Since 2001, senior Pentagon and CIA officials have sacrificed American interests in weakening al-Qaeda to pursue their own interests
New York Times columnist Tom Friedman outraged many readers when he wrote an opinion piece on 12 April calling on President Trump to “back off fighting territorial ISIS in Syria”. The reason he gave for that recommendation was not that US wars in the Middle East are inevitably self-defeating and endless, but that it would reduce the “pressure on Assad, Iran, Russia and Hezbollah”.
On the day President Trump is inaugurated, thousands of writers in the United States will express their indignation. “In order for us to heal and move forward…”, say Writers Resist, “we wish to bypass direct political discourse, in favour of an inspired focus on the future, and how we, as writers, can be a unifying force for the protection of democracy.”
On this week’s episode of On Contact, Chris Hedges discusses the influence of the Israeli arms industry with independent journalist Rania Khalek. They examine the Israeli weapons and tactics that are tested on Palestinians in occupied territory and then sold to the world. RT Correspondent Anya Parampil looks at the global reach of the Israeli defense industry.
Officially, of course, the national bird of the United States is that half-a-peace-sign that Philadelphia sports fans like to hold up at opposing teams. But unofficially, the film National Bird has it right: the national bird is a killer drone.
The Dallas shootings have ushered in a very new world for US citizens. For the very first time, drones have been used on US soil to kill Americans without trial or charges. The suspected shooter in yesterday’s tragic killings, US Army veteran Micah Xavier Johnson, was, according to police and press reports, holed up in a parking garage and would not give himself up. After hours of what police claimed were fruitless negotiations with Johnson, a weaponized robot was sent to where he was hiding and blown up, taking Johnson with it.
The man who murdered police officers in Dallas, Texas, this week had earlier been employed in a massive operation, now in its 15th year, that has killed many thousands of people in Afghanistan. He was trained to kill by the U.S. military using U.S. tax dollars. He was conditioned to believe violence an appropriate response to violence by the examples everywhere to be found in U.S. public policy, history, entertainment, and language.
Remember when coups and assassinations were secretive, when presidents were obliged to go to Congress and tell lies and ask permission for wars, when torture, spying, and lawless imprisonment were illicit, when re-writing laws with signing statements and shutting down legal cases by yelling “state secrets!” was abusive, and when the idea of a president going through a list of men, women, and children on Tuesdays to pick whom to have murdered would have been deemed an outrage?
According to news reports, there are areas of Syria where people are literally starving to death, and where the United Nations is attempting to drop food from the air but missing its target so wildly that the food is damaged or simply cannot be found.
The deadly US airstrike on an Afghan hospital has been downplayed by Washington as a “tragic mistake” committed in the “fog of war”. But recently disclosed documents on the secret policy of drone assassinations by the Pentagon reveals a cold-blooded calculus to “kill all” within a designated strike zone, even resulting in 90 per cent “collateral damage” of “unintended targets”.
Democracynow.org – One of the most secretive military campaigns in U.S. history is under the microscope like never before. In a major exposé based on leaked government documents, The Intercept has published the most in-depth look at the U.S. drone assassination program to date. “The Drone Papers” exposes the inner workings of the U.S. military’s assassination program in Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia, revealing a number of flaws and far more casualties than the intended targets. The documents were leaked to The Intercept by an unnamed U.S. intelligence source who says he wanted to alert Americans to wrongdoing. We are joined by The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill, lead author of “The Drone Papers” exposé.
Chris Woods’ excellent new book is called Sudden Justice: America’s Secret Drone Wars. The title comes from a claim that then-President George W. Bush made for drone wars. The book actually tells a story of gradual injustice. The path from a U.S. government that condemned as criminal the type of murder that drones are used for to one that treats such killings as perfectly legal and routine has been a very gradual and completely extra-legal process.