After 20 years and over $2 trillion dollars, the Afghanistan War is finally over. Does that mean our massive defense budget will finally be trimmed? Nope.
Congress is actually on the verge of passing an increase to the Pentagon’s budget, preparing to allocate $740 billion for the fiscal year 2021-2022. That’s more than President Joe Biden even requested. In fact, it’s $37 billion more.
The National Defense Authorization Act, better known as the NDAA, is passed annually and allocates funding for our military
industrial complex. With few exceptions, it is passed with overwhelming bipartisan support each year. It’s worth knowing that the military budget is the largest portion of the discretionary federal budget, accounting for 11 percent of overall federal spending.
Minutes before the official end of President Donald Trump’s term, a young company based in Florida reportedly took control over a large chunk of internet space owned by the Pentagon.
Eight months later, it has been returned to the Department of Defense, The Washington Post reported Friday, but questions remain about the program.
The company at one point held 175 million IP addresses, controlling more of the internet than some of the world’s largest internet companies, including Comcast and AT&T.
The company was identified as Global Resource Systems LLC, headquartered in Plantation, Florida, Insider’s Kevin Shalvey reported in April. The company appeared to have been founded in the fall of last year, filing paperwork in Florida in October, and was incorporated in Delaware.
When news of the transfer of the internet space broke in April, the Department of Defense told the Associated Press it was being done to “assess, evaluate and prevent unauthorized use of DoD IP address space.”
But AP said officials could not answer why Global Resource Systems, a company that seemed to only be in existence for less than six months, was chosen to take over the space.
For nearly two decades, one of the most overlooked and little known arrests made in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks was that of the so-called “High Fivers,” or the “Dancing Israelis.” However, new information released by the FBI on May 7 has brought fresh scrutiny to the possibility that the “Dancing Israelis,” at least two of whom were known Mossad operatives, had prior knowledge of the attacks on the World Trade Center.
Shortly after 8:46 a.m. on the day of the attacks, just minutes after the first plane struck the World Trade Center, five men — later revealed to be Israeli nationals — had positioned themselves in the parking lot of the Doric Apartment Complex in Union City, New Jersey, where they were seen taking pictures and filming the attacks while also celebrating the destruction of the towers and “high fiving” each other. At least one eyewitness interviewed by the FBI had seen the Israelis’ van in the parking lot as early as 8:00 a.m. that day, more than 40 minutes prior to the attack. The story received coverage in U.S. mainstream media at the time but has since been largely forgotten.
The men — Sivan Kurzberg, Paul Kurzberg, Oded Ellner, Yaron Shimuel and Omar Marmari — were subsequently apprehended by law enforcement and claimed to be Israeli tourists on a “working holiday” in the United States where they were employed by a moving company, Urban Moving Systems. Upon his arrest, Sivan Kurzberg told the arresting officer, “We are Israeli; we are not your problem. Your problems are our problems, The Palestinians are the problem.”
For years, the official story has been that these individuals, while they had engaged in “immature” behavior by celebrating and being “visibly happy” in their documenting of the attacks, had no prior knowledge of the attack. However, newly released FBI copies of the photos taken by the five Israelis strongly suggest that these individuals had prior knowledge of the attacks on the World Trade Center. The copies of the photos were obtained via a FOIA request made by a private citizen.
More than 1,000 photos and 60 videos were taken by U.S. military photographers during the evacuation of Afghanistan, but few captured what those chaotic days and nights must have been like for American troops as they attempted to rescue as many people as possible from a seemingly never-ending crowd of desperate Afghans outside the walls of Kabul’s airport.
Now, thanks to a U.S. Marine’s GoPro-shot deployment video, we can see the other side.
The appearance of an orderly and “responsible withdrawal” from Afghanistan comes as no surprise since military photographers are trained on what not to make public and are often told to avoid showing the uncomfortable parts of war. And even when they do capture the realities of combat operations — with the swearing, the unbloused boots and ripped trousers, the shaggy hair and gallows humor, to say nothing of the anger, confusion, and aggression — that version of events rarely makes it through the gauntlet of public affairs officers reviewing outgoing stories, photos, and videos to ensure they align with the “command message” of the day. The visual record of Iraq and Afghanistan has long been filtered through a Department of Defense website where very little goes against the “very specific narrative” the government wants to promote, as one public affairs soldier put it. No profanity or smoking, stick to the hearts and minds stuff, and absolutely no casualties.
“It is easy to get a pulse on what story the military hopes to tell by looking at what images and videos it produces,” military journalist Kelsey Atherton recently noted after studying the “visual canon” of a war propped up by a web of lies spun by top military and political leaders over two decades. The carefully curated gallery of Afghanistan evacuation images, Atherton wrote, showed the “same outward look of calm present in the ‘Afghanistan Withdrawal’ images, of calm established by military order. The reality of this war — its rapid end and live aftermath — is missing. There’s nothing here about the drones used for a ‘self-defense unmanned over-the-horizon airstrike,’ the euphemism given by the Pentagon for an attack on a suspected suicide bomber. That attack reportedly killed ten civilians, including six children.”
Yet U.S. Central Command released images of a “ramp ceremony” at the airport in which service members carried the caskets of 13 service members killed in the terrorist attack at Abbey Gate on Aug. 26 to the planes that would fly them home. Some journalists were surprised since such images are rarely seen publicly without a lawsuit. There was a good reason for skepticism: They were uploaded by mistake.