Tag Archives | Afghanistan
After the bombings that killed and maimed so horribly at the Boston Marathon, our country’s politics and mass media are awash in heartfelt compassion — and reflexive “doublethink,” which George Orwell described as willingness “to forget any fact that has become inconvenient.”
In sync with media outlets across the country, the New York Times put a chilling headline on Wednesday’s front page: “Boston Bombs Were Loaded to Maim, Officials Say.” The story reported that nails and ball bearings were stuffed into pressure cookers, “rigged to shoot sharp bits of shrapnel into anyone within reach of their blast.”
Much less crude and weighing in at 1,000 pounds, CBU-87/B warheads were in the category of “combined effects munitions” when put to use 14 years ago by a bomber named Uncle Sam. The U.S. media coverage was brief and fleeting.
One Friday, at noontime, U.S.-led NATO forces dropped cluster bombs on the city of Nis, in the vicinity of a vegetable market.… Read the rest
Philosophy professor, social critic and activist Cornel West says that like Richard Nixon and George W. Bush, there is no way to avoid the conclusion that President Obama—due to his execution of foreign wars and direction of clandestine military operations overseas resulting in the direct and foreseeable death of innocent people—should be called out for what he is: a 'war criminal'. Appearing on Tavis Smiley's radio program on Thursday, West said: "We’ve been talking about this for a good while, the immorality of drones, dropping bombs on innocent people. It’s been over 200 children so far. These are war crimes.”
Don’t tell anyone you’re an atheist if you live in Afghanistan, Iran, Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia or Sudan! Story via Reuters:
Atheists and other religious skeptics suffer persecution or discrimination in many parts of the world and in at least seven nations can be executed if their beliefs become known, according to a report issued on Monday.
The study, from the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), showed that “unbelievers” in Islamic countries face the most severe – sometimes brutal – treatment at the hands of the state and adherents of the official religion.
But it also points to policies in some European countries and the United States which favor the religious and their organizations and treat atheists and humanists as outsiders.
The report, “Freedom of Thought 2012”, said “there are laws that deny atheists’ right to exist, curtail their freedom of belief and expression, revoke their right to citizenship, restrict their right to marry.”
Other laws “obstruct their access to public education, prohibit them from holding public office, prevent them from working for the state, criminalize their criticism of religion, and execute them for leaving the religion of their parents.”…
[continues at Reuters]
With such an effort, surely this war on drugs will be won soon. Wired reports:
… Read the rest
Unsure how your private security firm makes money as the U.S. war in Afghanistan winds down? One option: Go into the drug trade — more specifically, the lucrative business of fighting narcotics. The State Department needs a business partner to keep its fleet of drug-hunting helicopters and planes flying worldwide. You could make up to $10 billion.
Starting next month, the State Department will solicit some defense-industry feedback on a contract to help operate its 412 aircraft, based in at least eight nations, before it reopens the contract for bidding. Among the missions: “Provide pilots and operational support for drug interdiction missions such as crop spraying.”
In Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Pakistan, and Guatemala, State Department air operations mostly perform “counternarcotics and law enforcement activities,” explains State Department spokeswoman Pooja Jhunjhunwala, and in Afghanistan it does transportation support as well.
When the US government needs anti-venin effective against Afghanistan’s venomous snakes (there’s eight species, by the way) it turns to Iran…
The US leads the charge when it comes to economic sanctions against Iran—but when American soldiers’ health is at stake, the military is willing to do a little business with the Islamic republic. Iran produces antivenin against the poisonous snakes of Afghanistan; our own antivenins are toothless against such bites, as they’re made from domestic species. Working through a middleman, the US has bought 115 $310 vials of the stuff since January 2011, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Journal’s reporting has prompted a military review to see whether the practice violates sanctions rules. If so, a government waiver may be needed.
Wondering what exists at the center of the War on Drugs vs. War on Terror Venn diagram? Wired reports that well into the foreseeable future, our military will be pumping billions of dollars into the pockets of Blackwater-esque private contractors in a battle against Afghanistan’s drug economy:
… Read the rest
The U.S. war in Afghanistan is supposed to be winding down. Its contractor-led drug war? Not so much. Inside a compound in Kabul called Camp Integrity, the Pentagon stations a small group of officers to oversee the U.S. military’s various operations to curb the spread of Afghanistan’s cash crops of heroin and marijuana, which help line the Taliban’s pockets. Only Camp Integrity isn’t a U.S. military base at all. It’s the 10-acre Afghanistan headquarters of the private security company formerly known as Blackwater.
Those officers work for an obscure Pentagon agency called the Counter Narco-Terrorism Program Office, or CNTPO. Quietly, it’s grown into one of the biggest dispensers of cash for private security contractors in the entire U.S.