Archive for December, 2009

Pentagon Study Leaked: Afghan Army numbers inflated 40 to 50%, will not be ready to take over anytime soon; 70,000 U.S. Casualties, Enough is Enough

December 31, 2009

Rachel Maddow: New Pentagon Report Blows HUGE Hole In Obama’s Afghanistan Withdrawal Plan

The Pentagon Papers of Vietnam era, that is what the LEAK of this study is being called. It is a 25 page confidential report for a briefing for General Petraeus and for General McCrystal and was leaked to Richard Engel, NBC’s Chief Foreign Correspondent. Engel reports that the “Number One Priority in Afghanistan is to train Afghan Security Forces to they can take over and the U.S. can get out”. This goal is very far away from being achieved. Engel reports that the number of Afghan soldiers and police are over estimated by 40 to 50%, they are not there, the numbers are highly exaggerated. Here’ Rachel Maddow’s interview and Richard Engel. [Ed. Note: Rachel says that this will be all over the news in the morning (NOW), and the story does not appear in any of the U.S. establishment print media. When will it come out? It appears on some Blog sites. Pass it along.]

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War causes death and serious injuries. The United States troops hurt or dead is over 70,000. WHEN IS ENOUGH ENOUGH? End the War(s) NOW.

Read the story here: Last Week: US Iraq Casualties Rise to 72,548 From Voters For Peace By Michael Munk

End the War(s): U.S. Out of Afghanistan Now, AFP photo

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Stop the Assassination Drones:. Call Leon Panetta at (703) 482-0623, CIA headquarters, leave a message: No More Drone Assasination attacks, and don’t attack Quetta. End the War(s) NOW.

Call President Obama ALL WEEK LONG. Let’s keep his White House lines busy: Take Action Now ! ! Call President Obama: To reach the U.S. Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121 or 202-225-3121 Leave a message: “You made the wrong decision. I do not support you on this. I feel betrayed.” Say NO to Escalation in Afghanistan. Sign the petition here. No funds from Congress for the troop escalation. Tell them now.

[ Go to this link and join Cindy Sheehan and other Peace Activists new group “Peace of the Action” put your name on the line.]

Get your bumpersticker, support Military Famlies Speak Out

You can order bumperstickers at this link.

Today, please tell your member of Congress and U.S. Senators to End the War in Afghanistan, sign this petition. If you live outside the United States, write to your leaders, End the War Now.

Billions and Billions of U.S. Dollars at work in Afghanistan: Feeding the Powerful and the Connected through Corruption; 70,000 U.S. Casualties, Enough is Enough

December 30, 2009

Get it While You Can: Afghanistan (Iraq and Pakistan also) Corruption of U.S. Aid Monies

One of the biggest reasons the U.S. can’t leave Afghanistan is that we spend so much money there, without our presence, there will be no money circulating to anyone. The upper-class, connected people (and warlords lead this group) will not allow the U.S. to leave. The U.S. is holding up the Karazi Government with Billions of U.S. Dollars.

Over $40 Billion in U.S. Aid Dollars spent on non-military projects in Afghanistan since 2003. Over $10 Billion to be spent this year. Where does the money go? In this Al Jazzera video, the Inspector General of the U.S. says that when the U.S. sends one dollar to Afghanistan, by the time it gets used in a project it is 20 to 30 cents, the rest disappears into people’s pockets. If you live in the U.S., see what the War(s) cost your state and local governments at costofwar.com Most U.S. states are in deep trouble, cutting essential services to support the War(s). Pass this to your friends. Want services, End the War(s).

ASSESSMENT OF CORRUPTION IN AFGHANISTAN a study prepared for the United States Agency for International Development is here for your reading. The following is a short excerpt outlining the overall problem:

    The Dimensions, Causes and Impact of Corruption in Afghanistan
    The domestic and international consensus is that corruption has become pervasive, entrenched, systemic and by all accounts now unprecedented in scale and reach. This view is apparent in the country’s declining (worsening) ranking in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index. Afghanistan fell from a ranking of 117th out of 159 countries covered in 2005, to 172nd of 180 countries in 2007, and finally to 176th out of 180 countries in 2008 – the fifth most corrupt country in the world.

    Seven years after the fall of the Taliban government, corruption has become more than the standard issue bribery, nepotism, and extortion in government. Corruption has become a system, through networks of corrupt practices and people that reach across the whole of government to subvert governance. Particularly perniciously, these networks ensure that the guilty are not brought to justice; often the officials and agencies that are supposed to be part of the solution to corruption are instead a critical part of the corruption syndrome. Over and over, interview and survey respondents noted the failure of the Afghan National Police (ANP), Attorney General’s Office (AGO), and court system to detect, prosecute, judge, and punish corruption at any level. Read the full report here.

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War causes death and serious injuries. The United States troops hurt or dead is over 70,000. WHEN IS ENOUGH ENOUGH? End the War(s) NOW.

Read the story here: Last Week: US Iraq Casualties Rise to 72,548 From Voters For Peace By Michael Munk

End the War(s): U.S. Out of Afghanistan Now, AFP photo

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Stop the Assassination Drones:. Call Leon Panetta at (703) 482-0623, CIA headquarters, leave a message: No More Drone Assasination attacks, and don’t attack Quetta. End the War(s) NOW.

Call President Obama ALL WEEK LONG. Let’s keep his White House lines busy: Take Action Now ! ! Call President Obama: To reach the U.S. Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121 or 202-225-3121 Leave a message: “You made the wrong decision. I do not support you on this. I feel betrayed.” Say NO to Escalation in Afghanistan. Sign the petition here. No funds from Congress for the troop escalation. Tell them now.

[ Go to this link and join Cindy Sheehan and other Peace Activists new group “Peace of the Action” put your name on the line.]

Get your bumpersticker, support Military Famlies Speak Out

You can order bumperstickers at this link.

Today, please tell your member of Congress and U.S. Senators to End the War in Afghanistan, sign this petition. If you live outside the United States, write to your leaders, End the War Now.

Pakistan Officials: Stop drone attacks; U.S. Military “Exhausted”; More “bombers” on their way; It’s a Water War between India and Pakistan; 70,000 U.S. Casualties, Enough is Enough !

December 29, 2009

The Pakistan Government knows it needs the Taliban and the fighters in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas to be ready to fight India when that war breaks out again. Now the Pakistan Government is using its own troops to kill these same fighters that they will need to fight against India. Appease the U.S. government, and lose the next war to India. President Zardari allows this to continue, and allows U.S. assassination drones to continue to kill ‘targeted’ people and those innocents that happen to get in the way.

Pakistan and India ceremony, photo from http://www.traveljournals.net

Pakistani officials: Take action to stop US airstrikes By Bill Roggio at the Long War Journal. Here is a good recap as to the problems facing the government of Pakistan. They want the U.S. assassination drones to stop flying over Pakistan. But they allow it to happen. Read Bill’s story here.

The Pakistani people believe that this is attacking their sovereignty. No foreigners on their soil, but now we have learned that in fact, U.S. Special Forces have been conducting search and destroy missions for months.

‘The US military is exhausted’ a story by Sarah Lazare
Read about U.S. soldiers organizing against the War(s) here. The troops can’t take more tours of duty, some having been sent to the war(s) zone for their 4th assignment. We are destroying our troops. Either they get wounded or killed, or return with severe stress and depression and their lives and their families lives are forever changed. What for?

More bombers on their way, Nigerian suspect tells FBI Read the full story here.

So the U.S. sends more troops to “Afghanistan” and will be chasing the “Taliban” into Pakistan to make America and the rest of the world safe from “extremists”. One person gets on an airplane and almost blows it up from a bomb he puts together with smuggled on pieces sewen into his underwear. How does 100,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan stop this from happening? It is all a sham. The Neo-Cons under George W. Bush put a plan in place and the Military continues to push the plan and President Obama makes choices to his plan of action from the list provided by the Military. The sales pitch: “We can’t let the Afghanistan people down, we must help them stabilize their government”. Or you come up with a better pitch, there’s been many of them brought forth. For What?

Water Wars: The impact of India stopping Pakistani water

    According to the Indus Water Treaty the waters of the Western rivers belong to Pakistan and the waters of the Eastern Rivers belong to India–at least in theory. By illegally occupying Kashmir with a forged article of accession (which is ostensibly lost now–and was never shown to either Pakistan or the UN), India now controls all the rivers. Water wars are not part of some sci-fi movie–they are happening now. Read the rest here.

Behind the scenes. This is the first real battle for Water between countries. Pakistan will dry up if nothing is done to stop India’s dam building. The above article from 2008 outlines the problem and shines a light on one of the “real” reasons for tension and conflict. Pakistan has no choice, either dry up and have many people starve, or get the India dams taken down (a fat chance of that without a war taking place).

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War causes death and serious injuries. The United States troops hurt or dead is over 70,000. WHEN IS ENOUGH ENOUGH? End the War(s) NOW.

Read the story here: Last Week: US Iraq Casualties Rise to 72,548 From Voters For Peace By Michael Munk

End the War(s): U.S. Out of Afghanistan Now, AFP photo

* * *
Stop the Assassination Drones:. Call Leon Panetta at (703) 482-0623, CIA headquarters, leave a message: No More Drone Assasination attacks, and don’t attack Quetta. End the War(s) NOW.

Call President Obama ALL WEEK LONG. Let’s keep his White House lines busy: Take Action Now ! ! Call President Obama: To reach the U.S. Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121 or 202-225-3121 Leave a message: “You made the wrong decision. I do not support you on this. I feel betrayed.” Say NO to Escalation in Afghanistan. Sign the petition here. No funds from Congress for the troop escalation. Tell them now.

[ Go to this link and join Cindy Sheehan and other Peace Activists new group “Peace of the Action” put your name on the line.]

Get your bumpersticker, support Military Famlies Speak Out

You can order bumperstickers at this link.

Today, please tell your member of Congress and U.S. Senators to End the War in Afghanistan, sign this petition. If you live outside the United States, write to your leaders, End the War Now.

Charlie Wilson pessimistic about future of Afghanistan; 70,000 U.S. Casualties, Enough is Enough

December 22, 2009

Charlie Wilson pessimistic about future of Afghanistan

From the man who single-handidly shored up the Mujadeen in their defense of Afghanistan agains the Russians, the man who got the U.S. Congress to pour millions into that fight Wilson fears Americans have unrealistic expectations about what Afghanistan can be. Wilson says “As far as I know, and I think I’ve read as much as there is to read about it, there has never been, and I use the word never — n-e-v-e-r — never been a strong central government in Afghanistan. It’s valley to valley. And most of the different political viewpoints are based on some sort of religious parameters,”. Read our October 18, 2009 Charlie Wilson story here.

Charlie Wilson, then a U.S. Member of Congress in Afghanistan

Read the whole story from a Ken Herman interview with Charlie Wilson in the Austin-American-Statesman below:

    Before it was Barack Obama’s war, before it was George W. Bush’s war, Afghanistan was Charlie Wilson’s war. And now, Wilson doesn’t see much good happening in Afghanistan, even with 30,000 more U.S. troops. “This is really a tough one for me because I’m trying not to run my mouth too much, which is an unusual situation for me,” the former East Texas congressman — immortalized in a book and a movie about his exploits that helped the Afghans drive out the Soviet Union — told me from his Lufkin home.

    Wilson’s assessment is not positive. “Generally, I’m a pretty optimistic person, and I’m not very optimistic about this,” he said. “I feel like I would not be surprised if in two years we’ve taken a lot of casualties and spent a lot of money and don’t have much to show for it.” Afghanistan, Wilson reminds us, is known as “the graveyard of empires” for its track record of defending against outside forces. Nevertheless, he believes the U.S. had to do what it did post-9/11.

    “You can’t let somebody come and just blow up a couple of massive skyscrapers in New York and not do anything about it. So at the time I felt there was a great danger in what we were doing, but I didn’t see any choice,” he said. Two weeks after 9/11, Wilson, then a Washington lobbyist for Pakistan and other interests, told me about watching from his high-rise Arlington, Va., apartment as the Pentagon burned on 9/11. “I feel guilty about it. I really do,” he said then, remorseful that he didn’t do more for Afghanistan after the Soviets were routed.

    “The part that I’ll take to my grave with guilt is that \u2026 I didn’t stay the course and stay there and push and drive the other members of Congress nuts pushing for a mini-Marshall Plan,” he said back then. “And I let myself be frustrated and discouraged by the fact that (the Afghan) leadership was so fragmented that we were unable to do the things we needed to do, like clear the mines, like furnish them millions of tons of fertilizer to be able to replant the crops.” Now, Wilson recalls he had harbored hope that the U.S. attack on Afghanistan would lead to a “gradual birth of a fledgling democracy. It damned sure hasn’t led there. It’s led to an unsatisfactory mixture. I’m trying to think of a way to phrase this. You just don’t see any significant and hopeful evidence of a serious movement toward a democratic, less corrupt society,” he said.

    Wilson fears Americans have unrealistic expectations about what Afghanistan can be.

    “As far as I know, and I think I’ve read as much as there is to read about it, there has never been, and I use the word never — n-e-v-e-r — never been a strong central government in Afghanistan. It’s valley to valley. And most of the different political viewpoints are based on some sort of religious parameters,” Wilson said. Are more troops the answer? “You just don’t know. From a political standpoint, it probably wasn’t a mistake. But most other ways it probably was,” he said. Is there a good chance of no return on the investment of more troops and treasure?

    “That’s right,” Wilson said “If I were writing this, I would look back and look at Vietnam a little bit,” he said. “I just don’t see anything that’s really encouraging. And I don’t see anything that leads any way other than failure, although I very much hope that’s not true.”

    Wilson knows the big difference between Vietnam and Afghanistan. We could and did walk away from Vietnam. Afghanistan could follow us home.And Wilson notes another potentially horrific difference when and if we walk away with anything short of the victory he sees as improbable. It involves U.S. sympathizers left behind. “It will be a lot worse (than in Vietnam). The torture and maiming and the separation of people from their limbs and all that sort of thing will be a lot worse because the Taliban is just awful,” he said.

    At age 76 and two years removed from a heart transplant, Wilson’s public schedule is down to about nothing. Travel wears him out, and he’s stopped making speeches about Afghanistan “because I’m just so torn and don’t have any answers and see things kind of tough.”

    “But you always have to hope that the secretary of defense and the national security advisers know something that we don’t know,” he said. “I kind of doubt that they do.”
    Write to Ken at: kherman@statesman.com

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War causes death and serious injuries. The United States troops hurt or dead is over 70,000. WHEN IS ENOUGH ENOUGH? End the War(s) NOW.

Read the story here: Last Week: US Iraq Casualties Rise to 72,548 From Voters For Peace By Michael Munk

* * *
Stop the Assassination Drones:. Call Leon Panetta at (703) 482-0623, CIA headquarters, leave a message: No More Drone Assasination attacks, and don’t attack Quetta. End the War(s) NOW.

Call President Obama ALL WEEK LONG. Let’s keep his White House lines busy: Take Action Now ! ! Call President Obama: To reach the U.S. Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121 or 202-225-3121 Leave a message: “You made the wrong decision. I do not support you on this. I feel betrayed.” Say NO to Escalation in Afghanistan. Sign the petition here. No funds from Congress for the troop escalation. Tell them now.

[ Go to this link and join Cindy Sheehan and other Peace Activists new group “Peace of the Action” put your name on the line.]

Get your bumpersticker, support Military Famlies Speak Out

You can order bumperstickers at this link.

Today, please tell your member of Congress and U.S. Senators to End the War in Afghanistan, sign this petition. If you live outside the United States, write to your leaders, End the War Now.

Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan President to fight charges, but weak politically; Turks screw Kurds banning them from government for life; 70,000 U.S. casualties, Enough is Enough

December 20, 2009

Pakistan Supreme Court orders the investigation of President Asif Ali Zardari’s purchase his “home” in London, more trouble ahead for a very weak Pakistani President.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari vows to fight charges; support at all-time low by Pakistani citizens

From Times of India:

    LONDON: Troubles for Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari are getting bigger by the day, as the supreme court has now asked the concerned authorities to investigate as to how he purchased the 365-acre home counties estate in the UK worth £4 million. It is worth mentioning here that Zardari had purchased the mock Tudor Rockwood Park in the 1990s , which was soon termed as “Surrey Mahal” by the then opposition leaders.

    Zardari is alleged to have spent more than £300,000 on renovations of the 20-room mansion, including building his own private polo field and an exact copy of the local village pub, the Telegraph reported on Friday. The apex court has ordered officials to ask the Swiss government to reopen an investigation into whether the property was bought with laundered money.

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The Turkish Government has forced the Kurdistan Issue by banning the Kurdish Democratic Society Party from their government and has banned many of the DCP members from participating in government for life. This will cause great rebellion within the Kurdish community throughout the area outside of Turkey also. Over 40,000,000 Kurds do not have a homeland of their own. This might be the final straw that broke the camel’s back. See our Leyla Zana story here.

Kurdish American Community protests Banning of the Democratic Society Party-DTP in Turkey
KurdishMedia.com

Los Angeles, CA, Dec 22 –To protest the Turkish crackdown on the Democratic Society Party-DTP, an elected political party in Turkey, members of the Kurdish Community will hold a demonstration in front of the Turkish consulate between the hours of 1:00 – 3:00 P.M. to denounce the recent Turkish Constitutional Court ruling of DTP closure, followed by arbitrary arrests and banning of DTP officials and members.

A Turkish Constitutional Court ruling has ordered the closure of the Democratic Society Party, DTP—a Kurdish party in the Turkish parliament in 14 years. The closure has outraged Kurdish Community as an intimidating and repressive military atmosphere prevails in Kurdish areas in Eastern Turkey. DTP party members and officials are being targeted and banned from political life. Mr. Ahmet Türk, the co-chair of the DTP, who met President Barack Obama during his official state visit to Turkey on April 6, 2009, and Aysel Tugluk, DTP Member of Parliament, are among those banned from political participation for five years. Despite parliamentary immunity and authority, both are now facing the threat of being imprisoned as five of their colleagues -Selim Sadak, Ahmet Türk, Leyla Zana, Mehmet Hatip Dicle and Orhan Dogan – who have been sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment merely because they have asserted their Kurdish identity. In violation of all civil and constitutional laws and rights, the Turkish State Treasury will confiscate DTP’s assets. Read the rest here.

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War causes death and serious injuries. The United States troops hurt or dead is over 70,000. WHEN IS ENOUGH ENOUGH? End the War(s) NOW.

Read the story here: Last Week: US Iraq Casualties Rise to 72,548 From Voters For Peace By Michael Munk

* * *
Stop the Assassination Drones:. Call Leon Panetta at (703) 482-0623, CIA headquarters, leave a message: No More Drone Assasination attacks, and don’t attack Quetta. End the War(s) NOW.

Call President Obama ALL WEEK LONG. Let’s keep his White House lines busy: Take Action Now ! ! Call President Obama: To reach the U.S. Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121 or 202-225-3121 Leave a message: “You made the wrong decision. I do not support you on this. I feel betrayed.” Say NO to Escalation in Afghanistan. Sign the petition here. No funds from Congress for the troop escalation. Tell them now.

[ Go to this link and join Cindy Sheehan and other Peace Activists new group “Peace of the Action” put your name on the line.]

Get your bumpersticker, support Military Famlies Speak Out

You can order bumperstickers at this link.

Today, please tell your member of Congress and U.S. Senators to End the War in Afghanistan, sign this petition. If you live outside the United States, write to your leaders, End the War Now.

Predator Assassination Drones at work killing in North Waziristan, Pakistan; Karazi “cleans up corruption in new cabinet picks” or more of the same?; Over 70,000 U.S. Soldier Casualties so far, when is Enough Enough?”

December 19, 2009

The U.S. Assassination Drones are at work in North Waziristan. Over 50 attacks by Predator or Reaper U.S. Drones have taken place since January 2009. In 2008, there were 36 attacks for the full year. A full list of each attack is located at the bottom of the article below.

U.S. Assassination Drone in flight, a Dawn.com photo

US airstrike kills 8 Punjabi Taliban in North Waziristan By Bill Roggio at The Long War Journal

    The US killed eight Islamist terrorists in the third airstrike in two days in Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan.

    …The Datta Khel region is a stronghold of both the Haqqani Network and North Waziristan Taliban leader Hafiz Gul Bahadar; they both shelter al Qaeda leaders and fighters. The US has pressured Pakistan to dismantle the Haqqani Network, but has been rebuffed. The Haqqani family is led by Jalaluddin and his son Siraj, who serves as the military commander. The network is based in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, and has the backing of the Pakistani military and its intelligence service. The Haqqanis have strong ties to al Qaeda. Siraj Haqqani is believed to be a member of al Qaeda’s military shura, or council, US intelligence officials have told The Long War Journal.

    The US has zeroed in on the Haqqani Network since killing Baitullah Mehsud in an Aug. 5 strike in South Waziristan. Baitullah was the leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, one of several Taliban groups operating in Pakistan. Since the Aug. 5 strike, 14 of the 18 reported airstrikes have taken place in North Waziristan, while the other four were in South Waziristan. Nine of the 14 attacks in North Waziristan occurred in territory administered by the Haqqani Network.

    So far this year, the US has carried out 50 airstrikes inside Pakistan. In all of 2008, 36 strikes were carried out. Since the US ramped up cross-border attacks in August 2008, 16 senior al Qaeda and Taliban leaders have been killed. Read the rest here.

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The United States has taken on “corruption” in the Afghanistan Government that they had initiated in 2003 and had watched and partnered with since then. Now as part of a “clean Afghanistan”, the U.S. is forcing President Hamid Kazari of The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to get rid of ministers in his cabinet that are “corrupt”. The story below from Al Jazeera reports on President Hamid Karazi’s new cabinet appointments. You be the judge. Do you think things have changed, or is this “window dressing”?

Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, has chosen ministers for his cabinet and presented them to parliament for approval.

The list of 23 was read to parliament by Anwar Khan Jigdalik, the minister for parliamentary affairs, on Saturday after a stormy session during which politicians questioned the legality of the process.
Mohammad Qasim Fahim, the Afghan vice-president, told MPs on Saturday that the nominees were being presented to parliament for “votes of confidence”. “The nominees include some former ministers who have shown excellence in their positions in their past term in office,” Fahim said.

Karzai’s choices are seen as the first test of his stated commitment to building a clean and accountable government and eradicating corruption. Key players:

Hashem Ahelbarra, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Kabul, said: “It is a goverment of ‘appeasement’ as was described to me by a member of parliament. “The key players are still there, and there are about 12 new faces who represent most of the power brokers, mujahidin and warlords who endorsed President Karzai during the election. Read the rest here.

[Ed. Note: We are in Afghanistan to secure the Oil and Pipeline routes through Afghanistan and the best hope that these pipelines will be built in the future is if we keep the current Karazi Government in power. We, the United States, is propping up another hand-picked leader of a Failed State, ranked 178th our of 179 countries in “Nations with the worst conditions” listings. Now we have Pakistan attack their own people to “kill the Taliban” that supposedly sneak across the Afghan border and blow up car bombs and people committing suicide with bomb vests.
FOR WHAT? WHEN DOES IT END? WHAT DOES THE END LOOK LIKE? OUT NOW.]

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War causes death and serious injuries. The United States troops hurt or dead is over 70,000. WHEN IS ENOUGH ENOUGH? End the War(s) NOW.

Read the story here: Last Week: US Iraq Casualties Rise to 72,548 From Voters For Peace By Michael Munk

* * *
Stop the Assassination Drones:. Call Leon Panetta at (703) 482-0623, CIA headquarters, leave a message: No More Drone Assasination attacks, and don’t attack Quetta. End the War(s) NOW.

Call President Obama ALL WEEK LONG. Let’s keep his White House lines busy: Take Action Now ! ! Call President Obama: To reach the U.S. Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121 or 202-225-3121 Leave a message: “You made the wrong decision. I do not support you on this. I feel betrayed.” Say NO to Escalation in Afghanistan. Sign the petition here. No funds from Congress for the troop escalation. Tell them now.

[ Go to this link and join Cindy Sheehan and other Peace Activists new group “Peace of the Action” put your name on the line.]

Get your bumpersticker, support Military Famlies Speak Out

You can order bumperstickers at this link.

Today, please tell your member of Congress and U.S. Senators to End the War in Afghanistan, sign this petition. If you live outside the United States, write to your leaders, End the War Now.

Predator and Reaper U.S. Assassination Drones are “Hacked”; 72,000 US Casualties so far, when is Enough Enough?; Pakistan Economy Down 25% this year

December 18, 2009

Drones (Unmanned Aircraft) are here to stay. Over 35% of all U.S. military aircraft will be Drones in the future. A $29 dollar purchase allows for any computer to see what the Drone is seeing. The computer system has been compromised. What’s next? A PowerPoint Laser Pen brings down a Drone? Here’s some information on the U.S. Drone fleet, which is to grow to 165 Drones in the near future, and increase from there.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems is maker of the Predator Drone and many other products. View their UAV (Unmanned Aircraft Vehicle) here. andfor more information, go to DefenseTech here. Pentagon to spend $65 Billion to upgrade technology systems.

Predator B (YMQ-9A) General Atomics Photo

Where's my home? After a U.S. Predator Hellifire missile attack in Afghanistan

Grim Reaper, 4 Hellfire Missiles, 2 Sidewinder Air-to-Air Missiles and 2 GBU laser guided bombs

War causes death and serious injuries. The United States troops hurt or dead is over 70,000. WHEN IS ENOUGH ENOUGH? End the War(s) NOW.

Last Week: US Iraq Casualties Rise to 72,548
From Voters For Peace By Michael Munk

    US military occupation forces in Iraq under Commander-in-Chief Obama suffered 21 combat casualties in the week ending December 15, 2009 as the official total since the 2003 invasion jumped to at least 72,548. The toal includes 35,080 dead and wounded from what the Pentagon classifies as “hostile” causes and more than 37,458 (as of Dec. 5) dead and medically evacuated from “non-hostile” causes.

    The actual total is over 100,000 because the Pentagon chooses not to count as “Iraq casualties” the more than 30,000 veterans whose injuries-mainly brain trauma from explosions – were diagnosed only after they had left Iraq.** In addition, ICC names eight service members who died of wounds after they left Iraq and are not counted by the Pentagon.**

    US media divert attention from the actual cost in American life and limb by occasionally reporting only the total killed (4,373 as of Dec 15) but rarely mentioning the 31,603 wounded in combat. To further minimize public perception of the cost, they cover for the Pentagon by ignoring the 36,562* (as of Dec 2)*** military victims of accidents and illness serious enough to require medical air evacuation, although the 4,373 reported deaths include 896 (up three) who died from those same causes, including at least 18 from faulty electrical work by KBR and 197 suicides through Dec 5.***

    ** The number of wounded is updated weekly (usually Tuesday).
    ** New York Times, Jan 26, 2009
    *** http://siadapp.dmdc.osd.mil/personnel/CASUALTY/oif-total.pdf

    Read more from Michael Munk at: http://www.michaelmunk.com

War Good For the Pakistan Economy? How about government officials ready to be charged?
KARACHI: Foreign investment has fallen since the beginning of the current fiscal year, and collective decline in the first five months was by 25 per cent over last year. Pakistan is on the verge of total collapse. Has the forced attack of its own people caused the dam to break? Would you invest in Pakistan today? Looks like the world financial institutions are saying “NO”. Also, in today’s NY Times, “Pakistan Ministers Are Called Before the Courts”, gives a good overview of the existing problem that could destroy the existing Zardari Government.

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Stop the Assassination Drones:. Call Leon Panetta at (703) 482-0623, CIA headquarters, leave a message: No More Drone Assasination attacks, and don’t attack Quetta. End the War(s) NOW.

Call President Obama ALL WEEK LONG. Let’s keep his White House lines busy: Take Action Now ! ! Call President Obama: To reach the U.S. Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121 or 202-225-3121 Leave a message: “You made the wrong decision. I do not support you on this. I feel betrayed.” Say NO to Escalation in Afghanistan. Sign the petition here. No funds from Congress for the troop escalation. Tell them now.

[ Go to this link and join Cindy Sheehan and other Peace Activists new group “Peace of the Action” put your name on the line.]

Get your bumpersticker, support Military Famlies Speak Out

You can order bumperstickers at this link.

Today, please tell your member of Congress and U.S. Senators to End the War in Afghanistan, sign this petition. If you live outside the United States, write to your leaders, End the War Now.

Pakistan Supreme Court rules NRO ‘null and void’, allowing for the prosecution of many of Pakistan’s power elite, including President Asif Ali Zardari; And Strings Attached to U.S. $7.5 Billion USD “in aid” to Pakistan

December 17, 2009

The Pakistan Supreme Court has ruled that the NRO is ‘null and void’. Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari’s days are numbered. Will he resign or hold on and let the country be consumed in prosecutions of many of the high command? Zardari is protected from prosecution while he is President, but the opposition parties in government are calling for his resignation and could be impeached under the Pakistan Constitution. View the video from Al Jazzera.net as it explains the NRO and the ramifications of the Supreme Court action.

Opposition calls on Zardari to quit

    Taken from Al Jazeera.net: Pakistan’s main opposition party has called for Asif Ali Zardari, the country’s president, to resign after the supreme court declared void an amnesty deal protecting him from corruption charges.

    Following the ruling, officials from the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) said Zardari should be obliged to step down. “On the moral ground, he should realise that in this situation he is no longer able to effectively run the government, run the country, [or] represent Pakistan within Pakistan or outside,” Raja Zafarul-Haq, the chairman of the PML-N, told Al Jazeera. He said that his party was “not in a hurry” to call for Zardari’s impeachment, but warned: “Maybe there will be a public reaction if he decides not to step down.” Earlier, Khawaja Asif, a senior leader PML-N leader, said: “It will be in his own interest, it will be in the interest of his party and it will be good for the system.”

    Resignations demanded

    Siddiqul Farooq, a spokesman for the party, also called for Zardari to step down, saying the president should “resign on moral grounds” and “not depend upon the crutches of the constitution”. Pakistan’s constitution guarantees Zardari immunity while in office. But the constitution also states that presidential candidates must be pious, honest and truthful and not have been convicted in a criminal case.

    The supreme court’s decision on Wednesday declaring the amnesty agreement as being unconstitutional paves the way for corruption cases against Zardari and thousands of other officials covered by the amnesty to be revived. “All the cabinet members must immediately tender their resignations,” Farooq said. Beneficiaries of the amnesty include Pakistan’s interior and defence ministers. A number of cases were pending against Zardari when it was announced by Pervez Musharraf, then Pakistan’s president, that he and others would be immune from prosecution under the 2007 National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO).

    Amnesty deal

    Musharraf declared the NRO while under pressure to hold elections and end eight years of military rule. Although Zardari has spent years in jail over corruption charges, he alleges the charges were politically-motivated and questions hang over whether he was ever actually convicted. Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) won elections in 2008, restoring civilian rule, but the NRO expired at the end of last month and the PPP did not have enough support to renew the ordinance in parliament. Senior figures in the PML-N, led by Nawaz Sharif, a former prime minister, have already called on Zardari to give up powers inherited from Musharraf such as those to sack the prime minister and dissolve parliament.

    Zardari already faces low public approval ratings and any political trouble in Pakistan is likely to be watched very closely by the West which wants Islamabad to focus on combating Islamist fighters.

Malik, other bigwigs face difficult situation

    From Dawn.com: ISLAMABAD: As a result of the Supreme Court judgment scrapping the National Reconciliation Ordinance, Interior Minister Rehman Malik and a number of other bigwigs are likely to lose their posts because they had been convicted by accountability courts. The apex court decision restores the pre-NRO situation and those who had been sentenced in cases withdrawn under the NRO would stand convicted. Mr Malik is one of those who had been convicted for not appearing before the court in corruption cases in 2004. Now, legal experts said the interior minister would have to get bail from a court to retain his office.

    Mr Malik was facing two cases in accountability courts – illegal gratification of Rs15 million and illegal detention of a complainant. Both cases were registered in 2004. According to the National Accountability Bureau report submitted before the apex court, the minister was sentenced under section 31-A of the National Accountability Ordinance to three years’ rigorous imprisonment. Talking to reporters here on Wednesday, Mr Malik vowed to resign from his office if corruption charges were proved against him. “I would prefer to be buried in Pakistan instead of escaping,” he said.

    Some other beneficiaries of NRO would face a difficult situation. Included among them are former MNA Sardar Mansoor Khan Leghari, Murid Ahmed Baloch, Inamur Rehman Sehri, former MPA Mian Muhammad Rashid, former chairman of the NDFC Maula Bux, former MD of the Utility Stores Corporation Sadiq Ali Khan, former acting manager of the OGDC Raheel J. Qureshi and Nadeem Imtiaz.

The Strings Attached to the U.S. $7.5 Billion USD gift to Pakistan over the next five years

    WASHINGTON: The Obama administration sought to reassure US lawmakers this week it would demand ‘maximum accountability’ from Pakistan for $7.5 billion in aid and that it had safeguards to ensure funds did not reach extremists. In a report sent by the State Department to congressional committees late on Monday, the administration outlined its priorities for the aid, including water, agriculture and electricity projects, and laid out a strategy to prevent corruption and misuse of the money.

    ‘The Secretary (of State) will suspend any government to government assistance to any implementing agency if there is credible evidence of misuse of funds by such agency,’ said the report, obtained by Reuters. The report was mandated by Congress after the $7.5 billion, five-year aid plan passed into law in October. So far, appropriations committees have agreed on nearly $1.5 billion for the first year. Read more here.

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Stop the Assassination Drones:. Call Leon Panetta at (703) 482-0623, CIA headquarters, leave a message: No More Drone Assasination attacks, and don’t attack Quetta. End the War(s) NOW.

Call President Obama ALL WEEK LONG. Let’s keep his White House lines busy: Take Action Now ! ! Call President Obama: To reach the U.S. Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121 or 202-225-3121 Leave a message: “You made the wrong decision. I do not support you on this. I feel betrayed.” Say NO to Escalation in Afghanistan. Sign the petition here. No funds from Congress for the troop escalation. Tell them now.

[ Go to this link and join Cindy Sheehan and other Peace Activists new group “Peace of the Action” put your name on the line.]

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Scott Ritter: “Our Murderers in the Sky”

December 16, 2009

Today, we are Posting IN FULL Scott Ritter’s viewpoint on the Afghanistan War. This may be the most focused assessment of what is wrong with a SURGE and for the use of U.S. Assassination Drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The conclusion is for you to decide. Here are the facts as presented by Scott Ritter. We have been Posting stories about the use of U.S. Assassination Drones from the early days of this blog. Ritter sums it all up towards the end of the article. The use of Drones must stop.

Our Murderers in the Sky By Scott Ritter Posted at Truthdig.com Scott Ritter was a U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998. He is the author of “Target Iran” (Nation Books, 2007).

War is hell, as the saying goes. Murder, on the other hand, is a crime. In this age of the “long war” pitting the United States against the forces of global terror, it is critical that the American people be able to distinguish between the two. The legitimate application of military power to a problem that manifests itself, directly or indirectly, as a threat to the legitimate national security interests of the United States, while horrible in terms of its consequences, is not only defensible but mandatory.

The true test of a society and its leaders is the extent to which every effort is made to both properly define a problem as one worthy of military intervention and then exhaust every option other than the use of force. It is true that President Barack Obama inherited the war in Afghanistan from his predecessor and therefore cannot be held accountable for that which transpired beyond his ability to influence. But the president’s recent decision to “surge” 30,000 additional U.S. military troops into Afghanistan transfers ownership of the Afghan conflict to him and him alone. It is in this light that his decision must be ultimately judged.

In many ways, Obama’s presentation before the Long Gray Line at West Point, in which he explained his decision to conduct the Afghanistan surge, represented an insult to the collective intelligence of the American people. The most egregious contradiction in his speech was the notion that the people of Afghanistan, who, throughout their history, have resisted central authority whether emanating from Kabul or imposed by outside invaders, would somehow be compelled to embrace this new American plan.

At its heart, the strategy requires a fiercely independent people to swear fealty to a man, Hamid Karzai, whose tenure as Afghanistan’s president has been marred by inefficiencies and corruption (even Obama was forced to acknowledge the fraudulent nature of the recent election which secured Karzai’s second term in office). Trying to reverse centuries of adherence to local authority and tribal loyalty with the promise of effective central government would represent a monumental challenge for the most efficient and honest of Afghan leaders. That we are attempting to do so behind the person of Karzai represents the height of folly.

For any military-based solution to have a chance of succeeding, we would need to deploy into Afghanistan an army of social scientists capable of navigating the complex reality of intertribal and interethnic relationships. They would require not only astute diplomatic skills that would enable them to bring together Hazara Shiite and Pashtun Sunni, or Uzbek and Tadjik, or any other combination of the myriad of peoples who make up the populace of Afghanistan, but also an understanding of multiple native languages and dialects. But the reality is we are instead dispatching 20-year-old boys from Poughkeepsie whose skill set, perfected during several months of predeployment training, is more conducive to firing three rounds center mass into a human body.
The nation-building or “civilian strategy” envisioned by President Obama, impossibly ambitious even under the most ideal conditions, simply cannot be achieved with the resources at hand, whether in 18 months or 18 years. That he has chosen to place at risk the lives of even more American troops, and by extension the citizens of Afghanistan and Pakistan, in the pursuit of such unattainable ambition is inexcusable.

The American military is unmatched in its ability to wage war. If the problem of Afghanistan was able to be defined in military terms alone, then perhaps Obama’s surge would provide the basis of a solution. But the Afghan problem has never been a military problem. The United States has, from the very beginning of its Afghanistan misadventure, sought to define the mission within the overall context of a “war on terror.” But the real mission revolves more around bringing to justice the perpetrators of mass murder and building international consensus to help prevent another such crime than it does any variation of closing with and destroying an enemy through firepower, maneuver and shock effect, which is the traditional core of any military operation.

The events of Sept. 11, 2001, created problems best dealt with through diplomacy, law enforcement and intelligence. That the United States chose to define it instead as an act of war means that we have never assembled the tool set necessary to solve the Afghan problem, which explains a recent admission by U.S. military officers that, after eight years of war, America was at “square one” in Afghanistan.

Obama’s characterization of the threat faced by the United States and its allies in the expanded Afghanistan-Pakistan (Af-Pak) theater of operations is as misleading as it is inaccurate. There is no singular, homogeneous enemy to be confronted by a surging U.S. military. The notion that the Afghan Taliban, Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaida fighters operating in both countries are part of an overarching Islamic fundamentalist movement seeking to export violence to the shores of America is fundamentally wrong. While the president may in fact have seen intelligence information (of undetermined veracity) that shows that some individuals or groups operating in the Af-Pak area of operations have in fact plotted such attacks, to characterize these players and their actions as representing a majority (or even significant minority) opinion among the thousands of fighters opposing the United States and its allies is just plain wrong. Yet, having accepted the definition of the Af-Pak problem in military terms, Obama had no choice but to accede to the solutions put forward by such charismatic military leaders as Gen. David Petraeus (the commander of U.S. Central Command, or CENTCOM) and Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

It is not just that generals such as Petraeus and McChrystal dominate the public face of military leadership in America today. The real problem is that the organization they represent, CENTCOM, dominates the entire U.S. military—and, by extension, the U.S. military-industrial-congressional complex—as no other unified command has done in U.S. history. Even at the height of the Vietnam War, the demands of the Military Assistance Command-Vietnam (MACV) on the U.S. military establishment had competition from U.S. European Command, U.S. Strategic Command and U.S. Pacific Command, because of the Cold War. Today, the only show in town is CENTCOM, given that its theater of operations encompasses the principal zones of operation in the “war on terror.”

The requirements of CENTCOM drive nearly every aspect of the U.S. military today, including training, procurement and operations. Even strategic nuclear forces have had their work impacted by the need of CENTCOM to strike deep underground targets associated with Iran’s nuclear program. Given the inherently militarized nature of the “war on terror,” CENTCOM has supplanted the Department of State as the “face” of America in terms of official interaction between the United States and the nations of an area of operations ranging from Africa to Pakistan.

CENTCOM therefore dominates issues such as economic assistance and other nation-to-nation interaction not normally associated with military operations. The combined military-diplomatic-economic activity associated with the work of CENTCOM provides it with unmatched leverage at home and abroad. While not intended as a direct result of the “war on terror,” CENTCOM has morphed into a virtual nation-state, operating largely independent of traditional checks and balances associated with the functioning of unified military commands.

Despite the command’s unprecedented power and influence, it would not have been all that difficult for Obama to stand up to the pressures brought to bear by CENTCOM in regard to Afghanistan. He is, after all, the commander in chief. The fact is, Obama opted out of any serious opposition to the plan for the most base of reasons—politics. Any serious effort on the part of Obama to meaningfully contest the CENTCOM-backed surge in Afghanistan would have triggered a contentious political struggle with both the military and Congress at a time when the president is pushing for passage of health care reform, the centerpiece of his domestic policy agenda. The reality is that, yet again, American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are being sacrificed for the political advantage of an American politician. This was a charge that was all-too-popular during the administration of George W. Bush. That such an accusation can so readily be applied to Barack Obama, after only a year in office, underscores the magnitude of the failure of leadership and imagination he has exhibited when it comes to the Af-Pak surge.

This lack of imagination was most evident in how the president sought to justify the Af-Pak surge. “This is the epicenter of violent extremism practiced by al-Qaida,” he said in his West Point speech. In addition to his gross oversimplification of the Taliban in both Afghanistan and Pakistan and its relationship with al-Qaida, Obama felt compelled to press the same fear-induced 9/11 buttons that were the trademark of his predecessor. “It is from here that we were attacked on 9/11, and it is from here that new attacks are being plotted as I speak.”

The continued focus on hunting down Osama bin Laden further underscores the lack of sophistication of his strategy. It is likely that bin Laden was not the central force behind the 9/11 terror attacks on the United States, contrary to popular opinion. That honor goes to Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden’s Egyptian associate whose radical Islamic fundamentalist credentials trump even those of his better-known Saudi Arabian partner, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the al-Qaida operations chief currently in U.S. custody awaiting trial in New York.

That bin Laden was complicit in the 9/11 attacks, and should be held to account for his crimes, is not a question. But the notion that by somehow “getting” bin Laden the United States would break the back of al-Qaida today is absurd. People should start thinking about the day after bin Laden dies. Al-Qaida cells will continue to function as they did the day before bin Laden died. The biggest measurable change will be the level of popular support for al-Qaida worldwide—it will skyrocket as bin Laden’s myth and demise inspire many thousands to join in a global jihad against the West and encourage fundamentalist Muslims from state and nonstate players alike to contribute countless more millions of dollars to underwriting this effort. There can be no greater boost to bin Laden’s cause than America’s continued singular focus on bringing him in, “dead or alive.” The exclusive militarization of the ongoing “hunt” for bin Laden plays directly into the Saudi terrorist’s game plan.

Revenge is not a defensible motive for a nation like the United States. Justice is. De-linking our hunt for bin Laden from the failed (and flawed) vehicle of the “war on terror” would be a wise move, but one that sadly is not going to happen in the foreseeable future if the rhetoric of Obama at West Point serves as a guide. And, in a nation that continues to be gripped (and manipulated) by the horrors of 9/11, it remains to be seen whether the concept of justice, as defined by American law, ideals and values, can ever be applied to the perpetrators of that crime. The trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will serve as a litmus test in this regard. Given America’s track record to date in handling the alleged 9/11 mastermind (the water-boarding of Mohammed 183 times continues to boggle the mind), it is hard to anticipate his exposure to the American legal system as anything but a kangaroo court.

The “war on terror” has shredded the concept of the rule of law, at least as applied by the United States within the context of this struggle. While Obama has made moves to fix some of the symptoms of the flawed policies of his predecessor, the underlying foundation of American arrogance and exceptionalism from which such policies emerged remains unchanged. There is no more telling example of this than the current program of targeted assassination taking place under the guise of armed unmanned aerial drones (also known as remotely piloted vehicles, or RPVs) operating in the Af-Pak theater of operations.

All pretense of either Afghan or Pakistani sovereignty disappears when these drones take to the air. Ostensibly used for intelligence gathering and lethal direct-action operations against so-called high-value targets (i.e., senior al-Qaida or Taliban leadership), RPV missions have become increasingly popular within the U.S. military and intelligence communities as a risk-free means of bringing maximum harm, in highly discriminatory fashion, to the enemy. Expansion of the United States’ RPV effort in Af-Pak has become a central part of the surge ordered by Obama, complementing the 30,000 combat troops he has ordered deployed to the region. But exactly who is targeted by these RPV operations? While the U.S. military and intelligence community maintains that every effort is made to positively identify a target as hostile before the decision to fire a missile or drop a bomb is made, the criteria for making this call are often left in the hands of personnel ill-equipped to make it.

In the ideal world, one would see the fusion of real-time imagery, real-time communications intercept and human sources on the ground before making such a call. But in reality this “perfect storm” of intelligence intersection rarely occurs. In its stead, one is left with fragmentary pieces of data that are cobbled together by personnel far removed from the point of actual conflict whose motivations are geared more toward action than discretion. Often, the most critical piece of intelligence comes from a human source who is using the U.S. military as a means of settling a local score more than furthering the struggle against terror. The end result is dead people on the ground whose demise has little, if any, impact on the “war on terror,” other than motivating even more people to rise up and struggle against the American occupiers and their Afghan or Pakistani cohorts.

Supporters of the RPV program claim that these strikes have killed over 800 “bad guys,” with a loss of only about 20 or so civilians whose proximity to the targets made them suspect in any case. Detractors flip these figures around, noting that only a score or more kills of “high-value targets” can be confirmed, and that the vast majority of those who have died or have been wounded in these attacks were civilians. In a conflict that is being waged in villages and towns in regions traditionally prone to intense independence and religious fundamentalism, distinguishing good from bad can be a daunting task. Given the U.S. track record, under which tribal gatherings and family functions such as weddings have been frequently misidentified as “hostile” gatherings and thus attacked with tragic results, one is inclined to doubt the official casualty figures associated with the RPV strikes.

Rather than furthering the U.S. cause in the “war on terror,” the RPV program, which President Obama seeks to expand in the Af-Pak theater, in reality represents a force-enhancement tool for the Taliban. Its indiscriminate application of death and destruction serves as a recruitment vehicle, with scores of new jihadists rising up to replace each individual who might have been killed by a missile attack. Like the surge that it is designed to complement, the expanded RPV program plays into the hands of those whom America is ostensibly targeting. While the U.S. military, aided by a fawning press, may seek to disguise the reality of the RPV program through catchy slogans such as “warheads through foreheads,” in reality it is murder by another name. And when murder represents the centerpiece of any national effort, yet alone one that aspires to win the “hearts and minds” of the targeted population, it is doomed to fail.

U.S. Assassination Predator Drone's range of view, and expanding with each new generation

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Stop the Assassination Drones:. Call Leon Panetta at (703) 482-0623, CIA headquarters, leave a message: No More Drone Assasination attacks, and don’t attack Quetta. End the War(s) NOW.

Call President Obama ALL WEEK LONG. Let’s keep his White House lines busy: Take Action Now ! ! Call President Obama: To reach the U.S. Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121 or 202-225-3121 Leave a message: “You made the wrong decision. I do not support you on this. I feel betrayed.” Say NO to Escalation in Afghanistan. Sign the petition here. No funds from Congress for the troop escalation. Tell them now.

[ Go to this link and join Cindy Sheehan and other Peace Activists new group “Peace of the Action” put your name on the line.]

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Today, please tell your member of Congress and U.S. Senators to End the War in Afghanistan, sign this petition. If you live outside the United States, write to your leaders, End the War Now.

CIA Assassination Drones ready to fire on Quetta, the capital city of Balochistan, Pakistan

December 14, 2009

Our first Assassination Drones to be used in Quetta appeared on September 30, 2009″U.S. to attack Quetta, Balochistan with Drones? Pakistan Government will Fail.” Read it here. Our latest Assassination Drone story was Posted on December 12, 2009 ,”U.S. Assassinaton Predator/Raptor Drones must be stopped; Leon Panetta, do not authorize Hellfire Missiles being fired from Drones at Quetta, Balochistan “targets” Read it here. Below, you will find the Los Angeles Times story about the emminent U.S. use of Assassination Drones with targets in Quetta, the capital city of Balochistan, an area of Pakistan. The reason? “If we don’t do this — at least have a real discussion of it — Pakistan might not think we are serious,” said a senior U.S. official involved in war planning. “What the Pakistanis have to do is tell the Taliban that there is too much pressure from the U.S.; we can’t allow you to have sanctuary inside Pakistan anymore.” We have written often about Balochistan being its own country. It was a big victim of the Durand Line of 1898. You can read our Post of September 12, 2009 here: “Balochistan, One of The Pakistan Trouble Areas; Leaders Murdered: Independence or Province?” . The capital of Quetta has over 750,000 residents. Now U.S. Assassination Drones will be dropping 500 pound Hellfire Missiles into neighborhoods to kill “Taliban and al Quaeda leaders”, along with “Collateral Damage”. We’ve said before, “This will be the end of President Zardari’s rein as President and will bring down his government.

U.S. Assassination Predator Drone firing a Hellfire Missile

Drone attacks may be expanded in Pakistan. U.S. officials seek to push CIA drone strikes into the major city of Quetta to try to pressure Pakistan into pursuing Taliban leaders based there. By Greg Miller and Julian E. Barnes December 14, 2009

    Reporting from Washington – Senior U.S. officials are pushing to expand CIA drone strikes beyond Pakistan’s tribal region and into a major city in an attempt to pressure the Pakistani government to pursue Taliban leaders based in Quetta.

    The proposal has opened a contentious new front in the clandestine war. The prospect of Predator aircraft strikes in Quetta, a sprawling city, signals a new U.S. resolve to decapitate the Taliban. But it also risks rupturing Washington’s relationship with Islamabad.

    The concern has created tension among Obama administration officials over whether unmanned aircraft strikes in a city of 850,000 are a realistic option. Proponents, including some military leaders, argue that attacking the Taliban in Quetta — or at least threatening to do so — is crucial to the success of the revised war strategy President Obama unveiled last week.

    “If we don’t do this — at least have a real discussion of it — Pakistan might not think we are serious,” said a senior U.S. official involved in war planning. “What the Pakistanis have to do is tell the Taliban that there is too much pressure from the U.S.; we can’t allow you to have sanctuary inside Pakistan anymore.”

    But others, including high-ranking U.S. intelligence officials, have been more skeptical of employing drone attacks in a place that Pakistanis see as part of their country’s core. Pakistani officials have warned that the fallout would be severe.

    “We are not a banana republic,” said a senior Pakistani official involved in discussions of security issues with the Obama administration. If the United States follows through, the official said, “this might be the end of the road.”

    The CIA in recent years has stepped up a campaign against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan, much of it with drone strikes in the rural tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan. The operations have been conducted with the consent of the government of President Asif Ali Zardari, who has proved a reliable ally to America in his first 15 months in office.

    Zardari, however, is facing mounting political woes, and the CIA airstrikes are highly unpopular among the Pakistani public, because of concerns over national sovereignty and civilian casualties. If drone attacks now confined to small villages were to be mounted in a sizable city, the death rate of innocent bystanders would probably increase.

    Obama has endorsed an expansion of CIA operations in the country, approving the deployment of more spies and resources in a clandestine counterpart to the 30,000 additional U.S. troops being sent into Afghanistan.

    But the push to expand drone strikes underscores the limits of the Obama offensive. The administration has given itself 18 months to show evidence of a turnaround in Afghanistan. But progress in Pakistan depends almost entirely on drone strikes and prodding a sometimes reluctant ally, which provides much of the intelligence to conduct the strikes, to do more.

    U.S. and Pakistani officials stressed that the United States has stopped short of issuing an ultimatum to Pakistan. “It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to use heavy-handed tactics when you’ve got this kind of relationship,” said a U.S. counter-terrorism official. Like others, he discussed the issue on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

    Obama alluded to the effort to enlist more Pakistani help on the day his strategy was announced.

    “The most important thing we can do in Pakistan is to change their strategic orientation,” Obama said in a meeting with news columnists Dec. 1. The pursuit of Al Qaeda involves a range of activities, he said, “some of which I can’t discuss.”

    As Obama deliberated over the strategy for Afghanistan through fall, administration officials consulted with Pakistan in high-level meetings in Islamabad, also using those sessions to pressure the government to do more.

    Among those involved were Gen. James L. Jones, Obama’s national security advisor; Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan; and Leon E. Panetta, director of the CIA.

    “We have applied enormous pressure,” the senior U.S. official said.

    Pakistan is not expected to hand over Mullah Mohammed Omar, the Taliban leader and longtime ally of Osama bin Laden who fled Afghanistan when U.S. forces invaded after the Sept. 11 attacks. Omar is believed to have used Quetta as a base from which to orchestrate insurgent attacks in Afghanistan.

    But U.S. officials said they have presented Pakistan with a list of Taliban lieutenants and argued that, with a U.S. pullout scheduled to begin in 18 months, the urgency of dismantling the so-called Quetta shura is greater than at any time in the 8-year-old war.

    The senior Pakistani official bristled at the suggestion that Pakistan has been reluctant to target militants in Quetta, saying U.S. assertions about the city’s role as a sanctuary have been exaggerated.

    “We keep hearing that there is a shadow government in Quetta, but we have never been given actionable intelligence,” the Pakistani official said.
    Pakistan is prepared to pursue Taliban leaders, including Omar, even when the intelligence is imprecise, the official said. “Even if a compound 1 kilometer by 1 kilometer is identified, we will go find him.” But, he added, “for the past two years we haven’t heard anything more.”

    Pakistan has launched a series of military operations against Islamic militants over the last year. But those operations have been aimed primarily at Taliban factions accused of carrying out attacks in Pakistan, not the groups directing strikes on U.S. forces across the border.

    The CIA has carried out dozens of Predator strikes in Pakistan’s tribal belt over the last two years, relying extensively on information provided by informant networks run by Pakistan’s spy service, Inter-Services Intelligence.

    The campaign is credited with killing at least 10 senior Al Qaeda operatives since the pace of the strikes was accelerated in August 2008, but has enraged many Pakistanis because of civilian casualties.

    The number of attacks has slowed in recent months. Possible causes include weather disruptions and difficulty finding targets as insurgents get better at eluding the Predator, and larger Reaper, drone patrols.

    Of 48 attacks carried out this year, only six have taken place since the end of September, according to data compiled by the website The Long War Journal. The latest attack occurred Friday, in which a senior Al Qaeda operations planner named Saleh Somali is believed to have been killed.

    The drone attacks have been confined to territories along Pakistan’s northwestern border, regions essentially self-governed by Pashtun tribes. The province of Baluchistan, however, has a distinct ethnic identity and its own separatist movement. It is one of Pakistan’s main provinces, and strikes against its main city, Quetta, would probably be seen as a violation of the nation’s sovereignty.

    A former senior CIA official said he and others were repeatedly rebuffed when proposing operations in Baluchistan or pushing Pakistan to target the Taliban in Quetta. “It wasn’t easy to talk about,” the official said. “The conversations didn’t last a long time.”

    Pakistan is working with the CIA to coax certain Taliban lieutenants in Omar’s fold to defect. U.S. officials said contacts have been handled primarily by the Saudi and Pakistani intelligence services. The results of the effort are unclear.

    The CIA’s main objective in Pakistan remains the hunt for Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates recently said that it had been “years” since any meaningful information had surfaced in that search. You can write the authors at the Los Angeles Timsehere: greg.miller@latimes.com and julian.barnes@latimes.com

From The Long War Journal: Pakistan ignores US requests to tackle the Haqqani Network

    Pakistani officials claimed the US timeline on the Afghan ‘surge’ and Pakistan’s desire to keep Mullah Omar and the Haqqanis as strategic depth against India and other actors in Afghanistan account for the intransigence. But US military and intelligence officials said Pakistan’s military brass also fears acting against the Haqqanis and Mullah Army will fracture the services.

Read Scott Ritter’s Post at Truthdig.com “Our Murderers in the Sky”


    The “war on terror” has shredded the concept of the rule of law, at least as applied by the United States within the context of this struggle. While Obama has made moves to fix some of the symptoms of the flawed policies of his predecessor, the underlying foundation of American arrogance and exceptionalism from which such policies emerged remains unchanged. There is no more telling example of this than the current program of targeted assassination taking place under the guise of armed unmanned aerial drones (also known as remotely piloted vehicles, or RPVs) operating in the Af-Pak theater of operations.

* * *
Stop the Assassination Drones:. Call Leon Panetta at (703) 482-0623, CIA headquarters, leave a message: No More Drone Assasination attacks, and don’t attack Quetta. End the War(s) NOW.

Call President Obama ALL WEEK LONG. Let’s keep his White House lines busy: Take Action Now ! ! Call President Obama: To reach the U.S. Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121 or 202-225-3121 Leave a message: “You made the wrong decision. I do not support you on this. I feel betrayed.” Say NO to Escalation in Afghanistan. Sign the petition here. No funds from Congress for the troop escalation. Tell them now.

[ Go to this link and join Cindy Sheehan and other Peace Activists new group “Peace of the Action” put your name on the line.]

Get your bumpersticker, support Military Famlies Speak Out

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Today, please tell your member of Congress and U.S. Senators to End the War in Afghanistan, sign this petition. If you live outside the United States, write to your leaders, End the War Now.


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