On The Brink Of War

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By Abdel Bari Atwan for Information Clearing House – November 10, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – We should not let minor details such as Hariri’s resignation or the detention of [Saudi] princes and former ministers divert our attention from the real developments that are taking place in secret. Nor should we let these minor details distract us from the more dangerous phase that will follow Prince Mohammad bin Salman ‘purge’ on the domestic Saudi front. For such ‘purges’ are the preliminary move to scenarios for a war that may be the most dangerous in the region’s history. And we are not exaggerating here. All that is currently happening is part of a well-studied and carefully planned scheme. It is the prelude to a sectarian war, conducted under an ‘Arab nationalist’ guise. And its main target is the rising ‘Shiite’ Iranian force, aiming at clipping its strike forces in Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq, with U.S., regional, and Israeli backing. The old Saudi Arabia is no more, and Wahhabism is in its last throes, if it has not already been buried in the dusty tomes and reference books as a passing historical moment. The fourth Saudi state, donned in new modern garb, and with new alliances, is emerging before our very eyes. And when, in a phone call with British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, Saudi Crown-Prince Mohammad bin Salman (the man of the moment, who wants to be the founder of that state)…

Secret Document: Saudis, Israel Working Together To Provoke War In Lebanon

Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri

By Joyce Chediac for Liberation News – Only a day after major ISIS defeats in Syria and Iraq indicated that fighting may be winding down, an extraordinary series of events raised the danger of a new war, this time against Lebanon. These events began on Nov. 4 when Saudi Arabia destabilized Lebanon’s government by forcing Prime Minister Saad Hariri’ to resign, and led to the Saudi government false claim on Nov. 7 that Lebanon had “declared war” on that kingdom. Secret documents made public by Israeli TV Channel 10 indicate that this provocative war scenario was coordinated by Saudi Arabia and Israel to instigate a new Middle East war, with Lebanon the target, vilified as a proxy of Iran. This provocation follows a huge Israeli military exercise held in September simulating an invasion of Lebanon designed specifically to target the Lebanese group Hezbollah. This was Tel Aviv’s largest military drill in 20 years, involving all branches of the Israeli military. While Washington has branded the Lebanese group Hezbollah “terrorist,” progressives in the Middle East see the group as a defender of Lebanese sovereignty. Twice, in 2000 and 2006, it kicked Israeli troops out of Lebanon.

South Korea Shifts Towards China

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By Alexander Mercouris for The Duran. The big news in Asia this week is not US President Trump’s grand but ultimately empty visit to China. It is the quiet steps China and South Korea have begun to take towards each other. In a recent article for The Duran I discussed how Russian foreign policy seemed to be edging towards a solution to the Korean crisis involving direct Chinese – Russian brokered talks between North and South Korea which would not involve the US. I also referred to the longstanding Russian projects to build railway lines and gas pipelines across North Korea to South Korea, providing South Korea via North Korea and Russia with a land bridge to Europe, whilst bringing the two Koreas together and binding them closer both economically and politically to the two Great Eurasian Powers ie. Russia and China. I also speculated that these Russian plans – which I said had unquestionably been worked out in collaboration with China – might also involve the two Koreas coming together in some form of confederation with each other.

Trump Continues Tradition Of President Waging War Wherever It Wants

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By Marjorie Cohn for Truthout – Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on October 30 that the Trump administration has all the legal authority it needs to kill people anywhere in the world. But just in case Congress wishes to update its old Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), Mattis and Tillerson told them how to do it: Write a blank check to the president. The October 4 killings of four US soldiers on a “routine training mission” in Niger brought the committee’s hearing into sharper focus. It turns out the presence of these troops in Niger was unlawful. Mattis claimed the four dead US soldiers were just there on a train-and-advise mission. “I think it was reasonable to think they could go out there and train these [Niger] troops without the idea they’re going into direct combat; but” he admitted, “that’s not a complete answer. I need to wait until I get the investigation to fully appraise it.” Derek Gannon, a former Green Beret, said, “[US military involvement in Africa] is called Low Intensity Irregular Warfare, yet technically, it’s not considered war by the Pentagon. But,” he added, “warfare is warfare to me.” Mattis insisted that Title 10 of the US Code grants authority for train-and-advise missions anywhere in the world.

The US, Africa And A New Century Of War

Members of the 3rd Special Forces Group, 2nd battalion cry at the tomb of US Army Sgt. La David Johnson at his burial service in the Memorial Gardens East cemetery on October 21, 2017, in Hollywood, Florida. Sgt. Johnson and three other US soldiers were killed in an ambush in Niger on October 4, 2017. (Photo: GASTON DE CARDENAS / AFP / Getty Images)

By William Rivers Pitt for Truthout – Most Americans’ broad ignorance regarding Africa is a long-standing phenomenon, one perpetuated from the top down. In 2008, the campaign staffers tasked to wrangle Sarah Palin were terrified people would discover she thought Africa was one big country. In 2001, President George W. Bush told a gathering in Sweden, “Africa is a nation that suffers from incredible disease.” Vice President Joe Biden, speaking to none other than the US-Africa Leaders Summit in 2014, said, “There’s no reason the nation of Africa should not join the ranks of the world’s most prosperous nations.” That’s twice in one sentence, Joe. After four elite US soldiers were killed in an ambush in Niger several weeks ago, and after President Trump made a gut-grinding botch of offering condolences to the families of the fallen, Africa policy has become a hot topic in US politics. Beyond the febrile fodder of yet another presidential humiliation lay the deeper question: What were those four soldiers doing in Niger? South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who sits on the Armed Services Committee that oversees the Pentagon, apparently just found out that the US has roughly 1,000 troops stationed in Niger. When asked why they were there, he gave the standard reply we always hear in the age of the Authorization of Use of Military Force: fighting terrorists.

Divest From The War Machine

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By Annie Windholz for Medium – Jodie Evans spoke about how war has become normalized to millennials- an entire generation that has only known war. She commented that under Obama the anti-war movement was a silenced movement, but is becoming alive again during trump, with 65% of tax dollars going to war and the military. Evans was excited about the divest campaign because the anti-war movement had not yet had such a long term plan for ending war. Her question for the audience was, how do we make the movement relational? The Divest from War campaign organizer, Haley Pedersen, took the floor explaining that 23 cents of every tax dollar goes into military contractors’ pockets, with top producer Lockheed Martin’s CEO making $19 million in 2016. During this same year 150,000 people died in violent conflicts around the world as a direct result of these weapons with 90% of those killed in wars being mostly women and children civilians, and an additional 65 million people displaced because of war. Military contractors make endless profits at the expense of endless suffering with their CEOs routinely making the top paid CEOs list. Pederson said CODEPINK is currently working with different partners in divestment.

NYT Laments ‘Forever Wars’ Its Editorials Helped Create

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By Adam Johnson for FAIR – Corporate media have a long history of lamenting wars they themselves helped sell the American public, but it’s rare so many wars and so much hypocrisy are distilled into one editorial. On Monday, the New York Times (10/22/17) lamented the expansion of America’s “forever wars” overseas, without once noting that every war mentioned is one the editorial board has itself endorsed, while failing to oppose any of the “engagements” touched on in the editorial. The Times began by noting the sheer scope of US military reach: The United States has been at war continuously since the attacks of 9/11 and now has just over 240,000 active-duty and reserve troops in at least 172 countries and territories…. American forces are actively engaged not only in the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen that have dominated the news, but also in Niger and Somalia, both recently the scene of deadly attacks, as well as Jordan, Thailand and elsewhere. An additional 37,813 troops serve on presumably secret assignment in places listed simply as “unknown.” The Pentagon provided no further explanation.

Left-Right Alliance Against U.S.-Saudi War On Yemen

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By Staff of IPA – Katrina vanden Heuvel just wrote the piece “Congress’s War Powers Must Be Made a Reality” in the Washington Post. She writes: “What does it take to get Congress to act on vital questions of war and peace? The catastrophe in Yemen may test whether Congress is finally prepared to exercise its constitutional responsibility. Four legislators — two House Democrats and two Republicans — have introduced a resolutionunder the War Powers Act demanding a vote in 15 days to end U.S. involvement in Saudi Arabia’s devastation of Yemen. “The resolution, co-sponsored by Democrats Ro Khanna and Mark Pocan (the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus) and by Republicans Thomas Massie and Walter Jones, requires the ‘removal’ of U.S. forces from the war in Yemen unless Congress votes to authorize American involvement. Beginning under President Barack Obama, the U.S. military has assisted the Saudi campaign in Yemen…“As lead co-sponsor Khanna (D-Calif.) argues, the war powers resolution is long overdue: ‘Congress and the American people know too little about the role we are playing in a war that is causing suffering for millions of people and is a genuine threat to our national security.’“The resolution will force Congress to debate this truly deplorable policy that has implicated the United States in Saudi war crimes while fueling the spread of terrorism.”

Rich Man's War; Poor People's Blood

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By Ed Kinane and Judy Bello for Upstated Drone Action – Monday, 25 September 2017 at 9 AM, 7 members of the grassroots group Upstate Drone Action once again were arrested as they delivered a citizen’s war crime indictment to the chain of command at Hancock Air Force Base. Upstate Drone Action also placed a huge dollar sign [$] dripping with “blood” in the main entrance way to the base. The six-foot-high dollar sign dramatizes what the group believes determines the many overseas wars the Pentagon/CIA engages in: corporate greed. Hancock AFB — on East Molloy Rd, town of DeWitt, County of Onondaga, State of New York, just north of Syracuse – hosts the 174th Attack [sic] Wing of the NY National Guard. The 174th is one of two Reaper drone Attack Wings in NYS. Piloted from Hancock, the MQ9 Reaper drone is an unmanned, satellite-directed assassin flown over Afghanistan. CIA also uses such airborne robots for its clandestine, illegal, lethal missions over Northwest Pakistan and other majority-Islamic nations and oil lands. According to “LIVING UNDER DRONES: Death, Injury and Trauma to civilians from US Practices in Pakistan,” published by Stanford University and New York University Law Schools, such missions are responsible for the deaths of many hundreds of noncombatants, including women and children, in that region.

3 Big Ways The Military Industrial Complex Is Ruining Our Country

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By Ria Modak for AlterNet – Financially, taxpayers are getting screwed by every angle of the military industiral complex. The U.S. defense budget constitutes hundreds of billions of dollars. More than half of federal discretionary funding goes to the military industrial complex, which encompasses more than 1,200 government organizations and almost 2,000 private corporations working on counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence. The roles of government bureaucrat and military personnel have become nearly indistinguishable; 70 percent of retired three- and four-star generals were employed by defense contractors after their time at the Pentagon. In 2015, nearly 80 percent of Lockheed Martin’s $46.1 billion profit came from the federal government, which has cumulatively given $400 billion to defense corporations that have been sanctioned for fraud. The U.S. government’s decision to subsidize the mergers of major defense corporations in the 1990s put thousands of dollars into the pockets of defense firm executives while millions of workers lost their jobs. Senator Bernie Sanders aptly named the process “payoffs for layoffs.” These extreme examples of corporate greed and opportunism have had ramifications at home and abroad.

How To Divest From The War Machine

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By Staff of Code Pink – CODEPINK, in partnership with an array of peace and disarmament groups, is launching a divestment campaign to encourage universities, religious organizations, retirement funds, mutual funds, private investors, and other financial institutions in the United States to take action to reduce violent global conflicts and slow the hyper-militarization of our world by divesting from the U.S. War Machine. Divestment from the War Machine means divesting (removing invested assets) from companies that derive their profits by supplying and profiting from U.S. military interventions, expansions, and the militarization of our streets. In other words, we are calling for divestment from companies that make a killing on killing. Through this strategy we plan to: Uncover the hold the military industrial complex has on our government and our foreign policy. Spark a vital public debate questioning the role of weapons manufacturers and military contractors in perpetuating conflict around the globe. Expose how our financial and educational institutions are supporting those companies Inspire the public and investors to pressure these institutions to divest. Hold the arms industry accountable in political and financial spheres for its culpability in the death and displacement of millions of innocent people.

The Empire’s Hustle: Why Anti-Trumpism Doesn’t Include Anti-War

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By Ajamu Baraka for Counter Punch – Libertarian U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) declared from the Senate floor last week in anticipation of the vote on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2018: “I rise today to oppose unauthorized, undeclared and unconstitutional war…What we have today is basically unlimited war, anywhere, anytime, any place upon the globe.” With these words, Paul became one of the few voices to oppose the obscenity that is known as U.S. war policy. But only two other senators joined him: Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR). But there is a wrinkle here: Paul is not concerned with the size of the military budget. He’s pointing his finger at the continuation of the Authorization to Use Military Force Act (AUMF) of 2001, which was the “legal” basis for the U.S. global “war on terror.” He wants Congress to re-assess this legislation that has prompted endless wars abroad. After Paul’s amendment to the NDAA was defeated, the Senate went on to approve it with a vote of 89-9 Monday in what the New York Times correctly identified as a bi-partisan effort, to authorize a military budget of $696 billion—an increase in the military budget of almost $75 billion and well over the $54 billion that Pres. Donald Trump had originally proposed.

Burns’s War Stories Fog The Truth

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Vietnam War Era - Photo by Bruno Barbey 
South Vietnamese retreive abandoned war material.

By Bob Buzzanco for History News Network – Now, a half-century later, America’s best-known documentarians and teachers of popular history, Ken Burns and Lynn Novick have produced an 18-hour examination of the war for PBS (with sponsorship and promotion from the Koch Brothers, Bank of America, and Pentagon, inter alia) which is getting a huge amount of attention already. Like their documentary on the Civil War, The Vietnam War will surely become a major work of public history and be ingrained in our national consciousness. But what do Burns and Novick do, is it anything new, and what consequences will their work have? Burns and Novick, in their public relations blitz for the show (which debuted Sunday night, September 17th) have stressed that this documentary is different than the studies of Vietnam that have preceded it because they focused on the people who were involved in the war and especially representatives of the enemy (the “North Vietnamese” in their parlance, not the “revolutionaries” or “the NLF”). Their goal was to “triangulate” the telling of the war—speak to people from North Vietnam, South Vietnam, and the United States. Their main purpose is to “honor the courage, heroism and sacrifice of those who served,” and “we have tried to do this by listening to their stories.”

Senate Will Vote On Amendment To Repeal War Authorization

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By Jason Ditz for Anti-War – Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’s push for a vote on his amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) appears to have been successful, and his office issued a press release confirming that such a vote will take place after all. Previously, there were doubts, as the Senate leadership sought to severely limit discussion of amendments and just push the NDAA through. The amendment is short and simple. It would repeal the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) as well as the 2002 AUMF against Iraq. The two authorizations would sunset in six months, giving Congress a window in which to debate a replacement authorization. Limited debate on the amendment was held Tuesday evening, with expectations of further debate Wednesday morning. There is no formal time set for the vote, but it’s expected Wednesday in the late morning. Paul has advocated the repeal of the AUMF because it has been used by recent presidents as a blanket justification for new wars. Despite the 2001 AUMF not having anything to do with them, it is presently used as the legal cover for seven US military operations worldwide. The hope is that it will attract support not just from antiwar senators, but also from senators who have wanted a new AUMF that is directly applicable to current wars…

No To War Call To Action

We say No to War sign seen at a 2007 anti-war protest. (Photo by Thiago Santos on flickr)

By Staff of No To War – The Afghan war, which has been a thoroughly bipartisan effort, was originally railed against by Donald Trump when he was running for president. He claimed to be against U.S. troop involvement in Afghanistan. Now he is moving forward with a “secret” plan of escalation that will also include Pakistan. He says the secrecy is to keep the “enemy” from knowing his plans, but it also keeps the U.S. people from knowing what he is doing in our name and from judging the human costs for the people of Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States. What we do know is that military escalation has repeatedly failed to bring peace in Afghanistan. It has caused more destruction and more deaths of civilians and soldiers alike and has cost trillions of dollars that could be spent on meeting basic needs here at home while repairing the destruction we have carried out abroad. Trump also emboldens the war machine here in the US against Black and Brown people and immigrants by fanning white supremacy and xenophobia and continuing the militarization of the police and ICE to incite racially-motivated violence and justify repression, including mass incarceration and mass deportations.