Archive for the 'NATO' Category

We need to leave Afghanistan yesterday.

Stories like this show exactly why we should get out of Afghanistan yesterday. We killed 10 election workers in northern Afghanistan today. We claim we killed bad guys instead.

Mr Khorasani (a parliamentary candidate), who was injured in the strike, told the BBC that the victims were his family members and supporters involved in his campaign.

“I thought that the foreign troops came here to bring us security and democracy.

“I believed they were helping us so that we can campaign for the parliamentary election. Instead they attacked me,” he said, speaking from his home in Kabul.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-11163742

What does the USA have to say about this?

US Marine Corps Maj Gen David Garza said: “We’re aware of the allegations that this strike caused civilian casualties and we’ll do our best to get to the bottom of the accusations.”

He added: “We’re confident this strike hit only the targeted vehicle after days of tracking the occupants’ activity.”

Mr. President?

President Karzai’s office strongly condemned the strike.

“Air bombardments in the villages of Afghanistan will only end up killing civilians and will not be effective in the fight against terrorism,” it said.

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Time to face the facts on Afghanistan

These words ring true to me on the situation in Afghanistan:

The current war in Afghanistan is not really about al-Qaida and `terrorism,’ but about opening a secure corridor through Pashtun tribal territory to export the oil and gas riches of the Caspian Basin of Central Asia to the West. The US and NATO forces in Afghanistan are essentially pipeline protection troops fighting off the hostile natives..

Both Barack Obama and John McCain are wrong about Afghanistan. It is not a `good’ fight against `terrorism,’ but a classic, 19th century colonial war to advance western geopolitical power into resource-rich Central Asia. The Pashtun Afghans who live there are ready to fight for another 100 years. The western powers certainly are not.

As that great American founding father Benjamin Franklin said, `there is no good war, and no bad peace.’ Time for the West to face reality in Afghanistan.

Read more here:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article20971.htm

Chomsky on Georgia/South Ossetia

Noam Chomsky has written a delicious new piece on the Georgia/South Ossetia/Russia/USA situation.  He writes very nicely about the US position of sheer hypocrisy with regards to US claims that the invasion of sovereign nations is not how one treats other nations in the 21st century (was everyone able to keep a straight face when that one was utterred?).

However, I continue to hear the US official line repeated, for example, on NPR the other day as the newscaster spoke of Russia’s “attack on Georgia” as the main problem in the August conflict. 

Here’s an excerpt:

It is a thought that often comes to mind, again in August 2008 during the Russia-Georgia-Ossetia war. George Bush, Condoleezza Rica and other dignitaries solemnly invoked the sanctity of the United Nations, warning that Russia could be excluded from international institutions “by taking actions in Georgia that are inconsistent with” their principles. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations must be rigorously honored, they intoned – “all nations,” that is, apart from those that the US chooses to attack: Iraq, Serbia, perhaps Iran, and a list of others too long and familiar to mention.

The junior partner joined in as well. British foreign secretary David Miliband accused Russia of engaging in “19th century forms of diplomacy” by invading a sovereign state, something Britain would never contemplate today. That “is simply not the way that international relations can be run in the 21st century,” he added, echoing the decider-in-chief, who said that invasion of “a sovereign neighboring state…is unacceptable in the 21st century.” Mexico and Canada therefore need not fear further invasions and annexation of much of their territory, because the US now only invades states that are not on its borders, though no such constraint holds for its clients, as Lebanon learned once again in 2006.

“The moral of this story is even more enlightening,” Serge Halimi wrote in Le Monde diplomatique, “ when, to defend his country’s borders, the charming pro-American Saakashvili repatriates some of the 2,000 soldiers he had sent to invade Iraq,” one of the largest contingents apart from the two warrior states.

Prominent analysts joined the chorus. Fareed Zakaria applauded Bush’s observation that Russia’s behavior is unacceptable today, unlike the 19th century, “when the Russian intervention would have been standard operating procedure for a great power.” We therefore must devise a strategy for bringing Russia “in line with the civilized world,” where intervention is unthinkable.

There were, to be sure, some who shared Mark Twain’s despair. One distinguished example is Chris Patten, former EU commissioner for external relations, chairman of the British Conservative Party, chancellor of Oxford University and a member of the House of Lords. He wrote that the Western reaction “is enough to make even the cynical shake their heads in disbelief” – referring to Europe’s failure to respond vigorously to the effrontery of Russian leaders, who, “like 19th-century tsars, want a sphere of influence around their borders.”

Patten rightly distinguishes Russia from the global superpower, which long ago passed the point where it demanded a sphere of influence around its borders, and demands a sphere of influence over the entire world. It also acts vigorously to enforce that demand, in accord with the Clinton doctrine that Washington has the right to use military force to defend vital interests such as “ensuring uninhibited access to key markets, energy supplies and strategic resources” – and in the real world, far more.

Read the rest here:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article20737.htm

More evidence documented by the NYTimes of US murders in Afghanistan

This incident embodies to me, so much of what is wrong with US military imperialism and our war on terror and the wars that both major candidates have pledged to continue to pursue.  I can’t seem to let this one go.  You should have heard of the horrible incident of the US murdering 90 people in their sleep in Afghanistan a while back.  Estimates have more or less 60 of them as women and children.  See here for my initial post on this on 8/27:

https://theradicalmormon.wordpress.com/2008/08/27/get-out-of-afghanistan-now-the-us-murders-60-kids-in-their-sleep/

Now, surprisingly, the New York Times has come out with a nice article supporting evidence that the US did indeed massacre numerous civilians in that raid, and not 25 taliban and 5 civilians as they first proclaimed. 

Carlotta Gall wrote this:

To the villagers here, there is no doubt what happened in an American airstrike on Aug. 22: more than 90 civilians, the majority of them women and children, were killed.

The Afghan government, human rights and intelligence officials, independent witnesses and a United Nations investigation back up their account, pointing to dozens of freshly dug graves, lists of the dead, and cellphone videos and other images showing bodies of women and children laid out in the village mosque.

Cellphone images seen by this reporter show at least 11 dead children, some apparently with blast and concussion injuries, among some 30 to 40 bodies laid out in the village mosque. Ten days after the airstrikes, villagers dug up the last victim from the rubble, a baby just a few months old. Their shock and grief is still palpable.

For two weeks, the United States military has insisted that only 5 to 7 civilians, and 30 to 35 militants, were killed in what it says was a successful operation against the Taliban: a Special Operations ground mission backed up by American air support.

Gall goes on to document the evidence from several sources including this one for example:

Yakhakhan, 51, one of several men in the village working for a private security firm, and who uses just one name, said he heard shooting and was just coming out of his house when he saw his neighbor’s sons running.

“They were killed right here; they were 10 and 7 years old,” he said. In the compound next to his, he said, four entire families, including those of his two brothers, were killed. “They bombard us, they hate us, they kill us,” he said of the Americans. “God will punish them.”

She also documents alleged atrocities that turn the stomach:

A policeman, Abdul Hakim, whose four children were killed and whose wife was paralyzed, said she had told him how an Afghan informer accompanying the American Special Operations forces had entered the compound after the bombardment and shot dead her brother, Reza Khan; her father; and an uncle as they were trying to help her. She said she had heard her father plead for help and ask the Afghan: “Are you a Muslim? Why are you doing this to us?” Then she heard shots, and her father did not speak after that, he said.

Even now though, the military continues it’s sickening denial:

American military officials in Afghanistan and Washington have stood by their much lower body count. Capt. Christian Patterson, an American military spokesman at Bagram Air Base north of Kabul, said that an investigating officer, a Special Forces major, visited the village after the airstrikes. Guided by aerial photographs, he visited six burial sites within a six-mile range of the attack; only one had any freshly dug graves, about 18 to 20 in total, Captain Patterson said. The 12-page investigative report does not indicate whether they were the graves of children or women. The officer did not interview villagers, he said.

Mr. Khan, whose house is just yards from the main graveyard, which contains 24 fresh graves, said no members of the American military had entered the village since Aug. 22. Villagers living around the graveyards would have seen them, he said.

Just remember this as the product of our tax dollars when you go to sleep at night.  Let this image burn into your mind and heart and then try to put yourself into these people’s shoes:

A local journalist, Reza Shir Mohammadi, said that when he visited the village on the second day after the attack, women and children were still weeping at one collapsed house, saying they still had not found their mother and siblings.

God will not let these crimes go unnoticed people.  Our turn will come.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/08/world/asia/08afghan.html?_r=1&sq=afghanistan&st=cse&oref=slogin&scp=5&pagewanted=print

Update:  A grainy cell phone video is available now from a local physician the morning after the massacre.  Many of the dead are shown.

Cold war anyone?

It seems like we don’t like to have only warm wars on our hands in Iraq and Afghanistan and possibly in the future in Iran.  We also want to get back to our cold war.  Apparently it was fun and now we miss it.  As you know, we’ve pressured Poland into setting up our missile defense system so that Poland can be protected by Iranian missiles that don’t even exist.

No one ever believed the Americans’ explanation of why they wanted to base interceptor missiles in Poland, of all places, some 20 years after the fall of the Soviet empire – not even the Americans. The idea, said Washington, is to defend the Poles against the alleged threat of an attack from… Iran, which has yet to exhibit any hostile intentions toward Warsaw, and in fact does not even possess the sort of missiles the new system is designed to intercept.

Putin’s pained response – “We are being told the anti-missile defense system is targeted against something that does not exist. Doesn’t it seem funny to you, to say the least?” – showed signs of the sort of exasperation that reached a crescendo last week with the Russian counterstrike against Georgia’s invasion of South Ossetia.

http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=13317

Of course, the suggestion that this missile defense system is going to be used to protect our allies from Iran or other rogue nations is incredibly unbelievable.

The US plans to deploy a radar in the Czech Republic and 10 interceptor missiles in northern Poland as part of a US-controlled missile shield for Europe and North America, has been officially sold under the ludicrous argument that it is against possible attacks from “rogue states,” including Iran. Last Spring then Russian President Vladimir Putin exposed the shallowness of the US propaganda line by offering a startled President Bush that Russia would offer the US use of Russian leased radar facilities in Azerbaijan on the Iran border to far better monitor Iran missile launches. The Bush Administration simply ignored the offer, exposing that their real target is Russia not “rogue states like Iran.” Russia rightly views deployment of the US missile shield as a threat to its national security.

What is Russia’s response to this new threat in their back yard going to be?  (Remember the Cuban Missile Crisis?  This is essentially the same thing in reverse.)

Russian officials earlier said Moscow could deploy its Iskander tactical missiles and strategic bombers in Belarus and Russia’s westernmost exclave of Kaliningrad if Washington succeeded in its missile shield plans in Europe. Moscow also warned it could target its missiles on Poland.

Russia is also discussing to put in place an orbital ballistic missile system in response to US missile defense plans for Central Europe, according to a senior Russian military expert.

“A program could be implemented to create orbital ballistic missiles capable of reaching US territory via the South Pole, skirting US air defense bases,” said Col. Gen. Viktor Yesin, former chief of staff of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces, now vice president of the Academy of Security, Defense and Law Enforcement Studies.

Previously as part of the post Cold War agreements with the US, agreements which have been ´significantly ignored by Washington as it pushed the borders of NATO ever closer to Moscow’s doorstep, the Soviet Union had abandoned such missiles in accordance with the START I Treaty.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9836

Talk about wars and rumors of wars.  We’re right in the thick of it and our US government is seemingly seeking to bring to pass a nasty scenario in the coming time.  Yep, things are getting pretty bad.

More truth on South Ossetia, Georgia, and Russia… Part IV

I have to keep entitling this posts as, “more truth on South Ossetia, Georgia and Russia,” because our media continues to ignore the massacre perpetrated upon the South Ossetians by Georgia, and insists on parroting the official propaganda of the US government and refuses to think for itself and give us the truth.  Thus I keep digging up overwhelming evidence from various sources around the world on what really happened and it truly is astounding the great lengths the US corporate media is going to ignore the truth and feed us government propaganda.  As Chomsky always says, the media is exhibiting an extreme amount of discipline in ignoring the truth.  Read more of what really happened from Mike Whitney here:

There was no “Battle of Tskhinvali”; that’s another fiction. A battle implies that there is an opposing force that is resisting or fighting back. That’s not the case here. The Georgian army entered the city unopposed; after all, how can unarmed civilians stop armed units. Most of the townspeople had already fled across the border into Russia or hid in their basements while the tanks and armored vehicles rumbled bye firing at anything that moved.

What took place in South Ossetia last Thursday, was not an invasion or a siege; it was a massacre. The people had no way to defend themselves against a fully-equiped modern army. It was a war crime.

In less than 24 hours, the Russian army was deployed to the war zone where it chased the Georgian army away without a fight. Journalist Michael Binyon put it like this, “The attack was short, sharp and deadly—enough to send the Georgians fleeing in humiliating panic.” Indeed, the Georgians left in such haste that many of their weapons were left behind. It was a complete rout; another black-eye for the US and Israeli advisers who trained the clatter of thugs they call the Georgian army. Soon vendors on the streets of Tskhinvali will be hawking weapons that were left behind with a mocking sign: “Georgia Army M-16; Never used, dropped once.”

By the time the army was driven out, the downtown area was in engulfed in flames and the bodies of those who had been killed by sniper-fire were strewn along the streets and sidewalks. Many of people who stayed behind were simply too old or infirm to leave. Instead, they huddled in their basements waiting for the shelling to stop. It was a bloodbath. The city’s only hospital was deliberately targeted and destroyed; another war crime. By day’s end, over 2,000 people were killed in an operation that was clearly engineered with the assistance of the Bush White House. Bush regards Saakashvilli as his main client in the region; they are friends. He is America’s cat’s paw in the Caucasus. Saakashvilli’s assignment is to try to get Putin to overreact militarily and demonstrate to European allies that Russia still poses a threat to their national security. Fortunately, many Europeans see through the ruse and know that the trouble originates in Washington.

For the most part, Americans are still in the dark about what really happened last weekend. There’s a great video circulating on the Internet by a Russian citizen that has been living in USA for the last 10 years. He sums up the role of the US media with great precision. He says, “The western media–especially CNN–is feeding you complete horseshit. Russia did not invade Georgia first.” The youtube can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0c26Q-qxDEA 

The coverage of the western media has been abysmal. Nearly every article and TV news segment begins with accusations of Russian aggression concealing the fact that the Georgian Army bombarded and invaded the capital of South Ossetia one full day before the first Russian even tank crossed the border. By the time the Russians arrived, the city was already in a shambles and thousands were dead.

These facts are not in dispute by those who followed the developments as they took place. Now the media is revising the facts to manage public perceptions, just as they did with the fictional WMD in Iraq. Many people think that the media learned its lesson after they were exposed for using bogus information in the lead up to the war in Iraq. But that is not true. The corporate media–especially FOX News, CNN and PBS (the smug, liberal-sounding channel)—continue to operate like the propaganda arm of the Pentagon. Its disgraceful.

In a 2006 referendum, 99% of South Ossetians said they supported independence from Georgia. The voter turnout was 95% and the balloting was monitored by 34 international observers from the west. No one has challenged the results. The province has been under the protection of Russian and Georgian peacekeepers since 1992 and has been a de facto independent state ever since. If Putin applied the same standard as Bush did in Kosovo, he would unilaterally declare South Ossetia independent from Georgia and then thumb his nose at the UN. (Sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander) But Putin and newly-elected Russian President Dmitry Medvedev have taken a conciliatory attitude towards the international community and tried to resolve the issue through diplomatic channels. So far, they have conducted themselves with restraint and avoided any confrontation.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article20535.htm

More truth on South Ossetia, Russia and Georgia, part III

Justin Raimondo has an excellent article on the situation over at antiwar.com.  He does an excellent job of pointing out the massacre undertaken by Georgian troops upon South Ossetian civilians and speaks of the brain-dead drivel coming out of the US media as nothing more than mindless word-drool.

“The place that has suffered most is South Ossetia which is home to both ethnic Ossetians and Georgians, the latter accounting for about a third of the population. The destruction there has been appalling and it looks as though many hundreds of civilians have died, in the first place as a result of the initial Georgian assault of August 7-8. Gosha Tselekhayev, an Ossetian interpreter in Tskhinvali with whom I spoke by telephone on August 10 said, ‘I am standing in the city center, but there’s no city left.’

“Ossetians fleeing the conflict zone talk of Georgian atrocities and the indiscriminate killing of civilians.”

They may be talking of Georgian atrocities, but we in the West have not heard them – nor will we, given the bias of our media, which is in thrall to the Georgia lobby and its U.S. government sponsors. The “mainstream” has already settled on a narrative to explain events in the Caucasus, and nothing short of a South Ossetian holocaust will wake them from their hypnotic state. The Russians, in their view, have got to be the bad guys, i.e., the aggressors. Anything that doesn’t fit into that storyline is cut from the script. Yet, as Reliefweb reports:

“On August 7, after days of shooting incidents in the South Ossetian conflict zone, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili made a speech in which he said that he had given the Georgian villagers orders not to fire, that he wanted to offer South Ossetia ‘unlimited autonomy’ within the Georgian state, with Russia to be a guarantor of the arrangement.

“Both sides said they were discussing a meeting the next day to discuss how to defuse the clashes.

“That evening, however, Saakashvili went for the military option. The Georgian military launched a massive artillery attack on Tskhinvali, followed the next day by a ground assault involving tanks.

“This was a city with no pure military targets, full of civilians who had been given no warning and were expecting peace talks at any moment.”

Raimondo points to this next bit of footage which shows the devastation of a South Ossetian city attacked by Georgians, which CNN amazingly stated was the Georgian city of Gori that was attacked by Russians instead!  The actual cameraman seems as baffled as the rest of us at the flagrant propaganda machine the US media is:

I also have to put of the link Qin linked to which is also referred to by Raimondo in his article of the 12 year old interviewed by Fox News who thanks the Russian soldiers and says that Georgia was the bad guys:

Raimondo then makes this good point:

The U.S. is now delivering “humanitarian” aid under the aegis and protection of the U.S. military, a gesture that underscores the Bizarro World absurdity of a foreign policy that has us arming the Georgians and then paying to clean up the damage done by our proxies. This is truly an odd sort of “humanitarianism,” one inextricably linked to the inveterate sadism of our foreign policy.

Click here to read the rest of this excellent article:

http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=13304


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