Emphasis Added: the Week in Pieces (7/5)

Taliban drug-dealing

Taliban drug-dealing

Total Surveillance Failed to Net Snowden

Except that all the national security surveillance in the world didn’t catch him before he flew to Hong Kong to meet with reporters and turn over evidence of these secret slides that document an out-of-control surveillance program. Whoops.

White suburban soccer moms love NSA surveillance!, Falguni Sheth, Salon

Must Have Missed the Fatwa About Drug Dealing

The Taliban now seem more focused on the drug trade than on fighting the enemy. “The Taliban’s new definition of jihad is making money from the drug trade,” says Abdali. The Helmand subcommander puts it this way: “We are using all of our energy protecting poppy fields, our drug interests, and convoys from government forces.” [An analyst] says he has never seen the Taliban fight so hard to protect their turf.

The Taliban’s Life of Luxury, Ron Moreau, Newsweek

They Forgot to Include Funds for Developing a Tree That Grows Money in Their Budget

According to a 2012 study by two Stimson Center researchers, U.S. spending on nuclear weapons is approximately $31 billion per year. The projected costs for maintaining and modernizing the current U.S. nuclear force will increase those costs in the coming decade.

The Navy is currently planning for 12 new nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarines to carry more than 1,000 nuclear warheads into the 2070s, at a total cost of almost $350 billion. The Air Force wants a new, nuclear-armed strategic bomber that would cost at least $68 billion, as well as a new fleet of land-based ballistic missiles that would cost billions more. Current plans call for upgrading about 300 units of the tactical version and about 100 of the strategic version of the B61 nuclear warhead at an estimated cost exceeding $10.4 billion.

Renewed U.S.-Led Nuclear Weapons Risk Reduction Steps Are Necessary and Overdue, Daryl Kimball, Arms Control Today

Remember: It Was the U.S. That Flipped the Ignition Switch on This Infernal Machine

By the end of this one day, 231 people will have been killed by rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), snipers or roadside bombs. Security forces will have reported finding another 86 bodies, most of them bound, tortured and shot, “execution style,” as the reports read.

On this day, 58 home-made bombs will explode and 33 others will be defused, insurgents will fire on US troops in 61 incidents, nine weapons stockpiles will be discovered and an unknown number of people will be kidnapped in seven ambushes. At three points throughout the day, there will be a brief flash of hope that the kidnapped deputy health minister will be found alive, after all.

The 1,345th day of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Nov. 23, 2006, is a particularly brutal day in the war in Iraq, bloodier than any before it.

The WikiLeaks Iraq Logs: A Protocol of Barbarity, Der Spiegel

Thanks to WikiLeaks, Stratfor’s Credibility Shattered

A company called Stratfor was revealed has having tried to render the Lockerbie bomber out of Libya as that country was falling apart. Private companies should not have their own foreign policies. Bad things happen when they do, as I was saying to the shade of Mohammad Mossadegh just the other day.

A Marriage of Convenience, Charles Pierce, Esquire