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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Index on Economics and Peril in Afghanistan, October 2008 Timeline

by Sarah Meyer
Index Research

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"A big thanks for your great essay. It is really splendid: one of the best pieces I ever read about afghanistan." Paola at uruknet.

1. Preface

Following Afghanistan Murder and Security catastrophes in September ‘08, we now have a global economic disaster. We also have forecasts of “doom” in Afghanistan.

Global financial meltdown followed the Bush Bailout vote on 1 October 2008. The US financial collapse is related to the “industrial military complex”, and defense expenditures. Eight days after 7% Bush signed the Bailout, while global markets were collapsing, a headline announced: "Pentagon Wants $450 Billion Increase Over Next Five Years." On / following 1 October '08, the US awarded, to date, AT LEAST $3.3 billion for military contracts for Afghanistan and Iraq. (see "contracts" below. * A proper assessment needs doing!) No, Mr. Bush and Co., for all your crocodile compassion, you failed to learn in Iraq, and now in Afghanistan, that human beings and community structure are more important than Propaganda, People- killing and Toys for the Boys.

The day following the Bailout, “harsh conclusions” on the war in Afghanistan were made by the UK’s Ambassador to Kabul, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles . On 4 October, the Times reported Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith as saying that a military victory over the Taleban was “neither feasible nor supportable.” General John Craddock, NATO’s Supreme-Allied Commander, allegedly defended Brig. Carleton-Smith’s viewpoint. Fitzgibbon , the Australian Defense Minister, echoed his frustrations on 8 October. The French army chief concurred with Carlton-Smith. Canada’s Prime Minister chimed in, depending on where he was electioneering. A further verdict came from a US report to be published after the election. The report represents “a harsh verdict on decision-making in the Bush administration, which in the months after the Sept. 11 2001 attacks made Afghanistan the central focus of a global campaign against terrorism.”

Both Obama and McCain agree to wage the “Good War” [sic] in Afghanistan; both want a bigger force “to help thwart terrorism” It is disturbing, presuming that Obama wins the election, to hear him feel “honoured” by the support of war criminal, Colin Powell. It is even more disturbing to hear his reasoning for wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan: “The other thing that we have to focus on, though, is al Qaeda. They are now operating in 60 countries. We can't simply be focused on Iraq. We have to go to the root cause” and that is in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”. Erm. Bypassing AIPAC, isn’t the “root cause” the Israeli wall and illegal “settlements” accompanied by Israeli violence and intimidation of farmers in Palestine?

Meanwhile, the US started its 3rd war, illegally invading Pakistan on 3 September, killing 15 men, women and children with drones. Drone systems will soon be operated by teenagers pushing death buttons – thus even further alienating the killer from the victim(s).

1. Preface
2. Poverty; Refugees, Women; Transportation, Security & Kidnapping
3. The ‘Neo Taliban’
4. The War in Afghanistan
(War Zone Timeline, Dead)
5. Killing Civilians
6. Viewpoints on the war in Afghanistan
7. Oil and Gas in Afghanistan
8. Aid in Afghanistan
9. Opium in Afghanistan
10. United States in Afghanistan
(Reports, Happy Families, Black Sheep, "Disaster Capitalism")
11. Military Industrial Complex; Contracts; Contractors
13. NATO Coalition
(Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, UK)
14. Dead in Afghanistan
15. Human Rights
(Media, “War on Terror”, War Crimes, Detainees, 9/11, Prisons, Siddiqui, Torture)
16. Obama and McCain on Afghanistan
17. References

2. Poverty, Transportation, Women, Security & Kidnapping


ACT Alert Afghanistan no. 39/2008: Severe drought and food insecurity
25.09.08. relief web. The United Nations and the Government of Afghanistan have indicated that there is a need for US$ 72 million in assistance for the last half of 2008 to avoid a massive humanitarian disaster.

FEATURE-Food crisis competes for Afghan "hearts and minds"
29.09.08. Reuters. a farmer once besieged by the Taliban, then by drought, who then fled to the city and now rails against food prices he blames on the very government he voted for.

AFGHANISTAN: El-Tor cholera leaves 17 dead
07.10.08. irin. An outbreak of El Tor cholera in northern, eastern and southeastern Afghanistan has killed at least 17 people - mostly women and children - in the past few weeks, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) said on 6 October.

VIDEO: Cholera plagues Afghanistan (21.10.08. al jazeera)

More effort needed to eradicate poverty in Afghanistan: International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
17.10.08. Relief web. A UN appeal to help address food insecurity is still under-funded. A combination of food price hikes, a downturn in the global economy, the effects of climate change, weak governance, and the intensification of the armed conflict, threaten to push even more Afghans into the ranks of the desperately poor. The poor have limited access to clean water and sanitation, adequate nutrition, shelter and other essentials that are fundamental to a life with dignity.

Race Begins to Deliver Afghan Food Aid Before Winter
17.10.08. Steve Herman, VOA. Afghan officials are in a race against time to get food into remote areas that will soon be isolated when the first significant seasonal snow falls. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Kabul says compounding the challenge are security concerns, a terrible harvest and soaring food prices.

Will next US president rethink Afghanistan?
21.10.08. Damian Grammaticas, BBC. In the hospital in Bamiyan a nurse is examining Mohammed Hakim. He is almost two years old, but his tiny figure is shrivelled and weak, little more than skin and bone. / Every month, 20 severely malnourished children are being admitted to this hospital. Their wasted figures are a warning. 2 months of food in Bamyan. VIDEO.

VIDEO: Poverty forces Afghan children into smuggling (03.10.08. Aljazeera)

Why the war criminals must leave Afghanistan
25.10.08. Pip Hinman, green left. Most of the rebuilding projects have been handed over to profit-driven private corporations. Most roads and buildings remain in tatters. Average life expectancy is 44 years. Between 53% and 80% of Afghan people live below the official poverty line (depending on which part of the country). / Adult literacy is 29%. In some regions, less than 1% of the population is literate. One in five children dies before the age of five. If anything, the war is preventing progress being made.

Garbage sustains Afghan 'ragpickers'
28.10.08. Jason Motlagh, uruknet. Six-year-old Ali Reza Khan spots a half-eaten apple and steps toward it, darting when another boy makes his move. In one quick swoop, he picks it up, wipes it with a soiled sleeve and takes a bite. It's 7:30 a.m. at the city garbage dump, and the hunt is on. Several truckloads of refuse soon arrive, and Ali tosses aside the rind to join a frenzy of Afghan children who depend on the bounty hidden within each steaming mound to support themselves and their families. Known locally as "ragpickers," most were born in Pakistan after their parents fled the violence and economic hardships that continue to worsen across the border...


Pakistan Aims to Expel Afghan Refugees as Bajaur Offensive Continues
05.10.08. anti-war. The Pakistani government has announced a “crackdown” on the 30,000 plus Afghan refugees it estimates are living in the troubled Bajaur Agency. Pakistan gave the refugees a three day deadline to return to Afghanistan which expired this weekend. The director general of Kunar’s Refugee Department is quoted as saying “seven to eight” families had returned by the deadline, but they expected some more might come later.

Hard times for Afghan nomads
13.10.08. Bilal Sarwary, BBC / anti-war.

See more Kuchi photos here .

Thousands of Iraqi, Afghan and Georgian Exiles Pour Into Graeco-Turkish Border
21.10.08. Guillaume Perrier, Le Monde/truthout. European countries ignore both Geneva and EU conventions concerning refugees as migrants from global conflicts pour into Greece.

Afghan asylum seekers sent home by Australia 'killed by Taleban'
27.10.08. Anne Barrowclough, Times Online/ICH. Chris Evans, the country's Immigration Minister, has ordered an inquiry into claims that the murdered refugees were among 400 asylum refugees refused entry into Australia by John Howard's government.

Afghanistan: Increasing hardship for growing displaced population
28.10.08. Relief web / ICH. Around 185,000 people, internally displaced before and just after the 2002 fall of the Taleban government, continue to live in camp-like settlements in the south, west and south-west.


Women Who Took On the Taliban -- and Lost
03.10.08. Kim Sengupta, Independent/alternet. Of five prominent Afghani women interviewed three years ago by The Independent, three are dead and a fourth has had to flee.

In Poverty and Strife, Women Test Limits
05.10.08. Carlotta Gall, NY Times. Women are driving cars — a rarity in Afghanistan — working in public offices and police stations, and sitting on local councils. There is even a female governor, the first and only one in Afghanistan. / In many ways this province, Bamian, is unique. … / More than 80 percent of Afghan women are illiterate. Women’s life expectancy is only 45 years, lower than that of men, mostly because of the very high rates of death during pregnancy. Forced marriage and under-age marriage are common for girls, and only 13 percent of girls complete primary school, compared with 32 percent of boys. / The cult of war left women particularly vulnerable. For years now they have been the victims of abduction and rape. Hundreds of thousands were left war widows, mired in desperate poverty

Anna Politkovskaya Award

Malaya Joya (cont)

Afghan woman rights campaigner wins courage award
07.10.08. Reuters. Malalai Joya's bravery was recognised this week when she was named as the second winner of the Anna Politkovskaya award -- in memory of the campaigning Russian journalist murdered two years ago in Moscow.

Bearing Witness: The Afghan Tragedy
07.10.08. Malaya Joya, The Nation. Remarks on receiving the award. “… Exactly seven years ago, the United States and its allies attacked Afghanistan in the name of liberating Afghanistan and its women. Weeks after the overthrow of the Taliban regime, Laura Bush stated proudly, "Because of our recent military gains in much of Afghanistan, women are no longer imprisoned in their homes. The fight against terrorism is also a fight for the rights and dignity of women." / But only few days ago, a top European diplomat Francesc Vendrell warned that Afghanistan is in the worst shape since 2001. In an interview with BBC he said, "In 2002, we were being welcomed almost as liberators by the Afghans. Now we are being seen as a necessary evil."

Why the war criminals must leave Afghanistan
25.10.08. Pip Hinman, greenleft. / Malalai Joya, a courageous MP and one of the few elected, rather than appointed, Afghan politicians, is now living in hiding for daring to expose the crimes of the warlords who dominate the parliament. / Joya described the parliament as being like a “mafia”, “80% of which are warlords or drug lords”. “They either snatched their places in parliament at gun point or bought these seats off with US dollars”, she told a Pakistani journalist in September. / Asked if she thought the security situation would worsen if the US-NATO forces left, she said: “We have to continue to expose the crimes of this occupation, and not let our opposition to the Taliban blind us to the fact that foreign interference and military occupation is not helping bringing democracy.” / She went on: “They [the US-NATO coalition forces] are even embracing the Taliban. Recently, in Musa Qila, a Taliban commander Mulla Salam was appointed as governor by Karzai. The US has no problem with the Taliban so long as it’s ‘our Taliban’. / “People here believe that the warlords are cushioned by the US troops. If the USA leaves, the warlords will lose power because they have no base among our people. The people of Afghanistan will deal with these warlords once US troops leave Afghanistan”, Joya added. / We should also heed Joya’s call to “support the democratic forces in Afghanistan” and to send doctors, nurses and teachers, not soldiers. We must support self-determination for the people of Afghanistan and force the Rudd government to withdraw the troops.

Nobel Laureates Honour Afghan recipient of International Human Rights Award
09.10.08. cranky optimist. We, six women Nobel Peace Laureates—Shirin Ebadi, Jody Williams, Wangari Maathai, Rigoberta Menchu, Betty Williams and Mairead Maguire—are honoured to once again support the Reach All Women In War (RAW) Anna Politkovskaya Award. … / Thankfully there are courageous women around the world who, like Anna Politkovskaya, are willing to speak truth to power. Malalai Joya—the recipient of this year’s award—is one such woman.

Also see here.


North slipping into different kind of hell
20.10.08. Chris Sands,the For more than a week she [age 13] was handed around the area to whomever wanted a piece of her. By the end of it all, she had been raped eight times.


Government to build road to China
25.09.08. online news.

The Promised Road

Afghans reopen road despite threat to heritage site
08.10.08. Wired/antiwar. Hundreds of Afghans forcibly reopened a road in the western city of Herat on Wednesday that had been shut to protect a 15th century heritage site after a promised alternate route was not provided. The Musallah complex in the western city of Herat was built during the Timurid empire founded by the legendary conqueror Tamerlane and today consists of six minarets and two domed chambers. See earlier story on closure here (06.06.08)

Importance of Silk Route
13.10.08. Kashmir Watch. … / Now in the the 21st century, the great East-West trading route has regained major prominence. The New Silk Road -- the revival of trade and investment between the Gulf and Asia -- features large movements of capital as well as goods. / … Over the last two years U.S. policy makers have been promoting a new vision for Central and South Asia. This vision advocates the creation of a new Silk Road. The idea behind the vision is to restore links between Afghanistan, the Central Asia Republics, and their neighbours. … Finding ways to lower transaction costs is the critical task for the United States and its partners. For the United States and its eastern partners to succeed in their nation building efforts in Afghanistan, they need to find ways to improve economic conditions in the country. According to American policy makers, the best way to accomplish this is to expand economic [oil / gas?] links between Central and South Asian nations. … The essence of the American vision for both regions is the creation of a new Silk Road. Its creation could conceivably open up new markets and economic opportunities for the landlocked countries of Central Asia and Afghanistan.

Railway to Iran
19.10.08. trendaz. A NEW railway linking Iran with the western Afghan city of Herat is 60% complete. / The ministry says rail transport is five times cheaper than transporting goods by road. / But one kilometer of railway built in Afghanistan costs about $2 million

Afghan-Iranian Company Increases Commercial Relations
21.10.08. Trendaz. A joint Afghan-Iranian transportation company will be set up in the Iranian sea port of Chabahar in a bid to boost trade between the two countries.

(see more excellent road / scenery photos by Atash Parcha here)

Death stalks the highway to hell
24.10.08. Salih Muhammad Salih, Abubakar Siddique, asia times. Following its reconstruction in 2003, the Kabul to Kandahar highway was seen as a logistical lifeline that would bring hope and promise for Afghanistan's future. / But today the nearly 500-kilometer route, known as Highway One, might arguably symbolize the dangers ahead as the country continues its efforts to defeat the Taliban and other "enemies of Afghanistan", to borrow the government's phrase for insurgents and other brigands undermining central authority. / Afghans who use the road warn that it has become exceedingly treacherous …

Afghan Mad Max Highway 1 to nowhere: Ring Roads rise & fall
23.10.08. Moin Ansari, uruknet. Its been dubbed the Afghan Mad Max Gauntlet. The Afghan Highway 1 Ring Road has been heralded as Afghanistan’s revival, and the great reconstruction of the infrastructure. Indians also dreamed of hooking it up to Iran and then to the Indian built Iranian port of Chahbahar. Today the Ring Road is an unmitigated disaster. Most of the bridges have been blown up and the Taliban and the 38 other anti-occupation forces run a gauntlet on the road. It is not safe, and it does not allow ISAF and NATO to reach hot spots in a hurry. Those risking to run the gauntlet are trapped by the insurgents, kidnapped, held ransom, or simply killed and blown-up...Already all the roads to Kabul are in Talib control...

(also see transporation at 7. Oil and Gas)



Security Rights HRRAC.
21.09.08. Xinhuanet. [ HRRAC ] said in its report released on Sunday that majority of Afghans believe the security situation is getting worse since 2004. "Sixty three percent of Afghans believe that the security situation in their communities has worsened since 2004,"the report said.


FEATURE-Afghan army slowly pulls itself up by bootstraps
25.09.08. Sanjeev Miglani, Reuters.

Afghan security worse, more police needed - U.N.
26.09.08. in Reuters.

And Kidnapping


"Kidnapping and Terror in the Contemporary Operational Environment"
(Secrecy News)


Afghanistan protests to Pakistan over abduction of consul

Pakistan assures safe recovery of abducted Afghan envoy. (23.09.08 xingua).

Freed (30.09.08. Dawn. BUT: Release is “speculation and hearsay.” (01.10.08. int times)

Protest in Afghanistan over envoy’s kidnapping
09.10.08. “Around 1,000 people, mostly influential elders, marched in a peaceful protest calling on both countries, the United Nations and the Taliban to free Mr Farahi,” Farah province Governor Rohul-Amin said. The demonstrators read a statement in front of the governor’s office accusing both countries of not doing enough for the release of the Afghan diplomat, who had been promoted to ambassador but had yet to take up the job.

Search on for missing Afghan diplomat
13.10.08, the news

FARAH , not too far from US airbase in Shindand

Militants kidnap 155 workers building Afghan base
22.09.08. wired / AP. The laborers were working on a military base for the Afghan army in the city of Farah,

New efforts to free 150 Afghan hostages: official
24.09.08. AFP. Tribal elders, members of village and town councils, and other influential men have been called to meet later in the day in the town of Farah near where the workers were abducted Sunday, the deputy provincial governor said.

Taliban frees 118 kidnapped labourers
26.09.08. AFP.

Kidnappers target the rich, influential in Afghanistan
30.09.08. AFP. Mohammed Hashim Wahaaj, a large Afghan doctor with a bushy beard, thought he was going to die.

Gunmen kidnap former Afghan presidential candidate in Kabul
20.10.08. m and c / anti-war. Humayun Asifi and two relatives were kidnapped by unknown gunmen at 11 pm on Sunday night when he was on his way to his home in western part of Kabul city, Zemarai Bashary, interior ministry spokesman, said.

US commandos rescue American hostage near Kabul
22.10.08. Jason Straziuso, AP. U.S. Special Forces soldiers conducting a daring nighttime operation freed a kidnapped American working for the Army Corps of Engineers — the first known hostage rescue by American forces in Afghanistan. The American, who was abducted in mid-August, had been held in a growing insurgent stronghold 30 miles west of Kabul, U.S. military officials told The Associated Press. They said several insurgents were killed in last week's mission to free him.


Turkish govt says 3 Turks kidnapped in Afghanistan
25.10.08. AP. The Turkish nationals were kidnapped in the eastern province of Khoston Thursday,


Afghan security forces free former Afghan presidential candidate
26.10.08. M %amp C. Acting on a tip-off, joint Afghan police and intelligence forces recovered both hostages in a safe-house in the Tarakhel area of Kabul city, said Afghan intelligence service spokesman Sayed Ansari. / 'Today our forces freed Humayun Shah Asifi and Abdul Latif from the hands of their kidnappers,' Ansari said, but declined to provide further details.

3. The ‘Neo-Taliban’

The mystique vital for any outgunned guerilla movement-
the capacity to be both invisible and omnipresent
. Philip Marsden , The Chains of Heaven, p. 268.

Insurgents in Afghanistan show strength, sophistication
18.09.08. Laura King, LA Times / uruknet. This summer, foreign troop deaths have exceeded those of U.S. forces in Iraq. 'We feel that things are going very, very well for us,' one Taliban fighter says.

A Modernized Taliban Thrives in Afghanistan
20.09.08. P. Constable, Washington Post.

US told it must hold talks with Taliban's Mullah Omar
25.09.08. Telegraph. The US must broker a power-sharing agreement with the head of the Taliban, Mullah Omar, in order to establish peace in the region, the Governor of Pakistan's lawless border areas has said.

US general: Taliban can't launch winter campaign
26.09.08. AP. A top U.S. general [Maj. Gen. Jeffrey J. Schloesser] said he expects militant violence in Afghanistan to rise some 30 percent this winter compared with last year, but that he does not think insurgents have the ability to mount a massive campaign during the country's harsh weather.

West Prevents Establishment of Stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan
27.09.08. trendaz. The former Chairman of the Council of National Unity of Afghanistan, Ahmet Ziya Rafet, said that the USA and Great Britain support terrorists in the country and conduct games in the region to achieve their strategic interests. / Rafet told Trend News correspondent in Kabul that Taliban and the terrorist forces were in actuality created by the West, especially by the USA and Great Britain to achieve their interests in the region.

Taliban show no let up despite 8,000 soldiers in FATA
28.09.08. The newspaper [the times] said in a report on Saturday that a constant supply of fresh fighters from inside the country and across the border in Afghanistan is helping the Taliban to stay in the fight.

Revealed: secret Taliban peace bid
28,09.08. Jason Burke, Guardian. Saudis are sponsoring a peace dialogue involving a former senior member of the hardline group. See another article (28.09.08) about the ‘back channels of diplomacy’ by Jason Burke in The Observer. Taliban leadership denies report of Afghan talks (29.09.08, Reuters).

Afghan minister does not confirm Taliban talks
28.09.08. Reuters. "I deny there is any contact between the Foreign Ministry and the Taliban about the negotiations," he said when asked for elaboration.

Are You Confused About Taliban? The Good Taliban, The Bad And The Ugly
28.09.08. Ahmed Quraishi, uruknet. There used to be one Taliban, the Afghan one. The new Talibans you see today are not only fake, but also penetrated by the spy agencies of several countries. Their target appears to be Pakistan. At the time of 9/11, there was only one Taliban, the Afghan Taliban. Now there are several. This is not natural. It is the result of a great game that intelligence agencies from several countries are playing to confuse the situation on the Pak-Afghan border. Some, like the Indians, are using it to send trained terrorists. Others, like the Americans, are using it to support terrorists like BLA. And Russia is suspected of financing some other militants to keep the Americans tied down. The Good Taliban are those who are patriots, they understand the situation created by the enemies of Pakistan. They support the Army and its various agencies that are all busy protecting Pakistan. The Good Taliban also include the Afghan Taliban, who is the original Taliban. They are good not because we like or dislike their policy, but because they, too, have never attacked Pakistan or Pakistanis. They are part of the Afghan opposition to the puppet regime of Hamid Karzai and are part of the Afghan resistance to a foreign occupation, all of which has nothing to do with Pakistan....

Taliban's Omar offers deal to U.S. on withdrawal
29.09.08. Reuters. Taliban leader Mullah Omar on Monday urged U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan to withdraw or face a similar defeat to occupying Soviet troops a generation ago. / "Reconsider your wrong decision of wrong occupation, and seek a safe exit to withdraw your forces," said the message, which the Taliban said came from Omar. "If you leave our lands, we can arrange for you a reasonable opportunity for your departure," he said, adding that the Taliban posed no harm to anyone in the world.

Karzai Sought Saudi Help With Taliban
30.09.08. NY Times. But Mr. Karzai said his appeals had failed to yield any talks, and his tone suggested a degree of frustration with the Saudi government for not having acted more decisively. Nor was there any indication that senior Taliban leaders were ready for talks on any grounds that the Karzai government and its Western backers would be likely to accept.

Afghanistan's Karzai Calls for Talks with Taliban
30.09.08. Ayaz Gul, VOA. Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai has made a call for peace to fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Omar. Wants Omar to return to Afghanistan.

3. bin Laden

Bush Had No Plan to Catch Bin Laden After 9/11
29.09.08. Gareth Porter, IPS/truthout. "New evidence from former U.S. officials reveals that the George W. Bush administration failed to adopt any plan to block the retreat of Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders from Afghanistan to Pakistan in the first weeks after 9/11. That failure was directly related to the fact that top administration officials gave priority to planning for war with Iraq over military action against al Qaeda in Afghanistan."

Elite Officer Recalls Bin Laden Hunt
07.10.08. CBS / ICH. Shortly after 9/11, the Pentagon ordered a top secret team [Delta] of American commandos into Afghanistan with a single, simple order: kill Osama bin Laden. It was America's best chance to eliminate the leader of al Qaeda. The inside story of exactly what happened in that mission, and how close it came to its objective has never been told until now. VIDEO.

bin Laden After 9/11
07.10.08. Gareth Porter, IPS News/alternet. Mere weeks after 9/11, the Bush administration was too busy planning to invade Iraq to follow through on its mission in Afghanistan.

Afghans back Taliban, says abducted senator
02.10.08. Chris Sands, The National/uruknet. It was early one morning this summer when Abdul Wali Ahmadzai began to understand the true strength of the Taliban in his province. As the senator for Logar travelled to a meeting, eight men armed with weapons including Kalashnikovs and rocket-propelled grenade launchers stopped his convoy on a dirt road. He was held hostage for more than two months and would come away having witnessed a reality some insist does not exist. "The important point is that the people support the Taliban. This is the main problem: now the people do not like the government and they support the Taliban,"

Taliban Rejects Karzai Call for Talks
03.10.08. Jason Ditz, Afghan President Hamid Karzai gave an interview on Pakistani television in which he implored Taliban leader Mullah Omar to return to the country and compete in the next presidential election. Karzai promised to be "wholly solely responsible for his safety." But top Taliban official Mullah Brother phoned Reuters rejecting the offer "by the Afghan’s puppet and slave President Hamid Karzai." He insisted that Karzai "only says and does what he is told by A! merica," and that he was in no position to negotiate....

Taliban split with al Qaeda, seek peace
(no date) CNN. Taliban leaders are holding Saudi-brokered talks with the Afghan government to end the country's bloody conflict -- and are severing their ties with al Qaeda, sources close to the historic discussions have told CNN.

Afghan Government Denies Talking with Taliban
07.10.08. N VOA / ICH. Presidential spokesman Humayun Hamidzada told reporters that while President Hamid Karzai has asked the Saudi King to arrange such discussions, they have not yet occurred.

The British commander is right... you'll never beat Taliban
07.10.08. Patrick Coburn, Belfast telegraph. In Afghanistan the US policy has been catastrophically misconceived. The first serious talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban took place 10 days ago in Mecca under the auspices of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. During the discussions all sides agreed that the war in Afghanistan is going to be solved by dialogue and not by fighting. / The Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, was not present but his representatives said he was no longer allied to al-Qa'ida.

US backs Taliban return to power in Afghanistan
08.10.08. timesofindia / ICH. Gates' comments followed revelations that Taliban representatives met with Afghan government officials last month in Saudi Arabia, a former high-level Taliban ambassador said on Monday.

A fatal flaw in Afghan peace process
08.10.08. M K Bhadrakumar, asia times. With the reported intra-Afghan talks under the mediation of Saudi Arabia in Mecca on September 24-27, attention inevitably shifts to the hidden aspects of the "war on terror" in Afghanistan - the geopolitics of the war. …/.. However, what is beyond doubt is that inter-Afghan peace talks have finally begun. There is a readiness to admit that the legacy of the Bonn conference in December 2001 must be exorcised from Afghanistan's body politic and stowed away in history books. The recognition seems to have dawned that peace is indivisible and victors must learn to share it with the vanquished. .. / .. Against such a complex backdrop, Washington could - and perhaps should - have logically turned to the United Nations or the international community to initiate an inter-Afghan peace process. Instead, it has almost instinctively turned to its old ally in the Hindu Kush - Saudi Arabia. …

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar
BBC 2002

Secret Saudi dinner, Karzai's brother and the Taliban
08.10.08. Kim Sengupta, Independent / ICH. The Afghan government of President Hamid Karzai has been involved in secret negotiations with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the former Mujaheddin leader now labelled a ‘terrorist’ by the US and Britain.

Afghan president offers Taliban a role in governing country
11.10.08. Nick Meo, Telegraph. President Hamid Karzai has offered Taliban leaders the possibility of positions in his government if they agree to a peace deal which could bring fighting to an end.

U.N envoy: Afghan insurgency spreading
14.10.08. MSNBC / legitgov. The 'insurgency' in Afghanistan has spread beyond Taliban strongholds while the number of attacks in the country has reached a six-year high, a top U.N. envoy said on Tuesday. Kai Eide, the U.N.'s special representative to Afghanistan, told the United Nations Security Council that insurgents are unlikely to ease attacks this winter as their influence continues to spread beyond traditional strongholds to provinces around Kabul.

As Taliban Influence Grows, ‘Shadow Government’ Seems an Increasingly Viable Option to Afghans
14.10.08. anti-war. While coalition forces continue to kill militants in the provinces south of Kabul, the resilient Taliban forces continue to expand their influence in the area. Their presence is so overwhelming in some areas that they’re set up their own ’shadow government’ with its own court system. In the areas they control most completely, these government systems are considerably more powerful than their coalition-supported counterparts, and according to some reports, better accepted.

Kabul Is Now Surrounded By The Taliban
14.10.08. G.SMITH, Globe and Mail / uruknet. ...The Taliban are isolating Afghanistan's capital city from the rest of the country, choking off important supply routes and imposing their rules on the provinces near Kabul.

Taliban make travel out of Kabul treacherous
14.10.08. newspress/ICH. The Taliban are isolating Afghanistan's capital city from the rest of the country, choking off important supply routes and imposing their rules on the provinces near Kabul.

Some Afghans live under Taliban rule – and prefer it
15.10.08. Anand Gopal, CSM / ICH. In provinces just south of Kabul, the insurgents have a shadow government that polices roads and runs courts.

“How We Lost the War We Won: A Journey into Taliban-Controlled Afghanistan”
15.10.08. Democracy Now!/uruknet. ...And then, once we got to the province of Ghazni, we were basically in Taliban-controlled territory. They have checkpoints there during the day, where they stop cars and take people out, kill them if they want to. They conduct daytime patrols in their villages with rocket-propelled grenades on their backs, with fairly large groups, some six to eight, ten people with machine guns. They conduct trials, adjudicating disputes between farmers, etc....

Defections hit Afghan forces
15.10.08. aljazeera.

Afghanistan: Pakistan's ex-spymaster outlines Taliban demands
15.10.08. adnkronos/ICH. The Taliban will agree to peace talks if they are recognised as a political force, if a date is set for the withdrawal of international forces, and if Taliban prisoners are released, according to Pakistan's former spy chief, Retired Lt. General Hamid Gul. / Gul a former head of Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), said he believes negotations need to be taken forward with Taliban leader Mullah Omar. / Pakistan has to be brought on board too.."

Video: Afghan defectors turn to the Taliban (15.10.08.

To fight Taliban, US eyes Afghan tribes
16.10.08. Mark Sappenfield, CSM / anti-war.


Afghan ally Haqqani is now a foe
16.10.08. James Rupert, Bloomberg / anti-war. [NB: bin Laden was also once a US “Afghan ally” ] When Jalaluddin Haqqani fought Soviet troops in Afghanistan in the 1980s, the U.S. showered him with praise, guns and money. The congressman celebrated in "Charlie Wilson's War," the movie and book about that conflict, called him "goodness personified." / Now the U.S. is trying to kill Mr. Haqqani, who commands a Taliban guerrilla force fighting Americans in five Afghan provinces from his base in western Pakistan.

FACTBOX-Facts about veteran Taliban commander Haqqani
23.10.08. Reuters. A gaunt, ethnic Pashtun man with a long beard and, in the few photographs of him, always seen wearing a large turban, Haqqani is in his 70s. He won recognition as a rugged commander during the Afghan jihad, or holy war, against Soviet occupiers in the 1980s. … -- Haqqani had close links with U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Pakistani intelligence services, notably the military's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), during the war against the Soviets. / .. -- The New York Times reported in July that the CIA had given Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani evidence of the ISI's continued involvement with Haqqani.

Afghanistan Taliban becomes stronger in numbers
17.10.08. Calcutta News.Net, uruknet. The Taliban's strength in Afghanistan has increased by up to 20-30 percent over the past year, according to Major General Jeffrey Schlosser, a top general in-charge of US ground troops in Afghanistan. In a CBS TV interview to be telecast this Sunday, he said evidence of the increase in numbers was apparent on a base in eastern Afghanistan, near the Pakistan border, which has been hit with rockets and mortars at least 30 times since March, when a major battle took place...

Afghan mayor turns Taliban leader
17.10.08. al jazeera. Given exclusive access to one of his 20 mountain bases hidden deep inside rugged terrain that Akbari says were also used to fight the Russians, Al Jazeera's Qais Azimy found a group of at least 60 well-armed Taliban fighters. / The former mayor of Afghanistan's Herat province is now the most powerful local Taliban commander. / Ghullam Yahya Akbari told Al Jazeera that he will not negotiate with the Afghan government as long as foreign troops are on Afghan soil. IN VIDEO: Afghan mayor joins Taliban

Video: Afghan mayor turns Taliban leader (17.10.08. aljazeera)

Saudi says Afghan mediation depends on peace desire
21.10.08. Reuters.

The 'Unthinkable' in Afghanistan
23.10.08. Greg Bruno, Council on Foreign Relations, Wasington Post. The sudden emergence of a diplomatic dialogue illustrates just how far the U.S.-led war effort in Afghanistan has deteriorated, some experts say.

analysis: Afghanistan in peril
24.10.08. Najmuddin A Shaikh, daily It is clear that the Taliban are not as monolithic as sometimes assumed. Various power centres have developed and many vested interests have been created. The Taliban that have spoken about negotiations do not represent mainstream Taliban. / The military situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated sharply in this year.

Taliban say NATO troops must leave to end Afghan war
25.10.08. Sayed Salahuddin, Reuters.

Taliban rule returning to Kandahar province
28.10.08. military world / ICH. As Canadian Forces continue to fight and die throughout Kandahar province, the Taliban have quietly set up parallel governments only kilo-metres away from the provincial capital, local residents say.

How We Lost the War We Won
30.10.08. Nir Rosen, rolling stone / anti-war. A journey into Taliban-controlled Afghanistan: An evocative article on GHAZNI. Until recently, Ghazni, like much of central Afghanistan, was considered reasonably safe. But now the province, located 100 miles south of the capital, has fallen to the Taliban. Foreigners who venture to Ghazni often wind up kidnapped or killed. In defiance of the central government, the Taliban governor in the province issues separate ID cards and passports for the Taliban regime, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. Farmers increasingly turn to the Taliban, not the American-backed authorities, for adjudication of land disputes.

4. The War in Afghanistan (War Zone timeline, Suicide Attacks, Dead, Refugees)

The Embattled Frontier

Black Widow's inhospitable beauty
27.09.08. John Simpson, BBC. The immense border between Afghanistan and the north-west frontier of Pakistan is harsh, inhospitable and breathtakingly beautiful. / It has been the cause of tension for at least a century and a half.

Series Overview: The Embattled Frontier
13.10.08. Doug Roberts, npr. The 1,600-mile-long frontier between Afghanistan and Pakistan has always been a wild and often violent region — and never more so than today. There is warfare on both sides of the border now. 5 part series by various authors.



“Troops in Contact”
September 2008. Human Rights Watch. Airstrikes and Civilian Deaths in Afghanistan.


Azizabad Revisited

‘If it’s been officially denied, then it’s probably true’ John Pilger.

The incessant slaughter of Afghan civilians
23.09.08. D. Lewis, aljazeera. Why American military “investigations” do nothing to prevent airstrike massacres against Afghan civilians.

Hundreds of Afghan civilians still dying in the United States' "good war
06.10.08. monitors. The US insists that American forces do not deliberately target civilians. No compensation has been paid by the US to the victims’ families, according to Attiqullah. He admitted that the Karzai government had paid $2,000 for each death and $1,000 to each injured person. This shows the little value that is placed on Afghan lives."

US Inquiry Revises Herat Civilian Toll, Still Disputes UN, Afghan Accounts
07.10.08. Jason Ditz, anti-war. The investigator, Brigadier General Michael Callan, determined that many more civilians were killed than officials had previously claimed. He still put the number at only “more than 30,” still quite a bit below the other accounts. The report also insists that the strike was on a “legitimate target” and does not recommend any punishment for those involved.

US Report Declares Herat Strike “Legitimate Self-Defense”
09.10.08. anti-war. Rather than admitting that their initial findings were in error however, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said simply that “sometimes the truth can change.” .. / And indeed, even now that they are conceding to killing at least dozens of Afghan civilians (though still a far lower number than the other investigations), the report maintains that the killings were legitimate self-defense. Rear Admiral Greg Smith says the matter is now closed and no disciplinary action will be taken against those involved in the killings.

After Afghan Probe, Military Vows Changes
09.10.08. D. Kravitz, Washington Post. Last month, during a visit to Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates acknowledged the human and public relations damage caused by such incidents. He promised additional measures to minimize them and to conduct more transparent investigations. He also said that in the future, the United States will compensate [sic] the families of alleged victims even before completing its investigations.

Afghanistan: Not a Good War Gone Bad
17.10.08. L. Everest, Counterpunch / anti-war.

See Brian Cloughley’s superb article in here.

See ‘Murder in Azizabad’ here .


Australian troops 'kill Afghan governor'
07.10.08. National nine news / ICH. In the incident on September 18, Australian special forces soldiers came under fire during a patrol in the Oruzgan district capital Tarin Kowt. / Defence promptly confirmed that Chora district governor and tribal leader, Rozi Khan, was among those killed but said it was not possible at that time to confirm if he was killed by ADF fire. / The Australian Defence Force (ADF) was working with the governor's tribe to ensure his death had no negative consequences for operations in the region.


NATO troops kill a civilian in Afghanistan
19.09.08. The civilian victim was riding in a truck that was heading directly for a NATO patrol in Kandahar province Thursday, the military alliance said in a statement.

20 Taliban militants killed in failed ambush in S Afghanistan
26.09.08. Xinehuanet. "Afghan police came in reinforcement and called in NATO air strike support," Ayubi said. "Hours' fire fighting left 20 militants dead and two trucks destroyed." However, he did not provide any information about the casualties on neither police nor the security guards.


Five Taliban said killed in Afghanistan
27.09.08. AFP. International forces helping Afghanistan to fight a Taliban-led insurgency had carried out the air strikes, he [Ismail Jahangir] said, but this could not be immediately confirmed by the forces.


Top Afghan policewoman shot dead
28.09.08. BBC. [it is alleged that she supported US troops in Afghanistan]


Afghan police: 3 civilians die in coalition strike
28.09.08. Rahim Faiez, AP/ Guardian. A coalition operation apparently targeting a suicide bomb cell in eastern Afghanistan killed three civilians but no militants, a police official said Sunday. US military to probe claims (28.09.08, AFP). US
disputes claim (29.09.08, AP)


Rebels attack provincial chief in southern Afghanistan; 4 bodyguards killed
29.09.08. AP, my telus. The target of the attack late Sunday in the southern city of Kandahar was Mohammad Hashim, the provincial council chief in neighbouring Zabul province.

Paktika province

NATO: Afghan policeman fires on U.S. troops, 1 dead
29.09.08. AP/usatoday.


British soldier kills Afghan civilian after warning: official
30.09.08. AFP.

Senate passes Bailout


Two civilians killed, four wounded in attacks in Afghanistan
03.10.08. monsters and critics. Further info. on Helmand.

Pech, Kunar

Two civilians killed, four wounded in Afghanistan attacks
03.10.08. Irish Sun. Taliban militants attacked a convoy of Afghan and US-led coalition forces in the Pech district of eastern Kunar province Friday morning, resulting in deaths of one civilian and injuries to four others, the US military said in a statement. (Mention of a further incident in Helmand)


Six killed in new Afghan violence
05.10.08. AFP. … One militant was killed, while three women and three children in the house were wounded, he said. Four more Taliban and the policeman were killed in a clash after security forces chased the attackers, Khan said.


Two dozen dead in series of attacks, clashes across Afghanistan
07.10.08. dailystar / anti-war. Attacks and clashes across troubled Afghanistan have left more than two dozen people dead, including a cook and his 12-year-old son allegedly shot dead by Taliban, authorities said Monday.

Qalat, Zabul

U.S.-led coalition and Afghan security forces killed 43 militants
08.10.08. Reuters. during heavy fighting in Qalat district of southern Zabul province Sunday, the U.S. military said in a statement Tuesday.

Nad Ali, Helmand

Afghan and international troops killed 16 Taliban insurgents
08.10.08.Reuters (cont.) … and wounded six more during a gun battle in Nad Ali district of southern Helmand province on Monday, provincial police chief Asadullah Sherzad told Reuters.


Clash leaves 9 militants dead in S Afghanistan
09.10.08. Xinhuanet.

Kandahar and Ghazni

Anti-militant operations leave 9 militants dead in Afghanistan
11.10.08. Xinhua. Two operations against militant activities in southern Afghan province of Kandahar and central province of Ghazni left nine militants dead on Friday, said statements of the U.S.-led Coalition forces issued here on Saturday.

Lashkar Gah, Helmand

Taleban stage audacious 'Tet-style' attack on British HQ city
13.10.08. Times Online. British and Afghan forces repulsed an attempt by hundreds of Taleban fighters to attack the provincial capital of Helmand, Lashkar Gah, on Saturday night in the most audacious Taliban attack in the province since 2006. 62 killed .


Seven killed in Afghan violence: officials
13.10.08. AFP. The civilians, an elderly woman and a child, died Sunday when a rocket fired by Taliban-linked extremists at a nearby NATO base in eastern Khost province hit their home, provincial police chief Abdul Qayoum Baqizoi said. Two other children were injured in the attack, he said.


Coalition forces kill 5 Taliban militants in central Afghanistan
13.10.08. Xinhuanet. The operation in Andar district of Ghazni targeted a known Taliban militant believed to have been in contact with foreign fighter facilitators intended to destabilize the region, the statement said.

14 militants, 8 civilians killed in Afghanistan
14.10.08. daily times pk / anti-war. Six civilians were killed and two more wounded when a minibus hit a roadside bomb in Zana Khan district of Ghazni province on Monday. .. / In another incident, international and Afghan troops killed five militants in an operation targeting a foreign fighters’ network in Ghazni province on Monday, said a statement by US military.


14 militants, 8 civilians killed in Afghanistan
14.10.08. daily times pk / anti-war.

Uruzgan and Ghazni

Three NATO Soldiers, 16 Afghans Killed in Bomb Blasts
14.10.08. Amir Shah, AP / Truthout. : "In a demonstration of the increasingly deadly attacks [in Afghanistan], a roadside blast in the east [Uruzgan] where U.S. soldiers operate killed three NATO troops, while two separate roadside bombs in the south [Ghazni?] killed 16 Afghan civilians, officials said. In Afghanistan, militant attacks have turned deadlier and more sophisticated this year, part of the reason more U.S. and NATO troops have died there in 2008 than in any year since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion."


70 Taliban killed in air strike in Afghanistan
15.10.08. CBC. Capping a particularly bloody day in Afghanistan, about 70 Taliban fighters were killed in an overnight air strike by foreign forces in southern Helmand province, the provincial governor's spokesman said Wednesday. / .. U.S. and NATO forces said they had no immediate information on the strike, and neither could confirm involvement.

Taliban 'seizes 180 Afghan troops'
15.10.08. A spokesman for the Taliban movement has told Al Jazeera that the movement's fighters have captured at least 180 Afghan soldiers in southern Helmand province. Qari Yusuf Ahmadi said on Wednesday that the soldiers were seized while travelling in three buses on their way to Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province. The Afghan government made no immediate comment on the abduction claims. Ahamdi said that the soldiers were dressed in civilian dress and were on a mission to reinforce government troops in the area, "to prevent the fall of Lashkar Gah into the hands of the Taliban". Ahmadi said that he expected Lashkar Gah to soon fall under Taliban control because of their escalated operations in the area...

NATO Modifies Airstrike Policy In Afghanistan
16.10.08. Washington Post / anti-war. In a bow to public outrage over a recent spate of U.S.-led airstrikes in Afghanistan that resulted in more than 100 civilian deaths, NATO officials have ordered commanders to try to lessen their reliance on air power in battles with insurgents, NATO and Afghan officials said Wednesday. / "We'll do anything we can to prevent unnecessary casualties, and we'll ensure that we'll have safe use of force. That includes not only airstrikes but ground operations," Blanchette said.

Lashkar Gah, Helmand

Afghan Officials Say Airstrike Killed Civilians
16.10.08. J.F. Burns, NYTimes. A NATO airstrike on Thursday on a village near the embattled provincial capital of Lashkar Gah killed 25 to 30 civilians, Afghan officials in the area said. While NATO confirmed that an airstrike had taken place in the area, where Taliban fighters have been battling NATO forces, it said that the reports were being investigated and that the command was “unable to confirm any civilian casualties.”

Report: NATO Air Strike in Helmand Kills At Least 25 Civilians
16.10.08. anti-war. NATO forces launched an air strike in Nad Ali District, Helmand Province early this afternoon. According to local officials, the attack killed between 25 and 30 civilians. / It is unclear which NATO member launched the air strike, but during reported protests in Lashkar Gah this afternoon angry locals condemned the Afghan government and British forces. District Chief Mahboob Khan said the anger was even more widespread however, and while they are “busy burying their family members now … tomorrow, they will demand to know why their houses were targeted.” Provincial Police Chief Assadullah Sherzad confirmed the air strike, but was unable to vouch for the number killed.

Villagers say 18 civilians killed in Nato air strike in Afghanistan
17.10.08. Richard Norton-Taylor, Guardian. Angry villagers took 18 bodies - including badly mangled bodies of women and children - to the governor's house in the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah, Haji Adnan Khan, a tribal leader in the city who had seen the bodies, was reported as saying. He said there might be more bodies trapped under the rubble. / A BBC reporter in Lashkar Gah said he saw the bodies - three women and the rest children ranging in age from six months to 15. The families brought the bodies from their village in the Nad Ali district.

Afghan strike 'kills civilians'
16.10.08. BBC. At least 18 civilians have been killed in an air strike by foreign forces in the southern Afghan province of Helmand, reports say. / A BBC reporter in the provincial capital Lashkar Gah saw the bodies - three women and the rest children - ranging in age from six months to 15.

We do our utmost to avoid killing civilians
17.10.08. Letter to Guardian from James Appathurai, Nato spokesman, Brussels, Belgium.

Afghan authorities probe civilian deaths in battle
17.10.08. wired / anti-war.

New civilian deaths raise Afghanistan tension
18.10.08. Laura King, sfgate / anti-war.


US military: Afghan policeman kills US soldier
16.10.08. wired. It was the second time in less than a month that an Afghan officer has killed a U.S. soldier. / In the latest attack on U.S. soldiers, the policeman standing on a tower attacked the American foot patrol in Bermel district of the eastern Paktika province, the military said. The troops returned fire on the tower, killing the policemen. The military said it was investigating the attack.

Seven killed as Taliban ‘shoot down’ US chopper
19.10.08. the news / anti-war.

Jairez, Wardak

19 insurgents killed in N Afghanistan
18.10.08. Xinhuanet. The joint troops engaged insurgents by small-arms fire, heavy weapons and helicopters in Jalrez district where the fighting continued through the night on Oct. 16, resulting in 19 militants killed, the statement said.


Seven killed as Taliban ‘shoot down’ US chopper
19.10.08. The News International, Pakistan


Dozens killed in Afghan bus ambush
19.10.08. aljazeera. General Mohammad Zahir Azimi, the defence minsitry spokesman, said on Sunday that 31 civilians were killed in the attack in the Maiwand district, a Taliban-controlled area just west of Kandahar city. / But a Taliban spokesman said that 27 Afghan army personnel had been killed. / Qari Yusuf Ahmadi said that Taliban fighters had checked the documents of the passengers and released all the civilians before killing the soldiers/ Azimi denied the Taliban claims saying: "Our soldiers travel by military convoy, not in civilian buses. And we have military air transportation."


Over 60 "Taliban" killed in fight with Afghan, NATO forces
20.10.08. earth times / ICH. NATO and Afghan forces killed more than 60 "Taliban militants" in country's southern region in separate clashes, officials said Monday. In the latest attack, Afghan and NATO forces killed 34 Taliban militants in volatile southern Helmand province on Sunday night


Afghan defence ministry said in a statement that their forces killed six Taliban militants in Lashkargah, the provincial capital for the same Helmand province.


NATO: 20 insurgents killed west of Afghan capital
20.10.08. wired/anti-war. The province has become an insurgent stronghold at the gates of the capital just 40 miles west of Kabul.


US Plane Destroyed in Afghanistan Accident
21.10.08. VOA. A U.S. Navy plane was destroyed Tuesday when it overshot the runway at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. / .. Authorities at the base say the plane sustained serious structural and fire damage as a result of the crash.


Coalition Airstrike Kills 8 Afghans, Officials Say
22.10.08. AP / NY Times. A U.S.-led coalition airstrike hit an Afghan army checkpoint early Wednesday, killing eight soldiers and wounding four others, Afghan officials said. / The strike hit an army checkpoint in Sayed Kheil area of Khost province in eastern Afghanistan, said Arsallah Jamal, the province's governor. / The potential friendly-fire incident could further strain relations between the government of President Hamid Karzai and its foreign backers.

Foreign troops kill nine Afghan soldiers
22.10.08. Reuters.


22.10.08. The death toll of a cruel fight yesterday evening is at least 35 dead including 35 Taliban and three state police officers. The fight went on until the morning in the south-centre province of Uruzgan,

U.S., Afghan Forces Kill 55 Militants; 3 Coalition Members Die
22.10.08. Robin Stringer,, Bloomberg / ICH.

W. Afghanistan

3 US coalition troops killed in Afghanistan
23.10.08. AP. No location given.


Afghanistan: Three people shot dead outside DHL's offices in Kabul
25.10.08. M. Tran, Guardian. The killings took place in front of the DHL headquarters in the upmarket Sher Pur area of Kabul, where many foreigners live. The Foreign Office named the British victim as David Giles. The other two killed were a South African and an Afghan.


Report: US Air Strike Kills 24 Afghan Guards
26.10.08. anti-war. US forces called in an air strike in Ghazni Province to fend off a Taliban attack on guards for a road construction project. Now, provincial officials say they are investigating reports that the air strike killed 24 guards. A spokesman for the US military said they have no information regarding the incident. / .. This is the second major report of friend-fire casualties caused in a US air strike in the past few days. On Wednesday morning, a US air strike in Khost Province leveled an Afghan army checkpoint, killing nine soldiers. The coalition attributed those killings to “a case of mistaken identity on both sides.”

Afghans check killing of 20 in U.S. air strike
26.10.08. reuters / ICH. Afghan provincial authorities on Sunday were investigating reports that 20 private security guards were killed in a U.S.-led coalition air strike southwest of Kabul, two officials said.

U.S. troops say Afghan security guards attacked them
27.10.08. U.S. forces in Afghanistan said on Monday they had launched an air strike that killed a number of private Afghan security guards only after coming under fire from that position.


Afghan Clashes Force Down Helicopter, Kill 2 Troops, U.S. Says
27.10.08. Gregory Viscusi, Bloomberg. The helicopter's 10-member crew was rescued without casualties after a gun battle in Wardak province, west of Kabul, U.S. spokesman Lieutenant Commander Walter Matthews said in a telephone interview from the Afghan capital. The helicopter was secured.

In another attack, the soldiers died and three others were injured when they were targeted by a suicide bomber in northern Afghanistan, Matthews said. The exact location of the incident wasn't revealed because operations were still under way, he added. The dead soldiers were Americans and the attack took place in Baghlan province when an assailant dressed as a policeman detonated his charge, the Associated Press said.


New NATO offensive in Uruzgan
27.10.08. Hans de Vreij, radio Netherlands. NATO has conducted one of its larger operations to date in Southern Afghanistan. In a secret operation, one thousand soldiers were deployed to chase Taliban fighters from a contested area in Uruzgan province. The operation lasted ten days and ended on Sunday, the Dutch ministry of Defence announced. / Operation 'Bor Barakai' (or Thunder) took place in the Mirabad region, just east of the capital of Uruzgan Province, Tarin Kowt. ; British marines; small squirmishes;



Afghanistan: 11 police dead in hydro-dam attack
21.09.08. ww4report / ICH. … in a rebel attack in western Afghanistan's Herat province Sept. 21.


Afghan suicide blast kills three persons: Officials
26.09.08. Pak Tribune / ICH. A suicide bomber blew himself up in a bazaar in Afghanistan close to the border with Pakistan and killed three people, police said, in an attack similar to dozens by Taliban.

Suicide Bomber Kills 4 in Eastern Afghanistan
26.09.08. VOA

Spin Boldak

6 killed in Taliban suicide attack in Afghanistan
28.09.08. India times. A suicide bomber on a motorbike blew himself up near two police vehicles in a border town in southern Afghanistan on Sunday, killing six people and wounding 17, police said.


Six killed in new Afghan violence
05.10.08. In the western city of Herat on Sunday, a suicide attacker blew up an explosives-laden motorbike near an Afghan army convoy, wounding three civilians and a soldier in the convoy, police said. … / The attacker's body was torn to pieces.


Two Afghan officials, 46 Taliban killed in suicide attack, clashes
10.10.08. earthtimes / ICH


12 killed in latest Afghan violence


Suicide blast wounds NATO troops in Afghanistan
18.10.08. AFP. The car bomb exploded at the gates of a base which is run by Italian troops in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) with some Spanish soldiers also stationed there. .. / ISAF does not release the nationalities of its casualties.


5 children, 2 German occupation troops killed in Afghan suicide bombing
20.10.08. m and c / ICH. Two other children who were playing nearby and two German soldiers were also wounded, Engineer Mohammad Omar said.



Donkey bomb Kills Policeman
24.10.08. AFP. A donkey loaded with explosives was remotely blown up close to a police vehicle in southern Afghanistan Thursday, killing a policeman and wounding three others, police said. The force of the blast flung the vehicle into a ditch several meters away in the southern city of Kandahar, a stronghold of the Taliban movement that is behind an increasing number of bombings in Afghanistan.

Other Dead in Afghanistan

Unknown gunmen shot dead gov't official in S Afghanistan
14.10.08. English people. Two unknown gunmen Tuesday morning shot dead [Dost Mohammad Arghestani, the provincial chief of work and public affairs department] on his way to work in southern Afghan province of Kandahar, a police official said.

With Malangay’s death, a top underworld figure meets his fate
14.10.08. The news. His real name was Zahir and he was an Afghan national. But few knew his real name and fewer still were aware that he wasn’t a Pakistani. Malangay in due course of time became a household name just like other known criminals from the past. / He was killed Sunday in mysterious circumstances on the M-1 Section of the Motorway linking Peshawar with Islamabad. / .. Malangay and Ahmer were killed on the spot while the driver and Hayat sustained serious injuries. Tahir, brother of Malangay, told media that they had recognized their enemies and very soon they would avenge the killing.

Afghan elder and son shot dead outside mosque
18.10.08. Canwest News Service / legitgov. Haji Ali Ahmad Khan, a leader of the Barackzai tribe in Kandahar, and his son, Gul Ahmad, were leaving a mosque in Kandahar's Bekhoja neighbourhood at roughly 6 a.m. when the assailants struck.

Former Karzai bodyguard killed in Afghanistan
18.10.08. wired/anti-war.

Attackers gouge out Afghan man's eyes
26.10.08. Noor Khan, Reuters. Sayed Ghulam, 52, was recovering in a hospital in the country's largest southern city, Kandahar. Ghulam said three armed men knocked on his door in the Sangin district of Helmand province late Thursday. When he opened the door, they punched him in the face, put the barrel of a Kalashnikov rifle in his mouth and gouged out his eyes with a knife in the presence of his wife and seven children. / … Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi denied that Taliban fighters were involved. "Whenever we carry out an attack we claim responsibility," Ahmadi said. "We didn't gouge out this man's eyes."

5. Killing Civilians

”In real life, the escalating civilian death toll is not a mistake, but the result of a clear decision to put the lives of occupation troops before civilians; westerners before Afghans.” Seamus Milne (Guardian 16.10.08)

For more info on Drones and their cost, see here

Airstrikes and Civilian Deaths in Afghanistan
September 2008. Human Rights Watch. The US, which operates in Afghanistan through its counter-insurgency forces in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), has increasingly relied on airpower in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations. The combination of light ground forces and overwhelming airpower has become the dominant doctrine of war for the US in Afghanistan. The result has been large numbers of civilian casualties, controversy over the continued use of airpower in Afghanistan, and intense criticism of US and NATO forces by Afghan political leaders and the general public. .. / Key Recommendations: Human Rights Watch urges the US and NATO to adopt measures that reduce civilian casualties from airstrikes.


Downhill in Afghanistan: The most remote place on earth is now the most dangerous
22.09.08. Jonathan Power, arab news / antiwar. In Barack Obama’s phrase, American public opinion doesn’t get it. .. / The policy, made within hours of the atrocity of 9/11, seemed to be to try to bomb the country to cinders, irrespective of the number of civilian casualties, not learning the lesson of Dresden, that wild bombing rather than leading to capitulation merely reinforces local opinion against the aggressor. Later, troops on the ground have continued to alienate local opinion with their seeming inability to differentiate between fighters and civilians. …

The incessant slaughter of Afghan civilians
23.09.08. D. Lewis, aljazeera magazine. Why American military “investigations” do nothing to prevent airstrike massacres against Afghan civilians. / However, the U.S. reaction to this latest in an unending stream of gung-ho trigger happy massacres of defenceless civilians has been entirely predictable with the hollow promise of “an investigation” and an immediate counter claim that “only 30 were killed” as if that makes it O.K! … / (discussion of the Wedding Murders) / If this is the standard of “investigation” we can expect from the U.S. Military, desperately focusing on exonerating their own incompetence even in the teeth of their own evidence whilst blaming the innocent Afghan children for getting in the way of their hail of bullets then there is little hope of any improvement in their regular slaughter of defenceless Afghan women and children.

Civilian casualties threaten military efforts in Afghanistan: Karzai
24.09.08. CBC/anti-war. The death of innocent Afghan civilians in foreign bombing raids could seriously undermine the efforts to fight terrorism, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai told the UN General Assembly Wednesday.

US and NATO airstrikes triple Afghan civilian death toll
26.09.08. Fatema G Valji, muslim news. Air attacks by US and NATO forces killed at least 321 Afghan civilians last year, as compared to 116 killed in 2006, states Human Right Watch (HRW) in a report released on September 8. It warns that deadly air strikes continue to inflict mass civilian casualties in 2008, with at least 119 civilians already killed by US and NATO airpower from January to July.
However, the HRW’s 43-page report fails to document mass civilian casualties prior to 2006. / According to a 2002 study by Carl Conetta, co-director of the Project of Defense Alternatives (PDA), a minimum of 1,000 to 1,300 civilians were killed directly as a result of aerial bombardment in the first 3 months of the invasion. Jonathan Steele of The Guardian has argued that as many as 20,000 may have been killed due to starvation, dislocation and other indirect consequences of air strikes from October 2001 to early 2002. / The HRW report focuses only on the last 2 of 7 years of western military intervention, neglecting to trace the resulting Afghan civilian death toll since the US-led war began in October 2001.

SEE ALSO here.
According to the United Nations, 1,445 civilians were killed in the war from January through August this year---a rise of 39 per cent over 2007. At least 577 of these deaths were due to the actions of pro-government forces. Deaths from air strikes have tripled since 2006.

03.10.08. John Pilger, Current Affairs from 2SER FM, Sydney, Australia. in.reuters. A recent Human Rights Watch report has shown that twice as many bombs were dropped on Afghanistan in 2007 than were in 2006. / Civilian deaths are also on the rise, yet in the West, Afghanistan seems to have an image as a ‘good’ or ‘just’ war, compared to Iraq. / So are citizens in ‘coalition’ nations aware of these facts, and would the Afghanistan conflict enjoy the same public support if they did? Pilger talks with Nick Hollins.

3,200 Afghan civilians killed by NATO, US action since 2005: study
07.10.08. AFP.

The Matrix of Death. A New Dossier on the (Im)Precision of U.S Bombing and the (Under)Valuation of an Afghan Life
07.10.08. Prof. Marc Herold, The overarching theme of this dossier is to carefully document the very low value put on the lives of common Afghans by U.S. military and political elites (along with their many handmaidens in the corporate media). Highlights include:

Exposing three common subterfuges used to rationalize the killing of Afghan civilians;

Pointing out that Afghan civilians killed by U.S/NATO forces’ direct action since January 1, 2006 now outnumber those who perished in the original U.S. bombing and invasion during the first three months (2001) of the U.S. Afghan war. The overall human toll is far greater than just those killed by direct U.S/NATO actions as it includes all those who died later from injuries, the internally displaced who died in camps, etc.;

Documenting that close air support (CAS) bombing is more deadly to Afghan civilians than was the strategic bombing of Laos and Cambodia;

Revealing that CAS air strikes now account for about 80 % of all Afghan civilians who perish at the hands of the U.S. and NATO;

Emphasizing that by relying upon aerial close air support (CAS) attacks, US/NATO forces spare their pilots and ground troops but kill lots of innocent Afghan civilians. Air strikes are 4-10 times as deadly for Afghan civilians as are ground attacks;

Revealing that Human Rights Watch "counts" at best only 50% of the Afghan civilians killed by U.S/NATO actions, whereas the figure for the Associated Press is a mere 33 %; moreover neither present verifiable/reproducible disaggregated data thereby violating a basic tenet of social science;

Presenting a unique analysis of compensation/condolence payments made by the United States in eight countries. The United States spent ten times more on saving an Alaskan sea otter after the Exxon Valdez oil spill than in condolence payments to Afghan families for a family member killed by U.S. occupation forces.

Civilian dead are a trade-off in Nato's war of barbarity
16.10.08. S. Milne, Guardian. The killing of innocent Afghans by US bombs is the result of a calculation, not just a mistake. And it is fuelling resistance. .. most telling is the political and military calculation that underlies the Afghan civilian bloodletting. "Close air support" bomb attacks called in by ground forces - which rose from 176 in 2005 to 2,926 in 2007 and are now the US tactic of choice - are between four and 10 times as deadly for Afghan civilians as ground attacks, the figures show, and air strikes now account for 80% of those killed by the occupation forces. / But while 242 US and Nato ground troops have died in the war with the Taliban this year, not a single pilot has been killed in action. The trade-off could not be clearer. With troops thin on the ground and the US military up to their necks in Iraq and elsewhere, US and Nato reliance on air attacks minimises their own casualties while guaranteeing that Afghan civilians will die in far larger numbers.

Road to Perdition: Yet Another Atrocity in Afghanistan, More to Come
16.10.08. Chris Floyd, uruknet. On Wednesday night, the BBC reported that a British soldier had been killed in Helmland province in Afghanistan. On Thursday night, the BBC reported that an airstrike by as-yet unidentified "foreign forces" has killed at least 18 civilians -- in Helmland province. From the BBC: A BBC reporter in the provincial capital Lashkar Gah saw the bodies - three women and the rest children - ranging in age from six months to 15. The families brought the bodies from their village in the Nad Ali district, where they say the air strike occurred. A further nine bodies are said to be trapped under destroyed buildings. Nato-led forces say they are investigating the incident in an area where the British military are known to operate. This attack comes on top of an even more horrific mass slaughter a few weeks ago, when an American airstrike killed more than 90 civilians in Azizabad. Then, the Pentagon, with the connivance of FOX "journalist" Oliver North -- who made his bones running guns from the mullhas of Iran to the terrorist Contra army in Nicaragua -- at first denied that any citizens were killed in the village, then tried to insinuate that the Taliban had planted the dead bodies. Only after video evidence and on-the-ground probes by the Afghan government and the UN did the Pentagon re-open its investigation, and finally admit that, well, maybe a few civilians did get knicked, er, fatally, in what was otherwise a magnificent feat of arms against a bristling enemy position...

Statement by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, Kai Eide
21.10.08. Relief web. "Yesterday's killing of five children in Kunduz from a suicide bomb attack; the reports I have seen of beheadings and loss of life on a bus in Kandahar; abductions of innocent Afghans across the country; and the killing of a foreign aid worker in Kabul are of very great concern to me. / "I have stressed many times over the past months the need for proper protection of civilians during combat. With these incidents there was no combat. The purpose of such attacks is to stoke fear among the wider population. I strongly condemn all such acts.

Kid Killers are Barbarians
22.10.08. Brian Cloughley, Counterpunch. [discussion of Lashkar Gah murders] .. on suicide bombing in Pakistan; On 90 killed in Azizabad: … / In a series of statements about the operation, the US military has said that extremists who entered the village after the bombardment encouraged villagers to change their story and inflate the number of dead.” … / If there had been no independent reporting of the atrocity it would, like so many others, have been forgotten about. … But Washington was forced to order an inquiry. Not that there is any intention to take disciplinary action against those responsible for any aspect of the horrible affair, even when it was eventually admitted there were “more than 30” civilians killed, because, with indifferent callousness, the spin-masters pronounced that the strike was against “a legitimate target.”

The pattern is clear : first lie your head off after a war crime has been committed; then try to play down the gravity of the slaughter and while you’re at it, vilify anyone courageous enough to have held an independent inquiry that discovered the truth. After it is obvious that a major atrocity did actually take place, all must wring hands and announce that an inquiry is to be held. (If anxious to appear serious it is better to state that it will be a “full” inquiry. But on no account must there be representation at the inquiry by officials, or, indeed, attendance by any citizens of the country in which the attack has taken.) Last, when irrefutable evidence has to be grudgingly admitted, say that there has been a mistake but that the people who identified the target, fired the missiles or lied in their teeth about the squalid affair are not going to receive even a wrist-slap in punishment. Then the whole affair will be forgotten except by the few hundred more Afghans, Iraqis or Pakistanis who have been persuaded that US “freedom” is meaningless and queue up to join the ranks of anti-western fanatics and suicide bombers.

People who kill kids, for whatever reason and no matter in what manner, are disgusting, murderous, cowardly barbarians.

There is a chilling parallel between the types of child killers. On the one hand, a formal military organisation is adamant that “legitimate targets” must be blasted even if the deaths of children are inevitable. On the other, the psychotic savages who plan and carry out suicide bombings that slaughter innocent youngsters are convinced their atrocities are justified by a warped interpretation of their Faith.

NATO 's top military official discusses civilian casualties in Afghanistan
23.10.08. rtt. "There are problems in a few areas, but there is also peace in the rest of Afghanistan," Di Paola [chairman of NATO's military committee] told reporters Thursday. / His briefing comes a day after coalition forces killed nine Afghan soldiers in an erroneous air strike in the troubled eastern province of Khost.

Thousands protest killing of Afghan civilians by Taliban
24.10.08. AFP. Thousands of people took to the streets of eastern Afghanistan Friday to protest against the killing of 27 [bus] civilians by Taliban insurgents. / .. Protesters on Friday chanted "Death to the barbarian Taliban and Americans" as they took to streets in Mihtarlam, the capital of Lahgman province in the east of the country.

True or False?

ADF's Afghan victims top Iraq
25.10.08. Australian news. MORE innocent civilians have been accidentally killed or injured by Australian troops in Afghanistan than occurred during the entire Iraq conflict. / The Australian Defence Force does not disclose the total number of civilians killed or injured in ADF operations, but it has revealed that more "moral" compensation payments to victims have already been made in Afghanistan than were made during the war in Iraq.

US “terrorist aggression”

6. Viewpoints on the War in Afghanistan

Coming Attractions: War Without End, Amen
23.09.08. CHRIS FLOYD, uruknet. In a remarkably candid document, "The 2008 Army Modernization Strategy," the Pentagon lays out the perpetual blowback arising from the relentless pursuit of what George W. Bush once proudly hailed as "the single sustainable model of national success" -- i.e., rapacious crony capitalism backed up with state violence. This "model" -- which was once proclaimed as the "end of history," the unsurpassable apex of human development -- has been imposed -- at gunpoint, bribery and extortion -- on much of the world. The result has been, quite literally, the devouring of the earth: resources stripped bare, the climate poisoned and sent careening wildly out of balance, nations destroyed, populations dispossessed, societies rent asunder, violence run rampant, a tsunami of corruption and degradation ravaging the world.


Most Americans think U.S. is losing war on terrorism, poll finds
22.09.08. S. Thomma, McClatchy

US War on al-Qaeda Widely Viewed as a Bust
29.09.08. Ali Gharib. Anti-war. The U.S. is failing to rein in its primary target in the "global war on terror" – al-Qaeda – according to a new poll [.pdf] of 23 countries across the globe. Conducted for the BBC World Service by the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) and Globescan, the poll reveals that in every country surveyed but one, respondents think that the U.S.' actions have failed to weaken the international terror group.


“International law cannot reach Bush!”
29.09.08. aljazeera. Bush and his aides have full protection against legal actions taken against them for committing crimes against humanity. Bush passed The Impunity Bills in the U.S. Congress silently with the help of the U.S. and the European media before he invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. / These bills give Bush and his gang a full and impenetrable constitutional and legal protection against any legal action taken against them by anyone at home or abroad for committing crimes against humanity. / Under these bills, they cannot be extradited to any country or to The International Court of Law in The Hague for a trial.

Robert Fisk

Why Does the US Think it Can Win in Afghanistan?
20.09.08. Robert Fisk, Independent / ICH. Back in 2001, we won the war in Afghanistan by overthrowing the Taliban. Then we marched off to win the war in Iraq. Now - with at least one suicide bombing a day and the nation carved up into mutually antagonistic sectarian enclaves - we have won the war in Iraq and are heading back to re-win the war in Afghanistan where the Taliban, so thoroughly trounced by our chaps seven years ago, have proved their moral and political bankruptcy by recapturing half the country.

Robert Fisk: ‘The Middle East Is Not a Complex Place’"
26.09.08. Robert Sheer, Truth Dig interview. The acclaimed journalist stopped by our offices this week, where he told Truthdig Editor Robert Scheer that the Middle East is a lot less puzzling than it’s made out to be: “It’s we who are there, not the other way round. ... It’s not our land. It’s not our religion. Our soldiers are in the Muslim world and they should not be there.”

Robert Fisk's World: Bush rescues Wall Street but leaves his soldiers to die in Iraq
27.09.08. Robert Fisk, Independent. … Indeed, a strange narrative is now being built into the daily history of America. First we won the war in Afghanistan by overthrowing the evil, terrorist-protecting misogynist Islamist crazies called the Taliban, setting up a democratic government under the exotically dressed Hamid Karzai. Then we rushed off to Iraq and overthrew the evil, terrorist-protecting, nuclear-weaponised, secular Baathist crazies under Saddam, setting up a democratic government under the pro-Iranian Shia Nouri al-Maliki. Mission accomplished. Then, after 250,000 Iraqi deaths – or half a million or a million, who cares? – we rushed back to Kabul and Kandahar to win the war all over again in Afghanistan. The conflict now embraces our old chums in Pakistan, the Saudi-financed, American-financed Interservices Intelligence Agency whose Taliban friends – now attacked by our brave troops inside Pakistani sovereign territory – again control half of Afghanistan./ We are, in fact, now fighting a war in what I call Irakistan. It's hopeless; it's a mess; it's shameful; it's unethical and it's unwinnable and no wonder the Wall Street meltdown was greeted with such relief by Messrs Obama and McCain.

Bush Favors Bankers Over Soldiers
29.09.08. Robert Fisk, independent / Truthdig. It was a weird week to be in the United States. On Tuesday, secretary of the treasury Henry Paulson told us that “this is all about the American taxpayer – that’s all we care about.” But …


"The Age of the Warrior"
02.10.08. Robert Fisk, Democracy Now. As the US-led wars in the Middle East shows no sign of abating we turn now to a man who has chronicled eleven major wars in this part of the world. Fisk on the U.S. Elections, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Israel-Palestine

'Collateral damage' or targeted killing, the effect is much the same
11.10.08. Robert Fisk, Independent / ICH. When a Taliban attack on Nato forces in Afghanistan provokes a US air strike on a village and leaves women and children torn to pieces in the ruins – this now seems the inevitable result – what is the difference between those innocent deaths and the destruction of the families of Abdullah's grandchildren in Dujail? / Yes, I know that Saddam's thugs selected the relatives of his enemies and we merely kill anyone in the area of our enemies. And yes, I grant you the outcome is not the same. The Iraqi dictator was hanged in Baghdad in 2006, cursed by his hooded Shia "Al-Dawa" executioners as he stood on the scaffold. For us, there will be no hangings.

Why the U.S. Plan Failed in Afghanistan and Iraq
12.10.08. Ghanem Abdel-Zahra, Translated By Samar Elia, uruknet. ...The U.S. occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan have failed miserably and their dangerous implications have started surfacing in the U.S. economy, a foreteller to the fall of American power and the one pole governing the world, reaching to the disappearance of the American empire Bush dreamed about when he said, after invading Iraq: "God has commissioned me to do this." This is the year of falling in the Iraqi and Afghan quagmire, out of which the only way is to quickly withdraw before it is too late...

Ancient Words Our Leaders Should Heed
18.10.08. Robert Fisk, Truthdig. … I have to admit that I was inspired to reread the great man’s fourth-century BC tract by Professor David Rovie of the Auckland University of Technology, who startled a weary Fisk in New Zealand a few weeks ago by pointing out that Thucydides’ work contained all the lessons we need to learn about war, human rights, the treatment of prisoners, the cowardice of politicians, and the cold-hearted decisions of nation states. / Thucydides himself said – it is, of course, his most famous quotation – that it was enough for him that his words “be judged useful by those who want to understand clearly the events which happened in the past and which (human nature being what it is) will, at some time or other and in much the same ways, be repeated in the future”. / His work, Thucydides wrote – and I am using Rex Warner’s translation – was “not a piece of writing designed to meet the taste of an immediate public but was done to last for ever”. Well, he can say that again. How many of our historians or journalists or novelists or playwrights work for those who will (despite the internet) still read them in 2,000 years’ time? Tolstoy maybe, Shakespeare, I imagine. But will the historians of our latter-day wars – the Beavors and the Barnetts and the Bullocks, even the Churchills – be read in 4008?

Risks increase for Afghan war reporters
27.09.08. Washington times.

key players differ on containment strategy
02.10.08. CS Monitor. The divergent approaches of the U.S., Pakistan, and Afghanistan highlight the complexity of developing a unified front on terrorism.

The Wounded Shark: 'Good War' Lost, But the Imperial Project Goes On
05.10.08. Chris Floyd, empire burlesque. Don't tell Obama and McCain, but the war they are both counting on to make their bones as commander-in-chief -- the "good war" in Afghanistan, which both men have pledged to expand -- is already lost. Their joint strategy of pouring more troops, tanks, missiles and planes into the roaring fire -- not to mention their intention to spread the war into Pakistan -- will only lead to disaster.

Who says so? America's biggest ally in the Afghan adventure: Great Britain. This week, two top figures in the British effort in Afghanistan -- Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, UK ambassador to Kabul, and Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith, the senior British military commander in Afghanistan -- both said that the war was "unwinnable," and that continuing the current level of military operations there, much less expanding it, was a strategy "doomed to fail."

India factors in Afghanistan crisis
06.10.08. Gregory r. Copley, The New Nation. The U.S. conduct of the war in Afghanistan has created an enormous potential for instability in Pakistan, which Washington has claimed is a major 'non-NATO ally' on which it depends. / U.S. and Western media reporting currently portrays the problems facing ISAF as coming into Afghanistan from Pakistan, but the reality is the reverse of this: stirring the problem in Afghanistan causes problems to flow into Pakistan. … / India's involvement follows an historical geopolitical pattern, but much of it is institutionalized as 'payback' for Pakistani Government support for the Muslim separatist movement in Indian-occupied Jammu & Kashmir over the past decades. At the same time, close U.S.-Indian intelligence ties at a formal level and within the Afghan battle space mean that India is feeding a range of 'tailored intelligence' into the U.S. system which shapes U.S. political and intelligence perceptions of the situation, encouraging the belief that 'Pakistan is the problem' in resolving the counter-Taliban conflict in Afghanistan.

06.10.08. Eric Margolis, URUKNET. For those who savor historical irony, the Soviet Empire collapsed in the years 1989-1991 because of an implosion of its economy brought on by a ruinous arms race with the United States and the heavy costs of occupying Afghanistan. / Seventeen years later came the turn of the world’s other great imperial power, the United States. Lethally bloated by runaway debt, and burdened by 50% of the world’s military spending, the house of cards known as the US economy finally collapsed....

VIDEO Losing the war in Afghanistan (07.10.08.Inside Story, aljazeera)

U.S. grip on Afghanistan slipping
07.10.08. Jay Bookman, ajc. Obscured by the presidential elections and the drama on Wall Street, our grip on Afghanistan seems to be slipping.

Seven Years in Afghanistan: From "War on Terror" to "War of Terror"
07.10.08. Gary Leupp, Counterpunch. Seven years ago today the U.S. began the assault on Afghanistan that toppled the Taliban regime and produced the present mess. Abetted by U.S. bombing and commando operations, the Northern Alliance took Kabul on November 13, 2001. This was the initial U.S. response to 9-11, an assault on the U.S. by Saudi Islamist fanatics based in Afghanistan. The al-Qaeda attacks killed 3000 people. By March 2002 the U.S. bombing had produced that many Afghan civilian fatalities. This was just the beginning. The invasion produced little change in the daily life of the average Afghan.

The Surge That Failed
09.10.08. Anand Gopal, Tomgram. When, decades from now, historians compile the record of this Afghan war, they will date the Afghan version of the surge -- the now trendy injection of large numbers of troops to resuscitate a flagging war effort -- to sometime in early 2007. Then, a growing insurgency was causing visible problems for U.S. and NATO forces in certain pockets in the southern parts of the country, long a Taliban stronghold. In response, military planners dramatically beefed up the international presence, raising the number of troops over the following 18 months by 20,000, a 45% jump. … / During the same period, the country descended into a state of utter dereliction -- no jobs, very little reconstruction, and ever less security. In turn, the rising civilian death toll and the decaying economy proved a profitable recipe for the Taliban, who recruited significant numbers of new fighters. They also won the sympathy of Afghans who saw them as the lesser of two evils. Once confined to the deep Afghan south, today the insurgents operate openly right at the doorstep of Kabul, the capital. / This last surge, little noted by the media, failed miserably, but Washington is now planning another one, even as Afghanistan slips away.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan

Afghan resistance statement: withdrawal of invader forces is the only solution to Afghan conflict
10.10.08. Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, uruknet. The Americans, British and the United Nations are now raising a hue and cry that there is no military solution to the crisis in Afghanistan, that a peaceful solution should be sought and that face-to-face talks should be held with the Taliban. If they had thought about this seven years ago and had not resorted to the invasion of Afghanistan, not trampled upon the sanctity and dignity of Afghanistan, not martyred tens of thousands of innocent Afghans, not tormented thousands of Afghans under the pretext of fighting terrorism in dark prisons, then such talk would have been more appropriate with some chance of being listened to. ... The Islamic Emirate wants to make it clear that the only solution and the most successful path for resolving the Afghanistan problem is for the foreign forces to leave Afghanistan unconditionally and to respect Afghanistan's national independence and Islamic faith...

Afghan resistance statement” US Economic Crisis Indicates the Beginning of the Fall of the American Empire
17.10.08. Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan/uruknet. The US economy and the credit crisis have reached a phase that cannot be easily turned back. Neither America nor the European monetary funds and banks have any effective way out strategy. The European Union Summit in Paris, far from giving any financial shoulder to [the] US to save it from a depression, tried to stay away from the negative impacts of the crisis. In a flurry of efforts to evade the negative spill over of the current US credit crisis, the members of the European Union are openly lambasting the US Administration for its stubborn military approach towards world affairs, which consequently ushered the present financial quagmire. In another word, the current economic crisis is, in fact, a sign of the fall of the American empire ..

Statement regarding mobile phone usage restrictions
22.10.08. Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan/uruknet. The Mujahid nation of Afghanistan is faced with a stubborn and rebellious enemy that has no commitment to any national or international standards. Given this information, The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is compelled to adopt measures that force decisions on some complicated and challenging issues. The occupying invader forces use telephone communications for espionage and investigation purp! oses in order to suppress Afghans. This is against all international standards. Therefore, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has decided to ban the use of mobile phone services at night in order to protect the Afghan people and the Mujahideen

Americans Last Ditch Attempt
23.10.08. Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan/uruknet. The US and its alliance of warlords have not been able to build a peaceful, prosperous Afghanistan after the passage of seven years and despite their using of various tactics of terrorism and occupation. Nor they have been able to establish a central, successful and representative government, nor an administration based on their vision and pre-conceived formulas. / This is because they wanted to impose on the Afghans a surrogate regime nurtured in the nursery of the West, being headed by a quasi-Afghan faces. Thus, the US wanted to keep the Afghan patriotic nation chained in its colonial tentacles. / The Americans are determined to form tribal militias via dispensation of dollars and play the tribal people against the Mujahideen. During his visit to Afghanistan, US Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, indicated that they were pondering to hammer out a new strategy for Afghanistan and the region, because the tribal militias strategy has proved its effectiveness in Iraq. The US Defence Secretary and the masterminds behind the formation of the tribal militias should know that the tribal militias strategy was never a successful one in Iraq either.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan on false reports of eye gouging
27.10.08. Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan / uruknet. Some media outlets have published reports, quoting a person who very well may have been admitted to Mirwais Hospital in Kandahar province. .. The aforementioned individual did not on any occasion identify Taliban fighters as his attackers. Furthermore, in response to questions from several journalists, he (the victim) only elaborated that the area in which the attack occurred is under the control of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan... According to the latest reports, Taliban in the area say that even after comprehensive and widespread inquiries they have not received any information about such an incident... Recently the enemy, out of desperation, has engaged in numerous conspiracies against the Mujahideen and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan... By publishing such reports, the enemy wants to promote colonialism and hide the shameful practice of bombing civilians en masse....

Optimism or Pessimism - thoughts on Afghanistan's future
11.10.08. Khaled Hosseini. There is plenty going in Afghanistan to fuel pessimism. … / I went to Afghanistan in September 2007 with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and I saw for myself the high blast walls on the streets of Kabul, aimed at protecting against suicide attacks. Those walls did not exist the last time I was in Kabul, back in the spring of 2003, and I did not feel at that time the unease I did this time when I walked through crowded streets and bazaars.

Bush Doctrine Becomes DoD Dogma
14.10.08. William Pfaff, Truthdig. Last June the U.S. Department of Defense unexpectedly issued a new version of its National Defense Strategy. It was unexpected because there will be a new administration in Washington in January, which might be expected to issue a statement of its own ideas about military strategy. … / The noteworthy thing about this National Defense Strategy statement is that it says nothing directly about American national defense. It is a strategy for intervening in other countries, and preventing others from blocking or resisting American interventions.

A mad scramble over Afghanistan
15.10.08. M K Bhadrakumar, asia times.
An impression is being created that there is a "rift" between the United States and Britain regarding the reconciliation track involving the Taliban. The plain truth is that the US, Britain, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are in this murky game together. … / Ultimately, the objectives of nation-building and legitimate governance in an environment of overall security that allows economic activities and development can only be realized by accommodating native priorities and interests. Washington has been far too prescriptive, creating a US-style presidential system in Kabul and then controlling it.

“Human Terrain”

Afghanistan Diary: Mapping the Human Terrain in Helmand, Part II
15.10.08. Nathan Hodge, blog.wired. the Marines handed out over $784,000 in battle damage aid at the Civil Military Operations Center in Garmsir. They also took biometric data – fingerprints, photos and retina scans. “We logged everybody who came in, took their pictures, thumbprints, all that kind of stuff,” he said. .. / “Human terrain mapping” is all the rage inside the Pentagon these days, part of a larger push to increase the cultural sophistication of the military.

Also read Noah Schachman’s Article, “Inside Afghanistan's 'Human Terrain' (Updated)” here. (27.08.08. blog.wired.

Moving Towards a 'Grand Bargain' in Afghanistan
19.10.08. Jim Lobe, anti-war. Increasingly frustrated by the "downward spiral" that the U.S. intelligence community sees in Afghanistan, the Pentagon appears to be moving in support of engaging leaders of the resurgent Taliban who are prepared to disassociate themselves from al Qaeda. / While the seeds for that strategy are being planted now, the next U.S. president – be it the current front-runner, Democratic Sen. Barack Obama, or his Republican rival, Sen. John McCain – will likely be advised by Pentagon chief Robert Gates and the new chief of the U.S. Central Command (Centcom), Gen. David Petraeus, to support such an effort as the most effective way to stabilize Afghanistan where the "global war on terror" first began seven years ago.

From Great Game to Grand Bargain: Ending Chaos in Afghanistan and Pakistan
20.10.08. Barnett R. Rubin, Ahmed Rashid, Foreign Affairs/ariana. Excellet article, suggest reading all.

VIDEO: Losing the War in Afghanistan (05.10.08, Part 1. aljazeera). PART 2 here

Afghanistan's Emerging Antiwar Movement
20.10.08. Anand Gopal, The Christian Science Monitor / Truthout. In a musty room near the edge of town, a group of bearded men sit on the floor and heatedly discuss strategy. The men are in the planning stages of an event that they hope will impact Afghan politics - a peace jirga, or assembly, that will agitate for the end of the war between the Taliban and Afghan government by asking the two sides to come to a settlement.

From Great Game to Grand Bargain: Ending Chaos in Afghanistan and Pakistan
20.10.08. Barnett R. Rubin, Ahmed Rashid.

David Davis: We are losing Taliban battle
20.10.08. MP David Davis, Independent/uruknet. It is time to face facts in Afghanistan: the situation is spiraling downwards, and if we do not change our approach, we face disaster. Violence is up in two-thirds of the country, narcotics are the main contributor to the economy, criminality is out of control and the government is weak, corrupt and incompetent. The international coalition is seen as a squabbling bunch of foreigners who have not delivered on their promises. Although the Taliban have nowhere near majority support, their standing is growing rapidly among some ordinary Afghans...

The Idiots Who Rule America
20.10.08. Chris Hedges, Truthdig. Our oligarchic class is incompetent at governing, managing the economy, coping with natural disasters, educating our young, handling foreign affairs, providing basic services like health care and safeguarding individual rights. That it is still in power, and will remain in power after this election, is a testament to our inability to separate illusion from reality. We still believe in “the experts.” They still believe in themselves. They are clustered like flies swarming around John McCain and Barack Obama. It is only when these elites are exposed as incompetent parasites and dethroned that we will have any hope of restoring social, economic and political order. / … Democracy is not an outgrowth of free markets. Democracy and capitalism are antagonistic entities. Democracy, like individualism, is not based on personal gain but on self-sacrifice. A functioning democracy must defy the economic interests of elites on behalf of citizens. This is not happening.

VIDEO: FRONTLINE | The War Briefing (PBS) NY TIMES review of this film
here .

7. Oil and Gas in Afghanistan

Swat plight: Unknown militants blow up gas plant
23.09.08. Already without power for two days, Swat district is now devoid of the gas supply also as militants blew up a gas pipeline in Blogram area near Mingora city. The area has been placed under curfew for an indefinite period. / Meanwhile, security forcescontinue their operation in the valley, killing 3 militants, the ISPR confirmed.

Pakistan, Iran to speed up work on IPI project
24.09.08. int times. The two leaders stressed the importance of early completion of over 2,700-km-long IPI gas pipeline project that could meet the much needed energy needs for the large industrial sector in Pakistan.

AFGHANISTAN: Subsidised Fuel Trail Winds Back to Pakistan
30.09.08. IPS. In a teeming petrol market on the outskirts of Kabul, black market traders sell fuel to everyone from individual customers to large business groups. Although much of this petrol comes from Iran or the Central Asian countries, a good amount also hails from Pakistan, where government subsidies have made the fuel much cheaper than in Afghanistan. / The Afghan government and private businesses generally avoid buying petrol from Pakistan because of the spiralling insecurity on the routes into Afghanistan, but still much petrol manages to get in. How it does so and where it goes illustrates the complicated world of smugglers, border patrol agents and foreign militaries.

Time to Face Reality of Afghan Mission
06.10.08. Eric S. Margolis, khaleejtimes. The current war is not really about Al Qaeda and `terrorism,’ but about opening a secure corridor through Pashtoon tribal territory to export the oil and gas riches of the Caspian Basin of Central Asia to the West. / The US and NATO forces in Afghanistan are essentially pipeline protection troops. As that great American founding father Benjamin Franklin said, “there is no good war, and no bad peace.” It’s time for the West to face reality in Afghanistan.

Analysis: Afghanistan's untapped energy riches
24.10.08. John C.K.Daly, UPI. ... According to the U.S. government's Energy Information Administration, while Afghanistan's estimated oil reserves are relatively modest, "with perhaps up to 100 million barrels," the country's natural gas reserves are far more substantial. As northern Afghanistan is a "southward extension of Central Asia's highly prolific, natural gas-prone Amu Darya Basin," Afghanistan "has proven, probable and possible natural gas reserves of about 5 trillion cubic feet."

Nearly eight years after the overthrow of the Taliban, the CIA estimates that Afghanistan's oil consumption, all imported, is slightly more than 5,000 barrels per day, while indigenous natural gas production, which is all domestically consumed, is approximately 20 million cubic meters per year. It is not that Afghanistan lacks energy and mineralogical resources; far from it, but what has been signally lacking since the overthrow of the Taliban is the political will and economic assistance needed to develop them. / Ironically, during the 1979-1988 Soviet occupation of the country, extensive Soviet exploration produced superb geological maps and reports that listed more than 1,400 mineral outcroppings, along with about 70 commercially viable deposits even under the grotesquely inefficient Soviet economic system. The Soviet Union subsequently committed more than $650 million for resource exploration and development in Afghanistan, with proposed projects including an oil refinery capable of producing a half-million tons per annum, as well as a smelting complex for the Ainak deposit that was to have produced 1.5 million tons of copper per year. In the wake of the Soviet withdrawal a subsequent World Bank analysis projected that the Ainak copper production alone could eventually capture as much as 2 percent of the annual world market. The country is also blessed with massive coal deposits, one of which, the Hajigak iron deposit, in the Hindu Kush mountain range west of Kabul, is assessed as one of the largest high-grade deposits in the world. / We will never know what a Soviet-dominated development of Afghanistan would have looked like, because they were never able to quell the insurgency there. ...

With the overthrow of the Taliban, new possibilities seemed to open up, but these were quickly dashed, as the Bush administration continued to pursue a military option largely to the exclusion of everything else. [Plus ca change?] In a grotesque demonstration of the administration's post-Taliban priorities for Afghanistan, in 2002 the U.S. Geological Survey requested $70 million from the U.S. Department of State to reassess Afghanistan's water and mineral resources, oil, gas, coal, earthquake hazards, infrastructure development and training. The State Department offered less than 10 percent of the requested funding, and what was given was solely for oil and gas. / ... Engagement does not seem to include help in developing the country's energy or mineralogical wealth in order to bankroll a much needed infrastructure for the Afghan people.

Backgrounnd to Big US Plans

August '05

Feb. 2006
April 2006

The US govn. wants to run before it can crawl. The plan should have been, as is valid also in the US, to look after the infrastructure FIRST; then see if walking might be possible. Grade: FAIL.

8. Aid in Afghanistan


A Foreign Affairs Budget for the Future
American Academy of Diplomacy (AAD) / Henry L. Stimson Center
(see 16.10.08 below, Jim Lobe)


World Leaders At U.N. Fear For Aid Efforts
23.09.08. Colum Lynch, Washington Post.

UN seeks over $17 million for IDPs in Pakistan
24.09.08. int news/anti-war. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has appealed for more than $17 million to help tens of thousands of people displaced by the conflict and floods in north-western Pakistan. / According to government figures, there are now an estimated 90,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province (NWFP) due to the ongoing fighting in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

Bush frees aid for Afghanistan, Pakistan, Georgia
02.10.08. AFP. US President George W. Bush on Friday freed up to 8.3 million dollars in emergency aid to help Afghanistan, Georgia, and Pakistan cope with urgent refugee needs, the White House said.

Book: With Friends Like These (De Crisiskaravaan)
Royal academy of Art, The Hague / interactive media design. ‘Famine rarely results from food shortages. It arises far more often because people are denied their right to food.’ The appalling security situation in Afghanistan means projects are outsourced, and enormous sums of money disappear along unaccountable chains of contractors and subcontractors. Recipients make improper use of funding. ‘Aid groups are happy to allow themselves to be financed three times over. After all, donors don’t come here to check,’ an Afghan accountant tells her. / The aid industry, the world’s fifth largest economy, ‘are businesses in a market of supply and demand dressed up as Mother Teresa, but that’s not the way we see them, writes Polman.

Afghan aid blunders 'waste millions'
16.10.08. Kim Sengupta, Independent / anti-war. Millions of pounds of British aid to poor and war-torn countries has been wasted because of mismanagement and corruption, an official report reveals today. / An investigation by the National Audit Office (NAO) found a series of expensive blunders by the Department For International Development (DFID) in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq have undermined reconstruction efforts.

Top Ex-Diplomats Slam 'Militarization' of Foreign Policy
16.10.08. Jim Lobe, anti-war. While the Pentagon's budget has risen to heights not seen since World War II, US diplomatic and foreign aid assets have largely atrophied and must be quickly rebuilt by any new administration that takes office in January, according to a new report released here this week by former senior foreign service officers. / The report [see above] by the American Academy of Diplomacy (AAD) and the Henry L. Stimson Center is calling for a nearly 50 percent increase in the number of diplomats and aid and development specialists recruited into the foreign service over the next five years. This would cost about three billion dollars – or approximately what the Pentagon is currently spending every 10 days on military operations in Iraq – over current budget estimates./ the report calls for the State Department to take over control from the Defense Department (DOD) of nearly 800 million dollars a year budgeted for several security assistance programs, including humanitarian aid, created in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to help friendly militaries prosecute the "global war on terrorism."

9. Opium in Afghanistan

US presses NATO allies to target Afghan drug lords
24.09.08. wired / anti-war. So far, the effort has not been successful, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates has expressed some doubt that the allies could be convinced.

NATO considering more aggressive Afghan drugs role
26.09.08. wired / anti-war.

Tajik Forces Kill Afghan Opium Smugglers
26.09.08. afghan conflict monitor. "Tajik border guards have shot dead a group of Afghan drug smugglers and seized more than 250 kilograms of opium and other drugs, a border-guard spokeswoman said. Tajikistan lies on the main trafficking route out of neighbouring Afghanistan -- the world's top producer of opium and its refined form, heroin – to Western Europe.

NATO Aims at Afghans Whose Drugs Aid Militants
01.10.08. T. Shanker and E. Schmitt, NY Times. The comments by the commander, Gen. David D. McKiernan, made clear that international troops in Afghanistan were not going to eradicate opium poppy crops.

Governor of Afghan Opium Capital Pushes for Crop Replacement
03.10.08. Carlotta Gall, NY Times. .. the governor, Gulab Mangal, says he plans to try something that has worked in more peaceful parts of Afghanistan, but which remains untested in lawless Helmand. He hopes to persuade farmers not to plant poppy at all, rather than eradicating the crop once it has already been planted, a policy he blames for sowing greater strife in Helmand.

Reports Link Karzai’s Brother to Heroin Trade
04.10.08. James Risen, Before long, the commander, Habibullah Jan, received a telephone call from Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of President Hamid Karzai, asking him to release the vehicle and the drugs, Mr. Jan later told American investigators, according to note! s from the debriefing obtained by The New York Times. He said he complied after getting a phone call from an aide to President Karzai directing him to release the truck.

How To Win Afghanistan's Opium War
06.10.08. C. Hitchins, Slate. The best way to deprive the Taliban of drug profits? The United States should buy Afghanistan's poppy crop instead of trying to eradicate it.

Gen. Craddock Tired of Explaining Need for Aggressive Afghan Drug War
06.10.08. anti-war. n a surprisingly harsh outburst, NATO Supreme Commander for Europe [war criminal] General John Craddock has condemned those allies who are questioning the wisdom of the US plan to ratchet up raids against Afghan drug lords. Gen. Craddock complained that a “handful” of unnamed nations “have not listened to the argument” and keep bothering him with the same questions over and over.

NATO commander calls for blitz on Afghan drugs traffic
07.10.08. AFP.

Afghanistan: The mystery of the missing opium
08.10.08. Mark Easton, BBC / ICH. It's a mystery that has got British law enforcement officials and others across the planet scratching their heads. Put bluntly, enough heroin to supply the world's demand for years has simply disappeared

Nations balk at US anti-drug plan for Afghanistan
09.10.08. L Baldor, sfgate.

Nato troops given new mandate to attack heroin drug barons in Afghanistan
11.10.08. Michael Evans, Times Online.

Helmand Governor turns opium poppy fields into food zones
14.10.08. Relief Web. The first Governor-led initiative to tackle opium poppy in Afghanistan took a big step forward this week with the launch of a £6 million programme to support wheat farming in Helmand. / To mark the start of the programme, counter narcotics ministers General Khodaidad and General Daud flew to Lashkar Gah today (Tuesday) to join Helmand Governor Gulab Mangal at a distribution centre and met the farmers who are swapping poppy for wheat. / The Food Zones programme, coming at a time of national wheat and food shortage, is a timely initiative that will see wheat seed and fertiliser being distributed to 32,000 farmers in Helmand province. This is enough seed to grow 26,000 hectares of wheat.

How Deeply is the U.S. involved in the Afghan Drug Trade?
15.10.08. Eric Margolis, Huff Post. America's local allies in Afghanistan, the politicians and warlords who overthrew Taliban in 2001, are up to their turbans in the heroin trade. Drug money is the blood that courses through Afghanistan's veins and keeps the economy limping along. The U.S.-installed Karzai regime in Kabul propped up by US and NATO bayonets has only two sources of income: cash handouts from Washington, and the proceeds of drug dealing. / .. Washington called off efforts by the Drug Enforcement Agency to combat the Afghan drug trade for fear of endangering the power base of its former CIA `asset,' President Hamid Karzai. Starting with Karzai's brother, Ahmed Wali, the U.S.-installed regime's most important supporters are all involved in varying degrees with the heroin trade. As this writer has seen himself, almost every important warlord gets revenue from the drug trade. The Northern Alliance warlords are considered the biggest of the nation's narco-dealers. Ahmed Karzai denies involvement. / Moving against the drug warlords would have meant undermining Karzai's sole domestic support. So Washington held its nose and let the drug trade flourish in order to sustain the occupation. .. there is no way that simple Afghan farmers or Taliban fighters are running the drug trade, as Washington claims. Poppy sap is collected and converted into opium tar. Then it is smuggled to secret labs in Pakistan to be transformed into first morphine base, and then purified into heroin. None of these drugs would move south into Pakistan or be processed with imported chemicals without the full cooperation and assistance of the Afghan government, its supporting warlords, and local Pakistani officials. The drugs are then smuggled out of the port of Karachi, again under at protection by port and local officials. Pakistan is a key U.S. ally. / The Karzai regime has been totally corrupted by the drug trade, and so has parts of Pakistan's establishment. But the United States has also become corrupted in the sense that it has done nothing to combat this scourge and has collaborated with Afghanistan's drug barons by at minimum turning blind eye.

US, UN differ on Afghan opium ebb
24.10.08. wired/anti-war. In a report obtained by The Associated Press ahead of its planned release Friday, the Bush administration claims that production of the heroin precursor will plunge by 31 percent, from 8,800 tons in 2007 to 6,100 tons this year. That's more than five times the drop in production predicted by the United Nations in late August. / .. U.N. experts said the drought was a crucial reason, along with anti-drug campaigns, for the significant decline in poppy cultivation from 477,000 acres in 2007 to 388,000 acres in 2008.

10. United States (Reports, Happy Families, "Black Sheep", "Disaster Capitalism")


Losing The Afghan-Pakistan War? The Rising Threat
18.09.08. Anthony Cordesman, CSIS. Internal Security and Post-Conflict Reconstruction. Comment on report (22.09.08. R. Dreyfus, uruknet)

'Grim' Afghanistan Report To Be Kept Secret by US
23.09.08. Brian Ross, ABC/legitgov. "No Plans to Declassify" New National Intelligence Estimate for White House. Officials say a draft of the classified NIE, representing the key judgments of the US intelligence community's 17 agencies and departments, is being circulated in Washington and a final "coordination meeting" of the agencies involved, under the direction of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, is scheduled in the next few weeks. / According to people who have been briefed, the NIE will paint a "grim" picture of the situation in Afghanistan, seven years after the US invaded in an effort to dismantle the al Qaeda network and its Taliban protectors.

Army Modernization Strategy 2008
23.09.08. mil. 90 page document. "The army is engaged in the third-longest war in our nation's history and . . . the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) has caused the army to become out of balance with the demand for forces exceeding the sustainable supply."

United States-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Joint Statement
25.09.08. US Department of State

Defense: FY2009 Authorization and Appropriations
Updated 29 September 2008. pdf. Secrecy News.

Green Warriors: Army Environmental Considerations for Contingency Operations from Planning through Post-Conflict
Rand Corporation (pdf). Prepared for the US Army. Article on this report, in Navy Times, here . Specifically referencing Afghanistan, the Report says U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan buried several drums containing unidentified liquids, which later turned out to be hazardous, posing a risk of soil and groundwater contamination.

New Army Doctrine on Stability Operations
06.10.08. Secrecy News. An Army field manual (large pdf) published today updates military policy on “stability operations,” referring to the use of military and other instruments of national power “to maintain or reestablish a safe and secure environment, provide essential governmental services, emergency infrastructure reconstruction, and humanitarian relief.” / … “But this doctrine looks beyond the here and now to address a likely future where threats to our national security emerge from regional conflicts arising from increased competition for scarce natural resources, teeming urban populations with rising popular expectations, unrestrained technological diffusion, and a global economy struggling to overcome the strain of the American financial crisis, meet mounting demands from emerging markets, and extend foreign development aid into third world countries.”

US Study Is Said to Warn of Crisis in Afghanistan
09.10.08. Mark Mazzetti and Eric Schmitt, NY Times / Truthout. "A draft report by American intelligence agencies concludes that Afghanistan is in a 'downward spiral' and casts serious doubt on the ability of the Afghan government to stem the rise in the Taliban's influence there, according to American officials familiar with the document." / The classified report, a nearly completed version of a National Intelligence Estimate, is set to be finished after the November elections.


“They listen, but they do not hear.” Ambassador, Zamir N. Kabulov

General Petraeus told he 'must succeed' in Afghanistan
19.09.08. Telegraph. General David Petraeus must "knit together" Afghanistan's confused command structure if the coalition is to avoid a humiliating defeat, a senior American defence official has said.

U.S., Afghans and Pakistanis Consider Joint Military Force
23.09.08. Ann Scott Tyson, Washington Post/anti-war. Afghan Defense Minister Rahim Wardak said he had proposed the idea and it was discussed last month at a meeting of military officers from the three countries that focused on the border problem. .. / "The terrorists have not recognized any boundaries," Wardak told reporters. .. / Pakistan's government is considering the plan,

U.S. has no more troops for Afghan war until spring
23.09.08. Reuters/Washington Post. The United States will not have enough forces available to meet a request for more troops from NATO's top commander in Afghanistan until next spring at the earliest, the U.S. defense chief said on Tuesday. BUT a 24.09.08 article in The National says that the “US military has begun
reinforcing its presence in Afghanistan weeks ahead of an expected troop build-up amid reassurances that efforts to avoid civilian casualties will be redoubled.

Words. Words. WordsHamlet, Act 2, scene 2

President Bush Addresses The United Nations General Assembly

Bush, Karzai discuss conditions in Afghanistan
25.09.08. AP. During his session with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, Bush said work being done by more than two dozen reconstruction teams is a central part of the counterinsurgency strategy in the nation. / "No question it's difficult, but if you listen to the people who are actually on the ground working with the citizens of Afghanistan on matters such as agriculture, or education, or infrastructure, you'll understand why I said that there is progress and promise — and hope," Bush said.

“Coordinating” Afghanistan
US generals planning for resource wars
22.09.08. Tom Clonan, Irish Times / legitgov. Under the auspices of the US department of defence and department of the army, the US military have just published a document entitled 2008 Army Modernization Strategy [see “Reports”, above) .. The 2008 modernisation strategy, written by Lieut Gen Stephen Speakes, deputy chief of staff of the US army, contains the first explicit and official acknowledgement that the US military is dangerously overstretched internationally. It states simply: "The army is engaged in the third-longest war in our nation's history and . . . the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) has caused the army to become out of balance with the demand for forces exceeding the sustainable supply." Against this backdrop, the 90 page document sets out the future of international conflict for the next 30 to 40 years - as the US military sees it - and outlines the manner in which the military will sustain its current operations and prepare and "transform" itself for future "persistent" warfare. In its preamble, it predicts a post cold war future of "perpetual warfare".

Bush Administration Reviews Its Afghanistan Policy, Exposing Points of Contention
22.09.08. E. Schmitt andd T. Shanker, NY Times. Four months before President Bush leaves office, his top civilian and military aides are conducting four major new reviews of the war strategy and overall mission in Afghanistan, which have exposed internal fissures over American troop levels, how billions of aid dollars are spent, and how to cope with a deteriorating security situation in neighboring Pakistan. .. / Related to General McKiernan’s request, one of the other assessments proposes a military campaign plan for Afghanistan for the next 5 to 10 years, creating long-term requirements for troop levels in the southern and eastern parts of the country, where most of the fighting is taking place, according to one participant in the study. But some American officials say that European allies may balk at these long-term force commitments, potentially leaving the United States to supply an even larger share of the troops. .. / More broadly, many of these assessments are seeking to improve synchronization across the military and the rest of the government, suggesting that seven years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the United States still cannot marshal its power effectively to prevail in Afghanistan.

UN votes to keep troops in Afghanistan
23.09.08. smh, au. The 15-nation council's unanimous decision extends the mandate of the NATO-led force until at least October next year.

Military sees window to adjust Afghanistan plan
01.10.08. Gordon Lubold, CSM. Reviews under way, to be ready for the next president, are intended to accelerate a new strategy

Pause for Bush “Bailout”and subsequent global market crash
global market crash Senate passes Bailout . (01.10.08)

George W. Bush rethinks his Afghan war tactics
10.10.08. Australian news. THE Bush administration has begun an urgent review of Afghanistan policy, amid growing concern it lacks a cohesive strategy for the war and as intelligence officials warn of a rapidly worsening situation on the ground.

Petraeus Mounts Strategy Review
16.10.08. Ann Scott Tyson, Washington Post / anti-war. Gen. David H. Petraeus has launched a major reassessment of U.S. strategy for Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and the surrounding region, while warning that the lack of development and the spiraling violence in Afghanistan will probably make it "the longest campaign of the long war." / The 100-day assessment will result in a new campaign plan for the Middle East and Central Asia, a region in which Petraeus will oversee the operations of more than 200,000 American troops as the new head of U.S. Central Command, beginning Oct. 31. / The review will formally begin next month, but experts and military officials involved said Petraeus is already focused on at least two major themes: government-led reconciliation of Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the leveraging of diplomatic and economic initiatives with nearby countries that are influential in the war.

U.S. Afghan policy review sees no big changes
26.09.08. Reuters. William Wood, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, also said he did not expect a shift in strategy as happened in Iraq. President George W. Bush ordered 30,000 additional troops to Iraq in 2007 after a similar review of U.S. policy there.

New terrorism risk review released Friday
26.09.08. E. Sullivan, AP. The Homeland Security Department paid $450,000 for an independent organization to make recommendations on a classified terrorism program, but the review — which took two years to complete — is practically outdated as it's released Friday.

INTERVIEW-Rice sees promising Pakistan-Afghanistan rapport
26.09.08. wired / anti-war. "There's a new spirit between President Zardari and President Karzai," Rice told Reuters in an interview after the launch of a multilateral "Friends of Pakistan" group to help Islamabad tackle its massive economic and security problems.

Senate sends $612 billion defense bill to Bush
27.09.08, wired … The bill envisions nearly $70 billion for U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Bush Administration Adds $4 Trillion To National Debt
29.09.08. CBS.

Gates says US troops likely to stay in Iraq and Afghanistan for years
29.09.08. RTT / ICH.

Insurgents in Afghanistan Are Gaining, Petraeus Says
30.09.08. Carlotta Gall, NY Times. As he prepares to take up his post as head of Central Command, Gen. David H. Petraeus said in an interview this week that he expected the fight against the insurgents in Afghanistan and Pakistan to get worse before it got better.

General: Urgent need for troops in Afghanistan now
01.10.08. L Baldour, AP. Trying to meet Gen. David McKiernan's urgent need for weapons and equipment, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has asked the military for additional surveillance drones and armored vehicles right now for Afghanistan, The Associated Press has learned. It is a short-term solution to a persistent shortfall of military assets in a seven-year war often overshadowed by the larger U.S.-led conflict in Iraq.

Bush says extremists can't stand progress in Afghanistan
01.10.08. Jerusalem post.

Fact check: Cost of Iraq combat v. Afghanistan reconstruction
03.10.08. CNN. In July, the State Department reported that, since fiscal year 2001, the United States has spent $17.2 billion on security in Afghanistan and $1.3 billion on "governance, rule of law, and human rights" efforts.

Afghanistan military situation will worsen next year, Mullen says
10.10.08. McClatchy.

Gen. McKiernan Denies NATO Losing in Afghanistan
12.10.08. anti-war. In a news conference in Kabul today, top NATO general in Afghanistan General David McKiernan said that while the “progress” is not “as fast as many of us would like, but we are not losing in Afghanistan.” The general also pressed for more military forces to fight the seven year old war.

Is US fighting force big enough?
14.10.08. Gordon Lubold, CS Monitor / anti-war. Last week, the Army released a new manual on "stability operations" [see Report, above] that outlines for the Army a prominent global role as a nation-builder. The service will maintain its ability to fight conventional land wars, but the manual's release signals that it expects future conflicts to look more like Iraq or Afghanistan than World War II.

Enemy in Afghanistan has increased up to 30 percent in a year, U.S. general tells CBS' "60 Minutes"
16.10.08. orlado sentinel. [The US needs “enemies” to justify defense contracts ]

Robert Gates: To succeed in Afghanistan will require much more than just guns
17.10.08. Independent. [extract from a lecture delivered to the US Institute of Peace [sic] on Wednesday] Think about the scale of the effort in Afghanistan. There are 42 nations, hundreds of NGOs, universities, development banks, the United Nations, the European Union, Nato, all working as part of a multinational, civil-military effort.

The US agrees: only a 'surge' can beat Taliban
18.10.08. Kim Sengupta, Independent. American officials have backed the view of General Sir David Richards, the new head of the British Army, that a "surge" is needed in Afghanistan to beat the Taliban. / Patrick Moon, the United States' deputy assistant secretary of state for South Asia, said that the extra troops were essential to carry out a security drive in the country.

Obama, Petraeus, McCain Agree: Taliban Talks OK (Updated)
23.10.08. Noah Shachtman, blog.wired. In recent days, there have been conflicting reports about some less-hostile Taliban representatives gathering for talks in Saudi Arabia, to try to cut a deal with the Kabul government. Observers are skeptical about how much juice these talkin' Taliban really have. But Obama tells Klein that this divide-negotiate-and-conquer approach "is one useful lesson that is applicable from Iraq." {NB. Al jazeera had programme of the ‘split’ a few weeks ago now]. / UPDATE: The full transcript of the Time interview is up. And it shows that Obama has embraced another key element of Petraeus' Iraq counterinsurgency -- the need to get inside the country's social, cultural, and political networks.


Republican Party spent $150,000 on Palin's wardrobe
21.10.08. Independent.


UN Warns of Deteriorating Afghan Security as Bush Touts “Progress”
26.09.08. anti-war. United Nations Special Envoy Kai Eide has warned that the security situation in Afghanistan “is worse than it was three months ago,” and that the deteriorating atmosphere was distracting countries from fulfilling the commitments they made at June’s conference in Paris. Meanwhile, during a meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, President Bush downplayed the rising violence and touted the “progress” being made in the war-torn country.

Leaked Memo Questions War Strategy in Afghanistan
01.10.08. Charles Bremner and Richard Beeston, The Times UK/truthout. "The official version of the US-led campaign in Afghanistan received a blow today with a leaked report that the British Ambassador in Kabul believes that US strategy is wrong and the war is as good as lost. The potentially explosive views were published by Le Canard Enchaîné, a respected French weekly, which said that they were direct quotations from a diplomatic cable written by François Fitou, the French Deputy Ambassador in Kabul."

Chorus of failure grows ever louder over Afghanistan
03.10.08. Cutting across the official belief in Washington and London that the war is hard but winnable, Fitou says that Cowper-Coles told him current American strategy "is destined to fail".


Naomi Klein
Naomi Klein,Photo © Sarah Meyer, Hay Festival ’08

Naomi Klein: Financial crisis part of Bush 'shock doctrine'
21.09.08. David Edwards and Andrew McLemore, Raw Story. "The disaster was on Wall Street and they have moved the disaster to Main Street." .. / "The real disaster has yet to come; the real disaster is the debt that is going to explode on American tax payers," Klein said.

Wall Street's 'Disaster Capitalism for Dummies'
20.10.08. Paul B. Farrell, Market Watch. 14 reasons Main Street loses big while Wall Street sabotages democracy. Yes, we're dummies. You. Me. All 300 million of us. Clueless. We should be ashamed. We're obsessed about the slogans and rituals of "democracy," distracted by the campaign, polls, debates, rhetoric, half-truths and outright lies. McCain? Obama? Sorry to pop your bubble folks, but it no longer matters who's president.

Historic Disapproval: Bush Hits All-Time Low Amid Economic Meltdown
30.09.08. ABC.

Wall St. Bailout demo,

One Nation under Capitalism: It’s Time for a Crucifixion
02.10.08. Jason Miller, best Cyrano / Tom Paine’s Corner. For years we have satiated our desires with utter disregard for environmental cost, have ignored the abject suffering we inflict upon humans and animals, and have spilled a veritable ocean of blood to enable corporate plunder and to stomp anti-capitalist movements into the ground.

Yet when we finally reaped a bit of what we’d sown in September of 2001 and again in September of 2008, we wailed, wept, and gnashed our teeth as if we were the only people ever to have sustained staggering blows. .. / Capitalism has had its run and it has failed. Miserably.

Shock and Awe: Bipartisan Beltway Terrorists Launch Economic 9/11 on the American People
03.10.08. Chris Floyd,

Food Riots Have Already Begun as Global Grain Prices Skyrocket, Supplies Dwindle
04.10.08.David Gutierrez,

from Voltaire’s Pangloss

Bush says U.S. economy will be fine in long run (06.10.08. Reuters/legitgov)

Americans’ Satisfaction at All-Time Low of 9% (07.10.08. gallup.)

U.S. military to deploy more surveillance planes to Afghanistan
06.10.08. CSM/anti-war. … The US Army is sending a new unit of remote-controlled aircraft, similar to one it fielded in Iraq two years ago, to Afghanistan to monitor insurgents and enemy targets. The Air Force, meanwhile, is deploying about three dozen small turboprop planes with reconnaissance and surveillance crews to add to the unmanned planes already being used there. Both services are also trying to put more laptop computers in the hands of soldiers on the ground so they can benefit from the data provided by the "eyes in the sky."

The world is at severe risk of a global systemic financial meltdown and a severe global depression
09.10.08. Nouriel Roubini. The US and advanced economies’ financial system is now headed towards a near-term systemic financial meltdown as day after day stock markets are in free fall, money markets have shut down while their spreads are skyrocketing, and credit spreads are surging through the roof. There is now the beginning of a generalized run on the banking system of these economies; a collapse of the shadow banking system, i.e. those non-banks (broker dealers, non-bank mortgage lenders, SIV and conduits, hedge funds, money market funds, private equity firms) that, like banks, borrow short and liquid, are highly leveraged and lend and invest long and illiquid and are thus at risk of a run on their short-term liabilities; and now a roll-off of the short term liabilities of the corporate sectors that may lead to widespread bankruptcies of solvent but illiquid financial and non-financial firms.

FY '08 budget deficit swells to record $455 billion
14.10.08. Reuters.

See Chart (Preface) Putting the Financial Rescue Package in Perspective (in billions of $s)

Big Banks Get $125 Billion Cash Going Away Gift
14.10.08. Robert Wenzel. "EconomicPolicyJournal" / ICH. Approximately half of the first $250 billion tranche of money approved by Congress for the mortgage crisis will end up in the hands of the "healthy" big banks. ... / No matter how they frame this,the truth is this is a roughly $125 Billion going away gift from the Bush Administration to Wall Streets elite.

This Stock Collapse Is Petty When Compared to the Nature Crunch
14.10.08. George Monbiot, The Guardian UK/truthout. "As we goggle at the fluttering financial figures, a different set of numbers passes us by. On Friday, Pavan Sukhdev, the Deutsche Bank economist leading a European study on ecosystems, reported that we are losing natural capital worth between $2 trillion and $5 trillion every year as a result of deforestation alone. The losses incurred so far by the financial sector amount to between $1 trillion and $1.5 trillion." [NB: aljazeera recently showed film of The World Bank supporting deforestation in the Amazonian Rainforest]

How about socialism for the rest of us
15.10.08. William Bowles, Creative-i. f it wasn’t so tragic for so many millions of ordinary working folk, it would be laughable to read the corporate press as it pees into its corporate pants. .. / The ‘crisis’ therefore is a crisis of the capitalist and political classes legitimacy, wholly self-made with ‘eyes wide open’. / .. What needs to be made is a concerted effort by the left, indeed by everybody, to force the debate about who owns the economy into the public domain.

VIDEO The 56 Trillion Dollar Deficit (Bill Maher Interviews Fmr. Comptroller General David Walker)

The Illusion Of Democracy
16.10.08. Timothy V. Gatto, countercurrents. It seems like the citizens of this country should be enjoying the proceeds of the largest economy on Earth. Instead, 1% of the families in the United States own 54% of its wealth. This is up from 38% last year. Basing an economy on debt and then subsidizing the very people that profit from that debt is outrageous. One of the main reasons that we are in the predicament that we find ourselves in is that politicians in Washington rely on advice from those that have an inherent interest in the status quo

“Working Poor”
16.10.08. Tom Eley, WSWS / ICH. A report released Tuesday by the Working Poor Families Project reveals that more than 28 percent of American families with one or both parents employed are living in poverty.

Infant Mortality: US Ranks 29th Lowest In The World
16.10.08. Gardiner Harris, ICH. Infant mortality has long been considered one of the most important indicators of the health of a nation and the quality of its medical system. In 1960, the United States ranked 12th lowest in the world, but by 2004, the latest year for which comparisons were issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that ranking had dropped to 29th lowest.

Stocks slide follows Bush speech

Wall Street banks in $70bn staff payout
18.10.08. Simon Bowers, Guardian. Financial workers at Wall Street's top banks are to receive pay deals worth more than $70bn (£40bn), a substantial proportion of which is expected to be paid in discretionary bonuses, for their work so far this year - despite plunging the global financial system into its worst crisis since the 1929 stock market crash, the Guardian has learned. / Staff at six banks including Goldman Sachs and Citigroup are in line to pick up the payouts despite being the beneficiaries of a $700bn bail-out from the US government that has already prompted criticism. The government's cash has been poured in on the condition that excessive executive pay would be curbed. / Pay plans for bankers have been disclosed in recent corporate statements. / The sums that continue to be spent by Wall Street firms on payroll, payoffs and, most controversially, bonuses appear to bear no relation to the losses incurred by investors in the banks. .. / At one point last week the Morgan Stanley $10.7bn pay pot for the year to date was greater than the entire stock market value of the business. … Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, ad nauseum.

VIDEO "The New Kleptocracy":"The largest financial theft in American history."

The Idiots Who Rule America
20.10.08. Chris Hedges, Truthdig. Our oligarchic class is incompetent at governing, managing the economy, coping with natural disasters, educating our young, handling foreign affairs, providing basic services like health care and safeguarding individual rights. That it is still in power, and will remain in power after this election, is a testament to our inability to separate illusion from reality. We still believe in “the experts.” They still believe in themselves. They are clustered like flies swarming around John McCain and Barack Obama. It is only when these elites are exposed as incompetent parasites and dethroned that we will have any hope of restoring social, economic and political order. / … Democracy is not an outgrowth of free markets. Democracy and capitalism are antagonistic entities. Democracy, like individualism, is not based on personal gain but on self-sacrifice. A functioning democracy must defy the economic interests of elites on behalf of citizens. This is not happening.

Wealth gap creating a social time bomb
23.10.08. John Vidal, Guardian. Growing inequality in US cities could lead to widespread social unrest and increased mortality, says a new United Nations report on the urban environment. / In a survey of 120 major cities New York was found to be the ninth most unequal in the world and Atlanta, New Orleans, Washington, and Miami had similar inequality levels to those of Nairobi, Kenya and Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Many were above an internationally recognised acceptable "alert" line used to warn governments. / "High levels of inequality can lead to negative social, economic and political consequences that have a destabilising effect on societies," said the report. "[They] create social and political fractures that can develop into social unrest and insecurity."

World Food Day: Global Crises’ Double Standards
24.10.08. Ramzy Baroud, countercurrents. Whether the American, European or any other government infused bailout packages rectify the financial crisis or not, chances are that 16 October 2009 will bring similarly devastating news about the plight of the world's poor and which is likely to remain that: mere "news" that requires little action, if any at all

U.S. has plundered world wealth with dollar: China paper
24.10.08. reuters. The front-page commentary in the overseas edition of the People's Daily said that Asian and European countries should banish the U.S. dollar from their direct trade relations for a start, relying only on their own currencies.

PM Putin Suggests Russia, China Ditch Dollar in Trade Deals
28.10.08. RIA Novosti/ICH. "We should consider improving the payment system for bilateral trade, including by gradually adopting a broader use of national currencies," Putin told a bilateral economic forum. He admitted the task would be tough, but said it was necessary amid the current problems with the dollar-based global economy.

5 Reasons Why Wall Street's Bailout Won't Work
28.10.08. Danny Schechter, (Media Channel) / Alternet. ...../Still to be answered: can the system be saved from itself?


Paulson regrets mistakes on economy
16.10.08. AP / ICH. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson on Thursday expressed regret for the many errors made that led to the biggest financial crisis in seven decades, but he insisted the administration is pursuing the correct [sic[ course now to end the debacle.

Greenspan Admits Error in Trusting Free Markets
23.10.08. Michael M. Grynbaum, NY Times / Truthout.: "Facing a firing line of questions from Washington lawmakers, Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve chairman once considered the infallible maestro of the financial system, admitted on Thursday that he 'made a mistake' in trusting that free markets could regulate themselves without government oversight."

Greenspan admits 'flaw' in ideology
24.10.08. aljazeera.

”Who could’ve known?” asks Greenspan . Well, Danny Schechter has known and written about it for a LONG time. And then there is Naomi’s book, too.

The Economics of Doom

The deluge of a mess that McCain/Obama will inherit
27.10.08. Don Woodard, FW Business. That quagmire would include Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, Iran, North Korea, Russia, China, terrorism, Guantanamo, torture, the Patriot Act, global warming, hurricanes, floods, droughts, forest fires, the collapsing infrastructure, the housing debacle, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, bankrupt banks, the Wall Street bailout, the looming energy famine, Social Security, illegal immigration, pro-choice/pro-life, the dire $13 trillion national debt hanging over our grandchildren’s heads like the sword of Damocles.

Obama or McCain will need Global Hunger Czar
27.10.08. William Lambers, hnn.

The Bailout
27.10.08. Ghali Hassan, countercurrents. The U.S. and its Western allies are sinking in deep recession. The bailout is a bogus solution and doomed to fail. However, there is an alternative based on the promotion of human community. Investment in productive activities to create jobs, build housing, schools, healthcare services and vital public infrastructure will lead to lasting economic recovery in a regulated financial system characterised by openness, transparency and accountability, free of greed and corruption. If elected President of the United States, Barack Obama should position himself to the left of President Hugo Chávez.

Dahr Jamail, Photo © Sarah Meyer

The Cost of Slumber
27.10.08. Dahr Jamail, Truthout. The economy is in shambles. Yet, in the heated exchanges between Obama and McCain about the economy, there appears to be no connection whatsoever between the occupation, now costing a cool $3 billion per week, and the financial dire straights the country is in.

Here, in the East Bay Area of California, famed for its moderate temperatures, lots of sunshine and fresh ocean air, I peer across the Bay through the pollution to catch the silhouette of San Francisco. My eyes smart from the effort. We're in a drought, the reservoirs are drying up. Water scarcity is a reality, even here. The Poles are melting. Within my lifetime, this airport may be completely submerged, along with the streets of several major US cities, one of a string of countless results of climate change.

I watched a plane unload and people rushing past, trying to remain abreast of the inhuman pace thrust upon us by the industrial growth society, a pace inherently unsustainable. I marvel continually, awed and uncomprehending that life here goes on as it does, while so much is burning.

See Dahr’s website here.

11. US Military Industrial Complex, Contracts, Contractors


[See chart, Preface]


National Intelligence Programme 2008 for $47.5m. Read what Secrecy News has to say about it here .



Prisoners of War
The equally costly illusions about America’s role as an “indispensable nation” policing the globe go without challenge. We remain prisoners of war. / Most Americans have no sense of the cost and scope of America’s role as globocop. We sustain what Chalmers Johnson calls an “empire of bases” across the globe – over 700 active bases in more than 30 countries.

UPDATE 1-Gates predicts no sharp cuts in US defense budgets
20.09.08. Reuters.

There Might Be a Financial Crisis, But the World's Arms Dealers Are Doing Just Fine
30.09.08/ Frida Berrigan , Foreign Policy in Focus/alternet. The weapons sector remains recession-proof.

We have the money if only we didn’t waste it on the Defense Budget
30.09.08. Chalmers Johnson, Tom Dispatch. . On Wednesday, September 24th, right in the middle of the fight over billions of taxpayer dollars slated to bail out Wall Street, the House of Representatives passed a $612 billion defense authorization bill for 2009 without a murmur of public protest or any meaningful press comment at all. (The New York Times gave the matter only three short paragraphs buried in a story about another appropriations measure.)

Bail-out leads to conflict of interest claims as Wall Street financiers cash in on crisis
04.10.08. Telegraph / legitgov. It is a move reminiscent of the US government's controversial use of private military contractors to fight the war in Iraq.' New questions have been raised about the $700 billion economic bail-out of the US economy as President [sic] George W. Bush warned that the world may have to wait weeks for the benefits of the rescue package to be felt... Doubts about the package were fuelled when financial experts warned that conflicts of interest could arise because Wall Street financiers, many of whom have been blamed for causing the financial meltdown in the first place, will have a hand in spending the $700 billion of taxpayers' money... Between five and 10 asset management companies will also be paid a commission on the work they do. They can expect to make several billion dollars in profits between them.

U.S. Military Increasingly Privatized
(?) Oct. ’08. Richard Walker, American free press. The next president will find that private contractors have not only benefited from the war on terror and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq but they have become an integral and expanding part of America’s military-industrial structure. The Government Accountability Office (GAO)—says there has been a 78 percent increase in Department of Defense spending on private sector services since 2001. The money spent has exceeded by a wide margin DOD spending on supplies, equipment and weapons systems. This expanding role of the private sector has led to a diminishing government-employee workforce and less oversight of contracts, resulting in numerous examples of fraud and wasteful spending.

Making Some Sense of $700b.
05.10.08. James Carroll, boston globe / common dreams.
"By a nice coincidence, though, the financial rescue package of $700 billion duplicates a number that was also in the news last week - the Pentagon budget. In the fiscal year just beginning, the Defense Department will spend $607 billion on normal military costs, and an additional $100 billion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (As of June 30, 2008, Congress had appropriated $859 billion for the wars; Congressional Budget Office projections assume further costs of $400 billion to $500 billion as the wars wind down). But for the coming year, $700 billion is the Pentagon's nice round number (this includes neither Homeland Security nor intelligence costs)."

He Told Us to Go Shopping. Now the Bill Is Due
05.10.08. Andrew J. Bacevich, Washington Post. It's widely thought that the biggest gamble President Bush ever took was deciding to invade Iraq in 2003. It wasn't. His riskiest move was actually one made right after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks when he chose not to mobilize the country or summon his fellow citizens to any wartime economic sacrifice. Bush tried to remake the world on the cheap, and as the bill grew larger, he still refused to ask Americans to pay up. During this past week, that gamble collapsed, leaving the rest of us to sort through the wreckage. … / So as the American soldier fought, the American consumer binged, encouraged by American banks offering easy credit. / From September 2001 until September 2008, this approach allowed Bush to enjoy nearly unfettered freedom of action. To fund the war on terror, Congress gave the administration all the money it wanted. Huge bipartisan majorities appropriated hundreds of billions of dollars, producing massive federal deficits and pushing the national debt from roughly $6 trillion in 2001 to just shy of $10 trillion today. Even many liberal Democrats who decried the war routinely voted to approve this spending, as did conservative Republicans who still trumpeted their principled commitment to fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets. READ ON; BRILLIANT.

All You Need To Know
06.10.08. Winter Patriot, uruknet. ...Meanwhile, very quietly, Congress allocated another $615 billion of your money to keep the Pentagon going for another year of death and destruction -- anywhere, anytime, and preferably by remote control, if the monsters-in-control have their way (...) We have no money for health care. We have no money for education. We have no money to fix our roads and bridges, and we especially have no money for the people who have lost everything they owned, to hurricanes or predatory len! ding schemes or medical bills. And yet we have hundreds of billions every year for killing foreigners, and hundreds of billions more for ... for what, exactly? Except that we don't have the money; we'll be borrowing that money to give it away, and paying interest on it forever. It's an enormous "gift" from us and our children and their children, a gift we have been (or will be) forced to "give". And the rich will get richer, and the poor will get slaughtered, and if you are an American taxpayer, you will pay for it. That's the New American Deal -- the economic setup for the New American Century...

Defense Investors in Today's Volatile Markets
08.10.08. Scott Sacknoff, seeking Alpha. what I think would be beneficial is to answer the top things on the minds of A&D investors without delving into the market itself.

1. 2009 Defense Budget
2. Strike at Boeing
3. Third Quarter Reporting Expectations
4. Presidential Election
5. Afghanistan: Planning for a Surge
6. Tanker Contract
7. Global Defense Spending
8. Fixed Price vs. Cost Plus Contracts
9. Major End-of-Year Contracts Awarded
10. Loan Crisis/Liquidity Impact on A&D

Military industrial complexities
08.10.08. Brian Cloughley, those who gain most from war are the world’s arms manufacturers, of whom by far the most are in the US. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have brought enormous profits for Boeing and the rest of what President Eisenhower called the Military-Industrial Complex, that unholy alliance of big business, their supporters in uniform, and those in Congress who are deeply beholden to weapons companies for financial donations. / It would be a brave US legislator who would vote against even a nonsensical bill proposing vast expenditure on weapons if his or her district had an arms factory employing hundreds of voters. And the gunrunners are big-hearted as regards contributing to politicians’ treasure chests, irrespective of party affiliation. No politician would ever endorse a bill that might upset a major donor of cash. This is the Military-Industrial Complex at work.

Financial crisis could put crimp in defense spending plans
08.10.08. Nancy A. Youssef | McClatchy. In the fiscal year that just ended, the U.S. spent $694.2 billion on defense, up 52 percent from the 2000 defense budget in constant dollars. (That year, the department spent $292 billion.) The fiscal 2008 total includes $514.2 billion in the defense budget and another $180 billion to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have been financed through so-called "supplemental" budgets.

FOCUS | Pentagon Wants $450 Billion Increase Over Next Five Years
09.10.08. Josh Rogin, Congressional Quarterly/truthout: "Pentagon officials have prepared a new estimate for defense spending that is $450 billion more over the next five years than previously announced figures. The new estimate, which the Pentagon plans to release shortly before President Bush leaves office, would serve as a marker for the new president and is meant to place pressure on him to either drastically increase the size of the defense budget or defend any reluctance to do so, according to several former senior budget officials who are close to the discussions."


Defense spending faces long-term hit
10.10.08. aljazeera. Analysts say U.S. and European defense budgets face deep long-term cuts due to the global financial crisis.

Economy's bust is a boon for military's recruiting effort
10.10.08/ Nancy A. Youssef | McClatchy/anti-war.

Secrecy News reports : “The Department of Defense Inspector General recently reported that defense contractors had failed to properly manage, recover or revoke thousands of Common Access Cards that permit the holder to access controlled defense information on DoD information systems.

This presents "a potential national security risk that may result in unauthorized access to DoD resources, installations, and sensitiveinformation worldwide," the DoD IG said.” See: " Controls Over the Contractor Common Access Card Life Cycle" (10.10.08. (large pdf), DoD Inspector General"

“Among other things, a failure to reliably protect restricted information that is unclassified may produce an undesirable incentive to classify such information.”

The Favor Factory
12.10.08. David Heath and Christine Willmsen, Seattle Times. Despite reforms, Congress hides $3.5B in defense earmarks. After months of investigating the $459 billion 2008 defense bill, The Times found:

• The hidden $3.5 billion included 155 earmarks, among them the most costly in the bill. Congress disclosed 2,043 earmarks worth $5 billion.

• The House broke the new rules at least 110 times by failing to disclose who was getting earmarks, making it difficult for the public to judge whether the money is being spent wisely.

• In at least 175 cases, senators did not list themselves in Senate records as earmark sponsors, appearing more fiscally responsible. But they told a different story to constituents back home in news releases, claiming credit for the earmarks and any new jobs.

Lawmakers do not face penalties for failing to follow these ethics rules.

Liquidating the Empire
14.10.08. Patrick J. Buchanan, ICH. With U.S. markets crashing and wealth vanishing, what are we doing with 750 bases and troops in over 100 countries? America’s first trillion-dollar deficit is at hand.

Additional Thoughts on the Bailout
16.10.08. Paul Craig Roberts, ICH. Just as the Bush regime’s wars have been used to pour billions of dollars into the pockets of its military-security donor base, the Paulson bailout looks like a Bush regime scheme to incur $700 billion in new public debt in order to transfer the money into the coffers of its financial donor base. .. /The explanations that have been given for the crisis and its bailout are opaque.

Goodbye to Defense's Gilded Age?
17.10.08. Travis Sharp, anti-war. What many Americans may not realize is that the United States is likely to spend $711 billion on national defense in the fiscal year that began on October 1 (assuming fiscal year 2009 war costs are $170 billion, an estimate provided by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates). You read that correctly: the United States will spend more on defense over the next 365 days than on the $700 bailout package.

Pentagon plans ‘spaceplane’ to reach hotspots fast
19.10.08. John Harlow, Times Online/anti-war. The American military is planning a “spaceplane” designed to fly a crack squad of heavily armed marines to trouble spots anywhere in the world within four hours. / At a recent secret meeting at the Pentagon, engineers working on the craft, codenamed Hot Eagle, were told to draw up blueprints for a prototype which generals want to have in the air within 11 years. / The two-stage Hot Eagle would be launched from an aircraft carrier. A large booster rocket would carry a smaller spacecraft containing 13 “space troopers” 50 miles into space, far above hostile radar, before landing in enemy territory./ .. Roosevelt Lafontrant, a former marine colonel now employed by the Schafer Corporation, a technology company, said the technology was advancing rapidly.

Defense contractors

In these tough times at least people are still buying missiles
23.10.08. anti-war. Does your portfolio continue to take a hit in this helter skelter market? / Have you thought about boosting it with some nitroglycerin-filled firepower? / Bloomberg is reporting that Raytheon not only turned a profit but beat analyst estimates. This is great news for the defense industry which only received a nominal increase in new appropriations for FY 2009, $711 billion altogether.

Profits Rise at Defense Firms
24.10.08. wsj. [subscriber content review] Raytheon Co. and L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. reported robust quarterly results, indicating that companies that supply the Pentagon with advanced military and networking technologies, as well as services such as training, continue to thrive despite the broadening economic downturn.

The Opium of the Masses
25.10.08. Max Kantar, uruknet.
This November, Americans face a choice. But the choice not between John McCain or Barak Obama; it is between submitting to the will of the corporate-military establishment or taking a moral stand in boycotting their rigged institutions of fake democracy.

Militarization of the American Homeland: Suppression of "Civil Disturbances" : ACLU Demands Information on U.S. Military Domestic Operations
25.10.08. Tom Burghardt, uruknet. On October 2, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request demanding information from the government on U.S. Northern Command's (NORTHCOM) deployment of the 3rd Infantry Division's 1st Combat Brigade Team (BCT) on U.S. soil for "civil unrest" and "crowd control" duties. Last month, Army Times published a ! piece detailing how the 1st BCT spent "35 of the last 60 months in Iraq." The 1st BCT--also known as the "Raiders"--carried out house-to-house raids and engaged in close-quarters combat in the city of Ramadi to suppress Iraqi resistance to U.S. occupation...

Defense budget cuts won't hurt Sikorsky
26.10.08. connpost.

Jonathan Schell | When the Gloves Come Off
15.10.08. Jonathan Schell, The Nation/truthout. The country's military power is evaporating in failing ground wars in two pulverized, impoverished countries, leaving its recent pretensions to global imperial grandeur in ashes. Its economic power is crumbling daily as its banking system collapses and its instruments of credit seize up in what Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke has told Congress may be a 'heart attack.'"

”Yard Sales”

Maybe U.S. Needs Yard Sale
22.10.08. Eric Margolis, Toronto Sun / ICH. [My “comment” on this article:
“Ref: "Well if you don't have an enemy, create him." The best item to put in a yard sale would be the Pentagon. Better still, demolish the bloody building. America needs to do away with the manufactured "enemy" delusion, which is created by the government / corporate world so they can make $s billions and/or trillions profit.”]

The Trillion Dollar Tag Sale
Nick Turse, Tom Dispatch. … Today, the Pentagon acknowledges 761 active military "sites" in foreign countries -- and that's without bases in Iraq, Afghanistan, and certain other countries even being counted. This "empire of bases," as Chalmers Johnson has noted, "began as the leftover residue of World War II," later evolving into a Cold War and post-Cold War garrisoning of the planet. / Since 2001, the Bush administration's Global War on Terror (including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq) has cost taxpayers more than the recent bailout -- more than $800 billion and still climbing by at least $3.5 billion each week. And the full bill has yet to come due. According to Noble Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard University professor Linda Bilmes, the total costs of those two wars could top out between $3 trillion and $7 trillion. / While squandering money, the Global War on Terror has also acted as a production line for the creation of yet more military bases in the oil heartlands of the planet. Just how many is unknown -- the Pentagon keeps exact figures under wraps -- but, in 2005, according to the Washington Post, there were 106 American bases, from macro to micro, in Iraq alone. / If the Pentagon sold off just the buildings and structures on its officially acknowledged overseas bases at their current estimated replacement value, the country would stand to gain more than $119 billion. Think of this as but a down payment on a full-scale Pentagon bailout package. / In addition, while it leases the property on which most of its bases abroad are built, the Pentagon does own some lucrative lands that could be sold off. For instance, it is the proud owner of more than 11,000 acres in Abu Dhabi, "the richest and most powerful of the seven kingdoms of the United Arab Emirates." With land values there averaging $1,100 per square meter last year, this property alone is worth an estimated $48.9 million. Add in the structures there and you're talking almost $80 million. The Pentagon also owns several thousand acres spread across Oman, Japan, South Korea, Germany, and Belgium. Selling off these lands as well would net a sizeable sum. [More. Excellent. ] … Capping, if not decreasing, the size of the military and bringing troops home would be the foundation for a new foreign policy based on non-aggression and fiscal responsibility.

[See U.S. Martial Law Timeline (updated) here for the ENORMOUS amount of taxpayers money spent on Homeland Security for "protection" in the so-called "War on Terror".]


Northrop, Raytheon given Pentagon contracts for Southern Arizona operations
19.09.08. bizjournals. Arizona operations of Raytheon Co. and Northrop Grumman were awarded $237.4 million in Pentagon contracts Friday… / Northrop's operations in Sierra Vista are getting a $16.9 million U.S. Army contract related to unmanned aerial vehicles. UAVs, or drones, are used by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan [and Pakistan ]

Force Protection gets $42M contract expansion
24.09.08. Forbes.

GE gets $15M engine contract by Defense Department
24.09.08. forbes.

iRobot wins $8.5M U.S. Army contract
25.09.08. bizjournals.

ICx Gets $12 Million Follow-On Cerberus Contract for U.S. Army Under BETSS-C
28.09.08. trading markets. ICx will send additional Cerberus mobile surveillance towers for use at bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. ICx had been previously awarded an order for $14 million under this program.

Senate passes Bailout.

Italy to supply 18 planes to Afghanistan
01.10.09. [Alenia Aeronautica, a subsidiary of Finmeccanica] has won a 287 million dollar contract to supply 18 transport planes to the Afghan armed forces through the US air force, the Italian group Finmeccanica said Tuesday.

NATO Consortium Completes Agreement to Acquire Boeing C-17s
01.10.08. marketwatch.

Weston company gets $10M military contract
06.10.08. bizjournals. For “24-passenger armored buses for U.S. military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Ceradyne Gets $2.4B Army Order
06.10.08. ocbj. The company is coming off peak demand for its body armor in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. See also: Army to field improved body armor plate (15.10.08. Matthew Cox, Army Times). The Army has tapped BAE Systems Aerospace & Defense Group Inc., Ceradyne Inc. and The Protective Group to produce X Small Arms Protective Inserts as part of three Oct. 3 contract awards worth more than $6 billion.

Northrop Grumman's Orlando unit wins $128M Army deal
06.10.08. Richard Burnett, orlando sentinel. The laser designator/rangefinders are critical to the Army's operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, officials said.

U.S. Army Awards Advanced Blast Protection $10 Million Contract to Produce Armored Buses
06.10.08. marketwatch. three-year Firm Fixed Price Requirements Contract from the U.S. Army to produce 24-passenger armored buses for U.S. military forces supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan). .. The base contract … is valued in excess of $10 million.

Surge in SA's army sales to US
07.10.08. South Africa sold 427 armoured combat vehicles to the United States army last year, presumably for use in US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. [? Cost?]

Goodrich lands Army contract
07.10.08. bizjournals. The five-year contract has a potential value of up to $300 million.

General Dynamics unit gets $33M Army contract
09.10.08. Forbes. The U.S. Army Sustainment Command in Rock Island, Ill., gave the company 's ordnance and tactical systems unit the contract with up to four option years. If all options are exercised the contract value would exceed $500 million. / [the ammunition] is being used extensively in Afghanistan and Iraq, the company said.

Navistar Expands Military Applications by Leveraging Commercial Vehicle Platforms
09.10.08. marketwatch. Contracts totaling $60.4 million to produce buses and trucks for Iraq and Afghanistan; $35.8 million for MaxxPro(TM) MRAP

Pierce lands $10.7M Army contract
09.10.08. post crescent. The order from the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive Command will support military personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq security forces.

DataPath lands $3.7M contract for military satellite communications
09.10.08. local techwire. DataPath will provide personnel to maintain and operate the systems as part of U.S. Central Command operations in Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar and Afghanistan.

General Dynamics gets $33M to make ammunition
09.10.08. bizjournals.

Pentagon cancels Textron's helicopter program
16.10.08. business week.

Raytheon gets contract to improve artillery round
20.10.08. AP. The U.S. Army awarded Raytheon Co. a $12 million contract for work on a one-pound precision-guided artillery round known as Excalibur, the military contractor said Monday.

AAI Receives Contract For Additional Shadow TUAS
21.10.08. defense technology news. AAI has announced that it has received a contract totaling $242.1 million for 17 additional Shadow Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems (TUAS). Thirteen systems will be delivered to the U.S. Army and four to the U.S. Marine Corps. / Deliveries on this award are expected to begin in December 2009 and end in November 2010. Up to two systems are planned to be delivered per month. … / This contract comes as Shadow TUAS achieved 350,000 total flight hours. The vast majority of the systems' flight hours have been in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Flight Landata Wins U.S. Army Contract Extension for Aerial Imaging in Afghanistan

Military to spend $100 million to detect roadside bombs
22.10.08. your defence news. The Canadian military will spend $100 million on surveillance balloons and towers equipped with high-tech sensors, as well as other related equipment, as it tries to deal with the ongoing threat of roadside bombs in Afghanistan.

KBR gets military projects worth $197 million
24.10.08. Forbes / legitgov. [In Iraq].

ITT receives $206M vehicle systems contract
27.10.08. Forbes. Shares of ITT fell 9 cents to $37.37. Earlier in the session, the stock hit a five-year low of $35.81, and is down 43 percent for the year.


U.S. approves "sale" to Israel of 25 F-35 fighter jets
01.10. 08. The Israeli embassy in Washington bent over backwards to have the deal approved by the current Congress, and a critical development in the legislation was achieved this weekend. VIDEO. Meanwhile, the deepest cause of world concern,
land grab of Palestinian territory by Israel, continues.

IAI's Heron UAV Hunkers Over To Canadian Forces In Afghanistan
17.10.08. sat news/cgi. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has delivered the first Heron UAV system to the Canadian Air Force. IAI and MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) as prime contractor were recently awarded a contract to deliver IAI’s Heron UAV through MDA to Canadian forces deployed in Afghanistan

Articles ABOUT Contracts

Canadian military supplier's website contained anti-Muslim comments
21.09.08. canadianpress. A company [Gear Up Motors] that supplies knives, flashlights and other equipment to the Canadian armed forces referred to Muslims as "rag-headed, heathen bastards" on its website as recently as Sunday when the federal government complained.

Defense contracts net $7.2 million for Central Texas projects, studies
12.10.08. waco trib.

Firm likely out of Army deal
30.09.08. az central. Chandler's ArmorWorks LLC has likely been cut out of a billion-dollar U.S. Army contract to build advanced body armor for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ex-CIA Official Pleads Guilty to Fraud
30.09.08. Jerry Markon, Washington Post. … Foggo, 53, admitted that he conspired to defraud the government through his relationship with Brent R. Wilkes, a California businessman and close friend./ .. court documents say, Foggo helped Wilkes get lucrative contracts, including one in which the CIA paid 60 percent more than it should have for water a Wilkes-affiliated company supplied to CIA outposts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

As Profits Soar, Boeing Demands Concessions, Driving Machinists on Strike
01.10.08. Tiffany Ten Eyck, Labor Notes/ truthout. "Aircraft maker Boeing has been groaning under a $275 million backlog of orders for new airplanes that waste less fuel. The company booked a $4.1 billion profit last year, and its principal union, the Machinists (IAM), says Boeing's profits have soared by 828 percent in recent years. But all that cash didn't stop the company from demanding concessions from 27,000 employees. IAM members called the company's bluff and struck, after rejecting a final offer on September 4 with an 80 percent vote."

Va. gets lots of federal dollars
02.10.08. In 2007, Virginia topped the nation in the amount of federal government money received per capita with $14,277. Next were Alaska with $13,721 and Maryland with $12,569. Nevada had the least with $6,032.

College Campuses Now a Hotbed for Developing Frightening New Weapons
02.10.08. Bryan Farrell, Voices of Central Pennsylvania/alternet. Military culture is taking hold of universities, which defense researchers are using to develop weapons like puke rays and acoustic bazookas.

Congress hides $3.5B in earmarks
14.10.08. Seattle times. A year ago, Congress passed new ethics rules requiring lawmakers, for the first time, to disclose their earmarks - federal dollars they were quietly doling out as favors. But time after time, Congress exploited loopholes or violated those rules, a Seattle Times investigation has found. An in-depth examination of the 2008 defense bill found $8.5 billion in earmarks. Of those, 40 percent - $3.5 billion - were hidden.

"IG: Army is lax in overseeing issuance of contractor ID cards"
16.10.08. Bob Brewin, Government Executive, NextGov,

Defense contractors may see leaner times
16.10.08. LA Times. A new administration and broad economic pressures are expected to mean cutbacks in federal spending. [ NB: Don’t count on it]

Boeing to Supply Security Systems for Minuteman III Launch Facilitie
20.10.08. webwire / legitgov. Boeing will perform the production work under a $10 million subcontract to Northrop Grumman Mission Systems. The 42-month firm-fixed-price and award-fee contract has a maximum value of approximately $27 million, when all priced options are included

Helicopter Pact Latest to Hit Snag
23.10.08. by August Cole, wsj. Air Force Delays $15 Billion [Boeing] Contract [CSAR-X], Another Big Decision Left to Next Administration. The Air Force has postponed awarding a [Lockheed] disputed $15 billion contract for search-and-rescue helicopters

Packs of robots will hunt down uncooperative humans
22.10.08. Paul Marks, new scientist / legitgov. The latest request from the Pentagon jars the senses. At least, it did mine. They are looking for contractors to provide a "Multi-Robot Pursuit System" that will let packs of robots "search for and detect a non-cooperative human"... Given that iRobot last year struck a deal with Taser International to mount stun weapons on its military robots, how long before we see packs of droids hunting down pesky demonstrators with paralysing weapons? Or could the packs even be lethally armed?... Steve Wright of Leeds Metropolitan University is an expert on police and military technologies, and last year correctly predicted this pack-hunting mode of operation would happen.

Bully Boys and Their Toys

U.S. Penalizes Companies for Selling Arms Technology
24.10.08. NY Times. The State Department in the Federal Register said 13 “foreign persons” — from Russia, China and Venezuela, among other countries — violated the Iran, North Korea and Syria Nonproliferation Act. / The sanctions went into effect in August but were published in the register only on Thursday, State Department officials said. The measure bans American government sales of high technology munitions equipment to a number of entities, including Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, North Korea’s Korea Mining Development Corp., Russia’s Rosoboronexport and Sudan Master Technology. / Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, reacted sharply to the notice in the Federal Register, accusing the Bush administration of breaking international law.


Dogs of War: WPPS World
19.09.08. D. Isenber, metimes. The Worldwide Personal Protective Services contract, or WPPS, is the way the State Department hires private security firms to protect its personnel.

House approves $612B defense bill with military pay raise
25.09.08. hamptonroads / ICH. Facing a veto threat, lawmakers backed away from provisions that would have limited the use of private security contractors in war zones. [includes contract details]

Contractors Expand As Conscription Fades
26.09.08. strategy page. The use of civilian contractors to support combat troops is becoming increasingly popular. Current forecasts see a market $400 billion market for these services over the next ten years. It was not just the U.S. that was using contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, but many other nations around the world have been doing the same thing. It's particularly popular in Europe, but even Russia and China are picking up on this.

U.S. Policy Is Fuzzy On Arms Purchases From Former Warsaw Pact Nations
29.09.08. Walter Pincus, Washington Post / Team Infidel. What is the U.S. policy about supplying weapons to Afghanistan that come from Russia and former Warsaw Pact countries? Can the U.S. military deal directly with foreign countries that have these weapons and the ammunition that goes with them? Or must they go through private contractors, who act as middlemen and profit from such transactions?

U.S. Treasury to Hire Up to 10 Asset Management Firms (Update1)
03.10.08. Rebecca Christie and Robert Schmidt, Bloomberg. The U.S. plans to hire five to 10 asset-management firms as Secretary Henry Paulson establishes the government's new office for handling the financial bailout, a Treasury official said. / The department will also add about two dozen new employees, a mix of bankers, lawyers, accountants and others, the official said today on condition of anonymity. The Treasury's first attempt to hold an auction to buy troubled assets from financial firms will take at least four weeks to set up, said the official.

Fraud charges laid against USAID subcontractor in Afghanistan
05.10.08. Jurist. US Department of Justice officials announced Friday that a private security company contracted by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and four of its executives and employees have been charged with conspiracy, major fraud and wire fraud in connection with alleged efforts to interfere with US military and reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. Delmar Dwayne Spier, Barbara Edens Spier, William Felix Dupre, and Behzad Mehr all worked for United States Protection and Investigation (USPI) based in Houston.

Gov't probes US defense contractor over payments
10.10.08. AP. Army criminal investigators are examining whether Combat Support Associates , a defense contractor that has earned more than $2 billion so far supporting U.S. troops in Iraq, overcharged the government. The company said it is cooperating in the case. The investigation is among 168 by the Army Criminal Investigation Command related to contract fraud in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan since 2005.

Impact on Human Rights of Private Military and Security Companies’ Activities
11.10.08. José L. Gómez del Prado. In Afghanistan it is estimated that there are some 60 PMSC employing between 18 000 and 28 000 employees.

Afghans Trained by Blackwater Defect to Taliban
15.10.08. Jamal Dajani, Huff Post.

Afghan Subcontractor Accuses DynCorp of Fraud
Wash Post (subscription only) ... states that after being awarded a contract worth $50 million from the US Army Corps of Engineers in 2007 to build a military base for Afghan troops …

Private Military Contractors Writing the News? The Pentagon's Propaganda at Its Worst
17.10.08. Liliana Segura, AlterNet. … / Regardless of what you call it, the so-called "War on Terror" has cost American taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in propaganda costs alone. As with so much of modern war-making, most of this work is carried out by private military contractors. With the word "Halliburton" now shorthand for waste, fraud and abuse for many Americans, taxpayers' tolerance for war profiteering has reached new lows -- especially when private military companies operating with no oversight undermine the very "hearts and minds" that mission propaganda is supposedly meant to advance.


Revised Pentagon directive requires monitoring of non-DOD interrogations
17.10.08. Jurist. … / Several former detainees at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison have sued US military contractors alleging that they were tortured in violation of US and international law. This month, lawyers for one contractor, CACI International, moved to dismiss a lawsuit on grounds of immunity. CACI's lawyers argued that the company is protected by derivative absolute immunity because its work was ordered by the government. That lawsuit, filed in July, followed a similar action brought by another ex-detainee in May. Last year, a US district judge refused to dismiss a class action lawsuit against CACI alleging that the contractor was responsible for the torture of more than 250 former detainees held in Iraqi prisons. The Washington Post reported this week that two classified memos sent from the White House to the CIA in 2003 and 2004 sanctioned the use of certain harsh interrogation techniques. US Justice Department (DOJ) memos released in July suggested that certain "enhanced" interrogation techniques are lawful and that those who employ them in good faith lack the specific intent required to be charged with torture. See Security Companies in Afghanistan

Immunity In Iraq

US military contractor claims immunity in seeking Abu Ghraib lawsuit dismissal
03.10.08. Jurist. Lawyers for private US military contractor CACI filed a motion Thursday to dismiss a torture lawsuit against the company based on a claim of immunity. In July, four former detainees at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison filed lawsuits against CACI and L-3 Communications which performed interrogation and interpretation work for the US military, alleging that they violated the Geneva Convention, the Army Field Manual and US law by torturing and conspiring to torture the detainees. They further alleged that CACI and L-3 negligently failed to prevent the torture. In a motion to stay discovery filed last week in US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia [official website], CACI's lawyers argued that the company is protected by derivative absolute immunity For CACI and other contractors in Afghanistan, see here.


NATO troops kill a civilian in Afghanistan
19.09.08. The civilian victim was riding in a truck that was heading directly for a NATO patrol in Kandahar province Thursday, the military alliance said in a statement.

Nato must share cost of raising Afghan army: Gates
20.09.08. int’news.

U.S. blocks NATO’s activities - Russian envoy
24.09.08. Russia today/legitgov. Russia regrets that a session of the Russia-NATO council scheduled for Wednesday was cancelled by a U.S. initiative. The country's envoy to the alliance, Dmitry Rogozin, accused the U.S. of foisting its views on other NATO members.

NATO Hopes to Undercut Taliban With 'Surge' of Projects
27.09.08. Pamela Constable, Washington Post. NATO alliance troops facing ever more aggressive Taliban insurgents are planning a winter "development surge" of civil works projects in eastern Afghanistan designed to win over tribes in regions near the Pakistan border and to prevent their sons from joining the Taliban's ranks, according to military officials here.

Will NATO's Expansion Bubble Burst?
28.09.08. Sara Flounders, U.S. imperialism's every effort to assert itself and reverse its declining global domination confirms its weakened position. Washington increasingly looks to threats of sanctions and/or military attack to resolve its every problem and challenge. But the Bush administration finds it more difficult to line up its imperialist allies for each new aggression. Even some U.S. puppet and client states now try to distance themselves from U.S. initiatives.

General David Petraeus applies pressure for more Nato troops in Afghanistan
29.09.08. Telegraph. The American military commander Gen David Petraeus stepped up the pressure for extra troops to fight in Afghanistan after British commanders ruled out reinforcements.

Bush to meet commander of NATO Afghan force
01.10.08. AFP. US President George W. Bush will meet on Wednesday the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, General David McKiernan, with 2008 already the bloodiest year for international troops in the war-torn country since the 2001 invasion. / The meeting, set for 2:25 pm (1825 GMT), comes two days after incoming US regional commander General David Petraeus warned that parts of Afghanistan were in a "spiral downward."

INTERVIEW-Taliban gets foreign help but won't win-general
16.10.08. wired. U.S. General David McKiernan told Reuters that non-native militants were posing an increasing threat in Afghanistan by bringing in techniques developed elsewhere and by providing training and help in combat.

NATO considers Afghanistan reinforcements despite financial crisis
09.10.08. South Asia News. NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer on Thursday said the global financial crisis should not stand in the way of desired increases in military spending by the alliance's member states.

NATO troops to retreat if Afghan civilians at risk
14.10.08. Hamid Shalizi, Reuters. NATO has ordered its troops in Afghanistan to pull back from firefights with the Taliban rather than call in air strikes that might kill civilians, Afghan and NATO officials said on Tuesday.

NATO Modifies Airstrike Policy In Afghanistan
16.10.08. Washington Post / anti-war. In a bow to public outrage over a recent spate of U.S.-led airstrikes in Afghanistan that resulted in more than 100 civilian deaths, NATO officials have ordered commanders to try to lessen their reliance on air power in battles with insurgents, NATO and Afghan officials said Wednesday. / "We'll do anything we can to prevent unnecessary casualties, and we'll ensure that we'll have safe use of force. That includes not only airstrikes but ground operations," Blanchette said.

Pakistan, Afghan, US top commanders meet
16.10.08. the Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, his Afghan counterpart General Bismullah Khan and the commander of Afghanistan’s Nato force, General David McKiernan, attended the talks.

Recent NATO commander tells what it's really like in Afghanistan
16.10.08. McClatchy. Though under-staffed, multi-national forces are making progress [sic] in Afghanistan, the former commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan [war criminal Gen. Dan K. McNeill] told the Beaufort Rotary Club during a luncheon Wednesday.

NATO PESSIMISM : The West Is at a Loss in Afghanistan
17.10.08. Susanne Koelbl, Spiegel, uruknet.
More and more military and civilian leaders are voicing pessimism when it comes to the NATO mission in Afghanistan. As the fight continues, ideas for how to break through the ongoing stalemate are few. Some are beginning to think that victory -- for either side -- is impossible. It is one of the last mild summer evenings in Kabul. A group of Western diplomats and military officials is meeting for a private dinner in one of the embassies in Wazir Akbar Khan, an upscale residential neighborhood. Almost all of the 12 envoys and generals represent countries that have troops stationed in southern Afghanistan and the mood is somber. "Nothing is moving forward anymore, and yet we are no longer able to extricate ourselves," one of the ambassadors says over dessert, a light apple pastry. He gives voice to that which many here are already thinking: "We are trapped."...

NATO's political will "wavering" in Afghanistan
20.10.08. Reuters. NATO members are wavering in their political commitment to Afghanistan, [General Craddock] said on Monday, describing the nearly seven-year-old campaign against the Taliban as disjointed. / Pointing to more than 70 "caveats" that give individual countries a veto over certain operations, and the fact that troop commitments remain unfulfilled, General John Craddock said he was fearful the operation was being short-changed.

Logistics support policy to NATO should be reviewed: Q-League
21.10.08. the news,pk / anti-war. Pakistan Muslim League-Qaid-e-Azam (PML-Q) has asked the government to review its policy of providing logistics support to Nato troops stationed in Afghanistan. / While giving its recommendations in Parliamentary Committee meeting here on Tuesday, PML-Q parliamentarians demanded that government should hold dialogue with all tribal leaders, compensate all military personnel and civilians who embraced Martyrdom in operation against terrorism and set up a permanent parliamentary committee. / It said that proposed parliamentary committee would review Pakistan’s policy against war on terrorism and submit its recommendations to the Parliament.

NATO supports Afghanistan-Taliban talks
23.10.08. hindustan times. Stressing that military means alone cannot bring peace in war ravaged Afghanistan, NATO has said it was not opposed to talks between the government and Taliban leaders willing to lay down their arms, reports EuAsiaNews.

Nato officers rent villa owned by Naples Mafia boss Antonio Iovine
27.10.08. Times Online/anti-war. American Nato officers have been renting a villa near Naples for years that belongs, indirectly, to Antonio Iovine, a clan chieftain of the Camorra, the Neapolitan Mafia. Mr Iovine, 44, nicknamed “o’ninno” — the baby — because of his small stature, is wanted for murder and other crimes, and is listed among the 30 most dangerous criminals in Italy. He has been on the run for 12 years. / According to an investigation that was published in Corriere della Sera yesterday the villa of Mr Iovine may be only the tip of an iceberg. Italian police sources suggested that there were scores of similar cases in the Naples area of Nato service personnel living in houses that were owned by the Camorra. There are several Nato facilities in the area, notably a US telecommunications centre in Bagnoli and the US Air Force base at Capodichino.

On the Ground In Afghanistan
27.10.08. Gayle Tzemach, Huff Post. Violence is swelling nationwide while NATO countries squabble over who will send how many troops when. Not even Kabulis hardened by three decades of war know what will come next, but signs point in the familiar directions of violence, upheaval and instability. Attracting foreign dollars to build a bright future for the country is far harder than it was three years ago; foreign investment has plunged 50 percent in 2008. Rising kidnapping threats menacing the country's business elite will sink this figure even further.

= Propaganda Dept. Action

NATO general: Negative Afghan headlines overblown
27.10.08. Jason Straziuso, AP. NATO's top commander in Afghanistan is tired of negative headlines, and he is on an offensive to counter what he sees as a wave of unwarranted pessimism in news reports coming out of the country. / U.S. Gen. David McKiernan's public relations push comes at a time when more U.S. and NATO troops have died than in any other year since the 2001 U.S. invasion, in part because Taliban militants are launching increasingly complex and deadly attacks. / "There's a lot of negative reporting. Somebody likes to report an attack somewhere and that becomes the trend in Afghanistan, or they don't report the positive events or the absolute brutality or the illegitimacy of the Taliban," McKiernan told The Associated Press in an interview Sunday.

NATO’s wavering commitment to Afghanistan
28.10.08. Col Ghulam Sarwar, pak observer. There is a general consensus among the informed circles that NATO members are wavering in their political commitment to Afghanistan. These views were also endorsed by one of the alliance’s top commander who described the nearly seven-year-old campaign against the Taliban, as disjointed. Commenting on the outcome of this campaign General John Craddock was heard saying that he was fearful that the operation was being short-changed. Craddock a United States general and NATO’s Supreme-Allied Commander, Europe, said this in a speech to policy makers and defence analysts in London “It is this wavering political will that impedes operational progress and brings into question the relevance of the alliance here in the 21st century”, he said. In this context, the actual position is that as insecurity increased in Afghanistan. NATO troops had steadily been drown into more deadly operations, and primarily this was the factor that had dissuaded some nations from deeper involvement. Craddock defended the view expressed by Britain’s outgoing commander in Afghanistan, Brig. Mark Carleton Smith …

Nato's Afghan forces 'hit limit'
28.10.08. BBC News - UK. Coalition forces in Afghanistan have "now reached their limit", according to General Sir Michael Rose, former commander of UN forces in Bosnia. He said Nato forces should consider forming local tribal militias to help stabilise the country.

US-NATO and Hungary

NATO countries agree to buy giant transport planes for airlift missions
01.10.08. The 10 NATO members that took part in Wednesday's deal are Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and the United States. Britain and Canada have separately acquired a total of 10 of the planes. The planes will be based at Papa air base in Hungary with multinational crews.

U.S. troops to staff NATO base in Hungary
04.10.08. John Vandiver, Stars and Stripes. The Strategic Airlift Capability Partnership — which involves the joint acquisition of three C-17 Globemasters — will increase NATO’s ability to transport large numbers of troops and supplies to far-flung places, such as Afghanistan. The town of Papa will host the base to be commanded by U.S. Air Force Col. John Zazworsky.

Afghanistan to dominate agenda of NATO defense ministers' meeting
07.10.08. Reuters, china view. NATO defense ministers will meet in the Hungarian capital of Budapest on Thursday and Friday to discuss primarily the NATO-led operations in Afghanistan amid doubts over the alliance's counter-insurgency strategy in the war-torn country.

Hungary suggests NATO set up foundation to finance Afghanistan mission
08.10.08. xinhuanet. Hungary has proposed setting up a common NATO foundation to finance the bloc's mission in Afghanistan, instead of the current mechanism that each participant sponsors their own activities, Istvan Bocskai, spokesman for the Hungarian Defence Ministry said Tuesday. / NATO member states should make "fair contributions" to the foundation [instead of to the US?] in proportion to the size of their armies, the spokesman stressed, adding that the proposal would be presented at NATO's summit in Budapest slated for Oct. proportion to the size of their armies, the spokesman stressed, adding that the proposal would be presented at NATO's summit in Budapest slated for Oct. 9-10.

A fatal flaw in Afghan peace process
08.10.08. M K Bhadrakumar, asia times. … / Paradoxically, Washington will be relieved if Russia-NATO cooperation over Afghanistan altogether ceases. There is simply no other way that NATO can cast Russia as an adversary. But Russia is not obliging. Russian officials have recently alleged that Washington has prevailed on Karzai to freeze all cooperation with the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) on the vital front of combating drug trafficking. But Russia has failed to react and instead has began fortifying its own mechanism within the framework of CSTO (and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization) to counter drug-trafficking. / The main challenge for NATO is that its dependence on Moscow for logistical support in the Afghan war cannot be terminated as long as there is uncertainty about the supply routes via Pakistan. Here the Saudis can be of help. Their involvement in the Afghan peace process will discourage the Taliban from seriously disrupting the supply routes through Pakistan.

US-NATO and Iran

Iran: Intruding jet belonged to NATO
08.10.08. presstv/ir / ICH. A Falcon jet that violated Iranian airspace and was forced to land in the Islamic Republic belongs to the NATO forces, a report says.

and Japan

U.S. urges allies to fight in Afghanistan or write cheque
06.10.08. Reuters. The United States has asked Japan and NATO allies who have refused to send troops to Afghanistan to pay the estimated $17 billion (9.7 billion pounds) needed to build up the Afghan army, according to U.S. defence officials.

U.S. wants Japan to send SDF copters to Afghanistan
20.10.08. Yomiuri Shimbun

Japan to Extend Naval Mission to Afghanistan
21.10.08. anti-war. Japan’s lower house of parliament approved a bill today to extend its naval refueling mission to landlocked Afghanistan. The bill will allow Japanese ships to continue refueling warships in the Indian Ocean past January 15. / .. The United States has regularly pressured Japan to continue providing support for its seven year long war in Afghanistan. Last year they cautioned that they would be “very, very concerned” if Japan declined to continue its mission.

Report: US-NATO Enlargement

"NATO Enlargement: Albania, Croatia, and Possible Future Candidates,"

Don't Expand NATO
Benjamin H. Friedman and Justin Logan , World Politics Review/cato/anti-war. At the upcoming North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit in December, U.S. officials will once again make the case for admitting Georgia and Ukraine to the alliance. Our NATO allies, with Germany and France leading the way, already blocked the two countries' path to membership last spring, a move that in retrospect might have prevented August's dustup between Russia and Georgia from escalating into a nuclear standoff. Rather than being grateful to them, U.S. leaders are instead doubling down on folly. / .. [The US foreign policy] narrative is devoid of strategic logic.

13. US-NATO Coalition


Fitzgibbon meets NATO delegation
24.09.08. A visiting NATO delegation has been told Australia expects the alliance nations to contribute more troops to Afghanistan and impose fewer restrictions on their deployment.

Government losing support for Afghanistan campaign
29.09.08. ABC. Australian support for a continued military presence in Afghanistan has significantly dwindled in the latest wide-reaching poll conducted by the international policy think tank, the Lowy Institute.

Dog Pens (cont. from previous Index Afghanistan)

Australian defense minister ignores alleged abuse
30.09.08. final call. Following a firefight to “clear” a compound in Oruzgan province on April 29, four men—suspected Taliban fighters—were taken prisoner and “held in walled pens during the night and guarded by (force element) soldiers” at a forward operating base, according to the ADF’s inquiry officer, Col. D.K. Connery.

More Australians Want to Leave Afghanistan
03.10.08. Angus reid poll

Death of a warrior blow to Australian Afghan war strategy
06.10.08. the When the shooting stopped, three men lay dead — and Australia's strategy in Afghanistan was left with a gaping wound.

Financial crisis distracting US from Afghanistan: Fitzgibbon
06.10.08. ABC. The Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon has raised concerns that the economic meltdown in the United States will inhibit the number of troops the country sends to Afghanistan. / Mr Fitzgibbon will use next month's NATO meeting in Canada to lobby for a greater troop commitment.

Fitzgibbon echoes frustrations over Afghanistan war
08.10.08. Brendan Nicholson, the age. He said the British officer was right to be frustrated because there had been little progress in NATO's plan to co-ordinate military and civil goals and actions in Afghanistan. "Unless we properly resource those three branches and properly co-ordinate them, progress is going to be frustratingly slow," he said. / At the [NATO April] summit there was an implied commitment from many of those present to increase their troop numbers in Afghanistan. "But we've seen virtually none of that," he said.

Government considers paying family of dead Afghan governor
09.10.08. The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has yet to officially acknowledge that Chora district governor and tribal leader Rozi Khan died from shots fired by Australian soldiers. / But defence head Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston said this week it certainly looked that way. / Lt Gen Hurley declined to disclose the size of the potential payment.


Military to dump $250M drones
02.09.08. The Canadian military will shut down its fleet of aerial drones now being used in Afghanistan after spending more than $250 million on the aircraft.

Canada’s $22-billion non-issue
19.09.08. C. Lambie, chronicle herald. Why isn’t the Afghan mission higher on our election radar? … The total adds up to more than $22 billion when these items are included: $2 billion for mission-specific equipment, including Chinook helicopters, Leopard tanks, howitzers and aerial drones; another $2 billion to replace the army fleet of light armoured vehicles; and $405 million for repair and overhaul costs.

US deserter in Canada wins stay of deportation
22.09.08. AP. Then ordered to leave (13.10.08, Chron com)

NATO can't be in Afghanistan forever: Canada's PM
02.10.08. Reuters. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has committed to pulling out Canadian troops from Afghanistan in 2011, said on Thursday some other Western leaders wrongly believed NATO forces could stay there forever.

Canada watch group brings suit to challenge early election
03.10.08. Jurist. Canadian government accountability group Democracy Watch brought a lawsuit on Thursday, seeking to postpone the country's parliamentary elections scheduled for October 14. The group argues that the elections, proposed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper would violate a 2007 amendment to the Canada Elections Act. Under the amendment, the next election would be held in October 2009. The group argues that only a vote of no-confidence by Parliament can legitimately bring an early election, and that allowing the prime minister to schedule elections goes against the intent of the amendment. The group also argues that giving the prime minister such control would allow the ruling party to schedule elections during periods of popular support, and to prepare for elections before they are announced.

Canada will be Lost if you Vote for the Tories: Prime Minister Harper officially endorses North American Union
04.10.08. Paul Chen, Mr. Harper has been apparently directed by the principal funders of the Conservative Party of Canada, which are ideologically linked to the CFR, to assimilate Canada into a new "Fortress North America" which is controlled by the U.S. political-military-industrial complex by no later than 2010.

War effort thrust into Canada's election
06.10.08. globe and mail. Brig. Carleton-Smith's controversial comments [see below] thrust Canada's combat mission into the election campaign yesterday./ Liberal candidate Bob Rae told CTV's Question Period that the Conservative Party needs to be more candid and accountable to Canadians about its assessment on the ground. / "We've been saying it for some time that this exclusively military focus in Afghanistan is not the right one, that there has to be an effort at finding a broader political and diplomatic solution, that efforts have to be made with Pakistan, that efforts have to be made across the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan," Mr. Rae said. / NDP Leader Jack Layton said the British commander's views validate his party's position on the conflict.

Harper says talks with Taliban up to Afghanistan
06.10.08. CTV. "President (Hamid) Karzai has always been open to talking to the Taliban at various levels, provided these people are willing to participate in the democratic and constitutional process," he said Monday while campaigning for the Oct. 14 federal election.

Ending Afghan insurgency not realistic: Harper
06.10.08. Afghanistan will never be completely free of an insurgency, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Monday, echoing the top British commander who said Sunday western forces could not defeat the Taliban.
Foreign troops cannot bring peace to Afghanistan: Canadian PM
08.10.08. AFP. "I don't believe -- and I've said many times I don't believe -- that we can pacify every corner of Afghanistan as foreign troops," said Harper in an interview with CBC television.

Soldier says it's time to end Afghanistan war
08.10.08. Letter to the Editor from Corporal Paul Demetrick, Canadian Army (Reserve), Penticton, B.C.
I love my country just like anybody else. But when I hear of things our troops have done in Afghanistan, I have to ask, "What kind of legacy do we wish to leave behind?" Some examples: we respond to hostile fire by indiscriminate bombing and shelling of villages, killing innocent men, women and children; we fire white phosphorus shells (a chemical weapon outlawed by the Geneva Conventions due to the horrific way it burns human beings) into vineyards where it was known Afghan insurgents were deployed; we hand over prisoners of war to Afghan authorities, who torture them; and we shoot and kill a 2-year-old Afghan boy and his 4-year-old sister. Do we want to be remembered for hating, killing and destroying, or caring, healing and helping with reconstruction?

The war in Afghanistan is a lie. How can we inspire the Afghan people to respect liberty, democracy, equality for women, education for children, human rights and respect for life when we are maiming and murdering them and destroying their homes, communities, the economy and their country? …

Canada's Afghanistan mission tally 10.5 billion dollars so far
09.10.08. AFP.

The Last Bastion Of Acceptable Prejudice
10.10.08. Bahija Réghaï, countercurrents. The elections on both sides of the Canada-US border have revealed that prejudices against Arabs and Muslims are the last bastion of acceptable prejudice in North America

War costs illuminate debate on Afghanistan
10.10.08. How do you do the accounting for a war? Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page wrestled with that problem, and has come up with a figure of $10.5 billion over the seven years that Canada has been involved in Afghanistan. / Further, he said in a report made public yesterday, by the time Canadian troops leave that country in 2011, the total could be as high as $18 billion. / .. [Page] said he can't be precise. If equipment is purchased early for Afghanistan, but will one day come home, for example, then what proportion of its cost should be billed to the mission?

Afghanistan - Afghan war may cost Canada $15.7 billion
10.10.08. global news blog.

Harper wins re-election in Canada
15.10.08. ukpress.

Four-legged heroes saving lives in Afghanistan
15.10.08. Though two of the animals have made the supreme sacrifice themselves after accidentally triggering bombs, they are generally looked after very well.

IAI's Heron UAV Hunkers Over To Canadian Forces In Afghanistan
17.10.08. sat news/cgi. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has delivered the first Heron UAV system to the Canadian Air Force. IAI and MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) as prime contractor were recently awarded a contract to deliver IAI’s Heron UAV through MDA to Canadian forces deployed in Afghanistan.

Protesters want Canadian troops out of Afghanistan
18.10.08. CBC./anti-war. Peace groups organized the protests, to take place in 16 cities Saturday and Sunday.

Blind Spot: Afghanistan in Canada's Federal Election
22.10.08. Neil Kitson, anti-war. Meanwhile, Canada's foreign policy, already a festering mash of incompetence, head-in-the-tar-sands ignorance, and Pollyana-ish magical thinking, has erupted in several thousand Canadian troops being holed up in Kandahar on a mission of completely opaque legality, morality, and practicality. If we "won," what would it look like, and who is "we"?

Rank Afghan injustice
24.10.08. Editorial, the star. Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government is spending $30 million or more in Afghanistan to "protect and promote" human rights and to "strengthen the rule of law" by training judges, prosecutors and public defenders. It is part of our $1.3 billion Afghan aid program. / But Canada's effort to help modernize the legal system has been cast in doubt by the disturbing case of Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh [see Human Rights, below], a 23-year-old journalism student who was condemned to death earlier this year by a court in Mazar-e-Sharif after a five-minute trial.


Czech gov't to send more troops to Afghanistan in 2009
02.10.08. Chinaview.

Politicians debate foreign missions
15.10.08. Ondrej Bouda, Prague Post. At a time when U.S. secret services are warning against the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and the rising influence of the Taliban, the Czech government is struggling to pass a proposal to double the number of soldiers serving in the country. / Currently, there are more than 70,000 soldiers serving in International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and U.S.-led coalition forces in Afghanistan. However, according to mission commanders, at least 10,000 more will be needed if the force is to fight effectively against rising violence by the Taliban. / The Czech government now wants to increase the number of servicemen abroad from 900 to 1,386. Most of the reinforcements would be sent to Afghanistan, where the number of Czech soldiers would rise to 745 if Parliament approves the government plan.


Soldiers retreat from Taleban stronghold
21.10.08. / ICH. The lack of Afghan soldiers forces Danish troops to pull back from Taleban areas. The government-backed Afghan National Army (ANA) is lacking so many troops in the Taleban stronghold of Helmand province that both the ANA and the international forces have retreated and focused their efforts on the large cities in the area.


Afghanistan: cette guerre n'est pas la nôtre

US general praises French 'leadership'
26.09.08. AFP. General David Petraeus, who will take charge of US forces in southwest Asia and the Middle East next month, also said he was aware of the concerns among the European public about the ongoing bloodshed in Afghanistan. / "Obviously, public opinion, it's very important to maintain it," the former head of coalition forces in Iraq told reporters at the US embassy in Paris, during a two day visit for talks with French military officials.

French troops 'ran out of ammunition' in Afghanistan

21.09.08. Telegraph. Ten French soldiers killed by Taliban fighters last month in Afghanistan were woefully ill-equipped, according to a report citing a classified Nato document.

France denies troops ill-equipped in Afghanistan
21.09.08. AP / IHT

France to vote on Afghan troops
22.09.08. BBC. Ten French soldiers were killed near Kabul in August in one of the deadliest attacks on foreign troops. / Reports say a stormy debate is expected but parliament is likely to support maintaining the French presence.

French parliament approves military reinforcement plan in Afghan occupation
-.09.08. RTT. The lower house of the French parliament approved the government's move to reinforce its military presence in Afghanistan, under which, 100 extra troops and helicopters and drones would back up its 2,600-strong force in the terror-stricken country.

France to boost Afghan forces
23.09.08. Prime Minister François Fillon, speaking before the National Assembly voted to keep the country's 2,600 troops in Afghanistan, said the government will add helicopters, drones, artillery and roughly 100 more troops.

French Want Soldiers Out of Afghanistan
25.09.08. Angus Reid poll.

Afghan warlord Hekmatyar claims attack on French troops
30.09.08. AFP. Afghan insurgent leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has claimed responsibility in a video message for an August ambush that killed 10 French soldiers, an Afghan news agency reported Monday, saying it had seen the footage.

Official: French troops wound 4 civilians in Kabul
02.10.08. AP. Kabul's police chief Ayub Salangi said the civilians were inside a minibus which got in between a French military convoy as it was traveling outside the capital on Thursday.

French troops: We won't go to Afghanistan
04.10.08. According to French media, troops in the 27th battalion stationed in a southern France military base said on Friday that they were unwilling to go to Afghanistan as part of France's mission in the central Asian country.

French army chief rules out military victory in Afghanistan
08.10.08. AP. The head of the French military General Jean-Louis Georgelin on Wednesday backed comments by a senior British military officer’s view that the war in Afghanisgan was unwinnable.

France Ready to Be Flexible on EADS's A400M Delay Penalties
15.10.08. Delphine Liou-Brugeilles and Francois de Beaupuy, Bloomberg.

An interview with Nicolas Sarkozy

France to host regional Afghan meeting by year-end
21.10.08. Reuters / anti-war.

French Anti-Tank Missiles Abandoned in Taliban Clash
24.10.08. anti-war. A French unit was surrounded last weekend in Kapisa Province Afghanistan and had to withdraw from the field, leaving behind two anti-tank Milan missiles and a launcher. Journalists say no French soldiers were hurt in the clash, but “all 14 Taliban insurgents were killed.” / French Defense Minister Herve Morin sought to downplay the significance of the loss, saying “the essential thing is that everyone is alive,” and that it would be difficult for anyone to use the captured missiles “without proper training.”


German FM wants special forces out of Afghanistan
04.10.08. AP, IHT. Frank-Walter Steinmeier is quoted by Der Spiegel magazine on Saturday as saying German military commandos stationed in Afghanistan have not participated in a single mission.

Germany not to renew special forces' Afghan mission
06.10.008. wired. Germany will no longer make troops from its elite KSK special forces available to support U.S.-led counterterrorism missions in Afghanistan, the Defence Ministry said on Monday.

German cabinet backs extra troops for Afghanistan
07.10.08. forbes. Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet agreed on Tuesday to extend Germany's participation in a NATO mission in Afghanistan and raise the number of troops it can send there by 1,000, sparking a heated parliamentary debate. [4,500 total]

Think tanks say Germany on verge of recession
14.10.08. DW-World / ICH. A group of leading German economic think tanks say Europe's largest economy is on the brink of a recession.

Germany backs extra troops for Afghanistan
16.10.08. Reuters. Germany's lower house of parliament voted Thursday to increase the number of troops Berlin can send to Afghanistan by 1,000 soldiers.

Opinion: An Unwinnable War in Afghanistan
21.10.08. dw-world.

Military association blames government for dead soldiers
22.10.08. The German military association DBwV has blamed the government for the death of two German soldiers and five children in Afghanistan this week, daily Passauer Neue Presse reported on Wednesday.


Italy to supply 18 planes to Afghanistan

Italian foreign minister rejects call for extra troops


Norwegian foreign minister visits Afghanistan
07.10.08. monsters and critics. Norway has around 500 troops in Afghanistan and is part of NATO-led operations in the country.


MoD accused of covering up injuries to troops
21.09.08. Sean Rayment, Telegraph/uruknet. Soldiers, MPs and lawyers representing injured servicemen and women claim the real cost to those fighting on the front line in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, is being hidden from the public for political reasons.

UK 'has uphill task in Afghanistan'
22.09.08. ukpress.

Call for more Afghan troops
25.09.08. Kim Sengupta, Independent. The commander of British troops in Afghanistan has said troop levels need to be raised by at least 50 per cent to fight a resurgent Taliban in Helmand and an international presence would be required in the country for up to 15 years.

No more British troops to be deployed despite Taleban resurgence
27.09.08. Telegraph.

Too Much of Nothing: Notes From an Imperial Microcosm
27.09.08. Chris Floyd, Britain is a small and withered appendage of the American imperium, but it still serves as a mineshaft canary and microcosm of the fetid atmosphere of the Potomac Empire … / But this global war of the Anglo-American elite against all those who threaten their supremacy -- including the people of their own countries -- rages on little noticed.

Troops in Afghanistan to get 600 new armoured vehicles
29.09.08. Richard Norton-Taylor, Guardian. British troops in Afghanistan will be supplied with 600 new armoured vehicles under a £500m deal agreed between the Ministry of Defence and the Treasury, government sources said yesterday.

Leaked Memo Questions War Strategy in Afghanistan
01.10.08. Charles Bremner and Richard Beeston, The Times UK/truthout. "The official version of the US-led campaign in Afghanistan received a blow today with a leaked report that the British Ambassador in Kabul [Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles] believes that US strategy is wrong and the war is as good as lost. The potentially explosive views* were published by Le Canard Enchaîné, a respected French weekly, which said that they were direct quotations from a diplomatic cable written by François Fitou, the French Deputy Ambassador in Kabul."

The current situation is bad, the security situation is getting worse, so is corruption, and the government has lost all trust....The presence of the coalition, in particular its military presence, is part of the problem, not part of its solution. Foreign forces are the lifeline of a regime that would rapidly collapse without them. As such, they slow down and complicate a possible emergence from the crisis.*

War on Taliban cannot be won, says army chief
05.10.08. Christina Lamb, Sunday Times. Britain's most senior military commander in Afghanistan has warned that the war against the Taliban cannot be won. Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith said the British public should not expect a “decisive military victory” but should be prepared for a possible deal with the Taliban.

Kabul and the coming chaos
02.10.08. Robert Fox, Guardian. The Foreign Office can deny its Afghan ambassador's reported remarks; in reality, it must know the truth of his bleak assessment. / The suggestion that Britain's man in Kabul has warned a fellow ambassador that the current international military campaign against the Taliban is, in the words of the Times, "doomed to failure", should surprise no one. What is news is the way that the Foreign Office has tried to cover the tracks of Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles in a web of obfuscation.

The Wounded Shark: 'Good War' Lost, But the Imperial Project Goes On
05.10.08. Chris Floyd, Empire Burlesque. This week, two top figures in the British effort in Afghanistan -- Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, UK ambassador to Kabul, and Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith, the senior British military commander in Afghanistan -- both said that the war was "unwinnable," and that continuing the current level of military operations there, much less expanding it, was a strategy "doomed to fail." [see above] … / These are indisputable facts that have been glaringly obvious to most sentient observers for many years. Yet the diplomat's acknowledgement of reality has been greeted as a shocking breach of decorum by his fellow professional liars in Anglo-American officialdom. His brief outburst of truth (which, to be fair to the good knight, was meant to be in secret; he didn't mean to tell the public the truth!) was quickly disavowed in Washington and London. Although the cable's authenticity was not in question, the UK Foreign Office said that their ambassador's comments "did not reflect official British policy."

Britons accused over roadside bomb network
05.10.08. timesonline / anti-war. Two Iranian-born British men are accused of being part of a network supplying components for the roadside bombs which are killing coalition soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. / The network, uncovered by American investigators, is alleged to have illegally shipped more than 30,000 electronic components from the United States to Iran via other countries.

Grim reality of life beyond Helmand
05.10.08. C. Lamb, timesonline. British officials are pleased with their reconstruction. Our correspondent finds little for them to crow about

Bloodiest year so far in Afghanistan
06.10.08. Caroline Wyatt, BBC. This year has been the bloodiest year so far in Afghanistan for the Nato and US missions there since the Taleban was removed from government in 2001, with senior defence officials in the UK admitting the Taleban are proving "more resilient" than expected.

Gates Cautions Brits Against “Defeatism” in Afghanistan
06.10.08. anti-war. Speaking in reaction to recent comments from two high profile British officials regarding the situation in Afghanistan, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates cautioned against having a “defeatist” outlook or “underestimating the opportunities to be successful in the long run.”

Rights law 'makes UK forces shun arrests'
08.10.08. Afua Hirsch and Richard Norton-Taylor, Guardian. British forces are avoiding detaining suspected insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq because of fears they will be liable under the European human rights convention, a key Bush administration lawyer told the Guardian yesterday.

Afghan Peace Talks Widen US-UK Rift on War Policy
10.10.08. G.Porter, anti-war. According to a French diplomatic cable that leaked to a French magazine last week, Prime Minister Gordon Brown's government is looking for an exit strategy from Afghanistan rather than an endless war, and it sees a US escalation of the war as an alternative to a political settlement rather than as supporting such an outcome.

Taliban leader killed by SAS was Pakistan officer
12.10.08. C. Lamb, times on line / ICH. British officials covered up evidence that a Taliban commander killed by special forces in Helmand last year was in fact a Pakistani military officer, according to highly placed Afghan officials. [discussion of Karzai fury with Brits]

UK soldier set to face charge over friendly fire
12.10.08. Mark Townsend, Guardian. NCO blamed for giving wrong co-ordinates in Afghan airstrike that killed three British troops

'We need 30,000 more soldiers to beat Taliban,' says general
17.10.08. Kim Sengupta, Independent. Exclusive: General Sir David Richards, who will today be named as the British Army's new head, appeals for a dramatic 'surge' in Afghanistan. General Sir David Richards, who will take over from General Sir Richard Dannatt, is believed to favour sending up to 5,000 more British troops to Afghanistan on top of the 8,000 already in the country. / Ministers have publicly insisted that despite the impending withdrawal of British forces from Iraq, no further troops will be available for the Afghan mission. However, senior military sources have told The Independent that talks have already been held in Whitehall about possible further deployment next year following a request from General David McKiernan, the head of Nato forces in Afghanistan.

Deaths put spotlight on equipment
17.10.08. BBC. The inquest into the death of Corporal Mark Wright in Afghanistan is not the first time defence chiefs have been criticised over the supply of equipment to troops. Capt. James Philippson, L/Sgt. Chris Casey and L/Cpl Kirk Redpath, Redcap deaths, Sgt. Steven Roberts, Pte Jason Smith, L/Cpl Andrew Craw, Fusilier, Gordon Gentle, Pte. Marc Ferns. / The Ministry of Defence says it is now spending £6bn a year on new equipment and that there have been huge improvements in standards and supply.

Soldiers' families furious over £100m perks for top brass
19.10.08. Independent / anti-war. Officers get chauffeurs, chefs and private school fees, while troops die for lack of equipment

Only ‘cretins’ jeer forces, says John Hutton
26.10.08. Times Online. How long will British troops be there? “I think we have to realise we’re in for the long haul,” [Hutton] says, without putting a figure on it. Pushed, he predicts it will be “years” before the Taliban are crushed, and “could well be” decades before our other objectives are achieved.

Survivors of the 'mouth of hell' back with tales of a deadly tour of duty
26.10.08. M. Townsend, Observer. In six months in Helmand, 2 Para suffered the highest death rate of any British unit in Afghanistan.

Vow for better equipment for troops
25.10.08. ITN.

US chiefs plan troop surge in Afghanistan
26.10.08. Michael Smith, Times Online. American military chiefs are to send up to 9,000 troops to Helmand next year, potentially sidelining the UK’s 5,000-strong force in the southern Afghanistan province. {I thought Western leaders had admitted the "war cannot be won militarily"] The move comes amid US frustration that the British have insufficient soldiers and helicopters to maintain security and reconstruct Helmand, with the Taliban acting freely in large tracts of the province. British sources said the revelation that the bulk of the troops were to be sent to Helmand made it doubtful the British could stay in charge. / There are also likely to be differences over tactics. US commanders are more inclined than the British to call in close air support, which heightens the risk of civilian deaths.

14. Dead in Afghanistan


Duty in Afghanistan costs lives of more than 1,000 foreign troops
27.10.08. earthtimes. More than 1,000 foreign soldiers died in Afghanistan since late 2001, the internet site said Monday. According to the organization, which reports on military casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, the 1,000-death threshold was crossed Monday when two US soldiers died in a suicide bombing, bringing the total death toll to 1,002.

icasualties Afghanistan


Dane confirmed dead in Marriott blast
24.09.08. Reuters.


Afghanistan : 10 French military dead; 21 wounded


Afghan battle claims UK soldier
12.09.08. BBC. The number of soldiers killed on operations there since 2001 now stands at 119.

Tucson infantryman killed by bomb in Afghanistan
23.09.08. azcentral / arizonarepublic.

British soldier killed in Afghanistan blast: ministry
16.10.08. AFP. In Helmand. He was the 121st British fatality in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion in 2001, the ministry said.

British aid worker shot dead in Afghan capital
20.10.08. AFP. The interior ministry and police said earlier the woman [Gayle Williams] was a South African working with an NGO called SERVE Afghanistan, and there were some suggestions she had dual nationality.


US military deaths in Afghanistan region at 535
27.09.08. AP.

US Soldier 2008 Body Count in Afghanistan Sets All-Time High
05.10.08. Jake, Nolan chart. A total 609 Americans soldiers have died in Afghanistan, 4,177 in Iraq, and another 444 American contractors, bringing the total to 5,230 Americans dead in the War on Terror. … / All wars since WWII have been undeclared wars, which I write for the umpteenth time is unconstitutional per the Constitution of the United States, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11.

US military deaths in Afghanistan region at 546
21.10.08. AP.

Tucson soldier dead in Afghanistan
22.09.08. fox11az.

Afghan policeman opens fire on US troops, kills 1
29.09.08. AP.

Metro East graduate killed in Afghanistan
02.10.08. Chicago trib.

Soldier from Highland killed by blast in Afghanistan
02.10.08. Bnd/anti-war.

Local G.I. dies in Afghanistan
08.10.08. queens courier / anti-war.

Alaskan killed in Afghanistan vehicle accident

Massachusetts soldier killed in Afghanistan

Beach Park soldier killed in Afghanistan
18.10.08. Chicago tribune.

American Female Teacher Shot Dead In Afghan Capital
20.10.08. bernama. In a similar development, unknown armed men abducted a Canadian female journalist on Oct. 12 in Kabul but police have yet to find any clue about her whereabouts.

NYPD soldier killed serving in Afghanistan
23.10.08. AP.

Names of the US Dead in Afghanistan

Names of the Dead
22.09.08. NY Times. 595 who have died as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom, which is centered in Afghanistan.

Names of the Dead
30.09.08. NY Times. 600 American service members who have died as a part of the Afghan war and related operations.

604 (06.10.08. NY Times)

610(19.10. NYTimes)

612 (22.10.08. NYT )


Houston soldiers' suicides prompt scrutiny
26.09.08. An alarming number of suicides among Houston-based Army recruiters — including two in recent weeks — has prompted calls by a senator and veterans' advocates for closer scrutiny of high-stress recruiting duty during wartime.

NY Guard soldier killed at air base in Afghanistan

Skepticism remains in GI’s death
01.10.08. Mike Underwood, boston herald.

Soldier Suicides
02.10.08. dallas observer. Two Texas brothers fall in the war on terror—one in combat, one by his own hand

Complaint re: Veteran Suicide Cover-Up by Department of Veteran Affairs Mental Health Division
05.10.08. Jake, nolanchart. from Dr. Ira Katz, the Veteran's Affairs Head of Mental Health: "There are about 18 suicides per day among America's 25 million veterans. This follows from CDC findings that 20% of suicides are among veterans. It is supported by the CBS numbers. Veteran Affair's own data demonstrate 4-5 suicides per day among those who receive care from us." / To do the calculation at 18 suicides per day, in the 7-year span of the Global War on Terror approximately 46,000 veterans have committed suicide.

Army's Life-or-Death Drama
08.10.08. Ann Scott Tyson, Washington Post/ anti-war. Alarmed by a record rate of suicide in its ranks, the Army yesterday unveiled a unique prevention tool -- an interactive video ["Beyond the Front"] to be mandatory viewing Army-wide -- in which soldiers will play the role of an anguished infantryman and make virtual choices that lead the character to get help or, in the worst case, shoot himself in the head. / .. The video is one of several initiatives launched by the Army to try to stem the suicide rate among active-duty soldiers. That rate increased from 12.4 per 100,000 in 2003, when the Iraq war started, to 18.1 per 100,000 last year.

Family Blames Soldier's Suicide on Anti-Malaria Drug
12.10.08. Wahington Post.

15. Human Rights (Media, “War on Terror”, War Crimes, Detainees, 9/11, Prisons, Siddiqui, Torture)


"The Department of Defense DNA Registry and the U.S. Government Accounting Mission" by Brion C. Smith, August 2005 (at page 14).Read about it here.


Anthrax Case Reopens: Why Did the FBI Let Fort Detrick Scientists Investigate Themselves?
30.09.08. Bill Simpich, indybay.

Blistering critique of U.S. counterintelligence capabilities
01.10.08. secrecy news. The critique was authored by Michelle Van Cleave, the former National Counterintelligence Executive, in a case study prepared for the Project on National Security Reform. Link to document given.

China decries US 'moral authority'
20.10.08. Tony Cheng, aljazeera. But according to the Chinese government, the American dream is exactly that, a myth perpetrated by the rich to keep millions locked in a cycle of poverty that is virtually impossible to escape. / In a report issued annually by the Chinese State Council, the Chinese government accuses the US government of "widespread human rights abuses on its own territory", and says that US criticism on the human rights records of other countries is simply hypocrisy.


When Judges Make Foreign Policy
25.09.08. NY Times magazine. The Supreme Court is on the verge of several retirements; how the justices will address critical issues of American foreign policy in the future hangs very much in the balance.

Justice Department Scandal Almost Buried by Financial Crisis
10.10.08. Marilou Johanek, The Toledo Blade / truthout. Investigators from both the department's Office of Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility found that political pressure did indeed drive the dismissal action against at least three of the nine federal prosecutors abruptly fired. At the time, then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales insisted the individuals were all dismissed for inadequate performance, or failure to implement the President's law enforcement agenda.

US federal judge seeks definition of 'enemy combatant'
25.10.08. daily star.


Change slow in Afghanistan
22.10.08. Thulasi Srikanthan, The Ottawa Citizen. Corruption is the enemy that is destroying the government of Afghanistan from the inside, says the chairwoman of an independent human rights commission in the country. "There is no clear mechanism to fighting this corruption. We have an anti-corruption commission, but we don't know what it does," Dr. Sima Samar, of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, said during a brief stop in Ottawa yesterday


Project Censored: The Top 10 Stories the US News Media Missed in the Past Year
01.10.08. SFBG/Media Channel. 1. How Many Iraqis have died?; 2. NAFTA On Steroids; 3. INFRAGARD Guards Itself; 4. ILEA: Training Ground for Illegal Wars?; 5. Seizing Protest; 6. Radicals = Terrorists; 7. Slavery’s Runner-Up.; 8. Bush Changes the Rules; 9. Soldiers Speak Out; 10. APA Helps CIA Torture; Other stories in the top 25.

Human rights award for Dutch war reporter
10.10.08. radio Netherlands. The organisations praised Arnold Karskens for presenting an independent view of the war in Afghanistan, as one of the few journalists to travel in the country without being embedded with ISAF forces.

Commentary: Leaning tower of babble
23.10.08. Arnaud de Brochgrave, UPI. With scores of foreign correspondents riffed by the financial and economic squeeze, news bureaus closing the world over, some newspapers canceling their principal source of information as they no longer can afford the cost of an Associated Press contract, and dozens of offices for rent in Washington's National Press Building, the U.S. public is ill-served and uninformed about the rest of the world.

Sayed Parwiz Kambakhsh

No Death Sentence for Afghan Journalist
21.10.08. Abdul Waheed Wafa, NY Times. An appeals court sentenced a young Afghan journalist to 20 years in prison for blasphemy on Tuesday, overturning a death sentence ordered by a provincial court but raising further concerns of judicial propriety in the case.

Channel 4 chief grilled over "£150,000 ransom paid to Taliban"
22.10.08. Anita Singh, Telegraph.


As More Troops Refuse to Deploy, Getting Conscientious Objector Status is an Uphill Battle
08.10.08. Sarah Lazare, alternet. Anderson is not alone: a growing number of U.S. troops are refusing to fight in the so-called "war on terror." Army soldiers are resisting service at the highest rate since 1980, with an 80 percent increase in desertions, defined as absence for more than 30 days, since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, according to the AP Press. Over 150 resisters have come out publicly against the war, and some cases, such as Lt. Ehren Watada, the first army officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq, have garnered widespread support and attention. .. / The rising number of troops who do not want to join the war face a challenge because conscientious objector status is difficult to obtain.

'Disgusted' to be U.S. soldier
09.10.08. Toronto sun. Family's hopes of becoming Canadian citizens shattered after deportation order

Atheist soldier to leave Army, drops religion suit
10.10.08. AP/anti-war. An atheist soldier who accused U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the Defense Department of violating his religious freedom dropped the lawsuit Friday, citing his plans to leave the Army next spring. / But the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which filed the suit in 2007 with Pfc. Jeremy Hall, still plans to pursue allegations of widespread religious discrimination within the military in a separate lawsuit it filed with a second atheist soldier.

"U.S. Army delays, alters medical studies under little-known scientific censorship program"
21.10.08. Bryant Furlow, EPINews

Despite the Threat of Harsh Punishment, Soldier Says "No" to Deployment in Afghanistan
23.10.08. Sarah Lazare, AlterNet. How 21-year-old soldier Blake Ivey came to see war as "flat-out murder." "I believe war is the crime of our times," Blake Ivey, a specialist in the U.S. Army, said over the phone in a slow, deliberate voice. / Ivey, currently stationed in Fort Gordon, Ga., is publicly refusing to deploy to Afghanistan./ .. Ivey joins what appears to be a growing number of troops refusing to fight in the so-called Global War on Terror.

Foreclosure crisis falls hard on veterans
24.10.08. Kansas city/legitgov.

[All soldiers moaning about their kit. See 13. Nato Coalition, above.]


EU to introduce 'virtual strip searches' at airports by 2010
01.10.08. Telegraph. Tony Bunyan, the editor of Statewatch, fears that Brussels is rushing to follow the US by introducing a technology that could subject "people including women, old people and children to such a shameful and undignified experience".

UK ID Cards – More Than Identification
02.10.08. peoples voice. The proposed ID Card will be different from any card you now hold. It will be connected to a database called the NIR, (National Identity Register) where all of your personal details will be stored. This will include the unique number that will be issued to you, your fingerprints, a scan of the back of your eye, and your photograph. Your name, address and date of birth will also obviously be stored there. / There will be spaces on this database for your religion, residence, sexual tastes, number of partners, medical records status and many other private and personal facts about you. There is unlimited space for every other details of your life on the NIR database, which can be expanded by the Government with or without further Acts of Parliament.

Government will spy on every call and e-mail
05.10.08. timesonline. Ministers are considering spending up to £12 billion on a database to monitor and store the internet browsing habits, e-mail and telephone records of everyone in Britain.


Rape, Torture and Humiliation in Women's Prisons: A Global State of Crisis
23.09.08. Lys Anzia, Women News Network/alternet. Physical and psychological abuse are rampant in women's prisons from the U.S. to Canada to Pakistan.

Bush approach to war on terror under pressure as term ends
12.10.08. AFP. Only two years ago, the Bush administration could count on public fear of terrorism and a Republican-controlled Congress to support an array of anti-terrorism tactics and programs that tested or exceeded the limits of US law. / Coercive interrogations, indefinite detentions, secret overseas prisons, and warrantless surveillance of phone calls and emails were among the tools used in its no-holds-barred response to the September 11 attacks on the United States. / "The approach this administration took is breaking down. Some of it is, as it loses its political steam and its credibility, people are willing to speak out."

[see U.S. Martial Law Timeline (updated)]


Pakistan first
27.09.08. Rizwan Ghani, pak observer. Moscow, Beijing, UN, EU, ASEAN, SCO, OIC and other international and regional platforms are morally and legally bound to ban US military commanders and political team for executing Bush’s illegal policies in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Georgia, which have resulted in war crimes against humanity including innocent deaths.


Federal judge directs Cheney to preserve disputed records
22.09.08. Jurist. A US federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction requiring US Vice President Dick Cheney to preserve all his official records pending resolution of a lawsuit alleging that his office has failed to maintain records as required by law. In an opinion released Saturday, US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the US District Court for the District of Columbia wrote that it was "unmistakably clear that Defendants apply a narrowing interpretation" to the Presidential Records Act of 1978 which governs the official records of presidents and vice presidents.

How Dick Cheney's Zeal for Warrantless Spying Nearly Brought Down Bush Presidency
Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, Democracy Now / alternet. A new book delves into the secret history of the vice presidency, revealing Cheney as "the father of the warrantless domestic surveillance program."

Veterans Climb Government Building, Call for Arrest of Bush and Cheney
23.09.08. dinofond. VIDEO. [I think original story was in LA Times]


The Lies and Crimes of 911: A Canadian View of the War on Terror’s Origin
26.09.08. Anthony J. Hall, uruknet. During this, the season of the seventh anniversary of 911, we must continue to increase the effectiveness of our transnational peace lobby aimed at extending the Nuremberg process towards an international investigation into the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the name of the War on Terror. Such an investigation must begin by asking some foundational questions about the underlying crime that gave rise to the War on Terror. Were the events of 911 orchestrated by a very different cast of characters and for very different motives than those identified in the trial by media that began with unseemly haste on the very day of the Great Shock? Is the War on Terror a War on Truth? Did the official conspiracy theory originate in a web of lies, distortions and cover-ups expressed to this day in the dense shroud of public mythology surrounding the events of 911? We must empower a credible international tribunal of esteemed jurists with sufficient independence to asses on its own merits the growing body of evidence …

FBI Prevents Agents from Telling 'Truth' About 9/11 on PBS
01.10.08. blogs.cqpolitics / legitgov. The FBI denied Rossini and Miller permission to participate in the book or the PBS "NOVA" documentary, which is also being written and produced by Bamford, on grounds that the FBI "doesn't want to stir up old conflicts with the CIA," according to multiple reliable sources.

The Bush Doctrine & The 9/11 Commission Report: Both Authored by Philip Zelikow
04.10.08. David Ray Griffin, ICH. The document in which the Bush Doctrine was first fully articulated---the 2002 version of The National Security Strategy of the United States of America (NSS 2002) [pdf]---was written by the same person who was primarily responsible for the 9/11 Commission's report: its executive director, Philip Zelikow.

The Wounded Shark: 'Good War' Lost, But the Imperial Project Goes On
05.10.08. Chris Floyd, Section II, Empire Burlesque. The ostensible reason given for the seven long years of continuous death and destruction in Afghanistan -- and the justification for its escalation for many years to come -- is, of course, the 9/11 attacks in the United States. But even if for some reason you took the official account of 9/11 as the gospel truth in every respect, Afghanistan played no role in it at all. We are told that the attack was masterminded by bin Laden's Karl Rove, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed -- who operated in Pakistan. We are told that the other conspirators operated mostly in Germany -- and the United States. There has never been any evidence presented that the Taliban regime in Afghanistan had the slightest operational role -- or even the slightest knowledge -- of an attack on the United States. / On the other hand, there is a good deal of credible evidence that the United States promised to attack Afghanistan -- months before 9/11 -- if the Taliban didn't play ball on oil deals and other issues. There is evidence that even before the attacks, the Taliban offered to turn bin Laden over to international justice, if evidence of his involvement in terrorism was presented. This offer was repeated even more frantically after 9/11. But as for evidence of Afghan involvement in 9/11, there is none.

Former CIA official: 9/11 could not be averted
06.10.08. P. Hess, AP. A top former CIA official said the intelligence agency had more than 100 Afghans acting as spies before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but told a magazine .. that nothing could have averted the attacks. Cofer Black, the former head of the CIA's counterterrorism center [ & a top executive with Blackwater Worldwide], said that looking back, he can't think of a thing "we could have done that would have changed anything.

Response to 9/11 was 'huge overreaction' - ex-MI5 chief
18.10.08. Richard Norton-Taylor, Guardian. A former head of MI5 today describes the response to the September 11 2001 attacks on the US as a "huge overreaction" and says the invasion of Iraq influenced young men in Britain who turned to terrorism. / In an interview with the Guardian, Stella Rimington calls al-Qaida's attack on the US "another terrorist incident" but not qualitatively different from any others. / In common with Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, who retired as MI5's director general last year, Rimington, who left 12 years ago, has already made it clear she abhorred "war on terror" rhetoric. / She challenges claims, notably made by Tony Blair, that the war in Iraq was not related to the radicalisation of Muslim youth in Britain. / Asked what impact the war had on the terrorist threat, she replies: "Well, I think all one can do is look at what those people who've been arrested or have left suicide videos say about their motivation. And most of them, as far as I'm aware, say that the war in Iraq played a significant part in persuading them that this is the right course of action to take." / She adds: "So I think you can't write the war in Iraq out of history.

Susan Sontag Was Right
20.10.08. Justin Raimondo, anti-war. (And so were Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky, and the former head of British intelligence) .. The problem is that the lessons of the post-9/11 hysteria, an emotional tsunami generated in large part by opportunistic politicians, have still not been fully absorbed, either by the public or by elite opinion. Presidential frontrunner Barack Obama, after all, has pledged to escalate our endless "war on terrorism" on at least two fronts: Afghanistan, where he is eager to send tens of thousands more U.S. troops, and Pakistan, which – in a troubling, albeit unacknowledged reiteration of the Bushian doctrine of "preemption" – he has repeatedly threatened to invade.

Global War, Regional Ambitions : 9/11 and the Imperial Adventure in Afghanistan
22.10.08. L. Everest, Counterpunch. The war in Afghanistan is not a "good war" gone bad. It’s been an unjust, imperialist war of conquest and empire from its inception. Part 1 documents the U.S. rulers’ efforts in the 1990s, after the Soviet Union’s collapse, to begin forging an unchallengeable global empire, which laid the groundwork for the so-called "war on terror." Part 2 details how, immediately after 9/11, the Bush regime conceived and launched the so-called "war on terror" in order to achieve these imperialist aims, which had been a decade in the making. About five hours after hijacked jets crashed into the World Trade Center and then the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, George W. Bush’s Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld turned to an aide and told him to begin drawing up plans for war. His instructions: "Go massive. Sweep it all up.

False Flags

White powder scares cost law enforcement time, money
13.10.08. usa today/anti-war. Firefighters and federal agents have responded to more than 30,000incidents involving suspicious powders, liquids or chemicals since 2001 in what authorities say is the terrifying legacy of the anthrax attacks after 9/11.



"DoD Intelligence Interrogations, Detainee Debriefings, and Tactical Questioning,"
09.10.08.DoD Directive 3115.09,


ACLU Says Military Prison Photos Confirm Widespread Abuse
23.09.08. NYSun / anti-war. The photos were taken at six different locations across Iraq and Afghanistan, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals wrote, and involve a greater number of detainees and military personnel than similar photographs from Abu Ghraib. The ACLU attorney who argued the case, Amrit Singh, said the material shows that prisoner abuse is a systemic problem in the military.

Court: US govt can't block detainee photos release

23.09.08. L. Neumeister, AP/ legitgov. The color photographs were taken by servicemembers in Iraq and Afghanistan. The government has opposed the release of pictures of abuse, saying they would incite violence against U.S. troops in Iraq and provoke terrorists.

Canada commission to go ahead with public hearing on Afghan detainee transfers
01.10.08. Caitlin Price, The Jurist. The Canadian Military Police Complaints Commission (MPCC) [official website] decided Tuesday to move forward with a public hearing investigating the country's military detainee transfer process in Afghanistan despite a move from the Canadian Department of Justice to block the inquiry. MPCC Chair Peter A. Tinsley, issuing the decision pursuant to the National Defence Act rejected the government's arguments that the MPCC's reach is limited to military policing issues and thus lacks jurisdiction to conduct the investigations that involve military operational decisions regarding detainee treatment:

Proposed 42-day UK detentions could violate rights: anti-torture commission
02.10.08. Jurist. dropped as unworkable.

New Documents Reveal Unlawful Guantánamo Procedures Were Also Applied On American Soil
10.08.08. ACLU. According to newly released military documents, the Navy applied lawless Guantánamo protocols in detention facilities on American soil. The documents, which include regular emails between brig officers and others in the chain of command, uncover new details of the detention and interrogation of two U.S. citizens and a legal resident – Yaser Hamdi, Jose Padilla and Ali al-Marri – at naval brigs in Virginia and South Carolina.

Siddiqui (cont.)

Was neuroscientist Dr. Aafia Siddiqui raped and tortured at US Bagram prison?
21.09.08. Ernesto Cienfuegos, indybay. Last month the seriously injured, bleeding, frail, traumatized and confused Dr. Siddiqui re-appeared in a wheel chair in a New York federal court accused of terrorism and to face charges that she attempted to kill FBI and US soldiers in Afghanistan.

Children Of Arrested Pakistani-US Doctor Are Missing, Says Human Rights Group
23.09.08. mindinao examiner. The alleged US arrest in July of Pakistan-US national Dr Aafia Siddiqui has left a series of unanswered questions about her missing children. With Dr Siddiqui now in US custody it is suspected that two of her children are still being detained illegally, and reports suggest that one child may have died. U.S. and Pakistan authorities have denied knowledge of their whereabouts.

Victim of torture: U.S. says Pakistani suspect may be unfit for trial
23.09.08. Reuters / ICH. Fink asked that her client be placed in a hospital for medical and psychological care and be treated as someone who may have been the victim of torture.

Pakistani defendant must undergo NY psych tests
23.09.08. wired / anti-war.

Pakistani MPs call on U.S. to free al Qaeda suspect
08.10.08. Reuters. / anti-war. A five-member delegation of Pakistani parliamentarians met Siddiqui for three hours at a medical facility in a military prison compound at Fort Worth near Dallas, Texas. / "She seemed calm and composed, and her mind was active and alert," Mushahid Hussain Syed, head of the Pakistani delegation, told Reuters by telephone from Dallas. / He said Siddiqui told them she had no faith in the U.S. courts hearing her case.

Pakistani MPs call on U.S. to free al Qaeda suspect
08.10.08. Reuters. / anti-war. A five-member delegation of Pakistani parliamentarians met Siddiqui for three hours at a medical facility in a military prison compound at Fort Worth near Dallas, Texas. / "She seemed calm and composed, and her mind was active and alert," Mushahid Hussain Syed, head of the Pakistani delegation, told Reuters by telephone from Dallas. / He said Siddiqui told them she had no faith in the U.S. courts hearing her case.

Don’t Blame the Victim - Detailed analysis of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s case
23.10.08. Teeth Maestro,

(See earlier stories here)



US allows first family visits to Afghan prison
23.09.08. Fisnik Abrashi, AP. Five detainees in an American military prison in Afghanistan met with their families Tuesday in the first face-to-face visits allowed since the U.S. set up the detention center six years ago.

Jawed Ahmad (‘JoJo’)

U.S. frees Afghan fixer after 10-month detention he describes as 'hell'
22.09.08. Graeme Smith, globe and mail.

Afghan reporter seeks ‘justice’
24.09.08. int news. An Afghan reporter held for nearly a year at US military bases in Afghanistan vowed on Tuesday to fight for redress, alleging his captors tortured him while in detention without being charged. / Jawed Ahmad, a 22-year-old reporter who worked for Canadian TV (CTV), was handed to the Afghan government at the weekend after spending 11 months in military jails at Bagram north of Kabul and in Kandahar.

Jawed Ahmad, a 22-year-old reporter who worked for Canadian TV (CTV), was detained Oct. 26, 2007, at a NATO base near the southern city of Kandahar. He was initially labeled by the U.S. military as "an unlawful enemy combatant" but was released 11 months later without charge. /Ahmad was accused of having contact with Taliban leaders, including possessing their telephone numbers and video footage of them. / "I want justice. I'll knock the doors of (U.S.) Congress, I'll go to (U.S. President George W.) Bush, I'll go to (Democratic presidential hopeful) Obama, to everywhere and everyone until I get justice," Ahmad said.

How U.S. detention destroyed a young Afghan journalist
09.10.08. Philippe Khan, aljazeera. "They destroyed me financially, mentally and physically… But most importantly, my mother is taking her last breath in hospital just because of the Americans,” said Jawed Ahmad following his release from the U.S. military base at Bagram air base near the Afghan capital, Kabul, where the U.S. detains suspected Taleban and al-Qaeda fighters.


Pentagon moves Gitmo legal official amid criticism
19.09.08. WIRED. Pentagon shifts Guantanamo legal adviser [Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann] to new role after months of criticism. The Pentagon shifted a senior member of the Guantanamo war-crimes trials to another position Friday after defense lawyers, human rights groups and even military colleagues accused him of misconduct in his role as legal adviser. / The former chief prosecutor, Air Force Col. Morris Davis, and others had accused the general of pushing for prosecutions that would captivate the public for political gain, even before the detainees were ready to be charged.

Federal judge extends government filing deadline in Guantanamo habeas cases
23.09.08. Jurist. The chief judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia granted a government motion Friday to extend from August 30 to September 30 its deadline to file the first fifty factual returns in the habeas corpus appeals of more than two hundred Guantanamo detainees. Judge Thomas F. Hogan nonetheless said he granted the government's motion reluctantly. See also here .

Calling Gitmo What It Is
23.09.08. Aaron Glantz, winter Soldier Iraq / anti-war. Excerpt of Guardsman. Christopher Arendt (who) served a tour at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Report: Gitmo prosecutor quits, alleging evidence withheld from detainee
24.09.08. AP / usatoday/legitgov. A military prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay has resigned because his office withheld exculpatory evidence against an Afghan detainee, the prisoner's lawyers say. The attorneys for Mohammed Jawad say the prosecutor, Army Lt. Col. Darrel Vandeveld, backs their bid to get charges dismissed against Jawad, who is accused of throwing a grenade [when he was age 16 or 17] that injured two U.S. soldiers. Michael Berrigan, the tribunals' deputy chief defense counsel, said today that Vandeveld told them the prosecutor's office was refusing to hand over the evidence.

Former spy chief joins 42-day detention critics
27.09.08. Duncan Campbell, Guardian. · First female boss of MI5 condemns Guantánamo; Peers expected to reject anti-terror legislation

The Dark Heart of the Guantánamo Trials
02.10.08. Andy Worthington. On the roles of Col. Lawrence Morris and Brig. Gen. Hartman.

Investigating 'Africa's Guantanamo'
01.10.08. BBC.

Despite Ruling, Detainee Cases Facing Delays
04.10.08. NY Times. When the Supreme Court ruled in June that detainees at Guantánamo had the right to challenge their detention in federal court, the justices said that after more than six years of legal wrangling the prisoners should have their cases heard quickly because “the costs of delay can no longer be borne by those who are held in custody.” / But nearly four months later, as the Bush administration has opened a new defense of its detention policies in federal court, none of the scores of cases brought by detainees have been resolved by any judge.

US military judge rules detainees not entitled to Internet access for trial defense
13.10.08. Jurist. The US Department of Defense (DOD) released a ruling Sunday indicating that Guantanamo detainees who represent themselves at trial are not entitled to Internet access and some computer hardware and software to aid in their defense.

Lawyers Criticize Quality of Guantanamo Interpreters; Fairness of Sept. 11 Trials Said to Be Undermined
14.10.08. Washington post / anti-war. Something was being lost in interpretation. Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, a Saudi national accused of war crimes and murder for his alleged role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, was speaking in Arabic. Ralph H. Kohlmann, a Marine colonel and military judge at Guantanamo Bay, was listening to a simultaneous interpretation in English.

The Uighurs

Federal judge orders Uighurs released from Guantanamo
07.10.08. Jurist. A US district judge ordered the Bush administration Tuesday to release 17 Uighur detainees from the military prison at Guantanamo Bay ruling that the Constitution forbids their indefinite detention without cause. Judge Ricardo Urbina of the US District Court for the District of Columbia gave the government until Friday to release the Chinese Muslims into the United States, marking the first time that a US court has ordered Guantanamo detainees to be freed. Urbina rejected arguments by the Justice Department (DOJ) that the court could not require the Uighurs' release without violating the doctrine of separation of powers. He further ordered immigration authorities not to take the Uighurs into custody upon their arrival in the US. Another hearing in the case is scheduled for October 16.

From Guantánamo to the United States: The Story of the Wrongly Imprisoned Uighurs
09.10.08. andy In an extraordinary and unprecedented ruling in a US District Court, Judge Ricardo Urbina has ruled that 17 wrongly imprisoned Chinese Muslims at Guantánamo must be allowed entry to the United States. It is, as the media has been reporting, the first time that a US court has directly ordered the release of a prisoner at Guantánamo, and the first time that a foreign national held at the prison has been ordered to be brought to the United States. It is also a resounding blow to the administration’s claims that it can seize anyone it wishes as an “enemy combatant,” and hold them indefinitely, even if there is no evidence whatsoever to support their detention.


W.House disagrees with court on Guantanamo ruling (07.10.08, Reuters)


Uighurs ask court to not block their release (08.10.O8. AP/ anti-war)


Chinese Muslims' release into US blocked for now (09.10.08, AP)

Showdown ahead over 17 Uighur detainees
10.10.08. CSM. The Justice Department says the judiciary does not have the power to release Guantánamo detainees into the US.

Uyghurs stuck in Guantanamo limbo
10.10.08. Ali Gharib, asia times. But despite the Uyghurs not being considered threats or even enemy combatants, the Justice Department still claims that the Department of Defense as part of the executive branch - rather than the judiciary - has control over the detainees.

From Gitmo to the U.S.: How 17 Uighur Prisoners Could Be Let Into the United States
11.10.08. Andy Worthington, AlterNet. In an extraordinary and unprecedented ruling in a U.S. District Court, Judge Ricardo Urbina has ruled that 17 wrongly imprisoned Chinese Muslims at Guantánamo must be allowed entry to the United States. It is, as the media has been reporting, the first time that a U.S. court has directly ordered the release of a prisoner at Guantánamo, and the first time that a foreign national held at the prison has been ordered to be brought to the United States. It is also a resounding blow to the administration's claims that it can seize anyone it wishes as an "enemy combatant," and hold them indefinitely, even if there is no evidence whatsoever to support their detention.

Release of 17 Guantánamo Detainees Sputters as Officials Debate the Risk
15.10.08. W.Glaberson, NY Times. An urgent effort by the Bush administration to find a country willing to accept 17 detainees held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, has stalled because of a bitter dispute inside the government about whether the men are dangerous.

Appeals Court Halts Release Of 17 Guantanamo Detainees
21.10.08. Washington Post. A federal appeals court last night blocked the release of 17 Chinese Muslims into the United States from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, until it can hear further legal arguments in the case.

Two 50-Year-Olds Released From Guantánamo
08.10.08. Andy Worthington. Anti-war. As the U.S. courts put pressure on the government to justify the long detention of prisoners at Guantánamo without charge or trial (following the Supreme Court's ruling, in June, that they have constitutional habeas corpus rights, and that the government must justify their imprisonment), two of Guantánamo's oldest prisoners have been quietly repatriated: 51-year-old Sudanese prisoner Mustafa Ibrahim al-Hassan, and Mammar Ameur, a 50-year-old refugee from Algeria.

Pentagon releases Guantanamo inmate to Sudan
08.10.08. wired / anti-war. Mustafa Ibrahim Mustafa Al Hassan says he saw soldiers throw a Quran into the dirt during his confinement. He says it was part of "all types of tortures" at the Guantanamo Bay Navy base in Cuba.

New Evidence of Systemic Bias in Guantánamo Trials
10.10.08. andy Worthington. In the last three weeks, two events have occurred that have dealt what should have been a knockout blow to the Military Commissions at Guantánamo, the system of trials for “terror suspects” — outside of the US court system and the US military’s own judicial system — that was created by Vice President Dick Cheney and his close advisers (in particular, his legal counsel David Addington) in November 2001.

16 Words: New Court Filing Suggests Manufactured Terror Threat in Bush's 2002 State of the Union
17.10.08. Mother Jones. A new court filing by the lawyers for Lakhdar Boumediene and five other Guantanamo detainees suggests that the Bush administration ordered the Bosnian government to arrest and hold the men after an exhaustive Bosnian investigation had found them innocent of any terrorism related activity and had ordered their release, in order to use them as props in Bush's January 2002 State of the Union speech.

Surprise Surprise!

Bush Decides to Keep Guantanamo Open
20.10.08. Steven Lee Myers, NY Times / Truthout. Despite his stated desire to close the American prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, President Bush has decided not to do so, and never considered proposals drafted in the State Department and the Pentagon that outlined options for transferring the detainees elsewhere, according to senior administration officials. / .. Mr. Bush adopted the view of his most hawkish advisers that closing Guantánamo would involve too many legal and political risks to be acceptable, now or any time soon, the officials said. / .. The administration is proceeding on the assumption that Guantánamo will remain open not only for the rest of Mr. Bush's presidency but also well beyond, the officials said, as the site for military tribunals of those facing terrorism-related charges and for the long prison sentences that could follow convictions. ../Both presidential candidates, Senators John McCain and Barack Obama, have called for closing Guantánamo.

Gates confirms no US closure of Guantanamo under Bush (Jurist 22.10.08)

US Drops Charges Against Five Detainees
21.10.08. AP / Truthout. The detainees against whom charges were dropped are Mohamed, Noor Uthman Muhammed, Sufyiam Barhoumi, Ghassan Abdullah al Sharbi and Jabran Said Bin al Qahtani. BUT. None of the men will be freed, and the military said it could reinstate charges later.

Guantánamo's bleak farce
21.10.08. Andy Worthington / Guardian. While the world remains transfixed by the economy and the US election, today's events at the US government's flagship "war on Terror" prison at Guantánamo indicate that the role of the military commissions – the novel system of terror trials created in the wake of the 9/11 attacks – are unravelling at a furious pace, and that what remains of the government's tattered credibility is collapsing alongside them. / What may be the endgame for the commissions began on September 24, when Lt Col Darrel Vandeveld, a key prosecutor, resigned unexpectedly, citing intractable problems regarding the deliberate suppression of evidence vital to the prisoners' defence. One of Vandeveld's cases was that of the British resident Binyam Mohamed.

Binyam Mohamed

Lawyers say UK Guantánamo suspect has no hope of fair trial
02.10.08. Richard Norton-Taylor, Guardian. The system of US military courts is so politically biased that Binyam Mohamed, a British resident held at Guantánamo Bay, has no prospect of a fair trial, his lawyers said yesterday. / Mohamed, 30, an Ethiopian national and British resident, was held in Pakistan in 2002, when he was questioned by an MI5 officer. He was later secretly rendered to Morocco, where he says was tortured by having his penis cut with a razor blade. The US subsequently flew him to Afghanistan and he was transferred to Guantánamo Bay in September 2004. He denies any connection with terrorism.

Key Allegations Against Terror Suspect Withdrawn
15.10.08. Washington Post / anti-war. The U.S. Justice Department has withdrawn a series of allegations made in federal court that tie Binyam Mohammed, a British resident held at Guantanamo Bay, to a plot to explode a radioactive "dirty bomb" in the United States, blow up apartment buildings here and release cyanide gas in nightclubs./ Defense lawyers said the decision should force the Pentagon to drop charges of conspiracy and material support for terrorism against Mohammed, which were filed by military prosecutors in May. The charges, the lawyers said, are spurious and based on false confessions obtained through torture.

U.S. Pressed to Turn Over Detainee Papers
23.10.08. P. Finn, Washington Post. The British High Court yesterday condemned the U.S. government's failure to turn over intelligence documents that could support the claims of a British resident held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who has argued that statements he made confessing to terrorism resulted from torture<and are, therefore, worthless.

Omar Khadr

At 22, Omar Khadr Has Spent a Third of His Life in Guantanamo
20.09.08. Andy Worthington, Andy Worthington's Blog/alternet. Yesterday was the birthday of Guantanamo's child soldier and sole Canadian citizen, Omar Khadr, who has been held in isolation since he was 15.

Return Khadr to Canada, bar association and legal groups demand
30.09.08. CBC.

Protesters rally for Omar Khadr's return to Canada
05.10.08. the star/legitgov.

Omar Khadr: The Guantánamo Files
20.10.08. Andy Worthington. When is a child not a child? Apparently, when he is Omar Khadr, a 15-year old Canadian who was shot in the back after a firefight in Afghanistan in July 2002. Omar has been in US custody ever since, first at a prison at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan, and for the last six years in Guantánamo. Disturbingly, he has never received any treatment befitting his status as a juvenile — someone under the age of 18 when the crime they are accused of committing took place — even though the United States is a signatory to the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (on the involvement of children in armed conflict), which stipulates that juvenile prisoners “require special protection.” The Optional Protocol specifically recognizes “the special needs of those children who are particularly vulnerable to recruitment or use in hostilities”, and requires its signatories to promote “the physical and psychosocial rehabilitation and social reintegration of children who are victims of armed conflict.”

Guantanamo trial for Canadian delayed to January
24.10.08. wired / anti-war. The new date for Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr's trial is Jan. 26.

The Collapse of Omar Khadr's Guantánamo Trial
28.10.08. Andy Worthington, uruknet.
Hardly a day goes by without some extraordinary news from the military commissions, the system of "terror trials" conceived in the office of the vice president in November 2001, and their days now seem to be as numbered as those of the Bush administration itself. Following the outspoken resignation of former prosecutor Lt. Col. Darrel Vandeveld and the Pentagon's desperate decision to drop charges against five prisoners to prevent Vandeveld from testi! fying for the defense, the latest news to rock the commissions is that the trial of Omar Khadr – a supposedly flagship case, along with that of the Yemeni Salim Hamdan, who received a surprisingly light sentence after a trial this summer – has been delayed until after the administration leaves office....

Ahmed Zaid Zuhair

Detainees' Rights Subverted at Guantanamo, Their Lawyers Say
23.09.08. Huma Yusuf, The CSM / truthout. "On July 18, Ahmed Zaid Zuhair, a detainee in Camp 6 of the US Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, wrote to his legal team in the US, terminating all written communication. He claimed that two guards had harassed him the previous night: one threatening to kill him and quarter his body; the other threatening to cut off his ears and nose. One guard then read through his legal correspondence, confiscating several documents."

Guantanamo guards struggle with hunger striker
24.10.08. wired / anti-war. Three years ago, the man known as Internment Serial Number 669 stopped eating. Ahmed Zaid Zuhair, a father of 10 children in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, had been held at Guantanamo Bay since 2002 without charges and decided to join a mass hunger strike in protest. The U.S. military was determined not to let him succeed. / Since then, according to court documents reviewed by The Associated Press, guards have struggled with him repeatedly, at least once using pepper spray, shackles and brute force to drag him to a restraint chair for his twice-daily dose of a liquid nutrition mix force-fed through his nose.

Mohammed Jawad

Guantanamo Bay prosecutor quits over ethical issues
26.09.08. Australian news / legitgov. A US military prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay has resigned over ethical disputes with his superiors, claiming they suppressed evidence that could help clear a young Afghan prisoner of alleged war crimes. The prosecutor, Lieutenant Colonel Darrel Vandeveld, described the disagreements in a statement supporting a defence plea to dismiss the charges against Mohammed Jawad. "Potentially exculpatory evidence has not been provided," Lieutenant Colonel Vandeveld wrote, citing failure by the "prosecutors and officers of the court". The disclosure triggered new attacks on the integrity of the US military tribunal system, which has faced accusations from other insiders of ethical breaches and political interference.

Sami al-Haj

Six Years In Guantanamo
24.09.08. Robert Fisk, countercurrents. Sami al-Haj walks with pain on his steel crutch; almost six years in the nightmare of Guantanamo have taken their toll on the Al Jazeera journalist and, now in the safety of a hotel in the small Norwegian town of Lillehammer, he is a figure of both dignity and shame. The Americans told him they were sorry when they eventually freed him this year – after the beatings he says he suffered, and the force-feeding, the humiliations and interrogations by British, American and Canadian intelligence officers – and now he hopes one day he'll be able to walk without his stick.

US military destroyed my soul: Afghan reporter
24.09.08. AFP, Says he wants justice after he was tortured for 11 months. An Afghan journalist held for nearly a year in Afghanistan said Tuesday he would stop at nothing to get justice to compensate for the "hell" he went through at the torturing hands of the U.S. military.

Six Years Inside Gitmo: A Journalist's Tale
25.09.08. time.

Mamdouh Habib

Govt, News colluded against me: Habib
07.10.08. the age. Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Mamdouh Habib will argue that the government colluded with publisher Nationwide News to attack his credibility in a defamation suit ahead of his high-profile compensation claim.

Salim Ahmed Hamdan

Detainee's Time Served Is Challenged
18,10.08. P. Finn, Washington Post. The Bush administration is seeking to recall a military jury that gave a light sentence to Osama bin Laden's driver in one of the first trials at Guantanamo Bay, arguing that the judge improperly credited the defendant for time he had already spent in the detention facility.

Pentagon files war crimes charges against two Kuwaitis at Guantanamo
23.10.08. Jurist. Fouad Rabia, a US-educated aeronautical engineer suspected of running a supply depot at Tora Bora, and Fayiz Kandari, an alleged adviser to Osama bin Laden were charged with conspiracy and providing material support for terror. The two men, who have spent over seven years in Guantanamo, are said to have the longest-running Guantanamo unlawful detention lawsuits pending in the US District Court in Washington. Rabia and Kandari now face a maximum of life in prison.

Guantanamo tribunals overseer under investigation
25.10.08. LA Times. The Air Force is reviewing allegations that Hartmann bullied prosecutors, logistics officials and others at Guantanamo -- resulting in cases going to trial that were not ready and the prosecution of at least one individual on charges that were unwarranted -- and assertions that he advocated using coerced evidence despite prosecutors' objections. / … A second investigation, being conducted by the Department of Defense's Office of the Inspector General, was sparked by the complaints of at least two military officials about Hartmann's allegedly abusive and retaliatory behavior toward them within the Office of Military Commissions. That office oversees the prosecutors and defense lawyers in the terrorism trials taking place at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Ali Hamza Ahmad Suliman al Bahlul

Second Guantanamo detainee goes on trial before military commission
27.10.08. Jurist. Alleged al Qaeda propagandist Ali Hamza Ahmad Suliman al Bahlul [DOD materials] went on trial Monday before a military commission at the Guantanamo Bay prison. Al Bahlul is only the second detainee to go on trial in Guantanamo since it opened in 2002.


Top White House Officials Discussed and Approved Torture, Rice Admits
01.10.08. Tom Burghardt, Uruknet. White House officials discussed torturing suspected "enemy combatants" early in 2002, according to a detailed questionnaire put to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice by Senate investigators. The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) released a series of new documents that shed additional light on the origins of U.S. torture policies...

Tales of Torture Overseas in a Case Testing U.S. Law
02.10.08. NY Times/ICH. Mr. Turay had flown in from Sweden for a trial that marks the first test of a 1994 law that makes it a crime for United States citizens to commit torture overseas.

Many approved torture

Public At Last
14.10.08. Stephen Soldz, Counterpunch / uruknet. Guantánamo's SERE Standard Operating Procedures. One of the most important documents of the U.S. torture program has just become publicly available for the first time. This is the JTF GTMO "SERE" Interrogation Standard Operating Procedure, now posted on the website of the new documentary, Torturing Democracy. This document clearly specifies that the abusive interrogation techniques to be used at Guantamo [JTF GTMO] are based upon the military’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape [SERE] program. The document is notable for its documentation of the extent to which abuse was bureaucratically standardized for routine use.

CIA Tactics Endorsed In Secret Memos
15.10.08. Washington Post.

Revised Pentagon directive requires monitoring of non-DOD interrogations
17.10.08. Jurist. The US Defense Department (DOD) has released a revised directive [PDF text] mandating military supervision of intelligence interrogations and questioning conducted by other US government agencies, foreign governments and contractors. The directive, issued October 9 by Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England but only made public this week, supersedes a 2005 version that merely required non-DOD entities conducting such procedures to conform to Pentagon policies. According to the new directive,

Philippe Sands Photo @ Sarah Meyer

18.10.08. Philippe Sands, The Guardian. As the US presidential election reaches a climax against the background of the financial crisis, another silent, dark, time bomb of an issue hangs over the two candidates: torture. For now, there seems to be a shared desire not to delve too deeply into the circumstances in which the Bush administration allowed the US military and the CIA to embrace abusive techniques of interrogation - including waterboarding, in the case of the CIA - which violate the Geneva conventions and the 1984 UN torture convention. / … Buried away in this testimony lies the most dangerous material of all: evidence which may establish that abuses on detainees in Iraq in September 2003, in the period perhaps including the events at Abu Ghraib, were the result of decisions taken at the highest levels of the administration. The administration has long proclaimed it did not allow aggressive interrogations in Iraq, since the Geneva conventions applied. Last month we learned this was false.

The Torturer's Tale
27.10.08. Jolyon Jenkins, The First Post / ICH. It was fine to douse the prisoner with icy water and put him in front of an air-conditioner, so long as the paperwork was in order.

The Prosecution for War Crimes of President Bush
13.10.08. Sherwood Ross Assoc. Press Release, Massachusetts law school Dean Lawrence Velvel will chair a Steering Committee to pursue the prosecution for war crimes of President Bush and culpable high-ranking aides after they leave office Jan. 20th. Besides Velvel, members of the Steering Committee include:

Ben Davis, a law Professor at the University of Toledo College of Law, where he teaches Public International Law and International Business Transactions. He is the author of numerous articles on international and related domestic law.

Marjorie Cohn, a law Professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, Calif., and President of the National Lawyers Guild.

Chris Pyle, a Professor at Mount Holyoke College, where he teaches Constitutional law, Civil Liberties, Rights of Privacy, American Politics and American Political Thought, and is the author of many books and articles.

Elaine Scarry, the Walter M. Cabot Professor of Aesthetics and the General Theory of Value at Harvard University, and winner of the Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism.

Peter Weiss, vice president of the Center For Constitutional Rights, of New York City, which was recently involved with war crimes complaints filed in Germany and Japan against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and others.

David Swanson, author, activist and founder of coalition, of Charlottesville, Va.

Kristina Borjesson, an award-winning print and broadcast journalist for more than twenty years and editor of two recent books on the media.

Colleen Costello, Staff Attorney of Human Rights, USA, of Washington, D.C., and coordinator of its efforts involving torture by the American government.

Valeria Gheorghiu, attorney for Workers’ Rights Law Center.

Andy Worthington of Redress, a British historian and journalist and author of books dealing with human rights violations.

Initial actions considered by the Steering Committee, Velvel said, are as follows:

# Seeking prosecutions of high level officials, including George Bush, for the crimes they committed.

# Seeking disbarment of lawyers who were complicitous in facilitating torture.

# Seeking termination from faculty positions of high officials who were complicitous in torture.

# Issuing a recent statement saying any attempt by Bush to pardon himself and aides for war crimes prior to leaving office will result in efforts to obtain impeachment even after they leave office.

# Convening a major conference on the state secret and executive privilege doctrines, which have been pushed to record levels during the Bush administration.

# Designation of an Information Repository Coordinator to gather in one place all available information involving the Bush Administration’s war crimes.

# Possible impeachment of 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jay Bybee for co-authoring the infamous “torture memo.”

Further information and to arrange interviews with Dean Velvel, contact Sherwood Ross, Sherwood Ross Associates, Suite 403, 102 S.W. 6th Avenue, Miami, FL 33130; (305) 205-8281. E-mail

Pardon Me, Congress?
24.19.08. David Swanson, countercurrents. Jerry Seib, executive Washington editor of The Wall Street Journal said on the Diane Rehm Show on NPR last week that he expects Bush, Cheney, and their subordinates to be prosecuted for torture. This expectation is spreading.

16. Obama & McCain on Afghanistan

Bush leaves successor a world of trouble (26.10.08. Headline, wired)

What Makes Obama and McCain Think They Can "Win" Afghanistan?
22.09.08. ROBERT FISK, Independent/Alternet. To claim the U.S. can achieve now what the British couldn't in the 19th century and the Russians couldn't at the end of the 20th is pure fantasy.

In CBS Interview, Palin Calls For Surge In Afghanistan
25.09.08. CBS. The logistics that we are already suggesting here, not having enough troops in the area right now. The… things like the terrain even in Afghanistan and that border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, where, you know, we believe that-- Bin Laden is-- is hiding out right now and… and is still such a leader of this terrorist movement. There… there are many more challenges there. So, again, I believe that… a surge in Afghanistan also will lead us to victory there as it has proven to have done in Iraq. And as I say, Katie, that we cannot afford to retreat, to withdraw in Iraq. That's not gonna get us any better off in Afghanistan either. And as our leaders are telling us in our military, we do need to ramp it up in Afghanistan, counting on our friends and allies to assist with us there because these terrorists who hate America, they hate what we stand for with the… the freedoms, the democracy, the… the women's rights, the tolerance, they hate what it is that we represent and our allies, too, and our friends, what they represent. If we were… were to allow a stronghold to be captured by these terrorists then the world is in even greater peril than it is today. We cannot afford to lose in Afghanistan. VIDEO.

FACTBOX-Foreign policy quotes from US presidential debate
26.09.08. Reuters / wired/anti-war.

Foreign Policy Debate All About War
27.09.08. David Swanson, countercurrents. Obama favored putting more troops in Afghanistan, claiming that occupying Afghanistan is a response to 9-11. And he added Pakistan -- he would send more troops there too. (Authorized by what Congress and what U.N.?) McCain opposed cutting off aid to Pakistan or launching military strikes into it, or at least announcing your attention to do so.

US candidates grapple for new foreign policy approach
02.10.08. AFP. With America's reputation abroad tarnished, the White House contenders are tussling over Iraq and Afghanistan as saddled with the Bush "war on terror" strategy they grope for a fresh foreign policy. / Yet, despite their differences, both Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama back a multilateral approach to world affairs -- even if neither totally renounces the "Bush Doctrine" of pre-emptive military strikes.

Palin Accuses Obama of 'Palling Around With Terrorists'
04.10.08. Fox news/ ICH. "This is not a man who sees America as you see America, and as I see America," Palin said. "Our opponent, though, is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect -- imperfect enough that he's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country. Americans need to know this. ... I think, OK we gotta get the word out. Also See At home with the Palins: 'struggling working-class Americans' worth $1.2m

The US Simply Doesn't Get It
06.10.08. Robert Fisk, Independent / ICH. Both Joe Biden and Sarah Palin managed to avoid the use of that poisonous word. "Palestine" and "Palestinians" – that most cancerous, slippery, dangerous concept – simply did not exist in the vice-presidential debate. The phrase "Israeli occupation" was mercifully left unused. Neither the words "Jewish colony" nor "Jewish settlement" – not even that cowardly old get-out clause of American journalism, "Jewish neighbourhood" – got a look-in. Nope.

What McCain and Obama Just Don’t Get About Central Asia
07.10.08. William Pfaff, truthdig. Yet neither the Iraq nor the Afghanistan issue is within the power of any American president to resolve. He only thinks he can, and his advisers tell him he can and should. But the critical variables are outside his control, and certainly outside the control of American and NATO military forces.

Tomgram: The Ultimate Election
07.10.08. Chalmers Johnson, Tomdispatch.
Bringing the opposition party to power, however, is not in itself likely to restore the American republic to good working order. It is almost inconceivable that any president could stand up to the overwhelming pressures of the military-industrial complex, as well as the extra-constitutional powers of the 16 intelligence agencies that make up the U.S. Intelligence Community, and the entrenched interests they represent. The subversive influence of the imperial presidency (and vice presidency), the vast expansion of official secrecy and of the police and spying powers of the state, the institution of a second Defense Department in the form of the Department of Homeland Security, and the irrational commitments of American imperialism (761 active military bases in 151 foreign countries as of 2008) will not easily be rolled back by the normal workings of the political system.

Fighting talk is self-defeating
09.10.08. Simon Tisdall, Guardian. As the generals say there is no military solution, Obama and McCain should cut the rhetoric and get real about Afghanistan.

Time To Face The Facts On Afghanistan
10.08.08. Eric S. Margolis, ICH.
Both Barack Obama and John McCain are wrong about Afghanistan. It is not a `good’ fight against `terrorism,’ but a classic, 19th century colonial war to advance western geopolitical power into resource-rich Central Asia. The Pashtun Afghans who live there are ready to fight for another 100 years.

Progressive Voter Guide to Human Rights and Civil Liberties

Defense Stocks Can Benefit Even Under Obama
16.10.08. Naureen S. Malik, online.barrons. But it's clear that both he and John McCain, his Republican rival, would be no enemy of healthy Pentagon budgets, even if national budget deficits rise in the years ahead. That bodes well for the defense industry

Afghanistan: Not a Good War Gone Bad
17.10.08. L. Everest, Counterpuch / anti-war. One thing that’s not been up for debate in the Presidential campaign is Afghanistan: both candidates (not to mention George W. Bush) agree on the urgent need to escalate – and win – that war. This stance has overwhelmingly gone unchallenged – even by most who opposed the invasion of Iraq. But the war in Afghanistan is not the proverbial "good war," now gone bad. It was an unjust, imperialist war of conquest and empire from the start. And it continues to be an unjust, imperialist war of empire today. / The war in Afghanistan was never simply a response to 9/11. It was conceived of by the Bush administration as the opening salvo in an unbounded war for greater empire under the rubric of a "war on terror." This war’s goal was to defeat Islamic fundamentalism, overthrow states not fully under U.S. control, restructure the Middle East and Central Asian regions, and seize deeper control of key sources and shipment routes of strategic energy supplies.


“The other thing that we have to focus on, though, is al Qaeda. They are now operating in 60 countries. We can't simply be focused on Iraq. We have to go to the root cause, and that is in Afghanistan and Pakistan.“

Alan Dershowitz endorses Obama: Why I Support Israel and Obama
17.10.08. Alan Dershowitz, uruknet. I am a strong supporter of Israel (though sometimes critical of specific policies). I am also a strong supporter of Barack Obama (though I favored Hillary Clinton during the primaries). I am now getting dozens of emails asking me how as a supporter of Israel I can vote for Barack Obama. Let me explain. …

Iraq, Afghanistan and the Treatment of Veterans -- Voter Guide
17.10.08. Alternet.

The Bagman Cometh: Obama Embraces War Criminal's Endorsement
19.10.08. Chris Floyd, Empire Burlesque.

Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien: Obama's New Advisor Stands By His War Crimes
20.10.08. Chris Floyd, uruknet. Just to be clear, Barack Obama's brand-new foreign policy advisor, Colin Powell, wants you to know that he continues to support the decision to launch a war of aggression against Iraq in March 2003 -- an act that, according to principles established by the United States and its allies at Nuremberg in 1945, is a war crime punishable by death.

Military: Both McCain and Obama would rebuild U.S. forces
22.10.08. McClatchy. Barack Obama and John McCain each promise that as president they'd continue to transform the U.S. military into a bigger, more agile force that can tackle insurgencies and help allies thwart terrorism. … / "Temperamentally, Senators Obama and McCain are very different on defense. But when you read the details of their defense positions, they are remarkably similar," said Loren Thompson, a defense analyst with the Lexington Institute, a conservative public policy organization. "They both want to bolster intelligence, focus on counter-terrorism, reduce big-ticket weapons systems and crack down on defense contracts."

McCain would like to increase the size of U.S. ground forces — the Army and Marines — by 150,000 troops to roughly 900,000.

Obama supports a Pentagon plan to expand the Army by 65,000 and the Marines by 27,000 in the next decade.

Obama favours U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan
23.10.08. globe and mail.

The Opium Of The Masses
24.10.08. Max Kantar, countercurrents. This November, Americans face a choice. But the choice not between John McCain or Barak Obama; it is between submitting to the will of the corporate-military establishment or taking a moral stand in boycotting their rigged institutions of fake democracy


Misconceptions of Obama fuel Republican campaign
Part 1: The American Crescent Part 2; Part 3 ; Part 4 /

The Case Against the Escalation of the War in Afghanistan
24.10.08. Camillo "Mac" Bica, Truthout: "Despite some subtle nuances regarding a timetable for the phased withdrawal of at least a portion of the combat troops from Iraq, the positions of both John McCain and Barack Obama regarding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are quite similar. Under both their plans, American young men and women, despite their eventually being withdrawn from Iraq - 'with honor' for McCain, 'responsibly' for Obama - will not be returning home but, rather, redeployed to another battlefield upon which to continue to kill or be killed. Both candidates have promised a surge in Afghanistan, and a commitment to continue the 'war on terrorism' until our enemies, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, perhaps Iran, are defeated and Osama Bin Laden is killed or captured."

Iraq Aside, Nominees Have Like Views on Use of Force
27.10.08. Robert G. Kaiser, Washington Post. Yet both have revealed a willingness to commit U.S. forces overseas for both strategic and humanitarian purposes. Both agree on a course of action in Afghanistan that could lead to a long-term commitment of American soldiers without a clear statement of how long they might remain or what conditions would lead to their withdrawal.

On The Ground In Afghanistan: Waiting For November 4
27.10.08. Gayle Tzemach, Huff Post. Voters 7,000 miles away are an object of keen curiosity among Kabul's young and educated. / Seven years after the US invasion, citizens speak of the international community's push to rebuild their country in tones ranging from disappointment to disdain to disgust. As they see it, Afghanistan's problems are widely reported and scarcely addressed. / Corruption infects government at all levels, leaving struggling Afghans with even fewer resources. No one knows for certain what the thousands of NGOs do here; waste and duplications hog precious resources while coordination with the Afghan government is nearly nil. Infrastructure remains in shreds.

The Diplomacy of Lying
27.10.08. John Pilger, anti-war. …the U.S. presidential race becomes surreal. The beatification of President Barack Obama is already under way; for it is he who "challenges America to rise up [and] summon 'the better angels of our nature,'" says Rolling Stone magazine, reminiscent of the mating calls of Guardian writers to the "mystical" Blair. As ever, the Orwell Inversion Test is necessary. Obama claims that his vast campaign wealth comes from small individual donors, yet he has also received funds from some of the most notorious looters on Wall Street. Moreover, the "dove" and "candidate of change" has voted repeatedly to fund George W. Bush's rapacious wars, and now demands more war in Afghanistan while he threatens to bomb Pakistan. … / The lesson learned is that no presidential candidate, least of all a Democrat awash with money from America's "banksters," as Franklin Roosevelt called them, can or will challenge a militarized system that controls and rewards him. Obama's job is to present a benign, even progressive face that will revive America's democratic pretensions, internationally and domestically, while ensuring nothing of substance changes.

17. References

The Wasted Vigil by Nadeed Aslam, Knopf 2008. Guardian Review of this superbly lyrical book here. “Aslam's Afghanistan is a Persian miniature under some terrible curse. Everywhere are moths, gold leaf, butterflies, precious stones, musk and civet, camphor, roses, birdsong, blossom, cluster-mines, booby-traps, judicial amputations. In Marcus's house, books are nailed to the ceiling to escape confiscation by the Taliban. In the abandoned perfume factory in the garden is the monumental head of a Gandhara Buddha, partly excavated. A corpse is covered in fragments of mirror-glass to scare away vultures.”

The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism by Andrew Bacevich, Metropolitan Books, August 2008

THE CIA AND THE CULTURE OF FAILURE by John Diamond, Stanford University Press, Sept. 2008. "A steady stream of intelligence failures in the 1990s occurred in every facet of CIA activity, from intelligence collection to analysis to counterintelligence to covert action," writes John Diamond in a new book on "The CIA and the Culture of Failure."

Weapons Grade: How Modern Warfare Gave Birth to Our High-Tech World by David Hambling, Da Capo Press, 2006

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, Riverhead 2007

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein, Picador (paperback) 2008

Review of new book by David Loyn , Butcher and Bolt: Two Hundred Years of Foreign Engagement in Afghanistan, Hutchinson 2008.

The Politics of Heroin: : CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade, Afghanistan, Southeast Asia, Central America, Columbia by Alfred McCoy, Lawrence Hill Books, May 2003. Mr. McCoy’s original stunner about SE Asia: See here .

Eric Margolis says: “Author Alfred McCoy's wrote a brilliant study in his ground-breaking `The Politics of Heroin' in which he documents how first French, then American intelligence was drawn into the heroin trade in Laos and Vietnam as a way of supporting anti-Communist guerilla fighters. The same thing happened in Central America where CIA collaborated with cocaine-dealing members of the anti-Communist Contras.”

John Pilger Behind the Façade: The Films of John Pilger

Descent into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan , Afghanistan, and Central Asia by Amid Rashid, Viking – June 2008. (see *** review In search of monsters to destroy by Pankaj Mishra, Guardian Review 04.10.08. "'Fiasco', 'The Forever War', 'Descent into Chaos' - the titles of recent books - capture the consensus on the US entanglement in Iraq and Afghanistan."

The Torture Team by Philippe Sands, Palgrave Macmillan, May 2008

Plunder: Investigating Our Economic Calamity and the Subprime Scandal by Danny Schechter, Cosimo Books, September 2008. [Danny knows more about the US and global financial world that anyone I know. Sign up for Danny’s excellent
Dissector daily email news and / or read his book. Watch his films, too!

The Making of Recent U.S. Middle East Policies Book Review by Bill and Kathleen Christison, Counterpunch / ICH. "Sniegoski’s new book demonstrates clearly how U.S. and Israeli policies and actions with respect to Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the other Gulf states, and even most recently Georgia are all tied together in a bundle of interrelated linkages, each of which affects all the others. / This is a long but quite splendid book."

The Guantanamo Files by Andy Worthington, Pluto Press (paperback), September 2007

Index Research articles on Afghanistan

Index Research on Pakistan, October 2008
Index on Afghanistan and Pakistan - Murder & Security, Aug/Sept. ’08




Autumn '07 in Afghanistan

Security Companies in Afghanistan (updated)

Afghanistan: Cleared of Wrongdoing

Schisms: Index on Afghanistan, August 2007

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

Index on Afghanistan: May 2007 Part I

Dead in Afghanistan: May 2007

Index on Afghanistan: April 2007: Murder in Nangarhar (updated)

Index on Afghanistan : March 2007

Index on Afghanistan : February 2007

Index on Afghanistan : January 2007

Index on Afghanistan : December 2006

Index on Afghanistan : November 2006

Index on Afghanistan : October 2006

Index on Afghanistan : September 2006

Index on Afghanistan (Updated to 31/08/06)

Index Research: The Pentagon and Oil


Sarah Meyer is an independent researcher living in the UK

In addition to those url sources mentioned, special thanks to Danny, Musafir , Ragnar and Winston .

The url to Index on Economics & Peril in Afghanistan, October 2008 Timeline is:

Shorter url is:

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