Category Archives: Merchants of Death

From Console to Trigger: How the Pentagon “Exploits” Video Game Culture to Wire Youth for War

Juan Gonzalez and Amy Goodman talk to Tonje Hessen Schei, director of a new documentary film titled Drone, and former drone pilots including Brandon Bryant. After airing a clip from the documentary, they discuss the connection between video games and military recruitment. Bryant says: “I think gamers should be offended that the military and the government are using to manipulate and recruit. We’re more interconnected now than at any time in human history — and that’s being exploited to help people kill one another.” (Democracy Now!)

Stock Prices of Weapons Manufacturers Soaring Since Paris Attack

Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept:

The Paris attacks took place on Friday night. Since then, France’s president has vowed “war” on ISIS and today significantly escalated the country’s bombing campaign in Syria (France has been bombing ISIS in Iraq since last January, and began bombing them in Syria in September).

Already this morning, as Aaron Cantú noticed, the stocks of the leading weapons manufacturers – what is usually referred to as the “defense industry” – have soared:


Israel Requesting Over $5 Billion in US Military Aid

IMEMC News reports:

The Israeli government has made an initial request for its annual U.S. defense package to increase by as much as $5 billion when its current aid package, worth an average $3 billion a year, expires in 2017, U.S. congressional sources said, this last Wednesday.

PNN reports that, according to Reuters, Israel wants $5 billion per year in military aid for 10 years, for a total of $50 billion. The US congress spokesman stated that Israel has been signalling that it wants more money to “counter threats it says will arise as a result of the international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, which Israel’s government has staunchly opposed”.


Pentagon Chief: Gulf countries don’t need billions of dollars in weapons U.S. sells them each year

Jeffrey Goldberg reports for The Atlantic:

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter had reassuring words for Israel when I interviewed him last week in his office at the Pentagon, but he also had blunt criticism of other American allies in the Middle East: the Arab Gulf states, who, he argued, sometimes appear unwilling to effectively engage their enemies. Carter suggested that these states—the members of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and Egypt as well—would rather build show-horse air forces than commit to the dangerous work of countering ISIS and Iran, the main bogeymen of moderate Arab states.

“If you look at where the Iranians are able to wield influence, they are in the game, on the ground,” Carter said, referring to Iranian military activities in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen. “We don’t like it that they’re in the game on the ground, but they are in the game. There is a sense that some of the Gulf states are up there at 30,000 feet,” more interested in acquiring advanced fighter jets than in building—and deploying—special-operations forces.


Years Into Scheme, Pentagon Tries to Use Russia Tensions to Justify New Nukes

Jason Ditz reports for Antiwar:

Speaking over the weekend at a defense forum, US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter talked up the massively expensive plan to revamp the entire US nuclear weapons arsenal, presenting it as something wholly about “Russian aggression” and the dispute over the status of Ukraine.

Far from a sudden reaction to Ukraine, however, the Obama Administration has been pushing this scheme, and its ever-growing price tag, since early 2010, several years before Ukraine, and amid some of the better US-Russia ties in a generation.


The British Legion and the Control of Remembrance

Rod Tweedy writes for Veterans for Peace UK:

With its links to the arms trade, increasingly militarised presentation of Remembrance, and growing commercialisation and corporatisation of the poppy “brand”, it’s time to reconsider whether the Royal British Legion is still suitable to be the “national custodian of Remembrance”.

My Name is Legion: The British Legion and the Control of Remembrance explores how the Royal British Legion’s status as the self-appointed “national custodian of Remembrance” has been compromised through its collaboration with some of the world’s most controversial arms dealers, its increasingly militarised presentation of Remembrance, and its commercialised and trivialising corporatisation of the poppy “brand”.

It draws on the work of a number of journalists, campaign groups, veterans, and religious organisations who have expressed concern at the direction the Legion is taking, and asks whether the charity is still fit to be the “national custodian of Remembrance”.


The Pillage of Egypt by Sisi and Britain Inc.

Omar Kassem writes for CounterPunch:

In echoes of Britain’s support of Saddam Hussein in the 1980s along with the US, and Margaret Thatcher’s thanks to August Pinochet for “bringing democracy to Chile”, Britain will host Egyptian junta leader Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi on a state visit in November.

This follows a trip by British Defence Secretary and MP for Sevenoaks, Michael Fallon, to Egypt to attend the August 6 function for the opening of a new branch of the Suez Canal. Fallon, writing an op-ed in the local Egyptian state paper, hailed the ‘rejection of authoritarianism’ by the régime of Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, while some 46,000 of the best minds and the most active people in Egypt languish in the régime’s prisons on trumped up charges, in filthy conditions and without medical care. 176 of those are parliamentarians.

As Fallon towered over the pathetic figure of François Hollande at the ceremony, he seethed visibly as French Rafale fighter-jets screamed overhead. France had been looking for buyer for the Rafales for twenty years. Now the French defence industry is ahead of the British one. The $5.2bn Rafale contract signed in February effectively bails out Dassault, the French arms manufacturer. France will also relieve itself of two Mistral amphibious assault ships destined for Russia, but withheld from the Western antagonist due to European sanctions, bringing $1.1bn into state coffers from a further Egyptian deal.


Why Does the West Need Sisi?

Al Jazeera’s Jane Dutton is joined by several guests to discuss the visit of Egyptian leader Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to the UK this week. Khalil Al-Anani is an Associate Professor at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies and Resident Senior Fellow at Middle East Institute, David Hearst is the editor of the Middle East Eye, and Marwa Maziad, a specialist on Middle East Politics and civil-military relations in the Middle East. (Inside Story)

David Betz on ‘Carnage & Connectivity: Landmarks in the Decline of Conventional Military Power’

Afshin Rattansi talks to David Betz from the War Studies department at King’s College London and the author of Carnage & Connectivity: Landmarks in the Decline of Conventional Military Power. Betz suggests that the reasons for UK and US failure to win most modern wars could be due to technology. (Going Underground)

Interview with Andrew Cockburn on his 1983 book ‘The Threat: Inside the Soviet Military Machine’

From The Scott Horton Show:

Andrew Cockburn, author of Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins, discusses his classic 1980s book The Threat: Inside the Soviet Military Machine that told the truth about poorly designed and unreliable Soviet weapons systems, while mainstream analysts hyped the Soviet menace – driving sales for US defense contractors.


UK-Saudi Arabia: the new special relationship

Richard Norton-Taylor reports for The Guardian:

Prime Minister David Cameron receives the King Abdullah Decoration One from King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in Jeddah, November 6, 2012.The Guardian reported last week how leaked documents revealed that Britain conducted secret vote-trading deals with Saudi Arabia to ensure both states were elected to the UN human rights council (UNHRC).

The elevation of the Saudi kingdom to one of the UN’s most influential bodies in 2013 prompted fresh international criticism of its human rights record, the Guardian noted.

A year earlier, 2012, a Shia activist, Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, then aged 17, was arrested. He faces death by crucifixion after being convicted of joining an anti-government demonstration.

Britain’s Ministry of Justice, meanwhile, has bidded for a £5.9m contract [which has since been cancelled] to provide prison expertise to the Saudis. The bid was put in by Justice Solutions International, the commercial arm of the MoJ set up by the last justice secretary, Chris Grayling.

Saudi Arabia is Britain’s largest arms market by far. It has sold 72 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft to the country in a contract worth an estimated £4.4bn, upgraded Saudi Tornado aircraft (part of the controversial £40bn al-Yamamah contract signed by Margaret Thatcher) in a contract worth an estimated £2.5bn, and upgraded 70 US F15 combat jets in the Saudi air force.


Israel’s Weapons of Influence: Interview with Jeff Halper

Afshin Rattansi talks to Jeff Halper, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Head of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and the author of a new book: War Against the People: Israel, the Palestinians and Global Pacification. Halper gets into how Israel uses its military might to influence some of the most powerful countries in the world and how Britain helped lay the legal framework for the demolishment of homes in Palestine. (Going Underground)

Media Reports ISIS Nuclear Plot That Never Actually Involved ISIS

Adam Johnson writes for Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting:

CBS on Moldavian radiation stingThe AP published this week (10/5/15) a thrilling account of how the FBI, in concert with Moldovan authorities, “disrupted” a smuggling ring that was supposedly trying to sell “nuclear material” to ISIS and other terror organizations over a five-year span. The primary developments in the story are almost a year old, but the resurfaced tale made news across the English-speaking world:

‘Annihilate America’: Inside a Secret, Frightening Scheme to Sell Nuclear Material to ISIS — Salon (10/7/15)

AP: Smugglers Busted Trying to Sell Nuclear Material to ISIS — CBS News (10/7/15)

FBI Foils Smugglers’ Plot to Sell Nuclear Material to ISIS — The Independent (10/7/15)

There was only one problem: At no point do the multiple iterations of the AP‘s reporting show that anyone involved in the FBI sting were members of or have any connection to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (aka ISIL or Daesh). While one of several smuggling attempts discussed in AP‘s reporting involved an actual potential buyer–an otherwise unknown Sudanese doctor who four years ago “suggested that he was interested” in obtaining uranium–the “terrorists” otherwise involved in the cases were FBI and other law enforcement agents posing as such.


B61-12: The Most Dangerous Nuclear Weapon in America’s Arsenal

Zachary Zeck reports for The National Interest:

The United States maintains an extensive nuclear arsenal. According to the Federation of Atomic Scientists, in April of this year the United States maintained an arsenal of over 7,200 nuclear bombs. Of those, more than 2,000 were deployed (1,900 strategic nuclear weapons and 180 non-strategic weapons).

America also maintains a plethora of delivery options for its nuclear bombs. As part of its nuclear triad, it maintains some 94 nuclear-capable bombers (B-2s and B-52s), over 400 Minuteman III ICBMs and 12 Ohio-class ballistic missile nuclear submarines. The latter are equipped with modern Trident II submarine-launched ballistic missiles, which are drastic improvements over their land-based competitors.

Indeed, as Keir Lieber and Daryl Press have noted, “In 1985, a single U.S. ICBM warhead had less than a 60 percent chance of destroying a typical silo… Today, a multiple-warhead attack on a single silo using a Trident II missile would have a roughly 99 percent chance of destroying it.”

Yet the most dangerous nuclear bomb in America’s arsenal may be the new B61-12.


Pope Decries “Shameful and Culpable Silence” on Arms Sales “Drenched in Innocent Blood”

Dan Froomkin reports for The Intercept:

Pope Francis on Thursday gently scolded Congress on a variety of issues, from immigration to foreign policy, but on one unexpected topic — the weapons sales that fuel armed conflicts around the world — he couldn’t have been much more blunt.

He was speaking about his determination “to minimize and, in the long term, to end the many armed conflicts throughout our world,” when he said this:

Here we have to ask ourselves: Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.

Those were fighting words, especially given where he spoke them. The U.S. is by far the largest arms supplier in the world, with domestic manufacturers selling more than $23.7 billion in weapons in 2014 to nearly 100 different countries. During the Obama administration, weapons sales have surged to record levels, in large part due to huge shipments to Gulf States, particularly Saudi Arabia.


Winners and Losers at DSEI 2015: Interview with Andrew Smith of Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT)

Afshin Rattansi talks to Andrew Smith, media coordinator at the Campaign Against the Arms Trade, about the recent Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms exhibition recently held in London. (Going Underground)

DSEI weapons fair: Authoritarian regimes descend on London

Richard Norton-Taylor reports for The Guardian:

Authoritarian regimes including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and Azerbaijan are among the official guests invited by the UK government to one of the world’s largest arms bazaars, opening in London’s Docklands this week.

The biennial weapons fair, which opens on Tuesday, is the focus of an increasingly heated debate between those who say major weapons producers such as Britain cannot claim at the same time to defend human rights, and those who say the arms industry provides tens of thousands of jobs and valuable exports.

This year’s Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition coincides with a government drive to increase arms sales to countries in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, by far its most lucrative single market for weapons.


Thanks to Libya, North Korea Might Never Negotiate on Nuclear Weapons

Doug Bandow, author of Foreign Follies, writes for The National Interest:

The Obama administration’s success in negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran has led to hope that a similar agreement might be reached with North Korea. Halt your program, dismantle some of your capabilities and accept intrusive inspections in return for “coming in from the cold.”

Unfortunately, there’s virtually no chance of that happening. The North already has a nuclear capability and views preservation of a nuclear arsenal as critical for domestic politics as well as international policy. Moreover, the West’s ouster of Libya’s Moammar Khadafy is seen in Pyongyang as dispositive proof that only a fool would negotiate away missile and nuclear capabilities.

Many, if not most, Korea experts long ago lost hope that the North was prepared to dismantle its nuclear program. In word and action, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) had demonstrated its commitment to being a nuclear state. While none of its neighbors desires that outcome, the North has ample reason to be well armed.


NYT Claims U.S. Abides by Cluster Bomb Treaty: The Exact Opposite of Reality

Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept:

The New York Times today has a truly bizarre article regarding the U.S. and cluster bombs. The advocacy group Cluster Munition Coalition just issued its annual report finding that cluster bombs had been used in five countries this year: Syria, Libya, Yemen, Ukraine and Sudan. This is what The Paper of Record, in its report by Rick Gladstone, said this morning about the international reaction to that report (emphasis added):

The use of these weapons was criticized by all 117 countries that have joined the treaty, which took effect five years ago. Their use was also criticized by a number of others, including the United States, that have not yet joined the treaty but have abided by its provisions.

As Americans, we should feel proud that our government, though refusing to sign the cluster ban treaty, has nonetheless “abided by its provisions” — if not for the fact that this claim is totally false. The U.S. has long been and remains one of the world’s most aggressive suppliers of cluster munitions, and has used those banned weapons itself in devastating ways.


Banned Cluster Bombs Were Used in Five Countries, Report Says

Rick Gladstone reports for The New York Times:

[…] The organization, the Cluster Munition Coalition, said in its annual report that use of the bombs had been documented in armed conflicts in LibyaSudan, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen.

The use of these weapons was criticized by all 117 countries that have joined the treaty, which took effect five years ago. Their use was also criticized by a number of others that have not yet joined the treaty but appear to have abided by its provisions.

[…] The treaty prohibits all use of cluster munitions and sets deadlines for the destruction of stockpiles and the clearance of areas contaminated by unexploded cluster bomblets, which can be deadly if disturbed. The treaty also provides for assistance to victims of cluster bombs.

The United States, which is among the countries that have not signed the treaty, still produces and exports cluster munitions. In a telephone interview, Ms. Wareham said that although the United States had sharply reduced its supply of cluster munitions, at least three different types of American-made cluster munitions had been used by Saudi-led forces this year in the Yemen conflict.


Human Rights Watch: Saudi-Led Forces Kill Dozens in Yemen Using US-Made Cluster Bombs

Amy Goodman interviews Human Rights Watch director Kenneth Roth. Human Rights Watch has accused Saudi Arabia of using U.S.-made cluster munition rockets in at least seven attacks in the Yemeni city of Hajjah between late April and mid-July. Dozens of civilians were killed or wounded, both during the attacks and later, when they picked up unexploded submunitions that detonated. (Democracy Now!)

Emerging Markets Offer Growth Opportunities For Western Defense Firms

Andrew Clevenger reports for Defense News:

[…] The shift in defense spending creates opportunities for Western defense contractors as demand for sophisticated weapons will likely outpace emerging countries’ abilities to produce them domestically. As a white paper published by Avascent in March noted, the US has a leading position in these markets, but political friction between the US and its allies leaves an opening for competition from European, Israeli, Russian and Chinese defense companies.

While mature markets in Western Europe and Northeast Asia continue to offer major competitive opportunities over the next 10 years, “many opportunities will be found in fast-growing emerging markets which have less well-developed industrial capacity to fulfill the requirements of rapidly expanding militaries,” the Avascent white paper states. “A growing share of revenues for most Western defense suppliers will come from these emerging markets.”

For example, 95 percent of defense contracts in Gulf Corporation Council countries between 2010 and 2014 went to foreign companies, with the lion’s share going to the US (73 percent) and Western Europe (24 percent). In the coming decade, 64 percent of GCC contracts are up for grabs, according to Avascent projections.

Similarly, the US (41 percent) and Western Europe (31 percent) were the largest defense suppliers for Southeast Asia between 2010 and 2014, but 63 percent of contracts for the coming decade are uncommitted.


German Envoy: ‘US Considered Using Nukes Against Afghanistan After 9/11’

Ofer Aderet reports for Haaretz:

U.S. President George Bush (2nd R) is pictured with Vice President Dick Cheney (R) and senior staff in the President's Emergency Operations Center in Washington in the hours following the September 11, 2001. © U.S. National ArchivesThe United States considered using nuclear weapons against Afghanistan in response to the September 11 attacks, Der Spiegel reported on its website Saturday.

Michael Steiner, who served as a political advisor to then-German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder, told the German daily that the nuclear option was one of the possibilities examined after the attacks.

“The papers were written,” Steiner said when asked whether the U.S. was considered using nuclear weapons in response to the attacks orchestrated by Al-Qaida’s Osama bin Laden, in which almost 3,000 people were killed. “They had really played through all possibilities.”


War in Space May Be Closer Than Ever

Lee Billings reports for Scientific American:

The world’s most worrisome military flashpoint is arguably not in the Strait of Taiwan, the Korean Peninsula, Iran, Israel, Kashmir or Ukraine. In fact, it cannot be located on any map of Earth, even though it is very easy to find. To see it, just look up into a clear sky, to the no-man’s-land of Earth orbit, where a conflict is unfolding that is an arms race in all but name.

The emptiness of outer space might be the last place you’d expect militaries to vie over contested territory, except that outer space isn’t so empty anymore. About 1,300 active satellites wreathe the globe in a crowded nest of orbits, providing worldwide communications, GPS navigation, weather forecasting and planetary surveillance. For militaries that rely on some of those satellites for modern warfare, space has become the ultimate high ground, with the U.S. as the undisputed king of the hill. Now, as China and Russia aggressively seek to challenge U.S. superiority in space with ambitious military space programs of their own, the power struggle risks sparking a conflict that could cripple the entire planet’s space-based infrastructure. And though it might begin in space, such a conflict could easily ignite full-blown war on Earth.

The long-simmering tensions are now approaching a boiling point due to several events, including recent and ongoing tests of possible anti-satellite weapons by China and Russia, as well as last month’s failure of tension-easing talks at the United Nations.


U.S. Government Celebrates Its Arming of the Egyptian Regime With a YouTube Video

Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept:

The Egyptian regime run by the despotic General Abdelfattah al-Sisi is one of the world’s most brutal and repressive. Last year, Human Rights Watch documented that that Egyptian “security forces have carried out mass arrests and torture that harken back to the darkest days of former President Hosni Mubarak’s rule.” Just two months ago, the group warned that the abuses have “escalated,” and that Sisi, “governing by decree in the absence of an elected parliament, ha[s] provided near total impunity for security force abuses and issued a raft of laws that severely curtailed civil and political rights, effectively erasing the human rights gains of the 2011 uprising that ousted the longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak.”

Despite that repression — or, more accurately, because of it — the Obama administration has lavished the regime with aid, money and weapons, just as the U.S. government did for decades in order to prop up Hosni Mubarak. When Sisi took power in a coup, not only did the U.S. government support him but it praised him for restoring “democracy.” Since then, the U.S. has repeatedly sent arms and money to the regime as its abuses became more severe. As the New York Times delicately put it yesterday, “American officials . . . signaled that they would not let their concerns with human rights stand in the way of increased security cooperation with Egypt.”

None of that is new: A staple of U.S. foreign policy has long been to support heinous regimes as long as they carry out U.S. dictates, all in order to keep domestic populations in check and prevent their views and beliefs (which are often averse to the U.S.) from having any effect on the actions of their own government.


New estimates put cost of US nuclear weapons upgrade at $963 billion

Michael Pizzi reports for Al Jazeera America:

President Barack Obama’s plans to modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal over the next 30 years could cost taxpayers nearly $1 trillion, according to a new study that suggests the project’s long-term price tag will far outpace available Pentagon estimates.

The study, by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a Washington D.C.-based think tank that works closely with the Pentagon, is the latest attempt by independent researchers to determine the actual costs of Obama’s ambitious plans for updating the nuclear triad — the intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarines and aircraft capable of delivering nuclear warheads. The White House, which announced plans to replace the aging arsenal in 2013, has to date only released a $73 billion estimate that covers fiscal years 2016 to 2020 — years before the program’s costs are projected to spike.

Researchers Todd Harrison and Evan Montgomery found in the study that the actual cost could total $963 billion between 2014 and 2043. “Ultimately, this report finds that the Pentagon will … require as much as $12 to 13 billion per year in additional funding to support nuclear maintenance and modernization during the 2020s, when spending on U.S. nuclear forces will peak,” Harrison and Montgomery wrote.


70th Anniversary of US Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Interview with Nobel Laureate Kenzaburo Oe

‘Seventy years ago today, at 8:15 in the morning, the U.S. dropped the world’s first atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Destruction from the bomb was massive. Shock waves, radiation and heat rays took the lives of some 140,000 people. Three days later, the U.S. dropped a second atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Nagasaki, killing another 74,000. President Harry Truman announced the attack on Hiroshima in a nationally televised address on August 6, 1945. Today, as the sun came up in Hiroshima, tens of thousands began to gather in Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park to commemorate the world’s first nuclear attack. We are joined by the acclaimed Japanese novelist and winner of the 1994 Nobel Prize for Literature, Kenzaburo Oe, whose books address political and social issues, including nuclear weapons and nuclear power. “If Mr. Obama were to come to the memorial ceremonies in Hiroshima or Nagasaki, for example, what he could do is come together with the hibakusha, the survivors, and share that moment of silence, and also express considering the issue of nuclear weapons from the perspective of all humanity and how important nuclear abolition is from that perspective—I think, would be the most important thing, and the most important thing that any politician or representative could do at this time,” says Oe, who has also spoken out in defense of Japan’s pacifist constitution, which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pushed to amend in order to allow the country to send troops into conflict for the first time since World War II.’ (Democracy Now!)

The indefensible Hiroshima revisionism that haunts America to this day

Christian Appy writes for TomDispatch:

The indefensible Hiroshima revisionism that haunts America to this dayHere we are, 70 years after the nuclear obliteration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and I’m wondering if we’ve come even one step closer to a moral reckoning with our status as the world’s only country to use atomic weapons to slaughter human beings. Will an American president ever offer a formal apology? Will our country ever regret the dropping of “Little Boy” and “Fat Man,” those two bombs that burned hotter than the sun? Will it absorb the way they instantly vaporized thousands of victims, incinerated tens of thousands more, and created unimaginably powerful shockwaves and firestorms that ravaged everything for miles beyond ground zero? Will it finally come to grips with the “black rain” that spread radiation and killed even more people — slowly and painfully — leading in the end to a death toll for the two cities conservatively estimated at more than 250,000?

Given the last seven decades of perpetual militarization and nuclear “modernization” in this country, the answer may seem like an obvious no. Still, as a historian, I’ve been trying to dig a little deeper into our lack of national contrition. As I have, an odd fragment of Americana kept coming to mind, a line from the popular 1970 tearjerker Love Story: “Love,” says the female lead when her boyfriend begins to apologize, “means never having to say you’re sorry.” It has to be one of the dumbest definitions ever to lodge in American memory, since real love often requires the strength to apologize and make amends.


U.S. Institute of Peace’s Hawkish Chairman Wants Ukraine to Send Russians Back in Body Bags

Lee Fang reports for The Intercept:

The United States Institute of Peace is a publicly funded national institution chartered by the U.S. government to promote international peace through nonviolent conflict resolution.

But its chairman, Stephen Hadley, is a relentless hawk whose advocacy for greater military intervention often dovetails closely with the interests of Raytheon, a major defense contractor that pays him handsomely as a member of its board of directors.

Hadley, the former national security advisor to President George W. Bush, was an advocate for the 2003 invasion of Iraq and more recently appeared in the media to call for massive airstrikes in Syria. Over the last year, he has called for escalating the conflict in Ukraine.

In a speech at Poland’s Wroclaw Global Forum in June, Hadley argued in favor of arming the Ukrainian government in part because that would “raise the cost for what Russia is doing in Ukraine.” Specifically, he said, “even President Putin is sensitive to body bags — it sounds coarse to say, but it’s true — but body bags of Russian soldiers who have been killed.”

Hadley also called for European governments to broadly boost military spending, ideally doubling it. “You know, let’s show that Europe is going to have real commitment to military forces,” he said.

The call to flood Ukraine with weapons not only contrasts sharply with the stated mission of the Institute of Peace, but many scholars believe doing so would provoke more conflict.


Deep State America

Philip Giraldi writes for The American Conservative:

Michael Bentley / Flickr[…] As all governments—sometimes for good reasons—engage in concealment of their more questionable activities, or even resort to out and out deception, one must ask how the deep state differs. While an elected government might sometimes engage in activity that is legally questionable, there is normally some plausible pretext employed to cover up or explain the act.

But for players in the deep state, there is no accountability and no legal limit. Everything is based on self-interest, justified through an assertion of patriotism and the national interest. In Turkey, there is a belief amongst senior officials who consider themselves to be parts of the status in statu that they are guardians of the constitution and the true interests of the nation. In their own minds, they are thereby not bound by the normal rules. Engagement in criminal activity is fine as long as it is done to protect the Turkish people and to covertly address errors made by the citizenry, which can easily be led astray by political fads and charismatic leaders. When things go too far in a certain direction, the deep state steps in to correct course.

And deep state players are to be rewarded for their patriotism. They benefit materially from the criminal activity that they engage in, including protecting Turkey’s role as a conduit for drugs heading to Europe from Central Asia, but more recently involving the movement of weapons and people to and from Syria. This has meant collaborating with groups like ISIS, enabling militants to ignore borders and sell their stolen archeological artifacts while also negotiating deals for the oil from the fields in the areas that they occupy. All the transactions include a large cut for the deep state.

If all this sounds familiar to an American reader, it should, and given some local idiosyncrasies, it invites the question whether the United States of America has its own deep state.