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Is TIME’s Afghan “cover girl” really a victim of mutilation by the Taleban?

Zero Anthropology | August 8, 2010

TIME : What Happens if We Leave Afghanistan (story)

 

BOING BOING : What Still Happened Despite 10 Years of Occupying Afghanistan (story)

ZERO ANTHRO : What Happens When We Don’t Fix Problems at Home (story)

The August 9th TIME magazine cover story is about a young Afghan woman whose nose and ears have been allegedly “mutilated” by the Taleban. The story has generated widespread self-serving moral indignation and self-righteous clamor in the U.S. propaganda machine supporting the occupation of Afghanistan run by the Israeli-American weapon-making industry. The American culture cleansing project in Afghanistan must be in need of a booster shot from the radical feminist forces that so fervently collaborated with the American war machine in initiating this racist imperial enterprise in 2001. Perhaps the flaunting of this fictitious story is a desperate attempt by the Obama war regime to offset the steep decline of support for this murderous program against unarmed and helpless pre-industrial Afghanistan. Let us recall the production of the picture of the frightened green-eyed Afghan girl on the cover of the National Geographic magazine to justify the United States sponsorship of local anti-government terrorist gangs who currently host the American occupation of Afghanistan.

TIME’s story does not provide its readers with any specific or credible factual text and context about what has really caused the deformity in this young woman’s face. Like much fiction that has been produced in the shadow of the American war machine in Afghanistan, this “story” appears to be a string of hearings and imaginings about women’s life in Afghanistan put together by Aryn Baker and Jodi Bieber, two young American journalists who probably first encountered Afghanistan in the pages of “the kite runner”. Having the readers see the reporters’ pictures (p. 4) in a “Kabul kite shop” speaks to the compelling impact of the untruths about life in Kabul in that “bestseller” book. What is the relationship of kites to a story about a mutilated nose? TIME’s story by Baker and Bieber has no truth value. Let us have a closer look at some of the cultural content and ethnographic claims in this fabricated telltale.

The narrative in which the Taleban single out this young woman for ears and nose mutilation at the instigation of her husband cannot be credible when exposed to the spatial, temporal, and cultural framework provided by the reporters.  First, Urozgan province is located in central Afghanistan not “southern” Afghanistan. And if the alleged mutilation took place in central or northern Urozgan, TIME’s tale becomes even less credible for these parts of Urozgan are home to non-Paxtuns, especially Hazaras. What is the victim’s ethnic background? Even if the agency of this “mutilation” were the Taleban, why would they devote this amount of precious human resources in a hostile area to the personal disenchantment of a single Taleb foot soldier with his runaway wife, Aisha? This does not make tactical or strategic sense.

The Taleban dragged Aisha “to a mountain clearing near her village” where “[s]hivering in the cold  air and blinded by the flashlights trained on her by her husband’s family, she faced her spouse and accuser… and men moved to deliver her punishment. Aisha’s brother-in-law held her down while her husband pulled out a knife. First he sliced off her ears. Then he started on her nose. Aisha passed out from her pain but awoke soon after, choking on her own blood. The men had left her on the mountaintop to die” (pp. 20-22).  If the men wanted Aisha to die, why did they not kill her on the spot, on the mountain? Why give her a chance to live? Why risk her potential recovery and/or rescue?

To receive her punishment, why would Aisha have to be dragged to the mountain clearing (or is it a “mountainside”)? Where is this mountain clearing or side located in Urozgan? However, it must be at a distance from the village. And if TIME’s narrative is valid, the mutilation is a public affair with the husband, his family, and Taleban officials present. Thus, there are witnesses to the mutilation of Aisha’s nose and ears.  These witnesses, especially members of her husband’s family, can be located. Did Aisha “pass out” from “pain” or loss of blood? How does a victim whose ears and nose have been mutilated and is choking on her own blood, and left alone “on the mountainside to die” survive such virtually fatal injuries? The human face is heavily irrigated with blood. I am not a medical doctor, but based on common sense, it would not take more than a few minutes of suffering heavy blood loss from open veins around the nose and ears to become fatal? How does a rural 19 year girl in such perilous medical condition, bleeding from open veins around her nose and ears, manage to move from a mountainside in remote Urozgan to a “shelter” in downtown Kabul hundreds of miles away? “A few months after Aisha arrived at the shelter, her father tried to bring her home with promises that he would find her a new husband. Aisha refused to leave. In rural areas, a family that finds itself shamed by a daughter sometimes sells her into slavery, or worse, subjects her to a so-called honor killing—murder under the guise of saving the family’s name” (p. 26). Now, what are the prospects (or practical feasibility) for marriage of a woman who has her ears and nose mutilated for having dishonored her own family, husband, and in-laws in patriarchal Afghanistan or for that matter in patricentric United States? What would be the market value of Aisha’s labor? What kind of labor could a severely mutilated woman like this produce as a slave? Only total ignorance of the Afghan cultural plane and complete disregard for the intelligence of the audience by the American popular media would allow such fabricated prattle to see the light of public print.

Aisha’s disposition could be congenital. It could be caused by a bacterial or viral infection such as cancer, a malady not rare in Afghanistan among both men and women. Or it could be related to an injury caused by firearms or explosives. Harelips and other deformities in the mandible, although rare, occur in the population of Afghanistan. Incidents of human body deformities in Afghanistan have steadily increased with the expanding military interference of the United States going back to the 1980s. These incidents have soared since 2001 with the American occupation and experimentation with weapon systems designed for “population centered wars” in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

The non-Paxtun Northern Alliance warlords and their inner circles are the only Afghans that pray and beg for the American military presence in Afghanistan. It was these anti-Paxtun American trained and subsidized terrorist gangs who scouted and pimped for the American occupation of Afghanistan. And it is the Northern Alliance that opposes a political solution in Afghanistan because any such solution would remove them from power and expose and punish their criminal deeds. Amrullah Saleh, a known psychopath and a leading member of this criminal gang who headed Afghanistan’s intelligence services, recently expatiated: “I have killed many of them (Taleban) with pride”, killing “them is part of my blood” (Lara Logan interview on “60 Mintes”, August 1, 2010). The informants for TIME’s reporters of this story are the female dependents of the Northern Alliance criminal clique one of whom is credited with this rabid hateful lie “I go running in the stadium where the Taliban used to play football with women’s heads” (p. 24). This woman is pictured standing in Kabul stadium with three Kabuli teenagers in the background clearly running-in-place! There is not a shred of evidence for a football game played with human heads anywhere at any time in Afghanistan. TIME magazine has truly stooped to the lowest standards in journalism. During the 1990s the Kabul stadium was used once for the public execution of a woman found guilty of violating a Taleban decree.

The American intimate love affair during the past three decades with the various gangs of terrorists including Al-Qaeda, Hezb-e Islami, Northern Alliance, and sporadically the early manifestation of the Taleban movement during the 1990s has inflicted irreparable damage on the political, economic, and security prospects of Afghanistan. The ethnic and sectarian divisions caused by the American military operations and criminal deeds in South Asia has brought the frail state structure of Afghanistan to the verge of total collapse. It has destabilized the whole region. Tens of thousands of innocent and helpless Afghans have been slaughtered by the American Zionist-controlled killing machine. These are war crimes and crimes against humanity for which history will condemn its perpetrators.

On an ethnographic level, the manipulation of the body of the subject human population by the state has historical roots in several culture areas including Europe, the Middle East and South Asia. To this day in the popular lore of non-Paxtun areas of Afghanistan (especially among the Farsi-speaking population) a person, male or female, who compromises the interests and standards of the larger community, is symbolically labeled “beeni borida” (Farsi, one whose nose has been cut, one who has lost his nose, i. e. one who has lost her/his honor, a person without honor). The equivalent of this linguistic construct and its cultural content does not exist among Paxtuns.

However, no matter the untruths and distortions from which TIME’s August 9th cover story is concocted, we need a proper comparative cultural framework for the understanding of abuse of the human body including the practice of mutilation of body parts. An informed glance at global ethnographic realities connects such practices with a relation of power called patriarchy—male domination of society. As a system of ideas and practices patriarchy “is a threat to public health everywhere” (Laura Nader, Anthropology News, September 2006, p. 7) including Afghanistan and the United States. In principle the socio-cultural ingredients involved in the mutilation of the human body in Afghanistan are not different than the socio-cultural forces that impose industrial “vaginal rejuvenation”, “pussy tightening” (JoAnn Wypijewski, The Nation, 9/28/2009, p. 8), and breast enhancement in Euro-America. In no other culturally constructed space are women, womanhood, and femininity so universally abused, exploited, demeaned, and vulgarized than in the Euro-American industry of internet pornography—the biggest money making enterprise in cyberspace. Comparative studies reveal that American domestic violence is approximately 25%–about the same as in Syria and Bolivia (Nader 2006:7). The extensive system of shelters for abused women throughout the United States is symptomatic of a widely practiced tradition of physical and verbal abuse of women by men that is qualitatively not different than the abuse of women by men elsewhere in the world.

TIME, you are a beeni borida!

_________

Addendum by Max Forte:

[“In 2005, 1,181 women were murdered by an intimate partner. That’s an average of three women every day. Of all the women murdered in the U.S., about one-third were killed by an intimate partner” (source). 17.6 % of women in the United States have survived a completed or attempted rape. Of these, 21.6% were younger than age 12 when they were first raped, and 32.4% were between the ages of 12 and 17. 64% of women who reported being raped, physically assaulted, and/or stalked since age 18 were victimized by a current or former husband, cohabiting partner, boyfriend, or date. Only about half of domestic violence incidents are reported to police. The National College Women Sexual Victimization Study estimated that between 1 in 4 and 1 in 5 college women experience completed or attempted rape during their college years. One out of every six American women have been the victims of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. Factoring in unreported rapes, about 5% – one out of twenty – of rapists will ever spend a day in jail. 19 out of 20 will walk free. The costs of intimate partner violence against women exceed an estimated $5.8 billion. These costs include nearly $4.1 billion in the direct costs of medical care and mental health care and nearly $1.8 billion in the indirect costs of lost productivity and present value of lifetime earnings. A University of Pennsylvania research study found that domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to low-income, inner-city Philadelphia women between the ages of 15 to 44 – more common than automobile accidents, mugging and rapes combined. In this study domestic violence included injuries caused by street crime (see sources).]

December 16, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Yemen, Afghanistan in focus as landmine casualties spike

Press TV – December 14, 2017

Landmines killed 8,605 people in several countries in 2016, despite an international ban on the deadly device, a monitoring group says.

According to the annual report released Thursday by Landmine Monitor, about three-quarters of the known casualties were civilians, including more than 1,000 children who were injured and nearly 500 who were killed.

The number of the casualties — which were mostly recorded in Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine and Yemen — showed a 30% surge compared to 2015.

“A few intense conflicts, where utter disregard for civilian safety persists, have resulted in very high numbers of mine casualties for the second year in a row,” Loren Persi, an editor of the Landmine Monitor said.

Persi described the spike as “alarming”, adding that the true number of the victims would be significantly higher if the data gathering were complete.

The surge comes after a 18-year decline in landmine casualties since the Mine Ban Treaty first came into force in 1999.

The treaty bans the use of landmines and other explosive devices placed on or under the ground, designed to blow up when somebody unintentionally steps on them.

These weapons can be continuously deadly weapons for many years, long after the war has ended. About 80% of landmine victims are civilians.

The Mine Ban Treaty, which has been signed by 163 countries, also bans production, stockpiling and transfer of the deadly landmines.

December 14, 2017 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

Propaganda, Confrontation and Profit

By Brian CLOUGHLEY | Strategic Culture Foundation | 06.12.2017

The waves, the artificial tides of anti-Russian propaganda continue to beat upon the ears and eyes of Western citizens, spurred by Washington politicians and bureaucrats whose motives vary from deviously duplicitous to blatantly commercial. It is no coincidence that there has been vastly increased expenditure on US weaponry by Eastern European countries.

Complementing the weapons’ build-up, which is so sustaining and lucrative for the US industrial-military complex, the naval, air and ground forces of the US-NATO military alliance continue operations ever closer to Russia’s borders.

Shares and dividends in US arms manufacturing companies have rocketed, in a most satisfactory spinoff from Washington’s policy of global confrontation, and the Congressional Research Service (CRS) records that “arms sales are recognized widely as an important instrument of state power. States have many incentives to export arms. These include enhancing the security of allies or partners; constraining the behaviour of adversaries; using the prospect of arms transfers as leverage on governments’ internal or external behaviour; and creating the economics of scale necessary to support a domestic arms industry.”

The CRS notes that arms deals “are often a key component in Congress’s approach to advancing US foreign policy objectives,” which is especially notable around the Baltic and throughout the Middle East, where US wars have created a bonanza for US weapons makers — and for the politicians whom the manufacturers reward so generously for their support. (Additionally, in 2017 arms manufacturers spent $93,937,493 on lobbying Congress.)

Some countries, however, do not wish to purchase US weaponry, and they are automatically categorised as being influenced by Russia, which is blamed for all that has gone wrong in America over the past couple of years. This classification is especially notable in the Central Asian Republics.

The US military’s Central Command (Centcom) states that its “area of responsibility spans more than 4 million square miles and is populated by more than 550 million people from 22 ethnic groups, speaking 18 languages… and confessing [sic] multiple religions which transect national borders. The demographics create opportunities for tension and rivalry.” Centcom is deeply engaged in the US wars in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, and supports Saudi Arabia in its war on Yemen, and the extent of its influence in the Pentagon’s self-allotted geographical Area of Responsibility is intriguing, to say the least. Some of its priorities were revealed in March 2017 by the Commander of this enormous military realm, General Joseph Votel, in testimony to the Armed Services Committee of the House of Representatives in Washington.

General Votel’s description of US self-allocated “responsibilities” was astonishing in its imperialistic arrogance.

As Commander of Centcom, General Votel gave the Armed Services Committee a colourful tour of his territory, describing nations in terms ranging from condescendingly supportive to patently insolent, and he devoted much time to describing relations with countries abutting Russia, Iran and China, which nations, he declared, are trying “to limit US influence in the sub-region.” That “sub-region” includes many countries immediately on the borders of Russia, Iran and China, and averaging 7,000 miles (11,000 kilometres) from Washington.

CENTCOM countries (coloured)

First he dealt with Kazakhstan with which the US has its “most advanced military relationship in Central Asia” in furtherance of which Washington is “making notable progress… despite enduring Russian influence.” It is obviously unacceptable to the Pentagon that Russia wishes to maintain cordial relations with a country with which it has a border of 6,800 kilometres. Then General Votel went into fantasyland by claiming that “Kazakhstan remains the most significant regional contributor to Afghan stability…” which even the members of the Congressional Committee would have realised is spurious nonsense.

But more nonsense was to follow, with General Votel referring to Kyrgyzstan in patronising terms usually associated with a Viceroy or other colonial master of a region that Votel describes as “widely characterized by pervasive instability and conflict,” which he failed to note were caused by the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

He told the Committee that Kyrgyzstan “sees political pressure from its larger, more powerful neighbours, including Russia, hosting a small Russian airbase outside the capital, Bishkek. Despite ongoing challenges in our bilateral and security cooperation, we continue to seek opportunities to improve our mil-to-mil relationship.” He did not explain why Kyrgyzstan should be expected to embrace a military alliance with United States Central Command, but Viceroys don’t have to provide explanations.

Votel then moved to consider Tajikistan with which “our mil-to-mil relationship is deepening despite Moscow’s enduring ties and the presence of the military base near Tajikistan’s capital of Dushanbe, Russia’s largest military base outside of its borders.” Not only this, says Votel, but China (having a 400 Kilometre border with Tajikistan) has had the temerity to have “initiated a much stronger military cooperation partnership with Tajikistan, adding further complexity to Tajikistan’s multi-faceted approach to security cooperation.”

No: China hasn’t added any complexity to Tajikistan’s circumstances. What has complicated their relations is the fact that Afghanistan is in a state of chaos, following the US invasion of 2001, and drugs and terrorists cross the border (1,300 kilometres long) from Afghanistan into Tajikistan, which is trying to protect itself. During its sixteen years of war in Afghanistan there has been no attempt by the United States to secure that border.

None of these countries wants to be forced into a military pact with the United States, and Turkmenistan (border with Afghanistan 750 kilometres) has made it clear it doesn’t want to be aligned with anyone. But General Votel states that its “UN-recognized policy of ‘positive neutrality’ presents a challenge with respect to US engagement.” No matter what is desired by Turkmenistan, it seems, there must always be a way for the United States Central Command to establish military relations and, as General Votel told the Defence Committee, “we are encouraged somewhat by Turkmenistan’s expressed interest in increased mil-to-mil engagement with the US within the limits of their ‘positive neutrality’ policy.”

In the minds (to use the word loosely) of General Votel and his kind, it doesn’t matter if a country wants nothing whatever to do with the United States’ military machine, and wants very much to be left alone to get on with things without any interference. Adoption of such a policy by any nation presents a “challenge” and the United States, which in this region is overseen by General Votel’s Central Command, is determined to seek military “engagement” irrespective of what is desired by governments. Arms sales would swiftly follow.

Votel’s tour of his area of responsibility covered Afghanistan, about which his most absurd assertion  was “I believe what Russia is attempting to do is they are attempting to be an influential party in this part of the world. I think it is fair to assume they may be providing some sort of support to [the Taliban] in terms of weapons or other things that may be there.”

There was not a shred of evidence provided, but the Committee accepted the pronouncement. Obviously if an allegation is made about Russia it doesn’t matter if it is false. It must be believed. But unfortunately for the imperial Votel and his deferential audience, a person with some sense of truth and balance came up two months later with a statement rubbishing Votel’s unfounded and provocative accusation. In May the Director of the US Defence Intelligence Agency told a Senate Committee that “We have seen indication that [Russia] offered some level of support [to the Taliban], but I have not seen real physical evidence of weapons or money being transferred.” The mainstream media gave no publicity to the truth, and continue to blame Russia for all the ills that befall the US Empire, at home and overseas.

The state of affairs was summed up admirably by Jacob Hornberger of the Future of Freedom Foundation on December 4 when he wrote that “Central to any national-security state is the need for official enemies, ones that are used to frighten and agitate the citizenry. If there are no official enemies, the American citizenry might begin asking some discomforting questions: What do we need a national-security state for? Why not abolish the CIA and dismantle the military-industrial complex and the NSA. Why can’t we have our limited-government, constitutional republic back?”

The Motto of the Pentagon’s Central Command is “Prepare, Pursue, Prevail.” and the Central Asian Republics would be well-advised to bear in mind these threats and think hard about the underlying motif of the US military-industrial complex which is “Propagandise, Provoke, Profit.”

December 6, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bombing Afghanistan for Peace and Prosperity

By Brian CLOUGHLEY | Strategic Culture Foundation | 29.11.2017

In May this year the Carnegie Endowment for Peace assessed that “The security environment in Afghanistan is still precarious… the government remains heavily dependent on foreign aid… the combination of a weakening Afghan regime and an unchecked Taliban resurgence could lead to the catastrophic collapse of the Afghan government and state…”

It is essential that a policy be constructed in order to move the country towards security, peace and prosperity, and this, so far, has involved an increase in US combat troops and expansion of the aerial bombing campaign.

According to the US Air Force, 3,554 bombs and rockets were directed at targets in the first ten months of 2017, including 653 in October, the greatest number since November 2010. Some of the most recent strikes were on 10 supposed drug-production facilities in Helmand Province, and the complexity and expense of the operation were considerable.

The commander of foreign forces in Afghanistan, US General John Nicholson, told the media that the attacks were “a demonstration of our new authorities… And specifically, in striking northern Helmand and the drug enterprises there, we’re hitting the Taliban where it hurts, which is their finances.”

According to Nicholson there are 400-500 opium production facilities in Afghanistan, so there is some way to go before the drug evil is eradicated at the factory stage, and if the effort to destroy them is confined to air power, the cash cost is going to be prodigious.

The bombing included strikes by some Afghan air force Tucano aircraft, but the main assault was by the US Air Force which for the first time in Afghanistan used its F-22 Raptor aircraft, flown from the United Arab Emirates, and B-52 strategic nuclear bombers based in Qatar. F-16s joined in from the Bagram base near Kabul, and the operation also involved KC-10 and KC-135 refuelers, surveillance aircraft and command and control aircraft.

General Nicholson explained that the Raptor aircraft was used “because of its ability to deliver precision munitions, in this case a 250-pound bomb, small-diameter, that causes the minimum amount of collateral damage.”

It has been calculated that the Raptor “costs $68,362 an hour to fly” and thus the expense of its excursion, including tankers, “could have approached $400,000” exclusive of bombs. The Pentagon’s budget for 2015 show that 246 of these bombs cost 219.1 million dollars. This means that the US taxpayer pays $890,000 for each one, which makes the cost of the Raptor strike a remarkably expensive operation. Then General Nicholson said that one of his B-52s dropped “six 500-pound, low-collateral-damage, precision-guided munitions” in order “to keep the collateral damage to an absolute minimum, and we did.”

While it is laudable that General Nicholson wants to minimise collateral damage by using 500 pound bombs, he appeared to veer off course slightly and showed a video of “another B-52 strike on another Taliban narcotics production facility. Now, this particular facility was the largest one we struck last night [November 19], with over 50 barrels of opium cooking at the time of the strike… So this was a B-52 strike, several 2,000-pound bombs, and it completely obliterated the facility.” Presumably the 2000 pound bombs were also precision-guided, in order to avoid collateral damage in accomplishment of complete obliteration.

The general noted that in Afghanistan “We’ve dropped more munitions this year than in any year since 2012. These new authorities give me the ability to go after the enemy in ways that I couldn’t before” and he intends to expand the bombing campaign next year.

The “new authorities” are the orders of President Trump to increase the intensity of the war because “I took over a mess, and we’re going to make it a lot less messy,” and General Nicholson is pleased that “we’re hitting the Taliban where it hurts, which is their finances,” although he did say “we are not going after the farmers that are growing the poppy.”

Of course the US air force should not target Afghan farmers — but bombing opium factories will not result in financial ruin of the Taliban. The heroin industry is extremely lucrative, and in Afghanistan the beneficiaries include very many more people other than Taliban adherents. It is, after all, the eighth most corrupt country in the world.

After the Helmand blitz, Reuters reported a poppy farmer, Mohammad Nabi, as saying that “The Taliban will not be affected by this as much as ordinary people. Farmers are not growing poppies for fun. If factories are closed and businesses are gone, then how will they provide food for their families?” Has General Nicholson got an answer to that?

The Voice of America reported in May 2017 that “Since 2002, the US has spent more than $8.5 billion on counternarcotics in Afghanistan — about $1.5 million a day” while “only 13 of the country’s 34 provinces were reported poppy-free in 2016, and this number has dropped into single digits this year.” The UN Office on Drugs and Crime published its Afghanistan Opium Survey on November 15, and observed that “many elements continue to influence farmers’ decisions regarding opium poppy cultivation. Rule of law-related challenges, such as political instability, lack of government control and security, as well as corruption, have been found to be main drivers of illicit cultivation.”

What a shambles. And Washington’s solution is to bomb it.

Nicholson said that farmers “are largely compelled to grow the poppy and this is kind of a tragic part of the story.” Of course the farmers are “compelled to grow” a crop for sale. And it’s more than “kind of tragic.” It’s a catastrophe, because Afghanistan remains the world’s leading producer of opium.

The farmers would stop producing poppy if there were markets for other crops whose cultivation would provide them a decent living. As long ago as 2004 the US Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics, Robert Charles, told Congress that “To destroy Afghanistan’s opium economy, alternatives to the pernicious cycle of opium credit, cultivation and harvest must be available to rural communities.” So billions of dollars were poured into anti-narcotics campaigns and the result is that after twelve years “the level of opium poppy cultivation is a new record high.”

In March 2012 Donald Trump tweeted that “Afghanistan is a total disaster. We don’t know what we are doing. They are, in addition to everything else, robbing us blind.” Little has changed, except that 45 percent of Afghanistan’s districts are controlled or contested by the Taliban, and General Nicholson acknowledges that “we are still in a stalemate.” But Trump has been persuaded to declare that the US will “fight to win”. So the campaign of airstrikes will continue, and Afghanistan will be bombed towards peace and prosperity.

November 29, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Economics, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

The Rule of Power Over the Rule of Law

By Ralph Nader | November 15, 2017

Me Too is producing some results. At long last. Victims of sexual assault by men in superior positions of power are speaking out. Big time figures in the entertainment, media, sports and political realms are losing their positions – resigning or being told to leave. A producer at 60 Minutes thinks Wall Street may be next.

Sexual assaults need stronger sanctions. Only a few of the reported assaulters are being civilly sued under the law of torts. Even fewer are subjects of criminal investigation so far.

Perhaps the daily overdue accounting, regarding past and present reports of sexual assaults will encourage those abused in other contexts to also blow the whistle on other abuses. Too often, there are not penalties, but instead rewards, for high government and corporate officials whose derelict and often illegal decisions directly produce millions of deaths and injuries.

A few weeks ago, former secretaries of state Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice shared a stage at the George W. Bush Institute, reflecting on their careers to widespread admiration. What they neglected to mention were the devastated families, villages, cities and communities and nations plunged into violent chaos from the decisions they deliberately made in their careers.

In a 1996 interview, Madeleine Albright, then secretary of state under Bill Clinton, was asked by Lesley Stahl of CBS 60 Minutes about the tens of thousands of children in Iraq whose deaths were a direct result of Clinton-era sanctions designed to punish Baghdad and whether it was worth it (At that time, Ms. Stahl had just visited these wasting children and infants in a Baghdad hospital). Secretary Albright replied in the affirmative.

Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state under George W. Bush, pushed for the criminal and unconstitutional invasion of Iraq, which resulted in over one million Iraqi deaths, millions of refugees, a broken country and sectarian violence that continues to this day. She has said she often thinks about this mayhem and feels some responsibility. Yet one wonders, as she collects huge speech fees and book advances from her position at Stanford University, whether she might consider donating some of her considerable resources to charities that support those Iraqis whose lives were destroyed by the illegal interventions she advocated.

Then there is lawless Hillary Clinton, who, against the strong advice of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and without any Congressional authorization, persuaded Barack Obama to support a destabilizing regime overthrow in Libya– which has since devolved into a failed state spreading death, destruction and terror in Libya to its neighboring countries. Clinton, who is at large touting her new book and making millions of dollars in book royalties and speech fees to applauding partisan audiences, should also consider making donations to those who have been harmed by her actions.

Relaxing in affluent retirement are George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, the butchers of millions of innocent Iraqis and Afghans. They too are raking it in and receiving ovations from their partisans. No prosecutors are going after them for illegal wars of aggression that were never constitutionally declared and violated our federal laws, international treaties and the Geneva Conventions.

As these ex-officials bask in adulation, the American people are not being shown the burned corpses, charred villages, and poisoned water and soil created by their “public service.” Nor are they exposed to the immense suffering and broken hearts of survivors mourning their deceased family members. Americans never hear the dreaded 24/7 whine of the omnipresent drones flying over their homes, ready to strike at the push of a button by remote operators in Virginia or Nevada. Nor do they hear the screams and sobbing of the victims of unbridled military action, fueling ever-greater hatred against the US.

Corporate executives also get rewarded for the mayhem they unleash by selling dangerously defective cars (e.g. GM, Toyota and VW recently) or releasing deadly toxins into the air and water or presiding over preventable problems in hospitals that a Johns Hopkins School of Medicine study reported is talking 5000 lives a week in this country.

What’s the difference? Because the cause and effect by officials pushing lethal politics, openly carried out with massive armed forces, do so at a distance in time and space (the Nuremberg principles after World War II, which included adherence by the US, addressed this problem). They lather their massive violent, unlawful actions with lies, cover-ups and deceptions, as was the case in 2002-2003 in Iraq. They wrap the flag around their dishonorable desecrations of what that flag stands for and the lives of US soldiers whom they sent there to kill or die.

These officials overpower the rule of law with the rule of raw power – political, economic and military.

For centuries patriarchal mayhem has exploited women in the workplace or the home. Raw power – physical, economic and cultural, regularly, overpower the legal safeguards against wrongful injury, rape and torture, both in the household and at work.

Sporadic assertions of a punishing public opinion will not be enough in either sphere of humans abusing humans. That is why the rule of law must be enforced by the state, and through private civil actions.

November 17, 2017 Posted by | War Crimes, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Afghanistan war crimes probe a sham and cover-up for US

© Ruptly

By Finian Cunningham | RT | November 14, 2017

When The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) announced it was planning to investigate alleged war crimes in Afghanistan, the timing seemed appropriate.

The announcement by the ICC on November 3 came within days of a deadly airstrike by US forces in northern Afghanistan, which UN officials say killed ten civilians.

But the history of the intergovernmental court since it was set up some 15 years ago gives pause to hope that it might deliver justice in Afghanistan. For many critics, the ICC is a byword for self-serving Western political control, either whitewashing crimes or smearing designated opponents. A pertinent question is: why has it taken the ICC so long to investigate alleged crimes in Afghanistan’s war?

The Pentagon claimed the air raid near the city of Kunduz on November 4 killed only Taliban militants. However, last week the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) provided a very different version of events. UNAMA said extensive interviews with local residents and medics show that at least ten civilians died in the airstrike.

The incident would, therefore, be a prime case to investigate. ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has promised an investigation into any alleged war crimes in Afghanistan would be “independent, impartial and objective.”

As a Reuters report stated, the ICC “could examine the role of US forces” in Afghanistan, which have been occupying the country for the past 16 years since October 2001, following the 9/11 terror attacks in Washington DC and New York City.

US torture practices conducted during CIA interrogations and renditions could also be probed, according to reports. An earlier announcement by the ICC said it would be looking into alleged violations committed by three parties: US military, Afghan security forces, and Taliban militants.

If the ICC did carry out an earnest probe into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan, it would have its work cut out – even if it just restricted itself to incidents involving US forces and the CIA.

Two years ago, in October 2015, the northern city of Kunduz was the location of another apparent atrocity committed by the US air force. A hospital run by the French-based Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) was bombed and machine-gunned by US aircraft, killing 42 medical staff and patients. MSF condemned the attack as a violation of the Geneva Convention – a war crime. Though, the Pentagon maintained that its forces made a mistake while targeting militants.

There is very little clarity on the number of Afghan civilians who have been killed by US forces over the past 16 years, from gun battles, house raids, drone strikes, and airstrikes. One estimate puts the total number of civilian deaths in the war at over 31,000. Many of them are victims of Taliban shootings, and bombings or operations carried out by the US-backed Afghan security forces.

Nevertheless, there are abundant incidents involving civilians being killed by US operations in what could merit war crimes prosecutions. This is especially so given the renewal of American military operations in the country ordered by President Trump in August this year – three years after the US forces were officially supposed to wind down.

Trump’s defense secretary James Mattis, on a trip to the Afghan capital Kabul in September, warned that US airstrikes would be ramped up in the coming months. Already this year, the UN reports that there was a surge in civilian casualties from American-backed air raids. The situation has an ominous resonance with how civilian casualties have escalated from increased US airstrikes in Iraq and Syria under the Trump administration’s wider authorization to the Pentagon to mount operations.

So, it seems clear that if the ICC were to open prosecution cases in Afghanistan it would, to say the least, be kept busy. However, critics of the ICC say that its intentions are not motivated by seeking justice.

It’s a political move, says international criminal lawyer Christopher Black.

Since its establishment in 2002, the international court has come in for much criticism that it is a “political tool” of the United States and European allies. Virtually all of the court’s prosecutions and indictments have been against African leaders. For example, Omar Bashir (Sudan), Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya), Muammar Gaddafi (Libya), and Laurent Gbagbo (Ivory Coast) are among those indicted by the ICC.

The US is not a member of the 123-nation ICC. Neither are Russia, China, and India. However, the US exerts a controlling influence over the court’s prosecution office via European governments and the European Union, which are dominant in the administration of the ICC.

“The United States and its European allies use the ICC as a means of political control, not for justice,” says Christopher Black who is registered on the defense counsel for the court, but who has vociferously criticized its political subservience.

Black says the ICC has a similar function to several other ad hoc international tribunals, such as those which purportedly investigated war crimes in Rwanda and former Yugoslavia.

“These courts serve to cover-up actual crimes committed by Western powers while criminalizing political enemies of the West,” says Black.

In the case of former Yugoslavia, he points out, the Hague-based court did not examine the putative crimes of NATO bombing Belgrade in 1999. It only went after former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic whom Washington and the European governments wanted to criminalize to justify NATO’s illegal intervention in the Balkans.

With regard to Afghanistan, the declared intention of the ICC to divide its investigations between US and Afghan parties raises the suspicion the court will seek to mitigate violations carried out by American forces by embroiling other criminal actors.

Even if the ICC were to find US forces guilty of war crimes, it is doubtful that Washington would take any notice of such rulings.

As Christopher Black points out too, the focus of any forthcoming investigation is misplaced in its entire framework. “The focus of a war crimes investigation should be looking at the way the US launched this military occupation back in 2001. A case can be made that the US is guilty of the supreme crime of war of aggression. All other violations stem from Washington committing the ultimate crime of going to war in Afghanistan.”

He says the ICC planned investigation is a piecemeal approach which will serve to conceal the primary responsibility of the US in Afghanistan.

So why then would the ICC bother to set up such a probe into Afghanistan?

The answer is simply to salvage much-needed credibility for the court. Because of its lop-sided focus in prosecuting African leaders, the ICC has come under fire from African members for “double standards” and serving as a neocolonial instrument for Western powers.

Beginning last year, several African nations threatened to walk away from the ICC, including Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Gambia, and Uganda. Last month, Burundi formally completed its withdrawal from the ICC.

In other words, the court is in danger of imploding from lack of credibility. Hence, the announcement to go into Afghanistan is an attempt to salvage authority and public image by appearing to, at last, investigate alleged American war crimes.

“This is all about giving the ICC some badly needed credibility as it unravels in the face of a mass African walk-out,” says lawyer Christopher Black.

As such US and NATO states have nothing to fear from this proposed war crimes investigation in Afghanistan. It’s a cover-up and a sham driven by political interests, not by justice.

Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Ireland, he is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.

Read more:

US airstrike kills at least 10 civilians in Kunduz – UN

‘Cold day in hell before ICC goes after US for committing Afghanistan war crimes’

‘The more US engages in war on terror, the more terrorists it produces’

November 15, 2017 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Former Afghan President Karzai Says US Responsible for ISIS

teleSUR | November 12, 2107

During an interview with Al Jazeera television, former Afghan President Hamid Karzai linked the emergence of Islamic State group in the region to U.S. interventions.

“In my view, under the full (United States) presence, surveillance, military, political, intelligence, Daesh has emerged,” he said.

Karzai also noted that that the United States is colluding with Islamic State group in Afghanistan in order to allow the terrorist group to thrive in the war-torn country, according to PressTV.

“And for two years, the Afghan people came, cried loud about their suffering, of violations. Nothing was done,” Karzai said.

A year after securing control over large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria in 2014, Islamic State group began to establish itself in the eastern province of Nangarhar in Afghanistan. From there the group has carried major attacks on the Central Asian country.

Karzai went on to assert that after the U.S. military dropped the GBU-43/B MOAB — the largest non-nuclear bomb detonated since World War II — in Nangarhar’s Achin District, Islamic State group fighters seized control of “the next district.” It was the first time the U.S. military dropped the 21,600 pound bomb, which contains an Australian made explosive called H6 and has an explosive equivalent to 11 tons of TNT, according to Inverse.

The incident “proves to us that there is a hand” aiding the emergence of Islamic State group and “that hand can be no one else but them (the United States) in Afghanistan,” Karzai concluded.

He condemned the U.S. government for using Afghanistan as a “testing ground for new and dangerous weapons” and welcomed a recent call by Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, to open an inquiry into war crimes committed in Afghanistan.

“She’s right to open an investigation,” Karzai said, adding that he will cooperate with the investigation, even if it probes his own complicity in such crimes.

November 12, 2017 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments

‘Cold day in hell before ICC goes after US for committing Afghanistan war crimes’

RT | November 9, 2017

The ICC prosecutor’s decision to pursue a probe into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan is “completely political” and won’t amount to anything, law professor Francis Boyle believes. He said it will be a “cold day in hell” before any Americans are prosecuted.

The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, announced last week that her request to launch an investigation had been handed over to a pre-trial court. She said that if her request is granted, the probe will focus “upon those most responsible for the most serious crimes committed in connection with the situation in Afghanistan.”

However, Francis Boyle, an international law professor at the University of Illinois, told RT that while Bensouda is likely to get approval for the investigation, the move is simply a “propaganda stunt.” He added that Bensouda has no desire to go after any Americans who committed war crimes.

“You have to understand, this is all political,” said Boyle. He noted that the African country of Burundi has already pulled out of the ICC, and South Africa has voiced the same intention.

“So she’s in a position and the court is in a position that almost all of Africa is going to pull out of the ICC because the only people in the dock over there are black, tin-pot dictators from Africa,” Boyle said. He called the court a “Western, racist, imperial tool” which is being used against Africa.

Because of this, the so-called “white man’s court” will not be going after Americans, Boyle said. “It will be a cold day in hell” before we see Bensouda doing so, he added. Boyle noted that the ICC has “never gone after the Americans, the NATO states, Britain, Israel, despite clear-cut jurisdiction to do so.”

Boyle went on to accuse the US government of committing a Nuremberg crime against peace by “invading Afghanistan and attacking it and blowing them back to the Stone Age and killing a million Afghans.” He added that “I doubt very seriously Bensouda is going to deal with any of that.”

“The United States illegally and criminally invaded Afghanistan and attacked and destroyed them… and then they set up all these torture campus over there, they’ve been torturing these poor people forever. And at a minimum, the United States has probably killed a million Afghanis [sic] since October 2001,” he said.

“The Americans should have been investigated a decade ago at least,” said Boyle, who filed an ICC complaint against former US President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, among others, in 2010, over their policy of “extraordinary rendition perpetrated upon about 100 human beings.” He added that “the American government knows full well they’ll be able to sabotage her [Bensouda], stop her. Nothing’s going to come of it.”

However, Boyle predicted that Bensouda would likely come back with a verdict that it was actually the Taliban who was responsible for crimes. “Or she might apportion blame, but that’s ridiculous too…if you read all the United Nations reports of human rights violations coming out of Afghanistan, they all blame the Taliban. And it’s a joke.”

Although the ICC statement doesn’t name specific parties that would be subject to the investigation, a report released by the prosecutor’s office last year said there is “reasonable basis” to believe crimes were committed by US military forces deployed to Afghanistan, and in secret detention facilities operated by the CIA. It also points the finger at the Taliban and Afghan government forces.

Boyle noted that although the US can technically be prosecuted by the court – despite not being a member – the ICC “pretty much do what they’re told to do,” citing money received from Europe, Japan, and South Korea, as well as the influence of America.

Meanwhile, the United Nations mission in Afghanistan said earlier on Thursday that at least 10 civilians may have been killed in an airstrike in the north city of Kunduz last week, despite a US military investigation stating that no evidence of civilian deaths had been found.

Boyle previously served on the board of Amnesty International USA and drafted legislation for the Biological Weapons Convention, known as the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, which was signed into law after being unanimously approved by both chambers of the US Congress.

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November 9, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pakistan, Iran step up military ties

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | November 8, 2017

The two-day visit by Pakistani army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa to Tehran (November 6-7) must be noted as a significant event. Bajwa was received by President Hassan Rouhani, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Defence Minister General Amir Hatami, apart from top military commanders.

This might have been the first time that a visiting Pakistani army chief met the commander of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Of course, the IRGC can be described as the Praetorian Guards of the Islamic regime and it functions under the supervision of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, but its special forces wing known as the Quds Force (under its charismatic commander General Qasem Soleimani) undertakes sensitive missions abroad. Quds Force reports directly to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Without doubt, General Bajwa’s meeting with the commander of the IRGC General Mohammad Ali Jafari in Tehran on Tuesday becomes an event of exceptional importance. The Trump administration recently ‘sanctioned’ the IRGC.

At the meeting with Bajwa, Jafari offered to share the IRGC’s ‘experiences’ with the Pakistani military. To quote Jafari, “Having 40 years of the experience of resistance against enemies’ threats, the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to transfer its defense and popular resistance experiences to Pakistan.” He warned that the ‘regional (Muslim) nations and states are facing the US and the Zionist regime’s enmity and certain attempts have also been made to foment insecurity in Pakistan, which should be confronted by reliance on popular forces along with Armed and security forces.’ (FARS )

Indeed, enhanced security and military cooperation between Iran and Pakistan was repeatedly stressed by both sides. Notably, IRNA cited President Rouhani as saying that Iran is ‘determined’ to expand military cooperation in various areas such as training, joint exercises, military industry as well as exchange of experiences’. Rouhani added that terrorism, sectarian and ethnical differences are two main problems in the Muslim countries and ‘some global powers’ have a role in fueling them. He said that big powers are against unity and brotherhood between Muslim countries.

Bajwa assured his Iranian interlocutors that Pakistan will not allow any third country to interfere in its relations with Iran. An ISPR press release in Islamabad on Bajwa’s meetings said, “Leaders of both sides agreed to stay engaged for enhanced bilateral cooperation while jointly working to assist in bringing positive developments in other issues concerning the region.”

All in all, both Iran and Pakistan sense the need to draw closer to try to harmonise their regional policies even as they are circling the wagons to counter growing US pressure. The mounting tensions between Iran on one hand and the nascent US-Saudi-UAE-Israeli axis on the other hand make it imperative for Tehran to preserve peace and tranquility on its eastern border with Pakistan. For Pakistan too, Iran’s positive neutrality vis-à-vis its rivalries with India is useful and necessary. (Tehran Times )

Both Iran and Pakistan are stakeholders in the developing situation in Afghanistan. They share disquiet over the prospect of an open-ended US military presence in Afghanistan and harbor suspicions regarding American intentions. Yet, it remains to be seen if in a clean break from the past, Tehran and Islamabad can indeed work together on the Afghan problem – although the recent trend of targeted anti-Shi’ite attacks by new insurgent groups such as the Islamic State Khorasan (possibly with US/Saudi/Israeli backing) must be worrying Iran and Pakistan alike.

Bajwa’s discussions in Tehran dwelt on cooperation in intelligence sharing. Clearly, regional alignments work to Pakistan’s advantage, especially on two templates: India’s close ties with the US and Israel (which Tehran surely watches closely); and, the rising hostility between Iran and the US-Israeli-Saudi axis. On the contrary, Pakistan faces a challenging trapeze act, what with a Saudi-UAE axis preparing for a no-holds-barred showdown with Iran regionally.

To be sure, the growing Iran-Pakistan proximity will be welcomed by China and Russia. Iran is keen to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative. Similarly, the $30 billion energy agreements signed between Russia and Iran a week ago (during President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Tehran) have been interpreted as a move by Moscow to build up strategic assets in the Persian Gulf. The Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak was quoted as mentioning Gazprom’s plan to build pipeline(s) to supply gas to India and/or Pakistan from the Persian Gulf.

At the meeting in Tehran with Bajwa on Monday, Zarif underlined Iran’s readiness to supply gas to Pakistan. Interestingly, on Sunday, Gazprom signed an initial agreement with Iranian state-run investment fund IDRO to cooperate in unspecified oil, gas and energy projects in the region.

November 8, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Iran’s snub to US has meaning for India

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | November 2, 2017

Only Tehran could have punctured US President Donald Trump’s massive ego with just a delicate deflection by the wrist. It all began in the weekend with an innocuous media disclosure in Iran that Trump had sought a meeting with President Hassan Rouhani during the latter’s visit to New York in September to address the UN General Assembly, but the latter spurned the overture summarily. On Sunday Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahran Qassemi commented crisply, “A request indeed was made by the US side, but it wasn’t accepted by President Rouhani.”

Of course, Washington went into a tizzy with White House struggling to deny the Iranian report at first, but belatedly realizing, perhaps, that a lie might boomerang, allowed the State Department spokesperson to tamely confirm it on Tuesday. Trump’s request was apparently transmitted to the Iranian side when the US secretary of state Rex Tillerson and his Iranian counterpart Mohammed Javed Zarif were closeted together on the sidelines of a meeting of the foreign ministers of the P5+1 and Iran to review the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal in September.

The episode speaks volumes about Trump, the man and the statesman – and his times in the White House and the US foreign policies in such extraordinary times. Countries such as India or China must draw appropriate conclusions. Indian analysts, in particular, are still crowing about Tillerson’s recent rhetoric at the CSIS conjuring up from thin air a quadripartite alliance between the US, Japan, India and Australia to contain China, while Trump on the other hand is preparing for a momentous state visit to China looking for some foreign-policy trophy as outcome in his barren presidency.

The point is, Trump could so blithely befool the wily Saudi King Salman and the pompous Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in one go, sending them into wild ecstasy that he is about to go after the jugular veins of the Iranian leaders, while in reality also desiring to cultivate them on the quiet or at least keep open a line of communication to them – and, perhaps, even do some business with Tehran for ‘America First’.

The bad part is that the US is also intruding into India’s Iran policies. Did India have to cut back oil imports from Iran and replace it with US shale oil? For the US (or Israel), it is important that India-Iran relations remain sub-optimal for as long as their own relationships with Iran remain problematic. India’s interests, on the other hand, lie in forging a strategic partnership with Iran that can be highly productive and beneficial for advancing its development strategy as well as for strengthening regional security. To borrow the American expression, Iran is India’s ‘natural partner’.

Nothing brings this home as when Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei proposed to the visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting in Tehran on Wednesday that a transportation corridor could be built connecting the Iranian port of Chabahar with St-Petersburg. India cannot miss the point that Russia and Iran could be meaningful partners in fostering regional connectivity. Simply put, geography dictates geopolitics and geo-economy.

The bottom line is that the Iranian snub to Trump also highlights its strategic defiance of the US’ attempts to (re)impose hegemony in what the Americans call the ‘Greater Middle East’ – stretching from the Levant to the Central Asian steppes. Delhi should pay serious attention to the remark by Khamenei to Putin yesterday when he said that the “good cooperation” between Iran and Russia in Syria has proved “meaningful” and bore “important results”, and above all, “this cooperation showed that Tehran and Moscow can realize common goals in difficult situations.” (Tehran Times )

Khamenei didn’t specifically refer to Afghanistan, but the thought couldn’t have been far from his mind. The US’ plans to consolidate an open-ended military presence in Afghanistan is actually aimed at encircling Iran and Russia and containing them. It is useful to recall in this context that the then Iranian and Russian foreign ministers – Ali Akbar Velayati and Evgeniy Primakov – had worked closely together to bring the Tajik civil war to an end in 1997. Equally, Iran and Russia were on the same page in supporting the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan during 1997-2001.

No doubt, the preference of Tehran and Moscow once again will be to carry Delhi along with them in the struggle for strengthening regional security and stability through regional initiatives – as Khamenei’s remark on connecting Chabahar with St. Petersburg implies.

November 2, 2017 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Visitors to the Colony of Afghanistan

By Brian CLOUGHLEY | Strategic Culture Foundation | 01.11.2017

US and NATO representatives keep trying to convince the world that Afghanistan is not a corruption-ridden quagmire of violence, and US Defence Secretary, General Mattis, told reporters in Kabul on September 28 that “uncertainty has been replaced by certainty” because of new US policy, and that “the sooner the Taliban recognizes they cannot win with bombs, the sooner the killing will end.”

At the same press conference NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that following a Taliban attack on Kabul airport that day, which he described as “a sign of weakness, not of strength,” he “would like to commend the Afghan Security Forces which are handling these kinds of attacks and it is yet another example of how professional they are, how committed they are and how they are able to handle this kind of security threat.” (In September the US Air Force dropped more bombs on Afghanistan “than in any other month for nearly seven years.”)

In the following month, from October 17 to 23, there were six major insurgent attacks which demonstrated that the militants are far from weak:

At least 71 people were killed and hundreds wounded in suicide and gun attacks on police and soldiers in Ghazni and Paktia Provinces… Some 50 soldiers were killed in a Taliban assault on a military base in Kandahar province… A suicide bomber blew himself up in a Shiite mosque during evening prayers in Kabul, killing 56 people and wounding 55 others and another suicide bombing killed at least 33 people at a mosque in the central province of Ghor… A further suicide bomber killed 15 army officer cadets travelling in a bus in Kabul, and four policemen were killed in a Taliban attack on a security post in Ghazni province.

So the carnage continues, as do the visitors, and the New York Times reported that on October 23, the same day as the Ghazni policemen were killed, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “made a secret two-hour visit” and the Washington Post noted he “flew from Doha to Bagram [the massive US base]” while “a total news blackout was imposed until after they left the country and returned to Qatar.”

The Times was forthright in stating how shocking it is “that top American officials must sneak into this country after 16 years of war, thousands of lives lost and hundreds of billions of dollars spent” and considered the furtive two-hour stopover to be “testimony to the stalemate confronting the United States because of a stubborn and effective Taliban foe that is increasingly ascendant.” But deception capers went further than disguising the visit itself.

It was noted by the BBC that both the Afghan and US governments said the meeting between Mr Tillerson and Afghanistan’s President Ghani took place in Kabul, as tweeted by the State Department (“Today, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with #Afghanistan’s President @ashrafghani in Kabul”). And this was right and proper, because visiting foreign government representatives should call on heads of state and not vice versa, and it seemed that appropriate civility had been observed.

Except that it hadn’t, because Tillerson didn’t go to the President’s office in Kabul, but spent his entire two hours at the heavily guarded US air base at Bagram. He didn’t dare travel the 50 kilometres from Bagram to Kabul to meet President Ghani, but President Ghani had to travel to Bagram to meet with him, which tells us a great deal about how Washington regards Afghanistan and its elected president. And then the attempt to have the world believe that the meeting took place in Kabul didn’t work out.

The deception collapsed because of a difference in a photograph of the meeting. According to the Times, “a press release from the US embassy in Afghanistan includes a photo with the wall above the two men’s heads cropped out” by photoshopping, but another photograph showed a clock on the wall displaying international time, which indicated that the photograph was taken at the US base and not in the President’s office in Kabul. (A helpful State Department spokesperson suggested that “the Afghan Government changed those photos probably to make it aesthetically more pleasing” which at least added a little humour to an otherwise gruesome farce.)

It isn’t clear what the visit was supposed to achieve, given that the Tillerson-Ghani meeting lasted less than an hour, although there was an eight-minute “media availability” at which four questions were asked by the six American journalists who were travelling with Tillerson in his aircraft. No Afghan reporters were permitted to be present, a decision indicative of the character of the visit as a whole, and it can hardly be expected that their exclusion would be regarded with approval by the Afghan government or media The conduct of this visit gave the Taliban and all other anti-American elements in the country a boost that is unquantifiable but is bound to be substantial.

Which takes us to another disastrous episode in US-Afghanistan relations, in May 2014, at which there were no aesthetically displeasing clocks in photographs when President Obama visited Afghanistan, because there was no meeting between him and the then Afghan Head of State, President Karzai.

Like Mr Ghani with the Tillerson visit, Mr Karzai had not been told in advance that Obama was coming to Afghanistan, but when eventually he was informed of his arrival he refused to travel to Bagram to call on him. A US official said that President Karzai had been “offered a meeting with Mr Obama during the brief visit but declined… We did offer him the opportunity to come to Bagram, but we’re not surprised that it didn’t work on short notice.”

The condescending contempt of that statement and the arrogance of the US attitude did not escape the citizens of Afghanistan, and the Wall Street Journal observed that “Afghans praised President Hamid Karzai for refusing to meet with President Barack Obama during a brief visit to their country.” But it is disgraceful that the President of the United States (and any Washington administration official, such as Tillerson) can visit Afghanistan without informing its president beforehand. It wouldn’t work with France or China or Tahiti — but it seems that Afghanistan isn’t important enough to matter.

The ultimate insult of the Obama visit was that he brought “country music star Brad Paisley with him to provide entertainment for the troops,” which may have added to the vexation of President Karzai whose office issued a statement that “The president of Afghanistan said he was ready to warmly welcome the president of the United States in accordance with Afghan traditions but had no intention of meeting him at Bagram.”

Three years ago the president of Afghanistan made it clear that the president of the United States had failed to observe international custom and common courtesy and would be treated appropriately for his patronising conduct. But things have changed since then, and when a US official now visits Afghanistan, and scorns custom and courtesy, the current president of Afghanistan has to ignore the condescension and bow his knee by obeying orders to go to the visitor’s security cocoon in the Bagram base.

It is a sad commentary on the state of affairs in Afghanistan that after sixteen years of US military operations and expenditure of over 800 billion dollars it is unsafe for the Secretary of State to visit the place unless his travel is kept entirely secret from the world — including the president of the country he is visiting. But it is even more appalling that the United States treats Afghanistan like a US colony, as evidenced by the fact that the US Secretary of State can summon the Afghan president to meet him in a US military base, rather than paying him basic respect as he would to a national leader anywhere else in the world.

Washington has not yet learned that winning wars and influencing people takes more than brute force. Trump declared in August that “Our troops will fight to win. We will fight to win. From now on, victory will have a clear definition… preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan.” But he’ll never do that if the United States continues to behave like a colonial master.

November 1, 2017 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Neocon Max Boot: Legal and illegal aliens need to enlist in the US army and die for Israel

By Jonas E. Alexis | Veterans Today | October 16, 2107

In 1973 Irving Kristol, the godfather of the Neoconservative movement, made a stunning statement which is still relevant to understanding the Israeli influence in US foreign policy. Kristol said:

Senator McGovern is very sincere when he says that he will try to cut the military budget by 30%. And this is to drive a knife in the heart of Israel… Jews don’t like big military budgets. But it is now an interest of the Jews to have a large and powerful military establishment in the United States…

“American Jews who care about the survival of the state of Israel have to say, no, we don’t want to cut the military budget, it is important to keep that military budget big, so that we can defend Israel.”

Read the statement again very carefully. A big military budget, said Kristol, is only good for Israel, not America or much of the Western World. In other words, precious American soldiers who go to the Middle East to fight so-called terrorism are just working for Israel, not for America.

So, whenever the Neocons use words such as “democracy” or “freedom,” they are essentially conning decent Americans to support Israel’s perpetual wars. John Tirman, Principal Research Scientist and Executive Director of the Center for International Studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is saying similar things in his book The Death of Others.[1]

In fact, warmongers like Henry Kissinger do not consider American soldiers as decent human beings. Kissinger said very explicitly that military men are “dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.”[2]

People like Kissinger have been killing those “dumb, stupid animals” like chickens in the Middle East for decade. Keep in mind that at least 4,486 American soldiers have already lost their precious lives in Iraq.[3] At least 6,845 Americans died and 900,000 were wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.[4] In the space of eight years alone, the Iraq war has taken the lives of at least 116,000 civilians.[5] Under Obama, at least 2,500 Americans died in Iraq and Afghanistan.[6] And what have those soldiers received in return? Well…

“The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have produced more disability claims per veteran than other wars on the books, including Vietnam, Korea and World War II. While Vietnam extracted a far higher death toll – 58,000 died in that war – the total number of documented disabilities suffered by recent veterans is approaching that of the earlier conflict, according to VA documents.”[7]

This is just the tip of the iceberg. If you think that the Zionist project has always been in the business of rebuilding countries it has literally destroyed, think again. Tirman writes:

“The money that did finally arrive in Afghanistan, if not siphoned off by President Karzai and his allies, frequently aided American or other foreign contractors who were in some cases doing the work Afghans could do. Even the best intentions were skewed. ‘Instead of giving aid money for Afghan schools to the Ministry of Education, for example, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) funds private American contractors to start literacy programs for adults,’ wrote Ann Jones, a veteran of Afghan reconstruction. ‘As a result, Afghan teachers abandon the public schools and education administrators leave the Ministry for higher paying jobs with those contractors, further undermining public education and governance.’

“In several locales, the contractors and USAID workers felt compelled to spend money faster than it could usefully be absorbed; private American firms would not get renewed contracts if their financial ‘burn rate’ left over funds at the end of the year, leading to shoddy workmanship and other waste. Frequently, outright fraud and failed projects were the result. To a troubling extent, Afghanistan also witness the uneasy marriage of security and development–projects like building roads but were essential to the U.S. military.

“The failure of both security and development in Afghanistan is attributable to the social and political dynamics that were misread by U.S. officials… By framing the deaths of innocents as mistakes, the U.S. sought to avoid the deeper moral and legal questions as to whether it was attacking legitimate military targets; whether such actions satisfied the proportionality rule; and whether its ground forces were placing themselves at sufficient risk in order to mitigate the horrors of war for innocent civilians.’

“The typical story was a U.S. warplane or helicopter killing ‘terrorists’ that turned out to be no more than civilians at a social gathering. A dispute over who was killed and why would occasionally be visible in the Western press, with villagers claiming civilians were the victims and the military spokesman insisting they were terrorists. Evidence would be brought forward, typically by eyewitnesses, and the American or NATO commanders would retreat to the safe confines of ordering an investigation into the ‘tragic incident.’”[8]

Neocon hawks like Max Boot know that American soldiers are dying by the thousands for Israel. As a result, Boot proposed what seemed to be a diabolical project in 2005, and here it is:

The military would do well today to open its ranks not only to legal immigrants but also to illegal ones and, as important, to untold numbers of young men and women who are not here now but would like to come.

“No doubt many would be willing to serve for some set period in return for one of the world’s most precious commodities — U.S. citizenship.”

Did you catch that? The U.S. military should open its ranks to everyone, both legal and illegal, so that they can go ahead and die in the Middle East. Boot never told the American people about the cost of this diabolical plan. He never told people that no country on earth can survive with that principle.

What we are seeing here is that the deaths of American soldiers in the Middle East aren’t enough for Boot. He has to enlist other Goyim in his essentially Talmudic plan. If people like Max Boot aren’t dangerous to America and much of the world, then no one is. It was good that Tucker Carlson told Boot to pick up a decent job like house painting.


[1] John Tirman, The Deaths of Others: The Fate of Civilians in America’s Wars (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011).

[2] Quoted in Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, The Final Days (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1976), 194.

[3] H. A. Goodman, “4,486 American Soldiers Have Died in Iraq. President Obama Is Continuing a Pointless and Deadly Quagmire,” Huffington Post, November 17, 2014.

[4] H. A. Goodman, “6,845 Americans Died and 900,000 Were Injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. Say ‘No’ to Obama’s War,” Huffington Post, February 12, 2015.

[5] David Blair, “Iraq war 10 years on: at least 116,000 civilians killed,” Telegraph, March 15, 2013.

[6] Tessa Stuart, “Some 2,500 Americans Have Died in Afghanistan and Iraq Under Obama,” Rolling Stone, May 30, 2016.

[7] Chris Adams, “Millions went to war in Iraq, Afghanistan, leaving many with lifelong scars,” McClatchy Newspapers, March 14, 2013.

[8] Tirman, The Deaths of Others, 272.

October 16, 2017 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Video, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 2 Comments