Tag Archives: military-industrial complex

The glaring problem with a recent multinational pledge against nuclear war

Five of the world’s most powerful countries took a stand against nuclear weapons. So why are they modernising and increasing their stockpiles?

By Paul Rogers.  Published 1-8-2022 by openDemocracy

A ballistic missile and launcher in a military parade, North Korea, 2013 | Stefan Krasowski, CC BY 2.0

Last Monday, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US, Russia, China, France and the UK – signed a joint pledge to reduce the risk of nuclear war. The pledge states that:

“We affirm that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.  As nuclear use would have far-reaching consequences, we also affirm that nuclear weapons—for as long as they continue to exist—should serve defensive purposes, deter aggression, and prevent war.  We believe strongly that the further spread of such weapons must be prevented.” Continue reading

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UNESCO Members Adopt First Global AI Ethics Agreement ‘To Benefit Humanity’

“We’re at a critical juncture in history,” said Ethics in Tech founder Vahid Razavi. “We need as humans to come together and decide what is the best course of action to take with these technologies before they surpass us in their abilities.”

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 11-26-2021 by Common Dreams

UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay speaks during a November 25, 2021 press conference announcing the adoption of a global artificial intelligence framework agreement by all 193 member states. (Photo: Christelle Alix/UNESCO/Flickr/cc)

Tech ethicists on Friday applauded after all 193 member states of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization adopted the first global framework agreement on the ethics of artificial intelligence, which acknowledges that “AI technologies can be of great service to humanity” and that “all countries can benefit from them,” while warning that “they also raise fundamental ethical concerns.”

“AI is pervasive, and enables many of our daily routines—booking flights, steering driverless cars, and personalizing our morning news feeds,” UNESCO said in a statement Thursday. “AI also supports the decision-making of governments and the private sector. AI technologies are delivering remarkable results in highly specialized fields such as cancer screening and building inclusive environments for people with disabilities. They also help combat global problems like climate change and world hunger, and help reduce poverty by optimizing economic aid.” Continue reading

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Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty Tied to ‘Historic Shift’ Away From ‘Perilous Profiteering’

“Financial institutions that continue investing in companies building nuclear weapons face regulatory risks as more countries join the treaty. They also face an increased reputational risk.”

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 11-11-2021 by Common Dreams

ICAN action against investments in nuclear weapons. April 2012, Melbourne. Photo: ICAN (Tim Wright)/flickr/CC

The latest Don’t Bank on the Bomb report, released Thursday, sheds light on the early impacts of a global treaty banning nuclear weapons worldwide while also exposing the companies and financial institutions responsible for continuing to build up governments’ arsenals.

The new report from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and PAX comes as the world nears the one-year mark of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) entering into force after opening for signature in September 2017. Continue reading

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Warnings of ‘More Death and Suffering’ in Yemen as US Moves to Sell Saudis Missiles

The Biden administration called the proposed sale of $650 million in air-to-air missiles “fully consistent” with its efforts to end the war that’s killed, wounded, displaced, and starved millions of Yemenis.

By Brett Wilkins.  Oublished 11-4-2021 by Common Dreams

A United States Air Force F-16 fighter jet test-fires a Raytheon AIM-120 air-to-air missile over the Gulf of Mexico near Eglin Air Force Base in Okaloosa County, Florida. (Photo: Capt. Justin Marsh/USAF)

Anti-war activists on Thursday accused the Biden administration of throwing fuel on the flames of the Saudi-led war in Yemen after the U.S. State Department notified Congress it approved a new $650 million missile sale to the repressive Middle Eastern monarchy.

Defense News reports the Pentagon said the Saudi government requested to purchase 280 AIM-120C-7/C-8 advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles and 596 LAU-128 missile rail launchers in a deal that would also include spare parts, support, and logistical services. The missiles would be fitted to Saudi warplanes including Eurofighter Typhoons and McDonnell-Douglas F-15s. Continue reading

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As CBO Shows How to Cut $1 Trillion From Pentagon, Progressives Urge Spending on ‘True Security’

“Saving a trillion dollars that could be devoted to preventing pandemics, addressing climate change, or reducing racial and economic injustice is no small matter.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-7-2021

Progressive foreign policy experts say a new Congressional Budget Office report offering three options for slashing Pentagon spending by $1 trillion over the next decade underscores the imperative to invest in programs of social uplift and climate action. Photo: Peg Hunter/flickr/CC

Progressive foreign policy experts on Thursday pointed to a new Congressional Budget Office report that concludes it is possible to slash a trillion dollars in military spending over the coming decade without reducing force effectiveness as further proof that the United States can and should prioritize investments in tackling pandemics, inequality, and the climate crisis.

“The U.S. military budget is now higher than it was at the peak of the Vietnam War, the Korean War, or the Cold War,” said Lindsay Koshgarian, program director of the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS). “This report shows that there are viable options for immediate, substantial reductions to the Pentagon budget.” Continue reading

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The disturbing rise of the corporate mercenaries

It’s not too late to rein in these unaccountable armed giants, but we need to act fast

By Felip Daza and Nora Miralles  Published 8-6-2021 by openDemocracy

Pre=deployment training at Tier 1 Group. Photo: T1G/Facebook

When the journalist Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated by agents of the Saudi government in 2018, it caused an international scandal. Now, it turns out that his killers were trained in the US. In June, The New York Times reported that four Saudis involved in the killing had received paramilitary training from Tier 1 Group, a private security company based in Arkansas.

This was no renegade operation, however. Tier 1 Group, whose training had approval from the US State Department, is part of a burgeoning global industry. Corporate mercenaries – or, more properly, private security and military companies – are increasingly taking over functions that were once carried out by states, with grave implications for human rights and democracy worldwide. It’s big business, too: Cerberus Capital Management, the private equity fund that owns Tier 1 Group, also owns a string of arms manufacturers. In April 2010, Cerberus merged with DynCorp International, one of the world’s largest corporate mercenary companies. Continue reading

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In Pre-Sentencing Letter, Drone Whistleblower Daniel Hale Says Crisis of Conscience Motivated Leak

“I came to believe that the policy of drone assassination was being used to mislead the public that it keeps us safe… I began to speak out, believing my participation in the drone program to have been deeply wrong.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-25-2021

Whistleblower Daniel Hale faces sentencing after pleading guilty to violating the Espionage Act by leaking classified information about the U.S. targeted drone assassination program. (Photo: Bob Hayes/handout)

Attorneys for drone whistleblower Daniel Hale—who faces sentencing next week after pleading guilty earlier this year to violating the Espionage Act—on Thursday submitted a letter to Judge Liam O’Grady in which the former Air Force intelligence analyst says a crisis of conscience drove him to leak classified information about the U.S. targeted assassination program.

The 11-page handwritten letter (pdf) begins with a quote from U.S. Admiral Gene La Rocque, who said in 1995 that “we now kill people without ever seeing them. Now you push a button thousands of miles away… Since it’s all done by remote control, there’s no remorse.” Continue reading

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US Air Force Plans to Buy More Bombs ‘Better-Suited for Operations in the Pacific’

“The new Cold War with China currently being pushed in Washington does not serve the millions of people demanding change across this country nor the billions of people affected by U.S. foreign policy abroad.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-2-2021

The guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) launches an SM-2 missile during Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2020. Photo: U.S. Navy/flickr/CC

Soon after President Joe Biden called for a gargantuan $753 billion military budget for fiscal year 2022, the U.S. Air Force indicated that it plans to buy fewer small-diameter bombs in favor of spending heavily on “state-of-the-art, long-range weapons that are better-suited for operations in the Pacific,” Military.com reported Tuesday.

The Air Force’s proposal is consistent with other investments outlined in Biden’s Pentagon budget request, including billions of dollars for U.S. nuclear weapon modernization and the so-called Pacific Deterrence Initiative, which is purportedly aimed at “countering China’s military build-up in Asia.” Continue reading

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At the end of the Israel-Gaza clash, the arms industry is the only victor

Global military analysts will take the lessons from this bout to accelerate the move towards unaccountable (and highly profitable) remote warfare

By Paul Rogers  Published 5-22-2021 by openDemocracy

Photo: suhair zakkout/Twitter

As the 11 days of clashes between Gaza and Israel ends in a ceasefire, the military analysis truly begins. The Israeli army will painstakingly review all of its operations, especially the new weapons and tactics, to judge how successful they were and what improvements are needed.

Hezbollah in Lebanon has far more rockets than Hamas in Gaza, so one of the Israeli army worries will be how Hamas and other factions were able to carry on firing from such a small area right to the end, night after night. Continue reading

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‘Criminal Complicity’: Outrage as Biden Pushes $735 Million Weapons Sale to Israel Amid Gaza Slaughter

“Approving more weapons to Israel would add fuel to the fire and would only embolden Israel to continue its bombardments on Gaza.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-17-2021

Then-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a visit to Israel in 2016. Photo: US Embassy Jerusalem/flickr/CC

Human rights advocates warned Monday that the Biden administration is deepening U.S. complicity in the Netanyahu regime’s ongoing massacre of civilians in Gaza by attempting to push through a $735 million sale of so-called “precision-guided weapons” to Israel.

The Washington Post reported Monday that the Biden administration officially notified Congress of the sale on May 5, just days before Israeli forces began their latest bombardment of Gaza last week—an assault that has killed nearly 200 Palestinians, wounded more than 1,200, and displaced tens of thousands. Continue reading

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