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Showing posts from August 29, 2021

Cost of War Project

U.S. BUDGETARY COSTS  The vast economic impact of the U.S. post-9/11 wars goes beyond the Pentagon's "Overseas Contigency Operations" (War) budget. This chart and the attached paper estimate the more comprehensive budgetary costs of the wars.   Posted on September 1, 2021. SEE HUMAN COSTS DATA VIEW PAPER SEPTEMBER 2021 SUMMARY Over  929,000  people have died in the post-9/11 wars due to direct war violence, and several times as many due to the reverberating effects of war Over   387,000  civilians  have been killed as a result of the fighting 38 million  — the number of war refugees and displaced persons The US federal price tag for the post-9/11 wars is over  $8 trillion   The US government is conducting counterterror activities in  85 countries The wars have been accompanied by violations of human rights and civil liberties, in the U.S. and abroad

Defense contractors spent big in Afghanistan before the U.S. left and the Taliban took control

By  Anna Massoglia and Julia Forrest August 20, 2021 8:46 am (Photo by SHAKIB RAHMANI / AFP via Getty Images) In the months leading up to the U.S. ending its 20-year war in Afghanistan and the Taliban  gaining control  of the country, major defense companies were awarded contracts in Afghanistan worth hundreds of millions of dollars and spent tens of millions lobbying the federal government on defense issues.  The Department of Defense issued  nearly $1 billion dollars  in contracts to 17 companies related to work in Afghanistan that was set to continue past the May 1 withdrawal date.  It’s unclear what will happen with some of those contracts as the U.S. evacuates operations in Afghanistan. Texas-based defense contractor and construction firm  Fluor  received contracts of at least $85 million this year for work in Afghanistan. The company recently  said  it will “continue to do everything we can to repatriate all employees required to leave Afghanistan.” Fluor spent over  $1.4 million

China's spies for hire: hackers who blend espionage and entrepreneurship

By  Paul Mozur and Chris Buckley | NYT  |  Last Updated at August 27 2021 08:49 IST Topics   cybersecurity  |  Xi Jinping  |  China economy Xi Jinping transferred cyberhacking responsibility to a security ministry from the PLA following a slew of sloppy attacks and a reorganization of the military. (File Photo: Bloomberg) China’s buzzy high-tech companies don’t usually recruit Cambodian speakers, so the job ads for three well-paid positions with those language skills stood out. The ad, seeking writers of research reports, was placed by an internet security start-up in China’s tropical island-province of Hainan. That start-up was more than it seemed, according to American law enforcement. Hainan Xiandun Technology was part of a web of front companies controlled by China’s secretive state security ministry, according to a federal indictment from May. They hacked computers from the United States to Cambodia to Saudi Arabia, seeking sensitive government data as well as less-obvious spy stu

Taliban sources say last Afghan holdout region falls; resistance denies claim

Reuters Summary Panjshir valley the last region resisting Taliban New government to be unveiled soon, Taliban official says Pilots who fled Afghanistan say they are 'in jail' in Uzbekistan Economy near collapse, warnings of humanitarian crisis Female protesters urge Taliban to respect women's rights Sept 3 (Reuters) - Three Taliban sources said the Islamist militia had on Friday seized the Panjshir valley north of Kabul, the last province of Afghanistan holding out against it, although a resistance leader denied it had fallen. "By the grace of Allah Almighty, we are in control of the entire Afghanistan. The troublemakers have been defeated and Panjshir is now under our command," said one Taliban commander. Deafening volleys of celebratory gunfire resounded all over Kabul and Facebook accounts were full of mentions of the fall of Panjshir. It was not immediately possible to confirm the reports, which if true would give the Taliban complete control of Afghanistan, s

How to avoid another state-building failure after Afghanistan

New Atlanticist   by   Frank Ruggiero US Secretary of State Antony Blinken leaves after delivering remarks following talks on the situation in Afghanistan at the State Department in Washington on August 30, 2021. Photo via REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/Pool In 2009, I served as the US senior civilian representative in Kandahar, where I oversaw US civilian efforts to stabilize southern Afghanistan. These civilians, embedded in provincial and district governments throughout the region, provided insight into the effectiveness of the counterinsurgency-inspired state-building strategy. Their observations were prescient on the stunning collapse of the Afghan state and security forces we all have witnessed in recent weeks. At that time, the Obama administration had deployed thirteen thousand troops and was debating sending up to eighty thousand more, along with hundreds of additional diplomats and civilian aid workers. As that debate unfolded, then US Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry flew f

Caste census will herald new era of equality

How long do we want to live with the wishful thinking that caste will disappear if we do not count it or discuss it publicly? ADVERTISEMENT September 2, 2021 5:37:18 pm he efforts by Nitish Kumar and Tejashwi Yadav would appear counterintuitive and daring in the light of Abhay Dubey’s dubious claim that enumerating caste might be politically suicidal for them. (PTI File Photo) Written by Pankaj Kumar The government’s refusal to carry out a caste-based census in 2021 has transformed the otherwise dull exercise of conducting the decennial census into an emotive issue. The meeting of an all-party delegation from Bihar with the prime minister on this question has increased the pressure on the government to rethink its earlier position. The efforts by  Nitish Kumar  and Tejashwi Yadav would appear counterintuitive and daring in the light of Abhay Dubey’s dubious claim that enumerating caste might be politically suicidal for them. The reason he cites is that it might expose the fact that a l

When will Modi announce a Caste Census?

 When will Modi announce a Caste Census?   VIRENDRA KAPOOR The caste census has already become a hot-button issue. Unless settled earlier, it will echo loudly in the coming assembly elections and eventually in the 2024 parliamentary poll, notes Virendra Kapoor. Slowly but certainly the demand for a caste census is gaining traction. Given its electorally sensitive nature, it may no longer be a question of if, but when the Modi government will give the go-ahead. A country-wide head-count of thousands of castes and sub-castes in a nation of 135 crore people is a stupendous task, entailing a huge financial burden and the deployment of lakhs of school teachers and other personnel. But thanks to a combination of factors, the caste census has already become a hot-button issue. Unless settled earlier, it will echo loudly in the coming assembly elections and eventually in the 2024 parliamentary poll. Caste-based parties are aggressively pitching for it after the Supreme Court recently put the b

Hindutva 2.0 as information ecology

Anustup Basu Introduction This essay is part of a wider inquiry into the long terrain of Hindu nationalist publicity and the quest for an axiomatic Hindu nation. Let me begin by identifying some basic themes that have been central to the  Hindutva  (Hinduness) project of extra-parliamentary organisations like the Rashtriya Svayamsevak Sangh (RSS, or National Volunteer Service) or Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP. or World Hindu Council) and political parties like Jan Sangh or the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The traditional figuration of the Hindu nation in this terrain has generally been along the Orientalist lines of an organismic late 18th-century tradition of German idealism. Rather, it would be more accurate to say that the Hindu nationalist discourse has always been dogged by the fact that a one people, one culture, one language romance has been difficult to replicate in the evidently pluralistic Indian scenario. Secondly, it is quit