We Can Change Our Wicked Problems!

Empire and Its Agents

Empire

U.S. citizens don’t all consciously acknowledge U.S. empire building, but the U.S. has been building empire throughout its existence.  Initially, it was through conquering, acquiring and controlling the land occupied by its States, waging mostly undeclared war on Native Americans and stealing their lands, waging wars on England, Spain and Mexico, purchasing land from France, England, Mexico and Russia, and taking Hawaii from its natives.  That alone made the U.S. a large, wealthy and influential empire. 

It also acquired its Territories:  American Samoa, Guam, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands; and its Freely Associated States:  Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and Republic of Palau.[1]

The U.S. also undertakes more subtle empire building, with less overt military conquering, and more behind the scenes influence and confederate building.  It works to get other nations to adopt its culture and structures, put cooperative people in power, and exert a form of economic imperialism.  The U.S. empire abroad is perhaps more an economic empire on behalf of wealthy and powerful business elite?  It creates conditions abroad they can exploit for gain.  The U.S. power elite is already taking much of the U.S. wealth and power.  To continue their growth, they must expand exploitation beyond U.S. borders?

All empires collapse.  It seems a law of nature?  The U.S. empire is showing signs of impending collapse.  Its people are spoiled, fragmented, disillusioned, indebted, suffering, ignorant, divided and dissatisfied?  Its government and institutions are corrupt?  Its spirit is dampened?  Its reputation suffers?  Its cities are overburdened?  Its wealth distribution is unsustainably unfair, and the people know it?  Blame abounds?  Its media is full of squabbling, to the inaudible soundtrack of Nero fiddling.  U.S. empire is decaying, slowly falling apart from the inside.  Many of its elite are planning for that, preparing to ride out the storm in luxury underground bunkers and private islands.[2]  That doesn’t feel very good, does it?

Foreign Policy

U.S. foreign policy is now, essentially, get the rest of the world to do what the U.S. power elite wants.  More for US!  Meddle and interfere with whatever is necessary.  Make the world the way our wealthy and powerful want, so they can exploit it all.  Use our enormous military as a carrot, or stick, as needed.  It’s OK to be ignorant of and insensitive to other cultures, governments, environments, people, or anything else in the process?  The U.S. is the only real superpower?  Abuse that power as necessary!  Build empire, empire that benefits the wealthy! 

Historically, that was mostly done with appearances of dignity, hiding behind idealistic rationales, spreading democracy, promoting human rights, appearing to help others, using moral standing.  Now, it’s “screw ‘em.”  Based on its own internal performance as a civilization, the U.S. has little real, current, moral credibility any more, except as leftovers from earlier times?  We don’t even pretend any more?

Meanwhile, in the U.S., a concerted effort showcases problems outside the U.S. in the news and media, so we can maintain our false, fairytale mythology that we are better than the rest of the world and pretend sources of problems are outside of our borders, rather than inside our country or our citizens?  That feels bad?  It defies common sense, because it is misdirection and scapegoating.  This is opinion?  Circle back to this after you reach the end of the chapter, and section, and see what you think then!

 
 

Wars and Interventions

 

Many of us like to think of the U.S. and its people as fair, moral, good and nonviolent, except in defense.  That feels good.  Yet, the U.S. has an extraordinary record of war and violence to achieve its desires.

  • Native American (AKA The 500 Year) Wars (1492-Present) - We committed systematic genocide on Native Americans, killing 1-100 million, 90% of their populations, 573 nations,[3] with 300-500 languages.  We murdered whole villages of men, women and children, and used biological war, giving natives blankets infected with Smallpox, justifying the murders, because victims weren’t Christian “souls.”  Westerners stole the Americas from Native Americans, ruthlessly lying to, betraying, infecting, killing and relocating them to lands we didn’t think we could exploit.[4] [5]  We also committed genocide on the American bison.  Thousands of U.S. settlers and soldiers died.

  • American Revolution (1775-1783) - U.S. colonies (became terrorists? and) rebelled against Great Britain, over self-determination and -rule, including freedom from taxes and monetary control.  4,435 died and 6,188 were wounded on the U.S.[6] and 25,000 died on the British side.[7]

  • The Quasi-War (1798-1800) – France was our Revolutionary War ally.  The French Revolution, inspired by the U.S., overthrew its monarchy.  Among other things, this war was over the U.S. not paying back its Revolutionary War debts to France and choosing trade with Britain over France.[8]  It was authorized by Congressional statute, not a war declaration, with battles at sea and on land, including in the Dominican Republic.  Hundreds to thousands died.[9]

  • 1st and 2nd Barbary Wars (1801-05 and 1815-1816) – These were fought over a practice of piracy in Northern Africa, which the U.S. had negotiated tribute to avoid, but then didn’t want to pay. Tripoli declared war; the U.S. never did, authorizing military action by statute.[10]  Hundreds died.

  • Skirmishes in Florida, Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico (1806-1816) – The U.S. invaded Spanish territory at the Rio Grande headwaters, fought Spanish and French privateers, attacked French and Spanish ships, and seized parts of Spain’s Florida territories, west to the Mississippi.[11]

  • War of 1812 (1812-1815) – We fought Great Britain at sea, on U.S., Canada and Louisiana lands, over Napoleonic War trade restrictions with France, British impressment of U.S. sailors, British encouragement of Native resistance to the U.S. on its western frontiers, and U.S. attempts to expand into Canada.  Washington, DC was burned, and the war ended with no real changes.[12]  20,000 died altogether.[13] 

  • Various Skirmishes (1814-1827) – The U.S. navy engaged French, British and Spanish shipping in the Caribbean.  The U.S. attacked the Marquesas and set up its first naval base in the Pacific. Marines landed in various cities on the Spanish island of Cuba, and also in Spanish Puerto Rico.  Marines invaded the Greek islands of Argentiere, Miconi and Andross. [14]

  • 1st, 2nd and 3rd Seminole Wars (1816-1858) – the U.S. took Florida from Spain in the first and drove Native Americans out of their homelands to unknown lands west of the Mississippi in the others.  Thousands died.[15]

  • Oregon (1818 - 1846) – The U.S. claimed the Oregon Territory, also claimed by Russia and Spain, and Britain and the U.S. split northwestern America, with a border on the 49th parallel.[16]

  • Various Actions (1827-1844) – The U.S. military engaged in piracy, fought pirates and took actions in support of U.S. business and political interests in at least:  Africa, the Falkland Islands, Sumatra, Argentina, Peru, the Fiji Islands, the Ivory Coast, China and Samoa.[17]

  • War of Texas Independence (1835-36) – U.S. settlers fought Mexico for independence and were annexed to the U.S., 8 years later.  Thousands died.[18]

  • Mexican War (1846-48) - the U.S. attacked Mexico for “Manifest Destiny,” God wanted the U.S. to have all land between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.  We took a third of Mexico, all or part of California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Oklahoma and Kansas.[19]  Abraham Lincoln and Henry David Thoreau opposed it.  13,000 (17% of) U.S. soldiers died, higher mortality rates than WW1 or WW2, and 25,000 Mexicans died.  Mexico was then manipulated to sell much of New Mexico and Arizona for $10 million in the Gadsden Purchase, in 1853. [20] [21]

  • U.S. Civil War (1861-65) – More than 3 million people from northern and southern states fought over issues of slavery, states’ rights and maybe a few other things.  620,000 died.[22]

  • Various Actions (1849-1898) – The U.S. military fought at sea and took actions in support of U.S. business and political interests in at least:  Turkey, Argentina, Nicaragua, Japan, China, Uruguay, Panama, Nicaragua, the Fiji Islands, Turkey, Paraguay, Mexico, Angola, Columbia, Korea, Egypt, Haiti, Portuguese West Africa, Taiwan, Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Chile, and the Hawaiian Islands.  Issues ranged from protecting U.S. citizens, to bullying for U.S. business, occupying land, setting up military bases, and supporting various attempts to control and exploit others.[23]

  • The Spanish-American War (1898) – The U.S. declared war over a revolt in Cuba against Spain, after its warship Maine blew up controversially in Havana Harbor.  The U.S. got Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines as territories.[24]  50,000-60,000 died.[25]

  • Hawaii Annexation (1898) – U.S. business interests snuck in, created wealth and power and subverted and changed the local government.  The U.S. then took it without declaring war.[26]

  • Various Actions (1899-1917) –U.S. military took actions to protect or support political or business interests in at least:  China, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Columbia, Honduras, Syria, Samoa, Turkey, Abyssinia, Panama, Guam, the Dominican Republic, Morocco, Korea, Cuba, Mexico and Haiti.[27]

  • World War I (1914-1918) – This declared war over political alliances and colonial power killed 37 million soldiers and 13 million civilians.[28]  Germany knew the U.S. was smuggling arms to Britain in the Lusitania passenger ship, warned all it would blow it up, did, and the U.S. entered the war.

  • Various Actions (1919-1940) – The U.S. military took actions to protect or support U.S. business or political interests in at least:  China, Russia, Yugoslavia, Turkey, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Cuba, Newfoundland, Bermuda, St. Lucia, Jamaica, Antigua, the Bahamas, Trinidad, British Guiana, Greenland, Dutch Guiana and Iceland. [29]

  • World War II (1941-1945) – The U.S. fought two wars over national power and control:  one in Europe and one in Asia.  Altogether, some 70 million people were killed, 900,000 airplanes, 280,000 tanks, 4,000 ships, 4.4 million trucks, 1.1 million artillery devices were used, and North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and all oceans between were involved.[30]  The U.S. still occupies Europe with 40-50 bases[31] and 60,000 troops, and Japan with 40,000 troops.[32]

 

World War 2 was the last time the U.S. declared war.  It has only officially declared war five times:  the War of 1812, Mexican-American War, Spanish-American War, and World Wars I and II.  All other military interventions have been and are called something else, usually with some motivating and misleading operation name.  Some are authorized by Congress, somehow.  Many are executed by its President, increasingly without sanction or oversight by Congress, though it’s Congress’ power to declare war.[33]

Since World War 2, the U.S. has killed more than 20 million people in 37 “Victim Nations:”  10 to 15 million in the Korean, Vietnam and two Iraq Wars, 9 to 14 million in proxy wars with U.S. interventions, in Afghanistan, Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, East Timor, Guatemala, Indonesia, Pakistan and Sudan, and the rest in smaller actions in over half the nations in the world.  Almost all parts of the world have been targets of U.S. military and intelligence operations intervention.  The U.S. has caused up to 10,000 September 11th equivalent deaths in other nations since WWII.[34]

  • Various Actions (1946-1952) – U.S. military acted to protect or support U.S. business or political interests in at least:  China, Iran, Greece, Germany, Japan, the Philippines, Italy and Palestine. [35]

  • Hungary (1956) - In 1956, Hungary revolted against the Soviet Union.  U.S. Radio Free Europe broadcast into Hungary, encouraging rebels to believe Western support was coming, and even giving tactical advice on how to fight the Soviets, but we sent no help.  The Hungarian and Soviet death toll was about 3,000, 200,000 fled the country, and the revolution was crushed. [36]

  • Korean War (1950-1953) – After World War II, Korea was unnaturally divided into two countries, the South influenced by the U.S. and the North by Russia and China.  Conflicting cold war influences led to war between the two, in which 2.5 to 3 million people died, up to 70% civilians.  No peace agreement was never signed, and we still occupy South Korea with 20,000 troops.[37] 

  • Various Actions (1954-1964) – The U.S. military took actions to protect or support U.S. business or political interests in at least:  China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Guatemala, Panama, Haiti, Ecuador, Brazil, Indonesia, Egypt, Lebanon, Cuba, Laos, and the Congo. [38]

  • Vietnam War (1964-1973) - After WW2, Vietnam was unnaturally divided into 2 countries, the South influenced by the U.S. and the North by Russia and China.  Conflicting cold war influences led to war between the two, in which 60,000 U.S. soldiers, 200,000 - 250,000 South Vietnamese, 1.1 million North Vietnamese and Viet Cong soldiers, and 2 million Vietnamese civilians died.  Both Vietnamese sides wanted the same thing:  a unified Vietnam.[39]  In 20,000 missions, the U.S. dropped 18 million gallons of chemical herbicides, like Agent Orange, on the countryside and 3,181 villages, causing chemical horrors for generations.  85 grams of dioxin in Agent Orange, evenly distributed, could wipe out a city of 8 million people.  Illness and death from Agent Orange exposure were the initial outcomes.  Dioxin affects not only those exposed, but also their children, altering DNA.  Vietnamese babies continue to be born with deformities: misshapen heads, bulging tumors, underdeveloped brains and nonfunctional limbs.  We assume all 2.8 million U.S. troops in Vietnam were exposed.  Since the war ended, 40,000 Vietnamese have been killed (twice as many as died in our Revolutionary War) and 67,000 maimed by mines, cluster bombs and other Unexploded Ordinance (UXO), still covering large areas.[40]  “Operation Rolling Thunder” bombed every road and rail bridge in North Vietnam, plus 4,000 of 5,788 villages,[41] with 643,000 tons of bombs.[42]   U.S. forces used more than 15 million tons of firepower, half from aircraft and the rest on the ground, 4 times what was used in all of WW2.  Many ongoing UXO deaths are children.[43]

  • Secret War in Laos (1964-1973) - A civil war began in Laos in the 1950s, when the U.S. recruited 40,000 Laotians to oppose the Pathet Lao, a leftist party.[44]  Peaceful Laos wasn’t able to prevent others from moving people and materials through Laos during the Vietnam War, though it did not participate in the war.  Under “Operation Momentum,” the U.S. secretly dropped 2 million tons of bombs on Laos in 580,000 bombing missions, averaging a planeload of bombs every 8 minutes, 24x7, for 9 years, making Laos the most heavily bombed country per capita in history.  Over a quarter of Laos’ 2.1 million population became refugees.  Nobody knows how many died, maybe hundreds of thousands.  After the bombings, the Pathet Lao gained power, what the U.S. was trying to prevent, and 10% of the population fled the country.[45]  A third of 270 million dropped cluster bombs didn’t explode, leaving Laos contaminated with vast UXO quantities.  40 years later, 1% of these had been destroyed.  Over 20,000 people have been killed or injured by UXO in Laos, since bombing stopped.  Now, there are at least 50 UXO casualties in Laos, per year, 310 in 2008.  60% result in death.  40% of victims are children.[46]  The U.S. lied to our people while doing this.

  • Secret War in Cambodia and Pol Pot’s Killing Fields (1964-1973) – The U.S. supported a coup for a new leader, then secretly bombed peaceful Cambodia in the Vietnam War.  “Operation Menu” dropped 2.7 million tons of bombs on Cambodia, a million tons more than on Japan in WW2 (including Hiroshima and Nagasaki), doing huge damage to villages and cities.  30% of people were displaced, 500,000 were killed by bombs, and hundreds of thousands more died from dislocation, disease or starvation.[47]  Resulting instability, horror and bad feelings enabled Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge to take power, which killed 2.5 million and destroyed most of the country’s infrastructure.  The U.S supported the Khmer Rouge, and it took Vietnam invading to route them out.[48]  Cambodia has 4 to 6 million landmines and other UXO from 3 decades of war, one of the world’s most landmine-affected countries.  UXO explosions there have killed 20,000 and wounded 45,000.  1,700 of 3,670-square-kilometers of mined land have been cleared.[49]  Now, the U.S. wants Cambodia to pay us back $500 million in war debt, more than half interest.[50]  Henry Kissinger, a major architect of this, including hiding it from the public, got the Nobel Peace Prize, in 1971.[51]

  • Cuba Intervention (1961-Present) - In 1961, the U.S. CIA trained and paid 1,500 Cuban ex-patriots to try to overthrow Fidel Castro’s government in the Bay of Pigs invasion, which ended in 3 days, in part because the U.S. didn’t provide promised support.  114 of the invading force were killed, 1,200 imprisoned and some escaped to U.S. ships.  2,000 to 4,000 Cubans died.  That led Castro to ask for and get Russian nuclear missiles on Cuba to deter future invasions, which led to the Cuban Missile Crisis, which was de-escalated.  The U.S. has sanctioned and tried to subvert Cuba since, the only communist country in the Western Hemisphere.[52] [53] [54]

  • Dominican Republic (1962) - In 1962, Juan Bosch became president of the Dominican Republic, advocating land reform and public works programs.  He was overthrown in a CIA supported coup.  In 1965, there were efforts to reinstall him.  The U.S. invaded it with 22,000 soldiers and marines “to protect foreigners” and, on weak proof, “prevent communist dictatorship.”  3,000 died. [55] [56]

  • Brazil (1964) – The U.S. arranged a CIA-backed military coup to overthrow the government of Brazil’s Joao Goulart and put General Castello Branco into power.[57]

  • Ghana (1966) – A CIA-backed military coup ousted President Kwame Nkrumah. [58] [59]

  • Oman (1970) – A U.S. counter-insurgency operation, coordinated with Iranian marine invasion. [60]

  • Intervention in Chile (1958-1990) - The CIA interfered in Chile’s 1958 and 1964 elections.  In 1970, socialist Salvador Allende was elected president.  The CIA sought a military coup to prevent his inauguration, but the Chilean army’s chief of staff, General Rene Schneider, opposed this action.  The CIA then planned, along with people in the Chilean military, to assassinate Schneider.  The plot failed, and Allende took office.  President Nixon ordered the CIA to incent a coup, saying: “Make the economy scream.”  Guerilla warfare, sabotage, bombing, arson and terror followed.  U.S. corporations in Chile sponsored demonstrations and strikes.  In 1973, Allende died, by suicide or assassination.  In 17 years under Allende’s successor, General Augusto Pinochet, 3,000 Chileans were killed and many others tortured or disappeared. [61] [62]

  • Intervention in Bolivia (1971-1978) - The U.S. was upset when a leader nationalized tin mines and gave land to natives.  In 1971, Hugo Banzer, a general trained in the notorious U.S. School of the Americas in Panama and Texas, with U.S. help, launched a coup with 110 dead and 600 wounded.  In the first years of his dictatorship, he got twice the U.S. military aid as in the previous dozen.  Under Banzer, 14,000 Bolivians were arrested without judicial orders, 8,000 were tortured, and 200 were executed or disappeared.  In 1975, the Catholic Church denounced an army massacre of striking tin workers.  Banzer, with CIA provided information, targeted and found priests and nuns.  In 1977, his anti-clergy strategy, the Banzer Plan, was adopted by 9 other Latin American dictators.  He was accused of 400 deaths.  In 2000, the World Bank forced the Bolivian Government to sell a water utility to U.S.-company Bechtel.  It raised prices for water, prompting rebellion. [63] [64] [65]

  • Angola Intervention (1977-Present) - An indigenous armed struggle against Portuguese rule in Angola began in 1961.  In 1977, an Angolan government was recognized by the U.N.  The U.S. was one of few nations opposing it.  In 1986, the U.S. began providing assistance to UNITA, a group trying to overthrow the government.  The struggle continues.  The U.S. justified intervention to its public as a reaction to 50,000 Cuban troops sent to Angola, but Cuban troops came after a CIA–financed covert invasion via Zaire and a drive on the Angolan capital by U.S. ally, South Africa.  300,000 to 750,000 died.[66]  Angola was a major U.S. source of uranium.[67] [68]

  • Intervention in Chad (1982-1990) – In 1982, Hissen Habre came to power with help of millions in CIA money and arms.  The U.S. wanted to use him to resist expansion by Libya’s Colonel Qaddafi.  There were widespread political killings, systematic tortures, thousands of arbitrary arrests, and targeting of specific ethnic groups.  He killed 40,000 and tortured 200,000.  In 2003, a war and human rights case was brought against him in Belgium, where the U.S. threatened Belgium’s position as NATO headquarters if it allowed the case to proceed. [69] [70]

  • East Timor (1975-1991) - In 1975, Indonesia invaded East Timor, one day after the U.S. approved its President Suharto’s use of U.S. arms, which U.S. law had not allowed to be used for aggression.  In the genocide that followed, 200,000 died, of a population of 700,000 East Timorese.  The U.S. supported this dictator Suharto for decades with arms and training.[71] [72]

  • Grenada (1979-1984) - The CIA began destabilizing Grenada in 1979, when leftist Maurice Bishop became president, in part because he refused to join the quarantine of Cuba.  He was overthrown.  The U.S. invaded in “Operation Urgent Fury” in 1983, with 19 U.S. soldiers and 277 locals killed.  We falsely claimed an airport being built in Grenada could be used to attack the U.S., and that U.S. medical students’ lives on the island were in danger. [73] [74]

  • Colombia Intervention (1959-Present) – In 1959, the U.S. began intervening in Columbia with covert counterinsurgency (COIN) advice, training and money, to subvert leftists.  That escalated into advisory roles, tens of billions of dollars to fight the War on Drugs, and other paramilitary aid.  The government used that to suppress people, and in open civil war.  67,000 were killed.[75] [76]

  • Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) (1960-Present) - In 1960, the Congo became independent, with Patrice Lumumba as its first prime minister.  He was assassinated, and the CIA was implicated.  In 1965, Mobutu took power in a U.S. backed coup.  The U.S. funneled him $300 million in weapons and $100 million in military training.  Then, we spent decades, along with other westerners, taking resources from the country, including rare coltan, used in cell phones, and kicking money back to Mobutu, condemned on multiple occasions for human rights violations.   Ugly civil wars and rape as a war tactic were rampant there in the 1990s.  3 million died.[77] [78] [79]

  • Libya (1980s-Present) – The U.S. was involved in manipulations, sanctions, attacks and legal proceedings against Libya and its leader Col. Gaddafi, since before the 1980s.[80]  In bombings, attacks and resulting civil war and displacements, 150,000 to 360,000 died.[81]  After he proposed a gold-backed currency for African Muslim nations, for buying oil,[82] we attacked, he died in the revolution, creating instability which killed 5,000, dislocated 435,000 and affected 2.5 million.[83]  Now, refugees are flocking to Europe through Libya, part of its big immigration problems. 

  • Guatemala (1954-Present) - In 1952, after reforms including launching a social security system, a public health system, a native issues bureau, and liberal labor laws, it redistributed unused land (conceded to a huge U.S. fruit company, paid for at values the company declared for tax purposes) to 500,000 mostly native poor for small farms.  In 1954, the U.S., in a CIA covert operation, helped exiled Guatemalan military invade from Honduras, ousting the democratically elected President, ending the “10 years of spring” democracy, and installing authoritarian government that returned secret police, reversed land reform, ended workers’ movements and required literacy for voting, excluding 75% of the people.  In 1965, the CIA sent Green Berets and advisors to help the régime end movements to “struggle against the government and landowners.”  50,000 were killed.  1981, its army attacked the guerrilla movement, bombing villages, and executing citizens with U.S. military equipment and a $2 billion covert CIA program.  Huge numbers of mostly indigenous men were murdered in the name of anti-insurgency, stabilization and anticommunism.  This scorched-earth strategy was called “la escoba,” the broom, because of how the reign of terror swept the country.  By 1996, when peace arrived after 36 years of civil war, 200,000 civilians had been killed; 250,000 had fled as refugees to Mexico; and a million were homeless.  Military and government officials were tried for destroying 400 Mayan villages in a genocide campaign.[84] [85] [86]

  • Honduras (1980s) - In the 1980s, to stem leftist movements in Central America, the U.S. put thousands of troops in Honduras to train right-wing Contra rebels in guerrilla war against Nicaragua’s populist Sandinista government.  U.S. military aid went from $4 million to $77 million.  The CIA supported Battalion 316, which kidnapped, tortured and killed hundreds of citizens.  Torture equipment and manuals were provided by CIA.  400 people died. [87] [88]

  • Indonesia (1965-1998) - In 1965, General Suharto replaced General Sukarno in a coup.   U.S. diplomats and CIA gave 5,000 names to Indonesian Army death squads, checking them off when killed or captured.  500,000 to 3 million were killed.  1993 to 1997, the U.S. provided Jakarta $400 million in economic aid, tens of millions of dollars of weaponry and Green Berets training. [89] [90]

  • Haiti (1957-Present) – The U.S. has a long history of interventions in Haiti.  It occupied the country for 19 years, in the early 20th century, during which it had marines fire on 1,500 demonstrators, and a total of 15,000 were killed.  From 1957 to 1986, Haiti was ruled by Papa Doc Duvalier, then by his son.  During their rule, supported by the U.S. with money and military aid through Israel, their terrorist force killed 30,000 to 100,000, mainly to suppress popular movements. [91] [92]

  • Israeli-Palestinian Conflicts (1948-Present) - 100,000 to 200,000 Israelis and Palestinians, mostly the latter, have been killed in struggles between them.  The U.S. has given Israel $140 billion (12% of FADS) in (mostly military) aid and supported its possession of nuclear weapons, since founding in 1948.  It’s given $6 billion in aid to humanitarian groups supporting Palestinians. [93] [94]

  • Iran (1980-1988) – The U.S. supported Iraq in its war against Iran, from 1980 to 1988.  In 1988, the U.S. Navy ship Vincennes, in Iranian waters in a battle against Iranian gunboats, fired 2 missiles at an Iranian Airbus, on a routine civilian flight.  All 290 civilian on board were killed. 262,000 Iranians and up to 2 million died in the war. [95] [96]  We seem to be ramping up for war with them now.[97]

  • Nepal (1996-2006) - 8,000 to 12,000 Nepalese have died in civil wars since 1996, with death rates sharply higher after U.S. M-16 submachine guns and advisers engaged.  In 2002, Congress gave $20 million in military aid. [98] [99]

  • Nicaragua (1981-1990) - In 1981, populist Sandinistas overthrew Nicaragua’s corrupt government in a revolt killing 50,000 and displacing 150,000, after 40 years of U.S.-backed Samoza dictators and violent abuses by its U.S.-trained National Guard, seeking freedom from U.S. control and improvements for its people.  It nationalized businesses and non-productive lands.  The U.S. cut assistance to the country and instead gave covert CIA and military aid, largely via bases set up for that in Costa Rica and Honduras, to Contra guerillas, mostly former National Guard.  Congress learned the CIA had supervised sabotage in Nicaragua without notification and prohibited the CIA, DoD and any other government agency from providing more covert military assistance.   The U.S. President raised private and foreign funds for the Contras, illegally selling weapons to Iran and giving the Contras the money, exerted financial controls and supported National Guard bombings.  In 1987, Costa Rican President Arias got 5 Central American presidents to sign a peace plan, to stop horrible civil wars in El Salvador and Guatemala also, and calling for an end to all military aid, specifically from the U.S. and Soviet Union.  All signed.  Arias was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  The U.S. did everything it could to undermine the process and failed.  The Sandinistas were voted out of office in 1990 by voters who thought that a change in leadership would pacify the U.S., and the U.S. ended its embargo, but the country was in ruins.  25,000 people were killed. [100] [101] [102]

  • Pakistan (1971-Present) - In 1971, West Pakistan, an authoritarian state supported by the U.S., invaded East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).  1.5 - 3 million people died in the following genocide.  The war ended when India, after admitting 10 million refugees, invaded East and defeated West Pakistani forces.  The U.S. provided $411 million to West Pakistan, which spent 80% of its budget on its military, and $15 million more of arms flowed into W. Pakistan during the war.  We conduct thousands of drone strikes and manipulations in Pakistan in the War on Terror. [103] [104]

  • Panama (1989-1990) - In 1989, U.S. troops invaded Panama in “Operation Just Cause” to arrest President Manuel Noriega, who had previously worked for the CIA, but fell out of favor for not supporting Nicaraguan Contras and profiting from illegal drugs.  500 to 4,000 died. [105] [106]

  • Philippines (1960-Present) - The Philippines were under U.S. control for over a hundred years, during which 1.5 million people were killed.[107]  The last 50 to 60, the U.S. has helped Philippine governments suppress groups working for its people’s welfare, with money, arms, training and active U.S. military in combat.  Over 100,000 people were executed and disappeared under President Fernando Marcos. [108]  The U.S. has had military bases there for more than 100 years.

  • South America: Operation Condor (1970s-1980s) - This joint operation of 6 South American governments (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay) to share information about political opponents, assassinate opponents anywhere in the world, and operate cross-borders to kidnap, torture and disappear dissident killed 60,000 people.  The CIA helped. [109] [110] [111]

  • Sudan (1955-Present) - Since its independence in 1955, the Sudan has mostly been in civil war, with the U.S. supporting efforts to overthrow the central government in Khartoum.  In 1978, vast oil reserves were discovered, and in 2 years it became the 6th largest recipient of U.S, military aid.  In 1998, the U.S. bombed Khartoum with 75 cruise missiles, saying the target was a chemical weapons factory owned by Osama bin Laden, but bin Laden was no longer the owner, and the plant was the nation’s sole supplier of pharmaceuticals, and tens of thousands may have died from lack of medicines. The U.S. settled a lawsuit filed by the factory’s owner.  In 1999, the U.S. offered the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) food to reject a peace plan.  The U.S. provides weapons to the south through Uganda.  2 million people have died, altogether.[112] [113]

  • Yugoslavia (1980-2001) - Yugoslavia was a socialist federation of several republics.  It refused to be closely tied to the Soviet Union during the Cold War, so it got some support from the U.S., but when the Soviet Union dissolved, Yugoslavia’s usefulness to the U.S. ended, and the U.S and Germany worked to convert it from a socialist to a capitalist economy by dividing and conquering.  Ethnic and religious differences were manipulated, starting several wars, which resulted in dissolution of the country into several nations, with lowered incomes and capitalist economies. 100,000 – 250,000 people died in war, dislocation and war crimes. [114] [115]

  • Iraq (1980-Present) – In the Iraq-Iran War, from 1980 to 1988, there were 105,000 Iraqi deaths (not counted above).  We supported Saddam Hussein with big money, military gear and chemical and biological agents.  In 1990, the U.S. Iraq Ambassador told him the U.S. had no position on Iraq’s Kuwait fight.  Hussein invaded.  Sanctions were imposed ‘til 2003.  The U.S. launched “Operation Desert Storm,” a 42-day air assault followed by ground troops.  150 U.S. military and 200,000 Iraqis were killed, many on the “Highway of Death,” and the U.S. left behind 400 tons of depleted uranium.  1990 to 1995, Iraq sanctions were responsible for 560,000 children’s deaths.  In 1999, UNICEF reported 5,000 children died each month from sanctions and war with the U.S., indicators of massive deaths the U.S. was aware of, part of its strategy to cause enough pain and terror among Iraqis to cause them to revolt against the government.  After September 11, 2001, the U.S. launched attacks that are still going on via Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn and Operation Inherent Resolve.  It lied to start the war.  There were no weapons of mass destruction; we weren’t promoting democracy; and we weren’t trying to save the Iraqi people from a dictator.  Iraq had nothing to do with September 11th, and it did or threatened no harm to anyone in the U.S.  Iraqi war deaths were 654,000. [116]  Two million were displaced.  The region is destabilized.  ISIS and conflict in Syria have risen.  We still occupy Iraq, in 2019. [117] [118]

  • Afghanistan and Pakistan (1979-Present) – In the 1970s, the Soviet Union generally had friendly relations with neighbor Afghanistan and its secular government.  It feared fundamentalist uprising and control could spread into the U.S.S.R.  The U.S. created just that by arming fundamentalist Mujahadeen, including Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban (which gained power in 1996).  Soviets invaded to try to stop that.  There were 1 to 1.8 million deaths in that war, from 1979 to 1989.  After September 11th, 2001, the U.S. attacked and invaded Afghanistan, because Osama Bin Laden was held responsible for the attacks.  In 2017, the Taliban controlled 45% of Afghanistan, more than any time since 2001.  In 2018, the U.S. dropped the most bombs it has in 17 years of war, which has cost the U.S. $1 trillion (86% of FADS) so far.  130,000 to 150,000 Afghan combatants and 640,000 to 1.4 million civilians have died.  500,000 died in Pakistan in the war, which the U.S. bombs regularly.[119] [120] [121] [122] [123]  We said the war was to bring Osama bin Laden to justice, but he was killed in Pakistan in 2011, and we still fight and occupy the country in 2019.  Why is that?  We finish the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (Tapi) oil pipeline by 2020, creating profits from the world’s 4th largest gas reserves supplying billions of people in those countries. [124] [125]  The war/occupation costs are public; the profits are private.

  • Syria (2011-Present) – In 2011, U.S./allies began sneaking money and foreign fighters into Syria to incite rebellion, civil war and regime change, as in Libya, though 55% of people supported the government.  We bomb Syria in “Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.”  We’ve created huge grievances in Iraq, Israel, Syria and throughout the Middle East that lead to violent passions.  1.5 to 2 million people have been killed and millions displaced, creating immigration and refugee crises.[126]

  • Yemen (2015-Present) - The U.S. is part of a coalition bombing Yemen since 2015, in an attempt to restore former President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi to power.  Largely, now, the U.S. is arming Saudi Arabia to attack Yemen.  120,000 to 240,000 have been killed and millions dislocated.[127]

 

Ugh, there’s more, but enough.  That’s already U.S. CIA/military actions complicit in 200 million deaths.

 

The U.S. is at war in 134 countries now?[128]  We don’t even know any more.  WW2 was the last time Congress declared war.  Since then, military conflicts have been called “authorizations of military force”.  Beginning with the War Powers Act of 1973, presidential war powers have expanded so much that, according to the Congressional Research Service, it's no longer clear if a president requires congressional authorization at all to conduct war.  Since 2001, the U.S. has set no geographic limitations anywhere in the world on where it can deploy its military forces “to defend its national security”.  The U.S. was at war in at least seven countries in 2018:  Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, and Niger.[129] [130]  The U.S. has only not been at war for 16 of the 242 years it has existed,[131] if that.

In 2013, the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), one of the nine organizational units that make up the U.S. Unified Combatant Command, had special operations forces (SOFs) in 134 countries, where they were either involved in combat, special missions, or advising and training foreign forces.

Special operations forces (SOF) are small, specially organized units manned by people carefully selected and trained to operate under physically demanding and psychologically stressful conditions to accomplish missions using modified equipment and unconventional applications of tactics against strategic and operational objectives.  The unique capabilities of SOF complement those of conventional forces.

Joint special operations (SO) are conducted by SOF from more than one Service in hostile, denied, or politically sensitive environments to achieve military, diplomatic, informational, and/or economic objectives employing military capabilities for which there is no broad conventional force requirement. These operations may require low visibility, clandestine, or covert capabilities. SO are applicable across the range of military operations. They can be conducted independently or in conjunction with operations of conventional forces or other government agencies and may include operations through, with, or by indigenous or surrogate forces. SO differ from conventional operations in degree of physical and political risk, operational techniques, use of special equipment, modes of employment, independence from friendly support, and dependence on detailed operational intelligence and indigenous assets.

 

These tasks include special reconnaissance (SR), direct action (DA), unconventional warfare (UW), foreign internal defense (FID), counterterrorism, counterproliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD)[.]

It's almost impossible to know where and when different operations are taking place, especially JSOC, which operates with enormous autonomy and secrecy and, some would say, little accountability.  Founded in 1980, after the failed mission to rescue U.S. hostages in Iran, designed to handle similarly complex operations in the future, JSOC was a classified and little used command on Sept. 11, 2001.  Since, it's tripled in size, received ever-increasing resources, and led operations in dozens of countries.  In 2011, JSOC became visible to the world, when Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden in a Pakistan raid, collaborating with the CIA.  JSOC has carried out operations in at least Iraq, Afghanistan, Algeria, Iran, Malaysia, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Indonesia, Thailand, Colombia, Peru, and other countries in Eastern and Central Asia.

 

JSOC’s logic, like all our military:  the world is a battlefield, and we’re at war.  So, it can go wherever it wants and do whatever it wants to achieve whatever national security objective of whoever is in power.  It isn't just a vague, hawkish worldview; it's a legal theory of military force in the age of one global war:  the War on Terror.   That view is due, largely, to Congress’ 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, providing the U.S. President broad power to fight terrorism around the world.  It reads, in part:

The President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determined planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2011, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.[132] 

 

No trials or judicial human rights oversight, no opportunities to present opposing evidence, no authorization required by Congress, no recourse, no public reporting requirements…  One person can and does order attacks on anyone anywhere in the world, at any time, with or without secret evidence, without recourse for “collateral damage” to peaceful civilians or their families, properties or societies, using the world’s largest military and intelligence agencies, using ¾ of the discretionary spending power of our federal government.

Military

 

The U.S. has, by far, the world’s largest and most expensive military.  We spend more on our military than the next biggest 11 militaries in the world, combined,[133] $886 billion in 2018 (77% of FADS).[134] 

Take that in a second.  77% of the revenues Congress can decide how to spend without borrowing goes to the military, leaving 23% for all other discretionary spending, like education, welfare, transportation, protection, government services, infrastructure, programs…, when there has been little real threat of any military anywhere attacking the U.S.   We spend four times China's $216 billion for military, though China has four times the U.S. population, and 10 times more than Russia's military budget of $85 billion.  It's hard to cut budget deficits, and far more than $20 trillion in debt, without cutting defense spending.

October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2019, the U.S. military gets $892 billion, $7 billion more than requested by the President, confoundingly.  U.S. military spending has doubled since 2003.

 

[134a] [134b]

If the U.S. military were a separate country, its 2016 budget would be the 8th largest of country government budgets in the world, just behind the U.K. and Italy.

[135]

Since its War on Terror began after 9/11, the U.S. has spent $5.6 trillion on its military and associated efforts, $32 million an hour.[136]  We borrow for much of that, cutting programs and infrastructure maintenance that help real people in the U.S. in order to pay the interest.  That’s not sustainable. 

The Defense Department (DoD) now spends a third of its budget on personnel and maintenance, and that will rise to 100% by 2024, thanks to rising retirement and medical costs.  That leaves no funds for procurement, R&D, construction or housing.  Clearly, that’s not sustainable.

DoD itself estimates it has 21% excess capacity in its facilities.  Congresspeople won't let it close bases, though, because they don’t want to lose local jobs to base closures in their states.  They’re also reluctant to let DoD cut other costs, like staff, health benefits, military pay growth, or weapons systems, which would also cost jobs and revenues in their districts.[137]  Talk of reducing military spending is taboo?

Still, the military keeps asking for more, and we keep giving it more.  In 2018, the U.S. had authorized the Army to grow to 1,026,500 soldiers:  483,500 in the Regular Army, 199,500 in the Army Reserve, and 343,500 in the Army National Guard.  It said:

  • That’s not enough; the Regular Army and must grow to “north of 500,000” to achieve its missions. 

  • It can no longer afford to delay modernization without risking “overmatch on future battlefields.”

  • Only half its brigade combat teams are combat ready (goal 66%), limiting the President’s options. 

 

Under the current Administration, the Army will increase integration and readiness of select Army National Guard and Reserve units, so they can be employed more easily when needed, increasing for some units the standard number of 39 training days to as many as 63 per year to increase readiness.[138]

There are 6,000 military bases and/or warehouses in the U.S. and another 700-1,000 (depending on what counts) in 80 countries, covering 30 million acres, with about 850,000 buildings, making the Pentagon one of the world’s largest landowners.  Global bases are organized into 5 spatial units and 4 unified Combatant Commands, each under Command of a General.  DoD conceives the entire Earth as a wide battlefield to be patrolled or diligently supervised from its bases.[139]  The Pentagon says climate change threatens half of U.S. bases worldwide, as the executive branch denies global warming.[140]

Eleven other countries have foreign military bases, 70 altogether.  Russia has 26-40 in 9 countries, mostly former Soviet Republics, and in Syria and Vietnam; the UK, France and Turkey have 4-10 each; and India, China, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands each have 1-3.[141]  The rest of the world has 10% of the foreign military bases the U.S. has; the U.S. has 10 times the rest of the world. 

The 2018 army was “very concerned” with its inventory of only 775 Abrams tanks, 6,393 tanks total, 6,547 Bradley fighting vehicles, 3,892 Stryker armored fighting vehicles, 3,000 armored personnel carriers, 42 armored multipurpose vehicles, 150,000 HMMWV light wheel vehicles, 4,800 light tactical vehicles, 41,760 total armored fighting vehicles, 1,002 Apache attack helicopters, 2,449 Blackhawk helicopters, 998 Chinook helicopters, 329 Gray Eagle unmanned aerial vehicles[142] and 3,269 artillery units, including 950 self-propelled and 1,197 rocket artillery units.[143]  Is that not enough, with no military threat?

Same in other military branches.  The Air Force has:  457 fighter aircraft, 2,192 multirole aircraft, 587 attack aircraft, and 4,889 helicopters, 12,304 total aircraft.  The Navy has 2,844 aircraft, 85 destroyers, 20 aircraft carriers and 71 submarines, 437 ships total. [144] [145]  The Marines have 319 combat aircraft, 15 electronic warfare aircraft, 62 air tankers, 26 transport planes, 745 helicopters and 50 trainer aircraft.[146]  The National Guard has lots of stuff.  Isn’t that enough when no other country has been threatening us?

The U.S. military industrial complex Dwight Eisenhower warned about has so much wealth and power, neither the government nor public is able to reduce its funding.  Those powers work behind the scenes creating reasons to keep the military strong, making wars on false pretenses, convincing government to operate a global police force, even if the world isn’t asking for that, and creating an amorphous enemy in “terrorism” it can wage endless war against everywhere, even with tiny actual risks to the U.S., except from those it’s so wronged and harmed, they’re mad enough to destroy themselves for a little payback.

U.S. taxpayers pay shocking fees for military equipment and operations, with little auditing or oversight, much to outside contractors.  Trillion$ are unaccounted for.[147]  DoD can’t or won’t audit its spending.  In 2018, the accounting firm hired to audit the Pentagon announced it couldn’t; DoD’s financial records were so full of bookkeeping irregularities and errors a reliable audit was impossible.  DoD can’t tell us, who gave them the money and funded a $3 trillion operation, what they’re doing with it.  In 1990, a new law required all federal government departments and agencies to create auditable accounting systems and do annual audits.  Since then, every department and agency has done it, except the Pentagon. 

September 10, 2001, U.S. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld held a dramatic Pentagon press conference, announcing the military budget he was officially responsible for couldn’t track $2 trillion of transactions.  An amount 5 times the Pentagon’s $313 billion budget that year was lost or “untrackable.”  That was big national news for one 24-hour news cycle, including the Secretary’s statement that our adversary wasn’t China or Russia, but was “closer to home: It’s the Pentagon bureaucracy,” and his warning that tracking down those missing transactions “could be…a matter of life and death.” 

The next morning, on September 11, as the narrative goes, four hijacked commercial jets crashed into two World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania, and the issue died until now.  In the interim, there has been little real follow-up or effort made to find the missing money.

For decades, DoD leaders and accountants have committed huge, unconstitutional accounting fraud, “cooking the books” to mislead Congress and drive up DoD’s budgets, without regard to military need.  It’s literally been making up numbers in its annual financial reports to Congress, which represent trillions of dollars of unverified transactions, knowing Congress relies on those misleading reports as the basis for its decisions on how much money to give them, and Congress has just been going along with it.

Among the frauds, DoD submits its annual budget request to Congress, sending as support prior year financial reports containing made-up numbers.  They hide it if DoD doesn’t spend all its money in a year.  Instead of returning those unspent funds, as law requires, the Pentagon often launders it to other parts of its budget, doing things like shifting money to be spent in one year into money to be spent in 5 years, so they can keep it, a ploy called a “plug.”  Another trick called “nippering,” referencing a sharp-nosed tool used to snip off bits of wire or metal, moves money from its congressionally authorized purpose to a different purpose.  These can be repeated, repeatedly, until the money becomes untraceable.

The plugs can be huge.  In 2015, Congress sent $122 billion to the Army, but DoD financial records for the Army’s 2015 budget included $6.5 trillion in plugs, most of which lacked supporting documentation.  That means there was no backup for how that $6.5 trillion supposedly was spent.  More than 16,000 records that could have shown how that $6.5 trillion was spent had been “removed.”  Wait, what?

There is no verified basis for decisions on military spending, the biggest single discretionary line item in the federal budget, 77% of the discretionary budget.  DoD tricks like these inflate spending, increase budgets, and accumulate money for “off-the-books” programs, huge slush funds for things they may or may not report, including “black ops,” to avoid scrutiny.  DoD has long been at or near the top of the Government Accounting Office list of “high risk” agencies prone to significant fraud, waste and abuse. 

From 1998 to 2015, altogether, $21 trillion of transactions can’t be traced, documented or explained, about the amount of our current national debt, 1,815% of FADS, more than the 2018 U.S. GDP, the world’s largest at $20 trillion, about how much all the governments in the world had to spend in 2016.    

Nobody knows how much of that was or wasn’t spent lawfully.  The Inspector General’s office noted an unsupported adjustment of $100 billion made to a $0.2 billion balance Account Receivable, for example.  If this stuff happened in the private sector, people would be fired and prosecuted.  Not in our military.  Nobody does anything about this fraud, way bigger than anything that exists in the private sector.  Congress lets it happen, not doing oversight jobs they’re elected to do.  In fact, it’s now institutionalized.  The Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASB), which makes accounting rules, approved a new guideline saying agencies operating classified programs (DOD & intelligence) can falsify financial statement figures and shift accounting of funds to conceal classified operations.[148]  That is dangerous.

The Pentagon exercises inadequate accountability, and it is not being held accountable by Congress or the people.  That corruption and illegal behavior enables all kinds of illegal or unacceptable things, and nobody can stop it, or know about it.  DoD could conduct large-scale wars, and we wouldn’t be able to trace much of the money.  Maybe it does.  Who knows what they do?  That is not safe or sustainable. 

Conditions and prospects are so bad for many underprivileged U.S. people, the military is one of the few desperate options for education, training and wages.  Military recruiters often target the depressed.[149]  Combat veterans get inadequate medical and support services when they are released from the military, often suffering chronic physical, emotional and psychological complaints, and experiencing difficulties successfully reintegrating into domestic society.[150]  Half the 2.2 million troops in Afghanistan and Iraq reported problems after returning, but many get inadequate care from DoD and Veterans Affairs.[151]  One in four homeless people in the U.S. in 2007 was a veteran.[152] 

U.S. military operations devastate environments, bombing islands into oblivion, leaving dangerous chemical waste and undetonated ordinance, polluting the ground, air and water.  The U.S. military is the world’s largest polluter,[153] single consumer of energy, and single contributor to global warming.[154] 

 

In 2014, the U.S. military had 39,000 contaminated areas across 19 million acres, inside the U.S. alone.  The military produces more hazardous waste than all 5 of the largest U.S. chemical companies together.  It’s left a deadly and toxic legacy throughout much of the world in unexploded ordinance and mines, depleted uranium, jet fuel, oil, pesticides, defoliants like Agent Orange, and lead, among others. 

U.S. military bases, domestic and foreign, constantly rank among the world’s most polluted places. Perchlorate and other jet/rocket fuel ingredients contaminate aquifers, soil and drinking water sources.  900 of 1,200 U.S. Superfund sites are abandoned military facilities, or sites that support military needs, not counting current military bases themselves.  Almost every military site is seriously contaminated. 

Navajo Indian reservations are polluted by abandoned uranium mines used by U.S. military contractors.  U.S. military action has created desertification of 90% of Iraqi territory, crippling its agriculture and forcing it to import 80% of its food; U.S. depleted uranium used in Iraq during the Gulf Wars, and military open-air burn pits disposing of toxic waste from the 2003 invasion, have caused massive environmental burdens for Iraqis, and a surge in cancer among U.S. servicemen and Iraqi civilians.

November 2016, the U.S. Navy announced plans to release 20,000 tons of environmental "stressors," including heavy metals and explosives, into coastal waters of the U.S. Pacific Northwest over a year, "stressors" described by the EPA as known hazards, many highly toxic at both acute and chronic levels.  Those were in addition to 5 to 14 tons of "metals with potential toxicity" it releases annually into inland waters along the Puget Sound in Washington state.[155]  Those are just a few drops from its toxic bucket.

The U.S. military is the world’s largest single consumer of energy.  If it was a country, it would rank 34th in daily oil use, just behind Iraq and ahead of Sweden.  It uses 4.6 billion U.S. gallons of fuel annually.  That’s an oil barrel stack 49,000 miles high,[156] or laid end-to-end going twice around Earth’s equator.  The U.S. Air Force consumes a fourth of the world’s jet fuel.  2012, DoD consumed a billion gigawatt-hours of energy, costing $20 billion and emitted 70 million metric tons of CO2, not counting big numbers from its contractors.   Even if the U.S. military is the largest institutional user of petroleum products and energy in the entire world, it is exempted in all international climate agreements. [157]  Huh?

The U.S.’ 6,500 strategic nuclear weapons arsenal costs $50 billion a year to maintain (3% of FADS), capable of destroying all life on Earth, 5 - 50 times,[158] its nuclear testing has likely created the worst manmade environmental events and impacts ever known,[159] and it plans to spend $1.2 trillion on nuclear weapons over the next 30 years.[160]  Millions of humans and millions of representatives of other species have been or will be killed or harmed by U.S. nuclear radiation, and it may be hundreds of thousands of years before those poisons stop damaging the Earth’s environments and threatening life.  The U.S. has conducted more nuclear weapons tests than all other nations combined.[161]

The total yield of all nuclear tests conducted between 1945 and 1980 was 510 megatons (Mt). Atmospheric tests alone accounted for 428 mt, equivalent to over 29,000 Hiroshima size bombs.  Radiation exposure can damage living cells, killing some and modifying others.  Destruction of enough inflicts noticeable harm on organs, which can result in death or cancer or cause hereditary disorders.  Vegetation is contaminated when fallout lands on external plant surfaces or is absorbed through roots.  People are exposed when they consume meat or milk from animals grazing on contaminated vegetation.  Some 2.4 million people could eventually die from cancer as a result of nuclear atmospheric testing. 

The U.S. conducted 1,032 nuclear tests between 1945 and 1992: at the Nevada Test Site, at sites in the Pacific Ocean, in Alaska, Colorado, Mississippi and New Mexico.  One produced a crater in the U.S. that displaced over 12 million tons of earth.  The 15 Mt. Castle Bravo test in 1954 was the most powerful nuclear device detonated by the U.S., 577 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.  As of 2010, over $1.5 billion had been approved for 22,716 victims who suffered health problems from exposure to fallout from nuclear weapons development and testing in the U.S.[162]

In 2017, DoD called climate change a “direct threat” to U.S. national security; said extreme weather and rising sea levels caused by global warming endanger 128 military bases; and in response, Congress asked DoD to identify the 10 most vulnerable sites and recommend solutions, while the President took actions to deny Climate Change.[163]  In 2019, DoD called climate change a national security threat; same…[164]

The U.S. Department of Defense is the largest employer and healthcare provider in the U.S., with:

  • 1.4 million active duty military personnel, 1.1 million military reservists and 861,000 civilians,

  • 1.1 million in the National Guard and Reserve forces,

  • 3 million U.S. people receiving DoD income,

  • 450,000 employees stationed overseas in 163 countries,

  • 2 million veterans and their families relying on DoD income from past service, and

  • 9.5 million military members, retirees, and their families dependent on DoD healthcare.

 

The U.S. DoD has 561,975 facilities at 4,800 sites on 25 million acres, more office space than Manhattan.  It has 250,000 vehicles, 5,285 aircraft and 293 ships.  It has a multi-billion-dollar global supply chain.

Much of the U.S. defense budget goes to contractors.  In 2014, almost half, $284 billion of the DoD budget went to contractors.  In FY 2012, there were 340,000 contracts to more than 20,000 contractors. The Big Six were Lockheed Martin ($13.6 billion); Northrop Grumman ($8.5 billion); Boeing ($6 billion); General Dynamics ($4 billion); Raytheon ($5.6 billion); and BAE ($2.9 billion). 

DoD has $2.3 trillion in assets and $2.4 trillion in liabilities.  40% of its assets are plant, equipment and inventory.  95% of its liabilities are retirement and employment benefits.  It has $1.3 billion in savings and investments, 0.06% of what’s needed to cover its $2.3 trillion in future retirement and medical benefits for veterans.  Its retirement benefits cost $67 billion each year. [165]  That’s not sustainable.

The U.S. military is huge, expensive, and its actions often violate U.S. and international laws, and human ethics; it’s not controlled financially by the government; it produces extraordinary environmental harms; and it consumes vast energy.  In 2019, the U.S. announced a new military branch to operate in space.[166] At this point, at least, the U.S. military likely causes more harm in the world than good?  Does it make sense to have a military this big consume so many resources, without legitimate, immediate need, when so many other wicked problems badly need resources, especially when it is not adequately controlled? 

The U.S. has military operations all over the world, able to quickly attack almost anywhere in the world.  Its army has 178,000 soldiers in 140 countries.[167]  Are we defending ourselves, or are we the danger?   Many nations, including our allies, see the U.S. as the world’s most threatening.[168]  How does that feel?  Most, including the press, just go along with our wars, interventions and military spending, clueless.[169]

Arms

 

The U.S. military industrial complex sells arms, ammunition, military jets, rockets, mines, and all sorts of other equipment and expertise to foreign nations, which often enables them to conduct horrors on their people and neighbors.  There is little moral restraint.  The U.S. sold 70% of arms in the world in 2011.[170]

In 2017, the U.S. sold $223 billion of arms globally.  In the #2 position was Russia, which sold $38 billion.  That’s counting $400 billion in sales from the top 100 global arms dealing firms, 42 of which are U.S.’.[171]  When U.S. companies dominate a global market, you’d expect to hear about it.  Not so much with arms.  It gets a story or two a year in mainstream media.  Are we ashamed of being the world’s #1 arms dealer?   U.S. leadership in this area has never really been challenged.  (U.S. arms sales are 19% of FADS.)

In a typical sale, the U.S. government is involved all the way.  The Pentagon often does assessments of nations’ armed forces to tell them what they “need,” and, naturally, what they always need is billions of dollars of new U.S. arms.  Then, it helps negotiate terms, notifies Congress of details, collects funds from the buyer, and gives them to suppliers as defense contracts.  In most deals, the Pentagon is the single point of contact for maintenance and parts.  The bureaucracy facilitating all that, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, gets 3.5% commission on deals it negotiates.  That incents it to sell, sell, sell.

U.S. arms export restrictions have been reduced, so it is easier to sell abroad a wide range of U.S. weapons and components, including Black Hawk and Huey helicopters, with less scrutiny than before.  36 allies, from Argentina and Bulgaria to Romania and Turkey, no longer need licenses to buy weapons.  A vendor needs a license to sell hot dogs on Washington, DC streets, but Bulgaria doesn’t need one to buy our attack helicopters?  We just sold $50 billion in weapons to Saudi Arabia, F-15 fighter planes, Apache attack helicopters, combat ships, missile defense systems, bombs and missiles for war in Yemen, where thousands have been killed, millions are hungry,[172] though most 9-11 attackers were Saudi.

Nuclear Arms

 

Nuclear weapons are the most destructive, inhumane and indiscriminate weapons ever created. Both in the scale of the devastation they cause, and in their uniquely persistent, spreading, genetically damaging radioactive fallout, they are unlike any other weapons.

Nuclear weapons are unique in their destructive power and the threat they pose to the environment and human survival. They release vast amounts of energy in the form of blast, heat and radiation. No adequate humanitarian response is possible. In addition to causing tens of millions of immediate deaths, a regional nuclear war involving around 100 Hiroshima-sized weapons would disrupt the global climate and agricultural production so severely that more than a billion people would be at risk of famine.[173]

Nine countries together possess around 15,000 nuclear weapons. The United States and Russia maintain roughly 1,800 of their nuclear weapons on high-alert status – ready to be launched within minutes of a warning. Most are many times more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945.  A single nuclear warhead, if detonated on a large city, could kill millions of people, with the effects persisting for decades.[174]

The world has 14,500 nuclear weapons, maybe enough to end all life on the planet, held by 9 countries:

 
 

People on Earth have made progress eliminating particularly horrific weapons of war.  In 1972, biological weapons were banned under the Biological Weapons Convention; in 1993, chemical weapons under the Chemical Weapons Convention; 1997, land mines under the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty; and 2008, cluster munitions under the Convention on Cluster Munitions.  In 2017, nuclear weapons were banned under the international Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, adopted by 122 nations, except none of the countries that actually have nuclear weapons signed it.[175] 

In 1985, total nuclear weapons in the world peaked at 70,000.  There has been a long process of negotiation, hard work and diligence in eliminating almost 80% of them.  Doing so reduces risks to life on Earth from political or military issues or mistakes, and by terrorist or other rogue uses. 

The U.S. and Russia are clearly the greatest dangers to life on Earth through nuclear weapons.  One of the most important steps in reducing risks of inadvertent use of nuclear missiles was the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF), signed in 1987 by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev.  Before that, U.S./NATO Pershing 2 and Soviet SS-20 missiles in Europe were capable of delivery within 30 minutes.  On many occasions, false alerts led to near launches in retaliation, creating great risks of nuclear war by accident or mistake.  This agreement hugely reduced those risks.  It was the first time the superpowers had agreed to reduce nuclear arsenals, eliminate an entire category of nuclear weapons, and use on-site inspections for verification.  As a result of the INF Treaty, the U.S. and U.S.S.R. destroyed 2,692 short-, medium-, and intermediate-range missiles by the treaty's implementation deadline of June 1, 1991.[176]

In 2019, the U.S. announced it’s leaving that agreement.  Russia said it would too,[177] [178] and add a 100 megaton nuclear torpedo.[179] The U.S. plans to spend $1.2 trillion on nuclear weapons over 30 years.[180]  That’s a huge reversal in safety to life on Earth.  How does that feel?  Is that what we want to be doing?

CIA and Other Intelligence Agencies

 

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) mission is to :  “Preempt threats and further US national security objectives by collecting intelligence that matters, producing objective all-source analysis, conducting effective covert action as directed by the President, and safeguarding the secrets that help keep our Nation safe.”[181]  It’s a spy agency, portrayed in some entertainments in a save the world, James Bond way, and in others as an organization of sociopathic imperialists who lie, cheat and steal from foreigners, overthrow foreign governments and perform unethical psychological experiments.[182]   

That may be because the CIA does actively meddle in the affairs of sovereign nations all over the planet, spying, assassinating and torturing people, conducting misinformation efforts, interfering in elections, orchestrating political coups, maneuvering to empower people they can control or work efficiently with, and organizing, arming and training foreign military and terrorist operations in other countries.[183] 

The current head of the CIA oversaw illegally torturing human beings as part of our global, endless and amorphous U.S. War on Terror, and destroying taped evidence of it, something the U.S. officially would not publicly tolerate or support before, which had been a source of global respect and support.[184] 

 

Between 1947 and 1989, the CIA tried to change other nations’ governments 72 times, in 66 covert and 6 overt operations.  26 of the covert operations brought a U.S.-backed government to power; 40 failed.  At least 16 times, the U.S. influenced foreign elections by secretly funding, advising and spreading propaganda for its favored candidates, often over more than one election cycle.  Of these, U.S.-backed parties won 75% of the time.  Afterwards, these countries were less democratic and more likely to suffer civil war, domestic instability and mass killing, and many citizens lost faith in their governments.[185]

We’ve glanced at some CIA activity in Wars and Interventions above.  Scale and impact can be huge.  We justify wars with false flag operations and yellow journalism, lying to the public about pretenses, letting things happen that can be manipulated into war support.  The U.S.S. Maine’s dubious destruction was used to get the U.S. into the Spanish-American War, gaining Guam, Puerto Rico and the Philippines.[186]  The Lusitania was sunk by German U-boats, because it carried war munitions; and we and Britain allowed it, because we wanted the U.S. drawn into WW1.[187]  FDR knew the Japanese were going to attack Pearl Harbor, but didn’t tell commanders there and let it happen, to get the U.S. into WW2.[188]  The second Gulf of Tonkin incident used to justify U.S. entry into the Vietnam War never happened.[189] 

 

Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction; the U.S. knew that, because it had made sure of it after the first Gulf War, and via U.N. inspections, and then lied about it to get us into the second Gulf War.[190]  The U.S. CIA is involved in secret, illegal wars, like in Cambodia and Laos during the Vietnam War.[191]  The U.S. is responsible for 20–30 million deaths in wars and conflicts all over the world, since WW2.[192]

In 2013, the CIA’s budget was $15 billion (1.3% of current FADS),[193] 50% more than the $10 billion for Headstart in 2018.[194]  Is it 50% more valuable to us to spy on, interfere with and harm governments and people abroad than to nurture future U.S. citizens in early childhood, the most important time in child brain development,[195] and give their parents opportunities to learn, work, contribute and grow?

The 2018 budget for AmeriCorps, the domestic equivalent of the Peace Corps, programs that provide and create employment for poor people in the U.S., was $572 million, 4% of 2013 CIA funding.[196]   So, we value what the CIA does 26 times more than what AmeriCorps does?

But wait, there’s more!  A lot more!

The CIA is only one of at least hundreds federal operations scattered across the government that are now considered necessary for U.S. national security and intelligence operations, including:

Independent agencies:

  • *Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) – (2004); HQ Washington, DC; Mission:  lead intelligence integration, and forge an intelligence community that delivers the most insightful intelligence possible; reports the overall intelligence budget; reports to U.S. President; 2,000 employees;[197] Budget:  classified.[198] [199]  Includes these organizations:

    • The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC)

      • Office of National Intelligence Management

      • Office of Weapons of Mass Destruction - Counterterrorism

      • Office of Mission Systems

      • Directorate of Strategic Operational Planning

      • Directorate of Intelligence

      • Directorate of Terrorist Identities

      • Directorate of Operations Support

      • Other offices provide functions that include intelligence management and acquisition of innovative data to which NCTC has unique access.[200]

    • The National Counterproliferation Center (NCPC)[201]

    • The National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC)[202]

    • Various Regional Centers

    • The Cyber Threat Information Integration Center (CTIIC)

      • Current Intelligence Section (CIS)

      • Analysis Integration Section (AIS)

      • Threat Opportunity Section (TOS)[203]

 

  • *Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) – (1947); HQ Langley, VA; Reports to DNI; Budget:  classified, $15 billion in 2013;[204] Employees: 22,000?;[205] Includes:[206] [207]

    • Counterterrorism Mission Center[208]

    • Office of Advanced Analytics

    • Office of Analytic Production and Dissemination

    • Office of Strategic Programs

    • Agency Data Office

    • Center for Cyber Intelligence

    • Office of Global Access

    • Office of Integrated Missions

    • Office of Mission Resources

    • Office of Space Reconnaissance

    • Office of Special Activities

    • Office of Technical Collection

    • Office of Technical Intelligence Officer Development

    • Office of Technical Readiness

    • Office of Technical Service

    • Mission Center:  Africa

    • Mission Center:  Counterintelligence

    • Mission Center:  Counterterrorism

    • Mission Center:  East Asia and Pacific

    • Mission Center:  Europe and Eurasia

    • Mission Center:  Global Issues

    • Mission Center:  Near East

    • Mission Center:  South and Central Asia

    • Mission Center:   Weapons and Counterproliferation

    • Mission Center:  Western Hemisphere

    • Classified:  the above are only the unclassified operations. [209]  How many are unclassified?

 

United States Department of Energy:

  • *Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence (OICI) – HQ Washington, D.C.; Reports to DNI and Secretary of Energy; Mission: provide government and Intelligence Community analyses of nuclear and other energy-related intelligence; Budget $40 million in 2004. [210] [211]

    • 30 intelligence and counterintelligence offices nationwide

United States Department of Homeland Security:  Missions:  Prevent terrorism and enhance security, secure and manage our borders, enforce and administer our immigration laws, safeguard and secure cyberspace, ensure disaster resilience; 3rd largest U.S. government department; 240,000 employees;[212] Reports to President; 2018 Budget:  $71 billion (6% of FADS)[213] ;

  • Transportation Security Administration (TSA) – (2001); HQ Arlington, VA; 50,000 employees; Budget $8 billion.[214] [215] [216]

  • Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers – Budget $600 million.[217] [218]

  • Domestic Nuclear Detection Office – Budget:  $300 million.[219] [220]

  • Science and Technology – Budget:  $800 million.[221] [222]

  • National Protection and Programs Directorate – Budget $3 billion.[223]

  • *DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) - HQ Washington, DC; Mission: understand threats via analysis, collect information relevant to homeland security, share information with agencies that need it, and manage the homeland security enterprise; Budget: Classified; [224] [225]

    • Office of Partnership and Engagement

    • Office of Operations Coordination

    • Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman

  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – Budget $7 billion.[226] [227]

  • DHS Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) 

  • DHS Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office[228]

  • DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency[229]

  • Office of Cybersecurity and Communications/Cybersecurity Division[230]

  • Office of Infrastructure Protection/Infrastructure Security Division[231]

  • National Risk Management Center[232]

  • Federal Protective Service[233]

  • Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM)[234]

  • Emergency Communications Division[235]

  • U.S. Secret Service – (1865); HQ Washington, DC; Missions: protect the nation’s highest elected leaders, visiting foreign dignitaries, facilities and major events, safeguard the payment and financial systems of the U.S. from financial and computer-based crimes, secure the nation’s critical infrastructures, specifically in cyber, banking and finance, combat transnational organized crime, investigate abroad; 6,500 employees; Budget:  $2.2 billion.[236] [237]

    • Office of Investigations - secure nation’s critical infrastructures, specifically in areas of cyber, banking and finance, address need to combat transnational organized crime that targets citizens and financial institutions of the U.S., increasingly abroad.[328]

    • Office of Strategic Intelligence and Information

    • Office of Protective Operations – protects the nation’s highest elected leaders, visiting foreign dignitaries, facilities and major events.

      • Airspace Security Branch

      • Counter Sniper Team

      • Emergency Response Team

      • Counter Surveillance Unit

      • Counter Assault Team

      • Hazardous Agent Mitigation and Medical Emergency Response Team

      • Magnetometer Operations Unit

      • Other specialized resources provide protection from threats, including chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials and explosive devices.[239]

  • U.S. Customs & Border Protection – (2003); Mission:  keep terrorists and their weapons out and allow lawful international travel and trade; 60,000 employees; Budget:  $20 billion.[240] [241]

  • U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services – (2002); Mission:  administer the immigration system by adjudicating requests for immigration benefits while protecting U.S. people, securing the homeland and honoring our values; 19,000 employees; Budget $4.5 billion.[242] [243]

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency – (1979); Mission:  help people before, during, and after disasters and ensure that the nation's first responders are trained and equipped to deal with weapons of mass destruction; 10,000 employees; Budget $18 billion.[244] [245]

  • U.S. Coast Guard – Budget:  $11 billion.[246] [247]

    • *DHS Coast Guard Intelligence (CGI) – (1915); HQ Washington, D.C.; Mission:  conduct criminal, counterintelligence and personnel security investigations in Coast Guard area of responsibility; Budget:  Unknown. [248] [249]

 

United States Department of State:

  • *Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) – HQ Washington, D.C.; Mission: Secretary of State's primary advisor on intelligence matters, and gives support to other policymakers, ambassadors, and embassy staff; Employees:  500?; Budget: $150 million?;[250] [251] [252]

    • INR Watch

    • Office of Analysis for African Affairs (INR/AF)

    • Office of Analytic Outreach (INR/AO)

    • Office of Analysis for East Asia and the Pacific (INR/EAP)

    • Office of Economic Analysis (INR/EC)

    • Office of Analysis for Europe (INR/EUR)

    • Office of the Geographer and Global Issues (INR/GGI)

    • Office of Analysis for Near Eastern Affairs (INR/NEA)

    • Office of Opinion Research (INR/OPN)

    • Office of Analysis for Russia and Eurasia (INR/REA)

    • Office of Analysis for South Asia (INR/SA)

    • Office of Strategic, Proliferation, and Military Issues (INR/SPM)

    • Office of Analysis for Terrorism, Narcotics, and Crime (INR/TNC)

    • Office of Analysis for the Western Hemisphere (INR/WHA)

    • Office of Consular and Management Liaison (INR/CML)

    • Office of Cyber Affairs (INR/CYBER)

    • Office of Intelligence Operations and Oversight (INR/OPS)

    • Office of Intelligence Policy and Information Sharing Center (INR/PSC)

    • Office of Technical Collection Affairs (INR/TCA)[253]

 

United States Department of Defense:

  • *National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) – (1972); HQ Ft. Belvoir, VA; Mission:  employ cartographers and analysts to collect and generate information about Earth used in navigation, national security, military operations, and humanitarian aid efforts; Budget:  classified; employs 14,500 government civilians.[254] [255]

  • *National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) – (created secretly in 1961, unacknowledged ‘til 1992); HQ Chantilly, VA; Mission:  in charge of spy satellite design, building, launch and maintenance; 3,000 employees; Budget:  Classified.[256] [257]

  • *Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) – (1961); HQ Washington, DC; Mission: operate an overseas spy network; 16,500 employees; Budget classified.[258] [259]

  • *National Security Agency (NSA)/Central Security Service (CSS) – (1952); HQ Fort Meade, MD; NSA Mission: signals intelligence - intercept and process foreign communications, cryptology, crack codes, assure information, prevent foreign hackers from getting secret information; CSS provides cryptologic support, knowledge, and assistance to the military cryptologic community. (Some say NSA is the world’s largest intelligence organization– 3X the CIA.  Its HQ is 6 million square feet, comparable to the Pentagon, with 112 acres of parking.  Budget: Classified[260] [261]

  • U.S. Air Force (USAF) -

    • *Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR; Twenty-Fifth Air Force (25 AF)) – (1948); HQ Lackland AFB, TX; Mission: collect and analyze intelligence on foreign nations and hostile forces, in and out of combat zones, electronic and photographic surveillance, and weather and mapping data; 29,000 employees; Budget: classified.[262] [263] [264]

  • National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) – DoD’s primary source for foreign air and space threats creates intelligence in the air, space and cyberspace domains enabling military operations, force modernization, and policymaking; 3,000 personnel; Budget: Unknown.[265]

  • U.S. Army

  • *U.S. Army Intelligence & Security Command (INSCOM) – (1977); HQ Ft Belvoir, VA; Mission:  operational intelligence and security forces; conduct and synchronize worldwide multi-discipline and all-source intelligence and security operations; linguist support and intelligence-related advanced skills training, acquisition support, logistics, communications, and other specialized capabilities in support of Commands; Budget: Classified.[266]

  • National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC) – HQ Charlottesville, VA; Mission:  major subordinate command of INSCOM, center for ground force production, provides scientific and technical intelligence (S&TI) and general military intelligence (GMI) on foreign ground forces in support of warfighting commanders, force and material developers; Budget and Employees:  Unknown.[267]

  • U.S. Marine Corps

    • *Marine Corps Intelligence Activity (MCIA) – HQ Quantico, VA; Mission:  give tactical and operational intelligence to battlefield commanders, and serve as the "go-to" unit for the Commandant of the Marine Corps on understanding intel; Budget:  Classified.[268] [269]

      • Service Intelligence Center (SIC)

      • CI/HUMINT Support Company

      • Marine Cryptologic Support Battalion (MCSB) [270]

  • U.S. Navy

    • *Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) – (1882); HQ D.C.; maritime intelligence on weapons and technology proliferation, smuggling & illicit maritime activities to support Navy, joint war fighters and national decision makers & agencies; 3,000 employees; Budget: Unknown.[271] [272]

      • Nimitz Operational Intelligence Center

      • Farragut Technical Analysis Center

      • Kennedy Irregular Warfare Center

      • Hopper Information Services Center[273]

 

United States Department of the Treasury:

  • *Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI) – (2004); HQ Washington, D.C.; Mission:  safeguards the U.S. financial system "against illicit use and combating rogue nations, terrorist facilitators, weapons of mass destruction proliferators, money launderers, drug kingpins, and other national security threats"; Employees:  2,000?; Budget: $340 million.[274] [275]

    • Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)[cii]

    • Office of Terrorism Financing and Financial Crime (TFFC)

    • Treasury Executive Office for Asset Forfeiture (TEOAF)

    • Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)

    • Office of Intelligence and Analysis (OIA)

    • Office for Intelligence Community Integration

    • Office for Security

    • Office of Analysis and Production[276]

 

United States Department of Justice:

  • U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – 35,000 employees; Budget $9 billion.[277]

  • *FBI, National Security Branch (FBI/NSB) – (2005); HQ Washington, DC; Mission:  integrate intel on national security and criminal threats, detect, deter, and disrupt national security threats to the U.S. and its interests, Budget:  Classified.[278] [279]

    • Counterintelligence Division[280]

    • High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG)[281]

    • Terrorist Screening Center[282]

    • Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Directorate[283]

  • U.S Drug Enforcement Administration - Budget: $3 billion; 11,000 employees.[284]

  • *DEA, Office of National Security Intelligence (DEA/ONSI) – (1973); HQ El Paso, Texas; Mission:  assist law enforcement conducting major drug investigations, develop information that leads to seizures and arrests, and provide policy makers drug trend information on which programmatic decisions can be based; Budget: Classified[285] [286]

 

For 2019, combined U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) operation funding is $59.9 billion for the National Intelligence programs (NIP), and $21.2 billion for Military Intelligence Programs (MIP), a total of $81 billion (7% of FADS). [287]  Details of where the money goes and what’s done with it are national secrets.

Any and all subsidiary information concerning the NIP budget, whether the information concerns particular intelligence agencies or particular intelligence programs, will not be disclosed.  Beyond the disclosure of the NIP top-line figure, there will be no other disclosures of currently classified NIP budget information because such disclosures could harm national security. The only exceptions to the foregoing are for unclassified appropriations, such as for the Intelligence Community Management Account. [288]

For comparison, in 2018, the U.S. Federal Government budgeted $108 billion for Education and $93 billion for all transportation spending. [289]  So, we fund and value intelligence operations at 75% as much as all federal spending for education, and 87% as much as all federal spending for transportation?   

But wait, there’s more, a lot more!  The $81 billion national intelligence budget the U.S. announces includes only the 17 organizations in bold with a “*”.  There is far more than that allocated to security, control and intelligence in the U.S., much of it buried within other budgets, and difficult to ferret out.     If we add the $60 billion National Intelligence Programs’ and $71 billion Homeland Security budgets to the $892 billion defense budget for 2019, that’s more than a trillion dollars in U.S. military, security and intelligence spending for 2019, 88% of all money the Federal Government gets to decide how to spend.

 

There’s little public or elected official understanding, oversight or control of what these operations do.  Turf wars between them cause competition with each other and not sharing information between them, so there’s tremendous inefficiency and duplication of effort between them.  Many do the same work, creating redundancy and waste.  51 federal organizations and military commands, in 15 U.S. cities, track money flow to and from terrorist networks.  Intelligence analysts issue 50,000 intelligence reports per year, so many that many were and are routinely ignored.[290]  It was and is out of control.

So out of control, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) was created in 2004 to try to coordinate the national Intelligence Community (IC).  But, DNI has no authority to direct or control any IC element, except its own staff.  DNI also has no authority to hire or fire personnel in the IC, except its own staff.  Executive branch IC operations are directed and controlled by their respective department heads, reporting directly or indirectly to the President.  By law, only the Director of the CIA reports to DNI.[291]

Executive IC oversight is supposedly performed via the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, Inspector General Office, Joint Intelligence Community Council, and Office of Management and Budget. Congressional IC oversight is assigned to two committees:  Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.  House and Senate Armed Services Committees draft annual bills to authorize DoD budgets and intelligence activities, and House and Senate appropriations committees annually draft bills to appropriate the budgets of the IC.[292] 

 

That is a very small number of people, with a lot of other responsibility, many distracted with elections.  None of them know everything going on in the intelligence community, because that’s not possible.  Neither we nor our elected government representatives know what these organizations are doing.

In 2010, 1,300 government organizations and 2,000 private companies worked on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence, in some 10,000 locations across the U.S.; and 854,000 people, 1.5 times the population of Washington, D.C., held top-secret security clearances. In DC and surrounding areas, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work were being built or had been built since September 2001, occupying the equivalent of three Pentagons, then the largest employee complex in the U.S., or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings, about 17 million square feet of space. 

All that, and still Russia managed to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election, influencing results enough to change the outcome of the U.S. Presidential election; we know that.  And we let that happen?[293]

By the way, for those who categorically reject “conspiracy theories” as impossible, because someone will always talk, so you can’t keep big things secret.  These organizations of millions of people routinely keep vast operations secret, every day, using non-disclosure agreements, fear of criminal prosecution, employment contracts, and other legal vehicles and threats.  So do corporations, every day, like millions of employees keeping new product launch details and other intellectual property and operations secret.  The difference between a plan and a conspiracy is whether one approves of it.  All organizations plan.

 

Mercenaries and Other Contractors

 

But wait, there’s more!

So far, it’s been about U.S. government organizations, operations and employees.  Corporate contracts are a big part of what’s going on, though.  In 2017, the Pentagon alone obligated $320 billion in federal contracts (28% of FADS), more money than all other U.S. government agencies received, combined,[294] 11% more than the combined annual military spending of China, $228 billion, plus Russia, $85 billion.[295]  

41% of those contracts, $131 billion (11% of FADS) were for services, with private military and technical services contractors to military and intelligence organizations getting 20% more than the Federal Government spends for Education.  We have little visibility into what these private corporations do, and little ability to hold them accountable.  That can be a big part of why our government uses them.[296]

Mercenaries have gone corporate, and are now often called Private Military Contractors (PMCs) and Private Security Contractors (PSCs), or collectively Private Military and Security Contractors (PMSCs).  The U.N. International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries, from 2001, defines and limits mercenaries, soldiers of fortune or hired guns in interventions and wars, essentially agreeing that mercenaries and their use are against international humanitarian law.[297]

This doesn’t matter so much, because, drumroll… the U.S. didn’t sign it.  It and its mercenary contractors lawyer up and exploit legal loopholes to operate freely, hidden and protected under veils and shields of legal paperwork.  Corporate mercenaries operate with little fear of punishment, and the U.S. can use them to hide its participation in and be shielded in its liability for murders, war crimes and other illegal activities, manipulate stories and statistics reported to the public, and maintain “plausible deniability.”

The public is mostly ignorant of these global companies.  G4S is Earth’s 2nd largest private employer, after Walmart, with 625,000 employees in 125 countries.  Constellis has 1,800 troops in Iraq, on $1.5 billion in contracts, 3,000 elsewhere.  Asia Security Group is in Afghanistan.  Erinys, active in the Congo, has 16,000 at 282 places in Iraq, protecting oil pipelines.  DynCorp, in Virginia, has $3 billion in revenue, and is active in Iraq, Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America, with a staff of 10,000.  GardaWorld, the “largest privately-owned business solutions and security services company in the world,” has operations in 28 countries, employing 62,000 in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Aegis Defense Services has 5,000 people.  Defion Internacional, Northbridge Services Group, GK Sierra, ICTS Europe, Unity Resources Group, Asgaard German…  Companies like these often provide things like prison or event security, but also take military or quasi-military actions with combat-skilled ex-military.  Many of these companies change names, every so often, as notoriety degrades their corporate brands, or they buy and sell each other, like other corporations.[298] [299] [300] 

Blackwater, notorious in the Iraq War for employees murdering Iraqi civilians, with few consequences, re-branded as Xe, then Academi.  Its former leader, the current U.S. Education Secretary’s brother, proposed outsourcing the Afghanistan war to private companies, as East Indian Trading Companies did in colonial eras.  A venture of his, Frontier Services Group, has contracted to build a training center in far west China, where the Chinese government has detained a million Uighur Muslims in political camps.[301]  We’re outsourcing to corporations our wars and interventions, like we outsource our prison operations.

In the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, private contractors have frequently provided a majority of the total forces serving, in construction or intelligence analysis roles, and in both combat and security roles.  That lets the U.S. not count these added boots on the ground in reports of soldiers, injuries and deaths.  Contractor casualties exceeded official soldier casualties in 2009 and 2010, for example, but they were not officially counted as such, a useful tool for managing the press and public opinion.[302]

For example, the U.S. announced withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq in December of 2011.  In 2012, the government said we had no U.S. forces, only 1 killed and no wounded in Iraq.  However, we had 9,000 contractors there; 35 were killed and 1,909 were wounded.  In 2012, the government said we had 68,000 troops in Afghanistan, 276 died and 2,522 were wounded.  However, we also had 109,564 contractors there, and 221 were killed and 6,593 were wounded.[303]  Contractors don’t count?

Mercenary corporations, with hefty military expertise in ex-Navy SEAL and Delta Force founders, essentially staff parallel special forces operations and rent them out for profit.  These days, the only barrier to having your own private army of Navy SEALS is, apparently, having enough cash to pay them.  Do you think anybody who can pay for them should be able to field their own private corporate armies?  What does that do for peace, stability, fairness and well-being?

There is a reason the U.N. stands firmly against the use of mercenary fighters:  they have carried out far more atrocities than acts of valor on the battlefield.  If the U.S. can’t justify to the public why it’s fighting a war and losing soldiers’ lives, should it be able to avoid that by just hiring mercenaries to fight its war?  War is big business.  In 2017, the private security industry grew to $180 billion.[304] 

“Everybody’s doing it!”  In 2018, the UAE hired ex-U.S. soldiers via the U.S. firm Spear Operations Group to kill Yemeni leaders,[305] and former NSA staff to spy on political rival, human rights activist, journalist and U.S. citizens’ iPhones.[306]  Saudi Arabia, in addition to killing people with U.S. weapons itself, uses contract mercenaries from Sudan, many of them children, to persecute its war in Yemen.[307]  In 2018, U.S. soldiers in Syria fought Russian mercenaries from Wagner, a company linked to a Russian oligarch indicted in the Mueller investigations.[308] [309]  We use many mercenaries in Iraq and Afghanistan.[310]  In the 1990s, a well-known mercenary group in Africa had the very corporate name “Executive Outcomes,” using soldiers who’d suppressed blacks in South Africa to fight in Angola and Sierra Leone.[311]

During WW2, 10% of U.S. armed forces were contracted.  In the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, that proportion has been half.  In 2016, 75% of U.S. forces in Afghanistan were contractors, 10% were armed.  If this trend continues, we may see 80 or 90% of armed and support forces contracted in future wars.

Exact contractor death numbers are unknown, because our government doesn’t count or report them.  It may not care very much, because most of those fighting for the U.S. abroad are not from the U.S.  Private military companies are multinational corporations that recruit globally.  Only a third of private military contractors in Afghanistan are U.S. citizens.

Many larger private military companies also hire local “subs,” or sub-contractors, often invisible to U.S. government officials and reporters.  In 2010, the DoD hired Afghan warlords for security services, and British private military company ArmorGroup sub-contracted two Afghan military companies it called Mr. White  and Mr. Pink, linked to murder, kidnapping, bribery and anti-coalition activities, for example.  What do subs like these do when primary contractors leave?  Often, they keep doing what they’re doing, going into business for themselves, breeding violence and mercenary markets following interventions. 

Unlike the Pentagon or CIA, private military companies do not report to Congress, circumventing whatever democratic accountability there is for our official armed forces.  They can shield themselves from inquiry and accountability by invoking the need to protect proprietary information, and are not subject to Freedom of Information Act requests, even for unclassified operations, unlike the military or intelligence community.  This makes them ideal for dangerous missions requiring plausible deniability.  Often, even Congress can’t find out what these firms do, even more so than for our own secret stuff.

 

This effectively lowers barriers of entry for armed conflict, creating moral hazard.  It gives DoD and other U.S. intelligence operations other efficient vehicles to wage war outside of public view.  In Nigeria, mercenaries pushed out Boko Haram, an Islamic terrorist group, in a few months, something the Nigerian military wasn’t able to do in six years.  How do we even know who hires the mercenaries?

Few international laws exist to regulate the mercenary industry.  If anyone with enough money can wage war for any reason they want to, then new superpowers can emerge: including very rich people and multinational corporations.  Should oil companies and oligarchs be able to field armies?[312]

 

What about conflicts of interest of these multinational military contractors?  Former Blackwater, which still fights for the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan, contracts with the Chinese and other countries also.[313]  What’s to stop them selling information about one nation to another, or secretly sabotaging paid efforts to one nation for money from another, like a boxer deliberately taking a fall for a gambler?

 

The U.S. is also the world's largest supplier of PMCs, PSCs, and private military and security personnel.  We regularly buy and sell private military and security services, in addition to arms they use.[314]

We don’t just outsource our soldiering.  We also outsource $50 billion a year in intelligence work, and corporations we outsource that to have consolidated into oligarchical market concentrations, what looks a lot like old-fashioned monopolies.  5 corporations now employ 80% of private-sector employees contracted to work for U.S. spy and surveillance agencies.  That’s risky, because there are then few alternatives when a company screws up.  Much of this privatized work is top secret, and underreported, further reducing the already limited accountability and transparency of our spy agencies, in similar ways to how using mercenaries reduces accountability and transparency of our uses of military force.

 

These 5 companies are:

  • Leidos Holdings - a major Pentagon and NSA contractor that completed a merger with Lockheed Martin’s Information Systems & Global Solutions division in 2016, has 8,000 operatives doing everything from analyzing signals for the NSA to tracking down suspected enemy fighters for U.S. Special Forces in the Middle East and Africa. 

  • Booz Allen Hamilton – a giant contractor and consultant, partly owned by politically connected Carlyle Group, contracts with the Director of National Intelligence, National Intelligence, Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, Civil Agencies, and Military Intelligence, including rapidly tracking high-value individuals targeted by U.S. military and intelligence.

  • SAIC - a giant, well-known military contractor expanded into spying by buying Scitor, a company deeply embedded in the Pentagon’s top-secret satellite operations, with reach into the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), which manages the U.S. spy satellite network.

  • CSRA Inc. - created in a merger of CSC, which developed and manages NSA’s classified internal-communications system, and SRA International, long involved in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), among other things, provides 24/7 support for global military operations and manages the global network of intelligence platforms for U.S. drone strikes.

  • CACI International – a Pentagon contractor infamous for supplying interrogators to the U.S. military prison at Abu Ghraib, recently acquired two companies doing extensive work for the NSA and CIA:  National Security Solutions and Six3 Intelligence Solutions.  Six3, for example, provides counterinsurgency targeting and other intelligence services.

 

Together, these 5 corporations have 45,000 staff with security clearances working beside government employees at the NSA, CIA and other agencies.  That’s 80% of the total contractor workforce of 58,000 and a fifth of the total workforce of 183,000 civilians, contractors and uniformed soldiers working in national and military intelligence.  So, we have intelligence contractors now that are “too big to fail.” 

 

When a few companies dominate a single market, as in banking or railroads, it can result in greater efficiencies, sometimes even lower prices - if the industry is well-regulated.  If not, as known from the Wall Street collapse, it can get ugly, with high-level corruption, taxpayer bailouts and business failures that create harm that ripples throughout society.  All of that happens also in intelligence contracting.  These contractors have so much power that we let them get away with stuff.

For example, the Trailblazer project at NSA was designed by contractors in 2001 to transform NSA’s collection of signals intelligence from the Internet.  SAIC won the prime contract to build it, and it ended up a $7 billion failure, as revealed by whistleblowers, but the project audit still remains classified, and SAIC and Booz Allen (which helped design it) continue to win big contracts, despite strong evidence they wasted billions of taxpayer dollars and modified and suppressed internal studies about the project.

These five, of course, are not this market’s only players. The spies-for-hire workforce includes thousands of others from intelligence divisions at Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Raytheon, BAE, Accenture and other smaller companies, like ManTech International, Engility Corporation, L-3 Communications and PAE.

 

Intelligence privatization, like military privatization, has been largely ignored by big media and Congress.  In public documents and congressional hearings, U.S. intelligence leaders frequently recognize the existence of this private intelligence army as “core contract personnel.” ODNI describes them as “functionally indistinguishable from US government personnel whose missions they support,” performing activities that include “collection, analysis, information technology, training, and education.”  In 2016, contractors held 44% of ODNI positions, including 13% of its senior leadership positions.

 

Concentration means ever fewer companies control the information that guides our military and civilian leaders and, by extension, shapes U.S. views of the world, and military and political actions we take.  Spying is now a joint venture between the security state and the private sector.  Should public information and intelligence be a public resource transparent to and controlled by the people and for the people, or should it be concentrated in a small group of for-profit corporations?[315]

It is interesting that 5 companies control 80% of U.S. intelligence contracting, and 6 media companies control 90% of the information the U.S. public reads, listens to or watches.[316]  There are only handfuls of people ultimately controlling each of these companies.  Who are they, and what are their agendas?

The Surveillance State

 

But wait, there’s more!

Since at least 2001, the U.S. government, with assistance from major telecommunications carriers, has engaged in a massive, illegal dragnet surveillance of communications systems, and communications records of virtually everyone in the U.S.  The National Security Agency (NSA) has wholesale copies of virtually all telephone and other communications records in the U.S., making copies of all emails, web browsing and other Internet traffic to and from telecom customers, massive data collection including both domestic and international Internet activities.  More than a wiretap, it’s a “country-tap.”[317]

 

It works like this:  when you send an email or use the internet, the data travels from your computer, through telecommunication companies' wires and fiber optics networks.  NSA intercepts this data via “fiber-optic splitters” in many of the U.S.’ main telecommunication junction points.  These splitters make exact copies of the data passing through them:  then, one stream is directed to the government, while the other stream is directed to the intended recipients.[318]

The government argues, even if serious law-breaking and Constitutional violations allegations are true, surveillance of millions of ordinary people in the U.S. is exempt from judicial review.[319]

Numerous government agencies, including the NSA, FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and state and local law enforcement agencies, intrude on private communications of innocent citizens, amass vast databases of who we call and when, and catalog “suspicious activities” based on the vaguest standards.

Government’s collection of this sensitive information is an invasion of privacy.  Its use of this data is also often abusive.  Innocuous data is fed into watchlists, with harsh consequences.  Innocent individuals are unable to board planes, barred from jobs, shut out of their own bank accounts and repeatedly probed by authorities.  Once information is in government hands, it can be shared widely and retained for years, and rules about its access and use can be changed entirely in secret, without the public ever knowing.

History has shown that powerful, secret surveillance tools will almost certainly be abused for political or personal ends, and turned disproportionately on disfavored minorities and rivals.[320]  The FBI can now legally search and seize any computer anywhere that uses anonymity software, like a VPN or Tor.[321]

Whatever people think of Edward Snowden and his whistleblowing on the U.S. surveillance state, it was a tremendous act of courage for him to take the actions he did, to share information on how the U.S. is collecting and using mind-numbing volumes of data from the electronic communications of people all over the world, including innocent U.S. citizens, knowing he would be persecuted by the government.

 

He showed us how government has information on us and others, including much of our phone calls, emails, social media use, photos, private documents, web browsing, computer and phone locations, interactions with electronic services, financial and library records, hacks of computer microphones and cameras, and many other things.  He showed us how the government can and does use that information to target people for intelligence, military, police and other purposes, and gather data on not only us, but also on our personal contact networks, as far out as they go.  He showed us how that information can be used to manipulate, trap and exploit anyone, not only through what they learn about our private lives, but through leverage applied through knowledge of our loved ones.  He showed there is little oversight.  He did that because he idealistically believed we should know, in the “land of the free.”[322]  Right?

PRISM and Upstream programs that do that were renewed in 2018.[323]  In addition to all of what we send across the Internet via telecommunications providers, including AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and Nextel, PRISM also gets data from Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Skype, YouTube, Apple and Dropbox.  The Tempora program taps information passing through undersea telecom cables.  NSA breaks encryption codes and passwords routinely, but it also hacks target computers using a program called Tailored Access Operations (TAO) to get information from devices directly.  A program called Dishfire collects text messages globally.  SOMALGET taps communications in the Bahamas, where many do offshore banking.  MYSTIC gathers personal mobile data in countries with populations greater than 250 million via interception mechanisms covertly installed by U.S. companies that operate in them.[324]

 

Boundless Informant analyzes global electronic information and collected 97 billion pieces of intelligence from computer networks worldwide in March 2013 alone.[325]  Bullrun cracks encryption.[326]  DCSNet lets the FBI tap any phone with a few clicks on a computer.[327]  FinCEN, operated by the U.S. Treasury, tracks financial transactions.[328]  Muscular taps Yahoo and Google data centers.[329]  This stuff goes on and on…  The government stores all this information, which it can go back to any time to mine for its purposes.[330] 

Photo and video surveillance systems are expanding rapidly, and artificial intelligence systems are being used to enable quick identification of people, activities and other content.[331]  By 2020, 6 billion people worldwide will have phones that take pictures.  2.5 trillion images are shared or stored on the Internet annually, plus billions of photographs and videos on devices.  Last year, 106 million surveillance cameras were sold.  3 million ATMs have cameras.  Tens of thousands and growing automatic number plate recognition and traffic cameras are installed over roads, to catch motorists or parking violators, but also to track movements of any target.  Growing numbers of people wear body cameras, not just police.

Personal monitoring devices, dash cams, GoPros, airplane seatback cameras and microphones,[332] and security cameras are proliferating wildly.  Chicago has 32,000.  Cities are being blanketed with them.[333]  Billions of images of unsuspecting citizens are captured by facial-recognition technologies and stored in law enforcement and private-sector databases over which our control is practically fictional.  Facial recognition in 15 U.S. airports already will be used on 97% of departing air passengers by 2022.[334]

The skies are full of drones, 2.5 million purchased in 2016, many with cameras.  Governments and police operate fleets of unmanned aerial vehicles with cameras.  Military and intelligence have weaponized drone fleets killing people all over the world, using operators sitting at desks in the U.S.  1,700 satellites surround our planet, some capable of reading vehicle license plates and identifying individual faces. 

Facial recognition software matches faces and records from billions of captured photos and videos.  There are scanners that identify the molecular content of substances observed, and video and photo monitoring devices using infrared and other frequencies to detect things not normally visible.  Audio listening devices are even less detectable and can be anywhere.[335]  Government can use our fingerprints and faces to access our information and movements.[336]  Apps share tons of information.[337]

Hacks and surveillance programs can access computers and data, monitor keystrokes, and use computer cameras and microphones for real-time surveillance, without permission or knowledge,[338]  on phones, computers, game systems,[339] smart devices like Alexa,[340] and most things with microphones or cameras connected to a network, including robots, games, toys and seatback screens on airplanes.[341]  Oh, and it isn’t just government spying on us.  Many of these technologies are used to spy on us and monetize data about us by corporations, like Facebook.  How do you think they offer their services free?

Current Situation Summary

 

As with any of these wicked problems, many books could be written about this.  Let’s summarize.

From a rebellion of 13 east coast British colonies, touting human rights and other Enlightenment ideals, attempting to establish a representative democratic government by and for its people, the U.S. has expanded to create a huge empire with the 4th largest land mass,[342] 3rd largest human population,[343] the largest economy by GDP,[344] and the largest government budget.[345]  Its empire is largely economic.

It did so by committing genocide on its native populations and declaring war against Great Britain, France, Spain, Mexico, Germany, Austria, Italy and Japan, and through other historical authorized and unauthorized military and covert and overt intervention actions in at least 84 countries: 

Abyssinia, Afghanistan, Angola, Antigua, Argentina, Belgium, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brazil, British Guiana, Cambodia, Chad, Chile, China, Columbia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dutch Guiana, East Pakistan, East Timor, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ghana, Greece, Greenland, Grenada, Guam, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, Laos, Lebanon, Libya, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, Newfoundland, Nicaragua, North Korea, North Vietnam, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portuguese West Africa, Puerto Rico, Russia, Samoa, South Vietnam, St. Lucia, Sumatra, Syria, Taiwan, the Bahamas, the Congo, the Dominican Republic, the Falkland Islands, the Fiji Islands, the Hawaiian Islands, the Ivory Coast, the Philippines, the Sudan, Trinidad, Turkey, Uruguay, Vietnam, West Pakistan, Yemen, Yugoslavia and Zaire.

Its wars and overt and covert interventions are responsible for killing at least 200 million human beings, 30 million since World War 2, creating great loss and suffering far beyond those numbers.

It holds a fourth of the world's 10 million prisoners, by far the largest prison population in the world, imprisoning people at 5.4 times the rate the rest of the world does, imprisoning a higher percentage of its adult blacks than South Africa at apartheid’s peak.   Its prison sentences are the world’s longest. 

 

In 2018, it held 7 million in jail/prison or on probation/parole, 1 in 35 adults.  Half of (113 million) U.S. adults have had a close family member jailed; 1 in 7 a spouse; 1 in 8 a child, and only 1 in 4 are ever able to visit incarcerated family members.  3 million (1 in 25) U.S. children have a parent in prison.  At any moment, half a million people are in its jails awaiting trials, maybe years, because they can’t afford bail.  97% in the criminal justice system take plea bargain deals, often because they can’t afford better.

The U.S. prison system removes citizens from voting rolls, enough to affect many U.S. elections, a major corruption of democracy.  It creates a culture of fear, fear of our government and its police state, fear that inhibits freedom and forces compliance.  It consumes up to $1 trillion a year for that, including direct system costs, lost productivity, and impacts on families, children and communities (86% of FADS), resources that could instead be used to promote freedoms, life, growth, evolution and happiness. [346]

It operates a global military police force in at least 163 countries with, by far, the world’s largest, most expensive military, paying more for its military than the next  10 to 11 militaries in the world, combined, $886 billion in 2018.  77% of revenues its Federal Government can decide how to spend without debt goes to military, leaving 23% for all other discretionary spending, like education, welfare, transportation, protection, government services, infrastructure, programs…, even when there has been little real threat of any military anywhere attacking the U.S.   It spends four times China's $216 billion for military, though China has four times the U.S. population, and 10 times more than Russia's military budget of $85 billion.  If its military was a national government, it would rank 8th in the world by total budget.

Its military has 6,000 military bases and/or warehouses in the U.S. and 700-1,000 in 80 other countries, on 30 million acres, with 850,000 buildings, making its military one of the world’s largest landowners.  11 other countries have foreign military bases, 70 altogether.  The rest of the world, combined, has less than 10% of the number of foreign military bases the U.S. has.  Its military has more office space than Manhattan, 250,000 vehicles, 5,285 aircraft and 293 ships.  It’s the country’s largest employer.  It just announced the world’s first separate military branch to operate in space.  Big coverage for an empire.

Its military operates with little real financial accountability to its people, with $21 trillion of transactions untraced, documented or explained, the amount of its current national debt, more than its current GDP, the world’s largest, about how much all the governments in the world had to spend in 2016.    

 

Its military is the world’s largest single polluter, consumer of energy, and contributor to global warming.  Yet, it is immune to participation in global climate or environmental agreements. 

It created nuclear war, is the only country to have ever used nuclear weapons in war, and has conducted more nuclear weapons tests than all other nations combined.  It and Russia are the world’s greatest nuclear arms holders, with about 6,500 warheads each, compared to 300 for the 3rd ranked France, and it has just pulled out of one of the most important nuclear arms treaties in the world, along with Russia, promising to spend $1 trillion on its nuclear arsenal in the next 30 years, creating great risks for life.

 

It is the world’s largest military arms dealer, selling 70% of arms in the world in 2011.  It sells six times more weapons than the 2nd largest arms dealer, Russia, increasingly without legal constraints, creating military capabilities it says it must police, like selling guns to its public creates crime it has to police.

It pays private military contractors 11% more than combined annual military spending of China/Russia.  Its Federal Government pays private military contractors 20% more for services alone than it spends on Education, to be mercenaries and operations contractors, largely unaccountable to elected government officials or the public, which lets it fudge military and intelligence activity to manage public perceptions.  The public is mostly ignorant of global mercenary companies.  One is the 2nd largest private employer in the world, after Walmart.  The U.S. didn’t sign the U.N. agreement not to use mercenaries, and it does; it just doesn’t tell its people much about it.

The current head of its CIA oversaw illegally torturing human beings and destroying taped evidence of it.  1947 to 1989, the CIA tried to change other nations’ governments at least 72 times, just one part of by far the world’s largest spy, security and intelligence operations it operates.  Those operations include at least 1,300 government organizations and 2,000 private companies, in 10,000 locations in just the U.S.  850,000 people have its top-secret security clearances.  It spends $1 trillion a year on combined military, security and intelligence operations, the entire government budget of Great Britain, which controlled a quarter of the Earth’s surface before it released holds on its empire.  It outsources $50 billion a year in spy work, 80% of it to an oligarchy of 5 corporations, considered indispensable.

Its spies and intelligence workers gather public and private information on people and its own citizens all over the world, extraordinary amounts of all kinds of data, including most everything passing through the public Internet, phone calls, emails, social media use, photos, private documents, web browsing, computer and phone locations, interactions with electronic services, financial and library records, hacks of computer microphones and cameras, and many other things, gathering data on not only individuals, but also on their personal contact networks, which they can identify, as far out as they go. 

 

That includes data from AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, Nextel, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, YouTube, Skype, Apple, Dropbox, information passing through undersea telecom cables, via breaking encryption and passwords, hacking computers and phones, global text messages, personal mobile data in countries with populations greater than 250 million, and tapping any phone with a few clicks on a computer.

It can and does use that to target people for intelligence, military, police and other purposes, to be able to manipulate, trap and exploit anyone, not only via what they learn about private lives, but through leverage applied through knowledge of their loved ones.  Still Russia changed its election outcomes?

 

Its combined military and intelligence operations are functionally impossible to oversee, especially for handfuls of public officials tasked with that, who are busy with other things, including voting on other things before the legislature, getting elected, and raising money to get elected.  After elections, some jobs change with political appointments.  The rest of these organizations and people carry on, with resources and continuity.  It would take years for political appointees to learn what’s going on in these operations, which is probably not possible, which most don’t before being replaced with the next round of appointees, leaving a “deep state” of continued operations in place.

At its founding, and periodically since, including early phases of the U.N, the U.S. was a champion of human rights.  Its record, however, includes genocide against its native population, controlling public information, significant propaganda operations, impeding public information requests, persecuting whistleblowers and leakers trying to provide public information to the public, attacks on the press, classifying extraordinary amounts of information, and kidnapping, murdering, torturing and/or holding people without charges or recourse indefinitely.  It takes children from asylum seekers and imprisons them far from parents, illegally.  It discriminates against immigrants based on race, country and religion.  It increasingly defies international human rights agreements and laws, and nobody challenges it.[347]

Its citizens live in a culture of fear, though fear has never been a U.S. value.  Though most intend to live in a peaceful culture, via its unending War on Terror against a vague enemy it can never totally identify or defeat, it has established a permanent state of war, in which wartime powers are never suspended. 

It said its Afghanistan war was to bring Osama bin Laden to justice, but it killed him in Pakistan in 2011, and still it occupies the country in 2019.  Why?  The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) natural gas pipeline will be finished by 2020, creating profits from the world’s 4th largest gas reserves supplying billions of people in those countries. The war/occupation costs are public; profits are private.

Through operations like its World Bank and International Monetary Fund, it operates various methods of economic imperialism, loaning nations money and then controlling them through their indebtedness, much like its banking system controls its citizens through education, home, credit card and other debt.  They force power, legal and policy changes which give the U.S. and/or its powerful methods of controlling and profiting from resources and economic activity in those countries and others.

Repercussions of its military, spy and economic interventions and interferences in other countries include instabilities, destruction, and dislocations, affecting countries and populations all over the world, resulting in immigration crises all over the world, and resulting instabilities and harms to host nations.

Its empire is showing signs of decay, divisiveness, bitterness, suffering and despair.  Signs of its end?  Let’s see if the President gets his way to parade tanks in the streets of Washington, DC for 4th of July.[348]  Historically, all empires fall, eventually.  When ours falls, it will make a loud noise.  Hear Nero’s fiddle?

Aaaargh, enough.  Another enormous difficult wicked problem, full to the brim with wicked problems.  So what?  What can we do about it?  How can we each change the way we are and what we do to affect how we collectively manifest our shared reality, so it is consistent with our most beautiful dreams of it?

Stop!  Breathe deeply!  Relax!  Release!  Take a walk!  Sit in nature!  Let it go!

How does this make you feel?  Where do those feelings come from?  What values or needs are affected by this information that creates those feelings?  What’s important and valuable underneath all of it?

This makes me feel sad and disappointed, because I believe the U.S. stands for human rights and values, for nurturing environments where people are free to pursue life, fulfillment and happiness, determining ourselves how we want to be and what we want to do, as long as we don’t interfere with others’ rights.  Our web of life and ideals are more important than any need or greed for wealth or power.  The U.S. is not aligned with such ideals; I’m part of the U.S., so I’m a part of its transgressions, even against my will.

I value violence only as a last resort, something used only in defense against unjustified violent attack, when there is no other viable resolution.  Yet, the U.S. proliferates means of violence all over the world, operates vehicles of violence all over the world, consumes the vast majority of our federal resources on vehicles of violence all over the world, leaving real life-supporting public needs destitute, and commits unprovoked violence and interference on innocents all over the world.  That makes me feel sick inside.

I value privacy as a basic human right and protection of human rights as government’s primary purpose, yet my government is invading privacy and violating human rights with little respect almost everywhere.  That makes me feel invaded, taken advantage of and abused, even if that’s mostly happened to others.  I feel betrayed and frustrated that our government is doing exactly the opposite of its primary purpose.

I value the idea that my country helps to lead and create a community of nations that live and behave with integrity, internally and in relation to each other, according to human rights and values.  It disturbs me that my country is undermining that national community by being an asshole when I try not to be.

 

That’s some of what I observe in myself as I observe this information about our empire and its agents.  Now, I have to decide how that affects how I want to be and behave, in my role in co-creating our world.  I can:    help share this information with others, so others have a chance to go through this exercise; respect others’ relationships with this information and their values and emotions; not allow any of my surfaced negative emotions to harm me or others; not support with anything I buy or do anything that supports our government, military or intelligence agencies until they demonstrate values like mine; support with what I buy or do stuff creating positive change aligned with my values; turn surveillance on governments; take at least one proactive action in the political or public domains this year on this stuff, because that seems to be the best way to affect what is happening with all of this.

 

What can you do to change your relationship with all this, to be and do what allows you to feel good?  All we can be and do is what’s in our power to be and do, while consciously, awake and aware!  Share information and model what you do about this!  Refuse to do business with military or its contractors! 

Refuse to serve in the military or work for any of its contractors!  Protest!  Help those it harms!  Resist!  Write letters to government, press and companies doing business with the military, even if you think it does not matter!  It gives you integrity.  Have compassion for immigrants displaced by this!  Refuse fear!  Respect and aid U.S. native peoples!  Advocate for including this in public education!  Don’t be fooled!  Do something to develop momentum in your life in making positive changes!  We have a lot to do.

 
 
 

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Endnotes

 

[1] “What US Possessions, US Territories, and Freely Associated States are Considered Domestic?”, U.S. Postal Service, Accessed February 5, 2019, https://usps.force.com/faq/s/article/What-US-Possessions-US-Territories-and-Freely-Associated-States-are-Considered-Domestic

[2] “Survive the Apocalypse in Doomsday Bunkers That Are Mildly Terrifying But Super Luxurious”, Jahla Seppanen, The Manual, December 7, 2018, https://www.themanual.com/living/luxury-

[3] “About Tribes”, National Congress of American Indians, May 8, 2019, http://www.ncai.org/about-tribes

[4] “Native American Genocide:  Dark Origins of the “American Dream”, World Future Fund, Accessed February 1, 2019, http://www.worldfuturefund.org/Reports/Genocide/genocide.html

[5] “Atrocities Against Native Americans”, United to End Genocide, Accessed February 1, 2019, http://endgenocide.org/learn/past-genocides/native-americans/

[6] “America’s Wars”, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Accessed February 1, 2019, https://www.va.gov/opa/publications/factsheets/fs_americas_wars.pdf           

[7] “British Soldiers in the Revolutionary War”, Rebecca Beatrice Brooks, History of Massachusetts Blog, November 27, 2017, https://historyofmassachusetts.org/british-soldiers-revolutionary-war/

[8] “Quasi-War: July 7, 1798–September 30, 1800”, American History Central, Accessed February 1, 2019, https://www.americanhistorycentral.com/entries/quasi-war/

[9] “Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2018”, U.S. Congressional Research Services, Updated December 28, 2018, https://fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R42738.pdf

[10] “Barbary Wars, 1801–1805 and 1815–1816”, Office of the Historian, U.S. Department of State, Accessed February 1, 2019, https://history.state.gov/milestones/1801-1829/barbary-wars

[11] “Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2018”, U.S. Congressional Research Services, Updated December 28, 2018, https://fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R42738.pdf

[12] “The War of 1812 101: An Overview:  An Introduction to the War of 1812”, Kennedy Hickman,  ThoughtCo, Updated March 02, 2018, https://www.thoughtco.com/war-of-1812-an-overview-2361373

[13] “The British View the War of 1812 Quite Differently Than Americans Do: The star-spangled war confirmed independence for the United States. But for Great Britain, it was a betrayal”, Amanda Foreman, Smithsonian Magazine, July 2014, https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/british-view-war-1812-quite-differently-americans-do-180951852/

[14] “US Military and Clandestine Operations in Foreign Countries - 1798-Present”, Global Policy Forum, December 2005, https://www.globalpolicy.org/us-military-expansion-and-intervention/26024.html

[15] “The Seminole Wars”, Florida Department of State, Accessed February 1, 2019, https://dos.myflorida.com/florida-facts/florida-history/seminole-history/the-seminole-wars/

[16] “Great Britain and the United States sign the Treaty of Joint Occupation of Oregon on October 20, 1818”, Walt Crowley, History Link.org, January 23, 2003, http://www.historylink.org/File/5103

[17] “Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2018”, U.S. Congressional Research Services, Updated December 28, 2018, https://fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R42738.pdf

[18] “Texas Revolution:  war between Mexico and Texas [1835-1836]”, Jeff Wallenfeldt, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Accessed February 1, 2019, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Texas-Revolution

[19] “Mexican-American War”, Accessed January 14, 2019, History.com, https://www.history.com/topics/mexican-american-war/mexican-american-war

[20] “Mexico:  History”, Lonely Planet, Accessed January 14, 2019, https://www.lonelyplanet.com/mexico/history

[21] “10 Things You May Not Know About the Mexican-American War”, Evan Andrews, History.com, April 22, 2016, https://www.history.com/news/10-things-you-may-not-know-about-the-mexican-american-war

[22] “Civil War Facts”, PBS, Accessed February 1, 2019, http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/civil-war/war/civil-war-facts/

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[135] Country budget information is from the CIA World Factbook 2017, found in "Budget - expenditures 2017 Country Ranks, By Rank"", Photius,  Feb 5, 2019, https://photius.com/rankings/2017/economy/budget_expenditures_2017_0.html,

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[138] “An Assessment of U.S. Military Power:  U.S. Army”, The Heritage Foundation, October 4, 2018, https://www.heritage.org/military-strength/assessment-us-military-power/us-army

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[194] “Senate Passes $250 Million Increase for Head Start”, August 24, 2018, National Head Start Association, https://www.nhsa.org/pr-update/senate-passes-250-million-increase-head-start

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[196] “2018 Americorps Grants”, Accessed February 8, 2019, https://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/americorps-programs/americorps-state-national/2018-americorps-grants-chart 

[197] “ODNI FactSheet”, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, February 24, 2017, https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/FACTSHEET_ODNI_History_and_Background_2_24-17.pdf

[198] “Office of the Director of National Intelligence”, Accessed February 6, 2019, https://www.dni.gov/

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[201] “National Counterproliferation Center”, ODNI, https://www.dni.gov/index.php/ncpc-home

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[207] “Central Intelligence Agency”, https://www.cia.gov/index.html

[208] “How We Work”, Director of National Intelligence, Accessed February 6, 2019, https://www.dni.gov/index.php/how-we-work

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[211] “Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence”, U.S. Department of Energy, Accessed February 9, 2019, https://www.energy.gov/intelligence/office-intelligence-and-counterintelligence

[212] U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), https://www.dhs.gov/

[213] “FY 2019 Budget in Brief”, Department of Homeland Security, Accessed February 6, 2019, https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/DHS%20BIB%202019.pdf

[214] Transportation Security Administration, https://www.tsa.gov/

[215] “Department of Homeland Security: Transportation Security Administration: Budget Overview: Fiscal Year 2018

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[216] “What is TSA?”, FederalLawEnforcement.org, Accessed February 9, 2019, https://www.federallawenforcement.org/tsa/

[217] Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers, https://www.fletc.gov/

[218] “Department of Homeland Security: Federal Law Enforcement Training Center: Budget Overview: Fiscal Year 2018: Congressional Justification”, https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/FLETC%20FY18%20Budget.pdf

[219] Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, https://www.dhs.gov/domestic-nuclear-detection-office

[220] “Department of Homeland Security: Domestic Nuclear Detection Office: Budget Overview: Fiscal Year 2018: Congressional Justification”, https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/DNDO%20FY18%20Budget.pdf

[221] Science and Technology, https://www.dhs.gov/science-and-technology

[222] “Department of Homeland Security: Science and Technology: Budget Overview: Fiscal Year 2018: Congressional Justification”, https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/S%26T%20FY18%20Budget.pdf

[223] “Department of Homeland Security: National Protection and Programs Directorate: Budget Overview: Fiscal Year 2018: Congressional Justification”, https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/NPPD%20FY18%20Budget.pdf

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[225] “Office of Intelligence and Analysis”, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), https://www.dhs.gov/office-intelligence-and-analysis

[226] “Organizational Chart”, Department of Homeland Security, December 4, 2018, https://www.dhs.gov/organizational-chart

[227] “Department of Homeland Security:  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement:  Budget Overview:  Fiscal Year 2018: Congressional Justification”, https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/ICE%20FY18%20Budget.pdf

[228] “Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office”, DHS, https://www.dhs.gov/countering-weapons-mass-destruction-office

[229] Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, DHS, https://www.dhs.gov/CISA

[230] “Cybersecurity Division”, DHS, https://www.dhs.gov/cisa/cybersecurity-division

[231] “Infrastructure Security Division”, DHS, https://www.dhs.gov/cisa/infrastructure-security-division

[232] “National Risk Management Center (NRMC)”, https://www.dhs.gov/cisa/national-risk-management-center

[233] “Federal Protective Service”, DHS, https://www.dhs.gov/topic/federal-protective-service

[234] “Office of Biometric Identity Management Identification Services”, DHS, https://www.dhs.gov/obim-biometric-identification-services

[235] “Emergency Communications Division”, DHS, https://www.dhs.gov/cisa/emergency-communications-division

[236] “U.S. Secret Service”, https://www.secretservice.gov/

[237] “Department of Homeland Security:  U.S. Secret Service Budget Overview:  Fiscal Year 2018”, https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/USSS%20FY18%20Budget.pdf

[238] “The Investigative Mission”, U.S. Secret Service, https://www.secretservice.gov/investigation/

[239] “The Protective Mission”, U.S. Secret Service, https://www.secretservice.gov/protection/

[240] U.S. Customs and Border Protection Services, https://www.cbp.gov/

[241] “Department of Homeland Security:  U.S. Customs and Border Protection:  Budget Overview:  Fiscal Year 2018:  Congressional Justification”, https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/CBP%20FY18%20Budget.pdf

[242] U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, https://www.uscis.gov/

[243] “Department of Homeland Security: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services: Budget Overview: Fiscal Year 2018: Congressional Justification”, https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/USCIS%20FY18%20Budget.pdf

[244] FEMA, https://www.fema.gov/

[245] “Department of Homeland Security: Federal Emergency Management Agency: Budget Overview: Fiscal Year 2018: Congressional Justification”, https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/FEMA%20FY18%20Budget.pdf

[246] U.S. Coast Guard, https://www.uscg.mil/

[247] “Department of Homeland Security: U.S. Coast Guard: Budget Overview: Fiscal Year 2018: Congressional Justification”, https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/USCG%20FY18%20Budget.pdf

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[249] U.S. Coast Guard, https://www.uscg.mil/

[lxxvi] Bureau of Intelligence and Research, https://www.state.gov/s/inr/

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[251] “Treasury Gets Counter-Terrorism Budget Increase”, Samuel Rubenfeld, The Wall Street Journal, March 23, 2018, https://blogs.wsj.com/riskandcompliance/2018/03/23/congress-grants-half-of-treasurys-counter-terrorism-budget-request/

[252] “Offices Within the Bureau of Intelligence and Research”, U.S. Department of State, Accessed February 13, 2019, https://www.state.gov/s/inr/owb/index.htm

[253] National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, https://www.nga.mil

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[255] National Reconnaissance Office, https://www.nro.gov/

[256] “These 17 Agencies Make Up The Most Sophisticated Spy Network In The World”, Paul Szoldra, Business Insider, May 11, 2013, https://www.businessinsider.com/17-agencies-of-the-us-intelligence-community-2013-5

[257] Defense Intelligence Agency, http://www.dia.mil/

[258] “These 17 Agencies Make Up The Most Sophisticated Spy Network In The World”, Paul Szoldra, Business Insider, May 11, 2013, https://www.businessinsider.com/17-agencies-of-the-us-intelligence-community-2013-5

[259] National Security Agency, https://www.nsa.gov/

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[263] “The Twenty-Fifth Air Force”, U.S. Air Force, December 14, 2017, https://www.af.mil/About-Us/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/1397250/the-twenty-fifth-air-force/

[264] National Air and Space Intelligence Center, https://www.nasic.af.mil/

[265] “United States Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM)”, https://www.inscom.army.mil

[266] “Chapter 8: National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC)”, Federation of American Scientists, Accessed February 9, 2019, https://fas.org/irp/doddir/army/fm34-37_97/8-chap.htm

[267] “Marine Corps Intelligence Activity:  Intelligence Department”, https://www.hqmc.marines.mil/intelligence/Units/MCIA/

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[269] “Marine Corps Intelligence Activity: Intelligence Department”, Accessed February 13, 2019, https://www.hqmc.marines.mil/intelligence/Units/MCIA/

[270] Office of Naval Intelligence, https://www.oni.navy.mil/

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[275] https://www.treasury.gov/about/organizational-structure/offices/Pages/Office-of-Terrorism-and-Financial-Intelligence.aspx

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[280] Counterintelligence, FBI, https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/counterintelligence

[281] High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, https://www.fbi.gov/about/leadership-and-structure/national-security-branch/high-value-detainee-interrogation-group

[282] Terrorist Screening Center, https://www.fbi.gov/about/leadership-and-structure/national-security-branch/tsc

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[285] Intelligence, DEA, https://www.dea.gov/intelligence

[286] “These 17 Agencies Make Up The Most Sophisticated Spy Network In The World”, Paul Szoldra, Business Insider, May 11, 2013, https://www.businessinsider.com/17-agencies-of-the-us-intelligence-community-2013-5

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[289] U.S. Government Spending.com, https://www.usgovernmentspending.com/year_download_2018USbn_20bs2n#usgs302

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[293] “How Russia Helped Swing the Election for Trump:  A meticulous analysis of online activity during the 2016 campaign makes a powerful case that targeted cyberattacks by hackers and trolls were decisive.”, Jane Mayer, October 1, 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/10/01/how-russia-helped-to-swing-the-election-for-trump

[294] “Defense Acquisitions: How and Where DOD Spends Its Contracting Dollars” Moshe Schwartz, John F. Sargent Jr., Christopher T. Mann, Congressional Research Service, July 2, 2018, https://fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R44010.pdf

[295] “The 15 countries with the highest military budgets in 2017”, Daniel Brown, Business Insider, May 2, 2018, https://www.businessinsider.com/highest-military-budgets-countries-2018-5

[296] “America's Addiction to Mercenaries:  Washington’s reliance on private contractors to fight its wars has mutated into a strategic vulnerability”, Sean McFate, The Atlantic, August 12, 2016, https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/08/iraq-afghanistan-contractor-pentagon-obama/495731/

[297] “The U.N. International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries”, 2001, The United Nations, https://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/Mercenaries.aspx

[298] “A Look At The World's Most Powerful Mercenary Armies”, Luke McKenna, Robert Johnson, Business Insider, February 26, 2012, https://www.businessinsider.com/bi-mercenary-armies-2012-2

[299] “30 Most Powerful Private Security Companies in the World”, Security Degree Hub, Accessed February 14, 2019, https://www.securitydegreehub.com/most-powerful-private-security-companies-in-the-world/

[300] “Mercenary / Private Military Companies (PMCs)”, GlobalSecurity.org, Accessed February 14, 2019, https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/pmc-list.htm

[301] “Blackwater Mercenary Prince Has a New $1 Trillion Chinese Boss”, Blake Schmidt, Bloomberg, February 9, 2019, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-10/blackwater-mercenary-prince-has-a-new-1-trillion-chinese-boss?srnd=premium

[302] “Blackwater and the Corporate Mercenaries who’ve changed the rules of war:  No matter what they call themselves, they are soldiers of fortune and now quietly operate around the world”, Emily Ludolf/Occupy,com, Nation of Change, February 1, 2018, https://www.nationofchange.org/2018/02/01/blackwater-corporate-mercenaries-whove-changed-rules-war/

[303] “Statistics on the Private Security Industry:  United States Data:  Composite Data”, Private Security Monitor, Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security & Diplomacy, University of Denver, Accessed February 15, 2019, http://psm.du.edu/articles_reports_statistics/data_and_statistics.html#global

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[305] “The UAE Hired Former U.S. Soldiers to Kill Leaders in Yemen. Is This the Future of War?”, Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!, October 18, 2018, https://www.democracynow.org/2018/10/18/the_uae_hired_us_former_soldiers

[306] “INSIDE THE UAE’S SECRET HACKING TEAM OF AMERICAN MERCENARIES:  Ex-NSA operatives reveal how they helped spy on targets for the Arab monarchy — dissidents, rival leaders and journalists”, Christopher Bing, Joel Schectman, Reuters, January 30, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-spying-raven/

[307] “US Ally, Saudi Arabia, Is Using Child Mercenaries to Fight in Yemen”, ZeroHedge, G. Edward Griffin’s Need to Know, January 1, 2019, https://needtoknow.news/2019/01/us-ally-saudi-arabia-using-child-mercenaries-fight-yemen/

[308] “How a 4-Hour Battle Between Russian Mercenaries and U.S. Commandos Unfolded in Syria”, Thomas Gibbons-Neff,  The New York Times, May 24, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/24/world/middleeast/american-commandos-russian-mercenaries-syria.html

[309] “What we know about the shadowy Russian mercenary firm behind an attack on U.S. troops in Syria”, Adam Taylor, The Washington Post, February 23, 2018,    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/02/23/what-we-know-about-the-shadowy-russian-mercenary-firm-behind-the-attack-on-u-s-troops-in-syria/?utm_term=.a76f6b0eef4e

[310] “The U.S.'s Mercenaries in Afghanistan”, The World Can’t Wait, Accessed February 14, 2019, http://www.worldcantwait.net/index.php/features/afghanistan-pakistan/6767-the-uss-mercenaries-in-afghanistan

[311] “Mercenaries in Africa: Leash the dogs of war: South Africa struggles in vain to ban soldiers of fortune”, The Economist, March 19, 2015, https://www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2015/03/19/leash-the-dogs-of-war

[312] “America's Addiction to Mercenaries:  Washington’s reliance on private contractors to fight its wars has mutated into a strategic vulnerability”, Sean McFate, The Atlantic, August 12, 2016, https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/08/iraq-afghanistan-contractor-pentagon-obama/495731/

[313] “Blackwater Founder’s New Company Strikes a Deal in China. He Says He Had No Idea”, Alexandra Stevenson, Chris Buckley, The New York Times, February 1, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/01/business/erik-prince-xinjiang-china-fsg-blackwater.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FMercenaries%20and%20Private%20Military%20Contractors&action=click&contentCollection=timestopics&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=collection

[314] “Government Agencies and Departments”, PrivateMilitary,org, Accessed February 13, 2019, http://www.privatemilitary.org/governments.html

[315] “5 Corporations Now Dominate Our Privatized Intelligence Industry: This unaccountable oligarchy of spies controls the information that guides our military and civilian leaders”, Tim Shorrock, The Nation, September 8, 2016, https://www.thenation.com/article/five-corporations-now-dominate-our-privatized-intelligence-industry/

[316] “These 6 Corporations Control 90% Of The Media In America”, Ashley Lutz, Business Insider, June 14, 2012, https://www.businessinsider.com/these-6-corporations-control-90-of-the-media-in-america-2012-6

[317] “NSA Spying”, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Accessed February 15, 2019, https://www.eff.org/nsa-spying

[318] “How It Works”, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Accessed February 15, 2019, https://www.eff.org/nsa-spying/how-it-works

[319] “State Secrets Privilege”, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Accessed February 15, 2019, https://www.eff.org/nsa-spying/state-secrets-privilege

[320] “Privacy and Surveillance”, American Civil Liberties Union, Accessed February 15, 2019, https://www.aclu.org/issues/national-security/privacy-and-surveillance

[321] “The newly approved rule change by the U.S. Supreme Court will allow FBI to search and seize any computer around the world, found to be using privacy tools like VPN or Tor.”, Techworm, May 2016, https://www.techworm.net/2016/05/tor-vpn-users-labeled-criminals-hacked-spied-fbi-new-law.html

[322] “Snowden”, a movie directed by Oliver Stone, 2016, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3774114/

[323] “NSA surveillance programs live on, in case you hadn't noticed: Lawmakers renew spy programs that collect massive amounts of global communications with little fuss. Privacy advocates say secrecy led to limited debate”, Laura Hautala, c/net, January 19, 2018, https://www.cnet.com/news/nsa-surveillance-programs-prism-upstream-live-on-snowden/

[324] “PRISM, Snowden and Government Surveillance: 6 Things You Need To Know”, Lavanya Rathnam, Cloudwards, April 19, 2017, https://www.cloudwards.net/prism-snowden-and-government-surveillance/

[325] “Meet 'Boundless Informant,' the NSA's Secret Tool for Tracking Global Surveillance Data:  New insights into the security agency's tracking of phone and computer information from around the world”, Megan Garber, The Atlantic, June 9, 2013, https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/06/meet-boundless-informant-the-nsas-secret-tool-for-tracking-global-surveillance-data/276686/

[326] “Revealed: The NSA's Secret Campaign to Crack, Undermine Internet Security:  Newly revealed documents show that the NSA has circumvented or cracked much of the encryption that automatically secures the emails, Web searches, Internet chats and phone calls of Americans and others around the world. The project, referred to internally by the codename Bullrun, also includes efforts to weaken the encryption standards adopted by software developers.”, Jeff Larson, ProPublica, September 5, 2013, https://www.propublica.org/article/the-nsas-secret-campaign-to-crack-undermine-internet-encryption

[327] “POINT, CLICK ... EAVESDROP: HOW THE FBI WIRETAP NET OPERATES”, Yan Singel, Wired, August 29, 2007, https://www.wired.com/2007/08/wiretap/

[328] “What We Do”, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, U.S. Department of the Treasury, Accessed February 15, 2019, https://www.fincen.gov/what-we-do/ 

[329] “How we know the NSA had access to internal Google and Yahoo cloud data”, Barton Gellman, Ashkan Soltani, and Andrea Peterson, The Washington Post, November 4, 2013, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2013/11/04/how-we-know-the-nsa-had-access-to-internal-google-and-yahoo-cloud-data/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.958464c723f7

[330] “The NSA Continues to Violate Americans' Internet Privacy Rights”, Patrick Toomey, ACLU National Security Project, August 22, 2018, https://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security/privacy-and-surveillance/nsa-continues-violate-americans-internet-privacy

[331] “Artificial Intelligence is Going to Supercharge Surveillance: What happens when digital eyes get the brains to match?”, James Vincent, The Verge, January 23, 2018, https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/23/16907238/artificial-intelligence-surveillance-cameras-security

[332] “New Airline Seatbacks Have Cameras That Can Potentially Spy On Passengers”, David Koenig, Associated Press, Skift, February 23, 2019, https://skift.com/2019/02/23/new-airline-seatbacks-have-cameras-that-can-potentially-spy-on-passengers/

[333] “Mass Surveillance Is Coming to a City Near You: A tech entrepreneur wants to track the residents of a high-crime American community.”, Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic, June 21, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/06/mass-surveillance-tech/592117/

[334] “US facial recognition will cover 97 percent of departing airline passengers within four years: Biometric Exit is already used at 15 US airports”, Jon Porter, The Verge, April 18, 2019, https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/18/18484581/us-airport-facial-recognition-departing-flights-biometric-exit

[335] “They Are Watching You—and Everything Else on the Planet: Technology and our increasing demand for security have put us all under surveillance. Is privacy becoming just a memory?”, Robert Draper, National Geographic, February 2018, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/02/surveillance-watching-you/

[336] “Michael Cohen warrants show how the FBI can unlock your phone and track your movements”, Kevin Collier and Marshall Cohen, CNN, March 20, 2019, https://edition.cnn.com/2019/03/19/politics/michael-cohen-warrants-fbi-phone/index.html

[337] “It’s the middle of the night. Do you know who your iPhone is talking to?: Apple says, “What happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone.” Our privacy experiment showed 5,400 hidden app trackers guzzled our data — in a single week.”, Geoffrey A. Fowler, The Washington Post, May 28, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/05/28/its-middle-night-do-you-know-who-your-iphone-is-talking/?utm_term=.9ac87bab7283

[338] “Your Computer and Phone Cameras Are On — Beware!”, Rebecca Abrahams and Dr. Stephen Bryen, The Huffington Post, May 27, 2014, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/rebecca-abrahams/your-computer--phone-came_b_5398896.html

[339] “Is my Xbox spying on me?” John Keilman, Chicago Tribune, January 1, 2016, https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-toys-online-spying-keilman-hf-0106-20160101-column.html

[340] “Amazon's Alexa Hacked To Surreptitiously Record Everything It Hears”, Kevin Murnane, Forbes, April 25, 2018, https://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinmurnane/2018/04/25/amazons-alexa-hacked-to-surreptitiously-record-everything-it-hears/#6c18d9a44fe2

[341] “Airplane seat cameras: US senators demand answers”, Francesca Street, CNN, March 18, 2019, https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/airplane-seatback-cameras-letter/index.html

[342] “Largest Countries in the World by Area 2019”, World Population Review, Accessed February 22, 2019, http://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/countries-in-world-by-area/

[343] “The World: Population (2019) - Top 100+”, Geoba, Accessed February 22, 2019, http://www.geoba.se/population.php?pc=world&type=28&page=1

[344] “GDP Rankings Of The World’s Largest Economies, 2019”, LondonEmma, CEO World, December 28, 2018, https://ceoworld.biz/2018/12/28/gdp-rankings-of-the-worlds-largest-economies-2019/

[345] Country budget information is from the CIA World Factbook 2017, found in "Budget - expenditures 2017 Country Ranks, By Rank"", Photius,  Feb 5, 2019, https://photius.com/rankings/2017/economy/budget_expenditures_2017_0.html

[346] See the chapter on Prisons and Incarceration

[347] See the chapter on Human Rights and Freedoms

[348] “Trump Is Demanding Tanks for His 4th of July Freedom Extravaganza: The president will celebrate America less than a week after praising the world’s greatest enemies of democracy”, Ryan Bort, Rolling Stone, July 1, 2019, https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/trump-tanks-4th-of-july-washington-dc-fireworks-853885/

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