Tag Archives: US

Here’s how Mexican cartels actually operate in the United States

President Donald Trump repeatedly referenced the threat of drugs and violence brought to the US by Mexican cartels during his presidential campaign.

Less than a month into office, he signed an executive order directing the federal government to “thwart transnational criminal organisations” and calling for the removal of foreigners involved in those organisations.

Continue reading Here’s how Mexican cartels actually operate in the United States

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Donald Trump says he has ‘the absolute right to share facts with Russia’ amid claims he leaked classified information

President claims he disclosed information for ‘humanitarian reasons’ – in statement appearing to contradict administration’s previous account

Donald Trump has insisted he has the “absolute right” to share selected information with Russia amid allegations he passed on classified intelligence.

The President made his first statement on Twitter following a series of denials from White House officials.

Continue reading Donald Trump says he has ‘the absolute right to share facts with Russia’ amid claims he leaked classified information

Interview: Richard Dearlove—I spy nationalism

A former head of MI6 says that, though the White House commands our attention, Europe is the greater worry.

Richard Dearlove frowned at the coffee pot on the table before him, as he pondered the phenomenon of Donald Trump. “I think he’s very strongly nationalist,” he said, pouring himself a small cup. The room, at a discreet location in central London, was large and empty of other people, its walls lined with 19th-century portraits. Is Trump the start of something worrying, I asked. “I think it depends on how fundamental this shift in politics in the US and other countries is,” he replied, speaking slowly. “I think the jury’s out on how far it is going to go.”

Continue reading Interview: Richard Dearlove—I spy nationalism

Lavrov and Tillerson hold talks in Moscow

The meeting will allow to define Washington’s position and may set the tone for bilateral relations for years to come

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are holding talks with the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Moscow.

Russia still has many questions regarding the foreign policy course of the new US administration. The  meeting between the two top diplomats will allow to define Washington’s position and may set the tone for bilateral relations for years to come.

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Kim Jong-un ‘has ordered North Korean hackers to rob World Bank, Bank of America’

North Korea has reportedly told its army of hackers to target major world banks and rob them.

This is according to the New York Times, which lists the Bank of America and the European Central Bank as targets for the country’s cyber-criminals.

Continue reading Kim Jong-un ‘has ordered North Korean hackers to rob World Bank, Bank of America’

This Map Of US And Russian Arms Sales Says It All

Russia US Arms Race Graphic Final

They say the Cold War is over, but Russia and the U.S. remain the leading supplier of weapons to countries around the world and are the two biggest military powers. Lately, tensions have been pretty high, too.

The U.S. supplies much of NATO and Middle Eastern allies like Turkey, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.

Russia supplies many BRIC nations, as well as Iran, much of Southeast Asia, and North Africa.

Continue reading This Map Of US And Russian Arms Sales Says It All

Afghanistan’s Opium Industry Now Employs More People Than Its Military

Afghanistan Muddy Boots

Afghanistan’s opium economy provides more employment — “up to 411,000 full-time-equivalent jobs” — than even the country’s armed forces, according to a quarterly report released today by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).

The country’s poppy cultivation is at an all-time high, covering more than 200,000 hectares, another SIGAR report found earlier this month.

Opium and its derivatives are the country’s largest export, worth $3 billion in 2013, an increase from $2 billion in the year before.

In fact, Afghanistan’s opium production has been on a constant uptick since 2010, according to a chart included in the SIGAR report:

SIGAR Poppy Cultivation Estimates Graph

“Counternarcotics Appears To Have Fallen Off The Agenda”

Despite the rampant growth of an illicit drug economy that stokes corruption and even finances the Taliban, the concern over opium has diminished. The US and its partners seem to have given up on opium eradication as a goal in the country. As the SIGAR report notes, it isn’t even mentioned in “the declarations and communiqués from the conferences on Afghanistan reconstruction that have become a mainstay of the international effort.”

Opium cultivation is paid only “oblique reference” in the 2012 document laying out the country’s reconstruction. Indeed, nowhere in the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework do the words “poppy” or “opium” appear, even as the industry plays an ever-bigger role in the life of Afghans.

Meanwhile, appropriations for the Department of Defense’s Drug Interdiction and Counter-Drug Activities Fund (or DOD CN) have plummeted since a steady climb in the aughts and a peak in 2012. Since 2002, the US has spent nearly $7.8 billion trying to tackle Afghanistan’s opium problem.

This chart shows how that effort recieved less and less US budgetary attention, at the same time opium production in the country increased:

Counter Narcotics Funding Afghanistan SIGAR

Read the entire report here.