Posts tagged war
By Eric Blair
Two disturbing developments have occurred in the last couple of days that have gone relatively unnoticed compared to the recent IRS, AP, and Benghazi scandals.
First, the senate is debating an expansion of the already broad powers of the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) so the U.S. can essentially engage any area in the world in the war on terror, including America. Which brings us to the second development: the Pentagon has recently granted itself police powers on American soil.
Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Sheehan told Congress yesterday that the AUMF authorized the US military to operate on a worldwide battlefield from Boston to Pakistan. Sheehan emphasized that the Administration is authorized to put boots on the ground wherever the enemy chooses to base themselves, essentially ignoring the declaration of war clause in the US Constitution.
Senator Angus King said this interpretation of the AUMF is a “nullity” to the Constitution because it ignores Congress’ role to declare war. King called it the “most astoundingly disturbing hearing” he’s been to in the Senate.
Even ultra-hawk John McCain agreed that the AUMF has gone way beyond its authority.
“This authority … has grown way out of proportion and is no longer applicable to the conditions that prevailed, that motivated the United States Congress to pass the authorization for the use of military force that we did in 2001,” McCain said.
Glenn Greenwald wrote an excellent piece describing how this hearing reveals the not-so-secret plan to make the war on terror a permanent fixture in Western society.
It is hard to resist the conclusion that this war has no purpose other than its own eternal perpetuation. This war is not a means to any end but rather is the end in itself. Not only is it the end itself, but it is also its own fuel: it is precisely this endless war – justified in the name of stopping the threat of terrorism – that is the single greatest cause of that threat.
A self-perpetuating permanent war against a shadowy undefinable enemy appears to be the future of American foreign policy. How convenient for the war machine and tyrants who claim surveillance is safety.
But perhaps most disturbing of all of this is the military’s authority to police American streets as if it was in civil war. For all those still in denial that America is a militarized police state, this should be the ultimate cure to your delusion.
Jeff Morey of AlterNet writes:
By making a few subtle changes to a regulation in the U.S. Code titled “Defense Support of Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies” the military has quietly granted itself the ability to police the streets without obtaining prior local or state consent, upending a precedent that has been in place for more than two centuries.
The most objectionable aspect of the regulatory change is the inclusion of vague language that permits military intervention in the event of “civil disturbances.” According to the rule: “Federal military commanders have the authority, in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the President is impossible and duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation, to engage temporarily in activities that are necessary to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances.”
A law from 1878 called the Posse Comitatus Act was put in place to prevent the Department of Defense from interfering with local law enforcement. But now, the DoD claims they’ve had this authority for over 100 years.
Is Gov’t Response to Terror, Terror? – Prof. Beau Grosscup (Video Interview)
Next News Network interviews Prof. Beau Grosscup regarding the governments response to terror threats and terror attacks.
The recent opening of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity was a watershed moment in American history. There has never been anything quite like it. Ideologically diverse, the Ron Paul Institute reaches out to all Americans, and indeed to people all over the world, who find the spectrum of foreign-policy opinion in the United States to be unreasonably narrow. Until Ron Paul and his new institute, there was no resolutely anti-interventionist foreign-policy organization to be found.
Neoconservatives have not responded warmly to the announcement of Ron’s new institute. Whatever their particular gripes, we can be absolutely certain of the real reason for their unhappiness: they have never faced systematic, organized opposition before.
The Democrats would see Lincoln pried out of his temple before supporting nonintervention abroad, so they pose no fundamental problem for the neocons. Ron Paul, on the other hand, is real opposition, and he can mobilize an army. The neocons know it. What’s Tim Pawlenty up to these days? Where are his legions of well-read young fans who seek to carry on his philosophy? You see the point.
For the first time, strict nonintervention will have a permanent voice in American life. It is another nail in the neocon coffin. The neocons know they are losing the young. Bright kids who believe in freedom aren’t rallying to Mitt Romney or David Horowitz, and, like anyone with a critical mind and a moral compass, they are not going along with the regime’s war propaganda.
At this historic moment, I thought it might be appropriate to set down some thoughts on war – a manifesto for peace, as it were.
(1) Our rulers are not a law unto themselves.
Our warmakers believe they are exempt from normal moral rules. Because they are at war, they get to suspend all decency, all the norms that govern the conduct and interaction of human beings in all other circumstances. The anodyne term “collateral damage,” along with perfunctory and meaningless words of regret, are employed when innocent civilians, including children, are maimed and butchered. A private individual behaving this way would be called a sociopath. Give him a fancy title and a nice suit, and he becomes a statesman.
Let us pursue the subversive mission of applying the same moral rules against theft, kidnapping, and murder to our rulers that we apply to everyone else.
(2) Humanize the demonized.
We must encourage all efforts to humanize the populations of countries in the crosshairs of the warmakers. The general public is whipped into a war frenzy without knowing the first thing – or hearing only propaganda – about the people who will die in that war. The establishment’s media won’t tell their story, so it is up to us to use all the resources we as individuals have, especially online, to communicate the most subversive truth of all: that the people on the other side are human beings, too. This will make it marginally more difficult for the warmakers to carry out their Two Minutes’ Hate, and can have the effect of persuading Americans with normal human sympathies to distrust the propaganda that surrounds them.
(3) If we oppose aggression, let us oppose all aggression.
If we believe in the cause of peace, putting a halt to aggressive violence between nations is not enough. We should not want to bring about peace overseas in order that our rulers may turn their guns on peaceful individuals at home. Away with all forms of aggression against peaceful people.
(4) Never use “we” when speaking of the government.
The people and the warmakers are two distinct groups. We must never say “we” when discussing the US government’s foreign policy. For one thing, the warmakers do not care about the opinions of the majority of Americans. It is silly and embarrassing for Americans to speak of “we” when discussing their government’s foreign policy, as if their input were necessary to or desired by those who make war.
But it is also wrong, not to mention mischievous. When people identify themselves so closely with their government, they perceive attacks on their government’s foreign policy as attacks on themselves. It then becomes all the more difficult to reason with them – why, you’re insulting my foreign policy!
Likewise, the use of “we” feeds into war fever. “We” have to get “them.” People root for their governments as they would for a football team. And since we know ourselves to be decent and good, “they” can only be monstrous and evil, and deserving of whatever righteous justice “we” dispense to them.
The antiwar left falls into this error just as often. They appeal to Americans with a catalogue of horrific crimes “we” have committed. But we haven’t committed those crimes. The same sociopaths who victimize Americans themselves every day, and over whom we have no real control, committed those crimes.
(5) War is not “good for the economy.”
A commitment to peace is a wonderful thing and worthy of praise, but it needs to be coupled with an understanding of economics. A well-known US senator recently deplored cuts in military spending because “when you cut military spending you lose jobs.” There is no economic silver lining to war or to preparation for war.
Those who would tell us that war brings prosperity are grossly mistaken, even in the celebrated case of World War II. The particular stimulus that war gives to certain sectors of the economy comes at the expense of civilian needs, and directs resources away from the improvement of the common man’s standard of living.
Ludwig von Mises, the great free-market economist, wrote that “war prosperity is like the prosperity that an earthquake or a plague brings. The earthquake means good business for construction workers, and cholera improves the business of physicians, pharmacists, and undertakers; but no one has for that reason yet sought to celebrate earthquakes and cholera as stimulators of the productive forces in the general interest.”
Elsewhere, Mises described the essence of so-called war prosperity: it “enriches some by what it takes from others. It is not rising wealth but a shifting of wealth and income.”
(6) Support the free market? Then oppose war.
Ron Paul has restored the proper association of capitalism with peace and nonintervention. Leninists and other leftists, burdened by a false understanding of economics and the market system, used to claim that capitalism needed war, that alleged “overproduction” of goods forced market societies to go abroad – and often to war – in search for external markets for their excess goods.
This was always economic nonsense. It was political nonsense, too: the free market needs no parasitical institution to grease the skids for international commerce, and the same philosophy that urges nonaggression among individual human beings compels nonaggression between geographical areas.
Mises always insisted, contra the Leninists, that war and capitalism could not long coexist. “Of course, in the long run war and the preservation of the market economy are incompatible. Capitalism is essentially a scheme for peaceful nations…. The emergence of the international division of labor requires the total abolition of war…. The market economy involves peaceful cooperation. It bursts asunder when the citizens turn into warriors and, instead of exchanging commodities and services, fight one another.”
“The market economy,” Mises said simply, “means peaceful cooperation and peaceful exchange of goods and services. It cannot persist when wholesale killing is the order of the day.”
Those who believe in the free and unhampered market economy should be especially skeptical of war and military action. War, after all, is the ultimate government program. War has it all: propaganda, censorship, spying, crony contracts, money printing, skyrocketing spending, debt creation, central planning, hubris – everything we associate with the worst interventions into the economy.
“War,” Mises observed, “is harmful, not only to the conquered but to the conqueror. Society has arisen out of the works of peace; the essence of society is peacemaking. Peace and not war is the father of all things. Only economic action has created the wealth around us; labor, not the profession of arms, brings happiness. Peace builds; war destroys.”
See through the propaganda. Stop empowering and enriching the state by cheering its wars. Set aside the television talking points. Look at the world anew, without the prejudices of the past, and without favoring your own government’s version of things.
Be decent. Be human. Do not be deceived by the Joe Bidens, the John McCains, the Barack Obamas and Hillary Clintons. Reject the biggest government program of them all.
Peace builds. War destroys.
May 1, 2013
Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. [send him mail], former editorial assistant to Ludwig von Mises and congressional chief of staff to Ron Paul, is founder and CEO of the Mises Institute, executor for the estate of Murray N. Rothbard, and editor of LewRockwell.com. See his books.
Copyright © 2013 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.
By Jason Ditz
Cyber Command chief General Keith Alexander has unveiled some new information about the nation’s cyberwarfare policy, revealing in a Senate hearing the creation of 13 “cyberattack” teams, which he dubbed part of the “cyber cadre,” that are authorized to engage in preemptive cyberwarfare across the planet.
Alexander sought to downplay the seriousness of this revelation after the fact, insisting that they are “offensive” units, but are aimed primarily at deterrence, and are “analogous to battalions in the Army and Marine Corps.”
Except that the Army and Marine Corps don’t try to build deterrence credibility by launching unilateral attacks on other nations, or at least to the extent that they do, it is unquestionably an act of war, and done publicly.
The Pentagon has repeatedly made it clear they would view such cyberattacks by other nations as no different than any other military attack, but at the same time their own cyberwarfare units are treating offensive operations as a matter of course. Officials have repeatedly complained that such attacks are on the rise from hackers in other nations, but the US seems to be looking not to defend against such attacks, but rather to get in on the fun.
Truth. Justice. Accountability. The idea of an international rule of law appeals to our innate sense of justice, but the most horrific plans are often cloaked in the most beautiful lies. Just as the ideals of international law are used to cloak the imperial ambitions of the globalists, so too is the idea of seeking justice in these controlled courtrooms a phoney pipe dream. Join us today on The Corbett Report as we explore the only real solution to this problem: removing the bodyguard of lies from the power elite and to withdrawing ourselves from the systems that seek to legitimize their rule.
Barack Obama cashiered yet another battle-seasoned American general Tuesday, even as the war in Afghanistan continues along with numerous other serious global threats to United States security.
This is the fourth senior officer Obama has forced from the country’s service.
All four were tied somehow to the Afghanistan mess that Obama has long argued was the most important war. Each departure was staged as a resignation. They were usually tied to some personal indiscretions to save face for Obama, who would know of indiscretions as a product of the corrupt Chicago Democrat machine.
There was Gen. David McKiernan, the four-star who lead U.S. ground forces during the successful lightning Iraq invasion. He was asked to resign command of allied forces in Afghanistan just four months into Obama’s presidency in 2009. Never fully explained, but the implication was administration dissatisfaction with the war’s progress.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal, a special ops veteran who was McKiernan’s successor. He resigned when his staff was quoted making derogatory comments to an embedded journalist about the administration in general and VP Joe Biden in particular. If mocking Megamind Biden is worthy of resignation, then most of America needs to step down by lunch today.
Gen. David Petraeus, the archictect of the surge and successful counter-insurgency strategy in Iraq, was demoted from Central Command to return to lead the Afghan war. After that successful tour Obama named him director of the Central Intelligence Agency, which required his military resignation after nearly four decades of service.
Despite potential legal retribution from American authorities, the Icelandic MP and WikiLeaks member who released the infamous ‘Collateral Murder’ video showing US war crimes in Iraq has announced plans to visit the land of the free.
Birgitta Jonsdottir is an Icelandic Member of Parliament who nearly three years ago released a classified video of a US Apache helicopter killing civilians in Iraq. Known as ‘Collateral Murder,’ Jonsdottir made the footage public in a bid to express her support for Bradley Manning, the video’s alleged source, who now stands trial for treason. The video was also instrumental in unleashing the witchhunt on WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange.
Jonsdottir is planning to arrive in the US on April 5, despite a strong warning from Reykjavík of possible legal repurcussions. The politician says her trip, which coincides with the third anniversary of the video’s release, is her way of saying she refuses to live in fear.
“I don’t want to live in the shadows. I don’t think I’ve done anything illegal or that I’m an enemy of the US state, but if they think I’ve committed a crime, I want to know,” she told The Guardian.
Jónsdóttir also plans to exhibit photographs drawn from the ‘Collateral Murder’ on her itinerary in New York and Los Angeles. In June, the MP hopes to take the exhibition across the US ahead of Manning’s trial.
“It’s deeply troubling to me that he is the only one suffering the consequences – none of the people responsible for the war crimes in the video have been held accountable,” Jonsdottir says.
Following the release of the video, Washington has tried repeatedly to gain access to Jónsdóttir’s private information. In 2011, Twitter was forced to release her user data after a subpoena from Washington demanded personal data from her feed dating back to 2009.
Jonsdottir became the subject of US attention in 2010 when she helped Assange prepare the footage of the Apache attack allegedly leaked by Manning, who was deployed in Iraq at that time. She was responsible for organizing the volunteers, researched details of the footage of a US airstrike in Baghdad on July 12, 2007, and selected stills for distribution to the media. Eight men were killed in the attack, including two Reuters correspondents.
After the video’s release, Manning was arrested as the suspected source of the video and a large cache of diplomatic cables that he’d allegedly leaked to Assange. Manning now faces 22 counts of breaching national security, charges punishable with up to life in prison with no chance of parole.
Earlier in February, it was revealed that Iceland refused to cooperate with an FBI investigation into WikiLeaks back in August 2011, with the Icelandic interior minister having “made it clear that people interviewed or interrogated in Iceland should be interrogated by Icelandic police.”
By Neil Macdonald, CBC News
Posted: Feb 6, 2013
Some say U.S. president is waging a ‘war on whistleblowers’
In 2001, when Israel started killing militant Palestinian enemies (and, often, innocent bystanders) with missiles fired from helicopters hovering so high you could barely see them, foreign reporters were urged by the Israeli government to call the practice “targeted killing.”
Most of us, including many of my American colleagues, preferred the term “extrajudicial assassination.” We felt we were in the news business, not the euphemism business.
Today, 12 years later, the Washington Post carries a front-page headline about the U.S. drone program titled, “Targeted killings face new scrutiny.”
Yet another government document has been leaked, this time a so-called “white paper” in which the U.S. Department of Justice lays out the administration’s justification for killing American citizens it suspects of belonging to Al-Qaeda.
U.S. media outlets, it seems, are perfectly comfortable with the term “targeted killing,” now that it is a major tool for the Pentagon and CIA.
It’s also clear American media outlets are comfortable suppressing news the government does not want published. Today’s story reveals not just that the Americans have operated a secret drone base for years in Saudi Arabia, but that the Post, along with various other news organizations, have been keeping that fact to themselves at the government’s request.
History of suppressing sensitive information
It isn’t the first time such information has been suppressed. In 2005, bowing to the White House, the New York Times for months kept confidential the fact that the Bush administration had been carrying out warrantless wiretapping. The revelations eventually provoked Congress to pass a new law.
Reports on the U.S. drone program, also based on leaks, have described how Barack Obama’s administration has become ever more dependent on remote-controlled killing. Obama himself reportedly signs off personally on each target.
The American public has been largely unconcerned with the program, except when the person killed has been an American citizen. (The U.S., unlike many other countries, accords its citizens special protections from government intrusions.)
That is the focus of the latest leak. The “white paper” in today’s story appears under the arid title “Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a U.S. Citizen Who Is a Senior Operational Leader of Al Qaeda or an Associated Force.”
The term “senior operational leader” appears to be key. An American citizen who is a low-level fighter would appear to enjoy a legal immunity that does not extend to foreign nationals suspected of planning or involvement in attacks on Americans.
As the Post story rather dryly notes, “The number of attacks on Americans is minuscule compared with the broader toll of the drone campaign, which has killed more than 3,000 militants and civilians in hundreds of strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.”
There is an accompanying article today on the astonishing fact that 54 countries, including Canada, have participated in or enabled the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition” program of sending suspected militants to be interrogated, sometimes under torture, in secret prisons and by totalitarian regimes worldwide.
Twelve years ago, reporters had a different term for that sort of thing, too: kidnapping.
Obama’s ‘war on whistleblowers’
All these hardened security measures were begun under the Bush administration. President Obama, who once denounced them and even, as president, ordered Bush legal memos be made public, has not just amplified Bush’s programs, but has begun vigorously hunting down and prosecuting officials who leak details.
And that is one initiative the American media is not so comfortable with.
Some are calling it Obama’s “war on whistleblowers.” Current Attorney-General Eric Holder has prosecuted more officials for leaking information to reporters than any of his predecessors since the Second World War.
The government has hunted down intelligence officials who leaked details of expensive programs to spy on internet traffic, wiretaps placed in the Israeli embassy in Washington and of Obama’s personal involvement in selecting drone targets.
The lawyer for one of those officials said Holder’s prosecutors “don’t distinguish between bad people – people who spy for other governments, people who sell secrets for money – and people who are accused of having conversations and discussions.”
Several news outlets have noted, rather acidly, that the administration seems fairly expert at leaking classified material that makes the government look good.
None of this makes Obama different from any previous president. It just demonstrates his ability to keep the nation’s media on board, and mete out punishment when they publish the wrong sorts of secrets.
Republished with permission
Nigel Farage speaks to François Hollande (Feb 2013)
By Madison Ruppert
Editor of End the Lie
Apparently the United States isn’t the only Western country pouring money into futuristic drone technology as it is now being reported that British soldiers are using tiny drones for surveillance in Afghanistan and have been since 2012.
The drones being used by the UK are absolutely tiny at a mere 4 inches by one inch, weighing around half an ounce with up to 30 minutes of flight time and a top speed of 22 miles per hour, according to the BBC.
Some might say that this technology is somewhat basic compared to advances like drone-borne EMP missiles, drone-based facial recognition technology, perpetual flight, automated tracking technology, cameras capable of capturing over 30 square miles in a single shot and more.
The helicopter-like drone, called “Black Hornet Nano,” was developed in Norway and is equipped with a small camera capable of sending video and still images to a handheld remote control device.
The British Ministry of Defense (MoD) is apparently a fan of the device, saying that it can fly around obstacles and corners and can identify unnamed potential hidden dangers.
The MoD also said that the drone can be easily carried by soldiers on patrol and is capable of flying in harsh, windy conditions.
According to an unnamed MoD spokeswoman cited by the BBC, the Black Hornet Nano has been used since 2012.
The drones are the result of a £20 million (about $31.51 million) contract with Marlborough Communications out of Surrey, England to supply and maintain 160 Black Hornets.
However, the drones were originally developed for Prox Dynamics, a company out of Norway that dubs itself “The Specialist in Micro Air Vehicles.”
Indeed, the Prox Dynamics homepage shows a drone that appears so petite it almost makes the Black Hornet look large.
On top of the drone on the homepage placed next to a coin for a size comparison, previously developed Prox Dynamics products include two award winning 1 gram ornithopters.
On top of the miniature drones capable of being directly piloted or flying autonomously along programmed GPS coordinates, the UK operates 300 larger drones in Afghanistan, according to the BBC.
In addition, according to a Sky News article from October 2012, the UK’s armed drone fleet in Afghanistan is going to double.
“We used [the Black Hornet] to look for insurgent firing points and check out exposed areas of the ground before crossing, which is a real asset,” said Sgt Christopher Petherbridge of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force in Afghanistan.
“Black Hornet is definitely adding value, especially considering the light weight nature of it,” Petherbridge told Sky News.
“It is very easy to operate and offers amazing capability to the guys on the ground,” Petherbridge said.
The praise coming from the MoD and Petherbridge make the stories from Sky and the BBC read much like promotional press releases for the tiny drones.
Regardless, drones are clearly becoming an increasingly integral aspect of the UK’s arsenal.
According to Defense Minister Philip Dunne, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems will be a “key component” of the MoD’s investment over the coming decade.
“Black Hornet gives our troops the benefits of surveillance in the palm of their hands. It is extremely light and portable whilst out on patrol,” Dunne said, according to Sky.
“[N]ow that we have balanced the defence budget we are able to confidently invest in these kinds of cutting-edge technologies,” Dunne said.
“Spending outlined last month also includes almost £36bn for a new generation of nuclear-powered submarines, almost £19bn for combat aircraft, and around £17bn for Royal Navy warships,” according to the BBC.
About Madison Ruppert
Madison Ruppert is a Los Angeles-based independent journalist and researcher as well as the founder, owner, administrator and editor of EndtheLie.com. He has no affiliations with any government agencies, political parties, non-governmental organizations, or economic schools. He is available for freelance writing assignments and appearances or interviews in any format. He can be reached by emailing Admin@EndtheLie.com
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