Afghanistan

Smarter Foreign Policies or Bigger Blowbacks? – Ralph Nader

July 13, 2015

Are Washington’s relentless bombings and military immersions in sectarian battles within Arab and neighboring regions accelerating the spread of terrorist attacks? Yes. The recent rash of terror attacks in Kuwait, Tunisia, Somalia, France, and other countries are tragic examples of the strategic failures of our government and its very heavy reliance on military interventions, including the omnipresent drones that terrorize civilians. From the first bombings of al-Qaeda’s small band of fighters in the mountains of Afghanistan to the toppling of the Taliban government there by President George Bush in 2001, all Washington’s weaponry, soldiers, and trillions of dollars have accomplished is to spread al-Qaeda’s numerous offshoots into over a dozen countries. The CIA calls this “blowback.” For fourteen years this “blowback” has destabilized countries, initiated civil wars costing millions of mostly civilian lives and leaving others sickened and injured, and caused many families to be driven out of their homes as masses of weeping refugees. In the meantime, hatred of the U.S. in those regions grows. The attackers we have helped to provoke are becoming better trained on how to use their weaponry to create more devastation over larger ranges of territories. Could there have been an overreaction by the

Islamic State: why so resilient? – PAUL ROGERS

July 10, 2015

Ten years after the attacks in London on 7 July 2005 (7/7) and nearly fourteen years after those in New York on 11 September 2001 (9/11) which provoked the “war on terror”, there is no end in sight to this long conflict. Today, the proto-caliphate of Islamic State – the latest manifestation of the al-Qaida idea – has done more than just survive its first year. It is entrenched in Syria and Iraq, has a growing presence in Libya, and is linked to extreme groups in other countries, not least Afghanistan where the powerful Hezb-e-Islami militia led by former prime minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has pledged allegiance. Islamic State is proving much more resilient than expected, and it is worth pausing at this time of anniversaries to ask why. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the new caliphate, Islamic State, at Friday prayers at the main mosque in Mosul on 4 July 2014.   But the initial announcement had actually been made five days earlier, on 29 June, when it was picked up by Al-Jazeera and a few other media outlets.The declaration followed the rapid takeover of much of northwest Iraq by the new movement, culminating in the collapse of Iraqi army units and the seizure of Iraq’s second city, Mosul. Within two

US Managed to Make Afghanistan the World’s Top Heroin Exporter By Jack Balkwill

July 9, 2015

Afghan Brigadier General Abdul Sama was accused recently of smuggling over 40 pounds of heroin. It should come as no surprise that an Afghan general was caught smuggling heroin, the surprise is that any high official in that country should be charged with a crime for profiting from the trade in illegal drugs while under the watchful eye of American forces. Under American occupation, Afghanistan quickly became the world’s leader in opium production, producing over 90% of the world’s supply. The Taliban had almost shut down opium production prior to the US invasion in 2001 to the chagrin of international drug runners, and no doubt the international banking industry, which earns big profits laundering billions of dollars in illegal drug money annually. Illegal drugs account for about 8% of all international trade. Few Americans are aware of the long history of the CIA’s running illegal drugs internationally, thanks to the untiring efforts of the mainstream press. Were citizens aware, few would be surprised that heroin production has skyrocketed under US occupation of Afghanistan. The tragic case of journalist Gary Webb of the San Jose Mercury News is a case in point, and represents perhaps the widest-known attempt at suppressing the story of CIA drug-running endeavors,

Marijuana Legalization 2015: PTSD And Cannabis — Can Researchers Cut Through The Politics To Find Out Whether Weed Works? By Joel Warner

July 8, 2015

CASCADE, Colorado — Matt Stys funnels a mound of finely ground God’s Gift, a sativa strain of marijuana, into his multicolored glass bowl and takes a hit. “It allows the images and all the things in your head to lose focus and drift away for a while,” says Stys as wisps of smoke curl from his mouth. For Stys, the images of being a noncommissioned officer running an entry control point in Iraq in 2007 and 2008 can fade away with the smoke: recollections of struggling to differentiate potential combatants from Iraqi citizens, of watching the wounded and dead flowing through his security checkpoint. Other demons in his head can waft away too, like the memories of spending his teenage years in foster care, and the moral ache of questioning the war in which he fought. “I had this misconception that we were over here to help Iraq,” he says. “But we were just there to destroy a nation.” These images and anguish caused the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to diagnose Stys, 43, with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), along with service-related shoulder, knee and ankle injuries this past March, six years after getting out of the Army. Stys

The Gary Null Show – 07.01.15

July 1, 2015

The autoimmune epidemic in the United States - what's wrong? More info on the mediterranean diet's benefits for bones. What were the effects of occupying Iraq and Afghanistan, and how many have died? Also, what we deny, we cannot change - the Pentagon admitting to race-based experiments during WWII. And much more.

Have Millions of Deaths from America’s ‘War on Terror’ Been Concealed? by JACK BALKWILL

July 1, 2015

How many days has it been Since I was born? How many days ‘Til I die? Do I know any ways I can make you laugh? Or do I only know how To make you cry? ― Leon Russell, Stranger in a Strange Land The mass media in the US have covered up the most important fact in America’s ongoing wars: the number of people slaughtered. Even before the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, the mainstream media served as cheerleaders for the bloodshed, spreading the major lies that led us to war. As a combat vet still shocked by what I saw almost 50 years ago in Vietnam, where we earlier slaughtered millions in another war based on lies, I decided to look into what is happening in the current wars. I discovered that as many as seven million innocents may have been slaughtered in Afghanistan and Iraq. I say “innocents,” because even most combatants American forces have killed were merely defending their homelands from invasions by foreigners (that is us). The invasion of Afghanistan was avoidable ― the Taliban had offered to give up bin Laden if the USA would show them proof that he was responsible for the

Failing to Meet Global Police Standards, US Forsakes ‘the Right to Life’ – Nadia Prupis

June 19, 2015

Each of the 50 United States has failed to comply with international standards on police use of lethal force, a reality that threatens lives, poses grave human rights concerns, perpetuates institutional racism, and requires immediate reform, a new report by Amnesty International published Thursday has found. Moreover, the limited available statistics on police killings of civilians, as well as recent high-profile shootings of unarmed black men and women around the country, exposes “a widespread pattern of racially discriminatory treatment by law enforcement officers and an alarming use of lethal force nationwide.” “Police have a fundamental obligation to protect human life. Deadly force must be reserved as a method of absolute last resort,” said Steven W. Hawkins, executive director of Amnesty International USA. “The fact that absolutely no state laws conform to this standard is deeply disturbing and raises serious human rights concerns.” In Deadly Force: Police Use of Lethal Force in the United States (pdf), researchers reviewed U.S. Supreme Court decisions, guidelines on deadly force as issued by the U.S. Justice Department, and available statistical data on fatal encounters, which led to one stark conclusion: The United States has failed to respect and protect the right to life by failing to ensure that domestic

Obama in the Middle East: From Bad to Worse By Jack A. Smith

June 19, 2015

President Obama’s post-election promise of a “new dawn of American leadership” began in earnest five months into his first term with an important speech in Cairo June 4, 2009, appropriately titled, “A New Beginning.” He started his oration by remarking “We meet at a time of great tension between the United States and Muslims around the world…. I’ve come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world.” The packed audience at Cairo University, including many students, was mesmerized by Obama’s rhetoric and the renewal of hope for a better future. They were not told that his “new beginning” was based on the geopolitical intention to continue and tighten U.S. hegemony the Middle East. At the time Washington was supporting authoritarian regimes throughout the region, just as it does today. Further, Obama today is fighting or supporting more wars in the vicinity than when he assumed office. The wreckage of that “new beginning” is strewn throughout the Middle East in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and elsewhere. President Obama inherited and approved of former President George W. Bush’s stalemated Afghan war, now in its 14th year.  He expanded the war in quest of victory

“The US Plan is to Set Central Asia Ablaze in the Fire of Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism”

June 17, 2015

Central Asia is a place of long-standing geopolitical confrontation. Now it turns into an active phase to destroy the peace in the region. The situation is worsening in Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China. In 2014 37 civilians were killed in bloody terror attack in Xinjiang, China. Earlier. Afghan Taliban has been fighting in order to capture checkpoints and ground at the Turkmenistan-Tajikistan border. Now, they have focused on the south-north direction: from Gerat to Kandagar. It’s intended way of TAPI gas pipiline in Afghanistan and high road A1. Islamic State has risen its presense in the Afghanistan-Turkmenistan border. Turkmen borderguard has been taking high casualities and witnesses reporting mass beheadings there. The appearance of US-trained Tajikistan Colonel Gulmurod Khalimov in an Islamic State propaganda video on 27 May has sent a chill across Central Asia. The head of Tajikistans Special Assignment Police Unit promised to wage violent jihad. IS and other foreign fighters, probably the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, are operating effectively on Tajikistan’s southern border. The one of the most problem territories named Gorno-Badakhshan has a long, open border with Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and China. The situation is also tense in Uzbekistan hit by

Thou Shalt Not Kill – By Chris Hedges

June 8, 2015

The military in the United States portrays itself as endowed with the highest virtues—honor, duty, self-sacrifice, courage and patriotism. Politicians, entertainers, sports stars, the media, clerics and academics slavishly bow before the military machine, ignoring its colossal pillaging of state resources, the egregious war crimes it has normalized across the globe, its abject service not to democracy or freedom but corporate profit, and the blind, mind-numbing obedience it inculcates among its members. A lone soldier or Marine who rises up inside the system to denounce the hypermasculinity that glorifies violence and war, who exposes the false morality of the military, who refuses to kill in the service of imperial power, unmasks the military for what it is. And he or she, as Chelsea Manning has learned, swiftly pays a very, very heavy price. Spc. Robert Weilbacher as a new Army combat medic stationed in South Korea listened to stories told by combat veterans, many suffering from trauma and depression, about the routine and indiscriminate slaughter of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was horrified. He had believed the propaganda fed to him over the years. He considered himself a patriot. He had accepted the notion that the U.S. military was
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