By Staff of Courage to Resist – We at Courage to Resist are reaching out to you to help imprisoned Army soldier Ryan Johnson and his wife Jenna. We’re helping them get on their feet upon Ryan’s expected May release from Miramar Brig in Southern California. Your support is critical to help them begin their next chapter. Ryan Johnson hasn’t gotten many easy breaks. He lost his father at the age of three. Growing up he would face years of abuse at the hands of a new stepfather. As a teen Ryan escaped into patterns of drug abuse, self-harm, and finally dropped out of high school. Now he endures insult of military imprisonment after literal injury serving the US armed forces. This pall of unfortunate circumstances doesn’t mean there isn’t light in Ryan’s life. He has persevered, with his compassion, kindness, and conscience intact.
By Joseph Gerson for Global Campaign On Military Spending – Trump and Congressional Republicans are preparing to eliminate any restraints in the Pentagon’s budget, while also reducing spending for essential social services, from housing and medical care to environmental protection to education. Projected cuts in social services could be as hight as $10.5 trillion over the coming decade. Even without the proposed increases in military spending, the Pentagon’s budget equals the combined total of the world’s next eight largest military spenders. Add to this the “Overseas Contingency Operation” funding for the military interventions from Syria and Iraq to Libya and Yemen, Department of Energy spending for nuclear weapons, and the black budget for “intelligence”
By Jason Ditz for Anti War – The US has announced its intention of permanently deploying a company of Grey Eagle drones capable of firing Hellfire Missiles, to South Korea, along the border with North Korea. Officials are saying they’ll provide “surveillance” capabilities. Yet the fact that they chose to send a missile-capable drone suggests surveillance isn’t the primary goal of this deployment. The Trump Administration has already shown an interest in escalating the use of drones to attack targets in places that are not directly part of current US military operations. While the US throwing more military forces at the Korean Peninsula is nothing new…
By Lee Chul-Jae and Lee Sung-Eun for Korea Joongang Daily – Navy’s Special Warfare Development Group, better known as the SEAL Team 6, will arrive in South Korea soon for joint military drills and take part in an exercise simulating the removal of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, according to the Ministry of National Defense Monday. The counterterrorism unit is best known for its removal of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in May 2011, known as Operation Neptune Spear. It will be the team’s first time participating in the annual Foal Eagle and Key Resolve exercises, which will run through late April. The ministry did not say when the SEAL Team 6 will arrive.
By Michael Caster for Waging Nonviolence – On October 17, Hiroji Yamashiro was arrested for cutting a wire fence at a protest against a U.S. military base in Okinawa. He has been held in detention ever since. Yamashiro, the chairman of the Okinawa Peace Movement Center, has been a fixture of the nonviolent opposition to military base expansion on the island for years. The 64-year-old Yamashiro had undergone cancer treatment in 2015, and medical tests two months into his detention revealed a decline in his health. Nevertheless, since his arrest almost five months ago, he has been held in pre-trial detention — mostly in solitary confinement, denied bail and any contact with his family.
By Carey Wedler for Anti-Media – When he was in office, former President Barack Obama earned the ire of anti-war activists for his expansion of Bush’s drone wars. The Nobel Peace Prize-winning head of state ordered ten times more drone strikes than the previous president, and estimates late in Obama’s presidency showed 49 out of 50 victims were civilians. In 2015, it was reported that up to 90% of drone casualties were not the intended targets. Current President Donald Trump campaigned on a less interventionist foreign policy, claiming to be opposed to nation-building and misguided invasions. But less than two months into his presidency, Trump has expanded the drone strikes that plagued Obama’s “peaceful” presidency.
By Christine Ahn for Korean Women Take On Trump – U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis recently made the Trump administration’s first overseas trip. His destination: South Korea and Japan. Coming on the heels of Donald Trump’s loud complaints about America’s “freeloading” allies, Mattis was there to assure South Korean and Japanese officials of America’s commitment to the trilateral security alliance between the three countries. Yet Trump is hardly the only critic of Washington’s military alliances in the region. Civil society organizations in the region have long complained about their governments’ deference to the United States, from challenging U.S. military bases to warning against policies that could draw their countries into a superpower conflict between Washington and Beijing. In South Korea, Mattis’ first stop, women demanding genuine human security are at the forefront of the resistance.
By Alex Emmons for The Intercept – THE U.S. GOVERNMENT already spends $600 billion dollars a year on its military — more money than the next seven biggest spenders combined, including China and Russia. On Monday, the White House said it would request $54 billion more in military spending for next year. That increase alone is roughly the size of the entire annual military budget of the United Kingdom, the fifth-largest spending country, and it’s more than 80 percent of Russia’s entire military budget in 2015. If Congress were to follow Trump’s blueprint, the U.S. military budget could account for nearly 40 percent of global military spending next year. The U.S. would be outspending Russia by a margin of greater than 9 to 1. At a meeting of U.S. governors on Monday, Trump described his forthcoming budget proposal as “a public safety and national security budget.”
By Staff of Global Campaign On MIlitary Spending – Trump and Congressional Republicans are preparing to eliminate any restraints in the Pentagon’s budget, while also reducing spending for essential social services, from housing and medical care to environmental protection to education. Projected cuts in social services could be as hight as $10.5 trillion over the coming decade. Even without the proposed increases in military spending, the Pentagon’s budget equals the combined total of the world’s next eight largest military spenders. Add to this the “Overseas Contingency Operation” funding for the military interventions from Syria and Iraq to Libya and Yemen, Department of Energy spending for nuclear weapons, and the black budget for “intelligence” and U.S. military spending is in the range of $1 trillion a year.
By Mike Head for WSWS – Defying warnings from Beijing not to escalate tensions in the South China Sea, the Trump administration last Saturday said a United States aircraft carrier strike group had begun “routine” patrols in the strategic waterway. According to a US Navy statement, the guided-missile destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer is joining the 97,000-ton Carl Vinson along with aircraft from Carrier Air Wing for the operations. The Carl Vinson carries a flight group of more than 60 aircraft, including F/A-18 jet fighters, as well as a crew of 7,500. This is not the first such mission. The Obama administration also ordered US aircraft carrier operations in the South China Sea as part of its “pivot to Asia” to confront China’s rising influence. Almost a year ago, the USS John C. Stennis led another “routine” cruise through the area.
By Lawrence Repeta for the Japan Times. There, a 64-year-old antiwar activist has been held in detention on trivial charges for more than 70 days. Over the past two years of peaceful protests against U.S. military base expansion in northern Okinawa, Hiroji Yamashiro emerged as the face of Okinawan resistance, the man with a megaphone in hand who urged crowds of protesters to speak out. Arrested on Oct. 17 and denied visits by anyone other than his attorneys since then, he has been silenced.
By Eric Draitser for Mint Press News – The corporate media is predictably churning out nauseating retrospectives of Obama’s presidency, gently soothing Americans to sleep with fairy tales about the progressive accomplishments of President Hope and Change. But amid the selective memory and doublethink which passes for sophisticated punditry within the controlled media matrix, let us not forget that in Africa the name Barack Obama is now synonymous with destabilization, death, and destruction. The collective gasps of liberals grow to a deafening roar at the mere suggestion that Obama is more sinner than saint, but perhaps it would be useful to review the facts and the record rather than the carefully constructed mythos being shoehorned into history books under the broad heading of “Legacy.”
By Paul Buchheit for Nation of Change – Donald Trump said, “I’m going to make our military so big, so powerful, so strong, that nobody – absolutely nobody – is gonna mess with us.” Simple-minded but deadly thinking at the top derives from influential groups and individuals who think we have to KILL to keep the rest of the world in line. The compliant mainstream media scares us into accepting wars and drone killings overseas, military-style defenses on our own streets, surveillance of our private lives. For the war-happy leadership of America, certain realities are better left unsaid, or at most reported quickly and quietly.
By Nicolas J S Davies for Consortium News – As President Obama leaves office, much of his foreign policy record remains shrouded in the symbolism that has been the hallmark of his presidency. The persistence of Obama’s image as a reluctant war-maker and a Nobel Peace Prize winner has allowed Donald Trump and his cabinet nominees to claim that Obama has underfunded the military and been less than aggressive in his use of U.S. military power. Nothing could be further from the truth, and their claims are clearly designed only to justify even more extravagant military spending and more aggressive threats and uses of force than those perpetrated under Mr. Obama’s “disguised, quiet, media-free” war policy.
By Andre Damon for WSWS – Some 4,000 US troops, together with tanks, artillery and armored vehicles, arrived in Poland over the weekend, further escalating tensions with Russia ahead of the January 20 inauguration of US President-elect Donald Trump. It is the largest US troop deployment in Europe since the Cold War. The troops will be dispersed over seven Eastern European countries, including the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, all of which border Russia. After nine months, the troops will be replaced with another unit, making the deployment effectively permanent. NATO plans to deploy a further four battalions to the Russian border later this year, including one each to Poland and the three Baltic states.