Because of its persistent inability to tally its accounts, the Pentagon is the only federal agency that has not complied with a law that requires annual audits of all government departments. That means that the $8.5 trillion in taxpayer money doled out by Congress to the Pentagon since 1996, the first year it was supposed to be audited, has never been accounted for. That sum exceeds the value of China’s economic output last year. -- Reuters journalist Scot J. Paltrow investigates how the US military's bad accounting not only wastes taxpayers money
, but helps ruin the life of ordinary soldiers and veterans
. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse
on Nov 23, 2013 -
A Tragedy of Errors.
On Feb. 21, 2010, a convoy of vehicles carrying civilians headed down a mountain in central Afghanistan and American eyes in the sky were watching. "The Americans were using some of the most sophisticated tools
in the history of war, technological marvels of surveillance and intelligence gathering that allowed them to see into once-inaccessible corners of the battlefield. But the high-tech wizardry would fail
in its most elemental purpose: to tell the difference between friend and foe." FOIA
of US cockpit and radio conversations and an interactive feature
provide a more in-depth understanding of what happened.
posted by zarq
on Apr 10, 2011 -
How two American kids became big-time weapons traders
- "Working with nothing but an Internet connection, a couple of cellphones and a steady supply of weed, the two friends — one with a few college credits, the other a high school dropout — had beaten out Fortune 500 giants like General Dynamics to score the huge arms contract. With a single deal, two stoners from Miami Beach had turned themselves into the least likely merchants of death in history." (via
; previously on arms contractors
posted by kliuless
on Mar 21, 2011 -
"In most cases, when a book that deals with potentially classified military information is due to be published, one of the United States's many government divisions inspect it, redact sensitive parts, and either let publication continue or stop it entirely. But a clash in opinion between the U.S. Army and the Defense Intelligence Agency may lead to the DIA buying up all 10,000 copies of [a] new memoir's first printing
-- and promptly pulping the books." "The publication of Operation Dark Heart
, by Anthony A. Shaffer
, a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer and a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve, has divided military security reviewers and highlighted the uncertainty about what information poses a genuine threat to security."* [more inside]
posted by ericb
on Sep 10, 2010 -
a US Intelligence Analyst has been arrested in connection with the "Collateral Murder
" video released by Wikileaks
. According to the article, SPC Bradley Manning was turned in by former hacker Adrian Lamo
based on concerns about Manning's threat to leak an additional 260,000 classified embassy cables.
posted by uaudio
on Jun 7, 2010 -
"Early in the Iraq War, it cost taxpayers $100,000 per year to insure a civilian contractor who was paid $100,000 per year. So the insurance was the same amount as the salary."
"Another very peculiar part of this particular story is that because of another law, the U.S. actually reimburses the insurance companies for any civilians who are injured in a combat situation. So at the very end, the insurance company will ultimately submit the bill to the U.S. government, and they will get paid back for any injury involving a combat wound."
"Let me ask a stupid question
: What is the point of the insurance company if taxpayers are paying for the premium and then also paying for the medical bill?
" [more inside]
posted by webhund
on Jan 12, 2010 -
"In the days surrounding the invasion of Iraq, cover sheets
...began adorning top-secret intelligence briefings produced by [former defense secretary] Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon. The sheets juxtaposed war images with inspirational Bible quotes and were delivered by Rumsfeld himself to the White House, where they were read by the man who, after September 11, referred to America's war on terror as a 'crusade.'" [more inside]
posted by ericb
on May 17, 2009 -
Television military analysts are wooed, courted, and privileged by the Pentagon.
An in-depth investigative report by the New York Times
uncovers logrolling, shilling, touting, back-scratching, and just plain bias on the part of the experts that television networks put on the air to talk about the war. Some of them appear to be as good as owned by the Defense Department. "The effort, which began with the buildup to the Iraq war and continues to this day, has sought to exploit ideological and military allegiances, and also a powerful financial dynamic: Most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air. Those business relationships are hardly ever disclosed to the viewers, and sometimes not even to the networks themselves."
posted by Mo Nickels
on Apr 19, 2008 -
War vs. Democracy: Untold Stories from the Lynch / Tillman Hearing
-- ...U.S. soldiers whose injuries or deaths remain mired in secrecy. Pat Tillman's brother and fellow Army Ranger Kevin Tillman advocated strongly for other families still waiting for answers. ... "The family was told, it was -- quote -- 'an ambush by insurgents.' Two years later, they found out that those -- quote -- 'insurgents' happened to be the same Iraqi troops that he was training. Before his death, he told his chain of command that these same troops that he was training were trying to kill him and his team. He was told to keep his mouth shut." ...
Thorough and eye-opening examination of the many ways the military spun, lied, withheld information on soldier deaths and injuries for propaganda purposes (and even delayed action until cameras were present in the Jessica Lynch
posted by amberglow
on May 12, 2007 -
"She speaks about her situation calmly, occasionally laughing at her own predicament and her struggle with what she originally thought was mental illness....Like Girard, Naylor describes what she calls "street theater" -- incidents that might be dismissed by others as coincidental, but which Naylor believes were set up. She noticed suspicious cars driving by her isolated vacation home. On an airplane, fellow passengers mimicked her every movement -- like mimes on a street." Link goes to a Washington Post story - reg. may be required.
posted by Sticherbeast
on Feb 5, 2007 -
Their view is that psyops can be directed toward global transregional audiences.
My view is that that’s not possible because it directs psyops against our own friends and allies and even at our own public. ... In Mind Games, Columbia Journalism Review thoroughly examines the disintegrating lines between Public Affairs, Psy-Ops, IO, the public, and the truth. Some old friends are mentioned too: the Lincoln Group
, the Rendon Group,
the Pentagon, our own media, and others. If truth is our greatest weapon, as Rumsfeld has said, how can the administration hope to prevail in an information war when it is not honest with itself?
posted by amberglow
on May 1, 2006 -
"I've been silent long enough...
My sincere view is that the commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions--or bury the results." Marine Lieutenant General Greg Newbold, the Pentagon's former top operations officer, becomes the latest military insider to raise his voice against the "zealots" who led the US into war in Iraq. He writes in Time
magazine: "Never again, we thought, would our military's senior leaders remain silent as American troops were marched off to an ill-considered engagement. It's 35 years later, and the judgment is in: the Who had it wrong. We have been fooled again... After 9/11, I was a witness and therefore a party to the actions that led us to the invasion of Iraq--an unnecessary war." During the Vietnam war, such discontent among soldiers sparked a massive campaign of disobedience and peace activism (as well as, more darkly, fragging
) within the ranks, as recounted in a new documentary called Sir! No Sir!
Can it happen again? Ask the Soldiers for the Truth
posted by digaman
on Apr 9, 2006 -
I don't believe they'll give up on the bases and the oil. Nor will its successors, Republican or Democrat. So I think that's what we will be doing, staying forever. Unless the rest of us, outside the government, force change on the leadership of the Democrats as well as the Republicans, which will be difficult and take a long time.
From DailyKos comes an excellent series of interviews with Daniel Ellsberg
; leaker of The Pentagon Papers. Part 1: The Pentagon Papers and the Overlooked 1968 Leaks
, Part 2: Judith Miller, the New York Times and Government-Controlled Press
, Part 3: The Cult of Secrecy in Government and Its Undermining of Democracy
, Part 4: Whistleblowing and Effective Activism
, Part 5: Iraq/Vietnam Parallels and Other Foreign Policy Fiascos
and Part 6: Bush, the Next 9/11 and the Approaching Police State
posted by afu
on Mar 23, 2006 -
Q - Mr. Secretary, on Iraq, how much money do you think the Department of Defense would need to pay for a war with Iraq?
Rumsfeld - Well, the Office of Management and Budget, has come up come up with a number that's something under $50 billion for the cost. How much of that would be the U.S. burden, and how much would be other countries, is an open question.
The estimated cost to US taxpayers of the Iraq war to date is $250 billion and rising, or $100,000 per minute. Total cost of the Bush doctrine of spreading "democracy" since September 11th -- half a trillion dollars
, or nearly the cost of the 13 years of the Vietnam War, adjusted for inflation. What else could we have done with that kind of money
? Also see here
posted by digaman
on Feb 3, 2006 -
an example of Operation Homefront?
--this news report about a Reservist back from Iraq is apparently part of a new Pentagon propaganda operation
aimed at us. ...Did Diaz return to the U.S. on emergency leave with an agenda -- to offer a positive spin that could help counter growing concerns among Americans about the U.S. exit strategy? How do we know that's not his strategy, especially after he discloses that superior officers encouraged him to talk about his experiences in Iraq? ...
posted by amberglow
on Jan 4, 2006 -
Pentagon has yet to ban contractors from using forced labor
"A proposal prohibiting defense contractor involvement in human trafficking for forced prostitution and labor was drafted by the Pentagon last summer, but five defense lobbying groups oppose key provisions and a final policy still appears to be months away, according to those involved and Defense Department records." ...this is "zero tolerance" ?
posted by specialk420
on Dec 27, 2005 -
Pentagon bribery scandal -- Iraqi journalists bought out.
Officials in Washington have admitted that the US military has bribed Iraqi journalists with under-the-table payoffs of up to $200 a month -- twice the average Iraqi monthly income -- for producing upbeat newspaper, radio and television reports about the war in Iraq. This follows a similar report yesterday
that the military secretly paid Iraqi newspapers to run dozens of pro-American articles written by the US Information Operations Task Force in Baghdad. A Pentagon spokesman described the report as "troubling". "This article raises some questions as to whether or not some of the practices that are described in there are consistent with the principles of this department."
posted by insomnia_lj
on Dec 1, 2005 -
David Brin -- hoping to rescue modernity
"... I have spoken before of the blatant -- and yet never-reported -- pattern shown by more than a hundred members of the United States Congress, appointing young cadets to the US Military Academies according to one criterion above all others -- their depth of religious zealotry. This infusion of young officers who believe in a coming apocalypse is discreetly worrisome at West Point and Annapolis, but it has already had newsworthy effects at the Air Force Academy, in Colorado Springs. A town that is also now known as a main locus and training center for fanatics bent on dominating American civilization. (see
) This coincidence... one of many that simply cannot be coincidence... should be tallied and noted.
See also this in recent -- 11/26 -- news
"... Among the steps already taken by the Pentagon that enhanced its domestic capabilities was the establishment after 9/11 of Northern Command, or Northcom, in Colorado Springs
, to provide military forces to help in reacting to terrorist threats in the continental United States. Today, Northcom's intelligence centers in Colorado and Texas fuse reports from CIFA, the FBI and other U.S. agencies, and are staffed by 290 intelligence analysts. That is more than the roughly 200 analysts working for the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and far more than those at the Department of Homeland Security...."
posted by hank
on Nov 28, 2005 -
Pentagon Revises Nuclear Strike Plan
- The Pentagon has drafted a revised doctrine for the use of nuclear weapons that envisions commanders requesting presidential approval to use them to preempt an attack by a nation or a terrorist group using weapons of mass destruction. The draft also includes the option of using nuclear arms to destroy known enemy stockpiles of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons. [...] The first example for potential nuclear weapon use listed in the draft is against an enemy that is using "or intending to use WMD" against U.S. or allied, multinational military forces or civilian populations.
Hmm, if we nuke them, then I guess we destroy the evidence that they were planning to use WMD against us....
posted by beth
on Sep 12, 2005 -
Pentagon to close Walter Reed Medical Center
More than 3,700 doctors and other medical personnel will be moved to a new and expanded facility to be built at the Navy's National Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., a few miles away. The move will cost nearly $989 million, and is expected to save more than $301 million over 20 years as the Pentagon seeks to streamline care and provide state of the art medical treatment for wounded servicemen and women.
And saving $301 million over 20 years is better than spending a billion dollars within the next 2 years, how?
And never mind those 18,000+ American casualties
coming back from the M.E. I'm sure they'll be able to improvise bedrolls during the renovations up in Bethesda...
posted by vhsiv
on Aug 25, 2005 -