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American War Policy: Kill Anything That Moves

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God Bless America
Book review - Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam, by Nick Turse

Nick Turse's Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam is not only one of the most important books ever written about the Vietnam conflict but provides readers with an unflinching account of the nature of modern industrial warfare. It captures, as few books on war do, the utter depravity of industrial violence - what the sociologist James William Gibson calls "technowar." It exposes the sickness of the hyper-masculine military culture, the intoxicating rush and addiction of violence, and the massive government spin machine that lies daily to a gullible public and uses tactics of intimidation, threats and smear campaigns to silence dissenters. Turse, finally, grasps that the trauma that plagues most combat veterans is a result not only of what they witnessed or endured, but what they did. This trauma, shame, guilt and self-revulsion push many combat veterans - whether from Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan - to escape into narcotic and alcoholic fogs or commit suicide. By the end of Turse's book, you understand why.

This is not the book Turse set out to write. He was, when his research began in June 2001, a graduate student looking at post-traumatic stress disorder among Vietnam veterans. An archivist at the U.S. National Archives asked Turse whether he thought witnessing war crimes could cause PTSD. He steered Turse to yellowing reports amassed by the Vietnam War Crimes Working Group. The group, set up in the wake of the My Lai massacre, was designed to investigate the hundreds of reports of torture, rape, kidnapping, forced displacement, beatings, arson, mutilation, executions and massacres carried out by U.S. troops. But the object of the group was not to discipline or to halt the abuses. It was, as Turse writes, "to ensure that the army would never again be caught off-guard by a major war crimes scandal." War crimes, for army investigators, were "an image management" problem. Those charged with war crimes were rarely punished. The numerous reports of atrocities collected by the Vietnam War Crimes Working Group were kept secret, and the eyewitnesses who reported war crimes were usually ignored, discredited or cowed into silence.

Nuke

U.S. vows to protect Seoul with nukes amid rising Korea tensions

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© AFP Photo/Jung Yeon-Je
US Air Force soldiers aim their weapons behind their vehicle during a drill as part of annual joint exercises with South Korea outside a US airbase in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, on March 14, 2013.
Every military resource the US has, including nuclear arms, will be available to its ally South Korea in the confrontation with its northern neighbor, US Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter pledged in Seoul.

"We remain steadfast to our commitment to extended deterrence offered by the US nuclear umbrella," Carter said after talks with South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-Jin.

"We'll ensure all of our resources will be available to our alliance," he was quoted as saying by Yonhap news agency. Carter is visiting South Korea as part of a four-nation tour of American allies in Asia, which also includes Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia.

The veiled threat comes amid heightened tensions in the Korean Peninsula, which started with Pyongyang's third nuclear test in February. North Korea detonated a nuclear device in defiance of the UN Security Council resolution banning it from developing nuclear weapons.

Bad Guys

Russia attacks U.S. missile defense plans, says no concessions possible

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© AFP Photo/Bulent Kilic
US soldiers stand near a Patriot missile system at a Turkish military base in Gaziantep on February 5, 2013.
The latest American steps to wrap up the missile defense project in Poland and to deploy additional interceptors in Alaska will not change Russia's position on the European AMD system, leading Russian officials have said.

"This is not a concession to Russia and we do not perceive it as such," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said commenting on the news that the United States had canceled the fourth stage of the deployment of the anti-missile system in Eastern Europe.

Last Friday US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced plans to deploy additional interceptors in Alaska in reply to the growing threats from North Korea. The move will come at the expense of wrapping up the missile defense program in Poland and Romania.

"I see no connection between Russia's objections to the deployment of the US missile defense system in Europe and the announcement made by the US defense secretary," Ryabkov said in an interview. "All aspects of strategic uncertainty, connected with the creation of the US and NATO missile defenses remain. Therefore, our objections also remain in force," the Russian diplomat noted.

Bomb

Somalia car bomb leaves 10 dead

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© Mohamed Abdiwahab/AFP/Getty Images
A woman near the site of the car bomb, in Mogadishu.
Blast meant for officials ended up killing members of public near presidential palace and national theatre, say police

A car bomb has exploded near the presidential palace in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, killing at least 10 people in a blast that appeared to target senior government officials, police say.

The suicide attacker detonated explosives while driving along a boulevard that runs between the palace and the national theatre, a route lined by tea rooms which were engulfed in fire moments after the blast on Monday, the senior police officer Abdiqadir Muhammad said. A public minibus driving along the road burst into flames.

"The suicide car bomber targeted a senior national security officer whose car was passing near the theatre," Muhammad told Reuters.

Vader

China warns U.S. over missile defence programme against North Korea

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© Reuters
South Korean and US navy ships take part in a military drill - which angered North Korea.
Beijing says American interference could only make matters worse in sabre-rattling between Seoul and Pyongyang

China has said that US plans to bolster missile defences in response to provocations by North Korea would only intensify antagonism, and urged Washington to act prudently.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Hong Lei, made the comments at a daily news briefing.

He said: "Actions such as strengthening anti-missile [defences] will intensify antagonism and will not be beneficial to finding a solution for the problem.

"China hopes the relevant country will proceed on the basis of peace and stability, adopt a responsible attitude and act prudently."

The Pentagon said the US had informed China, North Korea's neighbour and closest ally, of its decision to add more interceptors but declined to characterise Beijing's reaction.

The US defence secretary, Chuck Hagel, announced plans on Friday to bolster American missile defences in response to "irresponsible and reckless provocations" by North Korea, which has threatened a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the US.

Eye 1

MI6 and CIA were told before invasion that Iraq had no active WMD

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© Dominic Lipinski/PA
Tony Blair's claims about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction are challenged again in Monday's Panorama.
BBC's Panorama reveals fresh evidence that agencies dismissed intelligence from Iraqi foreign minister and spy chief

Fresh evidence is revealed today about how MI6 and the CIA were told through secret channels by Saddam Hussein's foreign minister and his head of intelligence that Iraq had no active weapons of mass destruction.

Tony Blair told parliament before the war that intelligence showed Iraq's nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programme was "active", "growing" and "up and running".

A special BBC Panorama programme tonight will reveal how British and US intelligence agencies were informed by top sources months before the invasion that Iraq had no active WMD programme, and that the information was not passed to subsequent inquiries.

It describes how Naji Sabri, Saddam's foreign minister, told the CIA's station chief in Paris at the time, Bill Murray, through an intermediary that Iraq had "virtually nothing" in terms of WMD.

Sabri said in a statement that the Panorama story was "totally fabricated".

Bad Guys

Suicide bombers target judicial complex in Peshawar, Pakistan

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At least three persons were killed when two suicide bombers attacked within the premises of the judicial complex in Peshawar on Monday.

Two attackers tried to enter the Judicial complex premises from the Jail road entrance where they were stopped by security.

One of the attackers was shot dead by security forces after he had hurled a hand grenade.

Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) personnel defused the explosive vest on the attacker.

The other attacker blew himself inside the complex.

Alarm Clock

Shocked by the "wealth grab" in Cyprus? This is just the beginning

cyprus weath grab
Today, lots of people woke up in shock and horror to what happened in Cyprus: a forced capital reallocation mandated by political elites under the guise of an "equity investment" in insolvent banks, which is really code for a "coercive, mandatory wealth tax." If less concerned about political correctness, one could say that what just happened was daylight robbery from savers to banks and the status quo. These same people may be even more shocked to learn that today's Cypriot "resolution" is merely the first of many such coercive interventions into personal wealth, first in Europe, and then everywhere else.

For the benefit of those people, we wish to point them to our article from September 2011, "The "Muddle Through" Has Failed: BCG Says "There May Be Only Painful Ways Out Of The Crisis", which predicted and explained all of this and much more. What else did the September BCG study conclude? Simply that such mandatory, coercive wealth tax is merely the beginning for a world in which there was some $21 trillion in excess debt as of 2009, a number which has since ballooned to over $30 trillion. And with inflation woefully late in appearing and "inflating away" said debt overhang, Europe first is finally moving to Plan B, and is using Cyrprus as its Guniea Pig.

Dollar Gold

The crazy theft of depositor savings in Cyprus could start a European bank run on Monday

Bank run in New York in 1933.
© Archives
Bank run in New York in 1933.
You can be forgiven for thinking that you don't need to give a hoot about what's going on in Cyprus this weekend.

After all, it's just a little island somewhere in the Mediterranean.

But what's going on in Cyprus could actually matter - not just to the rest of Europe, but to the rest of the world.

Here's the short version of what's happening:

Cyprus's banks, like many banks in Europe, are bankrupt.

Cyprus went to the Eurozone to get a bailout, the same way Ireland, Greece, and other European countries have.

The Eurozone powers-that-be gave Cyprus a bailout - but with a startling condition that has never before been imposed on any major banking system since the start of the global financial crisis in 2008.

Comment: The Washington Post agrees that today's Cyprus bailout could be the start of the next financial crisis.

Investment watch predicts
-Next, starting tonight and tomorrow, there will be bank runs in Spain and Italy. Possibly Portugal and Ireland as well, though their circumstances are different. I'd include Greece, but no one in Greece has any money to steal anymore. France may be affected too. If France sees ATM runs this weekend, things will be even worse than I predict

-Cyprus has an ordinary holiday on Monday. But if there are runs over the weekend, affected countries will also declare bank holidays.

-On Monday, European markets will get monkey-stomped. US Markets will open up down 2% or more. It gets uglier from there.
Zerohedge quotes German Commerzbank suggesting a 'wealth tax' in Italy will be next:
"A tax rate of 15% on financial assets would probably be enough to push the Italian government debt to below the critical level of 100% of gross domestic product." So there you have it, the 'new deal' in Europe, as we warned, is 'wealth taxes' and testing the "capacity of Cypriots" appears to be the strawman on what the public will take before social unrest becomes intolerable.



Che Guevara

Hugo Chavez and the Global Poverty Conspiracy

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London, February 2002. A tiny, dark and intense woman waited at the end of a lecture until I was alone, brought her face strangely close to mine and whispered, "President Chavez needs you. Right now. To Caracas. Right now. You must come to see him."

President Who? All I knew about this Hugo Chavez guy was that he was an Latin-American jefe, led a bungled coup and was filled with a lot of populist bullshit and a lot of oil.

And I also knew that no one at BBC Newsnight was going to blow the budget for me to fly to South America to talk about a nation that 92 percent of our viewers couldn't find on a map and wouldn't want to.

"Send me an email."

"There will be a coup. March 15."

"The Ides of March. I like that. Aren't there always coups down there?"

"They'll kill him, undo everything. He needs you to stop it, he wants to explain it to you because he knows you understand."

Actually, you'd be surprised at the amount I don't understand at all. "So talk."

She did - for four hours - and wore me down into submission. But back at Newsnight I looked like an idiot when March 15 came and went with just a little gunfire in Caracas.

Three weeks later, the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, was kidnapped and held hostage by the head of Venezuela's Chamber of Commerce. Suddenly the BBC had to get me on a plane.