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US Iran Policy in 'Lockstep' with Israel?: President Obama Risks Becoming a Major-League War Criminal
By Dave Lindorff
It’s a relief to know that President Obama’s “preferred” solution to dealing with disagreements with Iran is diplomacy, as he said yesterday in an interview on NBC TV, but at the same time, it’s profoundly disturbing that he is simultaneously saying that, as an AP report on the interview put it: he would “not take options off the table to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons.”
In Air America: Under the Imperial Eye, Chris Floyd reports on the recent revelation that Iraq's supposedly "sovereign airspace" is constantly under surveillance by a network of drones operated by the State Department. Apparently the only reason this news came to light is because of a publicly available government appeal for private bids on the project. Neither we nor Iraqis were meant to know:
"Iraqis were outraged this week to find they are being spied upon by a fleet of American drones hovering constantly in their supposedly sovereign skies, long after the supposed withdrawal of American forces."
By Dave Lindorff
The Iraq war may be over, at least for US troops, but the cover-up of the atrocities committed there by American forces goes on, even in retrospectives about the war. A prime example is reporting on the destroyed city of Fallujah, where some of the heaviest fighting of the war took place.
On March 31, 2004, four armed mercenaries working for the firm then known as Blackwater (now Xe), were captured in Fallujah, Iraq’s third largest city and a hotbed of insurgent strength located in Anbar Province about 40 miles west of Baghdad. Reportedly killed in their vehicle, which was then torched, their charred bodies were strung up on a bridge over the Euphrates River.
19 January 2012 - A North Carolina human rights group is calling on state officials to investigate and stop alleged CIA missions originating in Johnston County that involve illegal torture.
North Carolina Stop Torture Now delivered a University of North Carolina School of Law report Wednesday to the governor, attorney general and others that claims the Central Intelligence Agency relies on Smithfield-based Aero Contractors Ltd. to provide planes and pilots to transport prisoners overseas from the Johnston County Airport for secret interrogation using torture techniques.
White House and State Department are in No Position to Issue Credible Denials Regarding Spying Charges
By Dave Lindorff
I wouldn’t want to be Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, the 28-year-old former US Marine just recently sentenced to death by a court in Iran after being convicted of being an American spy.
Hekmati, who was born in Arizona to Iranian exile parents, and who grew up in Michigan, is being defended by President Obama, whose White House spokesman Tommy Vietor, declared, “Allegations that Mr. Hekmati either worked for, or was sent to Iran by the CIA are false.” The White House, not content with that denial, went on to trash the Iranian government and legal system, with Vietor adding, “The Iranian regime has a history of falsely accusing people of being spies, of eliciting forced confessions, and of holding innocent Americans for political reasons.”
By Dave Lindorff
According to news reports, 15-year-old eighth-grader Jaime Gonzalez, who was shot and killed yesterday by police in his middle school in Brownsville, TX, was hit three times: twice in the chest and once “from the back of the head.”
Police say they were called by school authorities because Gonzalez was carrying a gun, which turned out to be a realistic-looking pellet gun, a weapon that uses compressed air to fire a metal pellet which, while perhaps a threat to the eye, does not pose a serious threat to life.
By Tom Hussain | McClatchy Newspapers
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistani Islamist militants on Sunday pledged to cease their four-year insurgency against Pakistani security forces, and join the Taliban's war against NATO troops in Afghanistan.
The agreement reunited four major Pakistan-based militant factions under the flag of Mullah Mohammed Omar, the Taliban chief, an announcement by the militants said.
Security experts in Islamabad said the agreement to end the insurgency with Pakistan was a dual-purpose tactical move by the Taliban.
It has lost hundreds of fighters during a two-year surge of U.S. forces in its southern Afghanistan strongholds.
The Pakistani militants, too, have been pummelled by security forces since 2009, and by late 2011 had splintered into dozens of factions without a unified command. The agreement coincided with discrete negotiations between the Pakistani militants and the government in Islamabad, held since October.
The pact would enable Mullah Omar to reinforce the Taliban ranks, while the pledged cessation of attacks against the Pakistani security forces would allow the militants greater freedom to launch cross-border attacks into Afghanistan.
Selective Sympathy: War’s Mayhem and Murder is Somehow Less Hard to Bear than the Humane Termination of an Injured Animal
By Dave Lindorff
The officer rested his arm holding the stock of the assault rifle on the top of a log pile, and aimed directly between the target’s eyes. She was looking directly at him, unblinking, from 30 feet away, and exhibited no fear. “I hate doing this,” he muttered, before finally pulling the trigger.
A sharp “bang!” rang out, her head jerked up and then her whole body sagged to the ground, followed by some muscle jerks, and it was over.
The officer went over and checked the body, decided no second shot was needed to finish the job, and then walked back to his squad car, took out his phone, and called in the serial number of his rifle, reporting his firing of one round, as required by regulations.
Crazy Pakistanis Target Those Suspected of Helping the United States Murder People; There's No Reasoning With These Nuts!
From the LA Times:
Reporting from Peshawar, Pakistan—
The death squad shows up in uniform: black masks and tunics with the name of the group, Khorasan Mujahedin, scrawled across the back in Urdu.
Pulling up in caravans of Toyota Corolla hatchbacks, dozens of them seal off mud-hut villages near the Afghan border, and then scour markets and homes in search of tribesmen they suspect of helping to identify targets for the armed U.S. drones that routinely buzz overhead.
Once they've snatched their suspect, they don't speed off, villagers say. Instead, the caravan leaves slowly, a trademark gesture meant to convey that they expect no retaliation.
By Dave Lindorff
It’s fascinating to watch the long knives coming out for Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul, now that according to some mainstream polls he has become the front-running candidate in the Jan. 3 GOP caucus race in Iowa, and perhaps also in the first primary campaign in New Hampshire.
(CNN) -- She has eyelashes but no eyebrows. She has all her fingers but is missing four nails. Her skin is so taut now that she can no longer frown. LOOK AT HER.
By Yasmeen Ali
Lahore -- Ever since 9/11 and the subsequent 2001 invasion of Afghanistan by the US, Pakistan’s world has been in turmoil.
19 December 2011 - Almost two-thirds of countries asked by human rights groups about their involvement in extraordinary rendition flights have failed to comply with freedom of information requests – with European nations in particular accused of withholding evidence of the controversial CIA programme.
Was the Attack on Pakistani Outposts Deliberate?: How Far Will the US Go to Target Pakistan's Military?
By Shaukat Qadir
This past June I posted an article by Anatol Lieven on Facebook. For those who are not familiar with his name, Anatol is from the UK and numbers among the few journalists whom I always enjoy reading. I have met Anatol a few times and he is the kind of person who likes to get acquainted with the psycho-social environment of the people he writes about. Written in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s execution, Anatol’s article was critical of the US approach to the region, particularly Pakistan.
December 14, 2011 - One by one, the Marines sat down, swore to tell the truth and began to give secret interviews discussing one of the most horrific episodes of America’s time in Iraq: the 2005 massacre by Marines of Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha.
“I mean, whether it’s a result of our action or other action, you know, discovering 20 bodies, throats slit, 20 bodies, you know, beheaded, 20 bodies here, 20 bodies there,” Col. Thomas Cariker, a commander in Anbar Province at the time, told investigators as he described the chaos of Iraq.
By Dave Lindorff
By David Lindorff Sr.
Departure comes after ultimatum from Islamabad prompted by the death of 24 of its soldiers in NATO air raid.
The US has vacated the Shamsi air base in Pakistan's Balochistan province after a 15-day ultimatum given by Islamabad, prompted by the deaths of at least 24 of its soldiers in a NATO air raid last month.
Sunday's withdrawal was completed when the final flight carrying US personnel and equiptment flew out.
Nine planes carrying personnel and 20 carrying equiptment - including drone aircraft and weapons - left for neighbouring Afghanistan, officials said.
Shamsi wahttp://warisacrime.org/node/add/storys believed to be the staging post for US drones operating in northwest Pakistan and neighbouring Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, a senior Pakistani military official told a US television network on Sunday that his country "will shoot down any US drone that enters its territory".
Twenty trucks torched in attack at Nato terminal in Quetta
By John Grant
Following a decade of military invasion and occupation in the Middle East and Southwest Asia, the United States is becoming the Rodney Dangerfield of empires: “We get no respect!”
The undisputed post-World War Two top dog in the world, on virtually every front the United States is more and more playing catch-up with two-faced, Clintonian shuttle diplomacy around the world and a well-entrenched regime of secrecy and sophisticated public relations aimed at keeping the dismal story of decline out of the domestic mind-space.
US/Pakistan’s Toxic Alliance - by Stephen Lendman
Partnering with America has a price. Pakistan's paid dearly. Post-9/11, it's been harmed economically, politically, and strategically. Has its military now had enough and want out? More on that below.
At issue is the latest November 26 incident involving NATO forces killing 24 Pakistani soldiers and injuring 13 others in two remote posts along Afghanistan's border.
'Bugsplat': The Ugly US Drone War in Pakistan
It's time for the US to re-examine the consequences of its dehumanizing, deadly attacks in Pakistan.
This weekend, Pakistan ordered the closure of the US drone base after a US attack killed 26 Pakistani soldiers near the Afghan border. This news will be welcomed by the people of Waziristan, where communities have borne the brunt of the "collateral damage" of the US covert drone war. But for many, this decision comes too little too late. For too long, authorities ignored the deaths of innocent civilians being "bugsplat" by drones.
A correspondent wrote me yesterday, "what [is]our government and military doing attacking a Pakistani military base? Pakistan is supposed to be our ally in this ten years old crazy war in Afghanistan." NATO Airstrike Kills 24 Pakistani Soldiers.
Pakistan had a military government over decades, supported by every US administration. There's a large base in Pakistan for Islamic fundamentalism, which has deeply penetrated the Pakistani military, which is itself an utterly corrupt institution deeply involved in owning land and business (like Egypt's US-funded military is).
News Flash in Washington: Pakistan Has People in It, They Hate Being Murdered, They Have Nuclear Bombs
Washington D.C. (November 28, 2011) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today released the following statement after Pakistani troops were bombed by NATO in the Mohmand district of Pakistan.
“Saturday’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) airstrike that killed 24 innocent Pakistani soldiers and injured many more near the border of Afghanistan has further strained the vital U.S.-Pakistan relationship, increased anti-U.S. sentiment abroad and placed our troops in Afghanistan in even greater danger.
“Reports indicate that NATO is bracing itself for reprisal attacks on coalition forces in Afghanistan. This means U.S. forces will be at increased risk. The U.S. cannot expect to achieve stability in Afghanistan and the region while NATO, with impunity, conducts reckless actions that directly undermine the security of the Pakistani people and jeopardize U.S.-Pakistani relations.
“The United States must insist upon a full, impartial, transparent investigation and ensure accountability within the NATO command for any wrongdoing, intentional or not. NATO owes reparations to the families of the soldiers killed and injured. It is also timely for Congress to reconsider our support for NATO. How useful is an alliance which destabilizes friendly governments, kills innocent people and creates international provocations?
“My deepest sympathies are with the families of those who lost loved ones in the attack. Accountability of those responsible for the loss of life and an impartial and transparent investigation will be critical to maintaining our vital relationship with Pakistan.”
Tariq Aziz (centre, second row) attending a meeting about drones strikes in Waziristan, held in Islamabad, Pakistan on 28 October 2011. Three days later, the 16 year old was reported killed by a drone-launched missile.
By CLIVE STAFFORD SMITH
LAST Friday, I took part in an unusual meeting in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad.
The meeting had been organized so that Pashtun tribal elders who lived along the Pakistani-Afghan frontier could meet with Westerners for the first time to offer their perspectives on the shadowy drone war being waged by the Central Intelligence Agency in their region. Twenty men came to air their views; some brought their young sons along to experience this rare interaction with Americans. In all, 60 villagers made the journey.
The meeting was organized as a traditional jirga. In Pashtun culture, a jirga acts as both a parliament and a courtroom: it is the time-honored way in which Pashtuns have tried to establish rules and settle differences amicably with those who they feel have wronged them.
On the night before the meeting, we had a dinner, to break the ice. During the meal, I met a boy named Tariq Aziz. He was 16. As we ate, the stern, bearded faces all around me slowly melted into smiles. Tariq smiled much sooner; he was too young to boast much facial hair, and too young to have learned to hate.
The next day, the jirga lasted several hours. I had a translator, but the gist of each man’s speech was clear. American drones would circle their homes all day before unleashing Hellfire missiles, often in the dark hours between midnight and dawn. Death lurked everywhere around them.
When it was my turn to speak, I mentioned the official American position: that these were precision strikes and no innocent civilian had been killed in 15 months. My comment was met with snorts of derision.
Nov. 2, 2011 - A new study suggests that defense hawks are crying crocodile tears over planned cuts to Pentagon spending.
Capitol Hill conservatives and Pentagon brass fighting cuts to defense spending have argued that the military is limping off the battlefield with decrepit hardware. It's quite the sob story: At a hearing last week, Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), the chair of the House armed services committee, cut his remarks short to literally sob for "these young men that are going outside the wire over in Afghanistan, every day on patrol."
28 October, 2011 - A human rights group has filed a lawsuit against Lithuania for its role in a CIA rendition program which allegedly involved the illegal detention and torture of “high-value detainee” Abu Zubaydah.
Zubaydah, who was initially captured by American and Pakistani special services in a raid in Pakistan in 2002, spent some of his time in custody in a secret detention center in Lithuania, according to the Interights group. The European country allegedly collaborated with the CIA on its program of secret prisons, which allowed suspects to be incarcerated and tortured outside American territory.
Oct. 28: Rachel Maddow expresses exasperation that Paul Wolfowitz is still treated by the media as if he has credibility on foreign policy matters despite his infamous history of disastrously poor judgment.