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April 4, 2003
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EAW's Breaking News archive

Report: US Secretly Used Nuclear Weapons in Syria
(Daniel McAdams / AntiWar.com & Foreign Policy Magazine & Doug Weir / The Ecologist)

The recent confirmation that the US used radioactive ammunition in two attacks in Syria in 2015 raises a number of troubling questions: Why was DU used; will it be used again; what will be done to address the health and environmental risks posed by radioactive contamination? DU is known to cause cancers and birth defects. Despite vowing not to use DU weapons in Syria, the US has now admitted that it has fired thousands of deadly rounds during airstrikes on oil trucks in Islamic State-controlled areas.

Troubling Questions Posed by US Use of Depleted Uranium in Syria
(Doug Weir / The Ecologist & the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons)

News that the US had used radioactive depleted uranium weapons to attack targets inside Syria first broke last October. But it was not clear at the time where the weapons had been used or what the US was shooting at. The news emerged shortly before the UN voted on a sixth DU resolution to control the use of these deadly weapons. The US was one of only four countries to vote against the text. On November 16 and 22, 1,490 DU rounds and 3,775 rounds, respectively, were used to destroy 399 fuel tankers

Trump Attacks Those He Can't Yet Control
(Robert Reich / San Francisco Chronicle & Charles P. Pierce / Esquire Magazine)

Commentary: With Republicans in the majority in Congress unwilling to cross Donald Trump, the job of containing Trump's incipient tyranny falls to three crucial centers of independent power: the courts, the press, and a few state governments. Which is why Trump is escalating attacks on all three, seeking to erode public confidence in them. The "fake news" charge is really perilous, a tactic designed to subvert the idea of an informed citizenry -- the basis of American self-government and freedom.

Lowest Rainfall in Over 50 Years Is Latest Threat to Children in Syria and Region
(The United Nations International Children's Fund)

Parts of Syria are suffering their lowest levels of rainfall in more than half a century, placing more than 4 million children in the war-torn country at even greater risk. In 2014, a UNICEF report warned that "water scarcity in Syria is now so acute that it may soon drive more civilians to leave their homes, adding to the 6.5 million people already displaced by the conflict."

Trump's Shift On Yemen Risks Plunging The Country Into Famine
(Jessica Schulberg and Ryan Grim / The Huffington Post)

Donald Trump may be on the brink of sparking a full-blown famine in Yemen -- all because of a subtle shift in messaging that risks effectively cutting off humanitarian relief to the war-torn nation. Former President Barack Obama's administration urged a coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates not to attack the critical port of Hodeida which receives the bulk of humanitarian supplies entering Yemen. Critics warn that any disruptions to the port would be "sufficient to tip the country into famine."

Trump Prepares to Destroy the EPA
(Rebecca Leber / Grist & Amy Davidson / The New Yorker)

Scott Pruitt, Trump's choice to run the Environmental Protection Agency, was expected to sail through Senate -- possibly as soon as Friday -- despite Democrats' protests that he is unfit to lead an agency that he has repeatedly sued. Meanwhile a cache of documents that might show whether Pruitt was too compromised to deserve the job was due to be released in a few days. So why did Senate Republicans insist on rushing the confirmation vote before the requested document could be released to the public?

Five Things Scott Pruitt Can Do to Cripple the EPA
(Annie Snider / Politico & Wenonah Hauter / EcoWatch)

Donald Trump vowed to gut the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Senate has just confirmed his man to do it -- climate denier Scott Pruitt. The new administrator and President Donald Trump are expected to move quickly to begin unraveling the agency's rules on water and climate change. Meanwhile, the White House completed its pipeline trifecta Thursday by rubber-stamping the Enbridge-Spectra merger after approving the Dakota Access Pipeline and reversing the blocked Keystone XL pipeline.

The 4 Koch-funded Pols Behind the Plan to Kill the EPA -- and What to Expect from Scott Pruitt
(lex Kotch / DeSmogBlog and EcoWatch & Ken Kimmell / Union of Concerned Scientists)

Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz turned heads when he introduced a bill on February 3, 2017 to "completely abolish" the US Environmental Protection Agency. Gaetz's bill came the day after a Senate committee voted to confirm Scott Pruitt (a fossil fuel-friendly attorney general who has sued the EPA 14 times) to head the agency. Meet the four GOP reps who have raked in cash from some of the biggest corporations peddling fossil fuels, including Koch Industries, Duke Energy, Chevron and ExxonMobil.

Another Indigenous Environmental Activist Assassinated in Honduras
(teleSUR English & Nina Lakhani / The Guardian)

Indigenous environmental leader and teacher, Jose de Los Santos Sevilla, was attacked and killed in his home early Friday morning by five heavily armed men according to Honduran media. According to an ex-soldier who now fears for his life, it was a unit trained by US Special Forces that was ordered to kill environmental activist and Goldman Environmental Prizewinner Berta Caceras who was slain in March 2016. Honduran soldier claims US Special Ops have circulated a hit-list targeting local activists.

News Vet Dan Rather Calls Trump's Press Conference "Unsettling"; Sen. McCain Warns Press Attacks Are "How Dictators Get Started"
(Dan Rather / Facebook & Jonathan Landay and Andrea Shalal / Reuters)

Dan Rather writes: "Donald Trump's press conference yesterday is one of the most unusual and unsettling from a president perhaps in our nation's history. It reminds me a bit of the final days of President Nixon's tenure." Meanwhile, Senator John McCain has defended the media against the latest attack by Trump, warning that suppressing the free press is "how dictators get started."

Mussolini's War on the Press: A Proven Tool of Fascism
(David S. D'Amato / Libertarianism.org)

Italian dictator Mussolini insisted that "Fascism requires militant journalism" working "as a solid bloc" to advance "the Cause" -- by hiding conflicting evidence and marginalizing critics. Mussolini favored the proactive steering of the press, hardly subtle and clearly defining his expectations as supreme leader. In Fascist Italy, the resultant self-policing by the media was at least as important as actual legal prohibitions against openly criticizing Il Duce.

Hitler's War on the Press: Control and Cooptation
(The US Holocaust Memorial Museum)

The elimination of Germany's multi-party political system brought about the demise of hundreds of newspapers produced by opposition political parties and allowed the state to seize the printing plants and equipment that were often turned over directly to the Nazi Party. The Nazi regime deployed the radio, press, and newsreels to stoke fears of a pending "Communist uprising," then channeled popular anxieties into political measures that eradicated civil liberties and democracy.

Why Does Congress Accept Perpetual Wars?
(Andrew J. Bacevich / The American Conservative)

Commentary: Nominally, the Senate Armed Services Committee and its counterpart in the House of Representatives provide oversight of US military activities. In practice, however, Congress' unacknowledged goal seems to be avoiding any meaningful oversight, especially in regards to nation's endless armed conflicts like the Afghanistan War. Oversight implies ownership and the US Congress has no desire to own a war that is the longest in US history and shows no sign of ending anytime soon.

Former US Ambassadors and Reform Jewish Movement Deplore Trump's Pick for Israel Envoy
(Amir Tibon / Haaretz & Judy Maltz / Haaretz)

David Friedman's 'extreme positions' make him 'unqualified for the position of US ambassador to Israel, according to former American envoys to Israel -- Thomas Pickering, Dan Kurtzer, Edward Walker, James Cunningham and William Harrop -- who cite Friedman's financial support of a radical West Bank settlement and his questionable condemnations of prominent US Jewish groups. Israel's Haaretz newspaper proposes 10 questions that Friedman needs to address.

Hurdles Ahead for Trump's Massive Proposed Pentagon Increase
(Richard Lardner / Associated Press)

Analysis: Republicans control Congress so President Donald Trump's pledge to boost the Pentagon budget by tens of billions of dollars should be a sure bet. It's not. Trump faces skeptical Democrats whose support he'll need and resistance from fiscal conservatives opposed to repealing a 2011 law that set firm limits on military and domestic spending. Unless the president figures out a way to mollify the disparate camps, he'll have a tough time delivering on a signature campaign promise

Greenwashing Wars and the US Military
(Ann Wright / Consortium News)

In September 2016, a congress of major conservation groups soft-pedaled criticism of the US military and other war-makers despite the massive damage they inflict on humans, animals, plants, cultural sites and the environment. Retired Col. Ann Wright asks: "How can you conserve nature when you are bombing nature in wars of choice around the world, practicing military operations in areas that have endangered species . . . and bombing islands into wastelands?"

Trump Nominates Key War Contractors to Top Pentagon Positions
(Mandy Smithberger / The Project on Government Oversight)

Lockheed Martin is the top recipient of Pentagon contracting dollars, receiving $29.4 billion of taxpayer dollars in 2015 alone. Now, the company will have a lock on top Pentagon posts as well. Donald Trump has named a former consultant for a Lockheed subsidiary to be Air Force Secretary and a current Lockheed Vice President has been tapped as Trump's top contender to be the Deputy Secretary of Defense. Of course, filling top posts with former war contractors is not unique to the Trump administration.

The Top 20 Companies Profiting the Most From War
(Samuel Stebbins and Thomas C. Frohlich / 247 Wall Street.com)

National security and warfare are big business. The US spent $598.5 billion, over half of its discretionary budget, on military and weapons technology in 2015. The 100 largest arms-producing and military services companies across the globe sold an estimated $370.7 billion worth of arms that year. Lockheed Martin's arms sales totaled $36.44 billion in 2015, by far the most of any company. US- and Western Europe-based firms account for 82.4% of arms sales by the 100 top military procurement companies.

Idaho Schools Ban Climate Science
(Lorraine Chow / EcoWatch)

Idaho lawmakers have approved new K-12 science standards that do not reference the established science of climate change and the impact of human activity on the environment. The Feb. 9 vote from the House Education Committee followed party lines. The 11 Republicans on the panel approved the proposed science standards -- but only after five paragraphs mentioning the climate change were removed from the initial draft. The committee's three Democrats voted against removing the climate change language.

Green Groups File Sweeping Lawsuit AccusingTrump of Usurping Congress's Powers on Regulations
(Chris Mooney / The Washington Post & Donald J. Trump / The White House & William Boardman / Reader Supported News)

Three advocacy groups -- Public Citizen, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Communications Workers of America -- have filed a sweeping federal lawsuit challenging Donald Trump's executive order requiring two federal regulations to be "identified for elimination" for every new one added -- arguing that the order fundamentally takes over Congress's powers to enact laws to protect public health, safety, and the environment.

ACTION ALERT: Tell Trump and Putin to "Drop Your Nukes"
(Nuclear Are Peace Foundation & WagingPeace.org)

Commentary: At a press conference today, President Donald Trump said, "I want to do the right thing for the American people, and to be honest, secondarily, I want to do the right thing for the world." Nuclear weapons put civilization and the human species at risk of annihilation, which is why we published an open letter to Presidents Trump and Putin calling on the two leaders to negotiate the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

Donald Trump, the Bomb, and the Human Future
(David Krieger / Nuclear Age Peace Foundation)

Donald Trump and the Bomb are nearly the same age. Which of them will prove to be more destructive remains to be seen, but in combination they are terrifying. The most positive policy proposal Trump will bring to the table as president is his desire to improve relations between the US and Russia, which have deteriorated badly in recent years. This is one hopeful sign that could lead to renewed efforts by the two countries to reduce their nuclear arsenals and reverse current plans to modernize these arsenals.

Trump's First News Conference: In Unprecedented Fashion for a President, Trump Rips Press
(Jonathan Lemire / Associated Press)

Never before has a president stood in the White House and so publicly maligned the press or attacked reporters by name, according to presidential historians. Not even Richard Nixon in the days of Watergate. Trump put claims of press prejudice at the center of his campaign in an unprecedented way and earlier this month falsely accused the media of refusing to cover terrorist attacks. Though Thursday's news conference was a messy, fact-challenged affair, it may well have cheered Trump supporters.

ACTION ALERT: Stop Steve Bannon -- No White Supremacist on the National Security Council
(CREDO Action)

Right-wing puppet master Steve Bannon has gotten himself appointed to the inner circle of Trump's National Security Council, an appointment generally reserved for senior military and intelligence officers. Bannon, Trump's anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, white supremacist, domestic abuser top adviser should not be in the White House at all. His seat on the NSC is unheard of and the consequences for our nation could be horrific.

US Troops, Tanks, Arrive in Romania to 'Defend' Nation
(Jason Ditz /AntiWar.com & Mihail Kogalniceanu / The Associated Press & Anna Nemtsova / The Daily Beast)

In a show of force criticized by Russia, 500 US ground troops, with tanks and other vehicles, arrived in Romania as part of a new infantry deployment to "bolster defense" in the southeastern European nation. Meanwhile, Romanian citizens are in open revolt against government corruption -- a spark that has ignited the demonstrations that now aim to bring down the government. But there's more to it than that.

War on the Media: Trump Ignores Critical Questions at Staged Press Conf
(Igor Bobic / The Huffington Post )

On February 15, Donald Trump ignored shouted questions about his administration's reported ties to Russia. The president walked away in response to a question from CNN's Jim Acosta. Trump has maintained his practice of only answering questions from friendly reporters from the conservative press: The New York Post, Fox News, Christian Broadcasting Network and Townhall.com.

Why Won't American Media Fully Investigate What Could Be The Biggest Story In US Political History?
(Leslie Salzillo / The Daily Kos & Seth Abramson / Huffington Post )

In an article from January 12, 2017, before Donald Trump was even inaugurated, Seth Abramson discussed a terrifying fear many of us have -- the suppression of the media by the new administration. Instead of covering the leaked 35-page British intelligence briefing on Donald Trump, US media downplayed or dismissed the document in its entirety. Abrasion asks: "What market forces in American media might be preventing our cable and network news, and many of our newspapers, from doing their jobs."

Is Trump Leading the US on a Path to War with Iran?
(Ted Regencia / Al Jazeera)

In 2016, James Norman Mattis told a crowd of foreign policy experts: "The future is going to be ghastly . . . the next president is going to inherit a mess." "Mad Dog" Mattis now oversees the 1.3 million US troops, manages Pentagon's $582.7 billion budget, and directs military policy, and has Donald Trump's ear. But critics warn Mattis' fixation with Iran -- combined with Trump's hostility towards the oil-rich Gulf state -- could lead the United States into a disastrous replay of George W. Bush's Iraq invasion.

US Complicit in Saudi Arabia's Killing of Civilians in Yemen
(Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Oriana Pawlyk / Military.com & Stephanie Nebehay / Reuters)

The US doesn't necessarily like to brag about their involvement in the Saudi invasion of Yemen, given the massive civilian death toll of the Saudi airstrikes and the growing international disquiet about the humanitarian crisis the war has led to. Still, US involvement is increasing, not decreasing.

Trump Treatens Courts, the Separation of Powers, and Democracy Itself
(William Boardman / Reader Supported News )

Donald Trump's screaming tweet, complete with all caps in the original, captures the essence of this president's bald move to take total power over the United States. When he says "the security of our nation is at stake," he refers demagogically to the imaginary threat of terrorists from seven countries.

Is a Military Coup OK if the President Is Abusive?
(John Kiriakou / Reader Supported News)

There's practically no precedent for a presidential coup in the US (with the exception of a 1933 plot that involved a group of wealthy businessmen that conspired to form a right-wing veterans' organization and overthrow President Franklin Roosevelt "socialistic" New Deal). Today, many world leaders are "extremely anxious about the events unfolding after the election of Donald Trump" and some believe that "a coup is in the making to overthrow Trump."

Trump's Foreign Policy: "China First," "Russia Second," "America Third"
(Tom Englehardt / Tom Dispatch & Michael T. Klare / Tom Dispatch)

Commentary: If there's a single consistent aspect to Donald Trump's strategic vision, it's this: US foreign policy should always be governed by the simple principle of "America First," with this country's vital interests placed above those of all others. Since then, however, everything he's done in the international arena has, intentionally or not, placed America's interests behind those of its archrivals, China and Russia. So to be accurate, his guiding policy formula should really be relabeled America Third.

UN Confirms: US Terror Strike Kills 'At Least 18' Afghan Civilians
(Sune Engel Rasmussen / The Guardian & Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Philip Walter Wellman / Stars and Stripes)

Following in Barack Obama's footsteps, Donald Trump has ordered a cowardly 2am terrorist attack on a home in Afghanistan that resulted in the deaths of "at least 18" civilians, nearly all women and children. "What the Americans are doing in Helmand is not right," one survivor said. "They target the locals instead of [the] Taliban. We would prefer if the Americans would just leave us alone." The US insistence that there was "no evidence" of any civilians killed in Friday's attacks was disproven by the facts.

US Bomb from WWII Triggers Mass Evacuation of 72,000 in Greece
(Niki Kitsantonis / The New York Times)

In Greece's biggest peacetime evacuation ever, about 72,000 people left their homes in the city of Thessaloniki on Sunday as experts defused and removed a World War II bomb from below a gas station. Hundreds of police officers in Thessaloniki, the country's second-largest city, began knocking on doors early in the morning to remind residents within a radius of two kilometers, about 1.2 miles, to leave their homes.

Trump Is Our Imperial Vulture Come Home to Roost -- We Must Repent
(Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman / Reader Supported News)

Commentary: The US has removed, disappeared and/or killed any number of duly elected leaders to make way for authoritarian pro-corporate regimes that unleashed more deaths, the denial of democratic rights, and massive suffering to innocent people who stood in the way of America's imperial agenda. . . . The horrors these coups have imposed on innocent people throughout the planet comprise a terrible karmic debt our nation owes the rest of humankind. And now, it seems, Donald Trump is our "payback."

Paul Krugman Issues A Warning About What We All Know Is Coming
(Dartagnan / The Daily Kos & Paul Krugman / New York Times Op-Ed)

Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman believes the situation we now find ourselves in, with Donald Trump holding the levers of power, is worse than anything the US faced with Bush or Cheney: "Every day brings further evidence that this is a man who completely conflates the national interest with his personal self-interest. . . . The really striking thing about Mr. Trump's Twitter tirade, however, was his palpable eagerness to see an attack on America, which would show everyone the folly of constraining his power."

The Yemen Raid and the Ghost of Anwar al-Awlaki
(Haroro J. Ingram and Craig Whiteside / The Atlantic)

Donald Trump has begun forging his own legacy in the ongoing wars on terror. On the same weekend that he signed his executive order temporarily banning travel to the US from seven Muslim-majority countries, US Navy SEALs, alongside UAE special forces, were preparing to raid Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula targets in Yemen, the first US-led ground action in the country since 2014. While over a dozen al-Qaeda fighters were reportedly killed, so too was a Navy SEAL and an unverified number of civilians.

Radiation at Fukushima Getting Worse Six Years after Meltdowns
(William Boardman / Reader Supported News & The Asahi Shimbun & Nuclear News)

Radiation levels inside the collapsed remains of Fukushima Unit 2 reactor are significantly higher than "unimaginable." Whatever is going on at Fukushima has horrifying possibilities. The triple-meltdown disaster is still out of control. Meanwhile, TEPCO, the firm responsible for the catastrophe, is in charge of the clean-up and the Japanese government is more an enabler of cover-up than a protector. It took five years to discover that Cesium-137 fallout on Tokyo wasn't properly cleaned up.

ACTION ALERT: Trump Wages War on Bumblebees; Protect the EPA
(Oliver Milman / The Guardian)

Donald Trump has been accused of targeting Muslims, media outlets and even department stores in his first month in the White House. Now, the US president may have doomed a threatened bumblebee. According to environmental groups, an executive order freezing new regulations for 60 days could push the rusty-patched bumblebee towards extinction. Pollinators are small but mighty parts of the natural mechanism that sustains us and our world.

Ten Points for Democracy Activists
(George Lakoff / GeorgeLakoff.com)

Know the Difference between Framing and Propaganda: Frames, in themselves, are unavoidable and neutral. Propaganda expresses lies that propagandists know are lies for the sake of political or social advantage. Trump is dominating the media, partly to establish his authority, but mainly to divert attention and provide cover to Republican leaders. Keep focused on Republican actions. Minimize publicizing Trump -- his image, his name, his tweets

Trump's Disastrous Yemen Raid Killed Nine Children: What Went Wrong
(Jack Moore / Newsweek & Reuters)

A new investigation into the Trump administration's Special Forces raid targeting Al-Qaeda militants in Yemen has found the operation went "dreadfully wrong," killing nine children under the age of 13, with the youngest victim a three-month-old baby. Our allies in Yemen and the Middle East warn that such attacks only create new enemies for the US. Meanwhile, Donald Trump insists that criticizing his raid "only emboldens the enemy."

Trump's Chief Strategist Believes The Apocalypse Is Coming And War Is Inevitable
(Paul Blumentrhal and JM Rieger / The Huffington Post)

Commentary: Steve Bannon, who's now ensconced in the West Wing as President Donald Trump's closest adviser, has been portrayed as Trump's main ideas guy. But in interviews, speeches and writing, he has made clear that he is, first and foremost, an apocalypticist. In Bannon's view, we are in the midst of an existential war, and everything is a part of that conflict. Treaties must be torn up, enemies named, culture changed. Global conflagration, should it occur, would only prove the theory correct.

Will Steve Bannon's Holy War Become Real War?
(Bill Berkowitz / for Buzzflash at TruthOut & Micah L. Sifry / The Nation)

In his documentary, Generation Zero, Steve Bannon reveals the theory that guides his thinking: a notion of generational disruptions popularized by Neil Howe and William Strauss in "The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy." According to Strauss and Howe, roughly every 80 years -- a saeculum, or the average life-span of a person -- America goes through a cataclysmic crisis. The Revolution of 1776, the Civil War, the Great Depression and World War II. Then comes the "unraveling," as the old order falls apart

Yellowstone National Park Sends Hundreds of America's Last Wild Buffalo to Slaughter
(Buffalo Field Campaign & EcoWatch)

Under continued pressure from Montana livestock interests, Yellowstone National Park is sending hundreds of America's last wild buffalo -- the National Mammal of the US -- to slaughter. Upwards of 400 more wild bison have also been killed by hunters along Yellowstone National Park's boundary.

Trump Nixes Elliott Abrams for State Department Job
(Jamie Gangel and Elise Labott /CNN & Justin Raimondo / AntiWar.com & Sen. Rand Paul / Ron Paul Liberty Report)

Elliott Abrams, who served Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, will not get the No. 2 job at the State Department, three Republican sources told CNN. But Abrams was nixed from the list of contenders after. Donald Trump learned of Abrams' biting criticism last May of his fitness to become president. Abrams had called Trump "thin-skinned." Trump's rejection of the Abrams' appointment would seem to confirm this diagnosis.

Trump Names Another Climate Denier to Key Energy Post
(Steve Horn / DeSmog Blog)

GreenWire has reported that climate change denier Mike Catanzaro -- a lobbyist for oil and gas companies Noble Energy, Devon Energy, Encana Oil and Gas, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), and Hess Corporation -- will soon become a top energy policy aide for Presidential Runner-up Donald Trump.

Report: First Atom Bomb Test Caused Generations of Cancer
(Russell Contreras / The Associated Press)

The world's first atomic bomb test caused generations of southern New Mexico families to suffer from cancer and economic hardship, according to surveys gathered by an advocacy group seeking compensation for descendants from the Tularosa area. The surveys released Friday detailed residents' stories from areas around the 1945 Trinity Test and argue that many Hispanic families later struggled to keep up with cancer-related illnesses.

ACTION ALERT: Stop US from Arming Terrorists
(Tima Kurdi and Sen. Tulsi Gabbard / US House of Representatives)

"I am the aunt of Alan Kurdi, the Syrian boy who tragically drowned September 2, 2015. The devastating image of my 2-year old nephew's lifeless body, lying face-down on the beach in Turkey, was all over the news across the world. . . . Regime change policy has destroyed my country and forced my people to flee. Tulsi's message was exactly what I have been trying to say for years, but no one wants to listen."

Trump's Pipeline and America's Shame
(Bill McKibben / The New Yorker)

Commentary: The Trump Administration is breaking with tradition on so many fronts that it seems noteworthy when it exhibits some continuity with American custom. And so let us focus for a moment on the news that construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline will resume -- a development that fits in perfectly with a national cultural tradition going back to the days of Plymouth Rock: repressing Native Americans.

Leaked Memo: Trump Plans to Free US Firms to Trade with Warlords
(Lee Fang / The Intercept)

The leaked draft of a presidential memorandum Donald Trump is expected to sign within days suspends a 2010 rule that discouraged American companies from funding conflict and human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of Congo through their purchase of rare "conflict minerals" -- tantalum, gold, tin, and tungsten. Critics claim suspending the rule would be "a gift to predatory armed groups seeking to profit from Congo's minerals."

Pentagon Spending: Up, Up, and Away!
(William J. Astore / AntiWar.com & Greg Corombos / WND Radio)

Show me your budget and I'll tell you what you value. The Trump administration clearly values military weapons and wars. The Pentagon is due to get a major boost under Trump who has ordered the Pentagon to draft a "supplemental" budget for 2017 that would $40 billions more on top of the $600 billion the Obama administration budgeted. In 2001, it was estimated that the Pentagon, which has never been audited, had wasted more than $2 trillion dollars over the years. And that was 16 years ago.

Elliott Abrams Doesn't Belong At The State Department
(Doug Bandow /Forbes)

Commentary: With Defense Secretary Mattis busy reassuring Asian and European allies that Washington will always pamper them, and Secretary of State Tillerson breathing fire and brimstone against China, it looks like Donald Trump has come out of the Neocon closet. Now Elliott Abrams is rumored to be in line for Deputy Secretary of State. Caught up in the Iran-Contra scandal and convicted for withholding evidence from Congress, Abrams is the wrong person at the wrong time for such an important post.

Trump's Botched Yemen Raid a Disaster: Civilians Killed; Terror Target Taunts Trump
(Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Cynthia McFadden, William M. Arkin and Tracy Connor / NBC Nightly News)

The embarrassing aftermath of the January 29 US raid in Yemen continues, with details on a raid which was initially presented as targeting "al-Qaeda headquarters" in Yemen. The US has claimed 14 AQAP fighters were killed, many of them "female combatants." Among the 40-plus civilians slain was an eight-year-old American girl. Qassim al-Rimi, the alleged target of the attack, was not killed, as the White House boasted. He survived and issued an audio recording that taunted Trump as the "fool in the White House."

The Media Is Ignoring Leaked US-government Documents on Syria
(Ian Sinclair / The New Arab)

Disclosures reported by the media about US policy in Syria were quickly forgotten, and have been written out of the West's dominant narrative of the conflict. In summary, the leaked information wholly contradicts the popular picture of western benevolent intentions let down by President Obama's ineffective leadership. In fact, critics charge, "the war in Syria has involved similar, if not greater, levels of manipulation and propaganda than that which occurred in the case of the 2003 Iraq War."

Steering Trump Back to Endless War
(Daniel Lazare / Consortium News & Christopher Miller / Radio Free Europe)

Analysis: The Trump administration hadn't even reached its two-week mark when it surrendered a major portion of its independence and fell in behind the reigning Washington orthodoxy. Donald Trump is a bully, a racist, a xenophobe, and more than bit crazy to boot. But despite all that -- or perhaps because of it -- he has shown an ornery streak in some of his thinking about foreign policy that placed him sharply at odds with Washington's vast pro-war establishment.

America Has Too Many Military Bases
(Christopher A. Preble and William D. Hartung / The National Interest)

Donald Trump and Secretary of Defense James Mattis have pledged to cut waste. And key leaders in Congress have renewed their calls for rationalizing the Pentagon's base structure. Now is the time for Congress to come together, put the national interest over parochial interests and finally support a new round of base closings. Pentagon brass have been asking Congress for permission to eliminate unneeded facilities for years. If properly structured, any new set of base closings could save billions.

Colombia Accuses US Companies of Committing Crimes Against Humanity
(teleSURtv )

For the first time, private companies have been charged with committing crimes against humanity. Colombia courts have charged Del Monte, Dole Food Company and Chiquita with financing right-wing paramilitary groups in the northern banana-producing region of Uraba. Other high profile companies, including Coca-Cola, Colombia's largest beverage company Postobon, cement company Cementos Argos, and state oil company Ecopetrol, have been accused of financing death squads.

Defending the Earth from Donald Trump
(David Helvarg / The Progressive)

Commentary: "In his election campaign, Trump called the EPA, created by President Richard Nixon in 1970, a "disgrace" . . . And by nominating ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as his Secretary of State, along with the other billionaires and generals in his cabinet, Trump is effectively establishing the United States as a petro-oligarchy."

Huge Victory in War Against Wind Power; GOP Moves to Stop EPA from Reducing Greenhouse Gasses
(Stefanie Spear / EcoWatch & Lorraine Chow / EcoWatch)

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's veto of a bill to increase the use of wind and solar power to 25 percent by 2020, has been overridden by Maryland state lawmakers. Meanwhile, in DC, 114 GOP lawmakers have endorsed a bill that declares carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride are no longer "air pollutants."

Elliott Abrams a Trump Pick? Rumors Alarm Washington
(Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Senator Rand Paul / Rare Politics)

As Assistant Secretary of State during the Iran-Contra scandal, Elliott Abrams was convicted of two counts of withholding information from Congress. As a Special Assistant to President George W. Bush, he supported the invasion of Iraq and played a key role in the failed military coup in Venezuela. Many Washington insiders are alarmed at rumors that Abrams is under consideration to become Donald Trump's Deputy Secretary of State -- the second most powerful position in the State Department

More than 900 Afghan Children Killed in 2016
(Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & The Associated Press & Alastair Jamieson / NBC News)

More than 900 children were killed in Afghanistan In 2016, according to United Nations. The nearly 25 percent increase in child deaths from the previous year was largely caused by mines and munitions left over from decades of conflict. "Conflict-related violence exacted a heavy toll on Afghanistan in 2016, with an overall deterioration in civilian protection and the highest-total civilian casualties recorded since 2009," the UN reported.

Left-Behind Explosives Taking Deadlier Toll on Afghan Children, UN Says
(Mujib Mashal / The New York Times)

On Monday, the United Nations Mission in Afghanistan reported that 2016 had been another year of record civilian casualties in the country, and it expressed particular concern about a 65 percent jump in the number of children killed or wounded by explosive remnants as fighting has spread to heavily populated civilian areas. In 2016, 3,498 civilians were killed and 7,920 others wounded -- a rise of 3 percent over the previous year, the UN report said.

Green Movement 'Greatest Threat to Freedom', Says Trump Adviser
(Damian Carrington / The Guardian)

Climate-change denier Myron Ebell -- nominated to head the Environmental Protection Agency 00 says he expects Donald Trump to withdraw the US from the global Paris Climate Change agreement. Ebell said he rejects the 'expertariat' who 'have been wrong about one thing after another, including climate policy.' Bell has also declared the the environmental movement is "the greatest threat to freedom and prosperity in the modern world."

Report: Pentagon's Figures on Airstrikes Badly Flawed
(Andrew deGrandpre and Shawn Snow / Military Times)

The American military has failed to publicly disclose potentially thousands of lethal airstrikes conducted over several years in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, a Military Times investigation has revealed. The enormous data gap raises serious doubts about transparency in reported progress against the Islamic State, al-Qaida and the Taliban, and calls into question the accuracy of other Defense Department disclosures documenting everything from costs to casualty counts.

Huge Victory in War Against Wind Power; GOP Moves to Stop EPA from Reducing Greenhouse Gasses
(Stefanie Spear / EcoWatch & Lorraine Chow / EcoWatch)

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's veto of a bill to increase the use of wind and solar power to 25 percent by 2020, has been overridden by Maryland state lawmakers. Meanwhile, in DC, 114 GOP lawmakers have endorsed a bill that declares carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride are no longer "air pollutants."

More US Bombs On Yemen?
(Daniel McAdams / AntiWar.com & The Ron Paul Liberty Report)

Why is President Trump continuing the failed Middle East policy of President Obama? Last weekend's drone strike on Yemen was supposedly aimed at al-Qaeda operatives, but it also killed a significant number of innocent women and children.

The Terror Inside Trump's White House
(Tom Engelhardt / TomDispatch & Ira Chernus / TomDispatch)

What kind of national security policy will the Trump administration pursue globally? On this issue, as on so many others, the incoming president has offered enough contradictory clues, tweets, and comments that the only definitive answer right now is: Who knows?

Trump's Surrogates Ratched Up Their War on Free Press
(The Daily Kos )

Commentary: Donald Trump is upset with things that the journalists of CNN have reported about him. He will therefore punish the network by denying them access -- until the network shapes up and reports only the news Donald Trump wants them to report. Trump advisor Steve Bannon has warned the news media to "keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while." Kellyanne Conway has stated that reporters who criticize Trump should be "let go."

A Two-Step Strategy to Destroy Freedom of the Press
(Robert Reich / San Francisco Chronicle)

Commentary: In coming months and years our democracy will depend more than ever on the independent press -- finding the truth, reporting it and holding Trump accountable for his lies. But Trump's strategy is to denigrate and disparage the press in the public's mind, persuading the public that it shouldn't believe the press because it's engaged in a conspiracy against him. It is the two-step strategy of despots. And it's already started.

About That Intel 'Treasure Trove' From Trump's Botched Yemen Raid
(Daniel McAdams / AntiWar.com & Idrees Ali / Reuters)

The initial triumphalist reporting Donald Trump's Yemen raid gave way to a darker reality: US military cover had been blown before the attack, the mission was poorly planned, an American was killed, at least a dozen innocent women and children were killed, millions of dollars in US military equipment destroyed, and the great "treasure trove" of intelligence seized at the compound turn out to be "old news.

NATO Is Obsolete
(Ivan Eland|/ US News and World Report)

Commentary: In his campaign and transition to power, President Donald Trump has repeatedly sent tremors through the commanding heights of the US national security establishment. Recently, he again attacked the NATO alliance, calling it "obsolete," because NATO was not set up to respond to terrorist threats, and the allies are not bearing their fair share of the financial burden. Embarrassingly, Trump is right on both counts.

Torture Is a Monster and a Terrorist Lover
(John Kiriakou / Reader Supported News)

Commentary: "Do torture techniques like waterboarding work? Raping prisoners' wives works. We don't do that. Beating and torturing their children in front of them works. We don't do that either. Raping and sodomizing prisoners "works." We don't do that. (At least we're not supposed to. This and other horrors were carried out by military officers and enlisted personnel at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in the last decade.)"

Drought Threatens Wildlife in Kenya's Maasai Mara National Reserve

Crocodiles and hippos are dying as the Mara and Talek rivers, which traverse the game reserve, are drying up. Wildebeests and zebras are crossing the dry riverbeds, heading to Tanzania to seek greener pastures. Conservationists have raised the alarm, saying that the drying-up of the rivers, whose source is in the depleted Mau Forest, is one of a series of ominous signs that could lead up to an ecological disaster.

Obama Killed a 16-Year-Old American in Yemen; Trump Just Killed His 8-Year-Old Sister
(Glenn Greenwald / The Intercept)

In 2010, President Obama directed the CIA to assassinate a US citizen in Yemen, Anwar al-Awlaki, despite the fact that he had never been charged with any crime. The CIA carried out that order a year later with a September 2011 drone strike. Two weeks later, a separate CIA drone strike in Yemen killed al-Awlaki 16-year-old American-born son, Abdulrahman. Now Donald Trump's actions have killed Abdulrahman's eight-year-old sister, Nawar, who bled to death over a two-hour period after being shot in the neck.

SEAL Team 6 Outgunned and Pinned Down by 'Female Combatants' During US Terrorist Strike in Yemen

The Pentagon is hard at work shifting their narrative after media reports of that US soldiers were responsible for a large massacre of women and children in a botched hour-long raid in Yemen. In an attempt to justify the deadly raid, Pentagon officials claimed they netted a "treasure trove of valuable intelligence" including an incriminating video. The Pentagon quickly withdrew the video when reporters pointed out that it was originally released in 2007.

Anti-Corruption Populists Tend To Be More Corrupt
(Ruby Mellen / Foreign Policy Magazine)

Is your country experiencing overwhelming social inequality? Do you and your fellow citizens think it's because of government corruption? Congratulations! You're likely to elect a populist leader. Taking aim at US President Donald Trump by name, Transparency International notes that, while populist leaders are on the rise -- in part in response to corruption -- will likely only exacerbate widespread corruption as it continues to seep into democratic institutions.

War on Nature: 97% of Endangered Species Threatened by Pesticides
(Center for Biological Diversity )

The Environmental Protection Agency has acknowledged for the first time that three of the nation's most-used neonicotinoid pesticides pose significant risks to commercial honeybees. But in a second decision -- which represents capitulation to the pesticide industry -- the EPA refused to restrict the use of any leading bee-killing pesticides. A nationwide EPA analysis has found that 97% of the 1,800 animals and plants on the Endangered Species list are likely to be harmed by two commonly used pesticides.

Yemen Accuses US of "Extrajudicial Killings" as Trump's Botched Attack Destroys Village and Kills Civilians, Including an American Child
(Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com)

The weekend raid by SEAL Team 6 against the home of a suspected al-Qaeda collaborator in Yemen is facing mounting criticism both domestically and internationally, as even the Pentagon concedes that there were civilians deaths in the attack, which ended up destroying nearly an entire village. Meanwhile, the White House shrugged off questions, insisting that the raid was a "success by all standards."

Pentagon Officials: Trump's Disastrous Yemen Raid OKed 'Without Sufficient Intelligence'
(Eric Schmitt and David E. Sanger / The New York Times & Ayesha Rascoe / Reuters)

Almost everything that could go wrong did. The death of Chief Petty Officer William Owens came after a chain of mishaps and misjudgments that plunged the elite commandos into a ferocious 50-minute firefight that also left three others wounded and a $75 million aircraft deliberately destroyed. The Pentagon has acknowledged that the mission also killed several civilians, including some children.

In Deadly Yemen Raid, A Lesson for Trump's National Security Team
(Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Missy Ryan / The Washington Post)

The mission facing the Navy SEALs as they approached a remote desert compound was a formidable one: detain Yemeni tribal leaders collaborating with al-Qaeda and gather intelligence that could plug a critical gap in US understanding of one of the world's most dangerous militant groups. Instead, a massive firefight ensued.

Deadly US Raid May Bolster Yemen's al Qaeda - Crisis Group
(Reuters & Agence France-Press & Al-Monitor & International Crisis Center)

A commando raid approved by new US President Donald Trump this week may have given al Qaeda in Yemen a propaganda boost in killing civilians, the International Crisis Group (ICG) said in a report on Thursday. Local medics said 30 people including 10 women and children were killed in the helicopter-born Navy SEAL attack on a cluster of houses in Yemen's southern al-Bayda province. Apache helicopters also reportedly hit a school, a mosque and a medical facility.

Eight-year-old American Girl 'Killed in Yemen Raid Approved by Trump'
(Spencer Ackerman, Jason Burke and Julian Borger / The Guardian)

An American girl, Nawar al-Awlaki, was fatally shot in a US intelligence operation on al-Qaida in Yemen that left at least 14 people, including a US commando, dead. An initial inquiry into the raid by the elite Joint Special Operations Command confirmed that civilians were "likely killed" in the raid and that "casualties may include children." The Pentagon is continuing to look into whether there "were any still-undetected civilian casualties."

Honduras Elites Blamed for Violence against Environmental Activists
(Nina Lakhani / The Guardian)

An investigation by the anti-corruption group Global Witness accuses high-ranking Honduran politicians and business tycoons of orchestrating a wave of violence targeting environmental activists. Since the 2009 coup, at least 123 environmental activists -- including Goldman Prizewinner Berta Cameras -- have been murdered on orders from the country's elites who have terrorized communities with impunity. Most victims are members of indigenous communities opposing mega-projects on their land.

Solomon Islanders Struggle with Lethal Legacy of World War II
(Julian Ryall / Deutsche Welle)

Seven decades after Japan and the United States fought over these South Pacific islands, local residents are unearthing bullets and bombs that still have the capacity to kill and maim. The haul to date, on one small patch of the island, includes a number of 155 mm artillery rounds that would have been fired from US howitzers. This August marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal, one of the bloodiest battles of the entire Pacific campaign.

How Corporate Media Threatens Our Democracy
(Bernie Sanders / In These Times)

For years, major crises like climate change, the impact of trade agreements, the role of big money in politics and youth unemployment have received scant media coverage. Trade union leaders, environmentalists, low-income activists, corporate critics, rarely appear on our TV screens. Media is not just about what is covered and how. It is about what is not covered. And those decisions are not made in the heavens. They are made by human beings who often have major conflicts of interest.

Mind of a Leader: The Psychiatric Community Tried to Warn Us About Trump's 'Malignant Narcissism'
(Olive Murphy / The Bipartisan Report & Gersh Kuntzman / New York Daily News & Olive Murphy / The Bipartisan Report)

John D. Gartner, a registered psychotherapist from the renowned Johns Hopkins University Medical School has decided to break the ethical code known as the "Goldwater Rule" in order to warn the public about the dangers posed by our new commander-in-chief's mental state. Gartner unofficially diagnosed Trump with "malignant narcissism." Although Gartner has not personally examined Trump, he claims it's obvious from watching Trump's behavior that he meets the diagnostic criteria for the disorder.

The Threat of Undiagnosed Trumpism: A Public Manifesto
(Citizen Therapists Against Trumpism)

Commentary: "As psychotherapists practicing in the United States, we are alarmed by the rise of the ideology of Trumpism, which we see as a threat to the well-being of the people we care for and to American democracy itself. At the cultural level, the Urban Dictionary has defined Trumpism as "the belief system that encourages pretentious, narcissistic behavior as a way to achieve money, fame, and power." We cannot remain silent as we witness the rise of an American form of fascism."

ACTION ALERT: Order an Emergency Psychiatric Evaluation of Donald Trump
(Teresa Zimmerman / Change.org Petition)

New York Mental Hygiene Law 9.39(a) provides for emergency mental health evaluations for "any person alleged to have a mental illness for which immediate observation, care, and treatment . . . is appropriate and which is likely to result in serious harm to himself or others." The likelihood of serious harm "shall mean . . . a substantial risk of physical harm to other persons as manifested by homicidal or other violent behavior by which others are placed in reasonable fear of serious physical harm."

Quebec Murders Initially Blamed on Islamic Terror: Killer Turns Out to Be a White, Rightwing, Trump Supporter
(Glenn Greenwald and Murtaza Hussain / The Intercept & TeleSur)

After a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque that left six people dead, right-wing nationalist tabloids instantly linked the violence to Islamic terrorism. Fox News falsely claimed that "at least one gunman shouted 'Allahu akbar!'" In fact, the solitary shooter turned out to be a 27-year-old white French Canadian described as a rabid anti-immigrant nationalist, a far-rightwing "troll," and an outspoken supporter of Donald Trump.

The Environmental Impacts of Trump's Rulings
(The Center for Biological Diversity & Emma Foehringer Merchant / Grist & Brian Palmer / EcoWatch)

Donald Trump's desire to build a wall along the US-Mexico border, would perpetuate human suffering, harm border communities and halt the cross-border movement of jaguars, ocelots, wolves and other wildlife. The wall would be particularly harmful to highly endangered jaguars. Trump has vowed to solve problems we don't have. His America First Energy Plan would "decrease our dependence of foreign oil" by killing US jobs in clean alternative energy and subsidizing costly. dirty, old-fashioned fossil fuels.

This Is an Outrage: Even by Neoconservative Standards, This Is an Outrage
(NBC Evening News & Julie Pace and Eric Tucker / The Associated Press & GrabYourWallet.com)

Thousands of protesters flooded into airports in many US cities to protest the president's order, and to support the detainees and their families, who are waiting anxiously to see what happens next. Iraqi translator who risked their lives for the US, now find themselves stranded by Trump's Travel Ban. Overnight, Trump's ill-considered iimmigration vetting order has dashed the hopes and dreams of desperate families from around the world who were hoping to build a better life for themselves in the United States.

Climate Extremists Are Losing Ground
(Kevin Grandia / EcoWatch)

In his Senate confirmation hearing, Secretary of State-pick Rex Tillerson stated: "The risk of climate change does exist, and the consequences could be serious enough that action should be taken." Given ExxonMobil's shady past regarding climate change, Tillerson's words are likely seen as empty rhetoric by many political observers. And considering Trump's recent executive orders to restart the process of constructing the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, it seems highly probable that is the case.

Corruption Watch: Looking Back on the Pentagon's $43 Million Gas Station Debacle in 2015
(Avi Asher-Schapiro / Vice News)

Somewhere in Sheberghan, a medium-sized Afghan city in the northern province of Jowzjan, lies a simple gas station with just a handful of pumps. The humble facility, which was supposed to provide cheap natural gas to local Afghan drivers, cost $43 million to build -- and the US Department of Defense footed the bill.

SEAL Team Chopper Crashes During Midnight Raid in Yemen. More than 40 Civilians Killed, Including Women and Children
(Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Associated Press & Eric Schmitt / The New York Times)

In the first counterterrorism operation authorized by Donald Trump since he took office, one US soldier was killed and several others were injured when a V-22 Osprey crashed during a pre-dawn SEAL team raid inside Yemen. The US attach killed roughly 57 people – mostly civilians, including women and children. The Cairo AP office reported receiving photographs showing the bodies of several young children who were shot multiple times during the raid.

From Pipelines to Refugees, Everything Trump Does Is Connected
(Kate Aronoff / The Guardian)

Analysis: Donald Trump is the fossil fuel industry's puppet, and he's spent the first few days of his administration doing its bidding. A former ExxonMobil executive is en route to become the country's top diplomat, and the Centers for Disease Control has cancelled a long-planned conference to discuss the impacts of climate change on public health. Meanwhile, too comfortable in their separate silos, activists on the left need to learn that the only way to fight a unified rightwing agenda is to unify in response.

How Donald Trump's Muslim Ban Would Enrich the Prisons-for-Profit Industry
(Keegan Hamilton / Vice News)

Private prison companies just hit the jackpot. Donald Trump has effectively given the Department of Homeland Security carte blanche to expand immigrant detention. His executive order authorizes the department to "allocate all legally available resources" to "establish contracts to construct, operate, or control facilities to detain aliens at or near the land border with Mexico." That means paying private prison companies like CoreCivic and the GEO Group big money to open new facilities in the US.

Seven Steps Democrats Must Take to Reinvent the Party
(Robert Reich / San Francisco Chronicle)

The ongoing contest between the Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders wings of the Democratic Party continues to divide Democrats. It's urgent Democrats stop squabbling and recognize seven basic truths.

Trump Orders 'Great Rebuilding' of Pentagon
(Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Dan Lamothe / The Washington Post)

During his first post-inauguration visit to the Pentagon, Donald Trump today signed an executive order for what he described as the start of a "great rebuilding of the Armed Forces," seeking to increase the size of the US military -- which already spends roughly as much as the eight next largest militaries in the world -- with new warplanes, new ships, new resources, and in increase in the number of special forces.

Report: Only 19 Countries Are 'Full Democracies': The US Is Not Among Them
(Vice News & The Economist Intelligence Unit)

The number of "full democracies" has decreased from 20 in 2015 to 19 in 2016 -- and the one missing is the USA. The Democracy Index tracks governments of 167 countries has downgraded the US to spot 21. Other "flawed" democracies include France, Greece, and Japan. At the top of the list is Norway, which maintains a near-perfect score of 9.93 out of 10. Meanwhile, Donald Trump continues to promote the unsubstantiated "fake news" story that 3-5 million illegal votes were cast in the Presidential election.

Banning Refugees From Countries America Destroyed Is Wrong
(Lucy Steigerwald / Anti-War.com & Senator Kamala Harris)

Donald Trump has kept his campaign promises to ban refugees from nations "of particular concern." Which nations are included in that list? Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. These are all countries the US military has spent years attacking, killing thousands of innocent people in the process. It is the US that is the terrorist here. Meanwhile, while 15 of the 9/11 attackers were Saudi citizens and Saudi Arabia is not on Trump's list.

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