Haldeman's papers show Nixon conspired to extend the Vietnam war to improve his presidential chances

A newly discovered collection of notes written by Nixon aide HR Haldeman reveals that during Nixon's 68 presidential campaign, he illegally conspired to convince the South Vietnamese president, Nguyen Van Thieu, to scuttle the peace talks run by Nixon's political rival, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey. Read the rest

Interview with a captured ISIS commander

There's no question of ISIS batallion leader Abu Taha's guilt. But Taha's is a nom de guerre, so when Taha is executed for killing dozens of Iraqis, Malik Khamis Habib dies with him. Rotting in a jail cell, what is he thinking? Kim Dozier, returning to the middle east after being critically wounded there, interviews someone few would sympathize with but everyone can now understand.

Why did you join ISIS? I asked.

“Someone from my neighborhood came to me. He explained we must make a change, that Shias were hurting Sunnis.”

Did you ever know a Sunni personally who was hurt by a Shia Muslim, I asked?

“No. Just rumors,” he admitted. ...

My translator pushed him to explain his role in dispatching car bombs. He later told me this brought back some bad memories for him, too. Sporting a 101st Airborne sweatshirt and reciting proudly the designation of the 3rd Infantry Division unit he’d also served, he explained he’d lost five U.S. battle buddies in a car bomb that hit his team years earlier. He’d been thrown 50 feet, escaping with a concussion, broken bones, and the sadness of a survivor. He knew this prisoner had dispatched such car bombs against Iraqis, and he too wanted to know why.

“What do you want me to say,” the prisoner asked. “I destroyed myself. I destroyed my family.”

He has a message for Americans, too. Read the rest

The real story of the Nazis' drug use

We've all heard that Nazi soldiers were fueled by methamphetamine. (This isn't uncommon in military history. For example, see the US army's use of "pep bills" in Vietnam.) But new research gets way more specific about the history of drugs in Nazi Germany. From CNN:

Now, meth, cocaine and even opiates have been referenced in association with German soldiers in a new book by German author Norman Ohler, "Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich," set to publish in the United States in March, but already released in other parts of the world, including the UK.

"Norman Ohler's Blitzed depicts the pervasive drug culture that allegedly developed in Germany's Third Reich," wrote Paul Weindling, a research professor at Oxford Brookes University, in an article in the journal Nature in October.

"Nazi officials took high-performance drugs such as methamphetamine hydrochloride (crystal meth) and cocaine. German military units and aviators were dosed with the patent methamphetamine-based drug Pervitin (manufactured in Germany from 1937) to improve operational efficiency. And drugs such as Pervitin and metabolic stimulants were tried out on students, military recruits and, eventually, in concentration camps," Weindling wrote. "Questions remain, however, over precisely how the drugs were tested, prescribed, distributed and used."

"What drugs were the Nazis on, anyway?" (CNN) Read the rest

Want to help Syria war victims in Aleppo? These NGOs and charities need your support now.

As the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo continues to grow, many people are looking for ways to help.

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VIDEO: Tension mounts as French forces try to halt progress of suicide truck

We interrupt your growing anxiety at America's emergent cyberpunk dystopia for a tense missive from the Syrian War. In this video, an explosive-laden suicide truck bears down on a position held (reportedly by French special forces with the SDF) near Raqqa. The perspective on the video makes it hard to tell, but the vehicle is well-armored and only seconds from putting the defenders in serious trouble. Bullets ricochet off; a missile sails past its target. It is not long before everyone is becoming quite alarmed at the driver's progress. What happens next, though, will probably not surprise you. Read the rest

Meet the WWI women who pretended to be rocks for the war effort

The Women’s Reserve Camouflage Corps were a group of 40 woman artists from NYC and Philadelphia ("in perfect physical condition") who devised camouflage systems for fighters and materiel during WWI, testing their theories by hiding in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx -- where the local cops grew accustomed to having seeming rocks and trees spring to life as they passed. Read the rest

The coming fight over "nonlethal neuroweapons"

The Chemical Weapons Convention has a giant loophole in that it allows for the stockpiling and use of chemical agents in law-enforcement; with the Eighth Review Conference of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) coming up next month, there's an urgent question about whether "neuroweapons" (chemical agents intended to pacify or disperse people) will become tools of law-enforcement and "defensive warfare." Read the rest

Done in your name: Survivors of CIA's torture-decade describe their ordeals

For nearly a decade, the CIA kidnapped people from over 20 countries, held them without trial or counsel, and viciously tortured them, sometimes to death -- but the only person to serve jail time for the program is the man who blew the whistle on it, and that's thanks in part to Obama's insistence that "Nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past." Read the rest

After 7 years, UK's Iraq War inquiry releases 2.6M word report damning Tony Blair and the invasion

The Chilcot Report on the UK invasion of Iraq has finally been released, seven years after it was announced, and many years after its completion (it was delayed for years over the release of government documents and memos that were contained in its pages). Read the rest

Obama says US drones strikes have killed up to 116 civilians, watchdogs say real count is higher

The Obama administration today “partially lifted the secrecy that has cloaked one of the United States’s most contentious tactics for fighting terrorists,” as the New York Times puts it, and revealed that it believes U.S. airstrikes conducted outside established war zones like Afghanistan have killed as many as 116 civilian bystanders. The administration says it also killed an additional 2,500 people in those non-war-zones who were members of terrorist groups.

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What the Pentagon learned from Muhammad Ali

Matt Taibbi takes to Rolling Stone to tell us about the lessons that the US military learned from the powerful bruising it received from Muhummad Ali's refusal to fight in Vietnam: namely, that America should fight its wars with all-volunteer armies whose ranks were disproportionately drawn from the poor and desperate, which dissipated the political pressure that arose from drafting the rich, the powerful and the famous to fight. Read the rest

Ice cream drivers at war

The New York Times' feature about ice cream trucks in the city is packed with fantastic details and quotes from those who operate "bell-jingling fleets of pleasure craft festooned with pictures of perfectly swirled desserts and beaming children." It's brutal out there, and Mister Softee has just been muscled out of Midtown.

In 2012, a frozen yogurt vendor said that a Softee duo snapped his brakes with a crowbar, and the founder of the Van Leeuwen ice cream company said he had gotten death threats from Softee drivers. (A lawyer for Mister Softee, Jeffrey Zucker, said that while he had not heard about the 2012 allegations, “a franchisee could lose his or her Mister Softee franchise for engaging in that type of criminal activity.”)

“Let me tell you about this business,” Adam Vega, a thickly muscled, heavily tattooed Mister Softee man who works the upper reaches of the Upper East Side and East Harlem, said on Wednesday. “Every truck has a bat inside.”

If you're surprised that such a light-hearted product could result in such a ruthless, cutthroat business, enjoy the great Ice Cream Wars of Glasgow. Read the rest

Russian Embassy illustrates terrorist bomb truck tweet with bomb truck from "Command and Conquer"

"Extremists near Aleppo," tweeted the Russian Embassy in London, "received several truckloads of chemical ammo."

And just to make sure the news was sufficiently clear, they attached an image of three trucks loaded with weapons: that is, from the cartoon video game world of Command & Conquer.

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United Nations reminds members including U.S. to not bomb hospitals and kill doctors please

The United Nations Security Council recently passed a resolution reminding members that intentional attacks on medical facilities are war crimes.

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Children and babies are dying in Nigerian military detention, where they're buried in mass graves

Amnesty International says at least 149 detainees have died "in horrendous conditions" at a military detention site in northeastern Nigeria this year. Among them were 11 children under the age of 6 years old, and four babies who are said to have died of untreated measles.

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Syrian hacker accused of attacking U.S. for Assad extradited for federal court in Virginia

A man the U.S. says is a hacker aligned with the government of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad will appear in a federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, on Tuesday. An unnamed source with U.S. law enforcement told reporters today that the accused hacker, 36 year old Peter Romar, was extradited to the US and flown from Germany to Dulles International Airport on Monday.

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Galactic Warfighters: recreating photos of US soldiers in battle using Star Wars action figures

Matthew Callahan's Galactic Warfighters series poses Star Wars action figures in scenes that recreate war journalism from US operations, captioned with AP-style slugs that conjure up the human cost of the battles hidden by the inscrutable armor of the Empire. Read the rest

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