It was a Christmas and New Year’s from hell for American intelligence, that $75 billion labyrinth of at least 16 major agencies and a handful of minor ones. As the old year was preparing to be rung out, so were our intelligence agencies, which managed not to connect every obvious clue to a (literally) seat-of-the-pants al-Qaeda operation. It hardly mattered that the underwear bomber’s case -- except for the placement of the bomb material -- almost exactly, even outrageously, replicated the infamous, and equally inept, “shoe bomber” plot of eight years ago.
The man on the motorcycle was going the wrong way down a one-way street, gesturing indignantly for the phalanx of traffic-clogged cars in front of him to move. "Brother, why are you angry with us?" said a passenger leaning out of one of the vehicles blocking his path. "It's you who are going the wrong way!" "I'm not angry at you, I'm angry at Afghanistan," the man cried back, waving his arm dismissively as he negotiated his bike onto a crowded sidewalk and drove off in a trail of exhaust fumes. "These are sad days."
More than 5,000 people demonstrated in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad Thursday to protest the deaths of four children and wounding of scores of others in an explosion that ripped through a crowd in a nearby village the day before. The crowd blockaded the main highway to the Pakistan border for hours, shouting "Death to America" and burning US President Barack Obama in effigy. Despite NATO denials of responsibility for the carnage and a claim by local police that the blast was caused by a police vehicle hitting a landmine, Afghans blamed the deaths on the US-led occupation. The incident took place Wednesday as a group of US soldiers were visiting a road-construction site in the village of Mazzina. The village lies south of Jalalabad, which is the capital of Nangarhar Province.
TWO US former private security contractors were arrested yesterday on murder charges. The men, employed by contractors Blackwater, have been held on charges relating to the shootings of two Afghans after a traffic accident last year Justin Cannon, 27, and Chris Drotleff, 29, face charges of second-degree murder, attempted murder and weapons charges.
“Why?” The grieving family members ask. “Why did the terrorists kill our loved ones?” The hardnosed colleagues of the four fallen CIA officers comfort the wives and children (and one husband). They shake off their sorrow, huddle together by the graves, and vow vengeance. They bathe themselves in their seething anger like it was the blood of the lamb.
In Afghanistan, hundreds have taken to the streets of Kabul and elsewhere to protest the US killing of civilians. The incident that has sparked the most outrage took place in eastern Kunar on December 27th, when ten Afghans, eight of them schoolchildren, were killed. According to the Times of London, US-led troops dragged innocent children from their beds and shot them during a nighttime raid. Afghan government investigators said the eight students were aged from eleven to seventeen, all but one of them from the same family. [includes rush transcript]
American forces inspecting an engineering project in eastern Afghanistan paused to toss candies to a clutch of curious Afghan children on Wednesday when a large explosion tore through the crowd. The blast turned a common gesture of friendship by American forces into what for Afghans has become an all too common tragedy, setting off angry recriminations and protests.
"Obama’s surge has another dimension as well: it is aimed at Pakistan hence the demand that it must deal with the Taliban as well as al-Qaeda “sheltering” in Pakistan. This is merely a pretext; America’s real aim is the dismantling of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. This explains the constant harping on the issue. The specter of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of extremists is constantly invoked. The US would like to take them out because these weapons are viewed as a potential threat to the Zionist entity...
A BRITISH soldier and four American servicemen have been killed in two separate improvised bomb explosions in southern Afghanistan. The British soldier, from the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, died in a blast while on foot patrol in the Nad-e Ali area of Helmand Province, yesterday, the Ministry of Defence said. Next of kin have been informed.
The occupied government of Afghanistan and the United Nations have both concluded that U.S.-led troops recently dragged eight sleeping children out of their beds, handcuffed some of them, and shot them all dead. While this apparently constitutes an everyday act of kindness, far less intriguing than the vicious singeing of his pubic hairs by Captain Underpants, it is at least a variation on the ordinary American technique of murdering men, women, and children by the dozens with unmanned drones...
The Taliban suicide attack that killed a group of CIA agents in Afghanistan on a base that was directing US drone aircraft used to attack Taliban leaders was big news in the US over the past week, with the airwaves and front pages filled with sympathetic stories referring to the fact that the female station chief, who was among those killed, was the “mother of three children.”
According to reports, troops were looking for high value targets among both the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. The one that became widely known in September 2008 was condemned as a provocation by the Pakistani government. Ethnic groups from Pakistans Belugistan province where most of the raids occurred blame the government in Islamabad for allowing these things to happen, said RT LIVE investigative journalist Webster Tarpley. He pointed out that President Obamas West point speech of December 2 is a thinly veiled declaration of war against Pakistan in the sense that it announces the intent of the US to promote the dismemberment, the partition of Pakistan along ethnic lines and in order to do that you have to create trouble on the ground. VoltaireNet: Obama Declares War on Pakistan.
Kai Eide warned against nighttime actions by coalition forces ''given that they often result in lethal outcomes for civilians." The UN representative urged US-led NATO forces to make every effort to "minimize" civilian casualties in Afghanistan. He was referring to the alleged killing of ten civilians at the hands of foreign troops on Sunday in northeast Afghanistan. The US military insists that the victims were "armed militants". PressTV: In Pakistan, more civilians fall victim to US drones. AntiWar: NATO Kills at Least Eight Afghan Civilians in Fresh Air Strike. URUKNET: Video: Afghan tensions rise amid civilian and CIA deaths.
A SUICIDE bomber has infiltrated a CIA base in eastern Afghanistan, killing at least eight Americans in what is believed to be the deadliest single attack on US intelligence personnel in the eight-year-long war and one of the deadliest in the agency's history.
Just as the CLG has asserted from the get-go. Wait until Blackwater gets hold of one of Pakistan's nukes, detonates it, blames 'al-Qaeda' and plunges the US into WWIII. I am thinking the lucrative contract for Xe to 'clean up' in the aftermath of the nuclear explosion has already been drafted. Blackwater needs to be eliminated before they become as big as Goldman Sachs and Citi - 'too big' to destroy.
American-led troops were accused yesterday of dragging innocent children from their beds and shooting them during a night raid that left ten people dead. Afghan government investigators said that eight schoolchildren were killed, all but one of them from the same family. Locals said that some victims were handcuffed before being killed. PressTV: Afghan civilian death prompts anti-US rallies. + Karzai calls for US troops in Afghan custody.
CNN: Attacks kill 8 purported CIA
employees agents, 5 Canadians in Afghanistan. An attack by a suicide bomber at a military base in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday killed eight Americans believed to be CIA employees, a senior U.S. official told CNN. Also Wednesday, four Canadian soldiers and a Canadian journalist were killed when a roadside bomb hit their armored vehicle in southern Afghanistan, Canada's defense ministry said. CBC: 5 Canadians killed in Afghanistan. Belfast Telegraph: Eight Americans killed by Afghanistan bomb 'were CIA agents'. BBC: US CIA officers agents killed in Afghanistan bomb attack.
Western troops accused of executing 10 Afghan civilians, including children. Asked if the people were shot outside their homes, the President’s spokesman Waheed Omar said: “That is our understanding.” Local elders confirmed that ten people were killed, but their accounts of raid differed. “Three of the children were killed in their bedroom,” said a local elder Jan Mohammed. “The other five had their hands bound, then they were killed." PressTV: US troops kill civilians.
The call for over 30,000 more troops to be sent to Afghanistan is a travesty for the people of that country who have already suffered eight brutal years of occupation. It is also a harsh blow to the US soldiers facing imminent deployment. As Barack Obama, the US president, gears up for a further escalation that will bring the total number of troops in Afghanistan to over 100,000, he faces a military force that has been exhausted and overextended by fighting two wars.
At least five people were killed Saturday when missiles from an unmanned US aircraft hit a suspected militant compound in Pakistan's northwest tribal belt, security officials said. The missiles struck a house in Saidgi village of North Waziristan tribal district, which borders Afghanistan, "officials" said. Two missiles hit a house, five "militants" were killed, an "intelligence official"
told AFP alleged.
'The pain and suffering of the peoples of Afghanistan has a long history before and since the United States intervened in their political lives in 1979. Many outside powers share responsibility for their plight. But today’s situation directly relates to the covert war the United States encouraged and funded from the summer of 1979...'
Obama should fire generals who spoke out on Afghan surge - "Generals are subordinate to the Commander-in-Chief. When generals start trying to suggest publicly what the president should do, they shouldn't be generals anymore. That's the way it works."
Michael Prysner and James Circello, staff members of March Forward!, an antiwar organization for active duty soldiers and veterans, discuss the bigotry ingrained in military culture that dehumanizes the enemy du jour, the class struggle between enlisted soldiers and officers, the intentional “draw fire” missions that boost an officer’s career while endangering troops, double-dipping retired generals who get paid to propagandize for more war, the continued deployment of soldiers with PTSD and the Pentagon’s fear of a mass GI desertion. AWIP: AMAZING SPEECH BY WAR VETERAN (Video).
Insurgents Scramble to Establish Rival Government. As the US attempts to strengthen its own government of choice in Afghanistan, they are in a race not just against time, but against Taliban forces which are increasingly setting up credible alternative governments. Once seen as something relegated to the more remote border provinces, this seems to be a nationwide phenomenon now, and the Taliban insists that it actually has a controlling presence in around 80 percent of the country. The People's Voice: STRUGGLE FOR KABUL: THE TALIBAN ADVANCE.
War Veteran - Our real enemy is not in a distant land whose names or policies we don't understand; It's the system that wages war when it's profitable, Insurance Companies who deny us Health care when it's profitable. Our enemies are not several miles away. They are right here in front of us.
The former deputy UN envoy to Afghanistan has launched a withering attack on President Hamid Karzai's latest effort to reinvent his government, saying the shake-up would do little to ameliorate the country's worsening crisis. Galbraith's caustic comments mark the latest salvo in a series of increasingly bitter exchanges between the US diplomat and his former UN employers over the lack of legitimacy of the Karzai government, which Galbraith claims the UN has chosen to cover up.
US terrorists launched their third strike in the past 24 hours today, firing multiple missiles at a suspected “hideout” in Datta Khel village, North Waziristan Agency, and killing at least 12 suspects. The “hideout” in question amounted to a cluster of tents occupied by nomads who regularly migrate back and forth across the border from Pakistan to Afghanistan. The identities of the slain were not clear. Yahoo: NATO air strike kills three Afghan civilians. Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan: Remarks of Z. Mujahid, Spokesman of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Regarding the Invaders Recent Brutalities.
Contrary to popular belief, the US actually has 189,000 personnel on the ground in Afghanistan right now—and that number is quickly rising. A hearing in Sen. Claire McCaskill’s Contract Oversight subcommittee on contracting in Afghanistan has highlighted some important statistics that provide a window into the extent to which the Obama administration has picked up the Bush-era war privatization baton and sprinted with it. Overall, contractors now comprise a whopping 69% of the Department of Defense’s total workforce, “the highest ratio of contractors to military personnel in US history.” That’s not in one war zone—that’s the Pentagon in its entirety.
In Afghanistan, the Obama administration blows the Bush administration out of the privatized water. According to a memo [PDF] released by McCaskill’s staff, “From June 2009 to September 2009, there was a 40% increase in Defense Department contractors in Afghanistan. During the same period, the number of armed private security contractors working for the Defense Department in Afghanistan doubled, increasing from approximately 5,000 to more than 10,000.” At present, there are 104,000 Department of Defense contractors in Afghanistan.
Fighters in Iraq and Afghanistan have been able to use low cost software downloaded from the internet to hack into live video feeds from unmanned US surveillance aircraft, a military official has said. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior US defence official told the Associated Press the fighters could view feeds from Predator drones - the US military's eyes in the sky for intelligence gathering - but could not take control of the aircraft or jam its electronic signals. Wired: Not Just Drones: "Militants" Can Snoop on Most U.S. Warplanes (Updated).
In an exceptionally heavy barrage by American drones in Pakistan, five Predator aircraft fired 10 missiles at suspected militant compounds along the border with Afghanistan on Thursday. Along with an earlier attack, at least 15 people, including 7 foreigners, were killed, Pakistani security officials said. AntiWar: US Drone Attacks Kill at Least 17 in North Waziristan.
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says his US counterpart Barack Obama talks of change but in reality is 'going down the same road' as his predecessor, George W. Bush. "So far, Mr. Obama has only talked of bringing change to Washington, but US policies are not much different from before," said Ahmadinejad in a meeting with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on the sidelines of UN talks on climate change in Denmark.
President Barack Obama was briefly in Oslo, Norway today to accept his Nobel Peace Prize. He gave a speech (transcript here). Below is an infographic that gives prominence to the words he used the most during his remarks.
Congress investigating charges of 'protection racket' by Afghanistan contractors. A House oversight subcommittee said Wednesday that it has begun a wide-ranging investigation into allegations that
private security companies mercenaries hired to protect Defense Department convoys in Afghanistan are paying off warlords and the Taliban to ensure safe passage. "If shown to be true, it would mean that the United States is unintentionally engaged in a vast protection racket and, as such, may be indirectly funding the very insurgents we are trying to fight," said Rep. John F. Tierney (D-Mass.), chairman of the House oversight subcommittee on national security and foreign affairs. [No sh*t. This what the CLG has been asserting *for years.*]
The list, released on the final day of a three-day anti-corruption conference, includes five senior members within the government of Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, said Hashem Ahelbarra, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Kabul. "Overall the list includes 15 former ministers, five ministers currently holding positions and six governors in Afghanistan," Ahelbarra said on Thursday. "They include Rangin Spanta, the foreign minister, Hanif Atmar, the interior minister, as well as Nematullah Shahrani, the top advisor to the president, and the minister of the economy, Jalil Shams."
Rep. Alan Grayson: Finally gets to finish one of his speeches. At the end he is "reminded" to not 'call out' anyone by specific name...
I have to agree with Arianna Huffington (unfortunately!) that Obama’s war-apologists sound exactly like the Bush crowd, although Sestak’s scare-mongering is just a bit more imaginative: "If Pakistan collapses, we will face an unthinkable situation: a nuclear-armed failed state overrun by the most powerful and most radical jihadist groups in the world. Al Qaeda may organize elsewhere, but there is nowhere on the face of the planet more advantageous to it and more dangerous for the world than where it is right now."
Private contractors will make up at least half of the total military workforce in Afghanistan going forward, according to Defense Department officials cited in a new congressional study. As President Obama's escalation of the war in Afghanistan unfolds, the number of contractors will likely jump by between 16,000 and 56,000, adding up to a total of 120,000-160,000, according to an updated study from the Congressional Research Service.
The Arabs are growing tired of waiting for the promises the new US president made to be fulfilled. On 30 November, one day before the US president went to West Point to announce his new strategy for Afghanistan, filmmaker Michael Moore sent Barack Obama an open letter. Having heard of the president's intention to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, Moore asked if Obama wanted to be a war president.
Reports that mercenaries employed by the notorious Blackwater-Xe military contracting firm participated in CIA assassinations in Iraq and Afghanistan have further exposed the real character of so-called "good war" that is being escalated by the Obama administration.
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