Category Archives: Warfare

Quote of the day Ted Cruz in a nutshell [Nut’s hell?]


From journalist and author Gary Leech, writing for Counterpunch:

Perhaps nothing captures the imperialist arrogance of Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz more succinctly than his campaign’s statement declaring, “What is best for America is best for the world.” In addition to the obvious fact that billions of people around the world might disagree with Cruz on this point is the fact that it is not at all clear that the Republican presidential candidate’s proposed policies are even best for most Americans. But given his victory this past week in the Iowa caucus, Cruz’s ultra-conservative views can no longer be ignored while mainstream and progressive pundits busy themselves dissecting the bombastic rhetoric of the far less scary Donald Trump.

In contrast to most candidates that run for president, Ted Cruz has a clear vision for the future of the country. The problem for many Americans is that it is a terrifying vision. It is a vision that is imperialist, racist, sexist, classist and homophobic. For instance, Cruz proposes building a giant wall across the US-Mexico border in addition to using high-tech measures to keep out “illegal” immigrants while allowing corporate labor needs to dictate the flow of “legal” immigrants into the country. In addition to strengthening the military to ensure US hegemony around the globe, he also vows to boost US military support for Israel and to withhold funding from the United Nations if it “continues its anti-Israel bias.”

On the domestic front, Cruz is calling for a flat tax that will benefit the rich and gut government social spending. He has also vowed to curtail women’s rights by stating that he will order the attorney general to investigate Planned Parenthood on his first day as president. And he opposes same-sex marriage, declaring that “marriage is a sacrament between one man and one woman.” Finally, Cruz would not only fail to address climate change, which he views as a hoax, he would promote expanded oil and gas production. Given that these policy proposals make Cruz one of the most conservative presidential contenders in decades, it would behoove us to take a closer at them.

Quote of the day II: Profitable torturing for the CIA


From Tamsin Shaw, Associate Professor of European and Mediterranean Studies and Philosophy at NYU, writing in the New York Review of Books on the role of professional psychologists in the Central Intelligence Agency’s war on terror torture program:

The Senate report also tells us that the CIA misrepresented the results of the program to policymakers and the Department of Justice, maintaining that it was obtaining “a high volume of critical intelligence.” In the case of two prisoners tortured by [CIA torture program co-architect James] Mitchell—Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed—the CIA attributed to them the statement that “the general US population was ‘weak’, lacked resilience, and would be unable to ‘do what was necessary’ to prevent the terrorists from succeeding in their goals.’” But the Senate report tells us: “There are no CIA operational or interrogation records to support the representation that KSM or Abu Zubaydah made these statements.”

In spite of the clear lack of effectiveness of their “enhanced interrogation techniques,” [torture program co-architect/psychologist Bruce] Jessen and Mitchell continued to apply them and were eventually paid $81 million for doing so. When the involvement of psychologists in interrogations in Guantánamo Bay and Iraq came to light in a New York Times article in late 2004, the APA assembled a task force to look into it and issue ethical guidelines. In discussing their report, one board member, Diane Halpern, insisted they included a statement asserting that torture was ineffective. The task force did not pursue the question of effectiveness and did not include a statement on it.

When the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence published its extensive report on official torture in December 2014, Jonathan Haidt tweeted a link to an article by Matt Motyl, his former Ph.D. student, claiming that the report would not change anyone’s views on the morality or effectiveness of torture, owing to the phenomenon of cognitive bias, which distorts people’s assessment of the relevant evidence. Motyl warned that none of us should assume that our beliefs about torture are based on facts. Nevertheless, there are established facts. One of them is that psychologists secured enormous financial gains by collaborating in official torture, while also having clear evidence that it was ineffective.

The Empire Files: Bloodshed on the border


In the second part [first part here] of “The Empire’s Border,” her report on the bloody politics of the United States’ southern border, The Empire Files‘ Abby Martin examines the origins of that boundary line in bloody conflict, America’s first imperial war against another American nation state.

Her focus then shifts to the first border wall, erected after a fierce street battle in the border town of Nogales, Arizona/Juarez, Mexico 98 years ago.

Adding immensely to the border tensions was the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement [and do watch Hillary’s spouse preaching its virtues on signing the treaty into law].

Then came 9/11, and the subsequent paranoia-enabled national security spending binge, in which fears of boundary leakage proved centers of immense profits and bureaucratic binging. . .

Increased deaths became inevitable, especially given a media fueled campaign of paranoia direction against brown-skinned people.

Well, we’ll leave the rest for you.

From teleSUR English:

The Empire Files: The Empire’s Border Part II – A Hidden War

Program notes:

In the second installment of this two-part episode, Abby Martin continues her investigation of the hidden war on the U.S.-Mexico border, looking at the root causes of the epidemic of migrant deaths. The Empire Files documents an inflated, paramilitary Border Patrol, the devastating impacts of NAFTA, how the U.S. Empire benefits from immigrant labor and what can change the equation.

Featuring interviews with Todd Miller, author of ‘Border Patrol Nation’, and Araceli Rodriguez, mother of Jose Antonio, a 16-year-old boy murdered by Border Patrol.

Child abuse history common in Canada’s military


A fascinating new study from the University of Manitoba reveals that nearly half of Canada’s soldiers have been exposed to child abuse, as significantly higher percentage than for the general population.

Given that Canada’s military, like that of the U.S., is composed of volunteers rather than conscripts, and membership is self-selected, we cannot but wonder what the comparable numbers might be for America’s soldiers.

One risk clearly established by the research was an elevated suicide rate, but we can’t help but wonder about possible ramifications in the conduct of soldiers in the field.

From the University of Manitoba newsroom:

Almost half of all military personnel in Canada have a history of child abuse exposure, UM study finds

According to a study publi$hed in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, military personnel in Canada are more likely to have had exposure to child abuse than individuals in the general Canadian population. Furthermore, the study found that such exposure to child abuse was associated with an increased risk of suicidal behaviour. The risk had a stronger effect on the general population than military personnel, and the effect of exposure to child abuse was stronger than the effect of actual deployment-related trauma.

Tracie O. Afifi is associate professor in the departments of community health sciences and psychiatry at the University of Manitoba. She and her coauthors examined the association between child abuse exposure and suicidal behaviour (ideation, planning and attempts) among representative groups of military personnel and the general population in Canada. The authors analyzed data from 24,142 respondents (ages 18 to 60) in two nationally representative data sets. The study found that child abuse exposure was higher in the regular forces (47.7 percent) and reserve forces (49.4 percent) compared with the Canadian general population (33.1 percent).

Child abuse exposures were associated with increased odds of suicidal ideation, suicidal plans and suicide attempts in the general population and in the Canadian Armed Forces, although the study found that many of the associations were weaker in military personnel compared with civilians.

Afifi notes: “Suicide is an important public health problem among both military and civilian populations. The ability to accurately anticipate who will think about, plan, and attempt suicide is a difficult task.”

Deployment-related trauma was associated with past-year suicidal ideation and plans but by comparison, child abuse exposure was more strongly and consistently associated with suicide-related behaviors.

Afifi says she does not know why the research found that almost half of all military personnel in Canada have a history of child abuse exposure.

“But escaping from child abuse exposure at home or otherwise improving life circumstances with career and education opportunities available through the military may be the cause,” she suggests.

There’s more, after the jump. . . Continue reading

Chomsky on Bernie: New Dealer, not a socialist


From Al Jazeera English, Chomsky makes a point we’ve been making, then looks at the rest of the candidates and some New Atheist idiocy:

UpFront – Noam Chomsky on Clinton vs Sanders

Program notes:

Renowned political theorist Noam Chomsky is often cited for his criticism of the US political system.

In the second of a special two-part interview, Chomsky sits down with Mehdi Hasan to discuss the US presidential election and the rise of Islamophobia.

The US academic says Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has the “best policies”, but little chance of winning in a “mainly bought” election.

When asked if he would vote for presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton if he lived in a swing state, Chomsky says: “Oh absolutely… my vote would be against the Republican candidate.”

Headline of the day II: expanding waste problem


More nuclear weapons fallout from trom the Los Angeles Times:

Review finds more than 500 problems in plant meant to treat Hanford nuclear waste

The government also told San Francisco-based Bechtel to comply with 10 major recommendations from the study, including some that would require design changes to the partially built plant in central Washington.

Headline of the day: Hacking away in the skies


From the Guardian [with more details at The Intercept, including some of the hacked images]:

Snowden files reveal US and UK spied on feeds from Israeli drones and jets

Feeds including from cockpit cameras reportedly hacked using freely available software under programme run from GCHQ