War State America

American Injustice: Innocent Man Restores Autobiographical Account Of Being Held & Tortured For 14 Years In Guantanamo

  On The Media (11/3/17) When Mohamedou Ould Slahi was released from Guantanamo Bay in 2016, after 14 years behind bars, he was finally able to read Guantanamo Diary, the bestselling book he had written while imprisoned. And for the first time, he saw the thousands of black bars the FBI had placed over much of his account of capture, torture, and interrogation. This year, Slahi and his original editor, writer and activist Larry Siems, set to work unredacting his work. Bob speaks with Siems about their efforts to finally release the full Guantanamo Diary.  Link to Story and 8-Minute Audio ***** Resilience in Guantanamo: More Honorable Than The Govt. That…

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50 Years Of Ongoing Atrocities & Impunity: The Hidden US War In Colombia You Never Hear Of

  Approximately 40 mass killers and torturers spirited out of Columbia by CIA and given refuge in United States. One was known as the “Drill” for his penchant for molesting girls as young as 9 years old. Empire Files (10/4/17) Colombia and Venezuela: two neighboring countries that receive extremely different treatment by the US Empire and the mass media. While Colombia is known for one of the worst human rights records in the world, it remains a top recipient of US military aid and enjoys uncritical press coverage in Western media. To explain the 50+ year history of US intervention…


More US Caused War & Misery: War Dept. Is Conducting Secret Missions All Over Africa

Pentagon photo. By Nick Turse Vice News (10/24/17) U.S. troops are now conducting 3,500 exercises, programs, and engagements per year, an average of nearly 10 missions per day, on the African continent, according to the U.S. military’s top commander for Africa, General Thomas Waldhauser. The latest numbers, which the Pentagon confirmed to VICE News, represent a dramatic increase in U.S. military activity throughout Africa in the past decade, and the latest signal of America’s deepening and complicated ties on the continent. With the White House and the Pentagon facing questions about an Oct. 4 ambush in Niger in which four…


The Empire Comes Home: The Militarization Of American Cities Leads To Shredding Of Rights

  By Danny Sjursen TomDispach (10/12/17) “This… thing, [the War on Drugs] this ain’t police work… I mean, you call something a war and pretty soon everybody gonna be running around acting like warriors… running around on a damn crusade, storming corners, slapping on cuffs, racking up body counts… pretty soon, damn near everybody on every corner is your f**king enemy. And soon the neighborhood that you’re supposed to be policing, that’s just occupied territory.” — Major “Bunny” Colvin, season three of HBO’s The Wire I can remember both so well. 2006: my first raid in South Baghdad. 2014: watching on YouTube…


The Growing Domestic Terror Of Federal Anti-Terrorism Programs

  Guess Why: The Airport Bomber Arrested Last Week That You Never Heard About In The Mass Media By Shaun King The Intercept (10/11/12) It’s strange how some things really catch on and go viral and others don’t. These days, nothing quite makes a story blow up — no pun intended — like the president’s fixation with it. That’s why it’s so peculiar that what sure looks like an attempted terrorist attack was narrowly thwarted at an American airport this past Friday without so much as a peep from Donald Trump about it. No tweets. No nicknames for the alleged…


In Our Name: Inside The CIA’s Black Site Torture Chambers

  By Larry Siems The Guardian There were 20 cells inside the prison, each a stand-alone concrete box. In 16, prisoners were shackled to a metal ring in the wall. In four, designed for sleep deprivation, they stood chained by the wrists to an overhead bar. Those in the regular cells had a plastic bucket; those in sleep deprivation wore diapers. When diapers weren’t available, guards crafted substitutes with duct tape, or prisoners were chained naked in their cells. The cellblock was unheated, pitch black day and night, with music blaring around the clock. “The atmosphere was very good,” John…


How We Learned Not To Care: Sixteen Years Of Autopilot Wars, But Who The Hell Is Counting?

  By Andrew Bacevich TomDispatch (10/5/17) Consider, if you will, these two indisputable facts.  First, the United States is today more or less permanently engaged in hostilities in not one faraway place, but at least seven.  Second, the vast majority of the American people could not care less. Nor can it be said that we don’t care because we don’t know.  True, government authorities withhold certain aspects of ongoing military operations or release only details that they find convenient.  Yet information describing what U.S. forces are doing (and where) is readily available, even if buried in recent months by barrages of…


The Man Who Knew Too Much: Heroic Whistleblower Thomas Drake Has Some Blunt News For Americans

“I shiver with the conversations I have had with people from the 1930’s. They talk about the siren call of authority and order … everything seemed normal…” Real News Network (8/7/15) On Reality Asserts Itself, Mr. Drake says that in the name of national security we are eating out the very heart of democracy; what will be left will be a garrison state. Thomas Andrews Drake (born 1957) is a former senior official of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), decorated United States Air Force and United States Navy veteran, computer software expert, linguist, management and leadership specialist, and whistleblower. In…


There Are Many Kinds Of American Violence – Gun Violence Is But A Symptom

    By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (10/8/17) A week out from the Las Vegas massacre and the post mass shooting ritual is well underway. Flags are once again flapping limply at half-mast. Sidewalk memorials have sprung up with the requisite teddy bears, heart-shaped balloons, flickering candles and heartfelt messages on cards and posters. Bouquets of flowers pile up on sidewalks and decorated white crosses dot the cityscape. Politicians, who could actually do something to trim and manage the domestic arsenal a bit, mouth their cynically empty and oh-so-tiring “thoughts and prayers” rap and will in the next week…


Guns & Dirty Money – Why We’ll Do Absolutely Nothing New After The Las Vegas Shooting

  By Steven Singer Gadflyonthewall.wordpress.com / Common Dreams (10/2/17) Wake up, America. We are not the land of the brave or the home of the free. We are the land of the gun and the home of the free market. Stephen Paddock’s killing spree last night in Las Vegas will not change anything – except the bottom line for numerous gun manufacturers. Ca-ching, people! Scores of American companies are going to clean up over this! That’s what happens every time we get a high profile mass shooting. Not new gun regulation. Not additional services for the mentally ill. Not stricter guidelines against fake news…


Burned: Choosing Quagmire – The Essential Context Of Understanding Vietnam

  By Robert Freeman Common Dreams (9/24/17) Since the day it ended, in 1975, there have been efforts to rehabilitate the Vietnam War, to make it acceptable, even honorable. After all, there were so many sides to the story, weren’t there? It was so complex, so nuancical. There was real heroism among the troops. Of course, all of this is true, but it’s true of every war so it doesn’t redeem any war. The Vietnam War is beyond redemption and must be remembered and condemned for the calamity that it was. The Vietnam War was “one of the greatest American…


Media Outlets That Scolded Sanders Over Deficits Uniformly Silent On Massive $700B War Dept. Handout

  (Editor’s Note: Now keep in mind, when black ops, intel and veterans services are added, the US is burning over a $1 trillion a year for the War Department. – Mark L. Taylor) By Adam Johnson Fairness & Accuracy in Media (9/21/17) Where did all the concern over deficits go? After two years of the media lamenting, worrying and feigning outrage over the cost of Bernie Sanders’ two big-budget items—free college and single-payer healthcare—the same outlets are uniformly silent, days after the largest military budget increase in history. Monday, the Senate voted to increase military spending by a whopping $81 billion, from $619 billion to $700…


A ‘Commoner’ Writes: Why Are We Being Obedient To The Man In The White Coat?

  In the 1960’s Yale University psychology Professor Stanley Milgram studied obedience. In the aftermath of the Nazi regime in which millions of Germans participated in horrible acts the issue of obedience was of special interest and concern. Milgrim wanted to answer the question: “Could it be that [Adolph] Eichmann and his million accomplices in the Holocaust were just following orders? Could we call them all accomplices?” An experiment was created where a volunteer labeled a ‘teacher’ shocked a ‘student’ if the student answered a question incorrectly. A man in a white coat over saw the experiment and guided the ‘teacher’…


Mark Shields: When The Chickenhawks Flock They Are Clucking About Only Putting Your Kid At Risk

  “It is just a helluva a lot easier to talk tough when it isn’t your son, or your daughter who’s in harms way.”   By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (8/3/17) In doing some other research I stumbled across a few comments by PBS commentator Mark Shields during a conversation with David Brooks of the New York Times and moderator Jeff Greenfield during the midst of the 2016 campaign that are worth noting. Shields is one of the old lions of the media and his comments at the very tail end of the broadcast are well worth considering…


What Went Wrong With The F-35, Lockheed Martin’s Joint Strike Fighter?

Problem plagued F-35 boondoggle. (Defense Dept. photo.) By Michael P. Hughes The Conversation (6/13/17) The F-35 was billed as a fighter jet that could do almost everything the U.S. military desired, serving the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy – and even Britain’s Royal Air Force and Royal Navy – all in one aircraft design. It’s supposed to replace and improve upon several current – and aging – aircraft types with widely different missions. It’s marketed as a cost-effective, powerful multi-role fighter airplane significantly better than anything potential adversaries could build in the next two decades. But it’s turned out to be none of those…


Fighting The Wrong Enemy: How Americans Are Being Manipulated To Hate Their Muslim Neighbors

By Ramzy Baroud Middle East Monitor (7/11/17) Two officers sought me from within a crowd at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. They seemed to know who I was. They asked me to follow them, and I obliged. Being of Arab background, often renders one’s citizenship almost irrelevant. In a back room, where other foreigners, mainly Muslims, were holed for ‘added security’, I was asked numerous questions about my politics, ideas, writing, children, friends and my late Palestinian parents. Meanwhile, an officer took my bag and all of my papers, including receipts, business cards, and more. I did not protest. I am…



Back At It Again: U.S. Tied To Torture In Network Of Secret Yemen Prisons

  Democracy Now! (6/22/17) Human Rights Watch and the Associated Press have just published explosive new reports on a secret network of prisons in southern Yemen run by the United Arab Emirates and Yemeni forces. Dozens of people, including children, have been “arbitrarily detained, forcibly disappeared, tortured, and abused” in these prisons, according to Human Rights Watch. American forces reportedly participated in interrogations of detainees who were abused, a potential violation of international law. For more, we speak to Kristine Beckerle of Human Rights Watch. GUESTS: Kristine Beckerle Yemen and UAE researcher for Human Rights Watch. Link to Story and 10-Minute Video *****…


Crime Against Humanity: Border Patrol Launches Military-Style Raid On Camp Delivering Medical Aid To Refugees Near US/Mexico Border

By Paul Gottinger Reader Supported News (6/16/17) On Thursday evening, 30 armed US Border Patrol agents, 15 trucks, 2 ATVs, and a helicopter were used to raid a humanitarian aid facility delivering medical treatment to refugees a few miles north of the Mexican border. Border Patrol operations ended in the arrest of four people receiving medical attention in temperatures that soared to 105° Fahrenheit. The camp, which is run by the Unitarian Universalist organization No More Deaths, stated that the raid was “an unprecedented show of force” and follows a pattern of increased surveillance of their humanitarian aid work since…


America’s Reign Of Terror: A Nation Reaps What It Sows

  By John W. Whitehead Rutherford Institute (5/16/17) “The means of defense against foreign danger have been always the instruments of tyranny at home.” ― James Madison Who designed the malware worm that is now wreaking havoc on tens of thousands of computers internationally by hackers demanding a king’s ransom? The U.S. government. Who is the biggest black market buyer and stockpiler of cyberweapons (weaponized malware that can be used to hack into computer systems, spy on citizens, and destabilize vast computer networks)? The U.S. government. What country has one the deadliest arsenals of weapons of mass destruction? The U.S….


VIDEO: How Best To Understand – And Resist – Trump’s Shock Doctrine

  By Naomi Klein The Intercept (6/13/17) Shock. It’s a word that has come up a lot since November— for obvious reasons. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about shock. Ten years ago, I published “The Shock Doctrine,” an investigation that spanned four decades from Pinochet’s U.S.-backed coup in 1970s Chile to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. I noticed a brutal and recurring tactic by right wing governments. After a shocking event – a war, coup, terrorist attack, market crash or natural disaster – exploit the public’s disorientation. Suspend democracy.  Push through radical “free market” policies that enrich the 1…


A Must-Read: Naomi Klein Lays Out Why Things Are So Chaotic & What We Must Do To Counter Trump’s Shock Doctrine

  By Naomi Klein Guardian UK (6/10/17) Shock. It’s a word that has come up again and again since Donald Trump was elected in November 2016 – to describe the poll-defying election results, to describe the emotional state of many people watching his ascent to power, and to describe his blitzkrieg approach to policymaking. A “shock to the system” is precisely how his adviser Kellyanne Conway has repeatedly described the new era. For almost two decades now, I’ve been studying large-scale shocks to societies: how they happen, how they are exploited by politicians and corporations, and how they are even…


Patriotic Whistleblowers Like Reality Winner Play Critical Role In Keeping Govt. Accountable

    By Jesselyn Radack ExposeFacts.org (6/9/17) Reality Winner, the 25-year-old Air Force veteran and NSA contractor charged with mailing classified material to a news outlet, is a classic whistleblower. She hasn’t claimed that mantle, which is understandable given America’s love-hate relationship with whistleblowers. They are alternately celebrated and denounced, depending on who has the microphone and who has the power. A whistleblower is a current or former employee who reveals what she reasonably believes evidences fraud, waste, abuse, illegality, or a danger to public health and safety. The individual can disclose their concerns to their superiors, Congress, an interest…


Orwell On The Politics Of Language

“Defenceless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements.” – George Orwell, Politics and the English Language”, 1945   (Commoner Call cartoon by Mark…


Trump Moving To Finalize Bipartisan Effort To Bury America’s Torture History

American torture victim and symbol of modern America. By Andrea Germanos Common Dreams (6/2/17) The Trump administration is moving to keep the lengthy Senate report on the CIA’s torture and detention program forever from the public eye, the New York Times first reported Friday. That’s because the administration is returning to Congress copies of the over 6,000-page document, following through on requests made by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the Senate Intelligence Committee’s current chairman. Laws requiring government records to eventually be made public don’t apply to congressional documents. The Times, citing multiple congressional officials, writes that the “CIA, the office of…


Bringing The Wars Home: Pipeline Company Hired Military Contractors To Suppress Native Uprising

By Lauren McCauley Common Dreams (5/27/17) The years-long, Indigenous-led fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) briefly captured the nation’s attention last fall as images of peaceful resisters being sprayed with water canons and surrounded by police in tanks and other military-grade equipment were spread widely, fueling global outrage and a fierce protest movement against the oil pipeline. Now that the pipeline is operational and already leaking, internal documents obtained by The Intercept and reported on Saturday reveal the deep collusion between local police forces, the pipeline company, and defense contractors as they executed “military-style counterterrorism measures” to suppress the…


Memorial Day Thought – In A Militarized State The First Thing To Be Conquered Is The Language

“Traditional slang terms for a soldier – GI, dogface, ground-pounder, grunt – used to be humorous and mildly self-deprecating designations connoting a citizen who happened to be uniform performing an onerous task. Now the preferred term is “warrior,” a term not often heard before in American history in reference to our soldiers. In tribal societies warriors as members of a caste, like priests and aristocrats, and the term does not seem fitting in a constitutional republic. I am still unsure whether “warrior” is a popular coinage that emerged on its own or whether Pentagon public relations operatives inserted it into…


See How The War Department Is Viewing The Wars Of The Future (Both Abroad & At Home)

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/29/17) While the legislative, executive and judicial branches of the government are mired in the paralysis of corporate corruption and empty rhetoric, the Pentagon – the seat of power of the never ending US War Department – is moving steadily ahead, actively planning for the wars of the future – which it describes in a bluntly stunning training film – that will be fought in sprawling megacities wracked with inequality, religious and ethnic conflict, effects of climate change, resource shortages and spreading despair. The Intercept has published the War Department video detailing what…


Powerful Interview: Author Tom Ricks Brings The Lessons Of Churchill & Orwell Onto Today’s Stage

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/25/17) Former Washington Post Pentagon reporter Tom Ricks has been a long and careful observer of the American military machine. In the course of that work he has covered the four generals – James Mattis, secretary of defense; John Kelly, secretary of Homeland Security, H.R. McMaster, national security adviser and Michael Flynn, the national security adviser – who have been at the heart of much of the drama and scandal of the bumbling Trump administration. He has interviewed all four and, in fact was in a conference with several other journalists in Michael…


American Blood Lust On The Boil

  By Dennis Brault The Commoner Call America’s blood lust is boiling. If Trump keeps dropping big bombs and holding press conferences showing his tough authoritarian side, his favorability ratings will top 50% within the next few weeks. Ask yourself if their propaganda is working? Do you believe Assad gassed innocent civilians? If you do, based on what evidence? Do you believe that Trump now loves NATO and dislikes Putin? Again, based on what evidence? Is all this bombing and tough war talk just another distraction from the fact that we have no evidence that Assad gassed people? A distraction from…


Really Now, Who Among Us Has Not Misplaced An Aircraft Carrier?

By Charles Pierce Esquire (4/19/17) The newest scene in our national tragicomedy. OK, somebody needs to explain how these things happen. From the NYT: “The problem was, the carrier, the Carl Vinson, and the four other warships in its strike force were at that very moment sailing in the opposite direction, to take part in joint exercises with the Australian Navy in the Indian Ocean, 3,500 miles southwest of the Korean Peninsula. White House officials said on Tuesday they were relying on guidance from the Defense Department. Officials there described a glitch-ridden sequence of events, from a premature announcement of…


Speaking Of War Criminals: While Syria May Well Have Used Poison Gas, Banned US Cluster Bombs Murder & Maim Children In Yemen

TheCommonerCall.org In Your Name And On Your Dime Brasscheck TV (4/11/17) Apparently, chaos in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria is not enough. The US is arming Saudi Arabia which is attacking civilian areas…with cluster bombs. A weapon so heinous it’s banned by 116 countries. Here are the countries that still use cluster bombs and will not sign the international treaty to ban them: North Korea Israel Russia Iran China Saudi Arabia The United States Why is our country on a list of scumbag governments like this? Link to 2+-Minute Video


Chris Hedges: Ripping The Lid Off Pandora’s Box Of War

“Where is the outrage about the deaths of the thousands of other children, including those we killed recently in Mosul when a March 17 coalition airstrike took the lives of as many as 200 civilians? …Why do we lament these deaths yet bar Syrian war refugees from entering the United States?” By Chris Hedges Truthdig (4/7/17) War opens a Pandora’s box of evils that once unleashed are beyond anyone’s control. The invasion of Afghanistan set out to defeat al-Qaida, and nearly 16 years later, we are embroiled in a losing fight with the Taliban. We believed we could invade Iraq…


Trump Owns Stock In The Company That Makes The Tomahawk Missiles He Launched At Syria

  By Bill Palmer The Palmer Report (4/6/17) Donald Trump’s financial entanglements have been the focus of consistent controversy since he took office. He claimed he was putting his assets in a “blind trust” which was later revealed not to be one (source: Chicago Tribune). He’s also been accused of using his office to enrich his hotels. But we’ve now reached the phase where Trump has ordered military action which has given direct financial benefit to a company that he owns stock in. It appears the Tomahawks were not the ideal choice of weaponry for the Syria attack. Last night…


New Questions As War Profiteering ‘Christian’ Mercenary Erik Prince Re-emerges In Trump/Russia Storyline

  By Lauren McCauley Common Dreams (4/4/17) The scandal surrounding President Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia thickened a bit Monday after the Washington Post reported that “notorious mercenary” Erik Prince took part in a clandestine meeting with a confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin “as part of an apparent effort to establish a back-channel line of communication” between Moscow and the White House. U.S., European, and Arab officials confirmed to the Post that the United Arab Emirates brokered the January 11 tête-à-tête between the unidentified Russian and Prince, brother of Trump’s Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos who founded the…


Now More Than Ever: The Lessons Of George Orwell’s ‘1984’

  Empire Files (2/1/17) Their are very few literary masterpieces that can transcend generations. There are even fewer that serve as a blueprint for the future. One of those books is 1984, one of the most prolific novels of our time. The author was born Eric Arthur Blair, but was probably most know by his pen name, George Orwell. George Orwell was one of the greatest visionaries of the twentieth century who identified himself as a democratic socialist. Under the Soviet Union he was forced to flee under communism suppression of socialist dissidents. War is Peace Slavery is Freedom Ignorance…


Orwell’s Newspeak: Control The Language, Control The Society

“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thought-crime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will be expressed by eactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten. . . . The process will still be continuing long after you and I are dead. “Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller. Even now, of course, there’s…


The Multibillion-Dollar US Spy Agency You’ve Never Heard Of

  By James Bamford Foreign Policy (3/20/17) n a heavily protected military base some 15 miles south of Washington, D.C., sits the massive headquarters of a spy agency few know exists. Even Barack Obama, five months into his presidency, seemed not to have recognized its name. While shaking hands at a Five Guys hamburger restaurant in Washington in May 2009, he asked a customer seated at a table about his job. “What do you [do]?” the president inquired. “I work at NGA, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency,” the man answered. Obama appeared dumbfounded. “So, explain to me exactly what this National Geospatial…”…


CARTOON – Fascism Will Be On Our Doorstep In One Year If We Don’t Act Immediately!

  By Steven Rosenfeld AlterNet (3/7/17) How close is President Donald Trump to following the path blazed by last century’s tyrants? Could American democracy be replaced with totalitarian rule? There’s enough resemblance that Yale historian Timothy Snyder, who studies fascist and communist regime change and totalitarian rule, has written a book warning about the threat and offering lessons for resistance and survival. The author of On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century talked to AlterNet’s Steven Rosenfeld. Steven Rosenfeld: Three weeks ago, you said that the country has perhaps a year ‘to defend American democracy.’ You said what happens in the…


Oblivious: George Bush Paints The Veterans Whose Lives He Needlessly Shattered

  By Abbey Zimet Common Dreams (3/7/17) In what feels like a surreal stab at redemption, George Bush is back and being feted for his newest, guileless, bloodstained and evidently entirely unironic painting project: A book and exhibit of his Forrest-Gumpish portraits of 98 men and women blown apart, broken down, rendered limbless and otherwise shattered by his immoral, inept wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The newly released Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors  consists of 66 single images  and a group mural of physically and/or mentally wounded veterans from all the Armed Forces. Each…