Category Archives: Merchants of Death

Pentagon Accidently Shipped Live Anthrax Sample To Nine States And South Korea

Clinton Foundation Donors Got Weapons Deals From Hillary Clinton’s State Department

David Sirota and Andrew Perez report for International Business Times:

[…] Under Hillary Clinton’s leadership, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments have given money to the Clinton Foundation, according to an IBTimes analysis of State Department and foundation data. That figure — derived from the three full fiscal years of Clinton’s term as Secretary of State (from October 2010 to September 2012) — represented nearly double the value of American arms sales made to the those countries and approved by the State Department during the same period of President George W. Bush’s second term.

The Clinton-led State Department also authorized $151 billion of separate Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 of the countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation, resulting in a 143 percent increase in completed sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration. These extra sales were part of a broad increase in American military exports that accompanied Obama’s arrival in the White House.

American defense contractors also donated to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state and in some cases made personal payments to Bill Clinton for speaking engagements. Such firms and their subsidiaries were listed as contractors in $163 billion worth of Pentagon-negotiated deals that were authorized by the Clinton State Department between 2009 and 2012.’

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Is Iraq Body Count linked to the Pentagon? Interview with Nafeez Ahmed

‘Author, journalist and executive director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development, Nafeez Ahmed, tells “Going Underground” host Afshin Rattansi how casualty-counting British NGO, Iraq Body Count might be linked to Pentagon. He explains that Iraqi civilian casualties numbers might be a lot higher than we were previously told.’ (Going Underground)

2015 Memorial Day: Praying for Peace While Waging Permanent War?

Bill Quigley writes for CounterPunch:

Memorial Day is, by federal law, a day of prayer for permanent peace.   But is it possible to honestly pray for peace while our country is far and away number one in the world in waging war, military presence, military spending and the sale of weapons around the world?

Permanent War

Since 1980 the US has engaged in aggressive military action in 14 countries in the Islamic world alone, according to research published in the Washington Post: Iran (1980, 1987-1988), Libya (1981, 1986, 1989, 2011), Lebanon (1983), Kuwait (1991), Iraq (1991-2011, 2014-), Somalia (1992-1993, 2007-), Bosnia (1995), Saudi Arabia (1991, 1996), Afghanistan (1998, 2001-), Sudan (1998), Kosovo (1999), Yemen (2000, 2002-), Pakistan (2004-) and now Syria. In this hemisphere, US military forces invaded Grenada (1983) and Panama (1989), and landed 20,000 military forces in Haiti (1994).

US Global War Machine

The US has 1.3 million people in the military and another million serve in the military reserves. The US has over 700 military bases in 63 countries across the world deploying over 255,000 US military personnel there. The Department of Defense officially manages over 555,000 buildings on 4400 properties inside the US and in over 700 properties across the globe.   The US has over 1500 strategic nuclear warheads, over 13,000 military aircraft, dozens of submarines, many of which carry nuclear weapons, and 88 huge destroyer warships.’

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What we know about the U.S. Air Force space plane’s mystery mission

Leonard David writes for Space.com:

Afspc5_mssnart_smleThe U.S. Air Force is set to launch the fourth flight of its X-37B space plane on May 20, and new details are unfolding about the upcoming mystery mission.

For this latest flight of the X-37B space plane, also known as the Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV), the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office has teamed up with several partners, including NASA, to test experimental space technologies.

“With the demonstrated success of the first three missions, we’re able to shift our focus from initial checkouts of the vehicle to testing of experimental payloads,” Randy Walden, director of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office overseeing the flight, said in a statement.

The forthcoming mission will test an experimental propulsion system jointly developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory and Space and Missile Systems Center. In addition, the X-37B craft will carry a NASA advanced materials investigation.’

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Trident whistleblower says nuclear subs are insecure, unsafe and “a disaster waiting to happen”

The Sunday Herald reports:

William McNeilly, who says he was on patrol with HMS Victorious from January to April this year, alleges that the Trident missiles it carries are vulnerable to a terrorist attack that “would kill our people and destroy our land”. Infiltrators have “the perfect opportunity to send nuclear warheads crashing down on the UK”, he claims.

He has written a detailed 18-page report called The Nuclear Secrets, which claims to lift the lid on the alarming state of the UK’s ageing and short-staffed nuclear deterrent. He went absent without leave from the Royal Navy last week, is on the run and expects to be arrested. “This is bigger than me, it’s bigger than all of us,” he says. “We are so close to a nuclear disaster it is shocking, and yet everybody is accepting the risk to the public. If we don’t act now lives could be lost for generations.”

The risk was “extremely high”, he told the Sunday Herald. “My information comes from good sources and I have no reason to lie. If change isn’t made, a nuclear catastrophe almost certainly will happen.”

McNeilly’s report alleges 30 safety and security flaws on Trident submarines, based at Faslane on the Clyde. They include failures in testing whether missiles could be safely launched, burning toilet rolls starting a fire in a missile compartment, and security passes and bags going unchecked.

He also reports alarms being muted because they went off so often, missile safety procedures being ignored and top secret information left unguarded.

“It’s just a matter of time before we’re infiltrated by a psychopath or a terrorist,” he says. “There were some people that I served with on that patrol who showed clear psychopathic tendencies.”

The Royal Navy has launched an investigation into McNeilly’s report, and is working with the civilian police to find him. It describes his criticisms as “subjective and unsubstantiated”, stressing that submarines never go to sea unless they are completely safe.’

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Saudis “to get nuclear weapons”

Toby Harnden and Christina Lamb report for The Sunday Times:

King Salman with his son Prince Mohammad. Saudi Arabia has long been suspected of bankrolling Pakistan’s nuclear programme ‘Saudi Arabia has taken the “strategic decision” to acquire “off-the-shelf” atomic weapons from Pakistan, risking a new arms race in the Middle East, according to senior American officials.

The move by the Gulf kingdom, which has financed much of Islamabad’s nuclear programme over the past three decades, comes amid growing anger among Sunni Arab states over a deal backed by President Barack Obama, which they fear could allow their arch foe, Shi’ite Iran, to develop a nuclear bomb.

The agreement, which is due to be finalised by the end of next month and involves the permanent members of the UN security council and Germany, is designed to roll back part of Tehran’s nuclear programme in return for an easing of UN sanctions.

There are concerns that Saudi Arabia joining the nuclear club might provoke Turkey and Egypt to follow suit.’

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Many of the NSA’s Loudest Defenders Have Financial Ties to NSA Contractors

Lee Fang reports for The Intercept:

Featured photo - Many of the NSA’s Loudest Defenders Have Financial Ties to NSA ContractorsThe debate over the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records has reached a critical point after a federal appeals court last week ruled the practice illegal, dramatically raising the stakes for pending Congressional legislation that would fully or partially reinstate the program. An army of pundits promptly took to television screens, with many of them brushing off concerns about the surveillance.

The talking heads have been backstopping the NSA’s mass surveillance more or less continuously since it was revealed. They spoke out to support the agency when NSA contractor Edward Snowden released details of its programs in 2013, and they’ve kept up their advocacy ever since — on television news shows, newspaper op-ed pages, online, and at Congressional hearings. But it’s often unclear just how financially cozy these pundits are with the surveillance state they defend, since they’re typically identified with titles that give no clues about their conflicts of interest. Such conflicts have become particularly important, and worth pointing out, now that the debate about NSA surveillance has shifted from simple outrage to politically prominent legislative debates.’

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Patriotism at a Price: US Military Paid NFL Teams to ‘Honor’ Soldiers at Games

Sarah Lazare reports for Common Dreams:

NFL_AMERICAN_FLAG.JPGWhat better way to advertise military culture—and recruit teenagers—than by staging heartfelt salutes to “hometown heroes” at professional football games in front of thousands of fans?

That, apparently, is what Department of Defense officials thought when they shelled out at least $5.4 million of U.S. taxpayer’ money to 14 NFL teams between 2011 and 2014—to pay them to promote the military on and off the field.

The vast majority of this money was disbursed by the National Guard, journalists Christopher Baxter and Jonathan D. Salant of New Jersey Advance Media revealed in an article published Thursday.’

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Saudi Arabia Using US-Supplied Cluster Bombs in Yemen, Says HRW

Jason Ditz reports for Antiwar:

[…] A global ban on cluster munitions was signed in 2008, though neither the United States nor Saudi Arabia was a signatory to the ban. The US continues to export the bombs, which leave unexploded bomblets across a area, often for years, but the Pentagon insists they only sell to countries that promise not to use them on civilians.

Yet America’s own recent history with cluster bombs is checkered, at best, having littered civilian populated areas in Iraq and Afghanistan with such bombs, leaving the brightly colored bomblets to be found by children. The US has similarly shipped the bombs to both Israel and Saudi Arabia, nations which have been racking up major civilian death tolls in recent wars.’

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Austria, backed by 159 nations, calls for ban on nuclear weapons

Louis Charbonneau reports for Reuters:

Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Stephen Smith addresses the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, at United Nations Headquarters, in New York, in a file photo.  REUTERS/Chip EastAustrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz was speaking at the five-year review conference of the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Diplomats from the 159 countries supporting the ban, presented ahead of the 70th anniversary of the U.S. atom bombs dropped on Japan, said the initiative was modelled on successful campaigns to ban land mines and other weapons and could take years to move forward.

The initiative has virtually no support among NPT nuclear weapons states and veto-wielding Security Council members – the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China – or the countries of NATO, an alliance that provides a kind of “nuclear umbrella” security guarantee for its members.

But most of the 193 U.N. members back it.’

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Cowardly Firing of Australian State-Funded TV Journalist Highlights the West’s Real Religion

Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept:

A TV sports commentator in Australia, Scott McIntyre, was summarily fired on Sunday by his public broadcasting employer, Special Broadcasting Services (SBS), due to a series of tweets he posted about the violence committed historically by the Australian military. McIntyre published his tweets on “Anzac Day,” a national holiday – similar to Memorial Day in the U.S. – which the Australian government hails as “one of Australia’s most important national occasions. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.”

Rather than dutifully waving the flag and singing mindless paeans to The Troops and The Glories of War, McIntyre took the opportunity on Anzac Day to do what a journalist should do: present uncomfortable facts, question orthodoxies, highlight oft-suppressed views.

Almost instantly, these tweets spawned an intense debate about war, the military and history, with many expressing support for his expressed views and large numbers expressing outrage. In other words, McIntyre committed journalism: triggering discussion and examination of political claims rather than mindless recitation, ritualistic affirmation and compelled acceptance.’

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US used German spooks to snoop on EU defence industry

John Leyden reports for The Register:

The NSA UnchainedGermany’s BND spy agency spied on European politicians and enterprises at the behest of the NSA for over a decade.

Der Spiegel reports (in German) that for years the NSA sent its counterparts at the BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst – Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service) thousands of so-called selectors – IP addresses, emails, and mobile phone numbers – it wanted targeted for online surveillance.

German cyberspies fed this data into their own surveillance systems. The reports generated were evaluated at BND headquarters before intelligence was passed back to the NSA.

In practical terms, it seems that the BND have been tapping the Internet Exchange Point DE-CIX in Frankfurt, since at least 2009.

Results from the bulk tap of this Internet exchange were then passed over, in part at least, to the Americans as part of a collaborative agreement involving intel agencies.

The selectors included referred to European politicians and European aerospace and defence firms, including the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) and Eurocopter.’

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UK troops recruited to help arms sales

Ben Quinn reports for The Guardian:

British troops have been put to work demonstrating the wares of arms companies ranging from drone manufacturers to cyber-warfare specialists for a range of foreign buyers over the past two years.

Records obtained by the Guardian [pdf] provide an insight into the extent of assistance given by the armed forces to private arms companies. The practice is part of a government drive to boost the armed forces sector.

[…] Britain has been planning to increase the sale of arms to Qatar, identifying the rich Gulf state as a priority market for its weapons.

UK Trade and Investment released the records in response to a freedom of information request, but in many cases the names of the foreign delegation and the UK arms firms involved were redacted.’

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Defence Industry Gets “Fail Grade” for Anti-Corruption

Stella Dawson reports for Reuters:

Two thirds of the world’s major defence companies get a “fail grade” for combating corruption in their business operations, despite improvements in industry practices in the past three years, an anti-corruption group said on Monday.

In its survey of 163 companies, Transparency International UK found that 107 showed limited, or no evidence of ethics and anti-corruption programmes.

However, 33 percent of corporations surveyed worldwide have improved significantly since the Defence Companies Anti-Corruption Index was first published in 2012, rising several notches on the six-point TI UK scale.’

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US Military Spending Still Up 45% Over Pre-9/11 Levels; More Than Next 7 Countries Combined

Dan Froomkin reports for The Intercept:

Despite a decline in military spending since 2010, U.S. defense expenditures are still 45 percent higher than they were before the 9/11 terror attacks put the country on a seemingly permanent war footing.

And despite massive regional buildups spurred by conflict in the Ukraine and the Middle East, the U.S. spends more on its military than the next seven top-spending countries combined, according to new figures compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

That’s nearly three times as much as China, and more than seven times as much as Russia.’

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Landmine production is largely over but lives are still endangered

Amanda Pullinger, chair of The HALO Trust, recently published some “unnoticed facts” about landmines:

  • Landmines still exist in 58 countries and four states, and they have devastating effects. Each and every day, nine people become casualties of landmines and explosive remnants of war.
  • De-mining is an expensive and time-consuming process. In 2012 the cost of mine clearance was $681 million. It requires detailed and painstaking work and accurate surveying. For example, in some locations a deminer may only clear between 10-50 square metres a day, which is about 100-500 feet.
  • De-mining creates jobs for thousands and provides a return to economic freedom. De-mining provides dignified, respected and valued employment for local citizens and has a significant positive financial impact on the mine-affected communities
  • Mine clearance offers a new life to families affected by conflict, and it directly contributes to peace building and a sustainable future. By clearing landmines from schools, water sources, hospitals, housing and farmland, whole generations and communities have the opportunity to rise out of poverty. We can solve this problem.

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Sale of U.S. Arms Fuels the Wars of Arab States

Mark Mazzetti and Helene Cooper report for The New York Times:

As the Middle East descends into proxy wars, sectarian conflicts and battles against terrorist networks, countries in the region that have stockpiled American military hardware are now actually using it and wanting more. The result is a boom for American defense contractors looking for foreign business in an era of shrinking Pentagon budgets — but also the prospect of a dangerous new arms race in a region where the map of alliances has been sharply redrawn.

[…] The United States has long put restrictions on the types of weapons that American defense firms can sell to Arab nations, meant to ensure that Israel keeps a military advantage against its traditional adversaries in the region. But because Israel and the Arab states are now in a de facto alliance against Iran, the Obama administration has been far more willing to allow the sale of advanced weapons in the Persian Gulf, with few public objections from Israel.

[…] Industry analysts and Middle East experts say that the region’s turmoil, and the determination of the wealthy Sunni nations to battle Shiite Iran for regional supremacy, will lead to a surge in new orders for the defense industry’s latest, most high-tech hardware.’

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Bahrain: Democracy Behind Bars

The Kagans: A Family Business of Perpetual War

Robert Parry writes for Consortium News:

Neoconservative pundit Robert Kagan and his wife, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, run a remarkable family business: she has sparked a hot war in Ukraine and helped launch Cold War II with Russia – and he steps in to demand that Congress jack up military spending so America can meet these new security threats.

This extraordinary husband-and-wife duo makes quite a one-two punch for the Military-Industrial Complex, an inside-outside team that creates the need for more military spending, applies political pressure to ensure higher appropriations, and watches as thankful weapons manufacturers lavish grants on like-minded hawkish Washington think tanks.

Not only does the broader community of neoconservatives stand to benefit but so do other members of the Kagan clan, including Robert’s brother Frederick at the American Enterprise Institute and his wife Kimberly, who runs her own shop called the Institute for the Study of War.’

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Ex-Blackwater guards handed lengthy prison sentences for 2007 Baghdad massacre

God No, the U.S. Air Force Doesn’t Need Another Curtis LeMay

Matthew Gault writes for Medium:

On March 27, the U.S. senate confirmed Air Force general Robin Rand as the next leader of Global Strike Command. He’s the first four-star general in GSC history to take on the role — and that’s just what the flying branch wants.

Air Force chief of staff Gen. Mark Welsh said he appointed Rand because he hopes that a four star general in charge of America’s nuclear command will give the flyers greater influence over the country’s nuclear policy.

“We lead and execute two-thirds of the nuclear triad, for Christ’s sake,” he told a crowd on April 2. “We should be in the middle of the policy debates on this issue.”

Which is true. America’s nuclear triad consists of its intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles and nuclear-armed bombers. GSC operates the ICBMs and the bombers. It makes sense that the Air Force would want more say over how to use those weapons.

But what Welsh said next is troubling — and serves as a reminder why the Air Force doesn’t have a greater say in the nuclear debate.

“I told Robin Rand … go become the next Curtis LeMay,” Welsh said. “Bring this nuclear mission … back to the front edge of Air Force attention every single day.”’

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Republicans: The Cocaine Monkeys of Defense Spending

Veronique de Rugy writes for The Daily Beast:

Republicans claim that they, unlike Democrats, are the fiscally responsible party and often preach about the dangers of the growing national debt and the need to reduce the size of government. The reality is quite different, however. Apart from wanting to trim food stamps, foreign aid, and Medicaid, Republicans simply aren’t willing to specify the programs they are truly willing to ax—especially the Republicans now out on the campaign trail.

Exhibit A is defense spending. Republicans love it. In fact, they love it so much that they can’t get enough of it. Ever. For all their complaints about government inefficiency, many of them seem to think that it doesn’t apply to the Department of Defense, and that every additional dollar spent on projects like the F35—a supposedly nuclear-capable fighter jet that defense contractor Lockheed Martin has been working on since 2001 and is long overdue and over budget and still not fully operational—or the super-expensive and unnecessary Abrams Tank translates into increased national security.’

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“The Boneyard” Contains the World’s Second-Largest Air Force

VICE reports with photographs by Roc Morin:

The United States currently boasts 5,448 active aircraft, giving it the world’s largest air force by far. Russia comes in second with what is generally estimated to be a bit less than half that number, but that’s still fewer planes than America has stashed in its maintenance and regeneration facility. I visited what is affectionately known as “the Boneyard” at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, to see what amounts to the world’s second-largest air force.

“We have around 4,000 aircraft here,” Public Affairs Officer Teresa Pittman told me, “though that number changes every day.”

The Boneyard emerged after World War II as the stash spot for a massive surplus of planes. Some of them have been baking in the Arizona desert for over half a century. The perfect climate, as well as the dedicated work of the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, keeps most of them in—or somewhere close to—flying condition. Now, in the wake of military withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan, the Boneyard is again crowded with aircraft waiting to be scrapped, mothballed, used for parts, turned into museum pieces, or sold to foreign allies.’

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The US isn’t winding down its wars – it’s just running them at arm’s length

Seamus Milne writes for The Guardian:

Joe Magee Illustration on Saudi-led action in Yemen[…] Since the disasters of Iraq and Afghanistan, the US and its allies are reluctant to risk boots on the ground. But their military interventions are multiplying. Barack Obama has bombed seven mainly Muslim countries since he became US president. There are now four full-scale wars raging in the Arab world (Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen), and every one of them has involved US and wider western military intervention. Saudi Arabia is by far the largest British arms market; US weapons sales to the Gulf have exceeded those racked up by George Bush, and last week Obama resumed US military aid to Egypt.

What has changed is that, in true imperial fashion, the west’s alliances have become more contradictory, playing off one side against the other. In Yemen, it is supporting the Sunni powers against Iran’s Shia allies. In Iraq, it is the opposite: the US and its friends are giving air support to Iranian-backed Shia militias fighting the Sunni takfiri group Isis. In Syria, they are bombing one part of the armed opposition while arming and training another.

The nuclear deal with Iran – which the Obama administration pushed through in the teeth of opposition from Israel and the Gulf states – needs to be seen in that context. The US isn’t leaving the Middle East, as some imagine, but looking for a more effective way of controlling it at arm’s length: by rebalancing the region’s powers, as the former MI6 officer Alastair Crooke puts it, in an “equilibrium of antagonisms”.’

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The Obama Arms Bazaar: Record Sales, Troubling Results

William D. Hartung, author of Prophets of War, writes for LobeLog:

With the end of the Obama presidency just around the corner, discussions of his administration’s foreign policy legacy are already well under way. But one central element of that policy has received little attention: the Obama administration’s dramatic acceleration of U.S. weapons exports.

The numbers are astonishing. In President Obama’s first five years in office, new agreements under the Pentagon’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program—the largest channel for U.S. arms exports—totaled over $169 billion. After adjusting for inflation, the volume of major deals concluded by the Obama administration in its first five years exceeds the amount approved by the Bush administration in its full eight years in office by nearly $30 billion. That also means that the Obama administration has approved more arms sales than any U.S. administration since World War II.

The majority of the Obama administration’s arms sales—over 60 percent–have gone to the Middle East and Persian Gulf, with Saudi Arabia topping the list at $46 billion in new agreements. This is particularly troubling given the complex array of conflicts raging throughout the region.’

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Interview with William Hartung, the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy, and author of “Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex.” (Democracy Now!)

10 Truly Absurd Features of Contemporary Foreign Affairs

Stephen M. Walt writes for Foreign Policy:

Those of us who work on foreign policy like to think of ourselves as hard-headed, rational people who don’t easily succumb to myths, fables, or delusions. If only that were true! In fact, foreign-policy mavens as just as vulnerable to blindered thinking as any other human beings, and our community has its own set of odd beliefs and practices that are rarely questioned or criticized.

In fact, if one moves outside the bubble of mainstream discourse and takes a hard look at some familiar elements of contemporary world politics, they begin to look rather peculiar, even absurd. What do I mean by that? I mean an unusual, bizarre, risible, and hard-to-justify state of affairs whose dubious nature is no longer questioned, mostly because we’ve grown accustomed to it and no longer notice how weird it really is. These situations are like the discarded oddities of a bygone era — like phrenology, corsets, powdered wigs, binding feet, etc. — or like the bad habits that we sometimes acquire without noticing how strange or damaging they might be.

Some of these absurdities persist because they’ve been around a long time, or because powerful interests defend them vigorously, or because they align with broader social prejudices. Some of them may in fact be defensible, but we should still bring such oddities out into the open air on occasion and ask ourselves if they really make sense.’

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The Pentagon’s $10-billion bet gone bad

David Willman reports for the Los Angeles Times:

Leaders of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency were effusive about the new technology.

It was the most powerful radar of its kind in the world, they told Congress. So powerful it could detect a baseball over San Francisco from the other side of the country.

If North Korea launched a sneak attack, the Sea-Based X-Band Radar — SBX for short — would spot the incoming missiles, track them through space and guide U.S. rocket-interceptors to destroy them.

Crucially, the system would be able to distinguish between actual missiles and decoys.

SBX “represents a capability that is unmatched,” the director of the Missile Defense Agency told a Senate subcommittee in 2007.

In reality, the giant floating radar has been a $2.2-billion flop, a Los Angeles Times investigation found.’

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Iran Has Been Two Years Away From a Nuclear Bomb Since the 1980s

Micah Zenko writes for The Atlantic:

The April 24, 1984, edition of the British defense publication Jane’s Defence Weekly informed its readers: “Iran is engaged in the production of an atomic bomb, likely to be ready within two years, according to press reports in the Persian Gulf last week.” Subsequent warnings from U.S. and foreign sources about Iran’s imminent acquisition of a nuclear weapon have been offered over the past four decades. These false guesses are worth bearing in mind as news from the nuclear negotiations in Lausanne, Switzerland, emerges.

More technical “breakout” estimates—the time it would take Iran to compile enough highly-enriched uranium (HEU) to fuel one nuclear weapon—continue to be published, with slightly varying timelines. Setting aside logic, wisdom, and a huge range of assumptions, if you average these five estimates, Iran would require 89.8 days, or three months, if it made a hypothetical rush for one bombs-worth of HEU.’

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Afghanistan: How the Pentagon Lost Track of $45 Billion

Matthew Gault reports for Medium:

Since 2002, Congress has set aside $104 billion specifically to rebuild Afghanistan. Of that, $66 billion went to the Pentagon.

Recently, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction asked the military to account for all that spending. It couldn’t. According to a new report from SIGAR, the Pentagon only knows how it spent a third of its reconstruction budget.

That’s $45 billion dollars the military can’t track and the reason is … ridiculous. According to SIGAR, the Pentagon didn’t check a box on an electronic form when it filed the information in government databases.’

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