Tag Archives: International Agreements

New Study Details ‘Staggering’ $6 Trillion (and Counting) Price Tag of Endless US War

“The U.S. continues to fund the wars by borrowing, so this is a conservative estimate of the consequences of funding the war as if on a credit card.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-15-2018Wa

Total U.S. spending on war and all of its related costs will hit nearly $6 trillion by the end of 2019, according to the Watson Institute (Photo: Carpetblogger/flickr/cc)

While the human costs will remain impossible to calculate, a new analysis shows that the Pentagon barely scratched the surface of the financial costs of U.S. wars since September 11, 2001 when it released its official estimate last August regarding how much the U.S. has spent on fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere.

The Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs reports (pdf) that by the end of the 2019 fiscal year, the U.S. will have spent $5.9 trillion on military spending in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and other countries, as well as veterans’ care, interest on debt payments, and related spending at the Homeland Security and State Departments. Continue reading

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UN Food Storage Facility Targeted as Saudi Coalition Closes in on Hodeida

A UN World Food Program grain facility, responsible for milling about a quarter of the wheat flour that the WFP distributes to Yemen’s hungriest people, was destroyed after being hit with more than 10 airstrikes as well as targeted shelling.

By Ahmed Abdulkareem. Published 11-9-2018 by MintPress News

Hodeida grain silo

At least 15 civilians were killed on Thursday after Saudi-led coalition aircraft and artillery carried out strikes against a residential area in Yemen’s strategic western province of Hodeida and the border areas of Sadaa.

A local source told MintPress News that Saudi jets conducted airstrikes against the al-Jabaliyah area in the al-Tuheita district in southern Hodeida on Thursday afternoon, killing 45-year-old Hassan al Ameri and his four daughters Sumiah, Hunood, Laila and Hend, who ranged in age from eight months to nine years old. Al Ameri’s twelve-year-old son, Ali, was also killed in the attack. Continue reading

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Saying Approval by Trump Ignored Obvious Facts and Threats, Federal Judge Halts Construction of Keystone XL Pipeline

Native tribes and environmentalists celebrated the ruling as “a decisive moment in our fight against the corporate polluters who have rushed to destroy our planet”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-9-2018

Photo by chesapeakeclimate (8/22/11 Uploaded by Ekabhishek) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In a major victory for the planet and blow to the Trump administration’s efforts to ramp up fossil fuel extraction and production in the face of grave climate consequences, a federal judge on Thursday halted all construction of TransCanada’s 1,200-mile long Keystone XL pipeline and tossed out the White House’s fact-free approval of the project.

Issued by Judge Brian Morris of the District of Montana, the ruling ripped President Donald Trump’s State Department for blithely tossing out “prior factual findings related to climate change” to rush through the Keystone pipeline and using “outdated information” on the severe threat the tar sands project poses to endangered species, tribal lands, and the water supply. Continue reading

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US Uses Banned White Phosphorus Bombs in Syrian City for the Fourth Time in Two Months

The International Committee of the Red Cross has stated that “employing asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and all analogous liquids, materials or devices is listed in the Statute of the International Criminal Court as a war crime.”

By Whitney Webb. Published 11-6-2018 by MintPress News

White phosphorus attack. Photo: Human Rights Watch

The U.S.-led coalition in Syria has been accused of using white phosphorus incendiary munitions for the fourth time since mid-September.  White phosphorus is banned internationally when used in areas with civilian populations.

Syrian state news agency SANA reported on a bombing conducted by the U.S.-led coalition that had targeted the small city of Hajin in Syria’s Eastern Deir Ez-Zor province over the weekend. The bombing, allegedly intended to target Daesh (ISIS) terrorists who control the city, killed fifteen civilians – among them women and children – and injured scores more. Civil sources cited by SANA reported that white phosphorus bombs had been used, which – in addition to resulting in several civilian deaths and injuries — caused massive property damage due to the fires resulting from the use of the banned substance. Continue reading

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Trump’s Rules of Engagement for Troops at US-Mexico Border Mirror Those Used By the IDF in Gaza

The intent behind Trump’s new rules of engagement and considerable militarization of the U.S. border appears to be greenlighting the U.S. military to function as an IDF-style military police force whenever the next “threat” emerges, whether it be “foreign invaders” or “internal enemies.”

By Whitney Webb. Published 11-2-2018 by MintPress News

Photo: US Army/flickr

Since President Donald Trump first directed the outrage of his supporters at a Central American migrant caravan making its way towards the United States a little over a week ago, his plan to deploy between 5,200 and 15,000 active-duty U.S. soldiers to the border has provoked mixed reactions within the United States. However, Trump’s more recent announcement that armed U.S. soldiers have been instructed to target any migrants who resort to throwing stones as though they were firing rifles has evoked an even wider range of reactions.

On Thursday afternoon, Trump detailed in a speech that “Anybody [in the caravan] throwing stones, rocks, like they did to Mexico and the Mexican military, Mexican police, where they badly hurt police and soldiers of Mexico, we will consider that a firearm.” He then elaborated that “we will consider it [stone throwing], the maximum that we can consider that…We’re not going to put up with that. They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back….I told them to consider it a rifle.” Continue reading

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Your Commander-in-Chief Is Lying to You: Veterans Issue Open Letter to Active Duty US Soldiers

By every moral or ethical standard it is your duty to refuse orders to “defend” the U.S. from these migrants.

By 

To All Active Duty Soldiers:

Your Commander-in-chief is lying to you. You should refuse his orders to deploy to the southern U.S. border should you be called to do so. Despite what Trump and his administration are saying, the migrants moving North towards the U.S. are not a threat. These small numbers of people are escaping intense violence. In fact, much of the reason these men and women—with families just like yours and ours—are fleeing their homes is because of the US meddling in their country’s elections. Look no further than Honduras, where the Obama administration supported the overthrow of a democratically elected president who was then replaced by a repressive dictator.

These extremely poor and vulnerable people are desperate for peace.  Who among us would walk a thousand miles with only the clothes on our back without great cause? The odds are good that your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. lived similar experiences to these migrants. Your family members came to the U.S. to seek a better life—some fled violence. Consider this as you are asked to confront these unarmed men, women and children from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. To do so would be the ultimate hypocrisy.

The U.S. is the richest country in the world, in part because it has exploited countries in Latin America for decades. If you treat people from these countries like criminals, as Trump hopes you will, you only contribute to the legacy of pillage and plunder beneath our southern border. We need to confront this history together, we need to confront the reality of America’s wealth and both share and give it back with these people. Above all else, we cannot turn them away at our door. They will die if we do.

By every moral or ethical standard it is your duty to refuse orders to “defend” the U.S. from these migrants.  History will look kindly upon you if you do. There are tens of thousands of us who will support your decision to lay your weapons down. You are better than your Commander-in-chief. Our only advice is to resist in groups. Organize with your fellow soldiers. Do not go this alone. It is much harder to punish the many than the few.

In solidarity,

Rory Fanning
Former U.S. Army Ranger, War-Resister
Spenser Rapone
Former U.S. Army Ranger and Infantry Officer, War-Resister

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

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After Years of Tireless Demands to End Carnage, Anti-War and Relief Groups Cautiously Welcome US Call for Yemen Ceasefire

After years-long efforts by human rights groups and lawmakers to end U.S. backing of the Saudis’ war in Yemen, the Trump administration follows the Koch brothers’ lead in calling for a ceasefire

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-31-2018

The market in Yemen that was destroyed by U.S.-made bombs on March 15. (Photo: Amal al-Yarisi/Human Rights Watch)

After years of working to call international attention to the death and destruction caused by Saudi Arabia’s U.S.-backed war in Yemen, human rights and anti-war groups expressed cautious optimism that the war-torn, impoverished country may see some relief in the coming weeks, following calls for a ceasefire by the Trump administration.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis on Tuesday both called for all participants in the war to come together for peace talks within the next 30 days, putting a stop to a conflict in which Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—with weapons, fuel, and tactical support from countries including the U.S. and U.K.—have killed 16,000 Yemeni civilians and displaced an estimated two million while leaving 22 million on the brink of famine. Continue reading

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Brazil: the day after

Our Brazilian friends are going to be needing us, a lot, in the coming years. We, and what is left of global civil society, have to be prepared and give shelter to those under attack.

By Francesc Badia i Dalmases.  Published 10-27-2018 by openDemocracy

“Courage is what gives meaning to freedom” reads this graffiti on the walls of the Cachoeira public university, in the state of Bahia, pictured in September 2018. Image: Francesc Badia. All rights reserved.

 

 

We have to prepare for the day after.

Brazil is already suffering from a tide of unbearable verbal and symbolic violence, and the incendiary hate speeches are already claiming their share of victims. Bolsonaro’s victory seems indisputable and is forcing us to get ready for a double action.

The first thing will be to protect ourselves and prevent verbal attacks from turning violent under the cloak of euphoria for the victory of a candidate who considers the losers not ideological or political rivals but enemies who must be eliminated. Communist worms, they call them. Continue reading

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Minnesota Police Train at Military Base as Line 3 Pipeline Protests Escalate

Pipeline protests in Standing Rock pitted police against Native Americans and their supporters.

By Andrew Neef. Published 10-25-2018 by Unicorn Riot

Unicorn Riot has uncovered documents showing coordination between state-wide authorities to prepare for anti-pipeline protests. Emails obtained from Minnesota State Patrol under the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act show close cooperation between state and local law enforcement, the Minnesota Department of Public Safet, pipeline company security staff and a private police foundation.

One such email, dated June 18, 2018, shows discussion about a “table top” exercise located at Camp Ripley, a military base operated by the Minnesota National Guard which also hosts trainings for the Minnesota State Patrol. The email states the exercise “relates to MFF [Mobile Field Force] and the Line 3.”  Line 3 is a controversial pipeline project proposed by Canadian oil giant Enbridge, and has been the focus of years of protests by indigenous tribes and environmental activists. Continue reading

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‘Appalling’: Asbestos Imports Soar 2,000% as Trump Loosens Restrictions on Cancer-Causing Material

“Americans cannot identify or manage the risks of asbestos. The time is now for the EPA to say no to the asbestos industry and finally ban asbestos without exemptions.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-24-2018

Photo: Amazon

As President Donald Trump’s industry-friendly Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) takes steps to loosen restrictions on the commercial use of asbestos—which is known to cause cancer and lung disease—an analysis of federal data published Tuesday found that asbestos imports to the U.S. surged by nearly 2,000 percent between July and August of this year.

Conducted by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) and Environmental Working Group (EWG), the analysis found that “the U.S. imported more than 341 metric tons of asbestos” last year, with imports expected to double in 2018 thanks to the Trump administration’s aggressive and deeply harmful deregulatory agenda. Continue reading

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