Archive for June, 2013

Groundhog Day in Afghanistan: US turns up 12 years late for talks with the Taliban

June 20, 2013
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Editor’s remarksAt some stage every imperial war has to come to an end. In this regard, American criminal war in Afghanistan will be no exception. It seems the invaders ‘achieved’ much. The military-industrial complex made enormous profits and they inflicted immeasurable losses on the people and land of the Afghans. Americans learnt how to use increasingly brutal military force and new weapons with the help of their NATO partners and allies to crush a defiant people who wanted to oust the foreign invaders. They installed a puppet regime in Kabul and their man Karzai has done what the masters wanted him to do even though he made some noises from time to time against the indiscriminate killings of the civilians. They also learnt how to use war propaganda effectively to deceive the world when they killed and brutalised Afghan civilians. Last but not least, they introduced American values in Afghanistan! It is a long litany of achievements for the world to remember!!
Nasir Khan Editor
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Why was one of the poorest countries in the world subjected to a decade of invasion and occupation, if the outcome was to talk to the very people the war was against?


By Lindsey German
Stop the War Coalition
20 June 2013


Cartoon by Steve Bell

It was always going to be an awkward moment: the day that the US announced it would be opening formal talks with the Taliban, its avowed enemy in Afghanistan for the past 12 years.

There was, on the one hand, the obvious question: what on earth was the war for?

Why had one of the poorest countries in the world been subjected to more than a decade of invasion and occupation, if the eventual outcome was to talk to the very people that the war had been against?

Why had tens if not hundreds of thousands died, and far more been displaced or injured, if the end of this terrible war merely brought everyone back to square one?

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Stephen Lendman: NSA Chief General Keith Alexander Lies to Congress

June 16, 2013

General Keith Alexander is NSA director. He’s US Cyber Command head. He’s in charge of lawlessly spying. He directs illegal hacking.

He does both globally. He’s a serial lawbreaker. He violates fundamental constitutional law. He testified before Congress. More on that below.

Edward Joseph Snowden revealed what vital to know. He exposed unconstitutional spying. He said more. He accused NSA of lawless hacking. He knows. He was there. He revealed what he saw firsthand.

On June 14, Russia Today headlined “Snowden’s asset: NSA hacking exposer knows secrets China wants,” saying:

He’s currently in Hong Kong. He’s a wanted man. Washington wants him extradited, arrested, prosecuted, disappeared or murdered. He fears for his safety.

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ACLU Suing Obama Administration Over Phone Records Gathering

June 12, 2013

The Huffington Post  |  By June 11, 2013  

The American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the Obama administration, challenging the constitutionality of the phone surveillance program revealed by The Guardian.

The suit alleges that the program violates the First and Fourth amendments.

The suit takes issue with the so-called metadata that a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court compelled Verizon Wireless to hand over to the National Security Agency under Section 215 of the Patriot Act.

“The practice is akin to snatching every American’s address book—with annotations detailing whom we spoke to, when we talked, for how long, and from where,” said the ACLU in the complaint. “It gives the government a comprehensive record of our associations and public movements, revealing a wealth of detail about our familial, political, professional, religious, and intimate associations.”

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The Inquisitor, A poem by Badri Raina

June 11, 2013

 

Badri Raina, Outlook, June 11, 2013

Dear master Frankenstein,
Why dost thou sulk in woe?
Is there a fruit I have plucked
That you did not first sow?

When you brought the Dhaanchaa down
A few thousand wrong ones died;
You said Bharat is back on track,
Go celebrate in pride.

When in the year 2002
I built upon that lead,
You boldly saved my singhasan
You never cursed my deed.

Since then you have had second thoughts
About this, that, and the other,
Reaching out to the skull cap,
Calling Jinnah brother.

Alas, O master, our yuppee class,
Bred by Manmohanomics,
No longer feel so well disposed
Towards such secular tricks.

It is their war cry let us have
A super saffron nation,
Led by a Führer who may not brook
The slightest deviation

From money, muscle, maraudery,
From paisa, puja, power;
Such is the future they wish to have
Conjured into their bower.

You bred the creature suited best
To furnish them that future;
Why turn your favour now from me,
O highly venerated teacher?

This last throw of the dice is all
We have to try the summit;
Should we succeed you will say
Ah lad, you have done it.

Should we fail, as well may be,
We will take to the woods,
Breeding monsters new and keen
Equipped to deliver the goods

When Satyayug shall come again
To bless this spiritual land;
Then from the hill top we shall stretch
A withered helping hand.

US calls for UN Rapporteur resignation over Israel criticism

June 10, 2013
Richard Falk's latest report highlighted Israel's continuing policy of collectively punishing Gaza's 1.75 million residentsRichard Falk’s latest report highlighted Israel’s continuing policy of collectively punishing Gaza’s 1.75 million residents

America’s representative to the UN Human Rights Council, Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, has called for the resignation of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, media reports said on Monday. Donahoe’s demand was made after Richard Falk called for an investigation into the Geneva-based NGO UN Watch to ensure that it is not controlled by Israel.

Falk, who is very critical of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, accuses UN Watch of “demeaning and defaming” his character, and damaging the “credibility, effectiveness and substantive intention” of his mandate. “This is to divert attention from the message and shifts public interest away,” he said.

The Special Rapporteur’s latest report about the Palestinian territories says that Israel continues to annex Palestinian territory and persists in demolishing Palestinians’ homes and populating Palestine with Israeli citizens.

“Israel [also] maintains a policy of collectively punishing 1.75 million Palestinians through its imposition of a blockade on the Gaza Strip,” wrote Falk. “And Israel prosecutes its occupation with impunity, refusing to accept the world’s calls to respect international law.”

The professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University calls in his report for a boycott of companies conducting business with Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Donahoe denounced Falk’s report: “His views and behaviour, both official and unofficial, are offensive and provocative and do nothing to advance peace in the Middle East or to further the protection and promotion of human rights. We again call for his resignation.”

David Swanson: How the Pentagon Removes Entire Peoples

June 8, 2013

If we think at all about our government’s military depopulating territory that it desires, we usually think of the long-ago replacement of native Americans with new settlements during the continental expansion of the United States westward.

Here in Virginia some of us are vaguely aware that back during the Great Depression poor people were evicted from their homes and their land where national parks were desired.  But we distract and comfort ourselves with the notion that such matters are deep in the past.

Occasionally we notice that environmental disasters are displacing people, often poor people or marginalized people, from their homes.  But these incidents seem like collateral damage rather than intentional ethnic cleansing.

If we’re aware of the 1,000 or so U.S. military bases standing today in some 175 foreign countries, we must realize that the land they occupy could serve some other purpose in the lives of those countries’ peoples.  But surely those countries’ peoples are still there, still living — if perhaps slightly inconvenienced — in their countries.

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Richard Falk: Whose ‘Two State’ Solution? End game or Intermission?

June 7, 2013

Richard Falk, 6 June, 2013

 From many sources there is a widespread effort to resume a peace process that has in the past led to failure, frustration, and anger, and often to renewed violence. The newly appointed American Secretary of State, John Kerry, is about to make his fifth trip to Israel since the beginning of 2013, insisting that the two sides try once more to seek peace, and warning if this doesn’t happen very soon, the prospects for an agreed upon solution will be postponed not for just a year or two, but for decades. Kerry says if this current effort does not succeed, he will turn his attention elsewhere, and that the United States will make no further effort. So far, aside from logging the air miles, seems perversely to be responsive to Tel Aviv’s demands for land swaps to allow settlement blocs to be incorporated into Israel and to promote further Palestinian concessions in relation to security arrangements, and totally unresponsive to Ramallah’s demands for some tangible signs from the Israeli government that resumed negotiations will not be another slammed door. In this vein, Kerry’s most ardent recent plea was at the Global Forum, an annual event organized under the auspices of the American Jewish Committee. Kerry told this audience that they possessed the influence to make the peace talks happen.

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