US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

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"House Dems Already Have Their List of Trump Scandals to Investigate. Here It Is."

Die US-Demokraten wollen ihre neue Mehrheit im Repräsentantenhaus offenbar vor allem dazu nutzen, um eine ganze Reihe von Untersuchungsausschüssen gegen Präsident Trump einzuberufen. "With the Democrats having won control of the House of Representatives, President Donald Trump and his crew in the White House and assorted federal agencies can expect to be hit by a wave of investigations and subpoena requests from Capitol Hill. There are dozens of House committees and subcommittees, and each no doubt has its own to-do list. (...) In the coming weeks, the House Democrats will have to sort out which inquiries to proceed with, while possibly dealing with the tricky issue of impeachment. But two committees are likely to take the lead in investigating the Trump crowd — the Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the Judiciary Committee — and the Democrats on each panel have for the past two years been keeping a list of all the matters they believe deserve investigation."

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"As Tillerson Downplays North Korea Threat, White House Continues to Escalate Tensions"

Die Vertreter der US-Regierung sind Inae Oh zufolge mit unterschiedlichen Positionen zur aktuellen Nordkoreakrise an die Öffentlichkeit getreten. Außenminister Rex Tillerson habe die Dramatik der Situation heruntergespielt, während Trump-Berater Sebastian Gorka die Worte des Präsidenten erneut bekräftigt habe. "'He’s saying don’t test America, and don’t test Donald J. Trump,' Gorka said on Fox & Friends. 'We are not just a superpower. We were a superpower — we are now a hyperpower. Nobody in the world, especially not North Korea, comes close to challenging our military capabilities, whether they’re conventional, nuclear, or whether they’re special forces.' He added, 'The message is very clear: Don’t test this White House.'"

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"Russia Threatened to Shut Down the 'Deconfliction' Hotline. Here's Why That's Terrifying."

Russland hat als Reaktion auf den amerikanischen Militärschlag in Syrien angekündigt, die bisherige Kooperation mit dem US-Militär, die ungewollte Zusammenstöße der Soldaten beider Länder in Syrien verhindern sollte, einzustellen. Nach Ansicht einiger Experten würde sich das Risiko einer ungewollten Eskalation des Krieges damit erheblich erhöhen. "It is unclear what will happen with the hotline in the coming days. But experts says that if it does shut down, it could lead to heightened conflict between the US coalition and Russia. 'How this actually evolves remains to be seen, but the risks of escalation are pretty huge,' said Olga Oliker, the director of the Russia and Eurasia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. (...) In addition to the escalation issue, gutting the deconfliction agreement could hurt US efforts in Syria to target ISIS, a top goal of the Trump administration. Having to operate with constant concerns about potential collisions or other run-ins with Russian forces would complicate US missions, says Nicholas Heras of the Center for New American Security. 'It boxes in the US ability to move against targets of opportunity,' Heras said. 'This would have a very real impact on the US strategy against ISIS in Syria.'"

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"5 Terrifying Nuke Videos That Were Kept Secret for Decades — With Good Reason"

Das Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Kalifornien hat Dave Gilson zufolge eine Vielzahl bislang geheimer Videos über Atomwaffenversuche veröffentlicht, die von den USA zwischen 1945 und 1962 durchgeführt wurden. "The footage is mesmerizing and terrifying. National security may not have been the only reason they were kept secret. (...) Even if you're familiar with the frightening and beautiful images of nuclear explosions, these newly unearthed videos are a sobering reminder of the world-altering power we have spent decades perfecting — and have entrusted to a single person."

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"Obama Urges Americans to Give Trump a Chance"

In einer Pressekonferenz hat US-Präsident Obama seinen Nachfolger Donald Trump als "pragmatisch" bezeichnet und sich überzeugt gezeigt, dass Trump auch die amerikanischen NATO-Verpflichtungen erfüllen wird. "Although he was given a number of opportunities to criticize Trump, Obama avoided any negative remarks and repeated his commitment to ensuring a smooth transition of power. 'Do I have concerns?' he said. 'Absolutely.' But he added that he believed the former reality television star and real estate mogul would be 'pragmatic' moving forward. 'Campaigning is different from governing,' Obama said. 'I think he recognizes that. I think he's sincere in wanting to be a successful president.'"

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"Why Did Trump and Clinton Ignore Syria Last Night?"

Das TV-Duell zwischen Hillary Clinton und Donald Trump am Montag habe bestätigt, dass der Syrienkrieg im amerikanischen Wahlkampf keine Rolle mehr spiele, schreibt Max J. Rosenthal. "Both Trump and Clinton may have good reasons for dodging the topic. 'It's difficult for Hillary, because to talk about how Syria's gotten so bad would require some serious criticism of the Obama administration,' [Shadi Hamid, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution's Center for Middle East Policy,] points out. 'It's a complicated issue to address for someone who was Obama's secretary of state until 2013.' (...) Meanwhile, Trump wants to forge a closer anti-ISIS partnership with Russia, which has relentlessly bombed civilians on behalf of the Syrian government while targeting hospitals and potentially even a UN aid convoy last week."

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"French Prisons May Be Producing Dangerous Terrorists"

Die Bedingungen in französischen Gefängnissen leisten offenbar einen nicht geringen Beitrag zur Radikalisierung einiger muslimischer Krimineller. Brandon Ellington Patterson meint, dass US-Behörden einige wichtige Lehren aus der französischen Erfahrung ziehen könnten. "American prison inmates become radicalized for reasons similar to inmates in France, [Mark Hamm, a former director of education and programming for the Arizona Department of Corrections who now studies prison radicalization at Indiana State University,] told me. (...) New Folsom, a maximum-security prison, is among the nation's most dysfunctional, Hamm says. 'Radicalization doesn't happen in well-managed, small, medium-security prisons,' he says. 'It does happen in large, overcrowded, mismanaged, maximum-security prisons where rehabilitation, treatment, and work have disappeared.' France's prisons are notoriously overcrowded—former president Nicolas Sarkozy once called them 'the disgrace of the Republic.' And with few trained imams available for religious guidance, [Mourad Benchellali, a French anti-radicalization lecturer,] says, questioning Muslim inmates turn to their peers for answers."

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"The Obama Administration Finally Revealed How Many Civilians Have Died in Drone Strikes"

Die US-Regierung hat zum ersten Mal konkrete Zahlen zu den zivilen Opfern ihres internationalen Drohnenkriegs veröffentlicht. Max J. Rosenthal schreibt, dass die Schätzung deutlich unter den Zahlen liege, die von Nichtregierungsorganisationen ermittelt worden seien. "A report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said airstrikes (overwhelmingly by drones) killed between 64 and 116 civilians in those four countries from 2009 to 2015. The numbers excluded 'areas of active hostilities' such as Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. (...) The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a London-based investigative news outlet, calculates that the Obama administration has killed at least 325 civilians in drone strikes outside of war zones (and possibly hundreds more). The liberal-leaning New America Foundation counts anywhere from 247 to 294 civilian deaths. In both cases, the minimum numbers are more than double the government's maximum estimate. Those estimates also exclude strikes in Libya."

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"Suicide Is the Gating Item That Prevents Most Cases of Small-Scale Terror"

Kevin Drum schreibt, dass Anschläge wie das Massaker von Orlando aus der Sicht von Terroristen "billig, effektiv und fast nicht zu verhindern" seien. Dass es trotzdem immer noch relativ wenige dieser Anschläge gebe, sei darauf zurückzuführen, dass sie nahezu immer mit dem Tod der Täter enden. "Most mass shootings and car bombings require something that's in short supply: people willing to die for their cause (or, in a few cases, spend the rest of their lives in prison for their cause). Even among the most extreme reaches of jihadism, there are fewer folks willing to commit suicide than you might think, and you can't afford to waste them on small attacks. You need to use them on big stuff. (...) One way or another, the only real answer to this dilemma is to reduce the number of young men who become so angry they're willing to die for a cause. So what's the best way of doing that? Every national politician should have an answer to that question. Immigration bans and air strikes may sound appealing, and they might even work in the short term, but they're just fingers in the dike. In the end, reducing the supply of angry young men is the only real solution."

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"Here's How the White House Shapes Foreign Affairs Coverage"

Kevin Drum empfiehlt die Reportage des New York Times Magazine über den außenpolitischen Berater von US-Präsident Obama, Ben Rhodes. Der Beitrag verschaffe einen interessanten Einblick in das außenpolitische Denken in Washington und verdeutliche, welch veränderte Rolle der "moderne Journalismus" in diesem Kontext spiele. "(...) what's most interesting about the profile isn't really Rhodes himself, but his take on modern journalism. For example: 'It is hard for many to absorb the true magnitude of the change in the news business — 40 percent of newspaper-industry professionals have lost their jobs over the past decade .... Rhodes singled out a key example to me one day, laced with the brutal contempt that is a hallmark of his private utterances. 'All these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus,' he said. 'Now they don’t. They call us to explain to them what’s happening in Moscow and Cairo. Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.'"

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"Pentagon Won’t Prosecute Troops Involved in Deadly Strike on Afghan Doctors Without Borders Hospital"

Das Pentagon ist nach einer Untersuchung der Bombardierung eines Krankenhauses der Organisation "Ärzte ohne Grenzen" in Kundus zu dem Entschluss gekommen, keinen der verantwortlichen Soldaten vor Gericht zu stellen. "After a six-month investigation, the Pentagon concluded 16 service members, including one general officer, 'failed to comply with the law of armed conflict and rules of engagement.' Those individuals got administrative sanctions but will not face criminal charges, announced General Joseph Votel, commander of the US Central Command. (...) A Doctors Without Borders (also known as Médecins Sans Frontières) official said the organization hasn't had time to review the full investigation but the sanctions that have been announced so far are insufficient. 'The administrative punishments announced by the US today are out of proportion to the destruction of a protected medical facility, the deaths of 42 people, the wounding of dozens of others, and the total loss of vital medical services to hundreds of thousands of people,' Doctors Without Borders press officer Tim Shenk said in a statement."

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"Hillary Clinton Really Loves Military Intervention"

Kevin Drum empfiehlt den Beitrag "How Hillary Clinton Became a Hawk" von Mark Landler im New York Times Magazine, in dem die "aggressiven" Instinkte der Außenpolitikerin Clinton analysiert werden. "If anything worries me about Hillary Clinton, this is it. It's not so much that she's more hawkish than me, it's the fact that events of the past 15 years don't seem to have affected her views at all. How is that possible? And yet, our failures in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Syria and elsewhere apparently haven't given her the slightest pause about the effectiveness of military force in the Middle East. Quite the opposite: the sense I get from Landler's piece is that she continues to think all of these engagements would have turned out better if only we'd used more military power. I find it hard to understand how an intelligent, well-briefed person could continue to believe this, and that in turn makes me wonder just exactly what motivates Hillary's worldview."

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"Terrorism in Western Europe Used to Be Much Worse"

Trotz der Terroranschläge von Paris und Brüssel sollte Bryan Schatz zufolge nicht vergessen werden, dass der Terrorismus in Europa in den 1970er und 80er Jahren aus statistischer Perspektive deutlich gefährlicher und tödlicher gewesen sei. "(...) even with the threat of terrorist attacks from homegrown and ISIS-linked jihadists, the streets of Western Europe are safer now than in the not-too-distant past, when terror groups ranging from the IRA to Basque separatists killed hundreds. After the ISIS attacks that struck Paris in November 2015, killing 130 people, the statistics portal Statista created this chart for Huffington Post showing the number of victims claimed by terrorist attacks in Western Europe since 1970."

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"This is What Fleeing a War Zone Does to Your Brain"

Eine neue Studie hat sich mit den psychologischen Folgen der Flucht aus einem Kriegsgebiet beschäftigt. Flüchtlinge haben demnach ein deutlich erhöhtes Risiko, psychotische Störungen zu entwickeln. "A new study in the BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) finds that refugees are at a higher risk for schizophrenia and other psychoses. In an analysis of 1.3 million Swedish citizens, a team of psychiatric epidemiologists found that refugees were 3.6 times more likely to develop psychotic disorders than their Swedish-born counterparts. They were also 66 percent more likely to do so than migrants who were not refugees."

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"Obama Has a Refreshingly Clear-Eyed View of 'Allies' Like Saudi Arabia"

Kevin Drum ist aufgefallen, dass sich US-Präsident Obama in seinem Interview mit Jeffrey Goldberg sehr distanziert zu amerikanischen Beziehungen und Interessen im Nahen Osten geäußert habe. "I understand why he can't say stuff like this in public, but I sure wish he'd get drunk one night and blast it out as a tweetstorm. Goldberg acknowledges that the Saudis don't trust Obama, and the reason is that they shouldn't. Obama understands very clearly that their only real interest is in getting America to fight the kingdom's tribal wars for it, all the while funding a brand of fundamentalist Islam that's inherently unfriendly to the US and the West. America gets virtually nothing out of this relationship except a few military bases — which are only there to help us protect the Saudis. Obama is no isolationist — far from it, as Goldberg makes clear. And yes, his 'Spockian' personality can sometimes make his assessments seem cold and distant. But he's basically right. The Middle East is, in his words, a 'shit show,' and that's not going to change any time soon."

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"The US War on ISIS Is Costing a Fortune"

Der amerikanische Luftkrieg gegen den "Islamischen Staat" in Syrien und Irak habe nach 542 Tagen 6,2 Milliarden US-Dollar gekostet, berichtet Bryan Schatz. Das Pentagon habe bereits um die Bewilligung zusätzlicher 7,5 Milliarden US-Dollar gebeten. "So far, 37,000 bombs and missiles have been dropped, and 20,000 ISIS fighters have been killed, according to the Pentagon. US-led airstrikes wiped out hundreds of oil infrastructure targets and a cash storage facility believed to have contained millions of dollars crucial to ISIS's operations. The bombing has also taken a toll on civilians, though the actual numbers remain contentious. US planes have dropped so many bombs and missiles on ISIS that the Air Force chief of staff has said the Air Force is 'expending munitions faster than we can replenish them.'"

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"We Are Astonishingly Safe From Terrorism"

Kevin Drum präsentiert auf seinem Blog einige Diagramme, die belegten, dass der Westen im Vergleich zum Rest der Welt trotz der Anschläge des vergangenen Jahres immer noch deutlich sicherer sei. "Steven Rattner has collected 10 charts to describe 2015, but the most interesting one is actually for 2014: It shows terrorist deaths in Western nations versus the rest of the world. For all the fear that terrorism inspires in us, the entire Western world accounted for only 0.1 percent of all terror fatalities in 2014. That number will go up in 2015, thanks to Paris and San Bernardino, but will still be no more than about 0.5 percent. Bottom line: Don't listen to Donald Trump. Over the last 15 years, those of us who live in rich countries have been astonishingly safe from terrorists."

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"The Pentagon Is Preparing to Go to War With ISIS … on Twitter"

Nach dem US-Außenministerium wolle sich nun auch das Pentagon am Propagandakrieg gegen den IS im Internet beteiligen, schreibt Max J. Rosenthal. "So how will the Pentagon succeed where the State Department has apparently failed? No one really knows. 'There's not a lot you can do to message against that kind of enemy,' says Will McCants, a fellow at the Brookings Institution who researches Islamic extremist groups. 'A big part of their recruiting pitch is that they've been successful in creating a state in Syria and Iraq, and until that disappears, they continue to have a big talking point that no amount of tweeting or Facebooking is going to refute.' Army General Joseph Votel, the Special Operations commanding general, admitted in his letter to Congress that the Pentagon doesn't currently have much built-up skill or personnel to wage the propaganda war."

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"France Goes to War on Civil Liberties"

Josh Harkinson stellt fest, dass die französische Regierung seit den Anschlägen von Paris mit großer öffentlicher Unterstützung einen Krieg gegen die Bürgerrechte eröffnet habe. "(...) France has embraced and even surpassed some of America's most draconian responses to terror. In the name of security, the French public has been more willing than Americans ever were to let their government spy on citizens, conduct warrantless raids, and restrict rights of free speech and assembly. The differences boil down to governing philosophies, says Jonah Levy, a France expert who teaches comparative politics at the University of California-Berkeley. 'We have checks and balances and try to create a system in which the government does no harm,' he says. 'France has a system that is designed to centralize power in the presidency and have an elected monarch, basically. And the French in general have a more positive view of the state, and government intervention.'"

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"How Should Fear of Syrian Refugees Be Fought?"

Politik-Blogger Kevin Drum hat mit seinem Verständnis für die gewachsene Furcht vieler Amerikaner vor Flüchtlingen aus Syrien heftige Kritik seiner Leser ausgelöst. In diesem Beitrag verteidigt er seine Position und schreibt: "There are really only two disagreements. The first is whether fear of Syrian refugees is even understandable. Here's Charlie Pierce: 'It is completely practical to believe that [ISIS] would try to infiltrate their fighters into this country under the cover of being refugees. They would have to be stupid not to try. Charlie Baker is not a bigot. Neither is Maggie Hassan. Their concerns are not posturing. They are not for show.... They should be taken seriously and addressed seriously.'(...) Second, how should this fear be addressed? Here's the problem: people won't even listen to you unless they think you take their concerns seriously. (...) on issues like this, where a quite understandable fear is shared by a broad slice of the electorate, mockery is death. We can persuade these folks, and the way to do it is to acknowledge the problem and then fight the fear with facts."

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"Why Did the Media Ignore the Beirut Bombings One Day Before the Paris Attacks?"

Haben die US-Medien angemessen über den blutigen Terroranschlag des "Islamischen Staates" in Beirut am 12. November berichtet? Kevin Drum schreibt, dass es zwar kurze Meldungen gegeben habe, die sich jedoch nicht mit den Schlagzeilen über die Pariser Anschläge vergleichen ließen. "There's coverage and then there's coverage. On November 14, the New York Times dedicated a huge banner headline and nearly its entire front page to the Paris attacks. On November 13 — well, don't bother looking for their Beirut story. Fisher is right that they had one, but it ran on page A6. And Vox itself? Beirut was relegated to one mention in its 'Sentences' roundup on Thursday. By my count, Paris has so far gotten 26 separate posts. It's true that readers tend to tune out reports of violence in the Middle East and other non-rich countries, but so does the media. Justifiable or not, there's plenty of blame to go around here."

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"It's Been 50 Years Since the Biggest US-Backed Genocide You've Never Heard Of"

Samantha Michaels erinnert an den Massenmord an bis zu einer Million Menschen in Indonesien vor 50 Jahren. Trotz dieses Massakers sei das damalige Regime im Kalten Krieg aktiv von der US-Regierung unterstützt worden. "How was the genocide covered by the US press? 'It was presented in the American media as good news,' says Joshua Oppenheimer, a filmmaker who has spent the past 12 years investigating the mass murders and producing two award-winning documentaries about them. He cites a 1966 story in Time magazine that said the killings were the 'best news for years in Asia.' In a report at the time for NBC News, a correspondent spoke with an Indonesian man in Bali who claimed that the island, famous for its tourism, had 'become more beautiful without communists,' and that 'some of them wanted to be killed.'"

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"The Biggest Cyberattack Against the US in Recent History Just Keeps Getting Worse"

Vor dem USA-Besuch des chinesischen Präsidenten Xi Jinping habe sich herausgestellt, dass der bisher größte Hackerangriff auf die USA folgenreicher gewesen sei als bisher gedacht, berichtet AJ Vicens. "The Office of Personnel Management announced that it had substantially underestimated the number of people whose fingerprints were stolen during the attack earlier this year. About 5.6 million of 21.5 million federal employees, contractors, applicants, and others had their fingerprints stolen during a hack of the OPM's background check databases, the agency reported Wednesday morning. That figure is higher than the 1.1 million previously reported. (...) Obama is expected to discuss cybersecurity with Xi during this week's visit. As the New York Times points out, the hacks are thought to have originated in China, but it's unclear who exactly was behind the theft."

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"This Map Shows Who Wants to Move to Your Country"

Das Google News Lab hat internationale Suchdaten ausgewertet, um zu veranschaulichen, in welchen Ländern besonders großes Interesse besteht, in einen der G8-Staaten auszuwandern. "(...) all over the world, people are clicking on Google searches to learn more about lands of opportunity, especially the prosperous G-8 countries — France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Japan, the United States, Canada, and Russia. In the map below, the Google News Lab has come up with a way to chart comparative levels of curiosity about the G-8 countries from others all over the world."

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"ISIS Starting to Look Like a Real Government"

Einige Experten sind Kevin Drum zufolge der Überzeugung, dass der "Islamische Staat" in Irak und Syrien nur noch mit einer groß angelegten US-Invasion entmachtet werden könne. Der IS sei zwar brutal, aber nicht korrupt, was viel zur Stabilität seiner Herrschaft beitrage. "(...) obviously there's only one country that can do that. Right now, everyone thinks the Iran treaty is going to be the big foreign policy issue of next year's election. Maybe. But I think interest will fade after it's a done deal. Instead, ISIS will probably dominate the conversation, and Republicans will have to put up or shut up. If President Obama's limited strategy of training and airstrikes isn't working, are they willing to commit to a large-scale intervention using ground troops? That's likely to be the big foreign policy issue of the election."

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"7 Reasons America Is Stuck in Never-Ending War"

William J. Astore erläutert sieben wichtige Entwicklungen, die dazu geführt hätten, dass sich die USA heute in einem kaum noch hinterfragten permanenten Kriegszustand befänden. "Back in July 2010, I wrote an article for TomDispatch on the seven reasons why America can’t stop making war. More than four years later, with the war on terror still ongoing, with the mission eternally unaccomplished, here’s a fresh take on the top seven reasons why never-ending war is the new normal in America. (...) 1. The privatization of war (...). 2. The embrace of the national security state by both major parties (...). 3. 'Support Our Troops' as a substitute for thought. (...) 4. Fighting a redacted war. (...) 5. Threat inflation (...) 6. Defining the world as a global battlefield (...). 7. The new 'normal' in America is war".

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"The CIA's Secret Psychological Profiles of Dictators and World Leaders Are Amazing"

Die Autoren einer Pentagon-Studie von 2008 sind nach der Analyse von Videoaufnahmen zu der Überzeugung gelangt, dass der russische Präsident Putin an einer autistischen Störung leide. Dave Gilson präsentiert weitere Beispiele für den Versuch von US-Geheimdiensten, psychologische Profile von ausländischen Führern zu erstellen. "(...) it was far from the first time the intelligence community has tried to diagnose foreign leaders from afar on behalf of American politicians and diplomats. The CIA has a long history of crafting psychological and political profiles of international figures, with varying degrees of depth and accuracy. A sampling of these attempts to get inside the heads of heads of state".

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"No, There Really Isn't Much We Can Do To Retaliate Against North Korea"

Welche Optionen stehen US-Präsident Obama nach dem mutmaßlichen "Cyber-Vandalismus" Nordkoreas offen? Selbst in aggressiveren Beiträgen wie im Wall Street Journal gebe es keine überzeugenden Empfehlungen für effektive Maßnahmen, stellt Kevin Drum fest. "I figured that if anyone could make the best case for action, it was the Journal. Unfortunately, they mostly just persuaded me that there really is very little we can do. (...) As the cliche goes, there are no good options here, just bad and less bad. I wouldn't necessarily oppose a modified version of the sanctions bill, but it's unlikely to have a major impact. It might even make things worse. If this is the best we can do, it's pretty much an admission that there's not really much we can do."

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"There Is Something Worse Than Torture in the Senate Torture Report"

David Corn macht auf eine Erkenntnis des Senatsberichts über die CIA-Folter aufmerksam, die nicht übersehen werden dürfe: Die CIA habe den Kongress jahrelang bewusst in die Irre geführt und offen belogen. Von einer parlamentarischen Kontrolle des Geheimdienstes könne unter diesen Umständen kaum die Rede sein. "All this prompts the question: Is the oversight system beyond repair? One reasonable reading of the report is that the CIA cannot be relied upon to share accurate information about controversial practices with its overseers in Congress and the executive branch. That would mean effective oversight is not possible. And if a congressional inquiry of CIA practices triggers a full-scale battle between the agency and the committee, that, too, would indicate the CIA might be too tough to monitor. Moreover, if the agency and the lawmakers tasked with scrutinizing CIA actions cannot agree on basic realities, that also does not bode well for oversight."

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