I know a lot has gone on since the last post here on Miscellany101 and I think it is better for time to go by in order to see things from a more vintage, aged perspective than to immediately post the news of the massacre/terror of Paris and San Bernardino. They will be touched on later….God willing, but this story of Shaker Aamer, imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay for 14 years does meet that standard. The link above has some in-depth background on who Aamer is and the circumstance surrounding his imprisonment and the video interview below personalizes his story. Although it is lengthy it is well worth your time.
Bowe Bergdahl hasn’t even stepped foot in this country and yet members of the media are saying this?
Is he guilty of being a deserter, is he guilty of being a defector? And after five years of captivity — some people initially said, well, that’s enough — should he face the appropriate punishment if he is found guilty?
Chris Wallace of FoxNews infamy (I guess you know why such a provocative question would be posed) was asking the former Attorney General Michael Mukasey from the even guiltier, more deserving of prosecution, GWB administration who replied such a question was premature. I assert on what basis should such a question like that even be asked?!?!? It was only mere hours before Wallace went on the air with the typical FoxNews bluster that this headline appeared
U.S. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has told people treating him at an American military medical facility in Germany that he was tortured, beaten and held in a cage by his Taliban captors in Afghanistan after he tried to escape, a senior U.S. official said Sunday.
Now if one were to ask what proof can Bergdahl provide since there is no one to independently verify beside Bergdahl and the Taliban, if you were to pose the question where are the physical scars to indicate such torture it would have to be said perhaps the Taliban is as adept at torturing people without leaving scars as our own government under George Bush was with the countless people tortured at Baghram and other secreted sites where suspected “Islamists”, whatever that means, were held.
What we’re witnessing is the #DemonicGOP nipping at Obama’s heels like the attack dog is has become, rather than a political party, in order to generate scandal. In fact Lindsey Graham is now saying the President should be impeached because of his decision to exchange Bergdahl for five Taliban prisoners. Of course impeachment won’t occur….it’s not a political reality, but the mere suggestion of it is enough to taint the Obama administration and the Democratic party in this off year election. Obama and Bergdahl are being “swiftboated” much like John Kerry who had the distinction of being the first politician to be given that dubious distinction and it’s as ugly now as it was was in 2004. Some say however this time it won’t be as effective
Republicans have been carrying out a swiftboating media operation that is being led by a former Bush administration official that is designed to smear Sgt. Bergdahl in order to create an Obama political scandal. The revelation that Bergdahl was tortured means that Republicans are not only attacking the credibility of a soldier, but they are attacking a soldier who was tortured by the enemy.
Even by the new Obama era standards for conservative hate, this is low. The possibility that Sgt. Bergdahl was tortured confirms the White House’s reasoning for making a deal to bring Bergdahl home. Republicans have painted themselves into a corner with their attacks on Bergdahl……
I don’t think however that the #DemonicGOP will look bad…they’ll simply deflect and move on to the next scandal they hope will have traction with the equally insatiably racist, xenophobic, gun toting segments of American society.
Whenever you hear talk about negotiating with terrorists and the Obama administration, remember the Taliban was hatched in the White House of the #DemonicGOP’s idol, Ronald Reagan.
The reason is the Taliban admit they cannot win the war against the American forces and they are fed up with their alliance with al-Qaida, that is if you believe the word coming from some sources in the Taliban movement. I don’t know why anyone would think that a less than third world country could stand militarily with the largest, strongest military in the world, the Russian war notwithstanding, unless you believed in miracles. With this admission coming from the Taliban, and I submit they’ve conceded defeat even before the war began back in 2001, the US, if it’s true to its mission of ridding the country of the Taliban and al-Qaida, has a golden opportunity to end the conflict and withdraw honorably while getting the Taliban and the Karzai government to come to peaceful terms. Unfortunately, the US’ track record of taking advantage of opportunities offered them by their opponents is less than sterling.
One of the Taliban‘s most senior commanders has admitted the insurgents cannot win the war in Afghanistan and that capturing Kabul is “a very distant prospect”, obliging them to seek a settlement with other political forces in the country.
In a startlingly frank interview in Thursday’s New Statesman, the commander – described as a Taliban veteran, a confidant of the leadership, and a former Guantánamo inmate – also uses the strongest language yet from a senior figure to distance the Afghan rebels from al-Qaida.
“At least 70% of the Taliban are angry at al-Qaida. Our people consider al-Qaida to be a plague that was sent down to us by the heavens,” the commander says. “To tell the truth, I was relieved at the death of Osama [bin Laden]. Through his policies, he destroyed Afghanistan. If he really believed in jihad he should have gone to Saudi Arabia and done jihad there, rather than wrecking our country.”
“The Taliban capturing Kabul is a very distant prospect. Any Taliban leader expecting to be able to capture Kabul is making a grave mistake. Nevertheless, the leadership also knows that it cannot afford to acknowledge this weakness. To do so would undermine the morale of Taliban personnel. The leadership knows the truth – that they cannot prevail over the power they confront,” Mawlvi (the Taliban senior commander) says.
As a result, he says that the Taliban has had to shelve its dream of re-establishing the Islamic emirate it set up when it was in power from 1996 to 2001. “Any side involved in a conflict like this has decided to fight for power. If they fall short of achieving national power, they have to settle for functioning as an organised party within the country,” he admits.
He is scathing about President Hamid Karzai, who the Taliban has consistently derided as a US puppet. “There is little point in talking to Kabul. Real authority rests with the Americans,” he says. “The only other serious political force in Afghanistan is that of the Northern Alliance” – a Tajik-led coalition that led the resistance to Taliban rule and is now a powerful player in Kabul.
That sounds like nothing short of capitulation and America should jump at the chance to embrace it, negotiate and get out. Campaign rhetoric most likely will make chances of that happening until after the elections, but whoever the winner is in November, his first priority should be getting America out of a quagmire it’s enemy has said it can’t win and with whom it can easily settle. That the world wide community is fixated on the horrific video taped execution of a woman by a “Taliban” member, who most likely was really a family member of the victim engaged in an honor killing (have we ever maintained forces in a country because of the honor killings of some of that country’s citizens?) would really serve an injustice to the people in the Taliban movement who are clearly signalling their willingness to stand down from hostilities with American forces. The pessimism in me anticipates seeing more of that kind of distraction in the international media, away from this peace offering, in order to prolong the Afghan war.
- Taliban commander: We can’t win Afghanistan war – Times of India (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
- British Magazine Publishes Stunning Taliban Interview (lezgetreal.com)
Beware this man. If you ever see him in your community, no matter what faith you are or are not, don’t call the authorities, don’t take any action, simply ignore him. Don’t talk to him, don’t give him your phone number, don’t let him into your home.
I tweeted once earlier that black teens and Muslims cannot run away from trouble…it always seems to follow them. This latest story is an excellent case in point. A Muslim American is approached by someone (because we don’t the identity of the man pictured left we can only provide this photo of him) who he correctly identifies as an agent provocateur and verifies that after finding his picture on the net and reading about his history that includes a murder charge. In fear of his life Khalifah al-Akili calls the FBI to report this person’s presence in the community only to find himself arrested and his reputation maligned and his name associated with the Taliban.
Khalifah Al-Akili, 34, who lives near Pittsburgh, told the Times Union in an interview Sunday that the FBI recently used Shahed Hussain — an informant who was integral in two terrorism-related cases in the upstate New York cities — in an apparent attempt to test Al-Akili’s interest in jihad and anti-American views.
Al-Akili said he was approached by Hussain, who went by the name “Mohammed,” and another man, who used the name “Shareef,” in January when they turned up in his neighborhood and repeatedly made attempts to get close to Al-Akili. But Al-Akili said he quickly figured out Hussain’s identity as an FBI informant. He said the men were “too obvious” and requested receipts even for small items they purchased like coffee and donuts.
Al-Akili said Shareef also asked Al-Akili repeatedly if he could help him purchase a gun. Al-Akili said he told the man he could not help him.
Al-Akili said his suspicions the men were informants were confirmed when he saw a photograph of Hussain on the Internet. In addition, he said, a cell phone number Hussain had given him was the same number used by Hussain during a 2009 counterterrorism investigation against four Newburgh men in the small Orange County city. Al-Akili said he found the number and its connection to that case through a simple Internet search using Google.
What happens next is standard FBI fare.
Al-Akili was arrested during an FBI raid of his home in Wilkinsburg, a Pittsburgh borough. He was charged in a federal complaint with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. The complaint filed in U.S. District Court said federal agents obtained an email with a 7-second video showing Al-Akili firing a .22-caliber rifle at a shooting range in 2010. Federal agents said Al-Akili was prohibited from possessing a gun because of a 2001 drug conviction.
No terrorism-related charges were filed against him. But at a detention hearing Friday, an FBI agent, Joseph M. Bieshelt, testified the search of Al-Akili’s home uncovered “jihadist literature and books on U.S. military tactics,” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said. The newspaper also reported Bieshelt testified at the hearing that Al-Akili told an informant he had plans to go to Pakistan to join the Taliban, and that Al-Akili was recorded in December saying “that he was developing somebody to possibly strap a bomb on himself.” A federal magistrate judge ordered Al-Akili held without bail pending trial.
The FBI’s classic entrapment strategy failed when their operative was exposed, due in large part to the Bureau’s own incompetence, leaving them no other alternative but to charge al-Akili with a weapons charge ( they couldn’t do better than a .22 caliber rifle at a firing range) which they linked to incendiary language that got a judge to keep him in jail without bond until his court date. And while it might be too much to hope for, the recent ruling by a federal judge that language alone is not sufficient to prove sedition or violence against the government in the absence of any concrete action to convict someone might be extended to al-Akili’s case does offer some hope for an American Muslim who says he would never do anything to hurt/harm his country.
The FBI got caught with their pants down; their methods were sloppy but in today’s America sufficient enough to convict others which is why they were resorted to again. Al-Akili’s citizenship is to be applauded….in essence he was a whistle blower pointing to the inefficient and costly workings of bureaucracy, and like most whistle blowers before, he was made to bear the brunt of a humiliated agency out for revenge. That anyone can be locked up for shooting a.22 caliber rifle at a firing range…….there is no proof he owned the weapon, nor were any weapons found in his home, nor was he accused of buying and selling weapons( in fact he rebuffed the FBI informant’s attempt to even find him one) and the only basis for his incarceration besides such flimsy accusations is his religious identity is not only criminal, appalling but certainly unconstitutional. It is a sign of today’s America and it must be changed and abandoned forever. Wake up America…if today it’s al-Akili, who will it be tomorrow?
- The ex-FBI informant with a change of heart: ‘There is no real hunt. It’s fixed’ (guardian.co.uk)
- Critical charges dropped against Michigan militia (kansascity.com)
We are all responsible for the reprehensible behavior displayed in the image above….a still from an even more hideous video that was posted on Youtube. What’s especially terrible about it is the deliberation involved in producing the image…..the soldiers posed for the camera, knowing full well that what they were doing was against their training and the law. We, fellow Americans, share in this despicable act because of the response of far too many in the public who want to make it seem as if what portrayed above is no big deal….and certainly not what it really is which is a war crime. The absence of public outrage to the act and the response of the likes of Rick Perry, and social commentators and critics is deplorable and reprehensible. It is further proof of the descent our society has taken…how it has lost its moral compass, turning upon ourselves and the very ideals we once trumpeted becoming the outlaws we once said we needed to protect the world from. The silence is deafening and disturbing. We now stand alone in the world, immune to criticism to we have violated laws we either made, agreed or signed on to, thumbing our noses at all international conventions and sealing our fates.
Not much has changed since this report was aired a year ago. Not only has ArmourGroup done a masterful job at being unproffessional they’ve done any even better job of putting the lives of American personnel at risk while spending our money…and you thought the only enemy we had to fight in Afghanistan or Iraq was al-Qaida?
“There is significant evidence that some security contractors even worked against our coalition forces, creating the very threat they are hired to combat….These contractors threaten the security of our troops and risk the success of our mission.”
ArmorGroup North America was hired to provide security and used two competing warlords in the region to provide the men for the guard force.
The report said that over the course of the contract at the base, warlords and guards involved were implicated in murder, revenge attacks, bribery and anti-coalition activities. One of the warlords even hosted an August 2008 Taliban meeting that was raided by U.S. and Afghan forces, it added.
The ArmourGroup has had a federal contract in the millions and it has processes in place that endanger the lives of Americans who are supposedly at war and that’s ok with the federal bureaucracy. Meanwhile back at home, millions of Americans are out of work, and millions more are at each others throats while defense contractors and security firms continue to rob the national coffers dry. Only now during the reign of the Obama Administration is anyone taking note of the perils of federal spending which has gone unabated for the last ten years and we wonder why we have the likes of Sharon Angle, Pam Geller, et.co setting the national agenda?
We declared a war on terrorism, and then allowed those in right wing land and the press to state that it was also a war against Muslims, since as the nonsensical logic goes, ‘all terrorists are Muslims’, even though to assuage their guilt the proponents went on to conclude equally ridiculously, ‘not all Muslims are terrorists’. So this stinging editorial should come as no surprise.
According to Murat Kurnaz, a Turkish citizen raised in Germany and defamed as “the German Taliban,” torture at the several prisons in which he was held was frequent, commonplace, and committed by many guards.
In his book, Five Years of My Life: An Innocent Man in Guantanamo,” he writes that his beatings began in 2001 on the flight from Pakistan (where he was pulled off a public bus and sold by Pakistani police for $3,000) to his first imprisonment in Afghanistan. Kurnaz wrote:
“I couldn’t see how many soldiers there were, but to judge from the confusion of voices it must have been a lot. They went from one prisoner to the next, hitting us with their fists, their billy clubs, and the butts of their rifles.”
This was done to men who were manacled to the floor of the plane, Kurnaz said, adding:
“It was as cold as a refrigerator; I was sitting on bare metal and icy air was coming from a vent or a fan. I tried to go to sleep, but they kept hitting me and waking me. … They never tired of beating us, laughing all the while.”
On another occasion, Kurnaz counted seven guards who were beating a prisoner with the butts of their rifles and kicking him with their boots until he died. At one point, Kurnaz was hung by chains with his arms behind his back for five days.
“Today I know that a lot of inmates died from treatment like this,” he wrote.
When he was finally taken down and needed water, “they’d just pour the water over my head and laugh,” Kurnaz wrote. The guards even tortured a blind man who was older than 90 “the same way the rest of us were,” he wrote.
At Camp X-Ray, Guantanamo, Cuba, Kurnaz said, “During the day, we had to remain seated and at night we had to lie down. If you lay down during the day you were punished. … We weren’t allowed to talk. We weren’t to speak to or look at the guards. We weren’t allowed to draw in the sand or whistle or sing or smile. Every time I unknowingly broke a rule, or because they had just invented a new one … an IRF (Immediate Reaction Force) team would come and beat me.”
Once when he was weak from a hunger strike, Kurnaz wrote, “I was beaten on a stretcher.”
During his earlier imprisonment at Kandahar, Pakistan, Kurnaz writes, “There were weaker, older men in the pen. Men with broken feet, men whose legs and arms were fractured or had turned blue, red, or yellow from pus. There were prisoners with broken jaws, fingers and noses, and with terribly swollen faces like mine.”
Not only were the wounds of such men ignored by guards but complicit doctors would examine him and other prisoners and advise guards as to how much more they could stand before they died. On one occasion, he saw guards beating a prisoner with no legs.
Still worse, Kurnaz said doctors participated in the tortures. A dentist asked to pull out a prisoner’s rotten tooth pulled out all his healthy ones as well, he wrote, adding that another prisoner who went to the doctor to treat one finger with severe frostbite had all his other fingers amputated.
“I saw open wounds that weren’t treated. A lot of people had been beaten so often they had broken legs, arms and feet. The fractures, too, remained untreated,” Kurnaz wrote. “I never saw anyone in a cast.”
Prisoners were deliberately weakened by starvation diets, he said. Meals at Guantanamo consisted of “three spoonfuls of rice, a slice of dry bread, and a plastic spoon. That was it,” he wrote, adding that sometimes a loaf of bread was tossed over a fence into their compound.
Prisoners who should have been in hospital beds instead were confined to cells purposefully designed to increase their pain, Kurnaz wrote. He described his experience this way: “Those cells were like ovens. The sun beat down on the metal roof at noon and directly on the sides of the cage in the mornings and afternoons.
“All told, I think I spent roughly a year alone in absolute darkness, either in a cooler or an oven, with little food, and once I spent three months straight in solitary confinement.”
Prisoners could be put in solitary confinement for the tiniest infractions of the most ridiculous rules, such as not folding a blanket properly, Kurnaz said. “I was always being punished and humiliated, regardless of what I did,” he wrote., noting that once, he was put in solitary for 10 days for feeding breadcrumbs to an iguana that had crawled into his cage.
Besides regular beatings from the Immediate Reaction Force, which commonly entered cells with clubs swinging, Kurnaz received excruciating electroshocks to his feet and was waterboarded in a 20-inch diameter plastic bucket filled with water, he said.
He described the experience as follows: “Someone grabbed me by the hair. The soldiers seized my arms and pushed my head underwater. … Drowning is a horrible way to die. They pulled my head back up [and asked], ‘Do you like it? You want more?’
“When my head was back underwater, I felt a blow to my stomach…. ‘Where is Osama?’ ‘Who are you?’ I tried to speak but I couldn’t. I swallowed some water. … It became harder and harder to breath, the more they hit me in the stomach and pushed my head underwater. I felt my heart racing.
“They didn’t let up. … I imagined myself screaming underwater. … I would have told them everything. But what was I supposed to tell them?”
It should be noted that U.S. and German authorities had decided as early as 2002 that Kurnaz was innocent, that he really was a student of the Koran in Pakistan when he had been seized by bounty hunters and sold to the Americans as a “terrorist.” Yet they continued his abuse for years.
On yet other occasions, Kurnaz, like so many other prisoners, was hung from chains backwards so that “it felt as though my shoulders were going to break,” he said, adding: “I was hoisted up until my feet no longer touched the ground. … After a while, the cuffs seemed like they were cutting my wrists down to the bone.
“My shoulders felt like someone was trying to pull my arms out of their sockets. … When they hung me up backwards, it felt as though my shoulders were going to break. … I was strung up for five days. … Three times a day soldiers came in and let me down (and) a doctor examined me and took my pulse. ‘Okay,’ he said. The soldiers hoisted me back up.
“I lost all feeling in my arms and hands. I still felt pain in other parts of my body, like in my chest around my heart.”
A short distance away Kurnaz said he could see another man hanging from chains, dead.
When Kurnaz was transferred within the Guantanamo prison system to “Camp 1,” he was put in a maximum security cage inside a giant container with metal walls, he wrote, adding:
“Although the cage was no smaller than the one in Camp X-Ray, the bunk reduced the amount of free space to around three-and-a-half feet by three-and-a-half feet. At the far end of the cage, an aluminum toilet and a sink took up even more room. How was I going to stand this? …
“I hardly saw the sun at all. They had perfected their prison. It felt like being sealed alive in a ship container.”
Although some U.S. politicians and right-wing radio talk show hosts ridiculed the harm of sleep deprivation against prisoners, this techniques was an insidious practice used earlier in Bolshevik Russia to torture enemies, a method known as “the conveyor belt.”
In 2002, Kurnaz wrote, when General Geoffrey Miller took over command of Guantanamo, “The interrogations got more brutal, more frequent, and longer.”
Miller commenced “Operation Sandman,” in which prisoners were moved to new cells every hour or two “to completely deprive us of sleep, and he achieved it,” Kurnaz said. “I had to stand and kneel twenty-four hours a day,” often in chains, and “I had barely arrived in a new cell and lay down on the bunk, before they came again to move me. …
“As soon as the guards saw me close my eyes … they’d kick at the door or punch me in the face.” In between transfers, “I was interrogated … I estimated the sessions lasted up to fifteen hours” during which the interrogator might disappear for hours at a time.
“I sat chained to my chair or kneeling on the floor, and as soon as my eyelids drooped, soldiers would wake me with a couple of blows. … Days and nights without sleep. Blows and new cages. Again, the stabbing sensation of thousands of needles throughout my entire body.
“I would have loved to step outside my body, but I couldn’t. … I went three weeks without sleep. … The soldiers came at night and made us stand for hours on end at gunpoint. At this point, I weighed less than 130 pounds.”
Finally, in August 2006, Kurnaz was released to Germany and testified by video-link in 2008 to the U.S. Congress. During his five years of confinement, he was never charged with a crime.
And so it happened that, during the presidency of George W. Bush, tens of thousands of innocent human beings, Kurnaz among them, were swept up in dragnet arrests by the invading American forces or their allies and imprisoned without legal recourse, the very opposite of what America’s Founders gifted to humanity in the Constitution.
Yet, pretty much the only people implicated in these human rights crimes to face any punishment were a handful of low-ranking guards at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib’s prison whose true crime — in the eyes of Official Washington — apparently was to allow photographs of their actions to reach the public.
After the photographs of sadism at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison in May 2004, shocked the world, President George W. Bush called the revelations “a stain on our country’s honor and our country’s reputation.”
He told visiting King Abdullah of Jordan in the Oval Office that “I was sorry for the humiliation suffered by the Iraqi prisoners, and the humiliation suffered by their families.” Bush told the Washington Post, “I told him (Abdullah) I was equally sorry that people who have been seeing those pictures didn’t understand the true nature and heart of America.”
A year later, Private Lynddie England and 10 others from the 372nd Military Police Company were convicted of abusing Abu Ghraib prisoners. But the truth was that their actions followed in the footsteps of “war on terror” prison guards across the spectrum of Pentagon and CIA detention camps, often following direct orders from Bush’s White House.
Although President Bush made the Abu Ghraib revelations sound like an aberration that inflicted some un-American acts of “humiliation” on a small groups of detainees, the Abu Ghraib photos actually gave the world a glimpse into far greater crimes of every sordid type.
While a handful of guards like Ms. England — notorious for posing with naked Iraqi prisoners — were convicted and jailed, the many other hundreds or thousands of military guards, interrogators and doctors and dentists involved in widespread tortures have never been prosecuted for their crimes.
By capturing a Taliban military official who expressed interest in negotiating with the President of Afghanistan AND the Americans, the US pretty much guaranteed their continued presence in the region for years to come. It couldn’t come at a worse time, what with NATO forces engaged in very vicious fighting in some areas of Afghanistan and racking up heavy civilian casualties, capturing Abdul Ghani Baradar and in essence making him a martyr, although he was captured alive, will underscore how allied forces can’t be trusted and by extension, the Karazai government as well. Pretty dumb move. What’s worse is the excuse given for the capture of a man who wanted to cooperate with his perceived enemies.
Pakistan it seems felt left out of the negotiation process going on between the Taliban, Karzai and the US so they interjected themselves, read that sabotaged, into the peace process. To add insult to injury, it appears the US doesn’t mind that they were shot in the back by an “ally”. It’s clear Afghanistan is going to be Obama’s war no matter how many terms he serves. It is another example of how America has ineptly handled opportunities to end so many times in this euphemistically called ‘war on terror’. They seem neither interested in ending the war or the terror it brings.
In an amazing bit of candor, but not for American consumption it is important to note, US Defense Secretary had this to say about what’ s going on in Afghanistan
the Taliban (are) part of the “political fabric” of Afghanistan, but said any future role for it would depend on insurgents laying down their weapons.
“The question is whether they are prepared to play a legitimate role in the political fabric of Afghanistan going forward, meaning participating in elections, meaning not assassinating local officials and killing families,” Dr Gates said in Pakistan yesterday.
“The question is what do the Taliban want to make out of Afghanistan? When they tried before, we saw before what they wanted to make and it was a desert, culturally and every other way.”
The above statement seems to be an admission that what’s taking place is a civil war in Afghanistan within the Taliban movement between who are going to forsake armed struggle versus those who are willing to work towards political solutions to the problems of Afghanistan. The president, Hamid Karzai has made similar statements over the years of the political viability of the Taliban movement and has even tried to incorporate many followers of that movement into his government. The kicker for this observer is that many people on the outside looking in seem to think there’s not much difference between a Karzai run government and its predecessor the Taliban, except for the presence of an American occupying force propping up the latter. Otherwise issues of intertribal warfare persist, the economic blight affecting the country and the status of women…..something always used to bring about change, but usually in the wrong direction, remain the same under Karzai.
Why then do American forces remain in Afghanistan? There’s nothing in Gates’ comments which would legitimize a US military presence in Afghanistan, and especially an escalation of forces the likes Obama suggests is necessary. It would appear the more the US attempts to rout Taliban forces by force of arms, the more precarious Karzai’s position becomes in Afghan society, which is no doubt why he, Karzai, is appealing to the Taliban himself without the good blessings of American policy makers in his attempts to bring Taliban under his wing. What you have in Afghanistan therefore are two conflicting ideologies that are mutually exclusive; a military foreign occupier fighting a nationalistic movement that has been embraced by the government put into power by that military authority. This scenario looks even more difficult than what the Russians faced during their occupation of that country. The answer is not in escalation but rather in de-escalation, and for all those who say it’s about capturing OBL, I would remind them some of the biggest names in the al-Qaida hierarchy were caught not by US troops but by the CIA.
Paul Craig Roberts is a maverick of sorts, ever since he left the Reagan administration and began writing editorials about current events. He still reflects fondly on Reagan, the conservative most modern day conservatives like to pattern themselves after, but speaks disdainfully of GW Bush and the people who surrounded him, calling them ‘brownshirts with the same level of intelligence and morals as Hitler’s enthusiastic supporters.’ Amen to that. However, he has written a damning editorial on the war on terror, written by the way, at about the same time as Dick Cheney’s rather high treasonous remarks, which speaks volumes on how that war has been carried out and whether it’s real. I’d like to produce exercepts of it below. He does a far better job of saying it than I ever could.
According to US government propaganda, terrorist cells are spread throughout America, making it necessary for the government to spy on all Americans and violate most other constitutional protections. Among President Bush’s last words as he left office was the warning that America would soon be struck again by Muslim terrorists.
If America were infected with terrorists, we would not need the government to tell us. We would know it from events. As there are no events, the US government substitutes warnings in order to keep alive the fear that causes the public to accept pointless wars, the infringement of civil liberty, national ID cards, and inconveniences and harassments when they fly.
The “war on terror” is a hoax that fronts for American control of oil pipelines, the profits of the military-security complex, the assault on civil liberty by fomenters of a police state, and Israel’s territorial expansion.
There were no al Qaeda in Iraq until the Americans brought them there by invading and overthrowing Saddam Hussein, who kept al Qaeda out of Iraq. The Taliban is not a terrorist organization, but a movement attempting to unify Afghanistan under Muslim law. The only Americans threatened by the Taliban are the Americans Bush sent to Afghanistan to kill Taliban and to impose a puppet state on the Afghan people.
Hamas is the democratically elected government of Palestine, or what little remains of Palestine after Israel’s illegal annexations. Hamas is a terrorist organization in the same sense that the Israeli government and the US government are terrorist organizations. In an effort to bring Hamas under Israeli hegemony, Israel employs terror bombing and assassinations against Palestinians. Hamas replies to the Israeli terror with homemade and ineffectual rockets.
Hezbollah represents the Shi’ites of southern Lebanon, another area in the Middle East that Israel seeks for its territorial expansion.
The US brands Hamas and Hezbollah “terrorist organizations” for no other reason than the US is on Israel’s side of the conflict. There is no objective basis for the US Department of State’s “finding” that Hamas and Hezbollah are terrorist organizations. It is merely a propagandistic declaration.
The retired American generals who serve as war propagandists for Fox “News” are forever claiming that Iran arms the Iraqi and Afghan insurgents and Hamas. But where are the arms? To deal with American tanks, insurgents have to construct homemade explosive devices out of artillery shells. After six years of conflict the insurgents still have no weapon against the American helicopter gunships. Contrast this “arming” with the weaponry the US supplied to the Afghans three decades ago when they were fighting to drive out the Soviets.
The films of Israel’s murderous assault on Gaza show large numbers of Gazans fleeing from Israeli bombs or digging out the dead and maimed, and none of these people are armed. A person would think that by now every Palestinian would be armed, every man, woman, and child. Yet, all the films of the Israeli attack show an unarmed population. Hamas has to construct homemade rockets that are little more than a sign of defiance. If Hamas were armed by Iran, Israel’s assault on Gaza would have cost Israel its helicopter gunships, its tanks, and hundreds of lives of its soldiers.
The great mystery is: why after 60 years of oppression are the Palestinians still an unarmed people? Clearly, the Muslim countries are complicit with Israel and the US in keeping the Palestinians unarmed.
The unsupported assertion that Iran supplies sophisticated arms to the Palestinians is like the unsupported assertion that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. These assertions are propagandistic justifications for killing Arab civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure in order to secure US and Israeli hegemony in the Middle East.