You are herePakistan

Pakistan

warning: Creating default object from empty value in /usr/local/share/drupal-6.31/modules/taxonomy/taxonomy.pages.inc on line 33.

Follow the Money: Three Energy Export Congressional Hearings, Climate Undiscussed

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

In light of ongoing geopolitical tensions in Russia, Ukraine and hotly contested Crimea, three (yes, three!) U.S. Congressional Committees held hearings this week on the U.S. using its newfangled oil and gas bounty as a blunt tool to fend off Russian dominance of the global gas market.

U.S. Sen Mary Landrieu at the U.S. Sen. Committee on Energy and Natural Resources; Photo Credit:  U.S. Sen. Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

Though 14 combined witnesses testified in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Energy and Power and U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, not a single environmental voice received an invitation. Climate change and environmental concerns were only voiced by two witnesses. 

Using the ongoing regional tumult as a rationale to discuss exports of U.S. oil and gas obtained mainly via hydraulic fracturing ("fracking"), the lack of discussion on climate change doesn't mean the issue isn't important to national security types.

Indeed, the Pentagon's recently published Quadrennial Defense Review coins climate change a "threat force multiplier" that could lead to resource scarcity and resource wars. Though directly related to rampant resource extraction and global oil and gas marketing, with fracking's accompanying climate change and ecological impacts, "threat force multiplication" impacts of climate change went undiscussed. 

With another LNG (liquefied natural gas) export terminal approved by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in Coos Bay, Ore., to non-Free Trade Agreement countries on March 24 (the seventh so far, with two dozen still pending), the heat is on to export U.S. fracked oil and gas to the global market.   

So, why wasn't the LNG climate trump card discussed in a loud and clear way? Well, just consider the source: ten of the witnesses had ties in one way or another to the oil and gas industry.

Not funny, but it’s still hard not to laugh: How Can the US Accuse Russia of Violating International Law?

By Dave Lindorff


If you want to make moral or legal pronouncements, or to condemn bad behavior, you have to be a moral, law-abiding person yourself. It is laughable when we see someone like Rush Limbaugh criticizing drug addicts or a corrupt politician like former Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) voting for more prisons, more cops, and tougher rules against appeals of sentences.


The same thing goes for nations.

Drone victim meets with German MPs and officials in wake of Pakistan kidnapping

From REPRIEVE:
 
A Pakistani man who lost his son and brother to a 2009 CIA drone strike is this week visiting Germany to hold meetings with MPs and Government officials about the impact of the US’ secret bombing campaign.
 
Kareem Khan will today meet with the Bundestag’s Foreign Affairs and Human Rights Committees, as well as members of Germany’s Green Party.  Tomorrow he is set to meet officials from the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
 
There had been fears for Mr Khan’s safety up until last Friday, following his abduction from his Rawalpindi home by men in police uniforms on February 5.  Mr Khan had not been heard from until his release on February 14, after which he revealed that, during his captivity, he had been beaten and questioned about his activities.
 
Mr Khan is being accompanied on his visit by Noor Behram, a journalist from North Waziristan (the region which bears the brunt of CIA strikes); his lawyer Shahzad Akbar, a fellow of human rights charity Reprieve; and Jennifer Gibson, a staff attorney at Reprieve.
 
The group is visiting Germany, followed by the Netherlands and the UK, in order to discuss the impact of the CIA drone programme on civilians in Pakistan.
 
European states have been revealed to be involved in the CIA campaign through the sharing of intelligence used to target strikes, and the provision of crucial infrastructure – notably at US air bases such as Ramstein in Germany and RAF Croughton in the UK.
 
Kareem Khan said: “I hope my meetings with parliamentarians in Europe will help raise awareness about the real impact of US drone strikes. It is imperative that Germany take a stand on such drones. They are making no one safer, least of all America's allies.”
 
Jennifer Gibson said: “Given the involvement of European countries in the CIA’s illegal and counter-productive campaign of drone strikes, it is important that politicians and public alike are aware of how this affects innocent civilians on the ground.  Mr Khan lost his son and his brother to these strikes, and when he started speaking out, ended up being kidnapped.  People in Germany, the UK and the US deserve to know about the abuses that are being carried out in their name – it is high  time the drone campaign was brought out of the shadows.”
 
Further information on Mr Khan’s abduction can be found here:
http://www.reprieve.org.uk/press/2014_02_14_Kareem_Khan_released

Drone victim Kareem Khan released from illegal detention in Pakistan

From REPRIEVE:

A Pakistani drone victim who had been missing since being abducted from his home by men in police uniforms on February 5 has been released.
 
Kareem Khan, who had not been heard from since being taken from his Rawalpindi home, was freed earlier today (February 14).
 
Mr Khan lost his son and brother to a 2009 CIA drone strike, and had been set to travel to Europe to discuss his experiences with parliamentarians when he disappeared.  He was also involved in legal action against the Pakistani police over their refusal to investigate the killing of his relatives.
 
After being abducted in the early morning hours of 5 February by 15-20 men, 8 of whom were in police uniform, Mr Khan was taken to a cell in an undisclosed location. Later in the day of 5 February, he was blindfolded and driven for approximately 2-3 hours to another undisclosed location where he remained until his release. While detained, Mr Khan was interrogated, beaten and tortured. He was placed in chains and repeatedly questioned about his investigations into drone strikes, his knowledge of drone strike victims and his work advocating on their behalf.
 
In the early hours of this morning (14 February), he was driven to the Tarnol area of Rawlpindi, where he was thrown from a van after being told not to speak to the media.
 
Mr Khan is now with his lawyer, Shahzad Akbar, a fellow of human rights charity Reprieve.  Mr Akbar, who is also director of NGO the Foundation for Fundamental Rights, had filed ‘habeas’ proceedings in the courts earlier this week in an attempt to secure Mr Khan’s release.  In response, a judge from the Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court had ordered the Ministry of the Interior, which has oversight of the Pakistani intelligence services, to produce Mr Khan by February 20.
  
Mr Khan plans to go ahead with his trip to meet parliamentarians in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands later this week.  Today he said: “When I was picked up I thought I would never see my family again, that I would never be free again because of all the stories I have heard about disappeared people. Now that I have been released and have seen the news, the efforts of activists, I know it is because of them that I am free, and I would like to thank them.”
 
Shahzad Akbar said: “What happened to Kareem Khan in last few days is nothing new in Pakistan. We are living in a state of lawlessness where the executive enjoys impunity. The lesson learned though this experience is that we must always raise our voices. We need to take this stand for each and every person who disappears, it is the only way to force those in power to listen. That is why I am so thankful to all the local and international activists who spoke out for Kareem.”
 
Reprieve legal director Kat Craig said: “It is a huge relief that Mr. Khan has finally been released, though we are deeply concerned to hear about the mistreatment he has endured.  No one should have to suffer as he and his family have done for simply trying to get to the truth about the deaths of their loved ones.  Serious questions remain for the Pakistani Government on how this was allowed to happen.”

US embarrassment “trumps British justice” in drone victim’s case

From: REPRIEVE
 
The Court of Appeal in London has today ruled that the case brought against the UK Government by a Pakistani victim of a drone strike cannot proceed as it might result in the “condemnation of the US by a court of this country.”
 
Noor Khan (28) lost his father, a local elder, to a 2011 drone strike on a local council meeting in North Waziristan, which had gathered to resolve a chromite mining dispute.  After evidence emerged that the British intelligence agency, GCHQ, was supporting the CIA’s drone strikes in Pakistan, Mr Khan brought a judicial review in the British courts against the UK Government.
 
However, the Court of Appeal today ruled that, despite Mr Khan’s arguments being “persuasive,” they accepted the British Government’s claims that the case should not proceed as “a finding by our court that the notional UK operator of a drone bomb which caused a death was guilty of murder would inevitably be understood…by the US as a condemnation of the US.”
 
The court also noted that it was “not clear that the defence of combat immunity would be available to a UK national” tried for “murder by drone strike.” The comment came in response to arguments put forward by Mr Khan’s lawyers that the programme of strikes in Pakistan is illegal and that UK involvement could lead to UK officials facing murder charges.
 
Kat Craig, legal director at human rights charity Reprieve, which is supporting Mr Khan, said: “It is shameful that the risk of embarrassing the US has trumped British justice in this case.  It now appears that the UK Government can get away with murder, provided it is committed alongside an ally who may be sensitive to public criticism.  It is a sad day when the rights of civilian victims of drone strikes take second place to the PR concerns of the US Government.”
 
Noor Khan said: “I used to think that Britain stood for justice, but now it seems as though the Government has put itself above the law.  However, I am still determined to get answers from the UK Government about the part they have played in the death of my father.  The CIA’s drone programme has not only killed hundreds of civilians, but is turning people in Pakistan against the US and its allies.  This is why I was so upset to hear that Britain is helping the CIA to carry out these killings, and even more upset when the government refused to respond to my questions.”
 
Rosa Curling from Leigh Day, which is representing Mr Khan said: “The court’s decision not to determine the lawfulness of our government’s involvement in CIA drone strikes in Pakistan, deadly strikes which have killed many civilians over recent years including my client’s father, simply to spare the US government embarrassment is not only disappointing but also deeply worrying.  The courts must have jurisdiction over the legality of our government’s action irrespective of whether they act alongside a foreign state or not.”
 
 
Further information on Mr Khan’s case can be found here: http://www.reprieve.org.uk/cases/2012_03_28_noor_khan/ 

“Operation Enduring America”: The US in Central Asia After Afghanistan

[This is a re-posting -- with slight alterations, images and links added -- of a piece that appeared in Z Magazine, January, 2014.]

 

“As we reassure our partners that our relationships and engagement in Afghanistan will continue after the military transition in 2014, we should underscore that we have long-term strategic interests in the broader region... As the United States enters a new phase of engagement in Afghanistan, we must lay the foundation for a long-term strategy that sustains our security gains and protects U.S. interests...” --US Senator John Kerry, Chair of Senate Foreign Relations Committee, December, 2011.

 

…A fuller reflection on the last eleven years should include the perverse twist about how in its almost single-minded effort to promote state-building, political tolerance and good governance in Afghanistan, just next door the West [sic] has left a trail of repression, graft and unfulfilled commitments to Central Asia’s fledgling civil society. — Central Asia analyst Alexander Cooley, “Afghanistan’s Other Regional Casualty”

 



Despite the projected 2014 “drawdown” of most of its troops from Afghanistan, the US is not about to exit strategically vital and resource-rich Central Asia.

US hypocrisy over diplomatic immunity: US Embassy and Consular Employees Deserve It, Foreign Diplomats Not So Much

By Dave Lindorff

 

The diplomatic brouhaha between the US and India over a federal arrest and multiple strip-search and cavity search of a high-ranking Indian consular official in New York has exposed the astonishing hypocrisy of the US when it comes to the issue of diplomatic immunity.

Corporate media keeps US citizens in the dark: Pakistan Outs Three US CIA Station Chiefs in Three Years

By Dave Lindorff


For the third time in three years, a CIA station chief has been outed in Pakistan, a country where the CIA is running one of its largest covert operations. It’s a remarkable record of failure by the CIA, since each outing, which has required a replacement of the station chief position, causes a breakdown in the agency’s network of contacts in the country.


Drone Strike Served CIA Revenge, Blocked Pakistan’s Strategy

 

WASHINGTON, Nov 7 2013 (IPS) - After a drone strike had reportedly killed Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud Nov. 1, the spokesperson for the U.S. National Security Council declared that, if true, it would be “a serious loss” for the terrorist organisation.

Hakimullah Mehsud. Credit: public domain

Hakimullah Mehsud. Credit: public domain

That reaction accurately reflected the Central Intelligence Agency’s argument for the strike. But the back story of the episode is how President Barack Obama supported the parochial interests of the CIA in the drone war over the Pakistani government’s effort to try a new political approach to that country’s terrorism crisis.

The failure of both drone strikes and Pakistani military operations in the FATA tribal areas to stem the tide of terrorism had led to a decision by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to try a political dialogue with the Taliban.

But the drone strike that killed Mehsud stopped the peace talks before they could begin.

Pakistani Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan immediately denounced the drone strike that killed Mehsud as “a conspiracy to sabotage the peace talks.” He charged that the United States had “scuttled” the initiative “on the eve, 18 hours before a formal delegation of respected ulema [Islamic clerics] was to fly to Miranshah and hand over this formal invitation.”

An unidentified State Department official refused to address the Pakistani minister’s criticism, declaring coolly that the issue was “an internal matter for Pakistan”.

Three different Taliban commanders told Reuters Nov. 3 they had been preparing for the talks but after the killing of Mehsud, they now felt betrayed and vowed a wave of revenge attacks.

The strategy of engaging the Taliban in peace talks, which was supported by the unanimous agreement of an “All Parties Conference” on Sept. 9, was not simply an expression of naïvete about the Taliban as was suggested by a Nov. 3 New York Times article on the Pakistani reaction to the drone strike.

A major weakness of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) lies in the fact that it is a coalition of as many as 50 groups, some of whose commanders are less committed to the terrorist campaign against the Pakistani government than others. In the aftermath of the Mehsud killing, several Taliban militants told Reuters that some Taliban commanders were still in favour of talks with the government.

The most important success achieved by Pakistan in countering Taliban violence in the past several years has been to reach accommodations with several militant leaders who had been allied with the Taliban but agreed to oppose Taliban attacks on government officials and security forces.

Sharif and other Pakistani officials were well aware that the United States could unilaterally prevent such talks from taking place by killing Mehsud or other Taliban leaders with a drone strike.

The government lobbied the United States in September and October to end its drone war in Pakistan – or at least to give the government a period of time to try its political strategy.

Obama had already suggested in a May 23 speech at National Defence University that the need for the strikes was fast diminishing and would soon end, because there were very few high value targets left to hit, and because the U.S. would be withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. In August, Secretary of State John Kerry had said the end might come “very, very soon.”

After the meeting with Sharif on Oct. 23, Obama said they had agreed to cooperate in “ways that respect Pakistan’s sovereignty, that respect the concerns of both countries” and referred favourably to Sharif’s efforts to “reduce these incidents of terrorism.”

Shortly after the meeting, Sharif’s adviser on national security and foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz, said in an interview with Al Jazeera that the Obama administration had promised to “consider” the prime minister’s request to restrain drone attacks while the government carried out a political dialogue.

A “senior Pakistani official” told the Express Tribune that Obama had “assured Premier Nawaz that drone strikes would only be used as a last option” and that he was planning to end the drone war once “a few remaining targets” had been eliminated.

The official said the Pakistani government now believed the unilateral strikes would end in “a matter of months.”

But Obama’s meeting with Sharif evidently occurred before the CIA went to Obama with specific intelligence about Mehsud, and proposed to carry out a strike to kill him.

The CIA had an institutional grudge to settle with Mehsud after he had circulated a video with Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, the Jordanian suicide bomber who had talked the CIA into inviting him to its compound at Camp Chapman in Khost province, where he killed seven CIA officials and contractors on Dec. 30, 2009.

The CIA had already carried out at least two drone strikes aimed at killing Mehsud in January 2010 and January 2012.

Killing Mehsud would not reduce the larger threat of terrorism and would certainly trigger another round of TTP suicide bombings in Pakistan’s largest cities in retaliation.

Although it would satisfy the CIA’s thirst for revenge and make the CIA and his administration look good on terrorism to the U.S. public, it would also make it impossible for the elected Pakistani government to try a political approach to TTP terrorism.

Obama appears to have been sympathetic to Sharif’s argument on terrorism and had no illusions that one or a few more drone strikes against leading Taliban officials would prevent the organisation from continuing to mobilise its followers to carry out terror attacks, including suicide bombers.

But the history of the drone war in Pakistan shows that the CIA has prevailed even when its proposed targets were highly questionable. In March 2011, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter had opposed a CIA proposal for a drone strike just as CIA contractor Raymond Davis was about to be released from a jail in Lahore.

Munter had learned that the CIA wanted the strike because it was angry at Pakistan’s ISI, which regarded the Haqqani group as an ally, over Davis’s incarceration, according to an AP story on Aug. 2, 2011. The Haqqani group was heavily involved in fighting U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan but was opposed to the TTP’s terror attacks in Pakistan.

CIA Director Leon Panetta rejected Munter’s objection to the strike, however, and Obama had supported Panetta. It was later revealed that the strike had been based on faulty intelligence. It was not a meeting of Haqqani network that was hit but a conference of tribal leaders from all over the province on an economic issue.

But the CIA simply refused to acknowledge its mistake and continued to claim to journalists that only terrorists had attended the meeting.

After the strike, Obama had formalised the ambassador’s authority to oppose a proposed drone strike, giving Munter what he called a “yellow card.” But despite the evidence that the CIA had carried out a drone strike for parochial reasons rather then an objective assessment of evidence, Obama gave the CIA director the power to override an ambassadorial dissent, even if the secretary of state supported the ambassador.

The extraordinary power of the CIA director over the drone strike policy, which was formalised by Obama after that strike, was evident in Obama’s decision to approve the CIA’s proposal for the Mehsud strike. The director was now John Brennan, who had shaped public opinion in favour of drone strikes through a series of statements, interviews and leaks as Obama’s deputy national security adviser from 2009 to 2013.

Even though Obama was determined to phase the out drone war in Pakistan and apparently sympathised with the need for the Pakistani government to end it within a matter of months, he was unwilling to reject the CIA’s demand for a strike that once again involved the agency’s parochial interests.

A late July 2013 survey had shown that 61 percent of U.S. citizens still supported the use of drones. Having already shaped public perceptions on the issue of terrorism, Obama allowed the interests of the CIA to trump the interests of Pakistan and the United States in trying a different approach to Pakistan’s otherwise intractable terrorism problem.

Gareth Porter, an investigative historian and journalist specialising in U.S. national security policy, received the UK-based Gellhorn Prize for journalism for 2011 for articles on the U.S. war in Afghanistan.

Pakistan Drone Story Ignored Military Opposition to Strikes

By Gareth Porter, IPS

Members of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party burn replica of Drone aircraft near Peshawar Press Club on May 14, 2011. Credit: Ashfaq Yusufzai/IPS

Members of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party burn replica of Drone aircraft near Peshawar Press Club on May 14, 2011. Credit: Ashfaq Yusufzai/IPS

WASHINGTON, Oct 25 2013 (IPS) - The Washington Post on Thursday reported what it presented as new evidence of a secret agreement under which Pakistani officials have long been privately supporting the U.S. drone war in the country even as they publicly criticised it.

Most news outlets picked up the Post story, and the theme of public Pakistani opposition and private complicity on the drone issue framed media coverage of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s declaration that he had called on President Barak Obama to end the drone war.

The CIA’s drone war was no longer concentrated from mid-2008 onward on foreign terrorists...Instead the CIA was targeting Islamists who had made peace with the Pakistani government.

But the Post story ignored a central fact that contradicts that theme: the Pakistani military leadership had turned decisively against the drone war for years and has been strongly pressing in meetings with U.S. officials that Pakistan be given a veto over targeting.

In fact, the leak of classified CIA documents to the Post appears to represent an effort by CIA officials to head off a decision by the Obama administration to reduce the drone war in Pakistan to a minimum, if not phase it out completely.

The Post article, co-authored by Bob Woodward, said, “Despite repeated denunciation of the CIA’s drone campaign, top officials in Pakistan’s government have for years secretly endorsed the program and routinely received classified briefings on strikes and casualty counts….”

The Post cited top secret CIA documents that it said “expose the explicit nature of a secret arrangement struck between the two countries at a time when neither was willing to publicly acknowledge the existence of the drone program.” The documents, described as “talking points” for CIA briefings, provided details on drone strikes in Pakistan from late 2007 to late 2011, presenting them as an overwhelming success and invariably claiming no civilian casualties.

It has long been known that an understanding was reached between the George W. Bush administration and the regime of President Pervez Musharraf under which the CIA was allowed to carry out drone strikes in Pakistan.

A WikiLeaks cable had quoted Prime Minister Yousaf Gilani as saying in August 2008, “I don’t care if they do it as long as they get the right people. We’ll protest in the National Assembly and then ignore it.”

That statement was made, however, at a time when CIA strikes were still few and focused only on Al-Qaeda leadership cadres. That changed dramatically beginning in 2008.

The Post articles failed to point out that that Pakistan’s military leadership shifted from approval of the U.S. drone campaign to strong opposition after 2008. The reason for the shift was that the CIA dramatically expanded the target list in 2008 from high value Al-Qaeda officials to “signature strikes” that would hit even suspected rank and file associated with supporters of the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban.

The Post referred to the expansion of the drone strike target list, but instead of noting the impact on the Pakistani military’s attitude, the article brought in another popular news media theme – the unhappiness of Obama administration officials with the support of the Pakistan’s intelligence agency for the Afghan Taliban based in Pakistan.

The Obama administration was well aware of the Pakistani military’s support for the Afghan Taliban movement, however, before it decided to escalate the war in Afghanistan – a fact omitted from the Post story.

The vast expansion of drone strikes in Pakistan engineered by then CIA Director Michael Hayden in 2008 and continued by his successor, Leon Panetta, was justified by targeting anyone in Pakistan believed to be involved in support for the rapidly growing Pashtun resistance to the U.S.-NATO military presence in Afghanistan.

That shift in targeting meant that the CIA’s drone war was no longer concentrated from mid-2008 onward on foreign terrorists and their Pakistani allies who had been waging an insurgency against the Pakistani government. Instead the CIA was targeting Islamists who had made peace with the Pakistani government and were opposing the Pakistani Taliban war against the government.

Two-thirds of the drone strikes in 2008 targeted leaders and even rank and file followers associated with Jalaluddin Haqqani and Mullah Nazeer, both of whom were involved in supporting Taliban forces in Afghanistan, but who opposed attacks on the Pakistani government.

At least initially, the CIA was not interested in targeting the Pakistani Taliban leaders associated with Baitullah Mehsud, who was leading the violent war against the Pakistani military. It was only under pressure from the new head of the Pakistani Army, Chief of Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, that the CIA began targeting Mehsud and his organisation in 2009, when Mehsud was killed in a drone strike.

That temporarily mollified the Pakistani military. But in 2010, more than half the strikes in Pakistan were against Hafiz Gul Bahadur, an ally of the Haqqani forces who had reached agreement with the Pakistan government that he would not shelter or support any Taliban militants fighting against the government.

Nearly all the rest of the strikes were against Afghan Taliban targets.

The original agreement reached under Musharraf was clearly no longer applicable. Kayani had clearly expressed his unhappiness with the drone war to the CIA leadership in 2008-09 and again in 2010, but only privately.

Then the January 2011 Raymond Davis incident, in which a contract CIA employee shot and killed two Pakistanis who he believed had been following him on motorcycles, triggered a more serious conflict between the CIA and ISI.

The CIA put intense pressure on ISI to release Davis from jail rather than allowing him to be tried by a Pakistani court, and ISI Chief Shuja Pasha personally intervened in the case to arrange for Davis to be freed on Mar. 16, 2011, despite the popular fury against Davis and the United States.

But the CIA response was to carry out a drone attack the day after his release on what it thought was a gathering of Haqqani network officials but was actually a meeting of dozens of tribal and sub-tribal elders from all over North Waziristan.

An angry Kayani then issued the first ever denunciation of the U.S. drone campaign by a Pakistan military leader. And when Pasha met with CIA Director Leon Panetta and Deputy Director Michael Morell in mid-April 2011, he demanded that Pakistan be given veto power over the strikes, according to two active-duty Pakistani generals interviewed in Islamabad in August 2011.

Reuters reported Apr. 16, 2011 that U.S. officials had said the CIA was willing to consult with Pakistan over the strikes, but that suggestions from the Pakistani military that the drone campaign should return to the original list of high value Al-Qaeda targets was “unacceptable”.

But the Pakistani military’s insistence on cutting down on strikes apparently had an impact on the Obama administration, which was already debating whether the drone war in Pakistan had become counterproductive. The State Department was arguing that it was generating such anti-U.S. sentiment in Pakistan that it should be curbed sharply or stopped.

Obama himself indicated in his May 23, 2013 speech at the National Defence University that he was thinking about at least reducing the drone war dramatically. Obama said the coming end of U.S. combat in Afghanistan and the elimination of “core Al-Qaeda militants” in Pakistan “will reduce the need for unmanned strikes.”

And in an Aug. 1 interview with a Pakistani television interviewer, Secretary of State John Kerry said, “I think the [drone] programme will end…. I think the president has a very real timeline, and we hope it’s going to be very, very soon.”

CIA concern that Obama was seriously considering ending the drone war in Pakistan was certainly the motive behind a clever move by CIA officials to create a story denigrating Pakistani official opposition to the drone war and presenting it in the best possible light.

Gareth Porter, an investigative historian and journalist specialising in U.S. national security policy, received the UK-based Gellhorn Prize for journalism for 2011 for articles on the U.S. war in Afghanistan.

US may be committing robotic war crimes: Two Human Rights Groups Blast US for Drone Killing Campaigns

By Dave Lindorff


Last week President Obama was largely successful at blacking out from the American public word that Nobel Peace Prize Malala Yousafzai, the courageous Pakistani advocate of girls’ education nearly killed by Taliban gunmen a year ago, used a photo-op invitation to the White House to ask the president to halt to his drone killings of Pakistanis. But Obama cannot so easily silence the condemnations today of his remote drone “Murder, Inc.” program by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.


Girl with no Nobel asks Nobel laureate to stop murdering people with drones

 Washington Post:

"I thanked President Obama for the United States' work in supporting education in Pakistan and Afghanistan and for Syrian refugees," Yousafzai said in a statement published by the Associated Press. "I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact."

We don’t gas children, we shred them: Obama’s Grotesque Hypocrisy over Cluster Munitions

By Dave Lindorff


Syrian civilians and children should count themselves lucky that mass opposition in the US, the UK and much of the rest of the world to the idea of a US bombing blitz aimed at punishing the Syrian government for allegedly using Sarin gas in an attack on a Damascus neighborhood forced the US to back off and accept a Russian deal to get rid of Syria’s chemical weapons.


Manning get’s slammed; a mass-murderer got sprung Crimes and Punishment (or Not)

By Dave Lindorff


Right now I’m thinking about William Laws Calley. 


Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden: Whistleblowers as Modern Tricksters

By John Grant


Every generation occupies itself with interpreting Trickster anew.

                      -Paul Radin

 

Kerry and Drones

 

CNN reported on August 2 that Secretary of State John Kerry made some rather startling remarks regarding drone strikes. A look at a few of these remarks is instructive

Remark 1:  “Following talks with the Pakistani government, Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States is making progress in the war on terror, and hopes to end the use of drone strikes ‘very soon.’”

This apparently means that the U.S., which has waged a war of terror for several years now, is making so much progress in doing so that drone strikes will no longer be required to kill and terrorize innocent people.

Remark 2: Regarding ending the strikes, Mr. Kerry said this: “We hope it's going to be very, very soon.” In this statement, he seems to indicate that ending the strikes is something outside of the control of the U.S. government; he ‘hopes’ the strikes will end soon.

Wounds of Waziristan

Who knew? The government snoops have been keeping us safe?: Cranking Up the Washington Lie Machine

By Dave Lindorff


Just for the sake of argument, let's suspend our disbelief for a moment and pretend (I know it's a stretch) that the Obama administration and the apologists for the nation's spy apparatus in Congress, Democratic and Republican, are telling us the gods' honest truth.

IMBY: The Afghanistan War Comes Home to Philadelphia

By Dave Lindorff


(This article was originally written on assignment forwww.counterpunch.org)


New Study Shows How Microlending has Gotten Off Track: Stumbling on Its Own Success

 

By Dave Lindorff


An article by TCBH! journalist Dave Lindorff in the May issue of  American Banker magazine details how the mission of microlending has gotten off track, and why helping impoverished women is getting harder to do.
 

Pakistan’s court declares US drone strikes as illegal

ZeeNews

Islamabad: A Pakistani court on Thursday declared that US drone strikes in the country's lawless tribal belt were illegal and directed the Foreign Ministry to move a resolution against the attacks in the United Nations.

The Peshawar High Court issued the verdict against the strikes by CIA-operated spy planes in response to four petitions that contended the attacks killed civilians and caused collateral damage.

Reaping the Whirlwind: A Violent Act Again in a Violent Nation

 

By Dave Lindorff


I ran the Boston Marathon back in 1968, and, my feet covered with blisters inside my Keds sneakers, dragged across the finish line to meet my waiting uncle at a time of about 3 hours and 40 minutes. It was close enough to the time that the current bombing happened in this year’s race -- about four hours from the starting gun -- that had I been running it this year, I might still been near enough to the finish line to have heard the blasts.

The Future's So Much More Fun than the Past: How to Avoid the Bummer Myth

 

By John Grant


“The elite always has a Plan B, while people have no escape.”
            - Ahmad Saadawi


The Real Obama? The Devil...is in The Details

 

By Linn Washington, Jr.


The HISTORY channel is catching righteous hell for crafting the character of Satan in its miniseries “The Bible” to bear an uncanny likeness to U.S. President Barak Obama.

Is it just coincidence that the dark-skinned Satan in this HISTORY channel miniseries looks hauntingly similar to the first black man to occupy the Oval Office seat in America’s White House?

Informed Activist

Support WarIsACrime



Donate.








Tweet your Congress critters here.


Advertise on this site!




Facebook      Twitter





Our Stores:























Movie Memorabilia.



The log-in box below is only for bloggers. Nobody else will be able to log in because we have not figured out how to stop voluminous spam ruining the site. If you would like us to have the resources to figure that out please donate. If you would like to receive occasional emails please sign up. If you would like to be a blogger here please send your resume.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.