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Tag: Tom Engelhardt


AFRICOM Goes to War on the Sly

At a recent Pentagon news conference, the AFRICOM commander assured reporters that the U.S. “has little forward presence” in Africa. Just days earlier, however, the men building that presence told a very different story to some of the biggest military engineering firms on the planet. And the story was of war.

Posted on Apr 14, 2014 READ MORE



Hijacking the American Plane of State

Isn’t there something strangely reassuring when your eyeballs are gripped by a “mystery” on the news that has no greater meaning and yet sweeps all else away?

Posted on Apr 3, 2014 READ MORE



Tomgram: In Memoriam: Jonathan Schell (1943-2014)

Jonathan Schell was in the early days of this century perhaps the only person who imagined that, in our future, lay an Arab Spring, an Occupy Movement and whatever-is-still-to-come.

Posted on Mar 31, 2014 READ MORE



Advice Too Secret to Ignore

Col. Manners answers questions on CIA practices, proper cyberwar behavior, and invasion etiquette.

Posted on Mar 20, 2014 READ MORE



A New World Order?

Increasingly, the unitary status of states is being called into question. Civil war, violence, and internecine struggles of various sorts are visibly on the rise. In many cases, state power seems to be draining away to no other state’s gain. So here’s one question: Where exactly is power located on our planet right now?

Posted on Mar 3, 2014 READ MORE



How a Thug State Operates

In the twenty-first century, the NSS has already generated hundreds of millions of documents that could not be read by an American without a security clearance. Of those, thanks to one man (via various journalists), we have had access to a tiny percentage of perhaps 1.7 million of them.

Posted on Feb 21, 2014 READ MORE



Ending the World the Human Way

Climate change isn’t the news and it isn’t a set of news stories. It’s the prospective end of all news. Think of it as the anti-news.

Posted on Feb 3, 2014 READ MORE



The Golden Age of Journalism?

Only in the years that shrank the screen to your desk, then your hand, now your pocket—and one day soon on your eyeglasses—did it became apparent that throughout the print era the newspaper had been misnamed.

Posted on Jan 23, 2014 READ MORE



Tsevis (CC BY-SA 2.0)

American Jihad 2014

Imagine what we call “national security” as, at heart, a proselytizing warrior religion. It has its holy orders, sacred, classified texts, dogma and warrior priests. It has seminaries, which we call think tanks. It is a monotheistic faith that broaches no alternatives to itself. And as with so many religions, its god is an eye in the sky, an all-seeing being who knows your secrets.

Posted on Jan 6, 2014 READ MORE



New York Post

‘Bride and Boom!’

The headline was spectacular, if you think killing people in distant lands is a blast and a half. Of course, you have to imagine that smirk line in giant black letters with a monstrous exclamation point covering most of the bottom third of the front page of the Murdoch-owned New York Post.

Posted on Dec 21, 2013 READ MORE



David C. Foster (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The American Way of Manners

Dear Col. Manners, In a recent New York Times piece, reporters James Risen and Laura Poitras describe the agency’s long-term goal as “being able to collect virtually everything available in the digital world.” Or as one of the NSA’s programs, Treasure Map, puts it: “any device, anywhere, all the time.” Doesn’t this strike you as overreach of a major sort?

Posted on Dec 2, 2013 READ MORE



kevin dooley (CC BY 2.0)

Boo!

Does what should be deeply disturbing, even apocalyptically terrifying, in the present moment strike many of us as the equivalent of so many movie-made terrors—shivers and fears produced in a world so far beyond us that we can do nothing about them?

Posted on Nov 25, 2013 READ MORE



Navicore (CC BY 2.0)

Mistaking Omniscience for Omnipotence

At the moment, Washington seems to be operating in a world in which the more you know about the secret lives of others, the less powerful you turn out to be.

Posted on Nov 14, 2013 READ MORE



smplstc (CC BY 2.0)

Always and Everywhere

The abiding defect of U.S. foreign policy? It’s isolationism, my friend: fostering war, impeding the spread of democracy and inhibiting trade and prosperity.

Posted on Oct 25, 2013 READ MORE



DVIDSHUB (CC BY 2.0)

Why Washington Can’t Stop

In terms of advanced and unchallenged military power, there has been nothing like the U.S. armed forces since the Mongols swept across Eurasia. No wonder American presidents now regularly use phrases like “the finest fighting force the world has ever known” to describe it.

Posted on Oct 24, 2013 READ MORE



Hossam el-Hamalawy ???? ???????? (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Business of America Is War

There is a new normal in America: our government may shut down, but our wars continue. Congress may not be able to pass a budget, but the U.S. military can still launch commando raids in Libya and Somalia, and the military-industrial complex can still dominate the world’s arms trade.

Posted on Oct 20, 2013 READ MORE



Beverly & Pack (CC BY 2.0)

The Etiquette of War and Surveillance

An old and knowledgeable friend, Colonel Manners (ret.), is ready to step into the void left by the Dear Abby column in the classic military newspaper Stars and Stripes. His assignment: to answer letters from Americans puzzled by the etiquette, manners, and language of the arcane national security world of Washington.

Posted on Oct 12, 2013 READ MORE



psd (CC BY 2.0)

(The Difficulty of) Looking at Climate Change

Though websites and print media may give us the news, they seldom give us the scale of the news or a real sense of the proportional importance of one thing compared to another. And proportion, scale, is the main news we need right now—maybe always.

Posted on Oct 10, 2013 READ MORE



The U.S. Army (CC BY 2.0)

Bragging Rights

Let’s be Americans, which means being exceptional, which also means being honest in ways inconceivable to the rest of humanity. So here’s the truth of it: the American exceptionalism sweepstakes really do matter. Here. A lot.

Posted on Sep 27, 2013 READ MORE



bark (CC BY 2.0)

Destroying the Right to Be Left Alone

While in these last months the NSA has cast a long, dark shadow over American privacy, don’t for a second imagine that it’s the only government agency systematically and often secretly intruding on our lives. A remarkable traffic jam of local, state, and federal government authorities turn out to be exploiting technology to wriggle into the most intimate crevices of our lives.

Posted on Sep 22, 2013 READ MORE



World Can't Wait (CC BY 2.0)

Letter to an Unknown Whistle-Blower

Dear Whistle-Blower: I don’t know who you are or what you do or how old you may be. I just know that you exist somewhere in our future as surely as does tomorrow or next year.

Posted on Sep 19, 2013 READ MORE



The National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center (CC BY 2.0)

Alone and Delusional on Planet Earth

In an increasingly phantasmagorical world, here’s my present fantasy of choice.

Posted on Sep 6, 2013 READ MORE



University of Massachusetts Press

Teenagers in Space

In the 1970s, those in a position to produce movies, TV shows, comics, novels, or memoirs about Vietnam were convinced that Americans felt badly enough without such reminders. It was simpler to consider the war film and war toy casualties of Vietnam than to create cultural products with the wrong heroes, victims, and villains.

Posted on Aug 16, 2013 READ MORE



University of Massachusetts Press

The Secret History of G.I. Joe

Joe, like much else in his era, was hardly what he seemed. Launched the year Lyndon Johnson ran for president as a peace candidate against Barry Goldwater while his administration was secretly planning the large-scale bombing of North Vietnam, Joe, too, was involved in a cover-up.

Posted on Aug 15, 2013 READ MORE



Jordan McCullough (CC BY 2.0)

The Third Carbon Age

Don’t imagine for a second that we’re headed for an age dominated by renewable energy. Instead, humanity is pioneering the third great carbon era, the Age of Unconventional Oil and Gas.

Posted on Aug 9, 2013 READ MORE



Tony Fischer Photography (CC BY 2.0)

I Only Regret That I Have But One Life to Give for My Country: Yours

Washington is now spy central. It surveils not just potential future enemies, but also its closest allies as if they were enemies. Increasingly, the structure built to do a significant part of that spying is aimed at Americans, too, and on a scale that is no less breathtaking.

Posted on Aug 8, 2013 READ MORE



Lars P. (CC BY 2.0)

Never Again Enough

The crucial question for Phoenix, for the Colorado, and for the greater part of the American West is this: How long will the water hold out?

Posted on Aug 1, 2013 READ MORE



hsingy (CC BY 2.0)

Now You See Him, Now You Don’t

After years in absentia, retired CIA operative Robert Seldon Lady reappeared out of nowhere on the border between Panama and Costa Rica. And then—poof!—he vanished a second time. Not another news story was heard here in the U.S.

Posted on Jul 29, 2013 READ MORE



WordRidden (CC BY 2.0)

Political Dreaming in the Twenty-First Century

All right, I confess: I have a dream. I bet you do, too. I bet yours, like mine, is of a far, far better world not only for yourself and your loved ones, but for everyone on this beleaguered planet of ours.

Posted on Jul 27, 2013 READ MORE



Abode of Chaos (CC BY 2.0)

How to Be a Rogue Superpower

From the time Edward Snowden’s first leaks came out, it was obvious he was in control of how much of the NSA’s secret world would be seen. But the Obama administration went after him anyway. No thought of future embarrassment stopped officials, nor possible resentments engendered by their heavy-handed pressure on numerous foreign governments.

Posted on Jul 17, 2013 READ MORE



Nebulon5 (CC BY 2.0)

Surveillance Blowback

For well over a century, what might be called “surveillance blowback” from America’s wars has ensured the creation of an ever more massive and omnipresent internal security and surveillance apparatus. Its future (though not ours) looks bright indeed.

Posted on Jul 16, 2013 READ MORE



CBP Photography (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Creating a Military-Industrial-Immigration Complex

Calling the border security act the Senate passed on June 27 “immigration reform” is like calling the National Security Agency’s expanding global surveillance system a domestic telecommunications upgrade. It’s really all about the country that the United States is becoming—one of the police and the policed.

Posted on Jul 11, 2013 READ MORE



Jagz Mario (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Dictionary of the Global War on You (GWOY)

The language we use to describe the world of the national security state is still largely stuck in the pre-9/11 era. No wonder, for example, it’s hard to begin to grasp the staggering size and changing nature of the world of secret surveillance that Edward Snowden’s recent revelations have allowed us a peek at.

Posted on Jul 3, 2013 READ MORE



ubquit23 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Edward Snowden’s Long Flight

As a State Department whistle-blower, I think a lot about Edward Snowden. I suspect we have a lot in common, though I’ve never had the slightest contact with him. Still, as he took his long flight from Hong Kong into the unknown, I couldn’t help feeling that he was thinking some of my thoughts, or I his. Here are five things that I imagine were on his mind as that plane took off.

Posted on Jul 2, 2013 READ MORE



Svadlifari (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The Wonderful American World of Informers and Agents Provocateurs

American high-tech surveillance is not the only kind around. There’s also the lower tech, up-close-and-personal kind that involves informers and sometimes government-instigated violence, which major news organizations have not put together in a way that gives us an overview of the phenomenon.

Posted on Jun 28, 2013 READ MORE



babasteve (CC BY 2.0)

The U.S. Military and the Unraveling of Africa

A careful examination of the security situation in Africa suggests that it is in the process of becoming Ground Zero for a veritable terror diaspora set in motion in the wake of 9/11 that has only accelerated in the Obama years. U.S. “stability” operations in Africa have increased, militancy has spread, insurgent groups have proliferated and the continent has become more unsettled.

Posted on Jun 19, 2013 READ MORE



Abode of Chaos (CC BY 2.0)

The Making of a Global Security State

The Edward Snowden revelations about NSA spying and just how far we’ve come in the building of a surveillance state have swept over us 24/7. When a flood sweeps you away, it’s always hard to find a little dry land to survey the extent and nature of the damage. Here’s my attempt to identify five urges essential to understanding the world Snowden has helped us glimpse.

Posted on Jun 18, 2013 READ MORE



Jacksoncam (CC BY 2.0)

Guilty Until Proved Innocent

A four-month hunger strike, mass force-feedings, and widespread media coverage have brought Guantanamo back into American consciousness. Still unnoticed and out of the news, however, is a comparable situation in the U.S. itself, involving a pattern of controversial terrorism trials that result in devastating prison sentences involving the harshest forms of solitary confinement.

Posted on Jun 12, 2013 READ MORE



Iglyspkng (CC BY-ND 2.0)

At World’s End and Back Again

On this sun-dappled afternoon, class of 2013, I want to make a suggestion. Take out your iPhone. Text a friend at a graduation ceremony elsewhere. Chat with your relatives. Amuse yourself. In the meantime, let me address a group with far less time than you, but perhaps a longer attention span at this particular moment—my own cohort.

Posted on Jun 6, 2013 READ MORE



bunky pickle (CC BY 2.0)

The Cold War Redux?

Did Washington just give Israel the green light for a future attack on Iran via an arms deal? Did Russia just signal its further support for Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime via an arms deal? Are the Russians, the Chinese, and the Americans all heightening regional tensions in Asia via arms deals?

Posted on May 30, 2013 READ MORE



Abode of Chaos (CC BY 2.0)

Terracide and the Terrarists: Destroying the Planet for Record Profits

We have a word for the conscious slaughter of a racial or ethnic group, and one for the conscious destruction of aspects of the environment. But we don’t have one for the conscious act of destroying the planet we live on. “Terracide,” from the Latin word for earth, has the right ring, given its similarity to the commonplace danger word of our era: terrorist.

Posted on May 23, 2013 READ MORE



loop_oh (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Too Soon to Tell: The Case for Hope, Continued

If you take the long view, you’ll see how startlingly, how unexpectedly but regularly things change. Not by magic, but by the incremental effect of countless acts of courage, love and commitment, the small drops that wear away stones and carve new landscapes, and sometimes by torrents of popular will that change the world suddenly.

Posted on May 21, 2013 READ MORE



1968 Dodge Charger R/T | Scott Crawford (CC BY-ND 2.0)

And Then There Was One

To this day, we’ve never quite taken in the moment when Soviet imperial rot unexpectedly—above all, to Washington—became imperial crash-and-burn. Left standing, the United States—the Cold War’s victor—seemed like an empire of everything under the sun. It was as if humanity had always been traveling toward this spot.

Posted on May 8, 2013 READ MORE



Jeff Vespa/WireImage

Truthdigger of the Week: Jeremy Scahill

With his new book “Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield,” Jeremy Scahill brings the last decade of the American government’s clandestine war making into the clearest possible focus.

Posted on Apr 27, 2013 READ MORE



ShironekoEuro (CC BY 2.0)

Is the Press Too Big to Fail?

When you think about the crisis of journalism, including the loss of advertising and the shriveled newsrooms—there were fewer newsroom employees in 2010 than in 1978, when records were first kept—also think of anesthetized watchdogs snoring on Wall Street while the Arctic ice cap melts.

Posted on Apr 25, 2013 READ MORE



Art ~ 4ThGlryOfGod (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Entering a Resource-Shock World

Two nightmare scenarios—a global scarcity of vital resources and the onset of extreme climate change—are already beginning to converge and in the coming decades are likely to produce a tidal wave of unrest, rebellion, competition and conflict.

Posted on Apr 22, 2013 READ MORE



David Barreda

Truthdigger of the Week: Tom Engelhardt

At least three times a week, there is one place online where readers can go for the most comprehensive coverage possible of the workings of American Empire.

Posted on Apr 20, 2013 READ MORE



milos milosevic (CC BY 2.0)

The Enemy-Industrial Complex

If you opened the American door marked “Enemy,” what would you find? As a start, scattered hundreds or, as the years have gone by, thousands of jihadis, mostly in the poorest backlands of the planet and with little ability to do anything to the United States.

Posted on Apr 16, 2013 READ MORE



Glyn Lowe Photoworks (CC BY-ND 2.0)

A Tax Day Plan for Righting the Republic

If we had a government capable of honoring the collective desire for more jobs, smaller deficits, more education funding, reduced reliance on fossil fuels and Medicare and Social Security benefits preserved, our future could be guaranteed at tax time in no time.

Posted on Apr 11, 2013 READ MORE



Elvert Barnes (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Keystone XL Pipeline: The ‘Stonewall’ of the Climate Movement?

Why take a look at the history of gay rights in the context of the climate struggle? Because the hardest part of the Keystone pipeline fight has been figuring out what to do about the Democrats.

Posted on Apr 9, 2013 READ MORE


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