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Posted: Jun 4, 2023 - 10:22am

How weapons firms influence the Ukraine debate 
‘Experts’ from defense industry funded think tanks are flooding the media, pushing for more arms without disclosing their benefactors.
“To be brutal about it, we need to see masses of Russians fleeing, deserting, shooting their officers, taken captive, or dead. The Russian defeat must be an unmistakably big, bloody shambles. …To that end, with the utmost urgency, the West should give everything that Ukraine could possibly use,” argues Eliot Cohen in The Atlantic.

What neither Cohen, who also famously pushed for the U.S. invasion of Iraq, nor The Atlantic acknowledge in the article is that most of the weapons Cohen mentions in the article — including long-range missiles, F-16s, and even F-35s — are made by funders of Cohen’s employer, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

While this might seem like a glaring conflict of interest that, at the very least, should be disclosed in the article, a new Quincy Institute brief that I authored, “Defense Contractor Funded Think Tanks Dominate Ukraine Debate,” shows that this article isn’t an exception; it’s the norm. America’s top foreign policy think tanks are awash in funding from the defense industry. They’ve dominated the media market related to the Ukraine war, and they seldom, if ever, disclose that many of the weapons they’re recommending the U.S. give to Ukraine are made by their funders.

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Posted: May 31, 2023 - 4:49pm

The Wars We Don’t (Care to) See
Aggression Made Easy

(...) The attitude of the corporate media, Congress, and the White House has traditionally been and continues to be that the U.S. stance in the world can be: do as we say, not as we do. So, the USA is good at pointing fingers at Russia or countries that invade some other nation, but when the U.S. does it, it’s another thing entirely. Such dynamics, while pernicious, especially among a nuclear-armed set of nations, are reflexes people in power have had for a long time.

More than a century ago, William Dean Howells wrote a short story called “Editha.” Keep in mind that this was after the United States had been slaughtering hundreds of thousands of people in the Philippines. In it, a character says, “What a thing it is to have a country that can’t be wrong, but if it is, is right, anyway!”

Now, here we are in 2023 and it’s not that different, except when it comes to the scale of communications, of a media that’s so much more pervasive. If you read the op-ed pages and editorial sections of the New York Times, Washington Post, and other outlets of the liberal media, you’ll find such doublethink well in place. Vladimir Putin, of course, is a war criminal. Well, I happen to think he is a war criminal. I also happen to think that George W. Bush is a war criminal, and we could go on to all too many other examples of high U.S. government officials where that description applies no less than to Vladimir Putin.

Can you find a single major newspaper that’s been willing to editorialize that George W. Bush — having ordered the invasion of Iraq, costing hundreds of thousands of lives based on a set of lies — was a war criminal? It just ain’t gonna happen. In fact, one of the things I was particularly pleased (in a grim sort of way) to explore in my book was the rehabilitation of that war criminal, providing a paradigm for the presidents who followed him and letting them off the hook, too.

I quote, for instance, President Obama speaking to troops in Afghanistan. You could take one sentence after another from his speeches there and find almost identical ones that President Lyndon Johnson used in speaking to American troops in Vietnam in 1966. They both talked about how U.S. soldiers were so compassionate, cared so much about human life, and were trying to help the suffering people of Vietnam or Afghanistan. That pernicious theme seems to accompany almost any U.S. war: that, with the best of intentions, the U.S. is seeking to help those in other countries. It’s a way of making the victims at the other end of U.S. firepower — to use a word from my book title — invisible.

This is something I was able to do some thinking and writing about in my book. There are two tiers of grief in our media and our politics from Congress to the White House — ours and theirs. Our grief (including that of honorary semi-Americans like the Ukrainians) is focused on those who are killed by official enemy governments of the United States. That’s the real tier of grief and so when the media covers, as it should, the suffering of people in Ukraine thanks to Russia’s war of aggression, their suffering is made as real as can be. And yet, when it’s the U.S. slaughtering people in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere, that’s something else entirely. When it comes to the people at the other end of U.S. weaponry, the civilians, hundreds of thousands of them directly slaughtered, and millions indirectly killed by U.S. warfare, their tier of grief isn’t, with rare exceptions, on the media map. Those human beings just don’t matter.

Here in the USA, people find this unpleasant to hear or even think about. (...)


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Posted: May 30, 2023 - 1:25pm


westslope

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Location: BC sage brush steppe


Posted: May 29, 2023 - 7:49pm

I certainly would not want to justify or provide an economic and strategic rationale for US military interventions and atrocities in Vietnam and neighbouring countries but for perspective, the majority of the carnage was committed by non-Americans.   On top of that, the USA had the cover of the Cold War meaning that the communist threat was, correctly or incorrectly, perceived as an existential threat. 

From wikipedia:   Killing Fields

The Killing Fields (Khmer: វាលពិឃាត, Khmer pronunciation: <ʋiəl pikʰiət>) are a number of sites in Cambodia where collectively more than one million people were killed and buried by the Khmer Rouge regime (the Communist Party of Kampuchea) during its rule of the country from 1975 to 1979, immediately after the end of the Cambodian Civil War (1970–1975). The mass killings were part of a broad state-sponsored genocide (the Cambodian genocide).

.......

The term genocide is usually misapplied when ethnic cleansing or extirpation would be far more accurate.   This might be one of those rare exceptions where the term 'genocide' truly does apply.  



R_P

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Posted: May 25, 2023 - 11:17am

Kissinger’s Killing Fields
Interviews with more than 75 witnesses and survivors of U.S. military attacks and an exclusive archive of documents show that Henry Kissinger is responsible for even more civilian deaths in Cambodia than was previously known.
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Posted: May 24, 2023 - 11:12am

The Demonization of Homeless People Is Killing Homeless People
Homeless people in the United States are far more likely to be victims of gruesome violence than to be perpetrators. Yet the widespread demonization of the homeless would lead you to believe the exact opposite.
To any normal human being, the whole incident was a sad and wretched microcosm of everything that’s gone wrong in modern American life: from the callous failures of political leadership and the rippling tragedies of endemic poverty, to the deep-seated need among lost young American men to find meaning in violent heroics.

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Posted: May 22, 2023 - 4:31pm

US Geopolitics: Believing Impossible Things
On the global stage, US can only barely keep up the pretense that it is not losing its mind.
R_P

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Posted: May 20, 2023 - 12:47pm

BELLINGCAT—Who Funds the Favorite Outlet of NBC & the CIA?
Plus: Media Pushes Pentagon Lies as Biden Drones More Innocents | SYSTEM UPDATE #85


westslope

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Location: BC sage brush steppe


Posted: May 19, 2023 - 4:23pm

 R_P wrote:
Nearly two years after the U.S. killed 10 members of an Afghan family, including seven children, in a drone strike that prompted a rare apology from the Pentagon, the U.S. government has yet to make good on a pledge to compensate surviving relatives.
Sorry, there are other countries that need "saving."

Yeah.  I love all the lose talk about getting the Russians to pay compensation or reparations for Ukraine....

You first Uncle Sam.   

R_P

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Posted: May 19, 2023 - 3:00pm

Nearly two years after the U.S. killed 10 members of an Afghan family, including seven children, in a drone strike that prompted a rare apology from the Pentagon, the U.S. government has yet to make good on a pledge to compensate surviving relatives.
Sorry, there are other countries that need "saving."
westslope

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Location: BC sage brush steppe


Posted: May 19, 2023 - 2:19pm

 R_P wrote:

Herding sheep while brown
Pentagon Admits It Doesn’t Know Who It Killed in Syria Drone Strike
CENTCOM initially claimed the strike killed a senior al-Qaeda leader, but locals said the man was an innocent farmer

...

False positive.  At one point, there were lots of those in Colombia.  

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Posted: May 19, 2023 - 11:01am

Herding sheep while brown
Pentagon Admits It Doesn’t Know Who It Killed in Syria Drone Strike
CENTCOM initially claimed the strike killed a senior al-Qaeda leader, but locals said the man was an innocent farmer
US military officials are walking back claims that a drone strike Central Command (CENTCOM) launched on May 3 in northwest Syria killed a senior al-Qaeda leader after evidence emerged that a civilian was killed.

When the strike was first launched in Syria’s northwest Idlib province, reports immediately emerged that the strike killed a sheep herder with no ties to any militant groups. The Associated Press spoke with family members and neighbors of the victim, Lotfi Hassan Misto, who insisted he was innocent.

According to The Washington Post, Misto was a 56-year-old father of 10, and the paper spoke with terrorism experts who said it was unlikely he was affiliated with al-Qaeda.

“We are no longer confident we killed a senior AQ official,” an unnamed military official told the Post. Another official claimed the person they killed was al-Qaeda but offered no evidence. “Though we believe the strike did not kill the original target, we believe the person to be al-Qaeda,” the official said.

CENTCOM’s initial press release on the strike did not name the person they killed. Since then, the command has refused to share any details of the operation or say why they could have targeted the wrong person.

The US military is notorious for undercounting civilian casualties or lying about them. The Pentagon is also known for investigating itself and finding no wrongdoing, even in instances of significant civilian deaths, such as the August 2021 Kabul drone strike that killed 10 civilians, including seven children.

Lazy8

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Location: The Gallatin Valley of Montana
Gender: Male


Posted: May 19, 2023 - 11:00am

 R_P wrote:

Yes, we must see things from the Russian perspective. We must be sympathetic to their fear of being surrounded by hostile countries.

But we absolutely must not see things from the perspectives of those countries—from the Polish, Baltic, Czech, German, Swedish, Finnish perspective. We must not examine why they are hostile to an aggressive imperialist neighbor who openly threatens to invade and re-subjugate them.

Because
they
don't
matter.
R_P

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Posted: May 16, 2023 - 11:56am


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Posted: May 15, 2023 - 9:20pm

Defund the World Police
Post-9/11 wars have contributed to some 4.5 million deaths, report suggests
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Posted: May 13, 2023 - 2:57pm

Frank Church, Deep State: The True Story of the Senator Who Took on the CIA and Its Corporate Clients
Jeremy Scahill speaks to James Risen and Thomas Risen about their new book, “The Last Honest Man.”

I’m sure many of you recall that earlier this year there was a showdown over the House Speakership of Rep. Kevin McCarthy.

Matt Gaetz: Because we do not trust Mr. McCarthy with power, because we know who he will use it for, and we are concerned it will not be for the American people. We trust Jim Jordan; I nominate him and I’m going to vote for him.

Those events highlighted one of the more impressive grifter trains that’s now docked in the U.S. capitol, the idea that you have this new generation of anti-imperialist lawmakers, many of whom just happen to be loyal to Donald Trump and his movement. While some members of the Freedom Caucus do consistently take on serious issues that should be confronted — including on war, civil liberties and the increasing power of tech companies — the newly launched select subcommittee to investigate the quote, “weaponization of the federal government,” it’s not being established to engage in the kind of rigorous investigation embodied by the House Committee on Assassinations, or by the Church Committee in 1975.

This new committee, it’s clear, is going to largely be a partisan lollapalooza of wacky theories and totally hypocritical attacks. What’s notable, however, is that by taking on issues that have long been associated with the political left in the United States, these Republicans, who have been banging the drums about the deep state, have unmasked just how much the established power within the current Democratic Party actually reveres the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, and the broader national security state. (...)


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Posted: May 12, 2023 - 1:55pm

Rhetoric vs. reality
Biden Is Selling Weapons to the Majority of the World’s Autocracies
Despite the White House’s rhetoric about supporting global democracy, the U.S. sold weapons in 2022 to 57 percent of the world’s authoritarian regimes.
R_P

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Posted: May 11, 2023 - 11:11am

0:00 John’s upcoming book, How States Think: The Rationality of Foreign Policy
2:51 Is the US to blame for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine?
10:00 Is Putin less rational than John assumes?
22:20 Why John is a Russia dove and a China hawk
29:50 Does China pose a threat to freedom around the world?
36:57 Why John thinks China’s rise threatens American security
47:58 Has globalization made great-power peace possible?
56:14 Should the US defend Taiwan against a Chinese invasion?

Taiwan Says Its Military Won’t Let the US Blow Up Semiconductor Factories
Bombing the TSMC factories to prevent them from being controlled by China is becoming an increasingly popular idea in Washington
Red_Dragon

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Location: Dumbf*ckistan


Posted: May 10, 2023 - 6:24pm

 R_P wrote:
Americans Shocked by Spectacle of Liars Not Getting Away with It
In Washington, the ominous possibility that lies have consequences has sent a chill down the corridors of power.




R_P

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Posted: May 10, 2023 - 6:19pm

Americans Shocked by Spectacle of Liars Not Getting Away with It
In Washington, the ominous possibility that lies have consequences has sent a chill down the corridors of power.
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