(Sputnik) – The US Marine Corps fired two of its enlisted commanders this year, after finding that they had neglected in their leadership to foster respectful and appropriate behavior toward women in their units. The sackings come just a few months…
This year’s lowlights from world politics, the culture wars, and the military-industrial complex.
Each year Conn Hallinan gives awards to individuals, companies, and governments that make reading the news a daily adventure. Here are the awards for 2016.
The Golden Lemon Award had a number of strong contenders in 2016, including:
General Atomics for its MQ-9 Reaper armed drone, which has a faulty starter-generator that routinely shorts out the aircraft. So far, no one can figure out why. Some 20 were either destroyed or sustained major damage last year. The Reapers costs $64 million apiece.
Panavia Aircraft Company’s $25 billion Tornado fighter-bomber that can’t fly at night because the cockpit lights blind the pilot. A runner up here is the German arms company Heckler & Koch, whose G-36 assault rifle can’t shoot straight when the weather is hot.
The British company BAE’s $1.26 billion Type 45 destroyer that breaks down “whenever we try to do too much with them,” a Royal Navy officer told the Financial Times. Engaging in combat, he said, would be “catastrophic.”
The country has its sights firmly placed on the spectacle occurring over the hack/leak of documents that may or may not have influenced the election. It’s irrelevant. The people of the United States cannot grant the Central Intelligence Agency (or any intelligence agency) the power to cast doubt on the results of elections via unconfirmed, unsourced, and politically biased findings. At the end of the day, the precedent set by allowing a secret agency to veto election results is the death of democracy.
So what did you miss while this was occupying the national narrative? Lots. Troops are deploying to Afghanistan, the Boko Haram is back in the headlines, a new pipeline fight, and much more.
A major US military build-up – including nuclear weapons – is under way in Asia and the Pacific with the purpose of confronting China. John Pilger raises the alarm on an under-reported and dangerous provocation.
When I first went to Hiroshima in 1967, the shadow on the steps was still there. It was an almost perfect impression of a human being at ease: legs splayed, back bent, one hand by her side as she sat waiting for a bank to open. At a quarter past eight on the morning of 6 August, 1945, she and her silhouette were burned into the granite. I stared at the shadow for an hour or more, unforgettably. When I returned many years later, it was gone: taken away, ‘disappeared’, a political embarrassment.
I have spent two years making a documentary film, The Coming War on China, in which the evidence and witnesses warn that nuclear war is no longer a shadow, but a contingency. The greatest build-up of American-led military forces since the Second World War is well under way. They are on the western borders of Russia, and in Asia and the Pacific, confronting China.
Last week a letter to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter written by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) was released claiming that the nations funding the Afghan security forces could be paying for a force double the size of what actually exists.
[Tweet “Corrupt Afghan Government Using US Money To Pay Non-Existent Soldiers”]
The US alone has spent $68 billion on Afghan security forces since 2002. The US and other partners in Afghanistan are also committed to spending $5 billion a year on security personnel until 2020.
There are several sound reasons for concluding that the US-led air strike on the Syrian army base near Deir Ezzor last weekend was a deliberate act of murderous sabotage. One compelling reason is that the Pentagon and CIA knew they had to act in order to kill the ceasefire plan worked out by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
The compulsion to wreck the already shaky truce was due to the unbearable exposure that the ceasefire plan was shedding on American systematic involvement in the terrorist proxy war on Syria.
Towards the end of last month, photo’s surfaced paraded as the first to show US special forces inside Syria. Shot by an unidentified photographer, the images bore evidence of a war far more complicated than most may anticipate. While many outlets regurgitated the photo release, others echoed one apparent consequence of their disclosure.
All this reputedly comes out the village of Fatisah, just a few miles from Islamic State-held Raqqa. Sources report Kurdish militia groups have used Fatisah to stage a push on the militant capital. The fighters aren’t alone, however, as several American special forces operatives were reputedly photographed amidst the fight.
Like a ghost echoing it’s own death, the first photo’s of US “advisors” inside Syria surface as they join opposition forces on the front. Although just a few, the pictures represent a looking glass perspective of a black-war. What is shown rings of an old truth–things aren’t always what they seem to be.
Taken by an unnamed photographer of Agence-France Presse, Department of Defense says, several photo’s leaked to the web Thursday. According to New York Times, they were shot in the village of Fatisah, showing commando’s “assisting” opposition forces push to ISIS-held Raqqa.
Although Pentagon officials say the American’s weren’t involved in fighting, a Syrian commander told the photographer they’d launched rockets towards a booby-trapped car. Militia fighters were then pushing on an Islamic State position, though the full extent of the fighting is unknown. Colonel Steve Warran said the operatives were east of the Euphrates River, heavily occupied by Kurdish and Arab fighters. The photographer also captured stills of Kurdish militia members, players in Syria’s multi-sided, chymiera-war.