Archive for the ‘Generals/Military Statements’ Category

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”.

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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.

(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.
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“[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/

45+ Afghans die during air raid, NATO, U.S. deny it happened

August 7, 2010

The NATO command and the U.S. Forces are lying to us, the public. They can not be trusted. These wars must end. What is to be gained by continuing? What is Victory? Our friends at Rethink Afghanistan have produced this video of the deaths of 45+ innocent civilians in a small Afghan Village. This has been denied by NATO and the U.S. Forces. What would you do if this were your village? After viewing the video, go to Rethink Afghanistan and send a letter to your Members of Congress.

President Kohler of Germany RESIGNS for telling the truth about Afghanistan; Have your Congress Member Join Out of Afghanistan Now Caucus Today

May 31, 2010

President of Germany Resigns for telling the truth: In Afghanistan to protect German Trade interests (From the NY Times, full story, click here):

    President Horst Köhler of Germany resigned on Monday amid a barrage of criticism for remarks he made a week ago during a surprise visit to Afghanistan. Mr. Köhler, a former director of the International Monetary Fund and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, shocked Germans earlier this month when he said that the country’s soldiers serving in Afghanistan or other peacekeeping missions were deployed to protect German economic interests. Usually, German leaders justify their soldiers’ presence in the American-led coalition by saying they are needed to thwart would-be terrorists who might use Afghanistan as a base for attacks in Europe.

    But, in his contentious remarks, Mr. Köhler said: “A country of our size, with its focus on exports and thus reliance on foreign trade, must be aware that military deployments are necessary in an emergency to protect our interests, for example, when it comes to trade routes, for example, when it comes to preventing regional instabilities that could negatively influence our trade, jobs and incomes.”

Meanwhile Back In The USA:

The following comes from Tom Hayden, Director of the Peace and Justice Resource Center via an email blast to supporters. We at Out of Central Asian Now have been reporting on this since it was announced by Rep. John Conyers office, click here. The time is NOW to End the Wars in Central Asia.

OUT OF AFGHANISTAN CAUCUS

    (Tom Hayden says) If this was Bush’s war in Afghanistan, at least 100 Congressional Democrats would be voting against it and stirring up debate. Because it’s Obama’s War, however, they have been cautious to break party unity over another trillion dollar war in which 1,000 American soldiers have been killed. The same Congressional progressives have been caught up in the stimulus bill, the health care package, Wall Street reform, and an oil-drilling catastrophe, all of which leaves less free time to oppose the Afghanistan War.

    The good news is that rank-and-file Democrats and Independents have broken away from the president’s war policies. They think it’s unaffordable, unwinnable, and not making us safer as a nation. If any Congressional Democrats are paying attention to their constituencies, there are three important choices on the near horizon:

    - a chance to join the new Out of Afghanistan Caucus just launched by Rep. John Conyers, a clear opportunity to separate themselves from the president’s policy; [Conyers letter to Congress]

    - a probable chance to vote for or against the president’s $33 billion supplemental request for his troop escalation; [HR 3699]

    - a vote on Rep. Jim McGovern’s and Sen. Russ Feingold’s HR 5015 and SB 3187, demanding an exit strategy which includes a “flexible timetable” for US troop withdrawals.

    Neither the White House and Congress are ready to end the war. But they are sinking into a quagmire, and are worried about the growth of anti-war public opinion among those Democrats and Independents.

    This is a chance for the anti-war movement to make a difference in a peace offensive at home through 2012.

See co-sponsors of Feingold-McGovern-Jones bill here – 93 co-sponsors so far.
Contact your Congressional Representative here and ask them to be a co-sponsor.

Inside the NeoCon takeover of the Pentagon, Lt. Col. Karen Kwaitkowski (Ret) laid it all out, Reasons for a Premptive War were fabricated; No More War Funding, take action here

May 25, 2010

In Rumsfeld’s Shop A senior Air Force officer watches as the neocons consolidate their Pentagon coup. By Karen Kwaitkowski Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski recently retired from the U.S. Air Force. Her final posting was as an analyst at the Pentagon. Below is the first of three installments describing her experience there. They provide a unique view of the Department of Defense during a period of intense ideological upheaval, as the United States prepared to launch—for the first time in its history—a “preventive” war.

Part of this Post was taken from the December 01, 2003 Issue of The American Conservative. Karen Kwaitkowski had a “front row seat” to the Neo-con takeover of the Defense Department of the United States Government. Their “wars” are continuing. It’s time to End the War’s.

YOUR ACTION NOW: Email: Urge your Members of Congress to support the Feingold-McGovern-Jones Bill, click here.

Call: 1-888-543-5234 (toll-free number established by FCNL) connects you with the Capitol Switchboard.

Here is Karen in 2007 at the Future of Freedom Foundation’s gathering. It is a timely as if it were presented today.

Part One

Part Two
Part Three

Part Four

Karen Kwiatkowski retired from the USAF in 2003 as a Lieutenant Colonel. She currently teaches college courses in American Government, and is currently employed as a high school biology and Earth Science teacher in western Virginia. She has an MA in Government from Harvard University, MS in Science Management from the University of Alaska, and has completed both Air Command and Staff College and the Naval War College seminar programs.

* * *
The US Government was taken over by the Neo-con’s. Let’s End their War NOW.

YOUR ACTION NOW: Email: Urge your Members of Congress to support the Feingold-McGovern-Jones Bill, click here.

Call: 1-888-543-5234 (toll-free number established by FCNL) connects you with the Capitol Switchboard.

Cindy Sheehan opens CAMP OUT NOW; Hakeemulla Mehsud is alive; and the War goes on

March 19, 2010

First Story: Cindy Sheehan at CAMP OUT NOW, on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

Cindy has opened CAMP OUT NOW and you can follow her protest and demands here at her blog. Camp OUT NOW is gaining momentum and we are welcoming new people to Camp everyday! Watch these videos at their press converence with BRIAN BECKER, KEVIN ZEESE, ANN WRIGHT, RAY MCGOVERN
and CINDY SHEEHAN. Thank you all that put your life on hold to bring our troops back home. Remember, March 20 March on Washington to End the wars, support them here. Listen to Cindy Sheehan on Democracy Now on Friday.


Cindy Sheehan's CAMP OUT NOW, Peace of the Action Flyer

Second Story: Hakeemullah Mehsud Is Alive

It is almost that everytime that a “high-value target” is killed by a U.S. Assassination Drone, the “target” shows up alive some days later. Is this announcement just a smokescreen to “smoke out” the “target”, to get him to show his head so he can be picked off, or is it done to cover up the innocent dead left behind? One of the results of using “spotters on the ground” to identify “high value targets” is that this is a way to get your enemies killed by the U.S. government. You point out the people that you have a big-time grudge and the U.S. blows them away with an Assassination Drone. Read the Hakeemullah Mehsud story here and view other Assasination Drone attack stories at The Long War Journal.

Hakeemulla Mehsud, 2008 photo from The Long War Journal

Third Story: And the War goes On.

More innocent civilians to be “displaced” during the battles to come: “NATO Eyes Massive Offensive in Northern Afghanistan Attack to Center Around Kunduz, Will Be Similar in Scale to Helmand” The U.S. and NATO will be conducting attacks across Afghanistan over the next year (and beyond?). What was the 179th poorest nation out of 180, will surely become 180th after these destructive attacks. What is the Human Price, and why are we not protecting the population? Just put yourself in their place, in a small village where you barely eek out a living, and you are forced to leave or die there. You move your family out of your village, but where do you go and what is there if you return later? You be the judge. Read: Army Capture of Swat Valley Town Leaves Trail of Destruction.

Swat Valley people being displaced, on the run

Propaganda of Afghanistan War Escalates to Convince Americans We’re Turning the Corner: World Fed US Lies, Propaganda.

March 10, 2010

The United States has been using FALSE news stories to convince the world and the American population that the U.S. troops are “making progress” in Afghanistan. Geo. Bush’s administration got caught puttin out false war stories in 2008, and now President Obama’s administration is carrying out the same DECEPTION. Today’s post is a full copy of this damaging information. A special thanks to Peace Perspectives, put out by votersforpeace.org for sending this story out to its readers. Subscribe here.

Our friends over at Just Foreign Policy have put together an easy way for all of us to support Congress Member Dennis Kucinich End the War. Follow this link: Help Kucinich Use War Powers Act to Force Afghanistan Debate UPDATE: HOUSE VOTES 65 Yes 356 NO on End the War Resolution H. 248. 60 Democrats and 5 Republicans voted YES. THANK YOU DENNIS KUCINICH FOR BRINGING THIS TO THE FLOOR. View how they voted here.

“The Washington Post reported Feb. 22 that the decision to launch the offensive against Marja was intended largely to impress U.S. public opinion with the effectiveness of the U.S. military in Afghanistan by showing that it could achieve a ‘large and loud victory.’

“The false impression that Marja was a significant city was an essential part of that message.”

THE FULL STORY FROM RAW STORY

US forces hold Afghans back to ‘prove’ town safe for Gates visit

By Ron Brynaert
RAW Story

The National Security writer for the Associated Press saw through the propaganda, but she apparently decided to run with it anyway.

“Defense Secretary Robert Gates, aiming to show progress in the expanded war against insurgents in south Afghanistan, took a brief, heavily guarded walk Tuesday down a rutted street in this scruffy market town where the Taliban lobbed mortars at U.S. forces only weeks ago,” Anne Gearan reports for the AP.

    “Now Zad was the scene of first significant military push following President Barack Obama’s announcement in early December that he would add 30,000 troops atop 17,000 reinforcements he had already sent into the flagging war.

    “With the additional firepower, Marines moved into Now Zad last December and quickly pushed out Taliban fighters who had seized the town four years ago and forced every civilian to flee. Families that had lived in Now Zad for generations fled their houses with laundry still on the lines, said the top U.S. officer in the district, Marine Brig. Gen. Larry Nicholson.”

“A few months ago this place was a ghost town, a no-go zone,” Gates is quoted as saying. “Now, as I saw for myself, stores are opening, people are returning.”

After eight paragraphs, the AP reporter notes that “Gates’ walk” required “armed guards in front of and behind him and soldiers dressed for battle posted all along his short route.”

After thirteen paragraphs, Gearan finally observes, “Ironically, to demonstrate that the town is safe enough for Gates to visit, U.S. forces held at bay the very Afghan townspeople Marines fought to bring back.”

On Monday journalist and historian Gareth Porter wrote about how the media had fallen for the bait “to hype up Marja as the objective of ‘Operation Moshtarak’ by planting the false impression that it is a good-sized city.”

“For weeks, the U.S. public followed the biggest offensive of the Afghanistan War against what it was told was a ‘city of 80,000 people’ as well as the logistical hub of the Taliban in that part of Helmand. That idea was a central element in the overall impression built up in February that Marja was a major strategic objective, more important than other district centres in Helmand.

“It turns out, however, that the picture of Marja presented by military officials and obediently reported by major news media is one of the clearest and most dramatic pieces of misinformation of the entire war, apparently aimed at hyping the offensive as a historic turning point in the conflict.

“Marja is not a city or even a real town, but either a few clusters of farmers’ homes or a large agricultural area covering much of the southern Helmand River Valley. ‘It’s not urban at all,’ an official of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), who asked not to be identified, admitted to IPS Sunday. He called Marja a ‘rural community.’”

Porter noted that the propaganda campaign had probably been ordered from the top.

    “A central task of ‘information operations’ in counterinsurgency wars is ‘establishing the COIN [counterinsurgency] narrative’, according to the Army Counterinsurgency Field Manual as revised under Gen. David Petraeus in 2006.

    “That task is usually done by ‘higher headquarters’ rather than in the field, as the manual notes.

    “The COIN manual asserts that news media ‘directly influence the attitude of key audiences toward counterinsurgents, their operations and the opposing insurgency.’ The manual refers to ‘a war of perceptions…conducted continuously using the news media.’

    “Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, commander of ISAF, was clearly preparing to wage such a war in advance of the Marja operation. In remarks made just before the offensive began, McChrystal invoked the language of the counterinsurgency manual, saying, ‘This is all a war of perceptions.’

    “The Washington Post reported Feb. 22 that the decision to launch the offensive against Marja was intended largely to impress U.S. public opinion with the effectiveness of the U.S. military in Afghanistan by showing that it could achieve a ‘large and loud victory.’

    “The false impression that Marja was a significant city was an essential part of that message.”

Last year, RAW STORY’s Brad Jacobson reported,

    “A key senior figure in a Bush administration covert Pentagon program, which used retired military analysts to produce positive wartime news coverage, remains in the same position today as a chief Obama Defense Department spokesman and the agency’s head of all media operations.

    “In an examination of Pentagon documents the New York Times obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request — which reporter David Barstow leveraged for his April 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning exposé on the program – Raw Story has found that Bryan Whitman surfaces in over 500 emails and transcripts, revealing the deputy assistant secretary of defense for media operations was both one of the program’s senior participants and an active member.

    ….

    “The program was ostensibly run out of the Pentagon’s public affairs office for community relations, as part of its outreach, and attended to by political appointees, most visibly in these records by then community relations chief Allison Barber and director Dallas Lawrence.

    “But as Barstow noted in his report, in running the program out of that office rather than from the agency’s regular press office, ‘the decision recalled other Bush administration tactics that subverted traditional journalism.’ In addition to concealing the true nature of the program and the retired military officers’ participation in it, this tactic produced one other effect.

    “It provided Bryan Whitman, a career civil servant and senior Defense Department official who oversees the press office and all media operations, cover if and when the program was revealed.”

Source: RAW Story

TAKE ACTION: Our friends over at Just Foreign Policy have put together an easy way for all of us to support Congress Member Dennis Kucinich End the War. Follow this link: Help Kucinich Use War Powers Act to Force Afghanistan Debate

“The Year of the Drone” Report; 21,000 square miles (about the size of West Virginia) and 15,000 “coalition” troops try to eliminate the “Taliban”

February 26, 2010

Two Stories for Today: First, The Year of the Drone, a new report just out. Second, the attack taking place in Marjah, Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

One of the Assassination Drones, the Predator B (YMQ-9A) General Atomics photo

It is Time to Stop the War(s). Join the March 20 March on Washington to End the War(s). Personally endorse the March 20 March on Washington, click here.

First Story: New America Foundation Report The Year of the DroneAn Analysis of U.S. Drone Strikes in Pakistan, 2004-2010 by Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann (Read the full report here) Their synopsis is below the Helmand “displaced” story. This is a Must Read for U.S. Drone (“assassination drones”) attack information.

Second Story: U.S., “Coalition Forces”, and Afghan soldiers attacking in Marjah, Helmand Province, Afghanistan. The easy victory is not so easy. But there will be a “Victory” that can be broadcast to show how the war is turning in the U.S. favor, another great headline for U.S. voter consumption. JUST IN:
The Real Objective of the Marja Offensive, by Gareth Porter, read it here.
“This is all a war of perceptions,” (Gen.) McChrystal said. “This is not a physical war in terms of how many people you kill or how much ground you capture, how many bridges you blow up. This is all in the minds of the participants.”

The land area of Helmand Province, Afghanistan is about the same size of West Virginia (24,000 square miles). It is about the same size as Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire combined. The total population is over 1,700,000 people, and 92% of them are Pashtuns. Marjah is one of the small villages that make up this population. Here’s a map showing the area.

Here’s a map of the “displaced” population that ran for their lives prior to the attack beginning, an estimated 25,000 to 40,000 out of a total of 80,000 in Marjah Village. Click here for the map. Map taken from “Knots in the Stomach”, by Joshua Foust at Registan.net.

What has happened to the people of Swat Valley? Where over 2.5 million villagers were “displaced”. Many have not returned, and those returning, returned to what? Crops all destroyed, homes, roads, bridges, irrigation ditches destroyed, livestock dead or missing, how are they surviving? South Waziristan had many “displaced villagers” also, what has happened to them? Does anyone care? This is being repeated now in Marjah, led by the U.S. government. These are crimes against humanity.

The Year of the Drone – An Analysis of U.S. Drone Strikes in Pakistan, 2004-2010 By Peter Bergen, Katherine Tiedemann, New America Foundation February 24, 2010 | New America Foundation

    The bomber, a Jordanian doctor linked to al Qaeda, detonated his explosives on December 30, 2009, at an American base in Khost in eastern Afghanistan, killing himself and seven CIA officers and contractors who were operating at the heart of the covert program overseeing U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan’s volatile northwestern tribal regions. The suicide attack was a double cross: Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, the bomber, had earlier provided information to the CIA that was used in targeting some of those drone attacks.[i]

    Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, the current number three in al Qaeda, praised the suicide attack, saying it was “to avenge our good martyrs” and listing several militant leaders felled by drone strikes.[ii] The chief of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud, appeared alongside al-Balawi in a prerecorded video released on January 9, 2010, saying the attack was revenge for the drone strike that killed Mehsud’s ruthless predecessor, Baitullah Mehsud, in August 2009.[iii]

    The drone program had a busy year in 2009; under the Obama administration, there were 51 reported strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas, compared with 45 during the entire administration of George W. Bush. Besides Baitullah Mehsud, those killed by Predator drone missiles included Saleh al-Somali, al Qaeda’s external operations chief and the link between the militant group’s central leadership and its affiliates abroad, in December, and a prominent leader of the Islamic Jihad of Uzbekistan, in September.[iv] All told, as many as 10 militant leaders fell to the drones in 2009, in addition to hundreds of lower-level militants and civilians.[1] (Read the rest of the summary here)

There are Assassination Drone attacks almost daily now in Pakistan. Read some of our Assassination Drone stories, click here.

It is Time to Stop the War(s). Join the March 20 March on Washington to End the War(s). Personally endorse the March 20 March on Washington, click here.

“We’re in Afghanistan to ensure that it cannot once again be a sanctuary for the kinds of attacks that were carried out on 9/11.” This man is crazy (Petraeus); SPECIAL: Bill Roggio reports “The Afghan Taliban’s top Leaders”

February 22, 2010

So the “REAL” reason we are in Afghanistan is so no future 9/11′s are planned there? Is that a stupid statement? There’s no other land anywhere from which to plan another “9/11″ anywhere in the world? Wern’t the ringleaders based in Germany? Wern’t some in the U.S. training to become pilots? Read Petraeus statement as reported at CNN (read full story here).

FBI photos of the 19 Terrorists hijackers (16 of 19 had Saudi Passports)

    Gen. David Petraeus said the losses could be comparable to those seen after the 2007 surge of U.S. troops into Iraq.

    “They’ll be tough. They were tough in Iraq,” Petraeus said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

    From the time the U.S. surge in Iraq began in January 2007 until its official end in July 2008, 1,125 U.S. troops died — more than a quarter of the total 4,379 Americans who have died in the Iraq war.

    “The reality is that it’s hard, but we are [in Afghanistan] for a very, very important reason, we can’t forget that,” he added. “We’re in Afghanistan to ensure that it cannot once again be a sanctuary for the kinds of attacks that were carried out on 9/11.”

Now how can that objective ever be reached? Kill everyone in Afghanistan and stay there to make sure no one comes back? It is a stupid statement. The “policy” of why we are there has changed over and over, but they say the same things like “It will be much different in 18 months”, or “The Taliban are on the run” or “We will rebuild the villages and they will all love us”.

SPECIAL, JUST IN: The Afghan Taliban’s top leaders, By Bill Roggio February 23, 2010 12:33 AM Once again, Bill Roggio of the Long War Journal has put together information not found elsewhere. This is a MUST READ for all that follow the War(s).

It is Time to Stop the War(s). Join the March 20 March on Washington to End the War(s). Personally endorse the March 20 March on Washington, click here.


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