The foreign ministers of its 18 member countries met on the sidelines of the High-Level Debate at the 76th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York in September to assess recent developments internationally, including challenges and threats to the Charter of the United Nations, and adopted a political declaration. In it they conveyed their support to nations and peoples subjected to unilateral and arbitrary approaches that violate both the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and the basic norms of international law, and called for full respect for "the inalienable right of peoples to self-determination, as well as the territorial integrity and political independence of all nations." They also resolved to expand the work of the Group of Friends beyond the United Nations Headquarters in New York to Offices of the UN in Geneva, Nairobi, and Vienna and the Headquarters of other UN Specialized Agencies.
At the General Assembly Debate, presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers of countries belonging to the Group of Friends in Defence of the Charter used their interventions to draw attention to their mutual concerns and the need for all UN members to be held to the same standards of international law.
The Group held two meetings in October. One was at the Commemorative Meeting in Belgrade, Serbia marking the 60th anniversary of the First Conference of the NAM on October 11. The other one took place on the sidelines of the General Assembly in New York when the annual report of the UN Human Rights Council was delivered. A statement issued at that meeting reiterated Group members' "serious concern at the current and growing threats against the Charter of the United Nations," zeroing in on "attempts to ignore and even substitute the purposes and principles contained in the UN Charter with a new set of so-called 'rules' that have never been discussed in an inclusive or transparent manner; and to selective approaches or accommodative interpretations of the provisions of the UN Charter." These practices, the statement said, have resulted in "massive violations of human rights and other tenets of international law, which, in many instances, remain unpunished to this very date."
It further said that the Group rejected "all kinds of double standards that undermine human rights and prevent a harmonious environment and progress in this field and expressed concern at the proliferation of unilateral mechanisms that pretend to conduct an impartial assessment of the human rights situation in specific States, especially when that is done without the due consent and participation of their governments.
The statement called for an end to the politicization of human rights and preventing the name of the United Nations being misused for objectives contrary to the purposes and principles of its founding Charter.
The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) considers the initiative taken by member countries of the Group of Friends in Defence of the Charter of the United Nations, in opposition to the flouting of international law in a hundred and one ways, especially by the U.S. and those appeasing it, to be an important one deserving of everyone's support. The momentum building on many fronts of international affairs to expose the concocted "rules-based order" for what it is -- an attempt by the U.S. to impose its "rule" on everyone else out of a desperation to maintain the fiction of it being the world's "indispensable" nation -- is encouraging.
Proceedings of the July 6, 2021 Virtual Launch of the Group of Friends in Defence of the UN Charter can be viewed here.
1. The founding members are Algeria, Angola, Belarus, Bolivia, Cambodia, China, Cuba, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Nicaragua, the State of Palestine, Russia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Syria, and Venezuela.
Opposition to Imperialist
The militarization of the U.S. economy has gone beyond the pale, as has the activity of the government of Canada to integrate Canada into the U.S. war economy and suggest it is done to further the cause of peace. The channelling of trillions of dollars into the militarization of the economy and society and its culture to serve the rich are well documented and have increased dramatically since the tragic events of September 11, 2001. They are important exposures of how far the U.S. has descended into a war economy and militarized society.
In the U.S., the use of violence is out of control because of the usurpation of the decision-making power by narrow private interests that profit from it.
The result is a war economy dominating not only the U.S. but drawing Canada and others into its clutches. Through treachery and deception, no matter which cartel party forms the government, they have integrated Canada into the U.S. war machine and economy and contributed to the expansion of the NATO and NORAD military alliances and to U.S.-led wars of aggression for global hegemony. The danger of a conflagration of worldwide proportions is palpable.
In this supplement, TML Monthly exposes the role Canada is playing by supplying critical minerals to the U.S. war machine. Excerpts from two reports from the Institute for Policy Studies and the Brown University Cost of War Project show the extent of U.S. militarization and degeneration of social life into corruption and violence. The reports reveal how important and urgent the anti-war movement and movements for rights continue to be to build the New on the basis of modern definitions in opposition to the limitations imposed by the ruling oligarchy.
The people's opposition to solving problems through the use of force and their striving to bring into being the necessary changes as demanded by the peoples of the U.S. and of the world are crucial.
Canada is increasing its supply of critical minerals to benefit the U.S. war economy. Canadians are not consulted when agreements are reached between the U.S. and Canada and they are opposed to the exploitation and plunder of natural resources to benefit war production. A lot of this is done in the name of a "green economy" and high ideals about creating jobs and economic development which favours the regions, but the truth lies elsewhere.
Canadian provinces and territories and Quebec are already the sites for the extraction of critical minerals for the U.S. war industry including nickel, cobalt, scandium, uranium, etc. or will soon start production of other critical minerals including lithium, rare earth elements (REE) and graphite, in such places as the Yukon, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland.
Provincial and territorial governments, along with the federal government, are already bending over backwards to supply the mining oligopolies with the infrastructure, subsidies and tax breaks these rich private interests are seeking. This was referred to in a presentation made in February by Simon Moores, CEO of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, to the House of Commons' Standing Committee on Natural Resources:
"Pricing is simply a function of supply and demand. It doesn't matter if the market is 10 times the size in the future or if it's the size it is now. Lithium, for example, is going through a period of shortage right now, so the price is going up. In the last four years, when the EV [electric vehicle] demand increased 30 per cent for lithium, the price was coming down at that time.
"What happens when lithium's price stays down, and the same for cobalt? If it stays too low for too long, you just don't get investments in new mines. There's always an incentive price to bring on a new supply. As a result, at the moment, because it's left to the capital markets, you're not getting the money for those new mines, and that's really where there could be a role for the government to play and underpin that."
In other words, it will be up to the Canadian state and different levels of government to take all the risks and subsidize these mining companies through all kinds of pay-the-rich schemes. Here is what Liz Lappin, President of the Battery Metals Association of Canada (BMAC) said to the Standing Committee on Natural Resources that same day:
"The first area of focus is support for critical minerals project development. The World Bank and a host of forecasters anticipate greatly increased global demand for critical minerals in the years ahead. While Canada has an abundance of resources, they have been slow to develop due to a variety of challenges. Examples include high volatility in emerging pricing, competition for capital against established critical minerals jurisdictions, the highly complex nature of battery metals production, and delays in regulatory and policy development. Canada needs to move swiftly to support the needs of its domestic economy.
"To support critical minerals development, BMAC recommends financial support for qualified domestic battery metals companies that are capable of demonstrating viable prospective projects; promoting exploration and identification of resources by amending the Income Tax Act to ensure that lithium brine resources are eligible for flow-through shares; encouraging provinces to rapidly develop responsible yet industry-friendly mineral policy and regulations to accelerate critical mineral resource development; and promoting streamlined tenure and regulatory frameworks to incentivize responsible development. Finally, we recommend prioritizing innovation funding for industry cluster applications, which would incent Canadian collaborations and strengthen connections along the supply chain."
The House of Commons' Standing Committee on Natural Resources issued a report in June entitled "From Mineral Exploration to Advanced Manufacturing: Developing Value Chains for Critical Minerals in Canada." It states:
"Critical minerals are essential components of many new technologies, from low-greenhouse gas energy sources to electric vehicles to advances in cutting-edge sectors such as medicine, electronics, aerospace and defence."
In the same report the Committee underscored the importance of "securing a supply of critical minerals ... because access to these resources is not entirely stable and production is concentrated in a few countries, notably China." In addition, it said that "Canada could also pursue a 'continental' approach to guarantee a supply of critical minerals in cooperation with the provinces and territories, as well as the United States," in order "to compete with other regions that are major players in the sector, namely, Asia and Europe."
The Committee made important key recommendations that are a call for more pay-the-rich schemes and the further integration of Canada into the "continental" U.S. war economy. The first two recommendations are:
"That the Government of Canada work with the provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous communities and governments, the mining industry and research and education institutions to develop a strategic vision for developing Canada's critical minerals industry;"
"That the government of Canada renew its support for the Canadian mining sector so that it can take advantage of the many opportunities offered by developing critical minerals and recognize their unique contribution to advanced technologies and the energy transition by:
- increasing its capacity to carry
out geoscience work...;
- expanding the scope of financial and tax measures...; and
- investing in transportation and communication infrastructure in remote and Northern regions...."
The natural and social environment cannot be harmonized unless the people oppose government pay-the-rich schemes, as they are presently doing in actions from coast to coast to coast. By relying on themselves, Canadians can achieve a sustainable economy that provides for all, respects their rights and is human-centred.
to Pay-the-Rich Schemes in the Name of a "Greener
No to the Integration of Canada into the U.S. War Economy!
Five months after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Joe Biden agreed to implement the Roadmap for a Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership (Roadmap) the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars hosted a webinar on July 23 to provide an update.
The two invited guests for the one-hour webinar were Arnold Chacon, Acting U.S. Ambassador to Canada, and Kirsten Hillman, Canada's Ambassador to the United States, who were both, in the words of the moderator, "at the heart of implementing [the Roadmap] agenda." They were asked "to explain how the Roadmap fits into U.S.-Canada relations" and to "give some background on how we go from here."
As described by Ambassador Chacon, the Roadmap "touches on nearly every aspect of our bilateral relationship and our multilateral relationships too." Reporting on "the progress made over the last five months," Chacon recalled the exchanges that had taken place between Canada, the United States and Mexico on the trade front since the signing of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (CUSMA), all part of "building a robust and sustainable economy" where supply chains are an important aspect of this trade agreement.
Chacon said "accelerating climate ambitions" and "combating the climate crisis," are "a top priority for both our countries," adding that "the measure of our ambition and achievement will undoubtedly be linked to the measure of our cross-border collaboration." In that same vein he added that "the United States has set an economy-wide target for 2030 to reduce our net greenhouse gas emissions by 50 to 52 per cent below 2005 levels."
As part of their "cross-border collaboration," the U.S. administration is working closely with the Canadian government to attain three objectives. In Ambassador Chacon's words, these objectives are "to increase climate ambition globally," "to innovate and deploy low and zero-emissions technologies and create jobs" and "to enhance adaptation and resilience to climate impacts." He went on to say that "an essential element in our transition into a net-zero economy is the adoption of electric vehicles." Chacon then added that "we are going to need raw materials for batteries such as cobalt and lithium. We will also need to establish in North America the necessary supply chains and build production facilities." He reminded the audience that the U.S.-Canada Critical Minerals Working Group was to meet on July 28, reiterating that "our two governments must align on priorities and policies on critical minerals to spur research, development and innovation necessary to make North America competitive and secure in this pivotal sector."
Listening to Ambassador Chacon was like hearing a script taken from the Roadmap itself, which was agreed to by the Biden administration and the Trudeau government on February 23. Under it different measures are being taken by both the Canadian and U.S. governments to establish what is now referred to as a "Value-Added Critical Minerals Strategy."
On the same day that the Roadmap was announced, the Biden administration issued Executive Order 14017 on America's Supply Chains, which amongst other things states:
"The Secretary of Defense (as the National Defense Stockpile Manager), in consultation with the heads of appropriate agencies, shall submit a report identifying risks in the supply chain for critical minerals and other identified strategic materials, including rare earth elements (as determined by the Secretary of Defense), and policy recommendations to address these risks. The report shall also describe and update work done pursuant to Executive Order 13953 of September 30, 2020 (Addressing the Threat to the Domestic Supply Chain From Reliance on Critical Minerals From Foreign Adversaries and Supporting the Domestic Mining and Processing Industries)."
The report of the Secretary of Defense was to be part of what is described in this Executive Order as the "100-Day Supply Chain Review." To undertake this comprehensive review, the Biden administration established an internal task force spanning more than a dozen federal departments and agencies, including the Secretaries of Commerce, Energy, Defense, and Health and Human Services.
In the 250-page follow-up report entitled "Building Resilient Supply Chains, Revitalizing American Manufacturing, and Fostering Broad-based Growth, 100-Day Reviews under Executive Order 14017," the White House writes on the issue of critical minerals:
"Given the importance of lithium batteries to the warfighter, assured sources of critical minerals and materials and both domestic and allied capability for lithium cell and battery manufacturing are critical to U.S. national security. The supply chain security of minerals, materials, cells, and battery components is of concern today.
"Yet the rising demand and diversity of applications for lithium battery technologies within DOD [Department of Defense], the decreasing role of defense in driving commercial lithium battery markets, and the prominence of adversary influence over supply make the future strategic concern even graver. To meet surface, undersea, space, air, and ground operational requirements, DOD will need reliable and secure advanced storage technologies."
This issue of "adversary influence over supply" of lithium battery technology as part of the U.S. military apparatus, as well as "reliable and secure advanced storage technologies" is not something new. It is integral to the striving of U.S. imperialism for world domination, in contention with China, Russia and other countries which refuse to submit to its dictate. Canada is part and parcel of that plan.
This military use of natural resources is worrisome to Canadians who aspire to end the climate crisis by setting a new direction for the economy. The plunder of natural resources to benefit war production is both unacceptable and unsustainable.
1. Arnold Chacon was appointed Acting Ambassador to Canada by the Biden Administration in May 2021. In late July David Cohen was nominated as United States Ambassador to Canada, confirmed by the U.S. Senate on November 2, 2021.
4."Building Resilient Supply Chains, Revitalizing American Manufacturing, and Fostering Broad-based Growth, 100-Day Reviews under Executive Order 14017," a report by The White House, June 2021, page 129.
5. See also: "Summit Between Canadian Prime Minister and U.S. President: Further Integration into U.S. Economy and War Machine Will Not Resolve Canada's Lack of a Nation-Building Project," by K.C. Adams, TML Monthly, March 7, 2021
For Your Information
As part of Executive Order 14017 on America's Supply Chains, issued on February 23, the "100-Day Supply Chain Review" was published by the White House in June. This led to the formation of the U.S.-Canada Critical Minerals Working Group that held its third meeting on July 28, co-chaired by U.S. Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Laura Lochman, and Assistant Deputy Minister of the Land and Minerals Sector of Natural Resources Canada, Jeff Labonté.
A July 31 media communication on the U.S. Department of State's website, entitled "United States and Canada Forge Ahead on Critical Minerals Cooperation," notes the following:
"The working group discussed implementation of President Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau's commitment to strengthen cooperation on critical minerals supply chains as outlined in the Roadmap for a Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership. ... They also shared perspectives on strengthening supply chains that utilize critical minerals, and reviewed President Biden's Executive Order on America's Supply Chains and the related 100-day supply chain review of critical minerals and materials and other key sectors issued in June."
When the U.S. State Department refers to "strengthening supply chains" it has in mind, amongst other things, what Marc D. Gietter, a retired industrial engineer with the Tactical Shelters Branch of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) termed "priming the pump." In an article entitled "Viewpoint: Offshore Battery Production Poses Problems for Military," published in the November 8, 2018 issue of the U.S. magazine National Defense, he writes:
"Lithium batteries -- both rechargeable and non rechargeable -- have become ubiquitous in almost every weapon system used by the Defense Department. Although it is a relatively small consumer of lithium battery technologies when compared to the commercial market, the importance of these technologies cannot be understated.
"Just about every piece of man-portable electronic equipment crucial to the success of U.S. warfighters on the battlefield is powered by some form of lithium battery. The reliance on them is expected to grow exponentially as the next generation of weapons -- such as new tactical ground vehicles, unmanned systems and directed energy weapons -- are designed around the high energy density and low weight of a lithium battery technology. [...]
"The lithium-ion battery market, alone, is expected to reach $26 billion in less than 10 years. With electric vehicles, clean energy storage and mobile electronics requiring ever-more advanced batteries, the overall market for batteries is only just emerging, and is expected to reach $150 billion in just the next two years.
"With a relatively minimal investment the Defense Department can not only secure domestic sources for critical technologies, but 'prime the pump' to enable these same suppliers to capture and hold large international market shares. For example, the Defense Logistics Agency has procured batteries with a total value of more than $1.1 billion to support the military power source supply chain.
"This does not include batteries that each of the services buy directly from vendors and manufacturers, or batteries purchased by prime contractors to integrate into various weapon systems."
In other words, the role of the U.S. Defense Department is to enable these same private suppliers of critical minerals "to capture and hold large international market shares" by developing processing facilities and advanced manufacturing here within North America, countering what the U.S. Department of Defense calls the "decreasing role of defense in driving commercial lithium battery markets."
This is why, in the case of permanent rare earth magnets used for civil and military applications, there is presently a bill before the U.S. House of Representatives (Bill HR 5033 -- Rare Earth Magnet Manufacturing Production Tax Credit Act of 2021) that would give private companies tax credits of $20 per kilogram for magnets manufactured in the United States or $30 per kilogram for magnets that are both manufactured in the U.S. and for which all components made up of rare earth material are produced and recycled or reclaimed wholly within the United States. It also means that to be eligible for these subsidies, the rare earth magnets must not include any "component rare earth material" that was "produced in a non-allied foreign nation," meaning countries opposed to U.S. imperialist world domination, such as the "Russian Federation, People's Republic of China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Islamic Republic of Iran."
The "component rare earth material" refers to six rare earth elements (REE) known as neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium, terbium, samarium, and gadolinium, along with cobalt. These are the primary REEs used to manufacture the world's two most powerful permanent magnets, known as samarium cobalt magnets and neodymium-iron-boron magnets. Their applications are numerous and diverse -- from electric vehicles to radar, precision-guided missiles and "smart bombs."
(Excerpts from Summary)
Over 929,000 people have died in the post-9/11 wars due to direct war violence. Many times more have died indirectly in these wars, due to ripple effects like malnutrition, damaged infrastructure and environmental degradation.
Over 387,000 civilians have been killed in direct violence by all parties to these conflicts.
Over 7,050 U.S. soldiers have died in the wars.
We do not know the full extent of how many U.S. service members returning from these wars became ill or were injured while deployed.
Many deaths and injuries among U.S. contractors have not been reported as required by law, but it is likely that approximately 8,000 have been killed.
38 million people have been displaced by the post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and the Philippines.
The U.S. federal price tag for the post-9/11 wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, and elsewhere totals about $8 trillion. This does not include future interest costs on borrowing for the wars.
The U.S. government is conducting counter-terror activities in 85 countries, vastly expanding this war across the globe.
The wars have been accompanied by violations of human rights and civil liberties in the U.S. and abroad.
The post-9/11 wars have contributed significantly to climate change. The Defense Department is one of the world's top greenhouse gas emitters.
The human and economic costs of these wars will continue for decades with some costs, such as the financial costs of U.S. veterans' care, not peaking until mid-century.
Most U.S. government funding of reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan has gone towards arming security forces in both countries. Much of the money allocated to humanitarian relief and rebuilding civil society has been lost to fraud, waste and abuse.
The ripple effects on the U.S. economy have also been significant, including job loss and interest rate increases.
Pentagon spending has totaled over $14 trillion since the start of the war in Afghanistan, with one-third to one-half of the total going to military contractors.
A large portion of these contracts -- one-quarter to one-third of all Pentagon contracts in recent years -- have gone to just five major corporations:
and Northrop Grumman.
The $75 billion in Pentagon contracts received by Lockheed Martin in fiscal year 2020 is well over one and one-half times the entire budget for the State Department and Agency for International Development for that year, which totaled $44 billion.
Weapons makers have spent $2.5 billion on lobbying over the past two decades, employing, on average, over 700 lobbyists per year over the past five years. That is more than one for every member of Congress.
Numerous companies took advantage of wartime conditions -- which require speed of delivery and often involve less rigorous oversight -- to overcharge the government or engage in outright fraud. In 2011, the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan estimated that waste, fraud and abuse had totaled between $31 billion and $60 billion.
As the U.S. reduces the size of its military footprint in Iraq and Afghanistan, exaggerated estimates of the military challenges posed by China have become the new rationale of choice in arguments for keeping the Pentagon budget at historically high levels. Military contractors will continue to profit from this inflated spending.
The report Cost of Militarization is available here.
The following excerpts are from a report produced by the Institute for Policy Studies.
The Pentagon budget is higher than at the height of the Vietnam War or the Cold War, and growing, accounting for more than half of the federal discretionary budget in typical years.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) formed in 2003 [has become] a mammoth new government agency.
The formation of DHS also marked the creation of the now-infamous Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which have drawn attention for terrorizing immigrant communities, suppressing protests, and tearing children from their parents.
At a time when awareness of police brutality and militarization has skyrocketed, militarism has reached new heights in two other long-standing wars: the war on crime and the war on drugs.
Over 20 years, the U.S. has spent more than $21 trillion on militarization, surveillance, and repression -- all in the name of security.
But the COVID-19 pandemic, the January 6 Capitol insurrection, wildfires raging in the West, and even the fall of Afghanistan have shown us that these investments cannot buy us safety.
Twenty years after 9/11, the response has contributed to thoroughly militarized foreign and domestic policies at a cost of $21 trillion over the last two decades.
Of the $21 trillion the U.S. has spent on foreign and domestic militarization since 9/11, $16 trillion went to the military (including $7.2 trillion for military contractors), $3 trillion to veterans' programs, $949 billion to Homeland Security, and $732 billion to federal law enforcement.
Spending Over 20 Years, (FY 2002 - FY 2021)
Military $16.26 trillion
Veterans $3.07 trillion
Homeland security $949 billion
Federal law enforcement $732 billion
Total $21.02 trillion
The military is one of the most costly government functions. For our purposes, military expenses include the Department of Defense (DoD) and all direct costs of war, nuclear weapons activities at the Department of Energy and elsewhere, intelligence expenses including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), international military assistance, military retiree benefits and the selective service system, and smaller military-related expenses at the National Science Foundation, Maritime Administration, and other federal agencies.
We include the cost of veterans' benefits because military service and military activities give rise to the need for these benefits.
We include most programs in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) because of the agency's origins in the post-9/11 response.... Although the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is situated within DHS, we exclude it from this analysis.
Federal law enforcement programs are included because counterterrorism and border security are part of their core mission, and because the militarization of police and the proliferation of mass incarceration both owe much to the activities and influences of federal law enforcement. Federal law enforcement agencies use the same militarized tactics to combat terrorism, crime, and narcotics, with frequently violent and racially inequitable results. Federal law enforcement agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Agency, and U.S. Marshals operate both in and outside of the U.S., frequently cooperating with the Department of Defense (DoD).
Unless otherwise noted, all figures in this report are based on Office of Management and Budget (OMB) budget authority data and are inflation-adjusted to FY 2021.
According to the Department of Justice (DoJ), 88 per cent of its budget goes toward counterterrorism, border security and violent crime goals, while 12 per cent goes toward its goal of promoting the rule of law and good government.
Over the span of 20 years, the War on Terror has expanded to dozens of countries, claimed 900,000 lives, and has cost trillions of dollars.
Beyond the forever wars, the U.S. military has more than 750 outposts in around 80 countries, with about 220,000 U.S. troops stationed permanently abroad as of June 2021. Military operations extend well beyond the confines of the War on Terror, and in some cases, actions billed as military exercises have been fronts for real military operations.
As part of its supposed shift from the War on Terror to "great power competition," the military is looking to reinvest in nuclear weapons.... The U.S. has far more nuclear weapons than any other country, and far more than can be justified based on theories of nuclear deterrence. The U.S. also has the distinction of being the only country to use a nuclear weapon on human beings -- which it has done twice. The danger of these weapons far outstrips rationales for their continued deployment. Yet the military has planned a $1.5 trillion renewal program to keep U.S. nuclear weapons in service.
Recently, the U.S. military has also been active within U.S. borders, with deployments to the southern border, where 3,000 troops remain today in a surveillance role. Some states have also sent National Guard troops to the border. From 2016-17, National Guard soldiers were deployed to suppress Indigenous-led protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, and in June 2020 were called into Washington, DC, to suppress Black Lives Matter protests. National Guard troops also stepped in after the Capitol insurrection on January 6, 2021.
Altogether, military expenditures over the last 20 years totalled more than $16 trillion, including the budget for the DoD, nuclear weapons and activities, and certain intelligence and military retirement costs.
We also include aid to foreign militaries, and much smaller civil defense expenses including the selective service, military cemeteries, and others.
Military Spending, FY 2002 - FY 2021
Department of Defense -- $14.14 trillion
Military retirement and other programs -- $1.27 trillion
Nuclear weapons programs -- $460 billion
Aid to foreign militaries -- $267 billion
CIA and Intelligence* -- $28 billion
Total -- $16.26 trillion
Note*: CIA and Intelligence costs here are far from complete. The total appropriated for national and military intelligence in FY 2020 alone was $85.8 billion. Most of that is likely hidden in the military budget, but not identifiable through public documents.
The calculus of 9/11 led to runaway growth in military spending. From FY 2001 to FY 2002 (the fiscal year that began on October 1, 2001), military spending increased by 5.8 per cent. By the following year, FY 2003, military spending had increased by 30 per cent over FY 2001 levels. It would eventually peak at nearly a trillion dollars in 2010 before falling moderately due to budget sequestration, and then rising again. Today, military spending is higher than at the height of the Vietnam War, the Cold War, the Korean War, and the first Gulf War.
The U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001, followed by Iraq in 2003. These occupations represent the longest active occupations in U.S. history -- the forever wars. Even as U.S. troops are exiting Afghanistan, the War on Terror continues in multiple countries, taking different forms.
The costs of the global War on Terror have been staggering: about 900,000 lives lost to violence, many thousands more gone due to the loss of critical infrastructure like hospitals, and 37 million people displaced, according to Brown University's Costs of War project.
In 2019, pro-government airstrikes (including U.S. airstrikes) killed the highest number of Afghan civilians in any year since the start of the war. In Afghanistan alone, 47,000 civilians have been killed since the start of the War on Terror.
A study from Brown University's Costs of War project has estimated total War on Terror costs at $8 trillion through 2021, including $800 billion in non-war DoD spending increases from 2001 to 2020 that were attributable to the War on Terror. From 2002 to 2019, about $127 billion in aid to foreign militaries went to the two main targets of U.S. occupation: Afghanistan ($91 billion) and Iraq ($36 billion).
From 2018 to 2020, the U.S. conducted counterterror operations in 85 countries, including combat operations in 12 countries, and air and drone strikes in seven. This represents more than half the countries on earth.
Spending on the DoD totalled $14 trillion over the last 20 years, including $1.9 trillion in funds appropriated specifically for wars through the Overseas Contingency Operations fund. Even though in recent years the fund was increasingly used for routine military expenses (or "base requirements"), this total falls short of estimating the true costs of the War on Terror.
More than 70 per cent of the Pentagon's $14 trillion in spending over the last 20 years was for operations, purchasing and research and development. Operations and maintenance ($5.7 trillion) includes costs for operating, deploying, and maintaining weapons systems, including the military's nearly 300 ships and more than 13,000 aircraft, and facilities, as well as training and other costs.
Procurement ($2.8 trillion) includes the purchases and upgrades of major weapons systems such as ships and aircraft, as well as land vehicles, missiles, and ammunition.
Just $3.3 trillion, or 23 per cent of the total, went to compensation for military personnel. Entry-level pay for an enlisted service member in 2021 was just over $20,000, the equivalent of a $10.30 hourly wage. Service members also receive housing or a housing allowance, but that isn't designed to cover the full cost of housing.
The three biggest recipients of foreign military assistance, Afghanistan ($91 billion), Israel ($57 billion), and Iraq ($36 billion) accounted for nearly 70 per cent of all military assistance. But the U.S. gave military aid to the majority of countries on earth during the years of 2002-2019.
In a typical year, around half of the DoD budget goes to contractors. Over the last 20 years, the contractors took in more than $7.2 trillion in DoD funds, compared to only $4.7 trillion in the 20 years before that, which included the peak years of the Cold War and nuclear arms race. In FY 2020, with a total DoD budget of $753 billion, $422 billion went to military contractors.
The top Pentagon contractors bring in more in one year than many government agencies. In FY 2020 alone, Lockheed Martin took in more than $75 billion in DoD contracts. By comparison, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) budget was only $16 billion in 2020, including emergency COVID funding.
The War on Terror has been a huge profit generator for these companies. Stocks in the top five defense companies that were worth $10,000 when the War on Terror began are worth nearly $100,000 today, versus only $61,000 for the overall stock market.
The Pentagon provides military equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies through its 1033 program. Today, state and local law enforcement agencies are in possession of $1.83 billion worth of military equipment transferred since 9/11, including mine resistant vehicles, aircraft, drones, military weapons, and ammunition. DoD also transfers equipment to federal agencies including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DoJ).
Military equipment transfers skyrocketed (in 2012), peaking at $386 million in 2014. Today, transfers are still far higher than they were early in the War on Terror, totalling $152 million in 2020 and $101 million in just the first half of 2021.
This equipment is used by local police for SWAT raids, which are often used indiscriminately, most often for suspected drug crimes, and disproportionately targeting people of colour. In one incident, a Georgia toddler was critically injured when a SWAT team's flash-bang grenade landed in his playpen. Military equipment has also appeared as part of police responses to protest, notably during the uprisings against police killings in the summer of 2020 and previously. Indigenous people are the racialized group most likely to be killed in confrontations with police.
The services that the U.S. provides to military veterans have totalled $3 trillion over the last 20 years. Of course, these services are provided to veterans of many wars, not just the wars on terror. There are 19 million veterans in the U.S., 14 million of whom served during wartime, and 3.5 million of whom served during the global War on Terror.
Veterans of the War on Terror have been subject to nonstop deployments over the last 20 years, taking a toll on physical and mental health, family stability, and civilian career opportunities. Veterans suffer from high risks of suicide, homelessness, and family violence, among other long-lasting consequences of serving in U.S. wars.
The Costs of War project at Brown University has estimated that future costs to care for veterans of the War on Terror alone will total $1 trillion through FY 2059.
Programs, FY 2002 - FY 2021
Income security -- $1.26 trillion
Veterans' Health -- $1.26 trillion
Other -- $254 billion
Readjustment benefits -- $196 billion
Pensions -- $103 billion
Total -- $3.07 trillion
formation of the Department of Homeland Security
(DHS) has been
characterized as "the largest, most important
restructuring of the
federal government since the end of World War II."
The creation of DHS
in 2003 rolled all or part of 22 different federal
agencies into a single department. The Federal
Agency (FEMA), the Transportation Security
Administration (TSA), the
Coast Guard, the Secret Service, immigration
agencies, and others were
all brought under DHS.
Despite the ostensible founding of DHS as a response and preventative against terrorism, it has instead become an agent of repression. DHS has surveilled political groups and infiltrated communities, violently repressed protest, and waged a war on immigration, often in direct coordination with the military and other law enforcement agencies.
Transforming the apparatus of border and immigration enforcement, the department also absorbed the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), formerly housed in the Department of Justice, and transferred its functions to three new agencies within DHS:
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
The DHS immigration agencies have militarized the border and disrupted immigrant communities even where there is no claim of a terrorist threat, in what has been coined as a "war on immigrants," beginning as early as 2003. From 2002 to 2019 (the most recent year with complete data), 5.8 million people were deported. Annual deportations in 2019 were double the number in 2002.
The militarization of ICE and CBP has been well-documented, with cases of excessive force and racial profiling. ICE has an "Office of Firearms and Tactical Programs" that provides equipment and training to its agents, while Border Patrol agents are supplied with weapons of war including M4 rifles with silencers and night vision sights and tactical vehicles, and borders are patrolled by Predator drones. In extreme cases, overzealous deportations have even targeted American citizens. Recent reports suggest that CBP drones have been used to surveil Indigenous activists. The war on immigration has become a lightning rod for white supremacy and violence, feeding growing white supremacist movements including those that carried out the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. And, much like in local law enforcement, white supremacists have held positions of power in federal immigration agencies.
Homeland Security and Selected Programs, FY 2002 - FY 2021
U.S. Customs and Border Protection -- $267 billion
U.S. Coast Guard -- $232 billion
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement -- $125 billion
Transportation Security Administration -- $109 billion
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services -- $64 billion
Secret Service -- $43 billion
Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency -- $33 billion
Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office -- $6.5 billion
Federal Law Enforcement Training Center -- $6.2 billion
Total -- $949 billion (excludes FEMA)
Since 2002, spending for DHS has totalled $949 billion, primarily for militarized border and immigration operations: CBP, the U.S. Coast Guard, and ICE together account for 65 per cent of the total.
Homeland Security Spending, FY 2002 - FY 2021 -- $392 billion
Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the agency tasked with borders and customs enforcement includes the Border Patrol, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the agency tasked with punitive immigration law enforcement, such as immigrant detention and deportation operations. Together they accounted for more than $392 billion over the last 20 years -- nearly half of DHS's spending (excluding FEMA).
Almost every year, Congress approves massive funding increases to these agencies that profile, jail, and deport immigrants. Combined spending on ICE and CBP was more than six times greater than the $64 billion spent on Citizenship and Naturalization Services since FY 2002.
Over the span of 20 years, spending on ICE and CBP more than doubled, from $12 billion in FY 2002 to more than $25 billion in FY 2021. During that period, spending on ICE and CBP was more than twice the funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (even accounting for pandemic spending in 2020 and 2021), and four times the funding for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, even as the opioid crisis became a matter of national concern, causing more than 49,000 deaths in 2019.
CBP, which includes the Border Patrol, is among the largest law enforcement organizations in the world. Even as the number of migrants crossing the southern border has decreased, the number of border patrol agents has grown alongside CBP's swelling budget. With just over 10,000 agents in FY 2002, by FY 2020 the Border Patrol had more than 19,000 agents. Contributing to the militarized ethos of Border Patrol policing, nearly one-third of CBP agents are military veterans.
There have been at least 177 fatal encounters with CBP since 2010. Despite this violent history of misconduct, little to no oversight or accountability measures have been put in place to hold the agency accountable for excessive, deadly use of force and abuse of power.
The United States maintains the world's largest immigration detention system, which has ballooned in recent decades. Every year, hundreds of thousands of immigrants are locked up in over 200 ICE detention centers, where they often face abusive conditions while they await determination of their immigration status. A majority of these detention facilities are operated by private, for-profit companies. Immigrant detention has grown in recent decades alongside the mass incarceration of non-immigrant Black and Brown communities in the United States. In fact, local, state, and federal police often coordinate with ICE and CBP, creating pipelines between criminal punishment and immigration enforcement systems.
Despite mass protests and its prominence as an issue in the presidential campaign, the number of immigrants held in detention more than doubled under the Biden administration since the end of February 2021.
In recent years, the notorious border wall became emblematic of the militarization of the United States' southern border region. Under the Trump administration, taxpayers spent a whopping $16.3 billion on border wall construction -- including nearly $10 billion that the administration diverted from the military budget.
The Biden administration pledged not to build "another foot of wall" and has characterized its support for border surveillance and technology funding as a gentler alternative to Trump's border wall. But high tech surveillance systems, known as "smart borders" or "virtual walls," don't represent the softer approach their proponents claim. Surveillance technologies are environmentally destructive, threaten privacy and civil liberties, and can lead to more migrant deaths as individuals are funnelled into more dangerous routes. Far from "humane," these technologies only perpetuate militarization and mass surveillance in the borderlands and beyond.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)'s militarized approach to the border is echoed internally by federal law enforcement's activities as part of the war on immigrants, the war on drugs, and the war on crime. Federal law enforcement activities have led to violent police tactics, indiscriminate surveillance practices, racial profiling and racist outcomes, and mass incarceration.
According to a 2018 report to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, 34 per cent of federal sentences were for immigration offenses, marking the federal prosecution system as a key component of the war on immigrants. Another 28 per cent of sentences were for drug crimes. Federal arrests were also dominated by immigration offenses, which made up 56 per cent of all federal arrests in FY 2018. Just 1.9 per cent of federal arrests were for violent offenses.
Black and Latinx people bear the brunt of federal law enforcement. Hispanic people were the subjects of 54 per cent of federal sentences in 2018, and Black people another 20 per cent. Black people make up 38 per cent of the federal prison inmates, far greater than their share of the population.
The recent uprisings in response to the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others have brought the nation's police forces under close examination. While local police have received the lion's share of scrutiny for violent tactics, recent investigations have found that U.S. Marshals are more likely to use their guns compared to local police. Yet the Department of Justice (DoJ) has refused to publicly release information on Marshal-involved shootings that major police departments are obligated to publish.
Federal law enforcement also hands down its tactics to local police. The FBI both trains chief executive officers for local police departments, and develops a firearms training curriculum for police officers.
Most federal law enforcement activities are overseen by the DoJ, whose four strategic goals are to 1) "enhance national security and counter the threat of terrorism;" 2) "secure the borders and enhance immigration enforcement and adjudication;" 3) "reduce violent crime and promote public safety;" and 4) "promote rule of law, integrity, and good government." According to the Department of Justice, 88 per cent of its budget goes toward the first three goals: counterterrorism, border security and violent crime.
Agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the U.S. Marshals have long been at the forefront of the wars on crime and drugs, and have played an increasingly large role in the war on immigrants.
Federal prosecutors (U.S. Attorneys) and federal prisons carry out aggressive prosecutions and harsh prison sentences. These agencies do not just operate inside the U.S. The FBI has more than 90 offices overseas, and nearly half of its spending ($84 billion) over the past 20 years was considered defense-related. Likewise, the DEA has 91 overseas offices in 68 countries, the U.S. Marshals have three foreign field offices, and ATF has at least eight foreign offices.
Federal law enforcement's foreign exploits have often been associated with local violence. In 2012, DEA agents in Honduras were involved in an incident in which four civilians were killed, including two pregnant women and a child. DEA agents left the scene without aiding the killed and injured civilians. They subsequently attempted to cover up their role to Congress. In Haiti, a former DEA informant was one of the suspects arrested in the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.
Federal law enforcement spending, FY 2002 - FY 2022
Federal law enforcement and litigation -- $445.4 billion
Federal Bureau of Investigation -- $174 billion
Drug Enforcement Administration -- $53 billion
U.S. Attorneys -- $44 billion
Assets forfeiture -- $35 billion
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives -- $26 billion
U.S. Marshals -- $24 billion
Federal Prisoner Detention -- $15 billion
Executive Office for Immigration Review -- $8 billion
Other -- $66 billion
Federal prison system -- $146 billion
State and local law enforcement assistance -- $138 billion
Other, defense-related -- $2 billion
Total -- $732 billion
With major expansions of a number of bureaus following the passing of the Patriot Act and the Protect America Act during the Bush administration, the DoJ claimed a mandate for "unrelenting focus and unprecedented cooperation" in service of counterterrorism -- claiming to protect civil liberties while in fact violating them through aggressive law enforcement tactics and expansion of surveillance powers.
Even prior to 9/11, federal law enforcement agencies like the DEA had for decades collected information on all U.S. phone calls to 116 countries. Post-9/11, the surveillance of ordinary citizens exploded, giving law enforcement access to phone records for tens of millions of Americans. The FBI has monitored political and religious groups exercising their First Amendment rights, including the anti-war Quakers. In the aftermath of the January 6, 2021 attempted insurrection, the DoJ is now seeking new powers in the name of combating domestic terrorism, raising concerns of an expanded surveillance and security state that targets even more sectors of the population -- without meaningfully curtailing terrorist attacks.
Meanwhile, a number of purported foiled terrorist plots have been revealed as cases of entrapment, diverting law enforcement resources from pursuing real threats and instead coaxing vulnerable individuals into participating in plans manufactured by FBI agents.
Some analysts have concluded that the nature of the FBI's counterterrorism strategies seems to create "terrorists" out of ordinary citizens -- certainly not the purpose for which funds were legislated.
An investigation by The Intercept found that of the almost 1,000 prosecutions for terrorism-related offenses since 2001, many of whom were caught in FBI sting operations, the majority had never committed a violent crime, did not have the means or opportunity to commit acts of violence, and had no direct connections to terrorist organizations.
More than half of all federal arrests, and more than one-third of all federal sentences, have been for immigration crimes in recent years. The five districts that handed out the most federal sentences were all in border states: two in Texas, one in Arizona, one in New Mexico, and one in Southern California. More than 40 per cent of sentences were for non-citizens, almost all convicted of immigration offenses.
While ICE and CBP round up immigrants, it is the DoJ that prosecutes immigration cases. Federal law enforcement agencies including the FBI, DEA, ATF, and U.S. Marshals Service all formally collaborate with ICE and CBP.
Federal law enforcement's early approach to the War on Terror provided some of the opening shots in the war on immigrants. In the year after the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration created a program administered by DoJ called the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), which registered non-citizen visa holders, and disproportionately targeted Arab and Muslim people. The program was widely regarded as a failure at leading to terrorism convictions, and was suspended during the Obama administration. In 2017, the Trump administration revived an open policy of targeting Muslims with a travel ban from seven Muslim-majority nations, a decision defended by the Trump Justice Department.
The targeting of Muslims has not been limited to immigration, and Muslims have not been the only group targeted. An ACLU report found that a Michigan FBI office initiated an effort to collect information on all Muslims and people of Middle Eastern descent in Michigan, without any evidence of criminality by individuals or groups. These FBI tactics both alienate many Muslim Americans from the government and feed systematic negative views of Muslims, that have contributed to xenophobia and ongoing immigration restrictions.
The same report noted an effort by the FBI office in Knoxville, Tennessee to map mosques; an FBI effort in Atlanta, Georgia to track overall Black population growth in pursuit of "Black Separatist" groups; and plans to monitor entire Chinese communities in San Francisco for organized crime. None of these efforts were tied to specific evidence or crimes. Rather, they were based primarily on race, ethnicity, or religion.
Racist patterns of surveillance and harassment are also reflected in arrests and prison sentences. In the 10 years before 2019, 179 people were arrested in reverse-sting incidents (often considered entrapment) by the DEA's Southern District of New York. Not a single one of them was white.
The war on drugs is a major driver of mass incarceration. In federal prisons, more than 67,000 people, accounting for nearly half the federally incarcerated population, are serving time for drug charges. Federal policy and spending have been drivers of mass incarceration at the local and state levels as well. In 1986, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act enshrined the now-infamous imposition of harsh mandatory minimum sentences for crack cocaine. The passage of the 1994 crime bill created new federal funding streams that encouraged states to pass "tough on crime" sentencing laws and to build more prisons. Many of these programs are still active today.
Federal prison funding has increased by more than 11 times since 1976, exploding from $901 million in 1976 to $10 billion in 2021. During that time, the number of people incarcerated in federal prisons increased ninefold, from 24,000 in 1980 to more than 219,000 by 2013, though the number has been steadily declining since. Over the past 20 years, the federal prison system has cost $146 billion, and federal prison funding has increased by 23 per cent, despite the recent downturn in the number of federal prisoners.
The report Cost of Militarization is available here.
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