A US drone attack has killed 22 Afghan soldiers held by Taliban militants in the southern Helmand province, while Taliban have overrun a strategic district elsewhere.
Provincial officials announced the fatalities on Saturday. Taliban also confirmed the death toll, saying the airstrike had killed three of the group’s members in the Nad-e-Ali district on Thursday.
Helmand is a strategically important province for both the Afghan government and Taliban militants, who control or contest 10 of the 14 districts in the opium-rich province.
On Saturday, Taliban militants seized a strategic district in the eastern province of Paktia, from which they can surge towards several other provinces.
Officials said dozens of police and soldiers were killed as the militants captured the Jani Khel district after five days of siege.
Local governor Abdul Rahman Solamal said hundreds of militants attacked police check posts overnight, prompting security forces to flee the district.
Jani Khel sits at an intersection linking eight districts. It also connects Paktia with neighboring Khost province and Pakistan.
“If we do not retake it (Jani Khel) soon then Taliban can easily move from one province to another and can undermine security in at least three provinces,” Solamal warned.
More than 20 soldiers and police were killed and another 20 wounded in the fighting overnight, while some 200 Taliban insurgents were killed, he said.
In a statement, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said large amounts of equipment had been captured, including armored vehicles, light and heavy weapons and ammunition.
Taliban have regrouped since the death of former leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour earlier in the year and are reported to be currently in control of more than 65 percent of the country.
Fierce fighting is currently ongoing against the militants across the country, notably in Helmand and around the northern city of Kunduz, which they briefly seized last year.
Late last month, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said it had recorded 1,601 civilian deaths and 3,565 injuries in Afghanistan in the first six months of 2016.
The mission warned that civilian casualties had hit a record high this year, describing them as “alarming and shameful.”
“We can’t have it both ways. We can’t be both the world’s leading champion of peace and the world’s leading supplier of arms.” – Former US President Jimmy Carter, presidential campaign, 1976 [Source]
No clearer demonstration of the mass psychosis afflicting much of humanity can be seen than in the ongoing outrage and horror evoked by the photographs of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi’s body. While it goes without saying that any empathetic being would react with utter revulsion and helpless fury at the fate of this poor little boy, one cannot ignore the vast indifference evident toward the thousands of other needless child deaths that occur daily around the world. For this silent slaughter, we hear: ‘Shit happens’ or ‘What am I supposed to do about it?’
Aylan’s death even touched the stony hearts of corporate media editors:
From Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal :
His name was Aylan. He was 3 years old, from war-torn Syria.
His final journey was supposed to end in sanctuary in Europe; instead it claimed his life and highlighted the plight of desperate people caught in the gravest refugee crisis since World War II.
Readers can be forgiven for missing similarly recounted tragedies concerning other young children. From an earlier 99.99998271% article [Note: see original for sources]:
Ask yourself if you have heard the name of Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, a 14-year-old Iraqi girl who was gang-raped and murdered by US marines after her family (34-year-old mother Fakhriyah Taha Muhsin, 45-year-old father Qasim Hamza Raheem, and six-year-old sister Hadeel Qasim Hamza) were killed.
How about Safa Younis Salim, a 13-year old girl who amazingly survived the Haditha Massacre, in which 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians were killed including seven children, a 1-year-old girl staying with the family and a 76-year-old man in a wheelchair?
How did she survive?
“I pretended that I was dead when my brother’s body fell on me and he was bleeding like a faucet.”
A six-year US military prosecution ended with none of the eight Marines sentenced to jail, despite one of the men – Sgt. Sanick De La Cruz – testifying (in return for immunity) that he had urinated on the skull of one of the dead Iraqis. This outcome outraged the Iraqi people (as the attack on Malala [Yousafzai] outraged the West) but the name of Safa Younis Salim remains practically unknown.
Informing the world about these children would run counter to the crucial narrative that the US and its NATO allies are an altruistic force for good in the world – bringers of peace, freedom and democracy. Aylan Kurdi, on the other hand, may prove very useful in furthering the true aims of the Western-aligned powers, and so – like Malala – he will be making the front pages for as long as is necessary.
Mainstream press outlets have overwhelmingly called for decisive action, with tabloids like The Sun and The Daily Mail plumbing new depths of hypocrisy. The UK’s ‘liberal-left’ Guardian newspaper joined the ‘humanitarian intervention’ ranks in a recent editorial:
To begin restoring that hope will inevitably mean international intervention of some kind. The establishment of credible safe havens and the implementation of a no-fly zone must be on the table for serious consideration.
Where were the editorials calling for the establishment of no-fly zones in order to overthrow the Israeli regime when last summer, in an orgy of indiscriminate slaughter and destruction, the inhabitants of Gaza (average age 17), described accurately by David Cameron as a prison camp, were subjected to a barrage of modern, US-supplied weaponry:
The United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict has gathered substantial information pointing to the possible commission of war crimes by both Israel and Palestinian armed groups.
The 2014 hostilities saw a huge increase in firepower used in Gaza, with more than 6,000 airstrikes by Israel and approximately 50,000 tank and artillery shells fired. In the 51 day operation, 1,462 Palestinian civilians were killed, a third of them children. Palestinian armed groups fired 4,881 rockets and 1,753 mortars towards Israel in July and August 2014, killing 6 civilians and injuring at least 1,600.
Hundreds of Palestinian civilians were killed in their own homes, especially women and children. Survivors gave graphic testimony describing air strikes that reduced buildings to piles of dust and rubble in seconds. “I woke up… in the hospital, and I later learned that my sister, mother and my children had all died,” said a member of the Al Najjar family after an attack in Khan Younis on 26 July that killed 19 of his relatives, “We all died that day even those who survived”.
The commission is concerned about Israel’s extensive use of weapons with a wide kill and injury radius; though not illegal, their use in densely populated areas is highly likely to kill combatants and civilians indiscriminately. There appears also to be a pattern whereby the IDF issued warnings to people to leave a neighbourhood and then automatically considered anyone remaining to be a fighter. This practice makes attacks on civilians highly likely. During the Israeli ground incursion into Gaza that began in mid-July 2014, hundreds of people were killed and thousands of homes destroyed or damaged.
Where is the global anguish and soul searching about the CIA drone campaign, which is now responsible, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, for the deaths of thousands of people, of whom many are civilians and hundreds children, including babies? Where is the mass public/media outrage against Obama’s strikes on weddings and funerals?
A population of billions that reacts so dramatically to one outrage yet indifference to another of equal horror can only be described as emotionally and empathically dysfunctional to a profound degree.
These oddities require no psychological explanation with regard to the media. Indeed, if there were any lingering doubts about the agenda of the corporate press, they can be safely dispensed with for all time. Despite this fact, confronting mainstream journalists about this agenda on social media invariably leads to ‘conspiracy’ smears, derision (often with peers piling into the fray), and sometimes blocking.
It is not even necessary (although it is highly recommended) to read Herman/Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent to see the systemic bias towards corporate/state-power-friendly narratives; common sense is adequate, and the current push to war on Syria is an apt example of the standard methods employed.
How do we know there is an agenda?
The Syria story is being universally framed as ‘We have to go in there and do something’ but a crucial element is missing, namely that US-aligned forces have long been covertly operating in Syria. An internal email dated 7th December 2011 of the Stratfor ‘global intelligence’ company published by WikiLeaks makes this very clear. It is a remarkable email, in that it clearly demonstrates the intent of the US to intervene in the affairs of Syria, and strongly implies that – among many other things – agents from the US, France, Jordan, Turkey, and the UK were already on the ground carrying out reconnaissance and the training of opposition forces.
While the content of the email is unambiguously damning – a clear smoking gun of a plan for regime change in Syria – equally striking is the casual tone of the writer. It is that of an employee who is extremely comfortable, not only in the knowledge that the US will eventually force regime change, but also that a way will be found to make it look good in the media, presumably understanding that another department in the Pentagon or the CIA will handle that side of things. The employee assumes the humdrum tone of a person simply doing what they are expected to do – passing on useful information to his superiors – without any consideration or fear that such actions may be illegal.
This casual approach speaks volumes about the attitude from the very top down of US officials and their employees in the public and private sectors toward the nation’s obligations to international law; namely that any ‘problems’ with such obligations can be worked around to everyone’s satisfaction (at least far enough to get the job done), as demonstrated with the invasion ten years ago of Iraq by the US and its ‘Coalition of the Willing’ without a UN resolution.
Some highlights from the email [Original typos uncorrected. Emphasis mine in bold]:
I kept pressing on the question of what these SOF teams would be working toward, and whether this would lead to an eventual air camapign to give a Syrian rebel group cover. They pretty quickly distanced themselves from that idea, saying that the idea ‘hypothetically’ is to commit guerrilla attacks, assassination campaigns, try to break the back of the Alawite forces, elicit collapse from within.
They emphasized how the air campaign in Syria makes Libya look like a piece of cake.
There still seems to be a lot of confusion over what a military intervention involving an air campaign would be designed to achieve. It isn’t clear cut for them geographically like in Libya, and you can’t just create an NFZ over Homs, Hama region. This would entail a countrywide SEAD campaign lasting the duration of the war. They dont believe air intervention would happen unless there was enough media attention on a massacre, like the Ghadafi move against Benghazi. They think the US would have a high tolerance for killings as long as it doesn’t reach that very public stage.
The French representative was of hte opinion that Syria won’t be a libya-type situation in that France would be gung-ho about going in. Not in an election year. The UK rep also emphasized UK reluctance but said that the renegotiation of the EU treaty undermines the UK role and that UK would be looking for ways to reassert itself on the continent ( i dont really think a syria campaign is the way to do that.) UK guy mentioned as an aside that the air force base commander at Cyprus got switched out from a maintenance guy to a guy that flew Raptors, ie someone that understands what it means to start dropping bombs. He joked that it was probably a coincidence.
Absent from corporate media reporting is the Pentagon report demonstrating ‘that the growth and expansion of ISIS was a direct result of arms being sent by the US to anti-Assad Islamists, with the strategic [US] intention of toppling the Assad regime in Syria’. [Note: original reporting by Nafeez Ahmed here]
3: Moral relativism
Media reporting on ‘murderous dictators’ and ‘strongmen’ is selective. By a staggering coincidence, dictators that accede to US/NATO strategic demands are spared condemnation while leaders (often democratically elected) who do not are vilified relentlessly, as noted by Glenn Greenwald when Hillary Clinton warned of the dangers of Iran’s ’emerging dictatorship’ in 2010:
“.. Half a century of American foreign policy flatly contradicts this sentiment (which is why Clinton heard soft chuckles and a few muffled guffaws as she spoke). The US has adored military dictatorships in the Arab world, and has long supported states dominated by the shadowy world of intelligence services. This became even more obvious after the attacks of September 11, 2001, when Washington intensified cooperation with Arab intelligence services in the fight against Al-Qaeda and other terror groups.
Washington’s closest allies in the Middle East are military and police states where men with guns rule, and where citizens are confined to shopping, buying cellular telephones, and watching soap operas on satellite television. Countries like Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Libya, as well as the entire Gulf region and other states are devoted first and foremost to maintaining domestic order and regime incumbency through efficient, multiple security agencies, for which they earn American friendship and cooperation. When citizens in these and other countries agitate for more democratic and human rights, the US is peculiarly inactive and quiet…”
Rule of thumb: if a head of state is subjected to a concerted smear campaign throughout the world’s media, that leader has either been targeted for removal, is proving stubborn in allowing the US and its allies to achieve their goals, or is generally aligned against Western interests.
4: Historical Precedent
The intervention rhetoric from public officials published uncritically by the media is nothing new:
Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. Dick Cheney,
August 26, 2002
Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons. George W. Bush, September 12, 2002
If he declares he has none, then we will know that Saddam Hussein is once again misleading the world. Ari Fleischer, December 2, 2002
The president of the United States and the secretary of defense would not assert as plainly and bluntly as they have that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction if it was not true, and if they did not have a solid basis for saying it. Ari Fleischer, December 6, 2002
We know for a fact that there are weapons there. Ari Fleischer, January 9, 2003
Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent. George W. Bush January 28, 2003
We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more.Colin Powell, February 5, 2003
The Pulizer Prize-winning Center for Public Integrity found in a study that ‘following 9/11, President Bush and seven top officials of his administration waged a carefully orchestrated campaign of misinformation about Saddam Hussein’s Iraq’ with ‘at least 935 false statements [from top government officials] in the two years following September 11, 2001, about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Nearly five years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, an exhaustive examination of the record shows that the statements were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses’.
There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.” George W Bush<
5: The source
Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers have been particularly vociferous in demanding bombs in Syria. For him at least, we have means, opportunity and motive. Murdoch’s ownership of a large chunk of mainstream outlets gives him enormous reach (means) while opportunity knocks courtesy of poor little Aylan.
A US oil company is preparing to drill for oil in the Golan Heights. Granted the license in February 2013 by Israel, Afek Oil and Gas is a subsidiary of Genie Energy Ltd, whose equity-holding board members include former US Vice President Dick Cheney, controversial media mogul Rupert Murdoch and financier Lord Jacob Rothschild.
[Note: article dated January 28th 2015. Murdoch remains on the board]
Aside from personal financial interest for Murdoch, a post-Assad, US-friendly Syrian government would mean one less major Russia-Iran-axis power in the Middle East to worry about, a turn of events also greatly desired by Israel, while economically Syria would be opened up to all manner of ‘opportunities’ for Western corporations.
6:The refugee crisis
This user-friendly graph (also available in table form for older data) provided by the World Bank shows large increases in numbers of refugees at key moments after US/allied interventions. [Note: you can add your own parameters] For instance, with the explosion of sectarian violence in Iraq in 2006 brought about by the Iraq War, the number of refugees increased from 262,299 in 2005 to 1,450,905 in 2006 and 2,309,245 in 2007.
7:War for profit
Investors see rising sales for makers of missiles, drones and other weapons as the U.S. hits Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq, said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Chicago-based BMO Private Bank. President Barack Obama approved open-ended airstrikes this month while ruling out ground combat.
As we ramp up our military muscle in the Mideast, there’s a sense that demand for military equipment and weaponry will likely rise,” said Ablin, who oversees $66 billion including Northrop Grumman Corp. and Boeing Co. shares. “To the extent we can shift away from relying on troops and rely more heavily on equipment — that could present an opportunity.
There’s no doubt the world is getting to be a more and more dangerous place, and there are countries around the world that could look to buy aircraft and artillery,” Jeff Babione, deputy manager of Lockheed’s F-35 Lightning II program, said in an interview in Oslo. “There’s a sense that there’s less stability in the world than there was before.
Clearly the world has become increasingly unstable. The question of whether that has a major impact on the defense budget is uncertain,” Finnegan said. “There may be an investor psychology that suggests that there’s going to be a large benefit to these companies. But the jury is still out.
The arms industry is big business.
To conclude, the corporate media has concealed covert activities within Syria going back several years; has blacked out a Pentagon report demonstrating US prediction, supply and use of ISIS as a strategic asset; is again reporting selectively regarding ‘good’ and ‘bad’ dictators; and has engaged in this precise kind of rhetoric in the past before every intervention. Rupert Murdoch is a board member of a company that is drilling for oil in the Golan Heights while his newspapers sound the clarion call that may open the way for a (hoped for) post-Assad Western puppet government. Meanwhile stocks in arms companies are at record levels and the refugee crisis is now a major humanitarian disaster at World War 2 levels, with refugee populations particularly high from nations where the US and its allies have acted (covertly or overtly).
It’s another set-up. Don’t get fooled again.
Since September 2001, the Pentagon has listed $40 billion worth of contracts for small arms intended for Afghanistan and Iraq, supplying 1.45 million guns to both countries while only accounting for 3 percent of them, says a new report by a British NGO.
The London-based nonprofit Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) pored over 14 years’ worth of contracts issued by the US Department of Defense, documenting the purchases of small arms – defined as anything under 30mm in caliber – ammunition and attachments, such as sniper scopes or tripods. They found a massive amount of weapons supplied by the US to the primary theaters of the “War on Terror,” and remarkably little accounting of whose hands they ended up in.
“Our findings raise concerns about the DOD’s own transparency and accountability when it comes to issuing contracts,” Iain Overton, AOAV’s director of investigations, said when announcing the report’s publication Wednesday.
Not only has the Pentagon’s contract database listed only 3 percent of the approximately 1.45 million small arms sent to Iraq and Afghanistan over the years, “we also know the US government has acknowledged they don’t know where many of these weapons now are,” Overton added.
A team of AOAV researchers spent almost a year looking into every contract published by the Pentagon between September 11, 2001 and September 10, 2015, said the organization, whose mission is “research and advocacy in order to reduce the incidence and impact of global armed violence.”
What they found was just over $40 billion of solicitations for small arms, ammunition and attachments, with just under $20 billion actually paid out to contractors. Of the 412 published contracts, 137 – or 33 percent – contained errors and discrepancies.
Ten companies accounted for 65 percent of the total published contract values, the researchers found. The top five contractors were Alliant Techsystems – now split into OrbitalATK and Vista Outdoor – DRS Technologies, BAE Systems Inc., Knight’s Armament Co, and General Dynamics. The largest single contract was for the modernization of Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, Missouri, worth up to $8.48 billion.
Some 949,582 small arms were sent to Iraq, and another 503,328 to Afghanistan, amounting to 1,452,910 assault and sniper rifles, pistols, machine guns and other unspecified firearms. Yet the Department of Defense contract publications listed only 19,602 of these weapons, just over 1 percent of the total. When AOAV pressed for verification, the DOD provided itemized lists for 719,474 weapons provided through June 2016.
The numbers “tell the story of two wars that did not go as pitched,” veteran military correspondent CJ Chivers wrote in the New York Times Magazine, commenting on AOAV’s findings.
The retired Marine and author of The Gun also filled in a piece of the puzzle the researchers missed by not counting the grenade launchers and anti-tank weapons provided by the Pentagon.
“The data offer no insight into a startlingly risky aspect of the Pentagon’s arming of local forces with infantry arms: the wide distribution of anti-armor weapons, including RPG-7s,” Chivers wrote.
After the first few weeks of each war, the only armor on either battlefield was either American or allied, “which made the Pentagon’s practice of providing anti-armor weapons to Afghan and Iraqi security forces puzzling,” Chivers wrote. “Why would they need anti-armor weapons when they had no armor to fight? All the while rockets were somehow mysteriously being fired at American convoys and patrols in each war.”
With the battle for Aleppo raging in Syria, another crucial battle in the east of the Greater Middle East, in Afghanistan, is being joined, the outcome of which is going to be no less fateful. The Associated Press flashed the news today that the key southern Afghan city of Lashkar Gah, capital of Helmand province, has been “completely surrounded” by the Taliban and the government forces are regrouping for a last-ditch defence.
The head of the Helmand provincial council estimates that the Taliban may capture Lashkar Gah within days. (UPI )
The development comes as a huge embarrassment for the Barack Obama administration. The entire mythology built around the famous “surge” ordered by President Obama in 2010 and the massive campaign in the Hindu Kush led by the general with the Roman nose, David Petraeus, with over 100,000 American troops under his command, is unravelling.
The “surge” was mostly concentrated on Helmand and Kandahar provinces. Rajiv Chandrasekharan of the Washington Post who covered the war in Helmand and Kandahar wrote a beautiful book on it, Little America, which is a brilliant recount of the political foibles and ambitious goals set by feckless Americans and about the Hobbesian world in which the “surge” slithered its way like a serpent through the great poppy fields, across irrigation canals and culverts and beyond the mud walls into the orchards of pomegranates, grapes and sweet melons into the seamless desert plateau with rocky outcrops — creating Potemkin progress but in reality letting loose a tidal wave of corruption and venality and mindless horrific violence and destruction. (Guardian )
The big question today for Obama, therefore, is: Just what was the point? Yet, he’s decided to abandon his 2008 election pledge and bow to the military commanders’ wish once again to keep troop levels at a threshold that would give the option for his successor in the White House to order a second “surge”, which is, in fact, what Gen. Petraeus has demanded in a recent opinion piece. (Wall Street Journal )
Without doubt, the capture of Helmand province will be a turning point in the Afghan war. Several factors come into play. First and foremost, the Taliban will have made a big point underscoring their capability – how quick they have been able to take advantage of the withdrawal of the thousands of British and American soldiers as recently as in 2014. The message will resonate all across the mountains and valleys of Afghanistan.
In “operational” terms, Taliban have made a slow, steady pincer movement lasting months, closing in from the north and south toward Lashkar Gah, exposing the poor leadership of the Afghan army and police. On their part, Taliban demonstrated tenacity, organizational skill and access to resources.
Helmand is the biggest single centre of opium production in Afghanistan. Taliban are set to get a sizeable share of the drug business, which has always been a major source of funding for the insurgency. Beyond its opium economy, Helmand is strategically located – bordering Pakistan’s Baluchistan province and close to the Iranian border, which provide good exit routes to escape in an emergency – or, alternatively, to bring in reinforcements – as well as supply lines to other regions of Afghanistan.
Suffice it to say, Helmand has the potential to become Taliban’s core territory where the ‘Quetta Shura’ could be ‘headquartered’, which could become a ‘provisional government’ on Afghan soil at some point.
The Afghan army faces an uphill task to retrieve control of Helmand, which is dominated by the Ishaqzai tribe. The Ishqzais have been virulently ‘anti-American’ all along. Besides, the Taliban can also cash in now on their sympathy, since Mullah Akhtar Mansour whom the Americans killed in a drone strike in April also happened to be an Ishaqzai. There is a blood feud the Ishaqzais have to settle with Obama.
Helmand is Afghanistan’s largest province; it is twice the size of Belgium and 16 times bigger than Panjshir. It is a fertile region with a developed irrigation system. The famous marble mines of Khanashin become another source of financing for the Taliban. Helmand is on the highway connecting the western regions (Herat, Farah, Nimroz, etc.) with the southern provinces (Kandahar, Ghazni, Khost, etc.) and with Kabul. If the Taliban gain control of Helmand province, they can dominate vital communication links.
However, the full gravity of the emergent politico-military situation in Afghanistan will not sink in unless the crisis of legitimacy facing the so-called National Unity Government in Kabul is also understood. The point is, the NUG has no mandate to rule beyond September unless a Loya Jirga is convened. No one other than former president Hamid Karzai has pointed this out.
Now, about half the members of a legally-constituted Loya Jirga would be the chairs of district council. But elections to the district councils cannot be held in the prevailing security situation with the government steadily conceding territory to the Taliban. The alternative will be to convene a ‘traditional’ Loya Jirga comprising tribal elders chosen at random. But then, who holds the authority to convene a ‘traditional’ Loya Jirga that could in turn constitute an interim government?
Meanwhile, tension is also growing within the NUG between the factions led by the president and the chief executive officer. Over and above hangs the dangerous question, which no one wants to think about, as to how long will the army remain intact regardless of political crises.
All in all, the fall of Helmand to the Taliban can only deepen the crisis of legitimacy haunting the Afghan government. Read a recent report by the veteran Afghan hand Barnett Rubin – THE U.S. PRESENCE AND AFGHANISTAN’S NATIONAL UNITY GOVERNMENT: PRESERVING AND BROADENING THE POLITICAL SETTLEMENT
The recent downing of a Russian Mi-8 helicopter and the death of all 5 on board over Al Qaeda-held Idlib province in Syria, represents the unenviable full circle US rhetoric has made surrounding both the Syrian conflict, and the wider “War on Terror.”
It was the United States who first created and used Al Qaeda in Afghanistan in the 1980s to down Russian aircraft and to fight Russian troops. After successfully pushing Russia out of Afghanistan and plunging it into a sociopolitical dark age, the US went on to claiming to be victimized by the monster they themselves created, perhaps most spectacularly on September 11, 2001. Today, the US finds itself back to now fully using Al Qaeda to fight a proxy war against Russia, this time in Syria.
Russian Helicopter Was on Humanitarian Mission Over Al Qaeda Territory
The Russian Mi-8 helicopter was conducting humanitarian operations. This is not according to only Russian or Syrian sources, but even opposition sources including UK-based anti-Syrian government proponent Rami Abdulrahman who refers to himself as the “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights” (SOHR).
The New York Times in its article, “Russian Military Helicopter Is Shot Down in Syria, Killing 5,” would report that:
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which opposes the Syrian government and tracks the conflict from Britain through contacts in Syria, said the helicopter had crashed near the village of Saraqib in Idlib Province.
The aircraft had recently delivered aid to two Shiite villages nearby that have long been surrounded by Sunni rebels, the group said.
Qatari-state media Al Jazeera, also an admittedly pro-militant voice amid the conflict, would admit that Idlib province, Syria, is held by Al Qaeda.
In its article, “Syria’s civil war: Russian chopper shot down in Idlib,” Al Jazeera would admit:
Idlib is held almost entirely by a powerful coalition of hardline rebel groups, including the former al-Nusra Front, now known as the Fateh al-Sham group after renouncing its status as al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate.
Despite Al Jazeera’s attempts to qualify Nusra Front as having “renounced” its Al Qaeda affiliations, it is still recognized by the US, Russia and Syria as a terrorist organization.
Justifying & Celebrating Al Qaeda’s Atrocity
In the immediate aftermath of the helicopter’s downing and now ongoing since, pro-militant pundits from both the public and Western policy centers, celebrated the incident.
Former director of the Brookings Institution’s Doha Center, Salman Shaikh, repeatedly retweeted accusations that Russia’s Mi-8 was not in fact on a humanitarian mission, simply because empty rocket pods were found among the wreckage.
With SOHR insisting indeed the Russian helicopter was on a humanitarian mission, the empty rocket pods were most likely empty upon take off. So far, “experts,” including Atlantic Council’s “Digital Forensic Research Lab Senior Non-Resident Fellow” Eliot Higgins, previously an unemployed British social worker and blogger, have insinuated the Mi-8 was on a military mission, but have yet to provide any evidence.
This attempt to leverage supposed “experts” to justify the downing of a helicopter (and subsequent celebrations) engaged in humanitarian operations even in contradiction to media reports coming from both sides of the conflict, indicates just how far departed Western rhetoric has become from the principles it claims to uphold, particularly in regards to its involvement in the Syrian conflict and its backing of militant groups operating in Al Qaeda-held Idlib province.
US Aspired to Down Russian Aircraft in Syria
The downing of Russia’s Mi-8 over Idlib is not the first. Another Russian helicopter was shot down near Palmyra in early July.
Japan Times in its article, “U.S. missile brought down Russian helicopter in Syria: report,” would report:
Two Russian airmen killed in Syria on Friday were shot down with American weaponry, the Interfax news agency said Sunday, quoting a Russian military source.
It said insurgents from the Islamic State group hit the airmen’s Mi-25 assault helicopter with a U.S.-made TOW heavy anti-tank missile, a weapon that uses guidance from a ground station.
The possibility of terrorist organizations like the Islamic State (IS) ending up with US missiles should be no surprise. It is a “coincidence” it appears many US policymakers wanted to unfold in Syria, if a no-fly zone implemented over Syria by the US directly was not a possibility.
One of those US policymakers is US Senator John McCain (R-AZ) who would say in a 2015 interview on Fox News that:
I might do what we did in Afghanistan many years ago, to give those guys the ability to shoot down those planes. That equipment is available.
He would elaborate further by stating:
The Free Syrian Army, just like the Afghans shot down the Russian…
It should be noted that the “guys” Senator McCain is referring to in Afghanistan were Al Qaeda. With the downing of 2 Russian helicopters at the hands of IS and Al Qaeda respectively, it appears very much like Senator McCain has (one way or another) gotten his wish, with Al Qaeda once again serving as the armed intermediary between the US and Russia.
The end result is US foreign policy coming full circle, having created Al Qaeda to fight Russia in the 1980s, then using the terrorist organization as a pretext to extend military interventionism globally, to now once again cheering them on in Syria as they down Russian aircraft amid a struggle to restore peace and stability to both Syria and the wider region.
One wonders if this irony is lost on the American people, who have been asked to sacrifice so much in the name of fighting “terrorism,” only to have those who have done the asking to ally themselves with the very terrorists in a destructive proxy war in the distant lands of the Levant.
I always found myself giggling during the Democratic debates when Hillary would ask Bernie how he was going to pay for things like healthcare or college tuition, and then Bernie stammering to find an answer.
They both knew the secret but neither would say it — there’s plenty of money, we just don’t want to spend it on Americans.
We think of that as freeloading, unearned stuff. Go get a job, moocher. But then move the same question overseas and everything changes. There is always plenty of money, and the people getting free stuff from that money aren’t moochers. They’re allies.
So how much healthcare would $1.7 billion buy? Because that’s how much money the United States just laid out to buy radios for the near-useless Afghan Army. And while I don’t know how much healthcare the money would buy, I do know it will purchase a helluva lot of radios. Is everyone in Afghanistan getting one? Maybe we’re buying them for the Taliban, too.
Anyway, the $1,700,000,000 radios for Afghanistan contract was just recently awarded to the Harris Corporation. And here’s a funny thing: only one company — Harris — actually put in a bid for the contract.
But the Afghans must need more stuff than just radios, and so the U.S. has money ready for that.
The United States will provide $3 billion to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces from 2018 to 2020 for, well, we don’t really know. Meanwhile, the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan said the White House planned to ask Congress for about $1 billion a year in development and economic assistance for Afghanistan through 2020. And if that isn’t enough, the United States and its allies are expected to raise $15 billion for the Afghan National Defense and Security forces at a NATO summit scheduled for next month in Warsaw.
There’s money. You just can’t have any of it, moochers.
The neo-con “West” and its allies want to destroy the Middle East so that they can control the Middle East.
Under the auspices of their imperial “New Middle East” project, the criminals (U.S–led NATO, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and Israel, are targeting everything that they falsely profess to cherish.
All of the “values” that the politicians falsely parade as important, even sacrosanct, are instrumentalized as false fronts that belie the dark undercurrents dragging humanity towards a barren “New World Order” of globalized degeneracy and despair.
Nation-state self-determination, sovereignty, territorial integrity – all vital components of world peace, prosperity, and democracy are meaningless to the elites, except for their propaganda value.
A meta-national project of top down control, enforced by anonymous elites, controls how we think, feel, and live.
This dystopian present has rendered political choices moot. Choices are non-choices, puppet shows sold by empty words and conflicting narratives — all bereft of substance.
The real agenda is unspeakable. The real agenda must be unspeakable, because it is poison, a dark distillate of degenerate barbarism, mostly hidden from view.
This real agenda, masked beneath the Big Lies, and the stories told by scripted “politicians”, bares its sanguine teeth, and imposes its dark will with barely a whimper. There are no “mistakes”. It’s all by design.
War planners knew full well that the sanctions imposed prior to the invasion of Iraq were targeting children. They accurately predicted when the plants would fail, and how many lives would be lost.
A Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) document accurately predicted that,
“IT PROBABLY WILL TAKE AT LEAST SIX MONTHS (TO JUNE 1991) BEFORE THE (water treatment) SYSTEM IS FULLY DEGRADED.” And that,
“FAILING TO SECURE SUPPLIES WILL RESULT IN A SHORTAGE OF
PURE DRINKING WATER FOR MUCH OF THE POPULATION. THIS COULD LEAD
TO INCREASED INCIDENCES, IF NOT EPIDEMICS, OF DISEASE … “
The end result? Over 500,000 children under the age of five were killed, with intent (murder), in addition to over one million other people, none of whom who had committed a crime.
The “West” regularly targets innocent people, including children, with a view to weakening the morale of countries about to be conquered. Madeleine Albright infamously intoned that the “price (murdering 500,000 children) … is worth it”, in one of the rare moments when dark truths and media messaging intersect.
War planners also knew that they were supporting al Qaeda ground troops in Libya when they exploited the Responsibility To Protect (R2P) clause to bomb the sovereign state of Libya, to assassinate Muammar Gaddafi, to destroy water infrastructure, to loot, to plunder, to commit genocide, and to set up an ISIS strongehold. Prior to the invasion, Libya’s standard of living was the highest in Africa. There were no mistakes.
The weapons ratline from Libya to Syria was not a mistake either. The West intentionally funded its terrorist proxies so that they would be well provisioned to invade Syria. The weaponization and training of its terrorist foot soldiers supplements the terrorists’ now dwindling additional sources of income such as funding from illicit drugs, the plunder of historical Syrian artifacts, the theft of Syrian oil resources, and so on. All planned by the West. Again, no mistakes.
Equally degenerate is the fact that the Western intelligence agencies, allied with Wahhabi Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan’s ISIS, perpetuate the degeneracy by raising new recruits into the culture of the un-islamic, Wahhabi ideology. Prof. Michel Chossudovsky explains in America’s “War on Terrorism” that
“In 1979, the largest covert operation in the history of the CIA was launched in Afghanistan: With the active encouragement of the CIA and Pakistan’s ISI, who wanted to turn the Afghan Jihad into a global war waged by all Muslim states against the Soviet Union, some 35,000 Muslim radicals from 40 Islamic countries joined Afghanistan’s fight between 1982 and 1992. Tens of thousands more came to study in Pakistani madrasahs. Eventually, more than 100,000 foreign Muslim radicals were directly influenced by the Afghan jihad. ”
Just as the CIA, through the Pakistani ISI, creates “radicals” by indoctrinating children in “madrasah” schools, so too ISIS indoctrinates Syrian children in the ways of the degenerate Wahhabi ideology in ISIS occupied areas of Syria.
Samuel Westrop writes in “U.K: Jihadists as Charity Workers”, that
“ISIS has supplemented its violence with dawa’h programs – a system of social provision, or ‘soft-power outreach’ – in areas under its control. A key component of this dawa’h … is providing educational outreach initiatives ‘as part of its wider strategy to foster a new generation of Syrians in support of its ideological agenda.’ “
The cancer of this un-islamic ideology is intentionally promoted in occupied areas of secular, pluralist, democratic Syria with a view to “weaponizing” children, and to destroying the country with an internalized cancer of Wahhabism and violence.
None of this is accidental. All of it is the fruit of considerable forethought and pre-planning by the imperial “West”, its allies, and their intelligence agencies.
Whereas the West proclaims that it is spreading democracy, it is spreading terrorism, Wahhabism, death and destruction on each and every one of its pre-planned imperial invasions.
Syria’s stand against the Western agencies of death and destruction is a stand for all of humanity against the dark forces that fester beneath our politician’s empty words and the courtesan media’s toxic lies.
Ramzan Kadyrov has accused the US authorities of instigating the civil war in Afghanistan and other Muslim countries, and called on senior politicians in these states to set aside their differences and unite in the face of what he sees as a common enemy.
“During the 37 years of the war in Afghanistan peace has not become closer, not even by a single step. The United States used the excuse of fighting their own Bin Laden to unleash a decades-long civil war there. America and NATO could have solved the Afghan problem in just two years, but they need this eternal bloody cauldron in Afghanistan that takes the lives of many thousands of young Muslims,” the acting head of the Chechen Republic stated in comments on the latest terrorist attack in Kabul.
Kadyrov expressed his position in a post on Instagram – a medium he normally uses for communication with the public.
In the message, he emphasized that the United States and its NATO allies have artificially created the instability in the region. “Step by step they start wars in Muslim countries. Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt, Yemen are now facing the threat of losing their sovereignty,” Kadyrov wrote.
The Chechen leader also called on all Afghanistan’s leaders to set aside personal ambitions and ethnic and religious differences to unite in the face of the common threat. “Once Pashtu, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Sunnis, Shia all join their ranks, no one would ever be able to impose some external will on you,” he wrote.
At least 80 people were killed and 231 injured as a result of a bomb blast at a mass rally in Afghanistan capital Kabul on July 23. The Islamic State terrorist group (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Kadyrov has repeatedly accused the United States and other Western nations of deliberate policies aimed at destroying Muslim countries and the Muslim faith. In February last year he said IS had been “spawned” by the West to incite hatred towards Muslims all over the world. Kadyrov also suggested the West was backing the terrorist group in order to distract public attention from numerous problems in the Middle East, in the hope of destroying Islamic nations from within. In November he accused the Turkish authorities of aiding Western nations’ plot to weaken and destroy Islam by assisting Islamic State and its allies in Syria.
Kadyrov also previously claimed that he possessed information that the Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had been personally recruited to work for the US by General David Petraeus, the former director of the CIA and former commander of coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. At that time, Kadyrov claimed IS “was acting on orders from the West and Europe.”
Iran’s Parliament (Majlis) speaker has condemned the recent deadly bombing in Afghanistan, saying that terrorist attacks are being carried out in the troubled Asian country to create rifts among the people.
“I am of the opinion that terrorism, extremism and threats against the lives of innocent people are unacceptable at all times and in all places and are in stark contrast with religious and Islamic values,” Speaker Ali Larijani wrote in a message of condolence to Fazal Hadi Muslimyar, the chairman of the Afghan Senate, on Sunday evening.
At least 80 people lost their lives and 231 others sustained injuries, some seriously, on Saturday when a bomb explosion hit a peaceful demonstration by members of the ethnic Hazara community in the Afghan capital, Kabul.
The Takfiri Daesh terrorist group later claimed responsibility for the bombing.
Larijani expressed sympathy with the Afghan nation and government as well as the victims’ families over the bomb attack and wished for the immediate recovery of those wounded.
“Unfortunately, by spreading insecurity to other regions, certain parties sponsoring terrorism as well as the agents of the Zionist regime (Israel) seek to take revenge from Muslim and innocent nations… for the effective efforts by the governments of Iraq and Syria in fighting terrorism,” he further wrote.
Iraq and Syria have been involved in fighting Takfiri armed groups wreaking havoc in the two countries. Both governments have been successfully pushing the militant groups back from the areas they had overrun.
Larijani also wrote and expressed his condolences to Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi, the speaker of the lower house of the Afghan parliament.
In his message to Ibrahimi, the Iranian parliament speaker expressed concern that terrorist attacks are on the rise across the world, which he said make combating such acts “necessary and inevitable.”
Reprieve | July 23, 2016
A little-known Afghan prisoner has been refused clearance to leave Guantánamo Bay, despite an apparent case of mistaken identity by the U.S. government.
Guantánamo’s Periodic Review Board (PRB) ruled this week that Haroon Gul, 33, must continue to be detained indefinitely without charge or trial because his plan for what he would do post-release was insufficient. The Board also seemed unimpressed by Mr. Gul’s insistence that the government’s allegations against him are false.
The Board’s hearing was the first time in nine years that Mr. Gul has been given the opportunity to defend himself. Yet the process was inadequate and unfair. Neither Mr Gul’s attorney nor his military representative were allowed to discuss the allegations with him under attorney-client privilege, nor was he given the chance to rebut the classified allegations against him before the Board.
Mr Gul, who has never been charged nor received a trial since arriving at Guantánamo Bay in 2007, was originally passed to the US military by local Afghan forces, according to a report by Al Jazeera. His wife and young daughter now live in a refugee camp, the report says, but little more is known to the world about him.
Mr. Gul has previously had no defense attorney during his nine years at Guantanamo, despite his desperate and persistent attempts to find one. He was represented at his Periodic Review Board hearing by Reprieve U.S. attorney Shelby Sullivan-Bennis, who met him for the first time only four days before the hearing.
His file will become eligible for review in six months time.
Commenting, Reprieve U.S. attorney Shelby Sullivan-Bennis said:
“We have reason to believe that Haroon is one of the many proven cases of mistaken identity, but without a lawyer, he had no capacity to challenge his detention in federal court, as others did. He was given less than three hours out of the last nine years to prepare with an attorney for this hearing that determined his fate. This is status-quo justice in Guantánamo.
“When I met this bright-eyed, chatty young man I was blown away by his attitude. He was smiling and laughing and making American cultural references that even I didn’t get.
“This denial is slap in the face to Haroon’s persistent efforts to toe the line the government has drawn for its prisoners. Haroon has learned English from scratch; he learned math and science and computers; he has played soccer with fellow detainees and been kind to the guards that lock his cage at night. To this day, he says he does not understand why he’s in there. ‘Why me?’ But day after day he makes the very best of his situation and treats those who have wronged him charitably.
“Haroon is not a bad man, Haroon is not even an irritable or ill-tempered man. He is a man who was tortured into speaking against himself and held captive by my government for nine years without an attorney.
“The allegations against our clients in Guantánamo, to this day, include information that the government admits is wrong. We are still relying on this torture-evidence to keep men hundreds of miles from their families for years on end.
“I went to law school to be a part of the American justice system, but in Guantánamo, I cannot find it.”
Iraq war criminals deserve to be prosecuted. Britain’s Chilcot report is only the most recent example of a worthy cause needing to be addressed. But in 1979, long before false intelligence was used to justify the Iraq war, a heinous war crime was committed against Afghanistan by President’s Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski.
It’s not just Brzezinski who is culpable. It was the Washington bureaucracy that enabled Brzezinski to activate his Machiavellian plot of intentionally drawing the Soviets into his “Afghan Trap.”
How the Washington bureaucracy enabled Brzezinski’s scheme and why it’s still important today
Once the Soviets took Brzezinski’s bait and crossed the border into Afghanistan on December 27, 1979 the fates of both countries were doomed. As if in a trance, a complacent bureaucracy turned a blind eye to the lack of proof of the American claims that the Soviet invasion was a step towards world domination. Within days the beltway became a cheering squad, enabling Brzezinski to fulfill his imperial dream of giving the Soviets their own “Vietnam.” The bureaucracy’s motivation was simple. Brzezinski was winning the only game in town, the Cold War against the “Evil Empire.” The fact that Brzezinski’s deceitful plot could lead to the death of Afghanistan as a sovereign state did not concern Washington’s elites, either from the right or the left. Predictably, Afghans’ lives have been turned into an endless nightmare that festers to this day. Not only is Brzezinski’s scheme continuing to undermine Afghanistan’s sovereignty, his Russophobia also drives NATO’s unjustified aggression towards Russia today!
How Brzezinski activated his Russophobic Imperial Dream that now dominates Washington
In 1977 when Brzezinski stepped into the Oval office as National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter, his Russophobia was a well-known fact from Washington to Moscow. It was no surprise that he was not content with the American moderates’ pragmatic Cold War acceptance of coexistence with the Soviet state. The Polish born Brzezinski represented the ascendency of a radical new breed of compulsive xenophobic Eastern European intellectual bent on holding Soviet/American policy hostage to their pre-World War II world view. According to Brzezinski biographer Patrick Vaughan, Brzezinski rejected the very legitimacy of the Soviet Union itself, calling it “a cauldron of conquered nationalities brutally consolidated over centuries of Russian expansion.”
Racism is not a basis for a rational foreign policy
A phobia is defined as an extreme or irrational fear. Therefore it is reasonable to define a Russophobe as one who has an irrational fear of Russians. Simply put, a Russophobe hates Russians for being Russian! That’s called racism, pure and simple, not the basis of creating rational foreign policy. The Beltway should have demanded that a well-known Russophobe like Brzezinski back his claims with proof that the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was the first step to taking over the world. Instead, the Washington Bureaucracy dined out on his fantasy and we have been living with the consequences ever since.
The Bureaucracy knows Brzezinski has always been a Russophobe
Paul Warnke, President Carter’s SALT II negotiator put Brzezinski’s racial bias this way in an interview we conducted with him in 1993. “It was almost an ethnic thing with Zbig, basically that inbred Polish attitude toward the Russians. And that of course that was what frustrated the Carter Administration. [Secretary of State] Vance felt very much the way that I did. Brzezinski felt the opposite. And Carter couldn’t decide which one of them he was going to follow. So it adds up to a recipe for indecision.” Warnke went on to say that he believed the Soviets would never have invaded Afghanistan in the first place if Carter had not fallen victim to Brzezinski’s irrational attitude toward détente and his undermining of SALT II. In our own research into the causes of the Soviet invasion we did prove Warnke’s assumption that there would have been no invasion without Brzezinski’s willful use of entrapment.
At a conference conducted by the Nobel Institute in 1995, a high-level group of former US and Soviet officials faced off over the question: Why did the Soviets invade Afghanistan? Former National Security Council staff member Dr. Gary Sick established that the US had assigned Afghanistan to the Soviet sphere of influence years before the invasion. So why did the US choose an ideologically-biased position when there were any number of verifiable fact-based explanations for why the Soviets invaded? To former CIA Director Stansfield Turner, responsibility could only be located in the personality of one specific individual. “Brzezinski’s name comes up here every five minutes; but nobody has as yet mentioned that he is a Pole.” Turner said. “[T]he fact that Brzezinski is a Pole, it seems to me was terribly important.” What Turner was suggesting in 1995 was that Brzezinski’s well-known Russophobia led him to take unjustifiable advantage of a Soviet miscalculation.
The conference revealed that “self-fulfilling prophecies,” “a dubious deductive apparatus,” and “decisions that provoked as often as they deterred” provided the operating system for more than a decade of Cold War policy under Presidents Carter and Reagan. Numerous scholars pondered Brzezinski’s decision-making process before, during and after the Soviet invasion. Dr. Carol Saivetz of Harvard University testified, “Whether or not Zbig was from Poland or from someplace else, he had a world view, and he tended to interpret events as they unfolded in light of it. To some extent, his fears became self-fulfilling prophecies… Nobody looked at Afghanistan and what was happening there all by itself.”
But it wasn’t until the 1998 Nouvel Observateur interview that Brzezinski boasted that he had provoked the invasion, by getting Carter to authorize a presidential finding to intentionally suck the Soviets in, six months before Moscow considered invading. Yet, despite Brzezinski’s admission, Washington’s entire political spectrum continued to embrace his original false narrative, that the Soviets were embarked on world conquest.
Brzezinski’s Russophobia is still the basis of U.S. foreign policy towards Russia
For Brzezinski, getting the Soviets to invade Afghanistan was an opportunity to shift Washington toward an unrelenting hard line against the Soviet Union. By using deceit combined with covert action, he created the conditions needed to provoke a Soviet defensive response, which he then used as evidence of Soviet expansion. However, after Brzezinski’s exaggerations and outright lies about Soviet intentions became accepted, they found a home in America’s imagination and never left. US foreign policy, since that time, has operated in a delusion of triumphalism, provoking international incidents and then capitalizing on the chaos.
Brzezinski’s current status as the almost mystical “wise elder” of American foreign policy should be viewed with extreme caution given the means by which he achieved it. Today, the legacy of Brzezinski’s Russophobic ideological agenda continues through many acolytes including his two sons, as they carry on the Brzezinski lineage by aggressively pushing beltway polices towards dangerous confrontations with Russia. Tragically, Brzezinski’s legacy also lives on in the failed state of Afghanistan as the hated Taliban are poised to take over again. While all this horror is happening to the Afghan people, NATO forces are using Brzezinski’s homeland of Poland to push provocatively against Russia’s border.
The role that Brzezinski played, as well as those officials who enabled him to cause the death of Afghanistan while intentionally triggering the rise of Islamic extremism, must be examined. Building to a trial, even in absentia, will begin the desperately needed process of breaking the trance-like hold Brzezinski’s Russophobia still has on Washington’s foreign policy that is denying its core role in creating Islamic extremism and driving America to the brink of nuclear war with Russia.
No matter whom the next president is, if we are to save America, this forty year old crime against Afghanistan must first be made right.
Denmark has decided to spare its former Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen the embarrassment his British colleague Tony Blair experienced for involving his country in the war in Iraq by keeping vital documents away from the public eye.
Unlike the United Kingdom, which last week published the Chilcot Report, which unleashed strong criticism of Tony Blair’s Iraqi venture, Denmark decided to block a secret note regarding the 2003 Iraq War from public access, obviously with the intention of shielding its former Prime Minister and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen from similar scrutiny.
Whereas a batch of documents, including communications between Blair and former US President George W. Bush, were made available for public download after the publication of the Chilcot Report, a similar 14-year old document written by Rasmussen amid preparations for the US-led invasion of Iraq will be kept under wraps, Jyllands-Posten reported.
According to Denmark’s parliamentary ombudsman, Danish law prohibits the publication of such material, which was described as “potentially damaging for other countries.” Therefore, the document will be kept classified in accordance with the controversial 2013 Freedom of Information Law.
The debated document relates to a meeting between Rasmussen and then-US Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz in 2002, which is widely believed to have pushed Denmark into the US-led campaign to oust former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
Remarkably, Copenhagen opposes the very idea of shedding light on Denmark’s involvement in the bloody war, which threw Iraq into chaos and left millions dead as the nation was turned into a battleground. In 2015, Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen controversially cancelled a government inquiry into the Iraq War shortly after taking office.
A number of opposition politicians have been calling for the document to be made public, despite the perpetual blockade by the government. The background for Denmark’s military involvement in the wars in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan should be examined through an independent investigation, the Red-Green Alliance stated. According to party spokesperson Eva Flyvholm, Denmark should investigate this painful period to be able to learn from its mistakes and look forward, the Danish newspaper Extra Bladet reported.
Denmark has been a loyal NATO associate ever since it joined the alliance as a founding member. Over the past decades, Danish soldiers fought in the former Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya. Anders Fogh Rasmussen was Danish Prime Minister from 2001 to 2009, whereupon he went on to become NATO Secretary General and remained in office until October 2014.