Unknown soldiers: America’s secret, privatized army

Civil War, Threats

Unknown soldiers: America’s secret, privatized army

While many American policy makers believe that their country is ‘exceptional’ and thus shouldn’t have to follow long established laws, other governments see the precedents they set and act accordingly.

It’s been years since Newsweek has been a regular news source for large numbers of readers but it still occasionally produces good investigative reporting. In a long feature story titled “Inside the Military’sSecret Undercover Army” published in the magazine last month, William Arkin, author of a number of books on U.S. national security, revealed that the Pentagon and, even more alarmingly, private contractors working with it, have deployed thousands covert operatives at home and abroad. These covert programs are believed to have 60,000 operators, twice as many as the CIA.

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THE HELPLESS CRY OUT AS THE WORLD TURNS A BLIND EYE TO GENOCIDE

Genocide, Threats

THE HELPLESS CRY OUT AS THE WORLD TURNS A BLIND EYE TO GENOCIDE

Joseph Stalin, while just a commissar, once stated: “If only one man dies of hunger, that is a tragedy. If millions die, that’s only statistics.” As Soviet Union leader, Stalin created the Great Famine (the Holodomor) in Ukraine in which up to 10 million people starved to death, about 25,000 every day, in 19321933.

Frenchman Jean Rostand, in his 1939 book “Thoughts of a Biologist,” wrote, “Kill one man, and you are a murderer. Kill millions of men, and you are a conqueror. Kill them all, and you are a god.” Even before then, there has been no shortage of men seeking such deification. They have killed tens of millions of people and driven out millions more to foreign countries that do not want them to live in abject poverty.

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America’s Next Insurgency

Civil War, Threats

America’s Next Insurgency

Bleeding Kansas began with an eviction attempt. In late 1854, Jacob Branson, an abolitionist from Ohio, started trying to kick Franklin Coleman, a slavery proponent, off his property. Roughly a year later, Coleman ran into a friend of Branson’s at a local blacksmith’s shop. The friend berated Coleman for continuing to squat on the land and demanded that he desist. It’s not clear what, if anything, Coleman said in response. But it is clear what he did. As the friend walked away, Coleman took out a gun and killed him.

Fearing reprisal in what was a largely antislavery community, Coleman fled to a nearby town and turned himself in to a proslavery sheriff. That sheriff promptly freed him and then arrested Branson.

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Counter-Terrorism: Rocks Of Doom

Terrorism, Threats

Counter-Terrorism: Rocks Of Doom

In western Iraq (Anbar province), the Syrian border has turned into another contested area where high-tech sensors are very useful detecting hostile border crossers. American and Iraqi forces cooperate to monitor the border and in late 2020 the Americans suggested using hidden night-vision digital cameras that covertly detect anyone crossing at night and can either store images on an SD card or transmit the data to a UAV high overhead which can then use its more powerful sensors to track the border crossers to their destination.

The success of this technique led the Iraqis asking to expand the use of this tech as well as help replacing cameras discovered and removed or destroyed by smugglers, Islamic terrorists or even some civilians looking to make some money.

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The Politics of Stopping Pandemics

Disease, Threats

The Politics of Stopping Pandemics

Even before the COVID-19 crisis, global instability had caused a worrying rise in epidemics. Medical science alone won’t be able to turn the tide.

“Just a few years ago, many of us in the global health policy community were thrilled at the prospect of eliminating catastrophic infectious and tropical diseases,” Peter Hotez writes in his new book, “Preventing the Next Pandemic” (Johns Hopkins). He dates this high point of optimism to the start of 2015, when the success of vaccination campaigns had become dramatically evident. Polio, once endemic in more than a hundred countries, had been limited to three—Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Measles deaths were down by eighty per cent, from half a million children worldwide in 2000 to a fifth of that number.

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Seen from the sky: Polluted waters around the world

Ecology, Threats

Seen from the sky: Polluted waters around the world

About four billion people experience severe water shortages for at least one month a year, and around 1.6 billion people – almost a quarter of the world’s population – have problems accessing a clean, safe water supply, according to the United Nations.

While the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals call for water and sanitation for all by 2030, the world body says water scarcity is increasing and more than half the world’s population will be living in water-stressed regions by 2050.

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ISIS Forced Them Into Sexual Slavery. Finally, They’ve Reunited With Their Children.

Genocide, Threats

ISIS Forced Them Into Sexual Slavery. Finally, They’ve Reunited With Their Children.

Yazidi women freed from sexual slavery under ISIS were forced to give up their babies. Two years later, some are risking everything to get them back.

The nine young mothers rushed into the spartan offices of a Syrian border post, looking for the sons and daughters taken from them two years ago, children they thought they would never see again.

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Justinian’s Flea: Plague, Empire, and the Birth of Europe

Disease, Threats

Justinian’s Flea: Plague, Empire, and the Birth of Europe

The Emperor Justinian reunified Romes fractured empire by defeating the Goths and Vandals who had separated Italy, Spain, and North Africa from imperial rule. In his capital at Constantinople he built the world’s most beautiful building, married its most powerful empress, and wrote its most enduring legal code, seemingly restoring Rome’s fortunes for the next five hundred years.

Then, in the summer of 542, he encountered a flea. The ensuing outbreak of bubonic plague killed five thousand people a day in Constantinople and nearly killed Justinian himself.

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Merchant of Death: Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible

Proflieration

Merchant of Death: Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible

Two respected journalists tell the incredible story of Viktor Bout, the Russian weapons supplier whose global network has changed the way modern warfare is fought. Bout’s vast enterprise of guns, planes, and money has fueled internecine slaughter in Africa and aided both militant Islamic fanatics in Afghanistan and the American military in Iraq. This book combines spy thrills with crucial insights on the shortcomings of a U.S. foreign policy that fails to confront the lucrative and lethal arms trade that erodes global security.

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