Even when critical of US actions, media commentary on recent US bombings and assassinations in the Middle East is premised on the assumption that the US has the right to use violence (or the threat of it) to assert its will, anytime, anywhere. Conversely, corporate media coverage suggests that any countermeasure—such as resistance to the US presence in Iraq—is inherently illegitimate, criminal and/or terroristic.
It was shortly after midnight in Baghdad on Friday, Jan. 3, when a missile strike ordered by President Trump killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. When stock markets opened the next day, dozens of members of Congress saw bumps in their portfolios as their holdings in defense contractors like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon increased in value on the possibility of war. Over the next three trading days, the leading defense industry stock index would surge 2.4% above Thursday’s close.
The solution [to the problem of maintaining the demand for dollars] turned out to be to replace gold with U.S. Treasury securities (IOUs) as the basis of foreign central bank reserves. After 1971, foreign central banks had little option for what to do with their continuing dollar inflows except to recycle them to the U.S. economy by buying U.S. Treasury securities. In fact, U.S. foreign military spending helped finance the domestic U.S. federal budget deficit.
Something very unusual happened on Thursday, Oct. 17. The New York Times suddenly ran an article on its opinion page explaining how to cut $300 billion from the $1-trillion military budget — enough, the article explained, to fund Bernie Sanders’ proposed program for an expanded Medicare program to cover all Americans without raising a dime in new taxes.
Impeaching Donald Trump would do nothing to halt the deep decay that has beset the American republic. It would not magically restore democratic institutions. It would not return us to the rule of law. It would not curb the predatory appetites of the big banks, the war industry and corporations.
American war-making will persist so long as the United States continues to seek military dominance across the globe. Dominance, assumed to ensure peace, in fact guarantees war. To get serious about stopping endless war, American leaders must do what they most resist: end America’s commitment to armed supremacy and embrace a world of pluralism and peace.
The United States has spent nearly $6 trillion on wars that directly contributed to the deaths of around 500,000 people since the 9/11 attacks of 2001. The final count revealed, "The United States has appropriated and is obligated to spend an estimated $5.9 trillion (in current dollars) on the war on terror through Fiscal Year 2019, including direct war and war-related spending and obligations for future spending on post 9/11 war veterans."
Last week, mainstream media outlets gave minimal attention to the news that the U.S. Naval station in Virginia Beach had spilled an estimated 94,000 gallons of jet fuel into a nearby waterway, less than a mile from the Atlantic Ocean. While the incident was by no means as catastrophic as some other pipeline spills, it underscores an important yet little-known fact—that the U.S. Department of Defense is both the nation's and the world's, largest polluter.
Defense executives from around the country crowded into Goldman Sachs’ glimmering tower in downtown Manhattan in mid-May, eager to present before a conference of bankers and financial analysts. While much of the world was on edge over simmering tension in the Middle East, as the U.S. and its allies have stoked tensions with Iran, the businessmen at the conference talked of opportunity.
I don’t know if I’d have the nerve to be a whistleblower. I’d like to think I would. But to blow the whistle on a huge organization with a lot of power, likely drawing that power to come crashing down on your head—that takes some serious spine-age. Yet thousands, even tens of thousands, of people have taken that step over the past five years.
War is not often mentioned in mainstream discussions about the causes of climate change. The 1992 Kyoto Protocol indeed explicitly excluded greenhouse gas emissions from military action from its emissions targets. This automatic exclusion was removed in the 2015 Paris Agreement, but it is still not mandatory for signatory countries to track and reduce their military carbon emissions.
A veteran national security journalist with NBC News and MSNBC blasted the networks in a Monday email for becoming captive and subservient to the national security state, reflexively pro-war in the name of stopping President Donald Trump, and now the prime propaganda instrument of the War Machine’s promotion of militarism and imperialism.
After the New York Times on Thursday published an exposé of Facebook's global censorship rulebook, journalist Rania Khalek called out the social media giant for taking down a video in which she explains how, "on top of being occupied, colonized territory, Palestine is Israel's personal laboratory for testing, refining, and showcasing methods and weapons of domination and control."
On November 15, Ernst & Young and other private firms that were hired to audit the Pentagon announced that they could not complete the job. Congress had ordered an independent audit of the Department of Defense, the government’s largest discretionary cost center—the Pentagon receives 54 cents out of every dollar in federal appropriations—after the Pentagon failed for decades to audit itself. The firms concluded, however, that the DoD’s financial records were riddled with so many bookkeeping deficiencies, irregularities, and errors that a reliable audit was simply impossible.
Donald Trump on Tuesday issued a statement proclaiming that, notwithstanding the anger toward the Saudi Crown Prince over the gruesome murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, “the United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region.” To justify his decision, Trump cited the fact that “Saudi Arabia is the largest oil producing nation in the world” and claimed that “of the $450 billion [the Saudis plan to spend with U.S. companies], $110 billion will be spent on the purchase of military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and many other great U.S. defense contractors.”
Weapons makers are moving last-minute money to the Democratic congressman in line to chair the defense industry’s key House committee, as he is under assault from a fellow Democrat, who is attacking his pro-war record just ahead of a rare intra-party general election.
A detailed scoreboard on candidates for the Senate and House of Representatives shows that 28 pro-Israel PACs and numerous pro-Israel individuals have given candidates millions of dollars in campaign contributions. The scoreboard presents 29 bills and resolutions that were introduced on behalf of Israel.. 20 passed into law or on-record statement, many by unanimous consent. The legislation has accrued a total of over 3,300 co-sponsors...
A couple of years ago, Mark Skidmore, an economics professor, heard Catherine Austin Fitts, former assistant secretary in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, say that the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General had found $6.5 trillion worth of unaccounted-for spending in 2015.
Those who challenge the dominant corporate narrative already struggle on the margins of the media landscape. The handful of independent websites and news outlets, including this one, and a few foreign-run networks such as Al-Jazeera and RT America, on which I host a show, “On Contact,” are the few platforms left that examine corporate power and empire, the curtailment of our civil liberties, lethal police violence and the ecocide carried out by the fossil fuel and animal agriculture industries, as well as cover the war crimes committed by Israel and the U.S. military in the Middle East. Shutting down these venues would ensure that the critics who speak through them, and oppressed peoples such as the Palestinians, have no voice left.
The research was triggered by Skidmore hearing Catherine Austin Fitts, a former Assistant Secretary in the HUD in the first Bush administration, saying the Inspector General found $6.5 trillion worth of military spending that the DoD couldn’t account for. She was referring to a July 2016 report by the OIG, but Skidmore thought she must be mistaking billion for trillion. Based on his previous experience with public finances, he thought the figure was too big even for an organization as large as the US military.
New technology would help find people fleeing drone strikes and predict their movements. The doctoral student who presented the research demonstrated how pioneering data visualization techniques could show a drone operator, using lines and arrows of varying thickness, which direction fast-moving people and vehicles were most likely to travel, for example, at an intersection or while fleeing a building. The presentation clearly angered at least some of the crowd, including the moderator, prompting hostile questions.
The mission never made the front page of the New York Times or the Washington Post. It wasn’t covered on CNN or Fox News. Neither the White House chief of staff, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, nor the president ever addressed it in a press briefing. But from mid-January to late March 2013, Green Berets from the 10th Special Forces Group deployed to the impoverished West African nation of Niger. Working alongside local forces, they trained in desert mobility, the use of heavy weapons, and methods of deliberate attack.
About three-quarters of the world’s dictatorships currently receive military assistance from the United States. This is a strange record for a nation that consistently justifies its sweeping foreign interventions as aimed at “promoting democracy” and “thwarting evil dictatorships.” In the Cold War it was “He may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.” Current analysis shows the U.S. militarily assisting dictators the world over, calling it “promoting democracy,” and disingenuously wondering why it’s all going so badly.
One of the most under-discussed yet consequential changes in the American political landscape is the reunion between the Democratic Party and the country’s most extreme and discredited neocons. While the rise of Donald Trump, whom neocons loathe, has accelerated this realignment, it began long before the ascension of Trump and is driven by far more common beliefs than contempt for the current President. A newly formed and, by all appearances, well-funded national security advocacy group, devoted to more hawkish U.S. policies toward Russia and other adversaries, provides the most vivid evidence yet of this alliance.
"This audit provides a worrying insight into the US army's flawed – and potentially dangerous system for controlling millions of dollars' worth of arms transfers to a hugely volatile region," stated Patrick Wilcken, Amnesty International's Arms Control and Human Rights researcher in the report.
In private, the non-crazy members of the U.S. foreign policy establishment aren’t confused about the muslim threat. They understand quite well that Islamist terrorism is almost wholly blowback from the foreign policy they’ve designed.
The War on Terror framework continues to savage the world's poorest civilians. Drone strikes are causing more and more Yemenis to hate America and join radical militants . . . Unfortunately, liberal voices in the United States are largely ignoring, if not condoning, civilian deaths and extrajudicial killings in Yemen.
In the past few years, the Pentagon spent $6.8 million to pay for patriotic displays during the games of professional sports teams. That's according to a joint oversight report released by Arizona Republican Sens. John Flake and John McCain on Wednesday. The senators found that since 2012, the Pentagon has signed 72 contracts with teams in the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, and Major League Soccer that amounted to "paid patriotism."
Despite a proposed slashing of U.S. Army personnel to pre-World War II levels, American military might is beyond question. This chart from April 2013, which is making the rounds again, shows that America's 2012 defense budget surpassed that of the next 10 countries combined.