Tag Archives: Pentagon

Lame-Duck Trump’s “Middle East Arms Bonanza” Continues With Approval of $290 Million Weapons Sale to Saudi Regime

Additional arms deals this week include $4 billion in helicopters to Kuwait, $169 million in military equipment to Egypt, and $65 million in drones and fighter jets to UAE.

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-30-2020

Protest outside Saudi Embassy in Los Angeles. Photo: CODEPINK

Despite opposition from the public and some members of Congress, the Trump administration in its waning days is rushing through weapons sales to a handful of Middle East nations with records of human rights abuses, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, whose U.S.-backed blockades and airstrikes have exacerbated civilian suffering and death in Yemen’s ongoing civil war.

The U.S. State Department on Tuesday announced a flurry of deals, including $290 million in Boeing-made, precision-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia, $65 million in drones and fighter jets to the UAE, $169 million in military equipment to Egypt, and $4 billion in helicopters to Kuwait. Continue reading

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Washington Post Publishes Names and Details of 1,400 Civilians Killed in US-Led Bombings of ISIS

The Post report relies heavily on figures from the airstrike watchdog  Airwars—without stating the group’s actual casualty numbers.

Aftermath of US led air strikes in Raqqa (Photo: @Raqqa_SL/Twitter)

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-19-2020

The Washington Post on Wednesday published an extraordinary interactive report that names hundreds of civilians killed by coalition airstrikes during the U.S.-led war against the so-called Islamic State.

The report, which contains harrowing survivor testimonies, draws upon data from the U.S. military and the U.K.-based journalistic monitor group Airwars to name each victim, as well as when and where they were killed. The paper mentions “thousands” of civilian casualties since President Barack Obama launched the war against ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria in 2014, but focuses only on the approximately 1,400 deaths acknowledged by both the Pentagon and Airwars. Continue reading

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Top Syrian Official Says US Has ‘Absolutely No Right’ to Occupy or Plunder Nation’s Oil Fields

“He’s talking about stealing it,” Bouthaina Shaaban said of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has kept troops in Syria to guard that country’s oil fields.

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-26-2019

An oil refinery in Homs, Syria. Photo: High Contrast Wikimedia/CC

Citing U.S. President Donald Trump’s openly stated plan to maintain a troop presence in Syria with the sole purpose of plundering the country’s oil reserves, a top Syrian government official said America has “absolutely no right” to the nation’s natural resources and warned of “popular opposition and operations” against foreign occupiers.

“It is our oil,” Bouthaina Shaaban, a political and media adviser to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, told NBC News in an interview Tuesday. Continue reading

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This Story on Cellphone Tracking ‘Is the Most Important Article You Should Read Today. Period.’

The New York Times published the first piece in its “One Nation, Tracked” investigation based on a data set with over 50 billion location pings.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-20-2019

The New York Times on Thursday published its first article in a new series about smartphone tracking. (Image: The New York Times/screenshot)

The New York Times‘ on Thursday sparked calls for congressional action by publishing the first article in its “One Nation, Tracked” series, an investigation into smartphone tracking based on a data set with over 50 billion location pings from the devices of more than 12 million people in the United States.

The data, from 2016 and 2017, “was provided to Times Opinion by sources who asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to share it and could face severe penalties for doing so,” explained reporters Stuart A. Thompson and Charlie Warzel. “The sources of the information said they had grown alarmed about how it might be abused and urgently wanted to inform the public and lawmakers.” Continue reading

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‘Democrats Must Do Better’: Progressive Caucus Leaders Condemn $1.4 Trillion Spending Bill That Boosts War Budget, Funds Trump’s Wall

“The bill before us today will not stop the abuse and wrongful detention of people in custody, nor will it prevent the Trump administration from misusing federal funds to advance their horrific mass detention and deportation agenda.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-17-2019

Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairs Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.). Photo: The Beat DC

The leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus condemned the $1.4 trillion spending package that passed the House Tuesday, calling the legislation a massive giveaway to the Pentagon and a green light for President Donald Trump’s “immoral mass detention policies.”

“The bill before us today will not stop the abuse and wrongful detention of people in custody, nor will it prevent the Trump administration from misusing federal funds to advance their horrific mass detention and deportation agenda,” Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), co-chairs of the Progressive Caucus, said in a statement just ahead of the vote. Continue reading

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Arms Expert Warns of ‘Reckless and Unnecessary Escalation’ After Pentagon Tests Missile Banned by INF Treaty That Trump Ditched

The move could “exacerbate tensions with Russia, China, and North Korea—all of whom would be in range of this type of missile.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-13-2019

The Pentagon conducted a flight test of a prototype conventionally-configured ground-launched ballistic missile at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Dec. 12. (Photo: Vandenberg Air Force Base)

Arms experts warned of negative global implications after the Pentagon on Thursday test-launched a second missile that would have been banned under a Cold War-era treaty that U.S. President Donald Trump ditched in early August.

Trump ignored concerns about the impacts on global security and formally withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty after suspending U.S. obligations under the deal in February and giving Russian President Vladimir Putin six months to destroy weapons that the U.S. government and NATO deemed noncompliant with the bilateral agreement. The deal outlawed land-launched missiles with a range of 500–5,500 kilometers or about 310–3,400 miles. Continue reading

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Pentagon Claims US Authority to Shoot Any Syrian Govt Official Who Tries to Take Control of Syrian Oil

“This is not a new mission.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-8-2019

An M-ATV used by U.S. forces near [[Manbij]], [[Syria]], July 2018. Photo: Public domain

Pentagon officials asserted Thursday U.S. military authority over Syrian oil fields because U.S. forces are acting under the goal of “protecting Americans from terrorist activity” and would be within their rights to shoot a representative of the Syrian government who attempted to retake control over that country’s national resource.

The comments came from Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman and Navy Rear Admiral William D. Byrne Jr. during a press briefing in which the two men were asked repeatedly about the legal basis the U.S. is claiming to control Syrian oil fields. Continue reading

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Critics Warn ‘Deeply Chilling’ Betrayal by Trump Paves Path for Turkish Slaughter of Kurdish Allies

“One way in which Trump is very consistent and stable when it comes to American presidential norms over the decades is betraying Kurds.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-7-2019

Photo: Steen Schøn/Twitter

In a move that was cast by critics as both irresponsible and a betrayal of key allies in the Middle East, President Donald Trump announced Sunday that U.S. forces are withdrawing from north-eastern Syria and leaving the region’s Kurdish population vulnerable to slaughter as neighboring Turkey readies an invasion.

“The Americans are traitors,” a Kurdish official told NBC News as the news broke late Sunday night. “They have abandoned us to a Turkish massacre.” Continue reading

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In Wake of Nuclear Treaty Collapse, Putin Says if US Pursues Previously Banned Missiles, Russia Will Also

“The collapse of the INF Treaty last Friday opens up a Pandora’s Box of dangerous possibilities.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-5-2019

Photo: moi 84/flickr

Days after the U.S. ditched a Cold War-era weapons treaty with Russia, President Vladimir Putin on Monday said his country would move to develop new intermediate-range nuclear missiles if the U.S. did so first.

“If Russia obtains reliable information that the United States has finished developing these systems and started to produce them,” Putin said in a statement, “Russia will have no option other than to engage in a full-scale effort to develop similar missiles.” Continue reading

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‘A Dystopian Surveillance State Being Built in Plain Sight’: Pentagon Tests Radar-Equipped Balloons to Spy on Vehicles Across Midwest

“These programs are not about stopping violence, they’re about social control.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-2-2019

The Pentagon is experimenting with the use of radars attached to high-altitude balloons this summer, sending up to 25 balloons across six Midwestern states to conduct surveillance on vehicles over a 25-mile swath under each balloon. (Photo: Tony Webster/Flickr/cc)

Millions of Americans across the Midwest this summer are being subjected to surveillance from above as the Pentagon experiments with the use of surveillance radars attached to high-altitude balloons.

As The Guardian reported Friday, the defense and aerospace contractor Sierra Nevada Corporation was authorized by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to send up to 25 balloons across six states to track vehicles. Continue reading

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