Military

Global Consensus Grows For Greater Transparency on Drone Civilian Deaths

Posted by on October 27, 2013 in Government, Military with 0 Comments
Global Consensus Grows For Greater Transparency on Drone Civilian Deaths

Key members of the United Nations – including some of Washington’s closest allies – broke with a decade of tradition on Friday when they endorsed calls for greater transparency over drone civilian deaths. The European Union, the United Kingdom and Switzerland were joined by the Russian Federation and China in calling for greater openness from those carrying out drone strikes. Pakistan was particularly strident, insisting that there was ‘no implicit or explicit consent’ for US drone strikes on its territory, which it insists have a ‘disastrous humanitarian impact.’

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The REAL Reason U.S. Targets Whistleblowers

The REAL Reason U.S. Targets Whistleblowers

“Sensitive” – “Classified” – “Top Secret” – “Intelligence” – “Government Secrets:” these have been the traditional coded language tags used to reference and rationalize the practices of deep secret-keeping by the government and the military. This article examines analyses by NYU School of Law’s Elizabeth Goitein and George Washington University’s Henry Farrell and Martha Finnemore, all of whom identify new and disturbing governmental rationalizations and motivations for maintaining ever-widening parameters of secrecy.

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American Whistleblower Tour: Livestreaming TODAY from Florida International University

American Whistleblower Tour: Livestreaming TODAY from Florida International University

Today (24 October 2013) the American Whistleblower Tour – a project of the Government Accountability Project (GAP) – will present a livestreamed event from 2:30-4:00pm ET, live from Florida International University. Included in the program will be national security whistleblowers Thomas Drake and Jesselyn Radack. Don’t miss it!

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Pakistani Prime Minister Urges Obama to End Drone Strikes

Posted by on October 23, 2013 in Government, Military with 0 Comments
Pakistani Prime Minister Urges Obama to End Drone Strikes

In a meeting at the White House, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Wednesday urged President Obama to end drone strikes. The meeting comes after a key human rights group released a report suggesting some of the strikes have violated international law and calling for an investigation. RT Correspondent Liz Wahl has more on the historic meeting and the challenges that lie ahead for the two countries.

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The Drone Reports: US Engaging in Unlawful Killings

Posted by on October 22, 2013 in Government, Military with 0 Comments
The Drone Reports: US Engaging in Unlawful Killings

Two organizations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, released reports investigating multiple US drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan. According to their findings, drone strikes were indiscriminate and led to the death of multiple civilians, which is a clear violation of international law. The organizations called for the White House to release its legal justification for these killings and for those responsible to be held accountable. RT’s Sam Sacks reports

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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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