Saturday, 31 December 2011

Robert Fisk On Les Indigènes

''Indigènes means "natives" but the English version of the movie was called Days of Glory, which rather took the sting away. Yet the French have still largely ignored their massive empire armies of both world wars. And so have we. Where are the great films, the great novels about the Indians who fought for King and Empire at the Somme, and in North Africa and Italy?'' The French attack on Turkey is as hypocritical (Algeria and Vietnam) as it is true. Read More.

Afghanistan - A Longer Term View

From Doha to Islamabad to Tehran, Kabul’s relations are strained by Washington’s strategic mistakes: Despite its extensive military, political and developmental engagement Washington has no viable and reliable friend in the region. For years, the US has filled the coffers of rogue Pakistani military and intelligence institutions with billions of dollars. In return Pakistan has sent improvised bombs and suicide attackers that kill Americans troops in Afghanistan. Inside Afghanistan, the US has partnered with some warlords and has waged an open-ended war against others. America is also lying to Afghans. It says the Taliban are defeated, the government is competent and democratic, and foreign-sponsored development is great. The reality, at least from an Afghan perspective, is quite the opposite.
Afghanistan was once butchered by great powers in the 19th Century’s Great Game. It is being abused again. Read More.

IDF Veteran On The Nakba

Pakistan Investigating 'Memogate'

The government has become increasingly unpopular since Zardari took office in 2008, failing to tackle myriad problems from crippling power cuts to suicide bombings and a struggling economy. Speculation had swirled of an imminent coup, but all sides have since dismissed the rumours as baseless. Analysts say the military has plenty of other ways to pressure Zardari to step down.
Human Rights Watch said justice must be seen to be done in the investigation. "In a sense, 'memogate' is a litmus test for all actors – particularly the judiciary and the army," it said in a statement. "It remains to be seen whether the rule of law or the law of the jungle prevails in Pakistan." Link.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Petraeus Book - Good Door Stopper

Pepe Escobar On Arab Spring Et Al

This is being applied now after the “Arab Spring,“ and that’s incredible because nobody is talking about it also. Everybody was saying at the beginning: Wow, finally the Arabs are “awakening,“ but that is too hard a term, as it means that the Arabs were sleeping for the past 100 years – that is not true.
“Spring“ is also not really the right word, I would say that it is a process of enhanced conciousness of the working classes and the middle classes in Tunisia, in Egypt, in Bahrain and other parts of the Middle East as well. And then came the counter-revolution, and this process of counter-revolution is leading directly to the implementation of further steps of the “Full Spectrum Dominance“ doctrine.
We can go back to this later on, but basically what I’m trying to say is that the counter-revolution, orchestrated by the U.S. and especially by the House of Saud, re-instrumentalized what has happened in Tunisia and Egypt, they unleashed the counter-revolution in the Persian Gulf, they try to bribe the military dictatorship in Egypt to keep it that way as a military dictatorship (they gave already 4 billion U.S. dollars to the Tantawi junta, and more is coming from Saudi Arabia), and meanwhile in Central Asia the United States is trying to re-organize itself because suddenly they have noticed that they are losing terrain to who else? China and Russia. Read More.

Music In Afghanistan

Just over one-year-old, the Afghan National Institute of Music is something of a revival of musical traditions that have been battered by years of war, and sometimes, religious prohibition. Students at the Institute practice Western instruments as well as traditional ones, like the tabla (drums well known in Indian classical music) or the rubab (a sort of cross between a banjo and a sitar with sympathetic strings that drone along with the melody and a resonating chamber that is covered with skin and sometimes filled with egg shells). From here.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Taliban Embuscade


Taliban embuscade by MOUHAJIROON

Deux Legionnaires Francais Tues


Deux légionnaires français tués par un soldat... by Nouvelobs

World Arms Spending Out Of Control

Excellent graphic here on Reality Zone.

US Web of Drones Is Accountable To Nobody


In the space of three years, the administration has built an extensive apparatus for using drones to carry out targeted killings of suspected terrorists and stealth surveillance of other adversaries. The apparatus involves dozens of secret facilities, including two operational hubs on the East Coast, virtual Air Force­ ­cockpits in the Southwest andclandestine bases in at least six countries on two continents. More here.
Clandestine drones: Obama administration’s critical tool
Click Here to View Full Graphic Story
Clandestine drones: Obama administration’s critical tool
Gallery

US Foreign Policy March. Right, Right....Right, Right, Right.

Stratfor Hacking - Australians Kowtow To CIA

THE Australian Federal Police will assist US authorities if needed to investigate a widening hacking scandal that has engulfed hundreds of prominent Australians including politicians, businessmen and defence and security experts
The hacking of the customer database of international security intelligence service Stratfor is set to escalate following threats by the hackers to release as many as 2.7 million emails obtained from the firm's servers.
These emails are alleged to include off-the-record correspondence between Stratfor and US defence and intelligence officials, which has the potential to embarrass the US government and cause concern in Canberra.
Millionaire politician Malcolm Turnbull, billionaire businessman David Smorgon and veteran journalist Sam Lipski are among more than 300 Australian subscribers to the US-based Stratfor who have had their credit card and other personal details published on the internet. Read more.

Petraeus 'Almost' Resigned Over Drawdown

The new book depicts Petraeus' rise at an unrelenting, near-superhuman pace. He started his career as a fiercely competitive West Point cadet known as 'Peaches', where he famously wooed the school superintendent's daughter, Holly Knowlton.
He went on to command the 101st Airborne Division as part of the invasion of Iraq, then masterminded the rewrite of the Army and Marine Corps' counterinsurgency training manual before returning to command the surge in Baghdad.
He was then appointed to head Central Command, overseeing the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as military affairs across much of the Gulf and the Middle East. More here.

Christopher Hitchens Interviewed By Richard Dawkins

Chris Hitchens Thought This Man Did A Great Job
Richard Dawkins One of my main beefs with religion is the way they label children as a "Catholic child" or a "Muslim child". I've become a bit of a bore about it.
Christopher Hitchens You must never be afraid of that charge, any more than stridency.
RD I will remember that.
CH If I was strident, it doesn't matter - I was a jobbing hack, I bang my drum. You have a discipline in which you are very distinguished. You've educated a lot of people; nobody denies that, not even your worst enemies. You see your discipline being attacked and defamed and attempts made to drive it out.
Stridency is the least you should muster . . . It's the shame of your colleagues that they don't form ranks and say, "Listen, we're going to defend our colleagues from these appalling and obfuscating elements."
FROM HERE

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Britain's Imperial Hopes For 2012

Britain's assumption of an ancestral role in passing judgment on Kipling's "lesser tribes without the law" seems genetically embedded. Hague might as well have been quoting from The White Man's Burden, how he must "fill full the mouth of famine / And bid the sickness cease", even if it meant watching "sloth and heathen Folly / Bring all your hopes to nought". His tour of the horizon boasted of "saving lives" in Libya, but he was more detached over Syria. He glided past Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, preferring the clearer ethical waters of Sudan, Somalia, Burma and Muslim women's rights.
None of the areas of Hague's concern had anything to do with Britain, let alone being within Britain's sovereign domain, nor have they been for over half a century. The power has gone. The legitimacy has departed. Only the language of implied command echoes through the Foreign Office's post-imperial dusk. Read More.

Drones - US Weapon Of Choice In 2012

NATO's Pakistan Carnage - Unexplained 90 Minute Delay

The full report alters and expands upon the impression of the inquiry’s findings created by General Clark’s briefing, which had emphasized how checks on both sides failed. Among the reason the checks failed, he said, were because American officials did not trust Pakistan enough to give it detailed information about American troop locations in Afghanistan, and Pakistan had not informed NATO of the locations of its new border posts.
The details released Monday add to those failures unexplained delays and a lack of urgency by NATO officers in notifying their superiors of the unfolding late-night debacle that has plunged relations between the two countries to new lows. Read More.

250,000 Died In Armed Conflicts In 2011

The Global Governance Monitor is a tool that shows how the international community is doing in addressing the most daunting threats that it faces. For each issue area, the monitor provides:

  • a cinematic overview of the challenge, which explains why international cooperation is needed;
  • an interactive timeline that traces the world's efforts to craft collective responses to the challenge;
  • an issue brief that evaluates the overall performance of the regime and suggests potential reforms to improve international cooperation;
  • an interactive map that details critical countries and groups; and
  • a resource guide for further information on the topic.
Interactive resource here.

Afghanistan To Disband Irregular Police Force

'Additionally, it was a slap at NATO, which has had a hand in establishing this particular force, known as the Critical Infrastructure Police.For Mr. Karzai, the potential long-term threat posed by an irregular police force outweighed any short-term gains it could deliver, said Shaida M. Abdali, Afghanistan’s deputy national security adviser. The force is distinct from a far larger irregular police force, the Afghan Local Police, which Mr. Karzai is preserving, and which is under the control of the Interior Ministry. “We don’t want a force that is likely to be out of control. We don’t want a force that will become a future security threat,” Mr. Abdali said.The Critical Infrastructure Police has members in Balkh, Kunduz, Jowzjan and Faryab Provinces, according to a letter sent this month to the governors of those provinces by Maj. Gen. Markus Kneip of Germany, the head of NATO’s Regional Command North. Mr. Karzai’s disbandment announcement, released Sunday, said the force also operates in Sar-i-Pul Province.' More.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Arab Spring - Video Timeline

How The West Was Caught Out By The Arab Spring

It goes without saying that the most dynamic impact of these seismic convulsions has been on the Arab world itself. But because the Western powers had, to a greater or lesser extent, regarded the first four as their friends, and had at least, for all his dubious alliances, co-existed, in the coldest of peaces, with President Assad, these outcomes would also require a re-think, at once hasty and profound, of their approach to the region.
In 2005 the then US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, made a speech in Cairo lamenting that for too long the West had sacrificed the need for reform in the Arab world to what it saw as the greater imperative of "stability". Now, forces in which the West had played no part were confronting it with their stark failure to act on her memorable, but as it turned out, hollow advice. Read More. 

Sunday, 25 December 2011

It Came Upon A Midnight Clear

Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love-song which they bring;
O hush the noise, ye men of strife
And hear the angels sing.

Shooters Walk Free - Bradley Manning Jailed

English version of award-winning German short film here.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Thursday, 22 December 2011

NATO Blames Bad Maps For Pakistan Drone Carnage

The US Defence Department said the investigation found US forces - given what information they had available to them at the time - reacted in 'self-defence' and with 'appropriate force' after being fired upon from the direction of the Pakistani border.Read more.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Afghan Authorites Condemn Latest Botched Night-Raid

Look out for another 'fog of war' statement from ISAF -

"A national security council meeting held in the presidential palace on Sunday condemned the international forces night raid on the house of the Paktia counternarcotics chief, in which a woman was killed and four others wounded," a statement released by Afghan President Hamid Karzai's office said.
The statement said General John Allen, the commander of international forces in Afghanistan, apologised to the meeting -- chaired by Karzai -- over the raid, which took place in the early hours of Saturday morning.
But ISAF spokesman Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson said: "There has been no apology by ISAF as an investigation is ongoing." Full story.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Afghan Chronicles Part 1

Parts 2-5 available at Reality Zone here.

Hague Grilled Over Drone Strikes

Richard Stein, head of human rights at Leigh Day & Co, said: "This legal action simply looks to ask a number of questions of our government regarding UK involvement in the drone strikes in Pakistan which, it is estimated, have killed thousands of people within a country we are not militarily engaged with and therefore, we believe, are against international law.
"We ask the foreign secretary whether any information is being passed by agents of the UK government to US government forces to assist in these attacks.
"Unless it is categorically denied that the UK continues to pass such information to the US government forces, we require a clear policy statement of the arrangements which are in place and circumstances in which the UK considers it to be lawful to do so." In full.

Egyptian Army Brutality Against Protesters

Join The Army If You Want THIS


On the Dark Side in Al Doura -        A Soldier in the Shadows from Pulse TV & Maverick Media on Vimeo.

Cairo Clashes Intensify - Clip 17 December

Friday, 16 December 2011

Bradley Manning Trial

Manning, whose 24th birthday is Saturday, is accused of providing to WikiLeaks,tens of thousands of U.S. military documents on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and diplomatic cables of the US Department of State. The first step before the court martial, the preliminary hearing is "similar to a civilian grand jury, with additional rights for the accused," said the US Military. If the court decides to go to military court martial, Manning risks life imprisonment. The trial would not take place until spring.
The private is accused in particular of "collusion with the enemy", "dissemination of military intelligence", "Internet publication of information in a way that they would be accessible to the enemy" and "fraud and breach of military regulations"
The defence submitted a list of fifty witnesses they wanted to call, but the government opposed it almost in its entirety. Of these witnesses, the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the former Pentagon chief Robert Gates and President Barack Obama, in person, for a statement in which he stated that Manning had "broken the law." But their presence at Fort Meade is very unlikely.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Oh No - It's Another 'Turning Point' In Afghanistan

One thing the generals and the securocrats generally will always tell you is how well the generals and the military are doing. Apparently, according to US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta, all is going well in Afghanistan once again. And, yes, 2011 is another 'turning point' to go with the previous 10 years of turning points. Unbelievable even for him.

US Base In Nevada Is Drone Nerve Centre

Afghanistan Analysis Network - Discussion Paper

Full report here.

PTSD In Aftermath Of Drone Attacks In Pakistan

Monday, 12 December 2011

Christmas With The Arms Dealers

Thumbnail image for avenger.gif''The US Air Force in Afghanistan has given itself an early Christmas present -- a General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Predator C Avenger.
The jet-powered, stealthy unmanned air system (UAS) with -- and this is important -- an internal weapons bay is going to Afghanistan.
The Aeronautical Systems Center on 9 December released a document justifying why the service needs to award a sole-source contract to General Atomics for a Predator C to deploy to Operation Enduring Freedom as a test aircraft.
With the Avenger, the USAF's "classified customer" will have an aircraft that can drop 900kg (2,000lb) bombs. (Note to the underground residents of Natanz and Qoms: GBU-24 penetrator bombs weigh about 900kg. Just, um, FYI.)
By the way, don't think the Predator C is intended to replace the hostage Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel. The 9 December notice says the USAF started the process of buying the Predator C on 5 July.''
From this obscene site.


India To Train Afghan Army Officers

Plans are already in the final stages of receiving Indian government clearance for an extensive training schedule for the fledgling Afghan National Army (ANA) at training institutions across the country. The programme is the first concrete follow-up on military-to-military cooperation under the umbrella of the Strategic Partnership Agreement that was signed between Kabul and New Delhi in October, when Afghan President Hamid Karzai was given a grand reception in India.Under the agreement, India, which has the world’s third-largest army, agreed to train, equip and build the capacity of the Afghan forces.
Sources in the Indian security establishment familiar with the contours of the detailed schedule say Kabul and New Delhi have identified three areas to focus on, namely increasing the intake of officers in India’s premier training institutes; providing specialised training to middle and higher level officers already operating in the Afghan National Army (ANA); and training soldiers in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorist operations by seconding them to various regimental centers across India.
The military leadership in India and Afghanistan has concluded after several rounds of discussions that training the officer cadre won’t on its own be enough, since Afghan soldiers also need to be given the skills to take on the mixed role of counter-insurgency operations and providing static security three years from now.

Victims Of The Drone War - Rare Photos

One resident of North Waziristan wants to expose the conflict. Noor Behram has spent years photographing the aftermath of drone strikes, often at personal risk. Working with Islamabad lawyer Shahzad Akbar and London-based human rights activist Clive Stafford Smith, who are helping get his photos to the outside world, Behram provided Danger Room with dozens of his images, none of which have ever been published in the United States.
What follows is a sample of some of the most arresting photos. Be advised: Many of these pictures are disturbing. Some of them show dead children.
 Read More.

Each Star Marks A US Base

Yes, each star marks an American base but Iran are a threat to us, apparently.

Iran Not Returning US Drone

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Ashura Bombing - Taliban Statement

'Similarly, the political and religious sides of our country were asked to put the benefits of our country and people ahead of their own or organizations benefits and such actions not be undertaken to achieve their political aims which would mean nothing other then adding fuel to the fire which has been lit by our enemy against the unity of our people and country. It was also said that in these tender moments in which our enemy is on the verge of fleeing, it is going back to its natural habit and reaching for grief stricken moments like the day of Ashura so it can divide the unified Afghan people because the enemy wants to take revenge from our suffering people for their own failures. Our alert and unified nation will never be deceived by such plans of our enemy but rather they will also thwart this plan like all the previous ones. In the end of the gathering, the below statement was issued after much deliberation:' IN FULL

Saturday, 10 December 2011

How To Sanitize Death And Carnage

Video war games are almost calculated to cretinize the next generation of Americans and invite them to make the same mistakes as the present one. This is not an exaggeration. It is a small step from this to US Army training to killing people with press-button drone technology.

GRITtv: Seth Scheisel: Video Games and Military... by grittv

NATO's Pakistan Massacre - Outrage In Kashmir





Video clip on Reality Zone HERE.

Gingrich : 'Invented Palestine' Statement Racist?

Victims' Day In Afghanistan

10th December marks Victims' Day in Afghanistan. Media attention and coverage zero as far as I can see.

Continued Killings In Yemen

H/T to The Trench for this link.

Friday, 9 December 2011

A Policy In Flames

US Veteran Speaks Out On Landfill Scandal

Covert War In Iran

'When it comes to assessing America's war rhetoric we should keep in mind that there are now significant brakes on any headlong rush into yet another conflict in a far-off Muslim land.An Iranian woman walks past an anti-U.S. mural on the wall of the former American embassy in Tehran in October 2011.Reuters
Americans are now more politically divided on all issues and the one that dominates attention is the economic crisis, not Iran.
Even the conservative agenda in the U.S. is divided as many in the Tea Party movement favour a new form ofisolationism and reject new adventures abroad.
Americans are now more politically divided on all issues and the one that dominates attention is the economic crisis, not Iran.
Even the conservative agenda in the U.S. is divided as many in the Tea Party movement favour a new form of isolationism and reject new adventures abroad. isolationism and reject new adventures abroad. Americans are now more politically divided on all issues and the one that dominates attention is the economic crisis, not Iran. Even the conservative agenda in the U.S. is divided as many in the Tea Party movement favour a new form of isolationism and reject new adventures abroad.' Link.

American Citizen Killed In Kabul Blast


Thursday, 8 December 2011

Story Of A War Gone Wrong

Afghan President Hamid Karzai had to cut short a visit to Europe and return to Kabul yesterday after a devastating suicide bombing against a Shia shrine in the city killed 60 people. The attack came on the day of Ashura, the holiest day on the Shia calendar, which shows the deadly intent of the perpetrators to ignite sectarian hatreds. The attack acquires more significance in view of its background: Karzai was in Bonn for a conference on the 'future' of Afghanistan. The meeting was boycotted by a country without whose support peace in Afghanistan will remain a mirage - Pakistan. Karzai said the attack on the Shia shrine originated in Pakistan, putting further pressure on already strained relations between the two.
Pakistan is still seething with anger after a NATO air strike hit an army checkpoint in the north-west killing 25 soldiers. Since then Pakistan has blocked NATO supplies heading through its country to Afghanistan. Efforts to repair the strained relations between Pakistan and NATO, especially the US, have failed. When Islamabad’s relations with Washington are damaged, it has a cascading, detrimental effect on its relations with Kabul too and even beyond.
Amid all these dangerous developments, the NATO and US are sticking to their plans of withdrawing their troops from Afghanistan by 2015. It is a telling reflection on the state of the war. Peace and stability for Afghans, despite all the lofty talk, are no priority for the countries which started this war. Their only goal now is to flee, even if that leaves Afghanistan where it was when the war started or even deeper in chaos. Those who know Afghanistan, including Western diplomats who have worked in the country, are fully aware of the dangers of American policies and are speaking against it. Former British ambassador to Afghanistan Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, who served in the country from 2007 to 2009, said the troop withdrawal plan was ‘worse than questionable, it’s disgraceful’ if it was not accompanied by a determined peace process. Until now, the decade-long Afghan war has largely been free of sectarian violence.But the latest attack shows that at least some militant groups may have changed tactics, targetting ethnic minorities such as the Hazara who are largely Shia and support the Afghan government and its Western partners. Afghanistan’s Shia community of mostly Hazaras make up about 20 percent of the nation’s 30 million population.

This is a war that started badly and got worse. Although they will apply the usual short-term memory approach to history, it will haunt America for ever.

Kabul Shia In Grief

A relative sits next to the grave of one of the victims of Kabul blast at the Karte Sakhi cemetery yesterday.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

After The Sectarian Bombings, What Now For Afghanistan?

What do the bombings say about the evolving nature of the Afghan insurgency? One the one hand, they don't seem to be the work of the Afghan Taliban at all, but of a Pakistani group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alami (LeJ-Alami), whose specialty is assassinating Shi'a in Pakistan and whoclaimed credit for the attacks. LeJ-Alami was behind the kidnapping and execution of Taliban godfather and spymaster Col. Imam (despite Taliban efforts to stop it), and is seen by many in the Afghan Taliban leadership as dangerous and uncontrollable. In fact, in a rare move, the Afghan Taliban issued a strongly worded condemnation of the attacks. Over the years, the Afghan Taliban have assiduously strived to portray themselves as a national movement, representing the aspirations of all Afghan ethnicities and sects. They have developed detailed guidelines for their foot soldiers and field commanders, put forth political representatives to explore the possibility of talks, and have even begun to circulate documents that examine in a serious way the nature of a post-American government. One document, meant internally for the Taliban leadership, decried the country's ethnic and sectarian divides and declared they should "try to bring an environment of fraternity among all [ethnicities] of Afghans." LINK.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Shrine Attack - Who Stood To Gain?

Was the attack intended to show disdain for the conference? To discredit the Taliban? To foment sectarianism? Atrocities of this particular type are very rare in Afghanistan. Puzzling as well as harrowing.

Bonn Conference A Farce

Pakistan of course is not present at the conference. After approximately 6,000 Pakistanis were blown up by the USA on Pakistani soil, the next 25 were killed all at once and were all young soldiers, something that not even Pakistan’s complacent, corrupt government could gloss over. So for now all of NATO’s ground supplies are being shipped through Uzbekistan – the percentage of NATO supplies going that way was already increased to almost 50% and still rising fast as a matter of policy. Link

George Orwell On Iran?Iraq?Afghanistan?

"All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. A British Tory will defend self-determination in Europe and oppose it in India with no feeling of inconsistency. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by 'our' side. The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them."

Sunday, 4 December 2011

US 'Error' Was Responsible For Pakistani Deaths


''The strike had begun before we realised the target was a border post,'' he said. ''The Americans say we gave them clearance but they gave us the wrong information.'' American officers have not disputed this Pakistani account.
The American pilots had been confident in their targets as they flew out of the night sky, towards a mountain ridge that marked the border with Pakistan. Afghan and US commandos hunting Taliban training camps inside the eastern edge of Afghanistan had called in air support as they came under fire from the border.
 The pilots believed that the co-ordinates had been checked with a Pakistani officer and the Apache attack helicopters and lone AC-130 gunship were given the go-ahead to unload their deadly payload.
 But as dawn arrived it became clear that a terrible mistake had been made.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/world/us-error-led-to-pakistani-deaths-20111204-1odhf.html#ixzz1fZi29zfK

Der Spiegel - Leaked Intel Predicts Civil War For Afghanistan

The documents, published by Der Spiegel and Bild, Germany's biggest newspapers, come at a time when western politicians are trying to prepare Afghanistan for a withdrawal of NATO troops in 2014.
They predict that when western soldiers have left, insurgent leaders based in Pakistan 'will return to Afghanistan', and in the vacuum left behind by NATO forces a bloodbath will ensue.
Bild also claimed that the documents contain 'indications' that the Afghanistan intelligence service had take part in attacks on German soldiers and that German weapons had been found in the hands of Taliban guerillas.
Barack Obama has pledged that U.S. soldiers will be out of the country by 2014, and while some NATO troops will remain to train and advise Afghan security forces there will not be enough to combat a resurgent Taliban.


Bonn Conference Research Briefs

Happy reading. LINK.

Night Raids Still A Sticking Point After Years of Carnage

This NY Times piece is 50% a US military press release but, for once, it platforms an Afghan perspective in the MSM in America.
'Afghans, however, complain that because night raids involve soldiers going into private homes and often seeing the women who live there, they deeply offend Afghan cultural sensitivities and have an alienating effect out of proportion to either their military value or their casualty rate.
“This has become a very sensitive issue for the Afghan people,” said Mr. Faizi, who made it clear that he was relating Mr. Karzai’s views on the subject. “In general, they are not against night raids if they are led by Afghan people.”
Mr. Faizi said the raids were the biggest complaints that Mr. Karzai heard when visitors from the provinces met with him.
“If one of the messages of the United States is to win the hearts and minds of the Afghan people, then these night raids are totally against this,” he said. “People are becoming more and more against the international presence in Afghanistan.” Full article. 

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Return To Bush-Era Torture?

Wikileaks - The Spy Files (Inter-Active)

US Strategy In Disarray

More at The Real News

Kidnapped American - AQ Issues Demands

India To Train 30,000 Afghan Troops

As United States finalises its plan to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, Indian authorities are getting ready to train nearly 30,000 Afghan troops in the next three years. The US has urged other countries to join hands with it to train Afghan troops, which will take over the duties of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation's forces after they leave in 2014. Incidentally, though the Pakistan government had expressed its interest in training Afghan troops, the US chose to approach India instead.
According to a report in Jane's Defence Weekly, nearly 30,000 Afghan troops will be trained in north and east India, as per the agreement signed between the two nations a couple of months ago.
India has played a large role in strengthening the infrastructure of the war-torn country by assisting in the construction of roads, power plants and buildings.
Sources say that India had expressed a keen interest in training Afghan soldiers as it is wary of the preparedness of the latter to combat forces like Taliban and terrorism, after the withdrawal of NATO soldiers.
An unstable Afghanistan in the wake of the NATO troop withdrawal will spell doom for India, warn security experts. New Delhi will then have to contend with tackling terror threats from Islamabad as well as Kabul.
Pakistan has earlier accused India of pursuing a hidden agenda through its developmental activities in Afghanistan. It has often claimed that India wants to expand its presence there to have a strategic advantage against Pakistan as well as in central and south Asia.

Anti-War Demonstrators Gather In Bonn

Demonstrators calling for an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of all foreign troops from Afghanistan rallied Saturday in the German city of Bonn, where the future of the war-torn country is due to be discussed.
Some 4,000 police officers monitored the demonstration, which came hours before a civil society meeting was to take place. The demonstrators said they expected several thousand to join them on a march to the city centre.
The main conference session on Monday, which is to be addressed by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, will bring together 85 countries and 16 international organizations. Karzai arrived in Germany Friday and held talks with Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.
The Bonn conference is to focus on the transfer of security responsibilities to and assistance for the Afghan government after NATO ends its mission in 2014, peace talks with the Taliban, economic development, and long-term regional stability.

British Soldier Stabbed Afghan Boy, 10.

The next day his unit left a checkpoint in the Nad e Ali district to go on patrol.
Crook followed, arming himself with two grenades and a bayonet because his rifle had been confiscated as a safety measure.
The prosecution said he came across two Afghans riding bikes - one of them was Ghulam, who had been sent out to collect a bottle of yoghurt and who then pestered Crook for chocolate.
In response, the soldier "took hold of the boy's shoulder and stabbed him in the region of his kidneys with his bayonet". More.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Israel Is America's Greatest Ally Apparently

So much for the 'special relationship' which makes the UK the greatest ally when Obama is over here. He got $2 million dollars at the fundraisers. I wonder what Israel gets for that? Just saying (not anti-semitic).  ;)

Taliban Attack On NATO Base

Thursday, 1 December 2011

False Intelligence, Night Raids And Crass Incompetence

That dawn, ten males – including Bashir, Zabihullah and 16-year-old high school student Raees Khan – were led blindfolded on foot to the district’s army base, then flown by helicopter to the coalition’s Forward Operating Base (FOB) Fenty in Jalalabad. Nine of them were held in small, solitary rooms and questioned over a one to three-day period about their daily activities before being released separately outside Fenty’s main gate. They were each given 20 dollars for transport home. Link.

$4 Billion Defence Funding Shortfall

"The Americans have told us that Congress is not prepared to give Afghanistan more military aid than Israel, which means no more than $3bn," a European official said.
The fear that international financial support for Afghanistan will evaporate in 2014 as the west struggles to escape from chronic recession and western capitals seek to put the conflict behind them, has alarmed the Kabul government of Hamid Karzai. Karzai will chair an international conference in Bonn on Monday, designed to seek international commitments to continue to support Afghanistan long after 2014, when the country, after more than three decades of war, will continue to be an economic basket case. A World Bank report last week projected Afghanistan's fiscal deficit by 2021-22 at 25% of the country's GDP.
"Even assuming ambitious targets for robust growth in domestic revenue are met … there will be an unmanageable fiscal gap," the World Bank report said. Link.

Two More Pakistanis Killed By NATO

Dec 1 (Reuters) - NATO forces killed two Pakistani men in Afghanistan on Thursday, Pakistani border officials said, a move likely to inflame tensions after the alliance killed 24 Pakistani troops at the weekend.
The officials said the two men, who were from the town of Chagai in the Pakistani province of Baluchistan, were gathering wood 30 km (18.6 miles) inside Afghanistan.
NATO officials were not immediately available for comment.

Les Tensions Entre Washington Et Islamabad

Bonn Conference Meaningless Without Pakistan

The NATO attack has caused widespread outrage in Pakistan. Pakistanis say that the US violated their sovereignty and showed a fundamental disrespect for their country  with the bombing. "This incident is going to be a major hurdle," says Rahimullah Yusufzai, an independent analyst and editor of Pakistan’s The News International.

Ten years of American-led war in Afghanistan have seen numerous international conferences and summits, most of which resulted in marginal results at best. With or without Pakistan at the upcoming Bonn Conference, many Afghans say the event will still most likely just be talk without change. Link.

NATO Pakistan Attack - Unanswered Questions

Hinnah Rabbani Khar, Pakistani Foreign Minister, said the NATO attack is not an isolated incident and has raised much bigger questions than whether Islamabad will join an investigation into the event, Associated Press of Pakistan reported.
"I think the questions raised in Pakistan are much larger than whether we will participate in the investigation or not. I want to emphasize on the fact that this is not an isolated incident," she said. From here.