Sunday, December 14, 2008

Afghanistan Massacre " The Convoy Of Death " US Government & NATO Still Covering Up

Afghanistan Massacre: The Convoy Of Death ( Film Clip Below )- 3,000 Afghan Prisoners killed and burried in mass graves as NATO and US forces stood by - so much for our respect for human life or justice- All the West Really Cares about is Revenge.

Where is the outrage? The Mainstream Media at the time was not interested and nor do they seem interested now. Check the internet the story is ignored . Where's the in depth article in The New York Times or The New Yorker or The Washington Post or The LA Times or The Globe And Mail or Newsweek or Mcleans - nothing just silence. After all the dead are not Canadians or Americans or Europeans just those of " a lesser race " of people not worthy of attention. Our Eurocentric American Western racist views and perception are laid out in such instances for all to see while we claim to be "Good Christians " or even " Good Humanists ".

UPDATED & re-edited 12:01 PM Dec. 14, 2008

Anyway here is more disturbing news about some eight thousand Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters who surrendered to NATO forces in 2001 when they were promised they would be treated fairly and justly. But it appears things didn't quite go that way. The prisoners were handed over to friendly Afghan forces but somwhere and somehow along the way some 3,000 or more prisoners went missing. The allegation base on an investigation by a British jounalist Jamie Doran is that several thousand died while being transported in sealed containers . Many died it is claimed from suffocation dehydration or were shot . The further allegation is that the bodies were burried in mass graves in the desert. This incident became known as 'The Convoy Of Death' . This massacre occurred in 2001 and yet nothing has officially been done about it. The US and the Bush administration and NATO either made no comment or claimed it never happened. The question is if this was a deliberate act who was responsible for it. Was the Afghan army which had allied itself to NATO wholly responsible for this action or did American and NATO forces play a role in this act.

The Convoy of Death Story once again became a news item on Thursday Dec. 11, 2008 when McCaltchy Newspapers reported that it was discovered that there was an effort in recent months to dig up the graves and remove the bodies as part of a coverup which was reported in The Mcclatchy Newspapers by Tom Lasseter, Dec. 11, 2008. The massacre was not committed by the Taleban but by NATO's Afghanistan allies and there is a further concern that members of the NATO forces and command did nothing to stop the massacre and afterwards spent more time covering up the incident rather than doing a proper criminal & forensic investigation. So once again the question is who knew what and when. And how far up does it go to Tony Blair and George W. Bush.or others in their respective administrations. Does this mean that NATO is now no more trustworthy than the Taleban or the American Military Propaganda Machine.

It is odd that this story has not over the past seven years been given much attention in the American media . Whenever some American soldiers are killed this gets media attention . Here in Canada the tragic deaths of Canadian soldiers is covered by the Canadian Media and the country goes once again into a time of mourning. Of course we should be sadened by the deaths of some of our own. The issue is that we should also be concerned about the needless deaths of people in Afghanistan or Iraq or India etc. Supposedly we are all part of the human race.Yet we Canadians like the Americans and Europeans want revenge not justice but rather we want to know that a number of people in Afghanistan will be killed in our need for revenge. But how many thousand or hundreds of thousands need to die in Afghanistan or Iraq etc. before we have had our fill.

To begin let's start with the latest news by the Physicians For Human Rights organization who are concerned that a coverup is taking place and that the mass graves have been deliberately tampered with to impede any investigation into the incident as a War Crime.

Frank Donaghue on the Dasht-e-Leili Mass Grave in Afghanistan
Investigative reports by McClatchy newspapers, as well as PHR's ( Physicians For Human Rights )own findings, have revealed that large sections of the Dasht-e-Leili mass grave in Northern Afghanistan have been dug up and removed.

also see: McClatchy 12,2008 "U.N.: Afghan Graves Disturbed ; Physicians Demand Probe"

By Tom Lasseter | McClatchy Newspapers

Physicians for Human Rights Friday demanded an investigation in both Afghanistan and the U.S. of a McClatchy news report that a U.S.-allied warlord may have removed evidence from a mass gravesite in northern Afghanistan.

A United Nations official in Kabul, the Afghan capital, Friday confirmed to The Associated Press that the site had been "disturbed." A U.N. spokesman in New York, Farhan Haq, said Friday evening that, "We're certainly opposed to any disturbance of the gravesite."

Asked about PHR's call for an investigation, Haq said that the U.N. team in Afghanistan would have to examine the matter before he could comment.
The gravesite area, which a previous State Department cable said could hold as many as 2,000 bodies, was dug up during the past year. A U.N.-sponsored PHR team discovered two large pits in the grave area during a June-July trip to Afghanistan, and a McClatchy reporter found three new holes there last month.

"Removing evidence of an alleged mass atrocity is itself a war crime and must be investigated," PHR's chief executive officer, Frank Donaghue said in a statement Friday. "The Afghan Government, with the support of the U.N. and the international community, must move quickly to protect the site."

However, without security assistance from NATO troops in Afghanistan, who're commanded by a U.S. general, the government in Kabul won't be able to secure the gravesite, Donaghue said in an interview with McClatchy Friday evening.
Donaghue said that a NATO-controlled team was based less than three miles from the site, and that securing it is "something the ... team could do tonight if they wanted to."

The U.N. in Afghanistan had acknowledged to McClatchy that it knew of the digging — reportedly by backhoes or bulldozers, or maybe both — but said in statement that it previously had decided not to publicly acknowledge i

and from Dec. 11, 2008 Tom Lasseter filed this report:

As '01 Afghan mass graves removed, U.S. kept silent By Tom Lasseter, McClatchy Newspapers – Thu Dec 11,2008

DASHT-E LEILI, Afghanistan — Seven years ago, a convoy of container trucks rumbled across northern Afghanistan loaded with the 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.

A U.N.-sponsored team of experts first spotted two large excavations on a visit in June, one of them about 100 feet long and more than 9 feet deep in places. A McClatchy reporter visited the site last month and found three additional smaller pits, which apparently had been dug since June.

...NATO — which has command authority over a team of troops less than three miles from the grave site — the United Nations and the United States have been silent about the destruction of evidence of Dostum's alleged war crimes.

"The truth is that General Dostum went out with bulldozers and dug up those graves," Jowzjani charged. "I don't know why UNAMA" — the U.N. mission in Afghanistan — "hasn't said anything in this regard . . . maybe because of fears about his power, or maybe they made a deal."

Gen. Ghulam Mujtaba Patang , the commander of Afghanistan's national police in the north, said that he knew that the graves had been emptied. He noted that "the digging was done very professionally" and said that U.N. and NATO -led teams in the area were also aware. (While provincial reconstruction teams are led by individual nations, their military components are under NATO command.)

"I don't understand why they didn't secure the area," Patang said in an interview. Perhaps, he said, Western officials "are nervous" about the power that Dostum has locally and don't want to upset local security by pushing him on the matter.

Afghan Massacre : The Convoy of Death

In Afghanistan, filmmaker Jamie Doran has uncovered evidence of a massacre: Taliban prisoners of war suffocated in containers, shot in the desert under the watch of American troops.
The film has been broadcast on national television in countries all over the world and has been screened by the European parliament. Human rights lawyers are calling for investigation into whether U.S. forces are guilty of war crimes. But no U.S. media outlet has broadcast the film.

“Afghan Massacre” is produced and directed by award-winning Irish filmmaker Jamie Doran. Doran is has worked at the highest levels of television film production for more than two decades. His films have been broadcast on virtually every major channel throughout the world. On average, each of his films are seen in around 35 countries. Before establishing his independent television company, Jamie Doran spent over seven years at BBC Television.
The film was researched by award-winning journalist Najibullah Quraishi, who was beaten almost to death when he tried to obtain video evidence of US Special Forces’ complicity in the massacre. Two of the witnesses who testified in the film are now dead.

“Afghan Massacre: the Convoy of Death” - produced and directed by award-winning Irish filmmaker Jamie Doran

From:Democracy Now! & Information Clearing House (ICH)

Afghanistan massacre -- the convoy of death pt. 1 of 6 at YouTube-

For more details on Human Rights Violations & War Crimes committed by the Taleban and Afghanistan government & its military and by NATO foces see : Amnesty International Report on Afghanistan

Summary for 2007:

Increasing conflict and insecurity affected large parts of Afghanistan and, aggravated by drought and floods, led to large-scale displacement of people throughout the year. At least 6,500 people were estimated to have been killed in the context of the conflict. Violations of international humanitarian and human rights law were committed with impunity by all parties, including Afghan and international security forces and insurgent groups. All sides carried out indiscriminate attacks, which included aerial bombardments by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and US-led Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) forces, as well as suicide attacks by armed groups. According to the Afghanistan NGO Security Office, there were around 2,000 non-combatant civilian deaths, with international forces causing over a quarter of casualties and insurgent groups just under half. Rights associated with education, health and freedom of expression were violated, particularly for women. Human rights defenders and journalists, many of them women, were threatened, physically intimidated, detained or killed. Reforms of key government institutions, including the police and intelligence service, made limited progress. Government officials and local power-holders were not held accountable for reported abuses and there was little or no access to justice in many areas.

also see for instance Afghanistan The Other Lost War ,October 14, 2006 by Stephen Lendman in which the author discusses the War Crimes committed by all sides in the Afghanistan conflict and how those committed by the American led NATO forces often are under reported.

There was also no account at all in the US corporate media, beyond the usual distorted version, of the killing of about 800 captured Taliban prisoners in November, 2001 at Mazar-i-Sharif by Northern Alliance soldiers shooting down from the walls of the fortress-like prison at the helpless Taliban fighters trapped below. It was never explained in the US corporate-run media it was in response to a revolt they staged because they were subjected to torture and severe maltreatment. US Special Forces and CIA personal were on the ground assisting in the slaughter by directing supportive air strikes by helicopter gunships and fighter-bombers in an act of butchery. It recalled many like it earlier in Vietnam at My Lai, the many thousands murdered by the infamous Phoenix assassination program in that war, the CIA organized and financed Salvadoran death squads in the 1980s and earlier that killed many thousands more, or the later many thousands of Fallujah residents killed along with mass destruction inflicted on this Iraqi city in November, 2004 in a savage act of vengeance and butchery following the killing of four Blackwater USA paramilitary hired-gun enforcers earlier in the year.

There was also no report on 3,000 other Taliban and innocent civilian non-combatant prisoners who were separated from 8,000 others who'd surrendered or had been picked up randomly. They were then transported in what was later called a convoy of death to the town of Shibarghan in closed containers lacking any ventilation. Half of them suffocated to death en route and others were killed inside them when a US commander ordered a Northern Alliance soldier to fire into the containers supposedly to provide air but clearly to kill or wound those inside who couldn't avoid the incoming fire.

And at Christopher Deliso writes:
Afghan Massacre: The Convoy of Death
by Christopher Deliso July 30, 2004

An Investigation with Ominous Implications
The convergence of two events – the Pentagon’s announcement of new investigations into prisoner abuse in Afghanistan and Iraq, and increased U.S. pressure on Serbia over fugitives suspected of war crimes in Srebrenica and elsewhere – make for a neatly ironic introduction to Convoy of Death, a movie which unfortunately more than lives up to its name.

The documentary accuses the Pentagon of a high-level cover-up of American complicity in the prisoner deaths. The film’s painstaking (and very brave) researchers make a very plausible case for a mass slaughter of prisoners, one that was personally overseen by American troops. However, Pentagon representatives denied that any such a massacre ever took place and refused to be interviewed for the film.
At least in the beginning, they seem to have banked on the likelihood that the tale would never be told; after all, this is faraway and forbidding Afghanistan we’re talking about. As one unnamed insider told the filmmakers, "you have to understand, there are folk in here who would rather that the whole story go away." But thanks to some activist work (European Union bigwigs were treated to a special pre-showing that resulted in diplomatic pressure on Kabul) and an exhaustive series of interviews with Afghans present at the time (soldiers, truck drivers, prisoners and more) and Northern Alliance commanders (including Dostum himself), as well as live footage from the relevant battles, prisons, and mass graves, we are left with a case that if not entirely unassailable comes pretty damn close.

and for instance he points out that Neoconservative Richard Perle is interviewed for the film and Perle's response about Afghan Northern Alliance commander Rashid Dotsum who was NATO's ally and his response sheds light on the Bush Regime's attitude towards the lives of Afghanistantis - one wonders is this the attitude of most Americans and Europeans that these people are expendable :

When the filmmakers put the question to Perle, the weaseling would-be pragmatist replies:

"[I]n a situation like that, you have to balance out competing interests. Obviously we would much rather be aligned with Mother Teresa. That wasn’t possible in those circumstances. It does lead to a responsibility on our part for trying to help reshape Afghanistan along more humane and democratic lines, and I think that’s exactly what we should be doing."

How the second part of that peroration logically follows from the first, I will leave up to more subtle intellects to discern; suffice it to say that the film does a good job, without needing to make the point verbally, of showing another side of what are for Perle (happily ensconced by a crackling fire in Washington) mere "competing interests": decaying bodies, shattered homes and bleached piles of bones.


and from
Afghan Massacre The Convoy of Death, Nov.11, 2002

AFGHAN MASSACRE – the convoy of DEATH’ tells of how American special forces took control of the operation, re-directed the containers carrying the living and dead into the desert and stood by as survivors were shot and buried.

And it details how the Pentagon lied to the world in order to cover up its role in the greatest atrocity of the entire Afghan War. This is the documentary they did not want you to see.

‘AFGHAN MASSACRE – the convoy of DEATH’ was produced over ten months in extremely dangerous circumstances: eyewitnesses were threatened, the film crew went into hiding and our researcher was savagely beaten to within an inch of his life.

and from the

Luke Harding in Dasht-i-Leili, 14 September 2002

The dead are not hard to find. Turn left into the desert after the town of Shiberghan and they lie all around - some in shallow graves, others protruding from the sand.

The clothes they wore are still there: decaying black turbans, charred shoes, a prayer cap, even a set of rusted car keys. In the nine months since they were buried the sun has bleached their bones white. But the jaws, femurs and ribs scattered across the desert are unmistakably human. We found teeth, thick black human hair and bits of skull.

There are a few clues to the prisoners' final moments: the site is littered with spent bullets. There are thick jackets lying above ground, which would have seemed useful to their owners last November, during the freezing desert nights.

Nobody knows exactly how many Taliban prisoners were secretly interred in this mass grave, a short distance from the main road. But there is now substantial evidence that the worst atrocity of last year's war in Afghanistan took place here; most controversially, during an operation masterminded by US special forces.

and check out:
"Were U.S. troops in Afghanistan complicit in a massacre?" 15, 2002
An Irish documentary filmmaker says he has evidence they were -- and he's releasing some of his footage to prevent a coverup.By Michelle Goldberg

also see: U.S. keeps silent as Afghan ally removes war crime evidence
December 11, 2008 — dandelionsalad

and: "Shockfront:Sheberghanand the Convoy of Death",Dec.1,2008

and so it goes,

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