Saturday, 30 July 2011

Iraq Dirty War Documentary

Afghan Resources - Asian Powers Lurking

By Pepe Escobar.
But the most fascinating part is that Tehran and Islamabad are now discussing not only security matters but also business, such as an upcoming free-trade agreement and a currency swap scheme that would move both countries away from the US dollar.
On the security front, Islamabad has proposed what would be an Integrated Border Management Regime - that is, Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan fighting together against drug trafficking. That also happens to be Russia's number-one priority in Central and South Asia. Over twelve tonnes of pure heroin - that's over 3bn single doses - reach Russia every year from Afghanistan.
On the business front, it was all about the crucial Pipelineistan gambit, the Iran-Pakistan (IP), also known as the "peace pipeline". IP may supply as much as 50 per cent of Pakistan's energy needs.
There are delays, of course. By the end of 2012, Iran will have built its whole stretch of pipeline up to the Pakistani border. Yet Pakistan will only start working on its own stretch by early 2012.
But by 2015 IP should be online, forming a strategic umbilical cord between Shia Iran and majority-Sunni Pakistan and rocking the Eurasian geopolitical equation. IP will cross ultra-strategic Balochistan, which is not only dripping with resources but which also, as a transit corridor, provides the shortest access to the warm waters of the Arabian Sea.  Read More.

Islamist Show of Strength In Tahrir Square

Islamist parties had largely boycotted recent demonstrations. But leaders said the time had come to speak out against what they see as attempts by Egypt’s interim military rulers, and by liberal politicians, to quietly enact constitutional changes that would enshrine Egypt as a secular state. We have said on this site consistently that the Arab Spring has to be rooted in something more concrete and substantial than an Obamaesque 'freedom' concept. The only grouping who are manifesting this, perhaps the only one who can, is the wide range of Islamic factions showing a united front for once. This is not only becoming manifest in in Egypt but also in Libya where Islamists are the only coherent group which can be identified among the rebels. The Arab Spring could yet metamorphose into an Islamic Summer. Watch the western paranoia go off the scale. Norway is a case in point. Don't take my word. Read the ramblings of the perpetrator, Breivik. 

US Strategy Senseless And Merciless

How would you characterize the entire campaign by NATO and the US in Afghanistan? As a complete failure, or were there any gains?
There was an article recently by the US Department of Defense, the Pentagon’s, press agency, American Forces Press Service, that just happened to mention in passing that the Shindand Air Base in Herat Province has tripled in size recently to become the second largest military air base in Afghanistan next to that at Bagram.
Last year, the US and its NATO allies stepped up the extension of air bases in Afghanistan – in Kandahar, in Mazar e Sharif, in Jalalabad in addition to Bagram and Shindand – they are going to have air bases that control the entire region, a good deal of the Greater Middle East, if you will, in addition to continuing troop transits.
Full Q and A here from Mathaba

Global Drone Politics

'Washington’s spin machine doesn’t favor a sincere debate on unilateral military operations in al-Qaeda’s remaining havens, whether Special Forces/CIA trainers or Reapers. The system pumps out an artificial conversation to deceive and confuse the masses. Yemen resides at the very bottom of U.S. consciousness, and its revolution hasn’t been addressed by the White House or State Department in weeks. It is controlled solely by the Pentagon and CIA - Yemen and Somalia’s “secret” drone bases remain taboo subjects in the White House. The Obama administration is missing a real opportunity to defeat al-Qaeda’s ideology, instead reinforcing America’s militaristic double-standard in the Middle East.' Full story at the TRENCH.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Afghan Police Too Tribally Divided To Succeed

Map: NATO attacks on Libyan cities - Interactive - Al Jazeera English

Map: NATO attacks on Libyan cities - Interactive - Al Jazeera English

MOD Clueless On Cost Of Afghan War

Tory MP James Arbuthnot, the committee chairman, said: ‘We find it frustrating that in some instances the department appears to be unable or unwilling to provide the kind of detailed information we ask for, notably in respect of the total cost of military operations and the detail of savings proposed.’Andrew Burgin, of the Stop The War Coalition, said: ‘It is alarming that the MoD doesn’t know the full cost of the wars that it is pursuing, but hardly surprising when we are in the dark as to why were are involved in the first place.’Thomas Docherty, a Labour MP on the defence committee, said: ‘Either the MoD is simply financially incompetent or they are being very cute and creative about which bits of the war they want the Treasury to pay for.’Under a long-standing Whitehall practice, the Treasury picks up the tab for conflicts Britain fights, including equipment bought specifically for the theatre of war.But the MoD is meant to cover other costs, including training exercises, soldiers’ wages and paying for their long-term injuries and mental health care, and existing equipment. More here.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Afghan Police Casualties Highest Ever

So much for the 'Mission Nearly Accomplished' narrative of Obama and his Pentagon mentors. Full story HERE

Murdochs Were Briefed On Defence In Private

In total, Cabinet ministers have had private meetings with Murdoch executives more than 60 times and, if social events such as receptions at party conferences are included, the figure is at least 107.
On two occasions, James Murdoch and former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks were given confidential defence briefings on Afghanistan and Britain's strategic defence review by the Defence Secretary, Liam Fox. A further briefing was held with Ms Brooks, Rupert Murdoch and the Sunday Times editor John Witherow.
MORE HERE.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

French Forces Kill Man, Child and Pregnant Woman

KABUL — Three Afghan civilians were shot dead and three wounded when a French soldier opened fire on their vehicle in Kapisa province, north of the capital, the French military and the Afghan presidency said.
The incident happened late Tuesday night when the driver of the car approached a French military convoy and failed to stop despite requests, said the French military's spokesman in Kabul, Lieutenant Colonel Eric de Lapresle.
"A night mounted patrol found itself blocked by an obstacle in the road. A soldier in the last vehicle saw a car coming and motioned him to stop with a green laser. The car did not stop and a soldier opened fire," he said.
The dead were one woman, a man and a child, and one woman and two men were wounded, he said. The presidency said the woman who was killed had been pregnant.
"The French army recognises its responsibility in this tragedy," said Lapresle, adding that an investigation was underway to determine the exact circumstances.
He said the French military had met with local authorities on Wednesday over the deaths, while two of the wounded had been taken to a French-run medical facility in Kabul and the third was being treated at a military base in Nijrad in Kapisa.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai "strongly condemned" the attack that took place in the Alasau district of the eastern province.

US Soldier Convicted of Murdering Afghan Prisoner

Convictions like this, even in open and shut cases of cold-blooded murder, are rare. The US military and the legal establishment will compensate by sentencing him to 2 years or something risible like that. He will be out in 6 months. Probably back with the National Guard. Maybe even back in Afghanistan.

Libya Spin Surpasses The Iraq Fiasco

One Sentence Can Tell A Story

Everything About the War in Afghanistan In a Single Sentence
by JOSHUA FOUST on 7/26/20Everything 11 · 5 COMMENTS

Army Master Sgt. Benjamin A. Stevenson, 36, was on his tenth tour of duty in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq when he was killed Thursday in a remote area of eastern Afghanistan.
Really, what else can you say, aside from how on earth can our leaders continue to insist that they’re winning in Afghanistan when their troops still get into vicious 2-day firefights in a province they’ve had soldiers in for nine years?
Or maybe it’s the insistence that special operations forces are killing Chechens in Paktika in groups of 80. There’s nothing else TO say, after reading that.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }M Shannon July 26, 2011 at 11:42 pm

80 dead, but where are the wounded? I don’t know why if you had prisoners you wouldn’t tell the journalist that ” and we captured 100 and half are in hospital”. Either the 80 is a lie, a guess, a hope or the SF don’t take prisoners.
REPLYanan July 27, 2011 at 12:30 am


Joshua, most of the reports of foreign fighters come from Afghans. How many Afghans have you ever seen exxagerate? How many ANSF ever say anything less than the unvarnished objective truth?

More seriously, it is deeply misleading to imply that President Bush made a major attempt to fight the Taliban. The ANSF didn’t get significant combat enablers until after November, 2009. And even now the ANSF aren’t getting that many international combat enablers.

REPLYdoylecjd July 27, 2011 at 12:36 am


Christ, tenth tour?

REPLYJohnny Matrix July 27, 2011 at 12:56 am


Tenth tour = 48+/- months with socom = 4-5 conventional tours…but yeah, pretty diesel

REPLYDD July 27, 2011 at 4:27 am


Ah, Chechens. The Bigfoot of Afghanistan.

This is a tragedy. It’s a war, of some kind, at the end of the day. IEDs don’t care if it’s your 10th tour or day 3 of your 1st.

Having soldiers in a province doesn’t mean we’ve had soldiers saturate that province and secure it. Nuristan, Ghazni, Kapisa, Kunar. (just for starters) all have entire districts within them that we have either never touched, or haven’t touched in 5+ years.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

US Motives In Afghanistan

Perspicacious take on the motivations (rationale would be a misnomer). H/T to Reality Zone.

Kunar Province - Graphic Footage

Slightly propagandised by an 'embed' but an interesting clip nonetheless.

Another Day, Another NATO Massacre

A school was the recipient of NATO/ISAF's enduring freedom campaign on this occasion. Children were amongst the victims as they were when the British contingent injured five children on Sunday (see yesterday's post). Meanwhile everything is on course for Obama's election campaign spin. You know, 'progress' in Afghanistan and Libya (not to mention Iraq). America is not just bankrupt in fiscal and debt strategy terms.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Assassins Vs Assassins

'Yet in spite of this tactic’s familiarity, the Taliban’s latest assassination spree does indicate a new pattern; rather than a strategic shortcut to power, the insurgency has crafted a majority of its future strategy around premium targets. This “counter-assassination” campaign is synchronized with President Barack Obama’s surge to the degree that coincidence is improbable. As the insurgency’s shadow governors parallel the government to vie for control of the battlefield, parallel assassinations are designed to undermine America’s surge and cancel out their own high-ranking losses.' 
From The Trench here.

Afghan War Weekly 25th July

This week, there were several reports of corruption and mismanagement of government funds, including the discovery that the Taliban was indirectly receiving US funds intended for transportation contracts. There were also conflicting reports regarding the death of Mullah Omar, who the Taliban also said was alive. As the drawdown took effect, violence continued in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Full Bulletin From Warisacrime.org 

A Million Dead From Afghan Heroin In Ten Years

Since 2001, the year American and Canadian troops entered Afghanistan, heroin production has reached record levels. And a significant amount of that heroin is ending up in Russia. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, it is the world’s largest national market for heroin, consuming about 20 percent of all the heroin trafficked from Afghanistan annually.There are at least 1.5 million heroin users in Russia. It’s estimated that every day 80 people die from heroin addiction.
At a press conference in May, the head of Russia’s anti-drug agency, Viktor Ivanov, told reporters that among Russia’s most important goals is the liquidation of global drug crimes at the highest levels. It’s no secret that he was referring to Afghan heroin. A map detailing the global heroin trade from Afghanistan to the world was projected on a screen behind him.
“A million people have died globally from Afghan heroin over the past 10 years,” the stern-faced, former KGB officer said.
According to Russia’s Federal Drug Control Services (FSKN), the FSKN and the U.S. military have carried out five joint operations in Afghanistan to destroy drug labs. Russia’s involvement raised the ire of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, as any presence of Russian forces remains a sensitive issue for Afghanis who remember the war with the Soviets.
Despite its focus on the issue, Russia can’t seem to stop the flow of cheap heroin across its borders from the central Asian countries of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan. Video Here.

Apache Helicopter Attack - Five Afghan Children Injured

Five Afghan children were injured in a strike carried out by a British Apache attack helicopter, the Ministry of Defence has said.
They were working in a field in the Nahr-e-Saraj area of Helmand Province on Saturday as UK forces targeted an 'insurgent riding a motorcycle' nearby.
They were taken to Camp Bastion, the main British base in Helmand, for treatment.
The Nato-led military coalition in Afghanistan, known as the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf), has prioritised the reduction of civilian casualties.
An MoD spokeswoman said: "Any incident involving civilian casualties is a matter of deep regret and we take every possible measure to avoid such incidents.
"A shooting incident review is now under way and UK officials in Afghanistan are keeping the provincial governor abreast of the results of the investigation."

That's the last we'll hear this then. Standard NATO/ISAF claptrap.

Jon Pilger On Murdoch

Of the bloodbath in Iraq, Murdoch said: "There is going to be collateral damage, and if you really want to be brutal about it, better we get it done now . . ." The Times, the Sunday Times, Fox got it done. Corporate monoculture. Long before it was possible to hack phones, Murdoch was waging a war on journalism, truth, humanity, and succeeded because he knew how to exploit a system that welcomed his devotion to the "free market". He may be more extreme in his methods, but he is no different in kind from many of those now lining up to condemn him who have been his beneficiaries, mimics, collaborators, apologists. Full article HERE.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

$34 Billion Dollars Squandered To US Contractors

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has wasted some $34 billion on service contracts with the private sector in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a study being finalized forCongress.
The findings by a bipartisan congressional commission were confirmed to Reuters by a person familiar with the draft of the study, which is due to be completed in coming weeks. The analysis by the Commission on Wartime Contracting, details of which were first reported by the Wall Street Journal, offers the most complete look so far at the misuse of U.S. contracting funds in Afghanistan and Iraq, where more than $200 billion has been doled out in the contracts and grants over nearly a decade.
It also gives the most complete picture of the magnitude of the U.S. contracting workforce in the two countries. The source, who declined to be named, said more than 200,000 contractors have been on the U.S. payroll at times in Iraq and Afghanistan -- outstripping the number of U.S. troops currently on the ground in those countries. The United States has fewer than 100,000 troops in Afghanistan and some 46,000 forces in Iraq.
The tally of private sector contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan can be surprisingly difficult to obtain since many U.S. contractors are outsourced to subcontractors who depend on temporary labor, the source said. The report blames a lack of oversight by federal agencies for misuse of funds and warns of further waste when the programs are transferred to Iraqi or Afghan control as the United States withdraws its troops.
The U.S. military is on course to withdraw all of its troops from Iraq by the end of the year and started drawing down its force in Afghanistan this month.

Afghan Judges Accuse US of War Crimes

Victim of A Night Raid May 2010
A second judge spoke up. "Your Constitution speaks of freedom and a people's government," she said, "but the United States is running secret prisons, torturing, disappearing people, and locking people up for years with no due process."  The behavior of the United States, she said, violates everything that she and her colleagues were being taught the United States stands for. "It may seem trivial," she continued, "but it affects our daily lives."  If a member of the international occupying forces gets into a hit and run with their car, and you go to the base to complain, you are threatened. They have total immunity from any rule of law, she explained.
She said that in a case involving an Australian, he was turned over to Afghan courts for a murder trial, because the military was not involved. But with U.S. forces, she said, we have to rely on the U.S. court system, and we often hear about these people being acquitted. The judge went on to make a broader point. With the great cost to the United States in blood and treasure, she said, we ought to be grateful. But the perception Afghans have of the U.S. forces, she explained, if of a group of arrogant occupiers who kick in doors.
The first judge to have spoken then joined back in, remarking that "the United States tells other countries how to be democratic and operate within a rule of law, but the United States as role model breaks every one of those things." Read More.

Fear And Chaos In Kabul

Kabul, a place I once called home, has become a city of security barriers and fantasy palaces. I can’t find my old house, my old street or the bakery where I used to watch the early-morning ritual of men slapping dough into hot ovens beneath the floor. They’ve all vanished behind a high-security superstructure of barricades and barbed wire, a foreign architecture of war. Elsewhere in the Afghan capital, a parallel construction boom is under way. The slapdash sprawl of nouveau riche development has sprouted modern apartment buildings, glass-plated shopping centers, wedding halls with fairy lights, and gaudy mansions with gold swan faucets and Greco-Roman balustrades, commissioned by wealthy men with many bodyguards and no taxable income.
Both of these facades are conspiring to cover up the past, paving over the rubble and the lessons of war, distancing ordinary people from the local elites and the bunkered foreigners alike. Most tragically, they are erasing the hope and the promise of change that burst forth in Afghanistan’s post-Taliban liberation nearly a decade ago.
I was privileged to witness that awakening and to experience the exhilaration of a society being given a new chance after a generation of war and ideological whiplash. In those early years, I met Afghan exiles who had given up careers in Germany or Australia to participate in their homeland’s renaissance, and American jurists and agronomists who had come to help rebuild an alien land.
Foreigners were welcome everywhere, and a new generation of Afghans was in a hurry to catch up. In the cities, I met girls who led exercise classes and boys who took computer lessons at dawn. In rural areas, women still hid behind curtains and veils, but schools reopened in tents, and mud-choked irrigation canals were cleaned. In 2004, long lines of villagers proudly flashed their ink-dipped thumbs after voting in the country’s first real democratic election.
The trappings of democracy remain in place, propped up by a vast international apparatus, but the politics of ethnic dogfights, tribal feuds and personal patronage continued to prevail. Government agencies were awarded to ethnic factions as fiefdoms for petty extortion. Aid money vanished into powerful pockets, and the once-moribund drug trade flourished.
The parliament became a gallery of old Islamist militia bosses and new war racketeers, locked in crippling disputes with the executive. The 2009 presidential election, a fraudulent parody, was ultimately accepted by international officials because it left the more familiar devil, President Hamid Karzai, in power as Washington prepared to ratchet up the war effort.
As corruption and malaise spread throughout the Karzai government, Taliban aggression and influence filled the void. As the countryside became more vulnerable, foreign aid projects shrank, and tea with tribal elders gave way to convoys of monster vehicles and helmeted warriors kicking in doors. As the gulf between Western intentions and public perceptions widened, Karzai made it worse by denouncing NATO bombings but ignoring Taliban beheadings, in the vain hope that his fellow tribesmen would return to the fold.
The disillusionment worked both ways. By the time President Obama ordered a high-profile civilian and military surge in 2009, hundreds of frustrated American mentors and aid workers had lost heart or left. A West-ern lawyer who worked with Afghan anti-corruption officials told me recently that “even the most promising few people I was training turned out to be corrupt.” And a woman working to improve rural services said, “I still have to practically force officials in Kabul to pick up the phone or visit the provinces.”
Even U. S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, usually upbeat and polite, was goaded to an emotional outburst last month by Karzai’s suggestion that Western forces — who have lost more than 2,500 lives fighting the Taliban and training Afghan troops since 2001 — were “using” Afghanistan for their own interests and could be viewed as unwelcome occupiers. In a June 20 speech, Eikenberry warned that such “hurtful” comments could cause Americans to grow “weary” of the Afghan effort and demand that all U. S. troops return home.
Psychologically, though, the withdrawal is well under way. Despite assurances by Eikenberry and other officials that the United States will maintain a robust presence after most of its fighting forces leave by 2014, many Afghans believe that the end is near. After 1989, the last time a great foreign power pulled out, civil war soon erupted, and Afghanistan nearly destroyed itself. No one knows what will happen this time, but everyone is bracing for the worst. As one American diplomat said last month, “In their hearts they want us to leave, but in their heads they want us to stay.”
Already, there is a growing sense of order unraveling. The assassination of the president’s half-brother Ahmed Wali Karzai — a powerful and controversial man with many enemies — is an example of the brutal pre-transition power struggle. There have been other signs of trouble, such as the missing Central Bank president who surfaced in Northern Virginia last month, saying he feared for his life after exposing high-level official involvement in a private banking scandal.
The Taliban, in a spectacular attack that mocked months of hopeful rhetoric about a nascent peace process, sent a suicide squad on June 28 to lay siege to an iconic hotel on a hill overlooking the capital. Afghan forces were unable to stop them after a night-long battle, requiring NATO gunships to blast the remaining assailants from the hotel roof. Even in the heavily policed capital, Afghans were unprepared to protect themselves.
In many ways, though, the great battle for the country’s future is not the one NATO and Afghan troops are waging against Islamist insurgents in far-flung provinces such as Konar and Khost. It is the messier struggle for money and power taking place in urban centers such as Kabul and Kandahar, where old ethnic rivals are settling scores and new mafia barons are fighting to establish turf.
It includes the scandal of Kabul Bank, whose officers and rich shareholders casually “borrowed” nearly $1 billion of depositors’ money to invest in private schemes. It is set amid a self-defeating culture that romanticizes past exploits and yearns for revenge rather than reaching for opportunities. It is a fight with few heroes and no principles at stake, only the spoils of war and drugs.
The real tragedy of Afghanistan is how little advantage it has taken of the enormous international goodwill that followed the defeat of the Taliban in 2001. Showered with far too much aid, clever Afghans have learned to imitate Western jargon, skim project funds and put their relatives on the payroll— while many show little interest in learning the modern skills that would propel their country forward. At its core, this remains a society of tribal values and survival instincts. Goals such as democracy and nationhood come much further down the list.
Today, stuck in Kabul’s rush-hour traffic, I marvel at the blinding video billboards, the ATMs, the supermarkets filled with cat food, tin foil and other items unknown here a decade ago. Like everyone else, I also curse at the roadblocks and detours, the trunk searches, the militarization of daily life.
I sometimes think back to the Taliban era, when the same streets were empty, shops were shuttered, and the only sound was the jingle of a passing horse cart. Life was harder then, isolated and primitive. But often, I hear Afghans complain that everything today is chaotic and corrupt. At least under Taliban rule, people say, there was safety and order and Islam. They may not want to return to that era, but they dread what lies ahead.
Pamela Constable has reported frequently from Afghanistan for the Washington Post since 1998. She is the author of “Playing With Fire: Pakistan at War With Itself.”

We're Back - And This Time It's Personal

Holiday over. Ireland as beautiful as ever. Back in business from today.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Afghanistan War And Wolves In The City

Tony and Fat Johnny in Dublin are taking a break and there will be no posts on this site or Wolves In The City for a couple of weeks. Apologies to our regular readers. We shall return refreshed.
Peace
Tony and Johnny

The End Of A Nation

At the funeral of Winston Churchill in 1965, the Labour Cabinet Minister Richard Crossman noted (for his posthumous diary): ' Oh what a lot of old and grey people filed in, the tired viscounts, the rear-admirals, the decadent Churchills and Marlboroughs. And the Labour Cabinet do not look impressive either. I truly believe we are witnessing the end of an epoch, possibly the end of a nation.' Crossman was the keeper of the intellectual flame of the Labour Party when there was such a thing. He was slightly premature with his prediction, I believe, but it has come true with a vengeance in relation to the British 'Nation' in the last 15 years. The symbols of Britain's decline have been stripped bare since the greatest Moloch-image of all, the hell-catastrophe of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Britain has long since cut and run, tail between legs, from Basra Airport, their hotel for their humiliating final year of bribing the local militias not to attack them. The Afghan fiasco continues into year eleven and Libya is developing into God knows (Hague and Fox certainly don't know) what. Historians of modern Britain point to the Suez debacle as the beginning of the end of a phase of British life, the age of deference as it is often called. It became clear then to a whole generation that the liars and careerists with Oxbridge accents at the helm of UK plc were just clowns after all. The clowns are still there but they present a much more blood-spattered and bedraggled spectacle than they did in the late 50s and early 60s.
The recent sleaze-fest around the Murdoch, News International phone-hacking scandal is a symbol and barometer of how far Britain has sunk. It's not Newscorps plc we are watching crumble, Mordor-like, before our eyes. It's no less than UK plc. Look at the organisations who have their grubby fingerprints all around this cesspit. It's many of the principal institutions of the country. Both major political parties have been in bed with Murdoch for years, the Met has been taking money and covering up, The PCC criticised only the Guardian in their report on hacking, the phone companies must be involved, the Press Association looked the other way. These are only the UK organisations we know about. Meanwhile the victims included the Dowler family, unnumbered bereaved military families and now the Royal Family, possibly the 9/11 families and the hapless Gordon Brown. Indirectly, thanks principally to the Guardian, we discover that the UK is infected by this corruption to the bone marrow. Alex Salmond must be rubbing his hands. Good luck to him and the others who want a permanent divorce from the nightmare.

Arab League Backs Palestine State

Good further link here to powerful analysis. Hat tip Reality Zone.

pp

Multisource political news, world news, and entertainment news analysis by Newsy.com


Thursday, 14 July 2011

Civilian Deaths Hit Record High - UN Report





The mid-year report found that air strikes carried out by the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) were the leading the cause of civilian deaths by pro-government forces, so far killing 79 civilians in 2011, up 14%. Apache attack helicopters played a much more prominent role.
A third of civilian deaths attributed to air strikes in 2010 were caused by those aircraft, while in the first half of 2011 they were responsible for 56% of air strike deaths.
The UN also warned the full picture could be even worse, as the report did not include data from the northern region of Afghanistan between March and June.

Gordon Brown Speaks On Hacking Scandal

Just for the record, while many of his remarks are true, he is a hypocrite to be expressing them. When he was in power.........????? Nothing.

7 Civilians Are Latest Nato Victims


FROM ASSOCIATED PRESS AND OTHERS:
KABUL: A local government official in eastern Afghanistan says NATO troops killed seven civilians in an overnight raid.

Khost provincial council member, Gul Mohammad Zazi, says international troops stormed into Matoon village on the outskirts of Khost city around midnight and fired into the windows of houses. He says the dead were not connected to the insurgency.

A neighbor, Asif Khan, says six people were killed and all were civilians. A spokesman for local schools, Sayed Musa Majro, says the dead included a teacher and two students.

NATO spokesman Capt. Justin Brockhoff said Thursday a NATO-Afghan force killed 'insurgents' in an operation in Khost province, but he did not say how many.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Ahmed Wali Karzai Funeral

Karzai Funeral Film Clip -

Wali Karzai's death will transform power relations in the south, where the international military coalition has few friends of stature and none with the sweeping influence of the president's powerful sibling. Karzai will struggle to find an ally resourceful enough in balancing alliances with tribal and political leaders, drug runners and militias in a province where the Taliban still hold much sway.

Bush Administration To Face Criminal Charges?



Multisource political news, world news, and entertainment news analysis by Newsy.com


More Civilians Killed As Karzai Buries Brother

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - A US airstrike has killed at least four civilians in Kunar province in northeast Afghanistan, where another US-led aerial attack in March left nine young children dead. One civilian was also wounded in the US Kunar airstrike.
In the past 24 hours, foreign forces have killed at least 20 civilians across Afghanistan -- many of them women and children.
On Tuesday, US-led warplanes targeted two houses overnight in residential areas in the Azra district of Afghanistan's Logar province, leaving at least 16 civilians dead, including women and children.
In early March, a US-led air strike killed nine children, aged between seven and nine, in Darah-Ye Pech district in Kunar province while they were collecting firewood.
Following the March incident, the top American commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, issued a statement claiming that Washington was “deeply sorry” for the airstrike and that “these deaths should never have happened.”
Hundreds of civilians have been killed in the US-led airstrikes and ground operations in various parts of Afghanistan over the past few months, with Afghans becoming increasingly outraged over the seemingly endless number of deadly assaults.
Civilian casualties have long been a source of friction between the Afghan government and US-led foreign forces. The loss of civilian lives at the hands of foreign forces has drastically raised anti-American sentiments in Afghanistan.
Afghan president Hamid Karzai on Tuesday again condemned foreign troops' attacks on civilians.
The surge in violence in the country comes despite the presence of nearly 150,000 foreign troops that claim to be engaged in a so-called war on terror.
The US-led war in Afghanistan, with civilian and military casualties at record highs, has become the longest war in the US history.

How To Appear To Be An Afghanistan Expert


  1. Cite your most recent trip to the region where you saw – with your own eyes, absent the media’s blinders – irrefutable progress. Add points if you spoke with some cigar store Afghan who confirmed this for you. Add double points if you attended an actual jirga. (Subtract points if you were actually at a shura and mistook it for a jirga).
  2. Imply that if only the clearance-less masses were privileged enough to see the same “high side” intelligence that you do, they would know the truth about our progress. Add points if you have an actual clearance and didn’t just look it up on Wikileaks.
  3. Visit a bazaar. Chat with friendly merchants. Lots of salaams, lots of right-hand-over-your-heart greetings. Buy a (warm) orange Fanta. Note – often and loudly – that this bazaar was closed until ISAF forces arrived. Add points if you can drive to this bazaar, versus flying. Add double points if you can wear armor and helmet without looking like some parody of an obese war tourist.
  4. Align yourself with a “centrist” think tank. If you stray too far to one side or the other, you will not be able to provide “objective” analysis, and your income will suffer as a result (see #5).
  5. Play down the fact that you are paid roughly $1,000 a day to “advise” the military and deny that there is any subsequent conflict-of-interest when you come home and write flattering (yet objective; see #4) things about our progress in Afghanistan.
  6. Make sure that you can be counted on for a glass-is-half-full quote when contacted by a journalist. Add points if you can get your op-ed published in the Times or the Post. Add double points if said op-ed isn’t subsequently savaged in a blog and you somehow avoid being accused of “shilling for the Pentagon” or being a “think tank hack.”
  7. Whatever you do, avoid spending too much time in Afghanistan. In addition to acquiring language skills and some measure of cultural understanding, you risk becoming cynical and perhaps even despairing of our odds of success.
  8. Adopt a “these aren’t the droids you’re looking for” approach to the region. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary and amid the protests of others who have spent years on the ground (cynics; see #7), imply that through sheer force of will and maybe a Jedi mind trick or two, we shall overcome. Add points if you can beat the other experts in latching onto some insignificant scrap of “evidence” supporting “progress.” Add double points if you are the first to tweet about it.
  9. If pressed on the deteriorating security situation, offer some babble about “the night being darkest before the dawn” and tie it into a tortured thesis about how escalating violence is actually a sign of counterinsurgency success. Add points of you can maintain a straight face making this point while citing vastly improved “kill ratios.” Subtract points if your “analysis” is eventually compared to an ISAF version of the 5 O’Clock Follies.
  10. Write numerous “analytical reports” with phrases such as “The Way Forward” or “How to Win” in the title. No one, not even your colleagues in the think tank world, will actually read these, but they will be cited widely as a substitute for reading something substantive, that might offer actual insight into Afghanistan. Add points if you can deride previous scholarship on Afghanistan as “Orientalist.” Add double points if you can actually name one such Orientalist author (note: Ahmed Rashid does not count).
  11. ‘The Grand Slam’ – authorship of a COIN pamphlet that gainsays the holy trinity: Petraeus, Nagl and Kilcullen. If pressed on the apparent failure of COIN in Afghanistan, cite some obscure insurgency – The Malayan Emergency is a good choice – and note how long success took to occur.
  12. In case you ever write a book and need a jacket photo, make sure to get a photo of yourself rocking a full beard, a pakool, and a dastmaal. Subtract points if you insist on maintaining this appearance once you return to DC.          From here.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Ahmed Wali Karzai - A Death In Afghanistan

By Craig Murray.
Mr.Karzai's Body Lies Outside His Home
No man is an island, and each man’s death diminishes me.  But some more than others and the loss of Ahmed Wali Karzai, Governor of Kandahar, monster of corruption, second largest heroin dealer in the world, is not particularly saddening.  It is, however, a tremedous reminder of the absolute futility of the war in Afghanistan.
NATO have killed uncounted thousands, many of them civilians, precisely to put Ahmed Wali Karzai and his like into power.  Ahmed Wali and his counterparts have stolen many billions of  Western taxpayers’ money, intended for aid and reconstruction.  They have flooded the world with more and cheaper heroin than ever seen before.  Somehow this has all been a great victory for the West.  
The difference between Karzai and his brother is one of style, not substance.  The idea that Ahmed Wali was up to his ears in drugs and corruption, but elder brother Ahmed is clean, is absolute nonsense.  It is however part of the myth we are supposed to absorb to justify this war, which has been extremely profitable for weapons manufacturers and other military suppliers, and boosted the funding and standing of the military themselves, mercenaries and the whole shady “security industry”.  What it has not done is improve the lives of the people of Afghanistan. 
Ahmed Wali Karzai, by getting killed by his bodyguard, has done us a favour.  Otherwise the media could have ignored him and all he stands for about the Afghanistan which NATO has created, and just continued to sell us the lies about improved security, wise governance and girls going to school – none of which are true.

Was Jesus A Blagger?

''Everything that is hidden will be shown. Everything that is secret will be made known. The things you say in the dark (secretly) will be told in the light (openly). The things you whisper in a private room will be shouted from the top of the house." Well, who said that? 
a) Andy Coulson
b) Rupert Murdoch
c) Rebekah Wade
d) Rebekah Brooks
e) Jesus Christ.


Why don't you look it up.

Monday, 11 July 2011

US Command Change

US looks to Pakistan border for Afghan endgame

'Critics of the speed and size of the US drawdown have warned that it may not leave enough troops to achieve maximum success in the east. But for others, the real problem is rear bases in Pakistan’s semi-autonomous tribal belt just across the border. There, the US fight is confined to drone strikes, as Islamabad has refused to countenance US boots on the ground.As President Barack Obama reduces troop numbers, his commanders must strike a compromise between consolidating gains in the south and concentrating on the east, where some of the fiercest insurgent groups are active. “It is fair to say that senior officers from the two theatres are competing over troops,” said one US officer. “It is a matter on which a lot hangs.” Read More.

Libya - Casualties Mount

Murdoch, The Cover Up And The Met

Tony Blair Tries to Distance Himself From The Scandal
In a remarkable Sunday Telegraph interview, Mr Yates described his actions on the day as "pretty crap". Indeed he admitted: "I did not do a review." He conceded he had failed the victims of the NoW intrusion and that the Met's reputation had been extremely damaged by it all. Mr Yates knows that, during private meetings with the Guardian in the intervening period, we tried to convince him that his original statement was at error in both judgment and fact. So we welcome his belated admission of regret. It will be for a judicial inquiry to establish his and Mr Hayman's motivations and to challenge the latter on whether his employment by NI coloured his views in any way. Given that his role at the CPS will now be under scrutiny, it is surprising that Ken – now Lord – Macdonald should feel it appropriateto be retained by News International to advise them on their dealings with the police. Full editorial here.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Mick Ware On Australian Lies In Afghanistan - July 2011

Strong comments here as ever by Ware. There is no journalist with a greater claim to authenticity than Michael Ware on Iraq and Afghanistan. He owes no allegiance to anything but the truth. Not ever Robert Fisk is in the same category since, although he lives in Lebanon, hasn't spent the same amount of time in the war zones as Ware. Film clip here.

Obama, Counter-Terrorism And Counter-Productivism

Tony Blair, Rupert Murdoch and Phone Hacking

I would like to draw our readers' attention to this post we put up in March on Wolves In The City

3/11/2011

Murdoch, Blair and The Phone Hacking Scandal


In December 2005 the French newspapers were awash with stories to the effect that Chirac had contacted Tony Blair and complained that GCHQ were listening to French mobile phones and passing the information to their masters in the CIA who were then passing confidential commercial information to US companies to their commercial advantage. Le Monde, Le Figaro and Le Canard Enchaine reported that Chirac had informed Blair of his views and the words reported were 'neither kind nor diplomatic' (Le Monde).Now suddenly we know that around the same period the Metropolitan Police were pulled off investigating the Murdoch organiation's mobile phone hacking. We are not conspiracy theorists on this site, but this stinks to heaven. Rebekka Wade is up to her arse in it too. The propostion that the hacking was all down to one individual would be an insult even to the intelligence of the average Met bobby on the beat.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

NATO's War Against Libyan Civilians

Deux Membres De L'Otan Tués

Un membre des services de renseignement afghans a ouvert le feu samedi dans une base militaire étrangère en Afghanistan, tuant un soldat et un civil de l'Otan, ont rapporté l'Alliance atlantique et le chef de police de la province du Panjchir, dans le nord du pays.
«Il avait un pistolet, il a ouvert le feu et a tué deux soldats du PRT (l'équipe de reconstruction de la province). Il a blessé un troisième soldat qui a ouvert le feu et a tué l'agent des NDS (services de renseignement afghan)», a dit le général Qaseem Junglebagh à Reuters.
La force internationale d'assistance à la sécurité (Isaf) de l'Otan en Afghanistan a confirmé la fusillade mais a précisé que les deux victimes étaient un militaire et un civil.
Selon le vice-gouverneur de la province, Abdoul Rahman Kabiri, l'agent des NDS travaillait à Kaboul, la capitale afghane, mais était originaire du district de Dara dans la province du Panjchir où s'est produite la fusillade.

Panetta Says One More Push

Yes, it's the  usual tale of how well everything is going in the 'war on terror'. Remember John Reid saying that we would take over Afghanistan 'without a shot being fired'. At least he is cringing about that now. Panetta is still spinning this dross with his assertion yesterday that AQ is all but defeated. I remember that speech from the Pentagon talking heads in Iraq in 2005. We have made the point before - it's not 6 months down the line in Afghanistan, it's 10 years of abject failure. The Taliban is stronger than ever and, anyway, doesn't SecDef Panetta know that targeting insurgent key leaders and commanders is purported to have a radicalising effect on those who follow, even from a distance?

Friday, 8 July 2011

In The Court Of The Afghan King


Shortly after the creation of the court both the IEC and ECC disavowed the court and reaffirmed their position that the authority to administer elections and announce results was the sole duty of the IEC and adjudication of complaints was that of the ECC. The international communitypublically supported the independence of the country's legitimate electoral institutions and called on all actors to respect their decisions.  
From Reality Zone.
Often, it is ambiguity in the Afghan legal framework that causes such political impasses. In this instance, however, the law is clear. The constitution, through Article 156, establishes the IEC as the sole authority for the administration of elections and grants it exclusive authority for the announcement and certification of election results. Neither the constitution nor the electoral law sanctions the creation of a special court to review election results. Nor does either document grant the Supreme Court or Attorney General the authority to engage in electoral affairs. Read More. 

Good Riddance, News Of The World

Brooks and Coulson exchange concerns about the NOW staff
The News of the World died by its own sword. Hacked to death you might say. Let's hope Murdoch, Brooks, News International and the rest of the gang follow them down the U-bend. There is a kind of justice sometimes.