Thursday, March 31, 2011

Obama's Wars: Malalai Joya "Kill Teams" Typical Of U.S. Aggression & Racism in Afghanistan Occupation

I must report that Afghans do not believe this to be a story of a few rogue soldiers. We believe that the brutal actions of these "kill teams" reveal the aggression and racism which is part and parcel of the entire military occupation. While these photos are new, the murder of innocents is not. Such crimes have sparked many protests in Afghanistan and have sharply raised anti-American sentiment among ordinary Afghans.

    ...Successive US officials have said that they will     safeguard civilians and that they will be more careful, but in fact they are only more careful in their efforts to cover up their crimes and suppress reporting of them.  Malalai Joya March 30, 2011 Guardian UK.

Dishonest journalists fuel war propaganda
Russia TV March 29, 2011.

"It's impossible to be an independend journalist in a conflict zone," Keith Harmon Snow, a veteran war correspondent said speaking on Libya. He explained many journalists in conflict zones are not honest about the war, because to tell thruth they have to consider who they are working with. It is hard to tell a story that looks bad for coalition forces when you are living with and protected by coalition forces, he said."

If Malalai Joya is right most Americans having demonized and devalued the lives of the Afghan people will pay little attention to the photos taken by so called "Kill Teams" since the killing of civilians in Afghanistan is rather low on the US governemtn or publics lists of concerns.

as for the legitimacy and morality of the continuing occupation and war in Afghanistan Afghan activists Malalai Joya says the Afghan people are fed up with this war and believe the US and NATO occupation forces operating in Afghanistan are just fueling the hatred and the the cycle of violence .
Will the war end only when there are no Afghans left alive to fight the occupation.

Kill Teams in Afghanistan: The Truth: These disgusting photos of murdered Afghans reveal the aggression and racism underpinning the occupation of my country by Malalai Joya Guardiaqn UK via CommonDreams

  The disgusting and heartbreaking photos published last week in the German media, and more recently in Rolling Stone magazine, are finally bringing the grisly truth about the war in Afghanistan to a wider public. All the PR about this war being about democracy and human rights melts into thin air with the pictures of US soldiers posing with the dead and mutilated bodies of innocent Afghan civilians.
I must report that Afghans do not believe this to be a story of a few rogue soldiers. We believe that the brutal actions of these "kill teams" reveal the aggression and racism which is part and parcel of the entire military occupation. While these photos are new, the murder of innocents is not. Such crimes have sparked many protests in Afghanistan and have sharply raised anti-American sentiment among ordinary Afghans.
I am not surprised that the mainstream media in the US has been reluctant to publish these images of the soldiers who made sport out of murdering Afghans. General Petraeus, now in charge of the American-led occupation, is said to place great importance on the "information war" for public opinion – and there is a concerted effort to keep the reality of Afghanistan out of sight in the US.
Last week my initial application for a US entry visa was turned down, and so my book tour was delayed while supporters demanded my right to enter the country. The American government was pressed to relent and allow my visit to go ahead. Ultimately it too will be unable to block out the truth about the war in Afghanistan.

The "kill team" images will come as a shock to many outside Afghanistan but not to us. We have seen countless incidents of American and Nato forces killing innocent people like birds. For instance, they recently killed nine children in Kunar Province who were collecting firewood. In February this year they killed 65 innocent villagers, most of them women and children. In this case, as in many others, Nato claimed that they had only killed insurgents, even though local authorities acknowledged that the victims were civilians. To prevent the facts coming out they even arrested two journalists from al-Jazeera who attempted to visit and report from the site of the massacre.
Successive US officials have said that they will safeguard civilians and that they will be more careful, but in fact they are only more careful in their efforts to cover up their crimes and suppress reporting of them. The US and Nato, along with the office of the UN's assistance mission in Afghanistan, usually give statistics about civilian deaths that underestimate the numbers. The reality is that President Obama's so-called surge has only led to a surge of violence from all sides, and civilian deaths have increased.
The occupying armies have tried to buy off the families of their victims, offering $2,000 for each one killed. Afghans' lives are cheap for the US and Nato, but no matter how much they offer, we don't want their blood money.

Obama Tries, Without Success, To Explain An Undeclared War
by John Nichols at The Nation via, March 29, 2011

President Obama finally got around to speaking to the American people about the fact that he has led the country into a third war.

Unfortunately, he also spoke about how he had initiated the way on his own: "I ordered warships into the Mediterranean." I refused to let that happen." "I authorized military action..." "At my direction..."
The problem is that presidents are not supposed to start wars, especially wars of whim that are offensive rather than defensive in nature. That was the complaint against George W. Bush when he failed to obtain a declaration of war before ordering the invasion of Iraq, that is the ongoing complaint against Obama for maintaining the undeclared wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And that is the legitimate and necessary complaint against Obama now, a complaint that should come not just opponents of the military intervention but supporters who want that intervention to be lawful and legitimate.
The president did not address the fact that the Libyan adventure is an undeclared war. In fact, he barely mentioned the Congress that is supposed to declare wars, saying only: "And so nine days ago, after consulting the bipartisan leadership of Congress, I authorized military action to stop the killing and enforce U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973."
But the Constitution does not discuss "consulting the bipartisan leadership..." It says that: "Congress shall have the power... to declare war, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water."
That was the point that Congressman Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, made with regard to the speech.

While Obama has set the stage for another US war he has done little to turn the tide as it were in Afghanistan where the US & NATO forces are bogged down with no real exit strategy.

Obama 's exit strategy from Afghanistan goes into effect once AlQaeda and other terrorists are defeated, and when there is a stable democratic government , when the War Lords and Drug Lords and the Taliban are defeated or when Afghanistan is no longer dependent upon the production of opium. Possibly the USA will leave when they too like Soviets before them did when they finally realized there was no easy winning in sight and that the costs were undermining the Soviet economy and its political stability .
But then again this is where the USA created a situation which later they would be forced to pay for.
The USA unwilling to leave well enough alone jumped in with both feet during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in order to weaken the Soviets and destroy the USSR and so help to create the mess that exists in Afghanistan , Pakistan , Uzbekistan , Hindu Kush etc.

"Only Thing Clear About Obama's Afghan Policy: It's a Disaster" by Ray McGovern , March 29, 2011
Pleasing the Establishment

Instead, in his March 2009 speech – and the one on Dec. 1, 2009, at West Point announcing the additional troop buildup – Obama was following the interests of the pro-war political/media Establishment that still dominates Washington. It remains almost as influential inside his administration as it was inside Bush’s.

Hoping to assuage this Establishment, which was a touch nervous by all his campaign talk about “change,” Obama offered continuity, from keeping Defense Secretary Gates and the rest of Bush’s Pentagon high command to appointing another hawkish Secretary of State, Clinton for Condoleezza Rice.

Meanwhile, Washington policymakers and intellectuals who had gotten on Bush’s wrong side for raising doubts about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were just as unwelcome in the Obama administration.

For instance, there was the case of Paul Pillar, deputy chief of the counterterrorist center at CIA in the late 1990s, who from 2000 to 2005 held a very senior position as National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia. He is now director of graduate studies at Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program.

Pillar’s mild manner cannot obscure the razor sharp judgments that made him a bête noire of the Bush crowd after he retired. But he remains as much of an outsider under Obama.

On Sept. 16, 2009, before the White House decisions on Obama’s second escalation, Pillar wrote an incisive op-ed for the Washington Post, entitled “Who’s Afraid of a Terrorist Haven?”

Pillar noted that the key operations for the 9/11 attacks took place in Germany, Spain, and flight schools in the U.S. — NOT in the al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan. And he observed that, today, terrorists can now choose among several unstable countries besides Afghanistan and U.S. forces cannot secure them all.

And another criticism is that while the USA is supporting the uprising against Qaddafi in Libya the US government is still defending the crack down on citizens protesting in Yemen, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia etc. and at the same time refuses to criticize the Saudi invasion of Bahrain ostensibly to quell the uprising there.
The Saudi's claim as does Qaddafi and other regimes facing uprisings that the protest are being fueled by outside agitators such as AlQaeda, Shia radicals, Iranians or even the Israelis or the CIA . It couldn't be that those nations friendly to the USA could be capable of doing anything wrong, untoward let alone criminal. Either Obama , Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates are just lying and know better or are delusional and mistrust anything Qaddafi says while trusting the Saudi Royal Family and that of Bahrain and of course Israel.

It is troublesome to say the least that not just NATO, the Arab League but the USA has also once again used the United Nations in dragging other Western nations into another undeclared war.
The United Nations has become America's toady, quisling (bitch) and is fearful to oppose US imperialism.

And as has been pointed out the USA is no longer in a position to preach about ethics, morality or human rights or to dare even to make accusations about human rights abuse or War Crimes and Crimes against humanity.

Being a state which approves of torture and abuse of prisoners (POWs or terrorist suspects)or even a Whistleblower such as Bradley Manning and arresting people for protesting about his ill treatment in prison while the US government is still spying on millions of its own citizens via telephones, Internet Social Media etc.
Obama insists he has the right to even shut down the internet if he feels like it.
He has also decided that Miranda Rights can be done away with .
He of course also refuses to even question the criminal activities and war crimes committed by the previous Bush administration or by the US armed forces, special operations, CIA, FBI , Homeland Security and so on .

But the Saudi military is killing unarmed civilians indiscriminately and cracking down on any public gatherings and beating, incarcerating any who in any way criticize the government of Bahrain. While the Saudis in their own nation have made protests, demonstrations and gatherings and any anti-government activities including speech or in the press illegal.
And yet Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates make excuses for the brutal anti-democratic actions of their friends that is the Saudi government and that of Bahrain and Yemen etc.
It appears that if a nations government is pro USA or pro-Saudi Arabia they are then exempt from any real condemnations or threats of actions to be taken against them.

And as Malalai Joya has pointed out the Obama administration just like the Bush administration have ignored large anti-Karzai and anti-American protests and demonstrations in Afghanistan.
And we can add to this protests taking place in Iraq, Syria, Morocco, the Ivory Coast are also either ignored or are branded as being the work of anti-American Islamists or even members of AlQaeda . As even Obama admitted there maybe some unsavory elements among the uprising in Libya but that does not mean that all these protesters, dissidents and rebels should be abandoned.
So why can't he use the same reasoning in dealing with these other nations.

So as Mark Levine points out the Obama administration has done little to stop the abuses by the government of Bahrain or of its partner in crime Saudi Arabia.

So Obama and Hillary Clinton's self-righteousness and faux outrage doesn't play well in the Middle East and North Africa as other countries and their citizens are also being beaten, abused and silenced by their rulers as in Bahrain and Yemen and so on.

The USA and United Nations and the EU and Nato have no comment when the Bahrain or Saudi airforce drops bombs on schools and hospitals or refuses medical treatment to the injured and wounded and the dying.
That's Okay according to President Obama and other gutless leaders in the West and the Middle East and so on.

And when protesters in Gaza are beaten by Hamas thugs the US will shed big wet tears as if they cared about the destitute people of Gaza.
 When the UN and other international bodies have called for investigations into alleged War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity committed by Israel's IDF the US does all in its power to make sure such unbiased investigations never take place.

When Islamist blow up hospitals or schools it is a crime when Israel or some other American ally or American forces do the same thing they did so out of necessity ie the terrorists or insurgents were using civilians as human shields

The West's 'double standards' in Middle East
Support for Bahraini government's crackdown on protests is a paradox as West supports Libyan rebels, activist argues. by Mark Levine, March 28, 2011

One Month into the uprising in Bahrain, the warnings of last fall have come to fruition. Bahrain has returned to absolutist rule, with the King declaring martial law a few days after the Saudis entered the country. 
Aside from violently clearing out and even destroying Pearl Roundabout, the symbol of the protests, the crackdown has been noticeable for three factors.
The first is the fact that the government forces have taken over hospitals and prevented them from being used by injured protesters.
This move is clearly a violation of international human rights law, but it had the intended effect: major protests leaders have decided that further large scale protests were to dangerous to hold, considering that people shot or otherwise harmed by government forces would not be able to receive medical attention, likely leading to an unacceptably high number of deaths.
Second, the government has attempted to arrest leading human rights and pro-democracy activists, with the goal of silencing those with the best ability to document ongoing abuses and relay the information to the outside world.
Finally, the United States and other Western countries have clearly thrown their support behind the government, refusing to go beyond mild rebukes against the government-initiated violence, even though they have thrown their full military weight behind the Libyan rebels.
"This is the situation we're facing," explained Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights.

"We are not only facing a regime and neighbouring powers, but American influence as well. They either do not want to see change or only slight changes that do not give people real democracy because the monarchy might lose power. Everyone sees the US double standards very clearly now. They see Gaddafi hitting people and the US strike back. But here they even bring in foreign armies who don't believe in democracy and killing people on streets and the US does nothing. It is a big mistake the Americans are making, losing people, losing the faith of the streets."
Rajab has good reason to be angry, although he speaks with an equanimity utterly at odds with the fact that only days before we talked he had been arrested, beaten and threatened with death by security forces.
"They came at 1 am at night and knocked on my door, then my father's door and by the time I came downstairs after my wife called me, they already broke into my father's house and almost broke into mine. 25 masked men in civilian dress came in and she thought they were mercenaries coming to assassinate me. But I saw the government cars outside the window. I asked if they would wait till I took my sleeping daughter out of our bedroom before searching it but they burst in and she woke up to them and me handcuffed. They took everyone's laptops and cartons of papers, blindfolded me and pushed me into the back of a four-wheel drive car.
"And the moment I was in a car they started treating me worse. They started using sectarian abuse, saying I'm Shia, and then started beating me in the car while saying things like: 'we will rape you and kill you now'. They seemed to be looking for other activists but did not find them and ultimately they took me in another car to the Investigation Directorate of the Ministry of Interior. A senior agent asked me if I knew someone with a gun, and I replied that I did not and that I do not know anyone with a gun and believe we should not use guns because the protests. And with that, the man told the other agents to give me my things and take me back home."

Phyllis Bennis argues that support for intervention in Libya is dwindling in part because the intervention is already going beyond what were supposed to be its narrow parameters ie no fly zone that is not allowing Qaddafi's forces to use air power against the rebels and innocent civilians.
Instead already we know that CIA special ops personnel are on the ground with the rebels and the American military strikes have gone beyond that of its stated goal of defending civilian populations and that there is talk about overtly or covertly arming the Rebels and insurgents.

Libya intervention threatens the Arab spring: Despite its official UN-granted legality, the credibility of Western military action in Libya is rapidly Phyliss Bennis, at AlJazeera, March 22, 2011

Western air and naval strikes against Libya are threatening the Arab Spring.

Ironically, one of the reasons many people supported the call for a no-fly zone was the fear that if Gaddafi managed to crush the Libyan people's uprising and remain in power, it would send a devastating message to other Arab dictators: Use enough military force and you will keep your job.

Instead, it turns out that just the opposite may be the result: It was after the UN passed its no-fly zone and use-of-force resolution, and just as US, British, French and other warplanes and warships launched their attacks against Libya, that other Arab regimes escalated their crack-down on their own democratic movements.

In Yemen, 52 unarmed protesters were killed and more than 200 wounded on Friday by forces of the US-backed and US-armed government of Ali Abdullah Saleh. It was the bloodiest day of the month-long Yemeni uprising. President Obama "strongly condemned" the attacks and called on Saleh to "allow demonstrations to take place peacefully".

But while a number of Saleh's government officials resigned in protest, there was no talk from Saleh's US backers of real accountability, of a travel ban or asset freeze, not even of slowing the financial and military aid flowing into Yemen in the name of fighting terrorism.

Similarly in US-allied Bahrain, home of the US Navy's Fifth Fleet, at least 13 civilians have been killed by government forces. Since the March 15 arrival of 1,500 foreign troops from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, brought in to protect the absolute power of the king of Bahrain, 63 people have been reported missing.

Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, said: "We have made clear that security alone cannot resolve the challenges facing Bahrain. Violence is not the answer, a political process is."

But she never demanded that foreign troops leave Bahrain, let alone threatened a no-fly zone or targeted air strikes to stop their attacks.

Legality vs. legitimacy

Despite its official UN-granted legality, the credibility and legitimacy of Western military action is dwindling rapidly, even in key diplomatic circles. For the Western alliance, and most especially for the Obama administration, support from the Arab League was a critical prerequisite to approving the military intervention in Libya.

The League's actual resolution, passed just a couple of days before the UN Security Council vote, approved a far narrower military option - essentially only a no-fly zone, with a number of stated cautions against any direct foreign intervention.

Of course, a no-fly zone is foreign intervention, whether one wants to acknowledge it or not, but it is not surprising that the Arab League's approval was hesitant - it is, after all, composed of the exact same leaders who are facing inchoate or massive challenges to their ruling power at home. Supporting the attack on a fellow dictator - oops, sorry, a fellow Arab ruler - was never going to be easy.

And as soon as the air strikes began in Libya, Arab League chief Amr Moussa immediately criticised the Western military assault. Some commentators noted the likelihood that Arab governments were pressuring Moussa out of fear of Libyan terror attacks in their country; I believe it is more likely that Arab leaders fear popular opposition, already challenging their rule, will escalate as Libyan deaths rise.

and so it goes,

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