em·pire
ˈemˌpī(ə)r/
noun
an extensive operation or sphere of activity controlled by one person or group

One group today has more foreign military bases than any other in world history, spends more on violence and domination than the rest of the world combined, and has overthrown or attempted to overthrow some 60 governments, most of them democracies.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Large Portion of Israeli Settlers in Palestine are US Citizens

Native journalist Zebula Hebert told me that, in the Israeli colonization of Palestine, he sees “the United States’ genocide against American Indians. Gaza and the West Bank are two big reservations…”

A new study out of Oxford University further reveals that this statement is more literal than symbolic, finding that 15% of Israeli settlers illegally living in Palestine are US citizens; see IB Times. (Of Israelis overall, only 2% are US citizens.)

Though law on the issue is unambiguous and every authoritative body agrees Israeli settlements are war crimes, the Israeli government entices the settlers, many of whom are religious extremists needing no enticement, through subsidies, and the US subsidizes Israel with nearly $4 billion per year, in addition to lethal weapons transfers and other forms of support, such as blocking (virtually alone in the world) all UN resolutions condemning the settlements. Israel is the largest foreign recipient of US aid, and Obama has raised the level of aid after each of Israel’s three major massacres against Gaza since he took office, even though Israel is a super-rich nuclear state already armed to the teeth.

Robert Fantina points out that while “the average cost of tuition to earn a bachelor’s degree [in Israel] is $2,537.00 in U.S. dollars … [i]n the U.S., the average tuition for a bachelor’s degree is $29,408.00.”

Apparently, the US prioritizes even the war crime of colonization over the education of its own citizenry. But, considering analyst Finian Cunningham’s point that the “weaponization of ignorance” is one of the deadliest arrows in the US quiver, and that the US itself is the largest remaining settler-colonial society, still repressing the native populations and selling off their land for resource extraction, this shouldn’t confuse.

Author focuses on force dynamics, national and global. @_DirtyTruths

Thursday, August 27, 2015

First State Approves Drones with Rubber Bullets, Tasers, Pepper Spray, Tear Gas, Sound Cannons for Domestic Use

North Dakota has become the first state to approve government use of drones equipped with “less than lethal weapons”, including “rubber bullets, pepper spray, tear gas, sound cannons, and Tasers”.

The bill passsed largely due to the inherent corruption of the US political system, as the wording was modified to allow for weaponized drones and approved "thanks to a last-minute push by a ... lobbyist representing law enforcement—tight with a booming drone industry".

The Republican who originally proposed the bill had written it to ban all weaponization of drones, and he was dismayed that it was ultimately allowed to pass in a form that allowed non-lethal weaponization.

Police claim the drones will only be used in “non-criminal” situations, such as surveilance, but did not mention that they have already been used in at least one criminal situation, or that the claim is dubious at best given the ultra-militarized and brutal state of policing in the US, which many, particularly those in ethnic minority groups, liken to military occupation.

A police deputy, explaining why he opposed requiring search warrants for use of drones, told Daily Beast that “you don’t want things that would potentially have a chilling effect on [drone] manufacturers”.

“It’s really all about the commercial development,” said Republican rep. Gary Paur.

As Daily Beast puts it, “In other words, limit civil liberties so Big Drone can spread its wings.”

Of course, there is a bit more to it than that, as numerous US crackdowns on pro-democracy protesters, including mass arrests of civilians and journalists, demonstrate.

@_DirtyTruths

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Visual of Global Military Expenditures



How did the US propel itself so far ahead, to the point that it could, alone, comprise about half of global military spending?

Professor of history at Cornell University: “The idea that the commodification and suffering and forced labor of African-Americans is what made the United States powerful and rich is not an idea that people necessarily are happy to hear. Yet it is the truth.”

Even divided in half, the two halves of the US would still be tied for the lead in global military spending, 89 billion dollars each ahead of the number two spender, China.

Also notice how North Korea’s spending is represented by a pin-prick dot above South Korea, and that Iran’s budget is not high enough even to be given a number on the chart (it was under 10 billion in 2009).

It would take 16 billion dollars to clean up the un-exploded bombs the US left in Laos, which continue to kill thousands of people, mostly children. But the US won’t pay it.

@_DirtyTruths