These New Yorkers want to transform the September 11 museum, but can it be anything other than a purveyor of War on Terror propaganda?
As Uncle Ben once said, with great power competition comes great espionage expansions. PLUS: Egypt buys a senator; and more!
Ukraine gets weapons. Imran Khan gets dismissed and prosecuted. The only ones who lose are Pakistanis, and since when does the U.S. give a shit about them?
Do you think about the Roman Empire a lot? Obviously. But which Roman Empire? And which successor to the Roman Empire? PLUS: Some appearances I'm doing.
Waller Vs. Wildstorm #3, the big action issue, is in stores now! No spoilers, just notes on the catharsis of scripting people who do evil things, like "peace operations officer" Slade Wilson.
Lord, implored President Biden, let us "turn the page" on the War on Terror. Just not yet.
As the Air Force pursues AI-powered drones for combat, the NYPD uses older models to spy on Caribbean Brooklyn. What starts as military tech doesn't stay as military tech. PLUS: Georgia files egregious charges against the anti-Cop City movement!
As the world loses time to act, US elites are working to dominate the remains of a ruined planet.
An Iraq combat veteran turned Proud Boy sentenced for seditious conspiracy applies the logic of 9/11 to 1/6.
No previous judge has challenged the agency's line about what it did to 9/11-era detainees. PLUS: The absence of the U.S. military for the relief of Maui.
This is for every New Yorker who in the 1990s watched our local press launder a racist authoritarian mayor into someone who'd save the city from… the people who live here. He always was who he is now
Ireland in August is a great place to contemplate the prospect of civilizational collapse.
The former president doesn’t want to destroy the security state. He wants to bend it to his will.
The White House's final offer on surveillance reform: nothing. At least they stripped away the pretense that there's any way to fix Section 702. PLUS: Pee-Wee's last adventure
The chain of command was never more important than the right of servicemembers not to be sexually abused. I can still hear the Pentagon saying they should never break the chain
This guy simply should not have been chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. His final attempt to build the U.S. military of the future is gibberish.
Before his death in 2008, CIA operator Larry Devlin lamented the persecution of agency interrogators. A forthcoming book sheds light on his role overthrowing Congo's first post-colonial government.
House Republicans used $886 billion (!) NDAA as a pitchfork for a culture-war witchhunt. That just scratches the surface of what's wrong with this thing.
You know what clarifies the difference between the U.S.' order and international law? Syria. Guidance…
Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations thinks the biggest danger to the world is the United States. But he doesn't mean it in the way that's, y'know, true.
In a footnote, the Supreme Court directs Black and brown advancement into a uniform.
"Without accountability, there is no moving forward on Guantánamo," said a U.N. special rapporteur, shouting a truth into the void of U.S. foreign policy.
The ex-defense secretary wrote in his 2014 memoir that expanding NATO inevitably provoked Russia—and kept silent to George W. Bush instead of doing something about it.
The whistleblower confronted his complicity in the Vietnam-era war machine. His successors within it prefer to show up at Henry Kissinger's gala.
Issue 2 of the critically-acclaimed WALLER VS. WILDSTORM is on sale at comic stores everywhere. It's time to build that Wall. PLUS: U.S. intelligence's latest end run around the Constitution: buying your data!
There should be no future for Section 702, an enduring vestige of the post-9/11 security state. To kill it, all Congress has to do is do nothing.
God was very, very far from the War on Terror. Those who wanted to make it an explicit religious war were not.
Wednesday's arrests of the Atlanta Solidarity Fund over Cop City could be a strike against protest infrastructure nationwide, warns Cat Brooks of the Anti-Police Terror Project.
The Air Force might not have run an AI test that prompted a machine to kill its overseer with a drone. The Air Force colonel who brought it up did so as a warning.
A recent spy-court document suggests that fear of getting caught stops the FBI from a lot of its "backdoor searches." How might a criminologist view this phenomenon?!
Here's a rare example of an eminence willing to take clear-eyed stock of most of the world's rejection of coalescing Cold Wars. PLUS: Elon Musk, antisemitism, capitalism and Magneto! AND: Get used to being a needle in U.S. intelligence's HAYSTAC!
The extreme right is often misconstrued as anti-war. In reality, it wants to wage its war on American soil—against people whose Americanness it won’t recognize.
Daniel Penny killed Jordan Neely with his bare hands on video, but every institution in New York seems to be on Penny’s side. Why?
Homelessness can happen to anyone in this economy, and anyone means you and me. Don't live in New York if you're afraid of New Yorkers.
New column for The Nation – and you, the FOREVER WARS subscriber – just dropped. Unless the post-9/11 forever prison is permanently shuttered, it’s only a matter of time before one of Biden’s successors takes up Trump’s unrealized call to fill it back up with “some bad dudes.”
An extraordinary report from the United Nations says the detention of the first forever-prisoner the U.S. tortured after 9/11 and then threw into Gitmo amounts to an "enforced disappearance."
One of the recent ChudLeaks claims Afghanistan is fertile soil for the so-called Islamic State. Let's step back for some perspective. PLUS: The Pegasus cyberweapon is back.
Have you read Salar Abdoh's Out Of Mesopotamia? Because I can't stop thinking about it. PLUS: Tortuguita's autopsy; Guantanamo and the Yemen war; and are we sure we're not incentivizing China to invade Taiwan?
Expanding the Security State means relying on millions of people with secret clearances. As time passes, more and more of them are going to be inveterate posters. PLUS: Tech bros kill each other and blame the homeless!
The incoming mayor put closing Homan Square in his platform. Veteran organizers and abolitionists are optimistic he'll follow through. PLUS: Is Chinese diplomacy ending the Yemen war?
That's what Iraqis call the 2003-2011 U.S. Occupation. Here's my call for reparations at Notre Dame's 2023 War & Peace Forum. PLUS: Does MAGA want to join the ranks of those who attack lower Manhattan on a Tuesday morning?
WALLER VS WILDSTORM #1 is here! That can only mean one thing: this edition is going to talk about writing one of the major characters in the miniseries. Minor spoilers follow, so get the issue!
Disconnected thoughts, memories and podcasts 20 years after the invasion of Iraq. PLUS: Lee Harris, an innocent man railroaded by a Chicago cop turned Gitmo torturer, is free!
Longtime U.S.-client Saudi Arabia is out for "a diversified portfolio of relationships," says a source close to the royals. The China-brokered detente with Iran shows that yesterday's price is not today's price
A few notes on my Rolling Stone piece about the 20th anniversary of Iraq, as well as a video of a panel I was on in D.C. on the subject. PLUS: Worldwide Threats, Nordstream counternarratives, and a legendary natsec blazing session
Maybe in the sense that it's never been important. But as DHS turns 20, the administration is signaling that the post-9/11 institution is here to stay
Edited by Sam Thielman IN REIGN OF TERROR, now available in paperback, I wrote: Never would America acknowledge that the violent, reactionary dangers that it attributed to its enemies were also part of its own history. That was the meaning of Oklahoma City. It was the meaning of January 6.
Molcher's new book, I Am The Law: How Judge Dredd Predicted Our Future, is a great one. He speaks to FOREVER WARS about the politics of crime
I'm going to start writing a column for The Nation. But this newsletter will continue—independently. I'll even reprint the paywalled columns here, for paid subscribers.
I don't know what these weird flying objects are either, but just in case, let's let this be said. PLUS: While we overfocus on UFOs, avoidable railroad horrors lead to avoidable disaster in Ohio. And the first page of WALLER VS. WILDSTORM!
Conflict with China will not "cure American political polarization," so let's pop this balloon. PLUS: Ilhan Omar's defenestration! A fake China missile gap! And the F-22 has its bar mitzvah!
New arms-sales data just dropped. Joe Biden has been so good for the weapons-export market that an analyst wonders if this is "a new normal," rather than a Ukraine-specific uptick. PLUS: Majid Khan is free! ALSO: A corrupt spyhunter mook at the NY FBI, you say?
The Pentagon says it doesn't want a war after an Air Force general predicted it. But what anyone wants is less important than what the dynamics of "Great Power Competition" yield. PLUS: Really good books by Kerry Howley and Sevgi Soysal.
We get a potential glimpse into the future of the War on Terror at Atlanta's $90 million law-enforcement training center—and the police shooting of a protester. PLUS: U.S. strikes in Somalia, raids in Syria and ominous signs at Guantanamo
What better forum could there be for one of the 20th century's ghouls to tell those who most benefit from the world as it is what they want to hear? PLUS: The U.S. arms market in Yemen will not be undersold!
And with that, we'll see you in 2023. But first, don't turn away from Lynzy Billing's unforgettable ProPublica report about the cost of a parcel of rice, a can of oil and some sugar.
Oath Keepers in the Department of Homeland Security "would ultimately choose the Oath Keepers over the department," says Daryl Johnson, whom DHS canceled for warning about this kind of thing. PLUS: I'll be speaking at a Thursday press conference for clemency for drone whistleblower Daniel Hale.
"Consequences" for MBS seems like a quaint idea, post-Ukraine. PLUS: Biden's December 2022 War on Terror disclosure form shows an increase in U.S. troops in Niger.
How to wage two Cold Wars at the same time? With security architecture that works like a walled garden. Would the Gulfies buy a Mac when all their stuff runs on Windows?
The social media company’s entire business was content moderation. Its “free speech” king has destroyed it. Now what? PLUS: Come see Spencer talk in Manhattan on Tuesday!
No one knows if or when the purge will come for us, but there's an enriching and affordable way to reject it—a FOREVER WARS subscription.
U.S. watchdog SIGAR told true stories about the trees of the Afghanistan war. It avoided talking about the forest—and the people trying to survive the changing ecosystem.
A War-on-Terror retirement plan for U.S. intelligence officers grows into an espionage problem. PLUS: WALLER VS. WILDSTORM is delayed, but not canceled! AND: A note on trans panic and the midterms.
A knowledgeable former DHS official refutes a misleading claim in a recent DHS report. PLUS: Let's talk about antisemitism.
The Obama administration created a bureaucratic entity with life-or-death power to "dispose" of suspected terrorists. A senior official confirms that Biden has brought it back.
Washington is preparing yet another military intervention in Haiti, all on the pretext of saving Haitians from the chaos it creates and exploits. Haitians deserve reparations, not soldiers.
So I couldn't tell you last week that I was on a panel with the comics heroes of my youth, but here’s video of it. Subscribers only, so subscribe!
It turns out jail isn't what they thought it would be. You'll never guess what they think Guantanamo is. PLUS: Checking in on The Woke Military
I kind of can't say more than that right now? But come say hi if you're there this week.
I'm not writing this because Greg Rucka recommended REIGN OF TERROR in the backmatter of Lazarus: Risen #7, out now from Image Comics. But I'm not not writing this because Greg Ru
Current Pentagon policies against far right or white supremacist extremism in uniform are "absolute milquetoast," according to a senior Pentagon official.
Now the Taliban, which is the government, opposes the Afghan Fund. A U.S.-appointed Afghan trustee is warning Washington against weaponizing it.
I know, it's tacky to talk about your awards. But if you don't, no one will recognize. Read this post in Ric Flair's voice.
John Miller recently slipped into apparent perjury about mosque surveillance before the City Council, but he's trustworthy enough for CNN. PLUS: China accuses the NSA of data theft
Turkey's Bayraktar-2 is not a liberation tool favored by guerillas. But for states looking to engage in some drone warfare of their own, it sure lowers the barrier to entry.
It's not so much the cold as the neoliberal energy decontrols and skyrocketing prices. Like in a postapocalyptic movie, our correspondent looks for salvation in his propane stove.
Usually politicians deny that there's a Poverty Draft in the "All-Volunteer Military." But even a meager amount of student-debt forgiveness has the mask flying off.
Edited by Sam Thielman SINCE THE U.S. MILITARY departed Afghanistan a year ago, the Justice Department under President Biden has asserted in at least four cases that the end of that war has no bearing on the broader War on Terror. Crucially, these are the cases of four people
In November, DC Comics will publish a book I wrote along with my friend Evan Narcisse and drawn by the brilliant Eric Battle. I can't wait for you to see this dream of mine come true.
For socialists, FBI vs MAGA looks like an Iran-Iraq War, as those that work forces face hostility from those that burn crosses. But if MAGA doesn't actually start shooting, history suggests a detente
Spencer took the newsletter off Substack when his contract ended. They got mad at the blog post explaining why and took away Sam’s freelance gigs because he…edited it
Like Obama with Osama bin Laden, Biden did not portray Zawahiri's death as an end to the War on Terror, but instead as a kind of a kind of proof of concept. But what did it prove, and what is the concept?
FOREVER WARS is no longer a Substack. PLUS: Biden's Mideast apology tour. AND FINALLY: merch!
That's how many editions Sam and I produced in the past 52 weeks. Time for some anniversary journalism. Like all anniversary journalism, this edition will be lazy.
As President Biden attempts to reset relations with Riyadh, the U.N. details the limits of the ceasefire in Yemen—and says it's "about to get much worse."
The GOAT political cartoonist talks to FOREVER WARS about bringing his critique of our collapsing society to comic books, the medium he was born to work in. Sorry to Mr. Gotcha.
Bombings, arsons, assassinations. Stalkings, clinic invasions. Assaults, bomb threats. Finally, Supreme Court justices.
An accused rapist who trades on his Navy SEAL credentials fantasizes about a violent purge. He likes boasting that the cops are with him. Haha, j/k…unless..?
A bitter irony of the January 6 Committee is that it's paving a road to rehab for Constitutional vandals like Bill Barr.
Honestly? It's getting hot out and this newsletter is bleak. Let's take some deep breaths
The SBC has pledged to handle their accusers with "Christlike compassion." In a moment when they must repent and pay restitution, they still see themselves in Jesus' sandals.
Human life means nothing to America, domestically or internationally. We who live here will simply have to overcome America for the sake of those who can't. Not great
The Buffalo attack has given new life to a Democratic bill establishing domestic counterterrorism offices within DHS, DOJ and the FBI. The ACLU and others no longer oppose it.
After a second consecutive semifinals loss, a Sixers fan loses faith in the Process—in more ways than one.
Don't go looking for consistency in the application of counterterrorism. The only relevant consistency is America's tolerance of white terrorism, terror as American as apple pie.
Conservative Christians rewrote history so they could tell each other their whole religion hinged on abortion. It doesn’t, but the fundamental rights of laborers absolutely do.
The fusion centers that DHS set up early in the War on Terror can be used to police your uterus. No federal abortion ban necessary.
When the country that considers itself the definition of freedom takes away the most basic freedom of more than half its people, the only response is to resist until the end.
I know, big surprise. But this stuff is worth tracking, especially as the war bogs down.
I simply do not know how Amazon, which entirely coincidentally put Ret. Gen. Keith Alexander on the same board as Jeff Bezos, swung this one. PLUS: Neal Adams, RIP.
The world's wealthiest troll, who recently claimed his satellite array defeated a Russian attack, is the exact sort of bullshitter the Defense Department drools over.
It's my turn to get the coronavirus and, unfortunately, I'm writing about it. Don't worry, this isn't going to be one of those Substacks.
The hüzün of Istanbul, rendered by Orhan Pamuk, has some lessons for an America that sees itself as the axis on which the earth rotates.
Conservatives claim to care about keeping children safe from predation. At their own institutions, children are horrifyingly unsafe, and they’re all looking for the guy who did this.
I was honored to be part of this discussion with Azmat Khan, Murtaza Hussain and Alice Speri at the International Journalism Festival.
The IPCC's latest report is a grim reminder that the U.S.' response to the Russian aggression in Ukraine threatens the long-term viability of human life on earth.
Prepare for more U.S. troops permanently stationed in Europe. Meanwhile, the Transportation Command outlines some logistical problems for U.S. hegemony in the Pacific.
A month into the invasion, these two goals look the same. Biden's regime-change line is a reminder of how divergent they are.
I read Ginni Thomas' texts to Mark Meadows and it turns out that the longer a forever prison stays open, the worse an assumption it is that only Those People end up there
A thoughtless sop to bigots in Texas has endangered trans children and their only advocates. It’s time to stand up for them. PLUS: Madeleine Albright, remembered
A hidden casualty of Russia's Ukraine invasion is Yemen, as the Saudis and the Emiratis raise the cost for the U.S. of increasing oil production. It's an oil prince's world; people just die in it.
Langley's case for abusing Ammar Al-Baluchi was 'weak,' 'fuzzy and circular,' & 'extra-legal,' says a secret 2008 CIA inspector general report that FOREVER WARS is publishing for the first time.
Paragraphs 35b to 145, redacted and unclassified
Majid Khan's sentence has been reduced to time served. His lawyer doesn't expect bureaucratic subterfuge before Khan flies out of Guantanamo Bay.
The Biden administration is, correctly, against a no-fly zone. The problem will be keeping that politically tenable.
The leading liberal on the Court expressed impressive credulity in blocking an attempt at justice for torture. But Abu Zubaydah's attorneys see a path forward.
President Biden has vowed to confiscate the assets of parasitic oligarchs. FOREVER WARS has a modest proposal for the expansion of this exciting new front in the class war.
Neither Putin nor his oligarchs will suffer from U.S. and European economic siege warfare—it's part of how Putin rose to power in the first place. Plus: a Xius ex machina?
You do not, in fact, have to choose between American and Russian imperial aggressions. Better to bear witness to what is being done in your name.
The Justice Department really had the nerve to boast about indicting its second U.S. citizen under the 1994 federal torture statute. Also: nothing about Ukraine.
GiveSendGo isn’t just another far-right Kickstarter clone. It’s an expression of long-established Christian financial frameworks.
We don't know much more than that, but thanks to a bulk-surveillance disclosure last week, we know that.
I randomly came across a forgotten story I wrote on an embed in Baghdad during the 2007 surge. A real dudes-rock moment from across cultures.
Censors on school boards and in legislatures have attacked a vast breadth of literature as “obscene.” You'll be shocked how they define obscenity! PLUS: The death of Whatshisname, leader of ISIS
Matthew Cole's new book Code Over Country reveals what the War on Terror awoke within SEAL Team 6
In a new paper, an economist reconceives a pillar of U.S. foreign policy as an indiscriminate weapon that works by harming not regimes but their people.
You wanted health care, affordable housing and a dignified wage? Best I can do is help the arms trade.
So this is how we "end" Forever Wars: through inflicting by inflicting catastrophic economic damage as an American policy choice. Call it population-centric vengeance.
The first Katz x Ackerman collab
The Guantanamo Bay detention facility, an atrocity, turns 20 years old on January 11. Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.
January 6 was and is a political problem. Without political solutions, there will be more January 6ths.
You don’t want to work *and* you have no ideas.
My Christmas present to you is no newsletters until 2022. But first, here’s what Biden makes of his first year of Middle East policy and what I make of three great books/comics.
And why we need to do this in the first place.
Edited by Sam Thielman EVERYTHING THAT FOLLOWS COMES FROM an indictment. The Justice Department will have to prove its accusations in court. People are innocent until proven guilty; cops lie; prosecutors lie; indictments are best understood as theories of a case. Imagine every sentence I write about this contains the
A stunning betrayal by a trusted senior official goes back at least 13 years, and likely longer, the Muslim civil rights group said Thursday. And he may not be the only mole
A first look at new research from the Brown University Costs of War Project. Plus: the global policeman turns off his body camera
Technocracy can make some good points, but it’s no match for War on Terror politics. The Biden administration sat this one out. Scenes from a Senate judiciary committee hearing
The drone-strike reduction seems to be real. But so is the pull of the status quo, reflected in the Pentagon’s force-posture overview.
Dick Durbin says Guantanamo “does not reflect who we are or should be.” He’s right about that second part.
Farewell to Stephen Sondheim, the best to ever do it. But from your bookshelf to your music stand to your Netflix queue, he can never truly be gone.
If Ilhan Omar and Lauren Boebert are in an elevator together, the dangerous one isn’t Omar. Weird how the War on Terror instructs otherwise, huh
The wages of exalting generals and admirals come when we see them express open contempt for the people who exalted them.
Once upon a time, an administration told a story about how it was going to end a war. Then it erased the distinction between peace and a Saudi victory.
What happens when the theme-park guys come for Jack Kirby and Chloe Zhao
Ken Wainstein will run the intelligence shop at the Department of Homeland Security. They tried to make me to go to his rehab and I said no, no, no
If I try reading The Apocalypse and The End of History by Suzanne Schneider, I see right through them.
In his first-ever statement, Majid Khan detailed the vengeful reality of the post-9/11 CIA: “The more I cooperated and told them, the more I was tortured.”
In 1971, one of the greatest journalists of the Vietnam War asked a question that echoes decades later. Join me... and ponder the question... What If?
Who wants to read a never-before-published document leaked by Edward Snowden? It’s weird
Intellipedia entry: “Targeted Killing-Policy, Legal and Ethical Controversy” (PDF) Appended to this article.
Colin Powell chose to sell a war he knew was wrong. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were unavailable for comment on his death
The ‘radical indifference’ of the surveillance-capitalist giant reflects and entrenches a racialized understanding of political violence.
In the post-9/11 era, police departments blur the lines that separate them from spy services. More and more Americans get the treatment the CIA gives our non-American comrades
On one hand: The CIA might not be able to get foreign spy services to torture people. On the other: A tortured man could pursue justice. 🤔
What started as an audit of the Carter Page espionage investigation has expanded and “identified systemic noncompliance” with crucial surveillance constraints.
Just some random things thrown together as me and Sam report out larger stories. Also, an abortion-access fund update.
An overlooked speech by Joe Biden’s White House homeland-security adviser points to a return to the Sustainable War on Terror. It looks like we’re at the end of the war’s end.
During COVID-19, as after 9/11, the son of a bodega owner navigated the city’s power structure on behalf of his frightened neighbors. Part 3 in a series
An immigrant born to working-class activism stands up to an NYPD reborn in the CIA's image. Part 2 in a series
Pundits and politicians declared America united while "unity” preyed upon New York City’s Muslim communities. We must never forget. Part 1 in a series
These are the findings of the Costs of War Project. What would you rather have had for the $8,094 that you, personally, spent on the War on Terror?
All eyes were on Kabul just in time to catch a glimpse of people the U.S. killed with its robot airframes. Will we look away now that U.S. troops have left Afghanistan?
The Taliban won. The president said the war is over. But Asadullah Haroon and Muhammad Rahim will have to wait on the Periodic Review Board.
Two leading anti-Taliban figures are ready to fight. One is a close CIA ally. What could possibly go wrong?
After 9/11, conservative Christians and contrarian secularist intellectuals entered an alliance of convenience against Islam. Guess whose priorities won out?
Before they chanted it in Charlottesville, they saw it in “sharia law.” As MAGA struggles for a line on Afghanistan, they’re finding it in refugees Biden isn’t even letting in.
Many Afghans are likely to suffer under the Taliban. The U.S. owes them reparations, not more bloodshed.
My book about the War on Terror arrives today. The first skirmish over it points to what may follow.
The CIA's notorious practice of kidnapping and displacement gave birth to the post-9/11 torture program. We know nearly nothing about it.
I’ve been part of newsrooms since I was 19. Goodbye to all that.
For nearly 20 years, I’ve been a “national security” reporter. I hate that term. Here’s why I won’t use it anymore.
In the War on Terror, the Pentagon’s decision not to count casualties has robbed the dead of their very names.
After Monday’s release of Abdul Latif Nasser, 39 captives remain at the U.S. Naval base, imprisoned by shameless lies.
The War on Terror never ended. Covering it properly requires jettisoning some long-standing journalism practices – but not standards.
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