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

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Index on Afghanistan, December 2008 Timeline: “Graveyard of Empires”

by Sarah Meyer
Index Research
Digg thisEmail this

1. Preface: Airbrushing History in Afghanistan

Stalin was not the only person to carry out historical revisionism. This ‘negationism’ also happened in Japan. Germany’s holocaust denial was a shocker. Iraq has been the new focus for “deceptive semantics.”

Afghanistan is also getting its fair share of revisionism. A CRS Report for Congress , written by Kenneth Katzman and dated 27 August 2003, airbrushed the history of wars in Afghanistan. “Afghanistan is a fragile state attempting, with substantial U.S. help, to stabilize after more than 22 years of warfare including a US-led war, that brought the current government to power.” The report continues “Afghan citizens are enjoying new personal freedoms that were forbidden under the Taliban.” A read of all the Index on Afghanistan research articles will show this to be false. It is no wonder US ‘intelligence’ is in trouble with such a “mistaken interpretations”, for which the US government is well known. Further, the Pentagon merges public affairs with propaganda, assisted by the corporate media.

History is also suffering from a crisis of mismanagement within the State Department’s Historical Advisory Committee which does not bode well for historical integrity.

Obama has blamed Afghanistan and Pakistan, as being the ‘source’ of terrorism. He is wrong. This myopic AIPAC view, this disinformation ,needs immediate correction. Israel has occupied the Palestinian territories for 51 YEARS [?61?). This occupation is the ‘source’ of world terrorism. Now Obama has adopted Bush’s delusion of “progress”. The reality is Genocide .

There is talk these days of (new buzz word) “disproportionate” bombing. Tell me, what is proportionate bombing? Are those civilians - women and children - murdered in the Gaza strip, Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq or Afghanistan killed by "proportionate" bombs? It is the illegal and unjust wars that are disproportionate. Those who are silent about, or support these criminal actions are themselves criminals.

“Operation Legacy” is Bush’s attempt to airbrush his presidential years. The biggest lie these days is “PROGRESS”, One hears this word about every country where US policy FAILURE is endemic. “Progress in Afghanistan” is actually a “spiral downward.” The ongoing impasse at the Khyber Pass is historically reminiscent and symbolically represents the present failure.

‘Intelligence’ and Obama’s National Intelligence Team would do well to read David Loyn’s Butcher and Bolt (October 2008). The subtitle of this excellent book is “Two Hundred Years of Foreign Engagement in Afghanistan. The book focuses on the 19th century British, 20th century Russian and present US war in Afghanistan. The book “provides the definitive analysis of the lessons these conflicts have for the present day.” The same tactical mistakes are being made. This is most obvious with the British and Russian efforts to control the mountainous passes into Afghanistan; in their attitudes towards the mujahideen and Afghan people; the lack of cultural understanding; the historical tradition of the Afghan loathing of foreigners in their country. Loren Jenkins hauntingly recalls the Russian failures and notes the similarity with today’s Afghanistan.

The US/NATO war in Afghanistan relentlessly continues to be a disaster, now to be augmented by Gates’ call for more troops to support the so-called “War on Terror.” Despite warnings, Obama’s Pit Bull Parade seems intent on bloating the Pentagon budget during a severe global depression . The U.S. government's 'fear mongering' elite are preparing, says the ‘Making America Safer’ corporate brigade, for US civil violence.

One can ask, as do Normon Soloman, John H. Richardson (Esquire) and Les Blough (Axis of Logic) : Is Afghanistan Obama’s Vietnam?


(click to read chapter in which you are interested)

1. Preface: Airbrushing History in Afghanistan
2. Famine; Refugees, Women, Children & Health
3. Oil and Gas in Afghanistan & Pakistan
4. Aid in Afghanistan
(Report, Articles)
5. Opium in Afghanistan
6. Corruption in Afghanistan
(ICOS Report, Articles, Mullahs, Kidnapped)
7. The Taliban
8. The War in Afghanistan
(Warzone Timeline / Suicide attacks)
9. Obama:
(Cabinet: Ensuring Continuity; Flip Flops)
10. US in Afghanistan
(Reports, Troop Surge & Viewpoints)
11. Military Industrial Complex, Contracts; Contractors
(General, Transportation: The Khyber Pass)
13. US-NATO Coalition
((Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Rep., Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, UK)
14. Dead in Afghanistan
15. Human Rights
(Airbrushing History, 9/11, April Gallop, “War on Terror,” US Soldiers, Cluster Bombs, Prisons, Detainees, Rendition, Guantanamo, Torture, War Crimes: mass graves, Cheney; The Root of the Problem; Gaza Timeline
16. References


2. Famine; Refugees, Women, Children & Health

“After all, you’ve got girls are back in school; boys flying kites again; health clinics, the economy has more than doubled in size … George Bush 2008


"Underlying the expansion of Taliban presence is the international community's failure to deliver on the many promises of a better life made to the Afghan people in the wake of the invasion. Seven years on, most of the country still lacks basic amenities and the majority of the population struggle to secure necessities such as food and shelter, let alone a sustainable livelihood. Field research by ICOS has presented a picture of acute hardship and deep uncertainty, with the majority of respondents worried about feeding their families." ICOS report .


The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2008

UN/FAO estimated food security conditions, 4th Quarter 2008


Pakistan looting stops food aid convoys to Afghanistan
14.11.08. eye on the world.

AFGHANISTAN: WFP starts food aid deliveries to over five million people
24.11.08. irin news.

Winter of hunger looms in Afghanistan
27.11.08. Heidi Vogt, AP. As the days shorten and the nights grow colder, this winter threatens to be Afghanistan's most desperate in nearly two decades.

AFGHANISTAN: Hunger may cause deaths this winter, government warns
01.12.08. irin news.

Afghanistan on brink of famine, aid agency warns
12.12.008. Peter Goodspeed / ICH. Foreign aid organizations say food shortages and early snows may leave eight million Afghans -- 30% of the population -- on the brink of starvation this winter. Famine could easily overtake violence as the country's top problem.

Nearly 1 billion of the world’s people face chronic hunger
13.12.08. Oliver Richards, WSWS. The number of undernourished people in the world has increased from 923 million in 2007 to 963 million in 2008. This disturbing figure comes from a report on world hunger released on December 9 by the Rome-based UN Agency, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), entitled The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2008./ … The US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq have had a direct, negative impact on levels of undernourishment in the Near East and North Africa regions, which have generally experienced some of the lowest levels of undernourishment. The number of chronically hungry undernourished persons in the region nearly doubled, from 15 million in 1990-92 to 28 million in 2003-2005. This number has increased by 4.9 million in Afghanistan, and by 4.1 million in Iraq.

WFP calls for rescue package for the world's hungry
16.12.08. Relief Web. "Foreign aid organizations say food shortages and early snows may leave eight million Afghans -- 30% of the population -- on the brink of starvation this winter. Famine could easily overtake violence as the country's top problem.

AIHRC: Poverty in the rise in Afghanistan
10 million people in the country suffer from severe poverty, says the commission
RAWA News. Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) has expressed concerns over the increasing poverty in the country. According to the latest report by the commission, about ten million people in Afghanistan which make 37% of the population, suffer from severe poverty. Also a large number of people in Afghanistan earn less than Afg.50 (1.0 US$) in a day. The commis! sion has warned that if no attention is paid to this problem, the country will face a humanitarian disaster this winter. The Anti-natural Disasters Struggle Department (ADSD) has confirmed the report...


7 dry years add to misery in Afghanistan
12.12.08. sfgate. The dearth of water has ruined up to 80 percent of agriculture lands throughout the country and has severely affected 19 of the Islamic republic's 34 provinces, according to the Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock Ministry. During this same period, roughly 10 percent of all livestock - at least 1.5 million animals - have died due to shortages of water and food, according to aid agencies. / Moreover, more than two decades of conflict have prevented the expansion of modern irrigation systems, further exacerbating Afghanistan's water shortages. The drought and lack of development highlights the struggles facing rural communities where more than half of the population of 32 million live in poverty.

‘Charmak’ disease still killing people, livestock in west
16.12.08. Relief Web. Over 270 people have been diagnosed with a hepatic veno-occlusive disease (VOD), locally known as “camel belly” or ‘charmak’ disease, in the western province of Herat — and at least 44 deaths have been confirmed — since November 2007, provincial health officials told IRIN. / .. Animal husbandry and agriculture are the 2 main sources of income for people in Gulran District. Local people, however, say they now need emergency food aid because `charmak’ has badly affected their grain harvest and livestock.

AFGHANISTAN: Bleak forecast for agriculture
23.12.08. IRIN. Agricultural production will see no major increase in 2009 and Afghanistan will continue to rely on external assistance and food imports, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has said.

VIDEO: Afghanistan's looming food crisis (BBC. 21.10.08)


“Afghans with money,” he said, “want to move their families to Dubai or India; they’re looking at an exit strategy.” Perhaps, he suggested, America and its allies should start doing the same: “We’re not up to the task of success in Afghanistan.”
From article by Nir Rosen

UN concerned about reversed flow of Afghan refugees
01.12.08. mathaba. There is a now new wave of Afghan refugees who seek shelters in other countries, he [Knut Ostby] said.

Afghans caught in middle huddle in grim camp (03.12.08. Chicago tribune)

Villagers bombed in August still living with relatives
09.12.08. Irin. Mullah Gol Ahmad lost several members of his extended family when US forces dropped bombs on Azizabadvillage, Shindand District, Herat Province on 22 August. His house was destroyed and he and four members of his family have lived with relatives ever since. … / Akhtar Mohammad, whose house was also damaged in the incident, voiced similar concerns.

“Local integration” key to internal displacement – report
17.12.08. irin. Internal displacement in Afghanistan poses complex challenges, and finding ways of resolving the issue of tens of thousands of IDPs is “neither easy nor quick”, said the report entitled National Profile of Internally Displaced Persons in Afghanistan (NPIDP). / Excluding conflict displacement, which has been difficult to gauge due to access restrictions, the report said there were 235,833 IDPs nationwide. Most (166,153) had been displaced since 2001-2002. / “Internal displacement in Afghanistan is a highly complex phenomenon; its causes include not only armed conflict and natural disasters such as droughts and floods, but also inter-communal tensions and human rights violations.” ”Go home” policy no longer workable; Five categories: The report identified five categories of IDPs: protracted IDPs from 2001, new conflict-affected IDPs (mostly in insecure areas), returnees and deportees from neighbouring countries, IDPs as a result of food insecurity, and urban IDPs.

See Irin Refugee photos here.

VIDEO: A Refugee Crisis in Afghanistan (03.12.08. NY Times)


Conrad saw cruelty as an integral part of human nature. This cruelty arrives, however, in different forms. Stable, industrialized societies, awash in wealth and privilege, can construct internal systems that mask this cruelty, although it is nakedly displayed in their imperial outposts. We are lulled into the illusion in these zones of safety that human beings can be rational. The “war on terror,” the virtuous rhetoric about saving the women in Afghanistan from the Taliban or the Iraqis from tyranny, is another in a series of long and sordid human campaigns of violence carried out in the name of a moral good. Chris Hedges (22.12.08 Truthdig)

350 women in Afghan prisons, many for 'moral crimes:' UN
01.12.08. AFP. Afghanistan has some 12,500 prisoners, including 350 women, many of whom are being detained for "moral crimes" such as running away from home, the United Nations said on Monday. / "In 2001 in this country, there were around 600 prisoners and today they are around 12,500 -- 350 of them are women," Christine Oguz, head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Afghanistan, told reporters in Kabul.

A brave woman in Afghanistan
02.12.08. Guardian. When Malalai Joya, a young female Afghan politician [24] , spoke out against the presence of 'war criminals' in the affairs of state, she was expelled from parliament among shouts of ‘whore’ and ‘communist’. … / Sadly, the US seems to be giving a helping hand to these criminal warlords. In 2001 the US government invaded Afghanistan in the name of democracy, but it has betrayed our people by helping to power the bloodiest enemies of these values. The horrible regime of the Taliban was replaced by corrupt and brutal warlords and former Russian puppets. / The plight of victims such as these girls is my driving force. I will never give up my fight for justice, and I’ll continue to try to represent the millions of voiceless Afghan people – especially women and children – who are still being brutalised by fundamentalist warlords and the Taliban. Malalai Joya was speaking to Saundra Satterlee. For further information visit Joya's website at

Open Letter to Obama from a Voice for the Women of Afghanistan: What We Expect Is ‘Change’ From ‘Wars of Terror’
02.12.08. Orzala Ashraf, on-truth.blogspot. An increase in military troops worries us – we are concerned that it just means more house raids and more bombing of civilians. This is not a war that can be fought by military means. / .. The militarization of development aid has jeopardized the work of civilian humanitarian assistance organizations, and as a result, hundreds and thousands of people are deprived of basic health and educational opportunities. / .. at this point, seven years after the fall of the Taliban, the situation still deteriorates. / .. Women in Afghanistan, despite some claims to the contrary, are not liberated. Nor they can be liberated by an outside force.

Afghan women leaders face growing Taliban threats
04.12.08. AP/truthout.

Women Wed to Addiction Find Relief at Kabul Center
07.12.08. womens enews.

Siddiqui (cont)

Abduction, Torture, & Repeated Raping of Aafia Siddiqui
15.12.08. Stephen Lendman, uruknet. Post-9/11, the "war on terror" has been a jihad against Islam, the colonizers v. the colonized, or what Edward Said called "the familiar (America, Europe, us) and the strange (the Orient, East, them)." Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is one of its most tragic, aggrieved, and ravaged victims. Her ordeal continues horrifically. Boston Magazine's Katherine Oxment asked: "Who's afraid of Aafia Siddiqui? She went to MIT and Brandeis, married a (physician, lived in Boston), cared for her children....raised money for charities....did other volunteer work, hosted play groups in her apartment, (is) deeply religious....distribute(d) Korans to inmates in area prisons," and did nothing out of the ordinary. [Siddiqui] "was a normal woman living a normal American life. Until the FBI called her a terrorist....a high-profile Al Qaeda operative," but we've seen these charges before, and each time they were bogus. They're egregiously so against Aafia - a woman guilty only of being Muslim at the wrong time in America or elsewhere if you're on Washington's target list...

Shamsia Husainai, Photo AP

Afghan parents keep children home
12.12.08. BBC / anti-war. There has been a significant decline recently in the number of pupils, especially girls, attending school in the central province of Ghazni. / The provincial council says 15,000 pupils have stopped going to school so far this year. / Fifty schools have closed because of the security situation./ The Taleban denied it was responsible for last month's acid attack on schoolgirls in Kandahar province

World court inquiry sought in Afghan rapes
15.12.08. the star. The International Criminal Court should probe allegations some Canadian officers serving in Afghanistan told subordinates to look the other way when Afghan soldiers and local interpreters sodomized young boys, says one of Canada's leading human-rights lawyers. / .. In a story published yesterday in the Star, former Canadian soldier Tyrel Braaten said that during his tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2006, he witnessed Afghan interpreters bringing young boys inside buildings at Forward Operating Base Wilson, a remote Canadian base outside Kandahar. The boys were then sodomized by the interpreters and Afghan soldiers, Braaten said. / Other Canadian soldiers have complained to chaplains and military medical personnel that officers told them not to get involved because the sodomy was tantamount to "cultural differences."

Afghan Editor Receives Courage in Journalism Award
18.12.08. Feminist. Afghan journalist Farida Nekzad was honored by the International Women's Media Foundation with a Courage in Journalism Award for her support of women's rights and freedom of the press in Afghanistan. As the managing editor and deputy director of Pajhwok Afghan News, the leading independent news agency in Afghanistan, Nekzad has fought to increase opportunities for women in journalism. /… "For the last year, the situation is worse for women. There are no rights for women and they don't like women to be journalists," she said. Nekzad frequently changes cars while traveling to work and sleeps in different rooms of her house because she fears an attack. Despite repeated death threats and harassment, Nekzad has continued to report on the deteriorating security for women in Afghanistan and on the influence of Afghan warlords.

Afghan maternal mortality rate high
27.12.08. Washington Times. Doctors cite lack of facilities

VIDEO: Independent Lens 'MOTHERLAND AFGHANISTAN' (Preview PBS. 28.11.08: Nearly one in seven Afghan women die in childbirth.)


AFGHANISTAN: UN calls for more action to protect children
04.12.08. irin. "Parties to the conflict have to take proactive measures to safeguard children from being affected by the ongoing armed conflict, and we will engage them to support and oversee the design of appropriate measures that will prevent further violations," Kristine Peduto, UNICEF child protection specialist, told IRIN in Kabul on 2 December. / Over the past few years "grave violations" have been perpetrated against children by "parties to the conflict, both state and non-state actors", according to the UN. / .. “Children have been killed, maimed, sexually abused, arbitrarily detained, recruited as foot soldiers, used as suicide attackers and deprived of development and education,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a report to the Security Council in November.

Hospital ward at Kandahar Airfield is filled with Afghan children
10.12.08. Globe Trotter / ICH. In a land of IEDs, landmines and suicide bombers civilian casualties are commonplace in Afghanistan and are often mentioned in passing in news reports or for that matter not mentioned at all.

US bill might limit mily aid to Afghanistan
13.12.08 Frontier post. Under legislation adopted by the US Congress on December 10, 2008, governments identified as using child soldiers may no longer qualify for US military assistance, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a press release Friday. Government forces that continue to recruit children into their ranks are going to risk losing US military assistance, said Jo Becker, childrens rights advocate for Human Rights Watch (HRW). The legislation could affect six countries currently receiving US military training, financing, and other defense-related assistance of which Afghanistan is one

The Hazardous Life Of Afghan Children
19.12.08. VOA. In his first report to the United Nations Security Council on the situation of children and armed conflict in Afghanistan, U. N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon noted that children are being killed, exploited and abused in ever increasing numbers in the conflict-torn country. / According to the report, the use of children by armed forces and groups has been a serious problem throughout the 30 years of armed conflict in Afghanistan./ .. the Taliban continues to actively recruit children to be not only fighters, but also suicide bombers./ .. "violence against children, specifically of a sexual nature, occurs particularly during times of instability. The practice of 'bacha-baazi' (boy-play), consists of boys kept cloistered and used for sexual and harmful social entertainment by warlords and other armed group leaders."

Afghan parents selling their sons to survive
23.12.08. Telegraph. The trade in children is spurred by the battered country's economy and the failure of foreign aid to reach beyond the coffers of central government in the capital Kabul. see VIDEO here (channel 4 news)

Boys killed playing with mortar shell
27.12.08. FOUR boys have been killed and six wounded in eastern Afghanistan when a mortar shell exploded as they played with it. The children, all under 14, were struck by the device in the town of Gardez, Paktya province intelligence chief Ghulam Dastagir Rostumyar said.


UNICEF: Children and AIDS in Afghanistan (03.12.08)


VIDEO: Civilian casualties in Afghanistan (21.12.08, Clancy Chassay, Guardian/uruknet)

Bush: Much Progress in Afghanistan Since '01


Wali Sultani, a mentally ill patient, is chained in a small cell at Mia Ali Saeb Shrine in Samar Khel, Afghanistan. The patients, brought here by family members, are provided only water, black pepper and bread during the 40-day "treatment," which is believed to rid patients' bodies of bad spirits. (Tribune photo by Kuni Takahashi / November 12, 2008)

Afghanistan's mentally ill left to superstition
26.12.08. Kim Barker, Chicago Tribune. Wali Sultani has been chained to the wall of his cell for almost a month. He is wearing the same dirty clothes and he is eating the same diet every day—bread, black pepper and water. / Sultani, 25, is no criminal. He is mentally ill. / Like almost everything else in war-torn Afghanistan, the mental health system is in shambles, and many Afghans do not understand the concept of mental illness. So they bring people here, to this grubby shrine outside the eastern city of Jalalabad, and chain them to trees when the weather is hot and inside concrete cells when it is cold. And they leave them for 40 days so God can cure them.

3. Oil and Gas in Afghanistan & Pakistan

"The reality is that curbing terrorism was never the motive for the invasion of Afghanistan. The September 11 attacks were seized upon as the pretext for an intervention into the very heart of Central Asia, a resource-rich region that was part of the former Soviet Union until 1991. Far from being "aimless", the purpose of the ongoing occupation is to establish a US client state and major military bases in a region that is vital for American economic interests." WSWS (13.12.08)

30 trillion cubic feet gas lying trapped in Tight Reservoirs of Pakistan
11.12.08. There is a need to further develop local and foreign exploration and production companies and service sector to further strengthen the oil and gas producing capacity of the country, said a senior official sources in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources. / According to Pakistan Petroleum Exploration and Production Companies Association (PPEPCA) Technical Expert Committee the tight reservoirs are of poor quality and therefore require additional effort and expensive technologies to recover gas from them.

Obama and the Graveyard of Empires
26-8.12.08. Gary Leupp, Counterpunch. … / .. the focus will be on the competition for control over Central Asian oil and gas. That means a degree of control over Afghanistan that has eluded Washington since the invasion of 2001. … / (By the way: Afghanistan is scheduled to hold a presidential election in October 2009, and Afghan-American neocon politician Zalmay Khalilzad, one-time UNOCAL executive, Afghan kingmaker in 2002, former ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the UN, may well be a candidate.) Obama wants to “finish the job” in Afghanistan, a real war for oil in the guise of “the war on terror.”

A New Turn in the Afghanistan War and Occupation
31.12.08. PEJ. In reality, the aim of "fighting terrorism" is only for public relations consumption. There are stronger economic and geo-political motivations at work behind the Afghanistan occupation that bear no relation to the sound bites fed to the American people. These motivations revolve around the need of U.S. big business to assert its economic and political control over Central Asia's energy resources against all potential competitors. / The central reason behind the Afghanistan war and occupation is to gain control over an oil and natural gas transit route that can provide Europe with much of its energy, and to contain the influence of Russia, China, and Iran in the region.

4. Aid in Afghanistan


Aid and Civil-Military Relations in Afghanistan
28.11.08. BAAG and ENNA policy briefing.


Karzai: Obama promises Afghanistan more aid
23.11.08. CNN. Afghan President Hamid Karzai said President-elect Barack Obama assured him Saturday that the United States would send more aid and pay more attention to his war-torn country, according to Karzai's office, but Obama aides declined to confirm the call had included specific promises.

AFGHANISTAN: WFP starts food aid deliveries to over five million people
24.11.08. irin news.

Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Cuba to Get Russian Food Aid in 2009 – Ministry (28.11.08. istock analyst)

Aid and civil-military relations in Afghanistan
28.11.08. relief web. Across all provinces in Afghanistan, there are non-governmental organisations (NGOs) delivering assistance in the midst of violence and political instability. Their ability to implement programmes safely and effectively is increasingly jeopardised by the deteriorating security situation. In some districts, NGOs have significantly reduced their operations or even withdrawn entirely as their staff, projects and beneficiaries come under attack. [see report, above]

'Foreign militants entering Balochistan via Pak-Afghan border'
28.11.08. / ICH. 'Major chunk of Indian aid to Afghanistan being used to support anti-Pakistan quarters

Aid agencies ask for assistance to avoid humanitarian crisis
29.11.08. frontier post. Aid agencies working in Afghanistan reported to members of the UN Security Council visiting Afghanistan, that their operating environment is becoming increasingly difficult. Access to communities in need of assistance and protection is shrinking day by day. Thirty humanitarian workers have been killed so far in 2008 – twice as many as last year. Eighty have been kidnapped. Agencies have also had to suspend or modify operations in areas where they have worked for decades due to security concerns. If this trend continues, the people of Afghanistan could soon remain without assistance.

U.S. Ranks 17th in Assistance to Poorest Nations, Report Says(04.12.08. Bloomberg)

Germany continues winter aid in Afghanistan
04.12.08. Relief web. The Federal Foreign Office is making available another one million euro to the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to provide basic necessities to people in particularly remote regions.

German Aid Group Wants Action After Spying Revelations
09.12.08. dw-world. "We are astonished and puzzled to learn that a German constitutional body should have kept tabs on an independent German aid organisation," German Agro Action General Secretary Hans-Joachim Preuss wrote in a letter to Merkel.

UK gives aid package to Pakistan
13.12.08. BBC / anti-war. The UK is giving a £480m support package to Pakistan to help increase security on the Afghanistan border..

United Nations doubles Afghan aid budget
17.12.08. AFP. For 2009 its budget will be 150-160 million dollars, up from 81 million dollars in 2008.

“Local integration” key to internal displacement – report
17.12.08. irin. Aid agencies and the government must focus on “local integration” to help bring to an end long-term displacement, says a new report by an internally displaced persons (IDP) task force comprising government bodies, NGOs and the UN. / Such a policy, if favoured by the government, would require land distribution and the creation of basic infrastructure such as schools, health clinics and roads, it said.

The Pentagon is muscling in everywhere. It's time to stop the mission creep
21.12.08. Thomas A. Schweich, Washington Post. Until this year, the State Department received an average of about $40 million a year for rule-of-law programs in Afghanistan, according to the department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs -- in stark contrast to the billions that the Pentagon got to train the Afghan army. Under then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, the Defense Department failed to provide even basic security for the meager force of civilian police mentors, rule-of-law advisers and aid workers from other U.S. agencies operating in Afghanistan and Iraq, driving policymakers to turn to such contracting firms as Blackwater Worldwide. After having set the rest of the U.S. government up for failure, military authorities then declared that the other agencies' unsuccessful police-training efforts required military leadership and took them over -- after brutal interagency battles at the White House.

US to increase Pakistan’s military assistance by $300 million
22.12.08. daily times pk. This was part of a $3.2 billion US aid package agreed upon in 2003 and was evenly divided between military and economic assistance. / Validity: The new military aid package will be valid for the next five years. Sources said although it was initiated by the outgoing Bush administration, a change of government on January 20 will not impact the package

Little Blue Pills Among the Ways CIA Wins Friends in Afghanistan
26.12.08. Washington Post. Four blue pills. Vi*gra. "Take one of these. You'll love it," the officer said. Compliments of Uncle Sam.
The enticement worked. The officer, who described the encounter, returned four days later to an enthusiastic reception.
The Bush Doctrine and Viagra
26.12.08. Musafir’s Musings. The Bush administration has a policy of not allowing US aid funds being used by recipient nations for sex education and birth control -- for condoms. It was implemented to appease members of the so called Christian Right who are among Bush's core supporters. Yet, the CIA is doling out Viagra to Afghani men to win their support in the war.

Foreign aid workers too isolated to help Afghanistan's people
27.12.08. Concord Monitor. I agree with those in the military who have said that 80 percent of the struggle for Afghanistan is about reconstruction and sustainable economic development and only 20 percent about military operations. In the face of a heightened Taliban insurgency, the U.S. military has changed its tactics. But if civilian U.S. agencies do not change the ways they deliver economic assistance, they jeopardize their chances for success and risk alienating the Afghan people.

China offers fresh $11 mln aid to Afghanistan (30.12.08. Xinhuanet)

How It Should Be

Promoting peace in Afghanistan – with a lighter touch
26.12.08. Dana Harmon, CSM. Born out of the mantra that the war in Afghanistan cannot be won by military means alone, the mission of these small units – 26 in total – is to coordinate with local leaders and do development work – thus winning Afghan hearts and minds. / It was not always like this. As the war here began in October 2001, there was much talk about the need for reconstruction. But a RAND Corp. study found that, even as President Bush was promising a "Marshall Plan" for Afghanistan, the country received less assistance per capita than postconflict Bosnia, Kosovo, or Haiti, and less than half of what later would be spent in Iraq. / Last year, though, the budget for reconstruction projects here tripled, USAID development experts were shipped out by the dozens, and the PRTs were given new status. The US has now spent more than $32 billion on assistance to Afghanistan – 32 percent of which was allocated to development and humanitarian assistance. That number, according to the US State Department, will continue to climb in 2009.

A Foreign Face Beloved by Afghans of All Stripes
24.12.08. John Burns, NY Times. History has fostered a notion here that all foreign occupations of Afghanistan are ultimately doomed. There was the catastrophic retreat of a British expeditionary force in 1842. Nearly 150 years later came the Soviet troop withdrawal of 1989. Now, with the Taliban pressing in on this city and dominating the countryside, there are fears that this occupation, too, will eventually fail.
But whatever the outcome, Afghans of all ethnic and political stripes, even the Taliban, seem likely to count Alberto Cairo as one foreigner who left the country better than he found it. SLIDE SHOW.

5. Opium in Afghanistan

(Opium) Papaver Patty’s Plum © Sarah Meyer, Index Research


“Let Them Eat Promises”: Closing the Opium Poppy Fields in Balkh and its Consequences (pdf)
December 2008. Adam Paine, Afghan Conflict Monitor. In 2007, many pointed to the example of Balkh Province, where the reported area of opium poppy fell from 7200 hectares (ha) in 2005-06 to zero in 2006-07. Drawing on these area statistics, international agencies have claimed that incentives, and improvements in security and governance, preceded and led to the end of opium cultivation. Afghan officials offer a different interpretation of events and emphasise the failure to respond to the decline that has been achieved, effectively admitting that the closure was due to coercion. The field evidence presented in this report does not support claims that farmers’ decisions to stop cultivating opium poppy stemmed from the provision of incentives or development — nor does it find evidence of improved governance or security. If anything, conditions are worse. Moreover, the report discovered that the sudden closure of opium poppy cultivation in 2006 in Balkh has prompted a decline in livelihood security for many rural households, the effects of which have been compounded by the harsh winter and subsequent failure of the rains in early 2008. / … What could better counter-narcotic policy practice in Balkh have been? First, the coerced closure of opium poppy cultivation should not have been accepted; the guidelines of the NDCS should have been followed, requiring careful monitoring of processes of change and rejecting opium area as an appropriate indicator at this stage. Second, a better understanding should have been developed regarding the underlying drivers of opium poppy cultivation in the district. This would have prompted the realisation that off-farm prospects of employment for the effectively landless poor -- who make up the majority of households — would be extremely limited once the opium economy dried up, and that measures would need to be taken and interventions designed to address this.


Scots army chief: 'Afghan opium setback'
28.11.08. Times Online. A senior officer has admitted that the Army's efforts to curb opium production in Afghanistan have been “pretty patchy”. / In an interview with The Times, Brigadier Andrew Mackay, who commanded 52 Brigade when it headed Taskforce Helmand this year, said that work to eradicate poppy cultivation would be ineffective unless accompanied by a drive against the crime lords who fuel the opium trade and by provision of alternative jobs for poppy farmers.

New York Times Misleads on Taliban Role in Opium Trade
29.11.08. Jeremy R. Hammond, uruknet.

ANSF, Coalition forces disrupt militants’ narcotics activities
30.11.08. Centcom.

Switzerland voters approve permanent heroin assisted treatment program
01.12.08. JURIST. The government of Switzerland on Sunday announced that voters in a referendum have approved a measure making the country's heroin assisted treatment program (HAT) permanent. Sixty-eight percent of 2.26 million voters approved the permanent legalization of heroin while voting against a proposal for the decriminalization of marijuana by 63.2 percent The key difference between the two legalization schemes was scope. The legalization of heroin is limited to 21 outpatient clinics and two prisons where dist ribution is tightly controlled by prescriptions and given only to addicts who have been unsuccessfully treated elsewhere. In contrast, the proposed amendment to the federal constitution concerning marijuana would have broadly legalized the consumption, growing, and sale of cannabis for personal use.

Heroin seized 'on way from Afghanistan to Europe'
03.12.08. Telegraph. Security forces in Tajikistan have found more than 1,200 lbs of heroin and cannabis worth millions of pounds hidden in a lorry in the country's biggest ever drug seizure.

Afghan Led Operation Uncovers Drugs and Weapons in Southern Helmand
12.11.08. dvids.

Drug producers, smugglers under pressure?
10.12.08. Irin. Drought helps stem opium production; Corruption

Pleas of Afghan ex-poppy farmers
15.12.08. BBC. Farmers in this remote village in Sherzad district in eastern Afghanistan say they stopped growing poppies last year, and are now growing wheat, vegetables and maize instead. / More than a year ago, the Afghan government backed by international forces eradicated their poppy fields. / But locals say they are still waiting for the help they were promised.

Tackling the Afghan opium threat
15.12.08. Relief Web. Senior international counter-narcotics officials are meeting in Vienna this week to improve efforts to stem the supply of deadly drugs out of Afghanistan. / More than 50 countries and international organizations participate in the Paris Pact. / .. Afghanistan supplies more than 90 per cent of the world's opiates. Although recent data has shown that opium has become less important to the Afghan economy in 2008, the progress is fragile.

Drug trafficking on the rise
16.12.08. Khushwant Singh, straits times. DESPITE Singapore having some of the strictest drug laws in the world, newly-released figures suggest a growing number of heroin smugglers could be using the country as a transit point. / In the first nine months of this year, 46kg of heroin has been seized, nearly three times the total for the whole of last year. / .. Also, 11kg of this year's haul is the purest grade of the drug, heroin No. 4, which is rarely consumed here. It is injected by addicts and the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) believes that it was not meant for the local market; instead it was likely bound for the United States and Europe. / .. More heroin is flooding into Singapore mainly because of last year's bumper opium harvests in the Golden Triangle between Thailand, Laos and Myanmar, as well as in Afghanistan, by far the world's leading producer of the crop. / Opium is the raw material used in making heroin and the UNODC estimated that Afghanistan churned out 8,200 tonnes of it last year, almost doubling the global output of illegal opium from 2005.

Over 2 tons of drugs seized in Afghanistan
21.12.08. Xinhuanet. Afghan forces backed by the U.S.-led Coalition forces discovered and destroyed over two tons of drugs in a local school in southern Afghan province of Kandahar on Friday, said a Coalition statement released here on Sunday.

Heroin, schools and the heart of the insurgency
22.12.08. Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, Guardian. The relationship between the Taliban, police and poppy trade is quite simple, he added: "If we don't plant opium then smugglers don't make money. If we [the smugglers] don't make money the Taliban and police don't make money. The Taliban and the officials have a very strong relationship - if they don't then how can we do so much trade and travel to so many districts?"

Obstacle in Bid to Curb Afghan Trade in Narcotics
22.12.08. T. Shanker, NY Times. A drive by the NATO alliance to disrupt Afghanistan’s drug trade has been hobbled by new objections from member nations that say their laws do not permit soldiers to carry out such operations, according to senior commanders here. / .. NATO officials in Brussels declined to list the nations that have opposed widening the alliance mandate to include attacks on drug networks, and no nation has volunteered that it has legal objections. / But a number of NATO members have in broad terms described their reluctance publicly, including Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain. Their leaders have cited domestic policies that make counternarcotics a law enforcement matter — not a job for their militaries — and expressed concern that domestic lawsuits could be filed if their soldiers carried out attacks to kill noncombatants, even if the victims were involved in the drug industry in Afghanistan. / As has been the case in a whole range of combat operations mounted by NATO forces in Afghanistan, each country is allowed to state its reservations and opt out of missions that are viewed as too risky, either politically or militarily. Those “caveats” have been a source of enormous frustration to American commanders.

NATO Commanders Reluctant to Launch Anti-Drug Operations
24.12.08. anti-war. Getting NATO to agree to the US plan to dramatically escalate the war on drugs in Afghanistan was no small task. Tired of trying to persuade the nations of the necessity of the operation, perpetually exasperated General John Craddock lashed out at NATO allies in October, claiming those who didn’t agree with the US position “have not listened to the argument.”


Gen. James Jones on the future of Afghanistan (07.07)

Lost souls of Afghanistan's heroin trade (22.12.08 Guardian)

6. Corruption in Afghanistan


Corruption and Warlordism: A critical review of Corruption situation in Afghanistan
29.11.08. Abdul Basir Stanikzai. Corruption has become part of a complex triad (corruption, opium economy and terrorism) where warlords, insurgents, factional leaders, corrupt officials and drug dealers are contributing to its sustenance.

Policing in Afghanistan
18.12.08. International Crisis Group


Pervasive corruption fuels deep anger in Afghanistan
25.11.08. Chicago Tribune. "In the Afghan administration now, money is the law," said Bashardost, the former planning minister. "When you have money here, you can do anything. Afghanistan is the only country in the world where corruption is legal." / Not exactly legal, but definitely rampant. Increasingly, corruption is driving a wedge between the government and the Afghan people, who are growing more and more resentful of their leaders, experts say. And that poses an enormous challenge for President Hamid Karzai and the U.S.- and NATO-led forces intensifying their efforts to defeat a Taliban-led insurgency.

'Nobody supports the Taliban, but people hate the government'
27.11.08. Robert Fisk, Independent. "The 'open market' led many of us into financial disaster. Afghanistan is just a battlefield of ideology, opium and political corruption. Now you've got all these commercial outfits receiving contracts from people like USAID. First they skim off 30 to 50 per cent for their own profits – then they contract out and sub-contract to other companies and there's only 10 per cent of the original amount left for the Afghans themselves."

Pervasive corruption fuels deep anger in Afghanistan: Many long for harsh but clean rule of Taliban
28.11.08. Kim Barker, RAWA / uruknet. "In the Afghan administration now, money is the law," said Bashardost, the former planning minister. "When you have money here, you can do anything. Afghanistan is the only country in the world where corruption is legal." / Not exactly legal, but definitely rampant. Increasingly, corruption is driving a wedge between the government and the Afghan people, who are growing more and more resentful of their leaders, experts say. And that poses an enormous challenge for President Hamid Karzai and the U.S.- and NATO-led forces intensifying their efforts to defeat a Taliban-led insurgency. / Corruption is turning more people toward the fundamentalist Taliban, which is seen as clean in comparison.

The Broken Slate
28.11.08. Nir Rosen, the national. At the centre of the state, a very senior Western diplomat told me, “is an extremely weak president, a corrupt and ineffective ministry of interior, an army that will fight but has no command and control capabilities,” backed by “a dysfunctional international alliance.” “I’m very worried and negative,” he continued. “The analysis of our intelligence people is that things are getting worse.”

The rapid defeat of the Taliban – and the equally rapid establishment of a new government in Kabul – left power in the hands of the warlords who helped depose the Taliban. “I thought the Americans and the international community could succeed in 2001,” the former Taliban government official told me, “I thought we would get rid of the warlords, but in the first six months they supported the warlords and put them in power. There was hope at the elections, but the warlords won. Now they are in parliament, ministers, deputy ministers.” “The American intervention issued blank checks to these guys,” the senior NGO staffer said. “They threw money, weapons, vehicles at them. Anyone willing to work with the Americans was welcome.”

“The police are highly corrupt,” a senior UN humanitarian official in Kabul explained, “and they are at the centre of the collapse of the state and the Karzai government. They are involved in everything from corruption to harassment. Locals feel alienation from police and they have been the best promoters of the Taliban. The police make them support the Taliban.” The British intelligence officer was more blunt. “People might hate the Taliban,” he said, “but they hate the government just as much. At least the Taliban have rules.”

Surge of 'phantom' female voters in Afghanistan
05.12.08. Jerome Starkey, Independent. Afghan women appear to be massively outnumbering male voters in one of the most conservative parts of the country, amid allegations of widespread fraud designed to re-elect President Hamid Karzai in next year's polls. / Western officials admit the figures are "completely implausible", given the region's entrenched Pashtun values which make it difficult for women to register in person. "We know the figures are hyped but no one is doing anything about it," said a diplomat in Kabul. … / The practice raises the prospect of phantom voters being counted in the 2009 elections. The UN has no official oversight role and none of the foreign diplomatic missions are in charge of monitoring the registration process, although Britain is helping bankroll the operation. … / Questions have already been raised over voter registration figures in neighbouring Logar province, which saw a 50-50 split between men and women. The UN spokesman in Kabul, Adrian Edwards, said: "In some provinces there has been registration fraud, principally in Logar and Paktia. But that doesn't translate | into election fraud."

Warlords Toughen US Task In Afghanistan
09.12.08. afghan conflict monitor/Time

Ex-minister slates UK policy on Afghanistan
11.12.08. P. Wintour, Guardian. The former Foreign Office minister [Kim Howells] with responsibility for Afghanistan yesterday accused the country of being corrupt "from top to bottom", and said the international community had wrongly treated President Hamid Karzai with kid gloves. / "Institutionally, Afghanistan is corrupt from top to bottom. There are few signs that the chaotic hegemony of warlords, gangsters, presidential placemen, incompetent and under-resourced provincial governors and self-serving government ministers has been challenged in any effective way by President Karzai. / On the contrary, those individuals appear to be thriving, not least because Hamid Karzai has convinced himself that he cannot afford to sack or challenge the strongmen who, through corruption, brutality, power of arms or tribal status are capable of controlling their territories and fiefdoms." / He told MPs that British public support for the war in Afghanistan was fragile. The government, he said, "will be asked, quite properly, why the lives of our service personnel should be risked ... We will be asked why we are fighting to preserve what looks remarkably like a regime that is being undermined by corrupt cliques that have access to the highest levels." / He said the government had to change its "daft" rhetoric on the war. "Forget the nonsense about being prepared to fight on the mountains and plains of Afghanistan for 30 years. People will not accept the notion that British families should send their sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters to risk their lives fighting religious fanatics, tribal nationalists, corrupt warlords and heroin traffickers in one of the most godforsaken terrains on the face of the earth. The notion is daft, however much we may try to rationalise it by arguing that it is better to fight al-Qaeda over there than over here."

FACTBOX-Key facts about Afghanistan's security forces
11.12.08. Reuters / anti-war. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on a visit to Afghanistan on Thursday that he wanted to speed up efforts to double the size of the Afghan army to 134,000 troops./ But the U.S. general in charge of their training said the expansion would be faster if it were not for endemic corruption in the Afghan forces. [ following are key facts about security forces]

INTERVIEW-Corruption holds back Afghan army expansion
11.12.08. Jon Hemming, Reuters. Endemic corruption is one of the main obstacles to the Afghan army and police being able to take over their country's security duties, the U.S. general in charge of their training said on Thursday./ .. commanders recognise that any "surge" in foreign troops can ultimately only buy time to expand for the Afghan army and police to learn to stand on their own feet. / "The final point is corruption, corruption, corruption; it is endemic," U.S. General Robert Cone, commander of the force that trains the Afghan army and police, told Reuters in an interview.

Afghan Mistrust In Justice System Pronounced
12.12.08. Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, npr. In Afghanistan, people say they are losing faith in their government amid growing insecurity and rampant corruption. But nowhere is people's mistrust of public institutions more pronounced than in the justice system. / Seven years after the West began rebuilding the country, experts say the court system is little more than a complicated maze fraught with graft. Afghan officials admit bribe-taking is rampant. Some say former warlords and strongmen exert undue influence on cases.

The Other Front
14.12.08. Sarah Chayes, Washington Post. In the seven years I've lived in this stronghold of the Afghan south -- the erstwhile capital of the Taliban and the focus of their renewed assault on the country -- most of my conversations with locals about what's going wrong have centered on corruption and abuse of power. "More than roads, more than schools or wells or electricity, we need good governance," said Nurallah during yet another discussion a couple of weeks ago.

Afghan police must fight crime, not Taliban: ICG
17.12.08. Washington Post. "The U.S. military, the dominant actor, still mainly sees the police as an auxiliary security force rather than an enforcer of the law. The Afghan National Police is ill equipped for this role," the ICG said in its report.

Afghan Commerce Minister Impeached By Parliament
18.12.08. rferl. Afghan Commerce and Industry Minister Mohammad Amin Farhang, who has been accused of collusion with gas distributors, has been impeached by the lower house of parliament, RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan reports.

50 Afghan cops held for helping Taliban
30.12.08. . The age / ICH. The Afghan government disarmed and arrested about 50 Afghan policemen, suspected of corruption and helping the Taliban, while a dozen others defected to the Taliban, a provincial official said on Tuesday.

7. The Taliban

“The Soviet soldiers in Afghanistan had called the rebels ‘dukhi’, Russian for ghosts, never knowing when they would arrive, never understanding how they could slip away suddenly, the only explanation being that they had other-worldly assistance. Nadeem Aslam, The Wasted Vigil (p. 79).


Struggle For Kabul: The Taliban Advance(Pdf)
12.2008. ICOS (formerly Senlis Council). Report. Content:

1. The Taliban are back: Situation update December 2008
2. Advance of the Taliban: maps
3. Full Methodology for the Afghanistan and Kabul Maps
4. Taliban Tactics: The Secret of Their Success
5. Inverting the Pyramid: New Architecture Counter Insurgency Theory. In this chaptue, there is a section called New Global Security Architecture required: “There is manifestly a requirement for a new global security architecture to deal with conflicts and in particular ‘War on Terror’ conflicts. The current rulebook on how the International Community approaches conflict needs to be rewritten. A new system of conflict management is needed to both plan for the worst situation while hoping for the best. There must be sufficient contingency planning to handle the most complex of security challenges. Unfortunately, the present infrastructure cannot respond effectively to what we have now, let alone future worst case scenarios. Classic security instruments such as military intervention and intelligence must continue to be fully supported - but other elements such as sustainable job creation and development should also be seen as key security instruments, along with the development of the rule of law, effective counter-narcotics policies, literacy, a free and open media and civil society and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. This New Architecture must provide a structure for intervention as a threat containment tool - a way to ensure security by minimising current threats or preventing them from escalating into full-blown insurgencies with linkages to militant Islamist groups.”

Taliban presence Afghanistan Nov. 2007

November 2008 ICOS map of Afghan resistance in control of 72% of country

Taliban in 72 pct of Afghanistan, think-tank says
08.12.08. J. Hemming, Reuters. The findings by the International Council on Security and Development (ICOS) come in the wake of a series of critical reports on Western-led military and development efforts to put an end to the seven-year Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan. / The U.S. government is conducting a wide-ranging review of strategy aimed at countering the Taliban guerrilla and bombing campaign which analysts agree has grown in both scale and scope in the last year. / But while the trends in the ICOS report reflected prevailing sentiment on Afghanistan, many of its findings appeared flawed and contained some glaring errors, security analysts said. … / ICOS said the Taliban are "closing a noose" around the Afghan capital, Kabul, "establishing bases close to the city from which to launch attacks ... Using these bases, the Taliban and insurgent attacks in Kabul have increased dramatically".

(see also:)

ICOS: Afghan Resistance Controls 72% of Afghanistan: 3 of 4 roads leading out of Kabul "compromised"
08.12.08, L. Blough, Axis of Logic / uruknet. Compare the changes in Afghan Resistance control of Afghanistan in the last 12 months reported by a highly credible think-tank, the International Council on Security and Development (ICOS). Note that the U.S. and NATO fiercely deny the credibility of ICOS numbers and Reuters is running interference by carpeting the Internet with these denials when reporting on the ICOS findings, but never showing the latest revealing map or from ICOS. 2 maps.
Afghan govn. in denial
In New Strategy, U.S. Will Defend Kabul Environs


'Nobody supports the Taliban, but people hate the government'
27.11.08. Robert Fisk, Independent. The collapse of Afghanistan is closer than the world believes. Kandahar is in Taliban hands – all but a square mile at the centre of the city – and the first Taliban checkpoints are scarcely 15 miles from Kabul. Hamid Karzai's deeply corrupted government is almost as powerless as the Iraqi cabinet in Baghdad's "Green Zone"; lorry drivers in the country now carry business permits issued by the Taliban which operate their own courts in remote areas of the country.

The Broken State
28.11.08. Nir Rosen, the (Nir Rosen reports from Kabul and its surrounding provinces as the Taliban attempt to wrest control from Hamid Karzai's government) The situation in Afghanistan is not as bad as you've heard – its worse. “There are too many symptoms of Afghanistan’s decline to inventory, but the roads are an easy place to start, a clear sign of the shrinking zone of order that now barely reaches beyond the outskirts of Kabul. We were driving on the “ring road”, the most critical thoroughfare in Afghanistan, and the fastest, most direct and practical way of travelling between major cities – if you ignore the mounting risk. It is the only road that even resembles a motorway in Afghanistan, and the only viable route for large supply convoys. The only alternatives are small provincial roads, many just gravel or dirt – on which a journey can take days rather than hours. The section of the ring road between Kabul and Kandahar, rebuilt with international funds in 2003, was a crucial connection between the two main American bases at Bagram and Kandahar and linked the two halves of the country, reducing a two-day trip to six hours. Now bridges along the route have been destroyed, and the transport of supplies to support the Afghan government and coalition forces has become difficult. The Taliban continue to mount audacious ambushes against convoys, destroying dozens of lorries at a time and killing some of the drivers. / The provinces of Wardak and Logar, which border Kabul to the south and east, lay between Kabul and Ghazni; both have descended into chaos, and it was in Wardak that the Taliban destroyed a convoy of 54 lorries in June.

As I saw on the road to Ghazni, the Taliban have succeeded in essentially cutting off Kabul from the rest of the country. The road southwest to Kandahar was lethal. “The Kabul to Ghazni road is gone,” a British intelligence officer told me, “the Ghazni to Gardez road is exceedingly bad, the Wardak road is sh***, the Jalalabad road is sliding. The ambushes have become routine.”

Tribal leaders to sabotage West's assault on Taliban
04.12.08. J. Starkey, Independent. Plan to enlist local militias threatens to backfire. America's plans to enlist Afghan militias in the war against the Taliban are running into difficulties while still in their infancy. In eastern Paktia province, the white-bearded Afghan village elders who are crucial to the "Afghan awakening", are threatening to unite against the Americans unless such night raids by US special forces are halted. Examples of American horrors.

Who Are the Taliban?
04.12.08. Anand Gopal, Tom Dispatch. Just three years ago, the central government still controlled the provinces near Kabul. But years of mismanagement, rampant criminality, and mounting civilian casualties have led to a spectacular resurgence of the Taliban and other related groups. Today, the Islamic Emirate enjoys de facto control in large parts of the country's south and east. According to ACBAR, an umbrella organization representing more than 100 aid agencies, insurgent attacks have increased by 50% over the past year. Foreign soldiers are now dying at a higher rate here than in Iraq. / Who exactly are the Afghan insurgents? / … The movement is a mélange of nationalists, Islamists, and bandits that fall uneasily into three or four main factions. The factions themselves are made up of competing commanders with differing ideologies and strategies, who nonetheless agree on one essential goal: kicking out the foreigners.

Defections hit Afghan forces
04.12.08. After fighting the Taliban for the past seven years, many working for the Afghan security forces are now switching sides./ .. some 70 police and soldiers have switched allegiances across the western region in the past two months.

In the lair of the Taliban
07.12.08. Nir Rosen, Sunday Times.

Taliban gains could lead to political crisis
07.12.08. Chris Sands, uruknet. Insurgents have made substantial progress in Afghanistan this year and now pose a serious threat to the forthcoming presidential elections, analysts warn. Record numbers of civilians and foreign soldiers have been killed in 2008, but the death tolls are only half the story. Observers of the conflict say the rebels are winning, having taken new ground and adopted more sophisticated tactics. They do not regard defeat for the government and its foreign allies as inevitable, but they do say the state’s future is hanging precariously in the balance. If violence continues to rise in the spring and summer, a political crisis could develop...

Policing Afghanistan
08.12.08. Letter from Pashmul, New Yorker.

Where the Taliban Gets Their Money
11.12.08. J. Ditz, anti-war. One company reported spending 25% of its security money to the Taliban, while another company is reportedly on such good terms with the militants that they send fighters to escort their convoys. / It provides an interesting alternative explanation for the recent attacks on NATO vehicles around Peshawar, perhaps the depots fell behind on their protection fees. [see NATO Transportation, below]

U.S. at disadvantage in Afghan insurgent hotbed
11.12.08. Jason Motlagh in Jalrez Valley, sfgate. In the past year, the Taliban and other insurgent groups in Wardak have increased their attacks by 58 percent, the U.S. military says. And with deadly frequency, the militants use the valley to launch attacks on Kabul and a national highway that is the economic lifeline to the southern part of the country. / As a result, they have made alarming gains in Wardak. A shadow Taliban government collects taxes and runs roadside checkpoints, according to intelligence reports and residents, while fighters - many of them foreign - are largely free to train and stash arms and kidnap victims with little interference. / The surging Taliban, the weakness of Afghan security forces, and the prospect of mass voter intimidation ahead of next year's national elections have forced the U.S.-led coalition to pay closer attention to Wardak, and in particular, the Jalrez Valley.

Face to face with the Taliban
14.12.08. Ghaith Abdul, Guardian. Exclusive report from a Taliban veteran's compound in Afghanistan and on the battlefield

As Taliban nears Kabul, shadow gov't takes hold
27.12.08. J. Straziuso, AP. The Taliban has long operated its own shadow government in the most dangerous parts of Afghanistan, but its power is now spreading north to the doorstep of Kabul, according to Associated Press interviews with a dozen government officials, analysts, Taliban commanders and Afghan villagers.

Afghan Taliban urge Muslims to rise up over Gaza raids (29.12.08. Reuters)

Afghan police join the Taliban (30.12.08. Quqnoos/uruknet)


Rise in crime, kidnapping, top Afghans’ worries
25.11.08. Anand Gopal, CSM. Western forces target the Taliban, but for many Afghans the biggest threat comes from criminals and complicitous police. … / About 60 businessmen are kidnapped per year, mostly by organized criminal syndicates that demand huge ransoms, according to the Afghanistan International Chamber of Commerce. With many businesses wary of entering such an environment, private investment in the country dropped almost by half from 2006 to 2007,

Taliban frees 2 kidnapped Afghan journalists
30.11.08. J. Straziuso, N. Khan, AP. The two journalists freed late Saturday are Dawa Khan Menapal of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and Aziz Popal, who worked for a local TV station in Kandahar, said Gulab Shah Alikheil, the deputy governor of Zabul province.

French aid worker freed in Afghanistan
03.12.08. AP.

Taliban kidnaps seven in Afghanistan, one dead
14.12.08. Times of India. "One of the six musicians abducted on Saturday by Taliban was found dead in the district. We have no information on the fate of the other five," [Hameedullah Jowak] said./ The Taliban claimed responsibility

Taliban abduct Indian Cook, demand Rs 1 crore ransom
25.12.08. Times of India.

VIDEO: Kidnapping threat to businessmen in Afghanistan (Aljazeera, 10 Dec 08)

Mullah Mohammed Omar

Taliban Leader Warns U.S, NATO Not to Send New Troops to Afghanistan
05.12. 08. Right Side News/uruknet. The latest issue of the Taliban monthly e-journal Al-Sumoud, posted December 2, 2008 on the Islamist forum Al-Faluja, contains a message by Taliban leader Mullah Omar. In it, Mullah Omar warns the U.S. and NATO not to send new troops to Afghanistan, as this will only lead to more NATO casualties. He states further that the global financial crisis is the result of the U.S.'s "failing belligerent policy," and calls on Muslims to support the mujahideen in Iraq and Palestine. He warns the mujahideen against internal strife, and stresses that resisting American influence in the region is a common interest of Afghanistan and its neighbors.

Mullah Omar calls on Afghans to boycott election
07.12.08. Khaleej Times / ICH. "Do not allow yourselves to be deceived by this dishonest election announcement. In reality, the choice will be made in Washington," he said in an email released on the eve of the Eid-ul-Adha festival in Afghanistan.

Taliban urges Western troops to leave Afghanistan
07.12.08. Wired / anti-war. Taliban chief Mullah Mohammad Omar urged Western forces on Sunday to take a "golden opportunity" to leave Afghanistan before thousands of their troops were killed in the Islamist group's renewed insurgency.

Glory At Hand: The Psychology Of The Taliban
08.12.08. Adeel Malik, uruknet. ...Faced with the dilemma of facing a humiliating defeat in Afghanistan or leaving in retreat, the US government has publicly admitted that its stooge government of Hamid Karzai is trying to negotiate with the Taliban. The Taliban leader Mullah Omar has said that he will not negotiate with anyone unless foreign forces leave Afghanistan. Just consider the irony of this situation. Just try to remember the countless movies that you have seen in which a senior US official says: "We do not negotiate with the terrorists!" And that’s the most important dialogue of the whole film. And now the situation has changed. Now those same people are trying to negotiate with the Taliban and the Taliban are saying: "We don’t negotiate unless our conditions are met" And that "We will kick foreign forces out of Afghanistan"...

Mulla Omar denies talks with Karzai govt, Saudi mediation
24.12.08. int news / anti-war.

Taliban chief proposes formula to end crisis in Afghanistan
20.12.08. Xinhuanet. "Peacekeeping troops from Muslim countries should replace the NATO and U.S. troops to ensure a smooth transition until the Afghans can reach a consensus government”; / .. he also demanded the consolidation of the Taliban fighters into the Afghan army and amnesty for them./ .. warned to intensify attacks on foreign troops if the White House sends additional troops to Afghanistan.

Taliban Unimpressed by Promised US Surge
21.12.08. anti-war. Mullah Omar Warns US Will Face Same Fate as Soviets

Abdul Rashid Dostum

Afghan warlord Dostum is 'everyone's friend'
11.12.08. T. Lasseter, McClatchy. The name Dostum means "everyone's friend," and in a certain sense that sums up the political career of Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum: from Soviet-supported militia leader during the Russian occupation of Afghanistan to close ally of the United States after 9-11.

8. The War in Afghanistan (Warzone Timeline, Suicide Attacks)

It was a pattern repeated throughout the war – a tough fight, then an absent enemy and an easy march forward – violence, deception, feint. Everything was an illusion.” David Loyn, writing on the 2nd Anglo-Afghan War in 1878.


On Killing Civilians

'I was still holding my grandson's hand - the rest was gone'
16.12.08. Clancy Chassay, Guardian. … … "The anti-American feelings in Afghanistan are not just coming from conservative or religious elements," said Shukria Barakzai, a female MP. "These feelings stem from the actions and military operations of the foreign troops. The anti-western sentiment is directly because of the military actions, the civilian casualties, and the lack of respect by foreign troops for Afghan culture."

“There were 1,798 civilians killed in insurgency-linked action in the first 10 months of this year.” IHRC.


Clash Leaves Civilian Dead in Afghanistan
23.11.08. NY Times. A joint patrol of American and Afghan security forces killed a civilian and two armed insurgents during an operation in the southern province of Zabul, the American military command said Sunday. / The American account, however, ran counter [it usually does) to a report by a top elected Afghan official in the region, who said that four civilians had been killed in the clash.


British troops in fatal Kabul shooting
28.11.08. guardian. Afghans pelted police with stones today after British troops shot dead a local civilian and injured three others following a "misunderstanding" in Kabul, according to officials and witnesses.

Afghans riot in Kabul after civilian killed REUTERS

Afghans riot in Kabul after civilian killed
28.11.08. Reuters. Dozens of angry Afghans pelted police with stones after a convoy of foreign contractors rammed a minivan off a road and one civilian was killed and three more wounded in the Afghan capital on Friday, witnesses said. / Seething resentment against the presence of some 65,000 foreign troops is growing in Afghanistan after scores of Afghan civilians have been killed in a series of mistaken air strikes this year. / Rioting began after a convoy of foreign contractors hit a grey minivan off a main road in eastern Kabul, witnesses said. / .. The Kabul chief of police had earlier said British soldiers had opened fire on the minivan, but ISAF said none of its troops fired their weapons during the incident. / .. Afghans often blame the presence of foreign troops for attracting suicide bombs

Afghan anger over another civilian killed
28.11.08. Al jazeera . "This morning a convoy of British troops were passing here and they had a misunderstanding with a civilian vehicle. The troops opened fire and killed one civilian and wounded three more," Mohammad Ayoub Salangi, Kabul's police chief, told Reuters news agency.

Badghis Province

Two UK occupation force soldiers killed in Afghanistan
27.11.08. Guardian / ICH. Insurgent attack in Helmand brings number of British soldiers killed in Afghanistan to 128.
Taliban kill 13 Afghan troops in ambush
28.11.08. AP. Taliban insurgents killed 13 Afghan troops in an ambush of their convoy in northwestern Afghanistan, while NATO-led troops fired on insurgents inside Pakistan, officials said Friday.


Taliban in dress, 52 others killed in Afghanistan
29.11.08. AP. The U.S. forces targeting the commander surrounded a house Friday in Ghazni province and ordered everyone inside to leave, a military statement said. / Six women and 12 children left the building, but while soldiers were questioning the women they discovered one was actually a man dressed in a burqa, the traditional all-encompassing dress that most Afghan women wear. The man, later identified as the targeted commander Haji Yakub, tried to attack the soldiers and was killed, the military said.

20 Killed As Taliban Ambush Afghan Troops
28.11.08. IHT / ICH. Taliban insurgents killed 13 Afghan troops in an ambush of their convoy in northwestern Afghanistan, while NATO-led troops fired on insurgents inside Pakistan, officials said Friday.

Zhari district

Coalition forces strike into heart of Zhari district - killing 21 Taliban
28.11.08. Canadian press. Canadian press. A Canadian-led occupation force has completed a major operation in the heart of the Zhari district that has left 21 Taliban dead and several others in custody.


Female UN employee shot dead in E. Afghanistan
30.11.08. Xinhuanet / ICH. One Afghan female employee of UN has been killed by unknown gunman in Surkh Rod district of Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan, said a UN statement released here on Sunday.


Roadside bombing kills U.S. mercenary in S Afghanistan
30.11.08. Xinhuanet / legitgov. Roadside bombing targeting one U.S. (private security) mercenary company USPI on Sunday left one Afghan employee dead and another injured in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan, said an Afghan official. Zalmai Ayubi, spokesman for the provincial government, told Xinhua that the incident occurred at around 11 a.m. (0630 GMT) when a vehicle laden with explosive material was blown off by remote control in the Spinboldak highway near airport and NATO military base there.


Gunmen on motorbike kill governor in Afghanistan
01.12.08. new kerala / ICH. Two Taliban fighters on motorbike shot dead a district governor in southern Afghanistan Monday morning, the latest in a series of assassinations of senior provincial officials. / Abdul Rahim Desiwal, governor of Andar district in Ghazni province, was killed in front of his house in the provincial capital,


US forces kill 10 Taliban militants in Afghanistan
03.12.08. AP. Seven militants were killed during a clash with a joint U.S.-Afghan patrol in the Nad Ali district of the southern Helmand province on Tuesday, the military said in a statement.


Two Danish soldiers killed in Afghanistan
04.12.08. AFP. The soldiers were killed when clashes erupted with enemy forces while they were on patrol about eight kilometers (five miles) south of the town of Gereshk in the Helmand province, the statement said.


Troops in Afghanistan Kill Militants, Detain Suspects
05.12.08. dvids. With help from coalition troops, Afghan security forces killed two militants and detained two others today in the Shindand district of western Afghanistan's Herat province, military officials said.


Two civilians killed in southern Afghanistan
06.12.08. Hindustan Times. Two civilians have been killed and six others wounded in the southern Afghan province of Helmand today, the British military said. / It was not immediately clear how the civilians were hurt, but local media said the casualties were the result of a foreign military air strike.
Taliban and civilians hit by bombardment
06.12.08. AFP/anti-war. Four Taliban militants were killed and at least four civilians injured on Saturday as international forces bombed two houses in southern Afghanistan after a patrol was attacked, officals said. / The air strike targeted the village of Shena Kali in the Nadali district of Helmand, a hub of Taliban fighters and the main opium production centre in the south of the country.

Twelve insurgents, five soldiers killed in Afghanistan
07.12.08. AFP. Twelve Taliban militants and five Afghan soldiers were killed in separate violence across the country over the weekend, officials said Sunday. / Most the militants died when they attacked a police post in Afghanistan's restive southern Helmand province late Saturday, triggering a gunbattle that also left policemen wounded.

Logar Province, Kabul

NATO kills Taliban commander in targeted operation
09.12.08. AP. NATO and Afghan forces killed a Taliban commander [Mohammad Bobi] during a targeted operation just south of Kabul in a province militant fighters have poured into this year, the NATO-led force said Tuesday.

Qalat, Zabul

6 Afghan police, civilian killed in mistaken U.S. strike
10.12.08. globe and mail / anti-war. A U.S. military statement says the deaths early Wednesday resulted from a “tragic case of mistaken identity on both parts.” / The statement says the police fired on the U.S. forces after the troops battled and killed an armed militant close to a police station in the city of Qalat, the capital of Zabul province. Thirteen Afghans were wounded in the firefight. / Gilani Khan, the deputy provincial police chief, says the attack collapsed the police station's roof. More here (NY Times).


US Bombs Afghan Police Station, Killing Seven
10.12.08. anti-war. According to Zabul Province’s deputy governor, the special forces did not inform the police they were going to be in the area, and they assumed they were Taliban attacking the village. The US forces assumed that the police station was a militant hideout and called in a strike. / .. Afghan officials warned that the growing number of Afghan forces killed or wounded by international forces may strain ties between the allies.

Tarin Kowt, Oruzgan

Two killed in Afghanistan market blast
10.12.08. AFP. The device went off Tuesday in the centre of a market north of Tarin Kowt, the capital of Oruzgan province, provincial police chief Juma Gul Himat told AFP./ "A seven-year-old child and an adult were killed and nine other civilians, including four children, wounded, but their lives are not in danger."


4 Killed in Shooting by U.S. at a Bus Carrying Afghans
12.12.08. AP / NY Times. United States soldiers opened fire on a bus carrying civilians Friday in central Afghanistan, killing four passengers after the driver refused to stop, military officials said./ .. At least 10 passengers were wounded.. / The United Nations said in September that 577 Afghan civilians had been killed this year by American, NATO and Afghan troops, a 21-percent increase from 2007.


Seven killed in Afghan violence
13.12.08. AFP / anti-war. A police officer and six militants have been killed in military operations in southern Afghanistan, the US-led and Afghan forces said Saturday. / The police officer died in a gun battle Friday set off when the two forces raided a manufacturing and storage facility for explosives in the southern province of Helmand, the coalition said.


Three Canadian Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan, AFP Reports
14.12.08. Bloomberg/anti-war. The three soldiers were killed and another wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near their armored vehicle while on patrol in the Arghandab district of southern Kandahar province,


35 Taliban militants killed in 'clean-up': Afghan commander
14.12.08. AFP. General Muhaidin Ghori, army commander for southern Afghanistan, said the militants had been killed in an ongoing joint NATO and Afghan security forces operation launched on Thursday in Helmand province. / "We cleared Nad Ali district of Taliban presence," the general said, adding the 35 dead Taliban included three rebel commanders.


40 Taliban killed in Nato-Afghan action
15.12.08. asian age / ICH. The operation in the Nad Ali and Murja districts of Helmand province began on Thursday and continued through Monday, said Dawood Ahmadi, spokesman for Helmand's governor. / Mr Ahmadi said that 40 militants have died in the operation, though he said that government officials had recovered only seven bodies, which were given to tribal elders for burial. Ahmadi said the government knows another 33 fighters were killed through intelligence sources.

Gereshk area, Helmand

British soldier killed by enemy gunfire in Afghanistan the fifth to die in three days
16.12.08. Daily Mail. The soldier from 29 Commando Royal Artillery was at a Forward Operating Base in the Gereshk area of Helmand Province when he was wounded. / He received immediate medical treatment and was taken by helicopter to the ISAF military hospital at Kandahar but subsequently died of his wounds.

Lashkar Gha, Helmand

Taliban attack leaves 2 policemen dead in S. Afghanistan
16.12.08. Taliban rebels killed two policemen and wounded three more in a sneak-raid on one police checkpoint in southern Afghan province of Helmand early Tuesday morning, Assadullah Sherzad, the provincial police chief said. / Sherzad told Xinhua the incident occurred at the wee hours on Tuesday when a group of insurgents launched assault at the police post in southwestern Lashkar Gha city, capital of Helmand province, sparking an 30 minutes' clash. / "Five policemen were killed and wounded during the fire exchanging," he said. "One insurgents was also killed with whose weapons left on the battle field."


US Military: Civilian Deaths Probed in Afghanistan
16.12.08. VOA News. A military statement Tuesday says there are unconfirmed reports that two men and one woman were killed last Wednesday in an exchange of fire between coalition forces and unidentified attackers in the southern Uruzgan province. / The military says coalition forces on patrol that night returned fire after being ambushed with small-arms, machine-gun and rocket-propelled grenade fire in Deh Rawood district.

Lashkar Gah, Helmand

Sixth British soldier in a week killed in Afghanistan
17.12.08. AFP. The soldier from 1st Battalion The Rifles was killed by enemy fire in an area north west of Lashkar Gah in southern Helmand province while fighting in the district of Nad-e-Ali, the ministry in London said. / He was treated at the scene before being taken to the military hospital at Camp Bastion by helicopter, but later died of his wounds.

Kundi, Khost

U.S-led military operation against militants kills 3 civilians in E Afghanistan
17.12.08. Xinhuanet. "The Coalition forces in conjunction with Afghan forces carried out operation against a suspected person Dr. Bilal in Kandio village outside the provincial capital Khost city Tuesday night during which three persons were killed and another was injured," Baqizai told Xinhua but did not give more details.


Tensions Rise As Afghans Say U.S. Raid Kills Civilians
18. 12.08. NY Times. A deadly United States military raid on a house near Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan became a new source of tension on Thursday, with the Americans calling it a successful counterterrorism strike and the Afghans saying it left three innocent civilians dead and two wounded, including a 4-year-old boy bitten by an attack dog./ The raid took place on Wednesday in the village of Kundi, in Khost Province. American military leaders and Afghan officials said they were investigating the conflicting accounts of what happened. But President Hamid Karzai, who has grown increasingly impatient with the American-led war effort against the Taliban insurgency, condemned the raid in front of government leaders and foreign diplomats, saying that “entering by force to our people’s houses is against the government of Afghanistan.”

Karzai attends memorial for 3 killed in US raid
23.12.08. AP. President Hamid Karzai attended a memorial ceremony Tuesday for three Afghans killed in an overnight raid by U.S. forces, an incident Karzai has asked America's top military officer to investigate.


Australian man dies in Afghanistan
18.12.08. Xinhuanet. An Australian man fighting with British defense forces has been killed in a firefight with Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan. / The unnamed soldier was fighting with Britain's 1st Battalion in Helmand province, a volatile area in the south of the war-torn country.


one Dutch soldier was confirmed being killed
20.12.08. Xinhuanet. he stepped on an explosive device during a fire-fight with the Taliban in the southern Afghan province of Uruzgan, said Dutch officials.


3 Danish soldiers killed, 1 injured in Afghanistan
20.12.08. AP. In Copenhagen, the army said the three Danes were killed and a compatriot badly injured when their armored vehicle drove over a bomb or a land mine in Helmand province


Nine militants killed in Afghanistan: official
20.12.08. AFP. The rebels were killed on Friday in Helmand province


Ambush Raises Unsettling Questions in Afghanistan
20.12.08. NY Times. It was one of the most humiliating attacks the Afghan security forces had ever suffered. On Nov. 27, Taliban insurgents ambushed a supply convoy in the northwest province of Badghis, killing nine Afghan soldiers and five police officers, wounding 27 men, capturing 20 others, destroying at least 19 vehicles and stealing five, Afghan officials said. / .. The ambush, and the presidential pardon [ of Mr. Dastagir] that allowed the insurgent to go free, have become the subject of a governmental inquest and the source of profound embarrassment for the Afghan government. / .. “The Afghan and foreign security forces don’t have a strategy for security in Badghis,” said Qari Dawlat Khan, the leader of the provincial council.

Qalat, Zabul [? Same story as above?]

US says four Afghan rebels dead, locals cry foul
21.12.08. AFP. US forces killed four suspected rebels in an operation in southern Afghanistan, the US military said Sunday, but Afghan officials said they were probing claims the victims were civilians. / The four militants were killed and five other suspects captured on Saturday in fighting outside Qalat, the main town in restive Zabul province, the US military said in a statement. / But villagers reached by telephone told AFP the victims were not Taliban fighters, but local residents.


'Lion Heart' kills 20 in Afghanistan
22.12.08. Kunar Governor Sayed Fazeullah Wahidi said on Monday that the militants, including 2 Arabs and 2 Pakistanis, have been killed in 'Operation Lion Heart' over the last month.

Lashkar Gah, Helmand

Royal Marine killed in Afghan blast
22.12.08. press and journal. The serviceman, from the Commando Logistics Regiment Royal Marines, died yesterday morning while on a routine mission north-west of Lashkar Gah in Helmand province./ .. The marine is the 135th British serviceman to die in Afghanistan since the start of operations in October 2001.

Nahr Surkh, Helmand

FACTBOX: Security developments in Afghanistan
22.12.08. Reuters. Afghan and U.S.-led coalition forces killed an insurgent in Nahr Surkh district, about 530 km (305 miles) from Kabul, on Sunday, U.S. military said.


4 Taliban insurgents killed in S. Afghanistan
24.12.08. Xinhuanet. The U.S.-led Coalition forces killed four rebels on Wednesday during a combined operation with Afghan forces against the Taliban network in southern Afghan province of Zabul, officials said.

Afghan tribal elders threaten to boycott elections
27.12.08. irish sun. Chieftains and tribal elders in Afghanistan's southern province of Zabul have warned that they would boycott the upcoming presidential election if the government fails to protect civilians from being harmed in the anti-terror campaign, a newspaper reported Saturday.

Sorobi, Kabul

Six Taliban militants killed near Afghan capital
24.12.08. International forces in Afghanistan have killed six Taliban militants in Kabul province in an operation against the radical Islamist movement's terrorist network, the U.S. military said in a statement. "The operation in Sorobi (Sorubi) District, approximately 60 km [37 miles] northeast of Kabul city, targeted a Taliban militant believed to conduct terrorist activities throughout the Kabul, Laghman and Kapisa provinces," Tuesday's statement reads.

Lashkar Ghah, Helmand

British soldier killed in fighting in Afghanistan
25.12.08. Reuters. A British Royal Marine was killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday during fighting with insurgents in Helmand province, the Ministry of Defence said on Thursday.The soldier was taking part in combat operations near Lashkar Gah, the MoD said.

Zhari, Kandahar

Canadian killed, 3 injured by Afghan bomb
A Canadian soldier is dead and three others were injured after their armoured vehicle was struck by an explosive device Friday in Zhari district, about 24 kilometres west of Kandahar City.

Maiwan, Kandahar

US-led force says 11 Taliban killed in Afghanistan
26.12.08. AFP. It said the head of the extremist cell was among those killed in the district of Maiwand, a Taliban stronghold about 75 kilometres (45 miles) west of the provincial capital of Kandahar.

Afghanistan: Protests Over Raid
26.12.08. NY Times. For the second time in a little over a week, a deadly United States military raid on an Afghan house has incited protests and produced conflicting reports over who was killed. The Americans said they killed 11 armed Taliban militants, part of a bomb-making cell in the Maiwand District west of Kandahar, on Thursday. The Americans said they found dozens of land mines, grenades and bomb-making materials. But local government leaders said eight militants and four civilians were killed. Outraged Afghans protested by blocking the highway between Kandahar and Herat with burning tires.


3 teen sisters killed in Kabul rocket attack
27.12.08. AP. A rare rocket attack in the Afghan capital Saturday night demolished two rooms of a mud-brick home and killed three teenage sisters, the family and police said. The rocket attack on the southern end of Kabul landed on a house adjacent to an Afghan police training center. The attack crushed a mud home and killed three sisters, ages 13, 15 and 16, said Sayed Farah Muz, the girls' uncle.


Coalition, Afghan forces kill 6 militants
27.12.08. The U.S. coalition says Saturday that the combined forces were on a patrol in Helmand province Thursday when they spotted militants pulling out weapons from a hiding spot. The combined forces killed the militants and destroyed the weapons.

Panjwal, Kandahar

2 more Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan
28.12.08. CBC. Two Canadian soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb west of Kandahar city on Saturday, bringing to three the number of Canadian troops killed there since Friday. Warrant Officer Gaetan Joseph Roberge and Sgt. Gregory John Kruse were on a security patrol in the Panjwai district around 12:15 p.m. local time when the explosion occurred. An Afghan police officer and Afghan interpreter were also killed in the blast about 25 kilometres west of Kandahar city.

Nawa, Helmand

Afghan, NATO troops kill nine rebels: police
30.12.08. AFP. At least nine Taliban-linked militants were killed in clashes with Afghan and international forces in troubled southern Afghanistan, a police commander said Tuesday. / The fighting erupted in the Nawa district of Helmand province after dozens of rebels attacked Afghan security forces manning a checkpoint, provincial police chief Assadullah Sherzad told AFP.

Sanguin, Helmand

UK military: British marine dies in Afghanistan
31.12.08. AP. The British Ministry of Defense says a member of the country's 45 Commando Royal Marines was killed by an explosion Wednesday afternoon in the Sangin district of Afghanistan's restive Helmand province. / The death brings to 137 the number of U.K. military personnel who have died while serving in Afghanistan since British forces entered the country as part of a U.S.-led invasion in 2001.

Security developments in Afghanistan, Dec 31
31.12.08. Reuters. 6 “insurgents” killed E. Afghanistan;11 “militants” killed nr. Kabul

Near Kabul

17 militants killed in Afghan violence
01.01.09. the int news. The US military said troops under its command had killed armed militants on Tuesday in an operation against the radical Hizb-e-Islami faction led by Gulbaddin Hekmatyar, about 60 kilometres from the capital, Kabul. [NB: Loyn has excellent description of Hekmatyar in his book, Butcher and Bolt]



Suicide Blast in Kabul Kills 2 Civilians
30.11.08. Asia Pacific / ICH. A suicide bomber detonated his payload of explosives on Sunday in clogged traffic here, killing two people and wounding three, the Afghan authorities said.


23 dead in Afghan clashes, Kabul suicide attack
30.11.08. AFP. A suicide attack near a German diplomatic convoy in Afghanistan's capital Kabul left three Afghan civilians dead Sunday as 20 other people, most of them insurgents, were reported killed in other unrest. / … It was the second suicide attack in Kabul since Thursday, when a car bomb outside the heavily barricaded US embassy killed four Afghan civilians and wounded nearly 20. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the Thursday blast.


Suicide blast kills 8 Afghan civilians, 2 police
01.12.08. Reuters. The attack in the town of Musa Qala in Helmand was aimed at a police convoy, provincial police chief Assadullah told Reuters by telephone. A spokeswoman for British forces in the area said there were no casualties among its soldiers.


Afghan intelligence office attacked
04.12.08. al jazeera. A number of men disguised as army soldiers reportedly attacked the base after the bomber blew himself up on Thursday morning. / A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the assault in a phone call to Al Jazeera.

Double suicide attacks kills five in Afghanistan: official
04.12.08. AFP. Two suicide attacks against a counter narcotics office and the intelligence agency Thursday killed at least five people and wounded ten others in eastern Afghanistan, an official said.


Taliban kill Christian aid worker in Afghanistan
12.12.08. jclband. An Afghan official says a suicide bomber in
northern Afghanistan has killed two German soldiers and five children.The governor of Kunduz province, Mohammad Omar,says two other German soldiers and two children were wounded in the blast Monday. NATO confirms.

Suicide bombs tearing at ordinary Afghan families
12.12.08. J. Straziuso, AP. {US bombs killing civilians “tear at Afghan families”, too]


'12-year-old' Afghan suicide bomber kills three marines
13.12.08. Kim Sengupta/ Jerome Starkey, Independent / anti-war. The bomb in Helmand, detonated by the youngest known suicide attacker against Western forces in the country, was followed by a mine blast that killed another marine. In Basra, a soldier was shot dead.


Suicide bomb kills 4 policemen in Afghanistan
14.12.08. Reuters / anti-war. A suicide bomb killed at least four policemen on Sunday in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, local police said.


A car laden with explosives exploded outside government buildings in the city of Ghazni on Monday [22.12], 130 km (80 miles) southwest of Kabul, killing one civilian as well as the two would-be suicide bombers in the car, police said. The blast went off prematurely and also wounded seven civilians.


Suicide Bomber Attacks Foreign Troops in Afghanistan
26.12.08. VOA News. Afghan officials say a suicide bomber has attacked a convoy of international troops in the western province of Herat. / Authorities say at least one soldier and two civilians were wounded in the explosion Friday. They say the bomber attacked U.S. forces assigned to train Afghan police.


Suicide bomber kills five in Afghanistan
27.12.08. Reuters. A suicide bomber killed three Afghan police officers and two civilians and wounded four in the southern province of Kandahar on Saturday, a senior police official said. The suicide bomber was on foot when he detonated the device next to a police checkpoint on the outskirts of Kandahar city, about 400 km (250 miles) southwest of the capital Kabul, near a highway connecting Kandahar to western Afghanistan.


Blast Kills 16 Afghans Near Pakistan Border
28.12.08. NY Times. A suicide bomber detonated a bomb in a black sport utility vehicle outside a local government compound in Khost Province on Sunday, killing at least 16 people, including 13 schoolchildren, and wounding 53, local government officials and coalition forces said. The bombing, near the border with Pakistan, occurred next to a school, and many children were among the wounded.

VIDEO captures deaths of 14 Afghan students. See here


Afghanistan suicide bombings kill 5
29.12.08. Huff Post. A unit of U.S. troops from the nearby American base at Bagram was meeting with the governor, and their vehicles were parked outside the gate when the bomber detonated his explosives, said Parwan province's police chief, Khalil Ziae. The blast killed two Afghans and wounded 15, said Ziae. U.S. Sgt. 1st Class Joel Peavy said two American troops outside the compound were among the wounded. American forces inside the complex were not harmed.

9. Obama: (Cabinet: Ensuring Continuity, Flip Flops

The system is "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today"
Martin Luther King as quoted by John Pilger.


In Case You Missed It

Obama Is A Hawk
14.06.08. John Pilger, ICH. In 1941, the editor Edward Dowling wrote: "The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it." What has changed? The terror of the rich is greater than ever, and the poor have passed on their delusion to those who believe that when George W Bush finally steps down next January, his numerous threats to the rest of humanity will diminish. / The foregone nomination of Barack Obama, which, according to one breathless commentator, "marks a truly exciting and historic moment in US history", is a product of the new delusion.

Who Is The President Elect - Obama or AIPAC?
10.11.08. Index Research.

Obama: Our “Seamless” President Elect
26.11.08. Index Research.

National Security Team

The End of the Affair
01.12.08. Justin Raimondo, anti-war / ICH. Antiwar voters took a chance on Obama, reasoning that anything would be better than four more years of Bushian belligerence, yet now they discover to their chagrin that the dice are loaded.

Obama and the World Crisis
05.12.08. Richard C. Cook, ICH. Even as preparations are underway for Barack Obama to assume office as the 44th president of the United States on January 20, the U.S. military juggernaut that is roaring toward global conquest hasn't missed a beat. This is shown by the team of hawks-including holdover Robert Gates at Defense and Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State-that Obama has assembled to handle the levers of the war machine and its diplomatic front.

Cheney lauds Obama's choice of national security team
16.12.08. sfgate. Vice President Dick Cheney is calling President-elect Barack Obama's national security lineup "a pretty good team."

A Hypocrite as Our Diplomat in Chief
18.12.08. John R. MacArthur , Providence Journal / ICH. so far, the president-elect's Cabinet choices make a joke of the liberals who backed him in the hope that something fundamental might change in America's belligerent behavior abroad. As the neo-conservative Max Boot approvingly observed, the appointment of Gen. James Jones as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the retention of Robert Gates as defense secretary "could just as easily have come from a President McCain." / So too, in principle, could that of hawkish Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, which makes Obama's rhetoric of restraint in foreign affairs begin to sound as empty as President Bush's professed skepticism about "nation building" eight years ago during his race against Al Gore.


Obama Chooses to Stay the Course on Foreign Policy
03.12,08. Christopher Preble, CATO Institute. Obama's search for personnel to fill the top foreign and defense policy posts in his new administration has placed such a great emphasis on experience and continuity. Obama should revisit his apparent presumptions: Nowhere is change more needed than in U.S. foreign policy.

The Danger of Holdovers
04.12.08. D. Broder, Washington Post. In the two most crucial areas facing his presidency, national security and economic policy, Barack Obama has opted for continuity, not change. That is reassuring to many in the short term, but it entails long-term risks. … / It has often been said that in government, people are policy. When the people are holdovers, their policy needs extra scrutiny.

Analysis: Obama Defense Agenda Resembles Gates'
06.12.08. Robert Burns, AP / ICH. … President-elect Barack Obama is remarkably in sync with Defense Secretary Robert Gates on many core defense and national security issues - even Iraq. (Discussion of Gates’ article in Foreign Affairs – see 01-02.09.)

Beware Of Obama's Groundhog Day
12.12.08. John Pilger, ICH. Having campaigned with "Change you can believe in", President-elect Barack Obama has named his A-team. They include Hillary Clinton, who voted to attack Iraq without reading the intelligence assessment and has since threatened to "totally obliterate" Iran on behalf of a foreign power, Israel. During his primary campaign, Obama referred repeatedly to Clinton's lies about her political record. When he appointed her secretary of state, he called her "my dear friend". / Obama's slogan is now "continuity". His secretary of defence will be Robert Gates, who serves the lawless, blood-soaked Bush regime as secretary of defence, which means secretary of war (America last had to defend itself when the British invaded in 1812). Gates wants no date set for an Iraq withdrawal and "well north of 20,000" troops to be sent to Afghanistan. He also wants America to build a completely new nuclear arsenal, including "tactical" nuclear weapons that blur the distinction with conventional weapons. / Another product of "continuity" is Obama's first choice for CIA chief, John Brennan, who shares responsibility for the systematic kidnapping and torturing of people, known as "extraordinary rendition". Obama has assigned Madeleine Albright to report on how to "strengthen US leadership in responding to genocide". Albright, as secretary of state, was largely responsible for the siege of Iraq in the 1990s, described by the UN's Denis Halliday as genocide. / There is more continuity in Obama's appointment of officials who will deal with the economic piracy that brought down Wall Street and impoverished millions./ … / .. Is this a grand betrayal? / … If there is a happy ending to the Groundhog Day of repeated wars and plunder, it may well be found in the very mass movement whose enthusiasts registered voters and knocked on doors and brought Obama to power. Will they now be satisfied as spectators to the cynicism of "continuity"? READ ARTICLE!

Defense policy under Obama and Gates
15.12.08. Reuters. Iraq; Afghanistan, Guantanamo, Missile Defense, Size of US Military, Weapons Programs

Obama’s defence appointee signals continuing US belligerence
16.12.08. WSWS. The trip by US Defence Secretary Robert Gates to the Middle East over the past week provided a sobering warning of what to expect when Barack Obama becomes president next month. Far from any winding back of US militarism, Gates, who will remain in his post under Obama, emphasised that the occupation of Iraq would continue and the war in Afghanistan escalate, even as he renewed threats against Iran. (see below)

Guantanamo Prisoner's Lawyers Accuse US Defense Secretary
23.12.08. Richard Norton-Taylor, Tguardian.truthout. "Lawyers for a British resident held at Guantanamo Bay have accused Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, of signing a 'flagrantly false' affidavit to avoid having to disclose evidence of torture. In a sworn affidavit to a district court in Washington, Gates says the US authorities have provided Binyam Mohamed's lawyers and the British government with all the information they possess relating to Mohamed's treatment while held in secret prisons. Gates declared his affidavit to be the truth 'under penalty of perjury.'"

Obama to Keep About 150 Bush Pentagon Appointees
23.12.08. Fox. Defense secretary asks many Bush administration Pentagon appointees to remain on the job until the incoming Obama administration finds replacements. Gates asked the president-elect to allow him to keep the staff until replacements are found in order to ensure continuity as military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to percolate through the presidential transition process. The Defense Department is the only agency considering such a request. All other political appointees in other branches had to submit their resignation letters by Friday.


Jeremy Scahill | Barack Obama's Kettle of Hawks
01.12.08. Jeremy Scahill, The Guardian UK/truthout. "Barack Obama has assembled a team of rivals to implement his foreign policy. But while pundits and journalists speculate endlessly on the potential for drama with Hillary Clinton at the state department and Bill Clinton's network of shady funders , the real rivalry that will play out goes virtually unmentioned. The main battles will not be between Obama's staff, but rather against those who actually want a change in US foreign policy, not just a staff change in the war room."

Blackwater among foundation donors (18.12.08. AP) The Blackwater Training Center donated $10,001 to $25,000. [Blackwater might
lose license
in Iraq, but this is doubtful]

Appointments Begin a New Phase for Obama
01.12.08. P. Baker, NY Times. Introducing a national security team anchored by Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state, Mr. Obama said a new strategic agreement with Baghdad put the United States “on a glide path to reduce our forces in Iraq.” But while he reaffirmed his desire to pull out combat brigades within 16 months, Mr. Obama emphasized his willingness to consider options put forth by the military. / “But as I have said consistently, I will listen to the recommendations of my commanders. ” VIDEO: OBAMA INTRODUCES NATIONAL SECURITY TEAM. See another NY Times article here.

Clinton builds loyalist empire
07.12.08. times online. When Hillary Clinton was offered the job of America’s top diplomat, she made one non-negotiable demand: she must be allowed to take her own team of loyalists with her to the State Department. / Stalwarts such as Maggie Williams, Clinton’s former chief of staff at the White House, who was drafted in to salvage the former first lady’s campaign, and the glamorous Huma Abedin, Clinton’s closest personal assistant, are likely to join the new secretary of state’s kitchen cabinet, while James Steinberg, a top official from husband Bill’s administration, is predicted to become deputy secretary of state.

How they see us: Will Hillary be a team player?
12.12.08. The week. Can Hillary Clinton really be subordinate to Barack Obama? asked Beat Ammann in Switzerland’s Neue Zürcher Zeitung. The U.S. president-elect this week officially named as his secretary of state the one person in the world “who enjoys just as much star status” as he does. In fact, world leaders already know Clinton far better than they do her boss. So is that a good thing or not? Optimists say yes, because Obama can trust that Clinton won’t need to waste time learning on the job. But pessimists—and there are apparently far more of these—fear that the appointment “could lead to the implosion of the Obama administration.”

Hillary’s Nuclear Umbrella
15.12.08. Doug Bandow, national interest / anti-war. Maybe it’s time to ask how many wars the next president plans on fighting. / Offering Israel a nuclear umbrella is a slightly abbreviated version of a campaign promise by Senator Hillary Clinton / … But Senator Clinton didn’t stop with Israel. She advocated providing “a deterrent backup” for Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Arab countries.

This Wasn't Quite the Change We Pictured
07.12.08. Washington Post. The more things change, the more they
stay . . . well, you know. And looking at President-elect Barack Obama's top appointments, it's easy to wonder whether convention has triumphed over change -- and centrists over progressives. / A quick run-down: …

James Steinberg, Former Clinton Aide, Tapped For Deputy Secretary of State
23.12.08. Fox.

Eric Holder

Obama AG pick defended Guantanamo policy
02.12.08. AP. President-elect Barack Obama's choice to become the next attorney general, Eric Holder, once defended the Bush administration's arguments for holding detainees at Guantanamo Bay, a position that runs counter to his more recent comments — and to a signature policy of the incoming administration. See also here .

“It will be up to the new Attorney General, Eric Holder—not a notably passionate constitutionalist in his previous role in the Justice Department—to, as Kukis adds, "issue new legal guidance that supersedes all those legal opinions, seen or unseen, if he hopes to prevent a return to such practices in the future" (emphasis added). / So, keep an eye on Mr. Holder. And if he does bury those John Yoo–style torture memos and other (and, here, I use the term loosely) "legal opinions," Holder should be tasked by the president to reveal what they permitted.” NAT HENHOFF (16.12.08)

Keeping Track of Change
05.12.08. Eugene Jarecki, Truthdig. As someone who seeks fundamental reform of so much of the American system, I’ve been heartened to see a growing number of voices on the airwaves and blogosphere express concern at certain choices made by the Obama transition team that are hard to reconcile with the public’s hopes for change. This kind of unrelenting pressure for reform is vital and has already provoked an entirely healthy discourse even among Obama’s most ardent supporters between those who seek far-reaching change and those who see themselves as more pragmatic. Since Obama has not yet even been inaugurated, these voices can only speculate on what his governance might look like, and there’s a danger of being either prematurely critical or overly complacent. Still, it’s never too early to be vigilant. Let us not forget that it was Obama himself who invited each of us to fulfil our end of the contract between citizen and president in a historic effort to bring about change.

Transition Mania
07.12.97. Tomgram. Think of it this way: After the Imperial Campaign -- that two-year extravaganza of bread and circuses (and money) -- comes the Imperial Transition. Everything in these last weeks, like the preceding two years, has been bulked up, like Schwarzenegger's Conanesque pecs. In other words, since November 5th, what we've been experiencing in the midst of one of the true crisis periods in our history has essentially been an unending celebration of super-sized government. Consider it an introduction to what will surely be the next Imperial Presidenc


Obama's best pick yet: Jones as national security adviser
07.12.08. IHT. Jones, never a fan of the Iraq war, has indicated that he considers Afghanistan an enormous challenge. Although he supports sending more forces there, he also believes that success is impossible without a comparable effort to reform the Afghan government and to use American "soft power."


Transcript announcing Shineski
08.12.08. In this speech, Obama says, “Nearly 70 years ago today, a date "that will live in infamy," our harbor was bombed in Hawaii and our troops went off to war.” [MORE airbrushing of history. See Pearl Harbor: Official Lies in an American War Tragedy]

Liberals Wonder When Obama’s Team Will Reflect Them
08.12.08. NY Times. In assembling his team to date, Mr. Obama has largely passed over progressives, opting to keep President Bush’s defense secretary, tapping a retired general close to Senator John McCain and recruiting economists from the traditionally corporate, free-trade [sic], deficit-hawk wing of the party. The choices have deeply frustrated liberals who thought Mr. Obama’s election signaled the rise of a new progressive era. / But so far, they are mainly muting their protest, clinging to the belief that Mr. Obama still means what he said on the campaign trail and remaining wary of undermining what they see as the most liberal president sent to the White House in a generation. They are quietly lobbying for more liberals in the next round of appointments, seeking at least some like-minded voices at the table. And they are banking on the idea that no matter whom he installs under him, Mr. Obama will be the driving force for the change they seek.

What's with Obama's Deputy Telling Progressives to Pipe Down?
09.12.08. David Sirota, Open Left/Alternet. (Obama aide Steve Hildebrand explicitly attacks "the left wing of the Democratic Party" with Fox News-style talking points.) Most progressives questioning Obama have done so rather gently, and have done so on the pragmatic substance. For instance, people wondering about the appointment of Larry Summers to a top economic position in the White House have wondered whether it's such a good idea to empower an ideological free market fundamentalist (pro-free trade [sic], pro-deregulation) whose policies as Bill Clinton's Treasury Secretary played a major role in creating the economic crisis. That is, most have wondered why Obama thinks that kind of ideologue is "the most qualified person" to deal with our economic situation, rather than, say, a pragmatist like James Galbraith or Joseph Stiglitz who has been right all along.

Capitalist Fools
01.09. Joseph E. Stiglitz, Vanity Fair. Truthout. "There will come a moment when the most urgent threats posed by the credit crisis have eased and the larger task before us will be to chart a direction for the economic steps ahead. This will be a dangerous moment. Behind the debates over future policy is a debate over history - a debate over the causes of our current situation. The battle for the past will determine the battle for the present. So it's crucial to get the history straight."

R. Emanuel

How Rahm Emanuel Made Mega-Millions and Bought His Way to Power
09.12.08. Ben Protess, ICH. New details emerge of Emanuel's days as an investment banker.

Senate Scandal Snares Obama's Chief Aide
16.12.08. Sarah Baxter, Times / ICH. THE bullish, foul-mouthed but effective Chicago arm-twister Rahm Emanuel has come under pressure to resign as Barack Obama's chief of staff after it was revealed that he had been captured on court-approved wire-taps discussing the names of candidates for Obama's Senate seat.

Susan Rice

Obama’s Dueling Transition Teams
09.12.08. anti-war. Sources are reporting that President-elect Barack Obama’s appointee for US ambassador to the United Nations Dr. Susan Rice, after a visit to the State Department headquarters, plans to install her own transition team, independent of incoming Secretary of State Sen. Hillary Clinton’s, in the department.

CIA; Hayden?

House Democrat urges Obama to keep Bush's intelligence chiefs
10.12.08. govexec. The House Intelligence Committee's top Democrat said Tuesday he has recommended that President-elect Barack Obama keep the country's current national intelligence director and CIA chief in place for some time to ensure continuity in U.S. intelligence programs during the transition to a new administration. / Intelligence Chairman Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, said he also recommended to Obama's transition team that some parts of the CIA's controversial alternative interrogation program should be allowed to continue. He declined to say what he specifically recommended, however.

Hayden-Obama briefing stirs speculation
13.12.08. Washington times. CIA Director Michael V. Hayden flew to Chicago on Tuesday to give a full intelligence briefing to President-elect Barack Obama, The Washington Times has learned.


Panetta has unusual portfolio to be CIA chief (06.01.09 AP)

Dennis Blair

Homeland Security Council Out? Obama Might Add Responsibility to National Security Council
17.12.08. nti. The incoming Obama administration is considering changes to the White House's role in homeland security policy that could dramatically enhance the influence of the president's national security adviser, giving him a primary role in shaping disaster management and counterterrorism policy within the United States.

Obama Picks Military Man, Blair, as Top Spymaster
19.12.08. WSJ. Retired Admiral, Next Director of National Intelligence, Is Expected to Play Advisory Role in Choosing CIA Chief. / .. New names for CIA director have surfaced, including Deputy CIA Director Steven R. Kappes, former CIA analysis chief John Gannon and former CIA operations chief Jack Devine.

The Bloody Career of Admiral Dennis C. Blair: Obama's New Intelligence Chief Ran Interference for Indonesia's Butchers
26.12.08. Bradley Simpson, uruknet. The presumptive appointment by President-elect Barack Obama of retired Admiral Dennis C. Blair as his new Director of National Intelligence is being greeted with cheers by the national media, which hail his experience, bureaucratic infighting skills and comparatively moderate views on national security issues. The New York Times, in a recent profile, seemed much impressed by the fact that the 34-year Navy veteran once water skied behind an aircraft carrier, in addition to his stints with the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Institute for Defense Analysis (from which he resigned in 2006 over conflict of interest charges involving the F-22 raptor)....

What Obama Doesn't Know
16.12.08. Nat Henhoff, village voice / anti-war. No presidential transition team in recent history has ranged as widely as Barack Obama's in its attempt to find out what minefields he may be walking into. For example, The Washington Post notes, 10 teams of 135 explorers, wearing yellow badges, have descended on dozens of Bush administration offices and agencies to look into their programs, policies, and records. / Will the Obama sleuths be able to peer into plans of the military Special Operations forces around the world, whose SWAT-style moves can quickly inflame even our allies? Covertly authorized four years ago by Donald Rumsfeld, these warriors are empowered to attack secretly any apparent terrorist venture, anywhere. No press allowed./ will President Obama order the countermanding of the FBI's return to the unbounded surveillance practices of J. Edgar Hoover?

The Pentagon is muscling in everywhere. It's time to stop the mission creep
21.12.08. Thomas A. Schweich, Washington Post. President-elect Barack Obama's selections of James L. Jones, a retired four-star Marine general, to be his national security adviser and, it appears, retired Navy Adm. Dennis C. Blair to be his director of national intelligence present the incoming administration with an important opportunity -- and a major risk. These appointments could pave the way for these respected military officers to reverse the current trend of Pentagon encroachment upon civilian government functions, or they could complete the silent military coup d'etat that has been steadily gaining ground below the radar screen of most Americans and the media.

Obama, the military and the threat of dictatorship
23.12.08. WSWS. With his choice of Admiral Dennis Blair as director of national intelligence, President-elect Barack Obama has now named three recently retired four-star military officers to serve in his cabinet. This unprecedented representation of the senior officer corps within the incoming Democratic administration is indicative of a growth in the political power of the US military that poses a serious threat to basic democratic rights. / Earlier this month Obama spelled out his subservience to the Pentagon by declaring, “To ensure prosperity here at home and peace abroad, we all [SIC] share the belief we have to maintain the strongest military on the planet.” To that end, he has pledged to increase the size of US ground forces by 100,000 soldiers and Marines and made it clear that there will be no significant cuts to a military budget that is gobbling up some $850 billion annually under conditions of soaring deficits and an intensifying financial crisis. / The threat of an even uglier confrontation under Obama is very real given the disastrous effects of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on the military and reports of a growing delusional sentiment within the officer corps that the failures of the US operations in these countries were the result of a “stab in the back” delivered by the civilian authorities, the media and the American people themselves. / But there is a more fundamental process underlying both Clinton’s experience and Obama’s bowing before the military today. It is the immense growth in the power of the “military industrial complex” against which President Dwight Eisenhower warned nearly half a century ago—a power which grew uninterruptedly during the whole of the Cold War. / During the last seven years of the so-called “global war on terrorism,” this expansion of power—together with the rise in military funding—has only escalated, accompanied by increasingly sinister features bound up with US imperialism’s growing reliance on militarism as a means of offsetting the decline in its global economic position. / … Meanwhile, in prosecuting two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military command has been tasked with running colonial-style administrations with virtually unfettered power over entire populations.

Janet Napolitano, Homeland Security Secretary

Surge in security tech seen under Obama
30.12.08. UPI. PHOENIX, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- Police across the United States say they are encouraged about the prospects for new security technology under Barack Obama's administration. / Obama's nominee for Homeland Security secretary, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, has been a staunch advocate of using the latest surveillance and identification technologies for law enforcement purposes, USA Today reported Tuesday. / civil liberties advocates say they are wary about the effects technology can have on privacy.

Stephen Chu & N. Sutley & Browner

Obama Team Set on Environment
10.12.08. J. Broder, NY Times. The officials said Mr. Obama would name Steven Chu, the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, as his energy secretary, and Nancy Sutley, deputy mayor of Los Angeles for energy and environment, as head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Mr. Obama also appears ready to name Carol M. Browner, the E.P.A. administrator under President Bill Clinton, as the top White House official on climate and energy policy and Lisa P. Jackson, New Jersey’s commissioner of environmental protection, as the head of the E.P.A.

Obama makes pick for energy chief, sources say
11.12.08. CNN / legitgov. President-elect Barack Obama is likely to name Steven Chu, a physicist who runs the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory [the “Rad Lab”], as his energy secretary, three Democratic officials close to the transition said. / The three officials said the announcement is expected next week in Chicago, Illinois, and that Obama will also name Carol Browner, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency in the Clinton administration, as the newly created "climate czar" inside the White House.

Title, but Unclear Power, for a New Climate Czar
11.12.08. J. Broder, NY Times. Much remains unknown, and perhaps undecided, about Carol M. Browner’s new position as White House coordinator of energy and climate policy.

Tom Daschle

Health Care Policy Is in Hands of an Ex-Senator
11.12.08. NY Times. Barack Obama picked Tom Daschle, center, to lead the Health and Human Services Department and the White House Office of Health Reform, where Jeanne Lambrew will be deputy director.

Daschle's Lobbyist Wife Might Complicate New Post
19.11.08. Washington Post. At her current firm, she counts American Airlines, Boeing, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, Lockheed Martin and L3 Communications among her clients, according to her online biography. She has been called a "major lobbying force" by associates, according to The Hill, and The New York Times said she is one of the "most influential professional lobbyists in the capital."

Worried on the Left?
12.12.08. E.J. Dionne, Jr., Washington Post. The Disillusionment Story Line Is Overdone

Shaun Donovan

Obama: HUD Pick Central Part of Economic Blueprint
13.12.08. Philip Elliott and Jim Kuhnhenn, AP/Truthout. The selection of Shaun Donovan as secretary of Housing and Urban Development puts the current New York City housing commissioner at the forefront of one of the more nettlesome economic challenges confronting the new administration - the soaring foreclosures that are threatening homeownership nationwide. / Donovan joins a team led by Tim Geithner Obama's nominee for Treasury secretary, and Larry Summers, who will chair Obama's National Economic Council. Obama has his team working on an ambitious economic recovery plan that includes saving or creating 2.5 million jobs over the next two years./ … Right now, the Bush administration's Treasury Department is resisting an effort by FDIC chairwoman Sheila Bair to use $24 billion in financial bailout funds to help 1.5 million borrowers avoid foreclosure by guaranteeing modified mortgages.

Timothy Geithner

Questions for Mr. Geithner
14.12.08. Editorial, NY Times. As president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Mr. Geithner was a key decision maker last September when the government let Lehman Brothers fail and then, two days later, bailed out the insurer American International Group for $85 billion. / Those decisions proved cataclysmic. The markets and the economy have yet to recover from Lehman’s failure. The bailout of A.I.G. dealt a further blow to the Fed’s credibility — and, by extension, Mr. Geithner’s — because it was an abrupt reversal from the no-new-bailouts stance that had applied to Lehman and, initially, to A.I.G. Together, the decisions showed that several months into the financial crisis, officials lacked the information and the insight to correctly call the shots. / Making matters worse, the Fed and the Treasury have now changed their story about how the calamity unfolded. .. But an after-the-fact revision of what happened at best raises questions and worse, looks like an attempt to dodge accountability.

Education: Arne Duncan

Media's Failing Grade on Education 'Debate'
16.12.08. Fair. President-elect Barack Obama chose Chicago schools superintendent Arne Duncan as his nominee for Education secretary after an almost entirely one-sided media discussion that portrayed the most progressive candidate in the running for the post--Stanford educational researcher Linda Darling-Hammond--as an unacceptable pick. Media discussed: NY Times, Newsweek, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, AP, Tribune.

Obama's Betrayal of Public Education? Arne Duncan and the Corporate Model of Schooling
17.12.08. Henry A. Giroux. Kenneth Saltman, Truthout: "Barack Obama's selection of Arne Duncan for secretary of education does not bode well either for the political direction of his administration nor for the future of public education. Obama's call for change falls flat with this appointment, not only because Duncan largely defines schools within a market-based and penal model of pedagogy, but also because he does not have the slightest understanding of schools as something other than adjuncts of the corporation at best or the prison at worse."

Obama’s Choice for Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, Seen as Compromise Between Divided Strands
18.12,08. Democracy Now. Duncan was seen as a compromise pick between progressive and conservative education advocates. We speak to Michael Klonsky, professor of education and longtime school reform activist in Chicago, and Deborah Meier, a well-known teacher, writer and public advocate. [includes rush transcript]

Tom Vilsack: Secretary of Agriculture

It's Vilsack: Obama Picks Pro-GMO and Pro-Biofuels Ag Secretary
16.12.08. Tara Lohan, AlterNet. If you're at all concerned with genetically modified foods [ banned in UK ], cloned animals, and biofuels [ drive up food prices; starve the poor ], then this appointment is likely to disappoint.

Interior Dept. Salazar

Environmentalists Wary of Obama’s Interior Pick
17.12.08. NY Times. he will have to work hard to overcome skepticism among many environmentalists about his views on resource and wildlife issues. / .. Mr. Salazar was not the first choice of environmentalists, who openly pushed the appointment of Representative Raul Grijalva, Democrat of Arizona, who has a strong record as a conservationist. / Oil and mining interests praised Mr. Salazar’s performance. / .. He also backed a compromise that would let oil companies drill for natural gas in limited parts of the Roan Plateau in northwestern Colorado./ … he had not spoken out forcefully against oil and gas development in millions of acres of national forests and roadless areas./ .. While industry officials praised his moderation, Mr. Salazar drew harsh criticism from some environmentalists.

“He is a right-of-center Democrat who often favors industry and big agriculture in battles over global warming, fuel efficiency and endangered species,” said Kieran Suckling, executive director of Center for Biological Diversity , which tracks endangered species and habitat issues. “He is very unlikely to bring significant change to the scandal-plagued Department of Interior. It’s a very disappointing choice for a presidency which promised visionary change.”[ Mr Patterson] said that Mr. Salazar has justifiably become the most controversial of Mr. Obama’s cabinet appointees. “Salazar has a disturbingly weak conservation record, particularly on energy development, global warming, endangered wildlife and protecting scientific integrity..” VIDEO

Inauguration: Rick Warren

Obama taps evangelical for inauguration
17.12.08. President-elect Barack Obama (right) has tapped Rick Warren (left), the most prominent evangelical preacher of the post-Billy Graham generation, to deliver the invocation at his inauguration. / .. he does not support abortion or same-sex marriage, / .. The choice is winning praise by anti-abortion groups that have been concerned about the Obama administration. / .. "a grave disappointment''/ .. There is no shortage of religious leaders who reflect the values on which President-elect Obama campaigned and who are working to advance the common good.''

Rick Warren, Obama Invocation Choice, Causing First Real Rift With Progressives
17.12.08. Huff Post.

Obama Courts Evangelicals
18.12.08. Musafir’s Musings. Politically it will pay dividends. The Republicans must be scratching their heads. In one fell swoop Obama disarmed many of the Christian Right who bitterly fought his candidacy. / .. Are wars going to be launched because of divine guidance ? .. Time will tell. The signals, however, are alarming.

Obama Fans Suddenly Outraged by Bigotry
22.12.08. Steven Salaita, anti-war. Barack Obama's choice of Pastor Rick Warren of Orange County's Saddleback Church to give the invocation at his inauguration has sent the liberal blogosphere into a frenzy of apprehension and indignation. Warren is an advocate of Proposition 8, the measure that repealed gays' right to marry in California. It is no doubt a poor choice by Obama, but the outrage arising from the liberal-Left misses a number of crucial points, primary among them the fact that Obama's selection of Warren may be in poor taste but it is in no way a betrayal.

Rick Warren Is an Unapologetic Christian Radical -- And There's No Need to Apologize for Opposing Him
24.12.08. Amy Goodman, Democracy Now/alternet.

Ron Kirk, Hilda Solis, Ray LaHood and Karen Mills

Obama Names Holdren, Lubchenco to Science Posts
20.12.08. Hope Yen, AP / Truthout. "President-elect Barack Obama on Saturday named Harvard physicist John Holdren and marine biologist Jane Lubchenco to top science posts, signaling a change from Bush administration policies on global warming that were criticized for putting politics over science."

To get a sense of how substantial the deception was, liberals should ask themselves this question: would you - on principle and not personality - have voted for someone who promised to appoint as secretary of agriculture an ethanol booster and ally of Monsanto, an education secretary who would continue the war on public education, an energy secretary who is pro nuke and pro Yucca Mountain, a defense secretary who has been part of the Iraq disaster, a budget director who favors cutting Social Security for those under 59, an attorney general who helped increase the prison time served by young blacks on minor drug offenses, a secretary of state involved in numerous scandals, a transportation secretary who is an extreme conservative and knows little about the field, a staff stuffed with a team of revivals form the Clinton years, and an inaugural preacher who treats gays and women as lesser beings much as others once did to blacks? / That is not change we can believe in. That's a lot of problems. Sam Smith

When the big deal is that you vote for a lesser of two evils, then evil is just what you get -- get conned with! . Comment by Preston Jay Truman A Senate Bad Choice

Feinstein: Bad Choice for Intelligence
26.12.08. Stephen Zunes, anti-war. Feinstein was among those who falsely claimed in 2002 – despite the lack of any apparent credible evidence – that Saddam Hussein had somehow reconstituted Iraq's arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, as well as its nuclear weapons program. She used this supposed threat to justify her vote in October 2002 to grant President George W. Bush the unprecedented authority to invade Iraq. it is particularly disturbing that Democrats would award the coveted Intelligence Committee chair to someone from the party's right-wing minority.


03.12.08. NY Times. Critique on this article here .

Media Response

Corporate media root for Obama to reject withdrawal timeline


Obama Doesn't Plan to End the Iraq Occupation (06.12.08. Jeremy Scahill)


Not So Fast: Don't hold your breath waiting for withdrawal from Iraq (New Republic 24.12.08)


U.S. military's Iraq withdrawal plan differs from Obama's promise (Xinhuanet 19.12)

10. US in Afghanistan (Reports; Troop Surge: Eyes Wide Shut & Viewpoints)


"To ensure prosperity here at home and peace abroad, we all [sic] share the belief we have to maintain the strongest military on the planet." Barack Obama.


National Defense Strategy (pdf) (11.08)

Cost of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Other Military Operations Through 2008 and Beyond. 15.12.08. CSBA (pdf)


Manufacturing Truth

Afghanistan not in crisis: UN Security Council
28.11.08. AFP. Afghanistan is not in a security crisis and disillusionment and recriminations about its situation should be avoided, a UN Security Council team said at the end of a three-day assessment tour. / There were even reasons for "cautious optimism [sic]," the delegation told reporters before wrapping up a visit which comes as attacks linked to the insurgency led by the Islamic Taliban are at record levels. / "There is undoubtedly a difficult security situation which is developing... but not a security crisis," said the head of the delegation, Italian ambassador Giulio Terzi.

Joint Chiefs Chairman 'Very Positive' After Meeting With Obama
30.11.08. Karen DeYoung, Washington Post. There was little talk of exiting Iraq or beefing up the U.S. force in Afghanistan; the one-on-one, 45-minute conversation ranged from the personal to the philosophical. Mullen came away with what he wanted: a view of the next president as a non-ideological pragmatist who was willing to both listen and lead. After the meeting, the chairman "felt very good, very positive," according to Mullen spokesman Capt. John Kirby.

Barack Obama says US 'will maintain strongest military on planet', as Clinton confirmed top diplomat
02.12.08. Telegraph. VIDEO. .. the former Illinois senator, whose rise was built on his opposition to the Iraq war, delivered a message of surprising toughness that at times could have come from George W Bush.

Gates: New Afghanistan Strategy a High Priority
03.12.08. VOA. Secretary Gates told reporters at the Pentagon on Tuesday that one of his first priorities in the new administration, which begins on January 20, will be to re-evaluate U.S. strategy in Afghanistan. / The Bush administration is reviewing the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan , and the Obama administration is expected to do the same.

US preparing for troop buildup in Afghanistan
05.12.08. AP. The military is beginning a big building effort in Afghanistan to house the roughly 20,000 additional troops who are expected to begin pouring in early next year, a top military officer said Friday. Maj. Gen. Michael Tucker, deputy commander for operations for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, could not quantify the number of buildings or contractors mercenaries involved , but said the military has done several in-depth studies over the past month and a half to determine exactly how many buildings, helicopter pads, dining facilities,and even latrines will be needed. [what about a “big building effort” for the Afghan people instead of jobs for KBR? ].

In New Strategy, U.S. Will Defend Kabul Environs
06.12.08. NY Times. It will be the first time that American or coalition forces have been deployed in large numbers on the southern flank of the city, a decision that reflects the rising concerns among military officers, diplomats and government officials about the increasing vulnerability of the capital and the surrounding area. / .. The new Army brigade, the Third Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division from Fort Drum, N.Y., is scheduled to arrive in Afghanistan in January and will consist of 3,500 to 4,000 soldiers. The “vast majority” of them will be sent to Logar and Wardak Provinces, adjacent to Kabul, said Lt. Col. Rumi Nielson-Green, a spokeswoman for the American units in eastern Afghanistan. A battalion of at least several hundred soldiers from that brigade will go to the border region in the east, where American forces have been locked in some of the fiercest fighting this year. / The plan for the incoming brigade, then, means that for the time being fewer reinforcements — or none at all — will be immediately available for the parts of Afghanistan where the insurgency is most intense. / It also means that most of the newly arriving troops will not be deployed with the main goal of curbing the cross-border flow of insurgents from their rear bases in Pakistan, something American commanders would like and President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan has recommended.

Obama Says He Seeks ‘Strategic Partnership’ With South Asia
08.12.08. Bloomberg.

Commander sees 'tough fight' in Afghan war
09.12.08. USA Today. [Gen. David McKiernan] in Afghanistan said Sunday that 2009 will be a "tough fight" in Afghanistan and the United States will need nearly twice as many troops for up to four years to stabilize the country.

Petraeus favours US troop surge in Afghanistan
09.12.08. AFP. Petraeus said he had "already made recommendations" for an almost doubling of US troops in Afghanistan based on requests from General David McKiernan, the top commander of US and NATO troops in the central Asian country.

Obscene $ Spending

Kandahar base braces for wave of U.S. troops
09.12.08. G. Smith, globe and mail / ICH. Engineers say they're planning an $850-million (U.S.) expansion of Kandahar Air Field in the coming year, approximately doubling the population of the to make it the largest military base in Afghanistan. That means space available for a minimum of 12,000 more personnel to stand alongside Canada's troops in Kandahar .

One U.S. officer said his superiors are telling him to prepare for a minimum 60-per-cent expansion of KAF in the next two years, while other plans have the base nearly tripling its population in a year. Col. Horgan, who co-ordinates the expansion plans on behalf of the base commander, said it's "almost guaranteed" that KAF will double in size within 12 months./ Whatever the size and timing of the expansion, however, it shows a shifting emphasis in the war. For years, the largest military facility in the country has been Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul, the main hub for U.S. forces concentrated in the mountainous eastern region where the Taliban insurgents are reportedly mixed with other extremists such as al-Qaeda fighters. / Now the balance of American power appears to be shifting south, toward the deserts and river valleys where the Taliban were born and a majority of the insurgents are local tribesmen. / "It will be quite a bit bigger than Bagram," said Lieutenant-Colonel John Uptmor, a U.S. engineer who is leading the U.S. expansion at KAF. … / The new hospital will be made of concrete strong enough to resist the 107-millimetre rockets that regularly slam into the base, like several other buildings under construction. Even the new Italian restaurant is equipped with thick concrete walls, giving a more permanent appearance than the Tim Hortons, Subway and Burger King outlets all camped in modified trailers. / That impression of long-term planning will grow stronger as road paving begins next year on major routes around the base, and technicians start laying down a fibre-optic network for communications. / Still, he acknowledged that some aspects of the base would be difficult for the Afghans to maintain. Even the NATO engineers are having difficulty handling KAF's garbage disposal, he said. The base already produces about 50 tonnes of waste per day, he said, and that number is expected to double. The current method of burning heaps of trash, which sends a foul column of smoke over the base, "would certainly not meet North American requirements," he said. / A more common odour lingering over the base is the smell of raw sewage… / [the new] plant may not be ready for 12 to 18 months.

Contracts Point to Significant U.S. Commitment in Afghanistan
25.12.08. Walter Pincus, Washington Post / anti-war.

Thousands of US troops to reinforce British in Afghanistan
11.12.08. Thomas Harding, Jerome Starkey, Telegraph. While it is expected that the Ministry of Defence will consider a surge of its own next year, the 8,000-strong British force in southern Afghanistan is to be joined by 10,000 US troops. / General David McKiernan, the commander of US forces and the Nato coalition, said most of some 20,000 extra American troops pledged to Afghanistan will be sent to the volatile south and southwest of the country to turn the tide against the Taliban. / He insisted the insurgents were not winning, but admitted the country was at a "tipping point" and that "2009 is going to be a critical year for this campaign". / .. "There are areas where we are, at best, in a stalemate ," Gen McKiernan said (11.12.08. IPA.)

Gates Seeks More Troops in Afghanistan by Spring
11.12.08. E. Bumiller, NYTimes/uruknet. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said here on Thursday that the Pentagon, which plans to send 20,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, was trying to get thousands of them into the country as soon as next spring, a sign of the seriousness of the threat by the Taliban. The soldiers were requested by Gen. David D. McKiernan, the top commander in Afghanistan. The first of them, about 3,500 to 4,000 troops from the Third Brigade of the 10th ! Mountain Division from Fort Drum, N.Y., are scheduled to arrive in Afghanistan next month...

Gates in Afghanistan: Gates Predicts 'Sustained' Afghan Mission
12.12.08. Washington Post/anti-war. The U.S. military will pour thousands of troops into Afghanistan by next summer and can expect to commit a sustained force for several more years, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and his top military commander there said Thursday. / Visiting Afghanistan for the second time in four months, Gates got a short but intensive look at the leading military priority facing him and the incoming Obama administration in the coming months. / … When the additions are complete, the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan will climb to more than 50,000. About 31,000 U.S. troops are there now.

U.S. General: Many in Afghanistan 'Don't Feel Secure'
12.12.08. us news. Gen. David McKiernan says efforts to improve security depend on more troops arriving quickly

US military prepares for Obama’s expansion of Afghan war
13.12.08. James Cogan, WSWS. The intention is to have at least 55,000 to 60,000 US troops in Afghanistan, as well as the 33,000 troops from various NATO states and other US allies. The head of the NATO-commanded International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), US General David McKiernan, told journalists: "I don't like to use the term ‘surge' here, because if we put these additional forces in, it's going to be for the next few years, this three- or four-year period. It's not a temporary increase of combat strength."/…Defense Secretary Robert Gates—chosen by the president-elect to remain in that job and head the seamless foreign policy transition from the Bush to the Obama administration—described the Afghan war on Thursday as "an ideological conflict with violent extremists" that could only be compared with the Cold War. "The last ideological conflict we were in lasted about 45 years," he declared.

A Defense Secretary at Work for 2 Commanders in Chief
14.12.08. E. Bumiller, NY Times. At a brief news conference in Kandahar, Afghanistan, an Afghan reporter asked Robert M. Gates, President Bush’s defense secretary, the first, pertinent question: Just what was President-elect Barack Obama’s policy for his war-weary country? / “The president-elect has been very explicit throughout the campaign and since the election that he believes that waging this fight in Afghanistan is a high priority and he would like to see more resources devoted to this fight, including more troops,” Mr. Gates said at the news conference, held Thursday at a military base in Kandahar, the ideological center of gravity for the Taliban. “So I think that you will see a continuing American commitment to defeating the enemies of the Afghan people during the administration of the president-elect.”

U.S. Military to Launch Pilot Program to Recruit New Local Afghan Militias
16.12.08. US news. The U.S. military will soon launch a pilot program to raise local militias, paid by the Pentagon, in an effort to improve security throughout the country. [just like the US supporting OBL during Russian occupation? ]

[see Militias won’t work (16.12.08. Canadian press]

The Surge

US 'to boost Afghanistan force'
19.12.08. BBC. US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has ordered the deployment of an additional combat aviation brigade to Afghanistan early next year, officials have said. The decision to send about 2,800 soldiers, equipped with both attack and transport helicopters, comes as part of an effort to counter the insurgency.

US approves combat aviation troops for Afghanistan
19.12.08. reuters / anti-war. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the U.S. Army brigade of about 2,800 soldiers, equipped with both attack and transport helicopters, would deploy next year.

Pentagon Wants to Double Force in Afghanistan
20.12.08. Golnar Motevalli, Reuters/truthout. "The United States is aiming to send 20,000 to 30,000 extra troops to Afghanistan by the beginning of next summer, the chairman of the S Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Saturday."

Pentagon to Send U.S. Aviation Brigade to Afghanistan
22.12.08. Bloomberg. The 2,800-person unit is separate from four ground combat brigades that U.S. commanders said they need in Afghanistan, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said today in Washington

Obama urged to act swiftly on Afghan crisis
18.12.08. Reuters. The incoming Barack Obama administration will inherit an urgent crisis in Afghanistan and must increase U.S. and NATO troop levels there while enlarging the Afghan army, a U.S. think tank [Brookings Institution] recommended on Thursday.

Rice says Obama likely to follow Bush on foreign policy
21.12.08. Financial Times

NATO to engage Afghan tribes in Taliban fight
22.12.08. reuters. While U.S. forces prepare to send up to 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, behind the scenes Afghan government officials are working to engage tribal elders as a way of undermining the growing influence of Taliban insurgents. / Engaging with leaders in rural areas of Afghanistan is part of a new NATO and U.S. strategy in Afghanistan; to promote traditional methods of local rule and undercut the lawlessness that feeds in the strengthening Taliban insurgency./ .. Using shuras -- meetings of tribal leaders -- the IDLG wants power-brokers in remote areas to cherry-pick civilians for jobs in the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police.

Security officials keep Obama informed about Afghanistan
22.12.08. J. Barnes, LA Times. The Pentagon and U.S. national security officials are transmitting a battery of new information concerning the Afghanistan war to President-elect Barack Obama's transition team in hopes that the incoming administration will act quickly to prevent U.S. fortunes there from eroding further. The effort underscores the urgency of addressing an increasingly dangerous situation in Afghanistan. Many military leaders believe that a broad strategic shift is needed to reverse the growing violence and begin to turn back advances by the Taliban and other extremists. Obama's staff is being given detailed information on findings of separate strategy reviews by the Pentagon and the White House National Security Council. Those reviews cover proposals to beef up U.S. force levels, improve coordination among government agencies and overhaul U.S. foreign aid efforts, including to countries such as Pakistan. "Right now, there is a sense you need to apply a tourniquet of some kind," said a senior defense official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Bush Team Wants Obama To Move Quickly On Afghanistan
23.12.08. US News.

US asks S. Korea to go Afghanistan
23.12.08. AP. Though both governments denied such a request was made, it is no secret that the United States wants its traditional Asian ally — which it defends against threats from North Korea — to resume contributions to the war in Afghanistan.

U.S. Draws India Into The Afghan War
25.12.08. M.K. Bhadrakumar, The Hindu / ICH. The time has come to carefully assess the U.S. motivations in widening the gyre of the Afghan war.

A U.S. Strategy Unfolds at Kabul's Training Center
26.12.08. Online WSJ. Officials Seek to Expand Afghan Army as Crucial Step in Securing Nation, but Low Literacy Levels, High Attrition Pose Hurdles. The sprawling Kabul Military Training Center here was a Soviet base and then a Taliban one. Today it's at the heart of an ambitious American plan to double the size of the Afghan army within the next two years, an initiative that could determine the course of the war here.

the logic (below) defies belief

U.S. will give free weapons to Afghan civilians
27.12.08. David Edwards, Stephen C. Webster, Raw Story. One way to quell a violent and deteriorating situation, according to the U.S. military, is to flood the place with guns. That's exactly what is planned for Afghanistan, where a rising tide of chaos is slowly pushing the country past Iraq as the most dangerous battlefield Americans tread upon.
Mrs. Bush, Rice: Bush presidency not a failure
29.12.08. AP. Mrs. Bush noted that under her husband's watch, the U.S. toppled Saddam Hussein and liberated [SIC] millions of people in Afghanistan and Iraq from oppressive governments. / … She said her husband responded to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in a way that has kept the nation safe [US mantra] .

A Balanced Strategy
01-02.09. Robert Gates, Foreign Affairs. Reprogramming the Pentagon for a New Age. The Pentagon chief says the nation's armed forces need to be better prepared to fight unconventional battles. The United States' ability to deal with future threats will depend on its performance in current conflicts. To be blunt, to fail -- or to be seen to fail -- in either Iraq or Afghanistan would be a disastrous blow to U.S. credibility, both among friends and allies and among potential adversaries. … / In Afghanistan, as President George W. Bush announced last September, U.S. troop levels are rising, with the likelihood of more increases in the year ahead. Given its terrain, poverty, neighborhood, and tragic history, Afghanistan in many ways poses an even more complex and difficult long-term challenge than Iraq -- one that, despite a large international effort, will require a significant U.S. military and economic commitment for some time.


.. now politicians of both parties, led by Barack Obama, have begun to suggest a redeployment of forces to Afghanistan in the false hope that more American troops will solve Afghanistan’s problems as well. … “ The end will be like with the Russians … The Americans will never succeed in containing the conflict. There will be more bleeding, the evacuation of foreigners. It’s coming to the same situation – by 1985 or 1986, the Communist forces held only the provincial capitals. There were 465,000 military and civilian members of the puppet government. But the Russians were still confined to their bases.” Nir Rosen (28.11.08)


Report 1 (pdf):
Forceful Engagement: Rethinking the Role of Military Power in US Global Power
CHARTS: (1) Monthly Terrorism Fatalities Before and After 9/11; (2) Fatalities Due to Terrorism Worldwide 2004 –07; (3) US Military Personnel Overseas, Active and Reserves; (4) Percent of Active Component US Military Overseas; (5) Global Views of the USA; (6) World Opinion and US Military Power; (7) Post Cold War US Defense Spending; Allocation of World Military Spending

(in html, no charts)
Forceful Engagement: Rethinking the Role of Military Power in US Global Policy
12.08. Carl Conetta, Project on Defense Alternatives.

REPORT 2 (pdf):
Re-Envisioning Defense: An Agenda for US Policy Debate and Transition
12.08. Carl Conetta, Project on Defense Alternatives. Charts: (1) Post-Cold War Defense Spending; (2) US Federal Debt As Percentage of GDP 1940 - 2007

In html (no charts)

Re-Envisioning Defense :An Agenda for US Policy Debate and Transition
05.12.08. Carl Conetta, Project on Defense Alternatives. The US defense policy paradox: less security at increasing cost -

The United States is entering a critical period of policy transition. Beginning with the advent of the Obama administration, and continuing through the end of 2010, all of America's national security and defense planning guidance will be revised. Certainly the need for change is broadly felt by the public. And it is not difficult to understand why.

Recent defense policy evinces a disturbing paradox: it has been delivering less and less security at ever increasing cost. With national defense expenditures approaching $700 billion per year, the United States today accounts for about 46 percent of all military spending worldwide – up from 28 percent in 1986. Approximately 440,000 US troops are presently stationed or deployed overseas, which is close to the number overseas at the end of the Cold War. But, in no area of concern has this prodigious effort produced substantial or sure progress – not in the “war on terrorism”, weapon proliferation, relations with allies, relations with China and Russia, or in the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Mideast, or Africa. Indeed, the world seems less stable and more polarized today than it did in 2001. And anti-Americanism is at a level not seen since the Vietnam war years. Three core concerns; An agenda for policy debate and change


The limits of force. During the past ten years (and especially since the 2001 attacks) there has been a remarkable surge in US military spending and operations abroad. On balance, the costs have outweighed the benefits.

Despite initial successes in Afghanistan and Iraq, an over-reliance on military instruments has weakened America’s armed forces, unsettled its alliances, spurred anti-Americanism, and prompted balancing behavior on the part of China and Russia. Global terrorist activity has increased, not decreased. And there is no real end in sight for US commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead, instability is spreading to other countries and so are US military operations.

The cost-benefit balance sheet indicates that the United States is using its armed forces and military power beyond the limit of their utility. Thus, the nation finds itself paying more and more for less and less security.

The new administration seeks to place greater emphasis on diplomacy. Even more fundamental, however, is the need to roll back America’s over-reliance on military instruments. This is essential to the revival of America’s reputation and leadership position. What most divides the United States from those it hopes to lead is the issue of when, how, and how much to use force and the armed forces.

Read more on:The Lure of Primacy; Precepts for a New Direction; Elements of an Alternative: “The real measure of a renewed US diplomacy will be efforts to reach across current strategic divides — especially to Russia, China, and the Muslim world — and find common ground. Cooperation on water, food, energy, and health security, global warming, economic development, and the management of globalization could serve as a foundation for progress on more divisive issues. A re-emphasis on traditional “quid pro quo” diplomacy will pay higher dividends in resolving divisive issues than will the resort to coercive diplomacy and saber rattling.”


Conrad understood what we did to others in the name of civilization and progress. And it is Conrad, as our society unravels internally and plows ahead in the costly, morally repugnant and self-defeating wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, whom we do well to heed. Chris Hedges

“The argument that more NATO troops are the solution is equally unsustainable. All the evidence suggests that the brutality of the occupying forces has been one of the main sources of recruits for the Taliban. American air power, lovingly referred to as ‘Big Daddy’ by frightened US soldiers on unwelcome terrain, is far from paternal when it comes to targeting Pashtun villages. There is widespread fury among Afghans at the number of civilian casualties, many of them children. There have been numerous incidents of rape and rough treatment of women by ISAF soldiers, as well as indiscriminate bombing of villages and house-to-house search-and-arrest missions.” Tariq Ali AFGHANISTAN: MIRAGE OF THE GOOD WAR, New Left Review, March-April 2008.

Everything written in the above article holds true today.

Afghanistan, Graveyard of Empires
11-12.08. Milton Bearden, Foreign Affairs. Summary: The first engagement in the new war on terrorism -- with Osama bin Ladin in Afghanistan -- poses severe challenges for the United States. Rooting out bin Ladin's network will require military success in a country that the Soviet Union could not conquer in ten years of trying, as well as support from unstable surrounding nations. Washington may be tempted to try to oust the Taliban regime, but doing so could rekindle Afghanistan's brutal civil war. The United States must proceed with caution -- or end up on the ash heap of Afghan history.

Mumbai to Obama: End Bush's War on Terror
29.11.08. Steve Weissman, Truthout. "The terrorist attacks in Mumbai call out to President-elect Barack Obama and his advisors to rethink the signature blunder of George W. Bush's eight years in office - the so-called War on Terror. As US intelligence reports have made clear, the centerpiece of the supposed campaign against terror, the military occupation of Iraq, has increased the likelihood of more attacks like those in Mumbai, Madrid, London and Manhattan. The new escalation in Afghanistan will similarly increase terrorist attacks there, in neighboring India and Pakistan, in disputed Kashmir, and throughout the world."

The Things We Need to Do Now
29.11.08. Andrew J. Bacevich, Newsweek. What is our definition of victory? In Afghanistan today, the United States and its allies are using the wrong means to pursue the wrong mission. Sending more troops to the region, as incoming president Barack Obama and others have suggested we should, will only turn Operation Enduring Freedom into Operation Enduring Obligation. Afghanistan will be a sinkhole, consuming resources neither the U.S. military nor the U.S. government can afford to waste.

Fallout Will Hit Obama's Afghan Plan
29.11.08. Maleeha Lodhi, The Independent/ truthout. "The terrorist attacks in Mumbai have dramatised how the urgent will often take precedence over the important for the incoming Obama administration. The attacks have plunged relations between Pakistan and India into unpredictable territory just when a series of policy reviews in Washington are focused on overhauling strategy in Afghanistan. With Afghanistan in a 'downward spiral' Washington is groping for a new strategy."

From Great Game to Grand Bargain
11/12.08. Barnett R. Rubin and Ahmed Rashid, Foreign Affairs. The crisis in Afghanistan and Pakistan is beyond the point where more troops will help. U.S. strategy must be to seek compromise with insurgents while addressing regional rivalries and insecurities.

VIDEO: Herat's residents regret city's hardship (al jazeera 30.11.08)

Afghan Strategy Poses Stiff Challenge for Obama
01.12.08. NY Times. Military experts agree that more troops are required to carry out an effective counterinsurgency campaign, but they also caution that the reinforcements are unlikely to lead to the sort of rapid turnaround that the so-called troop surge in Iraq produced after its start in 2007. see also here.

Vote First. Ask Questions Later
01.12.08. William Blum, Killing Hope. . The future as we used to know it has ceased to exist / ., The next time you encounter a defender of American foreign policy, someone insisting that something like Mumbai justifies Washington's rhetorical and military attacks against Islam, you might want to point out that the United States does the same on a regular basis. For seven years in Afghanistan, almost six in Iraq, to give only the two most obvious examples … ... breaking down doors and machine-gunning strangers, infidels, traumatizing children for life, firing missiles into occupied houses, exploding bombs all over the place, pausing to torture ... every few days dropping bombs on Pakistan or Afghanistan, and still Iraq, claiming they've killed members of al-Qaeda, just as bad as Zionists, bombing wedding parties, one after another, 20 or 30 or 70 killed, all terrorists of course … Obama may prove to be as big a disappointment as Nelson Mandela … / Another comparison might be with Tony Blair. The mythology of the War on Terrorism. Since the first American strike on Afghanistan in October 2001 there have been literally scores of terrorist attacks against American institutions in the Middle East, South Asia and the Pacific, more than a dozen in Pakistan alone: military, civilian, Christian, and other targets associated with the United States. / .. Obama has appointed former CIA official John O. Brennan as an adviser on intelligence matters and co-leader of his intelligence transition team. Brennan has called "rendition" – the kidnap-and-torture program carried out under the Clinton and Bush administrations – a "vital tool", and praised the CIA's interrogation techniques for providing "lifesaving" intelligence. / An even more insidious myth of the War on Terrorism has been the notion that terrorist acts against the United States can be explained, largely, if not entirely, by irrational hatred or envy of American social, economic, or religious values, and not by what the United States does to the world; i.e., US foreign policy. Just put down that stereotype and no one gets hurt.

Confronting the Terrorist Within
01.12.08. Chris Hedges, Truthdig/ Truthout. "The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, when viewed from the receiving end, are state-sponsored acts of terrorism. These wars defy every ethical and legal code that seek to determine when a nation can wage war, from Just War Theory to the statutes of international law largely put into place by the United States after World War II. These wars are criminal wars of aggression. They have left hundreds of thousands of people, who never took up arms against us, dead and seen millions driven from their homes. We have no right as a nation to debate the terms of these occupations. And an Afghan villager, burying members of his family's wedding party after an American airstrike, understands in a way we often do not that terrorist attacks can also be unleashed from the arsenals of an imperial power. / Barack Obama's decision to increase troop levels in Afghanistan and leave behind tens of thousands of soldiers and Marines in Iraq-he promises only to withdraw combat brigades-is a failure to rescue us from the status of a rogue nation. It codifies Bush's "war on terror." And the continuation of these wars will corrupt and degrade our nation just as the long and brutal occupation of Gaza and the West Bank has corrupted and degraded Israel. George W. Bush has handed Barack Obama a poisoned apple. Obama has bitten it. … / The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are a ‘radical evil’."

Obama's Afghan Dilemma
03.12.08. R. Dreyfuss, Nation. But assertions by the US command and the Obama team that we can both "surge" and negotiate overlook the glaring reality that sending more troops into the Afghan quagmire and urging the Pakistani government to escalate the war it is fighting against its own people will make the crisis worse, not better.

The Threat of Realism
04.12.08. Marc Ash, Truthout. In Afghanistan, for whatever reason, everyone on a US national security level seems to have forgotten the lessons that the vastly superior Soviet military learned in Afghanistan two decades ago, i.e., do not leave your military there. It is what military experts have always referred to it as the graveyard of foreign armies. / There seems to be a desire on the part of US military planners to do in Afghanistan now what they "should have" or were "not allowed" to do in 2002. But now is now and then was then. Now, a new strategy must be developed. One that doesn't repeat the mistakes of Mikhail Gorbachev or George W. Bush. The plan currently offered won't pass muster.

Washington Arrogance Has Fomented a Muslim Revolution
05.12.08. Paul Craig Roberts, Lew Rockwell. The attack on Mumbai required radicalized Muslims. Radicalized Muslims resulted from the US overthrowing the elected government in Iran and imposing the Shah; from the US stationing troops in Saudi Arabia; from the US invading and attempting to occupy Afghanistan and Iraq, bombing weddings, funerals, and children’s soccer games; from the US violating international and US law by torturing its Muslim victims; from the US enlisting Pakistan in its war against the Taliban; from the US violating Pakistan’s sovereignty by conducting military operations on Pakistani territory, killing Pakistani civilians; from the US government supporting a half century of Israeli ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their lands, towns and villages; from the assault of American culture on Muslim values; from the US purchasing the government of Egypt to act as its puppet; from US arrogance that America is the supreme arbiter of morality.

Afghanistan: Another Untold Story
05.12.08. Michael Parenti, ICH. The war against Afghanistan, a battered impoverished country, continues to be portrayed in US official circles as a gallant crusade against terrorism. If it ever was that, it also has been a means to other things: destroying a leftist revolutionary social order, gaining profitable control of one of the last vast untapped reserves of the earth's dwindling fossil fuel supply, and planting US bases and US military power into still another region of the world. Sections on History: Jihad and Taliban, CIA Style; The Holy Crusade for Oil and Gas

05.12.08. Cindy Sheehan, ICH. If the USA had a national Peace Movement, Obama would not be our President-Elect right now. Dennis Kucinich (D-Oh) would have been the nominee for the Democrats and Ron Paul (R-Tx) would have been nominated from the GOP and Cynthia McKinney (G) and Ralph Nader (I) would have had seats at debates. What we have here in the US is an "anti-war" movement that is selective in its opposition to war.

"Your Hope of Winning [the War] By Sending In Additional Troops is Illogical and Misguided. The main cause of the financial storm that has swept through the world is America's failing belligerent policy and its strategy of occupation. The negative effects have spread, in one form or another, to all corners of the world ... Your Hope of Winning By Sending In Additional Troops is Illogical and Misguided" Mullah Omar

In the lair of the Taliban
07.12.08. Nir Rosen, Asian Window / uruknet. ...It is foolhardy to believe that the Americans can prevail where the Russians failed. And it is too late for Bush’s "quiet surge", or even for Barack Obama’s plan for more robust reinforcements in Afghanistan. More soldiers on the ground will only lead to more contact with the enemy, and more air strikes will only lead to more civilian casualties that will alienate even more Afghans. Sooner or later, the Americans will be forced to negotiate, just as the Soviets were before them. Bush vowed that he would never allow the Taliban to return to power in Afghanistan. But they have already returned, and they appear to be winning. As a high-ranking Taliban leader said recently, "You westerners have your watches. But we Taliban have time."..

Afghanistan: The Arrogance and Ignorance
10.12.08. Yvonne Ridley, ICH. The western leaders can either choose to remain in denial and send in more troops while listening to pompous civil servants, politicians and diplomats who say only what they think their masters want to hear, or they can sit down and read the ICOS report (see Taliban, above) and act upon it.

Afghan troops losing support from locals
12.12.08. Telegraph. (The behaviour of international troops is jeopardising the support of the Afghan people, the country's most senior United Nations official has warned.) Kai Edie, the UN Secretary-General's special representative, said he was worried about the effects of civilian casualties, unlawful detentions and heavy-handed searches. / Civilian deaths, particularly from coalition airstrikes, have caused deep resentment in Afghanistan and President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly demanded villages are not bombed. / Civilians have also repeatedly been shot dead when cars and buses have failed to heed warnings and strayed too close to coalition convoys and patrols. / He said: "In the end the Afghans themselves have to win the hearts and minds of their population, we can contribute, but I am afraid that we will be less welcome in the Afghan public if we do not correct our behaviour."

Afghanistan: A Way Forward
16.12.08. Maya Schenwar, interview with Stephen Kinzer. “In the first place, increasing the number of American troops in Afghanistan is sending the wrong signal. The very presence of foreign troops in aggressive, frontline military roles in Afghanistan is an incitement for reaction from local people. The first thing we need to do is decide to maintain our troop strength at the relatively modest level that it's at now, and not increase it. / Resisting foreign armies is something Afghans have been doing for thousands of years - they're probably better at it than anyone else in the world. The British learned this in the 19th century, the Soviets learned this in the 20th century. We shouldn't have to repeat those very painful lessons.” … VIDEO OF INTERVIEW.

Using Afghan militias to keep peace wouldn't work in the south: Thompson
16.12.08. Canadian press. The tactic has long been endorsed by Gen. David Petraeus, the former top U.S. military official in Iraq who now oversees the Afghan war as commander of U.S. Central Command. / But there are some crucial differences between Afghanistan and Iraq, said Brig.-Gen. Denis Thompson, who oversees Canada's operations in Kandahar.

The American-Made Insurgency in Afghanistan: A Million McVeighs Now
16.12.08. Chris Floyd, global research. The "Good War" in Afghanistan – the Bush-launched war that Barack Obama tells us we must fight and win – continues to deteriorate before our eyes. Just like every other operation in the so-called "War on Terror" (another Bush-launched campaign that Obama has fully embraced as his own), the Afghan war, now in its seventh year, has proven entirely counter-productive to its stated aims. Instead of stabilizing a volatile region and denying it as a base for violent extremism, it has of course done the opposite. The shock waves of the heavy-handed American-led invasion of Afghanistan – a country that no foreign power has ever conquered and held – have spread across Central Asia, most dangerously into Pakistan.

Obama's War
19.12.08. Patrick J. Buchanan, Creator’s Syndicate / ICH. Just two months after the twin towers fell, the armies of the Northern Alliance marched into Kabul. The Taliban fled. The triumph was total in the "splendid little war" that had cost one U.S. casualty. Or so it seemed. Yet, last month, the war against the Taliban entered its eighth year, the second longest war in our history, and America and NATO have never been nearer to strategic defeat.


Afghan Leader Demands Plan for NATO Withdrawal
27.11.08. Candace Rondeaux, The Washington Post/truthout. "Afghan President Hamid Karzai has sharply criticized the United States and NATO, demanding a timeline for the withdrawal of foreign forces. Karzai's comments came late Tuesday in a speech to a U.N. Security Council delegation visiting Kabul, the capital, this week. He accused the international community of failing 'to fight the Taliban properly' since the U.S.-led war in the country began in 2001."

Karzai: Foreign troops have not made life better
28.11.08. dailytimes/pk / ICH. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has criticised the seven-year Afghan war, complaining that the US and NATO troops have not made life better.

Afghan leader sends demands to US on troop conduct
18.12.08. AP/legitgov. President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly called for foreign troops to do more to prevent civilian deaths during strikes and raids. He also wants them to show more respect for the country's traditional Muslim culture, in which men can cause great affront by entering a house with women inside.

Karzai: US forces alienated Afghans
20.12.08. presstv. Karzai reiterated that concentrating more troops around the Afghan capital was not a good idea and called for clarification of responsibilities of the ISAF forces and the Afghan government. / President Hamid Karzai has grown increasingly impatient with the American-led war effort against the Taliban insurgency and has repeatedly condemned the US strikes against the Afghan civilians.

Afghan leader presses US military on strategy
22.12.08. J. Straziuso, AP. President Hamid Karzai pressed America's top military leader Monday on the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan and preparations to pour up to 30,000 more forces into the country, reflecting Karzai's concerns over civilian casualties and operations in villages. Karzai asked Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, what kinds of operations the newly deployed troops would carry out and told him that the Afghan government should be consulted about those missions.

Afghanistan's President Karzai laments coalition use of 'thugs'
22.12.08. Kim Barker, LA Times / Fair use. Interview with Karzai.

Lessons On The Ground In Afghanistan
19.12.08. Loren Jenkins, npr. To drive up into [Panjshir valley] where the Mujaheedin fought the Soviet Red Army to a standstill two decades ago, is to understand why those who know Afghan tribesmen's long history of resisting foreign armies — from Alexander the Great to today's NATO forces — warn of quagmires to come. / To see these vast depots of destroyed weaponry only an hour's drive outside Kabul should give pause to the policymakers who believe that U.S. might and determination can prevail here, where others through history — the Persians, the British, the Russians, among others — have consistently failed. / So far, however, that has not been the case. After seven years of war, with some 34,000 U.S. troops and another 30,000 from NATO, the conflict here is going badly. This year, for the first time, there were more American casualties than we have had in Iraq, and one recent study said the Taliban is operational in 72 percent of the country. / Indeed, things have been going so badly that Washington has so far not released any data from its new National Intelligence Estimate on Afghanistan or the results of several strategy studies on the Afghan war. / Escalation, of course, is a very slippery slope — especially when it occurs in countries whose history and martial cultures are little understood or appreciated by foreigners forging policies half a world away.

All roads lead out of Afghanistan
20.12.08. *** M K Bhadrakumar, Asia Times. The measure of success of president-elect Barack Obama's new "Afghan strategy" will be directly proportional to his ability to delink the war from its geopolitical agenda inherited from the George W Bush administration. / It is obvious that Russia and Iran's cooperation is no less critical for the success of the war than what the US is painstakingly extracting from the Pakistani generals. Arguably, Obama will even be in a stronger negotiating position vis-a-vis the tough generals in Rawalpindi if only he has Moscow and Tehran on board his Afghan strategy. / But then, Moscow and Iran will expect that Obama reciprocates with a willingness to jettison the US's containment strategy towards them. The signs do not look good. This is not only from the look of Obama's national security team and the continuance of Robert Gates as defense secretary. / On the contrary, in the dying weeks of the Bush administration, the US is robustly pushing for an increased military presence in the Russian (and Chinese) backyard in Central Asia on the ground that the exigencies of a stepped-up war effort in Afghanistan necessitate precisely such an expanded US military presence. / Sections on Russian-Iranian proximity; Politics of transit routes; US's Caucasian thrust; US holds trump cards

Army top brass warn: Afghanistan will be our next Northern Ireland
21.12.08. Sunday Herald/anti-war. Senior British army officers fear the deployment of troops in Afghanistan's Helmand province will turn into an operation lasting as long as that in Northern Ireland./… His fears were echoed by the Chief of the Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshall Sir Jock Stirrup, who warned that the end of the British presence in Basra in Iraq would not necessarily provide a magic wand for him and his planners. / "We're currently doing more than we're structured or resourced for over the long term," he told an audience at the Royal United Services Institute, a Whitehall-based think tank. "We cannot simply make a one-for-one transfer from Iraq to Afghanistan." / Military analysts also fear the tours of duty in Helmand will not be as successful as in Northern Ireland because the army is failing to win the hearts and minds of the local population. / According to Dr Daniel Marston, a counterinsurgency warfare specialist, the army will have to relearn the lessons of Northern Ireland if it is ever going to be successful in Afghanistan.

Iran warns US over more troops to Afghanistan
22.12.08. mid-day / ICH. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in a press briefing in Tehran that the US should be careful of the consequences of its new policies in Afghanistan and not make the same mistakes as in Iraq.

Under US orders
22.12.08. Max Hastings, Guardian. … / Privately, [the Americans] acknowledge that Afghanistan cannot afford a huge war machine. The average defence spend of developing nations is about 2% of GDP. To fund the 300,000 troops the US thinks necessary to secure the country, at a cost of $10,000 a man, Kabul would need to spend a crazy 20% of its GDP. Some Washington strategy gurus argue that the US military is promoting a model that is unsustainable.

Man Is a Cruel Animal
22.12.08. Chris Hedges, Truthdig. … Those who attempt to mend the flaws in the human species through force embrace a perverted idealism. Those who believe that history is a progressive march toward human perfectibility, and that they have the moral right to force this progress on others, no longer know what it is to be human. In the name of the noblest virtues they sink to the depths of criminality and moral depravity. This self-delusion comes to us in many forms. It can be wrapped in the language of Western civilization, democracy, religion, the master race, Liberté, égalité, fraternité, the worker's paradise, the idyllic agrarian society, the new man or scientific rationalism. The jargon is varied. The dark sentiment is the same. / … Conrad rejected all formulas or schemes for the moral improvement of the human condition. Political institutions, he said, "whether contrived by the wisdom of the few or the ignorance of the many, are incapable of securing the happiness of mankind."

Coalition forces slammed for 'abusive' raids, air strikes in Afghanistan
23.12.08. AP / legitgov. Lethal air strikes and "abusive" nighttime raids by coalition forces in Afghanistan threaten to turn the local population against foreign troops, according to a report released Tuesday. The Report, released in Kabul by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission [AIHRC], says U.S. and NATO air strikes and nighttime searches of civilian houses could undermine seven years of trying to win the hearts and minds of Afghans. "Afghan families experienced their family members killed or injured, their houses or other property destroyed, or homes invaded at night without any perceived justification or legal authorization," the report says. See Reuters on the report, “From Hope to Fear” here.

Obama's Afghan Escalation
23.12.08. Robert Dreyfuss, The Nation. True enough, Barack Obama has pledged to support a "surge" in US forces in Afghanistan, as bad an idea as that might be.

Obama’s Afghan Troop-Surge Plan May Prove Too Much, Too Late
24.12.08. Ken Fireman, Bloomberg. Sending more U.S. forces to Afghanistan is an idea whose time has come. The question is whether the time when it could work has already gone. … The tension between the short-run need for more muscle to thwart the Taliban and the long-term trap of becoming the latest in a long line of foreign intruders bogged down in Afghanistan forms the core of the dilemma confronting Obama.

US to fight "insurgency" across Muslim world for 25 years
25.12.08. Anwar Iqbal, uruknet.
The United States is committed to fighting insurgency [sic] in the Muslim world for 25 years, says a report released by the US Joint Forces Command. Besides this general commitment to fighting insurgency, the United States is building permanent military structures in Afghanistan to indicate its plans for a long-term stay in the war-ravaged country. Earlier this week, the US Corps of Engineers sought bids for some of these projects. One such project in Kandahar could cost as much as $500 million while three separate projects for housing facilities for the US troops will cost at least $100 million each... [NB: The US is not fighting “insurgents.” The US is fighting Islam.]

Study Criticizes Bush Approach to War Funding, Calls for Changes
26.12.08. Ann Scott Tyson, Washington Post/anti-war. President-elect Barack Obama's administration needs to monitor war spending much more closely than the current White House has, according to a new study that criticizes President Bush's approach to funding the Iraq and Afghanistan wars -- a bill that is projected to approach nearly $1 trillion next year. / … The CSBA … blamed the ballooning budgets on the Bush administration's unprecedented decision to fund the wars through giant emergency spending measures rather than through appropriations requests.

Obama and the Graveyard of Empires
26-8.12.08. Gary Leupp, Counterpunch. Beardon citing Louis Dupree, the premier historian of Afghanistan, attributed the “British disaster” of 1878-81 to four “mistakes”: the occupation of Afghan territory by foreign troops, the placing of an unpopular ruler in power, harsh acts committed against local enemies, and paltry subsidies paid to local allies. “The United States would be wise to consider them today,” he concluded. Again, Beardon was writing just as the U.S. was beginning its adventure in Afghanistan, and when the war in Iraq based on lies was still a twinkle in Dick Cheney’s eye.

Does Obama, often described as lacking knowledge of foreign affairs, and praised (by all the wrong people) for reaching out to (all the wrong) “experienced” foreign policy wonks, really believe that he can succeed in Afghanistan where so many others have failed? Here perhaps we find the audacity of sheer historical ignorance.


Ashraf Ghani: Afghanistan is a failing state. It needs a Marshall Plan
29.12.08. Independent. The current impetus for a new perspective in US interventions comes from the military, in the form of the new counter-insurgency doctrine. Building on lessons learned by the British in Malaysia and the French in Algeria in the 1950s and 1960s, a group of thinkers organised by General Petraeus in the US have formulated the thesis that the struggle for the people is the central issue in any counter-insurgency campaign. While 20 per cent of the campaign might centre on use of force, 80 per cent depends on political and economic efforts. Under this doctrine, the definition of partners rests on the litmus test of dedication to the people. The incoming administration must translate this doctrine into a focused strategy for Afghanistan. This will require a fresh look at the polity, the economy, and foreign aid. / .., The present crisis was not inevitable, but rather the result of avoidable missteps.

Another Viet Nam?

Remaking the World in America’s Image
04.12.08. William Pfaff, truthdig. This same war to make other states “into the American image” has been waged repeatedly during the last 50 years: in Vietnam , in Laos and Cambodia, in Nicaragua, in Iraq where “victory” (whatever that would be) still eludes the U.S., in Afghanistan in a war now spreading into Pakistan, in Somalia (through an Ethiopian proxy), and against Hezbollah and Hamas./ It invariably has failed, at heavy cost to the societies involved, and little or no benefit to the United States. The rule long ago empirically established is that intervention in other countries to remake them invariably inflames and sustains nationalist resistance to the invader. But Barack Obama and his team seem ready to try again.

Afghanistan: The Silent Winter of Escalation
08.12.08. Norman Solomon, Common Dreams /Truthout. the silence now enveloping the political nonresponse to plans for the Afghanistan war is a message of acquiescence that echoes what happened when the escalation of the Vietnam War gathered momentum. Right now, the basic ingredients of further Afghan disasters are in place - including, pivotally, a dire lack of wide-ranging debate over Washington's options. VIDEO.

ICOS: Afghan Resistance Controls 72% of Afghanistan. 3 of 4 roads leading out of Kabul "compromised"
08.12.08. L. Blough, Axis of Logic. The ICOS Report statistics, followed by 'Remembering Vietnam.'

Six Signs That Afghanistan Could Be Another Vietnam
09.12.08. John H. Richardson, Esquire. (Why the state of U.S. foreign policy, circa 2008, looks a whole lot like our policy in 1963 -- and how Robert Gates's strategy going forward is both encouraging and alarming). I have a terrible feeling that it is 1963 all over again, at least in one key aspect of our foreign policy. Here are the signs” – 6 illustrations given, with comments on Robert Gates’ Foreign Affairs article [see above].

“Wouldn’t you wish to learn what had happened to Jonathan in Viet Nam?” A different war – but maybe at some level it was the same war.” Nadeem Aslam , The Wasted Vigil.

VIDEO: On War - My Heart of Darkness

11. Military Industrial Complex, Contracts; Contractors



Why the U.S. Military Is in Shambles
08.12.08. Andrew Cockburn, CounterPunch / Alternet. Coinciding with the arrival of Obama and his deputies in Washington, the Center for Defense Information is releasing America's Defense Meltdown -- Pentagon Reform for President Obama and the New Congress , a primer on what is wrong with our defense system written by men with long and honorable experience in the bowels of the military services and Pentagon bureaucracy. The book's editor, Winslow Wheeler, is familiar to readers of this site for his acrid and knowledgeable commentaries on the defense establishment. CounterPuncher Andrew Cockburn interviews him about the book and its message.

Conflict of Interest

One Man’s Military-Industrial-Media Complex
29.11.08. David Barstow, NY Times. .. Through seven years of war an exclusive club has quietly flourished at the intersection of network news and wartime commerce. Its members, mostly retired generals, have had a foot in both camps as influential network military analysts and defense industry rainmakers. It is a deeply opaque world, a place of privileged access to senior government officials, where war commentary can fit hand in glove with undisclosed commercial interests and network executives are sometimes oblivious to possible conflicts of interest. … / … Many retired officers hold a perch in the world of military contracting, but General McCaffrey is among a select few who also command platforms in the news media and as government advisers on military matters. These overlapping roles offer them an array of opportunities to advance policy goals as well as business objectives. But with their business ties left undisclosed, it can be difficult for policy makers and the public to fully understand their interests. / On NBC and in other public forums, General McCaffrey has consistently advocated wartime policies and spending priorities that are in line with his corporate interests. But those interests are not described to NBC’s viewers. He is held out as a dispassionate expert, not someone who helps companies win contracts related to the wars he discusses on television.

&: see D. Barstow/s earlier article, Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon’s Hidden Hand .

Related - see:

NBC's "One-Man Military-Industrial-Media Complex"
08.12.08. Diane Farsetta, PR Watch/alternet. (As a consultant for military contractors, retired general and Pentagon pundit Barry McCaffrey is a first-class war profiteer.) What will it take for the Defense Department officials involved to be held responsible for an illegal government propaganda campaign? Why don't news professionals realize that they need to vet their commentators and disclose any potential conflicts of interest to their audiences? When will the cable and network television stations that featured the Pentagon's pundits tell viewers that their war commentary was anything but independent?

Also related: see The 2008 Falsies Awards (PR watch)

Perhaps Mr. Barstow / PR Watch could investigate the following story, which sounds like another close knit club? Security panel warns U.S. is losing global cyberwar

Just How many US Military Bases ?
12.12.08. Sohbet Karbuz, uruknet. We know that the Pentagon’s Global Presence and Basing Strategy asked the total number of American military sites abroad to be reduced to 550 by 2012. That’s fine. This number is completely irrelevant simply because of the fact that today we don’t know how many military bases exist. DoD’s reference of Base Structure Report does not tell the truth./ … In fact, the DoD is the world’s largest landlord, much ahead of the US General Services Administration and General Electric as claimed by some. For example the US military bases in many countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Hungary, Austria, Israel, Bulgaria, Qatar, etc. are not listed in Bases Structure Report.

U.S. Weapons at War 2008 - Beyond the Bush Legacy
12.08. William D. Hartung, Frida Berrigan, New America Foundation. The United States, which entered into over $23 billion in Foreign Military Sales (FMS) agreements in fiscal year (FY) 2007 and $32 billion in FY 2008 (see table 1), is the world's largest arms supplier. / … In 2006 and 2007, the United States sold weapons to over 174 states and territories, a significant increase from the beginning of the Bush administration when the number of U.S. arms clients stood at 123.[1] While many of these sales were relatively small deals licensed commercially by the State Department, a number of important new states were added or restored to the U.S. client list, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, East Timor, Indonesia, Iraq, Afghanistan, India, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan. Related article here.

Report Spotlights Iraq Rebuilding Blunders
13.12.08. NY Times / legitgov. Pentagon 'put out inflated measures of progress to cover up the failures’'. An unpublished 513-page federal history of the American-led reconstruction of Iraq depicts an effort crippled before the invasion by Pentagon planners who were hostile to the idea of rebuilding a foreign country, and then molded into a $100 billion failure by bureaucratic turf wars, spiraling violence and ignorance of the basic elements of Iraqi society and infrastructure. The history, the first official account of its kind, also concludes that when the reconstruction began to lag... the Pentagon simply put out inflated measures of progress to cover up the failures.

US costs of Iraq, Afghan wars top $900 bln -report
15.12.08. Reuters / anti-war. A new study released by the nonpartisan Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments ,or CSBA, said the Iraq conflict's $687 billion price tag alone now exceeds the cost of every past U.S. war except for World War II, when expenditures are adjusted for inflation. / With another $184 billion in spending for Afghanistan included, the two conflicts surpass the cost of the Vietnam War by about 50 percent, the report said

The High Cost of an Enormous Nuclear Arsenal
19.12.08. Jason Ditz, anti-war. The United States has spent somewhere in the realm of $5.5 trillion creating its enormous nuclear arsenal, but even as they look to God-only-knows-how-much more on modernizing their warheads, a much less recognized expense, what to do with the enormous stockpile of waste from their construction looms large. Fear not, the Department of Energy has a plan to cut corners here. / Of course there’s plenty of opposition, but essentially, the plan is to hollow out a mountain near Las Vegas, and chuck all the material in there. If that sounds dangerous, don’t worry: in another hundred years the Energy Department will send an army of yet-to-be-invented robots into the facility to install some likewise yet-to-be-invented titanium shields to protect the waste from the water and the water from the waste. Win-win, at least in a hundred years.

US/UK “Special Relationship”

U.S. Firms to Get Controlling Stake in British Nuclear Weapons Complex
19.12.08. nti. A California-based engineering firm said Wednesday that it purchased a one-third share of the entity responsible for building and maintaining the United Kingdom's nuclear warhead stockpile, the Financial Times reported. / Although the United States already produced British nuclear-weapon components, London has maintained the U.K. Atomic Weapons Establishment as an independent authority to oversee its arsenal. The government put its AWE share on the market in 2007 when top officials decided to dismantle British Nuclear Fuels, the state-run firm holding the stake. / British Nuclear Fuels co-owned the Atomic Weapons Establishment with U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin and the British firm Serco.

Secret nuclear sell-off storm
20.12.08. independent. Aldermaston bomb factory is sold to American company in bid to boost Treasury coffers provoking fury as Parliament is bypassed.

Britain's Independent Deterrent
22.12.08. Jeffrey, arms control wonk. After a couple of days at the AWE, and a tour of the lovely historical collection, I accepted the reality that, no, the United Kingdom does not in any way, shape, or form have an independent nuclear deterrent. VIDEO.

NB: In 1983, the Greenham women + friends demonstrated at ONE HUNDRED AND TWO US bases on UK soil

The Pentagon is muscling in everywhere. It's time to stop the mission creep
21.12.08. Thomas A. Schweich, Washington Post. We no longer have a civilian-led government. It is hard for a lifelong Republican and son of a retired Air Force colonel to say this, but the most unnerving legacy of the Bush administration is the encroachment of the Department of Defense into a striking number of aspects of civilian government. Our Constitution is [has been since 9/11] at risk. / While serving the State Department in several senior capacities over the past four years, I witnessed firsthand the quiet, de facto military takeover of much of the U.S. government. The first assault on civilian government occurred in faraway places -- Iraq and Afghanistan -- and was, in theory, justified by the exigencies of war.

Guns, Butter, and Obama
25.12.08. Conn Hallinan, ICH. Over the next several months there will be a battle for hearts and minds, but not in Iraq or Afghanistan. The war will be here at home, waged mostly in the halls of Congress, where grim lobbyists for one of the top 15 economies in the world are digging in to preserve their stake in the massive U.S. military budget. … / the money at stake is staggering, although nailing down exactly what this country spends on the military is extremely difficult. "Figures on defense spending are notoriously unreliable," defense expert Chalmers Johnson points out. "All numbers released by the Pentagon should be regarded as suspect ."

Study Criticizes Bush Approach to War Funding, Calls for Changes
26.12.08. Ann Scott Tyson, Washington Post/anti-war. President-elect Barack Obama's administration needs to monitor war spending much more closely than the current White House has, according to a new study that criticizes President Bush's approach to funding the Iraq and Afghanistan wars -- a bill that is projected to approach nearly $1 trillion next year. / … The Federal deficit totals $164.4B in November (10.12.08. sfgate)

We Told You So
11.12.08. David Sirota, truthdig. In the slow-motion train wreck that became the current economic meltdown, our bipartisan political establishment and the sycophantic punditburo have been wrong over and over and over again. They told us that eviscerating consumer protections would unleash the market’s benevolent power and boost the economy. They told us that a trillion-dollar Wall Street bailout would solve a credit crisis. They told us that bailout would be subjected to intense oversight and scrutiny. / Wrong, wrong and wrong—and when critics predicted just that, sneering commentators and congressional leaders berated us as know-nothing Luddites, conspiracy theorists, or both. / But with the release of three new reports, there’s no debate anymore about who was correct and who wasn’t. The studies prove that the critics were right and the ideologues of Washington were wrong.

Fighting the Greedy Defense Lobbyists: Our Schools vs. Their Worthless Weaponry
22.12.08. Conn Hallinan, Foreign Policy in Focus/ICH. The war will be here at home, waged mostly in the halls of Congress, where grim lobbyists for one of the top 15 economies in the world are digging in to preserve their stake in the massive U.S. military budget. With the country in deep recession and resources dwindling for the new administration's programs on health care, education, and the environment, the outcome of this battle may well end up defining the next four years.

Pentagon Tries to Lock Obama Into an Outrageously Bloated Budget
24.12.08. Mark Engler, In These Times/Alternet. Given the financial crisis and the promise of President Bush’s departure from office, many have hoped that overheated defense spending might give way to the need to addressing domestic problems. Yet, countering these hopes, the Pentagon has already maneuvered to lock the Obama administration into greater military spending. On Oct. 9, Congressional Quarterly reported that a forthcoming spending estimate from defense officials would call for $450 billion in additional funds over the next five years. The publication Defense News subsequently confirmed with Bradley Berkson, the Pentagon’s director of program analysis and evaluation, that the military would indeed be seeking additional funds -- although Berkson cited the figure of $360 billion over six years. In either case, these billions would be increases on top of already escalating military budgets. The Pentagon is currently set to receive $515 billion for 2009, and $527 billion for 2010. Each sum is roughly five times what the federal government will spend annually on education, housing assistance and environmental protection combined.

US – Israel special relationship

Israel's Constant Crisis
31.12.08. J. Raimondo, anti-war. Because Israel is almost entirely dependent on international support – and especially American support – for its very survival, without U.S. public opinion behind it the Jewish state would soon wither on the vine. What this means, in practice, is that a constant stream of pro-Israel propaganda must be directed at the American people in order to justify the high levels of financial and military aid that keep Israel afloat.


Cyber-attack on Defense Department computers raises concerns
28.11.08. J. Barnes, LA Times / fair use / anti-war. Defense officials would not describe the extent of damage inflicted on military networks. But they said that the attack struck hard at networks within U.S. Central Command, the headquarters that oversees U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, and affected computers in combat zones. The attack also penetrated at least one highly protected classified network.

Virus hits nearly 75% of systems on Afghanistan military base
29.11.08. zdnet. Earlier this month we saw the military ban the use of USB drives and other removable media. Apparently the virus outbreak that lead to this measure affected 75\% of all systems at the largest U.S. military base in Afghanistan. / Details are still sparse, but both the LA Times and the U.S. News and World Report are reporting that the intrusion was severe enough to raise the INFOCON status, the information security equivalent of the DEFCON alert, and also necessitate the briefing of the president. We also don’t know the source of the attack, but signs point to state rather than non-state actors, with the most popular contenders being either Russia or China.


Pentagon hires British scientist to help build robot soldiers that 'won't commit war crimes'
01.12.08.Telegraph. The US Army and Navy have both hired experts in the ethics of building machines to prevent the creation of an amoral Terminator-style killing machine that murders indiscriminately. / By 2010 the US will have invested $4 billion in a research programme into "autonomous systems", the military jargon for robots, on the basis that they would not succumb to fear or the desire for vengeance that afflicts frontline soldiers./ … Last month the US Army took delivery of a new robot built by an American subsidiary of the British defence company QinetiQ , which can fire everything from bean bags and pepper spray to high-explosive grenades and a 7.62mm machine gun.

A Fighter Jet’s Fate Poses a Quandary for Obama
09.12.08. NY Times

ISRAELI UAVs to fly in Afghanistan
15.12.08. Jerusalem Post. Last month, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) supplied a number of Heron UAVs to the Canadian military for operations in Afghanistan. The Heron will replace a small French-built UAV that Canada has been operating in Afghanistan for several years. / The Heron was supplied to Canada under a $95 million contract signed in August./ … With the delivery of the Heron, IAI is hoping to secure another contract with the Canadians, valued at $750 million and called "Project Justas" (Joint Unmanned Surveillance Target Acquisition System).

Elbit Systems' Skylark(R) I LE Selected by the Ministry of Defense as IDF Battalion Level Mini UAV
16.12.08. marketwatch. Elbit Systems Ltd. announced that it was selected by the Israeli Defense Ministry to answer the battalion-level IDF tender, calling for a wide procurement of mini-UAVs for all IDF Ground Forces battalions, including training and logistics support. The Skylark(R) I LE is based on the accumulated experience acquired by the Skylark(R) I, in thousands of operational hours performed, in various battlefields, including Israel, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Canadian Helicopters, Ltd. Wins Afghan Contract
22.12.08. Canadian armed forces.

Sikorsky nets $129m in deals
26.12.08. Conn Post. …. Some analysts have worried the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama might reprogram defense dollars toward education and other social programs, but Martin said, "so far, from the comments of the president-elect, it doesn't look like they're going to slash anything anytime soon."

Big deals Defense Dept. contracts awarded to Connecticut companies from Dec. 19-24: SIKORSKY AIRCRAFT Stratford 6 Navy helicopters -- $85 million. Maintenance work -- $38 million. 60 percent of a weapons and repair contract on H-60 helicopters -- $16 million. ELECTRIC BOAT Groton Design and engineering services for a new missile compartment for United Kingdom submarines -- $76 million. 8 Virginia class submarines -- $14 billion. WARD CONSULTING LLC/ FULL CIRCLE CONSULTING GROUP Stamford Selected to compete for a portion of $5.3 billion in various Naval systems research and development contracts. COLT DEFENSE INC. West Hartford A five-year development contract to create the Marine Corps' infantry automatic rifle -- potentially $14 million.


ATK wins $87M Afghan ammo deal
05.12.08. twin cities.Alliant Techsystems Inc., the largest supplier of ammunition to the U.S. military, has a new customer — Afghanistan / The Eden Prairie-based manufacturer of bullets, tank shells and rocket systems said it has an $87 million contract with the U.S. Army Sustainment Command to provide ammunition for the Afghan Security Forces for one year. / Afghan troops don't use the kind of ammunition Alliant makes for the U.S. and NATO troops. Instead, Alliant will scour suppliers around the world for ammunition designed for Russian-style weapons like the AK-47 assault rifle, the mainstay of the Afghan army.

One thriving sector: The business of war
06.12.08. Boston Globe. Across the nation, companies are lopping off hundreds of thousands of jobs, retailers are shuttering stores, and automakers are tottering on the edge of bankruptcy. / But here in the Merrimack River Valley, and over the state line at several industrial sites around Massachusetts, [corrupt] defense contractor BAE Systems is hoisting "Help Wanted" signs. / At a time when 1.7 million jobs have been lost in the United States this year, the company is hiring 200 engineers and manufacturing workers in Nashua, Hudson, and Merrimack, N.H., and Burlington, Lexington, and Marlborough, Mass. / Defense spending has climbed steadily during the Bush administration, reaching $671.7 billion in the 2008 fiscal year, including emergency supplemental appropriations for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That represents a 72 percent increase from fiscal 2000, after adjusting for inflation. Others ‘ramping up’ : Raytheon, General Dynamics .

Private Contractors Sought As Guards in Afghanistan
08.12.08. Walter Pincus, Washington post. The U.S. Army is looking to private contractors to provide armed security guards to protect Forward Operating Bases in seven provinces in southern Afghanistan. In a recent study, Anthony H. Cordesman, an intelligence expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, described five of those provinces -- Helmand, Kandahar, Nimruz, Zabol and Uruzgan -- as among the most dangerous parts of Afghanistan.

Boeing Plans Cheaper Military Gear Amid U.S. Budget Constraints
11.12.08. Bloomberg. For example, he said, the Pentagon might order additional Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets if Lockheed Martin Corp.’s costlier F-35 Lightning II is further delayed.

The Leaky Ship of Human Terrain Systems
12.12.08. David Price, wikileaks/counterpunch. … the British scientific journal Nature .. declared that the “the US military's human-terrain programme needs to be brought to a swift close.” / … The Human Terrain program is the brainchild of anthropologist Montgomery McFate, whose longtime interest in supporting the suppression of insurgent groups through the adoption of counterinsurgency tactics led to the formation of Human Terrain Systems based at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas and run through BAE Systems contractors ./ … These Human Terrain Teams are designed to incorporate military-embedded anthropologists and other social sciences who interview members of local populations in war zones, often with armed Team members, sometimes wearing uniforms./ Because of the complex ethical issues involved in conducting ethnographic fieldwork for occupying military forces in war zones, the Human Terrain Program is viewed by most anthropologists as being highly problematic./ .. In the last half year, American journalist John Stanton has written a series of damaging exposés published here on the CounterPunch site, in Pravda and elsewhere detailing a failures of Human Terrain management and the program’s overall inefficiency in the field. Stanton’s work draws largely on unidentified disgruntled Human Terrain personnel and paints a picture of fiscal mismanagement, poor field supervision, lack of training before sending social scientists into life-threatening situations, and a non-working “reach-back system” that was supposed to connect deployed field Human Terrain personnel with personnel located at HTS headquarters at Ft. Leavenworth.

Nothing seems to be working right at Human Terrain. During the past year two Human Terrain social scientists have been killed and last month saw an attack on, and severe burning of, a third Human Terrain social scientist. Murder charges were recently filed against Human Terrain Team member Don Ayala. Ayala is accused of executing a detained man believed to have attacked and burnt his Human Terrain Team colleague). Many have tried to dismiss John Stanton and his work because it appears in alternative press sources but bastions of mainstream journalism have been giving the Human Terrain program a free ride since its inception, so I would not look to these sources to publish critical reports. That Nature has turned against Human Terrain is big news.

Inside the Leaked Handbook. to read handbook, see here . Article further describes how the US military has attempted to paint the teams as assisting military "cultural sensitivity", but it is clear from the handbook that the teams report to military unit commanders and are used to map family, political and other relationships for general operations and irregular warfare.

VIDEO: Air Force's Killer Bugbots Attack (12.12.08)

US military prepares for Obama’s expansion of Afghan war
13.12.08. James Cogan, WSWS. As well as the military reinforcements, the Obama administration will make greater use of private security companies, or mercenaries. On November 26, the US Army began advertising for contractors to provide hundreds of armed guards to protect US bases in Afghanistan, as well as supply routes and transport convoys. The five provinces where the mercenaries will be operating are Kandahar, Helmand, Uruzgan, Zabul and Nimruz—the most volatile in the country. The initial contracts are to begin on January 1 and last for 12 months, with the option of them being renewed for a further three years.

Staying the course
15.12.08. Times Online. The West's money, troops and backing will be needed for a long time, as the Prime Minister will reaffirm to Parliament today. What is at stake is not only the viability of Afghanistan, whose collapse would boost terrorism, drug production and extremism in the heart of Asia; it is the credibility of Nato itself. And until the alliance can agree common rules of engagement, its military potential will be wasted and its political coherence undermined. Nato and the incoming US administration also need to understand their political priorities: as long as relations with Russia, Iran and other neighbouring countries are bad, there is little chance of isolating the Taleban, even if support from neighbouring Pakistan can be cut off.

$27 billion Marine Corps vehicle program at crossroads
15.12.08. Baltimore Sun. The Marine Corps and contractor General Dynamics Corp. face a critical test this week of the so-called Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle program. / A failure this week for the vehicles designed to replace a Vietnam-era fleet could doom the $27 billion program. Critics say amphibious vehicles are not needed for modern warfare, especially in places such as Afghanistan that have no access to water.

Defense contractors

U.S. Military to Launch Pilot Program to Recruit New Local Afghan Militias
16.12.08. Us news. The U.S. military will soon launch a pilot program to raise local militias [ mercenaries], paid by the Pentagon, in an effort to improve security throughout the country. / The plan is modeled in part on a similar program in Iraq to build up Sunni neighborhood militias. But officials warn that the forces must be carefully vetted to avoid repeating the mistakes of Afghanistan's past, notably bolstering local warlords. / … Lately, however, there is growing concern about the militias. Some in the Sons of Iraq have accused Iraq's government of discrimination and baseless detentions, a development that is being closely watched throughout the rest of the country.

U.S. Wants Contractor to Monitor Mercs in A'stan
17.12.08. Nathan Hodge, blog.wired. According to a solicitation released earlier this week by the coalition headquarters at Bagram Airfield, the military is looking for a contractor to run something called the "Armed Contractor Oversight Directorate." The work statement says the new office will be responsible for tracking private security companies (PSCs) -- and keeping tabs on how often they resort to force.

FBI Agents Overcharge in Wars, Report Finds
18.12.08. ABC. It's not just contractors who are profiting off the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. FBI agents have been trying to rake in extra cash by billing overtime they aren't entitled to, a report released Thursday by the Justice Department's inspector general found.

See “US Military Industrial Complex, Contracts, Contractors” in Index on Economics and Peril in Afghanistan, October 2008 Timeline here

12. US-NATO (General; Transportation)


Worn out Record

Will NATO do more for Obama?
01.12.08. CSM. Obama's popularity abroad may not get him the extra forces in Afghanistan from NATO allies.

NATO Chief: More Troops Needed in Afghanistan (03.12.08. VOA)

Troops See a Candid Robert Gates at Town Halls Meetings in Afghanistan
12.12.08. usnews. The Pentagon chief has blunt words for NATO, saying U.S. bears "disproportionate" share of mission

Allies must follow U.S. in boosting Afghan forces: NATO (21.12.08. Reuters)

Press and "Psy Ops" to merge at NATO Afghan HQ: sources
29.11.08. reuters. U.S. General [war criminal?] David McKiernan, the commander of 50,000 troops from more than 40 nations in NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), ordered the combination of the Public Affairs Office (PAO), Information Operations and Psy Ops (Psychological Operations) from December 1, said a NATO official with detailed knowledge of the move. / "This will totally undermine the credibility of the information released to the press and the public," said the official, who declined to be named./ The move has worried Washington's European NATO allies -- Germany has already threatened to pull out of media operations in Afghanistan -- and the officials said it could undermine the credibility of information released to the public.

NATO air strike 'accidently destroys' flock of sheep
04.12.08. Shots fired from NATO helicopters killed over 200 sheep belonging to local shepherds.

NATO says no Afghan winter lull in fight with Taliban
08.12.08. wired / anti-war. "The bottom line is, we do not want the enemy to be allowed to rest in Afghanistan during the winter," [U.S. Brigadier General James McConville] said. .. / Even though heavy snows and poor visibility hamper the use of air power, particularly helicopters, as in previous years, NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) sees the winter as an opportunity to strike militarily and forge ahead with development projects to try to win [sic] hearts and minds.

NATO says Afghan security will improve in 2009
17.12.08. AFP. Lieutenant General Jim Dutton, deputy commander of NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), said plans to boost the Afghan army and police force and increase the number of foreign troops would turn things around.

Mullen Takes Pulse of U.S., NATO Commands in Afghanistan
17.12.08. Fighting in Afghanistan probably will increase in the coming year, but it will be on U.S. and NATO terms, not on the enemy's, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said today. / … New bases should not give the Afghan people the idea that they are being occupied, he explained. The chairman said the size of the U.S. force in Afghanistan concerns him, and that he agrees with Gates that numbers alone do not guarantee success, as the Soviet Union had 120,000 soldiers in Afghanistan and still lost. / .. The chairman called the Afghan people the center of gravity in the conflict. "We cannot be there if it looks like we're taking over," he said. "It has to have their face on it; it has to have their will, their security forces."

NATO awaits new leadership
26.12.08. IHT. Now, as the alliance's main challenge, in Afghanistan, gets bogged down, allies bicker over who should take more of the military strain. In a policy journal called Europe's World, Nick Witney, a former senior British official and ex-head of the European Defense Agency, recently wrote an article under the title "The Death of NATO." But rumors of its demise may be exaggerated. In 2009, NATO will celebrate its 60th anniversary at a summit meeting in Strasbourg and Kehl, a small German city just across the border. / That meeting should anoint a secretary general to succeed Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, the Dutch diplomat whose low-key period in office ends in July. Already there is discreet jockeying for the job.

NATO commander calls for new US troops for Afghanistan's south
28.12.08. AFP. The NATO commander in southern Afghanistan [Dutch Major General Mart de Kruif] called Sunday for most of the extra US troops due next year to be sent to his area, which he called the main military effort against extremists. / … The US military has already indicated that most of the soldiers would be sent to the east, where there is also heavy insurgent activity, and to central areas near the capital, Kabul.

New Members ?

Over US Objections, NATO Resumes Contacts with Russia
02.12.08. anti-war. NATO foreign ministers led by Germany managed to forestall fast-track membership for Georgia and Ukraine, and likewise reached an agreement to resume limited ties with Russia. The move was described as “conditional and graduated re-engagement” by NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

Kazakhstan ponders joining Afghan fray
11.12.08. asia Times. Kazakhstan is seriously considering sending its peacekeepers to Afghanistan, which would mark the first deployment of soldiers from Central Asia since the Soviet-Afghan war of the 1980s. / .. Saudabayev, addressing a plenary session of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO) parliamentary assembly in Valencia on November 20 indicated that Astana would like to increase its overall level of support for peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan by sending military personnel there. / This may involve elements drawn from Kazakhstan's peacekeeping battalion (KAZBAT) to work in military hospitals and at ISAF headquarters in Kabul. Saudabayev said expanding constructive and mutually beneficial cooperation with NATO is a key priority in Kazakhstan's foreign policy.

Incoherent Empire: The Case for Getting Out of NATO
18.12.08. Doug Bandow, Takis/anti-war. Another NATO conference, another example of geopolitical futility. At the alliance’s recent ministerial meeting, the Europeans rebuffed Washington’s push for speedy membership for Georgia and Ukraine. NATO is coming up on its 60th anniversary, and it is completely bereft of a raison d’être. The organization has changed from a military alliance directed at protecting U.S. security to the international equivalent of a gentleman’s club. / .. What is the West, let alone the U.S., achieving with this willy-nilly expansion?/ .. In fact, remaining the dominant member of NATO makes no sense for the U.S. at any level. First, America remains a global colossus, accounting for roughly half of the globe’s military outlays. / .. It’s time for a NATO rethink. / .. What should come next for European security? It’s up to the Europeans. Americans spent the last six decades looking after friends and allies around the world. It’s time they started looking after themselves.


With home-bred hordes the hillsides teem,
The troopships bring us one by one
At vast expense of time and steam
To slay Afridis where they run.
The "captives of our bow and spear"
Are cheap, alas! as we are dear

Kipling, quoted by Bob McKerrow


Islamist Militancy in the Pakistan-Afghanistan Border Region and U.S. Policy 21.12.08. FAS. (pdf, new format, with map).


The road was built by the British in 1879 and the railway from Jamrud to Landi Khana was built over six years by Victor Bayley and completed in 1925. Photo Des Jenson/The Times

Pakistani Taliban bomb Afghan supply convoy, 3 hurt
02.12.08. Reuters. It was the second attack in two days on supplies for Western forces heading through Pakistan's Khyber Pass, a vital supply route into landlocked Afghanistan.

NATO Wants Transit Agreement For Moving Cargo To Afghanistan
02.12.08. afghan conflict monitor. "Nato Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has said that they wanted to deepen their political dialogue with Islamabad to arrive at a transit agreement for moving the Nato cargo to Afghanistan.

Pakistan militants torch 65 NATO supply trucks: police
08.12.08. AFP. Police described the attack, in which one guard was shot and killed and two armoured vehicles were also destroyed, as the biggest of its kind so far. / NATO said on Monday the earlier attack had not substantially affected the alliance's operations in Afghanistan, but that it was looking at alternative routes to the Khyber Pass.

More than 160 US, NATO Vehicles Burn in Pakistan 07.12.08. BBC

VIDEO: Nato supply convoy torched in Peshawar (07.12.08. aljazeera / uruknet)

The Road War Moves to Pakistan
07.12.08. Moon of Alabama, uruknet. It seems that the winter campaign of the resistance in Pashtunistan, the area on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan boarder, will be against U.S./NATO supply convoys. The road war within Afghanistan has been going on for quite a while. The road war now moves into Pakistan. / At least 75% of all NATO/U.S. supply in Afghanistan comes through the Pakistani port of Karachi (1). Most of it goes up to Peshawar (2) and then through the Khyber pass to Kabul (3). A second route is from Karachi (1) through Quetta (5) to Kandahar (4). A part of the Afghan ring road connects Kabul (3) and Kandahar (4).It is constantly under attack. MAP

The Soviet learned some lessons about this. It was the road war that eventually killed their attempts in Afghanistan. / U.S./NATO supplies are even more endangered because: (1) They need much more general supply per man than the Soviets did; (2) They do not have a boarder to Afghanistan but have to route the supply through Pakistan; (3) Alternative routes are too long and odious.

US plays down impact of convoy attacks in Pakistan
08.12.08. wired / anti-war. "The overall impact on our logistical efforts to resupply U.S. forces, NATO forces ... as well as Afghan forces has been small and had an overall insignificant impact to date," said Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman.

Taliban torch 50 more NATO trucks
09.12.08. Frontier Times / ICH. Taliban militants set on fire 50 more NATO trucks in their second attack during 24 hours in Peshawar, police said on Monday. "It was almost the same type of attack as some 200 armed militants torched to ashes 50 more NATO supply trucks" police official Anwar Zeb told The Frontier Post.

Attacks increase fears of Peshawar’s fall to Taliban (09.12.08. daily

How the Taliban Hopes to Choke U.S. Afghanistan Mission
09.12,08. Mark Thompson, Washington, Yahoo news/ICH. Perhaps the Taliban are observing the old military axiom that amateurs study tactics, while professionals study logistics.

Convoy attacks trigger race to open new Afghan supply lines
09.12.08. Richard Norton-Taylor, Julian Borger and Suzanne Goldenberg, Guardian. NATO countries are scrambling for alternative routes as far afield as Belarus and Ukraine to supply their forces in Afghanistan, which are increasingly vulnerable to a resurgent Taliban, the Guardian has learned.

NATO: attacks will not disrupt Afghan supplies
09.12.08. AP / IHT. NATO operations in Afghanistan will not be affected by escalating attacks on the alliance's supply lines through Pakistan, Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said Tuesday. / The militants "should not be under any illusion that they can disrupt the lines of communication, since we have alternatives [sic]," de Hoop Scheffer said. / … In recent months, NATO has tried to develop other supply routes into Afghanistan. One of the possibilities is a northern overland route that would carry supplies by rail through Russia and the Central Asian nations to northern Afghanistan. Although Moscow has given its consent, NATO is still negotiating with Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. / "It is sad of course to see attacks on convoys, but let me assure you there will be not the slightest disruption for the ISAF forces in Afghanistan," de Hoop Scheffer said.

Insurgent attacks on NATO trucks highlight US military crisis in Afghanistan
09.12.08. Barry Grey, uruknet. A series of attacks on US and NATO military equipment depots in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Sunday and Monday have underscored the increasingly dire security situation facing American and allied forces conducting the counterinsurgency war in neighboring Afghanistan. Anti-US insurgents attacked three depots in separate incidents, destroying some 200 trucks and containers loaded with military equipment and sup plies bound for American and NATO forces across the mountainous border in Afghanistan. The trucks contained dozens of Humvees and military personnel carriers and other materiel.

U.S., NATO seek less dependence on supply routes
10.12.08. Reuters. NATO and the Pentagon have played down recent attacks, calling their effects insignificant. "They were barely measurable on the graph of what goes into Afghanistan on a daily basis," NATO spokesman James Appathurai said. / But analysts warn that while the immediate impact has been negligible, convoy attacks constitute a developing threat that could easily become more serious.

Taleban extract heavy tribute to let vital Nato supplies pass
12.12.08. Times Online. The (Khyber) pass lies just inside Khyber Agency, one of Pakistan's seven Federally Administered Tribal Areas which have been quasi-autonomous since Pakistan's independence in 1947. The area has traditionally been controlled by the Afridis, a tribe of about 600,000 people. [The Afridis are described in Loyn’s book]

Taleban tax: allied supply convoys pay their enemies for safe passage
12.12.08. Times Online. The West is indirectly funding the insurgency in Afghanistan thanks to a system of payoffs to Taleban commanders who charge protection money to allow convoys of military supplies to reach Nato bases in the south of the country. / Contracts to supply British bases and those of other Western forces with fuel, supplies and equipment are held by multinational companies. / However, the business of moving supplies from the Pakistani port of Karachi to British, US and other military contingents in the country is largely subcontracted to local trucking companies. These must run the gauntlet of the increasingly dangerous roads south of Kabul in convoys protected by hired gunmen from Afghan security companies. / The Times has learnt that it is in the outsourcing of convoys that payoffs amounting to millions of pounds, including money from British taxpayers, are given to the Taleban.

Afghanistan airdrops pose risks
12.12.08. Jim Michaels, USA Today. The number of airdrops has increased to 800 this year from 99 in 2005, according to Central Command's air operations center. Planes dropped 15 million pounds of cargo this year, nearly double last year's load of 8.2 million pounds.

More NATO Supplies Destroyed as Peshawar Attacks Continue
12.12.08. anti-war. Militants in the Pakistani city of Peshawar continued tonight what has been already a week-long string of attacks on supply depots holding NATO trucks and containers throwing the reliability of NATO’s chief source of supplies to the military effort in Afghanistan into serious doubt. / In the latest attack, militants launched a rocket at Bilal Terminal in Peshawar at 3 AM local time Saturday morning, lobbing petrol bombs and destroying ten NATO supply trucks and 15 containers.

Nato hard at work making deals to beat the Khyber Pass convoy trap
13.12.08. Times Online. Nato plans to open a new supply route to Afghanistan through Russia and Central Asia in the next eight weeks following a spate of attacks on its main lifeline through Pakistan this year, Nato and Russian sources have told The Times. / Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, the former Soviet Central Asian states that lie between Russia and Afghanistan, have agreed in principle to the railway route and are working out the small print with Nato, the sources said.

Pakistan: Fresh attack on NATO supply route
13.12.08. AP. .. The raiders torched 11 trucks along the outskirts of Peshawar

This “strategy” article illustrates the skewed logic and lack of ‘intelligence’ of the US policy in Afghanistan. The people of Afghanistan have never wanted foreigners in their country. Their lives, and deaths, are for honour rather than for business.

Petraeus Sees Routes to Afghanistan Through Ex-Soviet Republics (14.12.08) Bloomberg.

Taliban Raids on NATO Convoys Crippling, Say Analysts
15.12.08. Zofeen Ebrahim, anti-war. While NATO and United States forces have downplayed raids in Peshawar by pro-Taliban militants, destroying hundreds of their military vehicles and supply containers destined for Afghanistan, analysts here believe that the damage is significant.

Truckers stop Nato supplies
15.12.08. the news / anti-war. The decision was taken by the Khyber Transport Association (KTA) during an important meeting on Sunday. Owners of over 3,000 trailers, trucks and tankers belong to the Khyber Agency, located on the border with Afghanistan, who can move across the border without producing passports or other travelling documents. “We feel that our drivers and vehicles are not safe anymore. Also, as tribesmen, we are concerned over frequent attacks by the US drones in our tribal areas, and that is why we want to stop the supply of goods to the US-led allied forces in Afghanistan,” Shakir Afridi, president of the KTA, told The News after the meeting. / The KTA president said 3,000 to 4,000 trucks, trailers and tankers, which made the major share of vehicles transporting the Nato supplies, were owned by the tribesmen of the Khyber Agency alone. / Some vehicle owners are not members of the KTA and may continue with their job. However, they alone cannot manage to meet the needs of the Isaf forces.

NATO supply route resumed in Pakistan
15.12.08. Xinhuanet. The supply route in Pakistan, a lifeline for U.S.-led NATO forces in Afghanistan, was resumed on Monday after a week-long suspension due to militant attacks.

Khyber Pass: Pakistani lorry owners and drivers have refused to resume delivering supplies to foreign troops in Afghanistan after a series of militant attacks on convoys plying the main supply route via the Khyber Pass Photo Tariq Mahmood/AFP/Getty Images

Pakistani lorry drivers supplying Nato troops in Afghanistan go on strike
16.12.08. Times Online. An association of Pakistani lorry owners and drivers refused yesterday to resume delivering supplies to foreign troops in Afghanistan after a series of militant attacks on convoys plying the main supply route via the Khyber Pass. / An international shipping company that handles US military supplies through Pakistan also said that there was now "a large backlog of military freight" across the country from Karachi, where the cargo arrives by ship, to the Afghan border, "Clearly the security situation is very difficult," Kevin Speers, a spokesman for Maersk Lines Ltd, told The Times. "Movement through the Pass has been severely restricted."

Convoy of supplies trucks, fuel for NATO leaves for Afghanistan
16.12.08. global security. A convoy of oil tankers and trucks, carrying supplies for US-led NATO troops in Afghanistan, left for Afghanistan Monday under tight security after a week-long suspension due to attacks on vehicles, officials said.

Taliban Targets NATO Convoy in Pakistan
17.12.08. VOA News. Pakistani officials said suspected Taliban militants fired rocket-propelled grenades at a NATO supply convoy, killing a woman in a nearby house and wounding at least one of her children.

Pakistanis protest US supply line into Afghanistan
18.12.08. Munir Ahmad, AP News/uruknet. More than 10,000 Pakistanis protested Thursday against allowing U.S. forces to ship supplies through Pakistan into Afghanistan in a sign of growing pressure on Islamabad to harden its foreign policy. It was one of the largest rallies against the government since it took office in March.

Gunmen attack new Afghan supply route (18.12.08. Times Online)

U.S.–Georgia Security and Military Agreement in the Works
18.12.08. Georgian daily. the United States is about to increase its reliance on the supply route through the South Caucasus for U.S. forces in Afghanistan. The goals include helping Georgia fulfill the criteria for NATO membership..

NATO to resume contacts with Russia, official says
18.12.08. AP. Moscow also has agreed to allow the alliance to use its territory to resupply Western forces in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan: Soviet failures echo for US
19.12.08. CSM. Control of roads and rural areas vexes coalition effort. [NB: The Brits had the same problem]

Khyber impasse as Afghan trail hit by militants (19.12.08. Australian news / anti-war)

Taleban blow up British Christmas turkeys (19.12.08. Times Online)

Militants kill 3 in latest convoy attack
20.12.08. AP. The assailants struck the oil tankers Friday as they traveled through the famed Khyber Pass, said Fazal Mehmood, a government official in the lawless Pakistani tribal area for which the route is named.

Politics of transit routes
20.12.08. M K Bhadrakumar. … Apart from the Karachi route, there are three alternate routes to supply the troops in Afghanistan: one, via Shanghai port straight across China to Tajikistan and to Afghanistan; two, the Russia-Kazakhstan-Uzbekistan/Turkmenistan land routes up to the Afghan border on the Amu Darya; three, the shortest and the most practical route via Iran./ … China / … But surprisingly, Washington wouldn't look at any of these alternate routes. Iran is understandably a no-go area (even though, in the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan the Bush administration sought and obtained logistical support from Iran). But the US is equally wary of involving Russia and China in the war effort. It apprehends that tomorrow these countries might well demand a say in war strategy, which has so far been the US's exclusive turf. Then, there are other implications. / .. The containment strategy towards Russia and China cannot be sustained if there is a critical dependence on these countries for the US's war effort in Afghanistan.

Securing the Khyber Pass: Who Pays?
21.12.08. anti-war. Promised Khyber Security Comes at a High Price And No One Wants to Pay

Tanker destroyed in Khyber Agency
22.12.08. daily An attack by unidentified men destroyed an oil tanker in Bahadar Khel area of Khyber Agency late on Saturday [20.12], local sources said. No casualties were reported.

Amid Taliban Rule, a NATO Supply Line Is Choked (24.12.08. NY Times)

NATO goods terminal being shifted to Punjab
27.12.08. peninsular Qatar. Private parties transporting supplies for the US and Nato forces from Karachi to Kabul and Bagram airbase via Torkham border town in Pakistan since 2003 have rented plots at Tarnol and Burhan towns in Attock district across the Kabul River for establishing terminals and parking facilities.

Pakistan suspends Afghan supplies
30.12.08. BBC. Pakistan has blocked a key supply route to US and Nato forces in Afghanistan in order to begin an offensive against militants, officials say. / Troops backed by helicopter gunships and tanks began the operation in the Khyber Pass area early on Tuesday.

U.S. to Widen Supply Routes in Afghan War (30.12.08. T. Shanker, NY Times.)

NATO, Russia discuss equipment move to Afghanistan
31.12.08. Reuters. NATO and Russia are discussing whether to allow the military alliance to move its equipment through Russian airspace to Afghanistan, the pact's spokesman said on Wednesday./ So far, Russia has allowed only some individual NATO member states to ship weapons and equipment through its land to Afghanistan, where the alliance is fighting resurgent Taliban.

Pakistan launches Khyber Pass offensive to support US-led forces
31.12.08. Guardian. Helicopter gunships strike along border in effort to secure supply lines for western troops, officials say


13. US-NATO COALITION (Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, UK)


2 Australians wounded in Afghanistan
30.11.08. ABC/legitgov. The soldier and civilian were travelling in the same vehicle when it was struck by the bomb in Oruzganprovince yesterday.

Australian SAS Units Function as Death Squads in Afghanistan
11.12.08. James Cogan, WSWS / ICH. The Labor government repeatedly tries to ennoble the Afghan war with flowery descriptions of Australian soldiers as "heroes" who are "putting their lives on the line for the rest us". The truth is they are killing and maiming people, including entirely innocent civilians, of an oppressed country for a thoroughly reactionary, neo-colonial cause.

Afghanistan on track to be lost cause: general
20.12.08. smh. AUSTRALIA should prepare to deploy up to 6000 troops to Afghanistan and lobby for greater commitment to a war that the US-led forces are on track to lose, says a retired Australian general, Jim Molan. / The call comes as Kevin Rudd, returning from the Middle East, told the Herald he had no plans to increase troop numbers in Afghanistan but was committed to the war and believed the Australians were making progress.

Government to provide $5m to support Afghanistan elections (20.12.08. Australian news)

David Hicks

Australian former Guantanamo Bay detainee freed
21.12.08. AP / anti-war. Authorities on Sunday lifted the last remaining restrictions on an Australian man who spent more than five years as an inmate at Guantanamo Bay and admitted to supporting terrorism.

"As a sign of our commitment," said Mr. Bush, "we've increased American troop levels in Afghanistan. Our NATO allies have done the same." George Bush .

No extra troops for Afghanistan, says Australia
23.12.08. In an interview, Mr. Fitzgibbon said: “We have had no approach from the U.S., for example, to increase our troop commitments.”


Bulgaria to increase forces in Afghanistan next year
30.12.08. Xinhuanet. According to [General Zlatan Stoykov], NATO had asked Bulgaria to increase its troops in Afghanistan. The scope of the surge in Bulgarian forces in the central Asian country, however, remained unclear.


Cliff Cornell

Federal government orders U.S. war resister deported (03.12.08. CBC)

U.S. deserter faces deportation Christmas Eve
17.12.08. globe and mail. The War Resisters Support Campaign says Citizenship and Immigration Canada has told a U.S. deserter living in Nanaimo, B.C., that he must leave Canada by Dec. 24 or face removal by force. / Cliff Cornell, originally from Arkansas, arrived in Canada in January, 2005. He currently works as an assistant manager of a retail store near Nanaimo. Mr. Cornell's deportation order comes after similar orders for war resisters Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman and his family, Patrick Hart and his family, Matt Lowell and Dean Walcott. / The group says in a release that another, Kim Rivera, will receive a decision on Jan. 7.

Canada parliament suspended (05.12.08. aljazeera)

Top commander plays down combat milestone
05.12.08. globe and mail. “During my short time in Kandahar province, a female civilian member of our task force was set on fire, a man had his eyes gouged out in front of his family, children have been used as suicide bombers to attack security forces, a bus load of young men was executed and young girls had their faces sprayed with acid on their way to school,” the commander said. / “Canadians serving here in Afghanistan are not the type of people to sit idly by while insurgents commit these terrible atrocities on the local population,” he said. “Standing up to terror and injustice is not easy, and it's not without a cost, but the implications of not taking a stand are even more unimaginable to those of us serving here.” / The Canadian brigadier-general, who serves as chief spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Kabul, also predicted that next year's arrival of thousands more U.S. troops in southern Afghanistan will mean a higher level of violence.

Afghanistan debate rages on for Canada
07.12.08. metro news. As Canada marked the tragic milestone of 100 soldiers killed in Afghanistan, voices across the country debate the rising costs, both human and economic, of a war that rivals the Second World War in length.

The Shock Doctrine Got Shot Down in Canada
08.12.08. Rabble / Alternet. Kim Eliot interviews Naomi Klein.
KE: Can you comment on both the Harper government's economic and fiscal statement introduced last week, and on the Opposition's response to that -- that is, the formation of a coalition -- in the context of the shock doctrine?

Naomi Klein: "Yes, absolutely. What I think we are seeing is a clear example of the shock doctrine in the way the Harper government has used the economic crisis to push through a much more radical agenda than they won a mandate to do. / At the same time we are seeing an example of what I call in the book a "shock resistance," where this tactic has been so overused around the world and also in Canada that we are becoming more resistant to the tactic -- we are on to them -- and Harper is not getting away with it".

Top U.S. official hints Canada should keep fighting in Afghanistan after 2011
11.12.08. globe and mail. In addition to the new American troops, Mr. Gates suggested that an extended Canadian commitment would be appreciated in the dangerous zone around Kandahar, known as Regional Command South.

The Coalition: Its Nature, Its Future and Our Perspectives
12.12.08. B. Rioux, Socialist Voice. An intolerable economic statement. The formation of a coalition of opposition parties claiming they want to bring down the government. A shuttered parliament, MPs flushed from it for two months at the prime minister’s whim. The House of Commons has been the setting for a parliamentary crisis the likes of which have never been seen in Canada. How should we analyze what has just happened and its consequences?

Washington urges Canada to wage war in Afghanistan beyond 2011
13.12.08. John Mackay and Keith Jones, Uruknet. US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has urged Canada to continue its leading role in the Afghan war beyond 2011. Canada has deployed close to 3,000 troops, tanks, and, in recent weeks, an air wing, comprised of combat helicopters and drones, to the south Afghan province of Kandahar, which is a center of the insurgency against the US-NATO occupation of Afghanistan. Gates' call for Canada to have a major military presence in Afghanistan beyond 2011 clearly reflects the views of the incoming Democratic Party administration of Barack Obama.

Canadian commander sees Afghan conflict peaking in 2009
16.12.08. globe and mail. Lieutenant-General Michel Gauthier, responsible for all overseas forces and widely viewed as the most experienced military official on Afghan issues, said he believes an influx of U.S. troops next year will bring a new surge in the violence.…/ “There will be decreased violence in 2010, and increased capacity naturally, especially where we're focused,” he said, referring to Canada's zone of operations in Kandahar.

Troops to use laser dazzlers on Afghan civilians But critics say Canada could be breaking international treaties
19.12.08. Canwest News Service / uruknet. The Canadian military is spending more than $10 million on 500 laser dazzlers for troops in Afghanistan in what it calls an attempt to reduce civilian casualties. The devices cause temporarily blindness and the army is hoping they can be used to ward off Afghans who drive or walk too closely to Canadian checkpoints or convoys. Troops -- worried about suicide bombers -- have killed or wounded civilians who ignored or didn't heed warnings to keep their distance...

Canada won't support U.S. plan to arm Afghan militias: MacKay
21.12.08. the star / ICH. Washington's plan to arm local tribes to take on the Taliban in untamed districts of Afghanistan is possibly ``counter-productive" and not something Canada supports, says Defence Minister Peter MacKay.

Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission , which said lethal air strikes and "abusive" overnight raids by coalition forces threaten to turn Afghans against foreign military forces. "Afghan families experienced their family members killed or injured, their houses or other property destroyed, or homes invaded at night without any perceived justification or legal authorization," the report says. The report says the night raids frequently involve "abusive behaviour and violent breaking and entry," which it says stoke almost as much anger toward coalition forces as the air strikes.

Canada opens inquiry into insurgent's death in Afghanistan
31.12.08. AFP. Colonel Jamie Cade did not give any details, but said he had learned of "allegations" around the death of a "presumed insurgent" in Helmand province in mid-October.


Denmark's Kabul embassy moved for security reasons (05.12.08. WIRED)


French Defence Minister says no new troops in Afghanistan
18.12.08. Monsters and Critics. Morin told journalists in Paris that no plan to reinforce French forces in Afghanistan was being prepared. However, he left open the possibility that President Nicolas Sarkozy may himself announce such a move.


German general breaks silence on Afghanistan
30.11.08. IHT / legitgov. Breaking with a military tradition of keeping silent about policy, a top German general [General Hans-Christoph Ammon, head of the army's elite special commando unit, or KSK] has branded his country's efforts in Afghanistan a failure, singling out its poor record in training the Afghan police and allocating development aid.

German General: Afghan Police Training a ‘Miserable Failure’
03.12.08. anti-war. Germany’s military commitment to the NATO mission in Afghanistan is focused almost exclusively on training Afghanistan’s floundering police force, but is having very little success. So little success in fact that General Hans-Christoph Ammon has condemned the training scheme as “a miserable failure.” / General Ammon castigated the German government for spending a paltry 12 million Euros on its training mission, likely around the same as the cost of the 1.7 million pints of beer imported for the German soldiers for last year. At this rate, the General opined, “it would take 82 years to have a properly trained police force” in Afghanistan.

German soldiers too fat to fight the Taliban (03.12.08. telegraph)

[Following is a general article about Afghanistan /NATO/the US, with a focus on Germany]

West’s Role In Afghanistan Needs Re-Examining
09.12.08. William Pfaff, truthdig. (Why are the allies waging war against the largest of the native ethnic groups in Afghanistan? The NATO answer is that the allies didn’t set out to fight a war against the Pashtuns. It just happened that way) … The truth is that German soldiers are in Afghanistan because the United States demanded that they go there, and for nearly 60 years Germany has supported Washington in nearly everything the United States has wanted to do. This is considered on both sides as an inevitable consequence of the Second World War. / No one puts the matter so crudely these days. Officially, the United States is in Afghanistan to fight al-Qaida and defend a legitimate [sic] [US puppet] government. Officially, the argument goes, Germany is in Afghanistan because if the Taliban are allowed once again to take power in that country, international terrorism will be strengthened and the danger of terrorist attacks in Western Europe will increase. / … George Bush’s [so-called] global war on terror now is a hopelessly confused affair in which nearly everyone is fighting for misconceived reasons and for objectives impossible to attain.

German aid to logistics school
16.12.08. frontier post. According to a press release, the agreement extended already existing cooperation between Afghanistan and Germany until 2012. At the same time, three new ANA Logistics Shool buildings were inaugurated.

Germany’s Police, Military Bicker Over Whose Fault Afghan Mission Failure Is
26.12.08. anti-war. Few Police Willing to Go to Afghanistan


Japan extends Afghan mission
12.12.08. BBC / legitgov. The Japanese parliament has approved a year-long extension of the country's support for the US-led military operation in Afghanistan.

Japanese refueling efforts questioned
13.12.08. UPI. The involvement of Japan's military in refueling efforts in support of the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan has done little to reduce terrorism, critics say.


Dutch defence minister visits troops in Afghanistan: ministry
25.12.08. AFP. "Troops in Afghanistan received a visit from Defence Minister Eimert van Middelk over the holiday period," on Wednesday and Thursday, his ministry said in a statement. The visit came nearly a week after the 18th Dutch soldier was killed in the country since mid-2006.


Spain moves to lift limit on troops abroad
10.12.08. AP. Spain's defense minister said Wednesday she will propose lifting a limit on how many troops the country can deploy overseas, clearing the way for a possible increase in its Afghanistan mission. / .. Spain has 800 peacekeeping troops in the NATO force in Afghanistan and expects U.S. President-elect Barack Obama to ask for more after he takes office next year.

Spain PM says no more troops for Afghanistan
26.12.08. IHT / anti-war. [Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero] said Spain has carefully measured what it "should and can" contribute to the allied operation in Afghanistan and "the government's position is not in favor of increasing Spanish troops in Afghanistan."


Remnants of an Army, Lady Eizabeth Butler, 1879, Tate Gallery

A non-recognition of their failures and a considerable and often ridiculous exaggeration of their successes constitute the characteristics of Englshmen. They like to exaggerate the scale of the enemy, the low casualties, and the hardship..” Major General L. N. Soboleff – former chief o the Asiatic Department of the Russian General Staff, 1885, as quoted by David Loyn in Butcher and Bolt, Two Hundred Years of Foreign Failure in Afghanistan , p. 99.

John Hutton: Nato put at risk by European failure over Afghanistan (26.11.08) telegraph.

Britain to consider Afghanistan troop request
28.11.08. D. Stringer, AP. Britain will carefully examine any request from the incoming U.S. administration to send more troops to Afghanistan, Foreign Secretary David Miliband said in an interview published Friday. / .. Britain contributes around 8,000 to a 50,000-strong NATO mission and is the second largest military presence in the country after the United States.

Military chief urges Afghanistan rethink
03.12.08. Richard Norton Taylor, Guardian. No more British troops should be sent to Afghanistan unless other countries make greater efforts to promote the economic and political development of the country, senior British military officials have said. / [Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock] Stirrup said it was not enough just to deploy more British troops to southern Afghanistan to add to the 8,000 already there. What was needed, he said, was help in building up the Afghan economy and civil society. "I and others, have been saying for over two years now that we have to get a grip of the civilian effort," he told the Royal United Services Institute on Monday.

Royal Marines urge a village elder in Lashkar Gah,
Army starts negotiations in Helmand
07.12.08. Observer. Officers say there will be no settlement until enemy forces can be persuaded to change sides

ANALYSIS-No fast Afghan reinforcement after UK Iraq pullout
10.12.08. Reuters / anti-war. A British military withdrawal from Iraq by June 2009 will not lead to an immediate increase in the size of the UK force in Afghanistan despite the growing demands of the conflict there.

Confirmed to parliament that the extra troops would be deployed in Afghanistan until August on a 'temporary basis.' (15.12.08)

Earlier today, Defence Secretary John Hutton said further increases in UK troop numbers could not be ruled out. (21.12.08, BBC)

In the new year, President Barack Obama will arrive in Europe on a wave of public euphoria. One almost inevitable consequence is that the British government will commit more troops to a campaign that is going nowhere, because we are too deeply committed to do anything else. Max Hastings (Guardian 22.12.08)

Prince Harry to return to Afghanistan as helicopter pilot (11.12.08. Telegraph)

Aid for Afghan troops as £4bn aircraft carrier plan delayed
12.12.08. Richard Norton Taylor. The government delayed its £4bn aircraft carrier project yesterday in an effort to head off a crisis in the defence budget and quieten a growing number of critics within the military, insisting that priority must be given to frontline troops. / .. The Ministry of Defence, meanwhile, had agreed with the Treasury a budget of £635m for "urgent operational requirements" next year on top of nearly £10bn received from the reserve since 2001.

SAS to take on Taleban 'decapitation' mission after leaving Iraq
13.12.08. M. Evans, Times Online. Two SAS squadrons are to switch from Iraq to Afghanistan next year to mount one of the biggest covert operations for decades against the Taleban leadership and opium smugglers, who help to fund insurgents.

British Prime Minister Visits Afghanistan (13.12.08. VOA)

Brown's al-Qaida blame game
14.12.08. Tariq Ali, Guardian/ICH. Gordon Brown is targeting Pakistan. His claim that 75% of UK terror plots originate there is now part of a common western stance that refuses to accept any responsibility for encouraging the growth of recruits to jihadi organisations.

UK to increase Afghanistan force
15.12.08. BBC. The number of British troops in Afghanistan will increase by 300, Prime Minister Gordon Brown has told MPs. / Total deployment will rise to 8,300 from March until August next year, with the extra soldiers carrying out "security" operations. VIDEO.

Afghan war is adventure we can no longer afford
15.12.08. the herald. Let's face it, few people in Britain have any idea what we are doing in Afghanistan and even fewer care. The government can't afford to pay for the war any more, having blown £13bn in the region since 2003, and British troops are exhausted after years of fighting losing battles there and in Iraq. The commander of British forces in Afghanistan, Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith, said in October that a decisive military victory could not be won. Yet we keep our soldiers hanging about in a land where every 13-year-old with a wheelbarrow is a potential killing machine. / If we are to continue sending British soldiers to their deaths in Afghanistan, then the very least we can do is have some idea of what they are meant to be dying for.

US accuses Britain over military failings in Afghanistan
16.12.08. Times Online. The performance of Britain’s overstretched military in Afghanistan is coming under sustained criticism from the Pentagon and US analysts even as Gordon Brown ponders whether to send in further reinforcements. / British officials are concerned that the US may take over control of Helmand – where Mr Gates plans to deploy an extra 5,000 troops – if Mr Brown fails to support the surge. The Americans have grievances over Britain’s lack of equipment, including helicopters, which has left troops unable to perform the same tasks as US counterparts and led to more cautious tactics. There is also grumbling about the regularity with which US airstrikes are called to rescue British troops. / It is understood that there has been “tension and resentment” over the air of superiority adopted by British commanders such as Brigadier Nigel Aylwin-Foster, who suggested that his American counterparts needed to take lessons from Britain’s experience in Northern Ireland and Malaya.

Nato commander: Britain's extra troops will not do the trick
18.12.08. Telegraph. Some British officials fear that the US will refuse to allow a British general to command Nato troops in the southern region next year unless Britain sends a 2,000-strong battle group and more helicopters to Afghanistan. / But so far, Mr Brown has only announced a modest increase in Afghan numbers, an extra 300 troops until next autumn's presidential elections. / Gen Craddock said he would not "name and shame" particular allies over their commitments to Afghanistan. But he made clear that Britain's extra 300 troops will not "do the trick."

The Saturday Interview: The Rt Hon John Hutton, MP
20.12.08. Times Online. Does the Defence Secretary believe that the war has finally been won? “I think Iraq is in a fundamentally better place,” … I am prepared to accept that maybe the majority thought it wrong, but I believe profoundly it was the right thing to do and I would do it again. / … The focus will now shift to Afghanistan. Mr Hutton insists that the mission there is about security on the streets of London as well as safety in Kabul. “The argument is very clear. This is where our national security is determined. We must tackle the threat at source [sic], it’s not just going to go away. It is a struggle against fanatics that may not challenge our borders but challenges our way of life in the same way the Nazis did.” / … I think the deployment now is producing significant results. We have to stay the course. The key thing now is not that the Taleban or al-Qaeda can defeat us in Afghanistan – their tactic is to outlast us. So we need to make political and economic advances as well.” / .. Barack Obama is planning a surge in Afghanistan next year. If he asks Britain to join it: “We would look at the request very seriously indeed. The US are our principal allies – no one wants to jeopardise that, but the discussion has to be taken with our other allies and there would have to be a debate in Parliament.”/ “We will stay there as long as is necessary to secure all our objectives. It’s going to be years.” / The history of Afghanistan does not give much cause for hope, but Mr Hutton refuses to be defeatist. “You’ve got to understand history but you can’t be a prisoner of it. We make history. History doesn’t set precedents. You’ve got to be prepared to get involved when something is wrong.”

Under US orders

22.12.08. Max Hastings, Guardian. The Guardian last week vividly described the shambles of Afghanistan. Simon Jenkins argued on these pages for recognition of failure. I share his analysis of the west's predicament. But I find it impossible to believe the British government will precipitate a crisis in Anglo-American relations by pulling out of the war. / … The British army is chastened by its Afghan experience. Senior officers were rashly over-optimistic. Today, they realise they are making little progress in securing Helmand, and far less controlling the drug industry. The UK is getting scant thanks from the Americans, who believe we are not doing enough. / Even a reinforcement of, say, 3,000 UK troops is unlikely to alter fundamentals. More men are of limited value when the British are chronically short of helicopter lift to deploy them outside their firebases. / .. US pressure on Gordon Brown is likely to be increased by the fact that most Nato leaders will reject Obama's appeals for extra troops.

Winter offensive against the Taliban in Helmand leads to scores of British casualties
27.12.08. Telegraph. In eight weeks of fighting, 16 soldiers and marines have been killed and around 60 have been wounded in action fighting the Taliban and al-Qaeda gunmen in central Helmand. / The casualty surge is a result of Operation "Sond Chara", pashto for "Ginger Dagger", a multinational operation involving around 1000 British, Estonian and Danish troops, which is attempting to encircle a large Taliban force.


Ross Kemp in Afghanistan 1

Ross Kemp in Afghanistan 2

Ross Kemp in Afghanistan 3

14. Dead in Afghanistan


Australian man dies in Afghanistan
18.12.08. Xinhuanet. An Australian man fighting with British defense forces has been killed in a firefight with Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan. / The unnamed soldier was fighting with Britain's 1st Battalion in Helmand province, a volatile area in the south of the war-torn country.


Afghanistan deaths bring Canada troops' toll to 100: military
05.12.08. AFP. The overall toll of Canadian military service member deaths in Afghanistan reached 100 after three Canadian soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb, a senior military official said Friday./ The soldiers were killed early Friday when their vehicle struck an explosive device in the Arghandab district of southern Kandahar province, the commander of the Canadian forces in Afghanistan, General Denis Thompson, said at a press briefing in Kandahar./ Two other Canadian soldiers were wounded, one seriously, during a separate incident involving an explosive device, he said.

Three Canadian Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan, AFP Reports
14.12.08. Bloomberg/anti-war. The three soldiers were killed and another wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near their armored vehicle while on patrol in the Arghandab district of southern Kandahar province,

Canadian killed, 3 injured by Afghan bomb
A Canadian soldier is dead and three others were injured after their armoured vehicle was struck by an explosive device Friday in Zhari district, about 24 kilometres west of Kandahar City.

Timeline: Canadian deaths in Afghanistan
26.12.08. Vancouver sun. One hundred and four Canadian soldiers, one diplomat and two aid workers have been killed since the Canadian military deployed to Afghanistan in early 2002.

2 more Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan
28.12.08. CBC. Two Canadian soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb west of Kandahar city on Saturday, bringing to three the number of Canadian troops killed there since Friday. Warrant Officer Gaetan Joseph Roberge and Sgt. Gregory John Kruse were on a security patrol in the Panjwai district around 12:15 p.m. local time when the explosion occurred.


Two Danish soldiers killed in Afghanistan
04.12.08. AFP. The soldiers were killed when clashes erupted with enemy forces while they were on patrol about eight kilometers (five miles) south of the town of Gereshk in the Helmand province, the statement said.

3 Danish soldiers killed, 1 injured in Afghanistan
20.12.08. AP. In Copenhagen, the army said the three Danes were killed and a compatriot badly injured when their armored vehicle drove over a bomb or a land mine in Helmand province


a Dutch soldier was killed Friday in southern Afghanistan, the NATO command confirmed. (20.12.08. CNN)


"How do we keep explaining dead British soldiers to the British people, when we are getting nowhere?" Retired General to Max Hastings (22.12.08, Guardian)

Two Danes And Brit Killed In Afghanistan
04.12.08. space war / ICH. The soldiers were killed when clashes erupted with enemy forces while they were on patrol about eight kilometers (five miles) south of the town of Gereshk in the Helmand province, the statement said.

Four British marines killed in Afghanistan blasts
12.12.08. AFP. "Four Royal Marines were killed in two separate incidents in the Sangin area of Helmand province this morning," the MoD said in a statement.

British soldier killed by enemy fire in Afghanistan: ministry
15.12.08. AFP. The soldier from 29 Commando Royal Artillery was at a forward operating base in the Gereshk area of Helmand province when he was wounded, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement./ He was taken by helicopter to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) military hospital at Kandahar but died of his wounds.

Sixth British soldier in a week killed in Afghanistan
17.12.08. AFP.

Royal Marine killed in Afghan blast
22.12.08. press and journal/ICH. The serviceman, from the Commando Logistics Regiment Royal Marines, died yesterday morning while on a routine mission north-west of Lashkar Gah in Helmand province./ .. The marine is the 135th British serviceman to die in Afghanistan since the start of operations in October 2001.

British soldier killed in fighting in Afghanistan
25.12.08. Reuters. A British Royal Marine was killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday [24.12] during fighting with insurgents in Helmand province, the Ministry of Defence said on Thursday.The soldier was taking part in combat operations near Lashkar Gah, the MoD said.

UK military: British marine dies in Afghanistan
31.12.08. AP. The British Ministry of Defense says a member of the country's 45 Commando Royal Marines was killed by an explosion Wednesday afternoon in the Sangin district of Afghanistan's restive Helmand province. / The death brings to 137 the number of U.K. military personnel who have died while serving in Afghanistan since British forces entered the country as part of a U.S.-led invasion in 2001.


US military deaths in Afghanistan region at 557
12.12.08. AP. As of Friday, Dec. 12, 2008, at least 557 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan as a result of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to the Defense Department. The department last updated its figures Friday at 10 a.m. EST.

Georgia soldier from Fort Hood dies in Afghanistan
18.12.08. DOD says Pvt. Colman J. Meadows III of Senoia, Ga., died Tuesday at Forward Operating Base Ramrod of injuries suffered in a non-combat related incident. / The circumstances are under investigation.

Record 151 US troops die in Afghanistan in 2008 (31.12.08. J. Straziuoso, AP)

Ref: Daniel Perle in Pakistan

Reporter's Death Inspires a Seminar and a Lawsuit

18.12.08. Susan Kinzie, Washington Post / anti-war. For more than a year, a group of Georgetown University students has been poring over documents, searching for cellphone numbers of suspected terrorists and calling Pakistani police in the middle of the night. Now their class project has come to this: They're suing the CIA and the FBI. / The students' assignment was to find out who killed Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl and why. Although the class ended last spring and many of the students graduated, they're still trying to write that last paper./ Although [Khalid Sheik]Mohammed (see below) "has confessed to the crime, there hasn't been any publicly disclosed corroborating evidence," Todd wrote in an e-mail. "One of the goals of the Pearl Project is to establish whether there is any evidence linking . . . Mohammed to the murder. Even if we establish conclusively that he did murder Danny, there were three murderers and we want to establish the identities of the other two."/ The complaint filed yesterday also names the Defense Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Central Command and the State, Justice and Treasury departments.

15. Human Rights (Reports, Airbrushing, 9/11, April Gallop, “War on Terror,” US Soldiers, Cluster Bombs, Prisons, Detainees, Rendition, Guantanamo, Torture, War Crimes, The Root of The Problem)


25-Nation Poll Finds Worldwide Support for Principles in Universal Declaration of Human Rights
11.12.08. World public opinion. Majorities in all the nations polled, including those with authoritarian governments, endorse the [six] principles …

From Hope to Fear: An Afghan Perspective on Operations of Pro-Government Forces in Afghanistan
23.12.08. Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. This report represents the Afghan perspective on the operations of Pro-Government Forces (PGF). The incidents documented in this report have resulted primarily from operations by International Military Forces (IMF), Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), or joint operations involving airstrikes and nighttime searches of civilian houses (“night raids”).



How we view our history: Dealing with the Bush legacy
12.12.08. Editorial, Anniston star. The Soviet-era Kremlin had a method of dealing with inconvenient people and truths: erase the parts the Politburo would rather forget. / .. The Bush administration's whitewashing of its awful missteps won't be so easily Photoshopped out of the picture.

Pentagon May Have Mixed Propaganda With PR
12.12.08. Walter Pincus, Washington Post. The Pentagon's inspector general said yesterday that the Defense Department's public affairs office may have "inappropriately" merged public affairs and propaganda operations in 2007 and 2008 when it contracted out $1 million in work for a strategic communications plan for use by the military in collaboration with the State Department. / "Without clearly defined strategic communications responsibilities, DoD may appear to merge inappropriately the public affairs and information operations functions," the inspector general said in a report released yesterday. Strategic communications programs, which have become a major part of the Pentagon's information operations carried out in the "war of ideas" in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East, should be under the oversight of the undersecretary of defense for policy, the report added.

Narrated by actor and activist Sean Penn, the film exhumes remarkable archival footage of official distortion and exaggeration from LBJ to George W. Bush, revealing in stunning detail how the American news media have uncritically disseminated the pro-war messages of successive presidential administration

The Torture Presidency
13.12.08. Scott Horton, Harpers. President George W. Bush has launched “Operation Legacy,” which he placed in the hands of his ultimate advisor, indeed his “brain,” Karl Rove. .. The Rove effort features a 2-page set of talking points which have been circulated to members of the administration’s team highlighting the supposedly major Bush accomplishments which have begun to fill the American media. They start with the contention that “Bush kept us safe” by preventing any further attack on American soil after 9/11. Really? / … This [Senate] report sums up all you need to know about George W. Bush’s eight years of leadership. Karl Rove stresses that Bush has been a perfect moral example for young people in the country. The [Senate] report tells us that when photos and other evidence of abuse first surfaced, the Bush Administration firmly denied any connection between their policies and the abuse, then attempted to scapegoat a group of more than a dozen young recruits (but not, of course, any of their supervising officers, who knew the details of the administration’s involvement and would have made things messy if disciplined)./ The report has some more bombshells in it waiting to emerge on declassification.

Bush Tries to Whitewash History; Portrays Himself as a Victim
17.12.08. Matthew Yglesias, The American Prospect / Alternet. Even after all this time, Bush views the Iraq War with regret not over anything he did, but rather, over something that was done to him. / It's tiresome to need to point this out at this late date but, yes, George W. Bush and his administration misled the country while making the case for war with Iraq and, remarkably, are still trying to mislead people about it.

Obama v. Washington Mythmaking
18.12.08. Robert Parry, consortium/anti-war. Over the years, Washington has evolved into a city of deceptions where semantics cloud reality and where a hazy mix of lies, half-truths and mythology can combine to unleash the devastating military might of the United States for no good reason.

President Bush's Speech on Global Democracy and Freedom

Martin Luther King's Final Speech Fraudulently Edited
18.12.08. free speech. Rev. Martin Luther King’s final speech has omissions and substituted text in 18 out of 20 online sources

Report raps ex-White House pair on Iraq claims
18.12.08. P. Hess, AP / uruknet. Former White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales misled Congress when he claimed the CIA in 2002 approved information that ended up in the 2003 State of the Union speech about Iraq's alleged effort to buy uranium for its nuclear weapons program, a House Democrat [Rep. Henry Waxman] said Thursday. / … Waxman said Gonzales, and Rice to a lesser degree, misled the public and Congress.

See also: Rice and Gonzales Lie to Congress About Lying (18.12.08. Matthew Yglesias, uruknet)

Rosy rewriting of the Iraq debacle will fuel worse disaster in Afghanistan
19.12.08. Simon Jenkins, Guardian. With British troops at last due to leave Iraq next spring, everyone is for a public inquiry. That is fine. But what about an inquiry into where they are going, straight from the frying pan into the fire, from Iraq to Afghanistan? The Iraq inquest can be written on a postcard. A British force was sent on the false claim by Tony Blair that Iraq was a threat to Britain. How this made sense was never explained, despite the efforts of Alastair Campbell and his colleagues. It has since emerged that Blair simply could not bring himself to desert the American president, George Bush. That in a nutshell is why 178 British servicemen and women have died in Iraq. … The greatest honour Britain could pay the dead of Iraq is to inquire into why any more should die in Afghanistan. Why wait for the same number of soldiers to be killed (already 134)? Why wait for the same multiple of civilian deaths, the same villages bombed, the same infrastructure destroyed? Why wait for the same bombast to die down and truth-telling and realism to gain the upper hand? Why tip another billion pounds into this craziness, billions that we can ill afford? .. Brown's repeated thesis that the occupation of Helmand is vital "to keep terror from the streets of Britain" is nonsense.

Rice claims history will recognize that 'America has stood for the Arab world'
24.12.08. AFP. "Over time I think that the fact that America has stood for the Arab world and for the Arabs to have the same rights and the same ability to live in freedom as we have, that that will ultimately be respected," Rice said.

Two Dangerous Bush-Cheney Myths
26.12.08. Robert Parry, Consortium. As George W. Bush and Dick Cheney make their case for some positive legacy from the past eight years, two arguments are playing key roles: the notion that torturing terror suspects saved American lives and the belief that Bush’s Iraq troop “surge” transformed a disaster into something close to “victory.” Not only will these twin arguments be important in defining the public’s future impression of where Bush should rank on the presidential list, but they could constrain how far President Barack Obama can go in reversing these policies. In other words, the perception of the past can affect the future.

How Can Anyone Believe There Is 'Progress' in the Middle East?
27.12.08. Robert Fisk, Independent / Common Dreams. "And seeing if we can build on some of the progress, at least in conversation, that's been made around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be a priority." / What is this man talking about? "Building on progress?" What progress? On the verge of another civil war between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, with Benjamin Netanyahu a contender for Israeli prime minister, with Israel's monstrous wall and its Jewish colonies still taking more Arab land, and Palestinians still firing rockets at Sderot, and Obama thinks there's "progress" to build on? / I suspect this nonsensical language comes from the mental mists of his future Secretary of State. "At least in conversation" is pure Hillary Clinton - its meaning totally eludes me - and the giveaway phrase about progress being made "around" the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is even weirder. Of course if Obama had talked about an end to Jewish settlement building on Arab land - the only actual "building" that is going on in the conflict - relations with Hamas as well as the Palestinian Authority, justice for both sides in the conflict, along with security for Palestinians as well as Israelis, then he might actually effect a little change.

Lies, Lies, Lies Even worse than Iraq, if that is possible



America, cowering to an imaginary enemy, is not the country I once knew
05.12.08. Simon Jenkins, Guardian. America seems much in need of Roosevelt's maxim to stop fearing fear itself. Virtually all comment on the Mumbai massacre has mentioned 9/11 and al-Qaida, and thus invited citizens to continue feeling afraid. No matter that Mumbai appears to have been primarily about Kashmir and the status of India's Muslims. No matter that Osama bin Laden has no dog in that fight. Any stick will do to elevate al-Qaida as America's enemy number one.

Ex ISI Chief Gul Exposes 911 Inside Job Pakistani General Goes In-Depth On Details CNN Refused to Broadcast
12.12.08. legitgov. The UPI interview with Gul remains online and in it he questions the delayed response to the hijackings by the U.S. Air Force. / Gul said that he first went public on who he thought was behind 9/11 UPI two weeks after the attacks, but that the report was blocked by the western news media./ "It is quite amazing that for a very long period of time the air traffic control did not report this nor did the U.S. Air Force act in time," said Gul, noting that fighters were scrambled from bases further away than where the hijacked planes were. / "The time that it took was enormous, it was 120 minutes, a very long time in which to act - was the U.S. Air Force sleeping and if it was sleeping which heads were rolled?" asked Gul, adding that if the botched response was a mere intelligence failure then why was nobody disciplined or taken to task and why had nobody resigned. / Gul then questioned why standard operating procedure was not followed, stating, "In the past within minutes the U.S. aircraft has been on the wing of the hijacked aircraft, in this case it did not happen, the U.S. alert system is so high and it is so sophisticated that if a missile was to take off from Moscow and was to head towards New York, the U.S. Air Force and the missile system is supposed to intercept it within nine minutes….the system is in place but it did not work and nobody tried to question this."

Mumbai was not our 9/11
12.12.08. Arundhati Roy, Guardian. … / There are those who point out that US strategy has been successful inasmuch as the United States has not suffered a major attack on its home ground since 9/11. However, some would say that what America is suffering now is far worse. If the idea behind the 9/11 terror attacks was to goad America into showing its true colors, what greater success could the terrorists have asked for? The US army is bogged down in two unwinnable wars, which have made the United States the most hated country in the world. Those wars have contributed greatly to the unraveling of the American economy and who knows, perhaps eventually the American empire. (Could it be that battered, bombed Afghanistan, the graveyard of the Soviet Union, will be the undoing of this one too?) Hundreds of thousands people including thousands of American soldiers have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. The frequency of terrorist strikes on U.S allies/agents (including India) and U.S interests in the rest of the world has increased dramatically since 9/11. George Bush, the man who led the US response to 9/11 is a despised figure not just internationally, but also by his own people. Who can possibly claim that the United States is winning the war on terror?

The only way to contain (it would be naïve to say end) terrorism is to look at the monster in the mirror. We're standing at a fork in the road. One sign says Justice, the other Civil War. There's no third sign and there's no going back. Choose.

April Gallop, career army officer, sues Cheney, Rumsfeld, Meyers, saying no evacuation order given on 9/11: Transcript
17.12.08. Raw Story. A career Army officer who survived the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, claims that no evacuation was ordered inside the Pentagon, despite flight controllers calling in warnings of approaching hijacked aircraft nearly 20 minutes before the building was struck. Gallop also says she heard two loud explosions, and does not believe that a Boeing 757 hit the building. Her son sustained a serious brain injury, and Gallop herself was knocked unconscious after the roof collapsed onto her office.

Dick Cheney Calls 9/11 the "Highest Moment" of the Last Eight Years
22.12.08. Steve Benen, Washington Monthly/Alternet. On Fox News yesterday, Chris Wallace asked Dick Cheney to identify the "highest moment" of the last eight years. It wasn't a trick question. Cheney pondered this for a few moments before answering, "Well, I think the most important, the most compelling, was 9/11 itself, and what that entailed, what we had to deal with." VIDEO.

I really believe something happened to America; after 9/11 we became a different country. That is fine, presidents sometimes might want to do that, but my issue is how did Bush do it? How did he beat the press? How did he beat the military and Congress and turn everyone into a coward? Why didn't people stand up to him in this situation? In other words, how fragile is the American constitution; it turns out that it is much more fragile than people think. Seymour Hersh (interview 25.12.08)


Enemy Combatants and Freedom of Speech
10.12.08. Jacob G. Hornberger, blog. Some Americans favor the federal government’s post-9/11 assumption of power to arrest Americans and treat them as “enemy combatants” in the “war on terrorism.” It doesn’t matter to them that the Pentagon now has the power to round up Americans, keep them in prison camps indefinitely, torture them, and deny them all the rights and guarantees enumerated in the Bill of Rights. The reason it doesn’t bother them is that they figure it would never happen to them, only to other people. / ... There is also another important factor relating to a free society that Americans should consider about this post-9/11 power that is now being claimed by the Pentagon and other federal officials. That factor involves the fundamental right of freedom of speech, as guaranteed by the First Amendment. / Once it seeps into the consciousness of the American people that the federal government now wields the omnipotent power to arrest, punish, and detain people indefinitely without trial, a pall of silence will almost certainly fall [has fallen] over the land with respect to criticism of the Pentagon and the rest of the federal government.

EU members infringing free movement rights: report
11.12.08. JURIST. Vice President of the European Commission Responsible for Justice, Freedom, and Security Jacques Barrot on Wednesday reported that European Union (EU) governments are violating people's right to travel freely among the EU member states. Directive 2004/38/EC gives nationals of EU member states the right to move and reside freely among any of the states. According to the report, no member states have fully implemented the directive. The two biggest problems are the right of entry and residence of third country family members and the requirement of submitting additional documents for residence not foreseen in the directive.

War Talk, the Death of the Social, and Disappearing Children: A Lesson for Obama
16.12.08. Henry Giroux, Perspective / Truthout. Under the Bush administration, the language of war has taken on a distinctly new register, more expansive in both its meaning and its consequences. War no longer needs to be ratified by Congress since it is now waged by various government agencies that escape the need for official approval. War has become a permanent condition adopted by a nation state that is largely defined by its repressive functions in response to its powerlessness to regulate corporate power, provide social investments for the populace and guarantee a measure of social freedom"

Court sides with ACLU, strikes down Patriot Act gag provision
16.12.08. Stephen C. Webster, raw story/anti-war.

Brussells Tribunal Demands Protection for Muntadhar Al-Zaidi
19.12.08. Dirk Adriaensis, BRussels Tribunel. Small actions from ordinary people can have maximum impact in times of manifest injustice. Resistance actions should be remembered. Resistance to foreign occupation didn’t start with the illegal invasion of Iraq. It also happened in occupied Europe in WW2. And as in Iraq, the resistance fighters were labelled as “terrorists” by the German occupiers and the Quisling government. Al-Zaidi threw his shoes for the widows and orphans killed in Iraq by the US nazis, Robert Maistriau saved more than 200 jews of a certain death by the hands of the German nazis. / … History should not be remembered through the biographies of presidents. History should be remembered through stories of a lantern, a red rag and a pair of shoes.

The invocation of a “global war on terror” is a big-lie propaganda device that has no grounding in reality. The proof that “terrorism” does not exist as an enemy identifiable by commonality of structure, purpose and leadership comparable to the World War II Axis or the Confederacy can be found in its use as a target to justify the invasion of Iraq. An invasion billed as a response to the 9/11 attacks, which had nothing to do with Iraq. The Bush administration, with Cheney in the lead, did not so much fight the danger of terrorism as exploit it for partisan political purpose.. Robert Sheer (23.12.08)

Obama's Black Widow
23.12.08. Nat Hentoff, Village Voice/anti-war. Barack Obama will be in charge of the biggest domestic and international spying operation in history. Its prime engine is the National Security Agency (NSA). … / What particularly outraged civil libertarians across the political divide was that the FISA Amendments Act gave immunity to the telecommunications corporations—which, for seven years, have been a vital part of the Bush administration's secret wiretapping program—thereby dismissing the many court cases brought by citizens suing those companies for violating their individual constitutional liberties. This gives AT&T, Verizon, and the rest a hearty signal to go on pimping for the government. That's OK with the Obama administration? Please tell us, Mr. President.

Bush's Costly War on Terror
26.12.08. Mark Thompson, Time Magazine/truthout. "The news that President Bush's war on terror will soon have cost the US taxpayer $1 trillion - and counting - is unlikely to spread much Christmas cheer in these tough economic times. A trio of recent reports - none by the Bush administration - suggests that sometime early in the Obama presidency, spending on the wars started since 9/11 will pass the trillion-dollar mark. Even after adjusting for inflation, that's four times more than America spent fighting World War I, and more than 10 times the cost of 1991's Persian Gulf War (90 percent of which was paid for by US allies). The war on terror looks set to surpass the cost of the Korean and Vietnam wars combined, to be topped only by World War II's price tag of $3.5 trillion."

VIDEO`: Gaza Media Blackout (Listening Post, al jazeera)


“I take the issue of wounded warriors personally.” Robert Gates (October 2008)



The American Veterans’ and Servicemembers’ Survival Guide (12.08. Veterans for America)


America's Child Soldiers: US Military Recruiting Children to Serve in the Armed Forces
28.11.08. Sherwood Ross, uruknet. The Pentagon "heavily recruits on high school campuses, targeting students for recruitment as early as possible and generally without limits on the age of students they contact," the ACLU states in a 46-page report titled "Soldiers of Misfortune."

Bases brace for surge in stress-related disorders
29.11.08. AP. Some 15,000 soldiers are heading home to this sprawling base after spending more than a year at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and military health officials are bracing for a surge in brain injuries and psychological problems among those troops.

Sec. Gates: Stop-loss will continue through 2009 at least
02.12.08. Think progress/anti-war. During a press conference today, Secretary of State Robert Gates was asked whether he foresaw an end to the practice of stop-loss — where military personnel can be forced to remain in the military even after completing their enlistment terms — by 2009. “No, I don’t,” Gates replied, though he added that he opposes the policy, which many soldiers call a “backdoor draft,” and will work to end it. VIDEO.

US soldiers re-enlisting because of poor economy (02.12.08. AP)

Challenging the myths of the "good war"
04.12.08. socialist worker. Eric Ruder talks to veterans of the war on Afghanistan about why they want the U.S. to end its occupation.

A Crisis of Conscience
09.12.08. Camillo "Mac" Bica, Truthout: "Soldiers are legally obligated to sometimes disobey superior orders. US chief prosecutor Robert K. Jackson at the NMT declared in 1948: '[T]he very essence of the [Nuremberg] Charter is that individuals have intentional duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience imposed by the individual state.'"

Injured Veterans Denied Promised Reviews
10.12.08. CBS. Thousands of similar stories caused veterans advocates to protest that the military was manipulating disability ratings to save money, and Congress last year ordered the Pentagon to accept appeals from wounded and injured troops. / So far, officials have yet to examine a single case. / "Congress finally took action to give those troops a fair hearing, and now the Department of Defense is dragging its feet,"

Exclusive: Pentagon Pro-Troop Group Misspent Millions, Report Says
12.12.08. Noah Shachtman, blog.wired. A Defense Department project, supposedly designed to support U.S. troops, was used instead to channel millions of dollars to personal friends and allies of its chief. The "America Supports You," or ASY, program was led in a "questionable and unregulated manner," according to a Department of Defense Inspector General report, obtained by Danger Room. At least $9.2 million was "inappropriately transferred" by the project's managers. Much of that money served only to further promote ASY, instead of assisting servicemembers.

Nonprofit Formed to Help Veterans Wasted Large Sum, Senate Report Says
Ann Scott Tyson, Washington Post/anti-war. The National Veterans Business Development Corp., also known as the Veterans Corp. (TVC), grossly mismanaged taxpayer dollars -- including lavish spending on costly dinners and luxury hotels, first-class travel, and compensation for its top two executives that amounted to nearly a quarter of the charity's federal funds, according to a report obtained by The Washington Post. / Created in 1999 to set up a national network of veterans centers and help veterans start small businesses, TVC has spent only 15 percent of its funding on the centers since it was formed, including only 9 percent last year, the investigation found. As a result, centers in Massachusetts, Michigan and Missouri are in danger of closing, it said.

U.S. Army sends American-Israeli woman to Afghanistan
13.12.08. Haaretz / anti-war. The Foreign Ministry on Thursday began reviewing an unusual plea from a 55-year-old American-Israeli woman from Netanya who is fighting the U.S. Army's decision to send her to active reserve duty in Afghanistan. / Citing the fact that Command Sergeant Orli Avior is also an Israeli citizen, the woman's husband wrote Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni that his wife's Afghani tour would be "unnecessarily dangerous and irrational." Orli Avior is currently in Kuwait, awaiting mobilization to Afghanistan. / .. In October, amid news of a severe shortage of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, Orli Avior was summoned to serve 400 days in an infantry unit in Iraq - a country Israelis are legally forbidden to enter. Her orders were later changed to Afghanistan, apparently with no connection to her Israeli citizenship. Orli, says her husband, hoped she would be reposted if she explained the situation to her commanders, but her requests were not heeded.

War vet widows wrongly denied help
13.12.08. AP / anti-war. Widows of war veterans have been wrongfully denied up to millions of dollars in government benefits over the past 12 years due to computer glitches that often resulted in money being seized from the elderly survivors' bank accounts.

Pentagon limits claims for combat-related injury
14.12.08. LA Times. In a little-noticed regulation change in March, the military's definition of combat-related disabilities was narrowed, costing some injured veterans thousands of dollars in lost benefits - and triggering outrage from veterans' advocacy groups.

The Failed Logic of Supporting the Troops
16.12.08. Remi Kanazi, ICH. Dangerously, most Americans put forth the notion that the troops' intrinsic heroism provides them with the impunity to destroy any bogeymen who stand in their way, cultivating a code of silence that strongly discourages dissent. It is under this premise that we support our "brave" and "noble" soldiers… While one may comprehend the mindset of the troops, this understanding does not validate support for them. If the invasion of Iraq [or Afghanistan] , the mission, and the occupation as stated policy are all wrong, then support for the armed forces carrying out the mission must also be wrong. / US soldiers are not a monolith and nearly everyone would argue that the majority of the troops are "good people." Yet, our emotional inclinations and the societal norm that tells us troops are good like bumper sticker slogans shouldn't serve as justification for supporting them and, by extension, the mission they are carrying out. We are led to believe that a soldier can either serve out the rest of his tour or be branded a disgrace and imprisoned for becoming a conscientious objector. In reality the choice is much starker: a soldier can refuse to serve or contribute to the death of a million Iraqis [or civilian afghan murders].

Kids Learn that Killing Is Fun at the Army's Lethal New Theme Park
19.12.08. Penny Coleman, AlterNet. The Army's new recruitment tool lets high-tech video game centers desensitize, condition, train and even enlist America's youth. The Army Experience Center, located in the Franklin Mills Mall just north of Philadelphia, bills itself as a "state-of-the-art educational facility that uses interactive simulations and online learning programs to educate visitors about the many careers, training and educational opportunities available in the Army." / Nonsense. The only thing they're teaching here is how to blow shit up. If it's state-of-the-art anything, it's state-of-the-art adolescent boys’ wet dreams.

Casey: Ending stop loss is priority
21.12.08. Stripes. Ending the Army’s reliance on stop loss to maintain troop levels in war zones is a priority now, even though the practice of keeping soldiers beyond their enlistment won’t officially end for nearly two more years, the Army’s chief of staff said Friday during a tour of bases in Japan and South Korea.


US troops may stay in Iraq in disguise
22.12.08. asian age / ICH. Though the deadline for withdrawal of US troops from Iraqi cities has been decided as June 30, 2009, experts have argued that roughly 10,000 American troops should remain in Baghdad after that period, in the guise of "trainers" and "advisers" in what are effectively combat roles.

Recruiter Suicides Lead to Army Probe (22.12.08. Ocala/anti-war) Video.


Holger Terp, founder of the Danish Peace Academy,is collecting Peace Songs. Here is one of them: "I Didn’t Raise my Boy To Be a Soldier"

VIDEO: Afghanistan, Frontline: Korengal (aljazeera. 03.12.08)


US stands by refusal to sign cluster bomb ban
02.12.08. Raw Story. The United States said Tuesday it will refrain this week from signing a treaty in Norway to ban cluster bombs, because the document is too broad and endangers US soldiers. / Some 100 countries will ban the use of such weapons when their delegates sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions on Wednesday in Oslo but major producers like the United States, China and Russia are shunning the pact.

US keeps cluster bombs on UK soil . (25.05.08. BBC)

Afghanistan Says It Will Sign Cluster Bomb Treaty
03.12.08. NY Times. In a last-minute change, President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan agreed on Wednesday to join some 90 other nations signing a treaty banning the use of the cluster munitions that have devastated his country in recent years. / The decision appeared to reflect Mr. Karzai’s growing independence from the Bush administration, which has opposed the treaty and, according to a senior Afghan official who spoke on the condition of anonymity following diplomatic protocol, had urged Mr. Karzai not to sign it.

Landmark cluster bomb treaty signed in Oslo
03.12.08. Ninety two states signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions - which bans the production, stockpiling, use and export of cluster bombs during a ceremony in Oslo on Wednesday./ Further signatories are expected on Thursday as the conference continues with civil society campaigners predicting at least 100 states eventually signing the treaty, which also requires states to provide adequate assistance to victims of these weapons.

"Obama Needs to Take a Stand on Cluster Bombs"
11.12.08. Donald Steinberg, Huff Post/crisis group.

Cluster Bomb Treaty and the World's Unfinished Business
13.12.08. Ramzy Baroud, uruknet. The United States, Russia and China are sending a terrible message to the rest of the world by refusing to take part in the historic signing of a treaty that bans the production and use of cluster bombs. In a world that is plagued by war, military occupation and terrorism, the involvement of the great military powers in signing and ratifying the agreement would have signaled – if even symbolically - the willingness of these countries to spare
ci!vilians’ unjustifiable deaths and the lasting scars of war. Nonetheless, the incessant activism of many conscientious individuals and organizations came to fruition on December 3-4 when ninety-three countries signed a treaty in Oslo, Norway that bans the weapon, which has killed and maimed many thousands of civilians...

Mixed Signals From India On War Prospects
23.12.08. anti-war. the Indian Defense Ministry is asking the United States to fast track its previous order of $375 million worth of cluster bombs.


Afghan jail operation kills 8 prisoners in Kabul
05.12.08. Reuters / ICH. Eight prisoners were killed and 15 others were wounded after Afghan security forces clashed with inmates during a search operation in an Afghan prison [Pul-i-Charkhi] near Kabul, an official said.

Police retake Afghanistan's largest jail
06.12.08. Five policemen held hostage by prisoners in Kabul’s Pul-e-Charqi prison for two days have been released.


Half of Afghan prisoners have not faced trial-U.N.
01.12.08. Jonathon Burch, Reuters / uruknet. More Afghans are being detained without trial, with poor people or those without powerful connections, the most common victims, unable to pay bribes to secure their release, the United Nations said on Monday. / Afghanistan is emerging from nearly 30 years of war and its judicial and law enforcement systems are still very much in their infancy. Corruption is endemic at all levels of the police force, experts say, who often milk the populace for bribes.

2 U.S. soldiers inquried for abusing detainees in Afghanistan
02.12.08. Xinhuanet. "An Article 32 investigation commenced today at Forward Operating Base Salerno in eastern Afghanistan to review allegations of detainee abuse and several other lesser offenses by two U.S. service members," the statement said. / It added that "the initial investigation of Capt. Roger T. Hilland 1st Sgt.Tommy L. Scott, both of 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, was prompted by a report from within the unit about potential detainee abuse."

ACLU protests censorship of Guantanamo detainee testimony
06.12.08. JURIST. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sought to prohibit government censorship of prisoners' testimony about alleged torture and abuse at Guantanamo Bay in a motion filed Friday in military commission proceedings against five "high value detainees" accused of involvement in the 9/11 attacks. The motion says observers at the proceedings watch on a closed-circuit video monitor with a 20-second delay, allowing officials to cut the feed when it appears a defendant is discussing the conditions of their detention.

Panel blames White House, not soldiers, for abuse
12.12.08. AP. The physical and mental abuse of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was the direct result of Bush administration detention policies and should not be dismissed as the work of bad guards or interrogators, according to a bipartisan Senate report released Thursday.

U.S., NATO-led Forces Should Review Afghan Detentions, UN Says
18.12.08. Bloomberg. “People are detained and often are held for a long period of time on the basis of mistaken identity or mistakes with regard to whether these people are insurgents,” Kai Eide said at a news conference in Kabul. / Some of the UN’s closest contacts have been held by international troops, prompting frustration among Afghans, he said. House searches should also be led by Afghans who clearly understand cultural sensitivities in the nation, Eide said. adding that such knowledge is “critically important.”

Detainees Killed In Afghan Prisons?
22.12.08. Spencer Ackerman, uruknet. This is a really creepy press release that the U.S. military command in Afghanistan just emailed reporters under the headline "Suspected Militants Die In Zabul Province." I reprint it here in its entirety: Two known Taliban extremists were reported deceased on Dec. 18. The militants were part of a group of five suspects taken into custody, Dec. 17, by Afghan National Police and Coalition forces during a combined patrol conducted in Shinkay district, located in Zabul Province, approximately 160 km northeast of Kandahar. The five detainees were last seen alive at the Surri Police Station the early morning of the 18th, according to a Coalition report…. This is a confusing and euphemistic press release, to say the least. (Are the two dead men "known Taliban extremists" or "suspected militants"?) The release suggests that the detainees died in Afghan National Police custody, but it’s by no means clear. What could have changed between the "early morning" of Dec. 18 and later that day, when the detainees "were reported deceased"? ...

Ali Saleh Kalah al Marri

Justices Take Case on President’s Power to Detain
05.12.08. NY Times. The Supreme Court agreed on Friday to decide the most fundamental question yet concerning executive power in the age of terrorism: May the president order the indefinite military detention of people living legally in the United States? / The case concerns Ali al-Marri , the only person on the American mainland being held as an enemy combatant, who is in custody at the Navy brig in Charleston, S.C.

The Last US Enemy Combatant: The Shocking Story of Ali al-Marri
05.12.08. Andy Worthington, ICH. In brighter times, before a fog of fear descended on the United States, and the discourse of decent men and women was coarsened by an acceptance of the use of torture as a "no-brainer," it would have been inconceivable that an American could have been held for seven years without charge or trial on the US mainland, in a state of solitary confinement so debilitating that he is said to be suffering from "severe damage to his mental and emotional well-being.

Imprisoned for Seven Years Without Being Charged
09.12.08. T. Eddlem. New American. Consider this incredible sequence of events. A young American citizen was invited to study in a Middle Eastern country. Having arrived there, the dictatorship running the country kidnapped him and held him in solitary confinement for seven years without a trial. The dictatorship didn't just incarcerate him, they stubbornly refused to charge him with a crime during his incarceration. His family and friends have petitioned for his release, but the dictator vaguely insists he was a subversive and intended to attack his country — though the ruler stubbornly refuses to provide any details about how this might have happened. Release of these details — even seven years later — would jeopardize "national security." But it's also widely known that this person was apprehended unarmed and had not engaged in any violence.

For more on Al-Marri, see here.

Sameh Khouzam

Third Circuit blocks deportation of Egypt detainee despite 'no torture' pledge
06.12.08. JURIST The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit on Friday ruled that an Egyptian Christian who could face torture in Egypt may challenge his deportation from the United States. Sameh Khouzam fled to the US in 1998 allegedly to escape religious persecution. American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawyers representing Khouzam argued before the US District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania that the US government was not abiding by its obligations under the UN Convention Against Torture by relying on assurances from the Egyptian government that Khouzam would not be tortured if he were returned to authorities in Egypt.

Javaid Iqbal

Who's at Fault for Harsh Antiterror Tactics?
09.12.08. Warren Richey, The CSM / Truthout. :"The US Supreme Court this week takes up a case examining whether cabinet-level officials in the Bush White House can be held legally accountable for the administration's controversial tactics in the war on terror. At issue is an attempt to force former Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI director Robert Mueller to stand trial with federal agents, prison guards, and their supervisors. They are all named in a lawsuit filed by a Pakistani man [Javaid Iqbal] who was held as a terror suspect for five months in solitary confinement in a US prison although there was no evidence connecting him to terrorism."

Redha al-Najar

Tunisian man sues for freedom from US detainment
10.12.08. AP. Lawyers for Redha al-Najar, 43, said he wants his freedom from a prison on an American air base in Bagram, Afghanistan, but not if the U.S. government follows through with its threat to send him to Tunisia. "He faces the grim prospect of being hunted down, abused and tortured, based on his status as a practicing Muslim," lawyers said in court papers. "Given that the stamp of his wrongful detention in Bagram will contribute to such treatment, to permit the U.S. government to return petitioner al-Najar to Tunisia would be tantamount to sanctioning his torture and indefinite detention there." / .. "Redha al-Najar is just one of an untold number of people who continue to be unlawfully imprisoned by the United States in Afghanistan and other locations around the globe," Olshansky said in a statement.


Spain aided US rendition flights: report
01.12.08. JURIST. The Spanish Foreign Ministry expressly allowed the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) [official website] to use Spanish resources in transporting terror suspects to Guantanamo Bay, according to a 2002 internal Foreign Ministry memorandum released by Madrid's El Pais newspaper on Sunday. According to the document, an official for the ministry granted a CIA request to allow the US to use Spanish air space and military bases for flights between Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. The Ministry, now under new leadership since the government of conservative Prime Minister Aznar was replaced in 2004 by that of socialist Zapatero, said it would investigate whether the country had actually granted the permission. The Spanish government has previously conceded that CIA flights may have stopped on its soil but denied that it had granted permission for such planes to transport prisoners. Spain denies (05.12.08)

Rice refuses to deny CIA transported suspects to countries using torture
06.12.08. Raw story. Outgoing Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice on Friday refused to deny the CIA had engaged in transporting terror suspects to countries that routinely practice torture, when asked by a Danish television reporter. .. / The reporter backtracked, and asked the secretary if that means there had been no CIA flights over Denmark. "I have given a commitment to the foreign minister about the future, and I have said that we will respect Danish sovereignty," she said, dodging his inquiry. As recently as April, the CIA admitted in documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act that the program will continue. (Spain, Portugal, Italy have similarly dodged questions).

Spain judge to review US rendition memo as investigation continues
11.12.08. JURIST. Spanish National Court Judge Ismael Moreno Wednesday asked the Spanish Foreign Ministry for a certified copy of a 2002 internal government memorandum detailing a US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) [official website] request to use Spanish resources in aiding CIA extraordinary rendition flights. Moreno said that after reviewing the memo he will subpoena the memo's purported author, Foreign Ministry official Miguel Aguirre de Carcer. Charges could be filed against current or former government officials who knowingly allowed US planes carrying prisoners to make stopovers on Spanish soil. / The memo in question, originally labeled "very secret" but published by Madrid's El Pais newspaper late last month, is especially controversial because the Spanish government had previously denied consent or knowledge of rendition flights routed through Spain since 2005. When the memo was authored, Spain was led by a conservative government that gave way to the socialist administration of Prime Minister Rodríguez Zapatero in 2004. In 2006, Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos told the European parliament that, despite assurances from the US to the contrary, rendition flights may have stopped on Spanish islands off of the country's south coast.

Out of Sight
13.12.08. M. E. Gerecht, NT Times. Mr. Obama will soon face the same awful choices that confronted George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and he could well be forced to accept a central feature of their anti-terrorist methods: extraordinary rendition. If the choice is between non-deniable aggressive questioning conducted by Americans and deniable torturous interrogations by foreigners acting on behalf of the United States, it is almost certain that as president Mr. Obama will choose the latter.

Maher Arar

Second Circuit Hears Argument in Extraordinary Rendition Case
10.12.08. am law daily / legitgov. In a long but lively en banc argument, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Tuesday heard the case of Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen arrested in New York in 2002 and secretly sent to Syria for interrogation and torture. / Arar is the case that first brought to light the United States' program of "extraordinary rendition,"by which U.S. authorities have sent detainees to other countries for interrogation, even though (or because) those countries are known to interrogate suspects under torture. / Georgetown Law Professor David Cole, arguing on behalf of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents Arar (with assistance on the brief from DLA Piper), made a vigorous case in the first hour of the argument that federal officials and the U.S. government are liable for damages under the Torture Victim Protection Act and under the 5th Amendment to the Constitution if Arar can prove his allegations that they conspired to keep him from seeing his lawyer and from accessing the US courts, and that they sent him to Syria to be tortured. / The defendants include former Attorney General John Ashcroft, former deputy AG Larry Thomson, the FBI, the INS, and the United States itself.

The Noose Tightens: Rumsfeld, Ashcroft and other top Bush officials could soon face legal jeopardy
19.12.08. Jonathan Tepperman, Newsweek / ICH. The United States, like many countries, has a bad habit of committing wartime excesses and an even worse record of accounting for them afterward. But a remarkable string of recent events suggests that may finally be changing


I can't even tell you how many times I have heard that between Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and our treatment of prisoners, we have created [more members for the] Taliban in Afghanistan and many Al Qaeda [followers], or that is Jihadists in Iraq. It is very easy to recruit young men to commit terrible acts because of the way we dehumanize Arabs. Seymour Hersh (interview 25.12.08)

After Seven Years, Guantánamo Prisoners Need to be Tried or Released
29.11.08. Marjorie Cohn, Jurist / Alternet. Judge: "Seven years of waiting for a legal system to give them an answer ... is more than enough."

Guantanamo 'a stain on US military'
02.12.08. BBC. Darrel Vandeveld tells the BBC why he quit as a Guantanamo Bay prosecutor. "I know so many fighting men and women who are stained by the taint of Guantanamo, so I'm here to tell the truth about Guantanamo and how a few people have sullied the American military and the constitution," he told me during an interview in his home town of Erie, Pennsylvania. VIDEO.

What Next for Guantanamo Bay?
04.12.08. Philippe Sands, Guardian/truthout. Obama needs to say five things on day one, to America and to his global audience.

  • he should state that he will not use the phrase "war on terror"

  • he should announce that the US will, as a matter of legal obligation, no longer use torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, as defined by international law.

  • he should declare the closure of Guantanamo …

  • he must address what will happen to the 50 or so detainees who will remain in the US, some of whom are now subject to proceedings before military commissions under the Military Commissions Act 2006. He should announce the immediate suspension of all such proceedings and the repeal of that Act ..

  • he should announce that the US will honour and underscore its historic commitment to international efforts against impunity, so that past detainee abuses will not be forgotten. His administration should establish a comprehensive investigation of alleged post-9/11 detainee abuse, to be undertaken by an independent, expert commission, with a mandate to establish the facts as to how the administration embraced cruelty, and to make recommendations by the end of 2009.

Philippe Sands QC is professor of law at University College London, a barrister at Matrix Chambers and author of Lawless World (2005) and Torture Team (2008).

What about the ghost prisoners?
04.12.08. Clive Stafford Smith, Guardian. The men in Guantánamo represent fewer than 1% of the 27,000 prisoners being held by the US beyond the rule of law.

The answer is easy
04.12.08. T. Otty, Guardian. The answer to the question "What to do with those still held at Guantánamo?" is at one level extraordinarily easy, and it remains the same as it has been since the detentions first began almost seven years ago. The detainees should be given a fair trial consistent with internationally recognised standards, or they should be released.

Guantanamo commander says base will not close soon
10.12.08. Telegraph. Rear Adm David Thomas said he expected "rigorous debate" in America before the 250 detainees are flown out, pouring cold water on speculation that the military's offshore prison might close within days after Mr Obama is sworn in on Jan 20.

U.S. Is Set to Release 3 Detainees From Base
15.12.08. NY Times. The Bush administration is preparing to transfer to Bosnia three Guantánamo detainees whom a court ordered freed last month after the first court hearing into the evidence the government used for detaining men at the prison./ .. The three men who are to be transferred were Mohamed Nechle, Mustafa Ait Idir and Hadj Boudella,

Don't replace the old Guantánamo with a new one
-.12.08. Jameel Jaffer and Ben Wizner, Salon / anti-war. … But even as President-elect Obama repeats his oft-made promise to shutter the prison that has so besmirched the nation's reputation, some legal experts, and not just those on the right, are talking about giving him the right to open a new Gitmo here at home. An extraordinary debate is under way about whether Congress should expressly authorize the new president to do what the outgoing president did on his own claimed authority: imprison alleged terrorists without charge or trial.

September 11 families denounce Guantanamo trials
10.12.08. Reuters / legitgov. Two dozen people who lost loved ones in the September 11 attacks issued a statement on Wednesday denouncing the Guantanamo war crimes trials as illegitimate, shameful and politically motivated.

Portugal offers to take Guantanamo detainees (11.12.08. AP/ anti-war)

Guantanamo Bay officials describe prison's progress
12.12.08. USA today. The cages, known as Camp X-Ray, haven't housed prisoners in six years, they said. They like to describe their new, state-of-the-art detention facilities that have cost more than $400 million to build and staff in terms more suited to summer camp than prisons.

US calls on Europe to take Guantánamo inmates
13.12.08. Times Online. America is putting increasing pressure on Britain and other European countries to take in dozens of Guantánamo detainees so that Barack Obama can close down the infamous prison camp.

Chertoff: Obama shouldn't rush on Guantanamo Bay
14.12.08. D. Stringer, anti-war.

US Supreme Court Orders Review of Guantanamo Torture Case
15.12.08. Agence France-Presse/truthout. "The US Supreme Court on Monday revived a lawsuit by four former British detainees at the Guantanamo Bay military prison, ordering a lower court to reconsider their claims of torture and religious bias. The justices ordered a Washington DC appeals court to review its January 2008 ruling quashing the lawsuit against former Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld and 10 senior US military officers."

A History of Music Torture in the 'War on Terror'
16.12.08. Andy Worthington, anti-war. … soldiers, who were largely left to their own devices when choosing what to play, frequently selected songs with blunt messages – "F*ck Your God" by Deicide, for example, which is actually an anti-Christian rant, but one whose title would presumably cause consternation to believers in any religion – even though, for prisoners not used to Western rock and rap music, the music itself was enough to cause them serious distress. / Approval for the Use of Music Torture in the "War on Terror"…/ The Experiences of Binyam Mohamed and Donald Vance…/ Musicians Take Action …

Guantanamo 'worst place on Earth'
17.12.08. Australian news / ICH. AN Algerian-born man who has just been freed from Guantanamo Bay has described the US "war on terror" camp as the worst place on Earth, in an interview published in a Bosnian newspaper. / For almost seven years, I was at the end of the world, at the worst place in the world,'' Mustafa Ait Idir told the Dnevni Avaz a day after arriving back in his adopted homeland of Bosnia. "It would have been hard even if I had done something wrong (but) it is much harder if one is totally innocent,'' he said.

Guantanamo closure plan ordered
19.12.08. al jazeera / ICH. Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, has ordered his staff to draw up plans to close the controversial Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba.

The committee's report also found that Rumsfeld's authorization of aggressive interrogation techniques for use at Guantanamo Bay was a direct cause of detainee abuse there. Those techniques migrated to Iraq and Afghanistan, where prisoners in US custody were also tortured.” Marjorie Cohn (19.12.08.)

U.S. rebuffs China call for 17 Guantanamo suspects
23.12.08. Reuters / anti-war. Although the U.S. military no longer considers the 17 Chinese Uighurs "enemy combatants," they have remained at Guantanamo because the United States has been unable to find a country willing to take them.

Europe cautious on resettling Guantanamo detainees (24.12.08. AFP)


U.S. rebuffs China call for 17 Guantanamo suspects
23.12.08. Reuters / anti-war. Although the U.S. military no longer considers the 17 Chinese Uighurs "enemy combatants," they have remained at Guantanamo because the United States has been unable to find a country willing to take them.

Uncertainty shrouds 17 unusual Guantanamo detainees
25.12.08. McClatchy. At Camp Iguana, 17 Muslims from China taken captive in Afghanistan seven years ago now get Pepsi, Ping Pong and a 42-inch plasma screen for sports and religious videos. What they can't get is an answer to the question of when they might leave this place, ordered by a judge in October, and what nation might grant them asylum.

Binyam Mohamed

In Guantánamo case, a judge tightens the screws on the US
03.12.08. W. Richey, CSM. He is insisting that the government disclose any evidence that points to a detainee's innocence in a 'dirty bomb' plot.

Former Guantanamo prosecutor may be key in UK case
06.12.08. wired. When Darrel Vandeveld became a U.S. military prosecutor at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, he thought he would deliver justice to the men Donald Rumsfeld once described as "the worst of the worst." Instead, he grew so disillusioned by the alleged suppression of evidence that he quit. .. / One such case is being heard in the British High Court — a case that has rankled the CIA and Britain's Foreign Office. / Lawyers are appealing for secret documents they say could free Guantanamo detainee Binyam Mohamed — an Ethiopian refugee who moved to Britain when he was 15 — and raise questions over whether the U.S. and Britain knew of Mohamed's alleged torture in Morocco. / Vandeveld — a career prosecutor who now practices consumer law in Pennsylvania — was a prosecutor in the Mohamed case before he quit in September. It was one of seven cases he handled since his arrival in May 2007.

VIDEO: Gitmo Military Prosecutor Breaks His Silence (BBC; 9 min)

Guantanamo Prisoner's Lawyers Accuse US Defense Secretary
23.12.08. Richard Norton-Taylor, guardian/truthout. "Lawyers for a British resident held at Guantanamo Bay have accused Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, of signing a 'flagrantly false' affidavit to avoid having to disclose evidence of torture. In a sworn affidavit to a district court in Washington, Gates says the US authorities have provided Binyam Mohamed's lawyers and the British government with all the information they possess relating to Mohamed's treatment while held in secret prisons. Gates declared his affidavit to be the truth 'under penalty of perjury.'"

Guantanamo lawyer says Gates may have committed perjury
22.12.08. A. Worthington, Raw Story. US appears to ignore findings of British court on detainee's torture

Salim Hamdan

Salim Hamdan

The End of Guantánamo
03.12.08. Andy Worthington, alternet. The repatriation of Salim Hamdan to Yemen should hasten the demise of the U.S. prison camp.

Omar Khadr

Witness Against Omar Khadr Withdrawn
07.12.08. Canadian Press / Truthout. The American government has withdrawn a witness against Omar Khadr in an effort to hide evidence of its mistreatment of the Canadian during his detention at Guantanamo Bay, his Pentagon-appointed lawyer says.

Canadian's battle role cast in doubt at Guantanamo
12.12.08. Reuters / anti-war. A Canadian teen was buried under the rubble of a bombed-out compound when someone threw the grenade that killed a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan, according to a soldier's report cited at the U.S. war crimes tribunal at Guantanamo Friday. The account raised doubts about whether Canadian defendant Omar Khadr, who is charged with murdering U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer, could have thrown the grenade that killed Speer during the 2002 firefight in a suspected al Qaeda compound in Afghanistan.

Khalid Sheik Mohammed

Closing Guantanamo a minefield of critical steps
08.12.08. The Pentagon on Monday begins more hearings for the proposed death penalty trial of reputed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed, even as President-elect Barack Obama's transition team and the Bush administration work to possibly close the Navy base prison camps.

Alleged 9/11 conspirators postpone offers to plead guilty at military commission hearing
10.12.08. JURIST. Three out of five Guantanamo Bay detainees, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed architect of the 9/11 attacks on Monday postponed their offers to plead guilty to the charges against them after the judge required competency hearings for two of the suspects [Mustafa al-Hawsawi and Ramzi Bin al-Shibh].

Chaos in the 9/11 courtroom
11.12.08. Jennifer Daskal, Salon. In Guantánamo, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his four co-defendants don't know the rules -- and neither does the judge.

Cheney admits authorizing detainee's torture
15.12.08. David Edwards, Stephen C. Webster, Raw Story. ABC asked [Cheney] if in hindsight he thought the tactics went too far. "I don't," he said. / The prisoner in question, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who the Bush administration alleges to have planned the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, is one of Guantanamo's "high value targets" thus far charged with war crimes.

Mohammed Jawad

Last Guantanamo trial of Bush era is delayed
10.12.08. Reuters / anti-war. A U.S. military judge Wednesday indefinitely delayed the January trial of a young Afghan captive, leaving the future course of justice at the Guantanamo prison camp in the hands of President-elect Barack Obama. / Defendant Mohammed Jawad had been set to go to trial at the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba on Jan. 5 on charges of throwing a grenade that injured two U.S. soldiers and their Afghan interpreter at a bazaar in Kabul in December 2002. / .. A military judge, Army Col. Stephen Henley, indefinitely postponed Jawad's trial Wednesday to give prosecutors time to appeal his earlier decision to throw out much of the evidence. / Henley had ruled that Jawad's confession to Afghan government authorities was obtained through death threats that constituted torture and that his subsequent confession to U.S. interrogators was fruit of that torture. / The judge ruled that neither could be admitted as evidence against Jawad, who was drugged and only 16 or 17 years old at the time of his arrest in Afghanistan. Jawad was turned over to U.S. forces and sent shortly afterward to Guantanamo.

Ahmed Darbi

New Guantanamo chief judge warns of change with Obama
15.12.08. Carol Rosenberg, McClatchy. An Army colonel who presided over the courts martial of several guards in the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal is the new chief judge for military commissions, the Pentagon announced Monday. / Army Col. James Pohl replaced Marine Col. Ralph Kohlmann, who is retiring from service early next year. / … At Guantanamo, Pohl has shown himself at the war court to be impatient with some prison camp rules that have impacted the court. / In March, he sternly informed prosecutors in the Darbi case that lawyers who defend prisoners before him should have easy access to their clients. He also declined to issue a ruling, sought by prison camp commanders, to order a tackle-and-shackle technique called ''Forced Cell Extraction'' on occasions when Darbi refused to come to court.

Ahmed Zuhair

Medical exam ordered for Guantanamo hunger striker (19.12.08. AP)

VIDEO: Watch Shoe Throwing video here.

For more on the above people, see here , as well as even earlier Index on Afghanistan - Human Rights section) blogs.



Guantánamo and Its Aftermath

Senate Panel’s Report on U.S. Torture Abuse [12.12.08. truthdig (pdf)]

Senate Armed Services Report on Torture
11.12.08. Executive Summary. “The abuse of detainees in U.S. custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of ‘a few bad apples’ acting on their own. The fact is that senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorized their use against detainees.”


The true purpose of torture
14.05.05. Naomi Klein, Guardian. Guantánamo is there to terrorise - both inmates and the wider world

Torture: Truth and Reconciliation Imperative (28.11.08. Index Research)

Ex-Generals to Urge Obama Action on Torture Issue
02.12.08. Randall Mikkelsen, Reuters:/truthout. "Barack Obama should act from the moment of his inauguration to restore a US image battered by allegations of torturing terrorism suspects, said a group of retired military leaders planning to press their case with the president-elect's transition team on Wednesday. 'We need to remove the stain, and the stain is on us, as well as on our reputation overseas,' said retired Vice Adm. Lee Gunn, former Navy inspector general."

O'Reilly Whitewashes Torture at Gitmo: 'There's Certainly No Proof That Ever Happened'
02.12.08. Ryan Powers, Think Progress

How Many Americans Died Because of Bush’s Torture Program?
02.12.08. Scott Horton, Harpers. The torture techniques developed by the Bush torture team were the most effective recruitment tool we could ever have given terrorists. They cost thousands of American lives. And that’s a key element of the legacy of the forty-third president.

Mukasey opposes prosecutions for torture advice (03.12.08. Reuters)

Obama should prosecute Bush officials who designed torture policy
03.12.08. M. Rattner, A few months ago, Holder was even more explicit. “Our government authorized the use of torture, approved of secret electronic surveillance against American citizens, secretly detained American citizens without due process of law, denied the writ of habeas corpus to hundreds of accused enemy combatants and authorized the use of procedures that violate both international law and the United States Constitution,” he said. “We owe the American people a reckoning.” / The day of reckoning is fast upon us.

Obama legal team meets with anti-torture generals
04.12.08. AP. Obama has criticized practices that he says amount to torturing detainees during interrogations and has promised to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. / Among those who met with Eric Holder, Obama's pick to be attorney general, and Greg Craig, the incoming White House counsel, were Gen. Charles Krulak, a former Marine Corps commandant, and retired Marine Gen. Joseph Hoar, former chief of the Central Command.

Feinstein Issues Statement on Torture
05.12.08. NYTimes. “I strongly believe there should be a single, clear standard for interrogation across the federal government, and that this standard should comply with the Geneva Convention, the United Nations Convention Against Torture, and U.S. law. I plan to introduce legislation in January that would close Guantanamo, make the Army Field Manual the single standard for interrogations, prohibit contractors from being used to carry out interrogations and provide the International Committee of the Red Cross with access to detainees. If the incoming administration decides to propose an alternative to this legislation, I am willing to hear its views. But I believe we must put an end to coercive interrogations by the C.I.A.”

Bush Bailout for Rumsfeld, Torturers Might Be Next
05.12.08. Ann Woolner, Bloomberg. Beyond the wiretappers, the perjurers, the obstructers of justice in the U.S. attorney firings are those who promoted the notion that torture isn’t torture, and even if it is, it isn’t necessarily illegal… / It would be pleasant to turn our back on the shame of the recent past, fervently denounce torture as un-American and, with a new president and a world eager to trust him, say it won’t happen again. .. / The problem with just moving on is, as William Faulkner put it, “The past is not dead. In fact, it’s not even past.”

Former U.S. Interrogator: Torture Policy Has Led to More Deaths than 9/11 Attacks
05.12.08. Amy Goodman, Democracy Now / Alternet. "How anyone can say that torture keeps Americans safe is beyond me," says the author of How to Break a Terrorist. Interview with a former special intelligence operations officer, who led an interrogations team in Iraq two years ago

Legal Scholars Outraged by Talk of Blanket Pardons
08.12.08. Washington independent / anti-war.

References: here

VIDEO: Torturing Democracy

Report Confirms Torture at Guantanamo
08.12.08. New American. Last month, a consortium of human-rights groups from the University of California at Berkeley released a report entitled Guantanamo and Its Aftermath: U.S. Detention and Interrogation Practices and Their Impact on Detainees [pdf]. [see above, Report] Its 136 pages prove in dispassionate prose allegations that Americans passionately debate: the U.S. government imprisoned mostly innocent men, without trial or criminal charges, at its prison in Guantanamo Bay, abused a great many of them, and tortured some. / Because a notoriously left-wing university sponsored the report, apologists for the Bush administration may dismiss it. They do so unjustly. Studies of human beings and an event's "impact" on them can never be purely objective, but this investigation comes as close as possible to pursuing and distilling the truth. For that we can thank its rigorous methodology, scrupulous reporting, and a style "devoid of rhetoric," as "the Honorable Patricia M. Wald" says in her forward. / From July 2007 to July 2008, researchers interviewed 112 people "using semi-structured questionnaires." Among respondents were 62 of Gitmo's former prisoners as well as 50 "key informants, including former and current U.S. government officials, representatives of nongovernmental organizations, attorneys representing detainees," and prison personnel. The report frequently quotes their anonymous but persuasive testimonies. Researchers then "compared" this "data to 1,215 coded media reports about former Guantanamo detainees, relevant documents released by the Department of Defense, and reports by the U.S. government, independent organizations, and the media." Let the trials begin.

House Democrat urges Obama to keep Bush's intelligence chiefs
10.12.08. govexec. Intelligence Chairman Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, said he also recommended to Obama's transition team that some parts of the CIA's controversial alternative interrogation program should be allowed to continue.

How Two Federal Judges Invoked "Secrecy" to Block Access to Bush Torture Data
11.12.08. Sherwood Ross, uruknet. Two Federal judges have deliberately invoked secrecy statutes to conceal the Federal government’s illegal use of torture, a prominent legal authority says. Named are judges Terence Boyle of the U.S. District Court of Eastern North Carolina, and T.S. Ellis III of the U.S. District Court of Eastern District of Virginia, both nominees of President Ronald Reagan. According to Lawrence Velvel, dean of the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover, Judge Boyle refused to allow CIA contractor David Passaro access to government memos that could be construed to show he was acting under orders when he tortured a prisoner to death...

Rotted From the Head: Senate Lays Bare Bush Torture System -- But So What?
12.12.08. Chris Floyd, uruknet. ...Now, what is going to be the upshot of this shocking report from the highest reaches of the national government? Why....nothing, of course! As Juan Cole notes, the report "calls for no sanctions to be imposed" -- and certainly no prosecution of what were clearly, beyond all question, violations of U.S. law. Cole also professes to be "mystified" as to "why this report is being announced now, at the end of the week and at a time of the year in the political calendar when it will not get much play." Surely he is being ironic; it was released in this manner precisely to ensure that "it will not get much play." It will almost certainly be no more than a one-day story; indeed, even on its one day, it has been obscured by the Blagojevich brouhaha and the failure of the auto bailout. Here is the bottom line: No one who was in any position of real power is going to be punished for these outrages. Not even Rumsfeld; his "fall guy" role will be confined to serving as a lightning rod for bad PR, for awhile, before an inevitable, Nixon-like "rehabilitation" somewhere down the line. (Maybe Obama will appoint him to some blue-ribbon "bipartisan" commission on some weighty matter.)..

Senate report links Bush to detainee homicides; media yawns
15.12.08. Glenn Greenwald, Salon. There are countless other episodes like this of human beings in American custody dying because of the mistreatment -- authorized by Bush, Rumsfeld and others -- to which we subjected them. These are murders and war crimes in every sense of the word. That the highest level Bush officials and the President himself are responsible for the policies that spawned these crimes against humanity have been long known to anyone paying minimal attention, but now we have a bipartisan Senate Report -- signed by the presidential nominee of Bush's own political party -- that directly assigns culpability for these war crimes to the President and his policies. It's nothing less than a formal declaration from the Senate that the President and his top aides are war criminals. / .. This Report was issued on Thursday. Not a single mention was made of it on any of the Sunday news talk shows, with the sole exception being when John McCain told George Stephanopoulos that it was "not his job" to opine on whether criminal prosecutions were warranted for the Bush officials whose policies led to these crimes.

Ann Telnaes CARTOON (Washington Post)

Tortured Reasoning
16.12.08. David Rose, Vanity Fair/truthout. "George W. Bush defended harsh interrogations by pointing to intelligence breakthroughs, but a surprising number of counterterrorist officials say that, apart from being wrong, torture just doesn't work. Delving into two high-profile cases [Abu Zubaydah & Khalid Sheikh Mohammed] the author exposes the tactical costs of prisoner abuse.

Torture Proponents Have No Serious Argument
18.12.08. William Pfaff, truthdig. Vice President Dick Cheney was on American television last weekend to say that he directly approved CIA torture of American prisoners, and that he favors keeping the Guantanamo prison camp open until “the end of the war on terror,” a date which “nobody can specify.” / Those of Cheney’s persuasion are trying to convince Barack Obama that “realism” requires continued torture and the offshore prison system by which, under George W. Bush and Cheney, the United States took up the precedent and practices of Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia and other criminal regimes that gave the 20th century its reputation for moral depravity. / Pleas are beginning to appear in the American press in support of torture.

The [ticking bomb] argument always ignores the point repeatedly made by FBI and police officials, and other professional interrogators: that … Torture produces lies, fabulation, telling the torturer whatever he wants. / It corrupts the torturers and their superiors, as well as the legal and intelligence systems involved. / The country used to be governed by a different class of people. It seems reasonable to hope that in Barack Obama the United States has elected president someone who belongs to the category of people who have the values of that other America.

Bush shoe-thrower 'tortured' (17.12.08. aljazeera)

What Motivates the Torture Enablers?
20.12.08. Scott Horton, Harpers. Torture works, the defenders of the Bush Administration say. Torture saves lives. The safety of our country depends on torture. But it didn’t depend on torture before George W. Bush. In fact, as the World War II era poster found in post offices around the country taught my parents’ generation, “Torture is the tool of the enemy.” It’s also the tool of Dick Cheney–go figure. And “Vice” himself has been heard this week. Torture is good for you, he told us. Torture is the moral thing to do. Duncan Hunter offered us the most surreal, inane defense of this thesis and David Rivkin the most nuanced. RIZ KHAN (jazeera) VIDEO INTERVIEW. / What drives the torture enablers like Rivkin and Hunter? … READ ON. .. The threshold from principled analysis to partisan propaganda has been crossed.

Torture ambivalence masquerading as moral and intellectual superiority
24.12.08 (updated). Glenn Greenwald, Salon. Behold the now-solidified Smart, Reasonable American Consensus on torture: the agreed-upon method for dismissing away -- mitigating and even justifying -- the fact that our leaders, more or less out in the open, instituted a systematic torture regime with the consent of our key elite institutions and a huge bulk of the American citizenry, engaging in behaviors which, for decades, we insisted were inexcusable war crimes when engaged in by others

Jawed Ahmad

Torture, Slaughter and Lies
24.12.08. Brian Cloughley, Counterpunch / ICH. In September an Afghan journalist, Jawed Ahmad, was released from a US military prison in Afghanistan where his jailers " broke two of my ribs during the beatings." He worked for Canadian TV and the BBC, among other media outlets, and he had done nothing wrong. That is obvious, because he was freed without charge after a year of hellish treatment at the hands of uniformed filth whose claim to being human is at best feeble. / … In February Jawed Ahmad was declared an "enemy combatant," which is a glib catch-all description used by Washington's foulest to describe any foreigner who, in shades of the horrible McCarthy years, they suspect of possibly being involved in what they term anti-American activities. These victim of hysteria, of whom there are countless thousands around the world, are locked up in prisons [eg. Deigo Garcia, Guantanamo, Bagram, Kandahar] where their treatment varies from casual brutality to hideous torture. [examples of horrors in Afghanistan]. …

Will there be change under Obama? Will he order a case review of the 15,000 people held without charge or trial, without legal advice, in hellish conditions, without hope, by US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan? Will he be able to release from captivity the unknown number of people kept in foreign jails by arrangement with US intelligence operatives? Will he make it his business to ensure that the demented out-of-control special forces be reined in? Will he order inquiries into torture? Will he, above all, insist on the truth being told? Watch this space.

“In Case You Missed It”

The United States as Torture Central
May 2004, Edward S. Herman, Z magazine. T he recent release of five British citizens from the Camp X-Ray prison at Guantanamo Bay and their disclosures of serious abuse and torture at the hands of U.S. personnel, raises once again the question of the U.S. position vis-à-vis torture and its role in the global system in which the United States is the dominant power. / I say "again" because the question arose in the 1970s, when Amnesty International's 1974 Report on Torture pointed out that torture, which had been at a low ebb for centuries, "has suddenly developed a life of its own and become a social cancer.


Riz Khan, An Interrogator Speaks (al jazeera 19.12.08.)


( See War Crimes, below )


"We have made clear that governments that sponsor terror are as guilty as the terrorists - and will be held to account." George Bush

VIDEO: Civilian casualties in Afghanistan

Berkeley Council urges war crimes prosecution
10.12.08. sfgate/anti-war. After an emotional, rancorous debate over torture and academic freedom, Berkeley's City Council passed a measure late Monday night imploring the United States to prosecute Berkeley resident and former White House official John Yoo for war crimes./… Anderson, who represents South Berkeley, wept as he recalled torture he had witnessed as a soldier during the Vietnam War. His arguments against the city scaling back the measure drew a standing ovation. / The city will send a letter to the incoming U.S. attorney general and the U.S. attorney for Northern California asking that they prosecute Yoo for war crimes. The measure updates a March 2007 initiative asking the United States to prosecute former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Yoo and other officials./ … the arguments Yoo used to justify torture were struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.

FLASHBACK: Bush's Afghan Massacre
28.11.08. by Ted Rall, uruknet. (Film Accuses U.S. of Atrocities at Dasht-i-Leili) Did American soldiers commit war crimes during the invasion of Afghanistan? According to eyewitnesses, U.S. Special Forces supervised--some say orchestrated--the systematic murder of more than 3,000 captured Taliban soldiers in November 2001. That charge is the centerpiece of a documentary film, "Afghan Massacre: The Convoy of Death," expected to be released in the United States within the next few weeks. "There has been a cover-up by the Pentagon," says Scottish director Jamie Doran, a former producer for the BBC. "They're hiding behind a wall of secrecy, hoping this story will go away--but it won't."...

U.S. keeps silent as Afghan ally removes war crime evidence
11.12.08. T. Lasseter, McClatchy/legitgov. Seven years ago, a convoy of container trucks rumbled across northern Afghanistan loaded with a human cargo of suspected Taliban and al Qaida members who'd surrendered to Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, an Afghan warlord and a key U.S. ally in ousting the Taliban regime. / When the trucks arrived at a prison in the town of Sheberghan, near Dostum's headquarters, they were filled with corpses. Most of the prisoners had suffocated, and others had been killed by bullets that Dostum's militiamen had fired into the metal containers. / Dostum's men hauled the bodies into the nearby desert and buried them in mass graves, according to Afghan human rights officials. By some estimates, 2,000 men were buried there. / Earlier this year, bulldozers and backhoes returned to the scene, reportedly exhumed the bones of many of the dead men and removed evidence of the atrocity to sites unknown. In the area where the mass graves once were, there now are gaping pits in the sands of the Dasht-e-Leili desert./ … However, the fact that U.S. special forces and CIA operatives were working closely with Dostum in late 2001, when the killings took place, has fueled suspicions that the warlord got a free pass./ .. the number of people killed during transport to Sheberghan "may approach 2,000. Greg Mitchell praises Lasseter.

VIDEO: Afghan Massacre : The Convoy of Death Jamie Doran has uncovered evidence of a massacre. Amy Goodman presents background (20.05.04)

[NB: more US airbrushing of history: about time Americans are seeing the film that we, elsewhere in our world, saw when it came out in May 2004. The story was also extensively covered on the internet, including on Index Research]

UN confirms Afghan mass grave site disturbed
12.12.08. AP. "We can confirm that the site at Dasht-e-Leili has been disturbed," said Dan McNorton, a spokesman for the U.N. mission in Afghanistan. He declined to say how or when the site had changed, saying that details would be available in an upcoming report.

Groups ask U.S., NATO to help secure Afghanistan gravesite
15.12.08. McClatchy. A human rights group Monday called on the commander of U.S. and NATO-led troops in Afghanistan to assist the United Nations in securing a mass gravesite from which the remains of as many as 2,000 suspected Taliban and al Qaida fighters appear to have been removed. VIDEO.

Mass graves still unguarded as U.S., U.N., Afghans duck task
18.12.08. Tom Lasseter. McClatchy Newspapers. A week after the revelation that remains had been bulldozed from a mass grave site that held up to 2,000 bodies in Afghanistan, the location remains unprotected, the United Nations hasn't released its own investigation and the warlord who's accused of the exhumation is comfortably lodged just down the street from a Starbucks in Turkey's capital. / None of the key players in Afghanistan — the U.S. military, NATO, the United Nations or the Afghan government — has taken responsibility for safeguarding the site at Dasht-e Leili in northern Afghanistan. Each says that someone else should take the first step.

Witnesses to Genocide (04.12.08. Christiane Amanpour, Washington Post)

Report on Detainee Abuse Blames Top Bush Officials
12.12.08. Washington Post. A bipartisan panel of senators has concluded that former defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other top Bush administration officials bear direct responsibility for the harsh treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, and that their decisions led to more serious abuses in Iraq and elsewhere. / The report … contends that Pentagon officials later tried to create a false impression that the policies were unrelated to acts of detainee abuse committed by members of the military. / "The abuse of detainees in U.S. custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of 'a few bad apples' acting on their own," the report states. "The fact is that senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorized their use against detainees." / The report is the most direct refutation to date of the administration's rationale for using -aggressive interrogation techniques torture-- that inflicting humiliation and pain on detainees was legal and effective, and helped protect the country. The 25-member panel, without one dissent among the 12 Republican members, declared the opposite to be true. See
Report: Torture started with Bush (M. Benjamin, Salon, 11.12.08)


Cheney admits authorizing detainee's torture
15.12.08. David Edwards, Stephen C. Webster, Raw Story. When asked by ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl whether he approved of interrogation tactics used against a so-called "high value prisoner" at the controversial Guantanamo Bay prison, Mr. Cheney, in a break from his history of being press-shy, admitted to giving official sanctioning of torture. / "I supported it," he said regarding the practice known as "water-boarding," a form of simulated drowning. After World War II, Japanese soldiers were tried and convicted of war crimes in US courts for water-boarding, a practice which the outgoing Bush administration attempted to enshrine in policy./ "I was aware of the program, certainly, and involved in helping get the process cleared, as the agency in effect came in and wanted to know what they could and couldn't do," Cheney said. "And they talked to me, as well as others, to explain what they wanted to do. And I supported it." / He added: "It's been a remarkably successful effort .. VIDEO

Exclusive: Cheney Holds Hard-Line Stance
15.12.08. Jonathan Karl, ABC. In an exclusive interview Monday with ABC News, Vice President Dick Cheney issued an unapologetic defense of the Bush administration's anti-terror policies, including the use of waterboarding, and said the prison at Guantanamo Bay should remain open as long as there's a war on terror. / Cheney held fast to his views on coercing information out of alleged terrorists, saying waterboarding was an appropriate means of getting information from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind behind the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. / Cheney resisted those who say the Bush administration has overstepped its bounds on torture, saying national intelligence is an art, not a science. VIDEO.

Cheney revelling in his “Darth Vader” image here .


Cheney Throws Down Gauntlet, Defies Prosecution for War Crimes
19.12.08. Marjorie Cohn, Truthout. Dick Cheney has publicly confessed to ordering war crimes. / .. Why is Cheney so sanguine about admitting he is a war criminal? Because he's confident that either President Bush will preemptively pardon him or President-elect Obama won't prosecute him. Both of those courses of action would be illegal. / … Lawyers who wrote the memos that purported to immunize government officials from war crimes liability include John Yoo, Jay Bybee, William Haynes, David Addington and Alberto Gonzales. There is precedent in our law for holding lawyers criminally liable for participating in a common plan to violate the law. / Obama has promised to bring real change. This must be legal and moral change, where those at the highest levels of government are held accountable for their heinous crimes. The new president should move swiftly to set an important precedent that you can't authorize war crimes and get away with it.

Cheney claims power to decide his public records
18.12.08. AP / anti-war. Dick Cheney's lawyers are asserting that the vice president alone has the authority to determine which records, if any, from his tenure will be handed over to the National Archives when he leaves office in January. / .. Cheney is being sued by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a government watchdog group that is trying to ensure that no presidential records are destroyed or handled in a way that makes them unavailable to the public.

2nd Ann Telnaes / Cheney Cartoon

Cheney’s Legacy of Deception
23.12.08. R. Sheer, Truthdig. Nothing, not his suspect role in the Enron debacle, which foretold the economic meltdown, or his office’s fabrication of the false reasons for invading Iraq, has ever been seriously investigated, because of White House stonewalling. Nor will the new president, committed as he is to nonpartisanship, be likely to open up Cheney’s can of worms.

Media complicity

Media Ignores Cheney's Admission He 'Signed Off' on Waterboarding
27.12.08. Jason Leopold, The Public Record/uruknet. Author's note: Cheney’s admission during an interview with the Washington Times this week about his role in approving the waterboarding of three Guantanamo detainees and the so-called "enhanced interrogation" of 33 prisoners was, disturbingly, not covered at all by the mainstream media.

Mukasey's recommendation of exec privilege to hide Cheney transcript revealed (31.12.08. Nick Juliano, Raw Story)

When Nimrod built a pyre to burn Allah’s prophet Ibrahim, the hoopoe carried water in its beak and released it onto the flames from above. An onlooker, some Dick Cheney of his time, asked the hoopoe whether it thought the two drops of water would put out the mighty blaze. ‘I don’t know,’ replied the bird. ‘All I know is that when Allah makes a list of those who built this fire and those who tried to put it out, I want my name to be in the second column.’ Nadeem Aslam, The Wasted Vigil

Wishful thinking for 2009
18.12.08. John Pilger, uruknet. The good news for the new year is as follows ...

January: Tony Blair is arrested at Heathrow Airport as he returns from yet another foreign speaking engagement (receipts since leaving office: £12m). He is flown to The Hague to stand trial for war crimes for his part in the illegal, unprovoked attack on a defenceless country, Iraq, justified by proven lies, and for the subsequent physical, social and cultural destruction of that country, causing the death of up to a million people. According to the Nuremberg Tribunal, this is the "paramount war crime". The prosecution tells Blair's defence team it will not accept a plea of "sincerely believing". Cherie Blair, a close collaborator who has compared her husband with Winston Churchill, is cautioned.

February . . .

What Does Letting Our Own War Criminals Go Free Tell Us About Ourselves?
09.12.08. Nat Hentoff, Village Voice / anti-war. Congressman Jerrold Nadler’s House Resolution 1531.

Justice after Bush:: Prosecuting an outlaw administration
December 2008. Scott Horton, Harpers. I. THE CRIMES: Americans may wish to avoid what is necessary. We may believe that concerns about presidential lawbreaking are naive. That all presidents commit crimes. We may pretend that George W. Bush and his senior officers could not have committed crimes significantly worse than those of their predecessors. We may fear what it would mean to acknowledge such crimes, much less to punish them. But avoiding this task, simply “moving on,” is not possible. / This administration did more than commit crimes. It waged war against the law itself. … / II. THE CONSEQUENCES OF INACTION … / III. POSSIBLE METHODS OF SANCTION: INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL; FOREIGN COURTS; DOMESTIC COURTS; COMMISSION OF INQUIRY; IV: A TWO -PART SOLUTION; V. IMPLEMENTATION: COMPOSITION; POWERS OF THE COMMISSION; SCOPE OF THE INVESTIGATION; FINDINGS; RECOMMENDATIONS

Seasonal forgiveness has a limit. Bush and his cronies must face a reckoning
24.12.08. Jonathan Freedland, Guardian. Heinous crimes are now synonymous with this US administration. If it isn't held to account, what does that say about us? .. Yes, the new year would get off to a more soothing start if we could all agree to draw a line and move on. But it would be wrong. First, because we cannot hope to avoid repeating the errors of the last eight years unless they are subject to a full accounting. (It is for that reason Britain needs its own full, unconstrained inquiry into the Iraq war.) Second, because a crucial principle, one that goes to the very heart of the American creed, is at stake. And third, because this is not solely about the judgment of history. It may be about the judgment of the courts - specifically those charged with punishing war crimes.

Obama Will Not Prosecute Bush And Cheney
11.12.08. Joseph A. Lopisi, countercurrents / ICH. Along the same lines as his predecessors, President Obama will deal with the current financial crisis by pointing his finger at everyone except the real culprit, the Federal Reserve Bank, the U. S. executive and legislative branches and their partners in crime, the Wall Street financial institutions.

Obama & Biden To Protect Bush Administration Criminals: Nuremberg trials also judged “a waste of time”
22.12.08. Paul Joseph Watson, Prison It’s par for the course for Obama and Biden, the men who promised "change" but in every step of their preparations for assuming office have pursued nothing but continuity, to acknowledge that they will protect criminals in the Bush administration from prosecution for authorizing torture, a complete violation of both the U.S. constitution and the Geneva Conventions. When asked by ABC host George Stephanopoulos if top level Bush administration officials would be prosecuted for mandating prisoner abuse, Biden said that he and Obama would be "focusing on the future," adding "I think we should be looking forward, not backwards."...

Groups want Obama to investigate Bush for war crimes
21.12.08. Marissa Taylor, McClatchy. Emboldened by a Democratic win of the White House, civil libertarians and human-rights groups want the incoming Obama administration to investigate whether the Bush administration committed war crimes. They don't just want low-level CIA interrogators, either. They want President George W. Bush on down. … However, many of the retired military officials who were early critics of the administration's legal justification of harsh interrogations aren't on board. They argue that criminal prosecution would be too difficult legally and politically to succeed.

The Root of the Problem: US/Israeli Policy; Gaza Timeline

What is the difference between George Bush reading MY PET GOAT while the WTC burns, and Obama playing golf in Hawaii while Gaza burns?


The Occupation of Gaza


Can there be any doubt who the real terrorists are? (27.12.08 Stuart Littlewood, uruknet)

Gaza City hospital a gruesome scene (27.12.08, Ma’an news)

Inside Gaza: 'The hospital morgues were already full. The dead were piled on top of each other outside' (28.12.08. Independent)

Israel Using New US-Supplied Smart Bombs in Gaza Attacks (28.12.08. anti-war)

The Jewish Third Reich (28.12.08. Khalid Amayreh. Uruknet)

Food and Medical Supplies Grow Scarce in the Gaza Strip (29.12.08. Washington Post)

Party to Murder (29.12.08. Chris Hedges)

Gazans: 'We are living a nightmare' (29.12.08.

Eyewitness account of Israeli terror in Gaza (29.12.08)

Leaders Lie, Civilians Die, and Lessons of History Are Ignored (29.12.08. Robert Fisk, Independent / Truthdig)

Five sisters killed in Gaza while they slept (30.12.08. Independent)

From Dachau to Gaza (30.12.08. Francis A. Boyle, scoop)

Jewish Terrorism (30.12.08. Ghali Hassan)

A Hundred Eyes for an Eye (30.12.08. Normon Solomon)

Voiceless in Gaza: Israeli Carnage and the American Courtiers (30.12.08. Chris Floyd, uruknet)

World must say “No” to Jewish Nazism before it is too late (30.12.08. Khaled Amayreh, uruknet)

Israeli vessel hits Gaza-bound boat (31.12.08. aljazeera. Also: VIDEO )

The Holocaust (31.12.08. Dahlia Wasfi, ICH)

Gaza: The Logic of Colonial Power (31.12.08. Nir Rosen)

An Israeli War Crimes Tribunal (ICTI) May be the Only Deterrent to a Global War (31.12.08. Francis A. Boyle,)

From The Ashes Of Gaza (31.12.08. Tariq Ali, Guardian/Countercurrents)

it is a war crime to bomb an ambulance

In Dense Gaza, Civilians Suffer (31.12.08. NY Times )

The self delusion that plagues both sides in this bloody conflict (31.12.08. Robert Fisk, Independent / ICH)

Palestinian dead: 400+ 2000+ injured
Israeli dead: 4

Israeli Violates International Humanitarian Law
02.01.09, Prof. Richard Falk, "United Nations Human Rights Council"/ICH. The Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip represent severe and massive violations of international humanitarian law as defined in the Geneva Conventions, both in regard to the obligations of an Occupying Power and in the requirements of the laws of war.

Thousands of Afghans demonstrate against Israel, US (02.01.09. AFP)

Iraqi preachers slam Israel's attacks on Gaza (02.01.09. AFP)

Angry protests over Gaza offensive (02.01.09, Jazeera)

Israel bars ICRC entering Gaza (03.01.09. presstv.)

Media in Gaza

Israel Bars Credible Observers from Gaza (27.12.08)

Israeli Military Declares Online Media ‘Another War Zone: Journalists Kept Carefully Away From Gaza as Israel Tries to Restrict Coverage (30.12.08. uruknet)

Foreign journalists demand Gaza access (30.12.08. Guardian/uruknet)

Israel Ordered to Let International Media Into Gaza (31.12.08, Guardian / Truthout.

8 foreign reporters allowed into Gaza (31.12.08 Jerusalem Post)

Despite Court Order, Israel Won’t Let Journalists Into Gaza (02.01.09, anti-war)

Gaza war diary: Al Jazeera detained (02.01.09. A. Fisher, jazeera)

04.01.09. No longer safe to report from outside.

VIDEO: GAZA MEDIA BLACKOUT (jazeera 28.11.08)

Report direct from Gaza: New Israeli weapons are used, death toll up, ground operation to start (03.01.08. Samah A. Habeeb, uruknet)

Photos, Israeli War Crimes in Gaza

In pictures: Gaza Massacre

Photos, Axis of Logic (27.12.08)

Photos of the day (27.12.08. Haitham Sabbah)

Massacre of Gaza Children (30.12.08. uruknet.)

Sameh A. 's Public Gallery


Israel Launches Massive Bombardment Of Gaza (27.12.08)

'The Hospitals In Gaza City Cannot Cope' (27.12.08)

Gaza's hospitals struggle with casualties (28.12.08)

Nowhere to run (jazeera 30.12.08)

Gaza Fixers
(31.12.08. Witness, Part I, aljazeera)

The Reality In Gaza (4 min) A doctor from Norway details the reality of Israeli attacks on Gaza.

Israeli army attack funeral of Mohammed Khawaje (03.01.09. ISM/uruknet. teargas canisters containing incendiary material used)

Living in fear in Gaza City (02.01.09. jazeera)

A week of Israel's war on Gaza (02.01.09. jazerra)

Israel launches ground offensive in Gaza (04.01.09. jazeera)

The Propaganda

Israel says it does not intend to occupy Gaza (28.12.08. AP)

Did Israel Use "Disproportionate Force" in Gaza? (28.12.08. Dore Gol,)

IDF stations artillery batteries near Gaza (28.12.08. ynet news)

Israel's Lie Machine Working Flat Out To Dodge "Killer" Question (31.12.08. Stuart Littlewood)

Gaza: secondary war being fought on the internet (31.12.08. Times Online)

Don’t fall for Israeli propaganda (31.12.08, L. Heard, Online Journal/uruknet)

So what have the Palestinians got to complain about?
31.12.08. M. Steele, Independent. [ To portray this as a conflict between equals requires some imagination] When you read the statements from Israeli and US politicians, and try to match them with the pictures of devastation, there seems to be only one explanation. They must have one of those conditions, called something like "Visual Carnage Responsibility Back To Front Upside Down Massacre Disorder". / For example, Condoleezza Rice, having observed that more than 300 Gazans were dead, said: "We are deeply concerned about the escalating violence. We strongly condemn the attacks on Israel and hold Hamas responsible." / Someone should ask her to comment on teenage knife-crime, to see if she'd say: "I strongly condemn the people who've been stabbed..

Livni spilling Gazan blood for power? (03.01.09.

“No Humanitarian Crisis” (03.01.09. Guardian)

Complicity in Genocide

Gaza massacre – Israel’s cynicism supported by the West’s complicity (27.12.08. PSC)

Gaza burns and the American media is mute (27.12.08. Tumeke)

Obama on Gaza: ‘No Comment’ (27.12.08. Justin Raimondo)

Obama's Deadly Silence (03.01.09. Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada/countercurrents)

Probably NO Flip Flop

Audio and Transcript

Obama's Speech at AIPAC
I want you to know that today I'll be speaking from my heart, and as a true friend of Israel. And I know that when I visit with AIPAC, I am among friends. Good friends. Friends who share my strong commitment to make sure that the bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable today, tomorrow and forever.

Bush Winks at Israel's Slaughter in Gaza: Obama and Clinton Are Silent (27.12.08. M. Rothschild, Progressive / ICH)

Britain and US refuse to demand end to Israeli airstrikes on Gaza (28.12.08. Times Online)

Pelosi: US must stand strongly with Israel (28.12.08. Ynet news)

Hamas Provoked Attacks, Bush Says (02.01.09. Washington Post)

Amnesty Calls on Rice to Drop 'Lopsided' Gaza Stance (03.01.09. J. Lobe)

US Weapons Used in Gaza

Gaza: the smoking American gun
29.12.08. Eli Stephens, Left I on the News/uruknet. The Israel Air Force used a new bunker-buster missile that it received recently from the United States in strikes against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip on Saturday. / The missile, called GBU-39, was developed in recent years by the US as a small-diameter bomb for low-cost, high-precision and low collateral damage strikes. / Israel received approval from Congress to purchase 1,000 units in September and defense officials said on Sunday that the first shipment had arrived earlier this month.

The Politics of An Israeli Extermination Campaign Backers, Apologists and Arms Suppliers
02.01.09. James Petras, ICH. Because of the unconditional support of the entire political class in the US, from the White House to Congress, including both Parties, incoming and outgoing elected officials and all the principle print and electronic mass media, the Israeli Government feels no compunction in publicly proclaiming a detailed and graphic account of its policy of mass extermination of the population of Gaza. .. / Like all totalitarians in the past, the Jewish state boasts of having systematically pre-planned the extermination campaign – months in advance – up to and including the precise hour and day of the bombing to coincide with inflicting the maximum murder of civilians: The rockets and bombs fell as children were leaving school, as graduating police cadets were receiving their diplomas and as frantic mothers ran out from their homes to find their sons and daughters. / … From the moment that the Israeli Government decided it would destroy the newly elected Hamas government and punish the democratic electorate of Gaza with starvation and murder, the entire Zionist Power Configuration (ZPC) in the US, including the PMAJO, pulled all stops in implementing the Israeli policy. The PMAJO encompasses the fifty-two Jewish organizations with the largest membership, with the greatest financial clout and the most influential backers. The most prominent lobbyist within the PMAJO is AIPAC, which has over 100,000 members and 150 full-time operatives in Washington actively pressuring the US Congress, the White House and all administrative agencies whose policies may relate to the interests of the State of Israel.

US Weapons 'Killing Innocent Civilians' in Gaza
03.01.09. David Edwards, Muriel Kane, Raw Story / ICH. Just last September, Congress approved a $77 million dollar deal to sell a thousand Boeing GBU-39 bunker-buster "smart bombs" to Israel. The Jerusalem Post reported on Monday that these small, GPS-guided missiles have now been used on underground tunnels and launchers in Gaza. CNN VIDEO.

VIDEO: US military aid underpins Gaza offensive

Shock, Awe and Lies: The Truth Behind the Israeli Attack on Gaza
29.12.08. Chris Floyd, uruknet. Here is a simple, stone cold fact. You cannot read or hear the truth about what is happening in Gaza from any corporate media in the United States).

Gaza: the smoking American gun
29.12.08. Eli Stephens, Left I on the News/uruknet. The Israel Air Force used a new bunker-buster missile that it received recently from the United States in strikes against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip on Saturday. / The missile, called GBU-39, was developed in recent years by the US as a small-diameter bomb for low-cost, high-precision and low collateral damage strikes. / Israel received approval from Congress to purchase 1,000 units in September and defense officials said on Sunday that the first shipment had arrived earlier this month.

The New York Times and Gaza: Justifying genocide (31.12.08. WSWS )

Agent of a foreign power? (31.12.08. William Bowles)

This backgrounnd noise is disturbing?

Bolton: Gaza raids precursor to Iran war (31.12.08.

ANALYSIS / Israel must prepare to turn its military might from Gaza to Iran (03.01.09. haaretz)

Turmoil could spark air strike against Iran
04.01.09. Iran's open support for Hamas, coupled with US and Israeli accusations that Tehran has supplied it with weapons, could harden Israeli public opinion in favour of military strikes against Iran whose nuclear programme is seen as an "existential" threat to the Jewish state.

Egypt Bars Gaza Protest, Arrests Opposition Organizers (02.01.09. anti-war)

Jordan police, protesters clash near Israel embassy (02.01.09, Reuters)

02.01.09. Damian Lataan, uruknet. The Dr. Goebbels of Israeli propaganda, Yardin Vatikai, chief of the Israeli Zionist’s propaganda office known as the National Information Directorate (NID), has his work cut out as he attempts to justify and lie Israel’s way out of accusations by the people of the world that Israel is committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip.

Israel Drafts YouTube, Netanyahu to Woo World Opinion on Gaza (03.01.09. Bloomberg)

America's Hidden Role in Hamas's Rise to Power (03.01.09. Stephen Zunes, AlterNet)

EU presidency: Israel ground op in Gaza 'defensive not offensive' (04.01.09. haaretz)


US firmly behind Israel over Gaza attacks (28.12.08)

see more videos here.


3- 4 January 2009, 7.30 am

03.01.09. Worldwide protests; 10000 in London.

11 Israelis have been killed in past 10 years by Palestinian rockets. Of these, 4 have been in the most recent war on Gaza. With the many civilian dead now entering hospitals,rockets are still being fired into Israel. International organisarions (UNRWA) are saying there IS a humanitarian crisis.

Last evening, 3 January, film footage showed 'stars' floating from the sky - phosphorus bombs - much like the RAI video of phosphorus bombs used in Fallujah. A reporter this am, 4 January, asked an Israeli about this, but he declined to comment on what kinds of weapons are being used.

Another film also showed a HUGE explosion, making the sky yellow; after this, a HUGE white fireball rose from the explosion.

Palestinians: 485 + killed, over 2,750 wounded.
Israelis killed by Palestinian rockets: 4.
The number of Israelis killed / wounded because of their ground invasion assault is increasing.

UN Security Council Fails to Pass Resolution Calling for Cease Fire.


The best sources, I have found, for news about the Israel & Palestine situation are:"

al jazeera

Watch press tv. Live (300 Kpbs – windows media player)

Watch press tiv live (Broadband 500 Kpbs US – Windows media player)

jazeera news

Jazeera: Also click jazeera “programmes” where you will find superb shows and videos, eg. Witness, Riz Khan, One on One and Inside Iraq. The US corporate media, acting on behalf of the US government, and some parroting Americans say jazeera is biased . These same NY Times-reading addicts also say that Robert Fisk and John Pilger are “irresponsible.”

The White House has felt, since 9/11, that it was necessary, in order to proceed with the “War on Terror,” to have US citizens wearing designer blinkers . Will people soon be arrested for watching aljazeera or reading uruknet? Will people soon be arrested for watching aljazeera?

Five Little Girls on a Sofa (31.12.08. Brian Cloughley, uruknet)

16. References

Nadeem Aslam
The Wasted Vigil , Knopf 2008.

Andrew Bacevich
The Limits of Power , Metropolitan Books, August 2008

Chris Hedges
War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning , Anchor 2003

Interview with Khaled Hosseini (05.12.08, Time)

David Loyn,
Butcher and Bolt, Two Hundred Years of Foreign Failure in Afghanistan ,Hutchinson, October 2008.

Bob McKerrow,
Afghanistan: Mountains of Our Minds , India Research Press, 2004

Bob McKerrow’s photos
A Full Description of the Mountain Ranges of Afghanistan

Philippe Sands,
Torture Team , Palgrave Macmillan 2008.

Norman Soloman,
War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death . Wiley 2006.

Andy Worthington,
The Guantanamo Files: The Stories of the 759 Detainees in America's Illegal Prison, Pluto Press 2007.



Al Dhameer Al Arabi (The Arab Conscience Operetta)

From Index Research

Index on Economics and Peril in Afghanistan, October 2008 Timeline

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

Index on Afghanistan April 2008: FAMINE

Index on Afghanistan: Disaster, A Winter's Tale: February 2008

Index on Afghanistan, NATO Failure: A Winter's Tale, Part II

Autumn '07 in Afghanistan

Security Companies in Afghanistan(updated 11.11.08)

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 24.05.08)

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 on Pakistan, October 2008

US-NATO 'Missile Shield' Programme: Index Timeline Part II(updated 30.12.08)

U.S. Martial Law Timeline (Updated 29.12.08)

Index on Weapons in Lebanon: War Crimes in Lebanon and Palestine


Sarah Meyer is an independent researcher living in the UK.

The url to Index on Afghanistan, December 2008 Timeline: "Graveyard of Empires" is:

The shorter url is:


Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Obama’s Iraq: NO ‘CHANGE’ (updated 23.07.09)

THE BATTLE FOR BASRA TIMELINE: Footsteps to U.S. War in Iran?

Haditha: Crime and Punishment (updated 20.03.09)

Iraq: New U.S. Base - Wasit(updated 17.08.08)


Iraq Oil Reality vs the NY Times

Iraq Oil: The Vultures are Waiting(Updated 11.11.09)

The Iraq Oil Crunch: Index Timeline (updated 03.01.08

IRAQ: Green Zone Blowback: Index Timeline(update 06.01.09)

Index on Iraq: a journey in hell

Iraq: The "Grateful" Dead

Haditha: The Mai Lai of Iraq

The Haditha Doctor and The Media Dissemblers

Front Page Slander

Camp Falcon : What Really happened?(Updated 28.02.07)

US/UK Bases in Iraq, Part II. The South (updated 06/06/08)

Iraq: The Assassination of Academics : The Jalili Report

Iraq: The Occupation is the disease

Iraq's US/UK Permanent Bases : Intentional Obfuscation

Iraq: Security Companies and Training Camps

US Bases in Iraq: Part I: Baghdad (updated 06/06/08)

Iraq: Victims of Violence (Updated 03/03/07)

Prisons and Torture in Iraq (Updated 12/12/06)

Basra Shadowlands

Iraq: Unseen Dead

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]