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Afghanistan: Incubator for Green Energy

By dlindorff - Posted on 09 October 2010

By John Grant

The only way to survive such an insane system is to be insane oneself.
- Joseph Heller

When the going gets weird, the weird go pro.
- Hunter Thompson

The Pentagon has its hands full in Afghanistan trying to make the debacle there look like a success for the December assessment it must provide President Obama.

The brilliant counterinsurgency theorist General David Petraeus is “pulling out all the stops,” according to The New York Times. He has expanded hunter/killer special-ops raids to a dozen a night, and he has pressured the CIA to ramp up its already heavy rate of drone attacks.

We no longer have body counts as in Vietnam, but the killing pace is on the rise to clear out insurgent leadership – or anyone, in COIN parlance, who is “irreconcilable” to US interests.

At the same time, a contrite Petraeus is apologizing profusely to the leaders of Pakistan for a cross-border helicopter raid that chopped up several Pakistani soldiers. This is in addition to the usual denial-then-apology cycle for the almost-weekly civilian deaths from the special-ops raids and drone attacks.
The Pakistanis are so furious over the cross-border helicopter raid they stopped US convoys delivering vital fuel into Afghanistan at the Khyber Pass, leading to at least 35 fuel trucks being torched and destroyed by either organized insurgents or members of the large and growing population of Pakistanis who hate our guts.

Then, there’s the case of outright psychopathic murderers in US uniform, such as Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs who stands accused of killing Afghan civilians for sport and collecting souvenir fingers.

Petraeus has pressured the reluctant Pakistani military to attack insurgent elements in the Pashtun border areas, and now Pakistani soldiers have been caught on video lining up six young, blindfolded civilian males and gunning them down. We find this offensive, since we do our killing discriminately – or by killing people who get in the way of our super lethal weapons, then apologizing.

“I am appalled,” says Rep. Howard Berman, chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee. He has threatened this “could have implications for future security assistance to Pakistan.”

Meanwhile, back in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai’s large extended family has become a vast and corrupt network of powerful blood-cronies. Like the Taliban, Karzai is a Pashtun; he is from Kandahar, the Pashtun heartland. He is reportedly convinced the US is going to abandon him, which has motivated him to secure his power base one deal at a time, since that’s the way it has been done for thousands of years. The Washington Post reports that he and the Taliban are in secret talks with terms for US withdrawal on the table.

The military goes green

Despite the July 2011 withdrawal date, the US shows no signs of leaving any time soon. The military has even decided to go green. No kidding. The Pentagon is launching a major, multi-decade R&D effort to run its war machine on alternative energy....

For the rest of this article by JOHN GRANT in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent alternative online newspaper, please go to: ThisCantBeHappening!

I don't like some things about this article.

The Pakistanis are so furious over the cross-border helicopter raid they stopped US convoys delivering vital fuel into Afghanistan at the Khyber Pass, leading to at least 35 fuel trucks being torched and destroyed by either organized insurgents or members of the large and growing population of Pakistanis who hate our guts.

People should not say that a "large and growing population of Pakistanis who hate our guts", because that can "help" to fuel hatred of the Pakistanis among imbecile Americans. Another reason is because it reflects a very bad or poor understanding of reality. It's not that more Pakistanis "hate our guts". Instead, it's more Pakistanis having greater, increased reason to hate our policies more than before.

But saying more of them "hate our guts" risks giving racist, bigotted and war-supporting Americans more reason to continue to support the war and to be racist. It's careless.

Re. the 35 fuel trucks:

According to the sources, below, a lot more than 35 NATO fuel supply trucks were hit; while other types of NATO supply trucks, for other supplies, were also hit.

"Impasse of US-NATO Military Adventure:
Coalition loses 150 Tankers in Pakistan"

by Syed Moazzam Hashmi, Xinhua, Oct. 9th, 2010

ISLAMABAD, Oct. 9-- Almost 150 NATO oil tankers and supply trucks turned to ashes and at least 20 people were killed in Pakistan with 29 more containers burnt in a sixth terrorist attack on Saturday morning since the beginning of October.


Earlier this week, Pakistani foreign office spokesman Abdul Basit told Xinhua in an interview that NATO supply blockade is put due to security concern and the borders will be reopened as soon as the situation is improved.

The fire that destroyed 29 NATO supply oil tankers at 1:30 a.m. local time Saturday morning at Mithri, in district Bolan of southwest Balochistan province of Pakistan, was still burning after nine hours, as only one fire tender was available in the remote area to fight the blaze, local sources told Xinhua.

A dozen of unidentified armed men riding four motorcycles fired a rocket and shot volley of fires at the NATO tankers, eyewitnesses and police said. No group has so far accepted the responsibility for the inferno, which also gutted four nearby shops as well, eyewitnesses said.


In the first incident in October over 35 NATO tankers were burnt in Shikarpur in the southern Sindh province while two more were destroyed in southwest Balochistan province the same day. Two days later, 20 tankers were set ablaze in the garrison city of Rawalpindi near capital Islamabad.

In the third incident some two dozens were destroyed near Quetta, Balochistan shortly before over 50 tankers were torched to ashes in Nowshehra in the northwest on Wednesday. In June, one major attack on NATO supplies set fire on 60 trucks near Islamabad.

Disbanded Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had accepted the responsibility of all the incidents as Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq vowed to continue attacks on NATO supplies.

However, some local analysts rule out Taliban's involvement in attacks on NATO convoys in Balochistan, as they believe TTP is not that influential in Balochistan as in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. However, analysts believe that different criminal groups including some Baloch insurgents might be involved in these attacks.

Although NATO claims that current block to its supply in Pakistan has not affected its over 140,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan fighting insurgency since ouster of Taliban government in 2001, its desperation exhibits that NATO has started feeling the heat of the blockade, local watchers believe.


A dozen people on 4 motorcycles? They must have large motorcycles.

Re. whether NATO's "feeling the pinch" on its supply convoys, it's very likely; since it's been reported that hundreds of these trucks travel from Pakistan to Afghanistan every day, until the Pakistani government recently established the blockade, that is. But that evidently also means that most of the trucks or convoy vehicles haven't been torched or bombed, so it'd mainly be the blockade that would be causing welcome problems for NATO forces.

"Video: NATO Truck Massacre: More tankers torched in Pakistan" (0:41)

by RussiaToday, Oct. 9th, 2010

Yep, completely "torched".

Gunmen armed with a rocket launcher torched 29 more NATO oil tankers in southwestern Pakistan before dawn Saturday. It's the latest attack on the supply line for international troops in Afghanistan since Pakistani authorities closed a key border crossing in Torkham after a NATO helicopter strike killed two Pakistani border guards. Since then, there have been several attacks on supply convoys, including two in which militants torched 70 fuel tankers and killed a driver. The Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility for such previous attacks.

The two articles, below, aren't about all of the NATO supply trucks hit since the start of this month, btw.

"Afghanistan: 57 NATO Tankers Set Ablaze in Fresh Assaults"

by Daily Times Pakistan, Oct. 7th, 2010

* 22 tankers torched in Quetta, one killed

* 35 tankers burnt in Nowshera attack

* Balochistan IGP says police can’t provide security to supplies with limited means

QUETTA/LAHORE: Twenty two oil tankers carrying fuel supplies for ISAF in Afghanistan were attacked and destroyed in a daring raid in the early hours of Wednesday on the outskirts of Quetta. Meanwhile, unidentified assailants attacked a convoy of NATO oil tankers on the GT Road near Nowshera, setting 35 of the tankers ablaze, a private TV channel reported,

The incident in Quetta – the sixth of such on convoys taking supplies to Afghanistan since Pakistan closed a key border crossing almost a week ago – took place at Akhtarabad on the outskirts of the city. (snip)

Witnesses confirmed that armed men in two vehicles and motorbikes attacked the roadside terminal at dawn and opened indiscriminate fire to scare away people. (snip)


Talking to reporters, Provincial Police Officer Malik Muhammad Iqbal said it was impossible for police to provide security to NATO suppliers with such limited resources. “NATO did not ask police for security and security arrangements for suppliers are made by a private company,” he added. He said that the contractors were getting millions of rupees from NATO forces and it was their duty to provide security cover.

He candidly stated that it was not police’s responsibility to provide security to NATO oil tankers in Balochistan. (snip)


"US apologies for killing troops fail to halt Pakistan blockade"

by Bill Van Auken,, Oct. 8th, 2010


The key Torkham Gate crossing through the Khyber Pass was kept closed for an eighth day Thursday, leaving close to 7,000 fuel tankers and other supply trucks stranded on Pakistani highways. More than 70 percent of supplies bound for the 152,000 US-led occupation troops in landlocked Afghanistan pass through Pakistan.

Ostensibly, the Pakistani government has halted the movement through the border crossing out of concern that it cannot guarantee security for the convoys due to the popular outrage over the US helicopter raid and the deaths of the Pakistani Frontier Scouts.

In practice, however, the closure has left the convoys sitting ducks for attacks. Scores of oil tankers and container trucks were destroyed in attacks on Wednesday. In the Nowshera district of Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, gunmen firing rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons set a convoy alight, damaging at least 54 tankers and container trucks.

In a separate attack, gunmen struck a NATO oil tanker convoy on the outskirts of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province near the Durand Line border with Afghanistan. One driver was killed and at least 22 oil tankers were severely damaged. It was the sixth such attack since the closing of the crossing.


Bill Van Auken also refers to two possible explanations for who is or might be responsible for these attacks, while his article also provides information about tensions between the governments of the U.S. and Pakistan. I'm only excerpting what he wrote about the attacks on the NATO supply convoys though.

The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a coalition of tribal-based militias allied with the armed groups battling the US-led occupation in Afghanistan, claimed responsibility for the attacks. A spokesman for the group said it was targeting the NATO convoys in retaliation for escalating CIA drone attacks in the Pakistan border region of North Waziristan. "We will further intensify attacks with the intensification of US drone strikes on us," the Tehrik-i-Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq told the Associated Press.

The BBC, however, cited Pakistani security personnel as speculating that some of the destruction may have been carried out by the owners of the trucks themselves as part of an insurance scam in which the fuel bound for the US troops in Pakistan is off-loaded and sold before the tankers are destroyed. The owners are then able to claim insurance compensation for the vehicles as well as the fuel that ostensibly goes up in smoke.

Meanwhile, back in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai’s large extended family has become a vast and corrupt network of powerful blood-cronies. Like the Taliban, Karzai is a Pashtun; he is from Kandahar, the Pashtun heartland. He is reportedly convinced the US is going to abandon him, which has motivated him to secure his power base one deal at a time, since that’s the way it has been done for thousands of years. The Washington Post reports that he and the Taliban are in secret talks with terms for US withdrawal on the table.

I wouldn't recommend relying on what the Washington Post says. If people pay reasonable attention to what gets posted at, then people will find that the Taliban repeatedly refuse to negotiate until the U.S. and its foreign allies leave, and that they perceive President Karzai as a puppet of the U.S. If that's true, and it likely enough is, then they would likely not accept to negotiate with him and the government that the U.S. put in place there before the U.S. and its foreign allies leave Afghanistan.

From what I've gathered, the Taliban negotiations talk has all been western news media and politics talk.

The U.S. making the Karzais rich:

"The Karzai Family Fortune, Courtesy of U.S. Taxpayers"

by Michael Tennant,, Oct. 9th, 2010

The average Afghan — and, indeed, the average American — may be deriving very little benefit ..., but in both countries the well-connected make out quite handsomely. (snip)

"In recent years," the New York Times’ James Risen reports, "dozens of Karzai family members and close allies have taken government jobs, pursued business interests or worked as contractors to the United States government, allowing them to shape policy or financially benefit from it." "American officials," Risen writes, "say the Karzais and a handful of other well-connected families have benefited from the billions of dollars that the United States has poured into the country since 2001. That money has helped pay the salaries of some Karzais who are government employees, kick-started real estate development and construction projects involving family members and created demand for businesses tied to the Karzais."

These are not just friends and relations who happened to be in the neighborhood when the U.S. government installed Hamid Karzai as president of Afghanistan, a position he has retained through two somewhat questionable elections. Risen points out that "most of them lived in the United States before going to Afghanistan, leveraging the president’s position to put them at the center of a new oligarchy of powerful Afghan families." For example:

"Before 2001, Yama Karzai, a nephew of the president, was living with his brothers in Quetta, Pakistan, and receiving financial support from relatives in the United States, Mohammad Karzai [a cousin of President Karzai who lives in Maryland] said. Today, Yama Karzai is a top Afghan intelligence official and owns a house in Virginia, according to land records. He did not respond to inquiries from The New York Times.

Hashim Karzai, a cousin of President Karzai, now works as a consultant to Pamir Airways, an airline based in Kabul that has been controlled by one of Mahmoud Karzai’s [President Karzai’s brother] business partners, and lives in Dubai on one of the luxurious Palm Islands. In August, he rented the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, one block from the White House, for his son’s wedding to a niece of President Karzai, according to Qayum Karzai, the bride’s father and the president’s brother.



There may be more to the Karzai infestation of the Afghan government than simple greed, however. With President Karzai far from secure in his position, he needs as many loyal people in the government and other centers of power as possible. (snip)


It's a short article, but it provides considerably more information about other war-profiteering Karzai family members, plus one who has refused to leave the U.S. to join with the others who left to profit in Afghanistan.

President Hamid Karzai is Pashtun and purportedly was once a Taliban, according to some people anyway, but he left and became employed by Chevron. The Taliban know that history and if they are aware of what the above article says, then I wonder if they'd still consider him one of them; if and when the U.S. and its foreign allies end their occupation of Afghanistan and leave, that is. They might prefer to give the death or else long prison sentences to him and his war-profiteering family members, who likely enough would not feel safe in Afghanistan after the U.S. or Western forces left.

The Taliban apparently help the poor; the Karzais clearly get racketeeringly rich from the U.S.-lead war there. Maybe they'd negotiate anyway, but I doubt that the Taliban really care to do that with Hamid Karzai. He's sometimes made public statements condemning killings by the U.S. and NATO, but is still President in a puppet government of the U.S.-lead occupation and the Taliban definitely know this.

Some American political leadership publicly complain about him, or do so through news media that report these purported complaints, but it can be all political staging.

He hasn't asked for the U.S. and NATO to leave, they aren't leaving for a very long time to come, and they could ensure fair elections there, if the U.S. leadership wanted this. Fair elections there could, if not would, be bad news for the western war elites and imperialists.

I'll be excerpting from the full copy of the article.

The Navy’s hybrid amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island hums purely on electricity when traveling under 10 knots; it saved 900,000 gallons of fossil fuel on its maiden voyage from Mississippi to San Diego.

That sounds like a lot, but is still lacking some information. How much fuel did the trip use up? The ship surely didn't travel at less than 10 knots all that distance. Or would it? How much fuel per nautical mile does the ship burn, and how many nautical miles was this trip? If the 900,000 gallons saved is 1% or 2% of the total fuel it'd take to do this trip, then not really much was saved.

The Marines are looking into small scale, truck-based biofuel plants that could turn vegetable matter into fuel. In Afghanistan, it was suggested the poppy crop might be used to make fuel instead of heroin.

What, and get whole populations stoned? War elites do like pacified populations when warring on and robbing them.

Just joking, btw; but the war elites do like pacified and dumbed down populations, that's for sure.

Maybe the coolest entry is The Aggressor, a lethal-looking, 66-inch-wide hybrid diesel golf cart that can run only on batteries when quiet stealth is important. The Aggressor can go from zero to 40mph in four seconds and has a top speed of 80mph. According to a 2009 Popular Mechanics article, this little beast could be “the first hybrid to hit the streets of Baghdad en masse.” In Afghanistan, it would be the bomb, dude, for hunter/killer teams.

Are we really supposed to think this war tech. is cool just because it's "green"? Stopping U.S. militarism is what's needed. Changing domestic bases so that they use "green" energy tech. would be good; but we don't need war tech.

And since he brought up Iraq, here's a news update.

"New ‘Green Zone’ emerging in Baghdad"

by Ali Shitab,, Oct. 9th, 2010


Very little has changed since U.S. invasion troops removed Saddam Hussein. His palaces and security and army headquarters, which were no-go and highly protected areas, were turned into new bastions for U.S. military and civilian administration.

It is indeed a 'war zone’ rather than a 'green zone’. It is in this zone where U.S. attacks on Iraqi cities are planned and where rules and regulations are drafted which have allowed U.S. marines and their security guards to kill civilian Iraqis with total impunity.


Baghdad now has another 'green zone’ in the densely populated neighborhood of Karrada; but this one is for U.S. security guards, the fearsome, and trigger-happy mercenaries hired to protect U.S. officials and interests and kill Iraqis with impunity.

A company recruiting these mercenaries – they are hired to fight for a salary that brushes $25,000 a month – has turned a string of hotels behind the National Theater in Karrada into a no-go area.

The company has blocked streets leading to these hotels and no Iraqi is allowed to enter the area including high ranking government officials without special U.S. permits.


Many residents in the area have lost their jobs as they can no longer open their shops. (snip)


This U.S. is [not] planning on leaving Iraq for a [long] time. Even if the U.S. military and political leaders went green in the face, then it still certainly doesn't look like the U.S. will be leaving Iraq for a long time to come.

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