Tag Archives | War On Terror

Since 9/11 Private Contractors Have Made $385 Billion From Overseas Bases

baseworldVia TomDispatch on the staggering sum being passed from U.S. taxpayers to a handful of contracting corporations in the name of maintaining the Pentagon’s global “baseworld”:

Outside the United States, the Pentagon controls a collection of military bases unprecedented in history. With US troops gone from Iraq, it’s easy to forget that we probably still have about 1,000 military bases in other peoples’ lands.

The Pentagon has dispersed around $385 billion to private companies for work done outside the US since late 2001, mainly in that baseworld. That’s nearly double the entire State Department budget over the same period. Almost a third of the $385 billion has flowed into the coffers of just 10 top contractors, [with the largest amount going to] KBR, the former subsidiary of Halliburton.

Once upon a time, however, the military, not contractors, built the barracks, cleaned the clothes, and peeled the potatoes at these bases. This started to change during the Vietnam War, when Brown & Root, better known to critics as “Burn & Loot” (later KBR), began building major military installations in South Vietnam as part of a contractor consortium.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

875,000 People Are On America’s Terrorist Suspect List

terrorist suspect list

They’re all around us — the number of people being tracked as suspected terrorists will soon cross the one million mark, Reuters reports:

The number of names on a highly classified U.S. central database used to track suspected terrorists has jumped to 875,000 from 540,000 only five years ago, a U.S. official said. Among those was Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, whose name was added in 2011.

Maintained by the National Counterterrorism Center, the highly classified database is not a “watchlist,” but a repository of information on people whom U.S. authorities see as known, suspected or potential terrorists from around the world.

The “Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment” is a master database which agencies use to build other catalogs of possible terrorists, like the “no-fly” list which prevents people on it from boarding airplanes.

Karen Greenberg, an expert in counter-terrorism policy at Fordham University, questioned whether the growth in the database’s size made it easier for officials to spot threats before they materialize.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Pakistan’s Likely Prime Minister Vows To Shoot Down U.S. Drones

imran khan

Drone wars to come? PolicyMic reports:

In the lead up to Pakistan’s general election on May 11, former cricket star-turned-politician Imran Khan has again vowed to shoot down American drones if elected. Given that most polls show Khan ahead of Nawaz Sharif (previously thought to be the favorite), there is a very real chance that Khan will become Prime Minister.

Drone strikes have increased dramatically under President Obama, and while Pakistan has always been publicly opposed to attacks conducted by the CIA, the possibility of a prime minister who has promised to shoot down the drones could make things very awkward for the U.S.

Khan has long been a fierce critic of the U.S. drone war in Pakistan, leading anti-drone protests and even being removed from a plane and detained by U.S. immigration officials on a trip to New York last year. According to Khan, he was “interrogated on [his] views on drones” while he was detained.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Time to Renounce the “War on Terror”

343px-LibertyAs a perpetual emotion machine — producing and guzzling its own political fuel — the “war on terror” continues to normalize itself as a thoroughly American way of life and death. Ongoing warfare has become a matter of default routine, pushed along by mainline media and the leadership of both parties in Washington. Without a clear and effective upsurge of opposition from the grassroots, Americans can expect to remain citizens of a war-driven country for the rest of their lives.

Across the United States, many thousands of peeling bumper stickers on the road say: “End this Endless War.” They got mass distribution from MoveOn.org back in 2007, when a Republican was in the White House. Now, a thorough search of the MoveOn website might leave the impression that endless war ended with the end of the George W. Bush presidency.

MoveOn is very big as online groups go, but it is symptomatic of a widespread problem among an array of left-leaning organizations that have made their peace with the warfare state.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Audio Recording Of Bradley Manning Speaking At Military Tribunal Leaked

Despite a strict ban on recordings and transcripts at the secretive proceedings, the Freedom of Press Foundation has gotten a hold of a covertly-made tape of Manning’s full speech to the court explaining his motivation for leaking classified government materials. He remarks:

“I am the type of person who likes to know how things work. And, as an analyst, this means I always want to figure out the truth. Unlike other analysts within the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, I was not satisfied with just scratching the surface and producing canned or cookie cutter assessments. I wanted to know why something was the way it was, and what we could to correct or mitigate a situation.”

“I began to become depressed with the situation that we [the U.S. military] found ourselves increasingly mired in year after year…we became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists…[I wanted] society to reevaluate the need or even the desire to even to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore the complex dynamics of the people living in the effected environment everyday.”

“I knew that if I continued to assist the Baghdad Federal Police in identifying the political opponents of Prime Minister al-Maliki, those people would be arrested and in the custody of the Special Unit of the Baghdad Federal Police and very likely tortured and not seen again for a very long time – if ever.”

“I read more of the diplomatic cables published on the Department of State Net Centric Diplomacy.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Bradley Manning Says He Tried To Leak To New York Times And Washington Post Before WikiLeaks

The mainstream media as a dead end for information, via the Guardian:

Bradley Manning has revealed to his court-martial at Fort Meade, Maryland, that he tried to leak US state secrets to the Washington Post, New York Times and Politico before he turned in frustration to the new anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

Manning, the US solider accused of the biggest leak of state secrets in US history, read out a 35-page statement to the court that contained new detail on how he came to download and then transmit a massive trove of secrets to WikiLeaks. It contains the bombshell disclosure that he wanted to go to mainstream American media but found them impenetrable.

Manning also gave insight into the ethical reasons that he had for making such an enormous breach of military orders. Referring to the war logs from Iraq and Afghanistan, he said he felt they would reveal the “true costs of war.”

Read the rest

Continue Reading

More Than 50 Countries Collaborated With CIA On Extraordinary Rendition Torture Program

Torturing: it brought the United States together with Iran, Syria, Libya, and Zimbabwe. Wired reports:

A new report from the Open Society Foundation details the CIA’s effort to outsource torture since 9/11. Known as “extraordinary rendition,” the practice concerns taking detainees to and from U.S. custody without a legal process and handing detainees over to countries that practiced torture.

The report found that 136 people went through the post-9/11 extraordinary rendition, and 54 countries were complicit in it. Some were official U.S. adversaries, like Iran and Syria, brought together with the CIA by the shared interest of combating terrorism.

The most famous case involves Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen snatched in 2002 by the U.S. at JFK Airport before the CIA sent him to Syria under the mistaken impression he was a terrorist. In Syrian custody, Arar was “imprisoned for more than ten months in a tiny grave-like cell, beaten with cables, and threatened with electric shocks by the Syrian government.”

The full 54 countries that aided in post-9/11 renditions: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Al-Qaeda’s Top 22 Tips For Avoiding Drones Revealed

The find reveals that the terrorist network has been anticipating drone-based quasi-war by the United States for a long time. Via the Telegraph:

Found by the Associated Press in a building in Timbuktu, the ancient city in Mali occupied by Islamists last year, the document is believed to have been abandoned as extremists fled a French military intervention last month. Hidden inside a manila envelope, it is a Xeroxed copy of a tipsheet authored by Abdallah bin Muhammad, a senior commander of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

“These are not dumb techniques. It shows that they are acting pretty astutely,” said Col Cedric Leighton, a 26-year-veteran of the United States Air Force, who helped set up the Predator drone program.

The tips include:

Hide under thick trees.

Formation of fake gatherings such as using dolls and statutes to be placed outside false ditches to mislead the enemy.

Spreading reflective pieces of glass on a car or on the roof of the building.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Will The United States Never Again Have A Peacetime President?

Have Bush and Obama ushered in the age of vague, unpublicized, poorly-defined war that never ends? Via Foreign Policy, Micah Zenko writes:

Since September 11, 2001, the president has been able to threaten or use military force to achieve a range of foreign policy objectives with few checks and balances or sustained media coverage — to an extent unprecedented in U.S. history. It is unlikely that the United States will ever have a peacetime president again.

The primary reason for this stems from how policymakers in Washington perceive the world — a perception that bridges partisan divisions. According to most officials, the international security environment is best characterized by limitless, complex, and imminent threats facing the United States. Those threats require the military to be perpetually on a wartime footing and the president to frequently authorize the use of lethal force. As a Pentagon strategy document first noted in 2010, the United States has entered “a period of persistent conflict.”

In response to this world of grave uncertainty and looming threats, the United States has invested heavily in offensive military capabilities [including drones, special operations forces, and cyberattacks] that the president leverages with speed, secrecy, and minimal oversight.

Read the rest
Continue Reading