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Pentagon

Whistleblower Objects To Pentagon Purchases Of Browsing Data

A United States military whistleblower filed a series of complaints alleging the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) is engaged in the warrantless purchase and use of Americans’ internet browsing data, which it obtained from a broker. “According to the whistleblower, NCIS is purchasing access to data, which includes netflow records and some communications content from Team Cymru,” Senator Ron Wyden shared in a letter to the offices of the inspector general for the Pentagon, Justice Department, and Homeland Security Department. The warrantless purchase of Americans’ data is not limited to the NCIS. Wyden’s office examined public contracting records and found Team Cymru was awarded data brokering contracts with US Cyber Command, the US Army, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the US Secret Service.

Pentagon Opens Review Of Its Clandestine Psychological Operations

The Pentagon has ordered a sweeping review of how it conducts clandestine information warfare after social media sites removed fake accounts that were suspected of being linked to the US military, *The Washington Post* reported on Monday. A report published last month by research groups Graphika and the Stanford Internet Observatory detailed the activity of fake accounts on Facebook and Twitter that were promoting pro-Western narratives in posts targeting audiences overseas. The social media companies removed around 150 accounts over the past few years, with some removed recently as they were promoting anti-Russia narratives about the war in Ukraine.

Contractors Cash In As Congress Adds Billions To Pentagon Budget

Congress has spoken when it comes to next year’s Pentagon budget and the results, if they weren’t so in line with past practices, should astonish us all. The House of Representatives voted to add $37 billion and the Senate $45 billion to the administration’s already humongous request for “national defense,” a staggering figure that includes both the Pentagon budget and work on nuclear weapons at the Department of Energy. If enacted, the Senate’s sum would push spending on the military to at least $850 billion annually, far more — adjusted for inflation — than at the height of the Korean or Vietnam wars or the peak years of the Cold War. U.S. military spending is, of course, astronomically high — more than that of the next nine countries combined. Here’s the kicker, though: the Pentagon (an institution that has never passed a comprehensive financial audit) doesn’t even ask for all those yearly spending increases in its budget requests to Congress.

Bases, Bases, Everywhere…

The U.S. military is finally withdrawing (or not) from its base at al-Tanf. You know, the place that the Syrian government long claimed was a training ground for Islamic State (ISIS) fighters; the land corridor just inside Syria, near both the Iraqi and Jordanian borders, that Russia has called a terrorist hotbed (while floating the idea of jointly administering it with the United States); the location of a camp where hundreds of U.S. Marines joined Special Operations forces last year; an outpost that U.S. officials claimed was the key not only to defeating ISIS, but also, according to General Joseph Votel, the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, to countering “the malign activities that Iran and their various proxies and surrogates would like to pursue.” You know, that al-Tanf.

US War Lobby Fuels Conflict In Russia, Ukraine, And Syria

Douglas Macgregor, a retired US Army Colonel and former Pentagon senior advisor, analyzes the US-Russia standoff in Ukraine; the aftermath of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan; Trump’s failure to act on 2016 campaign anti-interventionist rhetoric, only to surround himself with neocons; and the ongoing, overlooked US military occupation of Syria after the decade-long CIA dirty war. “The Military Industrial Congressional Complex,” Macgregor says, “seems to be more powerful than anyone who occupies the office of the presidency.”ffice of the presidency.”

Peace And Justice Organizations Call For Freedom For Julian Assange

Imprisoned Wikileaks founder, journalist and free speech champion Julian Assange today faces life imprisonment for telling the truth about U.S. war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and at the U.S. torture base in Guantanamo Bay. Assange faces charges under the 1917 U.S. Espionage Act. Prosecution under that WWI anti-democratic law placed thousands of antiwar activists in prison for exercising their free speech right to protest WWI. Ironically, the Dec 19, 2021 New York Times front-page two-part series entitled, Hidden Pentagon Records Reveal Patterns of Failure in Deadly Airstrikes, follows in Assange’s footsteps in reporting U.S. war crimes, yet The Times staff writers remain free. Some 100 Times reporters evaluated Pentagon confidential document obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Pentagon Fails Audit (Again!)

That’s what should have been the biggest news of 2021. Instead, the story, which broke on November 17, was largely ignored or buried. The nation’s two main newspapers, the Washington Post and the New York Times, have simply ignored it. Other news organizations stenographically quoted Pentagon officials as admitting that they “failed again” but saw “progress,” and as promising that they would achieve a “clean” audit by… get this … 2027. The Pentagon, with some $3 trillion (give or take a trillion but who’s counting?) in assets and a record current 2021 budget of $738 billion, has for the third year in a row failed its audit. An army of 1400 auditors hired by us taxpayers for $230 million and borrowed from some of the biggest auditing firms in the country, spent the past year poring through the books and visiting hundreds of operations of the government’s largest and geographically vastest single agency, and came back with word that they couldn’t give it a pass.

How Awesome Is ‘Awesome’? America’s Underperforming Military

Of course, war is not a game. The stakes on the battlefield are infinitely higher than on the playing field. When wars go wrong, “We’ll show ’em next year — just you wait!” is seldom a satisfactory response. At least, it shouldn’t be. Yet somehow, the American people, our political establishment, and our military have all fallen into the habit of shrugging off or simply ignoring disappointing outcomes. A few years ago, a serving army officer of unusual courage published an essay — in Armed Forces Journal no less — in which he charged that “a private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war.”

How Congress Loots The Treasury For The Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex

Despite a disagreement over some amendments in the Senate, the United States Congress is poised to pass a $778 billion military budget bill for 2022. As they have been doing year after year, our elected officials are preparing to hand the lion’s share - over 65% - of federal discretionary spending to the U.S. war machine, even as they wring their hands over spending a mere quarter of that amount on the Build Back Better Act. The U.S. military’s incredible record of systematic failure—most recently its final trouncing by the Taliban after twenty years of death, destruction and lies in Afghanistan—cries out for a top-to-bottom review of its dominant role in U.S. foreign policy and a radical reassessment of its proper place in Congress’s budget priorities.

Reining In The Pentagon

Even as Congress moves to increase the Pentagon budget well beyond the astronomical levels proposed by the Biden administration, a new report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has outlined three different ways to cut $1 trillion in Department of Defense spending over the next decade.  A rational defense policy could yield far more in the way of reductions, but resistance from the Pentagon, weapons contractors, and their many allies in Congress would be fierce. After all, in its consideration of the bill that authorizes such budget levels for next year, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives recently voted to add $25 billion to the already staggering $750 billion the Biden administration requested for the Pentagon and related work on nuclear weapons at the Department of Energy.

There Is No ‘National Security’ Solution To The Climate Crisis

On October 21, the Biden administration released a suite of reports aimed at showing how climate change poses a “national security” threat, and how institutions like the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security plan to respond. The analyses are meant to demonstrate a commitment to action: A statement from the White House proclaims that the reports will “serve as a foundation for our critical work on climate and security moving forward.” As the president’s own civilian climate change provisions in the Build Back Better package were being gutted, the report sent the message that national security institutions can still move a climate agenda forward — a message timed for just 10 days before the United Nations climate negotiations known as COP26.

The Pentagon Is Killing Us — And The Planet

The dog days of summer are upon us —and the record high temperatures killing hundreds in the Pacific Northwest and bringing 118 degree heat to Siberia serve as a harbinger of even hotter, more dangerous days unless we address the elephant in the room. The Pentagon. As the largest institutional consumer of oil and, therefore, the largest single U.S. emitter of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG’s), the Pentagon must reduce its carbon footprint of wars and weapons production as well as its bootprint—including tens of thousands of troops deployed worldwide at 800 overseas military bases and one under construction on Okinawa. To avoid the worst of the climate crisis, President Biden, Congress and the public can reject an interventionist foreign policy fueled by the drive for full-spectrum dominance of the air, land, sea and space.

‘The Afghanistan War Was A Disaster;’ Veteran Danny Sjursen On US ‘Pullout’

The Pentagon has started closing military bases and pulling troops out of Afghanistan but confusion over what this means for the United States' longest war exists. For clarification, Clearing the FOG speaks with retired US army major, author and activist, Danny Sjursen. He calls the Afghanistan War a disaster and says the United States would have been better off if it had buried all of the trillions spent to invade and occupy Afghanistan in the ground instead. Sjursen discusses what the withdrawal means for the people of Afghanistan and the countries in that region. He also advises us on what to watch out for as the war hawks push Biden to continue to have a presence there. We also talk about his newest book on US history and empire through the lens of American exceptionalism.

Biden’s Appeasement Of Hawks And Neocons Is Crippling His Diplomacy

President Biden took office promising a new era of American international leadership and diplomacy. But with a few exceptions, he has so far allowed self-serving foreign allies, hawkish U.S. interest groups and his own imperial delusions to undermine diplomacy and stoke the fires of war.  Biden’s failure to quickly recommit to the Iran nuclear deal, or JCPOA, as Senator Sanders promised to do on his first day as president, provided a critical delay that has been used by opponents to undermine the difficult shuttle diplomacy taking place in Vienna to restore the agreement.  The attempts to derail talks range from the introduction of the Maximum Pressure Act on April 21 to codify the Trump administration’s sanctions against Iran to Israel’s cyberattack on Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility.

Biden Isn’t Ending The Afghanistan War, He’s Privatizing It

On April 14, President Joe Biden announced that he would end the U.S.’s longest war and withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan on the 20th anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks. Over 6,000 NATO troops will also be withdrawn by that time. “War in Afghanistan was never meant to be a multigenerational undertaking,” Biden said during his remarks from the White House Treaty Room, the same location from which President George W. Bush had announced the war was beginning in October 2001. “We were attacked. We went to war with clear goals. We achieved those objectives. Bin Laden is dead and al Qaeda is degraded in Afghanistan and it’s time to end the forever war.” Biden’s claim that he is ending the forever war is misleading.
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