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by Gareth Porter*
WASHINGTON, May 31, 2011 (IPS) - The leaked reports over the past two weeks of a series of meetings between U.S. officials and a Taliban figure close to leader Mullah Omar seemed to point to real progress toward a negotiated settlement of the war in Afghanistan.
But in fact the talks are part of a Barack Obama administration strategy aimed at putting pressure on the Taliban leadership in part by dividing it from Pakistan as well as bolstering Obama's domestic support for the war.
Senior administration officials hope to use the talks to sow suspicion between the Taliban and their main ally, thus weakening the Taliban resolve to negotiate on a peace settlement only if the United States offers a timetable for troop withdrawal.
Posted on May 30, 2011 by kathleenkirwin
On this Memorial Day, 2011, Joni Mitchell’s Fiddle and the Drum is sadly all too relevant. As a Canadian, Joni composed the song in 1969 to tell the United States how “we have all come to fear the beating of your drum.” I have been singing this song ever since. It is a piece of my soul. I share it today in memory of the untold numbers who Amercia has killed while beating the drums of war.
And so once again
My dear Johnny my dear friend
And so once again you are fightin’ us all
And when I ask you why
You raise your sticks and cry, and I fall
Oh, my friend
How did you come
To trade the fiddle for the drum
You say I have turned
Like the enemies you’ve earned
But I can remember
All the good things you are
And so I ask you please
Can I help you find the peace and the star
Oh, my friend
What time is this
To trade the handshake for the fist
The annual display will remain on Eighth Ave. until dusk on Monday
Philip Morris, a veteran of the Army National Guard, looks at the tombstones of his friend, DeForest Talbert along the Memorial Mile along 8th Avenue on Saturday, May 28, 2011 in Gainesville, Fla. Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
May 28, 2011 - More than 6,000 tombstones with names of those who have died in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq now line the sides of Northwest Eighth Avenue — and they'll remain in place until dusk on Monday.
Everything done by prince and company is Done In Our Names!!
2011-05-22 - Remember Blackwater USA, the private military group, which worked as contractors for the U.S. State Department? Since June 2004, it has been paid more than $320 million out of a $1 billion, five-year State Department budget for the Worldwide Personal Protective Service, which protects U.S. officials and some foreign officials in conflict zones.
By Linn Washington, Jr.
Three days after President Barack Obama visited Ground Zero in New York City on May 5th with his message of "justice being done" with the slaying of terrorist Osama bin Laden, disturbing news broke about this administration's blocking of a quest for justice in the infamous May 1970 killing of four Kent State students.
Those four students fell in a barrage of gunfire on May 4, 1970 by Ohio National Guardsmen who opened fire during a peaceful protest against the Vietnam War on Kent State’s campus. That lethal fusillade of 67 shots during a 13-second period also wounded nine others, some seriously.
That blocking action by Obama officials includes an apparent unwillingness to investigate new evidence providing damning insights about that shooting orgy forty years ago, which heightened criticism about U.S. foreign policy in Vietnam and about the abuse of domestic political dissidents.
May 18, 2011 - American forces are facing an increasingly dangerous environment in southern Iraq, where Shiite militias trying to claim they are driving out U.S. occupiers have stepped up attacks against bases and troops.
"We're very concerned about it," said Col. Reginald Allen, who commands the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment that operates in five predominantly Shiite provinces. "This environment is very fluid, but in general our planning assumptions and our precautions are based on the worst case, that levels of violence will continue to increase."
With prince having a U.S. flag stamped on his forehead, done in our names, al Qaeda move over, new kid, same as the old, on the block!!
18 May 2011 - You can buy a war for half a billion dollars. But get in quick. That's at current market prices.
Costs may rise following last Saturday's New York Times story revealing that the United Arab Emirates has paid $529m to a company set up by Blackwater boss Eric Prince to recruit and train a mercenary army to undertake 'special missions' against the oil state's enemies, defend oil pipelines, crush internal opposition and so forth.
Beware of Americans...Bearing Gifts
By Shaukat Qadir
I am sure everyone knows this but merely to ensure we are on the same grid, a policy has one or more aims to be achieved in a specified period and spells out how the said aims will be achieved. While I have no intention of fleshing out a policy in this article, I will merely seek to emphasise the need for one and suggest what it should be aiming at. Pakistan has been without any policy since Ayub Khan’s decline in 1964!
Let us start by looking at what every ordinary citizen of any country, including Pakistan, wants. First and foremost is security: Not just security of life and limb or security from neighbouring enemies, but also food security, water security, job security, economic security, energy security etc. The list is long, and he/she wants to live in peace, so as to have the right to ‘pursue happiness’.
I hit the pavement today, running a reel of the past few months through the windmills of my mind. I’ve spent so much time, lately, in rooms of joy and sorrow, and hotels, and towns where I catch my reflection in some store window and think: Who is she?
I traveled with one son to visit another. Was sitting outside when the younger said, “Mom, you have beautiful feet. You have the feet of a sixteen-year-old.” Before I could tell him I know this, he continued, “It’s a shame I can’t say the same about your face.”
He and I had been discussing the dollar and what he calls my freak-ass economic doomsday tune. The whole foot thingy probably was an attempt to shift the subject.
The abuse of was done in our names as we still continue to condemn others for exactly same!
Continuing the lawless damage his private mercenary armies have already created, and greatly enhanced, in the name of the United States and citizens of! The equivalent of al Qaeda but in the U.S. brand and stamp!
Documents show 800-strong mercenary force is aimed at UAE's external — and internal — foes.
May 15, 2011 - Late one night last November, a plane carrying dozens of Colombian men touched down in this glittering seaside capital. Whisked through customs by an Emirati intelligence officer, the group boarded an unmarked bus and drove roughly 20 miles to a windswept military complex in the desert sand.
By Victor Grossman
Berlin -- The debate continues: Was the killing of Osama bin Laden justified? Perhaps a rather useless debate since he is now most certainly dead. But despite their distance in time and space some flashbacks insist on recurring, right next to terrible images of those two planes and the two huge buildings collapsing in New York ten years ago. (No, make that three buildings!)
I for example still think about that Cuban plane which exploded on October 6th 1976 in the Caribbean, killing the 5 crew members and all 73 passengers, including the entire champion fencing team of Cuba, many of whom were still teenagers. All four men directly responsible for this horror had ties to the CIA which, it was later revealed, knew of the bombing in advance.
13th May 2011 - The Chilcot Inquiry into the disastrous Iraq War has been a largely depressing affair.
It has cost millions of pounds, dragged on for two years and – when the key players appeared before the inquiry panel – the questioning was unfocused and inadequate.
Tony Blair and Alastair Campbell were slippery, unrepentant and able to complete their evidence unscathed –much to the anger and disgust of the families of the 179 soldiers who gave their lives in this most bloody of conflicts.
By John Grant
I know when night has gone
That a new world's born at dawn.
I'll keep rolling along
Deep in my heart is a song
Here on the range I belong
Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds.
-- Sons Of The Pioneers
We live in frustrating times for anyone politically opposed to the relentless militarization and financialization of virtually every facet of life in America.
The idealism of the Sixties and Seventies was overwhelmed first by Reaganism, then by the tsunami of post-911 fear and, finally, by the momentum of two, now three, on-going foreign wars. We live in an enforced condition of permanent war and unfettered piracy.
As a former pilot, retired from Delta Air Lines, I want to thank you for your article concerning a pilot celebrating the death of Bin Laden. I also want to thank you for writing the letter to United concerning his actions. It isn’t the first time a pilot has used his bully pulpit on an airplane to make a political statement, nor will it probably be the last. However, when a passenger calls one individual on inappropriate behavior, or, in this case, a public expression of ignorance, perhaps it will make it less likely to happen again.
For Past 10 Years US Govt Has Preferred Bin Laden Dead to Captured, According to Bush and Obama Admins
On September 17, 2001, six days after the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush issued a still-classified "finding" that gave the CIA "lethal authorities" to deal with the al Qaeda leader and his top lieutenants. Ever since, there was an expectation -- even a preference -- that bin Laden would be killed, not captured, Bush and Obama administration officials said.
. . .
Numerous officials said they knew of no explicit command that bin Laden was not to be taken alive. When he ordered the SEAL raid, Obama had on his desk a written protocol for what would happen if the al Qaeda chief were captured and removed from Pakistan to an unnamed U.S. military installation, the senior White House official said.
The SEALs first saw bin Laden when he came out on the third floor landing. They fired, but missed. He retreated to his bedroom, and the first SEAL through the door grabbed bin Laden's daughters and pulled them aside. When the second SEAL entered, bin Laden's wife rushed forward at him -- or perhaps was pushed by bin Laden. The SEAL shoved her aside and shot bin Laden in the chest. A third seal shot him in the head.
Note that in this version it gets harder to use the retreat into the bedroom to justify the shooting, because the shooting started first. They shot because they saw him. This is consistent with the reports that they had been ordered to shoot him, as well as with the obvious fact that there was no way in hell Obama would stand for imprisoning bin Laden and putting him on trial.
Moving Guantanamo's prisons from Cuba to Illinois would have done very little for human rights but would probably have caused some heart attacks in Illinois. Can you imagine if Osama bin Laden had been put on trial in the United States? How many terrified television viewers would have been rushed to the hospital? Would bin Laden have been permitted to air his grievances against U.S. foreign policy? Would U.S. failures to prevent the 9-11 attacks have been discussed? What about U.S. support for bin Laden in the 1980s? There was no way in the world that trial would be held, which is why we could be sure the Navy SEALs had been ordered to kill bin Laden even before that fact was reported.
Eleven slides were sexist, three advocated domestic violence, one was racist and two promoted child degradation. One slide featured a comic strip in which a man kicks his girlfriend in the stomach after she tells him she is pregnant.
Other slides, the investigator wrote, were culturally insensitive.
May 10, 2011 - On Sept. 27, 2009, about a month into a deployment in Afghanistan, the commanders of an 82nd Airborne Division battalion met for a daily update briefing that always included PowerPoint slides.
We, the U.S., tour apart the pandora's box and opened the floodgates of destruction well beyond that which we did, in Iraq, expanded in Afghanistan and in and out of the region!
Al-Qaeda leader is not thought to have ever set foot in Iraq, but it became one of his main battlegrounds.
'There are new al-Qaeda leaders who belong to a generation after bin Laden and are even more blood thirsty and more extreme'
2011-05-09 - Iraq, a nation that has endured a steady barrage of al-Qaeda assaults that has claimed thousands of lives, reacted to the killing of Osama bin Laden this week with a mixture of relief and anger amid fears of further attacks.
The New York Times published an op-ed on May 7th by a professor here in Charlottesville, Va., arguing that celebrating the killing of Osama bin Laden is actually a good thing, because in so celebrating we are building solidarity with those we view as part of our exclusive group. Implicit in this argument is that we can do no better. Bonding over our common hatred of an outsider is better than no bonding at all, and therefore we should rebrand such hatred as altruism. Or so says psychology professor Jonathan Haidt.
And why? Why was putting the Nazis on trial rather than simply putting bullets in their heads not just an unusual occurrence but a physiological impossibility, something that did not occur because it could not have? Why? Because professor Haidt has read some research on ants, bees, and termites.
Below are just a few related articles and links.
By James Ridgeway
Back in the 1980s, before the Cold War gave way to the War on Terror, American money and supplies helped Osama Bin Laden create Al Qaeda and build it into one of the world’s most successful terrorist organizations. And without the close alliances between Al Qaeda and our “allies” Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, the attack on the World Trade Towers could not have been carried out. What follows are the bare bones of what we know of this world as it existed in the days before September 11, 2001. (Some of the early material in this account first appeared in my book The Five Unanswered Questions About 9/11.)
April seemed to drift in, whimpering and, then, banging shut. Caresses and blows.
Easter slid by. Where was I? North Carolina? Kentucky? Maryland?
Easter’s just candy, anyway, shaped like eggs, and a White House lawn with children on the hunt. Though I do remember something about a rock rolled away from a tomb.
Prince William and Kate were royally rocking and rolling, a circumstance of pomposity.
Now, we’re a week into May, Derby time with a parade of hats and thoroughly bred animals. Oh, and horses, too, racing for the first jewel in the Triple Crown, no thorns allowed.
This is celebration season. And many are celebrating death—the assassination of that mythical decider who claimed responsibility for “inspiring” 9-11 and scared us to bookstores to purchase bibles in freedomville where we can shop and choose a wireless plan with a special friends-and-family rate, radiation exposure, dropped calls, and surveillance included.
May 6th, 2011 - This week on War News Radio, " Made in Afghanistan,” we hear the final part of a two part report on the Afghan rug trade. Then, we examine American attitudes towards Osama bin Laden’s death. Finally, we learn about China’s investment role in Afghanistan. But first, a round up of this week's news.
May 7, 2011 - In a rare public appeal, the father of a U.S. soldier held captive in the Afghan war has sought the help of Pakistan's military in securing the release of Spc. Bowe Bergdahl.
Idaho resident Bob Bergdahl, in a video post on YouTube, directly addresses Pakistan Army Chief of Staff Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Lieutenant-General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, the head of the country's intelligence service.