The US Army has been quietly conducting a secret flight operation in and around Washington DC for months, judging from recently released fiscal documents. US military experts have outlined the possible goals of the clandestine mission and the agencies behind it.
On 22 July, Bloomberg revealed that at least 10 Black Hawk helicopters are involved in conducting “a classified flight mission” in the National Capital Region (NPR), citing a $2.5 billion Army reprogramming request.
According to the document, the Pentagon asked the US Congress to allocate an additional $1.55 million for aircraft maintenance, aircrews, travel, and a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) capability in support of the mission.
”Soldiers from assault helicopter company and aviation maintenance units will be supporting the mission with 10 UH-60s and maintenance capabilities for four months”, the document says, arguing that “without additional funding, the Army will not be able to perform this classified mission”.
The task of the aforementioned flight mission, which, according to Bloomberg, kicked off “early in the fiscal year” that started on 1 October 2018, remains shrouded in secrecy.
Possible Aims of the Secret Flight Mission
Karen Kwiatkowski, a former Defence Department adviser, and Keith Preston, a military analyst and chief editor of Attack the System, have outlined at least three possible goals behind the classified operation:
· Surveillance operations
· Evacuation of leading officials in case of emergency situations
· Preventing potential terrorist activities in the National Capital Region
“The forces that are involved may be conducting surveillance operations”, suggests Keith Preston. “They also may be preparing to be deployed or activated in case of an actual emergency situation. We have to remember that the capital was one of the sites of the terrorist actions in 2001 [11 September 2001 terrorist attacks – Sputnik]. The capital area has been on heightened security ever since”.
Karen Kwiatkowski presumes that the mission is unlikely to be directly aimed at ensuring the US president’s safety, but “probably” envisages “an expansion to preserve and transport lower levels of executive branch personnel”.
Press TV. Listen here.
The United States foreign policy has always served the interests of the military-industrial complex and that is why President Donald Trump is actively trying to increase the Pentagon’s budget while also pressing allies to spend more on defense, says an American analyst.
Keith Preston, director of Attackthesystem.com, made the remarks while discussing reports that Washington was drawing plans to require allies with American troops stationed in their countries to pay for the deployment.
Under White House direction, the Trump administration plans to ask Germany, Japan and eventually any other country hosting US troops pay the full price of American soldiers deployed on their soil, plus 50 percent or more for the privilege of hosting them.
“It is an interesting relationship because the United States on one hand pays the military bills and provides for the military defense of these countries in Asia and in Europe and also at the same time the Americans use this position… to maintain political hegemony,” Preston told Press TV on Sunday.
Washington’ pressure on Germany, the UK and France to follow Trump in abandoning the 2015 Iran nuclear deal was one of the examples of this trend, the analyst said.
The Trump administration’s plan to maintain several hundred troops in Syria despite a promise to evacuate the country was another hint at this behavior, according to Preston.
John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser, said Sunday that the US was in talks with the UK and France to prolong foreign military presence in Syria in order to prevent what he called a possible presence of the Daesh terror group.
“So clearly this is a move by President Trump to simply generate revenue for the United States and for the US military budget,” he said. “Much of what the American politics is about is simply making money for the so-called military-industrial complex.”
He said while the US military budget was around $700 billion annually, the military industrial complex’s real revenue was difficult to calculate “because there is so man different channels of revenue.”
The anti-Vietnam War and anti-draft movements of the 1960s and 1970s are a shining example of what I would consider to be an anarchist success. No, the government wasn’t abolished. But the most powerful state in history was forced to withdraw from a war of imperialist aggression by means of a combination of illegality (draft resistance), civil disobedience, mass protests, riots, civilian armed struggle (there were literally thousands of bombings in the US during that time, as well as armed confrontations between feds/pigs and militant organizations), and passive resistance, mutiny, and “fragging” (assassinating officers) by soldiers.
In an article I wrote for LewRockwell.Com 12 years ago, I introduced my theory of “totalitarian humanism” (i.e., the co-optation of cultural leftism by the state and capitalism) as the emerging ideology of the ruling class. Read the original article here. These were the core precepts of “totalitarian humanism” that I identified:
- Militarism, Imperialism and Empire in the guise of ‘human rights’, ‘democracy’, modernity, universalism, feminism and other leftist shibboleths.
- Corporate Mercantilism (or ‘state-capitalism’) under the guise of ‘free trade’.
- In domestic policy, what I call ‘totalitarian humanism’ whereby an all-encompassing and unaccountable bureaucracy peers into every corner of society to make sure no one anywhere, anyplace, anytime ever practices ‘racism, sexism, homophobia’, smoking, ‘sex abuse’ or other such leftist sins.
- In the realm of law, a police state ostensibly designed to protect everyone from terrorism, crime, drugs, guns, gangs or some other bogeyman of the month.
The reception that Tulsi Gabbard received during her appearance on “The View” is a shining example of totalitarian humanism human being applied to the foreign policy realm. An authentic cultural leftism would be more in the vein of Thaddeus Russell or Abbie Hoffman, not this crap.
A writer at The Nation points out how more than 200 empires have risen and fallen in world history, and the US empire will eventually fall as well. I think this author likely overstates the prospects for future Chinese dominance, and his environmental alarmism may be overstated as well. Most likely what will replace US hegemony is the system that the author describes the US as having a pivotal role in creating, i.e. the system of global capitalism. As the US recedes, international organizations will increasingly come to dominate, e.g. the UN, World Bank, IMF, WTO, G20, transnational corporations, NGOs, foundations, international media conglomerates, etc. US military power will likely retreat as various European and Asia powers come to dominate their particular regions, but within the wide framework of global capitalism.
By Alfred McCoy
Once upon a time in America, we could all argue about whether or not US global power was declining. Now, most observers have little doubt that the end is just a matter of timing and circumstance. Ten years ago, I predicted that, by 2025, it would be all over for American power, a then-controversial comment that’s commonplace today. Under President Donald Trump, the once “indispensable nation” that won World War II and built a new world order has become dispensable indeed.
The decline and fall of American global power is, of course, nothing special in the great sweep of history. After all, in the 4,000 years since humanity’s first empire formed in the Fertile Crescent, at least 200 empires have risen, collided with other imperial powers, and in time collapsed. In the past century alone, two dozen modern imperial states have fallen and the world has managed just fine in the wake of their demise.
Todd Lewis is joined by Will Mclean and Fulton Skipworth to discuss the military performance and reevaluate the legacy of USA and British commanders.
A very important read. Absorb every word of this.
By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Valley
This holiday season was unusually kind to the anti-imperialists among us. Trump shocked the world the week before Christmas by actually putting America first for a change and calling for the immediate withdrawal of the some 2000 troops still illegally occupying North Eastern Syria. Regardless of his motives, which I’m sure had very little to do with anything vaguely resembling the Christmas spirit, it’s hard to deny that this executive decision was a decisive win for peace.
Hard but not impossible. The doves of the progressive left have enthusiastically jumped through their own pinched assholes to stomp on McGovern’s grave with talking points straight out of Karl Rove’s playbook. Sadly, their onslaught of non-stop pro-war agit-prop, aided and abetted by the rabid war junkies of Trump’s own administration, may have worked. The perpetually spineless Trump has moved the goal post for the pull-out from 30 days to 90 days to 3 months to ‘maybe later, we’ll see…’
Regardless, the rift within the Pentagon is likely irreversible and the chaos its caused can only be interpreted as the official failure of America’s 6 year imperial project for the region. Being the peace-loving bomb-thrower that I am, the one part of this splendid fiasco that feels truly tragic to me is the increasingly likely implosion of the Rojava Revolution.
Today I will be joined by Keith Preston for our fourth and final installment of Pan-Anarchism to discuss the hard question of national defense.
It’s interesting how even the leadership of the military caste has bought into the System’s ideology of combining imperialism and neoliberal economics with cultural leftism. Careerists will be careerists, I guess. Mattis and McChrystal: “We gotta make sure the wine and cheese crowd will buy our books and come to our overpriced speeches.”
By William S. Lind
It is interesting that General Stan McChrystal recently admitted to getting rid of a portrait he had long cherished of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. One would think that McChrystal would have some sympathy for Lee, considering both presided over failed wars. There is a world of difference between these two men and McChrystal does not benefit from the comparison.
Since his dismissal by President Obama, McChrystal has become an author in an attempt to trade on his celebrity status and high rank. He has done well, with several popular books to his name. At a recent book signing, McChrystal admitted his best advice was for the U.S. to continue to “muddle through” in Afghanistan.
Think about this for a moment. McChrystal held the top command in Afghanistan for a full year (2009–2010) during which he was unable to chart a course to success. He has had 9 years since he left command to reflect on his experience and the direction of the war. After all this time, the best he can come up with is to “muddle through”?
No response could better encapsulate the professional failure and moral bankruptcy of our senior military leaders. For the last 17 years, general after general has told a succession of U.S. presidents, “We can succeed in Afghanistan.” McChrystal was one of them. Afraid to be the one tagged with presiding over a defeat, each general believes the U.S. should stay the course, blindly hoping for a change of fortune which is unlikely to occur. Doubtless no one wishes to signal all the sacrifice in blood and treasure has ultimately proven futile. Unfortunately, that is the reality.
McChrystal was a proud graduate of U.S. military schools. He was carefully groomed for high rank and selected for great responsibility. And he failed miserably.
After 17 years and a series of failed wars, the number of Sunni fundamentalist terrorists is larger than it was in 2001.
By William S. Lind
An article in the November 21 New York Times revealed two aspects of our ongoing strategic failure in Fourth Generation war. First, it quoted a new study by CSIS that found the number of Sunni 4GW fighters has grown, not shrunk, since we began the “war on terror” on 9/11:
Nearly four times as many Sunni Islamic militants are operating around the world today as on Sept. 11, 2001, despite nearly two decades of American-led campaigns to combat Al Qaeda and the Islamic state, a new independent study concludes.
That amounts to as many as 230,000 Salafi jihadist fighters in nearly 70 countries, according to the study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank. . .
. . .the Islamic State remains the predominant threat, with as many as about 40,000 members globally this year, up from 30,200 in 2014, when the group’s fighters seized the northern third of Iraq.
Second, the Times turned to another study to look at what our current strategy has cost:
Last week, Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs released its annual report, the Cost of War study, in which it calculated that the United States will have spent $5.9 trillion on activities related to the global counter terrorism campaign by October 2019.
So, the war of attrition waged largely from the air that is our chosen 4GW strategy has, in seventeen years, cost us almost $6 trillion (not billion) while multiplying our Islamic enemies fourfold. Can we see this as anything other than strategic failure on a grand scale?
Is the Empire receding?
By Kristen Bialik
Pew Research Center
The number of active-duty U.S. military troops stationed overseas has dipped below 200,000 for the first time in at least 60 years. The decline, reflecting a broader one in active-duty U.S. forces, has occurred in multiple countries – including South Korea, which has become a focus of attention amid escalating tensions between the United States and North Korea.
There were around 1.3 million total active-duty U.S. military personnel in 2016. Of these, 193,442 – or 15% – were deployed overseas. That’s the smallest number and share of active-duty members overseas since at least 1957, the earliest year with comparable data, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of information from the Defense Manpower Data Center, a statistical arm of the Department of Defense.
Matthew VanDyke is the founder of Sons of Liberty International, a security firm that advises, trains, and supplies vulnerable populations to defend themselves against terrorists. He is preparing for an independent mission to Iraq during which he’ll train Iraqis to fight back against the Islamic State.
History NOW is a collection of timely and relevant stories that can only be experienced, documented, and shared right now. History NOW features powerful videos from people capturing significant, transformative events from their unique first-person perspectives. From politics and sports to science and technology, these are the people making history now.
By Dr. Bones
Gods and Radicals
“just imagine the idea that the bitter infighting on the Left could somehow be a tactical advantage. It’s almost too good to pass up.”
From Dr. Bones
By Keith Preston
Everyone knows that one of the principal grievances of the right-wing involves the substantial amount of immigration from Latin America to the United States that has taken place in recent decades. The commonly voiced concern is that the traditional “white” (Northern European) majority will lose its majority status, and that persons of Latin American ancestry (combined with people of color generally) will become the demographic majority. Whether this is good or bad is an individual value judgment, but the criticisms often obscure other, perhaps more substantive ways in which the United States is coming to resemble Latin America.
The traditional class system of Latin America is one where the very rich plutocratic elites live in opulence and luxury, and rule over an impoverished working class, an extraordinarily large underclass of the extreme poor and permanently unemployed, and a small middle class of professionals and technocrats. This is precisely the same kind of class system that the United States is developing, particularly in California which is widely considered to be the bellwether of the nation.
In traditional Latin American societies, the elite rule for the sake of pursing their own class interests, without any pretense of interest in the needs of the masses. To the degree that elections are held at all, the candidates are merely functionaries of the plutocracy. US politics is rapidly coming to resemble this model.
The police and the army are the traditionally dominant force in Latin American societies, and there can be no reasonable doubt that the military industrial complex and police state have assumed a comparable role in the United States.
The one noticeable difference is that in many traditional Latin American societies, the Catholic Church hierarchy provided the ruling class with its self-legitimating ideology. In the United States, organized religion is becoming an increasingly marginal force with the new self-legitimating ideology of the state being the totalitarian humanist ideology of the new clerisy.
Interestingly, Latin America has experienced a great deal of liberalization and progress in the past few decades, while the United States has increasingly gone backward. Perhaps Americans need to start emigrating to Latin America.
When a Marine Corps commander is relieved of his position for using the word “faggot,” do we need any more evidence that PC has in fact completely permeated the general society and become the ideology of the state/ruling class/power elite?
By William S. Lind
Several weeks ago, the United States Marine Corps copied its old Japanese adversary and committed seppuku. It did so by relieving its best battalion commander and most promising future senior combat leader of his command, thus terminating his career. As another Marine lieutenant colonel said to me, “The last light shining in the darkness has been put out.”
The officer relieved of his command was Lieutenant Colonel Marcus Mainz. Some years ago Mainz, as a captain, was one of my students in a Fourth Generation War seminar at the Marine Corps’ Expeditionary Warfare School. He was one of the best—bright, tremendous energy, a powerful personality, and an ability to get results. These are exactly the qualities the Marine Corps needs in its leaders if it is to implement its doctrine of maneuver warfare. Now that doctrine seems to be little more than words on paper.
Mainz, through the innovative training program he implemented in his battalion, had built a substantial and devoted following throughout the Marine Corps. Now many of his admirers are giving up and putting in their paperwork to resign or retire. Their hope is gone. A Marine major said to me, “The second- and third-order effects of his dismissal are massive.”
What led the Marine Corps to devour its young? The answer lies in the moral cowardice the senior Marine Corps leadership (and that of our other armed services) routinely displays in the face of “political correctness,” i.e., cultural Marxism.
Speaking to his Marines, as told to me, Mainz dismissed some of the administrivia that eats up much of their training time, saying something like, “We’re not going to do that faggot stuff.”
These are the things our anarchist and libertarian friends ought to focused on.
By John Whitehead
There are those who would have you believe that President Trump is an unwitting victim of the Deep State.
And then there are those who insist that the Deep State is a figment of a conspiratorial mind.
Don’t believe it.
The Deep State—a.k.a. the police state, a.k.a. the military industrial complex, a.k.a. the surveillance state complex—does indeed exist and Trump, far from being its sworn enemy, is its latest tool.
When in doubt, follow the money trail.
It always points the way.
Every successive president starting with Franklin D. Roosevelt has been bought—lock, stock and barrel—and made to dance to the tune of the Deep State.
Even Dwight D. Eisenhower, the retired five-star Army general-turned-president who warned against the disastrous rise of misplaced power by the military industrial complex was complicit in contributing to the build-up of the military’s role in dictating national and international policy.
Enter Donald Trump, the candidate who swore to drain the swamp in Washington DC.
Instead of putting an end to the corruption, however, Trump has paved the way for lobbyists, corporations, the military industrial complex, and the rest of the Deep State (also referred to as “The 7th Floor Group”) to feast on the carcass of the dying American republic.
Totalitarian humanism’s eco-friendly imperialism.
By Robert Andrews
As you well know, bullets are designed to kill people. So far, so bad, but the metallic compounds in them also tend to leach into the environment and kill off plants and wildlife too.
At training facilities the world over, the US Army uses live ammunition to gear up their soldiers for combat. These bullets just remain in the wild, and do their damage. Deciding that enough is enough, officials are now asking for proposals to design biodegradable bullets that shall harm the environment no more.
Not only that, but they are hoping that the bullets will contain seeds, specialized for each local environment, so that they will ultimately “grow environmentally beneficial plants that eliminate ammunition debris and contaminants.”
That’s right – not only will new plants sprout from these seed bullets, but they will help suck out dangerous chemicals from their surrounding environment. It’s certainly an ambitious concept, but not one outside of the realms of possibility. According to the official request, this type of bullet “shell” has already been tested.
“The US Army Corps of Engineers’ Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) has demonstrated bioengineered seeds that can be embedded into the biodegradable composites and that will not germinate until they have been in the ground for several months,” it states.
Now they just need to be made into bullets that can be fired from a real weapon.
Press TV. Listen here.
The United States relies on the country’s military–industrial complex for manufacturing and factory employment, an American analyst in Virginia says.
Maintaining the massive US arms industry is motivated not just by military purposes, but also for preserving American jobs and economic growth, said Keith Preston, chief editor of AttacktheSystem.com.
“The military–industrial complex…is a central component of the United States economic system,” Preston told Press TV on Thursday.
“Military production is a big part of the economy,” he said. “Essentially they’re not so much because they serve any military purpose as much as someone is getting paid for producing the weapons or they’re the source of preserving jobs and employment either within the military or within the civilian sector.”
US manufacturing, and in particular by the US arms industry, has always relied on government funding in one form or another.
Roughly 10 percent of the $2.2 trillion in factory output in the United States goes into the production of weapons sold mainly to the US Defense Department for use by the armed forces.
The US military is planning to install a massive radar that officials say is designed to identify missile attacks against the US mainland, Military.com reported Wednesday.
The $1 billion system is supposed to spot incoming missile warheads fired for Hawaii and other US states and send the information to ground-based interceptor missile systems in Alaska, which will then try to shoot them down, the report said.
Experts have argued that a larger face would allow the radar to distinguish between warheads and decoys more precisely.
The news of comes fays after Trump and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, met in Singapore earlier this month and issued a declaration agreeing to “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
By William S. Lind
The latest cruise missile caracole aimed at Syria was militarily meaningless. A few empty buildings were destroyed, residents of Damascus and Homs lost a couple hours of sleep and honor was satisfied. The only thing missing was Handel’s Musick for the Royal Fireworks.
What was not trivial was that America once again fell into its besetting policy of sacrificing the strategic level to the tactical. Strategically, we need an alliance with Russia and we need to restore the state in Syria. When someone, probably not the Syrian government, launched a minor tactical attack that may or may not have used chemical weapons we immediately forgot our strategic goals and interests and fired off some missiles. This is the response of a spoiled child, not a serious nation.
As I have pointed out before, a rule of war is that a higher level trumps a lower. No matter how brilliant your tactical performance, if you lose operationally, you lose. You can win repeatedly at the tactical and operational levels, as Germany did in both World Wars, but if you lose strategically, you lose. It follows that one of the most elementary errors in statecraft is sacrificing a higher level to a lower. And the U.S. does it time and time again.
In this case, part of the reason for the idiocy was the dreaded words, “chemical weapons!” Chemical weapons, which used to be called poison gas, are now considered a “Weapon of Mass Destruction” like nuclear weapons. This is historical nonsense.
Really just the USA, with the UK, France, Russia and China as minor leaguers.
By Frank Jacobs
Despite talk of American decline, the U.S. still is the world’s only superpower – if by that you mean: the country with by far the biggest military footprint throughout the world.
These maps, produced at the end of last year by the Swiss Institute for Peace and Energy Research (SIPER), show the geographic distribution of foreign military bases for five countries with some of the largest defence budgets (1) in the world.
The United States spent $611 billion on its defence in 2016. According to this map, that kind of money buys you a military presence on every inhabited continent of the world. According to SIPER, the U.S. has 587 bases in a total of 42 other countries, in addition to 4,154 bases on its own territory, plus 114 bases in U.S. overseas territories.
In the Americas, it’s easier to list the countries where the U.S. military is not present: Belize, Nicaragua and Costa Rica in Central America; Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay in South America; and Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic (and, to be fair, most of the region’s island nations) in the Caribbean. And yes, despite the decades of hostility with Cuba, the U.S. does maintain a base there: Guantanamo.
Same thing for Europe: listing the countries without an American military presence is easier – and more instructive: Ireland, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Finland: all neutral countries, outside NATO. Serbia and Montenegro: the former enemy from the Yugoslav wars in the 1990s. And of course Russia, and its satellite Belarus. A few decades ago this would have sounded surreal, but there are now American troops in Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Albania.
In Africa, the American military has a presence across the entire north, from Morocco to Egypt (and including Libya); in a few west African nations, including Burkina Faso and Niger; and in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Remarkable: the cluster of countries in the Horn of Africa with U.S. military presence, from former no-go area Somalia all the way to war-torn South Sudan. Noticeable absence: central Africa.
Also: pretty much the entire Middle East, except Syria and Lebanon. And Iran, if you include that country in the region. But again in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. If you were China, would that not feel like a link in the chain of U.S. military encirclement? That chain also includes Australia, South East Asia – from Indonesia all the way up to Vietnam and Laos – the Philippines, South Korea and Japan.