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Taliban Attack on Afghan Workers is Sign That One Program is Working

The execution of six Afghan development workers by the Taliban last month who were doing work for the NSP, the Afghan National Solidarity Program, may be a sign that after 11 years, development may be starting to work.  The attack signaled an escalation in the violence previously aimed at foreign non-governmental organizations like the Red Cross, and western corporations and their employees. The NSP is an indigenous program which, until now, insurgents have pretty much left alone.

Hopeful and disturbing signs in an unscientific neighborhood survey: Anti-War Conservatives and War-Monger Liberals

By Dave Lindorff


I just had two discussions with neighbors in my suburb of Philadelphia that offer both a hope that the Republican-run House may block President Obama’s war on Syria, and a warning that liberal Democrats could hand him the narrow majority he needs to claim Congressional backing for his war.

Obama’s and Kerry’s Big Lie: White House Document “Proving” Syria’s Guilt Doesn’t Pass Smell Test

By Dave Lindorff

 

The document released on the White House web site to “prove” to the American people that the Syrian government had used poison gas -- allegedly the neurotoxin Sarin -- to kill hundreds of civilians, is so flawed and lacking in real proof that if it were being used to make a case against a terrorist group it would be too weak to justify an indictment.


The Bellicose Obama Regime: Once Again, the Answer Is Bombing

By John Grant


Here we go again.

Polls suggest the American people are fed up after two full-bore wars and the killing of an ambassador in Benghazi following our escapade in Libya. Yet, the Obama administration seems poised to launch another war in Syria.

“We can’t do a third war in 12 years!"

Afghan Civilians, Gunned Down by US Soldier in Massacre, Speak Out

Afghan child: 'What did I do wrong to Sergeant Bales that he shot my father?'

- Sarah Lazare, staff writer

Manhattan vigil for Afghans killed in Kandahar massacre (Photo: Flickr Creative Commons/ Alan Greig)For the first time, Afghan survivors of the March 2012 Panjwai massacre stood in the same room with U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who pled guilty to the unprompted onslaught that left 16 Afghan civilians dead—9 of them children, and 11 of them from the same family—and 6 wounded, and told what it was like to stand on the other side of Bales' gun.

A courtroom sketch of US Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales (centrer) as he faces a military court martial for the massacre of 16 civilians in Afghanistan in 2012. "I thought I was dreaming but when I woke up I heard screaming," said 12-year-old Sadiquallah, who was shot in the ear and neck by Bales, addressing a panel of military officers. He explained that he still has nightmares from the incident.

Sadiquallah's father, Mohammed Haji Naeem, burst into tears in the courtroom as he described watching his other son die, AFP reports. "This bastard stood right in front of me, I wanted to ask him what I had done, why would you shoot me?" he said, indicating towards the man who shot him in the head and neck. "I have nerve damage and stutter since I was shot," he added later. "I wasn't weak but since this bastard shot at me I'm almost like nothing now."

15 year-old Rafiulla, who was shot in both legs, describes being awoken by the murderous rampage: "We were sleeping, we heard some noise. He [Bales] ran into the room and pointed his handgun at my sister's head." Speaking of his sister, who survived a gunshot wound to her head, he stated, "She was a very bright girl, everybody loved her. Now we're all sad for her."

Rafiulla's mother, Samiullua, explained her son has never been the same. "He wakes up at night with nightmares thinking Americans are chasing him," she said.

Khan, a child, described his father's death. "My father was lying down and we were all watching him," he said. "What did I do wrong to sergeant Bales that he shot my father?"

As the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan—now the longest official war in U.S. history—stretches through its 12th summer, over 60,000 U.S. troops remain, in addition to vast webs of U.S. private contractors and U.S. appointed Afghan military generals.  Despite a war-weary Afghan public, U.S. officials say troops are likely to stay far beyond the alleged 2014 pullout date. Meanwhile, attacks on Afghan children are skyrocketing, the UN reports.

The Kandahar massacre, notable for its high media profile while countless U.S. military acts of atrocity go unreported, had a very real and pervasive impact across an Afghanistan that has suffered under the constant reality of war and an occupying military force.

"Afghans are always dehumanized in the U.S. public, and I have to question how much value and weight the voices of these victims will have in court,"Suraia Sahar of Afghans United for Justice told Common Dreams.

Despite calls for Bales to be tried in Afghanistan, the U.S. instead whisked him away to stand trial in U.S. military courts.

"Bradley Manning's sentence today is evidence of the failure of the justice system in the U.S.," says Sahar. "It's all the more reason for Bales to be put on trial on Afghan soil."

_____________________

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

 

Manning, Snowden and Swarz: America’s Police State Marches On, Media in Tow

By Dave Lindorff


The New York Times, in an editorial published the day after a military judge found Pvt. Bradley Manning “not guilty” of “aiding the enemy” -- a charge that would have locked him up for life without possibility of parole and could have carried the death penalty -- but also found him guilty on multiple counts of “espionage,” called the verdict “Mixed.” Not guilty of aiding the enemy, guilty of espionage.


His 'Crime' is Patriotism, not Betrayal Like Hale's Philip Nolan, Snowden has Become a 'Man Without a Country'

By  Dave Lindorff

 

In Edward Everett Hale's short story "The Man Without a Country," US Army Lt. Philip Nolan, following a court-martial, is exiled from his country, his citizenship snatched away, leaving him doomed to sail the seven seas confined to a Navy vessel, unable to make any country his home. His crime: being seduced by a treacherous leader to betray the US of A, the country of his birth.

A Noir America: Killers and Roller-Coaster Rides

By John Grant


We're all aware of the reputed Chinese curse about living in interesting times. Upheaval seems to be in the air. According to Wikipedia, the interesting times curse was linked with a second, more worrisome curse: "May you come to the attention of those in authority."

Stop the Army from deploying conscientious objector

PV2 Christopher Munoz

Ft. Hood command still plan to deploy private to Afghanistan despite CO claim

Killeen, Texas -  A soldier seeking a discharge from the Army based on a conscientious objection to war has been told by the command at Fort Hood that it still intends to deploy him to Afghanistan sometime in the coming weeks.

Private Second Class Christopher Munoz, 22, applied for a C.O. (conscientious objector) discharge on June 25, 2013. He has also asked for his deployment to be delayed until request for discharge would be given a fair hearing.

Servicemembers are eligible for C.O. status if they can prove to military authorities that they are opposed to all wars, and that the opposition is grounded in religious belief or moral conviction that is sincere and occurred at some point after enlistment. PV2 Munoz's application asserts that he qualified for this status according to the provisions of Army Regulation 600-43.

As a C.O applicant, PV2 Munoz cannot be made to carry weapons or munitions if deployed.

“If deployed, PV2 Munoz will be at significant risk for harassment by his fellow soldiers since he will effectively be a 'dead weight' on the unit. Despite these very real risks, PV2 Munoz's command has said that a delay of his deployment will not be considered,” said James M. Branum, an attorney who represents PV2 Munoz.

Click Read More to learn more about the case and see how you can help.

A Whole Different Class of People Here

   This one looks at yet another revelation that the military-industrial-spying 50+% of the federal government doesn't operate with the kind of oversight and accountability rules everyone else has to play by.

 

I was flabbergasted when the the Congressional Research Service reported on May 17 that the Pentagon didn’t have a clue what the 108,000 contractors the Department of Defense (DOD) has in Afghanistan were actually doing--let alone how well they were doing it.

The US's Afghan Exit May Depend on a Syrian One

Washington’s options in Syria are dwindling - and dwindling fast.

Trumped up chemical weapons charges against the Syrian government this month failed to produce evidence to convince a skeptical global community of any direct linkage. And the US’s follow-up pledge to arm rebels served only to immediately underline the difficulty of such a task, given the fungibility of weapons-flow among increasingly extremist militias.

In Afghanistan, around a bomb crater, we cleaned & took a stand

By Hakim and the Afghan Peace Volunteers

Thank you for your encouragement after the glass-shattering bomb explosion last week. We are grateful for your friendship and the daily actions you take for peace.

Last Friday, we wore our blue scarves and cleaned the streets around the bomb site area.

“We didn’t intend to go to the bomb site. But as we had already planned a day to clean the neighborhood streets, it became quite natural to clean around that area and along the street.We recognize the pain caused by the bombing, both the loss of lives and injuries, and also the damage to the environment. We ask for healing. We want the place to be healed. ” The Afghan Peace Volunteers ( APVs ) during the Global Days of Listening conversation on June 21st, 2013 

( Watch the APVs cleaning around the bomb site in this video :


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.

An appeal from Afghanistan to whistle-blow on war

From Dr. Hakim and the Afghan Peace Volunteers

Recognition that 95 million human beings were killed in World War I and II has helped the people of the world understand that the method of war is not cost-effective. An awakened world hoped the United Nations could, as determined in the UN Charter, eventually ‘save succeeding generations from the scourge of war’. 

The scourge of war in Afghanistan continues, with the United Nations reporting that more than 3,000 Afghan civilians have been killed and wounded in the first five months of this year, a fifth of whom were Afghan children. So, ordinary people should seize opportunities to tell the truth about war.

The 75,000 Afghan War Logs, which Bradley Manning gave Wikileaks to ‘help document the true cost of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan’, can help all of us evaluate whether the Afghan war is cost-effective. Bradley Manning had also handed Wikileaks a video of the Farah/Granai massacre which occurred in May of 2009, in which 86 to 147 Afghan civilians, mostly women and children, were killed in an airstrike. We can read about the Farah/Granai massacre here and here .

The Afghan Peace Volunteers ask for the Farah/Granai massacre video to be released.

These records report the truths about war, and reveal an obsession among those few people in power to use war in achieving their goals. Bradley Manning said, “In attempting to conduct counter-terrorism or CT and counter-insurgency COIN operations we became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists…”

How many more documents revealing loss of innocent life are needed to determine that war should be banned, that it should not even be a last resort of ‘defence’?

All weapons, not only nuclear weapons, should be banned. A safe life and secure work environment without weapons is very possible even in Afghanistan.   Consider, for instance, that the Emergency Surgical Centres  in Afghanistan operate all their health facilities without armed protection and that Dr.  Ramazon Bashardost, the third-placed candidate in Afghanistan’s 2009 Presidential elections, has no armed bodyguards.

We human beings are capable of living together without war. Billions of human beings all over the world live daily without killing one another, even when dealing with the most troubled or difficult of family members.

We are capable of an impossible love.

We can establish global norms of resolving all our problems through understanding and dialogue, and exclude war from the negotiation table. To do so, we should exclude from the UN charter the use of war as a last resort. We should disband the UN ‘Security’ Council.

Of course, accomplishing these actions hinges on us, on climate change citizens, Arab Spring citizens, Occupy citizens and the ‘awakening’ citizens of every country to free ourselves from the unequal dominance of corporate governments with their laws and weapons of self-interest.

They won’t free Bradley Manning. We need to free Bradley Manning.

They won’t support Edward Snowden. We need to support Edward Snowden.

They won’t free us. We need to free ourselves.

In Bradley Manning’s internal and better world, he is free! He testified, “I felt I had accomplished something that allowed me to have a clear conscience based upon what I had seen and read about and knew were happening in both Iraq and Afghanistan every day.”

Please take some time to listen to these ‘everyday’ tragedies in Afghanistan.

Please take some time to read and watch the thoughts of the Afghan Peace Volunteers below. Rather than chant the dirges of death, we want to sing out life-giving messages.

Then, without any trace of force, join us in asking for release of the ‘Farah/Granai massacre’ video.

Afghan Peace Volunteers thank Bradley

From Afghanistan, the Afghan Peace Volunteers thank Bradley Manning

Abdul Ali

I wish to share the pain of those killed in the Farah massacre, so I request Wikileaks to release the video. Thank you, Bradley, for your courage and sense of human responsibility in passing on this video. I support you!

Faiz Ahmad

As a human being and an Afghan citizen, I want to know the truth so that such violent tragedies will never be repeated again. It will show us how much we need the way of non-violence.

Abdulhai

We need to learn that killing, whether by the Taliban or the US/NATO forces, is not acceptable and cannot solve any problem. At this time, Bradley Manning needs us, and we need one another.

Raz Mohammad

It should be clear to the people how, for profit and power, groups like the Taliban and the US/NATO forces, kill without accountability. We want the voices of the people, like that of Bradley Manning, to be heard. We especially want the voices of children to be heard, including the voices of children who have been killed. We want their voices to haunt us. We should give a prize of conscience to Bradley Manning.

Basir Bita

The transparency and conscience that Bradley Manning and Wikileaks seek is so desperately needed in Afghanistan, in the context of governments and power-mongers openly and secretly betraying the people every day.

Barath Khan

We ask for the video of the Farah strike to be published so that the world will know how governments and all warring groups involved in the Afghan conflict have strategies and policies which go against the people, which kill the people. We want the governments and warring groups to be ashamed of their actions. Why should the world or any court of justice condemn and punish those who reveal truths?

Ghulam Hussein

Bradley has delivered truths which the world needs. We are against violence and killing by the Taliban and other Afghan war groups. We are also against violence and killing by the Afghan and U.S./NATO governments. Human beings were not born to abuse, betray or kill one another, but to learn to live together. We were not born to live selfishly, but to live for one another. If human beings want, we can live without war.

The Afghan Peace Volunteers in the video: “Thank you Bradley Manning”

Our sleeping conscience, awake!

Truth is not subject to the baton of the courts.

We are the Afghan Peace Volunteers.

According to the 19th Article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states the right to freedom of expression, we want Bradley Manning to be free!

Truth is like the sun that cannot always be hidden by the clouds.

Thank you Bradley Manning!

A Cure for War – With Limitations.

A Cure for War – With Limitations.

by Erin Niemela

 

Earlier this week I wrote an editorial proposing a 28th constitutional amendment to abolish war.  The NSA scandal, I argue, is tied to the more pervasive problem of violent foreign (and domestic) policy, and we’ll continue to see government abuses so long as war and inter-state military violence are the acceptable choices for conflict management.  David Swanson, author of the brilliant history, “When the World Outlawed War,” thoughtfully responded to my plea by urging us to recall and reignite the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928, an existing international pact renouncing war signed and ratified by the US president and Senate.

 

 I agree with Mr. Swanson that any efforts to end war should point to existing law, and we agree that abolishing war is possible and necessary.  However, the Kellogg-Briand Pact is not without its limitations, and a fresh, people-driven constitutional amendment could both address those limitations and offer current, culturally relevant and legally dispositive reinforcement.

 

Talk Nation Radio: Rick Rowley Tells How He Made the Film "Dirty Wars"

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-rick-rowley

Richard Rowley, director of the new film Dirty Wars, describes its making and the crimes it reveals.  Over the course of fifteen years, Rowley, co-founder of Big Noise Films, has made multiple award-winning documentary features including Fourth World War and This Is What Democracy Looks Like. His shorts and news reports are also regularly featured on and commissioned by leading outlets including Al Jazeera, BBC, CBC, CNN International, Democracy Now!, and PBS. Rowley is a co-founder of the Independent Media Center. Rowley has been a Pulitzer Fellow, Rockefeller Fellow, a Jerome Foundation Fellow, and a Sundance Documentary Film Program Fellow.  For more on Dirty Wars see http://DirtyWars.org

To sign a petition to free the Yemeni journalist imprisoned at President Obama's instruction, as discussed in this program, go here.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from Archive or  AudioPort or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
http://davidswanson.org/talknationradio

Pentagon Has No Idea What 108,000 Contractors Are Doing

The number of contractors working in Afghanistan now vastly outnumbers American troops stationed there, according to a Congressional Research Service report. CRS, along with the Government Accountability Office, also determined that the Pentagon is unable to properly document the work these contractors are doing. And the information DOD is receiving is often unreliable and inaccurate.

According to CRS, there are now 108,000 private workers in Afghanistan, a workforce that dwarfs the 65,700 American troops still stationed there. That means there are 1.6 contractors for every American soldier in Afghanistan. This is an increase from last month, when The Fiscal Times reported that there were 1.4 contractors per American soldier.

Given the size of the private forces, it’s not surprising that CRS found that in recent years, the Defense Department spent more than any other agency to support contractor work.

READ THE REST HERE.

War and Rape go Hand in Hand

By John Grant


Watching the US Senate Armed Forces Committee wrestle with the issue of rape and sexual abuse in the military opens a whole range of related issues concerning sex and war that will likely not be addressed in the Senate.

"I’ve Been Put in Prison for Opposing the War in Afghanistan"

The following is an excerpt from Soldier Box: Why I Won't Return to the War on Terror [3]Reprinted with permission of Verso Press, Brooklyn, NY.

It’s December. I’ve been put in prison for opposing the war in Afghanistan. Lots of other people disagree with it, lots of people think it is variously a stupid or illegal or unjustified or doomed war. The problem is that I am not supposed to say these things because I am a soldier; and yet I keep saying them.

Remand is when you are held in prison awaiting trial. Sometimes it is for those considered a flight risk and at other times it is for those not yet tried and convicted but considered too dangerous to be out in the world – I belong to the latter category. What I have said damages the ‘war effort’ and I have said it with that intention. Remand is purgatory. They tell us it’s not a prison, but we can’t go out. We ’re held in a centre for corrections. I find irony in that idea and in the idea that the individuals who’ve sent me here actually believe it is me who needs adjustment. The Military Correctional Training Centre (MCTC) claims to improve soldiers or discharge them as good citizens. To me it’s a funny idea – funny ha-ha, and funny strange.

READ THE REST AT ALTERNET.

Afghans demand arrest of US troops over killings

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Hundreds of Afghans blocked a major highway south of Kabul on Tuesday, carrying freshly dug-up bodies they claimed were victims of torture by U.S. special forces and demanding the Americans be arrested, officials said.

A spokesman for the U.S.-led military coalition said the claims are false.

Wardok nightmares

A few members of the Afghan Peace Volunteers and the author visiting with several people living at a refugee camp in Afghanistan. (WNV/Jake Donaldson)

A few members of the Afghan Peace Volunteers and the author visiting with several people living in a refugee camp in Afghanistan. (WNV/Hakim)

On a peace delegation to Afghanistan to visit the Afghan Peace Volunteers, I found myself one dusty afternoon in early May in Kabul sitting across the room from three men from Wardok Province, one of Afghanistan’s most intense areas of fighting. The men came to share their stories.

Two of the men — Abdul Samát and Hayatullah — were perhaps in their 50s or 60s, and were dressed in traditional Afghan garb. The third man — Roohulah — was younger and wearing a white shirt and sport coat. After introductions, the men decided that Roohulah should be the first person to speak.

“I have so many things to say to you,” he started. “So many stories. I don’t know where to begin.” He was choked up already, eyes red and swollen, and I could almost see the lump in his throat. “My own sister was killed in the war. But that is not what angered me the most. I am most angry about losing my cousin. He had a wife and two small children, and now that he is gone, they have no one to care for them.”

Roohulah then told the story of how his cousin and a good friend were visiting family members one snowy evening when they heard the ominous, familiar sound of an American helicopter landing nearby. Frightened, the cousin and a friend decided to run home to be with their families. But when they neared their village, they realized that the Americans were there already, so the two men decided to continue onto the next village, where they would stay until the raid was finished.

READ THE REST AT WAGINGNONVIOLENCE.

Forget droning on about changed policies: President Obama will have to Prove He’s a Changed Man

By Dave Lindorff


Some on the left are writing hopefully these days that perhaps President Obama has finally realized he needs to back off on his warlike posture on drones and the War on Terror. They are seeing his talk about scaling back the use of drone killing machines and of reconsidering or “investigating” recent Justice Department attacks on the press and its use of leaks by government whistle-blowers, as a sign that he is perhaps regaining his constitutional senses and perhaps even “moving” to the left to rebuild support he has been losing in droves.

Live Video Series from Kabul: Perspectives on the Afghan-US Strategic Partnership

What: Live Video Series from Kabul: Perspectives on the Afghan-US Strategic Partnership

When:Wednesday, June 5th at 10am EDT (US)/6:30pm AFT (Kabul)

Where:Live online video facilitated by Google Hangout, streamed to YouTube. See also: http://bit.ly/AfghanSecurity

Details:

How do Afghans feel about the Strategic Partnership and how do they articulate their own security needs and interests?

Broadcast live from Kabul, Washington DC, and Philadelphia, this conversation will address security issues from an Afghan perspective, with:

Sami Sadat, Director of Strategic Communications at Afghanistan’s High Peace Council

Abdul Waheed Wafa, Executive Director of the Afghan Center at Kabul University

Mohammad Hamid Saboory, Master’s degree consultant to Kardan University in Kabul

Matthew Southworth, Foreign Policy Legislative Associate for the Friend’s Committee on National Legislation

Moderated by Peter Lems, Program Director of Education and Advocacy for Iraq and Afghanistan at the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)

A strategic partnership is right now being negotiated between the governments of Afghanistan and the United States. At stake will be the number and type of U.S. forces after 2014, whether those forces will have immunity from Afghan law, what type of access they have to bases in the country, and the focus of financial assistance the U.S. will provide in the future.

These are fundamental questions for Afghans, and will dramatically affect their future and their country’s stability and development.

Because the US involvement is overwhelmingly military, we rarely hear about the goals of Afghan civil society and the type of relationship they would like to see with the U.S.

Join us for an on-going series of conversations looking at the key issues for Afghans. This dialogue will include what security looks like for Afghans, the regional dynamics of an on-going US presence, the need for assistance that supports civil society initiatives, and the broader question of accountability.

Presented by:

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v62), quality = 90<br />
   

Boston, MA                Kabul, Afghanistan       Philadelphia, PA

 

Contact:

For interviews, inquiries or more information, call Michael Sheridan 617-834-7206 or email michael@csfilm.org. Interviews with participants also available.

To submit questions for discussion subjects, contact Peter Lems at plems@afsc.org.

Thanking Bradley Manning

By Kathy Kelly

A few evenings ago, as the sky began to darken here in Kabul, Afghanistan, a small group of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, (APVs), gathered for an informal presentation about WikiLeaks, its chief editor Julian Assange, and its most prominent contributor, Bradley Manning. Basir Bita, a regular visitor to the APV household, began the evening’s discussion noting that June 1st will mark the beginning of Bradley Manning’s fourth year in prison.  Two days later his trial will begin, a trial which could sadly result in his imprisonment for a life sentence. June 1st also begins an international week of support and solidarity, aimed at thanking Bradley Manning. #ThankManning!  

Basir believes that the vast majority of Afghans are among myriads world-wide who have Manning to thank for information they will need in struggles for freedom, security, and peace. He wishes that more people would find the courage to stand up to military and government forces, especially their own, and act as “whistle-blowers.”

I often hear Afghan individuals and groups express longing for a far more democratic process than is allowed them in a country dominated by warlords, the U.S./NATO militaries, and their commanders.  In the U.S., a lack of crucial information increasingly threatens democratic processes. How can people make informed choices if their leaders deliberately withhold crucial information from them?  Manning’s disclosures have brought desperately needed light to the U.S. and to countries around the world, including struggling countries like Afghanistan.

Hakim, who mentors the Afghan Peace Volunteers, recalled that Bradley Manning passed on documents that record 91,730 “Significant Actions,” or “SIGACTS” undertaken here by the U.S. /ISAF forces, of which 75,000 were released by WikiLeaks.

These SIGACTS include attacks by drones, sometimes invisible drones, and night raids. 

Our group turned to discussing the history of WikiLeaks, how it formed and how it now functions. Those most familiar with computers and internet explained the process of disclosing information by anonymously following a computerized route to a “dropbox.”

In fact, the Afghan Peace Volunteers themselves have been communicating with Julian Assange.

Last winter, Nobel peace laureate Mairead Maguire had stayed with them shortly before she traveled to London for a visit to Julian Assange.  Through Mairead, they had sent Assange a letter of solidarity.

The APVs heard that Manning has been more isolated than Assange; they all shook their heads when Basir reminded them that Bradley Manning was initially in solitary confinement for eleven months.

Ghulamai thought through the ironic process of how governments designate some documents ‘secret,’ and how he would presume that the person who shares those secrets was a ‘criminal.’ But Ali said that governments chiefly hide ‘secrets’ from the public to maintain power. Hakim asked Abdulhai to imagine himself as the head of a government or of a large family. “If you are working for the good of the family or the state, would you need to do things secretly?” he asked.

“No,” Abdulhai replied. “If I have power, and I am truly working for the best interests of my people, I will not need to do things in secret.”

There was a keen conversation about who Bradley Manning was and what he did. Bradley Manning’s own words, which journalists had to actually smuggle out of his pre-trial hearing, described how Bradley’s mind had largely been made up by watching the secret video that he would come to release under the title “Collateral Murder:”

 

They dehumanized the individuals they were engaging and seemed to not value human life by referring to them as quote "dead bastards" unquote and congratulating each other on the ability to kill in large numbers. At one point in the video there’s an individual on the ground attempting to crawl to safety. The individual is seriously wounded. Instead of calling for medical attention to the location, one of the aerial weapons team crew members verbally asks for the wounded person to pick up a weapon so that he can have a reason to engage. For me, this seems similar to a child torturing ants with a magnifying glass.

While saddened by the aerial weapons team crew's lack of concern about human life, I was disturbed by the response of the discovery of injured children at the scene. In the video, you can see that the bongo truck driving up to assist the wounded individual. In response the aerial weapons team crew-- as soon as the individuals are a threat, they repeatedly request for authorization to fire on the bongo truck and once granted they engage the vehicle at least six times.

Together, the APVs watched the deeply disturbing “Collateral Damage” video itself. They were avid to learn what they could do to support and thank Bradley Manning.  Yet they’re aware of the risks faced by people who organize public demonstrations in Afghanistan.

It’s far easier to stand up for Bradley where I live, back in the U.S.  I hope many more of us will devote the time and energy we owe this young man for risking everything, as he did, to enlighten us and the world.  

The Afghan Peace Volunteers are eager for ways to link with others worldwide to express thanks and concern for a remarkably brave and conscience-driven 25-year old man whose courage and whose light is so acutely needed in this darkening time. I’ve seen the fierce light of these young people and, knowing them, I’m certain that others will be seeing it too in the years ahead. Are we readying signals with which to answer them, are we preparing ways to show people like them, and like Julian Assange, and like Bradley Manning, that they are not alone?

Photo caption:  Afghan Peace Volunteers with a sign that thanks Bradley Manning

Photo credit:  Hakim

Kathy Kelly (kathy@vcnv.org) co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence (www.vcnv.org). She is spending the month of May as a guest of the Afghan Peace Volunteers (ourjourneytosmile.com)

Obama: POTUS Impotens

Doubting Obama’s Resolve to Do Right

May 28, 2013

Editor Note: In his counterterrorism speech, President Obama ruminated about the moral and legal dilemma of balancing the safety of the American people against the use of targeted killings abroad. But Obama’s handwringing did not sit well with some critics including ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern

An article in the Washington Post on July 6, 2010, reported me standing before the White House, announcing a new epithet for President Barack Obama: “Wuss – a person who will not stand up for what he knows is right.”

Shopping Bags Full of Money

Afghan president confirms he received tens of millions of dollars from the CIA in suitcases and sacks 'for access to Karzai's inner circle'       

      - Headline, The Daily Mail, 29 April 2013

 

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