foster Dulles and his brother, Allen, were ... lawyers, partners in the immensely powerful firm of Sullivan & Cromwell. John Foster Dulles served as secretary of state from 1953 to 1959; his brother ran the C.I.A. from 1953 to 1961. In his detailed, wellconstructed and highly readable book, Stephen Kinzer ... shows how the brothers drove America’s interventionist foreign policy. Kinzer highlights John Foster Dulles’s central role in channeling funds from the United States to Nazi Germany in the 1930s. Sullivan & Cromwell floated bonds for Krupp A. G., the arms manufacturer, and also worked for I. G. Farben, the chemicals conglomerate that later manufactured Zyklon B, the gas used to murder millions of Jews. For the Dulles brothers, and for much of the American government, threats to corporate interests were categorized as support for communism. There are also reminders in Kinzer’s book of dark events in the history of American intelligence. Sixty years ago, Frank Olson, a C.I.A. officer, was reported to have jumped to his death during mind-control experiments “in which psychoactive drugs were administered to unknowing victims.” But last year, Kinzer reports, Olson’s family filed suit, claiming he had actually been murdered after visiting secret C.I.A. prisons in Europe.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing intelligence agency corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Billions of dollars spent by the U.S. government in Afghanistan over the past decade has failed to make the country safer or substantially improve its economic prospects, according to a new report. The special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction [SIGAR] says its investigations led to the imprisonment of two U.S. Army sergeants who were found guilty of accepting illegal bribes. SIGAR’s report also points out that between October and December 2015, “Afghanistan proved even more dangerous than it was a year ago” and that the Taliban now controls more territory, around 30 percent, than at any time since 2001. The U.S. has spent $113.1 billion funding Afghanistan’s reconstruction since 2002, including $8.4 billion for counter-narcotics efforts. Despite that enormous sum ... Afghanistan has the equivalent of 400,000 football fields of opium under cultivation. SIGAR’s quarterly report follows a series of damning discoveries about Department of Defense spending in Afghanistan. In December, SIGAR released a report that said the DOD spent $150 million on private homes ... for between five and 10 U.S. government employees. Afghanistan is also perceived as one of the most corrupt countries in the world: Transparency International ranks Afghanistan as 166th out of 168 countries.
Note: The same thing could be said about Iraq. The US has spent several trillion dollars pursuing a policy of endless war since 9/11. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Top U.S. military commanders, who only a few months ago were planning to pull the last American troops out of Afghanistan by year’s end, are now quietly talking about an American commitment that could keep thousands of troops in the country for decades. The new American outlook marks a striking change for Obama, who campaigned on a promise to bring American troops home and has said repeatedly that he does not support the “idea of endless war.” And it highlights a major shift for the American military, which has spent much of the past decade racing to hit milestones as part of its broader “exit strategy” from Afghanistan and Iraq. These days, that phrase has largely disappeared from the military’s lexicon. In its place, there is a broad recognition in the Pentagon that building an effective Afghan army and police force will take a generation’s commitment, including billions of dollars a year in outside funding and constant support from thousands of foreign advisers on the ground. There are now 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Plans call for Obama to halve that force by the time he leaves office, but he could defer the decision to the next president.
Note: The US has spent several trillion dollars pursuing a policy of endless war since 9/11. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
The war in Syria has become a tangled web of conflict dominated by "al-Qaeda veterans, hardened Iraqi insurgents, Arab jihadist ideologues and Western volunteers." On the surface, those competing actors are fueled by an overlapping mixture of ideologies and political agendas. Just below it, experts suspect, they're powered by something else: Captagon. A tiny, highly addictive pill produced in Syria and widely available across the Middle East, its illegal sale funnels hundreds of millions of dollars back into the war-torn country's black-market economy each year. A powerful amphetamine tablet based on the original synthetic drug known as "fenethylline," Captagon quickly produces a euphoric intensity in users, allowing Syria's fighters to stay up for days, killing with a numb, reckless abandon. "Syrian government forces and rebel groups each say the other uses Captagon to endure protracted engagements without sleep, [and] ordinary Syrians are increasingly experimenting with the pills," Reuters reported. One secular ex-Syrian fighter who spoke to the BBC said the drug is tailor-made for the battlefield because of its ability to give soldiers superhuman energy and courage. Another ex-fighter told the BBC that his 350-person brigade took the pill without knowing if it was a drug or medicine for energy. While Westerners have speculated that the drug is being used by Islamic State fighters, the biggest consumer has for years been Saudi Arabia. In 2010, a third of the world's supply - about seven tons - ended up in Saudi Arabia.
Foreign arms sales by the United States jumped by almost $10 billion in 2014, about 35 percent, even as the global weapons market remained flat and competition among suppliers increased, a new congressional study has found. American weapons receipts rose to $36.2 billion in 2014 from $26.7 billion the year before, bolstered by multibillion-dollar agreements with Qatar, Saudi Arabia and South Korea. The United States remained the single largest provider of arms around the world last year, controlling just over 50 percent of the market. Russia followed the United States as the top weapons supplier, completing $10.2 billion in sales, compared with $10.3 billion in 2013. Sweden was third, with roughly $5.5 billion in sales, followed by France with $4.4 billion and China with $2.2 billion. South Korea ... was the world’s top weapons buyer in 2014, completing $7.8 billion in contracts. Iraq followed South Korea, with $7.3 billion in purchases. Some arms producers have adopted measures like flexible financing, counter-trade guarantees and coproduction and co-assembly agreements to try to secure sales. Given its positioning, the United States was likely to remain the dominant supplier of arms to developing nations in coming years. As in previous years, the vast majority of arms were supplied by large, established countries to developing ones, which made $61.8 billion in total purchases in 2014.
Note: This annual report is among the most detailed nonclassified international arms sales data available to the public. Watch this video which shows how the US and its allies stoke war in order to pad the pockets of mega-corporations which profit greatly from arms sales. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Ramadi was liberated today, but will anyone notice? The sad fact is that nothing that actually happens on the ground against Daesh (ISIS) is likely going to have a material effect on the culture of fear that has been created to infest the American psyche by so many people who should know so much better. A whopping 59% of Democrats are unhappy with the progress President Obama has made on the war on terror, along with 86% of Republicans and 69% of independents. What did anyone expect? Since the Paris shootings, and certainly since the shootings in San Bernardino, through the efforts of our leading television news stars, Daesh has been converted into the greatest threat to Western civilization since the Battle of Tours. They are supervillains with mad computer skillz and secret Muslim mind-tricks who can turn your children into implacable murder machines. If you want to see what losing the war on terror really looks like, don't look to the Middle East. Instead, watch the television commercials approved by the various Republican presidential candidates. The three Democratic candidates are better, but not by much. You can't win a "war" on terror any more than you can win a "war" on hate or a "war" on any other easily activated human emotion, if there are enough powerful institutions that can profit from its activation. It's really up to the rest of us ... to keep things in perspective about the genuine dangers and the fantastical ones by which other people profit.
Note: Explore powerful evidence that ISIS is aided and was possibly even created by covert US support. Watch this video which shows how the US and its allies stoke war in order to pad the pockets of mega-corporations which profit greatly from arms sales. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the manipulation of public perception.
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.
A new report from Amnesty International links Islamic State (IS) to American-manufactured weapons sourced from ... more than 25 different countries, including Iraqi military stocks that were supplied to the Iraqi army by the United States. “The quantity and range of IS stocks of arms and ammunition ultimately reflect decades of irresponsible arms transfers to Iraq ... as well as endemic corruption in Iraq itself,” the report reads. That stockpile, according to Amnesty International, includes “more than 100 different types of arms and ammunition,” including hundreds of thousands of US-manufactured assault rifles and pistols that were supplied to the Iraqi army between 2003 and 2007, during the US-led occupation. When IS captured several Iraqi cities in 2014, it also captured military bases and remaining weapons stockpiles that had not been secured by Iraqi military forces during the previous war. Since then, the terrorist organization has continued to capture US-manufactured weapons previously owned by the Iraqi military. In order to stop these weapons from continuing to end up in the wrong hands, the report recommends utilizing stricter regulations for the export and transfer of weapons to Iraq and the Iraqi military, and ... upholding the Arms Trade Treaty, which was adopted by the United Nations in 2013 as an attempt to oversee this largely unregulated trade. The United States has signed but not ratified the treaty.
Note: Explore powerful evidence that ISIS is aided and was possibly even created by covert US support. Watch this video which shows how the US and its allies stoke war in order to pad the pockets of mega-corporations which profit greatly from arms sales. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
A group formed this year by executives and lobbyists for the defense contracting industry is taking credit for “driving the national debate on foreign policy during the 2016 presidential election,” and in particular for getting Republican presidential candidates to call for escalating military action in Syria. In an email to supporters over the weekend, Mike Rogers, the founder of Americans for Peace, Prosperity, and Security, hailed the group for “pushing candidates on national security.” The email also highlighted a quote from Jeb Bush at an APPS forum calling for the U.S. to be prepared for a “long haul” war on ISIS, and a similar comment from Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who said the U.S. should engage ISIS as it had against the Taliban in Afghanistan. APPS was formed by current and former officials from Raytheon, BAE Systems, SAIC, and other major defense contractors. Lobbyists who represent the defense industry are also involved. Rogers, the former House Intelligence Committee chairman who retired from Congress last year, also represents private clients. To “help elect a president who supports American engagement and a strong foreign policy,” the group spends money on public events in primary states and encourages presidential candidates to take hawkish positions.
Months after the Obama administration declared combat operations over in Afghanistan, the CIA continues to run a shadow war in the eastern part of the country, overseeing an Afghan proxy called the Khost Protection Force [KPF], according to local officials, former commanders of that militia and Western advisers. The highly secretive paramilitary unit has been implicated in civilian killings, torture, questionable detentions, arbitrary arrests and use of excessive force in controversial night raids. In several attacks, witnesses described hearing English being spoken by armed men who had interpreters with them, suggesting American operatives were present during assaults where extreme force was used. Afghan government officials acknowledge that the KPF has killed civilians and committed other abuses. In Khost, the KPF is more influential than the Afghan army and police, and is unaccountable to the provincial government. The CIA [directs] the KPF’s operations, paying fighters’ salaries, and training and equipping them. The CIA is not bound by the Bilateral Security Agreement between Afghanistan and Washington that, among other rules, limits the ability of U.S. military forces to enter Afghan homes. The KPF was one of several large paramilitary forces created by the CIA in the months after the Taliban was ousted following the 9/11 attacks.
Note: Read a fascinating article titled "Does the Pentagon Want Nuclear War Against Russia?" Key leaders in both the CIA and Pentagon seem to want war at all costs, particularly as war fills their coffers and those of their big business buddies. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and throughout intelligence agencies.
Terrorism and mass migration are bitter results of outside meddling in the Middle East. They will intensify. Interventions multiply our enemies. Every village raid, every drone strike, and every shot fired in anger on foreign soil produces anti-Western passion. Some are shocked when that passion leads to violent reaction. They should not be. The instinct to protect one’s own, and to strike back against attackers, is as old as humanity itself. Horrific terror assaults cannot be justified as any kind of self-defense. Their savagery is inexcusable by all legal, political, and moral standards. But they do not emerge from nowhere. It was never realistic for the West - the invading world - to imagine that it is an impregnable fortress, or an island, or a planet apart from the regions its armies invade. This is especially true of Europe, which is literally just a long walk from the conflict zone. Now that Russia has joined the list of intervening powers, it too is vulnerable. So is the United States. Countries, nations, and peoples must shape their own fates. Often they do so by reacting to oppression. Religion kept Europe in the Dark Ages for a thousand years. Russians and Chinese accepted brutal Communist rule for generations. Violent extremism in the Middle East will end only when people who live there end it. That cannot begin to happen until outsiders leave the region to its own people. The Middle East will not stabilize until its people are allowed to act for themselves, rather than being acted upon by others.
Note: A carefully researched report on the covert origins of ISIS suggests the creation of terrorists is useful for Washington's elite. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing terrorism news articles from reliable major media sources.
The above video [see video at link above], reportedly recorded outside of Aleppo, Syria and posted online Tuesday, features rebels from the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army firing a U.S.-supplied anti-tank guided missile at what it is clearly a U.S.-made Humvee. Rarely do the weapons and equipment of a conflict come together in a single video to highlight how America now fights its wars, but there it is. According to the caption on the video, the strike killed one occupant. The now-destroyed Humvee was mounted with a 14.5mm anti-aircraft gun. It is unclear if the U.S. Humvee is one that the Islamic State might have captured from Iraqi security forces during its blitz across parts of northern Iraq last year, or if it’s from U.S.-supplied Iraqi militias who have since entered Syria to prop up President Bashar al-Assad’s fledging forces. One thing is for certain: that truck was built in the U.S.A. As the war enter its fifth year ... the number of deaths crest well over 250,000.
Note: Isn't it interesting that many of the weapons used by both sides in the Syrian conflict come from the US. Watch this video which shows how the US and its allies stoke war in order to pad the pockets of mega-corporations which profit greatly from arms sales. Then read this New York Times article which shows how the FBI aids and abets terrorism on a regular basis to keep us in fear. The evidence is overwhelming that the war on terror is a manipulated fraud to keep the public in fear and keep certain factions of the power elite in power and control.
The devastating civil war in Syria has claimed the lives of more than 19,000 children since the conflict began in 2011, according to new estimates tabulated by the Syrian Human Rights Network. The report found that 18,858 Syrian children were killed by government forces, mostly through missile shelling and the use of barrel bombs in active conflict zones, from March 2011 through October 2015. 582 children were shot by snipers and 159 were tortured to death in government prisons, the group wrote. Rebel forces killed an additional 603 children in that time frame, and another 229 died at the hands of the Islamic State militant group. Since September, Russian airstrikes have resulted in the deaths of at least 86 children, while airstrikes by U.S.-backed coalition forces have killed 75, the report said. The influx of Syrian refugees into Europe has stoked a continent-wide crisis in recent years. But a newer debate around how many refugees to accept, and how to screen them, has cropped up in Europe and the United States in recent days amid fears that terrorists could try to infiltrate refugee groups. Various human rights groups put the total civilian death toll from the Syrian conflict at around 200,000, making child deaths around 10 percent of the carnage. But death counts have been overwhelmingly difficult to calculate; the United Nations announced last year it would stop updating its estimates.
Note: The New York Times recently reported that a Syrian passport found at a Paris bombing site was planted as part of a false evidence trail "to turn public opinion against Syrian refugees." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
In 2009, not long after his historic election and seven years after the first U.S. drone strike, President Barack Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize. Since then, however, deadly U.S. drone strikes have increased sharply, as have doubts about the program’s reliability and effectiveness. The latest criticism comes from Drone, a new documentary about the CIA’s covert drone war. To help promote the film and inveigh against the agency’s drone program ... four former operators - Stephen Lewis, Michael Haas, Cian Westmoreland and Brandon Bryant - appeared at a press conference. Speaking out can lead to veiled threats and prosecution. Which is why for years Bryant was the only drone veteran who openly rebuked the drone war. But his persistence and his appearance in the film, the other three say, inspired them to come forward. On multiple occasions, the men say they complained to their superiors about their concerns to no avail. Drone strikes kill far more civilians than the government admits. These deaths, they argue, wind up helping militant groups recruit new members and hurt the U.S.’s long-term security. By distancing soldiers from the battlefield, the operators suggest the people carrying out strikes may become even more desensitized to killing than their counterparts on the front lines. On some occasions, Haas says operators referred to children as “fun-sized terrorists” or “TITS,” terrorists in training.
Note: A human rights attorney has stated the four former Air Force drone operators-turned-whistleblowers mentioned above have had their credit cards and bank accounts frozen. How many more have not spoken out against these abuses for fear of retaliation like this? Read more about the major failings of US drone attacks. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
From 2011 to 2013, the most elite forces in the U.S. military, supported by the CIA and other elements of the intelligence community, set out to destroy the Taliban and al Qaeda forces that remained hidden ... along Afghanistan’s northeastern border with Pakistan. Dubbed Operation Haymaker, the campaign has been described as a potential model for the future of American warfare. The military’s own analysis demonstrates that the Haymaker campaign was in many respects a failure. The vast majority of those killed in airstrikes were not the direct targets. Nor did the campaign succeed in significantly degrading al Qaeda’s operations in the region. The frequency with which “targeted killing” operations hit unnamed bystanders is among the more striking takeaways from the Haymaker slides. [Documents obtained by The Intercept] show that during a five-month stretch of the campaign, nearly nine out of 10 people who died in airstrikes were not the Americans’ direct targets. Larry Lewis, formerly a principal research scientist at the Center for Naval Analyses, ... found that drone strikes in Afghanistan were 10 times more likely to kill civilians than conventional aircraft. This month, an American airstrike on a hospital run by the international organization Médecins Sans Frontičres ... killed at least a dozen members of the humanitarian group’s medical staff and 10 patients, including three children. A nurse on the scene recalled seeing six victims in the intensive care unit ablaze in their beds.
U.S. President Barack Obama’s pledge Thursday to keep American troops in Afghanistan through 2016 was the last thing Mary Hladky wanted to hear. “It’s what we were dreading,” said the mother of three, whose son Ryan is in the National Guard after serving in the Army from 2009 to 2013 and in Afghanistan during the surge in 2011. She said announcements such as the one Obama made last week no longer surprise her, but they are still very upsetting. In May 2014, Obama said it was “time to turn the page on ... the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq,” saying he would withdraw the last American troops from the former country by 2016. Thursday, the president reversed course, saying the U.S. would keep at least 9,800 troops in the Central Asian nation through most of 2016, with at least 5,500 of them there at the end of next year. Obama ... was joined by Vice President Joe Biden and top military leaders when he made the announcement in Washington. After her son’s deployment, Hladky joined a group called Military Families Speak Out (MFSO), which has for years urged lawmakers to bring U.S. troops back from the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Although Obama said last week he opposes the idea of what he called “endless war,” it appears the decision to conclude what is now a 14-year-old conflict in Afghanistan will no longer be his to make, given the end of his term in office in January 2017. Meanwhile, his move has resulted in a tremendous amount of anger and betrayal being felt among many military families.
On October 3, a U.S. AC-130 gunship attacked a hospital run by Médecins Sans Frontičres in Kunduz, Afghanistan, partially destroying it. The U.S. has repeatedly attacked civilian facilities in the past but the targets have generally not been affiliated with a European, Nobel Peace Prize-winning humanitarian organization such as MSF. On the seventh day of Operation Desert Storm, [a] U.S.-led coalition bombed the Infant Formula Production Plant in the Abu Ghraib suburb of Baghdad. The CIA’s own investigation later concluded the site had been bombed “in the mistaken belief that it was a key BW [Biological Weapon] facility.” In 1998, the Clinton administration targeted the Al Shifa [pharmaceutical] factory with 13 cruise missiles [claiming] the plant was “associated with the bin Laden network” and was “involved in the production of materials for chemical weapons.” The Clinton administration never produced any convincing evidence. The plant had produced 90 percent of Sudan’s major pharmaceutical products. Due to its destruction “tens of thousands of people ... have suffered and died. At the beginning of the U.S-led invasion of Afghanistan, the U.S. attacked the complex housing the International Committee of the Red Cross in Kabul. Then the U.S. bombed the same complex again. The second attack destroyed warehouses containing tons of food and supplies for refugees. Several weeks after the Red Cross attacks, the U.S. bombed the Kabul bureau of Al Jazeera, destroying it and damaging the nearby office of the BBC.
Note: Yet the US military claims it has incredible accuracy with its bombings and the information on which they are based. The link above provides a list of major recent US military attacks on civilian institutions. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Yesterday afternoon, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power marched to Twitter to proclaim: “We call on Russia to immediately cease attacks on Syrian oppo[sition and] civilians.” Along with that decree, she posted a statement from the U.S. and several of its closest authoritarian allies — including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the U.K. — warning Russia that civilian casualties “will only fuel more extremism and radicalization.” Early this morning, in the Afghan city of Kunduz, the U.S. dropped bombs on a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders. The airstrike killed at least nine of the hospital’s medical staff, and seriously injured dozens of patients. This strike on a hospital in Afghanistan comes days after the Saudi-led coalition bombed a wedding in Yemen that killed more than 130 people. After days of silence from the U.S. government ... the Saudi Foreign Minister told CBS News that “We work with our allies including the United States on these targets.” This last week has been a particularly gruesome illustration of continuous U.S. conduct under the War on Terror banner, including under the Nobel Peace Prize-winning president. The formula by now is clear: bombing whatever countries it wants, justifying it all by reflexively labelling their targets as “terrorists,” and then dishonestly denying or casually dismissing the civilians they slaughter as “collateral damage.” Russia [uses] this exact rhetorical template in Syria.
U.S. special operations forces in Iraq developed an untraceable explosive device they nicknamed the Xbox to kill Iraqi Shiite militiamen smuggling roadside bombs from Iran to attack American troops, according to a new book. Starting in about 2007, Army Delta Force commandos in a special task force in the war to oust Saddam Hussein used the bombs against Iranian collaborators whose improvised explosive devices were powerful enough to destroy the most heavily armored U.S. vehicles, Sean Naylor wrote in “Relentless Strike: The Secret History of Joint Special Operations Command.” The Xbox bomb “was designed to look and behave exactly like one made by Iraqi insurgents” with a hodgepodge of Russian, Chinese and Pakistani-made parts, wrote Naylor, a contributing editor at Foreign Policy. The intent was that if the device were sent to the FBI for analysis, even its experts “would mistakenly trace the bomb back” to a particular terrorist bomb maker. Using the bomb ... the command “found a way around the political restrictions by killing its enemies without leaving any U.S. fingerprints,” according to the book.
American-trained Syrian fighters gave at least a quarter of their U.S.-provided equipment to al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria early this week, the U.S. Central Command said late Friday. The acknowledgment is the latest discouraging report regarding the $500 million train-and-equip program, which Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, head of Central Command, said last week had only “four or five” trained Syrian fighters active in Syria. Since then, the military has said approximately 70 fighters have been added. In the toxic and chaotic Syrian mix, Jabhat al-Nusra and many Syrian rebels are fighting a separate war from the one being waged by the United States against the Islamic State. Their main goal is the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad. U.S. military vetters have had a hard time finding approved Syrians to train who are also willing to pledge to direct their focus toward the Islamic State rather than Assad. The Pentagon’s admission of the arms turnover comes at an especially sensitive time for the White House. In light of the shortcomings of the train-and-equip program ... White House and Pentagon officials have been considering providing arms and ammunition to a wider array of rebel groups and relaxing some vetting standards. The recent disclosures, however, highlight the pitfalls of that strategy in Syria, where the United States has essentially no troops on the ground and little means of accounting for the weapons it provides.
Note: A carefully researched report on the covert origins of ISIS shows that the U.S. has been providing arms and support to al-Nusra by various channels for years. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
This year, US Special Operations forces have already deployed to 135 nations, according to Ken McGraw, a spokesman for Special Operations Command (SOCOM). That’s roughly 70 percent of the countries on the planet. Every day, in fact, America’s most elite troops are carrying out missions in 80 to 90 nations, practicing night raids or sometimes conducting them for real, engaging in sniper training or sometimes actually gunning down enemies from afar. As part of a global engagement strategy of endless hush-hush operations conducted on every continent but Antarctica, they have now eclipsed the number and range of special ops missions undertaken at the height of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the waning days of the Bush administration, Special Operations forces (SOF) were reportedly deployed in only about 60 nations around the world. By 2010, according to the Washington Post, that number had swelled to 75. [It reached] a new record of 135 this summer. This 80 percent increase over the last five years is indicative of SOCOM’s exponential expansion which first shifted into high gear following the 9/11 attacks. SOCOM will not name the 135 countries in which America’s most elite forces were deployed this year, let alone disclose the nature of those operations. These forces carry out operations almost entirely unknown to the American taxpayers who fund them, operations conducted far from the scrutiny of the media or meaningful outside oversight of any kind.
Pope Francis on Thursday gently scolded Congress on a variety of issues. Speaking about his determination “to minimize and, in the long term, to end the many armed conflicts throughout our world,” when he said this: "Here we have to ask ourselves: Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade." The U.S. is by far the largest arms supplier in the world. During the Obama administration, weapons sales have surged to record levels, in large part due to huge shipments to Gulf States, particularly Saudi Arabia. A healthy chunk of those arms sales are heavily subsidized by the U.S. taxpayer. Congress, which could have blocked any of this, went along happily — in no small part because of the approximately $150 million a year the defense industry spends on lobbying and direct campaign contributions. U.S. firms make up seven of the top 10 arms-exporting companies, with Lockheed Martin and Boeing coming in at numbers one and two. In August, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that he would even further speed up U.S. arms sales to Gulf countries.
Note: Read an excellent essay by a top US general exposing how war is a racket. The Pope began speaking out against this racket in a talk with Italian schoolchildren in May. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Only four or five Syrian individuals trained by the United States military to confront the Islamic State remain in the fight, the head of the United States Central Command told a Senate panel on Wednesday, a bleak acknowledgment that the Defense Department’s $500 million program to raise an army of Syrian fighters has gone nowhere. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, the top American commander in the Middle East, also told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the United States would not reach its goal of training 5,000 Syrian fighters anytime soon. In May, the Defense Department began its training program for up to 5,400 fighters a year, in what White House officials described as a necessary component of President Obama’s strategy to use local troops on the ground against the Islamic State. General Austin told the Senate committee that many fighters in the first class of 54 graduates of the training program for Syrians were attacked in July by an offshoot of Al Qaeda, the Nusra Front, and either fled or were killed, leaving only a “small number” of rebels still in the fight. Asked how many fighters were still in Syria, General Austin said that “it’s a small number.” He added, “We’re talking four or five.”
Japan is expected to pass controversial security bills ... after days of fraught debates that at times descended into scuffles, tears and tantrums. The controversial laws have seen tens of thousands take to the streets in almost daily rallies for the past few weeks, in a show of public anger on a scale rarely seen in Japan. Opponents argue the new laws – which would allow the tightly restricted military to intervene overseas to defend its allies – violate Japan’s pacifist constitution and could see the country dragged into American wars in far-flung parts of the globe. The changes reinterpret the constitution to allow Japan’s military to fight to protect its allies, which [prime minister Shinzo] Abe argues is necessary because of threats from an increasingly belligerent China and unstable North Korea. Still, there are growing signs the campaign has taken a political toll – opinion polls show the vast majority of the public is against the bills. Protesters, including a Nobel Prize winner, popular musicians and other prominent figures, fear the changes could fundamentally alter Japan’s character as a pacifist nation. Security experts said the bills would also force a re-evaluation of Japan’s place on the world stage.
Hamid Karzai, the former president of Afghanistan, has questioned the existence of al-Qaida, and denied that the 9/11 terror attacks ... were planned in Afghanistan. On the eve of the anniversary of the 2001 attacks, Karzai, who left office last year after 12 years, used an interview with al Jazeera to express his doubt that the terrorist group led by the late Osama bin Laden was responsible for the operation which prompted the invasion of Afghanistan. Karzai ... also claimed in the interview that Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan are “definitely” members of “Pakistani militias”. When asked if he agreed that al-Qaida in Afghanistan had been behind the 9/11 attacks ... Karzai replied: “I can tell you for a fact that the operation was neither conducted from Afghanistan, nor were the Afghan people responsible for that.” A daring and bloody operation involving US special forces and the CIA put Karzai back in Afghanistan in the last weeks of the 2001 war and then into power as a supposed consensus candidate. But Karzai quickly proved himself independent and contrarian. Officials from the US, the UK, Nato and the UN all repeatedly criticised Karzai for failing to crack down on rampant corruption and the booming narcotics trade in Afghanistan. By 2009, according to Robert Gates, the former US defence secretary, Washington was so keen to oust the Afghan president that officials connived in delaying an Afghan presidential election and then tried to manipulate the outcome in a “clumsy and failed putsch”.
Note: By 2000, the Taliban had mostly stopped heroin production in Afghanistan. But once former Unocal employee Hamid Karzai was installed into power by the US, bags of CIA cash helped transform Afghanistan into a narco state.
David Cameron is facing questions over Britain’s decision to follow the US model of drone strikes after the prime minister confirmed that the government had authorised an unprecedented aerial strike in Syria that killed two Britons fighting alongside Islamic State (Isis). Cameron justified the strikes on the grounds that Reyaad Khan, a 21-year-old from Cardiff, who had featured in a prominent Isis recruiting video last year, represented a “clear and present danger”. Two other Isis fighters were killed in the attack, [which was] the first time that a UK prime minister has authorised the targeting of a UK citizen by an unmanned aerial drone outside a formal conflict. One of them, Ruhul Amin, 26, was also British. A third Briton, Junaid Hussain, 21, was killed by a separate US airstrike three days later. Cameron disclosed the strikes in a dramatic afternoon statement which had originally been billed as a chance to outline his plans to take thousands of extra refugees from Syria. Downing Street dismissed suggestions that the prime minister had deliberately engineered UK involvement in the drone strikes rather than leaving them to the US ... as a way of making the case for greater British involvement in action against Isis in the country. Cameron, who had said that he would seek parliament’s approval before extending any British military action against Isis targets from Iraq to Syria, said he had acted in line with his commitments, [because he] reserved the right to authorise strikes without a vote in the event of an emergency.
Note: So as long as a person is declared a known terrorist, the government is claiming the right to kill that person without any legal process. Is that constitutional? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
An assistant professor in the law department of the US military academy at West Point has argued that legal scholars critical of the war on terrorism represent a “treasonous” fifth column that should be attacked as enemy combatants. In a lengthy academic paper, the professor, William C Bradford, proposes to threaten “Islamic holy sites” as part of a war against undifferentiated Islamic radicalism. That war ought to be prosecuted vigorously, he wrote, “even if it means great destruction, innumerable enemy casualties, and civilian collateral damage”. Other “lawful targets” for the US military in its war on terrorism, Bradford argues, include “law school facilities, scholars’ home offices and media outlets where they give interviews” – all civilian areas, but places where a “causal connection between the content disseminated and Islamist crimes incited” exist. He suggests in a footnote that “threatening Islamic holy sites might create deterrence, discredit Islamism, and falsify the assumption that decadence renders Western restraint inevitable”. The US military’s educational institutions have come under fire before for promoting “total war” against Islam. In 2012, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, ordered a comprehensive scouring of anti-Islam training material after a course proposed “Hiroshima” tactics against Islamic holy sites, targeting the “civilian population wherever necessary”.
Jeremy Corbyn’s stunning transformation from perennial leftist rebel to leader of Britain’s Labour Party upended British politics Saturday. The Corbyn victory represented an extraordinary rebuke to Labour’s more centrist powers-that-be, especially to former prime minister Tony Blair, who had campaigned vigorously against Corbyn. But interventions from Blair and other party heavyweights apparently did little to halt Corbyn’s momentum and may have even backfired. In a fiery victory speech, Corbyn vowed to combat society’s “grotesque inequality” and make Britain a more humane country. Corbyn has often bucked the Labour leadership on critical issues — including the vote to authorize the Iraq war — and his message resonated among Labour voters who believe their party has been reduced to a pale imitation of the Tories, especially as it lurched to the center under Blair. He has previously called for Britain to leave NATO, favors unilateral nuclear disarmament and champions the nationalization of vast sectors of the economy. He has also said that he will apologize on behalf of Labour for the Iraq invasion and that Blair could face war-crimes charges. In Britain ... voters on both ends of the spectrum are looking for alternatives to the traditional power-brokers. “This isn’t just a leftist phenomenon. It’s a populist phenomenon,” [Queen Mary University professor Tim] Bale said. “It’s the idea that voters are fed up with politics as usual and an elite that’s compromised.”
Note: Former prime minister Tony Blair was reported to have personally made millions from warmongering, and was convicted in a symbolic Malaysian trial of “crimes against peace” in Iraq. Will Corbyn actually attempt to bring formal charges against Blair in the U.K.?
The New York Times today has a truly bizarre article regarding the U.S. and cluster bombs. The Paper of Record [claims the U.S.] government, though refusing to sign the cluster ban treaty, has nonetheless “abided by its provisions.” This claim is totally false. The U.S. has long been and remains one of the world’s most aggressive suppliers of cluster munitions, and has used those banned weapons itself in devastating ways. In December 2009 - just weeks after he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize - President Obama ordered a cruise missile strike (that) “killed 35 women and children.” Among the munitions used in that strike were cluster bombs. Although the U.S. at first refused to confirm responsibility, a Yemeni journalist, Abdulelah Haider Shaye, visited the scene and found irrefutable proof that it was done by the U.S., a finding subsequently confirmed. Obama ... then forced the imprisonment for years of the Yemeni journalist who reported it. Under the treaty which The Paper of Record today claimed the U.S. honors: "Each State Party undertakes never under any circumstances to: (a) Use cluster munitions; (b) Develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer to anyone, directly or indirectly, cluster munitions; (c) Assist, encourage or induce anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Convention. The U.S. does not occasionally violate one of those provisions. It continually violates all of them, systematically and as a matter of policy.
No one knows what the Air Force’s top-secret new bomber will look like. But the service keeps saying it knows how much it’s going to cost. That’s what makes the Air Force’s $25 billion price tag error so disconcerting. The problem began last year, when the service told Congress the yet-to-be-built Long-Range Strike Bomber would cost $33.1 billion between 2015 and 2025. It recently updated the estimate (from 2016 to 2026) to $58.4 billion - a hike of $25.3 billion, or 76%. But, the Air Force acknowledged last week, the latest cost estimate to develop and buy the aircraft over the coming decade is pegged at $41.7 billion. The pair of multi-billion-dollar snafus - $9 billion too low last year, $17 billion too high this year - is head-spinning. It leads to a simple question: is anyone minding the store? So what happened? “It occurred in part because of human error,” Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said Monday. “And in part because of process error, meaning a couple of our people got the figures wrong and the process of coordination was not fully carried out in this case.” Those who erred have been “counseled,” James said. “The key thing is there has been no change in those cost figures.” In other words, that recent $41.7 billion estimate is rock solid, at least for now.
Note: Can "human error" also explain the $8.5 trillion that disappeared from the Pentagon since 1996 and much more?
Aliens flew to earth on peace missions to prevent nuclear war between America and the Soviet Union at the start of the Cold War, according to a former Nasa astronaut. Dr Edgar Mitchell has made a series of increasingly bizarre claims about extra terrestrial life. His status as the sixth man to walk on the moon - during the Apollo 14 mission in 1971 - gives his claims a ready audience. Now he says military top brass saw UFOs visiting Earth during weapons tests in the 1940s at American missile bases and the famous White Sands Proving Ground, in the New Mexico desert, where the world's first nuclear bomb was detonated in 1945. "White Sands was a testing ground for atomic weapons - and that's what the extra-terrestrials were interested in ... they wanted to know about our military capabilities," [Mitchell said]. "My own experience talking to people has made it clear the ETs had been attempting to keep us from going to war and help create peace on Earth." He claims other officers manning missile silos or Pacific bases back up his claims with stories of alien spacecraft shooting down test rockets mid-flight.
The U.S. has now spent more on the reconstruction of Afghanistan than it spent on the Marshall Plan, which resuscitated Europe after World War II. The Marshall Plan delivered $103 billion in today’s dollars to 16 European countries between 1948 and 1952. That has now been topped by congressional appropriations for reconstruction in Afghanistan, which so far have come to $109 billion in today’s dollars. The difference: The Marshall Plan helped Europe get back on its feet, while Afghanistan is a chaotic mess. The Marshall Plan comparison is the most striking fact in a depressing, 259-page quarterly report to Congress issued July 30 by John Sopko, the congressionally appointed special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction. One recent audit ... raised concerns about the army’s ability to account for some 465,000 U.S.-provided small arms. This quarter, Sopko’s report says, a local police unit cut the power lines from Kabul ... “in retaliation for not being paid for three months.” To cut costs, NATO plans to shrink the Afghan National Security Forces to less than 230,000 by 2017. But an independent assessment ... concluded that the forces will require more than 370,000 people. That would cost three times as much as the Afghan government’s entire domestic revenue. Afghanistan’s main exports are carpets and rugs, dried fruits, medicinal plants, opium, and gems. But Sopko observes, “opiates are not part of the licit economy, and gems are easy to smuggle, so their contributions to government revenue are limited.”
Note: By 2000, the Taliban had mostly stopped heroin production in Afghanistan. But once this country was under US control, illicit drug production surged to record levels and Afghanistan became a narco state. How much "reconstruction" money became the drug cartel money that kept big banks afloat in 2008?
The Defense Department earlier this summer released a comprehensive manual outlining its interpretation of the law of war. The 1,176-page document, the first of its kind, includes guidelines on the treatment of journalists covering armed conflicts that would make their work more dangerous, cumbersome and subject to censorship. Journalists, the manual says, are generally regarded as civilians, but may in some instances be deemed “unprivileged belligerents,” a legal term that applies to fighters that are afforded fewer protections than the declared combatants in a war. The manual warns that “Reporting on military operations can be very similar to collecting intelligence or even spying.” It says that governments “may need to censor journalists’ work or take other security measures so that journalists do not reveal sensitive information to the enemy.” Allowing this document to stand as guidance for commanders, government lawyers and officials of other nations would do severe damage to press freedoms. Authoritarian leaders around the world could point to it to show that their despotic treatment of journalists — including Americans — is broadly in line with the standards set by the United States government. The document’s broad assertion that journalists’ work may need to be censored lest it reveal sensitive information to the enemy ... seems to contravene American constitutional and case law, and offers other countries that routinely censor the press a handy reference point.
Note: Read a critical analysis of the Pentagon’s new manual from the Committee to Protect Journalists. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in the intelligence community and the manipulation of public perception.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
In a war full of failures, the US counternarcotics mission in Afghanistan stands out: opiate production has climbed steadily over recent years to reach record-high levels last year. One clear winner in the anti-drug effort is ... the infamous mercenary company formerly known as Blackwater. Statistics released on Tuesday reveal that the rebranded private security firm, known since 2011 as Academi, reaped over a quarter billion dollars from the futile Defense Department push to eradicate Afghan narcotics, some 21% of the $1.5 bn in contracting money the Pentagon has devoted to the job since 2002. The company is the second biggest beneficiary of counternarcotics largesse in Afghanistan. Only the defense giant Northrop Grumman edged it out, with $325m. According to the US inspector general for Afghanistan “reconstruction”, the $309m Academi got from US taxpayers paid for “training, equipment, and logistical support” to Afghan forces conducting counternarcotics. Far from eradicating the deep-rooted opiate trade, US counternarcotics efforts have ... contributed to the opium boom. In December, the United Nations reported a 60% growth in Afghan land used for opium poppy cultivation since 2011, up to 209,000 hectares. The estimated $3bn value of Afghan heroin and morphine represents some 15% of Afghan GDP. Academi and its former Blackwater incarnation have an infamous history in Afghanistan. It once set up shell companies to disguise its business practices, according to a Senate report, so that its contracts would be unimpeded by company employees’ killings of Iraqi and Afghan civilians.
Note: Blackwater, now called Academi, got caught systematically defrauding the US government, while serving as a "virtual extension of the CIA". The CIA has been linked to the Afghan heroin trade for decades. In 2000, the Taliban had all but eradicated Afghan opium production. Once Afghanistan was under US control, opium production surged to record levels.
In the spring of 2010, Afghan officials struck a deal to free an Afghan diplomat held hostage by Al Qaeda. But the price was steep — $5 million. To come up with the money, [senior security officials] turned to a secret fund that the Central Intelligence Agency bankrolled with monthly cash deliveries to the presidential palace in Kabul, according to several Afghan officials. The Afghan government, they said, had already squirreled away about $1 million from that fund. Within weeks, that money ... was handed over to Al Qaeda, replenishing its coffers after a relentless C.I.A. campaign of drone strikes in Pakistan had decimated the militant network’s upper ranks. The C.I.A.’s contribution to Qaeda’s bottom line, though, was no well-laid trap. It was just another in a long list of examples of how the United States, largely because of poor oversight and loose financial controls, has sometimes inadvertently financed the very militants it is fighting. While refusing to pay ransoms for Americans kidnapped by Al Qaeda, the Taliban or, more recently, the Islamic State, the United States has spent hundreds of billions of dollars over the last decade at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, some of which has been siphoned off to enemy fighters. The C.I.A., meanwhile, continued dropping off bags of cash — ranging each time from a few hundred thousand dollars to more than $1 million — at the presidential palace every month until last year, when Mr. Karzai stepped down. The money was used to buy the loyalty of warlords, legislators and other prominent — and potentially troublesome — Afghans, helping the palace finance a vast patronage network that secured Mr. Karzai’s power base.
Note: A 2013 New York Times article called the US the "biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan" for its CIA bankrolling of Afghan warlords. Meanwhile, over a billion dollars of Iraqi "reconstruction" cash disappeared and was later tracked to a bunker in Lebanon. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
A member of the late Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s brutal secret police who’s been accused of murder taught for more than a decade at the Pentagon’s premier university, despite repeated complaints by his colleagues about his past. Jaime Garcia Covarrubias is charged in criminal court in Santiago with being the mastermind in the execution-style slayings of seven people in 1973, according to court documents. An accuser ... identified Garcia Covarrubias as the person who sexually tortured him. Despite knowing of the allegations, State and Defense department officials allowed Garcia Covarrubias to retain his visa and continue working at a school affiliated with the National Defense University until last year. Human rights groups also question the school’s selection of a second professor, Colombia’s former top military commander. Some Latin America experts said the hirings by the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies reflected a continuing inclination by the U.S government to overlook human rights violations in Latin America, especially in countries where it funded efforts to quash leftists. Those experts were especially troubled by Garcia Covarrubias’ long tenure at one of the nation’s most renowned defense institutions. His case is one of 108 involving tortured, disappeared or murdered supporters of the deposed elected president, Salvador Allende. More than 3,000 people died at the hands of the regime. Despite very graphic torture accusations against Garcia Covarrubias, U.S. officials are rallying behind him.
Note: The Pinochet regime successfully carried out an assassination in Washington D.C. in 1976 despite US Government foreknowledge of the plot. The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly known as the School of the Americas, graduated more than 500 human rights abusers. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The leader of one the most notorious insurgent groups in Iraq was said to be a mysterious Iraqi named Abdullah Rashid al-Baghdadi. As the titular head of the Islamic State in Iraq, an organization publicly backed by Al Qaeda, Baghdadi issued a steady stream of incendiary pronouncements. Despite claims by Iraqi officials that he had been killed in May, Baghdadi appeared to have persevered unscathed. On Wednesday, a senior American military spokesman provided a new explanation for Baghdadi's ability to escape attack: He never existed. Brigadier General Kevin Bergner, the chief American military spokesman, said the elusive Baghdadi was actually a fictional character whose audio-taped declarations were provided by an elderly actor named Abu Adullah al-Naima. The ploy was to invent Baghdadi, a figure whose very name establishes his Iraqi pedigree, [and] install him as the head of a front organization called the Islamic State of Iraq. Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's deputy, sought to reinforce the deception by referring to Baghdadi in his video and Internet statements. Bruce Riedel, a former CIA official and a Middle East expert ... suggested that the disclosures made Wednesday might not be the final word on Baghdadi and the leaders of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. "First, they say we have killed him," Riedel said, referring to the statements by some Iraqi government officials. "Then we heard him after his death and now they are saying he never existed. That suggests that our intelligence on Al Qaeda in Iraq is not what we want it to be."
Note: The above was written in 2007. More recently, the current Islamic State caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was reported in Newsweek to have been held alongside Al Qaeda militants by U.S. forces at Camp Bucca, a "virtual terrorist University" in Iraq.
In 1823 a 24-year-old Yankee, Warren Delano, sailed to Canton. Within seven years he was a senior partner in Russell & Company. Delano's problem, as with all traders, European and American, was that China had much to sell but declined to buy. The British struck upon an ingenious way to reduce a huge trade deficit. Their merchants bribed Chinese officials to allow entry of chests of opium from British-ruled India, though its importation had long been banned by imperial decree. Nearly every American company followed suit. As addiction became epidemic, and as the Chinese began paying with precious silver for the drug, the