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Category Archives: Military

More British complicity exposed in latest ‘CIA Torture Unredacted’ report, by TruePublica

The CIA Torture Report is horrifying, and the British play a prominent role. From TruePublica at truepublica.org.uk:

The latest report about kidnappings, rendition, ‘black sites’ and torture is a remarkable piece of investigative work. It provides us with nothing less than a litany of shocking evidence and testimony and at 403 pages it makes for truly grim reading. This article is made up of a very brief set of extracts from the just-released  CIA Torture Unredacted report. It presents the findings from a four-year joint investigation by The Rendition Project and The Bureau of Investigative Journalism into the use of rendition, secret detention and torture by the CIA and its partners in the ‘War on Terror’. 

Attempts to hold UK authorities to account for their role in the rendition (kidnapping and/or movement of suspects) and torture programme have been thwarted at every turn. Successive governments have repeatedly denied any involvement of UK security service or military personnel in torture or CIDT. Even as credible evidence mounted, officials were slow to fully investigate, were reticent about holding anyone to account, and have done very little to offer meaningful redress.  In 2010, the incoming UK Coalition government led by David Cameron finally launched a judge-led inquiry chaired by Peter Gibson, which was closed down before witnesses were even called, in part because of the considerable constraints placed on the Inquiry by government. Indeed, successive UK governments have gone to great lengths to suppress vital evidence, including passing legislation precisely for this purpose and continue to this day to resist repeated calls for a new inquiry.

Between 2001 and 2009, the CIA established a global network of secret prisons (‘black sites’) for the purpose of detaining terrorism suspects, in secret and indefinitely, and interrogating them through the use of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. The abuses which took place were severe, sustained, and in clear violation of domestic and international law. The perpetrators have never been held to account. The Rendition Project’s website (www.therenditionproject.org.uk), provide the most detailed public account to date of the CIA torture programme.

Information about CIA torture programme prisoners had to be prised out of the US military’s unwilling bureaucracy. But already at that time, there were rumours of an even more secretive programme, run in parallel by the Central Intelligence Agency outside the Pentagon’s chain of command. Press stories spoke of people abducted in the middle of the night, manhandled onto planes and never heard of again.

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Tulsi Gabbard: R.I.P., by Paul Craig Roberts

Has Tulsi Gabbard doomed herself by bowing to the Israel lobby? From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.org:

It is unfortunate that Tulsi Gabbard succumbed to the Israel Lobby.  The forces of the Empire saw it as a sign of weakness and have set about destroying her.

The ruling elite see Gabbard as a threat just as they saw Trump as a threat.  A threat is an attractive political candidate who questions the Empire’s agenda.  Trump questioned the hostility toward Russia orchestrated by the military/security complex.  Gabbard questions the Empire’s wars in the Middle East. This is questioning that encroaches on the agendas of the military/security complex and Israel Lobby.  If fear of Israel is what caused Gabbard to vote the AIPAC line on the bill forbidding criticism of Israel, she won’t be able to stick to her line against Washington’s aggression in the Middle East.  Israel is behind that aggression as it serves Israeli interests.

But the Empire is taking no chances.  The Empire has sicced its Presstitute Battalion on her. Josh Rogin (Washington Post), Joy Reid (MSNBC), Wajahat Ali (New York Times and CNN), and, of course the Twitter trolls paid to slander and misrepresent public figures that the Empire targets.  Google added its weight to the obfuscation of Gabbard. 

Gabbard, who in the second “debate” between Democratic Party candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination, took down the despicable Kamala Harris with ease, was promptly labeled “an Assad apologist” and a conspiracist with Russia to put herself as a Putin agent in the White House.  https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2019/08/01/crazed-democrats-now-claim-it-is-tulsi-gabbard-who-is-in-conspiracy-with-putin/ 

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More Money, Fewer Jobs The Stubborn Truth About Employment and the Defense Industry, by Nia Harris, Cassandra Stimpson, and Ben Freeman

Defense spending doesn’t really create jobs, so we’ll have to find another lie to justify the enormous sums wasted on the military-intelligence-industrial complex. From Nia Harris, Cassandra Stimpson, and Ben Freeman at tomdispatch.com:

A Marilyn has once again seduced a president. This time, though, it’s not a movie star; it’s Marillyn Hewson, the head of Lockheed Martin, the nation’s top defense contractor and the largest weapons producer in the world. In the last month, Donald Trump and Hewson have seemed inseparable. They “saved” jobs at a helicopter plant. They took the stage together at a Lockheed subsidiary in Milwaukee. The president vetoed three bills that would have blocked the arms sales of Lockheed (and other companies) to Saudi Arabia. Recently, the president’s daughter Ivanka even toured a Lockheed space facility with Hewson.

On July 15th, the official White House Twitter account tweeted a video of the Lockheed CEO extolling the virtues of the company’s THAAD missile defense system, claiming that it “supports 25,000 American workers.” Not only was Hewson promoting her company’s product, but she was making her pitch — with the weapon in the background — on the White House lawn. Twitter immediately burst with outrage over the White House posting an ad for a private company, with some calling it “unethical” and “likely unlawful.”

None of this, however, was really out of the ordinary as the Trump administration has stopped at nothing to push the argument that job creation is justification enough for supporting weapons manufacturers to the hilt. Even before Donald Trump was sworn in as president, he was already insisting that military spending was a great jobs creator. He’s only doubled down on this assertion during his presidency. Recently, overriding congressional objections, he even declared a national “emergency” to force through part of an arms sale to Saudi Arabia that he had once claimed would create more than a million jobs. While this claim has been thoroughly debunked, the most essential part of his argument — that more money flowing to defense contractors will create significant numbers of new jobs — is considered truth personified by many in the defense industry, especially Marillyn Hewson.

The facts tell a different story.

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Justice or Militarism: US Army Regulations Might be Stricter Than the in the NYPD, by Danny Sjursen

Danny Sjursen explores the connection between the military and the increasingly militarized police. From Sjursen at antiwar.com:

I lost my temper. In retrospect I was out of control. Waving my pistol around like a damn cowboy and screaming at a frail old man who didn’t know anything. It was New Year’s Eve 2006, just south of Baghdad, and yet another roadside bomb had just exploded near my platoon’s patrol, in broad daylight on a main street. No one was seriously hurt, this time at least, but I, a young lieutenant, was livid. See we almost never caught the “triggermen” who set off these IEDs, and bystanders always “saw nothing.” Just two weeks earlier one of my favorite sergeants had been shot in the back – paralyzed – barely a football field away from this latest attack. So I snapped.

Racing out of my HMMWV, my local interpreter trailing, I cornered this old man nearby and started screaming questions in his face:

“Who did this?”

“Tell me the name of the bomb maker in this neighborhood!”

“Don’t you dare tell me you don’t know!”

Out came my pistol. I didn’t put it to his head or anything, but my message – and veiled threat – was clear. That’s when my translator – who we called “Mark” – intervened, telling me to calm down and that the old man didn’t know anything. I knew Mark was right, deep down, and I snapped out of it then and there. I let the old man be, mounted my truck, and continued the day’s “mission,” such as it was. When we returned to base I apologized to my subordinate sergeants for my behavior. They didn’t think it was a big deal, and they told me so, but knew I was wrong, felt obliged to admit it, and thus set a good example. They knew, I think, that I wouldn’t accept such behavior (or worse) from them.

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Tulsi: A Living Reminder of Iraq’s Liars and Apologists, by David Masciotra

The Democrats (and Republicans) still have to live down their support for the second Iraq war. From David Masciotra at theamericanconservative.com:

Gabbard calls out the betrayers; Dems try to forget their heroes Mueller and Biden are among them.

Tulsi Gabbard during second night of the Democratic debate in Detroit on July 31, 2019. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Estimates of the number of civilians who died during the war in Iraq range from 151,000 to 655,000. An additional 4,491 American military personnel perished in the war. Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, toxicologist at the University of Michigan, has organized several research expeditions to Iraq to measure the contamination and pollution still poisoning the air and water supply from the tons of munitions dropped during the war. It does not require any expertise to assume what the studies confirm: disease is still widespread and birth defects are gruesomely common. Back home, it is difficult to measure just how many struggle with critical injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The gains of war in Iraq remain elusive, especially considering that the justifications for invasion—weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein’s connection to al-Qaeda, the ambition to create a Western-style democracy at gunpoint—remain “murky at best.” That’s a quote from the 9/11 Commission’s conclusion on the so-called evidence linking Iraq to Osama bin Laden’s group, which actually did carry out the worst terrorist attack in American history.

As far as stupid and barbarous decisions are concerned, it is difficult to top the war in Iraq. It is also difficult to match its price tag, which, according to a recent Brown University study, amounts to $1.1 trillion.

Gore Vidal once christened his country the “United States of Amnesia,” explaining that Americans live in a perpetual state of a hangover: “Every morning we wake up having forgotten what happened the night before.”

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Pentagon testing mass surveillance balloons across the US, by Mark Harris

Good news, the government is going to spy on us even more! From Mark Harris at theguardian.com:

Exclusive: the high-altitude balloons promise a cheap monitoring platform that could follow multiple cars and boats for extended periods

The new balloons could follow multiple cars and boats for extended periods.
The new balloons could follow multiple cars and boats for extended periods. Photograph: Ron Chapple/Alamy

The US military is conducting wide-area surveillance tests across six midwest states using experimental high-altitude balloons,
documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reveal.
Up to 25 unmanned solar-powered balloons are being launched from rural South Dakota and drifting 250 miles through an area spanning portions of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Missouri, before concluding in central Illinois.

Travelling in the stratosphere at altitudes of up to 65,000ft, the balloons are intended to “provide a persistent surveillance system to locate and deter narcotic trafficking and homeland security threats”, according to a filing made on behalf of the Sierra Nevada Corporation, an aerospace and defence company.

The balloons are carrying hi-tech radars designed to simultaneously track many individual vehicles day or night, through any kind of weather. The tests, which have not previously been reported, received an FCC license to operate from mid-July until September, following similar flights licensed last year.

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Tulsi Gabbard Challenges Foreign-Policy Assumptions and Moves the Overton Window, by Ali A. Taj

Much as Trump did in 2016, Tulsi Gabbard is giving voice to questions and opinions the powers that be find unacceptable. From Ali A. Taj at mintpressnews.com:

Tulsi Gabbard has moved the Overton window on what is acceptable discussion when it comes to U.S. foreign policy. She has punctured the rose-tinted narrative being constructed around establishment favorites like Senator Kamala Harris.

During yesterday’s Democratic presidential debate, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) exposed Senator Kamala Harris’ (D-CA) horrible prosecutorial record as well as her diluted and compromised solution to America’s healthcare crisis.

Harris failed to respond to Gabbard and, just as Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) did before her, she attacked Gabbard with the tired label of “Assad apologist,” referring to Gabbard’s questioning of the U.S. government narrative on the Syria chemical-weapons attacks as well as her attempts to foster dialogue with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Harris has also used the label in the same weaseling manner that Ryan has — when Gabbard was not present to counter it.

While proponents of U.S. foreign policy in Syria have used the label to smear Gabbard before, it was New York Times opinion writer Bari Weiss who arguably made famous the malign smear during an appearance on the Joe Rogan Show. When asked to explain what made Gabbard an Assad apologist, Weiss now infamously responded by calling her a “toady” of Assad. When confronted by Rogan, Weiss admitted she did not know what the term toady meant.

Post-debate evasion and obfuscation

Just as Weiss failed to elaborate when confronted about her name-calling of Gabbard, Harris failed to respond to Tulsi’s pointed examination of Harris’ compromised record as a prosecutor. This record, as Gabbard noted, includes the prosecution of over 1,500 people for marijuana charges (the hypocrisy of which was highlighted when Harris laughed when asked if she had herself indulged); blocking evidence that would have freed an innocent man from death row until the courts forced her to do; keeping people in prison beyond their sentences, to be used as cheap labor; and fighting to keep the discriminatory cash bail system in place.

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