War mongering & profiteering

The Massive U.S. Arms Trade, Visualized One third of the world’s weapons come from the U.S.? This data scientist visualized the U.S. weapons trade. Here are the takeaways.

Robert Reich While we’re distracted by Trump’s lawless attempt to drag us into war with Iran, his administration is quietly trying to strip disability benefits from tens of thousands of Americans. The administration’s proposed rule change would charge the government with stricter oversight in determining whether disability insurance recipients still qualify as “disabled” after they have been awarded benefits. The rule change would increase the number and frequency of disability reviews, even though recipients already have to demonstrate their disability every few years to begin with.

Trump’s team estimates that the rule change would save an estimated $2 billion over a decade — but the increase in reviews would cost the government about $1.8 billion, completely negating any potential “savings”. Trump’s lackeys could not even come up with an excuse to kick thousands of people off of disability insurance, releasing a milquetoast statement indicating that they believe “there may be positive employment effects as a result of these proposed rules, although we cannot currently quantify them”. Another needlessly cruel proposal from the Trump administration, solely designed to target our most vulnerable citizens. These people are truly shameless.

Bernie on defense contractor salary

For 18 years, America has been at war in Afghanistan. As part of a government project to understand what went wrong, a federal agency interviewed more than 400 people who had a direct role in the conflict. In those interviews, generals, ambassadors, diplomats and other insiders offered firsthand accounts of the mistakes that have prolonged the war.

The full, unsparing remarks and the identities of many of those who made them have never been made public — until now. After a three-year legal battle, The Washington Post won release of more than 2,000 pages of “Lessons Learned” interviews conducted by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. Those interviews reveal there was no consensus on the war’s objectives, let alone how to end the conflict. https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/investigations/afghanistan-papers/documents-database/

Arms dealers flood war-torn Middle East with weapons and then lobby EU to militarize borders against refugees—profiting from both ends of conflict.

As Europe comes to terms with a Brexit vote fueled in large part by anti-immigrant hate-mongering, a new report exposes how war profiteers are influencing EU policy to make money from unending Middle East conflicts as well as the wave of refugees created by that same instability and violence.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/07/04/report-shows-how-war-profiteers-are-now-refugee-profiteers-too

For anyone with no understanding of what’s happening to Kurds right now, here’s a little (simplified) history lesson for you….

Kurds have been living on the land they call home now for thousands of years. After WW1 and the fall off the Ottoman Empire, the British and French promised Kurds they could continue to reside in those areas peacefully because they intended to create a country called Kurdistan. They went back on that promise and carved up the Kurdish homeland with the creation of some new countries, meaning that the Kurdistan was split between Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Syria.

All four of those countries have persecuted their Kurdish populations ever since. Turkey has committed the worst atrocities during that time, and up until recently, the Kurdish language, Kurdish names, and more were all banned. Turkey even refuses to call the people Kurds, and refers to them as “Mountain Turks” – a slur designed to brand Kurdish people as barbaric and uneducated.

Thousands of Kurds lost their lives during the 80s and 90s fighting against their Turkish oppressions, and yet the situation barely improved.

During the first Gulf War, the US encouraged Kurds to rise up against Saddam Hussein, but then failed to protect them when they did, resulting in thousands being murdered with chemical weapons.

Cue the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

When the US, UK and other Western countries invaded Iraq, Kurds fought alongside the allies, and against Saddam’s army. They managed to create an autonomous region in Iraq because of it. When ISIS began grabbing mass amounts of land in Iraq, the Kurds fought back with allied assistance and stamped them out.

When ISIS started taking land and murdering thousands in Syria, the Syrian President Assad ordered his army to leave the region and he left millions of Kurds there to die. They would have done too if it weren’t for the assistance of coalition air strikes and weapons that allowed them to push ISIS back and carve out another autonomous region in their homeland.

That region is Rojava. The people there live under a system called Democratic Confederalism which is based on workers’ rights, equality, feminism, and ecology. In principal, this version of democracy is far more democratic than any system used in a Western country today.

The Kurds didn’t want to team up with the US in Syria, they just didn’t want to die, and they were left with no option after being abandoned by Assad.

Now the US has abandoned the Kurds and left them to die too. They’re no longer “useful” and heaven forbid America is seen to be assisting a people who don’t bow to the international banking cartel, and are determined to live in a real democracy.

The US said it wanted to bring “democracy” to the Middle East, but not THAT sort of democracy.

Assad and Russia refuse to back Kurds now because they worked with the US instead of being murdered. And Turkey (the biggest oppressor of the Kurdish people, and the country that literally funded ISIS) has invaded their land with one of the largest armies in NATO with the intention of ethnic cleansing, genocide and freeing ISIS prisoners.

The Kurdish people just can’t win. Every major global power uses them when it suits their agenda, and then they feed them to the wolves.

The US won’t stand up for the Kurds. The Syrian Government won’t stand up for them, and neither will Iran or Russia. That is why every single person with a heart reading this must raise their voice now!

There’s an old Kurdish saying that goes: “NO FRIENDS BUT THE MOUNTAINS” Please show our Kurdish brothers and sisters that isn’t true. Do everything you can. I beg you. #RiseUp4Rojava

Written by Lee Brickley https://leebrickley.bandcamp.com/album/songs-for-rojava

Edit: Since writing this post, Kurds have been forced to reluctantly sign a deal with Assad that will mean Syrian troops move to the border to fight off the Turkish invasion. While this means fewer Kurds will die, it also essentially puts an end to the Kurdish autonomous region of Rojava Lee Brickley

Well-known Kurdish journalist and TV presenter Amanj Babani was assassinated on Wednesday evening in central Sulaymaniyah. http://www.basnews.com/index.php/en/news/kurdistan/554273?fbclid=IwAR3Tc9WbmCPGUa33yVdc9wIU6K7HvyORJ_e9VqsSv6kLCUHL5l9aENhYQN8#.Xad7OtdwEUM.facebook