Tag Archives: Department of Defense

Patients Push Biden HHS to Act as Pharma Firm Charges $190K for Lifesaving Prostate Cancer Drug

“HHS can clearly insist on limiting the U.S. price of Xtandi to the median price for other large high-income countries,” said advocates, “particularly since the drug has already generated more than $10 billion in sales from Medicare alone based upon these unconscionable pricing disparities.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 11-20-2022 by Common Dreams

Screenshot: GlobalGiving

“Cancer does not wait, nor should cancer patients have to wait for years for their government to act.”

That’s the message patient advocates reiterated in a Friday letter asking the Biden administration to help them secure a lifesaving prostate cancer drug that costs nearly $190,000 per year despite its development being 100% taxpayer-funded.

Last year, prostate cancer patient Eric Sawyer petitioned U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra to grant march-in rights—under which the government can grant patent licenses to companies other than a drug’s manufacturer—for enzalutamide, which is sold under the brand name Xtandi. Continue reading

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Israel Refuses to Cooperate With US Probe Into Palestinian-American Journalist’s Killing

Israeli officials condemned the FBI investigation, while Shireen Abu Akleh’s family expressed hope that the probe will lead to accountability for those responsible.

By Julia Conley  Published 11-15-2022 by Common Dreams

Funeral of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh after her assassination in Palestine. Photo: alwatan_live/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The family of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh expressed hope Tuesday that the FBI’s newly announced investigation into her death will bring them “closer to justice,” as Israeli officials said they will not cooperate with the FBI and condemned the U.S. for opening a probe at all.

Israeli Foreign Minister Benny Gantz suggested the Biden administration should accept the “professional, independent investigation” already conducted by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), which concluded that the bullet that killed Abu Akleh in the occupied West Bank in May was too damaged to determine who had fired it. Continue reading

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Here’s how government documents are classified to keep sensitive information safe

Donald Trump is under federal investigation for mishandling classified documents.
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Jeffrey Fields, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Documents sought by the U.S. Justice Department from former President Donald Trump may contain material related to what The New York Times described as “some of the most highly classified programs run by the United States.” The Washington Post reported that “classified documents relating to nuclear weapons were among the items FBI agents sought” during a search of Trump’s Florida home on Aug. 8, 2022.

Classified information is the kind of material that the U.S. government or an agency deems sensitive enough to national security that access to it must be controlled and restricted. Continue reading

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Pentagon Contractors in Afghanistan Pocketed $108 Billion Over 20 Years

Military contracting “obscures where and how taxpayer money flows,” and “makes it difficult to know how many people are employed, injured, and killed,” said the Costs of War Project report’s author.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 8-9-2022 by Common Dreams

Contractors from the Bagram Air Field Retrosort Yard load a water tank onto a contracted transportation truck. (Photo: 1st Lt. Henry Chan, 18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion Public Affairs/U.S. Army)

Pentagon contractors operating in Afghanistan over the past two decades raked in nearly $108 billion—funds that “were distributed and spent with a significant lack of transparency,” according to a report published Tuesday.

“These contracts show the shadowy ‘camo economy’ at work in Afghanistan,” said report author Heidi Peltier, director of programs for the Costs of War Project at Brown Univesity’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. Continue reading

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Not One Single Republican Votes for Probe of Neo-Nazis in US Military and Police

Zero House Republicans supported a measure requiring the Pentagon and federal law enforcement agencies to publish a report on countering white supremacist and neo-Nazi activity in their ranks.

By Kenny Stancil  Published 7-14-2022 by Common Dreams

A participant in the 2021 storming of the United States capitol with Proud Boys and Three Percenter patches. Photo: Elvert Barnes/flickr/CC

Zero House Republicans on Wednesday supported a measure requiring the Pentagon and federal law enforcement agencies to publish a report on countering white supremacist and neo-Nazi activity in their ranks.

Rep. Brad Schneider’s (D-Ill.) amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2023 directing the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Defense “to publish a report that analyzes and sets out strategies to combat white supremacist and neo-Nazi activity in the uniformed services and federal law enforcement agencies” passed in a party-line 218-208 vote. Continue reading

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US Military Clears Itself of Blame in Syria Strike That Killed ‘Piles’ of Women and Children

“It’s the standard government line: Mistakes were made but there was no wrongdoing. But if the same mistakes were being made over and over again for years, shouldn’t someone have done something about it?”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 5-18-2022 by Common Dreams

Airstrike on Baghuz – March 2019. Photo: Voice of America {public domain}

No U.S. personnel will be held accountable for a March 2019 airstrike that killed scores of Syrian civilians including women and children, the Pentagon said Tuesday in announcing that an internal investigation into the massacre found that no laws of war were broken and that there was no cover-up of the incident as alleged in a New York Times exposé.

An executive summary of a classified investigation led by U.S. Army Gen. Michael Garrett stated that “no rules of engagement (ROE) or law of war (LOW) violations occurred” in connection with the March 18, 2019 strike near the Syrian town of Baghuz that, according to an initial battle assessment, killed around 70 people. Continue reading

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UN Chief Warns Humanity Is ‘Unacceptably Close to Nuclear Annihilation’

“Now is the time to lift the cloud of nuclear conflict for good,” United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said ahead of the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-26=2021

ICAN campaigners protest outside the permanent mission of Japan to the United Nations at Geneva, during the May session of the UN open-ended working group on nuclear disarmament in May 2016. Photo: ICAN/flickr/CC

In remarks ahead of the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons on Sunday, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned that humankind remains “unacceptably close to nuclear annihilation,” with roughly 14,000 atomic bombs stockpiled across the globe.

“Now is the time to lift the cloud of nuclear conflict for good, eliminate nuclear weapons from our world, and usher in a new era of trust and peace,” said Guterres, who observed in a statement last week that hundreds of nuclear bombs are just a “pushed button away from being launched.” Continue reading

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Feds are increasing use of facial recognition systems – despite calls for a moratorium

Government agencies are increasingly using facial recognition technology, including through security cameras like this one being installed on the Lincoln Memorial in 2019.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

James Hendler, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Despite growing opposition, the U.S. government is on track to increase its use of controversial facial recognition technology.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report on Aug. 24, 2021, detailing current and planned use of facial recognition technology by federal agencies. The GAO surveyed 24 departments and agencies – from the Department of Defense to the Small Business Administration – and found that 18 reported using the technology and 10 reported plans to expand their use of it. Continue reading

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Dozens of House Dems and Progressive Groups Push Biden to Curb Militarization of Police

“It is absurd that the Pentagon has so much funding they can send their ‘excess’ weaponry to police departments around the country. We need to demilitarize our police and defund the Pentagon now.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-7-2021

A SWAT vehicle, Fulton County Sheriff. Photo: Pinterest

Backed by more than 50 progressive advocacy groups, dozens of House Democrats are urging President Joe Biden to issue an executive order to prevent the transfer of military-grade weaponry from the Pentagon to federal, tribal, state, and local police departments.

In a letter (pdf) sent to the White House on Tuesday afternoon, 29 lawmakers, led by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), argue that taking executive action to reform the Defense Department’s 1033 program “is a reasonable step towards demilitarizing our police forces while preserving the safety of our communities.” Continue reading

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Rights Advocates Alarmed by US Spy Agency’s Purchase of Warrantless Phone Location Data

“Congress must end this lawless practice and require the government to get a warrant for our location data, regardless of its source.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-22-2021

Image: Free Press

Digital rights advocates reacted with alarm to a report published Friday detailing how Defense Intelligence Agency analysts in recent years bought databases of U.S. smartphone location data without first obtaining warrants.

The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) is part of the Department of Defense and is tasked with informing military and civilian policymakers about the activities and intentions of foreign governments and nonstate actors. Continue reading

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