Military

The Business of America is War

Posted by on October 22, 2013 in Corruption, Government, Military, Politics with 0 Comments
The Business of America is War

Combat is commerce; war and capitalism are exploitative transactions; war is great for business; superpatriotism props up the increasingly profitable military-industrial complex; U.S. ‘warriors’ are prepackaged commodities in the industry of war. Ret. USAF officer William Astore analyzes the phenomenon of war as business and how this conceptualization affects all of us.

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U.S. “War On Terror” Has INCREASED Terrorism

Posted by on October 21, 2013 in Government, Military with 0 Comments
U.S. “War On Terror” Has INCREASED Terrorism

The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) Global Terrorism Database is the most comprehensive open source terrorism database. A quick review of charts from the START database show that terrorism has increased in the last 9 years since the U.S. started its “war on terror”.

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In Big Win for Defense Industry, U.S. Rolls Back Limits on Arms Exports

Posted by on October 14, 2013 in Corruption, Government, Military, Politics with 0 Comments
In Big Win for Defense Industry, U.S. Rolls Back Limits on Arms Exports

The United States is loosening controls over military exports, in a shift that former U.S. officials and human rights advocates say could increase the flow of American-made military parts to the world’s conflicts and make it harder to enforce arms sanctions. The shift is part of a larger administration initiative to update the arms export process, which many acknowledge needed to be streamlined. But critics of the move to Commerce say that decision has been overly driven by the interests of defense manufacturers.

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Chemistry Equations: the Pious Virtuosos of Violence

Posted by on October 11, 2013 in Corruption, Government, Military, Politics with 0 Comments
Chemistry Equations: the Pious Virtuosos of Violence

As we all know, the use of chemical weapons is the most heinous crime that can be committed by a brutal, aggressive government: a brazen act of state terror, an offense against all humanity. Those who perpetrate such actions put themselves beyond the pale; indeed, they rank themselves with Hitler himself, as a succession of America’s highest officials has pointed out in recent weeks.

As both President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have said so eloquently, those responsible for such a crime must be punished. To look away from such an atrocity, to fail to hold those responsible to account would be, as these eminent statesmen tell us, a crime in itself, tantamount to ignoring the Holocaust or the massacres in Rwanda.

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Thank You for Your Service (book review)

Posted by on October 8, 2013 in Corruption, Government, Military, Politics with 2 Comments
Thank You for Your Service (book review)

Finkel, a reporter with The Washington Post, attends to what he calls the “after war.” His concern is with the soldiers who return from the war zone bearing wounds—and with the loved ones on whom those wounds also become imprinted. Above all, he is concerned with wounds that may not be fully visible—the roughly half-million younger veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury or related conditions. Make that a half-million and counting.

To translate this disturbing statistic into flesh and blood, Finkel checks in on some of the soldiers featured in his previous book. What he finds is anger, anxiety, shame, depression, guilt, sleeplessness, self-abuse, spousal abuse, child abuse, alcohol abuse, drug abuse and suicidal tendencies, sometimes acted on, sometimes not. Shouting matches, crying jags and bizarre behavior along with guns and two-pack-a-day smoking habits abound, but not much in the way of useful therapy.

Apart from an astonishing facility for prescribing medication—one of Finkel’s protagonists is “taking forty-three pills a day for pain, for anxiety, for depression, for nightmares”—the army has made little apparent headway in caring for this torrent of tormented souls. To judge from Finkel’s description, assistance rendered has been erratic, bureaucratic and ineffective, with soldiers not so much treated as processed.

An institution designed to dole out death and destruction possesses little inherent aptitude for dealing with severe psychological or emotional distress. Why should we be surprised? Testifying to that lack of aptitude, the number of soldiers taking their own lives has reached epidemic proportions.

The hackneyed phrase providing a title for Finkel’s fine book exquisitely captures the hypocrisy pervading the deeply perverse and thoroughly dishonest relationship between soldiers and society. The travails of those whose suffering he recounts give us a glimpse of the costs incurred and of who pays them.

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The Sparks of Rebellion

The Sparks of Rebellion

It is not the poor who make revolutions. It is those who conclude that they will not be able, as they once expected, to rise economically and socially. This consciousness is part of the self-knowledge of service workers and fast food workers. It is grasped by the swelling population of college graduates caught in a vise of low-paying jobs and obscene amounts of debt. These two groups, once united, will be our primary engines of revolt. Much of the urban poor has been crippled and in many cases broken by a rewriting of laws, especially drug laws, that has permitted courts, probation officers, parole boards and police to randomly seize poor people of color, especially African-American men, without just cause and lock them in cages for years. In many of our most impoverished urban centers—our internal colonies, as Malcolm X called them—mobilization, at least at first, will be difficult. The urban poor are already in chains. These chains are being readied for the rest of us. “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets or steal bread,” Anatole France commented acidly.

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Noam Chomsky On the Era Of the Drone

Noam Chomsky On the Era Of the Drone

Noam Chomsky is the Institute Professor and Professor Emeritus in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT. The most cited living source in the world, his theories have been extremely influential in the fields of analytic philosophy, psychology, modern language, and computer science. He has written over 100 books examining the media, US foreign policy, social issues, Latin American and European history, and more.

We met with Professor Chomsky in Cambridge in May to discuss the development of the drone era under president Obama.

Noam Chomsky: Just driving in this morning I was listening to NPR news. The program opened by announcing, very excitedly, that the drone industry is exploding so fast that colleges are trying to catch up and opening new programs in the engineering schools and so on, and teaching drone technology because that’s what students are dying to study because of the fantastic number of jobs going on.

And it’s true. If you look at the public reports, you can imagine what the secret reports are. It’s been known for a couple of years, but we learn more and more that drones, for one thing, are already being given to police departments for surveillance. And they are being designed for every possible purpose. I mean, theoretically, maybe practically, you could have a drone the size of a fly which could be buzzing around over there [points to window] listening to what we’re talking about. And I’d suspect that it won’t be too long before that becomes realistic.

And of course they are being used to assassinate. There’s a global assassination campaign going on which is pretty interesting when you look into how it’s done. I presume everyone’s read the front page of the New York Times story, which is more or less a leak from the White House, because they are apparently proud of how the global assassination campaign works. Basically President Obama and his national security advisor, John Brennan, now head of the CIA, get together in the morning. And Brennan’s apparently a former priest. They talk about St. Augustine and his theory of just war, and then they decide who is going to be killed today.

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UK detention of Reprieve activist consistent with NSA’s view of drone opponents as ‘threats’ and ‘adversaries’

UK detention of Reprieve activist consistent with NSA’s view of drone opponents as ‘threats’ and ‘adversaries’

A well-known and highly respected Yemeni anti-drone activist was detained yesterday by UK officials under that country’s “anti-terrorism” law at Gatwick Airport, where he had traveled to speak at an event. Baraa Shiban, the project co-ordinator for the London-based legal charity Reprieve, was held for an hour and a half and repeatedly questioned about his anti-drone work and political views regarding human rights abuses in Yemen.

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FULL- President Obama Addresses the United Nations – Syria, Iran Speech 9/24/2013

Posted by on September 24, 2013 in Military, Politics with 1 Comment
FULL- President Obama Addresses the United Nations – Syria, Iran Speech 9/24/2013

President Obama addressed the UN on Syria and Iran at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Sept. 24, 2013.

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The Dead Rhetoric of War – Chris Hedges

The Dead Rhetoric of War – Chris Hedges

The myth of war, as each generation discovers over the corpses of its young and the looting of its national treasury by war profiteers, is a lie. War is no longer able to divert Americans from the economic and political decay that is rapidly turning the nation into a corporate oligarchy, a nation where “the consent of the governed” is a cruel joke. War cannot hide what we have become. War has made us a nation that openly tortures and holds people indefinitely in our archipelago of offshore penal colonies. War has unleashed death squads—known as special operations forces—to assassinate our enemies around the globe, even American citizens. War has seen us terrorize whole populations, including populations with which we are not officially at war, with armed drones that circle night and day above mud-walled villages in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia as well as Iraq and Afghanistan. War has shredded, in the name of national security, our most basic civil liberties. War has turned us into the most spied-upon, monitored, eavesdropped and photographed population in human history.

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AUMF: How America Codified Endless War – Abby Martin

Posted by on September 16, 2013 in Government, Military, Politics with 1 Comment
AUMF: How America Codified Endless War – Abby Martin

Abby Martin looks back at the signing of the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) as the catalyst for America’s global War on Terror, and highlights US Rep. Barbara Lee as the lone voice who opposed the legislation following the 9/11 attacks.

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NSA Chief Gen. Keith Alexander Thinks He’s on Star Trek (for real)

NSA Chief Gen. Keith Alexander Thinks He’s on Star Trek (for real)

It has been previously reported that the mentality of NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander is captured by his motto “Collect it All”. It’s a get-everything approach he pioneered first when aimed at an enemy population in the middle of a war zone in Iraq, one he has now imported onto US soil, aimed at the domestic population and everyone else.

But a perhaps even more disturbing and revealing vignette into the spy chief’s mind comes from a new Foreign Policy article describing what the journal calls his “all-out, barely-legal drive to build the ultimate spy machine”. The article describes how even his NSA peers see him as a “cowboy” willing to play fast and loose with legal limits in order to construct a system of ubiquitous surveillance. But the personality driving all of this – not just Alexander’s but much of Washington’s – is perhaps best captured by this one passage, highlighted by PBS’ News Hour in a post entitled: “NSA director modeled war room after Star Trek’s Enterprise”. The room was christened as part of the “Information Dominance Center”…

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How Much Will the Defense Industry Make from a Missile Strike Against Syria?

Posted by on September 13, 2013 in Government, Military, Politics with 1 Comment
How Much Will the Defense Industry Make from a Missile Strike Against Syria?

Even as diplomats work on a last-ditch effort to get Syria to hand over its chemical weapons to international authorities, the US gearing up to do what it does best: bomb a distant country. At this moment, six American warships are sitting in the Mediterranean, loaded with hundreds of missiles waiting to attack Syria should they get the order. If the complex, involved effort to get Bashar al-Assad to give up his chemical weapons fails and Barack Obama gives the go-ahead for a “limited” strike against his regime, those ships will let fly with hundreds of missiles—and that means the Pentagon will have to replace those weapons by purchasing them from defense contractors like Raytheon, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman. How much is that going to cost?

[…]

You may be wondering about the sequestration, the series of across-the-board cuts that began going into effect earlier this year—weren’t those supposed to slash the Pentagon’s budget, and by extension, the revenues of defense contractors? They were, but Christopher Preble of the Cato Institute, a libertarian-leaning think tank, tells me a war in Syria would be a way to get around the budget limitations.

“A war would qualify as an ’emergency,’ which would allow the Pentagon to ask for supplemental funds if they wanted to,” he said.

Actually, sequester or no sequester, the defense industry is going through a “blockbuster” financial quarter according to Todd Harrison, a senior fellow for at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. In an interview with Bloomberg, he said layoffs combined with a steady flow of contracts has allowed top defense companies to take in the same amount of revenue while paying out less to workers.

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Rania Masri and Chris Hedges On Obama’s Syria Address

Posted by on September 11, 2013 in Military, Politics with 0 Comments
Rania Masri and Chris Hedges On Obama’s Syria Address

Human Rights activist Rania Masri and Pulitzer Prize winning writer Chris Hedges respond to President Obama’s Syria address to the nation last night (Sept. 10, 2013).

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Four Chemical Attacks U.S. Wants You to Forget – Abby Martin

Posted by on September 9, 2013 in Government, Military with 0 Comments
Four Chemical Attacks U.S. Wants You to Forget – Abby Martin

Abby Martin talks about the blatant hypocrisy regarding Obama’s “red line” of chemical attacks as the motivating factor to intervene militarily in Syria, citing the top four chemical weapons attacks that the US military does not want you to know about.

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