Libya war based on lies


This video says about itself:

Libya War 2014: Government warplanes bomb Greek-operated oil tanker ARAEVO

5 January 2015

Libyan warplanes carried out a series of airstrikes on a Greek-operated oil tanker on Monday.

By Solomon Hughes in Britain:

Libya and the ‘stupid, stupid facts’

Just as Libya turns a very dark corner, with Isis setting up its bloody camp, comes news that the intervention which hurried the nation into chaos was based on a false prospectus.

The Washington Times has got hold of tapes of conversations between Saif Gadaffi and US officials from summer 2011.

Back then US secretary of state Hillary Clinton — the US equivalent of the foreign secretary — was lobbying hard for more intervention.

She argued that, faced with a revolution, Muammar Gadaffi’s government would launch a massacre of the rebels and their families, justifying Nato bombing.

But it turns out the US joint chiefs of staff distrusted Clinton so much they opened their own negotiations with people around Gadaffi. The talks show that the Pentagon did not believe this massacre was coming.

The Pentagon intermediary told Gadaffi’s government: “You should see these internal State Department reports … that go out to the Congress. They’re just full of stupid, stupid facts,”

The State Department was Clinton’s department. The “stupid, stupid facts” were the arguments for war.

The Pentagon’s intermediary told the Gadaffi government that the adviser to the chair of the joint chiefs of staff — the US’s highest ranking officer — “does not trust the reports that are coming out of the State Department and CIA, but there’s nothing he can do about it.”

The Pentagon’s negotiator told Gadaffi’s people that “I can tell you that the president is not getting accurate information, so at some point someone has to get accurate information to him,” suggesting other intermediaries for negotiations.

Lots of “cruise missile liberals” got overexcited and had a kind of Iraq flashback during the Libyan intervention, backing the bombing as some kind of “liberation.”

But, like Iraq, it was based on a false premise.

The Washington Times files make this case, but it was known at the time. I wrote a series of articles (again, for the Independent) based on conversations with Libyan government figures and intermediaries.

They were, in truth, shocked and surprised that Western governments that had been so friendly to Gadaffi had now turned 180 degrees and were rushing to war against him.

The Libyan government was suing for peace with the revolution.

It was looking for a deal to edge Gadaffi out of power and bring the rebels into government.

Ultimately the decision on any negotiations with the dictator’s regime had to be one for the Libyan rebels themselves. But Nato’s decision to start bombing wiped out any chance for compromise.

It did not, however, prepare the ground for a new Libya. Bombers can’t build anything, let alone a new society.

The bombing meant that neither Libyan group — rebel or government — had to try build a new consensus or create a national coalition.

Unsurprisingly the result is a dark, chaotic country which is fragmenting and creating space for Isis, just like Iraq.

Algiers — Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra reaffirmed Thursday in Algiers that military intervention in Libya and the supply of weapons to the conflicting parties will not promote the expected consensual solution: here.

CIA torturer now ‘interpreter’ at Guantanamo trial


This video by Channel 4 in Britain is called Torture -The Guantanamo Guidebook.

By Ed Hightower in the USA:

Interpreter for 9/11 defendants at Guantanamo Bay was a CIA agent

13 February 2015

On Monday, the military trials of five alleged 9/11 conspirators at Guantanamo Bay came to a temporary pause when it came to light that a court-appointed defense interpreter and linguist had previously worked at CIA “black sites” where the defendants had been detained and tortured.

According to the Associated Press, defendant Ramzi Binalshibh told the presiding judge that the interpreter seated next to him was someone that he and other defendants recognized from their earlier incarceration at secret CIA prisons before their transfer to the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Defense attorney Cheryl Bormann of Chicago represents Walid bin Attash, another 9/11 defendant who was present at the hearing Monday. She told the AP that Attash was “visibly shaken” to see an individual who “participated in his illegal torture” in the courtroom today.

“If this is part of the pattern of infiltration by government agencies into the defense teams, then the right people to be addressing this issue are not in the courtroom,” Bormann added.

Monday’s court proceedings were the first to take place since the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA’s torture of detainees at CIA and military facilities, including rectal feeding and other barbaric torture practices.

Four out of the five defendants at Monday’s hearing said that they were certain that the interpreter in question was present at the CIA detention site where they were held. Their lawyers suggested to the judge that the former CIA asset’s placement on the defense team was no accident, and they requested time to further investigate this.

On Tuesday, the Pentagon responded to the previous day’s revelations with an admission that the interpreter in question had in fact worked for the CIA.

“The member of the defense team referenced in previous hearings has in the past made readily available to prospective supervisors his prior work experience with the United States government, including with the CIA,” Pentagon spokesman Myles Caggins stated.

“The prosecution does not have any role in providing linguists to defense teams in military commission,” he added.

Defense attorney Bormann contradicted this claim in a statement to the AP, saying that the interpreters are part of a pool of linguists provided to the defense teams, and their resumes and backgrounds cannot be studied in detail.

“Now the question is what other infiltration has occurred and to what extent has it destroyed our ability to represent these men,” she said.

Further undermining Caggins’ claim was the statement by Jim Harrington, attorney for defendant Binalshibh, that the interpreter lied on his resume. Harrington told the Miami Herald on Tuesday evening that his team asked the interpreter whether he had “participated in any interrogation, questioning or done any work with respect to detainees. Any place. His resume denies it. It says he worked someplace else—Reston, Virginia, from 2002 to 2006.”

“We vetted him. He denied it,” Harrington said.

The fact that a CIA operative has found his way onto the defense team representing his former victims speaks volumes about the military commission process. Taken in context, the presence of a CIA spy on the defense team fits the show trial character of the proceedings as a whole, which have been discredited time and again by interference with the defendants’ right to counsel.

From the outset, the military tribunals against the 9/11 defendants were designed with two goals: first, to railroad the defendants into conviction by any means, including confessions extracted by torture; and second, to protect the gory details of US imperialist involvement with the Islamic fundamentalist terror groups that it arms and funds one day, and denounces, persecutes and destroys the next, depending on the foreign and domestic policy needs of the American ruling class at any given time.

Thus, the alleged conspirators in the terror attacks of 9/11—an event which has the hallmarks of US government involvement—were in many cases kidnapped from around the globe, held incommunicado and tortured, brought to Cuba for further torture and indefinite detention, and now face the death penalty in proceedings that make the secret court of Star Chamber seem equitable by comparison.

The commission is housed in a $12 million “Expeditionary Legal Complex,” where reporters sit behind soundproof glass, listening to the proceedings on a 40-second delay. A large red light bulb at the judge’s bench, seen in this video, illuminates when he or a security officer presses a button to mute the audio when the testimony may concern evidence of CIA torture or other “sensitive information.”

In January 2013, this muting device was activated without the judge’s say so, indicating that someone outside of the proceeding, and essentially above the law, can intervene and silence the audio feed at will. The Guardian later reported that this “outside” silencer was the CIA.

In February 2013, lawyers for the defendants complained of advanced surveillance devices in attorney-client meeting rooms hidden inside of phony smoke detectors. In April of that year, defense attorneys learned that some 500,000 internal emails had been seized by the Department of Defense.

In April 2014 Judge Pohl again put the proceedings on pause following revelations that the FBI had been secretly recruiting a member of the defense team’s security detail to be an informant. In fact, the CIA agent-turned-interpreter who was exposed at Monday’s hearing was serving as a replacement for an earlier interpreter who was also working with the FBI.

After allowing for the filing of motions on Tuesday, Judge Pohl denied defense motions to halt the case until further inquiry regarding the interpreter on Wednesday, saying that this was “premature.”

The uncovering of a CIA spy on the defense team underscores the sham character of the military commissions for the accused 9/11 conspirators. The defendants are systematically denied their Sixth Amendment right to an attorney, which is meaningless when attorney-client meetings are the subjects of surveillance. No attorney, no matter how skilled, can successfully represent a client who is being intimidated from having honest, open communication with his counsel.

These most recent developments in the proceedings, coming after the release of the Senate Intelligence Report on CIA torture, also highlight the terminal crisis of American democracy as a whole. Those who are accused of terrorism are tortured, indefinitely detained, intimidated and denied the right to counsel, while US government officials who invade countries, fund terrorism, institutionalize torture, and shred constitutional rights do not face so much as an indictment.

A FORMER Guantanamo detainee who was resettled in Uruguay appeared in neighbouring Argentina on Thursday wearing a prison-style orange jumpsuit and asked the country to grant asylum to detainees still held at the US concentration camp: here.

Guantánamo torturer previously led brutal Chicago police regime of shackling and confession: here.

A report in the Guardian has revealed that a leading interrogator at Guantanamo Bay had used torture to extract false confessions as a police detective in Chicago: here.

CIA whistleblower calls for prosecution of officials responsible for torture: here.

Former Gitmo Prisoner David Hicks Seeks Damages for Torture as Military Court Overturns Conviction: here.

After protracted legal action by former Guantanamo prisoner David Hicks, a US Military Commission Review has unanimously upheld the 39-year-old Australian citizen’s appeal against his bogus “providing material support for terrorism” conviction. The decision is yet another demonstration that the US-led “war on terror” and its associated crimes are built on lies: here.

Chelsea Manning will write for The Guardian


This video from the USA says about itself:

Ann Wright on Chelsea Manning Being Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison

23 August 2013

Ann Wright speaks to The Real News in an exclusive interview responding to Wikileaks Whistleblower Chelsea Manning being sentenced to 35 years in prison.

By Jackson Connor in the USA:

Chelsea Manning To Join The Guardian U.S. As Contributing Opinion Writer

02/10/2015 3:48 pm EST Updated: 1 hour ago

The Guardian U.S. has hired Chelsea Manning as a contributing opinion writer covering war, gender and freedom of information, Katharine Viner, the publication’s editor-in-chief, announced Tuesday via Twitter.

Currently serving a 35-year sentence in federal prison for supplying thousands of classified military documents to WikiLeaks, Manning — who was once known as Bradley — has written on such topics before. In December, she penned an essay for The Guardian titled “I am a transgender woman and the government is denying my civil rights,” and in June she wrote a piece for The New York Times blasting the U.S. government for keeping information from the American people.

“I believe that the current limits on press freedom and excessive government secrecy make it impossible for Americans to grasp fully what is happening in the wars we finance,” Manning wrote for The Times.

According to Politico, Manning will write her pieces for The Guardian U.S. from Fort Leavenworth prison in Kansas and will not be paid for her work.

Civilians killed in Pentagon’s re-started Iraq war


This video from the USA says about itself:

Iraq Reports Civilian Casualties in U.S. Airstrikes on ISIS

13 October 2014

Iraq has reported civilian casualties resulting from U.S. airstrikes targeting ISIS. According to the Los Angeles Times about 18 civilian casualties were found after a building was bombed in Euphrates river valley town, Hit. The U.S. military has denied that there is any evidence of the reported casualties. Are these casualties inevitable when carrying out airstrikes in highly populated areas? We discuss it, in this Lip News clip with Mark Sovel and Elliot Hill.

By Thomas Gaist in the USA:

US military admits civilian deaths in Mideast air war

8 January 2015

US airstrikes against targets in Iraq and Syria likely led to civilian deaths, US military officials with Central Command (CENTCOM) acknowledged Wednesday.

An internal investigation by CENTCOM into 18 cases of possible civilian deaths has already “dismissed” claims about civilian casualties resulting from 13 of the 18 strikes, yet five cases remain under investigation, according to the military. In an email to the New York Times from CENTCOM, a spokeswoman cited two cases specifically where civilian casualties “may have” occurred.

US warplanes have bombed 3,222 targets inside Iraq and Syria, according to an official Pentagon announcement Wednesday. “I’m confident that the destruction level is high,” said Pentagon spokesman Army Colonel Steve Warren.

The official admissions cast further doubt on previous claims made by General James Terry, a top US commander in the new war, that the US raids did not produce any civilian casualties. “We have some great capability in terms of precision… I am tracking no civilian casualties,” Terry claimed in mid-December.

The claims of the US military had already been challenged in October of last year when the Syrian Organization for Human Rights found that US airstrikes had killed at least 32 civilians.

The US air campaign, which is supported by a coalition of governments including Great Britain, France, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia and Canada as well as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, UAE and Bahrain, began in August, and was expanded to target forces inside Syria in September.

In statements Tuesday, US Admiral John Kirby defended the dismissal of 13 possible cases of civilian casualties in US airstrikes without giving any concrete explanation.

Also Tuesday, Admiral Kirby announced that the US would begin new efforts to train fighting groups for the war against the Assad regime in Syria. The training will apparently be conducted from sites inside Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. US Special Forces General Michael Nagata is currently combing through existing Syrian rebel units in an effort to recruit fighters to the new training programs, according to the Times.

The Obama administration claims that the bombing campaign is intended to weaken and destroy the militant group Islamic State, which has taken control over portions of Iraq and Syria. Through this intervention, the US ruling elite is seeking to reassert its domination over Iraqi politics while preparing new efforts to overthrow the Assad regime in Syria.

Is it really possible that the US military could avoid causing civilian casualties while launching more than 3,200 strikes that, according to the Pentagon’s own statistics, destroyed at least 980 buildings? When it comes to assessing the number of civilian deaths produced by the American war machine, it would be foolish to take the US military at its word.

During the current bombing of Iraq and Syria, the US military has generally launched strikes without forward-deployed spotters to visually assess targets beforehand. Instead, strikes have been directed by US and Iraqi troops stationed at command and control facilities in Baghdad and Irbil.

Despite the barrage of airstrikes, targeting IS-controlled oil refineries, tanks and vehicle convoys, IS still controls Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq.

For decades, the US government has consistently sought to conceal and downplay the true extent of the mass slaughter carried out by its military against populations overseas. Despite claims about “precision munitions,” however, ample evidence shows that the US military has used its advanced weaponry to murder countless civilians in recent years through a steadily expanding global reign of terror across the Middle East and Africa.

One recent Human Rights Watch report found that fully 69 percent of the drone strike victims were civilians.

Reporting on a series of 13 drone strikes against the town of Miramshah in Northern Pakistan, the New York Times noted in 2013 that the attacks “mostly occur in densely populated neighborhoods.”

The Pakistani government released statistics in 2009 showing that in the course of 44 drone strikes against targets in the tribal regions of the country, the US killed five intended targets and some 710 innocent civilians. In its effort to kill a single Taliban leader, the CIA launched 16 failed strikes, killing more than 300 civilians in the process, according to some reports.

Some 350 US drone strikes killed as many as 900 civilians in Pakistan during the years 2004-2013, according to a source cited by an Amnesty International report, “Will I be Next? US Drone Strikes in Pakistan.”

The Amnesty report presented damning evidence that the US intentionally launches attacks when civilians are known to be present, including “double tap” follow-up strikes launched to kill rescue and recovery workers who have gathered to deal with the dead and the wounded from an initial strike.

Reports have shown that the US military and CIA possess their own “kill lists.” Under the Obama administration, the adoption of the “Disposition Matrix”—a system for orchestrating and integrating the US government’s worldwide assassination programs, reportedly designed largely by CIA Director John Brennan in his previous position as White House counterterrorism chief—has made extralegal murder a permanent and central function of the executive branch.

Far from seeking to avoid “civilian casualties,” as the military leadership claims, the mass slaughter of noncombatants is one of the main goals of US imperialist policy. By continually demonstrating their readiness to kill civilians, US military planners and their employers at the Pentagon and on Wall Street aim to terrorize masses of people into submission to US imperialism.

President Obama will send Congress a draft resolution to authorize war against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) “in the near future,” congressional leaders said after a meeting at the White House January 13. The resolution would provide the legal basis for the war that Obama launched in August, with air strikes against ISIS targets in Iraq, which were extended to Syria a month later: here.

US Secretary of State John Kerry joined 20 of the 60 or so “coalition” states in London on Thursday in crisis talks over the offensive by the Sunni militants of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS): here.

2015 and the rising tide of war: here.

Pentagon wars in scores of countries


United States armed forces around the world

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

The global scale of US militarism

3 January 2015

Last month President Obama dispatched a formal letter to the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, listing a series of countries where US troops were or have been engaged in military operations during 2014. The preamble explains that the document is “consistent with the War Powers Resolution (Public Law 93-148), as part of my efforts to keep the Congress informed about deployments of U.S. Armed Forces equipped for combat.”

The War Powers Resolution was enacted by Congress in 1973, in the aftermath of the US withdrawal from Vietnam, and over the veto of President Richard Nixon, to require the president to keep the legislative branch regularly appraised of military operations that were being conducted without a congressional declaration of war.

Obama’s letter outlines a series of military operations in 2014, some completed, some ongoing, that go far beyond what is generally reported in the American media, which is generally limited to news of Afghanistan, the Iraq-Syria conflict (albeit very little) and occasional reports of drone missile strikes.

Not a single major US newspaper reported the issuance of the letter, titled, “Six Month Consolidated War Powers Resolution Report,” although it was released by the White House Press Office December 11 and is available on the White House web site.

If one combines the operations reported in this letter with published reports about the deployment of US troops in supposed noncombat situations, as well as joint military exercises with NATO countries and other US allies, it is possible to present a picture of the vast worldwide scope of US military activities in the course of last year.

The map presented here shows the countries where US forces are deployed in four of the six regional theaters of operations for the US military (all but the Northern and Southern Commands, which cover the Western hemisphere).

The White House letter to Congress declares that as part of operations against Al Qaeda and associated forces, “the United States has deployed combat-equipped forces to a number of locations in the U.S. Central, Pacific, European, Southern, and Africa Command areas of operation.”

The Obama administration thus maintains in full the pretext for global deployment of US military power, the “war on terror” first declared by George W. Bush in 2001. There is, of course, no acknowledgement that in several countries, notably Libya and Syria, Al Qaeda is not the enemy but a key ally in US efforts to overthrow the regimes of Muammar Gaddafi (murdered in 2011) and Bashar al-Assad (who would face a similar fate in the event of victory of the US-backed “rebels”).

The Obama letter continues: “It is not possible to know at this time the precise scope or the duration of the deployments of US Armed Forces necessary to counter this terrorist threat to the United States.” In other words, the Obama administration, like its predecessor, has declared war on the world, reserving the right to send US military forces anywhere, anytime, regardless of any decision by Congress, let alone the wishes of the American people.

The letter devotes its main focus to the areas of responsibility of the US Central Command and US Africa Command, the first comprising the Middle East and Central Asia from Israel to Pakistan, the second comprising the entire African continent.

US Central Command

The Central Command has run US military operations in Afghanistan from 2001 to the present, in Iraq from 2003 to 2011, and again in Iraq and Syria from August 2014 on. At least 10,600 US troops remain in Afghanistan, despite the formal end of Operation Enduring Freedom, the official title of the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan begun by Bush and continued by Obama.

Under a Memorandum of Understanding with the US-backed puppet government of Afghanistan, all Afghan prisoners of US forces have been transferred to Afghan custody, and new Afghan detainees are to be transferred within 96 hours of capture. However, the letter informs Congress, “United States forces in Afghanistan continue to detain a small number of third-country nationals under the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40), as informed by the law of war.”

Translated into plain language, this means that US forces continue to imprison and interrogate (i.e., torture) an unspecified number of non-Afghan prisoners in military facilities in Afghanistan, where they are outside any legal regimen, whether Afghan, American or international.

The other main theater of operations for Central Command is the newly launched US war in Iraq and Syria, nominally against the Islamic fundamentalist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Some 3,100 US troops are deployed in Iraq, and warplanes from the US, several NATO countries, and the Persian Gulf sheikdoms have bombed ISIS and Al Nusra Front targets in Syria. The long-term goal of the US intervention is to overthrow the Assad regime in Syria, while blocking the growing influence of Iran in Shiite-ruled Iraq.

For the first time, the US military is directly training and equipping Kurdish Peshmerga forces, which are currently fighting ISIS, but could turn against Baghdad, to fight in support of an independent Kurdistan.

Other countries within the Central Command area of operations include:

Yemen, the target of frequent drone strikes against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), similar to those that killed three American citizens in 2011. The Obama letter declares: “The US military has also been working closely with the Government of Yemen,” without noting that that government is no longer in control of its own capital, having been displaced by rebel forces opposed to both the government and Al Qaeda. An unspecified number of US military personnel are on the ground in Yemen for “security” at the US embassy. Further US military engagement in Yemen could quickly become as complex as the current intervention in Syria’s multisided civil war.

Jordan, where the US has deployed “Patriot missile systems, fighter aircraft, and related support, command, control, and communications personnel and systems” at the invitation of the US puppet regime of King Abdullah, including 1,700 American troops.

• The Gulf monarchies: there are 2,500 US troops in Kuwait, a US air base in Qatar, the headquarters of the US Fifth Fleet in Bahrain, and 2,000 US military personnel at Eskan Village Air Base in Saudi Arabia. US warplanes and warships also have the use of bases in Oman and the United Arab Emirates. None of these are currently classified as combat operations, so they are not mentioned in the White House letter. The precise base locations are detailed here, in a 2012 Al Jazeera graphic.

Egypt: On the border with Israel, about 700 US military personnel are in the Sinai desert, monitoring Egyptian compliance with the 1977 Camp David Accords, which provided for Israeli return of the territory to Egypt, and a largely demilitarized Egyptian presence in the region.

US Africa Command

The US Africa Command (Africom) has the fastest-growing field of operations. Before Obama took office, Africom had an office in Stuttgart, Germany, because no African country would allow it to locate on its territory, and US troops were based in Djibouti, the former French Somaliland, and conducted operations in Somalia.

Under Obama, Africom played a key role in the US-NATO war against Libya in 2011, and US forces have returned to Libya on several occasions, most recently to evacuate the US embassy from Tripoli last summer (this entailed combat deployments in both Libya and neighboring Tunisia).

According to Obama’s notification to Congress, there are 200 US military personnel in Niger who “continue to provide support for intelligence collection and to facilitate intelligence sharing with French forces conducting operations in the Sahel and with other partners in the region.” There are also US military personnel in Chad detailed to “security cooperation activities.”

Somalia is a major target of US military operations, including both drone missile strikes, such as those that killed Ahmed Godane and Tahliil Abdishakur, two top leaders of the Al Shabab Islamist militia.

The Obama administration deployed US military personnel to several countries in central and east Africa in 2011, on the pretext of seeking to apprehend Joseph Kony and other leaders of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a guerrilla group active in Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

As many as 300 US military personnel are still engaged in anti-Kony operations in this region, Obama told Congress, but all details about locations and activities were relegated to a classified annex of the December 11 letter. The map assumes that US military personnel operate in all the countries targeted as locations of the LRA. There was a separate deployment of US troops to the Central African Republic as a response to the collapse of the central government and a series of ethnic/tribal massacres in the capital city, Bangui, and other towns.

The most recent deployment of US Africom troops is the 3,000 sent to Liberia, in West Africa, to build healthcare facilities for treating patients in the ongoing Ebola epidemic. All three former colonial powers in the tri-country region affected by the epidemic have used the crisis to send in military forces: British troops in Sierra Leone, French troops in Guinea, and US troops in Liberia. The Obama administration hopes eventually to establish the headquarters of Africom in Liberia.

US European Command

The US European Command coincides with NATO, always commanded by an American general, and included joint operations with the 24 NATO member nations in Europe, as well as three former Yugoslav republics, Bosnia, Montenegro and Macedonia, which are candidates for future NATO membership.

The European Command also controls operations in Kosovo, the breakaway region of Serbia whose independence has been recognized by most but not all of the EU countries and by the United States. The NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) was rubber-stamped by the UN Security Council after the illegal NATO war against Serbia in 1999 that led to the creation of an independent Kosovo. There are 700 US military personnel in Kosovo as part of a force of nearly 5,000 NATO troops.

NATO forces have carried out a series of exercises in Ukraine as well as supplying military equipment to the right-wing regime established in early 2014 by a political coup backed by the United States and Germany. Last month the Ukrainian parliament voted to scrap the country’s nonaligned status, the first step towards applying to join NATO. US military personnel have operated in both Ukraine and Georgia as part of exercises with anti-Russian regimes in the two countries.

An 11-page fact sheet issued in November by the European Command details the virtually continuous series of air, sea and ground exercises conducted by NATO forces and joined by most of the non-NATO countries in the region, including Sweden, Finland, Serbia, Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. Romania, Poland and the Baltic states were the main focus of these activities, as part of the US-NATO buildup in the course of the Ukraine crisis.

US Pacific Command

Not listed under “combat-equipped forces,” although by far the most formidable US military deployment is the Pacific Command, which operates throughout the Asia/Pacific region with headquarters in Hawaii and large troop deployments in Japan and South Korea, including nuclear-armed units.

Under Obama’s “pivot to Asia,” the Pacific Command will account for more than 60 percent of all US military forces, up from 50 percent under the Bush administration. This includes new US basing arrangements in the Philippines, Singapore and Australia, as well as renewed close military ties to New Zealand, and ongoing US military exercises in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan.

Arming and training foreign military and police forces is serious business. The principal goal of these programs is to bolster allies and promote stability. But this form of assistance too often fails to meet its objectives. Done poorly, it can fuel conflicts, enable human rights abuses, and draw the United States into unnecessary wars. Unfortunately, U.S. military aid programs perform poorly far too often, and they are growing rapidly without adequate congressional or public scrutiny: here.

Five reasons congress should reject Obama’s ISIS war. The Obama administration wants a rubber stamp on its unwise, unlimited, and unauthorized new war in the Middle East. It shouldn’t get it: here.