You are hereAfghanistan
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Pakistani leaders on Tuesday ended a seven-month blockade on Afghanistan-bound NATO supply routes through their country, a long-awaited move that hinged on Washington's acquiescence to Islamabad's demand for an apology for the deaths of two dozen Pakistani soldiers killed by errant U.S. airstrikes last fall.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she had called her Pakistani counterpart, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, on Tuesday and issued an apology for the soldiers' deaths: "We are sorry for the losses suffered by the Pakistani military. We are committed to working closely with Pakistan and Afghanistan to prevent this from ever happening again."
The Anti-Empire Report
I'm sure most Americans are mighty proud of the fact that Julian Assange is so frightened of falling into the custody of the United States that he had to seek sanctuary in the embassy of Ecuador, a tiny and poor Third World country, without any way of knowing how it would turn out. He might be forced to be there for years. "That'll teach him to mess with the most powerful country in the world! All you other terrorists and anti-Americans out there — Take Note! When you fuck around with God's country you pay a price!"
How true. You do pay a price. Ask the people of Cuba, Vietnam, Chile, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Iran, Haiti, etc., etc., etc. And ask the people of Guantánamo, Diego Garcia, Bagram, and a dozen other torture centers to which God's country offers free transportation.
You think with the whole world watching, the United States would not be so obvious as to torture Assange if they got hold of him? Ask Bradley Manning. At a bare minimum, prolonged solitary confinement is torture. Before too long the world may ban it. Not that that would keep God's country and other police states from using it.
You think with the whole world watching, the United States would not be so obvious as to target Assange with a drone? They've done it with American citizens. Assange is a mere Aussie.
And Ecuador and its president, Rafael Correa, will pay a price. You think with the whole world watching, the United States would not intervene in Ecuador? In Latin America, it comes very naturally for Washington. During the Cold War it was said that the United States could cause the downfall of a government south of the border ... with a frown. The dissolution of the Soviet Union didn't bring any change in that because it was never the Soviet Union per se that the United States was fighting. It was the threat of a good example of an alternative to the capitalist model.
U.S. building Afghanistan a huge $92 million military headquarters, because food, water, sanitation just not very important
KABUL -- The United States is spending $92 million to build Afghanistan a new "Pentagon," a massive five-story military headquarters with domed roofs and a high-tech basement command center that will link Afghan generals with their troops fighting the Taliban nationwide. ...
Rising amid Kabul's dusty streets, the 516,000-square-foot building, still cloaked in scaffolds and cranes, dwarfs other buildings in town.
"Once it's finished, it will be a permanent and a very significant illustration of the U.S. support for Afghanistan," Wardak said in an interview.
Even with American troops beginning their withdrawal, the U.S. government is still working its way through a $10 billion menu of construction projects.
Of the 1,150 buildings planned, more than 600 have been completed, with a total value of $4 billion.
by Kathy Kelly
June 30, 2012
“We love you!”
Yesterday, Americans sent two very important and very different communications to our friend Dr. Wee Teck Young, a Singaporean physician and activist who lives and works in Kabul, Afghanistan. The “We love you!” was a press release announcing that the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) had awarded him their “International Pfeffer Peace Prize” in recognition of his contributions to peace working with dedicated young Afghans in Kabul. The “Stay out!” was from the American government, refusing him a visa to enter the United States with these young people, in the furtherance of this work. It seems all too likely that the actions and choices which have earned him his well-deserved award are the same factors that persuaded U.S. consular officials to deny him entry to the United States. The question is whether we can be a voice to affirm that his work, and the work of the young Afghans working with him, has value in the United States, where awareness of the costs of war, and of the lives of ordinary Afghans, is desperately needed.
By Dave Lindorff
There are two US presidents who have won the Nobel Peace Prize. Now one of those Nobel laureate leaders is accusing the other, though without naming him, of actions that qualify as war crimes and impeachable crimes against the US Constitution.
By Gary Lindorff
Let us bomb your neighborhood,
Let us target your neighbor
Out of our love and concern –
Not you, not your children.
Drones of love!
Won’t you love us
After the dust settles?
After the evil has been exploded?
After the crater in the market-place
Has been filled in and paved
We will explode our way into your hearts!
We might miss our intended target;
By John Grant
Vietnam, a story of virtually unmitigated disasters that we have inflicted on ourselves and even more on others.
-Bernard Brodie, 1973
Tree nursery worker, Surkhrud -- Source: AfghanistanSamsortya.o
by Dr. Mariam Raqib
By Ann Wright and Coleen Rowley
The new Executive Director of Amnesty International USA – Suzanne Nossel – is a recent U.S. government insider. So it’s a safe bet that AI’s decision to seize upon a topic that dovetailed with American foreign policy interests, “women’s rights in Afghanistan,” at the NATO Conference last month in Chicago came directly from her.
Nossel was hired by AI in January 2012. In her early career, Nossel worked for Ambassador Richard Holbrooke under the Clinton Administration at the United Nations. Most recently, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Organizations at the U.S. Department of State, where she was responsible for multilateral human rights, humanitarian affairs, women’s issues, public diplomacy, press and congressional relations.
Gareth Porter, the Washington-based journalist, has won the prestigious Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism for 2012 for his investigation of US ‘killing strategy’ in Afghanistan, including the targeting of people through their mobile phones.
The judges said: ‘In a series of extraordinary articles, Gareth Porter has torn away the facades of the Obama administration and disclosed a military strategy that amounts to a war against civilians.’
The Martha Gellhorn Prize is given in honour of one of the 20th century’s greatest reporters and is awarded to a journalist ‘whose work has penetrated the established version of events and told an unpalatable truth that exposes establishment propaganda, or “official drivel”, as Martha Gellhorn called it’.
Previous winners include Robert Fisk of the Independent, Nick Davies of the Guardian, Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, and the late Marie Colvin of the Sunday Times (special award).
By Buddy Bell
Once I did put it on, Omar motioned for me to push back some loose strands of hair still visible outside my hooded sweatshirt. Long-haired men, though a typical sight in some regions of Afghanistan, are apparently not very common in Kabul. Covered up to his satisfaction, I followed close behind as we made our second attempt to enter the university through a second gate. We slipped handily past the guardpost, and made our way into the men’s dormitory.
Omar had been visiting the community house of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, where I was a guest and partner organizer through my role as co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence. In an effort to improve human conditions in Afghanistan, he is starting to build bridges between the APVs and his university classmates. It was his fifth visit to the house when he met me and offered to bring me to meet some of them.
I agreed to go with him, partly because it is a place where not many foreigners are able to go, but also because I understood he was taking some personal risks by making this invitation. In some cases in the past, congregating with foreigners on campus has been grounds for questioning by agents of the National Directorate of Security. In a country where university students expect to face a real unemployment rate between 50 and 70 percent, it shouldn’t be surprising that Afghanistan’s unpopular government would want to keep a tight lid on this potential hotbed of dissent.
As I stepped into a dorm room that in the U.S. would house 2 students, I encountered 6 bunks jammed in along 2 walls, two bureau closets and a window ledge, where a propane burner was heating water for tea. Upon learning I was a visitor from the United States, several of the students did not hesitate to practice their English and to ask me about life in the United States, what do I think about Afghanistan, and why did I come.
I told them I wanted to hear their opinions about U.S. policy in Afghanistan, in order that the U.S. public might learn what is important to Afghans. Partly as a joke, I asked if they expected the U.S. to honor its own Enduring Strategic Protection Agreement, which in article IV calls on all nations to “refrain from interfering in Afghanistan’s internal affairs and democratic processes.”
They told me that the president, Hamid Karzai, is widely believed to remain in office only because U.S. money and manipulation fixed it that way. “The politicians take the money from the United States, and they put it right here,” said a student who gestured to his front shirt pocket. “A lot of things are improving with U.S. money, but it is not what is possible.”
“Almost all the parliamentarians, they were warlords before,” said another student. “Isn’t Karzai a former warlord, too?” I asked. “Yes, he was part of the Taliban.” I learned that the governors of each of Afghanistan’s provinces are all appointees selected by Karzai. One student suggested that instituting “federalism” would allow each province to hold their own elections and manage some of their own affairs, raising the level of democracy on the local level.
As the night went on, I visited room after room, putting my hood on each time I walked through the hallways, at one point taking a shortcut through a kitchen to avoid passing the guardpost in front. Before the night was over I might have had 10 cups of tea and 2 dinners, served on a mat on the floor of the cramped dorm room with everyone sitting around it.
Many of the students expressed their fear that a U.S. withdrawal would result in the Taliban coming back into Kabul, but they were also cognizant that the U.S. presence itself and the barbarity of many of the U.S. soldiers has been causing the resurgence of the Taliban and Hezb-e-Islami. Some of the students also brought up the fact that a U.S. presence depends on supplies coming through Pakistan, which depends on the U.S. paying off their old ISI friends, who then funnel that money back to warlords of the Haqqani network.
Later, I asked one student that if he believes U.S. troops must remain in Afghanistan as a deterrent to the Taliban, does that mean he believes the U.S. must carry out offensive maneuvers such as bombing from the air. “Of course not,” he said. “No one accepts that.” “This is the problem. They have to stop thinking ten hundred Afghan people’s lives equal one American person’s life. If they cannot guarantee the life of the Afghan people, they have no right to do the bombings or the night operations.”
The electricity went out every few hours; we continued the conversation by flashlight until it came back on. At around 2am, I was provided a space to sleep on the floor. In the morning there was another communal meal with the dorm mates before Omar and a few of his friends took me for a short walk through campus, out the main gate and back home. A goodbye from one of them still echoes in my head: “I want that you write all the truth you have seen in Afghanistan.”
"The future is too good to waste on lies," Bowe wrote. "And life is way too short to care for the damnation of others, as well as to spend it helping fools with their ideas that are wrong. I have seen their ideas and I am ashamed to even be american. The horror of the self-righteous arrogance that they thrive in. It is all revolting."
NATO says only two light injuries to civilians during operation in Logar province, but local official reports at least 17 killed
17 civilians have been killed in a NATO airstrike in eastern Afghanistan, according to a local official in Logar province.
By Kathy Kelly
“On the last day of summer, ten hours before fall …
… my grandfather took me out to the wall.”
Kabul--When we arrived at the museum, two legless men wheeled themselves past us, traveling in wooden carts operated by a hand held steering device. Inside Kabul’s OMAR museum, which houses ordnance and land mines used in Afghanistan over four decades of warfare, there were many more pictures of legless, armless and eyeless survivors of land mine explosions lining the walls. The OMAR organization bravely collects and defuses abandoned mines and cluster bomblets before they can produce more casualties such as these (and casualties that are far, far worse) among men, women, and children in Afghanistan.
Amnesty International ran ads and sent a letter signed by Madeline Albright supporting the absurd claim signed by the heads of state at the NATO summit in Chicago: “In the ten years of our partnership the lives of Afghan men, women and children, have improved significantly in terms of security, education, health care, economic opportunity and the assurance of rights and freedoms. There is more to be done, but we are resolved to work together to preserve the substantial progress we have made during the past decade.”
Recent facts to the contrary include:
By John Grant
“No, Charlotte, I’m the jury now. I sentence you to death.”
The roar of the .45 shook the room. Charlotte staggered back a step.
“How c-could you?” she gasped.
“It was easy.”
- Mickey Spillane, I, The Jury
No congressional committee appears the least bit interested in what he has to say, but Army Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis --who earlier this year decided to blow the whistle on the false and intentionally misleading happy-talk the American public is hearing from the top brass about Afghanistan -- had a chance to speak his mind at a press conference on Thursday, May 31, hosted by bipartisan anti-war Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Walter Jones (R-NC), and others.
Following is the slightly edited prepared text of his remarks:
By Ian Pounds
One thing true we can say about war is that truth is its greatest casualty.
I am a volunteer teacher. Four years ago I responded to a call from then candidate Barak Obama for a new kind of soldier to wage peace, one without a uniform, without a gun. On the three-year anniversary of my moving in with the orphans here in Afghanistan, I listened to gun battle and explosions in my Kabul neighborhood for ten hours through the night and into the morning. While CNN reported the insurgency event had ended I shook my head. “Nope,” I muttered to myself, listening to stray bullets fly over my room.
Army Whistleblower to Provide Analysis of America’s War in Afghanistan at Capitol Hill Press Conference
Members of Congress to Receive Testimony from Army Whistleblower, Experts at Panel Discussion
Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC), and other Members of the House will hold a press conference in support of expedited withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan on Thursday, May 31, 2012, at 2 p.m. EST. The press conference will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Davis, who will provide an analysis of the situation in Afghanistan that is vastly different than the one received by Congress from the Obama Administration. Lt. Col. Davis will also speak at the press conference.
One week after the NATO announcement on Afghanistan, the American people are still waiting for Congress to catch up and bring about an end to war in Afghanistan. Members of the House directed a request to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) that Lt. Col. Danny be invited to testify in a relevant hearing. Since no invitation has been forthcoming, the Members will be receiving the testimony of Lt. Col. Danny Davis at a panel discussion.
WHO: Danny Davis, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army
Ria Dellewar, Director, Afghanistan Study Group
Malou Innocent, Foreign Policy Analyst, Cato Institute
MEMBERS: U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)
U.S. Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC)
U.S. Rep. John Duncan (R-TN)
U.S. Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA)
U.S. Rep. Timothy V. Johnson (R-IL)
U.S. Rep. James McGovern (D-MA)
U.S. Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)
WHAT: Press Conference and Panel Discussion
WHEN: Thursday, May 31, 2012
TIME: Press conference begins at 2 p.m. EST
Panel Discussion held from 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. EST
WHERE: B-318 Rayburn House Office Building
MEDIA: Please RSVP to Kristal DeKleer (202) 225-1882 or kristal.dekleer at mail.house.gov
This Memorial Day Let’s Start Caring for Our Nation’s Veterans: No More Ducking the Real Cost of US Wars!
By Dave Lindorff
Whether he ever said it or not, I’m going to borrow from a quote often attributed to Abraham Lincoln and alter it a bit to say: “American politicians must love war veterans -- they keep making so many more of them.”
By Kathy Kelly
Here in Kabul, Voices co-coordinator Buddy Bell and I are guests at the home of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, (APV), where we’ve gotten to know four young boys who are being tutored by the Volunteers in the afternoons, having “retired” from their former work as street vendors in exchange for a chance to enter a public school. Five afternoons a week, Murtaza, Rahim, Hamid and Sajad wheel their antiquated bicycles into the APV “yard.” They quickly shake the hand of each person present and then wash their feet outside the back door before settling into a classroom to study language, math and art, tutored in each subject by a different Volunteer. They've cycled here from school through heavy traffic, which worries their mothers, but the families cannot afford for the boys to take a public bus.
Today is Memorial Day, the last day of the three-day weekend. Veterans and community groups will remember those who died in battle and, as they have done for more than a century, will place small flags on graves.
But, for most of America, Memorial Day is a three-day picnic-filled weekend that heralds the start of Summer, just as Labor Day has become a three-day picnic-filled weekend that laments the end of Summer.
There will be memorial concerts and parades. The media, shoving aside political and celebrity news, will all have stories. Among those who will be the first to patriotically salute those who died in battle are those who enthusiastically pushed for them to go to war.
By Jay Janson
This week in Chicago, militarized politicians of wealthy nations pretended to sit in discussion of how much more death they will deal to the poorest nation on earth. In reality, they are powerless to do otherwise. Our real rulers, the elite of the community of private investment banking are whom the public should be focused on. In the meantime those who sign orders for killing in illegal wars will soon be facing prosecution
Barack Obama thanks NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen NATO Summit by Chad J. McNeeley/Released)
Chicago, May 2012 - NATO's top military leaders, representing the now centuries old world rule by private investment banking, make a pathetic and pompous photo-op show of a supposedly tactical decision, to give up murdering Afghani citizens in their own country's homes, villages, cities and countryside after 2014.
"Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their peoples in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was their object. This, our Convention understood to be the most oppressive of all Kingly oppressions; and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us."--Abraham Lincoln
Prior to 2001, the Taliban was willing to turn Osama bin Laden over to a third country if he was promised a fair trial and no death penalty, and if some evidence of his guilt of crimes were offered. In 2001, the Taliban warned the United States that bin Laden was planning an attack on American soil. In July 2001 the United States was known to have plans to take military action against the Taliban by mid-October.
When the United States attacked Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, the Taliban again offered to negotiate for the handing over of bin Laden. When President George W. Bush refused, the Taliban dropped its demand for evidence of guilt and offered simply to turn bin Laden over to a third country. Bush rejected this offer and continued bombing. At a March 13, 2002, press conference, Bush said of bin Laden "I truly am not that concerned about him."[i] When President Barack Obama announced, in May 2011, that he had killed bin Laden, the war didn't even slow down.
By Yasmeen Ali
Lahore -- US Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and John McCain (R-AZ), the chair and ranking minority member respectively of the Senate Armed Services Committee, say the US must not pay $5000 per truck as demanded by Pakistan, for supplies being shipped through this country to American troops in Afghanistan. McCain went further, calling the Pakistni demand “extortion.”
By John Grant
If all else fails, lower your standards.
This has been my philosophy for years. My wife likes to joke it’s how she picked me; instead of prince charming, I’m “prince somewhat-charming.” So you can imagine how delighted I am that the United States of America and its NATO military allies have decided to apply that philosophy to US foreign policy in Afghanistan.
They're calling their version “Afghanistan Good Enough.”
Has Amnesty Intl. Gone Mad? It Cheers NATO
"we are deeply concerned that the significant gains made by women and girls in Afghanistan may be threatened as U.S. and allied troops leave the country."
Bizarre List of Signatories, from Madeleine Albright to Yoko Ono
Where is Amnesty International's head? Karzai represenents the other faction of Afghan women despisers, the Warloards who were so disgusting in the early '90's that the Taliban women despisers looked good by comparison. And the US government stands by Karzai 100%.
For a different point of view see what Afghan women in RAWA are saying
By Joshua Brollier
I feel compelled to comment on a few things I have heard in the past week during the lead up to and duration of NATO protests here in Chicago. Mainly, I feel disheartened by the way the media and consumerism have shaped national opinion and attitude when it comes to these specific anti-NATO demonstrations. Two friends of mine, whom I highly respect in other aspects both personally and professionally, have made comments that seem to echo too much of the hysteria and general misunderstanding as to why people are protesting and what being a participant in a social movement entails.
By Dave Lindorff
John Kerry, back before he was a pompous windsurfing Senate apologist for American empire, back when he wore his hair long and was part of a movement of returned US military veterans speaking out against the continuation of the Vietnam War, famously asked the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at a hearing, “How do you ask a man to be the last one to die for a mistake?”
That was 1971, and the Vietnam War continued to drag on for two more years, with more Americans dying, and with many more Vietnamese being killed, until finally the last US combat troops were gone. But even then the fighting continued, with the Army of South Vietnam armed and financed by the United States, until April 30, 1975, when the last resistance ended and Vietnam was liberated and reunified and finally at peace.