Friday, May 08, 2009

U.S. Not Winning Hearts & Minds By Indiscriminate Killings, Torture and Proselytizing

Update: 11:03 AM & 1:43PM & 3:48PM ,May 8, 2009

Update on U.S. Military Evangelicals proselytizing in Afghanistn-

“All that was, I was speaking in reference to inner-city problems and whatnot. I said that the irony is that it would be better for a black to be a slave in America—I’m thinking now historically—and know Christ, than to be free now and not know Christ.”

“In the military, homosexuality is illegal. I don’t want to get into all the particulars of ‘Don’t ask,’ but you can’t act on homosexual feelings. And adultery is illegal. Really, arguably, the military is the last American institution that tries to uphold Christian values. It’s the easiest place in America to be a Christian.”

Lieutenant Colonel Bob Young

From:"Jesus Killed Mohammed" The Crusade For A Christian Military By Jeff Sharlet, May 2008 Issue Courtesy Of Harpers Magazine at Free Thought Manifesto, May 5, 2009

-U.S. bombing kills over 100 Afghan Civilians

-Afghan citizens protest against U.S. presence in their country

-Afghanistan and the Long War- Obama's Vietnam?

-Detainees murdered in U.S. custody

-Jeremy Scahill chimes in for prosecutions of all those involved in the abuse & torture of detainees

Brave Afghan Vet Demands Answers from Congress

Scores dead after US strike in Afghanistan - 06 May 09

Joining forces against the Taliban threat - 7 May 09

So as we see in this video just more Posturing by President Obama & Hillary Clinton etc.offering platitudes & more empty promises about investigations of this weeks Massacre in Afghanistan. Every time they investigate they claim they did nothing wrong and everyone is told to just get over it. As for the government in Afghanistan it doesn't appear to be that interested in Democracy or human rights.

Obama and Clinton have not come clean on the War Crimes & Crimes Against Humanity committed in Iraq.The War itself under International Law was a War Crime followed by a hundred more War Crimes committed by the United States.

Neither have they been willing to come clean and proceed with Investigations and Indictments of those US Personnel who authorized or took part in the abuse and or torture of detainees accused of being Terrorists or Insurgents at Abu Ghriab , Gitmo, Bagram and a hundred other US facilities. In order to avoid any unpleasantness Obama says he wants to just move forward but this ignores the needs of those who were the victims and does nothing to prevent such incidents occurring in the future.

So why should any one outside the US believe anything these people say. Their first concern is defending their own people no matter how guilty they are.

Democracy at Gunpoint Guarantees U.S. Defeat " By William Pfaff at TruthDig & ICH, May 6, 2009

-- An account from the Taliban side of the Afghanistan war, which was published in the New York Times on May 5, provides devastating evidence of the failure that almost certainly will eventually overtake the United States and NATO. It is a long interview with a young Taliban "logistics tactician" who has been speaking with Jane Perlez and Pir Zubair Shah of the Times for many months about the Taliban view of the war, and about what he sees as their inevitable victory.

It amounts to an implicit challenge to the "democracy development" strategy adopted by the Pentagon and the Bush administration, and that now seems the policy of the Obama government as well. It is a strategy that assures a very "long war."

...The implications of the Taliban interview will be resisted by American commanders on the scene, professionally committed to their faith in victory, and conservative political observers in the United States, who believe that having second thoughts is weakness.

The implication of what the Taliban says is simple and convincing: that it will be impossible for the U.S. and NATO to win a war in Afghanistan in which the enemy is based on the other side of what is for them an easily permeable frontier between Afghanistan and the tribal areas of Northwest Pakistan, but which is for American and NATO forces politically impregnable.

This is classical guerrilla warfare against regular forces. The guerrillas operate with (in this case) almost perfect intelligence concerning NATO troops. They are highly mobile and reactive and possess a refuge where they are vulnerable only to attack by rocket-firing drone (unmanned) aircraft, since the main, ground-based NATO/ U.S. forces cannot reach them.

The Pakistan government and army forbid American and NATO intrusion into their country. The United States in the past has scarcely been a scrupulous observer of foreign sovereignties, and the Bush administration declared its policy commitment to aggressive and preemptive attack wherever it chose. However, the United States today needs Pakistan.

It is inhibited not only by Pakistani sovereignty and by international law, but by military and political realities. The mobility of Taliban forces allows them to move as far into Pakistan as necessary to escape ground attack, and to disperse against air attack. Another inhibition is the character of the population of the region, where Pathan civilians are scarcely distinguishable from the Pathan Taliban, and all are ferociously hostile to foreign intrusion and air bombardment.

U.S. issues denials in response to accusations made earlier this week that U.S. military is actively engaged in proselytizing in Afghanistan .U.S. officials claim that the video released by Al Jazeera is misleading so Al Jazeera has released an uncut extended version of the video which makes it even clearer that the U.S. commander is involved in encouraging other soldiers to engage in illegal proselytizing. The officers involved should be tossed out of the military but they won't since the rule against proselytizing is just another bit of pseudo-legal window dressing and doesn't have any weight with the military or the American people who see nothing wrong with spreading the Gospel.

US soldiers' Bible group in Afghanistan - 05 May 09

Extended footage shot by Brian Hughes, a US documentary maker and former member of the US military who spent several days in Bagram near Kabul.

The material, which appears to show the Christian soldiers apparently discussing the conversion of Afghans, was obtained by Al Jazeera's Bays, who has covered Afghanistan extensively.

'"The special forces guys - they hunt men, basically. We do the same things as Christians, we hunt people for Jesus. We do, we hunt them down. Get the hound of heaven after them, so we get them into the kingdom."

It's worse than you think.

Torture, religion, democracy, God. They're all part of the mixed-up, horrific business that George Bush unleashed in the Middle East and Central Asia, and that Barack Obama is struggling to control and rationalize. As the words above demonstrate, the 12th century is striving mightily to join hands with the 20th in the U.S. military: Unbridled religious arrogance is forging a link with high-tech weaponry and an unlimited defense budget.

The possibility that we are - not officially, of course, but in the minds of many American soldiers and officers - waging a religious war that parallels the secular one, an Ann Coulter war, if you will ("We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity," Coulter wrote on Sept. 12, 2001), is both deeply disturbing and utterly appropriate. The arrogance required for both efforts is so similar, I can understand if the line blurs for many of the participants."

...What is the difference, for instance, between believing one can bomb a country into democracy and any sort of armed, uniformed proselytizing? Putting a religious spin on the war on terror may be an official no-no, but when I read about Bargram's "hounds of heaven" and other recent reports of the growing evangelical Christian influence in the U.S. military (such as Jeff Sharlet's stunning investigative piece in the May issue of Harper's, titled "Jesus Killed Mohammed"), I think first of the extraordinary Winter Soldier testimony I attended a year ago in Washington, D.C.

above quote from " The Hounds of Heaven " by Robert C. Koehler at, May 7, 2009

" Afghans protest over Farah deaths:
Afghans have staged an angry protest following the suspected deaths of up to 100 civilians in a US-led air raid in western Farah province." by agencies Media With Conscience, May 7, 2009

Shots were fired on Thursday as the demonstrators threw stones at government offices in the town of Farah, the provincial capital.

Several people were wounded in the melee, Gul Ahmad Ayubi, a health department official, said.

The protest came as a team of US and Afghan government investigators arrived in the Bala Baluk district to gather more information about Monday's incident.

If the casualties are confirmed, it would be the largest loss of civilian life in a single attack since US troops invaded Afghanistan in 2001.

Confirmation of Detainee Murders

On Wednesday, June 18, 2008, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Rights, held a hearing dealing with the torture of detainees in U.S. custody. This clip features the testimony of Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell. Wilkerson not only confirms that more than 100 detainees have died in U.S. custody, but that at least 25 of these deaths have been classified as homicides by American investigators.

So now there is more evidence supporting allegations of detainee deaths at the hands of American personnel whether with the C.I.A., or US military or Private Contractors. But as we know little will come of these revelations as Americans in general don't want to know about such things - ie the Ugly Truth about their society ala Peggy Noonan "Just walk on " sort of mentality. Besides these were not Americans who died and most of them were not even Christians.

" Revealed: U.S. Interrogators May Have Killed Dozens of Detainees " By John Byrne, Raw Story. Posted May 6, 2009.

In all, 98 detainees have died while in U.S. hands, with 34 identified as homicides, at least eight of which were tortured to death.

United States interrogators killed nearly four dozen detainees during or after their interrogations, according a report published by a human rights researcher based on a Human Rights First report and followup investigations.

In all, 98 detainees have died while in U.S. hands. Thirty-four homicides have been identified, with at least eight detainees -- and as many as 12 -- having been tortured to death, according to a 2006 Human Rights First report that underwrites the researcher’s posting. The causes of 48 more deaths remain uncertain.

The researcher, John Sifton, worked for five years for Human Rights Watch. In a posting Tuesday, he documents myriad cases of detainees who died at the hands of their U.S. interrogators. Some of the instances he cites are graphic.

Most of those taken captive were killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. They include at least one Afghani soldier, Jamal Naseer, who was mistakenly arrested in 2004. “Those arrested with Naseer later said that during interrogations U.S. personnel punched and kicked them, hung them upside down, and hit them with sticks or cables,” Sifton writes. “Some said they were doused with cold water and forced to lie in the snow. Nasser collapsed about two weeks after the arrest, complaining of stomach pain, probably an internal hemorrhage.”

Jeremy Scahill again argues that those higher up in the U.S. government including the President and Vice-President who authorized ,and those lawyers who created the legal veneer or the illusion of legality for the illegal and immoral torture and abuse of detainees along with those who willingly and wantonly took part in the barbaric torture and abuse of detainees should all be investigated and those found guilty should be imprisoned in the same way one would a murderer or some sadistic SOB. If a private citizen did these things the public would be crying out for Justice to be done . But you put on a uniform or become a member of the C.I.A and suddenly anything goes. We have seen this played out even in most of the cases where someone was being held accountable for abuse or murder or rape of Iraqi or Afghan civilians they get a $6,000 fine or a few months in jail.

" A Response to Those Who Say Don't Prosecute Bush's Torture Lawyers " by Jeremy Scahill at rebel Reports , May 7, 2009

As we reported earlier, Justice Department investigators are likely to recommend that the Bush-era torture memo authors should not be criminally prosecuted, rather they recommend the department refer "two of the three lawyers [who authored the torture memos] to state bar associations for possible disciplinary action... where the most severe possible punishment is disbarment."

I believe that all of those who were a part of this torture system need to face justice for their crimes. I also believe the Democrats who were briefed on the program as early as 2002 should also face the music.

As for the individual torturers, they have committed crimes under both US and international laws and should be dealt with as such. But what about the lawyers?...

...This is not some political debate. This is a matter of law and US obligations to its international treaties, which the Constitution explicitly states the US will respect and enforce.

First, I would recommend that anyone who thinks it is a "stretch" to prosecute lawyers who provided legal justifications for torture to read the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which was signed by President Ronald Reagan. Specifically, read these portions:

Article 2

1. Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction. 2. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture. 3. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.


Article 4

1. Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law. The same shall apply to an attempt to commit torture and to an act by any person which constitutes complicity or participation in torture.


Article 7

1. The State Party in territory under whose jurisdiction a person alleged to have committed any offence referred to in article 4 is found, shall in the cases contemplated in article 5, if it does not extradite him, submit the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution.

The US is legally bound to this convention and I would argue that the attempted legalizing and authorizing of torture, such as was done by Bybee, Yoo and Bradbury is exactly what this treaty addresses and bans.

Then there is the precedent established at Nuremberg in the United States v. Altstoetter, which, according to constitutional and military law expert Scott Horton found "that lawyers who dispense bad advice about law of armed conflict, and whose advice predictably leads to the death or mistreatment of prisoners, are war criminals, chargeable with potentially capital offenses."

According to Horton:

[Hitler's] lawyers were indicted and charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes arising out of the issuance and implementation of the Nacht- und Nebelerlass. The United States charged that as lawyers, "not farmers or factory workers," they must have recognized that their technical justifications for avoiding the application of the Hague and Geneva Conventions were unavailing, because these conventions were "recognized by all civilized nations, and were regarded as being declaratory of the laws and customs of war." That is to say, they were customary international law.


After trial, the two principal [German] Justice Department lawyers, one a deputy chief of the criminal division, were convicted and sentenced to ten years' imprisonment, less time served. This judgment clearly established the concept of liability of the authors of bureaucratic policies that breach basic rules of the Hague and Geneva Conventions for the consequences that predictably flow therefrom. Moreover, it establishes a particularly perilous standard of liability for government attorneys who adopt a dismissive attitude towards international humanitarian law.

These are just a few of the arguments for prosecuting the torture lawyers. More to come.

Meanwhile there are accusations that some memos referring to torture issued during the Bush era may have been destroyed. This particular case involves a memo which disputed Cheney's claim that the use of torture was legal under US law and International Law.One wonders as Eric Holder dithers how many other documents video tapes , computer hard drives have been or are being wiped clean. And all of these people can always claim that these documents were a matter of National Security .

But as we have seen the Pro-Torture Lobby is uninterested in International Laws or agreements because America which has been a cornerstone of America's attitude towards the rest of the world is that it has the right to do whatever it wants. Too bad the International Community is too afraid to stand up to the U.S.
Unfortunately Obama is more concerned with shielding people in the U.S. government or former employees than he is in truth or justice.

also see: " Is a Cheney Cover-Up Scandal Brewing? "By Nick Baumann and David Corn, Mother Jones. Posted May 7, 2009.

"Cheney may be responsible for deep-sixing an important torture memo -- an act that could be a crime. Will Dems bring the truth to light? "

also see: The Myth Of Talibanisation
By Pepe Escobar May 1, 2009 at Free Thought,Courtesy Of Asia Times Online


WaterBoard An A-Rab For Jesus By Laurence M. Vance Courtesy Of Lew Rockwell,May 5, 2009 at Free Thought Manifesto

When the Spanish did it, it was torture. When the Japanese did it, it was torture. When the Germans did it, it was torture. When the Khmer Rouge did it, it was torture. But when waterboarding was done by Americans under a Republican administration, it suddenly became an "enhanced interrogation technique."

Such has not always been the case. Waterboarding-like techniques used by American soldiers during the Philippine Insurrection and the Vietnam War were condemned. But that was before the "war on terror" where anything goes in the name of "national security."

and so it goes,

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