Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Obama's Kill List

Obama has placed himself at the helm of a top secret “nominations” process to designate terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical. He had vowed to align the fight against Al Qaeda with American values; the chart, introducing people whose deaths he might soon be asked to order, underscored just what a moral and legal conundrum this could be.
Mr. Obama is the liberal law professor who campaigned against the Iraq war and torture, and then insisted on approving every new name on an expanding “kill list,” poring over terrorist suspects’ biographies on what one official calls the macabre “baseball cards” of an unconventional war. When a rare opportunity for a dronestrike at a top terrorist arises — but his family is with him — it is the president who has reserved to himself the final moral calculation. MORE HERE

Links And Feeds For 29th May

Iran: Asia Times Online :: US hard line in Iran talks driven by Israel

Blair At Leveson: http://www.timeslive.co.za/world/2012/05/29/blair-feels-the-heat-at-press-ethics-inquiry

Student Poisoning Doubts: http://paktribune.com/news/Taliban-not-involved-in-students-poisoning-250200.html

US Incompetence In Pakistan: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AS_PAKISTAN_POWER_FIASCO?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

Panetta recycles 'Right Track' Speech: http://paktribune.com/news/Panetta-US-on-right-track-in-Afghanistan-250199.html

Hague-'we won't abandon Afghans', yeah,right: http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/DefenceNews/DefencePolicyAndBusiness/HagueWeWontAbandonAfghanPeople.htm

Miliband, Murphy And Alexander In Afghanistan

The triumvirate of world foreign policy trying (and failing) to look tough in Afghanistan on Sunday. Nice surfer shirt, Jim.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Afghanistan Today - Newsfeed

Europe wants out. Obama ratchets it up - http://www.examiner.com/article/sick-of-war-europe-feels-war-fatigue-while-america-extends-afghanistan-war?
Chopper crash killls 2 - http://www.voanews.com/content/helicopter-crash-kills-nato-soldiers-afghanistan/1120399.html?
UK Bans Prisoner Transfer - http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2012/05/16/uk-bans-transfer-of-prisoners-to-afghan-forces-following-torture-fears/?
Australian SAS Execute Prisoner - http://www.watoday.com.au/national/shooting-of-captive-afghan-probed-20120528-1zffe.html?
Panetta Defends Strategy (again) - http://www.ksat.com/news/politics/Panetta-defends-Afghan-strategy/-/2567674/14236966/-/ba8g77z/-/index.html?

Taliban Campaign Spreads To Bamyan

Afghanistan's central Bamyan province, widely reputed to be the safest in the country, has seen a worrying rise in insurgent activity, according to the provincial police chief. A group of Pakistani insurgents who go by the name Abdullah Kaltak is causing security problems, primarily in Bamyan's Kohmard district, police chief Juma Guldi Yardem said.
Yardem told TOLOnews on Sunday that he is concerned about the small number of security forces in the province which has seen far less insurgent activity than most of the country's other 33 provinces.
Bamyan is located in the heart of Afghanistan and shares its provincial border with eight other provinces. However, Yardem believes the Kaltak group are mainly moving in from Baghlan province - north-east of Bamyan - which has had a more active insurgent network for some time.
"Various Pakistani insurgents are active in Baghlan province, but they are crossing the borders and starting to do more insurgent activity [here]," Yardem said, saying it seemed most of them came through the Tala wa Barfak district of Baghlan.
"A new group of insurgents named Abdullah Kaltak have begun anti-government activity in this province."
The two provinces are divided by a mountainous border which the insurgents are crossing to make it into Bamyan.
Yardem said new security checkpoints have already been created to address the problem, but he fears that the Afghan forces are not sufficiently equipped to deal with the problem if it worsens.
"If the situation changes, we will need more equipment to defend Bamyan'.
Bamyan was one of the first provinces to be transferred to Afghan security forces responsibility in the first phase of the five-tranche security transition.
The New Zealand armed forces based in Bamyan will withdraw from the province next year, a year earlier than the Nato deadline of 2014, the country's officials said earlier this month.
NZ Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully confirmed during the Nato summit in Chicago last week that the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Bamyan would be withdrawn in 2013.
McCully said in a statement from his office that he had discussed the new timetable with Isaf leadership, senior Afghan ministers and other partners and they had all have agreed to the PRT winding up its role in late 2013.
"The New Zealand-led PRT has done an excellent job in Bamyan, reflected in the province being selected amongst the first tranche for transition. It is now likely that the Afghan government and Isaf will formally declare that transition to be completed later in 2012," he said.
"Over the coming weeks, a specialist team will visit Bamyan to draw up a detailed plan for the wind down in the province. We are intent on ensuring that the province is well prepared for the next steps and that major development projects are completed," the statement said.

Tony Blair At J.P.Morgan

Moroccan Demonstrations Yesterday - Clip

Collateral Damage Gallery

Gallery of even more innocent victims of the occupation of Afghanistan HERE

Covert War In 120 Countries

In 120 countries across the globe, troops from Special Operations Command carry out their secret war of high-profile assassinations, low-level targeted killings, capture/kidnap operations, kick-down-the-door night raids, joint operations with foreign forces, and training missions with indigenous partners as part of a shadowy conflict unknown to most Americans. Once “special” for being small, lean, outsider outfits, today they are special for their power, access, influence, and aura.That aura now benefits from a well-honed public relations campaign which helps them project a superhuman image at home and abroad, even while many of their actual activities remain in the ever-widening shadows. Typical of the vision they are pushing was this statement from Admiral Olson: “I am convinced that the forces… are the most culturally attuned partners, the most lethal hunter-killers, and most responsive, agile, innovative, and efficiently effective advisors, trainers, problem-solvers, and warriors that any nation has to offer.” More here

Robert Fisk On Doctor Afridi Case

Well, that will teach the Pakistanis to mess around with a brave doctor who is prepared to help the American institution that tortures and murders its enemies. Forget the CIA's black prisons and rendition and water-boarding, and the torture of the innocents in the jails of our friendly dictators. Dr Afridi was just doing the free world a favour. And WOW, Dr Afridi got shopped by Leon Pannetta when he was CIA boss, and now Barack Obama is accused of letting him down. From Here

Australia denies mishandling dead Afghan soldiers’ bodies

Australia denies mishandling dead Afghan soldiers’ bodies:

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Air Force 'Concerns' In Afghanistan

"The planes were made in Italy, they are old and were out of the Italian fleet before they were given to Afghanistan," Azimi said.
Air transport is critical in Afghanistan, where the road network is underdeveloped and targeted by insurgent bombings, while strike aircraft are a vital part of the war against Taliban insurgents.
The US Air Force announced last month that it was reopening a contest for a contract to build 20 light attack aircraft for Afghanistan after the cancellation of an award to Brazil's Embraer two months earlier.
Italian and Brazilian aircraft? They're really taking that one seriously, eh? For 'concern' read it isn't going to happen. Just like the 'ordered transition'. MORE 

Another Security Scandal In Kabul

This is simply the latest in a never-ending string of scandals caused or contributed to by the Bureau of Diplomatic Security. They include:
1. The massive U.S. Embassy cost overruns in Baghdad;
2. The killing of Iraqi civilians by Blackwater in Nisour Square, Baghdad in 2007;
3. The ArmorGroup sex scandal in Kabul;
4. The repeated hit and run incidents by Embassy security vehicles in Peshawar;
5. The hit and run killing in Lahore in 2011 by an Embassy security vehicle;
6. The repeated security clearance suspension abuses within the State Department;

Pentagon Slammed Over Bin Laden Movie

America's Unconventional Warfare in the Mideast

Going Rogue: America's Unconventional Warfare in the Mideast | Al Akhbar English:

BBC News - Nato air strike 'kills Afghan family'

I wonder how many pictures of the victims of this massacre will appear in the UK press (Syria style). It's the same phenomenon. Militarists out of control and unaccountable to anybody.

BBC News - Nato air strike 'kills Afghan family':

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Afghan protesters hold anti-US demonstration in Wardak

PressTV - Afghan protesters hold anti-US demonstration in Wardak Province:

Égypte : La Révolution, et Après ?

Northern Mali's Mushrooming Uncertainty

The Trench: Northern Mali's Mushrooming Uncertainty:

Deploying Drones in Yemen Will Make Us Less Safe

Cori Crider: Deploying Killer Drones in Yemen Will Make Us All Less Safe:

FBI Spy On US Muslims

Military Death Toll Reaches 3000 in Afghanistan war

Forces death toll reaches 3000 in Afghanistan war - Telegraph:

Britain To Create Its Own Militia Before Retreating

Sami Sadaat, a security analyst and former policy analyst in the Ministry of the Interior, warned: “We must be careful of what we are creating.” In some southern parts of the country the local police, he claimed, “are taking the law into their own hands, beating people and taking money. Yes, they helped remove the Taliban. But in a way they replaced them by doing these kinds of things.”  MORE

Friday, 25 May 2012

Sacha Baron Cohen: a buffoonish ideologue, at Israel's service

This is a harsh appraisal of SBC in my opinion. But it gives another angle on one who has become a media dahling in the UK and beyond.
Sacha Baron Cohen: a buffoonish ideologue, at Israel's service | The Electronic Intifada:

A Short History Of Drone Warfare

Ignorance in Afghanistan

Our ignorance in Afghanistan:

Francois Hollande 'Mission Accomplished' Moment

I'm disappointed in President Hollande's remarks. I suppose he has to make the best of of a very bad job for which he had no responsibility.
Francois Hollande defends early Afghan pullout - Europe - World - The Independent:

Plasticine Policy

The NATO ISAF 'strategy' is whatever you would like it to be in Afghanistan. And in most other areas in which they are spreading their incompetence. You can shape it like plasticine to suit whether you would like tame journos and useful idiots to believe you are defending womens' rights, speading education ('we painted a schoolroom'), fighting AQ/AQAP or fighting them over there so that.... (fill in the rest yourself). They have wheeled out many other pretexts for whatever it is they are failing to do in Afghanistan. The NATO summit will be rounded off, as ever, with a spin-routine of 'on track', 'transition', 'partnership'. If there was a hint of a shadow of connection with the truth about NATO their summary communique would talk of 'compound misjudgements', 'retreat' and 'abject failure'.  

US Cuts Aid To Pakistan Over Shakil Afridi

Hillary spoke yesterday about the help Shakil Afridi had 'given to Pakistan, never mind America and the world'. Not much help to the Pakistani families who thought their kids were being innoculated against disease. Bogus vaccinations, fraudulent medical treatment? I have never personally heard of anything like this. And the US wonders why so many people, not to mention whole nations, hate them. US-Pakistan relations were already at an all-time low. Not only are they now officially dysfunctional, but it's hard to see any prospect of them improving. The aid cuts are symbolic on the face of it. $1M for every year Afridi got in prison. Somebody at the White House or Pentagon must have lain awake in bed all night to think that one up. The whole sorry episode marks a new low (among many lows) for the CIA and their political mentors. Another handle on the story from Pakistan in this link.

CIA Informant Jailed In Pakistan

MSM just catching up with this story. My own views to follow shortly.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Badakhshan students protest against ISAF

Badakhshan students protest against ISAF | Pajhwok Afghan News:

Le President Malien A Paris

US Press For Release of Pakistan Doctor

Pakistani Citizens Welcome Nato Convoy
US to press for release of doctor who helped find Bin Laden | World news | guardian.co.uk:
There are a couple of 'details' being missed by the western media as far as I can tell. 
- the CIA probably did not tell the doctor that their target was OBL. Why would they?
- why did the doctor give (sell?) his services to the US in particular?
- the conduct of a sham innoculation programme is despicable under any circumstances, not just in terms of universally held medical ethics but by the yardstick of common decency and sense. Why should Pakistan not be outraged that one of their own would stoop to this? America, or any other country, would be.

Australian government confirms commitment to ongoing Afghanistan Occupation

Australian government confirms commitment to ongoing Afghanistan occupation:

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

NATO Dresses Stalemate As "Responsible End" In Afghanistan

The Trench: NATO Dresses Stalemate As "Responsible End" In Afghanistan:

Panjwai Massacre Being Linked To Retaliatory Attack

The brother of one of those killed along with ten other relatives from a single house in the village of Najiban said in an interview with Truthout that the victim had been warned by a US soldier at a checkpoint near the Special Forces camp that the Americans knew his vineyard was very close to where the improvised explosive device (IED) exploded.
That warning suggests that the Green Beret unit at Camp Belambay had checked on the identity of those who owned and worked on land near the site of explosion.
Immediately after the IED exploded, a US military officer threatened to take revenge against civilians, including women and children in the vicinity, if the local population failed to inform troops about another IED explosion, Afghans present at the meeting told Truthout in separate interviews.

CIA's Fake Vaccination Programme In Pakistan

There's good reason for the outrage. People's faith in their doctors is critical to the ability to provide health care, and it's unconscionable that the United States would use the single most delicate health issue in the Muslim world as its cover. But we do need to be realistic. It's not the first time health services have been a cover for a security operation, and it won't be the last. The most recent high-profile example was in 2008, when the Colombian military used the Red Cross emblem to disguise an army team engaged in a hostage rescue operation of 15 people held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). More HERE

Failed In Afghanistan. Failed In Pakistan.

Fail, fail for Obama but you wouldn't think so to listen to his election spin. OBL, gotcha! As if this were all there was to his foreign policy. Obama offers endless, self-perpetuating war as he continues in the thrall of the military boneheads and securocrats. That weakness is his biggest failure of all. He thinks he looks strong with the generals by his side and drones keeping on a-flyin'. It is a sign of abject weakness and all the world outside the US can see it.

A Smooth British Retreat From Afghanistan Would Be A First

A smooth British retreat from Afghanistan would be a first| Afghanistan News | The Week UK:

US-Pakistan thaw swiftly becomes debacle

US-Pakistan thaw swiftly becomes debacle:

NATO And Human Rights

But simply handing an Afghan an AK-47 and a couple weeks of training is a recipe for disaster. Because villagers can so easily abuse their new power -- mistreating suspects, pursuing private vendettas, stirring ethnic conflict -- paramilitary forces of this sort are inherently dangerous. A Human Rights Watch report released in September 2011 documented many such abuses. Aninternal Pentagon study obtained last week by the Los Angeles Times found ALP units making little contribution to security while engaging in assault, rape, extortion, and drug trafficking.
The Pentagon's plan for avoiding such abuses is to vet would-be ALP members, train them, and hope the Afghan Interior Ministry will hold them accountable. But given the troublesome record of Afghanistan's traditional security forces -- torture by the intelligence services is rife, for example -- there is little reason to think these measures will suffice.

The Mulla Dadullah Front - Who Are They?

The Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN) / The Mulla Dadullah Front: A search for clues:

Afghanistan Undefeated

Iranian Co-operation Sets Positive Tone

Iran nuclear talks Begin in Baghdad

Iran nuclear talks in Baghdad begin | World news | guardian.co.uk:

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Mali Developments - Beware The Spin

Ever since a motley combination of Tuareg separatists and Islamic supremacists swept through northern Mali in a blaze of gunfire, an echo-chamber of rumor, gossip and misinformation has supplanted hard facts, and it's worth treating all information — however credible the source — with caution. But it isn't just Cissé claiming that foreign Islamic militants are flocking to this latest of troublespots. In the fabled waystation of Timbuktu, 300 miles upriver from Gao, a tour guide called Buba tells TIME that "Algerian nationals" are prevalent among the armed groups controlling the city. Taken with other reported sighting of foreign Islamist supremacists arriving in northern Mali, it's one of a number of signs that will have al-Qaeda watchers wondering whether northern Mali is becoming a new jihadist playground — even as the U.S. and its allies move against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and a relentless drone campaign batters the badlands of Pakistan's Northwest frontier. LINK

Pakistan Supply Routes Are Vital To Nato 'Redeployment' (Cough)

The routes to the port of Karachi are the shortest routes to a harbour and therefore of course they are routes that make logistics and redeployment easier, easier and possibly cheaper, so therefore of course we have an interest in looking at these roads,” he said.
Pakistan’s demands include a public apology for the killings and a review of US strategy on drone strikes aimed at militants on its territory. By redeployment he means retreat of course. (read more)

German Press Review on NATO Afghanistan Pullout

German Press Review on NATO Afghanistan Pullout - SPIEGEL ONLINE:

US - Pak Relations Still Rock Bottom

Still, powerful forces in Pakistan want the border to remain shut. Jihadist groups have coalesced since last fall into a lobby called the Defense of Pakistan. Led byHafez Saeed, the leader of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the terror group that attacked Mumbai in 2008, the pro-closure forces have held huge demonstrations in Pakistani cities demanding no compromise with America and NATO, no border opening and an end to all drone attacks on terror targets. This spring the United States put a $10 million bounty on Saeed for his role in the Mumbai massacre that killed six Americans. He laughed in Washington’s face on Pakistani TV. He knows he has powerful backers in the Pakistani Army and the intelligence service, the ISI. He knows America is incredibly unpopular in Pakistan, thanks to decades of lousy relations, the drones, and the humiliation of last May’s SEAL raid that killed America’s No. 1 enemy. LINK

Exit Strategy - Not With A Bang But A Raspberry

It's A Surrender Strategy – View From A Warmonger

The story on the link below is by Con Coughlin, a securocrat war peddler who was wrong about Iraq and has been wrong about Afghanistan for the last 11 years. Doesn't stop him rattling the drum though. Obama and Bush weren't aggressive enough for him. 
This is not an exit strategy for Afghanistan, it's a surrender strategy – Telegraph Blogs:

Monday, 21 May 2012

Human rights in Afghanistan- Amnesty briefing for the 2012 NATO Summit

AIUK : Human rights in Afghanistan- Amnesty briefing for the 2012 NATO summit:

Soudan - La Rébellion du Nil Bleu

Yemen Attack Footage

Over One Hundred Killed In Bomb Blast in Yemen capital Sanaa

101 soldiers killed in huge suicide bomb blast in Yemen capital Sanaa - Middle East - World - The Independent:

NATO Summit Overshadowed By Pakistan/US Rift

LINK :- Council on Foreign Relations:

Investigating NATO's 'Deep Regrets' In Libya

Justice in Libya: Investigating NATO? | Justice in Conflict:

‘The Dictator’: When racist replaces racy

CINEMA-TV - ‘The Dictator’: When racist replaces racy:
The Grisly Face(s) Of Authoritarianism

Time for NATO to face new realities

Although it's fair to say they have never faced the old ones :
Time for NATO to face new realities - Opinion - Al Jazeera English: