Index Research will focus on a country or an issue which is of particular interest to me. Articles have appeared on and others.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


by Sarah Meyer
Index Research

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We have raised the beaks of our souls to you.
Give us a grain of wheat, our dream. Give it. Give it to us.

Mahmud Darwish

1. Preface: Famine in Afghanistan

There was a terrible winter disaster in Afghanistan. NATO paid little heed. The lives of Afghan people are untenable. Afghanistan is one of the 11 hunger-prone countries heading towards a "food emergency."

The world food crisis has been caused by the World Bank, the IMF, the WTO, The Pentagon, PNACers and corporate sharks.

Free Trade” is a misnomer and ‘globalisation’ does not work. Wheat and rice are becoming as precious and sought-after as oil. (cont. below)

The famine in Afghanistan is mirrored by the famine within the US-NATO mindset. The White House and US-NATO suffer from a poverty of imagination. The recent NATO conference was a disaster for Afghanistan’s needs. Did any NATO members read the 17 reports on Afghanistan? NATO faffed around with money-making missile shield discussions and memberships. They passed a “three fold” “Strategic Vision:”

• through leadership of the UN-mandated International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), an international force of some 47,000 troops (including National Support Elements) that assists the Afghan authorities in extending and exercising its authority and influence across the country, creating the conditions for stabilisation and reconstruction;

• a Senior Civilian Representative, responsible for advancing the political-military aspects of the Alliance’s commitment to the country, who works closely with ISAF, liaises with the Afghan government and other international organisations, and maintains contacts with neighbouring countries.

• a substantial programme of cooperation with Afghanistan, concentrating on defence reform, defence institution-building and the military aspects of security sector reform.

Bush gave an overused 9/11 propaganda speech : "If we do not defeat the terrorists in Afghanistan, we will face them on our soil" - not to be compared with speeches of Martin Luther King.

The U.S. government repetitive phrases and words need examining. World governments and the international media have been infected by White House propaganda since 9/11:

* Harm national security

* Al Qaeda

* Criminal gangs

* Enemy / enemies / enemy combatant

* Evil

* Extremists

* Militants

* Outlaws

* Radical

* Rogue (states, elements, etc)

* Terrorists

One has to ask if rules that have been / are being passed are to assist “national security” or to line contractors’ pockets.

The following research will italicize all words and phrases used to further the U.S. so-called “War on Terror”.


Click on the subject in which you are interested:

1. Preface: Famine in Afghanistan
2. Afghanistan: Man-Made Famine; Water; Women and Children; Refugees; Slide Toward Mayhem , Taliban, Karzai
3. Opium
4. Pakistan: Food; The ‘Tribal Belt’; New Government; and US; Nuclear; Enter China
5. Aid
6. United States: US Troops; $s; US food crisis; Internet & Media; Semantics; Al Qaeda propaganda; Understanding America; “War on Terror.”
7. Contracts and Contractors
8. Oil and Gas: The Great Game
9. World Food Crisis; War on Consumer
10. US-NATO: Reports; Buildup to NATO summit in Bucharest; Sycophancy; Nato Summit in Bucharest; Summit Obituaries; US Spin; Post NATO summit
11. US-NATO Coalition: Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, UK
12. Human Rights: General; Rendition; Torture; Guantanamo; War Crimes
13. Some Deaths: Afghan, Americans, Australians, Canadians, Danish, Dutch, English, Indian, Pakistani
14. Future Deaths: DU


2. Afghanistan


AFGHANISTAN: Over 400,000 people receive food aid amid soaring prices
13.04.08. irin news. Skyrocketing food prices, particularly for wheat flour, and a shortfall in domestic agricultural production have pushed millions of vulnerable Afghans into the "high risk" category of food insecurity, UN and Afghan officials say.

Rising food prices: We are all in deep trouble
13.04.08. Thalif Dean, Sunday Times. The steep rise in the price of wheat, corn, rice, maize and bread has already sparked demonstrations and/or riots in Egypt, Cameroon, Haiti and Burkina Faso. The Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has warned of impending political and social unrest, specifically in countries where 50 to 60 percent of a family's income is spent on food. A rise in both fuel and food prices has also triggered unrest in Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Mozambique and Senegal. And the UN's World Food Programme (WFP) has identified 11 countries as "hunger's global hotspots." Sri Lanka is one of the 11 hunger-prone countries heading towards a "food emergency", the others being Afghanistan, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Iraq, Syria, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Zimbabwe.

No food price relief seen for poor Afghans
14.04.08. Africa reuters / ICH. Top finance and development officials from around the world called in Washington on Sunday for urgent action to stem rising food prices, warning that social unrest will spread unless the cost of basic staples is contained.

Pakistan, Afghan forces exchange fire over wheat flour smuggling
14.04.08. / ICH. Pakistani and Afghan border security forces exchanged fire on Monday after the Pakistani forces tried to stop 'smuggling of flour' to the neighboring country, officials said.

Loosening Opium's Grip on Afghanistan
17.04.08. the mound of sound. It sounds like a "win-win" proposition. Rising grain prices, especially for wheat, may be enough to entice Afghan farmers to grow grain instead of opium poppies. In fact, UN experts say a switchover would allow Afghanistan to enjoy a food surplus instead of the serious shortages now faced. [NB: watch the corporate world move in on this one?]

Afghanistan could feed its population and avert the world food crisis
18.04.08. asia All it would have to do is replace its massive opium production with wheat, and it could feed the Afghan population, 70% of which suffers from hunger. A study by the FAO, the UN food and agriculture agency, has revealed that by devoting more money to irrigation systems, this dream could become reality

WHO: Up to 10 dead in Afghanistan from rare liver disease; wheat contamination suspected
19.04.08. IHT. At least 161 people were also hospitalized with Gulran disease in Herat province on the Iranian border, said Peter Graaff, resident representative of the U.N. World Health Organization. / A toxic weed called charmak grows in the area and contains chemicals that can cause Gulran disease, WHO said. Graaff said the disease is not new but rare, and has killed as many as 10 people in recent weeks… / The Afghan Red Crescent Society received $14,000 to purchase new wheat to replace suspect supplies in the district as a precautionary measure, said Graziella Leite Piccolo, a spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Kabul.

Scarred and depressed, more Afghans turn to drugs
20.04.08. in. Reuters. Scarred by decades of turmoil and grief, 66 percent of Afghans suffer from depression or some form of mental disorder, and an increasing number are turning to illegal drugs, a top health official said.

Afghan government to buy US$50 million (€31.4 million) food relief as prices skyrocket
22.04.08. IHT. Afghanistan has allocated US$50 million (€31.4 million) to buy food from neighboring countries, an official said Tuesday, amid skyrocketing prices of food staples like wheat. / Panicked Afghans have rushed to shops in recent days to purchase rice, flour and cooking oil. In one shop in Kabul, 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of flour was US$1 (€0.63) on Tuesday, up from 80 U.S. cents (€0.50) on Sunday. / The U.N. World Food Program says the cost of a kilogram of wheat in Afghanistan has nearly doubled from 32 U.S. cents (€0.20) last year to 60 U.S. cents (€0.38) in March.

Afghans hit hard by rising world food prices
23.04.08. Abdul Saboor, Reuters. Already one of the poorest countries in the world, Afghanistan has been hit hard by the rising price of food and while some Afghans have taken to the streets to protest most wonder how they will get by. / Largely reliant on imports of wheat and flour, Afghanistan has been particularly badly hit as Pakistan, faced with its own food problems, has restricted the flow of flour to its neighbour.

Afghans protest over rocketing food prices
23.04.08. AFP. About 400 people demonstrated in eastern Afghanistan against skyrocketing food prices, witnesses said, in the country's first protest at food costs rising worldwide. / The demonstrators blocked a key road linking the eastern town of Jalalabad to the capital Kabul and demanded the government step in to control prices at food markets.

Afghan assembly wants tax lifted on food imports
24.04.08. Reuters. Faced with rising food prices that have seen protesters take to the streets, Afghanistan's lower house of parliament on Thursday demanded the removal of all taxes on food imports.


This satellite view shows Afghanistan's Hindu Kush mountains, where glaciers are melting
at an alarming rate. Photo Jeff Schmaltz / NASA-GSFC

Melting mountains called a water 'time bomb'
15.04.08. MSNBC. From U.S. to Afghanistan, climate is changing what millions rely on. / Glaciers and mountain snow are melting earlier in the year than usual, meaning the water has already gone when millions of people need it during the summer when rainfall is lower, scientists warned on Monday.


Infant deaths

War Crimes in Occupied Afghanistan
15.04.08. Gideon Polya, ICH.
The annual infant death rate in Occupied Afghanistan (6.2%) is 51 times that in Occupier Australia, 38 times that in Occupier US and similar to the “annual death rate” of 10.2% for Australian prisoners of war of the Japanese in World War 2 – a war crime for which key Japanese leaders were tried and hanged (for details and documentation see: ).

Only 35 pct of Afghan schoolchildren are girls-aid group
21.04.08. wiredispatch.

The Terrible Plight of Afghan Children
21.04.08. Tan EE Lyn, ABC / ICH. Afghanistan Struggles to Provide Decent Healthcare to Children. "The private hospitals are only for rich businessmen. Poor people have to use government hospitals and if they can't help, the children die," said the young father from Ghazni province as he unwrapped a piece of paper to show a brown pebble measuring half a centimetre in diameter.

Treatment Centers for Women Reflect Increasing Opium Use
06.04.08. Washington Post. Gul is one of 20 women in residential treatment at the Sanga Amaj center in Afghanistan's capital. The small, two-story clinic near Kabul University is one of 40 drug treatment clinics across Afghanistan run by international aid organizations. / More than six years after U.S.-led forces launched a military campaign here against the ruling Taliban movement, drug addiction is fast becoming a major concern for the government. With opium production reaching an all-time high of 6,000 tons last year, according to the United Nations, domestic addiction rates in this nation of nearly 32 million have also soared. A 2005 U.N. report estimated that Afghanistan was home to about 1 million drug abusers.

A story on the Sanga Amaj center (BBC. 28.08.07) can be read here.

Expelled Afghanistan female MP petitions for reinstatement
05.04.08. Jurist. Former Afghan parliamentarian Malalai Joya [BBC profile] said Saturday that she has hired a lawyer and is now fighting her controversial May 2007 removal from the Wolesi Jirga [IRIN backgrounder], the lower house of the Afghan parliament [official website]. Joya was expelled [JURIST report] after she compared the parliament to a stable in a private television interview.

Afghan lawmakers push cultural bans of Taliban era
21.04.08. CS Monitor. A draft proposal put forth last week would ban loud music, women and men mingling in public, billiards, and more.


In Afghanistan, the Humanitarian crisis worsens, says Red Cross.
08.04.08. Adnkronos International/uruknet. 'The harsh reality is that in large parts of Afghanistan, little development is taking place," he said. /"Instead, the conflict is forcing more and more people to flee their homes. Their growing humanitarian needs and those of other vulnerable people must be met as a matter of urgency."

After Decades, Pakistan Forces Thousands of Afghans to Leave
16.04.08. Washington Post/antiwar. Officials Cite Extremism, Economics as Reasons for Closure of Camp in Northwest

Refugees Stranded Under Open Sky
16.04.08. D. Khan, English oh my news.

UN warns Pakistan over Afghan refugee repatriation plan
18.04.08. the news.

Indian, Afghan asylum seekers languish in Swedish prison
20.04.08. thaiindian. Two asylum seekers from South Asia - one a Kashmiri Hindu and the other an Afghan Sikh - are languishing in a Swedish migrant detention centre outside Stockholm. Dhillow Singh, the 37-year-old Kashmiri who came to Sweden illegally five years ago, has been at the Marsta detention centre for eight months now and, according to a psychiatrist, is under severe depression and even suicidal. Harmid Singh, a 26-year-old Afghan Sikh, came even earlier. The two men don’t know what the next day or even the next few hours of any given day may hold for them. As it happens to scores of their fellow inmates routinely every day, either can be picked up any moment in a hermetically sealed police armoured vehicle.

To Leave or Not To Leave?
22.04.08. Anna Husarska, slate. After decades in Pakistan, thousands of refugees return "home" to Afghanistan.


Afghanistan: The Rats Abandon the Sinking Ship
30.03.08. Nasir Shansab, global policical. What I saw on a visit to Afghanistan in February 2008, combined with the decisions some of the coalition countries have made, convinced me that Afghanistan ’s gradual slide towards mayhem has accelerated. This is what I mean: The Norwegian government announced that it would close its embassy in Kabul , the first coalition government to do so. Such embassy closures bring to mind the gradual embassy closings of the 1980s during the war of resistance against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, leading to the complete abandonment of that country and the emergence of the Taliban in the mid 1990s.

It's Occupation, Not War
03.04.08. Charley Reese , anti-war/ICH. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ended some years ago. In Iraq, the war ended with the fall of Saddam Hussein's government; in Afghanistan, with the fall of the Taliban government. What's been happening since is occupation and resistance to occupation. / It's always helpful to call things by the right name.

UN envoy says international efforts in Afghanistan "too fragmented"
09.04.08. s. asia news.

Busy in Iraq, US Also Faces Surging Violence in Afghanistan
15.04.08. Jonathan S. Landay, McClatchy Newspapers / Truthout. While America's attention remains focused on Iraq ,violence is escalating in Afghanistan, worrying senior U.S. defense officials and commanders who're struggling to find some 7,000 more American and European troops to combat resurgent Taliban and al Qaida forces.

17.04.08. Richard Weitz, Eurasia net. Recent gains [sic] made by American troops in Afghanistan could easily be squandered, unless the international community redoubles its commitment to the strife-torn country’s political and economic reconstruction process. To promote success, two prominent security experts argue, counter-insurgency efforts in both Afghanistan and Pakistan should be closely coordinated. / Such were the findings of the two American civilian counterinsurgency specialists – Bruce Hoffman and Seth Jones - who recently returned from Afghanistan, where they spent time with the 82nd US Airborne Division, and visited four Afghan provinces bordering Pakistan.

Afghanistan is still, however, a work in progress. It remains one of the most heavily-mined countries in the world. It still suffers from insurgent Taliban attacks, its economy is addicted to opium, its people face constant food instability, and the farmers continually fight the effects of drought. AFGHAN SOLDIER

Assessing the overall security situation in Afghanistan
17.04.08. International Crisis Group (ICG), Relief Web. Speech by Nick Grono, Deputy President, International Crisis Group, DCAF - NATO Parliamentary Assembly Seminar on "Stabilising Afghanistan: Developing Security, Securing Development." General; The Figures; Perceptions of security.

The sad reality is that Afghanistan has suffered from sustained conflict for almost thirty years. The enduring paradigm is that of abusive power-holders preying on the local populations. The power-holders change – absolute monarchs, Afghan communists, Soviet military, mujahedeen, Taliban, and now re-empowered warlords -- but the problem remains the same: highly personalised rule, a culture of impunity, and the abuse of large sections of the population on ethnic, regional, tribal, or sectarian grounds.

The U.S. and its allies reinforced this pattern of grievance and impunity in 2001 and 2002 by outsourcing the fighting and stabilisation operations to discredited and largely disempowered warlords and commanders. … The result is festering grievances and an alienated population that often has little faith in its leadership and offers rich pickings for insurgentrecruitment.

The Taliban


Taliban fighters regrouping after winter snow (02.04.08)

Iran Is Not Providing 'Militarily Significant' Aid to the Taliban, Says A U.S. General in Afghanistan
07.04.08. usnews. In an effort to strengthen defence ties with New Delhi, Afghanistan said it is considering sending its armed forces officers for specialised training in Indian counter insurgency warfare institutions. .. / While Defence Minister A K Antony ruled out any military involvement in the war-torn country, he assured his Afghan counterpart Abdul Rahim Wardak (who is on a historic visit) that India would remain 'actively engaged' in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the nation.

U.S. Needs Taliban to Regain Afghanistan
10.04.08. Jalal Ghazi, New American Media / ICH. The Taliban are back and stronger and more popular than ever. NATO and the United States will soon have no choice but to negotiate with them six years after driving them out of Kabul. That’s the impression one gets from reading Arab media on the war in Afghanistan. / The Afghan government, led by President Hamid Karzai and backed by the United States and NATO, does not even have full control of Kabul. Basdir Ghafuri, a former professor at Kabul University, told the London-based Arab News Broadcast (ANB) in February 2008, “NATO and the U.S. forces have even failed to establish security in Kabul.” / The Afghan people have lost confidence in NATO and the United States. Journalist and political writer Ahmad Asfahani told ANB, “There is a large segment of the Afghan people who will not accept the presence of occupation forces in Afghanistan and will not accept a government that is linked to the occupation.” Many Afghans do not see much difference between today’s occupation and that of the British in the 19th century or the Soviets from 1979 to 1989.

Coalition helicopter drops weapons into Taliban hands, Afghan officials say
13.04.08. AP / global A member of parliament, however, said he didn't believe the arms drop was an accident.

Nato admits mistakenly [sic] supplying arms and food to Taliban
17.04.08. Guardian.

European think-tank sees Taliban growing in Afghanistan
16.04.08. neurope / ICH. The continuing strength of the insurgency and the Afghan government’s weakness make Western and European defeat in Afghanistan a realistic prospect, warns a report published by the newly-established “>European Council on Foreign Relations, a London-based think-tank. / The report recently presented in Brussels by its author, Daniel Korski, says that six years of war and the biggest military operation in the history of NATO have failed to subdue the Afghan insurgency.

Afghan opposition says it's been talking to Taliban
16.04.08. Jason Straziuso, AP

Taliban commander orders ceasefire in tribal areas
24.04.08. Declan Walsh, Guardian. Analysts and some American officials reacted coolly to the news, fearing the militants would use the ceasefire as an excuse to re-arm and intensify attacks into Afghanistan.

Afghanistan: Taliban Evolves Into Network Of Groups
Ron Synovitz, Radio Free Europe. … the Taliban lacks a strong organizational structure and is essentially still a network based on personal relations between the leadership and people at the local level. …/ "Today, the Taliban are essentially a guerrilla movement, whereas in the 1990s -- even in the early days of 1994 or 1995 -- they were never something like that," Giustozzi says. … against the occupation.

US marines launch mini surge to weaken Taliban
30.04.08. Declan Walsh, Guardian. · British troops aid attack on Afghan insurgents · Mission aims to disrupt major smuggling routes

Supply Lines

Taliban bitten by a snake in the grass
26.04.08. Asia Times. The Taliban and their al-Qaeda associates, in what they considered a master stroke, this year started to target the Western alliance's supply lines that run through Pakistan into Afghanistan. Their focal point was Khyber Agency, in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas, a key transit point for as much as 70% of the alliance's supplies needed to maintain its battle against the Afghan insurgency.


Taliban targets Afghan-Nato 'lifeline'(24.04.08)

U.S. Afghan supply lines depend on Islamic militant
25.04.08. McClatchy. The only thing standing between Pakistan's Taliban and the lifeline for U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan may be an Islamist warlord who controls the area near Pakistan's famed Khyber Pass. / In an interview with McClatchy, Mangal Bagh, who leads a group called Lashkar-i-Islam, voiced his disdain for America but said he's rebuffed an offer from the Taliban to join them.

Taliban hamper dam project in Afghanistan
25.04.08. Jason Straziuso, AP.


Karzai seeks bigger role for larger Afghan army
03.04.08. Julian Borger, Guardian / anti-war. Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, is expected to propose a radical expansion of the Afghan army today and call for his troops to take over security responsibilities in Kabul from Nato, according to officials at the alliance's summit in Bucharest. The news came after dismal day for Nato leaders, with the alliance unable to agree on new members.

Karzai indicates will run again for Afghan president
06.04.08. Reuters.

“NATO is creating its own failure!”
09.04.08. al jazeera. Afghan President Hamid Karzai told the Afghan people on April 6 that he has been in peaceful negotiations with the resistance including the Taliban. / He said he told the NATO summit in Bucharest that these Afghans resist because harm has been done to them and that they should be approached through negotiations. / But NATO ignored Karzai's statement. It’s only interested in more fighting despite the claims made by George Bush at the summit that NATO is 'peaceful and brings democracy' in reference to Russian concerns about NATO expansion. / The Afghan people are increasingly rejecting the occupation of their country when the aim is not peace and reconstruction on the part of NATO and the U.S. population that often has little faith in its leadership and offers rich pickings for insurgent recruitment.

Leave Taliban alone, Afghan president tells West
D27.04.08. Guardian. Karzai says US and British troops are undermining his authority and stopping insurgents from laying down their arms. Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, has called on British and American troops to stop arresting Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan, saying that their operations undermined his government's authority and were counter-productive./ The stinging attack, made in an interview with the New York Times published yesterday, is the latest in a series of rows between Western governments with troops in Afghanistan and the elected leader of the country. Western diplomats expressed surprise at the Afghan leader's criticism and the Foreign Office played down the row yesterday.

Karzai Escapes Assassination Attempt
27.04.08. CBS/AP. Suspected Taliban militants attacked a ceremony attended by the Afghan president on Sunday, unleashing automatic weapons and rocket fire that sent foreign dignitaries and senior members of the government fleeing for cover. Three people were killed, including a lawmaker, and eight wounded. / President Hamid Karzai, Cabinet ministers and ambassadors escaped unharmed from the assault on the event marking the 16th anniversary of the end of Soviet-backed rule in Afghanistan. A lawmaker seated about 30 yards from Karzai was among the dead.

Leave Taliban alone, Afghan president tells West
27.04.08. Guardian. Karzai says US and British troops are undermining his authority and stopping insurgents from laying down their arms. Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, has called on British and American troops to stop arresting Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan, saying that their operations undermined his government's authority and were counter-productive./ The stinging attack, made in an interview with the New York Times published yesterday, is the latest in a series of rows between Western governments with troops in Afghanistan and the elected leader of the country. Western diplomats expressed surprise at the Afghan leader's criticism and the Foreign Office played down the row yesterday.

Karzai Escapes Assassination Attempt
27.04.08. CBS/AP. Suspected Taliban militants attacked a ceremony attended by the Afghan president on Sunday, unleashing automatic weapons and rocket fire that sent foreign dignitaries and senior members of the government fleeing for cover. Three people were killed, including a lawmaker, and eight wounded. / President Hamid Karzai, Cabinet ministers and ambassadors escaped unharmed from the assault on the event marking the 16th anniversary of the end of Soviet-backed rule in Afghanistan. A lawmaker seated about 30 yards from Karzai was among the dead.

Karzai survives Taliban assassination attempt during military parade
28.04.08. Declan Walsh, Guardian.
· MP and two others killed as ambassadors flee scene · Insurgents claim raid shows weakness of Nato

Kabul Shambles Makes Sorry Spectacle for US, NATO
28.04.08. DEBKAfile Special Report. Some serious stock-taking in the Afghan capital and US-led NATO command has followed the Taliban’s success in breaking up the Afghan army parade in Kabul Sunday, April 27. Scheduled for the 16th anniversary of the Soviet Army’s defeat and expulsion from Afghanistan, it was staged to showcase the progress made by Hamid Karzai’s regime and its US-led NATO allies in the war against the country’s ousted Taliban rulers and their al Qaeda partners. Afghanistan’s government, tribal and military elite were seated on the platform together with Western dignitaries.

Afghanistan investigates deadly parade attack
28.04.08. AFP. Afghanistan was Monday investigating how militants [? Blackwater?] could get within 500 metres of President Hamid Karzai and other top leaders to carry out a brazen attack that left three Afghans dead.

….. Regurgitating spin

Taliban Attack on Karzai Aims to Undermine Democracy, NATO Says
28.04.08. Michael Heath, Bloomberg. The attack by Taliban militants, on President Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, yesterday was designed to undermine the country's democratic progress [sic: read occupation] , NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said.

After Karzai?

Rising Leader for Next Phase of Al Qaeda’s War
04.04.08. NY Times. The breakout from the Bagram Air Base by Mr. [Abu Yahya] Libi and three cellmates — they picked a lock, dodged their guards and traversed the base’s vast acreage to freedom — embarrassed American officials as deeply as it delighted the jihadist movement. In the nearly three years since then, Mr. Libi’s meteoric ascent within the leadership of Al Qaeda has proved to be even more troublesome for the authorities. / Mr. Libi, a Libyan believed to be in his late 30s, is now considered to be a top strategist for Al Qaeda, as well as one of its most effective promoters of global jihad, appearing in a dozen videos on militant Web sites in the past year, counterterrorism officials said. At a time when Al Qaeda seems more inspirational than operational, Mr. Libi stands out as a formidable star whose rise to prominence tracks the group’s growing emphasis on information in its war with the West.

US envoy may challenge for Afghan presidency
10.04.08. Thomas Coghlan, Telegraph. The Afghan-born US Ambassador to the United Nations,”> Zalmay Khalilzad, has signalled that he will run for the presidency of Afghanistan in elections next year. / Mr Khalilzad is a senior figure in the Bush administration who served as ambassador to Kabul before becoming ambassador to Iraq and then the UN.


Veterans - Soviets in Afghanistan - March 31 - Pt 1

Veterans - Soviets in Afghanistan - March 31 - Pt 2

3. Opium


Afghan Dilemmas: Defining Commitments
21.04.08. Seoul Times. A report by the Center on International Cooperation of New York University – Counter-narcotics to Stabilize Afghanistan: the false promise of crop eradication - released in the run-up to a major international meeting on Afghan policy in Tokyo, warns that U.S.-driven efforts to eradicate the country's opium crop, rather than deprive the Taliban of funding, will instead make more drug money available to fund insurgency, terrorism, and corruption.


Afghanistan's opium dilemma
26.03.08. James Emery, ME Times. [1 of 8] Afghanistan's annual opium crop is expected to rival last year's record yield to exceed a staggering 8,000 metric tons, or more than 90 percent of global production, according to a U.N. survey released in February, with the bulk being grown in Taliban strongholds.

The Opium Brides of Afghanistan
In the country's poppy-growing provinces, farmers are being forced to sell their daughters to pay loans.
29.03.08. Sami Yousafzai, Ron Moreau, NEWSWEEK.uruknet. Khalida's father says she's 9—or maybe 10. As much as Sayed Shah loves his 10 children, the functionally illiterate Afghan farmer can't keep track of all their birth dates. Khalida huddles at his side, trying to hide beneath her chador and headscarf. They both know the family can't keep her much longer. Khalida's father has spent much of his life raising opium, as men like him have been doing for decades in the stony hillsides of eastern Afghanistan and on the dusty southern plains. It's the only reliable cash crop most of those farmers ever had. Even so, Shah and his family barely got by: traffickers may prosper, but poor farmers like him only subsist. Now he's losing far more than money. "I never imagined I'd have to pay for growing opium by giving up my daughter," says Shah.

30.03.08. daily star.

Afghanistan: Tackling rising drug addiction in Parwan Province
30.03.08. relief web.

The Taliban opium connection
01.04.08. James Emery [2 of 8] Many people still mistakenly believe the Taliban were opposed to the drug trade due to the ban they placed on opium cultivation during their last year in power. However, even prior to capturing Kabul on Sept. 27, 1996, the Taliban made deals to allow opium cultivation and processing in return for political support and a cut of the profits.

Warlords using heroin cash to buy surface-to-air missiles
04.04.08. Jerome Starkey, Independent / antiwar.

Defeating the Taliban by Treating the World's Sick: A New Approach to the Afghan Poppy Trade
06.04.08. Lisa Gans, huffington post. Currently, the U.S. policy of poppy eradication in Afghanistan is futile, unimaginative and fails to take into account the economic needs of the Afghan population. It also overlooks a creative, ethical and sustainable solution to the problem of the opium trade in Afghanistan. Rather than trying to stomp out poppy production by force, the U.S. should be working with international partners to establish a framework to assist Afghan farmers in selling their poppy crops to organizations that can use them to make medicines for those in the developing world in need of palliative care.

Afghan opium – The farmer's perspective
08.04.08. James Emery, ME Times. [3 of 8] In Afghanistan opium poppies are much more likely to be grown in areas where security has broken down and power is wielded by the Taliban, who encourage farmers to grow the crop. It does not take a lot of prodding, since farmers can make about 10 to 20 times more money growing poppies than they can make on wheat [this is changing] , corn, cotton, fruit, or other legal crops. But, opium has increased expenses, including additional labor for harvesting and bribes to avoid eradication.

US federal judge refuses to dismiss charges against Afghan drug lord
09.04.08. Jurist. A judge in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] ruled Wednesday that an Afghan tribal chief charged [PDF text; JURIST report] with conspiring to violate US narcotics laws must face trial even though US officials lured him into the United States. Drug Enforcement Administration officials arrested Bashir Noorzai [IHT profile] in April 2005 after agents told him in 2004 that he would be given safe passage to and from the United States in return for meeting with American authorities. The judge held that even if US officials made the promises Noorzai contends, those promises did not include official immunity.

Hearts and Minds: Mercenaries Lure Afghan Warlord to US; US to Charge him for Growing Poppies
11.04.08. Chris Nolan, Majikthiase / alternet. Bashir Noorzai, the leader of a 1 million-person tribe in southern Afghanistan, had traveled to New York voluntarily in 2005, aiming to gain an audience with American diplomats who could help him shore up his power in Afghanistan. The trip had been organized by employees of a shadowy and short-lived security company,”>Rosete a Research & Consulting LLC, that was seeking to help the federal government conduct investigative work in foreign countries.

Afghanistan swaps heroin for wheat
08.04.08. Con Coughlin, telegraph. Market forces have been the deciding factor - with wheat prices doubling in the past year, and the street price of heroin falling, it is now more cost effective to grow wheat.

Afghanistan could feed its population and avert the world food crisis
18.04.08. asia news. All it would have to do is replace its massive opium production with wheat, and it could feed the Afghan population, 70% of which suffers from hunger. A study by the FAO, the UN food and agriculture agency, has revealed that by devoting more money to irrigation systems, this dream could become reality.

Afghan drugs and regional addiction rates
16.04.08. James Emery, ME Times. [4 of 8] The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime World Drug Report includes a section on the annual prevalence of abuse for opiates, cannabis, and other drugs as a percentage of the population aged 15 to 64 for each respective country monitored. These rates reflect the percentage of people who used the drug in the 12-month period prior to the survey. Morphine use is typically very small and included in the number of heroin users.

Afghan police seize 4.7 tons opium
20.04.08. Xinhuanet.

NATO undermining opium fight, Khalid says
21.04.08. Graeme Smith, globe and mail. Foreign troops have undermined the Afghan government's poppy-eradication campaign in Kandahar, the governor says, and the lack of support has added to the risks of the operation. … / He said his office notified the Canadian military three weeks ahead of time that his teams would be visiting certain locations in Maywand to destroy the opium fields. But on the appointed day, he said, NATO troops stationed nearby failed to help his men during an hour-long battle against Taliban fighters. .. / The foreign troops have been similarly unhelpful in Panjwai district, he said, where NATO soldiers warned his officers that no assistance would be available if they got into trouble. In Zhari district, he said, NATO troops stopped his teams from working. In Maywand, he said, tribal elders were told that the foreign troops are not against opium cultivation.

Freak weather destroys Afghan poppies
23.04.08. Independent. Scientists believe freezing winter temperatures followed by late rains and a possible drought may cut this year's yields, with some farmers losing half of their crop. / The fierce winter cold – which claimed hundreds of lives across Afghanistan – is thought to have stopped millions of poppy seeds from germinating. Late rains have then stunted many of the plants that survived.

Mystery buyer of Afghan poppy resin thrives on drug trade
23.04.08. times on line. No one knows what nationality he is – Afghan, Pakistani or Iranian [CIA?] – but during the winter he turns up with cash to pay the farmers to keep them in food and supplies, on the understanding that he gets the lion’s share of the poppy resin the following April or May.

Afghanistan's myriad drug smuggling routes
24.04.08. James Emery, me times. [Part 5] Heroin, morphine base, opium, and hashish are carried out of Afghanistan along traditional and newly developed smuggling routes that cross its porous borders. … [interesting] / Much of the surplus Afghan heroin is being diverted to Asia and onward to Australia and North America, with Pakistan being the logical transit country. Nigerian criminal groups, who are widely diversified and appear to be everywhere, have been at the forefront of developing and expanding heroin distribution routes in Asia and other parts of the world.

Spain captures one of world's top drug lords (Roundup)
24.04.08. monsters and critics. Mohammed Tayeb Ahmed was arrested Wednesday as he was driving around in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta on Morocco's northern coast.

McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld By Misha Glenny, Knopf, 2008


Misha Glenny and Stephen Harper on the War on Drugs

See all videos with Misha Glenny here

4. Pakistan

Satellite Image of Pakistan,


Will Wheat-Killer Fungus be used to spread GMO wheat?
30.03.08. F. William Engdahl, global research. A deadly fungus, known as Ug99, which kills wheat, has likely spread to Pakistan from Africa according to reports in the British New Scientist magazine. If true, that threatens the vital Asian Bread Basket including the Punjab region. The spread of the deadly virus, stem rust, against which an effective fungicide does not exist, comes as world grain stocks reach the lowest in four decades and government subsidized bio-ethanol production, especially in the USA, Brazil and EU are taking land out of food production at alarming rates. The deadly fungus is being used by Monsanto and the US Government to spread patented GMO seeds.

Pakistan to be made self-sufficient in edible oil production: Qamar
19.04.08. the that the government will give more incentives to the farmers to make Pakistan self-sufficient in the production of edible oil by decreasing import of palm oil.


The Taliban blowback
16.04.08; Declan Walsh, Guardian / ICH. The US enlisted the help of the mujahideen to fight the Soviet army in 1980s Afghanistan. But Pakistan, too, began fostering Islamist extremism. Now, Declan Walsh reports, it is suffering the violent consequences

Firing on Pak-Afghan border
16.04.08. asian age / ICH. Pakistan and Afghanistan security forces have exchanged fire according to officials, reports our Pakistan correspondent.

Al Qaeda still in Pakistan tribal areas, report says
17.04.08. CNN / ICH. Al Qaeda is still operating within Pakistan's mountainous tribal region bordering Afghanistan, and the United States lacks a "comprehensive" plan for meetings its national security goals there, a U.S. government study released Thursday said.

No US plan to fight terror in Pakistan tribal belt
17.04.08. AFP / ICH. More than six years after the September 11 attacks, the United States still does not have a coherent plan to destroy a key staging area for terrorist attacks into the country, according to an independent government watchdog.

Afghanistan detains 68 Pakistani nationals
19.04.08. AFP.

Update on earlier news ..

Pakistan envoy being ’held by Taliban’
20.04.08. pak tribune. Armed men surrounded Tariq Azizuddin in the footage, shown on Dubai-based al-Arabiya television.


FACTBOX-Leading figures in Pakistan's new government
31.03.08. REUTERS. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Defence Minister, Ahmed Mukhtar, Information Minister, Sherry Rehman, Rehman Malik, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Interior and Narcotics,

Pakistan constitutional reform package could restore ousted judges
07.04.08. The Jurist. ] Pakistani Law and Justice Minister Farooq H. Naik has prepared a constitutional package that could restore judges ousted by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf [official profile; JURIST news archive], the Pakistani Nation daily reported Monday. The package, which has reportedly been forwarded to Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani [official profile], calls for a parliamentary committee to limit the tenure of the chief justice to three years. The constitutional amendments also call for restoration of the 1973 Constitution and the abolition of Article 58(2)b [texts], which empowers the president to dissolve the government and the parliament.

Pakistan National Assembly calls for UN probe into Bhutto assassination
15.04.08. The Jurist.

Pakistan orders release of pro-Taliban militant leader
21.04.08. AP. There was no immediate comment from the government on the freeing of Sufi Muhammad, who is the father-in-law of the current militant leader in Pakistan's Swat Valley.



"Pakistan-U.S. Relations,"
CRS, updated March 27, 2008

"Major U.S. Arms Sales and Grants to Pakistan Since 2001" ,
CRS.updated April 23, 2008: (fact sheet)


Killing ourselves in Afghanistan
10.03.04. Matthew Cole, Salon. As is becoming increasingly clear, for at least two and a half years, and perhaps far longer, the Pakistani government has been receiving massive U.S. aid while its intelligence agency and elements of its military have been pursuing their own anti-American agenda within Afghanistan. The U.S. has given the Musharraf regime $10 billion since Sept. 11, 2001, but Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and factions within the Pakistan army, while helping the U.S. track al-Qaida with one hand, have been aiding the Taliban with the other, both inside Afghanistan and across the Pakistani border in Tribal Areas like North Waziristan. In part because of Pakistani help, the Taliban have made a steady comeback and American and Afghan casualties are at their highest annual levels since the war began. / Islamabad has denied complicity and Washington has maintained official silence, but the double-dealing is not surprising.

NATO chief wants Afghan talks with new Pakistan govt
02.04.08. AFP. Speaking ahead of the formal opening of a NATO summit in the Romanian capital Bucharest, Scheffer pleaded for more contact between the 47,000 strong [US] NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and the newly-elected government of Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.

Yet to be paid war on terror dues of 500 mln dlrs may cripple Pak economy
03.04.08. Irish Sun / ICH. Already facing an economic crisis-like situation, the new federal government in Pakistan might face trouble in controlling the rising budget deficit if the US doesn't reimburse 500 million dollars which it had committed to Islamabad to continue its fight against terror, especially in tribal areas.

U.S. Must Quit Bush's Chicken Little Politics in Pakistan, Cold Turkey
01.04.08. L. Gans, huffington post. Ever since the September 11th attacks, the Bush administration has been warning Americans that, but for the rule of military dictator General Pervez Musharraf, the sky would be falling. Musharraf, we were told, was what was standing between us and a flood of Islamic extremists who would unleash acts of terrorism around the world. In the war on terror, leaders were either with us or against us, and Bush knew, after talking with Musharraf, that the man was in our corner. He would keep the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in check. It's now time for the U.S. to recognize that events on the ground have proven Bush wrong, and to change the way we conduct our relations with Pakistan lest we hamper the chances of the newly-elected government for successful democratic rule. / Since the initial decision to back Musharraf, the Bush administration has developed tunnel vision in Pakistan and failed to examine the conduct of U.S. foreign policy and what we were getting in return for our support. Never mind that ISI, Pakistan's intelligence service, under Musharraf's direction, had helped to keep the Taliban in power in Afghanistan. Never mind that, despite the billions of dollars in aid the U.S. has given to Pakistan over the past six years, mostly to its military, Musharraf has failed to explain exactly what specific benefit he has provided to the U.S. In fact, he has been widely criticized by U.S. policy-makers, scholars, and even NATO commanders who have been concerned that Musharraf has not done enough to combat al-Qaeda and has been giving sanctuary to extremists in Pakistan's tribal areas that border Afghanistan. Much has been written about whether the U.S. has actually benefited from its relationship with Musharraf, and exactly how much has been spent with astonishingly little oversight. Despite this, the Bush administration has continued to deliver enormous sums of money to Musharraf and tout him as a great U.S. ally in the fight against terrorism.

Pakistan: From Counter-Terrorism to Counterinsurgency
02.04.08. newsweek / Washington post. Nearly half of Guantanamo Bay Prison is full of al-Qaeda operatives caught in Pakistan, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, the chief plotter of 9/11. But selective treatment of the Taliban in hopes of finding a political solution, a reduction in human intelligence, and a failure to ‘sell’ the war to the Pakistani people have overshadowed prior victories. Today the realization is growing, among military and civilian leaders alike, that “America’s War” is “Pakistan’s War” and that mistakes have been made.

Pakistan says CIA remarks not helpful to trace al-Qaeda
02.04.08. Xinhuanet.

Tomgram: The Natives of Planet Earth
03.04.08. Tom Englehardt, Tomgram. “[The U.S.] Vice President arrived in Baghdad not long before the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki launched its recent (failed) offensive against cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia in the southern oil city of Basra. To "discuss" their needs in their President's eternal War on Terror, two of their top diplomats, a deputy secretary of state and an assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs, arrived in Pakistan -- to the helpless outrage of the local press -- on the very day newly elected Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani was being given the oath of office. ("I don't think it is a good idea for them to be here on this particular day… right here in Islamabad, meeting with senior politicians in the new government, trying to dictate terms..." was the way Zaffar Abbas, editor of the newspaper ! Dawn, put it.)

US Fearmongering

Pak-based militants may attack US: Bush
13.04.08. Times of India/ ICH. President George W Bush believes another 9/11 attack on the United Sates should be considered a reality, and warned that such an attack could originate from Pakistan [? or the white house?].

US Meddling

New Pak Government says no to unilateral US operation
03.04.08. thaiindian / ICH. New Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that the right of hot pursuit to attack targets within Pakistan couldnt be granted to Washington. We cannot allow any other country to take action inside our territory. This is a matter of sovereignty and we cannot compromise on it, Qureshi said.

Rice for civilian control over Pak forces
16.04.08. the The key sentence in this ‘democracy’ story is: “Rice believed the coming of a democratic government in Pakistan is a new strategic opportunity”. / The top American diplomat said the US engagement with Pakistan will be across a broad front and that the US needs to engage with all institutions of the country.

US offers Pakistan government $7bn in non-military [sic] aid to fight terrorism
17.04.08. J. Boerger, Guardian. · Civilian cabinet told drone air strikes will be curbed· New strategy marks break with Musharraf and army


US to provide military aid to Pakistan: Gates
19.04.08. The United State will provide Pakistan with spare helicopter parts and night vision apparatus to help the latter’s fight against terrorism, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has said. .. the Pakistani troops would also be trained for night manoeuvres.

U.S. concerned about possible Pakistan-Taliban talks
23.04.08. Xinhuanet . "We are concerned about it and what we encourage them to do is to continue to fight against the terrorists and to not disrupt any security or military operations that are ongoing in order to help prevent a safe haven for terrorists there," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino told reporters.

U.S. angry as Pakistan seeks peace deal with Islamists
23.04.08. mcclatchy. — Pakistan's new government is negotiating a peace deal with militants in the Taliban-controlled Waziristan region, the rugged mountainous area that's thought to be Osama bin Laden's refuge. / The move reflects the changing approach of America's longtime ally in the war on terror, and news of the talks set off alarm bells in Washington Wednesday. "We are concerned about it, and what we encourage [sic] them to do is to continue to fight against the terrorists and to not disrupt any security or military operations that are ongoing in order to help prevent a safe haven for terrorists there," said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino. "We have been concerned about these types of approaches because we don't think that they work."
But EU reaches out to Pakistan` (23.04.08)

Pakistan protests ISAF, Afghan forces firing, intrusion into its territory
24.04.08. kuna / ICH. Pakistan Thursday lodged strongly-worded protest with Afghanistan and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) over firing and intrusion incident that left one paramilitary trooper dead and wounded another.
and Protest lodged with Nato, Afghan forces over border shelling

U.S. and Afghans doubt Pakistan's impending deal with militants
25.04.08. IHT.

US-led NATO planes, choppers cross Pak bord
25.04.08. daily India.


Taliban targets Afghan-Nato 'lifeline' (24 Apr 2008)


Pakistan denies report on nuclear waste dump in Afghanistan
02.04.08. wiredispatch.

Nuclear plant and surrounding villages evacuated in Pakistan
10.04.08. feeds/bignewsnetwork. The Geo news channel which reported the leak, did not report what had caused the problem.

No compromise on nuclear programme, NA assured
19.04.08. the / anti-war. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmud Qureshi assured the National Assembly on Friday that the government would not compromise on the country’s nuclear programme and ruled out the possibility of any foreigner attending the National Command and Control Authority (NCCA) meeting.

US Meddling some more …

US seeks direct access to Pakistan's N-arsenal
14.04.08. ia.rediff / ICH. The United States has sought direct access to the body controlling the country's nuclear assets for an American official to be posted at its embassy in Islamabad.

Pak refuses access to nuclear arsenal
16.04.08. ia/rediff / ICH. Pakistan on Wednesday ruled out giving any foreign official access to the National Command Authority, which is responsible for controlling the country's nuclear arsenal.

Pakistan tests long-range ballistic missile
19.04.08. Reuters/wieredispatch.

Pak tests 2nd N-missile in three days
22.04.08. times of India/ICH.


China proposes strategic partnership with Pakistan
11.04.08. thai Indian. Hu suggested the two countries act in close cooperation at various international and regional forums such as the UN, the Cooperation Organisation, the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations, and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.

5. Aid


Falling short: Aid effectiveness in Afghanistan
March 2008, Matt Waldman, Oxfam.


Afghanistan adrift in misplaced aid
29.03.08. Aunohita Mojumdar, Asia Times. Discussing the Oxfam Report, Aid Effectiveness in Afghanistan (see Report, above)

Profiting from foreign aid
31.03.08. razor’s edge. Oxfam has found that more than a third of aid funds pledged to Afghanistan has not been delivered - and that 40% of the money spent- actually returns to donor countries as profit for contractors undertaking the aid work.

NATO States Falter on Afghan Aid, Including to War Victims
01.04.08. Common Dreams. War Victims Advocates Call on Members to Fulfill Commitments and Donate to a Fund for Civilian Casualties. Following a new report stating that NATO member states have fallen drastically short in delivering promised aid to Afghanistan, Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC) today called on NATO members to remedy this failure, including by donating to the Post-Operations Humanitarian Relief Fund – a program created to immediately assist civilians caught in the crossfire of the war. The Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief (ACBAR) released a report [see above]Tuesday faulting many countries for failing to deliver 10 billion dollars in promised humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. The report noted that Afghanistan depends heavily on foreign aid and failure to follow through with such pledges is a significant factor in the country’s continued slow rate of development. CIVIC noted that in a striking example of lackluster aid donations, only seven out of twenty-six NATO members have given to the Post-Operations Humanitarian Relief Fund since its inception over a year ago.

Afghan failure to meet IMF target casts doubt on debt relief: a report
02.04.08. The influential British daily ‘Financial Times’ has reported that International aid and debt relief for Afghanistan has been thrown into doubt by the country’s failure to honour an agreement with the International Monetary Fund and warnings that its three-year development master plan could be rejected./ At the same time, the paper said, the World Bank and other donors have told the government that the latest drafts of the Afghan National Development Strategy, a (pdf) document to which future funding and debt relief is pegged, is of such poor quality that it will be rejected if submitted in its current form.

Aid agency warns of flood threat
03.04.08. UK press. An aid agency has warned that flash flooding and drought could hit an area of Afghanistan already blighted by its worst winter in 25 years. / International development agency ActionAid is distributing goats, cattle and poultry to 1,000 families most at need in the northern Jawzjan province after thousands of animals died during the winter. Without livestock the families would be destitute, ActionAid said.

An exit strategy in Afghanistan
04.04.08. Patrick Seale, gulf news. So far, since 2001, the US has spent $127bn on the war in Afghanistan. One can only weep at such a waste of resources. /In contrast, total international aid to Afghanistan - on which the Kabul government depends for 90 per cent of its expenditure - has averaged only $7m a day since 2001. Half the promised aid has failed to arrive - there is a $5bn shortfall - while two-third of the aid was not channelled through government institutions at all. / An astonishing statistic is that American forces in Afghanistan cost the American tax-payer $100m a day - or, currently, $36bn a year. So far, since 2001, the US has spent $127bn on the war in Afghanistan. One can only weep at such a waste of resources. / In contrast, total international aid to Afghanistan - on which the Kabul government depends for 90 per cent of its expenditure - has averaged only $7m a day since 2001. Half the promised aid has failed to arrive - there is a $5bn shortfall - while two-third of the aid was not channelled through government institutions at all. / These facts and figures are taken from a recent report by Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief (ACBAR). / What the ACBAR report makes damningly clear is that some 40 per cent of the aid money finds its way back to the donor countries, one way or another, mainly in the form of salaries to expatriates. An expatriate consultant can cost between $250,000 and $500,000 a year.

Another poor year for overseas aid
05.04.08. Guardian. Developing countries are betrayed by richer nations failing to fulfil their pledges. Growing alarm over the amount of global aid to the developing world was justified yesterday when the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said that financial assistance to the world's poorest countries had fallen for the second year in a row. … / The OECD report shows only seven countries met or surpassed the 0.7% target, with Norway (0.95%) and Sweden (0.93%) topping the chart./ Though the United States made the largest donation ($21.75bn), it contributed lowest percentage of national income, coming bottom of the charts at 0.16%. The US spends the equivalent of $73 per American each year on aid, but $1,763 a person on defence.

U.S. readies $4B pledge to Afghanistan
06.04.08. USA today / ICH. France will host the meeting on June 14 and has set a broad goal of raising $12 and 15 billion to fund Afghan reconstruction projects through 2014. The United States is looking to contribute a minimum of 25% of that total, the official said.

UN seeks impartial Afghan role as it coordinates aid, development effort
09.04.08. IHT. Kai Eide appeared eager to create a distinction between the U.N.'s humanitarian and political mission and that of international military forces, which are engaged in daily battles with Taliban militants

Iran Is Not Providing 'Militarily Significant' Aid to the Taliban, Says A U.S. General in Afghanistan
10.04.08. usnews. A year ago, Gen. Peter Pace, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, charged that Iranian-made weapons were being supplied to the Taliban. It was the first time that such a charge had been made. "We have intercepted weapons in Afghanistan headed for the Taliban that were made in Iran," Pace said last April, adding that it was unclear "which Iranian entity" was doing the shipping of the arms.
Two aid workers reported missing in Afghanistan
10.04.08. AFP. German humanitarian organisation KinderBerg International said on Thursday that two of its workers are missing in Afghanistan. / Abdul Rab, a 44-year-old Afghan medical doctor, and his driver, Abdul Hafiz, left Kabul for Kunduz in the far north on Tuesday, but failed to arrive at their destination, the organisation said in a statement.

Are Afghanistan's aid millions well spent?
13.04.08. George Arney, BBC. An array of foreign aid agencies are delivering assistance to the Afghan people to help them rebuild their shattered country. / But are there too many different groups all trying to do the same thing - and are the billions of dollars pouring into the country being well spent?

[NB. As in Iraq, “reconstruction aid” does not appear to go to the Afghan people and their needs, but rather, for example, towards roads leading to “U.S. strategic interests.”

US Effort to Rebuild From War Criticized
18.04.08. Karen DeYoung, Washington Post/ Truth out. Oversight of teams in Iraq, Afghanistan faulted in Hill report. / The U.S. effort to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan through local reconstruction teams lacks clear goals, organizational structure and lines of command, according to a new congressional report. … / The United States has been in Iraq for five years "and in Afghanistan even longer," the subcommittee's chairman, Rep. Vic Snyder (D-Ark.), said yesterday. "If the current [Provincial Reconstruction Teams] structure was working well, we should have a smooth operation now. But we don't." / Rep. Todd Akin (Mo.), the subcommittee's ranking Republican, agreed. "The organizational structure is a little goofy," he said, adding that it had been "put together with glue and baling wire."

India’s road to Afghanistan
20.04.08. dna India. India is involved in the reconstruction of war-torn Afghanistan in a major way and has pledged millions of dollars in aid, for a slew of projects starting from building roads to schools, transmission lines, hospitals, digging tube wells as well as building a swanky new Parliament building, the symbol of democracy in Kabul. / But Indian aid goes beyond this to train and prepare Afghan officials to run the administration.

US urged to relook at its foreign aid programme
24.04.08. SABC. US based international advocacy groups say the country's foreign assistance programmes need to be overhauled in order to adequately address the objectives they were intended for. / The US Congress is reviewing the country's programmes amid high expectations that they might be able to alleviate the impact of high food and petrol prices on the poor people around the world.

6. United States

The love of liberty is the love of others. The love of power is the love of ourselves.” William Hazlitt, Political Essays 1819.


Strategic Assets
03.04.08. Lindsey R. Mayer, capital eye. Includes lists from Members of Congress
• Committees
• Congressional Races
• Political Parties


US Troops

Invisible Wounds of War
Psychological and Cognitive Injuries, Their Consequences, and Services to Assist Recovery

RAND Corporation. 17 April 2008.


Ex-Ranger guilty of in death of comrade
02.04.08. wiredispatch. A Maryland jury has found a former Army Ranger guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of a fellow Ranger he had served with in Afghanistan.

Heavy Troop Deployments Are Called Major Risk
02.04.08. Ann Scott Tyson, Washington Post / Truthout. reports, "Senior Army and Marine Corps leaders said yesterday that the increase of more than 30,000 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan has put unsustainable levels of stress on U.S. ground forces and has put their readiness to fight other conflicts at the lowest level in years."

Body armor questioned
02.04.08. AP. The Army can't be sure some of its body armor met safety standards, partly because it didn't do proper paperwork on initial testing of the protective vests, a Defense Department audit said. … The inspector general reviewed $5.2 billion worth of Army and Marine Corps contracts for body armor from 2004 through 2006.

U.S. will send more troops to Afghanistan regardless of Iraq situation: Gates
04.04.08. 680 news/legitgov. Gates told reporters while flying to this Persian Gulf country from a NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania, that U.S. President George W. Bush made the pledge to other allied leaders at the summit on Thursday.

Pentagon's Debt Collectors Accused of Ripping Off Soldiers
04.04.08. ABC / legitgov. Suit: Military Deducted Money From Service Members' Gov't Benefits or Tax Refunds U.S. soldiers and veterans have been illegally hit up by Pentagon debt collectors for millions of dollars in payments over military credit card debt, according to the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen. Public Citizen and consumer lawyers have filed a class-action lawsuit against the Army and Air Force Exchange Services (AAFES), which issues credit cards to U.S. service members to buy goods at military stores.

Bush Pledges to Send More Troops to Afghanistan
05.04.08. James Gerstenzang, LA Times / Truthout. U.S. officials previously made it clear that the foreign force of 59,000, including 31,000 Americans, was insufficient. But they had not committed the U.S. to providing more troops. / The president did not specify how many additional troops the U.S. would send.

Bush plans to announce return to 12 month combat tours: official
09.04.08. AFP. President George W. Bush plans to announce a return to shorter 12-month tours for US Army troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, ending 15-month tours that have strained the force, a US defense official said Wednesday.

Pentagon issues pocket lie detector to troops
09.04.08. David Edwards/Nick Juliano, Raw Story. The Pentagon is planning to give US troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan "hand-held lie detectors" aimed at rooting out potential insurgents and terrorists. [NB: How about issuing some to those who need them the most?]

US Troop Levels Up in Afghanistan
10.04.08. Jason Straziuso, AP. The 101st has 7,200 troops in Afghanistan, several hundred more than the 82nd. Its arrival, coupled with the deployment of some 3,500 Marines to the country's south, has pushed the total number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan to over 32,000, part of a steady rise in force levels as violence has increased over the last two years.

Troop levels reach record high in Afghanistan
11.04.08. usa today / anti war.

Marines immobile in Afghan red tape
11.04.08. Baltimore sun / antiwar. Disagreements and coordination problems high within the international military command are delaying combat operations for 2,500 Marines who arrived here last month to help root out Taliban forces, according to military officers here. / For weeks the Marines -- with their light armor, infantry, artillery and a squadron of transport and attack helicopters and Harrier strike fighters -- have been virtually quarantined at the international air base here, unable to operate beyond the base perimeter.

Recruiters face lowest propensity in 25 years
12.04.08. Andrew Tilghman, marine corps times. A long-term downward trend reversed briefly after Sept. 11, 2001, up until the 2003 invasion of Iraq. But that bump has disappeared, as young men are less drawn to serve in uniform than at any time since the earliest days of the volunteer force a generation ago.

General urges longer tours
15.04.08. Baltimore sun. As the Bush administration moves to end 15-month troop deployments, the top commander of U.S. and allied forces here said tours of that length are critical to making progress in the war against Afghanistan's Taliban and other insurgents. He also said he believes it will be necessary to maintain current troop levels here through 2011. / Army Gen. Dan K. McNeill, the four-star commander of the 57,000 U.S. and coalition troops fighting in Afghanistan, said in an interview Sunday that the greatest gains in the war have come from soldiers serving the long tours.

Study says 300,000 U.S. troops suffer mental problems
17.04.08. Reuters, ABC. About 300,000 U.S. troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder or depression, but about half receive no care, an independent study said on Thursday.

Combat Stress May Cost U.S. Up to $6 Billion
18.04.08. Ann Scott Tyson, Washington Post. About 300,000 U.S. military personnel who have deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or major depression, a mental toll that will cost the nation as much as $6.2 billion over two years, according to a < href=""> Rand Corp. report released yesterday. Photo and graph.

Mental cost of the occupation
18.04.08. Imad Khadduri, Free Iraq/uruknet. "About 300,000 U.S. troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder or depression, but about half receive no care, an independent study [RAND] said on Thursday.

Distressed war veterans get day in court
20.04.08. Reuters. Veterans of the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere who say they have systematically been denied proper medical care will get their day in federal court starting on Monday in San Francisco. / The lawsuit before a judge in U.S. District Court for Northern California claims the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs was unable to deal with the growing number of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, cases emerging from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

At War With Ourselves: Battling Sexual Violence in the Military
21.04.08. Dana Goldstein, RH Reality Check / Alternet. U.S. servicewomen are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire. It's time we dealt with this national disgrace.

US army increases use of moral waivers to meet demand for troops
21.04.08. E. Schor, Guardian. The US army doubled its use of "moral waivers" for enlisted soldiers last year to cope with the stress of the Iraq war, allowing convicted sex offenders, people convicted of making terrorist threats and child abusers into the military, according to new records released today. / The army gave out 511 moral waivers to soldiers with felony convictions last year, relaxing its recruiting standards in order to admit them. Criminals got 249 army waivers in 2006, a sign that the high demand for US forces in Iraq has forced a sharp increase in the number of criminals allowed on the battlefield. / The felons accepted into the army and marines included 87 soldiers convicted of assault or maiming, 130 convicted of non-marijuana drug offences, seven convicted of making terrorist threats, and two convicted of indecent behaviour with a child. Waivers were also granted to 500 burglars and thieves, 19 arsonists and 9 sex offenders. [are these people also in Afghanistan?]

General: Army needs 'stop-loss' until late 2009
21.04.08. Pauline Jelinek, Chicago Tribune / legitgov. It will be more than a year before the Army can end the unpopular practice of forcing soldiers to stay in the service beyond their retirement or re-enlistment dates, a top official said Monday.

Army's M4 Carbine Controversy Rages
21.04.08. Dan Dupont, wired. No weapon is more important to tens of thousands of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan than the carbine rifle. And for well over a decade, the military has relied on one company,
Colt Defense of Hartford, Conn., to make the M4s they trust with their lives./ Now, as Congress considers spending millions more on the guns, this exclusive arrangement is being criticized as a bad deal for American forces as well as taxpayers, according to interviews and research conducted by The Associated Press.

" What we have is a fat contractor in Colt who's gotten very rich off our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," says Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.

Sending in the Marines (to Recruit Women)
21.04.08. Douglas Quenqua, NY Times / Truthout

CBS: Cover-up of veteran suicide risk
21.04.08. Raw Story. A CBS reporter cites 12,000 attempted suicides by veterans per year, supporting the charge that the VA has an epidemic on its hands.

VA Debated PR Plan on Vets' Suicides
(22.04.08. Jason Leopold, Consortium)

VA Hid Suicide Risk, Internal E-Mails Show
21.04.08. WBZTV/legitgov.

Vets of Bush's Wars Sue the VA: 'More than Half of Wounded Troops Slipping Through the Cracks'
22.04.08. Aaron Glantz, AlterNet. A national class action lawsuit brought by Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans went to trial on April 21. The suit, known as Veterans for Common Sense vs. Peake was brought by two veterans organizations who argue the Department of Veterans Affairs is systematically denying hundreds of thousands of wounded veterans needed medical treatment, while forcing them to wait months or even years for the disability benefits they've earned. .. "If you're suicidal you can't wait a month... People placed on waiting lists have killed themselves."

VA confirms 18 vets commit suicide every day
22.04.08. Jason Leopold, online journal. In a stunning admission, top officials at the Veterans Health Administration confirmed that the agency's own statistics show that an average of 126 veterans per week -- 6,552 veterans per year -- commit suicide, according to an internal email distributed to several VA officials.

Democrats seek resignation of top VA mental health official
22.04.08. Matthew Daly, AP. [better seek resignation of Bush Co?}

Sharpened Tone in Debate Over Culture of Military
23.04.08. NY Times. Mr. Gates departed sharply from this tone of reconciliation in two major addresses delivered Monday. In them, he made public deep misgivings about a military culture that squelches independent thinking, and he offered a glimpse into a significant fight over how other parts of the military establishment should support ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. … / Mr. Gates said he was convinced that the next war [?] would not be a conventional conflict, and that “asymmetrical conflict will be the dominant battlefield for decades to come, and procurement and training have to focus on that reality.”

U.S. Gen. Petraeus picked to lead Iraq and Afghan wars
23.04.08. Reuters.

The Hidden Architecture of U.S. Militarism
24.04.08. Jacqueline Cabassoscoop, nz. The Encarta Encyclopedia describes militarism as “advocacy of an ever-stronger military as a primary goal of society, even at the cost of other social priorities and liberties.” And it relates militarism to chauvinism, fascism, and national socialism. As uncomfortable as it may be for many, this chilling definition accurately describes the historical trajectory and current reality of U.S. national security policy. The threatened first use of nuclear weapons remains at the heart of that policy, and at the core of StratCom’s mission. / In many ways, StratCom embodies the hidden architecture of U.S. militarism. By architecture, I mean structural underpinnings and plans that provide coherence. I include both policies and “hardware” (i.e. delivery systems and manufacturing plants). / Much of this architecture is “hidden in plain sight.”

Marines to help train Afghanistan police force
26.04.08. Baltimore Sun. Officers will help fight Taliban, drug trade.


America's Forgotten War
22.04.08. John McHugh, Guardian. Photojournalist John D McHugh on the US's other war


Winter Soldier 2008 Testimony

America’s Forgotten War

U.S. $s

GAO Blasts Weapons Budget
01.04.08. Dana Hedgpeth, Washington Post / legitgov. Cost Overruns Hit $295 Billion. The Government Accountability Office found that 95 major systems have exceeded their original budgets by a total of $295 billion, bringing their total cost to $1.6 trillion, and are delivered almost two years late on average. In addition, none of the systems that the GAO looked at had met all of the standards for best management practices during their development stages.

Pentagon's weapon spending surges to $1.6 trillion in 2007
02.04.08. Xinhuanet. The U.S. Defense Department's spending on weapon systems has surged to 1.6 trillion dollars in 2007, doubling from 790 billion dollars in 2000, said a congressional report released on Tuesday.

US Lawmakers Have As Much As $196 Million Invested In "Defense" Companies
03.04.08. AP / ICH. The review of lawmakers' 2006 financial disclosure statements, by the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics, suggests that members' holdings could pose a conflict of interest as they decide the fate of Iraq war spending. Several members who earned the most from defense contractors have plum committee or leadership assignments, including Democratic Sen. John Kerry, independent Sen. Joseph Lieberman and House Republican Whip Roy Blunt. The study found that more Republicans than Democrats hold stock in defense companies, but that the Democrats who are invested had significantly more money at stake. In 2006, for example, Democrats held at least $3.7 million (€2.3 million) in military-related investments, compared to Republican investments of $577,500 (€372,000).

Bush Administration Wastes Trillions in Worthless Weapons
03.04.08. Robert Scheer, Truthdig/Alternet. A trillion dollars here, a trillion dollars there, and soon you're talking real money. But when it comes to reporting on what the Bush war legacy has cost American taxpayers, the media have been shockingly indifferent to the highest run-up in military spending since World War II. Even the devastating defense spending audit released Monday by the Government Accountability Office documenting the enormous waste in every single U.S. advanced weapons system failed to provoke the outrage it, and five equally scathing previous annual audits, deserved.

US Lawmakers Invested in Iraq, Afghanistan Wars
07.04.08. Abid Aslam, Inter Press Service. Truthout. U.S. lawmakers have a financial interest in military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, a review of their accounts has revealed. / Members of Congress invested nearly 196 million dollars of their own money in companies that receive hundreds of millions of dollars a day from Pentagon contracts to provide goods and services to U.S. armed forces, say nonpartisan watchdog groups. .. / In all, 151 current members of Congress - more than one-fourth of the total - have invested between 78.7 million dollars and 195.5 million dollars in companies that received defence contracts of at least 5.0 million dollars , according to CRP.

US needs more war funds by June-Bush budget chief
16.04.08. Reuters, Wiredispatch / anti-war. The White House Wednesday warned that Congress must approve additional money for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by the end of May or risk the start of Defense Department layoff notices.

Huge War Supplemental in Works
16.04.08. CQ Politics

Bush Seeks $9 Billion for Biodefenses
16.04.08. nti.

White House vows to block add-ons to war funding bill
16.04.08. Andrew Taylor, AP. The White House defended its $108 billion request for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on Wednesday, only to be upbraided by senators in both parties for taking a hard line against efforts to add money for domestic programs.

How US Capitalism Will End US Military Adventurism
16.04.08. Peter Vickers, ICH. You will not only lose your economic advantages in the fall to come, but harder to bear will be the loss of your illusions about your morality, your superiority, your supremacy, and your vaunted exceptionalism. As in your blind aggressions in foreign lands the innocent within America will be collateral damage.

Bush to veto war bill revision
17.04.08. freep. White House budget director Jim Nussle said Wednesday that President George W. Bush would veto any attempt to hijack war-spending legislation by lawmakers seeking to add money for domestic programs.

Retailers Get Stingy With Data
17.04.08. dealbook.blogs NYT / ICH. J.C. Penney says the tumultuous economy is making it impossible to predict earnings over the next year. Macy’s asserts that providing monthly sales information is too distracting and confusing. And Starbucks argues that annual profit estimates are unnecessary. .. / Faced with an economic slump, a growing number of national retailers are abandoning the longstanding tradition of reporting monthly store sales and forecasting annual profits.

Life after Bush - the US defence budget
18.04.08. Matthew Smith, Janes. The administration of US President George W Bush has overseen the largest defence spending increase in real terms for 30 years.

War Funding Bill Will Put Pelosi's Strength to the Test
20.04.08. Washington Post.

FOREX-Dollar falls on Bank of America results; euro up
21.04.08. Reuters. The dollar fell on Monday after unexpectedly [sic] weak profits from Bank of America dampened investors' optimism that U.S. financial companies may escape the pinch of the crisis in global credit markets.

General Dynamics' Profit Rises 32 Percent
24.04.08. Washington Post. General Dynamics said its earnings were up 32 percent in the first quarter, helped by increased sales in its divisions that make tanks, armored vehicles and other equipment. / Profit at the Falls Church company was $572 million ($1.42 a share), up from $434 million ($1.06) in the comparable period a year earlier. Sales grew 11 percent, to $7.01 billion.

Democrats May Push $172 Billion for War
25.04.08. Maya Schenwar, Truthout. While America is busy deciding which of the Democratic candidates is most likely to end the war, Congress is debating behind closed doors how much of a priority ending the war should be.

Many states appear [sic] to be in recession
25.04.08. AP / ICH. The finances of many states have deteriorated so badly that they appear to be in a recession, regardless of whether that's true for the nation as a whole, a survey of all 50 state fiscal directors concludes.

The Pentagon Strangles Our Economy: Why the U.S. Has Gone Broke
26.04.08. Le Monde. Chalmers Johnson. The military adventurers in the Bush administration have much in common with the corporate leaders of the defunct energy company Enron. Both groups thought that they were the "smartest guys in the room" -- the title of Alex Gibney's prize-winning film on what went wrong at Enron. The neoconservatives in the White House and the Pentagon outsmarted themselves. They failed even to address the problem of how to finance their schemes of imperialist wars and global domination. / Our short tenure as the world's lone superpower has come to an end.

29.04.08. CNBC / C. Baker. MasterCard, a credit- and debit-card network, said first-quarter earnings more than doubled, beating expectations, helped by the weak dollar and increased customer spending on a growing number of outstanding cards, pushing its shares up more than 9 percent. / The Purchase, N.Y.-based company said quarterly net income was $446.9 million, or $3.38 a share, compared with $214.9 million, or $1.57 a share, a year earlier.


The Great American Dollar Collapse

US Food Rationing

Food Rationing Confronts Breadbasket of the World
21.04.08. Josh Gerstein, NY sun / LEGITGOv/C.Baker. Many parts of America, long considered the breadbasket of the world, are now confronting a once unthinkable phenomenon: food rationing. Major retailers in New York, in areas of New England, and on the West Coast are limiting purchases of flour, rice, and cooking oil as demand outstrips supply. There are also anecdotal reports that some consumers are hoarding grain stocks. [Taking a page from the Exxon Mobil playbook, Bush's agri-terrorists have declared war on the US consumer.]

Food rationing across NYC
23.04.08. Peak Oil Store. This was posted to by Xerces, formerly known as Mithrates here at LATOC. Sounds like his is freaking out that the rationing might spread from the outer burroughs to the his neck of the woods where the Wall Street types hang out.

Rice price rises as curbs imposed
24.04.08. US rice prices advanced above $25 for the first time today as Wal-Mart's Sam's Club warehouse unit restricted purchases of some types of rice in the US.

Shops Ration Sales of Rice as US Buyers Panic
24.04.08. Andrew Clark, Rory Carroll, and Julian Borger, Guardian/truthout. New York and Caracas - The global food crisis reached the United States yesterday as big retailers began to ration sales of rice in response to bulk purchases by customers alarmed by rocketing prices of staples. / The world price of rice has risen 68% since the start of 2008, but in some US shops the price has doubled in weeks.

Rice rationing for US bulk retailers
24.04.08. RTE / ICH. Two major US bulk retailers are rationing the sale of large bags of rice to consumers amid a growing global food crisis marked by skyrocketing prices and heavy pressure on demand..

Internet and Media


Military Report: Secretly 'Recruit or Hire Bloggers'
31.03.08. Wired/ICH.

Your Internet provider is watching you
04.04.08. AP / MSNBC.

The Already Big Thing on the Internet: Spying on Users
05.04.08. ADAM COHEN, NY Times. n 1993, the dawn of the Internet age, the liberating anonymity of the online world was captured in a well-known New Yorker cartoon. One dog, sitting at a computer, tells another: "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog." Fifteen years later, that anonymity is gone.

Sensitive military equipment for sale online
11.04.08. smh – au./legitgov. Stolen and sensitive US military equipment, including fighter jet parts wanted by Iran and nuclear biological protective gear, has been available to the highest bidder on popular internet sales sites, according to congressional investigators. / Using undercover identities, investigators purchased a dozen defence-related items on the auction site eBay and the online network Craigslist from January 2007 through to last month and received the items "no questions asked."

GAO: Stolen U.S. military gear sold on eBay, Craigslist
14.04.08. computerworld / legitgov. Few safeguards found to prevent the sale of defense equipment, agency says. Stolen and sensitive U.S. military equipment, including body armor, night vision goggles, and gear to protect against nuclear or biochemical warfare, are being sold on Craigslist and eBay, a GAO report says.

EU to Criminalize Internet-Based Incitement to Terrorism
19.04.08. dw-world

EI exclusive: a pro-Israel group's plan to rewrite history on Wikipedia
21.04.08. electronic intifada. A pro-Israel pressure group is orchestrating a secret, long-term campaign to infiltrate the popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia to rewrite Palestinian history, pass off crude propaganda as fact, and take over Wikipedia administrative structures to ensure these changes go either undetected or unchallenged. / A series of emails by members and associates of the pro-Israel group CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America), provided to The Electronic Intifada (EI), indicate the group is engaged in what one activist termed a "war" on Wikipedia.

FBI wants widespread monitoring of 'illegal' Internet activity
23.04.08. / ICH. Mueller seemed to suggest that the bureau should have a broad "omnibus" authority to conduct monitoring and surveillance of private-sector networks as well.


Bush officials mount campaign against media shield bill
03.04.08. wlfi/legitgov. Attorney General Michael Mukasey and other administration officials say the "Free Flow of Information Act" could harm national security and would encourage more leaks of classified information. The officials have written letters to senators stating their objections.

81% in Poll Say Nation Is on the Wrong Track
04.04.08. NY Times. In the poll, 81 percent of respondents said they believed “things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track,” up from 69 percent a year ago and 35 percent in early 2002.

(The Late) M.L. King Still Silenced
04.04.08.Jeff Cohen, consortium. in his last years of life, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke out forcefully against the Vietnam War and American militarism, drawing cold contempt from major U.S. media outlets. Now, 40 years after his death, the news media still ignores one of King's last great battles.

A Time to Break Silence Rev. Martin Luther King, (04.04.67) with transcript.

Gullible Media Never Figures Out Bush Administration Lies
13.03.08. media monitors. It is hard to know what is actually taught at journalism school. Perhaps the emphasis is on good personal grooming, dental hygiene, and sentence syntax. / Without doubt, there is no emphasis on truth seeking through journalism, or even common sense. This is particularly true with regards to the Bush Administration's warmongering in Iraq and even in Afghanistan.

Beyond the Speed of Lies
17.04.08. Rand Clifford, best Cyrano. Astonishing as it is, the daily load of lies dumped on Americans by mainstream corporate media (CorpoMedia), lurking a step beyond is the reality of most of the lies finding belief. Respect of being told the truth is not earned by swallowing whatever lies are in the load—that simply earns what we have: CorpoMedia as the propaganda arm of our corporate-fascist federal government (CorpoGov). Millions still seem to believe that some kind of law dictates media honesty. But to CorpoMedia, truth, facts…largely illusion, often an enemy. Media conglomeration has left us with only a few monster corporations controlling virtually all mainstream “news”—a stupid liars’ gumbo rich with moral supremacy, victimization, innocence and righteousness cranked with MSG and corn syrup and fat. Sure can taste better than truth—even makes you want seconds. The stuff is hurtling us toward fact-free rule at the speed of lies—and then some.

Behind Analysts, the Pentagon’s Hidden Hand
20.04.08. David Barstow, NY Times. In the summer of 2005, the Bush administration confronted a fresh wave of criticism over Guantánamo Bay. The detention center had just been branded “the gulag of our times” by Amnesty International, there were new allegations of abuse from United Nations human rights experts and calls were mounting for its closure. / The administration’s communications experts responded swiftly. Early one Friday morning, they put a group of retired military officers on one of the jets normally used by Vice President Dick Cheney and flew them to Cuba for a carefully orchestrated tour of Guantánamo. Interactive.
More on this here.
and here(28.04.08) Consortium)

...ahhh ...
Pentagon suspends 'media analysts' program
29.04.08. THE Pentagon has suspended a public affairs program that has come under fire for using retired military "media analysts" as surrogates to get out its messages on the Iraq war, a spokesman confirmed today.

Pentagon Expands Propaganda Reach With Foreign "News" Websites
02.05.08. Steve Watson & Paul Watson, . uruknet. Military run electronic media outlets form global network of "Information Operations" to take on "adversaries on the internet"

Disapproval of Bush breaks record
22.04.08. USA Today. In a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday, 28% of Americans approve of the job Bush is doing; 69% disapprove.

Fitna: The film is about how the west fears the world (21.04.08) Trading Markets. Compared to all the noise that was made before the self-billed anti-Islam film 'Fitna' produced by Geert Wilders, a Dutch right wing politician, the movie has not exactly lit the world on fire like its previous anti-Islamic media ancestors. / .. Somewhere it also becomes a rallying slogan against Muslims. It has been condemned by all world leaders including the UN Secy-General but it will make Wilders better known also for a crude piece of propaganda. .. / Geert Wilders, an MP, is part of the growing number of anti-Islamics in Europe who are also rooted in mainstream politics.


US forces are getting increasingly bogged down in the Afghanistan quagmire
06.04.08. Kaleem Omar, The News - International, Pakistan / uruknet. … the US and ISAF forces are getting increasingly bogged down in the quagmire that is Afghanistan today, and are making little headway in their efforts to defeat what they call the "insurgency". What they are actually facing, however, is not an "insurgency" but a resistance movement made up of Afghans who want to get rid of the foreign forces that have occupied their country.

Honouring The 'Unbreakable Promise'
09.04.08. John Pilger, ICH. We even have a new vocabulary, in which noble concepts have been corporatised and given deceptive, perverse, even opposite meanings. / "Democracy" is now the free market – a concept itself bereft of freedom. "Reform" is now the denial of reform. "Economics" is the relegation of most human endeavour to material value, a bottom line. Alternative models that relate to the needs of the majority of humanity end up in the memory hole. And "governance" – so fashionable these days - means an economic system approved in Washington, Brussels and Davos. "Foreign policy" is service to the dominant power. Conquest is "humanitarian intervention". Invasion is "nation-building". / Every day, we breathe the hot air of these pseudo ideas with their pseudo truths and pseudo experts. They set the limits of public debate within the most advanced societies. They determine who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. They manipulate our compassion and our anger and make many of us feel there is nothing we can do. Take the "war on terror". This is an entirely bogus idea that actually means a war of terror. Its aim is to convince people in the rich world that we all must live in an enduring state of fear: that Muslim fanatics are threatening our civilisation.

Robert Fisk: Semantics can't mask Bush's chicanery
12.04.08. Robert Fisk, Independent. Since when did armies go around 're-liberating'. / After his latest shenanigans, I've come to the conclusion that George Bush is the first US president to march backwards. First we had weapons of mass destruction. Then, when they proved to be a myth, Bush told us we had stopped Saddam's "programmes" for weapons of mass destruction (which happened to be another lie). / Now he's gone a stage further. After announcing victory in Iraq in 2003 and "mission accomplished" and telling us how this enormous achievement would lead the 21st century into a "shining age of human liberty", George Bush told us this week that "thanks to the surge, we've renewed and revived the prospect of success".

Just as the Wall is Called a Fence
18.04.08. Dan Glazebrook Interview with Robert Fisk, Counterpunch. Watching the news two weeks ago, I was shocked to see Yassin Nassari and Abdul Patel referred to by the BBC as 'terrorists'--not "alleged" or "suspected", but straight down the line "terrorists" - when the only charges they faced related to "possession of materials" (Islamist literature and video), and they had not even been accused of planning terrorist attacks, let alone carrying any out. Has 'terrorism' become a 'catch-all' phrase?

Whose Privilege?
18.04.08. Editorial, NY Times. In the name of fighting terrorism — and with a clear goal of avoiding accountability — the Bush administration has imposed a level of secrecy on its operations that has no place in a democracy. / One of its most disturbing tactics has been seeking early dismissal of lawsuits alleging serious government misconduct, claiming they would reveal national security secrets. The Senate is now considering a good bill that would rein in this misuse of the state secrets privilege and give victims fair access to the courts and the public a fuller understanding of their government's actions. In recent years, a number of important lawsuits have raised credible allegations of government abuses including torture, kidnapping, rendition and domestic eavesdropping. All too often, judges have blocked these suits without examining how and why going forward would compromise the nation's security. / Congress has also been far too acquiescent, standing aside as the administration undermined individual rights and the constitutional system of checks and balances. It may finally be ready to act.

Al Qaeda Propaganda.

"The U.S., when it belatedly discovered Al Qaeda in the cupboard, has since made a gourmet meal of it"

Al Qaeda training 'Western-looking' fighters: CIA
31.03.08. ABC. CIA head Michael Hayden says Al Qaeda is training fighters who have a 'Western' appearance and would be more likely to be able to penetrate US borders to mount terrorist attacks.

US: Al-Qaeda equally dangerous in Iraq, Afghanistan
08.04.08. The White House on Wednesday distanced itself from the US ambassador to Iraq's statement that Al-Qaeda on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border is a greater threat than Al-Qaeda in Iraq. / "The president is concerned about both, but I have not heard him describe it as prioritizing one or the other. Al-Qaeda is dangerous, full stop," said spokeswoman Dana Perino. / Perino had been asked about a comment from the US ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, who told US lawmakers Tuesday that the group was more of a threat to US [OIL]interests along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border than inside Iraq.

Few Clear Wins in U.S. Anti-Terror Cases
21.04.08. Washington Post. Moving Early on Domestic Suspects Often Does Not Bring Convictions. When seven ragtag men in a Miami religious sect were indicted in 2006 for their role in a bizarre plot to blow up the FBI Miami office and Chicago's Sears Tower, then- Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales said the case represented "a new brand of terrorism" among homegrown gangs that "may prove to be as dangerous as groups like al-Qaeda."

Al-Qaeda Would Obliterate a City, Ex-MI6 Chief Says
28.04.08. Nti. Al-Qaeda would destroy an entire city if it acquired the means to do so[where is the ‘lost’ U.S nuclear weapon?] , the former chief of the British intelligence service MI6 warned in defending a proposal to extend the period of time authorities in the United Kingdom can detain terror suspects without filing charges, the London Mail on Sunday reported yesterday (see GSN, April 15).
McCain, the Retired Military "Analysts" and the Myth of al-Qaeda in Iraq
20.04.08. Juan Cole, Informed Comment/uruknet. I am quoted in this NYT piece today on John McCain's allegations that the US is fighting "al-Qaeda" in Iraq and that there is a danger of "al-Qaeda" taking over the country if the US leaves. Those allegations don't make any sense. [ Note that Juan Cole puts “Al Qaeda” within quotation marks?. ]


It's 3 a.m. BRILLIANT ANIMATION by Walt Handelsman

”War on Terror”


"Organizing the U.S. Government for National Security: Overview of the Interagency Reform Debates,"
April 18, 2008

"2008-2009 Presidential Transition: National Security Considerations and Options,"
April 21, 2008


Feds to collect DNA from every person they arrest
16.04.08. yahoo / legitgov. The government plans to begin collecting DNA samples from anyone arrested by a federal law enforcement agency — a move intended to prevent violent crime but which also is raising concerns about the privacy of innocent people.

The Martial Law Act of 2006
15.04.08. James Bovard, Lew Rockwell / ICH. Martial law is perhaps the ultimate stomping of freedom. And yet, on September 30, 2006, Congress passed a provision in a 591-page bill that will make it easy for President Bush to impose martial law in response to a terrorist "incident." It also empowers him to effectively declare martial law in response to what he or other federal officials label a shortfall of "public order" - whatever that means.

Bush Replaced REX84 With New Martial Law EO
14.04.08. T. Twietmeyer, rense. Once In Control - Martial Law Will Stay. ... / America's case for a repeat of a Hitler type power grab is clearly underway.

Trials of Muslim Charities Likened to a Witch-Hunt
22.04.08. William Fisher, anti-war. The U.S. government's anti-terrorist financing programs are based on the "guilt by association" tactics of the McCarthy era and have had a widespread negative impact on U.S. charities, critics say. / The organization [OMB] accused Congress of continuing "an unfortunate pattern of insufficient congressional oversight of anti-terrorist financing programs, neglecting to address the unnecessarily harsh impacts the programs have on U.S. charities and philanthropy." / As an example of insufficient congressional oversight of charities' alleged support of terrorist organizations, OMB Watch cited a recent hearing before the Senate Finance Committee in which the only witness was a government official. The witness was the undersecretary of the treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, Stuart Levey, who plays a lead role in identifying charities that the Treasury Department claims are supporting terrorist causes.


National Security and the Presidential Transition
22.04.08. Steven Aftergood, Secrecy News. “The 2008-2009 election marks the first presidential transition in the post-9/11 era, and is of concern to many national security observers,” a new report (pdf) from the Congressional Research Service says. / “While changes in administration during U.S. involvement in national security related activities are not unique to the 2008-2009 election, many observers suggest that the current security climate and recent acts of terrorism by individuals wishing to influence national elections and change foreign policies portend a time of increased risk to the current presidential transition period.” Reports and important links.

Steven continues: Meanwhile, "A growing community of interest, including Members of Congress, senior officials in the executive branch, and think-tank analysts, is calling for a reexamination of how well the U.S. government, including both the executive branch and Congress, is organized to apply all instruments of national power to national security activities," according to another new CRS report. ... (cont)

US court waves through border laptop searches
22.04.08. the register. In a recent ruling, a three-judge panel of that court determined that border agents could examine the contents of a laptop without reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing. As part of that decision, the court rejected the defendant's contention that his laptop was analogous to his home or his mind because of the amount of storage and type of personal content that could be held there.

U.S. to Insist That Travel Industry Get Fingerprints
22.04.08. Washington post. The U.S. government today will order commercial airlines and cruise lines to prepare to collect digital fingerprints of all foreigners before they depart the country under a security initiative that the industry has condemned as costly and burdensome. / The proposal does not say where airlines must collect fingerprints -- at airport check-in counters, departure gates or kiosks somewhere in between. But the government estimates the undertaking will cost airlines $2.3 billion over 10 years, a U.S. homeland security official said.

The War on Terror Feeding Frenzy
22.04.08. Ian S. Lustick, The Hill /Truthout. Nearly seven years after Sept. 11, 2001, what accounts for the vast discrepancy between the terrorist threat facing America and the scale of our response / Why, absent any evidence of a serious domestic terror threat, is the War on Terror so enormous, so all-encompassing, and still expanding? The fundamental answer is that al-Qaeda's most important accomplishment was not to hijack our planes, but to hijack our political system. / For a multitude of politicians, interest groups, professional associations, corporations, media organizations, universities, local and state governments and federal agency officials, the War on Terror is now a major profit center, a funding bonanza, and a set of slogans and sound bites to be inserted into budget, project, grant and contract proposals.

US 'war on terror' backfiring, says thinktank
23.04.08. Mark Tran, Guardian. The US "war on terror" has backfired, strengthening extremists in Afghanistanand Somalia and turning them into legitimate political actors in the eyes of their local populations, a thinktank said today. The Senlis Council, which has strongly criticised US policy in Afghanistan in the past, is particularly scathing of the Bush administration's "abject policy failures" in Somalia. [see Senlis Report, above]

Citing Risks, Study Suggests Ways To Ease National Security Handoff
25.04.08. Washington Post. The United States is "lurching toward a period of uncertainty and increased risk" in this election year and during the upcoming presidential transition, according to a new Congressional Research Service study (see above) that suggests counterterrorism responses that Congress, the Bush administration and its potential successors could take. / The report, released Monday, noted that new security officials and agencies put in place after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks -- such as the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the National Counterterrorism Center and the Department of Homeland Security -- will soon undergo their first presidential handoff.

UK and Europe Colluding in U.S. “War on Terror”

New anti-terrorism rules 'allow US to spy on British motorists'
Toby Helm and Christopher Hope, Telegraph. Routine journeys carried out by millions of British motorists can be monitored by authorities in the United States and other enforcement agencies across the world under anti-terrorismrules introduced discreetly by Jacqui Smith.

EU to Criminalize Internet-Based Incitement to Terrorism
19.04.08. dw-world

Britain upgrades terror assessment for travellers
25.04.08. AFP. Govt changed its travel advice for China on Friday, as Interpol warned of a possible Al-Qaeda-style attack or violent disruption from pro-Tibet supporters at August's Beijing Olympics. / Interpol chief Ronald Noble said earlier Friday that "we must be prepared for the possibility that Al-Qaeda or some other terrorist group will attempt to launch a deadly terrorist attack at these Olympics".

Germany and US to Share Intimate Data on Terror Suspects
26.04.08. der spiegel. The US and Germany recently signed a deal that would allow them to share data on suspected terrorists. Now it turns out that the new agreement allows for the countries to swap data on suspects' ethnic origin, religious beliefs and union membership -- and even sex lives.


Operation Sudden Impact (Martial Law Sweep)

U.S. Martial Law Timeline
(21.08.07. Index Research. Updated April ‘08)

Understanding America

14.04.08. Carolyn Baker, Speaking Truth to Power.

China and America: The Tibet Human Rights PsyOp
13.04.08. Michel Chossudovsky, global research. The human rights issue has become the centerfold of media disinformation. / China is no model of human rights but neither are the US and its indefectible British ally, responsible for extensive war crimes and human rights violations in Iraq and around the World. The US and its allies, which uphold the practice of torture, political assassinations and the establishment of secret detention camps, continue to be presented to public opinion as a model of Western democracy to be emulated by developing countries, in contrast to Russia, Iran, North Korea and the People's Republic of China.

American Hegemony Is Not Guaranteed
14.04.08. Paul Craig Roberts, ICH. If America really had dangerous enemies, surely the enemies would collude to take advantage of a dramatically over-extended delusional regime that, blinded by its own arrogance and hubris, issues gratuitous threats and lives by Mao’s doctrine that power comes out of the barrel of a gun. / There are other less dramatic scenarios. Why does the US assume that only it can initiate aggression, boycotts, freezes on financial assets of other countries and bans on foreign banks from participation in the international banking system? If the rest of the world were to tire of American aggression or to develop a moral conscience, it would be easy to organize a boycott of America and to ban US banks from participating in the international banking system. Such a boycott would be especially effective at the present time with the balance sheets of US banks impaired by subprime derivatives and the US government dependent on foreign loans in order to finance its day-to-day activities. /Sooner or later it will occur to other countries that putting up with America is a habit that they don’t need to continue.

Terrorphobia, Our False Sense of Security
May-June 2008. John Mueller, American Interest. 1. the international fear of terrorism; 2. The sentiment motivating U.S. security policy since September 11.

The Great Silence
22.04.08. Steve Fraser, Tomgram.

Negotiable or not, the American Way of Life must be extinguished
22.04.08. Jason Miller, best Cyrano. Is the Western consumerist culture that we inflict upon the rest of the world truly the pinnacle of our evolution? If it is, I resign my membership in the human race. Though I don’t fear that I’ll be compelled to tender my resignation any time soon because our so-called “non-negotiable American Way of Life” is a piece of shit, for myriad reasons.

We in the Western “developed” nations, particularly in the United States, are an utter disgrace to our species. Our myopic, self-centered, jejune, hubristic, and benighted ways of examining and interacting with the rest of the world, including other human animals, non-human animals, and Mother Earth herself, are reprehensible to the point of nausea and beyond.

The Real Matrix
24.04.08. Nick Turse, Tom dispatch. A Pentagon's Who's Who of Your Life. so wake up with Rick and sample a single spring morning as the alarm on his Sony (Department of Defense contractor) clock interrupts his final dream of the night. Donna is already up and dressed in fitness apparel by Danskin (a Pentagon supplier that received more than $780,000 in DoD dollars in 2004 and another $456,000 in 2005) and Hanes Her Way (made by defense contractor and cake seller Sara Lee Corporation, which took in more than $68 million from the DoD in 2006). Committed to a healthy lifestyle, she's wearing sneakers from (DoD contractor) New Balance and briskly jogging on a treadmill made by (DoD contractor) True Fitness Technology. Read on!


A People's History of American Empire by Howard Zinn

7. Contracts and Contractors


Air Force leaders under fire for $50 million contract
17.04.08. wiredispatch. Probe of $50 million contract puts beleaguered Air Force leaders under fire again. .. / The report is the latest in a string of problems for Air Force leaders, who have faced questions about the service's handling of nuclear and nuclear-related materials, challenges to a recent $35 billion tanker contract award and anger over their efforts to get more money for the F-22 Raptor.

New bid, same result: KBR shares big Army contract
17.04.08. David Ivanovich, Houston-based KBR has again been selected to participate in a 10-year military logistical support contract valued at up to $150 billion, the U.S. Army announced today.


"Just as the Wall is Called a Fence, So are the Mercenaries Called Contractors" AFGHANISTAN: Supplier Under Scrutiny on Aging Arms for Afghans
27.03.08. C. J. Chivers, NYT / corpwatch. Since 2006, when the insurgency in Afghanistan sharply intensified, the Afghan government has been dependent on American logistics and military support in the war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban./ But to arm the Afghan forces that it hopes will lead this fight, the American military has relied since early last year on a fledgling company led by a 22-year-old man whose vice president was a licensed masseur.

Guess who is making a 'killing' with oil price hikes and food rationing?

Halliburton Profit Rises After Oil Climbs to Record
21.04.08. Bloomberg. Halliburton Co., the world's second-largest oilfield contractor, said profit rose 5.8 percent after crude topped $100 a barrel, prompting producers to increase spending on Middle East and Latin American projects.

Lawsuit: Company jeopardized security at US embassy in Kabul
24.04.08. Wiredispatch. The two men's federal lawsuit, filed Thursday, charges that their former employer, ArmorGroup North America Inc., lied to the State Department when it bid on the contract to provide embassy security. The lawsuit claims the company misrepresented it capabilities, its experience and how many hours its contractors would work.

Police say 17 Afghan security forces jailed for drug smuggling over past year
24.04.08. Canadian press. Gen. Hafezullah Rahjoy, operational commander of the ministry's counternarcotics police, says both soldiers and police officers were among 820 people arrested for drug trafficking since March 2007.

AFGHANISTAN: Bid to Slay Karzai Exposes Security Mess
28,04.08. Anand Gopal, uruknet. Violence levels have increased in Afghanistan in the first quarter of 2008, compared to the first part of 2007, a series of newly-released studies indicate. / On Sunday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai escaped an assassination bid while attending a military parade in Kabul. A member of parliament and a 10-year-old child were among the dead. A spokesman for the Taliban said the fighters wanted to show they can infiltrate such high security events. / In the past week, three reports have independently warned of a worsening security situation this year. / A Kabul-based security specialist released a study suggesting that insurgent attacks jumped by almost 40 percent in the first months of 2008 compared to the analogous period last year; a non-governmental organisation (NGO) reported that insurgent attacks against NGOs doubled compared to early 2007; and, a European-based think thank announced that an eventual defeat of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is a realistic possibility. / There were 991 "security incidents" -- acts of violence that originated from the Taliban or anti-government elements, in the first 13 weeks of 2008, according to Sami Kovanen, a security specialist with the security firm Vigilant Strategic Services Afghanistan.

8. Oil and Gas: The Great Game

"Oil at $110 a barrel. Gasoline at $3.35 (or more) per gallon. Diesel fuel at $4 per gallon. Independent truckers forced off the road. Home heating oil rising to unconscionable price levels. Jet fuel so expensive that three low-cost airlines stopped flying in the past few weeks. This is just a taste of the latest energy news, signaling a profound change in how all of us, in this country and around the world, are going to live".

Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet - excerpt from Klare's new book
14.04.08. Michael Klare, Energy Bulletin. World leaders are now facing the stark recognition that all materials vital for the functioning of modern industrial societies (not just oil and natural gas but uranium, coal, copper, and others) are finite and being depleted at an ever-accelerating rate. As a result, governments rather than corporations are increasingly spearheading the pursuit of resources.

Is Oil The Motive For War
01.04.08. Louis Farrakhan, final call.

Afghan gov't to encourage private sector to explore oilfields
02.04.08. Xinhuanet. "The Ministry for Mines is going to hand over some oil and gas fields of northern Jauzjan and Sar-e-Pulprovinces and Iron mine of Hajjigak in central Bamyan province to private sector in the current year," daily Rah-e-Nejat quoted Ibrahim Adil, the minister for Mines as saying.

Parliament is ignoring 'New Great Energy Game' in Afghanistan, says MP
14.04.08. hill times. Economist identifies Afghanistan as a strategic 'energy bridge' for the transport of natural gas from Central Asia to South Asia.

Turkmen gas reaching Indian horizons
16.04.08. Turkmenistan news Eurasia. The ministry of oil and gas industry and mineral resources of Turkmenistan and the ministry of oil and natural gas of the Republic of India signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the oil and gas sector. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov invited Indian partners to join such important international project as the construction of the Turkmenistan - Afghanistan - Pakistan - India gas pipeline. / The preliminary talks with Afghanistan were held recently, during NATO summit.

Red Rag to Bull dept.

China to sign gas deal with Iran
16.04.08. / ICH. The two companies signed a memorandum last year to expand gas reserves of the North Pars gas field where as the $16-billion agreement was postponed to be signed through what called international sensitivities.

Report: Iran's president says oil at $115 a barrel is too low, calls for higher prices
19.04.08. Ali Akbar Dareini, AP / uruknet.

… ... Meanwhile, STILL U.S. military spin (see US/media) sucked up by AP this time

Iran boosting support for Iraqi, Afghan rebels
25.04.08. AP / Cnews. The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff is accusing Iran of increasing support to insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan.
... ...

Ahmadinejad visit to boost Indo-Iran ties
27.04.08. ndtv. When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stops over in New Delhi on Tuesday for a few hours, the visit - his first after assuming power in Tehran nearly three years ago - will be watched keenly not only in this country but the rest of the world, particularly the United States. .. / With decks cleared for the construction of the US-backed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline, India is now focusing on the pricing issue with Tehran and transit fee with Islamabad to get the $7 billion Iran-Pakistan-India pipelines off the ground. This could prove crucial for the country's energy security if the nuclear deal does not get through.

Cheney and oil prices

Halliburton Profit Rises After Oil Climbs to Record (Update3)
21.04.08. Bloomberg. First-quarter net income climbed to $584 million, or 64 cents a share, from $552 million, or 54 cents, a year earlier

Oil rises to $119 on U.S., Iran tensions
25.04.08. money. Ninmsn. U.S. crude futures surged $3.15 to $119.21 a barrel by 1454 GMT, within striking distance of the all-time peak of $119.90 reached on Tuesday.

Supply Scare Sends Oil Toward $120
22.04.08. Forbes.

Why oil could hit $180 a barrel
22.04.08. MSN.

The collapse of the United States is accelerating: Oil in Euros vs. US dollars
23.04.08. Chycho.

U.S. Gasoline Price Hits Record High
25.04.08. The United States national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline hit a record high of $3.556

Petrol price to break through £5 ($9.92)a gallon as forecourts sell out amid fuel panic
27.04.08. this is London.

Gasoline May Soon Cost a Sawbuck
28.04.08. ww2.nysun. Get ready for another economic shock of major proportions — a virtual doubling of prices at the gas pump to as much as $10 a gallon.

Exxon, Shell and BP Profit to Advance on $100 Oil (Update1)
28.04.08. bloomberg. Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc may report record first-quarter profit and BP Plc the highest earnings in two years after oil rose above $100 a barrel and natural gas prices climbed.

Shell profits up 25 pct on record high oil prices
29.04.08. AFP. Crude oil prices smashed record after record in the first quarter and hit an all-time high of almost 120 dollars per barrel on Monday on the back of a British refinery strike and simmering tensions in key producer Nigeria.

BP's first-quarter profit jumps 63 percent
29.04.08. CNN. The oil company on Tuesday reported a profit of $7.6 billion compared to $4.4 billion in the first quarter of 2007.


Indian oil minister visits Pakistan for talks on Iran pipeline
22.04.08. AFP. … Talks on the 2,600-kilometre (1,615-mile) Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline began in 1994 but have been stalled by tensions between India and Pakistan. / .. Deora and his Pakistani counterpart will also exchange views over the proposed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan gas pipeline, to be funded by the Asian Development Bank, the oil ministry official said.

Central Asia: Trans-Afghan Pipeline Discussions Open In Islamabad
23.04.08. B. Pannier, rferl. Officials from Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and Turkmenistan have opened a meeting in Islamabad to discuss a pipeline that would bring Turkmen gas to South Asia. / First proposed some 15 years ago, the project has never been carried out, whether due to instability in Afghanistan or strained ties between Pakistan and India. But the parties involved feel that now may be the time to finally carry out the project, which would benefit all four countries.

Pakistan, India close to finalizing accord on gas pipeline from Iran
25.04.08. AP / the star. The U.S. has opposed the project because of [OMG] fears it will weaken efforts to isolate Iran, which it accuses of pursuing a nuclear weapons program.

We Must Imagine a Life Without Oil
29.04.08. Mark Hertsgaard, The Nation/Alternet. It used to be that only environmentalists and paranoids warned about running out of oil. Not anymore. As climate change did over the past few years, peak oil seems poised to become the next big idea commanding the attention of governments, businesses and citizens the world over. The arrival of $119-a-barrel crude and $4-a-gallon gasoline this spring are but the most obvious signs that global oil production has or soon will peak. With global demand inexorably rising, a limited supply will bring higher, more volatile prices and eventually shortages that could provoke -- to quote the title of the must-see peak oil documentary -- the end of suburbia. If the era of cheap, abundant oil is indeed coming to a close, the world's economy and, paradoxically, the fight against climate change could be in deep trouble. / Though largely unnoticed by the world media, a decisive moment in the peak oil debate came last September, when James Schlesinger declared that the "peakists" were right. You don't get closer to the American establishment and energy business than Schlesinger, who has served as chair of the Atomic Energy Commission, head of the CIA, Defense Secretary, Energy Secretary and adviser to countless oil companies.


Beijing quiet on Musharraf moves on gas pipeline
16.04.08. times of India. The Chinese foreign ministry on Tuesday steered clear of the new issues thrown up by Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf, who invited China to join the Iran-India-Pakistan gas pipeline project. / Musharraf also suggested that China can play an important role in defusing the Afghanistan crisis through the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. The foreign ministry expressed confidence that India would ensure safe passage of the Olympic torch in New Delhi on April 17. Any disruption of the torch relay would only "show the true nature of sabotage of the separatists", Jiang Yu, ministry spokeswoman, told reporters.

The US and China Are Over a Barrel
28.04.08. Michael Klare, LA Times / Common Dreams. Among the many reasons given for the recent surge in gas prices is China’s soaring demand for petroleum. Because the Chinese are running around the world buying up every available barrel of oil, the argument goes, we Americans have to pay that much more to outbid them for the leftover pools of crude. And the fact that the Chinese yuan has been growing stronger while the American dollar is shrinking in value has only exacerbated the problem.

Unquestionably, there’s some truth to this. … / But let’s put this in perspective. In 2007, according to Energy Department figures, the United States consumed about 21 million barrels of oil a day, nearly three times as much as China. Even more significant, we imported 13 million barrels every day, a vastly greater amount than China’s import tally. So, although it is indeed true that Chinese and American consumers are competing for access to overseas supplies, thereby edging up prices, American consumption still sets the pace in international oil markets.

9. World Food Crisis

Famine in Afghanistan is a microcosm of what is happening worldwide. For this reason, I include international articles on the food crisis.


April 2008, Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations. Food Price Indices.


For anyone who understands the current food crisis, it is hard to listen to the head of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, without gagging". Raj Patel

World Bank to Meet as Rising Food Prices Spark Unrest
13.04.08. AFP / Truthout. The World Bank meets here Sunday as rising food prices spark deadly unrest in developing countries, underscoring the urgency of getting food aid to desperate people. / Policymakers of the anti-poverty bank are due to discuss a massive, coordinated international plan to reduce hunger announced less than two weeks ago by the head of the bank, Robert Zoellick. / With soaring food prices threatening political stability in poor countries, Zoellick called for a "new deal" for global food policy, similar in scope to a 1930s program under US president Franklin D. Roosevelt that tackled the problems of the Great Depression.
A Man-Made Famine
16.04.08. Raj Patel, Guardian. Earlier this week, Zoellick waxed apocalyptic about the consequences of the global surge in prices, arguing that free trade [sic] had become a humanitarian necessity, to ensure that poor people had enough to eat. The current wave of food riots has already claimed the prime minister of Haiti, and there have been protests around the world, from Mexico, to Egypt, to India.

UN chief: Food crisis is now emergency
14.04.08. Yahoo. A rapidly escalating global food crisis has reached emergency proportions and threatens to wipe out seven years of progress [sic] in the fight against poverty, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned Monday

Soaring food prices now top threat, IMF says
14.04.08. globe and mail / ICH. Ministers representing 185 countries agreed on the weekend that soaring food prices threaten global calamity and pledged to co-operate on a solution to save the world's poorest people from starvation.

Plea for urgent food crisis action
14.04.08. al jazeera. With help from its twin institution, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank has called for richer nations to contribute $500 million to ease the burden.

WFP concerned over growing food shortage
16.04.08. online news. The World Food Programme (WFP) and the Afghanistan government are concerned over increasing food prices and dearth of basic food. Speaking in a press conference here, Rick Corsino WFP director in Afghanistan said however the wheat produce level was not specified there were still concerns on shortage of food in Afghanistan.

Food - the ultimate weapon of the ruling elite
17.04.08. William Bowles. Using food as a weapon is as old as the siege but today’s barbarians have upped the anté by several orders of magnitude.

Across Globe, Empty Bellies Bring Rising Anger
18.04.08. NY Times. That [Haitian] anger is palpable across the globe. The food crisis is not only being felt among the poor but is also eroding the gains of the working and middle classes, sowing volatile levels of discontent and putting new pressures on fragile governments.

Global food crisis looms as Asia's rice bowl empties and world price soars
18.04.08. Raju Gopalakrishnan, Scotsman. Highlighted are Viet Nam, Philippines, Indonesia and Bangladesh.

Blowback …

NATO forces face food, oil shortages due to road closure
18.04.08. the Due to the closure of Pak-Afghan highway, supply of goods to Afghanistan has been stopped and NATO forces are facing severe shortage of food and oil. / According to details, all factories in the Peshawar Industrial Estate have been closed for indefinite period because of the absence of workers, rocket attacks on Hayatabad and growing tension between two warring groups

Bush, Harper, Calderon Defend Trade Amid Backlash
21.04.08. Bloomberg/ICH. President George W. Bush and the leaders of Canada and Mexico are using a summit meeting today in New Orleans to defend free trade [sic] and $930 billion in cross-border commerce against a political backlash. It won't be easy.

Biofuels starving our people, leaders tell UN
22.04.08. Guardian. The leaders of Bolivia and Peru have attacked the use of biofuels, saying they have made food too expensive for the poor. / Speaking at the United Nations, the Bolivian president, Evo Morales, said the increased use of farmland for fuel crops was causing a "tremendous increase" in food prices.


b>WFP cuts school meals as food crisis grows
23.04.08. Julian Borger, Guardian. · Shortfall rises 50% to $755m in two months · Britain gives urgent $60m as experts meet at No 10

b>UN: Biofuel Production 'Criminal Path' to Global Food Crisis
28.04.08. ENS. The United States and the European Union have taken a "criminal path" by contributing to an explosive rise in global food prices through using food crops to produce biofuels, the United Nations special rapporteur on the right to food said today.


Gaza power plant faces shutdown
22.04.08. al jazeera. “because of a shortage of fuel

UN: Gaza Food To Halt Unless Israel Supplies Power
23.04.08. AFP. The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees will have to halt the distribution of food to the Gaza Strip within 24 hours if it doesn't receive fresh fuel supplies, its Gaza director said on Wednesday

UN suspends Gaza food deliveries
24.04.08. al jazeera. The UN has suspended food aid deliveries in the besieged Gaza Strip due to fuel shortages.

EU calls on Israel to ensure fuel supplies
24.04.08. IHT. "It's essential that the fuel supply to Gaza is resumed, and in particular that fuel provision for the United Nations agencies as well as basic services be guaranteed immediately."

Latin American food fund started
23.04.08. al jazeera. Leaders from four Latin American countries have set up a $100m food security fund for staples such as rice, beans and corn in a bid to offset rising food prices that have sparked global protests.

Wheat Crop Failures Could be Total, Experts Warn
24.04.08. Money news / C. Baker. On top of record-breaking rice prices and corn through the roof on ethanol demand, wheat is now rusting in the fields across Africa. / Officials fear near total crop losses, and the fungus, known as Ug99, is spreading.

Food Riots Erupt Worldwide
25.04.08. Anuradha Mittal, Alternet / C. Baker. Food riots are erupting all over the world. To prevent them and to help people afford the most basic of goods, we need to understand the causes of skyrocketing food prices and correct the policies that have fueled them. World food prices rose by 39 percent in the last year. Rice alone rose to a 19-year high in March -- an increase of 50 per cent in two weeks alone -- while the real price of wheat has hit a 28-year high. / As a result, food riots erupted in Egypt, Guinea, Haiti, Indonesia, Mauritania, Mexico, Senegal, Uzbekistan and Yemen. For the 3 billion people in the world who subsist on $2 a day or less, the leap in food prices is a killer. They spend a majority of their income on food, and when the price goes up, they can't afford to feed themselves or their families. / Over the last few decades, the United States, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have used their leverage to impose devastating policies on developing countries. By requiring countries to open up their agriculture market to giant multinational companies, by insisting that countries dismantle their marketing boards and by persuading them to specialize in exportable cash crops such as coffee, cocoa, cotton and even flowers, they have driven the poorest countries into a downward spiral.

The Politics of Food is Politics
24.04.08. DE CLARKE and STAN GOFF,Counterpunch/C Baker. In recent days, we have seen the rising price of oil and the devaluation of the dollar create two quantum shifts in the economy: the beginning of the collapse of the air travel industry and a global crisis of food-price inflation. These are related in ways that are crucial to understand -- because we are seeing the outlines of an historic opportunity to change the terms of theory and practice for a politics of resistance. As air carriers have gone bankrupt, the knock-on effects on travel agents, airports, airport-colocated hotels, "package" vacation resorts, etc. are considerable.

For Food Crisis in US., see 7. United States

WAR ON CONSUMER: Who is to Blame?

America's Role in Haiti's Hunger Riots
21.04.08. Bill Quigley, Truthout. The Economist, which calls the current crisis the silent tsunami, reports that last year wheat prices rose 77 percent and rice 16 percent, but since January rice prices have risen 141 percent. The reasons include rising fuel costs, weather problems, increased demand in China and India, and the push to create biofuels from cereal crops. … / In 1986, after the expulsion of Haitian dictator Jean Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loaned Haiti $24.6 million in desperately needed funds (Baby Doc had raided the treasury on the way out). But, in order to get the IMF loan, Haiti was required to reduce tariff protections for Haitian rice and other agricultural products and some industries, to open up the country's markets to competition from outside countries. The US has by far the largest voice in decisions of the IMF. .. / "American rice invaded the country," recalled Charles Suffrard, a leading rice grower in Haiti in an interview with the Washington Post in 2000. By 1987 and 1988, there was so much rice coming into the country that many stopped working the land.

Global Food Crisis: Hunger Plagues Haiti and the World
21.04.08. Stephen Lendman, global research. Consumers in rich countries feel it in supermarkets but in the world's poorest ones people are starving. The reason - soaring food prices, and it's triggered riots around the world in places like Mexico, Indonesia, Yemen, the Philippines, Cambodia, Morocco, Senegal, Uzbekistan, Guinea, Mauritania, Egypt, Cameroon, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Peru, Bolivia and Haiti that was once nearly food self-sufficient but now relies on imports for most of its supply and (like other food-importing countries) is at the mercy of agribusiness.

Life Expectancy Falls in Poorer US Counties: Study
22.04.08. Maggie Fox, Reuters/truthout.

Crisis in Food Prices Threatens Worldwide Starvation: Is it Genocide?
24.04.08. Richard C. Cook, global research. Rising worldwide food prices are resulting in shortages, riots and protests, promises by governments to expand food aid, expressions of concern by international bodies like the World Bank, and stress on household budgets even in developed countries like the U.S. Did this just “happen” or is there a plan?

Plenty of commentators think they have it figured out and blame such factors as greater demand for high-end protein menus by the increasingly upscale populations of China and India, weather factors relating to global warming such as drought in Australia , and the diversion of animal feed crops such as corn and soybeans to ethanol production. L.H. Teslik of the Council on Foreign Relations speaks of “bubbling inflation and rising oil prices.” / There is also the question of whether a role is being played by commodity speculation.

The Role of Speculators in the Global Food Crisis
23.04.08. Beat Balzli and Frank Hornig, der Spiegel / C. Baker. Vast amounts of money are flooding the world's commodities markets, driving up prices of staple foods like wheat and rice. Biofuels and droughts can't fully explain the recent food crisis -- hedge funds and small investors bear some responsibility for global hunger.



The GM Danger

Monsanto’s Harvest of Fear
May 2008. Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele, Vanity Fair. Monsanto already dominates America’s food chain with its genetically modified seeds. Now it has targeted milk production. Just as frightening as the corporation’s tactics–ruthless legal battles against small farmers–is its decades-long history of toxic contamination.

Exposed: the great GM crops myth
20.04.08. Geoffrey Lean, Guardian. Major new study shows that modified soya produces 10 per cent less food than its conventional equivalent

In lean times, biotech grains are less taboo
21.04.08. Andrew Pollack, IHT. Soaring food prices and global grain shortages are bringing new pressures on governments, food companies and consumers to relax their longstanding resistance to genetically engineered crops. .. / The pressure to re-evaluate biotech comes as prices of some staples like rice and wheat have doubled in the last few months, provoking violent protests in several countries including Cameroon, Egypt, Haiti and Thailand. Factors behind the price spikes include the diversion of crops to make biofuel, rising energy prices, growing prosperity in India and China, and droughts in some regions — including Australia, a major grain producer. … / And a new international assessment of the future of agriculture, released last Tuesday, gave such tepid support to the role genetic engineering could play in easing hunger that biotechnology industry representatives withdrew from the project in protest. The report was a collaboration of more than 60 governments, with participation from companies and nonprofit groups, under the auspices of the World Bank and the United Nations.

Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation
November 2007, William F. Engdahl, Global Research,

Amazon Review: "What is so frightening about Engdahl's vision of the world is that it is so real. In this new age of free markets, everything science, commerce, agriculture and even seeds have become weapons in the hands of a few global corporation barons and their political fellow travelers". --Dr. Arpad Pusztai, biochemist, formerly of the Rowett Research Institute, Scotland.


Media Channel. Dissector Danny Schechter first revealed the U.S. financial bubble. He wrote (17.04.08) “I raised the troubling suspicion that investors of the stripe and the type who created the credit bubble were also involved in the commodity markets leading to rising food prices with all kinds of speculation.’ Danny also made the film In Debt We Trust . Sign on for newsletter.

Speaking Truth to Power. Carolyn Baker’s site: up-to-the-moment alternative reporting of U.S. and international news, articles containing information and opinion. Sign on for newsletter.



"Enlargement Issues at NATO's Bucharest Summit,"
CRS REPORT, March 12, 2008

"The NATO Summit at Bucharest, 2008,"
CRS REPORT, March 24, 2008


Buildup to NATO summit in Bucharest

Russia offers aid in Afghanistan, but links it to NATO concerns
28.03.08. monsters and critics. Russia said Friday it was prepared to offer NATO military aid in Afghanistan as long as its security concerns, namely Georgia and Ukraine's inclusion in NATO, were respected, news agency Interfax reported.

Summit's big question: Whither NATO?
30.03.08. wiredispatch. In Afghanistan, it is battling al-Qaida and Taliban. In newly independent Kosovo, it's up against Serbian protesters armed with firebombs and grenades. And behind the scenes, it is helping [sic] to quell the violence in Iraq and to track down suspected war criminals [for HOW many years now?] in Bosnia.

It’s Time to Promote Peace in Afghanistan
30.03.08. John W. Warnock, global research. There is an opportunity for a new approach to the Afghanistan problem. The NATO countries will be meeting in Bucharest, Romania from April 2 to 4, and the key issue on the agenda is the war. For the first time in history Russia has been invited to attend. Russia will be representing the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). The Russians and their allies in the two organizations are proposing a joint NATO-CSTO agreement for the settlement of the Afghan conflict. This proposal appears to have the support of the governments of France and Germany and several other European NATO countries. The new governments in Pakistan are supporting a negotiated settlement to the Afghan war. This is an opportunity for the Canadian government to take the initiative and promote this new peace initiative.

Georgia offers 500 troops to NATO Afghan force
31.03.08. Reuters

Bush to Meet NATO Allies Divided Over Adding Troops in Afghanistan
31.03.08. Washington Post. President Bush heads to Europe today to try to rescue the faltering mission in Afghanistan, and key NATO allies plan to meet his demands for more forces with modest troop increases, though not by as much as U.S. military officers say is needed to put down a stubborn Taliban insurgency.

Nato faces toughest test since Cold War as Afghanistan troubles deepen
31.03.08. David Blair, Telegraph. The mission is dogged by a shortage of troops and the refusal of most Nato members to allow their forces to deploy in southern Afghanistan, where the fight against the Taliban is fiercest. .. Billions of pounds of aid have not produced the expected gains for the Afghan people. .. The tension in Afghanistan's capital is greater now than at any time since the Taliban's downfall in 2001.

Bush to Endorse Ukraine, Georgia for NATO Membership
31.03.08. VOA. President Bush leaves Monday for a European visit including a NATO summit in Romania and talks about U.S. missile-defense plans with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Mr. Bush's first stop will be in Ukraine. The president has said he believes NATO should open the membership process for Ukraine and Georgia, but Moscow has made clear it does not want NATO expanding to Russia's borders. Mr. Putin's successor, President-elect Dmitri Medvedev, says granting NATO membership to the two former Soviet states could threaten European security. At the NATO summit in Bucharest, alliance leaders are expected to offer membership to Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia. They also plan to talk about expanding the number of troops NATO has in Afghanistan.

Bucharest Cleans Up for NATO
31.03.08. Moscow times. The gathering, which opens Wednesday, is Romania's highest profile event ever. Hotels have been booked for the 3,000 delegates, including U.S. President George W. Bush and President Vladimir Putin, as well as some 3,500 journalists. .. Fighter jets and warships are on standby in Romania and Bulgaria, both NATO's newest members. Authorities have brought in chemical and biological warfare experts, divers and thousands of additional personnel. The gathering will be held in Bucharest's Parliament Palace, the gargantuan product of megalomaniac dreams of communist-era dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, which now serves as the city's main tourist attraction.



Czechs support Israel joining NATO
31.03.08. Jerusalem post. In Israel for a three-day visit to include talks with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Parkanová said in an exclusive interview that Iran was a "rogue state" whose nuclear program was taken "very seriously" by the government in Prague , which would be willing to support Israel, if necessary, with all its available "forces and capabilities."

Israel hosts NATO naval drill
01.04.08. jta/ICH. Israel has been shoring up ties recently with NATO as part of preparations for any future showdown with Iran. / Six NATO frigates commanded by a Turkish admiral arrived Monday in Haifa for a joint drill with Israeli Navy missile boats./ For the first time, Israel this year posted a naval liaison at NATO headquarters in Napoli, Italy.

NATO summit faces tough choices on expansion, Afghanistan
01.04.08. IHT. NATO is billing this week's summit as its biggest ever, attended by more than 50 world leaders. It also will have to take some big decisions on how to win the battle for Afghanistan, how far to expand the borders of the western alliance and how to mend increasingly strained relations with Russia. Video: the week ahead: NATO summit

Greece insists that it will block Macedonia's entry into NATO at summit over name dispute
01.04.08. IHT.

The Wrong MAP for Ukraine and Georgia
02.04.08. Ira Straus, Much ink has been spilled over whether NATO will give Ukraine and Georgia a "membership action plan," or MAP, at its upcoming summit. The U.S. administration supports it; Angela Merkel of Germany, America's best friend in Europe, opposes it. / Merkel is trying to save America from a dangerous mistake, one potentially worse than Iraq. … What Merkel did, in the speech that has aroused so much attention, was to remind NATO of two of the most basic conditions it had set in the 1990s for new members:

* 1. "A country should become a NATO member not only when its temporary political leadership is in favor but when a significant percentage of the population supports membership."

* 2. "Countries that are themselves entangled in regional conflicts can, in my opinion, not become members."

This means, plain and simply, that Ukraine and Georgia do not qualify, and aren't going to do so anytime soon – as a MAP would imply.

Ashdown warning over Afghanistan
02.04.08. BBC. The Nato-led alliance is "getting pretty close" to losing control of Afghanistan, Lord Ashdown, the former UN envoy to Bosnia has warned.

Analysis: Allies Split Over Afghanistan
03.04.08. ROBERT BURNS, AP. NATO's split is evident even in how the Americans and the Europeans talk about Afghanistan. The other day a European officer at NATO's military headquarters in Belgium was explaining NATO's role in Afghanistan to a few American reporters. He spoke about improving security, building a judicial system and countering drugs. He mentioned training Afghan forces and providing humanitarian assistance. / Not once did "war" or "counterinsurgency" cross his lips.

The US_NATO missile shield development is to be a key issue at this summit. See US-NATO 'Missile Shield' Programme: Index Timeline Part II with continued updates.

Nato Summit in Bucharest

Former Dictator Ceausescu’s home PARLIAMENT PALACE, Bucharest

Russia's problems nudge Afghanistan off the map
02.04.08. globe and mail. While Prime Minister Stephen Harper will enter the Bucharest NATO summit today with hat in hand, seeking 1,000 troops needed to prevent Canada from withdrawing from Afghanistan, he may be surprised to discover that the other 25 member nations are instead focused on another visitor with very different deals in mind.

NATO Allies Turn Down Bush Request
02.04.08. Huffington Post. President Bush suffered a painful diplomatic setback Wednesday when NATO allies rebuffed his passionate pleas to put former Soviet republics Ukraine and Georgia on the path toward membership in the Western military alliance. /In another sign of discord, Greece blocked Macedonia's request to join the 26-nation alliance because of a dispute over its name. Only Croatia and Albania will be invited as new members.

Putin scores diplomatic victory over US
03.04.08. IHT /ICH. In the waning days of his eight years as president, Putin demonstrated his strength - successfully driving a wedge through the NATO alliance. Russian President Vladimir Putin scored a major diplomatic coup by scuttling the NATO membership bids of Ukraine and Georgia even before he reached the NATO summit. / NATO's plan to expand further into former Soviet turf collapsed Thursday when leaders — anxious to avoid angering Moscow — opted not to put the strategically important nations on track for membership. / Putin had strongly warned the military alliance against moving to bring Ukraine and Georgia aboard. He even threatened that Russia could point its nuclear missiles at Ukraine if it joins NATO and hosts part of a U.S. missile defense system.

FACTBOX-NATO declaration on Afghanistan
03.04.08. REUTERS/wiredispatch. The leaders of NATO nations and other countries contributing to the alliance's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan issued a declaration on Thursday setting out their "strategic vision".

* provide military commanders with resources to fill shortfalls in ISAF, including forces and training teams for Afghan forces

* provide "maximum possible flexibility of use" of forces by the ISAF commander. This is a reference to "caveats", which national governments impose on the use of their forces

* take every measure to avoid civilian casualties

* provide training teams and equipment to get an effective 80,000-strong Afghan National Army by 2010

A bad day for Bush in Bucharest
03.04.08. Julian Borger, Guardian / anti-war. The Nato summit is thus far going brilliantly for the Russians and the Greeks. Both have demonstrated their power to keep Nato expansion in check. … For those that believe that Nato membership provides a stable environment for the development of market economies and liberal democracies, this is a bad day for eastern fringes of "the west". .. It's a bad day for George Bush, in particular. He apparently threatened to veto Croatian and Albanian membership if a Macedonian deal could not be reached, in a desperate attempt to force the issue. It failed. / I have just emerged from a Downing Street briefing inevitably portraying the summit so far, as highly satisfactory, if not an outright triumph.

Many pledges but few new troops for Afghanistan
04.04.08. Julian Borger, Guardian / anti-war. Nato leaders yesterday reaffirmed their "firm and shared long-term commitment" to fighting the war in Afghanistan, but it was agreed some member countries could demonstrate that commitment by just sending money or equipment. / Attempts at a summit in Bucharest to expand the alliance eastwards were set back, meanwhile. Membership for Macedonia was postponed because of Greek objections, while Georgia and Ukraine were told they would have to wait at least eight months before they even embarked on the preparations for membership, largely out of concerns over Russia's reaction.

Explanation for lack of official NATO photo in Bucharest
“Bush hates long, windy meetings, and NATO sessions can drag on and on. That may be why Bush suddenly left the final session of the Bucharest summit Thursday night - not bothering to wait for the official group photo.”

Bush ducks out of NATO summit early
05.04.08. AP

NATO Summit obituaries

Three Faces of Infantilism: NATO’s Bucharest Summit
04.04.08. Anatol Lieven, national interest.

An exit strategy in Afghanistan
04.04.08. Patrick Seale, gulf news. At their summit meeting in Bucharest this week, Nato heads of state have discussed how to boost the alliance's war effort in Afghanistan. They should instead have debated how to reach a peace settlement with the insurgents - and how to get out. / Nato has evidently got itself into a colossal muddle in Afghanistan. Everything that could possibly go wrong has gone wrong. It is far from clear why the alliance is fighting there at all, and what it is seeking to achieve. Talk of "victory" is a dangerous illusion. / .. Violence and deaths have increased steadily over the past five years, with attacks on foreign troops now running at a rate of 500 a month. .. / Far from being eradicated, opium production has increased year by year and narco-traffic is booming. .. / Anyone with the slightest knowledge of Afghanistan knows that this is an overwhelmingly Muslim country, profoundly attached to its customs and traditions. What most Afghans have in common is pride and a fierce attachment to their country - as well as a visceral hatred of foreign domination. / A leading French expert on Afghanistan, Professor Gilles Dorronsoro, believes that Nato's key blunder has been the attempt to impose a Western model of modernisation on Afghanistan, where it is inevitably seen as a foreign import. The goals of democracy, of a market economy and of gender equality may be embraced by a small elite in Kabul, but are rejected in much of the countryside, where they face incomprehension and hostility./ An astonishing statistic is that American forces in Afghanistan cost the American tax-payer $100m a day - or, currently, $36bn a year.

NATO leaders lower Afghanistan expectations
06.04.08. the star. Behind all the rhetoric, end-game plan centres on preparing Afghans to `manage' the conflict

Neocon NATO Delusions
09.04.08. The Nation editorial. At the recently completed NATO summit in Bucharest, the Bush Administration took another step in its seven-year effort to transform the transatlantic alliance into an organization with a more global mission supportive of Washington's broader foreign policy goals. .. / In fact, the Administration's mission to transform NATO promises to do great damage to international peace and cooperation. .. / This is a prescription for an even colder peace, if not an outright new cold war, with Russia; continued contentious relations with America's oldest allies in Europe, who do not share Washington's global mission; and an even weaker UN at a time when it is needed more urgently than ever.

U.S. spin

U.S. State Dept. Briefing
07.04.08. Dan Fried, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs
It was a remarkable summit for the progress [sic] we made on some of the key issues. And in the course of 36 hours of intense discussions, one of the most interesting, complicated issues -- that is, of a Membership Action Plan for Georgia and Ukraine -- produced a higher level consensus [sic] than anyone would have thought possible the day before. / … NATO leaders adopted a major [ sic ] statement on Afghanistan to that effect, called "ISAF Strategic Vision."

The Afghanistan success story
10.04.08. Ray Robison, Amerian Thinker. Most of the American media have continuously misreported the NATO mission in Afghanistan as a disaster unfolding, beginning before the effort even began, with warnings of the "brutal Afghan winter." More recently, the media are representing that the Taliban is "resurgent" (when in fact it was NATO that was on the offensive), that the NATO alliance is crumbling, and that Afghanistan is all but lost. … / But even a clear victory finds the media unable to represent the truth of the matter that we are holding, expanding and rebuilding in Afghanistan. To be sure, there are challenges ahead but the general trend is one of victory, not defeat.’ Mr. Robison writes about the NATO report, Progress in Afghanistan.

Post NATO summit

Russia, NATO agree on transit of non-lethal cargo to Afghanistan
04.04.08. …
comments on this by M K Bhadrakumar
(08.04, asia times) “The Russian ambassador in Kabul, Zamir Kabulov, told Vremya Novostei, "The longer NATO remains in Afghanistan, the worse it will be for them. But it would be incorrect to imagine Russia wants NATO out of Afghanistan as soon as possible, at any cost. We will not let them out of Afghanistan until they solve the problems they have created - international terrorism, unchecked increase in drug trafficking - and build a strong state there, and rebuild the economy." That is to say, Russia will provide all logistical support to NATO so that the alliance can focus attention on bleeding itself white in Afghanistan.

Does NATO Want Out of Afghanistan?
04.04.08. Matthias Gebauer, Der Spiegel. In public, NATO is demanding that all allies contribute their fair share to the ongoing effort in Afghanistan. But behind closed doors, a paper has been circulated that may provide the beginnings of an exit strategy. Germany is pushing the plan.

Hyping 9/11 propaganda

NATO Chief Cites TerrorismDifferences
10.04.08. Desmond Butler, AP. NATO's top commander [U.S. Gen. Bantz Craddock] said Thursday that the failure of some European countries to fight terror with military means is contributing to tensions within the alliance.

Rice Says Afghanistan Tests Credibility of NATO
15.04.08. English.chosun.

NATO forces face food, oil shortages due to road closure
18.04.08. the Due to the closure of Pak-Afghan highway, supply of goods to Afghanistan has been stopped and NATO forces are facing severe shortage of food and oil. / According to details, all factories in the Peshawar Industrial Estate have been closed for indefinite period because of the absence of workers, rocket attacks on Hayatabad and growing tension between two warring groups.

Coalition helicopter drops weapons into Taliban hands, Afghan officials say
13.04.08. AP / global A member of parliament, however, said he didn't believe the arms drop was an accident.

Nato admits mistakenly [sic] supplying arms and food to Taliban
18.04.08. guardian. Containers destined for local police forces were dropped from a helicopter into a Taliban-controlled area of Zabul province.

McNeill Spin

U.S. General Sees Afghans Gains in 3 Years
21.04.08. Carlotta Gall, Asia Pacific. The Afghan Army and police forces should be able to secure most of Afghanistan by 2011, allowing international forces to start withdrawing, the American commander of the NATO-led force in Afghanistan, Gen. Dan K. McNeill, said Sunday.

NATO Expansion: A Model for Stability or a Grab for Power?
23.04.08. sw-world.

US Considering Changes to Afghanistan Coalition Command Structure
23.04.08. Al Pessin, Pentagon / voa. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says Pentagon officials are discussing possible changes to the NATO and coalition command structure in Afghanistan. But he says the United States is not ready to make a formal proposal to its allies. Pessin report mp3 / audio.

NATO reiterates support for UN coordinating role in Afghanistan
28.04.08. epicos.

Kabul Shambles Makes Sorry Spectacle for US, NATO
28.04.08. DEBKAfile Special Report. Some serious stock-taking in the Afghan capital and US-led NATO command has followed the Taliban’s success in breaking up the Afghan army parade in Kabul Sunday, April 27. Scheduled for the 16th anniversary of the Soviet Army’s defeat and expulsion from Afghanistan, it was staged to showcase the progress made by Hamid Karzai’s regime and its US-led NATO allies in the war against the country’s ousted Taliban rulers and their al Qaeda partners. Afghanistan’s government, tribal and military elite were seated on the platform together with Western dignitaries.

….. Regurgitating spin

Taliban Attack on Karzai Aims to Undermine Democracy, NATO Says
28.04.08. Michael Heath, Bloomberg. The attack by Taliban militants on President Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, yesterday was designed to undermine the country's democratic progress [sic: read occupation] , NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said.


Croatia Will Have To Admit NATO Forces
20.04.08. Pjer Simunovic, javno. Although there should be no NATO bases in Croatia, it will still have to adjust a place for alliance soldiers, vehicles and arms to land.


Officers may be sent to southern Afghanistan
16.04.08. aftenposten. From October, 50 Norwegian officers are to begin service training Afghani forces, after which they will be expected to lead the forces in fighting, reports Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).

Nato and Russia

NATO concerned [meddling] over Russia's move on Georgia's breakaway regions
17.04.08. Xinhuanet. "NATO allies, at their recent summit in Bucharest, reiterated their support for the territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of Georgia. The Russian steps undermine that sovereignty," said de Hoop Scheffer in a statement.

11. US-NATO Coalition

FACTBOX: NATO's force in Afghanistan
31.03.08. Reuters.

* UNITED STATES: 15,000 troops (mainly east)

* UNITED KINGDOM: 7,800 (mainly south)

* GERMANY: 3,210 (north)

* ITALY: 2,880 (west and capital Kabul)

* CANADA: 2,500 (south)

* NETHERLANDS: 1,650 (south)

* FRANCE: 1,515 (Kabul)

* POLAND: 1,100 (mobile)

* AUSTRALIA: 1,070 (south)

Other significant deployments: Denmark (780); Spain (740); Turkey (675); Romania (535). {NB- in the "Factbox", Norway was omitted]

NB: The United States has a further 14,000-plus troops in Afghanistan outside the NATO force and is sending an extra 3,200 troops for a limited deployment until late-2008.



NATO showing stronger resolve: Smith
06.04.08. Mr Smith said the NATO summit last week, attended by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon, produced a good outcome with a coherent [sic] political, military and strategic plan in place for the first time.


Ottawa advised not to lower flag for dead soldiers
31.03.08. the star. An expert panel has advised cabinet to oppose a move to lower the Canadian flag on the Peace Tower whenever a soldier dies in Afghanistan because it would debase the honour.

Nato meets Canada's troop demands
03.04.08. BBC. Canada will continue its frontline role in southern Afghanistan after the February 2009 deadline it has set.

Officials clueless on cost of choppers for Afghanistan

Canada justice department moves to block public hearing on Afghan detainees
14.04.08. The Jurist. The Canadian Department of Justice [official website] has moved to block a Canadian Military Police Complaints Commission (MPCC) [official website] public hearing investigating the country's military detainee transfer process in Afghanistan [JURIST news archive], the Globe and Mail reported Monday. The government filed papers in Canada's Federal Court [official website] Friday arguing that the MPCC lacks jurisdiction to conduct investigations into military operational decisions regarding detainee treatment, and that the Commission's reach is limited to military policing issues. MPCC Chairman Peter A. Tinsley said that the Commission is "surprised and disappointed" [MPCC press release] by the move, and questioned why jurisdiction was not challenged when the investigation was first launched last year.

Beleaguered Canadians face a long wait for the cavalry
17.04.08. times on line. The [two] attacks ended an especially bloody week for Canadian forces who, more than any other nation, have been at the violent forefront of the mission in Afghanistan. .. / In the week of Private Street’s death, patrols discovered more than 12 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) buried in the road. “It’s anarchy out there. We’re begging for somebody to fire at us so we can shoot back, but this battle has changed,” said Sergeant-Major Gorden Cavanaugh, from the 2nd Battalion of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, the principal unit patrolling the volatile region southwest of Kandahar city. / Commanders here hope that 1,000 additional troops, pledged by Nato the day before Private Street died, will give their 2,500 troops the boost they need in this region, which has long been a sanctuary for Taleban insurgents.

Roadside bomb blasts Canadian convoy in Afghanistan
17.04.08. CBC. The Canadian convoy was attacked near Spin Boldak, a town on the Pakistani border, said Lt.-Cmdr. Pierre Babinsky, a spokesman for NATO troops in the south. No one was killed in the explosion

General Rick Hillier says goodbye
18.04.08. Edmonton sun. Gen. Rick Hillier says his job was rebuilding a withering military and revamping its image – not winning Afghanistan.

Afghanistan spending to top $1-billion in 2008
20.04.08. national post/legitgov. Canada's yearly cost of the war in Afghanistan doubled in 2006 and was projected to crack the $1-billion mark this year.

War rugs from Afghanistan show rifles, landmines amid flowers
20.04.08. Canadian Press. The rugs from Afghanistan featured in a new exhibition at the Textile Museum of Canada reflect the strife that country has endured over the last three decades.

Canada confusing political, aid relief goals in Afghanistan, MD says
22.04.08. the star. Canada is not on a humanitarian mission in Afghanistan, says James Orbinski, who accepted the Nobel Peace Prize for Médecins sans Frontières in 1999. / "If anything, humanitarian aid and relief in Afghanistan are being held hostage to unclear and unfocused political objectives," said Orbinski, whose book, An Imperfect Offering: Humanitarian Action in the Twenty-First Century, is being launched this week. / He says the "war on terror" has allowed governments to sell the public on warfare as a life-saving operation.

Forces paid for friendly-fire deaths, files show
23.04.08. globe and mail. … in the summer of 2006, the Canadian Forces were involved in at least half a dozen instances of "friendly fire" that left two Afghans dead and four injured. The Forces ended up paying about $35,000 in compensation, even though it admitted no liability for the deaths. Documents … show more than 30 instances since January of 2006 where the Canadian Forces compensated Afghan citizens for everything from lost cellphones to the accidental killing of relatives by Canadian soldiers. The military labelled the vast majority of the payments "ex gratia," meaning they were made voluntarily and with no admission of liability.


Ground Reality for Canadian troops in Afghanistan. (03.04.08) Al jazeera


Denmark To Reinforce Afghan Deployment
08.04.08. AFP, defense news. Denmark's defense ministry said April 8 it was sending extra helicopters and troops to Afghanistan, where it has suffered one of the highest per capita death tolls among coalition forces.

Afghanistan leaders have asked Denmark to try and sort out continuing corruption and foreign aid problems
21.04.08. cph post.

Danish, Dutch evacuate Afghanistan embassies
23.04.08. Reuters.

FRANCE (new to ‘coalition’)

Nicolas Sarkozy to lay out Afghan troop plans as Nato struggles
31.03.08. timesonline. President Sarkozy will boost Nato’s struggling campaign in Afghanistan this week when he fleshes out his promise to dispatch up to 1,000 French troops to relieve pressure on the Americans, Canadians and other allied contingents. / The President’s decision, to be announced at the Nato summit in Bucharest on Wednesday, will add to the 1,500 French forces already in the Afghan zone.

'A few hundred' French troops for Afghanistan
02.04.08. Henry Samuel, Telegraph. The figure is less than the 1,000-strong force sources last month suggested would be offered, while there was no indication that they would be used in a combat role. … His [Sarkozy} detractors see troop deployment as further proof of France’s shift toward a more US-friendly stance.

French MPs reject Afghan aid
02.04.08. The opposition parties in French Parliament on Wednesday opposed President Nicolas Sarkozy's decision to send extra troops to Afghanistan./ According to Alalam TV on Wednesday, Sarkozy's controversial decision to send extra troops to Afghanistan to support NATO has triggered heated debate in French Parliament.

France: Political fallout from troop deployment to Afghanistan
05.04.08. wsws. President Nicolas Sarkozy’s decision to send more troops to bolster the US-led occupation of Afghanistan has become the subject of heated debate in French political circles. The main subject of contention is not support for the occupation, which is unanimous inside the French ruling class. Rather, the French bourgeoisie worries that, coming on the heels of the government’s defeat in the March 16 local elections, its open contempt for democratic procedures in sealing a closer alliance with crisis-ridden Anglo-American militarism risks further destabilising internal French politics.

Sarkozy's Offer to Boost Afghanistan Troops Opposed (Update1)
06.04.08. Heather Smith, Bloomberg. French President Nicolas Sarkozy's proposal to send more troops to fight the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan is opposed by 55 percent of French citizens, according to a poll from Ifop published today.

French govn. wins no-confidence vote on Afghanistan
08.04.08. Wiredispatch.

France to deploy new Afghanistan force by August
21.04.08. Reuters. France will deploy the additional battalion of troops it has promised to send to Afghanistan before the end of August, Defence Minister Herve Morin said on Sunday.

France Wants to Join NATO to Ease the Way for European Defense
23.04.08. world politics. French President Nicolas Sarkozy says he will decide by late 2008 or early 2009 whether France will fully rejoin the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It is one of the more important issues left unresolved at the recently concluded Bucharest Summit, where Sarkozy proclaimed: "I reaffirm here France's determination to pursue the process of renovating its relations with NATO."


Bush will not demand Germany send troops to Afghan south: report
30.03.08. AFP.

Nato row over ex-Soviet state member bids
02.04.08. Adrian Blomfield, Telegraph. In a recent change of tack, Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, publicly stated her opposition to membership for Georgia and Ukraine. Both have pro-Western leaders who were swept to power after peaceful popular revolutions. Mrs Merkel has formed a coalition of up to 12 western European states, including France, who are likely to oppose membership for the two countries. Gordon Brown has stayed pointedly silent.

German official: limits on Afghan participation
12.04.08. wiredispatch. Germany's foreign minister Saturday said the next U.S. administration should not expect significantly greater participation by the German army in Afghanistan. .. / Steinmeier also commented on the recent meeting between President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin and urged the United States not to isolate Russia. "A safer world also means that America and Europe must engage with Russia.

Germany pledges more training officers, aid to Afghanistan
17.04.08. Xinhuanet. .. The number of German police training officers would be increased to 45 from the current 30 … / would increase its contributions to civilian reconstruction in Afghanistan to E140 million ($ 220 million) from E80 million ($ 127 million) previously.

German held by US in Afghanistan
19.04.08. AP. The weekly Der Spiegel, which did not cite sources, reported that the man — whom it identified as Gholam Ghaus Z., 41 — had traveled to Kabul to visit relatives and was arrested as he tried to buy a razor at a U.S. military supermarket.

Agency Admits Spying on Afghan Politician and SPIEGEL Journalist
24.04.08. der Spiegel/ICH . The head of Germany's foreign intelligence agency has come under fire over admissions his employees monitored e-mails exchanged between a minister in the Afghan government and a SPIEGEL journalist.

Germany apologies to Afghanistan over spying scandal
27.04.08. Xinhuanet.


Blast wounds 3 Dutch NATO-soldiers in Afghanistan
30.03.08. Reuters.

Eight Dutch soldiers wounded by roadside bombs in Afghanistan
31.03.08. xinhuanet.

Army unions call for reinforcements in Afghanistan
21.04.08. radio Netherlands. The main parties in the Dutch government are against sending troop reinforcements to the Afghan province of Uruzgan. Military unions are calling for extra troops after an attack on a Dutch convoy on Friday killed two soldiers, one of them the son of the newly appointed Dutch Chief of Defence. [see ‘deaths’ below] The latest casualties also seem to be affecting public support for the Dutch contribution to the NATO mission.

Dutch Still Divided on Afghanistan Mission
23.04.08. Angus-reid. 49 per cent of respondents oppose the Dutch engagement in Uruzgan, while 46 per cent support it.


New Zealand sends reinforcement troops to Afghanistan
04.04.08. philstar. Eighteen extra troops will be posted to Bamiyan during April, lifting the total strength of the team to 140 troops.


Poland troops in Afghanistan by mid this year
14.04.08. trading markets. Poland will have around 1600 troops in Afghanistan by the mid of this year in view of the importance of Afghanistan for regional security and to support the Afghan National Army and provide security to working on reconstruction projects.


Many pledges but few new troops for Afghanistan
04.04.08. Julian Borger, Guardian / anti-war. Gordon Brown won agreement for a trust fund scheme by which nations could support the war effort with money or equipment. The prime minister argued that the plan would increase the resources available to Nato commanders in Afghanistan. He said Britain would contribute £5m to an initial fund to provide helicopters, in short supply in Afghanistan, and said eight other unnamed countries had put money in.

Extra troops to be sent to fight Taliban
07.04.08. James Kirkup, Telegraph. Britain is poised to send another 450 troops to Afghanistan … Despite concerns that British forces are already overstretched, Cabinet ministers are seriously considering a US request for Britain to take command of all Nato troops in southern Afghanistan for another two years of intense combat with the Taliban.

Faulty army gear may breach human rights, court rules
11.04.08. Guardian. In a potentially significant verdict for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, Mr Justice Collins ruled that a soldier "does not lose all protection simply because he is in hostile territory carrying out dangerous operations". / In another blow to the government, he rejected an attempt by the defence secretary, Des Browne, to stop coroners using phrases such as "serious failure" in inquests concerning troops who died on active service. Browne had argued this might prejudice subsequent civil action.

UK troops to hand control of Helmand 'hot spots' to Afghan army
26.04.08. Independent.

Nato's Afghan mission in trouble, says Brown
29.04.08. James Kirkup, Telegraph. The Nato mission in Afghanistan is "critically" short of key troops and equipment, Gordon Brown has told allies. / The Daily Telegraph has obtained a confidential Foreign and Commonwealth Office paper which admits to a catalogue of problems and weaknesses in Western attempts to stabilise the country. .. / n a list of "critical areas to fill", the paper says Nato still needs three infantry battalions, more helicopters, more aircraft and more training teams to help the Afghan army. / It also raises concerns about the situation after November, when more than 2,300 US Marines are to be withdrawn from the south, where British forces are based.

12. Human Rights


Vote on freedom of expression marks the end of Universal Human Rights
30.03.08. iheu. For the past eleven years the organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), representing the 57 Islamic States, has been tightening its grip on the throat of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Yesterday, 28 March 2008, they finally killed it. With the support of their allies including China, Russia and Cuba (none well-known for their defence of human rights) the Islamic States succeeded in forcing through an amendment to a resolution on Freedom of Expression that has turned the entire concept on its head. The UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression will now be required to report on the “abuse” of this most cherished freedom by anyone who, for example, dares speak out against Sharia laws that require women to be stoned to death for adultery or young men to be hanged for being gay, or against the marriage of girls as young as nine, as in Iran.

Red Cross to probe state of Afghan terrorism suspects
08.04.08. REUTERS/anti-war. The head of the Red Cross will visit Afghanistan this week to examine conditions under which terrorism suspects are being held by U.S.-led forces, the agency said on Tuesday. / Jakob Kellenberger, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), will visit Bagram military airbase during his seven-day trip to Afghanistan. He will focus on the legal limbo of more than 600 security suspects detained there by U.S. forces, the ICRC said in a statement. "We see the need for more robust procedural safeguards in Bagram where -- to this day -- most detainees live in uncertainty about their fate," he said on Tuesday before leaving Geneva, where the humanitarian agency is based.

UN group clears 350,000 mines in Afghanistan
05.04.08. bignews / legitgov. According to the UN Mine Action Program in Afghanistan, more than 600 Afghans were killed by landmines and explosives last year.

US to skip cluster bomb meeting
11.04.08. wiredispatch.

The Law Explored: human rights on the battlefield
16.04.08. Business Times. No job, race, creed, colour, class or age puts a person outside the ambit of human rights, says Professor Gary Slapper. Mr Justice Collins has drawn gasps of disbelief in some quarters by ruling that human rights law might apply to soldiers on active service. In particular, he said, soldiers might enjoy the protection of law on the right to life.

Two Indian road workers abducted in Afghanistan
23.04.08. Reuters / legitgov.


CIA Acknowledges it Has More Than 7000 Documents Relating to Secret Detention Program, Rendition, and Torture
23.04.08. pr newswire / ICH. Human Right Groups Charge Documents Reveal CIA Stonewalled; Congressional Oversight Committees; CIA Says Many Documents too Sensitive to Release. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) must stop stonewalling congressional oversight committees and release vital documents related to the program of secret detentions, renditions, and torture, three prominent human rights groups said today.

CIA admits they will continue rendition program
24.04.08. John Byrne, Raw Story. The Central Intelligence Agency knew from the beginning that its secret detention and torturous interrogation tactics probably bordered on illegal from the start, according to new documents identified through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

Guantanamo eight to sue MI5 and MI6 over 'illegal abduction and interrogation'
19.04.08. daily mail. One of the men said they will argue that Britain was complicit in their illegal abduction, treatment and interrogation. / He said the eight - five Britons and three foreign nationals living here - were put on CIA "torture flights" to the prison camp in U.S.-occupied Cuba.


Evidence Grows of Drug Use on Detainees
04.04.08. CQ. There can be little doubt now that the government has used drugs on terrorist suspects that are designed to weaken their resistance to interrogation. All that’s missing is the syringes and videotapes. / Another window opened on the practice last week with the declassification of John Yoo’s instantly infamous 2003 memo approving harsh interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects. / Yoo advised top Bush administration officials that interrogators could employ mind-altering drugs if they did not produce “an extreme effect” calculated to “cause a profound disruption of the senses or personality.” / Yoo had first rationalized the use of drugs in a 2002 memo for top Bush administration officials.


Pervez, cont..

Condemned Afghan Journalist Wins Right to Appeal Death Sentence
16.04.08. Jeremy Gerard, Bloomberg.

Fears for Pervez as Afghan court confirms 100 death sentences
18.04.08. independent. Afghanistan's Supreme Court has confirmed more than 100 death sentences, raising fears over the fate of Sayed Pervez Kambaksh, the student journalist on death row.

More than 100,000 sign petition to save journalist held in Afghanistan
29.04.08. Jerome Starkey, Independent. he Independent's petition to save the Afghan student Sayed Pervez Kambaksh from the gallows has collected a staggering 100,000 signatures as the 23-year-old languishes in a cell in Kabul awaiting appeal.

Afghans Hold Secret Trials for Men That U.S. Detained
10.04.08. Tim Golden/ David Rohde, NY Times. Dozens of Afghan men who were previously held by the United States at Bagram Air Base and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, are now being tried here in secretive Afghan criminal proceedings based mainly on allegations forwarded by the American military. The prisoners are being convicted and sentenced to as much as 20 years’ confinement in trials that typically run between half an hour and an hour, said human rights investigators who have observed them. One early trial was reported to have lasted barely 10 minutes, an investigator said.


US president gets an earful from Afghan governors
09.04.08. Eight Afghan governors met with US President George W. Bush to tell him a few unpleasant truths about the plight of their country as coalition forces fight terrorists and the Taliban. .. / Asadullah Hamdam, Governor of Oruzgan province, was first to raise the thorny issue of indiscriminate arrests by coalition troops. … / "If I just may," Khost Governor Arsala Jamal politely cut in. "I think the issue is greater than that: we have 640 detainees in Bagram and like the governor said, all the governors are facing this problem." … Jamal told Bush about the nightmare people arrested without charge face, and became downcast when Bush apparently failed to understand his suggestion that some operations were best carried out by Afghan rather than coalition forces. MORE. READ THIS.

BRIEF: Red Cross Condemns American Prison in Afghanistan
16.04.08. impunity watch. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) announced this week that it disapproves of the way the United States runs its prison at the Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan, and urged for reforms. / Over 600 prisoners are held at Bagram, and the US military does not reveal who is held there or why. Family and other public visitors are not allowed, including journalists. / The ICRC, however, has visited Bagram 120 times. This recent announcement was made after the ICRC President, Jakob Kellenberger, visited last week.

200 Pakistanis in Afghan jails: official estimate
13.04.08. pak tribune. The number is feared to be much larger. / "There is no central authority inside Afghanistan that we can deal with for all the Pakistanis who have been detained.



Afghan Detainees Sent Home to Face Closed-Door Trials
13.04.08. Washington Post. At least 32 detainees transferred from Guantanamo are being held in a high-security wing of the Pul-i-Charki prison near Kabul that was built with U.S. funds.

Afghanistan's Guantánamo: unfair trials exported
29.04.08. JURIST, uruknet. Sahr MuhammedAlly [senior associate, Law and Security program, Human Rights First]: "While pre-trial motions continue at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, at other end of the globe in Afghanistan more than 60 former Guantánamo and Bagram detainees have been convicted based on little more than mere allegations by the United States. After years of detention in U.S. custody without any due process, these detainees, although now finally in some legal process, are being tried by the Afghans in violation of basic fair trial standards.

Earlier this year I was in Kabul, Afghanistan, to examine the prosecutions of former Guantánamo and Bagram detainees. Over 250 Afghans from Guantánamo and Bagram have been transferred since April 2007 to the American-built Afghan National Defense Facility (ANDF) in Pul-i-Charkhi prison in the outskirts of Kabul. Defendants are being tried under a Soviet-era Afghan national security law and are being charged with crimes ranging from destruction of government and private property to assisting enemy forces. Of the 160 persons referred for prosecutions, since October 2007 over 60 have been convicted, and more than 40 have been sentenced to imprisonment for up to 20 years. Trials last between 30 minutes and an hour. There are no prosecution witnesses at the proceedings, no out-of-court sworn prosecution witnesses, and little or no physical evidence is presented. [See Human Rights First, Arbitrary Justice: Trial of Bagram and Guantánamo Detainees in Afghanistan].

I personally observed two trials while I was in Kabul - each lasting around 30-35 minutes. The prosecutor stood up and read a statement of the charges and the evidence to support the charges. The evidence consisted simply of what the United States military had accused the defendant of doing, including a summary of the circumstances of capture, and what the Afghan intelligence agency - the National Directorate of Security (NDS) - had found, years after the capture, to support the allegations.

The U.S. evidence consisted of second-hand interrogation summaries; a two- to three-page form, which included a short description of the circumstances of arrest; and information about whether the detainee had undergone a polygraph test and the result of the test. There were no witness statements or even identification of government witnesses in these documents other than generically naming the detaining entities as Coalition Forces or Afghan National Army.

US Spends $160M for Closed-Door Trials In Afghanistan
13.04.08. Washington Post / legitgov. Afghan detainees held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are being transferred home to face closed-door trials in which they are often denied access to defense attorneys and the U.S. evidence being used against them, according to Afghan officials, lawyers and international rights groups. Since October 2006, the United States has transferred approximately 50 prisoners out of Guantanamo to the custody of the Afghan government. Once home, many of the Afghans have been left in a legal limbo not unlike the one they confronted while in U.S. custody. Since the invasion, the United States has pledged at least $160 million for judicial reform kangaroo courts in Afghanistan, according to the State Department.

US military to release detained AP journalist after all charges dismissed
14.04.08. The Jurist. The US military said Monday it plans to release [press release] Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein [AP materials; JURIST news archive] from custody Wednesday. Maj. Gen. Douglas M. Stone, the deputy commanding general for detainee operations, Multi-National Force–Iraq [official website], signed the order approving Hussein's release after confirming that Hussein's conduct fell under Iraq's amnesty law [JURIST report], which was passed in February as part of the national reconciliation effort. A four-member Iraqi judiciary panel dismissed the last remaining charge against Hussein [JURIST report] on Sunday and recommended the US release him from custody immediately. / Hussein has been held by the US military since his arrest in April 2006 for allegedly possessing equipment to construct roadside bombs.

Afghanistan: Karzai Should Suspend Death Penalty
16.04.08. Human Rights Watch. Afghan President Hamid Karzai should suspend the death penalty and reject signing execution orders for about 100 prisoners whose death sentences were announced by the Supreme Court on April 16, Human Rights Watch said today.
Karzai rejects death penalty moratorium (Jurist 21.04)


Ex-Afghanistan Detainee Alleges Torture by U.S.
29.03.08. Murat Kurnaz said that shortly after his capture in Pakistan in fall 2001, the American interrogators insisted he admit to being an al-Qaeda operative and associate of 9/11 plotter Mohamed Atta. Kurnaz said when he said he did not know Atta or refused to talk, the interrogators punished him by hanging him by his arms to the rafters of a freezing aircraft hangar. Kurnaz's allegations about his abusive treatment in a prison at the U.S. military base in Kandahar are to be publicly aired for the first time … on CBS's "60 Minutes." He was released by the U.S. military in August 2006 after spending nearly five years at the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Kurnaz, who the U.S. military eventually freed without giving a reason, is publishing a book in April that describes his experiences in custody.

A Torture Debate Among Healers
10.04.08. Amy Goodman, King Features Syndicate/alternet. At the heart of the election is a raging debate over torture and interrogations. While the other healing professions, including the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association, bar their members from participating in interrogations, the APA leadership has fought against such a restriction…/ The APA's annual meeting is this summer, in Boston. Expect interrogation to be the major issue confronting the members gathered there. Final voting for the APA president starts in October. The APA and the United States will determine their next presidents at about the same time. In both elections, a thorough debate on torture should be central.

The Torture Drawings the Pentagon Doesn't Want You to See
11.04.08. Andy Worthington, AlterNet. Sami al-Haj is a journalist, but one unlike any other. For over six years since December 15, 2001 -- when he was seized by Pakistani soldiers on the Afghan border while on assignment as a cameraman for the Qatar-based broadcaster al-Jazeera -- he has been in a disturbing but unique position: a trained journalist held as an "enemy combatant" on the frontline of the Bush administration's "War on Terror," first in Afghanistan, and then in Guantánamo. READ ALL OF THIS HORRIFIC STORY!!!!!

Documents Obtained By ACLU Describe Charges Of Murder And Torture Of Prisoners In U.S. Custody
16.04.08. ACLU. The American Civil Liberties Union obtained documents today from the Department of Defense confirming the military’s use of unlawful interrogation methods on detainees held in U.S. custody in Afghanistan. The documents from the military’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID), obtained as a result of the ACLU’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, include the first on-the-ground reports of torture in Gardez, Afghanistan to be publicly released. “These documents make it clear that the military was using unlawful interrogation techniques in Afghanistan,” said Amrit Singh, an attorney with the ACLU. “Rather than putting a stop to these systemic abuses, senior officials appear to have turned a blind eye to them.”.. / Today’s documents reveal charges that Special Forces beat, burned, and doused eight prisoners with cold water before sending them into freezing weather conditions. One of the eight prisoners, Jamal Naseer, died in U.S. custody in March 2003. In late 2004, the military opened a criminal investigation into charges of torture at Gardez. Despite numerous witness statements describing the evidence of torture, the military’s investigation concluded that the charges of torture were unsupported. It also concluded that Naseer’s death was the result of a “stomach ailment,” even though no autopsy had been conducted in his case. Documents uncovered today also refer to sodomy committed by prison guards; the victims’ identities are redacted

Torture and the Law
18.04.08. Spencer Ackerman, The Washington Independent. With nine months remaining in President George W. Bush's term, virtually no legal analyst expects that anyone in his administration will face indictment and prosecution in connection with the torture of terrorism detainees. However, a new admission from Bush last week has some legal analysts contending that the case for such prosecution has gotten significantly stronger.

Stress hooding noise nudity dogs
19.04.08. Philippe Sands, Guardian. It was the young officials at Guantánamo who dreamed up a list of new aggressive interrogation techniques, inspired by Jack Bauer from the TV series, 24.

Top Bush aides pushed for Guantánamo torture
19.04.08. R. Norton-Taylor, Guardian

Torture Question Hovers Over Chertoff
21.04.08. Jason Leopold, scoop, nz. John Yoo and some other Bush administration lawyers who built the legal framework for torture are now out of the U.S. government, but one still holds a Cabinet-level rank – Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.

Torture Victim's Records Lost at Guantánamo, Admits Camp General
21.04.08. Elana Schor, Guardian / Truthout. The former head of interrogations at Guantánamo Bay found that records of an al-Qaida suspect tortured at the prison camp were mysteriously lost by the US military, according to a new book by one of Britain's top human rights lawyers. / Retired general Michael Dunlavey, who supervised Guantánamo for eight months in 2002, tried to locate records on Mohammed al-Qahtani, accused by the US of plotting the 9/11 attacks, but found they had disappeared. / The records on al-Qahtani, who was interrogated for 48 days - "were backed up ... after I left, there was a snafu and all was lost", Dunlavey told Philippe Sands QC, who reports the conversation in his book Torture Team, previewed last week by the Guardian. Snafu stands for Situation Normal: All Fucked Up.

John Yoo: The President's Executioner
22.04.08. Jennifer Van Bergen. global research. The title of this article – The President's Executioner – is a play on words. It refers to professor John Yoo, who teaches law at Boalt Hall, University of California, Berkeley. But this man – mild-mannered by all appearances – is not what he seems. He is the man who was, more often than nearly any other, behind the White House decisions to violate the international laws of war. He was the one who told the White House how to get away with committing war crimes. While he may have been a henchman for others who instructed him to make the arguments he did, he repeatedly refused to reverse himself, both while he worked in the Department of Justice and after he left that office and returned to academia. / But it was also during this time period, as we now know, that the Department of Justice became “politicized.” Instead of executing the laws as it should have been doing, the Justice Department became an instrument of President Bush, executing his wishes. / And John Yoo executed White House wishes to twist the law into something it was not and was not meant to be. / Yoo, however, did more than execute orders. The so-called “Torture Memos,” in the writing of which Yoo was an active and primary participant, opened the door to such abuse of the laws that some detainees were actually murdered. For all practical purposes, they were executed, without a trial or guilty verdict. / Thus, the President's Executioner; Yoo & the Unlimited Executive; The Yoo Memos; Media and Legal Experts on Yoo's Memos; “Interrogation Documents; Yoo's Most Recently-Revealed Memo; According to Vincent Warren; Crimes

FBI chief testifies he warned DOJ, DOD harsh interrogation tactics may be illegal
23.04.08. The Jurist. FBI Director Robert Mueller testified [recorded video; prepared statement, PDF] before the US House Judiciary Committee [official website] Wednesday that he had advised officials at the Departments of Justice and Defense that some interrogation tactics employed against terror suspects might be illegal. Mueller said that the FBI had first raised concerns about the use of harsh interrogation methods in 2002, when CIA interrogators used waterboarding [JURIST news archive] with several alleged al Qaeda leaders, but declined to say how other agencies had reacted to FBI concerns. AP has more.

The Bush Team's Geneva Hypocrisy
25.04.08. Jason Leopold, Consortium. Newly released U.S. government documents, detailing how Bush administration officials punched legalistic holes in the Geneva Convention’s protections of war captives, stand in stark contrast to the outrage some of the same officials expressed in the first week of the Iraq War when Iraqi TV interviewed several captured American soldiers.

Letters Give C.I.A. Tactics a Legal Rationale
27.04.08. NY Times. The Justice Department has told Congress that American intelligence operatives attempting to thwart terrorist attacks can legally use interrogation methods that might otherwise be prohibited under international law. … / While the Geneva Conventions prohibit “outrages upon personal dignity,” a letter sent by the Justice Department to Congress on March 5 makes clear that the administration has not drawn a precise line in deciding which interrogation methods would violate that standard, and is reserving the right to make case-by-case judgments. / The fact that an act is undertaken to prevent a threatened terrorist attack, rather than for the purpose of humiliation or abuse, would be relevant to a reasonable observer in measuring the outrageousness of the act,” said Brian A. Benczkowski, … / It has been clear that the order preserved at least some of the latitude that Mr. Bush has permitted the C.I.A. in using harsher interrogation techniques than those permitted by the military or other agencies.

MI 5 HQ Thames House, London 2005

MI5 accused of colluding in torture of terrorist suspects
29.04.08. Ian Cobain, Guardian. Officers of the Security Service, MI5, are being accused of "outsourcing" the torture of British citizens to a notorious Pakistani intelligence agency in an attempt to obtain information about terrorist plots and to secure convictions against al-Qaida suspects. / A number of British terrorism suspects who have been arrested in Pakistan at the request of UK authorities say their interrogation by Security Service officers, shortly after brutal torture at the hands of agents of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI), has convinced them that MI5 colluded in the mistreatment.

Conyers to torture memo author: Testify voluntarily or face subpoena
28.04.08. Nick Juliano, Raw Story / anti-war. House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers has threatened to subpoena several former officials in the Bush administration if they do not agree to testify about their roles in the preparation of the so-called "torture memos" that authorized severe interrogation tactics in the war on terror.

The Torture Election
28.04.08. Chris Floyd , Empire Burlesque/uruknet. As the presidential horse race grows more frenzied and absurd -- Flag pins! Bowling! Obliteration!-- it is important to keep in mind what the election is really about: torture. / Specifically, the use of torture as an openly admitted, formally recognized instrument of national policy, approved at the highest level of government. The Bush Administration has now dropped all pretense that it is not engaging in interrogation techniques and incarceration practices long recognized by both international and U.S. law as blatantly criminal. What's more, the Administration boldly asserts that the president can simply ignore laws prohibiting torture if he feels that circumstances warrant the use of "interrogation methods that might otherwise be prohibited under international law," the New York Times reported over the weekend. .. / Torture is at the very heart of the Bush presidency, the most quintessential manifestation of its governing philosophy: a "Commander-in-Chief" state, where presidential directives can override any law in the name of "national security.".
[note Chris Floyd puts "national security" within quotes?]]

Cheney lawyer claims Congress has no authority over vice-president
29.04.08. Guardian. The lawyer for US vice-president Dick Cheney claimed today that the Congress lacks any authority to examine his behaviour on the job. / The exception claimed by Cheney's counsel came in response to requests from congressional Democrats that David Addington, the vice-president's chief of staff, testify about his involvement in the approval of interrogation tactics used at Guantanamo Bay. / Ruling out voluntary cooperation by Addington, Cheney lawyer Kathryn Wheelbarger said Cheney's conduct is "not within the [congressional] committee's power of inquiry".


Waiting for the Guards


Torture Team: Rumsfeld's Memo and the Betrayal of American Values
by Philippe Sands. Palgrave MacMillan May 2008. Subtitle in English edition: "Deception, Cruelty and the Compromise of Law." [Superby written, gripping book! sm]


Navy Lawyer: Gitmo trials pegged to political campaign
28.03.08. Miami herald/legitgov. The Navy lawyer for Osama bin Laden's driver argues in a Guantánamo military commissions motion that senior Pentagon officials are orchestrating war crimes prosecutions for the 2008 campaign. The Pentagon declined late Friday to address the defense lawyer's allegations, noting that the matter is under litigation.

Latest Gitmo Charges Questionable
01.04.08. Andy Worthington, Ghailani is the sixth of the 14 so-called "high-value detainees" – those held in secret, CIA-run prisons, who were transferred to Guantánamo in September 2006 – to be put forward for trial by military commission. He joins Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Mustafa al-Hawsawi, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, and Walid bin Attash (plus Mohammed al-Qahtani, a notorious victim of torture in Guantánamo), who were put forward for trial in February in connection with the 9/11 attacks. The novel "War on Terror" trials, conceived by Dick Cheney and his advisers in November 2001, have yet to secure a conviction (the closest they came was the plea bargain negotiated with the Australian David Hicks last year, who returned home to serve just seven months in prison) and have been plagued by controversy since their inception. Damned by their own military defense lawyers, derailed by their own government-appointed judges, dismissed by the Supreme Court and then resuscitated by a somnambulant Congress, they are currently limping toward trials in the cases of the Canadian Omar Khadr, who was just 15 years old when he was captured and whose alleged murder of a U.S. soldier is seriously contested by his legal team, and Salim Hamdan, a Yemeni who was one of Osama bin Laden's drivers.

As Guantanamo trials near, Pentagon limits what can be reported
03.04.08. McClatchy. A defense lawyer lets slip at the war court convening here that a battlefield commander changed an Afghanistan firefight report in a way that seemed to help a U.S. government murder case. Reporters hear the field commander's name but are forbidden to report it./ In another case, a judge approves the release of a captive's interrogation video showing the blurred face of an American agent. But a federal prosecutor on loan to the Pentagon withholds it ``out of an abundance of caution.''/ Even as the U.S. government edges toward full-blown, war-crimes trials by military commission here, with more hearings next week, all sides are grappling with what information can be made public and what must be kept secret./ … As long as there is an al Qaida, they argue, such information could be used to hurt Americans or their allies.

Military commission charges confirmed against Afghan Guantanamo Bay detainee
07.04.08. The Jurist. The US Department of Defense said Monday that charges have been referred [press release] against Afghan Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee Mohammed Kamin, who is accused of providing material support to terrorism [sworn charges, PDF; JURIST report]. If convicted, Kamin faces a maximum life sentence.

War trials boycotted
12.04.08. Bex Fox, AP. The U.S. war crimes trials at Guantanamo Bay are running into a new obstacle: boycotts by the defendants. / Three men accused of being al-Qaida operatives have now chosen to boycott their upcoming trials. More defendants are expected to do the same as the military attempts to prosecute dozens of prisoners at the isolated, high-security U.S. base overlooking the Caribbean.

Afghan Detainees Sent Home to Face Closed-Door Trials
13.04.08. Washington Post. Afghan detainees held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are being transferred home to face closed-door trials in which they are often denied access to defense attorneys and the U.S. evidence being used against them, according to Afghan officials, lawyers and international rights groups. / Since October 2006, the United States has transferred approximately 50 detainees out of Guantanamo to the custody of the Afghan government, part of a policy aimed at reducing the prison population and ultimately closing the facility [?]. Once home, many of the Afghans have been left in a legal limbo not unlike the one they confronted while in U.S. custody.

Our Very Own Axis of Evil in Guantánamo
15.04.08. Nat Hentoff, Village Voice / anti-war. A former prisoner describes the foul essence of the Bush presidency

Murat Kurnaz

Bush's Gitmo Justice Creates a Legal Black Hole
18.04.08. Nat henhoff, village voice. … Abigail didn't anticipate that another King George, presiding over America almost 250 years later, would have so expanded his authority that he could designate persons—including American citizens—as "enemy combatants" to be held in military prisons without due process. .. / A German citizen, Kurnaz was turned over to the U.S. by Pakistani authorities as a suspected terrorist, brutally tortured in a secret CIA prison in Afghanistan, and then sent to Guantánamo in 2002 for more of what the president routinely calls "enhancement interrogation." … / Azmy found a secret document, filed six months after Kurnaz had been sent to Gitmo in 2002, stating unequivocally that he had been cleared of any connection to Al Qaeda by the U.S. Criminal Investigation Task Force and by German intelligence. … / Unfazed, the Defense Department invented new charges against him—that one of his friends had been a suicide bomber, for example. But that fell apart when the purported dead bomber was found alive and well in Germany. Another justification for Kurnaz's continued imprisonment was that he'd been captured near Osama bin Laden's sanctuary in Afghanistan, fighting for the Taliban. But the first time that he went into Afghanistan, Kurnaz was flown there aboard the CIA's rendition plane, on his way to the secret prison where he'd be routinely tortured for the next two months. Nonetheless, despite the lack of any evidence against him, Kurnaz was officially declared an enemy combatant .. [read more!]

Lawyers Fear Monitoring in Cases on Terrorism
28.04.08. ny times. Across the country, and especially here in Oregon, it seems, lawyers who represent suspects in terrorism-related investigations complain that their ability to do their jobs is being hindered by the suspicion that the government is listening in, using the eavesdropping authority it obtained -- or granted itself -- after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Steven T. Wax, a Portland lawyer involved in several terrorism cases, said he has told clients to assume that everything they say to him is being secretly monitored. Mr. Wax said he "self-censors" his e-mail messages, even to other lawyers and friends. The situation, he said, has elements of "Kafka and ‘Alice in Wonderland.' "
Media Manipulation

Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon's Hidden Hand
20.04.08. David Barstow. NY Times / Truthout. In the summer of 2005, the Bush administration confronted a fresh wave of criticism over Guantánamo Bay. The detention center had just been branded "the gulag of our times" by Amnesty International, there were new allegations of abuse from United Nations human rights experts and calls were mounting for its closure. / The administration's communications experts responded swiftly. Early one Friday morning, they put a group of retired military officers on one of the jets normally used by Vice President Dick Cheney and flew them to Cuba for a carefully orchestrated tour of Guantánamo. … / The effort, which began with the buildup to the Iraq war and continues to this day, has sought to exploit ideological and military allegiances, and also a powerful financial dynamic: Most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air.
Major revelation: U.S. media deceitfully disseminates government propaganda ( 20.04.08)

Detainees Allege Being Drugged, Questioned
22.04.08. Washington Post.

The Pentagon's Guantánamo Problem
23.04.08. Andy Worthington, Andy Worthington’s Blog / Alternet. As prisoners at Guantánamo begin boycotting their own show trials, the U.S. government is focusing on propaganda in lieu of legitimacy.

The Torture Memo:

see “April ’08 Updates” on Robicheaux's Nightmare: US Rendition, Guantanamo, Torture in February 2008

War Crimes


"War Crimes," Marine Corps Reference Publication 4-11.8B,
6 September 2005


by Steven Aftergood, Secrecy News

“One of those Marine Corps documents addresses war crimes, describing prohibited actions and the need to prevent them.

"While we Marines fight swiftly and aggressively, we also conduct our military operations with respect toward both the liberated people and the vanquished foe."

"Marines do not harm enemy soldiers who surrender. Marines do not torture or kill enemy prisoners of war or detainees. Marines collect and care for the wounded, whether friend or foe."

Mahathir calls for war crimes tribunal for US, UK leaders
27.04.08. taipei times. Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad called on Friday for an international tribunal to try Western leaders for war crimes over the war in Iraq, a spokesman for the organizers said. / In a speech at Imperial College, Mahathir called for a tribunal to try US President George W. Bush and former prime ministers Tony Blair of Britain and John Howard of Australia for their part in the conflict, said a spokesman for the Muslim group the Ramadhan Foundation, which organized the event.


Law Prof Turley - Bush Ordered War Crimes

13. Some Deaths in Afghanistan


Remember Nangahar, (04. 03.07)? (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

“The people of Afghanistan are going to be more than grateful
Eight Taliban killed in southern Afghanistan: police
30.03.08. yahoo.

ISAF rejects reported killing of 3 civilians in S Afghanistan
01.04.08. Xinhuanet. NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) on Tuesday rejected the reported killing of three civilians in Panjwai district of Afghanistan's southern Kandahar province, saying the casualties were militants.

Afghan police kill 3"insurgents, capture 1
01.04.08. Xinhuanet / ICH.

Suicide attack kills two cops in Afghanistan

Several rebels killed in Afghanistan
03.04.08. ABC. International troops have killed several insurgents in an area of southern Afghanistan where two British soldiers died in an explosion four days ago, the US-led coalition said.

Afghan civilians killed, wounded in NATO occupation forces
03.04.08. Monsters and Critics. One Afghan civilian was killed and three others were wounded by a NATO-led forces' single 'warning shot' in southern Afghanistan, while several militants were killed in separate air and ground operations, officials said Thursday.

2 Afghan Civilians Killed in Separate Incidents
03.04.08. VOA.

Airstrike Kills 3 in Afghanistan
03.04.08. AP. An airstrike in southern Afghanistan killed three armed militants, while a raid by U.S.-led coalition troops in the same region left several insurgents dead, officials said Thursday.

Suicide attack, explosion kill five in Afghanistan (Roundup)
04.04.08. monsters and critics. Meanwhile, the UN Mine Action Programme in Afghanistan said Friday that more than 600 Afghans lost their lives from landmines and explosives last year.

S-led coalition troops kill 3 in S. Afghanistan
05.04.08. zaman. An airstrike in southern Afghanistan killed three armed militants, and a raid by US-led coalition troops in the same region left several insurgents dead, officials said on Thursday.

Afghan forces kill 15 Taliban insurgents, arrest key commander
06.04.08. Xinhuanet.

Heavy fighting leaves 20 dead in Nuristan
07.04.08. he coalition did not give an exact toll but a local MP said the battle, in which warplanes were also deployed, occurred in the villages of Kendal and Shok, both in Nuristan province, and left 20 people dead including civilians.

Over 20 people killed in US-led operation in Afghanistan (1st Lead)
07.04.08. Monsters and Critics. An Afghan governor said Monday that more than 20 militants were killed in a US-led operation in eastern Afghanistan [Doaba district], but a regional lawmaker said the dead were all civilians, including women and children. / A Taliban spokesman also claimed their fighters had shot down five army helicopters during the same operation, a claim that the US military spokesperson rejected.

6 die in strike against Afghan warlord
07.04.08. wiredispatch. U.S. and Afghan forces attacked a remote village in a mountainous region of northeastern Afghanistan following reports that an infamous insurgent leader was in the area, a governor said Monday. At least 16 people were killed. / Other provincial leaders said many civilians were killed in the hours-long clash, which included airstrikes in the remote villages of Shok and Kendal. Nuristani said it was too early to know if any of the 16 killed were civilians.

Probe of Afghan 'civilian deaths'
.04.08. BBC. The Afghan government has launched an investigation into reports that up to 33 civilians were killed in a US and Afghan army operation. / The US military said several insurgents were killed but that it had no reports of civilian deaths. / Afghan President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly urged the US and Nato to take care to avoid civilian casualties.

16 Dead In Hunt For Key Afghan Insurgent
07.04.08. CBS. U.S. and Afghan forces attacked a remote village in a mountainous region of northeastern Afghanistan following reports that an infamous insurgent leader [Gulbuddin Hekmatyar] was in the area, a governor said Monday. At least 16 people were killed.

Nine police killed in Afghanistan: officials
08.04.08. yannone. Seven anti-drugs policemen and five Taliban rebels died in a fierce gunbattle in southern Afghanistan, while two more police died in a roadside bomb, police said.

'US forces kill 23 Afghan civilians'
08.04.08. At least 23 civilians are killed and up to 50 others injured in US airstrikes in east Afghanistan, an Afghan provincial council chief says. / Ramatullah Rashed added that the US-led coalition and Afghan forces have completely destroyed a part of Shorak village. / A regional lawmaker, confirming Rashed's report, said the dead during the US-led operation were all civilians, including women and children, DPA reported.

Photo by 1st Lt. Claudia Crossland courtesy U.S. Army

NB: The story below does not mention that photographs show the road is being built for a major gas pipeline that will extend from energy rich Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan, and perhaps on to India.

Attack on Road Crew Kills 18 and Injures 7 in Afghanistan
09.04.08. Abdul Wafa / Carlotta Gall, NY Times. The ambush happened in Zabul Province, about 30 miles from the provincial capital, in a remote mountainous area near the Pakistan border, said Gulab Shah Ali Kheil, the deputy governor of Zabul.

Eight dead in fresh Afghan unrest: officials
09.04.08. AFP. A policeman and seven Taliban rebels were killed in fighting in southern Afghanistan, including a foreign airstrike that also wounded two civilians, officials said Wednesday. International forces' warplanes dropped bombs on a group of Taliban militants travelling by motorcycle overnight, killing three insurgents, said deputy governor of Zabul province, Gulab Shah Alikhail.

Al-Qaeda Official Believed Dead, U.S. Official Says
09.04.08. Bloomberg. Obaidah al-Masri … is believed to have died of natural causes in the past several months in Pakistan.

Afghan Bombing Kills Up to Eight Civilians, Including Three Children
11.04.08. Taimoor Shah, Carlotta Gall, NY Times / Truthout. Some of the worst such attacks over the last three years have been in Kandahar, the former Taliban stronghold. Civilians have suffered the most from explosions in busy public areas, but civilians have also been shot by NATO soldiers who perceived threats.

Three civilians, four policemen killed in attacks in occupied Afghanistan
13.04.08. Earthtimes / ICH. Three civilians were killed and as many were wounded in a roadside attack in south-eastern Afghanistan on Sunday morning, while Taliban militants attacked a police patrol in southern region, killing four and wounding seven officers, official said.

Taliban kill 4 counter narcotics police in Afghanistan
13.04.08. ABC / ICH. Police say an unknown number of insurgents were also killed in the incident.

Army has killed 7,000 Taliban
13.04.08. Michael Smith, Times on line. BRITISH occupation troops are to scale back attacks on the Taliban after killing 7,000 insurgents in two years of conflict, defence sources said last we

Two British soldiers, 11 Afghan police killed
14.04.08. REUTERS/wiredispath.

Roadside Bomb Kills 2 Afghan Police
15.04.08. AP / Washington Post.

Afghan battle leaves 6 dead
16.04.08. Xinhuanet/ICH. Fighting between Taliban militants and police in Afghanistan's southern Zabul province Wednesday left six persons including five insurgents and one police dead, an official said.

Infamous Taliban Leader Killed In Pakistan
16.04.08. CBS/ICH. Mullah Ismail, a notorious Taliban commander from the Afghan province of Kunar, was killed in a shootout with Pakistani police as he traveled with a kidnapped trader, a local police officer said Wednesday.

Afghan battle leaves 6 dead
16.04.08. Xinhuanet. Fighting between Taliban militants and police in Afghanistan's southern Zabul province Wednesday left six persons including five insurgents and one police dead, an official said.

9 dead in clashes with troops in central Afghanistan
17.04.08. AP. Afghan and foreign troops battled militants … The clash occurred in the Gilan district of Ghazni province, said district chief Abdul Wali Thofan.

13 Taliban insurgents killed, 15 held in Afghanistan
17.04.08. irish sun / ICH. In a separate clash with Afghan troops in the same province Thursday, three militants were killed, according to a defence ministry statement.

Afghan suicide blast kills 24
17.04.08. ABC / ICH. Two senior police officers were among the dead and 34 people were also injured in the attack in Zaranj city, capital of Nimroz province bordering Iran, provincial governor Ghulam Dastgir Azad said.

US, Pakistan say Taliban commander killed in shootout
18.04.08. Riaz KhanIAZ and Pamela Hess, AP. Police killed Ahmad Shah, also known as Mullah Ismail, at a roadblock near the northwestern city of Peshawar, a senior Pakistani intelligence official said.

Afghan, Iranian border clash kills Afghan teacher
20.04.08. Reuters. An Afghan teacher was killed and two Iranian border guards wounded in a gunbattle between Iranian and Afghan forces in Afghanistan's border province of Nimroz, the Interior Ministry in Kabul said on Sunday.

11 Taliban killed in clashes, Afghan Defense Ministry says
21.04.08. findlaw, AP. The ministry says that seven militants have been killed in clashes and airstrikes in the southern Helmand province. / t also says another four militants have been killed in a clash in neighboring Kandahar province. / In Zabul province, a roadside bomb hit an Afghan army patrol, wounding five soldiers, the ministry said in a statement Monday. All incidents happened on Sunday.

Afghan police kill 9 Taliban fighters in Kandahar
22.04.08. Noor Khan, AP. Afghan police killed nine Taliban fighters in a skirmish Tuesday, a day after militants attacked a checkpoint and left six border policemen dead, officials said.

NATO_soldier_6_police_killed_in_Taliban_attacks_in_Afghanistan">NATO soldier, 6 police killed in Taliban attacks in Afghanistan
22.04.08. monsters and critics. The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) soldier died of wounds and three others were wounded in two separate explosions in southern region on Monday, ISAF said in a statement.

Suicide blast in Afghan bazaar kills 4
23.04.08. Reuters. A suicide bomber blew himself up in a bazaar in an Afghan town close to the Pakistan border on Wednesday, killing three civilians and wounding at least 14 more, Afghan officials said.

Border clashes leave 10 Taliban, one Pakistan soldier dead – Summary
23.04.08. earthtimes. Up to 10 Taliban militants and one Pakistani paramilitary soldier was killed Wednesday in clashes on the border with Afghanistan, the military said. "Miscreants (Taliban) attacked the check post at Daud Qilla on the Afghan side of the border in the wee hours of the morning," a statement from army's Inter-Services Public Relations Department said. "Reportedly, 8-10 miscreants were killed and the rest disengaged."

10 police killed in Afghan attacks including suicide bombing
24.04.08. sign on sandiego/ICH. A suicide bombing and other attacks on Afghan police left 10 officers dead and 10 others wounded Wednesday, officials said

17 Taliban "militants" killed in occupied Afghanistan
24.04.08. Hindustan times / ICH. Afghan army forces clashed with Taliban militants in separate areas of the country, killing and wounding more than 17 insurgents, including a rebel commander, the army said on Thursday.

Attacks kill 13 in occupied Afghanistan
24.04.08. Monterey herald/ICH. In Kandahar province, a suicide bomber blew himself up next to a vehicle carrying intelligence agents in the border town of Spin Boldak, killing three civilians, Kandahar Gov. Assadullah Khalid said.

Nine Killed As Afghan, Pakistani Troops Mistakenly Exchange Fire
No date. Nasdaq/ICH. Afghan and Pakistani troops mistakenly exchanged fire in a chaotic border battle in pre-dawn darkness Wednesday killing eight militants and leaving one Pakistani soldier dead, the Pakistan army said.

Nine Killed As Afghan, Pakistani Troops Mistakenly Exchange Fire
No date. Nasdaq/ICH. Afghan and Pakistani troops mistakenly exchanged fire in a chaotic border battle in pre-dawn darkness Wednesday killing eight militants and leaving one Pakistani soldier dead, the Pakistan army said.

Air attack kill 15 suspected insurgent in Afghanistan :
26.04.08. Xinhuanet. Air attacks carried out by international occupation troops on Taliban resistance in Afghanistan's eastern Paktika province have left over a dozen suspected insurgents dead, spokesman of provincial administration said Saturday.

Census official, police among 24 killed in Afghan unrest
26.04.08. AFP.

Karzai Escapes Assassination Attempt
27.04.08. CBS/AP. Suspected Taliban militants attacked a ceremony attended by the Afghan president on Sunday, unleashing automatic weapons and rocket fire that sent foreign dignitaries and senior members of the government fleeing for cover. Three people were killed, including a lawmaker, and eight wounded. / President Hamid Karzai, Cabinet ministers and ambassadors escaped unharmed from the assault on the event marking the 16th anniversary of the end of Soviet-backed rule in Afghanistan. A lawmaker seated about 30 yards from Karzai was among the dead.
See also Census official, police among 24 killed in Afghan unrest (27.04.08. AFP)
SEE BOX above, Afghanistan / KARZAI


”Vain was the chief’s and sage’s pride
They had no Poet and thy dyd!
In vain they schem’d, in vain they bled
They had no Poet and are dead!

Horace, Odes IV.9: from The City of the Worlds by Alberto Manguel


"United States Military Casualty Statistics: Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom,"
updated March 18, 2008, (pdf), CRS REPORT.


Mainer serving in Afghanistan dies
05.04.08. maine today.

US Deaths in Afghanistan, Region
06.04.08. AP. As of Saturday, April 5, 2008, at least 422 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan as a result of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to the Defense Department.

5 U.S. troops among dozens dead in Iraq
10.04.08. dispsatch / ICH. Errant mortar shells slammed into houses and a funeral tent yesterday, leaving three children among the dead during clashes in a Shiite militia stronghold that was under siege by American and Iraqi forces on the fifth anniversary of the U.S. capture of the capital.

Suicide car bombing targets NATO convoy killing 8, injuring 22 in S Afghanistan
10.04.08. Xinhuanet / ICH. "Eight civilians were killed and 22 others including two policemen were injured,"

Military Personnel Account for 20% of U.S. Suicides
10.04.08. Bloomberg / ICH. About 1,821 current or former soldiers committed suicide in 16 states in 2005, the most recent year of available data, according to the report published today by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Almost half were diagnosed with depression and a third left suicide notes.

US Military Deaths in Afghanistan at 423
12.04.08. AP.

Two US soldiers killed in Afghanistan: military
17.04.08. AFP. A new US Marine force that began deploying in Afghanistan last month said Thursday it had suffered the first casualties since it began operations in country, losing two soldiers in a bomb blast.

Militants kill 'US spy' in Pakistan tribal area: official
24.04.08. AFP.


Aussie commando killed in Afghanistan
28.04.08. smh. An Australian soldier has been killed in clashes with the Taliban that also left four other Australian soldiers wounded.


Canadian_soldier_killed_in_Afghanistan">Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan
05.04.08. monsters and critics/legitgov. The soldier, Private Terry John Street, was the 82nd Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan to topple the Taliban in 2002.


Two British soldiers and one Dane killed in Afghanistan
31.03.08. Reuters.


Son of Netherlands' top general slain in Afghanistan
18.04.08. Fisnik Abrashi and Mike Corder, AP. A roadside bomb attack on a patrol of Dutch soldiers killed the son of the Netherlands' top military officer on Friday, a day after his father took command of the country's armed forces, officials said. Lt. Dennis van Uhm, 23, was one of two Dutch soldiers killed in the explosion 7 miles northwest of Camp Holland, the Dutch military base in restive Uruzgan province.


2 Indian engineers killed in Afghanistan suicide attack
12.04.08. zee news.


Two British soldiers killed in Afghanistan: official
31.03.08. AFP.

Two RAF men killed by Afghanistan bomb
14.04.08. Independent. Two other UK servicemen were wounded in the blast but are not believed to have life-threatening injuries.

British soldier killed by mine in Afghanistan
21.04.08. IHT. (94th UK soldier to be killed)


2 killed in rebels attack in Pakistan
01.04.08. Asian Age/ICH. Pakistani Taliban militants ambushed a van carrying pro-government tribal elders in a northwestern region, killing two tribal leaders and wounding seven others on Tuesday, the police said.

Nuke Plant Accident Kills 2 In Pakistan
08.04.08. CBS/legitgov.

7 killed in rioting involving pro-and anti-Musharraf supporters in Karachi
(no date), AP, Canadian press / ICH. Clashes between government supporters and opponents set off rioting in Pakistan's biggest city Wednesday, leaving seven people dead in the worst outburst of political violence since a new government took office.

Militants kill female health worker in Mohmand
19.04.08. the news.

One Pakistani soldier killed in clash with Afghan forces
23.04.08. monsters and critics. A Pakistani paramilitary soldier was killed and another was injured on Wednesday in a gunfight with the Afghan forces, the military said.

Gunmen shoot dead Pakistani university professor: police
23.04.08. AFP.

Pakistan protests to ISAF, Afghanistan over soldier's death
24.04.08. monsters and critics. Pakistan on Thursday vehemently protested Thursday to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Afghan authorities over a border clash that left one Pakistani soldier dead.

Clash between militants, outlaws leave seven dead in Pakistan
27.04.08. monsters ane critics. At least seven people were killed in an overnight gun battle between pro-Taliban militants and suspected criminals in Pakistan's lawless tribal territory along the border with Afghanistan, an official said on Sunday.

14. Future Deaths

"We are living through another Hiroshima," Iraqi doctor says
24.03.08. Sherwood Ross, URUK.NET. The U.S., Great Britain and Israel are turning portions of the Middle East into a slice of radioactive hell. They are achieving this by firing what they call "depleted uranium" (DU) ammunition but which is, in fact, radioactive ammunition and it is perhaps the deadliest kind of tactical ammo ever devised in the warped mind of man.

Weapons used by Israel against Lebanon
A continuation of the reports from the Bruxelles Tribunal on the Israeli War Against Lebanon
29.03.08. Mary Rizzo, Peacepalestine / uruknet. Three expert witnesses gave scientific testimony about the weapons that were used by Israel against Lebanon in the war that lasted 33 days, as well as the effects these armaments had on people and objects. Lebanese nuclear physicist and expert in nuclear radiation measurements, Mohammed Ali Kobeissi, Italian Geneticist Paola Manduca and British Work Psychologist and independent weapons researcher Dai Williams each presented the results of their research, complete with corroborating data.

Former Director of the U.S. Army's Depleted Uranium Project reveals toxic effects of America's Military Operations
(no date) Dr. Doug Rokke, PhD. The Canadian. After more than 5 years of unprovoked and unjustified war in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Balkans, and Somalia the use of uranium weapons -- the perfect "dirty bomb" and consequent destruction of each nation's infrastructure, has released all kinds of toxic materials turning these nations into a toxic wastelands. Consequently the number of casualties continues to escalate while U.S. and British officials arrogantly refuse to comply with their own regulations, orders, and directives that require provide prompt and effective medical care to "all" exposed individuals and to clean up all environmental contamination .

Afghans to probe whether U.S. used depleted uranium
19.04.08. wiredispatch. The Afghan government plans to investigate whether the United States used depleted uranium during its invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and if it might be linked to malformed babies born afterwards. .. / Cases of malformed babies delivered in the heavily bombed Afghan areas have come to light, Faizullah Kakar, Afghan deputy public health minister for technical affairs said on Saturday, citing an unnamed U.S. expert.
But Afghan ministry denies evidence of depleted uranium(Reuters, 20.04)

Depleted uranium to remain in Hawaii
23.04.08. William Cole, Honolulu advertiser/legitgov. The Army plans to leave in place depleted uranium discovered in 2005 at a Schofield Barracks firing range from a Cold War weapon that could fire a nuclear warhead, saying it poses no health risk.


What Are We Doing? Bud Deraps, an 82 year old WWII Navy veteran, speaks out against Depleted Uranium.


Sarah Meyer is a reseaercher living in the U.K.

The url to Index on Afghanistan: April 2008 is

Shorter url:



Many of the chapter headings in this Index Research are also in the following articles on Afghanistan. I first started tracking the US ‘war on terror’ in Afghanistan on 26 May 2005. The first research included all PNAC involvement with Afghanistan prior to the US invasion.

Index on Afghanistan (May to August 2006)

Index on Afghanistan : September 2006

Index on Afghanistan : October 2006

Index on Afghanistan : November 2006

Index on Afghanistan : December 2006

Index on Afghanistan : January 2007

Index on Afghanistan : February 2007

Index on Afghanistan : March 2007

Index on Afghanistan: April 2007: Murder in Nangarhar

Dead in Afghanistan: May 2007

Index on Afghanistan: May 2007 Part I

Index on Afghanistan: May 2007: Part II - NATO; Human Rights

Schisms: Index on Afghanistan, August 2007

Autumn '07 in Afghanistan




Index on Afghanistan and Pakistan - Murder & Security, Aug/Sept. ’08

Further articles on Afghanistan & NATO:

Afghanistan: Cleared of Wrongdoing

Security Companies in Afghanistan , 7 November 2007

Robicheaux's Nightmare: US Rendition, Guantanamo, Torture in February 2008 (28.02.08)

US-NATO 'Missile Shield' Programme: Index Timeline 06.08.07: (updated continuously)

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO): Index Timeline: "NATO OF THE EAST". 16.10.07: (updated continuously)

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