Archive for the ‘Afghanistan’ Category

Talking Heads with no Credibility; U.S. Government forces businesses to close; Why the 4th Amendment must be protected; and Municipalities going Bankrupt in the United States; Why are our troops “over there?”

August 13, 2013

There’s been a lot of stories surrounding Edward Snowden’s release of materials showing how the U.S.
Government has been “Over the Top” on gathering information on ALL citizens of the world, not just
us in the U.S. Here’s a few stories and links to the full story that may be of interest to you.

1. How NSA surveillance endangers the Fourth Amendment, by Jonathan Hafetz, read it here

  • …The Times story, however, makes clear that the NSA is also acquiring—without a warrant—the communications of any foreigner “about the target,” once a target has been identified, thus sweeping in an even wider range of communications by U.S. citizens than previously believed.

    The Fourth Amendment provides a bulwark against this type of dragnet surveillance. Before searching Americans’ private communications, the Fourth Amendment requires that the government demonstrate probable cause or individualized suspicion.

  • 2. Glenn Greenwald has two great articles. This one, “Michael Hayden, Bob Schieffer and the media’s reverence of national security officials” is a must read. A General and a former U.S. Homeland Security Chief start their own security company that makes many millions off of keeping us in FEAR. And when interviewed by softball pitcher Bob Schieffer, he puppets the Government’s Talking Points. Please read the full story.

    3. Glenn’s second article: “Email service used by Snowden shuts itself down, warns against using US-based companies”
    tells us about how the U.S. Government is abusing its power once again.

      A Texas-based encrypted email service recently revealed to be used by Edward Snowden – Lavabit – announced yesterday it was shutting itself down in order to avoid complying with what it perceives as unjust secret US court orders to provide government access to its users’ content. “After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations,” the company’s founder, Ladar Levinson, wrote in a statement to users posted on the front page of its website. He said the US directive forced on his company “a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit.” He chose the latter.Read the full story here.

      Ed. Note: Are we to live in FEAR of “terrorist attacks”, that could happen any minute? Something we can not prevent forever. We must fight to maintain the Freedoms that were fought for during the American Revolution. Our U.S. Constitution and all Amendments must not be taken away from U.S. citizens in the name of “National Security”. And finally, do we need 960 U.S. Military bases in 150 Countries in the world? Do we need 52,000 Troops in JAPAN? Do we need 45,000 troops in GERMANY? Do we need 28,000 in SOUTH KOREA? Do we need 10,000 in ITALY? Do we need 9,000 in the UNITED KINGDOM? Do we need 15,000 in KUWAIT?Do we need 68,000 in a combat zone of AFGHANISTAN?

      And finally, with budget cuts at the Federal level, and State and Local levels, less money means less in circulation. We can’t keep stores open, restaurants open, many businesses are closing, so all those people lose their jobs and don’t have the money to spend to keep others employed. Now here’s a story you should read: List of Bankruptcy Filings Since January 2010

      All Municipal Bankruptcy Filings: 36

      General-Purpose Local Government Bankruptcy Filings (8):
      — City of Detroit
      — City of San Bernardino, Calif.
      — Town of Mammoth Lakes, Calf. (Dismissed)
      — City of Stockton, Calif.
      — Jefferson County, Ala.
      — City of Harrisburg, Pa. (Dismissed)
      — City of Central Falls, R.I.
      — Boise County, Idaho (Dismissed)

    U.S. spent over 1.4 Trillion in the aftermath of 9/11; U.S. Soldiers Pay the Price; Food Stamps Cut out of Budget by House Republicans

    July 24, 2013

    Feeding the poor in America through “Food Stamps” has been cut out of the Agricultural bill just passed by Congress. We’ve spent 90 Billion dollars in aid to Afghanistan since 2002. Over 40 Million Americans receive food stamps.They rely on this program for a little food to feed themselves and their family members. And a total war cost in Afghanistan at 644,347,384,000 since the beginning. The war with Iraq and Afghanistan has cost over 1.4 Trillion Dollars.
    Over 6,717 U.S.soldiers have lost their lives, and over 50,000 were wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. Over 25,000 soldiers suffer from Traumatic Brain Injuries. More than 624,000 veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan have filed disability claims, Military Times reported in January. More than two-thirds of all applications for benefits take the VA more than 125 days to process.These costs can not be measured. Their families have and are suffering now and long into the future. There has never been a “Declaration of War” on either Iraq or Afghanistan by Congress. How many Iraqi citizens and Afghani citizens have been killed or wounded, no one knows. They suffer because of where they live. For no other reason.

    food stamp recipients

    American cities are going bankrupt. One in four bridges in America need repair, total cost estimated to be over 140 Billion. 56,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States shut down since 2001.Read more:

    U.S. rankings:

    1. Health Care: Number 38 in the World. Iraq is Number 104, Afghanistan is Number 173 out of a total of 190 countries.
    2. Mother’s Index: U.S. ranks 30th. Iraq is Number 113, and Afghanistan is Number 145.
    3. Elder Care: The U.S. is not even ranked in the top 20 nations of the world.

    The U.S. response to 9/11 by bombing Afghanistan, then invading Iraq (a preemptive strike due to the U.S. faking that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction) has led to the financial collapse of the U.S. economy (but not the “War Economy”, that is going strong with profits for corporations that build war weapons). The U.S. has lost its “Moral Compass”. A land built on “Laws” now determines what laws it follows, and declares that their actions abide by the laws when in fact they are breaking the laws.
    Torturing people that were kidnapped from their homeland and take to Guantanamo prison; killing innocent civilians through the use of Drone missiles; and Edward Snowden brings out the World gathering of all communication through NSA’s Metadata collections. War crimes for sure. But who’s to bring charges? Dr. Francis Boyle did and Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and others were found GUILTY OF WAR CRIMES (posted on this site).

    How do we save America? That is the question.

    John Kiriakou, in prison for 2 1/2 years for blowing the whistle on CIA Torture, the only CIA officer in jail while those who committed and ordered the Waterboarding have never been charged

    June 17, 2013

    Here’s the ABC interview that put John Kiriakou in jail. You be the Judge. He exposed Waterboarding as torture in 2007. He is now in Federal prison. John accepted a Plea Bargain and pled guilty to releasing a CIA agent’s name to a journalist and that journalist did not use the name in any article. The Question is why has no one actually doing the Waterboarding, or authorizing the use of Waterboarding not been charged? We have, as a Nation, lost our moral compass. Those authorizing and the lawyers that tried to justify Waterboarding as Not Torture should be put in jail, not the man who exposed it as Torture. Learn more about John Kiriakou from an interview with Alyona Minkovski and Jacob Soboroff of the HuffPost,hit this link.

    Read John Kiriakou’s letter from jail, hit this link

    You can write to John at this address: John Kiriakou 79637-083, P.O Box 1000, FCI Loretta, PA 15940. Get a copy of his book “The Reluctant Spy, My Secret Life in the CIA’s War on Terror, by John Kiriakou withh Michael Ruby”. John is a dedicated American, believing in his Country and doing all in his power to protect America. So he gets rewarded by being prosecuted and jailed. FREE JOHN KIRIAKOU. Read his letter from prison here.

    Power of Information; Power of Knowledge WikiLeaks Documentary, Must See

    December 27, 2010

    The WikiLeaks Documentary: Our thanks to War in Context for sending this out via email. View their site here.

    Julian Assange interviewed by David Frost; 131 Vets Arrested: Veterans for Peace White House Civil Disobedience to End War; Ellsberg on WikiLeaks

    December 21, 2010

    Julian Assange interviewed by David Frost, a David Paradine Production for Al Jazeera

    * * * * * *
    Veterans for Peace White House Civil Disobedience to End War. 131 Veterans arrested in front of the White House Dec. 16, 2010 Join them, Click Here…

    Hear Daniel Ellsberg’s analysis of WikiLeaks information, and his statement on the Obama Administration’s tranparency.

    Part Two: Ellsberg on WikiLeaks

    Ron Paul is Correct. Julian Assange writes “Don’t shoot messenger for revealing uncomfortable truths”

    December 7, 2010

    Don’t shoot messenger for revealing uncomfortable truths Julian Assange From: The Australian December 08, 2010 12:00AM

    WIKILEAKS deserves protection, not threats and attacks.

    IN 1958 a young Rupert Murdoch, then owner and editor of Adelaide’s The News, wrote: “In the race between secrecy and truth, it seems inevitable that truth will always win.”

    His observation perhaps reflected his father Keith Murdoch’s expose that Australian troops were being needlessly sacrificed by incompetent British commanders on the shores of Gallipoli. The British tried to shut him up but Keith Murdoch would not be silenced and his efforts led to the termination of the disastrous Gallipoli campaign.

    Nearly a century later, WikiLeaks is also fearlessly publishing facts that need to be made public.

    I grew up in a Queensland country town where people spoke their minds bluntly. They distrusted big government as something that could be corrupted if not watched carefully. The dark days of corruption in the Queensland government before the Fitzgerald inquiry are testimony to what happens when the politicians gag the media from reporting the truth.

    These things have stayed with me. WikiLeaks was created around these core values. The idea, conceived in Australia, was to use internet technologies in new ways to report the truth.

    WikiLeaks coined a new type of journalism: scientific journalism. We work with other media outlets to bring people the news, but also to prove it is true. Scientific journalism allows you to read a news story, then to click online to see the original document it is based on. That way you can judge for yourself: Is the story true? Did the journalist report it accurately?

    Democratic societies need a strong media and WikiLeaks is part of that media. The media helps keep government honest. WikiLeaks has revealed some hard truths about the Iraq and Afghan wars, and broken stories about corporate corruption.

    People have said I am anti-war: for the record, I am not. Sometimes nations need to go to war, and there are just wars. But there is nothing more wrong than a government lying to its people about those wars, then asking these same citizens to put their lives and their taxes on the line for those lies. If a war is justified, then tell the truth and the people will decide whether to support it.

    If you have read any of the Afghan or Iraq war logs, any of the US embassy cables or any of the stories about the things WikiLeaks has reported, consider how important it is for all media to be able to report these things freely.

    WikiLeaks is not the only publisher of the US embassy cables. Other media outlets, including Britain’s The Guardian, The New York Times, El Pais in Spain and Der Spiegel in Germany have published the same redacted cables.

    Yet it is WikiLeaks, as the co-ordinator of these other groups, that has copped the most vicious attacks and accusations from the US government and its acolytes. I have been accused of treason, even though I am an Australian, not a US, citizen. There have been dozens of serious calls in the US for me to be “taken out” by US special forces. Sarah Palin says I should be “hunted down like Osama bin Laden”, a Republican bill sits before the US Senate seeking to have me declared a “transnational threat” and disposed of accordingly. An adviser to the Canadian Prime Minister’s office has called on national television for me to be assassinated. An American blogger has called for my 20-year-old son, here in Australia, to be kidnapped and harmed for no other reason than to get at me.

    And Australians should observe with no pride the disgraceful pandering to these sentiments by Julia Gillard and her government. The powers of the Australian government appear to be fully at the disposal of the US as to whether to cancel my Australian passport, or to spy on or harass WikiLeaks supporters. The Australian Attorney-General is doing everything he can to help a US investigation clearly directed at framing Australian citizens and shipping them to the US.

    Prime Minister Gillard and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have not had a word of criticism for the other media organisations. That is because The Guardian, The New York Times and Der Spiegel are old and large, while WikiLeaks is as yet young and small.

    We are the underdogs. The Gillard government is trying to shoot the messenger because it doesn’t want the truth revealed, including information about its own diplomatic and political dealings.

    Has there been any response from the Australian government to the numerous public threats of violence against me and other WikiLeaks personnel? One might have thought an Australian prime minister would be defending her citizens against such things, but there have only been wholly unsubstantiated claims of illegality. The Prime Minister and especially the Attorney-General are meant to carry out their duties with dignity and above the fray. Rest assured, these two mean to save their own skins. They will not.

    Every time WikiLeaks publishes the truth about abuses committed by US agencies, Australian politicians chant a provably false chorus with the State Department: “You’ll risk lives! National security! You’ll endanger troops!” Then they say there is nothing of importance in what WikiLeaks publishes. It can’t be both. Which is it?

    It is neither. WikiLeaks has a four-year publishing history. During that time we have changed whole governments, but not a single person, as far as anyone is aware, has been harmed. But the US, with Australian government connivance, has killed thousands in the past few months alone.

    US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates admitted in a letter to the US congress that no sensitive intelligence sources or methods had been compromised by the Afghan war logs disclosure. The Pentagon stated there was no evidence the WikiLeaks reports had led to anyone being harmed in Afghanistan. NATO in Kabul told CNN it couldn’t find a single person who needed protecting. The Australian Department of Defence said the same. No Australian troops or sources have been hurt by anything we have published.

    But our publications have been far from unimportant. The US diplomatic cables reveal some startling facts:

    ► The US asked its diplomats to steal personal human material and information from UN officials and human rights groups, including DNA, fingerprints, iris scans, credit card numbers, internet passwords and ID photos, in violation of international treaties. Presumably Australian UN diplomats may be targeted, too.

    ► King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia asked the US to attack Iran.

    ► Officials in Jordan and Bahrain want Iran’s nuclear program stopped by any means available.

    ► Britain’s Iraq inquiry was fixed to protect “US interests”.

    ► Sweden is a covert member of NATO and US intelligence sharing is kept from parliament.

    ► The US is playing hardball to get other countries to take freed detainees from Guantanamo Bay. Barack Obama agreed to meet the Slovenian President only if Slovenia took a prisoner. Our Pacific neighbour Kiribati was offered millions of dollars to accept detainees.

    In its landmark ruling in the Pentagon Papers case, the US Supreme Court said “only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government”. The swirling storm around WikiLeaks today reinforces the need to defend the right of all media to reveal the truth.

    Julian Assange is the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks.

    (Updated) Wikileaks new release of 400,000 documents: Many facts show coverup of war statistics and much more, a must read

    October 23, 2010

    UPDATE: The day after Wikileaks document release, founder Julian Assange fears great retaliation from the U.S. agencies. Read it here in the New York Times.

    Also read from War in Context this article: “Clearing the Fog of War in Iraq”.

    * * * * * *

    The following was taken from Wikileaks.org website. Please go there and view the documents. The United States is a Rogue Nation.

      At 5pm EST Friday 22nd October 2010 WikiLeaks released the largest classified military leak in history. The 391,832 reports (‘The Iraq War Logs’), document the war and occupation in Iraq, from 1st January 2004 to 31st December 2009 (except for the months of May 2004 and March 2009) as told by soldiers in the United States Army. Each is a ‘SIGACT’ or Significant Action in the war. They detail events as seen and heard by the US military troops on the ground in Iraq and are the first real glimpse into the secret history of the war that the United States government has been privy to throughout.

      The reports detail 109,032 deaths in Iraq, comprised of 66,081 ‘civilians'; 23,984 ‘enemy’ (those labeled as insurgents); 15,196 ‘host nation’ (Iraqi government forces) and 3,771 ‘friendly’ (coalition forces). The majority of the deaths (66,000, over 60%) of these are civilian deaths.That is 31 civilians dying every day during the six year period. For comparison, the ‘Afghan War Diaries’, previously released by WikiLeaks, covering the same period, detail the deaths of some 20,000 people. Iraq during the same period, was five times as lethal with equivallent population size.

    Peace Movement to Begin? Withdraw U.S. Troops from Afghanistan (Ed. note: and elsewhere)

    October 12, 2010

    We, at Out of  Central Asia Now, have been bringing you opinions from writers from throughout the world.  All of the stories were used by us to show we Must End These Wars Now.  Today, we bring you from CNN, the following story in full.  It is time for our White Ribbons with black letters to be worn on our clothes to show that we want the war(s) over NOW.  Read on please.

    Amitai Etzioni, University Professor and Former Israeli Commando, CNN Photo

     

    Withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan By Amitai Etzioni, Special to CNN October 12, 2010 10:11 a.m. EDT

    Editor’s note: Amitai Etzioni is a sociologist and professor of international relations at George Washington University and the author of several books, including “Security First” and “New Common Ground.” He was a senior adviser to the Carter administration and has taught at Columbia and Harvard universities and the University of California, Berkeley.

    (CNN) — Before I explain why I believe the time has come to start a stop-the-war movement, I should say that I am not one of those intellectuals who has never worried about the fate of their loved ones or gotten his own boots dirty.

    My son completed a five-year stint in the U.S. 1st Armored Division. As an Israeli commando, I saw a lot of fighting during Israel’s war for independence. My unit started fighting with 1,100 members; when the fighting stopped, 700 were dead and buried or wounded. And we killed all too many on the other side.

    I abhor war and believe we should fight only when there is a clear and present danger, when all other means for resolving a conflict have been truly exhausted and to protect the innocent. Those are the three criteria of a just war. The war in Afghanistan used to meet these criteria. It no longer does.

    We invaded Afghanistan to stop it from serving as a base for terrorists of the kind who attacked us on 9/11. This goal has been accomplished.

    Fewer than 100 members of al Qaeda are in Afghanistan. There are many more in Yemen and Somalia, which we are not planning to invade.

    Video: Karzai: Relations with Obama good

    Video: Karzai: Osama bin Laden not here

    Video: Failed rescue attempt probe The Taliban has no designs on us, beyond making us leave. After that, the people of Afghanistan can duke it out over which kind of regime they want. If the majority of the Afghan people don’t want the Taliban to rule, they should fight for their rights, as they have shown they can when they defeated the Taliban in 2002 with limited help from us.

    Some claim that we must keep fighting to secure human rights, especially women’s rights, and a democratic regime in Afghanistan. However, nothing indicates that we can accomplish in this godforsaken 12th-century country what we did in Germany and Japan after World War II.

    The metrics that the U.S. Army keeps inventing to show progress are pitiful. Having committed 100,000 troops and a similar number of “private” contractors against rag-tag, poorly equipped, illiterate locals, we captured a few scores of square miles, opened a few markets and a local government or two. But large and growing areas of Afghanistan are under Taliban control. We should neither die nor kill for an illusion.

    Sometimes, a minor news item highlights a much greater issue.

    A recent report from an embedded reporter for GlobalPost shows a 19-year-old American soldier getting shot in the head — his helmet saved him from death — as his unit traveled through Kunar Province in late August. They were surveying polling sites for the upcoming elections. Also, a homemade bomb, called an IED, damaged and set afire the lead vehicle of this small convoy and severely wounded its driver.

    It seemed absurd to risk lives of Americans, our allies or Afghans to support faux elections.

    In many parts of the country, ballot stations could not be opened. In others, massive fraud took place. Adding insult to injury, we congratulated the Afghan government on holding “successful” elections. That way, we did not have to admit to the world and each other that whatever the Karzai government is — one of the most corrupt governments in the world, a foundation of a new narcostate — democracy it ain’t, by a long shot.

    How much our entanglement in Afghanistan is turning into a sad farce became all too clear when President Obama flew to Kabul to tell Karzai that he ought to stop corruption.

    When, in response, Karzai started negotiating a peace deal with the Taliban, the White House rolled out the red carpet for Karzai and announced that from now on, the U.S. will focus on low-level corruption. Moreover, it turns out that major sources of corruption are our corporations and the CIA.

    It’s time to bring our troops home.

    To encourage our president and Congress to withdraw the troops, let’s fasten to our lapels white ribbons (for peace) with black letters (mourning those who died) that read “Bring them home.” The time has come to organize teach-ins and antiwar groups. Instead of another march on Washington, let there be rallies across America. Bring the troops home.

    The opinions in this commentary are solely those of Amitai Etzioni.

    LeT as dangerous as Taliban, al-Qaida: US; U.S. struggles to counter Taliban propaganda; US drone strikes kill 15 in North Waziristan; Peter Bergen, Katherine Tiedmann’s Year of the Drone Interactive Map, must see

    October 3, 2010

    Lashkar-e-Taiba

    On March 27, we predicted that since the U.S. CIA director said that there were “…less than 100 al-Qaida in Afghanistan..”, that the LeT would be the new “terrorist targets”, click here to see that Post. The following story comes from The Times of India, click here for the full story. This is another reason to never stop military action in Central Asia. Where to next?

      NEW DELHI: The US on Thursday said Lashkar-e-Taiba terror outfit was as dangerous as Taliban and al-Qaida with which it was working in close coordination and that Pakistan has been asked to deny it a foothold in that country.

    U.S. struggles to counter Taliban propaganda, from the New York Times, read the whole story, click here. Ed. Note: The Pentagon has spent over $500 Million on “Public Relations” to show the “good results of the military efforts” and the Taliban are winning this PR war also? What gives? Get out now…

      KABUL – The Taliban in recent months has developed increasingly sophisticated and nimble propaganda tactics that have alarmed U.S. officials struggling to curb the militant group’s growing influence across Afghanistan.

    US drone strikes kill 15 in North Waziristan, from Dawn.com, click here for full story.

      MIRANSHAH: Two US drone strikes killed 15 militants Saturday in a lawless tribal belt in Pakistan, where a land route for Nato supplies was blocked for a third consecutive day, officials said.

      Officials in Washington say its drone strikes in the region have killed several high-value targets, including Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud, and help protect troops in Afghanistan from attacks plotted across the border.

      …However, drone attacks are a sensitive issue in Pakistan as the attacks also fuel anti-American sentiment in the conservative Muslim country.

      …Pakistani officials have reported that at least 21 US drone strikes in September have killed around 120 people, the highest monthly toll for the attacks.

    See Peter Bergen, Katherine Tiedmann’s work at counterterrorism/New American, click here and see the map from Year of the Drone, click here.

      Our study shows that the 172 reported drone strikes in northwest Pakistan, including 76 in 2010, from 2004 to the present have killed approximately between 1,153 and 1,772 individuals, of whom around 842 to 1,238 were described as militants in reliable press accounts. Thus, the true non-militant fatality rate since 2004 according to our analysis is approximately 30 percent

    .

    (UPDATE, WASH POST REPORTS) Mass Assassinations Lie at the Heart of America’s Military Strategy in the Muslim World

    September 17, 2010

    UPDATE: U.S. covert paramilitary presence in Afghanistan much larger than thought Written by By Craig Whitlock and Greg Miller,Washington Post Staff Writers,Wednesday, September 22, 2010. Our story below outlines the further extent of the use of paramilitary forces to assassinate “terrorists, insurgents, and others that are against U.S. policies”. This is not new news, but it is new to our Media. Where’s the reporting? It’s time to stop printing government press releases and begin “reporting” again. Read on:

    The following interview of Ex-CIA Operative, Duane Clarridge “Defends the Empire”, Oct. 16, 2008. If it is in our National Security Interest, we can eliminate the threat anytime we wish, do you belive that? This video was taken from the article below the video. View this:

    Mass Assassinations Lie at the Heart of America’s Military Strategy in the Muslim World
    By Fred Branfman, AlterNet
    Posted on August 24, 2010, Printed on September 15, 2010
    Read the full story here, click this link.
    /

    “[General McChrystal says that] for every innocent person you kill, you create 10 new enemies.” — “The Runaway General,” Rolling Stone, 6/22/10

    The truth that many Americans find hard to take is that that mass U.S. assassination on a scale unequaled in world history lies at the heart of America’s military strategy in the Muslim world, a policy both illegal and never seriously debated by Congress or the American people. Conducting assassination operations throughout the 1.3 billon-strong Muslim world will inevitably increase the murder of civilians and thus create exponentially more “enemies,” as Gen. McChrystal suggests — posing a major long-term threat to U.S. national security. This mass assassination program, sold as defending Americans, is actually endangering us all. Those responsible for it, primarily General Petraeus, are recklessly seeking short-term tactical advantage while making an enormous long-term strategic error that could lead to countless American deaths in the years and decades to come. General Petraeus must be replaced, and the U.S. military’s policy of direct and mass assassination of Muslims ended.

    The U.S. has conducted assassination programs in the Third World for decades, but the actual killing — though directed and financed by the C.I.A. — has been largely left to local paramilitary and police forces. This has now has changed dramatically.

    What is unprecedented today is the vast number of Americans directly assassinating Muslims — through greatly expanded U.S. military Special Operations teams, U.S. drone strikes and private espionage networks run by former CIA assassins and torturers. Most significant is the expanding geographic scope of their killing. While CENTCOM Commander from October 2008 until July 2010, General Petraeus received secret and unprecedented permission to unilaterally engage in operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Iran, former Russian Republics, Yemen, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, the Horn of Africa, and wherever else he deems necessary.

    Never before has a nation unleashed so many assassins in so many foreign nations around the world (9,000 Special Operations soldiers are based in Iraq and Afghanistan alone) as well as implemented a policy that can be best described as unprecedented, remote-control, large-scale “mechanized assassination.” As the N.Y. Times noted in December 2009: “For the first time in history, a civilian intelligence agency is using robots to carry out a military mission, selecting people for killing in a country where the United States is not officially at war.”

    This combination of human and technological murder amounts to a worldwide “Assassination Inc.” that is unique in human affairs.

    The increasing shift to direct U.S. assassination began on Petraeus’s watch in Iraq,where targeted assassination was considered by many within the military to be more important than the “surge.” The killing of Al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was considered a major triumph that significantly reduced the level of violence. As Bob Woodward reported in The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008:

    “Beginning in about May 2006, the U.S. military and the U.S. intelligence agencies launched a series of top secret operations that enabled them to locate, target and kill key individuals in extremist groups. A number of authoritative sources say these covert activities had a far-reaching effect on the violence and were very possibly the biggest factor in reducing it. Lieutenant General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) responsible for hunting al Qaeda in Iraq, (conducted) lightning-quick and sometimes concurrent operations When I later asked the president (Bush) about this, he offered a simple answer: ‘JSOC is awesome.'” [Emphasis added.]

    Woodward’s finding that many “authoritative sources” believed assassination more important than the surge is buttressed by Petraeus’ appointment of McChrystal to lead U.S. forces in Afghanistan. McChrystal’s major qualification for the post was clearly his perceived expertise in assassination while heading JSOC from 2003-’08 (where he also conducted extensive torture at “Camp Nama” at Baghdad International Airport, successfully excluding even the Red Cross).

    Another key reason for the increased reliance on assassination is that Petraeus’ announced counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan obviously cannot work. It is absurd to believe that the corrupt warlords and cronies who make up the “Afghan government” can be transformed into the viable entity upon which his strategy publicly claims to depend — particularly within the next year which President Obama has set as a deadline before beginning to withdraw U.S. troops. Petraeus is instead largely relying on mass assassination to try and eliminate the Taliban, both within Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    The centrality of assassination to U.S. war plans is revealed by the fact that it was at the heart of the Obama review of Afghan policy last fall. The dovish Biden position called for relying primarily on assassination, while the hawkish McChrystal stance embraced both assassination and more troops. No other options were seriously considered.

    A third factor behind the shift to mass assassination is that Petraeus and the U.S. military are also determined to attack jihadi forces in nations where the U.S. is not at war, and which are not prepared to openly invite in U.S. forces. As the N.Y. Times reported on May 24, “General Petraeus (has argued) that troops need to operate beyond Iraq and Afghanistan to better fight militant groups.”

    The most significant aspect of this new and expanded assassination policy is President Obama’s authorizing clandestine U.S. military personnel to conduct it. The N.Y. Times has also reported:

    In roughly a dozen countries — from the deserts of North Africa, to the mountains of Pakistan, to former Soviet republics crippled by ethnic and religious strife — the United States has significantly increased military and intelligence operations, pursuing the enemy using robotic drones and commando teams, paying contractors to spy and training local operatives to chase terrorists (Military) Special Operations troops under secret “Execute Orders” have conducted spying missions that were once the preserve of civilian intelligence agencies.

    Read the rest of the story here, click this link.

    Fred Branfman, the editor of “Voices From the Plain of Jars: Life Under an Air War” (Harper & Row, 1972), exposed the U.S. secret air war while living in Laos from 1967 to 1971.

    © 2010 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
    View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/147944/


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