War

War is what America knows how to do best.

the United States is alone on the planet, not just in its ability, but in its willingness to use military force in drug wars, religious wars, political wars, conflicts of almost any sort, constantly and on a global scale.  No other group of powers collectively even comes close. It also stands alone as a purveyor of major weapons systems and so as a generator of war.  It is, in a sense, a massive machine for the promotion of war on a global scale.

We have, in other words, what increasingly looks like a monopoly on war.  There have, of course, been warrior societies in the past that committed themselves to a mobilized life of war-making above all else.  What’s unique about the United States is that it isn’t a warrior society.  Quite the opposite.

Washington may be mobilized for permanent war.  Special operations forces may be operating in up to 120 countries.  Drone bases may be proliferating across the planet.  We may be building up forces in the Persian Gulf and “pivoting” to Asia.  Warrior corporations and rent-a-gun mercenary outfits have mobilized on the country’s disparate battlefronts to profit from the increasingly privatized twenty-first-century American version of war.  The American people, however, are demobilized and detached from the wars, interventions, operations, and other military activities done in their name.  As a result, 200 Marines in Guatemala, almost 78% of global weapons sales, drones flying surveillance from Australia — no one here notices; no one here cares. 

War: it’s what we do the most and attend to the least.  It’s a nasty combination.

For the full and most interesting text click here.

Caught in the cross fire of futility and cant

Mike Carlton :

THE scene is now all too familiar. There is the coffin draped in the Australian flag and topped by a slouch hat and medals, borne from the aircraft by solemn young men in khaki.

A chaplain in vestments and a lone piper walk before it, past the saluting colonels and captains. Somewhere in the background there are grandparents struggling to hold it together for the sake of a grieving widow and her stricken, bewildered children.

The rest of us watch this on television for our one minute, 45 seconds of couch compassion and then get on with the really important news: the Roosters have sacked their coach, a celebrity chef has lost a Good Food Guide hat, and halfwits have trolled a TV star on Twitter.

When are we going to cry out that enough is enough? When are we going to rise up to demand that not one more husband, father, brother, mate, should die in this bloody, treacherous and futile war in Afghanistan?

When will we, the Australian people, shout with one voice that the war is lost and it’s time to bring our soldiers home, not in 2014 but now. I have seen too much of this in my lifetime. In World War II we fought for a noble cause, the defeat of German Nazism, Italian Fascism and Japanese militarism.

Since then, from Korea to Afghanistan via Vietnam and Iraq, we have become enmeshed in failed conflicts fomented in folly and ignorance, and buttressed by the lies and deceit of politicians, generals and, yes, the media.

Korea, the so-called forgotten war, was to stop the march of godless communism.

It ended with 340 Australian dead, although not in a permanent peace but an armistice in which great armies still confront each other.

Vietnam, you will remember, was justified by the domino theory, which held that if South Vietnam fell the rest of south-east Asia would topple to communism as well, all the way to Indonesia. Better to stop them there than here, was the cry.

We lost 521 men killed for that lie.

In Iraq, it was to wipe out al-Qaeda and to seize Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. It would be a “cakewalk”; the US Marines would be garlanded with flowers in the streets of Baghdad, “greeted like liberators”, we were told. Australia’s chief contribution to that war was to pump $221.7 million into Saddam’s bank account for “transportation costs” in the still-unpunished Australian Wheat Board scandal.

Afghanistan was to go after al-Qaeda yet again. When Osama bin Laden was caught not there but, magically, a stone’s throw down the road from the Pakistan Military Academy, the war somehow morphed into a fight against the Taliban, a murderous bunch of Islamic fanatics to be sure, but of no conceivable security threat to Australia. So far it’s 38 Australians killed and counting – dying not for their country, as our mealy-mouthed leaders would have us believe, but in defence of the venal and thuggish Karzai regime.

The cant and the hypocrisy keep coming. We are there to get the job done, to see the mission through. But we learn nothing from history. When we eventually quit Afghanistan, as the British did in the 19th century and the Soviet Union in the 20th, the place will revert to what it always was , a violent wasteland of warlords growing opium poppies. What fools we are.

 IT’S not only the dead. It’s the wounded, too, the hundreds if not thousands of men who carry the physical and mental scars of battle for life.

At Christmas 1966 I was an ABC war correspondent in Vietnam, tape-recording greetings from our Diggers to be broadcast to their families on their hometown radio stations.

There was one bloke lying in an American military hospital outside Saigon. Drips and drains trailed from the bed covers tented over him and he was groggy from the painkillers, but he was glad to hear an Australian accent among all the Yanks and he managed to mumble a cheerful greeting to mum and dad and his little sister somewhere in the Riverina. Don’t you worry, getting better, be home soon.

When I left his room I asked a nurse what had happened to him. “His balls were blown off by a landmine,” she said. “But he doesn’t know it yet.”

I saw worse in that war. Corpses fried by napalm; a village well in Cambodia filled with a reeking stew of human remains; dying soldiers crying out for their mothers, as dying soldiers do. But I am haunted today by the memory of that young man because he was my own age, just 20, and I have wondered ever since what happened to him. Perhaps he made it OK. Perhaps he committed suicide like so many of his fellow Vietnam vets. I do not know.

We treat our wounded veterans differently these days. They and their families are better cared for. But the terrible toll accumulates still, hidden from our sight and our minds. In a couple of weeks, one of our former commanders in Afghanistan, retired Major-General John Cantwell, will publish a book of his memoirs, Exit Wounds.

I’ve seen an advance copy. Read it and weep.

America’s inevitable dictatorship

 America has now entered on the inexorable path towards military dictatorship. President Obama has just signed into law the right for the military police to hold Americans for indefinite detention without trial. This is a slippery slope. Once in law the powers of authority and the fear that this engenders will intensify.

Habeas Corpus was introduced many centuries ago and has found until now to satisfy the security needs of every country that has confessed to some level of democracy. There is no excuse for introducing such a law as these powers already exist. It can be done only in order to terrify both the American people and those who make the laws.

This may sound strange, but the people who have now been entrusted with this power will move to use it in exactly the same way as they use weapons and handcuffs. Because they have it they will use it. That is human nature.

The reaction of ordinary people to such limitless power that essentially silences you and sends out you to jail for as long as some bureaucrat may require is to inspire fear. Essentially the law allows faceless authorities to put you away in the dark forever.

It claims to be only for cases of terrorism, but is my writing of this article going to be considered a terrorist act?

This legislation takes all these cases out of the hands of the FBI and any civilian court and hands them over to the military. The military are trained to coerce prisoners, as recent history shows. Whenever the military are given power over civilians without themselves being under civilian control a country ends up in dictatorship. By removing the rights of judges to rein in the unfettered power of individuals in the military, then there is no safe level of control over unshackled bureaucratic imprisonment.

My heart weeps for country I love and for the people who have contributed so much to this world. The creativity of American people has over the last two centuries been legion. The growth of coercion and surveillance has been increasing over the past decades, and is now in a downward spiral. Control is now moving towards its inevitable end game.

As the pretended supporters of democracy around the world, the rest of us are in danger from following their lead unless we increase our consciousness and vigilance, and make sure that our politicians and other leaders understand that we intend to retain free-speech.

US report on reasons for no longer supporting Israel

•   Israel, given its current brutal occupation and belligerence cannot be salvaged any more than apartheid south Africa could be when as late as 1987 Israel was the only “Western” nation that upheld diplomatic ties with South Africa and was the last country to join the international boycott campaign before the regime collapsed;
 
•   The Israel leadership, with its increasing support of the 700,000 illegal settlers on the occupied West Bank is increasing out of touch with the political, military and economic realities of the Middle East;

•   The post Labor government Likud coalition is deeply complicit with and influenced by the settlers’ political and financial power and will increasingly face domestic civil strife which the US government should not associate itself with or become involved with;

•   The Arab Spring and Islamic Awakening has, to a major degree, freed a large majority of the 1.2 billion Arab and Muslims to pursue what an overwhelming majority believe is the illegitimate, immoral and unsustainable European occupation of Palestine of the indigenous population;
 
•   Simultaneous with, but predating, rapidly expanding Arab and Muslim power in the region as evidenced by the Arab spring, Islamic Awakening and the ascendancy of Iran, as American power and influence recedes, the US commitment to belligerent oppressive Israel is becoming impossible to defend or execute consistent given paramount US national interests which include normalizing relations with the 57 Islamic countries;

•   Gross Israeli interference in the internal affairs of the United States through spying and illegal US arms transfers. This includes supporting more than 60 ‘front organizations’ and  approximately 7,500 US officials who do Israel’s bidding and seek to dominate and intimidate the media and agencies of  the US government which should no longer be condoned;
 
•   That the United States government no longer has the financial resources, or public support to continue funding Israel. The more than three trillion dollars in direct and indirect aid from US taxpayers to Israel since 1967 is not affordable and is increasingly being objected to by US taxpayers who oppose continuing American military involvement in the Middle East. US public opinion no longer supports funding and executing widely perceived illegal US wars on Israel’s behalf. This view is increasingly being shared by Europe, Asia and the International public;

•   Israel’s segregationist occupation infrastructure evidenced by legalized discrimination and increasingly separate and unequal justice systems must no longer be directly or indirectly funded by the US taxpayers or ignored by the US government;

•   Israel has failed as a claimed democratic state and continued American financial and political cover will not change its continuing devolution as international pariah state;
 
•   Increasingly, rampant and violent racism exhibited among Jewish settlers in the West Bank is being condoned by the Israeli government to a degree that the Israel government has become its protector and partner;
 
•   The expanding chasm  among American Jews objecting to Zionism and Israeli practices, including the killing and brutalizing of Palestinians under Israeli occupation,  are gross violations of American and International law and raise questions within the US Jewish community regarding the American responsibility to protect (R2P) innocent civilians under occupation;
 
•   The international opposition to the increasingly  apartheid regime can no longer be synchronized with American claimed  humanitarian values or US expectations in its bi-lateral relations with the 193 member United Nations.

For full report and astonishing list of authors.

Droughts bring revolution and war

Climate Change And The Syrian Uprising (By Shahrzad Mohtadi}

A drought unparalleled in recent Syrian history lasted from 2006 to 2010 and led to an unprecedented mass migration of 1.5 million people from farms to urban centers.

Because the Assad regime’s economic policies had largely ignored water issues and sustainable agriculture, the drought destroyed many farming communities and placed great strain on urban populations.

Although not the leading cause of the Syrian rebellion, the drought-induced migration from farm to city clearly contributed to the uprising and serves as a warning of the potential impact of climate change on political stability.

For whole article click here.

 

World in Serious Trouble on Food Front

In the early spring of 2012, U.S. farmers were on their way to planting some 96 million acres in corn, the most in 75 years. A warm early spring got the crop off to a great start. Analysts were predicting the largest corn harvest on record.

The United States is the leading producer and exporter of corn, the world’s feedgrain. At home, corn accounts for four-fifths of the U.S. grain harvest. Internationally, the U.S. corn crop exceeds China’s rice and wheat harvests combined. Among the big three grains ˆ corn, wheat, and rice ˆ corn is now the leader, with production well above that of wheat and nearly double that of rice.

For the whole of this important article, click here

30,000 drones to monitor US citizens

A recent Department of Defense report to Congress as well as a number of media investigations have exposed government plans to deploy tens of thousands of drones over the US mainland in the coming years.

An investigative report published over the weekend by the Christian Science Monitor cited the government’s own estimates that “as many as 30,000 drones could be part of intelligence gathering and law enforcement here in the United States within the next ten years.”

Since Obama signed the bill, hundreds of drones have already begun flying over the US to spy on and monitor the population. A recent ABC News investigative report entitled “UAVs: Will Our Civil Liberties Be Droned Out?” outlined the possibility of drones buzzing overhead becoming “a fact of daily life.”

ABC News reported: “Drones can carry facial recognition cameras, license plate scanners, thermal imaging cameras, open WiFi sniffers, and other sensors. And they can be armed.”

“Among the most eager to fly domestic drones are America’s police departments,” the report stated. “In Texas, a Montgomery county sheriff’s office recently said it would deploy a drone bought with money from a Department of Homeland Security grant and was contemplating arming the drone with non-lethal weapons like tear gas, rubber bullets or Taser-style rounds.”

The ABC News report identified “political protests” as one of the activities that can be monitored by drones.

Read whole article here.

Rush to buy up Africa

Almost 5% of Africa‘s agricultural land has been bought or leased by investors since 2000, according to an international coalition of researchers and NGOs that has released the world’s largest public database of international land deals.

The database, launched on Thursday, lifts the lid on a decade of secretive deals struck by governments, investors and speculators seeking large tracts of fertile land in developing countries around the world.

The past five years have seen a flood of reports of investors snapping up land at rock-bottom prices in some of the world’s poorest countries. But, despite growing concern about the local impacts of so-called “land grabs”, the lack of reliable data has made it difficult to pin down the real extent and nature of the global rush for land.

Read full report in the Guardian here.

Global ‘water threat’ by 2030 – official report

Nations will cut off rivers to prevent their enemies having access to water downstream, terrorists will blow up dams, and states that cannot provide water for their citizens will collapse. This is the future – as painted by a top US security report.

­The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), the organization that oversees US intelligence agencies such as the CIA and FBI, was commissioned by President Barack Obama to examine the impact of water scarcity worldwide on US security.

And while the prospect of “water wars” has been touted for decades, it may start to become reality within a decade. The ODNI predicts that by 2040 water demand will outstrip current supply by 40 per cent.

For full and disturbing report click here.

 

US Secret Armies and Global War

Those prepared to extol the exploits of elite killing squads abroad as the essence of the “American idea” will not shrink from the use of similar methods in suppressing any challenge to the rule of the financial elite at home. The deepest global economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s once again confronts mankind with the threat of world war and dictatorship.

Granting of extra bases to US Special Forces in Australia is part of this operation.

Read the rest of this here.