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Bring All the Troops Home: Stop Policing the Globe and Put an End to Endless Wars | John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead

By John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead | The Rutherford Institute 

“Let us resolve that never again will we send the precious young blood of this country to die trying to prop up a corrupt military dictatorship abroad. This is also the time to turn away from excessive preoccupation overseas to the rebuilding of our own nation. America must be restored to a proper role in the world. But we can do that only through the recovery of confidence in ourselves…. together we will call America home to the ideals that nourished us from the beginning.”—George S. McGovern, former Senator and presidential candidate

It’s time to bring all our troops home.

Bring them home from Somalia, Iraq, and Syria. Bring them home from Germany, South Korea, and Japan. Bring them home from Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Oman. Bring them home from Niger, Chad, and Mali. Bring them home from Turkey, the Philippines, and northern Australia.

It’s not enough to pull American troops out of Afghanistan, America’s longest, bloodiest, and most expensive war to date.

It’s time that we stop policing the globe, stop occupying other countries, and stop waging endless wars.

That’s not what’s going to happen, of course.

The U.S. military reportedly has more than 1.3 million men and women on active duty, with more than 200,000 of them stationed overseas in nearly every country in the world.

Those numbers are likely significantly higher in keeping with the Pentagon’s policy of not fully disclosing where and how many troops are deployed for the sake of “operational security and denying the enemy any advantage.” As investigative journalist David Vine explains, “Although few Americans realize it, the United States likely has more bases in foreign lands than any other people, nation, or empire in history.”

Don’t fall for the propaganda, though.

America’s military forces aren’t being deployed abroad to protect our freedoms here at home. Rather, they’re being used to guard oil fields, build foreign infrastructure and protect the financial interests of the corporate elite. In fact, the United States military spends about $81 billion a year just to protect oil supplies around the world.

The reach of America’s military empire includes close to 800 bases in as many as 160 countries, operated at a cost of more than $156 billion annually. As Vine reports, “Even US military resorts and recreation areas in places like the Bavarian Alps and Seoul, South Korea, are bases of a kind. Worldwide, the military runs more than 170 golf courses.”

This is how a military empire occupies the globe.

After 20 years of propping up Afghanistan to the tune of trillions of dollars and thousands of lives lost, the U.S. military may have finally been forced out, but those troops represent just a fraction of our military presence worldwide.

In an ongoing effort to police the globe, American military service people continue to be deployed to far-flung places in the Middle East and elsewhere.

This is how the military-industrial complex, aided and abetted by the likes of Joe Biden, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and others, continues to get rich at taxpayer expense.

Yet while the rationale may keep changing for why American military forces are policing the globe, these wars abroad aren’t making America—or the rest of the world—any safer, are certainly not making America great again, and are undeniably digging the U.S. deeper into debt.

War spending is bankrupting America.

Although the U.S. constitutes only 5% of the world’s population, America boasts almost 50% of the world’s total military expenditure, spending more on the military than the next 19 biggest spending nations combined.

In fact, the Pentagon spends more on war than all 50 states combined spend on health, education, welfare, and safety.

The American military-industrial complex has erected an empire unsurpassed in history in its breadth and scope, one dedicated to conducting perpetual warfare throughout the earth.

Since 2001, the U.S. government has spent more than $4.7 trillion waging its endless wars.

Having been co-opted by greedy defense contractors, corrupt politicians, and incompetent government officials, America’s expanding military empire is bleeding the country dry at a rate of more than $32 million per hour.

In fact, the U.S. government has spent more money every five seconds in Iraq than the average American earns in a year.

Future wars and military exercises waged around the globe are expected to push the total bill upwards of $12 trillion by 2053.

Talk about fiscally irresponsible: the U.S. government is spending money it doesn’t have on a military empire it can’t afford.

As investigative journalist Uri Friedman puts it, for more than 15 years now, the United States has been fighting terrorism with a credit card, “essentially bankrolling the wars with debt, in the form of purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds by U.S.-based entities like pension funds and state and local governments, and by countries like China and Japan.”

War is not cheap, but it becomes outrageously costly when you factor in government incompetence, fraud, and greedy contractors. Indeed, a leading accounting firm concluded that one of the Pentagon’s largest agencies “can’t account for hundreds of millions of dollars worth of spending.”

Unfortunately, the outlook isn’t much better for the spending that can be tracked.

A government audit found that defense contractor Boeing has been massively overcharging taxpayers for mundane parts, resulting in tens of millions of dollars in overspending. As the report noted, the American taxpayer paid:

$71 for a metal pin that should cost just 4 cents; $644.75 for a small gear smaller than a dime that sells for $12.51: more than a 5,100 percent increase in price. $1,678.61 for another tiny part, also smaller than a dime, that could have been bought within DoD for $7.71: a 21,000 percent increase. $71.01 for a straight, thin metal pin that DoD had on hand, unused by the tens of thousands, for 4 cents: an increase of over 177,000 percent.

That price gouging has become an accepted form of corruption within the American military empire is a sad statement on how little control “we the people” have over our runaway government.

Mind you, this isn’t just corrupt behavior. It’s deadly, downright immoral behavior.

Americans have thus far allowed themselves to be spoon-fed a steady diet of pro-war propaganda that keeps them content to wave flags with patriotic fervor and less inclined to look too closely at the mounting body counts, the ruined lives, the ravaged countries, the blowback arising from ill-advised targeted-drone killings and bombing campaigns in foreign lands, or the transformation of our own homeland into a warzone.

That needs to change.

The U.S. government is not making the world any safer. It’s making the world more dangerous. It is estimated that the U.S. military drops a bomb somewhere in the world every 12 minutes. Since 9/11, the United States government has directly contributed to the deaths of around 500,000 human beings. Every one of those deaths was paid for with taxpayer funds.

The U.S. government is not making America any safer. It’s exposing American citizens to alarming levels of blowback, a CIA term referring to the unintended consequences of the U.S. government’s international activities. Chalmers Johnson, a former CIA consultant, repeatedly warned that America’s use of its military to gain power over the global economy would result in devastating blowback.

The 9/11 attacks were blowback. The Boston Marathon Bombing was blowback. The attempted Times Square bomber was blowback. The Fort Hood shooter, a major in the U.S. Army, was blowback.

The U.S. military’s ongoing drone strikes will, I fear, spur yet more blowback against the American people. The latest drone strike reportedly killed seven children, ages 2 to 10, in Afghanistan.

The war hawks’ militarization of America—bringing home the spoils of war (the military tanks, grenade launchers, Kevlar helmets, assault rifles, gas masks, ammunition, battering rams, night vision binoculars, etc.) and handing them over to local police, thereby turning America into a battlefield—is also blowback.

James Madison was right: “No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” As Madison explained, “Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes… known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.”

We are seeing this play out before our eyes.

The government is destabilizing the economy, destroying the national infrastructure through neglect and a lack of resources, and turning taxpayer dollars into blood money with its endless wars, drone strikes, and mounting death tolls.

Clearly, our national priorities are in desperate need of overhauling.

At the height of its power, even the mighty Roman Empire could not stare down a collapsing economy and a burgeoning military. Prolonged periods of war and false economic prosperity largely led to its demise. As historian Chalmers Johnson predicts:

The fate of previous democratic empires suggests that such a conflict is unsustainable and will be resolved in one of two ways. Rome attempted to keep its empire and lost its democracy. Britain chose to remain democratic and in the process let go its empire. Intentionally or not, the people of the United States already are well embarked upon the course of non-democratic empire.

This is the “unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex” that President Dwight Eisenhower warned us more than 50 years ago not to let endanger our liberties or democratic processes.

Eisenhower, who served as Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe during World War II, was alarmed by the rise of the profit-driven war machine that emerged following the war—one that, in order to perpetuate itself, would have to keep waging war.

We failed to heed his warning.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, there’s not much time left before we reach zero hours.

It’s time to stop policing the globe, end these wars without end, and bring the troops home.

ABOUT JOHN W. WHITEHEAD

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is the founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His books Battlefield America: The War on the American People and A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State are available at www.amazon.com. He can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org. Nisha Whitehead is the Executive Director of The Rutherford Institute. Information about The Rutherford Institute is available at www.rutherford.org.




Heart Inflammation Linked to COVID Vaccines in Study of U.S. Military, Department of Defense Confirms

By Megan Redshaw | The Defender

new study of U.S. service members found higher than expected rates of heart inflammation following receipt of a COVID vaccine. It’s a finding Defense Department researchers say should call attention to the condition, known as myocarditis, as a potential side effect of vaccinations.

In a study published June 29 in JAMA Cardiology, U.S. military physicians described 23 cases of myocarditis in previously healthy males who developed the condition within four days of receiving a COVID vaccine.

total of 23 male patients (22 currently serving in the military and 1 retiree) with a median age range of 25 years were evaluated between January and April 2021 for acute-onset chest pain following vaccination with an mRNA COVID vaccine.

All military members were previously healthy with a high level of fitness. They were physically fit by military standards and lacked any known history of cardiac disease, significant cardiac risk factors, or exposure to cardiotoxic agents.

Seven military members received Pfizer’s COVID vaccine and 16 received the Moderna vaccine. Each patient had a final diagnosis of myocarditis without infectious, ischemic, or autoimmune etiologies identified. Diagnoses were reviewed and met the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) case definition criteria for probable myocarditis.

All patients presented with acute chest pain and significantly elevated cardiac troponin levels (10-fold to 400-fold the upper limits of their respective reference ranges) with symptom onset within 12 to 96 hours following COVID vaccination.

According to the study, physicians expected to find eight or fewer cases of myocarditis among the 436,000 male military members who received two mRNA doses. But 20 military members developed inflammation after their second dose, including 14 after the Moderna shot and six after the Pfizer shot. Three developed myocarditis after their first vaccine.

Cardiac symptoms resolved within a week of onset for 16 patients, but seven continued to have chest pain at the time of publication.

The researchers stated that while the true incidence of myocarditis is unknown at this time, the presentation pattern and clinical course suggest an association with an inflammatory response to vaccination.

The team concluded that increased attention to myocarditis as a potential adverse event following vaccination is warranted.

A new study supports the link between mRNA COVID vaccines and heart inflammation

A separate study published in JAMA Cardiology on June 29 investigated seven cases of acute myocarditis. Four cases occurred within five days of COVID vaccination between Feb. 1 and April 30.

All four patients had received the second dose of an mRNA vaccine and presented with severe chest pain, had biomarker evidence of myocardial injury, were hospitalized, and had test results consistent with myocarditis.

“It is possible that these four cases of acute myocarditis represent a rare, potential adverse event linked to mRNA COVID-19 vaccination,” researchers wrote. “The findings from the present report raise the possibility of an association between mRNA COVID-19 vaccination and acute myocarditis.”

An association between COVID vaccines and myocarditis was first reported in Israel with a case study in February involving a 19-year-old male.

On April 26, details leaked from an Israeli Health Ministry report raising concerns among experts about a possible link between the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine and myocarditis.

preliminary report by an Israeli committee tasked with monitoring vaccine side effects found 62 cases of myocarditis, including two deaths, in people who received the Pfizer vaccine. Fifty-six cases occurred after the second dose of the vaccine, and 55 cases occurred in men — most between the ages of 18 and 30.

The two patients who died were reportedly healthy until receiving the vaccine and had no pre-existing conditions.

On April 27, Reuters reported the U.S. Department of Defense was investigating 14 cases of heart inflammation among people who were vaccinated through the military’s health services.

On June 2, Israeli health officials confirmed a probable link between Pfizer’s COVID vaccine and dozens of cases of heart inflammation in young men following the second dose.

As The Defender reported June 10, the CDC’s advisory committee acknowledged a higher-than-expected number of cases of heart inflammation among 16- to 24-year-olds who recently received a second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines.

Based on a May 24 report from the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Technical Work Group (VaST), the CDC on June 1 updated its website with the following language:

“Data from VAERS [Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System] show that in the 30-day window following dose 2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccination, there was a higher number of observed than expected myocarditis/pericarditis cases in 16–24-year-olds.”

On June 23, the ACIP said there was a “likely association” of “mild” heart inflammation in adolescents and young adults after vaccination with an mRNA COVID vaccine, and a warning statement was warranted.

The safety panel acknowledged more than 1,200 cases of myocarditis or pericarditis in 16- to-24-year-olds who received an mRNA COVID vaccine, mostly occurring in males after the second dose.

As The Defender reported June 28, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration added a warning to Pfizer and Moderna’s fact sheets indicating an increased risk of myocarditis and pericarditis following vaccination.

According to the latest data from VAERS, there were 1,342  cases of myocarditis and pericarditis (heart inflammation) in all age groups reported in the U.S. following COVID vaccination between Dec.14, 2020 and June 18, 2021.

Of the 1,342 cases reported, 835 cases were attributed to Pfizer, 458 cases to Moderna and 45 cases to Johnson & Johnson’s COVID vaccine.




From Mind Control to Viruses: How the Government Keeps Experimenting on Its Citizens

By John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead | The Rutherford Institute

“They were monsters with human faces, in crisp uniforms, marching in lockstep, so banal you don’t recognize them for what they are until it’s too late.” — Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

The U.S. government, in its pursuit of so-called monsters, has itself become a monster.

This is not a new development, nor is it a revelation.

This is a government that has in recent decades unleashed untold horrors upon the world—including its own citizenry—in the name of global conquest, the acquisition of greater wealth, scientific experimentation, and technological advances, all packaged in the guise of the greater good.

Mind you, there is no greater good when the government is involved. There is only greater greed for money and power.

Unfortunately, the public has become so easily distracted by the political spectacle out of Washington, DC, that they are altogether oblivious to the grisly experiments, barbaric behavior, and inhumane conditions that have become synonymous with the U.S. government.

These horrors have been meted out against humans and animals alike. For all intents and purposes, “we the people” have become lab rats in the government’s secret experiments.

Fifty years from now, we may well find out the whole sordid truth behind this COVID-19 pandemic. However, this isn’t intended to be a debate over whether COVID-19 is a legitimate health crisis or a manufactured threat. It is merely to acknowledge that such crises can—and are—manipulated by governments in order to expand their powers.

As we have learned, it is entirely possible for something to be both a genuine menace to the nation’s health and security and a menace to freedom.

This is a road the United States has been traveling for many years now. Indeed, grisly experiments, barbaric behavior, and inhumane conditions have become synonymous with the U.S. government, which has meted out untold horrors against humans and animals alike.

For instance, did you know that the U.S. government has been buying hundreds of dogs and cats from “Asian meat markets” as part of a gruesome experiment into food-borne illnesses? The cannibalistic experiments involve killing cats and dogs purchased from Colombia, Brazil, Vietnam, China, and Ethiopia, and then feeding the dead remains to laboratory kittens, bred in government laboratories for the express purpose of being infected with a disease and then killed.

It gets more gruesome.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has been removing parts of dogs’ brains to see how it affects their breathing; applying electrodes to dogs’ spinal cords (before and after severing them) to see how it impacts their cough reflexes, and implanting pacemakers in dogs’ hearts and then inducing them to have heart attacks (before draining their blood). All of the laboratory dogs are killed during the course of these experiments.

It’s not just animals that are being treated like lab rats by government agencies.

“We the people” have also become the police state’s guinea pigs: to be caged, branded, experimented upon without our knowledge or consent, and then conveniently discarded and left to suffer from the after-effects.

Back in 2017, FEMA “inadvertently” exposed nearly 10,000 firefighters, paramedics, and other responders to a deadly form of ricin during simulated bioterrorism response sessions. In 2015, it was discovered that an Army lab had been “mistakenly” shipping deadly anthrax to labs and defense contractors for a decade.

While these particular incidents have been dismissed as “accidents,” you don’t have to dig very deep or go very back in the nation’s history to uncover numerous cases in which the government deliberately conducted secret experiments on an unsuspecting populace—citizens and noncitizens alike—making healthy people sick by spraying them with chemicals, injecting them with infectious diseases and exposing them to airborne toxins.

At the time, the government reasoned that it was legitimate to experiment on people who did not have full rights in society such as prisoners, mental patients, and poor blacks.

In Alabama, for example, 600 black men with syphilis were allowed to suffer without proper medical treatment in order to study the natural progression of untreated syphilis. In California, older prisoners had testicles from livestock and from recently executed convicts implanted in them to test their virility. In Connecticut, mental patients were injected with hepatitis.

In Maryland, sleeping prisoners had a pandemic flu virus sprayed up their noses. In Georgia, two dozen “volunteering” prison inmates had gonorrhea bacteria pumped directly into their urinary tracts through the penis. In Michigan, male patients at an insane asylum were exposed to the flu after first being injected with an experimental flu vaccine. In Minnesota, 11 public service employee “volunteers” were injected with malaria, then starved for five days.

As the Associated Press reports, “The late 1940s and 1950s saw huge growth in the U.S. pharmaceutical and health care industries, accompanied by a boom in prisoner experiments funded by both the government and corporations. By the 1960s, at least half the states allowed prisoners to be used as medical guinea pigs … because they were cheaper than chimpanzees.”

Moreover, “Some of these studies, mostly from the 1940s to the ’60s, apparently were never covered by news media. Others were reported at the time, but the focus was on the promise of enduring new cures while glossing over how test subjects were treated.”

Media blackouts, propaganda, spin. Sound familiar?

How many government incursions into our freedoms have been blacked out, buried under “entertainment” news headlines, or spun in such a way as to suggest that anyone voicing a word of caution is paranoid or conspiratorial?

Unfortunately, these incidents are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the atrocities the government has inflicted on an unsuspecting populace in the name of secret experimentation.

For instance, there was the U.S. military’s secret race-based testing of mustard gas on more than 60,000 enlisted men. As NPR reports, “All of the World War II experiments with mustard gas were done in secret and weren’t recorded on the subjects’ official military records. Most do not have proof of what they went through. They received no follow-up health care or monitoring of any kind. And they were sworn to secrecy about the tests under threat of dishonorable discharge and military prison time, leaving some unable to receive adequate medical treatment for their injuries, because they couldn’t tell doctors what happened to them.”

And then there was the CIA’s MKULTRA program in which hundreds of unsuspecting American civilians and military personnel were dosed with LSD, some having the hallucinogenic drug slipped into their drinks at the beach, in city bars, at restaurants. As Time reports, “before the documentation and other facts of the program were made public, those who talked of it were frequently dismissed as being psychotic.”

Now one might argue that this is all ancient history and that the government today is different from the government of yesteryear, but has the U.S. government really changed?

Has the government become any more humane, any more respectful of the rights of the citizenry? Has it become any more transparent or willing to abide by the rule of law? Has it become any more truthful about its activities? Has it become any more cognizant of its appointed role as a guardian of our rights?

Or has the government simply hunkered down and hidden its nefarious acts and dastardly experiments under layers of secrecy, legalism, and obfuscations? Has it not become wilier, more slippery, more difficult to pin down?

Having mastered the Orwellian art of Doublespeak and followed the Huxleyan blueprint for distraction and diversion, are we not dealing with a government that is simply craftier and more conniving than it used to be?

Consider this: after revelations about the government’s experiments spanning the 20th century spawned outrage, the government began looking for human guinea pigs in other countries, where “clinical trials could be done more cheaply and with fewer rules.”

In Guatemala, prisoners and patients at a mental hospital were infected with syphilis, “apparently to test whether penicillin could prevent some sexually transmitted disease.” In Uganda, U.S.-funded doctors “failed to give the AIDS drug AZT to all the HIV-infected pregnant women in a study… even though it would have protected their newborns.” Meanwhile, in Nigeria, children with meningitis were used to test an antibiotic named Trovan. Eleven children died and many others were left disabled.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Case in point: back in 2016, it was announced that scientists working for the Department of Homeland Security would begin releasing various gases and particles on crowded subway platforms as part of an experiment aimed at testing bioterror airflow in New York subways.

The government insisted that the gases released into the subways by the DHS were nontoxic and did not pose a health risk. It’s in our best interests, they said, to understand how quickly a chemical or biological terrorist attack might spread. And look how cool the technology is—said the government cheerleaders—that scientists can use something called DNATrax to track the movement of microscopic substances in air and food. (Imagine the kinds of surveillance that could be carried out by the government using trackable airborne microscopic substances you breathe in or ingest.)

Mind you, this is the same government that in 1949 sprayed bacteria into the Pentagon’s air handling system, then the world’s largest office building. In 1950, special ops forces sprayed bacteria from Navy ships off the coast of Norfolk and San Francisco, in the latter case exposing all of the city’s 800,000 residents.

In 1953, government operatives staged “mock” anthrax attacks on St. Louis, Minneapolis, and Winnipeg using generators placed on top of cars. Local governments were reportedly told that “‘invisible smokescreen[s]’ were being deployed to mask the city on enemy radar.” Later experiments covered territories as wide-ranging as Ohio to Texas and Michigan to Kansas.

In 1965, the government’s experiments in bioterror took aim at Washington’s National Airport, followed by a 1966 experiment in which army scientists exposed a million subway NYC passengers to airborne bacteria that causes food poisoning.

And this is the same government that has taken every bit of technology sold to us as being in our best interests—GPS devices, surveillance, nonlethal weapons, etc.—and used it against us, to track, control, and trap us.

So, no, I don’t think the government’s ethics have changed much over the years. It’s just taken its nefarious programs undercover.

The question remains: why is the government doing this? The answer is always the same: money, power, and total domination.

It’s the same answer no matter which totalitarian regime is in power.

The mindset driving these programs has, appropriately, been likened to that of Nazi doctors experimenting on Jews. As the Holocaust Museum recounts, Nazi physicians “conducted painful and often deadly experiments on thousands of concentration camp prisoners without their consent.”

The Nazi’s unethical experiments ran the gamut from freezing experiments using prisoners to find an effective treatment for hypothermia, tests to determine the maximum altitude for parachuting out of a plane, injecting prisoners with malaria, typhus, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, yellow fever, and infectious hepatitis, exposing prisoners to phosgene and mustard gas, and mass sterilization experiments.

The horrors being meted out against the American people can be traced back, in a direct line, to the horrors meted out in Nazi laboratories. In fact, following the Second World War, the U.S. government recruited many of Hitler’s employees, adopted his protocols, embraced his mindset about law and order and experimentation, and implemented his tactics in incremental steps.

Sounds far-fetched, you say? Read on. It’s all documented.

As historian Robert Gellately recounts, the Nazi police state was initially so admired for its efficiency and order by the world powers of the day that J. Edgar Hoover, then-head of the FBI, actually sent one of his right-hand men, Edmund Patrick Coffey, to Berlin in January 1938 at the invitation of Germany’s secret police, the Gestapo.

The FBI was so impressed with the Nazi regime that, according to the New York Times, in the decades after World War II, the FBI, along with other government agencies, aggressively recruited at least a thousand Nazis, including some of Hitler’s highest henchmen.

All told, thousands of Nazi collaborators—including the head of a Nazi concentration camp, among others—were given secret visas and brought to America by way of Project Paperclip. Subsequently, they were hired on as spies, informants, and scientific advisers, and then camouflaged to ensure that their true identities and ties to Hitler’s holocaust machine would remain unknown. All the while, thousands of Jewish refugees were refused entry visas to the U.S. on the grounds that it could threaten national security.

Adding further insult to injury, American taxpayers have been paying to keep these ex-Nazis on the U.S. government’s payroll ever since. And in true Gestapo fashion, anyone who has dared to blow the whistle on the FBI’s illicit Nazi ties has found himself spied upon, intimidated, harassed, and labeled a threat to national security.

As if the government’s covert, taxpayer-funded employment of Nazis after World War II wasn’t bad enough, U.S. government agencies—the FBI, CIA, and the military—have since fully embraced many of the Nazi’s well-honed policing tactics, and have used them repeatedly against American citizens.

It’s certainly easy to denounce the full-frontal horrors carried out by the scientific and medical community within a despotic regime such as Nazi Germany, but what do you do when it’s your own government that claims to be a champion of human rights all the while allowing its agents to engage in the foulest, bases and most despicable acts of torture, abuse, and experimentation?

When all is said and done, this is not a government that has our best interests at heart.

This is not a government that values us.

Perhaps the answer lies in The Third Man, Carol Reed’s influential 1949 film starring Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles. In the film, set in a post-WW II Vienna, rogue war profiteer Harry Lime has come to view human carnage with a callous indifference, unconcerned that the diluted penicillin he’s been trafficking underground has resulted in the tortured deaths of young children.

Challenged by his old friend Holly Martins to consider the consequences of his actions, Lime responds, “In these days, old man, nobody thinks in terms of human beings. Governments don’t, so why should we?

“Have you ever seen any of your victims?” asks Martins.

“Victims?” responds Limes, as he looks down from the top of a Ferris wheel onto a populace reduced to mere dots on the ground. “Look down there. Tell me. Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever? If I offered you twenty thousand pounds for every dot that stopped, would you really, old man, tell me to keep my money, or would you calculate how many dots you could afford to spare? Free of income tax, old man. Free of income tax — the only way you can save money nowadays.”

This is how the U.S. government sees us, too, when it looks down upon us from its lofty perch.

To the powers-that-be, the rest of us are insignificant specks, faceless dots on the ground.

To the architects of the American police state, we are not worthy or vested with inherent rights. This is how the government can justify treating us like economic units to be bought and sold and traded, or caged rats to be experimented upon and discarded when we’ve outgrown our usefulness.

To those who call the shots in the halls of government, “we the people” are merely the means to an end.

“We the people”—who think, who reason, who take a stand, who resist, who demand to be treated with dignity and care, who believe in freedom and justice for all—have become obsolete, undervalued citizens of a totalitarian state that, in the words of Rod Serling, “has patterned itself after every dictator who has ever planted the ripping imprint of a boot on the pages of history since the beginning of time. It has refinements, technological advances, and a more sophisticated approach to the destruction of human freedom.”

In this sense, we are all Romney Wordsworth, the condemned man in Serling’s Twilight Zone episode “The Obsolete Man.”

The Obsolete Man” speaks to the dangers of a government that views people as expendable once they have outgrown their usefulness to the State. Yet—and here’s the kicker—this is where the government through its monstrous inhumanity also becomes obsolete. As Serling noted in his original script for “The Obsolete Man,” “Any state, any entity, any ideology which fails to recognize the worth, the dignity, the rights of Man…that state is obsolete.

How do you defeat a monster?

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, you start by recognizing the monster for what it is.

ABOUT JOHN W. WHITEHEAD

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is the founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His books Battlefield America: The War on the American People and A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State are available at www.amazon.com. He can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org. Nisha Whitehead is the Executive Director of The Rutherford Institute. Information about The Rutherford Institute is available at www.rutherford.org.




As Global Military Spending Hits Nearly $2 Trillion, These Weapons Are Useless Against Biggest Threats We Face

The U.S. military cannot fight a pandemic. It is not a war, it’s a public health crisis. And this isn’t the only threat that has a global scope. Our federal budget priorities need to reflect that reality by investing in the agencies and programs that can actually help keep us healthy and safe. (Photo: ACLU) 

By Tori Bateman | Common Dreams

The priorities of entire generations are often shaped by the monumental events of their childhoods. For me, that event was 9/11 and the resulting national obsession with the “War on Terror.” For my younger brother, that experience will likely be a global pandemic.

In many ways, the misguided priorities that arose after 9/11—which led to a dramatic increase in already astronomically high military spending—set the stage for the U.S.’s devastatingly inadequate response to the virus that shapes the experiences of this generation.

Rather than preparing for public health crises like COVID-19, governments around the world spent a combined $1.917 trillion on weapons, maintaining their militaries, and fighting wars in 2019.

This new data, released this week by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, highlights the devastating scale of misspent global resources. The United States leads the pack – our military spending accounted for over 38% of the total.

Congress only invested about 1.5% of what they spend on preparing for war on preparing for public health crises like COVID-19.

Compare those military spending numbers to the World Health Organization’s revenue in 2018/2019, which comes in at only $5.6 billion.

Our national health agencies aren’t faring any better than the global ones. In 2020, the Pentagon was given over $738 billion by Congress. In comparison, programs for “Public Health, Prevention, Surveillance, and Preparedness received 10.8 billion. This means that Congress only invested about 1.5% of what they spend on preparing for war on preparing for public health crises like COVID-19.

In our new pandemic reality, pleas for resources, funding, and infrastructure from hospitals and healthcare workers have become ubiquitous. Our health system was already desperately underfunded. Rural hospitals are closing at accelerating rates, and over the last decade, the public health workforce has shrunk by about 56,000 positions. Now, more than 55 thousand people in the U.S. have died from the virus, many because they lacked access to adequate health care.

The U.S. military cannot fight a pandemic. It is not a war, it’s a public health crisis. And this isn’t the only threat that has a global scope. Our federal budget priorities need to reflect that reality by investing in the agencies and programs that can actually help keep us healthy and safe.

The costs of U.S. and global military spending aren’t only economic. The human and environmental costs are staggering, too. According to the Costs of War Project, the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Pakistan have directly killed at least 800,000 people. Millions more have been wounded or displaced due to violent conflict. And since 9/11, the Pentagon has emitted over 1.2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, contributing to climate change and exacerbating one of the largest threats to humanity.

The pandemic has taught us a lot about the possibilities for a post-COVID world. People and governments have come together to respond to the common threat, sharing resources, knowledge, and action plans. Climate change, poverty, diseases, and injustice all require the global community to come together in creative ways to care for one another and create a better world.

Investment in people—including public health and global cooperation—is infinitely more important than propping up the military-industrial complex. It’s time for the global community to come together in the realization that weapons don’t make us safer. Investment in people—including public health and global cooperation—is infinitely more important than propping up the military-industrial complex.

Fortunately, advocacy and community groups across the world are already mobilizing for change. Even during a time of social distancing, people are finding ways to come together and demand better from our governments.

As the leading military spender, the U.S. has an important leadership role to play in transitioning the world away from military spending and towards spending public funds on things that actually build more resilient communities.

If we’re successful, the next generation will get to experience well-funded public health systems, peaceful societies, and the many benefits that come along with investing in people rather than the Pentagon.

Tori Bateman is the Policy Advocacy Coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee

Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share it widely.




Veterans Apologize To Indigenous On Behalf Of U.S. Army At Standing Rock [Watch]

Leonard Crow Dog, a Lakota elder and highly-regarded activist, left, places his hand over Gen. Wesley Clark Jr.'s head during a forgiveness ceremony for veterans at the Four Prairie Knights Casino & Resort on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on Monday, Dec. 5, 2016.

Leonard Crow Dog, a Lakota elder and highly-regarded activist, left, places his hand over Gen. Wesley Clark Jr.’s head during a forgiveness ceremony for veterans at the Four Prairie Knights Casino & Resort on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on Monday, Dec. 5, 2016.

By Hqanon | We Are Anonymous

Today, hundreds of veterans from across the United States took a knee and begged for forgiveness for crimes committed toward indigenous people in the name of the U.S. military.

A massive awakening is being realized, and it’s stemming from the Standing Rock protest camps located near Cannon Ball, North Dakota. Since April, “water protectors” have been protesting the development of a four-state Dakota Access Pipeline.

Individuals in support of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, who believe the land is rightfully theirs due to an 1851 treaty, have been maced, tased, beaten with batons, shot with rubber bullets, and even sprayed down with water canons in freezing temperatures because they believe the DAPL’s construction will uproot burial ground and potentially contaminate the Missouri river.

Energy Transfer Partners insists that the pipeline is incredibly safe, but betting on “human error” has proven to be too much of a risk, which is why advocates for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe protest. This past weekend, over three thousand veterans arrived at the Sacred Stone camp to show their support for the indigenous peoples’ plight, as well as to help prepare activists for the cold winter.

Likely because of the veterans’ arrival – which was organized by Michael J. Wood, a former Baltimore police officer, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied an easement to the oil companies responsible for the $3.7 billion pipeline. Cheers erupted in the camp as word spread, but a statement by Energy Transfer Partners soon made it clear that construction of the DAPL will continue regardless of the Obama Administration’s interference.

As of now, a standoff continues between law enforcement workers and water protectors; those who are present at Standing Rock – and many more who intend to venture to North Dakota – are adamant that they are not going anywhere until the pipeline is rerouted.

With heartache and humility in the air, veterans led by Wesley Clark Jr. did something remarkable today. Hundreds of veterans gathered before tribal leaders of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and begged for forgiveness for crimes committed toward indigenous people in the name of the U.S. military.

Credit: Josh Morgan for The Huffington Post
Credit: Josh Morgan for The Huffington Post

The ceremony, according to Redhawk’s Facebook post, was led by Arvol Looking Horse, Leonard Crow Dog, Phyllis Young, Ivan Looking Horse, and a number of other natives of Turtle Island.

Though many military personnel are in favor of the pipeline’s construction due to the potential boost it could offer the economy, others see it as another instance in which native Americans are being trampled upon within a two-hundred-year period. To attempt to ‘right’ the many wrongs of the past, the brave veterans asked for forgiveness.

According to Jon Eagle, who is the tribal historic preservation officer for the Standing Rock Sioux, Leksi Leonard Crow Dog – a Sioux spokesman – forgave the veteran military members present for the past actions of their government. In turn, he asked for forgiveness for the Battle of Big Horn –  also known as Custer’s Last Stand – when Sioux warriors killed approximately 268 U.S. soldiers affiliated with the 7th Cavalry.

Redhawk wrote that they were “forgiven for actions taken to dehumanize the indigenous of this country, and a step towards solitary has been made.”

After the moving ceremony, the two groups made a unified call for world peace.

What’s happening at Standing Rock is no longer a fight between the indigenous and those employed by an affluent oil company. The uprising has morphed into a battle between those who understand that all life is connected and that by honoring the Earth, everyone benefits – especially future generations. 

What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!


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Why Do All of the Pentagon’s ‘Successes’ in Iraq Look More Like Failures?

By Nick Turse | The Nation

pentagon

The only thing the US military has succeeded at is believing its own propaganda. Nick Turse

There’s good news coming out of Iraq… again. The efforts of a 65-nation coalition and punishing U.S. airstrikes have helped local ground forces roll back gains by the Islamic State (IS).

Government forces and Shiite militias, for example, recaptured the city of Tikrit, while Kurdish troops ousted IS fighters from the town of Sinjar and other parts of northern Iraq. Last month, Iraqi troops finally pushed Islamic State militants out of most of the city of Ramadi, which the group had held since routing Iraqi forces there last spring.

In the wake of all this, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter touted “the kind of progress that the Iraqi forces are exhibiting in Ramadi, building on that success to… continue the campaign with the important goal of retaking Mosul as soon as possible.”  Even more recently, he said those forces were “proving themselves not only motivated but capable.”  I encountered the same upbeat tone when I asked Colonel Steve Warren, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, about the Iraqi security forces.  “The last year has been a process of constructing, rebuilding, and refitting the Iraqi army,” he explained. “While it takes time for training and equipping efforts to take effect, the increasing tactical confidence and competence of the ISF [Iraqi security forces] and their recent battlefield successes indicate that we are on track.”

“Progress.”  “Successes.”  “On track.”  “Increasing tactical confidence and competence.”  It all sounded very familiar to me.

By September 2012, after almost a decade at the task, the U.S. had allocated and spent nearly $25 billion on “training, equipping, and sustaining” the Iraqi security forces, according to a report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.  Along the way, a parade of generals, government officials, and Pentagon spokesmen had offered up an almost unending stream of good news about the new Iraqi Army.  Near constant reports came in of “remarkable,” “big,” even “enormous” progress for a force that was said to be exuding increasing “confidence,” and whose performance was always improving.  In the end, the U.S. claimed to have trained roughly 950,000 members of the “steady,” “solid,” Iraqi security forces.

And yet just two and a half years after the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, that same force collapsed in spectacular fashion in the face of assaults by Islamic State militants who, by CIA estimates, numbered no more than 31,000 in all.  In June 2014, for example, 30,000 U.S.-trained Iraqi troops abandoned their equipment and in some cases even their uniforms, fleeing as few as 800 Islamic State fighters, allowing IS to capture Mosul, the second largest city in the country.

Blaming the Victim

“When U.S. forces departed Iraq in 2011, it was after helping the Iraqi government create an entirely new Iraqi Security Force following the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime,” Major Curtis Kellogg, a spokesman with U.S. Central Command, explained to me last year.  It almost sounded as if the old regime had toppled of its own accord, a new government had arisen, and the U.S. had generously helped build a military for it.  In reality, of course, a war of choice — based on trumped up claims of nonexistent weapons of mass destruction — led to a U.S. occupation and the conscious decision to dissolve Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein’s military and create a new army in the American mold.  “[T]he Iraqi security forces were a fully functioning element of the Iraq Government,” Kellogg continued, explaining how such an Iraqi military collapse could occur in 2014.  “However, the military standards established and left in place were allowed to atrophy following the departure of U.S. troops.”

More recently, Colonel Steve Warren brought up another problem with Iraq’s forces in an email to me.  “The Iraqi army that we left in 2011 was an army that had been trained for counterinsurgency. That means route clearance, checkpoint operations, and IED [improvised explosive device] reduction, for example.  The Iraqi army that collapsed in 2014 was… not trained and… not ready for a conventional fight — the conventional assault that ISIL brought to Mosul and beyond.”

Both Kellogg and Warren stopped short of saying what seems obvious to many.  Kalev Sepp, the adviser to two top American generals in Iraq and a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for special operations and counterterrorism, shows no such hesitation. “We had 12 years to train the Iraqi Army… We failed.  It’s obvious.  So when this lightly-armed insurgent group, the so-called Islamic State, invaded the country, the Iraqi army collapsed in front of it.” 

It’s taken billions of dollars and a year and a half of air strikes, commando raids, advice, and training to begin to reverse the Islamic State’s gains.  According to Warren, the U.S. and its partners have once again trained more than 17,500 ISF troops, with another 2,900 currently in the pipeline.  And once again we’re hearing about their successes. Secretary of Defense Carter, for example, called the fight for Ramadi “a significant step forward in the campaign to defeat this barbaric group,” while Secretary of State John Kerry claimed the Islamic State had “suffered a major defeat” there.

Still, the tiny terror group seems to have no difficulty recruiting new troops, is ramping up attacks in the district of Haditha, carrying out complex attacks in Baghdad and the town of Muqdadiya, and continues to hold about 57,000 square miles of Syrian and Iraqi territory, including Mosul. With questions already being raised by Pentagon insiders about just how integral the Iraqi security forces were to the retaking of Ramadi and doubts about their ability to clear cities like Mosul, it’s worth taking a look back at all those upbeat reports of “progress” during the previous U.S. effort to build an Iraqi Army from scratch.

Nothing “Succeeds” Like “Success”

After the U.S. toppled Saddam Hussein’s government in April 2003 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Bush administration began remaking the battered nation from the ground up.  One of the first acts of L. Paul Bremer III, the top American civilian official in the occupied country, was to dissolve Iraq’s military.  His plan: to replace Saddam Hussein’s 350,000-man army with a lightly armed border protection force that would peak at around 40,000 soldiers, supplemented by police and civil defense forces.  In an instant, hundreds of thousands of well-trained soldiers were unemployed, providing a ready source of fighters for a future insurgency.

“In less than six months we have gone from zero Iraqis providing security to their country to close to a hundred thousand Iraqis… Indeed, the progress has been so swift that… it will not be long before [the Iraqi security forces] will… outnumber the U.S. forces,” Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld suggested in a cheery assessment in October 2003.

Major General Paul Eaton, tasked with rebuilding the Iraqi Army, similarly articulated his upbeat vision for the force.  Schooled by Americans in “fundamental soldier and leadership skills” and outfitted with all the accoutrements of modern Western troops, including body armor and night-vision equipment, the new military would be committed to “defend[ing] Iraq and its new-found freedom,” he announced at a Baghdad briefing in January 2004.  Soon, Iraqis would even take over the task of instruction.  “I would like to emphasize that this will be an Iraqi Army, trained by Iraqis,” he said. “As Iraq is reborn,” he added, “we believe that her armed forces can lead the way in unifying” the country.

“Paul Eaton and his team did an extraordinary amount for the Iraqi Security Force mission,” his successor Lieutenant General David Petraeus would say a couple of years later.  “They established a solid foundation on which we were able to build as the effort was expanded very substantially and resourced at a much higher level.”

Retired Special Forces officer Kalev Sepp, who traveled to Iraq as an adviser five times, had a different assessment. “General Eaton was direct in letting me know that he wanted to be remembered as the father of the new Iraqi Army,” he told me. “I thought his approach was conceptually wrong,” Sepp recalled, noting that Eaton “understood his mission was to create an army to defend Iraq from foreign invasion, but he completely overlooked the internal insurgency.” (A request to interview Eaton, sent to the American Security Project, a Washington D.C.-based think tank with which the retired general is affiliated, went unanswered.)

General Eaton would later blame the Bush administration for initial setbacks in the performance of the Iraqi Army, thanks to poor prewar planning and insufficient resources for the job.  “We set out to man, train, and equip an army for a country of 25 million — with six men,” General Eaton told the New York Times in 2006.  He did, however, accept personal responsibility for the most visible of its early failures, the mutiny of a freshly minted Iraqi battalion en route to its first battle in April 2004.

In the years that followed, America’s Iraq exploded into violence as Sunni and Shiite militants battled each other, the U.S. occupiers, and the U.S.-backed Baghdad government.  On the fly, U.S. officials came up with new plans to build a large, conventional, heavily armed force to secure Iraq in the face of sectarian strife, multiple raging insurgencies, and ultimately civil war.  “The Iraqi military and police forces expanded rapidly from 2004 to 2006, adapting to the counterinsurgency mission,” according to a report by the U.S. Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.  As chaos spread and death tolls rose, estimates of the necessary numbers of Iraqi troops, proposals concerning the right types of weapons systems for them, and training stratagems for building the army were amended, adjusted, and revised, again and again.  There was, however, one constant: praise.

In September 2005, as violence was surging and more than 1,400 civilians were being killed in attacks across the country, General George W. Casey Jr., commander of Multinational Force-Iraq, reported that the security forces were “progressing and continuing to take a more prominent role in defending their country.”  He repeatedly emphasized that training efforts were on track — a sentiment seconded by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld.  “Every single day, the Iraqi security forces are getting bigger and better and better trained and better equipped and more experienced,” he said.

“I think we did a very effective job of training the Iraqi military recruits that were brought to us,” Casey told me last year, reflecting on U.S. efforts during his two and a half years in command.  The trouble, he said, was with the Iraqis.  “The political situation in Iraq through 2007 and even to this day is such that the leadership of the Iraqi government and the military never could instill the loyalty of the troops in the government.”

At the time, however, American generals emphasized progress over problems.  After Petraeus finished his own stint heading the training effort, he was effusive in his praise. “The bottom line up front that I’d like to leave with you today is that there has been enormous progress with the Iraqi security forces over the course of the past 16 months in the face of a brutal insurgency,” he boasted in October 2005, adding that “considerable work” still lay ahead. “Iraqi security force readiness has continued to grow with each passing week.  You can take a percentage off every metric that’s out there, whatever you want — training, equipping, infrastructure reconstruction, units in the fight, schools, academies reestablished — you name it — and what has been accomplished… would still be remarkable.”  (Messages seeking an interview sent to Petraeus at Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts & Co., the investment firm where he serves as chairman of the KKR Global Institute, were not answered.)

In November 2005, President Bush voiced the same sentiments.  “As the Iraqi security forces stand up, their confidence is growing,” he told midshipmen at the Naval Academy.  “And they’re taking on tougher and more important missions on their own.”  By the following February, General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was similarly lauding that military, claiming “the progress that they’ve made over this last year has been enormous.”

The next month, Lieutenant General Martin Dempsey, who succeeded Petraeus as commander of the Multinational Security Transition Command-Iraq (MNSTC-I) and later served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs, chimed in with glowing praise: “What we’re seeing now is progress on a three-year investment in Iraq’s security forces.  It’s been a big investment, and it’s yielding big progress.”

I asked retired Army Colonel Andrew Bacevich, a professor of history and international relations emeritus at Boston University’s Pardee School of Global Studies, how so many American officials could have seen so much progress from a force that would later collapse so rapidly and spectacularly.  “I think there’s a psychological need to see progress and, of course, it’s helpful to parrot the party line.  I do think that, psychologically, you need to be able to persuade yourself that your hard-earned efforts — this time spent away from home in lousy conditions — actually produced something positive.”

Kalev Sepp, who traveled all over Iraq talking to the commanders of more than 30 U.S. units while conducting a seminal counterinsurgency study known simply as the “COIN Survey,” told me that when he asked about the progress of the Iraqi units they were working with, U.S. officers invariably linked it to their own tour of duty. “Almost every commander said exactly the same thing.  If the commander had six months left in his tour, the Iraqis would be combat-capable in six months.  If the commander had four months left, then the Iraqis would be ready in four months.  Was a commander going to say ‘I won’t accomplish my mission.  I’m not going to be done on time’?  All the other units were saying their Iraqis were going to be fully trained.  Who was going to be the one commander who said ‘I don’t think my Iraqi unit is really ready’?”

Official praise continued as insurgencies raged across the country and monthly civilian death tolls regularly exceeded 2,000, even topping 3,000 in 2006 and 2007.  “The Iraqi security force continues to develop and grow, assisted by embedded transition teams,” Lieutenant General Ray Odierno, commander of the Multinational Corps-Iraq, announced to the press in May 2007.  “Yes, there are still problems within the Iraqi security forces — some sectarian, some manning, and some to do with equipping.  But progress is being made, and it’s steady.”  A 2008 Pentagon review also indicated remarkable progress with 102 out of 169 Iraqi battalions being declared “capable of planning, executing, and sustaining counterinsurgency operations with or without Iraqi or coalition support,” up from just 24 battalions in 2005.

Years later, Odierno, still in charge of the command, then known as United States Forces-Iraq, continued to tout improvement.  “Clearly there’s still some violence, and we still need to make more progress in Iraq,” he told reporters in July 2010. “But Iraqi security forces have taken responsibility for security throughout Iraq, and they continue to grow and improve every day.”

The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, Stuart Bowen, was also upbeat, noting in 2010 that the $21.3 billion already spent to build up the then-660,000-man security force had “begun to pay off significantly.”  Don Cooke, head of the State Department’s Iraq assistance office, agreed.  “We have built an Iraqi security force which is capable of maintaining internal security in Iraq… And four or five or six years ago, there were people who were saying it was going to take decades.”

In October 2011, as U.S. forces were preparing to end eight years of occupation, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta offered up his own mission-accomplished assessment.  “You know, the one thing… we have seen is that Iraq has developed a very good capability to be able to defend itself.  We’ve taken out now about a hundred thousand [U.S.] troops [from Iraq], and yet the level of violence has remained relatively low.  And I think that’s a reflection of the fact that the Iraqis have developed a very important capability here to be able to respond to security threats within their own country,” he said of the by then 930,000-man security forces.

Winners and Losers

As the U.S. was training recruits at bases all over Iraq — including Camp Bucca, where Iraqi cadets attended a U.S.-run course for prison guards — another force was also taking shape.  For years, U.S.-run prison camps were decried by many as little more than recruiting and training sites for would-be insurgents, with innocents — angered by arbitrary and harsh detentions — housed alongside hardcore militants.  But Camp Bucca proved to be even more dangerous than that.  It became the incubator not just for an insurgency, but for a proto-state, the would-be caliphate that now lords over significant portions of Iraq and neighboring Syria.

[Read more here]

Robert O'Leary 150x150

Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield (MA), New England & “virtually” the world, with his website. He can also be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty.




US Military Is Sexually Assaulting Colombian Children (Project Censored #16)

By Madeline Pajerowski & Rob Williams (Burlington College) | * Project Censored

According to an 800-page report commissioned by the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), US military personnel raped at least fifty-four children in Colombia between 2003 and 2007. Adriaan Alsema, writing for Colombia Reports, was first to report the story in the English-language press on March 23, 2015.

Alsema’s article highlighted the subsection of the report authored by scholar Renan Vega, who documented that US military contractors sexually abused more than fifty underage girls in the town of Melgar in 2004. Vega reported “abundant information about the sexual violence” as well as the US contractors’ “absolute impunity” due to “bilateral agreements and the diplomatic immunity of United States officials.” According to Vega, the US military contractors also “filmed [the abuse] and sold the films as pornographic material.”

His report documented additional instances of sexual abuse, including the drugging and rape of a twelve-year-old girl by Sergeant Michael Coen and defense contractor César Ruiz in 2007. Despite warrants issued for the arrest of Coen and Ruiz by Colombian prosecutors, the warrants were not executed due to diplomatic immunity granted to US military personnel and civilian contractors. In fact, Alsema reported, no arrests have been made in any of the cases regarding children raped by US military contractors.

Three days after Columbia Reports published Alsema’s article, Adam Johnson of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting quoted extensively from it and noted the lack of coverage in major US outlets, including CNN, MSNBC, and the New York Times, among others. Johnson concluded, “There’s a virtual media blackout in America over the case.” Noting that these “aren’t fringe claims, nor can the government of American ally Colombia be dismissed as a peddler of Bolivarian propaganda,” Johnson wrote, “a blistering report about systemic US military child rape of a civilian population should be of note—if for no other reason than, as the report lays out, it undermined American military efforts to stop drug trafficking and fight leftist rebels.” (Also see a later Al Jazeera opinion piece by Jonathan Levinson, who wrote: “The United States has little interest in drawing more attention to its controversial assistance to Colombia, much of it covert, and its support for a regime that has almost entirely disregarded human rights and accountability. But in turning a blind eye to crimes committed by its troops, the U.S. is essentially validating corruption and indifference in the Colombian military and ensuring Plan Colombia’s failure.”)

* Originally entitled: “#16 US Military Sexual Assault of Colombian Children”

[Read more here]

Sources: Adriaan Alsema, “At Least 54 Colombian Girls Sexually Abused by Immune US Military: Report,” Colombia Reports, March 23, 2015, https://colombiareports.co/more-than-54-colombian-girls-sexually-abuses-by-us-military-report/.

Adam Johnson, “Colombian Report on US Military’s Child Rapes Not Newsworthy to US News Outlets,” Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, March 26, 2015, https://fair.org/blog/2015/03/26/colombian-report-on-us-militarys-child-rapes-not-newsworthy-to-us-news-outlets/.

Robert O'Leary 150x150

Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield (MA), New England & “virtually” the world, with his website, www.romayasoundhealthandbeauty.com. He can also be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty@gmail.com




WHO Suppresses Report on Iraqi Cancers & Birth Defects

By  Jessica Clark & Andy Lee Roth | *Project Censored

WorldHealthOrganization-33967519_m-680x380

Editor’s Note: This is#10 in Project Censored’s latest List of the Top 25 Most Censored Stories

In contradiction with its own mandate, the World Health Organization (WHO) continues to suppress evidence uncovered in Iraq that US military use of depleted uranium (DU) and other weapons have not only killed many civilians but are also the cause of an epidemic of birth defects and other public health issues. By refusing to release the report publicly, the WHO effectively protects the US military and its government from accountability for the resulting public health catastrophe.

A WHO and Iraq Ministry of Health report on cancers and birth defects was set to be released in November 2012, but officials have indefinitely delayed that report’s release. To this date, Denis Halliday wrote, the WHO report remains “classified.” According to the WHO, the report’s release has been delayed because its analysis needs to be evaluated by a “team of independent scientists.”

Halliday’s report drew comparisons between the Iraqi case and the legacy of health issues arising from US use of Agent Orange in Vietnam.

Meanwhile, the reality in Iraq, Mozhgan Savabieasfahani contended, is that “Iraq is poisoned.” For example, citing a peer-reviewed study that she helped conduct, Savabieasfahani wrote, “[T]hirty-five million Iraqis wake up every morning to a living nightmare of childhood cancers, adult cancers and birth defects. Familial cancers, cluster cancers and multiple cancers in the same individual have become frequent in Iraq.” Why, then, does the WHO refuse to release its study? “One possible answer,” she wrote, “was suggested on May 26 by the Guardian.”

In that article, John Pilger reported the recent comments of Hans von Sponeck, the former assistant secretary general of the United Nations: “The US government sought to prevent WHO from surveying areas in southern Iraq where depleted uranium had been used and caused serious health and environmental dangers.”

[Read more here]

*Originally Entitled: “10. World Health Organization Suppresses Report on Iraqi Cancers and Birth Defects”

Sources:

Denis Halliday, “WHO Refuses to Publish Report on Cancers and Birth Defects in Iraq Caused by Depleted Uranium Ammunition,” Global Research, September 13, 2013, https://www.globalresearch.ca/who-refuses-to-publish-report-on-cancers-and-birth-defects-in-iraq-caused-by-depleted-uranium-ammunition/5349556.

Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, “What’s Delaying the WHO Report on Iraqi Birth Defects?” ZNet, June 12, 2013, https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/whats-delaying-the-who-report-on-iraqi-birth-defects-by-mozhgan-savabieasfahani.

Robert O'Leary 150x150Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield (MA), New England & “virtually” the world, with his website, www.romayasoundhealthandbeauty.com. He can also be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty@gmail.com

 




Project Censored #25: “Chaptered Out”: US Military Seeks to Balance Budget on Backs of Disabled Veterans”

By Carter Gaskill & Crystal Lau (Student Researchers) and Brett R. O’Bannon & Kevin Howley (Faculty Evaluators) at DePauw University  | Project Censored

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Editor’s Note: Project Censored is an important news service. It publishes a book every year, called The 25 Most Censored Stories of 20… Most likely, these are news stories that have missed your radar, but which you are likely to find informative and enlightening, if not mind-expanding. These stories are from the latest release. Project Censored is personally dear to me for helping me to become a more critical and lateral-minded thinker. It bring us news stories that did not make it on to every network, but I would submit not for lack of newsworthiness (although I invite you to judge that for yourself), but rather because of the infotainment and corporate-sponsored nature of modern news. I have missed seeing Project Censored mentioned in popular alternative media and I thought that Conscious Life News might just be the perfect place to change that. I will attempt to have 2 of these articles appear per week here in Conscious Life News. So, be on the look-out for them as we count down from #25 to #1. We begin with an article about mistreatment of wounded and disabled veterans by the military, itself. Given the sacrifice that our military men and women give in service to their country, this story needs to be known.

 

The US military has been engaged in a policy of forcing wounded and disabled veterans out of service to avoid paying benefits and to make room for new able-bodied recruits. Identifying injured combat soldiers as delinquent and negligent has lead to a practice called “chaptering out” which results in those soldiers being forced to leave the military without an honorable discharge. Because of this, thousands of soldiers have been chaptered out, losing federally sponsored benefits including health care, unemployment, and educational programs.

Dave Philipps, a reporter for the Colorado Springs Gazette, exposed this practice through his story of Purple Heart recipient Sergeant Jerrald Jensen.

Jensen, a decorated two-tour Afghanistan war veteran and recovering active-duty sergeant, was forced from the army without benefits for what army officials called “a pattern of misconduct.” Jensen failed to pass a urine test after being prescribed drugs for his injuries. He was also written up for being late to an appointment. Jensen made numerous attempts to be retested but was chaptered out by his superiors. “They told me that I didn’t deserve to wear the uniform now, nor did I ever deserve to wear it,” Jensen told Al Jazeera America.

[Read more here]

Sources: Dave Philipps, “Left Behind, No Break for the Wounded,” Colorado Springs Gazette, May 20, 2013, https://cdn.csgazette.biz/soldiers/day2.html & Sheila MacVicar, “76,000 Soldiers ‘Chaptered Out’ of Veterans’ Benefits Since 2006,” Aljazeera America, November 9, 2013, https://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/america-tonight/america-tonight-blog/2013/11/11/exclusive-76-000soldierschapteredoutofmilitarybenefitssince06.html.

 

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Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products and modalities since the early 1970’s, and he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist and father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive and safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield (MA), New England and “virtually” the world, through his new website, www.romayasoundhealthandbeauty.com (now mobile & tablet-ready, with a fresh new look!). He can also be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty@gmail.com..