Where are U.S. Special Operations forces and what are they doing?
In my latest article, I reveal — for the first time anywhere — the full extent of black ops deployments during 2013 and analyze the potential pitfalls of conducting a globalized secret war. Without a clear picture of where the U.S. military’s covert forces are operating and what they are doing, Americans may not even recognize the consequences of and blowback from our expanding secret wars as they wash over the world. But if history is any guide, they will be felt — from Southwest Asia to the Mahgreb, the Middle East to Central Africa, and, perhaps eventually, in the United States as well.
For the full story, see “The Special Ops Surge: America’s Secret War in 134 Countries”
The past guides us; the future needs us.
Martin Luther King studied Thoreau and Gandhi and put their ideas to work in the United States, while in 1952 the African National Congress and the young Nelson Mandela were collaborating with the South African Indian Congress on civil disobedience campaigns. You wish you could write Thoreau a letter about all this. He had no way of knowing that what he planted would still be bearing fruit 151 years after his death. But the past doesn’t need us. The past guides us; the future needs us.
The future for whistleblowers is grim. At a time not so far distant, when just about everything is digital, when much of the world’s Internet traffic flows directly through the United States or allied countries, or through the infrastructure of American companies abroad, when search engines can find just about anything online in fractions of a second, when the Patriot Act and secret rulings by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court make Google and similar tech giants tools of the national security state (assuming organizations like the NSA don’t simply take over the search business directly), and when the sophisticated technology can either block, alter, or delete digital material at the push of a button, the memory hole is no longer fiction.
Over the last year and a half, Wall Street hedge funds and private equity firms have quietly amassed an unprecedented rental empire, snapping up Queen Anne Victorians in Atlanta, brick-faced bungalows in Chicago, Spanish revivals in Phoenix. In total, these deep-pocketed investors have bought more than 200,000 cheap, mostly foreclosed houses in cities hardest hit by the economic meltdown. Wall Street’s foreclosure crisis, which began in late 2007 and forced more than 10 million people from their homes, has created a paradoxical problem. Millions of evicted Americans need a safe place to live, even as millions of vacant, bank-owned houses are blighting neighborhoods and spurring a rise in crime. Lucky for us, Wall Street has devised a solution: It’s going to rent these foreclosed houses back to us. In the process, it’s devised a new form of securitization that could cause this whole plan to blow up — again.
Laura Gottesdiener from her alarming new article, “The Empire Strikes Back: How Wall Street Has Turned Housing Into a Dangerous Get-Rich- Quick Scheme — Again” at TomDispatch
…you should wake up amazed every day of your life, because if I had told you in 1988 that, within three years, the Soviet satellite states would liberate themselves nonviolently and the Soviet Union would cease to exist, you would have thought I was crazy. If I had told you in 1990 that South America was on its way to liberating itself and becoming a continent of progressive and democratic experiments, you would have considered me delusional. If, in November 2010, I had told you that, within months, the autocrat Hosni Mubarak, who had dominated Egypt since 1981, would be overthrown by 18 days of popular uprisings, or that the dictators of Tunisia and Libya would be ousted, all in the same year, you would have institutionalized me. If I told you on September 16, 2011, that a bunch of kids sitting in a park in lower Manhattan would rock the country, you’d say I was beyond delusional. You would have, if you believed as the despairing do, that the future is invariably going to look like the present, only more so. It won’t.
I’m proud to have played a small role in publishing Ann Jones’ new book, They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars. It’s an absolutely amazing piece of reporting that takes you from the front lines in Afghanistan (where Jones was a 73-year-old embed) to hospitals there and in Germany and back to the USA, where veterans struggle to remake their shattered lives.
Andrew J. Bacevich, retired Army colonel and author of the recent New York Times bestseller Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country said of it: “Read this unsparing, scathingly direct, and gut-wrenching account — the war Washington doesn’t want you to see. Then see if you still believe that Americans ‘support the troops.’”
You can buy the book here and here.
A rave review of Ann Jones’ new book, They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars by David Swanson. I’m proud to have had a small role in bringing this book into being and urge you pick up a copy. It’s an absolutely amazing piece of reporting that takes you from the front lines in Afghanistan (where Jones was a 73-year-old embed) to hospitals there and in Germany, to ultimately, the USA, where veterans struggle to remake their shattered lives. Swanson calls the book “devastating” and says “Know a young person considering joining the military? Give them this book.” I couldn’t agree more!
You can buy the book here and here.
When you fight, you sometimes win; when you don’t, you always lose.
We live in a different world from that of the civil rights movement. Save perhaps for the spectacle of presidential elections, there’s no way for individual human beings to draw the same kind of focused and sustained attention they did back then. At the moment, you could make the three evening newscasts and the cover of Time (not Newsweek, alas) and still not connect with most people. Our focus is fragmented and segmented, which may be a boon or a problem, but mostly it’s just a fact. Our attention is dispersed.