That Time The CIA and Pentagon Went To War

Against Each Other

William Rivers Pitt writes at Truthout about foolishness of “raw and ponderous weight” in Syria.

The Knights of Righteousness (yeah, that really is what they call themselves) have been armed and funded by — wait for it — the Central Intelligence Agency. Their opponents, the Syrian Democratic Forces, have been armed and funded by the Pentagon. Ergo, based upon the most recent battle in Marea, the Defense Department went to war with the CIA half a world away.

Read the full piece: The CIA and the Pentagon Are Shooting at Each Other | Truthout

The Fallen of World War Two

Neil Halloran has produced an animated data-driven documentary about war and peace called The Fallen of World War II. It looks at the human cost of the second World War and sizes up the numbers to other wars in history, including trends in recent conflicts.

The data he presents challenged many of my tacit assumptions about the war.

You can view the video above, or access an interactive version at fallen.io.

NPA Statement After Paris Attacks

nouveau_parti_anticapitaliste

The  New Anti-Capitalist Party, one of the leading organizations on the Left in France, issued a statement today, after the attacks in Paris of the evening of 13 November.

The only response to wars and terrorism is the unity of the workers and people, over and above their origins, their skin colour, their religions, across the borders, to fight together against those who want to silence them, to dominate them, to do away with this capitalist system which generates cruelty.

Read the Full Statement: The cruelty of imperialist wars results in the cruelty of terrorism | International Viewpoint

Today, we remember Paris. We also remember Beirut and Gaza and Kunduz, and all of the innocent victims of violence created by a system which has outlived its usefulness.

The Endless Spectacle of Militarism

I love America. Truly, I do. It is the land of great ideals, as well as the land of my birth.

I also respect and applaud self-sacrifice in service to others, and in service to those ideals.

So I was slow to understand the true nature of the constant prompts to “support our troops” and the endless parade of militaristic spectacle over the past couple decades. In the wake of the attacks of September 11th, the knee-jerk jingoism didn’t sit well with me, but I didn’t fully understand why.

Then comes the news this week of a joint oversight report released by Arizona Republican Senators John Flake and John McCain, documenting that over the past few years, the Pentagon spent $6.8 million to pay for patriotic displays during the games of professional sports teams. For me, this calls to mind the 1936 Summer Games.

Here are a couple of articles of interest on the subject.

No, thanks: Stop saying “support the troops” – A nation that continuously publicizes appeals to “support our troops” is explicitly asking its citizens not to think. It is the ideal slogan for suppressing the practice of democracy, presented to us in the guise of democratic preservation.

Military spectacle and American sport – Fifteen years after the beginning of the so-called “War on Terror,” no facet of life in the United States—political, legal or cultural—has escaped the dark shadow of the American military-intelligence apparatus. Everything is subordinated to the needs of the state. Personal communications are intercepted and stored, protests are monitored and school curricula are manipulated. Hollywood works with the CIA to produce films like “Zero Dark Thirty” to justify the government’s illegal torture program, and a worker can hardly take his or her family to the ballgame without being inundated with pro-war lies and propaganda.

A Conversation With Chomsky

Isabelle Kumar of Euronews interviews Noam Chomsky on a range of topics. On the subject of Greece’s debt (and that of Portugal and Spain and others) this is what he said.

Who incurred this debt? And who is the debt owed to? In part, the debt was incurred by dictators. So in Greece it was the fascist dictatorship, which the US supported, that incurred a large part of the debt. The debt I think was more brutal than the dictatorship, and that’s what’s called in international law, “odious debt” which need not be paid, and that’s a principal introduced into international law by the United States, when it was in their interest to do so. Much of the rest of the debt, what is called payments to Greece are in fact payments to banks, German and French banks, which had decided to make extremely risky loans with not very high interest and are now being faced with the fact that they can’t be paid back.

Read the Transcript: Chomsky says US is world’s biggest terrorist | euronews, the global conversation

Here’s the video.

U.S. Backed Warlords Terrorize Afghanistan

Afghan government troops and civilian paramilitary units, trained and sanctioned by the United States, are routinely terrorizing the Afghan people, according to a Human Rights Watch report. The report indicated that the government in Kabul rules over a network of criminals on a spree of plunder, not subject to legal accountability.

…forces under the command of Hakim Shujoyi have killed dozens of civilians in Uruzgan province, yet despite a warrant for his arrest he remains at large and evidence suggests he has enjoyed the support of US forces. In Paktika province, Afghan Local Police forces under the command of Azizullah,an ethnic Tajik who, as of June 2014, was a commander of the local ALP in Urgun district, have committed multiple kidnappings and killings. Azizullah has worked closely with US Special Forces despite their awareness of his reputation for unlawful brutality.

Read the press release: Afghanistan: Abusive Strongmen Escape Justice | Human Rights Watch.

Download the report in PDF.