Film About Historic War Crimes Trial of U.S.-Backed Generals

I had a lot of admiration of the trial — for the trial. It’s a major event, because of the context it was done. It was done only one year after the dictatorship ended, and the militaries were still very powerful and very frightening. All the region was still governed by military dictatorships. So the decision of the government to do this trial was very brave and very important, and it formed the basis of the new democracy. The prosecutors, the judges were brave on doing this, because it’s something — it was something risky. They didn’t know where it was going to end.

And among all the witnesses who survived to the concentration camps, and the families that fight and tried to bring truth during the dictatorship and tried to ask for where their relatives were, and sat down and gave testimony, while most of the people who ran the repressive system were still free — well, I think the trial had so many layers and so many things worthy of being told nowadays to the Argentinian audiences, who were starting to forget about this event, and to the audiences around the world, who could be interested on the subjects that the film was bringing — could bring justice, democracy, is something that — one of the topics that I think we need to be discussing the most nowadays, well, because of what’s happening all over the world — the war in Ukraine, what just happened one week before in Brazil with the attempted coup d’état to Lula, well, the January 6 here, and so many places where too many anti-democratic speeches are growing all over the world.

— source | Jan 13, 2023

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Congress Has Been Captured by the Arms Industry

On March 13th, the Pentagon rolled out its proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2024. The results were — or at least should have been — stunning, even by the standards of a department that’s used to getting what it wants when it wants it.

The new Pentagon budget would come in at $842 billion. That’s the highest level requested since World War II, except for the peak moment of the Afghan and Iraq wars, when the United States had nearly 200,000 troops deployed in those two countries.

$1 Trillion for the Pentagon?

It’s important to note that the $842 billion proposed price tag for the Pentagon next year will only be the beginning of what taxpayers will be asked to shell out in the name of “defense.” If you add in nuclear weapons work at the Department of Energy and small amounts of military spending spread across other agencies, you’re already at a total military budget of $886 billion. And if last year is any guide, Congress will add tens of billions of dollars extra to that sum, while yet more billions will go for emergency aid to

— source | William D. Hartung | Mar 26, 2023

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The U.S. Military is Winning. No, Really, It Is!

4,000,000,029,057. Remember that number. It’s going to come up again later.

But let’s begin with another number entirely: 145,000 — as in, 145,000 uniformed soldiers striding down Washington’s Pennsylvania Avenue. That’s the number of troops who marched down that very street in May 1865 after the United States defeated the Confederate States of America. Similar legions of rifle-toting troops did the same after World War I ended with the defeat of Germany and its allies in 1918. And Sherman tanks rolling through the urban canyons of midtown Manhattan? That followed the triumph over the Axis in 1945. That’s what winning used to look like in America — star-spangled, soldier-clogged streets and victory parades.

Enthralled by a martial Bastille Day celebration while visiting French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris in July 2017, President Trump called for just such a parade in Washington. After its estimated cost reportedly ballooned from $10 million to as much as $92 million, the American Legion weighed in. That veterans association, which boasts 2.4 million members, issued an August statement suggesting that the planned parade should be put on hold “until such time as we can celebrate victory in the War on Terrorism and bring our military home.” Soon after, the president announced that he had canceled the parade and blamed local Washington officials for driving up the costs (even though he was evidently never briefed by the Pentagon on what its price tag might be).

The American Legion focused on the fiscal irresponsibility of Trump’s proposed march, but its postponement should have raised an even more significant question: What would

— source | Nick Turse | Feb 19, 2023

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Over 1,35,000 Vacancies in Army, IAF, Navy; Only 46,000 Posts Advertised in 2022

There are a total of 1,35, 891 vacancies in the three Armed Forces wings – Indian Army, Indian Air Force and Indian Navy, the government has informed Parliament. The total number of over a lakh vacancies are the highest in the Indian Army at 118,485, as on July 1, 2022, a total of 11,587 vacancies in the Indian Navy (sailors) as on September 30, 2022 and 5,819 vacancies in the Indian Army, according to a written reply in Lok Sabha by Ajay Bhatt, Minister of State for Defence. In reply to another question on the recruitment of women as officers in defence sector, Bhatt said they made up for 3.7% of officers (excluding AMC/ADC) in the Army, 21.25% of AMC (Army Medical Corp)/ADC – Aide De Camp (basically medical and assistant) officers, 100% of MNS (military nursing service) officers and 0.01% in the category of JCO/OR, as on July 1, 2022. In the Indian Navy, about 6% women were part of the personnel, while in the IAF 13.69% were officers (excluding the dental branch), as on December 1, 2022.

— source | 09 Dec 2022

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What Price “Defense”?

Late last month, President Biden signed a bill that clears the way for $858 billion in Pentagon spending and nuclear weapons work at the Department of Energy in 2023. That’s far more than Washington anted up for military purposes at the height of the Korean or Vietnam wars or even during the peak years of the Cold War. In fact, the $80 billion increase from the 2022 Pentagon budget is in itself more than the military budgets of any country other than China. Meanwhile, a full accounting of all spending justified in the name of national security, including for homeland security, veterans’ care, and more, will certainly exceed $1.4 trillion. And mind you, those figures don’t even include the more than $50 billion in military aid Washington has already dispatched to Ukraine, as well as to frontline NATO allies, in response to the Russian invasion of that country.

The assumption is that when it comes to spending on the military and related activities, more is always better. 

There’s certainly no question that one group will benefit in a major way from the new spending surge: the weapons industry. If recent experience is any guide, more than half of that $858 billion will likely go to private firms. The top five contractors alone — Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman — will split between

— source | William Hartung | Jan 17, 2023

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How Military Spending Fuels Environmental Damage

This report, as you know, is coming on the back of big discussions at this COP, which we just heard about in this earlier section, about the need that the poorest countries, who are most impacted by climate change, are saying that we need finance to both adapt to climate change and to deal with the loss and damage. And we hear John Kerry — you were just quoting the earlier clip — saying, “Name me a nation that has trillions of dollars to deal with this,” except — basically saying washing his hands of the situation and refusing to accept some responsibility.

And yet, what this report shows is that there is trillions of dollars. The richest countries, which are called Annex II countries under the U.N. climate talks, have dedicated $9.45 trillion to military spending in the last eight years, between 2013 and 2021. And that is 30 times more than they have dedicated to climate finance. And they’re still not delivering on their promises to deliver the $100 billion a year that was promised way back in 2009 now. So, what we’re seeing, firstly, in this report is that there is resources, but it’s been dedicated to military spending.

— source | Nov 16, 2022

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Burkina Faso Sees Second Military Coup This Year

For the second time this year, a military coup has occurred in the African nation of Burkina Faso. A group of army officers led by Captain Ibrahim Traoré seized power Friday, ousting another military officer, Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Damiba, who had led the country since a January coup. On Saturday, protesters attacked the French Embassy, where some had believed the ousted president was hiding. Some supporters of Friday’s coup flew Russian flags in the streets while calling for Moscow to help Burkina Faso confront an ongoing jihadist insurgency that began in 2015.

truly, this is the aftermath, I think, of Compaoré’s ousting. The coup d’état which occurred, even if it’s not democratic and correspond to an internal struggle within the MPSR, within the army, is actually a positive thing. Former President Damiba committed many bad political maneuvers and had dared to defy the justice system, which has condemned President Compaoré and folks, the main killers of Sankara.

— source | Oct 04, 2022

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