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The Staggering, Semi-Secret, $70 Billion Annual U.S. Global Arms Business

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  • The United States continues to hold onto the number one role in the global arms trade, the White House does its part, the Pentagon greases the wheels, and the dollars roll in to profit-hungry U.S. weapons contractors.
  • Welcome to "Weapons R Us."
  • Related: Obama’s Wars and the Liberals Who Love Them

William Hartung, TomDispatch / AlterNet

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July 26, 2016 | When American firms dominate a global market worth more than $70 billion a year, you’d expect to hear about it.  Not so with the global arms trade.  It’s good for one or two stories a year in the mainstream media, usually when the annual statistics on the state of the business come out.

It’s not that no one writes about aspects of the arms trade. There are occasional pieces that, for example, take note of the impact of U.S. weapons transfers, including cluster bombs, to Saudi Arabia, or of the disastrousdispensation of weaponry to U.S. allies in Syria, or of foreign sales of the costly, controversial F-35 combat aircraft.  And once in a while, if a foreign leader meets with the president, U.S. arms sales to his or her country might generate an article or two. But the sheer size of the American arms trade, the politics that drive it, the companies that profit from it, and its devastating global impacts are rarely discussed, much less analyzed in any depth.

William Hartung is director, Arms and Security Project, Center for International Policy.

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Obama’s Wars and the Liberals Who Love Them, Adam Marletta, West End News 

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  • “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil,” Albert Einstein wrote, “but because of those who look on and do nothing.”
  • Uri Avnery | Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Bomb?

Free Thought Project / 'Murica look here / scontent-ord1-1.xx.fbcdn.net

Related: While We Obsessed over Melania, US Airstrikes Massacre Scores of Civilians in Syria

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How do police handle violence in countries where officers don’t carry guns?

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  • It doesn’t help that the law in the United States gives fairly wide scope for police violence. Under the European Convention of Human Rights, police can only shoot if it’s “absolutely necessary” in order to achieve a legitimate law enforcement purpose. Meanwhile, in the US, police officers can shoot if there’s reasonable” perception of a grave and imminent threat, which is a far more subjective standard.
  • Related: Video Shows How British Police React to a Teen with a Toy Gun — Putting US Cops to Shame
  • Related: Good Cops Turn In Their Own Officer After He’s Caught on Dashcam Beating Handcuffed Man

Olivia Goldhill, Quartz 

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Police don't need guns to be effective. (Reuters/ David Moir)

Another week, another police shooting in the United States. So far this year, 569 people have be killed by US police, according to The Guardian’s count. Police brutality is a horrific normality and, in more ways than one, black men being shot by police has become the modern-day equivalent of lynching.

But, of course, it doesn’t have to be this way. A police officer does not have to shoot to kill and, in several countries, a police officer does not even have to carry a gun. In Norway, Iceland, New Zealand, Britain, and Ireland, police officers generally do not carry firearms. In one of these countries, Iceland, it’s legal for citizens to carry guns—and there’s an estimated rate of 30 privately-owned guns per 100 people.

Olivia Goldhill is weekend writer for Quartz, with a focus on philosophy and psychology.

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Video Shows How British Police React to a Teen with a Toy Gun — Putting US Cops to Shame, Matt Agorist, Free Thought Project 

  • For the naysayers who think that this case is an isolated act of heroism, think again. The lack of deadly force is so common by police in European countries that it’s not only been documented multiple times, but it’s been caught on film multiple times.
  • It is high time this country looks closely at the way it trains its police force.
  • Related: How do police handle violence in countries where officers don’t carry guns?

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Good Cops Turn In Their Own Officer After He’s Caught on Dashcam Beating Handcuffed ManJustin Gardner, The Free Thought Project

  • While this handcuffed man’s actions may have been questionable, there are plenty of incidents during which cops stood by and watched their fellow cops beat non-violent, and even innocent individuals without saying anything. Good cops turning in the bad ones is a huge part of the solution to bridging the divide in America, and the officers who were unafraid of crossing the blue line deserve to be recognized.
  • Related: A Former Police Chief: Put Down the Big Stick

 

Our Leaders Perpetuating Violence in America

Time and time again, leaders like Obama warp the Constitution to fit their desires, regardless if right or wrong.  Either by actively promoting or by passively promoting though not reprimanding bad behavior, Obama is perpetuating violence in America— a virus spreading like wildfire across our country.

Amber Bogdanowicz, The Alternative Examiner

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http://thealternativeexaminer.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Violence-in-America.jpgViolence has run rampant across the US, lately, and it is perpetuated by our leaders.  The aim of this campaign and President Obama’s goal going into presidency is to end discrimination when in reality, the effort to lessen it has inversely increased it.

Fanning the flames and injecting toxic ideas into the citizens of America, Obama set a divide in the US with all his statements of disappointment in our “poor racial relations.”  Along with race, this includes transgender rights which has largely been a disaster.

Amber Bogdanowicz is a writer for The Alternative Examiner.

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Related:

From the Archives | The Bandwagon of Hate: America’s Cancer, Odysseus Ward, Angry Humanist

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So here I ask that each of us pull our heads out of those fluffy and, mostly white, clouds of privilege and see the world our choices have created. Stop supporting the status quo with silence and quick indictments of the disenfranchised. Stop changing the subject. Stop complaining about our hurt feelings. Stop listening to everyone except the people who are suffering. We either challenge the system and our long held perceptions of the people it harms or do nothing, and thus, contribute to the collapse.

 

 

While We Obsessed over Melania, US Airstrikes Massacre Scores of Civilians in Syria

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“There must be a prompt, independent, and transparent investigation to determine what happened, who was responsible, and how to avoid further needless loss of civilian life. Anyone responsible for violations of international humanitarian law must be brought to justice and victims and their families should receive full reparation,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, the interim deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa program for Amnesty International.

Tom Cahill, U.S. Uncut

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July 19, 2016 As many as 77 innocent people or more, including 11 children, were killed during US-led coalition airstrikes performed in Syria over this Monday and Tuesday.

According to Agence France-Presse (AFP), the US-led airstrike in Manbij, Syria targeted the group of civilians, mistakenly identifying them as ISIS-affiliated fighters. The number of those killed remains unclear, though AFP and the New York Times reported that 56 civilians were killed Monday and another 21 killed Tuesday. Dozens more have been wounded.

Tom Cahill is a writer for US Uncut based in the Pacific Northwest. He specializes in coverage of political, economic, and environmental news. 

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No More Fast-Track Firing At Veterans Affairs

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  • We are a broken nation that is supposedly flat broke while spending trillions without accountability of our own, creating unending wars in foreign countries and creating new disabled veterans we will refuse to help when the time comes.
  • If we do not turn this system around, shame on us for failing our …  veterans.
  • Related: How America’s Wars Came Home With the Troops

Benjamin Krause, DisabledVets.org

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June 20, 2016 | Veterans Affairs officials just announced they will no longer use the streamlined disciplinary powers because the White House refuses to enforce them.

Weren’t these the same powers signed into law by our president?

In an unusual turnabout, the same accountability powers President Barack Obama signed into law after being passed by Congress are now deemed unconstitutional by the Department of Justice. All the political congratulations in 2014 about the bill was apparently merely political theater at its finest.

Benjamin Krause, Founder of DisabledVets.org, is a lawyer, investigative reporter, and award-winning veterans advocate. He is author of the guide Voc Rehab Survival Guide for Veterans and writes every weekday on DisabledVets.org.

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How America’s Wars Came Home With the Troops, Ann Jones, the Nation

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  • Since 2002, veterans have been committing murder individually and in groups, killing family, friends, strangers and—in appalling numbers—themselves.
  • Related: Disabled Veterans Shatter the Myths of American Warfare

 

'You Cannot Use Military Force to Wipe Out Terrorism'

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  • But the problem is, as long as you’re doing the military, the others don’t work. You can’t be bombing people and at the same time think that you’re going to succeed at, quote, “persuading” them, which is one of the great things the Obama administration has talked about wanting to do, persuading them that ISIS is not their friend. Well, it might be easier to persuade them of that if you weren’t killing them. You know, it’s — there’s something illogical there.
  • Janine Jackson interviewed Phyllis Bennis about ISIS attacks for the July 8, 2016, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

Janine Jackson, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)

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http://fair.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/phyllis-bennis2.jpgPhyllis Bennis: “You can’t be bombing people and at the same time think that you’re going to succeed at ‘persuading’ them.

July 8, 2016 | Janine Jackson: Early in the morning of Sunday, July 3, a truck bomb exploded in a shopping district in Baghdad. Many of the more than 200 people killed were children shopping for new clothes for Eid Al-Fitr. The group ISIS claimed responsibility.

That was two days after militants claiming fealty to ISIS killed 22 people in Dhaka, Bangladesh, after an 11-hour siege on a cafe. It was five days after at least 42 people were killed in Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport. And it was the day before three separate bomb attacks across Saudi Arabia, including one in the holy city of Medina near a site sacred to Muslims, the mosque where the prophet Mohammed is believed to be buried.

Phyllis Bennis directs the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies. Her most recent book is Understanding ISIS and the New Global War on Terror. Find her article “From Paris to Istanbul: More War on Terror Means More Terrorist Attacks” on Foreign Policy in Focus. 

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How America’s Wars Came Home With the Troops

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Since 2002, veterans have been committing murder individually and in groups, killing family, friends, strangers and—in appalling numbers—themselves.

Ann Jones, the Nation

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https://www.thenation.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/ft_hood_shooting_april_3_2014_reuters_img_0.jpgSergeant First Class Erick Rodriguez stands guard at Fort Hood after Ivan Lopez’s shooting rampage in Texas on April 2, 2014. (Reuters/Erich Schlegel)

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/Editor%20Comment%20graphic_0.jpg Evergreen Digest Editor's Note: Sources are now being quoted to the effect that the shooter in the recent Dallas police massacre was an Afghanistan veteran.

April 17, 2014 | After an argument about a leave denied, Specialist Ivan Lopez pulled out a .45-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun and began a shooting spree at Fort Hood, America’s biggest stateside base, that left three soldiers dead and sixteen wounded. When he did so, he also pulled America’s fading wars out of the closet. This time, a Fort Hood mass killing, the second in four and a half years, was committed by a man who was neither a religious nor a political “extremist.” He seems to have been merely one of America’s injured and troubled veterans who now number in the hundreds of thousands.

Some 2.6 million men and women have been dispatched, often repeatedly, to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and according to a recent survey of veterans of those wars conducted by the Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly one-third say that their mental health is worse than it was before they left, and nearly half say the same of their physical condition. Almost half say they give way to sudden outbursts of anger. Only 12 percent of the surveyed veterans claim they are now “better” mentally or physically than they were before they went to war.

Ann Jones is a journalist and author whose works include Kabul in Winter (2006) and War Is Not Over When It’s Over (2010), both from Metropolitan Books. Her latest book is called They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return From America's Wars—The Untold Story (Dispatch Books).

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Disabled Veterans Shatter the Myths of American Warfare, Ann Jones, the Intercept

  • The military ambitions of the U.S. will not be restrained by the “true costs of war,” not even those exacted on the bodies of its soldiers.
  • A Trail of Tears

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